Tag Archives: ghosts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money 
Women 
Sex 
all your heart’s desire. 

Power 
Respect 
Wealth 
you best not wear a wire 

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

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

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

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

Lucre 
Hookers 
Lust 
whatever you may feel 

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

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

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

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

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

250 – How To Be A Paranormal Detective: An Interview With Greg Lawson

After serving in the US Army, Navy, and Air Force (I guess the Marines weren’t recruting that day!) Greg Lawson became a Sheriff’s Deputy and Mental Health Officer near Austin, Texas and has now been in law enforcement for almost three decades. In that time, he’s also pursued his interest in paranormal research, dabbled in acting, music, and has written several books, fiction and non-fiction on supernatural topics.

His new book is called How To Be A Paranormal Detective and it’s a how-to book hoping to help would be Mulders and Scullys in using the same skills he learned in trying to find the truth behind crimes to try and get the best evidence possible of paranormal activity.

Greg looking like a badass

In this interview we cover:

  • Some of Greg’s most peculiar cases
  • How he investigates a haunted place (lots to learn from this one!)
  • The importance of finding the terrestrial explanations first before jumping to paranormal conclusions
  • His work interviewing Roswell witnesses

The story from the interview that most affected me was the one Greg tells from his Pizza Hut Assistant Manager days about his employee that had a seizure right after saying “They’re here…” (you’ll love that one!) It’s fascinating and terrifying and we used that energy as inspiration for this episode’s song, “The Captured Soul”.

They’re here
they appear
they feed
on fear
and what they say you don’t need ears to hear

You’re beamed
to a dream
you’re frozen and can’t scream
your consciousness outside the atmosphere

There’s no escaping
hallucinating
you can’t run
from your fate
inside your mind

A prisoner locked in
trapped and forgotten
the captured soul
with a body left behind

You can feel
the unreal
your brain a spinning wheel
you know they’re there but you can’t reveal

Immobilized
Paralyzed
Delusional and hypnotized
There’s no one you can beg, none to appeal

There’s no escaping
hallucinating
you can’t run
from your fate
inside your mind

A prisoner locked in
trapped and forgotten
the captured soul
with a body left behind

Q Is For Queen: The Ghost Of Freddie Mercury

Queen is once again one of the hottest bands around, 28 years after their beloved singer died, thanks to the amazing popularity of the biopic of Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as an Academy Award for Best Actor for the movie’s star, Rami Malek.

Even though Queen was already seemingly out of vogue by the time I started getting into music, the second tape I ever had was Queen’s Greatest Hits and at 13 years old, it blew my mind. Freddie passed away the November I was a freshman in high school and that brought attention back to the band enough where the deejay let me request “Bohemian Rhapsody” at our dances. Of course, we’d slow dance with our girlfriends to the mellow parts and then rock the f#$% out to the big riff when it came in. When Wayne’s World came out only a few months later and the everybody was headbanging in the car, it felt like it was a window into my teenage experience. That’s when I realized how universal the appeal of Queen really was.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was always too hard to cover, so we just stuck with the easy ones, like “We Will Rock You” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, but they always had a place in my playlist. And still do, here’s a picture of Wendy and Scott from What’s Your Ghost Story at SXSW 2019 where we were partying to a Queen tribute band at the Good Omens launch party. The bald guy is the singer and he was an incredible performer. That dude had balls and we all knew it, because we could see them outlined in his full unitard!

That singer was fearless, and that’s what Freddie could inspire you to be, because as a frontman and a songwriter, he was as bold and audacious as they come. He made the line “I want to ride my bicycle” sound badass, he makes tough guys sing along to “Aw, you’re my best friend” and still think it’s cool! He could bounce from jazz to hard rock to opera in a song and it all felt natural. Not only was he an incredible guiding light for me but for millions around the world, and you can tell how deep is effect was, because people have been seeing his ghost now for decades.

Just in March of 2019, a listener to 97x, a Classic Rock station in the Quad Cities claimed that he captured a picture of Freddie Mercury’s ghost high above the stage at a Queen tribute concert in Moline, Illinois. Now it’s obviously just the way the lights are interacting with the fog machine and it looks like one of those images where people see Jesus with the sun peeking through the clouds, but it’s still pretty fun once you see it.

ghost of Freddie Mercury
Is this Freddie singing along?

