Tag Archives: milwaukee

158 – Fool Us: Magic and Mystery with David Parr

Magician David Parr’s recent appearance on Penn & Teller: Fool Us ended up with David performing a neat card trick with Alyson Hanigan (Willow from Buffy!) that not only amazed the crowd, but managed to fool both of the title stars! The show is based around the famous magic duo trying to figure out tricks by other magicians and if they can’t figure your trick out, you get to perform with them at their Las Vegas show! On the August 7th episode, David Parr was the only one who managed that feat!

You can watch the segment in its entirety on David Parr’s YouTube Channel

In addition to just being an incredible performer, though, David brings a cast knowledge of magical and mystical history to his show. He has a special Spiritualist-type magic performance in addition to his stage show (which you can see in Chicago at The Magic Cabaret) where he delves into the history of the seance as well as the spectacle.

David Parr
David Parr looking like he wants to trick you!

In this episode, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins Wendy and I as we talk to David Parr about his favorite tricks, the whole experience of being on the Penn & Teller: Fool Us program, the problem with modern skepticism, non-staged and unexpected paranormal experiences during magic shows, and of course, miniature guillotines that kids used to get as presents (WHAT?!)

David Parr and the Miniature Guillotine
David Parr and his Miniature Guillotine

Well, one of the things that we discussed in the podcast with David Parr was that humans really love mysteries! That feeling of wonder and “not knowing” helps keep life interesting and fun, and magic is definitely part of that. We all love being fooled a little bit, whether it’s willfully getting engaged in the suspension of disbelief during a movie or watching a lady being sawed in half onstage, or even in our relationships. There’s what’s real and what we want to believe, and often, it’s just more fun to say to the person we love, “Lie to Me”.

Tell me I’m the biggest,
tell me I’m the best.
Tell me how hard I feel
and I’m better than the rest.

Let me know how good my kisses taste,
You’ve never felt this way before
Tell me how every other boy,
left you wanting more.

I can smell the bull$&^% on your breath.

Lie. To. Me.
Lie. To. Me.
Tell me I’m your big daddy,
Everything you’ve ever dreamed.
Lie. To. Me.
Lie. To. Me.
I’m the only one you need,
The only man who can compete.

I love it when you fool me baby
I love it when you fib
I love it when you make me feel
I’m just the best that there is

I’d rather live a fantasy
then suffer through the truth
And your sweet little fictions
Are all I need for proof

I can smell the bull$&^% on your breath.

Lie. To. Me.
Lie. To. Me.
Tell me I’m your big daddy,
Everything you’ve ever dreamed.
Lie. To. Me.
Lie. To. Me.
I’m the only one you need,
The only man who can compete.

Why Would Terrorists Attack the Milwaukee Masonic Temple?

On Monday, January 25th, the FBI just barely stopped a terrorist attack at the Milwaukee Masonic Temple, where  a twenty-three year old man was planning on carrying out a mass shooting and dreamed of killing thirty or more people in the name of Islam. Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was just a personal trainer in Milwaukee who made the decision that he wanted to kill people to strike fear into the hearts of the infidel.

samy mohamed homzeh
Do you even kill people, bro?

Terror doesn’t have a military strategy, it’s designed to break down the morale of non-combatants.  I’ve often said that if terrorists wanted to really scare the United States they would’t attack New York City or Los Angeles, they’d attack smaller cities in the USA, and particularly in the Midwest, to show that no one is safe. And being a native to the area, this was particularly scary. Milwaukee did have  a white supremacist mass shooting at a Sikh Temple in 2012 and that guy was even worse. He was a musician as well as embarrassingly stupid and tried to start some kind of Holy Race War by attacking the Sikhs, who are non-violent, but wear turbans (like I said, embarrassingly stupid.)

