110 – Ghost Lovers: Spirits, Music, and UFOs with Martin and Natasha Blasick

Remember the scene in Ghostbusters where Dan Aykroyd is laid out on the bed and a ghost undoes his zipper and the camera pans up to his eyes crossing? Yeah, sorry for that imagery. But it’s from a  deleted scene in the film where Ray Stantz (Aykroyd’s character, as if you didn’t know) was investigating a military fort. He tries on an old uniform and lays down in the bedroom to take a nap. While he’s resting, the spirit of the woman who used to love the man whose uniform it originally was floats into the room and proceeds to make it happen with the Ghostbuster.

Or do you remember the pottery wheel scene in Ghost? The spirit of Patrick Swayze in all his early-90s beauty sneaking up behind Demi Moore and putting his arms around her while she’s working on the wheel. There’s some paranormal love in Peter Straub’s Ghost Story tooand who can forget that magical scene in MacGruber with Will Forte and Maya Rudolph?

There’s an event name for the attraction to ghosts. It’s called spectrophilia and it’s a real thing. Hey, plenty of celebrities have said that they’ve done it with ghosts. Bobby Brown, Ke$ha, Lucy Liu… hey, Paz De La Huerta claims that the spirit of Elvis Presley came through her and “gave her pleasure”. What?! So this is a thing. And while when you Google it on the Internet, you get plenty of salacious tales, The Skeptical Inquirer has a more balanced take on it.

In May of 2014, actress and musician Natasha Blasick blew up the Internet for a couple of days by going on UK breakfast show This Morning and talking an experience that she had with a spiritual lover. That experience even turned into a song that she wrote with her husband, musician and composer, Martin Blasick, and we knew that we had to interview them for See You On The Other Side. 

Martin is a film and television composer and songwriter who has worked on plenty of films. In fact, a woman close to you has probably spent some alone time watching Matthew McConaughey sing one of Martin’s songs, “Ladies of Tampa” from Magic Mike.

Martin and Natasha also play together in the band, Snowflakes, a pop-rock act where they keep the music upbeat and fun, but still dive into paranormal topics like “Alien Girl”.

While Martin keeps an open mind, he hasn’t had any particularly paranormal experiences. Natasha however, has a couple of doozies that she gets to in the interview.

martin and natasha blasick
Martin and Natasha Blasick

Natasha grew up in Odessa in the Ukraine and describes an incident when she was 12 years old, walking home from her grandmother’s house with her father. As they crossed a vacant lot, Natasha saw a star get brighter and brighter in the sky, coming towards them. It came within a few yards of them and she describes seeing a dumbbell-shaped object only 6 feet or so across spinning in front of them. She was more fascinated than scared and her father calmly told her when it was over, “Do you really think we’re alone in the universe?” That’s some hardass Ukrainian logic right there.

Martin and Natasha talk about a gig gone awry at a alien abductee  meetup and what it’s like to be friends with a psychic (just how much would you want to know about your future if you actually could?)

martin blasick
Martin Blasick IN SPACE!

But hey, we really should delve into the experience that got Natasha all of the attention in 2014. So, what did happen?

Well, this was a few years ago when Natasha was getting into a lot of spirituality and regularly meditating, so she considered herself very open to the other side. Martin was out running some errands and she decided to have some alone time (probably watching Magic Mike).  Well, something joined in, she felt a presence, some kind of energy pressing down on her, but it wasn’t scary like an incubus experience, it was kinda nice.

natasha blasick david duchovny
Hey, here’s Natasha Blasick with Mulder himself, David Duchovny!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, how the Devil can that be kind of nice? Well, there’s nobody actually there, it’s just a feeling. You don’t see anything terrifying, there’s no real human violation, it’s just kinda like some energy is helping out. It’s not like some ghostly prowler snuck in through the window. It’s more like a supernatural helping hand. Weird? Oh  yeah, but if it didn’t terrify her, then okay.

One of the most interesting things is that while they expected to be mercilessly made fun of (and that did happen on the  internet), there was plenty of support as well. In fact, lots of people sent messages that they’d experienced something  similar. So that’s a good thing.

Martin and Natasha were able to turn the experience into a song and a narrative. “sexwithghosts” is the title song to their project. Hey, when life gives you sexwithghosts lemons you might as well make sexwithghosts lemonade!

They’ve got a romantic comedy  coming out called The Sex Trip that Natasha acts in and Martin wrote the music for. Hey, and it’s got an appearance by Frank Stallone, so that’s the price of admission right there!

This week’s Sunspot song, “Ghost With Your Face” takes inspiration from the conversation, because it’s all about waking up next to a ghost. But when we worked on the song, the idea went somewhere besides sexual. Because if you live your life for someone else instead of going for it, you die a little anyway until one day you might wake up and see someone else when you look in the mirror.

You walk through that door at 5 every single day
You’ve done all the right things and you’re doing what they say,
but you’re defeated, cheated, dragged behind, feeling like a slave.
you might have the picket fence but you’ve got no time to play.

I seen the end my friend, I’ve seen what you get,
There’s millions of us dead, they just don’t know it yet.
The best minds of my generation wasted on the race
going mighty fast, but going to no place.

We trade the best years of our lives for a never-ending chase
And one day you’ll wake up to find all you are, is a ghost, with your face

Well we all want to run away, we all want to break out,
It’s the quiet desperation Henry Thoreau talked about,
But we got to be real, we signed the deal, and it’s not as easy as they say,
It’s gonna take a movement if we want to bust these chains.

I seen the end my friend, I’ve seen what you get,
There’s millions of us dead, they just don’t know it yet.
The best minds of my generation wasted on the race
going mighty fast, but going to no place.

We trade the best years of our lives for a never-ending chase
And one day you’ll wake up to find all you are, is a ghost, with your face

109 – Androids, Angels, and Albemuth: The Paranormal Mind of Philip K. Dick

Science fiction is the most popular form of modern entertainment.  Every summer we’re treated to an alien invasion movie or the latest comic book adventure and even the biggest show on American television glamorizes sci-fi “nerds” (even if The Big Bang Theory routinely get the details wrong for those of us paying attention.) Such was not the cultural landscape of the mid-Twentieth Century.

philip k. dick
Hi, I’m Philip K Dick and I’m looking through you…

Philip K. Dick (the K stands for Kindred, which you players of Vampire: The Masquerade or C. Thomas Howell fans should all appreciate!) has been one of Hollywood’s go-to inspirations for films for over thirty years now. Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Screamers, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau, Paycheck, The Man In The High Castle, and many more. That’s right, he’s influential enough that both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been in films inspired by his novels!

