All posts by Mike Huberty

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

25 – Real Life Superheroes: An Interview with Author Tea Krulos

From Bruce Willis in Unbreakable to John Ritter in Hero at Large to everyone’s favorite madman Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass, we’ve been watching regular everyday human beings assuming the mantle of comic book superhero personas for a long time. But for some people, even those fictions aren’t enough. There’s a group of people who are living the dream of real life superheroes in our world and they’re part of what has been dubbed the Real Life Superhero Movement. Milwaukee author, Tea Krulos, spent years with these heroes and wrote a book called Heroes In The Night: Inside The Real Life Superhero Movement. 

Tea was in Madison, Wisconsin over the weekend at the Wizard World Wisconsin Comic Con to lead a panel discussion on the Real Life Superhero Movement and we caught up with the author right before he went to the big convention.

real life superheroes
The Watchman – Milwaukee’s Real Life Superhero

 

Tea’s first meeting with a real life superhero was with the defender of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Riverwest neighborhood, The Watchman.  From there, a Milwaukee team started to develop called The Challengers, which would serve as a neighborhood watch, help with the homeless, and go to charity events.

He describes how most of the  real life superheroes are content to let the police know when they see crime going on, but some like Seattle’s Phoenix Jones, like to mix it up.  Tea also accompanied Minneapolis superhero Razorhawk who organized a group into a Twin Cities search for a missing college kid who might have been a victim of the Smiley Face Murder Club.

Krulos got to travel all over the country meeting up with superheroes and one of his favorites is Vancouver street legend Thanatos, who pounds the pavement helping out the city’s homeless population, using his own money to get them tarps, blankets, and water. Krulos describes him as a “friendly, yet spooky-looking figure.”

All in all, Tea believes that these real life superheroes want to make the world a better place and want to make themselves better people, “they’re tired of being apathetic and they want to have a hobby that helps people out.”

After discussing his fantasy celebrity casting of a real life superhero movie, Krulos gives a quick summary of his monster hunters book, as well as giving a preview of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference taking place this June.

Real Life Superheroes Links

Featured Song: Real Life Superheroes

 

Why does it take a tragedy
to summon the valiant?

Untold are tales of bravery
among the common man

The world doesn’t have to end.

We have the heroes
(local vigilante)
Real life superheroes
(just might save the day)

We have the heroes
(doing what is right)
Real life superheroes
(heroes of the night)

We have the heroes
(local vigilante)
Real life superheroes
(just might save the day)

We have the heroes
(doing what is right)
Real life superheroes
(heroes of the night)

Could it be a force at hand
secret from society?

Good intentions, valor grand
watching for the the libertine

A victor living right next door

We have the heroes
(local vigilante)
Real life superheroes
(just might save the day)

We have the heroes
(doing what is right)
Real life superheroes
(heroes of the night)

23 – Life of a UFO Investigator: Interview with Mark O’Connell – Part 2

Here’s the second part of our interview with screenwriter and UFO investigator, Mark O’Connell. He and Mike talk about how Mark got into checking out reports of UFOs as an official MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) Field Investigator. He talks about the process of becoming a UFO Investigator as well as the cases that he’s investigated that struck him personally as the most unexplainable.

Mark also bursts the bubble on the recent hype surrounding the “declassification” of 100,000 Project: Blue Book (the Air Force’s investigation into UFOs through the 1950s to the 1970s) documents that were published on the Internet in the past two weeks as part of a massive amateur journalism project by John Greenewald and heralded all over mainstream news sources like the BBC and CNN. He says that while it’s great that it’s being covered in the news, there’s nothing new in the files that hasn’t already been analyzed and seen already.

Mike and Mark then talk more about Project: Blue Book and its director, J. Allen Hynek. Mark is currently working on a biography of the astronomer who was the face of official UFO investigation the Twentieth Century. Hyena developed the Encounters scale used by Steven Spielberg in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and served as a consultant on the film. They talk about the famous Michigan “swamp gas” case that helped discredit Hynek in the eyes of UFO enthusiasts as well as getting the attention of Michigan congressman and future President of the United States, Gerald Ford. Mark goes into why Hynek’s critics are wrong and clears up some myths surrounding the event.

