Tag Archives: ghost hunters

99 – Strange Town: Billy Driver And Mark Morrow Talk Texas Ghost Hunting

One of our favorite bumper stickers for a long time said “Keep Austin Weird”. Austin is a lot like our current city of Madison (except a WHOLE lot bigger and warmer) with the capitol and state’s flagship university keeping things interesting. They’ve also got a lot of hippies, just like us. We’ve been going to perform in Austin at least once a year since 2002 and it’s one of our favorite cities (in fact, we were just there in March!)

Keep Austin Weird

So, when we heard about Strange Town, a cool Austin-based ghost hunting show with two musicians as the main investigators, well, hot damn, we knew we had to have them on the show. Mark Morrow and Billy Driver are the two paranormal investigators who form the core of Strange Town.

Mark Morrow and Billy Driver of Strange Town
Mark Morrow and Billy Driver of Strange Town

First meeting while crewing a TV production in Austin, Mark and Billy found their conversation turning towards ghosts and supernatural phenomena. With both of them having a penchant for the paranormal as well as skills in media production, it was only natural that the next step would be to get together their own ghost-hunting show based around haunted sites that they knew about in Texas.

So far, they’ve completed two seasons of the show (and even more impressively, as a two-man investigation and production operation!), and it’s shown on Austin’s PBS Station , KLRU-TV (as well as online, where you can watch ALL the episodes right here). But they’ve also been featured on Destination America’s Ghost Brothers earlier this year as special guest investigators at the site of a famous hotel.

A lot of the fun of listening to this podcast is to hear to the Spirit Box EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) that Mark and Billy get while they  are doing the investigations. They shared some of their best evidence with us for this episode.

If you don’t know what a Spirit Box is, it’s an electronic device that quickly scans through radio frequencies randomly and the hope is that the spirits in the room can use the energy of the radio frequencies to speak through the white noise. Mark and Billy certainly got some excellent EVPs from their investigations and one of the best was at the Magnolia Hotel in Seguin, Texas.

magnolia hotel seguin texas
The Magnolia Hotel. Do you think they offer room service?

Seguin, Texas is about 50 miles south of Austin near New Braunfels. The Magnolia Hotel was originally built by Texas Rangers in 1840 (we’re not quite sure if Chuck Norris was part of the original team.) Its most famous story is about a pharmacist that was staying there in 1874 by the name of William Faust.

Faust became infatuated with his wife’s sister and decided that the only way he could have her was by murdering his wife. She was staying with some friends in New Braunfels when Faust snuck into their home and took an axe to a figure on the floor of a bedroom that he thought his wife was staying in, but it wasn’t her. It was Emma, the daughter of his wife’s friend. Faust was able to get a couple whacks at his wife before he ran, blinding her (and she never would testify against him, saying that she never actually saw who attacked her), but the suspicion eventually led to him and he was executed for the little girl’s murder.

Mark and Billy got some awesome EVPs at the Magnolia and it sure does sound like they talked to Emma, who’s watching over the room that her murderer escaped to after killing her brutally, if accidentally.

Strange Town is DIY-ghost hunting with awesome production values but not the sensationalism of most cable ghost shows. It’s so authentic you can feel the Texas heat as well as enjoy the enthusiasm of this supernatural duo.

And if you want to check out some music, Billy plays with the excellent Gooding, a great rock band we’ve seen several times when they’ve toured through Madison in the past (which is a really fun coincidence!) And speaking of music, this week’s Sunspot track is inspired by our conversation and the saga of poor Emma, the girl whose murdered spirit still haunts the Magnolia Hotel.

Emma, it’s time to go to bed,
Tonight you share your room with your mama’s friend
It was a quiet and peaceful night in 1874,
Oh Emma, you weren’t supposed to be on the floor.
Oh Emma, you weren’t supposed to be on the floor.
Emma, I just pray that you never opened your eyes,
And I just wish you gave that bastard some kind of fight.
Cut down by the axe of some no good druggist,
Oh Emma, you died in the Texas dust.
Oh Emma, you died in the Texas dust.
Faust saw what he did and he ran terrified,
But before that he took his blade to his wife’s eyes,
And she said she never saw who committed the crime.
Oh Emma, the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sorry Emma, the wrong place at the wrong time.
But he never got that far.
But he never got that far.
Emma, I hope you got your revenge,
That you’re the one guarding his soul’s prison.
They say he’s trapped forever and he’ll never leave the room.
Oh Emma, sometimes we still hear you,
But Emma, sometimes we still hear you.

82 – The Power of Positive Suggestion: Ghost Hunting and Hypnosis with Kristen Luman

This episode, we’re interviewing the other half of the Ghost Mine and Behind The Screams team, Kristen Luman. We talked with her co-host, Patrick Doyle, a little while back in episode 62. Since then she also got to appear on the big daddy of paranormal shows, Ghost Hunters, for three episodes this last season as well. She’s a paranormal investigator, actress, and hypnotherapist.