Someone posted in the Unexplained Mysteries discussion forum that Freddie visited them while they were listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the best part is how he describes what the singer was wearing.

I was listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen last night and the visage of Freddy Mercury coalesced into cohesion right there in my living room!

he was wearing these snappy red leather chaps and and knee high motorcycle boots! 

I said “Freddy what are you doing in my living room?” and he just snapped both fingers and vanished before my eyes!

outpatient777 – April 16th, 2009

Now the next line he asks, “Am I schizophrenic?” so it’s probably just a silly troll post, but this was a long time before Bohemian Rhapsody came out as a movie. However, they’ve never stopped playing Queen songs on Classic Rock radio, so those songs are never too far from our imagination.

Freddie also visited Jennifer Bennett, a California girl raised in the 70s, she woke up a couple of days after the 22nd anniversary of his death with the lyrics of “Bohemian Rhapsody” stuck in her head, and what she says was his energy. She says:

Freddie and I have never been particularly close so his presence was curious.  I was a bit embarrassed to to have felt visited by him, or at least visited by the energy that he embodies.  Freddie Mercury – bold, brazen, impressive, self assured, diva.  It felt as if I have something to learn from him.  And, of course, to hear Bohemian Rhapsody as if it was plugged directly into my brain…  Jeez.  The power ballad that puts all others power ballads to shame.  Yet, it was only the first 3 lines I heard this morning, over and over.

The Ghost of Freddie Mercury“, Frame A Mind blog

She talks about how she admired him for his brash fearlessness and how she felt emboldened by his energy. Was it Freddie flitting in and out of her dreams, coming to her with a message that she needed to hear?

This album cover was also the inspiration for Guns n’ Roses original cover for Appetite for Destruction

But while Mr. Fahrenheit might have visited Jennifer Bennett once in the morning, his ghost spent much more time with Christine Burgess. The Decemeber 15th, 1996 News Of The World (a tabloid newspaper that Queen named an album after!) features a story about how Christine said she started an affair with the ghost of Freddie Mercury shortly after his death.

Christine’s husband was said to be frustrated that Christine kept comparing him to Freddy, who he called “Mr. Perfect”. But poor Stuart also insisted that his wife was “mentally unstable” and that seemed to be proven true, because Christine would show up at the home of Mary Austin, Freddie’s sometime lover and longtime companion. Burgess said that she deserved to move into the home, which was left to Austin by Mercury, because “she and Freddie were lovers in a former life.” It wasn’t just Mary, but she hounded Queen guitarist, Brian May, as well as Freddie’s friends. And she wouldn’t be deterred, the article ends with her still claiming:

“These people are frightened because Freddie is with ME.”

Queen guitarist Brian May – he’s also a Doctor of Astrophysics – FOR REAL

And speaking of Brian May, he even mentioned in a 2014 interview with British tabloid, The Daily Star.

I feel him around a lot. I don’t want to be too mystical about it but he is very much a part of what we do.

Brian May about Freddie Mercury

This was right when Brian was producing an animated special called One Night In Hell based on some art he has collecting, but more interestingly they were a about to release three new Freddie Mercury songs that they had found in the archives on a record called Queen Forever. So, obviously he was thinking a lot about his departed friend and hearing his voice in the studio might have brought back some of those familiar feelings. Who knows, maybe Freddie was with them, just like he visited Jennifer a few years earlier.

Actor Rami Malek who won the Oscar playing Freddie Mercury

The most recent story about the ghost of Freddie Mercury comes right from the set of Bohemian Rhapsody, where a source told the online site Dish Nation, that:

There has been feeling from Rami and Brian along with the film’s director Bryan Singer that​ ​Freddie is watching them prepare for filming. Rami believes Freddie’s presence is very much on-set and with him wherever he goes, including when he’s at home practicing singing Queen songs… Rami has ​been dreaming​ of Freddie telling him about how he performed on stage, showing him his moves and how it is to be a rock star.

