Category Archives: Podcast

272 – Southern Gothic: Ghost Stories and Legends Featuring Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes

To say that the American South has a complex history is an understatement. To us in Wisconsin, it sometimes feels like a different country entirely and 99% of our touring experiences down there have been amazing. There is something to Southern hospitality and friendliness that makes it a pleasure for us to visit.

But the South also has its share of darkness. We live in a racially charged society. It’s not something our band, as three white people from the frozen North, have had to deal with much, but you don’t have to believe in ghosts to know that the specters of slavery and the Civil War hang over the place. And those are the focus of many of the ghost stories of the area. It’s part of the place, but it’s not the be all and end all of it.

The South has its own vibrant and beautiful culture. Part of what makes it great is the blending of all the cultures that has gone on to create art that’s really unique and incredibly popular.

Mike on the left on the bass and Wendy in the back on the violin, playing some Southern Rock in a band called Michael Alexander & Big Whiskey. Photo by John Flores.

Southern Rock for example is one of those artistic gumbos. A mixture of blues, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and country music, it takes elements of several traditions, black and white, to make amazing music. Even in Wisconsin, when the opening riff to “Sweet Home Alabama” starts, people lose their shit. Women want to dance to it, men want to sing along to it. And one of the most successful Southern Rock bands of all time is The Black Crowes.

Steve Gorman on the far right with his band Trigger Hippy. Photo by Scott Willis.

Steve Gorman was a founding member of that rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse. It’s his drumbeat you first heard on “Hard To Handle”, their original hit (and we covered their version for years.) They sold over thirty million albums in their time but the usual rock n’ roll story of excesses and egos eventually imploded the group. He currently drums with a rock n’ soul band called Trigger Hippy and they are playing in Madison at the High Noon Saloon on November 13th. I interviewed Steve to preview the show (and click on this article if you’d like to read more about the concert) but he also gave me a ghost story, here’s him telling it directly:

Yes, I do have a ghost story. And I say that as a guy who always rolled my eyes at other people’s paranormal experiences and I still do! Despite the fact that I had one.

It wasn’t at a venue or a gig, but a friend’s house in LA. This was in 2003 and our neighbor was having a backyard cookout. I had a toddler and a baby and so did everyone else on the block so we were constantly all hanging in someone’s backyard. And when you live in LA you’re outdoors all year round which is why you wanna go there if you have babies, because it helps. People in Wisconsin can follow that train of thought real easily.

Year-round, your backyard is another room of the house. There’s no mosquitoes, there’s no humidity. It’s pretty great. For awhile anyway.

Everybody’s in the backyard, the grill’s fired up, we’re listening to music, it’s a really nice neighborhood get-together. It’s my buddy Jared’s house and I walked into the kitchen and I was standing at the sink and I realize that there’s a woman standing right next to me. And I hadn’t even noticed her, and I did that thing where I’m went, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you” because I was crowding her by going to the sink… I think I was washing my hands.

I just looked to my right and I said “Oh, I’m sor…” but there was nobody there. And out of the corner of my eye peripherally I saw an older woman who was wearing a red bandana in her hair. An older lady with a red bandana with a pattern on it. And as I went to say “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t even notice you/” there was nothing there.

And it really impacted me. I felt something inside like, “Oh what the Hell was that?” Nine times out of ten I would have thought “oh, I’m seeing something” or my brain had a weird synapse misfire. But it really moved me.

And I walked outside and I went over to Jared my friend and I go, “I just had the weirdest thing happen.” And he goes, “What?” I go, “I was just in your kitchen and I swear there was this old woman that was standing next to me, but she just wasn’t there.” And my friend Jared goes, “Did she have a red thing in her hair like a bandana?” And I just stared at him in absolute disbelief. And I said, “Yeah.”

His daughter’s name is Sadie and he said, “Sadie sees that woman all the time.” And that’s a true story and I have goosebumps right now re-telling it. And I know the look on my face must have been great because he was like, “Dude, that’s alright, don’t worry.” And I was like “What the fuck, man?!” I thought I was losing my mind. He’s like, “It’s fine, she’s always in the house and Sadie just sees her.” So, great, me and a three-year old girl are connecting over this.

Steve Gorman, Drummer of Trigger Hippy and The Black Crowes

While the South creates amazing music, their unique history makes for some one-of-a-kind hauntings. In this episode, we talk about some famous stories and what makes ghost stories in the American South unique. Here are some of the topics we cover, in addition to hearing Steve Gorman tell his story for himself:

  • Haunted plantations across the South
  • Confederate ghosts in Nashville, Tennessee
  • The curse of The Bell Witch and An American Haunting
  • The pirate Jean Lafitte who haunts New Orleans
  • Why Madison, Wisconsin has its own Confederate ghosts

For this episode, we decided to do a version of the old English folk song, “The Unquiet Grave”. American folk music, particularly in Appalachia and the Ozarks, directly descends from the ballads of the English, Scottish, and Irish who settled The New World. In fact, the accent of Shakespeare’s time sounds somewhat more like an American Southern accent than it sounds like the accent of Ian McKellen or Patrick Stewart (as much as everyone loves those guys!)


