Paranormal Justice – The Paranormal Podcast 833

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Brad Blair joins us to talk about how the courts have dealt with the paranormal! Join us for this unique conversation on the law and the supernatural!

You can find his book at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wPmPjj

Brad is also one of the co-founders of Michigan Paracon. I will be there this year! Won’t you join us? Go to https://saultstemarie.com/events-calendar/michigan-paranormal-convention/ for the details!

Thanks Brad!

TRANSCRIPT
Jim Harold (00:00):

Our normal justice is the subject on today’s episode of the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is Brad Blair. 

Announcer (00:21):

This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold Harold. 

Jim Harold (00:24):

Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold Harold, and we have a paranormal renaissance man on the show today. I’m talking about, you see him right there if you’re watching the video, Brad Blair, we’re so glad to have him with us. He is an author. Here’s his latest book, “Paranormal Justice: Hauntings, Cryptids and Curses in the Court of Law.” But not only is he an author, and we’re going to talk a lot about this book because I love the fact that it’s an original idea. I’ve never seen anything like it, and there’s not a lot original in the world, so that’s pretty cool. He is also the co-founder of Michigan Paracon, which is really the most successful paranormal con of its type, no question. He is an author, an adventurer, international speaker, and researcher of all things strange. Brad Blair, welcome to the program today. 

Brad Blair (01:18):

Thanks for having me on, Jim Harold. 

Jim Harold (01:20):

So I know we talked about this a little bit last time, but in case people missed that, what got you into all this spooky stuff? I mean, I think a lot of it had to do with where you grew up there in the upper peninsula, in Michigan, right? 

Brad Blair (01:34):

Absolutely. Yeah. Growing up here in the UP or Yoopers as we call ourselves up this way, we’re a little bit of a different crowd up this way. There’s a lot of outdoors, a lot of hunting and fishing, very much a different type of culture in and of itself. So growing up here, you had long, long nights in the winter, very cold days, and we got to the point where, and here’s my cat Charlotte…

Jim Harold (02:05):

Hello Charlotte!

Brad Blair (02:06):

We got to the point where we would have a lot of indoor time. I was never really big into athletics, and fortunately I had a couple of friends that had the same weird interests that we would sit and tell ghost stories, we’d have get-togethers and sit around, and we were the kids that were the creepy kids. Half the other kids in school would kind of gravitate towards us and want to hear the ghost stories we were telling and what we were up to, and the other half stayed the hell away from us. They just thought we were the oddballs, which we, I guess both were true. But yeah, growing up, up here, we would take off and head off into the country, find abandoned houses, and we’d bring our Ouija boards in old overgrown graveyards, things along that line. And that was the high school days. And that was all fun. 

Brad Blair (02:57):

And we got to be adults and myself, Tim Ellis and Steve LePlante, who were kind of the three core guys that did all of this weird stuff. And the three of us founded the Michigan Paracon, excuse me. But we all went off to college and we all, somehow or another ended up back here in Sault St. Marie in Michigan’s upper peninsula. And we said, you know we’re a little too old now to be running around in abandoned houses and graveyards without worrying about the police coming after us or something going on. So we said, we’ve got to make this a little more efficient. So we ended up putting together the Upper Peninsula Paranormal Research Society back in the late nineties. And we are a state of Michigan nonprofit CO three, whatever the designation is, 

Jim (03:44):

501c3, I think is the…

Brad Blair (03:46):

That sounds about right. Yeah, no, we got official on it, and this was the days prior to Ghost Hunters, ghost Adventures, the big television boom. So when we told people what we were doing, they kind of gave us a look like we had two heads and you do what and why, and that stuff’s not real. And we kind of embraced it in our own way. I mean, the first few years we were into it, maybe we’d get half a dozen phone calls a year from somebody who really honestly felt that they had a haunting or some issue going on. And then that funny thing happened when reality television kicked in and all of a sudden you had Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson going around plumber by day, investigator by night kind of thing. And then we became the Michigan team for the TAPS family. So any calls coming into TAPS, they would forward on to us and things went crazy for a while. It was nonstop emails coming in and nine out of 10 when you told them that you were contacting them on behalf of TAPS, and it wasn’t Jay and Grant and Steve and crew showing up at their door, you’d never hear anything back, 

Brad Blair (05:01):

But you still had some people that had serious concerns and they would follow up. And yeah, our caseload got a lot bigger for a while then, but that was kind of the start of everything. And we would travel around and we would hit different, smaller conferences and whatever was going on to try and learn from people in the field back then, now it wasn’t quite as available as it is I guess nowadays. So we would travel, we would hit these different places, and we were coming back one year from a conference in Florida and as Tim Ellis and I, and we kind of looked at each other and said, what if we tried something like this in the UP? Would anybody actually come to it? If you’ve never been to Sault St. Marie in Michigan’s upper peninsula, you have to be coming here to end up here. It’s not something you pass by if you keep going. 

