Category Archives: Podcast

47 – Beyond The Smiley Face Killers: Looking for the Hidden Truth in La Crosse

Since 1997, nine college-age men have drowned in the Mississippi River by La Crosse, Wisconsin. Authorities have consistently said that it’s a result of the men getting too drunk, wandering into the river accidentally, and not being able to get out (or maybe going for a swim and it’s a “death by misadventure”.)

It’s a case that’s close to our hearts because Sunspot has often played in La Crosse and Mike used to work at a television station there in the early part of the century during which some of these deaths occurred.

After Mike and Wendy talk about their new 5-star review, they go into the history of the “smiley face killers” theory.

In 2008, two retired NYPD detectives, Frank Gannon and Anthony Duarte, came up with a controversial theory. They said that a group of serial killers was roaming the Interstate Highways along the Mississippi River and was killing young men all over the country and throwing them in the river to hide their crimes. The detectives claimed that was a pattern of “smiley faces” at each of the scenes where the victims went into the river.

Here’s a documentary about it:

But Neil Sanders, a retired deputy Medical Examiner from La Crosse, just didn’t believe that the “smiley face killers” theory added up and wanted to see if there might be something more to it than serial killers or drunken accidents. He wanted to look into a supernatural explanation. That’s when he contacted Jay Bachochin of Wisconsin Paranormal Investigations and that formed the basis of the documentary film, directed by Scott Markus, The Hidden Truth?. 

Mike and Wendy are then joined by Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts and they proceed to interview Sanders, Bachochin, and Markus about the movie and some of their theories.

There was a steam boat that sank in La Crosse in 1870, the War Eagle, where 5 people died, including a young woman named Mary Ulrich. One of the theories that they pose in the film is that the recent drowning victims might have been “more open to spiritual channels” while inebriated and heard Mary or another ghosts’ voice and jumped in the water to try and save them.

Another part of the movie has Neil talking to a Ho Chunk elder about the “water spirits” of some Native American legends, supernatural entities that live in river and lakes. This is similar to the Slavic vodyanoy or the Welsh kelpie, and that creature was known over here as “the water man”. Allison proceeds to talk about some research that she’s discovered in a 1930s collection of American folklore about water spirits and how the water man might try to “take your soul”!

Jay and Scott talk about their interest in the paranormal and their search for the truth above anything else and how it influenced their decision to document the paranormal investigation into a film. Scott discusses the weird things that happened to some of their equipment while conducting the investigation over the site of the War Eagle sinking and Jay goes into some detail about an interesting EVP that they capture as well.

Paranormal vs. a serial killer vs. accidental drowning – there’s no smoking gun and conclusive evidence in any of the directions. But the conversation wraps up discussing how The Hidden Truth? respects the victims and gives us another theory to entertain as to their true fate.

If you’re interested in purchasing The Hidden Truth?, you can order a DVD copy right here.

This Week’s Song: Smiley Face Murder Club by Sunspot

You were stumbling when you walked along the river,
You were crying when you walked along the river.
You never heard me follow you,
You shoulda watched your liquor.
No one ever expects to be lost without a trace,
No one ever expects the smiling face.

I don’t give a damn what your name was,
I don’t give a damn who you were.
You could have been somebody else,
but it was just your turn.

I wanted to know what it felt like,
and it’s not fair.
But they won’t ever understand,
the bond we now share.
No one ever expects to be lost without a trace,
No one ever expects the smiling face.

46 – Come With Me If You Want To Live: Time Travel and The Terminator

Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts once again joins Mike and Wendy as they start their discussion with what they’re planning on wearing for costumed for June 30th’s  first Asteroid Day, hearkening   back to their discussion of “global-killers”, asteroids that would cause mass extinction events.

But the big discussion this week is Terminator Genisys! Ah-nuld is back and Mike breaks out his impression less than five minutes into the podcast before proceeding to beat that horse dead throughout the episode. They all talk about their first experience with the Terminator (where Allison saw it at a special Arnold Fest hosted by Twin Cities’ independent filmmaker, Michael Heagle.) And in fact, Sunspot once went as the Terminators for a Halloween show where the entire band dressed up like a Terminator…

Sunspot as The Terminators at The Annex in Madison, WI
Have you seen this band?

This week was Alan Turing’s birthday, who was a seminal figure in the history of computers and Artificial Intelligence, as well as helping us win World War II. Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed him in the recent film, The Imitation Gameand was Academy Award-nominated in the role. The Turing Test is something he devised to tell the difference between humans and a computer trying to pose as a human, something used in Blade Runner  as well as a main plot point in the recent movie, Ex Machina.

And they start talking AI, including Eugene Goostman, a chatbot pretending to be a 13-year old Ukrainian boy which passed the Turing Test, successfully fooling the judges that it was a human 33% of the time.  The conversation turns to Kevin Warwick, a leading researcher in “cyborganisms” (listen to the podcast to get that).

Some of the world’s most prominent minds (including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates) have said that Artificial Intelligence could spell the end for the human race. And they talk about how an AI recently got “testy” with its programmer (but that might be more of a sensationalistic spin) and talk about the movie She, which Mike loved (the first likable Scarlett Johansson performance since Lost In Translation, albeit just her voice) but Wendy was lukewarm on the film.

