These days, it seems nearly impossible to keep up with the thousands of podcasts that continue popping up. Since podcasts are especially popular among true-crime fans, it can feel like mystery Whac-A-Mole galore. We feel it too and thus have narrowed down the search for some truly harrowing podcasts that have recently made headlines.
So, without further ado, here are five true crime podcasts you should absolutely be digging into this summer.
The unsolved case of the Long Island Serial Killer (LISK) is a tale that will get right under your skin and stay there. The podcast host, Chris Mast dives right into the case starting with the eerie disappearance of Shannan Gilbert.
In May 2010, Shannan vanished from the Oak Beach gated community in Long Island. Initially, because Shannan was a sex worker, her disappearance was not taken seriously. However, months later, while searching for her, investigators found the remains of 10 bodies - victims who were murdered by an individual known only as the Long Island Serial Killer.
LISK explores the lives, relationships, and deaths of the murder victims - allowing them humanity which is often overlooked when it comes to sex workers - and digs into why it’s taken so long to discover these missing and murdered women. Our only complaint? We want more episodes!
Investigative reporter Billy Jensen and cold case investigator Paul Holes first got connected while looking into the Golden State Killer with Michelle McNamara, the author of “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” who died in 2016. Now that Joseph DeAngelo is behind bars, however, the two have moved on to exploring other cold cases on their podcast, “Murder Squad.”
The coolest part of this show? After listening to an episode about solving cold cases via genetics, one fan submitted her DNA to a database that law enforcement can access. It turned out, her DNA matched evidence found at the 1980 Colorado murder of Helene Pruszynski, 21, who was stabbed to death. As a result, investigators were able to go through the listener’s family tree and track down the killer, James Curtis Clanton, a former resident of Colorado.
UncoverIn the 1980s, there was widespread hysteria and a belief that members of Satanic cults were sexually abusing and murdering children as part of underground devil-worshipping rituals - the West Memphis Three being among the most infamous. Similar to a witch hunt, the finger was pointed at many innocent people who ended up in prison. Families and lives were torn apart as a result.
CBC host Lisa Bryn Rundle focuses her story on Martensville, Saskatchewan where the Satanic Panic didn’t reach until the early 1990s. Known as the “Martensville Nightmare,” it was believed that dozens of children were sexually assaulted by a Satanic cult at a local daycare. Despite that none of it turned out to be true, the town was turned completely upside down and is still reeling nearly 30 years later.
The Dating Game Killer
In the 1970s, America loved dating shows just as much as we do now. Though, back then, instead of “The Bachelor” they had “The Dating Game.” The concept was that three men would vie for the affections of a woman. The catch was, the woman couldn’t see them. She could only hear their voices.
On one such episode, the bachelorette asked one bachelor what his favorite time was. “Nighttime,” he replied. “Because that’s the only time there is.”
This man was serial killer Rodney Alcala, though at the time no one knew. So, how did a murderer and child molester end up as a contestant on a popular dating show? Hollywood & Crime’s Tracy Pattin explores how this psychopath managed to avoid law enforcement for 11 years and how his role on “The Dating Game” would be his undoing.
While we humans like having things fit neatly into a box that we can wrap our heads around, there are some things out there that just can’t be explained. You could even go as far as to call it supernatural.
Host Ashley Flowers of Crime Junkie is exploring such phenomena in her latest podcast, “Supernatural.” She digs into some of the world’s strangest cases like the Somerton Man, the missing hikers of Dyatlov Pass, and the Silent Twins. She may not be able to solve them, but who doesn’t love a good creepy story with no explanation?