Astonishing Legends

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The world is more mysterious than most people are comfortable imagining. We cross paths with the mystical from time to time and may not even notice it. If we do, we quickly return to our usually mundane daily existence. But what if we not only acknowledged the unknown, we investigated it and spoke with those in the know? That’s what co-hosts Scott & Forrest, and their producer Tess Pfeifle do at Astonishing Legends. With the power of the well-vetted Astonishing Research Corps, they have access to information that most folks couldn’t find. Over 75 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of listeners have shown that exploring and embracing the wonders of our world can be not only enlightening but exciting.  Welcome to Astonishing Legends!

Episodios

The True Story behind the Conjuring Part 2

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Our goal in covering the story of the Perron family's experience while living for a decade at the Arnold Estate, the inspiration for the motion picture, The Conjuring, was to uncover the real story behind the persistent hauntings. What we discovered once again was the actual truths at the heart of this, and other famous cases are as murky and nebulous as the spirits that do the haunting. The question that remains is, what is truth and what is real when it comes to supernatural activity? Skeptical researcher and writer Kenny Biddle investigated the historical people that the Perrons thought may have been the entities that lingered in their home. He found inconsistencies between the records of the lives and deaths of named locals and their claimed involvement with the farmhouse. But the attempt to cast doubt on the Perron story by focusing on historical inaccuracies is to go at the problem in an understandably linear, causal fashion, perhaps not one taken by a paranormal investigator. This leads us to the question, can the supernatural be analyzed with earthly rational thinking?  For example, does a person have to die in the same place that their ghost supposedly haunts (if one even believes in ghosts), or can they move about freely? Can spirits visit only some individuals or occupants, or would they have to haunt everyone in the same space equally? Can spirits identify as something they're not, or do they have to tell the truth about who or what they are? What are the rules for something so mysterious? While many of us would like to apply standard logic to understanding the numen world, those that have experienced it might tell you no ordinary rationale matters. Despite the "facts," what they have witnessed was real and true enough.

Visit our website for a whole lot more information on this website, and seriously, we're talking a LOT more.

The True Story behind the Conjuring Part 1

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Whether you're a fan of horror films or not, you've probably heard of the 2013 motion picture, "The Conjuring." This film, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, struck such a chord with viewers that it spawned a franchise of related films like The Conjuring sequels, The Nun, Annabelle, and The Curse of La Llorona. But the initial movie was inspired by real-life events, the roughly decade-long hauntings of the Perron family that started the moment they moved into the Arnold Estate in 1970, now called "The Farm on Round Top Road" in Harrisville, Rhode Island. The colonial farmhouse, built circa 1736, would be home to 9 generations of families, including the Perrons. It seems some of the residents would never be able to leave, and some new and terrifying entities would make an unwelcome appearance during the Perron occupancy. While a few of the spirits were viciously malevolent, some were benevolent, and Andrea Perron, the eldest daughter, comprehensively chronicled the entire experience in a three-volume set of books titled House of Darkness House of Light: The True Story. While Andrea loved the cinematic adaptation of her family's story in the film, she also realizes that a movie has its own set of rules for narrative compression. Its purpose is to entertain efficiently, and therefore was only "one percent of one percent of what actually happened at the farm." Also, the famous paranormal investigative couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren were only a lesser element to the overall story. So what were some of the more frightening yet fascinating occurrences that happened to the Perrons at clearly one of the most active haunted houses still in existence that most of us have never heard? Join us tonight for part one of our examination of the true story behind "The Conjuring." 

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The Phantom Horse of Greensboro

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Many of us have taken an adventurous expedition to check out some local, notorious spot to see if we could witness or sense some evidence of a past famous or infamous incident. Most of the time, one only returns with a minor anecdote or pictures of an ordinary location bereft of anything noteworthy. The more realistic purpose is not so much to find a ghoulish memento but to imagine what it must've been like to have been there when it happened. But what if such an outing starts with strange coincidences and ends with the adventurers enduring a paranormal event seemingly unrelated to the original incident? This is the sort of tale we'll hear from our good friend, graphic designer, and illustrator Tommy Beaver about the time some friends went to check out the scene of a horrific crime that happened in Summerfield, North Carolina, almost 13 miles northwest of Greensboro. On June 3, 1985, the incident in question occurred when at the end of a murder spree and police pursuit, Fritz Klenner and his first cousin, lover, and accomplice, Susie Newsome Lynch, ended their standoff detonating a bomb in their Chevrolet Blazer. Klenner and Lynch had blown themselves up along with Lynch's already deceased two sons who were in the vehicle rather than face arrest. The site of this shocking finale was what the friends were hoping to explore, but their souvenir was an unsettling experience they'll never forget. Strangely, a mysterious white horse suddenly appeared to encounter the group, except that this creature may not have been a horse at all. Many people have claimed to see a spectral white horse, and the ancient Britons believed a sacred white horse was one's ride to the afterlife. Yet these friends may forever wonder, as will we, what was the connection of this beast to the tragedy if there is one? And if this wasn't a horse as we know it, what sort of monster haunts the location of one of North Carolina's most ghastly crimes?

Visit our website for a whole lot more information on this website, and seriously, we're talking a LOT more.