But one of the issues with The Terminator is that (SPOILERS for a 31-year old movie) has an “ontological paradox“,  which is the classic “chicken and the egg” quandary, if Kyle Reese was sent into the past by John Connor to save Sarah Connor from The Terminator and became Jonn Connor’s father in the process, how did John Connor get conceived in the first place? If time is linear, well, how is that possible?

Kyle Reese
I’m the time-travelin’ Baby Daddy!

So, (SPOILERS for the 2014 film, Predestination, so STOP READING NOW if you care about that movie and love Ethan Hawke (who is an unsung hero that’s reliably into sci-fi movies!)) Mike goes into talking about Robert A. Heinlein’s “All You Zombies”, which takes the novelty song, “I’m My Own Grandpa” a little too seriously. The song will eventually also become inspiration for Futurama episode, “Roswell That Ends Well” as well as becoming the inspiration for the latest Spierig Brothers movie, and this discussion eventually turns to Steve Goodman and “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” .

The conversation turns to how time travel could actually work in real life and that leads into wormholes, time dilation, relativity, Matthew McConaughey, and Ender’s Game. Then Wendy wants to know where the evidence is about time travelers in our current life and we finish the episode by talking historical doppelgängers, the Count of  Saint Germain, and the “time-traveling hipster“.

Nicolas Cage will live forever.
I’m a vampire and I could eat a peach for hours.


This Week’s Song is “The Slingshot Effect” by Sunspot:

The muscle in my chest that keeps the beat won’t let me rest.

The clock that’s running out, sometimes it can get worn out.
Because my heart’s a time machine,
that wants to change my history,
take out my enemies, alter my destiny.

All the ones I should have kissed,
All the chances that I missed,
this time I’ll invest,
I’ll fix what I wrecked with,
The Slingshot Effect.

We’ll go so fast that we’ll erase the past.
I’m gonna retcon my whole life.
Event one, hit the reset button.
We get to start again,
we get to start again tonight.

I’ll stop myself from telling lies,
And I won’t step on butterflies.
Every little regret,
Is now something I can correct.
Because my heart’s a time machine,
that can change all my history.
give myself an intervention,
across the fifth dimension.

All the words I should have said,
All the lives I could have led.
this time I’ll invest,
I’ll fix what I wrecked with,
The Slingshot Effect.

We’ll go so fast that we’ll erase the past.
I’m gonna retcon my whole life.
Event one, hit the reset button.
We get to start again,
we get to start again tonight.

There’s no going back,
no alternate reality.
Tonight’s the night I reboot,
all my continuity.

There’s no going back,
no alternate reality.
Tonight’s the night I reboot,
all my continuity.

The muscle in my chest that keeps the beat won’t let me rest.

We’ll go so fast that we’ll erase the past.
I’m gonna retcon my whole life.
Event one, hit the reset button.
We get to start again,
we get to start again tonight.

I don’t need a contraption,
to pay for my infractions,
I can’t make everything correct,
I don’t need The Slingshot Effect.
My convoluted history,
always slingshots right back at me.
I will not live by hindsight,
I will start again tonight.

The muscle in my chest that keeps the beat won’t let me rest.
The muscle in my chest that keeps the beat won’t let me rest.

45 – Pop Culture Professor: Rise of the Geeks

This week’s episode features Dr. Rebecca Housel, the Pop Culture Professor, who is an author, speaker, and professor of writing at Nazareth College. She’s written books like True Blood and Philosophy and The X-Men and Philosophy, in addition to being a panel moderator for Wizard World for several years.

Dr. Rebecca Housel and John Barrowman
Dr. Rebecca Housel with Captain Jack himself, John Barrowman!

Mike and Wendy kick off their own conversation in the beginning by catching up a little bit on their week and discussing Mike’s weird dream of running a marathon dressed in a Freddie Mercury unitard.

Freddie Mercury unitard
And now you can’t get the sweet thought of Mike wearing this out of your head, can you?

And then the interview with the Pop Culture Professor begins as Mike talks to Dr. Housel about her identification with The X-Men as a girl, because it was one of the only comics to feature female characters as equals to their male counterparts. That leads her to a short discussion of working with Stan Lee on various panels and how  she learned that the original name for The X-Men was not so mono-gendered, but it was to be known as The Mutants. One of Marvel’s editors in the 1960s was convinced that it would sell better with “X” in the title, so that’s why they changed it.

From there, they discuss how she became known as Professor Pop Culture. In her classes, she started using examples from movies, comics, TV shows, and modern books to get her students more interested in their writing and all of a sudden it became one of the most popular classes on campus.

Shortly after, she started writing books connecting cult entertainment with larger philosophical themes and got a job as a panel moderator at Wizard World, working with everyone from Stan Lee to Michael Madsen to Joss Whedon. She tells a few of her favorite stories (including flirting with Mister Blonde and openly weeping at meeting Ron Glass, Shepherd Book himself!)

Michael Madsen as Mister Blonde in Reservoir Dogs
You got real nice ears…

The conversation then turns to the rise of “geek culture” in today’s media landscape (nothing’s more popular than comic book films in the Two Thousand and Teens) but also how it came to dominate the latter part of the Twentieth Century, how thoughtful entertainment triumphed over less challenging fiction, and the impact of 9/11 on the modern landscape and the popularity of zombies and post-apocalyptic scenarios (and the interesting cycle of villainous zombies turning to sympathetic monsters over time.)

