Tag Archives: Bigfoot

O is for Octopus (Tree): Unbelievable Paranormal Hoaxes

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

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

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

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

Yes, sasquatch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Is For Alma: The Many Names of BigFOOT

You would have to be some kind of hermit to not have heard of the creature known as “Bigfoot”. A giant, hairy hominid, this alleged large-footed biped is most popularly said to roam the forests of the Pacific Northwest. But, that isn’t the only place the elusive cryptid also called Sasquatch is purported to roam. Not surprisingly, sightings of a tall, hairy giant abound around the world and even pervade popculture. And, just as there are multiple names for half-seen, noncorporeal beings said to haunt the living, Bigfoot is known by many other names, some based on the region, and others tied to the theories as to just what this being or creature may truly be…

Almas—The Mongolian word for “wild man”, Alma, the Alma/Almas is said to inhabit the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of Central Asia, and the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia.

Barmanou—also known as the Barmanu or Baddmanus, this creature comes from the mountainous region of western Pakistan and is described as a primate with human and ape characteristics.

Bagwajiwinini—while Sasquatch might be the most familiar NAtive American names for Bigfoot, it is only one of many. In Ojibwe, the big man is call Bagwajiwinini (bug-wo-gee-wih-nih-nih), meaning wild man/natural man, or Misaabe: a really large being. Searching online, one can find a number of Native American names—enough to fill up a list all by themselves.  

Cain, Brother of Abel—in the 1800s, a Mormon farmer claimed that while riding into town on horseback, he was approached by a Bigfoot that simply walked along beside him and struck up a conversation, revealing itself as Cain, the brother of Abel, cursed to walk the Earth for eternity in punishment for the Biblical slaying of his brother.

E.T. (Extraterrestrial)—while there’s probably no accounts of a Bigfoot trying to phone home, there are multiple accounts of Bigfoots in and around areas at the same time as UFO sightings. Some reports describe Bigfoots fleeing from orbs, or driving them away. These accounts have led to theories that the big man is not of this Earth, or maybe even of this dimension.

The Fouke Monster—also known as the Boggy Creek monster, this cryptid was made famous in 1972 with the release of the movie “The Legend of Boggy Creek”, which puts the creature in Southern Arkansas.

Gigantopithecus—believed to have lived in Asia as recently as 100,000 years ago, this extinct primate closely resembles (skeletally) the famous cryptid described around the world.

Grassman—One of the most surprising places to have Bigfoot sightings is the very-developed state of Ohio, where the Grassman has been reported on multiple occasions.

Harry (Henderson)—Portrayed by the late Kevin Peter Hall (who was also the Predator in two films), Harry, as his adopted family called him, was the titular character of the popular 1987 film Harry and the Hendersons, in which a family strikes a Bigfoot with their car, thinks he’s dead, and takes the body home as a trophy, only to find the lovable creature was merely knocked out.

Mapinguari—hailing from South America, this elusive cryptid is believed by some to be another incarnation of Bigfoot, while others tie the name to an extant giant sloth.

Nun Yunu Wi—for the Cherokee, Bigfoot is Nun Yunu Wi, “the stone man”, or Kecleh-Kudleh, hairy man.

Oh Mah—for the Hoopa Indians, the Oh Mah was the “Boss of the Woods”.

Orang-Mawas—a creature of Malaysian folklore, said to be 10 ft tall and covered in black fur, that feeds on fish and raids orchards. Also known as the Orang Dalam.

Patty—Made famous by the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967, Patty received her name after it was determined the Bigfoot in the film was actually a female.

Roussimoff, André René—before he rose to international fame as the wrestler known as Andre the Giant, Andre Roussimoff also had a turn as “Bigfoot” in several episodes of the Six Million Dollar Man TV series in the 1970s. This particular Bigfoot was (in the show) not a cryptid, but a complicated android built by a marooned race of aliens who had crashed on Earth and used the cyborg to scare aware intruders from their hidden base. The character was so popular, Kenner added an action figure of it to their Bionic toyline.

Sasquatch—first used in 1920 by British Columbian school teacher J.W. Burns, this widely-known name for Bigfoot is based on the Halkomelem word sásq’ets, or “wild man.”

Skookum—among the Chinook of North America, there is the Skookum, or Evil Giant of the Woods.

Skunkape—the Myakka Skunkape, often simply referred to as the Skunkape, hails from Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas, and gets its name from its appearance and the unpleasant odor reported to accompany it.

