Once Upon A Crime | True Crime

Once Upon a Crime is a true crime podcast that researches the crime, criminals and victims to discover the “why” behind some infamous crimes as well as fascinating lesser known cases. Host, Esther Ludlow presents “the story behind the story” you won’t hear anywhere else. Each month a new true crime topic is covered - kidnappings, mass murders, tragic deaths of musical icons, killer kids and deadly duos and more.
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Once Upon A Crime | True Crime





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Welcome to Once Upon a Crime!

THE podcast for the true crime addict.

Join me for each episode as I dive in to some of the most fascinating true crime cases told one chapter at a time.

Please subscribe to the show in iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher and tell a friend!

Jul 12, 2019

From the partnership that brought you Dirty John, comes Man in the Window. Pulitzer prize winning reporter Paige St. John investigates The Golden State Killer, and traces his path of devastation through the eyes of his victims. Listen now at

Opening music credits:

Music from

"Before The Storm" by Alexander Nakarada (

License: CC BY (

Jul 8, 2019

In the second chapter of the series "Deadly Therapy" a young girl who grows up in an unstable home is placed up for adoption.  Her adoptive mother finds her behavior problematic and has her undergo a new and controversial therapy - with tragic results.  

Several resources were used to research this episode including: 

Her Name was Candace by Carla Crowder and Peggy Lowe for Denver Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 29, 2000

Seeking Child’s Love, A Child’s Life is Lost by Barry Siegel for the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 4, 2001

Links from this episode:

Today's Sponsor: 

Warby Parker - for a free Home Try-On kit. 


Jul 1, 2019

In this month's series, "Deadly Therapy", I’ll detail cases of people who sought help from experts, but rather than receiving healing and transformation, their journeys came to an abrupt and deadly end.  In this first chapter, you’ll hear how James, Arthur Ray, a self-described success coach and guru required his followers to perform increasingly more extreme mental and physical challenges all in the pursuit of “enlightenment” with deadly results. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 


The Death Dealer by Matt Stroud in The Verge

Arizona Sweat Lodge: The Inside Story of James Ray's Fatal Retreat by Miguel Sancho and Kimberley Brown for ABC News



Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray (2016) 


Care/of - - Enter promo code ONCE at checkout for 25% off your first order. 


Jun 24, 2019

Identical twin sisters, Sunny and Gina Han were lifelong rivals.  One sister's jealousy would lead her to plot her twin's murder.


Jun 22, 2019

On this bonus episode I take you along with me to CrimeCon 2019 in New Orleans and my travels to New York City and Toronto for the Toronto True Crime Film Festival.  

#CrimeCon #NewOrleans #TorontoTrueCrimeFilmFestival #truecrimedocumentaries #NewYorkCity 

Jun 22, 2019

In this bonus episode, I interview Jan Broberg and Skye Borgman about their documentary film "Abducted in Plain Sight" LIVE at CrimeCon 2019 in New Orleans.

#AbductedinPlainSight #truecrimedocumentary #CrimeCon2019


Jun 10, 2019

I continue the story of the Gibbons Sisters - twins who were locked in a battle their entire lives. Neither believed they could survive without the other, but controlled each other so completely they only spoke to or associated with one another.  When they reached adolescence, they knew they had to find some way to break out of this destructive twin bond or both would perish.  Their desperation lead them to commit increasingly antisocial and criminal acts.  This is part two of "The Silent Twins". 



Facebook Page:

Podcast Meetup Details: Tuesday, June 11th, 7 - 11 pm, Algonquin Hotel Lobby Lounge, 59 W. 44th Street, New York City 


Jun 3, 2019

June and Jennifer Gibbons were identical twins who, from a very young age, were so bonded to one another that they created their own “twin language” to communicate speaking only to one another.  They rejected any other relationships including their own parents and siblings.  Later, they would construct a fantasy world that only they inhabited.  This lead to more serious anti-social behavior that resulted in a shocking crime spree.  


Harper Wilde: - Use promo code ONCE to get 15% off your first purchase. 

Sagely Naturals: for 20% off your first order. 

Away Travel: and use promo code ONCE20 at checkout for $20 off a suitcase.  

 Music credits: 

Music from
"Reflections" by Alexander Nakarada (
Licence: CC BY (


May 17, 2019

This bonus episode gives news and announcements for the month of May including information on Season 4. 


