White sketch of a rabbit leaping in front of a black background, with a crescent moon surrounded by stars in the bottom left corner and a sun in the upper right corner


Episode #169

2021-07-16 12:09:00


The story of a cryptic children’s book, a real-life treasure hunt, and its very mysterious winner: “He refused to be on camera. It’s just his voice. His wife even asks that they disguise his voice, but she asks too late. The interview is already happening. And she faints.”
Black background with the number “48” in a white digital clock font.

48 Hours, Part 2

Episode #168

2021-07-02 12:13:21


When Aaron Quinn called the Vallejo police to report that his girlfriend Denise Huskins had been kidnapped, and went into the station for questioning, a detective told Aaron that he didn't believe him. When Denise was released after being held captive for about 48 hours, police didn't believe her either. It soon became clear that the police viewed Denise and Aaron as suspects, not victims.
Black background with the text “HOURS” in a white digital clock font.

48 Hours

Episode #167

2021-06-18 12:09:38


“I think it was around 3:00 a.m., and that’s when I heard a strange man’s voice waking me from sleep.”
Black and white sketch of a slightly open box of matches, with “Whispering Pines Hotel” on the lid, and two pine trees standing next to each other.

On Fire

Episode #166

2021-06-04 12:16:45


On November 12th, 2012, the Accomack County volunteer fire departments got a call. An abandoned house had suddenly gone up in flames. And then, just hours later, a second fire was reported. Then a third. Over the next few months, there would be a lot more fires—nearly 90 in all. It was all anyone could talk about in Accomack. Someone was burning down the entire county.
Black and white sketch of two women wearing furs and hats, sitting at a round café table eating lunch.


Episode #165

2021-05-21 12:44:15


In August 1934, Ann Cooper Hewitt was having lunch with her mother when she suddenly felt pain in her abdomen. When she went to the doctor, he told her she would have to have her appendix removed. He never examined her abdomen. She later told papers that when she woke up from surgery, she heard a nurse saying that Ann “didn’t suspect a thing.”
Black and white digital illustration of the outside of a house, with a porch and a single chair sitting empty.


Episode #164

2021-05-07 15:01:36


After 32 years in the United States, José Chicas was told he had to leave. He bought a plane ticket to El Salvador, but then a local church offered another option. 
Digital illustration of huge old ships at a port, with a hint of mountains around them. The docks have lumber piles ready to be loaded.

The Ghoul of Grays Harbor

Episode #163

2021-04-23 15:44:23


The Pacific Northwest was said to be terrorized by a serial killer in the early 20th century. A local police chief told reporters that he believed that they were dealing with “the greatest murderer of the age.” But the real story was a lot more complex.
Illustration of Fender electric guitar in white, with a black background

I Fought the Law

Episode #162

2021-04-09 12:10:36


The song “I Fought the Law” by the Bobby Fuller Four reached number 9 on the Billboard Charts in the week of March 12, 1966. Just months later, Bobby Fuller was found dead. The mystery of what happened to him has been called “the rock and roll version of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.”
A man driving a surveillance van with a dish on top, with a woman in the passenger seat looking out the window. There are mountains in the background and palm trees in the foreground, as well as a small hedgehog standing beside one of the trees.

Only in Hollywood

Episode #161

2021-03-26 12:35:39


When Joan Borsten married actor Oleg Vidov, also known as “the Soviet Robert Redford,” he introduced her to beautiful Soviet animations created in Moscow’s Soyuzmultfilm studio. They eventually acquired the rights to distribute the films outside of the former Soviet Union. One day, Joan realized someone was undercutting their business, and she devised a very Hollywood solution.
Black and white illustration showing lottery tickets piling up at the bottom of the frame, with more tickets floating down to meet them.

Hot Lotto

Episode #160

2021-03-12 13:02:33


In 2010, a $16.5 million Hot Lotto ticket was sold at a gas station in Des Moines, Iowa. At first, no one showed up to claim the prize. And then, a series of lawyers tried to claim the money on behalf of a client they would not name. Things got stranger, and eventually investigators uncovered what has been called the biggest lottery fraud in U.S. history.
Black and white sketch of two photographs; in one, a man is sitting with his head bowed, and what appears to be a ghost of a woman stands behind him; in the other, a woman sits and a ghost of a man stands behind her with his hands on her shoulders.

Spiritual Developments

Episode #159

2021-02-26 13:00:36


One Sunday afternoon, a man named William Mumler decided to take a self portrait. He said he was alone in the photography studio, but as the photograph developed, he saw something very strange—the image of someone else, sitting beside him.
Illustration of a map of Wilmington, North Carolina, with the Brooklyn neighborhood and Pine Forest Cemetery labeled.

“If it ever happens, run.”

Episode #158

2021-02-12 13:03:32


“What I recall most is the way that she grabbed my wrist and, shaking a bit, she said over and over again, ‘If it happens, run. Don't let that happen to you. Run. If it ever happens, run.’” It was years before Cynthia Brown understood what her great-grandmother, Athalia Howe, was talking about.
Black and white sketch of a woman wearing sunglasses and a blazer taking a mirror selfie.

The Short Life of Qandeel Baloch

Episode #157

2021-01-29 12:50:30


Qandeel Baloch grew up in a conservative village in Pakistan, a place where it was shocking to see a woman swimming outdoors. She ran away from home, changed her name, and eventually became “Pakistan’s first social media star.” By 2015, she was reported to be one of the 10 most Googled people in Pakistan. The next year, she was dead.
Abstracted depiction of a rosary

Sister Helen

Episode #156

2021-01-15 12:20:39


In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean was invited to write a letter to a man on death row named Elmo Patrick Sonnier. She told us, "I thought that all I was going to be doing was writing letters. And lo and behold, two years later, I am in that execution chamber." She's now 81, and has been present at the executions of six men.

Bears on Ice

Episode #Bears on Ice

2020-12-24 14:18:10


A day in the life of the town of Kalispell, Montana. Thanks very much for listening this year, and happy New Year.
Black and white illustration of an issue of Car and Driver magazine, showing people standing among a group of cars and the text, Episode 155: Cannonball.


Episode #155

2020-12-18 13:06:02


With Covid-19 shutdowns, people have been taking advantage of quiet highways to drive as fast as they can from New York City to Redondo Beach, California. They’re trying to break records set in an unofficial and secretive race called the “Cannonball.” In today’s episode, the history of the illegal cross country race, how it has evolved since 1971, and why fans say it will never go away.