64 – Ghost Hunting 2.0: Chris Bores and The Rules of The Dead

Chris Bores is mostly known for his YouTube comedy videos as The Irate Gamer where he plays through vintage video games, reviews them, and gets angry every time he dies in the game.  While he’s gotten millions of views for his video game work, his paranormal investigation is what inspired his book, Ghost Hunting 2.0: Breaking New Groundsomething he’s been fascinated with since hearing unearthly footsteps in his grandparents’ house.

Bores describes himself as a “Paranormal Communicator” instead of  a ghost hunter and uses psychology, ancient texts like The Tibetan Book of the Deadand an EMF meter to talk to spirits.  Him and his partner, Alan Cicco, blog about their adventures on the website, Pursuit of the Paranormal.

Listen… do you smell something?

Chris goes into detail about some of his ghost hunts that led to his book, especially at the Saint Augustine Lighthouse in Florida, one of the Southeast’s most famous locations for haunted history. He tells us about Eliza, who has a crush on a tour guide at the lighthouse and the 90-minute conversation they had with her using an EMF meter, where they would lead her with questions and gauge her responses based on changes in the EMF meter.

The most famous of the electromagnetic field sensors, the K-2.

So, what is Ghost Hunting 2.0? With Chris it’s more about actually trying to have a conversation with the spirit, rather than just taking a photograph or finding evidence. To him, he’s interested in what they want. He describes his six classifications of spirits (confused, angry, hungry (for unfinished business, not for like ghost food or something), etc…) as well as what he calls the “Rules of the Dead” (that linked article has some cool details about Eliza at the Lighthouse too in the comments.)

Talking to one particular spirit, the ghost seemed to hint at a greater power that was trying to block them from talking to people. The idea that the dead are supposed to hide from us is his most intriguing one. We tend to think of ghosts being tied to a place because something happened traumatic there or they don’t know they’re dead and can’t move on. But what if spirits are all around us and most of  the time, they just aren’t supposed to talk to us and are just following the rules? That made me think of Vampire: The Masqueradewhich was a role-playing game I used to play in the 90s. Not just play it, I did live-action (LARPing, baby!)

But the idea of the Masquerade was that the most important thing to vampires is that YOU DON’T LET PEOPLE KNOW VAMPIRES ARE REAL. Wendy mentioned that kinda sounds like Fight Club as well. But the idea that ghosts don’t want us to know about them and someone or something is making spirits hide. Well, that’s pretty spooky isn’t it?

Make sure to check out Chris’ Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The song this episode is inspired by Chris’ rules. Because if spirits aren’t supposed to talk to humans then you have to say the things that you want to say now, today, and don’t wait, because once you’re gone, those words are forever lost. Here’s the track, “Rules of the Dead”.

I’m the one who never said goodbye,
I’m the flatliner that never told you why.
I thought that I could succeed where Orpheus had failed,
But there ain’t no coming back when you’ve broken through the veil.

Say what you want to,
don’t let them stop you,
go where you dream.
Love who will let you,
Don’t be afraid to,
No guarantees.
And don’t let all your words be left unsaid.
You can’t break the rules of the dead.

Look in my eye,
when you say goodbye
and say it like you mean it.
When you flatline, on the other side
you’ll be defeated

Say what you want to,
don’t let them stop you,
go where you dream.
Love who will let you,
Don’t be afraid to,
No guarantees.
And don’t let all your words be left unsaid.
You can’t break the rules of the dead.

You can’t break the rules of the dead.
You can’t break the rules of the dead.
You can’t break the rules of the dead.

63 – Devil’s Night: Mischief, Pranks, and Terror on The Eve of Halloween

It’s a very special episode of See You On The Other Side. This Halloween will be our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! How time flies when you’re exploring the unknown while writing songs about it!

And obviously, we love Halloween, so we got zombified and joined the cast of Rockford sitcom The Deadersons  and worked on a  special music video with them!

Brains... brains... brains...
Sunspot Zombified…

For this episode, we brought our friend and my Madison Ghost Walks guide, Lisa Van Buskirk into the studio with us (last heard in our episode at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference). Lisa and I went to go see Saint Maria Goretti when she came through Madison in mid-October. There’s a church in Madison that’s named after her and they were displaying the saint’s body. There was around 100 people waiting in line when we went around 10pm but the showing went all night and they expected around six thousand people to come visit her.

Mike and Lisa visit Saint Maria Goretti
Mike and Lisa visit Saint Maria Goretti

Her story is particularly brutal because she was a little girl who was raped and stabbed to death by her neighbor, but the crux of the story is that she would rather die than lose her virginal purity telling her attacker he shouldn’t because he’ll go to Hell and then she forgave him on her deathbed and said “I want him to be with me in paradise.” So it’s her saintly power of forgiveness and devotion to purity that made the Church want to recognize her (in 1950.)

Just a quick refresher, the Catholic Church says that anyone who makes it to Heaven is a “saint” but they recognize some people for special holiness and give them the title of “Saint”. She supposedly appeared to her attacker in prison and also people have claimed miracles from praying at the body of Saint Maria and her remains have been covered in wax and they take her on tour where people can pray with her body, who the Church now considers a relic.

Here is Saint Maria Goretti’s remains covered in wax…

Now, to the main topic of the episode… Pranks around the Halloween season just seem natural to me. I remember being read a Halloween story from a children’s book where there a group of people circled around the fire and the boys sang:

Needles and pins, needles and pins!
When Hallowe’en comes, your trouble begins.

while the girls sang:

Needles and pins, needles and pins!
When Hallowe’en comes, the fun begins.

Just saying that rhyme always scared me as a boy, and I finally found the story, by Josephine Scribner Gates, in a 1918 children’s magazine called St. Nicholas. You can read it online right here. But that just reinforced my belief that this was the season for mischief. While most of mine were stupid (toilet papering trees, saying silly things in wax crayons on people’s driveways), in other towns, pranks got real dangerous, especially in Detroit.

Yeah, looks all innocent and fun... for now.
Yeah, looks all innocent and fun… for now.

In Lisa’s other life, she’s a paramedic and firefighter and her birthday is the day before Halloween, October 30th. That’s the traditional day for Halloween pranks and in Detroit, where Lisa was born and raised, it’s known as Devil’s Night, the night you live up to the trick part of “trick or treat.” It’s known as Mischief Night in some places and Cabbage Night(?) in others, but either way it’s the same thing, “When Halloween comes, the trouble begins…” which was so eloquently stated in The Crow (a film that takes place in Detroit on Devil’s Night over two consecutive years) as “Fire it up! Fire it up! Fire it up!Fire it up!”

