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244 – N Is For Notre Dame: Ghosts And Legends of the World’s Most Famous Cathedral

One of Notre Dame’s notorious gargoyles stares into the void.

Although some claim the thoroughly modern French don’t believe in God or ghosts, let’s be real and face the truth.  Everybody believes in something at least bordering on supernatural, even if they don’t readily admit it.  The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, brutally ravaged by fire on April 15th, 2019, is a prime example.  There’s something in the folklore of Notre Dame Cathedral for everyone — ghosts, curses, holy relics, and miracles.

Not saying it was the candles, but they sure do have a lot of candles.


We discuss this ghost photo in our podcast episode above; click here for additional photo info.

Dozens and dozens of people have killed themselves at Notre Dame Cathedral, and many others have tried.  There seem to be two off-ing options repeated over and over — the classic leap off one of the towers or the showy spectacle of off-loading a pistol into your head at the altar in the middle of mass.  Although it’s no match for the Eiffel Tower, where literally hundreds of people have committed suicide, Notre Dame has its fair share of harrowing stories.  Although the gun to the face before a packed house might seem like the most dramatic choice, the leapers of Notre Dame, especially those of the female variety, take the prize for sheer horror and eerie echoes of detail.

The death of Marie Felix in 1882 is probably the most famous because it is the goriest.  The specifics are so graphic that in the week following Marie’s death, 25,000 Parisians visited the morgue per day just for the chance to view her mangled corpse.  Although her name is forgotten by most, her suicide is the reason most cited to explain any paranormal activity in the cathedral. 

Marie is described in the newspapers as a beautiful, young woman with extraordinarily long hair arranged into two thick braids which she wore rolled around her head. She was first noticed by the cathedral’s security staff one October morning as she impatiently paced about the cathedral for about two hours. Some say she was denied access to the towers without a chaperone, so she was most likely desperately seeking someone to accompany her. As it happened, she would finally meet an elderly lady that morning, whom she kindly invited to lunch.  After Marie provided the unnamed lady with a nice lunch at a local restaurant, they returned to the cathedral at 2 p.m., ostensibly to gaze upon Paris from the vantage point of the towers. However, an unexpectedly heavy downpour forced them to take shelter in the watchman’s sentry-box.  Then suddenly, for no apparent reason, Marie made a mad dash, and before anyone could stop her, she climbed the parapet, flinging herself forward. 

Marie immediately fell upon the spikes atop one of the railings, which sliced her body in half at the waist.  The lower half flew backward onto the flags of the porch while the upper half remained impaled.  Her body was broken “completely into pieces by the shock upon the stones of the Place du Paris”, according to another article.  Marie was later identified as the daughter of a local tradesman.  Her family attested that Marie had often threatened suicide and that her actions were not due to any recent disappointments.  The coroner’s post-mortem findings included lesions on the brain which were thought at the time to confirm that Marie suffered from “suicidal monomania” just as her relatives had claimed.

A similar incident in May of 1890, claimed the life of a lovelorn 21 year-old.  The unidentified woman also leapt from the towers and, according to the account, was “dashed to pieces in the street below”. More recently another pair of suicides claimed additional victims. 

In October of 1964, 21 year-old American tourist Veronica Mcconnell had just arrived at Notre Dame, her first sight-seeing spot of the day, when another woman climbed over the balustrade of the North Tower.  Only moments later she took the plunge, falling directly onto Veronica, killing them both.  An almost identical scenario would transpire in August of 1983.  Veronique Stalla-Bourdillon, 24, plummeted to the pavement killing herself and flattening Johanne Pelletier, 29, of Montreal, who had been standing at the doors to the cathedral unaware of her impending doom.  Perhaps this morbid history explains the most reported ghost experience at Notre Dame — encounters with female apparitions seen pacing among the towers, flitting between the gargoyles. 

Cursed Doors

(Not the actual Devil or the ironwork on the Cursed Doors, but this piece by artist Cyril Colnik still seems apropos.)

During the construction of Notre-Dame, a young artisan called Biscornet was tasked with the creation of elaborate ironwork to decorate the cathedral’s doors.  Biscornet soon realized his ambition has gotten the better of him, so he casually called on the Devil for help, as you do.  While Biscornet took a nap, a masterpiece of intricate ironwork magically materialized.  Once completed, the Devil snatched Biscornet’s soul of course.  Yet the doors could not be opened by normal means until they were christened with holy water.

