An Interview With Jim Harold of the Paranormal Podcast
Now it’s time for me to be a fan boy. I’ve been a huge fan of Jim Harold and his incredible Paranormal Podcast for years. A long time subscriber, I listen to every single episode, from The Other Side, to Crime Scene, Ancient Mysteries and the newest addition, The Cryptid Report (on which I was a guest recently, talking about my old pal, the Jersey Devil. You can check that out here).
It’s an honor to have Jim on this old blog n’ chain. We talk about a possible grand unified theory of the paranormal, dream guests and pursuing podcasting full time. So read on, Hellions, and do yourself a favor and listen to the free podcast and subscribe to his Plus Club. You can thank me later.
When it comes to bringing the best and brightest of the paranormal world to listeners all around the world, your podcasts are the top of the heap. How has this decade-plus ride been for you as creator, chief, cook and bottle washer (to steal your own phrase)?
It has been nothing but great. Of course, there have been frustrations and times when I wasn’t sure it was all going to work out but all in all it has been the opportunity of a lifetime for me.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Who was your first guest and how did you get them on the show, especially being an unknown quantity at the time?
It was July 29, 2005 and the guest was Loyd Auerbach who is one of the best people in this field. I simply wrote him an email asking. He was kind enough to say sure. My plus members can still listen to that show but my ears bleed when I hear it.
You often talk about the impact In Search Of had on you and your career. I see that with so many people of a certain age (like myself) who have gone on to write and create in the horror/scifi/paranormal fields. What was your favorite episode? Which one scared you the most?
Hmm, that is a tough one. I always loved the stuff about The Bermuda Triangle. That eerie music freaked me out. I loved it! (Hunter’s Note : The soundtrack to In Search Of still creeps me out. Literally the only music that gives me the willies.)
People really appreciate the fact that you’re not a ghost/cryptid/UFO investigator. You’re the even-keeled man behind the mic giving voice to those who have dedicated their lives to the study of the strange and unusual. After hundreds and hundreds of interviews, what’s surprised you the most?
That there is very possibly some tie between these different phenomena…I originally viewed everything as very siloed but now I wonder. Is all of this stuff, or at least some, connected?
Over the past year, you ask a lot of your guests about a grand unified theory of the paranormal, where perhaps everything is all part of the same whole. You have a unique view of the entire landscape. Gun to your head, do you think ghosts, cryptids, UFOs, the whole gamut, are related and if so, what do you think is behind it all? If it’s all originating from some starting point, there has to be an originator.
Ah, I anticipated your question in my last answer! I think that there is SOMETHING connecting everything but I don’t know what. I have no idea. I think it is kind of like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where we are just all looking at the shadows on the wall, trying to interpret them but failing because we can’t see what is really going on.
Did you ever interview someone outside of your Campfire show that told a story so frightening (maybe even because it was a horrifying potential reality), it gave you chills or maybe made sleep a little more difficult that night?
I recently did a show on the 1949 case of a possessed St. Louis boy who was the inspiration for The Exorcist. To know, and this is well documented, that there are real cases of what appears to be demon possession is very unsettling to me. If demons come out this aggressively and it is documented, how do they infiltrate our daily lives and we don’t even realize it? Road rage, child abuse, war, etc. The list goes on and on. How many ways does evil invade our lives and we just chalk it up to human nature gone wrong? Is there really something sentient trying to lead the world astray? It makes you think about the existence of a literal Devil.
If we could get a substantial government grant to dedicate millions of dollars and resources to the scientific study of one aspect of the paranormal, which should we choose? I have my own answer that I think we’re going to be in agreement with because of the broader implications.
Life after death, hands down. It answers so many other questions. (Hunter’s note : that’s exactly how I feel! We answer that question, what else really matters?)
Who have been some of your favorite guests? Who is the one guest who has since passed that you wish you’d gotten, and one current dream guest that you’re hoping to get?