Woodwose—a lesser known, out-of-use name for Bigfoot in Europe was Woodwose, a common Middle English term, for a “hairy man”. In Old English, it was wudu-wāsa or wude-wāsa, which may mean an abandoned person or a forlorn person, and may come the German “Waise” and Dutch “wees” which both mean “orphan.”

Yeren—Chinese for Man-Monkey the Yeren is said to reside in the remote mountainous, forested regions of western Hubei.

Yeti—also known as the Abominable Snowman, the Yeti is hails from the region of Nepal and Tibet, and was popularized by explorers in the region in the nineteenth century.

Yowie—even the land Down Under is no stranger to Bigfoot, with the howling cryptid popularly referred to as a Yowie. It also has a variety of other local names, including: Ghindaring, Jurrawarra, Myngawin, Puttikan, Doolaga, Gulaga, Thoolagal, Yaroma, Noocoonah, Wawee, Pangkarlangu, Jimbra and Tjangara.

Author’s Note: This list is by no means all-inclusive, but is an overview of some of the more common names of Bigfoot. Readers who want to share another name for Bigfoot are encouraged to leave it in the comments below.

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – February 1st, 2019

We’re finally out of the Polar Vortex today and I’m putting my shorts on to enjoy the 18 degree weather we’re finally warming up to in Wisconsin. 

But even though we’ve been kept inside like a bunch of hibernating were-bears, we still have our eyes on the weirdest news that we can find!

https://newatlas.com/brain-signals-into-speech-algorithm/58253/

Advanced AI system converts brain signals into speech

In a landmark breakthrough, scientists have demonstrated a computer system effectively translating brain signals into intelligible speech. The extraordinary experiment presents a proof-of-concept that could pave the way for a large variety of brain-controlled communication devices in the future.

https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/uri-geller-to-use-telepathic-powers-to-stop-jeremy-corbyn-becoming-prime-minister-1.479364

Uri Geller says he will use ‘telepathic powers’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM

Uri also told the audience he once told Theresa May that she would become Britain’s leader. Was Uri also behind Brexit?!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/tony-romo-play-predictions-super-bowl-11548805802

Tony Romo Calls Plays Before They Happen. How Often Is He Actually Right?

The voice of the Super Bowl has become known for his eerily accurate predictions. The Wall Street Journal watched nearly 50 hours of game tape to calculate Romo’s hit rate. Read this article. This is the kind of scrutiny we should put to paranormal claims!

https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/nation-world/national/article225284585.html

How did 3-year-old NC boy survive days alone in woods? | Idaho Statesman

This is the kid that said a bear took care of him in the woods. Did Baloo really save this little guy’s life? Or could it have been my man, Bigfoot?

https://nypost.com/2019/01/30/jose-canseco-says-that-aliens-can-teach-us-how-to-time-travel/

Jose Canseco says that aliens can teach us how to time travel

Former Oakland A Jose Canseco claimed on Twitter that aliens want to share the secrets of time travel, but they’re having trouble getting in touch… what?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng6LdHmFmdA

Jeff Mills – UFO (Axis — AX-024)

Techno whiz and cosmos enthusiast Jeff Mills has announced the debut of The Edgar Mitchell Affair – a new party created by that honors NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s six-day mission to space on the Apollo 14.

The party will be held at the music venue Ampere in Antwerp, Belgium on February 9 which marks the 49-year-anniversary of Mitchell’s return to earth. On his return almost half a century ago, astronaut Edgar Mitchell became a recognized and outspoken personage on the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. That sounds like the coolest part around and we wish we could be there, but instead here’s one of Jeff’s old school techno tracks, “UFO”.

Are you not a podcast person? We understand. Some people love listening to things on YouTube. You can always find our latest episodes on our podcast YouTube channel! Click here to take a look and subscribe.

New podcast episodes come out Monday nights, we’ll see YOU on the other side of the weekend!
Mike

http://www.othersidepodcast.com/donate

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – January 18th, 2019

‘Allo!

It’s Mike from See You On The Other Side, coming through your electricity to keep you para-informed!This week started off with a barnburner of a podcast discussing all last week’s best stories. We welcome Robbie Graham (who you might have seen on the last episode of Ancient Aliens!) to the conversation about UFOs, conspiracy theories, Hollywood, and murder. Listen right here!

