The Sun Is Up, the Sky Is Blue, It’s Beautiful and We’re Not Klaatu

That time in the 70’s when we wanted a Beatles reunion so bad that we believed anything

In their minds, they had ability to form
And transmit strange theories far beyond the norm
So read our blog, and learn about a band from yesterday
And how the airwaves gave them unexpected fame

The year is 1977. A revolutionary space opera, Star Wars, is laying waste to box office records. The Commodore PET computer is being slowly shuffled into affluent households (with cassette tape capabilities!). The space shuttle prototype “Enterprise” is taking its defiant first steps into the stratosphere. And amid all these events – brave steps toward a brave new world – a Rhode Island journalist began enticing his readers with a delicious rumor. The Beatles had reunited, and the most popular US single of their newly-named band reflected the spaceward-ho feel of the times: “Calling Occupants (Of Interplanetary Craft)”.

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Of course, the radio sector writ large took this rumor and ran with it. Cleveland station M105 is largely responsible for propagating the rumor by actually playing the song, and when the first strains of music hit the airwaves, the public understood the connection immediately. With its swirling “Strawberry Fields Forever” mellotrons, the bridge from “A Day In the Life”, the nearly inhuman catchiness of its composition, and vocals that absolutely must be Paul… or John… or George… well, one of them, anyway… clearly it must be the work of none other than The Beatles!
Die-hard fans, conspiracy theorists and wishful thinkers across the nation began dissecting their newly bought albums for clues.
Meanwhile, a three-man band hailing from the pine-dense wonderland of Canada noticed a strange phenomenon. They had released their first album, entitled 3:47 EST, in September of the previous year. Though critical reaction was lukewarm to moderately positive, their diehard Canadian cult fanbase gave them motivation enough to continue with their (far more ambitious) second album and an excuse to party UK style while recording it in England. But to their shock, in the American Midwest, not only was their latest single 2nd on the Billboard chart, their album was selling like hotcakes to the tune of 300,000 (!) copies in two months. They’d even received a letter from Karen Carpenter, detailing how much she loved their music and that she’d very much like The Carpenters to cover their strange little ditty about space aliens (this actually happened)! Terry Draper, Dee Long, and John Woloschuk, collectively known by the moniker Klaatu*, were seeing their star rise in the strangest of ways.

Back in the states, fans noticed the “small” quirks in Klaatu’s writing style and (non-)image, citing these abnormalities as intentional clues left by the Fab Four to signal their return to only their truest fans. One would think that the “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy would have soured the fandom to such endeavors**, but then again, it was the seventies.
The clues commonly cited by fans were as follows:
First and foremost, the band sounds like the Beatles. Worth noting because no pop band in the mid seventies wanted to sound like the most influential band in history, of course.

Second, the album was released on Capitol Records, the same distribution company responsible for releasing the Beatles’ albums in the States. Capitol being one of the largest labels in the world at the time notwithstanding.
Third, the album’s sleeve gave no recording credit to specific band members, no band photos were included anywhere in the album packaging, and all songs and production were credited simply to “Klaatu”. Theorists asserted that if the Beatles had reunited, surely they’d want their new project to be recognized based on the merits of the music itself instead of riding on hype over its creators (And, for the record, this is probably the least far-fetched of these clues).

Fourth, Ringo Starr had just released his album Goodnight Vienna, featuring a parody of the film “The Day the Earth Stood Still” as the album’s cover. In the scene parodied, two aliens arrive to earth, Klaatu and his robot minion Gort, and in the place of Klaatu is… you know where this is going.

Fifth, a rumor stated that playing “Sub Rosa Subway” backwards revealed the line “Listen, listen, listen/It’s us!/It’s us!/It’s the Beatles!” … it doesn’t. Except, maybe, kind of…

