Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 86 · 1 month ago

Chasing Ghosts and Weird Moments in History with Marc Hartzman

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

I’ve always been fascinated by the oddities in life. Heck, it’s probably why my book has “weird” in the title—life’s just a bit more fun when there’s some strangeness involved.

That’s probably why I’m so excited to chat with Marc Hartzman, a person ABCNews.com called “one of America’s leading connoisseurs of the bizarre.” Marc has deeply researched all kinds of entertaining topics, from the disembodied head of Oliver Cromwell to the tallest folks to ever live.

He’s focusing on the supernatural in his latest book: Chasing Ghosts: A Tour of Our Fascination with Spirits and the Supernatural. You’ll learn all about paranormal investigators like Ed and Lorraine Warren (who inspired The Conjuring franchise), famous ghosts like the Bell Witch of Tennessee and the Greenbrier Ghost of West Virginia, haunted sites like the Stanley Hotel and the Winchester Mystery House, plus a whole lot of other spooky subjects.

We’ve got plenty to talk about in this eerily enjoyable episode (look at that alliteration!) so grab a seat and some Halloween candy and dive in.

Good people cool things as a podcastfuture and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians andother creatives get inspired by their stories to do your own cool thing andhere's your host Joey held hey there, welcome to good people cool things.Today's guest is Mark Hartzman, who ABC News Com once called one of America'sleading connoisseurs of the bazaar, and we are proving that to be spectacularlytrue. This episode we're talking about all different kinds of wild newsstories across history. Mark Dives into his latest book chasing ghosts, a tourof our fascination with spirits and the supernatural which just came out lastweek, so go on and get yourself a copy because it is fantastic or perhaps Ishould say, phantasmal as there's just lots of good ghost history in there.But that's not the other thing where can about mark has written books aboutMars and Oliver Cromwell's embalmed head as well as several other fantasticthings that we don't even touch on in this episode, because there's so muchout there to cover. We learn how mark got into all this weird bizarre ness inthe first place and a couple of fun other outside the box, things that he'sdiscovered through his research rols talked about his life as an creativeadvertising director we're also talking about his life as a creativeadvertising. Director he's writing these books outside of doing that. So,if you ever thought, you didn't have enough time to do something. LISTEN UP!There's some great tips about that as well. If you'd like to get in touchwith the show, you can reach out joey at good people, Cool Thingo, I alwayslove hearing from you on Facebook, twitter or Instagram at GP, CT podcast.You can support the show as well by head and on over to apple podcast,stitcher, pod chase or really anywhere. You can leave a review and then leavethat review, and hopefully it's five stars because you're getting all kindsof wonderful guests on this show like mark, but maybe it's a one star,because you have a vendetta against the ghost. You've got an unsettled score orsomething like that and you just can't take it. So, in that case, I apologizeotherwise definitely appreciate any kind of support from a rating, a reviewstandpoint. You also support the show by heading over to good people, coolthings, com and checking out the shop. You can wear your cove sweater, it'sstarting to become fall, we're getting. It is fall in fact we're getting veryfrigid, not so much here in Austin, but in parts of the country where there areseasons, it's getting cold. So why not pick up a nice cosy sweater and you cancuddle up the Mugato Co really sent in a scenehere, as we dive into this conversation with mark for people who don't know whoyou are you give us your quick little elevator pitch? But can you also tellus the type of elevator that we're writing on yeah? If it's, if it's anelevator it be more of a Wakaba kind, O go and diagonal wise and sideways andup you know up and down all over the place. Yeah I mean I love anything,that's just sort of weird and off beat, and you know bizarre fringe. Just youknow the weirder pages of history. So I love Weird History: Pretty Much everything I've written interms of all my previous books are related to some sort of weirdness inone way or another. I clearly chasing ghosts covers an odd topic. Youknow, with with the pair and normal and ghosts and haunted places and all thethese wonderful things like previous book, the Big Book ofMars covered. You know a lot of amazing science, but a lot of weird stuff aswell, in terms of what people used to believe a regarding inteligent life onMars and what they thought Martians might look like, and even just weird nasal in terms of howNASA ye got started. So there's always like a weird element. I do the book onall of her cromwells and bombed head written from his perspective, so thatwas, I think, clearly a little weird, so that yeah, that's just what you knowfascinates me and I love finding out these different stories throughouthistory and sharing them in with people.