UFOs in the The New York Times and The New Yorker this week? What?! Well come on along…

https://catholicherald.co.uk/magazine/driving-out-the-devil-whats-behind-the-exorcism-boom/

Driving out the Devil: what’s behind the exorcism boom? | Catholic Herald

An astonishing number of people undergo deliverance from demonic forces every week, but this article gives an excellent overview of how the latest surge in exorcisms might also be because of religious competition in traditionally Catholic South America.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/arts/television/project-blue-book-history-true-story.html

‘Project Blue Book’ Is Based on a True U.F.O. Story. Here It Is.

If you wanna know the truth about J. Allen Hynek, you have to read Mark O’Connell’s book. (His parents and mine were friends, so of course we’re going to plug him!) This New York Times article used him as a fact-checker for their story about the real Project Blue Book.

https://people.com/music/glenn-miller-plane-believed-found-wwii-mystery/

Glenn Miller’s Airplane Believed Found 74 Years After Famed Bandleader Vanished During WWII

The disappearance of beloved Big Band leader Glenn Miller has been a mystery since before the end of World War Two. His plane was last seen over the English Channel in 1944 and was never found. People have speculated everything from friendly fire to him being a target of assassination by the Germans because he might have been a spy. But as of today, they think they’ve found the plane.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/have-aliens-found-us-a-harvard-astronomer-on-the-mysterious-interstellar-object-oumuamua

Have Aliens Found Us? A Harvard Astronomer on the Mysterious Interstellar Object ‘Oumuamua

Avi Loeb is everywhere lately. Fast radio bursts and discussions why we need to consider the possibility that the object was sent by aliens, the dangers of unscientific speculation, and what belief in an advanced extraterrestrial civilization has in common with faith in God.

https://pilotonline.com/news/nation-world/north-carolina/article_ae39d1d0-1908-11e9-8454-53ea635585b8.html

“Please be advised that the eyes appear to glow”: Bigfoot-like sculpture alarms N.C. drivers

This Bigfoot statue is scaring rural North Carolinians because it’s eyes glow red in the glare of oncoming car lights. They’re calling the cops regularly that they’ve seen Bigfoot. This is what I mean, when people actually think they’ve seen something real, they call the cops. Because if there’s an 8-foot tall apeman on the loose, the authorities might need to be involved. They don’t save their story and put the community in danger just so they can email a frickin’ website a week after they get home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laHjiAvqL2Q

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra: “That Old Black Magic”

Speaking of Glenn Miller, here’s his version of the most paranormal song we could find of his,  “That Old Black Magic”, which was his last Number One hit in 1943

New podcast episodes come out late Monday nights, make sure you subscribe in iTunes so you don’t miss them!

See ya Monday!
Mike

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – January 4th, 2019

Hey!

It’s 2019 and we hope your New Year is starting off most excellently (party on Wayne!) If you wanna say goodbye to the old year, we’ve got a podcast about 2018’s most exciting paranormal stories that you can listen to right here.

But moving forward, we’ve got plenty of paranormal news to kick off a brand new annum!

A UFO was filmed over Kiawah Island

A mysterious glowing orange sphere evidently appeared above Kiawah Island over the Christmas holiday, a phenomenon that turns up in this area every so often.

https://observer.com/2019/01/pope-francis-exorcism-demonic-possession-culture-wars/

Exorcism and Demonic Possession Are Now Tools in the Culture Wars

This article takes the tack that exorcism is all BS, but this goes to something we’ve been talking about for awhile, the paranormal vs. hardcore atheism is part of the new culture wars and it’s in a completely different way than the hippies vs. squares generational conflict of the 60s.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/12/27/youtuber-shot-dead-in-lahore-after-social-media-prank-goes-wrong/

YouTuber shot dead after social media prank goes wrong

This is what I’m always afraid is going to happen when people see those Zombie Pub Crawls. One of these days, someone’s gonna freak out and start shooting the participants. That’s what happened in Pakistan.

https://www.nationalenquirer.com/photos/psychic-predictions-hollywood-2019/

Psychic Predictions: What’s In The Stars For 2019

Psychic predictions from The National Enquirer’s team of mystics for 2018 included accurately foreseeing Clint Eastwood’s retirement from acting and Khloé Kardashian’s humiliating relationship woes. What will they predict for our favorite (and not so favorite) celebrities in 2019?

https://www.wkrg.com/entertainment/mt-hood-meadows-cryptozoologist-spots-sasquatch/1678332481

Mt Hood Meadows: Cryptozoologist ‘spots’ Sasquatch

Sasquatch was spotted near Mount Hood Meadows — or so say the people connected with Mount Hood Meadows. Take a look at the pictures and you decide if that looks like Bigfoot to you. 😉

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6539849/Has-mystery-Britains-Roswell-finally-solved.html

Has the mystery of ‘Britain’s Roswell’ finally been solved?