“The Unquiet Grave” has been covered by everyone from to Joni Mitchell to Ween and it weaves the tale of a pair of lovers where one died too young. In some versions, it’s a girl who died, in others it’s the boy, but what remains the same is that they lay on their lover’s grave until the ghost appears to them. When the lover left behind begs for a kiss, the ghost warns that even a kiss from their lips would kill them and it’s not worth losing your life over lost love.

How cold doth blow the wind tonight,
I feel some drops of rain.
I never had but one true love
And in greenwood she was slain.
I’ll do as much for my true love
As any young man may.
I’ll sit and mourn all on her grave
For a twelve month and one day.

The twelve-month and one day being up
The dead began to speak.
“Oh, who sits weeping on my grave
And will not let me sleep?”
“‘Tis I, my love, sits on your grave 
And will not let you sleep,
For I crave one kiss of your lily-white lips
And that is all I seek.”

“My lips they are as cold as clay,
My breath smells earthy strong.
If you have one kiss of my lily-white lips,
Your life will not be long.”
“My life be’t long or short sweetheart,
But that is all I crave.
Then I shall be along with you
A-lying in my grave.”

“‘Tis down in yonder garden green,
Love, where we used to walk.
The finest flower that ere was seen
Is withered to a stalk.
The stalk is withered dry, my love,
So will our hearts decay,
So make yourself contented, love,  
Till God calls you away.”

271 – Milwaukee Mafia: Gangsters and Ghosts Of Brew City With Gavin Schmitt

I first encountered criminal historian Gavin Schmitt while looking up information on my grandfather. My mother had told me about how her Polish cobbler father supported a family of six children through the Great Depression. One way was through being a groundskeeper at the local parish to get a discount on tuition at the Catholic School there. Another way, however, was by distributing payments in a not-quite legal local lottery operation called they called “Policy”. She talked about how her aunt had sewn special pockets in her father’s jacket to hide the winning numbers for when he went on his rounds. Sometime when my mother was a little girl in the mid-1940s, my grandfather was arrested as part of a John Doe gambling investigation and his picture was in the Mliwaukee newspaper. He was released and in the end, not charged with anything, but she was hoping I could find the paper.

So after exhausting the online archives of The Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel and not having much luck looking for my not quite-notorious criminal ancestor, Leon Bohn, I found Gavin Schmitt’s book, Milwaukee Mafia: Mobsters in The Heartland. We tend to think of Chicago as the place for gangsters and it certainly was, and it seems like every dive bar in Wisconsin has a story about Al Capone coming to vist (indeed, if I were to believe all of them, I doubt Capone would have had a chance to actually commit any crimes!) But the Milwaukee mafia was able to get up to plenty of trouble on their own, the mob boss was nicknamed “The Mad Bomber” because of his penchant for blowing up people’s cars, for God’s sake!

Sixty years after our grandfather is arrested, my sister Allison was working on a special haunted history tour for the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee. She thought she might go to some older Italian hangouts and ask if they had any ghost stories, not even thinking about the Milwaukee mafia. One place that she visited on Brady Street, when she mentioned something about ghosts to the owner, he said, “Allison, I like your smile, but snitches end up in ditches.” And then he screamed at her, “Leave it alone! Leave it alone! Leave it alone!” I remember getting the call from her directly after and it was a mix of disbelief, sheer terror, but also, a fair share of amusement, that she’s gonna stumble onto some criminal conspiracy while looking for ghost stories for little old Italian ladies on Halloween.

Flash forward ten years after that, and while working on a new ghost tour route in Milwaukee, Allison uncovered some previously unheard hauntings of the old Italian neighborhood. So, it’s the perfect time to interview Gavin Schmitt about how some of his Milwaukee Mafia stories tie in to the various ghost stories of Cream City. Here’s some of the topics we cover:

  • Milwaukee’s scariest Polish one-armed man
  • How Milwaukee’s mob lawyer became obssessed with Nichelle Nichols (Uhura from Star Trek)
  • The Milwaukee Mafia’s Greatest “Hits” like Augie Mianaci and Louis Fazio
  • Allison’s ghost story from a potential mob hangout in Mequon (and a mobster that ended up in a ditch out there)

For the song this week, it was just too easy to take Allison’s experience at being yelled at by the old Italian bar owner and his simple and unforgettable rhyme, “Snitches End Up In Ditches”!

Money 
Women 
Sex 
all your heart’s desire. 

