Tag Archives: ghosts

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!

A Night With Bloody Mary

This is a guest post by our friend, Jay Bachochin, from WPI Hunts The Truth. We’ve talked with Jay about the mysterious drownings of young men in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as well as his many Bigfoot investigations. In 2008, he ventured deep into the unknown and dangerous flat land of Wadsworth, Illinois to the burial place of an alleged witch named Mary Worth. For extra credit, we also talk about the origins of the “Bloody Mary” legend in our episode, “Charlie Charlie Can You Play? Supernatural Party Games from Bloody Mary to the Candyman”.

Old St. Patrick’s Cemetery is an old cemetery located in Wadsworth, IL that dates back into the 1800’s. This cemetery may be small but it’s potent (see Google Map picture).  The supposed resting place of Bloody Mary Worth. You remember her legend don’t you? )You look in the mirror and say her name three times…Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody …….. well legend has it a “witch” named Mary Worth owned a farm nearby and tortured run a way slaves during the civil war. She was hung by the locals and she is the supposed origin of Bloody Mary. It may well be just another incarnation of the story ‘Bloody Mary’ but there is a huge filed stone in this cemetery that is believed to be hers.  However, there are no burial records for her.  If that isn’t enough to raise an eyebrow or get your heart pumping the woods (just to the north west of the cemetery) is what locals call the “Devil’s Pool”. Supposed satanic cults do animal sacrifices at night back there at night.

(Mike’s Note: Check out this link to learn more about the legend of Bloody Mary Worth, the scourge of Gurnee (besides all the Cheeseheads going to the outlet stores and Great America.))

There’s a wooded spot back behind the cemetery, covered in no trespassing signs that is resting place of what the locals call Devil’s Pool. Evidently, according to the local children, satanic sacrifices happen back there.

(Mike’s Note: I’m always skeptical when I hear stuff about satanic sacrifices because it seems that every small town has a cult hiding behind every corner, but it’s even on the Foursquare page of the cemetery LOL.) 

OUR INVESTIGATION:

On Saturday, May 10th, 2008, investigators Jay Bachochin and Paul Gasper went tu Old St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Wadsworth, IL to check it out.

******* DISCLAIMER ***** While this investigation happened 8 years ago, the little side park next to the cemetery has since been blocked off with cement barricades and police patrols are very heavy today.  Since there wasn’t any signs posted in 2008 of hours of visits, we felt like we were not trespassing. However, surrounding neighbors have grown quite tired of seeing teenagers with flash lights in the cemetery and have asked the help of the Wadsworth Police Department to do frequent drive bys. We do not recommend to try and investigate this cemetery at night.

Our investigation began like all new investigators do …. in a cemetery.  Since nobody knew who we were there wasn’t any request for investigations so a cemetery was our mission this night.  After saying a ‘prayer’ before entering the cemetery we caught an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) (check out EVP 2 below). 25 seconds after this EVP we caught another (EVP 3).  We didn’t know we caught these until the next day during review of our digital voice recorders.

We would take several pictures in a row so we could review each one if we caught anything paranormal on camera.  In the middle of the cemetery it is complete dark with just a street light far off on the street.  As we were walking to the other side of the cemetery I heard something in front of me, maybe just 2 feet in front of me !!!  It was a raspy laughter from out of nowhere. It scared the bejesus out of me. (Check out EVP 1 below and hear it yourself!) After getting my bearings we pressed on to take more pictures.  So we kept snapping picture after picture after picture without looking at the LCD screen.  We figured we’d look at the hundreds of digital pictures the next day.

Not much happened after that except the chills of being in a cemetery at midnight.  We left the cemetery around 12:45 a.m. and reviewed the audio and photos the next day.  What we found on the photos we took defied logic and quite frankly validated a lot of ghostly claims.

EVIDENCE:

Old_St_Pats_Black_Mist

Black Mist Photo:  What intrigued us the most about this photo is that we couldn’t figure out what it was.  Maybe the blackness was the brim of my hat in front of the camera lens somehow? No, it couldn’t be because you can see the green leafs at the top of the photo.  The brim of a hat would cause total blackout. Could it have been a blur from movement where I caught my finger or hand somehow?  No, it couldn’t be because everything else on the photo is crisp and clear.  So what is it?  Something moved in front of our camera lens unnoticed and we have no way to prove or disprove what this was.