But all kidding aside, if he were alive today, he’d be a wealthy man. But science fiction wasn’t really part of mainstream literature in the 1950s and 60s, and Dick embarked on a strange life’s journey, full of broken marriages (he was married five times), drug addiction, bouts of poverty, and a religious experience that he wrote about in a half million words in his journal. His wondrous imagination that gave his readers so much to think about, had plenty of issues on its own.

Arnold Schwarzenegger total recall
I was the Governor of the 8th largest economy in the world, aaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh

Born in Chicago in 1928, Philip K. Dick had a twin sister Jane that died only a few weeks after birth. While he was a child, his family moved to the San Francisco Bay and he was in the same graduating class as Ursula K. LeGuin (Wizard of Earthsea, yeah!), he went to the University of California at Berkeley for awhile and published his first science fiction story “Beyond Lies the Wub in 1952.

He was often desperate even while being hailed as a science-fiction genius. He wrote mainstream novels in the 1950s that all went unpublished in his lifetime except for one. His story “Impostor” was adapted for British Television in 1962 (and the screenplay was adapted by none other than Terry Nation, the creator of Doctor Who‘s Daleks) and his novel The Man In The High Castle even won the Hugo for Best Novel in 1963, but that still couldn’t keep him afloat.

He had drug issues, even in 1971, turning his home into a drug den after a messy divorce. He was into amphetamines and sedatives and different kinds of pills, even once trying to kill himself in 1972 with a sedative overdose after a new lover left him. He chronicles a lot of this fictionally in the book, A Scanner Darkly.

Dick’s writing dealt with alternate realities, paranoia, strange memories, and what it means to be human.  “In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.” He said, “my preoccupation with these pluroform pseudo-worlds” is “now I think I understand; what I was sensing was the manifold of partially actualized realities lying tangent to what evidently is the most actualized one, the one which the majority of us, by consensus gentium, agree on.”

Hey now, what does any of that mean? Take the red pill, Neo. Dick was saying that we’re living in the reality that most of us agree on and that his works have been a peek into the possibilities of other realities. Alright, now we’re talking sci-fi, everybody!

In 1974, Dick was recovering from a dental procedure when he ordered some pain medication and the nurse brought it over. She showed up and was wearing one of those Jesus Fish symbols around her neck and a beam came from her pendant and hit him in the head, causing him to have visions of being a persecuted Christian in Roman times. He thinks something entered his mind that day.

jesus fish
I’m blasting out Holy Spirit lasers!

In letters, the author told his friends that some kind of entity was keeping “violent phosphene activity”. Phosphene is Greek for seeing light without using the “eye” because he was seeing things in his mind.

“It did not seem bound by either time or space … within my head it communicated with me in the form of a computer-like or Al-system-like voice, quite different from any human voice, neither male nor female, and a very beautiful sound it was, the most beautiful sound I ever heard.”

He added that he thought it was “an ionized, atmospheric, electrical life form able to travel through time and space at will … through camouflage (it) prevents us from seeing it. And he described the aftermath of his initial experience: “during the days following … the imposition – that is the right word – the imposition of another human personality unto mine produced startling modifications in my behavior.” He came to the conclusion that he experienced “not added perceptual faculties but restored perceptual faculties … we are imprisoned by blunted faculties: the very blunting itself makes us unaware that we are deformed.”

He later described the experience to interviewer Charles Platt as “an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind. It was almost as if I had been insane all of my life and suddenly I had become sane.”


The experience profoundly affected him and it made up the core of his book VALIS. The title is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System.

“On Thursdays and Saturdays I’d think it was God,” he told Platt. “On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I’d think it was extraterrestrials. Some times I’d think it was the Soviet Union Academy of Sciences trying out their psychotronic microwave telepathic transmissions.”

Philip K Dick VALIS
You should see his religious experience influenced his fiction…

“I was a spectator,” said Dick. This mind, which Dick characterized as female, fired his agent, tracked down editors who were late sending checks and modified his diet.

When he had the Roman experience, interestingly enough it wasn’t just that he was in Ancient Rome and existed among the persecuted Christians, but he described it as a “Dreamtime”, an Age of Heroes where great deeds took place.

And while listening to “Strawberry Fields” by The Beatles, it also revealed to him that his young son had an undiagnosed birth defect that was potentially fatal. And the revelation proved to be true and a doctor was able to save his child’s life!

He talks of the spirit as thinking in non-verbal thoughts, “It thought pure concepts without words. But it knew with ratiocination. It transferred to my mind concepts that in seven years of trying to articulate them in words, I’ve only now been able to reduce them.”

And going back to the symbol that started it all, had an extended visitation where he bought a fish sign with Greek letters on it (just like the Christian symbol we see on the backs of cars, in fact Christians used to use this as a secret kind of symbolism so that they could know each other…)

philip k dick robert crumb
Robert Crumb illustrates this so beautifully it’s a must-read

And this extended visitation involved a Greco-Roman spirit that would get confused by Modern life and wouldn’t quite understand what was going on. Dick said that he could pick up the other’s thoughts while he was waking up and falling asleep and the Greco-Roman person felt that there was someone inside his head as well. Dick couldn’t drive because the spirit couldn’t understand the pedals of a car.

He thought it might be the Prophet Elijah, because it originally happened during Passover. Elijah is a character in the Old Testament Book of Kings who challenged the King of Israel when the King’s wife, Jezebel, spurned her husband on to abandon the worship of Yahweh and start worshipping Baal, an ancient God of Thunder and rain.

Elijah sets up a match between the power of Yahweh and the power of Baal to see whose deity is greater. Of course, the Hebrew God windmill and Elijah is later lifted up to Heaven in a chariot pulled by flaming horses. Pretty sweet.

In Jewish ceremonies, they’ll often leave a chair out for Elijah, particularly at the Passover Seder and circumcision ceremonies (there’s a great Saturday Night Live skit with Jerry Seinfeld showing up as Elijah in person at a Passover Seder about this).

Christians sometimes think of John The Baptist as a reincarnation of Elijah The Prophet and this is who Dick thought he was possessed by the spirit of, because his spirit was more concerned with being persecuted by the Romans as a secret Christian and that’s what happened to John The Baptist when he was beheaded.
John The Baptist Getting Beheaded
John The Baptist And The No Good Very Bad Day

When Elijah had left him, Dick had thoughts of suicide, even though he was still visited by the A.I. Voice every once in awhile. He would sit late at night and write down his thoughts in a journal which ended up at over a half a million words and selections were published in 2011 as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. He even thought that he could figure out the Second Coming of Jesus in some of his last journal entries. In addition to his journal, his stories VALIS, Radio Free Albemuth, The Divine Invasion, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, his final novel, the uncompleted The Owl in Daylight all deal with this strange paranormal experience.

