All posts by Mike Huberty

Co-Host of See You On The Other Side podcast Lead Vocalist & Bassist for Sunspot

205 – Adventure Town Communiqué: An Intrepid Interview with Scotty Roberts

The first time we met Scotty Roberts was at the amazing 2016 Paradigm Symposium (you can listen to our recap of the entire event right here). It was kind of a life-changing experience for us as it was four days fully immersed in the paranormal and tackling everything from alternate history to alien coverups to the president of the Star Trek fan club to Travis Walton himself retelling his famous abduction experience. It still remains one of my all-time favorite strange weekends. Scotty was the driving force behind that conference when he announced that he was relaunching his YouTube channel with the various escapades from pontificating about family to exploring Egypt to his battle against political correctness, well we wanted to make sure to bring him on the show.

As the former publisher of The Atlantic Paranormal Society magazine (those are the Ghost Hunters from the SyFy Show as well as the publisher of Intrepid, Scotty has plenty of paranormal bonafides. He’s written several books including The Exodus Reality: Unearthing the Real History of Moses, Identifying the Pharaohs, and Examining the Exodus from Egypt and The Secret History of the Reptilians. And as a former theological seminary student, you can assume work is saturated with history and research.

scotty roberts
Wendy and Allison hanging out with Scotty!

He even got Erich von Daniken from Chariots of the Gods? to write a blurb for one of his books. In my universe, that’s called makin’ it, baby.

In this episode we cover:

  • What made Scotty Roberts into the weirdo he is today!
  • Why he left the Baptist Seminary
  • Strange EVPs he recorded with Rocci Stucci and Dr. John Ward
  • Who does Scotty think is the historical Moses?
  • Scotty’s strange visions in Egypt with Phillip Coppens
  • What you can find on his YouTube channel

You can subscribe to Scotty Roberts’ Adventure Town Communiqué on YouTube right here.

scotty roberts
Mike partying with Scotty Roberts at Haunted America 2016

Now, one thing about Scotty is that he never shies away from an argument or a discussion. He’s willing to take on any topic and listen to every side of the story. That being said, he’s well-known for his conservative bent and isn’t afraid to share it. I’ve heard him say that “being offended a choice” and one that he chooses against so that he can engage in any kind of conversation. Scotty isn’t afraid to be the Devil’s Advocate and isn’t afraid to defend his position. This track is inspired by Scotty and dedicated to his willingness to rise to the challenge and be anyone’s debate partner (when you go from the seminary to writing about reptilians, you know you’re willing to make intellectual leaps!) Here is “Cry Wolf”.

Goddamn you love to be offended
goddamn I think you love to cry
you’re so addicted to your outrage
and you just love to roll your eyes roll your eyes
when the sky is finally falling
the Devil comes a calling
there’s no one left to cry wolf
there’s no one left to cry wolf
when we’re going down in flames
is there someone we’ll find to blame
there’s no one left to cry wolf
there’s no one left to cry wolf to
Oh man, I just can’t comprehend it
Oh man, I just keep wondering why
you’re so addicted to your outrage
and every word’s a hangin crime so hang me
when the sky is finally falling
the Devil comes a calling
there’s no one left to cry wolf
there’s no one left to cry wolf
when we’re going down in flames
is there someone we’ll find to blame
there’s no one left to cry wolf
there’s no one left to cry wolf to

204 – Thieves In The Night: Faeries, Aliens, and Child Abductions with Joshua Cutchin

When most people think of fairies, they think of Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. The idea of little supernatural creatures living in the forest has been co-opted by Lucky Charms and Santa Claus. They’re kind or helpful or merely mischievous. They’re cute. Remember the brownies from Willow? They were funny, and goofy. Fairies, elves, sprites, etc… they’re not terrifying anymore. In fact, there’s “fairy godmothers” who grant us the greatest wishes of our hearts’ desires. They’re fun and if they are real, they even play with children! Remember The Cottingley Fairies? Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in them, and he invented Sherlock Holmes so he must be smart!

cuttingly fairies joshua cutchin
The Cottingley Fairies

In fact, a hundred years after the pictures of “The Cottingley Fairies”, there are still people that believe in them, decades after one of the girls admitted it was all a hoax! In The Usual Suspects, there is a famous line:

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

That’s a rephrasing of a famous quote by the French poet, Charles Baudelaire, but the idea here is the same. Fairies must have an incredible publicist, because  been in the public imagination, fairies are as real as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s only a modern idea that fairies are harmless and fun little magical beasties that live in the forest and are just like “tiny little people with wings” that care about the environment.