So you got into this as a kid I earlyon kind of reading. Some of these weird stories was there one in particularthat stood out where you're like okay. This is something I need to learn moreabout yeah I'd say there were a couple. I think key, weird people that reallykind of stuck with me as a kid- and you know to this day. The first one, Iwould say, is Robert Wadlow, who is the Rord tallest man ever he was eight feeteleve and a half inches tall, and I used to read about every year when theGuinness Book of Records Came Out, the new you know when they were black andwhite kind of thick small books, and he was always like in that first sectionlike he turned to the first few pages, and it was a humanity section and hewas the first of the human lot he's always, and you know usually, everyyear there'd be a couple different pictures. You know, so it's preInternet of course. So this is what you had. You know and there be the stats.You know. is his growth charge you when he was five? He was you know somethingfeet taller. I might be a little bit off, I'm just going to top O my headright now, but but I mean he was you know enormous, and it was just one ofthose things that, like wow, how I can't believe a human being could growthis tall and you'd see the pictures of him next, like is dead in a crowd ofpeople. It's just extraordinary. You know it just really stuck with me, myGod, this this man was so huge and, as I began researching him later in lifeand learned more about autumn, I wrote about him in my book American side showyou know you find out that the guy died at. I think he was twenty. Two yearsold, he basically had a blister on his foot, which was covered by a brace tillhe was out o a show of one sort or another, and so he wasn't able toquickly get to a hospital the blister got infected and by the time I was ableto get help. He had gotten a fever of, like, I think, a hundred and sixdegrees, and and by that point the fever killedthem. So basically, this blister the cause, an infection, pray the highfever and he died from that, and I always think, like my God, this guydied. This man, who was almost nine feet tall tied from a blister, is justhorrible and he was still growing. He would have hit nine feet so so hisstory, you know just amazes me, and he was just such a you know, a gentlegiant and incredible person, who's trying to live his life to best hecould and but clearly just one of the mostremarkable people, physically speaking, that the world's ever seen and theother one who's really stuck in my head is the Elephant Man Joseph Merrick, andI saw that I saw the David Lynch Elm, the Elephan, when I was probably like seven, which is probably pretty young,to see the elephant man and it really like stained. My brain, like I, youknow those pictures I made such a moving story. The film was amazing andit's it's a sad story with a triumphantstory at the same time, in my mind, just the fact that he was able to get help with DrTrieve's and at the end he he found peace with himself. He found away to be happy even an under circumstances. He could find you knowmoments of joy, and you know again it's just an incredible case that he had andthe things he went through and the deformity he he had to contend with.It's just remarkable. So so he's always stayed with me, and I guess those twohave really helped semi down this path of. You know odd of these one way oranother yeah. I remember watching something about just America an I wantto say maybe like Sophomore Year of high school, something like that, whichyou know a little a little older. I think that, in terms of being able to you kind of, I guess appreciate morealaltre. It sounds like that. I mean that sent you down a path, so I can seeyou had plenty of appreciation, even at such a young age and yeah. The firsttime I heard about Robert Wadlow, I was a big MBA fan, still love basketballand George Mirasol was always kind of the Oh yeah. You know the pinnacle ofHigh Yea. He was still playing while I was growing up so seeing a seven, sevenguy and then to learn that there was someone over a foot taller than him.Brer my mind, that's insane, you...

...remember George Mirasol and that BillyCrystal Movie, My giant. I do- and he was huge in that you see next to BladeChris, like my God and so yeah think about Wada was over a foot taller.Imagine being seven, I think he was seven seven. Imagine like feeling short.I know you know. I remember seeing just towing the MBA lines I've ever going to.I think I've been like one NIX game and and fortunately for me it wasagainst the Houston Rockets when Yamin was flying- and I remember seeing YellMeing next to Patrick Ewing. At some point, I also I can't remember if Iguess young was still blowing then remember he was an assistant at thatpoint out anyway. Next to you and go seven feet and young look small, weird to see Patrick Ewing, not lookingat all, but yeah I mean height, is just amazing.I had the the good fortune to meet Sultan Cosin who's, the current world,tals man who's. I think, he's a foot born now. I believe he stopped goingbecause I think they they did the procedure to stop his petulant fromhelping him grow further, so so yeah. I met him in person and Ihave a photo of me next to him and his hands around my shoulder and you see,like his his hand, is like as big as my head. It's crazy. He was just you knowgigantic yeah. So I'm fascinated by all thatwe're going to need to see a photo of that we'll drop it in the shootercontended to yeah. That would be fantastic for reference. How tall areyou I'm five foot? Ten? Okay, I'm you know pretty average yeah solid, solid,two and a half feet. That's got to be I'm trying to think of the Callis, thetallest person I've met. I don't think I remember seeing a really tallFrenchman, one time when our family was in Paris, I assumed he was friend shewas speaking French very well, so I'm just gonna I'll make the leap therethat he was probably a French, but I just remember he had to be. He was likeducking around everything and I'm just like. Ah, it's got to be so rough, butalso so fascinated. Like you saying yeah I used to see so I used you know pre Covin. I tookthe I commuted into New York City every day for my job and along one of mycommutes. I had to take like one and train to another trains and subways,and there was this man. I would see often that just I guess our times ofcommuning were about the same, and this guy was huge. I mean, I would say it was a little over sevenfeet tall and some of these pathways in the subway system were kind of kind oflow ceilings and I'd see him like Havin a tilt his head, getting on the subwaylike and crouching down to get in the subway Mike. Oh, my God. This guy ishuge and you see him in the throngs of crowds commuting. You know in themorning just you know heads and shoulders above everybody, it's likewow. What is this guy and I want to know like where's he going like whatjob is he going to? You Know Yeah? Absolutely. I would make up backstories for people when I, when I lived in La, I took the bus to work because I,like I'm, probably not going to be out here permanently: Let's not invest in acar right now, even though I mean New York significantly easier to get aroundthan La with public transportation yeah for sure. But I'd see the same. Youknow the same core group. I would say of eight to ten people that were alsogoing in from kind of the West Side of Los Angeles into downtown for work andI'd make up little back stories for them, and you know, I hope, they're all doingwell on fun little activity for yeah keeping.You know killing time over an hour yeah for sure. Now you mentioned that JasonGhost Wall is your newest title. It isn't your only one. So how do youdecide when a story turns into a book? And it's not just an article or evenjust kind of a fun fact that you share with someone? How does it go into abook? I guess I kind of get a little obsessed with certain things and kindof start learning more and more about...