Jim (05:52):

It’s a destination. It’s a destination. 

Brad Blair (05:55):

It is. It is. So we really didn’t know that first year how Paracon was going to work. And we thought maybe if things go really well, we had this dream that we could get a second one green light and do two years. And we didn’t think anything beyond that really. The shows at the time most didn’t go past two, maybe three years. So we were kind of being ambitious by thinking we could get two years, and we were working with some booking agents and we really wanted to get the crew from TAPS in, and we thought that would’ve been the big thing that would’ve sold it for us. Well, they’re already booked is what we were told, but there’s a new show starting out. They’ve got a season in, they’re really building a following, and they’ve already been greenlit for a second season. It’s a show called Ghost Adventures, 

Jim (06:46):

(laughing)

Brad Blair (06:46):

And they said, we can get you all three of those guys. They would love to start doing some live appearances. At the time, it was Nick, Zak, and Aaron. So we talked it over and said, yeah, I guess we can settle for them. 

Jim (07:00):

(laughing)

Brad Blair (07:01):

So our first event, which was much, much smaller than it is nowadays, time-wise and attendance-wise, was headlined by “Ghost Adventures.” So that really opened our eyes. We saw the people that were showing up because we attended a lot of these shows that it was more or less your hardcore investigative types or really into the paranormal group. We didn’t really see the fan club basis yet. And when we kicked this off, all of a sudden there were hundreds of people that just knew these people from tv. They had no idea who the authors, investigators were that we had in. They knew the TV celebrities. So we said, wow, there really is a market and these people are traveling for this as we did ourselves. Yeah, like I said, we were hoping if it went well, we would get green lit for a second year. At the time, it was financed by Kewadin Casinos here in the Soo, which we still hold the event at. And yeah, here we are 15 years later, should be our 15th annual. It’s the 14th annual as Covid happened to life. So yeah, we never would’ve thought it’d still be going this many years later. 

Jim (08:20):

Now, there’s been a lot of different shows that have come and gone over the years. Why do you think that what you guys have put together with Michigan Paracon, why do you think it survives? Why do you think that people still come to it and market in a big red letter on their calendar? Because they obviously do. 

Brad Blair (08:37):

I wish I knew. I think a big part of it is we listen to our attendees when we ask and we collect data, and we do try and refine as the years go by, but there’s also what our attendees have told us, and I’ve always found kind of humbling. This is something like a family reunion to them. They can go to work on Monday and they’re not really going to talk about the paranormal, they’re not going to talk about cryptids, they’re not going to talk about UFOs, all of this weird stuff that they can’t really sit and talk about on a daily basis. But when they’re here for that one long weekend out of the year, everybody, they’re kind of weird and spooky and love talking about this, love the subjects, love the topics that are being covered. So it’s kind of gotten a cult following almost, I guess. 

Brad Blair (09:30):

I mean, we’ve built it that first year I think we got around 650 attendees, and now we get usually 14 to 1500, somewhere in that range. So yeah, it’s really been something we’ve sat back in on and we really, really did not expect this show to ever get to the level that it happens. And like I said, we’re very humbled by the support that we’ve gotten from not just the paranormal field, but all of the attendees, all of these people that keep coming back year after year, booking up the town, buying their tickets for the weekend and coming out and supporting the event. And we thank each and every one of them. 

Jim (10:11):

And speaking of which, and we’re going to get to the book “Paranormal Justice” and talk more about spooky stuff, and we’ll repeat this at the end, but if people want to get tickets, this is where they can go miparacon.com, is that right? 

Brad Blair (10:24):

Yeah, yep. That’s got the current lineup. We’re still trying to polish a few things here and get it done, set and completed. We’ll get the schedule up hopefully by June is usually what we shoot for right now, for everything that’s going on in the workshops, tickets for the weekend, who we have booked at this point in time. You can find it all at miparacon.com, 

Jim (10:47):

And if you’re there, I’ll get to see you because this is the first time I get to go. And we thank Brad and Tim for the opportunity to go out and be a part of it. And from my perspective, I should have raised my hand a lot sooner. It’s a great event and I’ve always said, “Oh, I need to be there. I need to be there.” So looking forward to it very much, and thanks for allowing me to be a part of it this year. 

