All posts by Mike Huberty

Co-Host of See You On The Other Side podcast Lead Vocalist & Bassist for Sunspot

78 – More Than Just Manimal: Understanding The Otherkin

There’s been plenty of times when I wished I wasn’t human. When I embarrassed myself or got in too much trouble, the fact that there’s no rules in the animal kingdom seemed to make a lot of sense. A bear never feels bad after killing and eating another animal while I feel bad if I eat something that has some gelatin (cow and pig toenails) in it.

Or even better, wishing that I was a fictional character instead of a human. I wanted to be Doctor Who for the longest time, after all you can regenerate your body when your sick or dying and you can travel through time, man, I used to think that would be the best.

But even though I wished for those things, I always felt entirely human deep down. The Otherkin do not. They feel so connected to animals (Therians) or elves or dragons (fictives) that they don’t feel one-hundred percent human. The name says it all, they believe they belong with a different group, not just of people, but species.

It’s an interesting phenomena that might have biological roots and that’s what we talk about in this episode and we also connect it to the legends of werewolves, skin walkers, and their portrayals in pop culture from Manimal to The 13th Warrior.

While in the recent past, the Otherkin might have felt more alienated, the Internet has once again brought people together. And please don’t confuse Otherkin with Furries, who just like celebrating anthropomorphized characters and dressing up as them, the Otherkin have the feeling that it’s not just dress up, but they’re actually a part of that group, even if it’s fictitious.

It’s all part of the very human quest for belonging.

Referenced in this episode:

This week’s song is a brand new Sunspot track called, “Another Skin

Wake up,
Someone’s calling you,
You hear the sound, but you forget your name,
cuz everything has changed.
And every second’s a page from the wrong story,
and every breath is unusual air.
You’re living a different life,
and it’s wholly unfair.
Under another skin,
and right before your eyes
everything begins again,
something survives.
The words,
come out differently,
you speak out loud,
but the meaning’s wrong,
there’s somewhere else you belong.
You’re moving inside an alien’s body,
and every feeling a foreign caress,
a stranger in a stranger land,
who can’t shake the separateness.
Under another skin,
and right before your eyes
everything begins again,
something survives.

77 – Paranormal Plantation: The Haunting Of The Myrtles

The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana is reputed to be one of the most haunted homes in the United States. With a reputation of murder, treachery, and slavery, the Myrtles has dozens of ghost stories and the fact that it’s a bed and breakfast makes it a popular spot for amateur ghost hunters.

Back in 2000, My sister, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts and I did an overnight at the Myrtles and had a good time while not really seeing anything spooky (I, however, was terrified the whole time because it’s hard to ignore all the stories!)

That was a fun trip, but Allison just wasn’t convinced of the veracity of the tales so in 2012, we worked on a video presentation to have the most balanced and well-researched look at the Myrtles Plantation and its history. While the Myrtles is featured on ghost hunting show after ghost hunting show (Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and Unsolved Mysteries have all famously featured the plantation) how accurate is the history that they tell us on TV?

We interviewed former owner Francis Kermeen, Myrtles curator and tour guide Hester Eby, paranormal researcher David Wiseman, and haunted historian David Young to talk about experiences, historical inconsistencies, EVPs, vengeful slaves, possession, and much much more in this detailed investigation of one of America’s most notorious haunts.

While we never ended up releasing the video that we made for this episode, I’m really happy that the information is seeing the light of day finally because it’s got stuff that you will absolutely not hear anywhere else.

The song we’re featuring in this episode is “Freakshow” by Sunspot, which was originally inspired by this particular trip to Louisiana (my first time in New Orleans) and we opened at least one-hundred shows with this song as we were touring in 2002 and 2003.

Featured Song: Freakshow by Sunspot

Hotter than hell in the shade today,
and I’m sweating bullets waiting for you,
jonesing for a fix of my favorite sin.
I walked the streets for days,
trying not to break my mother’s back,
looking for silence above the din.

Will I be the one,
who leaves a bad taste in your mouth?
Spitting out your teeth, just like a dream.
Or I could be the one,
who could turn your head around to see,
that damaged goods are much more valuable than what they seem.

Welcome to the Freakshow,
Don’t be a no-show,
Because this act is guaranteed to blow your mind.
Just a cross-section,
that’s perfect in its imperfection.
Take a look or you will never know,
just what you might find.