Anonymous source from the set of Bohemian Rhapsody

But speaking of director Bryan Singer, he has himself been embroiled in controversy over sexual allegations of seducing underage boys. And it certainly doesn’t help that in many people’s minds he’s associated with Kevin Spacey, since Singer was the one who really launched the disgraced actor’s career by directing him to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in The Usual Suspects. When Malek was nominated for the Academy Award, he was immediately interviewed for the Los Angeles Times, and when pressed about the allegations against Singer, he brings up Freddie’s ghost again.

 I didn’t know much about Bryan. I think that the allegations and things were, believe it or not, honestly something I was not aware of, and that is what it is. Who knows what happens with that … but I think somehow we found a way to persevere through everything that was thrown our way.

Perhaps that was Freddie himself doing it, because we wanted to make a product that was worthy of him. Who knows?

Rami Malek

So, while Freddie’s physical body has been gone almost three decades now, it looks like his spirit isn’t going anywhere. Whether or not it was actually his consciousness visiting Brian May and Rami Malek or it was just his personality was so larger than life that it’s easy to mentally create the energy in our own heads, it doesn’t really matter.

Freddie Mercury is still alive every time we sing along to words we don’t even understand like “Scaramouche scaramouche will you do the Fandango?” Freddie Mercury is still alive every time a teenager bangs his head to that incredible guitar riff and then grabs his partner to slow dance at the end. Freddie’s dead, but we bring him back to life every time we let it rip to a Queen song.

After all, who wants to live forever anyway?

J Is For Jennie & Julia: The Ghosts of Innocence

Both Jenny Wade and Julia Buccola are immortalized today and given nearly sainthood status as two women who died tragically and have left behind some legendary stories,

First, we will go to Mount Carmel Cemetery in the south Chicago suburb of Hillside, Illinois.  Perhaps no cemetery illustrates the equality that death brings to all of us.  No matter how glamorous or ordinary, how wealthy or struggling, or how we lived our lives, we all physically end up in the same place.  Nowhere is this more true than in Mount Carmel Cemetery where the executors of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in interred in the same ground as some of their victims.  Warring Mafia henchmen and leaders alike, are resting peacefully alongside their rivals.  This dichotomy may not be more stark when considering that criminals like Charles Dion O’Bannion, “Machine Gun Jack” McGurn, Roger Touhy, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, Sam Giancana and even Al Capone is buried at the same cemetery as religious leaders like Cardinal Bernardin.

On the opposite side of the cemetery from Al Capone is the beautiful gravesite of Julia Buccola Petta, who is considered a modern-day saint.  Julia’s life was tragically taken at the young age of 20 while giving birth to a stillborn infant.  She was buried in her wedding dress under a nondescript grave, sharing her coffin with her baby.  At the time, she was remembered by her surviving family and a newly widowed husband.  Now she is remembered by a whole city.

After her death, Julia’s mother began having nightmares.  These nightmares consisted of her daughter begging and pleading to be removed from the earth from where she had recently been buried, as if she had been buried alive.

This started a six-year battle by her mother to have Julia’s body exhumed.  Finally, the church and cemetery agreed to go through with the task to appease the elder Buccola.  Their findings were remarkable.

Decomposition of the human body begins almost immediately and it tends to be a rapid process.  Knowing this, all of those present during the excavation expected to see nothing but bones once the casket lid was opened.  To their complete surprise, Julia’s body looked as if she were still living.

According to those who witnessed this first-hand, her skin was still fresh and soft to the touch.  She looked as though she was merely sleeping.  While Julia appeared completely unchanged, her infant was in the expected condition; nonexistent other than skeletal remains.

A monument was erected on Julia’s grave depicting Julia standing on her wedding day.  There are two photographs attached to the base of the monument.  One is Julia on her wedding day while the other was taken the day her body was exhumed, just before reburial.

Those who knew the story immediately considered Julia a saint.  She died while giving birth to her first child and her body was proven to be incorruptible.  She was an instant heroine for Chicago’s Italian-American women.

Indeed, Julia has been seen outside of her grave and without the help of an exhumation.  Her ghost has been seen walking the grounds of the cemetery in the area nearest to her Harrison Street gravesite.