I wish I would have been able to interview Budd Hopkins on UFOs, that is one who comes to mind. John Keel is another. Loren Coleman would be a great guest and I’d very much like to interview James Randi. I know that seems counter intuitive but we need to understand the hardcore skeptic to learn how to have communication with other skeptics who might be capable of having an open mind.
A few years ago, you took the leap to full time podcasting, as well as writing. How terrifying was that and how has it been? By the way, the day you announced it, you became my hero. You have the career I dreamed of as a kid.
Thank you. I didn’t dream of podcasting, per se, because it didn’t exist in its current form but I always wanted to be a content creator in both broadcasting and written form. Audio, visual and the written word. Sometimes I would take stories and rewrite them from the neighborhood newspaper with a manual typewriter (remember those?), I would go around the house with a flashlight pretending I was a game show host, so broadcasting seems to have been bred in me as well. Another funny story is how I asked for a DJ “radio studio” toy when I was a kid. I didn’t get it but I have done a really good job of reconstructing it in my home studio now! Amazon must love me. Can you say compensating?
I was moderately scared at first when going full time but I had changed jobs many times while working in traditional media and kind of just viewed this as another job in terms of risk. If it wouldn’t have worked out, I would have just found another job. My wife and family were very supportive and I couldn’t have done it without them. It has been nothing but a blessing and I am so grateful to my audience. The feedback tells me they enjoy what I do and I am so glad it resonates with them. We are all just fellow seekers. I hope your readers will check out the shows at jimharold.com and wherever fine podcasts are heard. Thank you for the time to talk with you and your audience today.
I’m In Jim Harold’s Campfire 3 Book!
Over the years listening to Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast and becoming a subscriber to his Plus club where I can feed my paranomral addiciton daily, I’ve become a bit of a fanboy. I told him recently that’s he’s become the Leonard Nimoy (ala In Search of…) of the modern day.
A few years ago, I was on his Campfire Tales podcast, talking about the strange haunting I’ve been experiencing over the years. Well, you can imagine how thrilled I was when Jim emailed me saying he’d like to include it in his latest book, TRUE GHOST STORIES : JIM HAROLD’S CAMPFIRE 3.
You can get a copy of Campfire 3 on your e-reader for just $2.99 – that’s less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. In it, you’ll get 70 chilling tales of ghosts and high strangeness, as told by the people who experienced the unknown. You can also get it in paperback. Guess what I’m giving out to the trick or treaters this year!
And while you’re at it, check out his FREE Paranormal Podcast. And if you’ve had a ghostly encounter, send him an email and be part of his Campfire Tales show. You just may end up in a future edition.
The Mystery of the Black Eyed Kids
Somehow, the phenomenon of the eerie Black Eyed Kids (from here on known as BEK) slipped under my radar during my formative years as a paranormal junkie. Apparently, strange pairs of children with deep, unnatural black eyes have been ringing people’s doorbells for decades. They’ve been linked to UFO appearances as well as ghosts.
People who encounter BEK get an immediate creepy vibe from the kids. It’s more than just their otherworldly eyes. They talk like they’re from another time and place and exude an undercurrent of menace. Their main goal seems to be to get you to invite them inside. They’re just kids after all. What’s to fear? Just who they are and why they show up asking to use phones or for directions to places that don’t exist is anyone’s guess.
I first heard about them about a year ago on Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast. I’ve been intrigued ever since. Today it’s easy to dismiss them as teens popping in some contacts and playing a practical joke. But what about encounters with BEK in the 50s and 60s? Custom, cosmetic contacts were not something easily attained by anyone, much less local jokers.
Again, no one has any idea what’s behind BEK. But it is enough to give you pause the next time your bell rings at night.
Are BEK news to you, or is it something you’ve always known about? What are your theories? Too bad In Search Of isn’t around to whip up a creepy episode. Anyone have Leonard Nimoy’s number?
