All posts by Mike Huberty

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

Was Glenn Frey A Secret Satanist?

The Heat Is Off as another Classic Rock hero passed over to the other side this week. Glenn Frey, most famous as the founder of the Eagles, the California Country-Rock powerhouse that provided the soundtrack of much of the 1970s and much of the income for the Golden State’s cocaine dealers , died on Monday January 18th. I’ve been on record saying that “Hotel California” is the song that made me want to play guitar and Glenn Frey was the lyricist who gave us those wonderfully cryptic lyrics. And with imagery that includes trying to “kill the beast” and a requests for wine (a liquid with lots of religious significance!), is the Eagles’ most famous track really about Satan?

Well, that was an urban legend going around in the Satanic Panic 80s. In fact, there was a great article in the now-defunct Milwaukee Sentinel (and media consolidation is just as scary as anything we talk about on this site) about the Good Reverend Paul Risley who held a rally in Racine, Wisconsin in September of 1982, where 900 people(!) came out to see him tell examples of rock n’ rollers purposely leading their fans to the Devil.

Here’s an excerpt from the newspaper article:

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 5.34.17 PM

My favorite part is that there were some pro-Rock youths that showed up to shout the Reverend down and one of them even got arrested for disorderly conduct. Notice that they spell Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey’s name wrong, so I guess the Sentinel didn’t have much of a copy editor in 1982.

But is the song really about the place where the Satanic Bible was written? Is the Church of Satan really registered as “Hotel California” for tax purposes? Are the frickin’ Eagles devil worshipers?!

Here’s a guy that seems to think so, even as late as 2014 and even provides us with  detailed analysis of the lyrics. And with quotes like “when you sell your soul to the devil for fame in music, he also wants you to openly show signs of it” and “So it looks like the Eagles are singing this for the antichrist”, you know you have to check that article out.

Perhaps the example that’s most widely used of this song being dedicated to the Devil is that the inside cover of the album has a creepy guy looking over everyone and it’s supposed to be Anton LaVey, who created the modern Church of Satany4auurjefid2vgldnxib

Here it is blown up, and I guess it might look like a bald guy with a goatee, but c’mon, that’s really really subtle.


Anyway, Snopes does a wonderful job of debunking the entire urban legend. “Anton LaVey” is really a woman who was hired for the photo shoot, and it was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, not some Satanic temple. This song is really just about the West Coast music industry in the 1970s. These guys were on the top of the world and living it up in the most decadent era since Ancient Rome with the world, women, money, drugs, and anything that they wanted at their fingertips.

“Her mind is Tiffany-twisted” is about the famous jewelry retailer, the spirit of 1969  is the death of the idealism of the hippie counterculture, “you can check out anytime but you can never leave” is about addiction, and the whole song is about the gaping maw of music celebrity that was engulfing the band as they were nearing the peak of their popularity.

The funny thing is that it’s the Eagles. If it was Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, I get it. Those guys used occult imagery and had a dark hard rock sound. But the Eagles didn’t use that kind of imagery or sing dark music. Their songs were catchy and fun. They were world-class hedonists, but Satanists? Hardly!

RIP Glenn Frey, thanks for one of my favorite songs and I hope I’m right and that you’re on your way upstairs right now.

True Detective and the Steven Avery Cult Connection

Like most of you who had some free time over the Holidays, I enjoyed myself a little bit of the ol’ “Netflix and Chill”. And my sedative of choice was Making A Murderer. I can’t help it, yes, I am addicted as much as everyone else to this true crime phase of Pop Culture. I listen to Serial, I was just as shocked at the ending of The Jinx as everyone else. I know that these are sensationalized accounts of real people’s lives. I know that my outrage has been elicited by design. Yet, somehow this foreknowledge of manipulation doesn’t change my interest in the twisted case of Steven Avery or the depressing case of Brendan Dassey. So, I read on every article and criminal records search associated with it, and everyone from The New York Times to Buzzfeed has anticipated our interest and used it to their clickbait-y advantage.

steven avery cult
How many times have you seen this picture over the last month?

