Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 86 · 1 year ago

86: 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 podcast feature and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives. Get inspired by their stories to do your own cool thing, and here's your host, Joey held hey. They're welcome to good people cool things. Today's guest is Mark Hertsman, who ABC Newscom once called one of America's leading connoisseurs of the bizarre, and we are proving that to be spectacularly true this episode. We're talking about all different kinds of wild news stories across history. Mark Dives into his latest book, Chasing Ghosts, a tour of our fascination with spirits and the supernatural, which just came out last week. So go on and get yourself a copy, because it has fantastic, or perhaps I should say phantasmal as. There's just lots of good ghost history in there. But that's not the other thing we're chatting about. Mark has written books about Mars and Oliver Cromwell's embalmed head, as well as several other fantastic things that we don't even touch on in this episode because there's so much out there to cover. We learn how mark got into all this weird bizarre nests in the first place and a couple of fun other outside the box things that he's discovered through his research. We're also talking about his life as a creative advertising director. We're also talking about his life as a creative advertising 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 touch with the show, you can reach out joey at good people, cool thingscom I always love hearing from you on Facebook, twitter or Instagram at GPCT podcast. You can support the show as well by heading on over to apple podcast, stitcher podchas are really anywhere you can leave a review and then leave that review and hopefully it's five stars because you're getting all kinds of wonderful guests on the show like mark. But maybe it's a one star because you have a vendetta against the ghosts, you've got an unsettled score or something like that and you just can't take it. So in that case I apologize. Otherwise, definitely appreciate any kind of support from a writing or review standpoint. You also support the show by heading over to good people cool thingscom and checking out the shop. You can wear your cozy sweater. It's starting to become fall. We're getting it is fall, in fact, we're getting very frigid. Well, not so much here in Austin, but in parts of the country where there are seasons it's getting cold. So why not pick up a nice cozy sweater and you can cuddle up the Mug of Hot Coco? Really set in a scene here as we dive into this conversation with mark. For people who don't know who you are, you give us your quick little elevator pitch, but can you also tell us the type of elevator that we're writing on? Yeah, I fit's. If it's an elevator, be more of a walkovator. Gotta go in diagonohlise and sideways and up, you know, up and down all over the place. Yeah, I mean I love anything that's just sort of weird and offbeat and, you know, bizarre, fringe, just, you know, the weirder pages of history. So I love weird history. Pretty much everything I've written in terms of all my previous books are related to some sort of weirdness and one way or another, clearly chasing ghosts covers and odd topic, you know, with with the parent and normal and ghosts and haunted places and all these wonderful things. Like previous book, the Big Book of Mars, covered, you know, a lot of amazing science but a lot of weird stuff as well in terms of what people used to believe regarding intelligent life on Mars and what they thought Martians might look like, and even just weird Nassa Lor in terms of Hell, NASA g y all got started. So there's always like a weird element. I do the book on Oliver Cromwell's and Balm head written from his perspective, so that was, I think, clearly a little weird. So that yeah, that that's just what you know, fascinates me and I love finding out these different stories throughout history and sharing them with people. So you got into this as a kid. ...

I early on kind of reading some of these weird stories. was there one in particular that stood out where you're like, okay, this is something I need to learn more about. Yeah, I'd say there were a couple, I think, key weird people that really kind of stuck with me as a kid and you know, to this day. The first one, I would say, is Robert Wadlow, who is the world's tallest man ever. He was eight feet eleven and a half inches tall and I used to read a bellm every year when they in this book of Records came out the new you know, when they were black and white, kind of thick small books, and he was always like in that First Section, like he turned to the first few pages and it was a Humanodi section and he was the first of the human moth. He's always and you know, usually every year there'd be a couple different pictures, you know, so it was pretty Internet of course. So this is what you had, you know, and there'd be the stats, you know, his growth charts. You know, when he was five he was, you know, seven feet tall. or I might be a little bit off. I'm just going off top my head right now, but but I mean he was, you know, enormous and it was just one of those things that like wow, how I can't believe a human being could grow this tall, and you'd see the pictures of him next like his dad and a crowd of people. It's just extraordinary. You know. It just really stuck with me. My God, this this man was so huge and, as I began researching him later in life and learn more about them. I wrote about him in my book American side show and you know, you find out that the guy died it. I think he was twenty two years old. He basically had a blister on his foot which was covered by a brace while he was out a show of one sort or another, and so he wasn't able to quickly get to a hospital. The blister got infected and by a time he was able to get help he had