Tag Archives: Nick Redfern

218 – Ghosts of the Shooting Star – Stories from Minnesota ParaCon 2018

And I would drive 500 miles and I would drive 500 more…

So, we hopped in the Sunspot van and Wendy, Scott from WhatsYourGhostStory.com, and I drove a thousand miles this weekend to the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota for their 2018 Paracon. It was a fun-filled three days where we made dozens of new friends, talked about hundreds of paranormal experiences, and even got to play some Blackjack (Wendy has a system, in case you were wondering!)

Mike, Wendy, and Scott manning the booth!

Now, we’ve had vendor tables at several different paranormal conventions before and it is hard to stand out. You’re competing with celebrities (we had two lovely actresses right next to us and Chip frickin’ Coffey right across the way), paranormal presentations, a bar open all day, and gambling. How are we going to get people’s attention with our little podcast? Well, we decided to create a paranormal quest where people could enter to win a sweet prize package of ghost tour tickets, Sunspot CDs, books on Chicago ghost stories, and a haunted Gingerbread house.

Chuck Woolery, eat your heart out!

So, how were we going to get everyone to come on by and get weird with us? Well, we tried to do a little “paranormal quest” game where we had three sections:

The eyeball test tubes we used to conduct our “favorite paranormal topic” poll

Once people answered our questions, then we entered them into the drawing! So, what did we discover about the Paracon attendees?

  • “Purple Rain” is their favorite Prince song by a huge margin
  • There’s not as many Vikings fans as you’d think, most of them couldn’t even name a player
  • Ghosts are the most popular topic, followed by demons, then UFOs (I know, right? Unexpected.). Cryptids came in last, which broke Bigfoot’s heart.
  • More than three-quarters of the people we met had a personal ghostly encounter and a majority of them were about their family and loved ones. That was really nice. They were mainly positive and comforting experiences. 
Daniel, the winner of the paranormal prize pack! He shared several of his paranormal experiences with us as well…
Here’s a compilation of ghost stories you guys told at our booth!

So, since ghosts were the topic that most people were interested in, we decided to interview a few of the presenters  about some of their most memorable ghostly encounters. In this episode, we have personal ghost stories from:

Darkness Radio‘s Dave Schrader interviewing Jael De Pardo and Erin Ryder from Destination Truth
Mike talking with cryptozoology author, Nick Redfern
Scott and Mike talking to actress, Erin Marie Hogan

For the song this week, we used the name of the place, the Shooting Star Casino, as the initial inspiration. Time flies like a shooting star and as John Lennon said on Double Fantasy:

Before you cross the street take my hand.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”

When we’re young and we think about the future, there’s a sense of wonder. I saw a lot of that this weekend. There were psychics making predictions and mediums who say they can talk to the dead. We dream about what might happen and wish for something better. Some nights seem like they’ll last forever, but they don’t, before we know it the future is here, whether we’re ready or not and the important part is to try and not lose that sense of wonder that makes the whole thing worthwhile. That’s the idea behind this quick rock track, “Best-Laid Plans”.

Staring at the sky til dawn
laid out in front of your piece of crap car
this getaway could not go wrong
so we made a wish on every single star

And all those summer nights
that weren’t meant to last
like a shooting star
they just burn so fast
Yeah, we ran away
but the best-laid plans
are fantasies
So if you make that wish, I will believe.

And then we tried to tell the future
We looked at our palms and studied all the lines
When every kiss was an adventure
and we laughed at all the hearts we’d leave behind

And all those summer nights
that weren’t meant to last
like a shooting star
they just burn so fast
Yeah, we ran away
but the best-laid plans
are fantasies
So if you make that wish, I will believe.

186 – The Slenderman Mysteries: Investigating the Internet Bogeyman with Nick Redfern

In May of 2014, a vicious crime shocked Wisconsin and made headlines across the United States. Two junior high school girls attempted to stab their friend in a sacrifice to an Internet horror story known as “The Slenderman”. While the victim thankfully survived, it left the world wondering, why would these girls commit such a horrible crime and what is The Slenderman?

The Slenderman Mysteries
The pic that started it all

Created as part of a challenge on an Internet forum to create a scary paranormal character, artist Eric Knudsen Photoshopped a tall faceless figure with tentacles on his back around some kids and featured some creepy text. It was a scary pic and the popularity of the character exploded over time as people added the Slenderman  to more and more images and created short text stories that people could copy and paste on Internet forums. The common slang for “copy and paste” is “copypasta” and people adapted that term for horror stories and called it “creepypasta”, which was extremely popular with young teens (who love horror stories, I know I did!)

Unfortunately, young people can become obsessed with stories, especially dark ones, and that can lead some to horrific behavior like we saw in Waukesha. But beyond that, people are starting to have actual “Slenderman sightings” in the real world. Are people’s obsessions creating tulpas, and giving form to a fictional Internet Bogeyman?

As a prolific author of books and articles, Nick Redfern is always on the forefront of the paranormal community. We’ve had him on the podcast before and we’ve been dying to bring him back. This time he’s released a new book, The Slenderman Mysteries, and Allison and I get all the details.

Full disclosure, Allison and I are both featured in the book. As lifelong Wisconsinites, whenever something unusual happens here that has a relationship with the paranormal, we try to check it out thoroughly. I had my own experience near Waukesha, Allison discovered a strange coincidence,  and indeed Wendy Lynn is tour guide for Waukesha Ghost Walks, so we all have a stake in what happens and how it’s represented.

the slender man mysteries nick redfern

It’s a lively and informative conversation and some of the things that Nick uncovered in this book are fascinating and terrifying. He is extremely respectful of the tragedy while exploring all the avenues and we reflect that in this discussion.

Also, since Nick is a massive Ramones fan, we had to do a Ramones tribute for this episode. It’s Sunspot inspired by the Ramones with a song about “The Slenderman”.

9 foot tall in a suit and tie
Oh Oh Oh the Slender-man
He came from the woods to terrify
Oh oh oh the Slenderman
He’ll crawl inside your headspace
It looks like he erased his face.

From the basement of the Internet
and made out of belief
are we peeking through the Gates of Hell
when we close our eyes to dream?
They thought that he was fiction
But he’s creeping into fact
and when you feel long arms around you
you best dare not turn your back.

Your nose bleeds and you’re sensing dread
Oh Oh Oh the Slender-man
the Pied Piper of the World Wide Web
Oh oh oh the Slenderman
Ooh those tentacles are gross,
Comin’ through Lovecraftian cosmos.

From the basement of the Internet
and made out of belief
are we peeking through the Gates of Hell
when we close our eyes to dream?
They thought that he was fiction
But he’s creeping into fact
and when you feel long arms around you
you best dare not turn your back.