Klaatu’s second album, entitled Hope, was released in ’77 and did little to dispel any rumors (though, being a high-concept prog rock album released during the Noah’s flood of high-concept prog rock albums released in the mid-70’s, sales had started to stagnate). By the release of Sir Army Suit, the band’s third album, the rumor was effectively killed. The band (and their label) included actual photos of the band in their promotional material for the first time, which finally gave the band faces but unfortunately was also the nail in the coffin of Klaatu’s mainstream success. They did carry on for a few more years, however, releasing two further albums before taking off to their home planet (of Toronto) and leaving us with a mostly stellar – if not somewhat puzzling – body of work.
The band broke up in the early eighties, with Dee Long going to work for EMI for a brief time (and even got to meet Paul McCartney, once) before finally moving to producing animation and working on music in his spare time (he even has a Bandcamp!). Terry Draper went back to his roofing business before also embarking on a solo career (more on that here). As for John Woloschuk, he became an accountant but evidently still has a great sense of pride over the band’s work.
To this day, fans debate whether the band’s “Beatle clone” hysteria was deserved and whether the band would have been able to gain popularity without the rumor. But the indisputable fact remains, Klaatu’s moment in the limelight is a fascinating – if a little misguided and frustrating – footnote in the history of rock. And perhaps, it’s a bit of a warning to those up-and-coming musicians out there. The next time someone says your band sounds like the Beatles, well… It could always be worse.

*Editor’s note #1: Klaatu were an absolutely rocking band. I highly recommend, their music is pure nerdy goodness.
** Editor’s note #2: Some theories were crazy enough to blend the two into one mega Beatles alternate universe, so there’s that too. The (massively paraphrased) theory was that Klaatu’s album was created from tapes left behind by “Real-Paul” era Beatles, and shelved until after the rumors about Paul’s death had died down. Also this, from Klaatu’s second album, Hope.

Some would say that this article has nothing to do with the paranormal, and therefore has no place on Paranormal Supplies' blog. I would assert that this article has everything to do with the paranormal, and therefore absolutely has a place on Paranormal Supplies' blog.

Sources:

http://www.klaatu.org/klaatu1.html

Beatles Again

Klaatu’s Official Website

Top 5 Spectres of the Celtic World

Welcome, all ye, an’ prepare to pay honors to all things Seelie and Unseelie.
Today we take a look at our favorite fae beasts of Celtic mythology!

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5. Leprachaun

Ah yes, the most famous among all Irish fairies, the Leprechaun.
Though much of their lore is well known in America thanks to Saint Patrick’s Day, it should be known that the diminutive, red-haired, bearded man swathed in green is a far cry from the original concept of the leprechaun. Sort of.
The fundamental lore of the Leprechaun can be broken down into some very basic points:

A. Leprechauns are adept shoe makers, and this is their sole profession. (Get it?)
B. They are known for keeping kettles full of gold at the end of rainbows. As stereotypically “whimsical” as this may seem, it should be understood that they guard these kettles jealously, as the gold therein is the spoils of an ancient war between man and fair folk. Just let that sink in.
C. If captured, they will attempt to fight back. If this does not work, they will attempt to deceive their captors into releasing them. If all else fails, they will grant a wish in exchange for release.

And, finally, and perhaps the biggest misconception:

D. They have different uniforms depending on region. Some do wear green, some dress similarly to what Americans would consider a “gnome”, some wear full bright red military regalia… Think less “Lucky Charms” and more “Sergeant Pepper”.

It should be also known that Leprechauns are not really that prolific of drinkers. That would be their vaguely similar, lazy, distant cousins the Clurichauns*.

*Clurichaun: It’s like a Leprechaun, but drunker.

4. Changeling

Shape-shifting fairies are not uncommon in lores around the world, but in Celtic myth they seem unusually prolific.
Kelpies (which are men who take the form of water-horses), Selkies (women who become seals), and the Puca (a phantom which can become pretty much anything it feels like, usually a horse) are of course among the best well known, but one of the most widespread ancient superstitions involves creatures called “Changelings”.
These fairies function much like the cuckoo bird: they are able to shapeshift into the likeness of a child (or adult), and use this ability to “replace” one in a human home by kidnapping the human and assuming their identity.
It was believed that looking upon someone with envy or admiration would “alert” nearby fairies to their beauty, social status, or the affection of those around them, and therefore mark them as a potential target.
The only way to tell if someone had been replaced with a changeling is to place the accused in the fireplace and light it. If the accused is a changeling, they would fly up the chimney.
In other words, the belief was, that if you place a changeling in fire, they will perform the highly unusual act of… trying to get out of the fire.

This belief was so widespread in earlier days that not only were murders of family members often attested to it, but many murderers were openly acquitted due to having “only killed a changeling”.
One example of this is the 1890’s murder of Bridget Cleary, who was burned alive by her husband presumably due to her strange behavior and his belief that his wife had been kidnapped and replaced with a monstrous doppelganger.
This bizarre behavior was later attributed to pneumonia, just as many other accusations of changelingism are assumed to have been examples of misinterpreted developmental/physical maladies in infants.

