Tag Archives: psychic medium

270 – I See Dead People: The Paranormal Influences Behind The Sixth Sense

We’re back live from Wizard World Madison 2019 where we celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the scariest movies of the 1990s, The Sixth Sense. A story about a boy who is visited by the spirits of the dead and the child psychologist that is trying to help him, it was the most financially successful horror film of all time until it was finally surpassed by 2017’s It: Chapter One. The movie turned child actor Haley Joel Osment into a star and it skyrocketed the career of its writer-director, M. Night Shyamalan, who became particularly known for his use of Philadelphia as a location and a penchant for Twilight Zone-style twists.

I was 22 when I saw the movie the first time and I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared in the theater as I was coming home from that film. I was walking with my girlfriend at the time up a dark staircase into my apartment and we were convinced that when we got to the end of the stairs and unlocked the door there was going to be a dead person behind it.

Re-watching it after twenty years, it’s at first most shocking to see Bruce Willis’ gorgeous hair or how skinny Donnie from the New Kids On The Block looks, but then you start seeing all of the clues that Bruce Willis’ character was dead the whole time and it feels so obvious, which why it was such a great trick the first time around.

But while The Sixth Sense might have been a completely fictional film, it doesn’t mean that a lot of the concepts in the movie aren’t taken from real-life hauntings and paranormal experiences and here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Everytime a ghost gets mad, the temperature drops, so what’s up with cold spots in real hauntings?
  • What do psychic mediums in real life actually see when they hear messages from dead people?
  • Bruce Willis’ character Malcolm becomes convinced after hearing an EVP, what’s the history of EVP phenomena?
  • Olivia Williams talking about how an object can be imprinted by its former owners. Does that mean an object can be cursed?
  • Poltergeist activity, apporte hauntings, and Munchhausen-Syndrome-by-Proxy as a potential explanation for paranormal activity

So, for the song this week we reached back into the archives for a track that we released not too long after The Sixth Sense came out. We thought that the chorus fit perfectly for this film where a child finally finds someone that believes in him and can stop being afraid of the ghosts that surround him. Here’s our old-school Sunspot song, “Flower-Child”.

Seeds of irresponsibility, 
and a selfish kind of love, 
birth the flower-child, 

Neglected with the grey sky, 
Beaten with the drought, 
Treated as immaterial grass, 
Cut down and shut out. 

Withering away, 
Dying slowly. 
Withering away. 
Dying slowly. 

Will you ever bloom? 

Don’t cry child of darkness, 
The sky will open up to dawn. 
The life-giving rains, 
will wash your flood of tears away. 

You’re not alone anymore

132 – Paranthropology: An Interview with Jack Hunter

From Near-Death Experiences to spirit possession, Jack Hunter has been finding the commonalities of paranormal experiences from cultures all over the world. As a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol in Anthropology, Jack has devoted his academic and professional life to understanding how different peoples across the planet use ritual, ceremony, to alter their states of consciousness to interpret the world and their place in it.

jack hunter paranthropology
Fancy a pint with British Jesus?

Jack Hunter’s journal, Paranthropology has been publishing since 2010  and it’s a free online academic journal that features articles written by researchers  interested in exploring the paranormal through  a social science lens.

In this interview where Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts once again joins us, we discuss the importance of ritual in many societies, how we’re missing out on a lot of those rituals and ceremonies in modern Western Civilization, and how those rituals can help induce psychic and paranormal experiences (and also, how psychedelic substances from Magic Mushrooms to LSD to Ayahuasca can accelerate or shortcut the process.)

Jack even takes us through a modern psychic medium experience that he wrote about for his original dissertation and how the present-day Spiritualist experience is alike to the classic Victorian and Edwardian seances that we envision from TV and movies.

jack hunter paraanthropology
Jack Hunter doing the academic thing and giving a presentation!

A big concepts of this episode is about feeling connected to a place. In Wales where Jack lives, he talks about the folk tales of a dragon in every valley or just how so much of the small towns have so much history and folklore. For example, a modern geologist will talk about a rock formation that was left by a glacier,  the folk tale might be that giants left the rocks there. They’re two different ways of trying to understand why your environment is the way it is, and while they’re very different explanations, they’re also two different ways of reaching a truth that you feel comfortable with.

Jack has edited and written several books on the subject as well, and with titles like The Paranormal: Why People Believe in Spirits, Gods, and Magic and Talking With The Spirits, and of course, Paranthropology: Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal, if you enjoy the interview, you’re going to want to check those books out to learn more.

One of the intriguing concepts that Jack discusses in this episode is “Ontological Flooding” which is the concept that when you are exploring a phenomena or even just your relationship to your environment around you, to embrace all possibilities. Consider the materialist aspect (the physicality of it), the spiritual aspect (how it affects you emotionally), the mythic aspect (what is the story of the place you’re at) , and how those things all contribute to understanding it.

Ontology is the “study of being” and ontological flooding is the idea that you will let all the information in and not judging the information as “crazy” or “magical thinking” but synthesizing all of it to find a way of living that excites you and a way of finding and accepting your place in not only the ecological system, but of the story, of a big world. This episode’s Sunspot song  is called “The Flood”.

A subtle change and your head spins
flip of the switch, it all makes sense
an arrogance you can pretend,
To reduce it to just elements.

Synapses fire
with chemistry
But we can break up
reality
to share far more
Than flesh and blood
A new way of knowing
Here comes the flood

When you’re in the space that’s in between
You can redefine what you believe
No time to waste
no place to judge
Better get ready for the flood.

Look for who’s pulling your strings,
Are you just defined by your things?
Embrace what this knowledge brings,
And this is where the balance swings.

Synapses fire
with chemistry
But we can break up
reality
to share far more
Than flesh and blood
New way of knowing
Here comes the flood

When you’re in the space that’s in between
You can redefine what you believe
No time to waste
No place to judge
Better get ready for the flood.
Better get ready for the flood.