I’m going to write more about BEK in the coming months, but I thought I’d start you off with an excellent post I found on the Para-Rational blog. If you’re going to cut your teeth on BEK, this is the place to start. Here’s a taste and feel free to click over to read the rest of the post.
After combing through the storied about Black Eyed Kids that I can find, there are several traits that seem to commonly apply to run ins with Black Eyed Children.
They Travel in Pairs – Most encounters with Black Eyed Kids are with two of them. Why this is, I can only surmise as they need two to take down their prey? One is usually the speaker while the other stands by silently. Could it be that one is focusing on their mental attack while the other is verbally communicating with the chosen victim?
Black Eyed Kids Appear in Youthful Form – The normal situation is for the Black Eyed kids to apprear as a pair of kids in the 10 to 16 year old range. Reports of younger kids are less common and there are a few reports of them appearing as adults as well.
The Insist on Getting Your Permission – Another universal trait is that they need your permission to enter your home, your car or to help you with something. In some way you must invite them into your life. Why? This sounds like a classic vampire trait, could this be where that part of the vampire legend came from? Every story so far has come from people that have refused. I am guessing those that said yes are not around to tell their story.
Black Eyed Kids are Psychic – Another common element among Black Eyed Kid Stories is that they seem to be able to know what we are thinking and will show it by answering questions before we ask them, or by anticipating our actions. This is very bad, because that means they are in our heads. This also mean that they are able to do the next thing to us.
They Can Compel Our Actions – Commonly when people encounter Black Eyed Kids, they find themselves opening doors for them, or moving to help them without consciously deciding to. All indications are that they Black Eyed Children can compel our physical actions to help them achieve their goals.
Their Eyes are Completely Black – This is obviously where Black Eyed Kids got their name. When victims break their trance, they quickly realize that the beings in front of them have completely black eyes. No white, just bottomless, black orbs. Some debunkers have claimed that it could be kids with contacts or with the condition of Mydriasis. If it was just this one trait, I might work with that theory, but this goes well beyond just having black eyes!
Their Clothing is Unusual and Drab – Another common element is that their clothes look old fashioned or even hand made. This goes along with their strange manner of speaking showing that they don’t seem to have a grasp of human mannerisms. This reminds me of the stories about the Men in Black that appeared in Point Pleasant in the 50′s and 60′s.
To read the entire post, please click here.
Podcasts for the Paranormal Junkie
In the past, I’ve told you all how I’m an enormous fan of Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast. I’ve even become a paying member of his Plus Club and I’m loving every minute of it.
Today, I wanted to cue you in to 3 other podcasts that I listen to every week. The best part is that they are all FREE on iTunes.
First up is The Gralien Report. Despite its name, the host Micah Hanks doesn’t just talk about aliens. In fact, he covers every Fortean topic you can think of. Each episode is an hour or more and is run very much like a standard radio show. One of the most informative podcasts you’re going to find.
Next is a show that’s honest with a very homey kind of vibe. SEPS Paranormal Podcast. Host Paul Cagle is a paranormal investigator with a great Tennessee accent that puts you right at ease. He’s very down to earth and tells it like it is. He makes me laugh every time I listen, and that’s a good thing.
And last but not least is Whispers Radio , another show that mainly focuses on ghosts, but will also dip into UFOs and monsters from time to time. Jordan Cline, to me, sounds like a guy I want to have a few beers with.
So next time you’re hunting for something to load onto your iPod or listen to on your computer, give them a try. I wonder if there’s such a thing as podcast rehab?
2013 Resolutions for Writers
The ball has dropped. The confetti is now in a landfill. Your diet plans have already been thrown to the wind, ready to return for a couple of days next January. The Twilight Zone marathon has passed the signpost up ahead that reads : Hey, time to get back to work!
