Elie on David Bowie
David Bowie, a name synonymous with greatness. Originally David Jones, he decided to change it so as not to be confused with another star who also tragically passed a few years ago, Davy Jones of The Monkees. His career would soon capitulate into stardom.
I didn't discover Bowie until my late teens, thanks to my mum who was a fan. I have many memories of playing his hit song, "Sorrow" while cleaning the house with my mum as well as "Under Pressure" with another fallen great, Freddie Mercury.
Bowie first came to stardom with his album hit "Space Oddity" with many more hits to follow. As well as a talented singer/songwriter, Bowie was also a natural actor, perhaps best remembered for his lead role in "The Labyrinth", a favourite of many generations of fans.
Bowie will be remembered for his innovation, rejection of traditional image and gender, amazing character personalities, and of course, his music.
David will always be a hero, not for a day, but until the end of time, joining all the other legendary musicians 2016 has taken away from us...
Tina on Prince
Prince (prince Rogers Nelson), was a great man and inspiration to many. Being a singer,a songwriter,a record producer and a multi instrument player he touched most people's hearts in all walks of life. I vividly remember growing up with my older sister playing prince songs (on records) in the lounge room and her bedroom singing along with every word. The movie purple rain was an influential movie to me. It showed me that not every thing in life will be perfect, not everything is forever.
His music was the sound track to a generations life and the ripple effect of his stage presence set a precedent for what a performer should strive to reach at Evey Concert they perform. With over 1oo million albums sold world wide and winning an uncountable amount of awards including being introduced into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2O04 why wouldn't you as a performer want to reach this level of respect and admiration.
He taught me that different isn't bad,different doesn't mean that you should hide,be loud and be proud of who you are. Be eccentric and stand out,make a difference. His support in female artists was next to none in the music industry and was encouraging for a then very young me a positive roll model for a male wanting to include and recognize females and their talents. In a world of red roses be the purple Lilly. Prince left this world at the age of 54 years young (too young) and I have no doubt that his musical mark will be a permanent reminder that just because someone said no doesn't mean you can't do it. It simply means you have to show them why you need to do it.
Party like its 1999 prince, ride in that little red corvette, wearing your iconic purple leather jacket and I'll remember each year to blow you a kiss when doves cry and I see purple rain.💜
Peet on Alan Rickman
Although I'm sure this wasn't the start of his career, my first memory of Alan Rickman was those immortal lines "I'm going to cut your heart out with a spoon". He made the very best Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. I always remembered him after that. Every time I'd see him in a movie, I'd think "That was the dude from Robin Hood."
Then, of course, came Harry Potter. I am a mad Harry Potter fanatic. I am Hufflepuff all the way, and the books are like my bible. So when Mr Rickman first appeared as the devious Severus Snape, I was entranced. Snape is not meant to be loved, and the fact that he has such a huge following is testament to Alan Rickman's acting skills.
When I found out, in that final book that everything Snape ever did... like, EVER did, was for love - my heart just broke. And when I heard that Alan Rickman had died on 14 January 2016 - my heart broke all over again.
"After all this time?"
Danni on Alan Rickman
I think for me Alan Rickman's death had hit me hardest. I fell in love with the character Professor Snape from the Harry Potter book series first, then when Rickman made his Harry Potter film debut appearance as Professor Snape in 2001 it was done; sold; finalised! I was in love. That voice, his talent, the way he perfectly captured what I envisaged as a teenager, Snape to be. Snape to me was a misunderstood character; a young, different and unusual boy who grew into a begrudging and harsh teacher at Hogwarts. A man who felt the sting of unrequited love and built walls to protect himself.
Rickman was from a humble working class background and made his way into theatre pretty much the same way I did. Reading, influence, the magic of the stage and wonders of creative writing fueled his passion. So I followed his footsteps; dreamt of the day I trod the boards of a theatre and wrote for the stage. His ability to so artfully demonstrate comedy and tragedy was what I wanted to do with my theatre. Have the ability to make others laugh and cry all the while experimenting with all things art and theatre. From the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" right through to the absurdism of Samuel Beckett's "Play", I enjoyed every bit of Rickman's theatrical choices in life. Rickman once said in an interview, "I never said no", and I try to this day to follow that advice when chasing the dream. This was how he influenced my life. Below is a taste of Alan's absurdism. The theatre/film world lost a legend to cancer January 14, 2016 and it feels like yesterday I shed a little tear for this loss.
Jonathan on Zaha Hadid
For me, 2016 was the year the world lost one of its most innovative and groundbreaking architects, Zaha Hadid.
For those who may not have heard of Zaha, some of her well-known works include the London Olympic Aquatic Centre and the Riverside Museum in Glasgow. The British designer, passed away aged 65, after suffering a heart attack while in hospital in Miami in March where she was being treated for bronchitis.
Zaha’s buildings have been built all over the world and she paved the way for women looking to do something amazing in a male dominated profession.
Zaha was the first architect to really have a lasting impression on me. Unlike most designers, her work blossomed from inconceivable creativity, which was beautifully manifested graphically in her art, and finally born into stunning reality as her projects got built. She was an individual of great courage, conviction and tenacity.
Zaha once said, “You have to really believe not only in yourself; you have to believe that the world is actually worth your sacrifices.”
I was privileged to be able to visit a few of her buildings in the UK this year – a wonderful and befitting way to say ‘Goodbye and Thank you’ for inspiring me to be who I am.
Alex on Leonard Cohen
I did my best, it wasn't much // I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch // I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you // And even though it all went wrong // I'll stand before the Lord of Song // With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen (Canadian singer, songwriter, musician and, poet) died the 7th of November 2016. He was 82.
Leonard Cohan was very much on my mind when he passed as new cover of Hallelujah by an American A Cappella Pentatonix has just been released and just Bob Dylan just in October has been award the Nobel Prize for Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". Leonard and Bob's work and contribution to music were often compared and there isn't a cover of Hallelujah I don't love so Leonard and his dark voice and words were very much on my mind.