In this episode we also interview Dan Abella from the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival! Dan is a filmmaker who founded the festival to honor the influence the author had on modern science fiction and also to highlight new filmmakers coming up.  You can find some of the trailers to the awesome films playing at the festival right here.

There’s a European branch of the festival and they’re celebrating October 14th in Cologne, Germany as well as the 22nd in Lille France. For the statesiders, they’ve announced the dates for the 2017 festival as well, check out this snazzy trailer and check out if you’re in NYC or a sci-fi filmmaker yourself!

At the end of the episode we bring on friend of the show and paranormal author, Tea Krulos, to discuss this year’s Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. Coming up October 15th and 16th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it’s going to be a doozy and we’re happy to be a big part of it!

milwaukee paranormal conference
We’ll be the ones interviewing Kartina from Paranormal Lockdown, oh yeah!
For this week’s song, we decided to take some inspiration from the most famous of film soundtracks of a Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner, which was composed by the awesome synth-meister, TangelosWe even snuck in some dialogue from Blade Runner, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly (we’re saving Total Recall for its own superset jam one of these days!) Here’s us shamelessly aping the beautiful soundtrack work of Vangelis with “The Tannhauser Gate”.

108 – Wow!: Radio Telescopes, Dyson Spheres, And The Search For Aliens

We’ve discussed SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) before when we talked about that Russian billionaire that gave a hundred million dollars to the quest to find aliens, but this past week had a huge announcement for those of us who keep our eyes on the skies.

We’re talking about the signal that was reported by a Russian radio telescope in May of 2015 but for some reason has only entered the public sphere starting last week and was especially exciting because it was all over the mainstream news sources. Usually when this kind of news happens, it gets relegated to UFO or conspiracy blogs. It’s easily weekly that I have to trudge through various reports that a UFO was seen on the live feed from the International Space Station and NASA quickly turned off the cameras.

So when it gets announced to the regular world that an amazing signal was detected from space, it’s big news for us and we wanted to talk about it. I hate to disappoint everyone but it’s already being disavowed. CNN is already saying that scientists are saying it’s probably of terrestrial origin, some kind of disturbance or weird reflection off an old Soviet satellite, just Cold War spy technology coming back to spoil our fun.

But how do we know that this isn’t just the cover-up? Once the world governments realized what was going on, they decided to shut it down before the truth got out?! Well, that certainly is a possibility and we know that the government loves to keep things from us but even though I’d love for this to be some kind of cover-up of an actual alien transmission, it’s probably not. And for a couple of reasons:

  • August is a slow news month. Donald Trump’s act isn’t as entertaining to journalists as it was a year ago and Hillary is playing it as safe as possible so she doesn’t blow her current lead in the polls. Most people are on vacation and news organizations don’t know what to write about. Aliens get clicks, every time.
  • This happened in May of 2015 and we’re just hearing about it now. If it was the smoking gun that we’re all waiting for, well, in this day and age, stories don’t take a year and a half to get told.
Im Not Saying It Was Aliens...
I’m Not Saying It Was Aliens…

Back in college, when we all ran SETI@Home on our computers instead of a normal screen saver (You still can, just check it out right here!) most of the signals that we were processing came from the radio telescope at Arecibo in Puerto Rico. The largest telescope actually has just finished construction in China and is scheduled to be operational this month(!)

Mike at Arecibo
Mike at Arecibo

So a quick primer on radio telescopes in case you’re wondering. It is a radio antenna like the one on your car, but while the one on your car can maybe pick up a signal from 80 miles away if it’s in AM mode, the radio telescope is big enough to pick up radio waves in space. And scientists can take those radio waves and use them to find out things about the objects that the telescope is pointed at.

Radio telescopes can collect data from further distances than visual telescopes. So, when the signal was announced last week that seemed to come from somewhere near the constellation Hercules, one of the exciting aspects of that was it seemed to be purposeful and for the signal we received to make it here from that distance would require the energy of a Kardeshev Type 2 civilization.

Huh? Okay, Kardeshev was a Soviet astronomer who developed a scale for the technological advancement of civilizations based on the amount of power that they could harness.

  • Type 1 was the ability to harness all of the energy of your own planet (we’re not there yet but here’s what it would be like if we were).
  • Type 2 is the ability to harness the power of a star. This is the Dyson Sphere that people talk about. A Dyson Sphere is an enormous structure built around a star that can use all of the energy that that star creates (like in the Star Trek: TNG episode with Scotty, “Relics” or the Hyperion book series by Dan Simmons.)
  • Type 3 means that you can manipulate the power of a galaxy. Everyone’s favorite Coast To Coast AM astrophysicist, Michio Kaku, thinks that we might be there in ONE MILLION years.

And oh man, that Next Gen episode was so sad, wasn’t it? RIP James Doohan, we still love ya!

But here’s something cool, in the past couple of years, we’ve had two strange readings from stars where their brightness has changed inexplicably. We expect up to one percent of the brightness to dip when a planet passes in front of them, but these dips are more like twenty-two to forty-five percent. So that means that something gigantic is getting between us and the star, something like a Dyson Sphere!

Of course, scientists always have an alternate explanation, but thinking that it’s extraterrestrials building a megastructure designed to harness the power of an alien sun is a lot more fun, and I’m sticking with that for today.


But on August 15th, 1977 there was a signal detected at the Big Ear Radio Telescope at Ohio State that was dozens of times stronger than the background noise of space. Lasting just seventy-two seconds, astronomer Dr. Jerry Ehman circled it on the printout and wrote down “Wow!” by it (hence the nickname of the signal.)

Why was it such a big deal? First, the signal was heard near a “protected frequency” that other earthbound transmitters aren’t allowed to broadcast on so it probably wasn’t a terrestrial source. Second, the signal rose and fell during the 72 seconds, meaning that it got more intense as the Earth’s rotation brought the radio telescope’s “beam” closer to the signal and less intense as it rotated out. That means it’s probably not some kind of interference which would have acted differently.

It’s the closest thing to an extraterrestrial radio source that we’ve ever seen, but it only lasted that minute and twelve seconds. Several attempts have been made to detect another signal coming at that intensity from that area of the cosmos and we haven’t heard anything yet.

Now, Professor Antonio Paris (c’mon, that’s an awesome name!) at St. Petersburg College in Florida (Note about this part of the podcast – I totally mixed up St. Petersburg and St. Augustine while we were discussing this) has come up with a plausible theory is that the intense signal might have been coming from some comets that as of 1977 were undiscovered. He’s hoping to test it in the next couple of years when the comets make another trip nearby Earth.


