Many of us are guilty of binge-watching true crime television shows. From "Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" to "Making a Murderer", fans are immersed in all the details of any heinous crimes being committed. As the couch detectives watch, we sit back and wonder what exactly is so compelling about these types of shows? Why is true crime gaining such popularity?
From the outside, it can seem extremely dark. Fans are listening and watching, consuming all the details of horrible crimes safely from a couch in their own homes. Many take to social media to write up amateur reports or tell far-fetched theories about cold or on-going cases throughout the world. Details of these crimes are retold again and again, fascinating audiences worldwide.
This could be because we, as human-nature, enjoy learning about the unusual.
Many of us need to know what exactly makes someone do these crimes and how they are different from ourselves. Why would someone attack or plan out a crime to hurt someone else and what satisfaction did they get from that? Then we like to compare these feelings to ourselves to truly try to understand why these criminals act the way that they do. By figuring out and attempting to understand the mentality of these criminals, we feel safer. As though by understanding them we know how we personally would handle a crazy situation.
By listening to these horrific crimes, we get scared, just like we would listening to a ghost story around a campfire. We shiver, get goosebumps, feel the hair on the back of our necks stand up, then get to go to bed safely at the end of the night. This thrill factor of true crime is certainly exhilarating and addicting.
This is why I believe true crime is becoming more and more popular by the day. Crime has always been around, but through streaming services and podcasts, the average person has a more accessible way to binge-watch and listen to new, unusual stories daily. The thrill factor of these crimes can now be acquired any time a day and can be played to multiple times. This gives the audience constant access to the adrenaline that follows.
True crime, while fascinating, is a new form of addiction that we all fall into one way or another. The most important part, however, is to remember that these stories are in fact real. They happened to real people, who have real family and friends. While the details may be captivating, discretion needs to be kept when making theories, accusations, or thoughts about any case.
This is why I personally would recommend listening to the podcast, "My Favorite Murder", found on Spotify if you want to hear true crime that is told in a way not demeaning to a victim or their family or friends. The two women, Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, host the humorous yet factual podcast. They do tons of research on every story told, getting out the facts while maintaining sympathy for victims, friends, and family while giving their listeners the true-crime thrill factor they are seeking. This podcast, with 736,000+ followers on Instagram, has become one of the top played podcasts on Spotify.
All true crime story-tellers, and true crime avid fans, should take a note out of Karen and Georgia's book about how to tell a story while maintaining discretion for the ones who have been hurt by the case.