Tag Archives: haunted museum

237 – Curses: From Evil Eyes to Jinxed Buildings

Since the Academy Awards were this weekend, we thought we’d do a uick update to our Oscar Love Curse episode that we recorded the same time last year (and to quote another Academy Award nominee from this year, another one bites the dust… Sorry, Brie Larson, you’re the latest victim of the Oscar Love Curse!)

But celebrities are just one of the many things that people are superstitious about and we all do it to some extent. Have you ever called some piece of clothing like your tie or your hat or even your socks, “lucky”?

Do you ever perform a little ritual before doing something important? Maybe shave a certain way because the last time you did it that way, you had an amazing date? Or listen to a certain song because it gets you pumped up and you feel you need that confidence? That’s just basic human nature. We do things to try and convince our mind that success is on the way, it’s just a little bit of magical thinking in our lives, but sometimes it seems to help.

But what happens when something horrible happens to you while you’re wearing a certain t-shirt or a pair of shoes or while a song is playing in the background? Do those things become “unlucky”? Well, that’s the question we tackle today as we discuss curses!

In this episode, Wendy and I are joined by Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com, Allison Jornlin from HawaiiParacon.com, and paranormal author C.E. Martin (check out his Stranger Than Fiction book!) to talk about strange cases of cursed objects, people, and even bulidings!

You can give someone the Evil Eye and not even know it…

Allison has done some research into the Italian Evil Eye called Il Malocchio and it can curse you without the person even knowing it. Often the eye is caused when someone looks at you with envy or extreme jealousy.

Some families have special rituals to combat Il Malocchio but they are kept very secret and can only be passed on one night of the year. In Ronnie James Dio’s family, he was taught that throwing up your rock fist was actually a defense against the Evil Eye and that’s one of the reasons he chose it as his onstage symbol and it’s now been assimilated into the rest of heavy metal culture.

C.E. Martin (here’s his author page on Amazon) has had his own experiences with three curses in his life and he describes them here in his own words:

1. I was cursed at birth. My paternal grandmother, a member of the cultish “Eastern Star” organization, actually showed up at the hospital after I was born and proclaimed to everyone that she wished I’d been still-born. She hated my parents eloping, and took it out on my my entire life–until I was an adult and I realized I didn’t have to take her $%^T anymore. 

2. I’m fairly certain my ghost stories book is cursed (Mike’s note: he’s talking about Stranger Than Fiction, but don’t be scared, it’s a great book!) Writing it took more than two years, filled with bad luck: my daughter’s scoliosis diagnosis, the ensuing therapy and surgery, my wife being in a car wreck, my fall down the stairs at home, my dog unexpectedly dying, my title being stolen, and my recent banning online for mentioning it on paranormal forums (to name a few of the calamities in that period). Best of all, the other day, as I was leaving work, I was thinking about the book as I walked toward the exit from the law office. I was wondering how I could promote the book’s 2 free days online. My thoughts were interrupted when not one, but two large pigeons flew into/rammed the glass of a large picture window I was walking toward, one right after the other. (they bounced off, recovered and landed safely on some nearby power lines). Definitely an omen of the banning that was coming the next morning. 

3. A friend in the USAF removed a Nazi SS ceremonial dagger from a bunker in Italy that US forces opened up after the Italians had sealed it following WWII. The bunker had sat, sealed up for decades. US Forces were examining using it, and my pal was doing security on the site. He decided to stroll around inside and found it abandoned–as in, everything was there as if the Nazi’s had just teleported away or something. So he took a souveneir. Over the next few years, he had a whole string of terrible luck, including  his child getting some kind of strange fever that resulted in brain damage (the little boy was borderline mentally retarded after that and had lots of developmental problems). Eventually, my friend buried the dagger in the backyard of his base-housing quarters right before he and his family moved to their next base. The bad luck did not follow them. 

https://amzn.to/2SqX4Mf

In Scott’s book, Voices From The Chicago Grave, he talks about the curse of ‘Cap’ Streeter. George Wellington Streeter was a boat captain who was ferrying passengers from Milwaukee to Chicago on Lake Michigan when a storm capsized his boat near where Superior Drive is in modern Chicago. At the time, however, it was just a sandbar on the edge of the lake. Cap decided to stay there, claim it as his own (even independent from the United States) and made a living by creating a shantytown and garbage heap there. Following scuffles with local law enforcement and some time in jail, Cap cursed the area and some very weird and sad things have happened in the locality since.

