Why are we hooked on true crime?
Everywhere you look, there’s a new podcast, series or book delving into the twisted details of solved and unsolved true crime stories. With these stories going into disturbing detail and without the comfort of knowing that the stories are made up, lately I’ve found myself wondering: why am I hooked?
It turns out that my morbid fascination with it makes more sense than I’d originally thought:
WE’RE PREPARING OURSELVES
We are gathering intel on surviving a true crime scenario, including tips for spotting danger and staying alive. If we gain insight into how a serial killer operates, we learn ways of protecting ourselves.
THE STORYTELLING IS GOOD
With interesting characters, high tension and a (hopefully) definitive ending, true crime has all the essentials to keep us binge watching the latest Netflix series until 2am.
THERE’S A MYSTERY TO SOLVE
We sometimes start a true crime story knowing who the perpetrator is and if they were apprehended. But other times, It provides an opportunity for us to play detective from the comfort of our homes and solve the case before the authorities do. We all love a good puzzle, and we can count on true crime to stimulate us intellectually and engage our adult imagination.
WE LONG TO UNDERSTAND THE DARKER SIDE OF HUMAN NATURE
True crime takes a look at people who disregard social norms, who don’t care about victims or consequences, and only care about what they want. We don’t live this way and so we’re intrigued by their behaviour.
IT’S HARD TO LOOK AT, BUT HARDER TO LOOK AWAY
We experience varying degrees of horror while reading about or watching true crime, but we’re drawn to the twisted stories and keep coming back for more. Our curiosity drives us to absorb all the details, no matter how disturbing.
WE SEEK OUT THE ADRENALINE RUSH
True crime allows us to feel a fear we know poses no real threat as we’re watching from the comfort of our homes and so we’re safe from harm. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions with high suspense and a sense of relief once there’s a resolution.
Overall, our fascination with true crime reveals a lot about our love of narrative and our drive to survive. We know that criminals exist and true crime gives us the assurance that they can be defeated.