Over the course of a month, I’ve featured podcasts about crimes, the paranormal and all things creepy. It’s a shame that Halloween isn’t year-round, because this article wraps up the “spooky-themed” podcast. For anyone who is an investigative junkie, I have compiled a list of must-listen podcasts that feature cold cases and unsolved mysteries. I wouldn’t call myself Nancy Drew after listening to them, but I would say I’m pretty close. Grab your detective hats and some headphones. Here are some of my weekly favorites.
Hosted by three lawyers — Susan Simpson, Colin Miller and Rabia Chaudry — “Undisclosed” focuses on the U.S. criminal justice system and its wrongful convictions. The hosts take on more of an investigative rather than a journalistic approach into looking at the crimes and finding evidence that was never brought up in courts. Though similar, the podcast is not affiliated with “Serial” or “This American Life.” If you have watched “Serial,” the hosts recommend listening to the first season before “Undisclosed,” as it references and analyzes many cases and characters that were brought up in “Serial.” It’s produced well and brings the listeners into an in-depth, constructed narrative. Now in its third season, the podcast has highlighted four cases including Adnan Syed, Joey Watkins, Jamar Huggins and the killing of Freddie Gray.
Devin, Joe and Steve are curious, and they know it. Though they aren’t experts, the three delve into unsolved mysteries in each episode, looking into true crimes and acting as detectives. Like any detectives, however, they try to solve the cases while providing their opinions. The first episode was released in 2013 and the show has since grown with a new podcast every week. It has focused on a variety of topics ranging from natural disasters to mysterious plane crashes. Not too long ago, they talked about the 1987 South African Airways flight from Taiwan to South Africa that crashed in the Indian Ocean and killed 295 passengers. What remains a mystery is how the aircraft went down, allowing the dissect the situation and try to find out what went wrong.
“S-town” uncovers some raw truth and small-town gossip. The podcast is about a man named John who hates his Alabama town. John asks host Brian Reed, the producer of “This American Life,” to look into the son of a wealthy family who got away with murder. The search then leads listeners to a feud and a mystery about the misunderstood man’s life. Each episode uncovers unexpected information, taking you on a rollercoaster — it will leave you laughing, crying and, at times, frustrated, but it will leave you wanting more. It starts off slowly, and the real information isn’t revealed until the fourth episode. Through each mini story, the narrative expands and is filled with twists from mental health, corruption to murder — all challenges that are difficult to face.
“The Vanished” is a podcast dedicated to covering cases of missing people. Searching for answers, host Marissa Jones investigates each cold case and interviews the relatives of those who have gone missing. In each episode, the host explores cases that haven’t been told before. Jones utilizes social media and the “The Vanished” website to bring attention to these particular cases by posting missing people’s pictures, Google Maps images of the locations and sketches of the suspects. What differentiates this crime podcast from others is the stories from the loved ones and the hurt and sadness conveyed in each interview. It’s moving and proves to be a voice for the vanished.