Crop Circles Part 3

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So, as we close out our three-part series on Crop Circles, what have we all learned so far? Well, we've learned that Crop Circles are not just another fad from the 1980s and 90s. Generations of farmers going back at least to the turn of the last century have found them, and probably long before that if written accounts are accurate. They may have been the template or the inspiration for Standing Stone formations such as Stonehenge and rock paintings like the Gwion Gwion, often found in the sacred sites of our earliest ancestors. And they continue to be discovered to this day. While hoaxers have gotten more sophisticated with their designs and prodigious with their efforts over the years, simple logic and reason would suggest they couldn't have made all the now thousands that have been found all over the world. And many of these showing no signs of human touch. It applies especially to the massive and intricate patterns discovered within hours or less of their creation. Even more perplexing is the claim by many hoaxers that they felt strangely compelled to create their formations as if they had no choice. Some circle makers revealed a mysterious fog had shrouded their activities or aided by a sudden clearing of the weather or an alteration of perception by onlookers. And if an unknown entity made just one Crop Circle, then isn't the phenomenon genuine? But what is the point of all this effort and secrecy? If they are merely human-made decorations, they serve to nourish us the way all art does. Suppose they are messages from an otherworldly source. In that case, they contain a level of cleverness in their multiple layers of meaning functioning all at once, as we would expect from higher intellect. They speak to us with a mesmerizing beauty, using elements of Sacred Geometry that have always captured our imagination, with their deeper meaning residing in our unconscious. Each circle may have a particular message, with all of them combined to form an instructive narrative, and the key to unlocking this enigma may be in the circles themselves. If this is a new form of language or communication, then perhaps one clear and simple message is that the researchers, the hoaxers, the curious, and the clueless; our minds, bodies, and spirits are all connected along with the earth. Maybe it's the result of global human consciousness, an unseen intelligence, or a combination of both. Whatever the force behind Crop Circles, could it be that something tells us we need to evolve our awareness and understanding to take better care of all of it before we lose our way for good?
 
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Crop Circles Part 2

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As we dive deeper into exploring the phenomenon of Crop Circles, it seems that the story of its research takes on the shape of other histories of paranormal investigation.  Misinformation and misdirection from government and military agencies, hoaxes complicating genuinely anomalous evidence, and the phenomena itself presenting an ever-moving target for those that seek the truth are akin to the serious study of UFOs, for example.  And curiously, for being thought of by many as just prankish art installations in grain stalks, Crop Circles come with a Grab Bag of High Strangeness too.  For tonight's Part Two in our series, we first cover inexplicable occurrences associated with some circle formations.  We'll focus on one surveillance experiment in a crop circle dubbed "Operation White Crow" with bizarre and unsettling effects for Colin Andrews, Pat Delgado, Busty Taylor, Dr. Terence Meaden, and others.  Then we look at what appeared to be an attempt by the British military to discredit Andrews and other "cereologists" called "Operation Blackbird" that ironically may have generated its own enigmatic results and the question of why would they bother?  And lastly, we'll begin to examine the mindset and role of the hoaxer and the symbiosis they may participate in with earnest researchers, one that hoaxers may not realize they share as they do their part to keep the mystery alive.

Visit our website for a whole lot more information on this website, and seriously, we're talking a LOT more.

Crop Circles Part 1

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On a July afternoon in 1983, Colin Andrews, an electrical engineer and officer employed by the British regional government, was driving between his offices near Winchester and Hampshire when something caught his eye. Seeing something unusual in a farmer's field next to the road, he felt strongly compelled to pull over and check it out. A strange physical and mental sensation came over him as he approached and realized it was a set of five large circles forming a traditional "Celtic Cross." Unbeknownst to Andrews, within days, he would partner with meteorologist Dr. Terence Meaden, NASA scientist Pat Delgado, and the three of them, along with pilot Busty Taylor, would become the only people in the world at the time researching the global Crop Circle phenomenon. In 1989, the first book on the subject, Circular Evidence, written by Delgado and Andrews, would become known as the "Crop Circle Bible." Not only did the book cause scientists and researchers to then take the matter seriously, but it also unleashed a deluge of Crop Circle hoaxes, complicating earnest study. When two older British gentlemen, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, came forward in 1990 claiming to have made all the crop circles in England, the media and the public seemed to take their word as reason enough to lay the mystery to rest. Yet, the examples they and other hoaxers have provided as evidence don't match the precision and completion times found in circles considered authentic. While the hoaxers' techniques have become more sophisticated and impressive over the years, the genuine formations display characteristics that seem beyond the reasonable capability for the short time in which real ones are created. Authentic Crop Circles have many stalks bent in 90º angles near the ground, with the stalks interwoven in a complex fashion, anomalies found in the soil, precise lines in massive formations, and no evidence of people walking to or around them. Strange physiological effects like dizziness, nausea, euphoria, time disturbance, and bizarre sounds, to name a few, have also been reported by many who step inside one. However, most Crop Circles, both real and faked, share in common one significant trait – artistically, they employ design elements found in "Sacred Geometry," with ratios composed with the "Golden Mean." They are also often located near areas with ancient archaeological sacred sites, and reports of their existence appear to go back hundreds, if not thousands of years. So if the creators, both earthly and beyond, remain a mystery, perhaps the meaning behind the circles can be more easily fathomed. Whether the lesson is a sociological or spiritual and metaphysical one, wondrous Crop Circles do continue to exist and have a purpose. They carry a message, which could be as simple as – pay attention because you could learn something that will affect your existence.

Visit our website for a whole lot more information on this website, and seriously, we're talking a LOT more.

Terry Carnation's Dark Air and Richard Hatem

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We have a very special guest joining us tonight, metaphysical "astralnaut," philosopher of the liminal, "Pope of the Paranormal," and host of the AM Radio talk show Dark Air, Terry Carnation.  Terry first got his start in the paranormal radio genre when unexpectedly thrust into taking over for another show.  While working as a late-night rock n' roll Disc Jockey for an FM station in Buffalo, NY, in 1992, Reginald Wilcox, the host of the paranormal call-in show that aired after Terry's slot was mysteriously murdered while Terry was in the bathroom... or so he claims.  In his unflappable sense of duty, apparently stronger than his sense of legal obligation, Terry immediately took over the role of consigliere for listeners stupefied by the supernatural. And in Terry's words, "that's how a legend was created." Now, after a three-year hiatus, Terry Carnation returns with a new podcast, also called Dark Air, available starting April 1, 2021, wherever podcasts are given away for free.  While you may not have heard of him, there will be something uneasily familiar about his voice and visage.  And the audience will come to know his strange power for tearing off the head of disbelief and reaching down deep into our souls to yank out the viscera of our darkest fears and mysteries.  Wrapped around our interview with Terry, our good buddy Rich Hatem joins us once again to discuss his latest adventures and projects.  We'll also con him into playing our version of a game show, in the spirit of America's NPR radio program Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and Britain's Would I Lie to You?  We'll tell Rich three outrageous paranormal stories, and he has to guess which one is fake.  Please join us for an episode of inscrutable levity.