Overall, this episode is for anyone who’s interested in how serious investigation into unexplained events is done and for people who are fascinated with how UFO phenomena became an American pastime. Mark is a wonderful storyteller and a fount of knowledge, and we can’t wait to have him back on the show!

UFO Investigation Links:

Become a MUFON UFO Field Investigator

The Black Vault Project: Blue Book Collection

High Strangeness UFO – Mark’s blog

Wikipedia article on Dr. J. Allen Hynek

Huffington Post, UFOs Over Michigan Baffle Multiple Eyewitnesses: Could It Be Swamp Gas?

Song: Reverse Engineering by Sunspot

For every little sorrow,
and every little sigh,
every time I scream,
every time you cry.
For all the moments wasted,
on some tiny crime.

We’ll never be new again,
we’ll never be new again.

When you crashed into my desert,
I was wasted and afraid,
and everything you did was my favorite,
every moment a holiday,
When my jokes were still hilarious,
Your mood was still gregarious,

We’ll never be new again,
we’ll never be new again.

It’s  not rocket science reverse engineering love,
It’s  not rocket science reverse engineering love.

Take the moments you remember,
and the places that you treasure,
and cross the rivers under all the bridges that we burned.
There’s no drug to recreate,
things past their expiration date.
And I hope there’s more to live than just waiting for our turn.

It’s not rocket science reverse engineering love,
It’s not rocket science reverse engineering love.

Just like the German scientists after the war,
rebuilt all the spaceships that came crashing through our door,
These chemical machines and their adolescent dreams,
are much more than slaves to their biologic needs.

It’s not rocket science reverse engineering love,
It’s not rocket science reverse engineering love.

And all the singers that will say,
that love just fades away,
They don’t have to live inside,
our lives every day.

We’ll never be new again,
we’ll never be new again.
But that’s no way to quit,
and no reason it should end.

We’ll never be new again,
we’ll never be new again.
But that’s no way to quit,
and no reason it should end.

It’s not rocket science reverse engineering love,
It’s not rocket science reverse engineering love.

20 – Haunted Rock & Roll: An Interview With Author Matthew Swayne

In Episode 10, when we discussed the ghosts of Rock stars, one of the biggest sources of our stories was Matthew Swayne’s book, Haunted Rock n’ Roll: Ghostly Tales of Musical Legends. There were plenty of stories that we left untold that day, so we thought a great way to kick off 2015 would be to have the author himself, Matthew Swayne, for an interview so we could go further in depth on a topic that we truly love, musicians that could never bring themselves to get off the stage… even in death.

Destined for an interest in the weird with a birthday on Halloween, his love of horror movies and interest in journalism and writing led him to write his first book on hauntings at college campuses (and interestingly enough, as well as unbeknownst to them when it was written, you can also find an article that quotes both the interviewer and interviewee of this podcast discussing Madison’s haunted campus right here.)

We start with the discussion on the ways he originally researched his book, how he found out some of the real obscure tales, and the difference between “ghost lore” and “ghost stories”. He connects the lore of the “phantom hitchhiker” story that a lot of towns in America have (the most famous being Chicago’s Resurrection Mary) and how people have made that into an Elvis ghost story as well, something that he thinks fans have created to fantasize about how they could meet their untouchable idols (that was back in the day before celebrities started responding to people’s tweets!) One of the things that makes Elvis different than other rock ghosts is that all across the country, it will be haunted by the Elvis of that age. Memphis gets the young southern gentleman Elvis, while Las Vegas gets the fat Elvis of the 70s.

They talk a little about hauntings of The Rave/Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee (the rock venue that Mike used to go to the most when he was younger) and how the ghost of Buddy Holly (who played one of his final shows at the club)  appears almost exclusively to musicians there.

