I have always been obsessed with murder, but why? I am enthralled by serial killers, psychopaths, sociopaths, and the like, and, based on the fan base of true crime podcasts, I am not alone. What is the appeal? Are we all morbid thrill seekers with sick minds?
Part of my obsession legitimately comes from my parents. Growing up, we watched crime shows as a family; my parents avidly read murder mysteries and true crime books, and their passion influenced my current podcasting chapter. I've always been a bit hesitant to share this passion of mine with others lest they think me psycho, but I've come to realize that my fascination, though morbid, is quite common. According to Erin McCarthy, a journalist who researched this obsession and who interviewed experts in the field of criminology, there are many reasons for our obsessions with murder and murderers.
First, McCarthy claims that we are fascinated with what makes murderers tick or what sets them apart from the rest of us. I suppose that this is true for me. I could never intentionally take someone else's life (unless I'm defending myself or a loved one), so I wonder what type of person could. What sort of person lies awake at night and dreams up ways to kill someone else? What type of person could do this? Is the man in aisle five of the grocery store a killer?
Probably the biggest reason we are obsessed with murder is that we love a good story, and murder sells. These stories are splayed in newspapers and magazines displayed in aisle five of grocery stores across the world; they are shouted from news shows and documentaries on television. We really cannot escape the story of murder unless we hide under a rock somewhere. Most of us don't even realize how much murder we are exposed to on a daily basis, simply through movies, television, social media, and the internet. We are inure to its effects and we are entertained by it. After all, we are at a distance from the act and the aftereffects, so to most of us murder is just a story. What many of us don't realize, or, if we do, only theoretically, is that murder victimizes a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a child, a friend. We are entertaining ourselves at the expense of someone else's heartbreak.
Podcasters of true crime shows should remember that there are loved ones out there who were victimized by the murder of a loved one. Cindy and I love doing our podcast and we always laugh together and have a good time while recording, but we are always horrified by the details. We want our fans to know that it is never our intention to further victimize the family and friends of a murder victim. We love sharing the stories we find, but we always strive to show sensitivity towards those victimized by the heinous acts of the monsters around us. Hell, sometimes we are even sensitive to them.
McCarthy, Erin. “12 Reasons We Love True Crime, According to the Experts.” Mental Floss, 10 Oct. 2018, www.mentalfloss.com/article/559256/why-we-love-true-crime.