gotten a fever of, I think, a hundred six degrees and and by that point the fever killed them. So basically this blister the cause and infection create the high fever and he died from that and I always think like my God, this guy died, this man who was almost nine feet all died from a blister. It's just horrible. And he was still growing. He would have hit nine feet. So so his story, you know, just amazes me and he was just such a gentle giant, incredible person who's trying to live his life the best he could, but clearly just one of the most remarkable people, physically speaking, that the world's ever seen. And the other one who's really stuck in my head is the elephant man, Joseph Merrick, and I saw that I saw the David Lynch film the Elephant Man when I was probably like seven. It just probably pretty young to see the elephant man and it really likes stay in my brain like I you know, those pictures. I mean such a moving story. The film was amazing and it's it's a sad story with a triumphant story at the same time. In my mind, just the fact that he was able to get help with with Dr Trees and at the end he he found peace with himself, he found a way to be happy even in under circumstances. He could find, you know, moments of joy and you know, again, it's just an incredible case that he had and the things he went through and the deformity he had to contend with. It just remarkable. So so he's always stayed with me and I guess those two have really helped set me down this path of, you know, oddities one way or another. Yeah, I remember watching something about just America in I want to say maybe like Sophomore Year of high school, something like that, which you know a little a little older. I think that in the terms of being able to you kind of, I guess, appreciate more, although it sounds like that. I mean that's sent you down a path, so I guess you you had plenty of appreciation even at such a young age. And Yeah, the first time I heard about Robert Wildough I was a big NBA fans. Still Love Basketball and Georgie Morrisson was always kind of the Oh yeah, you know, the pinnacle of height is. He's still playing while I was growing up. So seeing a seven seven guy and then to learn that there was someone over a foot taller than him right my mind.

That's insane. Do you remember George Mirrezon and that Billy Crystal Movie? My giant? I do, and he was huge in that you seem next to billy Chris like my gut. And so yeah, think about Wadlow, was over a foot taller. Imagine being seven. I think he was seven seven. Imagine like feeling short. I know, you know, I've remember seeing just along the NBA lines. I've ever going to. I think it'd be like one next game and and fortunately for me it was against the Houston Rockets when y'all Ming was playing, and I remember seeing Yell Meing next to Patrick Ewing at some point. I also can't remember. If I guess youing was still plowing them tremor. He was an assistant at that point. Right. Anyway, next to you and WHO's seven feet, and ewing look small. Weird to see Patrick Ewing not looking at all. But yeah, I mean height is just amazing. I had the good fortune to meet Sultan cosen, who's the current rulds tall man, who's I think he's a foot born. Now I believe he stopped going because I think they they did the procedure to stop his pituitary gland from helping him grow further. So so, yeah, I met him in person and have 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 know, gigantic. Yeah, it's so I'm fascinating by all that. We're going to need to see a photo of that. We'll drop it in the show out I for contended to you. Yeah, that would be fantastic for reference. How Tall Are you? I'm five foot ten, okay, I'm yeah, pretty average. Yeah, the solid, solid two and a half feet. That's got to be. I'm trying to think the tallest, the tallest person I've met. I don't think I remember seeing a really tall Frenchman one time when our family was in Paris. I assumed he was friend. She was speaking French very well, so I'm just gonna make the leap there that he was probably French, but I just remember he had to be. He was like ducking around everything and I'm just like Ah, it's got to be so rough but also so fascinating, like you said. Yeah, I used to see so. I used pre covid. I took the commune into New York City every day from my job and along one of my commutes I had to take like one in train to another, trains and subways, and there was this man I would see often. It just I guess our times of commuting were about the same and this guy was he huge. I mean I would say it was a little over seven feet tall and some of these pathways in the subway system were kind of kind of low ceilings and I'd see him like having to tilt this head getting on the subway, like crouching down to get the subway Mike. Oh my gods, guy's huge. and see him and the throngs of crowds commuting you on the morning just, you know, it's in shoulders above everybody. It's like wow, where does this guy I want to know, like where is he going? Like with job 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 a car right now, even though I'm in New York. Significantly easier to get around the LA with public transportation. Yeah, for sure. But I'd see the same, you know, the same core group, I would say, of eight to ten people that were also going in from kind of the West Side of Los Angeles into downtown for work, and I'd make up little back stories for them and, you know, I hope they're all doing well. Fun, fun little activity first, yeah, keeping you know, killing time over an hour, if for sure. Now you mentioned that chasing ghosts. While it's your newest title, it isn't your only one. So how do you decide when a story turns into a book and it's not just an article or even just kind of a fun fact that you share with someone. How does it go into a book? I guess I kind of get a little obsessed with certain things and kind of start learning more and more...

