Tag Archives: scotty roberts

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.

92 – Bridging the Gap: 2016 Paradigm Symposium Recap

What a fantastic weekend as Wendy and I attended the Paradigm Symposium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The mission of the event is to bridge the gap between academic thinking and alternative studies  and you could see it in action because the speakers treated each presentation like it was a college lecture.

john ward scotty roberts
Mike, Scotty Roberts, John Ward, and Wendy Lynn
The guys behind the event were Scotty Roberts and John Ward from Intrepid Magazine, which is a publication after my own heart, dealing with everything from science fiction to alternative history and archaeology. It was a massive undertaking, but completely worth it, because it provided us with a ton of inspiration for new episodes, new friends, and of course, lots of new things to ponder.

In the episode, Wendy Lynn and I cover all of the speakers that we got to see during the convention and tell a little bit about the topics that they covered.
Micah Hanks and Mike Huberty
Me and Peter Capaldi, I mean the brilliant Micah Hanks!
Here are some links to the speakers so that if you hear about something you like during the podcast, you can come back and click on the link to learn more (and of course, we’re going to be asking all of these fascinating people to come on the podcast sometime soon!)

Micah Hanks – Secret societies, Yale’s Skull and Bones and its connection to America’s foreign policy think tanks. This dude can speak! And he’s got one of the best paranormal podcasts out there, The Gralien Report.

Jeffrey Daugherty (The Christian Whistleblower) – Was Jesus an alien? He doesn’t answer that for you, but his literal translation of the books of the New Testament certainly makes you think and it’s delivered in a helluva style!

Laird Scranton – Connecting the ancient abandoned site of Skara Brae on Scotland’s Orkney Islands with Africa’s Dogon Tribe and ancient Egypt. Heavy on the symbolism and linguistics, he’s obviously done his homework.

Dr. Rita Louise – Did aliens mess with our DNA early in our history? Could humanity be a lot older than we suspect? Lots of alternative history here!

Lon Milo Duquette – Revelations about King David and Solomon and their possible connections to the Knights Templar and Freemasonry.

Peter Robbins – The Rendlesham UFO Incident – it’s the United Kingdom’s very own Roswell and he can deliver the case for it as convincingly as they come.

Paranormal Sarah – Sarah Soderlund is a Twin Cities-based parapsychologist and author who also goes by the online name Paranormal Sarah.

Rocci Stucci – Political talk radio host and paranormal investigator, his EVP from an investigation with Scotty and John almost made me lose voluntary bladder control.

Travis Walton – The world’s most famous alien abductee and the man behind the classic Fire In The Sky, which was very influential on me when I was younger, watching the new documentary, Travis The Movie, which gave the non-Hollywood perspective of his incredible experience.

Listening to him talk was really one of the major highlights for us because there are few people on Earth who have been more affected by the UFO phenomenon than him. Most of us who love aliens and the paranormal choose this field. He did not. He was thrust into the situation out of his control and it’s affected the course of his entire life. But forty years later, plenty of polygraph examinations, and six men whose story hasn’t changed a bit mean that he’s part of the lore forever now and has one of the most convincing cases out there.

And he’s a guitar player too, so that makes him extra awesome.

Mike and Wendy Lynn with Travis Walton
Holy cow, it’s Mike and Wendy Lynn with Travis Walton!
Dan Madsen – Star Trek fan club president with an inspiring story of how the vision of Gene Roddenberry forever changed the life of a young man.

John Ward – Real deal archaeology and adventure into ancient Egypt. Some of it was above my head, but it looked like a lot of fun!

Richard Dolan – Fantastic UFO researcher who gives an outline of the possible alien agenda. Will we ever see disclosure? What do the aliens want? Why won’t the government tell us. He connects all the dots and gives a plausible case of the reasons behind the secrecy.

Scott Wolter – Forensic Geologist behind the TV series, America Unearthed. His research into a Minnesota artifact known as the Kensington Rhinestone discovered in 1898 leads him on a search for Norse expeditions into North America in the 14th Century (the original Minnesota Vikings – were they still a losing team even back then? Ha!) or maybe  he suggests, the Knights Templar tried to claim the continent for themselves after being banned from Europe. Lots of symbolism, history, and fun.

Paradigm Symposium Final Panel
All the guests for the final panel
Overall, what really made the event was the incredible access to these great researchers, the open minds of every one, and the absolute friendliness of the group. Wendy and I felt tremendously welcome by people we’d never met before and by the end we were looking forward to the next time we could see them and share more stories, adventures, and just discussions about all the things that we don’t quite understand in this universe, but love to explore. That’s the kind of atmosphere of positivity and a judgement-free zone that we all hope to find ourselves in every once in awhile, to be free to find our own truths.

Since we were quite affected by hearing the real story of Travis Walton, for this weeks’s song decided to use a cover we recorded awhile back where we actually used a little bit of Fire In The Sky in the video we made. Since we borrow footage from that movie, Communion, Close Encounters, and A Trip To The Moon we thought it would be the perfect time to introduce the Sunspot version of one of the The Killers’ best tracks, “Spaceman”, their song about UFO abduction, into our podcast.