Brad Blair (11:14):

Glad to have you coming in, Jim. It’s going to be great. And that’s one thing too, I guess that we always kind of look back too, and we don’t keep the same lineup year after year after year. We rotate people in. We try and keep things fresh, it gets hard to do. You mentioned earlier, there aren’t a lot of things that are original anymore in this field. So trying to bring in different speakers, different people from different areas of the world really, and address different cultures, and I think that’s a big part of it. I know another one coming in this year, a good friend of mine, MJ Dixon. She just put out a book on Paranormal Africa, which I just got my personal copy of this week, looking forward to reading that. But it’s different views from around the world that we try and bring in, and it’s, I think, really the core part of our show. We’re not the same crew that’s coming back year, after year after year. So yeah, mixing it up has worked for us, apparently. 

Jim (12:15):

I’ll tell you, having Charlotte right, that Charlotte that totally works with this interview, it just perfectly works with this subject. So 

Brad Blair (12:24):

This is normally what she’s doing when I’m sitting at this desk track, writing, in research. So I’m used to it.

Jim (12:29):

It’s like central casting. It’s perfect. But let me ask…

Brad Blair (12:32):

It works for…

Jim (12:34):

Yeah, excellent, excellent, excellent. Well done. So here’s my question, and we’ll get to the book, I promise. But you’ve been doing this a long time. You’ve been interested as a kid, since you were a kid. What keeps you interested? I mean, what specific subjects are you still like, do you still believe in ghosts? Do you still maybe occasionally want to go on an investigation? What keeps you engaged and what keeps you interested about, not the business stuff, but the paranormal itself? What keeps you addicted to it, so to speak? 

Brad Blair (13:06):

I don’t think there’s a single answer for that. Definitely the ghosts and hauntings are what we grew up on, but we were also going to the local library checking out any book on Cryptids, on UFOs, anything strange and weird. And I think it’s the fact that we’ve never found the answers we’re looking for yet is a big part of it. Another thing I guess is to the point that we’re at now, we’ve kind of established enough of a reputation up here in our home area that we can get into different museums, public buildings, businesses that people, and we’re always honored that people will just hand over their keys and say, here, we want to know what’s going on. This is happening. So there’s still new places that we would like to investigate. And there’s so much in the field that I think the longer things go on and the more science advances towards paranormal research, and there’s always that big hurdle in the way that most scientists or professional people, if they do believe, don’t like to admit to it. So you’ve still got that pushing, but there’s a lot of answers out there that we’re still looking for. I think as long as that’s the case, we’ll still be fascinated by. 

Jim (14:21):

You have this new book out, “Paranormal Justice: Hauntings, Cryptids, and Curses in the Court of Law.” Can you explain to people the concept of the book and how you got the idea? 

Brad Blair (14:33):

Yeah, the paranormal justice, it’s something that I’ve been considering for years doing the project, you… just let me relocate her real quick (Charlotte). And a lot of it, the whole core of it is over the years I’ve seen books on law enforcement’s interaction with paranormal activity, be it Cryptids or Hans, but I’ve never seen anything that took it to the next level that what happens when this ends up in front of lawmakers, what happens when it ends up in front of judges and juries? And back when I was, I was, it was ‘91, so I would’ve been a senior in high school, and I can remember sitting in my parents’ living room and the six o’clock news being on, and the story popped up about this house being declared legally haunted by the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Of course, that caught my attention. So I started paying attention to this, and I thought, how can a house be declared legally haunted if the courts lawmakers don’t believe in the paranormal or don’t put any type of just into it? 

Brad Blair (15:43):

And that struck me as odd, and I started looking into, and keep in mind, this is early nineties, the internet was pretty young, so looking into anything required a trip to the library for the most part, or these old school means that we grew up using for research. 

Jim Harold (16:00):

Sure, absolutely. 

Brad Blair (16:02):

And I was able to find a few other cases where some interesting things have been brought in front of court. So I guess regarding ghosts and hauntings and different odd things concerning Bigfoot. And I thought, “Well, this is kind of cool.” And I just started filing away this little collection of different stories from this. And then I guess during Covid is when I really sat down and I’d always been looking into this and has anything else popped up, and I said, this is a really good time. I can’t do much stuck in the house most of the day. 

Brad Blair (16:36):

This would be a good time to start putting these notes together, diving deeper into the research and seeing just how much. And I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to find enough material for a book, but I thought, yeah, let’s at least try and lay something out and see, because I thought maybe I could at least get a long article out of it that maybe I’d submit to a magazine at some point. And the more I dug, the more I found. And as it turned out, I ended up editing quite a few stories out because they ended up being redundant on some of the other cases or just didn’t quite fit. Then there was always the sensationalism that the media likes to put into it when a case first hits, it was really easy to find. This is going in front of a court, or lawmakers are looking at Bigfoot and should it get endangered species status, but then they never follow up. 

