Category Archives: Podcast

201 – Lost Over Lake Michigan: The Disappearance of NWA Flight 2501

On June 23rd, 1950 there were 55 passengers and 3 crew on North West Orient Airlines Flight 2501 flying from New York City to Seattle. It was scheduled to stop over in Minneapolis but air traffic control lost communication with the plane shortly after it left Michigan and the plane was never heard from again.

An oil slick was found a few miles from the coast and some “shredded wreckage” and human body parts eventually wound up washing to shore (enough to form a mass grave, even if the identities were never revealed), but nothing else of the plane was ever found. It was the worst aviation disaster in American history up to that point. There was a horrible thunderstorm that night over the lake and it was also a busy night for air traffic.

Could it have been lighting that hit the plane? Could they have flown too low to avoid traffic and crashed into the water? What happened? Valerie van Heest of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association thinks she has some answers to why the plane went down, but without finding the rest of the plane, can never be sure.

Author Clive Cussler (the guy who wrote Sahara, which in my opinion is a fun underrated popcorn movie!) has formed the National Underwater and Marine Agency and has helped fund a yearly search for the past 15 years.

Matthew McConaughey getting ready to dive in himself and look for NWA Flight 2501

However, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Major Donald Keyhoe, one of the original flying saucer authors had claimed to have a government source that it might have been a UFO that the flight crashed into. Indeed, there were dozens of reports across the United States of UFOs that night. Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts has done lots of research on the paranormal possibilities here. As we reach the 68th anniversary and the search begins again, was the fuselage removed because there was something that we weren’t supposed to find? In this episode, we dig in deep.

And since we’re discussing one of Lake Michigan’s greatest disappearances, we thought we’d use a Sunspot song this week about one of our own great disappearances. In 2002, we played some shows with a band in San Antonio and Austin, Texas called Racketbox. They were all military guys  from Fort Hood in Killeen and played loud fun in-your-face punk rock. Anyway, their guitarist was mysteriously only known as Mr. Foff. That’s it. The only thing we could find on Racketbox was an incomplete Purevolume profile and even then it only listed a guitar player as Michael Jackson (and they said it was THE Michael Jackson, who was still alive in 2002).

From sharing Jack Daniels with him in his band van to seeing him rock out onstage, we never had a chance to learn his real name but we spent a lot of meaningful time with this Texas Wildman, even partying with him and his band members until the wee hours of the morning as 2002 passed into 2003 at some afterbar in Austin where it was impossible to find a cab and these were the days before GPS and Uber anyway. We went back to Wisconsin and in March the Iraq War started (on a night we were playing in Springfield, Illinois was when the Shock and Awe campaign began). Next time we went back to Texas was in May and we couldn’t find anything more on Racketbox or Mr. Foff. Four years later, we wrote a song about him on our album Neanderthal. 

Good night, Mr. Foff. Wherever you are.

Another night, 12 other $h!tt* bands,
Nothing to do, just sitting on our hands.

Then somebody new came into town,
He got us drunk, yeah, he turned the beat around.

And I’d like to know what happened to you Mr. Foff,
Did you leave the band? Do you still drink in the van?
And I’m happy to say I met you that day, Mr Foff,
Will we ever meet again?

Illustrated man, the ink on his skin tells the tale.
Teen runaway, he’s done some time in jail.

Even though the show was pretty lame,
He earned our respect, but we never knew his real name.

And I’d like to know what happened to you Mr. Foff,
Did you leave the band? Do you still drink in the van?
And I’m happy to say I met you that day, Mr Foff,
Will we ever meet again?

And I’d like to know what happened to you Mr. Foff,
Did you leave the band? Do you still drink in the van?
And I’m happy to say I met you that day, Mr Foff,
Will we ever meet again?

(What happened to you, Mr. Foff?)
I’d like to know what happened to you, Mr. Foff.
I’m so glad we met that day, Mr. Foff.
With that long black hair and that bada$$ leather jacket,
You’re my man,
You’re my man,
You’re my man with Jack in the van,
Mr. Foff.

200 – When The Going Gets Weird: Our First 199 Paranormal Adventures

199 episodes of See You On The Other Side. 118 new songs specifically written for the show.  102 interviews. We’ve come a long way, baby. We thought it was time to sit down and talk about some of our favorite moments from the past three and a half years of podcasting into the paranormal

Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins Wendy Lynn and I as we talk about the things that have affected us the most after our first 199 podcasts.

  • What’s been the biggest surprise?
  • What were our favorite interviews??
  • How have our own views on the paranormal changed?
  • What were our favorite paranormal events and conventions?

You can relive some of our favorite episodes that we reference in the podcast here:

The song this week is based on that classic Hunter S. Thompson quote, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Now of course the father of gonzo journalism meant a lot of different things with that statement, but I take it to mean that when you enter an unknown situation, somewhere without precedent or pre-established rules… that’s where you can make your mark. That’s the inspiration behind our podcast as well. Here’s Sunspot with “When The Going Gets Weird”.

