Tag Archives: UFOs

148 – UFOs: Reframing The Debate Part 1 with Robbie Graham and Mike Clelland

Last time we talked with Robbie Graham, he had just released Silver Screen Saucers, a brilliant tome on how Hollywood and UFOlogy have influenced each other over the past 70 years. In the meantime, Robbie’s star has quickly risen in the UFO field (or is just the planet Venus?) thanks to his thorough research and an academic approach.

His latest endeavor, UFOs: Reframing The Debate is a collection of essays written by some of the greatest modern UFO researchers, bloggers, and even skeptics. It features some of our favorite former See You On The Other Side guests like Joshua Cutchin and Ryan Sprague as well as great podcaster Micah Hanks, and even Canada’s leading “UFO guy, eh” Chris Rutkowski.

With thirteen (of course!) essays, there is plenty to agree with, disagree with, things to make you mad, things to make you think, and lots to learn.

One of the contributors to the book, Mike Clelland, is the blogger behind Hidden Experiences and the author of The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity, and The UFO Abductee. He’s not only a researcher into the field, he’s an experiencer as well and he and Robbie both join the discussion (along with Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts) as we do some deep diving into why we need to rethink everything we think we know about the UFO phenomenon.

That’s one of the reasons we wanted to split this podcast up. It seemed like the conversation naturally moved halfway through and we wanted to make sure that we gave each topic the thought space that they deserved. The first thing for me that changed the way I feel about UFOs was the concept of “high strangeness”.

No, high strangeness isn’t the lost Cheech & Chong movie, it’s a phrase from the great UFO researcher and Project Blue Book leader, Dr. J. Allen Hynek. He used it to describe the absurd and surreal nature of the phenomenon. And people use that term now to describe how once they’ve seen a UFO, their lives change and they start seeing weird stuff in their life all the time. Mike Clelland illustrates the point with several of his stories, as he has been collecting them for years on his blog, as well as having a few experiences of his own (like seeing gray aliens outside his window, missing time as a teenager, etc…)

You see a UFO, then you might see Bigfoot, then you might start experiencing poltergeist activity. It’s like that original sighting opens the door to everything paranormal. But why would that be?

I always thought the people who have more than one kind of experience made them sound even more unbelievable, ya know? The higher the number of experiences, the higher the chance of crazy. But so many people report more than just the UFO sighting. As Mike says in his essay:

Life, death, sex, dreams,spirituality, psychic visions, genetics, expanded consciousness, mind-control, channelling,mysticism, miraculous healings, out-of-body experiences, hybrid children, personal transformation, powerful synchronicity, portals in the backyard, distorted time, telepathy,prophetic visions, trauma, ecstasy, and magic. It’s as if our brains just aren’t big enough todeal with the overload of so much weirdness.

And that made me reconsider my assumptions on aliens, that they’re just interplanetary travelers (albeit with a taste for experimenting on the wildlife) and that it’s purely a physical materialist happening, something we can understand with our current models of the universe. But I’m stuck in the 90s X-Files/Independence Day conspiracy mode of thinking, when the new evidence points to what might be an even weirder explanation, almost like Twin Peaks. Indeed, the owls might not be what they seem. (And the Richard Jones evil doppelgänger story from Kansas last week certainly made me think of the denizens of The Black Lodge!)

But that’s the idea of the book, to challenge your former beliefs, to find room in the UFO tent for perspectives ranging from materialist to spiritual to hallucinatory to anywhere in between. We’re talking about a field where even the best evidence is scoffed at (and we’ll be talking about the importance of skepticism in Part 2 next week) so to advance the study of UFOs we’re going to have to be ready to embrace opposing points of view something too often avoided in the Internet Age, because a friendly perspective, the easy path, is only a click away.

Click here to grab UFOs: Reframing The Debate new book on Amazon.

Now after seventy years of flying saucers, to change people’s entrenched beliefs on the weirdness that we’re seeing in the skies is no easy task, you might say it’s “Sisyphean”, the mythical Greek King who was damned to eternally roll a boulder up a hill as a punishment for his defiance of the gods (he was always tricking them!) So, we thought that our Sunspot track, “Sisyphus’ Rock” might be the perfect capper to the first part of our epic discussion.

Like Sisyphus and his rock,
I roll our love up a great hill.
Hoping for a chance to reach the summit.
And as the gods of thunder bowl,
I watch the light show in the sky.
But you are frozen, terrified, and weakened.

I know the reasons for your actions.
I know you’ll answer for your tears.
But who will ever be my rock?
when you decide you’re on your own,
and I still draw you rainbows in the night.

I would steal fire from the gods,
if I thought it’d make you smile.
I’d sacrifice my liver for your heart.
Look out in Hades down below,
because I’ll not look back this time.
Now I’m armed with Schwarzenegger, two gats, and a nine.

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.
You’re the Achilles’ Heel of my soul.
FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.
Yours is the only pain I know.
But little angel don’t you fear,
when you felt me you fell from grace.
But we are all Immortals in the end.

I will decline Pandora’s Box,
but I think I’ll see what’s in yours.
I’m clawing for the hope that’s at the bottom.
I’ll fight off snakes on Gorgons’ heads,
and I’ll take thunderbolts for you.
But please don’t leave my whispers to myself.

But angel don’t you ever fear,
when you felt me you fell from grace.
But we are all Immortals in the end.

144 – The Secrets of Fatima: 100 Years of a Marian Mystery

On May 13th, 1917 three children from a small village in Portugal claimed to have an apparition of the Virgin Mary appear before them. They claimed that the Blessed Virgin revealed three secrets to them that they could reveal to no one, and in fact the Third Secret could not even be released until 1960 and not to anyone but the Pope himself. They weren’t believed in the beginning and the children were even temporarily jailed (and it’s claimed the local law enforcement even threatened to boil them in oil unless they told the truth!) But in the end, thousands of people witnessed a solar miracle in Fatima, Portugal and the children’s visions would have a big impact on the Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century.

Our Lady of Fatima Children
The children behind Our Lady of Fatima

“Marian Apparitions” or visions of the Virgin Mary were pretty popular the end of the Nineteenth Century. The Church investigated many of them and determined a few “worthy of belief” (including one near Green Bay, Wisconsin, so we have our own Our Lady of Perpetual Packers Victory!) “Worthy of belief” means that they think that there’s  something to the vision, but as a Catholic you’re not required to believe it (like you are required to believe that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus is the Son of God and not just a wise carpenter who was endlessly quotable.)