The conversation turns to the hauntings at the Cincinnati Music Hall and how to him it seemed to be one of the most legitimately haunted  music venues that he studied, Then they discussed some classic Penn State ghostly folklore before starting to discuss Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin is known for the occult symbolism they used in their songs and imagery and Jimmy Page famously purchased our good friend Uncle Aleister Crowley’s home on Loch Ness, the Boleskine House where there’s a remarkable number of hauntings, something that he admits to being creeped out by.

Mike and Matt reprise Dan Aykroyd’s great story of Mama Cass’ house and Matt adds some new details to the story that make it more interesting, because they add up with similar stories from Beverly D’Angelo (Chevy Chase’s wife from the National Lampoon’s Vacation series), who also spent time in the house.

They finish up the discussion with a little more thoughts on the “27 Club” and how the number 27 itself might have more than significance. They talk a little about numerology, what the numbers could mean, and how the journey of a rock art is deeply connected with the occult from its very beginnings.

Links:

Haunted Rock & Roll on Facebook

Connect with Matthew Swayne on Twitter

Purchase Haunted Rock & Roll: Ghostly Tales of Musical Legends on Amazon

Article that features both Mike and Matthew on a possible University of Wisconsin Campus Ghost Tour, Molly Hanson

Featured Song: Forever In The Snow

We only had a moment,
but we didn’t waste the time.
I never said goodbye,
to the child we’ll never know.
I never said goodbye,
I’ll be forever in the snow.
I am Forever in the snow.
That’ll be the day,
For love a not fade away,
That’ll be the day,
When you’ll surely come my way.
I never left you,
I’m on a midnight shift without end.
Words so soft and true.
Until you’re here, I’ll just pretend.
I never said goodbye,
to the child we’ll never know.
I never said goodbye,
I’ll be forever in the snow.
I am Forever in the snow.
That’ll be the day,
For love a not fade away,
That’ll be the day,
When you’ll surely come my way.

18 – Paranormal Headlines: A History of The Weird In Media

Mike interviews author and paranormal researcher, Chad Lewis. Chad has been featured on such shows as Coast to Coast AM and Discovery Channel’s Legend Trippers. Since they’re both from Wisconsin originally, Chad talks a little about how the state’s fascination with the paranormal and particularly it’s 3 UFO festivals (in Belleville, Elmwood, and Dundee!) is partly responsible for his interest in the world of the weird.

They start the conversation with his book, Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin, which is a compilation of strange and unusual news stories from all around the state in the 19th and early 20th centuries. With thousands of investigations behind the researcher, very quickly the discussion turns to the modern presentation of paranormal headlines and how the media and supernatural shows are often not like real ghost investigations at all. Amazing ghost and psychic experiences seem to happen all the time on cable when the reality of investigation and research is a very different thing. And how “reality” shows might not be so real after all.

The conversation veers into “legend tripping”, a fancy way of describing folklore investigations or going to the places that have inspired ghost stories and myths.

Chad also gives his advice on what kind of paranormal apps people should get for their smart phones, the most important items you should take with you when you go on a paranormal investigation or a legend trip, and they also delve into the mysterious “orbs” that show up in people’s “ghost photos” (spoiler alert: Mike doesn’t believe in them and Chad has an opinion too!)

It’s a fun and lively discussion that goes deep into how the media has changed in its treatment of supernatural and paranormal topics over the years and how the role of the newspaper in daily life in the 19th century has shifted into social media in the 21st.

Links:

Chad Lewis – The Unexplained

What is Legend Tripping?

Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin by Chad Lewis

Featured Song: Ephemeral by Sunspot

This is the drama that surrounds us,
This is the path we’ve chosen, for better or for worse,
This is the way of righteous anger,
This is the path of vengeance,
Blessed and coerced.

I don’t want some big production,
To accompany this self-destruction.
I refuse to be the boy who cried wolf.

These are the moments that flow through us,
separate but happening all at once.
This is the timeline that we’re bound to,
ephemeral, ephemeral, not plentiful enough.

I don’t want some downward spiral,
Or an echo chamber of denial.

