Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paul Kimball, Ghost Darer

Am I watching a reality TV program called Ghost Cases or Head Cases?

"Come on, drop it."

Co-host Paul Kimball is lying on the floor underneath a large painting that has been said to occasionally fall off its nail because of ghostly activity. His partner Holly Stevens waits in another room at the reportedly haunted Waverly Inn in Halifax, Nova Scotia, using a conversational method to make contact with any spirits that may be about.

Paul prefers the confrontational method, the paranormal investigator with a chip on his shoulder. He taunts any nearby ghosts to drop the painting on his head. But no ghosts knock off his chip -- or the painting.

That previous sentence might be considered a spoiler, i.e., I just revealed too much about the Waverly Inn episode of Ghost Cases. But while he may be arrogant at times, Paul isn't stupid. He knew that painting wasn't going to drop (well, at least in this universe).

The episode opens with a perspective-puzzling image worthy of M.C. Escher. Paul lies on the floor, a mirror placed next to his head showing the presumably cursed painting up on the wall, the scene tilted at an odd angle. He tells the ghosts if they're sick of all the ghost investigation TV programs, then take their best shot. A quirky intro. It's too bad that the rest of the episode didn't live up to this.

The episode is technically well-made, a professional production, but it follows the same formula used in other programs such as History Detectives on PBS. Parts of the episode are staged, set up beforehand. It's obvious that the investigators aren't meeting one of the subjects for the first time; there's been some discussion how to "play out" a scene.

For example, Paul and Holly walk into the Waverly Inn and are greeted by an employee. You can tell they've already did a general run-through with the employee. But even History Detectives with its (probably) bigger budget is guilty of faux natural scenes.

Assuming that the Waverly Inn investigation is representative of the series, Ghosts Cases needs to be edgier. More film-it-as-it-first-happens -- even with rough edges -- could be a better approach. At least it would be a different one. Record the initial interviews with subjects; no pre-production warm ups. Reveal some of the behind-the-scenes planning, discussions, and, if any, disagreements.

Skip the shots back in the studio with either Paul or Holly sitting down, explaining what is going on during the episode. Shoot everything on location and add voice overs if needed.

And why does the camera have to be in the room before the door opens and the investigators step in? Why not stay with the hosts, shooting over their shoulders, and reveal the room to both them and the viewer at the same time? Give the impression that the viewer is right there with them.

Instead of ghost daring, let's see some daring departures from the standard format.

In a parallel universe Paul Kimball did that. After a painting fell off the wall at the Waverly Inn and hit him on the head, a paranormal variation on Newton and the apple.

[ Ghost Cases is produced in Canada and can be seen via EastLink TV in the Great White North. For more info: ]

Monday, December 21, 2009

Closet Catholic Conspiracy

Closet Catholic?

The right-wing ham radio operator was reading from a book or article about the evil machinations of the Vatican. Shortwave conditions were poor that night and I kept missing some of his points. But I did hear the term "closet Catholic" a few times.

Unlike SW radio "reception conditions" are normally great on the Web so I did some Googling. Closet Catholic can be defined as a protestant who has sympathies for the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. To the extreme it means a non-Catholic who is secretly Catholic, working as a secret agent or puppet for the Pope. Even a Protestant US president could be one of these conspirators.

A quick search linked me to a personal home page: "The Outrageous, Anti-Christian Roman Catholic Church by Elsie Hamer, Wife Of My Husband, Caleb." Elsie is a self-proclaimed born again fundamentalist Christian who thinks the Roman Catholic Church is the work of Satan.

Eslie Hamer at her flea market table; image from her website.

It's evident Elsie hasn't updated her site in some time because the target for her hatred is Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. She wrote: "Before we get started, does it make you wonder how come the Pope's first name is Karol? Karol is a girl's name. And the Pope wears robes and dresses all the time. I have never seen a picture of him with pants and a shirt. No wonder he changed his name to Paul when he got picked for the Pope."

Then the loving Xtian Elsie includes a news photo with the caption: "Here is a picture of [President] George Bush assuring the Pope that he is a closet Catholic."

Elsie then quotes from the New York Catechism and also a papal encyclical from 1885 to make the case that the pope thinks he is God on earth.

That leads Elsie to make the observation: "Wow. Imagine that! Well hey Karol, lets see you walk on water. And can you change water into wine? Do you get your dresses dry cleaned or do you just say 'get clean' and they are all clean again. Do you ever have to go to the bathroom, Karol? If you do you don't hold the place of God cause nowhere in the Bible does it say God ever has to go to the bathroom!"