Brad Blair (17:29):

I found so many cases that I could not find follow ups in the newspapers and the media that I had to dig into, get different court records. I had to dig a little bit deeper and keep going down that rabbit hole of them. And in some cases, I could not find out where they ended regardless of where I dug, where I went to. So some of that had to be cut out, but for the most part, it took a lot of, I guess going through court documents, going a little deeper than just media coverage, making some phone calls here and there to people that I knew that had connections. So yeah, it was pretty intense as far as research went, but at the end of the day, I guess it was something to do while I was stuck in the office and I just finally, I said, sat down and this past winter I said, I’ve got to put the nail in the coffin and finish this book and get it out there. It had been dragging for a few years. So yeah, I was just really pleased a couple of weeks ago to finally see it in print and available on Amazon. 

Jim (18:34):

Got it right here. Thanks for the copy. And it’s very good. It’s very good. I highly recommend it for people. Now, you cover a lot of different topics here. One thing that was interesting, you talk about witchcraft and so forth on trial, and we tend to think of the Salem Witch trials many, many years ago. I think the 1600s, I’m not sure exactly if I’m remembering correctly, but anyhow, the point being that we think about that as far away, but people have been persecuted and put on trial for witchcraft in far more recent times, haven’t they? 

Brad Blair (19:08):

Yeah, the last in England was 19, I believe it was 44, a lady named Helen Duncan. And Helen was a self-professed medium psychic, and she was conducting seances. And the British military took interest. They were afraid that she was going to reveal some type of military secrets. She’d been supposedly in contact with some deceased sailors from a ship that had been sunk. And so she was trying to get the families involved and helping them out, so to speak. And the British military took notice and they were afraid that she might be releasing some secrets, military secrets, espionage. So she was arrested and actually thrown into jail. It was the last person arrested under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. And the British had some of the most, well-documented witchcraft acts. A lot of what they put down in writing was enforced worldwide. In fact, the Salem trials go back heavily to the 1735. The preceding act, I believe was late 1500s. I’d have to check back into that. But it was all based on, because if you think back to how many colonies the British have around the world, and their laws were being enforced in all of these colonies as well, it also carried over. So in the US, even though it was a time of breaking away, they were still enforcing predominantly British law. So most of this goes back to what British Parliament came up with, and you can find cases around the world of the same thing. It was all based off of these British witchcraft patents. 

Jim (21:00):

Now, I don’t want you to give away the whole book on the show, but do you have one favorite story from the book? You could tell us a little bit about to give people more of a flavor of what’s going on with it? 

Brad Blair (21:13):

One of my favorites was the Oujia Board chapter. 

Jim (21:16):

Oh, yeah, I like that one. 

Brad Blair (21:19):

That was another one of these things that I didn’t know if I was going to find enough information to do a full chapter on the Ouija board. And I got on the phone with Bob Murch, the head of the Talking Board Historical Society, and we had a very long interview and went over a lot of the background of how controversial it was when the board was put out and from a business aspect. There were quite a few legal actions taken, anything between copyright infringement and some breakups with the company founders. But one case that ended up in there was a novel that was written by Mark Twain named “Jap Herron.” And most people wouldn’t have heard of this because the novel was written seven years after Twain’s death. So it was one of these cases that there was a psychic medium in Kansas City, Hutchings, Emily Hutchings, I believe was her name. 

Brad Blair (22:16):

And she was convinced that Twain, or at least she claimed Twain, was communicating with her through the Ouija board. And she wrote this entire novel “Jap Herron” from what Twain was transcribing through the board to her. And in the meantime, she was working with the Society for Psychical Research, and they were reaching out to Clara Clemens, Mark Twain’s daughter. Mark Twain was deceased(?), but she did not believe anything coming through is coming from her father. They were throwing a lot of info ladders, and “your dad’s saying this, and he would like to validate through this.” She said, “No, none of this is accurate, none of it’s true.” She finally said, “Stop harassing me.” She kind of brushed them off. Well, then this novel pops up. So Clemons on behalf of the Mark Twain estate ended up taking Hutchings and her publisher to court suing, stating that she needed to take Twain’s name off of the novel. There was no way that was by her father. She didn’t want it out there. Furthermore, Harper and Brothers who were Twain’s publishers in life owned the pen name “Mark Twain” for one. And on top of that, they owned all of Twain’s works. Therefore, they claimed that if she continued to go forward with this novel and put it out there, any monies made had to be turned over to them. 