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Nain Rouge

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As legend would have it, or at least how the story goes from Marie Caroline Watson Hamlin's 1884 book, Legends of Le Détroit, on the evening of the 10th of March, 1701, a lively banquet took place in the castle of St. Louis, Quebec. The celebratory dinner host was the governor of "New France," Hector Louis de Callière. The guest of honor was Monsieur Antoine La Mothe Cadillac, Sieur de Douaguet, and Mont Désert, who had just been granted a commission of Commandant along with 15 square acres to locate a colony and build a fort wherever he saw fit at "le Détroit," or "The Straits." At the height of the merriment, the dinner party received a strange and mysterious visitor. A peculiar-looking woman called "Mère Minique, La Sorcière" offered to read the guests' fortunes. She would astound the officials with details of their lives she could not possibly know, yet La Mothe Cadillac remained skeptical, and against the advice of Mère Minique, bade her tell him of his future. She told him he would found a great city, but his policies and pride would cause his ruin, and his colony would be the scene of strife and bloodshed. Above all, she warned, to appease the Nain Rouge, beware of offending him! It would be six years of profitable growth for the settlement before Cadillac would be able to temp his fate. While on an evening stroll with his wife, the red devilish imp crossed their path as prophesied. And it takes no sibyl to guess that Cadillac let his impetuous temper get the better of him, and he lashed out at the goblin with a curse and his cane. The rest, it is said, is history, but certainly, history mixed with fact and folklore. So was the Nain Rouge nothing more than a cautionary tale of greed and undue ambition? Maybe an imagined scapegoat for the woes of this famed city or a tulpa-like harbinger of doom? Could it be that the Nain Rouge was, and is, an actual supernatural entity as possibly described in First Nations legends? If one is entertaining this last option, or when in doubt, perhaps it's always best to respect the specter, yet remember that our fate is always in our own hands. 

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Euphomet New Season!

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Jim Perry's Euphomet returns with a new season! Sneak preview. Subscribe now to Euphomet on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Beast of Gévaudan

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In the years between 1764 and 1767, a real-life monster had brutally savaged the residents of the former province of Gévaudan in the highland region of south-central France.  While the creature's first attack was reportedly unsuccessful in killing its intended victim, it did provide a horrific description of it.  Some sort of massive, canine-like creature was stalking the villagers out in their fields of the Margeride mountains.  And it would remain as elusive as its killing spree grew nightmarishly effective.  In a three-year span, contemporary and modern estimates put the death toll anywhere from around 100 to 500 people, mostly women, and children.  To add to the fear and suffering, these were no ordinary large animal predator attacks.  Considering that only a small percentage of the victims were found partially consumed, with livestock untouched, the bodies of all were so shockingly mutilated that it could be surmised this abomination of nature was not killing out of hunger but for sport.  As news of the relentless slaughter spread throughout France, tens of thousands from every walk of life, peasants, soldiers, and noblemen alike, joined in the hunt to stop this menace.  Reports had even reached Versaille, where King Louis XV had placed a large bounty on its head.  When survivors and eyewitnesses had given their statements, a puzzling picture of the beast emerged.  Although many accounts described this creature as having some features like an abnormally large wolf, or wolf-dog hybrid, other details combined didn't fit any known animal.  It was also described as the size of a calf or donkey, with reddish hair and a black stripe down its back, giant, razor-sharp teeth set in the gaping mouth of a pig-like head, a tail with a tuft on its end, and talons on its feet.  This being was shot and wounded on several occasions at close range only to escape and kill again, adding a supernatural element to the legend.  Many believed then as they do now that this animal must have been a canine mutation of some sort.  However, without the descriptor of "werewolf" or "skinwalker" added to the story, saying it was just a vicious, big dog leaves an unsatisfactory conclusion.  With no remains or taxonomy to define this murderous freak, the only name that could be given to it then is the one that remains today: The Beast of Gévaudan.

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The Scrying Game

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Who among us hasn't wanted to know the future or have insight into the hidden, at least in passing?  From the first instance a human had a premonition that came true, it seems likely that the adventurous who were shocked and astounded wondered how those without the "gift" could duplicate this impossible experience.  Then, when someone stared too intently into a reflective pool of liquid, a glowing ember, or even the night sky, and experienced an extrasensory perception, a technique and its medium are discovered to tap into a sixth sense.  Practiced now for millennia, this procedure for obtaining occult information has become known as scrying.  One interesting observation is that although there are general guidelines for preparing oneself and performing a scrying session, many mediums can facilitate the phenomenon.  It appears that any object can be used that can capture the light and dazzle the eye, or a reflective surface that can offer deep introspection or a dark void that focuses the senses.  But then the burning question becomes, how does this process work, and from where does the information come?  Does this "second sight" materialize from deep within ourselves, external omniscience, or some combination of both?  In tonight's episode, we'll look at the elements, the history, and the concepts behind this ancient and mysterious means of knowing the unknowable.

