YouTuber, storyteller, and former US Navy Seal MrBallen is hopping on the podcasting bandwagon to release audio versions of his true crime series. On “MrBallen Podcast: Strange, Dark, and Mysterious Stories,” hear new true crime tales and favorites from his YouTube channel. MrBallen also uploads short versions of stories on TikTok.
The podcast posted its first episodes on February 14 to stream in any order. On Mondays, MrBallen will cover new stories, and on Thursdays, he’ll highlight best-of episodes from his YouTube channel. So far, all episodes are less than an hour long.
The first episode covered Rachel Burkheimer’s murder. Rachel was a charismatic teenager whose life took a turn after her best friend died in a car accident in 2001. Over the next year, several more friends passed away, and she became depressed. Rachel switched high schools then dropped out entirely, started hanging out with the Northwest Mafia, and dated John “Diggy” Anderson who spent time in and out of jail. Anderson’s jealousy became apparent, and Rachel’s sister remembered spotting bruises on her sister’s body.
Anderson and Burkheimer continued a turbulent relationship, and she started hanging with another friend, who was looking to change his life and exit the Mafia. He inspired her to return to school, something they would be able to do together since they both dropped out. Anderson began spreading lies about Rachel, claiming she was sharing the Mafia’s secrets. Tune in to hear what happened when Rachel went missing after she attended a party.
Another episode unpacked the LuluLemon Murder in 2011 where Brittany Norwood was convicted of murdering her co-worker, Jayna Murray, at Bethesda, Maryland’s LuluLemon store. The two were said to have argued after closing for the day, and Norwood was accused of stealing yoga pants. The altercation turned violent when Norwood struck, strangled, and stabbed Murray, leaving 331 wounds. Norwood attempted to cover the situation by claiming the two were attacked by robbers, gave herself some wounds, tied her hands and ankles to go along with the story, and stayed in the store overnight. Learn why police initially believed the ruse, then determined that the evidence did not add up.
Hear about Danny Rolling, a.k.a. The Gainesville Ripper, who inspired the Scream movies. In 1990, Rolling murdered 5 students in 4 days in Gainesville, Florida – in addition to other victims. In this episode, MrBallen tells listeners about the victims’ lives, how the victims were found, and links to additional cases. Sonja Larson and Christina Powell just arrived at college, and lived together. When their parents did not hear from them for days, they stopped by for a welfare check. The police knocked, and no one answered.
Police entered the apartment to find Sonja and Christina’s dead bodies, and it was determined that both women were raped. Other victims included Christa Hoyt, Manny Taboada, Julie Grissom, Sean Grissom, Tom Grissom, and Tracy Paules. One body was found decapitated, while some bodies were found posed in different positions. Murder scenes were staged with props like broken mirrors. This episode also explained how Rolling was later arrested, his previous crimes, and more.
For more true crime cases, listen to new, weekly episodes of “MrBallen Podcast: Strange, Dark, and Mysterious Stories,” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.