131 – Mother Earth Mysticism: Past Lives and Shamanic Healing with Rachel Mann

Rachel Mann took a long and winding course to finding her calling as a healer and spiritual teacher.  Originally studying the Russian language and Slavic folklore and preparing for an academic career, she switched paths as the Cold War ended in the early 90s and university positions teaching Russian dried up.

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Rachel giving somebody the Mother Earth Mystic Once-over!

While working through her own issues,  Rachel was getting traditional “talk therapy” as well as getting “energy work” done. But it was during one of those sessions where Rachel discovered her own history as a warrior monk in Medieval France and relived his dying moments in battle. The way she describes the experience is simila to Philip K. Dick’s  Exegesis and the strange connection he felt with the prophet Elijah and John The Baptist. But it’s interesting because it’s the idea that your in their head and they’re in your head, even though you’re separated by centuries. Rachel could feel his pain, his love, his hopes, and his faith. Meanwhile, he was poking around in her brain as well.

And that experience started leading her to where she is today, as a teacher of what she calls The Great Medicine Wheel of Mother Earth Mysticism, where she takes bits and pieces of the different spiritual traditions that she’s studied from Buddhism to the customs of the indigenous people of the Andes Mountains to the Cherokee to modern psychological techniques like psychodrama.

A Medicine Wheel in action!

Rachel’s work is a blend of the Ancient and the Modern and she teaches the connectedness of all things, living or otherwise. You can find more info about her on her site, Rachel Mann PhD, you can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Her vulnerability and fearlessness in discussing the  challenges in her own life is what inspired this week’s Sunspot demo. We strive to be perfect and we often ridicule the sick as if somehow they’re “responsible” for their condition. That striving, that criticism, often just leads to even more suffering. Admitting that there’s something wrong and that it’s okay there’s something wrong is usually the first step in learning how to fix it. The track is called “To Accept Is Not Defeat”.

Scrape the skin ’til you see blood
Rub the flesh until its sore
Bang your head against the wall til your brains fall on the floor.
Cry til your eyes are red
til you find a moment of clarity
That this striving beyond surviving just more futility.
And the more that I struggle
the more I seem to ache,
 And the more that I struggle
the more I seem to break.
I surrender.
I throw myself before your feet.
I’ve tested every limit,
To accept is not defeat.
The tighter that you grip,
The looser that you hold,
And all that you have lost, you’ll find when you let go.
For the more that I struggle
the more I seem to ache,
For the more that I struggle
the more I seem to break.
I surrender.
I throw myself before your feet.
I’ve tested every limit,
To accept is not defeat.
I surrender.
I throw myself before your feet.
I’ve tested every limit,
To accept is not defeat.

130 – Mrs. Magic: Reweaving Reality with Maureen St. Germain

Maureen St. Germain is the author of books like Be A Genie, Reweaving the Fabric of Your Reality, and Waking Up in 5D and calls herself a “Practical Mystic”. And with a title like that and a nickname like “Mrs. Magic”, Maureen is all about finding and embracing the spiritual aspects in your own life. While the language and symbolism might be cosmic, the results are down to Earth. Mrs. Magic helps people access their fantastic sides while helping them achieve their goals, manifest love and happiness, and just get a little peace of mind every once in awhile.

maureen st germain mrs magic
Maureen meditating, it looks like she’s in a pyramid or something!

One of Maureen St. Germain’s quickest tips for helping to find magic in your own life quickly is not to eliminate negativity, which is difficult and almost always leads to more negative thoughts when you can’t just “get rid of” those offending thoughts in the first place (that’s the path that leads to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, trust me on that one.) But every time you have a negative thought, add two positive thoughts to it. 

For example, since we live in Wisconsin and it’s currently winter time, when you look outside, the first think you think is usually, “Man, this is snowy and cold and disgusting.” But why not add, “Yeah, but snowball fights are fun!” and “Winter keeps property values affordable here so that my quality of life is great!” Does that sound kind of silly? Why yes, yes it does.

But it helps reinforce positivity without making you feel guilty for thinking negative thoughts. We’re always going to have reactions to things no matter what, our brains are just gonna use the pathways that are the easiest and we’re hardwired for negativity. Ever wonder why your pets are so scared all the time? Because it helps keep them alive in the wilderness! But we’re not in the jungle anymore and oftentimes, our fear holds us back.

maureen st germain jump and the net will appear
No pressure!

One phrase we mention in the interview with Maureen St. Germain is “jump and the net will appear”and this might not be magic in the sense that we think of magic usually (like burning candles and eyes of newt or something) but more like how you reframe and align your thinking. And that’s about gaining access to your Higher Self.  Your Higher Self is your spiritual self that has access to the Akashic Records.

