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Criminal Records Podcast

History’s Weirdest Criminal Cases

Who We Are

Isaac Meyer is a historian, high school teacher, and podcaster. He started The History of Japan Podcast in 2013. Isaac believes that history should be accessible for everyone, both because it is important for us to know our common past and because really, who doesn’t love a good story?

Demetria Spinrad is an author and digital marketing professional. She’s been writing the science fiction web serial Astra Nullius since 2017. A storyteller and a true crime fanatic, Demetria likes to use criminal records to help show you the humanity behind the history.

Where to Download

RSS feed • Libsyn • iTunes • Stitcher

Episodes

Image information: Trial of Bill Burns, a painting by P. Matthews. Bill Burns was the first person prosecuted under the 1822 Martin’s Act for cruelty to animals after he was found beating his donkey. Prosecutor Richard Martin, nicknamed “Humanity Dick,” made his case by bringing the donkey into court.

Iceland May 2008

Episode 05 – Björn Pétursson (Axlar-Björn)

This week, we tackle Iceland’s most famous (and only) serial killer, Axlar-Björn. Who was he? Why is his case difficult to reconstruct? Why did all these dead bodies keep mysteriously showing up on his farm in a totally inexplicable way?

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Episode 4 – Li San

This week, we cover a fratricide from China’s Qing dynasty. Who were the Li family? Why did one of the brothers of the family kill another? And how was the case handled by one of the world’s most complex justice systems?

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Episode 3 – Abe Sada

This week, we cover one of the most scandalous criminal cases in Japanese history. In 1936, Abe Sada commits a grizzly murder that captures the attention of all of Japan. Why did she do it? How was the crime investigated? And why do we care so much? All of that, plus some tasteless genital jokes (far fewer than we could have made!)

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Episode 2 – Arnaud du Tilh/”Martin Guerre”

This week, we cover one of history’s most famous imposture cases. Eight years after leaving his home town of Artigat, Martin Guerre comes home. But of course, all of us change after a long time away — sometimes into different people altogether!

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Episode 1 – Introduction

In this episode, we talk a bit about why we’re doing the podcast, how legal codes aren’t universal, and the difference between calling a historical figure a criminal and calling them a bad or morally wrong person.