Holy Relics and Miracles

Although many seem ready to deride relics and the miracles with which they are credited, dismissing such notions as magical thinking, there are many more who believe. Can holy objects bestow healing and grace upon the faithful? In the Catholic Church, there is a strong conviction that anything which has come into contact with Christ or the Saints is imbued with extraordinary powers. During WWI, Germans bombed Paris on October 12, 1914.  As bombs fell on and around the Notre Dame Cathedral for some reason they did not explode and the cathedral was undamaged.  Many might consider this a miracle. 

Notre Dame was home to many relics from the Crucifixion including a piece of the True Cross, a crucifixion nail, and, most notably, the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus.  A particular miracle attributed to the Crown of Thorns is called “The Miracle of the Thorn”.  Once every 70 years, when Good Friday coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation, the Crown of Thorns is said to once again drip with the blood of Christ.  This fragile relic is encased in a crystal ring, held together by clasps of gilded bronze. Jean-Marc Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Fire Department, assisted by a human chain of volunteers, entered the burning cathedral to rescue the Crown of Thorns from the April 15th fire. The relic is currently being housed at the Louvre for safe keeping.

Here’s Mike’s original photo of the gold cross that survived the fire.
And here’s the iconic image of the cross after the fire.

In addition to the ghost stories and legends explored here, in this podcast episode, we uncover:

  • the real-life inspiration for the fictional Quasimodo
  • the pagan origins of the cathedral site
  • the derivation of the word “gargoyle”.

Plus we analyze the inevitable claim that Nostradamus predicted the blaze!

This is a grotesque, perhaps the most example at Notre Dame named Le Stryge. It’s a scary statue meant to warn away evil. A gargoyle, on the other hand, does double duty, repelling demons while also functioning as a rain gutter.

So many people shared our despair about the destruction of such a famous landmark, we decided to share a Sunspot oldie from our first demo tape, that eventually made on our album. Here’s a track about acceptance, when you just can’t fight anymore; it’s one of our saddest songs, “Defeated”.

Never look directly into the, 
heart of the sun, 
Never leave your battlefield, 
before your fight’s been won, 
and let the ghosts that haunt me, 
come visit me tonight, 
I want to join their midnight dance, 
I want to surrender under the moonlight. 

When will the war inside your heart ever end? 
Why must you fight it all alone? 
Can you fill your empty soul on your own? 

I lay defeated, 
torn and broken at your feet, 
Can I make you happy now? 
I lay defeated, you have brought me to my knees. 
I cannot fight you anymore. 

And I’ll try to hide the bitterness, 
that my heart holds, 
I’ll try to regain the innocence, 
that you bought and sold, 
And I’ll try to pick my broken pieces up off the ground, 
Will you care? 
No, you won’t care, 
when they fall back down. 

When will the war inside your heart ever end? 
Why must you fight it alone? 
I see the blood that’s on my hands is my own. 

I cannot fight you. 
I will not fight you. 
So why can’t I just walk away? 

Does he do the things I never did? 
Does he make you feel wanted? 
Tell him to make you happy the way I never could. 
Even though you’re standing next to me, 
you’re a million miles away. 

Your indifference has defeated me, 
adding insult to injury. 
Now that you have beaten me, 
now that you have victory, 
now that we are history, 
will you ever be happy? 

I lay defeated.

198 – The Mandela Effect: False Memories or Parallel Universes?

The Mandela Effect was first coined as a term in 2010 when paranormal consultant Fiona Broome discovered that she met many people who believed that South African freedom fighter had died in prison in the 1970s and had not survived to eventually be freed an made the leader of the country in the 1990s.

Usually we would just attribute this strange misremembering of history to the whole “human beings are idiots” thing, but since its initial discovery was by someone involved in the paranormal, people started talking about how maybe this might be something more.

One of the first theories was that it’s the result of parallel universes, where there are an infinite number of universes and they can be created every time a different decision is made. People are just “remembering” a different universe.

Another idea is that we’re living in a computer simulation like The Matrix and every time we misremember something it’s actually the programming of the simulation that can be changed.  Much like in the movie, they described deja vu as a “glitch in The Matrix”. There is some evidence that we might be living in a computer simulation, but it’s all just conjecture right now.