As the American auto industry faded around Motor City in the 1970s, more and more Detroit residents lost their jobs and more and more houses became abandoned. Well, when you’ve got plenty of houses where there’s no one living and when people were looking to cause some mayhem, they set those houses on fire. In 1984 alone, there were 800 fires set in Detroit. It became such a tradition that even Eminem’s rap group D12 wrote a song about it, it’s mentioned in Grosse Point Blank (my personal favorite John Cusack role since the wonderful Journey of Natty Gann, as well as Dan Aykroyd’s last great role), and it was the basis of an episode of Criminal Minds (not work linking to.)

After a record number of fires in 1994 (the year The Crow came out), the city started Angel’s Night, as a response to the arson and tens of thousands Detroit residents walk the streets on that Devil’s Night to keep their neighborhoods safe.

Now where does this come from? Well, a couple of things. First, there’s a Spring tradition in Europe of Walpurgis Night on April 30th. The night before the feast of a Catholic Saint (naturally), it was originally rumored to the be the night that witches meet in the German mountains and was an evening for pranks, and later, politically motivated riots (it’s the day before the Community holiday, May Day.)

But some inspiration also comes from the night before Guy Fawkes’ Day (you know the masks that the guys were wearing in V For Vendetta?) That’s a holiday based around the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot where a Catholic group tried to assassinate the King of England (you see, they’re not all as merciful and loving as Maria Goretti…) That’s in the UK on the 5th of November and the night before became a traditional day for pranks, Mischief Night, and in some places, in the country as a coming of age ceremony for thirteen year olds (a Bar Mitzvah of Terror!)

They made a Mischief Night movie in 2014 with the not-very-discerning Malcolm Mcdowell. But the most obvious inspiration is for a film called The Purgea horror flick and social satire about a future America where crime is so bad that for one night a year, everything is legal for twelve hours. That means that people can do whatever they want for one night, cause as much destruction, kill people, whatever, and it serves as kind of a population control for the poor. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly were also attached to a Devil’s Night horror-comedy, but the status of that is currently unknown.

Fire it up! Fire it up! Fire it up!

But this particular episode has a point that we get to eventually, and that Devil’s Night is the perfect example of how people turn something innocent like a prank into something horrible, like arson. It’s the mentality of a riot. Sometimes when people talk about riots, they think of Los Angeles in 1992 or Ferguson in 2014 and they are quick to put the blame on poor people or minorities or a few  destructive elements. But riots right here in Madison, Wisconsin show us that it doesn’t matter who the population is, income and ethnicity isn’t a factor, when people are in large groups and get aggravated, they will destroy things. And people will do things that they never thought they would do. Malcolm Gladwell delineated this particularly brilliantly at this year’s The New Yorker festival.

Madison was always fun on Halloween, but in the early 2000s, it was the Halloween destination, even MTV came here to document the party. But you get tens of thousands of people from all over the country coming to the party, combine that with massive amounts of alcohol, and the inhibition-destroying effects of wearing a costume (there’s even a name for being defined by your outfit, called unclothed cognition) and Madison’s main drag turns into a scene that you normally only see on the news from a Russian republic or a Middle Eastern country.

The psychology of a riot has a lot to do with seeing what other people do. Yes, you might not normally throw a beer bottle at a police officer, but watching how many other people throwing that bottle and not getting in trouble does it take for you to think that it’s okay? It’s the mob. You might not normally break a window, but if you see ten other people do it, well, then it might not seem to be such a bad idea. Throw some booze and youthful exuberance in the mix and I think you know where I’m going.

Madison Wisconsin Halloween Riots
Picture courtesy of Derek Montgomery.

That’s Devil’s Night. A night where tradition, expectation, mob mentality, peer pressure, and opportunity combine to create destruction. And it’s that disintegration of society’s boundaries that we tackle in this episode’s song, “Neanderthal“.

Virtual murder,
pixelated death,
we can kill each other,
with no regrets.
Like raping a hooker,
Or popping a cop,
Or pushing a handi,
Right out of his wheelchair.

Your thoughts become reality,
Focusing on a tragedy,
And now I’m f$%^ing my PC.

I am Neanderthal.
I am Incredible.
I am Neanderthal.
Berserker.

This liquor store’s a mammoth,
This gat’s a bone.
There’s too much information,
In this age of Stone.

Your thoughts become reality,
A self-fulfilling prophecy,
And now I’m f$%^ing my PC.

I am Neanderthal.
I am Incredible.
I am Neanderthal.
Berserker.

Your thoughts become reality,
Focusing on a tragedy,
And now I’m f$%^ing my PC.

I am Neanderthal.
I am Incredible.
I am Neanderthal.
Berserker.
Berserker.
Berserker.

62 – Behind The Screams: An Interview with Ghost Mine’s Patrick Doyle

I’ve often been critical of a lot of the “paranormal reality” television out there because it amazes me how much evidence that they can collect in one place in a short amount of time. They go to a new place every week and somehow come up with amazing evidence. If you’ve ever been on a paranormal investigation, you understand that most of the time you come up empty-handed, so how do these guys come up with incredible evidence every single week?

Well, that’s why I thought the premise of Ghost Mine was pretty interesting. Instead of going to a new place every week, they were going to stay in one place for several weeks and see what happened. The idea behind the show was that an old mine with a reputation for being haunted was being reopened in Oregon by a mining team on the hunt for gold and a paranormal research team on the hunt for ghosts. It would be a pretty awesome setup for a horror film (it almost feels like it could be a sequel to one of my personal favorites, Quatermass and The Pit AKA Five Million Years to Earth).

The show ran for two seasons on the SyFy Channel (it’s still hard to type out that silly name)ad it was hosted by Patrick Doyle and Kristen Luman. On the heels of the premiere of their new show, Behind The Screams on the Reelz Network (a show that explores the real-world inspiration for horror films, something that of course we can get behind here!),  we had a great conversation with Patrick on his lifelong quest for the paranormal.

Patrick goes into detail on his first paranormal experience of seeing  a Shadow Person as a child and how that eventually turned into the hobby of investigating haunted places looking to see if he could find more (something that I admire his courage for, my own visit from a Shadow Person left me with an approach avoidance conflict about seeing one again!)

While Patrick undertook his paranormal investigations over the years privately (and most often terrifyingly (to me at least) alone, he said that he didn’t often go with a team), his transition to paranormal television personality wasn’t something that he expected.

In 2006, Patrick released a young adult book he authored and illustrated called Edgar Font’s Hunt for a House to Haunt (say it fast a couple of times, you know you want to…) To promote the book, he started looking for YouTube videos of paranormal activity that were obvious fakes and would deconstruct them in his own blog and video series called Haunted Hoax. And that’s where it started. After becoming a popular series (as well as then turning into a target for Internet haters, but since Patrick is a man that openly admires the enemy-of-spoon-benders everywhere, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi, he should know that “haters gonna hate”.