It’s the moment it all changes
it’s a vision for the blind
a shattering and staggering
cracking open your mind
Take the red pill and go deeper
inexorability
cross the line in the sand
for  a fait accompli
Break the kettles, sink the boats
at the bridges that you burn
And when the die is cast
you’re at the point of no return.
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
So you’re not like everyone else
in case of boredom break the glass
you’ll find you’re no longer welcome
to the place that you’re never going back
Take the red pill and go deeper
inexorability
cross the line in the sand
to find a fait accompli
Break the kettles, sink the boats
at the bridges that you burn
And when the die is cast
you’re at the point of no return.
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird

199 – The Rock & Roll Twilight Zone: Musical Mysteries with Richard Syrett

Richard Syrett didn’t start off being a weirdo, he was a radio host who stumbled onto a Sunday night talk show in Toronto whose audience shot through the roof when they broached paranormal topics (much like Art Bell and the original Coast to Coast AM did, and now Richard is a frequent guest host of Coast to Coast as well!)

But that shift proved auspicious, because Richard Syrett has been tackling the strange and unusual each week on Canadian radio with The Conspiracy Show and that even lead to four seasons of a television program as well on Vision TV.

Richard SyrettBut just because Richard Syrett waited some time in his profession career to start exploring the paranormal, doesn’t mean that he hasn’t felt that cold strange grip of the strange. He was close with with rock n’ roll author R. Gary Patterson who had spent decades exploring musical mysteries and the dark side of rock n’ roll pop culture. Gary was a frequent guest on The Conspiracy Show and Richard and Gary were planning to work together on their program when Gary passed away in 2017. Richard goes into detail on his own strange encounter with what might have been R. Gary Patterson’s ghost in our conversation!

Syrett’s new show is called The Rock & Roll Twilight Zone and you can hear it on Chris Jericho’s Podcast One network. It is a deep dive into some of Rock’s greatest mysteries and you’re bound to hear some conspiracies and strange stories that you’ve never heard before. I’ve been listening to it all week an it’s a lot of fun.

In this interview, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins Richard and I in discussing some of the great topics that he’s been covering on The Rock & Roll Twilight Zone:

  • Was Elvis murdered?
  • How Jim Morrison could have faked his own death
  • Robert Johnson’s deal with the Devil and the curse of the Crossroads

The song this week is called “Rock & Roll Heaven” but it’s not quite as hagiographic as the Righteous Brothers’ 70s’ song of the same name. While the “live fast, die young” aesthetic of the 60s and 70s rock stars certainly contributed to their mythological stature, it’s more sad than anything else. Would you sacrifice decades of your life (even if it’s the old crappy part) to amplify your legacy? Are you good enough to get into “Rock & Roll Heaven”?

When I die will I go to Rock & Roll Heaven?
Am I good, am I good enough to get into Rock & Roll Heaven?
Where the high lasts forever, all the amps go to eleven
When I die I wanna go to Rock & Roll Heaven.

Is there a chart in the skies for all your
albums that went gold?
Is that your consolation prize
because you’ll never grow old?

When I die (when I die) will I go (will I go) to Rock & Roll Heaven?
(to Rock & Roll Heaven)
Am I good (am I good), am I good enough (good enough) to get into Rock & Roll Heaven?
(to get into Rock & Roll Heaven)
Where the high lasts forever, the amps go to eleven
(all the amps go to eleven)
When I die (when I die) I wanna go (wanna go) to Rock & Roll Heaven.

Is there a chart in the skies for all your
albums that went gold?
Is that your consolation prize
because you’ll never grow old?

When I die (when I die) will I go (will I go) to Rock & Roll Heaven?
(to Rock n’ Roll Heaven)
When I die (when I die) I wanna go (wanna go) to Rock & Roll Heaven.

198 – The Mandela Effect: False Memories or Parallel Universes?

The Mandela Effect was first coined as a term in 2010 when paranormal consultant Fiona Broome discovered that she met many people who believed that South African freedom fighter had died in prison in the 1970s and had not survived to eventually be freed an made the leader of the country in the 1990s.

Usually we would just attribute this strange misremembering of history to the whole “human beings are idiots” thing, but since its initial discovery was by someone involved in the paranormal, people started talking about how maybe this might be something more.

One of the first theories was that it’s the result of parallel universes, where there are an infinite number of universes and they can be created every time a different decision is made. People are just “remembering” a different universe.

Another idea is that we’re living in a computer simulation like The Matrix and every time we misremember something it’s actually the programming of the simulation that can be changed.  Much like in the movie, they described deja vu as a “glitch in The Matrix”. There is some evidence that we might be living in a computer simulation, but it’s all just conjecture right now.

We discussed how memories can be easily falsified in episode 55 about alien abductions, past life regression, and satanic ritual abuse, but The Mandela Effect has certainly consumed plenty of oxygen in the paranormal space over the past couple of years. Probably because it’s a fun way of playing “remember when” and we can discuss our childhoods and how faulty actually all of our memories actually are.

The very first time that I learned about the malleability of memory was in a Different Strokes episode. It’s based on the classic Kurosawa film Rashomon (if you would like to know how influential the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa is, just read this article on how George Lucas was incredibly influenced by the movie The Hidden Fortress in his creation of Star Wars.) Rashomon is a about a trial that shows the same crime happening from several people’s perspectives and how those memories of the same event are different from person to person. Different Strokes even called their episode “Rashomon II”!

In this episode we go over some of the most compelling examples of The Mandela Effect including:

  • Berenstain Bears vs. Berenstein Bears (the original that blew most people’s minds!)
  • Fruit Loops vs Froot Loops (and Fruit Loup Garou, the psychedelic werewolf!)
  • Field of Dreams‘ most famous line
  • “Luke, I am your father.”
  • C-3PO’s silver leg

This week’s song is actually one of our oldest recorded Sunspot tracks. It’s about nostalgia and how nice it is to live in the past sometimes, even when that past might be something you invented for yourself. But in the end, you have to come back to the real world, even if you wished you’d made different choices in your past and feel left behind. The song is called “Pretend”.

