Tag Archives: ghost hunters

273 – Fractured Souls: Sylvia Shults and The Ghosts of The Peoria State Hospital

Nothing gets a ghost hunter salivating like the opportunity to do an investigation in an abandoned sanitarium. It seems like we get our ideas of what life was like in a mental asylum entirely from movies like Return To Oz or Sucker Punch, where sadistic psychiatrists are hellbent and eager to perform lobotomies and shock treatment on innocent patients, living in squalor, surrounded by murderous lunatics and psychopathic nurses. The spiritual energy expended in such a place seems like a bonanza of pain and torment, which look great on a ghost’s resume. It’s usually cold, the lights are off because the power has been disconnected, the paint is peeling off the walls, anything metal is rusted, and sometimes the rooms are filled with antiquated medical equipment too big to move and not valuable enough to sell… it feels like you’re walking into a torture chamber set on a horror movie.

But what if it wasn’t like that at all? Author and paranormal investigator Sylvia Shults has written several books on the spirits of the Peoria State Hospital in Illinois and her latest work, Fractured Souls, talks about the history of the sanitarium and the ghost experiences that people have had there. But instead of the ghosts being traumatized, they’re grateful they were taken care of by a doctor who was more interested in compassion and healing than mad science and brain surgery.

Dr. George Zeller came to Peoria in 1902 and he had the bars removed from the windows and the mechanical restraints taken off the beds. He was a new breed surgeon that believed the “incurables” (and the hospital was originally known as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane) would do better when treated with kindness than restriction.

One of the prime examples is the case of Roda Derry, who Shults also wrote a book on called 44 Years in Darkness:  A True Story of Madness, Tragedy and Shattered Love. Roda withdrew from the world after the mother of her lover threatened to curse her if she didn’t leave her son and spent twenty years in a Utica Crib, which is like a crib for adults that locks on the top. Roda eventually clawed her own eyes out inside it.

Yeah, that looks humane.

When Doctor Zeller heard her story, he had her transferred to Peoria immediately and let her out of the crib. During her last years she was surrounded by people that took care of her instead of locking her away to forget and she flourished there. She might be one of the most famous ghosts of the hospital and people still see and hear her spirit today.

However, it seems that she was treated better by Dr. Zeller than some modern ghost hunters. When the team from the paranormal television show Ghost Asylum came to Peoria, they disregarded the advice from Sylvia and decided to use a Utica Crib as a “ghost trap” to try and draw her spirit out. Once again, humans are crueler than the supernatural.

You can check out the episode where the Tennessee Wraith Chasers used a Utica Crib to “ghost trap” Roda Derry

Another TV show that tried to use the history of the asylum was Ghost Hunters. They were intrigured by the story of A. Manual Bookbinder, a mute patient who wouldn’t speak so they never knew his name (they gave him the name Bookbinder as a kind of joke), but he would attend every funeral at the hospital and he would cry his eyes out. “Old Book” wept for the people who had no one to weep for them and there’s a terrific ghost story that Doctor Zeller told about him. The TAPS team thought they might have gotten him on video, but Sylvia has some different ideas.


Here’s the shadow figure that the Ghost Hunters captured by the cemetery that they thought might be “Old Book”, but Sylvia has another idea of who she thinks it might be.

In this episode, Sylvia shares her favorite ghost stories from the Peoria State Hospital and discusses the investigations that led her to write Fractured Souls. We cover some of these questions in the interview:

  • What’s the truth about the Old Book ghost story?
  • Who was giggling in the autopsy room?
  • What’s unusual about how Roda Derry’s apparition appears
  • Who is the boy in the basement?
  • What mysterious object did Dale Kascamarek from Ghost Research Society capture on video and call “The Thing”?
Here’s the video of “The Thingie” that Ghost Research Society captured while they were doing a tour and investigation. Just what is that?!

Probably the most shocking and cruel image for me of the whole conversation was Syliva discussing the Utica Crib. With a hospital bed in the crib, the patients only had twelve inches of vertical space to live in. It was a bed where you could never get up and you were never let up. They justified the practice because they said that they restrained patients who might be suicidal or cause self-harm, like Roda Derry did by ripping out her eyes with her own bare hands. And at the time, they might have thought it was more comfortable than a straitjacket.

