Category Archives: Podcast

231 – The Man Who Knew Too Much: UFOs, Conspiracies, and Murder

This week, there was a plethora of exciting UFO news (well, probably as exciting as we’re going to get until they finally land in our backyard) so we wanted to bring back one of our favorite guests, [Robbie Graham]. Robbie authored the fascinating and insightful book, Silver Screen Saucers as well as editing UFOs: Reframing The Debate, which is one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject of the last decade. Wendy and I talked with Robbie and Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com joins us again for the discussion.

Starting out, we had to talk to Robbie about what it was like being on the History Channel juggernaut, Ancient Aliens! He was on the latest episode and he told us what it was like being brought into the study of a millionaire’s home (to make it look a little more intellectual) as well as being remotely directed in London over the Internet from Los Angeles.

Robbie on Ancient Aliens

But just in the news this week, we had to discuss the new article about former Nevada senator Harry Reid coming out of retirement to lobby for more investigation into military reports of UFOs. Roll Call is not your normal UFO publication, it’s a political blog, so it’s always nice to see something weird in there. But why does Harry Reid care so much and why now? The best quote of the entire article is when he talks about Area 51.

“Oh sure, I’ve been to Area 51. I know Area 51. I don’t know if I should say many times, but lots and lots of times. I know Area 51 quite well, I know what they’ve done there,” said Reid. “I don’t know in recent years, of course, but I know what went on there.”

What went on there, Harry, for God’s sakes, what went on there?

But that brings up a bigger point, the existence of extraterrestrials is in the news more than ever. Since the New York Times article in 2017, aliens have snuck more and more in the news, from the latest fast radio bursts from space to the strange Rama-like space objet Oumuamua. And the go-to guy for astronomer credibility seems to be Harvard Professor, Avi Loeb. Now this guy is no slouch when it comes to academic credentials, but he sure is talking about aliens a lot. Is that because they’re getting us ready for disclosure?!

Party On Wayne

More likely, they’re just in it for the clicks. Those stories get shared more than any other and in a quickly shrinking media landscape, views mean money.

But another story that came out this week that I was particularly interested in was the official pronouncement this last week that conspiracy theorist Max Spiers who passed away in Poland mysteriously in 2016, actually died of a drug overdose.

Max Spiers
Max Spiers

It was a tragic end for a young guy (well, kinda young, I would be less than a month older than him, so it hits home for me) and the salacious news stories were filled with tales of cryptic messages sent to his mother and girlfriend in the UK as well as descriptions of him vomiting black bile before expiring. It didn’t help that his friends were telling people that extraterrestrials were mind controlling his behavior. I’m all for a good conspiracy theory and I fully understand that our government isn’t afraid to assassinate people but was a guy who talked about Nazi bases on the moon really getting too close to the truth?

Fascinatingly, that leads to a story from Robbie about how he once was paranoid about his phones being bugged and that he might have been being watched by the CIA while he was investigating another mysterious death, that of Hollywood screenwriter, Gary Devore. First of all, Devore wrote Timecop, the greatest of all Jean-Claude Van Damme films, so we all owe him at least a tiny bit of gratitude for that.

But in the mid-90s, Devore was working on a screenplay about the 1989 U.S. Invasion of Panama. That’s the one that was ordered by former CIA director, George H.W. Bush to capture former CIA operative Manuel Noriega.  My favorite part of the whole invasion (if one can have a favorite part of something that killed 23 US soldiers, 150 Panamanian soldiers, and over 500 Panamanian civilians) is that the U.S. military famously played “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister at an earsplitting volume outside the Vatican Embassy, where Noriega had holed up after being driven from the Capitol.

Could Dee Snider have been in the CIA as well?

While Devore disappeared in 1997, he was on his way to deliver a copy of his latest script, the one about the “real reason” for the  Panama invasion. He never made it and a year later they found his Ford Explorer at the bottom of a California aqueduct. His body was there, but strangely his hands and the script were both missing.

Robbie became obsessed with the case and along with his colleague, Dr. Matthew Alford, they authored an article in The Guardian newspaper talking about Hollywood and the CIA and specifically talking about Gary Devore. Was Robbie getting too close to the truth? Well, in 2012, CIA operative Chase Brandon, who knew Devore well  because he was the CIA liaison to Hollywood, wrote a book called The Cryptos Conundrum. It’s supposedly fiction, but he makes a lot of claims (particularly about Roswell) and in one of the  “fictional scenarios” makes up an investigative journalist who starts exposing too many of the CIA’s plans and then mysteriously suffers a fatal heart attack. The name of this fictional journalist? Robert Graham.

THAT’S $%^ING NUTS. You can read the passages right here in the Google Book version of The Cryptos Conundrum. It’s not really very subtle.

Alford went on to make a documentary about the case in 2014 called The Writer With No Hands.

And speaking of Hollywood, Scott’s favorite story this week is the upcoming 61st anniversary of the Black Dahlia murder, where poor Elizabeth Short was found naked, mutilated and cut in half. It became one of Tinseltown’s most famous and shocking unsolved cases. Los Angeles homicide detective Steve Hodel believes that the killer was his own father(!), Dr. George Hodel, and the new TNT series I Am The Night, will be based on Hodel’s theories. Steve Hodel has also implied that his father was the Zodiac Killer. Happy Father’s Day, yikes!

