If you like your true crime mixed with talk of ghosts, cryptozoology, aliens, and urban legends, then Nightmerica is the podcast for you! Nightmerica takes you on a tour of the abnormal, paranormal, weirdly true, and truly weird in every corner across this nation. We chatted with hosts Britt Emme and Aaron Sagers, who you might recognize from the Travel Channel’s Paranormal Caught on Camera.
What inspired you to start your podcast?
Aaron: When we met, we immediately began trading stories of the paranormal, true crime, and legends. As time went on, I lamented the lack of younger women who had a voice in the paranormal, the field in which I was known for. Together, we decided it would be exciting to combine our shared knowledge and curiosity of the paranormal with true crime stories.
Britt: We want the podcast to feel like you’re grabbing a drink with us at your favorite bar- because these are exactly the conversations we have when we’re out! I also like showing our age differences, we’re about ten years apart so we can encompass a lot- I might talk about a crime from the 80’s and he can chime in with cultural things because he lived through it. And as a retail manager, I can’t really talk about these kinds of things at work. True crime isn’t acceptable “water cooler chat” (yet!!) but it’s great to see how podcasts are normalizing this and bringing social issues to the front.
What got you interested in true crime? Was there a murder in your hometown? A story that has always haunted you?
Britt: I was raised in a pretty anxious family, where the “bad man” was always hiding in the dark watching you, and watching Halloween really brought that to life for me- and it’s still my most favorite horror movie. In middle school in the suburbs of Chicago, I would check out library books on the mob, and watch the good, the bad, and the unbelievably terrible horror movie with my best friend. I just find the psychology of people so interesting, and true crime gives you the balance of that- the horrifying minds of these killers, but also the unbelievable strength of the survivors.
Aaron: I have always been fascinated by tales of odd crimes, and having grown up in Florida, there was a lot of weird to go around. Tales of serial killers, and strange disappearance in swamps was part of my upbringing. Plus, I was always fascinated with the paranormal, and those tales are often associated with the macabre. However, things became “real” for me when my uncle Danny was murdered by the police — beaten by eight corrections officers while restrained — and my father snuck a camera into a hospital room to document the evidence (which was the catalyst to a case that earned a lot of media attention in the state). Taking part in that as a family, and even helping my father write a statement to the media, was formative. I was inspired to study journalism, and I became a reporter. Although I ultimately moved into entertainment, and then ended up working in paranormal reality television, I reported on cases, was on crime scenes, and saw murder victims. That stuck with me (and is a big reason why I didn’t pursue a hard news career).
What’s a murder, disappearance, or crime story that keeps you up at night?
Britt: I’m Elisa Lam obsessed! Personally, i feel like it was someone who worked at the hotel at some point who had access to everything. Also the whole energy of the Cecile hotel- having Richard Ramirez stay there as well as many other criminals, it’s just a fascinating story. We also did an episode on Brian Schaeffer, who went completely missing from a bar in Ohio– I think he passed on, but during the episode Aaron brought up some really good points that now has me wondering if he is out there.
Aaron: For me, it’s personal. One of my best friends went missing when we were both about 27. Though some dismissed his disappearance as a suicide, his car and wallet were found, but authorities never found any remains. To be blunt, I believe his case did not receive the attention it deserved because he was not a white kid. I continue to think of my friend often, and his disappearance continues to plague me 15 years later.
What true crime podcasts are you listening to right now? If podcasts aren’t your thing, we would also love to hear about a spooky book you’re reading or your favorite murder-related tv show!
Britt: All the podcasts! If you haven’t listened to episode 13 of Sinisterhood what are you waiting for? Season one of She Says by Sarah Delia was so powerful, and I love smaller podcasts like Happy Hour Gets Weird. And of course the biggies- MFM, Criminal, and I Survived. I’m also a huge book nerd- currently reading Tana French’s The Witch Elm right now, I also can not wait to read Riley Sagers new book Home Before Dark— all of his books are ones I can’t put down. For TV I’ve been watching the Trial By Media series on netflix that’s really well done, and I just watched the Lifetime movie I Was Lorena Bobbitt which was narrated by Lorena Gallo herself– which I liked. Sinisterhood did a really great episode series on her, I think it’s wonderful that she is getting her power back and able to tell her side of the story.
Aaron: My podcast preferences skew to the paranormal, or to shows that combined unexplained phenomena with true crime. With that in mind, I love Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know, which combines it all. I am also a fan of Darkness Radio hosted by Dave Schrader (who appears on The Holzer Files, and hosted Coast to Coast AM) which explores all manner of weird topics, and has a great True Crime Tuesday. True Crime of yesterday becomes the material for lore of modern times, so I also dig the New England Legends podcast co-hosted by author Jeff Belanger.
How can our readers find and support you?
We hope you give us a listen if you like true crime, paranormal, and tangents on things from pop culture!
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nightmerica/id1503354856
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