For the most part, she has been seen at night, but there is at least one notable daylight encounter where a lost little boy was eventually found holding Julia’s hand.  When the worried parents finally found their child, Julia vanished.

Julia’s memory and inspirational past continues to live on throughout Chicago and, in particular, in the neighborhood around the cemetery.

Some 600 miles away in the living monument to one of America’s darkest events, Jennie Wade stands as a symbol to all the innocence lost during the Civil War.  Two opposing armies clashed over three days in 1863.  In all, over 175,000 soldiers would fight relentlessly around the town of Gettysburg, overrunning a town that previously only boasted some 2,400 residents.  Once the smoke had cleared, 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in the enormous, sprawling, battle.  Remarkably, only one civilian was killed.  It was 20-year-old Jennie Wade.

Wade, a born and raised Gettysburg native, went to her sister Georgia’s house as the fighting broke out to tend to her and her one-week-old nephew, Louis.  Instead of hiding out in the basement, Jennie was at work in the kitchen, baking bread for Union soldiers.  The intensity of the fighting was outrageous, with hot spots of action popping up and shifting constantly.  Perhaps, to the Wade family, they were growing apathetic to the danger around them.  After all, on day one alone, their house was hit by an estimated 150 bullets.  On the morning of day three of the fighting, this house saw one bullet too many.  Slicing through two doors, striking Jennie in the shoulder, continuing through her heart, only to emerge from the other side of her, coming to rest in her corset, one single bullet killed Jennie instantly.

Just days later, Jennie’s fiancé would also be killed in battle, even before learning of his love’s demise.

Due to the trajectory, many believe the bullet was fired from a sniper’s nest, possibly from the Farnsworth House, some 800 feet away. Immediately after her death, her body was taken down to the cellar of the house, which seems to be the most haunted part of the property

Today, Jennie is rightfully immortalized.  Her family was granted a pension as the family of a fallen soldier would since she died while serving the Union cause.  The house she died in is now a National Monument and a museum while a statue of her stands out front.  Her grave site is one of only two female graves in the country to fly a perpetual American flag.  The other person is Betsy Ross.

The Jennie Wade House is one of the dozens of known haunted sites around Gettysburg.  EVPs are commonly recorded by paranormal investigators.  There are claims of colored ghost lights appearing throughout the structure.  However, is it only Jennie who is still inhabiting the home?  Before the war, Jennie Wade’s father, James, was arrested for not returning found money and sentenced to two years of solitary confinement in the notoriously haunted Eastern State Penitentiary.  By the time he was released, he was a broken, mentally damaged soul.  He ended up spending the rest of his life residing in the Adams County Alms House, an asylum/poor farm.  Today, the museum’s cellar contains a blanket-covered mannequin, reproducing the scene of Jennie’s body laying here after her death.  Many speculate that it’s Jennie’s father who watches over this scene, still trying to protect his lost daughter.  People in the area have felt the unmistakable sensation of a hand grabbing them firmly, usually sending the unsuspecting individual running across the room.

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – March 29th, 2019

It’s Mike from your favorite paranormal and pop culture podcast coming atcha with the weirdest and most interesting stories that we saw this week. Here’s some of the best news you might have missed!

Michigan couple says ghost seen on nanny cam scratched daughter
WXYZ

Check out this footage. It’s the best ghost stuff we’ve seen in awhile. What is walking in the background and who woke the baby up?

US Air Force pilots struggle to explain mystery UFO seen ‘falling from sky’
mirror

The video, filmed in Anchorage, Alaska, appears to show a mysterious object plunging to the ground with a trail of thick smoke behind it. No one knows what it is yet.

The UFO community still believes — and science is starting to listen
https://www.philly.com

In the last two years, scientists, politicians, and professionals have increasingly been willing to touch the taboo subject of UFOs and perhaps lend a little credence to those who still believe.

Former Blink-182 Guitarist Tom DeLonge Details UFO TV Series on History Channel
Rolling Stone

Here we go. Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation will feature new evidence, video footage, plus interviews with former military personnel. Is Tom DeLonge a hero, stooge, or charlatan? 