Power 
Respect 
Wealth 
you best not wear a wire 

Mr. Big made all this happen, so you better not betray 
Turn the keys to the ignition and you might get blown away. 

You like the parties, ladies, and the things so nice. 
you had to know there was a price. 

Now you’re in it for life 
with the gun and the knife 
a world of violence 
a code of silence 
You spill the blood on the saint 
you cut a deal with your fate 
but if you give it up to the feds 
then you’ll wind up 

Dead men tell no tales 
about the made men who made them rich 
stoolies might stay out of jail 
but a snitch ends up in a ditch 

Lucre 
Hookers 
Lust 
whatever you may feel 

Fortunes 
Gambling 
You can bet your life 
we’ll kill ya if ya squeal 

Mr. Big made all this happen, so you better not betray 
Turn the keys to the ignition and you might get blown away. 

You like the parties, ladies, and the things so nice. 
you had to know there was a price. 

Now you’re in it for life 
with the gun and the knife 
a world of violence 
a code of silence 
You spill the blood on the saint 
you cut a deal with your fate 
but if you give it up to the feds 
then you’ll wind up 

Dead men tell no tales 
about the made men who made them rich 
stoolies might stay out of jail 
but a snitch ends up in a ditch

270 – I See Dead People: The Paranormal Influences Behind The Sixth Sense

We’re back live from Wizard World Madison 2019 where we celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the scariest movies of the 1990s, The Sixth Sense. A story about a boy who is visited by the spirits of the dead and the child psychologist that is trying to help him, it was the most financially successful horror film of all time until it was finally surpassed by 2017’s It: Chapter One. The movie turned child actor Haley Joel Osment into a star and it skyrocketed the career of its writer-director, M. Night Shyamalan, who became particularly known for his use of Philadelphia as a location and a penchant for Twilight Zone-style twists.

I was 22 when I saw the movie the first time and I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared in the theater as I was coming home from that film. I was walking with my girlfriend at the time up a dark staircase into my apartment and we were convinced that when we got to the end of the stairs and unlocked the door there was going to be a dead person behind it.

Re-watching it after twenty years, it’s at first most shocking to see Bruce Willis’ gorgeous hair or how skinny Donnie from the New Kids On The Block looks, but then you start seeing all of the clues that Bruce Willis’ character was dead the whole time and it feels so obvious, which why it was such a great trick the first time around.

But while The Sixth Sense might have been a completely fictional film, it doesn’t mean that a lot of the concepts in the movie aren’t taken from real-life hauntings and paranormal experiences and here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Everytime a ghost gets mad, the temperature drops, so what’s up with cold spots in real hauntings?
  • What do psychic mediums in real life actually see when they hear messages from dead people?
  • Bruce Willis’ character Malcolm becomes convinced after hearing an EVP, what’s the history of EVP phenomena?
  • Olivia Williams talking about how an object can be imprinted by its former owners. Does that mean an object can be cursed?
  • Poltergeist activity, apporte hauntings, and Munchhausen-Syndrome-by-Proxy as a potential explanation for paranormal activity

So, for the song this week we reached back into the archives for a track that we released not too long after The Sixth Sense came out. We thought that the chorus fit perfectly for this film where a child finally finds someone that believes in him and can stop being afraid of the ghosts that surround him. Here’s our old-school Sunspot song, “Flower-Child”.

Seeds of irresponsibility, 
and a selfish kind of love, 
birth the flower-child, 

Neglected with the grey sky, 
Beaten with the drought, 
Treated as immaterial grass, 
Cut down and shut out. 

Withering away, 
Dying slowly. 
Withering away. 
Dying slowly. 

Will you ever bloom? 

Don’t cry child of darkness, 
The sky will open up to dawn. 
The life-giving rains, 
will wash your flood of tears away. 

You’re not alone anymore

269 – The Haunting of David Oman: Sharon Tate and The House At The End of Cielo Drive

When David Oman woke up in 1999 to his Los Angeles real estate developer father finding a lot in the newspaper for $40,000, he thought it was a typo. Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, on the edge of Beverly Hills. It was the former address of Hollywood royalty like like Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, and Candice Bergen. But it also was the same street where Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski lived in 1969 and the site of the most infamous of the Manson Family murders. But that house was torn down after Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails famously recorded The Downward Spiral there and called his studio Le Pig, a kind of disgusting homage to Sharon Tate’s blood being used to scrawl the words “Pig” on the front door. He later regretted treating the murders with that kind of levity. But still, there’s no way a lot in that neighborhood would go for that kind of money.

However, it wasn’t a typo, it was a zoning issue. The city had zoned the street incorrectly and that meant that the owners of the lot weren’t able to develop it. They started building a house into the side of the hill and had to quit after laying the foundation. Oman’s father realized the mistake, so they bought the lot and petitioned the city to rezone the street. It worked and they were cleared to develop the house. Originally David Oman’s father wanted to sell the place, but David knew that it was his dream home.