It shows how far we’ve come in the treatment of mental illness that we’re horrified by such a device. But it also shows that even our better natures need to be checked sometimes, the proverbial “Road to hell is paved with good intentions” because what starts as compassion can turn into cruelty.

Stretched to the point of breaking
so deep the body’s shaking
Feverish and frenzied
flight of fantasy

They never even bother to put up a fight
because we’re on the side of right

Dear Father hear my confession
This crusade has become obsession

Welcome on the road to Hell
We’re gonna break your shell

Tear you apart to make you whole – make you whole

We know your best interests
It hurts more when you resist
The only way to save your soul – save your soul

Broken bodies, broken minds,
dead spirits with clawed out eyes
Fragmented and fractured
compassion casualty

They never even bother to put up a fight
because we’re on the side of right

This crusade has become obsession
Dear Father hear my confession

Welcome on the road to Hell
We’re gonna crack your shell

Rip you apart to make you whole – make you whole

We know your best interests
It hurts more when you resist
The only way to save your soul – save your soul

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

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

Those are some serious-looking Ghostbusters

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

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

Dave Tango, Jason Hawes, and Steve Gonsalves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

259 – Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests

Premiering this Friday August 16th at 8pm Central on the Travel Channel, Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests features the return of one of our favorite ghost hunting crews. Based out of Atlanta, Dalen Spratt, Juwan Mass and Marcus Harvey are real-life friends who investigate paranormal claims and seach for evidence of the supernatural.

To prepare for the new season of the show, we watched a screener of the first episode as they travel to Michigan to help a family that claims an entity in their home as actually physically harmed the mother of the family living there. With a small child in the house, they’re worried about what might happen, so they call in the Ghost Brothers to investigate and see if they can help.

I watched the premiere and it’s full of the things that makes this show stand out from other paranormal reality programming. It’s the guys themselves that make it fun and while they take the investigation seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They just seem like actual human beings and their interactions with the experiencers at the house feel genuine and full of empathy. And they also play well off each other with jokes and an easy comraderie that doesn’t feel made up for a TV show. They’re definitely the ghost hunting team I’d like to have a beer with (well, I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Jack Osbourne, but I’d just pump him for stories from his dad’s heavy metal glory days.)

While the premiere is a lot of fun to watch, I always get a little wary when the show relies too much on what a psychic medium experiences for paranormal proof and I don’t always trust the SLS camera as a ghost-hunting device for actually getting paranormal evidence (it’s designed to see patterns of movement because it’s trying to capture motion for a video game, it’s like a mechanized version of Pareidolia!) But when the REM Pod goes off and all other Hell breaks loose when the team sees something, it’s a great TV moment.

Plus, the stages of the investigation make for some good drama. The first night, they investigate with the family, then the next day they go off and try to do some research around the house. The second night, the team investigates alone or with a medium, and then the next day, they go through evidence and experiences and try to provide some kind of resolution.

As we’re getting to the next wave of paranormal entertainment, it’s no longer just about validating the “haunting”, it’s about solving it for the family. Almost like a priest coming in to perform the Roman Rite on a possession, the Ghost Brothers do what they can to make the family more comfortable in their home.

The sincerity that you feel in the show seems to hold over to real life, that’s if our interview with them that you’ll hear in this episode is any indication. We talk about:

  • Their first paranormal experiences as individuals
  • What their favorite ghost hunting techniques are and what they think works the best for obtaining evidence
  • The moments in their investigations where they felt they had their own most authentic paranormal experiences

For the song this week, we couldn’t pass up a great quote from our interview with the guys. When I asked them if they ever sugarcoat their findings for the families who have to live in those houses, the answer was a quick, “We keep it real, we keep it funky. Yeah, we keep it straight funky”. That seemed like the perfect inspiration to start a song about the Ghost Brothers with. Here’s some Sunspot with “Ghost Funk”.

We keep it real, we keep it funky.
I know there’s something out there
I’ve seen too much to pretend
Well I know in my soul there never is an end
But it’s more than just a leap of faith
it’s gotta take some proof
and my EMF detector is jumping through the roof

I’m not an actor
or just here to debunk
No I came for answers
So gimme some of that ghost funk
You might play it straight
in your normal life
but when we’re on the other side
Keep it funky.

