Tag Archives: hoax

230 – Curses And Pranks: From The Rendlesham Incident To The Lost Franklin Expedition

We’re back for another round of paranormal discussion this week as we focus on our favorite new stories in the past week. Once again, Wendy and I are joined by Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com and Tea Krulos, Milwaukee ghost tour guide as well as the author of books like Heroes In The Night, Monster Hunters, and the upcoming Apocalypse Any Day Now.

This last week I couldn’t stop thinking about “The Franklin Curse”, which was in the Canadian news right before the New Year. If you haven’t heard of Franklin’s Lost Expedition, it was a British expedition to find the Northwest Passage (a trade route through the Arctic where Europeans could sail to Asia without having to go under South America because the Panama Canal wasn’t built yet) launched in 1845. There were two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and they were both fitted with state of the art technology. It was supposed to be an easy mission beaus there were less than 300-some miles of Arctic coast to chart. But they disappeared and several expeditions were sent out to find what happened. There was even a bounty of Twenty Thousand Pounds (worth a hundred thousand US dollars at the time) to find them. The local Inuit people had contact with the explorers and said that the crew had resorted to cannibalism by the end, but the ships and most of the bodies were never found.

In 2007, Dan Simmons wrote a fictionalized version of the events called The Terror and AMC released a TV version of it in 2018. Interestingly enough, HMS Erebus was discovered in 2014 by accident and HMS Terror was found in 2016. The local Nunavut people who live near the shipwrecks on King William Island have long felt that the island has had spirits or “invisible people” and that the disturbing of the wrecks has disturbed those spirits. Some of the locals have blamed six deaths that happened during a two-week period in August in their small community of Gjoa Haven on the curse of the Franklin. Earlier this year, Inuit elders went to the site of the wreckage to bless it, in hopes the spirits would be appeased.

Wendy was excited to share the latest news of the Rendlesham Forest Incident, often called Britain’s Roswell. We were first introduced to this story at the Paradigm Symposium by the brilliant Peter Robbins who wrote the book Left At East Gate with the now-controversial Larry Warren. But in the original incident, several US servicemen had seen strange lights in the sky descending towards the Rendlesham Forest over a period of nights in 1980. When they went to go explore the area they saw the lights land, they found burn marks on nearby trees and indentations in the ground in a triangular pattern, they even called the police about it.

Since then, the incident has been hotly debated, and Peter Robbins’ book goes into detail about missing time, underground bases, and government conspiracies. But just a week ago, researcher Dr. David Clarke had claimed that he was told the incident was just a prank played by British SAS commandos on their American counterparts. That’s backed up a little by a story from our friend C.E. Martin’s book, Stranger Than Fiction, where he recalls meeting a serviceman who was stationed at the air force base and talked about an area of the forest where electrical stuff didn’t work and cars didn’t start, they used to take people out there and prank them. So, that culture did exist on the base at the time! Is Clarke’s story true? Well, that’s another one we’ll be debating for a long time. We discuss Bobby Mackey’s Music World in this segment as well and here’s a link to our episode with their official paranormal investigation team.

15251192137_380081b617_bTea talks to us about a New Year’s ritual he started doing last year and that’s watching the live unveiling of the Doomsday Clock. The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to warn humanity about how close we are to destroying the planet through our own technology and hubris. While the danger used to be mostly nuclear war, they’ve included things like climate change in their determination. The closest it’s ever been is Two Minutes To Midnight, first in 1953 after the US and the Soviets both tested thermonuclear weapons for the first time and then again in 2018 mainly because they were shocked by the rhetoric of President Trump toward North Korea and what they consider to be an insufficient response to the temperatures changing throughout the world. Will 2019 bring us closer or further away from manmade destruction? Tea will let us know when it happens. And hey, here’s to hopinh we don’t blow ourselves up! Also, don’t forget that Iron Maiden wrote one of their best songs about The Doomsday Clock as well!