Haters gonna hate...
Enough said…

Anyway, Haunted Hoax became so successful that SyFy contacted him about hosting Ghost Mine, but when they hired him, they made him take down all of his YouTube videos, effectively “buying his brand”. And while that sounds nefarious, it isn’t really. I also do work with a website that features musician profiles and songs, and when a major label signs an artist, they demand all previous songs, pictures, and profiles are taken down, that way they ensure the representation of their new talent acquisition is controlled by them, it’s part of protecting their investment.

However, while the scrubbing of those videos did create a little controversy, Patrick unwaveringly defends the evidence that they found on Ghost Mine and indeed, says that he was disappointed that they left some of their best stuff on the cutting room floor.

But while paranormal investigators might have an insight into the other side of the veil, no one can predict what’s in the hearts of network executives and a regime change at SyFy spelled the closing of Ghost Mine. 

Patrick returned to being a book author and a paranormal investigation until being called up by the Reelz network to work with Kristen once again on Behind The Screams, and we finish up the interview with advice for amateur investigators.

Number one, he says, “Do it for yourself. Do it for your own experience.” And that you really only need three items when you go out:

  1. Flashlight (so you don’t fall over)
  2. Voice recorder (for EVPs)
  3. Camera (to record in case you see anything!)

Follow Patrick on Twitter and make sure to give him a like on Facebook, he’s a serious-minded investigator that I hope we hear a lot more from in the future.

This episode’s song has as a little bit of a Old West theme to go along with Ghost Mine. It’s a Sunspot track called “Ghost Town”.

This place was never meant for human habitation
and it’s just a ruin, well it’s just a ruin now.
And I can see the cracks in the foundation,
there’s a hole in the door from the fights waged here before.

Let’s not get caught with our pants down,
I won’t get busted with my fingers in the cookie jar again.
This old bed is a hand-me down,
But if you wanna crash here I’m game if you are.

This old place is a ghost town.
This is the room where we store,
all the things we like to forget.
Welcome to my hellhole,
a place for the lost souls,
of all the hearts left here for dead.

Don’t get any closer,
don’t make any sudden moves.
Don’t look at me like that,
I ain’t no scaredy cat.
This is a house of spirits,
this town of full of ghosts,
so upright so convincingly
they don’t have to be dead, but they’re dead to me.

See the wanted sign,
that’s my face.
I’m not welcome anymore,
as if I ever was.
They plastered my name,
all over this place.
We might have to leave running,
so keep your eye on the door.

This old place is a ghost town.
This is the room where we store,
all the things we like to forget.
Welcome to my hellhole,
a place for the lost souls,
of all the hearts left here for dead.

61 – Dark Shores: Chicago Ghost Conference 2015 Wrap-Up

So, October 2nd through 4th, I attended the Dark Shores: Chicago Ghost Conference with a VIP pass. My sister, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, as well as one of the guides on her haunted history tour, Estephanie (check out some of her cool handcrafted items here!), also came along and in this podcast we go over our favorite parts of the convention. This is Estephanie’s first ghost convention (Allison’s first was one of Troy Taylor’s events in Alton, IL where we did our first live podcast this last St. Patrick’s Day!)

First of all, if you haven’t been on the Chicago Hauntings ghost tour, you’re missing out, because it’s a lot of fun and a great way to get to know Chicago ghost stories and haunted places. It’s run by Ursula Bielski (and Allison and I always like to see another proud Polish-American in the ghost business!) and she did a great job of collecting an entertaining group of speakers on a variety of paranormal subjects.

The conference was at Gaelic Park, which was right across the street from one of the reputedly most haunted spots in the Chicago area, Bachelors Grove Cemetery. They had special haunted late night tours of the cemetery and even had a quick presentation by the person that took this photo, which in my opinion, is one of the best ghost photos of the past couple of decades…

The Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove (not that Madonna, she’s not a ghost yet, just a skeleton…)

The event was emceed by Minneapolis and Coast To Coast AM radio host, Dave Schrader of Darkness Radio, and he’s just as funny in person as he is on his radio show. Friday night, there was a short video presentation on a Bachelors Grove featuring a local ghost hunting team and then a really cool interview with Father Mike Maginot, who was the priest who exorcised the kids in the “Indiana Demon House”.

The Indiana Demon House was a controversial case of demonic possession from 2014 that happened in Gary, Indiana (home of not only Michael Jackson, but also Blacula himself, William Marshall!) Anyway, you’re going to hear a lot more about the Indiana Demon House in the upcoming months because Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans bought the place to make a documentary film on it (and take a look at this CSICOP article for their usual intelligent, but party-pooping take on the whole affair.) Anyway, the interview with the priest was interesting because he was taking about how just the use of the demon’s name was causing trouble for the family, that they couldn’t even get it the name to print out because it kept shutting down the computer. Anyway, that made me want to know the name of the demon (of course I think there’s more to the universe than we can comprehend, but I’m not scared of the oogedy-boogedy religious stuff when there’s real evil in the world happening all the time), but they moved on to the last speaker of the night before I could ask the question.

Darkness Dave and Father Migniot - Indiana Demon House
Darkness Dave and Father Maginot – Indiana Demon House

The last speaker was Christopher Fleming and he was great, mixing talk of ghosts and psychic powers with a little Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and some of The Secret as well (with less of the Oprah-y stuff.) Anyway, I’m a sucker for self-help stuff so I really enjoyed it and I think he had a really positive message that I like to hear. If you want something, you need to believe in it. And whether it’s a flash of intuition, some psychic power, or it’s you creating the “vision” yourself, “vision” is the important thing. If you don’t see where you want to go, then you might never get there. I liked the integration of psychic sensitivity with a grander purpose towards self-determination.

Saturday morning was a lot of fun with presentations by Scott Gruenwald (a funny but definitely NSFW presentation to start the day!) and our good friend, Tea Krulos from the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, (who had a fun lecture on ghosts in the Brew City!)  We also caught up with the guys from The Hidden Truth, Jay Bachochin from Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators and filmmaker, Scott Markus.

Catching up with Jay from Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators
Hunting the truth in Chicago wth Milwaukee Ghosts, Madison Ghost Walks, and Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators!

There was a panel on ghost boxes (here’s how to make your own!) and then around lunchtime, it was time for the Guest of Honor. Actress Virginia Madsen was the Guest of Honor and she talked on a panel about Chicago ghost stories since she’s had an interest in it and she’s also a Chicago native. She’s been in movies like Candyman and A Haunting in Connecticut, we talk about Candyman a bunch in the Charlie Charlie episode and she seemed like a lot of fun (and just as pretty in person as on the screen!) But at $25 for a picture with her, I decided to go for a long shot instead!

Is she saying "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman"?!?
Is she saying “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman”?!?