Old_St_Pats_ShootingOrb

Orb Photo:  What is a ghost orb?  You may have seen them in your own photos.  Sometimes large, sometimes small and sometimes there are multiple transparent orbs.  Most likely, those orbs are a false positive.  A false positive is that the orb is actually debris such as dust, dirt, moisture, sun flares, the list goes on and on with natural causes.  However this night we captured the logic defying flying orb.  It’s solid white sphere with a white tail showing you it’s moving.  So what is an orb? 99.9999% is a natural piece of debris obstructing the lens with a flash. The .0000001% is paranormal in nature.

Old_St_Pats_Ectoplasm

Ectoplasm Photo:  What intrigued us about this photo is the little loop-de-loop electro discharge on the right hand side of the photo.  We couldn’t debunk this as hair for I have short hair.  Could it have been the tether of my camera?  No, since I removed the tether 12 months earlier.  So what else could this phenomenon of a glowing worm be?

EVP 1

EVP 2

EVP 3

CONCLUSION:

We have no way of telling what these phenomenon are.  We can say with the EVPs we captured are in fact a voice from beyond.  We can also say that the photos we took were from spirits long since passed on.  However, it’s only by theory, speculation and opinion of what a ghost is.  Our Hunt Continues …………

WPI Hunts the Truth was established in March 2007 by Jay and Katie Bachochin due to their love and passion of the paranormal.

Jay and Katie were both so intrigued by the paranormal evidence they’ve seen in their lives.  Ghosts, UFOs and Unknown Creatures. We took an interest in researching as a husband & wife team in 2006″.

In later March 2007, they founded The Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators while networking with some friends that shared the similar passion. They all believe there is more to their everyday normal lives. Do ghosts really exist? Are those lights in the sky just a plane? Is there really an 8′ tall undiscovered primate hiding from everybody? Is all this simply suggestive thought or mass hysteria? They needed to find the answers for themselves and share what they knew with other like minded researchers. This is how their mission Hunt the Truth was born.

They combined their organizations acronym and their mission statement to simplify who they are and what we do.  Jay and Katie are WPI Hunts the Truth.

Please visit their website, find them on Facebook or send them an email if you’d like them to help with your investigation.

Ghost Photo from St. Charles, Missouri

We’re always looking for cool ghost photos and this one was taken by a man named Edison Shaw when they were on a ghost tour in St. Charles, Missouri. Of course, I’m partial to ghost tours (my Madison and Minneapolis  haunted history tours will start again when the weather warms up!), but Edison was on the tour with his brother and when they heard the story about this particular building, they just took some photographs with their digital camera. Here’s the first one that they took, looks fairly innocuous to me.

IMG_0647

So, here’s where the fun begins, check out the window in the next photo that was empty in the first one.

IMG_0646

Okay, never mind the orb because, well, I don’t believe in them (the arrows were added in the photos that were sent to us.) But how about that window, huh? Yeah, these photos were taken in quick succession of each other, so what’s in the window, huh, what’s in the window?

whats-in-the-box

Indeed, what is in the window? Let’s get a closer look, shall we…

IMG_0645

This is from the blown up photo that they sent u. Now, it could completely be Pareidolia (that’s where you see familiar faces and shaped in things just because our mind is trained to see patterns and also to recognize people, that’s why we have such unique faces – and your cat, does not) but it sure looks like a dark figure with glowing blue eyes looking at us from the window – have the White Walkers crossed The Wall already and invaded St. Charles, Missouri?

White_Walkers

Okay, all fun aside, great ghost photo. Now, I talked to Edison’s brother and he swore that they don’t alter the photo in any way. They didn’t notice anything weird in the window at the time and it wasn’t until they were checking out the photo later and saw the  Now, I’m not saying there’s a ghost in there, but I am saying that there’s it sure looks like something or someone in that second photo that’s not in the first. And I totally when to go on the St. Charles, Missouri haunted tour now! Thanks to the Shaws for sending in the photo and their buddy Gary for sending it in the first place.

