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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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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!

Sep 9, 2019

A young girl goes missing in South Carolina in 1985.  Soon after, her kidnapper would begin calling her family - but not to make demands for her safe return, but only to cruelly taunt them.  This is the first chapter in the series "Taunting Terrors". 

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

Book: Murder in the Midlands: Larry Gene Bell and the 28 Days of Terror that Shook South Carolina by Rita Y. Shuler

Articles: 

South Carolina serial killer forced girl to write a farewell note and tormented his victims' families after sick spree in mid-80s by Mara Bovsun, New York Daily News, November 15, 2014

Left Behind: Survivors of Capital Crimes Don't want the Victims to be Forgotten by Becky Beane for PFM.org

Court Records: 

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit. Larry Gene Bell v. Parker Evatt, Commissioner, South Carolina Department of Corrections, T. Travis Medlock, Attorney General, State of South Carolina, December 18, 1995

Sponsors:

Simple Health - www.SimpleHealth.com/ONCE or enter ONCE at checkout to try Simple Health for free.

Italic - www.Italic.com - use offer code ONCE for $15 off your first order. 

Social Media: 

Twitter - @uponacrime

Patreon - www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

Facebook and Instagram @onceuponacrimepod 

 

Aug 19, 2019

From 1922 to the 1940s over 40 child actors would be cast in a popular series of short films and many of them would later fall victim to strange accidents, illnesses, drug addiction, financial hardship, murder and suicide.  This is The Curse of The Little Rascals.

Today's Sponsor: 

NutraThrive: www.HealthyDog4.com

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

Television Episode: E! True Hollywood Story: Curse of the Little Rascals

Alfalfa's Mysterious Death - www.tvparty.com

Convicted killer of "Little Rascal" dies - AP, The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, July 19, 2014

 

Aug 12, 2019

Every manifestation of the Man of Steel - comic books, television shows and films - has been marked by bad blood, shattered careers, tragic accidents and even murder.  This is the Curse of Superman. 

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

George Reeves Revealed: An Inside Look at the Life and Tragic Death of Television's First Superman by Ed Gross for CloserWeekly.com, Feb. 27, 2019

Who Killed Superman? TheGuardian.com, Nov. 17, 2006

Link to Listener Survey: https://survey.libsyn.com/onceuponacrime 

Sponsor Links:

Italic - www.italic.com - Use offer code ONCE for $15 off your first order.

Native - www.nativedeodorant.com and use promo code ONCE for 20% off your first purchase

 

 

Aug 5, 2019

Three child actors become stars after being cast in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes in 1978.  But, all three would go on to live troubled adult lives including drug addiction, legal troubles and untimely death. 

These are the stories of Todd Bridges, Dana Plato and Gary Coleman. 

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

The Tragic Stars of Different Strokes, People Magazine, March 25, 1991

Gary Coleman dies at 42; child star of hit sitcom Diff'rent Strokes by Dennis McClellan for The Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2010.  

The Overdose Death of Dana Plato by Frank Wilkins for ReelReviews.com. 

Todd Bridges book: Killing Wills: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted, Simon and Schuster, 2010. 

Sponsor:

Away Travel - www.AwayTravel.com/ONCE20 and use ONCE20 at checkout for $20 off a suitcase. 

You can listen to Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime here: https://truecrimepodcast.squarespace.com/lets-taco-bout-true-crime or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Pandora, Spotify and anywhere you listen to podcasts! 

 

 

Jul 29, 2019

Susan Polk enters into a relationship with her therapist when she is a young girl. Years later, after 20 years of marriage, she will claim she has been abused by her husband for decades.  After he is found dead in their guest house the question would be, was this a case of self-defense or a cold-blooded murder? 

Several resources were used in the research of this case including:

Court record: The People, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Susan Mae Polk, Defendant and Applellant, Contra Costa County Super. Ct. No. 031668-7, December 13, 2010

Articles:

A California Murder Raises Troubling Issues by Carol Pogash for The New York Times, September 18, 2005

Obituary of Dr. F. Felix Polk, SFGate.com, November 5, 2002. 

Slaying rips apart a family in Orinda by Jason Dearen for Bay Area News Group, October 10, 2005. 

Convicted Orinda killer Susan Polk denied parole, kicked out of hearing midway through by Nate Gartrell for Bay Area News Group, July 17, 2019.  

Sponsor: 

Italic - www.italic.com use offer code ONCE for $15 off your first purchase. 

Patreon:  www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

 

Jul 28, 2019

A mother seeks help for her special needs child, but a church prayer service ends tragically.  

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

Book:

True Stories of Law and Order by Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiorillo 

Articles: 

Death by Exorcism by David Krajicek for the New York Daily News, October 8, 2006

Sponsor: 

Native Deodorants - www.nativedeodorant.com  - Use promo code ONCE for 20% off your first purchase. 