We discussed how memories can be easily falsified in episode 55 about alien abductions, past life regression, and satanic ritual abuse, but The Mandela Effect has certainly consumed plenty of oxygen in the paranormal space over the past couple of years. Probably because it’s a fun way of playing “remember when” and we can discuss our childhoods and how faulty actually all of our memories actually are.

The very first time that I learned about the malleability of memory was in a Different Strokes episode. It’s based on the classic Kurosawa film Rashomon (if you would like to know how influential the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa is, just read this article on how George Lucas was incredibly influenced by the movie The Hidden Fortress in his creation of Star Wars.) Rashomon is a about a trial that shows the same crime happening from several people’s perspectives and how those memories of the same event are different from person to person. Different Strokes even called their episode “Rashomon II”!

In this episode we go over some of the most compelling examples of The Mandela Effect including:

  • Berenstain Bears vs. Berenstein Bears (the original that blew most people’s minds!)
  • Fruit Loops vs Froot Loops (and Fruit Loup Garou, the psychedelic werewolf!)
  • Field of Dreams‘ most famous line
  • “Luke, I am your father.”
  • C-3PO’s silver leg

This week’s song is actually one of our oldest recorded Sunspot tracks. It’s about nostalgia and how nice it is to live in the past sometimes, even when that past might be something you invented for yourself. But in the end, you have to come back to the real world, even if you wished you’d made different choices in your past and feel left behind. The song is called “Pretend”.

I think I lost you along the road,
because I didn’t know how to grow up.
Maybe that’s why I feel so old,
my life flashes before my eyes.
Maybe we could talk over a beer,
about the way we think things ought to be.
We could try to remember how we got here,
and whatever, and whatever became of me.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

And I think I missed the train,
well, I guess I should have bought a ticket.
I don’t think I ever changed,
time slips by and I’m still the same.
We were running hand in hand,
I didn’t know you’d go so fast.
That’s why I just don’t understand,
how you reached your destination and I’m still living in the past.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

I’m the last one standing here.
Just a relic in the museum of our lives.
I’ll be waiting when you come back.
I’ll be the one who’s just a step,
just a step behind the times.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

113 – Beware of Bozo: The Great Phantom Clown Panic of 2016

2016. Just saying the year feels like we’re living in the future. We’re well past Back To The Future II now and we’re only 3 years away from Blade Runner territory. But he sad truth is that there’s no jetpacks, our Artificial Intelligence autocorrects our communication into incoherence, and the U.S. Presidential Election is straight out of a 90s dystopian satire.

We have more access to information than ever before in history. In fact, most people in our country carry the sum total of human knowledge in their pocket. Any fact is at our fingertips and any answer at our beck and call. So it just goes without saying that most people no longer panic about urban legends because they all get neatly debunked when we do a quick check of snopes.com… Wait. Did you say clowns are trying to lure children into the woods?! OH MY GOD. SAVE THE CHILDREN.

Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Clown in the 1990 television adaptation of Stephen King’s IT has set the gold standard for scary clowns for a generation. While Killer Klowns From Outer Space might have been  a fun and campy horror movie and Blood Harvest starred Tiny Tim and Wisconsin State Lottery beauty Lori Minnetti (my and Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts‘ parents have a strange connection to both of them!), when people think of terrifying clowns in the late 20th Century, it’s Tim Curry’s Pennywise that they’re really thinking of. And they should, he’s scary as Hell and IT was shown on free over-the-air TV back when tens of millions of people still regularly watched scripted dramas instead of just dancing and singing competitions.

Look, I know there might have been a time when clowns weren’t terrifying. That time is over. There’s a real psychological term for the fear of clowns called “coulrophobia”. This year, through the magic of the Internet and in our never-quenched desire to save our children, we’re being inundated with tales of strange and sinister clowns lurking in our cities. It’s gone from a funny story that’s shared among friends on social media networks (and we covered it first in our paranormal newsletter!) to a full-blown worldwide phantom clown panic. Indeed, what started out this summer as a stunt in Green Bay, WI (for a film called Gags The Clown, our friend Cactus Joe interviews the director in this episode as well) has spread all across the country.