Stephen Colbert actually made a response to the Wow! Signal on his Comedy Central show a few years back…

So, we haven’t found that undeniable evidence that’s going to convince the straights that E.T. is out there, but that doesn’t mean radio telescopes haven’t been inspiration for our sci-fi over the past few decades. Great places to see radio telescopes in science fiction:

  • The Arrival – this is one of Charlie Sheen’s best roles and an under appreciated 1990s alien invasion flick. It had the bad luck of coming out the same year as Independence Day and let’s face it, as fun as Charlie Sheen can be, the late 90s was the Willennium.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOc01_Ty1eQ
  • Goldeneye – you saw it in the theater or you played it on your Nintendo 64 but you remember the big finish takes place at the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico where Pierce Brosnan chases Sean Bean around.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH2qnn4D0kY
  • The X-Files – “Little Green Men”. Mulder goes down to Puerto Rico in his quest for the truth and it’s the first appearance of aliens on the show.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYEpvHDbT4Y
  • The Dish – The Parkes Observatory in the middle of the Australian Outback has to help out with the Apollo moon landing in 1969.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc4MSie-P0k
  • Doctor Who – Tom Baker saves the universe from entropy but loses a regeneration in the process by falling from a radio telescope designed to contact alien intelligences.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xYOM70sbyA
  • The Arrival – Not Charlie Sheen this time, but Amy Adams. And it hasn’t come out yet, but the preview screenings have got me all excited about it. It’s supposed to be not so much of an alien invasion, but a What If? we actually met aliens who didn’t want to eat us, but wanted to make contact. This is the film that might be preparing us for full disclosure (keep your fingers crossed!)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hQkrCtfUP0

At the end of the episode, we also introduce our friend, Tobias Wayland, from The Singular Fortean Society. He is a Madison-based blogger and paranormal researcher, working with artist and fellow researcher Emily Bartos. They recently attended the Art of Darkness event in Minneapolis and he wrote up the event at their website.

This week’s Sunspot song is a simple track about calling out into night sky and only having one word to say when it answers you back. Wow!

Just how long can you stare?
At the emptiness inside a prayer,
An ear peeled to every band,
to hear a loneliness that just expands.

All the space between us is so black,
Patience just a virtue that I lack,
Until the void finally calls back,
I’ll scream into the night alone.

Wow, I heard you.
How, where’d you go?
Now, I’ll follow,
so please phone home.

Now the long wait can begin,
(I heard you),
when will you show yourself again
(where’d you go?)
It’s funny how just one time,
(I’ll follow),
Can forever alter  your life,
(please phone home).

All the space between us is so black
Patience just a virtue that I lack
Until the void finally calls back
I’ll scream into the night alone

Wow, I heard you.
How, where’d you go?
Now, I’ll follow,
so please phone home.


107 – Stone Tape Theory: Timothy Yohe and The Paranormal Properties of Limestone

In addition to being a fun way to learn new stuff about the weird world, paranormal conventions also give you the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. In fact, that might be the best part. If you’re surrounded by people at your job or in your family who don’t share your particular obsession with the more wonderful aspects of the world, well then they can get tired of talking about the supernatural pretty fast. Or sometimes you get shut down if someone is a little too religious (I just had someone post on the wall of the Madison haunted history tour that by telling ghost stories we were really summoning the Devil… yikes!)

So, it’s always great to bring people on the show that we meet when we’re out in the wild. We met Timothy Yohe at the Haunted America Ghost Conference in Alton, IL. Hailing from St. Louis, Tim is a paranormal researcher whois as interested in the scientific aspect as he is the spiritual. He runs two blogs, Paranormal Insights (with a more spiritual bent) and Paranormal Entanglement (with a more scientific bent).

tim yohe divining rod
Doing a little divining with Tim Yohe

We were intrigued by Tim’s theories on how limestone of all rock, seems to be the likely candidate of the kind of stone that would be able to “record” as in the stone tape theory.

What’s the stone tape theory? According to Wikipedia it’s the speculation that ghosts and hauntings are analogous to tape recordings, and that electrical mental impressions released during emotional or traumatic events can somehow be “stored” in moist rocks and other items and “replayed” under certain conditions. 

In 1972, this theory was exposed to a huge population when the BBC put on a ghost story called The Stone Tape that was written by Nigel Kneale, the writer of the seminal sci-fi saga Quatermass (I wrote a little obituary for him on the Sunspot blog when he died in 2006.) Funny enough, the stone tape theory was first articulated by an archaeologist-turned-parapsychologist named Thomas Charles Lethbridge, who also believed that extraterrestrials had a had in shaping human evolution, a subject that Nigel Kneale mined to great effect in his classic Five Million Years To Earth.

Here’s the stone tape theory part of the episode of Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers that we mention in the podcast. There’s also a ghost story from Wisconsin, which I was delighted by seeing my home state in a UK TV show as a little lad.

One of Yohe’s ideas is that since limestone is made up of former organic matter, it might contain some residual living energy that spirits might be able to tap into. Because it’s calcified bodies of sea life, he refers to it as paranormal plankton. He even admits it’s a stretch, but at least he’s trying to find some kind of mechanism for it using the real world. That’s definitely something to admire.

Tim gives us his theories in depth during the interview and if you’d like to check out his book, click here to take a look at Limestone and Its Paranormal Properties: A Comprehensive Approach to the Possibilities which is available in Paperback or Kindle e-reader format.

dowsing for ghosts tim yohe
Tim’s wife pointing a dowsing rod directly at a gravestone where an orb appears in the photo

Tim’s wife often comes with him on his paranormal investigations and haunted tours. One year when they were in Alton and on a tour through the haunted cemetery, she was using a dowsing rod (the oldest ghost detecting device according to paranormal historian Troy Taylor) and felt herself being led through the cemetery towards one of the stones in particular.

I’m not an “orbs and mists” photos fan, but Tim presents this evidence as the mists and orbs that weren’t there when they originally were looking but showed up at the grave that his wife was being led to. While I’m the world’s biggest orbs skeptic, I have to admit it would be pretty neat to take a picture where your wife was telling you she felt spiritual energy happen and a mist appears in the photo out of nowhere.

ghost in the graveyard tim yohe
A strange mist when no one was smoking
more ghosts in the graveyard tim yohe
More of the strange mist

And Tim’s wife is part of the inspiration for his next book, which will focus on pregnancy and the paranormal. When Tim and his wife were on a ghost tour and she was pregnant, she was the focus of a a good deal of supernatural happenings while in a haunted house. A few days later they tragically learned that the baby had died in the womb and it began to make them wonder just why she had experienced so much activity. Tim’s wife and he explain it in their own words in a blogpost and it brings up some interesting questions that he’s going to pursue in his next work.

This week’s new Sunspot song is inspired by our conversation with Timothy Yohe, the stone tape theory, and the idea that somehow rocks can record psychic energy.

