Tag Archives: ghosts

74 – Science of the Supernatural: An Interview with Dr. Nancy Zingrone

Ever since seeing Bill Murray use the Zener Deck in an experiment in the beginning of Ghostbusters, I wanted to become a parapsychologist. After all, what could be cooler than investigating psychic phenomena? There’s a “science of the supernatural”? People get paid to do research into ESP? You can have that as a job? Sign me up!

Zener Deck
The symbols of the Zener Deck

I even made my own Zener Deck in fifth grade and did an experiment  with the other kids in the class. Sunspot’s guitarist, Ben and I got 21 out of 25 cards correct when we did it. And spookily enough when I did a Ganzfeld procedure (that’s a sensory deprivation experiment) in college, Ben and I got a 100% hit rate when it was our turn the experiment, so I guess we don’t have an excuse when we mess up onstage anymore!

ganzfeld procedure
I can’t believe that ping pong ball eyeglass invention hasn’t taken off yet!

Well, as the years passed and I started getting more and more into music and entertainment, my dreams of becoming a research scientist faded into the background for the glamorous life of being an independent musician (ha!) But I always told people (with my tongue only half in my cheek) that being a parapsychologist was my Plan B. Now, with the podcast and haunted history tours I get the best of both worlds, but a part of me still yearns to do research of a more scientific kind into the unknown. That’s why it was such a delight to have Dr. Nancy Zingrone on the show to talk about her parapsychological journey. She’s a parapsychologist and professor originally from the Chicago area who has been conducting research in the field for over three decades.

We start this episode with a quick aside about Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead, who passed away shortly after Christmas. In his last interview, he must have known that the end was coming because he talked a lot about death as well as if he ever came back to haunt other musicians, it would be Tears for Fears! We always loved a little Motörhead in the Sunspot van while traveling, where Lemmy would sometimes make his presence known by one of us singing “It’s time to play the game!” at random times.

Interviewing Nancy was especially exciting because she worked as a Visiting Scholar at the Rhine Research Center at Duke University for over a decade. Just a little background, J.B. Rhine and his wife Dr. Louisa Rhine were scientists who viewed psi phenomena as a branch of abnormal psychology and they worked to professionalize the field in the United States in the first half of the Twentieth Century.  They developed a research center at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where they studied phenomena like ESP, poltergeists, ghosts, and telekinesis.

In the interview, Nancy tells us how she got interested in the field, how she found love in psychic research (her husband Dr. Carlos Alvarado is a formidable researcher and teacher in his own right) and some her favorite experiments. She also discusses the challenges that a budding scientist faces in a field that’s often considered outside of the scientific mainstream. In fact, many of the research centers that are set up (like the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh) only exist because of a monetary donation from someone rich that’s fascinated with the topic. Like in Scotland, the research unit exists because an author named Arthur Koestler donated his entire estate to a university that would research the paranormal. Oxford and Cambridge declined, Edinburgh University didn’t.

Nancy has some excellent advice, though, for people who are looking to get into the field:

  1. Follow your passion
    If you’re interested in history, physics, psychology, etc… then get trained in it. You are encouraged to start on the conventional academic path and develop your science-y skills (even J.B. Rhine started out as a botanist!)
  2. Get collateral education in parapsychology
    There are lots of courses that you can take online from real scientists so that you can get introduced to the methodology. Nancy and Carlos have a Massively Open Online Course that starts this month and is FREE, so you can see lectures and discuss these topics with top experts in the field. Really, you should sign up for this right away if you’re interested!
  3. Find a professor that will let you write your papers on parapsychological themes
    When I was an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, I had the chance to write some of my reports on parapsychological topics in my psychology courses. That was in the 90s, but there should even be more opportunities now. After all, universities are the cultural center for independent thought, right?
  4. Check out the schools that take on graduate and doctorate students in parapsychology and go there!
    Sure, you might have to go to Germany or Brazil, but travel is good for you! Here’s an awesome list of resources of universities and colleges that offer courses in parapsychology.

You can find more about Nancy and her husband’s teaching and research at The AZIRE website (The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education) where they have lots of information about their online courses (they’re even in Second Life, which sounds like a lot of fun!) and you can even read their published papers.

And make sure to check out their Facebook community for Parapsychology Online, it’s a great place to talk more about research, experiences, and advances in the field of easily the coolest science!

This week’s Sunspot song is all about reading minds, just like that “Zener Deck” experiment.

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I felt you on the edges, taking a peek inside,
Seeing a couple stick figures making wavy lines.
You don’t need to be psychic to unlock,

my intentions are as clear as circle, a cross, a star, and a box

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
What do you think you’re going to find out?
I don’t know what you think you know.
A brain on the lookout for a freakout.
I don’t know what you think you know.
Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.

62 – Behind The Screams: An Interview with Ghost Mine’s Patrick Doyle

I’ve often been critical of a lot of the “paranormal reality” television out there because it amazes me how much evidence that they can collect in one place in a short amount of time. They go to a new place every week and somehow come up with amazing evidence. If you’ve ever been on a paranormal investigation, you understand that most of the time you come up empty-handed, so how do these guys come up with incredible evidence every single week?

