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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (podcast)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Source: BBC Radio 4


The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (adapted by Julian Simpson) is a fictional true-crime podcast that mainly takes place in Rhode Island in the USA as well as other areas within Europe. The two main characters, Matthew Heawood and Kennedy Fisher, follow the case of Charles Dexter Ward, a man who vanished from an insane asylum. The two find that they have enveloped themselves into the affairs of a cult revolving around a mysterious being.


Matthew Heawood

The Episodes

Episode 1

Allusions to real life people and events

Many of the scenes mentioned in the podcast series alluded to real life events or places that took place in the past. For example, in Episode 7 of the series, when Dr Eleanor Peck (the historian) is talking about Ipqu Aya’s history, she mentions the destruction of the ancient city of Nineveh, which was a real city in Upper Mesopotamia in 612BC, as well as the stone tablets from after the destruction of Nineveh, and how they played into the history of Ipqu Aya. In the story, it was said that before being executed, Ipqu Aya transferred his soul into a “temporary vessel” and carved his teachings on the stone tablets for how to perform the ritual for Ipqu Aya’s soul to be transferred into one of his children. However, it was also said that these stone tablets were temporarily lost in the ruins of Nineveh. This event in the story of Ipqu Aya alludes to the real-life destruction of the ancient city and how the stone tablets were found after the destruction of Nineveh.

Allusions to fictional works

There are quite a few allusions to fictional pieces of work in the podcast, since it is fiction itself, but pretending to be as real as possible. There are also many allusions to real-life events, but the fictional ones are quite interesting.

Connections to the Cthulhu Mythos

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, as well as the other 2 seasons of The Lovecraft Investigations were largely inspired by multiple short stories that H.P. Lovecraft wrote, which all took place in the same fictional universe, named the Cthulhu Mythos. Although The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a reimagined, modernised adaptation of Lovecraft’s short story of the same name, certain elements of the podcast have direct connections to the original short story, and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Differences to the novel

The podcast of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward highlights an “outsider’s” perspective of this tale of Charles Dexter Ward for the audience to feel a sense of realism within this story as compared to the novel where the audience is stationed more into a story-telling point of view. Although both plots are based off the same story and tale about Charles Dexter Ward, this much more “modernised” approach to the tale within this podcast acknowledges audiences to experience and engage within this story with references about real life events (eg. Hitler, Austin Heyward Layard, etc.), to enhance the communication between reality and fantasy.


[1] Wikipedia. (2021). Necronomicon. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necronomicon



Teacher of Literature and Philosophy, prolific reader and sometime writer

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Blair Mahoney

Blair Mahoney

Teacher of Literature and Philosophy, prolific reader and sometime writer