Dubbed ‘Britain’s Roswell’, the Rendlesham Forest incident in Suffolk, has intrigued UFO enthusiasts since taking place in December 1980. You’re not gonna like what this article says…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2WqYidC_0Yh

Tenacious D – Sasquatch and Trippy Mushrooms

Since we’re talking about Bigfoot again this week, let’s go back to one of the best scenes in Tenacious D’s much-maligned flick, Tenacious D In The Pick of Destiny. Is it a great movie? Well, it didn’t win any Academy Awards, but if you like Jack Black, then you get a whole heaping helping!

New podcast and paranormal song are coming up early next week, so subscribe in iTunes and we’ll see you on the other side!

207 – More Punk Rock and UFOs: True Believers with Mike Damante

We first met Mike Damante from the Punk Rock and UFOs blog last year when he released his book Cryptozoology Meets Anarchy. Since then he’s been regularly interviewing paranormal and UFO experiencers, reviewing the latest alien-adjacent films and TV shows, and exploring a lot of the pop culture side of anomalous phenomena from pro wrestling to 90s pop-punk bands. It’s a blog after our own media-saturated hearts!

mike damante punk rock and ufos
Mike Damante with the completely non-controversial Tom DeLonge from Blink-182 and To The Stars Academy

Mike’s new book, Punk Rock and UFOs: True Believers takes it’s title from a classic Bouncing Souls track. While that song isn’t about ghosts or UFOs or anything, it is about the comraderie and the solidarity of the friends you made in youth and how that never really goes away, even when you get old. To some extent, I’ve seen that in the UFO and paranormal experiencer community. Once you’ve seen something literally out of this world, there isn’t any going back. You’ve had a personal glimpse into what lies beyond, something unexplainable. It’s like trying on the glasses from They Live for a few minutes. Empirical evidence is the most convincing kind, but it’s only convincing to you because it’s so individual to you. You’ve been touched or blessed or just in the right place at the right time, and other people might think you’re crazy. Once you’re in that group, there’s a kinship to it, a Fellowship of the Weird.

There’s of course, a real kinship to the punk rock culture as well. Whether or not you think it all sprang from the mind of Malcolm McLaren as manufactured rebellion, at least rebellion is built into it. It’s a feature, not a bug. It’s a social movement built on the the outcasts of the current young generation offending the sensibilities of the previous generation. Grizzled old punks with greying mohawks arguing that new punk music and fashion isn’t the real deal (“Punk is dead”, “Hot Topic killed Punk Rock”, “[Your favorite band here] isn’t real punk rock”, etc…) has been going on since at least 1978, so the rebellion is meant to happen inside the movement as well.

It’s like in Star Wars where Sith apprentices are supposed to eventually kill their master and take over. It’s DIY creative destruction. I don’t fit in with your thing, so I’m going to make my own thing. It’s generational conflict at a microcosmic level and while it often for silly internecine conflicts and self-destruction, it also makes for great music and art.

rollins band henry rollins

Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock. – Henry Rollins

Well, that’s something that happens in the parnormal community as well. There are plenty of similarities between these two groups that exist on the fringe of the mainstream. As a musician who’s played punk rock and in punk rock dives for twenty years as well as a paranormal enthusiast and ghost hunter, I can certainly attest to that! So that’s where we go in this conversation with Mike Damante about his new book. We discuss:

  • Some of Mike Damante’s favorite UFO stories and interviews
  • What’s Tom DeLonge been up to and what’s To The Stars Academy about?
  • How Mike has changed since diving in headfirst into the paranormal community
  • Why taking UFO and Bigfoot sightings seriously is important
  • How research into strange phenemona can get more of the respect it deserves

Punk Rock and UFOs: True Believers by Mike Damante is available now and you can get it right here.

In the spirit of Henry Rollins’ quote about “questioning everything” and listening to the Bouncing Souls song that inspired the title of Punk Rock and UFOs:True Believers, we went for a late 90’s-style punk song with this week’s paranormal tracks. Here’s our anthem for not just regurgitating accepted dogma and thinking for yourself: “God Bless The Heretics”.