What I have always loved about Leonard's songs and lyrics is how they appeared defeatist, I know that sounds incredibly sad but he always seemed to embrace the worst so very well and leave us not necessary with chin up look on the bright side but instead a reminder that from the bottom this is really only one way to go and that is up. This was very evident in how he explored political, justice and war themes. I could also relate to how torn and changeable he was on these themes, sometimes he was ready for the gritty fight and other times he was a sweet hippy speaking of love and peace time. To me, he always seemed very in tune with what was going on and how he was feeling and in that way a true artist using art to reflect back to world what he is seeing.
Like a bird on the wire, // Like a drunk in a midnight choir // I have tried in my way to be free.
Peet on Gene Wilder
When the news broke on 29 August that Gene Wilder had died, a piece of my childhood went with him.
I know Gene was most well known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka, but my main memory of him really just relates to him. It's of being a kid, and seeing my mum laughing so hard she had tears streaming down her face. We were watching a show called "Hanky Panky" - not one of his most well known, but definitely one of the funniest. To see my mum that happy imprinted on my brain and it's something I will never forget, so thank you Mr Wilder.
Another honourable mention that also made an impression on me was "Hear No Evil, See No Evil" where he played a deaf man and teamed up with Richard Pryor, who played a blind man... hilarity ensued! This was one of four movies they made together, their comedy genius bouncing off each other.
Gene was born on 11 June 1933 and named Jerome Silberman. Back in the days when real names weren't chic enough, he changed his name to be more appealing and received an Oscar nomination for his first major role in Mel Brooks' "The Producers".
When Gene died, he left the world with a true legacy in the form of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles - amongst many others.
"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."
- Willy Wonka
Amanda on Carrie Fisher
When a celebrity dies many people say 'why are you sad, you didn't know them' but whilst we may not have known them personally, these people touched our lives and gave meaning to certain times in our life.
Once such person for me was Carrie Fisher. With her portrayal of Princess Leia I was shown, as a young girl, that a woman can be a formidable person, a kick ass, bad ass leader of the rebellion who stood up for what was right and took no shit, and Carrie herself was no different!
Her advocacy for mental illness and drug addiction showed everyone that these topics needed to be talked about, discussed and brought into the public eye. Many parts of her life were put on display in her autobiography Postcards from the Edge.
Carrie will always be Princess Leia to me even though she has a vast movie history and to sum up my feelings..
"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. "
One of my favourite quotes from Carrie is “I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.” something we should all remember and live by I think! I will forever be sad that we won't get to see her grace our screens again after Episode 8 or hear her views on the world.
Let it be reported that Carrie drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.
Vale Carrie Fisher 21.10.1956 - 27.12.2016
Written by Danni Remaili
Black Rock; a suburb south-east of Melbourne CBD and an affluent and gorgeous part of Victoria, Australia. It’s Saturday evening, October 29 approximately 6:30pm, and located only minutes from the water front, I pull up in a suburban street, greeted by a gorgeous sunset and perfect warm weather (17 degrees is very warm down here). Perfect weather for a late night investigation methinks! I arrive with my partner Alyce and Becky, a friend from theatre. For a moment, I thought we had the wrong place, but, you know, the sign that indicated “Black Rock House” kind of gave it away. The property is exceptionally unique and, back in 1856 when the house was built by Charles Ebden, would have had phenomenal views over the water. Now however, only a small walk way through the trees and other neighbouring properties pave the way to the water. When you walk around the back of the main house, you are met with an imposing yet gorgeous stone wall and timber gate leading to a stone courtyard and stables. This was where I met Paranormal XFiles crew Sarah, Martin, Rie and Glenn, and because I arrived fashionably early, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Sarah and Martin.
Danni: Hi Gooey peeps, I’m at the Black Rock House, here in Black Rock Melbourne with your hosts Paranormal XFiles. I’m with Martin at the moment, and we are 15 minutes out from our 7:30pm start of the Basic Fundamentals of Paranormal Investigating Seminar and Investigation. Everyone is pouring in as we speak, I remember you saying, Martin, that every night is a full house.
Martin: Yes, it is. Every tour is selling quite quickly, and within a week of it being advertised we are selling right out.
Danni: So it’s been about 3 or 4 months you’ve been hosting tours here at the Black Rock House, but you’ve all been well acquainted with the house many months prior to these tours. I’ve got my partner Alyce here and this is her first investigation ever, along with Becky my friend from theatre who has only ever been on one. So Sarah I’ll ask you, what do you do that’s different in hopes of making it accessible to people new to investigating?
Sarah: Well, for the investigation side, what we pride ourselves on is that we have a lot of equipment that other people don’t have; we teach people how to use it, and we actually allow them to hold and use it themselves. Some say, ‘oh this is too expensive, don’t touch it’, but we like to give them the full experience and we also explain how it works. So if something that we see is happening, and we don’t think it’s paranormal, we’ll tell the truth, and say, ‘looks it’s quite possible it may not be paranormal and these are the reasons why, etc’. We want them to walk out with a genuine experience so that they can go forward with their investigating, and say ‘well I know a bit more, and I know what to use and how to make a well informed decision.’
Danni: So in essence, you’re breaking down that barrier and saying no, you all can be an investigator, you all have the ability. Everyone is a part of this process.
Sarah: Yes, exactly!
Danni: So Martin, tonight, what’s the structure? What are we in for?
Martin: Tonight we will demonstrate the basic fundamentals of investigating the paranormal in a short seminar, so pretty much, you don’t have to go out there and buy all this flash and fancy, really expensive gear, you don’t need that. You can use basic equipment, and it’s pretty much how we found we received some quality evidence. We will then go on to utilise the equipment going from room to room, and then separate into smaller groups. Our main focus is to make everybody feel at ease and comfortable enough to experiment with our equipment and educate.
