Criminal Records Podcast is a true crime show about history’s weirdest criminal cases. Co-hosts Isaac Meyer and Demetria Spinrad profile criminal cases throughout history. Our philosophy behind the show is that students of history can learn a lot about a society by what it chooses to criminalize, and studying criminal records as primary sources can reveal crucial information about the lives of people who might otherwise have been left out of the historical record entirely. Many of the criminals in our episodes weren’t bad people–in fact, some deserve to be remembered as heroes for their courage in breaking unjust laws.
Where to Listen
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Who We Are
Isaac Meyer is a historian, high school teacher, and podcaster. He started The History of Japan Podcast in 2013. Isaac believes that history should be accessible for everyone, both because it is important for us to know our common past and because really, who doesn’t love a good story?
Demetria Spinrad is an author and digital marketing professional. As a storyteller and a true crime fanatic, Demetria likes to use criminal records to help show you the humanity behind the history.
Episodes Listen in your web browser
Not sure where to start? Check out some of our fans' favorite episodes
The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist
A group of thieves set their sights on the greatest wealth stockpile of them all: the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. All they needed was a network of truckers, black market syrup smugglers, and shady dealers willing to get their fingers sticky for a sweet payoff.
Take a tour around the swamp with America’s favorite rascal. Florida Man’s always making headlines for punching alligators, stealing meat, and fighting cops in the buff. But does Florida really deserve its reputation as the weirdest state in the union? And is our nation’s most beloved rapscallion the villain of our story, or is he the victim of a legal system that accidentally created a media monster?
Kinder Egg smuggling
Are people really being fined thousands of dollars for smuggling a sweet treat across the US border? Demetria goes deep (maybe a little too deep) on an investigation into why American stores can’t sell one of Europe’s favorite chocolates.
The Nippur Murder Case
Is this the oldest case ever covered on a true crime podcast? PROBABLY! In this episode, we discuss the oldest known recorded murder trial and try to read between the lines of cuneiform to get the real story of one victim, three killers, and a wife who didn’t snitch.
Recent Episodes Find out more about these historic figures in our show notes
One of the western canon’s greatest poets was a real horndog. Was his banishment from Rome really about making Rome great again by returning to purity culture, or did Publius Ovidius Naso get caught up in a complicated web of politics at the dawn of the Roman empire?
One would-be hero of the American revolution wasn’t American, heroic, or particularly good at helping the revolution. His plan to burn down the British navy’s most strategic dockyards had just one fatal flaw: he wasn’t actually any good at starting fires.
One Soviet convict impressed his own jailors so much that he ended up completely transforming the Soviet Union’s gulag system. But how much of what we know about the life of Naftaly Frenkel is real, and how much is a right-wing attempt to link the Communist party to a conspiracy theory about greedy Jews?
Reynard the Fox
We’re exploring the history of crime fiction with Reynard, a rascal whose exploits are definitely not the sort of behavior you’d expect from a cute talking fox today. How did our vulpine antihero go from a murderous rapist to a cuddly kids’ character? Why did Walt Disney keep trying to make a movie about one of fiction’s nastiest criminals? And how long is Isaac willing to listen to descriptions of medieval butt jokes before he begs Demetria to wrap up this episode?
Women and the Law in the Late Roman Republic
We’re heading to the Roman Republic for two stories about women getting their day in court. Asking the gods to put a supernatural hit out on your illicit lover, that’s a-okay according to the Romans. But being a sugar baby? That’s against the law.