Category Archives: Podcast

127 – Historian Of The Strange: Robert Damon Schneck and The Bye Bye Man

The man who brought us the story of The Bye Bye Man, Robert Damon Schneck is a writer with a passion for finding the weirdest stories of American history. As a writer, he’s delivered articles on strange and unusual topics for Fortean Times (the paranormal gold standard!) and Fate magazine, as well as writing two incredibly well-researched books on the subject.

Robert Damon Schneck The Bye Bye Man
Historian of the Strange, Robert Damon Schneck

When we heard Robert tell the story of The Bye Bye Man on our way back from the Haunted America conference in Alton, Illinois last summer, we just knew we has to bring him on and for several reasons.

  1. The original story of The Bye Bye Man takes place in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, which is a suburb of our hometown, Madison.
  2. It’s college kids playing the Ouija Board, which is what we used to do when we attended the University of Wisconsin.
  3. There’s a part that takes place in Wausau, which is one of our favorite towns to perform in and we have lots of friends there.

So, it’s not every day that you get a true-life terrifying story that takes place in your area. And when we found out they were making a movie of it? Well, that was it. We made the note to contact Robert when the movie was coming out and now that time is here! The Bye Bye Man has arrived on theaters, and one of the special treats is that they kept the location of the film in Madison (even if they didn’t actually shoot the movie here!)

The Bye Bye Man Robert Damon shneck

Robert wrote the tale of The Bye Bye Man as just a single chapter in his 2005 book, The President’s Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America, but it’s become his most famous story. It was told to him at a Devil’s Night party by a friend he met at the Parapsychology Foundation in New York City and that person was actually one of the three people that the story really happened to.

During the cold Wisconsin winter of 1990, three friends kept themselves occupied by messing around with the Ouija Board. But the board put them in touch with a supernatural killer who rode America’s railways and who could sense you if you only thought of his name. Once you said that name out loud, he bound the train in your direction. And not too long afterwards, the friends experienced some strange things that made them believe The Bye Bye Man might be more than just a scary story.

the bye bye man robert damon schneck
Oh no, The Bye Bye Man is so scary, I lost my shirt!

Of course, we make Robert tell the whole story of The Bye Bye Man again in this episode, because that’s half the fun! But if you’re interested in the process of professional writing,  he also gives us the story of how he became a successful paranormal author, what happened that turned a chapter of his book into a wide-release feature film, and some more strange and fascinating facts from our nation’s history.

We heartily recommend following Robert on his Facebook page, Historian of the Strange and pick up a copy of his original book, which has been re-released in 2016 with new material as The Bye Bye Man And Other Strange-But-True Tales.

robert damon schneck the bye bye man gloomsinger
The Bye Bye Man and his hunting beast, Gloomsinger

And, perfect timing, the Page 2 Screen podcast discusses the screenplay for The Bye Bye Man in this week’s episode! We’re curious how the film will compare to Robert’s original telling of the story. Check it out here:  International Screenwriter’s Assocation Page 2 Screen

One of the best parts of The Bye Bye Man‘s story is the killer’s strange accomplice, who acts as something of a hunting dog for The Bye Bye Man. You’ll have to hear the whole story to really appreciate it, but we just couldn’t resist writing a creepy soundtrack for the Bye Bye Man’s little buddy, the terrifyingly named Gloomsinger.

When the whistling of a thousand tongues draws near
When a name will find you once you only hear
On the tracks and impending, never resting, never ending,
the whistling of a thousand tongues draws near

When the vision of a thousand eyes grows nigh,
Seeing you wherever you try to hide,
A friendly voice, knock at the door, a bloody sack, flesh and gore,
When the vision of a thousand eyes grows nigh.

126 – Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot with Joe Gisondi

Joe Gisondi grew up in New Jersey reading the National Enquirer and from an early age. Before 1967, the tabloid focused on gory true crime stories, but in order to be stocked in newspaper checkout lines they changed their focus to celebrities, UFOs, and the occult. And the world was made better for it, because it inspired the paranormal bug in little Joe Gisondi.

joe gisondi bigfoot
They’ve been running these stories since the 60s, everybody…

Joe worked at different Florida newspapers for two decade, becoming an expert in sports news coverage, before settling down as a journalism professor at Eastern Illinois University in 2002. But he never lost that interest in the weird and wonderful and decided to write a book about the hunt for Bigfoot.

joe gisondi bigfoot patterson flim
Bigfoot from the Patterson film, what some people consider the best evidence of the creature

You know it’s  gonna be a great book when America’s eminent Cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman gave it the NUMBER TWO recommendation for 2015’s top cryptozoology books (right behind our friend Tea Krulos’ excellent Monster Hunters!)

Joe’s take was not just writing about Bigfoot, but about the people who have upended their lives in hunting for the famous monster. What motivates someone to take months and years of their lives, go in the woods, and chase after a mythical (until it’s proven at least) beast? Especially when most other people just think you’re crazy.

Joe Gisondi Finding Bigfoot Matt Moneymaker
Matt Moneymaker from Finding Bigfoot, one of the hunters Joe profiles in the book

That’s what Joe intended to find out. In the process of working on the book, he got to go on several expeditions himself and he might have had his own sasquatch encounter. We cover those expeditions, the weirdest thing he ever saw in Florida, and some of the regional differences in Bigfoot/Skunk Ape/Sasquatch lore in this interview.

You can pick up a copy of Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot right here, like the book on Facebook, and learn more about Joe at this link. He’s got a weekly sports podcast and you can find Joe on Twitter at @MonsterTrekJG for Bigfoot and @joegisondi for sports media.

Obsession is something we often deal with on this podcast, and according to German Existentialist philosopher, Martin Heidegger, humans use these obsessions to distract ourselves to think about anything besides our impending mortality. Like Top Dollar says in The Crow, “Childhood’s over the moment you know you’re gonna die.”

Movies, sports, books, gardening, Bigfoot hunting,etc… we do almost anything to distract ourselves. To be (in Heidegger’s words) “authentic” we have to own each moment as it happens, accept our past, and accept that we will eventually become “non-being”. Bigfoot hunters own each moment through their quest into the unknown. This Sunspot song is accepting that life sucks sometimes (after all, we can’t always be out in the Woods looking for the Sasquatch!) but we can “own” each moment the best we can and in this particular song, “owning the moment through partying!”

