Why are we so fascinated by true crime?

9NEWS @ 9. 9/21/2016

KUSA - The murder of JonBenet Ramsey is being revisited through a national six-hour docu-series titled The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey. It  follows other extremely popular TV shows in recent months about so-called "true crime" stories - including a series about OJ Simpson, and the case in Wisconsin that inspired "Making a Murderer."

What we asked is why? Why are people so drawn to these types of stories?

RELATED: CBS Panel: Burke Ramsey killed sister JonBenet

When the Ramsey TV special aired on Sunday evening it registered a 2.2 rating, or 8.5 million viewers.

The Emmy’s registered a 2.8 rating.

“It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because once these things get national coverage they begin to put us all into a state where we have a vested interest,” said Syracuse University professor Bob Thompson in an interview Wednesday.

Thompson is one of the nation’s most revered pop-culture experts.

“It's like ‘cerealized’ television. I hate to say this and I don't mean to be glib; the very coverage of the story makes us want more coverage,” he added.

In January this year leading sociologist Scott Bonn authored a TIME magazine article titled “Why We Are Drawn to True Crime.”
In it he lists adrenaline as a major factor. We like experiencing the fear of these incidents without their associated danger.

He goes on to mention how it’s voyeuristic in a sense.

We want to solve crimes and act live detectives ourselves.

“There's all these kinds of things that invite us into the story and allows to speculate,” Thompson said.

Thompson and Bonn both agree there aren’t specific formula that causes certain stories to gain notoriety. Much of it deals with timing.

In Ramsey’s case it happened when 24-hour news channels began surfacing, which gave it a consistent platform for discussion.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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