But why attack the Milwaukee Masonic Temple? What did they do to Samy Mohamed Hamzeh? Here’s what the would-be terrorist said:

“They are all Masonic; they are playing with the world like a game, man, and we are like asses, we don’t know what is going on, these are the ones who are fighting, these are the ones that needs to be killed, not the Shi’ite (Mike’s note: another branch of Islam), because these are the ones who are against us, these are the ones who are making living for us like hell”

samy-hamzeh
That’s a good boy, that’s a really good boy, now let’s go kill people!

“These are the ones who are making living for us like hell” – the Masons? You mean the guys who drive the little cars from the Circus? (No, that’s Shriners, but the Shriners did develop from Freemasonry…) But it’s a society that keeps some of its initiation rituals secret and its membership often includes a lot of prominent individuals in the community. It’s a club with secrets that has business leaders, politicians, and rich people as members. It’s pretty easy to figure why you think that they’re up to no good.

The Freemasons will get their own episode of the See You On The Other Side podcast soon because there’s centuries of conspiracies surrounding them. The idea is that this secret society presents themselves as charitable citizens who are getting together to perform good works, really they are a criminal organization who controls the media and has a sinister agenda.

I’m sure there are bad Freemasons and I’m sure a judge or a cop has let one of his Masonic brothers off easy a few times. But are these low level Milwaukee masons really the kind of world dominators that make life a living Hell for Muslim fitness trainers in the Brew City?

This is why it’s important to pay attention to conspiracy theories in real life as well as in Pop Culture (like these “Top Ten Masonic Conspiracy Theories“)? Because sometimes those theories can provide excuses and justification for killing innocent people.

73 – Monster Hunters: Tea Krulos’ Search For The Unknown

When we last caught up with author and blogger, Tea Krulos, he’d been directing the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, which was the first conference of its kind that Wendy and I had attended. We had a blast and it was our second most downloaded episode of 2015 (so you guys must have liked hearing about it too!) So, we’ve talked to him about his conference and about his experiences working with Real-Life Super Heroes (yes, that’s a thing, and it’s awesome. Listen to our episode on it!) But we haven’t talked yet about his book, Monster Hunters, which was named by cryptozoology Godfather Loren Coleman as the top cryptozoology book of 2015. In that book, he meets with ghost investigators, UFO researchers, Bigfoot trackers, cryptozoologists, and more in search of what brings these people together to try and discover the truth behind weird creatures and haunted legends. With that exciting news of Tea’s book being named top read by one of the best in the field, Wendy, Allison, and I dragged Tea back into the conversation to learn more.

UFOs, Bigfoot, and the paranormal are exciting to think about it in pop culture. Everyone loves Star Wars right now with The Force Awakens on its way to become the biggest movie of all time and Star Wars has basically all of the paranormal categories in one movie. You’ve got aliens, Bigfoot (Chewbacca), psychic powers (The Force), and ghosts (Obi-Wan is always showing up post-mortem!)

While most people love this stuff in their movies and their religion (praying is basically asking God to do magic for us, isn’t it?), they often scoff at others who want to take it a step further. Our lives are lived almost exclusively in the physical world. You might know people that have a ghost story or have seen a UFO, and you might think they believe them… but UFOs and ghosts don’t do much to help you shovel snow or fill out the paperwork at your job. So, why do people care so much?

When Tea Krulos talks about why he’s interested in subcultures outside of the mainstream he talks about his purple mohawk and spiked leather jacket in high school. Or he mentions his Goth and Metalhead friends. Music and the fashion associated with its different genres are the first things that we often bond over in modern society. It’s one of the first ways we differentiate ourselves. The more extreme the fashion, the more of an outlier you usually are.

sarah jessica parker mohawk
Even Sarah Jessica Parker “rocks” a mohawk now…

But mass media and the products that are constantly pitched to us isn’t about outliers, it’s about conformity and commonality. It’s meant to find the biggest audience to sell to. Think Coca-Cola, Pop-Country music, or even Disney’s Star Wars (TM). It’s great that these things exist, Pop songs are catchy, Star Wars is awesome, Coca-Cola is delicious. But they’re ubiquitous. You can find them in the most backwoods store of the most backwoods place in the United States.