I can’t help it, I’m in Wisconsin and paid attention to the story as it happened the first time. One of my good friends was on the Innocence Project at the law school of UW-Madison right before Steven Avery went on trial the second time (she was talking about him as one of their great successes), my wife went to high school in Manitowoc (she exclaimed at one point in the show how her next-door neighbor was on the witness stand!), one of the people I work with in music mentioned how his neighbor was the woman who did the (flawed) DNA testing of the key. These were all people that are in my life. When do most people ever get that close to a national phenomenon without being in it? Of course it’s going to fascinate me!

True crime is one thing (and I know that murder is tragic, no one’s downplaying that) but when people start looking for paranormal explanations, that’s where I start getting really interested. Because this is when we get beyond regular human interest and start entering a different level of conspiracy theory. Sure, it’s one thing to say that the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department planted some evidence. Sgt. Colborn plays a wonderful patsy and Lieutenant Lenk is the cold middle manager whose job it is to make the frame up work. But what if it goes way deeper than that? What if it goes into True Detective Season One (the good season) territory?

steven avery cult true detective yellow king
The Yellow King lives in the Fox Valley and this Lone Star Beer can prove it! 

First, Coast to Coast AM (with Twin Cities host Dave Schrader from Darkness Radio taking the lead) featured a special episode on the case, with the last hour devoted to a retired police detective who believes it might be the work of a Satanist serial killer named Edward Wayne Edwards (who the author also connects to California’s infamous Zodiac Killer) who was caught in 2009 in Jefferson, Wisconsin and admitted to five murders. John A. Cameron claims however that Edwards has killed dozens of more victims over the course of a six-decade murder spree where he framed many other innocent people and Steven Avery was just one of his last victims. Now the tale is pretty unbelievable for sure, but Cameron does his best to make a compelling case and even suspects Edwards of dressing up like Santa to perform JonBenét Ramsey’s 1996 mureder as well as killing people on Aleister Crowley’s birthday October 12th. Cameron turns Edwards into some kind of murdering superman and while the evidence is weak, it’s a compelling read.

But the idea of a Satanic murder of Theresa Halbach has also been floating around on that bastion of constructive discussions, Reddit. In this particular thread, people theorize that a Satanic Sex Club might be the ones who murdered the poor girl. Why? Because it was Halloween of course! Okay, Manitowoc is a small city, how would some kind of secret Satanic sex club go around unnoticed? Quick answer. It was noticed. Hat tip to Cult of Weird for sharing this story about a man named Dave Begotka, who has created a series of YouTube videos about how there’s a secret Satanic cult in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley.

I’m not trying to be judge-y, but his old channel was called DrNephilim666, so I think he might be an old hat when it comes to wacky theories. However, Dave has a detailed story on his website about how he was invited to join this secret sex club in Manitowoc by a very influential local businessman. It’s got that Eyes Wide Shut vibe, but hopefully it’s not as mind-numbing as that movie turned out to be. The people of Reddit think that Dave Begotka’s story “could be huge!” for the case, but he’s sent the whole story to Avery’s legal team (and my wife even has a crush on Dean Strang now) and they haven’t used it yet, so its credibility is dubious. But that turns this whole thing right into the land of True Detective, just what is going on in Manitowoc County?

steven avery cult dean strang jerry buting valentine
That’s right boys, nothing is sexier than justice!

Anyway, if one thing makes a close-to-home true crime story more exciting, it’s bringing in some kind of occult murder society. It’s like one of my high school urban legends come to life and the whole Internet is getting in on it. There’s not much to these theories right now, but if Avery and Dassey get a second trial and the Defense puts forth a Satanic Sex Club defense, you know we’re going to have to go to the courtroom.

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

Too Many Ghost Hunters?

An interesting story from CNN this week about the proliferation of ghost investigation groups across the United States since the dawn of the Ghost Hunters in 2004. And not only how ghost investigation groups are hitting the mainstream now but that because there’s so many groups and only so many TV spots and haunted places, that these teams are going into competition against each other for attention.

zak balans hardbody
I know people love Zak Bagans but did he just ask me, “Do you even lift, bro?”