Subscribe to "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime" 

On iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-taco-bout-true-crime/id1452118167

On Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7k3cQGC0unJGSMhlEZRiWG?si=dLyaqKydRDi_SA3wYkhWnw 

On Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=379086

 

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    https://culteducation.com/group/1115-rebirthing/17893-her-name-was-candace.html

Seeking Child’s Love, A Child’s Life is Lost by Barry Siegel for the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 4, 2001  https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2001-feb-04-mn-21072-story.html

Links from this episode: 

www.singleparentadvocate.org

www.doorofhope.us

www.adoptuskids.org

www.togetherwerise.org

https://store.23skidoovintage.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/493288214744272/

Today's Sponsor: 

Warby Parker - www.warbyparker.com/ONCE 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: 

Articles: 

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

Blogs: 

https://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/james-rays-first-victim-colleen-conaway/

Films:

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

Sponsor: 

Care/of - www.TakeCareOf.com - 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. 

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

www.truecrimepodcast.com

 

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 

www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod 

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". 

Links:

Website: www.truecrimepodcast.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod

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.  

Sponsors:

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

Sagely Naturals: www.sagelynaturals.com/ONCE for 20% off your first order. 

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

 Music credits: 

Music from https://filmmusic.io:
"Reflections" by Alexander Nakarada (https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com/)
Licence: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

 

May 24, 2019

"Lost and Found" was the very first series of Once Upon a Crime in June, 2016.  In that series I covered the story of three young women who were held captive and abused by Ariel Castro for over a decade.  In this bonus episode we give you an update about these survivors - Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina De Jesus.  

Links:

Our website:  www.truecrimepodcast.com

CrimeCon:  www.CrimeCon.com - Use offer code ONCE19 for 10% off your registration. 

Toronto True Crime Film Festival: www.torontotruecrimefilmfestival.com

Our Social Media: 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod

Click here to join our Facebook group.  

Twitter: www.twitter.com/uponacrime  www.twitter.com/tacoboutcrime

Instagram: www.instagram.com/onceuponacrimepod 

May 17, 2019

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

Website: www.truecrimepodcast.com 

Social Media:

Twitter - @uponacrime and @tacoboutcrime

Facebook and Instagram - @onceuponacrimepod

Patreon - www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

CrimeCon: www.crimecon.com - 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".

Sponsors:

Hask Beauty: www.haskbeauty.com or purchase in store at CVS or online at www.cvs.com.

Backblaze: www.Backblaze.com/ONCE 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 - www.oprah.com 

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:

www.CrimeCon.com - use ONCE19 for 10% off your registration

www.TorontoTrueCrimeFilmFestival.com - June 14th & 15th

www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod

www.truecrimepodcast.com

 

May 6, 2019

In 2005, a man on trial for rape escapes custody in Atlanta's Fulton County Courthouse and goes on a violent rampage.  This is Chapter 1 of "Disorder in the Court".  

Today's Sponsor: 

Harper Wilde - www.harperwilde.com/ONCE for a free home try-on and a free wash bag. 

Resources:

Several articles were used in the creation of this episode. Some of them are listed here:

3 Slain in Atlanta Courthouse Rampage, The Washington Post, March 12, 2005, Staff writers Manuel Roig-Franzia and Melanie Lasoff Levs 

A Manhunt and a Woman's Story, Washington Post, March 15, 2005, writer Manuel Roig-Franzia

A Youth Drifted from Deep Family Ties to Deep Trouble, The Baltimore Sun, March 18, 2005, writers Abigail Tucker and Stephen Kiehl

10 Years Later, Courthouse Safer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 11, 2015, by Ernie Suggs 

 

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 - www.haskbeauty.com .  You can also find Hask products  at www.walmart.com.

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

Some of the resources used in this episode include: 

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

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

Video: Ten Cent Beer Night - Weird History on YouTube.com 

Other links: 

Our website: www.truecrimepodcast.com

Patreon:  www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

CrimeCon: www.CrimeCon.com - 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. 

Resources: 

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.  

Sponsors: 

Away Travel - www.awaytravel.com/ONCE20 and use discount code ONCE20 for $20 off a suitcase.

Espionage - A new podcast by the Parcast network.  www.parcast.com/Espionage 

Events:

CrimeCon 2019: www.crimecon.com 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. 

www.torontotruecrimefilmfestival.com 

www.CrimeCon.com - Use my discount code ONCE19 to the 10% off your registration

Once Upon a Crime website: www.truecrimepodcast.com

Sponsors: 

Hask hair care products - www.haskbeauty.com or shop online at www.ulta.com.

Harper Wilde - www.HarperWilde.com/ONCE 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 www.crimecon.com and use discount code ONCE19 to get 10% off your registration.

Away Travel - www.AwayTravel.com/ONCE and use ONCE20 at checkout for $20 off a suitcase. 

BetterHelp - www.BetterHelp.com/ONCE for 10% off your first month of online counseling. 

One Eye Open Podcast - https://oneeyeopen.podbean.com 

 

Mar 25, 2019

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

Sponsor: 

Backblaze - www.Backblaze.com/ONCE to receive a 15-day no risk free trial of Backblaze's cloud backup and storage services. 

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 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.

Sponsors:

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

Daily Harvest - www.Daily-Harvest.com - 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 www.CrimeCon.com 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.

Resources: 

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.

Sponsor:

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

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