Vince Neil: My Daughters Ghost Came To Save Me
Vintage Heavy Metal

I felt she was waiting for me, and the only place I wanted to go was to her.” That’s when Vince Neil says Skylar’s spirit came to visit him…

Shout At The Devil ’97
YouTube

Speaking of Vince Neil, he spent some time in the wilderness in the early 90s when he left Mötley Crüe and went solo. After a few years they patched up their differences and when he came back into the band, their comeback album was called Generation Swine. Along with a few new tracks they also tried to Nine Inch Nails up their occult classic “Shout At The Devil” by adding some electronics and loops. You might have never heard it, so here’s your chance!

Next week, we’re bringing on everyone’s favorite drive in movie host, Joe Bob Briggs – so subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher here to get it right away when it comes out!

See you on the other side of the weekend!
Mike

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – February 15th, 2019

Happy Friday !It’s your weird friend Mike again and I hope everyone had as good a Valentine’s Day as Dan Aykroyd did in Ghostbusters…

Hey now! But just because love was in the air doesn’t mean that there also weren’t spirits as well. Here are the most interesting paranormal stories this week…

Kidnapped Tanzanian children found mutilated for witchcraft

In the most disturbing news of the week, Tanzanian children were cut apart for magical rituals. This is the “Demon-Haunted World” that Carl Sagan warned us about. We’ve discussed Tanzania (mostly Zanzibar) and some of its’ paranormal superstitions with Dr. Martin Walsh, who spent a good deal of time there.

Click here to read the article

Move Aside Tom Lee: A Texas Psychic Claims To Predict Crypto Prices Accurately

Cryptocurrency has been all the rage for speculative investors for the past couple of years. Feeling lucky? A Texas psychic says that she can predict Bitcoin prices, maybe it’s time for me to invest!

Click here to read the article

Ex-slugger Jose Canseco joins pursuit of Bigfoot, aliens

Former Major Leaguer Jose Canseco is following up his tweets last week about aliens and time travel with an offer to accompany him on a search for the sasquatch! It only costs $5,000 and the spots are limited to 5 people. There’s even a phone number to sign up. Call 702-374-3735 for details (and then tell us if you go!)

Click here to read the article

Saudi antiquities site, long seen as haunted, tries to woo visitors

Al Ula is a remote corner of Saudi Arabia home to a pre-Arab people long since disappeared and proclaimed by the Prophet Mohammed to be been haunted by the evil djinn. In fact, in 2012 the Saudi Arabian government ordered the area open, only to re-close it after students started reported djinn sightings. But even the djinn can’t stop capitalism and they’re going to try and turn it into a tourism destination. Is it just me, or does that sound like the beginning of a horror movie?

Click here to read the article.

Why Kids Always Claim To See “Ghosts”

Probably because hauntings are never too far from my mind, my 2-year old often asks about ghosts. She hasn’t seen one yet (even though I’ve looked in the closet a few times) but lots of kids say they see them. Some might actually see them, but it looks like there’s also an answer in developmental psychology.

Click here to read the article.

Kids See Ghosts by Kanye West and Kid Cudi ft. Yasiin Bey

Speaking of kids seeing ghosts, Mos Def, Kid Cudi, and Yeezus himself combine forces on this track. Kanye and Cudi named their partnership after this song and it’s a perfect one to listen to while you read this week’s newsletter. Click here to listen to the song.

If you haven’t heard this last episode with author Louis Proud, you shouldn’t miss it. (Click here to listen.) It will make you think in new ways about poltergeists and Spontaneous Human Combustion (What?! You don’t think about those things all the time?)

The whole team will be be back the saddle for the next episode and we’ll see YOU on the other side of the weekend!

Mike

P.S. If you’re enjoying the stuff we do, please consider joining our Patreon. Click here to check it out.

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – February 8th, 2019

Hey!

It’s Mike from See You On The Other Side with the coolest stories that we saw all week. If your world isn’t weird enough, let’s help you with that!

