As you might know, I love listening to podcasts about true crime, folklore, and legends. Anything to do with creepy places and dark histories is endlessly fascinating to me. So, it is no surprise that I was drawn to the Buzzfeed show Unsolved. Honestly, the only thing that is surprising is how long I took to finally give it a try.
Unsolved is an online series that is actually two different shows: Unsolved: Supernatural and Unsolved: True Crime. Currently, both shows are hosted by Buzzfeed creators Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara. As the titles would suggest, they look at both true crime stories and supernatural stories that run the gamut from haunted places to mysterious creatures. Both shows go over the history of the crime or place that they are investigating. For many of these episodes, I know about the subjects already from other books and podcasts, so I can say that they are generally accurate in their descriptions of the true crime, folklore, or history at hand.
However, don't mistake this show for a straight-laced documentary. No, Unsolved works because of the hilarious banter between the dead-pan skeptic, Shane, and the anxious believer, Ryan. They are constantly bickering back and forth, which gives the show some levity, despite the dark subject matter.
Personally, I prefer the supernatural episodes to the true crime ones because they often go on location for the supernatural episodes to investigate a purportedly haunted place or to look for a cryptozoological creature. The episodes are all great, but there are a few that really stand out for me:
- 3 Horrifying Cases of Ghosts and Demons
One of the first episodes of Unsolved, it features three creepy places: the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA; the Island of the Dolls in Mexico City, Mexico; and the Sallie House in Atchison, Kansas. This episode crams together three great creepy places. But beware, the Island of the Dolls will definitely give you nightmares.
- The Haunted Halls of Waverly Hills Hospital
In this episode, the boys investigate Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY. Waverly Hills was a sanatorium built in the early 1900s to house tuberculosis patients. Though records from the sanatorium have been lost or destroyed, some estimate as many as 64,000 people died at Waverly Hills (Cellania). As such, it is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the country. So, it is no surprise that Shane and Ryan have some creepy experiences.
- The Captive Spirits of Eastern State Penitentiary
This episode explores Philadelphia, PA's Eastern State Penitentiary. Originally built as a remedy for cruel jail systems, the penitentiary was intended to be a place for prisoners to reflect on their actions and repent. Built to maximize isolation, Eastern State was devised to keep prisoners separated from each other, not able to see or talk to anyone else (Atlas Obscura). This isolation supposedly drove prisoners mad. Later, the system became overcrowded, cramming multiple people into cells built for one. The prison also famously held Al Capone for a time, who the boys try to contact during their investigation.
As of the time of this post, the shows are in their 4th seasons, so there is plenty to catch up on. If you are interested in something dark and creepy that is also really funny, give Unsolved a try. The show is available both on Youtube through the Buzzfeed Blue channel and on Amazon Prime Video.