Well, that’s why I thought the premise of Ghost Mine was pretty interesting. Instead of going to a new place every week, they were going to stay in one place for several weeks and see what happened. The idea behind the show was that an old mine with a reputation for being haunted was being reopened in Oregon by a mining team on the hunt for gold and a paranormal research team on the hunt for ghosts. It would be a pretty awesome setup for a horror film (it almost feels like it could be a sequel to one of my personal favorites, Quatermass and The Pit AKA Five Million Years to Earth).

The show ran for two seasons on the SyFy Channel (it’s still hard to type out that silly name)ad it was hosted by Patrick Doyle and Kristen Luman. On the heels of the premiere of their new show, Behind The Screams on the Reelz Network (a show that explores the real-world inspiration for horror films, something that of course we can get behind here!),  we had a great conversation with Patrick on his lifelong quest for the paranormal.

Patrick goes into detail on his first paranormal experience of seeing  a Shadow Person as a child and how that eventually turned into the hobby of investigating haunted places looking to see if he could find more (something that I admire his courage for, my own visit from a Shadow Person left me with an approach avoidance conflict about seeing one again!)

While Patrick undertook his paranormal investigations over the years privately (and most often terrifyingly (to me at least) alone, he said that he didn’t often go with a team), his transition to paranormal television personality wasn’t something that he expected.

In 2006, Patrick released a young adult book he authored and illustrated called Edgar Font’s Hunt for a House to Haunt (say it fast a couple of times, you know you want to…) To promote the book, he started looking for YouTube videos of paranormal activity that were obvious fakes and would deconstruct them in his own blog and video series called Haunted Hoax. And that’s where it started. After becoming a popular series (as well as then turning into a target for Internet haters, but since Patrick is a man that openly admires the enemy-of-spoon-benders everywhere, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi, he should know that “haters gonna hate”.

Haters gonna hate...
Enough said…

Anyway, Haunted Hoax became so successful that SyFy contacted him about hosting Ghost Mine, but when they hired him, they made him take down all of his YouTube videos, effectively “buying his brand”. And while that sounds nefarious, it isn’t really. I also do work with a website that features musician profiles and songs, and when a major label signs an artist, they demand all previous songs, pictures, and profiles are taken down, that way they ensure the representation of their new talent acquisition is controlled by them, it’s part of protecting their investment.

However, while the scrubbing of those videos did create a little controversy, Patrick unwaveringly defends the evidence that they found on Ghost Mine and indeed, says that he was disappointed that they left some of their best stuff on the cutting room floor.

But while paranormal investigators might have an insight into the other side of the veil, no one can predict what’s in the hearts of network executives and a regime change at SyFy spelled the closing of Ghost Mine. 

Patrick returned to being a book author and a paranormal investigation until being called up by the Reelz network to work with Kristen once again on Behind The Screams, and we finish up the interview with advice for amateur investigators.

Number one, he says, “Do it for yourself. Do it for your own experience.” And that you really only need three items when you go out:

  1. Flashlight (so you don’t fall over)
  2. Voice recorder (for EVPs)
  3. Camera (to record in case you see anything!)

Follow Patrick on Twitter and make sure to give him a like on Facebook, he’s a serious-minded investigator that I hope we hear a lot more from in the future.

This episode’s song has as a little bit of a Old West theme to go along with Ghost Mine. It’s a Sunspot track called “Ghost Town”.

This place was never meant for human habitation
and it’s just a ruin, well it’s just a ruin now.
And I can see the cracks in the foundation,
there’s a hole in the door from the fights waged here before.

Let’s not get caught with our pants down,
I won’t get busted with my fingers in the cookie jar again.
This old bed is a hand-me down,
But if you wanna crash here I’m game if you are.

This old place is a ghost town.
This is the room where we store,
all the things we like to forget.
Welcome to my hellhole,
a place for the lost souls,
of all the hearts left here for dead.

Don’t get any closer,
don’t make any sudden moves.
Don’t look at me like that,
I ain’t no scaredy cat.
This is a house of spirits,
this town of full of ghosts,
so upright so convincingly
they don’t have to be dead, but they’re dead to me.

See the wanted sign,
that’s my face.
I’m not welcome anymore,
as if I ever was.
They plastered my name,
all over this place.
We might have to leave running,
so keep your eye on the door.

This old place is a ghost town.
This is the room where we store,
all the things we like to forget.
Welcome to my hellhole,
a place for the lost souls,
of all the hearts left here for dead.

61 – Dark Shores: Chicago Ghost Conference 2015 Wrap-Up

So, October 2nd through 4th, I attended the Dark Shores: Chicago Ghost Conference with a VIP pass. My sister, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, as well as one of the guides on her haunted history tour, Estephanie (check out some of her cool handcrafted items here!), also came along and in this podcast we go over our favorite parts of the convention. This is Estephanie’s first ghost convention (Allison’s first was one of Troy Taylor’s events in Alton, IL where we did our first live podcast this last St. Patrick’s Day!)