I’m not big on resolutions because I know that 99% of them are yesterday’s dreams by the end of January. The only ones I’ve been able to keep are the resolutions that pertain to writing. For me, writing has always been my escape, my sanctuary, and now it’s also an income-providing business. All the more reason to get my ass in gear and hunker down. I admit, I took a total break from writing most of December. I needed it. My brain, like a chicken wing, was fried. At times during the holidays, I could actually hear my cells vibrate as they recharged. It was a wise decision to step back for a bit. But rest time is now bye-bye.
I figured I’d start with a list of resolutions that would benefit others as much as myself. Writing is a lonely business and sometimes we need some outside influences to kick us in the pants. Consider this my loving tap on your authorly keister.
Here are my 2013 Writing Resolutions:
1. Read More. I know I’ve stressed this in other articles and interviews. You can’t write if you don’t read. Plain and simple. I must read 75 or more books a year. I know I can do more. The number one rule is to turn that damn TV off as much as possible. Naturally, I read a ton of horror novels. But i’s also good to branch out to other genres, as well as the classics and self-help books. It all leads to personal growth. In fact, this year, I vow to read at least one romance novel. It’s the last genre out there that I haven’t touched as a reader. Any suggestions?
2. Write. Write. Write. Even though I didn’t write over the holidays, I did think about what my projects will be for 2013 and hit the library to do research. What are my exact goals? I will write at least one novel from start to finish (revisions included). I want to write one novella, if not two. I need to get back in the short story swing, so I’ve set a goal of writing at least a half dozen shorts. I also want to write and publish a collection of true ghost stories in time for Halloween. There, that should keep me off the streets.
3. Query new markets. Yes, I have an agent that does a lot of this for me, but I can’t have her do all the work. This is my career, after all. I need to be more aggressive this year and see if I can open some new doors and different writing opportunities.
4. Pitch a story to a TV/film production company. I have a few ideas/stories that I can lead with. Now I need to figure out how to go about this. I’ll research on the internet and reach out to other authors that have had success pitching their stuff. Getting a development deal is one of my bucket list things, so I better get on the ball.
5. Attend more cons and writers conventions. I already signed up for a couple of writer’s organizations while I lounged around watching Arrested Development in my sweats. I intend to go to a few national and local cons to mix and mingle and learn a thing or three. I’ll also show my face at more horror cons, like World Horror Con, Horrorfind, KillerCon and Chiller Theatre. That’s always a fun time!
6. Keep my writing area organized. This seems like a little thing, but it’s far from it. I spent 4 hours cleaning out all the crap that had accumulated in my little writing space during the year. This year, it’s getting a monthly sprucing up so things don’t get lost in the shuffle.
7. Find new ways to market my work. As a writer today, you can’t fall alseep at the switch when it comes to marketing. There are always new services popping up that can help you get the word out about your work. Some work, some don’t, but you have to try. As an example, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon last year, but learned after a few months that it wasn’t doing much for me. Hey, at least I tried.
8. Expand the scope of the Monster Men podcast. You’re going to see a lot of new stuff with our video podcast in 2013. We’re going to interview authors, directors, publishers, paranormal groups, you name it. Jack and I can’t wait to get started. If you’re any of the above and would like to be on the show, shoot me an email and we’ll work out a schedule.
9. Listen to more podcasts. I’m an audio podcast junkie. I spend a lot of time in my car with my radio, but I’m not digging what’s on the air. Since my car is old, I’m going out to get an adapter so I can play the podcasts on my Nano through my car stereo. Podcasts are great ways to inform, educate, entertain, inspire and gain more depth into whatever topic that interests you. I highly suggest Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast. Great stuff.
10. Rest. I’ve learned that you can’t run around juggling 100 things at once, 24/7, and expect to remain sane. So even though I’ve set a heavy workload for myself, I will make it a point to find moments to rest my mind, body and spirit. Sometimes you need to step out and let your subconscious do some of the heavy lifting. Believe me, it will all be there when you need it.
So, what are your resolutions for 2013? You don’t have to be a writer to set a goal roadmap. If you put it in writing now, it actually helps you work harder to achieve it.