(Originally posted September 29, 2018)
Genre: Anthology, True Crime
Possible Triggers: Descriptions of murders, death, rape
Safe For Work: No
General: Fiction is scary, but at least you can turn off a podcast about zombies, or crazed humans, or a mysterious desert otherworld, and go to bed knowing it was all just story.
So what happens when the stories are real?
Casefile is a deep dive, sometimes gruesome look into some of the most famous murderers in history, and some lesser known ones. Each week, the Anonymous host takes listeners back in time, to a period when a killer roamed the streets, and entire communities lived in fear. Sometimes the cases have already been solved, sometimes they’re still open.
And sometimes, they’re solved after the podcast talks about them. Possibly the most famous example of this is the Golden State Killer, who up until April 2018, had been on the loose following nearly a decade of terrorizing a a suburban area in California. Casefile went through the entire history of the Golden State Killer, who started out as a burglar, and eventually graduated to rape, then murder. On April 25, it was announced that, after forty years, the police had finally arrested a suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. The show ran a quick update on the arrest, with the host barely containing his excitement that such a vile man had finally been brought to justice.
While murder is the bread and butter of any true crime podcast, Casefile takes it a step further, looking into the depths of depravity that humanity is truly capable of. One three-part series focuses on Jonestown, a cult run by Reverend Jim Jones, who encouraged his followers to drink poison and kill themselves in November 1978. A total of nine-hundred and sixteen people died, making it one of the greatest deliberate losses of American civilian lives until the 9/11 attacks.
How could one man convince so many people to follow him into death? Casefile looks to answer exactly that in their episodes, starting at the beginning of it all and examining the details right up to the gruesome end.
This show is not for the faint of heart, as the host warns at the beginning of each episode. Stories about cults and rapists and murderers are never going to have a happy ending – the best you can hope for is that the person responsible for those brutal crimes was caught so you can at least sleep easy.
With an entire team of researchers looking into each story, you can guarantee that every single little detail is going to be found, examined, verified, and eventually written into the transcript for the episode. You’ll walk away from each episode perhaps knowing a little more than you ever wanted to know about some crimes.
That said, sometimes it gets a little too specific, and if you’re working on something else while listening, you can find yourself zoning out to protect yourself from the details, only to come back in at something just as horrifying. With the amount of facts and details, it’s not a show one can easily listen to while doing something else – it requires your full attention to get everything.
The in-depth details are both the strength and the weakness of the show. For a true crime buff with a strong stomach, it’s easily bingeable in a couple days, maybe a week. For an amateur crime buff, you might find yourself needing to turn it off after only an episode or two and look at cute cat photos to feel better about the world. True crime is a dicey subject, and when a podcast gets as detailed as this one does, it’s good for a listener to step back and take a break if needed.
Even the podcast itself acknowledges this, starting off each episode with saying it’s not for the faint of heart, and listing numbers to different helplines in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand – what type of helpline usually depends on the subject of the episode.
Casefile is definitely not for the casual listener who just wants a fun story. If you truly enjoy true crime and like learning about it, then this is the show for you. For those of you who want to sleep at night… I recommend sticking to fiction.
LGBTQIA Friendly?: N/A
Pay to Listen?: No, but they accept donations.
Length: 20-30 minutes
Overall: Casefile is a true examination of humanity at its very worst. The stories are real and often horrifying, and can leave you feeling like there’s no hope for us as a species. It’s also extremely informative, and if you have an interest in true crimes, this is definitely the show for you.
I recommend something light and fluffy if you listen to this show for more than a couple hours. I’ll have to get back to you with recommendations since horror is apparently my genre.