The Sword and Scale true-crime podcast is an immersive audio experience covering the dark side of humanity and human nature. Our stories delve into the worst of the worst and include murder, rape, dismemberment and cannibalism. No crime is too brutal and no victim is too pure. The worst monsters are real.
In 1997, Shannon McCrossan moved with her two daughters, 8-year-old Kirsten Hatfield and 3-year-old Faith to a home on Jet Drive in Midwest City, OK. At the time, life seemed to be okay. The neighbors were friendly and there were children for the girls to play with. On May 13th, 1997, Shannon awoke to any mother?s worst nightmare. Kirsten was missing from her bedroom.
Searches were made for the 8-year-old girl, but she was never found. The trail ran cold, until 2015 when the case was reopened and re-examined, leading investigators to a suspect in the unlikeliest of places?
In the early morning hours of February 5th, 2015, a man wearing a mask and black tactical gear burst into the bedroom of Lisa Trubnikova. Eventually, he took the mask off to reveal a familiar face. He wanted the women to know who he was and why he was there.
For years, Lisa had not thought about this man. But he had been doing a lot of thinking about her?
Special Guest: Chris D'Elia (http://chrisdelia.com)
51-year-old Ruth Pyne is found beaten and stabbed to death in the garage of her home in Highland Township, Michigan. Her immediate family members become the focus of the investigation, and one of them has a questionable alibi.
Indirect evidence begins to pile up, and a jury is left with the following question: at what point does circumstantial evidence overcome reasonable doubt?
On July 21st, 2006, an entire family seemingly disappeared from their home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. When police searched the residence, there were no signs of a break-in. Nothing was disturbed, and nothing of value appeared to be missing.
But there was no sign of Neil, Rachel, or Lillian Entwistle.
Everyone loves the idea of having the perfect family and keeping everyone close together. Go to work, come home, play with the kids, eat dinner together. Unfortunately, that isn?t always how things go. In 2015, the Bever family was the perfect example of this. The family of nine stuck close together within the four walls of their home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
But, stick a family together long enough, and eventually someone will blow their lid. On the evening of July 22nd, 2015, Robert and Michael Bever carried out a savage attack on their family, leaving most of their family dead, but their plans reached further than the closed doors of their home.
We all love to talk about all of the things we?re going to do to better ourselves? all of the changes we want to make. Maybe we?d like to focus more on our families, start a business, or go back to school. Whatever the case, these aspirations often remain nothing more than that? aspirations. We put them on hold for so long that we forgot about them.
This is the story of 26-year-old Laura Ackerson, a young woman who was taking those steps. She was determined to build a brighter future for herself and for her children.
But just as it was starting to take shape, that future was cut short.
When you have a problem, you hire someone to fix it. That's what you do. Sometimes you don't have the benefit of Yelp reviews though...
During the early morning hours of September 22nd, 2010, 13-year-old Alexis Mitchell awoke to the sight of her father looming over her and wearing a Halloween mask. His hands were around her neck, but he let up after she elbowed and bit him. Either having passed out or fallen asleep again thinking it was all a dream, Alexis eventually woke again up to the sound of screaming.
On Sunday, October 4th 2009, Milford Police Sgt. Kevin Furlong was dispatched by 911 to 4 Trow Road in Mont Vernon. There had been a home invasion. Inside he found Jaimie Cates with multiple stab wounds and injuries and the body of her mom Kimberly Cates with numerous slashing and stab marks. Who would have done such a thing to this poor family?
31-year-old Nicole VanderHeyden was substitute teacher and mother of three. She lived with her boyfriend and father of her infant son, Doug Detrie, in Bellevue, Brown County, WI. The Green Bay metro area. Her body was found naked and strangled in a farm field on May 21, 2016. Her skull was fractured and she suffered blunt force trauma to the left side of her head breaking and dislocating her jaw as well as injuries to her esophagus, trachea, and neck consistent with strangulation. Her clothes were found off the side of a highway on-ramp. Doug reports her missing that same morning. Police arrest him a couple days later after Nicole?s blood is found on the pavement and the murder weapon, a ?black cord,? outside his home.