For this week’s song, we were thinking about the tragedy of Max Spiers’ death and also Robbie’s own story of possibly being surveilled by an intelligence agency while investigating a cover-up. Whether or not you believe in conspiracy theories, from Q Anon to secret supersoldiers, our intelligence agencies wield a scary amount of unchecked power. While a majority of their actions might be in the service of protecting us, is the truth worth getting in their crosshairs?

You wear the truth like a tattoo
You look over your shoulder is there someone right behind you?

Walking too close to the Left Hand Path
Living with a target on your back.

Whispers in the night are beckoning,
to a black magic reckoning,
hidden hands are pulling strings,
and watching everything.
Steer clear of the dangerous kind
a death warrant has been signed.
Don’t fall in love with
The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Just like in Catch-22
Just cuz you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not out for you.

Just what will you give up for the truth?
Even if it ends up killing you.

Whispers in the night are beckoning,
to a black magic reckoning,
hidden hands are pulling strings,
and watching everything.
Steer clear of the dangerous kind
a death warrant has been signed.
Don’t fall in love with
The Man Who Knew Too Much.

230 – Curses And Pranks: From The Rendlesham Incident To The Lost Franklin Expedition

We’re back for another round of paranormal discussion this week as we focus on our favorite new stories in the past week. Once again, Wendy and I are joined by Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com and Tea Krulos, Milwaukee ghost tour guide as well as the author of books like Heroes In The Night, Monster Hunters, and the upcoming Apocalypse Any Day Now.

This last week I couldn’t stop thinking about “The Franklin Curse”, which was in the Canadian news right before the New Year. If you haven’t heard of Franklin’s Lost Expedition, it was a British expedition to find the Northwest Passage (a trade route through the Arctic where Europeans could sail to Asia without having to go under South America because the Panama Canal wasn’t built yet) launched in 1845. There were two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and they were both fitted with state of the art technology. It was supposed to be an easy mission beaus there were less than 300-some miles of Arctic coast to chart. But they disappeared and several expeditions were sent out to find what happened. There was even a bounty of Twenty Thousand Pounds (worth a hundred thousand US dollars at the time) to find them. The local Inuit people had contact with the explorers and said that the crew had resorted to cannibalism by the end, but the ships and most of the bodies were never found.

In 2007, Dan Simmons wrote a fictionalized version of the events called The Terror and AMC released a TV version of it in 2018. Interestingly enough, HMS Erebus was discovered in 2014 by accident and HMS Terror was found in 2016. The local Nunavut people who live near the shipwrecks on King William Island have long felt that the island has had spirits or “invisible people” and that the disturbing of the wrecks has disturbed those spirits. Some of the locals have blamed six deaths that happened during a two-week period in August in their small community of Gjoa Haven on the curse of the Franklin. Earlier this year, Inuit elders went to the site of the wreckage to bless it, in hopes the spirits would be appeased.

Wendy was excited to share the latest news of the Rendlesham Forest Incident, often called Britain’s Roswell. We were first introduced to this story at the Paradigm Symposium by the brilliant Peter Robbins who wrote the book Left At East Gate with the now-controversial Larry Warren. But in the original incident, several US servicemen had seen strange lights in the sky descending towards the Rendlesham Forest over a period of nights in 1980. When they went to go explore the area they saw the lights land, they found burn marks on nearby trees and indentations in the ground in a triangular pattern, they even called the police about it.

Since then, the incident has been hotly debated, and Peter Robbins’ book goes into detail about missing time, underground bases, and government conspiracies. But just a week ago, researcher Dr. David Clarke had claimed that he was told the incident was just a prank played by British SAS commandos on their American counterparts. That’s backed up a little by a story from our friend C.E. Martin’s book, Stranger Than Fiction, where he recalls meeting a serviceman who was stationed at the air force base and talked about an area of the forest where electrical stuff didn’t work and cars didn’t start, they used to take people out there and prank them. So, that culture did exist on the base at the time! Is Clarke’s story true? Well, that’s another one we’ll be debating for a long time. We discuss Bobby Mackey’s Music World in this segment as well and here’s a link to our episode with their official paranormal investigation team.

15251192137_380081b617_bTea talks to us about a New Year’s ritual he started doing last year and that’s watching the live unveiling of the Doomsday Clock. The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to warn humanity about how close we are to destroying the planet through our own technology and hubris. While the danger used to be mostly nuclear war, they’ve included things like climate change in their determination. The closest it’s ever been is Two Minutes To Midnight, first in 1953 after the US and the Soviets both tested thermonuclear weapons for the first time and then again in 2018 mainly because they were shocked by the rhetoric of President Trump toward North Korea and what they consider to be an insufficient response to the temperatures changing throughout the world. Will 2019 bring us closer or further away from manmade destruction? Tea will let us know when it happens. And hey, here’s to hopinh we don’t blow ourselves up! Also, don’t forget that Iron Maiden wrote one of their best songs about The Doomsday Clock as well!