...them and it sort of spreads and grows I'll. Give you a few quick examplesthen lead up to the ghost version you of the current, but the current book.Of course. So, with I mentioned this before, I wrote a book called theinvolved head of all the Cromwell, a memoir, and for that book I had becomeinterested in posthumous stories of body parts, and Ithought this. This is a really fun thing. That's out in the world thatthere's all these different body, parts of you know, famous people that havebeen preserved and one wear another have traveled about or their museumsand wouldn't it be fun to tell their stories. And in my research I cameacross Cromwell's head, which traveled for three Hundred Years From Sixteenand Sixty on one thousand nine hundred and sixty- and I saw that stores likethis- is crazy, like this is unbelievable and so that I just had the idea to write thememoir from the heads perspective and wouldn't that be fun to just tell thetruth story, but then kind of fill in some blanks along the way and bring indifferent bits of history that he would have experienced. Clearly, there's aton of history to experience that three hundred year span. So that's kind ofhow that one came about and then the Mars look. The Big Book of a Mars waswas a really unexpected one for me, because I never thought I'd be writinga science book, but I was, I started a cycle weirdhistorian com about end of end o two thousand and sixteen and so early on. Iwas looking for something else to write and I remembered hearing about TeslaNicola Tesla trying to contact Mars at one point. I forgot where that came up-and you know my readings at some point, and so I thought maybe I writesomething about that. Let me look up some stories on the newspaper ArchiveService and see what I can dig up. So I do you know some searches and insteadof finding Tesla right away, I mean eventually found it, but but before itfound the tussle stories, I just stumbled across the story about a mannamed Dr Hum Mansfield and Robinson Won. One Thousand Nine hundred and twentysix was in telepathic communication with a Martian woman named Maruru, andthis was basically like the headline. It's like what what is this? So I dug into that it some moresearches, Abou, his name and Uruana dig up more articles and I thought wow.This is this is an amazing story and they got in touch with the Britishtelecommunications or Chipe Department. They sent me this huge PDA file with,like hundreds of pages of archives. You know scans of memos from the from onethousand nine hundred and twenty six, and also two years later he triedcontacting Mars again. He was trying to contact Mars with by telegram by theway I skipped over that part. So beyond te telepathy, he tried to use theworld's largest and most powerful radio to power the time which was rugby tower,which was controlled by the London Post Office. So we thought, let's try tosend. You know a telegram to Mars. We have the wave length. Will you Umaruwill have our scientists waiting to receive? Our message will do this nowbecause Mars is an opposition at that point, which means it's: It's closestpoint to Earth in its orbit. So every two years, it's an opposition. So it'sabout thirty five million miles from Earth which is relatively close. So so there's all these stories. I meanyour times is covering this story, and you know globally. The story is beingcovered. Of course we don't hear anything back, you know, but he wasclaiming that our scientists were too dumb to get the Martian signals andreceived them like it's our fault, you know and that they were laughing at us,because we were not smart enough, so that just kind of set me off like okay.Let me, as I'm researching his story, I'm starting to find out all thesestories on the porphory of other things that were going on in that era, otherscientists who are trying to contact Martians and all these differentbeliefs and that kind of just balloon into the big book of ours. So that'show that one came about and then the new book chasing ghosts. I mean I'vealways been fascinated by ghost in the paranormal. That's just been one othose things that I think kind of comes with the territory of liking, the theworld of the bizarre. But I had really...