What do you guys think? Do you have ghostly evidence, EVPs, or photos that you’d like us to share, discuss, or talk about on the podcast? Then send it in!

74 – Science of the Supernatural: An Interview with Dr. Nancy Zingrone

Ever since seeing Bill Murray use the Zener Deck in an experiment in the beginning of Ghostbusters, I wanted to become a parapsychologist. After all, what could be cooler than investigating psychic phenomena? There’s a “science of the supernatural”? People get paid to do research into ESP? You can have that as a job? Sign me up!

Zener Deck
The symbols of the Zener Deck

I even made my own Zener Deck in fifth grade and did an experiment  with the other kids in the class. Sunspot’s guitarist, Ben and I got 21 out of 25 cards correct when we did it. And spookily enough when I did a Ganzfeld procedure (that’s a sensory deprivation experiment) in college, Ben and I got a 100% hit rate when it was our turn the experiment, so I guess we don’t have an excuse when we mess up onstage anymore!

ganzfeld procedure
I can’t believe that ping pong ball eyeglass invention hasn’t taken off yet!

Well, as the years passed and I started getting more and more into music and entertainment, my dreams of becoming a research scientist faded into the background for the glamorous life of being an independent musician (ha!) But I always told people (with my tongue only half in my cheek) that being a parapsychologist was my Plan B. Now, with the podcast and haunted history tours I get the best of both worlds, but a part of me still yearns to do research of a more scientific kind into the unknown. That’s why it was such a delight to have Dr. Nancy Zingrone on the show to talk about her parapsychological journey. She’s a parapsychologist and professor originally from the Chicago area who has been conducting research in the field for over three decades.

We start this episode with a quick aside about Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead, who passed away shortly after Christmas. In his last interview, he must have known that the end was coming because he talked a lot about death as well as if he ever came back to haunt other musicians, it would be Tears for Fears! We always loved a little Motörhead in the Sunspot van while traveling, where Lemmy would sometimes make his presence known by one of us singing “It’s time to play the game!” at random times.

Interviewing Nancy was especially exciting because she worked as a Visiting Scholar at the Rhine Research Center at Duke University for over a decade. Just a little background, J.B. Rhine and his wife Dr. Louisa Rhine were scientists who viewed psi phenomena as a branch of abnormal psychology and they worked to professionalize the field in the United States in the first half of the Twentieth Century.  They developed a research center at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where they studied phenomena like ESP, poltergeists, ghosts, and telekinesis.

In the interview, Nancy tells us how she got interested in the field, how she found love in psychic research (her husband Dr. Carlos Alvarado is a formidable researcher and teacher in his own right) and some her favorite experiments. She also discusses the challenges that a budding scientist faces in a field that’s often considered outside of the scientific mainstream. In fact, many of the research centers that are set up (like the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh) only exist because of a monetary donation from someone rich that’s fascinated with the topic. Like in Scotland, the research unit exists because an author named Arthur Koestler donated his entire estate to a university that would research the paranormal. Oxford and Cambridge declined, Edinburgh University didn’t.

Nancy has some excellent advice, though, for people who are looking to get into the field:

  1. Follow your passion
    If you’re interested in history, physics, psychology, etc… then get trained in it. You are encouraged to start on the conventional academic path and develop your science-y skills (even J.B. Rhine started out as a botanist!)
  2. Get collateral education in parapsychology
    There are lots of courses that you can take online from real scientists so that you can get introduced to the methodology. Nancy and Carlos have a Massively Open Online Course that starts this month and is FREE, so you can see lectures and discuss these topics with top experts in the field. Really, you should sign up for this right away if you’re interested!
  3. Find a professor that will let you write your papers on parapsychological themes
    When I was an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, I had the chance to write some of my reports on parapsychological topics in my psychology courses. That was in the 90s, but there should even be more opportunities now. After all, universities are the cultural center for independent thought, right?
  4. Check out the schools that take on graduate and doctorate students in parapsychology and go there!
    Sure, you might have to go to Germany or Brazil, but travel is good for you! Here’s an awesome list of resources of universities and colleges that offer courses in parapsychology.

You can find more about Nancy and her husband’s teaching and research at The AZIRE website (The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education) where they have lots of information about their online courses (they’re even in Second Life, which sounds like a lot of fun!) and you can even read their published papers.