David Oman with Lance Henriksen

Not long after moving in, Oman started having haunted experiences, including a full-bodied apparition of Jay Sebring, the famous Hollywood hairdresser who was murdered right down the street in th Sharon Tate home. He invited a ghosthunting team to investigate and they started to get strange readings, particularly their EMF and magnetic readings (we covered this earlier in our episode about the Manson Family as well, so you can get a little background there.)

Dr. Barry Taff of The Entity fame investigated and has seen some amazing things there, SyFy’s Ghost Hunters and of course, Zak Bagans and the Ghost Adventures team have been there as well.

Zak Bagans talking to Dr. Barry Taff about his experiences at the Oman House

Oman also had flashes of movie scenes come to him. Scenes that he believes were shown to him by the ghost of Sharon Tate. These would eventually culminate in the film, House at The End of the Drive, produced in 2015.

In October of 2019, David Oman released a book, The Ghosts of Cielo Drive where he talks about his experiences and we talked to him extensively about the book and the paranormal encounters including:

  • Oman’s encounter with Lindsay Lohan when she showed up wanting “to see a ghost”
  • Why David Oman isn’t scared of the paranormal phenomena in his home
  • Why he feels the place called to him to build there and reveal its secrets
  • More of the electromagnetic anomalies people have experienced

For the song this week, we were inspired by the cult of celebrity around Sharon Tate, Charles Manson, and true crime. We just can’t get enough of real life drama with these entertainers we’ve elevated to princes and princesses. But fame has its price and sometimes it’s a “Pound of Flesh”.

A map to the stars
and a map to graveyards
I want to know where the bodies are buried
Where history comes alive
like on Cielo Drive
I want to be as seen on TV

Lifestyles of the rich and famous
this appetite is heinous
hey now they’re just like us
when they’re all blood and guts

Another piece of me
another piece of meat
another pound of Flesh
for the paparazzi
You know the bourgeoisie
love their crime scenes bloody
And we’ll dance on the graves
of dead celebrities

268 – What Really Happened To Jimmy Hoffa? Psychics, UFOs, and The Irishman

July 30th, 1975. Former Teamsters Union President James R. Hoffa is scheduled for a 2PM meeting at the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan with reported Mafia members, Anthony Provenzano and Anthony Giacalone. At 2:15pm he calls his wife and expresses his annoyance that no one is there. At 3:27pm, he calls his friend Louis Linteau and says he was stood up. After that, no one hears from him again.

Jimmy Hoffa

In a mystery that has never officially been solved by law enforcement and has been the basis of massive speculation as well as the source of a million late night comedy jokes over the years. Jimmy Hoffa, one of the most well-known figures of all time in organized labor politics, just vanished without a trace.

He wasn’t an angel. Hoffa had already been convicted of fraud and illegal wiretapping and had served several years in prison, and he several of his associates had admitted that they were in the mafia. In order to unify local trucking unions and rise to power, he had to cut deals with organized crime figures who were central to the running of the unions. He was the focus of Robert F. Kennedy’s corruption investigations in the early 1960s. Jimmy Hoffa was surrounded by criminals and eventually he angered the wrong people. But who did he anger and how did he disappear? That’s the mystery.

And the story is back in the news because it’s one of the central tales in Martin Scorcese’s new film, The Irishman, coming out this month. It’s based on the life of Frank Sheeran, a union leader, Hoffa associate, and a hit man for the Bufalino crime family. Sheeran claims to have killed Hoffa in his book, I Heard You Paint Houses (which was the code phrase people used to approach him to perform an assassination.) While that’s one theory of what happened to him, we delve into far-out ones in this episode. Some topics we cover:

This week’s track, inspired by the idea of vanishing without a trace is called “The Disappeared”.

When I say your name
There’s no answer on the way
I forget you were erased
because you were here one day
and it’s almost like I imagined

It’s a mystery
how you disappeared from my history
Oh It’s like you never existed
Oh It’s like you never existed.

Exit reality
to only remain in my memory
oh It’s like you never existed
Oh It’s like you never existed.

Just a fantasy
a phantom limb that itches me
Just a missing piece of meat
a sailor lost at sea
vanished and abandoned

It’s a mystery
how you disappeared from my history
Oh It’s like you never existed
Oh It’s like you never existed.

Exit reality
to only remain in my memory
oh It’s like you never existe

267 – Multidimensional Evolution: Exploring Consciousness with Kim McCaul

When anthropologist and consciousness researcher Kim McCaul talks about “multidimensional evolution”, it’s a concept that sounds like it might be a little bit woo-woo New Age-y. Kinda like when paranormal people talk about quantum physics. Yes, Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance”. No, it doesn’t provide a scientific explanation for ghosts, psychics, demons, etc… When you put scientific words into non-materialist concepts, things can often get dice-y quickly, which always makes me think of one of my favorite of Damon Wayans’ characters on In Living Color (sorry Homey The Clown!)

