Category Archives: Podcast

248 – Snatchers: Invasion of the Alien-Human Hybrids

Humans didn’t come with an instruction manual. We have only a few natural instincts. Reproduction is one of the only things in the universe that we don’t have to convince ourselves to do, the desire is there constantly. And in human society, is nothing as sacred or sensitive as children. We are hardwired to think irrationally about them. We are evolved to protect them at almost any cost. The sound of a child in danger is a biological air raid siren. Ask any person what the most important thing in the world to them and if they have children, it’s them. If they don’t, it’s family. People that would say something different are considered sociopaths.

And that’s okay, by valuing familial bonds above everything else is how we survived when we weren’t as fast as the tiger or as strong as the bear. But while we consider our reproduction to be sacrosanct, we freely interfere with the reproduction of other animals. We purposefully breed horses with donkeys to create pack animals, we regularly inseminate cows with the strongest bulls we can find, we have been mixing seeds and crops with each other since the dawn of agriculture (GMOs are a lot older than you think.). It’s how we came to dominate the planet.

But our planet is all we dominate and it’s a big universe. And just like cows can’t stop us from pumping some strange bull’s semen into them, we would be powerless to stop aliens with superior technology from violating our reproductive systems. It’s terrifying and it plays against three of our biggest fears, the violation of our personal bodies, the desire to protect our children, and the realization that we are impotent against the greater power of the universe.

From Mr. Spock to Counselor Troi in Star Trek to Evie in Out Of This World, or even Peter Quill The StarLord in Guardians Of The Galaxy the idea of a half-human, half-alien has been popular in science fiction. (Indeed, they tried to even make Doctor Who half-human in the 1996 TV movie.) But while that’s all fun and games and leads to psychic powers or the ability to freeze time, in the real world, cases of alien-human hybrids are far more terrifying.

Just this year, Korean lecturer Dr Young-hae Chi, who teaches at Oxford’s Oriental Institute, said “The primary purpose of abduction is to produce hybrids – human-alien hybrids – and the second one is the primary purpose of the hybrid project to colonise the Earth.” He just released a book called Alien Visitations and the End of Humanity.

The idea that aliens might be abducting women to impregnate them, use their eggs to create alien-human hybrids, and then releasing the hybrids into the world to eventually prepare us for First Contact (after all, if the children are half-human and they’re already here, how can we not accept them?) or to seed the population for an eventual alien takeover (if they are already here, then they can infiltrate positions of power in government and influence in society) became popular in the 1990s through the writings of Dr. David M. Jacobs.

Jacobs (a Wisconsin Badger, class of 1973, his dissertation was even published as The UFO Controversy in America, so let’s go Red!) founded the International Center for Abduction Research after interviewing thousands of abductees and regressing them hypnotically to remember their abductions. They all tended to follow a similar pattern, particularly the women’s experiences.

Jacobs is a doctor of history not medicine or psychology. So is there an Experimenter Effect on these reports? Carl Sagan thought so, but Jacobs stands by his story. In this episode, we talk about some of the history of alien-human hybrid theories and just what these theoretical aliens might be after before we get to something a little more lighthearted for the second half.

Snatchers is a horror-comedy about a Sara, a high school girl who has sex for the first time and wakes up 24 hours later fully pregnant with an alien-baby. It was an official selection for the 2019 SXSW Film Festival and we interviewed the writers, Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, and Scott Yacyshyn (collectively known as the Old Money Boyz) behind the idea. The interview was in a bar in Austin at the premiere party for the movie, so you’ll have to excuse us as we pass the microphone around and suck on some fine Texas beers, but it’s fun to hear about their influences in the creation of the show.

The high school vibes from Snatchers were flowing through us as we were working on this episode’s song so we were feeling pretty emo. Here’s the Sunspot track “Hybrid”.

It’s a violation
of our very race
they sneak into our lives in the dead of night
It’s a breeding program
designed to replace
So are we going to go without a fight?

Too late for the arrival
A matter of survival

Should sins of the fathers
punish the progeny
where do you think their home is?
where do you think their home is?
How do you stand against the flood of destiny
where do you think their home is?
where do you think their home is?

These hidden hybrids
A sleeper cell
A secret colonization
It’s far too late now
how can we repel
Welcome to the new occupation

Too late for the arrival
A matter of survival

Should sins of the fathers
punish the progeny
where do you think their home is?
where do you think their home is?
How do you stand against the flood of destiny
where do you think their home is?
where do you think their home is?

247 – Hunting An Enigma: The Lake Monsters Of Ireland

Everyone knows about the Loch Ness Monster, everybody has heard about the Sasquatch. Nessie and Bigfoot are the two most famous cryptids in the world. Even most Forteans have heard of Champ, the sea serpent that is said to roam the waters of Lake Champlain between Vermont and Quebec, first seen in the New World in 1609. But most people have never heard of the Master Otter, who’s been seen a lot more recently than that.

What, you say? What’s a Master Otter? Well, it’s only the biggest and baddest river mammal around. And it’s deadly even, it’s said to have killed an Irish woman in the Seventeen Century and her gravestone still bears a picture of the beast. When’s the last time Bigfoot killed anyone, huh?

On the west coast of Ireland in Galway county, in the Connemara region of Ireland, there are many shallow lakes dotting the countryside. It’s a small community of only 32,000 people, but it’s an area that is heavily steeped in traditional Irish history. In fact Gaelic is still spoken in the schools there and it contains the most Irish speakers per capita on the entire island.

And in those shallow lakes, people have long seen monsters with many reports from the 1960s, 1980s, and beyond. Monster hunter Travis Wolfe has had a lifelong interest in cryptozoology and realized that the strange water cryptids of Ireland remain unheralded in modern investigation. He decided he wanted to change all that and called our very own Allison Jornlin, an intrepid monster hunter herself (her research into the Chicago Mothman sightings remains unparalleled) to help with uncovering more of these mysterious creatures.