Danni: Awesome! I’m so excited, ok well let’s head on inside and get started, thanks Sarah and Martin.
Sarah continued with very hands on advice also. She spoke of breaking down barriers between ‘investigator’ and ‘guest’, and how it is important to share the knowledge and pass on experiences. I love how they’ve made it so accessible for newbies too! Alyce and Becky were listening intently and said that the seminar was so easy to grasp. Sarah went on to give examples of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena), and this particularly had everyone sitting on the edge of their seats.
We then had a break for a spot of dinner, and a chat with those around us. Great food (catering for vegetarians also) and great company. I got talking to Jo and Jesse, who have travelled from a town not far from me actually. We spoke about how Jo had come along to support Jesse who was very much interested in the paranormal and how they both share an interest in the unknown. After 10 minutes of nibbles and drinks, we were given pamphlets by the team with their contact details, where to find out more information with a list of learning websites and places to buy equipment. Handy tips for anybody beginning the journey of paranormal investigating. What a great idea! We then re-grouped, and Glenn led a more in depth talk on the individual pieces of equipment, especially the ones we were going to use later on that evening. I had never heard of an Ovilus. Forgive me, I’m not too in tune with paranormal equipment, but after that seminar I walked out feeling like a GOD! Ok, maybe not a god but you get the idea. I learnt a lot! Apparently, the Ovilus is also a controversial piece of equipment. Designed and created by Bill Chappel it is used to translate a spirit’s communication into words on a screen. I was naturally sceptical but keen to try this out and see how it works. Regardless of what you think about the various types of equipment, it’s important to give it a go yourself before you make up your mind about it.
The house has been done beautifully, in keeping with everything the way it was back then and also historically accurate. I was told even the wall paper was a replica and some parts original; just aesthetically eerie. I won’t go into too much detail of the evening, as I need to leave some bits as a surprise, but I can reveal this; Becky had some unusually accurate and uncanny messages come through in most eerie room of the house. We all felt it, the second we entered. Mind you, we hadn’t had any previous knowledge of the room until we sat down and Sarah gave us a brief history of the room. I had an interesting occurrence in the kitchen and also in the nursery so don’t forget to spend some quality time in those two rooms when you attend. As for Alyce? Well she was jittery from the get go, but as I said (and she deliberately went against what I suggested; ‘don’t go wandering on your own if you don’t want to be scared’). Then came the high pitched squeal, fast footsteps, and a wide eyed Alyce enters the room to join the rest of the group. Oh dear.
Written by Danni Remaili
Danni from Ghosts of Oz chats with Sharon Ann Rowland, published author and Editor of Oddities e-Club Magazine on what life was like growing up, her magazine as a media platform and how her experiences have influenced her writing today.
Hello you GOOey followers, today I have the privilege of speaking with one of the most esteemed paranormal media outlets, Sharon Ann Rowland of the Oddities e-Club Magazine. Sharon, it’s been since May this year, (Paracon Australia to be specific) since we’ve spoken. I had the honour of introducing you at your ET and Spirit Contact Panel! How are you?
Well, very busy at the moment Danni, preparing for our bumper Xmas Issue going out December 1st, as well as the release of our first three-(3) Oddities e-Club Magazine books, namely:
1. Oddities e-Club Magazine Interviews Issues 01-12
2. Oddities e-Club Magazine Ufology Paranormal Conspiracy Issues 01-12
3. Oddities e-Club Magazine Metaphysical Musings Issues 01-12
And preparing to host a stall at the popular Conscious Life Festival on the Sunshine Coast in mid-November, and UFO Conference at Byron Bay in January 2017.
Whoa! Ok a lot going on that is amazing. Well, I’d like to begin by asking you for a very brief overview of what Oddities e-Club Magazine is and what we can expect from your latest issue. Just something for our newbies who haven’t yet had the pleasure of having a flick through your magazine.
The Oddities e-Club Magazine (or OeC) hit both the Apple and Google play Newsstands just over three years ago, our mission was (and still is) to help and educate people in the mainstream who have a genuine (sometimes pressing) interest in more spiritual and supernatural fodder, to take their first step into our world. The magazine is divided into many eclectic sections, namely:
• Interview Me (two thought-provoking interviews per issue with real people working in fields not recognised by the mainstream)
• Columnist Articles (first person reports from recent events and experiences)
• Conspiracy Theory + Fact (a selection of the latest + greatest conspiracies known across the globe)
• Ufology (any unexplained moving object observed in the sky, thought to be of extraterrestrial origin)
• Paranormal (the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, or other supernatural phenomena)
• Metaphysical Musings (branch of philosophy that studies the ultimate structure + constitution of reality)
• Fringe Science (scientific inquiry in an established field of study which departs significantly from mainstream or orthodox theories)
• Natural Living (folk remedies based on the use of plants, plant extracts, flora, fauna, food + crystals)
• Artisan Collective (art forms that stimulate the ventral straiatum + activate the hypothalamus)
• Book + DVD + APP + Product + Service Reviews
Perfect! Let’s just go a few years back to when you were living in England, though. You were born there and then made the transition over to Australia. When and where did this writing journey begin for you, and what prompted your interest in the paranormal and all things unknown?
I view my life as a puzzle without a guiding picture at times Danni. I know that one day I’ll be able to look down at my life as a seamless image, but at this time I still have a lot of pieces scattered around the border. I have always written stories - in my childhood the subject material revolved around my imaginary friends, and in later life, stories from my dreaming (and a series of dream journals I have kept since turning 13). I spent most of my childhood in a pleasant haze, stumbling through school and other activities (especially sport), craving to get back to my room and to feel the texture of a crisp new notebook page.
It really wasn’t until later life that I realised the supernatural world had surrounded me since the age of 5. I had a series of imaginary friends, which now in hindsight I have correctly identified as encounters with various supernatural entities.