I think I lost you along the road,
because I didn’t know how to grow up.
Maybe that’s why I feel so old,
my life flashes before my eyes.
Maybe we could talk over a beer,
about the way we think things ought to be.
We could try to remember how we got here,
and whatever, and whatever became of me.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

And I think I missed the train,
well, I guess I should have bought a ticket.
I don’t think I ever changed,
time slips by and I’m still the same.
We were running hand in hand,
I didn’t know you’d go so fast.
That’s why I just don’t understand,
how you reached your destination and I’m still living in the past.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

I’m the last one standing here.
Just a relic in the museum of our lives.
I’ll be waiting when you come back.
I’ll be the one who’s just a step,
just a step behind the times.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

197 – The Octopus from Outer Space: Panspermia and Ancient Aliens

Our paranormal universe was all abuzz this week when a paper signed by 33 scientists called “The Cambrian Explosion: Terrestrial or Cosmic” suggested that not only the incredible biodiversity of life that burst forth in that ear was because Earth was being blitzed by massive clouds of organic molecules from space, but it presented the theory that the octopus might have come to Earth as frozen eggs cryopreserved in some celestial body that landed in the ocean.

I dunno why anyone thinks they’re aliens…

Their specialties like camouflage flexible bodies appear suddenly in the evolutionary record 270 million years ago, so much so that scientists suggested that they were too advanced for the time they developed in. They suggest that it is a possibility that they developed on another planet and then some eggs somehow made it to earth.

They have personalities, can use tools, learn by watching others, treat humans that they know differently than humans that they don’t, and are generally considered the most intelligent of any of the invertebrates. Author Peter Godfrey-Smith wrote a book on those flex-y little buggers and said:

“If we can make contact with cephalopods as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over.”

Awwww, what a cute little moss piglet!

So, how is that even possible? Space is a vacuum and it’s like, really frickin’ cold, man. Whenever I see it in movies, people can only last like 30 seconds out there before their head blows up or their eyes bug out. How would anything survive out there? Well, we can’t. But microbes and bacteria can. And there’s a microscopic creature called a tardigrade (or a water bear or also, a <barf> moss piglet) that can survive in a vacuum for up to 10 days and hibernate in the freeze and be revived after thirty years!

The theory that life on Earth might have come from outer space is called Panspermia which means “seeds everywhere”. Microbes picked up as asteroids bang into other planets and then crash into other planets, like ours. It’s a theory that was first suggested in the 1970s (and one of those proponents was also a signer on the recent “octopi from space” study) and it’s plausible. If microbes can live in space, maybe the building blocks of life on Earth crash-landed here a billion years ago to evolve into us.

Now, that idea doesn’t even sound that outrageous. It’s still just evolution, even if the original microbes that kicked it into full gear were from another planet, but Hollywood of course has moved that to the next level. Dozens of movies and TV shows now have posited that our evolution was directed by some extraterrestrial intelligence. From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Stargate to Prometheus to my personal favorite, Five Million Years To Earth, the idea that little green men have been messing with us has been around for decades.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • Battlestar Galactica relate to Mormonism
  • The correct way we should all be pronouncing the title of Chariots of the Gods?
  • Why octopi probably aren’t actually from space
  • Did Charles Fort believe in ancient aliens?
  • What does the NASA “Planetary Protection Officer” do?
  • How humanity is planning on testing our own Panspermia theories on other planets

In this episode we talk about the classic British serial Quatermass and the Pit that became the Hammer Horror classic film, Five Million Years to Earth, so for this episode we’re breaking out one of our oldest tracks. We recorded this track on our first trip to a recording studio all the way back in the mid-90s (which shows how long we’ve been writing songs with paranormal influences!)  Here is Sunspot with the very rare track (only on our original demotape!), “Bleed Me Free”!

I’ve got a dirty little secret,
I’m hiding right inside your purse.
I am falling down a deep pit,
Five million years to earth.
I know that it’s not easy for you,
But don’t think that you’re easy on me.
One thousand years in Purgatory,
Might help me bleed it out.

Everybody down.

I’m in a brain-dead nightmare,
Living both sides of a split-screen.
I’ve washed my hands over and over,
But they are still not clean.
I lost equilibrium,
Between purity and vice.
One thousand fishhooks in my eyes,
might help me bleed it out.

Everybody down.

Humours out of balance,
A tortured sanguine frenzy.
Pain is just another addiction,
It can never bleed me free.
Joined at the hip with a psychopath,
Looking in from another reality.
I gave myself a lobotomy,
But only the truth can bleed me free.

Everybody down.

I know that it’s not easy for you,
But don’t think that you’re easy on me.
One thousand years in Purgatory,
Might help me bleed it out.

Everybody down.

196 – Frankenstein: Mary Shelley’s Modern Prometheus Celebrates 200 Years of Terror

Mary Shelley was 18 years old when she dreamed up the idea of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In the villa that Lord Byron was renting during June of 1816. It was the Year Without a Summer, caused by a massive volcano a half a world away that shot so much ash into the air, crops were ruined and temperatures dropped across the Northern Hemisphere. So, stuck inside, Byron challenged his guests to come up with a ghost story.