Also, Tea mentions that Josh Gates is going to be in Milwaukee at the end of January and he’s going (along with our frequent co-host Allison Jornlin from MilwaukeeGhosts.com) and hoping they can convince Josh Gates to finish looking for one of the prizes from the 1980s treasure hunt book, The Secret. That’s a puzzle book combining 12 short verses and 12 fantasy paintings. You would take the painting with a verse and try to determing the clues that would lead you to one of twelve boxes buried in various parks around North America. Each box contained a key that could be redeemed for a jewel worth $1,000. The author died in a car crash in 2005 and only 2 of the boxes have been found. So Josh Gates did a whole Expedition Unknown on the online braintrust that has been working on it for several years. Image 10 contains a clue that’s supposed to lead people to a park by Mliwaukee’s City Hall and Gates almost started digging there, but gave up because of the weather while they were recording the show. Tea is going to grab him and make him finish the job!

d57Finally, Scott talks about some new horror movie news that are based on real-life strangeness. One is the trailer for Followed which is about a YouTuber (they caller her a vlogger, but that word is kinda unwieldy) who decides to stay in a hotel. It’s probably based on the sad story of Elisha Lam, a young woman from Vancouver who was visiting Los Angeles and was seen acting strangely on security camera footage from the Cecil Hotel (former home of Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker). Two weeks later, they found her body in the water tank on the roof and still have no idea how she got there.

He also talks a little bit about the new trailer for The Haunting of Sharon Tate starring Hilary Duff. This new film beats Quentin Tarantino’s Charles Manson film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood out by a few months, but it’s also going to focus more on the strange premonition of death that murder victim Sharon Tate had a couple years before her and her friends were attacked by the Manson Family in a crime that would be immortalized for its strangeness and brutality. 

One of the things that we talked about this week was the culture war between believers and skeptics, between the political Left and the political Right, between hardcore atheists and fundamentalists. This conflict has seemed to progress from just disagreeing about dogma and particular points of belief to “cancel culture”, the idea that if someone believes something you find offensive or has done something you don’t like, you want to take away their means of making a living.

It’s a scorched earth total war tactic that has become more and more popular in the world of social media (particularly in a space where hot takes are welcomed, like Twitter.) It’s no longer enough to “agree to disagree”, the other side is to be shunned and disrespected. There is no room for debate or discussion, you’re either with us or against us. We see this in the paranormal world all the time between the various factions of ghost hunters, UFOlogists, etc… And I guess, I don’t feel that’s very conducive to finding the truth, because things aren’t usually as absolute or black and white as we’d like them to be. Anyway, that’s the idea behind this week’s Sunspot song, “Us Vs. Them”

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

It’s total war and
you gotta make a stand
you plant your flag and fight, down to the last man.

There is no middle
there is no excuse
there is no compromise
and there is no truce

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

You’re either with us or against us
you’re on or off of the team
We don’t need to talk or negotiate with the enemy

no we don’t make no deals
we don’t cross the line
we made our choice, we picked our side , and now we’re ride or die.

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

85 – April Fool’s Day: History’s Best Paranormal Pranks

April Fool’s Day. Just how did we get an unofficial holiday that’s based around making the people around you look stupid?

First things first, we have an update from our Zombie Apocalypse episode, because there’s been new research that about the parasite Toxoplasma Gondii that lives in the bellies of the little feline friends. This parasite has been said to manipulate the behavior of rodents to make them run towards cats instead of away from them!

We talk about the Gizmodo article last week that discussed how toxoplasmosis could be linked to the Rage disorder, IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder.) Ever have a friend that blows up at the littlest things for no reason or that has completely unpredictable behavior that results in one or more of you spending the night in jail? It just might be the parasite. In the movie, 28 Days Later, the virus that turns people into cannibalistic monsters is called “The Rage Virus”. Coincidence?

So, April Fool’s isn’t just a Hallmark holiday, it’s been around for hundreds of years and we’re not quite sure the origin behind it. Some say that it has to do with the changing of the Gregorian Calendar to the Julian (when celebrating the New Year went from April 1st to December 31st). If you got the New Year date wrong after the change, then you were the April Fool!

There was even an April Fool’s Day prank about the origin of April Fool’s Day when a Boston University professor suggested that it came from a day when the Holy Roman Emperor decided to let a court jester rule the land for a “day of absurdity”, the only catch is that he made the whole thing up and Associated Press writers didn’t catch it for a couple of weeks. You can still find that origin floating around the Internet (of course!)

