Saturday, September 22, 2018

Let the "silly season" begin!

When I first started out in the paranormal back in 1996 there were very few people that I was friends with that I told I investigated ghosts. Many in my family had no idea I was into such a thing and I even hid this interest from a girlfriend as much as possible back then as well. Over the years the paranormal has become mainstream and those of us that make our rounds at paranormal conventions or libraries have become in demand. Those strange paranormal people have now become "rock stars" and everyone wants to know about what we do. While many of us do this all year round October seems to be the popular time of year when libraries and other mainstream sources want to hear what we do since it coexists with the time of the year with Halloween.

For the first time since I began speaking yearly at public events I will only talk about cryptids this year. My first stop for the "fall tour" will be at the Floyd E. Younkin Branch of the Pickaway County Library located in Ashville, Ohio on Sunday, September 30th from 2-4 PM. I had done a similar event at the main branch earlier in the year but have customized this presentation just for this appearance as I normally try to do. The focus here will be the basics of cryptozoology as the well as the most popular creatures and will then focus on Ohio based cryptids.

My second stop will be the following weekend, October 5-6, 2018, at the Un-Con XII (Unconventional) in Piqua, Ohio, discussing cryptozoology as part of the theme of "Alien Freak Show". This event is part "comic-con" but also just for those geeks and nerds that like to hang out with others with like interests. This will be a first for me to attend an event like this and I will focus on connection of cryptozoology and UFOs to sync with the theme of the event.

My third stop of the fall will be on October 13, 2018 at the Albatwitch Day in Columbia, Pennsylvania. I have always wanted to attend this event and am very excited to be able to speak here along with friend Rick Fisher and fellow researcher Tim Renner. The event centers on the Albatwitch which is described as a 4 foot tall hairy bipedal creature that seems to enjoy apples with Chickies Rock seemingly the center of their historical sightings.

Westerville Public Libarry in Westerville, Ohio
My fall tour will then wrap up at a library located in Westerville, Ohio, which is just northeast of Columbus and will take place on October 30. This year, 2018, will mark the tenth consecutive year that I have appeared at the Westerville Public Library and I am deeply honored to make this appearance. The Westerville Public Library is the only library I am aware of that has my books in it. This year I will present a look at Ohio based cryptids instead of my typical ghost presentations I have done in the past. My theme is "Ohio cryptids and strange creatures" and will be the second time I have talked cryptids at this library with the last coming in May of 2016, but this will be a new presentation.

After that I will be looking forward to 2019 where I am already booked at a few events in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, with the biggest one I am looking forward to taking place in Farmington, Pennsylvania being the 3rd Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure which boasts 12 speakers and a number of special guests including the Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings, AIMS, or in other words the guys from the Mountain Monsters television show, making their second straight appearance. Bill Brock, host of the television show “Monsters Underground", Dr. Jeff Meldrum will be on hand as will Cliff Barackman of Finding Bigfoot.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Paranormal News Insider celebrates TEN YEARS!

The Show History

   I received an email from Daniel Bautz back on April 22, 2008 regarding appearing on his radio program titled the Grand Dark Conspiracy. I would be the first guest on this new podcast and I was kind of excited about that. We went back and forth with emails for a few days and finally recorded the show on the evening of April 29th. The episode went up with very little fanfare in early May and I began to help Dan add some content to his message board and we continued to talk about the paranormal and I passed on some suggestions for future guests.

2008 concept logo (top) and first working logo (bottom). Red
and green represented opposite ends of belief. In late 2017 blue
replaced the upper right swirl which expanded. Light blue stands
for the sky and dark blue for the oceans while green (land)
ties it all together (yes, thought went into the logo!).
His podcast was prerecorded and was only to be a monthly show to start off with. He had parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach on for June and his ratings began to slowly accumulate. He had another ghost-based guest, author John Kachuba, as his July guest and had emailed me about coming back on for August to help shift the show into a different direction with talking about UFOs and cryptozoology. During that interview we talked about the Georgia Bigfoot Hoax that was underway at the time as well as some other news. He wondered if I was interested in doing a monthly news segment and I jumped at the idea.

   The two-hour September podcast of the Grand Dark Conspiracy featured an interview with Stanton Friedman, campfire tales, and the debut of the Paranormal News Insider. Back then the Paranormal News Insider were a short five to ten-minute segment that I prerecorded and sent to Dan. Since the segment was on a monthly show I utilized the new website to essentially become a blog style format writing about some of the top stories broken down in the various segments which at the time included cryptozoology, UFO, ghost, and strange Earth. I changed strange Earth to other news some time in the second year of the show.