This latest era of clown scares starts in 2013 in Northampton in the United Kingdom. And while that clown isn’t even doing anything scary in particular, just the fact that someone is out there in the street dressed as a clown and waving to people spooked the locals. The innocuous nature of his performance is what freaked people out, in fact The Huffington Post headline was “Northampton Clown Terrorizes English Town Just By Standing Around“.

northampton clown
‘Ello, chaps! I’m the Northanmpton Clown! Bloody scary, eh?

Then in November of 2015, in Waukesha, Wisconsin (right by my hometown and the location of a new awesome ghost tour that I wrote and Wendy guides!), a local teenager  had a similar chilling effect on the populace. Once again, this clown isn’t doing anything, just hanging around and it’s disturbing people.

waukesha clown
The Weird Clown of Waukesha

Fast forward to 2016 and Gags the Green Bay Clown starts terrorizing the frozen tundra of Titletown. This summer, the story goes viral and no longer are these formerly jocular characters just occupying our nation’s street corners, they’re now in the schoolyards.

Gags The Green Bay Clown
I’m Gags The Green Bay Clown. I love cheese, the Packers, and murder!

Clown sightings in South Carolina in August had children claiming that clowns were trying to lure them into the woods with money. You mess with children and people freak out, and boy have they ever. You know how rumors spread through a junior high school population? That’s social media.

Schools have been locked down in Illinois, Tennessee, Maryland, Ohio, New York, and Florida. And it’s not even real clown sightings that are causing this, it’s just clown-based social media threats. It’s children reporting clown sightings and adults freaking out over it. Our schools have become zero-tolerance zones for clowns and it’s all because children are making up stories, Salem-style.

john wayne gacy clown
John Wayne Gacy in his favorite getup

This isn’t America’s first great clown panic though. In April of 1981, just over a year after notorious Chicagoland serial murderer and real-life killer clown John Wayne Gacy was sentenced to death for sexually assaulting and murdering thirty-three boys and young men, reports of mysterious clowns bothering children starting popping up around Boston area schools.

In May of that year, the media picked those reports of clowns up and the police of nearby Brookline, MA even issued a warning after learning of two “clown men” looking to lure children into their white van with candy. A little later that year, in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, a “phantom” was seen by dozens of teenagers, and even a police officer, John Pepper, talked about seeing “a huge person with a white-painted face”.

But here’s the thing, besides the policeman seeing the clowns in Mineral Point, none of the other clowns were ever really seen by the police. Or even a reputable adult.

In fact, cryptozoology demigod, Loren Coleman (who we’re all going to meet and party with at the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference coined the phrase, “Phantom Clown” in his book, Mysterious America. They were phantoms because there were never any arrests made for these phantom clowns actually breaking the law, or even existing outside of elementary school imaginations, perhaps inspired by images of Gacy in the evening news broadcasts that their parents watched.

But for the people who think it might be fun to dress up and join in on the phantom clown prank, well you better think again. A couple in Menasha, Wisconsin, were just arrested for child neglect for leaving their four year old at home while they went on out to scare the local populace. Indeed, this time around people aren’t taking the clown sightings lying down, in fact at Penn State University, reports of creepy clowns inspired the students to head into the streets to seek them out for a clown beatdown.

That’s the inspiration behind this week’s Sunspot song. It’s not duck season, it’s not wabbit season, it’s “Clown Season“!

Lollipop eyes,
and a painted face
hide a taste for homicide.
and It’s no surprise,
every place we look
we find a crime.

Danger in every corner,
We’ve got murder on our mind.
you might play the fool, but if you come by a school
we will eat Bozo alive.

It’s no joke,
I won’t go,
to the place
where we all float.

Turn your frown upside down
and send in the clowns,
we’re gonna burn this big top down.

You ain’t funny,
you ain’t cute,
This time
the joke’s on you,

We don’t need a reason,
for hunting season,
A Krusty krackdown,
we’re coming for the clowns.

Hey you with the nose,
that’s as far as you go,
What’s with those big shoes?
Stay away from our youth
cuz we know the truth.
It must be real, it’s on the news.

Danger in every corner,
We don’t care if it’s all in fun,
Come by a kid, you’ll be sorry you did,
The mob is out for blood.

It’s no joke,
I won’t go,
to the place
where we all float.

Turn your frown upside down
send in the clowns,
we’re gonna burn this big top down.