And it’s true, like comic books, the world of the paranormal has gone from a geeky subculture to big business because producers saw dollar signs. Reality TV is cheap to produce (no matter how much these paranormal investigative groups make off each episode, it’s still nothing compared to a scripted show. There’s no Screen Actors Guild for reality TV stars.) Since the Ghost Hunters debuted, it’s been one more paranormal show after another, from college research groups like Paranormal State to following around a couple of Chicago police officers known as the Paranormal Cops (worth watching for the lovely Chi-cah-go accents alone.)

When I was a kid I would have loved to see all these shows about ghost hunters on the air. When That’s Incrediblehad a seance (with psychic Sylvia Browne!) inside a Toys ‘R Us, it was the most captivating thing that I ever saw.

But now, I can be hardly bothered to watch most of the paranormal shows. I’ve known people who’ve been on reality shows and they’ve told me how much of it is scripted.  We’ve interviewed people who have been featured on haunted specials and they are told to stick to the script no matter what. You just need to take everything you see on TV (including That’s Incredible even if it does feature Pro Football Hall of Famer, Fran Tarkenton, who always sounded like a very reasonable man to me!) with a massive grain of salt. It’s TV, they’re not on a mission to find the truth, they’re on a mission to get viewers so they can sell more ads.

And that’s okay, because it means it’s up to us to decide what to believe and not believe. And the competition is good because it means that hopefully more clear-headed investigations with thorough historical research can win out over guys just yelling at the air while waving around EMF sensors.

I’m all about entertainment, but it’s important to draw a distinction. Before ghost hunters were cool, most of us experienced some kind of ridicule for thinking this stuff was awesome. It’s important not to blend the “entertainment” part of it all (like movies, even great scary movies like The Conjuring that nonetheless stretch the facts) from actual investigation and research, which requires sources of local legends and trying to maintain some reasonable amount of scientific conditions in the field. That means a lot of sitting in the library and a lot of sitting in dark, cold rooms in old houses. But that’s what we signed up for.

Anyway, I love all these new ghost hunters and paranormal investigators because it brings you guys here to our little podcast, blog, and music – as well as to my haunted history tours, so I say, keep the competition coming!

A Night With Bloody Mary

This is a guest post by our friend, Jay Bachochin, from WPI Hunts The Truth. We’ve talked with Jay about the mysterious drownings of young men in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as well as his many Bigfoot investigations. In 2008, he ventured deep into the unknown and dangerous flat land of Wadsworth, Illinois to the burial place of an alleged witch named Mary Worth. For extra credit, we also talk about the origins of the “Bloody Mary” legend in our episode, “Charlie Charlie Can You Play? Supernatural Party Games from Bloody Mary to the Candyman”.

Old St. Patrick’s Cemetery is an old cemetery located in Wadsworth, IL that dates back into the 1800’s. This cemetery may be small but it’s potent (see Google Map picture).  The supposed resting place of Bloody Mary Worth. You remember her legend don’t you? )You look in the mirror and say her name three times…Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody …….. well legend has it a “witch” named Mary Worth owned a farm nearby and tortured run a way slaves during the civil war. She was hung by the locals and she is the supposed origin of Bloody Mary. It may well be just another incarnation of the story ‘Bloody Mary’ but there is a huge filed stone in this cemetery that is believed to be hers.  However, there are no burial records for her.  If that isn’t enough to raise an eyebrow or get your heart pumping the woods (just to the north west of the cemetery) is what locals call the “Devil’s Pool”. Supposed satanic cults do animal sacrifices at night back there at night.

(Mike’s Note: Check out this link to learn more about the legend of Bloody Mary Worth, the scourge of Gurnee (besides all the Cheeseheads going to the outlet stores and Great America.))

There’s a wooded spot back behind the cemetery, covered in no trespassing signs that is resting place of what the locals call Devil’s Pool. Evidently, according to the local children, satanic sacrifices happen back there.

