True Crime Campfire

True Crime Campfire

Join hosts Katie and Whitney for a different kind of true crime podcast. You can start with season 1, The Puppet Master and the Prince of Darkness, a deep dive into the most bizarre murder case you've never heard of. Or start with season 2, which covers a different stranger-than-fiction story each week. This bingeworthy show combines meticulous research with a refreshing mix of comic relief and seamless storytelling. There's plenty of room around the campfire--come help us roast murderers and marshmallows!

Episodes

July 19, 2024 29 mins
Like most American Millennials, I was subjected to Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE. It was the typical kind of “Drugs Are Bad, mmmkay?” sort of thing. Police officers would come to school and show 2nd graders pictures of smoker lungs and suggest that everyone and their mom would be peer pressuring you to smoke weed and/or crack, which was not as big of an issue as some of us might have hoped. During one such class, we were...
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Obsession can be a good thing. An obsessed athlete can spend hours practicing to be the best they can be, an obsessed collector can find joy and community in the thrill of the hunt, or obsession can drive an artist to explore the human condition in a way that moves everyone that sees their art. But obsession can veer into something darker if the object of it is a person. That’s how you get a stalker. Someone who is so consumed with...
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When it comes to stuff, I really feel like counterfeit can be just as good as the real thing. Give me a lab-created diamond any day; I can show off some sparkle without robbing a bank. Same goes for shoes and bags and perfume dupes—I’m happy to sport a convincing knockoff. Fake isn’t always bad. But when it comes to people, it’s a whole different story. Especially when we’re talking fake doctor, or fake financial advisor…or as we’l...
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I'm not going to try and do his voice because it'd tear my throat up, but Hollywood legend Jack Palance once said, "The only two things you can truly depend upon are gravity and greed." Greed has been a motivation in more true crime cases than I can count, and it's astonishing how a grasping desire for dollars and cents can twist the human heart. It can drive someone to acts of both chilling cruelty and jaw-dropping stupidity, and ...
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Almost everyone who walks into a casino feeling confident that they’re gonna walk out richer is what is technically known as “a sucker.” Every game you play at a casino gives the house an edge. Not much of one—otherwise, why would people play? Players have to win a decent portion of the time, that’s why they keep putting their money down on the table. But behind the glitz and glamour, casinos run on cold mathematical certainty. Ove...
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Our homes are meant to be where we feel the safest, so it makes sense that there’s an entire horror movie subgenre dedicated to home invasions. The Strangers, Panic Room, Funny Games, When a Stranger Calls, even Jordan Peele’s Us. All those movies play on the innate fear we have that our most peaceful area would be disturbed by those that would do us harm. Unfortunately, there are people out there that would do us harm just for bei...
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Schopenhauer wrote, “Fate shuffles the cards, and we play.” Every day, every decision we make sparks a chain reaction of others, leading us down a particular path. And with every choice, a universe of other un-choices spins away behind us, forgotten. We all like to think we’re the master of our own destiny, but sometimes…we fall to the whims of chance instead. This is one of those stories—of two boys whose monster egos sent them do...
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We tend to think of doctors as leading pretty cushy, privileged lives—lots of money, social status, and respect. But a dark trend has been developing in recent years, and it’s only getting worse. Increasingly, doctors are experiencing violence at the hands of their patients. Sometimes it’s a verbal threat, a push or a shove. Sometimes it’s stalking. And sometimes, it’s murder. This is one of those stories, about a woman whose obses...
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It’s not unusual or unhealthy to go a little wild when you’re young—to just go looking for a good time with little thought for the consequences. It’s just how human beings are made. But if you’re like that your whole life, relentlessly looking out for your own pleasures and barely aware of the damage you cause along the way, you’re likely to land yourself and everyone around you in a whole mess of trouble.

Download the game "June's ...
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There’s an old saying: A gilded cage is still a cage. Meaning, you can be in what looks like an enviable situation—all your needs met, plenty of pretty toys to entertain you—and still feel like you’re in prison. The human soul doesn’t take well to being kept in a box, no matter how nice the box may be. There’s a pull toward freedom, even if you have to risk everything to answer it. This is the story of one of the strangest murder c...
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Romantic jealousy is, for the most part, fundamental to the human experience, one of the uglier strands in the tangled mess that makes up a heart. Some people manage to overcome it completely, most of us will be familiar with the occasional hot stab of possessiveness. And some people will let jealousy consume them like a wildfire. If that person is also broken in a hundred other ways, then chances are, somebody’s gonna get hurt. Jo...
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In Dostoevsky’s book Crime and Punishment, the character Raskolnikov says, “All people seem to be divided into 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary'. The ordinary people must lead a life of strict obedience and have no right to transgress the law because they are ordinary. Whereas the extraordinary people have the right to commit any crime they like…just because they happen to be extraordinary.” Spoken like a true psychopath, my dude. It ...
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We've talked about a lot of notorious criminals here on True Crime Campfire, but do you think any of today's villains will still be widely known in three-hundred years? Will their names be known to almost everyone, and conjure up vivid if not exactly accurate images of a time long past? The subject of this week's story is a man whose brief but spectacular criminal career wrote him a place in history—not to mention on the hit TV sho...
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Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley follows a young man named Tom, whose deep-seated jealousy and ambition leads him down a very dark path. He wants the jet-set lifestyle his trust-fund friends are living, and he sets out to get it using his intelligence and skill at deception. Tom Ripley is a pretty realistic depiction of a psychopath. To get close to the wealthy people he envies, he puts on a convincing mask of hel...
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When we left you at the end of part 1, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo had begun a killing spree that took them from Tacoma, Washington, through Arizona, Louisiana, and Maryland. By October 2002, they had killed or wounded 10 people, with Muhammad pointing his finger and Malvo pointing his gun. Malvo believed himself to be a soldier in the fight to free the marginalized people of the world. Muhammad made him his acolyte, tra...
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Do you remember Snow White, campers? You know, the princess whose step mother was so jealous of her beauty that she cursed her with a poison apple? Today’s case is like that. Someone whose wrath and anger was so terrible that it harmed everyone it touched. To him, not getting his way was a fate worse than death and in order to right the wrongs, he’d commit crimes that would change American lives forever. With the gift of a single p...
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When we left you last week, attorney Larry McNabney’s attempt to become the biggest personal-injury attorney in Nevada had just crashed and burned like the Hindenberg, thanks in no small part to his new wife, Elisa. Elisa was a small-time thief and fraudster from Florida who had thrown the state and her whole life in the rear-view mirror to avoid the possibility of some brief jail time. She’d struck gold when she was hired as an of...
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There aren’t many stories older or more widespread than “bad decisions made for a pretty face or a hot body.” Those throbbing biological urges can kick reason and good sense right to the curb. For most of us, this is more likely to happen when we’re young and, y’know, dumb. But there are some people who will always be willing to put their hands in the fire, to risk everything they have for desire. It’s a trait that often goes hand-...
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There is freedom in being a narcissist. If you don’t see anyone else in the world as fully real and important, you can do whatever you want, follow your every urge and impulse. And if someone happens to get hurt along the way, well, you probably barely even noticed. A lot of the criminals in our cases fit this mould, grandiose types swinging through the lives of those around them like a flaming wrecking ball. If you’re the only per...
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It's not that unusual for people to bend the truth a little to show themselves in a good light, especially when they're young. Maybe you want to impress a crush, maybe you just want to add a bit of glamor to an otherwise normal life. It's mostly harmless...unless the lies get out of control. If someone lies with every beat of their heart, builds an entire alternate reality around themselves, then what happens when that alternate re...
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