First of all, if you haven’t been on the Chicago Hauntings ghost tour, you’re missing out, because it’s a lot of fun and a great way to get to know Chicago ghost stories and haunted places. It’s run by Ursula Bielski (and Allison and I always like to see another proud Polish-American in the ghost business!) and she did a great job of collecting an entertaining group of speakers on a variety of paranormal subjects.

The conference was at Gaelic Park, which was right across the street from one of the reputedly most haunted spots in the Chicago area, Bachelors Grove Cemetery. They had special haunted late night tours of the cemetery and even had a quick presentation by the person that took this photo, which in my opinion, is one of the best ghost photos of the past couple of decades…

The Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove (not that Madonna, she’s not a ghost yet, just a skeleton…)

The event was emceed by Minneapolis and Coast To Coast AM radio host, Dave Schrader of Darkness Radio, and he’s just as funny in person as he is on his radio show. Friday night, there was a short video presentation on a Bachelors Grove featuring a local ghost hunting team and then a really cool interview with Father Mike Maginot, who was the priest who exorcised the kids in the “Indiana Demon House”.

The Indiana Demon House was a controversial case of demonic possession from 2014 that happened in Gary, Indiana (home of not only Michael Jackson, but also Blacula himself, William Marshall!) Anyway, you’re going to hear a lot more about the Indiana Demon House in the upcoming months because Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans bought the place to make a documentary film on it (and take a look at this CSICOP article for their usual intelligent, but party-pooping take on the whole affair.) Anyway, the interview with the priest was interesting because he was taking about how just the use of the demon’s name was causing trouble for the family, that they couldn’t even get it the name to print out because it kept shutting down the computer. Anyway, that made me want to know the name of the demon (of course I think there’s more to the universe than we can comprehend, but I’m not scared of the oogedy-boogedy religious stuff when there’s real evil in the world happening all the time), but they moved on to the last speaker of the night before I could ask the question.

Darkness Dave and Father Migniot - Indiana Demon House
Darkness Dave and Father Maginot – Indiana Demon House

The last speaker was Christopher Fleming and he was great, mixing talk of ghosts and psychic powers with a little Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and some of The Secret as well (with less of the Oprah-y stuff.) Anyway, I’m a sucker for self-help stuff so I really enjoyed it and I think he had a really positive message that I like to hear. If you want something, you need to believe in it. And whether it’s a flash of intuition, some psychic power, or it’s you creating the “vision” yourself, “vision” is the important thing. If you don’t see where you want to go, then you might never get there. I liked the integration of psychic sensitivity with a grander purpose towards self-determination.

Saturday morning was a lot of fun with presentations by Scott Gruenwald (a funny but definitely NSFW presentation to start the day!) and our good friend, Tea Krulos from the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, (who had a fun lecture on ghosts in the Brew City!)  We also caught up with the guys from The Hidden Truth, Jay Bachochin from Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators and filmmaker, Scott Markus.

Catching up with Jay from Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators
Hunting the truth in Chicago wth Milwaukee Ghosts, Madison Ghost Walks, and Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators!

There was a panel on ghost boxes (here’s how to make your own!) and then around lunchtime, it was time for the Guest of Honor. Actress Virginia Madsen was the Guest of Honor and she talked on a panel about Chicago ghost stories since she’s had an interest in it and she’s also a Chicago native. She’s been in movies like Candyman and A Haunting in Connecticut, we talk about Candyman a bunch in the Charlie Charlie episode and she seemed like a lot of fun (and just as pretty in person as on the screen!) But at $25 for a picture with her, I decided to go for a long shot instead!

Is she saying "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman"?!?
Is she saying “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman”?!?

Then we watched Christopher Saint Booth, a British documentarian and snazzy dresser who makes films with his brother about paranormal subjects.  He released a documentary and book based on the diaries around the true story behind The Exorcist as well as and he did talk a little bit about Christian duality (you can’t have God without the Devil, hey it’s like the Yazidi!) Check out his demo reel here, the Booth Brothers do some pretty stylish work!

It’s like a British Paranormal Bret Michaels!

But Allison’s favorite presentation of the day came from the guy who finds the ghost stories for Ghost Adventures, Jeff Belanger. His presentation was totally polished, had plenty of multimedia, and really got into the reason that ghost stories and folklore are important and in the podcast episode, Allison gets into why she even got a little verklempt during it. My favorite part was talking to him about his music and he even tells a story about opening for Eddie Money (which I retell in the podcast.)

Allison and Zombie Jeff Belanger!
Allison and Zombie Jeff Belanger!

Then afterwards, Saturday night was the costume karaoke party at Chet’s Melody Lounge (across the street from Resurrection Cemetery!) and that was a blast. Jeff Belanger and Darkness Dave were dressed as a little bit of Chicago history and after a few Lagunitas beers, I even tried to get the name of the Indiana Demon out of Darkness Dave (to no avail!) Christopher Fleming sang  a wicked version of “Big Balls” by AC/DC, I did a little Judas Priest, and everybody did “The Time Warp”!

