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Best Mystery Podcasts About Unsolved Crimes, Missing Persons, and the Unbelievable

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Are you fascinated by the unknown, the unknowable, or the unbelievable? Considering the number of true crime podcasts and murder mystery shows on the internet, a lot of people are. Here are the best mystery podcasts you should listen to.

Grace Baldridge of the online news network The Young Turks hosts lively discussions with other journalists about contemporary crimes that will make your skin crawl. Cannibalism, necrophilia, and familicide are all on the table. Recent episodes have investigated the true stories behind popular Lifetime movies.

What We Like:

  • The host and her guests bring a humorous perspective to some very dark topics.

What We Don't Like:

  • You can catch some episodes on Youtube, but you must subscribe to the TYT network for full access.

Limetown is like an old school radio drama from a bygone era. Fictional reporter Lia Haddock, voiced by Annie-Sage Whitehurst, tells the story of a mass disappearance of people from a Tennessee neuroscience research facility. A second season is scheduled to begin on Halloween 2018, and a prequel book by writer Zack Akers will hit shelves later this year.

What We Like:

  • Thanks to the talented narrator, Limetown sounds like an authentic radio broadcast, giving this fictional tale a realistic tone.

What We Don't Like:

  • There are currently only six episodes, so podcast lovers will finish the first season pretty quickly.

This award-winning show is dedicated to debunking the supernatural and implausible with a touch of humor. Comedic duo Ian and Barry investigate haunted houses, mythical creatures like the Chupacabra, and conspiracy theories like the JFK assassination. Listen for free on iTunes or SoundCloud, and watch the trailer for the upcoming ParaPod movie on the official website.

What We Like:

  • Some episodes are recorded on-location in supposedly haunted places, and the movie follows the hosts' cross-country trip to various mysterious locales.

What We Don't Like:

  • The banter between the hosts may become a bit grating for some listeners.

Nearly three decades ago, two men in police uniforms visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and left with 13 paintings worth a total of $500 million. What happened after that? Hosts Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna examine the facts, theories, and historical significance behind America's greatest unsolved heist. 

What We Like:

  • The hosts are truly committed to solving the mystery and have done some thorough investigative reporting.

What We Don't Like:

  • The entire show is about a singular topic, so if you're not hooked by the second episode, you should try another podcast.

Unexplained is a show about strange cases that can't be explained by science. In addition to run-of-the-mill murder mysteries, stories about supposed demonic possessions, and near-death experiences, Unexplained explores the line between the paranormal and the plausible. The host is currently writing a book based on the podcast.

What We Like:

  • Episodes with graphic content include trigger warnings in their descriptions.

What We Don't Like:

  • The official website is poorly designed, so you're better off listening on Stitcher.

Cold cases, urban legends, and historical oddities are rather tame topics for the hosts of Strange Matters. The more exciting episodes tackle bizarre subjects like cynocephaly,  mothmen, and the grey goo theory. The hosts also like to engage in speculative fiction; for example, what would happen if AI suddenly became sentient?

What We Like:

  • The website has episodes categorized by topic, so it's easy to find ones that interest you.

What We Don't Like:

  • Sometimes the hosts offer more speculation than original research, but they're still entertaining to listen to.

It's a classic premise: A man awakes with no memory of who he is, where he is, or how he got there. SPINES is a fictional audio drama about occult rituals, secret organizations, and mysterious disappearances. Stellar writing and voice acting makes SPINES easy to binge.

What We Like:

  • You can read transcripts for each episode on the website, or you can purchase the new book containing the entire story.

What We Don't Like:

  • The series has concluded, but a similar show by the same creators called Mirrors just began.

Similar to the successful Serial podcast, each season of Someone Knows Something covers a different cold case. Director David Ridgen interviews the friends and family members of individuals who disappeared or died under mysterious circumstances. Canadian listeners might catch it on CBC Radio, but anyone can listen online.

What We Like:

  • The website contains tons of additional content that expands upon each case, so there's a lot to delve into if a story fascinates you.

What We Don't Like:

  • The lengths of the episodes range drastically from 15 minutes to around 90 minutes.

Not all mystery shows are dark and disturbing. Missing Richard Simmons follows host Dan Taberski on his journey to answer the question that's on nobody's mind: Whatever happened to the flamboyant star of "Sweatin' to the Oldies?" Friends and fans speak out about a man who hasn't been seen in public since 2014.

What We Like:

  • After listening to some of the other podcasts on this list, Missing Richard Simmons offers a nice change of pace.

What We Don't Like:

  • This short-but-sweet series has already concluded, but it's still worth checking out for a laugh.

From U.F.O. sightings to psychic cats, the topics covered by Mysterious Universe may sound like fake news, but the reporters are dedicated to separating fact from fiction. Listen to recent episodes with ads for free, or upgrade to a premium membership to enjoy an ad-free experience and exclusive content.

What We Like:

  • The Mysterious Universe website has dozens of contributors who post new stories every day, so there's plenty to keep you occupied between episodes.

What We Don't Like:

  • While the hosts typically interview real experts, some guests indulge in wild theories and paranormal beliefs, but it's all in good fun.

This radio drama hosted by Himan Brown originally aired from 1974 to 1982. Thanks to the internet, you can now listen to all 1,399 episodes for free. Fans of Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe, and Rod Serling will undoubtedly enjoy the mix of suspense, horror, and fantasy in every episode.

What We Like:

  • Dozens of notable radio and TV actors lent their talents to this classic series.

What We Don't Like:

  • The stories vary in quality, but if you don't like one episode, you have more than a thousand others to choose from.

If you're reading this list, there's a good chance you've already heard of Serial. From the creators of This American Life, this Peabody Award-winning podcast sat atop the iTunes charts for several months. Although the first two seasons each focused on a single true crime story, season 3 will cover multiple crimes that have taken place in Cleveland, Ohio.

What We Like:

  • Stellar storytelling and investigative reporting has made this one of the most-downloaded podcasts in history.

What We Don't Like:

  • Episodes are released inconsistently, but you can check out the similar S-Town while you wait for the new season.

Unsolved Murders boasts high production values and the unparalleled talents of Carter Roy, Wenndy Mackenzie, and a cast of other voice actors. Episodes offer dramatic reenactments of cold cases such as the Axeman of New Orleans.

What We Like:

  • What could easily be a cheesy docudrama is emotionally impactful thanks to the extraordinary cast.

What Don't We Like:

  • Stories are often told over the course of multiple episodes, so getting into this show requires a hefty time investment.

A team of true crime authors discuss shows like Serial and related topics in this podcast about other podcasts. The panel gives their expert literary opinions on your favorite fictional and factual mystery shows. If you're a connoisseur of true crime and cold case stories, this show was created for you. 

What We Like:

  • Listening to this podcast is a great way to learn about other mystery shows you haven't heard.

What We Don't Like:

  • While the hosts offer interesting perspectives, this show is only entertaining for dedicated mystery podcast listeners.

Unfound features interviews with friends and family members of individuals who have gone missing under mysterious circumstances. The hosts engage in real investigative journalism to develop new theories and leads in cold cases.

What We Like:

  • The show has already succeeded in finding new leads in the cases they've covered.

What We Don't Like:

  • The official website says "Unfound is a news program, not an entertainment one," so be ready for some heavy content.