Also, Tea mentions that Josh Gates is going to be in Milwaukee at the end of January and he’s going (along with our frequent co-host Allison Jornlin from MilwaukeeGhosts.com) and hoping they can convince Josh Gates to finish looking for one of the prizes from the 1980s treasure hunt book, The Secret. That’s a puzzle book combining 12 short verses and 12 fantasy paintings. You would take the painting with a verse and try to determing the clues that would lead you to one of twelve boxes buried in various parks around North America. Each box contained a key that could be redeemed for a jewel worth $1,000. The author died in a car crash in 2005 and only 2 of the boxes have been found. So Josh Gates did a whole Expedition Unknown on the online braintrust that has been working on it for several years. Image 10 contains a clue that’s supposed to lead people to a park by Mliwaukee’s City Hall and Gates almost started digging there, but gave up because of the weather while they were recording the show. Tea is going to grab him and make him finish the job!

d57Finally, Scott talks about some new horror movie news that are based on real-life strangeness. One is the trailer for Followed which is about a YouTuber (they caller her a vlogger, but that word is kinda unwieldy) who decides to stay in a hotel. It’s probably based on the sad story of Elisha Lam, a young woman from Vancouver who was visiting Los Angeles and was seen acting strangely on security camera footage from the Cecil Hotel (former home of Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker). Two weeks later, they found her body in the water tank on the roof and still have no idea how she got there.

He also talks a little bit about the new trailer for The Haunting of Sharon Tate starring Hilary Duff. This new film beats Quentin Tarantino’s Charles Manson film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood out by a few months, but it’s also going to focus more on the strange premonition of death that murder victim Sharon Tate had a couple years before her and her friends were attacked by the Manson Family in a crime that would be immortalized for its strangeness and brutality. 

One of the things that we talked about this week was the culture war between believers and skeptics, between the political Left and the political Right, between hardcore atheists and fundamentalists. This conflict has seemed to progress from just disagreeing about dogma and particular points of belief to “cancel culture”, the idea that if someone believes something you find offensive or has done something you don’t like, you want to take away their means of making a living.

It’s a scorched earth total war tactic that has become more and more popular in the world of social media (particularly in a space where hot takes are welcomed, like Twitter.) It’s no longer enough to “agree to disagree”, the other side is to be shunned and disrespected. There is no room for debate or discussion, you’re either with us or against us. We see this in the paranormal world all the time between the various factions of ghost hunters, UFOlogists, etc… And I guess, I don’t feel that’s very conducive to finding the truth, because things aren’t usually as absolute or black and white as we’d like them to be. Anyway, that’s the idea behind this week’s Sunspot song, “Us Vs. Them”

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

It’s total war and
you gotta make a stand
you plant your flag and fight, down to the last man.

There is no middle
there is no excuse
there is no compromise
and there is no truce

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

You’re either with us or against us
you’re on or off of the team
We don’t need to talk or negotiate with the enemy

no we don’t make no deals
we don’t cross the line
we made our choice, we picked our side , and now we’re ride or die.

Us versus them
right versus wrong
Oh won’t you tell me
just what side you’re on.

229 – Ringing Out The Old: Favorite Paranormal Stories of 2018

Our New Year’s Resolution for 2018 was to hold ourselves to a higher standard of paranormal investigation. Did we do so? Well, we hope so! We hope we gave you guys a lot to think about these past 52 episodes and hopefully stretched your mind but not your credulity.

So, as we ring out the old of 2018, we wanted to talk about some of our favorite paranormal things of 2018. What exactly did we think was the most interesting. Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts and Scott Markus from WhatsYourGhostStory.com join Wendy and I for a discussion of our favorite paranormal stuff from the year.

Wendy particularly enjoyed Josh Gates’ 4-part series, Expedition Unknown: Search for the Afterlife. In fact, here’s a particular scene with psychic Chip Coffey at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery that she really enjoyed.

Scott was excited about the idea of “timebleeds” that we might actually be haunting ourselves, that we’re seeing glimpses and hearing sounds not of dead people, but of people living in another time and somehow it’s bleeding through into our present. It’s a theory that he heard from Grant Wilson from SyFy’s Ghost Hunters talk about earlier this year as well as a remarkable story from Michigan supernatural shamus John Tenney and it captured his imagination.

It’s something that we discussed in our episode on precognition. According to the Block Universe Theory of Spacetime, the past, present, and future have already happened. Everything is actually happening at once, we are just experiencing it in a linear manner. When we see a ghost, we might be seeing someone who occupies that same space, but is living in a different time.

Allison’s favorite story of the year is the strange space object Oumumua, what astronomers originally thought was a comet about the size of the Empire State Building ended up having several unusual characteristics, but it didn’t have the regular comet tail of debris and it exhibited acceleration when it shouldn’t have. When a Harvard professor released a paper saying we should consider the proposition that it’s not just a space rock, but that it might be a craft of alien origin, the world sat up and listened.

Of course, Allison wanted to talk about it because she just visited the observatory in Hawaii that discovered it (hence the name Oumumua which means “messenger from the past”) but the reason she was most excited about it is because it helped bring respectability to the idea of talking about aliens. Usually as soon as you bring up UFOs you’re going to turn scientists off, but here’s the rub from the researcher that wrote the paper:

“The point of doing science is not to have a prejudice,” he says. “A prejudice is based on the experience of the past, but if you want to allow yourself to make discoveries, then the future will not be the same as the past.”

Theoretical physicist Avi Loeb 

And to that we say, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.

Allison’s pic from the observatory
Wendy went there too, you’re so high up, you’re above the clouds, damn!

Okay, what was my favorite of the year? In 2018, tulpas blew my mind. The whole idea that our beliefs could affect reality so much, we could actually be creating the things that we see. Sure, I had heard of the concept before, and Alexandra David Neel’s famous story of seeing one in action in the mountains of Tibet, but I didn’t really buy it.