Travis Wolfe

Two of the main beasties that have been sighted in the Connemara region are the Dobhar-chú , which is the Gaelic word for the Master Otter and the Peiste or the Horse Eel. The Dobhar-chú is often described as a half dog/half fish creature, while the Horse Eel is pretty much exactly what you’re imagining in your brain right now, a horse shaped head and mare with a long (up to 30 feet!) eel body behind.

In fact, the horse eel was a modest cryptozoological sensation in Ireland in the 1960s, here you can find several news reports from Irish television as they interviewed witnesses and covered the various sightings through the decade and beyond:

Travis and Allison have spent a good deal of time studying the evidence and the sightings of these creatures from the Emerald Isle and that’s what we talk about in this episode. But they’re also formulating a plan to get on location and investigate these loughs directly and make a documentary about it. The documentary is called Enigma and they have an Indiegogo campaign to fund the investigation and documentary. With plans for drones, remote control submarines, infrared detection, and more, it’s going to be a full investigation to get real visual proof of either the giant Master Otter or the infamous Horse Eel.

Click here to check out the Indiegogo Campaign for Enigma and discover how you can help in this fascinating investigation into Irish cryptids!

246 – Blessings For Beltane: Magic and Rituals With Zita Christian

Beltane, which occurs on May 1st, is the celebration of fertility and the encouragement of the world coming back to life. It is halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. The last time we talked about May Day was in our discussion with Selena Fox of the Circle Sanctuary and this year we’re returning to the topic because it is a sacred time not just for Pagans. There’s a reason the Christian holiday Easter, a festical celebrating resurrection, is celebrated at this time of year, because it fits in perfectly with the spirit of rebirth. Spring is naturally a magical time as the earth returns from the dead of winter.

First things first, though. Piggybacking on Episode 245, which was a discussion of film Antrum, supposedly the deadliest film ever made, we received a voicemail from the producer, Eric Thirteen, himself. You can hear that voicemail in this episode. So, that’s an awesome way to kick the show off!

“Ritual without intent is just routine.”

Zita Christian

A ritual doesn’t have to be some sort of ceremony where you sacrifice a ram or a huge mass where you take communion with a hundred other people. It can be as small as rubbing a rabbit’s foot before playing a slot machine, or wearing a hat upside down to rally during a baseball game, or putting on your “lucky shirt” before going on a first date.

We do little rituals all the time, not thinking that they’re magic (how does wearing a hat upside down make you hit the ball better?) but hoping that they’ll help us with a desired outcome. The help us focus our mind, they help us declare our intent. We rub that rabbit’s foot because we want to win, we put on our lucky shirt because it puts us in an attractive mindset.

Rituals and ceremonies have long been human ways of helping us commemorate the passage of time. It’s the coming-of-age bar mitzvah or high school graduation. It’s the shower to welcome a new baby or the saying goodbye of a funeral. There are certain things that we do at all of these ceremonies, whether it’s the games at a shower or the garter belt at a wedding (or even the Electric Slide), they stand for a shorthand that we all know to celebrate together.

But what if you want to do something a little different for your celebration? 23% of all Americans say they have no religious affiliation and it’s usually religion where we get many of our ritual traditions from. So what happens when you’re looking to create a special ceremony but something with meaning to your life and a connection to something besides organized religion?

You call a ritualist, like Zita Christian. You call someone experienced in designing a ceremony that has a connection to the symbolism of spirituality and to ancient traditions but is also personal to you and unbound by the rules of formal religious institutions.

From the very first psychic experience that Zita Christian had when she was only 9 years old, playing a board game and seeing a strange pulsing red energy emerge from the board, she knew that there was something out there that was bigger than ourselves.

After a career as a romance author, she found herself fascinated with magick and astrology and using her learning to help people create powerful rituals in their own lives and has been specializing in weddings (she was a romance novelist after all!) She also performs celebrations and will be doing a Beltane ceremony this year, so in this episode she shares with us her story. We talk about the power of rituals (whether you believe in magic or not) and the history and traditions of Beltane. Some highlights include:

  • How the Pagan calendar is based around the Sun, because it was the life-giving force that the agricultural communities were dependent on
  • Why farmers should be having more sex in their fields
  • How the dance around the Maypole is a lot dirtier than you thought it was
  • How The Industrial Revolution changed our sense of the way time passes
  • Simple rituals that you can do for Beltane and May Day to celebrate it in your own way

You can find Zita’s podcast and rituals at Moon River Rituals, where you can see her upcoming events as well as ask her questions about creating your own ceremonies to help you commemorate something special.

And of course for this episode, we wanted to write the kind of song you could dance around the Maypole to. So boys grab the white streamers and girls grab the red, and here’s Sunspot with “The Blossom Crown”.

Today we are the endless young
for the new cycle has begun
so give yourself to abandon
and wear the blossom crown

So gather roses while ye may
summer’s too short a date.
every beautiful day
is a paradise

Hail to the Queen of May
the daughter of the Fae
holding the doomed bouqet
a sacrifice

Today we are the endless young
for the new cycle has begun
so give yourself to abandon
and wear the blossom crown

the battle for the dark is won
the winter crone is on the run
and everyone’s a shining sun
who wears the blossom crown

So gather roses while ye may
summer’s too short a date.
every beautiful day
is a paradise

Hail to the Queen of May
the daughter of the Fae
holding the doomed bouqet
a sacrifice

love with all your soul
dance around the pole
red and white laugh in delight
red and white they will ignite
red and white complete the rite,

Today we are the endless young
for the new cycle has begun
so give yourself to abandon
and wear the blossom crown

the battle for the dark is won
the winter crone is on the run
and everyone’s a shining sun
who wears the blossom crown

245 – T Is For Terror In The Aisles: Antrum and the Deadliest Movies Never Made

If you read any of paranormal or horror movie blogs this week, you might have seen an article about a new “documentary” coming out that contains a film from the 1970s that has recently been rediscovered called Antrum. It was covered by Bloody Disgusting, Mysterious Universe, Unexplained Mysteries, and even Forbes magazine, who did the original interview with the producer Eric Thirteen.