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-witches-cast-spells-in-putins-support-video-64420

Russian Witches Cast Spells in Putin’s Support

While the witches in the United States are casting hexes on President Trump, they’re doing the opposite in Russia. Is Putin harnessing the supernatural power of Baba Yaga and is that scarier than everyone abandoning the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/science/ct-harvard-astronomer-aliens-20190204-story.html

Alien ship may be among us, Harvard astronomer insists, despite grumbling and criticism from peers

Hey, it’s the weekly Avi Loeb report! Currently the nation’s most vocal academic  to be carrying the flag for the real possibility of alien life being closer than we think, he’s been profiled by The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and now Chicago gets in on the fun. 

https://myfox8.com/2019/02/04/uncg-student-thought-there-was-a-ghost-in-her-apartment-but-it-was-a-man-living-in-her-closet-and-wearing-her-clothes/

UNCG student thought there was a ghost in her apartment, but it was a man in her closet wearing her clothes

When I was in college, I sometimes thought my dorm room was haunted. Things would never be where I thought they would be and then they would mysteriously reappear in the exact same location. Sometimes within minutes. I thought that was weird but I chalked it up to my college lifestyle, which made David Lee Roth look like a monk. Now this girl discovered an actual nightmare, her closet had a real bogeyman. 

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/us/james-brown-death-questions/https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/us/james-brown-death-questions/

Was the Godfather of Soul murdered?

James Brown has been dead over a decade and it’s taken us this long to get a good conspiracy theory going over it. Is it believable? Well, you’ll have to read it and see. But if the only thing it does is get you to pull up some of his old performances on YouTube, then it’s worth the investigation. 

https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/news/the-science-of-why-so-many-people-believe-in-psychic-powers-315060

The Science of Why so Many People Believe in Psychic Powers

This isn’t just a hit job article written by skeptics, it’s co-written by someone studying parapsychology, so there’s something worth reading here. It details all the reasons that if we’re going to prove the existence of psychic phenomena, it’s not going to be with your gut, it’s gotta be in the lab. We’re too eager to believe, especially when we want to talk to our relatives who’ve gone over to the other side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkeCX62tbxk

Dig – Believe 

Thinking about the last article also made me think about this deep cut from the early 90s. It’s a quintessential slice of MTV Alternative Rock and while it’s a little bit “Grunge By The Numbers” there’s a simple message that’s always resonated a little bit the me. “Why don’t you believe in your own god?” Does that make the members of Dig secretly Gospel of Thomas-style Gnostics? Nah, it’s probably just some stoner poetry.   

New episodes come out Monday nights. Our Patreons are currently helping us out with the questions for the next episode’s guest, click here if you’d like to ask some too!

We’ll see you on the other side of the weekend!

http://www.othersidepodcast.com/donate

217 – 1871 Firestorm: Ghosts, Comets, and the Virgin Mary

On October 8th, 1871 the deadliest fire disaster in American history struck Peshtigo, Wisconsin, a small town up north past Green Bay and almost to Upper Michigan. Estimates of casualties ran from over a thousand people to up to twenty-five hundred lost lives. People talk about the firestorm that blew through the town, a “tornado of flames” as they jumped into the river to escape the blaze. Not much of a respite as many then developed hypothermia from the cold water. It was a nightmarish hellscape as fire clouds filled the sky and the heat was so massive that it created its own wind, spreading the inferno further and further. Too many bodies were burned beyond recognition and of the corpses they could find, many couldn’t be identified because the only other people that could identify them were the other bodies. It was an incredible tragedy that was overshadowed in the news by another famous tragedy that happened that night, The Great Chicago Fire.

Mel Kishner’s painting of the people hiding in the river from the flames at Peshtigo

That’s right, two famous fires occurred on the same night. And it wasn’t just those, several towns in Michigan experienced incredible fires that night as well. The entire town of Holland (where I spent a very formative summer before Seventh Grade) burned down as did Port Huron. So, what happened that night that so many fires occurred at once?

Well, no cause of the fires has been confirmed for sure, but scientists believe that it was because it was such a dry summer in the Upper Midwest (there was only a quarter of the amount of the average amount of rainfall and Chicago itself only got one inch between the 4th of July and the night of the blaze) the towns were ripe for it. Fires had already been burning near Peshtigo as they were clearing land (the literal slash n’ burn technique) for farming and development that summer, so much so that a lighthouse near Green Bay was on twenty four hours a day that summer. In Chicago, they famously blamed Mrs. O’Leary because the fire started near her farm, and the legend was that she was milking a cow when he kicked over a lantern and started the barn on fire.

