12 Movies & 12 Songs for the 12 Days of Christmas (Even Though It's Not Yet the 12 Days of Christmas)

DECEMBER 24th, 2015


[John] Following our insane endeavour to watch 31 movies for 31 days of Hallowe’en, Lana decided we should watch 12 movies for the 12 days of Christmas. I did not freak out at this idea the same way I did for the 31 movies, as I figured 12 movies was entirely doable between December 1st and 25th.

For future reference, 12 movies in December is almost as difficult as 31 movies in October. We definitely did not take into account just how busy we would be this month; so I must admit at being a little happy that some of our movies were of the shorter variety and easy to fit into weeknights after a long work day.

The 12 movies for 12 days of Christmas idea is what sparked our conversation wondering about the 12 days of Christmas, that Lana spoke of in article 23.1. This plan of ours has led to some fun experiences including writing our own version of the 12 Days of Christmas that you read in article 23.2 … [Lana – On sale at a record store near you… NOT!].

While it was difficult to comment on each movie we watched in October, we decided we could speak a little bit on each of our 12 Christmas movie choices.

We would love to hear your thoughts on these movies… tweet us or comment on Facebook to let us know which of these you watched this year and which is your favourite.

With that, here we go… our own thoughts on our movie and song experiences:


  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) – “Charles Dickens’ Classic Holiday Story Sparkles with Humor and Whimsy in the Hands of the Always Hilarious Muppets.” [John] This is one of my favourites (huge Muppets fan) and every time I watch, I look forward to the scene with Bob Cratchit (a.k.a. Kermit) walking home with Tiny Tim on his shoulders as they sing their way home. [Lana] I quite enjoy the banter between Gonzo as Dickens and Rizzo the Rat, as they narrate through the story. It gives a different twist to the tale.
  2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – “Yule Crack Up!” [John] I watched this for the first time in 2014, at Lana’s insistence. I may have found it a bit funnier this year but I’m likely not the fan that Lana is. [Lana] I have always wanted to take a trip down that hill on a greased up metal disc. I am always thankful that my brother is nothing like Eddie.
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) – “Christmas Day is in His Grasp.” [John] This is an annual must-watch for me if I want to have any semblance of the Christmas feeling. I have yet to watch the Jim Carrey version and I continue to resist. [Lana] *Breaks into You’re a Mean One Mister Grinch* I would still take the Grinch over a seasick crocodile.
  4. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – “Capture the Spirit of Christmas with This Timeless Classic.” [John] I finally watched this for the first time in 2014 and definitely wanted to see it again this year, before trying out the re-make with Mara Wilson. I suspect Lana will have me watch the re-make next year. [Lana] As I’ve said before, the re-make of this movie is one of the few that I enjoy as much as the original. So it was really a toss-up as to which we would watch. I think I do prefer the ending of the original better.
  5. Scrooged (1988) – “Bill Murray is Back Among the Ghosts. Only This Time, It’s Three Against One.” [John] I watch this because Lana loves it. (I think I just broke Lana’s heart.) [Lana] But… but… but… Bill Murray! Bobcat Goldwaith! Hilarity ensues! This is a Christmas classic! [John] Sorry… truly. Just not my kinda classic. **Lana won’t stop staring at me now… in total disbelief.**
  6. A Christmas Story (1983) – “Sometimes Christmas is About Getting What You Really Want.” [John] Love. Love. Love. Every. Year. [Lana] I remember seeing kids dressed up like Randy. I felt as bad for them as I did for him. I think my dad swears the same way as Ralphy’s dad. I have always wanted, and continue to really want a leg lamp.
  7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) – “The Most Famous Reindeer of All Time.” [John] Not Christmas without Rudolph. “I’m cude! I’m cude! She said I’m cude!!” I always say that I am a misfit of the misfits on the Island of Misfit Toys (and proud of it). [Lana] I’m just glad Santa came to his senses.
  8. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – “A Ghoulish Tale With a Wicked Sense of Humor and Stunning Animation.” [John] My ultimate Christmas movie. Thank you Jack Skellington. [Lana] Thank you Tim Burton. You really know how to make a holiday movie. I never know whether to watch this at Christmas or at Hallowe’en, so I normally do both and then a few times in the summer.
  9. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) – “If Santa Stayed Home, Why There Would Be No Christmas.” [John] I had forgotten about this one until Lana re-introduced me in 2014. I am very grateful for the reunion as I definitely do love this one a lot. [Lana] *singing* “They call me Snow Miser. Whatever I touch turns to snow in my clutch. I’m too much.” This should be called The Year With The Miser Brothers. They are the stars of the show. [John] It’s unfortunate that you don’t like this movie much, Lana. Really too bad you know nothing about it.
  10. A Christmas Carol (1951) – “Charles Dickens’ Immortal Christmas Classic.” [John] For as much as I love the Muppets, if I can only watch one version of A Christmas Carol during the season, this must be it. It is definitely my favourite version, though a close friend insists I must give the Disney animated version with Jim Carrey a shot. Maybe next year. [Lana] Yes you should definitely give it a shot but Alistair Sim is the quintessential Scrooge. Just watch his face; he is truly a great actor.
  11. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – “I Suppose It Would Have Been Better If I’d Never Been Born at All.” [John] We had an opportunity to see this in the theatre this year and we jumped on it! We took my aunt with us and what an incredible experience it was! So cool and special. I gained so much more out of this screening than any other time I’d watched the movie. My aunt also had a great time - what a special night for us! - and I highly recommend seeing it in the theatre any time you might have the opportunity. [Lana] If I were to watch only one Christmas movie, this is it. This has long been my absolute favourite. I almost lose it every time the community rallies around George.
  12. White Christmas (1954) – “Joyous Entertainment for Every Season, Any Year.” [John] Another must for me. A dear friend introduced me to this one some years ago and it immediately became a favourite. Makes me cry every time I watch it. Technically, Lana saw this one a couple of weeks ago but as I had already retired for the night, she graciously watched it with me again (thank you!!). [Lana] I don’t know how this happened, but somehow John seems to think that I’m not fond of this movie and that he forces me to watch it with him. Sooooo not true! [John] Dude. You told me two years ago that you don’t like it and that you would watch it with me if you absolutely had to. [Lana] I don’t recall that. *snicker* Anywho… it’s got Bing! It’s got Danny! Fun times! [John] So you lied, then? Okay. [Lana] Nooooooo. [John] Oy.