Der Wechselbalg by Henry Fuseli, 1781 joshua Cutchin
Der Wechselbalg “The Changeling” by Henry Fuseli, 1781

But that’s pretty far from the original myths and legends of faerielore. In fact, one of the most enduring myths about the fae is the terrifying story of the “changeling” where faeries steal a human baby and leave a faerie child, an old fairy, or a deceased child in the baby’s place. You would know it was a changeling because the baby was constantly crying, or would not stop suckling at mother’s breast, or would eat voraciously and never be satisfied… in any case, the parents would just “know” that it was not the same child as went to bed the night before.

And there could be multiple reasons why faeries would steal a human baby, it could be that human mother’s milk makes faerie babies stronger, or to replace a troublesome faerie child, or sometimes even because faeries enjoyed human flesh. You might be able to get the changeling out and your baby back by something as innocuous as attempting to cook the family dinner inside a single eggshell (something that would shock the changeling into laughter and running away) or as insidious as holding the child over an open stove or an iron spade.

changeling pj lynch joshua cutchin
The Changeling by PJ Lynch, 2011

And when it comes to the human experience, that’s about as horrific as it gets. Our biological imperative is to reproduce and keeping that child alive is one of our most basic instincts. But before modern medicine, the infant mortality rate was exponentially higher. Droughts, starvation, and famine were much more common. If a child was sickly or a burden on the scarce resources of a peasant home, the drain on the family could be significant, it could be deadly.

In a superstitious world, the changeling real because how else do you explain it? What else can a birth defect or mental illness be but a supernatural curse when there is no scientific explanation yet? The changeling is a very human way of interacting with a very real trauma. It’s a dark road to go down, but when we talk about 4,500 cases of infanticide in Ireland between 1850 and 1900, it’s not just some strange ancient faceless past, it’s a real history with relatives that many of us can trace directly back to.

joshua cutchin
Joshua Cutchin – A man and his tuba

Fortean author Joshua Cutchin wrote the ground-breaking A Trojan Feast: The Food and Drink Offerings of Aliens, Faeries, and Sasquatch in 2015 to examine millennia of strange, cross-cultural paranormal food taboos. Following it up with The Brimstone Deceit: An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas Joshua explored olfactory experiences reported during paranormal encounters. Josh is not only a painstaking researcher and gifted writer, but a fellow Badger (Wisconsin alumni, like Wendy and I) and a talented musician.

In this episode,  Joshua Cutchin joins us to talk about perhaps his most frightening work to-date, his new book, Thieves in the Night: A Brief History of Supernatural Child Abductions, which examines the disturbing history of paranormal kidnapping.

  • How fairy stories relate to demonic possession
  • Aliens abduction tales and fairies  – what’s the connection?
  • Changelings and autism in medieval times
  • The peculiar similarities across cultures of supernatural child abduction stories

Inspired by the idea of waking up to find someone that you care about isn’t someone you seem to recognize anymore, we revved up a  Sunspot rocker for you,  This is “The Changeling”!

Hot line
it’s a wake up call
for a lifeline
then you go awol
you know it’s time
before you fall
to put on the brakes or you’ll hit the wall

so low
on the bottom shelf
in a black hole
is where you’ll find yourself
where you gonna go
when there’s no one else
to put up with the shit that you’re trying to sell

And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.
Whoa
you’re the changeling
Whoa
that just ain’t my thing
Whoa
you’re a changeling
And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.

Go hard
until you hurt
play the wrong card
and you’re in the dirt
in the graveyard
calling red alert
you’re a cardiac arrest in a miniskirt

So long
that’s what you prefer
it’s a swan song
to who we thought you were
you’re so headstrong
so put on your spurs
and get the out of town until you find a cure.

And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.
Whoa
you’re the changeling
Whoa
that just ain’t my thing
Whoa
you’re a changeling
And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.

203 – Hunting Urban Legends: An Interview with Joshua Zeman

When you’re growing up, the world outside your home is a scary place. It’s full of drug addicts, gang members, child molesters, and serial killers. There’s a sicko with a cargo van hanging around outside your school. There’s a psycho with hook for a hand who preys on young lovers. There’s a weirdo who gets off on sneaking needles into your Halloween candy for a real Trick or Treat surprise.

Urban legends are lessons hidden in horror stories. They’re just “stranger danger” in narrative form. As a powerless child against the wicked world, you need to be warned about not getting into unknown vans, about being careful who you accept gifts from, and about not getting it on at Make-Out Point. These tales of the poor souls who didn’t heed these warnings make for a memorable reminder of what can happen when you stray too far from the path.

Growing up pre-Internet, there was no Snopes.com to check out the veracity of these stories. You could go to the library and meander through thousands of newspaper microfilms and microfiches (do they even teach kids how to use microfiche anymore?) to find out, but nobody was going to do that. You kind of just filed it in the back of your mind as a story meant to keep you from getting into trouble and it usually only entered your mind when you were wandering around in the woods or were rummaging through your Halloween candy.