Jim Harold (23:43):

Ahhh.

Brad Blair (23:44):

They were in quite the bind and also brought up an interesting legal issue that if they had agreed and said it was Twain, if his daughter had went along with this, then could they still hold the rights to Twain’s work, even if they were believed to be put out after his death? It was still within the copyright period on all of his work. So that was an interesting legal quandary to throw in there. Eventually she did back down before they ended up getting sued. But what it was coming down to was either way, any money that would’ve came in would’ve ended up back through her publisher as well as the Twain estate. Just really fascinating to look at the different legal aspects that came into play in that one case. That was one of the favorites in the book, and I’ve done a little bit more digging after that, and I found there were actually a good number of books being put out, and keep in mind, this is in the age of spiritualism, we’re in the early 1900s. There were a number of books that were put out that were professed to be by spirits communicating through Ouija board or through automatic writing. 

Jim (24:51):

Yeah, I was just going to think Edgar Casey and automatic writing. 

Brad Blair (24:54):

Yeah, exactly. So this wasn’t a new thing by any means. This was something that was happening out there. In most of the other cases, though, they were not famous spirits. By no means anybody near the level of Mark Twain that were supposedly coming through. So this shocked everyone. It drew a lot of media attention, and when they got it into court, there were multiple facets that we’re going to take this book off the market, at least under the authorship of Mark Twain. You can get copies now with Hutchings name on it and that it’s supposedly by Mark Twain, blah, blah, blah. But they had to disevolve that to start with. 

Jim (25:36):

Well, it’s interesting. I have my own, I just realized I have my own paranormal justice story, and I’ll share it with you, although I’ve mentioned it on the show a number of times, so you can hit fast forward on this folks, if you’ve heard it before. Anyway, in the 2000’s, I was called for jury duty, and I worked at the time, I did this on the side, but I worked for a classical music radio station in their advertising department. So I went for jury duty and they asked what I did for a living, and I worked for this very well-respected classical music radio station, and they said, “Well, you’re going to be seated on the jury.” So anyway, and I was working on the podcast at the time, just on the side, just for a fun thing. And fast forward to about 2013, 2014, I had started in 2012 doing this full time, and I was called again, and they said, “Well, what do you do for a living?” And kind of knowing or anticipating the reaction. I said, and I made very sure to put this upfront, “Well, I do a podcast on ghosts, Bigfoot, Bigfoot, Bigfoot and UFOs, and that’s, yeah, I do that. That’s my full-time job.” And he said, “Well, thank you for coming in and you are excused.” (laughing) 

Jim (27:07):

And I mean, I hate to say it, I hate to say it, but I leaned into it because I’m like, well, you probably think I’m a kook anyway, so I might as well get something out of it. But it is true, I mean, the judicial system, at least the way I would guess, has been very unfriendly overall to the paranormal. Is there example, you mentioned that house that had been declared legally haunted. Is there a case where it’s been flipped and things have been kind in favor of the paranormal or acknowledged the paranormal? 

Brad Blair (27:43):

Well, that case, Stambovsky versus Ackley, that became very famous. It was a case where the Stambovsky family had bought this house from the Ackley. Helen Ackley, the mother matriarch of the family had been very vocal about the house being calmed. And she had went so far as to do an article with Reader’s Digest for Halloween one year. They had ghost tours in October that would go by this house and beautiful home in the Hudson Valley, New York state. And they would talk about how the mother of the family told everybody, she would have friends over, they would talk about the ghosts. I believe she had four different specific ghosts that she had seen and communicated with. Well, none of this was put into the disclosure form on their real estate files and whether or not the Stambovskys really thought it was haunted, or maybe they had some buyer’s remorse, but they said, “Hey, we had no idea that this was going on and we would like our deposit back, and they refused.” 

Brad Blair (28:54):

So this ended up working through the court system. What it came down to, when they finally got up to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, they said it was not necessarily that they believed it to be haunted, but the Ackleys did. And they put it out there in so many different forms as far as periodicals, being on the evening news at Halloween time, these walking tours that were going by and interacting with them, this mutual belief that the residence was haunted, there’s no way through due diligence that a potential buyer could find this out, therefore, you needed to disclose it. And they were forced to refund the money to the Stambovskys. Fortunately, shortly after they sold it to somebody that didn’t seem to mind the ghosts, but it was this legal quandary of how can something along the lines of a haunting be something that needs to be put into a release into the real estate dealings? 

