Tag Archives: ghosts

164 – The World’s Largest Ghost Hunt: Live From The Old Baraboo Inn

September 30th, 2017 was National Ghost Hunting Day (for real!) and we got to be a part of it with a massive investigation that was happening at the same time all over the world. We took our part of the World’s Larges Ghost Hunt at the Old Baraboo Inn in Baraboo, Wisconsin. We visited there before in episode 89 of the podcast where we did a live performance and interview.

The OBI, as they like to call it, stands across the street from where the Baraboo train station used to be, and serving as the local watering hole and brothel (well, no brothel anymore) across from the point where most people entered the town in its late Nineteenth Century heyday (when Baraboo was the winter headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus.) Built over 150 years ago, there are many people who’ve reported haunted experiences there, from a cowboy hanging out by the jukebox, to the spirits of the ladies of the night inhabiting apartments upstairs.

So, we returned to the OBI to be part of a ghost hunt that was a worldwide endeavor, with 90 different haunted venues participating in countries from the United Kingdom to India to Tasmania. The idea was to harness the energy of thousands of people all over the world and hopefully that would help get some spirits out.

Scotty Rorek, the medium at the Metaphysical Command Center

Also exciting was that the OBI was going to host one of the founding members of the event, Scotty Rorek from Z-Talk Radio and Psychics Unite. Scotty’s presence turned the venue into the Metaphysical Command Center of all of the events and he helped direct mediums from around the world to concentrate their energies at the same time.

Everyone getting ready for the big event…

We all started out the night with a meditation that was all about protecting ourselves “psychically”. Usually, I kinda make fun of that part because I just don’t believe that anything can follow me home or hurt me. When was the last time someone was killed by a ghost? Was it The Bell Witch? That was forever ago, c’mon. But I wanted to throw all of my doubts aside for the night. I even changed from my show/rocker outfit to the red t-shirst everyone was wearing because I really wanted to be on the same wavelength. I went all in on the protection meditation and everything throughout the night because I didn’t want my natural skepticism to get in the way.

They even told us to turn our phones off, so I took mine back out to the Sunspot van and turned it off. And then we proceeded to investigate the three different rooms of the Old Baraboo Inn.

interviewing Old Baraboo Inn owner, B.C. Farr

After the event, Wendy and I played a few songs and then interviewed some of the World’s Largest Ghost Hunt participants to see if they experienced anything.

interviewing Baraboo native Cora Parchem about anything she experienced that night…

So, what did we experience? 

Well, the weirdest thing that happened to me was during the second hour of the event. Shelly Wells, who’s the sister of the owner, B.C. Farr asked if I would help do some Facebook Live stuff for the event, which I was happy to do because they’re always really nice to us. My phone was in the van, so I needed to use a different device. The technology guy for the night, Justin Richards, handed me a tablet upstairs and I logged on to Facebook.

Now when I started the Facebook Live feed, but it was really dark in the room and I had a hard time getting much of any details in the video. And after five minutes, the video stopped working completely. The tablet just reset. Here’s the full Facebook Live video, I don’t hear anything too unusual in it so far, but I’d love to see if I got any EVPs after further investigation!

The thing was, that the tablet had plenty of battery when I first started using it. And when I tried to restart it, I just kept getting some kind of battery error and it wouldn’t go past the startup screen. So, what was that about? During the investigation upstairs we had moved from trying to capture EVPs to using this thing called a SB-7 Spirit Box which sweeps the FM radio spectrum and will stop every once in awhile on some sounds, the idea is that the spirits can manipulate the frequencies or even use snippets of the radio to send a message.

Everyone was asking questions and my question was “What do you do all day?” which I thought was a fair question of a spirit. To which the Spirit box seemed to say “F$%#” and “You” a few seconds later. Now, everyone else really heard it, and I kinda think I heard it, but you know the power of suggestion and all that. It was more funny than anything else, but I still got a chill from it and felt a little scared.

I kinda ghosted for a second and went downstairs to tell Shelly that I had to let her down and when I came back up and opened the door, everyone told me that they heard the Spirit Box say the name “Mike” three times. That scared me again, ha, because now I felt like it wanted something from me.

That was about the last of anything in the actual bar that I thought was kinda unusual. They also set up a Spirit Chamber (like the glass box in the third season of Twin Peaks) and tried to see if anything came through, but nothing weird showed up.

The Spirit Chamber

So then we played some songs, finally had a couple of beers (no drinking during the investigation for me, I wanna see something dammit and not have to worry anyone would question my veracity!) And that was about it. I got back in the van and turned my phone back on.