Akashic What Now? We talked a little about the Akashic Records in our interview with Garnet Schulhauser and his spirit guide Albert, but according to mid-Twentieth Century mystic Edgar Cayce, it’s the “Book of Life”, the universal supercomputer that has access to all the knowledge of the Universe across all Space and Time. If life was like Doctor Who (and you’re trying to tell me it’s not?!)the Time Lords had an archive of their history, knowledge, and of the memory of all of their species called The Matrix. The Akashic Records are kinda like that.

maureen st germain doctor who the matrix
The Doctor getting ready for a trip into the Time Lords’ Akashic Records, The Matrix

Okay, that’s getting into some heavy New  Age-y type stuff, but it’s not really different from learning how to trust your intuition, which has a demonstrable scientific basis. And learning how to “trust your gut” (or whatever you like to call it, your Higher Self, your spirit guide, your intuition, etc…) and how to listen to your body and your instinct is part of any kind of personal development, so the New Age style is just one of the ways that people are inspired to follow that path and it’s an essential part of everyone’s spiritual journey.

You can jump into Maureen’s class about the Higher Self right here and you can find her different variety of books, courses, and guided meditations on the Maureen St. Germain website. She’s got plenty of free meditations on YouTube so you can try it out, see what you think, and if you’re into it, learn more directly from Maureen.

Hey and here’s something sweet, the last book Maureen contributed to, The Realities of Creation: Moving Beyond the Limitations of Our Beliefs, features an intro from actress Dee Wallace who is one of our favorite  Scream Queens from The Hills Have Eyes to Rob Zombie’s Halloween re-imagining. She does spiritual healing now, what?! Yeah, I’d totally get a session too, but I think I’d probably just use my time to hear stories from the set of The Howling!

For the song this week, we decided to go with something a little obscure. There’s a psychological experiment that they run on animals called “The Mirror Test”, where they anesthetize the animal, put a mark on their face, and then show them their face in the mirror. Do the animals recognize themselves or do they think they’re seeing another creature of the same species? It’s a test of sentience, which is the capacity to feel, it’s a sense of self, of consciousness.
In the interview, we talk a lot about that feeling of needing to point your brain in the right direction. That’s what this song is about, because the character needs to act out his dreams in order to feel alive, in order to feel like he’s worthy of sentience. He wants to take action now so that he recognize and be proud of the life he’s lived, so he can pass “The Mirror Test”.
I’m gonna jump from Twenty Thousand Feet
Finally read all of War and Peace
Ride a wave right down to the beach,
and get pulled over racing a Trans Am.
I’ll keep my chin up like a champion,
Get my teeth knocked out in the Octagon
Try to paddle down the Amazon,
Then maybe I will finally understand
the meaning of I think therefore I am
I wanna go out as a man with no regret,
but I’m scared to death I must confess,
That in the end I won’t recognize myself
Alive with half a consciousness
That in the end I’ll fail The Mirror Test.
I’m gonna make love like I’m Bad Company,
Go out drinking like Charles Bukowski,
Karate kick like Bruce Lee
and then go bungee jump right off the Hoover Dam.
I’m gonna take on Everest,
Hold on 8 seconds like in the Wild West
I’ll even leave my home without American Express
And maybe I can finally be free
of all the fears that were just  paralyzing me
I wanna go out as a man with no regret,
but I’m scared to death I must confess,
That in the end I won’t recognize myself
I didn’t settle just for less,
Alive with half a consciousness
Well I ain’t gonna second guess
So in the end I don’t fail The Mirror Test.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

128 – The Power of Christ Compels You: William Peter Blatty and The Exorcist

While 2017 hasn’t had the murder rate of 2016 yet, the year did start out with the loss of William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist, with the news ominously coming out on Friday the 13th in January. While he did create one of the most famous works of horror of the Twentieth Century, he was much more than just a horror writer. His stories dealt with questions of faith, guilt, temptation, and how a just and loving God could allow so much evil in the world.

william peter blatty the exorcist
Man, 70s mustaches were the best!

He lived long enough to see the continuation of his story in the latest Exorcist TV Show, which is the best thing to happen to the franchise since The Exorcist III, (you can skip The Exorcist II entirely and the fourth one was so bad they had to shoot two different versions of it to try and salvage some of their investment. )

the exorcist william peter blatty new fox geena davis
The possession continues…

We’ve even opened up a couple of shows with this sweet George C. Scott monologue from The Exorcist III: Legion. But we’re not the only band that used it, it was particularly popular with ultra-heavy bands and sampled on albums from Beyond, Cryptopsy, Children of Bodom, Slayer, and even Guns n’ Roses have used it in live shows. Also, it was reportedly the film that Jeffery Dahmer was watching when his apartment was raided by the police. So, great job, Blatty!

But the reason that we still talk about The Exorcist today is not only because the shocks and the scares of watching a twelve-year old girl do unspeakable things with a crucifix. We’ve seen much more edgy horror movies (especially from France, those dudes are sick!)

One of the main reasons that demonic possession is so scary is because lots of people believe in the Devil. If you’re Catholic, and Blatty’s mother was deeply Roman Catholic and the author himself kept up with his faith (well, except for the whole getting divorced three times thing – but the first one was annulled, which is a very Catholic thing to do!) then rejecting the Devil is right in the Baptismal promises. You’ve got to talk about Satan if you’re a Catholic, his temptations lurk all around.