...about them and it sort of spreads and gross. I'll give you a few quick examples then lead up to the ghost version of the current book, the current book, of course. So with I mentioned this before, I wrote a book called the embalmed head of all their Cromwell, a memoir, and for that book I had become interested in postumus stories of body parts and I thought this, this is a really fun thing that's out in the world, that there's all these different body parts of, you know, famous people that have been preserved and one where another to have traveled about or their in museums, and would it be fun to tell their stories? And in my research I came across Cromwell's head, which traveled for three Hundred Years From sixteen sixty one thousand nine hundred and sixty and I saw that stories like this is crazy, like this is unbelievable, and so did I just had the idea that rite the memoir from the heads perspective and would that be fun to just tell the true story but then kind of fill in some blanks along the way and bring in different bits of history that he would have experienced. Clearly there's a ton of history to experience that three hundred year span. So that's kind of how that one came about. And then the Mars Book, the Big Book of Mars, was was a really unexpected one for me because I never thought I'd be writing a science book, but I was. I started a psy called Weird historiancom about end of end of two thousand and sixteen, and so early on I was looking for something else to write and I remembered hearing about Tesla Nicola, Tesla trying to contact Mars at one point. I forget where that came up and you know my readings at some point and so I thought I'll maybe I write something about that. Let me look up some stories on the newspaper Archives Service and see what I can dig up. So I do, you know, some searches and instead of finding Tesla right away, I mean eventually found it, but but before I found the tesla stories, I just stumbled across this story about a man named Dr Hugh Mansfield Robinson who in nineteen twenty six was in telepathic communication with a Martian woman named Muruu and and this was basically like the headline. It's like what, what is this? So I dug into that. It's more searches around his name and Mururu. I diget more articles and I thought, wow, this is this is an amazing story, and I got in touch with the British Telecommunications Archive Department. They sent me this huge pdfile with like hundreds of pages of archives, you know, scans of memos from the from the nineteen twenty six and also two years later he tried contacting Mars again. He was trying to contact Mars with by telegram, by the way, I skipped over that part. So beyond te telepathy, he tried to use the world's largest and most powerful radio tower the time, which was rugby tower, which was controlled by the London Post Office. So we thought, let's try to send, you know, a telegram to Mars. We have the wavelength. Will you know, Umuru, will have our scientists waiting to receive our message. will do this now, because mark race is an opposition at that point, which means it's at its closest points earth in its orbit. So every two years it's an up position. So it's about thirty five million miles too from Earth, which is relatively close. So so there's all these stories, I mean your times discovering the story and you know globally the stories being covered. Of course we don't hear anything back, you know, but he was claiming that our scientists were too dumb to get the Martian signals and receive them, like it's our fault, you know, and that they were laughing at us because we're not smart enough. So that just kind of step me off like okay, let me as I'm researching his story, I'm starting to find out all these stories on the periphery of other things that were going on in that era. Other scientists were trying to contact Martians and all these different beliefs and that kind of just balloon into the big book of ours. So that's how that one came about. And then the new book chasing ghosts. I mean I've always been fascinated by ghosts in the paranormal that's just been one of those things that I think kind of comes with the territory of liking the world of the bizarre. But I...