...gotten into spiritualism in the pastseveral years and I've been buying a lot of books on it from like the late eighteen, hundredsearly, nineteen hundreds, partly because I have beautiful, covers they-have these amazing titles and and everything inside them is just kind ofwondrous and amazing. All these difference I mean I have a book callednext world interviewed, which is all these interviews with dead peoplefamous dead people talking about the other side and what they've learned you know all captured by mediums. Ofcourse you know supposedly, but it's just incredibly read these differentthoughts, and you know someone someone had thesedifferent ideas that they put down and attribute them to these differentspirits or they believe they actually heard them from the spirits. But it wasjust such an amazing time to think that you know millions of people trulybelieve that we were, we could communicate with the dead and and we'revery confident that there was another side and the death was not the end, andI just found that whole era to be really an incredible time to be alive.To think that, and then you have all the mediums who were you, know, train these sciences and having theseamazing matest tions, whether it was just a voice or automatic writing. Sleet writing. You know different kinds of physicalmanifestations things. You know according or spare trumpets you knowflying across the room, ECTO plasm, all these amazing things happening, andit's like how how were they doing these things and the book I kind of get intothat how some of them were proved to be fraudulent? In some cases, it's alittle hard to show what they were doing, but it's it's an amazing time. You knowpeople were doing extraordinary things and people truly believed so that allthat kind of got me going into the ghost in the paranoid. Wold. Of course,that's spread into other topics for the book Jason Ghosts. Have you gone on a significant number of ghost tours? I'mpretty sure I walked by one that was happening last night, which I thoughtwas pretty fitting. I've been on quite a few. Is there one that hands out as a must see or a must must start by a? I don't know that there's one inparticular. It's like you know so much greater than the others I mean I didOne in York in England, which was great because York is such a cool town. It'syou know, it's got so much great history. I Mean York has a littlestreet that I believe Harry potters, dig on ally was modeled. After and likeyou walked again like this looks like dog on Ali. So and it's got, you know, hundredshundreds and hundreds of years of history. So it's that was a pretty coolplace for a ghost tour. I've done one in Charleston, which is a great greatlittle town, and has you know that has a good history as well Saint Augustineof Florida in New York City, a friend of mine, runs boroughs of the dead andshe does great coast tour. So I did one at a green wood cemetery, which is anamazing cemetery. People can go there, you should go there. All kinds ofincredible people are buried there and she does one about spiritual, Tan,magicians kind of this topic. So that was a really cool tour. To do fantastic, I've only ever done one, andit was here in Austin, Texas and I enjoyed it because I mean I also findthat interesting. But I was in between someone that was fascinated likeobsessed with ghosts and someone who was sceptical as hell about everythingthat was happening and the JUXTA position of the two was just a delightbetween and it did anyone see anything but the friend and one other person wewent into the DRISCOL hotel in which is a, I think, probably one of the most wellknown facts about the driscoes that it is haunted and hythe claimed. They saw someone by thestaircase that'ss cool head and head and back. I,for i forgot to mention one m that i...

...should i should mention. Since youasked, i did a great ghost store of the marktwain house in two thousand and ten it was the hundredth anniversary of hisdeath, and so they were doing a special program at the mark. Twinhoof rdconnecticut- and i was doing weird new stories for all- were news at thatpoint. So i was carving the events as a story, but the tour was being led bylauren warren who, if people know the warrens famous she and her husband, ed,were famous coast. Hunters devenais famously stayed the amityville for orcase if you've seen the conjuring films, those are based on the warrens and abell of course, so so they're pretty well known that that world. So i got totalk to a rain and interview her in advance to choose giving me chills,raising the hairs on my arms hook, her stories just over the phone, and thenshe led the tour, and i was like i'm going to see a ghost it's going to beat the mark twain house with loraine warren, so that was pretty cool. Ofcourse i didn't, but i thought i was giving myself a prettygood shot. Yeah. That's all you can ask for be in a position: go try, yeah exactly exactly now, you're, also ontop of writing you're, also a creative advertising, director yeah and normally,when there's when i'm chatting with creatives on here, i always like to askabout their worst gigs so musician. I love hearing about their worst shows.Any kind of you know bad book signings or anything like that, but i kind offeel like to stay on theme here. What's the weirdest gig that you've evergotten weirdest advertising gig yeah? Oh, i don't know that. I say that one wasweird necessarily for the most part i'd say beenfortunate to work on some some pretty great clients. I've definitely had afew that i did not enjoy and i wouldn't say they were weird okay. I don't knowif i should name them yeah. I definitely don't don't get yourself introuble, but if, if there's a good horror story from it that you can kindof generalize, i mean one of them was for a flowers company that was just anightmare. You know the client basically just just wanted to write hisown spot and then what happens when you do that is you know, writing acommercials, it's kind of a fun part of the job and then, when you go produceit, that's usually a fun fun part of our job. You know you're going in to dothe shoot you you know theres, usually some travel involved. I mean that thatagain, precoveries and then they edit process all of post production ye. It'sa it's a fun process, and i but it's a lot of work, but when it's your whenit's yours, you know and you're happy with the work, it's enjoyable in thisparticular client just made it so horrible. The a was awful didn't, makeany sense and we were forced into you know producing it, and then i justremember being at the editors late at night. You know to work until midnightfor days and days, stupid, changes from them and we're like what are we doingwith our lives like this is what are we all doing here? Still, this isridiculous, we're all making a piece of crap. You know when stuck with it andthat it was early in my career, and i feel fortunate that i really haven'thad that experience again. I've generally been very happy with thethings i've managed to produce. I've worked on on bmw. I've worked on ibm,so some some big clients over the year, so it's been good nice yeah. It'salways i'm always amazed at what for lack of a better phrase like whathill someone will die on in terms of a change in something like that whereit's like. No, i hate this word lava and we need you know. We need somethingelse to replace it here and i'm just like this is what you're putting up afight for like right and how much money is this going to cost? I make thischange at this point. You know think in recorded it you really want to bringsome back in and...

