Author: Tia Brisco
Orlando, Florida, renowned for its vibrant theme parks and sun-kissed skies, recently embraced a darker allure as the host of this year’s CrimeCon. As I navigated this realm of mystery and advocacy, my perspective as a Black woman, therapist, and true crime enthusiast deeply influenced my journey, enriching every interaction and observation.
CrimeCon is not just another convention; it’s a gathering of hearts bound by a shared passion. Unlike pop culture conventions where attendees might don cosplay or peruse artist alleys filled with comics, its entire vibe centers on true crime supporters and advocates for victims. It’s a gathering of people engaging, sharing, and remembering. My time in Orlando was nothing short of unforgettable. From meeting podcasters and TV personalities I’ve admired for years to listening to experts advocate for victims, every moment was a revelation. The tales of how some of the most notorious criminals, like the Golden State Killer and the Pulse nightclub shooter, were brought to justice sent chills down my spine. And, of course, the swag was the cherry on top!
Being a true crimer goes beyond mere fascination with crime stories. It’s about seeking justice, understanding the human psyche, and advocating for victims. It’s a community bound by a shared desire to make sense of the inexplicable and to ensure that victims are never forgotten. This passion drives enthusiasts to dig deeper, ask questions, and engage in meaningful discussions about the broader implications of crime on society.
Preparation for CrimeCon wasn’t just about gearing up mentally; it was also about making a statement and being practically prepared. My custom shirt, proclaiming “Therapist By Day True Crimer By Night,” was a hit, bridging my professional world with my passion for true crime. Beyond the attire, I ensured I had comfortable shoes for the extensive walking, a portable charger to keep my devices juiced up, and a notebook to jot down intriguing insights. And for those looking to network, having business cards (I prefer using digital ones) on hand proved invaluable in connecting with fellow true crime enthusiasts.
Among the sea of attendees and sessions, a few moments stood out. Meeting the team behind the Moms and Mysteries podcast was a highlight, as was my interview with the ATL Homicide. I was also honored to interview Madison McGhee about her podcast, Ice Cold Case, which focuses on solving her father’s murder decades later. But it wasn’t just about the event. Setting foot in Florida, a state I’d never visited, added excitement to the entire experience.
While CrimeCon was a treasure trove of experiences, it highlighted an essential issue: representation. Among the myriad of podcasters, only a handful represented People of Color. It was both an honor and a stark reminder of the work that still needs to be done. The few POC speakers and podcasters present, like Ice Cold Case and Thunderfoot Productions, were doing commendable work for the culture, but we need more voices to represent the diverse world of true crime.
My background as a therapist added another dimension to my CrimeCon experience. Every story, every victim, brought forth a wave of empathy. I often pondered the mental toll on victims’ families, who bravely shared their heart-wrenching tales. The discussions around mental health, especially from law enforcement officers who dealt with traumatic events like the Pulse shooting, were enlightening. It was heartening to see the emphasis on mental well-being, a topic close to my heart.
The intersection of true crime and mental health is a delicate balance. While the event primarily focuses on crime stories and investigations, the underlying theme of mental health is ever-present. Sessions like ‘Killer Psyche’ delve into the minds of criminals, offering a glimpse into their motivations and mental states. But it’s not just about understanding the perpetrators; it’s also about empathizing with the victims and recognizing the lasting trauma that crime inflicts on individuals and communities.
From interactive sessions with K-9 units to deep dives into cases like the murder of Robert Wone, every aspect of CrimeCon was on point, offering a whirlwind of information and experiences. The session on forensic genetic genealogy was particularly intriguing, shedding light on how this tool is revolutionizing crime-solving.
If you’re considering attending CrimeCon in the future, plan your day. The event is packed with sessions; you’ll want to make the most of it. And be prepared for an avalanche of swag!
To those looking to jump into the world of true crime, the CrimeCon website is a treasure trove. And for podcast enthusiasts, these are the gems I suggested getting to: Moms and Mysteries, Thunderfoot Productions, Ice Cold Case, and Fruityloops.
The announcement of CrimeCon UK in London next year is a testament to the event’s growing influence and reach. Seeing the true crime community expand globally is exciting, offering enthusiasts worldwide a platform to connect, share, and advocate. The anticipation for the next CrimeCon is already building, and I can’t wait to immerse myself once again in this captivating world.
CrimeCon was more than just an event; it was a journey. A journey into the heart of true crime, interspersed with personal reflections and professional insights. As I left Orlando, my heart was full, and my mind was buzzing with ideas, stories, and a renewed passion for advocacy and understanding.