Tag Archives: ghost stories

219 – Buried Alive: 30 Hours In The Coffin Challenge

On October 21st and 22nd, Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts  participated in the Coffin Challenge at Six Flags Great America outside of Chicago, Illinois. What was the challenge?

  • Lay in a coffin for 30 hours straight
  • Only one 6-minute break per hour for the bathroom
  • Only be able to use their cell phones for 13 minutes per hour
  • Playing music and scaring the people at all hours of the night
  • Only six 15-minute food breaks throughout the 30 hours

Allison texted me about it a couple of weeks ago and she was incredibly excited to be part of it. 3000 people (including me!) submitted to be chosen for the coffin challenge and spend those 30 hours in the Northern Illinois cold in a casket. Six people were chosen and my sister made the cut.

It began at 1pm on Saturday October 20th and she couldn’t have started off any more stoked to be there…

Right around 2am in the morning is when things started getting unpleasant as the torture commenced. You see, to make it hard on them, the ghouls from the haunted houses at Fright Fest decided to keep them up…

And that’s where Allison started losing it. Sleep deprivation is a classic way of torturing people and making them want to give up, and we’ve seen it in fiction from Lost to A Clockwork Orange. This night she was tormented by the Six Flags workers as well as a little nightmare ear worm (as many beleaguered parents can attest to, including myself) called “Baby Shark”. That was put on blast for the coffin challengers from 3 to 4am.

So, did she make it? You bet she did. And in this episode, we talk with Allison about her experience and how she soldiered through the Six Flags Coffin Challenge of being buried alive for thirty hours. Also, we get some cool ghost stories from the Gurnee, Illinois area with Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com (he used to work Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America himself back in the day!)

And that’s not all! We learn a little about:

  • Taphophobia – the fear of being buried alive
  • Famous people that were terrified of being buried alive themselves
  • Real cases of people being buried alive as late as 2015
  • Where the phrases “saved by the bell” and “dead ringer” come from

The Sunspot song this week uses the metaphor of being buried alive to talk about the ways that we can create our own “Cask of Amontillado” through lies and self-deception. When you lie, you have to pile on more and more in order to avoid being caught, and after awhile it just feels like you’re “Buried Alive”!

When your heart is sick from beating,
cuz this double life you’re leading
ain’t no fun.
You need to find your bearing
‘fore you’re staring down
the barrel of a gun.

Cuz every lie just builds on every lie
You’ve got a crypt but you ain’t gonna die
only as good as your latest alibi.
The more you struggle, the more you’re tied
left in a hole where you’ll never see the sky.

You’re buried alive

When your mind is tired of roiling
‘cuz the rope just keeps on coilinga
’round your throat.
You better find some kind of spin
or you’re gonna swim
the dead man’s float.

Cuz every lie builds on every lie
You’ve got a crypt but you ain’t gonna die
only as good as your latest alibi.
The more you struggle, the more you’re tied
left in a hole where you’ll never see the sky.

You’re buried alive.

 

218 – Ghosts of the Shooting Star – Stories from Minnesota ParaCon 2018

And I would drive 500 miles and I would drive 500 more…

So, we hopped in the Sunspot van and Wendy, Scott from WhatsYourGhostStory.com, and I drove a thousand miles this weekend to the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota for their 2018 Paracon. It was a fun-filled three days where we made dozens of new friends, talked about hundreds of paranormal experiences, and even got to play some Blackjack (Wendy has a system, in case you were wondering!)

Mike, Wendy, and Scott manning the booth!

Now, we’ve had vendor tables at several different paranormal conventions before and it is hard to stand out. You’re competing with celebrities (we had two lovely actresses right next to us and Chip frickin’ Coffey right across the way), paranormal presentations, a bar open all day, and gambling. How are we going to get people’s attention with our little podcast? Well, we decided to create a paranormal quest where people could enter to win a sweet prize package of ghost tour tickets, Sunspot CDs, books on Chicago ghost stories, and a haunted Gingerbread house.

Chuck Woolery, eat your heart out!

So, how were we going to get everyone to come on by and get weird with us? Well, we tried to do a little “paranormal quest” game where we had three sections:

The eyeball test tubes we used to conduct our “favorite paranormal topic” poll

Once people answered our questions, then we entered them into the drawing! So, what did we discover about the Paracon attendees?