Tea Krulos finds the people that you won’t hear about in the mainstream. Punk fashion went into mass culture over a decade ago (chances are there’s a Hot Topic in your town) and tattoos and piercings are hardly the taboo they used to be. And while the Ghost Hunters show certainly popularized the genre of investigating the paranormal on reality TV, there is still a little bit of a stigma surrounding local paranormal groups, Bigfoot hunters, and UFO enthusiasts, precisely the people that Tea set out to document in his book.

Because of that stigma, there’s a natural distrust of reporters and authors in the community and that means that most paranormal groups aren’t as inclusive as you’d expect them to be. I always thought that was unusual, wouldn’t you think that a subgroup would be interested in bringing more people in! Not when you could be the object of ridicule or derision. In the past, you might have to worry about a newspaper having an unflattering article or a book maybe making your group look foolish in a chapter, but now with social media, everyone is a publisher and everyone has an opinion and isn’t afraid to broadcast it (just look at your Facebook feed for reinforcement.)

Since Tea wasn’t interested in ridiculing these groups, but rather understanding them (and to some extent, celebrating them), he was welcomed into the circles of groups like the Paranormal investigators of Milwaukee and places like Loren Coleman’s Cryptozoology Museum or the International UFO Arizona (where a meeting with George Noory at a casino led to a successful appearance on Coast to Coast AM!)

Tea on the hunt for Bigfoot!

While researching the book, Tea had his own “weird experience” while he was out with Bigfoot Hunter, Jim Sherman, in the forests of Central Michigan. It’s late in the middle of the night and he’s in his tent, while his Sasquatch tracking partner was in his truck finishing up the watch for the night. As he’s about to drift off to sleep, Tea hears a terrifying scream outside his tent. He opens the front zipper carefully and looks around and dashes to his Jim’s truck, where he finds Jim texting him about the same scream. As they sit and try to analyze what they heard, they see a strange light in the sky, a white object with a green and red light orbiting it, something neither of them had seen before or could identify. While they seem like they’re not in the same realm, there’s been a strange Bigfoot-UFO connection for a long time where sightings of the beast are often followed by visions of something strange in the sky… that sounds like something we should do an episode on in the future.

So, it was a lot of fun to talk about Monster Hunters  and Tea’s new book, which is going to be about doomsday prophecies and people who are prepping for the end of the world (we have a related episode on apocalypses that never happened), he also gave us some exciting news about the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Convention.

The 2016 convention will take place October 14th through 16th at the Zelazo Center on the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee campus and will feature cryptozoology founding father Loren Coleman, fellow See You On The Other Side podcast guest Chad Lewisour co-contributor Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts, Wendy and I will be broadcasting from the convention as well as I’ll be hosting a panel called Paranormal Road Trip!

It was fun to have Tea on as we celebrate going into 2016 because we love to surround ourselves with cool people doing interesting paranormal projects just like us. We hope everyone out there has their best year yet and let’s use the time we have to the best all of our abilities!

As Delmore Schwarz wrote in “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day”

What will become of you and me 
(This is the school in which we learn …)   
Besides the photo and the memory? 
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

Memory in soft focus,
dreams of the past,
a little crutch we can hold on to.
Some things weren’t made to last.

Don’t look back,
it will only make you slower,
Don’t question,
the things you cannot change.
This moment,
the only thing you can hold onto,
don’t spend it in a cage.

You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.
You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.

A hazy wave of rumination,
days gone by,
An unreliable narration,
A well that ran dry.

Don’t look back,
it will only make you slower,
Don’t question,
the things you cannot change.
This moment,
the only thing you can hold onto,
don’t spend it in a cage.

You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.
You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.

It’s later than you think,
it’s later than you planned,
It’s over in a blink,
it’s over in a flash.

And the hourglass runs out of sand.

You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.
You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.