Then we did a whole podcast on Santa Claus sightings and we talked to Nick Redfern about how people are seeing the Slenderman in real life (and how the tragic stabbings that occurred in Waukesha, Wisconsin were the day AFTER they talked about it on Coast To Coast AM!) C’mon guys, this is exactly the plot of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.

I never really entertained the possibility of it, but then Seth Breedlove’s The Bray Road Beast movie also discusses the idea that the beast wasn’t a cryptid, but something called forth through satanic rituals in the area. I witnessed the scene of at least two of those Satanic rituals not that far away from Bray Road and I just thought it was silly. Really, just stupid kids who listened to the wrong heavy metal records. But after talking to Dean Radin about his book, Real Magic, things started clicking.

Maybe there is something to these paranormal sightings and we’re creating them ourselves through the power of belief. That was something I hadn’t considered before (I’ve been a fairly hardcore materialist for most of my life) and it’s a road that I want to explore much more in 2019.

2018 was the Year Of The Dog in the Chinese Zodiac and for a lot of people it was foretold to be an unlucky one. This week’s song is all about the emotions of going through a rough patch in your life or relationship and coming out the other side. Some years are awesome, some are learning experiences, and sometimes you’re just glad they’re over. Here is Sunspot with “Year Of The Dog”.

When the screaming is over and the crying is done,
and we’ve forgotten every promise that we broke.
When there was nothing left to get mad at, the past was always there.
To get pissed at the punchlines of all our inside jokes.

And when the whiskey turned us sour,
yeah we could always blame each other
And when the anger turned to sadness,
hating you was easier than hating myself,
yeah hating you was easier than hating myself.

Welcome to the worst year of your life,
I almost can’t believe we made it out,
Screaming and crying, drinking and fighting,
This past life is one I can live without,

The year our conversation almost turned to monologue
good riddance to the Year of the Dog
good riddance to the Year of the Dog.

I might come back as a bug,
for the stupid things I’ve done,
Or maybe I might not come back at all.
But I’m trying to learn the lessons of all my failed attempts,
I want you to know I’m an older soul,
and we’ll never do that again

And when the whiskey turned us sour,
we could always blame each other, yeah.
And when the anger turned to sadness,
hating you was easier than hating myself,
hating you was easier than hating myself.

Welcome to the worst year of your life,
I almost can’t believe we made it out,
Screaming and crying, drinking and fighting,
This past life is one I can live without,

When our story almost turned from romance to epilogue
good riddance to the Year of the Dog
good riddance to the Year of the Dog.

228 – Spirits From The Edge Of The World: Shamanism and the Ulchi

So what exactly is a Shaman? A quick explanation would be that it is someone who can interact with a spirit world that is surrounding us, but we usually cannot see, an intermediary between us and the spirits who can help us heal and ask for their wisdom.

Our usual Western idea is of some kind of “Medicine Man”, a witch doctor taking hallucinogenics and shaking sticks at the sky. Sure, he might know some natural herbal remedies, but it’s just primitive superstition. In our materialist society, if we can’t scientifically explain something, it must not be real. Nothing was more materialist than the atheism of the USSR and when they attempted to “Sovietize” the indigenous Siberian population, they specifically went after the Shamans.

Ulchi Woman. Ulchsky District, Khabarovsk Krai, Far East, Siberia. © Alexander Khimushin / The World In Faces

The Ulchi People have been living in Far Eastern Russia for at least eight thousand years in one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures, in fact they speak the language that we get the word “Shaman” from. They are animists who find spirits in the whole world, from animals to people, from rocks to mountains. These spirits are constantly watching and judging us. Their Shamanic tradition has had millennia to develop and they remained relatively free from foreign interference until the Chinese tried to collect taxes on them in the 17th Century and the Russians eventually colonized the area in the late 1800s.

However there are less than three thousand Ulchi left according to the last Russian census. Jan Van Ysslestyne is an American who speaks their language fluently and has taken it upon herself to not only record their traditions and beliefs, but also keep them alive. Her latest book is called Spirits from the Edge of the World: Classical Shamanism in Ulchi Society, which is a compendium of Ulchi Shaman knowledge and teachings, often in their own words.

Click here to learn more about Jan Van Ysslestyne’s work: http://2pathfindercounseling.com

Jan also teaches Ulchi Shamanism for self-healing and discovery in her hometown of Seattle, Washington. In this discussion with Jan about her work and her latest book, we talk about:

  • How she got involved with a Siberian indigenous people
  • What convinced her that the Ulchi were for real
  • What it means to believe that spirits are all around us all the time
  • Shamanism and listening to nature
  • What is Shamanic “healing”?
  • What’s the first step we can take to get in touch with our own inner Shaman, how can we start interacting with the spirits around us?

For the song this week, we thought a little metal might be in order. There are places in Siberia that get colder than the average temperature on Mars(!) So, if “The Immigrant Song” is any indication (Led Zeppelin’s classic ode to Iceland), when we’re writing about a cold place, we got to heat it up with a barnburner. Inspired by Jan’s title as well as the Shamanic and animistic idea of a planet animated and alive, here is Sunspot with “Spirits From The Edge of the World”

Alive
Everything all that you see

Shaman
Each of us roots of the tree

Singing our visions aloud to the heavens
the dream of our lives will unfurl
Listen for the call, surrounding us all,
The spirits from the Edge of the World

In Tune
They’re giving you prophecy

Transform
to anything you want to be.

