- Dominik Bonabarte
- Jordan Bonaparte is the creator and host of the Night Time Podcast, which chronicles stories of the unexplained and true crime, focusing on Atlantic Canada.
The No Sleep Podcast, Season 7, Episode 15
The Coast: Most of your recommendations are true crime or non-fiction, but this is all fictional short horror stories.
Bonaparte: Where it comes from is a sub-Reddit called NoSleep. It's basically a spot for people who write horror fiction to post their stories. The podcast is a spin-off of that. It's different writers all the time contributing stories, different voice actors. For me, what's so awesome about No Sleep, is it's not just a couple guys putting it together. It's a whole community of people contributing the art and the stories.
What makes this episode stand out?
I like every episode they've done. This is a good crash course, a good mix of stories.
True Crime Garage, Episode 37
This episode is about the Tara Calico photograph, or what most people assume is a photograph of Tara Calico?
I listen to every episode of True Crime Garage, but this episode in particular, as I was listening to it, I just felt itchy. The story's so creepy and eerie, and the possibilities are so intense as to what could be going on in the photo.
There’s an armchair detective quality to these guys. A lot of these podcasts fall in between people chronicling a case versus those trying to solve it.
Overall, it's a double-edged sword. It can be really good. The story of Serial and all that, the armchair detective attention drawn to that case led to him getting a new trial, or whatever's going to happen. The same with the West Memphis Three, they got a lot of publicity from documentaries that were made. So it can have its positives, but it can definitely have its negatives when it gets out of control. I think the biggest problem would be if the armchair detectives manage to get some good information or uncover some leads, but they're not following the appropriate procedure to have that able to be used in court.
How have family members of the people you’ve covered reacted to your podcast?
There's one case in particular, the disappearance of Emma Fillipoff. I covered it in a three-part series. In the second part of the episode, Emma's mother Shelley was on and described the events leading up to her daughter's disappearance and subsequent search. Shortly after my interview, Shelley and her son were arrested, unrelated to Emma's disappearance, but were arrested and charged with drug trafficking and weapon possession. I had reached out to Shelley and offered to talk with her again about her daughter's disappearance, and she agreed to go on the show and ended up addressing the charges against her, which CBC caught wind of. The exposure my show got led to me to being able to get in touch with one of the main suspects in her daughter's disappearance. That was a case where I didn't really intend to get involved. Just the way everything fell together, I found myself in the middle of it.
Reply All, On the Inside
Speaking of Serial, this starts off very similar. It even has the collect call message from inside the prison.
I love Reply All because it's technology stories and I love being online. This story in particular I found was interesting. This guy's in jail writing a blog, and his mother's involved kind of policing what he says. That was all neat, but when you get to hear him talk, he sounds very creepy and does not sound like anyone I'd want to be near. He sounds like a voice from your nightmares. Then, when the crime is described and the different characters come into play, I just found the whole thing unsettling and eerie.
How do you choose a topic for your podcast?
When I first set out, I thought if I made a podcast I'd need some stories. So I set out to make a list, and I think I probably listed about 50 stories just off of the top of my head that are from Atlantic Canada that I thought would be interesting. I wanted to stick with newer stories, more recent stories that I could get in touch with the people involved. I'm constantly getting emails from people recommending I cover whatever story's important to them and I add those to my list. At this point I could probably quit my job and release a podcast a day and I don't think I'd run out of story ideas for at least five or six years.
What's one idea you haven't got to yet that you're excited to record soon?
One I'm really excited to get into is one that's very important to me, being a Cape Bretoner, is the maybe murder or maybe accidental death of Clayton Miller, from New Waterford. He was a little bit older than me, but from a nearby town. I'm from Sydney, originally. Clayton's parents and a lot of his supporters firmly believe the police were involved in his death, and they've been lobbying for more information. I've been in touch with the Millers, and we have plans to do something in the future.
Generation Why, Episode 150, Matthew Hoffman
You had the hosts, Aaron and Justin, on your show, right?