Thirteen says that the movie was lost after a terrifying incident in a Budapest theater in 1988 and that bad things kept happening to anyone involved in the production of the film, or anyone who even watched it. Indeed the trailer even says that the film is rumored to be “haunted” or “cursed” and that you shouldn’t watch it alone, it says that it absolves the filmmakers of all liability. (Ha, let’s see that one hold up in court!)

The new release of Antrum: The Deadliest Movie Ever Made will feature a documentary with people who know the history of the production as well as have experienced some of the curse effects from watching the movie. What? You’ve definitely got my attention, so this has to be fake, right?

Of course it’s fake, producer Eric Thirteen even compares it to Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, a mystical evil spellbook that only existed in Lovecraft’s imagination. That was, until the author’s admirers created it and sold their fan fiction in book stores across the country and some people got convinced it was actually a reprinting of an ancient spellbook. He’s dropping the clues right in the interview that this is going to be a mockumentary!

COOL EPISODE UPDATE

Eric Thirteen himself listened to this episode and left a voicemail for us, which you can hear in its entirety in Episode 246 of See You On The Other Side.

Now, this movie sounds like a lot of fun and I love the cursed film angle as marketing (Zak Bagans even used it in his own documentary Demon House when he suggested that just watching his film could be dangerous and get you a spirit attachment who wouldn’t leave you alone!) But none of these blogs, who normally write about real people’s paranormal experiences bothered to let us know that it’s not a real documentary.

We just thought it was interesting, that these regular paranormal platforms wouldn’t let everyone know that this movie looks cool, but it’s just a movie. So, we wanted to handle that straightaway. This is pop culture using the paranormal as a marketing hook, because of course, that kind of buzz is great for publicity, as shown by the incredible financial success of the grandaddy of modern viral movie marketing, The Blair Witch Project. That was another fictional documentary where they tried to make the media believe it was real, and for awhile it worked just as well as Antrum is.

In this episode, we go into the similarities between the marketing campaigns of Blair Witch and Antrum, we’ll dissect Eric Thirteen’s interview with Forbes (as well as the incredulous coverage of it!), and then talk about some other fake films that used the illusion of versimiltude to get attention and sell tickets (or in our case, video rentals in the 80s!)

  • Faces of Death
  • Cannibal Holocaust (so real that the director was put on trial for murder!)
  • Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?
  • Mondo Cane

And we have bring up some other great films that deal with cursed movies as well.

  • In The Mouth of Madness (itself inspired by Lovecraft)
  • Masters of Horror‘s “Cigarette Burns” (written by a staffer of Aint It Cool News, a site that led the way in the success of The Blair Witch Project)
  • The real urban legend behind The Ring

For the song this week, it was a no-brainer. Just understand that you’re listening at your own risk and we take no liability for anything that might happen to you after you hear “The Deadliest Song Ever Made”!

And of course, to go with the deadliest movie ever made, we had to write “The Deadliest Song Ever Made”. You’ve been warned, listen at your own risk because we take no responsiblity for what happens after you’ve heard it.

Now that you’ve hit play you can’t go back
you’re cursed forever once you’ve heard this track
There’s just something so evil about this tune
It makes the listeners deceased way too soon

So listen at your own risk
you’ve sealed your fate
This is the deadliest song ever made.
Don’t plug your ears,
for it’s too late.
You’ve heard the deadliest song ever made.

It’s the world’s most fearsome melody,
just the sound of it will end your life early.
We’re not saying anything legally,
but you’re damned to Hell for all eternity.

So listen at your own risk
you’ve sealed your fate
This is the deadliest song ever made.
Don’t plug your ears,
for it’s too late.
You’ve heard the deadliest song ever made.

244 – N Is For Notre Dame: Ghosts And Legends of the World’s Most Famous Cathedral

One of Notre Dame’s notorious gargoyles stares into the void.

Although some claim the thoroughly modern French don’t believe in God or ghosts, let’s be real and face the truth.  Everybody believes in something at least bordering on supernatural, even if they don’t readily admit it.  The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, brutally ravaged by fire on April 15th, 2019, is a prime example.  There’s something in the folklore of Notre Dame Cathedral for everyone — ghosts, curses, holy relics, and miracles.

Not saying it was the candles, but they sure do have a lot of candles.

Ghosts

We discuss this ghost photo in our podcast episode above; click here for additional photo info.

Dozens and dozens of people have killed themselves at Notre Dame Cathedral, and many others have tried.  There seem to be two off-ing options repeated over and over — the classic leap off one of the towers or the showy spectacle of off-loading a pistol into your head at the altar in the middle of mass.  Although it’s no match for the Eiffel Tower, where literally hundreds of people have committed suicide, Notre Dame has its fair share of harrowing stories.  Although the gun to the face before a packed house might seem like the most dramatic choice, the leapers of Notre Dame, especially those of the female variety, take the prize for sheer horror and eerie echoes of detail.

The death of Marie Felix in 1882 is probably the most famous because it is the goriest.  The specifics are so graphic that in the week following Marie’s death, 25,000 Parisians visited the morgue per day just for the chance to view her mangled corpse.  Although her name is forgotten by most, her suicide is the reason most cited to explain any paranormal activity in the cathedral. 