Darkness Dave Schrader and Ghost Adventures Jeff Belanger
Mrs. O’Leary and the cow who caused the Great Chicago Fire…

Sunday, however, took a little bit to get going because well, you know, beers, but there were some of my favorite presentations that day. Including some Jewish ghost stories and a fascinating lecture on ghost stories around the world (including the tribe from The Gods Must Be Crazy and Southeast Asian ghost stories that I’ve already integrated a little bit into Madison Ghost Walks!)

Oy vey!
Oy vey!

But the final presentation of the day is what inspired this week’s song. It was about The Devil In The White City himself, H.H. Holmes and various Chicago serial killers. Well, I can’t believe that I’d never heard the term “Murder Castle” before, but all the way home all I thought it was the perfect name for a song.

Anyway, it really was a great time if you love ghost stories or history and it was a lot of fun meeting some notables in the paranormal world (and we’ll be having plenty of them on the show in the future!) I don’t know if I’d get a VIP Pass again, because the only extra this year was a little catered party right before the kickoff (where the pizza was good, but it wasn’t enough time to really break the ice unlike at the Saturday masquerade party.) But the presentations were definitely worth the price of admission espcially that they come with a a discount code for iherb. If you’re interested in the next Chicago Ghost Conference, you can get tickets (at a discount until October 16th!) by clicking right here.

Did someone say Murder Castle?!
Did someone say Murder Castle?!

This week’s song is “Murder Castle” by Sunspot, inspired by the Chicago Ghost Conference!

Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

I’m gonna build a hotel,
right by the World’s Fair,
I’m gonna lure you into,
my evil secret lair.
You’re in my little maze trying to run away.
But you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t get away.
You’re in my little maze trying to run away.
But you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t get away.

In my
Once you’re in my
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

It’s just a little drugstore,
And we’re hiring, come apply,
You’ll even get some life insurance,
and I’ll collect it when you die.
I’ll be right back, don’t move an inch, baby.
I see your eyes are are are are are a little sleepy.
I’ll be right back, don’t move an inch, baby.
I see your eyes are are are are are a little sleepy.

Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

40 – The Ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard: A Haunted Travelogue

Mike went on a trip last weekend to California and decided to go down the path of some well-known spirits while he was out there, he read an article that said that the ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard had the most haunts per capita of any place in Los Angeles, well, he just had to check it out.

Stop 1 – Hollywood And Vine

Photo May 15, 7 02 54 PM

Photo May 15, 7 02 35 PM

At this famous intersection, it’s said that the ghost of Lon Chaney (the original cinematic Phantom of The Opera) would wait by the bus for failed audition after failed audtion, and it’s sad that’s where continues to wait years after his death.

Photo May 15, 7 05 00 PM

Photo May 15, 7 03 04 PM

Stop 2 – Pantages Theatre

This famous theatre was built by billionaire/crazypants Howard Hughes, and he’s still said to roam the halls. However, Wendy thought the story of the lost wardrobe director who was guided through the darkness by an invisible hand to be even more chilling.

Photo May 15, 7 07 08 PM

Stop 3 – Hollywood and Highland

Photo May 15, 6 13 28 PM

Photo May 15, 6 13 31 PM

This strange Egyptian-themed outdoor mall is right next to the Kodak Theatre and the Loews Hotel, it’s the Hollywood when they tell people on American Idol that they’re “going to Hollywood”. It’s also the site of the old Hollywood Hotel, where the cinema’s first teenage heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino, is said to still haunt.

Photo May 15, 6 13 39 PM

Stop 4 – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Photo May 15, 7 30 02 PM

Probably the most famous theater in Los Angeles, this is the place where you see the stars put their hands in the concrete. There’s a vengeful ghost of a murdered actor who is said to prowl the theater and there’s the tale of Fritz (plus we mention a scary display from one of the theater’s spirits-in-residence.)

Stop 5 – Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Photo May 15, 7 32 54 PM

We take a step back to Hollywood’s more glamorous past with the Hollywood Roosevelt. Mike and Wendy tell a ridiculous story from the last time they visited there together, and then we talk about the spirits of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift who are said to still haunt the building.

Photo May 15, 8 13 21 PM

Photo May 15, 8 13 24 PM

Stop 6 – Griffith Park

Photo May 15, 12 56 42 PM

Photo May 15, 1 05 34 PM

Mike needed to do some hills to prepare for his upcoming marathon and decided to tackle the road to Griffith Observatory, a strange place indeed, not only cursed by a scorned heiress and is home to the spirit of a suicide, but is also the residence of a pair of lovers who were killed by a felled tree in the middle of the act itself!

Photo May 15, 12 48 17 PM

Photo May 15, 1 09 31 PM

Photo May 15, 1 07 57 PM

Stop 7 – The Seventh Veil

Photo May 16, 2 22 16 AM

Well, since Mike grew up as a monster Mötley Crüe fan, it only seemed right that he visit the famous gentlemen’s club that is said to have inspired their song, “Girls, Girls, Girls” (funny enough Mike didn’t realize that song was about a strip club until a few years ago, having listened to it for years he just thought it was about propositioning girls. Only when he was walking in Paris and stumbled across the Crazy Horse, did he realize, “Oh my god, Mötley Crüe was talking about a strip club!”)

But the name, “The Seventh Veil” not only comes from an Oscar-winning movie (with the always awesome James Mason!), it is also a biblical reference, one of the few gentlemen’s entertainment places to have such a pedigree!

Oscar Wilde, writer of The Picture of Dorian Gray as well as The Centerville Ghost (so he himself was no stranger to paranormal fiction!) wrote a play in Biblical times called Salomé, about the daughter-in-law of King Herod and introduced the concept of the Seventh Veil into his story. The girl performs the Dance of the Seven Veils (something of his complete invention, because the kind of dance is not mentioned in any of the histories) but it was based on the Middle Eastern dances where the girls had veils and Orientalism and Egyptology was very chic at the time – places like the the Oriental Theater and even Hollywood & Highland today were all about that early 20th century fascination with the Middle East!

Ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard Links

Encyclopedia Britannica on Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Haunting

Haunted Hollywood: Where the A-List Ghosts Hang Out, Joal Ryan, Yahoo! omg

The Ghosts and Monsters of the Cursed Griffith Park, Creepy LA

“Haunted Hollywood: 4. Howard Hughes & the Pantages Theater”, Encyclopedia Britannica Blog

This week’s song, “Spotlight” by Sunspot

She always did what what she was supposed to do,
she never cried, or complained.
But she never knew where she was going to,
if this was right, why was it so mundane?

Looking back was a bad dream,
of near misses and lost opportunities,
but when she picks up that mic at Friday Karaoke,
she’s finally who she wants to be.

Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey,
and not the drama of her life.
An American Idol that might be temporary,
She just wants her little place in the spotlight.

She always did what she was told to,
please and thank you, yessir and no ma’am,
but no one cared what she was going through,
work at this, study that, marry him, and don’t look back.

Cuz what she saw was a bad dream,
of near misses and lost opportunities,
but when she picks up that mic at Friday Karaoke,
she’s finally who she wants to be.

Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey,
and not the drama of her life.
An American Idol that might be temporary,
She just wants her little place in the spotlight.

30 – Live from Alton, IL: An Interview with Luke Naliborski of Alton Hauntings

This episode is a See You On The Other Side first… a recording of a live event we did on location in Alton, Illinois, “one of the most haunted small towns in America”!

As an added bonus, it was a special day for us because our band Sunspot released our newest EP, El Chupacabra. The three songs in the EP were all inspired by episodes of “See You On The Other Side” and you can listen to them right here.

Our live event took place at Maeva’s Coffee, a delightful venue with some of the nicest baristas we have ever met (thank you Meredith and Tia!), delicious coffee, a warm atmosphere, and beautiful eclectic decor. If we lived in Alton, Maeva’s would surely be a place we’d hang out at regularly because it just had a good and welcoming vibe. Interestingly, the building in which the coffee shop resides is an old school house that was built in 1904. As such, it has its own folklore and tales of interest, which we discuss with our special guest, Luke Naliborski.

Luke is a tour guide for Alton Hauntings ghost tours and an author. He tells us about how he got into the whole paranormal investigation scene, and shares some fun stories about his encounters with the unknown during his tours and investigations in historically rich Alton:

  • Strange things he saw during his childhood at a neighborhood house
  • An apparition of a woman he and his friends saw at Mausalium Row at Greenwood Cemetery
  • Stories of apparitions seen in a local parking lot in town, located where the courtyard of a confederate prison had been
  • A haunted island in the river where duels were once faught, known as Bloody Island / Sunflower Island / Small Pox Island, and the story of James Shields challenging Abraham Lincoln to a duel there
  • On the same island, a reporter found two skulls and took one home for a souvenir
    Legends of the Milton School House, the very building hosting in which our interview takes place
  • One of Luke’s favorite tour stops, the First Unitarian Church in Alton, where he has seen many curious things
  • How Luke began his career as an author
  • His experience on the television reality show “Mysterious Worlds: America’s Ghost Hunters” and the investigation of a secret passageway and storeroom beneath the First Unitarian Church
  • An experience he had with an apparition at a farmhouse where several deaths were known to have occurred

Mike and Wendy with Luke after the interview

We truly enjoyed meeting and talking with Luke, and hope to return to Alton soon so we can actually take his Alton Hauntings tour!

Links

Music

The live performance we did featured the following Sunspot songs. Here are links to the recordings online for each of the songs:

27 – Parapsychology Fact Vs. Fiction: An Interview with Loyd Auerbach

Looks like Mike survived his half-marathon that we were talking about last week in the below-zero temperatures on Sunday, but just barely!

and here’s Mike and Wendy recording the intro to the interview in the Sunspot rehearsal space.

Today’s interview is with parapsychology mainstay, Loyd Auerbach. He really has been keeping the fires burning for the scientific study of the unexplained for four decades and his book ESP, Hauntings, and Poltergeists: A Parapsychologist’s Handbook was extremely influential on a young Mike (which is one of the reasons that he’s so excited about the interview.) Not only has Loyd been highly involved in keeping parapsychology in academia, he has been on thousands of paranormal investigations, and consulted for television (especially on a forgotten classic from the 80s, Shadow Chasers.)

The conversation begins with how Loyd got into the paranormal, his study at Northwestern University under the great UFO researcher, J. Allen Hynek, and then his job at the American Society for Psychical Research. It’s basically a lesson in how to get your dream job so that’s worth listening to the podcast for that information alone.

Loyd moves out to the West Coast to continue his studies at JFK University who was the only place in the United States a post-graduate degree in parapsychology at the time. It was a different time, and he discusses the difference between scientific attitudes towards the unexplained was more welcoming in the days before today’s science vs. faith culture wars.

Loyd talks about some of his Hollywood script consultation and also how he’s not that interested in appearing on paranormal television shows anymore because they don’t portray parapsychology and paranormal investigations in a realistic light. He goes into the difference between reality and what they show you on TV and the movies.

Mike and Loyd then delve into not only tips for novices interested in going on paranormal investigations, but also tips for people who are interested in letting a paranormal group investigate their house. It’s a must-listen for anyone who’s interested in finding a paranormal group to investigate their home because it’ll help you weed out the inexperienced groups from parapsychologists who might actually be able to help.

The conversation also goes into Loyd’s latest endeavors to help educate newbies to parapsychology and his latest online courses, which are all about learning to investigate paranormal phenomena like hauntings or ESP in a scientific way so that your investigations can help further the field of parapsychological research.

Loyd Auerbach Parapsychology Links:

Loyd Auerbach’s website

ESP, Hauntings, and Poltergeists: A Parapsychologist’s Handbook

Follow Loyd Auerbach on Twitter

Take one of Loyd’s paranormal classes online at the Rhine Education Center

Featured Song: Pascal’s Wager

We are but tiny,
inside a world of infinity,
all we have is our reason,
to make us better than the beast.

Pascal was a gambler,
who wanted to believe.
Pascal made a wager,
for the souls of you and me.

And if you win, you win, you win it all.
And If you lose, you lose,
and it don’t matter anyway,
And there’s so many things I’ll never know,
But even the brightest stars,
must lay down their cards,
when the ferryman calls.

I was born a cynic,
but I’m willing to take my chance,
that the universe is big enough,
to be more than coincidence.

We’re playing a game,
that we don’t want to admit,
All the things we feel,
that you just can’t dismiss.

So if you win, you win, you win it all.
And If you lose, you lose,
and it don’t matter anyway,
And there’s so many things I’ll never know,
But even the brightest stars,
must lay down their cards,
and figure out just who they are,
when the ferryman calls.

You’re not a fool to believe.
You’re not a fool to believe.

17 – Holiday Hauntings: Christmas Ghost Stories

If it’s the most wonderful time of the year, why are we sharing scary haunted tales? Explore the history of the tradition of telling spooky Christmas ghost stories!

More links on Christmas Ghost Stories:

Hypnogoria article on “The Origins of Ghost Stories at Christmas”

Deseret News, “Telling Ghost Stories is a lost tradition on Christmas Eve”

The Conversation, “Why ghosts haunt England at Christmas but steer clear of America”

Bill Petro, “History of a Christmas Carol: A ghost story of Christmas”

Featured Song: Next Plane (Welcome Home)

There’s dust in my bunk
and no snow upon on the ground,
it’s 110 outside and I wake up at every little sound.
I’m sick of being afraid, I’m tired of the bad dreams,
I won’t watch my son grow up on a computer screen.

I’ve seen too many ghosts of Christmas Past,
I’ve seen too many ghosts at all.

I know the fireplace was cold,
while I was being GI Joe,
and I’m sorry you poured your Christmas wine alone.
But I won’t miss another one,
And this year I’ll put down my gun,
This Christmas I’m on the next plane home.

There’s a table waiting for me,
and they’re playing my favorite song,
There’s a girl that’s waiting for me,
and she’s waited for too long.
But too many friends have gone,
and I’ve read too many tags,
There’s too many people I love,
coming back beneath a flag.

I’ve seen too many ghosts of Christmas Past,
I’ve seen too many ghosts at all.

I know the fireplace was cold,
while I was being GI Joe,
and I’m sorry you poured your Christmas wine alone.
But I won’t miss another one,
And this year I’ll put down my gun,
This Christmas I’m on the next plane home.
This Christmas I’m on the next plane home.

10 – Celebrity Hauntings: Ghosts of Rock Stars

We’re talking ghost stories! Specifically, stories about rock star ghosts and celebrity hauntings.

Ghosts aren’t often reported of people who died peacefully. Many rock stars’ lives have ended tragically and suddenly, in the type of untimely ending often resulting in restless souls with unfinished business. Many witnesses purport to have seen those souls in the form of ghosts, and when those ghosts are famous people, it makes for interesting ghost stories.

The first celebrity ghost we discuss is the infamous Elvis Presley. Although many people believe that Elvis faked his own death, many also claim to have seen his ghost and/or communicated with his spirit in places as obvious as Graceland and as odd as Burger King.