...had really gotten into spiritualism in the past several years and I've been buying a lot of books on it from like the late eighteen hundreds, early nineteen hundreds, partly because they have beautiful covers, they have these amazing titles and everything inside them is just kind of wondrous and amazing, all these difference. I mean I have a book called next world interviewed, which is all these interviews with dead people, famous dead people, talking about the other side and what they've learned, you know, all captured by mediums or, you know, supposedly, but it's just incredibly read these different thoughts and you know, someone someone had these different ideas that they put down and attribute them to these different spirits or they believe they actually heard them from the spirits. But it was just such an amazing time to think that. You know, millions of people truly believe that we were we could communicate with the dead and and we're very confident that there was another side and the death was not the end, and I just found that whole error to be really an incredible time to be alive to think that. And then you have all the mediums who were, you know, Crane these sciences and having these amazing Manfestations, whether it was just a voice or automatic writing, slate writing, you know, different kinds of physical manifestations, things, you know, apporting or spirit trumpets, you know, flying across the room, Ectoplasa, all these amazing things happening and it's like how, how were they doing these things? In the book I kind of get into that how some of them were proved to be fraudulent. In some cases it's a little hard to show what they were doing, but it's it's an amazing time. You know, people were doing extraordinary things and people truly believed. So that all that kind of got me going into the ghosts in the paranormal. Of course, that spread into other topics for the book chasing ghosts. Have you gone on a significant number of ghost tours? I'm pretty sure I walked by one that was happening last night, which I thought was pretty fitting. I've been on quite a few. Is there one that hands out as a must see or a must die? I must stop by. I all know that there's one in particular. It's like, you know so much greater than the others. I mean, I I did One in York in England, which was great because York is such a cool town. It's you know, it's got so much great history. I mean yourk has a little street that I believe Harry Potter's diagon Alley was modeled after, and like you walked it like this, looks like diagon alley. So and it's got you hundreds, hundreds and hundreds of years of history. So it's that was a pretty cool place for a ghost tour. I've done one in Charleston, which is a great, great little town and has you know, that has a good history as well. St Augustine of Florida. In New York City, a friend of mine runs burrows of the dead and she does great ghost tours. So I did one at the Greenwood Cemetery, which is an amazing cemetery. People can go there. You should go there. All kinds of incredible people are buried there and she does want about spiritualisty magicians kind of this topic. So that was a really cool tour to do, fantastic. I've only ever done one and it was here in Austin, Texas, and I enjoyed it because, I mean, I also find that interesting at but I was in between someone that was fascinated, like obsessed with ghosts and someone who was skeptical as hell about everything that was happening and the juxtaposition of the two is just a delight. Between and they did anyone see anything but the friend and one other person. We went into the dristcoll hotel in which is an I think, probably one of the most wellknown facts about the dress goals that it is haunted, and they they claimed they saw someone by the staircase. That's cool. Head and head and back. I forgot. I forgot...

...to mention one HMM that I should I should mention since you asked. I did a great ghost tour of the Mark Twain House and two thousand and ten. It was the hundredth anniversary of his death and so they were doing a special program with our twin house in Hartford Connecticut, and I was doing weird news stories for Al Well, we're news at that point, so I was carving the events as a story. But the tour was being led by Lorraine Warren who, if people know the warrants, famous. She and her husband Ed were famous coast hunters, demonologist, famously stay the MNYVILLE horror case. If you've seen the conjuring films, those, those are based on the warrens and a Belle, of course. So. So they're pretty well known in that that world. So I got to talk to lorraine and interview her in advance that she was giving me chills, raising the hairs on my arms from our stories just over the foam. And then she led the tour and I was like fun to see a ghost. It's going to be the Mark Twain House with Lorraine warn so that was pretty cool. Course I didn't. I thought I was giving myself a pretty good shot. Yeah, that's all you can ask for. Be In a position gotta try. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Now you're also on top 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 ask about 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 of feel like to stay on theme here. What's the weirdest GIG that you've ever gotten? Weirdest Advertising Gig? Yeah, I don't know that I'd say that one was weird necessarily. For the most part, I'd said been fortunate to work on some pretty great clients. I've definitely had a few that I did not enjoy. I wouldn't say they were weird. Okay, I don't know if I should name them. Yeah, I definitely don't. Don't get yourself in trouble, but if there's a good horror story from it that you can kind of generalize, I mean one of them was for a flowers company. That was just a nightmare. You know, the client basically just want to write his own spot and then what happens when you do that is writing a commercials it's kind of a fun part of the job. And then when you go produce it, that's usually a fun, fun part of our job. You know, you go in to do the shoot, you know there's usually some travel involved. I mean that again pretty covid days. And then the edit process, all the post production. They oh it's a it's a fun process and in it, but it's a lot of work. But when it's your when it's yours, you know and you're happy with the work, it's enjoyable. In this particular client just made it so horrible. The I was awful, didn't make any sense and we were forcing into, you know, producing it, and then I just remember being at the editor's late at night, you know, till work until midnight, for days and days stupid changes from them and we're like what are we doing with our lives, like this is what are we all doing here still? This is ridiculous. We're all making a piece of crap, you know, and stuck with it. And that was early in my career and I've feel fortunate that I really haven't had that experience again. I've cually been very happy with the things I've managed to produce. I've worked on BMW, I've worked on IBM, so some some big clients over the year, so it's been good. N I see it's always I'm always amazed at what, for lack of a better phrase, like what he'll someone will die on in terms of a change and something like that, where it's like no, I hate this word lava and we need, you know, we need something else to replace it here, and I'm just like this is what you're putting up a fight for, like right, and how much money is this going to cost to make this change? At this point? You know, K we. I didn't recorded it. You really want to bring someone back in and you know re edit so that we don't see the mouth moving...