Our Lady of Fatima appearing to the children
Our Lady of Fatima appearing to the children

The First Secret of Fatima was a vision of Hell that Mary showed the three childern. The Second Secret of Fatima had to do with the end of World War I and the prediction that another great war would come shortly after if Russia didn’t start turning back to religion from atheism. Those secrets came out in the 1940s when Sister Lucia (the only surviving child who originally was contacted by Our Lady of Fatima, she eventually became a nun) was forced by her bishop to share the secrets in case she got ill.

The Third Secret of Fatima was kept under lock and key until 1960 when the Pop was allowed to read it. It was said that the Pope cried when he read the secret and that was enough to freak everyone out. Was it the end of the world that he saw? This was a generation of schoolchildren who were growing up with nuclear war safety drills and people building underground bunkers in their backyards. Did the Pope see the end of the world by man’s own hand?

These secrets became of such fascination to Catholics, that in 1981 a former Trappist monk decided to hijack an Aer Lingus plane and demand that the Pope release the Third Secret of Fatima.

Totally sweet painting of the Third Secret of Fatima
Totally sweet painting of the Third Secret of Fatima

 

When the Third Secret of Fatima was finally revealed, it turned out to be kind of boring. It was a vision of the Pope being murdered by gunman and when the Vatican revealed it in the year 2000 (with a treatise written by the future Pope Benedict himself, Cardinal Ratzinger) it was really just about the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, so “Hey, no big deal everybody, on this thing we’ve been hiding for damn near a century.”

That really hasn’t been good enough for some people, who think that the secret actually revealed that there would be a Pope who leads the church into ruin, a so-called “Anti-Pope” and there are people who believe that “Cool Pope” Francis is one. Even though he was in Fatima on the 100th anniversary to canonize the original children and declare their Catholic Sainthood, his detractors say that his liberal and easygoing attitude is going to lead the Church straight to the Fires of Hell.

fatima ghost anti pope
The dude from the band Ghost is the only true Anti-Pope!

Well, whether that’s true or not, there’s a different interesting theory that the people of Fatima actually saw a UFO on that strange day they saw “The Miracle of the Sun”. No less than UFO expert  has posited that theory himself.

But a more sobering and sinister theory is that the Catholic Church was using these Marian Apparitions to influence world events, that Sister Lucia writing in 1941 that the Soviet Union must be consecrated back the Immaculate Heart of Mary and away from Atheism or the entire world would crumble was justification for the Nazi Invasion of Germany. The Church’s reputation during the Holocaust and the Second World War is often brought up as one of its less proud moments (the Vatican was completely surrounded by Fascist Italy, so there could be a good reason that they remained neutral, but still it’s an unfortunate history of silence.)

100 years later, Our Lady of Fatima still intrigues and mystifies people. But whether or not their claims were true, those three Portuguese shepherd children did something amazing, they changed the world with their story and affected millions of lives. The Sunspot song this week is in that same spirit, it’s called “Change The World”.

Did you read the news today,
did you listen to what it said?
It said our world was going to Hell,
and soon we’ll all be dead.
Don’t tell me about your apathy,
Don’t tell me you don’t wanna believe,
Don’t tell me that it’s not your problem,
Can’t you see… you’re not alone?

I want to change the world.
But I can’t do it by myself,
I need somebody else.

Wandering in the dark,
we’ve been living with blindfolds on.
Just thinking about ourselves for too damn long.
Don’t tell me that you don’t care,
Don’t tell me that the world’s not fair,
Don’t tell me there’s nothing you can do to help at all.
That’s no excuse.

I want to change the world.
But I can’t do it by myself.
I need somebody else.

137 – Tulpas, Secret Societies, and the Chupacabra: The Paranormal Cornucopia of Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern is the author of  40 books on UFOlogy, cryptozoology, secret societies, conspiracies, and the paranormal.  An incredibly prolific researcher and author, Nick usually contributes about 2 books a year to the field. From the Men (and Women!) in Black (the real kind, not the Wil Smith variety) to the Loch Ness Monster to the CIA’s mind-controlled sex slaves (say what?!), Nick has covered almost every possible paranormal story there is.
Nick Redfern
What’s Nick hiding in the desert?

You’ve probably read some of Nick’s writing on the Mysterious Universe blog or in FATE magazine or have heard him on Coast to Coast AM or seen him on Ancient Aliens (no, he’s not the dude with the crazy hair), Monsterquest, or Penn & Teller’s Bull$%^. When there is news of the strange and unusual, Nick finds a way there. Raised in England, Nick Redern moved near Dallas, Texas and that’s where he spoke to Allison and I.

Our discussion with Nick ranges from his new book on secret societies (with so many presidents Ivy Leaguers or members of Skull & Bones, we were eager to learn if President Trump was part of any secret organizations…) to Victorian Men in Black (could that be the real inspiration for Torchwood?) to the most interesting part of the interview for me.

nick redfern
Nick Redfern, man of mystery… and bandana model.

Of all the stories that Nick has heard, the one that surprised him the most was of the Puerto Rican Chupacabra (a beast that we discuss in depth in episode 24 of the podcast) and just how believable and credible the witnesses to the stories were. That took me for a loop, because at the end of our episode, I was thinking that the Chupacabra, the mystical goatsucker itself, was just the product of an overactive imagination after someone had watched Species (a film that could have used a lot more imagination!)

I was glad however that I got to tell him my own story that was influenced by one of his books (I also told this full story in our Exploring Cryptozoology roundtable discussion in Episode 66.) On a trip to the UK and Ireland in 2008, I was reading his work, Three Men Seeking Monsters, which was about Nick and his friends going to the locations of legendary paranormal sightings across Britain, listening to punk rock, and drinking prodigious amounts of ale. That was the kind of trip that I could get behind and it was a fun book to read while we were on our own road trip across the island.

It was a weird time because I was just about to quit my day job to go for it as a musician and my wife (girlfriend at the time) was contemplating leaving her career as well. So we were a couple of people who were planning on changing our lives completely.

 We went to Ireland for a few days on the trip to see the sites and we visited the Blarney Castle,  where you kiss the Blarney Stone and it’s supposed to give you the gift of telling lies and making up stories, which sounds bad right before I tell a crazy story.

nick redfern culpas mr. ed sideburns
Hey Mr. Ed, how do you like my 2008 sideburns?

