Archive for the ‘paranormal’ category

“I’m Looking at a Werewolf,” from Terror in the Woods

September 9, 2022

Terror in the Woods isn’t a bad show, although it’s largely for entertainment value, with documentation sparse and scientific rigor non-existent. The episodes vary from ho-hum to compelling, and if you select the episodes of your viewing carefully, you may find them worthwhile and even compelling to watch…

Season 3, Episode 3 of the series first aired in September 2021, and it’s hard to resist the luring title of one segment, “I’m looking at a (bleeping) werewolf, and it’s trying to kill me!” Well, it turns out that the werewolf in question is kind of the Louisiana bayou variety, which stands about 7′ to 8′ tall, and has larger-than-human-like features with a wolf-like head. Known as a Rougarou, such shape-shifting creatures appear human if sickly in the daytime, reverting to a werewolf form at night with a thirst for blood. ..

Now there are as many ways to become a Rougarou as there are ways to spell it, with methods involving the classic bite to a witch’s spell. The cultural background of the creature is rich and diverse, originating from tales told by French Canadians in Louisiana to keep their kids in line, and out of the woods at night! – – Gotta keep the little buggers scared to get them compliant, ‘ya know!

While Rougarou have some commonalities with both vampires and traditional werewolves, they differ as well. They’re unbothered by silver bullets or religious artifacts, and to kill one usually requires decapitation and preferably burning or severe mutilation of the body.

In the series episode, a young guy hits on a strangely feral girl at the clothing store where he works, booking a date with her that evening. The hours pass but the girl never appears at the appointed site, so the guy plays basketball with other guys at the site for four hours before leaving with them at midnight when the court automatic lights go off. Hearing an unnatural noise behind them, the guys perceive something threatening and inhuman, and attempt to run away. One slips and falls, and the creature is upon him. Seeking to save their comrade, one of the others pulls a .38 from his pack and fires at the beast, because this is ‘Merica, after all! The presumed Rougarou is driven off but not killed, and the narrator of the tale suffers from nightmares thereafter…

So if you’re Louisiana-bound, enjoy some cool jazz and hot Cajun cookin’…but beware of the Rougarou, especially if you unknowingly arrange a date with one!

Here Come the Mummies…

June 8, 2022

Where hot funk music meets the paranormal and an iconic horror tradition, you have Here Comes the Mummies. Everyone has to have a gimmick, right? Well, the members of this band dress up as mummies at every performance, complete with subtle variations in their wrappings, make-up, and individual names such as Mummy Cass.– – Get it? A play on Momma Cass! Oh, some of you are too young to remember her. A pity, that…

There’s a backstory, too. It seems that these guys hit on Pharos’ daughter, and so were cursed. Yes, these guys suffered for their art! An early album of the Mummies is titled, Undead Live. Many of their concerts begin with the band members entering to an impressive throbbing drum line as an Egyptian-esque theme plays, with the lead singer roaring at the crowd when all are assembled. Then it’s on with the electric guitars and a brass ensemble that includes saxophones and trumpets as well as a keyboardist. These Mummies have their act together, and know how to put on a show! It’s comic and cool at the same time. Crowds leave their concerts smiling, so it’s a happy afterlife. Prepare to be mummified…Arrrgh! 🙀

Pharonic sax…no, not sex, get your minds out of the gutter!

Some early hits of The Mummies such as Believe include nice musical evocations of ancient Egypt and paranormal references, as in the lyrics, “Do you believe in things you cannot see? Do you take your superstition seriously?” Ancient astronauts theorists would be pleased…

It’s bizarre but wildly entertaining, and these guys are accomplished musicians who even incorporate some choreography into their numbers. I swear that I saw a mummy twerk at me! Anyways, I like these guys, and if that makes me a Mummy’s boy, so be it! They’re on tour this summer…

As the Mummies would tell us in Ra Ra Ra, When all is said and done,/ we’re not the first to be here / There’s nothing new underneath the sun.” We could all use a little twisted ancient Egyptian revival in these mad times, right? So spread the word and rock on, bandaged brothers! 🦊

https://youtu.be/ETHvSTT6PA8

The Bigfoot-Alien Connection…

November 12, 2021

When the yet-unproven is layered together with the implausible, you wind up with something like The Bigfoot Alien Connection Revealed, a 2020 film which basically postulates that Bigfoot is himself an alien, an intelligent life form not of this earth but possibly trans-dimensional, whose elusiveness centers on his ability to slip between those dimensions. As a physically robust species, Bigfoot is described as having some form of collaboration with the more traditional alien grays, in effect doing the heavy lifting for them as their agents. Incidents where Bigfoot sightings have occurred together with “lights in the sky” are suggested as supporting evidence for this.