...or something like that, like the Oh, I'll give you one weird thing. I don't know how I describe this one, but it was a spot for ourbm where we had a pretty large cast, about twenty people, and we were doing a thing with Dolly partner's nine, the five, and so everyone's doing a different line that we rewrote to be along like technology, the technology role. And we found out after we shot it and posted it online, because it kind of ran online first before the TV media plan was going to kick in, and one of the guys apparently posted the podcast. It was just sort of gross humor and had had a history of saying bad things about IBM on twitter. It's like, how did this? How did this guy get through? I who let him in casting, and so we had to pull down and then re edit around it, like find a stock footage guy like kind of match the scene and they could someone else to say the line like this was like two more months of work on this thing to work on this this guy who just turned out to be a nightmare, you know, because because of the what he did, Ye know, and then when he had said in the past, more so, was the was the bigger issue. So it's kind of like an early Jib Jab almost where you had to you had to find someone else to take its play. We found like a stock shot of a guy who you're always seen from behind, so then we could put a different voice on top and you wouldn't know nice and then the other see. I think we just cropped them out. That was a bit of a weird mouse. Sounds like you pulled it. Pulled it off, though. You made it through eventually. Yeah, yeah, that's two months. Maybe not the best fun, but yeah, that was crazy. I will also give a shout out to Dolly Parton. We went for the company I at work out one of the CO founders turned forty a few years back and as a surprise, the entire company, of about forty people at the time, went to Dolly Parton show out here and we all had dolly wigs and matching Dolly themed shirts. And she I mean she's got to be close to eighty now, so she's maybe like mid s back then. Maybe I'm aging her a little bit, but definitely in the S I and she was she was great. She was putting on a great show. Like I'm not going to claim to be a huge Dolly Parton Fan, but she was cracking jokes up there. She was running around on stage. So yeah, I mean see, you got a respect right, like I've it's not like I'm a fan of listening to our music, but I do respect her as an artists and is just as a good human being. You know, she's a pretty great person. Yeah, she's one of the first, first on the fight against covid which is yeah, that's right, it's right. Love US some Dolly, love US OF BELLY. Now a question I always like to ask, and I say it's because it's less work for me as a question that you wish you were asked more frequently. And I'm going to kind of turn this into a little bit of a two partter, because I like your your 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 of this and I think anyone who's tried to do research knows that it's very easy to go down a lot of rabbit holes and get very distract and kind of loose sight of what you're looking at in the first place. So do you have any sort of tips or advice for people that do have to do research to not get so bugged out in it? Or is that part of the fun? It's a little bit part of the fun. But you do have the balance. I mean, you know you always have to pace yourself with rying a book because you have a deadline. To me, it's a lot of work and so it's like I tried to write a certain amount every day and I tell myself I go and I'm balancing that. It's with the day jobs. Like okay, if I can at least get, you know, a few hundred words written every day, I feel pretty good. Sometimes you'll do more, sometimes I'll do last, but I just keep going. And you know, it's like can you just sit down and right you got to do the research. You have to do interviews with people, transcribe interviews,...

