Tag Archives: zombies

129 – Scrutinizing The Sandman: Explore Your Dreams with J.M. DeBord

J.M. DeBord is the real human being behind the Reddit user, RadOwl,  who moderates that site’s Dreams forum. On that board he helps thousands of different users try and understand their dreams better. After being plagued by troublesome dreams in his own life, DeBord started taking dream interpretation seriously and discovered  it was a powerful form of self-reflection.

dreams radowl jm debora
This girl should probably be dreaming about where to shop for cooler sweaters. Yikes!

His 1-2-3 method of dream analysis is all about using the power of your subconscious mind to better understand your desires, fears, and motivations. And how to use that understanding to find out what really will make you happy.

  1. The first step is remembering your dreams.
  2. The second step is interpreting and analyzing your dreams.
  3. The third step is using those answers to confront fears, tackle problems and improve your own life.
dream interpretation jm debord morpheus radial
In The Arms of Morpheus by William Reynolds-Stephens

DeBord takes us through some of the most common dreams that people have, from zombie nightmares (which I had for years as a kid!) to teeth falling out to why we always end up back in friggin’ high school about to take a test that we’re completely unprepared for.  He also shares some of his favorite paranormal dreams!

guerin morpheus jm debora dreams
Guerin’s Famous Morpheus and Iris

DeBord wrote a book called Dreams 1-2-3: Remember, Interpret, and Live Your Dreams that goes into his process in detail and you can follow his dream interpretation blog at Dreams123.net. And of course, you can find him on the Reddit dream board as RadOwl, answering questions and helping people share and interpret their dreams.

The song this week felt appropriate because it’s one of the few songs that resulted directly from waking up from a dream. This was when I had a strange dream that I was hanging out with Ryan Reynolds for some reason and we had to defend ourselves against not only vampires, but samurai vampires, so they were twice as nasty and had katanas and we’re chasing us and it was really terrifying.

What could the dream mean? Number one, that I probably wanted to hang out with Ryan Reynolds while fighting otherworldly creatures because he’s funny and I like that. Number two, it continued on my old fear of zombies (the undead, these vampire samurai were coming out of the grave), but it gave the zombies a purpose. Samurai were honorable, they were warriors with a strict code, so this discipline and purpose made them much more formidable than just regular flesh-eating ghouls would be. Samurai were smart and skilled, they had a mission and a purpose, add vampiric powers to that and me and Ryan were in big trouble. They were an upgraded bad guy in my mind for the Twenty-First Century. It was such a strange juxtaposition in my brain that I had to immediately write about it when I woke up and thought it would be a fun song demo.

jm debord dreams interpretation kubla khan
What were they always digging for in their jackets?

Samuel Tyler Coleridge famously wrote Kubla Khan after waking up from an opium-laced dream and that work is still read today as an example of beautiful Romantic poetry. I’m not sure “Samurai Vampires” quite matches Coleridge, but it was fun to work on nonetheless.

Noble of purpose
righteous undead
Go forth and campaign
from their dirtbed
Transcend the wooden overcoat
with skin lukewarm
Called by a master
a duty to perform.
Tonight we justify the crime
And we’ll discharge our duties from on high
Tonight we justify the crime
Dispassionate and cold
never to grow old
Once we bare our teeth we have to bite
Honor and bloodshed,
for the revenant patrol.
a binding magic,
when a sword captures a soul.
Tonight we justify the crime
And we’ll discharge our duties from on high
Tonight we justify the crime
Dispassionate and cold
never to grow old
Once we bare our teeth we have to bite

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.

38 – Zombie Apocalypse: Science And Superstition Behind… Brains… Brains…

The Zombie Apocalypse. The past decade has seen the living dead explode like no other monster. Vampires had a kick for a little while and ghosts had their due after The Sixth Sense, but really, zombies have been the focus of a dozens of movies over the course of the past decade and at least two TV shows currently running (including cable’s most popular show, The Walking Dead.)

Mike has been obssessed with zombies since he was a little kid and he even mentions his traumatic first encounter with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (where he was tortured by his sister, frequent podcast contributor, Allison Jornlin of Milwaukee Ghosts), and that’s where the discussion begins, as should any discussion with impact of zombies on pop culture, because that film is really where our traditional idea of flesh-eating zombies comes from. Taking his inspiration from Richard Matheson’s brilliant I Am Legend adaptation, The Last Man on Earth (Vincent Price, not Will Forte) and also from the Arabic legend of the “ghoul” (flesh-eating djinn that hang around graveyards, sound familiar?), Romero created a new kind of shuffling terror, more dangerous in numbers than alone.

But the term “zombie” comes from Haitian voudou mythology and that leads to a discussion of the book,The Serpent and The Rainbow, which featured a much more traditional version of the walking dead. Where a bokor (voodoo sorcerer) would use a special zombie powder to turn its victim comatose to the point where people would think he was dead and bury him. Then later the body would be dug up and the man would be taken to a plantation to work as a slave for the bokor (or whoever he was doing the sorcery for.) The non-fiction book, The Serpent and The Rainbow, goes into detail about the world’s most famous zombie, Clairvius Narcisse, a man who died and was buried in 1962, but came back to his village very much not dead in 1980. The book is a more scientific look at the case and also the zombie powder (made from the toxins of a Caribbean puffer fish and a toad), while the movie was a completely fictional retelling, only using the idea of the researcher looking into the zombie powder as a launching-off point into magical horror (however, it’s a pretty sweet movie.)

With that, Mike and Wendy discuss fast zombies and zombie movie remakes for a little bit before getting into how a zombie apocalypse could really happen. First talking about toxoplasmosa gondii, which is a brain parasite that only grows in the stomach of cats. When it infects rats, it makes them run towards felines because it wants them to be eaten so that it can get into that cat belly! Terrifying that it can change rat behavior into something completely suicidal, but even more terrifying is that 50% of humans are already carrying the parasite. Could this be a reason that we domesticated cats and can it affect our behavior? Well the jury is still out because the science is controversial, but a link was found between the parasite and schizophrenia.

The conversation turns towards how even the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have been using the idea of a zombie epidemic to teach crisis preparedness, going so far as publishing a graphic novel about what people should do if a zombie apocalypse were to lurch its way through America. And then the talk finishes with how a television station that Mike used to work for, Newschannel 8 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, accidentally sent a warning out about the dead rising from the grave on its Emergency Broadcast System in 2013. Just how did that happen?

Zombie Apocalypse Links

Watch The Night of the Living Dead online for free

“Based On A True Story: The Serpent And The Rainbow“, Cinema Suicide

CDC Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic Graphic Novel

“TV zombie-attack warning a false alarm”, La Crosse Tribune

“Return Of The Puppet Masters”, Corante, story about Toxoplasma gondii

Today’s Song is “I Was A Teenage Zombie” by Sunspot.

I was a teenage zombie
1313 Mockingbird Lane
other kids liked sports
I wanted brains

Hey now, the saw is family
Hey man, don’t you lose your head
It’s the Night before the Day after the Dawn of the Living Dead

I’m on the cover of Fango
I’m in the Grand Guignol
I’m a Famous Monsters late night picture show

We’re just right down from Elm Street
It’s the Last House on the Left
You know we never mind uninvited guests

Nicer than the Manson Family
Let’s go paint the town RED
It’s the Night before the Day after the Dawn of the Living Dead

I’m on the cover of Fango
I’m in the Grand Guignol
I’m a Famous Monsters late night picture show.