Singing our visions aloud to the heavens
the dream of our lives will unfurl
Listen for the call, surrounding us all,
The spirits from the Edge of the World

Singing our visions aloud to the heavens
the dream of our lives will unfurl
Listen for the call, surrounding us all,
The spirits from the Edge of the World
The spirits from the Edge of the World

227 – Weird Christmas: The World’s Strangest Yuletide Traditions

You know we love Christmas, after all we’ve already had five shows on the topic, covering things like:

Which means when we’re looking for something new to talk about Christmas, it takes a little bit of work. The thing about Christmas is that it’s been around so long, it means that there’s a whole world of traditions out there to explore. So, when we were doing research and discovered Catalonia’s marvelous Tió de Nadal (the pooping Christmas log) we knew we hit a jackpot for starting off a conversation about more weird Christmas traditions around the world.  Every country that has Christianity has their own way to celebrate and they’ve got hundreds of years to develop their own unusual traditions. 

Anybody got any toilet paper?

So in this episode, we get to talk about stuff like:

Famous Caganers (pooping figures) for your Nativity scene, Vladimir Poopin’, am I right, fellas?

So, if you think you’re family is weird on the Holidays, rest assured you are not alone! 

The Sunspot song for this week is a weird instrumental version of the Christmas classic, “Sleigh Ride”.  Although it does include a traditional instrument, acoustic violin, we twisted in some odd synths and arranged it in a 6/8 time signature instead of the typical 4/4.

226 – Strange Frequencies: Technology and the Supernatural with Peter Bebergal

At the beginning of the Millennium, I used to visit the website tarot.com almost every single day. It was a good-looking page that had some really cool tarot cards and it was free to do a little reading everyday. You could pay for a full “Celtic Cross” elaborate kind of thing, or you could just get a little three card session for free. You would ask it a specific question and get three cards back, one to tell you about yourself, one to tell you about your situation, and one to tell you about your challenges.

But there was always something that I felt was off in trying to use a computer to divine something about your life. There’s no human element, there’s no psychic or medium to help you interpret the cards, while it felt interesting and fun, it never felt magical. Tarot on a computer screen never felt sacred. It’s zeroes and ones, I never felt what Peter Bebergal in his new book Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural, calls “enchantment”. That feeling you are participating in something outside your natural human experience, like religious ecstasy or the of meditation, or when you’re talking with a medium and they tell you things that are impossible to know.

The last time we had Peter Bebergal on, we talked about his great book, Season of the Witch: How The Occult Saved Rock ‘n’ Roll, and this book is just as fascinating. He argues that using technology to uncover the paranormal has been with us since we started trying to explain the universe. Something as simple as rubbing a lucky rabbit’s foot is magical technology. It doesn’t have to be an Ovilus plucking words out of the ether. And really, is looking for signs of the future in animal entrails any different than a computer program designed to spit out random predictions? The same forces that would use the viscera to relay a message could just as easily use the zeroes and ones, couldn’t they?

Author Peter Bebergal

Fast forward fifteen years and I use my Apple Watch to meditate every day. I’ve listened to MP3s of hypnosis sessions where I try to recollect past lives. I use my phone alarm to wake me an hour before I’d normally awaken sometimes so that I can explore lucid dreaming. I’ve gone from someone who scoffed the first time a psychic told me that she would do phone and Skype sessions (all I could think of was Miss Cleo) to being shocked and amazed at some of the things I’ve been told during those very same sessions.

When you watch Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures, the technology is as big a part of the show as the history of the haunted location. They set up digital voice recorders to catch EVPs, thermal imaging cameras to look for variations in the temperature (cold spots!), Electromagnetic Field Detectors to reveal temporary energy fluctuations. We don’t have the technology to capture a spirit like in Ghostbusters, but we can try to “capture” phenomena on tape when they happen. Technology and the supernatural are more intertwined than ever, but as Peter argues in his book, that’s nothing new. Some of the things we touch on:

In the episode, Wendy and I talk about how much fun we had at Krampusnacht in Milwaukee on the day before St. Nick’s. We have a whole episode dedicated to everyone’s favorite Christmas demon! Here’s a link to some amazing photos of Milwaukee Krampusnacht 2018 as well!

The song this week is inspired by the title of Peter’s book Strange Frequencies and the Spirit Box. Even our most famous inventors, Edison and Tesla, both thought that they could eventually design a radio to communicate across the veil (or even between planets) and we took that idea and ran with it. Here is Sunspot with “The Strangest Frequency”.

If I could talk to those I lost again
to try and make amends
among the graves

Some kinda wiretap
from far beyond the map
somehow these words get trapped
between the waves

Screaming in the darkness
broadcasting our callsign
hoping to break though reality
a mechanical catharsis
tuned in from the other side
I heard you on the strangest frequency

Finding patterns in the static
is automatic
with all these toys

sufficiently
advanced technology
is just necromancy
with some white noise

Screaming in the darkness
broadcasting our callsign
hoping to break though reality
a mechanical catharsis
tuned in from the other side
I heard you on the strangest frequency
I heard you on the strangest frequency
I heard you on the strangest frequency

225 – Evil: From Serial Killers to Slenderman

This weekend we did our first live podcast from a convention! Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts, Scott from WhatsYourGhostStory.com, Wendy, and I did a panel on EVIL at Wizard World Madison and it was a fantastic experience. Here’s how they described the panel in the literature:

From urban legends to comic books to true crime, evil permeates our pop culture. Hear about real cases of evil and how they influenced movies and TV with Madison haunted historian Mike Huberty, Milwaukee paranormal researcher Allison Jornlin, Waukesha Ghost tour guide Wendy Lynn Staats, and Chicago ghost story author, Scott Markus. From Ed Gein and Psycho to John Wayne Gacy and evil clowns, the Slenderman to famous demonic possessions, the crew behind Wisconsin paranormal and pop culture podcast, See You On The Other Side, discuss the real life evils hiding under the fiction.