Marie is described in the newspapers as a beautiful, young woman with extraordinarily long hair arranged into two thick braids which she wore rolled around her head. She was first noticed by the cathedral’s security staff one October morning as she impatiently paced about the cathedral for about two hours. Some say she was denied access to the towers without a chaperone, so she was most likely desperately seeking someone to accompany her. As it happened, she would finally meet an elderly lady that morning, whom she kindly invited to lunch.  After Marie provided the unnamed lady with a nice lunch at a local restaurant, they returned to the cathedral at 2 p.m., ostensibly to gaze upon Paris from the vantage point of the towers. However, an unexpectedly heavy downpour forced them to take shelter in the watchman’s sentry-box.  Then suddenly, for no apparent reason, Marie made a mad dash, and before anyone could stop her, she climbed the parapet, flinging herself forward. 

Marie immediately fell upon the spikes atop one of the railings, which sliced her body in half at the waist.  The lower half flew backward onto the flags of the porch while the upper half remained impaled.  Her body was broken “completely into pieces by the shock upon the stones of the Place du Paris”, according to another article.  Marie was later identified as the daughter of a local tradesman.  Her family attested that Marie had often threatened suicide and that her actions were not due to any recent disappointments.  The coroner’s post-mortem findings included lesions on the brain which were thought at the time to confirm that Marie suffered from “suicidal monomania” just as her relatives had claimed.

A similar incident in May of 1890, claimed the life of a lovelorn 21 year-old.  The unidentified woman also leapt from the towers and, according to the account, was “dashed to pieces in the street below”. More recently another pair of suicides claimed additional victims. 

In October of 1964, 21 year-old American tourist Veronica Mcconnell had just arrived at Notre Dame, her first sight-seeing spot of the day, when another woman climbed over the balustrade of the North Tower.  Only moments later she took the plunge, falling directly onto Veronica, killing them both.  An almost identical scenario would transpire in August of 1983.  Veronique Stalla-Bourdillon, 24, plummeted to the pavement killing herself and flattening Johanne Pelletier, 29, of Montreal, who had been standing at the doors to the cathedral unaware of her impending doom.  Perhaps this morbid history explains the most reported ghost experience at Notre Dame — encounters with female apparitions seen pacing among the towers, flitting between the gargoyles. 

Cursed Doors

(Not the actual Devil or the ironwork on the Cursed Doors, but this piece by artist Cyril Colnik still seems apropos.)

During the construction of Notre-Dame, a young artisan called Biscornet was tasked with the creation of elaborate ironwork to decorate the cathedral’s doors.  Biscornet soon realized his ambition has gotten the better of him, so he casually called on the Devil for help, as you do.  While Biscornet took a nap, a masterpiece of intricate ironwork magically materialized.  Once completed, the Devil snatched Biscornet’s soul of course.  Yet the doors could not be opened by normal means until they were christened with holy water.

Holy Relics and Miracles

Although many seem ready to deride relics and the miracles with which they are credited, dismissing such notions as magical thinking, there are many more who believe. Can holy objects bestow healing and grace upon the faithful? In the Catholic Church, there is a strong conviction that anything which has come into contact with Christ or the Saints is imbued with extraordinary powers. During WWI, Germans bombed Paris on October 12, 1914.  As bombs fell on and around the Notre Dame Cathedral for some reason they did not explode and the cathedral was undamaged.  Many might consider this a miracle. 

Notre Dame was home to many relics from the Crucifixion including a piece of the True Cross, a crucifixion nail, and, most notably, the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus.  A particular miracle attributed to the Crown of Thorns is called “The Miracle of the Thorn”.  Once every 70 years, when Good Friday coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation, the Crown of Thorns is said to once again drip with the blood of Christ.  This fragile relic is encased in a crystal ring, held together by clasps of gilded bronze. Jean-Marc Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Fire Department, assisted by a human chain of volunteers, entered the burning cathedral to rescue the Crown of Thorns from the April 15th fire. The relic is currently being housed at the Louvre for safe keeping.

Here’s Mike’s original photo of the gold cross that survived the fire.
And here’s the iconic image of the cross after the fire.

In addition to the ghost stories and legends explored here, in this podcast episode, we uncover:

  • the real-life inspiration for the fictional Quasimodo
  • the pagan origins of the cathedral site
  • the derivation of the word “gargoyle”.

Plus we analyze the inevitable claim that Nostradamus predicted the blaze!

This is a grotesque, perhaps the most example at Notre Dame named Le Stryge. It’s a scary statue meant to warn away evil. A gargoyle, on the other hand, does double duty, repelling demons while also functioning as a rain gutter.

So many people shared our despair about the destruction of such a famous landmark, we decided to share a Sunspot oldie from our first demo tape, that eventually made on our album. Here’s a track about acceptance, when you just can’t fight anymore; it’s one of our saddest songs, “Defeated”.

Never look directly into the, 
heart of the sun, 
Never leave your battlefield, 
before your fight’s been won, 
and let the ghosts that haunt me, 
come visit me tonight, 
I want to join their midnight dance, 
I want to surrender under the moonlight. 

When will the war inside your heart ever end? 
Why must you fight it all alone? 
Can you fill your empty soul on your own? 

I lay defeated, 
torn and broken at your feet, 
Can I make you happy now? 
I lay defeated, you have brought me to my knees. 
I cannot fight you anymore. 

And I’ll try to hide the bitterness, 
that my heart holds, 
I’ll try to regain the innocence, 
that you bought and sold, 
And I’ll try to pick my broken pieces up off the ground, 
Will you care? 
No, you won’t care, 
when they fall back down. 