 One of the concepts that Redfern deals with in Three Men Seeking Monsters is that maybe these paranormal visitations of ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, faeries, and the like are really just manifestations of our belief, the Tulpa or “Tibetan thoughtform”. As Wikipedia calls it, “a being or object created through sheer spiritual or mental discipline alone. Indian Buddhist texts call it an unreal, illusory, or mind-created apparition.”

I’d never heard of that before and I thought it was a really unique concept at the time. We were talking about it a couple of days earlier. While we were walking the grounds of the castle, we were in the park alone when we spotted the shadow of an animal a hundred yards away. I saw what I thought was a dog or small wolf. In the back of my mind a little bit, I was terrified it was some kind of Hellhound like the kind Nick talks about in his book (hey, when you’re all alone walking around in a foreign country, sometimes your mind wanders a bit!) My wife, however, said she saw a cat.

nick redfern tulpa
What manner of beastie is that?! And why do these shots always have to be blurry?

Which she thought was a miracle, because while she was considering a career change she’d been offered a position at a cat specialty clinic in town just before we left and was wandering around the British Isles hoping to find any kind of sign on what to do with her life. Seeing a mysterious shadowy animal while on the trail was one thing, but us both seeing something different was another. And her seeing a cat was the icing on the cake.

A closer up shot of the Devil Dog of Blarney! Okay, okay, I guess it does look like a cat

Who knows what it was? Probably just a normal Irish kitty running around, but it certainly felt like something else. And as we checked our cameras and it disappeared when we looked away, it sure felt like it might be that sign she was looking for, and that it just might have been a Tulpa, the thought form that I first read about in Nick’s book just days earlier.

In honor of Nick’s book and Chupacabra stories and the strange creature I saw in the woods, we thought this week’s song would be perfect for a little beastly Sunspot goodness about , this rocker is actually based on the fable of the “Scorpion and the Frog” and it’s called “Nature of the Beast”.

 I’m loving, caring, and kind,
you’ll put your stinger in my backside,
your venom I can’t resist,
so let’s get on with this little tryst.

You love me,
You hate me,
You can try but you can’t change me.
I’m a victim,
I’m a killer,
I can’t help it, that’s my nature.
My nature.

I’m naive, but I’m not a fool.
You’re designed to be cold and cruel.
You can’t help your insatiable bloodlust,
I can’t help my misguided trust.

You love me,
You hate me,
You can try but you can’t change me.
I’m a victim,
I’m a killer,
I can’t help it, that’s my nature.

You can’t deny what you can’t control,
the beast is cold of heart but pure of soul.
there’s no changing spots through an exit poll,
so let’s take a dive in the swimming hole.

You love me,
You hate me,
You can try but you can’t change me.
I’m a victim,
I’m a killer,
I can’t help it, that’s my nature.
That’s my nature.

124 – Somewhere In The Skies: Ryan Sprague and The Human Side of UFOs

Coming of age in the 1990s in upstate New York, Ryan Sprague was exposed to the UFOs, alien abductions, and government conspiracy-mania that enchanted us all during the decade.

green day ufos ryan sprague
The finest music for attracting aliens…

He was listening to Green Day’s Dookie album outside on vacation on a Summer night in 1995 when he had his own UFO sighting for the first time (an experience that he shared with his father) and it inspired a lifelong obsession with watching the skies.

Ryan later moved to New York City and started working in theater, all the while writing UFO journalism for Open Minds magazine and co-hosting the podcast, Into The FrayHis methodology for investigation is all about trying to understand the personal toll that UFO witnesses often have to face and his new book Somewhere In The Skies: A Human Approach To An Alien Phenomenon.

ryan sprague somewhere in the skies

We’re really excited about the play he’s working on about the Rendlesham UFO Incident in the UK that’s inspired by his research with one of our favorites from the Paradigm Symposium, Peter Robbins!

To purchase Ryan Sprague’s book and learn more about him, definitely check out his website at http://www.somewhereintheskies.com and the profits of every purchase until the end of January goes to a great cause, the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Ryan’s Blink-182 t-shirt during the interview and the Green Day playing during his first UFO encounter inspired us to bring out an old Sunspot chestnut for this last episode of the year. Here’s one of our most pop-punk tracks and one that deals with believing in yourself and sticking to your own story, “Intellectual Terrorists”.

Intellectual terrorists are poisoning my head,
They want to break down my resistance,
And have my conscience left for dead.
They like to make you think that they’re the righteous ones,
And they’ll beat you down and call you names for sticking to your guns.
You won’t replace my sensibility,
With your overanxious, overloaded, oversensitivity.And if you look, you will find,
A rather sorry state of mind,
Of all the people who won’t stand up for their views.
And if you look you might see,
You don’t have to agree with me,
But I won’t close my mind for you.It’s easy to be blind, it’s easy to be led,
You like to cough up all the ideas,
That you’ve been force-fed.
No one likes the freak, no one likes the odd man out.
I’d rather live my life alone,
Than live a life of doubt.
I won’t let you force yourself on me,
I refuse to be a victim to your society.And if you look, you will find,
A rather sorry state of mind,
Of all the people who won’t stand up for their views.
And if you look you might see,
You don’t have to agree with me,
But I won’t close my mind for you.You can’t break me down,
I won’t close my mind for you.

Intellectual terrorists are morality anarchists,
And sensitivity exorcists are poisoning my head.
But I won’t close my eyes for you,
I won’t turn away the truth,
I won’t let you make me, overdose, or complicate me.
You can’t break me down.
I won’t close my mind for you.

119 – The Brimstone Deceit: The Scent of the Paranormal with Joshua Cutchin

When we hear about paranormal experiences, we can envision what people see and hear. A ghost might moan, a UFO might quickly blink in and out of existence. We don’t ask people if they tasted a ghost, we ask them if they have ever “seen” a ghost. But we humans have five senses (well, I would argue at least six, but let’s make it five for the sake of this interview!) so what about the rest of them. People obviously feel the chill and the temperature change when a ghostly presence enters the room or the physical “touch” of a spirit like that of all the reports from Greyfriars in Scotland (indeed it even happened to me when I was there and I never experience anything!)

But taste and smell just don’t often get the attention that they deserve. They are the two senses that are most closely intertwined, smell dominates how things taste to humans. After all, when we smell something putrid, we often react by retching, like we just ate something disgusting.