It was the research and the  inspiration that Blatty took from real life exorcisms and cases of demonic possession that made The Exorcist feel so real. Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts joins us in this episode to talk about those cases, famously one happened in St. Louis in 1949 (The Roland Doe Case) but it was also inspired by a lesser known  case involving  a Wisconsin Exorcist Priest-Hero named Theophilus Riesinger (who will also get his own episode sometime!) and an exorcism he performed in Iowa, described in the 1935 book Begone, Satan!

begone satan the exorcist
Click on the book to read the entire account of the possession free online

When he was 87, Blatty would write his own book on personal paranormal experiences called Finding Peter that chronicle is own faith and brushes with the supernatural, but he’ll always be best remembered for being a writer capable of terrifying audiences so shockingly that his work became a cultural touchstone, while keeping it sensitive and thoughtful enough with ideas of faith and hope, that it served a bigger purpose than merely gruesome entertainment.

One last FYI, if you hear that Father Malachi Martin was the inspiration for the Father Merrin character in The Exorcist, don’t buy it. It’s just marketing for the new documentary about Malachi Martin’s life (which looks cool in its own right and Malachi was a colorful character who we’ll have to dive into sometime), but here’s the truth in an article in the Los Angeles Times

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, however, dismissed Martin’s work as unbelievable. William Peter Blatty, who wrote the best-selling “The Exorcist” and the screenplay for the 1973 movie of the same name directed by William Friedkin, gave “Hostage” a scathing review in the Los Angeles Times, assailing its accuracy as well as Martin’s style. “I loathe this book,” Blatty wrote. “It gives possession a bad name.”

For this week’s song, we were looking for a track that appealed to the basest instincts of people, just like Pazuzu (or Captain Howdy) did in The Exorcist, so we selected a Sunspot song that deals with faith in its own way and sometimes that faith gets betrayed when people fall into temptation, anger, and resentment. And when that happens, the world can come “Crashing Down”.

Well, I guess I thought the fight,
would bring out the best in you,
because you always said my faith,
would see you through.
And as we sat there in the calm before the storm,
there were barbarians at the door… and I heard you,

Screaming for revolution,
I hear you scream for blood.
Screaming for retribution,
for another Flood.
And as I watched you scream your life away,
the world came crashing down.

And I know you hate the world,
for what it put you through.
But you struck against the ones,
that believed in you.
I always thought you were to strong to be afraid,
until I watched you run away… when I heard you,

Screaming for revolution,
I hear you scream for blood.
Screaming for retribution,
for another Flood.
And as I watched you scream your life away,
the world came crashing down.

As you sit there in your hole,
where your screams can’t break through,
well you’ve lost your freedom now,
look what your anger’s done for you.
There is no quarter, no exception to the rule,
there’s no one left to listen to you…
And you can cry wolf a thousand times and watch the rest of us survive.

Screaming for revolution,
I hear you scream for blood.
Screaming for retribution,
for another Flood.
And as I watched you scream your life away,
the world came crashing down.

127 – Historian Of The Strange: Robert Damon Schneck and The Bye Bye Man

The man who brought us the story of The Bye Bye Man, Robert Damon Schneck is a writer with a passion for finding the weirdest stories of American history. As a writer, he’s delivered articles on strange and unusual topics for Fortean Times (the paranormal gold standard!) and Fate magazine, as well as writing two incredibly well-researched books on the subject.

Robert Damon Schneck The Bye Bye Man
Historian of the Strange, Robert Damon Schneck

When we heard Robert tell the story of The Bye Bye Man on our way back from the Haunted America conference in Alton, Illinois last summer, we just knew we has to bring him on and for several reasons.

  1. The original story of The Bye Bye Man takes place in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, which is a suburb of our hometown, Madison.
  2. It’s college kids playing the Ouija Board, which is what we used to do when we attended the University of Wisconsin.
  3. There’s a part that takes place in Wausau, which is one of our favorite towns to perform in and we have lots of friends there.

So, it’s not every day that you get a true-life terrifying story that takes place in your area. And when we found out they were making a movie of it? Well, that was it. We made the note to contact Robert when the movie was coming out and now that time is here! The Bye Bye Man has arrived on theaters, and one of the special treats is that they kept the location of the film in Madison (even if they didn’t actually shoot the movie here!)

The Bye Bye Man Robert Damon shneck

Robert wrote the tale of The Bye Bye Man as just a single chapter in his 2005 book, The President’s Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America, but it’s become his most famous story. It was told to him at a Devil’s Night party by a friend he met at the Parapsychology Foundation in New York City and that person was actually one of the three people that the story really happened to.

During the cold Wisconsin winter of 1990, three friends kept themselves occupied by messing around with the Ouija Board. But the board put them in touch with a supernatural killer who rode America’s railways and who could sense you if you only thought of his name. Once you said that name out loud, he bound the train in your direction. And not too long afterwards, the friends experienced some strange things that made them believe The Bye Bye Man might be more than just a scary story.

the bye bye man robert damon schneck
Oh no, The Bye Bye Man is so scary, I lost my shirt!

Of course, we make Robert tell the whole story of The Bye Bye Man again in this episode, because that’s half the fun! But if you’re interested in the process of professional writing,  he also gives us the story of how he became a successful paranormal author, what happened that turned a chapter of his book into a wide-release feature film, and some more strange and fascinating facts from our nation’s history.