Here are your evil panelists! Mike, Allison, Scott, and Wendy

So, we each took a topic that had a Wisconsin connection (since we were in Madison) of evil in real life that had paranormal implications and also had a ton of pop culture connections.

It was a great crowd and a lot of fun and if we met you at the convention, then thanks for coming to visit us at See You On The Other Side for the first time!

Wendy giving us the “skinny” on Slenderman

Evil often hides in the form of good intentions. For the song this week, we go back to this worn-out, but still valuable quote:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

Nietzche, Beyond Good and Evil

The mantra of revolution is often that once a few “necessary evils” are taken care of, they can stop and that the ends will justify the means. Whether it’s the French Revolution or the Bolsheviks, history hasn’t borne that out.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Here is Sunspot with “Evil On Evil”.

You want the power
but they won’t go without a fight
you said you’re gonna drain the swamp
this time you’ll do it right

you said you want justice
no one said it’d be bloodless
it’s time, the heads will roll
ain’t that how it always goes

Fire with fire, you gotta be lethal
it’s just evil on evil
Drag em through the eye of a needle
now you’re evil on evil

Tie up the noose
payback’s a bitch
fail the purity test
we’ll burn the witch.

you said you want justice
no one said it’d be bloodless
it’s time, the heads will roll
ain’t that how it always goes

Fire with fire, you gotta be lethal
it’s just evil on evil
Drag em through the eye of a needle
now you’re evil on evil

224 – Dreams of the Future: Precognition, Retrocausality, and Free Will

Have you ever dreamt something and it happened in real life? I have. I was eleven years old and it was the summer of 1988. I was in the middle of a nightmare when all of a sudden it was winter and I was getting off the school bus and kids across the street started throwing snowballs at my friend and I. My friend ran into his house and grabbed a red plastic circular sled to use as a shield against the snowballs. Thirty seconds later, I was back in the nightmare. When I woke up I thought it was weird, but it was just a dream about a snowball fight. Maybe I’d seen a movie about wintertime or someone mentioned it on the radio earlier in the day and it planted a seed in my head. I didn’t think I was having an experience of precognition.

Was the Christmas Story on earlier that day?

Six months later, it was the first snowfall in Winter and I was coming home with my friend after school and everything unfolded exactly as I had seen. He even grabbed the red circular sled and used it as a shield, but I had never seen the sled before, in real life at least. At least I didn’t remember seeing it. I thought it was weird, but I still believed that it was all just a coincidence. Snowball fights are common enough, circular plastic sleds are popular (we had the same model in blue in my house), I didn’t think it was unexplainable. 

What was unexplainable was the feeling that I was watching something from the future. Like I had seen it all before, more than just deja vu. I was re-experiencing something that already happened. My experience isn’t unusual, it’s common for even non-believers in psychic powers to experience some kind of premonition in dreams. They’re dreams after all, it’s easy to chalk it up to coincidence and it’s the most kind of empirical event of all. A dream only happens to you. 

No even though my particular experience was fairly mundane (just a snowball fight), it does beg a lot of questions. If I was watching a pre-recording of the future, what could that that mean? And those implications are what we discuss in this episode.

Now, there’s been a lot of research lately on the idea of retrocausality, which is where cause and effect happen backwards. So information from the future determines what happens in the present and it’s been displayed in experiments looking at the behavior of subatomic particles, so it’s not like we’re getting messages from the future. But subatomic means that we’re in the land of quantum physics, which is what Einstein famously called “spooky action at a distance”. Of course, quantum physics is a field that is regularly abused by lovers of the paranormal as possible explanations for everything from telekinesis to ghosts, because some of the behavior of subatomic particles seems unexplainable with the reigning theories of physics. If time is set and is happening all at once, we’re just perceiving it the way we do as we travel through it, then maybe it’s possible for super tiny particles to relay information to the past.

But if everything that’s going to happen has already happened, is there anything we can do to change the future? What does that mean for free will? Do we really have any choices in our lives or are we predestined to live out the path that our genes, chemicals, and neural programming has laid out for us?

So, yeah, this episode goes deep into the nature of reality, man… we talk about:

Then we share our personal precognitive dreams as well as the dreams of two of our Patreons, Ghost Host Lisa from Madison Ghost Walks and C.E. Martin, an author who just came out with a great book called Stranger Than Fiction: A Skeptic’s Journey, and he allowed us to read you a chapter directly from his own personal experience. If you’d like to check out the book for yourself (it’s on Kindle Unlimited!), then click right here.

For the song this week, we were inspired by a study that came out in 2017 that showed even if we could see the future, almost 90% of us wouldn’t want to know. While we have an overwhelming desire to control our destinies, which is why we see fortune tellers and psychics, we’re just looking for confirmation that we’re gonna win. We’re looking for messages to help us from the Other Side, but not necessarily tell us that we can’t change anything. Mystery is baked into the human condition. If someone spoiled Game Of Thrones for me, I would straight up punch them in the face, what do you think it would be like if they spoiled my own story? I know that people can be cool with predestination, but as for now, I’m all T2 “NO FATE”. Here’s our track, “Remember The  Future”.