And my phone just wouldn’t turn on. I turned it off at 25% battery four hours earlier and I’ve done that a million times. This time after a few minutes it finally showed me that the battery was gone, but I needed the GPS to get home! So I just drove around until I found a gas station where I could buy an overpriced charger and when I plugged it back in and tried turning it on, it immediately was at 25%. So what was draining the battery? That’s never happened to me before where it went from completely trained to quarter-charged, instantly.

I know, just a coincidence and it might be the new iOS that I just installed less than two weeks ago. But then on the drive home, the tire alert comes on saying that the left rear tire is flat.  We just got brand new tires on the van in March so I’m thinking, “Great!” Plus I’m driving alone at 3:30am between Madison and Baraboo and there’s nothing out there near the freeway.

Well, I thought I’d give it a a few minutes and see… When I looked at the tire sensors, it didn’t show that the tire just was losing pressure (as I’ve experienced in my own 2009 GM car, which is the same year as our van when it had a tire go flat), it didn’t show any reading at all for that left rear tire. But after a night of talking about scary things and thinking that spirits could invade our electronics, I was prone to flights of fancy. First the Facebook Live stream, then the phone, and now the van?

What do these guys want from me!?!

Nothing probably. Maybe they wanted to be heard. But I lived to tell you the tale. Didn’t see the tire alert when I moved the van today, though, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that!

Well, considering we were at a saloon right by the old train station at a bar filled with outlaws, we thought this old classic folk song about trains, prison, and redemption would be a good way to end the night and the podcast. And of course it will always make me think of the opening of Twilight Zone: The Movie with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks, here’s just a clip of them singing along, but don’t worry, it won’t ruin the fun if you haven’t seen it yet!

Well, you wake up in the mornin’, you hear the work bell ring
And they march you to the table, you see the same old thing
Ain’t no food upon the table and no pork up in the pan
But you better not complain, boy, you get in trouble with the man

Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a light on me

Let the midnight special, shine a ever lovin’ light on me

Yonder come Miss Rosie, how in the world did you know?
By the way she wears her apron and the clothes she wore
Umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand
She come to see the governor, she wants to free her man

Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a ever lovin’ light on me

If you’re ever in Houston, oh you better do the right
You better not gamble and you better not fight
Or the sheriff will grab you and the boys, will bring you down
The next thing you know, boy, oh you’re prison bound

Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a light on me
Let the midnight special, shine a ever lovin’ light on me

 

152 – Haunted History in New England: A Conversation with Jeff Belanger

Jeff Belanger is one of New England’s premier haunted historians. Well known for his work with Ghost Adventures (he was one of the guys who found the haunted places and looked for witnesses willing to discuss their experiences), Jeff also hosted the online show Thirty Odd Minutes, has written fourteen books on hauntings, and was Emmy-nominated for his work on the PBS series, New England Legends (now available to watch on Amazon Prime!)

jeff belanger ghost adventures
Jeff Belanger looking like a total badass!

Growing up in Connecticut near Ed and Lorraine Warren (he even got to hang out at their house!), Jeff found himself fascinated with the paranormal at an early age. He started the popular ghost story site, Ghost Village in 1999 which is easily one of the largest paranormal resources on the Internet. Since then, he’s been writing books, hosting TV shows , and even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (which we get to in this episode).

Jeff Belanger 30 odd minutes zombie t-shirt
Jeff on 30 Odd Minutes, with an awesome t-shirt!

In this conversation Jeff shares his first real-life ghostly encounter in the Catacombs of Paris, some of his favorite New England ghost stories and legends, the inspiration behind his mountain climbing in Africa, and why Sandy Hook Truthers are sadly mistaken.

One of the stories that Jeff told us that really resonated with me was the story of Mercy Brown, a girl who died of tuberculosis in Exeter, Rhode Island in 1892. Her mother and older sister also died of tuberculosis and  then brother came down with it, so the people of Exeter believed that there was a vampire that was cursing the family. They dug up the bodies to see, but since it was wintertime and Mercy was being kept above ground (they had to wait for the ground to thaw to bury her), she was not as decomposed as they thought she should be. Also, as her body was more fresh so it still had blood in the liver and heart, which made them believe she was a vampire.

jeff belanger mercy brown vampire ghosts
The grave of Mercy Brown

They believed that they could end the vampiric curse and save her brother by ripping out her heart, burning it, and feeding him the ashes, so they did. And it didn’t work, two months after eating his sister’s burned heart, Edwin Brown succumbed to the disease as well. That seemed like an excellent inspiration for a track, because looking at it from today’s perspective, the whole adventure seems so misguided. All they did was drag Edwin and poor Mercy’s father through Hell by digging up the bodies of the people he loved and make him believe that his daughter was a hellish abomination. Let the dead rest. Things are better left buried in the past. Mercy’s father went through all that turmoil, he made his son eat his own daughter’s burned out heart and it was all pointless anyway. That’s the inspiration for this track, “Digging Up The Dead”.