That night not only gave birth to the first modern science fiction novel through Shelley’s work, which was eventually published anonymously in 1818, but also to the seminal vampire tale by another one of the guests, The Vampyre by John Polidori. You can see a heavily fictionalized account of this in the 80s movie Gothic, directed by Ken Russell who was no stranger to paranormal films, having also directed The Devils, Lair of the White Worm, and even a biography of Rudolf Valentino (written by paranormal author Brad Steiger.)

Mary Shelley and her cohorts like Lord Byron as well as her husband Percy Shelley and stepsister Claire Claremont were proto-Hippie Romantics who believed in free love and a radical upending of the English aristocracy. Basically they were artists who liked to party and get it on and they had the money to do it. Claire and Mary traveled with Percy throughout Europe and Percy’s friends joked that he had two wives. But Claire was really in love with Lord Byron who eventually got her pregnant, but wanted no part of the child’s life. So, these guys were amazing poets, but not so hot on commitment.

So now, we’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publishing of her amazing debut novel. The hubris of a brilliant scientist who dreamed of cheating death and is undone by his own creation seems as potent of a message now as it was when she wrote it. We’ve had all kinds of Frankenstein’s Monsters in that time from Christoper Lee to Boris Karloff’s defining take.  However Shelley’s creation wasn’t the dumb character from the Universal monster movies, spoofed by sketches such as this Phil Hartman Frankenstein’s Monster character. He was an erudite and well-spoken creature who quoted Milton’s Paradise Lost to his creator.

Of course, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder make fun of this trope in their version, Young Frankenstein (or should I say Fronk-en-shteen?) during the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” sequence where Peter Boyle’s monster hilariously barely gets the vowels out.

Kenneth Branagh’s version with Robert DeNiro as the creature gets him speaking a little more intelligently, but it’s all mumbled by one of America’s greatest living actors. Speaking of hubris, though, Branagh was high on great reviews  in the early 90s though and it seems more like he was more interested in the love scenes with Helena Bonham Carter than doing a more authentic take on the monster movie. There are some great scares though and at least he keeps the Arctic framing story from the novel. I did love it when I was 17.

Still there’s something about the universality of the story that keeps Hollywood coming back (well, besides the fact that it’s a known property in the public domain…) Who doesn’t want to cheat death? Shelley was inspired by real-life Frankensteins who were convinced that if they could understand the power of electricity that they could restore life to a corpse.

Luigi Galvani (the guy who we get the word “galvanize” from) would place electrodes in the body of dead frogs, jolt a current through it, and then watch the legs twitch. He was convinced he was looking at the life energy of the creature and that electricity was the key,

His nephew Giovanni Aldini took it a step farther and would do this with larger animals. He even took the show on the road and crowds were amazed when a recently dead ox would open its mouth or its eyes. He eventually performed the experiments on recently deceased humans as well.

There’s a great example of that in Frankenstein: The True Story from the early 70s. Of course, it once again bastardizes much of Shelley’s novel, but it’s got a great sequence with a severed arm that scared the Bejeezus out of me as a boy.

Mary Shelley herself was no stranger to death. By the time she published Frankenstein, she might have only been twenty but she had lost three children with Percy Shelley. One can see where the fantasy of being able to cheat the great equalizer would be attractive.

The tale of the story’s creation is almost as famous as the creation itself. In the 1980s there were at least two other movies than Gothic that fictionalized that summer ghost story session on Lake Geneva (including one with Hugh Grant and one with Eric Stoltz!)

And of course, there’s a new Mary Shelley film coming out that dispenses with the titular pleasantries and just names the movie after the woman herself, Mary Shelley. So now we have a Twenty-First Century retelling of the how the monster that became Frankenstein was born and instead of a leading man (like Hugh Grant or Gabriel Byrne) taking the center stage, we’re getting it from her perspective.

While some of the most wonderful art was birthed out of the Romantic Movement, the private lives of these creators were sordid and messy, no matter what the ideals of free love preached. That’s the problem with relationships, they get complicated. This week’s song is inspired by complicated relationships and the fight for affection, attention, and loyalty. Here’s the Sunspot track, “Three Corners”.

You can’t make it on your own,
so you take away my only friend,
I see the knife that you’re pointing at my back,
trying to take away my only friend,
I ever had.

Reach for your guns.
I’m ready for war.
Fight to the death,
let’s settle the score.
Try to take me down,
I’ll tear out your heart.
Fight to the death,
so you won’t hurt me no more.

I say my love is stronger than you’ve ever known,
I say you’lll understand after you are gone.
I say that friendship lies in more than just words,
love lies in jealousy and corners never heard.

You say this is just a game.
Tell me that when I’m tearing out your heart,
you raise an axe when my head is on the block,
trying to take away the only friend I ever had.

Reach for your guns.
I’m ready for war.
Fight to the death,
let’s settle the score.
Try to take me down,
I’ll tear out your heart.
Fight to the death,
so you won’t hurt me no more.

I say my love is stronger than you’ve ever known,
I say you’ll understand after you are gone.
I say that friendship lies in more than just words,
our circle has three corners and I know how much it hurts.