Don’t you cry for Cassandra,
don’t you cry for her tragedy
If you could remember the future
you might not like what you see

Look away boy look away boy
what’s to be is always to be
look away boy look away boy
before it can drive you crazy

Don’t you cry for a crystal ball
to try and turn time’s arrow
If you could remember the future
you might not like what it shows

Look away boy look away boy
enjoy your free will while you can
look away boy look away boy
or it will just drive you mad.

223 – Robin Hood: Legends and Ghosts of a Mythical Hero

With a brand new Robin Hood movie coming out this week (which was originally called Robin Hood: Origins, I guess to make it sound like a X-Men movie or something), it’s time to talk about the famous bandit who fought against the tyranny of Prince John in Sherwood Forest and stole from the rich and gave to the poor. 

Me with the Robin Hood statue by Nottingham Castle, rocking BluBlockers at least a year before Zack Galifianikas brought them back in The Hangover

But that’s my version of Robin Hood and there are many. In the new movie, Jamie Foxx plays Robin’s Moorish commander and friend, taking place of Little John. But there wasn’t even a Saracen character (who were the Muslums defending the Holy Land in the Crusades) in the story until the 1980s when he was introduced in the Robin of Sherwood TV series (which also featured an awesome Pagan deer-god, Herne the Hunter.) Now, the fact that Robin Hood has a noble Muslim warrior buddy like Morgan Freeman is baked into the story.  

Sweet looking trees in Sherwood Forest

And Morgan Freeman is part of my generation’s record of the story. My Dad’s was Errol Flynn (and to make Kevin Costner feel better, his English accent wasn’t much better, he sounded more Australian than anything else.) But every generation gets a Robin Hood that is suited to the times, the story has changed and adapted with only a couple of constants: the government is corrupt (something that hasn’t changed from the Twelfth Century until today) and Robin Hood likes to hide out in the forest, but it might not even be Sherwood Forest!

Author K.C. Murdarasi has just released a book Why Everything You Know About Robin Hood Is Wrong that details even though the tales  take real figures like Richard The Lion-Hearted or King John and real places like Yorkshire and Nottingham. why our version of the story has no real basis in any kind of historical fact. We talk with her and discover:

  • When Robin Hood became a nobleman
  • When he started stealing from the rich
  • Who he could have been historically
  • Where Maid Marian came from (She’s French, what?!)
Click here to purchase Karen Murdarasi’s book!
The Great Oak of Sherwood Forest, voted England’s favorite tree and the supposed hideout of Robin and his Merry Men

There’s also a paranormal element to Robin Hood’s legends and we cover these topics as well:

That’s a big tree, baby

For the song this week, we thought we’d take a Robin Hood ballad from the Seventeenth Century when songs were presented in large one-sheet broadsides, which are proto-newspapers that were developed after the printing press was invented. They would have news and ballads and were sold for a penny a piece. Often the songs would tell the tales of highwaymen and robbers who were about to be executed, but they also featured great heroes and legends like Robin Hood.

These broadsides were all collected by an American historian in the 1800s, Francis Child. He wanted to save the folk ballads of England and Scotland. Today, we’re singing an abridged version of one of the ballads, “Robin Hood And The Butcher”, where Robin pretends to be a butcher to lure the Sheriff of Nottingham into Sherwood Forest so then he can rob him. He even makes a “say hi to your wife” joke at the end!

You can take a look at the original broadside right here!

Come, all you brave gallants, and listen a while,
With he down, down, an a down
That are in the bowers within;
For of Robin Hood, that archer good,
A song I intend for to sing.
Upon a time it chancëd so
Bold Robin in forrest did spy
A jolly butcher, with a bonny fine mare,
With his flesh to the market did hye.
‘Good morrow, good fellow,’ said jolly Robin,
‘What food hast? tell unto me;
And thy trade to me tell, and where thou dost dwell,
For I like well thy company.’
The butcher he answered jolly Robin:
No matter where I dwell;
For a butcher I am, and to Notingham
I am going, my flesh to sell.
Now Robin he is to Notingham gone,
His butcher’s trade for to begin;
With good intent, to the sheriff he went,
And there he took up his inn.
When other butchers they opened their meat,
Bold Robin he then begun;
But how for to sell he knew not well,
For a butcher he was but young.
When other butchers no meat could sell,
Robin got both gold and fee;
For he sold more meat for one peny
Than others could do for three.
The butchers they stepped to jolly Robin,
Acquainted with him for to be;
‘Come, brother,’ one said, ‘we be all of one trade,
Come, will you go dine with me?’
But when to the sheriff’s house they came,
To dinner they hied apace,
And Robin he the man must be
Before them all to say grace.  
‘This is a mad blade,’ the butchers then said;
Saies the sheriff, He is some prodigal,
That some land has sold, for silver and gold,
And now he doth mean to spend all.
‘Hast thou any horn-beasts,’ the sheriff repli’d,
‘Good fellow, to sell unto me?’
‘Yes, that I have, good Master Sheriff,
I have hundreds two or three.
‘And a hundred aker of good free land,
If you please it to see;
And I ‘le make you as good assurance of it
As ever my father made me.’
The sheriff he saddled a good palfrey,
With three hundred pound in gold,
And away he went with bold Robin Hood,
His horned beasts to behold.
Away then the sheriff and Robin did ride,
To the forrest of merry Sherwood;
Then Robin he set his horn to his mouth,
And blew but blasts three;
Then quickly anon there came Little John,
And all his company.
‘What is your will?’ then said Little John,
‘Good master come tell it to me;’
‘I have brought hither the sheriff of Notingham,
This day to dine with thee.’
Then Robin took his mantle from his back,
‘I hope he will honestly pay;
I know he has gold, if it be but well told,
Will serve us to drink a whole day.’
Then Robin took his mantle from his back,
And laid it upon the ground,
And out of the sheriffe[‘s] portmantle
He told three hundred pound.
Then Robin he brought him thorow the wood,
And set him on his dapple gray:
‘O have me commended to your wife at home;’
So Robin went laughing away.