When you won’t go in the attic
or the basement all alone
We’re the team you can call on to see
who’s haunting your home
You don’t have to run out the door
or need to sell the place
We’ve got a history with mystery
and babe we’re on the case cuz

There are some things you can’t unsee
once you have touched infinity
It might stretch your reality
to know the truth that’s lying just behind the screen

I’m not an actor
or just here to debunk
No I came for answers
So gimme some of that ghost funk
You might play it straight
in your normal life
but when we’re on the other side
Keep it funky.

223 – Robin Hood: Legends and Ghosts of a Mythical Hero

With a brand new Robin Hood movie coming out this week (which was originally called Robin Hood: Origins, I guess to make it sound like a X-Men movie or something), it’s time to talk about the famous bandit who fought against the tyranny of Prince John in Sherwood Forest and stole from the rich and gave to the poor. 

Me with the Robin Hood statue by Nottingham Castle, rocking BluBlockers at least a year before Zack Galifianikas brought them back in The Hangover

But that’s my version of Robin Hood and there are many. In the new movie, Jamie Foxx plays Robin’s Moorish commander and friend, taking place of Little John. But there wasn’t even a Saracen character (who were the Muslums defending the Holy Land in the Crusades) in the story until the 1980s when he was introduced in the Robin of Sherwood TV series (which also featured an awesome Pagan deer-god, Herne the Hunter.) Now, the fact that Robin Hood has a noble Muslim warrior buddy like Morgan Freeman is baked into the story.  

Sweet looking trees in Sherwood Forest

And Morgan Freeman is part of my generation’s record of the story. My Dad’s was Errol Flynn (and to make Kevin Costner feel better, his English accent wasn’t much better, he sounded more Australian than anything else.) But every generation gets a Robin Hood that is suited to the times, the story has changed and adapted with only a couple of constants: the government is corrupt (something that hasn’t changed from the Twelfth Century until today) and Robin Hood likes to hide out in the forest, but it might not even be Sherwood Forest!

Author K.C. Murdarasi has just released a book Why Everything You Know About Robin Hood Is Wrong that details even though the tales  take real figures like Richard The Lion-Hearted or King John and real places like Yorkshire and Nottingham. why our version of the story has no real basis in any kind of historical fact. We talk with her and discover:

  • When Robin Hood became a nobleman
  • When he started stealing from the rich
  • Who he could have been historically
  • Where Maid Marian came from (She’s French, what?!)
Click here to purchase Karen Murdarasi’s book!
The Great Oak of Sherwood Forest, voted England’s favorite tree and the supposed hideout of Robin and his Merry Men

There’s also a paranormal element to Robin Hood’s legends and we cover these topics as well:

That’s a big tree, baby

For the song this week, we thought we’d take a Robin Hood ballad from the Seventeenth Century when songs were presented in large one-sheet broadsides, which are proto-newspapers that were developed after the printing press was invented. They would have news and ballads and were sold for a penny a piece. Often the songs would tell the tales of highwaymen and robbers who were about to be executed, but they also featured great heroes and legends like Robin Hood.

These broadsides were all collected by an American historian in the 1800s, Francis Child. He wanted to save the folk ballads of England and Scotland. Today, we’re singing an abridged version of one of the ballads, “Robin Hood And The Butcher”, where Robin pretends to be a butcher to lure the Sheriff of Nottingham into Sherwood Forest so then he can rob him. He even makes a “say hi to your wife” joke at the end!

You can take a look at the original broadside right here!

Come, all you brave gallants, and listen a while,
With he down, down, an a down
That are in the bowers within;
For of Robin Hood, that archer good,
A song I intend for to sing.
Upon a time it chancëd so
Bold Robin in forrest did spy
A jolly butcher, with a bonny fine mare,
With his flesh to the market did hye.
‘Good morrow, good fellow,’ said jolly Robin,
‘What food hast? tell unto me;
And thy trade to me tell, and where thou dost dwell,
For I like well thy company.’
The butcher he answered jolly Robin:
No matter where I dwell;
For a butcher I am, and to Notingham
I am going, my flesh to sell.
Now Robin he is to Notingham gone,
His butcher’s trade for to begin;
With good intent, to the sheriff he went,
And there he took up his inn.
When other butchers they opened their meat,
Bold Robin he then begun;
But how for to sell he knew not well,
For a butcher he was but young.
When other butchers no meat could sell,
Robin got both gold and fee;
For he sold more meat for one peny
Than others could do for three.
The butchers they stepped to jolly Robin,
Acquainted with him for to be;
‘Come, brother,’ one said, ‘we be all of one trade,
Come, will you go dine with me?’
But when to the sheriff’s house they came,
To dinner they hied apace,
And Robin he the man must be
Before them all to say grace.  
‘This is a mad blade,’ the butchers then said;
Saies the sheriff, He is some prodigal,
That some land has sold, for silver and gold,
And now he doth mean to spend all.
‘Hast thou any horn-beasts,’ the sheriff repli’d,
‘Good fellow, to sell unto me?’
‘Yes, that I have, good Master Sheriff,
I have hundreds two or three.
‘And a hundred aker of good free land,
If you please it to see;
And I ‘le make you as good assurance of it
As ever my father made me.’
The sheriff he saddled a good palfrey,
With three hundred pound in gold,
And away he went with bold Robin Hood,
His horned beasts to behold.
Away then the sheriff and Robin did ride,
To the forrest of merry Sherwood;
Then Robin he set his horn to his mouth,
And blew but blasts three;
Then quickly anon there came Little John,
And all his company.
‘What is your will?’ then said Little John,
‘Good master come tell it to me;’
‘I have brought hither the sheriff of Notingham,
This day to dine with thee.’
Then Robin took his mantle from his back,
‘I hope he will honestly pay;
I know he has gold, if it be but well told,
Will serve us to drink a whole day.’
Then Robin took his mantle from his back,
And laid it upon the ground,
And out of the sheriffe[‘s] portmantle
He told three hundred pound.
Then Robin he brought him thorow the wood,
And set him on his dapple gray:
‘O have me commended to your wife at home;’
So Robin went laughing away.

99 – Strange Town: Billy Driver And Mark Morrow Talk Texas Ghost Hunting

One of our favorite bumper stickers for a long time said “Keep Austin Weird”. Austin is a lot like our current city of Madison (except a WHOLE lot bigger and warmer) with the capitol and state’s flagship university keeping things interesting. They’ve also got a lot of hippies, just like us. We’ve been going to perform in Austin at least once a year since 2002 and it’s one of our favorite cities (in fact, we were just there in March!)

Keep Austin Weird

So, when we heard about Strange Town, a cool Austin-based ghost hunting show with two musicians as the main investigators, well, hot damn, we knew we had to have them on the show. Mark Morrow and Billy Driver are the two paranormal investigators who form the core of Strange Town.

Mark Morrow and Billy Driver of Strange Town
Mark Morrow and Billy Driver of Strange Town

First meeting while crewing a TV production in Austin, Mark and Billy found their conversation turning towards ghosts and supernatural phenomena. With both of them having a penchant for the paranormal as well as skills in media production, it was only natural that the next step would be to get together their own ghost-hunting show based around haunted sites that they knew about in Texas.

So far, they’ve completed two seasons of the show (and even more impressively, as a two-man investigation and production operation!), and it’s shown on Austin’s PBS Station , KLRU-TV (as well as online, where you can watch ALL the episodes right here). But they’ve also been featured on Destination America’s Ghost Brothers earlier this year as special guest investigators at the site of a famous hotel.

A lot of the fun of listening to this podcast is to hear to the Spirit Box EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) that Mark and Billy get while they  are doing the investigations. They shared some of their best evidence with us for this episode.

If you don’t know what a Spirit Box is, it’s an electronic device that quickly scans through radio frequencies randomly and the hope is that the spirits in the room can use the energy of the radio frequencies to speak through the white noise. Mark and Billy certainly got some excellent EVPs from their investigations and one of the best was at the Magnolia Hotel in Seguin, Texas.

magnolia hotel seguin texas
The Magnolia Hotel. Do you think they offer room service?

Seguin, Texas is about 50 miles south of Austin near New Braunfels. The Magnolia Hotel was originally built by Texas Rangers in 1840 (we’re not quite sure if Chuck Norris was part of the original team.) Its most famous story is about a pharmacist that was staying there in 1874 by the name of William Faust.

Faust became infatuated with his wife’s sister and decided that the only way he could have her was by murdering his wife. She was staying with some friends in New Braunfels when Faust snuck into their home and took an axe to a figure on the floor of a bedroom that he thought his wife was staying in, but it wasn’t her. It was Emma, the daughter of his wife’s friend. Faust was able to get a couple whacks at his wife before he ran, blinding her (and she never would testify against him, saying that she never actually saw who attacked her), but the suspicion eventually led to him and he was executed for the little girl’s murder.

Mark and Billy got some awesome EVPs at the Magnolia and it sure does sound like they talked to Emma, who’s watching over the room that her murderer escaped to after killing her brutally, if accidentally.

Strange Town is DIY-ghost hunting with awesome production values but not the sensationalism of most cable ghost shows. It’s so authentic you can feel the Texas heat as well as enjoy the enthusiasm of this supernatural duo.

And if you want to check out some music, Billy plays with the excellent Gooding, a great rock band we’ve seen several times when they’ve toured through Madison in the past (which is a really fun coincidence!) And speaking of music, this week’s Sunspot track is inspired by our conversation and the saga of poor Emma, the girl whose murdered spirit still haunts the Magnolia Hotel.

Emma, it’s time to go to bed,
Tonight you share your room with your mama’s friend
It was a quiet and peaceful night in 1874,
Oh Emma, you weren’t supposed to be on the floor.
Oh Emma, you weren’t supposed to be on the floor.
Emma, I just pray that you never opened your eyes,
And I just wish you gave that bastard some kind of fight.
Cut down by the axe of some no good druggist,
Oh Emma, you died in the Texas dust.
Oh Emma, you died in the Texas dust.
Faust saw what he did and he ran terrified,
But before that he took his blade to his wife’s eyes,
And she said she never saw who committed the crime.
Oh Emma, the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sorry Emma, the wrong place at the wrong time.
But he never got that far.
But he never got that far.
Emma, I hope you got your revenge,
That you’re the one guarding his soul’s prison.
They say he’s trapped forever and he’ll never leave the room.
Oh Emma, sometimes we still hear you,
But Emma, sometimes we still hear you.

82 – The Power of Positive Suggestion: Ghost Hunting and Hypnosis with Kristen Luman

This episode, we’re interviewing the other half of the Ghost Mine and Behind The Screams team, Kristen Luman. We talked with her co-host, Patrick Doyle, a little while back in episode 62. Since then she also got to appear on the big daddy of paranormal shows, Ghost Hunters, for three episodes this last season as well. She’s a paranormal investigator, actress, and hypnotherapist.

Kristen grew up as “the girl who brings the Ouija Board to parties” and was always into the paranormal even before she was a ghost hunter on television. In fact, Patrick and Kristen knew each other before they were on Ghost Mine together and she talks about her “ghost hunting” audition that cinched her role.

kristen luman ghost mine
Now that’s how you do Zoolander’s “Blue Steel” with mining equipment…

Kristen shares some of her favorite weird unexplained experiences and we talk everything from how reality shows edit together embarrassing reaction shots to past life regression. While Kristen is a licensed hypnotherapist, she doesn’t usually do past life regressions (I know, bummer!) but she has a cool theory on them. Have you ever heard of holosync® or omharmonics? She’s an specialist in all things audio too, which will keep you fascinated.

Sometimes past life regression is used in hypnosis to actually help with pain therapy. Maybe you have a pain that you can’t explain and while regressing back to your past life in hypnosis you discover that you were injured there during that other life. That discovery can lead to controlling that pain and whether it’s true or imagined, controlling the pain is really why you’re at the hypnotherapist in the first place.

If you’re brand new to hypnosis, Kristen offers these helpful tips to use the power of suggestion to bring some more positivity into your life!

    1. Self-Hypnosis Can Be Tricky, Concentrate On What You Want
      The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between good and bad. You’re dealing with the part of the mind where if something falls in, it stays in. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. If you want success, create the image of you at your most successful self.
    2. The Subconscious Mind Does Not Know The Difference Between Imagination and Reality
      Whatever you imagine in your mind, as far as your subconscious is concerned, it’s really happening. If you’re great at visualization, the world is your oyster because you can create what you want to create. And the body automatically follows in that direction, that image you start being led to.
    3. Use Your Memory To Help With Visualization
      You do remember times that you felt good or successful, just like you can always remember the feeling of the sun on your face. If you have trouble visualizing, just think back to a time where you felt positive, strong, or successful. Bring that memory back and bathe in it for a little bit.
    4. All Of Our Thoughts Affect Our Body Physically
      When you think about something that scares you, you get butterflies in your stomach. There’s a direct connection so think those thoughts that produce the good feelings in our body, because our body will respond to them.
    5. Don’t Force The Visuals
      We innately process things visually. So, if you feel like you’re having trouble visualizing, just let your mind do what it naturally does and don’t worry, you’ll get there. Even if you just pretend that you can see visuals, chances are those visuals will start showing up, so the more you relax, the easier it will be!

You can learn more about Kristen Luman’s parapsychology research and latest reality show projects here and if you’re interesting in learning more about her hypnotherapy (including hypnosis MP3s and more educational videos) then you’re going to definitely want to check out her official Kristen Luman hypnotherapist website!

Once again this year, Wendy and my band is going down to SXSW. we’re going to take the show on the road with a little haunted history on the way down to Austin from Wisconsin, we’ll be traveling through Cincinnati, Nashville, New Orleans, and Houston, so if you’re in any of those cities or have friends that are, please check out http://www.othersidepodcast.com/tour

And for this episode’s song, we’re using “Turn This Off” by Sunspot. It’s our track about letting the haters hate and how it’s important to get those negative voices out of your life.

Don’t wanna be the background to your,
Lite rock adult contemporary life on hold.
Don’t wanna be the soundtrack to your,
Getaway hot tub romance pool suite weekend.

You’re not gonna screw to this.
You’re not gonna screw to this.
We are not ubiquitous.
We are not ubiquitous.

Give me something that can make me feel.

Go ahead and turn this off.
We’re taking back our music,
What you won’t give we’re gonna steal,
Go ahead and turn this off,
You can keep your smug irony,
And I’ll keep what is real.

Don’t wanna see your record collection,
And take those Elvis Costello glasses off.
Don’t wanna ask for your permission,
To walk through life under a carrot and a stick.

Hearing songs a thousand times.
Hearing songs a thousand times.
Makes me want to commit crimes.
Makes me want to commit crimes.

You won’t give me something to make me feel.

Go ahead and turn this off.
We’re taking back our music,
What you won’t give we’re gonna steal,
Go ahead and turn this off,
You can keep your smug irony,
And I’ll keep what is real.

I’ve seen your ventriloquist,
Another hypnotist,
Visit your therapist,
‘Cuz now we’re getting pissed.

Because you won’t give me something to make me feel.

Go ahead and turn this off.
We’re taking back our music,
What you won’t give we’re gonna steal,
Go ahead and turn this off,
You can keep your smug irony,
You can keep your impassivity,
You can keep your fashionability,
And I’ll keep what is real.

Too Many Ghost Hunters?

An interesting story from CNN this week about the proliferation of ghost investigation groups across the United States since the dawn of the Ghost Hunters in 2004. And not only how ghost investigation groups are hitting the mainstream now but that because there’s so many groups and only so many TV spots and haunted places, that these teams are going into competition against each other for attention.

zak balans hardbody
I know people love Zak Bagans but did he just ask me, “Do you even lift, bro?”

And it’s true, like comic books, the world of the paranormal has gone from a geeky subculture to big business because producers saw dollar signs. Reality TV is cheap to produce (no matter how much these paranormal investigative groups make off each episode, it’s still nothing compared to a scripted show. There’s no Screen Actors Guild for reality TV stars.) Since the Ghost Hunters debuted, it’s been one more paranormal show after another, from college research groups like Paranormal State to following around a couple of Chicago police officers known as the Paranormal Cops (worth watching for the lovely Chi-cah-go accents alone.)