Rusty nails and rotten wood
And earth in every seam
I spit the dirt out of my mouth
I wake up from a dream to
Be thirsty like I’ve never been
A constant agony
With the black dog that walks at my back
And damns my memory.
Lord grant us mercy from afar,
forgive the prayers we should have said,
Oh you can burn up my heart,
and eat the ashes that are left,
But you’re just digging up the dead.
You’re just digging up the dead.
The things that should be left alone
They’re not for man to touch
The past is just a shallow grave,
That’s best left in the dust.
We keep kicking the pale horse,
’til the blood just turns to rust.
No, you can’t beat the Devil,
By remembering too much.
Lord grant us mercy from afar,
forgive the prayers we should have said,
Oh you can burn up my heart,
and eat the ashes that are left,
But you’re just digging up the dead.

143 – Punk Rock and UFOs: An Interview with Mike Damante

Journalist and author Mike Damante took a left turn from covering mainstream entertainment and sports news in Houston to chronicling the weird world of the paranormal in his blog, Punk Rock and UFOs

mike damante punk rock and ufos
Mike Damante throwing up the horns!

With a lifelong passion for the music of punk rock and an interest in the weird, Mike Damante decided to take the attitude of punk music and apply it to the investigation of the unknown. While punk music can often have paranormal themes (just look at any song by the Misfits or a multitude of classic Vandals tracks), it’s the approach that punk music took to the status quo of the 1970s that Mike Damante is looking to emulate.

In the 70s, the music industry was all cocaine and big money, exemplified by the slick  sounds of Disco and the costumed denizens of Studio 54. Punk Rock was the antithesis of the laid-back California Pop-Rock sound of the Eagles. It was loud angry music created by dirty musicians in dingy clubs. It was piercings instead of glitter, mohawks instead of long flowing manes. It was the sound of a people left behind by a bloated hedonist beauty-worshipping culture and punk was their rallying cry of smashing that system.

That’s the attitude of Mike’s book and writing, Punk Rock and UFOs: Cryptozoology Meets Anarchy, is about questioning everything that you think you know when it comes to the world, especially the paranormal one.

Of course we talk about the most famous former punk rocker turned  UFO evangelist, Blink-182’s Tom Delonge who was featured in the news during the 2016 presidential election when his emails to fellow alien enthusiast John Podesta were leaked to the world, but we also go into other punk rock legends from Milo Aukerman from Descendents to Bad Religion’s Greg Gaffin. It’s a good mix of rock stories with paranormal tales and conversation.

If you’re interested in Mike’s book, you can grab it on Amazon right here. And make sure to follow Mike Damante on Twitter by clicking this link.

The song this week started off as a punk idea and ended up sounding like an adult contemporary song, ha! But sometimes when we’re writing, we just have to go where the Muse takes us. It’s an earnest track about looking back on a youth filled with paranormal adventure and all the memories and mistakes that come along with it. The track is called “Stories In The Dark”.

When we walked among the headstones,
On that August New Moon night,
That marble might have been cold,
But we raised the Fahrenheit.
And a summer is forever with,
not many on your belt,
But you know when the hurtin’ hits,
Yeah, the hurtin’ hits like Hell.
And you know when the hurtin’ hits,
Yeah, The hurtin’ hits like Hell.

There’s no point in saying sorry
For these twenty years gone past
No statute of limitations for
Acting like a jackass.
Time is always the best healer
Distance makes things much more clear
Even picking at a scab feels good,
Just in the rearview mirror.

These ghost stories in the dark
Oh my dear you were always game
Stronger than I gave you credit for
But crazy just the same
Tall tales that we tell ourselves
Do their damnedest to dull the pain
And you know every broken heart
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark

Mystery by every corner,
Didn’t matter what we saw,
It wasn’t what we got that made you hot,
It was the quest that burned us raw.

Being on a pedestal just
ain’t easy as it would seem.
Well the young should never handle
Something fragile as a dream
I said the young should never handle
Something fragile as a dream

There’s no point in saying sorry
For these twenty years gone past
No statute of limitations for
Acting like a jackass.

