Category Archives: Podcast

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!

238 – Swamp Gaslighting: Project Blue Book Smackdown with Mark O’Connell

You might say that Mark O’Connell knows a little bit about Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the astronomer who was in charge of the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book. There, Hynek was charged by the military to investigate UFO reports across America and then summarily disprove them. In fact, Mark O’Connell literally wrote the book on Dr. Hynek called The Close Encounters Man.

We’ve had Mark on the show several times before and it’s always a treat. He’s written for Star Trek, has a UFO blog, and he even joined us for a remembrance of Bill Paxton, because Mark had written a script that Bill wanted to direct in the late 90s but unfortunately it never came to fruition.

So you think when the “History” Channel decided to create a show called Project Blue Book where J. Allen Hynek is the lead character, they might contact Mark because they were look for true life stories for their show. Well, the answer to that one is a big fat no. They decided to go on a little more fantastical route.

Aiden Gillen as J. Allen Hynek talking to an alien in a water tank. Hynek biographer Mark O’Connell is not amused.

We kicked off the episode by discussing the trip Allison just got back from in Woodstock, Illinois before we started the recording. She was following the trail of a Mothman sighting she read about on The Singular Fortean because it sounded somewhat like the Flatwoods Monster story that actually forms the basis of the second episode of the new show. Allison also attended the Chicago premiere where the producers and Hynek’s son were in attendance.

But Hollywood history be damned, we talk about the real stories behind the man. J. Allen Hynek basically invented how we study UFOs, how you scientifically look at each report and take a look at each piece of evidence from the weather to the planets to the phase of the moon to the position of the stars, and you eliminate all the terrestrial explanations before you move into the extra-terrestrial. We also get into:

  • The real story of how Dr. Hynek first moved from the desk to the field investigating UFO cases for the Air Force
  • The cases that converted J. Allen Hynek from a skeptic into much more open minded about the reality of strange lights in the sky
  • How Hynek became UFOlogy’s Enemy #1 by suggesting some Michigan sightings might be just “swamp gas”
  • Mark’s favorite case from his own UFO investigations as a MUFON investigator (and what’s going wrong with some of the MUFON politics and investigative methods lately.)
The real guy and Littlefinger…

Hollywood loves to say things are “based on a true story” and then proceed to make them wildly inaccurate. Here, we understand that fiction is fun, but that often the best parts of even fantastical stories (like haunted houses, UFO sightings, etc…) are the parts that keep us grounded to the Earth. By fictionalizing the story to an X-Files extent, you’re doing disrespect to the actual man.

Hynek’s investigative techniques and open mind are what made him a legend in UFOlogy. He was dealing with a lot of things that couldn’t be proven and his mission to discredit UFO sightings is what made it all the more impactiful when he found cases where he could not find an answer. It was his rigorous scientific method of investigation that made the difference, not secret government informants or Werner von Braun.

For the song this week, we were taken by the fact that sometimes the media thinks we’re too dumb to think for ourselves. There is a language and shorthand to cinema that is meant to trigger our emotions quickly and too often producers think that they can exploit our beliefs with special effects and “dramatizations”, sacrificing quality for spectacle. Well, we’d rather hear the truth about Hynek and here is Sunspot with “Disinformation Nation”.

Don’t trust your eyes
and question what you see
They’ll tell you lies
the don’t care about history
A story to bewitch
that is designed to find your switch
you’ll never see it coming
when they activate your programming

Believe
Disinformation nation
Deceive
Disinformation nation
How loud can you shout with a
a mouth inside a mouth
we’re just hardwired for manipulation
Disinformation nation.

You’ll see all things new
with a mind that’s clean
A brain tattoo
imprints and memes
A tale to push your trigger point
Finding the weakness at the joints
Looking for a crowd to whip
and you’ll jump when your sequence is tripped

Believe
Disinformation nation
Deceive
Disinformation nation
How loud can you shout with a
a mouth inside a mouth
we’re just hardwired for manipulation
Disinformation nation.

237 – Curses: From Evil Eyes to Jinxed Buildings

Since the Academy Awards were this weekend, we thought we’d do a uick update to our Oscar Love Curse episode that we recorded the same time last year (and to quote another Academy Award nominee from this year, another one bites the dust… Sorry, Brie Larson, you’re the latest victim of the Oscar Love Curse!)