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The Disappearance of Frederick Valentich Part 3

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As we wrap up our coverage of the Frederick Valentich story in Part 3 of our series, we'll continue our conversation with Melbourne resident Chris Tyler about his research into the case and other possibly related UFO incidents around the same time and area.  We'll also examine the Australian Department of Transport accident report's remaining findings and discuss its conclusions.  As you begin to reach your own conclusions, it's essential to keep several factors in mind which make the usual mundane explanations seem inadequate.  The high number of independent sightings of aerial phenomena occurring in proximity to the disappearance suggests Valentich wasn't alone in witnessing it.  The distance a Cessna cowling was found from a potential crash site and the lack of definitive markings makes its discovery inconclusive.  Even if the cowling did come from Valentich's plane, it still doesn't account for what caused him to ditch, let alone other missing debris and Valentich himself.  Perhaps the most surprising revelation comes from the summary of the report itself.  Rather than dismissing the possibility of a UFO entanglement, an official government statement lists it as one of four likeliest scenarios.  Remember that Valentich himself never suggested he interacted with a UFO in his last transmission, despite being painted as obsessed with them by his skeptics.  When these factors and more are taken together, it's no wonder this incident is one of the most baffling and tragic in the phenomenon's history and leaves us all to wonder, what happened to Frederick Valentich and where did he go?

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The Disappearance of Frederick Valentich Part 2

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When the facts about a paranormal event yield no more answers, investigators and the public alike tend to turn their attention to the experiencer's character to ascertain its authenticity.  So what kind of person was Frederick Valentich?  A once-lost aircraft accident report from Australia's Department of Transport, which resurfaced in 2012, has shed some light on Valentich's behavior and state of mind leading up to the moment of his disappearance.  Through extensive interviews with his family, friends, associates, and the flight personnel he came into contact with, a picture emerges of Valentich's disposition.  Although there were some puzzling actions and statements by the young pilot, overall, he appeared to be a dedicated and serious student of aviation.  Yet if a paranormal cause of his disappearance is off the table of consideration, then the answer must lie in one of his shortcomings, right?  This has led to speculation that Valentich intended to abscond with the aircraft and start a new life, or he planned a mysterious suicide, or that as a UFO enthusiast, he simply mistook stars and planets for a UFO and crashed trying to avoid it.  As we delve further into the details and analysis from the official report in part two of our series, we're joined by listener and lifelong Melbourne resident Chris Tyler.  Being quite familiar with the case, Chris will lend his own insight into the mystery and illustrate this enchanting Australian backdrop's prevailing attitudes and characteristics.

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The Disappearance of Frederick Valentich Part 1

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On Saturday, October 21, 1978, at 6:19 p.m., 20-year-old Frederick Valentich took off from Moorabbin Airport just south of Melbourne, Australia, for what was supposed to be a routine training and pleasure flight over Bass Strait to King Island.  A serious student aviator, Valentich had been flying for two years and had accumulated over 150 hours of solo flying time in his goal to one day become a commercial airline pilot.  Although rated for night flying by instrument, the sun was still up, and with clear visibility and good weather, there was no reason Valentich shouldn’t have easily completed this trip, which he’d taken several times before.  However, just over halfway through the flight at 7:06 p.m., Valentich contacted Melbourne Flight Service Unit and reported seeing an unidentified craft above him, traveling at high speed and shining four bright lights.  Valentich would radio back a few minutes later that it didn’t appear to be any known aircraft, and now it had even more unusual characteristics: it was long, shiny metallic, and a green light was emanating from it.  Even more unsettling, this craft he described was deliberately toying with him as it orbited above while his plane’s engine was sputtering.  At 7:11 p.m., the last statement anyone would hear from Valentich would be that the object was still hovering and that it was not an aircraft.  Valentich and his plane had vanished at that moment, but whether it was an elaborate hoax, a deliberate crash, or merely a misidentification combined with a mechanical failure, no investigation has been able to determine.  What is not in doubt is that the case of Frederick Valentich remains one of Australia’s biggest aviation mysteries, if not in all of UFO lore.

Visit our website on this episode for a lot more information. 

An Astonishing All-Star Holiday Special!

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Please join us for a very special Astonishing Legends episode – an All-Star holiday party featuring some of your favorite podcast personalities!  Along with consigliere Tess Pfeifle, we welcome our very own "Alexander Leek," sage, screenwriter and good friend Rich Hatem; podcaster, compadre, and casual archaeologist Micah Hanks; our Space Brother and To The Stars professor, Rob Kristoffersen; and our special guest, inspirational pathfinder, and podfather Jim Harold.  We'll engage in all the scintillating conversation and fascinating anecdotes you'd expect to hear at a holiday gathering attended by paranormal enthusiast friends and fueled by high octane egg nog, and Micah will treat us to a guitar performance near the end!  We hope you'll enjoy this virtual celebration and feel part of a fellowship as we find support and unity at the end of a trying year any way we can.

Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode!

Small Town Monsters - The Mark of the Bell Witch

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Our friend Seth Breedlove has a new docudrama out about the Bell Witch and guess who's in it? Forrest! 

http://www.smalltownmonsters.com/shop 

https://tinyurl.com/markofthebellwitch

Mrs. Hingely and the Mince Pie Aliens plus Listener Stories

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Tonight's episode starts with the coverage of a strange and funny case involving aliens and holiday pies.  On January 4, 1979, Mrs. Jean Hingely of the town of Rowley Regis in the West Midlands region of England was visited by three fishbowl-helmeted and friendly aliens with wings.  After some spiritually uplifting exchanges, her holiday visitors thrashed her Christmas tree and nicked three of her mincemeat pies.  The second part of our episode features heartwarming personal stories of hope from some of our listeners.  These stories may not be proof of an afterlife for some, but for others, they may bolster the belief that our existence doesn't end with our physical death and that somewhere there is a world where everything we cherish is waiting for us, and proof that love is eternal and boundless.

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The Christmas Monolith and The Warminster Thing!