Also, I have found my path littered with alternate teachers, mentors and friends. Beginning with my grandmother who used to make potions in her London kitchen and sell them to the surrounding community – she was more popular than the local Doctor.
I can definitely relate to you in regards to keeping dream journals and writing. As a writer you know yourself the internet is full of trash and treasure. How do you sift through the tonnes of information and evidence out there and decide on what goes into your magazine? How do you make sure you’re getting honest and truthful information? What’s Sharon’s process?
Contact. I always reach out and sample a potential interviewee’s energy before requesting an interview. If the energy is positive a request is made. With Columnists I usually meet them in person, and spend time with them prior to asking them to join the OeC family.
Well, I already knew your energy was positive from our encounter at Paracon (laughs) which is why I wanted interview you. So what has been your greatest achievement yet, and why would you consider it your greatest?
I achieve something every day – each time a new reader downloads the magazine and their world opens up to other possibilities. I don’t really think along the lines of greatest / weakest – I just manifest what needs to be achieved, and with the magazine that is getting the amazing words, protocols and thoughts of my columnists to our society where they can do the most good.
What a positive approach! I’ve noticed you take yourself to many conferences, most recently the Paradigm Shift Summit in Queensland. Did you discover many new things or even learn something new about yourself and your process?
I do attend a number of conferences within the various alternate communities. Why, well a number of reasons:
• To support the event and its creators (a lot of hard work goes into running an event).
• To learn and to educate myself further (always the student).
• To meet new people and socialise with old friends (best part about any conference).
• Sometimes to host or present a topic myself (always good to challenge oneself).
• To keep in touch with the most topical subject matter for the magazine (vital research).
• To hear potential new columnists/interviewees speak (and assess their energy and truth).
You dabble with varying topics across the paranormal board; some might even say extremely controversial topics too. As a media outlet highly active online, how do you combat people who may “troll” your blogs or messages? I myself find it difficult to hold back, but as media outlets, we must remain fair and unbiased; it’s a difficult task isn’t it?
Fortunately most social media forums allow you to remove or delete (or report) any offensive posts, so if this is possible they are simply removed. In the early days of the blog I would interact with trolls, but it never ended well. Now, I take down the post, and reinstate it a day later – I’ve found trolls don’t like to retype their own words.
I remember you saying during your panel chat at Paracon this year, that you’ve experienced some unusual online activity, whereby articles and messages have been deleted, sometimes even hacked. Can you elaborate on your thoughts behind this? Could this be more than just a random lone wolf behind his/her computer against all things paranormal? Could it be something a little more political?
This is a constant battle, and I’m sad to say I’m fully expecting it to continue whilst the magazine is in operation. I have a good friend who is ex-Telstra, who regularly sweeps both my house and PC electronics for bugs – during our first year of publication he found multiple tapping mechanisms on my landline, and spyware on my main PC. In the past three years I have retired six-(6) PC/laptops (most only 1-2 years old) due to various hacking and malware attacks. I now work predominantly offline, and upload only when required and usually in external wi-fi settings. Our main server has three forms of backup due to the severity of our issues, and a fourth backup is taken off-site monthly. Fortunately my mainstream role was as an IT Consultant and a Disaster Recovery Analyst so when this all started to appear targeted I called in a few favours and was given a host of software to stop the attacks in their tracks.
Is this politically driven? Not sure, I do know that my magazine educates people in areas outside the normal mainstream system – we teach people how to cure themselves of disease, how to question authority and protect themselves, we put people in contact with their tribes - you decide if that’s enough to make us a problem that needs fixing.
It has been an absolute pleasure chatting with you, Ghosts of Oz are a huge fan of your work. Thank you so much for taking time out to speak with me, Sharon.
My pleasure Danni, and I’d just like to thank all of our readers (our Oddologists!) for keeping us in print for the past three years, and of course, to my columnists for their various articles that change our world for the better, cheers!
Written by Danni Remaili
Melbourne Meet Up at the historic Mitre Tavern
T’was a cold and rainy Melbourne evening on Friday 22nd July, when my partner Alyce and I made our way to Melbourne CBD to meet with the one and only Beth Luscombe of Access Paranormal for the national tour of Eat, Drink and Talk Paranormal. Beth had reserved a spot at the historic Mitre Tavern for anybody and everybody, old faces and new, to join in the conversation and meet new people of the paranormal field or interested in the paranormal.
So we parked the car, (forgot the umbrella [how very un-Melbourne of us]) and walked to the Mitre Tavern down a cobble stoned alley lined with lanterns. For a second I felt as though I was walking the streets of London once more; Beth sure knows how to pick her locations. She has unknowingly (or knowingly) set the atmosphere for a spooky and enjoyable evening already. Although we had arrived a little late and missed out on seeing my dear friend Bill from Australian Paranormal Society, Beth texts me and assures the para-party was still well and truly alive. We entered the tavern and were greeted with rustic furnishings and old pictures on the wall which framed the halls that led to a private section just for us paranormal Melbournians. I had never been to the Mitre Tavern; I was impressed! Instantly we felt welcomed; some faces I’d seen before and some I hadn’t.
I’ve been living in Melbourne for 2 years now having moved from Sydney, and although Melbourne isn’t as large as New South Wales, Melbourne’s paranormal teams are growing. And just like NSW, they are communal and active as hell. Events and tours happening, and even when they’re not happening, the teams are working on their next event or investigation.