Elma Lockwood, George Cap Streeter, and Spot

We also discuss my trip to the Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, where you can see a variety of “cursed” objects from Ed Gein’s Cauldron to Jerry Lewis’ clown costume from a movie he thought was so bad that he never released it (and indeed said that he would not let it be shown until years after his death) The Day The Clown Cried.

Here’s the waiver that you sign at Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum

While we were waiting in line, my wife saw a girl with waist length brown hair and a blue/grey dress running across the parking lot, and then <poof> there was no little girl there. She said the girl looked 5 or 6 years old. I missed the entire thing because I was working on the waiver that you see above, but it was interesting because it was outside and not anywhere near the cursed objects.

Bagans does claim that the mansion is haunted, so maybe it was some kind of residual energy from the family that lived there for decades before it was turned into the museum. We looked for pictures (they talk about the family and the original house’s owner, Cyril S. Wengert, on the tour) and did find several photographs but none seemed to match up to the girl.

Either way, I was jealous! The weirdest thing I saw was a marionette that semed to move on its own and I had guides tell me conflicting stories about whether it was animatronic, or it had moved when the guide bumped the stage, or it was a ghost(!) So, that experience could be chalked up to whatever I choose to believe.

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And it seems that’s how curses live and die, by what we choose to believe. That seemed like a good message for a song, that we’re always struggling against our own heads. They say there are only seven different kinds of conflict in storytelling and while one of them might be “Man vs. Supernatural”, it seems like the battle that is most applicable when you’re fighting a curse is “Man Vs. Self”. Conquering your own fears and superstitions is what this week’s song is all about.

this is our jihad
our fight is a spiritual war
battling our basest instinct
it’s so hard to ignore
and we’ll take that to the morgue
The fortune tellers will predict
but your conviction is the trick
superstitious fiction
don’t let yourself be deceived
a curse as good as you believe

Devour the cowards
drunk on the will to power
Man vs. Self we go down mean
The toughest fight you’ll ever face
is taking on the whims of fate
be more than the dice roll of your genes

Don’t believe everything you read
you don’t need everything you see
you’re more than your credit score
don’t buy in when you should drop out
don’t forget what it’s all about
These are the moments that define
these are the times that will go down
history to the victor
don’t you mess around
you better make your seconds count

Devour the cowards
drunk on the will to power
Man vs. Self we go down mean
The toughest fight you’ll ever face
is taking on the whims of fate
you’re more than the dice roll of your genes

234 – Serial Killers Are Not Hot: The Ghost of Ted Bundy

After being dead for almost three decades, serial killer Ted Bundy is back in the news. Of course, true crime TV shows are in big time since Making A Murderer set the world on fire three years ago, so Netflix is continuing the trend with their come series, Confessions of a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. It’s the first thing you see when you open Netflix and people are reacting to it.

Now Ted Bundy was a charismatic guy in real life and he’s been played by Hollywood heartthrob Mark Harmon and is there’s currently a movie where he’s going to be played by former teen idol, Zac Efron. So many people have been commenting about how good-looking this brutal serial killer/rapist/necrophiliac was, that Netflix this week had to issue a statement letting people know that talking about how Ted Bundy is attractive is not really that cool.

So, Ted is back in the news, but that’s not the only reason. Jumping in on the trend, Ghost Adventures  star Zak Bagans just bought Ted Bundy’s glasses for $50,000 so that he can display them in his haunted museum in Las Vegas. That’s almost twice what he paid for the Demon House in Gary, Indiana.