But when Kim McCaul breaks it down, the idea of “multidimensional evolution” isn’t complex or trying to ape modern science, it’s simply the idea that our consciousness doesn’t just have one dimension (or manifestation.) We have

  • the soma (our physical body)
  • the psychosoma (our spiritual body)
  • the mentalsoma (our analytical manifestation)
  • the energosoma (our manifestitation in energy).

And while a couple of those might hew close to the Freudian model of the psyche, the idea that we have more than one body is as old as humanity itself. When we talked to Jan Van Ysslestyne about her book The Spirits from The Edge of the World which is about the shamanism of the Ulchi people of Siberia, the idea of multiple bodies for one person is natural to their thousands-year-old Shamanic tradition. And Kim has been studying the Aboriginal civilization in Australia, whose spiritual tradition goes back tens of thousands of years, and there he finds many of the same concepts.

Which is why it’s funny that these ideas are often called “New Age”. New?! It’s the oldest religion in civilization. Our world around us is all alive and is all a different expression of this life energy that we call consciousness.

And there was something from the book and our conversation that I found particularly interesting. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression that in this life we are “a spiritual entity having a physical experience” but Kim McCaul says that it’s more like “we are a consciousness having a spiritual and a physical experience”. That struck me because it seemed to make more sense to me.

If consciousness is an energy that all comes from the same place and we are bits of that consciousness that differentiate from each other through the experiences we feel in our bodies (and Kim would say in many bodies over many lifetimes), then that unity that we all feel sometimes after meditation or through a psychedelic drug, that oneness, is because consciousness itself isn’t different, it’s the bodies that consciousness expresses itself through that are different. That whole “namaste” thing is even more powerful when you realize that other people are built from the same stuff as you, their experiences have just led them to where they are, even if they’re in opposition to you. It just helps to engender a little empathy when you realize that everyone else is dealing with their own $h!t too. Consciousness exists as a universal force that we have all come from and we all will go back to, there’s not as a finite number of “souls” that exist independently of each other.

Anyway, my mind was blown for a short time, but in the interview you’ll find more great tidbits like:

  • How Kim’s spiritual journey took him from the UK to Indonesia to Rio de Janeiro and to Australia
  • What kinds of meditation can help you open yourself up to discovering your different somas
  • What’s an “intruder” vs a “helper”
  • How to avoid ‘spiritual superiority disorder”

Kim’s thoughts about consciousness reminded me of the Divine Spark from the Gnostics who believed there was a bit of the divine in each of us, no matter who. It’s the Aristotlean “Breath of Life” that unifies us, even when it’s hard to see that. That’s the inspiration for this week’s song, “Breathe”.

I’ve seen this cruel and angry place from every way,
I’ve seen what people do when they need to survive,
I’ve seen the ugly face of the human race,
I’ve watched people each other alive.

There’s a spark inside, that’s what starts the fire,
But sometimes that light, it doesn’t shine so bright,
Oh I know there’s supposed to be a part of you that’s part of me,
But sometimes I need a little help to breathe.

All the times where I’ve been drowning in my own skin,
And all the moments when I thought I had enough,
But I’ve felt the guiding hand and I’ve seen the promised land,
and once that switch is flipped, it never can turn off.

There’s a spark inside, that’s what starts the fire,
But sometimes that light, it doesn’t shine so bright,
Oh I know there’s supposed to be a part of you that’s part of me,
But sometimes I need a little help to breathe.

266 – MOMO: Tracking Down The Missouri Monster with Seth Breedlove

Small Towns Monsters filmmaker Seth Breedlove has been bringing to life they mysterious cryptids from America’s out-of-the-way locations. We’ve already talked to him about The Beast of Bray Road as well as the strange flying beasts of Illinois and now he’s returning with another tale of large hairy beast sightings from the 1970s, Momo (which is a cute name for Missouri Monster).

But while Momo is a cute name, what people saw in the summers of 1971 and 1972 in Louisiana, Missouri, was anything but sweet and friendly. Louisiana is a sleepy Mississippi River town of less than four thousand people that straddles the border with Illinois in the northeastern part of Missouri. So when two girls reported seeing a seven-foot tall furry beast whose face was covered by hair and was accompanied by a foul stench that cornered them in their car and ate their peanut butter sandwich before it disappeared back into the wilderness, it caught people’s attention.