We heartily recommend following Robert on his Facebook page, Historian of the Strange and pick up a copy of his original book, which has been re-released in 2016 with new material as The Bye Bye Man And Other Strange-But-True Tales.

robert damon schneck the bye bye man gloomsinger
The Bye Bye Man and his hunting beast, Gloomsinger

And, perfect timing, the Page 2 Screen podcast discusses the screenplay for The Bye Bye Man in this week’s episode! We’re curious how the film will compare to Robert’s original telling of the story. Check it out here:  International Screenwriter’s Assocation Page 2 Screen

One of the best parts of The Bye Bye Man‘s story is the killer’s strange accomplice, who acts as something of a hunting dog for The Bye Bye Man. You’ll have to hear the whole story to really appreciate it, but we just couldn’t resist writing a creepy soundtrack for the Bye Bye Man’s little buddy, the terrifyingly named Gloomsinger.

When the whistling of a thousand tongues draws near
When a name will find you once you only hear
On the tracks and impending, never resting, never ending,
the whistling of a thousand tongues draws near

When the vision of a thousand eyes grows nigh,
Seeing you wherever you try to hide,
A friendly voice, knock at the door, a bloody sack, flesh and gore,
When the vision of a thousand eyes grows nigh.

126 – Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot with Joe Gisondi

Joe Gisondi grew up in New Jersey reading the National Enquirer and from an early age. Before 1967, the tabloid focused on gory true crime stories, but in order to be stocked in newspaper checkout lines they changed their focus to celebrities, UFOs, and the occult. And the world was made better for it, because it inspired the paranormal bug in little Joe Gisondi.

joe gisondi bigfoot
They’ve been running these stories since the 60s, everybody…

Joe worked at different Florida newspapers for two decade, becoming an expert in sports news coverage, before settling down as a journalism professor at Eastern Illinois University in 2002. But he never lost that interest in the weird and wonderful and decided to write a book about the hunt for Bigfoot.

joe gisondi bigfoot patterson flim
Bigfoot from the Patterson film, what some people consider the best evidence of the creature

You know it’s  gonna be a great book when America’s eminent Cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman gave it the NUMBER TWO recommendation for 2015’s top cryptozoology books (right behind our friend Tea Krulos’ excellent Monster Hunters!)

Joe’s take was not just writing about Bigfoot, but about the people who have upended their lives in hunting for the famous monster. What motivates someone to take months and years of their lives, go in the woods, and chase after a mythical (until it’s proven at least) beast? Especially when most other people just think you’re crazy.

Joe Gisondi Finding Bigfoot Matt Moneymaker
Matt Moneymaker from Finding Bigfoot, one of the hunters Joe profiles in the book

That’s what Joe intended to find out. In the process of working on the book, he got to go on several expeditions himself and he might have had his own sasquatch encounter. We cover those expeditions, the weirdest thing he ever saw in Florida, and some of the regional differences in Bigfoot/Skunk Ape/Sasquatch lore in this interview.

You can pick up a copy of Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot right here, like the book on Facebook, and learn more about Joe at this link. He’s got a weekly sports podcast and you can find Joe on Twitter at @MonsterTrekJG for Bigfoot and @joegisondi for sports media.

Obsession is something we often deal with on this podcast, and according to German Existentialist philosopher, Martin Heidegger, humans use these obsessions to distract ourselves to think about anything besides our impending mortality. Like Top Dollar says in The Crow, “Childhood’s over the moment you know you’re gonna die.”

Movies, sports, books, gardening, Bigfoot hunting,etc… we do almost anything to distract ourselves. To be (in Heidegger’s words) “authentic” we have to own each moment as it happens, accept our past, and accept that we will eventually become “non-being”. Bigfoot hunters own each moment through their quest into the unknown. This Sunspot song is accepting that life sucks sometimes (after all, we can’t always be out in the Woods looking for the Sasquatch!) but we can “own” each moment the best we can and in this particular song, “owning the moment through partying!”

Monday comes and Tuesday goes,
Dishes suck and laundry blows.
I’d love to tell my boss to kiss my a$$.
Wednesday’s here and then it’s gone,
My best friend’s passed out on the lawn,
And Thursday? $%^& Thursday!

Raise your glass to Friday,
When I can be all I can be,
I’m dying to party and I want a life that’s owned by me.

We only get one shot,
Somedays I don’t even wanna try.
Tonight’s our night to rock,
Life sucks, let’s live before we die.

My momma slaps me in my face,
My girlfriend puts me in my place,
Why didn’t anyone say it’d be this tough?
My minivan is in the shop,
Because I backed into a cop,
I’m flat broke, bored, and sitting on my duff.

As many times I’ve hurt my pride,
I just can’t stop this wicked side of me,
Because Mr. Hyde, that bastard, wants me back,
And I’ll get too inebriated,
Wake up again humiliated,
I’m just trying to have some fun,
Cut me some slack.

We only get one shot,
Somedays I don’t even wanna try.
Tonight’s our night to rock,
Life sucks, let’s live before we die.



125 – Princess Leia and The Paranormal: Carrie Fisher’s Ghost Story and Psychic Experiences

It’s another bittersweet episode as we remember actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who passed away on December 27th, 2016. A performer and a personality who found her artistic voice in her personal struggles with mental illness and addiction, she was as inspiring off the screen as she was on.

carrie fisher ghost story
Snarky to the very last!

