True Crime Podcasts

A podcast that examines the intersections of folklore--our traditional stories and beliefs--with true crime.

A podcast that examines the intersections of folklore--our traditional stories and beliefs--with true crime.


United States


A podcast that examines the intersections of folklore--our traditional stories and beliefs--with true crime.






Sex Trafficking Legends Part 2

In the second part of our discussion of sex-trafficking legends we discuss some actual rumored and documented cases of sex trafficking, Susana Trimarco--a mother fighting back against sex traffickers, and how legends about sex trafficking interact with these actual case in contemporary culture. National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (USA) 1-888-373-7888 Polaris Project has resources for Trafficking victims. Sources: Anne. 2020. “Stop the Spread of Fake News: No One Is Sex...


Sex Trafficking Legends Part 1

In part 1 of an impromptu 2 parter, we discuss legends of women being abducted into sex trafficking. We look at older versions of the legends (who knew ice cream parlors were so dangerous?) as well as modern variants spreading on social media. Sources Anne. 2020. “Stop the Spread of Fake News: No One Is Sex Trafficking You at Target.” Iowa City Moms (blog). February 8, 2020....


The Boyfriend's Death

Returning from an unplanned hiatus, Jesse and Kristina discuss the classic urban legend known as "The Boyfriend's Death." What are the implications of stories about couple's being attacked at lovers' lanes? Why is it the man who pays the ultimate price in this story? What things happen when you go outside of populated areas? As always, we compare the legend to true crime stories, discussing some cases in which couples were actually attacked at lover's lanes. Sources: Brunvand, Jan Harold....


Is Crime a Laughing Matter?

We take a break from legends and talk about another common form of folklore--jokes! We go over a collection of jokes about serial killers and murder in general. Then we talk about some joke theory and discuss why we joke about things that are so horrible. Sources: Kornheiser, Tony. “Explosive Humor.” Washington Post. April 1, 1996. And the following web...


Organ Theft Legends

Starting with the legend known as "The Kidney Heist," we embark on a conversation about the realities of organ trafficking. In this legend, a man meets a woman at a bar and accompanies her to her hotel room, only to wake up missing his kidneys. What's the truth behind this legend? Along the way we cover everything from cattle mutilations, the definition of life, and the fact that you really CAN buy everything on Craig's List. Sources: Brickwood, Becky. 2020. “Forced Organ Harvesting: ‘This...


The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs

A young babysitter is tormented by creepy phone calls until the operator gives her some unthinkable information, "The call is coming from inside the house!" The legend has been in circulation for half a century and inspired multiple movies, but what's the truth behind the legend? Are babysitters really in danger? And what do these legends tell us about the anxieties of contemporary life? Sources: Berry, Craig. 2018. “The Unsolved Murder of Janett Christman.” True Crime Articles (blog)....


La Llorona/Maternal Infanticide

In perhaps our darkest topic yet, this week we take on the topic of maternal infanticide. We talk about the legend of La Llorona, some of La Llorona's exploits, and some real cases of mothers who drown their children. We have to give a shout out to Mariana Esquivel, whose unpublished research shed light on some of La Llorona's contemporary representations. Sources: Axtman, Kris. 2001. “Why Juries Often Spare Mothers Who Kill.” Christian Science Monitor, July 9, 2001....


Tainted Halloween Candy

Kristina and Jesse discuss a legend that shaped (a small portion of) their childhoods and that keeps making the news: Are Satanists injecting poison and hiding razorblades in Halloween candy? Are hippies handing out cannabis laced edibles to unsuspecting children? No. None of these things is happening (aside from the occasional isolated incident). We discuss the origins of the legend, why it is so persistent, and a few random Halloween memories. Sources: Associated Press. n.d. “Warning of...


Ostension Happens

In our second episode we continue our discussion of "The Killer in the Backseat," but move on to discuss the concept of "ostension," discussing the possibilities of criminals using legends to get ideas for crime. Should we ACTUALLY be checking our backseats? Probably. Along the way we get a story of the time Kristina thought she had a killer in her backseat (She did not! It was Jesse's fault!) Volvo heartbeat sensor commercial:...


"The Killer in the Backseat" Part 1

In our first episode, learn about the classic contemporary legend “The Killer in the Backseat.” We also give a little nutshell description of what folklore is.