195 – Anthropology and the Paranormal: Engaging The Anomalous with Dr. Jack Hunter

Since the last time we talked with paranthropologist Jack Hunter, he’s become a Doctor. So congratulations  to this hard-working academic! His new book, Engaging the Anomalous: Collected Essays on Anthropology, the Paranormal, Mediumship and Extraordinary Experience is coming out this week and for those of you who are interested in learning about the universality of paranormal experiences across cultures, this is the book you want!

engaging the anomalous

Seeing that there was a lack of academic resources that brought together the anthropological approaches to paranormal beliefs and systems (and indeed what I remember from my university days is that we just talked about it in Folklore class), he came up with Paranthropology which is an awesome (and free so you can read it right now!) online academic journal dealing with it. 

Things we learned from our latest conversation:

  • The world’s most famous anthropologist Margaret Mead was instrumental in getting the Parapsychological Association into the American Association for the Advancement of Science (we mention her in our track “Cannibal”!)
  • Sir E.B. Tylor, thought of as the founder of anthropology, had his own paranormal experience (but was ashamed to admit it, because he was a hardcore evolutionist!)
  • Anthropologists have been reporting paranormal experiences for centuries now but that never seems to come up in the discussion
  • There is many ways to explain supernatural or paranormal occurrences and everyone seems to think their explanation is right, but Jack’s more interested in looking at all of them and how they intersect
  • What we think about paranormal events has more to do with the environment and the planet’s ecology then we often think of. We think of the spirit world as “supernatural” but maybe we can think of it as just another part of nature and our environment.
  • Allison brought up the Kogi people, who raise their Shamen in dark caves for nine years to make their senses more attuned to the spirit world (even that maybe something dramatized for a movie…)
  • There’s lots of talk about the universality of these experiences. What is it about spirituality that makes it so fundamentally human across all cultures?

Jack has also started an educational podcast that you can enjoy on YouTube that connects some of his philosophy on ecology and permaculture (which is the idea of creating agricultural systems that are sustainable and self-sufficient). It’s called “One School One Planet”.

You can also find Doctor Jack Hunter’s latest work, blogposts, and appearances on his website.

Something that really struck me from his book, is having to deal with an academic community that treats the paranormal as hokum. As the forward of Dr. Hunter’s book, Engaging The Anomalous says, there are probably only less than 5 people in the Unites States who make a living as a parapsychological researcher at a university. As someone who dreamed of that as a young man (parapsychology was always my backup plan in case the band didn’t pan out, yeah, guess I was thinking ahead<cough>). the idea that there’s no universities in the United States that are going for parapsychological research while there were several working labs in the 80s shows that we’ve gone backwards when it comes to open minds in our academic communities instead of forwards.

We thought this might be the perfect opportunity to breakout  our song about what it feels like when you go up seemingly immovable objects, sometimes it’s hard to try to be the irresistible force, which we sing about in “Path of Most Resistance”.

I should’ve been an athlete,
but my knees were too weak.
I should’ve been a scholar,
instead of a pubcrawler.
I should’ve moved to California,
like the Chili Peppers said.
I should’ve read more Tony Robbins,
and tried to get ahead.

Every time I try I fail,
I’m Jonah and I’m stuck inside this,
Whale of a time we’ll never have together.
Oh, woe is me.

On the path of most resistance,
Carry on banging my head against the wall.
Keep the world at shouting distance,
There’s no safety net and I’m in freefall.

I should’ve been a rocker,
but never took my chances.
I’m finally on my own now,
like I broke Piggy’s glasses.
Somedays I’m just miserable,
and others I feel boned.
I should’ve been something special,
but instead, I just got pwned.

Every time I try I fail,
I’m Jonah and I’m stuck inside this,
Whale of a time we’ll never have together.
Oh, woe is me.

On the path of most resistance,
Carry on banging my head against the wall.
Keep the world at shouting distance,
There’s no safety net and I’m in freefall.

It’s unacceptable.
It’s unreliable,
in@#$%ingcredible,
unjustifiable.
I’m in crisis mode,
and always on the run,
Starbucks to wake up,
pass out to Ketel One.
Have you tasted loco?
Your mind won’t let you go,
you can’t sit still, you can’t think,
worst-case scenario.
I *HEART* MELANCHOLY.
I love to curse my luck.
My finger’s on the button,
that says self-destruct.

Every time I try I fail,
I’m Jonah and I’m stuck inside this,
Whale of a time we’ll never have together.
Oh, woe is me.

On the path of most resistance,
Carry on banging my head against the wall.
Keep the world at shouting distance,
There’s no safety net and I’m in freefall.

I love to flirt with failure,
I love to make it tough.
Take the hardest way,
close but not close enough.

On the path of most resistance,
Carry on banging my head against the wall.
Keep the world at shouting distance,
There’s no safety net and I’m in freefall.

194 – Real Magic: The Secret Power of the Universe with Dean Radin, PhD

When it comes to psi research and bravely holding the torch against the encroaching darkness of materialism, Dean Radin, PhD is the man who has stood at the forefront. His work as a scientist researching psychic phenomena in the lab while being a spokesperson for approaching psychic phenomena from a scientific perspective is inspiring. Since 2001, he has been the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who we profiled when he passed away in 2016.) His latest book is Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe deserves a spot in your library because it shows how magic might actually work.

real magic
The Audible version of Dean’s new book, Real Magic is narrated by the same guy that does the Dan Brown novels, so it’s about as exciting as non-fiction gets!