Time is always the best healer
Distance makes things much more clear
Even picking at the scab feels good,
Just in the rearview mirror.

These ghost stories in the dark
Oh my dear you were always game
Stronger than I gave you credit for
But crazy just the same
Tall tales that we tell ourselves
Do their damnedest to dull the pain
And you know every broken heart
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark
Comes with a story
Best told in the dark

135 – Demonology 101: Dennis W. Carroll Vs Evil

Dennis W. Carroll, the co-founder the Carolina Society for Paranormal Research and Investigation had his first encounter with demonology as a teenager in church. The preacher had brought up a troubled man and the whole congregation prayed for him. While everyone’s eyes were closed and the were praying furiously for the man’s soul, Dennis saw three balls of what he describes as “dirty light” flee from the man’s body and disappear into the sky.

From that moment on, Dennis was a believer and has spent much of his life learning more about the invisible world of the supernatural and demonology. In addition to co-founding the CSPRI, he has also authored two books on investigation, Beyond The Shadows: A Field Guide to The Paranormal and The Road Unseen: A Paranormal Journey Into High Strangeness, as well as two collections of poetry influenced by his investigations, In Sunshine and In Shadow.

dennis w carroll demonologist
Dennis W. Carroll compelling some evil entity with the Power of Christ

Dennis has been on hundreds of investigations over the years and he shares what he’s learned as not only a “location exorcist” (i.e., a guy that blesses houses and buildings to drive out any negative energy) but a demonologist who has fought powers that are conspiring to bring down the human race in what Carroll claims is a highly organized ring of evil.

Dennis W Carroll Demonology Demonologist
Demonologist At Your Service

Also in this episode, we feature a quick preview of the latest feature from our friends at The Singular Fortean blog. It’s St, Patrick’s season so they’re featuring legends and folklore of The Emerald Isle all this month.

One of the ways that Dennis talks about opening yourself to demonic possession is by focusing too much on your negative emotions and very few things make people as negative as a bad breakup. This week’s song is all about indulging in those negative emotions and allowing yourself to fully hate your ex. Which might be good for singing songs, but not so much for defending against infernal influences, it’s called “Eat Out My Heart”.

I’ve been waiting so long for you to call,
but now you’re finally here and I’m a wreck.
Worked out a little, even did my hair,
but I’m not the man I used to be back there.

I hope you have an ugly boyfriend,
I hope you’re working at a carwash,
I hope your life went down the drain and everything is not okay,
I hope your best years passed you up.

I dodged a bullet,
One or two since then,
You’re not the only one who still calls me up.
I’m still the jerk who listens to your problems,
I never told you all the times,
I’d wished you died in a car crash.

I hope you have an ugly boyfriend,
I hope you’re working at a carwash,
I hope your life went down the drain and everything is not okay,
I hope your best years passed you up.

I’m eating out my heart.
I’m eating out my heart.

And I’m not happy for you,
That you’re a better person without me.
I’m so glad you decided to apologize,
When I’m too numb to care,
I’m just too numb to care.

I hope you have an ugly boyfriend,
I hope you’re working at a carwash,
I hope your life went down the drain and everything is not okay,
I hope your best years passed you up.

114 – Ghosts of Riverfish: The Peculiar Haunting of Erin Petti

First things first here’s a big announcement… our very own Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts was awarded the very first Wisconsin Paranormal Researcher of the Year award! Huzzah!

Allison Jornlin - Wisconsin Paranormal Reseaecher od the Year!
Allison Jornlin – Wisconsin Paranormal Researcher of the Year!

It really was a privilege to be part of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference this last weekend. Wendy and I had a chance to lead the interview session with Paranormal Lockdown‘s Katrina Weidman and we all got to see a special never-before-shown preview of their 2016 Halloween special. It was fun and she was really down-to-earth. The whole convention was an ace mix of healthy skepticism, open mindedness,  and intellectual curiosity. It was great making lots of new friends and solidifying existing friendships with other paranormal lovers.

Speaking of new friends, this episode features an interview with our new friend, children’s book author Erin Petti. She’s just released a new novel called The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee. Much like we were just saying about the mix of healthy skepticism and open-minded imagination that we found in Milwaukee this past weekend, Thelma is always conducting scientific experiments while being close friends with a paranormal investigator.

