Exactly Right’s “Tenfold More Wicked” mixes true crime, chilling storytelling, and top-tier investigative journalism. And now back a new season, this podcast never fails to outdo itself. With tales of the most intelligent killer in American history to the infamous body snatching duo of Burke and Hare and many more, host Kate Winkler Dawson will have you searching for another bite from these juicy tales.
“Tenfold More Wicked” began at the end of 2020 with the serialized story of the 19th century serial killer Edward Rulloff. While that series was just six episodes, Dawson has thankfully gone on to release several seasons. “Tenfold More Wicked” is a mix of serialized stories and one-off episodes. Episodes are less than 45 minutes long on average, and you’ll find yourself burning through them way too fast.
The latest season, “The Annihilator,” is a historical true crime story from the 1800s set in Austin, Texas. The case centers on a man with a troublesome past, a person who witnessed a serial killer’s aftermath, and if that crime scene caused him to kill similarly years later. Start this season from the very beginning.
This podcast highlights Dawson’s incredible ability to pull you in and trap you there. Dawson is a true crime historian, author, a senior lecturer in broadcast journalism, a documentary/independent film producer for Nightline, WCBS, and Fox.
If you’re starting “Tenfold More Wicked” from the very first season, episode one, listeners are transported with wind whipping past the microphone and footsteps trudging through snow as Craig Schutt leads Dawson through a 19th century graveyard. He is leading her to the graves of his ancestral family members that died over 150 years ago. In their own plot, 30 Schutts are buried, many of whom lived to ripe old ages for the mid-1800s. Dawson reads off some of the names: James, Ephram – but there are four that she can barely read, and those are the four she is here for.
The first season of “Tenfold More Wicked” is all about these four, the Schutt family, and the most intelligent serial killer in American history. Edward Rulloff killed his wife, child, and two other members of the Schutts in the mid-1800s. While his story is wild: a botanical doctor who charmed his way into the Schutt family before the relationship turned very sour, Dawson is also focused on a different aspect.
Rulloff was nicknamed “The Genius Killer,” and his brain, the second largest brain on record, is actually on display at Cornell University. His murders left scientists, law makers, and, many more people of the time to grapple with questions regarding his murders. As in: was he too smart? Was it truly him murdering these people, or did his brain merely tell him to do it? When he was hung, elite citizens of New York, including Mark Twain, came to his defense. This set off far more interest and research into the criminal mind.
In the individual episodes, she sits down with authors and journalists whose expertise lie in particular famed cases, killers, and victims. Some of the cases, these journalists are still investigating, like two murders in 1920s Phoenix that may be linked to the same killer.
Hear about the controversial trial and crimes of Warren Jeffs, also known as the Polygamous Prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Hear from an author investigating the murder of his mother’s cousin, Jenny Maxwell, who starred alongside Elvis Presley and Ronald Reagan in Hollywood films. There’s the notorious murder of the Harris family, the mysterious murder of Mrs. Mortimer, the bloody feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys, and much, much more.
We cannot recommend “Tenfold More Wicked” enough. For more with Dawson, check out Podsauce’s interview with the exceptional host from 2022. Dawson also co-hosts “Buried Bones” with Paul Holes. You can catch new episodes all about “The Annihilator” this season of “Tenfold More Wicked.”