I am a true crime fan.
I started reading about ghosts, aliens and murderers when I was pretty young. There were Time Life books that I took out of the library multiple times. I read about unsolved crimes and watched Robert Stack on Unsolved Mysteries. I learned about serial killers – the Zodiac, the Manson family.
I may have been young, but I was absolutely fascinated.
I continue to be fascinated – even though I thought it was this really weird thing to be interested in. Then along came podcasts – now I know thousands if not millions of people are interested in true crime.
But with true crime podcasts came a backlash about glorifying these horrific murders, making the (mostly) men famous and forgetting about the victims and their families. It’s an argument I understand, but I also think it’s human nature to be fascinated by a person who can do something most of us can’t fathom.
And I also know we’ve been fascinated for a long time. This year I read Lucy Worsley’s The Art of the English Murder and she talks about people flocking to murder scenes – actually going inside to see for themselves.
I did a ghost tour in this city a few years ago and they talked about the crowds that used to gather around the gallows to watch a condemned man drop to his death.
I started thinking about all this after reading this article about Penny Dreadfuls. It’s in our history. It’s part of our psychology.
I also know the true crime buffs are learning more and more about evidence, crime solving, identification and the justice system than ever before. Groups of these people come together to look at evidence, call for new trials, identify John or Jane Does.
One podcast I listen to just helped get an arrest made in one case.
Overall, I don’t believe that I’m abnormal anymore, for being intrigued, and I do believe that many of these resources show people that the justice system is broken – and the more people who are looking closely at it, the better.