Then we watched Christopher Saint Booth, a British documentarian and snazzy dresser who makes films with his brother about paranormal subjects.  He released a documentary and book based on the diaries around the true story behind The Exorcist as well as and he did talk a little bit about Christian duality (you can’t have God without the Devil, hey it’s like the Yazidi!) Check out his demo reel here, the Booth Brothers do some pretty stylish work!

It’s like a British Paranormal Bret Michaels!

But Allison’s favorite presentation of the day came from the guy who finds the ghost stories for Ghost Adventures, Jeff Belanger. His presentation was totally polished, had plenty of multimedia, and really got into the reason that ghost stories and folklore are important and in the podcast episode, Allison gets into why she even got a little verklempt during it. My favorite part was talking to him about his music and he even tells a story about opening for Eddie Money (which I retell in the podcast.)

Allison and Zombie Jeff Belanger!
Allison and Zombie Jeff Belanger!

Then afterwards, Saturday night was the costume karaoke party at Chet’s Melody Lounge (across the street from Resurrection Cemetery!) and that was a blast. Jeff Belanger and Darkness Dave were dressed as a little bit of Chicago history and after a few Lagunitas beers, I even tried to get the name of the Indiana Demon out of Darkness Dave (to no avail!) Christopher Fleming sang  a wicked version of “Big Balls” by AC/DC, I did a little Judas Priest, and everybody did “The Time Warp”!

Darkness Dave Schrader and Ghost Adventures Jeff Belanger
Mrs. O’Leary and the cow who caused the Great Chicago Fire…

Sunday, however, took a little bit to get going because well, you know, beers, but there were some of my favorite presentations that day. Including some Jewish ghost stories and a fascinating lecture on ghost stories around the world (including the tribe from The Gods Must Be Crazy and Southeast Asian ghost stories that I’ve already integrated a little bit into Madison Ghost Walks!)

Oy vey!
Oy vey!

But the final presentation of the day is what inspired this week’s song. It was about The Devil In The White City himself, H.H. Holmes and various Chicago serial killers. Well, I can’t believe that I’d never heard the term “Murder Castle” before, but all the way home all I thought it was the perfect name for a song.

Anyway, it really was a great time if you love ghost stories or history and it was a lot of fun meeting some notables in the paranormal world (and we’ll be having plenty of them on the show in the future!) I don’t know if I’d get a VIP Pass again, because the only extra this year was a little catered party right before the kickoff (where the pizza was good, but it wasn’t enough time to really break the ice unlike at the Saturday masquerade party.) But the presentations were definitely worth the price of admission espcially that they come with a a discount code for iherb. If you’re interested in the next Chicago Ghost Conference, you can get tickets (at a discount until October 16th!) by clicking right here.

Did someone say Murder Castle?!
Did someone say Murder Castle?!

This week’s song is “Murder Castle” by Sunspot, inspired by the Chicago Ghost Conference!

Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

I’m gonna build a hotel,
right by the World’s Fair,
I’m gonna lure you into,
my evil secret lair.
You’re in my little maze trying to run away.
But you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t get away.
You’re in my little maze trying to run away.
But you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t get away.

In my
Once you’re in my
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

It’s just a little drugstore,
And we’re hiring, come apply,
You’ll even get some life insurance,
and I’ll collect it when you die.
I’ll be right back, don’t move an inch, baby.
I see your eyes are are are are are a little sleepy.
I’ll be right back, don’t move an inch, baby.
I see your eyes are are are are are a little sleepy.

Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!
Murder Castle!
H.H. Holmes!

60 – Silver Screen Saucers: An Interview with Robbie Graham

UFO movies have been with us for just a little bit less time than movies themselves.  From Kenneth Arnold’s original sighting of a flying saucer in 1947 to the Roswell incident less than a month later, it only took a couple of years for Hollywood to catch up. In 1950 they’d released The Flying Saucer and UFOs landed for the first time on the big screen, beginning the long relationship between film and UFO phenomena. Author Robbie Graham has just released a new book, Silver Screen Saucers, that focuses on that relationship. I interviewed Robbie from his home in Surrey in the United Kingdom and we talk about how the book started as  a doctoral thesis, the power of cinema on belief, and how the CIA might have been using these films as disinformation.

When I think about flying saucers and alien visitation movies, one of my favorites is The Day The Earth Stood Still reference (the original, not the Keanu Reeves version…)

Keanu Reeves as Klaatu
I know Kung Fu…

To me, what The Day The Earth Stood Still really gets right is the sense that aliens have superior technology and that we’ve caught their attention in the universe .  Now that’s something that has really influenced our UFO folklore for a long time now, that they’re coming here for a reason and could take us out at any minute.  If they’ve got the power to travel among the stars, what must their weaponry look like, right?

Oh, and just because I love it, here’s a little Bruce Campbell with my personal favorite reference from The Day The Earth Stood Still.

What was particularly interesting to me, though, was something I hadn’t heard before. And that was that the movie was made with full cooperation of the US government, and that they might have been behind some of the content of the film. But why would that be? What would they have to gain? The legend in UFO circles is that they wanted to prepare the American public for UFO disclosure (which to me seems ridiculous, because it’s been over sixty years and no disclosure yet…) Robbie even has an excellent article on Scribd about it which you should check out because it’s the most well-researched article you’re going to see on UFOs today!

Okay, well maybe it wasnt about disclosure, but maybe it was about getting the American people to believe in aliens. But why would the government want that? Well, in the Cold War, it was completely advantageous for Americans to believe in the idea that we had contact with aliens and that we were working on new technology with them. Now that’s something that would be scary to the Russians, we might both have nukes, but what kinda of extraterrestrial technology are we hiding up our sleeves? It’s classic psychological warfare.

Robbie goes on to give some more examples of this and we start talking about the first mention of the famous “Area 51” in the mass media, which was a television special that I remember watching as a kid. 1988’s UFO Cover Up Live was one of those syndicated specials like Geraldo checking out Al Capone’s vaults. This was nearing the end of the Cold War, when things were tense again in the 1980s. All of a sudden, the Air Force’s secret base has alien weaponry,

So, it’s probably not a coincidence that Area 51’s most famous employee, Bob Lazar, came out just a few months later to reveal all he had seen while working at the Top Secret facility. Robbie believes that Lazar was shown these things on purpose by the Air Force because they wanted him to “blow the whistle”. After all, what’s a Soviet nuke compared to an alien death ray?

Okay, that’s just a short part of Silver Screen Saucers and that’s where I steered the conversation because I truly hadn’t thought about it like that before, but I could have talked to him for hours on end on any one of the topics that he broaches in his new fascinating book, which you can buy right here and check it out yourself! 