When Disney bought Star Wars in 2012, it was a new lease on life for a story that a lot of its original fans became disillusioned with. George Lucas is a creator of boundless visual imagination, but the stories he was telling in the prequels seemed to no longer resonate with the fans that had grown up with the films. Star Wars changed the landscape of  popular cinema and reinvigorated space adventure. It influenced everything and its impact can hardly be overstated.

carrie fisher ghost story
Retro-blaster, cool sidebuns, and a deadly look…

When President Reagan envisioned a nuclear missile shield in the atmosphere over the United States, it was called the “Star Wars” program. He even called the Soviet Union an “evil Empire”. In the United Kingdom Census in 2001, 390,000 people listed “Jedi” as their religion. Star Wars had entered the consciousness of our world far beyond popular entertainment. And so much of it is mystical, what else are the Jedi besides space wizards with psychic powers who can come back from the dead as ghosts?

carrie fisher ghost story
The gold bikini that launched a thousand starships…

The Star Wars prequels however, while wildly financially successful and groundbreaking in special effects, seemed to leave many of the original fans cold. In their eyes, Lucas went from a visionary to a joke, a billionaire with a waddle who had lost touch with what made his original films such classics.

carrie fisher ghost story
Episode 1.5: The Phantom Neck

(Full disclosure: I liked the visually breathtaking prequels more than I liked The Force Awakens, which was too much fanservice and just a retread of the original. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford’s performances were the only real bright spots, in my humble and extremely unpopular opinion.)

carrie fisher ghost story
My favorite moment from “The Force Awakens”

When Disney bought the franchise they gave the fans what they wanted, which was the further adventures of the Skywalker family. Luke, his sister Leia, her husband Han Solo, and their offspring. So much of the greatness of the original films is tied directly to the chemistry of the trio of leads, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and of course, Carrie Fisher.

carrie fisher ghost story
Some things get better with age.

And in the new series of films, people were hoping to see a lot more of Leia, who went from Princess to General. An icon of female empowerment who went from a damsel in distress to a breaker of chains and a leader of armies. She set the sci-fi standard for female characters.

When Carrie Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away from a stroke the day after her daughter died, it was a sad and eerie story of a broken heart. But that wasn’t the  only uncanny thing that happened in her life. She not only was romantic with noted paranormal enthusiast, Dan Aykroyd, but she had her own ghost story when her friend died in her bed (while she was in it!), a psychic friend of her mother’s might have predicted her Star Wars fame, and none other than Corey Feldman himself said that she had some kind of psychic power that she saw his own struggles with addiction.

In this episode, Wendy, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, and I discuss her importance to the world of film, female heroes in science fiction, and her relationship to the paranormal.

For the song this week, we had to include the video from Halloween 2009, where we went as Luke, Leia, and Han from Return of the Jedi. Wendy even made a Jabba to go with her gold bikini and I had lost my shirt at that point in the night, so I was less Luke and more Rancor Keeper! We often quote some of our favorite songs in a track of ours called “My Own Worst Enemy” and for this live tribute we did some of our favorite Star Wars musical moments.  There were several other partygoers dressed as Jedi at the show so we even got to enjoy a little lightsaber action during the performance!

I think she smokes just to blow smoke rings,
I think I’m drinking just to forget her name.
She looks at me funny, like Jesus on the cross,
This is no Fortunate Fall, but it feels like “Paradise Lost”.

So, get thee to a nunnery, you b!t(h.
I drank myself to sleep a thousand times.
I broke my foot running after you,
but I can’t seem to get you off my mind.

I might even be my own worst enemy.
Standing in the corner of my shame.
I might even be my own worst enemy,
because I really thought you could keep me sane.

She looks at me funny and says, “I think of you like my therapist,”
I laughed, she didn’t.
I touched an angel; I thought I brushed a wing.
I thought it meant something, she didn’t.

So, get thee to a nunnery, you b!t(h.
I drank myself to sleep a thousand times.
I broke my foot running after you,
but I can’t seem to get you off my mind.

I might even be my own worst enemy.
Drinking so that I forget your name,
I might even be my own worst enemy,
because I really thought you could keep me sane.

124 – Somewhere In The Skies: Ryan Sprague and The Human Side of UFOs

Coming of age in the 1990s in upstate New York, Ryan Sprague was exposed to the UFOs, alien abductions, and government conspiracy-mania that enchanted us all during the decade.

green day ufos ryan sprague
The finest music for attracting aliens…

He was listening to Green Day’s Dookie album outside on vacation on a Summer night in 1995 when he had his own UFO sighting for the first time (an experience that he shared with his father) and it inspired a lifelong obsession with watching the skies.

Ryan later moved to New York City and started working in theater, all the while writing UFO journalism for Open Minds magazine and co-hosting the podcast, Into The FrayHis methodology for investigation is all about trying to understand the personal toll that UFO witnesses often have to face and his new book Somewhere In The Skies: A Human Approach To An Alien Phenomenon.

ryan sprague somewhere in the skies

We’re really excited about the play he’s working on about the Rendlesham UFO Incident in the UK that’s inspired by his research with one of our favorites from the Paradigm Symposium, Peter Robbins!