You ain’t funny,
you ain’t cute,
This time
the joke’s on you,

We don’t need a good reason,
now it’s hunting season,
A Krusty krackdown,
we’re coming for the clowns.

Special thanks to our good friend (and a fellow musician!) Cactus Joe for interviewing Adam Krause about Gags the Clown!

P.S. We recorded this podcast on Scott Bakula’s birthday. Hope it was a great one, Scott!

63 – Devil’s Night: Mischief, Pranks, and Terror on The Eve of Halloween

It’s a very special episode of See You On The Other Side. This Halloween will be our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! How time flies when you’re exploring the unknown while writing songs about it!

And obviously, we love Halloween, so we got zombified and joined the cast of Rockford sitcom The Deadersons  and worked on a  special music video with them!

Brains... brains... brains...
Sunspot Zombified…

For this episode, we brought our friend and my Madison Ghost Walks guide, Lisa Van Buskirk into the studio with us (last heard in our episode at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference). Lisa and I went to go see Saint Maria Goretti when she came through Madison in mid-October. There’s a church in Madison that’s named after her and they were displaying the saint’s body. There was around 100 people waiting in line when we went around 10pm but the showing went all night and they expected around six thousand people to come visit her.

Mike and Lisa visit Saint Maria Goretti
Mike and Lisa visit Saint Maria Goretti

Her story is particularly brutal because she was a little girl who was raped and stabbed to death by her neighbor, but the crux of the story is that she would rather die than lose her virginal purity telling her attacker he shouldn’t because he’ll go to Hell and then she forgave him on her deathbed and said “I want him to be with me in paradise.” So it’s her saintly power of forgiveness and devotion to purity that made the Church want to recognize her (in 1950.)

Just a quick refresher, the Catholic Church says that anyone who makes it to Heaven is a “saint” but they recognize some people for special holiness and give them the title of “Saint”. She supposedly appeared to her attacker in prison and also people have claimed miracles from praying at the body of Saint Maria and her remains have been covered in wax and they take her on tour where people can pray with her body, who the Church now considers a relic.

Here is Saint Maria Goretti’s remains covered in wax…

Now, to the main topic of the episode… Pranks around the Halloween season just seem natural to me. I remember being read a Halloween story from a children’s book where there a group of people circled around the fire and the boys sang:

Needles and pins, needles and pins!
When Hallowe’en comes, your trouble begins.

while the girls sang:

Needles and pins, needles and pins!
When Hallowe’en comes, the fun begins.

Just saying that rhyme always scared me as a boy, and I finally found the story, by Josephine Scribner Gates, in a 1918 children’s magazine called St. Nicholas. You can read it online right here. But that just reinforced my belief that this was the season for mischief. While most of mine were stupid (toilet papering trees, saying silly things in wax crayons on people’s driveways), in other towns, pranks got real dangerous, especially in Detroit.

Yeah, looks all innocent and fun... for now.
Yeah, looks all innocent and fun… for now.

In Lisa’s other life, she’s a paramedic and firefighter and her birthday is the day before Halloween, October 30th. That’s the traditional day for Halloween pranks and in Detroit, where Lisa was born and raised, it’s known as Devil’s Night, the night you live up to the trick part of “trick or treat.” It’s known as Mischief Night in some places and Cabbage Night(?) in others, but either way it’s the same thing, “When Halloween comes, the trouble begins…” which was so eloquently stated in The Crow (a film that takes place in Detroit on Devil’s Night over two consecutive years) as “Fire it up! Fire it up! Fire it up!Fire it up!”

As the American auto industry faded around Motor City in the 1970s, more and more Detroit residents lost their jobs and more and more houses became abandoned. Well, when you’ve got plenty of houses where there’s no one living and when people were looking to cause some mayhem, they set those houses on fire. In 1984 alone, there were 800 fires set in Detroit. It became such a tradition that even Eminem’s rap group D12 wrote a song about it, it’s mentioned in Grosse Point Blank (my personal favorite John Cusack role since the wonderful Journey of Natty Gann, as well as Dan Aykroyd’s last great role), and it was the basis of an episode of Criminal Minds (not work linking to.)

After a record number of fires in 1994 (the year The Crow came out), the city started Angel’s Night, as a response to the arson and tens of thousands Detroit residents walk the streets on that Devil’s Night to keep their neighborhoods safe.