When will the war inside your heart ever end? 
Why must you fight it alone? 
I see the blood that’s on my hands is my own. 

I cannot fight you. 
I will not fight you. 
So why can’t I just walk away? 

Does he do the things I never did? 
Does he make you feel wanted? 
Tell him to make you happy the way I never could. 
Even though you’re standing next to me, 
you’re a million miles away. 

Your indifference has defeated me, 
adding insult to injury. 
Now that you have beaten me, 
now that you have victory, 
now that we are history, 
will you ever be happy? 

I lay defeated.

243 – Never Stop Searching: The Paralosophy of Brian Cano

You might be most familiar with him as the ghost hunting equipment guy on Haunted Collector with John Zaffis, the nephew of the notorious Ed and Lorraine Warren. Or you might have seen him as one of the hosts of the new Travel Channel show Paranormal Caught On Camera. But in the days before paranormal reality television was the popular phenomena it is today, Brian was urban exploring the abandoned buildings and haunted locations of Staten Island and putting together videos of it for public access cable.

His show Scared on Staten Island! (and eventually just called Scared! as they began investigating locations outside New York) started off with just camcorders documenting his haunted adventures and it eventually would lead to a career of hunting ghosts and investigating weird phenomena all over the United States.

His website is called “Never Stop Searching” because it’s based on getting the specualtion out of the research of paranormal phenomena. Why is a ghost the best explanation for an EVP? Why would spirits be limited to a certain location when they don’t have a physical body? Why do we assume that it’s dead human personalities that are showing up in photos and not our own real live brains and psychic energy projecting onto the audio recording or visual image?

in this interview, we discuss Brian’s “paralosophy”, which is really about unlearning all the stuff that we’ve been led to believe about paranormal investigation. Some of the topics we cover:

  • How he started off as a skeptic and saw too much to not believe in something
  • Why we should question all the assumptions of paranormal investigation
  • Why it’s good to go into a place cold and do the historical research afterwards
  • His psychic projection experiment that he likes to perform at every investigation

If you’re in Wisconsin, Brian will be teaching his method of paranormal investigation at the Old Baraboo Inn on April 27th to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Tickets are available by clicking here. Of course, we’ve been to the OBI a few times and have had some weird experiences of our own there, so you never know what you’re going to see!

The song this week, we were inspired by Brian’s “Paralosophy” and the idea of unlearning everything we think we know about the paranormal. Here is Sunspot with “More Than We’ve Dreamt Of”.

it’s so much
bigger than what you see

more than you’ve dreamt of
in your philosophy

and you’ll know it
when you’re ready

it’s what’s stuck in
the corner of your eye

and it’s the fear
that we don’t know why

but when the clouds clear
we’ll see the sky

it doesn’t matter
if we agree

for all these worlds
are yours for free

in the light of
infinity

more than we’ve dreamt of
in our philosophy

once you’re in, you’re in
once you’re past, you’re past
now that you’ve opened the door
you’re never going back

Rip up the rulebook
and let the mother burn
You can eliminate
everything you have learned
You live a hundred lives
and never understand
that you’re nowhere
til you give up everything you have

it’s so much
bigger than what you see

for all these worlds
are yours for free

more than we’ve dreamt of
in our philosopy

and we’ll know it
when we’re ready

242 – Twisted Dreams: The Beauty of B-Movies With Joe Bob Briggs

To those of us who are crazy about horror movies, there’s One Redneck To Rule Them All and that’s the host of MonsterVision, Joe Bob Briggs. To millions of impressionable teens, he was the voice who was able to find the best in cheesy horror movies. With his beer-drinkin’, nude scene-loving, onscreen violence-adorin’ attitude, he was the horror host that we all looked up to. A comic (real name John Bloom) who turned an encyclopedic knowledge of low-budget horror and sci-fi film into a full-time Hollywood job of commenting and writing about movies, and we couldn’t get enough.

Now it took me halfway through film school to get this, but the thing about movie lovers is that we love movies.

That’s a simple and seemingly obvious statement, but I want to clarify it because it means something. There are film snobs who can talk about the French New Wave and The Hollywood Renaissance and will pontificate on the power of Robert Bresson and Terence Malick and they are correct. Those movies are fantastic and while they take a cultured palate to appreciate, there is a passion that makes them rich and deserving of appreciation.

And if you were a film geek like me, you watched At The Movies with Siskel & Ebert, paid attention to the Academy Awards (before they gave a damn about “popular” films), and listened to your local overcompensating small town movie critic. We knew that there were “great films” and then we knew there were the movies that the rest of us watched for fun.

So there were brilliant and artistic films out there that could stir the cultured soul…

…and then there’s the lowest common denominator. Movies with simple plots that feature cheap grossout special effects to shock you, naked girls to tittilate you, and simple plots to so that even the lowest forehead Neanderthals among us can keep up. Guilty pleasures are what we call them. But why feel guilty?

Joe Bob Briggs is the guy that made those guilty pleasures not just okay, but something to be proud of. He could find ways to appreciate films made with affection and love, even if the budget is minimal, and even if they’re just about monsters killing teenagers. He knew when to call a movie out when they were lazy, but he knew how to craft film appreciation for the movies that the other critics left behind.

We met up in Austin during SXSW 2019 and discussed some of his favorite movies, his new show on Shudder, and even the movies that he’s never been able to get for his drive-in but wishes he could. Now, it’s a live interview in the restaurant in a crowded hotel where we were passing the microphone back and forth, so the audio isn’t like we’re at home in the studio, so please keep that in mind when you take a listen.