I did my best to get along
and I was so scared of being wrong

Well my head needed a swift kick
agnostics and skeptics

don’t let the power pull your strings
you need to question everything

I don’t need to be redeemed
We have the right to choose what we believe
And all you need is in yourself
Blow up the past and make it quick
God Bless The Heretics

We’re so afraid to rock the boat
you might pick wrong and they’ll cut your throat

Would you dare be a polemicist
Empiricist or materialist

don’t let the power pull your strings
you need to question everything

I don’t need to be redeemed
We have the right to choose what we believe
And all you need is in yourself
Blow up the past and make it quick
God Bless The Heretics

148 – UFOs: Reframing The Debate Part 1 with Robbie Graham and Mike Clelland

Last time we talked with Robbie Graham, he had just released Silver Screen Saucers, a brilliant tome on how Hollywood and UFOlogy have influenced each other over the past 70 years. In the meantime, Robbie’s star has quickly risen in the UFO field (or is just the planet Venus?) thanks to his thorough research and an academic approach.

His latest endeavor, UFOs: Reframing The Debate is a collection of essays written by some of the greatest modern UFO researchers, bloggers, and even skeptics. It features some of our favorite former See You On The Other Side guests like Joshua Cutchin and Ryan Sprague as well as great podcaster Micah Hanks, and even Canada’s leading “UFO guy, eh” Chris Rutkowski.

With thirteen (of course!) essays, there is plenty to agree with, disagree with, things to make you mad, things to make you think, and lots to learn.

One of the contributors to the book, Mike Clelland, is the blogger behind Hidden Experiences and the author of The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity, and The UFO Abductee. He’s not only a researcher into the field, he’s an experiencer as well and he and Robbie both join the discussion (along with Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts) as we do some deep diving into why we need to rethink everything we think we know about the UFO phenomenon.

That’s one of the reasons we wanted to split this podcast up. It seemed like the conversation naturally moved halfway through and we wanted to make sure that we gave each topic the thought space that they deserved. The first thing for me that changed the way I feel about UFOs was the concept of “high strangeness”.

No, high strangeness isn’t the lost Cheech & Chong movie, it’s a phrase from the great UFO researcher and Project Blue Book leader, Dr. J. Allen Hynek. He used it to describe the absurd and surreal nature of the phenomenon. And people use that term now to describe how once they’ve seen a UFO, their lives change and they start seeing weird stuff in their life all the time. Mike Clelland illustrates the point with several of his stories, as he has been collecting them for years on his blog, as well as having a few experiences of his own (like seeing gray aliens outside his window, missing time as a teenager, etc…)

You see a UFO, then you might see Bigfoot, then you might start experiencing poltergeist activity. It’s like that original sighting opens the door to everything paranormal. But why would that be?

I always thought the people who have more than one kind of experience made them sound even more unbelievable, ya know? The higher the number of experiences, the higher the chance of crazy. But so many people report more than just the UFO sighting. As Mike says in his essay:

Life, death, sex, dreams,spirituality, psychic visions, genetics, expanded consciousness, mind-control, channelling,mysticism, miraculous healings, out-of-body experiences, hybrid children, personal transformation, powerful synchronicity, portals in the backyard, distorted time, telepathy,prophetic visions, trauma, ecstasy, and magic. It’s as if our brains just aren’t big enough todeal with the overload of so much weirdness.

And that made me reconsider my assumptions on aliens, that they’re just interplanetary travelers (albeit with a taste for experimenting on the wildlife) and that it’s purely a physical materialist happening, something we can understand with our current models of the universe. But I’m stuck in the 90s X-Files/Independence Day conspiracy mode of thinking, when the new evidence points to what might be an even weirder explanation, almost like Twin Peaks. Indeed, the owls might not be what they seem. (And the Richard Jones evil doppelgänger story from Kansas last week certainly made me think of the denizens of The Black Lodge!)

But that’s the idea of the book, to challenge your former beliefs, to find room in the UFO tent for perspectives ranging from materialist to spiritual to hallucinatory to anywhere in between. We’re talking about a field where even the best evidence is scoffed at (and we’ll be talking about the importance of skepticism in Part 2 next week) so to advance the study of UFOs we’re going to have to be ready to embrace opposing points of view something too often avoided in the Internet Age, because a friendly perspective, the easy path, is only a click away.

Click here to grab UFOs: Reframing The Debate new book on Amazon.

Now after seventy years of flying saucers, to change people’s entrenched beliefs on the weirdness that we’re seeing in the skies is no easy task, you might say it’s “Sisyphean”, the mythical Greek King who was damned to eternally roll a boulder up a hill as a punishment for his defiance of the gods (he was always tricking them!) So, we thought that our Sunspot track, “Sisyphus’ Rock” might be the perfect capper to the first part of our epic discussion.