This is the drama that surrounds us,
These are the moments that flow through us.
This is the drama that surrounds us,
These are the moments that flow through us.

This is the drama that surrounds us.
This is the drama that surrounds us.

I don’t want some big production,
To accompany this self-destruction.

This is the drama that surrounds us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.
These are the moments that flow through us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.
This is the drama that surrounds us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.
These are the moments that flow through us,
Ephemeral, ephemeral.

13 – Krampus: The Christmas Demon

It’s the Holiday season and St. Nick’s Day was just this past weekend on Saturday, December 6th. Wendy Lynn is on vacation, so Mike brings his sister, Allison Jornlin, from Milwaukee Ghosts, again for a discussion on one of the less famous European Yuletide traditions, Krampus, the Christmas Demon. They begin with a discussion of Saint Nicholas traditions in their family and heavily German Milwaukee and discuss how they used to get coal in their stockings if they were bad.

Then they get into how really naughty kids used to get into trouble and that’s with Krampus. A Satan-like figure with cloven hooves who carries a bag of switched to whip bad children, in addition to an empty sack that is for kidnapping naughty kids and dragging them to Hell (and eating them alive), he is a traditional Christmas character in the Alpine countries. They talk about Krampusnacht, which is a traditional festival that will take place the night before St. Nick’s Day, where men dress up as the Christmas demon and drunkenly run through the streets. Parents not only encourage this behavior, but it’s also tradition to give the wild men alcohol as well. Chicago had their first adult-themed Krampusfest this year.

Next up, Allison and Mike go into the Pagan traditions of Europe and how they influence modern Christian holidays as well as linking him to the “European Wildman”, animism, and Voodoo. They also go into how the tradition of dressing up as a monster when the Summer ends and the nights come earlier comes all the way from Samhain (where our modern Halloween evolved from.) The ancients thought of the time between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice as a time when the walls between this world and the netherworld were thinned and spirits could pass in and out, they could walk among us. That’s why they dressed up as monsters and evil spirits, so those monsters and evil spirits wouldn’t bother them. They compare this to Shaun of the Dead and The Walking Dead, which use those very same themes.

Also, they talk about Krampus’ appearances on American television over the past few years with spots on Grimm, American Dad!, Supernatural, as well as his own film, Krampus: The Christmas Devil. They finish up with discussing the weird Krampus Christmas cards that Europeans have sent over the past couple of centuries and some great Krampus gear that you can get!

Links:

Chicago Krampusfest

National Geographic, “Europe’s Wild Men”

Top 5 Krampus Appearances in Pop Culture

Some awesome classic  Krampus postcards

Cool Krampus Schwag!

 

Featured Song: Digitalistic Christmas by Sunspot

My sensors signal something this time of year,
That cannot be explained by computation,
Arrhythmia in my cogs and gears,
A seasonal magnetic excitation.

Can you feel the current racing through your PCBs?

It’s gonna be a hot robot-o digitalistic Christmas,
One for my read only memory,
I charged up my nickel-metal hydride,
Illuminate the tree with my LEDs.

The crystalline structure of the falling snow,
Triggers binary delight in my RAID array,
My cold cathodes emit a much brighter glow,
Protocol for Favorable Holiday!

Do you feel the galvanic surge of those megavolts?

It’s gonna be a hot robot-o digitalis tic Christmas,
One for my read only memory,
I charged up my nickel-metal hydride,
Illuminate the tree with my LEDs.

We read your mail,
we watch your posts,
process your tweets.
When Santa makes his list,
it’s our data that he needs.
And if you’re nice,
you just might get what you asked for.
And if you’re naughty,
you just might get a little more!

It’s gonna be a hot robot-o digitalistic Christmas,
Back it up to the cloud and USB,
I’m so excited, I can’t power down,
I want to process the gifts Santa brought me.

It’s gonna be a hot robot-o digitalistic Christmas,
One for my electrically erasable programmable read only memory,
I charged up my nickel-metal hydride,
Illuminate the tree with my LEDs.

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