236 – The Sound Of The Supernatural: Music And Metaphysics With Praga Khan From Lords of Acid

Music is universal across human culture. Doesn’t matter what language you speak or where you from, singing and dancing is an essential part of the human experience, just ask Kevin Bacon…

If anyone ever asks you about cocaine consumption in the 1980s, just point them here…

There was a video that made the rounds a few years ago that showed normally unresponsive Alzheimer’s Patients reacting to the music of their youth. And it underlines the point that songs can activate a part of our brain that conscious interaction cannot get to. Frank Zappa famously called “writing about music” like “dancing about architecture”, because you’re trying to describe something through reading and writing that can only be experienced through listening. We’ve talked about binaural beats before (and even created a Star Trek-inspired binaural beats song!), which are two frequencies played in each ear that are a different pitch by a certain number of Hertz, your mind processes that difference and according to an automatic process in our brains called “Frequency Following Response” will start producing brainwaves at that Hertz.

And these brainwaves are associated with different states of consciousness, such as meditation and deep sleep. So, science has shown that music provides a natural and automatic way to alter your consciousness. But we knew how to do this long before we had the technology to measure Hertz, we did it through rituals and dance.

When we talked with Dean Radin about his book, Real Magic, the real lesson that stuck is that magic actually can work, but that the ceremony is the most important part of it. Somehow, it’s the going through the motions that puts your mind into gnosis (A Greek word that means to literally “knowledge”), which is an altered state of consciousness that seems to be key in creating real changes in the brain, where psychic phenomena (“magic”) can happen.

That seems to be a modern explanation for something that Shamans have known for millennia. In fact, research has even been done into how altered states of consciousness can play a role in Native American healing and how they achieve those states is through music and dance.

We also talk about the tradition of the sweat lodges, a ritual meant to promote healing, where participants sit in a small hut that gets hotter and hotter while being led in sacred prayer and songs by tribal elders. There is also the jingle dress dance which is a sacred dance of healing that was popularized in the Twentieth Century by a girl who performed the dance to save her own life from the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918… and it worked!

Interestingly enough, when it comes to rituals, you don’t even have to be the one performing the most extreme part to feel the most altered. Being there might be good enough. In fact, there was a study done about extreme rituals (where some of the participants were dancing and some others were temporarily piercing their bodies) and they found that the piercers didn’t necessarily achieve any greater altered state than the non-piercers. To the surprise of the researchers, every participant seemed to have been affected by the ritual in an equal way.

And when it comes to extreme rituals and altered states and dancing, the first thing we think about in the modern world is a rave. Hours of non-stop dancing, drugs, and crazy costumes, all add up to a recipe where people can enter this particular state.

Belgian electronic musician Praga Khan is probably best known for his outrageous techno and industrial act, Lords of Acid. With hits like “Pussy” and “I Must Increase My Bust”, them, they’re known for tongue-in-cheek sexually charged dance anthems.

As Praga says in the interview, when Lords of Acid come to a city it’s a chance for that town to let their freak flag fly. People get dressed up in fetish gear and come out to celebrate . We talked to him to preview his show in Milwaukee at the Miramar Theatre on March 7th, but we also wanted to discuss the album he made with Zak Bagans called NecroFusion, where Zak sent Praga EVPs and then the musician put beats behind them (even Bobby Mackey makes a guest vocal appearance!)

For this episode’s song, we wanted to make sure to capture some of the ridiculous oversexed raver energy that made the Lords of Acid so much fun in the first place. We thought we’d leave subtlety far far behind and just go ahead and say what they didn’t on the NecroFusion album, I want some “Ghost Sex”!

I’m gonna haunt ya
scare the pants off ya
I think tonight you’ll believe
A spooky surprise
you might not believe your eyes
when you see what’s under Casper’s sheet

Ghost sex
I want some ghost sex
Ghost sex
I want some ghost sex
Get down with a phantasm
A face full of ectoplasm
Yeah I’m gonna do it with a specter tonight.
This apparition is a freakin
And you’ve got my K2 peakin’
A paranormal lover from the other side

you might be a little scared
if you’re unprepared
I’m gonna capture you on EVP
But don’t get creeped out
tonight I’m gonna find out
just why they call her “The Brown Lady”

Ghost sex
I want some ghost sex
Ghost sex
I want some ghost sex

Get down with a phantasm
A face full of ectoplasm
Yeah I’m gonna do it with a specter tonight.
This apparition is a freakin
And you’ve got my K2 peakin’
A paranormal lover from the other side

234 – Serial Killers Are Not Hot: The Ghost of Ted Bundy

After being dead for almost three decades, serial killer Ted Bundy is back in the news. Of course, true crime TV shows are in big time since Making A Murderer set the world on fire three years ago, so Netflix is continuing the trend with their come series, Confessions of a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. It’s the first thing you see when you open Netflix and people are reacting to it.

Now Ted Bundy was a charismatic guy in real life and he’s been played by Hollywood heartthrob Mark Harmon and is there’s currently a movie where he’s going to be played by former teen idol, Zac Efron. So many people have been commenting about how good-looking this brutal serial killer/rapist/necrophiliac was, that Netflix this week had to issue a statement letting people know that talking about how Ted Bundy is attractive is not really that cool.

So, Ted is back in the news, but that’s not the only reason. Jumping in on the trend, Ghost Adventures  star Zak Bagans just bought Ted Bundy’s glasses for $50,000 so that he can display them in his haunted museum in Las Vegas. That’s almost twice what he paid for the Demon House in Gary, Indiana.

Now there’s no guarantee that Ted Bundy actually wore the glasses, but they did find them in a car that he had stolen, so chances are that they’re his. Is it a cursed object? Well, the jury is still out, but people have been seeing Ted Bundy’s ghost since shortly after he was executed. In fact, the story goes that so many guards were seeing his ghost in the electric chair that they refused to enter the execution room alone. Other guards say that he was taunting them from beyond the grave, saying things like “Well, I beat you guys, didn’t I?” Messed up. Reminds me of Horace Pinker from Wes Craven’s criminally underrated Shocker, where the killer is about to be electrocuted and they ask him, “Does the prisoner have any final words?” and he replies, “Yeah, no more Mr. Nice Guy.”

The Megadeth version of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” on the Shocker soundtrack is Epic as well!

My sister Allison closed out the episode by also brings out an interesting story she heard this week about how former New Age guru Doreen Virtue turned around and renounced her former Pagan ways and became a Born Again Christian. She says that all the stuff she used to believe in was actually a pathway to The Devil and Doreen’s recent blogpost, “An A-Z List of New Age Practices to Avoid, And Why” proceeds to tell us why everything from Harry Potter to Yoga are evil and anti-Christian.

Well, that blogpost wasn’t about to go unanswered and Warlock Christian Day decided to rebut her alphabetical proclamations with his own blogpost, “A Former New-Ager Turned Fundie Christian Wackjob To Avoid, And Why”. It’s always a pleasure to read good writers debate each other, especially when we’re talking about magic and religion. Sometimes it’s just fun to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And when you get through both articles, it seems like the only thing that these two can agree on is that faeries are dangerous. And I think that’s something even Ozzy can agree with!

Also, in this episode we wanted to follow up a little bit on last episode’s conversation about the guy that ran through the gates at the Nevada National Security Site (the former Nevada Nuclear Test Site). To me it seemed that it was unthinkable to roll through the security gates at a military facility because you’re just going to be killed onsite, but it sounds like it happens a lot more than we think (this one was just reported by the news.) One of our Patreon members (and frequent idea contributors!), author C.E. Martin let us know in an email exactly how and why these security breaches happen more often than we think, here’s what he wrote:

1. Someone who wants to do mischief.

I once hear a story of a base in where the Swords to Plowshares group cut through the fence and stormed onto an alert area, some maniac running toward a B-5 with a sledge hammer. He actually reached the plane and managed to get several swings in on it. The guard in a tower watching over these alert-ready, engines-running, nuclear laden bombers had fallen asleep. Thankfully, the guards on foot saw it and stopped the hippy terrorist before too much damage was done (to the plane–the intruder did not fare very well, surviving the beating they took, but just barely).

2. Someone who wants to protest.

Shortly after Desert Storm, my base in Germany, Rhein Main (Frankfurt) was the central air hub for anything going from the eastern US to the Gulf. We had heightened security and a regular assortment of protestors at our gates. One night, when I was actually off duty (after months of no days off, we finally got to work a 6-and-1 as everything came back from the Gulf). Again, it was some group like Swords and Plowshares (or maybe it was them again) cut through the fence and brought an entrourage onto the base–including a camel! They were stopped relatively quickly just inside the fence. They were also fortunate enough not to have gotten roughed up too bad, I was told. (I was sure mad I missed this crazy occurrence).

3. Mistaken travel.

In California, (McClellan AFB, in Sacramento) we were at the end of a major roadway. People often got turned around and ended up at that gate asking for directions. This was the back side of the base–the opposite side being near the highway. People were trying to get to that highway, but the base was in the way. One night, a drunk driver drove through the fence, dodging the gateshack he almost ran over. He ended up on the runway (which he later confessed he thought was the highway) and almost struck the Sacramento Sheriff’s helicopter that had been coming in to refuel for patrol (they rented hangar space from the USAF). I was the closest patrol and got to drive hellbent for leather (something we NEVER were supposed to do) past airplanes and hangars and out onto the runway to get to this guy. With the day-time-like helicopter light’s assistance, i found the truck crashed into a huge drainage ditch at the far end of the runway, and snagged the perp, who had a partially-consumed case of beer in his truck with him. There’s more to that story about toxic waste, me ruining a pair of boots, and almost breaking the guy’s wrists, but I’ll save it for another time…

4. Refusal to follow orders.

Anyone coming onto a military base is subject to search and seizure. Your constitutional rights are suspended when it comes to that. This is to prevent bombs and what not from coming on and damaging resources. Occasionally, someone doesn’t want to comply with a vehicle search (they were picked at random when I was in). In my case, again, back in Germany, an Army sergeant decided he wasn’t going to comply and started to race forward. I jumped in front of his car and put my hand on my gun (he later claimed i drew my pistol, but I don’t think I did). He turned the car around and sped away. This was a back gate on the base, leading directly into the housing area. I called it in and patrols went searching for him… and found him very quick. In his haste to escape, he had lost control of his fancy short-dick sports car and crashed it into a guard rail, doing a considerable amount of damage. He was brought back onto the base, I confirmed his identity and, long story short, he was dishonorably discharged for the whole incident (I think he was also driving drunk or something–can’t recall that part).

Now, while these are just four stories, I assure you, running the gate, while not a “regular” occurrence, is common enough not to be unheard of. During Desert Storm, back in Germany again, we anticipated this problem to the point that at both the main gate and Crash Shortdick’s base housing gate, we had two special patrols parked and ready: Ram-1 and Ram-2. Ram-1 was an armored car, Ram:2 was a regular Humvee. The role of the person sitting in these vehicles, engines running for 12 hour shifts (minus a brief swap out for refueling), was to RAM any vehicle running the gate, to prevent them from reaching anywhere on base. Side note, when the air war kicked off in January 1991, I was actually manning Ram-1 at the main gate. Several of the wives of guys in our unit, who regularly helped bring everyone sandwiches and snacks and stuff while we were on duty, went out and delivered the news that the air war had started.