I always knew that most urban legends contained a kernel of truth because my mother was a horror story specialist. Her cautionary tales about child murderers and bus stop rapists were ripped right from the headlines that her sharp memory wouldn’t let her forget. She could recall details from a newspaper article from a dozen years previous, especially if it was gruesome. When I was told a scary story as a warning, I knew that it wasn’t just a myth, there was something to it. And we lived near Milwaukee, so those serial killer legends weren’t just a rumor, we had Jeffrey Dahmer himself.

Joshua Zeman
Joshua Zeman, filmmaker and legend tripper

Joshua Zeman grew up in New York City’s Staten Island with the legend of “Cropsey”. Cropsey was a deranged mental patient who escaped the Willowbrook mental institution (the largest asylum in the United States at the time and notorious for its foul living conditions) and lived somewhere in the woods on the 375-acre facility. When a kid disappeared in Staten Island, it was Cropsey who was blamed for sneaking out of the forest and abducting the child. The tall tale even inspired two 80s slasher films, The Burning and Madman.

In the late 2000s, long fascinated with horror stories, he decided to make a documentary film about the legend of Cropsey. While doing so, he discovered the kernel of truth that birthed the legend and got rave reviews from Roger Ebert to The New York Times doing so. Cropsey‘s success led him to partner up with filmmaker Rachel Mills  on another film about exploring popular urban myths called Killer Legends where they tackle the murderer with the hook for a hand, poison Halloween candy, why clowns are scary, and the babysitter nightmare where “the call is coming from inside the house!”

I first saw Cropsey on Hulu a couple years back and I was hooked and devoured Killer Legends immediately after. He and Rachel followed that up with the true crime documentary The Killing Season which was an A&E series on the hunt for the Long Island Serial Killer. Our friend Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com knew Josh so he hooked us up and I got to talk to him about his storytelling and his movies as we dive into these topics:

  • What is universal about urban legends across our culture
  • What is the purpose behind giving these nicknames to serial killers?
  • Why are we drawn to these horrific morality plays?
  • What’s the most surprising thing that Josh found in his research of urban legends across America?
  • What is the story behind the world’s loneliest creature, the 52-hertz whale?

Josh Zeman – Twitter

Cropsey – Facebook

Cropsey – On AMAZON

The Killing Season – On AMAZON

The Killing Season – On A&E

Killer Legends – On AMAZON

Killer Legends – ON NETFLIX

The song this week is inspired by Josh’s films, a tune that could work as a spooky soundtrack about finding the truth behind urban myths

Every story’s the same

no matter where you go to

It’s just the names that have  changed

but they can’t hide the truth

when you’re out playing games

deadly eyes are watching you

it’s the hook for a hand

that’ll skin you alive

it’s the white paneled van

beckoning you inside

Brutal is this land

where the innocent die

Every town has a secret
and every bridge has a troll
and every one among us
has a little stain on their soul

202 – Strange Angel: Fact Versus Fiction About Jack Parsons

If you don’t have the CBS streaming service (which you should get for at least the free trial week to binge watch Star Trek: Discovery anyway!) then you might have missed a new show that deals with someone who seems to have been written out of the history of the United States space program and even much paranormal folklore. But there’s not much you need to fictionalize about Jack Parsons’ incredible life in order for the new show Strange Angel to be a completely fascinating  story.

strange angel
Jack Raynor as Jack Parsons

Based on the 2006 book, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons by George Pendle, it’s a dramatization of the renegade rocket scientist in 1930s California. A firm believer in the possibilities of rocketry at a time when most mainstream scientists believed that it was solely in the realm of science fiction, Parsons conducted amateur rocket experiments himself when the Great Depression caused him to have to leave college. He would go on to become one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Today, JPL is part of NASA but it was formed over a decade before when the United States government finally understood the effectiveness of rockets after the Nazis bombarded the British with their V-2s during the Second World War.

The real Jack Parsons

But while Parsons contributions to the development of solid rocket fuel might have been a major scientific accomplishment, he’s also known for something a little more sinister. Indeed, Jack Parsons practiced Aleister Crowley-style sex magick in a  quest to create a Moonchild (named after Crowley’s 1917 book) that would be the human vessel for the Whore of Babylon, who would bring in destruction and rebirth to the world and bring about a new age of love and enlightenment. Yeah, he was pen pals with the Great Beast himself and lead the Los Angeles OTO temple as he practiced Thelemic magic.

Sounds like it might be a good premise for a TV show, eh?