Well, the main thesis of Silver Screen Saucers is that we’ve made UFOs real to because visuals have such a real effect on our beliefs system even more than books, because our visual sense is so tied to our interpretation of reality. It’s like in a horror movie when your subconscious mind doesn’t know you’re seeing fiction, so that’s why you have a physical reaction. So the song this week is a little riff on that idea called “Seeing Is Believing”.

Featured Song: Seeing Is Believing By Sunspot

Disinformation,
we’re lied to every day,
Our imagination used
to fool our lizard brain.
The point of distraction,
just a little bait and switch,
Find the ball under the shell,
Who knows? You might get rich

A mothership o’er the Empire State,
A saucer on the White House lawn,
Keep your eyes upon the skies,
and forget you’re being conned.

If seeing is believing,
Then I’ll get down on my knees,
my head gets cracked,
‘tween fiction and fact
We see what we want to see.
Your eyes play tricks,
and your mind transfixed,
on what the screen reveals.
Seeing is believing,
but that doesn’t make it real.

Check your programming,
you could use a little doubt.
Keep on looking, keep on looking,
further than your eyes allow.

A mothership over the Empire State,
and a saucer on the White House lawn,
Keep your eyes upon the skies,
and forget you’re being conned.

If seeing is believing,
Then I’ll get down on my knees,
my head gets cracked,
‘tween fiction and fact
We see what we want to see.
Your eyes play tricks,
and your mind transfixed,
to what the screen reveals.
Seeing may be believing,
but that doesn’t make it real.

59 – Documenting the Paranormal: An Interview With The Gray Brothers

Adam and Drew Gray are Canadian filmmakers who have approached documenting the paranormal with a scientific eye and an open mind. Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts first introduced me to their work through a documentary called The Nightmare. 

Inspired by a sleep paralysis incident that affected Adam Grey so deeply that he couldn’t sleep for weeks where he saw a shrouded figure at the foot of the bed (he goes into detail about what actually happened to him during the podcast and I talk about a sleep paralysis incident that I had as well that would later inspire our song, “Hypnogogic”.)

They went around the world to film The Nightmare (which you can watch in its entirety on Amazon Prime), from Japan to California to Newfoundland to Africa in their research for the worldwide phenomena of the legends behind sleep paralysis and Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome, a condition that causes people to die in their sleep mysteriously.

First noticed in the Hmong refugees in the United States after the Vietnam War, it’s something that  Asians have been especially susceptible to this syndrome, with 230 Thai men, often young and otherwise healthy, succumbing to it in  between 1982 and 1990. Whether it’s the Newfoundland “Old Hag” or the Hmong  dab tsuam (pronounced “da cho”), these midnight visitors have been reported all over the world. Whether or not, it’s an evil spirit or just the imaginations of afflicted working against them, these nightmares can sometimes have deadly consequences.

The success of The Nightmare led the brothers to be commissioned for a Canadian paranormal series called Supernatural Investigator, where they explored other topics like the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case (that we talked about in our hypnotic regression episode) and remote viewing. Remote viewing is also known as clairvoyance (French for “clear vision”) where people can see things far away psychically (something the United States military even tried to exploit during the Cold War, most famously parodied in The Men Who Stare At GoatsThey went to a remote viewing training camp in Las Vegas and had some very interesting results.

After documenting the paranormal for years, they’ve made their way to true crime and their last documentary, Fly Colt Fly, is about Colton Harris-Moore, the “Barefoot Bandit“, whose colorful exploits in stealing  planes and boats as just a kid in the American Northwest in the late 2000s made him a folk hero to some people. Currently, you can see their latest film on HBO Canada.

The song for this week’s episode is inspired by the Gray Brothers’ episode of Supernatural Investigator on Remote Viewing. It’s called “Tragedy (Of A Remote Viewer With A Broken Heart)”.

 

Tragedy (Of A Remote Viewer With A Broken Heart) by Sunspot

I burned your pictures
I burned your clothes
I burned every little message and every little note.
Deleted emails,
deleted texts,
I let the cat rip up your side of the bed.

But every time I close my eyes
There you are with your new prize
Just loving some other guy to death.

I can still see you
laughing
your hand in hand
you’re making love to another man
every second my heart is going to burst.

I can still see you
our minds are connected,
even when I’m rejected
And now this gift is nothing but a curse.

Now you’re loving someone else to death.

I’m not your BFF,
or your buddy,
Please don’t call me for lunch cuz I don’t wanna see.
And I’m not angry,
it’s not your fault,
Sometimes things get turned on that, can’t get turned off.

Cuz every time I close my eyes
There you are with your new prize
Just loving some other guy to death.

I can still see you
laughing
your hand in hand
you’re making love to another man
every second my heart is going to burst.

I can still see you
our minds are connected,
even when I’m rejected
And now this gift is nothing but a curse.

Now you’re loving someone else to death.
Now you’re loving someone else to death.
Now you’re loving someone else to death.

58 – End of the World As We Know It: Missed Apocalypses Throughout History

For some reason, humans love to believe that the end of the world is coming soon and with September 28th being the final Blood Moon of the Blood Moon Prophecy and (even CNN is getting in on the apocalyptic clickbait), we thought it would be good to explain what the Blood Moon Prophecy is and tie it to the multitude of missed apocalypses that have been prophesied through history.

Less scary than it is awesome!

During a lunar eclipse, we see the earth’s shadow on the moon. Sunlight gets scattered through the Earth’s atmosphere and it filters the other colors of the spectrum out except for red and we see that on the moon. It’s the same reason that sunsets are red.

Under The Cherry Moon
Prince predicted this before anybody…

A couple of fundamentalist Christian preachers were saying that this latest Blood Moon was going to be a big deal because there was a series of four lunar eclipses (tetrads) that cause the scattering of light to create the “Blood Moon” and that they matched up with the Jewish Holidays (Passover of 2014 to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles on the 28th.) 

John Hagee
John Hagee… Preacher…
…or secret Sontaran invader!

Mark Biltz is a pastor in Washington State and John Hagee is in San Antonio, Texas. Biltz originally proclaimed on his website in 2008 that the fall of 2015 would be the “Second Coming of Jesus”. A few years later, Hagee seized on that and a passage from the Biblical Book of Revelation where “the sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon like blood” and turned it into an apocalyptic book called Four Blood Moons. That book eventually made it to the New York Times’ Bestseller List and there’s been a “documentary” film made about it. Biltz then released his own book in April of 2014 to get in on some of the bestseller list action and his publisher is suing Hagee to recognize Biltz with the discovery of the Blood Moon phenomena.

Biltz has deleted the “Second Coming” language from his website now, but Hagee has continued with saying that the series of Blood Moons during the Jewish Holidays is God showing that he is displeased with America’s nuclear deal with Iran and mad that we have turned our backs on Israel. While he doesn’t specifically say that the world is going to end, he does say that something major is going to happen involving Israel and it probably has to do with Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon (and blaming the Obama administration for the Iran Nuclear Deal that will lead to the development of the weapon.)

