Binge these 19 hair-raising true crime podcasts
Facts can indeed be more frightening than fiction.
As the true crime genre increases in popularity, many shows have become classics and new shows emerge. The breadth of true crime podcasts available to voracious listeners today continues to evolve as the genre goes from wide-ranging to more specific micro-genres within the umbrella category itself.
We’ve gathered 19 podcasts filled with dramatic, mind-boggling, and disturbing realities that unravel in each episode. Through captivating narrations, jarring events, and high-stakes situations described, this genre has an addictive nature.
Check out these shows if you’re into true crime podcasts:
From Lemonada Media comes “The Letter,” a true crime series examining a 1996 shooting that killed 1 Zachary Snarr, injured Yvette Rodier, and affected many people’s lives. When 2 friends traveled to the mountains near their home in Salt Lake City one evening to photograph the rising full moon, they encountered a 19-year-old stranger. This seemingly random crime devastated the community and sent shockwaves with what followed.
The Devil Within
Wondery presents “The Devil Within” and the chilling podcast is back for a second season. In “The Demons of Yorkshire,” hear about preacher Michael Taylor’s exorcisms and efforts to figure out who to blame for his wife’s murder. His church believed he was possessed by 48 demons. Season 1 covered Betty Ann Sullivan’s shocking murder in Jefferson Township, New Jersey. Hours after her murder, her 14-year-old son took his own life. Hear about the community’s upheaval and the investigation that unfolded.
Law enforcement hands out playing card decks to inmates and replaces the graphics with missing and murdered people’s pictures. They hope inmates will see the decks and be willing to share new information. This audiochuck series speaks with investigators and families to learn new details of cold cases in America and bring justice.
From the long-running TV show of the same name, “Dateline NBC” is an investigative podcast brought to you by NBC News covering current and classic true crime cases.
Wondery’s “Dr. Death” is a true crime podcast focusing on disturbing tales of medical malpractice. Season 1 tells the brutal story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a former neurosurgeon who once claimed ranks as a top-notch doctor but maimed dozens of patients and caused irreversible harm. The first season speaks with former patients, doctors that rallied to stop Dr. Duntsch, and others from his life.
Season 2 covered Dr. Fata, an oncologist who intentionally administered chemotherapy to patients who didn’t have cancer.
Now in its third season, “Dr. Death: Miracle Man” unpacks Dr. Paolo Macchiarini’s fraudulent practices, as recounted by TV producer Benita Alexander, Dr. Macchiarini’s ex-fiancé. Journalist Laura Beil hosts all three seasons. All episodes are now available to stream.
Have You Seen This Man?
Brooklyn computer salesman, John Ruffo, conned his way to $350+ million. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 17 years in jail. On the way to return his ankle monitor, he rented a car, withdrew $600 from an ATM, drove to JFK Airport, and was never seen again. John is still on the lam. ABC News investigates in the podcast series, “Have You Seen This Man?” Episodes speak with law enforcement, John’s accomplices, a wife who realizes she never truly knew her husband, and more. Listeners will learn about John’s strange past and facts that don’t quite add up. In the second season, ABC News follows the U.S. Marshals’ manhunt, spanning the globe, and digging up shocking dirt along the way.
“Crime Junkie” by audiochuck has been uber-popular since its debut in 2017, gracing top spots in streaming for years in the true crime genre. Gripping stories are presented in a linear, palatable format and the banter between hosts Ashley and Brit are engaging since they sound like casual conversations between friends. Topics discussed include murder investigations and cold cases, conspiracy theories, and infamy.
To Live and Die in LA
From Tenderfoot TV and Audacy’s Cadence13 comes “To Live and Die in LA,” investigating two murders over two seasons. When aspiring actress Adea Shabani vanished in 2018, her family hired a private investigator who contacted Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss. The podcast follows the story leading up to when Adea’s body was found, and Neil’s identification of suspects.
The second season centers around Neil’s search for Elaine Park, a 20-year-old last seen leaving her boyfriend’s apartment. Neil recruits an investigative team including neighbors, his ex-wife Ingrid De La O, Incubus’ Mike Einziger, and concert violinist Ann Marie Simpson to contribute to the case. The team will test how far they’ll go to obtain information. Tune in to find out if Neil and his team find answers.
It was Halloween 2008, and Arpana Jinaga helped host building-wide festivities with themed rooms. Arpana was found dead in her apartment and a murder mystery whodunit ensued. A man was convicted then exonerated after 9 years in prison. This case piqued host and journalist Matthew Shaer’s attention after receiving a tip. He started investigating with reporter Eric Benson to follow new leads. The hosts interviewed partygoers from that night, family, and friends, and detail their findings in this podcast.