Monday comes and Tuesday goes,
Dishes suck and laundry blows.
I’d love to tell my boss to kiss my a$$.
Wednesday’s here and then it’s gone,
My best friend’s passed out on the lawn,
And Thursday? $%^& Thursday!

Raise your glass to Friday,
When I can be all I can be,
I’m dying to party and I want a life that’s owned by me.

We only get one shot,
Somedays I don’t even wanna try.
Tonight’s our night to rock,
Life sucks, let’s live before we die.

My momma slaps me in my face,
My girlfriend puts me in my place,
Why didn’t anyone say it’d be this tough?
My minivan is in the shop,
Because I backed into a cop,
I’m flat broke, bored, and sitting on my duff.

As many times I’ve hurt my pride,
I just can’t stop this wicked side of me,
Because Mr. Hyde, that bastard, wants me back,
And I’ll get too inebriated,
Wake up again humiliated,
I’m just trying to have some fun,
Cut me some slack.

We only get one shot,
Somedays I don’t even wanna try.
Tonight’s our night to rock,
Life sucks, let’s live before we die.

 

 

125 – Princess Leia and The Paranormal: Carrie Fisher’s Ghost Story and Psychic Experiences

It’s another bittersweet episode as we remember actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who passed away on December 27th, 2016. A performer and a personality who found her artistic voice in her personal struggles with mental illness and addiction, she was as inspiring off the screen as she was on.

carrie fisher ghost story
Snarky to the very last!

When Disney bought Star Wars in 2012, it was a new lease on life for a story that a lot of its original fans became disillusioned with. George Lucas is a creator of boundless visual imagination, but the stories he was telling in the prequels seemed to no longer resonate with the fans that had grown up with the films. Star Wars changed the landscape of  popular cinema and reinvigorated space adventure. It influenced everything and its impact can hardly be overstated.

carrie fisher ghost story
Retro-blaster, cool sidebuns, and a deadly look…

When President Reagan envisioned a nuclear missile shield in the atmosphere over the United States, it was called the “Star Wars” program. He even called the Soviet Union an “evil Empire”. In the United Kingdom Census in 2001, 390,000 people listed “Jedi” as their religion. Star Wars had entered the consciousness of our world far beyond popular entertainment. And so much of it is mystical, what else are the Jedi besides space wizards with psychic powers who can come back from the dead as ghosts?

carrie fisher ghost story
The gold bikini that launched a thousand starships…

The Star Wars prequels however, while wildly financially successful and groundbreaking in special effects, seemed to leave many of the original fans cold. In their eyes, Lucas went from a visionary to a joke, a billionaire with a waddle who had lost touch with what made his original films such classics.

carrie fisher ghost story
Episode 1.5: The Phantom Neck

(Full disclosure: I liked the visually breathtaking prequels more than I liked The Force Awakens, which was too much fanservice and just a retread of the original. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford’s performances were the only real bright spots, in my humble and extremely unpopular opinion.)

carrie fisher ghost story
My favorite moment from “The Force Awakens”

When Disney bought the franchise they gave the fans what they wanted, which was the further adventures of the Skywalker family. Luke, his sister Leia, her husband Han Solo, and their offspring. So much of the greatness of the original films is tied directly to the chemistry of the trio of leads, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and of course, Carrie Fisher.

carrie fisher ghost story
Some things get better with age.

And in the new series of films, people were hoping to see a lot more of Leia, who went from Princess to General. An icon of female empowerment who went from a damsel in distress to a breaker of chains and a leader of armies. She set the sci-fi standard for female characters.

When Carrie Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away from a stroke the day after her daughter died, it was a sad and eerie story of a broken heart. But that wasn’t the  only uncanny thing that happened in her life. She not only was romantic with noted paranormal enthusiast, Dan Aykroyd, but she had her own ghost story when her friend died in her bed (while she was in it!), a psychic friend of her mother’s might have predicted her Star Wars fame, and none other than Corey Feldman himself said that she had some kind of psychic power that she saw his own struggles with addiction.

In this episode, Wendy, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, and I discuss her importance to the world of film, female heroes in science fiction, and her relationship to the paranormal.

For the song this week, we had to include the video from Halloween 2009, where we went as Luke, Leia, and Han from Return of the Jedi. Wendy even made a Jabba to go with her gold bikini and I had lost my shirt at that point in the night, so I was less Luke and more Rancor Keeper! We often quote some of our favorite songs in a track of ours called “My Own Worst Enemy” and for this live tribute we did some of our favorite Star Wars musical moments.  There were several other partygoers dressed as Jedi at the show so we even got to enjoy a little lightsaber action during the performance!

I think she smokes just to blow smoke rings,
I think I’m drinking just to forget her name.
She looks at me funny, like Jesus on the cross,
This is no Fortunate Fall, but it feels like “Paradise Lost”.

So, get thee to a nunnery, you b!t(h.
I drank myself to sleep a thousand times.
I broke my foot running after you,
but I can’t seem to get you off my mind.

I might even be my own worst enemy.
Standing in the corner of my shame.
I might even be my own worst enemy,
because I really thought you could keep me sane.

She looks at me funny and says, “I think of you like my therapist,”
I laughed, she didn’t.
I touched an angel; I thought I brushed a wing.
I thought it meant something, she didn’t.

So, get thee to a nunnery, you b!t(h.
I drank myself to sleep a thousand times.
I broke my foot running after you,
but I can’t seem to get you off my mind.

I might even be my own worst enemy.
Drinking so that I forget your name,
I might even be my own worst enemy,
because I really thought you could keep me sane.

124 – Somewhere In The Skies: Ryan Sprague and The Human Side of UFOs

Coming of age in the 1990s in upstate New York, Ryan Sprague was exposed to the UFOs, alien abductions, and government conspiracy-mania that enchanted us all during the decade.

green day ufos ryan sprague
The finest music for attracting aliens…

He was listening to Green Day’s Dookie album outside on vacation on a Summer night in 1995 when he had his own UFO sighting for the first time (an experience that he shared with his father) and it inspired a lifelong obsession with watching the skies.

Ryan later moved to New York City and started working in theater, all the while writing UFO journalism for Open Minds magazine and co-hosting the podcast, Into The FrayHis methodology for investigation is all about trying to understand the personal toll that UFO witnesses often have to face and his new book Somewhere In The Skies: A Human Approach To An Alien Phenomenon.

ryan sprague somewhere in the skies

We’re really excited about the play he’s working on about the Rendlesham UFO Incident in the UK that’s inspired by his research with one of our favorites from the Paradigm Symposium, Peter Robbins!