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In a rare dual-subject episode for us, we take a look at two somewhat Christmas-themed stories, the mysterious yet not-so-mysterious "Utah Monolith" and the Warminster "Thing." In the first part of the show, we discuss the recent discovery of a 9.5-foot-tall metal triangular prism-shaped pillar we've dubbed "The Christmas Monolith." This story made the rounds after state biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the out-of-place-artifact while conducting a survey of bighorn sheep by helicopter over San Juan County in southeastern Utah on November 18, 2020. Two days later, the Utah Department of Public Safety posted a photo of the monolith on Instagram, with more pictures and videos of the puzzling pillar to follow. The internet and media outlets were soon abuzz with speculation about who, human, alien, or otherwise, would've illegally planted the iconic looking structure in such a remote red sandstone slot canyon in the middle of nowhere and why. Other metal columns have appeared in Romania and California, prompting the question, are these pranks, artworks, a message, or perhaps all three? The second part of our show tonight examines a freakish "flap" of High Strangeness that's so fantastic in its details and so widely experienced at the time that it's baffling why the story has mostly become forgotten. Generally considered to have gotten its start in the early hours of Christmas morning in 1964, this saga of shocking incidents in hindsight seems to have only publically peaked on December 25th and continued well into the following year, and only gradually declined in the decade to follow. The holiday literally started with a bang for the residents of the town of Warminster in Wiltshire County in southwestern England. Numerous citizens and British soldiers training nearby awoke to a medley of piercing, thundering, clattering, metallic noises in the sky and on their rooftops, the nature of which nearly defies description. The strange and untraceable sounds would continue to accost the townsfolk, with some reporting these sonic attacks were so violent it threw them to the ground and sickened their pets. As 1965 wore on, the unearthly rackets would eventually coincide with sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena and craft so unique they sound unusual even for a UFO wave. And what bouillabaisse of the bizarre would be complete without cattle disappearances, freaky interstellar messengers, and tall, humanoid-alien visitors? Warminster had it all. All told, this series of strangeness was so beyond comprehension, and with no vocabulary to satisfactorily describe it, the phenomena became simply known as the Warminster "Thing."

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Special Announcement for the Holidays!

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Special and short announcement! Listen now if you want to be on one of our Holiday shows!

Important links:
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Email address for story submissions - astonishingcontact@gmail.com

Code for Cyber Monday AND Tuesday - ALCYBER2020

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The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts Part 2

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In tonight’s Part Two of our discussion of Joe Fisher’s book, The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts, with Special Guest Rich Hatem, we continue to examine the narrative of Fisher’s interactions with Spirit Guides through Channeling and their troubling results.  With the messages and guidance becoming increasingly confusing, frustrating, and seemingly misleading, Fisher and those in his Channeling group start to doubt the intentions and purpose of voices from the other side.  Even as the entreaties grew insistent and hopes turn to dubiety, the Guides would provide unknowable details beyond rational explanation, which only served to fuel the desire for understanding.  As Fisher followed just one more breadcrumb after breadcrumb down a blind alley, we’ll never know if he found his answers in the afterlife or if the truth was there all along amongst the living.  When it comes to finding meaning through channelling in Fisher’s case, the pertinent answer is that the medium is often the message.

Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts Part 1

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Sure, maybe most of us would find it enticing to receive "inside information" from a mystical plane, our very own oracle of knowledge beyond what's possible in our earthly human existence. Who wouldn't want access to a Spirit Guide, one that could lend us valuable insight to better our lives and give a glimpse of what awaits us on the other side? Perhaps this supernatural soothsayer could also provide a longing companionship or, even better, prove to be a soulmate from a past life? It sounds like a delightful gift, right? But what if the source of this metaphysical communication ended up having as many foibles as any ordinary untrustworthy "frenemy?" What if the messages proved to be increasingly inaccurate or questionable, with the attitude of your once beatific benefactor becoming demanding, desperate, petty, contentious, and maybe even obsessive and possessive? Perhaps it wasn't looking out for your best interests, after all? This twist seemed to be the compelling and chilling experience of Toronto-based journalist and author Joe Fisher when he became entangled with a consuming investigation into Channeling and Spirit Guides. In Part One of our examination of Fisher's book, The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts, we're joined by our own Spirit Guide and good friend, Rich Hatem, for a discussion about Fisher's enigmatic journey into a sometimes troubling relationship with Channeling and the personalities, once-human and otherwise, that come through a medium. What materializes is realizing that our expectations of wisdom and comfort from a Higher Source can gradually lead to suspicion, fear, and doom.

Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

Strange Intruders with David Weatherly Part 2

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In tonight's continuation of our conversation with author and paranormal researcher David Weatherly, we discuss the rest of the creatures from the remainder of his book, Strange Intruders.  This unholy host of insidious beings include such wide-ranging descriptions as reptoids appearing as aliens or disguised as humans, black-eyed kids and adults, the Night Hag, Psychic Vampires, Slenderman, and David tells of his own encounter with a Grinning Man.  We'll hear not only of David's ideas about them but also stories from people who've suffered the consequences of their terrifying intrusions.  One recurring pattern throughout these cases is that it didn't seem to matter whether the individual believed in their existence or not.  Most of the victims didn't or were unaware of their definitions, that is until they encountered one for themselves.  It seems all some of these witnesses merely did was to notice them, and once they noticed being noticed, it never goes over well.  These are monsters you don't need to go out of your way to search for because somehow they find you.