  • “Purple Rain” is their favorite Prince song by a huge margin
  • There’s not as many Vikings fans as you’d think, most of them couldn’t even name a player
  • Ghosts are the most popular topic, followed by demons, then UFOs (I know, right? Unexpected.). Cryptids came in last, which broke Bigfoot’s heart.
  • More than three-quarters of the people we met had a personal ghostly encounter and a majority of them were about their family and loved ones. That was really nice. They were mainly positive and comforting experiences. 
Daniel, the winner of the paranormal prize pack! He shared several of his paranormal experiences with us as well…
Here’s a compilation of ghost stories you guys told at our booth!

So, since ghosts were the topic that most people were interested in, we decided to interview a few of the presenters  about some of their most memorable ghostly encounters. In this episode, we have personal ghost stories from:

Darkness Radio‘s Dave Schrader interviewing Jael De Pardo and Erin Ryder from Destination Truth
Mike talking with cryptozoology author, Nick Redfern
Scott and Mike talking to actress, Erin Marie Hogan

For the song this week, we used the name of the place, the Shooting Star Casino, as the initial inspiration. Time flies like a shooting star and as John Lennon said on Double Fantasy:

Before you cross the street take my hand.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”

When we’re young and we think about the future, there’s a sense of wonder. I saw a lot of that this weekend. There were psychics making predictions and mediums who say they can talk to the dead. We dream about what might happen and wish for something better. Some nights seem like they’ll last forever, but they don’t, before we know it the future is here, whether we’re ready or not and the important part is to try and not lose that sense of wonder that makes the whole thing worthwhile. That’s the idea behind this quick rock track, “Best-Laid Plans”.

Staring at the sky til dawn
laid out in front of your piece of crap car
this getaway could not go wrong
so we made a wish on every single star

And all those summer nights
that weren’t meant to last
like a shooting star
they just burn so fast
Yeah, we ran away
but the best-laid plans
are fantasies
So if you make that wish, I will believe.

And then we tried to tell the future
We looked at our palms and studied all the lines
When every kiss was an adventure
and we laughed at all the hearts we’d leave behind

And all those summer nights
that weren’t meant to last
like a shooting star
they just burn so fast
Yeah, we ran away
but the best-laid plans
are fantasies
So if you make that wish, I will believe.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

Haunted Rock & Roll on Facebook

Connect with Matthew Swayne on Twitter

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

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

Featured Song: Forever In The Snow

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

17 – Holiday Hauntings: Christmas Ghost Stories

If it’s the most wonderful time of the year, why are we sharing scary haunted tales? Explore the history of the tradition of telling spooky Christmas ghost stories!

More links on Christmas Ghost Stories:

Hypnogoria article on “The Origins of Ghost Stories at Christmas”

Deseret News, “Telling Ghost Stories is a lost tradition on Christmas Eve”

The Conversation, “Why ghosts haunt England at Christmas but steer clear of America”

Bill Petro, “History of a Christmas Carol: A ghost story of Christmas”

Featured Song: Next Plane (Welcome Home)

There’s dust in my bunk
and no snow upon on the ground,
it’s 110 outside and I wake up at every little sound.
I’m sick of being afraid, I’m tired of the bad dreams,
I won’t watch my son grow up on a computer screen.

I’ve seen too many ghosts of Christmas Past,
I’ve seen too many ghosts at all.

I know the fireplace was cold,
while I was being GI Joe,
and I’m sorry you poured your Christmas wine alone.
But I won’t miss another one,
And this year I’ll put down my gun,
This Christmas I’m on the next plane home.

There’s a table waiting for me,
and they’re playing my favorite song,
There’s a girl that’s waiting for me,
and she’s waited for too long.
But too many friends have gone,
and I’ve read too many tags,
There’s too many people I love,
coming back beneath a flag.

I’ve seen too many ghosts of Christmas Past,
I’ve seen too many ghosts at all.

I know the fireplace was cold,
while I was being GI Joe,
and I’m sorry you poured your Christmas wine alone.
But I won’t miss another one,
And this year I’ll put down my gun,
This Christmas I’m on the next plane home.
This Christmas I’m on the next plane home.