By Zach Bedair
Being observant in today’s pop culture, it is easy to spot a particular trend in almost everything that is worth talking about. From television shows, movies, books, now even podcasts, this moving genre phenomenon has a lot of people hooked.
It involves one type of crime: murder.
Where does this fascination with murder come from, and better yet, what does it say about our personalities? Are we all closeted murderers? Let’s hope not.
In a 2016 Time article, criminologist Scott Bonn suggested that people enjoy hearing true crime stories, particularly ones about murder, because it increases adrenaline. He also thinks society’s general obsession with violence and mystery contributes to true crime stories’ success.
True crime podcast, “My Favorite Murder,” puts serial killers and other vile murderers front in center, leaving almost nothing to the imagination. The show’s content is a hit.
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark run the weekly podcast, dishing on their theories and reasoning as to why women should “f— politeness” when they suspect men of being a serial killer.
Whatever the reason is for the intrigue, diehard fans refer to themselves as “murderinos,” and can often spot each other by the show’s catchphrase, “Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered.”
In a video interview with The Feed, Kilgariff said she describes “murderinos” as the kind of person who is more interested in hearing about murder than the private lives of celebrities.
“If the Yahoo homepage is up, and there is an article about Beyoncé, and there is an article about two heads found in a river, you’re clicking on the heads, that’s a murderino,” Kilgariff said in the video interview.
Hardstark, in the same interview, said the reason she is fascinated by the murders they tell is because she is amazed that people actually commit them.
Mostly improvisational, the show’s content consists of a discussion between the two hosts, rather than a detailed telling of facts. Both hosts have repeatedly stated within the podcast that it is meant to be informal and comedic rather than nonfiction. This is something different to the long running series “Forensic Files,” style most people are accustomed to seeing about true crime.
In between cracking jokes, to discussing the more relatively unknown people like that of serial killer Joseph Edward Duncan III, Kilgariff and Hardstark share a unique banter that sends audience members down the rabbit hole of both curiosity and laughter.
Currently, “My Favorite Murder,” is number 24 on the overall iTunes podcast chart. The podcast has 4.5 out of 5 stars and over 9,000 reviews. The show has around 450,000 downloads per episode.
Coming in at 127,320 members, the podcast’s private Facebook group is steadfast in sharing their versions of hometown murder stories with people who have a common interest.
Shelley Fincher, an active “My Favorite Murder” listener and Facebook group member, said in a phone interview she loves Kilgariff’s and Hardstark’s stories.
“They make me laugh,” Fincher said. “I feel inspired by the ones where the victim survives. I feel like I learn better ways to keep my child and myself safe.”
Fincher said she spends a lot of time alone so listening to the show makes her feel like she’s in the room discussing the murders with them.
“It feels like I’m hanging out with friends who also like to talk about murder,” Fincher said.
For those who think learning about murders is not for them, Fincher said she is more likely to survive a murderer than they are.
Meagan Young, a color guard instructor who is a new listener, said in a phone interview she likes learning about murder in general because it is fascinating.
“It’s eye opening to an entirely new world that I normally wouldn’t even know existed,” Young said about true crime shows. “I feel like it really shows just how vast and diverse the human mind can get from person to person.”
Young also said hearing about true crime stories makes her think about the human psyche and its proclivity for things that are nutty.
“How could anyone even get to this level of insanity?” Young said. “I personally don’t understand what causes this, but that’s what intrigues me.”
Michael Jones, a fan of true crime, said in a phone interview that he likes learning about crimes like these because it shows that seemingly normal people can hide and house demons so outrageous that people cannot begin to understand how they can commit their atrocities.
“These shows offer a chance to see into these deprived minds and it’s human nature to try to figure out how someone could do these things,” Jones said.
Jones said there are obviously killers amongst us and they could be sitting right next to anyone.
“The catharsis of knowing that these monsters are caught helps me rest easy at night knowing that there are people who can stop them,” Jones said.