Like Sisyphus and his rock,
I roll our love up a great hill.
Hoping for a chance to reach the summit.
And as the gods of thunder bowl,
I watch the light show in the sky.
But you are frozen, terrified, and weakened.

I know the reasons for your actions.
I know you’ll answer for your tears.
But who will ever be my rock?
when you decide you’re on your own,
and I still draw you rainbows in the night.

I would steal fire from the gods,
if I thought it’d make you smile.
I’d sacrifice my liver for your heart.
Look out in Hades down below,
because I’ll not look back this time.
Now I’m armed with Schwarzenegger, two gats, and a nine.

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.
You’re the Achilles’ Heel of my soul.
FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.
Yours is the only pain I know.
But little angel don’t you fear,
when you felt me you fell from grace.
But we are all Immortals in the end.

I will decline Pandora’s Box,
but I think I’ll see what’s in yours.
I’m clawing for the hope that’s at the bottom.
I’ll fight off snakes on Gorgons’ heads,
and I’ll take thunderbolts for you.
But please don’t leave my whispers to myself.

But angel don’t you ever fear,
when you felt me you fell from grace.
But we are all Immortals in the end.

143 – Punk Rock and UFOs: An Interview with Mike Damante

Journalist and author Mike Damante took a left turn from covering mainstream entertainment and sports news in Houston to chronicling the weird world of the paranormal in his blog, Punk Rock and UFOs

mike damante punk rock and ufos
Mike Damante throwing up the horns!

With a lifelong passion for the music of punk rock and an interest in the weird, Mike Damante decided to take the attitude of punk music and apply it to the investigation of the unknown. While punk music can often have paranormal themes (just look at any song by the Misfits or a multitude of classic Vandals tracks), it’s the approach that punk music took to the status quo of the 1970s that Mike Damante is looking to emulate.

In the 70s, the music industry was all cocaine and big money, exemplified by the slick  sounds of Disco and the costumed denizens of Studio 54. Punk Rock was the antithesis of the laid-back California Pop-Rock sound of the Eagles. It was loud angry music created by dirty musicians in dingy clubs. It was piercings instead of glitter, mohawks instead of long flowing manes. It was the sound of a people left behind by a bloated hedonist beauty-worshipping culture and punk was their rallying cry of smashing that system.

That’s the attitude of Mike’s book and writing, Punk Rock and UFOs: Cryptozoology Meets Anarchy, is about questioning everything that you think you know when it comes to the world, especially the paranormal one.

Of course we talk about the most famous former punk rocker turned  UFO evangelist, Blink-182’s Tom Delonge who was featured in the news during the 2016 presidential election when his emails to fellow alien enthusiast John Podesta were leaked to the world, but we also go into other punk rock legends from Milo Aukerman from Descendents to Bad Religion’s Greg Gaffin. It’s a good mix of rock stories with paranormal tales and conversation.

If you’re interested in Mike’s book, you can grab it on Amazon right here. And make sure to follow Mike Damante on Twitter by clicking this link.

The song this week started off as a punk idea and ended up sounding like an adult contemporary song, ha! But sometimes when we’re writing, we just have to go where the Muse takes us. It’s an earnest track about looking back on a youth filled with paranormal adventure and all the memories and mistakes that come along with it. The track is called “Stories In The Dark”.

When we walked among the headstones,
On that August New Moon night,
That marble might have been cold,
But we raised the Fahrenheit.
And a summer is forever with,
not many on your belt,
But you know when the hurtin’ hits,
Yeah, the hurtin’ hits like Hell.
And you know when the hurtin’ hits,
Yeah, The hurtin’ hits like Hell.

There’s no point in saying sorry
For these twenty years gone past
No statute of limitations for
Acting like a jackass.
Time is always the best healer
Distance makes things much more clear
Even picking at a scab feels good,
Just in the rearview mirror.

These ghost stories in the dark
Oh my dear you were always game
Stronger than I gave you credit for
But crazy just the same
Tall tales that we tell ourselves
Do their damnedest to dull the pain
And you know every broken heart
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark

Mystery by every corner,
Didn’t matter what we saw,
It wasn’t what we got that made you hot,
It was the quest that burned us raw.

Being on a pedestal just
ain’t easy as it would seem.
Well the young should never handle
Something fragile as a dream
I said the young should never handle
Something fragile as a dream

There’s no point in saying sorry
For these twenty years gone past
No statute of limitations for
Acting like a jackass.

