Tag Archives: Milwaukee Ghosts

116 – Drowning Demons: A Conversation with Paranormal Filmmaker Ben Wydeven

I first met filmmaker Ben Wydeven at the Madison Horror Film Festival when we were discussing the haunted Rogers Theatre in Wausau. Sunspot had played there the weekend before and had heard some haunted stories, but Ben had shot his entire movie in the theater while it was being remodeled. I knew I had to pick up a copy of The Medium

We recorded a Sunspot Road Mania episode at the Rogers Theatre (it was called the Fill-Mor then) where we had some weird stuff happen to us as well and the bar staff shared some of their ghost stories with us…

That Madison Horror Film Festival was also the first time that Wendy did the Thriller dance live and we’ve gota  video of that as well!

We reconnected with Ben  Wydeven earlier this year when we saw him at our live podcast event at the Old Baraboo Inn and he was working on a documentary about the bar, which has dozens of ghost tales. My sister, Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts is featured in the documentary as well, so she joined us for this episode and our conversation with Ben. She had her own paranormal experience that night of the live podcast and finally comes clean with it. That night was also Wendy’s first official ghost hunt and we had our own technical issues with our digital recorder not playing and finally comes clean with it. Our lively discussion covers everything from the movies and TV shows that influenced him (spoiler alert: he’s a big X-Files fan and we get into some heavy nerdery on that) to his own paranormal experiences and the logistics behind what it takes to film in a cemetery.

Ben Wydeven has created his own fictional paranormal film series called The Raven James Chronicles about an alcoholic psychic medium who is cursed/blessed with the ability to see dead people. He recently released a novel called Drowning Demons and the Raven James films are set in the same universe and are prequels to the story. The fifth in those series of films, Mourning In The Cemetery, is being released this Saturday November 5th. And where more perfect than the Old Baraboo Inn itself for the screening?

This week when we were working on the song for the podcast, we decided to combine forces with something else the band was working on, which was an ad needed a replacement track for “What About Love” by Heart. So, this week we took the theme of some of the loneliness that Raven James feels and also some of the longing that his bartender partner Benny Cavoto feels for his deceased father and channeled that energy into this week’s track, “Who Needs Love”. Think about it like Sunspot dressed up musically as Heart for this Halloween!

And even better, we’ve got two versions of the track from this week. One version where Wendy’s belting it out and another one with Mike singing, so we’ve got his and hers versions (Trick or Treat!)

Here’s Wendy singing this week’s track:

Here’s Mike singing the track:

Feeling alone
Hoping for a shot,
And my dreams
are all that I’ve got

The signs that I’m throwing
Well, they just ain’t going through

You’re a mystery, always in the shadows,
You never gave me, the chance to show

the beauty you’ll find
when you decide to open your heart

But you gotta ask right from the start

Who wants love?
Who wants someone to hold them tight?
Who wants love?
Someone to be there through the night,
Who wants love?
And I’m gonna give it to you,
to make this dream come true.

Who wants love?
Who wants someone to hold them tight?
Who wants love?
Someone to be there through the night,
Who wants love?

And I’m gonna give it to you.

98 – Ghosts On The Mississippi: 2016 Haunted America Conference Recap

This weekend Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, Wendy, and I had the privilege to attend the 2016 Haunted America conference in Alton, IL run by one of the Midwest’s spookiest storytellers, Troy Taylor.

mike wendy allison troy taylor
See You On The Other Side meets Haunted America’s Troy Taylor!
We’ve been to Alton, Illinois before. In episode 30, we interviewed one of the area’s haunted tour guides, Luke Naliborski in a live podcast/performance! It’s a small town on the Mississippi River known for being the birthplace of Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in history at 8 feet 11 inches tall! Known as the Alton Giant or the Giant of Illinois, Wadlow was known for his gentleness, but sadly died at only 22 years old. Both Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird have played songs about him.

robert wadlow statue
That’s one big dude!
But we weren’t there just to feel short, we were there for ghosts, spirits, and all the weirdness that we could handle! Friday night, we got in pretty late so we missed the first panel, but we did make it in time for the masquerade ball. Hands down, the best costume was the shadow people. At the party, we all got to share some stories of paranormal experiences and that was a lot of fun, but my favorite was the theory that “The Titanic was an inside job”! I had never heard that one before, so it was fun to learn a new conspiracy theory.

shadow people masquerade ball
Shadow people dressed up at the masquerade ball. I turned the contrast up a bit in the pic, but that’s pretty close to exactly what their costumes looked like. Pretty good, huh. I think they might have actually been Shadow People.
Saturday morning, the first presentation was by Dr. Alan Brown, who regaled the crowd with stories of his visits to haunted bed and breakfasts across the United States. Of course, his most provocative location was the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana (and you can hear our in depth exploration of the Myrtles Plantation in Episode 77.)

