While a good murder mystery makes for gripping TV or a thrilling read, but there’s something unusually fascinating about reading or watching crime stories that happened in real life. True Crime allows us to get a glimpse of human beings’ darkest impulses without actually putting ourselves in harm’s way. This is why, perhaps, the genre in books, TV shows, movies, and podcasts has exploded over the past few years.
If you’re already a True Crime buff, or are trying to put your toe in the water to test out whether it suits you or not, you should give Cake Media’s HOAX: The Sherry Papini Story a listen.
The podcast recounts the gripping true story of a woman who fabricated her own kidnapping in 2016. The shocking story is reminiscent of Gillian Flynn’s hugely popular 2012 book Gone Girl, and the subsequent 2014 film adaptation of the same starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.
To catch you up, 34-year-old Papini disappeared while she was out for a jog near her house, only to reappear three weeks later. According to her claims, her kidnappers released her at 4:30 that morning and left her on the side of the road, about 240 kms from where she disappeared.
As her case started getting more noticed, law enforcement experts from around the country started reporting doubts at the unlikely details and inconsistencies in her statement about her alleged abduction.
The case garnered media attention at the time and started picking up steam again after Papini’s recent confession and news that the sentencing has been pushed to September of this year.
If you want to find out more about this extraordinary case, you’ll just have to listen to journalist Abby Schreiber delve deep into the mystery on the podcast.
“Sherri’s story raises a lot of interesting questions around victimhood—who we choose to believe and why—as well as questions around privilege, responsibility and the internet’s obsession with true crime and conspiracies,” said Schreiber, in a quote to PAPER magazine.
The first two episodes are out now and the story will unravel over five more episodes, with one out every week. Schreiber has used actual phone calls and soundbites taken during the investigation to make sure the experience is as immersive as it is thrilling.