   The Grand Dark Conspiracy ran as a monthly show until August of 2010 when it went weekly beginning on August 30th. Shortly after I realized I did not have the time to keep up the website for and it transitioned into a static website, but this is when I began to track the conferences and conventions and added other things to continue to attract people to that aspect of the show. The Paranormal News Insider powered on finishing 2010 with 25 episodes and then rallied through 2011 with 52 episodes completing the entire year without missing a week. The show went on with 49 episodes in 2012 and then 43 in 2013. However, after the December 30, 2013 show the Grand Dark Conspiracy took a hiatus until August 5, 2014. The host show had bounced around a number of podcast hosts over the years including the Shark Radio Network and Fate Radio, but in 2014 a new opportunity arose that would take the show into a new direction.
2014 promo for the show going to AM radio

   Starting on August 5th, 2014, the show was broadcast through WQTT AM 1270 AM based in Marysville, Ohio. The station is just outside the state capitol of Ohio covering the Columbus metro area at night. Over the next ten months the Grand Dark Conspiracy was broadcast from 2-4 AM and worked its way into going five nights a week. The Thursday night show was subtitled “The Darkest Hours” for a couple of months until Dan decided that the name Grand Dark Conspiracy might need to be adjusted if the show were to grow into syndication. The Friday night show was co-hosted with demonologist Dave Considine and myself when I was able to join. Eventually Dan cut back the show to just one night a week, the Thursday night show (Friday), and rebranded the entire show The Darkest Hours Late Night.

   After the June 5, 2015 show there were some changes at the WQTT radio station and Dan opted to move on before the show was removed. This left the Paranormal News Insider without a home once again. I had toyed with the idea of taking the show out on its own a few times when I thought that Dan was going to stop broadcasting or at least between downtimes when the host show was silent and then return to his show as my flagship broadcast. I peddled the idea to a few existing podcasts and live radio shows but was turned down by them for a variety of reasons. Interestingly, a few that “decided to pass on the idea” suddenly came up with their own paranormal news segments that imitated my effort. It was then that I decided if I couldn’t join them I would then beat them. There was a chance that the GDC would come back as I had heard that it was to join another network in early July, but the show never appeared, and I never heard back from Dan on the idea.

   On September 8, 2015, the Paranormal News Insider made its debut on the CJ Mars Radio Network on Tuesday nights at 7 PM for a one-hour time slot.  During the next few months the network changed to WCJV Digital Broadcasting and had several great shows and hosts associated with it. However, just days after the April 17, 2018 show WCJV decided to cease operations immediately and after a year and a half and over 125 standalone shows it was once again without a home.

   I had toyed around with several ideas although I knew I wanted to continue to do a radio show. Of my several options one was to just produce it myself, another was to join another network, and other ideas included doing a completely different show with a focus on guests on another network and potentially doing the PNI on the side. I did a show in late May to address the issue that the show was homeless as well as cover some news. In July I decided that I should come to a conclusion and while I had many offers as well as other ideas I opted to join the Paranormal King Radio Network. The show launched with episode number 360 on July 17, 2018 live at 8 PM eastern.

On the Show

While the format has always been paranormal news as well as conferences and conventions various changes have happened over the years. The first 230 shows were prerecorded and contained music and sound effects as part of the experience of the short segment. Many of the GDC segments I did had musical themes and I had tried a variety of other things including the Paranormal Poll, a book of the week, and conduct an annual “Top Paranormal News Stories” of each year. Of course, I did other zany things including using different voices as a tool to “go back in time” with aspects of the paranormal. I created a character named Rex Ritter for the 1930s and 40s from voices I did for a rap album back in 2006 and a mellow guy named Burt Williams to talk about stories in the 1970s. There were also the Halloween specials that would at least have some scary sound effects or other segments from old television shows. One year I created a fake UFO watch where the episode was prerecorded but Dan cut out to me in the field. I used the noises that had been recorded during sky noise encounters and pretended as though I was involved in an alien attack. Granted, while the show was on the Grand Dark Conspiracy there were many times I would join Dan live in studio where once we did a live Ouija Board session and another we did a séance with guest Dr. Kimberly Rackley.

   As the show moved to a live format I could no longer run music and have sound effects to support the segment. At the same time, I have been able to dig deeper into these stories as well as reflect to similar stories or to educate the listener on what is really going on behind the scenes. While many view the show as just a recap of the paranormal news and therefore has a shelf life I feel it serves an important service to capture what is happening at the time and using it to reflect on to keep the history straight as well as to show how we continuously fall for the same things over and over. In another attempt to document the history I began doing the "Top Ten Paranormal News Stories" of every year since 2010.

   The types of stories I discuss are cyprtozoology, UFOs, ghosts and other paranormal themes, as well as space, physics, modern mysteries, as well as viral news topics. Generally everything revolves around the paranormal or unknown to some certain extent. I take my reporting seriously and do my best to be as accurate and transparent as possible as to where my information comes from

   I do my best to dig for the truth to these stories no matter where that takes me. Some say I’m skeptical, but with many of the stories I cover being about hoaxes and misinterpretations I stress that I’m just covering this news and trying to stay objective. It’s easy to believe but it’s also easy to dismiss outright, the focus for me is digging for the reality behind the story and letting it put together the truth for me.