Time is always the best healer
Distance makes things much more clear
Even picking at the scab feels good,
Just in the rearview mirror.

These ghost stories in the dark
Oh my dear you were always game
Stronger than I gave you credit for
But crazy just the same
Tall tales that we tell ourselves
Do their damnedest to dull the pain
And you know every broken heart
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark

126 – Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot with Joe Gisondi

Joe Gisondi grew up in New Jersey reading the National Enquirer and from an early age. Before 1967, the tabloid focused on gory true crime stories, but in order to be stocked in newspaper checkout lines they changed their focus to celebrities, UFOs, and the occult. And the world was made better for it, because it inspired the paranormal bug in little Joe Gisondi.

joe gisondi bigfoot
They’ve been running these stories since the 60s, everybody…

Joe worked at different Florida newspapers for two decade, becoming an expert in sports news coverage, before settling down as a journalism professor at Eastern Illinois University in 2002. But he never lost that interest in the weird and wonderful and decided to write a book about the hunt for Bigfoot.

joe gisondi bigfoot patterson flim
Bigfoot from the Patterson film, what some people consider the best evidence of the creature

You know it’s  gonna be a great book when America’s eminent Cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman gave it the NUMBER TWO recommendation for 2015’s top cryptozoology books (right behind our friend Tea Krulos’ excellent Monster Hunters!)

Joe’s take was not just writing about Bigfoot, but about the people who have upended their lives in hunting for the famous monster. What motivates someone to take months and years of their lives, go in the woods, and chase after a mythical (until it’s proven at least) beast? Especially when most other people just think you’re crazy.

Joe Gisondi Finding Bigfoot Matt Moneymaker
Matt Moneymaker from Finding Bigfoot, one of the hunters Joe profiles in the book

That’s what Joe intended to find out. In the process of working on the book, he got to go on several expeditions himself and he might have had his own sasquatch encounter. We cover those expeditions, the weirdest thing he ever saw in Florida, and some of the regional differences in Bigfoot/Skunk Ape/Sasquatch lore in this interview.

You can pick up a copy of Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot right here, like the book on Facebook, and learn more about Joe at this link. He’s got a weekly sports podcast and you can find Joe on Twitter at @MonsterTrekJG for Bigfoot and @joegisondi for sports media.

Obsession is something we often deal with on this podcast, and according to German Existentialist philosopher, Martin Heidegger, humans use these obsessions to distract ourselves to think about anything besides our impending mortality. Like Top Dollar says in The Crow, “Childhood’s over the moment you know you’re gonna die.”

Movies, sports, books, gardening, Bigfoot hunting,etc… we do almost anything to distract ourselves. To be (in Heidegger’s words) “authentic” we have to own each moment as it happens, accept our past, and accept that we will eventually become “non-being”. Bigfoot hunters own each moment through their quest into the unknown. This Sunspot song is accepting that life sucks sometimes (after all, we can’t always be out in the Woods looking for the Sasquatch!) but we can “own” each moment the best we can and in this particular song, “owning the moment through partying!”

Monday comes and Tuesday goes,
Dishes suck and laundry blows.
I’d love to tell my boss to kiss my a$$.
Wednesday’s here and then it’s gone,
My best friend’s passed out on the lawn,
And Thursday? $%^& Thursday!

Raise your glass to Friday,
When I can be all I can be,
I’m dying to party and I want a life that’s owned by me.

We only get one shot,
Somedays I don’t even wanna try.
Tonight’s our night to rock,
Life sucks, let’s live before we die.

My momma slaps me in my face,
My girlfriend puts me in my place,
Why didn’t anyone say it’d be this tough?
My minivan is in the shop,
Because I backed into a cop,
I’m flat broke, bored, and sitting on my duff.

As many times I’ve hurt my pride,
I just can’t stop this wicked side of me,
Because Mr. Hyde, that bastard, wants me back,
And I’ll get too inebriated,
Wake up again humiliated,
I’m just trying to have some fun,
Cut me some slack.

We only get one shot,
Somedays I don’t even wanna try.
Tonight’s our night to rock,
Life sucks, let’s live before we die.

 

 

119 – The Brimstone Deceit: The Scent of the Paranormal with Joshua Cutchin

When we hear about paranormal experiences, we can envision what people see and hear. A ghost might moan, a UFO might quickly blink in and out of existence. We don’t ask people if they tasted a ghost, we ask them if they have ever “seen” a ghost. But we humans have five senses (well, I would argue at least six, but let’s make it five for the sake of this interview!) so what about the rest of them. People obviously feel the chill and the temperature change when a ghostly presence enters the room or the physical “touch” of a spirit like that of all the reports from Greyfriars in Scotland (indeed it even happened to me when I was there and I never experience anything!)