In this episode Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts and Scott Markus from What’sYourGhostStory.com join Wendy and I as we discuss Strange Angel and the real Jack Parsons. You’ll learn:

  • What the Strange Angel TV show gets right and wrong so far
  • What is Aleister Crowley’s Thelema?
  • What is a sigil and  how does it relate to magic?
  • How is ceremonial magic like rocket science?
  • What Iron Maiden song is related to Jack and Aleister
  • What does L. Ron Hubbard, sci-fi author and founder of Scientology, have to do with this?
  • Possible reasons that Jack may have been cursed later in life (paranormal and not so paranormal)
  • What are these weird places in Pasadena like nowadays?
  • Where to go for more information and further reading on Jack

One of the most interesting stories about Jack Parsons is how he, his second wife Marjorie Cameron, and L. Ron Hubbard used to perform a nightly magical ritual called the “Babalon Working” which was a series of ceremonies dedicated to manifesting Babalon’s presence so they could all get it on and impregnate Marjorie with the Moonchild. Jack even wrote a sequel to Aleister Crowley’s Book Of The Law which he said was dictated to him by Babalon herself.

Now there was a theory that Jack and Marjorie believed all that manifestation of Babalon led to bad luck for them in the end and I can believe it! While we were working on this week’s song, I lost my phone, my nice microphone stopped working, and while I was working on integrating quotes directly from Jack’s book that are spoken by Babalon, my Evernote wasn’t saving the notes and the lyrics weren’t recording. It’s probably all just a coincidence and of course, I’m trained to see patterns in these things (particularly after we spent a weekend talking ghost stories, spirit possessions, and more at the Haunted America 2018 conference in Alton, Illinois all weekend) but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a hint. We turned this one into just an instrumental with a guitar lead that will make you think of sex and rockets in the desert. We called it “Babalon Working”…

201 – Lost Over Lake Michigan: The Disappearance of NWA Flight 2501

On June 23rd, 1950 there were 55 passengers and 3 crew on North West Orient Airlines Flight 2501 flying from New York City to Seattle. It was scheduled to stop over in Minneapolis but air traffic control lost communication with the plane shortly after it left Michigan and the plane was never heard from again.

An oil slick was found a few miles from the coast and some “shredded wreckage” and human body parts eventually wound up washing to shore (enough to form a mass grave, even if the identities were never revealed), but nothing else of the plane was ever found. It was the worst aviation disaster in American history up to that point. There was a horrible thunderstorm that night over the lake and it was also a busy night for air traffic.

Could it have been lighting that hit the plane? Could they have flown too low to avoid traffic and crashed into the water? What happened? Valerie van Heest of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association thinks she has some answers to why the plane went down, but without finding the rest of the plane, can never be sure.

Author Clive Cussler (the guy who wrote Sahara, which in my opinion is a fun underrated popcorn movie!) has formed the National Underwater and Marine Agency and has helped fund a yearly search for the past 15 years.

Matthew McConaughey getting ready to dive in himself and look for NWA Flight 2501

However, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Major Donald Keyhoe, one of the original flying saucer authors had claimed to have a government source that it might have been a UFO that the flight crashed into. Indeed, there were dozens of reports across the United States of UFOs that night. Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts has done lots of research on the paranormal possibilities here. As we reach the 68th anniversary and the search begins again, was the fuselage removed because there was something that we weren’t supposed to find? In this episode, we dig in deep.

And since we’re discussing one of Lake Michigan’s greatest disappearances, we thought we’d use a Sunspot song this week about one of our own great disappearances. In 2002, we played some shows with a band in San Antonio and Austin, Texas called Racketbox. They were all military guys  from Fort Hood in Killeen and played loud fun in-your-face punk rock. Anyway, their guitarist was mysteriously only known as Mr. Foff. That’s it. The only thing we could find on Racketbox was an incomplete Purevolume profile and even then it only listed a guitar player as Michael Jackson (and they said it was THE Michael Jackson, who was still alive in 2002).

From sharing Jack Daniels with him in his band van to seeing him rock out onstage, we never had a chance to learn his real name but we spent a lot of meaningful time with this Texas Wildman, even partying with him and his band members until the wee hours of the morning as 2002 passed into 2003 at some afterbar in Austin where it was impossible to find a cab and these were the days before GPS and Uber anyway. We went back to Wisconsin and in March the Iraq War started (on a night we were playing in Springfield, Illinois was when the Shock and Awe campaign began). Next time we went back to Texas was in May and we couldn’t find anything more on Racketbox or Mr. Foff. Four years later, we wrote a song about him on our album Neanderthal. 

Good night, Mr. Foff. Wherever you are.

Another night, 12 other $h!tt* bands,
Nothing to do, just sitting on our hands.