It's astute observations like this that help Elsie "prove" that the Roman Catholic Church is really a Satanic conspiracy controlling powerful closet Catholic leaders.

Other links on her site include these topics: "Women And Their Place!," "Evolution Is Wrong," "God Hates Fags," and "Stop Masturbating With Jesus."

Ironically when I visited Elsie's site there was a Google ad at the top of the page for a gay friendly church that supported same sex marriage.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Norway Spiral: What Really Happened

Image: Anita Olsen/AP

Scene: Monitoring center deep underground, manned by agents codenamed "Wally" and "Beav."

MIB #1: "Damn, it's all over the Web. Videos, photos."

MIB #2: "Huh?"

MIB #1: "They're calling it the Norway Spiral. Leave it to those idiot ETs to open up a hyperspace aperture over there at night. Cripes, look at the detail. Seen for miles."

MIB #2: "So what do we do, Wally? We have to cover this up."

MIB #1: "Let's check the Phil Klass CUE files on the computer."

MIB #2: "CUE?"

MIB #1: "Cover Up Explanatory files, ya dope. OK, here we go. Test missile goes off course, spews rocket propellant off at an angle, creating a spiral pattern. Bluish color - tiny sapphires - sunlight bouncing off aluminum oxide -"

MIB #2: "Sunlight? But this happened at night."

MIB #1: "Yeah, but there's enough science junk in here to throw the public off. Well, the Ruskies owe us a favor so get them on the horn."

MIB #2: "Gee, we're going to say it was a Russian rocket?"

MIB #1: "That's what we're here for, ya goof."

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Alien Is Still Among Us

At one time his image – elongated humanoid form, green skin, big ebony eyes – was omnipresent. Go to a fair and inflatable versions would fill a wall, prizes to be won with a game of chance. Walk through a mall and an army of them printed on t-shirts would stare at you from a display rack. Key chains, toy magnets, magazine covers, greeting cards – he conquered all forms and media.

Actually his image was a combination of the “little green man” from back in the days of “flying saucers” and the gray alien of more recent times. The green-gray alien had the cartoony goofiness of the little green man merged with the overall features of the evil gray who abducted humans for terrifying experiments on board his UFO. Retro amiability overlay the nightmarish modern incarnation.

The fad was soon over and other images affixed to diverse merchandise took over. Hannah Montana, anyone?

But the green-gray still lurks. I spotted his image the other day while walking through a shopping mall. Those weirdly slanted ebony eyes drew my attention to a coin operated game booth tucked in one corner. The image was printed on the package of one of the prizes. But he wasn't the prize; instead, it was his vehicle, an “infrared remote controlled flying saucer.”

The green-gray had been reduced to a secondary role, an attention getter, hawking product like a used car salesman.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Chemtrailing An Alien Invention?

Over at writer nolocontendere sees many events in a conspiratorial light, evidence of the machinations of what he calls "our self ordained Masters of the World." Nolocontendre thinks these Masters want to cull the herd -- the common people -- through bio-warfare.

In a post entitled "Epidemics" (11/28/09) he presents excerpts from "The Gods of Eden" by William Bramley, a book that claims that an alien presence lurking in the shadows has been calling the shots since the beginning of time. Bramley questions the common knowledge of how the Black Death spread through Europe starting in 1347, killing -- according to one estimate -- about one third of the population in four years.

It wasn't fleas hitching rides on rodents, says Bramley. During the Plague Years there were reports of strange foul-smelling mists after bright lights -- UFOs -- were spotted in the sky. It was a period of great UFO activity. Many physicians of that time, Bramley adds, connected the mists with the Black Death.

I haven't read "The Gods of Eden" but I have been reading Piglipstick posts from time to time to get the gist of nolocontendre's worldview. After the book excerpts he mentions that the population at large has been sprayed with chemtrails for years.

(If you're not familiar with the term "chemtrails," it refers to a conspiracy theory involving chemicals or pathogens being sprayed by a plane through its contrails.)

Wrapping up his "Epidemics" post he makes this statement: "I'm not shy about saying that the death cult running the planet at the present time is intimately involved with entities that don't have human origins, and decent people wouldn't begin to consider them to be nice guys."

Nolocontendre explains that he doesn't know what is the origin of this alien presence. It could be David Icke's reptilians, gods of the bible, interdimensional beings, whatever. But he does believe that the Masters work with this presence, one benefit being access to advanced technology -- like chemtrailing. He sums up:

"It would be a safe bet to assume our human overlords are copying them/following orders with this current business of culling the herd, because if Bramley's research has any validity this isn't the first time it's been done."

"...if Bramley's research has any validity..."

That's one big If.