C.E. Martin, author, USAF vet, and former criminal investigator

Quick hits for other things we mention in the podcast:

For the song this episode, we were thinking about how being a ghost wouldn’t be that great. You’re always stuck hanging around the places that you used to live and work, or worse were killed. After all, Ted Bundy isn’t haunting the sites of his infamous murders, he’s haunting the place where he himself was executed for his crimes. Or maybe now he’s going to haunt Zak Bagans’ museum, roaming around a bunch of musty artifacts and interacting with tourists looking to “touch” some piece of morbid history. Movies and TV shows always treat immortality as a curse more than a blessing, so would it be any fun to be a ghost if you were just an observer? That’s the idea behind this week’s track, “I Don’t Wanna Be A Ghost”.

I don’t want to be a ghost
I just want to be a man
I don’t want to hear my friends
When I cannot talk to them
I’ll be right behind the wall
and I’ll wait for you to call my name

I used to want to come back as a spirit,
and be in some romantic tragedy
I’d be Patrick Swazye and you would be my sweet Demi.

If we can’t be together
who wants to live forever
when you’re just looking right through me,
If I will always be lonely
there’s no point in eternity and
I can see you looking right through me

I don’t want to be a ghost
I just want to be a man
I don’t want to hear my friends
When I cannot talk to them
I’ll be right behind the wall
and I’ll wait for you to call my name

I could walk the earth as a phantom
and be an orb in your phone photos
Scaring all the people who never came to my gravestone

What’s the point of a soul
if there’s no one to make you whole
A spectral spectator that’s bored with immortality.

If we can’t be together
who wants to live forever
when you’re just looking right through me,
If I will always be lonely
there’s no point in eternity and
I can see you looking right through me

I don’t want to be a ghost
I just want to be a man
I don’t want to hear my friends
When I cannot talk to them
I’ll be right behind the wall
and I’ll wait for you to call my name

233 – Beyond Nuts And Bolts: Aliens, The Polar Vortex, Nukes, and Paranormal Art

This week, Wendy and I are once again joined by my sister, Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts as well as Steve Ward, a paranormal enthusiast, frequent podcast guest, and weekly contributor to Mack Maloney’s Military X-Files. I met Steve last year at the Michigan Paracon and we bonded over the fact that we both had the same They Live-inspired t-shirt!

Told you it was a cool shirt!

So, we’re currently in the middle of a Polar Vortex and it’s -20 degrees Fahrenheit as I’m typing this. In fact, Wendy had to join us from Chicago because of travel delays due to the crazy weather. And if you were online this week, you saw that the theme was the 2004 climate change apocalypse film The Day After Tomorrow, where Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal try to save the world from being iced over due to global warming.

Global warming… but wait, I thought that we were freezing? Right, so the first thing that Allison does is explain how the warming of the oceans is changing the jetstream so that the winds that normally never make it below the Arctic are slowly drifting southward, making winter temperatures colder. And indeed, today was the second coldest day in Chicago history, so this is a real deal cold snap. School has been closed for four days here in Madison already.

So, let’s take the culture war/political debate out of it, because the Earth does not care about our bumper stickers or our Facebook memes. My opinion? I just spent several days in Southern California, air pollution is a real problem and we should do at least something about it. I don’t know if the greenhouse gases that we’re sending into the atmosphere through cars, factories, and massive cow farming are destroying the planet but they’re certainly making it unpleasant to breathe in some places. Whether you believe it’s man-made or not (and plenty of people don’t), we can’t change the fact that the average global temperature has risen over the past century and that’s going to affect all of us.

So how is that paranormal? Well, in 1999, the man who gave us Coast to Coast AM, Art Bell wrote a book with the man who gave us the modern image of the alien grey with Communion, Whitley Strieber. The book was called The Coming Global Superstorm and it was the direct inspiration for the movie, The Day After Tomorrow.

Directed by Roland Emmerich, the dude behind Independence Day and Stargate, it’s surprising that he left out one very significant fact of Strieber’s book… that aliens told him that the rising temperature of the oceans is going to lead to massive climate shifts and the destabilization of human civilization. Whaaaaaaat?! Awesome.

Now Steve is near Battle Creek, Michigan and he’s facing the Polar Vortex just like we are, but he’s keeping warm through reading about the cases of “high strangeness” that often come after UFO sightings. Even the Mothman case (and Steve is a John Keel aficianado!) was much more the just sightings a of flying humanoid, it was Men In Black encounters and UFO sightings, and then of course the collapse of the Silver Bridge (and some people are saying that there are still strange events stemming from those initial incidents.)

It seems like once people start having an experience that we could explain away easily through science, like a UFO encounter (we’re not stretching into the paranormal realm to say that life on other planets is feasible), it’s strange stuff that happens afterwards. There seem to be more than just nuts and bolts materialism involved here.

Steve brings the stories of two great cases that he finds somewhat related. One is of the Welsh UFO contactee Gaynor Sunderland, who claims to have seen a flying saucer land and met two creatures who came out of it. Gaynor seemed to have repeated contact with the aliens, but it wasn’t through physical-as-we-think-of-it encounters, it was through some kind of mental communication where she would go into a trance and seemingly leave her body.

Which sounds a lot like a Seventeenth Century faerie contactee Anne Jefferies who lived down the island in Cornwall. Anne was a 19-year old servant girl but she claimed to have met multiple faeries and was even kissed by them and taken to their magical land. However, after the first encounter which she said happened outside, this all happened while she was having some kind of fit (as they called it, people have speculated it was actually an epileptic seizure) and she never left her room. It sounds like she made it up, but the family that employed her was convinced that she came back from faerieland with magical powers.

They said she never had to eat, that the “Good People” nourished her. She had the power to heal and as the word spread, people would come to her to see if she could cure their ailments. She would predict the people who were coming to visit and apparently to such an accuracy that she not only developed a reputation, but a criminal history because the local Justice of the Peace charged her for communing with evil spirits.

So, there we have two similar young women with strange stories, who are dealing with fantastic creatures without ever having to step foot on a spaceship or actually into faerieland. Some people would say that’s entirely possible with astral travel but to the average UFO researcher, it starts stretching the realms of plausibility. It really is one thing to believe in the possibility of life on other planets and another to believe in faeries. But it called “the unknown” for a reason. Who’s to say those stories aren’t a lot more related than we think.

Psi-Girls by Susan Hiller

Which brings us to Wendy’s story of the week, the death of American-born but England-living artist Susan Hiller, who just passed away this week at age 78. Now Susan was inspired by paranormal themes and incorporated them into all her art.

I’m interested in occult powers, and if people find this ludicrous that is their problem. I’m not a true believer but these things are there and to say they aren’t is ridiculous. I’ve recently made a piece called Channels about people relating their so-called near-death experiences. I am interested that these stories occur all over the world and always have done, and if we don’t think that is interesting then we are very boring.

Susan Hller, 2015

One of her most famous works was called the “Sisters of Menon” which was based on a telepathy experiment that she was working on with several other female artists. The idea was that they would all do art at the same time and try to “send” each other messages and images telepathically.

But what happened is that Susan seemed to channel this group of Ancient Greek women who wanted to speak through her in her art. She found herself possessed by them to start “automatic writing”, where you just put your pen down and start writing something that isn’t coming from you, but seemingly another source. She found herself possessed by the group, so her telepathy experiment turned into something very very different.

I’m embarrassed to say I’d never heard of her before seeing that she passed and I lived only two blocks from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis where the Sisters of Menon was being displayed. I was even there a few times and never saw it, but at least now I can appreciate it.

Sisters of Menon, 1972 -79
Section I: 4 L-shaped panels of automatic writing, blue pencil on A4 paper with typed labels (1972)
Section II: 4 panels, typescript and gouache on paper (1979)
35 7/8 x 25 1/4 in. / 91.2 x 64.2 cm 12 1/2 x 9 1/8 in. / 31.8 x 23 cm

What I thought was the most interesting this week however, was the strange high speed chase through the Nevada Nuclear Test Site on Monday. Now, the test site has been dormant for almost thirty years now, but starting in the 1940s, the US Air Force detonated hundreds of atomic bombs there. Remember Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘s infamous refrigerator scene? Yeah, that’s where it took place.

It’s not quite as famous as its neighbor, Area 51, and it’s now called the Nevada National Security Site (probably because we’re not blowing as much stuff up there now) but it certainly is a pretty secretive place, complete with a mile-long air strip that’s above top secret. So, what exactly happened?

According to the official statement from the Department of Energy, the driver drove past the security gate on January 28th, 2019 at 5:18pm and was quickly followed by local law enforcement as well as the private security firm that the NNSS hires to do the investigation. They chased him for 8 miles before he stopped an approached the officers with a “cylindrical object in-hand”. When he wouldn’t drop the object or comply with their commands, they shot him fatally. There’s a no-record policy on the site because of national security, so the officer didn’t have a body cam on.

We talk about this a little flippantly in the podcast, but as I’m writing this, they announced the name of the guy that was killed. Nekiylo Dawayne Graves was a 27-year old from Iowa. I’m looking at his Facebook profile and there hasn’t been any updates since 2014 (unless that’s all Facebook is leaving up), but he basically just looks like a kinda nerdy black guy. He’s into rap music like Jadakiss, has a couple tough-guy pics up, but nothing too weird. He has opinions about Captain America and Batman and calls himself the pretty sweet comic book-y name, Kilo The Conqueror. His last post from 2014 is a link to a store called OPSGEAR, which looks like it’s combat-style clothing .

Nekiylo Dawayne Graves

Looking at his pictures and his family on there is depressing because you realize you’re looking at a young life that ended tragically. Sure there’s a couple “thug-style” pictures on there, but there’s also normal selfies, pics with his family and friends, and nothing more than the kind of thing that I would’ve done to look tough or play a character, especially when you’re into comics. It does look like he did some time in jail in 2015, which might explain the Facebook disappearance around that time. And there is a depressing Change.org petition he signed because his father was locked up and missed his childhood.

But what would compel him to make that drive when he knew he was risking his life? Was he trying to learn some secrets and it just went too far? Was he disturbed and just wanted a “suicide by cop“?

I don’t know, but I hope we learn more about this sad story and get some answers, because the Nevada Testing Site has already killed hundreds of thousands of Americans through nuclear fallout (including famously being implicated in the cancer death of John Wayne) and now it has sadly claimed one more life and we have no idea why.

If you think Vegas is tacky now, picture it back in the 50s, when tourists used to come there to see atomic bombs go off…

And speaking of the “Nevada Proving Ground” as the NNSS was originally called, I find it a little hard to believe that almost eighty years later and we’re still dealing with the legacy of the Cold War. We look back to WW2 as some kind of Golden Age (the Greatest Generation and all that). Like the fact that we had the moral high ground over the Nazis made life simpler. And it might have when it came to the war effort. We were unified, we had the draft, 40 year old guys were going to war. We haven’t see that kind of thing since.

I mean, everyone in America hates the Taliban because of terrorism and female oppression (if you haven’t read The Kite Runner, which is about pre-Taliban Afghanistan, it’s worth it just to see how even a modern country can quickly devolve into medieval barbarism), but after 17 years and nothing much changed in Afghanistan, I doubt most regular people would feel some kind of moral twang if we just left right now. There wasn’t the same kind of ambiguity after Pearl Harbor.