After her father receives a strange jewelry box at his antique shop, he disappears, seemingly kidnapped by ghosts. Now it’s up to Thelma, an extraordinary unceasingly curious eleven-year old dynamo living in Riverfish, Massachussetts to solve the mystery and bring her father home.

Children's Author Erin Petti at the release of The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee
Children’s Author Erin Petti at the release of The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee

Sounds like a fun book, and if Erin Petti’s prose is as delightful as her conversation, then A Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee should be a big hit. Growing up near the Boston area, Erin caught the supernatural bug while reading Anne Rice’s classic Interview With The Vampire and that was her gateway into the wonderful world of genre fiction. In the interview we geek out on Lestat and even the Guns n’ Roses version of “Sympathy for the Devil” that featured in the closing credit of the movie.

brad pitt tom cruise interview with the vampire
The world’s studliest men wearing make up in 1994…

From being “the friend who loved the Ouija Board in high school” to working summers at the mansion in Salem that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables to the ghost stories of Emerson College, Erin Petti is extremely well-versed in the supernatural lore of New England.

And that’s one of the aspects of a great paranormal story. How many times have we talked about the original Ghostbusters on our show? Probably a thousand (in only 114 episodes!) But we consistently declare that it’s not just the classic comedy that keeps us watching, but Dan Aykroyd’s depth of knowledge of paranormal activity and psychical research. His affection is what makes it timeless for weirdos like us to keep coming back.

It’s this well of affection for New England (Riverfish is based on a small town that Erin had spent a great deal of time) and an understanding the traditions, folklore, and legends of Massachusetts that helps sell the tale. Great stories need memorable characters and those characters need to live in a world that people can relate to. This is true for paranormal stories even more than others, because they live and die (and then come back from the dead!) based on how ‘real’ the world feels. There needs to be some aspect of normal human behavior to contrast against the supernatural aspects. If Alice was as bananas as everyone else was in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll would feel more like Hunter S. Thompson!

Erin Petti's The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee

If you’d like to pick up a copy of The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee, you can grab it at your favorite book store or order it online right here.

This week’s Sunspot song was inspired by some “psychic vampires” that we’ve had to  contend with in the past. It also won the Madison Area Music Association Video of the Year in 2008, here is a little black and white slab of dark rock n’ roll, “Sweet Relief”.

I’m just a puppet in your hands,
a slave to your demands,
too terrified to live life on my own.
Soldier for your affection,
doll in your collection,
but you’ve got a mind I’ll never know.

Sweet relief,
why can’t you stay?
Just a moment longer.
Sweet relief,
your smile I’ll save.

Tied to my purse,
the martyr’s curse,
tangled in the Cat’s Cradle of your plan.
Spend all night on a call,
debating nothing at all,
thinking I can save what no one else can.

Sweet relief,
why can’t you stay?
Just a moment longer.
Sweet relief,
your smile I’ll save.
The vampires that prey on my conscience,
will trade my goodwill for my common sense.
Sweet relief,
why can’t you stay?

And this resolve is gone,
the eggshells I’ve been walking on.
Can I carry on?
Can I carry on?
When this freedom is gone,
can I carry on?
Being your servant and your boy,
your trifle and your toy,
drained until all that’s left of me is a void.

Sweet relief,
why can’t you stay?
Just a moment longer.
Sweet relief,
your smile I’ll save.
The vampires that prey on my conscience,
will trade my goodwill for my common sense.
Sweet relief,
why can’t you stay?

 

 

102 – I Talk Paranormal: The Strange World of Jim Malliard

This week we thought we’d try something different by interviewing another podcaster and paranormal investigator, the host of the Malliard Report (what he calls “the fastest hour in Paranormal Talk Radio”), Jim Malliard.

Jim Malliard Report
Get it? Cuz there’s a duck… oh nevermind!

Jim’s show has featured fascinating guests from Coast to Coast AM‘s George Noory and Scotty Roberts to See You On The Other Side alums like Tea Krulos and Garnet Schulhauser. and he’s been in the paranormal podcast game since 2011. Interestingly enough, Jim Malliard wasn’t a believer in the paranormal until he had his own experience.

Jim lives in northwestern Pennsylvania and on a trip to Gettysburg with his family, he started experiencing strange things. First of all, his  infant son started reacting to something in the room that no one else could see (in a place where the tour guide said that there was a spirit that liked children) and the next day he saw a Civil War soldier plain as day in the famous battlefield. He thought it was a re-enactor, only there were no re-enactments that day and when he investigated more closely, the soldier disappeared.

Jim Malliard Gettysburg
This is Jim in Gettysburg, but with someone alive.