To purchase Ryan Sprague’s book and learn more about him, definitely check out his website at http://www.somewhereintheskies.com and the profits of every purchase until the end of January goes to a great cause, the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Ryan’s Blink-182 t-shirt during the interview and the Green Day playing during his first UFO encounter inspired us to bring out an old Sunspot chestnut for this last episode of the year. Here’s one of our most pop-punk tracks and one that deals with believing in yourself and sticking to your own story, “Intellectual Terrorists”.

Intellectual terrorists are poisoning my head,
They want to break down my resistance,
And have my conscience left for dead.
They like to make you think that they’re the righteous ones,
And they’ll beat you down and call you names for sticking to your guns.
You won’t replace my sensibility,
With your overanxious, overloaded, oversensitivity.And if you look, you will find,
A rather sorry state of mind,
Of all the people who won’t stand up for their views.
And if you look you might see,
You don’t have to agree with me,
But I won’t close my mind for you.It’s easy to be blind, it’s easy to be led,
You like to cough up all the ideas,
That you’ve been force-fed.
No one likes the freak, no one likes the odd man out.
I’d rather live my life alone,
Than live a life of doubt.
I won’t let you force yourself on me,
I refuse to be a victim to your society.And if you look, you will find,
A rather sorry state of mind,
Of all the people who won’t stand up for their views.
And if you look you might see,
You don’t have to agree with me,
But I won’t close my mind for you.You can’t break me down,
I won’t close my mind for you.

Intellectual terrorists are morality anarchists,
And sensitivity exorcists are poisoning my head.
But I won’t close my eyes for you,
I won’t turn away the truth,
I won’t let you make me, overdose, or complicate me.
You can’t break me down.
I won’t close my mind for you.

123 – Jesus Is An Alien: Life At A Higher Density With Reverend John Polk

When we met Reverend John Polk and heard the title of his first book, Yahweh, The Biblical God Is An Alien, we knew that a conversation with him would be the perfect Christmas special. After all, this is the time of year when Americans think about religion the most. To quote a million bumper stickers, Jesus is the reason for the season.

reverend john polk jesus is an alien
Wait, that’s not the right bumper sticker

We’ve covered Christmas ghost stories, Christmas monsters, and even Krampus, the Christmas demon. We’ve also talked about how the original translations of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Book of Revelation sound an awful lot like extraterrestrial encounters.

But Reverend John Polk is a metaphysical minister who can communicate to angels, extraterrestrials, and even the alien-creator-God itself, Yahweh, who he refers to as Enlil (the Sumerian god of the air) and they form a pantheon of aliens, Annunaki, hybrids, and extradimensional entities than inhabit his multiverse. And according to the good Reverend, Jesus was an alien-human hybrid engineered by Yahweh.

It sounds wild, but it’s very like the work of Zecharia Sitchin, the man who gave us Nibiru, the mysterious Planet X. I listened to Sitchin on Coast to Coast AM for years and thought he just sounded like an old Russian looney tunes. But this year, astronomers found credible evidence of a Planet X in our solar system, beyond Pluto. Now is it Sitchin’s Nibiru with the Annunaki hanging out just waiting to swing by in orbit to come for a visit and meddle with our evolution again? Well, the jury’s out on that. But just the fact that they found a Planet X, means that Sitchin’s ideas might be worth revisiting.

And Reverend John Polk might be saying some unusual things, but if we’re going to take religious stories on faith – with burning bushes, water into wine, Joseph Smith’s golden plates, Mohammed and his flying horse, etc… well, then let’s listen to Polk’s message and see what he’s trying to communicate.

Arthur C. Clarke’s most famous line is arguably “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And to me, the idea that Biblical stories and religious legends come from primitive human encounters with ultra-advanced alien technologies make a lot more sense than supernatural power.

But faith, even in the face of technology, means something. Erich von Däniken, the man who gave us a modern framework for Ancient Aliens in his seminal Chariots of the Gods?, always talks about his Christian faith in interviews.


Chariots of the Gods Lyrics – Sunspot – Ancient… by sunspot_mike

And Reverend John Polk is a man who believes. He started seeing angels when he was 5 and not long after he started communicating with them about the nature of the universe. Through what he calls “downloads” to his consciousness, he began to discover that he could perceive beings who were all around us, but existed in different “densities” or dimensions to what we humans normally can identify.

It’s these beings that led him to understand that the gods that we worship are actually aliens who feed on our prayer energy and are harvesting it to raise themselves to a higher plane of existence. They interfered with the [biology of early man to predispose us towards religious experiences in order to create more of that spiritual energy.

And Yahweh, the alien-creator-god was willing to adapt to collect more energy. The God of the Old Testament was a jealous and angry deity who turned people into pillars of salt, asked his prophets to sacrifice their children, and drowned the entire planet save for one family. When human culture was understanding more about the planet, changing from the cruel Bronze Age to the kinder Iron Age, Yahweh decided to soften his tone by introducing his son, a mixture of his alien DNA with the Virgin Mary’s human genes, creating a hybrid who could bridge the gap, Jesus.

reverend john polk jesus is an alien
Really think that the Star of Bethlehem was a naturally occurring astronomical event?

This softer version of Yahweh is represented in the Gospels and the New Covenant that Jesus delivers at the Last Supper. While the Hebrew God had a ton of rules including the kosher laws and circumcision, Jesus says that all you have to do is partake in Communion. It’s like a slackening of restrictions in order to make it easier for people to believe. And it works, throughout the first two Millennia, the Abrahamic religions make up over 3 billion people on the planet. That’s a sizable chunk of the entire human race, all delivering their prayer energy to the same original God.

reverend john polk jesus is an alien
Yahweh has been working out, baby!

And Polk is convinced that Enlil/Yahweh has to change again, because he needs to move the human race on from worshipping Him so that he can jump up to the next plane of existence. That’s why Reverend Polk is convinced we’ll get full UFO/alien disclosure in our lifetime. When humanity understands that all religions are basically the same because we’ve been praying to frickin’ aliens for all of time, it will help tear down the walls that countries and cultures have created and help us realize that we’re all the same.