Brad Blair (29:59):

And it was unheard of at the time. Since then, there’ve been some similar cases that have came up. There’s only four different states that have anything to do with the paranormal listed in one way or another in real estate law. New York’s one of those now. And that’s because of this decision. So as it came down to, there was no way they could find out through their due diligence, therefore it was back to the families carrying on over the years and years about how haunted the house was. Therefore, they needed to disclose it. It was decided. 

Jim (30:35):

Well, honestly, to me, it seems very fair that someone would require that this be done, because the thing is, is that it does have an impact whether other people know and they start visiting it and doing tours, or for those of us who believe if things start happening, some people, and you could flip it, some people might be glad to buy it and might pay more for it. And I know there’s been cases out there where people have paid more money for something simply because it was haunted, a haunted hotel, a haunted whatever. It could paint and play in the lore. Maybe they’re really into the paranormal. So I could see it working both ways. 

Brad Blair (31:20):

Well, you walk down the street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, and you’ll see real estate signs that say haunted or not haunted on them. I mean, they eat it up down there. Obviously that’s a big part of their tourism, tourism drawing in New Orleans. Yeah, I mean, they flat out advertise haunted buildings for sale. So there is an appeal. And one stat I did find through, I believe it was realtor.com, it was a real estate site that the younger crowd, if they can get a better deal, don’t really care. It was mainly, people don’t so much care. If there’s a haunting legend, if the place is haunted, if they can save some money, then they’re all good with it. It was only the boomer crowd that was really against this. So yeah, it’s almost a generational thing.

Jim (32:10):

Yeah. Those of us who grew up watching “The Exorcist”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, I guess, I dunno, I’ve gone into that. What is the attitude like today in terms of the judiciary? Are they more accepting of the paranormal? Are they less accepting? Where do things stand in 2024? As best you could tell from your research out there.

Brad Blair (32:36):

I don’t know that it’s ever really changed any. As more, I guess to the forefront as things are nowadays. In a large part, thanks to reality television shows, and I guess we get a lot more press nowadays as far as the paranormal community goes, but there’s still cases. A few years ago in England, there was a famous case where a man was on trial for murder, double homicide killed, I believe it was a real estate agent and his wife, but he ended up in court and the jurors took off one night and after dinner decided to have a Ouija Seance just to find out if he was guilty or not. Well, this news got back to the judge and they ended up having to throw the trial out because what it came down to, and it was another interesting segment, I never would’ve thought of. They had information, they claimed, at least the defense attorney claimed they’d received information from the Ouija board that was not accessible to the defense. 

Brad Blair (33:45):

So it wasn’t even the fact that the Ouija board was used in helping make the decision of guilty in this case, but they had received information. So if they said this was legit and they believed it, it had to be thrown out because that was never given to the defense to go over. But yeah, no, there’s the different cases that still pop up here and there, and some of these cases of curses were as new as two, three years ago, there was a woman who had put a curse on her ex-boyfriend and ended up in court. She sent a severed pig’s head to him at work. 

Jim (34:23):

Oh Lord. Oh, that’s not very nice. 

Brad Blair (34:24):

Apartment was, yeah, a little on the extreme side, very ish(?). But no, these things keep popping up here and there. And it’s interesting because with every court case that has its own presence, if the paranormal is involved, then it’s going to depend on the jury, on the judge, and on what kind of evidence is being presented. And it’s really interesting. Like I said, there were a lot of cases I threw out because I was finding more and more some that were redundant, very similar cases that had popped up in courts that I never heard of until I started digging deeper on this book project. 

Jim (35:05):

Now I want to ask you about this. This could be a little controversial. Now, I know England, for example, if I remember correctly, is not super friendly to psychics. And I mean, I am the first person to say I believe there are people with true psychic gifts. I believe they exist. I also believe there’s people like any line of business that are out to make a quick buck. And I had a psychic say that to me. He said, “Well, I’m sure there’s crooked radio hosts too.” And it’s like, good point. But I believe both exist. I think there are many people of goodwill who I believe have real psychic gifts, and I personally don’t think there’s anything with charging reasonable fees for doing readings and things, not the old, give me your life savings, I’ll get you in touch with your beloved husband, Herman. I don’t believe in that, but reasonable fees for readings and things make sense. 

Jim (36:06):

However, I also worry on the other side, I worry that as we get into this idea of free speech being telescoped and you can only say certain things, and if you say this thing, it’s marked as misinformation. I worry that we’re going to get to the point where anybody who has a belief in the paranormal legitimately or does shows like this, “They’re misinformation. Let’s downgrade them in the algorithm.” Or maybe let’s say that they don’t have the right to talk about this. Do you worry about the hand of the law getting heavy on those of us who have a genuine interest and belief in paranormal matters and want to have open communication with each other on it? Do you worry about censorship, about the paranormal? 