But taste and smell just don’t often get the attention that they deserve. They are the two senses that are most closely intertwined, smell dominates how things taste to humans. After all, when we smell something putrid, we often react by retching, like we just ate something disgusting.

Author, musician, and man after our own heart (University of Wisconsin alumni!) Joshua Cutchin decided to tackle these senses when no one else was handling the job. His book  A Trojan Feast: The Food and Drink Offerings of Aliens, Faeries, and Sasquatch came out in 2015 and it details the different food experiences that people have had in paranormal experiences. He’s now followed it up with The Brimstone Deceit: An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas which explores the olfactory experiences that people have during their encounters with the other side.

joshua cut chin the brimstone deceit
Joshua Cutchin, just a Fortean and his tuba

We wrote a song called “Sulfur” when we had Mary Marshall on the podcast because she talked about the “smell of brimstone” that accompanied her first paranormal experience with an evil entity in her friend’s basement. What we think of sulfur (or the rotten eggs smell), commonly known as brimstone in the Old Testament, is really a compound called Hydrogen Sulfide and in The Brimstone Deceit, Cutchin details how incredibly sensitive the human nose is to the compound. Hydrogen Sulfide often naturally occurs near volcanoes and hot springs and ingesting too much of it is deadly for humans. Brimstone is said to be how Hell smells.

The Brimstone Deceit Hellfire
OH GOD MY NOSE… Is this what Buster Poindexter meant by Hot Hot Hot?!

In our conversation with Joshua, we talk about how this smell often accompanies encounters from demonic possessions to UFOs to Bigfoot and how his title The Brimstone Deceit really means how our sense of smell might be used to manipulate us in these otherworldly encounters. Could Hydrogen Sulfide be some kind of primordial trigger? It helps to activate our sixth sense like it activates taste? Freezing us in place with some kind of Manchurian Candidate extraterrestrial brainwash?

brimstone deceit joshua cutchin fairy food
It looks so good, but don’t eat it or YOU’LL NEVER GET OUT OF HERE

And from paranormal smells,  we also get into the link between modern extraterrestrial lore and ancient faerie stories as well. Why is it that humans are never supposed to eat the food or drink the wine offered to them by fairies? Why are faeries hanging out with the long dead? What are the similarities between the accounts of alien-human hybrid fetuses and faeries stealing unborn children and replacing them with changelings? We look for the connection between ancient paranormal encounters and modern day alien abductions through Josh’s incredible research.

If you’re interested in learning more about Josh and his excellent books, A Trojan Feast and The Brimstone Deceit, then you’ve got to check out his website. He’s also the co-host of the Where Did The Road Go? podcast which you should check out as soon as you’re done with ours!

helena bonham carter the brimstone deceit morgan le fay
I ruined Kenneth Branagh and Tim Burton’s marriages and didn’t even need any magic!

Since we spent some time discussing faeries (also known as the Fey), we thought it would be a perfect time to put our track “Morgan Le Fay” on the podcast. It was the first track we ever wrote as the band Sunspot. Wendy was reading “Mists of Avalon” at the time and everybody thinks that King Arthur is totally sweet, so we started with the main guitar riff and worked on the imagery.

Morgan le Fay is the lure of the naughty and the evil. Like Lady MacBeth she spurns Arthur to do things he shouldn’t (like um, father a child with his half-sister.) She is the instant gratification of material power and pleasure, the temptation of the other world that’s almost impossible to resist.

She wraps black wings around me,
I’m paralyzed just like a dream.
Sacrifice in a place I thought was safe,
A warning I would never heed.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Quiet storms surround me,
I close my eyes and she appears.
Freedom from all the lies that I believed,
From my schizophrenic fears.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Hail to the Queen of the Hurricane,
I shot my conscience full of novocaine,
I lost my pleasure when I lost my pain,
And no one’s innocent when no one’s to blame.

Have you ever howled at the Full Moon?
Or watched the Earth from the sky?
Have you felt the ecstasy of murder,
Or a power over life?
A power over life.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Hail to the Queen of the Hurricane,
I shot my conscience full of novocaine,
I lost my pleasure when I lost my pain,
And no one’s innocent when no one’s to blame.

Blame.
Blame.
Morgan le Fay.