This led Jim to form a paranormal investigation group in his town of Meadville, Pennsylvania, and eventually that led into creating a radio show based around his fascination with the strange. In this episode, we get details of his personal experiences and his favorite guests after five years exploring the unknown.

The Sunspot track this week is inspired by the Civil War solder that Jim Malliard saw in Gettysburg. He was still fighting the war years afterwards and this song is about loving someone long gone and having it interfere with your life today, take a listen to “Dead Man”.

All the years that I spent waiting for a chance,
all the hopes projected onto you,
sitting on the bench, watching someone else,
living the life I was supposed to.

A thousand different scenes all played out in my brain,
of this moment and how it happens and what it means.
And now it’s happening, and everything has changed.
but sometimes your eyes stare past me.

The part of me I thought that won you,
never had a chance,
you’re in love with a dead man.
the thought of him that always haunts you,
Slipping right through my hands,
You’re in love with a dead man,

Old t-shirts that get worn around the house,
Old pictures supposed be thrown out.
Why do you love someone who cannot love you back?
Why is it always better living in the past?

All these memories are past their sell-by date,
And a ghost still roams throughout our halls,
A dream is always sweeter than our present state.
And second place is better than nothing at all.

The part of me I thought that won you,
never had a chance,
you’re in love with a dead man.
the thought of him that always haunts you,
You’re slipping through my hands,
You’re in love with a dead man,

 

83 – Cincinnati Ghosts: The Official Paranormal Team of Bobby Mackey’s Music World

This week, Wendy and I are traveling through the country stopping at haunted sites and playing music and on Saturday we stopped in Cincinnati. It was a lot of fun and we’re doing it all this week, so check out the dates right here at http://www.othersidepodcast.com/tour!

And speaking of Cincinnati, our guests this week are the fine ladies of Gatekeeper Paranormal, who are the official paranormal team of Bobby Mackey’s Music World (keep reading to hear about one ofd its most famous ghost stories). I talk with lead investigator Kim Short and co-founder Laura Roland and you’ll hear all about their adventure’s at Bobby Mackey’s.

If you don’t have time to listen to the whole podcast, here’s 4 quick haunted stories of Cincinnati ghosts to tide you over!

cincinnati music hall
Mike and Wendy in front of Cincinnati Music Hall
1. Cincinnati Music Hall

Cincinnati Music Hall is a place where you can see some really messed up stuff. from flying Norse gods to Italian lovers being dragged to Hell, opera loves to turn up the crazy.

Originally this was the site of a Potter’s Field which is a graveyard for the poor or people without families, like those who died at the nearby Cincinnati Commercial Hospital and Lunatic Asylum, or the place on 12th and Elm that was a home for orphans before it became known as the “pest house” because it’s where they kept patients with infectious diseases.

Because you don’t use coffins in a potter’s field, bones will often churn out of the ground whenever renovations are done here, like they did in 1960 and 1988.

Since then, some patrons of the hall have seen strange figures waving at them from the other side of the hall only to disappear when they look away for a second. People have also heard a music box play a song called “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” when there are no music boxes around.

Roger Krebs, who worked on the maintenance crew for almost two decades has said that he has heard piano playing when there’s no one else in the hall, closed doors open on their own, and a floor buffer that mysteriously turns on and off for no reason. Cincinnati paranormal groups have also reported a freight elevator that has stopped at the wrong floors for no reason and the doors behaving erratically during investigations.

union terminal cincinnati

2. Union Terminal

Union Terminal is now a museum and a mall, but in the twilight years of the railroad it was one of the busiest places in the city. Train stations are usually rife with paranormal stories, whether it’s lovers saying their last goodbye as a soldier goes off to war or a family coming back together after a long separation, it’s a place of strong emotion. And sometimes those emotions stick around after the physical bodies have gone.

In September of 1989, a criminal named Thomas Haynes killed a security guard, Shirley Baker, while robbing the Union Terminal and it’s her ghost that some people have seen still patrolling the halls. People have heard her rattling the doorknobs and checking the locks when there is no one else present and some members of the cleaning crew won’t go into certain areas of the mall alone.

And that’s the weirdest thing. after all, what’s to be afraid of? Shirley is just dedicated to her job, still protecting the mall decades after her final shift has ended!

3. Bobby Mackey’s Music World
This music venue and bar in Wilder, Kentucky, bills itself as the “Most Haunted Nightclub in America”. is it the most haunted? I don’t know that anyone is keeping score, but it got Bobby Mackey a slot on not only Jerry Springer but also Geraldo, and when you can do that without making love to a family member, that means something.