...you know reed it so that we don't seethe mouth moving or something like that. Like i'll give you one weird thing, i don'tknow how i describe this one, but it was a spot for ibm where we had a pretty large cast about twenty people,and we were doing a thing with de partment nine to five, and so everyonewas doing a different line that we rewrote to be along like technologytechnology role and we found out after we shot it and posted it online,because it kind of ran a line first before the tv media plan was going tokick in and one of the guys apparently posted the podcast that was just sortof gross humor and had had a history ofsaying bad things about ibm on twitter. It's like how did this have? How didthis guy get through like who? Let him in casting, and so we had to pull downand then reedit around it like find a stock footage guy, i kind of match thescene and the out someone else to save the line and like his was like two moremonths of work on this thing to work around this, this guy, who just turnedout to be a nightmare. You know, because, because of the what he did yoand then what he had said in the past, more so was the was the bigger issue,so it was kind of like an early gyp jab. Almost where you had to you had to findsomeone else to take his place. We found like a stock shot of a guy whoyou're always seen from behind so then we could put it a different voice ontop and you wouldn't know nice and then let er see. I think we just croppedthem out. That was a bit of a weird mess, sounds like you pulled it, pull it offthere. You made it through eventually yeah yeah, that's two months, maybe not thebest fun but yeah. That was crazy. I will also give a shout out to dollyparton. We went for the company. I work at one of the co founders turned fortya few years back and as a surprise, the entire company of about forty people atthe time went to dolly parton show out here, and we all had dolly wigs and matchingdolly themed shirts, and i mean she's, got to be close to eighty now so she's,maybe like mid seven days back then maybe i'm aging her a little bit, butdefinitely in the ses, and it was. She was great. She was putting on a greatshow like i'm not going to claim to be a huge, dolly parton fan by it. She wascracking jokes up there. She was running around on stage so yeah i makeyou got a respect her right like i've. It's not like i'm a fan of listen, ter,o music, but i do respect hers and artists is just as a good human being.You know, she's a pretty great person, yeah she's, one of the first first onthe fight against covin, which is yeah's right. It's right love as some do. I love of some valuenow a question. I always like to ask- and i say it's because it's less workfor me is a question that you wish you were asked more frequently and i'm gointo kind of turn this into a little bit of a two parter, because i like you'reyour thing, your most interesting thing that you've learned from your research,but i'm also curious because you do have to do so much research for all ofthis and i think anyone who's tried to do. Research knows that it's very easyto go down a lot of rabbit holes. I get very distracted and kind of lose sightof what you're looking at in the first place. So do you have any sort of tipsor advice for people that do have to do research to knock get so bogged down init, or is that part of the fun it's a little bit part or the fun? But you dohave the balance i mean you know you always have to paceyourself with riding a book, because you have a deadline to meet it's a lotof work, and so it's like. I tried to write a certain amount. Every day- and i tell myself like an i'm balancingthis, it's with the day jobs, i'm like okay, if i can at least get you know afew hundred words written every day, i feel pretty good. Sometimes you'll domore, sometimes i'll do lest, but i just keep going and you know it's not.I can you just sit down and right you got to do the research you have to dointerviews with people, transcribe...