“Captured In Limestone” by Sunspot

Just what happened here
Some kind of psychic scar
That causes you to appear
Come back from where you are

Trapped in a record
Etched in an earthen cleft
That’s why you’ve never left
Trapped in a record

Stories yet unknown
captured in limestone

It’s in the walls
in the roads
in the rocks
that surround me,
Someone is here,
Or was before.
I must have stepped into a dream

Here’s where you left your mark
And some residual trace
Whatever you endured
Has preserved your face

Trapped in a record
Etched in an earthen cleft
That’s why you’ve never left
Trapped in a record

History unknown
captured in limestone

It’s in the walls
in the roads
in the rocks
that surround me,
Someone is here,
Or was before.
I must have stepped into a dream

106 – Detroit Ghost City: Exploring The Haunted Whitney

Love it or hate it, SyFy’s Ghost Hunters is really the show that jump started excitement about the paranormal in the 21st Century. Their influence on the general public’s view of ghost hunting is tremendous (which makes the lack of attention to paranormal reality shows in the Ghostbusters remake even more disappointing.) Season eleven, episode three is called “Phantom For the First Course” and it’s an investigation of the haunted Whitney Restaurant in Detroit, Michigan.

And that’s when we got excited, because good friend of the show, Lisa Van Buskirk from Madison Ghost Walks, has been there investigating and knows the ghost hunting team that has made the haunted Whitney their paranormal home, Haunt Investigators of Michigan. That’s when we decided to get their take on the Ghost Hunters episode so we could discover the real story behind the haunted Whitney Mansion which is now a restaurant and bar.

Built in 1890 as a mansion for the family of Midwest lumber baron, David Whitney (who also has a Detroit skyscraper named after him), it took four years to finish the palatial estate and it was notably the first private residence in the United States to feature an elevator. Whitney died very early into the Twentieth Century, but his family continued to live there for several years. They eventually sold the property and it became a hospice for several decades before being retired for awhile and reopening as a restaurant in the 1980s. More recently restored, it was considered creepy enough to be the location used in the 2012 vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive with Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton.

Marc Ortiz and Mark Waynick from The Haunt Investigators of Michigan both grew up near the Motor City and were inspired to investigate the paranormal after personally experiencing things in their youth that they couldn’t explain. This lifelong interest eventually led to them forming the paranormal group which has investigated different sites all over the country. Their main haunt (ha!) however is Detroit’s Whitney Mansion where they are the in-house paranormal investigation team (now composed of eight members.)


The Marks from Haunt Investigators of Michigan
The Marks from Haunt Investigators of Michigan

In the podcast, we talk to “The Marks” to get their perspective on the episode and how the SyFy Ghost Hunters jibed with their own experiences in the haunted Whitney. (Spoiler Alert: They feel like the show was a pretty good representation of the place) and then share some of their best evidence with us of not only the haunted Whitney but another location in Detroit, a flower shop with a mysterious occult altar in the basement, just check out the YouTube links below.

The Haunt Investigators of Michigan host a paranormal dinner monthly at the Whitney as well as schedule public investigations every once in awhile. For more information on these guys and the awesome work that they’re doing, make sure to Like their Facebook page and join them next time you hit Detroit Ghost City!

Carriage House EVP

The Haunted Whitney Revisited

Whitney Paranormal Dinner

Floral Creations Investigation

Detroit is a great city which Sunspot has a lot of affection for, because they’ve always treated us well when we’ve performed there, but sometimes the rest of the Midwest likes to treat it as a punching bag because the city has had some rough times. This week’s song is about how it’s easy to use other’s misfortune to make yourself feel better, the Germans even have a word for it, it’s called “Schadenfreude”.

There’s just a little part of me that’s happy I’m not you.
You know the Germans have a word for it, of course they do.
It’s the speeding ticket for the other guy,
It’s the coffee spilled on your dumb boss’ tie,
Reality television when some dumb chick cries.
Uh oh boo hoo.

Why do I like when $&”@ happens to you?
Why do I get a little wood when you get screwed?
Just a bit of bad luck that puts me in a good mood.
Oh yes it do, because I like when shit happens to you.

It’s nothing personal you see,
it’s just the relief when I thank God that it’s not me.
I know I come off like a mean-spirited twit,
but I bet one time you were thinking it.
It’s on Facebook where you complain about your friends,
It’s the morning where your hair is all split ends,
it’s the fact that you have to wear Depends.
When you just wanna quit, I kinda love it.

Why do I like when $&@! happens to you?
Why do I get a little wood when you get screwed?
Just a bit of bad luck that puts me in a good mood.
Oh yes it do, because I like when $&@! happens to you.

105 – Exorcism: Carl Seige and The Four Signs of Possession

Exorcism, it’s back baby! From scores of possessed Peruvian kids to the Catholic Church increasing the number of priests they train for exorcism, to a psychiatrist seriously discussing possession in the pages of The Washington Post, the word on the street is that people are getting possessed by demons and it’s gonna take some of that Power of Christ to compel them out of there!

One of our favorite paranormal experts, Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts, has been researching cases of demonic possession and we brought her on to talk about a little known, but very influential exorcism case, that occurred in the Devilish Dairy State (that’s Wisconsin) in the 1860s.

watertown wisconsin carl siege exorcism
Watertown, WI in the 19th Century – this is the best they could do for aerial views, I guess.

It all begins with the Seige Family, who were living in Germany in the late 1840s. Carl’s little sister was playing outside when she found a duck egg with a pinhole in it. She brought it into show the family but the mother immediately said to get rid of it. However, before they could, the dog ate it. Soon after, the poor pooch passed on and the sister became violently ill. She suffered for a year with blindness and fits and then passed away. One side of Carl’s body shriveled and he became very sickly. Soon after the family emigrated to Watertown, Wisconsin because they knew that the Devil wouldn’t follow them to America (right? Right?!)

Not so, Carl continued to suffer from strange symptoms. Newspapers reported that he had a lizard (or some said a snake) in his stomach. He started acting crazy so his parents brought in a Native American doctor to help draw out the evil, but that didn’t seem to work. So, they finally called in the demon-cleansing professionals, the Catholic Church.

Now the Catholic Church says that there are four Signs of Possession:

  •  Knowing The Unknowable – This is where you possess knowledge that you can’t possible have known beforehand. People’s locations, things that they were doing, who they were with, secrets, etc… Basically psychic powers like you’re Professor X watching them through Cerebro.
  • Understanding Unlearned Languages – Being able to comprehend when people are speaking to you in a tongue with which you have no prior experience. This is especially useful when possessed people go on vacation.
  • Aversion to Sacred Objects – Crosses, holy water — all the kind of stuff that people try in vampire movies but never seems to work because they don’t have enough faith.
  •  Supernatural Strength – When little kids can throw a grown man across a room or a tiny middle-aged woman can bench press a sofa bed, that means they’ve probably been popping Satanic Steroids.