And make sure to check out their Facebook community for Parapsychology Online, it’s a great place to talk more about research, experiences, and advances in the field of easily the coolest science!

This week’s Sunspot song is all about reading minds, just like that “Zener Deck” experiment.

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I felt you on the edges, taking a peek inside,
Seeing a couple stick figures making wavy lines.
You don’t need to be psychic to unlock,

my intentions are as clear as circle, a cross, a star, and a box

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
What do you think you’re going to find out?
I don’t know what you think you know.
A brain on the lookout for a freakout.
I don’t know what you think you know.
Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.

62 – Behind The Screams: An Interview with Ghost Mine’s Patrick Doyle

I’ve often been critical of a lot of the “paranormal reality” television out there because it amazes me how much evidence that they can collect in one place in a short amount of time. They go to a new place every week and somehow come up with amazing evidence. If you’ve ever been on a paranormal investigation, you understand that most of the time you come up empty-handed, so how do these guys come up with incredible evidence every single week?

Well, that’s why I thought the premise of Ghost Mine was pretty interesting. Instead of going to a new place every week, they were going to stay in one place for several weeks and see what happened. The idea behind the show was that an old mine with a reputation for being haunted was being reopened in Oregon by a mining team on the hunt for gold and a paranormal research team on the hunt for ghosts. It would be a pretty awesome setup for a horror film (it almost feels like it could be a sequel to one of my personal favorites, Quatermass and The Pit AKA Five Million Years to Earth).

The show ran for two seasons on the SyFy Channel (it’s still hard to type out that silly name)ad it was hosted by Patrick Doyle and Kristen Luman. On the heels of the premiere of their new show, Behind The Screams on the Reelz Network (a show that explores the real-world inspiration for horror films, something that of course we can get behind here!),  we had a great conversation with Patrick on his lifelong quest for the paranormal.

Patrick goes into detail on his first paranormal experience of seeing  a Shadow Person as a child and how that eventually turned into the hobby of investigating haunted places looking to see if he could find more (something that I admire his courage for, my own visit from a Shadow Person left me with an approach avoidance conflict about seeing one again!)

While Patrick undertook his paranormal investigations over the years privately (and most often terrifyingly (to me at least) alone, he said that he didn’t often go with a team), his transition to paranormal television personality wasn’t something that he expected.

In 2006, Patrick released a young adult book he authored and illustrated called Edgar Font’s Hunt for a House to Haunt (say it fast a couple of times, you know you want to…) To promote the book, he started looking for YouTube videos of paranormal activity that were obvious fakes and would deconstruct them in his own blog and video series called Haunted Hoax. And that’s where it started. After becoming a popular series (as well as then turning into a target for Internet haters, but since Patrick is a man that openly admires the enemy-of-spoon-benders everywhere, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi, he should know that “haters gonna hate”.

Haters gonna hate...
Enough said…

Anyway, Haunted Hoax became so successful that SyFy contacted him about hosting Ghost Mine, but when they hired him, they made him take down all of his YouTube videos, effectively “buying his brand”. And while that sounds nefarious, it isn’t really. I also do work with a website that features musician profiles and songs, and when a major label signs an artist, they demand all previous songs, pictures, and profiles are taken down, that way they ensure the representation of their new talent acquisition is controlled by them, it’s part of protecting their investment.

However, while the scrubbing of those videos did create a little controversy, Patrick unwaveringly defends the evidence that they found on Ghost Mine and indeed, says that he was disappointed that they left some of their best stuff on the cutting room floor.

But while paranormal investigators might have an insight into the other side of the veil, no one can predict what’s in the hearts of network executives and a regime change at SyFy spelled the closing of Ghost Mine. 

Patrick returned to being a book author and a paranormal investigation until being called up by the Reelz network to work with Kristen once again on Behind The Screams, and we finish up the interview with advice for amateur investigators.

Number one, he says, “Do it for yourself. Do it for your own experience.” And that you really only need three items when you go out:

  1. Flashlight (so you don’t fall over)
  2. Voice recorder (for EVPs)
  3. Camera (to record in case you see anything!)

Follow Patrick on Twitter and make sure to give him a like on Facebook, he’s a serious-minded investigator that I hope we hear a lot more from in the future.