Social Media:

Twitter - @uponacrime and @tacoboutcrime

Facebook and Instagram - @onceuponacrimepod

Patreon - 

CrimeCon: - use discount code ONCE19 for 10% off your registration

Toronto True Crime Film Festival - www.torontotruecrimefilmfestival





May 13, 2019

A mother takes justice into her own hands in Jamestown, California in 1993 when she discovers her son has been abused by a child molester.  Some called her a hero, others denounced her actions as vigilantism.  This is Chapter 2 of "Disorder in the Court".


Hask Beauty: or purchase in store at CVS or online at

Backblaze: for a fully-featured 15-day no risk free trial. 

Several resource materials were used for this episode including: 

The Nesler Family's Tragic Past - 

Pushed Over Edge, Mother Chose Own Brand of Justice by Mark Arak, Times Staff Writer, April 11, 1993. 

William Nesler Still a Fugitive by Lloyd Vries for CBS News, July 29, 2004. 

Ellie Nesler's Family Buries their Hero in Angels Camp, by John Holland in The Modesto Bee, January 2, 2009. 

Links: - use ONCE19 for 10% off your registration - June 14th & 15th


Apr 29, 2019

A summer ball game descends into chaos when a promotional event goes seriously awry.  This is the last chapter in the series "Bad Sports" recounting the Cleveland Indians' "Ten Cent Beer Night" riot. 

Today's sponsor: 

Hask Beauty - .  You can also find Hask products  at

Thanks to guest voice actors Lorne and Michael from The True Crime Guys podcast.

Some of the resources used in this episode include: 

Articles: The Night Beer and Violence Bubbled Over in Cleveland by Paul Jackson on

Forty Years Ago, 10-cent Beer Makes Memories by Anthony Castrovince on 

Video: Ten Cent Beer Night - Weird History on 

Other links: 

Our website:


CrimeCon: - use discount code ONCE19 for 10% off your registration.  



Apr 15, 2019

A friendly soccer game on a dusty field in Brazil turns into a horrific act of violence. 


Article: A Yellow Card, Then Unfathomable Violence in Brazil by Jere Longman and Taylor Barnes for The New York Times, October 31, 2013

"Football Hooliganism" - a Wikipedia listing of instances of violence at soccer matches.  


Away Travel - and use discount code ONCE20 for $20 off a suitcase.

Espionage - A new podcast by the Parcast network. 


CrimeCon 2019: and use discount code ONCE19 for 10% off your registration 

Toronto True Crime Film Festival: www.torontotruecrimefilmfestival - June 14th/15th, The Revue Cinema, Toronto 

Apr 8, 2019

Ray and Sally McNeil were a married couple who were both accomplished athletes in the sport of professional bodybuilding.  But, a combination of infidelity, abuse and anabolic steroid use would lead to a final, bloody confrontation on Valentine’s Day, 1995. - Use my discount code ONCE19 to the 10% off your registration

Once Upon a Crime website:


Hask hair care products - or shop online at

Harper Wilde - for a free home try-on plus a free bra wash bag.  


Apr 1, 2019

This month I'll be sharing stories of outrageous crimes that occurred at sporting events or by sports figures.  

First up, a neighborhood ice rink, a pee-wee hockey pick-up game and some unsportsmanlike conduct leads to a confrontation between parents that ends with tragic results. 

Links and Resources:

CrimeCon 2019 - Go to and use discount code ONCE19 to get 10% off your registration.

Away Travel - and use ONCE20 at checkout for $20 off a suitcase. 

BetterHelp - for 10% off your first month of online counseling. 

One Eye Open Podcast - 


Mar 25, 2019

A man starts having vivid memories of a violent crime he believes he may have committed during an alcoholic blackout. 


Backblaze - to receive a 15-day no risk free trial of Backblaze's cloud backup and storage services. to become a patron and receive podcast merch, bonus episodes and be entered into our monthly drawing. 

Mar 18, 2019

I conclude the story about Eileen Franklin who claimed to have witnessed her friend, 8-year-old Susan Nason's murder in 1969. She would say her memory of the event was only recovered after 20 years.  Her story would begin a debate about the validity of "recovered memories" used in criminal trials.


Better Help - - use discount code ONCE to get 10% your first month of online counseling.

Daily Harvest - - enter promo code ONCE to get three free cups in your first box. 


Click here to subscribe to "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime"!

To register for CrimeCon go to and use discount code ONCE19 for 10% off your ticket! 

Mar 11, 2019

In this series I'll share crime stories that feature a very strange and rare phenomenon - recovered memories of murder.  Is it possible to forget about a murder?  Could a traumatic event, like witnessing a violent crime, cause a person to repress the memory so completely that they, in essence, “forget” they ever saw such a horrific event?