Take me where the saints go marching,
with the hookers and the vampires,
and everyone’s invited to the dance.
Sometimes we forget who we’re supposed to be,
the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,
and every sinner deserves a second chance.

Welcome to the Freakshow,
Don’t be a no-show,
Because this act is guaranteed to blow your mind.
Just a cross-section,
that’s perfect in its imperfection.
Take a look or you will never know,
just what you might find.

Will I be the one,
who leaves a bad taste in your mouth?
Spitting out your teeth, just like a dream.
Or I could be the one,
who could turn your head around to see,
that damaged goods are much more valuable than what they seem.

When you prick me do I not bleed?
I know I’m in no shape to judge.
Did you leave a second chance there for me…
or was that bad taste in your mouth too much?

Welcome to the Freakshow,
Don’t be a no-show,
Because this act is guaranteed to blow your mind.
Just a cross-section,
that’s perfect in its imperfection.
Take a look or you will never know,
just what you might find.

 

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.

Why Would Terrorists Attack the Milwaukee Masonic Temple?

On Monday, January 25th, the FBI just barely stopped a terrorist attack at the Milwaukee Masonic Temple, where  a twenty-three year old man was planning on carrying out a mass shooting and dreamed of killing thirty or more people in the name of Islam. Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was just a personal trainer in Milwaukee who made the decision that he wanted to kill people to strike fear into the hearts of the infidel.

samy mohamed homzeh
Do you even kill people, bro?

Terror doesn’t have a military strategy, it’s designed to break down the morale of non-combatants.  I’ve often said that if terrorists wanted to really scare the United States they would’t attack New York City or Los Angeles, they’d attack smaller cities in the USA, and particularly in the Midwest, to show that no one is safe. And being a native to the area, this was particularly scary. Milwaukee did have  a white supremacist mass shooting at a Sikh Temple in 2012 and that guy was even worse. He was a musician as well as embarrassingly stupid and tried to start some kind of Holy Race War by attacking the Sikhs, who are non-violent, but wear turbans (like I said, embarrassingly stupid.)

But why attack the Milwaukee Masonic Temple? What did they do to Samy Mohamed Hamzeh? Here’s what the would-be terrorist said:

“They are all Masonic; they are playing with the world like a game, man, and we are like asses, we don’t know what is going on, these are the ones who are fighting, these are the ones that needs to be killed, not the Shi’ite (Mike’s note: another branch of Islam), because these are the ones who are against us, these are the ones who are making living for us like hell”

samy-hamzeh
That’s a good boy, that’s a really good boy, now let’s go kill people!

“These are the ones who are making living for us like hell” – the Masons? You mean the guys who drive the little cars from the Circus? (No, that’s Shriners, but the Shriners did develop from Freemasonry…) But it’s a society that keeps some of its initiation rituals secret and its membership often includes a lot of prominent individuals in the community. It’s a club with secrets that has business leaders, politicians, and rich people as members. It’s pretty easy to figure why you think that they’re up to no good.

The Freemasons will get their own episode of the See You On The Other Side podcast soon because there’s centuries of conspiracies surrounding them. The idea is that this secret society presents themselves as charitable citizens who are getting together to perform good works, really they are a criminal organization who controls the media and has a sinister agenda.

I’m sure there are bad Freemasons and I’m sure a judge or a cop has let one of his Masonic brothers off easy a few times. But are these low level Milwaukee masons really the kind of world dominators that make life a living Hell for Muslim fitness trainers in the Brew City?

This is why it’s important to pay attention to conspiracy theories in real life as well as in Pop Culture (like these “Top Ten Masonic Conspiracy Theories“)? Because sometimes those theories can provide excuses and justification for killing innocent people.

RIP Abe Vigoda – The Rumors of His Demise Are No Longer Greatly Exaggerated

When I was a little boy, I loved watching Barney Miller with my Dad and Fish was one of the funniest characters. I didn’t really see and understand The Godfather until I was into my teens, so Fish is my biggest memory of the man. People Magazine accidentally reported him as dead in 1982  and a reporter did it in 1987 as well. And you gotta admit, he looked ancient in the 1970s when he was playing Detective Phil Fish on Barney Miller and so the joke that Abe Vigoda wasn’t really dead went on for decades.