3. Dullahan

The Irish Grim Reaper takes the form of a headless horseman, the Dullahan.
They are often portrayed as a ghostly (and usually, but not always) male rider with a whip made from a human spine and a carriage resembling the Sedlec Ossuary – and his rotting head held under his arm.
Much like the also-Irish Banshee, the Dullahan makes a habit of visiting domiciles and screaming the name of an occupant in a shrill voice. Whoever hears his or her name called dies instantly.
The Dullahan do not like being looked upon by mortal eyes – if they are spied on, they employ the use of their whip to blind any who see them, which seems crueller than just killing them, really.
The Dullahan are impervious to mortal weapons, no gates or doorways or barricades can bar their entrance, and the eyes on their decapitated heads can see in the dark for miles in every direction.
The only way to defend oneself against a Dullahan is to carry a small amount of gold visibly upon your person, because the Dullahan fears gold, making them terrifying ghosts but terrible accountants.

2. Dobharchu

No, it’s not a leak from the next Pokemon gen (probably), but in fact the Dobhar-Chu is notable for being one of the few cryptids in existence with a body count.
A being not only seen in folklore but also to this day reported among the rivers and lochs of Ireland, the Dobhar-Chu (pronounced kind of like Doo-waar-koo) is something like a hairy crocodile with a dog face and orange flippers.
Indeed, its name roughly translates to “Sea Hound”, chosen by the ancient Celts presumably because it sounds more intimidating than “Otter-dile”.
And intimidating this creature is, as there are some who would go as far as to postulate that the Dobhar-Chu is a juvenile form of the Loch Ness monster, and some even claiming that the beast has been attacking locals as recently as the late 90’s.
The most recent sighting was by an Irish artist in 2003, and the oldest sightings are from the 17th century.

1. Nuckelavee

Coming in at number 1 is a demon from the Northern Isles known as the Nuckelavee.
Feared as the most inherently evil being in all of Scotland, the Nuckelavee is a walking, roaring, putrid mountain of rage, and there’s nothing more metal than that.
Telling of its ghastly disposition is that only one (1!) person, a Scotsman named Tammas, has ever seen it and lived to describe it, though his description does nothing to alleviate its fearsomeness.
Are you ready for this?

The only numerical reference given for size is a head 3 feet in diameter. Assuming that that the “A human form is 8 heads tall” formula is correct, that would make the Nuckelavee about 24 feet tall.
He’s demonstrably taller than that, however, as this monster’s legs from the waist down are replaced by a proportionally-sized horse.
Not the legs of a horse, like a Satyr, or the body of a horse, as a centaur, but a full-on horse, replete with tail, neck, whale-like maw, and a hellish, glowing cyclopic eye.

Not freaky enough? Understandable. How about the fact that the horse-legs end not in hooves but tendril-like flippers?
Or that he breathes a rancid plague known as the “Mortasheen”, capable of killing livestock and crops and essentially decimating a countryside within a month?
In addition, his knuckles are known to drag the ground… making his arms exactly long enough to claw his way into your nightmares all the way from Scotland.
AND, in order to cement his status as a monster best seen only in fever dreams and death-metal album covers, this sprawling mass of hate doesn’t have any SKIN.
Black blood flows through his yellow veins, and his bulging, sinewy musculature can be seen without an X-Ray or Body Worlds exhibit.

Tammas was clearly a brave soul, but I will have none of what he was drinking.

The Nuckelavee was the most feared being in Orcadian lore, with farmers and working-class families fearing him the most.
This is understandable, as the beast was known to be enraged by pretty much anything – burning seaweed, farming from peasants in hard times struggling to get by, the concept of happiness somewhere in Scotland – all were enough to set the demon on a rampage.
Luckily, the creature was imprisoned in the sea during the Spring and Summer by the Mither o’ the Sea (Scottish Poseidon), and possesses an unabated fear of… fresh water?
That’s rather anticlimactic.

That being said, the most recent alleged activity by the Nuckelavee was during the kelp production season of 1722, which is still far too recent for comfort.