Author, musician, and man after our own heart (University of Wisconsin alumni!) Joshua Cutchin decided to tackle these senses when no one else was handling the job. His book  A Trojan Feast: The Food and Drink Offerings of Aliens, Faeries, and Sasquatch came out in 2015 and it details the different food experiences that people have had in paranormal experiences. He’s now followed it up with The Brimstone Deceit: An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas which explores the olfactory experiences that people have during their encounters with the other side.

joshua cut chin the brimstone deceit
Joshua Cutchin, just a Fortean and his tuba

We wrote a song called “Sulfur” when we had Mary Marshall on the podcast because she talked about the “smell of brimstone” that accompanied her first paranormal experience with an evil entity in her friend’s basement. What we think of sulfur (or the rotten eggs smell), commonly known as brimstone in the Old Testament, is really a compound called Hydrogen Sulfide and in The Brimstone Deceit, Cutchin details how incredibly sensitive the human nose is to the compound. Hydrogen Sulfide often naturally occurs near volcanoes and hot springs and ingesting too much of it is deadly for humans. Brimstone is said to be how Hell smells.

The Brimstone Deceit Hellfire
OH GOD MY NOSE… Is this what Buster Poindexter meant by Hot Hot Hot?!

In our conversation with Joshua, we talk about how this smell often accompanies encounters from demonic possessions to UFOs to Bigfoot and how his title The Brimstone Deceit really means how our sense of smell might be used to manipulate us in these otherworldly encounters. Could Hydrogen Sulfide be some kind of primordial trigger? It helps to activate our sixth sense like it activates taste? Freezing us in place with some kind of Manchurian Candidate extraterrestrial brainwash?

brimstone deceit joshua cutchin fairy food
It looks so good, but don’t eat it or YOU’LL NEVER GET OUT OF HERE

And from paranormal smells,  we also get into the link between modern extraterrestrial lore and ancient faerie stories as well. Why is it that humans are never supposed to eat the food or drink the wine offered to them by fairies? Why are faeries hanging out with the long dead? What are the similarities between the accounts of alien-human hybrid fetuses and faeries stealing unborn children and replacing them with changelings? We look for the connection between ancient paranormal encounters and modern day alien abductions through Josh’s incredible research.

If you’re interested in learning more about Josh and his excellent books, A Trojan Feast and The Brimstone Deceit, then you’ve got to check out his website. He’s also the co-host of the Where Did The Road Go? podcast which you should check out as soon as you’re done with ours!

helena bonham carter the brimstone deceit morgan le fay
I ruined Kenneth Branagh and Tim Burton’s marriages and didn’t even need any magic!

Since we spent some time discussing faeries (also known as the Fey), we thought it would be a perfect time to put our track “Morgan Le Fay” on the podcast. It was the first track we ever wrote as the band Sunspot. Wendy was reading “Mists of Avalon” at the time and everybody thinks that King Arthur is totally sweet, so we started with the main guitar riff and worked on the imagery.

Morgan le Fay is the lure of the naughty and the evil. Like Lady MacBeth she spurns Arthur to do things he shouldn’t (like um, father a child with his half-sister.) She is the instant gratification of material power and pleasure, the temptation of the other world that’s almost impossible to resist.

She wraps black wings around me,
I’m paralyzed just like a dream.
Sacrifice in a place I thought was safe,
A warning I would never heed.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Quiet storms surround me,
I close my eyes and she appears.
Freedom from all the lies that I believed,
From my schizophrenic fears.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Hail to the Queen of the Hurricane,
I shot my conscience full of novocaine,
I lost my pleasure when I lost my pain,
And no one’s innocent when no one’s to blame.

Have you ever howled at the Full Moon?
Or watched the Earth from the sky?
Have you felt the ecstasy of murder,
Or a power over life?
A power over life.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Hail to the Queen of the Hurricane,
I shot my conscience full of novocaine,
I lost my pleasure when I lost my pain,
And no one’s innocent when no one’s to blame.

Blame.
Blame.
Morgan le Fay.

108 – Wow!: Radio Telescopes, Dyson Spheres, And The Search For Aliens

We’ve discussed SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) before when we talked about that Russian billionaire that gave a hundred million dollars to the quest to find aliens, but this past week had a huge announcement for those of us who keep our eyes on the skies.

We’re talking about the signal that was reported by a Russian radio telescope in May of 2015 but for some reason has only entered the public sphere starting last week and was especially exciting because it was all over the mainstream news sources. Usually when this kind of news happens, it gets relegated to UFO or conspiracy blogs. It’s easily weekly that I have to trudge through various reports that a UFO was seen on the live feed from the International Space Station and NASA quickly turned off the cameras.

So when it gets announced to the regular world that an amazing signal was detected from space, it’s big news for us and we wanted to talk about it. I hate to disappoint everyone but it’s already being disavowed. CNN is already saying that scientists are saying it’s probably of terrestrial origin, some kind of disturbance or weird reflection off an old Soviet satellite, just Cold War spy technology coming back to spoil our fun.

But how do we know that this isn’t just the cover-up? Once the world governments realized what was going on, they decided to shut it down before the truth got out?! Well, that certainly is a possibility and we know that the government loves to keep things from us but even though I’d love for this to be some kind of cover-up of an actual alien transmission, it’s probably not. And for a couple of reasons:

  • August is a slow news month. Donald Trump’s act isn’t as entertaining to journalists as it was a year ago and Hillary is playing it as safe as possible so she doesn’t blow her current lead in the polls. Most people are on vacation and news organizations don’t know what to write about. Aliens get clicks, every time.
  • This happened in May of 2015 and we’re just hearing about it now. If it was the smoking gun that we’re all waiting for, well, in this day and age, stories don’t take a year and a half to get told.
Im Not Saying It Was Aliens...
I’m Not Saying It Was Aliens…

Back in college, when we all ran SETI@Home on our computers instead of a normal screen saver (You still can, just check it out right here!) most of the signals that we were processing came from the radio telescope at Arecibo in Puerto Rico. The largest telescope actually has just finished construction in China and is scheduled to be operational this month(!)

Mike at Arecibo
Mike at Arecibo

So a quick primer on radio telescopes in case you’re wondering. It is a radio antenna like the one on your car, but while the one on your car can maybe pick up a signal from 80 miles away if it’s in AM mode, the radio telescope is big enough to pick up radio waves in space. And scientists can take those radio waves and use them to find out things about the objects that the telescope is pointed at.