Don’t forget about me! I’m Mark Biltz and I’m crazy too!

Online news sources love apocalypse headlines so there’s been plenty of links to these “blood moon prophecies”, Biltz has been featured on Coast to Coast AM (which doesn’t have a crazy-filter, but to be fair, either do we), and the desire to sell books as well as the controversy between who “discovered” the Blood Moon tetrads is helping to fuel the flames. Mark Biltz and John Hagee are getting headlines which gets more views for their churches and eventually more dollars in their coffers.

The apocalyptic rumors on the Internet were gaining so much momentum that even NASA felt like they had to say something about itThat’s ridiculous in its own right, that the US space agency had to quell rumors of a coming asteroid strike just because a couple of preachers were trying to sell books and get attention, but that’s the world we live in.

Of course, before this one, there was the entire 2012 end of the Mayan Calendar thing, which was even predicted in The X-Files as the date of the coming alien invasion (I wonder how they’re going to explain that in the new series!)

Mayan Calendar 2012
That Mayan Calendar looks so sweet though, how could it be wrong?

Before that, the big End of the World prediction was in 2011 when Harold Camping, a preacher from California, predicted the end in May of 2011. When that didn’t happen he revised the dates to October, but when it comes to the end of the world, the media only gives you so much leeway and people stopped caring shortly thereafter.

Harold Camping
The end of the world is coming and I’m totally stoned…

Over a decade ago, it was Y2K that was scaring the crap out of everybody. The idea that because of the first two numbers in the year field were going to change and the computers weren’t ready for it, that the power grid would go down, nuclear facilities would melt down, the banking system would go kablooey, etc… Even our man, Leonard Nimoy, hosted a video about the upcoming disaster.

A few small systems in various countries went down for a very short time but the worst thing that happened was that the bug caused a UK hospital to calculate some patients’ ages wrong and that resulted in giving the wrong test results to pregnant mothers for indications of Down’s Syndrome in their babies, which well, that was pretty horrific.

The first episode of Family Guy is even all about the Y2K fallout, and it’s pretty hilarious.

But that’s just the apocalypses that didn’t happen that we can remember, in fact, they’ve occurred throughout history from the Jehovah’s Witnesses predicting it would happen in 1914 to the Norse myth of Ragnarok. We’ve always thought the world was going to end in our lifetimes, in fact the earliest Christians thought that Jesus was coming back sooner rather than later (and in the podcast, we talk about this Mad TV sketch that was my favorite thing they ever did…)

We are a hysterical species that for some reason is always caring on like it’s the end of the world (just check out this list of dates for an example of the hundreds of missed apocalypses.) We love apocalyptic thinking, maybe because we’re hoping for some kind of world renewal, maybe because we just want to be alive when it all comes down, maybe it’s because we hate the idea of the world going on without us after we die so it’s a sour grapes kind of thing. So I think we’re going to be just fine, but if the world ends next week, well, I guess I owe everybody a beer.

The featured song this week is “2012” by Sunspot.

The fault lies not within our stars,
This is the whimper,
that sounds the end.
The fault lies not within our stars,
This is the death rattle,
of the condemned.

I spent my life high on the notion,
that I could do something great.
But I bravely ran away,
and gave myself a Section Eight.
Daydreaming my life away,
and bored with everything,
Slouching towards Bethlehem,
and tied to apron strings.

This is the end,
of the bloodline,
that had a purpose,
that had a spine.
A generation,
on the bread line,
runs out of purpose,
runs out of time.

We’re picking up the pieces,
of the Baby Boom chaos,
who navel-gazed in a purple haze,
and became the new Boss.
We Ragnaroked and Rolled,
and passed the buck and pissed the time,
the revolution was webcast,
the execution was half-assed.

This is the end,
of the bloodline,
that had a purpose,
that had a spine.
A generation,
on the bread line,
runs out of purpose,
runs out of time.

The fault lies not within our stars,
This is the whimper,
that sounds the end.
The fault lies not within our stars,
This is the death rattle,
of the condemned.

This is the end,
of the bloodline,
that had a purpose,
that had a spine.
A generation,
on the bread line,
runs out of purpose,
runs out of time.

This is the end,
of our time,
We ran out of rope and The Cosmic Joke,
has hit its punchline.

The fault lies not within our stars,
This is the whimper,
that sounds the end.

57 – Dark Side of Paradise: Haunted Hawaii

So, making the rest of us completely jealous, my sister Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts got to go to Hawaii this summer to visit some family and bask in the perfect weather. But we sent her on a mission, that if she got to go to paradise, then we were going to get some ghost stories and a podcast out of her. And we didn’t even have to threaten her, she did her duty and visited some of Haunted Hawaii’s most interesting sites.

The first story she gets is from our family member, Laling, who gave us a haunted tale about the Pauahi Tower. She herself had a strange experience one night there hearing children playing outside their door late at night. And when she went out to see, there was no one there! Later, her experience was validated by someone that knew the  history of the tower, knowing that it was a playground before the tower was built.

Pauahi Tower
Listen for the children playing…

Then she goes on the Mysteries of Hawai’i ghost tour with Lopaka Kapanui (a tour that she loved so much that she went back on a private tour with him a couple days later, so it comes highly recommended and we’ll probably have to have him on the show sometime because he sounds like a fascinating guy.) We get Lopaka himself to tell a story about fishermen that caught a mysterious naked woman who might have been a legendary Hawaiian lizard goddess.

One of the stops was the Iolani Palace, which is the only place in the United States that was ever an official royal residence.

Iolani Palace
Ain’t no way the Professor could have ever made something like this!

While the building itself was magnificent, what intrigued Allison most was a well that was said to have been the residence of a calling spirit.

well of the calling spirit
If you hear a female voice and see a hot naked woman by this well, DO NOT FOLLOW HER, trust us on this one.

Well, that takes us back to our episode about the Smiley Face drownings in La Crosse, Wisconsin and our interview with the makers of the Hidden Truth film, who had researched native calling spirits of the water that according to legend, used to lead young men to their deaths. Of course, this reminded Allison of an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker as well, that dealt with the Hindu demon, Rakshasa, which in the episode disguised itself as a person’s friend to lead him to his doom. Also, if you haven’t checked out Kolchak, it’s a delicious bit of 70s television horror-comedy that is still worth your time after forty years!

Later they went to a cave of a shark spirit with Lopaka, and Allison had her first visual unexplained experience. He sang to the spirit of the cave and he said it told him they had five minutes to spend there.

The cave
You want in? You better sing…

When she saw a flash across the cave, she herself didn’t believe it until Lopaka mentioned to her that he saw it too, so the trip was extra magical for Allison because unlike some of the people we interview on this program, we don’t regularly see ghosts, spirits, or unexplained things, so anytime we can chalk up something to the unknown, that makes it extra fun.