...interviews, email, people, you know,we've been the git back in touch and then there's this all that the otherresearch that you can dig up on your own without relying on someone else. Sothere's all these different things that come into play, but you know i'll. You know now i'm going to write aboutthis particular topic today. So i'll just do my research get everythingtogether, get my notes together and kind of write that out and move on tothe next thing- and you know comes together that way and things kind offlowing you go back and, like you might find tiens with other things. Youdidn't catch the first time you can go back and weave it together in one wayor another, but it works out in different people interview. You knowthat they're going to be able to add you know, you know what they should beable to add to something again depends on the topic, but one person you mightedit might know a lot about ancient cultures, for example. So i know likeokay, i'm going to talk to this person, i'm to get a lot of good informationcovers off them this this, and this, which i know i need more on you know, maybe talk to few differentpeople get some different perspectives on it kind of see what you're thinkingand what's what makes the most sense to you with all that combined and then youknow, bring it together kind of a hard thing to describe. Iguess, but it's worked out for me. I mean i enjoy the process. You know ilike what is kind of cool is. Is you do start researching? Maybe one incident to one event: one person, youknow maybe a particular medium, for example, and you might stumble acrosssomeone else in your research like all this person's great too okay, i want toinclude this person as well, and then you have to find a way to kind of linkthem together or make sure that you know the flowing in the in the in thetext, but it's kind of fun. When you find different things, you knowdifferent people, you, you didn't know you were going to stumble upon and nowyou've met another interesting person from history to include. So i do likethat. I love when that happens, and then sometimes after this i like. Okay,do i need to you know what point do you do notinclude other persons or events, because you can only do so much and youcan also want to make sure you're not getting too repetitive with differenttypes of people that might be fairly similar and their stories you don'tmean so there's a little bit of a balancing that i's involved for sure.So, what's the most interesting thing, you've learned from me, research, so i'd say a few things. If i couldgive a couple different. Absolutely one thing i really thought was prettyfascinating, and so the book i mentioned before the book covers a lotof you know spiritualism an early turn on central mediums, but it also getsinto into cultures. I just touched on briefly, but also the last chapter is about science andhow we've used technology to try to capture evidence of ghost in one way oranother, going back to like the camera. You know when william mumbling wasproducing spirit photographs. He was the first spare photographer in the e s in selling these photos that look liketheir spirits behind you and people believe that the camera could seethings that the human eye couldn't and that's how it could capture spirits,and you know what a miracle that is, and he was using, that up for profit,of course, but there have been so many people of youse technology to just tryto find evidence. So one thing i thought was really fast: name was theguy. In the s early s, his name was vic tandy, andthis was a guy in london who was, you know, he's a scientist and he wasworking at a warehouse late. One night and he'd been told that this place washaunted and that people seen shadowy figures, and you know there werestories all these different go stories about the place but yeah i was like okay. Well, i'mgoing go. Do my work and one night he brought to the office to this warehouse.He brought a foil, he was a fencer and he had atournament like the next day or something so we had his foil on thecounter and he walked away from him and i came back and you know the foils arethey're super thin right. He saw wobbling back and forth. He thought. Oh,that's odd. Why is it doing that and then he starts seeing some shadowyfigures, but rather than assume it's a ghost, he kind of...

...you know put on his science hat and,like thought like, what's causing this to happen, and so he discovered thatthere's there was a frequency called infer sound, which isabout eighteen point: nine herds that we don't detect on our own, like wedon't notice the sound, but it affects our bodies and it can make things likea foil move and it was coming from this industrial size fan in the warehouseand it can make the eye ball vibrate and that's what can cause you to seelike shadowy figures out the corner of your eye, and it can also may just makeyou scared it can make you feel these things. In fact, movies are known touse in for sound to enhance the you know the frightening. You know aspectof the movie if it's a horror movie so so he's like. Oh, this is interesting.Maybe this is what's accounting for people thinking they're, seeing ghostsof this place, and so then he take some equipment to test out to search forinfrasound in other places that are considered haunted and he goes up to ahaunted cellar in a cathedral. That's from, i think, the fourteen hundreds orfifteen hundreds and people have been seeing things there in the cellar andhe goes down there and turn up. He finds in for sound wavelengths goingthrough this cellar same thing in like narrow hallways he was finding in forsound, is present it's like all these kind of, like paranormal, tropes, ghosttropes. You know we're, seemingly you know, may be caused by infrasound andnot to say that that explains everything, that's kind of what i loveand he said himself he's like i'm not saying this explains everything, butmaybe it's explaining something. You know some instances, so i kind of lovethat in some ways science has found ways to maybe explain what might becausing some experiences. Some paranoeic es. The same thing was goingon with electro magna fields. There was a guy and candone michael personage.This was around the same time in like the s, and he made this thing called agod helmet when he would put the god helmit on volunteers and they would goin a room, basically be completely sensory deprived, but on this helmet,all dark room, those sound coming in and then he couldhit them with like pulses of electromagnetic fields in theirtemporal lobes. Through this helmet you could bill dials, i guess he couldtiled up to l down and people would have different kinds of experiencesdepending on what he shot in through the god elbes. Some people thought theysaw god some people thought they saw aliens and some people thought they sawghosts, and so again it's like okay. So maybe in places you know, the role isfull of all sorts of devices and technology all over the place right. Sothe electro magnet fields are much more present than they might ave been in thepast, so maybe that's causing some things. Of course again does explain.Everything and people been seeing ghosts for ever since there're beenhumins. There been stories of ghosts so again keeps the mystery alive, but itdoes maybe explain a few things which is kind of cool. So i love stories likethat. There was another story along those lines of one thousand ninehundred and twelve, a house where family moved in and experienced alllike the stereotypical ghost things you know they heard voices they felt theyfelt you know, heard tappings and maybe feltthings walking down. The hallway saw shadowy figures, all the all the ghostthe stuff right, like a classic hanted house and theregulative comes over one day and says you know i knew another family hadsimilar issues and they had their. I think their stove checked for the gasor something. Maybe you should do that so a in thousand nine hundred andtwelve and the house was still lived by gas. Lamps, not electricity, yet didn'thave like light bulbs in the house or anything yet, and the gas lamps usecarbon monoxide and so- and i think the heater used carbon monoxide whateverthey had so they checked it out and they did find. There was a car of knoxside leak and the leak obviously wasn't lethal,but it was enough to cause the car bob knox that can cause like hallucinationsand these these different types of experiences, so when they fixed allthat the carbon oxide league goes away,...