Some crimes are so extreme that they defy the laws of nature. Ending the life of your very own mother, for example, is so unfathomable to most that it may be the most vile crime imaginable. The story we tell you here goes well beyond that. Strap in..
This will be, BY FAR, the most frustrating podcast you listen to (perhaps ever). We here, at Sword and Scale, have had some pretty frustrating interactions with emergency operators, but nothing can prepare you for this audio gem.
We also tangentially cover the brutal and completely senseless killing of an entire family. They were the Van Breda's and they lived near 10 Allemann Street.
Some tales of human depravity are just unimaginable. Are they the actions of a monster, or simply a monstrous act? Sometimes the lines are not quite so clear, and perhaps monsters are not only real, but existing all around us, and hidden in plain site.
This is the story of a young boy named Joshua Earl Patrick Phillips, an even younger girl named Maddie Clifton, and a waterbed.
What exactly is "God's Plan?" Do you know? Some people think they do. Jonathan Hearn and Sabrina Limon thought "God's Plan" included having an illicit affair and killing Sabrina's husband.
A teenage girl is stalked by a homeless man and suddenly goes missing two weeks later.
WARNING: This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two will be available on 3/18 on the regular feed or you can get it now for just $5 on Patreon.com/SwordAndScale. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT Google this story. It will ruin the story for you. Trust us.
When Jane Bashara was found strangled to death in the back of her SUV nobody knew what to make of it. Things like this simply didn't happen in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, a wealthy community of million-dollar homes.
The Bashara's, now empty nesters in their mid 50's, also were not the type of people who were found murdered in a parking lot. They were the type of people who volunteered for charity when they weren't hanging out at the country club.
No one suspected that there were deep dark secrets between them that would end in murder.
The human mind can go to such depths of depravity that, for the average well-adjusted person, it?s hard to even imagine. Kevin Ray Underwood?s mind was so far gone that his sexual fantasies started to include cannibalism.
When 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin went missing, both of her parents lives were utterly destroyed. Little did they know that Jamie was literally just a few doors away in the same apartment building, and they were likely sitting there the moment she was killed.
So many leaves...
It doesn't happen often, but the intersection of Psychosis and Psychopathy is a scary place. A place where all things that are good, break down and all that's left is pure darkness.
Matthew Hoffman lived in such a place...
CENTAUR... you have awoken. Don't let them kill you.
Final episode of 2017 and Season 4. Enjoy...
Love is often expressed with gifts such as flowers and chocolates, but those same gifts can be used to manipulate, control and threaten in the hands of a stalker.
That is a lesson that Alice Ruggles learned the hard way from her obsessed ex-boyfriend Trimaan Dhillon who couldn't handle her rejection.
Nothing quite says fear like a machete. In this episode we bring you to distinct stories of some of the most barbaric and utterly inexplicable attacks with a blade to poor souls who did nothing to deserve such brutality.
The first story comes from Apex, North Carolina, where an 18-year-old girl named Priyanka Kumari is savagely attacked on her way home from school. The second comes from South Florida of course, where 17-year-old Jose Amaya-Guardado is ganged up on and killed by his classmates at a live-in trade school for troubled youth. They then have sex near Jose's corpse because nothing quite says romance like hacking up a kid to pieces.
The death of a little girl named Jodi Parrack send a small town into a spiral of shock and disbelief. Everyone goes looking, but when a reserve police officer named Raymond McCann suggests looking in the cemetery all eyes turn on him as the primary suspect.
We conclude with Part 2 of the Scrivo Murder Case, a story which deals with elements of mental illness, grief and the relationship between a mother and a son.