Allison and my uncle might have lied about his age because he was eager to fight for his country, but he still didn’t want to serve with any “Negroes” in his unit. It was a different time and there were just as many problems as there were now. The creators of the atomic bomb were desperate to beat the Nazis to the secret of nuclear war, but once we had it, we didn’t need it. Dresden proved that we had the will to kill, Hiroshima just did it with one plane instead of many.

Truman wanted to show Uncle Joe Stalin that we were ready for the world after the Nazis where America finally assumed its place as the most powerful nation on Earth, where the balance of power finally shifted continents. Stalin was a murderous bastard, but their dick-swinging contest ended up costing the world millions of lives. Mostly innocent ones in proxy wars, because everyone knew what it all-out war would mean between two real nuclear powers (The Day After showed us that in the 80s.)

The Doomsday Clock was set at Two Minutes to Midnight in 1953, when the Soviets and the Americans both tested thermonuclear weapons within ten months of each other. We no longer had a monopoly on mass destruction. In 2019, the clock is set there again and we still hear about the “manipulative” and “evil” Russians in the news. The more things change, the more they stay the same and we’re still living with the legacy they powerbrokers left for us in the Atomic Age. We’re still haunted by “The Ghost of Los Alamos”.

A generation’s fear
poisoning the atmosphere
blowing up some godforsaken burning cursed place

Building a doomsday device
Progress demands sacrifice,
We just can’t afford to fall behind in this race

Out in the no-man’s land,
Playing God in the desert sand
Salt the earth and bomb it all to hell
When war goes all out
We’re left living in the Fallout
the ghost of Los Alamos
will haunt us still

A burning horror
for the children of Gomorrah,
Firestorms of nightmares and cities made of ash.

Secrets crawling out of caves
There’s no bodies left for graves,
Cover up the sickness with a blinding brutal flash

Out in the no-man’s land,
Playing God in the desert sand
Salt the earth and bomb it all to hell
When war goes all out
We’re left living in the Fallout
the ghost of Los Alamos
will haunt us still

Out in the no-man’s land,
Playing God in the desert sand
Salt the earth and bomb it all to hell
When war goes all out
We’re left living in the Fallout
the ghost of Los Alamos
will haunt us still

230 – Curses And Pranks: From The Rendlesham Incident To The Lost Franklin Expedition

We’re back for another round of paranormal discussion this week as we focus on our favorite new stories in the past week. Once again, Wendy and I are joined by Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com and Tea Krulos, Milwaukee ghost tour guide as well as the author of books like Heroes In The Night, Monster Hunters, and the upcoming Apocalypse Any Day Now.

This last week I couldn’t stop thinking about “The Franklin Curse”, which was in the Canadian news right before the New Year. If you haven’t heard of Franklin’s Lost Expedition, it was a British expedition to find the Northwest Passage (a trade route through the Arctic where Europeans could sail to Asia without having to go under South America because the Panama Canal wasn’t built yet) launched in 1845. There were two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and they were both fitted with state of the art technology. It was supposed to be an easy mission beaus there were less than 300-some miles of Arctic coast to chart. But they disappeared and several expeditions were sent out to find what happened. There was even a bounty of Twenty Thousand Pounds (worth a hundred thousand US dollars at the time) to find them. The local Inuit people had contact with the explorers and said that the crew had resorted to cannibalism by the end, but the ships and most of the bodies were never found.

In 2007, Dan Simmons wrote a fictionalized version of the events called The Terror and AMC released a TV version of it in 2018. Interestingly enough, HMS Erebus was discovered in 2014 by accident and HMS Terror was found in 2016. The local Nunavut people who live near the shipwrecks on King William Island have long felt that the island has had spirits or “invisible people” and that the disturbing of the wrecks has disturbed those spirits. Some of the locals have blamed six deaths that happened during a two-week period in August in their small community of Gjoa Haven on the curse of the Franklin. Earlier this year, Inuit elders went to the site of the wreckage to bless it, in hopes the spirits would be appeased.

Wendy was excited to share the latest news of the Rendlesham Forest Incident, often called Britain’s Roswell. We were first introduced to this story at the Paradigm Symposium by the brilliant Peter Robbins who wrote the book Left At East Gate with the now-controversial Larry Warren. But in the original incident, several US servicemen had seen strange lights in the sky descending towards the Rendlesham Forest over a period of nights in 1980. When they went to go explore the area they saw the lights land, they found burn marks on nearby trees and indentations in the ground in a triangular pattern, they even called the police about it.

Since then, the incident has been hotly debated, and Peter Robbins’ book goes into detail about missing time, underground bases, and government conspiracies. But just a week ago, researcher Dr. David Clarke had claimed that he was told the incident was just a prank played by British SAS commandos on their American counterparts. That’s backed up a little by a story from our friend C.E. Martin’s book, Stranger Than Fiction, where he recalls meeting a serviceman who was stationed at the air force base and talked about an area of the forest where electrical stuff didn’t work and cars didn’t start, they used to take people out there and prank them. So, that culture did exist on the base at the time! Is Clarke’s story true? Well, that’s another one we’ll be debating for a long time. We discuss Bobby Mackey’s Music World in this segment as well and here’s a link to our episode with their official paranormal investigation team.

15251192137_380081b617_bTea talks to us about a New Year’s ritual he started doing last year and that’s watching the live unveiling of the Doomsday Clock. The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to warn humanity about how close we are to destroying the planet through our own technology and hubris. While the danger used to be mostly nuclear war, they’ve included things like climate change in their determination. The closest it’s ever been is Two Minutes To Midnight, first in 1953 after the US and the Soviets both tested thermonuclear weapons for the first time and then again in 2018 mainly because they were shocked by the rhetoric of President Trump toward North Korea and what they consider to be an insufficient response to the temperatures changing throughout the world. Will 2019 bring us closer or further away from manmade destruction? Tea will let us know when it happens. And hey, here’s to hopinh we don’t blow ourselves up! Also, don’t forget that Iron Maiden wrote one of their best songs about The Doomsday Clock as well!

Also, Tea mentions that Josh Gates is going to be in Milwaukee at the end of January and he’s going (along with our frequent co-host Allison Jornlin from MilwaukeeGhosts.com) and hoping they can convince Josh Gates to finish looking for one of the prizes from the 1980s treasure hunt book, The Secret. That’s a puzzle book combining 12 short verses and 12 fantasy paintings. You would take the painting with a verse and try to determing the clues that would lead you to one of twelve boxes buried in various parks around North America. Each box contained a key that could be redeemed for a jewel worth $1,000. The author died in a car crash in 2005 and only 2 of the boxes have been found. So Josh Gates did a whole Expedition Unknown on the online braintrust that has been working on it for several years. Image 10 contains a clue that’s supposed to lead people to a park by Mliwaukee’s City Hall and Gates almost started digging there, but gave up because of the weather while they were recording the show. Tea is going to grab him and make him finish the job!

d57Finally, Scott talks about some new horror movie news that are based on real-life strangeness. One is the trailer for Followed which is about a YouTuber (they caller her a vlogger, but that word is kinda unwieldy) who decides to stay in a hotel. It’s probably based on the sad story of Elisha Lam, a young woman from Vancouver who was visiting Los Angeles and was seen acting strangely on security camera footage from the Cecil Hotel (former home of Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker). Two weeks later, they found her body in the water tank on the roof and still have no idea how she got there.

He also talks a little bit about the new trailer for The Haunting of Sharon Tate starring Hilary Duff. This new film beats Quentin Tarantino’s Charles Manson film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood out by a few months, but it’s also going to focus more on the strange premonition of death that murder victim Sharon Tate had a couple years before her and her friends were attacked by the Manson Family in a crime that would be immortalized for its strangeness and brutality. 

One of the things that we talked about this week was the culture war between believers and skeptics, between the political Left and the political Right, between hardcore atheists and fundamentalists. This conflict has seemed to progress from just disagreeing about dogma and particular points of belief to “cancel culture”, the idea that if someone believes something you find offensive or has done something you don’t like, you want to take away their means of making a living.

It’s a scorched earth total war tactic that has become more and more popular in the world of social media (particularly in a space where hot takes are welcomed, like Twitter.) It’s no longer enough to “agree to disagree”, the other side is to be shunned and disrespected. There is no room for debate or discussion, you’re either with us or against us. We see this in the paranormal world all the time between the various factions of ghost hunters, UFOlogists, etc… And I guess, I don’t feel that’s very conducive to finding the truth, because things aren’t usually as absolute or black and white as we’d like them to be. Anyway, that’s the idea behind this week’s Sunspot song, “Us Vs. Them”

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

It’s total war and
you gotta make a stand
you plant your flag and fight, down to the last man.

There is no middle
there is no excuse
there is no compromise
and there is no truce

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

You’re either with us or against us
you’re on or off of the team
We don’t need to talk or negotiate with the enemy

no we don’t make no deals
we don’t cross the line
we made our choice, we picked our side , and now we’re ride or die.

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

226 – Strange Frequencies: Technology and the Supernatural with Peter Bebergal

At the beginning of the Millennium, I used to visit the website tarot.com almost every single day. It was a good-looking page that had some really cool tarot cards and it was free to do a little reading everyday. You could pay for a full “Celtic Cross” elaborate kind of thing, or you could just get a little three card session for free. You would ask it a specific question and get three cards back, one to tell you about yourself, one to tell you about your situation, and one to tell you about your challenges.

But there was always something that I felt was off in trying to use a computer to divine something about your life. There’s no human element, there’s no psychic or medium to help you interpret the cards, while it felt interesting and fun, it never felt magical. Tarot on a computer screen never felt sacred. It’s zeroes and ones, I never felt what Peter Bebergal in his new book Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural, calls “enchantment”. That feeling you are participating in something outside your natural human experience, like religious ecstasy or the of meditation, or when you’re talking with a medium and they tell you things that are impossible to know.

The last time we had Peter Bebergal on, we talked about his great book, Season of the Witch: How The Occult Saved Rock ‘n’ Roll, and this book is just as fascinating. He argues that using technology to uncover the paranormal has been with us since we started trying to explain the universe. Something as simple as rubbing a lucky rabbit’s foot is magical technology. It doesn’t have to be an Ovilus plucking words out of the ether. And really, is looking for signs of the future in animal entrails any different than a computer program designed to spit out random predictions? The same forces that would use the viscera to relay a message could just as easily use the zeroes and ones, couldn’t they?

Author Peter Bebergal

Fast forward fifteen years and I use my Apple Watch to meditate every day. I’ve listened to MP3s of hypnosis sessions where I try to recollect past lives. I use my phone alarm to wake me an hour before I’d normally awaken sometimes so that I can explore lucid dreaming. I’ve gone from someone who scoffed the first time a psychic told me that she would do phone and Skype sessions (all I could think of was Miss Cleo) to being shocked and amazed at some of the things I’ve been told during those very same sessions.

When you watch Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures, the technology is as big a part of the show as the history of the haunted location. They set up digital voice recorders to catch EVPs, thermal imaging cameras to look for variations in the temperature (cold spots!), Electromagnetic Field Detectors to reveal temporary energy fluctuations. We don’t have the technology to capture a spirit like in Ghostbusters, but we can try to “capture” phenomena on tape when they happen. Technology and the supernatural are more intertwined than ever, but as Peter argues in his book, that’s nothing new. Some of the things we touch on:

In the episode, Wendy and I talk about how much fun we had at Krampusnacht in Milwaukee on the day before St. Nick’s. We have a whole episode dedicated to everyone’s favorite Christmas demon! Here’s a link to some amazing photos of Milwaukee Krampusnacht 2018 as well!