Now where does this come from? Well, a couple of things. First, there’s a Spring tradition in Europe of Walpurgis Night on April 30th. The night before the feast of a Catholic Saint (naturally), it was originally rumored to the be the night that witches meet in the German mountains and was an evening for pranks, and later, politically motivated riots (it’s the day before the Community holiday, May Day.)

But some inspiration also comes from the night before Guy Fawkes’ Day (you know the masks that the guys were wearing in V For Vendetta?) That’s a holiday based around the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot where a Catholic group tried to assassinate the King of England (you see, they’re not all as merciful and loving as Maria Goretti…) That’s in the UK on the 5th of November and the night before became a traditional day for pranks, Mischief Night, and in some places, in the country as a coming of age ceremony for thirteen year olds (a Bar Mitzvah of Terror!)

They made a Mischief Night movie in 2014 with the not-very-discerning Malcolm Mcdowell. But the most obvious inspiration is for a film called The Purgea horror flick and social satire about a future America where crime is so bad that for one night a year, everything is legal for twelve hours. That means that people can do whatever they want for one night, cause as much destruction, kill people, whatever, and it serves as kind of a population control for the poor. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly were also attached to a Devil’s Night horror-comedy, but the status of that is currently unknown.

Fire it up! Fire it up! Fire it up!

But this particular episode has a point that we get to eventually, and that Devil’s Night is the perfect example of how people turn something innocent like a prank into something horrible, like arson. It’s the mentality of a riot. Sometimes when people talk about riots, they think of Los Angeles in 1992 or Ferguson in 2014 and they are quick to put the blame on poor people or minorities or a few  destructive elements. But riots right here in Madison, Wisconsin show us that it doesn’t matter who the population is, income and ethnicity isn’t a factor, when people are in large groups and get aggravated, they will destroy things. And people will do things that they never thought they would do. Malcolm Gladwell delineated this particularly brilliantly at this year’s The New Yorker festival.

Madison was always fun on Halloween, but in the early 2000s, it was the Halloween destination, even MTV came here to document the party. But you get tens of thousands of people from all over the country coming to the party, combine that with massive amounts of alcohol, and the inhibition-destroying effects of wearing a costume (there’s even a name for being defined by your outfit, called unclothed cognition) and Madison’s main drag turns into a scene that you normally only see on the news from a Russian republic or a Middle Eastern country.

The psychology of a riot has a lot to do with seeing what other people do. Yes, you might not normally throw a beer bottle at a police officer, but watching how many other people throwing that bottle and not getting in trouble does it take for you to think that it’s okay? It’s the mob. You might not normally break a window, but if you see ten other people do it, well, then it might not seem to be such a bad idea. Throw some booze and youthful exuberance in the mix and I think you know where I’m going.

Madison Wisconsin Halloween Riots
Picture courtesy of Derek Montgomery.

That’s Devil’s Night. A night where tradition, expectation, mob mentality, peer pressure, and opportunity combine to create destruction. And it’s that disintegration of society’s boundaries that we tackle in this episode’s song, “Neanderthal“.

Virtual murder,
pixelated death,
we can kill each other,
with no regrets.
Like raping a hooker,
Or popping a cop,
Or pushing a handi,
Right out of his wheelchair.

Your thoughts become reality,
Focusing on a tragedy,
And now I’m f$%^ing my PC.

I am Neanderthal.
I am Incredible.
I am Neanderthal.

This liquor store’s a mammoth,
This gat’s a bone.
There’s too much information,
In this age of Stone.

Your thoughts become reality,
A self-fulfilling prophecy,
And now I’m f$%^ing my PC.

I am Neanderthal.
I am Incredible.
I am Neanderthal.

Your thoughts become reality,
Focusing on a tragedy,
And now I’m f$%^ing my PC.

I am Neanderthal.
I am Incredible.
I am Neanderthal.

53 – Dream Interpretation For Beginners: An Interview With Diane Brandon

Dreams, man. We all have them, all the time. Sometimes they’re terrifying, sometimes they’re fun, sometimes they’re just downright nasty (and not always in a bad way)… But do they mean anything? Is it just the random firings of synapses that are going through the motions as we fall asleep? A shoebox full of memories, fantasies, and mistakes that gets shaken up in the middle of the night and put on display to entertain the sleeping mind?

