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| By Lisa Patulny | Entertainment

10 True Crime Podcasts That Aren’t (Too) Scary

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While there's nothing wrong with enjoying a good fright or even being interested in the criminal forensics and psychology side of things, constant exposure to graphic and upsetting details can take a toll. If you've ever settled down to go to sleep with a true crime podcast teed up only to find yourself disturbed and wide-awake hours later (was that a door creaking open or just the wind?!) you're not alone. Thankfully it is possible to get a true crime hit without scaring yourself silly.

Ahead we've curated the bingeable true crime podcasts we listen to when we can't also afford to spend 2 hours watching The Office afterward to take the edge off. Some cover murders but focus more on the investigation than the gory details, and some stray away from brutal cases completely.

So whether you're deeply into stories that pick apart the inner workings of modern-day cults or are fascinated by the people who plot and scheme to break out of prison, there's something here for you. The best bit? You'll still sleep soundly when you're done.

1. Escape

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

Did you know more than 9 million people are locked up around the world? This podcast tells the stories of those who risk it all to make a break for it. Super-interesting, each ep tells the tale of an individual, delving into their backstory, reasons for imprisonment and why they chose to attempt escape. While it isn't scary per se the producers really push the suspense using music so keep that in mind if you're planning to listen while you wind down.

2. To Live and Die in LA

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

Here's a thing you may not have thought about—being a missing person is not a crime. Because of this, police have a limited role when people disappear. Such was the situation when Adea Shabani walked out of her Hollywood apartment with her boyfriend in 2018, never to be seen alive again. This podcast, hosted by Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss, is a gripping journey through the evidence as collected by a PI. It will give you CHILLS.

3. Last Days of August

Where can I listen to it? Audible

A little bit of a different listen, this one follows the story of August Ames, a 23-year-old adult performer who died by suicide after being bullied on Twitter. The host, Jon Ronson, of The Butterfly Effect, teams up with Ames' husband Kevin Moore to look at what exactly went wrong. It's as much an investigation into the rift between the gay and straight porn industries and the treatment of women as it is a look at cyber-bullying and its role in this case.

4. Uncover: Escaping NXIUM

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

The bizarre story of NXIVM, a secretive alleged sex cult founded by Keith Raniere in New York – this investigative podcast looks at the case from the inside perspective of a former high-ranking member who just so happens to have been the host's childhood friend. Much of what is uncovered is, to be frank, unbelievable, and verges on straight up crazy. (PS. If you want to sleep please do yourself a favour and resist Googling the NXIUM brand marks.)

5. Over My Dead Body

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

Coined as "the new Dirty John" (it's produced by the same team), Over My Dead Body follows the mysterious murder of Dan Markel, a successful attorney. Dan and his wife Wendi break up and enter divorce and custody negotiations—and then things go really wrong. In a nutshell, Dan gets shot in the head and later dies in hospital. The police start to unravel what turns out to be quite a surprising tale involving unexpected co-conspirators.

6. The Lady Vanishes

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

This podcast racked up one million downloads in just six weeks! It focuses on the quest of a daughter to find her mother, Marion Barter, teacher and former wife of Australian soccer player Johnny Warren. Barter stepped onto a plane in 1997 and effectively vanished forever. Presented by investigative journalist Bryan Seymour, it's almost as exciting to listen to as Serial was (season 1 obviously).

7. My Favourite Murder

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

My Favourite Murder is a true crime comedy podcast – yep, you heard that right – a true crime comedy podcast – hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. The pair originally met at a party and bonded over their obsessive love for the true crime genre. Each episode discusses a new true crime topic, which is broken up between personal stories and hilarious banter.

8. The Dropout

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

Loved the 2022 series The Dropout which starred Amanda Seyfried? Today is your lucky day, because the series you know and love is based off of this podcast dedicated to the Silicon Valley scandal, involving master manipulator Elizabeth Holmes and her so called breakthrough health technology company, Theranos. This podcast leaves no stone unturned, unveiling the lengths Elizabeth Holmes went to building her hoax company.

9. Crime Junkie

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

Can’t get enough of true crime? This podcast is for you. With a new episode airing weekly, Crime Junkie discusses a different story/topic in a conversational way. Hosted by Ashley Flowers, this show not only informs you of shocking stories new and old, it also makes you feel like your listening to a friend – which really takes the edge off the sometimes graphic content.

10. American Scandal

Where can I listen to it? Apple Podcasts

Lovers of sports scandals will be rushing to press play on this binge-worthy podcast. American Scandal goes to great lengths to give you all the juicy information that surround athletes and their doping scandals in the early 2000s. This podcast has multiple seasons, so you can start with an athlete or story you’re interested in and listen from there.

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