Best friends Molly Schmock and Robyn Booth host the “Home is Where the Murder Is” podcast. Photo by Matt Geiger.

Only murders in the buildings

“Imagination, of course, can open any door - turn the key and let terror walk right in.”

-Truman Capote, 

In Cold Blood

The idea came to Robyn Booth while she was drinking a glass of wine in the shower: A podcast about murders and the homes in which they occurred.

Booth and her best friend, Molly Schmock, both of whom work in real estate, knew that every wall in every house has a story to tell. They would seek out ones to make people’s blood run cold.

“What if we did stories about cases that happened in homes and what happened to the homes?” she wondered as she sipped her glass in the billowing steam.

And so, in early 2023, the “Home is Where the Murder Is” podcast was born. The two friends convened above the Driftless Social in downtown Mount Horeb to chat about cases. A gruesome Thanksgiving double homicide. The life and horrific times of Ed Gein, the infamous Butcher of Plainfield, AKA the Plainfield Ghoul. The Amityville Horror. The Halloween Murder of Doreen Erbert. They and their growing audience mined chills – but also a few laughs – at the absurd depravity of which the human species is capable.

While the podcast deals with the grimmest of topics, the friendship upon which it is built is of the most wholesome variety. Both have called Mount Horeb home since childhood, and their bond has been galvanized by the many ups and downs of both youth and adulthood over 27 years.

“We met in fourth grade, at the [Intermediate Center School],” Schmock says.

“Molly was the only person who would talk to me, so I hung onto that pretty hard…” jokes Booth.

“…and we’ve been friends ever since,” finishes Schmock.

They start and finish many of each other’s sentences, but they rarely talk over one another, a skill that comes in handy when recording a podcast.

They were Vikings together, playing a variety of sports in school, and their friendship never wavered as they grew into careers, motherhood and the various responsibilities of being a grownup. While Schmock always loved scary movies, Booth said her interest in the macabre didn’t emerge until high school. When she was 15, while visiting Milwaukee for a dance event, she stumbled upon a book about one of Wisconsin’s most famous residents: cannibal, necrophiliac and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

“I read it cover-to-cover,” she says,“and became obsessed with serial killers.”

Years later, in 2023, Schmock and Booth decided to come out of the true crime closet, so to speak, and they quickly discovered they aren’t the only ones who like a good story of murder.

Initially, the idea was only to use homicide houses to grow their real estate networking capability. During early brainstorming sessions, they hoped to talk about death, real estate, and Bon Jovi, and while they were not (yet) able to find a way to organically make the singer a regular part of their podcast, the murder and real estate connection made for fascinating listening that transcended their original goals. Recording in a small kitchen directly over the top of the Driftless Social at 128 East Main Street, the episodes reach people far and wide.

“We’ve only been doing this since March, we bought all our equipment on Amazon, and we’re still learning,” says Booth. “We’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants. We work full-time jobs. We have kids. But we hold each other accountable and if one of us can’t pull together an episode, the other one will.”

One might wonder what effect bloodstains on the carpets have on the value of a residential home? Well, it’s complicated.

“Jeffrey Dahmer’s first murder happened in Ohio at the family home,” Booth explains. “Initially, that house depreciated so fast. But then, as the interest in true crime sort of grew, it just went up and up and up.”

“I think nowadays people want to live in a murder house because of the story that comes with it,” she adds. “One thing I’ve learned in real estate is, it’s all about what the walls know.”

Schmock agrees: “It’s human nature to want the dirt.”

“And,” Booth says, “at the end of the day, people actually die in their homes all the time, of natural causes and things like that, too.”

Sometimes, when faced with the horrid things people are capable of, all any sane person can do is laugh. And laughing is something both the “Home is Where the Murder Is” hosts and their growing fanbase do quite a lot.

“You have to make it a little lighter because the subject matter is so heavy,” Booth says. “A lot of our listeners know we do joke a bit, and if we didn’t, I think it would all be too much, too heavy.”

“We’re also complete wierdos, ourselves,” Schmock laughs.

“Yeah,” agrees Booth. “For one thing, we’re from the Midwest, so we pronounce a lot of words incorrectly.”

While they haven’t even been producing the podcast a full year, Schmock and Booth are closing in on 50 episodes. They show no signs of slowing down, and their fanbase is growing rapidly. It’s all in a day’s work for this local duo. They sum it up this way: “Our down time is true crime.”

Visit homeiswherethemurderis.com to start listening.

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