These 10 podcasts go on quests to answer major and minor mysteries, explain the unexplainable, and speak the unspeakable. From historical blunders to science questions, pop culture conundrums, and more, this list is for folks taking a breather from true crime but still eager to hear investigations about puzzling scenarios.
One podcast explores a theory that a nurse died from a COVID-19 vaccine and was part of a cover-up, according to Internet conspiracists. There is a series delving into forgotten sports phenomena. One podcast helps people (like author John Green) find closure.
An entertainment-based podcast is desperate to trace the R&B boy band, Sudden Impact. Host Dan Taberski searched for workout guru Richard Simmons after he stepped away from the spotlight, stopped showing up for work, and ghosted his friends in 2014.
Hear these stories and more on our crime-free, mystery podcast list:
Vox’s “Unexplainable” answers science questions and mysteries with host Noam Hassenfeld. Along with reporters, Noam deep-dives into different topics in weekly episodes in less than 45 minutes on average. This series snagged a Webby Award nomination in the science & education category for their episode called “The mysteries of endometriosis.” Recent episodes shared research on more than just the 5 senses, bioluminescent deep-sea creatures, love, reality, and more.
Truthers: Tiffany Dover is Dead*
Tiffany Dover was a nurse manager at Tennessee’s CHI Memorial Hospital. In 2020, she received a COVID-19 vaccine at work and spoke with reporters before she fainted, stood back up, and continued the convo. This series of events triggered internet conspiracy theories claiming that Tiffany died from the vaccine and was replaced by a body double, part of an elaborate plan. Since the incident, Tiffany has not been seen or heard from. In this podcast, NBC reporter Brandy Zadrozny tries to track down Tiffany, examines misinformation, and shares how fake news spreads like wildfire.
“Heavyweight” host Jonathan Goldstein is helping people resolve burning questions, make peace with their past, and finally get closure for situations that have haunted them for years. The stories are heartfelt, and you might want to listen with a box of tissues at the ready. Every episode is different: you’ll hear about Bobby’s involvement in a terrible McDonald’s commercial, Annie finds out why she’s excluded from family functions, and Brandon still wants to know why he (a self-identifying misfit) was asked to prom by one of the school’s most popular girls.
In some episodes, Goldstein even solves his own mysteries, like what would have happened if he became a rabbi. Author John Green stopped by an episode to share a fateful meeting that changed his life’s course, and he tracks down one person who changed his life.
Lost in Sports
Host and journalist Ben Baskin is knocking it out of the park when answering big questions from sports history. Baskin is investigating forgotten mysteries, disappearing memories, and finding all possible answers. Season 1 reported on a vanishing global phenomenon, a body part that went missing, a never-before-seen movie, and more. This series is presented by Religion of Sports | PRX. If you have a sports mystery you’re dying to solve, Baskin encourages listeners to contact the show: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (914) 893-2870.
The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong
Mark Chrisler presents “The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong,” digging into tidbits previously accepted as facts throughout history. Embark “on journeys of misadventure and misapprehension” for educational and comedic takes on different topics each episode. For example, why did Europeans once believe sheep grew from Mongolian trees? Recent episodes explored language’s origins and discussed Babel, Adam, Enoch, and more. There was a 5-part series, “What Goes Up,” on people attempting to fly.
Gimlet’s “Mystery Show” was created by Starlee Kine to resolve storytellers’ personal questions. In 6 episodes, Kine hears stories and tracks down leads. Hear about a self-help author who found a tabloid photo of Britney Spears holding her book. Since Andrea received a Google Alert in 2008, she’s been trying to figure out how Britney got ahold of her book and why she was photographed with it. These seemingly mundane stories are charming, and some storytellers finally get the closure they’re looking for.
Waiting for Impact
Host Dave Holmes was obsessed with locating Sudden Impact, the R&B boy band announced in Boyz II Men’s “MotownPhilly.” Since 1991, Holmes and other pop culture junkies waited with baited breath for the major debut. In Holmes’ passion project presented by Exactly Right, he’s joined by actors, comedians, and other guests to see what they know about this band’s fate. Along the way, the guests will talk about the entertainment world, where they were in 1991, and where they landed in 2021.
Headlong: Missing Richard Simmons
As a diehard Richard Simmons fan, Dan Taberski wondered where he had been and what he had been up to. In 2014, the workout guru stopped showing up to work, ghosted his friends, and seemingly vanished from the planet. Taberski interviewed Simmons’ friends, colleagues, and more to find out what happened and traced his steps before he disappeared. Taberski hosts a slew of other podcasts including “9/12” and “The Line.”
The Renner Files
We might know Jeremy Renner as an Oscar-nominated actor, but why did he create an app? What was it used for before it tanked? Caroline Goldfarb and Sarah Ramos investigated, and that was just the start of what they uncovered. Hear the full saga in this 6-episode series. The hosts also broke down Renner’s career from his early acting roles to flipping houses and jamming as a rock artist.
Finding Drago | Finding Desperado
Comedians and pop culture detectives Alexei Toliopoulos and Cameron James were perplexed. In “Finding Desperado,” the hosts found a strange Guinness World Record from 2005, held by a European aristocrat. They believe it’s fake and investigate, going so far as trying to track down the elusive Lord Sydney Ling. In “Finding Drago,” the duo investigated Ivan Drago, fanfiction, false identities, and what role a book about the Rocky film franchise plays. This series is presented by ABC Radio.