In the world of podcasting, True Crime is one of the biggest genres out there, with millions of regular listeners tuning in to listen to gruesome stories of real life murders and abductions.

Listening to these morbid tales while doing seemingly mundane tasks have been normalised in society, and more dedicated fans of the genre head to google to read up on the case further.

Since the rise of the genre, various researchers, psychologists and experts have tried to study audience's fascination with true crime podcasts.

Many of them have offered up some answers about why we love these shows so much. Turns out, this morbid curiosity may just be completely normal and nothing to be concerned about if you're a die hard fan, the Mirror reports.

In 2009, Dr Michael Mantell, former chief psychologist of the San Diego Police Department spoke to NPR on the enjoyment of such content. He said: “Our interest in crime serves a number of different healthy psychological purposes.”

Dr. Mantell quickly pointed out however that there are limits to this intrigue, saying: “If all you do is read about crime and all you do is talk about it and you have posters of it, and you have newspaper article clippings in your desk drawer, I'd be concerned.”

Speaking to Everyday Psychology in 2020, Dr Paul G. Mattiuzzi pointed out that the genre of true crime gives people a rare glimpse into the thought processes of those who have committed “a most fundamental taboo and also, perhaps, a most fundamental human impulse.”

And this fixation with good versus evil seems to have existed for a long time in the human thought processes.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Rutha, told AHC Health News that our fascination initially ignites when we are children. Even at a tender age, we often can’t help but to be drawn to the differences between good and evil and engaging in stories of true crime appears to be a continuation of this fascination.

In a nutshell, us humans want to desperately understand what caused people to commit such extreme acts, something that the vast majority of us would never and could never do.

‘Lost Girls’ author, Caitlin Rother, spoke to Hopes & Fears in 2018 on this topic. Bringing another view to the table, she commented, 'We want some insight into the psychology of a killer, partly so we can learn how to protect our families and ourselves but also because we are simply fascinated by aberrant behaviour and the many paths that twisted perceptions can take.'

It seems our widespread obsession with such morbid tales does in fact have reasoning behind it, meaning that we're not as weird as we think for enjoying tuning in to murder and crime stories galore.

If you're yet to dip your toe into the world of true crime content and we've piqued your interest, here are five of the most popular podcasts to get you started:

Serial

Widely regarded as the podcast that set the standard for not just true crime podcasts but also long-form, first-person journalism via a podcast platform. Series one delved into the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old student from Woodlawn High School, Baltimore County.

My Favourite Murder

My Favourite Murder launched in 2016 and introduced a fresh take on the genre, combining a comedian chat show to the gruesome world of true crime.

Bear Brook

This podcasts covers the investigation spanning decades surrounding four unidentified bodies that were stuffed into a two barrels and were discovered in a wooded New Hampshire park. The show tackles a complex story about a previously unknown serial killer and the many investigators.

In The Dark

In The Dark launched in 2016 starting with an examination of the failed investigation into the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling.

The second season focuses on Curtis Flowers, a man from Mississippi who was tried six times for four murders.

The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra

The new kid on the block, the podcast by John Stamos talks about the man who kidnapped Frank Sinatra Jr. in 1963. This podcast is set to premiere on 27 July 2021.

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