They then discuss the history of the paranormal in popular culture and how it even began with the invention of Lillith in the original Hebrew creation story. That’s right, Adam had a first wife and he got rid of her because she was sassy, being his equal (made from the same clay) instead of his subordinate (made from his rib!) She became the original vampire who had threatened Adam’s future children when she left Eden and the word “lullaby” actually comes from the Hebrew phrase for “Lillith, go away.”

This moves onto Kali, whose worshippers are the famous Thuggees from not only Gunga Din but also as the fearsome antagonists in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Dr. Housel explains the concept of Kali and how she’s been misrepresented in pop culture through the years.

Mola Ram with a flaming heart from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom
Eat Your Heart Out, Indy!

The final part of the interview is about Doctor Housel’s own strange paranormal encounters and a little bit about why the Ghost Hunters and paranormal TV shows have dominated cable networks over the past few years.

Read Dr. Housel’s Professor Pop Culture blog right here and you can find her books on Amazon.

This week’s song: “Catfished From Space” by Sunspot

I met her in an X-Files chat,
joking about first contact.
And we talked all night about disclosure and abductees.We had so much in common,
We bonded on Blake’s 7,
She sounded like the perfect fracking geek.She found me every night online,
with a DM and a bottle of wine,
She knew it all from Aliens to Zardoz.

She said she was an ET,
which was really sexy to me,
And I thought it was just a big joke because

She said she was from Alpha Centauri,
I thought that was a code for a town in Missouri.
She used to joke about ruling the human race
That’s when I got Catfished from Space.

She said she’s an otherworldly monster,
That would come to Earth to slaughter,
but that she would do her best to help me to survive.

She talked about her tentacles,
and three sets of genitals,
I just thought she was a fan of Hentai.

I didn’t care if she was pretty,
I knew she was the girl for me,
when she said her favorite cookbook was ‘To Serve Man’

Scheduling a meet up,
so that we could hook up,
She said she had the perfect place to land.

She said she was from Alpha Centauri,
I thought that was a code for a town in Missouri.
She used to joke about ruling the human race
That’s when I got Catfished from Space.

When I woke from where I lay,
It was like Independence Day,
A big V mothership right over my town.

The army put up quite a fight,
But was gone by Dawn’s early light,
that was the day Humanity went down.

It’s not quite happily ever after,
because the planet’s a disaster,
I’m the human pet that’s closest to her hearts.

It’s like Battlefield Earth you know,
post-apocalyptic scenario,
I just wish I’d believed her from the start.

When she said she was from Alpha Centauri,
I thought that was a code for a town in Missouri.
She used to joke about ruling the human race
That’s when I got Catfished from Space.

44 – Dracula to The Wicker Man, Star Wars to Saruman: Remembering the Great Christopher Lee

With hundreds of film credits, horror icon Christopher Lee is listed in the Guinness a Book of World Records as the most prolific actor in cinema history. With his passing last week at the ripe old age of 93 years old, it was the final act for an artist for whom retirement was never even an option. Most famous for his work as Dracula in the Hammer Horror films, Lee would go on to appear in the most successful movie franchises in history. He was James Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, The unfortunately named Count Dooku (AKA the badass Darth Tyranus) in the Star Wars prequels, the traitorous Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and the good Saruman in The Hobbit, he was even in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on TV (in that interesting experiment in how patient viewers would be watching a history lesson disguised as an Indiana Jones story with no action.) Christopher Lee found his villainous way into just about everything.

Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins Mike and Wendy as they discuss Christopher Lee’s fascinating life and career. They start by dissecting his most famous roles in the Hammer horror films and friendship with fellow Star Wars alum (and movie Doctor Who) Peter Cushing. But the discussion quickly veers to Lee’s Old World upbringing, his real life badassery serving in the special forces in World War II (he told Peter Jackson, his LoTR director, exactly how a person really sounds when they’re stabbed in the back), how he witnessed France’s final execution by guillotine, and even his late period heavy metal career. Lee’s symphonic metal albums were all about the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, and Lee himself in true Old World fashion said that h can trace his own lineage back to the Frankish king.)

The longest discussion though is saved for a role that Lee considered his greatest and that is of Lord Summerisle in the 1973 (very distinctly) British pagan thriller, The Wicker Man, a role that he helped create by getting together with the screenwriter, Anthony Schaffer, and director, Robin Hardy, to try and blend their talents to create something truly memorable. And they succeeded, Mike tells of when he first watched the film with his Dad when he was a child and his mother comically disapproved of all the pagan nudity of the film. When Mike selected it for rental (back when we all used to rent VHS tapes from a grocery store), he merely thought that it looked cool because it featured Edward Woodward from The Equalizer and they had no idea what they were in store for.

christopher lee - the wicker man
Christopher Lee looking awesome in front of The Wicker Man!

(WARNING – SPOILERS FOR A 42 YEAR OLD MOVIE) A perfect “Age of Aquarius”-era ode to how Paganism is connected to the natural world of the flesh (sexuality)and the land (agriculture), while it contrasts Christianity as focusing on self-deprivation and the world to come. And The Equalizer could have saved himself from a Burning a Man-style sacrifice by just succumbing to his natural urges with Willow (the deliriously sexy 70s Britt Ekland.) Either way, it’s definitely not the feel good movie of the year and in the end, the good guys don’t win (or do they?) Everybody talks about the 2006 Nicolas Cage-starring, Neil LaBute-directed remake, which turns Pagan vs. Christian into a Battle of the Sexes and is an (unintentional, maybe?) laugh riot in its own right.