For our landmark hundredth episode we cover a story that has all the elements our listeners love to hear. A graphic and gory case of body parts being found
scattered across a roadway, and the unbelievable tale of how the case then unfolds from there will leave you scratching your head.
Underreported and underdiscussed, male sexual child abuse is a topic that is often brushed under the rug due to social norms and the child's fears of being labelled a homosexual or future perpetrator. Data from various studies indicates that the problem is much more widespread than initially thought, but because such a small percentage of victims ever come forward, the data is skewed. In this episode we delve into this topic and discuss it freely and openly.
If you want to tell us your story, please call us at +1-954-889-6854 and leave your story on our voicemail.
"We lock our doors at night to keep the outside world, to keep evil out, right? ...but what happens when evil has a key?" Those were the words spoken by Nation Hahn, a man who knows first hand how evil can deceptively find its way into your home without warning.
Becoming a parent can be one of the most joy-filled experiences in one's life. It has been a long-standing tradition for friends, family and neighbors to all gather to celebrate this special experience with a baby shower. In the last decade or so, a new trend called "gender-reveal parties" has emerged for expectant parents to have another opportunity to celebrate. But when the celebration of a new life is suddenly visited by death, a new bundle of questions emerge.
There's a lot that can go wrong in this organ we call the human brain, which we don't fully understand. It's important for all of us to be much more aware of the red flags so that we can prevent tragedies like this one from happening.
We examine this phenomenon of "Gangstalking" and "Targeted Individuals" and the case of a young lawyer named Myron May. We're joined by graduate professor of forensic psychology Dr. Vanessa Holtgrave.
Escapism is something most of us are guilty of. We retire to our TV shows, video games, podcasts... One would not assume that even the most esoteric escapes could be dangerous, but for two gay men in the mid 80's living in rural Northern Georgia, that would be a dangerous assumption.
This is the story of a place called Corpsewood. The handbuilt manor castle in the remote woods was meant to be a solitary retreat for Dr. Charles Scudder and Joseph Odem, but instead it would become their final resting place in which a carnival-like media atmosphere of victim-blaming would descend.
Randy Stair secretly identified as a female for years. She ditched her given name for the pseudonym Andrew Blaze and also ditched the YouTube channel she had worked on for a large part of her life to pursue animation. The cartoons she created were dark, angst-ridden creations derived from an existing Nickelodeon character that she was infatuated with and believed existed in some otherworldly plain which she planned to be welcomed into after murdering three of her coworkers.
The highly polarized political climate we're living in colors our view of the world in one way or another. Sometimes it's hard to see the big picture and true underlying human tragedy when we're too busy judging the beliefs of others.
This is a story of four people who died tragically, seemingly for no reason, in a supermarket, in the middle of the night.
The love of a mother is something many of us take for granted, but when it's not present during the early formative years the results can be disastrous. This is what Edmund Kemper suggests happened to him. A serial killer who enjoyed murdering coeds in the early 70's, Kemper is not your average lunatic. He has the IQ of a genius and has spent years self-analyzing his actions. We hear from his own words and delve into the extreme nature of his crimes.
We kick off this week's episode with some much needed updates about what's been going on behind the scenes, fist of which is Sword and Scale Rewind, hosted by Lynette Carolla and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, which launches on June 14th. It's the after-show for this podcast, so every episode of Rewind will cover an episode of S&S, starting with Episode 1. Make sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts so you don't miss a thing. Secondly, we get into the other big thing that's happening right now and the reason why we've been so busy... We're making a TV Show!!! That's right, we're working with Propogate Content to develop a brand new made-for-TV version of Sword and Scale. We have some big names onboard which we'll be announcing soon, but we're very excited about how it's all coming together. ...And while we were out there in Los Angeles, we got to pop in to The Museum of Death which was so fascinating that we decided to talk to its assistant curator for an audio-based tour. Lastly, we get into this week's main story. A look behind the scenes into an investigation regarding a car theft and the kidnapping of Kingston Frazier, a 6-year-old boy who was in the car that was taken. The following 12 hours become a mad manhunt for the boy and the details surrounding this investigation will leave you speechless.
When Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist Claudia Rowe, author of The Spider and The Fly, decided to write to a serial killer, she wasn't prepared for how it would change her life. In her quest to understand the nature of cruelty, she ended up discovering much more about herself. Kendall Francois murdered at least eight women and hid the rotting corpses in the home that he shared with his mother, father, and younger sister. A large foreboding figure who emanated a pungent odor, he demands that Rowe offers personal details of her life in exchange for the answers she is seeking. She does not comply with his wishes, which leads the reader to wonder "Who really is the spider and who really is the fly?"
Matthew Hahn is bright, eloquent, friendly and just generally the kind of person you like immediately. He's the kind of person that will tell you everything about his life within seconds of meeting him, but only if you ask. He's an open book which is unusual, because once you hear his story, and your jaw drops to the floor with the disbelief that what you're listening to is not is tall tale, but a reality that this person you're speaking to has lived through, there's one other fact you have to accept: Matt Hahn is a criminal. And you still like him, because his moral compass is stronger than most...
When a 14 year old boy named Philip Chism goes missing in the middle of a school day, his mother thinks the worst and calls 911. Little does she know, that her son isn't the only missing person from Danvers High School that day. A 24-year-old math teacher is missing also. She is Phillip's teacher which raises some immediate questions, but after finally solving a mishap with the school's 140-camera security system, police are able to come up with a theory as to what happened that day. Another big clue, of course, is the body in the woods. Colleen E. Ritzer was a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School. She had a warm smile and love of teaching. Some of her friends would later say that she was "born to do this job." However, no one could have imaged the darkness that would shroud the school on that particular day, and when all is said and done we are all left with the nagging question of "why?"
Over the course of a normal school day, a mystery unravels. At first there is chaos, confusion and much worry, but soon all of that anxiety melts into a river of loss and agony as friends and family members find out the truth. This first part of a two-part story is sure to keep you riveted, at the edge of your seat, and pulling your hair out waiting for the next part.
The 20 year anniversary of one of the strangest tales in modern American religious history is quickly approaching. On March 26th, March 26, 1997 Marshall Herff Applewhite led a group of 39 devoted followers to their final destination. In their minds they were headed to a spaceship following the Hale-Bopp Comet where they would be taken and transformed into perfect angelic alien beings, a state in which they would live forever. We're joined by Benjamin E. Zeller, Religious Historian and Author of the book "Heaven's Gate: America's UFO Religion."
There are few things more horrifying than the idea that your children can be taken from their beds, from their own home, while there's an adult sleeping inside, yet that's exactly what happened on the morning of Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We, as a modern society, have systems in place, technological marvels, to prevent and deter these things from happening. However, in this case, the very system that was used to try and rescue the children ended up leading to their deaths. This is the bizarre story of Amber Pazstor told through her own words. We're joined by Brett Thomas from WAYN-TV Newschannel 16, who interviewed Pazstor from behind bars to find out why she chose to perform this horrible series of actions.
There is a place that humanity has created where the rules of society mean nothing. This place is a void of laws and social norms. The scariest thing, is that there is a doorway to this dark place in every home, in some cases we carry this doorway with us day after day. It's a place called The Dark Net. In this episode we're joined by Jamie Bartlett to discuss this dark and sinister place, along with the human psychology that created it and makes it particularly nefarious. We also touch on the stories of William Francis Melchert-Dinkel who tricked a young girl into committing suicide for his own sick sense of entertainment. Mitchell Henderson, who was a young boy constantly bullied and ended up commiting suicide, but even in death he found no solace as an endless barage of trolls relentlessly mocked him and his grieving parents. We also talk about the extraordinarily disturbing case of Peter Scully, who's business enterprise No Limits Fun created such despicable works such as DAFU Love and Daisy's Destruction.