Where the Bodies are Buried
Ever wanted to learn more about serial killers? Criminal profiler and serial killer expert Phil Chalmers did too, so he started the podcast “Where the Bodies are Buried” with Audio Up True Crime. In episodes, Phil shares his chilling interviews with serial killers and finds out disturbing details. In season 1, Phil spoke with William Clyde Gibson, Son of Sam David Berkowitz, and a school shooter. Season 2 spoke with Robert Bever who murdered his family as a teen, “The Soul Sucker” Garland Milam, “The Copycat Zodiac,” and “The Werewolf Butcher.”
We’ve been tuning in for trial updates on “The Dropout,” hosted by journalist Rebecca Jarvis. Since 2019, this series has investigated Theranos’ high-profile case, the health technology company that once claimed to accurately test blood from a single drop. Since August 2021, the company and its former CEO, self-made billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, are on trial for multiple counts of fraud. In recent weeks, Rebecca has walked listeners through opening arguments, Elizabeth Holmes’ testimonies, jury updates, and more. We’ll hear from investors, former employees, whistleblowers, and witnesses’ evidence presented in court.
International Infamy with Ashley Flowers
“International Infamy with Ashley Flowers” is brought to you by Parcast Network. This relatively new podcast covers 15 high-profile, dreadfully true crime cases in 15 countries. These episodes also broach social issues that transpired as byproducts of these crimes and other related historical events. New episodes are released every Tuesday and are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Ashley Flowers also hosts the aforementioned show, Crime Junkie.
My Favorite Murder
Since 2016, Exactly Right’s “My Favorite Murder” has garnered a devout worldwide fanbase. Hosted by true crime fans Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, their podcast uniquely interweaves comedy with storytelling. The hosts discuss murder tales of interest and learn about hometown crime stories. Recent episodes have been curated by several guest hosts to cover stories Karen and Georgia have previously reported on including the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Murder of Angie Dodge, and Selena.
Since 2016, “Casefile” has been reporting on both solved and unsolved cases in its weekly episodes. Its tagline, “Fact is scarier than fiction” prepares the listener to encounter evil lurking in each episode. Hailing from Australia, the host tries to remain anonymous, for he wants the emphasis of the show to solely be on the stories. The slick, ambient music nicely accompanies the storytelling. Aside from describing the stories, the host often examines and offers possible theories for unsolved crimes. Topics covered include arson, missing persons, mysteries, serial killers, bombings, and the dark web, to name a few.
The Murder Squad
Journalist Billy Jensen and retired cold case investigator Paul Holes hone their professional fields of expertise when hosting this Exactly Right podcast. The duo studies missing persons cases, unsolved murders, and situations involving unidentified remains. In efforts to solve the cases, an assortment of methods are employed such as DNA searching, sleuthing, and using new technologies. The podcast counts on listener contributions with any theories or tips that arise, hence contributing to and joining The Murder Squad.
Criminal and Radiotopia’s “Criminal” is filled with twists and turns, chock-full of bizarre stories involving people mixed up in questionable situations. Parties involved in each story tell narratives of what they’ve experienced. The recent two-part episode details a kidnapping scheme of a couple, where they’re inexplicably held hostage. When the boyfriend manages to call 911, things get weird when he’s taken to the police station. They believe he has killed his girlfriend. New episodes are released twice monthly.
Covering missing persons cases, Wondery’s “The Vanished” is almost nearing its 300th episode. Marissa Jones hosts and interviews those involved in the case. In a turn of events, Matheau Moore, husband of Emily Noble, previously featured on Episode 246, was arrested in June, 2021 on two counts of murder and one count of felonious assault in connection to his wife. His appearance on the podcast last year raised red flags. The site where Emily’s body was found was allegedly staged to look like a suicide, according to investigators.
Conversely, some of the missing people investigated on the podcast have been found after the episodes have aired.
From iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV comes “Algorithm,” a series exploring how technology can pursue and ultimately find serial killers. In 2010, reporter Thomas Hargrove developed an algorithm to locate serial killers and spot crime patterns in specific regions. Gary, Indiana became a frequent spot of strangulation cases, Hargrove found. As Hargrove notified police of this discovery, his alert was overlooked. When Afrikka Hardy was murdered in 2014, Hargrove’s previous speculation of a serial killer at large was confirmed and duly noted. We’ll learn more this season about how technology and an algorithm can help investigate homicides in America.
The Generation Why Podcast
Since 2012, Wondery’s “Generation Why” has been hosted by friends Aaron and Justin. The show explores conspiracies, controversies, unsolved murders, and mysteries. They speculate and provide their opinions in regards to each case.