Me and Joe Bob Briggs at SXSW 2019

According to Joe Bob Briggs, there are three B’s every good B-movie needs:

  • Blood
  • Breasts
  • Beasts

And that sounds to me like a recipe for the kind of film that I want to watch. His new series is called The Last Drive-In and you can stream the show on the online service, Shudder. It’s got everything from Tourist Trap to Re-Animator and features the directorial talents of genre favorites like Clive Barker and (UW-Madison alumni) Stuart Gordon. When Shudder decided to run a horror movie marathon with Joe Bob in July of 2018 it got so much traffic that it broke downt he service for them, which some said was a sign of the sheer popularity of low budget horror presented by people who love it, but as Joe Bob said, “We worked hard on something and wanted people to actually see it!” So, they decided to bring it back as a full Shudder series.

While Joe Bob played to a rapturous and packed house in Austin during SXSW 2019, he’s also going to be appearing in Milwaukee for the Twisted Dreams Film Festival on April 6th. I also got a chance to talk to Chris House and Stephen Milek from the Twisted Dreams festival where Joe Bob will be doing his show How Rednecks Saved Hollywood where he shows hundreds of clips in a live show about how Tinseltown has relied on the same redneck stereotype to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts.

And that Twisted Dreams Festival is something you’re not going to want to miss if you’re in the Midwest. From The Lake Michigan Monster to The Amazon Hotbox, Chris and Stephen tell us about the horror and exploitation movies made with love that are going to be showing at the festival. So not only do you get a chance to watch Joe Bob Briggs do his show live, you can support dozens of independent and Midwestern filmmakers.

Click Here For Tickets

Twisted Dreams is Milwaukee’s Horror Film Festival and Chris and Stephen tell me their original favorite gnere movies and what got them hooked on horror films, they also lay out some of the highlights of the film festival for not only splatter and scary movie fans, but for aspiring filmmakers as well. And c’mon, they’re giving a special achievement award to American Movie‘s inspirational Mark Borchardt (the man behind Coven!) so you know it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Me, my sister Allison Jornlin, and Mark Borchardt

Chris House is also a ghost hunter with the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee so you know that we have to talk a little bit on what film influenced his journey to study the other side and what films best represent paranormal investigation (and of course I asked Joe Bob if he’s ever seen a ghost himself!)

Twisted Dreams Film Festival runs April 4th through 7th at the Times Cinema in Milwaukee. Click here to learn more and get tickets to this awesome event!

For the song this week, we were inspired by Joe Bob’s Three B’s. After all, when it comes to a horror film what else do you need? Here’s our latest track inspired by Joe Bob himself, “Blood, Breasts, and Beasts”!

There’s a creature in the wilderness
there’s a babysitter in a skintight dress
pretty soon they’re gonna meet and it won’t be pretty

I’m not worried about the misc en scene
of horny adolescents
All I know is someone is gonna die tonight.

Monsters in rubber suits
Killers in hot pursuit
Gut-wrenching violence
and a gruesome murder scene
You know I love that
gratuitous nudity
So give me
Blood
Breasts
and Beasts

There’s something underneath the floor,
There’s a sadist behind the closet door,
waiting for that couple to get it on.

I’m not worried about the misc en scene,
my interest is the prurient,
All I know is someone is gonna die tonight.

Monsters in rubber suits
Killers in hot pursuit
Gut-wrenching violence
and a gruesome murder scene
You know I love that
gratuitous nudity
So give me
Blood
Breasts
and Beasts

gimme blood
the stain’s getting redder
gimme breasts
the faker the better
gimme beasts
attacking some scream queens

gimme blood
the floor’s getting wetter
gimme breasts
the tighter the sweater
gimme beasts
to rip apart some teens

I want some…

Monsters in rubber suits
Killers in hot pursuit
Gut-wrenching violence
and a gruesome murder scene
You know I love that
gratuitous nudity
So give me
Blood
Breasts
and Beasts

241 – Apocalypse Any Day Now: Surviving The End Of The World With Tea Krulos

Last time we talked with author Tea Krulos, he was reminding us about the famed Doomsday Clock settling once again at the dangerous Two Minutes to Midnight. He was paying special attention to the clock, because it was directly related to his latest book, Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers.

That’s right, Tea jumped into the fray with the people who are getting ready for The End Of The World As We Know It (abbreviated in the book as TEOTWAWKI). Now it’s pretty easy to treat Doomsday Preppers and apocalyptic believers as a joke, after all, the end of the world hasn’t happened yet (for humans anyway, dinosaurs are a different story.)

And it seems like every generation believes that the end of the world is going to come in their lifetimes. In the New Testament Book of Revelation, Jesus even says “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” The John who wrote Revelation (whether he was the Apostle John or a different Christian prophet) thought that “The End Is Near” almost two thousand years ago.

And if God isn’t going to bring about the end, then humans will. Baby Boomers who grew up in the 1950s and 60s had Civil Defense drills where they hid under their desks in case of a nuclear attack. People were legitimately fearful of The Bomb and they were being trained in school on what to do if we were attacked. This is an ad from a Milwaukee company in the 1960s, and it’s just one of many.

Doomsday Preppers in the Atomic Age weren’t as weird of a thing because the Soviets were putting missles in Cuba less than 100 miles from the American coast. Nikita Kruschev was banging his shoe on the table of the United Nations screaming “We will bury you.” The generation before was involved in the most devastating war in history and the world witnessed the Totalitarian Communist regimes in Asia and Eastern Europe murder millions of their own citizens. We can make jokes now, but in the Twentieth Century, we were about as close to a man-made apocalypse as you can be.

CNN even made an TEOTWAWKI video in the 1980s, to be the last thing that they play on the air in the event of the apocalypse. It’s a military band playing “Nearer, My God, to Thee” which is a Christian hymn about Jacob building his ladder to Heaven. It’s also rumored to be the last song the band played on the deck of the Titanic as it was going down.