Radio telescopes can collect data from further distances than visual telescopes. So, when the signal was announced last week that seemed to come from somewhere near the constellation Hercules, one of the exciting aspects of that was it seemed to be purposeful and for the signal we received to make it here from that distance would require the energy of a Kardeshev Type 2 civilization.

Huh? Okay, Kardeshev was a Soviet astronomer who developed a scale for the technological advancement of civilizations based on the amount of power that they could harness.

  • Type 1 was the ability to harness all of the energy of your own planet (we’re not there yet but here’s what it would be like if we were).
  • Type 2 is the ability to harness the power of a star. This is the Dyson Sphere that people talk about. A Dyson Sphere is an enormous structure built around a star that can use all of the energy that that star creates (like in the Star Trek: TNG episode with Scotty, “Relics” or the Hyperion book series by Dan Simmons.)
  • Type 3 means that you can manipulate the power of a galaxy. Everyone’s favorite Coast To Coast AM astrophysicist, Michio Kaku, thinks that we might be there in ONE MILLION years.

And oh man, that Next Gen episode was so sad, wasn’t it? RIP James Doohan, we still love ya!

But here’s something cool, in the past couple of years, we’ve had two strange readings from stars where their brightness has changed inexplicably. We expect up to one percent of the brightness to dip when a planet passes in front of them, but these dips are more like twenty-two to forty-five percent. So that means that something gigantic is getting between us and the star, something like a Dyson Sphere!

Of course, scientists always have an alternate explanation, but thinking that it’s extraterrestrials building a megastructure designed to harness the power of an alien sun is a lot more fun, and I’m sticking with that for today.

Wow!
Wow!

But on August 15th, 1977 there was a signal detected at the Big Ear Radio Telescope at Ohio State that was dozens of times stronger than the background noise of space. Lasting just seventy-two seconds, astronomer Dr. Jerry Ehman circled it on the printout and wrote down “Wow!” by it (hence the nickname of the signal.)

Why was it such a big deal? First, the signal was heard near a “protected frequency” that other earthbound transmitters aren’t allowed to broadcast on so it probably wasn’t a terrestrial source. Second, the signal rose and fell during the 72 seconds, meaning that it got more intense as the Earth’s rotation brought the radio telescope’s “beam” closer to the signal and less intense as it rotated out. That means it’s probably not some kind of interference which would have acted differently.

It’s the closest thing to an extraterrestrial radio source that we’ve ever seen, but it only lasted that minute and twelve seconds. Several attempts have been made to detect another signal coming at that intensity from that area of the cosmos and we haven’t heard anything yet.

Now, Professor Antonio Paris (c’mon, that’s an awesome name!) at St. Petersburg College in Florida (Note about this part of the podcast – I totally mixed up St. Petersburg and St. Augustine while we were discussing this) has come up with a plausible theory is that the intense signal might have been coming from some comets that as of 1977 were undiscovered. He’s hoping to test it in the next couple of years when the comets make another trip nearby Earth.

 

Stephen Colbert actually made a response to the Wow! Signal on his Comedy Central show a few years back…

So, we haven’t found that undeniable evidence that’s going to convince the straights that E.T. is out there, but that doesn’t mean radio telescopes haven’t been inspiration for our sci-fi over the past few decades. Great places to see radio telescopes in science fiction:

  • The Arrival – this is one of Charlie Sheen’s best roles and an under appreciated 1990s alien invasion flick. It had the bad luck of coming out the same year as Independence Day and let’s face it, as fun as Charlie Sheen can be, the late 90s was the Willennium.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOc01_Ty1eQ
  • Goldeneye – you saw it in the theater or you played it on your Nintendo 64 but you remember the big finish takes place at the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico where Pierce Brosnan chases Sean Bean around.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH2qnn4D0kY
  • The X-Files – “Little Green Men”. Mulder goes down to Puerto Rico in his quest for the truth and it’s the first appearance of aliens on the show.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYEpvHDbT4Y
  • The Dish – The Parkes Observatory in the middle of the Australian Outback has to help out with the Apollo moon landing in 1969.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc4MSie-P0k
  • Doctor Who – Tom Baker saves the universe from entropy but loses a regeneration in the process by falling from a radio telescope designed to contact alien intelligences.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xYOM70sbyA
  • The Arrival – Not Charlie Sheen this time, but Amy Adams. And it hasn’t come out yet, but the preview screenings have got me all excited about it. It’s supposed to be not so much of an alien invasion, but a What If? we actually met aliens who didn’t want to eat us, but wanted to make contact. This is the film that might be preparing us for full disclosure (keep your fingers crossed!)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hQkrCtfUP0

At the end of the episode, we also introduce our friend, Tobias Wayland, from The Singular Fortean Society. He is a Madison-based blogger and paranormal researcher, working with artist and fellow researcher Emily Bartos. They recently attended the Art of Darkness event in Minneapolis and he wrote up the event at their website.

This week’s Sunspot song is a simple track about calling out into night sky and only having one word to say when it answers you back. Wow!

Just how long can you stare?
At the emptiness inside a prayer,
An ear peeled to every band,
to hear a loneliness that just expands.

All the space between us is so black,
Patience just a virtue that I lack,
Until the void finally calls back,
I’ll scream into the night alone.

Wow, I heard you.
How, where’d you go?
Now, I’ll follow,
so please phone home.

Now the long wait can begin,
(I heard you),
when will you show yourself again
(where’d you go?)
It’s funny how just one time,
(I’ll follow),
Can forever alter  your life,
(please phone home).

All the space between us is so black
Patience just a virtue that I lack
Until the void finally calls back
I’ll scream into the night alone

Wow, I heard you.
How, where’d you go?
Now, I’ll follow,
so please phone home.
Wow.

 

79 – Way Of The Explorer: Remembering Dr. Edgar Mitchell

We recorded this episode on Valentine’s Day 2016, which is why we open with discussing Ghostbusters II (a film I feel is unfairly maligned because while the plot wasn’t as strong as the original, there were still some excellent jokes!), where the opening scene showed Peter Venkman hosting a paranormal show where he had two guests who predicted the end of the world.

One of the guests predicted the end to be February 14th, 2016 to which Bill Murray responds, “Valentine’s Day. Bummer.”