(Mike’s Note: I’m always skeptical when I hear stuff about satanic sacrifices because it seems that every small town has a cult hiding behind every corner, but it’s even on the Foursquare page of the cemetery LOL.) 


On Saturday, May 10th, 2008, investigators Jay Bachochin and Paul Gasper went tu Old St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Wadsworth, IL to check it out.

******* DISCLAIMER ***** While this investigation happened 8 years ago, the little side park next to the cemetery has since been blocked off with cement barricades and police patrols are very heavy today.  Since there wasn’t any signs posted in 2008 of hours of visits, we felt like we were not trespassing. However, surrounding neighbors have grown quite tired of seeing teenagers with flash lights in the cemetery and have asked the help of the Wadsworth Police Department to do frequent drive bys. We do not recommend to try and investigate this cemetery at night.

Our investigation began like all new investigators do …. in a cemetery.  Since nobody knew who we were there wasn’t any request for investigations so a cemetery was our mission this night.  After saying a ‘prayer’ before entering the cemetery we caught an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) (check out EVP 2 below). 25 seconds after this EVP we caught another (EVP 3).  We didn’t know we caught these until the next day during review of our digital voice recorders.

We would take several pictures in a row so we could review each one if we caught anything paranormal on camera.  In the middle of the cemetery it is complete dark with just a street light far off on the street.  As we were walking to the other side of the cemetery I heard something in front of me, maybe just 2 feet in front of me !!!  It was a raspy laughter from out of nowhere. It scared the bejesus out of me. (Check out EVP 1 below and hear it yourself!) After getting my bearings we pressed on to take more pictures.  So we kept snapping picture after picture after picture without looking at the LCD screen.  We figured we’d look at the hundreds of digital pictures the next day.

Not much happened after that except the chills of being in a cemetery at midnight.  We left the cemetery around 12:45 a.m. and reviewed the audio and photos the next day.  What we found on the photos we took defied logic and quite frankly validated a lot of ghostly claims.



Black Mist Photo:  What intrigued us the most about this photo is that we couldn’t figure out what it was.  Maybe the blackness was the brim of my hat in front of the camera lens somehow? No, it couldn’t be because you can see the green leafs at the top of the photo.  The brim of a hat would cause total blackout. Could it have been a blur from movement where I caught my finger or hand somehow?  No, it couldn’t be because everything else on the photo is crisp and clear.  So what is it?  Something moved in front of our camera lens unnoticed and we have no way to prove or disprove what this was.


Orb Photo:  What is a ghost orb?  You may have seen them in your own photos.  Sometimes large, sometimes small and sometimes there are multiple transparent orbs.  Most likely, those orbs are a false positive.  A false positive is that the orb is actually debris such as dust, dirt, moisture, sun flares, the list goes on and on with natural causes.  However this night we captured the logic defying flying orb.  It’s solid white sphere with a white tail showing you it’s moving.  So what is an orb? 99.9999% is a natural piece of debris obstructing the lens with a flash. The .0000001% is paranormal in nature.


Ectoplasm Photo:  What intrigued us about this photo is the little loop-de-loop electro discharge on the right hand side of the photo.  We couldn’t debunk this as hair for I have short hair.  Could it have been the tether of my camera?  No, since I removed the tether 12 months earlier.  So what else could this phenomenon of a glowing worm be?





We have no way of telling what these phenomenon are.  We can say with the EVPs we captured are in fact a voice from beyond.  We can also say that the photos we took were from spirits long since passed on.  However, it’s only by theory, speculation and opinion of what a ghost is.  Our Hunt Continues …………

WPI Hunts the Truth was established in March 2007 by Jay and Katie Bachochin due to their love and passion of the paranormal.

Jay and Katie were both so intrigued by the paranormal evidence they’ve seen in their lives.  Ghosts, UFOs and Unknown Creatures. We took an interest in researching as a husband & wife team in 2006″.

