13 O’Clock Episode 52 – EVP and Spirit Communication

Have you ever been making a recording in a creepy old house (like you do) and gotten a lot more than you bargained for, such as, say, disembodied voices turning up on your audio devices? Welcome to the eerie and controversial world of electronic voice phenomena (EVP), which has now become an integral part of any paranormal investigation. The internet is awash in spooky recordings of supposed voices of the dead, but how real is this phenomena, and can our video and audio technology really be used to communicate with the other side? On this installment of 13 O’Clock, Tom and Jenny discuss EVPs and spirit communication, play some examples of EVPs, break down the history of the concept of talking to ghosts through audio devices, and hone in on some of the better known figures in the field, such as Marcello Bacci and the radio he uses to talk to spirits. Tune in to our ghostly frequency and listen for the voices, because it’s time for episode 52.

Download the audio podcast here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. And be sure to check out our list channel, 13 O’Clock In Minutes! AND SUPPORT US ON PATREON!!! For iTunes listeners, here is a link to the new feed.  And here’s a link to me on the See You On The Other Side Podcast. More info and examples of EVP at this website. Song at the end: “The Voices of the Dead” by Funker Vogt.

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13 O’Clock Episode 36 – Real To Reel Horror

The world is full of real-life horrors, so it isn’t surprising that fictional horror sometimes takes its cue from true events. While most are familiar with the supposedly real stories behind movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, Jaws, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and The Amityville Horror, on this episode of 13 O’Clock, Tom and Jenny discuss four lesser-known recent horror films with plots somewhat based in reality: The Possession (based on the infamous dybbuk box), The Quiet Ones (based on the Philip Experiment), The Girl Next Door (based on the horrific torture and murder of Sylvia Likens), and The Forest (based on Aokigahara, Japan’s Suicide Forest). Listen in as horror gets real…sort of.

Download the audio file from Project Entertainment Network here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

13 O’Clock Episode 25 -The Scole Experiment

Often bandied about as one of the most compelling investigations into the reality of spirit communication, the Scole Experiment was actually a five-year-long series of around 500 seances attended by both mediums and scientists in various fields. The list of witnessed phenomena seems impressive: disembodied spirit voices, moving lights, tilting tables, and the appearance of bizarre images and writing on unexposed film kept in a locked box. But how solid is the evidence gathered by the Scole experimenters really? On this episode, Tom and Jenny give an overview of the project and examine some of the problems with methodology that cast doubt on  the conclusions drawn by the experimenters.

Download the audio file from Project Entertainment Network here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

13 O’Clock Episode 21 – Houdini vs. The Spiritualists

Harry Houdini, of course, is the legendary illusionist whose unbelievable escapes still amaze, even a century later. But near the end of his short life, Houdini took on a new crusade, battling against the spiritualists and fraudulent mediums who he felt were giving people false hope that the living could talk to the dead. On this episode of 13 O’Clock, Tom and Jenny discuss Houdini’s entry into the murky world of spiritualism and séances, his famed debunking of medium Mina Crandon (aka Margery), his shattered friendship with spiritualist advocate Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the ten-year quest by his widow Bess to contact Houdini after his death, using a special, agreed-upon code.

Download the audio file from Project Entertainment Network here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

The Goddess’s Favorite Creepy Movie Scenes, or It’s Not Kidnapping, It’s Borrowing

I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of the movie I’m featuring today, which is the phenomenal British film Séance on a Wet Afternoon. It was recommended to me by a friend on Facebook, and over the weekend I sat down and spent a chilling two hours with it, marveling at its atmospheric mood and incredible psychological depth. It’s not a horror movie per se, but it is an intensely disturbing, absorbing thriller that garnered gobs and gobs of accolades when it came out back in 1964, including a Best Actress Oscar nomination for lead Kim Stanley. She lost to Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins, which is a terrible shame, though not all that surprising, frankly. Don’t get me wrong, I love Julie Andrews, but I definitely think Kim Stanley got robbed in this case. Her portrayal of a mentally unstable spirit medium was so nuanced and eerie that I found myself completely enthralled by the way her character came across as so sweet and harmless on the surface, while a manipulative, dark insanity lurked just beneath. Incidentally, if you’d like to watch for yourself, here you go, and if you’d like to read further, be warned that there will be spoilers:

The plot basically details a completely batshit scheme that working-class medium Myra Savage concocts to get attention and notoriety for her supposed psychic abilities. The film remains ambiguous about whether her abilities are real, but she clearly believes that they are, and that her stillborn son Arthur is acting as her spirit guide at the weekly séances she holds in their home. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know how much I love this type of ambiguity in films, and it’s especially good here; while we become unshakably certain over the course of the film that Myra is quite insane, we’re never entirely sure whether her mediumship is a cause or an effect of her insanity.