After I hugged the bajeezus out of Beth (hadn’t seen her since Paracon and missed her heaps), a gentleman named Alvin moved some chairs around to fit us in the circle. Now I had Liked many of the Melbourne paranormal teams on the good ol’ FB but had only met a handful of them face to face. Tonight, that changed. I had the privilege of meeting Paranormal X-Files peeps Sarah and her partner Jimmie, Glen, Martin, Rie and Chris who is a good friend of Alvin’s. So while I got speaking with Sarah on all things Black Rock House Paranormal Tours (can’t wait for the next tour!), our partners Jimmie and Alyce bonded over all things music and percussion instruments. Turns out they’re both drummers! Sarah and her team were taking Beth on a tour the following evening (go Facebooking to find out specific details and visit Beth Luscombe’s page Access Paranormal for a live video on the tour). As the night progressed we got sharing our paranormal experiences and stories.
We spooked ourselves, and perhaps even had passers-by slow their pace as they walked by. So occasionally we went off topic (I blame the wine) but it was such a great atmosphere. I felt as though I had known these guys for years! I got talking to Alvin on all things pagan too. I came into the paranormal on the back of my pagan interests and he invited Alyce and I to a drumming circle; can’t wait to look into this one. Alvin tells me there are more pagan groups and events than Melbourne lets on. I had no idea! I remember telling him that living in the Hills (The Dandenong Ranges), I am surprised there aren’t many pagan events. Yes these last two Winter Solstice’s I have celebrated in my own house with my close friends and that was fine enough for me, but I’ve felt more of a yearning to share these pagan festivals with larger groups; and let’s face it, it’s nice being around like minded people. This meet-up was exactly what I needed. The rush and monotony of full time work can get in the way, so it was nice to make some time to unwind and relax with like-minded people and network.
It was so nice having my partner along for the ride too as I wanted her to be involved and ease into the awesomeness (thanks Mean Girls for coining this term) that is all things paranormal! One of the best things about events like these? Anything goes. Anybody and everybody is welcome, and para peeps have an amazing ability to provide a sense of inclusiveness that is very rare now days. Please, please stay tuned as Beth Luscombe’s Eat, Drink and Talk Paranormal events makes its way around the country. For those who are well and truly embedded in the Australian paranormal scene, it’s a perfect opportunity to get your team’s events promoted. For those who are new or even just curious as to what’s happening in and around your suburb or town, and just want a spooky night out, just rock up! Get in contact online and start the conversation. We need to support events like these; we need to support each other and pump energy, funds, time and effort into these local events that keep the Australian paranormal scene alive and on the map. Australia has a lot to give and I’ll repeat what I said this evening at the meet up; “it seems almost everybody has a paranormal story… this is a safe environment to do so.” Shout out to Beth Luscombe of Access Paranormal for organising these events and keeping us all united. It was a pleasure meeting you all.
Peace, Love and Brown Rice
Danni speaks with Craig, founder of West Sydney Paranormal Research, about WSPR’s latest involvement in the documentary that will change how you see paranormal investigation and evidence.
Danni: Craig from West Sydney Paranormal Research, and dear friend of Ghosts of Oz for many, many years, how are you my friend it’s been a while!
Craig: Hi Danni… I’m well thankyou. I’m a little older, hopefully a little wiser, and still loving what I do, so thanks for having me.
D: So, talk about taking the world by storm! Firstly, for those playing at home, Craig is patriarch of WSPR founded in mid2010 and along with his team investigate, research and strive to find answers to long asking questions. They’ve made appearances on mainstream and underground radio stations, mainstream Australian TV, hosted paranormal investigations and made so many documentaries of their own and oh god the list goes on find them on their website for more details. Look, I just want to get stuck into this exciting new project that is ready to shock the world because in approximately 1 week you will be jet setting off to the states! ‘Sir No Face’ is the name of the documentary by Chad Calek, produced by Justin Holstein and Thomas Lee Bottom featuring AGH Television and yours truly WSPR! Tell us, how and when did this project begin?
C: Well, it’s a long story, but we’ve been working with Chad and the AGH Crew for well over a year to bring this real life documentary together. I guess it all started when Chad asked me to help them organise an Australian tour early in 2015. Due to the fact that WSPR had put so much time and effort into securing locations and helping them confirm events and dates, Chad had asked me if I could put together a presentation of WSPR and some of the interesting experiences and footage we had accumulated over the years. Well… During this presentation, Chad and the crew saw some footage that stopped them dead in their tracks. The rest is history.
D: I’ve watched SIR NOFACE trailer about 10 times and already I’m loving that we are looking at a professional and objective documentary. What drew WSPR towards working with Chad, what made you think, yes! I need to work with this guy?
C: If you’ve ever seen any of Calek’s work, you’ll notice straight away that it is raw. He is a documentarian that is hard-hitting, no bullshit, and absolutely loves what he does, and that shows in his work. He is fully independent – so he has no limitations, or expectations put on him, and I just love the realness of his work. Chad has also researched the paranormal for years, so he understands the work. He understands researchers like us, which makes it a hell of a lot easier for him to tell a paranormal story. When you combine this with the fact that someone of the calibre of Chad Calek approaches you and says, “I would love to tell this story..”, the decision to work with him was pretty easy.
D: Now mentioned in the feature is the fact that your team were granted full access to the site of Cockatoo Island in Sydney Australia, but also it is the first paranormal investigation in history to be authorised by the Australian Government. That is a big thing! But you were up for the challenge. Were you aware of the ramifications of being involved in such a project? Going into this, did you all prepare yourselves for the varying feedback or maybe even backlash for such a controversial project?
C: We’ll delve into this in the film – but it first started as a regular investigation for us, just on a much bigger scale. Cockatoo Is. is a big place, with scores of different buildings and historical layers to sift through, so going into the work for them was really exciting.
What we discovered and what they (the government) saw with their own eyes though, was something that none of us ever expected in our wildest dreams. In regards to the film, I don’t think anyone can ever prepare properly for what is about to happen. We all know what it means when you put ‘evidence’ out to the world – It means that no matter how good it may be, you’re going to be scrutinised to the nth degree.
You’ll cop a lot of flak, and nine times out of ten, you are called a fraud, or an overly enthusiastic ‘ghost hunter’ jumping to conclusions and misidentifying what was actually occurring. We can never prepare I think, but we understand what is about to happen. My motto throughout this entire project has been, “The truth holds no fear.”