Up next was Paranormal Sarah , who we also saw at the Paradigm Symposium in May, but this time she focused more on the psychology of why we are attracted to the paranormal.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley took the stage after that and you’ll have to listen to this whole episode to really get our take on it. I’ve been, of course, a fan of Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s books practically since I first started getting into reading about strange topics and her latest obsession is the Djinn, a malevolent force that was banished by God after the creation of man to another dimension. They talk about the Djinn in the Koran and it’s what eventually we would call in the West, genies. But we’re not talking about I Dream of Jeannie here. She uses the Djinn as sort of a paranormal unified theory, that they’re shapeshifters who are also responsible for UFO sightings, Bigfoot, Shadow People, and more.

genie djinn robin williams
You ain’t never had an evil shapeshifting friend like me!
During the breaks, we kept on visiting the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult with Greg Newkirk and Dana Matthews of Planet Weird. From cursed blades to a terrifying idol they call “Billy”, to a strange cursed Appalachian totem and a haunted Ouija board planchette, the museum was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to bring them on the show.

allison milwaukee ghosts greg newkirk dana matthews planet weird
Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts with Planet Weird’s Greg Newkirk and Dana Matthews (and Billy!)
One of our favorite objects was the black mirror, that people say if you stare into it, you’ll start getting dark thoughts. So, of course, we had to take a look!

wendy lynn cursed black mirror
Wendy looks into the cursed Black Mirror and can’t believe what she sees!
mike cursed mirror
Mike is terrified at what lies on the other side of the mirror
After lunch, Troy Taylor came up with his writing partner, Rene Kruze, and he talked a little bit about some of his favorite investigations. It was fun to listen to a master storyteller at work and talk about some of his weirdest encounters. Troy, having founded the Alton ghost tours, is of course a man after my own heart and he also doesn’t trust orbs in ghost photos, so we really have something in common!

Scotty Roberts from the Paradigm Symposium then gave a presentation on his own paranormal experiences in Egypt, while also getting into who might be perhaps the historical Moses. There’s a great article right here where he goes into some depth on who he feels might be the real Moses and it gave some fascinating background on a personal experience that he later had at that man’s tomb.

allison wendy scotty roberts
Intrepid Magazine and Paradigm Symposium’s Scotty Roberts with Wendy and Allison
After Scotty, it was Sherri Blake from Haunted Heartland Tours talking about the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV and the history of a very dark place. She had some great research and pictures and the one photo I wish I could have taken all weekend was the reaction shot of Wendy when she saw a picture of where the surgical icepick goes in during a lobotomy (hint, it’s in your eye socket)!

frontal lobotomy
Ouch!
Allison went to a spiritual protection seminar with Rosemary Ellen Guiley afterwards and in the episode she shares a little of Rosemary’s wisdom about protecting your soul and your psyche (even from the Djinn!)

Overall, the Haunted America Conference was a fun couple of days and well worth the 6 hour drive from Madison. We’re always looking for kindred spirits in the paranormal field (see what I did there?) and we made a bunch of new friends and inspirations for show ideas. One of the most exciting things about conferences is meeting other people with open minds and open hearts when it comes to the mysteries of the universe. It’s easy to forget how amazing and wonderful the world can be and just dwell on the worst aspects. The pointlessness, the boredom, the indifference… the more you focus on those things, the more they rot you from the inside.  It’s easy to be “Cynical” and that’s the title of this Sunspot track, but it helps when you meet other people who are as excited about the possibilities of this universe as you are.

As I sit here just existing,
Nothing moves me I am listening,
Desperate for some inspiration,
To break my lowered expectations.

The graffiti on the wall,
Might as well be a Bible,
There’s no justice of fair play,
There is no Hell or Judgment Day.