Running at over 90 minutes, The Bigfoot Alien Connection dispenses theories that are pretty far out there as compared to the more mundane ideas about the big hairy guy perhaps being an unidentified species of giant ape; rather, claims are advanced that paranormal features are associated with Bigfoot. Some have reported seeing Bigfoot disappear in front of them; the question then arose as to whether Bigfoot was somehow “cloaking,” or leaving our dimension at that point. Locations described as “hot spots,” “power spots,” or “vortex spirals” are reported as having been associated with Bigfoot appearances, together with other paranormal phenomena such as orbs. Some presenters in the feature linked the appearance of orbs directly to Bigfoot, even suggesting that he is capable of shape-shifting.

Oh well! As one commentator in the feature observed, the phenomena associated with Bigfoot manifestations defies explanation, at least at times. It’s unfortunate that many portrayals of Bigfoot are cartoonish, and many pursuers of them amateurish, as there are some serious investigators out there worthy of attention and support…

American Horror Story’s “Death Valley” from “Double Feature”

October 20, 2021

The current Double Feature season of American Horror Story is exactly that, with the first Red Tide segments being about ghoulish vampires, and the second Death Valley feature centering on aliens. I’m only going to comment on Death Valley to keep things more contained, and frankly because I’m a bit tired of vampire themes, although admittedly Red Tide is innovative.

Now aliens I can really get my teeth into (with apologies to the vampires). What makes Death Valley a real hoot is the number of historical personalities portrayed, ranging from Eisenhower and Nixon (above) to JFK, Marilyn Monroe, and even an all-too brief appearance by Amelia Earhart, who without having aged in 20 years is delivered to the Eisenhower administration and pregnant with an alien child…yes, you heard that right! Well, a little later on Amelia has her alien baby and it’s a bad one, because it kills Amelia and the docs and nurses in the room until Ike and a couple of soldiers shoot it dead. This is wild stuff, and wildly entertaining!

Now you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Mamie Eisenhower possessed by an alien consciousness and levitating, with her eyes a milky white. The aliens communicate through possession of a human intermediary at times, and can cause the heads of opposing humans to explode by a wave of their hands, which is messy but compelling viewing. Wouldn’t you love to be able to do that?! Anyways, by possessing Mamie they gain emotional leverage over Ike so he agrees to allow the quiet abduction of several thousand people a year in exchange for alien technology. One of the goodies so obtained are cell phones, taken for granted now but unbelievable stuff during the Eisenhower years. Ike suffers angst over this, but hey, the aliens would simply have gone to the Russians had we not allowed them to abduct people, impregnate them, and breed hybrids so their race can survive on Earth.

Some of the alien genetic engineering projects fall short of the desired outcome, however, with disconcerting results like the humanoid above with one alien and one human eye…and the aliens can impregnate anyone and use them as a vessel, including males!

So catch Death Valley from Double Feature on the current season of American Horror Story. It unites so much of the mythic speculation on alien contacts and designs, with historical personages thrown in as you’ve never seen them before, very reminiscent of The X-Files and just as much fun… 🦊

“Ghosts” On CBS…

September 6, 2021

From the ghost of Hamlet’s father to the Kirby’s on Topper, ghosts have always been compelling presences in entertainment. Now it seems that we are soon to be haunted by such spirits on Ghosts, a comedy coming to CBS appropriately enough in October.

Now Ghosts is adapted from a hit BBC series, and ghosts are no strangers to the British or their entertainment. The series Being Human was also translated to an Americanized version, with the characters including a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost. Ghosts will focus just on haunts, however, as a comic series and not as a paranormal “in search of“ endeavor.

The ghosts in question here inhabit a large Victorian estate recently inherited by a couple, Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), and Samantha (Rose McIver), who intend to convert the property into a bed and breakfast. When Samantha has a near-death experience, she acquires the ability to see and interact with the multitude of spirits who haunt her property.

And what a diverse crew these spirits are! One is a scoutmaster who wanders about with an arrow through his neck, another is a Viking explorer, a third a 60’s hippie, a fourth a militiaman, plus a prohibition-era lounge singer, and so forth. A number of the spirits have a certain unique power that can manifest itself in the world of the living; the Viking, for example, can cause electrical fixtures to sputter, while another can telekinetically move small objects.

There’s a touch of Beetlejuice here, but the ghosts are far more vulnerable, and have roommate issues. It hurts them when the living walk through them, plus in so doing we smell flatulent to them. It’s no piece of cake being deceased but earth-bound and not having been “passed on,” which is an aww moment.