In this interview, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts and I cover these topics with Dean and if you’re interested in any of the following, then you’re going to go bananas about our conversation.

  • What is the best scientific evidence proving psychic powers like psychokinesis and telepathy?
  • Are magic rituals necessary?
  • What is the gnosis state and how do you get there?
  • How can people use magic in their everyday life?
  • What level of data do you think is needed to prove psi to the mainstream scientific community?

In the lab, psychic powers aren’t measured like in The X-Men, it’s tiny things, like influencing a random number generator or being able to change a photon particle that happens. But that’s what really made me think about how magic can be real. Sure, we might not be able to manifest a car out of thin air or with magic words, but we can certainly influence small things every day that will eventually have big results. Our thoughts can have physical effects and we’re not quite sure why that is, yet. So we need to align our thoughts with what we want, because it will have a real affect on us. Roald Dahl might have said it best in The Twits:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

One of the most interesting things in our conversation that I found was the discussion of how fragile belief can be. As Dean says when he talks about keeping your magic to yourself, “Just an arched eyebrow can ruin it”.  In a world where nothing feels sacred anymore, we have to create that sense of sanctity on our own, free from ridicule. I mean that’s why religions have heresy and have punished it so severely, because they want to create that sense of sanctity and make it so important that you fear breaking it. What does it mean for things to be sacred and how can we create that in our lives?

We laugh along with Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character, but why do affirmations work? When you just say the words it just seems silly. It’s more than just the words, it’s the power that you can give them by making them sacred to you. That’s the potential of belief and using the strength of your will, the secret power of the universe, to make real magic happen

That’s the idea behind this week’s song, that just saying some words and just going through the motions isn’t going to cut it. You need to believe, you need to have a sense of the sacred, no matter what it is. You need more than just “Magic Words”.

Sacrifice a virgin
or tear a beast apart
it’s all just a fool’s errand
if you don’t have the heart
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
open sesame
In the lab Abracadab
I create as I speak
Somethings strangeo presto changeo
synchronicity
and the hocus pocus where you focus
is no guarantee
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me
It takes more than magic words oh you need to believe
Talk is cheap, promises free
If you want to change reality
It takes more than  magic words to cast a spell on me
Kiss your rabbit’s foot
say the sacred rite
don’t you know it’s just for show
if you don’t trust your mind.
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
open sesame
In the lab Abracadab
I create as I speak
Somethings strangeo presto changeo
synchronicity
and the hocus pocus where you focus
is no guarantee
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me
It takes more than magic words oh you need to believe
Talk is cheap, promises free
If you want to change reality
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me

193 – Long Live The King of Nye: Remembering Art Bell

  Coast to Coast AM is the grandaddy of all paranormal talk shows. It is the original and it’s a big reason why a show like See You On The Other Side exists.  Its founder and greatest host, Art Bell passed away on Friday the 13th. Art Bell wasn’t just a talk show host, he singlehandedly took the discussion of weird topics from the fringe of the airwaves to front and center every night. Talking about ghosts used to be just for Halloween, talking about UFOs would be reserved for science fiction tie-ins or special events. Art Bell didn’t just have a national talk show dealing with alternative histories, life on other planets, psychic powers, and all the paranormal topics that we love, he made it the second most popular talk show in the United States(!)

Art Bell
Art Bell with his eyes to the skies

In the 90s, Art Bell helped the paranormal go mainstream.  Over 10 million listeners tuned in to Coast to Coast AM at its most popular and all of us here at See You On The Other Side listened faithfully. Art Bell was the soundtrack to hundreds of my dreams (and nightmares) as I would always put the radio on as I went to bed.  In the days right before the emergence of the Internet, Coast to Coast AM provided a community and an outlet for fringe beliefs and strange encounters.  This wasn’t a convention or a users group meetup or a small BBS in your town, this was paranormal discussion on your radio every single night of the week, all across the country.

Art Bell’s deep voice was made for radio and his demeanor of patience and acceptance even while dealing with the most whacked out callers seemed custom-made for his topics. Art kept his calm no matter what, challenging his guests when they went too far, but at the same time never treating them dismissively.

That might have been his greatest strength and the reason why he is so beloved in the community. That balance between healthy skepticism and credulity is what made him the perfect host. The paranormal is a tricky topic. You’re dealing with things that many people don’t believe in and will treat you as if you’re crazy if you do. It’s not an easy thing to talk about with respect to both sides, reality and the experiencer. Art Bell was able to straddle that line with a grace that no one else has been able to match since.

art bell
Art Bell in a press photo taken at the height of Coast to Coast AM’s popularity in the 90s

Art Bell could make you feel welcome no matter what. Coming up in the late 80s, it was an era of shock jocks and confrontational hosts. It is a testament to the man that his show had the most outrageous topics, but had the most civil conversations.  He created a community and a format that is still strong decades later, even after he retired. Coast To Coast AM still runs every night and has over 2.75 million listeners a week.

In this episode of the podcast, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, Wendy Lynn, and I discuss the impact that Art had on our lives. Wendy and I used to listen to him in our band van as we drove in the middle of the night, excited that we could pick up the signal and had something fun to help keep us awake. Allison was a Coast to Coast insider from almost the beginning and would let me know when the best guests were going to be on. Allison heard it live when the most famous call was placed. This “Area 51 employee” called in to warn the rest of the world about the disasters that were coming. His frantic, terrified voice and the fact that the satellite uplink broke in the middle of the call made for some legendary conspiracy discussions in the late 90s.

