“When Matthew MaGill died alone in the woods on the Florida-Georgia border, he left behind a box filled with the artifacts of an incredible life. A series of coincidences leads reporter Eric Mennel to the box, sending him on a five-year search to understand the truth about its owner.”
Stay Away from Matthew MaGill is an unusual podcast. It’s the story of a man who earned a reputation for being unusually handsome, stubborn and prone to telling tall tales. It’s also the story of secrets and the spaces they occupy between us, family and friends.
Blending investigation and personal memoir, Eric Mennel extends the boundaries of what one might expect from either genre. He begins by building an understanding of Matthew MaGill’s life through the contents of the box. At the same time, Eric is grappling with the relationship dynamics of his own family.
Eric bravely chooses to reconcile with family, a choice we presume Matthew MaGill did not make. Eric’s personal reflections on this process, as well as those of his family members, are included alongside the story of Matthew MaGill.
“Along the way, the questions I was asking about him – they just became a little entangled with things that were going on in my own life,” said Mennel. “The show is largely about the journey that I go on to reconnect with my family – with the help of Matthew MaGill’s box.”
In this episode of MetaPod, we talk to Eric about the contents of the box that Matthew MaGill left behind and how people earn the reputation as ‘someone to stay away from’. Eric explains the research that he undertook to understand who exactly Matthew was. We also discuss the provocative blend of investigation and personal memoir in the podcast.
Show notes for Stay Away From Matthew MaGill
- Woodbine, Georgia, At The Center Of A New Podcast
- FSU creative writing alumnus wins Edward R. Murrow Award
About Eric Mennel
Eric Mennel is an award-winning journalist and podcast producer. He is host of the new podcast, Stay Away from Matthew MaGill. His work has appeared on This American Life, NPR, StartUp, 99% Invisible, and lots of other shows. He’s won Edward R. Murrow Awards for his work on The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow, and for his reporting at WUNC in North Carolina. In 2013 he helped create the podcast, Criminal. He is currently a senior producer at Pineapple Street Studios.