But it seems that it’s not a Western Civilization phenomenon, because they have something similar in India as well for their Huli festival and people have traced this kind of celebration all the way back to Roman times.  The  best guess is that humans have been celebrating the Vernal Equinox for thousands of years and part of that celebration of new life is playing jokes on each other.

According to the Witchology website, even though we’re not clear on the origins of April Fool’s Day, there are some superstitions behind it:

  1. Pranks are to be performed before Noon, otherwise it’s bad luck for the person doing the tricking.
  2. If you don’t respond to an April Fool’s Day prank with good humor, then it’s bad luck for the person being tricked!
  3. If you’re fooled by a pretty girl, then you’ve got a good shot at marrying her (that seems to be the “wishful thinking” rule…)
  4. Speaking of marriage, men who get married on April Fool’s Day will be ruled by their wives (that seems like a relic from a much more misogynist age)
  5. Children born on April Fool’s Day will be lucky… except for gambling!

But throughout history, people have used this time of year to pull paranormal pranks, from “discovering” the Loch Ness Monster to landing a UFO in London.

  1. The Fox Sisters – these Victorian Age preteens became world famous with their spiritualism by hoaxing (which all began as a bit of fun on April Fool’s Eve), but it’s that fame that ended up being their undoing.
  2. Virgin’s Richard Branson takes his love of ballooning to a new level as he flies a UFO-looking balloon over London, causing quite a hullabaloo in the process!
  3. An April Fool’s day prank in a small German newspaper in 1950 where they pretended to have captured a “Martian” gets discovered by Roswell researchers three decades later and ends up in the non-fiction section of the library.
  4. In 1972, a zoological expedition claims that they’ve found the Loch Ness Monster in a story that gets sensationalized writeups all over the world, only ending up being a prank pulled on them by their co-worker, who had no idea it would be one for the ages.
  5. This one’s not paranormal but it’s close to where we are (in Madison, Wisconsin) the Capital Times publishes a story on April Fool’s Day in 1933 about the dome of the capitol collapsing, angering a sensitive reader base. It’s one of the first photo manipulations that today we’d just say was an “obvious Photoshop”.
  6. This one isn’t as paranormal, but it’s brilliant. In 2014, NPR posted a story called “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore” with explicit instructions not to respond on social media because it was just a way to see who’d actually been clicking through and reading on their stories or just commenting on the headlines on Facebook. It ended up getting thousands of comments, showing that next time you see people make enflamed and angry comments on a story on social media, you better read it before checking it out yourselves. (And that’s a topic we broach in our new EP release, “American Monsters”, which is coming out THIS WEEK!)

The song this week is the Sunspot song, “Fool”. A track about being unafraid of getting your heart broken again and again. It’s better to have an open heart that is vulnerable to the evils of the world, than in the words of John Lennon, to “hide your love away”.

I’ve been hurt more times than I can count
I’ve had my head smashed in and my guts pulled out.
I’ve been cheated on, mistreated some, my heart held for ransom,
I’m the jerk, that piece of work, who just can’t figure out
that
this big bad world is cruel,
so bury your soul deep and they never can hurt you,
I know that it might be uncool, but
I ain’t got time to tow the line on trust issues.
I’ve got a body made for working,
I’ve got a heart made for abuse,
I’ve got a penchant for fast living,
and I’m stretching out my youth.
I’ve got a mind to keep on loving,
Don’t care the ugly truth,
Well we’ve got all the cynics we need,
so I’d rather play the fool.
I’ve been wrong more times than you’d believe,
I’ve had my faith tested, my kindness deceived,
I’ve been betrayed and led astray and the victim of foul play,
and you might mock this laughingstock who won’t concede naivety,
because
I know this big bad world is cruel,
and if you bury your soul deep then they never can hurt you,
well I might sound just like a tool but
I ain’t got time to tow the line on trust issues.
I’ve got a body made for working,
I’ve got a heart made for abuse,
I’ve got a penchant for fast living,
and I’m stretching out my youth.
I’ve got a mind to keep on loving,
Don’t care about the ugly truth,
Well we’ve got all the cynics we need,
so I’d rather play the fool.