An offering to the spirit of the cave
An offering left by previous visitors to the spirit of the cave

Plus, her husband’s camera ran out of battery way too fast in the cave and wouldn’t work. It’s often rumored that spirits might not be powerful enough to make us feel or see them,  but they might be able to affect energy levels like battery power or electronics. Allison tells of a story where her projector wouldn’t work earlier this year for no discernible reason (and I can attest to that because I set the projector up the night before) at a haunted American Legion Hall where they moved some servicemen’s pictures to make room for a projection screen. It never had happened to her before that (but it happened to me in Merrill, Wisconsin with my video camera a few years ago) so she hadn’t believed other people’s stories about mysteriously draining batteries, but now she does.

Of course, Allison visited some places where they filmed LOST and Jurassic Park, but she was more interested in the monuments to the dead that they saw throughout the island.  Piles of black and white stones are littered all over the place and it’s in remembrance of passed-on relatives and friends.

Black and white monuments
Which one is for Jacob and which one is for the smoke monster?

The one that garnered the most of her attention was a memorial to a 17 year old that had passed away and seeing all the memorabilia laid out at the site to remember him. She hadn’t seen anything like that before and found it unique and touching. But the most interesting thing was the dog who was completely silent and still sitting and watching over the memorial. Allison said that she didn’t even notice him for several minutes as she was studying the monument. She said that he was the guardian of the place. Maybe not quite paranormal, but still pretty cool.

The Guardian
Look at the upper right of the picture and you can see him watching over…

And speaking of dogs, Hawaii has it’s own bipedal canine, just like we talked with Linda Godfrey about in our American Monsters episode. Allison and Scott went on a “Orbs of Oahu Ghost Tour” and while if you know me, you know I think that “orb pictures” are just tricks of the light and not spiritual, she said they had a good time on the tour and learned some scary stories of a Hawaiian Dogman. There are modern reports of people seeing a dog eating roadkill at the side of the road and they think it’s a normal pooch, until it stands on its hind legs! The legend is that it is Kaupe, an ancient cannibal whose spirit is cursed to roam the island of Oahu and has the body of a man with the head of a dog and sharp claws.

The last place that Allison visited was the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, a solemn place where there are still scores of bodies of sailors still under the water in the wreck.

Flag over the USS Arizona
The American flag over the USS Arizona Pearl Harbor Attack Memorial

Allison and her husband, Scott talk about their impressions of the site while they visit and they talk about the drops of oil from the wreck that still bubble up to the surface of the water.

Oil from the USS Arizone
Do you see a face in here?

That’s Allison and Scott’s picture above, but a few years back someone took a picture of the oil there that they said formed a face.

USS Arizona ghost photograph
Here’s the famous picture that turned up a few years back.

Now, is that just Pareidolia (the human tendency to see faces in patterns, like clouds, walls, stones, etc…)? Or something more, we’re not sure. But it does remind me of a New Twilight Zone episode called “Something In The Walls” that was my first introduction to the phenomena, and it scared the crap out of me when I was a kid!

Have any stories of Haunted Hawaii? We’d love to hear them, post in the comments below if you have your own tale of the supernatural from paradise.

The song this week is related to the calling spirits that Allison talks about. There’s always someone who you never want to hear from because you know it will only lead to disaster.

Listen to “The Call” by Sunspot.

Bloodshot eyes and nicotine fingers,
Where you been, the silence lingers,
the same old song from the same old singer,
and the tune is getting old.

I think we’ve been down this rabbit hole before
This ain’t the first time I’ve been lied to since I walked in the door .

When you hear the call,
your gut drops like an anchor
Against the wall
you’ve got your answer.
But this time I think I could be alright,
And you know just how this story goes.
The siren leads you by the nose,
and you’ll be bleeding on the floor by the end of the night.

Broken nails and broken words,
Damaged pride and damaged goods,
you can’t believe the things you’ve heard,
this fixer-upper is a money pit.

I think we’ve been down this rabbit hole before
This ain’t the first time I’ve been lied to since I walked in the door .

When you hear the call,
your gut drops like an anchor
Against the wall
you know your answer.
But this time I think I could be alright,
And you know just how this story goes.
The siren leads you by the nose,
and you’ll be bleeding on the floor by the end of the night.

56 – Have an Out of Body Experience: With Luis Minero

Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) are one of the least talked about paranormal phenomena, a lot of people have so much invested into the idea of your consciousness leaving your body at the time of death, that we forget that some people claim that they can leave their body and travel while they’re alive! 

It’s been called astral projection and spirit walking as well, and it’s something we talked about in the episode with Garnet Schulhauser and his spirit guide, Albert.  There’s an excellent cinematic representation of an out of body experience with Jake Busey and Michael J. Fox in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners (which if you haven’t seen, you should probably go check it out, because it’s a great movie.)

But it’s also part of the Kevin Bacon/Kiefer Sutherland/Julia Roberts paranormal “classic”, Flatliners. That’s a decent one to watch if you’re interested in some late 80s/early 90s nostalgia. I thought it was pretty scary in Seventh Grade too, if that makes it more enticing.

Neuropsychologists call this “leaving of the body” a Doppelgänger experience, where you feel an illusory body leave your physical sense. Scientists have used these disassociative experiences to learn more about how the human mind constructs its sense of self. People experience this state through meditation, extreme physical duress, episodes of being near death, and  hallucinogenic substances. But others claim that its nature is more mystical, that our souls and consciousness can leave our bodies and  we have conversation in this episode is with Luis Minero, who’s the head of the International Academy of Consciousness, which is an organization dedicated to investigating the mysteries of psychic phenomena and human potential.

Luis first had an out of body experience as a adolescent, he was laying down in his room and all of a sudden he felt that he was on the other side of the room. This started happening to him on a consistent basis afterwards and he became fascinated with the paranormal.

Luis details one of the ways to have an out of body experience.

  1. Get into a quiet room and put yourself in a comfortable spot where you can meditate.
  2. Focus your concentration on different points of the body (focusing your concentration = energy) and start moving that concentration from your head to your feet slowly.
  3. Increase the speed of moving the energy from top to bottom until it feels like your body is vibrating quickly.  Okay, we’d love for anyone to give this a try and see what happens. I’ve never had an out of body experience (my sister has though and we’ll have to ask her about that on a future episode) and I’m definitely going to give this a shot in my meditation exercises sometime.

If you’d like to learn more about the subject and more of Minero’s techniques, check out his book, Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience: A Practical Manual for Exploration and Personal Evolution right here.

The song for this episode is “Push” by Sunspot.