In later March 2007, they founded The Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators while networking with some friends that shared the similar passion. They all believe there is more to their everyday normal lives. Do ghosts really exist? Are those lights in the sky just a plane? Is there really an 8′ tall undiscovered primate hiding from everybody? Is all this simply suggestive thought or mass hysteria? They needed to find the answers for themselves and share what they knew with other like minded researchers. This is how their mission Hunt the Truth was born.

They combined their organizations acronym and their mission statement to simplify who they are and what we do.  Jay and Katie are WPI Hunts the Truth.

Please visit their website, find them on Facebook or send them an email if you’d like them to help with your investigation.

Ghost Photo from St. Charles, Missouri

We’re always looking for cool ghost photos and this one was taken by a man named Edison Shaw when they were on a ghost tour in St. Charles, Missouri. Of course, I’m partial to ghost tours (my Madison and Minneapolis  haunted history tours will start again when the weather warms up!), but Edison was on the tour with his brother and when they heard the story about this particular building, they just took some photographs with their digital camera. Here’s the first one that they took, looks fairly innocuous to me.


So, here’s where the fun begins, check out the window in the next photo that was empty in the first one.


Okay, never mind the orb because, well, I don’t believe in them (the arrows were added in the photos that were sent to us.) But how about that window, huh? Yeah, these photos were taken in quick succession of each other, so what’s in the window, huh, what’s in the window?


Indeed, what is in the window? Let’s get a closer look, shall we…


This is from the blown up photo that they sent u. Now, it could completely be Pareidolia (that’s where you see familiar faces and shaped in things just because our mind is trained to see patterns and also to recognize people, that’s why we have such unique faces – and your cat, does not) but it sure looks like a dark figure with glowing blue eyes looking at us from the window – have the White Walkers crossed The Wall already and invaded St. Charles, Missouri?


Okay, all fun aside, great ghost photo. Now, I talked to Edison’s brother and he swore that they don’t alter the photo in any way. They didn’t notice anything weird in the window at the time and it wasn’t until they were checking out the photo later and saw the  Now, I’m not saying there’s a ghost in there, but I am saying that there’s it sure looks like something or someone in that second photo that’s not in the first. And I totally when to go on the St. Charles, Missouri haunted tour now! Thanks to the Shaws for sending in the photo and their buddy Gary for sending it in the first place.

What do you guys think? Do you have ghostly evidence, EVPs, or photos that you’d like us to share, discuss, or talk about on the podcast? Then send it in!

74 – Science of the Supernatural: An Interview with Dr. Nancy Zingrone

Ever since seeing Bill Murray use the Zener Deck in an experiment in the beginning of Ghostbusters, I wanted to become a parapsychologist. After all, what could be cooler than investigating psychic phenomena? There’s a “science of the supernatural”? People get paid to do research into ESP? You can have that as a job? Sign me up!

Zener Deck
The symbols of the Zener Deck

I even made my own Zener Deck in fifth grade and did an experiment  with the other kids in the class. Sunspot’s guitarist, Ben and I got 21 out of 25 cards correct when we did it. And spookily enough when I did a Ganzfeld procedure (that’s a sensory deprivation experiment) in college, Ben and I got a 100% hit rate when it was our turn the experiment, so I guess we don’t have an excuse when we mess up onstage anymore!

ganzfeld procedure
I can’t believe that ping pong ball eyeglass invention hasn’t taken off yet!

Well, as the years passed and I started getting more and more into music and entertainment, my dreams of becoming a research scientist faded into the background for the glamorous life of being an independent musician (ha!) But I always told people (with my tongue only half in my cheek) that being a parapsychologist was my Plan B. Now, with the podcast and haunted history tours I get the best of both worlds, but a part of me still yearns to do research of a more scientific kind into the unknown. That’s why it was such a delight to have Dr. Nancy Zingrone on the show to talk about her parapsychological journey. She’s a parapsychologist and professor originally from the Chicago area who has been conducting research in the field for over three decades.

We start this episode with a quick aside about Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead, who passed away shortly after Christmas. In his last interview, he must have known that the end was coming because he talked a lot about death as well as if he ever came back to haunt other musicians, it would be Tears for Fears! We always loved a little Motörhead in the Sunspot van while traveling, where Lemmy would sometimes make his presence known by one of us singing “It’s time to play the game!” at random times.

