What is 30 Morbid Minutes Podcast about?
30 Morbid Minutes is, in the words of co-host Elyse, a podcast where they explore topics, people and histories of a morbid, macabre, dark and downright grisly nature. A fairly new podcast, having started in March of 2022, as part of the Rooster Teeth network of podcasts alongside others including its sister podcast Ship Hits the Fan, which deals specifically in shipwrecks.
30 Morbid Minutes is run by co-hosts Elyse Willems and Jessica Vasami, friends who share a fascination in the darker corners of the world even if they approach it from different places. The podcast initially started as Elyse Willems found herself down the rabbit hole of internet threads and forums of morbid stories and desperately wanted to discuss it with someone.
This personal interest in the topics really helps make each episode engaging, while the friendship between the two, which is often quite playful as Elyse gently torments Jessica, adds a lot of flavour. While they use a light-hearted approach to help make the topics palatable, the care they take to treat the discussions with respect gives each episode credibility and honesty that can be lost by many.
They take the topic in a rather broad sense, giving us episodes that focus on areas that range from exorcisms to the last meals of death row inmates to the ethics of cloning. The exact structure changes slightly as the podcast progresses, and can vary a bit with each topic, most notably for a stretch of episodes where the two co-hosts attempt to ‘out creep’ each other with surprise topics comprising half of the episode each.
They try to delve as deep as they can into each topic, though are open about when they simply couldn’t cover it all or came at it from a specific approach, and deliver a very educational podcast peppered with enough humour to keep you listening no matter how dark it gets.
Below are ten of the best episodes from this macabre podcast.
1. Sleep Paralysis Demons
The second episode remains one of the strongest, in large part due to the personal experiences co-host Jessica Vasami is able to share. Her stories alone make the episode well worth the listen, but the dive into the science behind the condition and the commonalities of its manifestations is incredibly interesting.
This is also one of the more relatable topics they cover given how many people suffer from it, and it is likely that either you or somebody you know has experienced it at some point, so the insights can prove extra useful and interesting.
2. Obituary Bandits & Grave Robbers
This episode hits on something that can be seen as equally clever and despicable. Elyse and Jessica discuss crimes that may surprise people to learn still occur today, and get into the techniques used and the motivations that surround why someone steals from graves.
Perhaps more interesting is their discussion of obituary bandits, criminals that may make you rethink sharing the news of a deceased one as they use obituaries to learn when homes may be empty and free to plunder. This episode provides many insights into what many may consider a particularly lowly crime.
3. Death On Cruise Ships
It’s no secret that there’s a lot of issues within the cruise ship industry, but in this episode Elyse and Jessica dig a little deeper to reveal some of the real problems while also dispelling some concerns. This is one where almost everyone may find themselves shocked by the facts given, whether because they overestimated the problems or underestimated them.
While perhaps not quite as ‘morbid’ as other episodes, there’s plenty of fascinating facts about a holiday that half a million people are engaged in at any time (a fact I learnt from this episode). This episode also contains a mini discussion with Patrick Brown from the Ship Hits the Fan podcast.
4. Animals On Trial & Death By Prescription
This episode is part of the ‘Elyse and Jessica try to out creep the other with stories they found’ string of episodes. They’re all enjoyable, with the trade off that you get a bit less detail than a full episode but it is replaced with two topics, but this one is particularly interesting. For one half Elyse shares the historical trend of putting animals on trial for crimes and showcases some interesting specific cases (including a lawyer’s clever thinking when his clients, a colony of rats, failed to make an appearance at their trial).
Jessica’s story definitely wins in terms of ‘creep’ factor in this episode though, as she gets into the horrific problem of wrong prescriptions as a result of poor doctor handwriting. This episode is a great one for both laughs and also ensuring you make sure you understand what your doctor is doing in the future.
5. Death At Disney Parks
Jessica and Elyse uncover the dark truth that lingers over ‘the happiest place on Earth’ and other parks under the Disney name. Like the episode on cruise ship deaths, this one may not seem so bad in regards to actual numbers but the pure juxtaposition against the image of the parks and the manner in which deaths are handled are quite eye opening.
They also bring truth to some of the myths that have sprung up around deaths in the parks, or at least question those that do not have certain answers.
6. Vlad the Impaler: A Real Life Dracula?
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Vlad, whether because of his place in history as one of the most violent rulers known or as the inspiration for Bram Stoker;’s Dracula. In this episode Elyse and Jessica go through some of the atrocities associated with him and also tackle whether he truly does have any connection with the famous vampire.
This is definitely one for those with an interest in history, even if the co-hosts admit they weren’t able to discuss everything that Vlad did within the time they gave themselves. They may even just correct some of your own misconceptions.
7. Buried Alive
Something we likely all fear even if we don’t think it will happen to us, in this episode Elyse and Jessica get into exactly why we fear it so much and also why there may be good reasons to do so. This episode is particularly interesting for the way it can be heard how the two co-hosts are affected by the topic, their voices betray how it unsettles them.
They also do a good job at converting exactly how horrifying such a situation could be, building an appropriate atmosphere throughout. They also compiled a list of useful tips for if you ever find yourself buried alive, something you hopefully never need but may just save your life if it is kept tucked away in your mind.
8. Hidden Killers of the Victorian Era
Despite the distance of time between ourselves and the Victorian era, this one somehow still feels rather contemporary as Jessica and Elyse detail all of the dangers Victorians brought into their homes. The co-hosts point out that it can be easy to laugh at them looking back now, but there are still many things that we are still learning the dangers about today. Some places still had at least partial lead piping not too long ago. This episode is worth it, even if only for the story about the parrot that became hooked on natural gas.
9. CTE and the Risks of High Contact Sports
Perhaps their most serious episode so far, given the nature of the disease and events that surround it Jessica and Elyse do their best to treat it with less jokes. This episode makes the list for multiple reasons, both for the awareness of CTE that it helps spread and also for the manner in which they present it.
A major risk for any who play high contact sports, but perhaps one most people don’t know much about. This episode gets into the medical science of CTE, why it is so hard to diagnose, and the sadly infamous cases of people who suffered from CTE.
10. Death Clocks & the Morbid Nature of Time
The topic that is relevant to all of us, nobody can escape, and truly terrifies some amongst us. In what is most certainly their most existential episode, Elyse and Jessica break down what itr is believed time is and how it impacts the way we live. They also get into why our perception of it changes as we get older and how modern living is changing it even further. This episode also gives us a bit of a behind-the-scenes as they explain exactly how the podcasts’ name, time frame, and art came to be.
Which are your favourite episodes of 30 Morbid Minutes?
Have you listened to the 30 Morbid Minutes podcast? Are any of the episodes on this list your favourites?
Let us know on social media.