When I was a kid I would have loved to see all these shows about ghost hunters on the air. When That’s Incrediblehad a seance (with psychic Sylvia Browne!) inside a Toys ‘R Us, it was the most captivating thing that I ever saw.

But now, I can be hardly bothered to watch most of the paranormal shows. I’ve known people who’ve been on reality shows and they’ve told me how much of it is scripted.  We’ve interviewed people who have been featured on haunted specials and they are told to stick to the script no matter what. You just need to take everything you see on TV (including That’s Incredible even if it does feature Pro Football Hall of Famer, Fran Tarkenton, who always sounded like a very reasonable man to me!) with a massive grain of salt. It’s TV, they’re not on a mission to find the truth, they’re on a mission to get viewers so they can sell more ads.

And that’s okay, because it means it’s up to us to decide what to believe and not believe. And the competition is good because it means that hopefully more clear-headed investigations with thorough historical research can win out over guys just yelling at the air while waving around EMF sensors.

I’m all about entertainment, but it’s important to draw a distinction. Before ghost hunters were cool, most of us experienced some kind of ridicule for thinking this stuff was awesome. It’s important not to blend the “entertainment” part of it all (like movies, even great scary movies like The Conjuring that nonetheless stretch the facts) from actual investigation and research, which requires sources of local legends and trying to maintain some reasonable amount of scientific conditions in the field. That means a lot of sitting in the library and a lot of sitting in dark, cold rooms in old houses. But that’s what we signed up for.

Anyway, I love all these new ghost hunters and paranormal investigators because it brings you guys here to our little podcast, blog, and music – as well as to my haunted history tours, so I say, keep the competition coming!

18 – Paranormal Headlines: A History of The Weird In Media

Mike interviews author and paranormal researcher, Chad Lewis. Chad has been featured on such shows as Coast to Coast AM and Discovery Channel’s Legend Trippers. Since they’re both from Wisconsin originally, Chad talks a little about how the state’s fascination with the paranormal and particularly it’s 3 UFO festivals (in Belleville, Elmwood, and Dundee!) is partly responsible for his interest in the world of the weird.

They start the conversation with his book, Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin, which is a compilation of strange and unusual news stories from all around the state in the 19th and early 20th centuries. With thousands of investigations behind the researcher, very quickly the discussion turns to the modern presentation of paranormal headlines and how the media and supernatural shows are often not like real ghost investigations at all. Amazing ghost and psychic experiences seem to happen all the time on cable when the reality of investigation and research is a very different thing. And how “reality” shows might not be so real after all.

The conversation veers into “legend tripping”, a fancy way of describing folklore investigations or going to the places that have inspired ghost stories and myths.

Chad also gives his advice on what kind of paranormal apps people should get for their smart phones, the most important items you should take with you when you go on a paranormal investigation or a legend trip, and they also delve into the mysterious “orbs” that show up in people’s “ghost photos” (spoiler alert: Mike doesn’t believe in them and Chad has an opinion too!)

It’s a fun and lively discussion that goes deep into how the media has changed in its treatment of supernatural and paranormal topics over the years and how the role of the newspaper in daily life in the 19th century has shifted into social media in the 21st.

Links:

Chad Lewis – The Unexplained

What is Legend Tripping?

Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin by Chad Lewis

Featured Song: Ephemeral by Sunspot

This is the drama that surrounds us,
This is the path we’ve chosen, for better or for worse,
This is the way of righteous anger,
This is the path of vengeance,
Blessed and coerced.

I don’t want some big production,
To accompany this self-destruction.
I refuse to be the boy who cried wolf.

These are the moments that flow through us,
separate but happening all at once.
This is the timeline that we’re bound to,
ephemeral, ephemeral, not plentiful enough.

I don’t want some downward spiral,
Or an echo chamber of denial.

This is the drama that surrounds us,
These are the moments that flow through us.
This is the drama that surrounds us,
These are the moments that flow through us.

This is the drama that surrounds us.
This is the drama that surrounds us.

I don’t want some big production,
To accompany this self-destruction.

This is the drama that surrounds us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.
These are the moments that flow through us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.
This is the drama that surrounds us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.
These are the moments that flow through us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.