When I went to record an episode for my History podcast, I learned the old History Museum had the bones of an 1800's Serial Killer in the limestone basement. The story that followed blew my mind!
Today marks the day of a new year, a year whose direction can lead wherever I'd like it too. Or will it? It is weird to think with just a small step in one direction, it can change your life forever - whether you will it or not.
Two years ago I decided to take a small step in a direction in which I had no knowledge or background in. Podcasting. Sure, I had a college education in Forensic Psychology and a background in Investigation - but producing a podcast, heck producing anything was outside of my knowledge belt. Yet, I still took that small step.
I think too often we set goals or dreams, about doing something we think would be worthwhile - yet it seems most of the time no action is taken. Trust me when I say I am equally guilty of this, I have had several dreams I never acted on over the years. This time it was different though. I can't explain to you why, but I do remember the first moment this dream came into reality. When I gave it a name.
It was actually my brother that gave it a name, or at least half of it. You see what set this dream apart from the others is that I told my best friend about it - my brother. As supportive as he always has been, he immediately said it was a great idea and told me to call it Crimecast. I remember telling him that was a great name, combining podcast and crime into a single word - yet something seemed like it was missing. I responded with a question, "American Crimecast?" He responded with, "Do it."
The idea for American Crimecast came to me as someone who was still searching the world for a way to make a difference. Although I had my Forensic and Investigation background, I still knew how much I hated dealing with death. More than death though, I hated having to look at a person's death and try separating the humanity from it. My mom always told me I had a big heart, often reminding me of childhood stories when I would give her the money I saved from Christmas so she could buy groceries. I'm not good at taking out the human side of the equation, so I never could take a step into doing it fulltime.
While in college I worked part-time and also held a multi-year paid internship with a county crime lab. One of the first cases I went to was one of an elderly woman that had been murdered. I remember it like yesterday, walking into her kitchen and seeing her remains laying on the floor. A stranger knocked on the door and asked her to use the phone, providing a good reason I am sure. The elderly grandmother, still in her nightgown, leads the person into her kitchen where a phone was fixed to the wall. The unknown person took the phone off the wall and beat her with it, stealing her purse before leaving out the back door. After speaking to one of her grandchildren we learned she never kept more cash on her than $40. So, this woman's life was taken for an amount that wouldn't even fill my gas tank. There is no cash value in life, but the thought of it being $40 shook me to my core.
It has been several years since I walked into her home, but this case is still one that I carry. The news ran a quick story on her murder, but quickly it faded from sight. This victim was a person, and she had a story that deserved to be told. Unfortunately, at that time in my life, I wasn't sure how to change it - all I could do was to continue falling through with my education. And that is what I did.
It was soon after working this case that I discovered Standup Comedy. At first, it was a dare, I stood up on a stage during open mic night and talked about my life up to that point. Thankfully, people thought I was funny and wanted to hear more about the tall man giant who grew up in a Southern Baptist home and had a gay brother. When it started to pay my bills, I decided to follow through and hopefully pay my education off so I wouldn't have to pay on student loans my entire life. I was thankful for the opportunity and money, but honestly making people laugh provided me a way to stop thinking about cases like the elderly woman's. For a moment I could pretend the world was all fun and games, at least until my stage time was up and the light would flash.
If you took the time to read through this I can only assume you've heard of my podcast, American Crimecast. As you may have been able to tell I turned the old Case Log into a blog where I will write about my journey and the cases I work and cover on the show. There is so much more behind the voice you hear telling you a narrative about a tragedy, and I hope this blog will give you an inside scoop on who I am, and behind the scenes of the cases you'll hear.
As I explained in the beginning, my dream of American Crimecast started when I gave it a name. So, for this blog, I will name it 'My Journey into Darkness.' Often times people mistake me for someone that the topic of True Crime doesn't bother - that couldn't be further from the truth. More on this next time, thank you for caring enough to read.
Shane - January 1st, 2018