‘There’s been a murder,’ is a saying that’s synonymous with Glasgow, thanks to STV crime drama Taggart.
But a new survey has revealed that Glasgow is obsessed with serial killers.
Together with Missy Empire we have figured out that people in Scotland’s largest city are the biggest fans of true crime in the UK, with searches for Serial Killers being extremely popular, but just what it is about these creepy documentaries that makes us so obsessed?
Using UK Google Search Trends, it seems that those living in Glasgow were the most likely to love true crime documentaries, with Liverpool coming in a close second, and London being the least interested, we’ve compiled the most watched serial killer docs on streaming websites including Netflix, Amazon Prime and All 4 and investigated just who is watching.
1. John Wayne Gacy Jr: Serial Killer
The notorious killer clown John Wayne Gacy will forever be our worst nightmares as the childrens entertainer who killed over 33 young men in the 70s. The top cities who love to hate Gacy are Glasgow, Belfast and Bristol.
2. Aileen: Life and death of a serial killer
The childhood and life of Aileen in explicit interviews explaining what she did and why she did it, including her last ever interview, on Amazon Prime. The cities that need to know more about Aileen: Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool .
3. Ted Bundy
The Ted Bundy Tapes gets right inside the mind of the infamous serial killer for the very first time. The top 7 UK cities tackling the Ted Bundy tapes are: Manchester, Birkenhead, Liverpool, Belfast, Portsmouth, Glasgow and Hull.
4. Manson’s Missing Victims
The Amazon prime doc follows Police Sergeant, Paul Dostie and his dog, Buster, in their search to find the missing victims that Manson and his ‘family’ deny ever went missing.
Here are the top 7 cities that can’t get enough of Manson: Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Aberdeen, Brighton, Portsmouth and Cardiff.
5. Reggie Kray
The Krays ruled London’s east end in the 1950’s and 60’s. This All4 documentary explores the reality of the mobsters that murdered two people.
The top 7 cities that are the most interested in the Krays are: Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, London, Glasgow and Birmingham.
6. Dirty John
Based on a true story, Dirty John shows us exactly why we shouldn’t internet date. This extremely popular Netflix drama explores the manipulative relationship between John Meehan and Debra Newell. Whilst being on the edge of your seat, you won’t want to stop watching.
The top cities that are obsessed with Dirty John: Liverpool, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.
7. Evil Genius
This Netflix docu-series investigates the infamous pizza bomber. The story explains how Brian Wells got caught up in a bank heist, which inevitably ended with his demise (but we won’t spoil it for you).
Here are the top 7 UK cities that are obsessed with Evil Genius: Oxford, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow, Sheffield, Manchester and Nottingham.
Just why does the nation love true crime so much? There are 217,000 posts on Instagram tagged with #truecrime, which shows just how many people have True Crime on their watch list, but just how have they seized the attention of the nation?
According to the experts, there are seven reasons why we all love true crime so much.
It’s fascinating and intriguing
Experts say we are drawn to good vs evil, even as children. We are fascinated by an act we wouldn’t even dream of replicating, and also to have peace of mind that we can protect ourselves. Dr. Paul G Mattiuzzi, forensic psychologist explains: ‘We want some insight into the psychology of a killer, partly so we can learn how to protect our families and ourselves.’
We have a general fixation on violence and calamity
Maybe we are all a little bit obsessed with shocking news. If you are driving down the motorway and a smashed up car is crushed against the barriers on your left, you automatically slow down to check what is going on. In the words of Scott Bonn, professor of criminology at Drew University: ‘The actions of a serial killer may be horrible to behold but much of the public simply cannot look away due to the spectacle.’
It helps us to feel prepared
What would you do if you were being chased down by a serial killer? You would do everything the victims of Ted Bundy didn’t do! It can be argued that we love true crime, because it gives us an idea on how we can avoid ever being in that situation or how to get out of it if we ever were. Whatever you do, don’t fall for their handsome looks.
We’re just glad we’re not the victim or the perpetrator
It’s not surprising that we get a sense of relief that we didn’t have to endure the torture that others have been through. Dr Sharon Packer, a psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine says: ‘It’s not necessarily sadistic, but if bad faith had to fall on someone, at least it fell on someone else.’ This is also true for the opposite side of the story. We are glad that we have never acted out with our aggression in that way. We also get a sense of relief that we could never perform such a terrible act.
We’re trying to help solve the mystery
True crime mysteries have been popular since the first true crime novel, Truman Capote’s 1959 book about the Clutter Killings in the small town of Holcombe. 60 years on, we still want to join the detectives to figure out how this awful event took place. Bonn explained: ‘People can play armchair detective and see if they can figure out ‘whodunit’ before law enforcement authorities catch the actual perpetrator.’ As humans, we love puzzles, and a real life one, is even more difficult to solve, which naturally, we can’t get enough of.
We just like to be scared
We love to be scared, but in a way that we can end it at any time. This has always been the case since humans obsession with vampires in 1765, to modern day real life serial killers. You can switch from Ted Bundy to Friends with a few clicks and forget about the scenes you were so engrossed in, but come back to it in your own time. An assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida, A.J. Marsden, told the HuffPost: ‘Dive into the darker side of humanity, but from the safety of the couch.’
We enjoy the story
Storytelling has been what humans do since the beginning of time. TV journalist, Chris Hansen, told Mentalfloss: ‘At the end of the day, it’s good storytelling, too. Voyeuristic isn’t the right term, but it does allow people to escape and to see this other side of life that’s fascinating, and I think it’s also this fascination with becoming an armchair detective.’ True crime gives us the opportunity to leave our responsibilities behind for a moment and get lost in the mystery, and as humans, we feel we need that disconnection to reality.