Welcome to back to instalment two of our new series, Pick of the Podcasts, where we explore different podcasts grouped around a central theme.
For each series, I’ll provide a brief synopsis of the podcast and I’ll also give my pick of one favourite episode, which may help ease you in if you’re a new listener or highlight an episode to revisit for regulars.
Today’s theme: Puzzling Podcasts
Presented by This American Life producer Sarah Koenig, Serial breaks down a story week by week over the course of a season. Currently, there are only two seasons, the first looking at a murder in Michigan from the 90s and the second focusing on a US soldier in Iraq who goes AWOL. It was an instant hit, topping the charts and being just about the only thing people talked about from its very first episode. Believe the hype and download it if you haven’t already.
My pick: The Alibi – This will probably come as no surprise to anyone who has heard of this podcast. The first season is the best and now you don’t have to wait the agonising week between episodes to follow the story of Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. Get ready for the greatest intro to a podcast you’ve ever heard.
Unexplained is the podcast version of scary TV shows and movies that start with a line about being based on true events but leave you wondering at the end how that could even be possible. Each episode delves into the murkiness surrounding a true story that, as the title says, has no explanation for how it came to pass. Accompanied by some suitably creepy music, these are stories that maybe you don’t want to listen to at home alone in the dark.
My pick: Demons in Suburbia – a truly strange story of a demon possessed man named Michael and the aftermath of the exorcisms he was subject to. This is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Hosted by crime writer Tim Weaver, this podcast asks the question, is it truly possible to disappear? This series looks into the how, why, and who of disappearances with input from a host of experts in surveillance, tracking, forensics and psychology. This is a very interesting exploration into the world of missing persons.
My pick: Investigation – It’s best to start this one from the beginning and continue in order as each episode builds on the understanding of going missing. This episode is a great introduction into the motivations behind the act and the initial reactions to someone going missing.
Body on the Moor
Along the same lines as Serial, BBC Radio 4’s Body on the Moor breaks down this police investigation episode by episode over the whole season. It’s very short, only 6 episodes and each one only 9 minutes long, but well worth listening to this very puzzling story. I recommend you block out time in your diary and binge the whole thing in one go, you’d be hard pressed to listen to one and not want to immediately hear the next.
My pick: The Discovery – Obviously, you have to start from the beginning of this one, unless you like your stories told backwards…