Kristen grew up as “the girl who brings the Ouija Board to parties” and was always into the paranormal even before she was a ghost hunter on television. In fact, Patrick and Kristen knew each other before they were on Ghost Mine together and she talks about her “ghost hunting” audition that cinched her role.

kristen luman ghost mine
Now that’s how you do Zoolander’s “Blue Steel” with mining equipment…

Kristen shares some of her favorite weird unexplained experiences and we talk everything from how reality shows edit together embarrassing reaction shots to past life regression. While Kristen is a licensed hypnotherapist, she doesn’t usually do past life regressions (I know, bummer!) but she has a cool theory on them. Have you ever heard of holosync® or omharmonics? She’s an specialist in all things audio too, which will keep you fascinated.

Sometimes past life regression is used in hypnosis to actually help with pain therapy. Maybe you have a pain that you can’t explain and while regressing back to your past life in hypnosis you discover that you were injured there during that other life. That discovery can lead to controlling that pain and whether it’s true or imagined, controlling the pain is really why you’re at the hypnotherapist in the first place.

If you’re brand new to hypnosis, Kristen offers these helpful tips to use the power of suggestion to bring some more positivity into your life!

    1. Self-Hypnosis Can Be Tricky, Concentrate On What You Want
      The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between good and bad. You’re dealing with the part of the mind where if something falls in, it stays in. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. If you want success, create the image of you at your most successful self.
    2. The Subconscious Mind Does Not Know The Difference Between Imagination and Reality
      Whatever you imagine in your mind, as far as your subconscious is concerned, it’s really happening. If you’re great at visualization, the world is your oyster because you can create what you want to create. And the body automatically follows in that direction, that image you start being led to.
    3. Use Your Memory To Help With Visualization
      You do remember times that you felt good or successful, just like you can always remember the feeling of the sun on your face. If you have trouble visualizing, just think back to a time where you felt positive, strong, or successful. Bring that memory back and bathe in it for a little bit.
    4. All Of Our Thoughts Affect Our Body Physically
      When you think about something that scares you, you get butterflies in your stomach. There’s a direct connection so think those thoughts that produce the good feelings in our body, because our body will respond to them.
    5. Don’t Force The Visuals
      We innately process things visually. So, if you feel like you’re having trouble visualizing, just let your mind do what it naturally does and don’t worry, you’ll get there. Even if you just pretend that you can see visuals, chances are those visuals will start showing up, so the more you relax, the easier it will be!

You can learn more about Kristen Luman’s parapsychology research and latest reality show projects here and if you’re interesting in learning more about her hypnotherapy (including hypnosis MP3s and more educational videos) then you’re going to definitely want to check out her official Kristen Luman hypnotherapist website!

Once again this year, Wendy and my band is going down to SXSW. we’re going to take the show on the road with a little haunted history on the way down to Austin from Wisconsin, we’ll be traveling through Cincinnati, Nashville, New Orleans, and Houston, so if you’re in any of those cities or have friends that are, please check out http://www.othersidepodcast.com/tour

And for this episode’s song, we’re using “Turn This Off” by Sunspot. It’s our track about letting the haters hate and how it’s important to get those negative voices out of your life.

Don’t wanna be the background to your,
Lite rock adult contemporary life on hold.
Don’t wanna be the soundtrack to your,
Getaway hot tub romance pool suite weekend.

You’re not gonna screw to this.
You’re not gonna screw to this.
We are not ubiquitous.
We are not ubiquitous.

Give me something that can make me feel.

Go ahead and turn this off.
We’re taking back our music,
What you won’t give we’re gonna steal,
Go ahead and turn this off,
You can keep your smug irony,
And I’ll keep what is real.

Don’t wanna see your record collection,
And take those Elvis Costello glasses off.
Don’t wanna ask for your permission,
To walk through life under a carrot and a stick.

Hearing songs a thousand times.
Hearing songs a thousand times.
Makes me want to commit crimes.
Makes me want to commit crimes.

You won’t give me something to make me feel.

Go ahead and turn this off.
We’re taking back our music,
What you won’t give we’re gonna steal,
Go ahead and turn this off,
You can keep your smug irony,
And I’ll keep what is real.

I’ve seen your ventriloquist,
Another hypnotist,
Visit your therapist,
‘Cuz now we’re getting pissed.

Because you won’t give me something to make me feel.

Go ahead and turn this off.
We’re taking back our music,
What you won’t give we’re gonna steal,
Go ahead and turn this off,
You can keep your smug irony,
You can keep your impassivity,
You can keep your fashionability,
And I’ll keep what is real.

Too Many Ghost Hunters?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

Chad Lewis – The Unexplained

What is Legend Tripping?

Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin by Chad Lewis

Featured Song: Ephemeral by Sunspot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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