Next, we talk about a dead celebrity, Mama Cass, who visits a living celebrity, Dan Aykroyd! He lives in her former dwelling, which he believes her spirit continues to inhabit. Did Cass’s ghostly visits to Aykroyd’s boudoir inspire a scene in Ghostbusters?

Many recording studios host ghosts: Jim Morrison haunts the Sunset Sound studios and his band mates’ dreams. The Cave, another recording studio and former speakeasy, is haunted by the ghost of Warren Zevon, singer of the song Werewolves of London. Axis Studios, a Wisconsin recording studio where Sunspot recorded parts of their “Cynical” album, has ghosts who get bored and leave if you don’t show fear. A mysterious heartbeat was once discovered on a recording made there.

Given the untimely/tragic nature of their deaths, it’s not surprising that many members of the 27 Club haunt us. Vibes of Kurt Cobain have been uncovered by a psychic in the wood of a park bench in Viretta Park in Seattle, Washington. Others have reported seeing/feeling his spirit there. A woman also claimed that Cobain haunted her laptop until she kissed it on his ghostly request, upon which it stopped working.

Whitney Houston is another, more recently departed, celebrity whose spirit visits her mother, Sissy Houston, by ringing her doorbell.

Pete Doherty (co-frontman of The Libertines), the close friend of Amy Winehouse (who passed away in 2011), is convinced that she haunts his flat. He has gone so far as to flee from the UK escape her ghost, which appears in the form of images and reflects in the night.

Musician Gram Parsons liked Joshua Tree National Park in California, where he and his friends would spend time UFO-sighting, so much that he wished to be cremated there after he died. He ended his own life with a drug overdose at the Joshua Tree Inn, where to this day his apparition appears in haunted Room 8. In a bold move of loyalty, against Parsons’ family’s wishes, his best friend Phil Kaufman stole his ashes from the airport and scattered them in the park he so adored.

Legendary John Lennon’s spirit has been witnessed near the Dakota Hotel where he was killed. When his surviving band mates released a new song for the Anthology, a white peacock wandered into one of the photos, which the bandmates believed was a sign from Lennon. They also claim that their deceased band member’s name can be clearly heard in a backwards section of the recording they made.

Finally, one of our favorite concert venues, First Avenue in Minneapolis, hosts several specters. One is a blond woman in a green jacket, who legend has it hanged herself in the bathroom, and who on occasion reportedly reveals herself hanging in the bathroom. The other one, named Slippy, makes a balloon appear that rises and falls in the staircase. In addition to these apparitions, staff claim that the sound and lighting equipment is susceptible to eery signals from beyond.

Links on Celebrity Hauntings

Bubba Ho-Tep – Movie in which Bruce Campbell portrays Elvis at an old folks’ home plagued by a mummy
Joe R. Landale – Author of Bubba Ho-Tep and other horror/supernatural stories
James “The Amazing” Randi – Writer for The Skeptical Inquirer and creator of the One Million Dollar Challenge
Grand Theft Parsons – Movie about the theft of Gram Parsons’ corpse
Haunted Rock & Roll: Ghostly Tales of Musical Legends by Matthew L. Swayne – Book about rock star ghosts and venue hauntings

Featured Song: Skeleton Key (The Secret Lives of Ghosts)

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a grave without a headstone,
Wandering the earth for rest,
Alone in a crowd,
as a soul that’s dispossessed.
I was a murder without a body,
I was a crime without a scene.
But this dunit needs a who,
And I hope you’ll take my plea.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a grave without a headstone,
Wandering the earth for rest,
Alone in a crowd,
as a soul that’s dispossessed.
I was a murder without a body,
I was a crime without a scene.
But this dunit needs a who,
And I hope you’ll take my plea.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

5 – Interview with Susan Masino: Rock Journalist / Paranormal Researcher – Part 2

As promised, we present the second half of Mike’s interview with Susan Masino!

Before getting right into the meat of the show, we thank you for listening. Seriously, it’s been fun beginning this new project and getting some content out there that’s a little different from our norm. If you’re enjoying the show, we’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review (the more stars the better!) in iTunes or Stitcher Radio. Or, if you prefer, just spread the word by telling a friend about our show or linking to it on Facebook! Please make sure you leave your name in the review/link so we can thank you in a future episode.

Beginning on a positive note, Susan describes the larger-than-life presence that was Bon Scott of AC/DC. Although he never gave any indication of it, Susan learned through her research that he was struggling quite a bit throughout his rockstar-idol years. She tells us how, although Bon is no longer in this world with us, he’s still around the band and the AC/DC world and makes himself known through the dreams and feelings of the living. Susan tells how Bon continues to be a ray of light, in spite of his absence in the physical arena of our living world.

Next, the discussion turns to the topic of synchronicity. Also commonly referred to as white light, good energy, intuition or gut feeling, Susan explains how a person’s inner self often guides (or tries to guide) but is easy to ignore. She reminds us that the “universe has a great sense of humor” and we should pay attention when signs appear that we should pay attention to. Listen for the best example of Susan’s experience with clairaudience, which occurred while she was in living in New York Sublets, it may just make you take notice next time the “voice in your head” tells you something!