Well, the world didn’t end this last V-Day, so add it to another missed apocalypse date (a topic we discuss in Episode 58!),  but on February 4th, 2016, we did lose an important figure in the world of psi research and astronautics. Dr. Edgar Mitchell was the Sixth Man on the Moon and while you expect that kind of journey to change your life, it did even more for Dr. Mitchell.

“On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.”

Dr. Mitchell was already interested in psychic research (indeed, he even planned a telepathy experiment while he was on the lunar mission!), but his samadhi moment (that feeling of being one with the universe) directed the course of his life from then on.

Soon after his return to Earth, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences which is a research organization dedicated to exploring the mysteries of consciousness. He became an outspoken proponent of UFO disclosure as well, stating that “I happen to be privileged enough to be in on the fact that we have been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomenon is real, although it has been covered up by our governments for quite a long time.”

Dr. Mitchell brought a seriousness and authority to UFO and psychic research that few others could. Astronauts were not only in peak physical condition and Navy pilots, but they were also PhDs who were admired and respected among all kinds of Americans. Mitchell was no slouch, earning his Doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his death leaves a large hole in the credibility of the field.

He did bum around with Uri Geller for a time in the 70s and Uri tends to spike readings on people’s skeptic-meters, so that’s something we discuss in the podcast. But while Uri’s natural talent for show business might have killed his credibility with the psi research community, could there have been real some psychic phenomena in the beginning? Did we lose years of valuable research because Uri wanted to pal around with1970s celebrities?

Dr. Mitchell wrote a book about his experiences and his philosophy called The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut’s Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds and he was a popular guest on shows  like Coast To Coast AM as well as at UFO and paranormal conventions. Not only did he have great stories (an astronaut is automatically the most interesting person at every party), but a great attitude as well.

His bravery in the face of ridicule from the scientific community and his dedication to keeping an open mind in research serves as an inspiration to every explorer out there, paranormal or otherwise. And of course, if you’re brave enough to handle a rocket launch and re-entry from Earth’s orbit, ignoring a skeptical blogger doesn’t seem like such a big task!

What I find most heartening is his deeply held belief in the oneness of humanity and our connection to everything in the universe as well as each other. Most people get cynical as they get older and more set in their ways, but Mitchell kept his spiritual awakening spirit all the way to his earthly end.

Click on the pic to read NASA’s tribute to Dr. Edgar Mitchell

This week’s song is inspired by Dr. Edgar Mitchell and the optimism that came with the pioneering days of space exploration, “Shoot For The Stars” by Sunspot.

Not even that long ago,
you could look up to the sky and know,
that’s a place you could go.
Daydreaming of astronauts,
We weren’t just happy with what we got,
On this pale blue dot.

Back in my day, child, it didn’t seem so far.
Back in my day, child, we used to shoot for the stars.

Never thought that we’d still be here
Fifty years on, still stuck to the ground
and we’re still earthbound.
If the world has changed so much,
and those old dreams are out of touch, don’t you budge.
Just keep looking up.

Back in my day, child, it didn’t seem so far.
Back in my day, child, don’t forget Mars,
Back in my day child, or flying cars,
In my day, child, we used to shoot for the stars.

Getting In On The Act: The CIA X-Files

Hey now, speaking of disinformation, the CIA has gotten in on the whole new X-Files act by releasing their own CIA X-Files this week. They’re providing some links to documents about UFO sightings declassified in 1978, mostly about sightings that occurred in the 1950s.

Honestly, I can’t blame them for joining in the fun, considering that a lot of present-day CIA agents probably grew up watching the show and then joined the organization to find out what the U.S. Government really knew. Then they were probably disappointed when they got there and just went to work having to comb through selfies, sexts, and our phone conversations looking for terrorist plots.

Of all of the government agencies, none is more reviled and revered in the public eye. We all know the CIA has been up to some nasty stuff in it’s lifetime, while at the same time, characters like Jack Ryan from The Hunt for Red October and Sydney Bristow from Alias are portrayed as heroes that are always trying to save United States’ citizens. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it, right?

Plus, the CIA is demonized pretty heavily in The X-Files as well as UFO conspiracy lore, so they’re playing some public relations here. I’m sure they already have read the scripts and vetted the show before it went on (so I don’t think that Agent Mulder’s going to be revealing anything important!) but it’s fun to read some of the old documents from the beginning of the UFO age.

You see that the Central Intelligence Agency did take these reports seriously from the beginning and that like any government agency they have a boring bureaucracy to sift through in order to get anything done. Reading the minutes of a CIA meeting from the 1950s isn’t quite the page turner that Stephen Spielberg’s multi-decade epic Taken was (a valiant attempt to unify all of modern UFO mythology into one pretty cool miniseries) but who knows, you might find something in there that everyone else missed!

For some extra weirdness, did you know there’s a special CIA website just for kids? I guess assassination of foreign leaders  and experimenting on innocent people with mind control drugs isn’t just for adults anymore!

Disinformation: The Return of The X-Files

(WARNING: This blogpost contains spoilers for the first two episodes of Season 10, the majestic return of The X-Files, so watch  the new episodes, eh? They’re streaming for FREE on Fox.com right now)

They’re back!

So, how about it? They had me at the original opening credits. It’s been almost twenty-two years since we first heard Mark Snow’s spooky opening theme and saw “The Truth Is Out There”. Man, it really brought back all the memories. I was a MONSTER fan of the show (as if you didn’t already know.) In college, we used to all watch it in our dorm room common area and we wouldn’t go out on Friday nights until the show was over. It was the show that brought everyone together.

I even kept watching during the so-so Season 7 (the one that had an episode with Kathy Griffin and a pro wrestler), Season 8 (which was Duchovny-lite because he was working on his movie career)  and Season 9, which was on an upswing, but it had to end because September 11th kind of took the fun out of government conspiracies for most people.

With X-FIles: I Want To Believe (the second movie) flopping at the box office and then 2012 passing us by without new material (the alien invasion was supposed to take place that year), I thought that was the end for one of my favorite shows. But no!

So, it’s been months of anticipation. What are they going to concentrate on in these six episodes, who are going to be the new bad guys? How are they going to bring Cancer Man back to life after he was blown up in the desert in the final episode? We had a special podcast about some of our favorite episodes based on real-life cases (Episode 33 – The Truth Is Back) and wrote a song about the new series called “Don’t Mess This Up”.