It was a year later though, when the story would capture the nation’s attention after three children saw the monster by a riverbed holding a dead dog that set off a flurry of monster sightings, huge tracks in the dirt, and lights in the sky. They told their father, Edgar Harrison, and he says that he saw two of the creatures himself, “almost like a human except it had black hair all over it.” Eventually the sheriff even organized a posse to look for the creature while Harrison camped out for 21 straight days to look for the beast. Alas, no creature was every capture, alive or on film, but some strange tracks were found (even though one famous footprint was admitted to be a hoax by one of the perpetrators.)

Edgar Harrison’s children still stand by what they saw in that summer of 1972, and Edgar is the closest thing to a protagonist in Momo: The Missouri Monster‘s film-within-a-film recreations. Seth and his team pretend their re-enactments are from a long-lost 1970s Z-grade horror film about the monster that is rediscovered for the documentary and cowboy cryptozoologist Lyle Blackburn is the horror host who leads you through the movie.

Lyle Blackburn talking about Momo

And Lyle (who has also been on the podcast) is no stranger to Momo himself, he wrote a book about the creature earlier this year and has his own fascination with the Missouri Monster.

This is probably the most fun of the Small Town Monsters series because while it takes the evidence seriously, and you can see that in the interviews with the local historians and townsfolk, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They embrace the 1970s grindhouse vibe with the film-within-the-film, but when it comes to the actual characters, they respect the humans who had to deal with the experiences and the aftermath of it.

That’s something that Seth gets into in the interview, how important it was to him to try and honor the experiencers while finding a novel way to tell the stories. If you haven’t seen Momo: The Missouri Monster yet, then this is an insteresting episode about paranormal storytelling, but if you have seen it, think of it like a special features interview with the director.

And in this episode and our conversation with Seth Breedlove about Momo: The Missouri Monster, we go over:

  • The timeline of the Momo sightings
  • How to properly create the 70s atmosphere in the movie
  • The town of Louisiana today and how they feel about the sightings
  • The recurring themes that come up in the Small Town Monsters series and what has tied them together for the filmmakers
  • The possibliity that Momo might have been an alien instead of a cryptid
  • How Allison (my sister) and I, who were superfans of Chicago ghost hunting legend, Richard Crowe, completely missed that he was the one who wrote the seminal news article about the creature in the first place for Fate magazine

You can watch Momo: The Missouri Monster right now by renting it from Amazon or you can purchase the DVD from the Small Town Monsters shop.

For this week’s song, we wanted to evoke the 1970s just like Seth’s movie did, so we went for a classic style Hard Rock song that might fit into the soundtrack for a grindhouse horror flick, here’s us going dad rock on “Momo”!

Baby I said you don’t have to believe me
but I will tell you it’s true
I was down Louisiana Missouri
when you thought I was stepping out on you

Something hairy something nasty something filthy
smelling like death itself
That furry bastard coming out of the woods
Had me screaming for help

Baby I was gonna run home to you
just as soon as I could flee
but the Sheriff, he enlisted me in his posse
to go up the hill and find that beast

looking for…
Something hairy something nasty something filthy
smelling like the Devil himself
That furry bastard coming out of the woods
Had people screaming for help

Fireballs o’er the Mississippi
Footprints on the ground
Momo’s stalking the hills of Missouri,
And he don’t wanna be found.

Something hairy something nasty something filthy
smelling like the Devil himself
That furry bastard coming out of the woods
Had people screaming for help

Fireballs o’er the Mississippi
Footprints on the ground
Momo’s stalking the hills of Missouri,
And he don’t wanna be found.

Fireballs o’er the Mississippi
Footprints on the ground
Momo’s stalking the hills of Missouri,
And he don’t wanna be found.

265 – Ghost Nation: Back On The Hunt With Jason Hawes

We’ve interviewed plenty of television ghost hunters on the show before, but it’s not every day you get to talk to the original. When Ghost Hunters premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2004 (even before they’d changed the name for corporate trademark purposes to SyFy), there were talk shows with psychic mediums, there were shows that used the Night Vision camera like MTV’s Fear, but there was nothing that showed the modern ghost hunting experience. Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson founded the core of the team and Jason stayed with the show through all 232 episodes.

Those are some serious-looking Ghostbusters

In 1990 after having his own paranormal experience, Jason Hawes formed the group that would become The Atlantic Paranormal Society. The acronym T.A.P.S. would launch a thousand paranormal teams across the country, but it was a 2002 New York Times article that would eventually lead to their deal with Pilgrim Films and turn a Rhode Island paranormal investigation team into international celebrities and create the phenomenon that would become “paranormal reality television”.

Ghost Hunters ended after 11 seasons in 2016 (with a new revival on A&E with Grant Wilson starting this season), but Jason Hawes has returned to television with Ghost Nation, starring longtime TAPS members, Dave Tango and Steve Gonsalves. Ghost Nation is centered around what Jason feels is the most important part of paranormal investigation and that’s working in private residences with families who are having haunted experiences that they need help with.