Whether or not you believe Reverend Polk, that Jesus is an alien or that life on Earth was altered by extraterrestrials who wanted to farm our belief for their own spiritual needs, his message is one of inclusion. It doesn’t matter who you pray to or what particular deity you choose to (or not to) believe in, we’re all part of the same family and finding a way to care about others, especially ones that you don’t agree with, is an important part of being a human. And that’s about as nice of a Christmas message that I can think of.

In the interview we talk about Polk’s latest book as well, Blue Beings: Visitation At The UFO Conference, which is a strange scenario of unusual creatures being seen at a Maine UFO Experiencers conference during a viewing of Travis: The True Story of Travis Walton. Wendy and I saw the documentary in May, and while we didn’t see any blue beings, it’s definitely worth a watch!

For more information on Reverend John Polk and to check out his books, please visit his official website.

For this week’s Sunspot song, we couldn’t resist creating a new Christmas track. Since Jesus was a hybrid, our song is a mixture of a few Yuletide favorites with some revised words to represent his unique extraterrestrial heritage, here’s “Jesus Is An Alien”.

Two thousand years ago they came down from beyond
they found an innocent girl to plant an inhuman spawn
Pretending they were angels, with authority from above
created a superbeing, but at least he preached some love.

Jesus is an alien, with DNA from space.
a human/ET hybrid born on Christmas Day.
Jesus is an alien, from otherworldly seed,
an extraterrestrial plot to harvest our belief.

UFOs all over the globe,
Jesus is an alien.
Tis the season for anal probes,
Jesus is an alien,
He came to earth to sermonize
Jesus is an alien,
Mary was in vitro fertilized,
Jesus is an alien.

Over our rooftops watching us
pretending to be St. Nickolas
pacify our species is their ploy
controlling our children with some toys
Abduction, grab us while we sleep
Missing time, people think we’re crazy,
Over our rooftops, zap zap zap
Wiping our minds with just a snap.

Jesus is an alien, bred with human genes,
to fight the the Prince of Darkness, His interdimensional enemy,
a king of kings to rule us, but we nailed him to a tree.
He’s half-earthling and half a spaceman, Half a spaceman,
He is half an earthling, half a spaceman.

122 – They’re Here: Hunting Poltergeists With Geoff Holder

Author and screenwriter Geoff Holder has written thirty-six books on the supernatural from haunted guides of Scottish cities to stone circles and zombies, but its his research into hundreds of poltergeist cases throughout history that we wanted to talk with him about. And Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins us again for this episode’s interview!

Poltergeist is just the German term for “noisy ghost”. The movie has nothing to do with any kind of poltergeist phenomena that really happens to people, that was more like a family fighting a supernatural war and it gave regular people (you know, non-weirdos who don’t pay enough attention to this stuff) the completely wrong idea about what poltergeist activity was all about.

A poltergeist is paranormal activity where people don’t see a ghost (usually, although Geoff Holder says that there is some visual element in about 15% of the cases he’s researched) but they hear knocking on doors and walls, objects move when no one is around, lights break, lamps are knocked off tables, etc… Poltergeists are troublemakers, but there’s not usually a haunting (i.e., story about a dead person) that accompanies the scene.

One of my parapsychological idols, Loyd Auerbach, discusses poltergeists at length in his awesome do-it-yourself paranormal investigation book ESP, Hauntings, and PoltergeistsAnd it seemed to me that the idea of a poltergeist being a spirit was a relic of a more superstitious time. After all, those peasants just didn’t understand psychokinesis (moving objects with your mind, think about Luke making the light saber fly to his hand in the Wampa cave).

I always thought that it was not a spirit or intelligent haunting but a manifestation of psychic energy coming from a pubescent girl. Her blossoming into womanhood also involves throwing a lot of plates around with her mind bullets. In fact, this is the explanation used in an episode of the totally sweet 80s show, Shadow Chasers,  and good God I loved that show when I was 8.

Make sure you listen to this awesome theme song, it’s like a paranormal Pointer Sisters.

But come to think about it, Auerbach uses the teenager poltergeist hypothesis in his book and he was a parapsychology adviser to the Shadow Chasers TV show, so of course they’re going to go with that narrative! And it’s been a popular trope in fiction over the years. Just think about how popular Carrie was. It just felt believable.

For some reason, the idea that we have the power in our minds to move objects through some kind of excess psychic force that happens when we’re in our wild hormonal years, seemed to be a much more reasonable explanation than someone coming back from the dead.

Contrary to the movie, if you see this guy, you’re not experiencing a Poltergeist, but you might be part of a pants-soiling contest.

And I didn’t even entertain other theories because they were all too ridiculous. Demons? Gimme a break. Faeries? Now I know you’re crazy. Bulgarian vampires? Get outta here! (Even thought you’re going to want to hear Holder’s great story on that one.)

But psychic teens? I’m with you. In fact, one time when I was on a bus tour of haunted sites, I heard a tour guide tell a woman that the poltergeist activity she was having in her house was a demon and that she should be wary.

I almost punched that guy. Number one, don’t scare the poor woman. Number two, poltergeists aren’t demons. They are manifestations of wild psychic energy. Duh.

Well flash forward a decade later and I’m glad I didn’t punch that guy (he only kinda deserved it), because Geoff Holder has opened my eyes to the idea that the psychic teenager is just the latest in a long line of explanations for these noisy ghosts. 

The first case he discovered was in the 5th century where of course the explanation is demons. Almost a millennium later,  Martin Luther (yes, the guy responsible for the Protestant Reformation) is the first person to use the term in print. He blamed the Roman Catholic Church for them and just thought it was the Devil messing around with him. (Being a really holy dude, he considered the Pope a much more formidable opponent than Satan.) So, yeah, people have been saying poltergeists are demons long before mediocre ghost tour guides.

Look closely at the demon in the center, he’s got a little demon face where his junk should be!

And not just demons, but fairies! This is where Geoff Holder blows my mind, because he talks about how what we think of as poltergeist activity, people used to attribute to fairies and they would even act in certain ways as to not upset the fairies (and of course many of the U.K.’s stone circles have faerie connections as well!) And this is where things get interesting.

Poltergeist behaviors in the hundreds of studies that Geoff has looked into, doesn’t seem to follow human behaviors. If it’s the spirit of a dead person, wouldn’t that person still have some of their humanity left? Why would they just rattle the chandelier, why would they be knocking on the wall? For the love of God, why would they make more work for everyone by breaking plates?!