...everything was fine, so i found i found all that fascinating,where science could could explain away some instances of what might beparanomasia thought that was kind of cool. Again, i love the fact. It doesn't explaineverything, because i think it's amazing that people experience thingsthat you don't have an answer like that for there's plenty of cases where, likenone of that makes any sense and there's still no explanation. So it'sthat keeps it. I think fastening and one other thing i'll say. I learnedthat that was interesting because it's a fun one is why ghosts were clothes, and i thought this was and of coursethis is a theory of course, but i thought it was a goodtheory and this this comes from a parapsych ologist, who was very helpfulsame as lord auerbach, and he made the point that ghost you would see a ghost like if you're,if you're perceiving a ghost of someone that you know or anyone, i guess thatyou would be seeing them as they see themselves, and so he had an exercisethat he tells he teaches as well. So you have students us he sent this to meto do. If you close your eyes and picture yourself, you know what do yousee describe what you see and most likely you're going to describeyourself like go? I'm wearing. You know a gray shirt, and you know you know whatever shorts. You know whatyou might just describe. Basically, what you're wearing right in general,but you're, probably not going to describe your socks and shoes andyou're, probably not going to be naked. Most people don't think of themselves.In the nude you know, they think think yourself, like the stuff you like towear like how you typically dress, and if his third is right and you come backand you are seen the way you think of yourself- that it makes sense that youwould be dressed and that may be your feet aren't showing that's why youknow typically goes kind of fade out toward the bottom right, because wedon't really think of our feet. When we think of how we look, i thought therewas a lot of truth to that. To that exercise. I thought that was a prettyinteresting theory. I like that. I'm thinking of i don't know why this iscoming to my mind, but the old computer game, willie beamish, if you everplayed that it's really it's a really obscure one, but the main character islike a twelve year old boy or something, and he gets advice from his grandfatherwho comes in dressed, like an old railroad conductor, but yeah has justkind of like a tail. That kind of yeah fades out, know no feet on that. I like yet thereyeah like that. I think i think it works nicely. Yeah all right mark er,almost off the hook here, but we always like to wrap up with a top three, andyou mentioned weird historian, and i mean people, people don't know by thispoint that you enjoy the weird and bizarre out there. I don't know if thiswill change their mind or anything, but in any case, i'm still very excited tohear this about your top three weird news stories from all of history, so one of larry talked about which wasoliver cromwell's in balm head traveling through england for threehundred years. I just find that story fascinating i'll, just give a littlebit more about since i've dever really said more than that, but basically cromwell. If people don'tknow who he was, he was the lower protector of england, ireland andscotland. Following the english civil war, he ledthe charge to have king charles, the first beheaded, so that broke up themonarchy. Then, when cromwell died in onsite and fifty eight, he was embalmedthe buried westminster abbey a few years later, charles the secondrestored the monarchy. So hence the marque is back as it is today, becausecharles second brought it back and he was pissed off at his dad got beheaded,so he exum cromwell's body that was involved. He hanged it in public andthen beheaded the head and put it on top of westminster hall on a pike, andit stayed there for about twenty five years and then a storm finally knockedit off. It was a wooden spike with like a iron tip that went throughthe skull e and so that fell off and...