Dave Tango, Jason Hawes, and Steve Gonsalves

Jason has his own radio show, Beyond Reality and he spent 11 years on television, so he’s a great talker and our discussion is wonderfully candid. He’s got a really disarming manner and even if I hadn’t seen him hunt ghosts so many times, it felt like I’d known him for years. You can see how people who’ve never met him can open up about their paranormal experiences. If he brings that kind of easy charisma to Ghost Nation, it will be a fun season indeed. Here are some of the topics that we cover:

  • Why Jason decided to get back into TV ghost hunting after several years off
  • Tips for a new ghost hunting team
  • The difference between an intelligent haunting and a “recording”
  • Why Jason misses some of the real-life drama that fueled the first few seasons of Ghost Hunters
  • What’s the difference between ghost hunting in the 90s and today
  • Is there some kind of feud between him and Grant Wilson now that they have competing shows?

Ghost Nation premieres on Travel Channel October 11th, 2019 at 9pm Central/10pm Eastern and Pacific Time!

So much of life is dedicated to pondering its brevity. In fact, the Roman Stoics used to carry Momento Moris around, which were little reminders that they were going to die. The idea is that its supposed to urge you into action realizing that you have a finite time on this earth, so make the most of it. My conversation with Jason Hawes who has been to so many haunted sites and has seen so many things that he cannot explain made me posit just the opposite. What if we had all the time in the world?

That immediately made me think of Andrew Marvell’s lovely poem “To His Coy Mistress” which famously starts “Had we but world enough and time”, the idea being that life is short so let’s get to the fun parts (in the poem, the speaker is trying to get his girlfriend to make some sweet love, as was another Seventeenth Century poem inspiration for one of our earlier songs.) But this song is just the opposite, it’s about how love never dies and when faced with the possibility that our spirits are eternal, instead of a one-night stand, it just might be “The Long Game”.

It’s the lines on my face
and the dark around your eyes
when infatuation fades
we’re left with these old lives

what if we knew forever
was more than just fantasy
what if we knew forever
could be our reality

we’ve got world enough and time
an eternity remains
we’ve got world enough and time
love is a long game

Though the clock is ticking
we’re more than these old bones
there’s no stroke of midnight
when you’re dancing on gravestones

what if we knew forever
was more than just fantasy
what if we knew forever
could be our reality

we’ve got world enough and time
an eternity remains
we’ve got world enough and time
love is a long game

264 – Coming Out of the Shadows: New Orleans Voodoo with Rory Schmitt and Rosary O’Neill

No other American cities have mysticism associated with them like New Orleans does with Voodoo. And that’s because, more than any other city, New Orleans is its own thing. It is firmly ensconced in American culture from jazz to football to Mardi Gras to the outporing of support after Hurricane Katrina and holds a special place in the hearts of anyone who has visited (I’m always looking forward to my next trip!)

And for paranormal fans, it’s where Anne Rice wrote her vampire series, it’s where Trent Reznor bought a house, Nicolas Cage bought a pyramid in the city’s most famous cemetery for God’s sake. It’s a city full of haunted history and vampire tours, rich with culture as a crossroads of French settler, African slave, American Indian, Carribbean and English culture have all collided into a gumbo (see what I did there?) of something completely unique. The place has something for everyone… Spring Breakers like Mardi Gras for the Girls Gone Wild aspect, paranormal lovers enjoy all of the legends and strangeness, music lovers can appreciate the one-of-a-kind Jazz, foodies can find a special cuisine, historians can enjoy one of America’s oldest cities, etc…)

Rory O’Neill Schmitt and her mother Rosary O’Neill are New Orleans natives who have taken a lifelong interest in voodoo and have written a book New Orleans Voodoo: A Cultural History. It’s a respectful and eye-opening exploration of a topic that is easily demonized. Voodoo isn’t the black magic of The Serpent And The Rainbow or Angel Heart, it’s not a religion practiced by the “other” that Hollywood can often make things out to be. It’s a normal way of seeing the world and finding spirituality in everyday life that has amalgamated from West African animism, Roman Catholicism, and New World neccessity.