So, while it’s easy to be dismissive of Doomsday Preppers as fearful or crazy, it’s also important to remember that every generation has its own scare. My scare was Y2K, Art Bell was talking about how the grid was going to go down almost every night running up to New Year’s Eve, it even was the theme of the first Family Guy episode! People believed that catastrophe was coming.

Apocalypse Any Day Now treats preppers with a mix of compassion and bemusement. Yes, there are absolutely outlandish ideas out there and Tea isn’t afraid to tackle them, but people are whipped into a state of fear by institutions like the media and religion. Is it any wonder they might go out of their way to protect their family against the unthinkable?

Author Tea Krulos doing a little prepping of his own…

And it’s not just ultra-right reactionaries that are prepping for TEOTWAWKI, plenty of liberals have been told that Donald Trump is Hitler and he’s either going to start a nuclear war through bluster against other nuclear powers or just sheer ineptitude and he might press the wrong button.

But also on the left side of the current culture war, there is also the fear of climate change. And through political polarization, we’ve turned a very real issue of the temperature changing dangerously to either a narrative of “we’re going to die tomorrow” or it’s all some kind of hoax so that the government can take more control over our lives.

Where, as usual, the truth lies in the middle, a slow rise in temperatures over time will change our agriculture and force people to abandon sea level countries. And when you combine weather changes with overpopulation, societal conflict is bound to occur, whether it’s a refugee crisis or a food shortage, and it’s not going to happen overnight like The Rapture, it’s going to be a slow march towards the end of modern civilization.

This is the way the world ends 
This is the way the world ends 
This is the way the world ends 
Not with a bang but a whimper.

T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

In the book, Tea goes through the current state of disaster preparedness from fun organizations like the “Zombie Squad” to more serious apocalyptic cults like Heaven’s Gate. He even goes on a tour of the luxury doomsday bunker condominiums in Colorado (eat your heart out 1960s’ bunkers!) And in our latest conversation with the Milwaukee author, we handle a wide-ranging discussion going from mental state of a doomsday prepper, to the dangers of AI, to an extraterrestrial invasion and the possible dangers as a result of climate change. Some highlights include:

  • Rose, the chatbot obssessed with an asteroid strike
  • The story of Dorothy Martin, the original doomsayer of the alien apocalypse
  • The Raeliens and their embassy for the alien Elohim
  • What is the Sixth Extinction? Can it be avoided?
  • What might happen in a “Cimate War”
  • Is our only solution to escape the planet?

Whatever happens, I just hope that we’ll grow gills like Kevin Costner in Waterworld.

For the song this week, we thought about the wrath of God that people once thought was going to precipitate the end of the world. When that didn’t happen, it was going to be a nuclear holocaust, when that didn’t happen it was going to be Y2K, and now it’s going to be something else. Some people think humanity is too sick to go on and if the end of the world isn’t brought about by an outside force, they’ll rise up and do it. This song is about when you don’t get the justice you want from God, then you’re just going to take care of it yourself. Here’s Sunspot wth “Fire And Brimstone”.

Vengeance is mine, he said.
I will repay.
Just bide your time til Judgment Day.
But there’s a million voices
out for blood
A thousand years of pain
all at once
Is there any difference betwixt justice and revenge?
Tit for tat eye for an eye
There never is an end
Oh heads will roll
Oh Fire and brimstone

Let them eat cake she said
the mob can wait
Their answer was decapitate.
And if God won’t punish
then we will
Parading heads on pikes
The Bastille
Is there any difference betwixt justice and revenge?
Tit for tat retaliate
Here’s your violent ends
Oh heads will roll
Oh Fire and brimstone
Oh heads will roll
Oh Fire and brimstone

240 – Lillith: From Demon To Goddess Featuring The Cast and Crew of “Porno”

The first time I’d ever heard the name Lillith was because of a role-playing game. In the 90s, Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t quite hardcore enough, so we had to delve into the White Wolf World of Darkness. And tabletop wasn’t hardcore enough, we had to do it live action. That’s right, baby, LARPing (just like Peter Dinklage in the underrated Knights of Badassdom).

If you don’t know what LARPing is, it’s where you dress like your character and act out your Dungeons & Dragons game, except we pretended we were vampires and that the basements of our parents’ houses were nightclubs. Instead of rolling dice, we did rock, papers, scissors, and of course we dressed up goth AF.

White Wolf eventually made it to the mainstream with their TV show, Kindred: The Embraced which was a C. Thomas Howell-starring evening soap about vampires using the mythology from the game. I’m sure that FOX thought they were getting a new Dark Shadows, when it was a lot more like What We Do In The Shadows without the unintentional jokes (it does have a deep bench of 90s’ TV talent though from X-Files’ alien bounty hunter to Lana Lang from Superboy).

Anyway, in the game, Lillith was known as the “Mother of Vampires”. In the Garden of Eden, she was created from the same clay as Adam and was his original wife. However, Lillith was not interested in being subservient to Adam and eventually was kicked out of Eden after doing the nasty with an angel and also reportedly refusing to be on the bottom when she was getting it on with Adam. She’s only mentioned in the Bible once, but she features more prominently in Jewish mysticism and folklore.

So, she’s associated with sex from the very start and she becomes a boogyeman in medieval Jewish culture. If your baby died in the middle of the night, it was Lillith. If you woke up in the middle of the night and felt a pressure on your chest (like the “Old Hag Syndrome”), it was Lillith. She’s been a bad guy in much more than vampire role-playing games, she’s a villian from Supernatural to Bordello of Blood.

Well, in the intervening centuries, the idea of women being subservient to men has gone the way of other medieval thinking and Lillith has been reinvented as an avatar of feminine strength and defiance (Sarah McLachlan even invoked her name for the women-centric fair that was popluar in the late-90s.)