D: Oh yes definitely! We can appreciate the raw when it comes to recording the paranormal. Ok, it’s time to be a little jovial now; any hiccups occurring during the production process? Culture clashes?
C: Production was pretty simple really, nothing really jumps out at the moment, but in regards to culture clashes: Vegemite, Drop Bears & Rugby League – Everyone can try and figure out what they hated, what they loved and what petrified them.
D: So how and when can we get a taste of this ground breaking documentary?
C: Great question – Well, I can tell you that the SIR NOFACE film will tour the country at some point. He will be coming home to where it all began! I just can’t tell you when yet, but stay tuned!
D: So you’re off in a few days to the States. What’s on the agenda? Who else is going?
C: Yes I am… It’s not ‘real’ at the moment. It has snuck up really quick! The agenda will consist of screening the SIR NOFACE film, along with Chad’s other new film called ‘BLACKSHEEP’, in 17 cities across the US. After the screening of the films, Chad and I will lead guests on an investigation of a reportedly haunted location. I’ll also be lucky enough to have WSPR members join me at some of the cities during the tour, which will culminate in Team WSPR & Dan McMath conducting our own paranormal event at a place called YORKTOWN HOSPITAL in San Antonio, Texas. Other than that, the tour will consist of A LOT of media obligations, meet & greets, and time on the road travelling from venue to venue.
D: And if anybody wants more information where can they go?
C: You can stay up-to-date on all things SIR NOFACE via the official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SIRNOFACEMOVIE - if you’re not on Facebook, check out the AGH website at, www.aghtelevision.com
D: Craig, thank you so much for taking time out to speak with me, as always I am a keen follower of WSPR and their projects, and so is Ghosts of Oz, we are so excited for this journey and congratulations again on another successful documentary!
C: Thanks Danni, it’s been a pleasure. Looking forward to showing the world that Australia has some spooky spots to match it with the best of them.
Danni is a Drama and English High School teacher by trade, but Danni also enjoys her time frolicking in the forest of the Dandenong Ranges looking for anomalies, writing spooky poetry, Directing theatre and eating wild berries.
Ok, so I’ve been called ‘morbid’ most of my life, and let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those people who loved being freaked out by the creepy things that go bump in the night too. But one of my favourite things to do is go for walks (day or night) in
cemeteries. I love them. I love that they bring about sad feelings, calm feelings, confused and also scared feelings. To me, cemeteries are a reminder that life is short and each day a blessing. I also love the fact that you can find out historical and social stories about the area and possibly visit a few famous headstones too. Melbourne has some of the most intriguing and historical cemeteries in Australia.
The Melbourne General Cemetery, Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery and Memorial Park and even Friends of St Kilda Cemetery just to name a few of the popular ones hosting tours of famous and infamous people. There is one creepy graveyard but I think you’ll struggle to find it… considering it’s hidden beneath tonnes of concrete called the Queen Victoria Markets carpark! While a few had been transferred to Melbourne General Cemetery, it is said that some remain unnamed beneath the concrete of the car park to this day. So in continuation of my graveyard theme, I thought I’d ask a good friend of Ghost of Oz and one of the leading paranormal peeps down here in Victoria, a few questions about investigating in and around locations involving cemeteries.
With William (Bill) Tabone of The Australian Paranormal Society, Victoria.
Danni: Firstly tell us a bit about APS and your role in the team.
Bill: The APS are an investigation and research team who also conduct workshops, lectures, tours and we provide a consultancy service worldwide to support the paranormal community. We believe in educating the public on all matters of the paranormal and therefore building acceptance of the paranormal in the general public. The team is made up of very experienced investigators with a wide variety of skills. My role in the APS is director and lead investigator roles I shared with Amanda who founded the APS with me.
D: So can you remember your first experience in a cemetery personally? Only if you feel comfortable sharing of course.
B: I have had quite a few experiences in cemeteries but one that sticks out in my mind happened many years ago at the start of my years as an investigator. Four of us were out testing out some equipment at a local cemetery. We had been wandering around trying out the cameras, doing some EVP work and generally soaking up the atmosphere when about twenty metres away I could see movement. Initially I thought it was another person that had wandered in to the cemetery, but as I watched it became apparent it wasn't a person but a dense mist that was glowing blue, it was also moving around the tombstones rather than over them.
My one regret is that I don't have the cameras I have now. No really it was an amazing experience.
D: Oh gosh, I have no doubt that would’ve been amazing… scary and amazing. So ok, what about professionally as an investigator? How do you feel strolling about a field that technically has decaying bodies beneath your feet? Some can’t even fathom the thought yet some are completely at peace with the idea, excuse the pun.
B: Great question. I don't have a problem with it, I always show respect. The way I look at it they are the bodies but the spirit has moved on in most cases. I find cemeteries soothing and a great history lesson. We spend many afternoons photographing the decaying head stones before they are lost to time. If people knew that there are places where they walk in everyday life that have bodies buried underneath. For example most people do not know the Victoria Market here in Melbourne is built on the site of Melbourne’s second cemetery, on top of this most people do not know that there are thousands of bodies still buried underneath, up to ten thousand bodies. I love these places.
D: So do I! I was there the other day and just had to… walk slowly… you know… in case. So are there any stand out moments APS or even yourself personally that you’ve had in cemeteries?
B: To be honest I find most cemeteries pretty quiet. There are many interesting stories that the team has had. One that I really find interesting was with one team member, Lionel, who was exploring a cemetery down on the peninsula, this cemetery is laid out on two levels with a cliff separating the upper and lower levels. One night he was alone on the lower level when he witnessed a large, for want of a better word, creature that flew off the upper level and across, directly above him and into the distance. Lionel described it as appearing as a half human, half bat. Now Lionel is a very experienced investigator and not one to jump to flights of fancy, he was certain what he witnessed that night. I personally have been there with him at night and I must say it was a very creepy experience in that cemetery although I didn't see the creature it just didn't feel right.