The discussion ends with a warning from Christopher Lee to not mess with the occult, because you’ll not only lose your mind, “you lose your soul.” This week’s song is a special one too, because it features Wendy singing Paul Giovanni’s “Willow’s Song” (NSFW), which is easily the most famous track from The a Wicker Man (probably because in the movie, it’s four minutes of nude singing, kind of like the video for “Blurred Lines” but much less douche-y.)

Willow's Song - The Wicker Man
Willow singing her song!


“Willow’s Song” from The Wicker Man, as performed by Sunspot.

Heigh ho! Who is there?
No one but me, my dear.
Please come say, how do?
The things I’ll give to you.

A stroke as gentle as a feather
I’ll catch a rainbow from the sky
and tie the ends together.

Heigh ho! I am here.
Am I not young and fair?
Please come say, how do?
The things I’ll show to you.

Would you have a wond’rous sight?
The midday sun at midnight.

Fair maid, white and red,
Comb you smooth and stroke your head.

How a maid can milk a bull!
Mmmmm-mmmm And every stroke a bucketful.

La-la-la La-la-la

43 – Bigfoot and Aliens and Ghosts, Oh My! Behind the Scenes at Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2015

It’s a special episode as this week we’re recording from on location at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference!

Mike and Wendy combine forces with Milwaukee Ghosts’ Allison Jornlin and Madison Ghosts Walks tour guide Lisa Van Buskirk! The event takes place at the Irish Cultural Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a large chapel-like area hosts the main speakers for the conference, and a few side rooms host booths for attendees like us.

The Irish Cultural Center was a great setting for the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2015
The Irish Cultural Center was a great setting for the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2015

It’s a regular party at our booth, which has a color-changing disco light and is conveniently situated directly adjacent to an Irish Pub within the conference center. We meet plenty of nice people while sharing information about our podcast and ghost tours, and we ask willing volunteers to share with us the weirdest thing they have seen or experienced.

See You On The Other Side, Milwaukee Ghosts, and Madison Ghost Walks' fabulous booth
See You On The Other Side, Milwaukee Ghosts, and Madison Ghost Walks’ fabulous booth

Kicking off the conference was Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts’ presentation on Milwaukee Forteana (which is another word for unexplained and weird stories!) The main room really was a beautiful old church that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at in the 50s!

Milwaukee Ghosts presentation
Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts, talking about famous cases of weirdness from the Brew City

A lot of the presenters and speakers have made appearances  on our podcast before, so it was great to catch up with some of them, from Roswell investigator Don Schmitt to MUFON representative and Star Trek writer, Mark O’Connell

Hanging out with MUFON's Mark O'Connell, another featured speaker
Hanging out with MUFON’s Mark O’Connell

The exhibitor hall is a hustling, bustling place with a continuous din of excited conversation clearly audible throughout the interviews.

The exhibitor hall was packed all day long!
The exhibitor hall was packed all day long!

The stories range from ghosts to Ouija board to the unknown/unexplainable experience- the very kinds of topics we enjoy discussing on our show:

  1. Justin shares a couple experiences he had with a ghost who haunted his friend’s apartment in West Bend.
  2. Malia (of the band Ocean Rush) tells a terrifying tale of her encounter with a giant black mass that appeared as she performed “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in her studio.
  3. Vicki lived in a home which was inhabited by a musician ghost who would appear when she played the piano, and would wake up her son in the night with the song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”.
  4. Haley had a week of terror during a stressful time in her life which included a weird presence touching her wrist and pulling her hair, her cat going crazy for no reason, and other unexplained happenings.
  5. Lisa had a roommate who seemed to be surrounded by unexplainable occurrences. Were these events caused by the spirits of tragically lost family members?
  6. Jackie & Shannon, of Stateline Paranormal Investigations, visited a graveyard in Poplar Grove, Illinois. At the same time and place within the graveyard, Jackie acquired an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) clearly stating “Here I am. He killed me.” and Shannon got a photo which revealed flames emerging from the ground.
  7. Nicki tells about a mysterious miniature hand print that appeared on her bedroom wall. Although it was initially quite frightening, the marking eventually brought a positive experience to her.
  8. Maria saw BIGFOOT! But maybe not where you’d expect…
  9. Chris of The Zombie Squad tells about an apartment he lived in that was above a haunted restaurant.
  10. Kristan of The Rundown Live talks about GIANTS! While doing some research, he discovered information about abnormally tall/large skeletons of people, which some believe could have been human/alien hybrids.
  11. Monica tells the story of her own childhood experience with a Ouija board. Through routine playing with the board, she and her brother started getting answers that actually checked out and led them to a local graveyard that they did not previously know of.
  12. David and Dave, fellow podcasters from Blurry Photos, share what drew them into the world of “weird stuff”. Then they share their own weirdest experiences: a dream so real it could have been an actual alien abduction, and a visit from a giant shadow presence that may have actually broken a hole in the living room ceiling.
  13. Tea Krulos, event organizer and author of the brand new book, Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators (also our featured guest in Episode 25), recaps the day and receives a special delivery from none other than Bigfoot herself during the interview!
Mike and Wendy with Tea Krulos, the man behind the Con!
Mike and Wendy with Tea Krulos, the man behind the Con!