Now there’s no guarantee that Ted Bundy actually wore the glasses, but they did find them in a car that he had stolen, so chances are that they’re his. Is it a cursed object? Well, the jury is still out, but people have been seeing Ted Bundy’s ghost since shortly after he was executed. In fact, the story goes that so many guards were seeing his ghost in the electric chair that they refused to enter the execution room alone. Other guards say that he was taunting them from beyond the grave, saying things like “Well, I beat you guys, didn’t I?” Messed up. Reminds me of Horace Pinker from Wes Craven’s criminally underrated Shocker, where the killer is about to be electrocuted and they ask him, “Does the prisoner have any final words?” and he replies, “Yeah, no more Mr. Nice Guy.”

The Megadeth version of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” on the Shocker soundtrack is Epic as well!

My sister Allison closed out the episode by also brings out an interesting story she heard this week about how former New Age guru Doreen Virtue turned around and renounced her former Pagan ways and became a Born Again Christian. She says that all the stuff she used to believe in was actually a pathway to The Devil and Doreen’s recent blogpost, “An A-Z List of New Age Practices to Avoid, And Why” proceeds to tell us why everything from Harry Potter to Yoga are evil and anti-Christian.

Well, that blogpost wasn’t about to go unanswered and Warlock Christian Day decided to rebut her alphabetical proclamations with his own blogpost, “A Former New-Ager Turned Fundie Christian Wackjob To Avoid, And Why”. It’s always a pleasure to read good writers debate each other, especially when we’re talking about magic and religion. Sometimes it’s just fun to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And when you get through both articles, it seems like the only thing that these two can agree on is that faeries are dangerous. And I think that’s something even Ozzy can agree with!

Also, in this episode we wanted to follow up a little bit on last episode’s conversation about the guy that ran through the gates at the Nevada National Security Site (the former Nevada Nuclear Test Site). To me it seemed that it was unthinkable to roll through the security gates at a military facility because you’re just going to be killed onsite, but it sounds like it happens a lot more than we think (this one was just reported by the news.) One of our Patreon members (and frequent idea contributors!), author C.E. Martin let us know in an email exactly how and why these security breaches happen more often than we think, here’s what he wrote:

1. Someone who wants to do mischief.

I once hear a story of a base in where the Swords to Plowshares group cut through the fence and stormed onto an alert area, some maniac running toward a B-5 with a sledge hammer. He actually reached the plane and managed to get several swings in on it. The guard in a tower watching over these alert-ready, engines-running, nuclear laden bombers had fallen asleep. Thankfully, the guards on foot saw it and stopped the hippy terrorist before too much damage was done (to the plane–the intruder did not fare very well, surviving the beating they took, but just barely).

2. Someone who wants to protest.

Shortly after Desert Storm, my base in Germany, Rhein Main (Frankfurt) was the central air hub for anything going from the eastern US to the Gulf. We had heightened security and a regular assortment of protestors at our gates. One night, when I was actually off duty (after months of no days off, we finally got to work a 6-and-1 as everything came back from the Gulf). Again, it was some group like Swords and Plowshares (or maybe it was them again) cut through the fence and brought an entrourage onto the base–including a camel! They were stopped relatively quickly just inside the fence. They were also fortunate enough not to have gotten roughed up too bad, I was told. (I was sure mad I missed this crazy occurrence).

3. Mistaken travel.

In California, (McClellan AFB, in Sacramento) we were at the end of a major roadway. People often got turned around and ended up at that gate asking for directions. This was the back side of the base–the opposite side being near the highway. People were trying to get to that highway, but the base was in the way. One night, a drunk driver drove through the fence, dodging the gateshack he almost ran over. He ended up on the runway (which he later confessed he thought was the highway) and almost struck the Sacramento Sheriff’s helicopter that had been coming in to refuel for patrol (they rented hangar space from the USAF). I was the closest patrol and got to drive hellbent for leather (something we NEVER were supposed to do) past airplanes and hangars and out onto the runway to get to this guy. With the day-time-like helicopter light’s assistance, i found the truck crashed into a huge drainage ditch at the far end of the runway, and snagged the perp, who had a partially-consumed case of beer in his truck with him. There’s more to that story about toxic waste, me ruining a pair of boots, and almost breaking the guy’s wrists, but I’ll save it for another time…