The song this week is inspired by the title of Peter’s book Strange Frequencies and the Spirit Box. Even our most famous inventors, Edison and Tesla, both thought that they could eventually design a radio to communicate across the veil (or even between planets) and we took that idea and ran with it. Here is Sunspot with “The Strangest Frequency”.

If I could talk to those I lost again
to try and make amends
among the graves

Some kinda wiretap
from far beyond the map
somehow these words get trapped
between the waves

Screaming in the darkness
broadcasting our callsign
hoping to break though reality
a mechanical catharsis
tuned in from the other side
I heard you on the strangest frequency

Finding patterns in the static
is automatic
with all these toys

sufficiently
advanced technology
is just necromancy
with some white noise

Screaming in the darkness
broadcasting our callsign
hoping to break though reality
a mechanical catharsis
tuned in from the other side
I heard you on the strangest frequency
I heard you on the strangest frequency
I heard you on the strangest frequency

225 – Evil: From Serial Killers to Slenderman

This weekend we did our first live podcast from a convention! Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, Scott from WhatsYourGhostStory.com, Wendy, and I did a panel on EVIL at Wizard World Madison and it was a fantastic experience. Here’s how they described the panel in the literature:

From urban legends to comic books to true crime, evil permeates our pop culture. Hear about real cases of evil and how they influenced movies and TV with Madison haunted historian Mike Huberty, Milwaukee paranormal researcher Allison Jornlin, Waukesha Ghost tour guide Wendy Lynn Staats, and Chicago ghost story author, Scott Markus. From Ed Gein and Psycho to John Wayne Gacy and evil clowns, the Slenderman to famous demonic possessions, the crew behind Wisconsin paranormal and pop culture podcast, See You On The Other Side, discuss the real life evils hiding under the fiction.

Here are your evil panelists! Mike, Allison, Scott, and Wendy

So, we each took a topic that had a Wisconsin connection (since we were in Madison) of evil in real life that had paranormal implications and also had a ton of pop culture connections.

It was a great crowd and a lot of fun and if we met you at the convention, then thanks for coming to visit us at See You On The Other Side for the first time!

Wendy giving us the “skinny” on Slenderman

Evil often hides in the form of good intentions. For the song this week, we go back to this worn-out, but still valuable quote:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

Nietzche, Beyond Good and Evil

The mantra of revolution is often that once a few “necessary evils” are taken care of, they can stop and that the ends will justify the means. Whether it’s the French Revolution or the Bolsheviks, history hasn’t borne that out.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Here is Sunspot with “Evil On Evil”.

You want the power
but they won’t go without a fight
you said you’re gonna drain the swamp
this time you’ll do it right

you said you want justice
no one said it’d be bloodless
it’s time, the heads will roll
ain’t that how it always goes

Fire with fire, you gotta be lethal
it’s just evil on evil
Drag em through the eye of a needle
now you’re evil on evil

Tie up the noose
payback’s a bitch
fail the purity test
we’ll burn the witch.

you said you want justice
no one said it’d be bloodless
it’s time, the heads will roll
ain’t that how it always goes

Fire with fire, you gotta be lethal
it’s just evil on evil
Drag em through the eye of a needle
now you’re evil on evil

224 – Dreams of the Future: Precognition, Retrocausality, and Free Will

Have you ever dreamt something and it happened in real life? I have. I was eleven years old and it was the summer of 1988. I was in the middle of a nightmare when all of a sudden it was winter and I was getting off the school bus and kids across the street started throwing snowballs at my friend and I. My friend ran into his house and grabbed a red plastic circular sled to use as a shield against the snowballs. Thirty seconds later, I was back in the nightmare. When I woke up I thought it was weird, but it was just a dream about a snowball fight. Maybe I’d seen a movie about wintertime or someone mentioned it on the radio earlier in the day and it planted a seed in my head. I didn’t think I was having an experience of precognition.

Was the Christmas Story on earlier that day?

Six months later, it was the first snowfall in Winter and I was coming home with my friend after school and everything unfolded exactly as I had seen. He even grabbed the red circular sled and used it as a shield, but I had never seen the sled before, in real life at least. At least I didn’t remember seeing it. I thought it was weird, but I still believed that it was all just a coincidence. Snowball fights are common enough, circular plastic sleds are popular (we had the same model in blue in my house), I didn’t think it was unexplainable. 

What was unexplainable was the feeling that I was watching something from the future. Like I had seen it all before, more than just deja vu. I was re-experiencing something that already happened. My experience isn’t unusual, it’s common for even non-believers in psychic powers to experience some kind of premonition in dreams. They’re dreams after all, it’s easy to chalk it up to coincidence and it’s the most kind of empirical event of all. A dream only happens to you. 

No even though my particular experience was fairly mundane (just a snowball fight), it does beg a lot of questions. If I was watching a pre-recording of the future, what could that that mean? And those implications are what we discuss in this episode.

Now, there’s been a lot of research lately on the idea of retrocausality, which is where cause and effect happen backwards. So information from the future determines what happens in the present and it’s been displayed in experiments looking at the behavior of subatomic particles, so it’s not like we’re getting messages from the future. But subatomic means that we’re in the land of quantum physics, which is what Einstein famously called “spooky action at a distance”. Of course, quantum physics is a field that is regularly abused by lovers of the paranormal as possible explanations for everything from telekinesis to ghosts, because some of the behavior of subatomic particles seems unexplainable with the reigning theories of physics. If time is set and is happening all at once, we’re just perceiving it the way we do as we travel through it, then maybe it’s possible for super tiny particles to relay information to the past.

But if everything that’s going to happen has already happened, is there anything we can do to change the future? What does that mean for free will? Do we really have any choices in our lives or are we predestined to live out the path that our genes, chemicals, and neural programming has laid out for us?

So, yeah, this episode goes deep into the nature of reality, man… we talk about:

Then we share our personal precognitive dreams as well as the dreams of two of our Patreons, Ghost Host Lisa from Madison Ghost Walks and C.E. Martin, an author who just came out with a great book called Stranger Than Fiction: A Skeptic’s Journey, and he allowed us to read you a chapter directly from his own personal experience. If you’d like to check out the book for yourself (it’s on Kindle Unlimited!), then click right here.

For the song this week, we were inspired by a study that came out in 2017 that showed even if we could see the future, almost 90% of us wouldn’t want to know. While we have an overwhelming desire to control our destinies, which is why we see fortune tellers and psychics, we’re just looking for confirmation that we’re gonna win. We’re looking for messages to help us from the Other Side, but not necessarily tell us that we can’t change anything. Mystery is baked into the human condition. If someone spoiled Game Of Thrones for me, I would straight up punch them in the face, what do you think it would be like if they spoiled my own story? I know that people can be cool with predestination, but as for now, I’m all T2 “NO FATE”. Here’s our track, “Remember The  Future”.

Don’t you cry for Cassandra,
don’t you cry for her tragedy
If you could remember the future
you might not like what you see

Look away boy look away boy
what’s to be is always to be
look away boy look away boy
before it can drive you crazy

Don’t you cry for a crystal ball
to try and turn time’s arrow
If you could remember the future
you might not like what it shows

Look away boy look away boy
enjoy your free will while you can
look away boy look away boy
or it will just drive you mad.

S Is For Sea Serpent: Ogopogo, Champ, Caddy, and Storsie

if you’ve ever passed a moving body of water and seen something, barely sticking from the surface, you’ve probably had a fleeting moment of wondering Could that be a monster–like Nessie? Odds are, what you saw turned out to be a stick, a turtle, or even a snake–or maybe just some garbage. After all, Nessie is just from Scotland, right? There aren’t any other sea/lake monsters, are there?

Not surprisingly, there are. Some scoff at this notion and say that swells on the surface of a body of water are caused by underwater currents, or that stationary objects, like submerged trees, create the illusion of something swimming, when really it’s just water flowing around the object. They say that this optical illusion causes us to fill in the gaps and imagine a monster.

Others argue differently. They say there are undiscovered, aquatic cryptids around the world. They have photos, witness accounts and even videos of these alleged creatures. Aquatic monsters are everywhere, it seems.

Ogopogo hails from Canada–Okanagan Lake, to be specific, in British Columbia. It has allegedly been seen by natives since the 1800s, and is described as a 40-50 foot sea serpent, like the Mosasaurus.

In 1946, thirty carloads of people reported seeing the creature from Okanagan Mission beach. In 1968, the creature (or, at least, it’s wake) was filmed moving across the lake. In 2011, Ogopogo was captured–on cell phone video

This isn’t the Americas’ only swimming cryptid, by the way. Champ and Caddy are two more cryptids reported in North America. Champ hails from Lake Champlain, which is near Quebec, New York, and Vermont. Sightings go back to before 1609, when the first European settler (Samuel de Champlain) reported the cryptid, describing it as “20-foot serpent thick as a barrel, and a head like a horse”.

On the other side of the continent, back in the Pacific Northwest, Ogopogo’s cousin, Caddy (short for Cadborosaurus) has been sighted in Cadboro Bay, British Columbia for more than 200 years. Like Nessie and Ogopogo, Caddy too has purportedly been photographed and filmed, and is reported to resemble a “huge sea serpent with a horse-like head”.

Leaving America, and crossing back to Europe, one needn’t return to some of the other Lochs in Scotland to search for lake monsters (although several other Lochs also claim to have them). Instead, you could journey to Sweden in search of Storsjöodjuret, a lake serpent seen in Lake Storsjön in Jämtland, and described as looking like a serpentine or aquatic reptile with fins across its back and the head of a dog.

If you strike out in Sweden, fear not, a quick trip to Norway could put you on the track of Selma, a large, snake-like creature believed to reside in Lake Seljord in Seljord, Telemark, Norway. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, fear not, Selma appears on the coat of arms of Seljord.

There are many, many more alleged aquatic beasts around the world. Until 2016, you could go to Vietnam and would probably catch a glimpse of such a beast–Cụ Rùa (“great grandfather turtle”), a giant, soft shell turtle of the species Rafetus leloii, which resided in Hoàn Kiếm Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam. There are also countless of tales of giant fish seen as monsters–like the rumored man-sized catfish of Lake Cumberland, Kentucky, or Alaska’s Iliamna Lake Monster, Illie.

It seems that wherever there’s a body of water, there be monsters. Remember that the next time you go swimming and aren’t sure just what that is in the water, just below the surface, heading towards you…

ROC, ROPEN, SCISSORS: TERRORS OF THE SKY

Roc, Ropen, Scissors: Terrors of the Skies

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a bird… It’s a plane… it’s a… cryptid?

Monsters are not just confined to the woods and water. As it turns out, there are a variety of Fortean folktales about giant flying creatures that can swoop down and pluck helpless mortals off their feet and carry them off to unimaginably horrible demises. Here in the U.S., these days Mothman grabs all the headlines, but it wasn’t always so. In fact, if you counted up legends and sightings, he’d easily be dethroned from his pop culture throne by the true reigning champion of aeronautical cryptozoology: the Thunderbird.

Thunderbirds have been sighted all across the United States and North America, long before Europeans fled religious persecution in their homelands and settled here. The native tribes had many legends of these giant birds, and many descriptions as well.