Featured Song: Bigfoot Polka by Sunspot

See that guy across the floor, he needs a good barber,
That hairy dude is desperate for a cute dancing partner.
None of the girls ever give our hirsute friend half a chance,
The main problem is that his feet are just too big to dance.

Oh Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman,
is he ape or is he human?
He might be the missing link from chimp to humanity,
but when we dance those gosh darn feet are just too big for me.

You might think that he’s innocent, like he just wants a friend,
but he’s not the sweet beast we saw embrace the Hendersons.
Bigfoot’s stumbling around, he’s had a little too much beer,
I’m not gonna, how about you, tell him “get out of here”?

Oh Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman,
is he ape or is he human?
He might be the missing link from chimp to humanity,
but when we dance those gosh darn feet are just too big for me.

This is bad, he’s getting mad, he’s gonna make a scene,
He’s grunting and pounding his chest, he’s looking right at me.
He grabbed a beer barrel and threw it right on the dance floor,
And now’s the time I think we all should polka out the door.

Oh Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman,
is he ape or is he human?
He might be the missing link from chimp to humanity,
but when we dance those gosh darn feet are just too big for me.

Feet too big, feet too big, feet too big to dance, Hey!
Feet too big, feet too big, feet too big to dance, Hey!
Feet too big, feet too big, feet too big to dance, Hey!
Bigfoot’s come, we better run from those feet too big to dance, hey!

42 – Secrets of the Vatican: Pope Francis and UFO Disclosure

Once again, Mike and Wendy are joined by Milwaukee Ghosts’ Allison Jornlin for a discussion on some upcoming web articles that Pope Francis is going to finally disclose that alien life has visited Earth and we’re going to make real first contact. Why Pope Francis and what does Catholicism have to do with extraterrestrial life? Well, the Catholic Church has been setting up the possible existence of aliens for years now, and that’s what we discuss about the podcast.

Mike mentions that he finished his marathon in Minneapolis on Sunday and they discuss their appearance on BBC Radio 5 discussing the #charliecharliechallenge.

Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on YOU?! #nikeplus #minneapolis #marathon

A photo posted by sunspotmike (@sunspotmike) on

But first, we preview the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference where Allison will be a featured speaker on Milwaukee Forteana and we’ll all be hanging out recording the next podcast and talking to attendees to get their weirdest stories.

Okay, so Pope Francis, popular among people outside of just Catholics because he’s brought new life into an old Church with his Liberation Theology politics (Catholics are usually economically liberal and socially conservative, like the political opposite of Libertarians) more tolerant attitude on social issues versus the hardline of Pope John Paul II and the unpopular-in-the-United-States Benedict.

So, with Pope Francis setting the world on fire with his decrees and allegiance with the poor, is he the one who’s going to reveal the existence of aliens to us? There’s been several articles this week that he might do so on June 5th(!) or perhaps a little later in the month.

It’s not like Catholics don’t have a fascination with outer space, in fact, there’s a Vatican Observatory located in an extinct volcano in Italy (as well as a branch in Tuscon, Arizona of all places!) and the Vatican lead a special conference on extraterrestrial life in 2009. Pope Francis himself in 2014 declared that he would baptize Martians if they came to Earth and wanted to become Catholic.

The Vatican Observatory and the scientist priests that work there have also been featured in films like The Omen (the birth of the Anti-Christ is foretold in star alignment just like the Star of Bethlehem) and Arnold Schwarzennegger’s blockbuster movie, End of Days (Mike proceeds to do a horrible Ah-nuld accent through much of the podcast once they start talking about this film.) Allison thinks that they might be using the observatory to look for Biblical prophecy and signs of Armageddon (not the crapola Bruce Willis movie, please) or Revelation.

Ged to da housekeepah

Then this breaks down to a talk about Asteroid Day which is coming on June 30th and all involved declare their love for Brian May, the guitarist of Queen and astrophysicist, who is an advocate of the new holiday.

Jaws was never my scene And I don’t like Star Wars

Finally, the discussion goes into whether or not Jesus and Satan were aliens, which is the premise of the John Carpenter classic, Prince of Darkness (which you can watch on Google Play or iTunes right now for not even $3, so if you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now.)

Anyway, the conversation ends with a discussion on how it’s a touch hypocritical that the Church looks down on Astrology and Divination, yet looks to the sky for Biblical prophecy and signs from the stars, so what do they know that we don’t? We hope to find out this month when the Pope finally declares that aliens live among us and we for one welcome our new extraterrestrial overlords.

Song of the Week: “Messiah Complex” by Sunspot

When Constantine saw the cross,
burning in the sky,
Another bleeding heart thinks they can fix our broken lives.
While you’re waiting for your vision,
In your existential dread.
These bargain basement martyrs
Still just wind up dead.

It’s the messiah complex,
that happens before childhood’s end.
But just because you’re not alone,
doesn’t mean you have a friend.

So save yourself,
in a world full of victims,
Spending their whole life,
waiting for the knife.
Save yourself,
we got to save ourselves,
Or we’ll never survive.
No one gets out alive.