...email people you know with them to get back in touch, and then there's just all that the other research that you can dig up on your own without relying on someone else. So there's all these different things that come into play. But I you know, all you know, I'll know I'm going to write about this particular topic today, so I'll just do my research, get everything together, get my notes together and kind of write that out and move on to the next thing and it, you know, comes together that way and things kind of flow and you go back and like you might find tie ins with other things you didn't catch the first time. You can go back and weave it together one way or another, but it works out. I'm different people you interview you know that they're going to be able to add, you know, you know what they should be able to add to something. Again, depends on the topic, but one person you might edit might know a lot about ancient cultures, for example. So I know like, okay, I'm going to talk to this person. I'm they get a lot of good information that covers off the on this, this and this, which I know I need more on. You know, maybe talk to a few different people, get some different perspectives on that, kind of see what you're thinking and what's what makes the most sense to you with all that combined, and and then, you know, bring it together. kind of a hard thing to describe, I guess, but it's worked out for me. I mean I enjoy the process, you know, I like what is kind of cool is you do start researching maybe one incident one event, one person you know, maybe a particular medium for example, and you might stumble across someone else in your research like Oh, this person's great too. Okay, I want to include this person as well. And then you have to find a way to kind of link them together or make sure that you know the flowing in the in the in the text. But it's kind of fun when you find different things, you know, different people you you didn't know you were going to stumble upon and now you've met another interesting person from history that to include. So I do like that. I love when that happens. And then sometimes you after this, I like, okay, do I need to you know, what point do you do you not include other persons or events, because you can only do so much and you could also want to make sure you're not getting too repetitive with different types of people that might be fairly similar and their stories. You don't. I mean. So there's a little bit of a bouncing that'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 could give a couple different absolutely one thing I really thought was pretty fascinating, and so the book I mentioned before, the book covers a lot of spiritualism and early turn a central mediums, but it also gets into ancient cultures I just touched on briefly. But also the last chapter is about science and how we've used technology to try to capture evidence of ghosts. In one we're another going back to like the camera. You know when William Mumler was producing spirit photographs, he was a first spirit photographer in the the S. it's selling these photos that look like they're spirits behind you and people believe that the camera could see things that the human I couldn't and that's how it could capture spirits. And you know what a miracle that is. And he was using that for profit, of course, but there have been so many people use technology to just try to find evidence. So one thing I thought was really fast. Name was a guy in the s early S. his name is Victandy, and this was a guy in London who was, you know, he's a scientist and he was working at a warehouse late one night and he'd been told that this place was haunted and the people seen shadowy figures. And you know there are stories, all these different ghost stories about the place, but you know, he's like okay, well, I'm 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 a tournament like the next day or something. So we had a foil on the counter and he'd walked away from and it came back. And you know the foils are, they're super thin, right. He saw wobbling back and forth and that's odd. Why is it doing that? And then he starts seeing some shadowy figures. 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 it. There's there was a frequency called infrasound, which is about eighteen point nine hurts, that we don't detect on our own, like we don't notice the sound, but it affects our bodies and it can make things like a foil move. It was coming from this industrial size fan in the warehouse and it can make the eyeball vibrate and that's what can cause you to see like shadowy figures out the corner of your eye and it can also may just make you scared. It can make you feel these things. In fact, movies are known to use infrasound to enhance the you know, the the frightening, you know aspect of 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 ghosts in this place. And so then he takes some equipment to test out, to search for infrasounded other places that are considered haunted, and he goes up to a haunted seller in a cathedral that's from, I think, the fourteen hundreds or fifteen hundreds, and people have been seeing things there in the cellar and he goes down there and sure enough he finds infrasound wavelengths going through this cellar. Same thing in like narrow hallways he was finding infrasound as present. So it's like all these kind of like paranormal tropes, ghost tropes, you know, were seemingly you know, may be caused by infrasound. And not to say that that explains everything. That's kind of what I love. And he said himself. He's like, I'm not saying this explains everything, but maybe it's explaining something you know, some instances. So I kind of love that in some ways science has found ways to maybe explain what might be causing some experiences, some paranormal experiences. The same thing was going on with electromagnetic fields. There's a guy and Canada they Michael Persinger. This was around the same time, like the S, and he made this thing called a god helmet and he would put the God helmet on volunteers and they would go in a room basically be completely sensory deprived, but on this helmet, all dark room, though, sound coming in, and then he could hit them with like pulses of electro magnetic fields in their temporal lobes. Through this helmet you could bull dials, I guess. He could dial up, dial down, and people would have different kinds of experiences depending on what he shot in through the God helmets. Some people thought they saw God, some people thought they saw aliens and some people thought they saw ghosts. And so again it's like, okay, so maybe in places, you know, the role is full of all sorts of devices and technology all over the place, right, so the electromagnetic fields are much more present than they might have been in the past. So maybe that's causing some things. Of course, again doesn' explain everything and people have been seeing ghosts for ever since they've been Hu as. They've been stories of ghosts. So again keeps the mystery alive, but it does maybe explain a few things, which is kind of cool. So I love stories like that. There was another story along those lines from one thousand nine hundred and twelve, a house where a family moved in and experience all like the stereotypical ghost things. You know, they heard voices, they felt they felt, you know, her tappings and maybe felt things walking down the hallway, saw shadowy figures, all the all the ghosts, these stuff right, like a classic Concert House, and the relative comes over one day and says, you know, I knew another family had similar issues and they had their I think they're stove checked for the gas or something. Maybe you should do that. So again, one thousand nine hundred and twelve, and the house was still lit by gas lamps, not electricity yet. Didn't have like light bulbs in the house or anything yet. And the gas lamps use carbon monoxide and so and I think the heater used carbon monoxide. Wherever they had so they checked it out and they did find there was a carbon monoxide leak and the leak obviously wasn't lethal, but it was enough to cause a carbon knoxide can cause like hallucinations and these these different types of experiences. So when they fixed all that, the carbonoxidely goes away, everything was fine. So I found I found all that fascinating,...