You don’t have to exhibit all the signs to be authentically demonically possessed, but it’s an important checklist because at least 3 out of the 4, you can’t really fake. (It’s easy to act freaked out around a cross, people do it in Dracula movies all the time. It’s a lot harder to answer someone speaking in Latin or deadlift a Mini-Cooper.)

In Carl’s case he exhibited three of the signs, number one, he met his would-be Exorcists, the Rev. John Gmeiner and another priest as they were arriving, even though no one told him when they were coming. Number two, the priests would ask him questions in Latin and he’d give the correct answer, responding in German, but showing that he understood the Latin nonetheless (even though he had no prior education in the language.) Number three, when he was deep in the throes of his possession, he reacted violently to the crucifix.

spirits of darkness carl seige exorcism
Father Gmeiner invented the “Horror Movie” font 30 years too early!

The priests exorcised Carl and were able to drive the demons out of him according to Father Gmeiner’s book, Spirits Of Darkness. But like herpes simplex, the demons never really go away, they just hide and come back in multiple outbreaks of possession throughout your life. Carl Seige had to be exorcised many times during his life to keep the Devil at bay.

In the present day, they recently held an Exorcist training seminar in Northern Illinois at Mundelein Seminary. Allison stopped by there last week to do some research and maybe catch a glimpse of some of those Catholic heroes who are learning the proper angles to spray Holy Water and the latest in projectile vomit-avoidance techniques. Our friend, Tea Krulos, wrote an article about it in the Milwaukee Record and called it “Exorcist-palooza”.

mundelein seminary carl seige exorcism
Excuse me guys, is this where all the Exorcists hang out?

There’s an new Exorcist TV show coming on FOX this season as well. William Peter Blatty’s book was famously based on a 1949 case, but there’s some connections that Allison has been researching that are less well known, and that’s a story for another podcast.

Self-harm is one of the cornerstones of demonic possession. There’s even a case in the Bible where Jesus encounters a possessed man cutting himself with stones. (Mark 5:5) This song, “Mercy of Myth” by our band Sunspot talks about how punishing yourself needlessly isn’t worth it, because not only does it make you feel bad, it also opens you up to being possessed!

There is a Hell we hold within,
you can’t forgive yourself for the things you did.
A hair shirt and a bottle,
won’t let you forget.

Consequently, rear entry
is all that we’re left with.
We camouflage our sabotage,
and lay at the mercy of myth.

And culpa’s even worse than Crack,
You don’t need a sheepskin to know that,
even after cutting, nailbiting, hair pulling and spiting.
All your shame is still toxic.

Consequently, rear entry
is all that we’re left with.
We camouflage our sabotage,
and lay at the mercy of myth.

I’ll abandon ship on this guilt trip,
and let it drown,
Need some clemency from self pity,
and burn it out.

104 – The Paranormal MD: Mary Marshall’s Quest Into The Unknown

We first encountered Mary Marshall at the Chicago Dark Shores Ghost Convention last year where she put on a presentation delving into the scientific investigation of the paranormal. She’s based out of Hoffman Estates  in the Chicagoland area (which I just wanted to mention so that we could all enjoy this picture from a Sunspot show in Hoffman Estates a few years ago.)

mike drinking 2 beers
$2 32 oz beers in Hoffman Estates. Now that was a helluva show!

While Mary isn’t an actual Paranormal MD (it’s a nickname) she does advocate a scientific approach to exploring the paranormal and has helped found paranormal studies classes at several colleges. We always appreciate a science-based approach here and another thing that I like is that they don’t charge money or offer exorcisms or cleansings.

That’s always been kind of my issue with a lot of paranormal investigation teams. Cleansings and exorcisms don’t really have any scientific basis whatsoever, unless you’re using some kind of psychological explanation for everything and are claiming that the ritualistic aspect of it makes people feel better. And that people feeling better can have some psychic effect on the space (an atmosphere of fear doesn’t usually contribute to a happy home.)

paranormal md
The Paranormal MD

Okay, so Mary Marshall the Paranormal MD goes into depth with us on several of her supernatural experiences, including her original encounter with an evil entity from when she was a teenager and a case of ball lightning that she experienced with her daughter. She elaborates on her latest adventures with us as she recently completed a DVD with our buddy Jay Bachochin from WPI Hunts The Truth where they explore Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine Forest, which is 100 miles of woods that have plenty of weird legends associated with them.

Jay is a huge Bigfoot fan and he and Mary describe their adventures like as “a dollar store version of Mulder and Scully on a dime store budget” and Mary gives us a preview in the podcast about what we can expect from the upcoming documentary.

When Mary shared with us her first experience with the paranormal she talked about how the room she went into had an overwhelming stench of sulfur (an element that smells like rotten eggs or skunk, and is often associated with volcanos.) In the Bible, sulfur is called “brimstone” and it’s a smell often associated with Hell and demonic activity. We thought that “Sulfur” might make a cool name for this week’s Sunspot paranormal music track.

it was the sulfur
it was the brimstone
it was the night
it was the blackness
it was the madness
when you lost your sight
there are moments that matter
there are fixed points in time
and what you do right here
will be with you to the end of your life.
be careful what you burn
and all you’ll taste is the sulfur
of how right you thought you were
be careful what you burn
and all you’ll taste is the sulfur
of how right you thought you were
it was the sulfur
it was the anger
it was the wrath
it was the vengeance
the lack of penance
you strayed from the path
there are moments that matter
there are fixed points in time
and what you do right here
will be with you to the end of your life.
be careful what you burn
and all you’ll taste is the sulfur
of how right you thought you were
be careful what you burn
and all you’ll taste is the sulfur
of how right you thought you were

103 – Floating Into Altered States: Exploring Consciousness Through Sensory Deprivation

Here’s an episode chock full of paranormal goodness. First, I tell Wendy and Allison about the time that I worked for Miss Cleo (because sadly, the actress who portrayed her, Youree Dell Harris, passed away last week.) Second, Allison and I were recording on location from [Milwaukee’s haunted Hilton Garden Inn](hilton garden inn milwaukee haunted). We decided to make it a paranormal siblings’ adventure day and not only stayed at the haunted hotel, but also did our first float in a sensory deprivation tank.