I did, yeah, and I was very happy to have them. I love their podcast. I did a story on the Shag Harbour UFO sighting, and wanted someone to come on the show to speculate on what happened there, and I asked and they agreed. They kind of do something similar to me, where they'll pick a random topic and tell the story and talk about it. They go into the paranormal quite often. I was going to put a paranormal episode on this list, but it just so happened I listened to this episode the day before I sent the list and this story's been in my head. The idea of a guy who's obsessed with trees—he hoarded leaves and would collect garbage bags of leaves in his house. And he ended up hiding in the trees next to a house tucked into the woods, watching the family and eventually getting into the house, murdering the majority of the family and keeping the 13-year-old daughter hostage. He seems like a made-up villain, but this is a true story and it's pretty freaky.
Is there a strong community online between podcasters in this genre?
We all work together to co-promote each other and appear on each others' shows. If we ever cover the same cases, it wouldn't be unusual to email the show that covered it before and bounce some ideas or get some information from them. There's right now so many radio stations, production companies that are putting podcasts out, competing against the independent and DIY people. I'm just a guy in my basement. So all of us, we need to stick together and work for the common goal of competing against, you know, CBC, [who] released their true crime podcast called Someone Knows Something.
Missing Maura Murray, Episode 1
Admittedly only hearing the first episode, this seems to look at that armchair detective culture as much as the actual case that spawns it.
If you listen through the series, you'll really hear what happens. This one has probably the most intense armchair detective communities. Of all the insane emails I get, the craziest ones are always related to the episode I did telling the story of Maura Murray's disappearance. These guys, Tim and Lance, they set out to film a documentary about the armchair detective community and why people are so obsessed with this particular case. But you can hear as the episodes go along that they turn from people filming a community to becoming members of the community, and it only takes about three or four episodes before they're turning over stones and questioning the official story. At the point they're at now, it's kind of like a real life Twin Peaks. There's 100 characters, and they're all kinds of crazy.
How do you walk the line between honouring and exploiting these cases of people who’ve disappeared or been murdered?
Whenever there's any doubt, I try to air on the side of being sensitive. I'm not out there creating the podcast to do anything controversial or upset anyone. I'm just trying to keep the stories interesting. I think just because my intentions are pure—I'm not looking to make money—I'm naturally erring on the side of sensitivity. I hope I've never offended anyone. I have received emails from people who were offended by certain things that I said, but it's mainly just me slipping up in my speech and not thinking through carefully what I'm saying. Most recently I did the [Sydney River] McDonalds' murders. I know that a lot of my listeners are local. The people who are affected by these stories are likely either going to listen to it, or their close friends are going to listen to it, and I think about that when i'm putting the stories together. I hope that shows.
Astonishing Legends, Episode 26, Shadow People
You said this is your favourite of the bunch. Why?
This is, in my mind, the best podcast. It's probably not for everybody. They don't really do much true crime. They do more paranormal, the unexplained, but I think what's incredible about this show is the amount of research they do is insane. They go very deep into everything they cover. The hosts are incredible. The production values compete with anything CBC or any of those big companies could do. I think anyone who's into paranormal mysteries or the unexplained, whatever you're doing, you need to stop and listen to Astonishing Legends.
Are we peak shadow people? It seems to be this generation’s alien abduction or Bigfoot sightings.
It's funny you say that. Just before you called my phone buzzed and I picked it up and it was a Canadian TV production company that's just finishing a documentary about shadow people. They wanted to send me a copy and see if I'd do an episode of my show about it. Shadow people, yeah, we're definitely at peak shadow people. The stories are a little strange. I don’t know what I think of it.
Have you ever seen anything of that sort?
Not shadow people. I'll be completely honest, and if you put this in The Coast people will think I'm a nut, but as a kid I did see a UFO, along with my older brother and a bunch of other kids in my neighbourhood. We were all at the top of my street, tobogganing in this backyard of this house. It was sundown. There were maybe 15 of us going down the hill, on our toboggans, our GTs at the time. Out of nowhere, I can remember myself and my brother were walking up the hill, and there was a massive light that lit up the sky and lit up the area surrounding the hill probably brighter than daylight. We just kind of froze on the spot. I don't think I looked up, we just looked at each other in total shock and fear. Then I remember there was just a godawful high-pitched kind of like a bang that just echoed all through the sky, then it went back to the regular darkness of night. Instantly all of the kids there started running up the hill, the younger ones crying and the older ones cursing. We all ran home and told our parents something crazy had happened. None of the parents had heard it, and there was nothing in the papers the next day. None of us can really explain what happened that night. I'm too old now and the details are too foggy to even speculate to what happened. I did see something.