Interviewing Nancy was especially exciting because she worked as a Visiting Scholar at the Rhine Research Center at Duke University for over a decade. Just a little background, J.B. Rhine and his wife Dr. Louisa Rhine were scientists who viewed psi phenomena as a branch of abnormal psychology and they worked to professionalize the field in the United States in the first half of the Twentieth Century.  They developed a research center at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where they studied phenomena like ESP, poltergeists, ghosts, and telekinesis.

In the interview, Nancy tells us how she got interested in the field, how she found love in psychic research (her husband Dr. Carlos Alvarado is a formidable researcher and teacher in his own right) and some her favorite experiments. She also discusses the challenges that a budding scientist faces in a field that’s often considered outside of the scientific mainstream. In fact, many of the research centers that are set up (like the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh) only exist because of a monetary donation from someone rich that’s fascinated with the topic. Like in Scotland, the research unit exists because an author named Arthur Koestler donated his entire estate to a university that would research the paranormal. Oxford and Cambridge declined, Edinburgh University didn’t.

Nancy has some excellent advice, though, for people who are looking to get into the field:

  1. Follow your passion
    If you’re interested in history, physics, psychology, etc… then get trained in it. You are encouraged to start on the conventional academic path and develop your science-y skills (even J.B. Rhine started out as a botanist!)
  2. Get collateral education in parapsychology
    There are lots of courses that you can take online from real scientists so that you can get introduced to the methodology. Nancy and Carlos have a Massively Open Online Course that starts this month and is FREE, so you can see lectures and discuss these topics with top experts in the field. Really, you should sign up for this right away if you’re interested!
  3. Find a professor that will let you write your papers on parapsychological themes
    When I was an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, I had the chance to write some of my reports on parapsychological topics in my psychology courses. That was in the 90s, but there should even be more opportunities now. After all, universities are the cultural center for independent thought, right?
  4. Check out the schools that take on graduate and doctorate students in parapsychology and go there!
    Sure, you might have to go to Germany or Brazil, but travel is good for you! Here’s an awesome list of resources of universities and colleges that offer courses in parapsychology.

You can find more about Nancy and her husband’s teaching and research at The AZIRE website (The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education) where they have lots of information about their online courses (they’re even in Second Life, which sounds like a lot of fun!) and you can even read their published papers.

And make sure to check out their Facebook community for Parapsychology Online, it’s a great place to talk more about research, experiences, and advances in the field of easily the coolest science!

This week’s Sunspot song is all about reading minds, just like that “Zener Deck” experiment.

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I felt you on the edges, taking a peek inside,
Seeing a couple stick figures making wavy lines.
You don’t need to be psychic to unlock,

my intentions are as clear as circle, a cross, a star, and a box

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
What do you think you’re going to find out?
I don’t know what you think you know.
A brain on the lookout for a freakout.
I don’t know what you think you know.
Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.

RIP Angus Scrimm – The Tall Man and Phantasm’s Paranormal Influences

Actor Angus Scrimm passed away yesterday at the age of 89. If you’re a horror fan, then you’ll remember him as the evil undertaker, The Tall Man, from the Phantasm film series (the one with the flying silver balls that stick in people’s heads.) Number one, what an awesome stage name (he was originally born Lawrence Rory Guy). Number two, he was the one guy in the Phantasm movies that looked like he was some kind of an actor in real life. You can see why he was such a memorable presence in this supercut of his greatest moments from the highlights of the franchise (namely Phantasm 1 and 2).

Phantasm was mostly recently making the sci-fi news rounds because Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams mentioned how much that he loves the movie and that he created one of the characters (Captain Phasma) as an homage to the film, the character even wears a special reflective mirrored armor like the scary balls that fly through the air in Phantasm. Abrams also gave Scrimm a recurring role in his TV show, Alias, because he was a fan of the actor.