So, did they mess it up? I know a lot of critics seemed underwhelmed by the first episode and while the dialogue was a bit clunky during Mulder and Scully’s argument on the porch (show don’t tell, Chris Carter!), but I like where they’re going with everything. The conspiracies fit perfectly into the second decade of the Twenty-First Century. Joel McHale’s character is basically an ultra-wealthy Alex Jones and it looks like they took the new conspiracy right off of InfoWars.com.

So, they speculate that the UFO crash at Roswell was real and that the government reverse engineered the alien spacefaring and stealth technology and has been carrying out secret experiments on women (including Scully) by impregnating them with fetuses laced with alien DNA and have been masquerading as aliens the whole time in order to throw investigators off the scent of the real perpetrators and they’re setting the planet up for a one-world government (a little John Birch Society anti-Communist conspiracy in there for ya!)

David Duchovny doing his best rugged Harrison Ford impersonation here…

Does this mesh with the old mythology? A little, but not a lot. Considering the old conspiracies of the show got real messy after Season 5, I’m okay with it, and it fits with a more modern take. I’ve said this before, but prior to our interview with Robbie Graham in our “Silver Screen Saucers” episode, I had legitimately never thought that the government would want people to believe that they were colluding with aliens. I mean, why would they want their own people to think that they’re secretly hiding one of the biggest stories of all time, that we’re not alone in the universe?

Disinformation, baby. When you’re not fighting any actual physical battles like in the Cold War, then the rumors of your power are just as important as your power. It’s kind of like why new inmates will fight the baddest meanest guy they can when right when they get sent to prison. You create an aura around yourself of toughness, and nothing’s tougher than your enemy thinking that you have secret alien technology in your war machine. And in the show, the conspiracy is all about covering their tracks until they invade the United States.

The second episode (“Founder’s Mutation”) was just like going home again. It didn’t have to do any narrative lifting, the team was back together and it was just like the wonderful old days of Mulder and Scully hitting the pavement and looking for the paranormal. Now the conspiracy is using those alien DNA babies to make psychic-powered superheroes. I can’t be the only one that got a Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch vibe from Kyle and Molly shattering glass and throwing people across the room with their Force alien mind powers.

In the age of The “Patriot” Act, Edward Snowden, and the Carnivore e-mail spy program, we’ve got brand new reasons to be paranoid and question Authority. Thank God we’ve got Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully back to investigate.

75 – Starman: David Bowie’s Legacy of UFOs and The Occult

When you were born in the 1970s, David Bowie was a very different character than if you were born in the 1960s. The slick, well-dressed English gentleman that I remember in the videos for “Modern Love” and “Let’s Dance” is a far cry from the androgynous alien shapeshifter Ziggy Stardust. And most in my generation remember him for his performance in Labyrinth as Jareth the Goblin King even before his regular albums. His relevance changed from decade to decade, the Rock Star of the 70s became the Pop Icon in the 80s to the fading influencer in the 90s and then a revered Godfather in the new Millennium. Fluctuating public attention is the way of commercial art and artists, but what never changed was his hunger to constantly try something new and interesting. David Bowie was an engine of artistic innovation. Weirdly and wonderfully for us, much of his inspiration came from UFOs, spirituality, and the Occult.

david bowie ziggy stardust
Man, how awesome were the 70s?

In the episode, Wendy, Allison, and I discuss our first memories of Bowie and our favorite of his songs. Allison’s favorite David Bowie track is actually from an Adrian Belew solo album and the song is called “Gunman”, a hidden gem co-written by Bowie and Belew (Bowie’s musical director and one of his longtime guitarists) in the late 80s.

My personal favorite is from Ziggy Stardust (of course) and it’s the first song of his that I learned how to play (because I bought a guitar magazine with it in it the day I bought a bass guitar in 1990) and it’s “Suffragette City”!  While the “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am!” might enrage my sister, Allison, (her first memory of Bowie is wanting to punch him in the face for saying “shut your mouth” in “China Girl” – even though it’s the girl who’s saying it to the man, ha!) Wendy agrees by loving the entire Ziggy album and talks about listening to it over and over again in college with her roommate Erika (who now is on a lovely Doctor Who podcast called Verity! that you should check out if you’re a fan!)

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars had an alien angle from its very inception.  Ziggy Stardust was a rockstar who also was the human manifestation  of a messenger for extraterrestrial beings bringing a message of hope to an Earth doomed in five years. And on this tour, he would often go to the windows and look out at the skies to check for flying saucers while doing interviews with reporters. But David Bowie was into UFOs long before he recorded this album.

Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson even said (as quoted in Michael Luckman’s book, Alien Rock: The Rock N’ Roll Extraterrestrial Connection) that “David became convinced that he was being stalked by men from Mars in 1969 or 1970.” He’s also been quoted as seeing UFOs when he was a kid. “They came over so regularly we could time them.”, he said. “Sometimes they stood still, other times they moved so fast it was hard to keep a steady eye on them.”

And then in the year on the Aladdin Sane  tour (Bowie’s follow-up to Ziggy Stardust), his wife Angie Bowie tells the story of driving through Detroit and hearing about a UFO crash on the local news. Although the story goes that the news crew did the whole thing as a hoax and they were fired from the TV station, Angie swears the broadcasts exist (a documentarian with them recorded them on videotape) and that Bowie was keeping his eyes on the sky on their drive through the upper Midwest USA on the way to Minneapolis from Detroit, convinced that the aliens might want to make contact with him in particular.

david bowie alladin sane constellation
The Aladdin Sane makeup was such a good look for him, they’re making it his constellation…

But David Bowie didn’t just love aliens and UFOs, he also had a taste for sorcery! Bowie admitted that he dabbled in old-fashioned magic in the 1970s and he talks about about Aleister Crowley (an old friend to this podcast!) on one of his first albums, Hunky Dory (from 1971, it’s the one that has “Life On Mars?” on it) in the song “Quicksand” with the lyrics:

I’m closer to the Golden Dawn
Immersed in Crowley’s uniform
Of imagery
I’m living in a silent film

And when he moved to Los Angeles to record his album, Station to StationBowie went full Crowley.

david bowie cocaine
I’m never going to bed… EVER…

Fueled by mountains of Star-Spangled Powder, rockstar confidence, David Bowie and his wife Angie rented a house in LA while he spent ten months recording the album at Cherokee Studios, a place that even George Martin called “the best studio in America”. The persona that he was creating wasn’t an alien rock star anymore, but an ultra-Aryan Fascist known as The Thin White Duke. During this period (that he claims he remembers very little of because he was doing drugs constantly) he became interested in the Nazis use of sacred symbols (like the Swastika) and their quest for religious artifacts (think Raiders of the Lost Ark.) He talks about how he was fascinated that the Germans might have been looking for the Holy Grail in England in the 1930s. Okay, it’s the 70s, it’s LA, being weird is par for the course, so it’s magick time, baby!

david bowie sieg heil
Seig Hei…hiiiiiiiii guys, just ya know, trying some fascism on for size. Anybody else have a nosebleed?