We remember the great Art Bell in this episode, from our favorite guests to his untimely and mysterious retirements, from his greatest calls to the time that I almost got through to tell my own story . Thank you for the memories, Art, and thank you for setting the stage for all of us.

They still do it to this day on Coast to Coast, “Open Line Fridays”. They were (and are) some of the most fun (and most frustrating) episodes  of the show. It’s an all-night free-for-all call in where they might have a “Vampire” hotline, which is a line dedicated to anyone who might be a vampire, that they can call in. Or it could be “alien abductees” or people who think that they’re “The Anti-Christ”, or any number of awesome paranormal propositions. You never knew what you were going to hear when they opened it up to the community on Fridays.

That’s what this week’s song is about. We’re dedicating this special tribute song to Art Bell and the power of the community that he created. It was always ridiculous fun when the calls would come in and you never knew what you were going to hear when Art would say you’re “On The Line”.

Somewhere in the desert
a lonely trailer stands
well the wizard of the air sits there
with a microphone in his hand
strange lights in the distance
and mystery on the lips
destination unknown
we’re going live without a script

And who knows crazy things we’ll hear today?

It don’t matter if you’re a liar
or an angel or a vampire
we’ll you’re preaching to the choir
in the dark of the night
Just don’t waste our time
when you’re on the line

Maybe you’re ex-CIA
maybe you worked Area 51
We never knew who would call in,
all we knew is it’d be fun

And somewhere in the desert
there’s still a voice going through the night
and as the clock strikes twelve, you can almost hear
West of the Rockies you’re on the line.

And who knows crazy things we’ll hear today?

It don’t matter if you’re a liar
or an angel or a vampire
we’ll you’re preaching to the choir
in the dark of the night

It don’t matter if you’re a liar
or an angel or a vampire
we’ll you’re preaching to the choir
in the dark of the night
Just don’t waste our time
when you’re on the line
when you’re on the line
when you’re on the line

192 – The Nightmare: Incubi, Succubi, and the Demons of Sleep Paralysis

If you’ve ever experienced sleep paralysis, you know it’s not a laughing matter. You wake up to find yourself with a pressure on your chest, surrounded by nightmare creatures, and you can’t move. Sleep paralysis can make you question reality, after all, your dreams are showing up in your waking life. They are having a physical effect on you. No wonder that for millennia they’ve showed up in cultures all over the world. It’s the kind of thing that you write songs about!

Canadian filmmaker Adam Grey was so terrified by his Old Hag experience that he made a movie on it with his brother called The Nightmare (and we interviewed them about their film back in episode 59). Dr. Martin Walsh was in Zanzibar when a legendary succubus-like creature known as the Popo Bawa was terrifying the African island back in the 1990s (and we interviewed him about that in episode 133). There have been dozens of names across cultures for the creatures they blame for causing nightmares.

In Mesopotamia and early Jewish writing, they were the Lillin. In Hmong culture, it is the tsog tsuam (which was killing men as recently as the 1980s.) The word “mare” in nightmare isn’t supposed to be a horse, but actually a little goblin that sits on your chest. In the Middle Ages, these night terrors were associated with sexual assault. The succubus would have sex with men while they slept while the incubus would attack women. Various demonologies of the time even suggested that since the spawn of the Devil couldn’t get you pregnant, the succubus could steal the semen of a man and have the incubus plant it in a woman to create an evil child.

One of the aliens from Communion

My own experience with sleep paralysis wasn’t sexual, but it certainly was a waking nightmare. It happened the same week I was going to start junior high school in 1989. I hadn’t seen the Communion move yet, but I’d been looking at the face of the grey alien in checkout lines at the grocery store for years at that point. I was young but I knew it had to do with alien abduction.

I had long experienced nightmares, night terrors, and some light sleepwalking. That’s one of the reasons that I was interested in lucid dreaming from a very young age (we talk about that as well as some lucid dreaming techniques in episode 2), I was hoping to conquer the demons that stalked my dreamworld. Plus, you had movies like Dreamscape telling you that if you die in a dream you die in real life. I knew I had to figure out a way to stop these guys.

That week I had checked out Communion from the local library, I wanted to see what the fuss was about for myself. It was an interesting enough book, not as scary as I thought it would be, but one of the things that he talks about is sleep paralysis. In the book, he mentions that waking up he could be trapped in a hypnopompic trance. Hypnopompia is the state when you move from dreaming to waking and sometimes you can experience a hallucination like you were still dreaming. Except your muscles are still paralyzed from being asleep.

I had never heard of that before and just the idea of it terrified me. Even if it was still just a dream, the idea that the monsters from my nightmare could visit me in  real life, like when Nancy pulls Freddy Krueger into the physical world in the original A Nightmare On Elm Street was a pants-pooping proposition.

So what happens? Two days before school starts, I’m reading in bed while a strange light fills my bedroom wall, filtered out by the curtain from the window. My room was the one that faced the street and I thought it might be a car backing up into our driveway and pulling out, but I don’t hear the car and we live in a rural area where cars very infrequently come by. And we had a long driveway, for the lights to get into the room, they’d have to come up a bit because they would have been blocked out by the woods between the street and the house. Anyway, both my parents were home so it wasn’t one of their cars. Who was it? I don’t know, by the time I got the courage to go to the window there wasn’t any car there. But it planted a seed in my head, as silly as I thought it was at the time, that it was like a spaceship was landing out there.

