Longtime theater buddies Sylas Dean and the monomynous Stew have hit gold with CreepTime the Podcast, their very fun, very informative look at often unacknowledged stories involving true crime.
Loyal fans, known as Creepers, tune in each week to listen to Dean, who is queer, recount another well researched-tale for the always engaged, frequently hilarious Stew. WCT recently caught up with the two during the launch of their second season of the podcast, which proves that the macabre belongs on the airwaves and in our hearts every day of the year, not just during the Halloween season.
Windy City Times: We live in a world where the "other" are consistently at risk. What about the stories that you cover draws you towards them, and does the telling of them empower you in any way?
Sylas Dean: We always feel a special connection to queer stories, and specifically to our queer fans who listen each week. Minority communities are all too often at the forefront of the cases we look at, and the lack of coverage for their stories is at the core of why so many of these cases go unsolved. Stew and I know the importance of continuing to lean into these stories, specifically queer stories, for those who've maybe never heard them, and to give a wider reach to voices that are all too often ignored in the media.
Stew: We want to be simultaneously informative, compelling, and lighthearted. But with that, I think our focus first and foremost is to keep the victim in mind and to honor them. And it's no secret that minorities are often the target of these heinous acts. I think it's important to draw attention to it and Sylas always does a great job of acknowledging that without pushing a personal agenda on our listeners.
WCT: You've reached one million downloads now. Is there an incident that you've covered that you think of as the quintessential CreepTime experience?
SD: How could we not talk about "county?" It's become the mantra of the show: "Can't trust county." I don't think we ever sought out to create such a long-standing inside joke for the fans, but right from the second episode we just caught a pattern of county police either dropping the ball or covering something up, and it's somehow found its way into almost every case we've covered since. No matter which episode you listen to, you're going to get your dose of "can't trust county" with almost any story we find.
WCT: It's the Halloween season and, since the days of Universal horror films, fright fans have always loved a good mash-up. What bad-ass survivor of one story would you love to introduce into another to help take down the villain of that piece?
Stew:Oh man. We have only covered a handful of survival stories on the podcast, so I might bend the rules here and name a survivor who I wish could help us solve one of the unsolved ones. We always reference Teka Adams in our podcast, as she was one of the first survival stories we ever covered. Warning: This is gruesome! Teka was legitimately cut open while pregnant, and still managed to keep her faith and make it out of a days' long torturous situation alive. With her perseverance, I would love to get her on the investigative teams for both Kendrick Johnson and Tamla Horsford, two African American victims that weren't given the proper treatment by law enforcement. With Teka Adam's maternal nature and determination (not to mention the sheer power of adrenaline this woman possesses!) I think she could help us finally track down the killers of both Kendrick and Tamla.
WCT: That's amazing! Let's make that happen, Stew! That said, you're barreling headfirst into a second exciting season. What can readers of the Windy City Times expect from this new year of the show?
SD: We have the WILDEST season ahead of us. I really kind of shudder at the thought of what's to come in Season 2. I shouldn't say this, but there is a secret master doc we have with our Spotify team that has all our planned episodes and specials listed out through episode 100! But we knew Halloween was going to have to be something special, so we're taking each week as an opportunity to dial up the horror and try new formats, cases, and stories with the Creepers.
Stew: I think they can expect Sylas and I to really send it. We launched the new season with a brand-new intro song, all new cover art, and Sylas has been cranking out incredible retro-style ad campaigns that feature us in classic horror, mystery and true-crime tropes. The Creepers have been so giving with their time and attentionnot to mention their encouragement. It really keeps Sylas and I going. We feel like they are our friends sitting with us every week, and we owe it to them to make Season 2 a home run.
CreepTime the Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.