But celebrities are just one of the many things that people are superstitious about and we all do it to some extent. Have you ever called some piece of clothing like your tie or your hat or even your socks, “lucky”?

Do you ever perform a little ritual before doing something important? Maybe shave a certain way because the last time you did it that way, you had an amazing date? Or listen to a certain song because it gets you pumped up and you feel you need that confidence? That’s just basic human nature. We do things to try and convince our mind that success is on the way, it’s just a little bit of magical thinking in our lives, but sometimes it seems to help.

But what happens when something horrible happens to you while you’re wearing a certain t-shirt or a pair of shoes or while a song is playing in the background? Do those things become “unlucky”? Well, that’s the question we tackle today as we discuss curses!

In this episode, Wendy and I are joined by Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com, Allison Jornlin from HawaiiParacon.com, and paranormal author C.E. Martin (check out his Stranger Than Fiction book!) to talk about strange cases of cursed objects, people, and even bulidings!

You can give someone the Evil Eye and not even know it…

Allison has done some research into the Italian Evil Eye called Il Malocchio and it can curse you without the person even knowing it. Often the eye is caused when someone looks at you with envy or extreme jealousy.

Some families have special rituals to combat Il Malocchio but they are kept very secret and can only be passed on one night of the year. In Ronnie James Dio’s family, he was taught that throwing up your rock fist was actually a defense against the Evil Eye and that’s one of the reasons he chose it as his onstage symbol and it’s now been assimilated into the rest of heavy metal culture.

C.E. Martin (here’s his author page on Amazon) has had his own experiences with three curses in his life and he describes them here in his own words:

1. I was cursed at birth. My paternal grandmother, a member of the cultish “Eastern Star” organization, actually showed up at the hospital after I was born and proclaimed to everyone that she wished I’d been still-born. She hated my parents eloping, and took it out on my my entire life–until I was an adult and I realized I didn’t have to take her $%^T anymore. 

2. I’m fairly certain my ghost stories book is cursed (Mike’s note: he’s talking about Stranger Than Fiction, but don’t be scared, it’s a great book!) Writing it took more than two years, filled with bad luck: my daughter’s scoliosis diagnosis, the ensuing therapy and surgery, my wife being in a car wreck, my fall down the stairs at home, my dog unexpectedly dying, my title being stolen, and my recent banning online for mentioning it on paranormal forums (to name a few of the calamities in that period). Best of all, the other day, as I was leaving work, I was thinking about the book as I walked toward the exit from the law office. I was wondering how I could promote the book’s 2 free days online. My thoughts were interrupted when not one, but two large pigeons flew into/rammed the glass of a large picture window I was walking toward, one right after the other. (they bounced off, recovered and landed safely on some nearby power lines). Definitely an omen of the banning that was coming the next morning. 

3. A friend in the USAF removed a Nazi SS ceremonial dagger from a bunker in Italy that US forces opened up after the Italians had sealed it following WWII. The bunker had sat, sealed up for decades. US Forces were examining using it, and my pal was doing security on the site. He decided to stroll around inside and found it abandoned–as in, everything was there as if the Nazi’s had just teleported away or something. So he took a souveneir. Over the next few years, he had a whole string of terrible luck, including  his child getting some kind of strange fever that resulted in brain damage (the little boy was borderline mentally retarded after that and had lots of developmental problems). Eventually, my friend buried the dagger in the backyard of his base-housing quarters right before he and his family moved to their next base. The bad luck did not follow them. 

https://amzn.to/2SqX4Mf

In Scott’s book, Voices From The Chicago Grave, he talks about the curse of ‘Cap’ Streeter. George Wellington Streeter was a boat captain who was ferrying passengers from Milwaukee to Chicago on Lake Michigan when a storm capsized his boat near where Superior Drive is in modern Chicago. At the time, however, it was just a sandbar on the edge of the lake. Cap decided to stay there, claim it as his own (even independent from the United States) and made a living by creating a shantytown and garbage heap there. Following scuffles with local law enforcement and some time in jail, Cap cursed the area and some very weird and sad things have happened in the locality since.

Elma Lockwood, George Cap Streeter, and Spot

We also discuss my trip to the Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, where you can see a variety of “cursed” objects from Ed Gein’s Cauldron to Jerry Lewis’ clown costume from a movie he thought was so bad that he never released it (and indeed said that he would not let it be shown until years after his death) The Day The Clown Cried.

Here’s the waiver that you sign at Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum

While we were waiting in line, my wife saw a girl with waist length brown hair and a blue/grey dress running across the parking lot, and then <poof> there was no little girl there. She said the girl looked 5 or 6 years old. I missed the entire thing because I was working on the waiver that you see above, but it was interesting because it was outside and not anywhere near the cursed objects.

Bagans does claim that the mansion is haunted, so maybe it was some kind of residual energy from the family that lived there for decades before it was turned into the museum. We looked for pictures (they talk about the family and the original house’s owner, Cyril S. Wengert, on the tour) and did find several photographs but none seemed to match up to the girl.

Either way, I was jealous! The weirdest thing I saw was a marionette that semed to move on its own and I had guides tell me conflicting stories about whether it was animatronic, or it had moved when the guide bumped the stage, or it was a ghost(!) So, that experience could be chalked up to whatever I choose to believe.

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And it seems that’s how curses live and die, by what we choose to believe. That seemed like a good message for a song, that we’re always struggling against our own heads. They say there are only seven different kinds of conflict in storytelling and while one of them might be “Man vs. Supernatural”, it seems like the battle that is most applicable when you’re fighting a curse is “Man Vs. Self”. Conquering your own fears and superstitions is what this week’s song is all about.

this is our jihad
our fight is a spiritual war
battling our basest instinct
it’s so hard to ignore
and we’ll take that to the morgue
The fortune tellers will predict
but your conviction is the trick
superstitious fiction
don’t let yourself be deceived
a curse as good as you believe

Devour the cowards
drunk on the will to power
Man vs. Self we go down mean
The toughest fight you’ll ever face
is taking on the whims of fate
be more than the dice roll of your genes

Don’t believe everything you read
you don’t need everything you see
you’re more than your credit score
don’t buy in when you should drop out
don’t forget what it’s all about
These are the moments that define
these are the times that will go down
history to the victor
don’t you mess around
you better make your seconds count

Devour the cowards
drunk on the will to power
Man vs. Self we go down mean
The toughest fight you’ll ever face
is taking on the whims of fate
you’re more than the dice roll of your genes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

235 – I’m On Fire! Spontaneous Human Combustion and Poltergeistry with Louis Proud

Spontaneous Human Combustion just doesn’t seem to get the recognition in the paranormal world that it used to. I remember when I was a kid checking out books on weirdness from the library, they almost never failed to include this picture…

All that was left of Mary Reeser

Now I know that people randomly starting on fire might not be as sexy as demons or aliens, it’s one of the only strange phenomena where we get real physical evidence. This is more than witness testimony and above you can see poor Mary Hardy Reeser, 67 years old. Her body burned alive for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Mary moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1950 so that she could be closer to her son after her husband died. One day she gets ready for bed, sits down in her armchair, and in the morning they find her body reduced to ash. Her shrunken skull and her leg below the knee (still in its slipper) are all that is left. The surroundings are singed but the fire was mostly confined to her. What could have started her on fire?

Even when a body is cremated and the corpse is burnt for two hours at 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, there are still bone fragments left at the end, not just ash. A regular house fire burns at around 1100 degrees Fahrenheit and that’s when the whole house is on fire! It would have to be much hotter than that to burn a body that completely. Just what could do that to her body?

That’s the question Louis Proud tackles in his latest book Borderland Phenomena, Volume One: Spontaneous Combustion, Poltergeistry, and Anomalous Lights (Click here to check it out on Amazon) and with hearty endorsements from such luminaries as Jeffrey Kripal, Gary Lachman, and Whitley Strieber, you know that you’re in for some good reading.

Louis is our first guest from Tasmania(!) and became interested in what he calls “Borderland Phenomena” when he was in his late teens and started experiencing extremely intense episodes of sleep paralysis. After hearing about an unusual history of paranormal experiences in his own family, he decided to start exploring the “Borderland” for himself. That’s where he discovered the link between classic poltergeist cases, anomalous lights like ball lightning, and Spontaneous Human Combustion.

Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins me and Louis to discuss these topics:

  • The real story of Mary Reeser, the most famous modern case of SHC
  • What is pyrokinesis?
  • Could SHC be some sort of “subconscious suicide”?
  • The Great Amherst Mystery Poltergeist Case from the late 1800s
  • Connecting a human agent (like an ultra-emotional teenager) in Poltergeist cases to mysterious fires and anomalous lights
  • What is ball lightning and could that be causing the bodies to burn so intensely?
She’s a firestarter, a wicked fire starter…

For the song this week, we wanted to exploit one of the original myths about Spontaneous Human Combustion. When cases of people mysteriously starting on fire were documented in the Victorian Era (when scientific exploration of the paranormal started in earnest), they blamed it on the demon drink. In fact, Charles Dickens even has an alcoholic character burn to death spontaneously in his novel, Bleak House, all the way in 1852. The combination of impoverished living conditions and the mass production of alcohol caused the 19th Century to be a pretty drunken age. Hey in the early United States, we even had an uprising because of a Whiskey Tax!

The Women’s Suffrage Movement that evolved in the late 19th Century to expand the right to vote also carried along with it many elements of Spirituality and of course, Temperance, or abstaining from alcohol. Saying that Spontaneous Human Combustion could result from alcoholism was a perfect paranormal way of trying to convince people that alcohol should be illegal. And by the early 20th Century, they succeeded (in the United States, at least.)

So, we took that idea and ran with it. When you’re drinking, sometimes you feel unstoppable, just like you’re on fire. As Axl Rose once sang, “When you’re high you never, ever wanna come down”. But you know that when you’re drinking, the hangover eventually comes and that fire burns out. Hopefully it won’t take you with it. Here’s Sunspot with this week’s paranormal song, “I’m On Fire”!

Against the wall, I’m not ready to show my face
Another shot, I’m running hot with every taste

Runs through my fingers (and the burning grows)
Across my chest (and the burning grows)
Every extremity (and the burning grows)
is possessed (and the burning grows)

I’m on fire,
Indestrucible.
I’m on fire,
Untouchable.
A human volcano, a flesh inferno with a burning crown.
I’m on fire,
and then the fire burns out.

I close my eyes as I get ready to unload,
Just another sip, I’ll lose my shit, and I explode.

Runs through my fingers (and the burning grows)
Across my chest (and the burning grows)
Every extremity (and the burning grows)
is possessed (and the burning grows)

I’m on fire,
Indestrucible.
I’m on fire,
Untouchable.
A human volcano, a flesh inferno with a burning crown.
I’m on fire,
and then the fire burns out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Someone who wants to do mischief.

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

2. Someone who wants to protest.

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

3. Mistaken travel.

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

4. Refusal to follow orders.

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

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

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

Quick hits for other things we mention in the podcast:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Told you it was a cool shirt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psi-Girls by Susan Hiller

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

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

Susan Hller, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nekiylo Dawayne Graves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

232 – Shiny Space Pancakes: Big Bands, Assassination Conspiracies, Smiley Face Killers, and Oumuamua

When The New Yorker runs an article called “Have Aliens Found Us? A Harvard Astronomer on the Mysterious Interstellar Object ‘Oumuamua'”, people are going to listen. It’s one of America’s most prestigious magazines, which is probably why they were a little combative in their discussion with Avi Loeb (who’s been popping up all the time lately) about the possibility that the interstellar Oumuamua object is artificial, perhaps created by an alien race to probe the universe, much like our Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft. My sister Allison was so excited about the article, she couldn’t wait to talk about it in this episode.

Of course, Avi Loeb is no slouch, he’s the chair of the Harvard Astronomy Department stranger to aliens, he is also involved with the Breakthrough Initiative, the $100 million search for alien intelligence founded by a Russian billionaire which we discussed in episode 50. In the past year, he’s become the poster child for real scientists talking about the possibility of alien life in the universe. He’s tenured, so they can’t fire him for having these ideas. And he’s well-respected, so he’s not coming out of left field.

Painting of Oumuamua as a pancake-shaped object. Copyright 2018 William K. Hartmann

Since we discovered it after it was already out of range to get an actual picture of it, all the details have to come through what we can observe and mathematically derive from the data coming through the radio telescopes. So, why do they think that it might be artificial and what’s interesting about it?

  • As it spends every eight hours, it’s brightness changes by a factor of ten, that means it’s probably ten times longer than it is wide
  • That means it might be cigar shaped OR pancake shaped!
  • It deviates from an orbit that physics would dictate for a normal object around the sun
  • There are no gases coming off it like a comet, so it’s not being propelled by anything

Here’s one of the best quotes from the article:

I do not view the possibility of a technological civilization as speculative, for two reasons. The first is that we exist. And the second is that at least a quarter of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy have a planet like Earth, with surface conditions that are very similar to Earth, and the chemistry of life as we know it could develop. If you roll the dice so many times, and there are tens of billions of stars in the Milky Way, it is quite likely we are not alone.

Professor Abraham “Avi” Loeb

Avi, you’re my man! He’s the guy who’s saying that it’s unscientific to completely rule out the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence. He even brings up the old Sherlock Holmes chestnut “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” I like him and if he ends up being a disinformation agent, I’ll be super sad,

The real Dr. Hynek and his TV counterpart J. Allen Littlefinger

Something I found really interesting this week was all the talk about the new Project Blue Book TV show on the History Channel starring Littlefinger from Game of Thrones (and Tommy Carcetti, I haven’t forgotten about you, The Wire fans!) Everyone on my Facebook feed is talking about it because it uses the real-life character of Dr. J. Allen Hynek (who we talk about extensively with author Mark O’Connell who wrote a book about him called The Close Encounters Man) who investigated UFO reports for the real Project Blue Book and turns it into X-Files style fiction.

Okay, so that is a lot of fun, but The New York Times this week also wrote an article about the real life Project Blue Book and how it was nothing like it’s described in the TV show. Those are the same authors who wrote the 2017 article that blew the lid open on modern military research into unexplained aerial phenomena. Okay, we know Hollywood is gonna Hollywood, but why are we so predisposed to believe that the government is okay lying to us?

David Crosby is one of The Truth and Reconciliation Committee members looking for new answers to the political assassinations of the 60s.

Well, I think we can thank the government of America’s Golden Age, the Happy Days of yore, because they were super good at lying to the American people. From the Tuskegee experiments to the Gulf of Tonkin, the Mid-20th Century US government wasn’t afraid to deceive its own citizens to accomplish a goal. And it’s one of the reason that on Martin Luther King Day this year, a group of 60 activists who are calling themselves the Truth and Reconciliation Council are demanding a new investigation into the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X.

Celebrities include Alec Baldwin, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner, famous walrus-man and musician David Crosby, as well as relatives of both Robert Kennedy and Dr. King. King’s family has long believed that James Earl Ray did not act alone and RFK Jr. himself has said that Sirhan Sirhan’s trial was a “mockery”.

There was just an invincibility and an impunity about that era of government that’s almost terrifying. From J. Edgar Hoover’s personal fiefdom of the FBI to the CIA’s mind control experiments, how many unelected officials wreaked havoc on American citizens “for our own good”? Might these assassinations be another example and we can’t learn the truth until the Boomers finally pass on?

Glenn Miller says “I gotta trombone for ya, baby.”

Wendy this week thought that it was fascinating that they think they might have found the wreckage of Glenn Miller’s airplane. One of the most popular musicians in America during Word War II, Miller’s plane disappeared over the English Channel on December 15th, 1944. There have been several theories to the disappearance:

  • Because of the freezing conditions, his plane’s engine iced over and they crashed on the way to Paris
  • British bombers returning from an air raid were told they needed to jettison their unexploded bombs over the Channel and Miller’s plane was accidentally in the way and killed by friendly fire
  • Miller made it to Paris, but had a heart attack while in a brothel, and they “disappeared” him to save the famous musician’s family embarrassment

Well, a fisherman now claims that he pulled up the remains of Miller’s plane in 1987. He says that he was advised to let it back into the deep, but he recorded the coordinates of the exact spot. What I wanna know is WHO TOLD HIM TO PUT IT BACK?!? That seems to be the missing piece in this journalism for me.

The good news is that he’s given a team of researchers the coordinates, so that if they can get the money, they can send divers down there to investigate. Because Miller’s plane is the last of its manufacture in the world that’s unaccounted for, if they find it, they’ll know it’s his and maybe the mystery can be solved.

Why so serious?

The first time we had Scott Markus on the show, we were featuring his documentary, The Hidden Truth?, which was about a series of mysterious drownings that happened in La Crosse along the Mississippi River from the 90s to the Aughts. Police claim it’s probably just drunken misadventure, but La Crosse’s Deputy Chief Medical Examiner had some other ideas and he wanted to see if their might be a paranormal explanation.

Which leads us to Scott’s topic for the week, the premiere of Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice on the Oxygen Network. In 2008, retired New York City police detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte proposed that these drownings were the work of a “Murder Club” that they nicknamed “The Smiley Face Killers” because they seemed to find smiley face graffiti near where each of these poor victims went into the river. They postulated that these murders were planned and organized by a dark web of thrill killers throughout the country.

Their ideas made some news for a little while, but it was a popular theory to debunk because of the sheer audacity of it. The FBI even made an official statement about it. However, do you think that’s going to stop the producers of reality TV?! Hell no. Oxygen has developed a series about the detectives’ continuing investigation into more mysterious drownings. What did they find and do you find their evidence convincing? Well, you can be the judge by watching the first episode online right now.

Hush now baby baby don’t you cry…

Finally, this week’s Sunspot song inspired by the conversation is just a straight up punk tune about how easily we’re manipulated. From Vladimir Lenin’s “useful idiots” to the latest stories like the Covington High School video fracas, interest groups and factions vying for power and wealth have worked over the narrative so that the “common people” will come to their way of thinking. We fully expect propaganda in advertising, but we hope that our news sources at least attempt objectivity and our elected officials are at least telling us the truth sometimes… but we know that’s not true. Sometimes, you just get sick of people in authority saying they know what’s good for you and “Father Knows Best” is just a load of bollocks.

It’s a little story that story that they wrote for you and me,
keeping out the best parts for our own good, don’t you see?

The program is designed so that the masses will obey.
We’re all the same, it’s just a game, and we don’t get to play.
Worse than Illuminati or lizard conspiracy
for who controls the narrative, controls all the money.

Father Knows Best and our trust becomes a weapon.
Mommy’s bedtime story is mind control and thought suppression.
You can’t fight the power while you’re busy getting screwed
Hey Rube, sometimes the truth ain’t good enough for you.

I guess we’re just not smart enough to grasp at the big picture,
we just get the Cliffs Notes and they tell us that it’s scripture.

They’ve got the dials all set to outrage no matter what side that you choose
When it comes to facts, no one retracts, they just play fast and loose
It’s pissed-off vegan communists or truck driver redneck hicks
It’s about the bottom line, and everything is fine, as long as they get the clicks.

Father Knows Best and our trust becomes a weapon.
Mommy’s bedtime story is mind control and thought suppression.
You can’t fight the power while you’re busy getting screwed
Hey Rube, sometimes the truth ain’t good enough for you.

231 – The Man Who Knew Too Much: UFOs, Conspiracies, and Murder

This week, there was a plethora of exciting UFO news (well, probably as exciting as we’re going to get until they finally land in our backyard) so we wanted to bring back one of our favorite guests, [Robbie Graham]. Robbie authored the fascinating and insightful book, Silver Screen Saucers as well as editing UFOs: Reframing The Debate, which is one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject of the last decade. Wendy and I talked with Robbie and Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com joins us again for the discussion.

Starting out, we had to talk to Robbie about what it was like being on the History Channel juggernaut, Ancient Aliens! He was on the latest episode and he told us what it was like being brought into the study of a millionaire’s home (to make it look a little more intellectual) as well as being remotely directed in London over the Internet from Los Angeles.

Robbie on Ancient Aliens

But just in the news this week, we had to discuss the new article about former Nevada senator Harry Reid coming out of retirement to lobby for more investigation into military reports of UFOs. Roll Call is not your normal UFO publication, it’s a political blog, so it’s always nice to see something weird in there. But why does Harry Reid care so much and why now? The best quote of the entire article is when he talks about Area 51.

“Oh sure, I’ve been to Area 51. I know Area 51. I don’t know if I should say many times, but lots and lots of times. I know Area 51 quite well, I know what they’ve done there,” said Reid. “I don’t know in recent years, of course, but I know what went on there.”

What went on there, Harry, for God’s sakes, what went on there?

But that brings up a bigger point, the existence of extraterrestrials is in the news more than ever. Since the New York Times article in 2017, aliens have snuck more and more in the news, from the latest fast radio bursts from space to the strange Rama-like space objet Oumuamua. And the go-to guy for astronomer credibility seems to be Harvard Professor, Avi Loeb. Now this guy is no slouch when it comes to academic credentials, but he sure is talking about aliens a lot. Is that because they’re getting us ready for disclosure?!

Party On Wayne

More likely, they’re just in it for the clicks. Those stories get shared more than any other and in a quickly shrinking media landscape, views mean money.

But another story that came out this week that I was particularly interested in was the official pronouncement this last week that conspiracy theorist Max Spiers who passed away in Poland mysteriously in 2016, actually died of a drug overdose.

Max Spiers
Max Spiers

It was a tragic end for a young guy (well, kinda young, I would be less than a month older than him, so it hits home for me) and the salacious news stories were filled with tales of cryptic messages sent to his mother and girlfriend in the UK as well as descriptions of him vomiting black bile before expiring. It didn’t help that his friends were telling people that extraterrestrials were mind controlling his behavior. I’m all for a good conspiracy theory and I fully understand that our government isn’t afraid to assassinate people but was a guy who talked about Nazi bases on the moon really getting too close to the truth?

Fascinatingly, that leads to a story from Robbie about how he once was paranoid about his phones being bugged and that he might have been being watched by the CIA while he was investigating another mysterious death, that of Hollywood screenwriter, Gary Devore. First of all, Devore wrote Timecop, the greatest of all Jean-Claude Van Damme films, so we all owe him at least a tiny bit of gratitude for that.

But in the mid-90s, Devore was working on a screenplay about the 1989 U.S. Invasion of Panama. That’s the one that was ordered by former CIA director, George H.W. Bush to capture former CIA operative Manuel Noriega.  My favorite part of the whole invasion (if one can have a favorite part of something that killed 23 US soldiers, 150 Panamanian soldiers, and over 500 Panamanian civilians) is that the U.S. military famously played “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister at an earsplitting volume outside the Vatican Embassy, where Noriega had holed up after being driven from the Capitol.

Could Dee Snider have been in the CIA as well?

While Devore disappeared in 1997, he was on his way to deliver a copy of his latest script, the one about the “real reason” for the  Panama invasion. He never made it and a year later they found his Ford Explorer at the bottom of a California aqueduct. His body was there, but strangely his hands and the script were both missing.

Robbie became obsessed with the case and along with his colleague, Dr. Matthew Alford, they authored an article in The Guardian newspaper talking about Hollywood and the CIA and specifically talking about Gary Devore. Was Robbie getting too close to the truth? Well, in 2012, CIA operative Chase Brandon, who knew Devore well  because he was the CIA liaison to Hollywood, wrote a book called The Cryptos Conundrum. It’s supposedly fiction, but he makes a lot of claims (particularly about Roswell) and in one of the  “fictional scenarios” makes up an investigative journalist who starts exposing too many of the CIA’s plans and then mysteriously suffers a fatal heart attack. The name of this fictional journalist? Robert Graham.

THAT’S $%^ING NUTS. You can read the passages right here in the Google Book version of The Cryptos Conundrum. It’s not really very subtle.

Alford went on to make a documentary about the case in 2014 called The Writer With No Hands.

And speaking of Hollywood, Scott’s favorite story this week is the upcoming 61st anniversary of the Black Dahlia murder, where poor Elizabeth Short was found naked, mutilated and cut in half. It became one of Tinseltown’s most famous and shocking unsolved cases. Los Angeles homicide detective Steve Hodel believes that the killer was his own father(!), Dr. George Hodel, and the new TNT series I Am The Night, will be based on Hodel’s theories. Steve Hodel has also implied that his father was the Zodiac Killer. Happy Father’s Day, yikes!

For this week’s song, we were thinking about the tragedy of Max Spiers’ death and also Robbie’s own story of possibly being surveilled by an intelligence agency while investigating a cover-up. Whether or not you believe in conspiracy theories, from Q Anon to secret supersoldiers, our intelligence agencies wield a scary amount of unchecked power. While a majority of their actions might be in the service of protecting us, is the truth worth getting in their crosshairs?

You wear the truth like a tattoo
You look over your shoulder is there someone right behind you?

Walking too close to the Left Hand Path
Living with a target on your back.

Whispers in the night are beckoning,
to a black magic reckoning,
hidden hands are pulling strings,
and watching everything.
Steer clear of the dangerous kind
a death warrant has been signed.
Don’t fall in love with
The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Just like in Catch-22
Just cuz you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not out for you.

Just what will you give up for the truth?
Even if it ends up killing you.

Whispers in the night are beckoning,
to a black magic reckoning,
hidden hands are pulling strings,
and watching everything.
Steer clear of the dangerous kind
a death warrant has been signed.
Don’t fall in love with
The Man Who Knew Too Much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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