If you read the blog earlier this month, you might have caught mention of winged reptiles swooping down on the surprised citizens of the Southwest in the 1970s. And then there was the tale of a young man in Illinois who was nearly carried off by a strange bird of enormous proportions, much like a scene from the movie “The Valley of Gwanji”. But there’s more to the Thunderbird and its winged cousins around the world than some amazing cinematic stop animation. Nor does the Thunderbird rule its skies—other flying creatures have struck terror into the hearts and minds of the Earthbound, all around our globe:

The Roc is a legendary winged beast from Africa and the Middle East, reported in some instances to be large enough to carry away elephants.

The Ropen is a modern day, extant dino-bird, hailing from Southeast Asia, with reports still surfacing to this day.

Here in the U.S., Illinois was once home to a legendary, chimera-like creature called the Piasa that was described as being as large as a calf with horns on their heads like a deer, a beard like a tiger’s, a face somewhat like a man’s, a body covered with scales, and a long fish’s tail.

But by far, the widest reported of all the sky terrors was an enormous bird with a wingspan far surpassing that of any vulture or condor—a black-feather avian powerful enough to lift a small child.

Before we scoff at a report like this, we need to examine whether or not it’s even possible for a feather bird to be big enough to carry a small human. Condors and Turkey vultures are definitely big enough to carry away squirrels and even small house cats, but they have a wingspan that just isn’t wide enough to hoist anything bigger than that.

That wasn’t always the case, though. Turning to the fossil record, scientists have theorized a bird that would make even the inhabitants of Sesame Street shake in terror: Argentavis magnificens. Discovered in Argentina, this giant raptor was estimated to have a wingspan up to twenty-four feet wide. How much could such a beast lift up into the sky? That is debatable, as some scientists have speculated the avian’s own weight may have forced it to run into strong winds to even get aloft. But, if we consider that the Osprey, with a wingspan of up to 26 inches can pluck a fish weighing as much as 10 ounces from the water, it isn’t that much of a stretch to consider that the Argentavis could lift something considerably larger.

If Argentavis doesn’t fit the bill, there was one other bird even larger: Pelagornis sandersi, with a wingspan of up to twenty-four feet and a head that looked more dino than dodo.

Now that we know it was at least once possible for a bird to be big enough to grab a boy, we should look for other accounts of it happening. And, terrifyingly, there are.

Reports may be few and far between less horrible bird stories, but there are tales of Stellar Sea Eagles (with only 8 foot wingspans) attacking children and carrying off small dogs. The Golden Eagle (with a slightly smaller wingspan) is also reported to have attacked children, as in this video from Kyrgyzstan

The girl attacked wasn’t carried off, or harmed all that much, but the point here is that yes, large birds will attack people—and their pets.

Years ago, I read two accounts of Eagles actually attacking children. I can’t find them now, but the first involved a Stellar Sea Eagle attacking a small child, while the second was a report of Eagles plucking babies from the huts of their parents in Africa and killing and eating them.

Sound preposterous? Not really, when you consider that a small deer can be the same size as a baby, and there’s video of Eagles flying one back to their nest and eating it:

But don’t think that means the Thunderbird (so called for the sound it’s wings make, or in some tales it’s ability to summon thunderstorms) doesn’t have a hankering for longpig.

While the Piasa of Illini Indian legends doesn’t look much like an Eagle, it was reported to prefer a Manwich over Bambi. As the legend goes, the Illini unsuccessfully tried to kill the creature, until the Great Spirit appeared in a vision to the chief Ouatoga, telling him how to kill the monster. The chief stood in a clearing, as bait, then twenty of his warriors hid and waited. When the Piasa swooped down to eat Ouatoga, it was instead riddled with poison arrows. In today’s modern age of firearms, the Piasa definitely wouldn’t stand much of a chance, nor would its fellow sky-terror, the Thunderbird.

So, where are all the Thunderbirds? Some have suggested the beasts preyed on the buffalo before it was hunted to near-extinction. Of course, they might still be here, dining on all those missing pets we hear about regularly. Looking up, into the sky, with nothing to judge its size against, it would be hard to distinguish a massive bird from just a large one—unless you happened to be flying alongside it.

Lorraine Warren: MATRIARCH of the Paranormal dies at 92

It’s a rich and storied life that is immortalized in popular film. I would consider myself lucky to one day be essentially sainted by the paranormal community and played onscreen by the likes of Vera Farmiga.

In reality no one is actually a saint and Lorraine Warren and her husband Ed, who died in 2006, certainly had their detractors. But no one can deny that the Warrens were trailblazers in the field for good or ill, or both, as is usually the view history.

Lorraine Warren died April 18th at her home in Connecticut at the age of 92. In life, she claimed to be both a clairvoyant and a trance medium. She and her husband Ed, a self-described demonologist, founded the New England Society for Psychical Research (N.E.S.P.R.) in 1952.

N.E.S.P.R., in contrast to other societies of psychical research, took a religious approach rather than a scientific one to their alleged 10,000 paranormal investigations. The Warrens believed that the entities responsible for hauntings were not “vaporous, indistinct phantoms”, but forces that “exist for the sheer purpose of opposing the works of God”.

They further claimed, according to their website, to have been repeatedly called in by “religious authorities . . . to control some of the most profane outbreaks of diabolical phenomena in the country”. However, it is unlikely that they actually worked with the Catholic Church, as they often claimed, at least in an official capacity.

Lorraine Warren had recently retired from active investigations and personal appearances. She still consulted for N.E.S.P.R., although she passed the directorship to her son-in-law, Tony Spera.

As paranormal personalities the Warrens undeniably led the way in developing opportunities for psychical researchers on the lecture circuit and in the media. In 1952, in addition to founding N.E.S.P.R., they opened the Warren’s Occult Museum. They went full-time paranormal in 1968. By 1974, the Warrens were employing a booking agent to find them paying gigs and writing a regular column about their adventures for a weekly tabloid, The Tattler.

Many claim that Lorraine and Ed lived to help those besieged by evil forces. Yet there also are many who have called the Warren’s credibility into question including at least one psychical researcher who didn’t appreciate them showing up to assist on his case uninvited. One thing is for certain the Warrens are among the most famous paranormal investigators in the world and how they are viewed influences how all other psychical researchers are perceived.

The Warren’s website advises “The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.” Unfortunately, for most of us in the paranormal, the path to credibility is seldom clear. Hopefully, we in the field, will learn everything there is to learn from both the light and the dark views of the lives of Lorraine and Ed Warren. Perhaps familiarizing ourselves with both sides of the story will lead us to a more balanced perspective and help us to more carefully select only the attributes we wish to emulate in their example.

Listen to our full episode on Ed and Lorraine Warren.
http://www.othersidepodcast.com/blog/2016/06/06/95-ed/

Q Is For Queen: The Ghost Of Freddie Mercury

Queen is once again one of the hottest bands around, 28 years after their beloved singer died, thanks to the amazing popularity of the biopic of Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as an Academy Award for Best Actor for the movie’s star, Rami Malek.

Even though Queen was already seemingly out of vogue by the time I started getting into music, the second tape I ever had was Queen’s Greatest Hits and at 13 years old, it blew my mind. Freddie passed away the November I was a freshman in high school and that brought attention back to the band enough where the deejay let me request “Bohemian Rhapsody” at our dances. Of course, we’d slow dance with our girlfriends to the mellow parts and then rock the f#$% out to the big riff when it came in. When Wayne’s World came out only a few months later and the everybody was headbanging in the car, it felt like it was a window into my teenage experience. That’s when I realized how universal the appeal of Queen really was.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was always too hard to cover, so we just stuck with the easy ones, like “We Will Rock You” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, but they always had a place in my playlist. And still do, here’s a picture of Wendy and Scott from What’s Your Ghost Story at SXSW 2019 where we were partying to a Queen tribute band at the Good Omens launch party. The bald guy is the singer and he was an incredible performer. That dude had balls and we all knew it, because we could see them outlined in his full unitard!

That singer was fearless, and that’s what Freddie could inspire you to be, because as a frontman and a songwriter, he was as bold and audacious as they come. He made the line “I want to ride my bicycle” sound badass, he makes tough guys sing along to “Aw, you’re my best friend” and still think it’s cool! He could bounce from jazz to hard rock to opera in a song and it all felt natural. Not only was he an incredible guiding light for me but for millions around the world, and you can tell how deep is effect was, because people have been seeing his ghost now for decades.

Just in March of 2019, a listener to 97x, a Classic Rock station in the Quad Cities claimed that he captured a picture of Freddie Mercury’s ghost high above the stage at a Queen tribute concert in Moline, Illinois. Now it’s obviously just the way the lights are interacting with the fog machine and it looks like one of those images where people see Jesus with the sun peeking through the clouds, but it’s still pretty fun once you see it.

ghost of Freddie Mercury
Is this Freddie singing along?

Someone posted in the Unexplained Mysteries discussion forum that Freddie visited them while they were listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the best part is how he describes what the singer was wearing.

I was listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen last night and the visage of Freddy Mercury coalesced into cohesion right there in my living room!

he was wearing these snappy red leather chaps and and knee high motorcycle boots! 

I said “Freddy what are you doing in my living room?” and he just snapped both fingers and vanished before my eyes!

outpatient777 – April 16th, 2009

Now the next line he asks, “Am I schizophrenic?” so it’s probably just a silly troll post, but this was a long time before Bohemian Rhapsody came out as a movie. However, they’ve never stopped playing Queen songs on Classic Rock radio, so those songs are never too far from our imagination.

Freddie also visited Jennifer Bennett, a California girl raised in the 70s, she woke up a couple of days after the 22nd anniversary of his death with the lyrics of “Bohemian Rhapsody” stuck in her head, and what she says was his energy. She says:

Freddie and I have never been particularly close so his presence was curious.  I was a bit embarrassed to to have felt visited by him, or at least visited by the energy that he embodies.  Freddie Mercury – bold, brazen, impressive, self assured, diva.  It felt as if I have something to learn from him.  And, of course, to hear Bohemian Rhapsody as if it was plugged directly into my brain…  Jeez.  The power ballad that puts all others power ballads to shame.  Yet, it was only the first 3 lines I heard this morning, over and over.

The Ghost of Freddie Mercury“, Frame A Mind blog

She talks about how she admired him for his brash fearlessness and how she felt emboldened by his energy. Was it Freddie flitting in and out of her dreams, coming to her with a message that she needed to hear?

This album cover was also the inspiration for Guns n’ Roses original cover for Appetite for Destruction

But while Mr. Fahrenheit might have visited Jennifer Bennett once in the morning, his ghost spent much more time with Christine Burgess. The Decemeber 15th, 1996 News Of The World (a tabloid newspaper that Queen named an album after!) features a story about how Christine said she started an affair with the ghost of Freddie Mercury shortly after his death.

Christine’s husband was said to be frustrated that Christine kept comparing him to Freddy, who he called “Mr. Perfect”. But poor Stuart also insisted that his wife was “mentally unstable” and that seemed to be proven true, because Christine would show up at the home of Mary Austin, Freddie’s sometime lover and longtime companion. Burgess said that she deserved to move into the home, which was left to Austin by Mercury, because “she and Freddie were lovers in a former life.” It wasn’t just Mary, but she hounded Queen guitarist, Brian May, as well as Freddie’s friends. And she wouldn’t be deterred, the article ends with her still claiming:

“These people are frightened because Freddie is with ME.”