To purchase Ryan Sprague’s book and learn more about him, definitely check out his website at http://www.somewhereintheskies.com and the profits of every purchase until the end of January goes to a great cause, the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Ryan’s Blink-182 t-shirt during the interview and the Green Day playing during his first UFO encounter inspired us to bring out an old Sunspot chestnut for this last episode of the year. Here’s one of our most pop-punk tracks and one that deals with believing in yourself and sticking to your own story, “Intellectual Terrorists”.

Intellectual terrorists are poisoning my head,
They want to break down my resistance,
And have my conscience left for dead.
They like to make you think that they’re the righteous ones,
And they’ll beat you down and call you names for sticking to your guns.
You won’t replace my sensibility,
With your overanxious, overloaded, oversensitivity.And if you look, you will find,
A rather sorry state of mind,
Of all the people who won’t stand up for their views.
And if you look you might see,
You don’t have to agree with me,
But I won’t close my mind for you.It’s easy to be blind, it’s easy to be led,
You like to cough up all the ideas,
That you’ve been force-fed.
No one likes the freak, no one likes the odd man out.
I’d rather live my life alone,
Than live a life of doubt.
I won’t let you force yourself on me,
I refuse to be a victim to your society.And if you look, you will find,
A rather sorry state of mind,
Of all the people who won’t stand up for their views.
And if you look you might see,
You don’t have to agree with me,
But I won’t close my mind for you.You can’t break me down,
I won’t close my mind for you.

Intellectual terrorists are morality anarchists,
And sensitivity exorcists are poisoning my head.
But I won’t close my eyes for you,
I won’t turn away the truth,
I won’t let you make me, overdose, or complicate me.
You can’t break me down.
I won’t close my mind for you.

123 – Jesus Is An Alien: Life At A Higher Density With Reverend John Polk

When we met Reverend John Polk and heard the title of his first book, Yahweh, The Biblical God Is An Alien, we knew that a conversation with him would be the perfect Christmas special. After all, this is the time of year when Americans think about religion the most. To quote a million bumper stickers, Jesus is the reason for the season.

reverend john polk jesus is an alien
Wait, that’s not the right bumper sticker

We’ve covered Christmas ghost stories, Christmas monsters, and even Krampus, the Christmas demon. We’ve also talked about how the original translations of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Book of Revelation sound an awful lot like extraterrestrial encounters.

But Reverend John Polk is a metaphysical minister who can communicate to angels, extraterrestrials, and even the alien-creator-God itself, Yahweh, who he refers to as Enlil (the Sumerian god of the air) and they form a pantheon of aliens, Annunaki, hybrids, and extradimensional entities than inhabit his multiverse. And according to the good Reverend, Jesus was an alien-human hybrid engineered by Yahweh.

It sounds wild, but it’s very like the work of Zecharia Sitchin, the man who gave us Nibiru, the mysterious Planet X. I listened to Sitchin on Coast to Coast AM for years and thought he just sounded like an old Russian looney tunes. But this year, astronomers found credible evidence of a Planet X in our solar system, beyond Pluto. Now is it Sitchin’s Nibiru with the Annunaki hanging out just waiting to swing by in orbit to come for a visit and meddle with our evolution again? Well, the jury’s out on that. But just the fact that they found a Planet X, means that Sitchin’s ideas might be worth revisiting.

And Reverend John Polk might be saying some unusual things, but if we’re going to take religious stories on faith – with burning bushes, water into wine, Joseph Smith’s golden plates, Mohammed and his flying horse, etc… well, then let’s listen to Polk’s message and see what he’s trying to communicate.

Arthur C. Clarke’s most famous line is arguably “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And to me, the idea that Biblical stories and religious legends come from primitive human encounters with ultra-advanced alien technologies make a lot more sense than supernatural power.

But faith, even in the face of technology, means something. Erich von Däniken, the man who gave us a modern framework for Ancient Aliens in his seminal Chariots of the Gods?, always talks about his Christian faith in interviews.

Chariots of the Gods Lyrics – Sunspot – Ancient… by sunspot_mike

And Reverend John Polk is a man who believes. He started seeing angels when he was 5 and not long after he started communicating with them about the nature of the universe. Through what he calls “downloads” to his consciousness, he began to discover that he could perceive beings who were all around us, but existed in different “densities” or dimensions to what we humans normally can identify.

It’s these beings that led him to understand that the gods that we worship are actually aliens who feed on our prayer energy and are harvesting it to raise themselves to a higher plane of existence. They interfered with the [biology of early man to predispose us towards religious experiences in order to create more of that spiritual energy.

And Yahweh, the alien-creator-god was willing to adapt to collect more energy. The God of the Old Testament was a jealous and angry deity who turned people into pillars of salt, asked his prophets to sacrifice their children, and drowned the entire planet save for one family. When human culture was understanding more about the planet, changing from the cruel Bronze Age to the kinder Iron Age, Yahweh decided to soften his tone by introducing his son, a mixture of his alien DNA with the Virgin Mary’s human genes, creating a hybrid who could bridge the gap, Jesus.

reverend john polk jesus is an alien
Really think that the Star of Bethlehem was a naturally occurring astronomical event?