Then somebody new came into town,
He got us drunk, yeah, he turned the beat around.

And I’d like to know what happened to you Mr. Foff,
Did you leave the band? Do you still drink in the van?
And I’m happy to say I met you that day, Mr Foff,
Will we ever meet again?

Illustrated man, the ink on his skin tells the tale.
Teen runaway, he’s done some time in jail.

Even though the show was pretty lame,
He earned our respect, but we never knew his real name.

And I’d like to know what happened to you Mr. Foff,
Did you leave the band? Do you still drink in the van?
And I’m happy to say I met you that day, Mr Foff,
Will we ever meet again?

And I’d like to know what happened to you Mr. Foff,
Did you leave the band? Do you still drink in the van?
And I’m happy to say I met you that day, Mr Foff,
Will we ever meet again?

(What happened to you, Mr. Foff?)
I’d like to know what happened to you, Mr. Foff.
I’m so glad we met that day, Mr. Foff.
With that long black hair and that bada$$ leather jacket,
You’re my man,
You’re my man,
You’re my man with Jack in the van,
Mr. Foff.

200 – When The Going Gets Weird: Our First 199 Paranormal Adventures

199 episodes of See You On The Other Side. 118 new songs specifically written for the show.  102 interviews. We’ve come a long way, baby. We thought it was time to sit down and talk about some of our favorite moments from the past three and a half years of podcasting into the paranormal

Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins Wendy Lynn and I as we talk about the things that have affected us the most after our first 199 podcasts.

  • What’s been the biggest surprise?
  • What were our favorite interviews??
  • How have our own views on the paranormal changed?
  • What were our favorite paranormal events and conventions?

You can relive some of our favorite episodes that we reference in the podcast here:

The song this week is based on that classic Hunter S. Thompson quote, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Now of course the father of gonzo journalism meant a lot of different things with that statement, but I take it to mean that when you enter an unknown situation, somewhere without precedent or pre-established rules… that’s where you can make your mark. That’s the inspiration behind our podcast as well. Here’s Sunspot with “When The Going Gets Weird”.

It’s the moment it all changes
it’s a vision for the blind
a shattering and staggering
cracking open your mind
Take the red pill and go deeper
inexorability
cross the line in the sand
for  a fait accompli
Break the kettles, sink the boats
at the bridges that you burn
And when the die is cast
you’re at the point of no return.
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
So you’re not like everyone else
in case of boredom break the glass
you’ll find you’re no longer welcome
to the place that you’re never going back
Take the red pill and go deeper
inexorability
cross the line in the sand
to find a fait accompli
Break the kettles, sink the boats
at the bridges that you burn
And when the die is cast
you’re at the point of no return.
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird
When the going gets weird

199 – The Rock & Roll Twilight Zone: Musical Mysteries with Richard Syrett

Richard Syrett didn’t start off being a weirdo, he was a radio host who stumbled onto a Sunday night talk show in Toronto whose audience shot through the roof when they broached paranormal topics (much like Art Bell and the original Coast to Coast AM did, and now Richard is a frequent guest host of Coast to Coast as well!)

But that shift proved auspicious, because Richard Syrett has been tackling the strange and unusual each week on Canadian radio with The Conspiracy Show and that even lead to four seasons of a television program as well on Vision TV.

Richard SyrettBut just because Richard Syrett waited some time in his profession career to start exploring the paranormal, doesn’t mean that he hasn’t felt that cold strange grip of the strange. He was close with with rock n’ roll author R. Gary Patterson who had spent decades exploring musical mysteries and the dark side of rock n’ roll pop culture. Gary was a frequent guest on The Conspiracy Show and Richard and Gary were planning to work together on their program when Gary passed away in 2017. Richard goes into detail on his own strange encounter with what might have been R. Gary Patterson’s ghost in our conversation!

Syrett’s new show is called The Rock & Roll Twilight Zone and you can hear it on Chris Jericho’s Podcast One network. It is a deep dive into some of Rock’s greatest mysteries and you’re bound to hear some conspiracies and strange stories that you’ve never heard before. I’ve been listening to it all week an it’s a lot of fun.

In this interview, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts joins Richard and I in discussing some of the great topics that he’s been covering on The Rock & Roll Twilight Zone:

  • Was Elvis murdered?
  • How Jim Morrison could have faked his own death
  • Robert Johnson’s deal with the Devil and the curse of the Crossroads

The song this week is called “Rock & Roll Heaven” but it’s not quite as hagiographic as the Righteous Brothers’ 70s’ song of the same name. While the “live fast, die young” aesthetic of the 60s and 70s rock stars certainly contributed to their mythological stature, it’s more sad than anything else. Would you sacrifice decades of your life (even if it’s the old crappy part) to amplify your legacy? Are you good enough to get into “Rock & Roll Heaven”?