And that was it. I wasn’t really scared as much as I let my imagination run a little bit wild and thought that I was being ridiculous. So, I went to sleep, fully knowing that tonight was the night that I would need to get rest because you can never sleep before the first day of school.

I woke up a few hours later in my darkened room and I couldn’t move. When I opened my eyes I saw a group of white faces in a semi-circle around my bed and they were looking down at me. The faces were triangular with almond-shaped eyes just like on the cover of Communion. The feeling was sheer terror (something that I was used to after waking up from so many nightmares) and I knew that the light I saw really was an alien ship. They’ve come for me just like they came for Barney and Betty Hill and just like they came for Whitley Streiber and his son. After a few seconds until the faces disappeared and I could move again.  The fear subsided and I realized that I experienced exactly what Streiber was talking about in the book, a hypnopompic trance.

There wasn’t any other signs of abduction. I didn’t have any missing time and I didn’t feel any strange pains or anything. My familiarity with bad dreams made me realize that it was all in my head. I certainly wasn’t enchanted by the possibility that this could be a regular occurrence though, like my near daily nightmares.

However, I was lucky and it wasn’t regular. I don’t remember ever experiencing it to that extent again. Some people however, aren’t so lucky, and they experience these hypnogogic (while they’re falling asleep) or hypnopompic trances (while they’re waking up) several times a week.

Now, while I read a couple of classic prayers from the Middle Ages on the podcast meant to protect you from nightmares (in a completely horrible accent too!), there are a couple of modern devotions (written in the 21st Century!) about protecting yourself from sexual assault by an incubus or succubus. You might want to check out the “Prayer Against The Sexual Demons of the Night” or this guide to how to handle if you get attacked by a “lust demon” (or you just have a wet dream.)

But if you’re interested in something a little more reasonable, there’s been some scientific research in the past few years in how to handle sleep paralysis in a more modern way. In fact, they use phantom limb pain research to help understand why the brain feels what it feels. Dr. Baland Jalal has developed a technique called “Meditation-Relaxation Therapy” that is a practice designed to help regular sleep paralysis sufferers to get some kind of relief. You can read part of his scientific paper on it here, but also here are the four steps:

  1. Reappraisal of the meaning of the attack – Remember that you’re in bed, you’re still sleeping. You cannot die from a  nightmare, no matter what Dennis Quaid learned in Dreamscape.
  2. Psychological and emotional distancing – Try not to be afraid. It’s just your REM activity. Remember your dreams can’t hurt you.
  3. Inward focused-attention meditation – Go to your happy place. For real, conjure up a nice memory. It helps.
  4. Muscle relaxation -Don’t fight, don’t move, it only makes it worse. You’ll react poorly to being paralyzed and you’ll freak out (I did.)

Now, this isn’t something you’re going to remember every time something  like this happens to you, but for regular sufferers of sleep paralysis, this practice is a place to start. And it’s great that we’re doing something besides trying to make people pray for forgiveness because they used to like Bluegrass music!

 

the nightmare
Here’s a still from another movie called The Nightmare about sleep paralysis

One of the things we talk about in the podcast is the William Shatner movie called Incubus filmed in 1966 that’s completely shot in Esperanto (a universal language invented in the Nineteenth Century for proto-hippie peace and love reasons.) You can watch the whole thing on youTube (for now at least) right here:

For the song this week, we unearthed a Sunspot track inspired by a succubus. “Goodbye Good Guy” uses a little bit of the bedtime imagery to talk about what you have to do to get rid of someone who is ruining your life. Sometimes you have to change who you are to become who you want to be, and it’s not usually pretty.

Sometimes the strength in me builds up,
But fails me when you cry,
I’m not a heartless bastard,
But you’ve driven me to dispossession.

I wanted things this way,
That thought was never left unsaid.
But hey Pinocchio,
How your nose will grow,
When you scream at the back of my head.

Goodbye good guy,
Wipe the cobwebs from my eyes,
This time I’m doing it just for me.
Goodnight sleep tight,
I hope all the bed bugs bite,
I’m sick of cleaning up your debris.

You know I wanted this,
And I created this,
Well I made my bed I’ll lie in it.

I put my heart on hold,
Hoping that you’d hang up.
I’m in suspended animation,
Waiting on a give-up.

I wanted things this way,
That thought was never left unsaid.
But hey Pinocchio,
How your nose will grow,
When you scream at the back of my head.

Goodbye good guy,
Wipe the cobwebs from my eyes,
This time I’m doing it just for me.
Goodnight sleep tight,
I hope all the bed bugs bite,
I’m sick of cleaning up your debris.

You know I wanted this,
And I created this,
Well I made my bed I’ll lie in it.

I wanted things this way,
That thought was never left unsaid.
But hey Pinocchio,
How your nose will grow,
When you scream at the back of my head.

Goodbye good guy,
Wipe the cobwebs from my eyes,
This time I’m doing it just for me.
Goodnight sleep tight,
I hope all the bed bugs bite,
I’m sick of cleaning up your debris.

Goodbye good guy,
Wipe the cobwebs from my eyes,
This time I’m doing it just for me.
Goodnight sleep tight,
I hope all the bed bugs bite,
I’m sick of cleaning up your debris.

You know I wanted this,
And I created this,
Well I made my bed I’ll lie in it.