Poltergeists act more like tricksters with an adolescent sense of humor (poop is often involved), their behavior is mercurial often causing havoc at the slightest or no provocation at all. Having a poltergeist in your house is like hanging out with the Joker from Batman or Joe Pesci from Goodfellas, you’re always on pins and needles because you don’t know what they’ll do next. They can be kind or cruel in equal measure and with no explanations why.

And that’s completely in character with fairies, they’re not all Tinkerbell and godmothers. Fairies in the old legends are scary, they’re not just inhuman, they’re ahuman. They’ll do something wonderful for you one day and they’ll steal your child the next and you’ll never understand why. The fey are so fundamentally different from us.

It’s similar to how we think of aliens. A 2012 National Geographic poll showed that a full seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that aliens have visited Earth, but you know that 77% of Americans do not believe in faeries. 

One thing Geoff Holder has showed is the context surrounding belief might change, but the paranormal behavior doesn’t. Whether it’s Bulgarian Vampires causing trouble or Teenage Drama Queens having a psychic blowout, poltergeists have an volatile and  unpredictable quality to their actions.

Humans have a particular set of needs and motivations, these phenomena, whether they’re aliens, faeries, or demons, they don’t have those needs. And they don’t care about ours. That inspired this week’s Sunspot song, “An Indifferent Universe”.

Visit Geoff’s website to check out his awesome books and scripts right here! 

who wears the twilight
walks in starfall
who wears the cold
walking through walls
something ancient
from the before
some kind of echo
knocking at the door

they can save us
they can destroy
every human
some kind of toy
explaining power
you can’t understand
the never knowing
will drive you mad

you
me
all reality

outside time
outside space
where infinity is a place

why
curse
an indifferent universe

outside time
outside space
where infinity is a place

And here’s an extra treat, Allison was so inspired by the conversation that she wrote a poem right after we finished the interview… check it out, a little bonus to enjoy after you listen to the episode!

Gone are the sacred stones,
Plowed under like lovely bones.
Dancing sylphs in circles meet,
Trample them beneath your feet.

Pebbles and peat fall from the sky,
You can’t be bothered to ask why.
Apples picked and washing done,
But still you’re not a happy one.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
We’ll never know her anyway.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
Doesn’t matter, we’ll have our way.

You fear she’s coming back,
Her playful smile, a sneak attack.
Wrapped in moss, draped in flowers,
Just can’t face it unless it’s ours.
The daughter, the lover, the mother, the crone,
If she is all, what do you we own?

Cupboards burst and dishes smash,
Worlds awaken, ideas clash.
Your homely house a hell,
She’s imprisoned in this shell.
She belongs in the wild wood,
Respected, misunderstood.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
We’ll never know her anyway.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
Doesn’t matter, we’ll have our way.

She’s setting fires with her mind,
You should know, you can’t trust her kind.

121 – The Kennedy Curse: Tragedies and Superstitions of American Royalty

The United States isn’t supposed to have royalty, elected officials are supposed to be normal citizens. You don’t get “born into” anything here, you’re supposed to earn your position. In fact, the Founding Fathers didn’t even like the idea of permanent titles. You weren’t President for Life, you were only called “President” while you were in office.  It was supposed to be different than the aristocracy they escaped from in Europe.

john quincy adams kennedy curse
John Quincy Adams baby, those chops mean BUSINESS

But an American nobility crept into politics almost from the beginning. The second US President, John Adams’ son John Quincy Adams served as minister to Russia for his father, then Secretary of State before being elected to the big chair in a controversial race against Andrew Jackson. President William Henry Harrison served as President for 32 days, but his grandson served a full term in 1888. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were related distantly (but FDR’s wife Eleanor was Teddy’s nice).

Royalty isn’t just about power, though, it’s also about glamour. It’s about capturing the public’s imagination. While the Bush family gave us two presidents, a governor, a senator, and representative, let’s face it, they’re powerful, they’re wealthy, but just not very sexy.

When you’re looking for sexy, you need star power, and for decades there were no brighter lights in the Democratic Party than the Kennedys of Massachusetts. Born in Boston in 1889,  Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. lead his family to change the world in the Twentieth Century. Three of his sons would be Senators, one would become President (but they all ran at one time or another) and his daughter was the Irish Ambassador. His son-in-law started the Peace Corps and ran for Vice President in 1972, another was a member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. One granddaughter is Ambassador to Japan, one is a national television reporter and married Arnold Schwarzenegger. Two of his grandson served in the House of Representatives. You get the point.

arnold Schwarzenegger ted kennedy
Ahnuld and his Uncle Ted laughing after some housekeeper “interviews”

Joseph Kennedy’s made his fortune first as a banker and Wall Street investor and then as a financier of Hollywood film studios in the 1920s (he founded RKO Pictures!) His ambitions turned political when President Roosevelt made him the Ambassador to the UK in the late 1930s, but Joseph’s controversial statements about “democracy being finished” in Britain combined with his perceived pro-Nazi isolationist views towards World War II.

And it’s when he came back to the United States and ended his Ambassadorship is when the Kennedy Curse seems to have begun.

1941, his daughter Rosemary has a botched lobotomy, rendering her intellect to that of a toddler for the rest of her life. In 1944, his son Joseph Jr. who he was grooming to run for President, dies flying a mission over the English Channel. 1948, his daughter Kathleen dies in a French plane crash. That’s three tragedies in the 1940s alone, but the 60s would be even more harsh.

John F. Kennedy eventually does become President, but he himself had suffered the loss of two children, one through a miscarriage and another child who lived for only 2 days in 1963. The first attempt on his life was in 1960 but the successful assassination on November 22nd, 1963 becomes the cultural landmark of the entire decade and people will argue and obsess about it for decades to come.

Robert Kennedy then becomes a Senator from New York and runs for President in 1968. He’s assassinated the night he wins the California Democratic Primary.

The next brother, Ted Kennedy, is a Senator in Massachusetts in 1969. He goes to a party, gets drunk, and drives away with a 28-year old former secretary of his brother Bobby. The car ends up going over the side of a bridge, she dies, and he leaves the scene of the accident. At the press conference the next night discussing his problematic behavior, he wonders aloud “whether some awful curse actually did hang over all the Kennedys”. He only ends up with a 2-month jail sentence, though. And while the Chappaquiddick Incident most likely cost him his own shot at the White House, it also ended up with his wife suffering a miscarriage shortly after.