This softer version of Yahweh is represented in the Gospels and the New Covenant that Jesus delivers at the Last Supper. While the Hebrew God had a ton of rules including the kosher laws and circumcision, Jesus says that all you have to do is partake in Communion. It’s like a slackening of restrictions in order to make it easier for people to believe. And it works, throughout the first two Millennia, the Abrahamic religions make up over 3 billion people on the planet. That’s a sizable chunk of the entire human race, all delivering their prayer energy to the same original God.

reverend john polk jesus is an alien
Yahweh has been working out, baby!

And Polk is convinced that Enlil/Yahweh has to change again, because he needs to move the human race on from worshipping Him so that he can jump up to the next plane of existence. That’s why Reverend Polk is convinced we’ll get full UFO/alien disclosure in our lifetime. When humanity understands that all religions are basically the same because we’ve been praying to frickin’ aliens for all of time, it will help tear down the walls that countries and cultures have created and help us realize that we’re all the same.

Whether or not you believe Reverend Polk, that Jesus is an alien or that life on Earth was altered by extraterrestrials who wanted to farm our belief for their own spiritual needs, his message is one of inclusion. It doesn’t matter who you pray to or what particular deity you choose to (or not to) believe in, we’re all part of the same family and finding a way to care about others, especially ones that you don’t agree with, is an important part of being a human. And that’s about as nice of a Christmas message that I can think of.

In the interview we talk about Polk’s latest book as well, Blue Beings: Visitation At The UFO Conference, which is a strange scenario of unusual creatures being seen at a Maine UFO Experiencers conference during a viewing of Travis: The True Story of Travis Walton. Wendy and I saw the documentary in May, and while we didn’t see any blue beings, it’s definitely worth a watch!

For more information on Reverend John Polk and to check out his books, please visit his official website.

For this week’s Sunspot song, we couldn’t resist creating a new Christmas track. Since Jesus was a hybrid, our song is a mixture of a few Yuletide favorites with some revised words to represent his unique extraterrestrial heritage, here’s “Jesus Is An Alien”.

Two thousand years ago they came down from beyond
they found an innocent girl to plant an inhuman spawn
Pretending they were angels, with authority from above
created a superbeing, but at least he preached some love.

Jesus is an alien, with DNA from space.
a human/ET hybrid born on Christmas Day.
Jesus is an alien, from otherworldly seed,
an extraterrestrial plot to harvest our belief.

UFOs all over the globe,
Jesus is an alien.
Tis the season for anal probes,
Jesus is an alien,
He came to earth to sermonize
Jesus is an alien,
Mary was in vitro fertilized,
Jesus is an alien.

Over our rooftops watching us
pretending to be St. Nickolas
pacify our species is their ploy
controlling our children with some toys
Abduction, grab us while we sleep
Missing time, people think we’re crazy,
Over our rooftops, zap zap zap
Wiping our minds with just a snap.

Jesus is an alien, bred with human genes,
to fight the the Prince of Darkness, His interdimensional enemy,
a king of kings to rule us, but we nailed him to a tree.
He’s half-earthling and half a spaceman, Half a spaceman,
He is half an earthling, half a spaceman.

122 – They’re Here: Hunting Poltergeists With Geoff Holder

Author and screenwriter Geoff Holder has written thirty-six books on the supernatural from haunted guides of Scottish cities to stone circles and zombies, but its his research into hundreds of poltergeist cases throughout history that we wanted to talk with him about. And Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins us again for this episode’s interview!

Poltergeist is just the German term for “noisy ghost”. The movie has nothing to do with any kind of poltergeist phenomena that really happens to people, that was more like a family fighting a supernatural war and it gave regular people (you know, non-weirdos who don’t pay enough attention to this stuff) the completely wrong idea about what poltergeist activity was all about.

A poltergeist is paranormal activity where people don’t see a ghost (usually, although Geoff Holder says that there is some visual element in about 15% of the cases he’s researched) but they hear knocking on doors and walls, objects move when no one is around, lights break, lamps are knocked off tables, etc… Poltergeists are troublemakers, but there’s not usually a haunting (i.e., story about a dead person) that accompanies the scene.

One of my parapsychological idols, Loyd Auerbach, discusses poltergeists at length in his awesome do-it-yourself paranormal investigation book ESP, Hauntings, and PoltergeistsAnd it seemed to me that the idea of a poltergeist being a spirit was a relic of a more superstitious time. After all, those peasants just didn’t understand psychokinesis (moving objects with your mind, think about Luke making the light saber fly to his hand in the Wampa cave).

I always thought that it was not a spirit or intelligent haunting but a manifestation of psychic energy coming from a pubescent girl. Her blossoming into womanhood also involves throwing a lot of plates around with her mind bullets. In fact, this is the explanation used in an episode of the totally sweet 80s show, Shadow Chasers,  and good God I loved that show when I was 8.

Make sure you listen to this awesome theme song, it’s like a paranormal Pointer Sisters.

But come to think about it, Auerbach uses the teenager poltergeist hypothesis in his book and he was a parapsychology adviser to the Shadow Chasers TV show, so of course they’re going to go with that narrative! And it’s been a popular trope in fiction over the years. Just think about how popular Carrie was. It just felt believable.