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Strange Intruders with David Weatherly Part 1

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Visiting a spooky location can be scary because of the spirits and monsters which may await you there. However, one can avoid these horrors by merely not going to these places, right? But what if these frightening creatures came to visit YOU? What if they knew where you lived, your secrets, what terrified you the most, then used that knowledge and their supernatural powers against you? Native elders had always spoken of mighty beings who inhabited the earth before us and enjoyed their reign over it. When humans began to populate the land, they were displeased with our presence and our ways. They retreated or were banished to the realms beyond our reality, forever holding a grudge. They can visit us in our world as they please, but theirs is a dark place, and they can bring their darkness with them. This may sound like folklore or myth, but judging by the myriad of modern-day accounts, they have since been and will always be with us. So how do we know what we’re dealing with? What is going on, what do they want with us, and what can we do about it? Who is willing to investigate these sinister encounters and tell the rest of us about them? Tonight’s guest is one such fearless explorer of the unknown. David Weatherly has researched paranormal phenomena for most of his life. He’s traveled the world in search of the answers to ghosts, cryptids, UFOs, magic, and more. He’s visited ancient and mysterious sites where many would fear to tread and studied with masters of the mystic arts and shamanic traditions from many cultures. David has been a featured lecturer at numerous paranormal conferences, a frequent guest on shows such as Coast to Coast AM, and has nearly a dozen books dealing with Forteana to his credit. Although he’s written about subjects ranging from Black-Eyed Children to cryptozoology to haunted places and objects, tonight, we’ll be focusing on his compendium of creepy beings, Strange Intruders. As fascinating as it is disturbing, this book provides anecdotes from witnesses along with insights and context about some of the most dreadful and terrifying unwelcome visitors, you might have the misfortune to meet. 

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Ouija: Stories

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Last week's episode on the Ouija board's history and sociological context illustrated that its use was regarded mostly as a virtuous parlor game for over half its life.  But then, in the later period of the 20th century, the board's reputation changed from being an innocent way to contact the deceased to often being an oracle and instigator of supernatural dangers.  Which leads us to the question of whether it's merely that our cultural norms have changed, or is it that the communication and the resulting coincidental events have become more diabolical?  Have our attitudes about Ouija evolved because it got more sinister, or have we altered what comes through the board due to a change in ourselves?  In other words, is this "talking board" a window to a manipulative, omniscient intelligence, or more of a mirror reflecting our darker human essence?  Whether it's the fact that we're unaware of the more iniquitous interactions of Ouija's earlier years, or the nature of it has indeed changed, we now have no shortage of anecdotes where this "game" delivered terror rather than comfort.  In tonight's episode, we'll first examine some historical cases where there's a connection to Ouija and crimes.  We'll then hear stories from a few of our listeners where a session with the board took a turn for the worst.  The lesson here is that one should be extremely cautious if opening the door to the occult, as you never know what's waiting for you on the other side.

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Ouija

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Most of us are familiar with the name and iconic image of the magical Ouija board.  Many have dared to test it, either seeking answers from the great beyond or for spooky entertainment or both.  The Ouija board has always been advertised as a family-friendly game.  However, for about the last 50 years, Ouija became associated with the forbidden, a taboo tool of the occult.  But has it always had this reputation for unleashing evil, and when did this shift in perception occur?  Is it a variation of an ancient scrying device or portal for speaking with the dead, or is it a more modern amusement?  How could such a pop culture symbol that is so pervasive have such a mysterious background?  It seems the board's manufacturers have intentionally kept the details shadowed from the start, adding to the marketing appeal and popularity.  Although the practice of attempting communication with the spirit world is as old as philosophy, the board we recognize today had its beginnings with the Spiritualist Movement of the nineteenth century in America.  Yet in that era and into the first part of the twentieth century, using the board to contact spirits was seen as wholesome family fun and nothing to fear or shun.  Why did the Ouija board take a turn for the dark side, and what is its real story?  As we search for clues, tonight's guest will shed more light on its history and cultural relevance.  Brandon Hodge is one of the world's foremost researchers and historians of spirit communication devices.  His website, mysteriousplanchette.com, is a wealth of information on these instruments, and his Austin-based collection houses an astounding display of planchettes, "talking boards," dial plates, and psychographs, everything an adventurous Victorian soul searcher might use.   Please join us to discuss why a simple board with printed letters, numbers, and a pointer managed to inspire such enduring wonder and apprehension with its mystical nature.

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Astonishing Announcement 2020

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Just listen, start to finish. It's only 6 minutes. It's important. 

D.B. Cooper Part 3 - Commercial Free Bonus Show

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In Part Three, the commercial-free final "mega-sode" of our D. B. Cooper series, we continue with the FBI's profiling of the infamous skyjacker and learn of their Lead Agents' conclusions, Ralph P. Himmelsbach and Larry Carr.  While the FBI investigation would practically come to a dead-end stalemate with their inability to "prove culpability beyond a reasonable doubt," that hasn't stopped scores of amateur and some professional sleuths from continuing the chase, with scientific evidence surfacing as recently as August 2020.  One factor that has kept curiosity alive is that several likely suspects have emerged in the years since his disappearance, some having an uncanny number of bizarre coincidences to the case.  As we close out our coverage with an in-depth look at these candidates for Cooper's legacy, perhaps doubts about their suitability should remain.  One of the enduring aspects of his story for many is that a seemingly average guy may have gotten away with a mischievous and lucrative daydream.  For the sake of our fondness for legends, especially more modern ones, perhaps some mysteries are best left unsolved. 

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D.B. Cooper Part 2

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What makes the legend of D. B. Cooper so enduring is not so much the crime itself, but everything that happened after.  Cooper's skyjacking was just one of many during a wave in the era.  His method of escape was only somewhat novel.  Although he seemed to know about some commercial jet aviation aspects, a few of his choices left authorities questioning his skills, rationale, and, therefore, his background.  But what continues to capture the public's imagination is the mystery of his disappearance and speculation about his identity.  The two pieces of verified evidence found outside the plane to date, a placard for the Airstairs and a few ransom money packets, raised more questions than provided answers about where he landed and if he survived the jump.  Could a plan so daring and defiant have worked, or did cavalier confidence doom him?  Part two of our series will continue with the investigation that triggered one of the most extensive manhunts in U.S. history and lead to the final mystery – just who was D. B. Cooper? 