Here’s Cameron Crowe (who was a rock journalist before he was a director, see Almost Famous for more info on that) interviewing Bowie during that time (and read the whole thing sometime, it covers the recording of Iggy Pop’s demo, hanging out with Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones, and what kind of celebrity life that Bowie was living at the time):

Suddenly – always suddenly – David is on his feet and rushing to a nearby picture window. He thinks he’s seen a body fall from the sky. “I’ve got to do this,” he says, pulling a shade down on the window. A ballpoint-penned star has been crudely drawn on the inside. Below it is the word “Aum.” Bowie lights a black candle on his dresser and immediately blows it out to leave a thin trail of smoke floating upward. “Don’t let me scare the pants off you. It’s only protective. I’ve been getting a little trouble from … the neighbors.”

But who exactly were the “neighbours” that Bowie was talking about? Well, his ex-wife Angie, believes that her husband was talking about the Devil himself.  She talks about him saying that he saw the Beast rising out of the indoor pool and that they had to perform an exorcism.

So they did and she claims that the water started bubbling that in no way could have been caused by the air filters of the indoor pool and then she saw a large shadow at the bottom of the pool that she said looked “in the shape of a beast of the underworld; it reminded me of those twisted, tormented gargoyles screaming silently from the spires of medieval cathedrals. It was ugly, shocking, malevolent; it frightened me.

He started getting into the Kaballah and there’s even a picture of him drawing its central mystical symbol, the Tree of Life. He mentions more Kaballah in the first verse of “Station to Station” as well (and since the Kaballah is Hebrew mysticism, it’s a pretty good sign that even though he might have been into Nazi occultism, he didn’t partake in their anti-Semitism.)

I hope that’s not permanent marker…

Even before his death on January 10th, people were already claiming that his last album, Blackstar, was more than just a musical statement. Some are claiming the album is a message from Bowie that the Illuminati are preparing for Planet X to come back into the solar system and we’re all going to be enslaved.

What’s Planet X? Why it’s Nibiru, the tenth planet in the solar system where the Annunaki live who control the Earth and it orbits around the sun every 3600 years (which is why most astronomers haven’t noticed it.) The leading proponent of this theory was Zecharia Sitchin and his evidence is slim, but it does make for some fun sci-fi tinged conspiracy reading.

david bowie blackstar
Hey, have you heard the Good News?

That doesn’t mean that Blackstar isn’t chock full of occult-y sci-fi goodness, though, and blog Vigilant Citizen has an excellent piece on all the symbols of Blackstar (even connecting it to Bowie’s outfit on Station To Station.)  And the director of the ten-minute video that accompanies the title track had something to say about the video’s occult inspiration:

“Well, I’m a huge Crowley fan, I’ve always been. I tried to make a movie on his life a few years ago but we didn’t manage to put it together. I love Crowley for being an audacious man at certain point in time. I think he’s greatly misunderstood. He was a good guy, but he was portrayed as an evil man and he wasn’t.”
– Vice News, 
Behind “Blackstar”: An Interview with Johan Renck, the Director of David Bowie’s Ten-Minute Short Film

And you just gotta hand it to Bowie, he stayed true to his weird sensibilities right to the end. While we’ve discussed his inspired music, his film roles were inspired by the paranormal as well. His first big role was the lead character of The Man Who Fell To Earth as an alien who was trying to bring water back to his dying planet.

He also shows up in The Hunger, an erotic Vampire thriller from 1983 based on a book written by Whitley Strieber (the man who brought us modern alien abduction with his book Communion, however, The Hunger, is decidedly fiction.) Some people have made this connection with Strieber and the video for Bowie’s song “Loving The Alien” where he suffers a nosebleed (something that happens to many abductees), to infer that Bowie was making a statement about alien abduction, but I bet he had a lot different inspirations for nosebleeds in his time that had nothing to do with extraterrestrials.

But the biggest of his roles was the Goblin King in Labyrinth, and made a new generation of little ladies fall in love with him.  However you feel today, this video of David Bowie dancing and singing with goblin muppets and a baby will put you in a good mood:

Some of his other roles that merit paranormal attention are Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (a controversial film in 1989, but almost tame now) and the strange ghost of an FBI agent in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

He was in a mediocre video game that had excellent music called Omikron: The Nomad Soul. I bought it for my Sega Dreamcast and Wendy bought it for her PC, but you can get it free right here until the end of the week. A science fiction-y 1984 or Brave New World, Bowie was helping your character escape mechanical oppression.

His last really memorable role was that of the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla (himself deserving of his own episode!) in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.

But that’s a great way to remember David Bowie, just like in The Prestige. When he shows up in the film, you’re like “Aw yeah, it’s David Bowie doing something weird and cool!” That’s the kind of reaction that he got out of me whenever I saw him because he was always doing something weird and cool (except for the “Dancing in the Street” video with Mick Jagger, but hey, nobody’s perfect.) He was even able to do the impossible was even able to turn what should be a lame Pepsi commercial into a totally sweet Frankenstein homage where he creates, and then sings and dances, with Tina Turner.

Making anything he touched into something cool, now that’s a talent that we can remember and appreciate.

For this episode’s song, we decided to forego an original track and the week that David Bowie passed on, we sang a tribute to him at our Sunspot concert at Shank Hall in Milwaukee. We did an acoustic version of the Ziggy Stardust song, “Starman”, and we had someone in the audience record it “bootleg-style” and play it in the podcast.

“Starman” – music and lyrics by David Bowie

Didn’t know what time it was and the lights were low
I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was layin’ down some rock ‘n’ roll ‘lotta soul, he said
Then the loud sound did seem to fade
Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase
That weren’t no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

I had to phone someone so I picked on you
Hey, that’s far out so you heard him too!
Switch on the TV we may pick him up on channel two
Look out your window I can see his light
If we can sparkle he may land tonight
Don’t tell your poppa or he’ll get us locked up in fright

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la