More incidents happen to lesser known Kennedys and children in the 70s and 80s, but the family stayed in the headlines in the 90s with William Kennedy Smith’s rape trial in 1991, one of Bobby’s children dying in a skiing accident in 1997, and then JFK Jr’s tragic plane crash in 1999 that kills him, his wife, and sister-in-law.

Could there be a curse? Bands like The Maine and Alexisonfire have named songs after the idea. Punk icon Jello Biafra named his band The Dead Kennedys (after one of his friends told him about the name inspired by a stuffed bear named “Teddy Kennedy”) because of its shock value. The American people loved the Kennedys and their incredible wealth, romantic escapades, and their rise and fall in Washington (there was a Kennedy in some elected office every year between 1947 and 2011) is the stuff of tabloid dreams. Joseph Kennedy’s sons were absolutely American princes.

But do the sins of the father affect the son? Well, according to the Bible they do. It’s right there in the Old Testament…

‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’

And speaking of the Old Testament, there is a theory believe that the Kennedy curse stems from Joseph’s anti-Semitism. He blamed Jewish bankers for the Great Depression and he believed that there was a Jewish conspiracy trying to push the US into the Second World War. He had some ugly views about the Jewish people, and even supported a plan to move the German Jewish population to the European colonies in Africa.

Indeed, there’s an urban legend that he was cruel to some Jewish refugees trying to escape Nazi Germany and they placed a curse on the man and his family. It’s an interesting thought and there is a history of curses in Jewish mysticism and it’s often associated with a famous Rabbi. It gives a “reason” for the Kennedys’ tragedies that seem to happen so quickly and so publicly.

But the real reason is probably just being in the public spotlight for so long with fabulous wealth and tremendous ambition. The Kennedys were rich playboys and war heroes who hung around with movie stars (even though I don’t believe that JFK and Marilyn were a “thing” anymore) and wanted to rule the country. They were fascinating and enticing, but their life in the spotlight and fast lifestyles got them in trouble and we all got to see it as it happened.

This week’s song, “Snuff Film”, has a verse inspired by Abraham Zapruder’s (I call him William in the podcast for some reason, like an idiot) movie of JFK’s assassination. It’s an older Sunspot track about our obsession with watching tragedy and how sometimes that can turn around with negative effects on our own lives.

Directed and premeditated,
Graphic gore, triple-X rated,
Ends a life that was so jaded,
on the Roman Senate floor.

When I realized that my religion,
was nothing more than superstition,
reality turned into visions,
knocking at my door.

My life was a snuff film,
that was over before it began.
My life was a snuff film,
and it was that day my wings fell away,
and I turned my back on man.

Driving through the streets of Dallas,
Conspiracies so full of malice,
Are cold, unfeeling, cruel, and callous,
hid behind a grassy knoll.

When I saw the things that came to pass,
through a mirror made of broken glass,
the future looked just like the past,
questioning the soul.

My life was a snuff film,
that was over before it began.
My life was a snuff film,
and it was that day my wings fell away,
and I turned my back on man.

And when God appeared,
in a cloud of faith and fear,
he looked at what he made and cried,
and he contemplated suicide.
And all the angels vanished from the earth,
leaving a sad, mistaken birth,
of a life never led,
endlessly dancing with the dead.

My life was a snuff film,
that was over before it began.
My life was a snuff film,
and it was that day my wings fell away,
and I turned my back on man.

 

120 – Inside the Wondertorium: Paranormal Circus Tales with Logan Marvel

Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts met Logan Marvel when she stood on his neck on a bed of broken glass. Since then, we knew we had to have him on the show.

logan marvel wondertorium
Boy meets girl, girl steps on boy’s neck while he puts his face on broken glass

It’s an old cliche that every kid dreams about running away and joining the circus, but Logan Marvel actually did it. In fact, he was so inspired, that he started to stretch for four hours a day when he was twelve years old. He couldn’t wait for the day where he could finally join the Greatest Show on Earth as a contortionist.

logan wondertorium
One fish, two fish, red fish, OHMYGOD IT’S A PIRHANA

And Logan made the circus his life’s work, working in several different circuses as well as side (freak) shows. Along the way, he’s learned superstitions and paranormal tales from Skin-Walking Were-Panthers to ghosts of the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944. Mr. Marvel is an expert in circus and side show history and he shares with us his stories from the Big Top and beyond in this in-depth interview.

logan mr marvel wondertorium
Not sure if this is what Taco Bell means by “fire” sauce…

To get you in the circus mood, here’s the promo for one  of my favorite X-Files episodes (featuring Jim Rose, whose book Freak Like Me was one of my high school favorites), the freakshow-themed “Humbug”.

Logan eventually made his way to Baraboo, Wisconsin, which for several decades was the headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus. If you’re interested in meeting Logan in person, you can watch his show live in the Wisconsin Dells. His Mr. Marvel’s Wondertorium combines the history of the circus, amazing feats of human physical prowess from fire eating to contortion, and of course, a healthy heaping of Barnum-eqsue showmanship. Learn more about it by clicking right here.

For the Sunspot track this week, we were inspired by Logan’s bravery and ambition to seek the circus life. As rockers, we definitely understand that drive. And if someone gives us a choice between living a stable “normal” life or going off and trying to make it on our art (living without a net!), well, all we have to say is “I’d Rather Be A Freak”.

I’d rather be a freak
I’d rather be a freak
Well, I’ve seen a million snowflakes who just aren’t that unique,
So I’d rather be a freak.

Let’s hear it for the weirdos who never wanted to fit in,
we ran away and joined the circus,
we ran to find our brethren.
Let’s hear it for the geeks,
let’s hear it for the damned,
we don’t ask for your permission,
we don’t care if you understand.

you can laugh and have a good time
it don’t matter much to us cuz we still got your dime

I’d rather be a freak
I’d rather be a freak
Well, I’ve seen a million snowflakes who just aren’t that unique,
So I’d rather be a freak.

Bottoms up for bearded ladies who have no f^&*s to give
It might seem that we’re all crazy but better than the alternative,
you climb the corporate ladder or try to keep up with a Jones,
I can watch you all scatter, and watch you fight amongst the clones.

you can laugh and have a good time
it don’t matter much to us cuz we still got your dime

I’d rather be a freak
I’d rather be a freak
Well, I’ve seen a million snowflakes who just aren’t that unique,
So I’d rather be a freak.

We’d rather be some freaks
We’d rather be some freaks
We’ve seen a million snowflakes who just aren’t that unique,
So, we’d rather be some freaks.