Brad Blair (36:56):

Not at this point. I guess I haven’t thought that deeply on it. You’ve had different cases through the years that yeah, you’re talking about psychics and go back to Ms. Cleo and the Psychic Friends Network I talk some about in the book, and that was flat out fraudulent. 

Jim (37:17):

And I say, Hey, if somebody’s doing that kind of stuff, throw the book at ’em. That’s my opinion. 

Brad Blair (37:22):

Yeah, yeah. It’s going to be interesting to see where AI takes us. And if you’re looking at different aspects, are we going to get put in one algorithm or another because of digging into all this research on the paranormal, putting paranormal books out, having paranormal conferences. I don’t know. I don’t know where we go from here. There’s still that segment of society and there probably always will be. It’s good to have the skeptical side on things. Yes. I’m not saying all in on everything because agree, 

Jim (38:02):

Neither am I.

Brad Blair (38:02):

Am I very skeptical on pretty much anything we deal with in the paranormal, abnormal. But there’s a far, far skeptical group that they’re not even really skeptics because their mind’s not open. And anything you say to admit to the paranormal, to admit to beliefs along this, they’re just going to poo poo it right away and they’re going to think you’re nuts. And I think anybody in the field has ran into these people. The interesting thing that I’ve always found is doing talksat , be it libraries or events, you always pick out a person or two that’s in the crowd that’s sitting there with the arms crossed, and they have a spouse with them that’s very interested and they’re very standoffish, and you think, “Yeah, that’s the person that got drug along.” They’re there to make their significant other happy. And often, very often, it’s that person that will come up to us after a presentation. And “So I don’t believe in any of this stuff, but this one time…”

Jim (39:11):

This one time, 

Brad Blair (39:12):

And they’ve all got a story. Everybody has a story. Whether they’ll admit, if you have never had anything that you’ve thought’s been very strange, whether it be a precognitive dream, seeing a shadow person, a UFO encounter, seeing  Loch Ness monster, anything that, if you’ve never had anything like that happen to you, I would say you’re definitely in the minority because there are very few people I’ve talked to that have not experienced something that could be considered paranormal. 

Jim (39:46):

I absolutely agree 100%. And it’s very much the truth. And there is room for skepticism. Even for example, me and Bigfoot, our relationship. One day I’m like, “Yeah, this is real. This is real.” Next day I’m like, “Eh, not so sure, not so sure.” 

Brad Blair (40:05):

I fall into that same camp on the Bigfoot side. Yeah, I was asked this a couple of weeks ago, and they said, it’s like the old X-Files saying, I want to believe 

Jim (40:15):

Exactly.

Brad Blair (40:16):

 I think there’s really good evidence out there. I think people are doing smarter work right now as far as the way they investigate and go out looking for these creatures. But there’s still that big doubt in my mind that something that large could be wandering around in the woods in the US and not …

Jim (40:38):

I have that thought. Then I look at the redone Patterson Gimlin film where they slowed it down and things. It’s like, that’s muscle tone. That’s not a suit. But then I’ll think, well, why haven’t they found a body? And I know all the reasons that the body hasn’t been found. I know all the chapter and verse of why that wouldn’t be, and you don’t typically find deer carcasses in the middle of the woods and things. I know all that, but it is certainly fascinating. One last thing I was going to mention to you, this is just my personal, I don’t know if we talked about this before. This is a personal pet peeve. I started the Paranormal Podcast in 2005, and when I started it, I called it the Paranormal Podcast because to me, the paranormal was ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, even stuff like Coral Castle, just like weird mysteries, crop circles, the mystery of Stonehenge. All of it fell into that. It was like a big tent is the way I envisioned it. But now when I say, Hey, I do a show called the Paranormal Podcast, they’re like, “Oh, you do a show on ghosts”. Yeah. And, and, and”. Do you find that people, when they say paranormal, they just automatically go to ghosts where I guess what the kids would call old heads kind of look at it in a broader way? 

Brad Blair (41:56):

Absolutely. And it’s interesting because watching the dynamics over the years, especially at our convention and seeing the different presenters that have been brought and over the years, people like Stanton Friedman. 

Jim Harold (42:09):

Yeah, great. 

Brad Blair (42:11):

The UFO phenomena. We’ve had Dr. Jeff Meldrum before talking on Sasquatch. If you find the ghost people, and I consider myself a ghost person, though I’m much more in a little more, I guess rounded, but I guess that’s what I’m getting at as well. The ghost people seem to be more accepting of other phenomena where I run into a lot of Cryptid people that want nothing to do with ghosts or hauntings, and then the UFO people that want nothing to do with the Cryptid people. 