David Letterman had a great skit where they even had Abe Vigoda breathe on a mirror in 1988 to prove that he was still alive, as well as a later one where he tries to contact the actor’s ghost in a mock seance only to have him appear and call Dave a pinhead.

I remember first looking at IsAbeVigodaDead.com and thinking it was hilarious in 1996 because I was young and stupid. It was the first real novelty site I saw on the Internet because it’s sole purpose was was to let people know if the actor was still with us or has passed on. Well, today, January 26th, 2016 he finally did pass on at the ripe age of 94 years old.

With people making jokes about his death for over thirty years, that’s gotta be some kind of record. Firefox even released a joke web browser extension in 2005 to answer the question of whether or not he was still alive.

Someone made a parody of Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and had that song linked from the website abevigoda.com – that’s right, someone took his name for a dot.com and then just made it about whether he was still alive or not. I don’t care who you are, that’s some dark business.

Never has the twilight of someone’s career been so defined by the question of whether or not they’re dead, and he handled it with a ton of grace.

So RIP Abe Vigoda, you were great in The Godfather as well as Barney Miller and got to live a nice long life, so thanks!

Moog at NAMM 2016: Synthesizers and the Sound of Horror

Moog_Music_Horror_Movies_NAMM - 4

One of the most fun exhibits at the NAMM Show in 2016 was the Moog exhibit. Now you may have never heard of the Moog company, but I guarantee you have heard their synthesizers. Bob Moog was an innovator who helped popularize the use of the electronic devices in music.

Moog_Music_Horror_Movies_NAMM - 5

The exhibit was all about replicating a Florida island that a particularly inventive Moog synthesizer salesman set up to promote more synthesizer sales by having electronic concerts and light shows in the early 70s. The island was called “Electronicus“.

Moog_Music_Horror_Movies_NAMM - 2

The real fun was sitting down at the synthesizers and playing with the various settings that you could use to make music. And every time you started playing something, it felt like you were performing the soundtrack to a horror movie.

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That’s because besides dance music and progressive rock, there’s been no more prolific use of electronic music than horror movies. From the theremin (a very early electronic instrument that makes the spooky high-pitched “woooooooo” sound that we often associate with horror movie soundtracks) that was used in soundtracks like The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Thing From Another World to “Tubular Bells” that was used as the theme to The Exorcist, horror movies love using the synthesizer.

This article on Horrorpedia is a must-read as it traces the sound of synths in horror films over the decades and what makes it extra fun at the NAMM Show is that it doesn’t just honor the artists who use these tools to make music, but it honors the people who create the instruments in the first place.

Moog_Music_Horror_Movies_NAMM - 6

There’s lots of ways to be creative and making art or music is one of those ways, but there’s often just as much, if not more, creative genius in the manufacturing of the devices that make all of the art possible. And the innovation of Moog gave us some of the most unsettling movie music of all time!

Moog_Music_Horror_Movies_NAMM - 1
I played on this sweet synth for a half an hour, there were four different synths that could play at the same time in this one box!




The Haunted Piano at NAMM 2016

One of the coolest things I saw at the 2016 NAMM Show today was this modern update of the player piano. And just take a look at this YouTube video, it doesn’t sound like any kind of player piano that I’ve ever heard…

So they captured the performance of famous Canadian jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, and this player piano recreates twelve of his performances exactly like he was playing it in front of you. There’s only twelve of these instruments in the world and the technology is beautiful, precise, and amazing.

Even before Bill Murray used the piano to annoy the evil spirits that possessed Dana Barrett’s apartment, ghosts playing the piano was something they used in horror films to great effect (the piano in The Changeling is the first one that comes to my mind) and we talked about Byron Janis’ (the paranormal pianist) encounters with Liberace’s ghost not too long ago.

Even the Paranormal State crew hooked up with paranormal  investigator Lorraine Warren (of The Conjuring fame) to check out a piano that might have brought a ghost along with it.

And if you’re looking for more real life haunted piano ghost stories here’s a good one on Reddit and also someone shares their terrifying tale in this forum thread on pianoworld.com about an old piano that was playing itself.

