Admit it or not, most of us have a strange fascination with true crime stories that revolve around unsolved mysteries. There’s just something about them that gets your adrenaline going and based on a study, it also gives you a sense of readiness. With the aid of technology, these true crime stories are now easier to access in the form of true crime podcasts.
True crime podcasts are episodic series of crime stories that allow listeners to dig into cases and even form their own theories. By now that you've likely rummaged through the entirety of Netflix, you're probably looking for something new to get you hooked! Stay with us for some guides and recommendations of the best true crime podcasts that you can listen to.
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When attempting to listen to a podcast, there are a few things that you must consider. Here are some of the points that you should keep in mind when delving into the world of true crime podcasts.
Streaming platforms are swamped with countless podcasts ranging from local to international. Hence, the medium of narration differs from one another as well. Most international true crime podcasts that stream in the country have English as their medium of narration.
However, in the case of locally-produced true crime podcasts, there are ones that use the Filipino language but there are also a fair number of them that use English as the main language in their podcast. Regardless of language, both deliver gruesome stories of crime and are guaranteed to give you chills, you just have to go for the one that you’re more comfortable with!
A good true crime podcast is one that is well-researched and backed up with authentic details that the hosts can discuss and dig into. Since these are audio only that provide you no visual cues, it may be easy to miss out on some details, especially if the format of the program is not something that engages you.
There are a number of true crime podcasts that deliver their content through enthralling storytelling which surely draw listeners in. Podcasts with this format have a host that narrates the true crime story from start to finish. It is usually joined with eerie background music that blends well with the mood of the episode.
This format is ideal for those seeking a quick listen as these usually have a shorter run time, commonly around 10-30 minutes. However, this format gives you little to no time to build some sort of connection with the hosts as they just mainly supply you with the story.
True crime podcasts that use this format usually have more than one host that delivers the story by discussing it with each other and with the listeners. Hosts would usually throw in their takes on the case as well and would casually ask listeners to be involved in the “investigation”.
This format is more suited for those who prefer interactive listening as these types of podcasts would make you feel as if you’re digging into the case together. Additionally, podcasts that use this format tend to have longer run time too.
Most true crime podcasts are episodic or follow the format of one story per episode. This structure of podcasts allows quick listening for people who have limited time on their hands as it allows you to just listen to one episode and you'll be able to consume one and done true crime story.
Although most podcasts are episodic, there are also a number of them that allot an entire season for a single true crime story. Instead of delivering a new story every episode, serial podcasts pick up where they left off from the previous episode and continue from there.
They often use the phases of the story to cut it into episodes. Say, if the previous episode discussed the arrest, then the next part would revolve around the trial. Serial podcasts tend to give listeners a sense of intrigue to stay tuned to future episodes.
True crime podcasts deal with sensitive content like gruesome stories of murder, kidnapping, massacres, and unsolved mysteries, hence, the content may contain vulgar language, stories of violence, and gore descriptions of events. Content such as these may cause some listeners discomfort, so it is important to proceed with caution.
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Super Evil: Hatched in Hell
For Those Who Are Fascinated With Crime and Forensics
Stories After Dark
Local True Crime Tales That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine
This American Life
Season-Long Exploration of a Single True Crime Story
Feels Like Late Night True Crime Talks With Friends
PH Murder Stories
Mostly Delves Into Unsung Crime Stories in the Country
Delve Deep Into the Minds of Notorious Serial Killers
For Your Local True Crime Fix
Morbid: A True Crime Podcast
Collection of Morbid and Spine-Tingling True Stories
Forensic Files Podcast
Brutal, Violent, and Nerve-Wracking Real Crime Stories
Retells Mysterious Cases in the Native Language
Unlike most true crime podcasts that are episodic, this one is serialized. The first season revolves around the case of the 1993 murders of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, students from the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
The entire season retells the gruesome crime from the start of the murder to the arrest of the suspects. This podcast comes from one of the most credible newspaper companies in the Philippines.
Aside from the narrative format, they made an effort to comb through their archives and rummage through years' worth of newspapers to supply listeners with ample facts about the case. The actual soundbites in the podcast are from their in-house journalists' coverage of the case.
This independent and all-Filipino podcast revolves around novel storytelling of multi-faceted real crimes that took place in the local setting. Some of the stories that are tackled in the podcast are the murder of actress Nida Blanca, the abduction of Maggie Dela Riva, and the case of Pepsi Paloma.
The stories are delivered in a narrative storytelling manner that can run for as short as 10 minutes to as long as 41 minutes. It also discusses the facts of the cases and court resolutions. The content may contain graphic and sensitive details, so you might want to listen to it with a companion or in the daytime if you're easily spooked.