...someone picked it up. A century pickedup, took it home, kept it hidden away from his family till he was on hisdeath bed and it today i got cromwell's head hiding him like the chimney. I think he was a litle nervous aboutlena win now before that, because that probably wouldn't have been too wellreceived and from there it went to a museum, and then it just you knowtraveled when from what you know pass from one person to another. Untileventually, it fell into a family's possession, they kept it through fivegenerations and that fifth generation on one thousand nine hundred and sixtydecide that this is enough. I want to go rebury the head, so the head wasreburied at sydney, sussex college in cambridge and the anti chapel and aplace that is not known for sure, but there's a marker that says it'ssomewhere in there, so no one can go dig it up specifically, so i just findthat to be just a remarkable story that this head was passed around for threehundred years and went through a lot of different inspections to try todetermine its authenticity, which i think it was finally determineded. Yes, this is the authentic et of cromwell. So i love that story.Obviously, and then so i mean there's so many, so i thought of a coupleothers that especially love one of them is the story of lapeta etamin, i'msaying it properly: it's french guy! His name is joseph bushel and he was a far tiste in the late eighteen hundredshe was the most popular act, the highest grossi in act at the moulanrouge, and he farted. This was what he did. He had control of himself entirelyand he could he would fart tunes and he would do impressions with parts hemight say like. This is the sound of your mother in law and he does like acrazy groaning fart that a drag you know like and people would love it andand women would be like shocked and they would have you know like whentheir corsets, the very think, good bye. You know and they'd have like doctorsand nurses in the in the aisles to like help me when it my fains from shockfrom this man's routine, and so the fact that he discovered hehad the skill and then was able to be pisces act that we on rose. I just ilove it. I think that's just a really fun story, what a great character andthen another one. I love- and i talked about this one in chasing ghost, andit's just briefly. It's a story of lady wonder so is touches on the paranomasie bit.So lady wonder was a horse, a psychic horse like the nose cadama s of horseswho lived in the early nineteen hundreds yeah, like first half nineteen hundredsand she was known for predicting all kinds of things, including the factthat truman was going to the feet doe when, of course all the newspapers saiddo we was you know already printed de we defeats truman, but she alsopredicted horse races like she'd, get them all right, forty norserace. She would help police find missing people in other states. Thiswas, and she was in north carolina by the way, and so she would this horsewould do all these amazing things. If people would go there and ask questions,you know, do calculations and the horse had this giant typewriter. There's,there's amazing pictures that life magazine took. They did a big article.I i forgot when exactly that was maybe the between the threes and he is, if iremember correctly somewhere around there, but but yeah, it was amazing. Soshe had this trainer and you know the question was like. Okay, so is thetrainer giving her signals like incredibly settle signals and horsethere've been other educated horses in history and they're all facinatingdoing calculation, creat, crazy calculations or spelling things out andthey were taking really sell cues from their trainer, which is amazing thatthey can do that. That's just amazing alone, but this horse seemed to have apsychic ability as well like it was, like, i said, making accuratepredictions. So how exactly that was the working.You know if if it was getting cues from the trainer, that's fine, but then howwas the trainer finding lost children...

...or even though his kiss of a lost dogthat was like states? You know many states away in the south. I think thatturned out what the horse said was right, like this is crazy. So i lovethose things. They're, like you know, magicians would go study. Her famousmagician went and state her and j b ryan, the the guy who that that's astory get into in the book and chasing goes of a jab ryan who stared up thethe ryan center. For you know, basically, he created esp. He createdterm sp e started that program at duke university. So there's still the rianresearch center there today and on his way down to duke to start upthis new facility. He saw the horse the sign for like the psychic course, andhe had to stop and check that out. What's the smell, so he stayed atanother magician milbourne, christopher famous magician. He stayed it and hethought he figured things out like okay. If i you know, i i forget what the termis exactly but like he might fake that he's writing a certain number and thenthe the trainer would see what motions he wasdoing, and i understand what what number he was writing for example, buthe faked it and then the horse got it wrong because he was faking the motion,so i kind of figured out a little bit of it, but he still makes you wonderhow, like it predicted, you know twenty eight out twenty eight horse races, youknow yeah, so again, lady wonder lived up to her name and it kind of leavesyou in the bit of wonder so i love that story. Those are all fantastic good stuff will mark. It is good stuff.Yes, it is. It is great stuff, it's cool! That's why it's on this podcast,it's a cool thing on bar! Thank you so much for takingthe time to chat. If people want to pick up a copy of chasing ghost, whichis out now or any of your other books, learn more about you work and they findyou yeah. You can go to mark hardsmanboosom and that it's mark marc gr, tz man, bookscan it's available, prettymuch should be anywhere. You go. Mazan, barnes and noble. Any independent bookstore should have chasing ghost from cork books. You can go to court bookside as well and find out more there, but yeah check it out. It's you knowperfect or for halloween, not to it's spooky stories, yes i'll plan to readit to tricker treaters. Let's see maybe pick out a few of my favorite quotes.At least i don't know if they'll stick around for a whole chapter, if there'sa candy to be had but yeah they might want to move on, but but yeah, but buttry it yes, it'll be the toll to get get caea earn it good deal also give aplug for weird historian com because lots of fascinating things like this.This is just a taste of it there's so so many great stories on there awesome. Yes, thank you good deal. Well, my i'm sure you canhear my dog frantically back barking in the background. Probably, hopefully the house is not onfire, you never know, i feel like she's, usually just sparking at nothing, so we will wrap up, as we always do with acorny joke. What happened to the writer after hehad bowel surgery, what he ended up with a semi collinafter tsoay people, good people, cool things is produced in austin texas. Ifyou were a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that follow button thathelps more people here, the shell, you can send me a message: joey act, goodpeople, cool things, com, thank you to all of the guests who have been on goodpeople, cool things check out all the old episodes, the good people coolthings com. As always. Thank you for listening and have a wonderful day, a.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (92)