So you may want to catch Ghosts, premiering on CBS October 7th. It could be a fun way to kick off the Halloween season… 🦊

The Tombstone Pterodactyl and Vintage Cryptids…

August 11, 2021

In the wild, weird west as well as in the present day, folks saw and reported strange beasties, such as the “Thunderbird” supposedly pictured here, reported by the Tombstone Epitaph in April 1890 which had reportedly been terrorizing Native American and local populations for some time. So a couple of good ole cowboys shot the sucker down, and are proudly posing with the carcass in the picture above, its wings extended to give you an idea of the critter’s size. It resembles a pterodactyl, which some contend never had become fully extinct, and which may upon rare occasion be seen from time to time

Trouble is, the newspaper in question lacked the capability of producing photos at that time, and the original of the photographic evidence has never been located. It is accordingly widely thought to be a vintage fake. Similar photos also exist of Civil War soldiers who supposedly also shot down a pterosaur or two.

So why, then, do such photos exist? The answer is simply that such stories sell newspapers, even if unaccompanied by a photo. They were simply meeting a public demand for the sensational while increasing their own profit margin. People tended to be a bit more gullible in the 1890’s, although there’s still no shortage of such folks today.

Now, I would dearly love to see Rodan grace the skies, but until we have scientific proof of the existence of such cryptids, we need to be skeptical of any and all such claims. If nothing else, they were entertaining then as now…and we want to believe!

The Guilty Pleasures of “Puppet Master…”

July 21, 2021

Horror as a genre is not for everyone, and even those of us who enjoy it have our favorite sub-domains. One of my favorite niche franchises is that of Puppet Master, now having produced over a dozen films since the first one issued in 1989.

Now calling these inspired creations “puppets” is technically incorrect as they are actually marionettes, although of the autonomous Pinocchio type that function without strings, or even direct human guidance. Crafted by old world-type puppet master Andre Toulon, these puppets are infused with the souls of people who died fighting the Nazis, and have an axe to grind against them and other rotten individuals. Toulon had picked up the trick of animating the figures with transmigrated souls through Egyptian magic, and as we know the ancients were quite concerned with resurrecting things. A glowing green brew with which he infuses his creations keeps them perking. Each of the anthropomorphic Puppets has a distinct appearance, personality and skill set.

Consider Blade here. Skull-like but not quite a skull, he’s inhabited by the soul of a German scientist and doctor who wanted to work with Toulon, but was shot by the Nazis. Now he operates with a hook as one hand, and a blade for the other, and is arguably the leader of the Puppets. He has kind of a Goth appearance.

Then we have Six-Shooter, undeniably well-armed with three sets of them each brandishing a pistol. Cast in the mold of a dastardly western outlaw, he can use his arms to climb walls, like Dr. Octopus of Spiderman infamy, and has a memorable hee-hee-hee laugh. Other Puppets include Jester, Torch, Pinhead, Tunneler, and Leech Woman (don’t ask). These are just a few of the regulars, who at times serve for either good or evil as protagonists or antagonists. It can all get rather confusing, and their universe is far from seamless.

The series has prequels, sequels, and cross-overs which add to the general mayhem and confusion. While a horror series with considerable gore, there’s a bit of leavening humor throughout. One leaves each viewing wondering what exactly they have seen, but this strange brew of Egyptian magic I find oddly invigorating and certainly offbeat…

“The Proof Is Out There” On The History Channel…

March 19, 2021

If you’re like me, you have an approach/avoidance conflict regarding shows on the paranormal and the unexplained.  On the one hand, you love them and feel drawn to them, but on the other, such shows can vary greatly in quality, and leave you feeling unsatisfied.  There goes another hour of my life that I’ll never have back, you may feel afterwards.  Some such shows are so poorly produced and documented as to represent intellectual dishonesty, and be basically hack entertainment.  We are, however, living in a time when fringe conspiracy theories are surprisingly in vogue, so perhaps art is imitating life once again.

“I Want To Believe,” declared a poster on the walls of Fox Mulder of The X-Files series, and this sentiment captured the yearning that many of us feel, but as intelligent skeptics we want to be convinced by proof, hopefully that which can stand up to scientific scrutiny.  Each classic X-Files episode included the legend, The Truth Is Out There.  Playing on this, a new series on The History Channel is titled, The Proof Is Out There.  Hosted by Emmy Award winning Tony Harris, the series is captivating and fast-paced, and it covers several unrelated features, all in the time of half an hour.  The oddball phenomena covered tend to be labeled as credible, not credible, or unexplained.

An episode sampled (S1, Ep5) included segments on the Skunk Ape, whispering sounds heard in a tomb investigation in Egypt, unexplained apparent structures and lines on the lunar surface, and a light phenomena in Texas.  The Skunk Ape segment examined a paw print found on a car window as well as a video supposedly of the creature.  Neither was found to be credible, but the series added that such doesn’t rule out the existence of the creature, but only that the evidence examined did not factually represent its existence.   The “tomb whispers” from Egypt were examined by both a soundscape ecologist and an Egyptologist, but were ruled to be unexplained.  Supposed dome-shaped structures on the moon were found to be consistent with the formation of impact craters, whereas lunar tracks were thought to be from an earlier Soviet rover.  Lastly, blue light found crossing a woman’s kitchen was regarded as unexplained.