Jim Harold (42:43):

Yep, yeah.

Brad Blair (42:45):

Some people draw lines in the sand as far as what weird phenomena can and can’t exist. And it’s just always seemed that the actual ghost haunting kind of people are a little more all encompassing or all welcoming, and that’s the way I was raised in the way I grew up. It was pedaling our bikes to the library to check out anything on strange curses, on ghosts and haunted houses, and bigfoot and UFOs, just everything. The weird was fascinating. And nowadays, yeah, it’s interesting talking to some of these people and having some of them flat out say, “Well, I’m not sure exactly why you’re asking me to come to your conference. I’m a scientist. I study UFOs and interaction with possible aliens.” Well, great. That’s not readily acceptable by society at this point. And you kind of fit in with us people that are looking for answers to ghosts and all of the other paranormal spheres, but there definitely are different areas that tend to draw a line in the sand. 

Jim (43:57):

No, there’s no question about it, no question about, but thankfully there’s people like you and maybe a little bit me, definitely me, but I don’t know how thankful we need to be for it, but who are in and for all the weird, and that’s why everybody should go to 2024 Michigan ParaCon. So Brad, reiterate to people where they can get tickets, how they could get tickets, what they will experience. 

Brad Blair (44:21):

Check out miparacon.com, the event, well, it’s kind of gotten out of hand 

Jim (44:28):

In a good way. 

Brad Blair (44:29):

Yeah. Yeah. We went from being a day and a half roughly with maybe eight or 10 speakers the first year. Now it’s somewhere around 24 different presenters. It starts on Thursday, probably at noon, one o’clock. We haven’t set the schedule yet, goes all day Friday, all day Saturday. We have presentations, we have workshops, psychic gallery readings, nighttime entertainment. It’s just very, very all encompassing for the strange, the weird. We’ll have UFO talks, we’ll have Cryptid talks, we’ll have a lot of ghost talks. We’ll have unsolved mysteries, different ancient history mysteries, just as we just talked about. Anything weird and strange will be there. We also do, for those coming in early Wednesday night, we do what we call a pregame show, which is just kind of a party in one of the casino’s back bars. We’ll have some of the presenters up giving brief talks or just kind of fun to kick off the weekend, and that’s gotten bigger and bigger. So that’s kind where we cap it right there with that Wednesday night pre-game show, and it runs right through. And Sunday morning, everybody is done free to leave hopping on planes and hopefully with a lot of good stories to tell and a great time in their rear view mirror from being there. 

Jim (45:55):

Awesome. Awesome. 

Brad Blair (45:56):

miparacon.com, has got all of the info that’s up there right now. It will be updated as we go along, so keep checking back. 

Jim (46:03):

And the dates. Can you give us the dates?

Brad Blair (46:05):

August 22nd through the 24th this year. It’s always held the weekend prior to Labor Day weekend, so you can mark your calendar for that for the next however many years, however many years. We can keep this up. The older we get, the more work goes into it, and it seems a little more every year, but it’s truly a labor of love and we, as I said, been really honored by our returning fans and people that show up every year and support the event whenever they can. 

Jim (46:37):

And if you’re watching this or listening to this, I hope you’ll be there. I want to meet you. So make sure to get your tickets at miparacon.com and our discussion would not be complete without circling back to the book. And that’s not the book. That’s Michigan ParaCon. But circling back to push the right button, Jim! “Paranormal Justice: Hauntings, Cryptids and Curses in the Court of Law.” Where can they get it? 

Brad Blair (47:05):

Right now It’s available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon, getting it into a few bookstores right now, but it’s new, and that is the best place to get it at the moment to any place that you see that I will be giving talks, presentations, or just showing up and hanging out, chances are I’ll have a couple copies in the back of my truck and I’ll be happy to sell you as well. But right now, you can end up on Amazon that’s up there along with our first couple of books, “Yoopernatural Haunts’, “Great Lakes, Monsters and Mysteries”, all the fun stuff. So right now, that is the best place to get it. 

Jim (47:42):

Fantastic. Brad Blair, thank you so much for joining us, continued success, and look forward to meeting you in person finally up in Michigan in late August. 

Brad Blair (47:53):

It’s going to be a great time, 

Jim (47:56):

And thank you for tuning into the Paranormal Podcast. I appreciate it. And again, I hope to see you at Michigan Paracon at miparacon.com. Thank you for tuning in. Please share the show. If you’re watching it on video, make sure you subscribe to the channel, hit the notification bell so you never miss an episode. We’ll talk to you next time. Stay safe and Stay Spooky. Bye-Bye.


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