When I die will I go to Rock & Roll Heaven?
Am I good, am I good enough to get into Rock & Roll Heaven?
Where the high lasts forever, all the amps go to eleven
When I die I wanna go to Rock & Roll Heaven.

Is there a chart in the skies for all your
albums that went gold?
Is that your consolation prize
because you’ll never grow old?

When I die (when I die) will I go (will I go) to Rock & Roll Heaven?
(to Rock & Roll Heaven)
Am I good (am I good), am I good enough (good enough) to get into Rock & Roll Heaven?
(to get into Rock & Roll Heaven)
Where the high lasts forever, the amps go to eleven
(all the amps go to eleven)
When I die (when I die) I wanna go (wanna go) to Rock & Roll Heaven.

Is there a chart in the skies for all your
albums that went gold?
Is that your consolation prize
because you’ll never grow old?

When I die (when I die) will I go (will I go) to Rock & Roll Heaven?
(to Rock n’ Roll Heaven)
When I die (when I die) I wanna go (wanna go) to Rock & Roll Heaven.

198 – The Mandela Effect: False Memories or Parallel Universes?

The Mandela Effect was first coined as a term in 2010 when paranormal consultant Fiona Broome discovered that she met many people who believed that South African freedom fighter had died in prison in the 1970s and had not survived to eventually be freed an made the leader of the country in the 1990s.

Usually we would just attribute this strange misremembering of history to the whole “human beings are idiots” thing, but since its initial discovery was by someone involved in the paranormal, people started talking about how maybe this might be something more.

One of the first theories was that it’s the result of parallel universes, where there are an infinite number of universes and they can be created every time a different decision is made. People are just “remembering” a different universe.

Another idea is that we’re living in a computer simulation like The Matrix and every time we misremember something it’s actually the programming of the simulation that can be changed.  Much like in the movie, they described deja vu as a “glitch in The Matrix”. There is some evidence that we might be living in a computer simulation, but it’s all just conjecture right now.

We discussed how memories can be easily falsified in episode 55 about alien abductions, past life regression, and satanic ritual abuse, but The Mandela Effect has certainly consumed plenty of oxygen in the paranormal space over the past couple of years. Probably because it’s a fun way of playing “remember when” and we can discuss our childhoods and how faulty actually all of our memories actually are.

The very first time that I learned about the malleability of memory was in a Different Strokes episode. It’s based on the classic Kurosawa film Rashomon (if you would like to know how influential the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa is, just read this article on how George Lucas was incredibly influenced by the movie The Hidden Fortress in his creation of Star Wars.) Rashomon is a about a trial that shows the same crime happening from several people’s perspectives and how those memories of the same event are different from person to person. Different Strokes even called their episode “Rashomon II”!

In this episode we go over some of the most compelling examples of The Mandela Effect including:

  • Berenstain Bears vs. Berenstein Bears (the original that blew most people’s minds!)
  • Fruit Loops vs Froot Loops (and Fruit Loup Garou, the psychedelic werewolf!)
  • Field of Dreams‘ most famous line
  • “Luke, I am your father.”
  • C-3PO’s silver leg

This week’s song is actually one of our oldest recorded Sunspot tracks. It’s about nostalgia and how nice it is to live in the past sometimes, even when that past might be something you invented for yourself. But in the end, you have to come back to the real world, even if you wished you’d made different choices in your past and feel left behind. The song is called “Pretend”.

I think I lost you along the road,
because I didn’t know how to grow up.
Maybe that’s why I feel so old,
my life flashes before my eyes.
Maybe we could talk over a beer,
about the way we think things ought to be.
We could try to remember how we got here,
and whatever, and whatever became of me.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

And I think I missed the train,
well, I guess I should have bought a ticket.
I don’t think I ever changed,
time slips by and I’m still the same.
We were running hand in hand,
I didn’t know you’d go so fast.
That’s why I just don’t understand,
how you reached your destination and I’m still living in the past.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

I’m the last one standing here.
Just a relic in the museum of our lives.
I’ll be waiting when you come back.
I’ll be the one who’s just a step,
just a step behind the times.

Wouldn’t it be fun to pretend,
that the Earth was round,
and we were sixteen again?
We could drive all night,
until the sun comes up my friend,
and I’ll listen for your name in the wind.

197 – The Octopus from Outer Space: Panspermia and Ancient Aliens

Our paranormal universe was all abuzz this week when a paper signed by 33 scientists called “The Cambrian Explosion: Terrestrial or Cosmic” suggested that not only the incredible biodiversity of life that burst forth in that ear was because Earth was being blitzed by massive clouds of organic molecules from space, but it presented the theory that the octopus might have come to Earth as frozen eggs cryopreserved in some celestial body that landed in the ocean.