They tell us we have sinned,
they tell us we are cursed,
and if you want to get to Heaven,
you’ve got to walk through Hellfire first.
So you’d like be a saint
Well, here’s my advice,
all that crushing guilt is just empty sacrifice.

It’s the messiah complex,
that happens before childhood’s end.
But just because you’re not alone,
doesn’t mean you have a friend.

So save yourself,
in a world full of victims,
Spending their whole life,
waiting for the knife.
Save yourself,
we got to save ourselves,
Or we’ll never survive.
No one gets out alive.

41 – Charlie Charlie, Can You Play? Supernatural Party Games from Bloody Mary to The Candyman

Taking the Internet by storm this week, it’s the “Charlie Charlie” game! Is it really summoning a Mexican demon? Ummmmmmm, probably not, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a fascinating origin and relationship to teenage supernatural party games. A little mix of the Ouija Board (which, don’t worry, will get its own show sometime soon!) to Bloody Mary, “the pencil game” started off as something relatively harmless and became a crazy sensation on the Internet over Memorial Day Weekend of 2015.

So, who do we have to thank for that? Well, it’s been a slow news week and Americans are going on vacation. That’s exactly when the media decides to indulge its weird side and talk about hashtags. So #charliecharliechallenge became a quick Vine video that a million teenagers could do this past weekend.

Here’s Mike asking the question, “Charlie Charlie, Can You Play?”

Mike and Wendy discuss the origins of the game and how it’s not really a Mexican demon (because why wouldn’t it be #carlitocarlito?) and how the original game is based on trying to talk to the sport of an abused child. But why do the pencils move? Well, that’s explained by the most powerful force in the universe (well, the second most powerful, we all know the most powerful is Hulkamania, brother.) So, that leads them into a discussion of the classic game, Bloody Mary!

Derived from an early twentieth century game where a girl walks up a darkened staircase backwards with a candle and a mirror and will supposedly see the face of her future husband, the legend of Bloody Mary (or Mary Worth) became a popular game in the 1960s and has been played at sleepovers and middle school parties ever since.

There’s a reason that the adolescent mind is fascinated with the paranormal and the conversation turns to science for a second as they discuss the developing mind and why these games are so popular for that age group.

Mike and Wendy then tackle “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” and how it’s a game that’s been played since at least the 17th Century. In fact, the famed English diarist, Samuel Pepys talks about it, as a ritual performed to protect against the plague in London. And that’s not the first time that sacred rituals have been turned into children’s games…

So Bloody Mary has influenced pop culture in a big way as well. First of all, in a few not really good movies, except for Paranormal Activity 3, which Mike helped promote as part of his Madison Ghost Walks haunted history tour. Here’s Wendy with a t-shirt, along with one of the sound guys at our favorite bar, The Frequency. paranormal activity 3

Then, Mike and Wendy talk South Park, Candyman, and Beetlejuice, as some more Bloody Mary influences on some of our favorite movies and TV!

This week’s song, “Charlie Charlie” by Sunspot

Oh Charlie Charlie,
can you tell me if you’re here?
Oh Charlie Charlie,
can you be my secret seer?
Charlie Charlie,
what is the meaning of it all?
Oh Charlie Charlie,
what am I deserving of?
Oh Charlie Charlie,
will I ever fall in love?
Charlie Charlie, show me the writing on the wall.

Oh Charlie Charlie,
was your innocence destroyed?
Oh Charlie Charlie,
does it all come down to Freud?
Charlie Charlie,
what is the meaning of it all?
Oh Charlie Charlie,
did you have a sick father?
Oh Charlie Charlie,
why do you even bother?
Charlie Charlie, show me the writing on the wall.

Are you an angel,
are you a devil?
Or are you just a soul who got lost along the way?
A little game with the great unknown,
to play for what the future holds,
I’m frightened but I just can’t look away,
So Charlie Charlie can we play?

Charlie Charlie, Can You Play? Links

What is the #CharlieCharlieChallenge, and why do teens love it so much?

“The Charlie Charlie Challenge — Contacting the Demonic”, L.A> Marzuli Blog

Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it’s gravity

40 – The Ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard: A Haunted Travelogue

Mike went on a trip last weekend to California and decided to go down the path of some well-known spirits while he was out there, he read an article that said that the ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard had the most haunts per capita of any place in Los Angeles, well, he just had to check it out.

Stop 1 – Hollywood And Vine

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At this famous intersection, it’s said that the ghost of Lon Chaney (the original cinematic Phantom of The Opera) would wait by the bus for failed audition after failed audtion, and it’s sad that’s where continues to wait years after his death.

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Stop 2 – Pantages Theatre

This famous theatre was built by billionaire/crazypants Howard Hughes, and he’s still said to roam the halls. However, Wendy thought the story of the lost wardrobe director who was guided through the darkness by an invisible hand to be even more chilling.

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Stop 3 – Hollywood and Highland

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This strange Egyptian-themed outdoor mall is right next to the Kodak Theatre and the Loews Hotel, it’s the Hollywood when they tell people on American Idol that they’re “going to Hollywood”. It’s also the site of the old Hollywood Hotel, where the cinema’s first teenage heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino, is said to still haunt.