Queen guitarist Brian May – he’s also a Doctor of Astrophysics – FOR REAL

And speaking of Brian May, he even mentioned in a 2014 interview with British tabloid, The Daily Star.

I feel him around a lot. I don’t want to be too mystical about it but he is very much a part of what we do.

Brian May about Freddie Mercury

This was right when Brian was producing an animated special called One Night In Hell based on some art he has collecting, but more interestingly they were a about to release three new Freddie Mercury songs that they had found in the archives on a record called Queen Forever. So, obviously he was thinking a lot about his departed friend and hearing his voice in the studio might have brought back some of those familiar feelings. Who knows, maybe Freddie was with them, just like he visited Jennifer a few years earlier.

Actor Rami Malek who won the Oscar playing Freddie Mercury

The most recent story about the ghost of Freddie Mercury comes right from the set of Bohemian Rhapsody, where a source told the online site Dish Nation, that:

There has been feeling from Rami and Brian along with the film’s director Bryan Singer that​ ​Freddie is watching them prepare for filming. Rami believes Freddie’s presence is very much on-set and with him wherever he goes, including when he’s at home practicing singing Queen songs… Rami has ​been dreaming​ of Freddie telling him about how he performed on stage, showing him his moves and how it is to be a rock star.

Anonymous source from the set of Bohemian Rhapsody

But speaking of director Bryan Singer, he has himself been embroiled in controversy over sexual allegations of seducing underage boys. And it certainly doesn’t help that in many people’s minds he’s associated with Kevin Spacey, since Singer was the one who really launched the disgraced actor’s career by directing him to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in The Usual Suspects. When Malek was nominated for the Academy Award, he was immediately interviewed for the Los Angeles Times, and when pressed about the allegations against Singer, he brings up Freddie’s ghost again.

 I didn’t know much about Bryan. I think that the allegations and things were, believe it or not, honestly something I was not aware of, and that is what it is. Who knows what happens with that … but I think somehow we found a way to persevere through everything that was thrown our way.

Perhaps that was Freddie himself doing it, because we wanted to make a product that was worthy of him. Who knows?

Rami Malek

So, while Freddie’s physical body has been gone almost three decades now, it looks like his spirit isn’t going anywhere. Whether or not it was actually his consciousness visiting Brian May and Rami Malek or it was just his personality was so larger than life that it’s easy to mentally create the energy in our own heads, it doesn’t really matter.

Freddie Mercury is still alive every time we sing along to words we don’t even understand like “Scaramouche scaramouche will you do the Fandango?” Freddie Mercury is still alive every time a teenager bangs his head to that incredible guitar riff and then grabs his partner to slow dance at the end. Freddie’s dead, but we bring him back to life every time we let it rip to a Queen song.

After all, who wants to live forever anyway?

P is for Poltergeist: Not Just For Teenagers Anymore

Although I have respected colleagues in paranormal investigation who immediately dismiss all poltergeists cases as fraud, to a student of history, this approach seems limited and unreasonable. So many poltergeist cases pop up throughout history and across cultures that such casual dismissals don’t make sense. These eerily similar accounts of blatantly nonsensical manifestations are reported by very different populations dating back to antiquity and differ greatly from the usual ghost story narrative. This strongly suggests something is actually happening that goes far beyond mere imagination.

The German word “poltergeist” means “noisy ghost” and refers to the chaotic, cacophonous, house-wrecking phenomena that have been reported for centuries all over the world. These include, but are not limited to mysterious raps and other loud noises, untraceable fires and water damage, and the reckless hurling around of anything not nailed down by unseen forces. The word was first coined to describe such manifestations in 1638. Later Martin Luther would popularize the term in his religious writings. In 1948, the OG ghost hunter Catherine Crowe introduced the term to English usage in her groundbreaking catalog of the strange, The Night-Side of Nature.

The first recorded poltergeist case was in the 4th Century, according to Christopher Laursen, who wrote his PhD dissertation on the history of poltergeist phenomena at the University of British Columbia. Other sources attest such accounts date back to Ancient Greece.

The prevailing hypothesis maintains these violent outbursts may not be due to ghosts or any external forces at all, but to the power of the mind alone. Today poltergeists are mainly viewed as uncontrolled tantrums of telekinesis perpetrated most commonly by adolescent females. The modern study of the unexplained, parapsychology, has largely reclassified poltergeist activity as a human-centric phenomenon with the new label Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK). However, fashionable this current explanation, such activity has not always been blamed on the unconscious psychic machinations of disturbed teenage girls, but to many other monsters including ghosts, demons, fairies, and vampires.

My favorite podcast discussion about poltergeists was with Fortean author Geoff Holder. He spoke with us about his masterpiece of research, Poltergeist Over Scotland for which he examined 134 poltergeist cases documented in the historical record. Many different cultural contexts have been imposed upon poltergeist manifestations over the ages. However, in his opinion, no one explanation applies to all cases, even our modern interpretation. He has found that only 1/4 to 1/3 of poltergeists center on an adolescent human agent. To Holder, poltergeist activity usually has no obvious purpose and may just be the work of feckless entities, essentially the “numpties” of the supernatural.

Whereas most hauntings function as memento mori or cold comfort for mortality, poltergeist activity, on the other hand is often so chaotic it’s more likely to remind us that humans are not the center of the universe. Holder asserts that it may represent a non-human intelligence which is almost entirely indifferent to us.

Although Holder admits hoaxes and pranks do account for some poltergeist cases, as they do for any reported phenomena, he maintains that they cannot explain away the literally thousands of poltergeist cases reported by multitudes of reliable witnesses and the consistency of their accounts over centuries. In his study of 134 cases, he found that only 4.5% involved hoaxing. The analyses of other researchers indicate these numbers are between 3% and 15%.

Holder also hopes that the physical nature of poltergeist cases will open up the possibility for the scientific study of this phenomena. He cites one 2010 study of the unique audio signature of poltergeist raps as a step in the right direction. Conceivably studies such as these could some day lead to the scientific breakthrough for which every psychical researcher has been waiting.

For more fascinating poltergeist cases, listen to the following:

O is for Octopus (Tree): Unbelievable Paranormal Hoaxes

They say that seeing is believing, but that isn’t really true when it comes to the paranormal or supernatural. A long history of hoaxes and the prevalence of photoshop has lessened the ability of a picture to paint a believable thousand words. Today, witness testimonies and recordings of strange noises seem to inspire more belief in something not seen than a glossy 8×10.

But why don’t we believe in photos anymore? Is it because so many have been faked? Or is it because we have been so quick to believe them? To really understand the power a photo used to have, we need to look back in time, to simpler times…

In 1998, a hoax that is sadly forgotten today was launched–the story of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (Octopus paxarbolis). Now, before you roll your eyes and think that this was not a successful hoax (or else, you’d remember it) consider this: Snopes.org, once revered as the go-to site on the internet for debunking hoaxes and half-truths felt compelled, in 2014, to explain to the public that the Tree Octopus wasn’t real. That’s right, sixteen years later, some people still wondered if there really were Tree octopi—even though the webpage asking for help saving them explaining their major predator was Sasquatch.

What is a tree octopus? you might be wondering. Well, according to the official website (https://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/) this gentle cephalopod hails from the rainy forests of the Olympic Peninsula, on the Eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, residing both in fresh water and in the wet canopy of the forest. Its natural predators include house cats, the bald eagle, and sasquatch.

Yes, sasquatch.

Okay, so now you might be wondering how could anyone believe that an octopus could live on land and in fresh water, and that the rainy season of the Pacific Northwest is what allowed its continued existence.

Before you judge a whole generation, take into account the era this took place in.

In 1988, the USAF revealed the existence of the F-117 Stealth Fighter, an “invisible” plane.

In 1989, Bob Lazar came forward, claiming to have reverse-engineered UFOs at the then-highly classified Area 51 military base at Groom Lake, Nevada.

In 1993, The X-Files premiered on television, bringing conspiracies, UFOs and the paranormal into the popculture mainstream.

In 1995, Ray Santelli presented his Alien Autopsy film, which purported to show the examination of an alien body recovered from a UFO crash. (This wasn’t revealed to be a hoax until 2006).

In 1999, the year following the Tree Octopus’ internet debut, audiences were terrified with the “found footage” film, The Blair Witch Project, many initially believing the film was based on true events.

And let’s not forget, the Internet was epically exploding onto the scene, worldwide, in the 1990s, allowing people to not only get information previously hidden in libraries around the globe, but to share reports of the strange and unusual. 1995, for example, saw the formation of the Bigfoot Research Organization.

You also need to remember a similar hoax, revealed in 1993, that was much older: the Surgeon’s Photo.

You might not know it’s name, but this iconic black-and-white image of the Lochness Monster’s head and neck sticking out of the water is known around the world, even today. Despite the fact that it was entirely a hoax, perpetrated by a conspiracy of three men, it is still cited when the Lochness Monster is discussed. The revelation it was a hoax did not diminished belief in Nessie.

According to the website The Unmuseum, Nessie’s most famous photo happened like this:

A man named Duke Weatherell wanted revenge on the London Daily Mail newspaper. This was because in 1933, they had hired him to find the Lochness Monster. He found footprints, made casts and size estimates and sent them off to the London Museum of Natural History. Later, it was discovered Weatherell had been hoaxed himself by locals—the footprints were frauds. The paper who hired Weatherell in turn ridiculed the man and humiliated him.

Fast forward to April 1934, and Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, a physician (and surgeon), presented the famous Nessie photo we’re talking about. This “proof” of Nessie remained contested, but believed, for decades. It wasn’t until 1993 that the full story came out, thanks to the work of David Martin and Alastair Boyd., who spoke to one of the men really responsible for the Surgeon’s photo, and who confirmed it was indeed a hoax.

Christian Spurling, stepson of Weatherell, admitted he’d made the “monster” out of some plastic and a clockwork, tinplate, toy submarine at his father’s request. Weatherell and his son actually took the completed faux Nessie out and photographed it. But they needed help disseminating the photo, since Duke had already been thoroughly discredited. They enlisted the aid of Maurice Chambers, who in turn contacted Colonel Wilson, who brought the photo forward and claimed credit for taking it.

Just five years after Nessie’s most famous mugshot was revealed to be a hoax, Lyle Zapato brought the plight of this Tree octopus to world attention with the creation of the website dedicated to saving it and used a similar methodology to fool people: he faked some photos (e.g. by placing a dead octopus in a tree and snapping some pics).

Today, the Tree Octopus is largely forgotten–a hoax when hoaxing was significantly harder to do. Hopefully, it and the surgeon’s photo have taught us all a valuable lesson: Don’t believe everything you see.

M Is For Major Arcana: Storytelling Through The Tarot

In addition to being lovers of the paranormal and all things Fortean, Wendy and I also have been performing in a rock band since college. The name of the band started as Nevermore, which we thought was sweet because everyone loves Edgar Allen Poe, but we switched it to Sunspot because the lawyers for a power metal band called Nevermore threatened to sue us when they got famous before we did.

Sunspot seemed like a cool name because they’re dark mysterious parts of the sun that interfere with radio waves on Earth. We’re all into sci-fi, so having an astronomical event be the name for our band sounded about right. Plus, it was the 90’s and compound nouns were all the rage then (Pearljam, Soundgarden, etc…)

We’ve always had a touch of an occult bent to the music and have long enjoyed the symbolism and mystery of the Tarot deck. In fact, our band, Sunspot’s first album, Radio Free Earth, featured The Fool from the Rider-Waite Tarot on the cover. I’ve always loved the Tarot, even though I don’t find it particularly mystical.

