I always laugh when Dan Zupansky, host of True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers in True Crime History, mentions the discount code for his sponsors. "Enter code 'Murder' at checkout to save 15% on your first order from FabFitFun! Now, let's get back to the discovery of the third body."
Dan is the best of the best, in my opinion. He's a journalist and author who interviews his peers as well as those in law enforcement. True Murder has introduced me to some fascinating and terrifying cases. I've been listening to the podcast for years and cannot get enough. It's certainly no-frills unlike many others out there, but that's why I enjoy it. I don't really like crime podcasts where the hosts are super loud and excitable and have constant side conversations, yucking it up about unrelated nonsense. I know a lot of people like that kind of thing, but I don't like a lot of people.
Lately I've been engaging with a lot of true crime. Like, more than usual. Maybe a bit too much, as it's seeping into my thoughts more than I'd like it to. But I will say this, it doesn't hurt to be hyper aware of your surroundings. I was out for a walk recently and some guy was acting a bit off, so I kept my distance. His eyes darted around, looking at me then back at the ground. He picked up a stick, attempted to hide it in his hand, then crept behind a hedge around the corner. I could see his feet so I knew he was there. Rather than rounding the corner, I crossed to the other side of the street. I saw him anxiously pacing and glancing back in my direction. I wrote it off as just another weirdo but I'm glad I was so aware, because less than a week later a guy was arrested in that same area for threatening a woman with a knife. But get this, the same guy was previously arrested for attacking a man...with a stick! My guess is that it's the same guy I saw, but who knows. Lots of weirdos out there.
Maybe sitting inside on a beautiful day watching true crime is better than being out in the wild experiencing it. Having said that, I haven't stopped going for my walks. I'll always find time to be out in nature, but I have been extra cautious. As for what I've been watching, I won't bore you with a ranking list or anything, but there have been some standouts.
Cute couple, hey? Too bad orange jumpsuit butchered the beauty in the black dress, while she was carrying his baby, no less. A couple months ago I watched the A&E series The Murder of Laci Peterson. I'm not sure why I continue to revisit cases I'm so familiar with, but sometimes I just get hooked. There's something about Laci's murder that always drags me in. The series was fairly well done and attempts to show both sides of the argument in terms of Scott Peterson's presumed guilt, which I appreciate, even though of course he's guilty. But they left out some key details.
The series mentions that over the course of five years, seven pregnant women went missing in the area and one, Evelyn Hernandez, turned up murdered six months before Laci was discovered. Rumours began circulating about the possibility of a serial killer or a satanic cult targeting pregnant women. People sure love blaming Satan. Scott's family and many others believe that Laci and these other women were likely killed by the same person or persons, but by pulling your head out of your ass for a brief moment and doing a quick Google search, it becomes quite clear that that was not the case. It seems that some of these "missing women" simply never existed, and the ones who did were found alive and well. Also, it turns out that Evelyn Hernandez had a boyfriend who happened to be married. Apparently he didn't want her to have his child. His wife, who knew about the affair, provided a solid yet suspicious alibi. It sounds like they wanted her to disappear. Unfortunately, her son disappeared with her as well and was never found. Interesting that the Hernandez case never garnered the attention the Peterson case did. For more on that, read "A Tale of Two Killings."
That brings me to another case that's been heavy on my noggin (Shout out to Bailey Sarian). Jermain Charlo, a 23-year-old indigenous woman, went missing in Missoula, Montana in 2018 and has yet to be found. I can't stop thinking about it.
I don't typically like getting too immersed in unsolved cases, because it can feel pretty hopeless and depressing, but there's also that little fire that ignites when you begin to piece things together. I highly recommend you check out Stolen: The Search for Jermain on Spotify. I am hooked, but it also makes my heart sink. The epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls weighs heavy. As a British Columbian, you grow up hearing stories about the notorious "Highway of Tears." If you're not familiar, I recommend looking it up, but be warned that it is horrific and heartbreaking. Jermain's story is more of an isolated incident and it becomes pretty clear who's responsible, but the fact that the case remains unsolved makes me think of all the others. It's important to make sure that those stories are heard and that the women and girls are not forgotten. That's why I'm especially drawn to Stolen. It's hosted by brilliant Cree journalist, Connie Walker, who interviews locals in Missoula, including family, friends and the police to try and get answers about what happened to Jermain. Unfortunately the first season just wrapped up, but I anticipate that there will be another. Connie also hosts some other incredible podcasts, including Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo. That one is definitely worth a listen as well.
Between my weekly fixes of Stolen and Bailey Sarian's "Murder, Mystery and Makeup Mondays" on YouTube, I've been watching tons of other stuff. Lots of Cold Case Files and Unsolved Mysteries and so many documentaries. At this point, if it's out there I've seen it.
Most recently I enjoyed watching Netflix's docuseries The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness. I never tire of Son of Sam, and I love that this is Maury Terry's story. Terry was an acclaimed investigative journalist who became obsessed with the Son of Sam murders to the point where it wrecked him. Definitely worth checking out. Plus, Paul Giamatti is the voice of Terry.
A couple more standouts in recent memory are Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer and The Ripper (my personal favourite), both from Netflix. Man, Netflix is killing it (hah) with true crime docs. Honestly, some of the best I've seen. Another Netflix series I was quite taken with is Unabomber: In His Own Words. I don't feel like Ted Kaczynski is considered as heinous a killer as, say, Bundy. It may be because of the nature of the crimes, but make no mistake, the guy is scary as hell. Ooh, both named Ted! I've never really thought of that before. And both quite clever and articulate. Anyway, I'm so glad that this documentary is bringing attention to the absolutely terrifying side of Kaczynski. Plus, I love all the footage in this series. Great stuff. Sometimes I forget that Kaczynski looked like wilderness Charles Manson when he was arrested.
Do you guys remember when the Unabomber was insanely popular? I recall constantly hearing people talking about him and making jokes. I think I was pretty obsessed for a while. In high school, there was a kid who sent in a bomb threat and we started calling him the Unabomber. I think I even got him to sign my yearbook as the Unabomber. I don't think the kid looked like the composite sketches or anything, but didn't we all know someone who did?
Other than bingeing true crime documentaries, I've been obsessing over some other cases, primarily the Delphi Murders, an unsolved case of two young teen girls who were murdered while on a hike together. It's a fascinating case, because they have never released the details about how they were murdered, and also because the girls took pictures and had audio recordings of a man they encountered seemingly right before they were killed. A man's voice can be heard saying "guys...down the hill" on one of the recordings. It's so scary. There's a new documentary out called Down The Hill that covers the case. I first came across the Delphi Murders on an episode of True Crime Garage, and haven't stopped thinking about it since. News just broke that there might finally be a lead after four years. There's a possible suspect in custody who was arrested for another violent crime against a minor. A nine year old girl. Thankfully she survived. Let's hope they've got the guy they're looking for. I don't like to believe that there are too many sickos of that nature roaming around, but fuck, who knows.
Alright, I think that'll wrap things up. I actually wrote most of this a couple weeks ago, but lost interest. So here I am now, doing some editing and watching the Oilers/Jets in OT. That's right, my true crime spree has been interrupted by the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Canucks didn't make it this year so I'll be cheering on the Habs exclusively. I just had to add "Habs" to the dictionary. This program is not very Canadian.
Now I will leave you with my Saku Koivu bobblehead, who answered my question of whether the Habs would knock off the Leafs, and a book I came across on my walk today that seems fitting. And of course I will leave you with a song that also seems fitting, as I'm feeling a bit murdered out.
Stay safe out there, friends, and make good choices!
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!