So, the romantic legend of Bobby Mackey’s comes from the 1950s, when the club was mob-affiliated and known as “The Latin Quarter”, a dancer by the name of johanna had fallen in love with a singer at the club by the name of Robert Randall. According to the legend, Robert got her pregnant and her mobster father ended up hanging Robert in the dressing room. Johanna, so distraught by her lover’s murder at the hands of her father, took her own life at the club by poisoning herself.

Patrons of Bobby Mackey’s will sometimes see a woman dressed in a 1950s outfit or they’ll hear a woman’s voice in the club when there’s no one around. that’s the ghost that they think is Johanna.

Bobby Mackey himself wrote a song about Johanna and here’s some of the lyrics:

Now today it’s a different place
Or the same with a new face
With strange mysteries hangin’ in the air
People in their sane minds swear they see you today

4. The Tale of Tiny Town

Here’s a great urban legend about a town right north of Cincinnati by Mount Rumpke. It was said that there was a village of tiny houses around there at a place called the handlebar ranch. in those tiny houses was said to live a large population of retired circus dwarves. seriously.

Having been laughed at and made fun of all of their lives in the circus, they shun the rest of society, so that when you visited Tiny Town, they would throw rocks at you and yell at you to leave. And the kicker of course, is that you knew you were in the right place when you could hear the circus music!(?)

Of course, this story is ridiculous,  but not completely crazy. Anna and Percy Ritter Who owned the Handlebar Ranch, had a hayride business there and did have a collection of small buildings on the property that the hayrides could look at. There were also some old school bells that Percy salvaged and sometimes kids would sneak onto the property and ring the bells in the middle of the night.

As to the collection of circus dwarves? well, Anna Ritter was only 5’3 but no one knows exactly where that story came from, so people think that the small houses in the village are what contributed to that story, no matter that there were actually no little people there.

This week’s song is an old Sunspot chestnut that fits well into an episode about Bobby Mackey’s. Our track, “Meat Market” was recorded in 1998 and it’s originally a track about hook-up culture in  college bars. But since Bobby Mackey’s is reputedly a former slaughterhouse and Johanna was a dancer who hooked up at the club, well we thought it might be the perfect song for this episode.

Here’s an ancient video of us in the studio recording it and here’s another Queen City connection, I’m wearing a Hustler shirt (given to me by my college buddy from Cincinnati whose uncle was one of Larry Flynt’s lawyers!)

Going down to the Meat Market,
I’m looking for the first one,
that looks my way.
Take me to the Meat Market,
When it’s two o’clock in the morning,
I’m not picky.
I’m not picky.
It’s all the same to me.
I’m not picky.

We’re not looking for an answer.
We don’t care what we find,
We’ll say anything that we can,
to get what we want tonight.

This hunting ground is a sleazy dive,
where deperate people lead desperate lives.
All we do is live to survive,
I said to her as she looked in my eyes.
Is she staring at my face?
Is she looking at my ass?
Can she find her knight in shining armor,
through the bottom of a glass?
We’ll say anything that we want,
to get what we want tonight.

One more trip to the Meat Market.
You’re looking for Prince Charming,
to break your heart.

Take me to the Meat Market.
The All-American Girl is a porno star.
A porno star,
if it’s all the same to you,
then it’s all the same to me.

This hunting ground is a sleazy dive,
where deperate people lead desperate lives.
All we do is live to survive,
I said to her as she looked in my eyes.

Is she staring at my face?
Is she looking at my ass?
Can she find her knight in shining armor,
through the bottom of a glass?
We’re not looking for forever,
we don’t care what you think.
We’re just a bunch of primates,
that know how to mix a drink.

They say true love waits,
at least until last call.
We’re all porno stars in a meat market,
Hearts pumping alcohol.

Telling Ghost Stories From An Atlanta Hotel Bar

So, I spent a few days this week in Atlanta and in the late evenings, I did some unwinding in the hotel bar. Hotel bars are great for random conversations, so while I’m eavesdropping on people talking at the bar, I hear a woman conversing about the Green Bay Packers. In Wisconsin, this is par for the course, but when you’re hundreds of miles away from home and someone with a Southern accent proudly declares their allegiance to the Green and Gold, you just gotta say something.

Fast forward a bit and I discover that she manages a funeral home and that she used to own the Jacksonville, Florida bar where Ronnie Van Zant got into the trouble that eventually inspired the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “Gimme Three Steps”.