119 – The Brimstone Deceit: The Scent of the Paranormal with Joshua Cutchin

When we hear about paranormal experiences, we can envision what people see and hear. A ghost might moan, a UFO might quickly blink in and out of existence. We don’t ask people if they tasted a ghost, we ask them if they have ever “seen” a ghost. But we humans have five senses (well, I would argue at least six, but let’s make it five for the sake of this interview!) so what about the rest of them. People obviously feel the chill and the temperature change when a ghostly presence enters the room or the physical “touch” of a spirit like that of all the reports from Greyfriars in Scotland (indeed it even happened to me when I was there and I never experience anything!)

But taste and smell just don’t often get the attention that they deserve. They are the two senses that are most closely intertwined, smell dominates how things taste to humans. After all, when we smell something putrid, we often react by retching, like we just ate something disgusting.

Author, musician, and man after our own heart (University of Wisconsin alumni!) Joshua Cutchin decided to tackle these senses when no one else was handling the job. His book  A Trojan Feast: The Food and Drink Offerings of Aliens, Faeries, and Sasquatch came out in 2015 and it details the different food experiences that people have had in paranormal experiences. He’s now followed it up with The Brimstone Deceit: An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas which explores the olfactory experiences that people have during their encounters with the other side.

joshua cut chin the brimstone deceit
Joshua Cutchin, just a Fortean and his tuba

We wrote a song called “Sulfur” when we had Mary Marshall on the podcast because she talked about the “smell of brimstone” that accompanied her first paranormal experience with an evil entity in her friend’s basement. What we think of sulfur (or the rotten eggs smell), commonly known as brimstone in the Old Testament, is really a compound called Hydrogen Sulfide and in The Brimstone Deceit, Cutchin details how incredibly sensitive the human nose is to the compound. Hydrogen Sulfide often naturally occurs near volcanoes and hot springs and ingesting too much of it is deadly for humans. Brimstone is said to be how Hell smells.

The Brimstone Deceit Hellfire
OH GOD MY NOSE… Is this what Buster Poindexter meant by Hot Hot Hot?!

In our conversation with Joshua, we talk about how this smell often accompanies encounters from demonic possessions to UFOs to Bigfoot and how his title The Brimstone Deceit really means how our sense of smell might be used to manipulate us in these otherworldly encounters. Could Hydrogen Sulfide be some kind of primordial trigger? It helps to activate our sixth sense like it activates taste? Freezing us in place with some kind of Manchurian Candidate extraterrestrial brainwash?

brimstone deceit joshua cutchin fairy food
It looks so good, but don’t eat it or YOU’LL NEVER GET OUT OF HERE

And from paranormal smells,  we also get into the link between modern extraterrestrial lore and ancient faerie stories as well. Why is it that humans are never supposed to eat the food or drink the wine offered to them by fairies? Why are faeries hanging out with the long dead? What are the similarities between the accounts of alien-human hybrid fetuses and faeries stealing unborn children and replacing them with changelings? We look for the connection between ancient paranormal encounters and modern day alien abductions through Josh’s incredible research.

If you’re interested in learning more about Josh and his excellent books, A Trojan Feast and The Brimstone Deceit, then you’ve got to check out his website. He’s also the co-host of the Where Did The Road Go? podcast which you should check out as soon as you’re done with ours!

helena bonham carter the brimstone deceit morgan le fay
I ruined Kenneth Branagh and Tim Burton’s marriages and didn’t even need any magic!

Since we spent some time discussing faeries (also known as the Fey), we thought it would be a perfect time to put our track “Morgan Le Fay” on the podcast. It was the first track we ever wrote as the band Sunspot. Wendy was reading “Mists of Avalon” at the time and everybody thinks that King Arthur is totally sweet, so we started with the main guitar riff and worked on the imagery.

Morgan le Fay is the lure of the naughty and the evil. Like Lady MacBeth she spurns Arthur to do things he shouldn’t (like um, father a child with his half-sister.) She is the instant gratification of material power and pleasure, the temptation of the other world that’s almost impossible to resist.

She wraps black wings around me,
I’m paralyzed just like a dream.
Sacrifice in a place I thought was safe,
A warning I would never heed.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Quiet storms surround me,
I close my eyes and she appears.
Freedom from all the lies that I believed,
From my schizophrenic fears.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Hail to the Queen of the Hurricane,
I shot my conscience full of novocaine,
I lost my pleasure when I lost my pain,
And no one’s innocent when no one’s to blame.

Have you ever howled at the Full Moon?
Or watched the Earth from the sky?
Have you felt the ecstasy of murder,
Or a power over life?
A power over life.

I spent my life looking for the savior,
But he looked the other way.
She holds me tight,
Wrapped in the living night,
A kiss from Morgan le Fay.

Hail to the Queen of the Hurricane,
I shot my conscience full of novocaine,
I lost my pleasure when I lost my pain,
And no one’s innocent when no one’s to blame.

Blame.
Blame.
Morgan le Fay.

118 – Conspiracy in Whitechapel: Randy Williams and Jack The Ripper

 

From Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson’s investigation in Shanghai Knights to Johnny Depp saving Heather Graham in From Hell to the terrifying David Warner escaping to the future in Time After Time, we continue to be obsessed with Jack The Ripper. Hey, even David Hasselhoff got in on the Ripper act with the 1985 made-for-TV classic Terror At London Bridge where the Ripper is reincarnated because the original London Bridge is rebuilt as a tourist trap(!) in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

Between August 31st and November 9th of 1888, Jack The Ripper killed at least five prostitutes in the East End of London. Slitting their throats and then gutting the reproductive organs, the gruesome murders drew significant attention to the impoverished Whitechapel area of London. Scotland Yard had eleven different homicides under the label of Whitechapel Murders, but only conclusively linked five deaths to the murderer they called Jack The Ripper.

Why do we still care about the Ripper? There’s been plenty of serial killers with a higher body count since he stalked the streets of Whitechapel in the 1880s. There’s been killers who were even more disgusting in their crimes. So why do we keep coming back to Jack? Or if you like, Jack The Knife? (That one was for you Priest fans out there!)

Number one, we love the Victorian era, from Sherlock Holmes to A Christmas Carol to a thousand BBC Masterpiece Theatre specials, there’s just something about late Nineteenth Century London that we cannot get enough of.

randy williams jack the ripper
‘Allo Guvnah!