...where science could could explain away some instances of what might be paranormal. I thought that was kind of cool. Again, I love the fact that doesn't explain everything, because I think it's amazing that people experience things that you don't have an answer like that for. There's plenty of cases where like none of that makes any sense and there's still no explanation. So it's that keeps it, I think, fastening. And one other thing I'll say learned that that was interesting, because it's a fun one, is why ghosts we're clothes, and I thought this was of course, this is a theory, of course, but I thought it was a good theory. And this this comes from a para psychologist who is very helpless, name as Lord our back, 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, that you would be seeing them as they see themselves. And so he had an exercise that he tells he teaches as well. So you have students this see sent this to me to do. If you close your eyes and picture yourself, you know, what do you see? Describe what you see and most likely you're going to describe yourself like, Oh, I'm wearing, you know, a gray shirt and you know, you know whatever shorts, you know what. You might just describe basically what you're wearing right in general, but you're probably not going to describe vibe, your socks and shoes and you're probably not going to be naked. Most people don't think of themselves in the nude, you know. They think, think yourselves, like the stuff you like, the wear, like how you typically dress. And if his theories right and you come back and you are seeing the way you think of yourself, that it makes sense that you would be dressed and that maybe your feet aren't showing. That's why, you know, typically ghost kind of fade out toward the bottom right, because we don't really think of our feet when we think of how we look. I thought there was a lot of truth to that, to that exercise. I thought that was a pretty interesting theory. I like the AM thinking of. I don't know why this is coming to my mind, but the old computer game Willie beamish. If you ever played that, it's really it's a really obscure one, but the main character is like a twelve year old boy or something and he gets advice from his grandfather who comes in dressed like an old railroad conductor but, yeah, has just kind of like a tail that kind of yeah, fades out and no, no feet on that. I like that theory. Yeah, like that, I think. I think it works nicely. Yeah, all right, mark, you're almost off the hook here, but we always like to wrap up with a top three and you mentioned weird historian, and I mean if people people don't know by this point that you enjoy the weird and bizarre out there, I don't know if this will change their mind or anything, but in any case I'm still very excited to hear this about your top three weird news stories from all of history. So one of them are talked about, which was Oliver Cromwell's and Balm head traveling through England for three hundred years. I just find that story fast thing. I'll just give a little bit more about since I've definitely said more than that. But basically Cromwell, if people don't know who he was, he was the Lord Protector of England, Ireland and Scotland. Following the English civil war, he led the charge to have King Charles the first beheaded. So that broke up the monarchy. Then when Cromwell died in one thousand six hundred and fifty eight, he was involved in the Very Westminster Abbey. A few years later Charles a second restored the monarchy. So hence the Manchi is back as it is today, because Charles the second brought it back and he was pissed off to this day. I got beheaded. So he exhumed Cromwell's body. That was embalmed, he hanged it in public and then beheaded the head and put it on top of Westminster Hall on a Pike and it stayed there for about twenty five years and then a storm finally knocked it off. It was a wooden spike with like a iron tip that went through the skull and so that fell off and someone picked...