I dunno why anyone thinks they’re aliens…

Their specialties like camouflage flexible bodies appear suddenly in the evolutionary record 270 million years ago, so much so that scientists suggested that they were too advanced for the time they developed in. They suggest that it is a possibility that they developed on another planet and then some eggs somehow made it to earth.

They have personalities, can use tools, learn by watching others, treat humans that they know differently than humans that they don’t, and are generally considered the most intelligent of any of the invertebrates. Author Peter Godfrey-Smith wrote a book on those flex-y little buggers and said:

“If we can make contact with cephalopods as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over.”

Awwww, what a cute little moss piglet!

So, how is that even possible? Space is a vacuum and it’s like, really frickin’ cold, man. Whenever I see it in movies, people can only last like 30 seconds out there before their head blows up or their eyes bug out. How would anything survive out there? Well, we can’t. But microbes and bacteria can. And there’s a microscopic creature called a tardigrade (or a water bear or also, a <barf> moss piglet) that can survive in a vacuum for up to 10 days and hibernate in the freeze and be revived after thirty years!

The theory that life on Earth might have come from outer space is called Panspermia which means “seeds everywhere”. Microbes picked up as asteroids bang into other planets and then crash into other planets, like ours. It’s a theory that was first suggested in the 1970s (and one of those proponents was also a signer on the recent “octopi from space” study) and it’s plausible. If microbes can live in space, maybe the building blocks of life on Earth crash-landed here a billion years ago to evolve into us.

Now, that idea doesn’t even sound that outrageous. It’s still just evolution, even if the original microbes that kicked it into full gear were from another planet, but Hollywood of course has moved that to the next level. Dozens of movies and TV shows now have posited that our evolution was directed by some extraterrestrial intelligence. From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Stargate to Prometheus to my personal favorite, Five Million Years To Earth, the idea that little green men have been messing with us has been around for decades.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • Battlestar Galactica relate to Mormonism
  • The correct way we should all be pronouncing the title of Chariots of the Gods?
  • Why octopi probably aren’t actually from space
  • Did Charles Fort believe in ancient aliens?
  • What does the NASA “Planetary Protection Officer” do?
  • How humanity is planning on testing our own Panspermia theories on other planets

In this episode we talk about the classic British serial Quatermass and the Pit that became the Hammer Horror classic film, Five Million Years to Earth, so for this episode we’re breaking out one of our oldest tracks. We recorded this track on our first trip to a recording studio all the way back in the mid-90s (which shows how long we’ve been writing songs with paranormal influences!)  Here is Sunspot with the very rare track (only on our original demotape!), “Bleed Me Free”!

I’ve got a dirty little secret,
I’m hiding right inside your purse.
I am falling down a deep pit,
Five million years to earth.
I know that it’s not easy for you,
But don’t think that you’re easy on me.
One thousand years in Purgatory,
Might help me bleed it out.

Everybody down.

I’m in a brain-dead nightmare,
Living both sides of a split-screen.
I’ve washed my hands over and over,
But they are still not clean.
I lost equilibrium,
Between purity and vice.
One thousand fishhooks in my eyes,
might help me bleed it out.

Everybody down.

Humours out of balance,
A tortured sanguine frenzy.
Pain is just another addiction,
It can never bleed me free.
Joined at the hip with a psychopath,
Looking in from another reality.
I gave myself a lobotomy,
But only the truth can bleed me free.

Everybody down.

I know that it’s not easy for you,
But don’t think that you’re easy on me.
One thousand years in Purgatory,
Might help me bleed it out.

Everybody down.

196 – Frankenstein: Mary Shelley’s Modern Prometheus Celebrates 200 Years of Terror

Mary Shelley was 18 years old when she dreamed up the idea of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In the villa that Lord Byron was renting during June of 1816. It was the Year Without a Summer, caused by a massive volcano a half a world away that shot so much ash into the air, crops were ruined and temperatures dropped across the Northern Hemisphere. So, stuck inside, Byron challenged his guests to come up with a ghost story.

That night not only gave birth to the first modern science fiction novel through Shelley’s work, which was eventually published anonymously in 1818, but also to the seminal vampire tale by another one of the guests, The Vampyre by John Polidori. You can see a heavily fictionalized account of this in the 80s movie Gothic, directed by Ken Russell who was no stranger to paranormal films, having also directed The Devils, Lair of the White Worm, and even a biography of Rudolf Valentino (written by paranormal author Brad Steiger.)