When I read their book, it gave me an insight into Voodoo that I hadn’t seen before. It was more than just superstition and spells, but it provides some understanding of how the world’s oldest kind of spirituality (animism) can combine with more modern religion (Christianity) to create a cultural force that helps guide people’s lives. In this interview about New Orleans Voodoo, we learn about:

  • How did the practice of Voodoo come about, where do the ceremonies and the beliefs come from?
  • How slaves could use Voodoo to maintain a sense of control in a world where they were in chains
  • Who are the lwas?
  • What Catholic saints match up to which ancient African spirits and how they’re similar
  • Why is New Orleans such a unique place for this kind of spirituality?
  • What are some common misconceptions about Voodoo?
  • Rory and Rosary’s personal experiences with Voodoo practitioners

When I was reading the book, the idea of possession in a voodoo ceremony really struck me as something different and interesting to my religious upbringing. Instead of being possessed by the Holy Spirit like the Christians who speak in tongues, they get possessed by a variety of different lwas (a variety of spirits who act between humans and God), whether it’s a lord of the dead like Papa Gede, or Papa Legba, the Trickster of the Crossroads. In the ceremony, the participant becomes a vessel for the spirit to speak through and will often not remember it. That kind of surrender to the invisible powers of the world seems so dangerous to me, but it’s an exiciting idea. It’s exactly the type of thing that people who tell you you shouldn’t play with Ouija Boards would warn you against, but it’s also the kind of thing that seems like a powerful spiritual experience . “Possess Me” is our song inspired by the idea.

I walked with a zombie
somewhere on Bourbon Street
Coming out from the shadows
midnight on St. John’s Eve
So if you go go go
go see the queen
Please let her know know know
she’s gotta pray
she’s gotta pray for me

Ooh darling
I wanna bathe in your blue sea
When the mambo calls your name
I need you to possess me

Close your eyes and listen close
You can feel the Invisibles
flesh and blood, spectres and ghosts
some things aren’t divisible

So if you go go go
go see the queen
Please let her know know know
she’s gotta pray
she’s gotta pray for me

Ooh darling
I wanna bathe in your blue sea
When the mambo calls your name
I need you to possess me

263 – Dream Telepathy: From Inception to The Grateful Dead

We live as we dream – alone…

– Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Or do we?

– Me
Me, getting ready for a little Ganzfeld-style dream research

We’ve talked about dream interpretation before (Episode 129 and Episode 53 in particular are a good place to start) and we’ve discussed the idea of dreams as parallel universes. Of course, we’ve talked about the Succubi and the demons of our nightmares as well. And trying to control your dreams through lucidity was our second episode! Dreaming is the the ultimate looking inward, it’s us actually living inside our own thoughts.

For millennia, humans have considered the dreamstate to be something mystical. After all, it’s a place where anything can happen. Dead loved ones can appear to you, friends can return, you can imagine what life would be like if you had made a different choice, and it all feels real. The thing about dreams is that it feels just as real as regular waking life.

You might not meditate, drop acid, or take magic mushrooms, but you experience an altered state of consciousness every night. When you fall asleep, you dream. Even if you don’t remember your dreams, you still dream when you enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

And if we believe that paranormal experiences happen to us in an altered state of consciousnesss, when are they most likely to happen except for the altered state that we naturally go into every single night?

What if we don’t have to be alone while we dream? What if someone can communicate with us, or even join us?

Inception was the latest movie to use this idea, but of course, we’re also big fans of Dreamscape (one of our friends even worked in the art department for that Dennis Quaid classic!) So, when it comes to dream telepathy, we’re trying to find out what is real and what isn’t, what scientists have proven and what they haven’t.

In this episode, we’ll talk about the most famous dream research, from Sigmund Freud (he’s the man who really introduced dream interpretation into the modern era with his “talking cure”) to Dr. Stanley Krippner, who did dream ESP research for decades, to the latest studies that prove there’s actually something significant (even if it’s only statistically right now) more to our dreams than just a “undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, or a fragment of underdone potato”! Here’s what we cover:

For the song this week, we picked a track off our first album where “dreams”, whether they be of the “wake up in a cold sweat” kind, or of the daydreaming your future kind, can have a huge impact on your life. They can paralyze you as well as energize you. Because no matter where the dreams are coming from, you have to pay attention to them, so you don’t get stuck!

Woke up this morning paralyzed by a dream, 
Stared at my ceiling for an hour, 
Prayed a little, thought a little, then got outta bed. 
Then I went to work at nothing for what seemed like forever. 

The days turn to hours, 
the minutes race past. 
Dreams have this way with me, moving too fast. 
We danced until dawn under endless sky, 
but when I woke up, it had passed me by. 

I’m falling behind in the human race, 
cuz all of my life I’ve been running in place. 
The boys with big dreams have to pick up the pace, 
or all of our lives we’ll be running in place. 

This room looks so old and worn and beat, 
I stared out my window for an hour. 
When you have too much ambition than it’s worse than none at all, 
when you’re waiting for a sign that will never come. 

The days turn to hours, 
the minutes race past. 
Dreams have this way with of outreaching my grasp. 
We danced until dawn under endless sky, 
but when I woke up, it had passed me by. 

I’m falling behind in the human race, 
cuz all of my life I’ve been running in place. 
The boys with big dreams have to pick up the pace, 
or all of our lives we’ll be running in place.