Voodoo and Mardi Gras: The “Mystick” Meeting in New Orleans

Mardi Gras Mask and BeadsIn nearly every corner of the planet, no city is more associated with Mardi Gras than New Orleans. Indeed, the extravagant annual festival is viewed by many as the pinnacle of everything a celebration should be – parades, music, masquerades and general debauchery which can only be stopped by the threat of wartime (and once due to a police protest in 1979). The celebration has continued strong since 1703, in which a small plot of land 60 miles south of what is now ‘Nola was named “Pointe Du Mardi Gras” by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, a Canadian explorer. But we at Paranormal Supplies would be remiss if we didn’t discuss the more… esoteric side of the festival.

When most hear the term “Voodoo”, it’s understandable that they may think of some of the more outlandish aspects of the religion. Snake symbolism, zombies, mysterious men adorned in top hats and corpse paint – All very much aspects, but not quite to the extent that one might assume. In truth, Voodoo is a fusion between ancient African tribal practices and Catholic doctrine. Slaves brought to the area, though forced by their owners to give up their ancestral religions outright and convert to Christianity, found parallels within the Catholic saints and the animism present in their traditions, eventually merging the two. In addition, Native American tribes and New Orleans slaves displayed marked intermingling, and thus some of their practices were incorporated into the budding religion known as Voodoo (not to be confused with Hoodoo, which is related though not the same, and most certainly a thing.)

In Voodoo practice, veneration of one’s ancestors and the dead are powerful tenants, and post-emancipation practitioners took it very seriously during Mardi Gras festivities. Many chose to honor their Native American allies by hand-crafting elaborate “Indian” costumes from beads and feathers, as well as highly-structured “Tribes” with varying roles such as Flag Boy, Spy Boy, and Queen (if you’ve ever heard the song “Iko Iko” by the Dixie Cups, yes, that’s what it’s about). These traditions still exist today, though some (if not most) who participate don’t practice voodoo.  Really, the Mardi Gras Indians are one of the most instantly recognizable and beautiful aspects of New Orleans Mardi Gras, and a vibrant piece of the puzzle that is New Orleans culture.

 

 

http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/history.html

https://thenarcissisticanthropologist.com/2013/03/16/voodoo-and-mardi-gras-indians-new-orleans-deep-culture/

http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/multicultural/multiculturaltraditions/voodoo.html

The Snow Women of Japan

A young man lived alone in the woods, his house high up on a mountain trail.

The years passed slowly, each longer than the last; so deep was his loneliness.

Early one dark winter, a vicious snowstorm whipped along the countryside – a seemingly endless blizzard buried the trees and roads in white powder, freezing lakes and beasts and unwary travelers as it went.

The young man sat by his fire, alone and weeping.

“Oh, how I wish I had someone to share this miserable night with.”

No sooner had he sighed this phrase, than a soft knock struck his door – and a soft voice cried out “Help me…”

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Winter – for all its hazards – has long been regarded by humans as one of the most beautiful times of the year.

The surreality of the paper-white ground, the bold patterns of bare tree branches across the gray sky, the tranquility of a fresh snowfall late at night.

In ancient times, ghost stories populated winter nights moreso than any other season, largely because the nights last so much longer and the barren landscape reminded us of life’s fleeting nature.

In Japan, spirits are said to exist that exemplify winter in all its danger and beauty.

They go by many names, varying from prefecture to prefecture, but they are most commonly known as the Yuki Onna (Snowfall Woman) and the Tsurara Onna (Icicle Woman), though legends are unclear as to whether these names are simply references to the same spirit.

However, the distinction between these spirits (if such a distinction exists) is the way in which they come to be. The Yuki Onna is, as westerners would describe it, a vengeful ghost of a young maiden who perished in a snowstorm. The Tsurara Onna, conversely, is born from an icicle infused with young man’s loneliness.

The two behave in much the same way, preying on men who wander too far off into the woods. Exactly how they go about this tends to vary from region to region, either acting much like vampires or succubi, often with the ability to drain the warmth or life force from their victim’s body. In ancient times, these spirits were universally feared and folklorically canonized as evil, though recent literature has shown sympathy towards them, appearing (often, but not always, as spectral love interests) in media ranging from Neil Gaiman novels to Akira Kurosowa films to Pokémon.

Do you have any examples of/encounters with such a creature to share? Let us know!

http://yokai.com/yukionna/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuki-onna

http://yokai.com/tsuraraonna/