I look out of my window,
and I’m blinded by monotony.
The darkness of a world so bright,
It makes me want to shut my eyes.

So cynical,
The world will eat me whole,
If I let it get the best there is of me.
Trapped in a rut,
The world has kicked my butt,
And I will look no more for truth or meaning again,
I will look no more for truth or meaning again.

When I say I’m realistic,
I really mean I’m nihilistic,
If we’re gonna be solipsistic,
We might as well be hedonistic.

I look out of my window,
and I’m blinded by monotony.
The darkness of a world so bright,
It makes me want to shut my eyes.

So cynical,
The world will eat me whole,
If I let it get the best there is of me.
Trapped in a rut,
The world has kicked my butt,
And I will look no more for truth or meaning again,
I will look no more for truth or meaning again.

43 – Bigfoot and Aliens and Ghosts, Oh My! Behind the Scenes at Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2015

It’s a special episode as this week we’re recording from on location at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference!

Mike and Wendy combine forces with Milwaukee Ghosts’ Allison Jornlin and Madison Ghosts Walks tour guide Lisa Van Buskirk! The event takes place at the Irish Cultural Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a large chapel-like area hosts the main speakers for the conference, and a few side rooms host booths for attendees like us.

The Irish Cultural Center was a great setting for the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2015
The Irish Cultural Center was a great setting for the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2015

It’s a regular party at our booth, which has a color-changing disco light and is conveniently situated directly adjacent to an Irish Pub within the conference center. We meet plenty of nice people while sharing information about our podcast and ghost tours, and we ask willing volunteers to share with us the weirdest thing they have seen or experienced.

See You On The Other Side, Milwaukee Ghosts, and Madison Ghost Walks' fabulous booth
See You On The Other Side, Milwaukee Ghosts, and Madison Ghost Walks’ fabulous booth

Kicking off the conference was Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts’ presentation on Milwaukee Forteana (which is another word for unexplained and weird stories!) The main room really was a beautiful old church that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at in the 50s!

Milwaukee Ghosts presentation
Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts, talking about famous cases of weirdness from the Brew City

A lot of the presenters and speakers have made appearances  on our podcast before, so it was great to catch up with some of them, from Roswell investigator Don Schmitt to MUFON representative and Star Trek writer, Mark O’Connell

Hanging out with MUFON's Mark O'Connell, another featured speaker
Hanging out with MUFON’s Mark O’Connell

The exhibitor hall is a hustling, bustling place with a continuous din of excited conversation clearly audible throughout the interviews.

The exhibitor hall was packed all day long!
The exhibitor hall was packed all day long!

The stories range from ghosts to Ouija board to the unknown/unexplainable experience- the very kinds of topics we enjoy discussing on our show:

  1. Justin shares a couple experiences he had with a ghost who haunted his friend’s apartment in West Bend.
  2. Malia (of the band Ocean Rush) tells a terrifying tale of her encounter with a giant black mass that appeared as she performed “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in her studio.
  3. Vicki lived in a home which was inhabited by a musician ghost who would appear when she played the piano, and would wake up her son in the night with the song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”.
  4. Haley had a week of terror during a stressful time in her life which included a weird presence touching her wrist and pulling her hair, her cat going crazy for no reason, and other unexplained happenings.
  5. Lisa had a roommate who seemed to be surrounded by unexplainable occurrences. Were these events caused by the spirits of tragically lost family members?
  6. Jackie & Shannon, of Stateline Paranormal Investigations, visited a graveyard in Poplar Grove, Illinois. At the same time and place within the graveyard, Jackie acquired an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) clearly stating “Here I am. He killed me.” and Shannon got a photo which revealed flames emerging from the ground.
  7. Nicki tells about a mysterious miniature hand print that appeared on her bedroom wall. Although it was initially quite frightening, the marking eventually brought a positive experience to her.
  8. Maria saw BIGFOOT! But maybe not where you’d expect…
  9. Chris of The Zombie Squad tells about an apartment he lived in that was above a haunted restaurant.
  10. Kristan of The Rundown Live talks about GIANTS! While doing some research, he discovered information about abnormally tall/large skeletons of people, which some believe could have been human/alien hybrids.
  11. Monica tells the story of her own childhood experience with a Ouija board. Through routine playing with the board, she and her brother started getting answers that actually checked out and led them to a local graveyard that they did not previously know of.
  12. David and Dave, fellow podcasters from Blurry Photos, share what drew them into the world of “weird stuff”. Then they share their own weirdest experiences: a dream so real it could have been an actual alien abduction, and a visit from a giant shadow presence that may have actually broken a hole in the living room ceiling.
  13. Tea Krulos, event organizer and author of the brand new book, Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators (also our featured guest in Episode 25), recaps the day and receives a special delivery from none other than Bigfoot herself during the interview!
Mike and Wendy with Tea Krulos, the man behind the Con!
Mike and Wendy with Tea Krulos, the man behind the Con!