4. Refusal to follow orders.

Anyone coming onto a military base is subject to search and seizure. Your constitutional rights are suspended when it comes to that. This is to prevent bombs and what not from coming on and damaging resources. Occasionally, someone doesn’t want to comply with a vehicle search (they were picked at random when I was in). In my case, again, back in Germany, an Army sergeant decided he wasn’t going to comply and started to race forward. I jumped in front of his car and put my hand on my gun (he later claimed i drew my pistol, but I don’t think I did). He turned the car around and sped away. This was a back gate on the base, leading directly into the housing area. I called it in and patrols went searching for him… and found him very quick. In his haste to escape, he had lost control of his fancy short-dick sports car and crashed it into a guard rail, doing a considerable amount of damage. He was brought back onto the base, I confirmed his identity and, long story short, he was dishonorably discharged for the whole incident (I think he was also driving drunk or something–can’t recall that part).

Now, while these are just four stories, I assure you, running the gate, while not a “regular” occurrence, is common enough not to be unheard of. During Desert Storm, back in Germany again, we anticipated this problem to the point that at both the main gate and Crash Shortdick’s base housing gate, we had two special patrols parked and ready: Ram-1 and Ram-2. Ram-1 was an armored car, Ram:2 was a regular Humvee. The role of the person sitting in these vehicles, engines running for 12 hour shifts (minus a brief swap out for refueling), was to RAM any vehicle running the gate, to prevent them from reaching anywhere on base. Side note, when the air war kicked off in January 1991, I was actually manning Ram-1 at the main gate. Several of the wives of guys in our unit, who regularly helped bring everyone sandwiches and snacks and stuff while we were on duty, went out and delivered the news that the air war had started.

C.E. Martin, author, USAF vet, and former criminal investigator

Quick hits for other things we mention in the podcast:

For the song this episode, we were thinking about how being a ghost wouldn’t be that great. You’re always stuck hanging around the places that you used to live and work, or worse were killed. After all, Ted Bundy isn’t haunting the sites of his infamous murders, he’s haunting the place where he himself was executed for his crimes. Or maybe now he’s going to haunt Zak Bagans’ museum, roaming around a bunch of musty artifacts and interacting with tourists looking to “touch” some piece of morbid history. Movies and TV shows always treat immortality as a curse more than a blessing, so would it be any fun to be a ghost if you were just an observer? That’s the idea behind this week’s track, “I Don’t Wanna Be A Ghost”.

I don’t want to be a ghost
I just want to be a man
I don’t want to hear my friends
When I cannot talk to them
I’ll be right behind the wall
and I’ll wait for you to call my name

I used to want to come back as a spirit,
and be in some romantic tragedy
I’d be Patrick Swazye and you would be my sweet Demi.

If we can’t be together
who wants to live forever
when you’re just looking right through me,
If I will always be lonely
there’s no point in eternity and
I can see you looking right through me

I don’t want to be a ghost
I just want to be a man
I don’t want to hear my friends
When I cannot talk to them
I’ll be right behind the wall
and I’ll wait for you to call my name

I could walk the earth as a phantom
and be an orb in your phone photos
Scaring all the people who never came to my gravestone

What’s the point of a soul
if there’s no one to make you whole
A spectral spectator that’s bored with immortality.

If we can’t be together
who wants to live forever
when you’re just looking right through me,
If I will always be lonely
there’s no point in eternity and
I can see you looking right through me

I don’t want to be a ghost
I just want to be a man
I don’t want to hear my friends
When I cannot talk to them
I’ll be right behind the wall
and I’ll wait for you to call my name