Wait… what? Okay, a sensory deprivation tank is a pod filled with body temperature water and about 500 pounds of epsom salt, so that when you get in it, you immediately float. They were invented in 1954 by neuropsychiatrist John C. Lilly. There was a theory floating (see what I did there?) around at the time that the brain depended on external stimuli to work and th

john c. lilly father of floating
John C. Lilly – looking conspicuously like Hunter S. Thompson

at without any stimulus, it would just fall asleep. These tanks were designed to test that theory.

olivia dunham fringe floating
Olivia from Fringe taking a dip

Sensory deprivation tanks were featured in Fringe where in the first episode, FBI Agent Olivia Dunham goes in the tank with a wide variety of hallucinogens to try and speak with the mind of her deceased partner and lover. Dr. Walter Bishop, the mad scientist featured on Fringe would often go in the tank under the influence of LSD as well.  In the recent Netflix show, Stranger Things, a tank is featured as a way to facilitate psychic communication.

william hurt altered states floating tank
When are the jets supposed to turn on?

Most famously, though, is the film Altered States where William Hurt portrays a scientist exploring the origin of consciousness inside the sensory deprivation tank. In the tank he devolves to a primitive human state and even a non-physical conscious entity. The author of the novel and screenplay, Paddy Chayefsky, was one of the most important writers during the Golden Age of Television and his work was heavily influenced by John C. Lilly’s research. In fact, in an interview with Omni in 1983, Lilly talked about how much he liked the film

The scene in which the scientist becomes cosmic energy and his wife grabs him and brings him back to human form is straight out of my Dyadic Cyclone (1976)…As for the scientist’s regression into an ape-like being, the late Dr. Craig Enright, who started me on K (ketamine) while taking a trip with me here by the isolation tank, suddenly “became” a chimp, jumping up and down and hollering for twenty-five minutes. Watching him, I was frightened. I asked him later, “Where the hell were you?” He said, “I became a pre-hominid, and I was in a tree. A leopard was trying to get me. So I was trying to scare him away.” The manuscript of The Scientist (1978) was in the hands of Bantam, the publishers. The head of Bantam called and said, “Paddy Chayefsky would like to read your manuscript. Will you give him your permission?” I said, “Only if he calls me and asks permission.” He didn’t call. But he probably read the manuscript.

Allison sprung for gift certificates from Float Milwaukee for Christmas presents this year and that’s where we did our float. I’ll walk you through what happens…

float milwaukee
Just a nice and inconspicuous place in Walkers Point…

So, once you walk in the door, you take off your street shoes and put on shower shoes, which I haven’t seen anyone use since I was in the college dormitory. So, different shoes, it’s like bowling!


Then you sign in at the front desk. This was Allison, who has been at Float Milwaukee since it opened and she spent time explaining the floating process to us and endured our litany of questions about what to expect, experiences that she’s had, and if anyone there has had paranormal encounters while in the floatation tank.

She also asks you to sign the legal waiver in case anything does happen in the floatation tank. Anytime things involve laying around  in water, I suppose there’s going to be some liability issues.

Float Milwaukee Allison
Just sign the waiver and I’ll keep smiling…

From there you go into the back where everyone gets their own little room with a floatation tank. This part feels more like a doctor’s office than some New Age-y hippity dippity thing.

Float Milwaukee

And here it is, the sensory deprivation tank with its science fiction-y blue light. It looks like a big Pac Man that’s coming to eat you!

Float Milwaukee
Feed me, Seymour!

So, I wore a swimsuit and a beach outfit, but nope, this is a full naked experience – like a tanning bed without the cancer! You take a quick shower before you get in. A calm female voice tells you when it’s time to get in.

Float Milwaukee
I totally should have worked out more before taking this picture…

And that’s it, then you’re in the tank. And you float very easily, your whole back of your head does dunk in and so your ears will be underwater, so get ready for that feeling. But other than that, it feels nice and easy. There’s enough space above your head so you don’t feel claustrophobic, it’s not like a coffin.

You can choose to keep the light on and some meditative music playing if you want or you can keep it totally dark and silent with nothing but the beating of your heart. I kept the light on for a little while because I liked feeling like I was in the future, but eventually I went to total darkness and silence.

And then you relax or you think or you meditate or you heal, basically you do whatever you want in your head. It’s forced relaxation for an hour with no interruptions, no mobile notifications, no anything… it’s called sensory deprivation for a reason because you’re eliminating all external stimuli and it’s wonderful. We did a little telepathy experiment where my brother-in-law tried to send a one-word message that my sister and I tried to receive, so I was paying attention to the words that popped into my head as well.

After the hour is up, you hear the same calm female voice letting you know it’s time to get out. You jump in the shower again to wash the salt off and can head to the post-float dressing room to dry and style your hair and reapply your makeup.


After that, it’s a trip(!) to the decompression room where they have some nice teas (the Equilibrium was my personal favorite) and you can journal about your experience as well as see what others have had to say about theirs.
IMG_4401And here I am in the post-float afterglow enjoying that Equilibrium tea. While I didn’t get the one-word psychic message right nor did I experience any hallucinogenic effects or devolution, it was a wonderful meditative and relaxing experience.

float milwaukee
That’s my fake smile when I’m wishing there was alcohol in my cup!

Overall, floating was pretty awesome and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. They even have overnight floats in case you want to spend a nice long time exploring your consciousness. We don’t get any referrals or kickback from Float Milwaukee, but I would very much recommend them . The staff (Glenn and Allison) were friendly and knowledgeable and the whole place was very clean and safe.

For the Sunspot song this week, we picked the first song of our very first album, Radio Free Earth. Part of the fun of floating is the feeling of weightlessness. Too many things in our lives weigh us down, we build up too much and let go too little. That’s what this song is about, here is “Artificial Gravity”.

Put on old St. Christopher,
And strap up on my pack,
Because I think that it’s time for me to go.
There’s no use in loving somebody,
Who doesn’t love you back,
And I think that it’s time for me to go.

And I think I lost my heart in artificial gravity,
I was living in a hologram of only you and me.
If the world was right, you would be
famous and trendy.
And if the world was just,
you’d be a star.
Like the way I feel you are.

Shine on…
I know I have to go but don’t forget me when I’m gone.
Shine on…
One thousand miles into the night, you’ll be the brightest star in my sky.

History repeats itself,
This time I’ll make things right,
but I think that it’s time for me to go.
We’ll figure it out, I tell myself,
so I can make it through the night.
But I think that it’s time for me to go.

And I think I lost my heart in artificial gravity,
I was living in a hologram of only you and me.
If the world was right, you would be
famous and trendy.
And if the world was just,
you’d be a star.
Like the way I feel you are.

Shine on…
I know I have to go but don’t forget me when I’m gone.
Shine on…
One thousand miles into the night, you’ll be the brightest star in my sky.

102 – I Talk Paranormal: The Strange World of Jim Malliard

This week we thought we’d try something different by interviewing another podcaster and paranormal investigator, the host of the Malliard Report (what he calls “the fastest hour in Paranormal Talk Radio”), Jim Malliard.