Featured Song: Bigfoot Polka by Sunspot

See that guy across the floor, he needs a good barber,
That hairy dude is desperate for a cute dancing partner.
None of the girls ever give our hirsute friend half a chance,
The main problem is that his feet are just too big to dance.

Oh Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman,
is he ape or is he human?
He might be the missing link from chimp to humanity,
but when we dance those gosh darn feet are just too big for me.

You might think that he’s innocent, like he just wants a friend,
but he’s not the sweet beast we saw embrace the Hendersons.
Bigfoot’s stumbling around, he’s had a little too much beer,
I’m not gonna, how about you, tell him “get out of here”?

Oh Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman,
is he ape or is he human?
He might be the missing link from chimp to humanity,
but when we dance those gosh darn feet are just too big for me.

This is bad, he’s getting mad, he’s gonna make a scene,
He’s grunting and pounding his chest, he’s looking right at me.
He grabbed a beer barrel and threw it right on the dance floor,
And now’s the time I think we all should polka out the door.

Oh Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman,
is he ape or is he human?
He might be the missing link from chimp to humanity,
but when we dance those gosh darn feet are just too big for me.

Feet too big, feet too big, feet too big to dance, Hey!
Feet too big, feet too big, feet too big to dance, Hey!
Feet too big, feet too big, feet too big to dance, Hey!
Bigfoot’s come, we better run from those feet too big to dance, hey!

8 – Interview with Allison Jornlin of Milwaukee Ghosts: The Short Life and Tragic Death of Peaches Geldof

Today we welcome special guest Allison Jornlin to the show. Allison is the founder of Milwaukee Ghosts Tours and  has been researching strange events and paranormal occurrences for years. Today she brings us an interesting story from the entertainment world: That of Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof (1989 – 2014), daughter of Bob Geldof. Bob was front man for the Boomtown Rats (whose biggest hit, “I Don’t Like Mondays” was about a school shooting in 1979), star of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, social activist, organizer of Band Aid & Live Aid, and from the sounds of things, a pretty darn decent human being.

Bob’s daughter, Peaches Geldof, was a British “celebrity princess” who passed away at the young age of 25 due to a heroin overdose. During her short time on earth, she searched for meaning in life through various religions and mysticism. Her search led her to explore Scientology, Judaism, and eventually Aleister Crowley and the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis), an occult highly known for its involvement in magic and the paranormal.

Peaches had some frightening ghostly encounters, not the least of which a selfie she shared on Instagram (with hashtags #haunted #ghost) in which a “mystery ghost hand” can be seen. She believed the ghost was a woman who had previously occupied the house and had drowned herself after giving birth to a stillborn baby. Peaches had a premonition of her own death not long before the tragic drug overdose that took her life.


Featured Song: Who Cries for the Rich Girl? a podcast exclusive by Sunspot

 

Who cries for the rich girl?
who cries for the tramp?
Who cries for the little addict that can’t get it together, man.

We all say so sad,
we knew your dad,
at least on TV,
at least it’s not me.

Who cries for the scapegoat,
the never were and never could be,
who cries for the pretty ones,
so lost and empty.

We all say so sad,
we knew your dad,
at least on TV,
at least it’s not me.
What a waste,
but there never was another way.
You paid the price,
a beautiful sacrifice.
The cost of being so lucky,
They always come in threes,
At least it’s not me.

High class pets in a velvet cage,
We’ll keep you until you age.
Human trash doesn’t recycle,
you’re as good as your news cycle.

We all say so sad,
we knew your dad,
at least on TV,
at least it’s not me.
What a waste,
but there never was another way.
You paid the price,
a beautiful sacrifice.
The cost of being so lucky,
They always come in threes,
At least it’s not me.