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over the lantern

As early as 1883, Igantius Donnelly, a Minnesota politician proposed in his book, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire And Gravel, suggested that it was a meteor storm as Earth was passing through the remnants of Comet Biela. A comet discovered in 1826 that was supposed to be appear in 1872 and didn’t, leading him to speculate that we passed through the meteor shower of the comet’s debris and those meteors started the fire. Although, since the year before Ignatius also wrote a book on Atlantis that basically formed the modern narrative popularized by Edgar Cayce, his theory is still a little bit controversial to say the least. 

But that’s merely one of the weird stories that came out of the 1871 firestorm. From the shadow figures people see on the streets of Peshtigo to the only apparition of the Virgin Mary officially recognized by the Catholic Church. This tragedy might be the most paranormal natural disaster we’ve ever seen.

Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com and author of Voices From The Chicago Grave joins Wendy and I for this episode as we tell ghost stories of the great fires of 1871. Here’s some of the highlights:

For the song this week, we thought it would be cool to learn one of the most popular songs of 1871. Not only because it’s a fun challenge, but also because we want to play this song and some other contemporary music when we do our own investigation of the sites of the Great 1871 Firestorm. We’d love to stir up an EVP or some ghostly activity by playing a song that the spirits know. So, we decided on a William Shakespeare Hays song that sold over a million copies of sheet music in 1871. That’s like going platinum way before platinum existed! Here is the Sunspot version of “Mollie Darling”.

Won’t you tell me Mollie darling, that you love none else but me
For I love you Mollie darling,  you are all the world to me
Oh tell me darling that you love me, put your little hand in mine       
Take my heart sweet Mollie darling, say that you will give me thine.

Molly fairest sweetest dearest, look up darling tell me this
Do you love me Mollie darling? Let your answer be a kiss.

Stars are smiling Mollie darling, through the mystic veil of nightF 
They seem laughing Mollie darling, while fair Luna hides her light   
Oh no one listens but the flowers, while they hang their heads in shame
They are modest Mollie darling, when they hear me call your name     

Mollie fairest, sweetest, dearest, look up darling tell me this
Do you love me Mollie darling? Let your answer be a kiss.

214 – Angels Sound Like Yoda: Channeling with Danielle Egnew

Danielle Egnew clearly remembers cuddling up into her aunt’s skirts when she was two years old, afraid of her big scary uncle Dominick who was looming over her.  She remembers how her aunt looked, she remembers the color of the skirt, she remembers the physical feeling. 

Danielle Egnew, when she ran for Billings, Montana mayor in 2017

When Danielle was seventeen, she shared that memory with her mother. But her mother told her that it wasn’t possible. Danielle’s aunt had already passed away at the time. So, who was in her memory? 

Danielle Egnew has been seeing spirits and listening to otherworldly voices from the wilds of Montana since she was a child. She could hear the tonal, musical sounds of the angels and feel the “blacker than black” shapes of demons in her teens. Her muse led her to form a band and she spent the late 90s and early 2000s performing and touring with her group, Pope Jane.

Make sure you watch this video to enjoy a pop-rock blast from the past. As someone who lived through the music and fashion scene of the late 90’s (and it’s unique sartorial choices), it was fun visiting (but not sure I’d want to live there again!)

In the mid-200s as the music industry was changing, Danielle decided to finally embrace the entities that had been speaking to her all her life and a chance reading for the Burbank Police Department in the case of a missing child put her on the path of becoming a professional psychic and angelic channel. So what does that mean?

She describes her work as more of a “translation service” than anything else. She can receive the messages that these angels and extra-dimensional creatures have for us and she shares them with her clients and audiences. While she continues to write and perform music, create art, and do personal readings for those looking for assistance from beyond, her latest project is the “Ascension Tour” where she is doing live translations of these mystical communications for audiences. 