D: So you mentioned it was at night, do you think evidence needs to be carefully studied when out in the elements? Especially at night?
B: Most certainly, there are just so many contaminants that can give false readings or evidence or can destroy good captures. There is wind, dust, pollen, moisture, traffic and so much more that is just so hard, impossible to control. Any evidence of interest would have to be of the highest quality to even be considered because of all the possible contamination that can take place. To be honest I do not really think cemeteries are the best places to investigate, they are better places to have personal experiences. Plus I do not think that they truly are the most active places because I do not see why a spirit would want to remain a cemetery rather than a place they loved in life. I am not saying there are not spirits in cemeteries just that I believe that a spirit is more likely to be where they loved or had an attachment or some reason to be at a location.
D: Personally I agree. I’d much rather an historical tour and if something happens, then it’s all in the personal experience. But for those who are heading out to cemeteries to investigate, what would be your handy hints or tips?
B: Initially I would say explore in day light, get a feel for the location, work out the quickest and safes exits. Set up a meeting point just in case you get separated. I would then tell them to make sure there equipment is all in order, especially there safety equipment, torches, first aid etc. I would also say carry whistles if it is a large location to make it easy to locate a team member that may become disorientated or lost. Be sure to wear the appropriate gear. Clothes and footwear. It is really unfortunate to be in shorts and a t-shirt when the weather changes. Also let someone know where you will be and what your exit time may be. Occupational health and safety comes first in all cases. I would also make sure one person is in charge so if the need happens and they need to leave in a hurry there is someone that will make the call and the others need to follow. In general “Be Prepared, Stay Aware and be Careful”, and have fun.
D: Perfect advice for all I think. You said before that sometimes evidence captured from equipment used in the elements can be deceiving and difficult to decipher, are there any particular types of equipment that are a must have or maybe even equipment to steer clear from?
B: I am always happy with just a voice recorder and a camera but I would tell people to try any equipment they want, try different things, test out new ways of doing things, do not be afraid to fail you just might come up with a new way of doing something. Always be aware though of the environment as it will give you false readings and evidence. Lastly I would say to anyone going to a cemetery is be respectful, and learn the history of the souls that went before us because we will all be there one day. Also we are always available to give advice and answer your questions just drop us a message.
D: Most definitely and if anybody would like to get in touch with APS, you can Like them on Facebook and get in touch with them. Thanks so much for your time and advice today and gallivanting with me through graveyards!
B: Cheers and blessings to each and every one of you.
D: Bill will be speaking at Paracon 2016 talking all things Facing the Darkness, Saturday 28th May at 12pm in the Baroque Room at The Carrington, Blue Mountains NSW. Tickets selling fast so get yours asap! www.paraconaustralia.com
Until next time, stay GOOey ghoulies! Danni
Danni is a Drama and English High School teacher by trade, but Danni also enjoys her time frolicking in the forest of the Dandenong Ranges looking for anomalies, writing spooky poetry, Directing theatre and eating wild berries.
We all love a bit of dark and twisted ideology mixed in with a midnight rant alone in a chair, but what made Edgar Allan Poe timeless wasn’t just that repetitive raven. It was his obsession with the unknown, passion for the mysteries of life and love that propelled talk of the ‘paranormal’ in literature.
I’ve just arrived home from a Spoken Word Poetry evening at my local theatre that I’m currently working at, and observed many phenomenal performances of various poems. A friend of mine, Blake, was on the bill this evening and performed, word for word, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, and damn well if you ask me. Now I’m already a massive fan of the Poe, so of course, with my perfect timing, right before the show, I approach Blake with gleaming eyes and ecstatic tone in my voice telling him of my love for Poe, especially The Raven and how I’m already a fan of his acting (having worked with him on a production last year called “Patient 12”). Ok I’m ranting now, but gosh darn it Blake delivered! As I sat in the darkened theatre, the stage dimly lit with a blue and white wash, a bright red velvet chair sat centre stage and the theatre fell silent! During his performance, I slowly and quietly glanced around the theatre at peoples’ reactions to the dark and intense words that echoed the theatre and not a single person moved; in a trance like state, their eyes were fixed on Blake. Poe’s choice of words, “midnight dreary, dreaming dreams, bird or beast” all of which set the scene for the dark and mysterious. Mysterious concepts we all love to ponder, but got me thinking on my way home, “What is it about the mysterious, the unknown that have almost absolutely everybody intrigued?” It’s true though; almost everyone has experienced something or heard of someone experience something paranormal or unexplained. I’ve read The Raven so many times and each time another layer of intensity is added to my imagery bank.
I was so looking forward to seeing a friend perform one of my favourite poems, but I seriously had no idea what I was in for. The feeling was intense. I was in a trance like state watching him and for those 10 minutes I felt like I had left the theatre; Poe had come to life on stage. He was in front of me telling me of his dear Lenore! For the first time I felt the raven IN the room I was in. Weirdly enough, and I mean only weird people will get this, but I felt for a moment that I was the raven. Hmm… Ever since my dear Alex introduced me to the world of paranormal investigation years ago; heading out to physically investigate the possibility of the spiritual realm, I’ve found my imagination manifesting and infiltrating all that I do. I’ve come to realise that the reason for this isn’t because I’m “looking” for things to convince myself of another realm (those who really know me know that I’d much rather more questions than answers), but more so realising that my eyes have been opened to the possibilities. By allowing myself to seek and research other peoples’ experiences, I am able to relate to others and share ideas and information.