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D.B. Cooper Part 1

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On the afternoon of Thanksgiving eve, November 24, 1971, a smartly dressed man approached the flight counter for Northwest Orient Airlines at Portland International Airport and purchased a one-way ticket to Seattle.  The name he gave was "Dan Cooper" as he paid cash to board Flight 305, a short 30-minute trip that would turn into one of the longest criminal manhunts in modern history.  Once aboard, Cooper's requests to Flight Attendant Florence Schaffner were simple: a bourbon and soda, and a note to be delivered to the captain demanding $200,000 in cash and four parachutes.  To add emphasis to his order, Cooper briefly showed Schaffner what appeared to be a bomb in the black attaché case he carried with him.  Calm and polite throughout the ordeal, Cooper was now instructing the pilots to take him to Mexico City during the refueling stop in Seattle.  However, it was never his intention to go that far.  Cooper's additional demands were now that the Boeing 727 fly not higher than 10,000 feet, with the landing gear still deployed, the wing flaps lowered, the cabin depressurized, and at the lowest airspeed possible without stalling the aircraft.  Around 8:13 p.m., the aft airstairs of the jet deployed, and Cooper would leap into a cold rainstorm of a western Washington night and popular culture forever.  Due to a name mixup with an early suspect by a local news reporter, the public would also forever know "Dan Cooper" as "D. B. Cooper."  The mystery of Cooper's true identity and fate, along with the whereabouts of most of the ransom money, would launch a 45-year investigation by the FBI.  His piracy would become a legend and the only unsolved skyjacking case in the history of commercial aviation.

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Alien Autopsy? Part 2

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In the continuation of our interview with the mastermind behind the infamous and legendary Alien Autopsy film, director, producer, conceptual artist, and magician, Spyros Melaris, we learn more about the process of its creation and the aftermath of its release upon the world.  But if you think this is just one more case of "Mystery Solved! Nothing to see here, folks!" you may not be considering its broader scope.  Because not only is this a rare case where the magician reveals how they did the trick, but its story reveals a glimpse into human nature, a peek behind the curtain of our beliefs and disbeliefs.  The smaller picture is the mechanics behind what we see in the frame.  The bigger picture is a contemplation of how and why we believe the things we do.  Keeping in mind that nothing in the film could be disproven at the time; if you didn't buy what you saw or didn't bother to look, ask yourself, was it because what you saw didn't look authentic in your estimation, or was it because you think the reality of it is impossible?  For those who demand proof of aliens before they accept the idea, why not look at all?  For those that believed, was it an open mind that entertained its veracity or merely wishful thinking, and what does it take to foment disbelief?  What keeps some believing even after revealing the trick?  With the word hoax being so currently prominent in our society, it certainly seems beneficial to examine one of the world's greatest hoaxes and the hoaxer's methods.  The Alien Autopsy film defined for many the adage "Seeing is Believing" to mean seeing in person, but how can we trust what we see?  The proof of alien life would be the biggest story on the planet.  What we would consider the evidence and how we would handle it is our own biggest mystery.

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Alien Autopsy? Part 1

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Indeed, there is no shortage of debatable evidence and probable hoaxes when it comes to the subject of UFOs and aliens. Yet as with any cultural phenomenon, there are those prime examples that rise to the top to become forever cemented into our collective consciousness. One such artifact is a 17-minute black-and-white film that became so iconic it is merely, and famously known only as "Alien Autopsy."  The film sequence purported to show government or military Medical Examiners performing an autopsy on an alien lifeform supposedly recovered along with debris from an equally famous event, the 1947 Roswell UFO crash.  One could argue that the film has become more well-known than the incident upon which it was supposedly based.  The first public screening of the film occurred on May 5, 1995, in a small theater at the Museum of London.  The organizer of the event who had possession of the film at the time, a music and television producer named Ray Santilli, had invited the Press, UFOlogists, and even clergy members to witness the extraordinary footage to generate buzz and controversy.  Accomplishing both aims, news outlets around the world picked up on the story.  But the biggest sensation sparked on August 28th of that year, when Fox Television aired a documentary Special featuring the footage titled, Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction.  The Special was re-broadcast two more times, with each one generating millions of more viewers.  The backstory Santilli stated then was that he purchased the footage from a retired military cameraman who shot the film during the actual autopsy at the Roswell Army Air Field.  However, just before the release of a 2006 British comedy called Alien Autopsy, which dramatized the story of the events surrounding the film, Santilli admitted that the film he and his partner Gary Shoefield released was a recreation of the original footage he acquired in 1992. He claims that in the time he first viewed the 22 original reels and the 1995 release, the film deteriorated so severely that his team needed to recreate the shots based on what he had seen.  But Santilli also insists that they spliced frames from the original footage into the film they released – that an authentic, 1947 autopsy film existed.  But that is his story, and as we all know, there are always more sides to one.  Enter tonight's guest, magician and media producer Spyros Melaris.  Spyros has a convincing story of his own, that he and his friend, sculptor and Special Effects artist John Humphreys created the film and everything seen in it – that there is no authentic autopsy film.  Whatever you may decide after hearing part one of our interview with Spyros, one thing is sure: the Alien Autopsy film captured the imagination of the world and might be one of the greatest hoaxes of all time. 