For some reason, the idea that we have the power in our minds to move objects through some kind of excess psychic force that happens when we’re in our wild hormonal years, seemed to be a much more reasonable explanation than someone coming back from the dead.

Contrary to the movie, if you see this guy, you’re not experiencing a Poltergeist, but you might be part of a pants-soiling contest.

And I didn’t even entertain other theories because they were all too ridiculous. Demons? Gimme a break. Faeries? Now I know you’re crazy. Bulgarian vampires? Get outta here! (Even thought you’re going to want to hear Holder’s great story on that one.)

But psychic teens? I’m with you. In fact, one time when I was on a bus tour of haunted sites, I heard a tour guide tell a woman that the poltergeist activity she was having in her house was a demon and that she should be wary.

I almost punched that guy. Number one, don’t scare the poor woman. Number two, poltergeists aren’t demons. They are manifestations of wild psychic energy. Duh.

Well flash forward a decade later and I’m glad I didn’t punch that guy (he only kinda deserved it), because Geoff Holder has opened my eyes to the idea that the psychic teenager is just the latest in a long line of explanations for these noisy ghosts. 

The first case he discovered was in the 5th century where of course the explanation is demons. Almost a millennium later,  Martin Luther (yes, the guy responsible for the Protestant Reformation) is the first person to use the term in print. He blamed the Roman Catholic Church for them and just thought it was the Devil messing around with him. (Being a really holy dude, he considered the Pope a much more formidable opponent than Satan.) So, yeah, people have been saying poltergeists are demons long before mediocre ghost tour guides.

Look closely at the demon in the center, he’s got a little demon face where his junk should be!

And not just demons, but fairies! This is where Geoff Holder blows my mind, because he talks about how what we think of as poltergeist activity, people used to attribute to fairies and they would even act in certain ways as to not upset the fairies (and of course many of the U.K.’s stone circles have faerie connections as well!) And this is where things get interesting.

Poltergeist behaviors in the hundreds of studies that Geoff has looked into, doesn’t seem to follow human behaviors. If it’s the spirit of a dead person, wouldn’t that person still have some of their humanity left? Why would they just rattle the chandelier, why would they be knocking on the wall? For the love of God, why would they make more work for everyone by breaking plates?!

Poltergeists act more like tricksters with an adolescent sense of humor (poop is often involved), their behavior is mercurial often causing havoc at the slightest or no provocation at all. Having a poltergeist in your house is like hanging out with the Joker from Batman or Joe Pesci from Goodfellas, you’re always on pins and needles because you don’t know what they’ll do next. They can be kind or cruel in equal measure and with no explanations why.

And that’s completely in character with fairies, they’re not all Tinkerbell and godmothers. Fairies in the old legends are scary, they’re not just inhuman, they’re ahuman. They’ll do something wonderful for you one day and they’ll steal your child the next and you’ll never understand why. The fey are so fundamentally different from us.

It’s similar to how we think of aliens. A 2012 National Geographic poll showed that a full seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that aliens have visited Earth, but you know that 77% of Americans do not believe in faeries. 

One thing Geoff Holder has showed is the context surrounding belief might change, but the paranormal behavior doesn’t. Whether it’s Bulgarian Vampires causing trouble or Teenage Drama Queens having a psychic blowout, poltergeists have an volatile and  unpredictable quality to their actions.

Humans have a particular set of needs and motivations, these phenomena, whether they’re aliens, faeries, or demons, they don’t have those needs. And they don’t care about ours. That inspired this week’s Sunspot song, “An Indifferent Universe”.

Visit Geoff’s website to check out his awesome books and scripts right here! 

who wears the twilight
walks in starfall
who wears the cold
walking through walls
something ancient
from the before
some kind of echo
knocking at the door

they can save us
they can destroy
every human
some kind of toy
explaining power
you can’t understand
the never knowing
will drive you mad

all reality

outside time
outside space
where infinity is a place

an indifferent universe

outside time
outside space
where infinity is a place

And here’s an extra treat, Allison was so inspired by the conversation that she wrote a poem right after we finished the interview… check it out, a little bonus to enjoy after you listen to the episode!

Gone are the sacred stones,
Plowed under like lovely bones.
Dancing sylphs in circles meet,
Trample them beneath your feet.

Pebbles and peat fall from the sky,
You can’t be bothered to ask why.
Apples picked and washing done,
But still you’re not a happy one.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
You’ll never know her anyway.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
Doesn’t matter, you’ll have your way.

You fear she’s coming back,
Her playful smile,  a sneak attack.
Wrapped in moss,  draped in flowers,
Just can’t bear it unless it’s ours.
The daughter, the lover, the mother, the crone,
If she is all, what do you own?

Cupboards burst and dishes smash,
Worlds awaken, ideas clash.
Your homely house a hell,
She’s imprisoned in this shell.
She belongs in the wild wood,
Respected, misunderstood.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
You’ll never know her anyway.

Bind her to the bedpost,
She’s up to no good now.
Is she Eve or is she fae?
Doesn’t matter, you’ll have your way.

She’s setting fires with her mind,
You should know, you can’t trust her kind.

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

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