...it up a century picked up took it home, kept it hidden away from his family till he was on his deathbed and it say I got Cromwell's head hiding in like the chimney. I think he was a little nervous about let anyone know before that because that probably would have been too well received. And from there went to a museum and then it just, you know, travel when, from what you know, passed from one person to another until eventually it fell into a family's possession. They kept it through five generations and that fifth generation in one thousand nine hundred and sixty, decide that this is enough, I want to go rebury the head. So the head was reburied at Sydney Sussex College in Cambridge in the Anti Chapel in a place it is not known for sure, but there's a marker that says it's somewhere in there. So no one can go dig it up specifically. So I just find that to be just a remarkable story that this head was passed around for three hundred years and went through a lot of different inspections to try to determine its authenticity, which I think it was finally determined. Yes, this is the authentic kind of Cromwell. So I love that story, obviously, and then so, I mean there's so many. So I thought of a couple others that especially love. One of them is the story of the Petto Mine, the PETSO Mon. I'm saying it properly. It's French. Guy's name is Joseph Bugal and he was a fartiast in the late eighteen hundreds. He was the most Popular Act, the highest grossing act that the Mulan Rouge, and he farted. This was what he did. He had control of himself entirely and he could. He would far tunes and he would do impressions with parts. He might say like this is the sound of film mother on law, and he do like a crazy groaning fart that would dragon, you know, like and people will love it. And and women would be like shocked and they would have, you know, like when their course, it's everything good bye, you know, and they they'd have like doctors and nurses and the and the aisles to like helping when it might faint from shock, from the best man's routine. And so the fact that he discovered he had this skill and then was able to be the highest grossing neck the rule rouge. I just I love it. I think that's just a really fun story, what a great character. And then another one I love and I talked about this one and chasing ghost and it's just briefly, it's a story of lady wonder. So touches on the paranormal little bit. So lady wonder was a horse, a psychic horse, like the no shadamis of horses who lived in the early nineteen hundreds. Yeah, like first half of the nineteen hundreds, and she was known for predicting all kinds of things, including the fact that Truman was going to defeat Dewey when, of course, all the newspapers said do we was, you know, already printed do we defeats Truman? But she also predicted horse races, like she'd get them all right, riding norse races. She would help police find missing people in other states. This was and she was a North Carolina by the way, and so she would this horse would do these amazing things. If people would go there and ask questions, you know, do calculations, and a horse had this giant typewriter. There's there's amazing pictures that life magazine took. They did a big article. I forgot when exactly that was, maybe the between the thirties and the S if I remember correctly, somewhere around there, but um, but yeah, it was amazing. So she had this trainer and, you know, the question was like, okay, so is the trainer giving her signals, like incredibly settle signals and horse. They've been other educated horses in history and they're all fascinating doing calculation, great crazy calculations or spelling things out, and they were taking really subtle cues from their trainer, which is amazing that they can do that. That's just amazing alone. But this horse seemed to have a psychic ability as well, like it was, like I said, making accurate predictions. So how exactly that was working? You know, if if it was getting cues from the trainer, that's fine, but then how was the trainer finding...

...lost children? Or even there's case of a lost dog that was like states, you know, many states away in the south. I think that turn out with the Horse. Said was right, okay, this is crazy. So I love those things. They're like, you know, magicians would go study her. Famous magician wouldn't study her. And Jab Ryan, the the guy who's that's a story get into in the book and chasing go because of bit Jb Ryan, who started up the Ryan Center for you know, basically He created esp, he created a term USP. He started that program at Duke University. So they're still the Ryan Research Center there today. And on his way down to Duke to start up this new facility he saw the horse, the sign for like the Psychic Horse, and he had to stop and check that out with this about. So he studied at another magician, milbourn, Christopher, famous magician. He studied and he thought he figured things out. Like okay, if I you know, I forgot what the term is exactly, but like he might fake that he's writing a certain number and then the the the trainer, would see what motions he was doing and in understand what number he was writing, for example, but he faked it and then the horse got it wrong because he was faking the motion. So it kind of figured out a little bit of it, but he still makes you wonder. How like it predict? Did you know twenty e two of Twenty eight horse races? You know? Yeah, so again lady wonder lived up to her name and it kind of leaves you in a 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, because it's a cool thing. Well, mark, thank you so much for taking the time to chat. If people want to pick up a copy of chasing ghosts, which is out now, or any of your other books, learn more about you, where can I find you? Yeah, you can go to mark Hartsman Bookscom and that's it's mark MRC HRT Zmn Bookscom. It's available pretty much should be anywhere you go. Amazon, Barnes and noble, any independent bookstore should have chasing ghosts. It's from quirk books. You can go to quirkbook site as well and find out more there. But yeah, check it out. It's, you know, perfect for for Halloween. It's a good spooky stories. Yes, I'll plan to read it to trick or treaters, let's say, 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's some candy to be had, but yeah, they might want to move on. But, but, yeah, but, but try it. Yes, it'll be the the toll to get get k yeah, earn it. Good de'll also give a plug for weird historiancom because lots of fascinating things like this. This is just a taste of it. There's so, so many great stories on their awesome yes, thank you, good deal. Well, my I'm sure you can hear my dog frantically back barking in the background. Probably, hopefully the house is not on fire. You never know. I feel like she's usually just barking at nothing. So we will wrap up, as we always do, with a Corny joke. What happened to the writer after he had bowel surgery? What he ended up with? A semicolon after today people, good people, cool things is produced in Austin, Texas. If you're a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that follow button. That helps more people here the show. You can send me a message Joey at good people, cool thingscom. Thank you to all of the guests who have been on good people, cool things and check out all the old episodes via good people, cool thingscom. As always, thank you for listening and have a wonderful day.

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