However, in the new horror-comedy, Porno, which premiered at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, Lillith is back to being the good ol’ Sex Demon that we all know and love. This time she’s tormenting the poor innocent teenagers working at a small town movie theater.

From L to R: Director Keola Racela, “Ricky” Glenn Scott, “Lillith” Katelyn Pearce, “Todd” Larry Saperstein, “Abe” Evan Daves, “Heavy Metal Jeff” Robbie Tann, Writer Laurence Vannicelli, and Writer Matt Black

Drected by Keola Racela and written by Matt Black, Laurence Vannicelli, Porno is right up the alley for fans of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead or Peter Jackson’s Braindead , it’s ridiculous, scary, over-the-top, and has plenty of boobs and blood. We had a chance to talk to the filmmakers, writers, and the cast of Porno at SXSW and interview them about the film. Here’s some of the things you’ll learn in the conversation:

  • The inspiration they took from filmmaker and occultist, Kenneth Anger for their film within a film structure
  • What medieval monks have to do with the original mythology of the Succubus
  • The real-life spookiness of the semi-abandoned town they shot in New York
  • How to keep the right balance of horror and comedy
  • Everyone’s favorite and most influential horror movies
With a poster like that, you know you’re going to have a good time!

Lillith is the spirit of defiance and she copulated with demons and sought vengeance on humanity for being kicked out of the Garden of Eden. For that, we thought we’d include probably the most defiant song we have. Sometimes you’ve just had enough, just like Lillith did in the Garden of Eden, and you’re sick of being on the bottom. That’s what this track is about, here’s Sunspot with “Step On It”.

I’m tired of being your yes man. 
Your fleeting whims have bled me dry. 
I think “No %&*ing way” has a better ring to it anyway, 
Than “How can I please you again my dear?” 

I’ve had enough of being your boy toy. 
The world will still revolve, but not around you. 
I’m gonna stay around; if you don’t like that get out of town 
cuz I will not please you again my dear. 

Every time I see your face, 
I think that I might want to 
STEP ON IT! 

This is for every guy and every girl around the world 
That you have hurt in your whole life 
You take and do not give you take and 
Do not give. You’ve been there too; 
How could you leave and hurt me too? 
You take and do not give you take and 
Do not give! B%&*!

Your egomania has worn me out, 
guess I won’t be the one to cut you 
down to size, 
I think get on your knees has a lot 
more power than “pretty please”, 
so how will you please me again my dear? 

Every time I see your face, 
I think that I might want to 
STEP ON IT! 

This is for every guy and every girl around the world 
That you have hurt in your whole life 
You take and do not give you take and 
Do not give. You’ve been there too; 
How could you leave and hurt me too? 
You take and do not give you take and 
Do not give! 

Every time I see your face, 
I think that I might want to 
TACKLE YOU! 

This is for every guy and every girl around the world 
That you have hurt in your whole life 
You take and do not give you take and 
Do not give. You’ve been there too; 
How could you leave and hurt me too? 
I turned my time to pleasing you, 
You turned away and now you take and 
Do not give, you take and do not give you take and 
Do not give! 

I’ve had enough of being your yes-man, 
I’m sick and tired of being your boy-toy.

239 – Lone Star Spirits: Austin Ghost Stories with Monica Ballard

Austin, Texas is one of our favorite places in the world. In addition to the wonderfully warm Texas sun, hundreds of live music venues to catch great bands at, rich history, and the amazing tacos, it’s the welcoming friendly people that keep us coming back year after year. This last trip to the SXSW festival was no different becuase we had a chance to meet up with Monica Ballard from Austin Ghost Tours, and she gave us the skinny (or rather the skeletaly, hey!) on some of the most notorious haunts of the capital city.

Monica is a paranormal researcher and one of the top Austin ghost tour guides. She even wrote the book on the most legendarily haunted hotel in the city, The Driskill. You can pick up a copy of her book, True Haunted Tales of the Driskill Hotel: Volume 1 right here.

We met Monica at the Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill, one of the oldest buildings in the city and the launching off point for the Saturday night Austin Ghost tour.

In business as a store or saloon for over 160 years and built by the German immigrants who were flooding into Texas in the mid-Nineteenth Century, the building at 3rd and Red River is now known as the Moonshine Patio. It’s right downtown by the Austin Convention Center and it’s one of the oldest buildings still standing in the area.

Monica sat us down by the fireplace and regaled us with the stories of her own experiences with paranormal activity and what drew her to Austin in the first place.

Mike and Wendy interviewing Monica at the haunted Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill

Then we went outside to investigate and discuss some of the other haunted buildings on the same street, which are fascinating because compared to the high-tech high rises that surround them, these old houses look positively ancient

It’s a packed episode live on location and here’s some of the things you’ll hear about in the lively discussion…

  • The ghost in Monica’s own life that made her believe there’s something else out there
  • Whose spirits are haunting the Moonshine Patio and what the bartenders, waitresses, and hosts have all seen there
  • How a strange voice led Monica to a synchronicity that taught her the real name of one of the Driskill Hotel’s “suicide brides” (you mean there’s more than one?!)
  • The ghosts of 3rd Street and what it takes to make the spirits in those old blidings react
  • How Monica gets great EVPS and results using a Spirit Box (or a “Shack Hack” as she calls it!)

For the song this week, we’ll be covering a rock n’ roll number about the Driskill Hotel written by an amazing and far-too-often overlooked 90s band. Since we’re running behind on getting back from the trip, we’ll be posting it live as soon as we finish. But in the meantime, enjoy the interview!

Special thanks to Scott Markus of WhatsYourGhostStory.com and Victor Hidalgo of weare78704.com for assisting with the recording this episode!