Hot breath on my neck
I shut my eyes
turn all the way inward,
go deep inside.
and my face is wet,
how I want this to be
anyone but me
someone else’s body

to push push push away and out of here
I need to push push push away and out of here

From up on high
I can see where I lie,
Some kind of fantasy,
pushed right out of body

I went so far inside
that I lost my mind
I came out the other side
that’s where I hide.
that’s where I hide.

I’m watching myself now,
somewhere outside my brain,
free of the terror,
free of the pain.
Turn away from the scene,
I set off on my own,
into infinity,
beyond divinity.

to push push push away and out of here
I need to push push push away and out of here

From up on high
I can see where I lie,
Some kind of fantasy,
pushed right out of body

I went so far inside
that I lost my mind
I came out the other side
that’s where I hide.
that’s where I hide.

55 – False Memories: Alien Abductions, Past Life Regression, and Satanic Ritual Abuse

So let’s say you go to a party and get black out drunk. It happens to the best of us, right? RIGHT!? Well, anyway, you don’t remember what happened but one of your friends tells you some stories about how you took your shirt off and put a tie on 80s-style, you put the lampshade on your head and jumped on the couch to dance. You start to remember bits and pieces of it and think that you can picture yourself wearing your favorite necktie and the lampshade and twerking to “Turn Down For What”, you start seeing it in your head. In fact, even though you start telling people stories about it.

“Oh man, I got so wasted, I started making it clap on top of the couch on Saturday night, I’m so crazy, man, I’m so crazy…” Except when you tell someone else who was at that party the story, they say, “That’s weird, I saw you just passed out in the coat room all night AND you barfed on my girlfriend’s suede boots, not cool, yo, not cool.” Um, but you KNOW it happened to you, right? I mean, you remember it, and it’s not like you can remember something that never happened…

But you can remember things that have never happened. Especially during hypnosis, where you’re at your most suggestible and that’s what we’re talking about in this episode (well, it’s the main topic, we talk a couple random haunted stories about Madison locations and congratulate Wendy for running her first 5K race!)

We being the conversation by talking about Betty and Barney Hill, their “missing time” experience in the 1960s is the Big Daddy of all UFO abduction cases, and it only came out under hypnosis. You can actually listen to the entirety of Barney Hill’s hypnosis session.

Regressing people under hypnosis and uncovering alien abductions became de rigueur in UFOlogy since and have included books like Intruders which came from investigator Budd Hopkins and Harvard professor John Mack (in fact, watch the whole TV movie from 1992 right here online), the (allegedly) non-fiction Communion by Whitley Strieber (the book that put the grey aliens in the grocery checkout lane in every town in the United States), and also the fictional The Fourth Kind, a found footage movie in the vein of The Blair Witch Project, which featured “recordings” of alien abduction hypnosis (with a title based on  Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s scale of alien contact, the third kind (like the Steven Spielberg movie) is seeing an alien being, the fourth kind is abduction and being experimented upon.)

cover of communion by whitley strieber
So why did all different kinds of people start seeing grey aliens in the late 80s?

But it’s not just aliens people are seeing, they’re also remembering past lives under hypnosis. And this isn’t just kids remembering things that they shouldn’t remember, it’s adults who are reaching way back to before they are born. The X-Files has a very memorable episode called The Field Where I Died, where Mulder remembers being in the American Civil War with Scully. It’s one of my personal favorite episodes.

And this isn’t just something from fiction though, even Oprah has had on doctors who regress people to past lives through hypnosis to uncover the basis of irrational fears in their present-day life. Celebrities like Shirley MacClaine have famously talked about their beliefs in the lives they’ve lived before and learning about these lives through hypnosis.

Man, hypnosis seems like the key to unlocking our memories, doesn’t it? It’s like a miracle because it can access details that we can’t recall consciously or memories we’ve repressed. It can even break the chains of the material world to teach us where our souls have been.

Well, I’m not saying that it’s not possible. I’m not saying that some people haven’t been abducted by aliens or have lived past lives, but I do know that the human mind is very suggestible, particularly under hypnosis (as per Wendy’s example in the show, hypnotists seem to love to make people act like a chicken. Sounds pretty benign… or is it?)

And sometimes people can have things suggested to them that destroy other people’s lives. The book Michelle Remembers about a woman, who regressed through hypnosis to her childhood, remembered a horrifying Satanic cult that abused her in 1950s Canada (a hotbed of Satanism as ever there was one) and practically set off the whole “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, where people were actually afraid that there was a cult of Satan worshippers that had infiltrated American life to the point where they could sexually abuse our children (Rosemary’s Baby as well as Arnold’s End of Days both insinuate the same thing). We’ll have a whole episode on the Satanic Panic and heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons and the whole thing sometime soon, but the fact is, people’s lives were several affected by the suggestibility of hypnosis.

michelle remembers
These book artists love to terrify people, don’t they?

In one of her articles on the implantation of false memories, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, who is the foremost researcher on the subject, details how in 1986 a Wisconsin woman was regressed by her psychiatrist to help her cope with some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and in the repression, they learned that past satanic sexual abuse was the cause of her present mental illness. A Missouri woman in 1992 was convinced through hypnotherapy that her pastor father raped her repeatedly and forced an abortion on her twice. In both of these cases, the women later sued their therapists for millions of dollars.  Loftus’ article (which you should read because it’s brilliant research into an unpopular but important topic) even details how they were able to suggest childhood memories of getting lost in a mall into grown adults’ recollections even down to various details that never happened.

Memory, as it turns out, is a very plastic thing. A few years ago,  scientists were even able to physically implant a fear memory into a mouse through encoding its “engrams” (the collection of neurons where we think that individual memories exist). Memories have a physical form in our brains but we don’t remember things like a photograph, we remember things like a thought. Which means that we filter the idea of what we had that happened through our present beliefs. The truth is, our memories are easily manipulated, which means that while it’s important to react to fantastic stories of alien abductions and past lives (and especially any type of abuse) with sensitivity, understanding, and empathy, we must also be aware of the suggestibility of memory. People are telling what they believe to be the truth, even if it’s not necessarily true.

This episode’s song is about how people often choose to remember the things that make them happy while forgetting the things they’ve done that have hurt people.

“Selective Amnesia” by Sunspot

You know when they say you’re so bad it feels go good,
You just don’t know why you’re mad,
but you know you should.

And you were right when you said I was wrong,
And you were right, you were the lucky one all along.

I hope you’ll guilt is stultifying,
I got a feeling it’s not,
Because I remember everything you forgot.

Forgiveness is supposed to be,
a weight lifted away.
It’s hard when you can’t forget,
pain felt every day.

And you were right when you said I was wrong,
And you were right, you were the lucky one all along.

And I will pull up the anchor,
And I’ll untie the knot.
Because I remember everything you forgot.

A rock band's journey into the afterlife, UFOs, entertainment, and weird science.