Between Gillian Flynn's novels (oh, hey, Gone Girl) and the recent film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, something about Missouri apparently inspires the creatives of the world to write bone-chilling tales of butchery. But if you think murder-ridden Missouri is all fiction, I have good and bad news for you. The bad news is that the Show Me State isn’t a murder-free mecca. The good news, if you’re into this kind of thing, is that there are plenty of podcast episodes that share the nitty-gritty of some of the state’s horrors. Check out these true crime podcast episodes featuring cases that took place in our very own backyards.
Thinking Sideways - “Ken McElroy”
Thinking Sideways is a weekly podcast in which three friends, Joe, Devin and Steve, discuss unsolved mysteries, including weird noises, strange websites and horrific suicides, according to its website. In this specific episode, the three share the story of Ken McElroy of Skidmore, Missouri. In July 1981, McElroy was executed with two different bullets from two different rifles in front of a local business, D&G Tavern. More than two dozen people were hanging around in the main part of Skidmore that day, but no one claims to have seen the shooters. How could a murder in broad daylight with so many witnesses remain unsolved? Joe, Devin and Steve discuss some of the theories about what happened to McElroy.
My Favorite Murder - “MFM Minisode 48”
If you haven’t listened to an episode of My Favorite Murder before, you’re missing out on some serious laughs — but also some gruesome facts. Life is all about give and take, right? The podcast beautifully combines comedy with true crime. Karen Kilgariff, a stand-up comedian and TV writer, and Georgia Hardstark, a writer and TV host, share the story of a different murder each week. Although this mini episode doesn’t follow the layout of their usual episodes, Georgia and Karen read what they call “Hometown Murders,” which is a compilation of stories that listeners have sent in from St. Louis and Kansas City. Follow along with true stories about an America’s Most Wanted uncle, a non-fatal ax to the head, a bullet-deflecting belt buckle, a man known as Ether Eddie and a premature burial that now haunts a summer camp.
True Crime Garage - “We’re All Lunatics”
In True Crime Garage, the hosts, Nic and “The Captain,” get together each week to talk true crime and drink beer. Each episode is accompanied by a Beer of the Week recommendation because everything is better after cracking open a cold one. This two-part story, episodes 171 and 172, follows the 2016 case of Edward Hillhouse, a missing-person case turned homicide in Bourbon, Missouri. Unravel the story of Hillhouse and this small town outside St. Louis. Just don’t forget the brew before you do.
Dig: A History Podcast - “Celia, A Slave: The True Crime Case that Rocked the American Slave Power”
Dig: A History Podcast was created by female historians with an interest in uncovering “the history that matters,” according to its website. Travel back in time with them to the early days of Missouri with the story of Celia, an 1850s slave who killed her owner then “dragged the corpse to the fireplace of her cabin, lit a fire and sat watch through the night, tending the flames, while they slowly destroyed the body of her master.” The ladies of Dig explain this tale with all the gripping details we'd expect from a true crime podcast while providing the accurate historical context.
The Generation Why - “The Butcher of Kansas City”
If serial killers suit your fancy, look no further. The Generation Why brings murders, mysteries and conspiracies together into the weekly podcast. This episode delves into the tale of The Butcher of Kansas City, otherwise known as Robert Berdella. This “sexual psychopath” terrorized the town in the late ‘80s, claiming 19 victims by the end of his run. Buckle up for the story of this infamous murderer, but disclaimer: this episode is not for the faint of heart or true crime rookies.
Honorable Mention: Lore - “Episode 48: Downriver”
While not entirely a true-crime podcast, Lore is about true scary stories. Every other week, creator Aaron Mahnke breaks down the truth behind popular folklores and dark moments in our histories. Mahnke’s voice is incredibly soothing, his pacing is artful, and the music that accompanies each episode is enchanting. This episode looks into places that seem to attract more tragedy than usual, as Mahnke explores towns in southern Italy, Oregon and the Netherlands. The main story, though, takes place on an island nestled between Missouri and Illinois on the Mississippi river that was formerly known as Kaskaskia. A story of forbidden love ends with a promised curse that ends up delivering, though not in an immediate way.