But also the unsolved mystery has people coming back, 130 years after the original murders. Armchair sleuths want to be the detectives that finally cracks the case when Scotland Yard and over a century of true crime scrutiny haven’t been able to.

randy williams jack the ripper
Randy Williams at his study

Enter Randy Williams. As a martial artist, private eye, and former bodyguard to Steven freaking Seagal, (yeah, we’ll definitely have to talk to him about that sometime), Randy has led several fascinating lives. But it’s his career as a Ripperologist that brings us to him today in our first foray into tackling the world’s most famous murderer.

Randy Williams Jack The Ripper Steven Seagal
Randy’s theory is NOT that Steven Seagal was Jack The Ripper.

Randy has just released a new novel, Sherlock Holmes and The Autumn of Terror which fictionalizes his theory about the true identity, or should we say, identities, of Jack The Ripper. Let me clarify that the book is the work of fiction, but his theory about Jack’s multiple identities is 100% based in his real-life historical research.

Randy Williams’ theory is unique because it takes Jack The Ripper away from the world of psychosexual serial murder and into the domain of political terrorism.

When we think of terrorists, we think of bombs. But why do terrorists use bombs and mass murder to further their political agenda? Because the more people you kill, the bigger the impact you make. Osama Bin Laden didn’t think that he was going to actually stop commerce in the United States by flying planes into the towers of the World Trade Center, but he knew that tens of thousands of people worked in those buildings and it could have a world-shattering symbolic effect. And those attacks changed the world, leading the U.S. into multiple conflicts in the Middle East and turning Al Qaeda from an organization of post-Soviet Mujahideens to the most feared organization on the planet.

I know, I look like Santa Claus, but I’m really on the side of the proletariat elves!

Quick history, German economist Karl Marx releases his *Communist Manifesto* in 1848. Two years later, he moves to London, England and continues his writing. Karl Marx, to put it simply, believed that workers were being exploited by the owners of their companies and advocated an economic system where the means of production were owned by the state, so everyone is an owner and there are no social classes.

Marx advocated violent revolution to kill the aristocracy and create a new Utopian society for the workers, in fact he is quoted: “there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”

Okay, what does this have to do with Jack The Ripper?

Karl Marx advocated terror to further political ideas. And terror it was. From the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1888 where seven policeman were blown up by a labor protestor’s bomb to the assassination of U.S. President William McKinley in 1901, socialists used terror to further their political ideals. And while terrorism is disgusting, it worked. It brought attention to their movement, it brought attention to the class war between the ultra-wealthy of the Gilded Age and their poor immigrant workers.

Here are some REAL protesters. Instead of occupying Wall Street, they blew it up.

The United Kingdom wasn’t that different than the United States. The UK was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution so they had plenty of workers and owners to handle. But they also had a centuries-old class system in place that thoroughly separated the haves from the have nots. And in 1880s London, those have nots were ready to strike back.

So Randy Williams posits that the murders were actually funded by a Russian prince who was a Communist interested in social upheaval. He found his killers in the leadership of a socialist organization known as the International Working Men’s Education Club (IWMEC), which was a mainly Eastern European Jewish organization. They were interested in getting attention for the impoverished people of Whitechapel and instead of using a bomb, they used the knife.

In the interview, Randy lays down the evidence of why he believes that members of the club, Louis Deimschutz, Isaac Kozebrodski, and Samuel Friedman were the physical killers while Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was the instigator and moneyman behind the killings. Randy Williams even believes he has Kropotkin’s confession from years later as illustrated by the above video.

I apologize because in the podcast I mention that Karl Marx was a Jewish intellectual because I believed that he was. The truth is that his father had repudiated their Jewish heritage and Marx in fact had written some extremely anti-Semitic tracts. So while many Communists throughout history might have been Jewish, including the alleged killers in this particular Jack The Ripper theory, Karl Marx did not identify as Jewish, so let’s not go extrapolating from him to the culture.

But we do know that those members of the International Working Men’s Education Club were a poorly treated community in 1880s London, they were part of that working class that was looking for any kind of break in an incredibly impoverished area. And Kropotkin would defend the Ripper killing later on by saying that they drew attention to the plight of the poorest Londoners and particular the young women who were forced to prostitute to sustain themselves.

Heather Graham in From Hell, Milwaukee girl represent in a Jack The Ripper movie, yo!
Heather Graham in From Hell, Milwaukee girl represent in a Jack The Ripper movie, yo!

If you’re interested in learning more about Randy’s theories, please visit his Facebook page about Sherlock Holmes and The Autumn of Terror. You can also click here to pick up the book on Amazon right now.

Whether or not this Randy Williams’ Jack The Ripper theory is true and it was Kropotkin who masterminded a murder spree that still baffles us today in order to draw attention to the hard lives of Victorian East Enders, human lives were lost to make that happen. The murderers believed it was an acceptable sacrifice to further their cause. While that kind of terrorism is shocking and sad, it’s not unusual. Collateral damage is the term used in modern warfare to describe the civilian lives lost in a military conflict. But in this week’s song, we call those regular people who just wanted to live their lives, the “Grist For The Mill”.

When the boots of history start walking
well you better get in line
Cuz the great men do the talking
and the small men do the dyin’
when the kings and queens come callin’
well we all know the drill,
You and I my friend are just grist for the mill

All the smartest minds,
the lieges and the lords,
they’ve got the world mapped out
on top of a chess board
picking out their move
staking out their claim
and you and I are pieces
just pawns in their game

Our lives are planned
from start to end
and if we’re good
we can pretend
but we don’t get to comprehend
because the brilliant and the best of us
have big plans for the rest of us

When the boots of history start walking
well you better get in line
Cuz the great men do the talking
and the small men do the dyin’
when the kings and queens come callin’
well we all know the drill,
You and I my friend are just grist for the mill

They’re acting as the Fates,
they’re doing out our twine
they’ve picked out all the dates
when how born and how we die,
Don’t over step your bounds
you don’y know the score
just understand your place
to fight a rich man’s war

Our lives are planned
from start to end
and if we’re good
we can pretend
but we don’t get to comprehend
because the brilliant and the best of us
have big plans for the rest of us

When the boots of history start walking
well you better get in line
Cuz the great men do the talking
and the small men do the dyin’
when the kings and queens come callin’
well we all know the drill,
You and I my friend are just grist for the mill