My personal favorite though is this tale of an eight-year old girl seeing a pale woman playing her family’s piano in the middle of the night and the ghost gesturing for the girl to come over and join her in a supernatural duet.

But this Oscar Peterson piano  is like a performance from the musician’s ghost – people who would like to learn playing piano but being sensitive to such things should be better chosing from choosepianos.com – piano keyboard here should not perform any supernatural surprises. So, the music on the “ghost piano” is still being created live, it’s just his imprint that’s playing it, the recording of what he left behind – just like we think is sometimes saved in the walls of old buildings and when people see ghosts, it could be the “recording” that’s being played back. This piano is just like that, but it’s no mystery, just amazing technological innovation.

This Week’s Planetary Alignment and The X-Files

You can bet a pack of Morley cigarettes and bag of sunflower seeds that I’m excited about The X-Files returning this Sunday night. But it’s not just Mulder and Scully that are going to be gracing our lives once again, it’s also the beginning of the first planetary alignment in the sky that’s going to be visible to our naked eye in over a decade. Oh yeah, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all going to be lined up and easily visible looking like stars lined (and on January 28th, even the moon is going to get in on the action and be lined up as well!) Now if you’re interested in viewing this cool astronomical phenomena then you can get help with that from the fine scientific writers at National Geographic.

TV shows and movies love to tackle the alignments of planets and stars in the sky and give them some kind of significance. Like we’re dumb enough to believe that when everything in the sky lines up, something horrible is going to happen. Yes, even my beloved Doctor Who had a ridiculous episode where the Daleks aligned 27 planets to make a (ahem) reality bomb.

The X-Files gave planetary alignments a special significance in season three as well with their episode “Syzygy” (also known as the episode where Scully gets jealous of the local detective that Mulder has been hanging out with). A syzygy is a term for an alignment of three celestial objects and it’s that alignment on a particular night in the 1970s that creates some very intense energy for a pair of girls born on that date.

Now szygys where the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up are known to cause “moonquakes” and I didn’t know moonquakes were a thing up until now, so that’s kind of awesome, but aside from fiction from Lovecraft to Pitch Black dealing with the apocalyptic aspects of an astronomical alignment, there’s not much else that’s going to happen except a sweet light show.

There are some people that believe planets aligning for a massive New Age Harmonic Convergence in 1987 was a big supernatural deal that was going to lead to the building of a thing called the Rainbow Bridge that was going to envelope the Earth in a aura of positivity (man), but the only Rainbow Road I’ve ever seen is in Mario Kart.

Ima Wario and Ima gonna win!

Anyway, if you’re looking for a mystical aspect, this author believes that there is a spiritual component to this week’s planetary alignment and it’s basically the fact that each of the five planets that are going to be lined up are associated with some aspect of our personality when it comes to Astrology, so if you’re into Horoscopes it’s a nice hopeful (and harmless) article.

But with new X-Files and a planetary alignment to light up the sky, our eyes have lots to look forward to!

The Best Occult Imagery at NAMM 2016

I’m at the NAMM 2016 Show this week, which is the National Association of Music Merchants, it’s where musical instrument companies, music dealers, recording equipment companies, etc… all get together to show off their latest and greatest stuff. It’s in Anaheim, California right next to Disneyland, and 140,000 musicians, gearheads, salespeople, and techies from all over the world converge and take over this Orange County city and it’s long hair, dye jobs, tattoo sleeves, and leather jackets as far as the eye can see.

One of the most fun things about the conference is that guitar companies will bring their most outrageous guitars, instruments not that don’t sell that much, maybe, but are showcases for the huge amount of talent that their best craftsmen have. These guys and gals can make unbelievably beautiful instruments and it is terribly exciting to see the most well-crafted and gorgeous instruments ever made.

The occult and rock n’ roll have been linked since Robert Johnson sold his soul at the crossroads and themes of horror have run through the music from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins to Alice Cooper to Marilyn Manson and in the modern era with Ghost. Skulls have always been a popular symbol for high testosterone males. In the old days, it was a symbol for all the people that they had defeated in battle, today it represents the aggressive style and fearlessness in the face of mortality that rock n’ roll music has long stood for. But the devil, the Illuminati, and horror movies were all well represented today and here are some of the most fantastic guitars and accessories with occult imagery that I’ve seen at the NAMM 2016 Show so far!