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Using her cowed, milquetoast husband Billy (played by Richard Attenborough) to do her dirty work, Myra kidnaps (or “borrows,” as she insists on calling it) the daughter of a very wealthy, connected couple and ransoms the child for £25,000. Initially, Myra and Billy don’t plan to hurt the child or even keep the ransom money; their intentions are far more convoluted and insidious than that, and it’s implied that they’ve been refining the details for years. In a nutshell, they plan to keep the child and the ransom money hidden until Myra has made contact with the child’s parents and the police, whereupon she will claim that she has received messages from beyond that tell her where the child and the money can be found. She is sure that this will make a name for her throughout the land, and she hopes the news of her success will lead to fame and riches down the line.

As should be obvious from the type of film this is, the plan ultimately doesn’t go the way it was supposed to, and slowly sprouts ever more disturbing tendrils as Myra’s fragile hold on sanity begins to crumble away. Because the film doesn’t make clear from the beginning what the specifics of Myra’s plan are, and doesn’t explicitly lay out how she begins to subtly change the details as the story progresses, it’s a rather gripping watch; the tension keeps escalating as the viewer wonders what exactly the endgame is, and what exactly will go wrong.

The creepiest thing about this film, I thought, was the interplay between Myra and Billy, and the unspoken dynamic between them that made the presumably decent but weak-willed Billy go along with his wife’s obviously delusional ideas without too much complaint. Myra does not browbeat Billy into doing her will; she does not threaten him. Their relationship is such that she does not need to; she is able to convince him through the sheer force of her seemingly reasonable wheedling, and her slow escalation of requests that ultimately leave Billy in the same position as that fabled frog in boiling water. He obviously loves her dearly, and because he does, he has accepted that she sees him as nothing more than a tool to facilitate her own desires. In this way, Billy is quite a tragic character, subsuming his own identity and moral compass in deference to hers. At one point Myra tells him that the kidnapping of the child is simply a means to an end for them; no one is going to be hurt, she points out, and they won’t even be keeping the parents’ money, so what harm is there? “You agree with the end, don’t you?” she asks him in her soft, sweet voice, and when he assents, she follows with the seemingly logical conclusion, “Well, then you must agree with the means.” The great thing about this is that from their interactions, the viewer can really feel the weight of the years of their marriage behind them, of how her manipulation of Billy and his passive acceptance of it are simply par for the course. It is only at the very end of the film, when Myra has taken things one step too far, that Billy finally nuts up and blows the whistle on her, at which point she has lost her marbles to such a degree that she is no longer able to protest.

The scenes with Myra interacting with the kidnapped child are also pretty unsettling, as it’s clear that Myra views the girl in the exact same way she views Billy: As a thing that will get her the results she wants. She is never cruel to the child at all, but she is chillingly indifferent and detached, both when she speaks to her and when she speaks about her. That’s the great strength of Kim Stanley’s performance; the viewer is drawn in by her seemingly demure, motherly exterior and only slowly starts to realize that Myra is a sociopathic monster. It’s a fantastic study in the banality of evil.

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Aside from the stellar characterization and almost unbearable suspense, the film also looks gorgeous, with lovely, atmospheric shots of candlelit faces around a séance table, or spooky houses reflected in puddles of rainwater. As I said before, it’s not strictly a horror film, but its look and subject matter definitely put it in the same league with the great ghost stories and thrillers of the period, and I would recommend it for any fans of either genre; it’s just a shame it’s not better known.

Stay tuned for more good stuff later in the week, and until next time, keep it creepy, my friends. Goddess out.