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Stop 4 – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

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Probably the most famous theater in Los Angeles, this is the place where you see the stars put their hands in the concrete. There’s a vengeful ghost of a murdered actor who is said to prowl the theater and there’s the tale of Fritz (plus we mention a scary display from one of the theater’s spirits-in-residence.)

Stop 5 – Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

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We take a step back to Hollywood’s more glamorous past with the Hollywood Roosevelt. Mike and Wendy tell a ridiculous story from the last time they visited there together, and then we talk about the spirits of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift who are said to still haunt the building.

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Stop 6 – Griffith Park

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Mike needed to do some hills to prepare for his upcoming marathon and decided to tackle the road to Griffith Observatory, a strange place indeed, not only cursed by a scorned heiress and is home to the spirit of a suicide, but is also the residence of a pair of lovers who were killed by a felled tree in the middle of the act itself!

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Stop 7 – The Seventh Veil

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Well, since Mike grew up as a monster Mötley Crüe fan, it only seemed right that he visit the famous gentlemen’s club that is said to have inspired their song, “Girls, Girls, Girls” (funny enough Mike didn’t realize that song was about a strip club until a few years ago, having listened to it for years he just thought it was about propositioning girls. Only when he was walking in Paris and stumbled across the Crazy Horse, did he realize, “Oh my god, Mötley Crüe was talking about a strip club!”)

But the name, “The Seventh Veil” not only comes from an Oscar-winning movie (with the always awesome James Mason!), it is also a biblical reference, one of the few gentlemen’s entertainment places to have such a pedigree!

Oscar Wilde, writer of The Picture of Dorian Gray as well as The Centerville Ghost (so he himself was no stranger to paranormal fiction!) wrote a play in Biblical times called Salomé, about the daughter-in-law of King Herod and introduced the concept of the Seventh Veil into his story. The girl performs the Dance of the Seven Veils (something of his complete invention, because the kind of dance is not mentioned in any of the histories) but it was based on the Middle Eastern dances where the girls had veils and Orientalism and Egyptology was very chic at the time – places like the the Oriental Theater and even Hollywood & Highland today were all about that early 20th century fascination with the Middle East!

Ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard Links

Encyclopedia Britannica on Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Haunting

Haunted Hollywood: Where the A-List Ghosts Hang Out, Joal Ryan, Yahoo! omg

The Ghosts and Monsters of the Cursed Griffith Park, Creepy LA

“Haunted Hollywood: 4. Howard Hughes & the Pantages Theater”, Encyclopedia Britannica Blog

This week’s song, “Spotlight” by Sunspot

She always did what what she was supposed to do,
she never cried, or complained.
But she never knew where she was going to,
if this was right, why was it so mundane?

Looking back was a bad dream,
of near misses and lost opportunities,
but when she picks up that mic at Friday Karaoke,
she’s finally who she wants to be.

Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey,
and not the drama of her life.
An American Idol that might be temporary,
She just wants her little place in the spotlight.

She always did what she was told to,
please and thank you, yessir and no ma’am,
but no one cared what she was going through,
work at this, study that, marry him, and don’t look back.

Cuz what she saw was a bad dream,
of near misses and lost opportunities,
but when she picks up that mic at Friday Karaoke,
she’s finally who she wants to be.

Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey,
and not the drama of her life.
An American Idol that might be temporary,
She just wants her little place in the spotlight.

39 – A Deadly Haunting: An Interview With Deborah Moffitt

With notes of The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, and even the under appreciated (in Mike’s opinion anyway) Dead Again, Debbie Moffitt’s A Deadly Haunting is a tale of a California family under supernatural siege in the 1980s.

The story begins with a supposed Santeria ritual performed by a Guatemalan caretaker in the house of Deborah’s grandmother-in-law (she was trying to keep the old woman alive so that she could keep her job and not be kicked out of the country), that opened up a doorway to a demon that terrorized the Moffitt family for years.

The activity began in a house they were renting out, where they thought that the tenant was making strange objects appear in the house in locked rooms and was drawing strange symbols on the walls. The tenant denied any wrongdoing, but gave them one day notice and moved out. Then in another house they were renting out, they were asked by the tenant whether or not someone died there. And in their own house, weird stuff (like their tenants’ underwear) kept on showing up in her mother-in-law’s room and objects on the shelves would turn backwards. In the beginning it was like a game, because they would ask this unseen presence to do things, move stuff around, and it did. But for a long time, nothing threatening was happening.

Until they rented the house again to a couple named and Tom and Michelle, and over time Michelle began to show signs of abuse. When Tom moved out under mysterious circumstances and a stranger later told her that Michelle was found in a landfill, the phenomena started getting more sinister.

When they moved into a new house, they didn’t think that the presence was following them, but three weeks into their new home, a message was left in soap on their mirror, “Talk to me”. And then messages started appearing regularly on the mirror, strange symbols started appearing on the walls, and telling them not to go into the attic. At this point, the whole family became very isolated and wouldn’t have people over to the house except for paranormal investigators (including an associate of our former guest, Loyd Auerbach, the couple who hit mainstream consciousness from The Conjuring, Ed and Lorraine Warren, a Voodoo practitioner, and well-known parapsychologist, Dr. Evelyn Paglini) . The presence, which Debbie would call Mister Entity (but asked to be referred to as Prince), focused all his negativity on her mother-in-law, physically assaulting her, ripping up her clothes, and terrorizing her. She claims that the presence didn’t mess with her or her child, but said that her mother-in-law “belongs to him”.