222 – Mental Health and the Supernatural: From Schizophrenia to Indigo Children

The shadow of mental illness hangs over supernatural experience. If someone at your office job told you that they really believe that they’d been abducted by aliens, would you look at them the same? I mean, you’re reading the show notes for a paranormal podcast, so maybe you would like them even more. But there is a stigma associated with mental illness in our society and a stigma associated with believing in the supernatural. When you combine them, it’s becomes doubly dubious. 

And I admit, that I’m pretty skeptical. Like most Americans (52%), I believe   in the possibility of ghosts and like 57% of my countrymen and women, I’m also down with psychic powers but if you told me that you had a real deal supernatural encounter, like talking to a demon or you hear spirits in your head, I’m a doubting Thomas.

We have to be somewhat skeptical because while mental health treatment is still a very inexact science and we’re obviously overmedicating many of our most vulnerable patients, when you read stories of schools being closed because of evil spirits or hundreds of child abuse cases a year being attributed to demonic possession, the whole thing feels medieval. Like treating these problems as a spiritual instead of mental health matter might be causing more harm than good.

But are there any actual cases where there might be some kind of supernatural phenomena beyond the mental health issue? 

And that’s the trouble with stigmas, they make things so touchy that people are afraid to tell the truth. No one wants to be associated with mental illness because they don’t want to sound “crazy”, even though almost every single person will fight some kind of psychological disorder at some point in their life. Most people want to steer clear of the supernatural, even though 80% of Americans profess to believe in some kind of God. People need to be able to discuss their experience without everyone judging them. 

Sometimes art can help remove stigmas and sometimes they can make them worse. Sybil famously brought the world of dissociative personality disorder (multiple personality) to the public but Psycho was inspired by the real-life story of Ed Gein, a murderer diagnosed with schizophrenia. Getting our opinions on mental health from movies is dangerous because it paints an unrealistic and sometimes unsympathetic picture of illness. C’mon, in exorcism films, are the possessed ever really just sick? No, then there wouldn’t be a movie, at least not the kind that sells tickets to horror fans. 

In this episode, we discuss the relationships between mental illness and the paranormal. Here’s some of the topics we cover:

Our band Sunspot wrote the song for this week in the late 90s, when Prozac was at its prescriptive height and it seemed that more and more children were being given the drug. My psych professors at the University of Wisconsin would tell me about the lunches that the pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly would put on for psychiatric clinics, they were lobbyists for their drugs. They would actively try to get doctors to prescribe them.

I remember when one of my teenage friends told me she was on Prozac and it shocked me, not that I thought she was crazy, but that she was so young and already on medication. I was shocked that kids weren’t being allowed to “pass through a phase”, they were getting pills right away. Maybe I was reacting to the stigma of mental illness I felt with people in my own family who were on medication, but it felt like maybe we should give kids a chance to be moody. Maybe we shouldn’t be interfering with brain chemistry that’s still so plastic, still developing, still trying to find its way.

And now it’s more than ever, 80 million Americans take a psychiatric drug and over 7 million them are under 18. Maybe we wrote this song too early? 

Is she a victim of her own physiology
Or just a victim of some bad psychology
All I do know is she’s fifteen and she’s on Prozac

She sits in her room and cries all night
Never had a real boyfriend in her life
Her mommy wonders why she doesn’t have any friends
Daddy only sees her when he has her on the weekends

Is she a victim of her own physiology
Or just a victim of some bad psychology
All I do know is she’s fifteen and she’s on Prozac

And the doctor said, “you better take your meds
To fix what’s wrong inside your mind.”
Just a Prozac Girl in a Prozac world
Shift the blame and everything will be just fine

Her grandma thinks that it might be bad luck
I think we used to call it “just growing up”
When you feel that your life is just pathetic
You slap it in a textbook, and blame it on genetics

Is she a victim of her own physiology
Or just a victim of some bad psychology
All I do know is she’s fifteen and she’s on Prozac

And the doctor said, “you better take your meds
To fix what’s wrong inside your mind.”
Just a Prozac Girl in a Prozac world
Shift the blame and everything will be just fine

She doesn’t cry anymore
She doesn’t laugh anymore
She doesn’t know how she should feel anymore
A chemical imbalance
That’s covered by insurance
It’s hard to be a little girl
When you’re numb to the world

Is she a victim of her own physiology
Or just a victim of some bad psychology
All I do know is she’s fifteen and she’s on Prozac

And the doctor said, “you better take your meds
To fix what’s wrong inside your mind.”
Just a Prozac Girl in a Prozac world
Shift the blame and everything will be just fine