So of course, the first thing I say, “A funeral home? Is it haunted? You ever see anything weird?” And then we’re off, talking about ghosts and then a guy from Chicago who is also sitting at the bar, joins the conversation and talks about how his childhood home was haunted and how he shares a special psychic connection with his Mother and Aunt.

Wow, and I just thought I was going downstairs to have a beer before bed.

Anyway, the Funeral Home manager shares a couple of stories about weird things she’s seen at graveyards. Her best story was probably about a bench in front of a grave and leaving her mobile phone microphone on it for a little while at night while they went off investigating the cemetery. When she was playing the sounds back later, she heard some scratching and tapping on the audio and couldn’t figure out what it was.

This was back when she owned the bar and she passed the phone over to one of her regulars who was an old sailor and asks him if he hears anything. He listens to the EVP for a few seconds and puts the phone down, then thinks for a second, picks it back up and listens again. He tells her, “I’m not sure what it is, but if it was Morse code, it would spell out ‘I Can See You’.”

So, good story. The next thing she pulls out are two photos that her friend sent to her that her friend claims she took. I’ve never seen these online before and she did have them right on her phone, but I was chilled by them.

I know that everyone knows a little bit of Photoshop these days, but do these pics look like they were made in an app or obvious effects? If not, these are some of the most impressive homemade photos that I’ve seen in a long time.

ghost photo
ghost photo

77 – Paranormal Plantation: The Haunting Of The Myrtles

The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana is reputed to be one of the most haunted homes in the United States. With a reputation of murder, treachery, and slavery, the Myrtles has dozens of ghost stories and the fact that it’s a bed and breakfast makes it a popular spot for amateur ghost hunters.

Back in 2000, My sister, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts and I did an overnight at the Myrtles and had a good time while not really seeing anything spooky (I, however, was terrified the whole time because it’s hard to ignore all the stories!)

That was a fun trip, but Allison just wasn’t convinced of the veracity of the tales so in 2012, we worked on a video presentation to have the most balanced and well-researched look at the Myrtles Plantation and its history. While the Myrtles is featured on ghost hunting show after ghost hunting show (Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and Unsolved Mysteries have all famously featured the plantation) how accurate is the history that they tell us on TV?

We interviewed former owner Francis Kermeen, Myrtles curator and tour guide Hester Eby, paranormal researcher David Wiseman, and haunted historian David Young to talk about experiences, historical inconsistencies, EVPs, vengeful slaves, possession, and much much more in this detailed investigation of one of America’s most notorious haunts.

While we never ended up releasing the video that we made for this episode, I’m really happy that the information is seeing the light of day finally because it’s got stuff that you will absolutely not hear anywhere else.

The song we’re featuring in this episode is “Freakshow” by Sunspot, which was originally inspired by this particular trip to Louisiana (my first time in New Orleans) and we opened at least one-hundred shows with this song as we were touring in 2002 and 2003.

Featured Song: Freakshow by Sunspot

Hotter than hell in the shade today,
and I’m sweating bullets waiting for you,
jonesing for a fix of my favorite sin.
I walked the streets for days,
trying not to break my mother’s back,
looking for silence above the din.

Will I be the one,
who leaves a bad taste in your mouth?
Spitting out your teeth, just like a dream.
Or I could be the one,
who could turn your head around to see,
that damaged goods are much more valuable than what they seem.

Welcome to the Freakshow,
Don’t be a no-show,
Because this act is guaranteed to blow your mind.
Just a cross-section,
that’s perfect in its imperfection.
Take a look or you will never know,
just what you might find.

Take me where the saints go marching,
with the hookers and the vampires,
and everyone’s invited to the dance.
Sometimes we forget who we’re supposed to be,
the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,
and every sinner deserves a second chance.

Welcome to the Freakshow,
Don’t be a no-show,
Because this act is guaranteed to blow your mind.
Just a cross-section,
that’s perfect in its imperfection.
Take a look or you will never know,
just what you might find.

Will I be the one,
who leaves a bad taste in your mouth?
Spitting out your teeth, just like a dream.
Or I could be the one,
who could turn your head around to see,
that damaged goods are much more valuable than what they seem.

When you prick me do I not bleed?
I know I’m in no shape to judge.
Did you leave a second chance there for me…
or was that bad taste in your mouth too much?

Welcome to the Freakshow,
Don’t be a no-show,
Because this act is guaranteed to blow your mind.
Just a cross-section,
that’s perfect in its imperfection.
Take a look or you will never know,
just what you might find.

 

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!