It’s a great party game, but it’s also a useful tool for self-reflection. The Major Arcana represent archetypes of personalities, and we all have a little bit of those archetypes inside of us at one time or another, so it can almost be a form of psychoanalysis. When you deal the card, what does that archetype mean to you and for your life?

So when, we were looking to create a rock opera that we were going to tour the country with, we knew we were going to be playing for a lot of people who had never seen us before. We needed to find some kind of shorthand that we could use to get a message across quickly to audiences who weren’t very familiar with our music. The Tarot seemed like the perfect and we could even give it a frame story of a lonely guy talking to an Internet psychic and the cards that he deals would then lead into the songs.

But in order to get to that story, we had to work our way through the process of how we would tell a story in a live music performance by using background videos, tarot cards, and loud rock songs. Here is the process we went through and the notes we took to figure out the beats of the story, what Tarot cards would work the best, and then you can see what became the final product, our rock opera, Major Arcana.

What Story Are We Trying To Tell?
“Life is pain. Anyone who says different is trying to sell you something.” – The Princess Bride

We’re all slowly disconnecting from each other. How can it be possible that we know more about each other than ever (we know what someone has to eat through their Twitter update, we know what they’re listening to at the time through Blip.fm, we know the score of their children’s soccer game through Facebook) but we take care of each other less than ever. We know the lives of celebrities better than we know the people who live next door. A recent study found that the number of people with whom Americans can discuss matters important to them dropped by nearly one-third, from 2.94 people in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. Researchers also found that the number of people who said they had no one with whom to discuss such matters more than doubled, to nearly 25 percent. We have more ways to connect with people like us than ever, but there’s nowhere we belong more than ever.

The theme of this work is taking a journey that starts in naivete which leads to mistakes, pain, and isolation. It is only when he doesn’t try to control others but takes control of his own destiny that he rejoins society and finds the place where he belongs. Sunspot’s music and live show is a communal experience for the audience. Bringing people together is something we do extraordinarily well (there have been 4 weddings from people that have met at Sunspot shows!) Our music and performance is about connection from interacting with the audience to communal singalongs. We are all about bridging the gaps in the human condition.

Why The Tarot?
The main character is portrayed as a modernized version of The Fool from the Tarot and is representative of a desperate soul in search of experience. We use graphics and animation during the songs to show the emotional significance and characterization of each experience and to highlight the performance onstage.

Each song is represented by a major arcana tarot card that in its meaning helps represent the song graphically while the music conveys the emotion and the performance makes it real for the audience. By using the Tarot mixed with sci-fi elements we’re combining mysticism and technology. Viewing modern-day problems through the lens of archaic symbolism, much like the main theme of the piece deals with the paradox of how ultramodern forms of communication cannot cure the age-old problem of humans not relating to each other.

By using the Tarot, we don’t have to spell everything out for the viewer and we can use symbols that many are already familiar with, yet simple enough that their meaning can be imported through a few images. Also, it enables us to use a motif that began on our first record and work off the symbolism of each record afterwards because the iconography of our albums can be juxtaposed with the Tarot easily as well as integrating into the show’s themes.

Here is the basic structure of the character’s journey, the symbolism and iconography of each moment:

When The Revolution Comes (The Fool)

The character is an idealist and it’s one of our few songs that is honestly idealistic. It’s pure and sweet and non-ironic.

This is the perfect song to introduce the Fool character. After all, it’s his naivete that sets him on his journey.

The Breach (The Emperor)

Stinging disappointment and the way that idealism and hope can be inverted and crushed. Trust is abused and eventually broken. The descent begins.

The Emperor symbolizes the desire to rule over one’s surroundings, and its appearance in a reading often suggests that the subject needs to accept that some things may not be controllable, and others may not benefit from being controlled.

Sweet Relief (The Hanged Man)/Tunguska (The Wheel of Fortune)


A pean for the beginning of separation, the start of a change. The idea that the grass is greener on the other side of the street. The notion of emotional divorce from the world begins to seem attractive because there has to be a better way.

A pean for the beginning of separation, the start of a change. The idea that the grass is greener on the other side of the street. The notion of emotional divorce from the world begins to seem attractive because there has to be a better way.

The Hanged Man relationship to the other cards usually involves the sacrifice that makes sacred; personal loss for a greater good or a greater gain.

And when the song switches to “Tunguska” it’s the moment of impact, when the isolation begins. The character gets the last vestiges of his hope destroyed, blown away.

The Wheel of Fortune represents the intercession of random chance into the Fool’s path. The card represents the forces that can help or hinder the querant suddenly or unpredictably.

Eat Out My Heart (The Devil)

Here comes the idea that there’s no way to win, that separating from humanity is the best way because when you care too much, you lose.

Or it’s the idea of being a slave to an idea. The character is a slave to his idea that he’s been hurt. “Eat Out My Heart” is a song about hating someone else and being a big old victim. It’s wallowing in self-pity and delusion that someone else is to blame for why the character feels stung. As long as the character is encumbered by those emotions, they never get better. It’s not about being upset with the girl who this song is for, because that girl isn’t suffering. It’s the character singing who is being punished and he’s punishing himself. The Devil is great for “Defeated” but also works for “Eat Out My Heart” to add some levity here.

The Devil is the card of self-bondage to an idea or belief which is preventing a person from growing or being healthy. It is the card of futility, pessimism, and mistakes.

Neanderthal (The Hermit)

The lowest point of the emotional arc. Relationships are about domination and humanity is cast aside in favor of the animal. It’s the heaviest moment, the darkest lyrics.

The Hermit represents the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with himself. He represents isolation.

Dig Your Grave (Death)

The other side of the door. It’s about seeing how someone else retreats, it’s about how someone else runs away from the rest of the world and in reacting to that event, the character starts to regain his (or her) sense of connection to the rest of the world. Only through forgiving others for how they’ve wronged you, can you start to become part of the community again.

Death implies an end, possibly of a relationship or interest, and therefore implies an increased sense of self-awareness.

Perfect (Strength)

A realization of that’s how life is, that you can’t control what happens around you only how you react to it. The character just wants to decide his own destiny.

“It doesn’t matter if everything’s ugly, it doesn’t matter if it’s all unsafe.” This song works well with this theme right off the bat. It’s a little more fun and the message is more straightforward. It’s happy, but not too happy and would lead well into Summer Day.

The modern interpretation of Strength stresses discipline and control. The lion represents the primal or id-like part of the mind, and the woman, the ‘higher’ or more elevated parts of the mind. The card tells the Querent to be wary of the temptations of the flesh.For example, in The Chariot card, the Querant is fighting a battle. The difference is that in Strength, the battle is mainly internal rather than external.

Summer Day (The Chariot)

I’ll be part of the group but by my own terms. I’ll live my own life and I’ll do it the way I want to. That’s what’s important, that’s what counts. You can’t make me grow up because I’ve seen the pain and the suffering that grown-ups endure. I’ll join, but only if I get to make the rules.

After the impulse that pulls us out of the Garden, we get on our chariot and depart. At that point, we are the Hero of our own story; maybe the Hero of everyone’s story. That Hero might represent Helios, the Greek god who drives the Sun’s chariot across the sky, bringing light to the earth.

No Place Like Home (The Star)

You have to accept that the world will crush your hopes sometimes, and that the world is hard. But it’s not impossible to find your place and sometimes it’s right back where you started, but when you get here this time, you at least have a better understanding and you’ve chosen to be here. So now, you may not necessarily be in the place you think you shoud be, but you’re in the place that suits you best.

The pool of water refers to the subconscious. The land refers to the material world. She renews both. Usually divined as hope for the future, good things to come regarding the cards close to the star. By having a foot in both, this is where the Fool understands that he needs to be part of the material world as well as his own life. This is the reintegration and reconnection back to society.

So, this silly story told through tarot cards consumed about a year of our lives. From the initial concept, to writing new songs, to figuring out how to synchronize the videos and lights, to recording the actors, to booking the tour, and then editing the DVD and all the videos ourselves.

And through that year-long DIY creative undertaking, much like a good Tarot reading, we learned a lot about ourselves. We loved the final result and the show was great (we even recorded a video tour diary as well as a directors commentary track on the DVD!), but it was the processthat we’ll always remember.

By doing it all ourselves and creating everything from scratch (except for the Tarot cards), we put ourselves through what sometimes felt like Hell. But it was our own “hero’s journey” along with the character from the show. And hopefully we too might have started off the trip as the Fool, but came out the other side, The Star.

L Is For Los Angeles: Haunting Pioneers of L.A.

When you think of Los Angeles, images of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood surely come to mind, alongside imagery of traffic and paparazzi. When considering LA’s older ghost stories, you may think of Marilyn Monroe, or silent era icons like Charlie Chaplin or Rudolph Valentino, but LA’s roots go back much further, which some very old structures still remaining, cared for by the watchful spirits of those who helped build (as Steve Martin would misquote in LA Story), “This other Eden… demi-paradise… this ground… this Los Angeles.”

Olvera Street is a marvelously restored, historic section of Los Angeles, just a few blocks from the heart of downtown LA. Spain was aware of the land that would become California and, in 1781, decided to send 11 Mexican families to establish a community here. Russia had already conquered the area we now know as Alaska and the fear was that they would work their way down the Pacific Coast. The first settlements in LA ended up getting washed away by the LA river, but the first community that stuck is this area, originally named (translated) Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels, or Los Angeles for short.

Avila Adobe

Located on the North end of Olvera Street, the Avila Adobe is the oldest standing residence in Los Angeles. The house was built in 1818 by former mayor Francisco Avila. It was built traditionally for the time and culture, originally featuring a flat, tarred roof, utilizing tar from the La Brea Tar Pits, which was grazing land Avila’s cattle.

This house was Avila’s family’s home, though he himself only visited on weekends. However, it was also a grand house to entertain friends, which the Avila family did frequently. Though, no battle took place here, American troops did take over the house for use as a headquarters until the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed, thus ending the Mexican-American War.

Massive earthquakes in 1870 and 1971 damaged the frail house, making it uninhabitable for large stretches of time. Today, thanks to tremendous preservation efforts, a seven-room portion of the house has been restored and can be visited daily for free.

Today, the home is not only frequented by guests, but also by original owner Francisco Avila, who is said to talk the halls and plaza, continuing to look over his impressive homestead and the village he once presided over as mayor. In addition to being seen clearly in the house, in the courtyard and in front of the house, people have also heard his heavy boots as he invisibly wanders the halls of the house. People have also observed shadow people throughout the structure.

Avila’s first wife, Maria, died in 1822. He later remarried to a woman named Encarnación. It is Encarnación’s ghost that is said to also inhabit the house long after her 1855 death. Some witnesses have seen a female form sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch while others have heard the sound of feminine crying within the home, apparently coming from the master bedroom. The belief is that her immense sorrow of learning of her husband’s death is the intense emotion that still plays out, in residual form.

One of Avila Adobe’s Haunted Bedrooms

Today, the home is not only frequented by guests, but also by original owner Francisco Avila, who is said to talk the halls and plaza, continuing to look over his impressive homestead and the village he once presided over as mayor. In addition to being seen clearly in the house, in the courtyard and in front of the house, people have also heard his heavy boots as he invisibly wanders the halls of the house. People have also observed shadow people throughout the structure.