How about messages from our subconscious bubbling up to the top, telling us things that we normally refuse to let ourselves think? Desires sometimes best left unspoken that only express themselves in the safe private haven of the dream world.

Or is it a place where people can receive messages from the non-physical. Conversations with spiritual entities, sharing adventures with friends, memories of past lives that might only appear in your dreams.

When I interviewed Diane Brandon for this particular episode, it was because we were looking to do an episode of interpretations of some of the most popular dreams. After all, she is the author of Dream Interpretation for Beginners so we thought she’d be the perfect person to help you guys begin to make sense out of the craziness of what happens when you dream. Interpreting one’s dreams is one of the foundations of Freudian psychoanalysis and we talk a little about that in the interview, but beyond just learning to understand yourself better, Diane believes that dreams can be much more than just the internal workings of one’s own mind.

She talks of dreams as the conduit to other planes of existence, can help facilitate an out-of-body experience and leave the physical body behind, that you can communicate with your friends in dreams (indeed dream telepathy was even suggested by the good Doctor Freud himself once ), and that basically it’s a place where the paranormal can and does happen.

Diane currently lives in Durham, North Carolina, (the home of Duke University which is the home of the Rhine Research Center, which is probably the most famous parapsychological laboratory of all time) and she began her exploration of the dream world when she was in college and she began sharing (not just discussing but literally sharing) dreams with her roommate. That led her on the path to work as an integrated intuitive counselor, which, okay, what does that mean?

Intuitive counselors help people understand themselves better. Just think about all the times your body was telling you something but your mind wasn’t listening. Ever have a job you hated and would get sick a lot, not just the kind of sickness you get after partying too hard, but you would get physically ill more often than usual. But when you went on to do some other kind of work you just discovered that you weren’t getting sick anymore? Or you might find that your body acting literally allergic to a boyfriend or girlfriend that isn’t right for you. Sometimes you might be angry about something and then you eat something and you start being less angry about it? Sounds like you? Well, that’s what an intuitive counselor helps you deduce, things that your body or subconscious might be telling you (often loudly and clearly) but you’re not getting the message.

So that’s when we start talking about how you can start analyzing your dreams and trying to learn more about yourself from what messages you’re getting sent into the dream world.

Diane stresses how important it is to get into dream interpretation with intention. If you aren’t really that interested in doing it, your unconscious will know and will act accordingly, not helping you with remembering your dreams well enough to document them. Also, a voice recorder is better than a dream journal, number one because you’re not exposing yourself to light in the middle of the night, but also because it’s faster to document the dream. The more time you wait while you’re frantically writing the words down, the more of your dream disappears.

Diane stresses the significance of getting a decent amount of sleep as well as a straightforward approach to nightmares. If you have nightmares all the time, you have some unresolved issue in your life that you have to deal with. Are you watching too many horror movies that maybe you’re not mentally prepared for? Are you scared of something, are you being abused? Having nightmares constantly means that you have some mental business to take care of.

We go through several popular dreams and what they might mean from cheating to flying to nightmares, to being naked in public, teeth falling out, and taking that test unprepared, and more. So, what can they mean for you? Take a listen to the podcast and find out and get a headstart on your dream interpretation. And if you are interested in taking it to the next level, check out Diane’s book, Dream Interpretation for Beginners!

This week’s song was inspired by the discussion of the dream world being a place where spirits can meet as well as the concept of the Aboriginal Dreamtime (something that will definitely get its own topic soon!) Here is “Dreamtime” by Sunspot.

there is no distance
there is no time
there is no boundaries
as big as your mind
collective memory
of a place we haven’t been
always recreating
when the spirit moves in

I’ll see you again in the Dreamtime
I’ll see you again on the ground
we’ll follow the song lines
we’ll follow all the way down

no when
no before nor after
don’t trust what you see
no when
no before nor after
you’ll never know what it means

there is no distance
there is no time
there is no boundaries
as big as your mind
collective memory

I’ll see you again in the Dreamtime
I’ll see you again on the ground
we’ll follow the song lines
we’ll follow all the way down

0 – Make First Contact with Mike and Wendy, Your Haunted Hosts to the Weird Reality Between Paranormal Activity and Pop Culture

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