If you loved Serial, get ready to become obsessed with the BEST true crime podcast since Sarah Koenig filled our eardrums with her phenomenal deep-dive into the murder of Hae Min Lee and the subsequent trial of her accused killer, Adnan Syed.
True crime stories fascinate and scare the absolute shit out of me in equal measure. They interrupt my sleep, make me paranoid and often leave me feeling the ickiest kind of guilt for listening to their horrific details. But my curiosity and interest in the behaviours of the worst humans to roam the earth reels me in every time. While I’ve listened to many true crime podcasts since Serial, none have given me the same can’t-take-the-earbuds-out binge-worthy obsession like the This American Life spin-off did. But this week I found one that is, in my opinion, on par with it.…and it is INCREDIBLE.
Stranglers is a 12-part series investigating the case of the Boston Strangler; a series of murders that terrorised Boston from 1962-1964 and saw 13 women sexually violated and strangled to death by alleged serial killer, Albert DeSalvo. While DeSalvo confessed to each of the 13 murders, he never stood trial for any of them and many believed his confessions were concocted for the notoriety he craved as opposed to the truth. Some believe another person entirely was responsible for the murders, while others believe there was not one, but at least two stranglers at large during the terrifying 19 month spree.
Presented in the investigative journalism style of Serial, host Portland Helmich (how good is that name?) pours over original archival interview tapes with investigators, police officers, attorneys and DeSalvo himself, as well as journalists who reported the story back in the 60’s. She also speaks to surviving family members of the victims and learns more about the women themselves, paying tribute to their lives and remembering them with great sensitivity and the respect they deserve.
The content is shocking, graphic and often difficult to listen to, but it is absolutely worth it. It raises so many questions, explores other possible suspects and uncovers details that, even if you’ve followed the case closely, would never have heard before. It expertly and delicately picks apart one of the worst series of murders the world has ever seen and the final episode is one of the most moving pieces of podcast audio I’ve ever listened to. At its core, Stranglers is ultimately a podcast that shines a light on sexual and violent crimes against women and does so beautifully and respectfully. It is unmissable.
Get onto it. Stranglers can be found on iTunes or you can go directly to the Earwolf site and listen here.
What is your all-time favourite podcast?