Jim Malliard Report
Get it? Cuz there’s a duck… oh nevermind!

Jim’s show has featured fascinating guests from Coast to Coast AM‘s George Noory and Scotty Roberts to See You On The Other Side alums like Tea Krulos and Garnet Schulhauser. and he’s been in the paranormal podcast game since 2011. Interestingly enough, Jim Malliard wasn’t a believer in the paranormal until he had his own experience.

Jim lives in northwestern Pennsylvania and on a trip to Gettysburg with his family, he started experiencing strange things. First of all, his  infant son started reacting to something in the room that no one else could see (in a place where the tour guide said that there was a spirit that liked children) and the next day he saw a Civil War soldier plain as day in the famous battlefield. He thought it was a re-enactor, only there were no re-enactments that day and when he investigated more closely, the soldier disappeared.

Jim Malliard Gettysburg
This is Jim in Gettysburg, but with someone alive.

This led Jim to form a paranormal investigation group in his town of Meadville, Pennsylvania, and eventually that led into creating a radio show based around his fascination with the strange. In this episode, we get details of his personal experiences and his favorite guests after five years exploring the unknown.

The Sunspot track this week is inspired by the Civil War solder that Jim Malliard saw in Gettysburg. He was still fighting the war years afterwards and this song is about loving someone long gone and having it interfere with your life today, take a listen to “Dead Man”.

All the years that I spent waiting for a chance,
all the hopes projected onto you,
sitting on the bench, watching someone else,
living the life I was supposed to.

A thousand different scenes all played out in my brain,
of this moment and how it happens and what it means.
And now it’s happening, and everything has changed.
but sometimes your eyes stare past me.

The part of me I thought that won you,
never had a chance,
you’re in love with a dead man.
the thought of him that always haunts you,
Slipping right through my hands,
You’re in love with a dead man,

Old t-shirts that get worn around the house,
Old pictures supposed be thrown out.
Why do you love someone who cannot love you back?
Why is it always better living in the past?

All these memories are past their sell-by date,
And a ghost still roams throughout our halls,
A dream is always sweeter than our present state.
And second place is better than nothing at all.

The part of me I thought that won you,
never had a chance,
you’re in love with a dead man.
the thought of him that always haunts you,
You’re slipping through my hands,
You’re in love with a dead man,


101 – Star Trek: Beyond The Psychic Powers Of The Final Frontier

We saw on Facebook the other day that every Ghostbusters film has come out in the same month as a Star Trek film. Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock came out a week before the first Ghostbusters and Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier came our a week before Ghostbusters 2. Unfortunately, Star Trek 3 and 5 are known as the kinda bad ones so we don’t know what that means for Star Trek Beyond, but since it’s opening a week after the Ghostbusters reboot, well, we just had to do back-to-back episodes ourselves!

And it’s not like we’ve never talked about Star Trek before, our Leonard Nimoy tribute episode covered a good deal of our Trekker-related tendencies, but we decided to devote our first full episode to the big daddy of space exploration series and how they used psychic powers within the show.  And even though Star Trek Into Darkness had some pretty weak sauce, we’re hoping that with a script written by supergeek Simon Pegg (alternate-universe Scotty, himself) Star Trek Beyond is the film we’ve been hoping for.

star trek beyond gary mitchell
Hey, it’s Sally Kellerman, one day she would grow up to be the completely unbelievable love interest for Rodney Dangerfield in Back To School!

Psychic powers are baked into the Star Trek formula, in fact, when the pilot episode of the original Star Trek was rejected by NBC and they asked for a new story, psychic powers were the plotline! The extremely evil-sounding Gary Mitchell(!) portrayed a villain who was warped by his access to God-like telepathy and mind control.

star trek beyond vulcan mind meld

The most famous Star Trek psychic move of course is the Vulcan Mind Meld. That’s where a Vulcan touches the head of another person and they can transfer memories, emotions, and in the case of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), even the personality and soul of the Vulcan. Spock mind melds with Kirk, McCoy, and even a silicon-based giant pizza monster called the Horta in the classic episode, “Devil In The Dark”.

spock horta pizza star trek beyond
I can feel how much you hate anchovies…

Star Trek: The Next Generation brought psychic powers to the bridge in the form of Counselor Deanna Troi, the half-human half Betazoid empath who would advise Captain Picard on what the aliens they were talking to were feeling.

counselor deanna troi star trek beyond
Glamour Shots from the future!

In the writer’s guide for Star Trek: The Next Generation they said that they wanted to keep the stories scientifically plausible  and that:

2. We do not do stories about psi-forces or mysterious psychic powers

No matter how fantastic the events in a story, the explanation must be extrapolated from a generally accepted science theory. (We have accepted the telepathy of Counselor Deanna Troi because many reputable scientists have acknowledged the possibility of such abilities, but you will note that we have limited Troi to “reading” only emotions.)

When it comes to science fiction, half of the battle is keeping a consistent set of physics in the universe where technological hurdles have been leapt that we currently haven’t foggiest of how to fathom (like warp speed or time travel), so when it comes to psychic powers, Star Trek had a physical medium through which psychic powers could travel. Here’s how they said telepathy worked on an old site about Star Trek: Voyager:

Star Trek science consultant and writer André Bormanis has revealed that telepathy within the Star Trek universe works via the “psionic field.” According to Bormanis, a psionic field is the “medium” through which unspoken thoughts and feelings are communicated through space. Some humanoids can tap into this field through a kind of sense organ located in the brain (e.g. the paracortex). In the same manner that Human eyes can sense portions of the electromagnetic field, telepaths can sense portions of the psionic field.

star trek beyond telepathic pitcher plant
The giant psychic space organism that almost ate the Voyager.

This week, we’re trying out our first See You On The Other Side psi experiment. We made a little 5-minute meditation track inspired by Star Trek‘s various themes to help  your mind into the Alpha state – which is the state that some people believe can enhance telepathy – so we want to see if we can help you get results.

  • Find a friend to listen to this YouTube video through headphones at the exact same time as you and have one person be a sender and one person be the receiver.

  • As the sender, pick a one-word message to send. It could be any word you like. Listen to the track and focus on that message and images behind its meaning.

  • The receiver will then write down a paragraph of what they felt and what their thoughts were during the five minutes.

  •  Send the one-word message and the paragraph to us over email or Twitter the results on a future podcast. Feel free to send us an audio file too, we’d love to be able to hear your voice!

We know it’s not hard science, but we thought that Episode 101 and Star Trek Beyond was the perfect time to inaugurate some psychic research of our own!

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

- Enter Your Location -
- or -