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Correlation of Strangeness with Stan Gordon

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In the continuation of our interview with esteemed UFO and paranormal investigator Stan Gordon, he relays case studies that indicate that the event at Kecksburg may have been merely one incident in a long and continuing saga of High Strangeness.  In his 61 years of research so far, beginning in 1959 at the age of ten, Stan has interviewed thousands of UFO witnesses and hundreds of people who've claimed to confront Bigfoot.  In the decades of data collection and analysis, reaching a crescendo with the Pennsylvania UFO "Flap" of 1973 and continuing to this day, a startling and incomprehensible pattern began to emerge.  Many of these accounts of two traditionally thought of as disparate types of phenomena, UFOs and Bigfoot, occurred in the same places and within days, hours, or minutes of each other.  In a few of the most bizarre cases, Bigfoots appeared to interact with a UFO encounter, as if one may be responsible for the other.  Yet reports over the years weren't limited to these two favorites of Forteana.  Stan had also investigated connected reports of other cryptid sightings, strange environmental phenomena, spirit activity, and had himself come across footprints of 3 and 4-toed unnatural creatures, along with classic Bigfoot tracks that inexplicably stop as if the being had vanished.  A significant number of reports originate in the Chestnut Ridge region, an approximately 75 mile-long westernmost ridge of the Allegheny Mountains extending into West Virginia.  However, incidents have spread out like a virus over the decades to cover most of Pennsylvania.  Some paranormal researchers would be hesitant to publicly consider an association between these marvels or even scoff at the notion.  But a lifetime of investigation leaves Stan with the conclusion that a mind-blowing connection between these cases indeed exists.  That these connections would be statistically unreasonable to ignore, and this camp of thinking is growing.  As we conclude this interview, one might be wondering, what are the implications if a correlation is real, and if it is, is Chestnut Ridge, the Skinwalker Ranch of Pennsylvania?

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Kecksburg Revisited with Stan Gordon

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Tonight's show will be a special treat for those listeners who've been patiently awaiting a revamping of our coverage of the Kecksburg UFO incident.  Those unfamiliar with the case but entertain a curiosity with mysterious, non-organic objects falling from our skies meeting an equally mysterious fate will also find this episode fascinating.  In the late afternoon of December 9, 1965, thousands of citizens watched as a large, fiery object streaked through the skies over at least six to eight U.S. States and Ontario, Canada.  Many who observed its unusually slow path claimed it seemed to be under "intelligent control."  While astronomers continued to assume it was merely a meteor bolide entering Earth's atmosphere, some type of craft crash-landed in the woods near the town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania.  Local eye-witnesses and First Responders who descended onto the scene described the object as looking like a giant acorn, large enough for a human to stand in, and encircling a band near its base were strange markings some likened to Egyptian hieroglyphs.  Uncharacteristically for something as natural as a meteor landing, military authorities, purported NASA personnel, and State troopers immediately arrived and cordoned off the crash site and shooed away onlookers.  The object was loaded onto a flatbed truck along with multiple unknown containers, tarped and hauled away to some government facility, which would be the last time any unauthorized civilian would see it.  This was before initial reports that the U.S. Air Force and State troopers found "absolutely nothing" during their search.  There have since been speculations that the craft was a downed Soviet space probe called Kosmos 96, or perhaps a General Electric Mark 2 Re-entry Vehicle.  While we could've revisited the story with just these oft-told elements and our own speculations, we thought it was best to wait patiently to speak to an authority who's studied the case for decades for some much-needed insight.  We're finally fortunate enough to talk with Stan Gordon, a paranormal investigator from the area who's researched the Kecksburg crash since his teens, and has tracked all of the associated High Strangeness that has followed.  Also joining the conversation is Stan's friend Ron Struble, a witness to the original incident as a Kecksburg Volunteer Firefighter.  This a discussion that not only examines a plausible scenario through reported facts but one that has altered our assessment of one of the most well-documented cases in UFOlogy, one that has become known as "Pennsylvania's Roswell."

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Sam the Sandown Clown

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For children, the world is still new and full of wonder. Every day is a chance for an adventure, discovering exciting possibilities, and meeting interesting people. Sadly, today's world is a little less safe for kids to explore on their own than it was in the nostalgically idyllic year of 1973. In early May of that year, two kids would make a new friend that may have literally been out of this world. A 7-year-old girl known as "Fay" and her friend, a boy about the same age, took a walk near Lake Common, adjacent to the town of Sandown, on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England. Around 4:00 p.m., the pair heard a strange wailing sound coming from across the nearby golf course. They followed the noise until it ceased. The children were walking over a wooden footbridge that crossed a narrow stream when suddenly a hand wearing a blue glove appeared and out from under the bridge a most bizarre being emerged. After some initial slapstick-like fumblings, what eventually followed was an encounter and discussion with a creature whose actions and description seem beyond the imagination of even the most precocious child. Fay and her friend described its appearance as nearly seven feet tall and similar to that of a partly wooden, partly mechanical, partly flesh clown, and not like from any circus you're likely to see. It introduced itself as "...all colours, Sam." Seemingly friendly, and perhaps a little lonely and certainly misunderstood, the children began to ask "Sam" what he was, whether a man or if not that as best they could figure, a ghost. The cryptic answer they received was, " ...Well, not really, but I am in an odd sort of way." The two would spend around 30 minutes visiting with their new friend in his liminal, metal shack, which later vanished. Whether Sam was some "Ultraterrestrial" entity, a sentient cyborg from another world, or merely the "whimsy of a child," this is a story that is precisely the kind we like to talk about... nay, MUST be discussed. And that's what we're going to do in tonight's episode, with the help of our good friends Micah Hanks of the Micah Hanks Program and Rob Morphy from the Cryptonaut podcast. We may never understand what Sam indeed was, but there are enough weird and wonderful elements to this case that neither child nor adult could ever forget meeting Sam the Sandown Ghost Clown.

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Fear and Smoking in Blanket Forteana Q&A Part 2

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In the second & final part of our Question & Answer interview with the inimitable Rich Hatem, Scott & Forrest continue to babble & blather on & on about everything from UFOs & Ghosts to vampires & Yetis, and everything in-between.  Because, you know, everything is connected.  And if everything is indeed connected, then is anything really, a long, drawn-out, tedious tangent?  Why not dare to find out?!  Let's face it, if you've stuck with us this far, you might as well see it through to the end, and we'd be so glad to have you!

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