Not that the other characters and actors in Phantasm weren’t memorable and  didn’t give it their best shot. Especially Reggie Bannister, you just gotta love that guy. I still use the phrase “Hot as love” sometimes when I’m done playing a song.

Angus Scrimm’s late in life success in the horror genre was preceded by a long career in entertainment journalism as well as being a go-to guy for writing liner notes on the insides of records – which was a thing back in the day when people used to buy albums, and he even won a Grammy for his work in the music industry!)

I always heard that he was a nice guy at horror conventions and his dedication to the character even as the budgets of the Phantasm sequels started getting less and less. So, I’m raising a glass to a life well lived.

I celebrated my eighteenth birthday with my first meal as a full vegetarian, a trip to the adult book store (who knew that Al Bundy’s favorite magazine was a real thing?), and a viewing of Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, so the series has always been close to my heart. My friends and I were big fans of the series in high school because we appreciated Reggie’s dirty innuendos, the gross-out horror of the flying balls killing people, the surreality of the filmmaking, and the mashup of (spoilers for a 37-year old movie) beings from another dimension that enslave human souls after we die.

The Tall Man’s most memorable quote besides bellowing “Boyyyyyyyy!” is “You think when you die, you go to heaven. You come to us!” which is a special kind of terror. You grow up your whole life thinking that when you die, you go to a  “better place” (unless you’re a Calvinist that just believes most people are going to Hell anyway). But Phantasm introduced to me the idea that maybe the afterlife wasn’t wonderful at all, that there is something worse than death, a place you could never escape where you were turned into a zombie Jawa slave for eternity.  A reimagining of Hell where The Tall Man took the place of Lucifer and owned you.

Now, that’s some scary business right there and in some of the world’s earliest cultures, the Afterlife isn’t fun at all. In fact, if you’ve ever studied the Epic of Gilgamesh (the world’s first action hero!) you’ll know that death to the ancient Sumerians meant unpleasantness for the rest of eternity. They feared the dead who “live in darkness, eat clay, and are clothed like birds with wings” and would eat the living if they escaped the Underworld.

In Maori culture in New Zealand, the bodies of the recently deceased needed to be brought back to their families immediately and rituals performed or the spirits might become angry and decide to bring more family members to the other side. 

So, while there might be an evolutionary advantage to believing in the afterlife, it doesn’t mean that we necessarily believe in a Heaven filled with naked angels strumming on harps, but also that Hell could be programmed into our primordial belief systems and it’s that antediluvian angst that Phantasm excels at accessing. In the world of the film, there is no “happily ever after”, The Tall Man is coming from another dimension to enslave the souls of the Earth and the main characters have to figure out how to stop him.


But interestingly enough, Whitley Strieber’s sequel to his book Communion (who in my opinion has influenced our modern views ideas of aliens more than any other creator) was called Transformation, which came out in 1988, the same year as Phantasm II. The main idea of Transformation was that the aliens that he claimed to have been abducted by all his life in Communion, were here in a spiritual capacity and not just a scientific experiment (and I don’t know if that would have been a relief to South Park‘s Eric Cartman or not…)

But in Transformation, the aliens are here and visiting us to help recycle our souls, which starts blending two formerly very different strains of paranormal belief into one (albeit Mormonism and Scientology have been doing this for a longer period of time, but Transformation is really when I got my first taste of it.) This mixture of aliens and an inescapable afterlife of servitude is what makes Phantasm such an mindtrick and it was all brought to life in such effective terror by the performance of Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man. Thanks Lawrence Rory Guy, for the awe-inspiring personification of a perfectly horrifying, yet ancient, idea.

Save The Mounds – Has The Entire Wisconsin State Legislature Never Seen “Pet Sematary”?!

So wherever you stand on the political spectrum we all know one thing, disturbing burial sites is a quick way to get murdered by something supernatural. In fact, it’s so common that there’s even a page on about it. Everybody from The Brady Bunch to the family from Pet Sematary knows that you don’t mess with sacred burial grounds, of First Nations people or otherwise.  Wisconsin even has the largest concentration of burial mounds in the United States. So, doesn’t the legislature at least have Netflix or a MovieBox near the Capitol?

save the mounds
Sometimes, dead is better.