This podcast is probably one of the reasons why a lot of people are so hooked on true crime stories as it is arguably the first true crime podcast to hit the mainstream. It premiered in 2014 and has captivated the attention of a lot of people. The podcast tells one story over the course of an entire season.
The first season revolves around the 1999 murder of Haemin Lee, an 18-year-old student in Baltimore. Unlike other podcasts, the host was involved firsthand in the reinvestigation. Serial podcast includes detective interviews, excerpts of the trial, as well as phone interviews with the alleged suspect at that time.
This true crime podcast is well-suited for those who prefer an interactive style of podcast. The stories are told in a way that makes you feel like you’re sitting around solving crimes with your friends because of the hosts' casual and light approach.
The topics of the podcast involve murder stories, mysterious disappearance cases, conspiracies, and even stalking cases. The program runs in a manner where one of the hosts sort of tells the true crime story to her co-host.
What listeners love more about this podcast is the synergy of the two hosts that appears most evident with their eloquent exchanges. Instead of simply narrating the totally gripping stories, they throw their well-researched inputs and insights once in a while too.
If you're looking for something you can listen to while you're commuting or during a short break, this true crime podcast might be the one for you. Compared to other true crime podcasts, this one has relatively short episodes, ideal for quick listening.
One of the real crime stories covered in the podcast is the recent murder of a mother and son by an off-duty police officer. This case is one that enraged the whole nation because of the merciless murder that was even caught on clip and surfaced on social media.
It has become even a bigger controversy due to the suspect being a police officer. The format used in the podcast is narrative storytelling that also includes some soundbites from news coverages and actual murder footage.
This true crime podcast discusses crime stories involving some of the most notorious serial killers. It provides a psychological approach that allows listeners to get a glimpse of the serial killers' minds and madness with the hopes of understanding their psychological profile and motivations for committing the crime.
One of the stories covered in the podcast is the 1966 serial killing led by Richard Speck. It was a case that took the world by storm as a series of violence and rage have put the lives of a group of student nurses in Chicago in danger. Although this podcast is episodic in nature, some stories have multi-part episodes.
This podcast is another one that focuses on true crimes committed in the Philippines. Every two weeks, the host delves into not-so-known cases that gave the nation feelings of terror. Each episode can last up to 40-50 minutes, ideal to listen to on your idle time.
One of the cases featured in the podcast is the story of The Chop-Chop Lady. The episode follows the case of a woman who was stabbed to death and had her mutilated body dumped. So far, the podcast has only three episodes available to listen to as it just premiered last December 2020.
We know that the words morbid and light do not go together but this podcast tells you otherwise. This podcast, just like any of its kind, delves into different cases of crimes and unsolved mysteries. The catch? The approach is a little different!
The program is hosted by two best friends, Ash and Alaina. The stories are delivered in a commentary style, so they contain some light banter and exchanges from the two.
It tackles a new case every week. Several listeners love the light approach of the two and others even say that after just one episode, you'll feel like you're a part of their circle already!
Forensic Files is a true crime podcast that is the audio version of the television program with the same title. Apart from profiling some of the most puzzling and baffling cases, it puts emphasis on forensic science in solving these violent crimes, mysterious accidents, and even cold cases.
Its format follows the narrative storytelling of the host. However, some cases also include interviews with witnesses, investigators, and forensic scientists. Each episode can run for roughly 20 minutes, more often comes with quick segment breaks as well.
If you're looking for a podcast that focuses on true crimes and uses Filipino as a medium of narration, this might be your cup of tea. This podcast dwells on local mysterious cases that have left investigators baffled. The pilot episode retells the case of 16-year-old, Christine Silawan who was a victim of catfishing.
One episode runs for roughly 30 minutes, just enough to fill you in with the details. If you also want a podcast that tackles crimes but has a 'millenial' approach to discussion, this may be a good option for you too. The hosts deliver the story like campfire stories that you would have with your friends.
After satisfying your knack for digging into unsolved mysteries, let your ears relax and switch to things that can engage your other senses along with your mind. Check out these articles reviewing things that can make your quarantine worthwhile.
Although morbid for some, listening to true crime podcasts can be a great way to kill time especially if you need a reminder about the darker side of human nature. For some, it can also be a way for them to feel more 'prepared' as it allows them to learn from others' stories from a safe distance. If you enjoy digging into unsolved mysteries, it can be a good form of brain exercise as well.
Author: R. Victoriano
No. 1：Inquirer Podcasts｜Super Evil: Hatched in Hell
No. 2：｜Stories After Dark
No. 3：This American Life｜Serial
No. 4：audiochuck｜Crime Junkie
No. 5：｜PH Murder Stories
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