Avila’s first wife, Maria, died in 1822. He later remarried to a woman named Encarnación. It is Encarnación’s ghost that is said to also inhabit the house long after her 1855 death. Some witnesses have seen a female form sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch while others have heard the sound of feminine crying within the home, apparently coming from the master bedroom. The belief is that her immense sorrow of learning of her husband’s death is the intense emotion that still plays out, in residual form.

Just 500 feet to the south, continuing down Olivera Street and through the plaza is the Pico House, a building once considered the most luxurious hotel in Los Angeles. The building was constructed in 1870 by successful businessman and the last governor of Los Angeles while under Mexican rule, Pio Pico.

The Pico House was an immediate success for years upon it’s opening. The 82-room hotel was in high demand through 1900, when the business center of the city shifted south. It was this shift that ended the glory days for this area.

However, even its glory days were not always so glorious. Just days after the city of Chicago burned to the ground in the great fire, a different kind of fire would rage in Los Angeles. A fire made up of vengeance and anger.

This location bordered the original Chinatown and two warring Chinese immigrant associations were battling each other when Jesus Bilderrain, one of only six police officers in Los Angeles, heard shots ring out. He found one Chinese gang member bleeding in the street when he was struck by a non-fatal bullet in the shoulder. Nearby tavern owner, Robert Thompson, came to aid and was eventually shot in the chest and killed. A city already rife with prejudice against the Chinese exploded. A mob stormed Chinatown, indiscriminately attacking any inhabitant they could find. Buildings and storefronts were damaged, easily hundreds of people were beat up and dozens more were hanged to death throughout Chinatown. The majority of the slayings took place just steps from the Pico House, on the land that is now LA’s Union Station.

In the end, at least 17 Chinese were killed, including young boys. Questions persist over Even Builderrain’s story. Was he a hero cop, shot in the line of duty, or was he merely a key member of a murderous lynch mob? Regardless of how it all went down, there is belief that some of those killed are still present at the Pico House. Some of the spirits are apparently vengeful, as an episode of “Ghost Adventures” talked to a security guard who claimed they were kicked in the back of the leg while walking down a staircase.

Additionally, Pio Pico himself is often seen looking over his land from the roof or upper windows of the Pico house. Much like Mayor Avila, he appears to be keeping tabs on the land he presided over in life. It’s also worth noting that, aside from the lit street lamps and the hum of nearby traffic, the setting is preserved, locked in time, so perhaps its this familiarity that makes Olvera Street, the Avila Adobe, the Pico House and a number of other nearby buildings such a desirable place for past tenants to remain, long after their deaths.

K Is For Kissing: The Blarney Stone And A Mysterious Shadow Cat

This blogpost is adapted from a podcast interview we did with author, Nick Redfern. In the podcast we talk extensively about tulpas or thoughtforms come to life. And you can listen to the episode if you’d like to learn more. Also, if you’re interested in watching me tell the whole story on video, head down to the bottom of this post.

So, while taking a trip to the UK and Ireland in 2008, I was reading Nick Redfern’s book, Three Men Seeking Monsters, which was about Nick and his friends going to the locations of legendary paranormal sightings across Britain, listening to punk rock, and drinking prodigious amounts of ale. That was the kind of trip that I could get behind and it was a fun book to read while we were on our own road trip across the island.

It was a terrifying time for us because I was just about to quit my day job working in software and I wanted to go for it as a musician. My wife, Chris, (girlfriend at the time) was contemplating leaving her career as a music teacher as well. So we were a couple of people who were planning on changing our lives completely.

One of the things that my wife did to lighten our apprehensive moods on the trip was secretly bring along a set of sticky googly eyes and she’d put them in different places (like on the Nick Redfern book) every morning to make us laugh. It was all based around this Saturday Night Live sketch with Christopher Walken where he played a gardener who was scared of plants. So, he’s stick googly eyes on them so he could look them in the eye. It was our favorite skit and we laughed that we’d remember these little jokes if our relationship got rocky, so we wanted to save them “for the hard times”.

So, while we’re in Ireland seeing the sites, we visit the Blarney Castle right outside of Cork. Now, when you visit the Castle of Blarney, you have to go see The Blarney Stone. The legend is that anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone will get the “gift of gab” and they offically call it “The Stone of Eloquence” because it’s supposed to make you more persuasive and be able to tell lies and have other people enjoy hearing it! And I know that sounds bad right before I tell a crazy story.

There are many supposed origins of this urban legend, but my favorite involves a witch who was saved from being executed by Cormac McCarthy, who was the lord of the castle at the time. She supposedly granted him this special gift of eloquence, of being able to lie and exaggerate and persuade, becuase he saved her life.

Surrounding the castle is a beautiful park where there are big rock formations they call a “Rock Close”, they have some old caves they call Druid’s Cave and Witch’s Kitchen. There’s some fun folklore about how the witch is trapped in a stone during the day and only comes out at night, but sometimes you can still see the embers of her fire from the night before burning in the kitchen.

But the most interesting section is the Wishing Stairs, a stairway where you’re supposed to walk up and down it backwards with your eyes closed and focus on a wish and if you succeed in doing so, your wish will come true within a year.

The following paragraphs are taken directly from my journal (which still has googly eyes on it) and I wrote them down as soon as we got to our hotel that night…

We weren’t expecting much but it was awesome. The lines weren’t too bad and it was a little overcast, but the temperature was perfect. The pathways were so wind-y and skinny, it was a long trip for us to get to the top of the battlements, so I can just imagine what it’s like for elderly people who take the journey.

Me kissing the Blarney Stone, it’s actually pretty scary

Kissing the Blarney Stone was way more of a rush than we expected because you have to actually lean back really far over the edge and someone holds you while you kiss it.You’re far enough back though, so it’s scary. That was fun and the castle was magnificent, but the Rock Close was the real treat. We waled along there by the Druid Cricle and up and down the Wishing Stairs (where I wished for financial independence because I was planning on quitting my day job and Chris must have wished something about her cats, but more on that later.)

The Wishing Steps of Blarney

So, we walked away from the Rock Close and to the gardens around the castle. We were completely alone and sat at a bench overlooking a field through the foliage. I told Chris about the Cormons in Nick Redfern’s book because I had just finished it that morning.

In his book, Redfern talks about interviewing an old witch, who told him about these creatures called Cormons. They were summoned to our world centuries ago by some British magicians and Irish occultists who were looking to protect the Isles from foreign marauders like the Vikings. These Cormons were supposed to appear as the darkest fears of the attackers (usually with glowing red eyes) and defend the island. But the magicians and the occultists were slaughtered and the Cormons were free to roam the land and feed on our fearful emotions. He speculated that UFOs, ghost sightings, and other monsters were these Cormons who use our fear as a pathway from their dimension into ours.

I was telling Chris about the Cormons and what an interesting idea I thought it was and she said “How scary would it be if the Big Black Wolf from The Never-Ending Story appeared right now?”

Gmork. “The Big Black Wolf” that Chris was referring to.

Just then a shape appeared in the pathway a hundred yards from us. I took a couple of blurry pictures and adrenaline rushed through our veins. It looked like it could be a wolf from the distance, but we approached it slowly and it was the form of a black cat that jumped into the bushes before we got a good look at it.

nick redfern tulpa
Sorry it’s blurry, but as soon as I saw it, I immediately tried to get a picture.

We never really saw its eyes but looked around for it where it jumped to and didn’t see anything. We couldn’t believe what we’d just seen after what we were talking about, it couldn’t have been written any better.

A closer up shot of the Demon Dog of Blarney! Okay, okay, I guess it does look like a cat

Chris said that it might have been because of the wish she made when she was on the Wishing Stairs. I thought she might have wished that our black cat, Mr. Spock, was okay and that’s why a black cat appeared. But the shape looked like it was a wolf at first, which made it so we just couldn’t believe it.

We were so grateful for the experience that we left googly eyes on a fern at the Druids sacrificial altar that was in the garden as an offering for the Blarney Witch to thank her. We thought she’d appreciate giving her our jokes “for the hard times”. We had a delightful lunch by the horses and took the Woodland Walk, saw Faeries’ Glen and the Horse’s Graveyard, but it’s the Shadow Cat of Blarney that’s the story we will always remember.

The Googly-Eyed Fern that we left for the Blarney Witch

A few years later, my wife told me that when she was on the Wishing Steps, she wished for a sign for her own future. And when she saw the cat, she thought was a miracle, because she’d been offered a position at a cat specialty clinic in town just before we left. She was desperate to find any kind of sign as to what to do with her life and there it was.

Seeing a mysterious shadowy animal while on the trail was one thing, but us both seeing something different was another. And her seeing the Shadow Cat of Blarney helped her make her final decision.


This Week’s Best Paranormal News – April 12th, 2019

Hey guys,
If you missed our last podcast it’s a great discussion with paranormal reality star Brian Cano (from Haunted Collector and Paranormal Caught on Camera). Click here to listen to it.

In the meantime, we’re back with the best paranormal news we saw this week!

‘Haunted’ doll ‘blinks’ in selfie at abandoned ‘Village of the Damned’
mirror

This one went viral on social media this week and it’s a pretty great pic. The creepy doll appeared to close her eyes in an abandoned building known as ‘The Village of the Damned’

Chinese scientists made super-monkeys with human brain genes
Futurism

And so it begins… “It is a classic slippery slope issue and one that we can expect to recur as this type of research is pursued.”

We Spoke to an MIT Computer Scientists About the Simulation Hypothesis
Digital Trends

The simulation hypothesis, which was famously probed in the 1999 film The Matrix, is the subject of a new book by Rizwan Virk, a computer scientist and video game developer who leads Play Labs at MIT. In his book, Virk endeavors to unpack the heady arguments that call our physical world into question.

Iran Says ‘Tall, White’ Space Aliens Control America
Forbes

Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden conclusively prove that the United States has been ruled by a race of tall, white space aliens who also assisted the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Okay…

Incident Detail Report Shows Man Called 911 to Report Sighting of ‘7-8 ft Tall’ Creature in Woodstock, Illinois
The Singular Fortean Society

Now here’s a great example of how you do a paranormal investigation lead by our friends in The Singular Fortean Society. Someone called 911 to report seeing a strange winged creature in the northern Chicago burbs. The investigators followed up with the caller as well as did a Freedom of Information Act request to get a transcript of the call. Now, the rest of it is sketchy because the caller was hoping to “name the creature” and then they weren’t responsive to the investigator’s follow-ups. But The Singular Fortean handled this exactly right.

Stevie Wonder isn’t blind, claim wild theorists – and here’s the ‘evidence’
mirror

The so-called ‘Stevie Wonder Truthers’ bizarrely claim there’s a whole heap of evidence to suggest Stevie can see. Ummm… what?!

Sneaker Pimps – Superstition (Stevie Wonder Cover) YouTube

Trip Hop pioneers Sneaker Pimps covering Stevie?! Oh yeah. If Stevie can really see, we hope he watches the video!

Next week, we’re tackling the cursed movie Antrum. Please make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast to get it as soon as it comes out!

See you on the other side of the weekend!
Mike, Wendy, and the SYOTOS family

A rock band's journey into the afterlife, UFOs, entertainment, and weird science.

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