This episode’s song has as a little bit of a Old West theme to go along with Ghost Mine. It’s a Sunspot track called “Ghost Town”.

This place was never meant for human habitation
and it’s just a ruin, well it’s just a ruin now.
And I can see the cracks in the foundation,
there’s a hole in the door from the fights waged here before.

Let’s not get caught with our pants down,
I won’t get busted with my fingers in the cookie jar again.
This old bed is a hand-me down,
But if you wanna crash here I’m game if you are.

This old place is a ghost town.
This is the room where we store,
all the things we like to forget.
Welcome to my hellhole,
a place for the lost souls,
of all the hearts left here for dead.

Don’t get any closer,
don’t make any sudden moves.
Don’t look at me like that,
I ain’t no scaredy cat.
This is a house of spirits,
this town of full of ghosts,
so upright so convincingly
they don’t have to be dead, but they’re dead to me.

See the wanted sign,
that’s my face.
I’m not welcome anymore,
as if I ever was.
They plastered my name,
all over this place.
We might have to leave running,
so keep your eye on the door.

This old place is a ghost town.
This is the room where we store,
all the things we like to forget.
Welcome to my hellhole,
a place for the lost souls,
of all the hearts left here for dead.

61 – Dark Shores: Chicago Ghost Conference 2015 Wrap-Up

So, October 2nd through 4th, I attended the Dark Shores: Chicago Ghost Conference with a VIP pass. My sister, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, as well as one of the guides on her haunted history tour, Estephanie (check out some of her cool handcrafted items here!), also came along and in this podcast we go over our favorite parts of the convention. This is Estephanie’s first ghost convention (Allison’s first was one of Troy Taylor’s events in Alton, IL where we did our first live podcast this last St. Patrick’s Day!)

First of all, if you haven’t been on the Chicago Hauntings ghost tour, you’re missing out, because it’s a lot of fun and a great way to get to know Chicago ghost stories and haunted places. It’s run by Ursula Bielski (and Allison and I always like to see another proud Polish-American in the ghost business!) and she did a great job of collecting an entertaining group of speakers on a variety of paranormal subjects.

The conference was at Gaelic Park, which was right across the street from one of the reputedly most haunted spots in the Chicago area, Bachelors Grove Cemetery. They had special haunted late night tours of the cemetery and even had a quick presentation by the person that took this photo, which in my opinion, is one of the best ghost photos of the past couple of decades…

The Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove (not that Madonna, she’s not a ghost yet, just a skeleton…)

The event was emceed by Minneapolis and Coast To Coast AM radio host, Dave Schrader of Darkness Radio, and he’s just as funny in person as he is on his radio show. Friday night, there was a short video presentation on a Bachelors Grove featuring a local ghost hunting team and then a really cool interview with Father Mike Maginot, who was the priest who exorcised the kids in the “Indiana Demon House”.

The Indiana Demon House was a controversial case of demonic possession from 2014 that happened in Gary, Indiana (home of not only Michael Jackson, but also Blacula himself, William Marshall!) Anyway, you’re going to hear a lot more about the Indiana Demon House in the upcoming months because Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans bought the place to make a documentary film on it (and take a look at this CSICOP article for their usual intelligent, but party-pooping take on the whole affair.) Anyway, the interview with the priest was interesting because he was taking about how just the use of the demon’s name was causing trouble for the family, that they couldn’t even get it the name to print out because it kept shutting down the computer. Anyway, that made me want to know the name of the demon (of course I think there’s more to the universe than we can comprehend, but I’m not scared of the oogedy-boogedy religious stuff when there’s real evil in the world happening all the time), but they moved on to the last speaker of the night before I could ask the question.

Darkness Dave and Father Migniot - Indiana Demon House
Darkness Dave and Father Maginot – Indiana Demon House

The last speaker was Christopher Fleming and he was great, mixing talk of ghosts and psychic powers with a little Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and some of The Secret as well (with less of the Oprah-y stuff.) Anyway, I’m a sucker for self-help stuff so I really enjoyed it and I think he had a really positive message that I like to hear. If you want something, you need to believe in it. And whether it’s a flash of intuition, some psychic power, or it’s you creating the “vision” yourself, “vision” is the important thing. If you don’t see where you want to go, then you might never get there. I liked the integration of psychic sensitivity with a grander purpose towards self-determination.