Mary Shelley and her cohorts like Lord Byron as well as her husband Percy Shelley and stepsister Claire Claremont were proto-Hippie Romantics who believed in free love and a radical upending of the English aristocracy. Basically they were artists who liked to party and get it on and they had the money to do it. Claire and Mary traveled with Percy throughout Europe and Percy’s friends joked that he had two wives. But Claire was really in love with Lord Byron who eventually got her pregnant, but wanted no part of the child’s life. So, these guys were amazing poets, but not so hot on commitment.

So now, we’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publishing of her amazing debut novel. The hubris of a brilliant scientist who dreamed of cheating death and is undone by his own creation seems as potent of a message now as it was when she wrote it. We’ve had all kinds of Frankenstein’s Monsters in that time from Christoper Lee to Boris Karloff’s defining take.  However Shelley’s creation wasn’t the dumb character from the Universal monster movies, spoofed by sketches such as this Phil Hartman Frankenstein’s Monster character. He was an erudite and well-spoken creature who quoted Milton’s Paradise Lost to his creator.

Of course, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder make fun of this trope in their version, Young Frankenstein (or should I say Fronk-en-shteen?) during the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” sequence where Peter Boyle’s monster hilariously barely gets the vowels out.

Kenneth Branagh’s version with Robert DeNiro as the creature gets him speaking a little more intelligently, but it’s all mumbled by one of America’s greatest living actors. Speaking of hubris, though, Branagh was high on great reviews  in the early 90s though and it seems more like he was more interested in the love scenes with Helena Bonham Carter than doing a more authentic take on the monster movie. There are some great scares though and at least he keeps the Arctic framing story from the novel. I did love it when I was 17.

Still there’s something about the universality of the story that keeps Hollywood coming back (well, besides the fact that it’s a known property in the public domain…) Who doesn’t want to cheat death? Shelley was inspired by real-life Frankensteins who were convinced that if they could understand the power of electricity that they could restore life to a corpse.

Luigi Galvani (the guy who we get the word “galvanize” from) would place electrodes in the body of dead frogs, jolt a current through it, and then watch the legs twitch. He was convinced he was looking at the life energy of the creature and that electricity was the key,

His nephew Giovanni Aldini took it a step farther and would do this with larger animals. He even took the show on the road and crowds were amazed when a recently dead ox would open its mouth or its eyes. He eventually performed the experiments on recently deceased humans as well.

There’s a great example of that in Frankenstein: The True Story from the early 70s. Of course, it once again bastardizes much of Shelley’s novel, but it’s got a great sequence with a severed arm that scared the Bejeezus out of me as a boy.

Mary Shelley herself was no stranger to death. By the time she published Frankenstein, she might have only been twenty but she had lost three children with Percy Shelley. One can see where the fantasy of being able to cheat the great equalizer would be attractive.

The tale of the story’s creation is almost as famous as the creation itself. In the 1980s there were at least two other movies than Gothic that fictionalized that summer ghost story session on Lake Geneva (including one with Hugh Grant and one with Eric Stoltz!)

And of course, there’s a new Mary Shelley film coming out that dispenses with the titular pleasantries and just names the movie after the woman herself, Mary Shelley. So now we have a Twenty-First Century retelling of the how the monster that became Frankenstein was born and instead of a leading man (like Hugh Grant or Gabriel Byrne) taking the center stage, we’re getting it from her perspective.

While some of the most wonderful art was birthed out of the Romantic Movement, the private lives of these creators were sordid and messy, no matter what the ideals of free love preached. That’s the problem with relationships, they get complicated. This week’s song is inspired by complicated relationships and the fight for affection, attention, and loyalty. Here’s the Sunspot track, “Three Corners”.

You can’t make it on your own,
so you take away my only friend,
I see the knife that you’re pointing at my back,
trying to take away my only friend,
I ever had.

Reach for your guns.
I’m ready for war.
Fight to the death,
let’s settle the score.
Try to take me down,
I’ll tear out your heart.
Fight to the death,
so you won’t hurt me no more.

I say my love is stronger than you’ve ever known,
I say you’lll understand after you are gone.
I say that friendship lies in more than just words,
love lies in jealousy and corners never heard.

You say this is just a game.
Tell me that when I’m tearing out your heart,
you raise an axe when my head is on the block,
trying to take away the only friend I ever had.

Reach for your guns.
I’m ready for war.
Fight to the death,
let’s settle the score.
Try to take me down,
I’ll tear out your heart.
Fight to the death,
so you won’t hurt me no more.

I say my love is stronger than you’ve ever known,
I say you’ll understand after you are gone.
I say that friendship lies in more than just words,
our circle has three corners and I know how much it hurts.