Obviously the Wisconsin State Legislature needs to start watching some horror movies because what they’re planning might unleash a whole host of terrors on the unsuspecting mining companies who they think they’re doing a favor for.

Not only are they disrespecting ancient sites that are millennia old but they’re also putting all the property owners and mining company’s employees lives at risk for the inevitable paranormal backlash that is going to come from the desecration of these sacred sites.

For the love of God, people, please watch Poltergeist. You can even watch the remake, Sam Rockwell doesn’t get all the love that he deserves anyway. He can play an everyman as well as a little kooky, do you remember Moon? C’mon, he carried that movie all by himself.

Save The Mounds
Hey guys, remember when we “verified” that there were no human remains before we took all that money from the mining company? Yeah, bad idea.

What this bill will do is let people much more easily challenge existence of human remains on burial sites that currently exist on their land and then be able to intrusively start digging into the ancient mounds in order to look for buried human bodies and if they can’t find any in their selective testing, then the burial site is taken off the register and the land is open for mining, development, whatever… Would you let someone dig up your grandmother’s cemetery to “verify that human remains” exist there? These mounds are the same thing as the cemeteries and you don’t just dig those up, out of respect, as well as out of fear of spiritual repercussions.

This isn’t about the culture war between Left and Right or Republican and Democrat, this is about respecting cultural and religious heritage (as well as saving innocent lives.) When they created the Catacombs in Paris (out of necessity, not profit), it was done with religious sanction by the people of the city. The Ho-Chunk Nation isn’t sanctioning this at all, in fact they’re actively fighting it. They’re scheduling a rally on Tuesday, January 12th at the Wisconsin State Capitol. If you can’t make the rally, you can also show your support by signing the petition.

And just for a final reminder, we all better watch this awesome Ramones video for their track, “Pet Sematary”. We need to Save The Mounds or this might be the last song a lot of innocent people will hear.

Martin Scorsese to produce biopic on Byron Janis, Paranormal Pianist

Now here’s some Friday news that gets me in a good mood.  The man who brought us Goodfellas and Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese, is producing a movie based on the autobiography of pianist Byron Janis. Okay, I know you’re saying, “who cares?” because you saw The Piano and at about the time you saw a buck naked Harvey Keitel, you had seen all you ever wanted to see about people tickling the ivories.

But what makes this one special is that Janis’ autobiography was titled Chopin and Beyond: My Extraordinary Life in Music and the ParanormalJanis was an exceptional musician who was selected to perform in the Soviet Union in 1960 and brought cold Russian audiences to tears almost 25 years before Sylvester Stallone successfully ended the Cold War by defeating Ivan Drago. But not only that, he’s had lots of paranormal experiences.

His early playing career began with a strange attraction to Chopin (Polish Pride, where you at?!) and his music, but he even tells a great story of seeing Chopin’s death mask cry while he was having dinner with Uri Geller. Now that famous spoon bender always gets my Skeptic Spidey Sense going, but it was the 70s and Uri was ubiquitous on talkshows back then, so I can understand (hey, everybody likes hanging out with celebs!)

Anyway, Janis’ website even includes a recommended reading list for people that want to expand their knowledge on the subject, so you gotta hand it to the guy for his commitment to the strange and unknown. Much of his belief stems from his otherworldly connection with Chopin (everything from his aunt exclaiming that he looked just like the great pianist when he was born to discovering two unearthed pieces from the composer in 1967) and the connection that the Polish pianist often talked about  “other worlds.” That’s not the only connection that Chopin made with a living person after his death, but we’ll have to save that for a special podcast episode!

Whether the movie focuses on the paranormal aspect of Janis’ career or just on the music, I’m looking forward to checking it out. Scorsese has hardly let me down (except Shutter Island, who didn’t see that ending coming from a thousand miles away? It was like a well-directed but generic Twilight Zone episode) and I’m excited to see what they have in store for us.