That’s where the story gets medieval, where Mister Entity told her that her in a past life, her mother-in-law was promised to him by Satanism-practicing monks in a Seventeenth-Century French monastary as a sacrifice. But when the ritual didn’t go down, the presence said that it didn’t matter and he still wanted her even after hundreds of years. And her father-in-law was one of those Satanic monks.

So the relationship between her in-laws starts deteriorating, and a spear even appears in the bed next to her mother-in-law and Mister Entity says that he wants the father-in-law to perform a “blood ritual” on her. Deborah refused, angering the demon, and the terror continued until 1992.

A Deadly Haunting Links

Deborah’s Website, A Deadly Haunting

This Week’s Song: The Keep On The Borderlands by Sunspot

Some days you are my prisoner,
some days you are my guard,
sometimes you are the one thing,
between me and the Dark.

And all the safe and reassuring words,
couldn’t protect any of the herd from,
self-loathing and boredom.
So lock your doors, don’t make eye contact,
and maybe you’ll get out intact,
humbled, embarrassed and ignoble.

So keep on,
keep on,
keep on,
keep on.

38 – Zombie Apocalypse: Science And Superstition Behind… Brains… Brains…

The Zombie Apocalypse. The past decade has seen the living dead explode like no other monster. Vampires had a kick for a little while and ghosts had their due after The Sixth Sense, but really, zombies have been the focus of a dozens of movies over the course of the past decade and at least two TV shows currently running (including cable’s most popular show, The Walking Dead.)

Mike has been obssessed with zombies since he was a little kid and he even mentions his traumatic first encounter with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (where he was tortured by his sister, frequent podcast contributor, Allison Jornlin of Milwaukee Ghosts), and that’s where the discussion begins, as should any discussion with impact of zombies on pop culture, because that film is really where our traditional idea of flesh-eating zombies comes from. Taking his inspiration from Richard Matheson’s brilliant I Am Legend adaptation, The Last Man on Earth (Vincent Price, not Will Forte) and also from the Arabic legend of the “ghoul” (flesh-eating djinn that hang around graveyards, sound familiar?), Romero created a new kind of shuffling terror, more dangerous in numbers than alone.

But the term “zombie” comes from Haitian voudou mythology and that leads to a discussion of the book,The Serpent and The Rainbow, which featured a much more traditional version of the walking dead. Where a bokor (voodoo sorcerer) would use a special zombie powder to turn its victim comatose to the point where people would think he was dead and bury him. Then later the body would be dug up and the man would be taken to a plantation to work as a slave for the bokor (or whoever he was doing the sorcery for.) The non-fiction book, The Serpent and The Rainbow, goes into detail about the world’s most famous zombie, Clairvius Narcisse, a man who died and was buried in 1962, but came back to his village very much not dead in 1980. The book is a more scientific look at the case and also the zombie powder (made from the toxins of a Caribbean puffer fish and a toad), while the movie was a completely fictional retelling, only using the idea of the researcher looking into the zombie powder as a launching-off point into magical horror (however, it’s a pretty sweet movie.)

With that, Mike and Wendy discuss fast zombies and zombie movie remakes for a little bit before getting into how a zombie apocalypse could really happen. First talking about toxoplasmosa gondii, which is a brain parasite that only grows in the stomach of cats. When it infects rats, it makes them run towards felines because it wants them to be eaten so that it can get into that cat belly! Terrifying that it can change rat behavior into something completely suicidal, but even more terrifying is that 50% of humans are already carrying the parasite. Could this be a reason that we domesticated cats and can it affect our behavior? Well the jury is still out because the science is controversial, but a link was found between the parasite and schizophrenia.

The conversation turns towards how even the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have been using the idea of a zombie epidemic to teach crisis preparedness, going so far as publishing a graphic novel about what people should do if a zombie apocalypse were to lurch its way through America. And then the talk finishes with how a television station that Mike used to work for, Newschannel 8 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, accidentally sent a warning out about the dead rising from the grave on its Emergency Broadcast System in 2013. Just how did that happen?

Zombie Apocalypse Links

Watch The Night of the Living Dead online for free

“Based On A True Story: The Serpent And The Rainbow“, Cinema Suicide

CDC Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic Graphic Novel

“TV zombie-attack warning a false alarm”, La Crosse Tribune

“Return Of The Puppet Masters”, Corante, story about Toxoplasma gondii

Today’s Song is “I Was A Teenage Zombie” by Sunspot.

I was a teenage zombie
1313 Mockingbird Lane
other kids liked sports
I wanted brains

Hey now, the saw is family
Hey man, don’t you lose your head
It’s the Night before the Day after the Dawn of the Living Dead

I’m on the cover of Fango
I’m in the Grand Guignol
I’m a Famous Monsters late night picture show

We’re just right down from Elm Street
It’s the Last House on the Left
You know we never mind uninvited guests

Nicer than the Manson Family
Let’s go paint the town RED
It’s the Night before the Day after the Dawn of the Living Dead

I’m on the cover of Fango
I’m in the Grand Guignol
I’m a Famous Monsters late night picture show.