In this first chapter, Eileen Franklin recalls a 20-year-old murder.  She will claim that she witnessed the murder of her best friend, 8-year-old Susan Nason in 1969 and then repressed the memory for years.


Several articles, court records and other materials were used to research this case.  One resource was the book Once Upon a Time by Harry Maclean, published in 1993.


Better Help - Go to and use discount code ONCE to get 10% off your first month of online counseling. 

Feb 26, 2019

A career criminal commits multiple murders plus an attempted murder and continues to be released on parole.  This is the case of Michael Keith Moon. 

CrimeCon:  Use discount code ONCE19 for 10% off your standard registration. 


Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime - The Podcast - subscribe on Apple Podcasts.


Feb 19, 2019

In the conclusion of the story of Louise Peete, the convicted murderess is released from prison and, before long, goes on to commit another violent crime. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Dead Woman Walking:Louise Peete by Joan Renner -

Black Widow, Mara Bovsun, Daily News New York, November 18, 2001

She Buried Them All by Bill Walker in Saga: The Magazine for Men, January 1962. 


BetterHelp - and use discount code ONCE for 10% off your first month. 

Feb 13, 2019

I'm pleased to announce my new podcast "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime"!  Each episode will feature me and a special guest host talking about what's new, hot, and trending in true crime - in a fun and casual format. 

First episode drops on February 19th! 

Subscribe here on Apple Podcasts or search for "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime" on your favorite podcast platform.  It's rolling out to more podcast platforms as we speak!

Dec 18, 2018

As a special holiday episode Yolanda from Not Perfect or Functional Podcast aka my little sister returns! This time we discuss the ever-debated Darlie Routier case.  

Yolanda's Podcast: or look for it under "Not Perfect or Functional" on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. 


Book: A Killer in My House: The Darlie Routier Story by David Kennedy

Link to DNA results:  Choose "accept" on main page and then enter case number F9639973 to see Darlie Routier's case-related documents. 

Video: "The Wrong Man?" (says 20/20 Full Episode, but it's not that show). 


Outdoor Voices: and enter promo code ONCE for 20% off your first order of $100 or more.

Kopari: for $5 off your first order when you subscribe. 

Social Media: 

Patreon - 

Facebook - 

Twitter -

Instagram - 


Nov 20, 2018

Thank you to listener Alexandre Guglielmelli from Brazil for this case suggestion! In 2002, a wealthy couple is found murdered in their home in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Their own daughter soon becomes a suspect and the case becomes a media sensation in Brazil. 

How to Help California Fire Victims: 

American Red Cross -

California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund -

Humane Society of Ventura County -


Brooklinen - and use promo code ONCE for $20 plus free shipping. 

Kopari - to save $5 off your first order when you subscribe.

Holly and Tanager - and use promo code ONCE to get 15% off your first order. 


Oct 8, 2018

A house with a dark history is purchased by a young couple in 1975.  They soon begin experiencing unexplained and terrifying events inside the home.  Was it a result of their imaginations run wild? A hoax? Or the after effects of a horrific multiple homicide committed there? 

#Amityville #AmityvilleHorror #DeFeoMurders #RonaldDeFeo 

112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York - photographed on the night of the DeFeo family murders. 


Audio Clip from documentary My Amityville Horror (2013) directed by Eric Walter.  Click here to rent or purchase.  


BetterHelp - The Online Therapy Company: for your first week free. - The World's Largest Online Consignment and Thrift Store - and use promo code ONCE to get 35% off of select items with your first order. 

Le Mystere: to get a free Le Mystery cosmetic bag with your purchase.  Use the promo code ONCE at checkout. 

RSVP for our upcoming meetup on Saturday, October 13th!


Sep 17, 2018

A series of fast food restaurant robberies take place in Nashville, Tennessee in 1997.  The accused, Paul Dennis Reid, would claim that his early history of brain damage was to blame. 

Photos from top left (clockwise): Tennessee map, Paul Dennis Reid, Baskin Robbins restaurant, McDonald's restaurant, the Nashville skyline, Captain D's restaurant


Simple Contacts: for $20 off your first order. 

Policy Genius: 

West Coast Meetup Info and to RSVP:

Aug 13, 2018

In this second chapter of "Written in Blood" I detail cases of two writers who became wife killers - and then hid their crime from the public.  

#domesticviolence #authors #writers 


For Domestic Violence resources and help:

In the U.S.: 1-800-799-7233

In the U.K.: 0808 2000 247

In Australia: 1800-737-732


Social Media links:



RXBAR - and use offer code ONCE at checkout for 25% off your first order


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