If you’re interested in becoming more in tune with “whatever is out there”, then you’ll enjoy this episode. Danielle goes into detail with what it’s like to be a receiver, how the messages show up, what they sound like, and ways to make it easier to “hear what the universe has to say”. Some of the topics we cover in our conversation:

  • How angels “sound like Yoda” when they talk
  • What it’s like to grow up with a paranormal radio in your head
  • How all artists can be channels for the other side
  • Is there a Hell? Her answer might be a little different than you expect
  • What happens to pure souls with faulty biology (how some humans are broken robots)?
  • Her tips for getting in touch with your psychic side

Check out Danielle Egnew’s website to find out out how you can be part of the live Ascension tour and how you can get in touch with her.

I think that the most interesting thing that Danielle said to me is that human spirits are basically good, it’s the machinery of the body that’s broken. So there isn’t any Hell really. We have a second chance the next time around, even if we’re evil, even if we’re mentally ill. Even if there’s some kind of imbalance, we are capable of being forgiven. 

That reminds me of the legend of Tannhäuser, someone who the Pope said his staff had a better chance of growing new leaves than of God forgiving him. Well, what happens is that the staff ends up blooming, but it’s too late. No one is beyond redemption, no one is unworthy of forgiveness if they are penitent.

What does it mean if there is no Hell? What does it mean if the Universe doesn’t care about justice? What does that say about Free Will? Anyway, just some questions to ponder as you listen to our latest Sunspot track, “Bury It With Me”.

A polluted genealogy
colonized my head
And if vengeance isn’t mine
then anger has no end

a faulty biology
for this blood shed
and if karma is a lie
then you never can forget

Redemption is tears in the rain
sometime before sacred and after profane
So when the sleeper wakes up from the dream
a thousand years have disappeared in the land of the Faerie Queene

as the sinner begs his penance
these wet androids come to me
when there’s no one left to blame
then we’re just broken machines

Oh, bury it with me

181 – Ghost U: Haunted Colleges with Matthew Swayne

Last time we talked with Matthew Swayne it was about his book Haunted Rock & Roll, but he’s also written a book called America’s Haunted Universities: Ghosts that Roam Hallowed HallsAs a research writer at  Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania, Swayne has first hand access to university legends and ghost stories. Born on Halloween, paranormal stories have always interested him (he’s also written a book on country music’s greatest ghost stories and was a columnist for one of my personal favorites, the new version of Omni!) In this conversation, we go into his favorite and weirdest haunted stories (plus I even get in a plug for Madison Ghost Walks Haunted University of Wisconsin Campus Tour!)

Click here to pick up your copy of America’s Haunted Universities: Ghosts That Roam Hallowed Halls.

Connect with Matthew Swayne on Twitter here

For the song this week, we picked our own Sunspot track about college unrequited love, instead of being Hot For Teacher, we’re Hot for TA in our song “More Than My Degree”. Fun Fact: scenes from the video were shot on Bascom Hill in front of Abe Lincoln’s statue, which has its own haunted story (and you’ll have to listen to the episode to find out!)

I know you’re my TA but this is more than math,
and there’s a certain number I’d like to discuss after class.

I’m not nervous about this test, or that problem set
A passing grade in this dumb class is not what I hope to get.
Was it just coincidence that you called on me?
Do you know I want you more than my degree?

You don’t have to worry, I know what this is about
“Office hours” is a clever slang for making out

Can’t you see, it all adds up, like Bernoulli’s equation
When I get your prime below mine, I’d even forego graduation
Was it just coincidence that you called on me?
Do you know I want you more than my degree?

Just like science, I’ll be straight and tell it like it is:
I think that you’re really great, I wanna have your kids
Was it just coincidence that you called on me?
Do you know I want you,
Do you know I want you?

The things that you explain
what do they mean?
I don’t care
Just keep on looking at me,
Just keep on looking at me.

All the others in our class
don’t seem to get it
They wanna learn,
and I want extra credit!

I’m not nervous about this test, or that problem set
A passing grade in this dumb class is not what I hope to get.
Was it just coincidence that you called on me?
Do you know I want you more than my degree?

Every time you say isosceles,
you make it sound so dirty,
Age won’t matter,
when I’m 26 and you’re 30,

Do you know I want you?
Do you know I need you?
Do you know I got to have you?
More than my degree.

Please stand so,
please stand so,
please stand so close to me,
Please stand so,
please stand so,
please stand so close to me.