The experience led to her job at a recording studio that worked on projects with Steve Winwood, Diana Ross, John Denver, Joe Cocker, the soundtrack for the movie “Beat Streat” and music for the 1984 Olympics. In the basement of Studio 54, did Susan see any disco-dancing ghosts? She didn’t see apparitions, but Susan did have vivid dreams while living in NYC during the “wild west days” of New York.

Finally, Susan shares the biggest dream(s) she has had that came true.

Featured Song: Grand Guignol from the album Singularity

This song is available on iTunes, has a video on YouTube (you’ll see Wendy in a different light after watching it), and even has a pop-up video on YouTube, old-school VH-1-style!

Lyrics:

You love the drama,
You play the role,
and you’ll do anything,
to get my goat.
and when you bleed some,
it’s a horror show,
You think I’m crazy,
well you should know.

There’s always something wrong with you,
Someone’s always done something to you.
Stop being such a huge asshole.
Your big exaggerations,
always lead to a confrontation,
This little act is getting old,
you’re the Grand Guignol.

The sky is always falling down,
I can’t take you anywhere downtown,
It’s a bitchfest or a catfight,
don’t you know anyone you like?
You’re making threats so the stage is set for another breakdown.

There’s always something wrong with you,
Someone’s always done something to you.
Stop being such a huge asshole.
Your big exaggerations,
always lead to a confrontation,
This little act is getting old,
you’re the Grand Guignol.

You love the drama,
You play the role,
and you’ll do anything,
to get my goat.
and when you bleed some,
it’s a horror show,
You think I’m crazy,
well you should know.

The sky is always falling down,
I can’t take you anywhere downtown,
It’s a bitchfest or a catfight,
don’t you know anyone you like?
The stage is set,
off go the bets,
You’re making threats,
you’re killing pets,
in another breakdown.

There’s always something wrong with you.
What am I gonna do with you?
Stop being such a huge asshole.
This little act is getting old.
You’re the Grand Guignol.

4 – Interview with Susan Masino: Rock Journalist / Paranormal Researcher – Part 1

In our very first interview episode, Mike talks to special guest Susan Masino about some incredibly interesting crossovers between the music world and the world beyond.

As author of books: Let There Be Rock: The Story of AC/DC, Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy-My Life and Times with AC/DC, Van Halen, Kiss…, and The Secrets of the Universe: Universal Laws, Past Lives, Ghost Adventures and More, Ms. Masino is the perfect guest to join See You On The Other Side, and she’s got so many interesting things to say that we certainly hope she’ll return to the show in the future.

Susan tells us how she became interested in the music scene and the paranormal / psychic world. Why do so many venues and theaters have a propensity toward hauntings? She has her own opinion on the matter, and some great supporting stories to share that may bring a shiver up your spine.

Not only are ghosts and hauntings an area where Susan has had many experiences, but the topic of past lives / reincarnation is also very near and dear to her, as she believes her own son has a strong link to the Titanic. His story was featured on the television series “Ghost Inside My Child” because of the incredible dreams and visions he had as a young child. This brings to the conversation the topic of movies, and how they can often trigger memories of past lives in people. Susan also tells about a connection she herself may have to an actress from the past.

Featured Song: Saturday Night Gospel

Lyrics:

Well, we started playing when rock was on cassettes,
and the girls would tease their bangs with oceans of Aquanet.
Hang out in parking lots and learn to smoke cigarettes,
and we canonized all the rocker guys.

I used to high-speed dub my tapes for all my friends,
10 years on with Napster, yeah we did it all again.
We’d preach to country heathens who didn’t understand the reasons,
why I had to wear a concert shirt,
and every Saturday night we went to church.

And we sang,
Amen, my friend. Hallelujah.
Don’t you take that name in vain.
Praise the Lord with the sound, baptize me until I drown.
Let a choir of fallen angels sing my name,
I still believe the song remains the same, we haven’t changed.

And there were mullets as far as the eye could see.
My Blessed Virgin looked just like Debbie Harry,
We prayed at the Houses of the Holy,
And just like John Lennon, we all were bigger than,
you know.

I used to high-speed dub my tapes for all my friends,
10 years on with Napster, yeah we did it all again.
We’d preach to country heathens who didn’t understand the reasons,
why I always wore a concert shirt,
and every Saturday night we went to church.

And we sang
Amen, my friend. Hallelujah.
Don’t you take that name in vain.
Praise the Lord with the sound, baptize me until I drown.
Let a choir of fallen angels sing my name,
I still believe the song remains the same,
we haven’t changed.

We started playing when rock was on cassettes,
and the girls teased their bangs with oceans of Aquanet.
We hung out in parking lots, learned to smoke cigarettes,
and we canonized all the rocker guys.

And we sang,
Amen, my friend. Hallelujah.
Don’t you take that name in vain.
Praise the Lord with the sound, baptize me until I drown.
Let a choir of fallen angels sing my name,
And we sang,
Amen, my friend. Hallelujah.
Don’t you take that name in vain.
Praise the Lord with the sound, baptize me until I drown.
Let a choir of fallen angels sing my name,
For I do believe the song remains the same,
we haven’t changed.