Here at Ghosts of Oz, you may have already picked up on the fact that we thrive on sharing ideas and information that help, not hinder, the human paranormal experience. I’ve found over the years, and what’s shaped the way I approach the paranormal, is not so much expecting the paranormal to happen to me, but my role in the paranormal process. I feel that’s what it is; a process of receiving information and methods of how we process this information to shape evidence. In those few minutes of monologue, with or without intent, I felt the way I’d felt when paranormal investigating for the first time years ago; a sudden openness, and acceptance of all that was happening to me and in turn listening to how I was feeling in response. The frustration Poe must’ve been feeling was my frustration with lack of evidence from the unknown, the passion Poe had used that had driven his desire to know more was the passion I was feeling for wanting to know more about the paranormal. And finally, but most importantly, that fear that Poe felt, a fear that we all feel which is so necessary to the paranormal process. I feel that fear asks so much from us, and it is only when we face that fear that we can truly test ourselves and hence our abilities. After the performance, I felt light. It was a sort of lightness that I had felt the first time I went paranormal investigating. I don’t know what this meant but I feel I might not be the only one who has gone through this rollercoaster of emotions in the paranormal field. For me, the paranormal isn’t just when I go on ghost tours. If anything, I love the social aspect of it; the fact I get to share these beliefs and desire for knowledge with friends and making new friends along the way. I feel however that it is more of a personal paranormal journey for me; that I need to go about it alone sometimes, gather my thoughts, regain my emotional strength and then share them when I feel the time is right (pretty much like now) When we are exploring the paranormal in investigations or even ghost tours, we are exploring possibilities of another realm active the same time as ours. Using spoken words, dialogue and objects to recreate and perform certain actions that may trigger residual energy is one of the forms of paranormal investigating so who’s to say that tonight wasn’t a paranormal experience itself? I wondered for a moment that, as Blake uttered those exact words with just as much passion and drive as we do when attempting to communicate with the other side, what if we pulled out a K2 and attempted an investigation? There were so many factors that contributed to my feeling ghostly that evening; the spooky word choice, the intensity of Blake’s deliverance (took me back to the Sydney Quarantine Station Klinge Brothers’ experience in the hospital wing), the lighting (or lack of it), the sheer reference to spirit and energy. I later asked Blake some questions that were haunting my mind; questions that I was dying to ask someone game enough to perform The Raven.
So I asked Blake why he chose The Raven of all poems.
He replied: “It was a combination of wanting to perform such a famous classic dramatically in front of a crowd, whilst also wanting to challenge myself to learn such a large amount of dialogue without a script. I’ve seen a few readings of ‘The Raven’, but not many dramatic interpretations, so I wanted to self-direct the performance and approach it with fresh eyes. Okay look….confession….when people YouTube ‘The Raven’ in future, I want my name to come up just under Christopher Walken and The Simpsons’ interpretations (as I recorded the performance). Not gonna lie.”
I’ve got to admit, I love his honesty. I proceeded to ask what he was feeling when he attempted to venture into the mind of Poe?
“As much as ‘The Raven’ features such stylised language, it’s still easy to follow and understand for a newcomer, so I instantly was able to connect and imagine the visuals Poe was trying to convey. It’s hard to avoid the imagery of blackness, due to all the references of the poem in pop culture, but apart from the obvious theme at hand, it was interesting to discover all the nuances that built up to such a dark climax. When performing, I felt the character go through four different emotions: Contempt, Confusion, Rage and Fear. It made it easier to section the play off and remember lines more clearly as you could link what you were fearing to a certain collection of stanzas.”
OK, so that was creepy. Remember how I was talking about my rollercoaster of emotions when it came to the journey of the paranormal? I’ll just leave that there for you to ponder. So I asked Blake why he thought people found eerie and mysterious literature so exciting. “Anything that is out of the ordinary intrigues people. Whether it be ghosts, magic, or the existence of other species in outer space, to quote The X-Files, they ‘want to believe’. I think the combination of classic language and a vivid imagination used by poets and authors - who lived in a world much different to our current, internet-laden world of today - create a unique outer worldliness for current readers, as it’s a style that is hard to mimic today.”
Ah Blake, I couldn’t’ve put it better myself: “…who lived in a world much different to our current…” So Blake isn’t much of a paranormal investigator (and probably wasn’t even thinking about anything paranormal during rehearsal) but my interest always lies in what non-investigators take from such intense experiences, and what it really reveals about them as a person.
So I asked, “What did you take from performing The Raven?” “Confidence to perform long monologues without a script, maintaining focus, understanding and appreciation for classic text, self-direction and bringing poems (that weren’t written for the stage) to life in a dramatic fashion.”
Confidence. Something I definitely lacked entering the field. And that word field, is quite limiting. Sure there’s an industry, but the field is all around us. I think we are doing ourselves disservice by using the term ‘field’; as though there is a fence and when you live your everyday life, the paranormal is put on “hold” until you get out K2 Meter and start asking the Ghost Box questions at midnight (which is hella fun also!). So those instruments assist the journey, but aren’t solely the paranormal experience (in my opinion at least).
So the final question to Blake: Have you ever had a late night paranormal experience where you second guessed yourself?
“Unfortunately not. But okay, so like when Paranormal Activity was released on DVD, myself and 4 other friends drove to a secluded swamp land next to an old girl scouts building and watched it on a portable DVD player - in order to possibly RESURRECT freaky occurrences, like a ghost or movement in the trees. But unfortunately the only thing we got was this massive praying mantis chilling on my windshield. Kind of disappointing - still a cool night nevertheless.”
Well Blake, praying mantis can be quite creepy…what with their long legs… and… and suspicious hand clasping. Ok better luck next time. So it’s getting late and all this creepy talk is making me question these sounds in this house. Is this room getting smaller? What was that? Oh it’s just a bird on my window sill…never mind. (Nevermore)
Danni is a Drama and English High School teacher by trade, but Danni also enjoys her time frolicking in the forest of the Dandenong Ranges looking for anomalies, writing spooky poetry, Directing theatre and eating wild berries.