With episodes running half an hour, there’s not a lot of inflation, wasted time, or “puffing” of content on the show, which can be so notable on similar features.  There’s economy here rather than padding. There is no unity or theme between the individual segments of it, which can be seen as a strength or weakness.  Overall, the series shows good production values, is intelligently done, thought-provoking if not earthshaking, and generally worthy of your time.  I rather think that Fox Mulder would have approved of this series… 

History’s Greatest Mysteries – Roswell: The First Witness – The Journal

December 15, 2020


The History’s Greatest Mysteries series is for me a mixed bag, with some episodes being captivating, and others less so unless you have a riveting personal interest in the topic under consideration such as D.B. Cooper or John Wilkes Booth.  The individual episodes are all rather expanded by most television standards for similar fare, clocking in at a movie-length two hours. Still, when the topic gets around to possibly new information on Roswell, the mother of all UFO sagas, my interest is definitely piqued, and I’m along for the ride.  That ride began with the Season 1, Episode 5 episode of History’s Greatest Mysteries titled, Roswell:  The First Witness – The Journal.

While what happened that July morning in 1947 in New Mexico will likely always be controversial and probably unknowable, we are left with the fact of rancher Bill Brazel finding his field littered with a massive amount of strange and unusual wreckage.  He wondered whose responsibility it would be to clean the wreckage up, and noted that his livestock avoided the debris field.  We animals have instincts about such things, ‘ya know! The rancher presented some of the wreckage to sheriff George Wilcox, who suggested reporting it to the military.

The first official military man on the crash scene was Jesse A. Marcel, an intelligence officer, who privately is reported to have thought that the debris was not of this world, and showed pieces of it to his wife and son, apparently retaining some.  The metal pieces were light but strong, and had shape-retaining characteristics when efforts were made to crush them.  Fiber optic-type filaments were also recovered that were unknown at the time, as were I-beam items with strange, hieroglyphic-type inscriptions on them. While the local authorities initially leaked stories that the military had a “disc” in its possession, the story was soon recanted and replaced by a government military version that the wreckage was nothing more than fragments of a weather balloon.  Jesse Marcel was reportedly sworn to secrecy by the military, and forced to participate in a cover-up.  Local residents were also reportedly warned to keep quiet about the incident or be charged with treason; surviving locals of the time continue to be tight-lipped, but generally convey that there’s more to the incident than the official account; they won’t talk, but will give you under the table a name of someone who will.  Mac Brazel, the son of the rancher, was said to have been forced to give up what crash debris he possessed, and to keep quiet or face imprisonment.  Agents appearing for retained debris reportedly said they wouldn’t take it from the family, but wouldn’t leave without it.  

Now Jesse Marcel kept a private handwritten journal which was cryptic, with speculation made that it may have held coded clues as to what actually transpired in the Roswell investigation.  The History Channel investigative team led by Ben Smith, a former CIA operative, consulted a forensic document examiner, who found that the document was genuine, and entirely written by Marcel. 

Using a magnetometer and ground-penetrating radar, team geophysicists investigated the Roswell debris field scene, finding a patch of ground with a high magnetic reading, a distinct anomaly. In a future upcoming episode, possible hidden clues in the journal and other questions regarding the Roswell incident will be further considered.  The History Channel investigation is hampered by incident details being strewn over three generations of people, with many key players being deceased and hard evidence not available. Whatever beliefs one may have about the veracity of the government’s account of Roswell, the eyes of Jesse Marcel as he poses with the “weather balloon wreckage” in the vintage photograph below appear to speak volumes…


 

“History’s Greatest Mysteries” on The History Channel

November 14, 2020

 

If you, like myself, are drawn to strange stuff, and might confess to watching an occasional episode of MonsterQuest or Ancient Aliens, you might be interested in a new show scheduled to debut on The History Channel in my area Saturday night November 14th at 9:00 p.m., History’s Greatest Mysteries.  Featuring Laurence Fishburne who will both host and narrate, the series will get into some of the strange and loose ends of history, such as the Roswell incident, the Shackleton Expedition, the sinking of the Titanic, and similar stories. 

The first episode will get into the strange story of hijacker D.B. Cooper.  While not all episodes are likely to be equally intriguing, they’re going to have three episodes alone on Roswell, for cripes sake!  I’ll withhold my coveted Pawprint of Approval rating until I’ve actually seen a few episodes, but History Channel usually does have good production values, and this new series just might be worth a look… 

 

 


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