Saturday morning was a lot of fun with presentations by Scott Gruenwald (a funny but definitely NSFW presentation to start the day!) and our good friend, Tea Krulos from the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, (who had a fun lecture on ghosts in the Brew City!)  We also caught up with the guys from The Hidden Truth, Jay Bachochin from Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators and filmmaker, Scott Markus.

Catching up with Jay from Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators
Hunting the truth in Chicago wth Milwaukee Ghosts, Madison Ghost Walks, and Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators!

There was a panel on ghost boxes (here’s how to make your own!) and then around lunchtime, it was time for the Guest of Honor. Actress Virginia Madsen was the Guest of Honor and she talked on a panel about Chicago ghost stories since she’s had an interest in it and she’s also a Chicago native. She’s been in movies like Candyman and A Haunting in Connecticut, we talk about Candyman a bunch in the Charlie Charlie episode and she seemed like a lot of fun (and just as pretty in person as on the screen!) But at $25 for a picture with her, I decided to go for a long shot instead!

Is she saying "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman"?!?
Is she saying “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman”?!?

Then we watched Christopher Saint Booth, a British documentarian and snazzy dresser who makes films with his brother about paranormal subjects.  He released a documentary and book based on the diaries around the true story behind The Exorcist as well as and he did talk a little bit about Christian duality (you can’t have God without the Devil, hey it’s like the Yazidi!) Check out his demo reel here, the Booth Brothers do some pretty stylish work!

It’s like a British Paranormal Bret Michaels!

But Allison’s favorite presentation of the day came from the guy who finds the ghost stories for Ghost Adventures, Jeff Belanger. His presentation was totally polished, had plenty of multimedia, and really got into the reason that ghost stories and folklore are important and in the podcast episode, Allison gets into why she even got a little verklempt during it. My favorite part was talking to him about his music and he even tells a story about opening for Eddie Money (which I retell in the podcast.)

Allison and Zombie Jeff Belanger!
Allison and Zombie Jeff Belanger!

Then afterwards, Saturday night was the costume karaoke party at Chet’s Melody Lounge (across the street from Resurrection Cemetery!) and that was a blast. Jeff Belanger and Darkness Dave were dressed as a little bit of Chicago history and after a few Lagunitas beers, I even tried to get the name of the Indiana Demon out of Darkness Dave (to no avail!) Christopher Fleming sang  a wicked version of “Big Balls” by AC/DC, I did a little Judas Priest, and everybody did “The Time Warp”!

Darkness Dave Schrader and Ghost Adventures Jeff Belanger
Mrs. O’Leary and the cow who caused the Great Chicago Fire…

Sunday, however, took a little bit to get going because well, you know, beers, but there were some of my favorite presentations that day. Including some Jewish ghost stories and a fascinating lecture on ghost stories around the world (including the tribe from The Gods Must Be Crazy and Southeast Asian ghost stories that I’ve already integrated a little bit into Madison Ghost Walks!)

Oy vey!
Oy vey!

But the final presentation of the day is what inspired this week’s song. It was about The Devil In The White City himself, H.H. Holmes and various Chicago serial killers. Well, I can’t believe that I’d never heard the term “Murder Castle” before, but all the way home all I thought it was the perfect name for a song.

Anyway, it really was a great time if you love ghost stories or history and it was a lot of fun meeting some notables in the paranormal world (and we’ll be having plenty of them on the show in the future!) I don’t know if I’d get a VIP Pass again, because the only extra this year was a little catered party right before the kickoff (where the pizza was good, but it wasn’t enough time to really break the ice unlike at the Saturday masquerade party.) But the presentations were definitely worth the price of admission espcially that they come with a a discount code for iherb. If you’re interested in the next Chicago Ghost Conference, you can get tickets (at a discount until October 16th!) by clicking right here.

Did someone say Murder Castle?!
Did someone say Murder Castle?!

This week’s song is “Murder Castle” by Sunspot, inspired by the Chicago Ghost Conference!

Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

I’m gonna build a hotel,
right by the World’s Fair,
I’m gonna lure you into,
my evil secret lair.
You’re in my little maze trying to run away.
But you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t get away.
You’re in my little maze trying to run away.
But you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t get away.

In my
Once you’re in my
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

It’s just a little drugstore,
And we’re hiring, come apply,
You’ll even get some life insurance,
and I’ll collect it when you die.
I’ll be right back, don’t move an inch, baby.
I see your eyes are are are are are a little sleepy.
I’ll be right back, don’t move an inch, baby.
I see your eyes are are are are are a little sleepy.

Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

40 – The Ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard: A Haunted Travelogue

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

Stop 1 – Hollywood And Vine

Photo May 15, 7 02 54 PM

Photo May 15, 7 02 35 PM

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

Photo May 15, 7 05 00 PM

Photo May 15, 7 03 04 PM

Stop 2 – Pantages Theatre

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

Photo May 15, 7 07 08 PM

Stop 3 – Hollywood and Highland

Photo May 15, 6 13 28 PM

Photo May 15, 6 13 31 PM

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

Photo May 15, 6 13 39 PM

Stop 4 – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Photo May 15, 7 30 02 PM

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

Stop 5 – Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Photo May 15, 7 32 54 PM

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

Photo May 15, 8 13 21 PM

Photo May 15, 8 13 24 PM

Stop 6 – Griffith Park

Photo May 15, 12 56 42 PM

Photo May 15, 1 05 34 PM

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

Photo May 15, 12 48 17 PM

Photo May 15, 1 09 31 PM

Photo May 15, 1 07 57 PM

Stop 7 – The Seventh Veil

Photo May 16, 2 22 16 AM

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

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

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

Ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard Links

Encyclopedia Britannica on Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Haunting

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

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

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

This week’s song, “Spotlight” by Sunspot

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 – Live from Alton, IL: An Interview with Luke Naliborski of Alton Hauntings

This episode is a See You On The Other Side first… a recording of a live event we did on location in Alton, Illinois, “one of the most haunted small towns in America”!

As an added bonus, it was a special day for us because our band Sunspot released our newest EP, El Chupacabra. The three songs in the EP were all inspired by episodes of “See You On The Other Side” and you can listen to them right here.

Our live event took place at Maeva’s Coffee, a delightful venue with some of the nicest baristas we have ever met (thank you Meredith and Tia!), delicious coffee, a warm atmosphere, and beautiful eclectic decor. If we lived in Alton, Maeva’s would surely be a place we’d hang out at regularly because it just had a good and welcoming vibe. Interestingly, the building in which the coffee shop resides is an old school house that was built in 1904. As such, it has its own folklore and tales of interest, which we discuss with our special guest, Luke Naliborski.

Luke is a tour guide for Alton Hauntings ghost tours and an author. He tells us about how he got into the whole paranormal investigation scene, and shares some fun stories about his encounters with the unknown during his tours and investigations in historically rich Alton:

  • Strange things he saw during his childhood at a neighborhood house
  • An apparition of a woman he and his friends saw at Mausalium Row at Greenwood Cemetery
  • Stories of apparitions seen in a local parking lot in town, located where the courtyard of a confederate prison had been
  • A haunted island in the river where duels were once faught, known as Bloody Island / Sunflower Island / Small Pox Island, and the story of James Shields challenging Abraham Lincoln to a duel there
  • On the same island, a reporter found two skulls and took one home for a souvenir
    Legends of the Milton School House, the very building hosting in which our interview takes place
  • One of Luke’s favorite tour stops, the First Unitarian Church in Alton, where he has seen many curious things
  • How Luke began his career as an author
  • His experience on the television reality show “Mysterious Worlds: America’s Ghost Hunters” and the investigation of a secret passageway and storeroom beneath the First Unitarian Church
  • An experience he had with an apparition at a farmhouse where several deaths were known to have occurred

Mike and Wendy with Luke after the interview

We truly enjoyed meeting and talking with Luke, and hope to return to Alton soon so we can actually take his Alton Hauntings tour!

Links

Music

The live performance we did featured the following Sunspot songs. Here are links to the recordings online for each of the songs: