Category Archives: Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

COOL EPISODE UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ghosts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cursed Doors

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

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

Holy Relics and Miracles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I lay defeated.

243 – Never Stop Searching: The Paralosophy of Brian Cano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

it’s so much
bigger than what you see

more than you’ve dreamt of
in your philosophy

and you’ll know it
when you’re ready

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

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

but when the clouds clear
we’ll see the sky

it doesn’t matter
if we agree

for all these worlds
are yours for free

in the light of
infinity

more than we’ve dreamt of
in our philosophy

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

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

it’s so much
bigger than what you see

for all these worlds
are yours for free

more than we’ve dreamt of
in our philosopy

and we’ll know it
when we’re ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me and Joe Bob Briggs at SXSW 2019

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

  • Blood
  • Breasts
  • Beasts

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

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

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

Click Here For Tickets

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

Me, my sister Allison Jornlin, and Mark Borchardt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want some…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Tea Krulos doing a little prepping of his own…

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

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

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

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

T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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