[John] That marks the official 12 movies. A number of bonus movies were squeezed in, mostly by Lana though she did trick me into watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, thinking it was one of the 12. I love that movie… totally didn’t know it would be a bonus. Lana is a total trickster.

[Lana] I don’t know what you’re talking about.

[John] We also watched Black Christmas as a promise to my cousin and her husband… and I had forgotten most of it so I’m really happy we watched it. Thanks cousin!

Bonus Movies

  1. A Christmas Horror Story (2015) – “You Better Watch Out.”
  2. Elf (2003) – “This Holiday, Discover Your Inner Elf.”
  3. Bad Santa (2003) – “He’s Very Naughty… and Not Very Nice.”
  4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – “Inside a Snowflake, Like the One on Your Sleeve, There Happened a Story You Must See to Believe.”
  5. This Christmas (2007) – “You Can’t Exchange Family.”
  6. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) – “Happiness is Watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.”
  7. Christmas in Connecticut (1945) – “It’s the Fun Show That’s the One Show to See!”
  8. Fred Claus (2007) – “Everybody has That One Relative Who Can’t Help But Cause Problems Over the Holidays. Even Santa.”
  9. Gremlins (1984) – “Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous.”
  10. Trapped in Paradise (1994) – “The Story of a Town That Gave So Much…Even These Guys Couldn’t Take Anymore.”
  11. Trading Places (1983) – “They’re Not Just Getting Rich…They’re Getting Even.”
  12. Babes in Toyland (1934) – “1 and a ½ Hours of Laughter.”
  13. Miracle on 34th Street (1994) – “Experience the Miracle.”
  14. The Ref (1994) – “They Might Be His Hostages But what They Are Doing to This Guy is Criminal.”
  15. Four Christmases (2008) – “His Father, Her Mother, His Mother and Her Father All in One Day.”
  16. The Santa Clause (1994) – “This Christmas, the Snow Hits the Fan.”
  17. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) – “You’ve Made it Through Halloween, Now Try to Survive Christmas.”
  18. Deck the Halls (2006) – “There Glows the Neighborhood.”
  19. The Family Stone (2005) – “Feel the Love.”
  20. Black Christmas (1974) – “Black Christmas Will Rock You Too!”


  1. Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy – Jack Black & Jason Segel [John] This felt like a nice alternative to the usual David Bowie/Bing Crosby duet – which I love dearly.
  2. The Night Santa Went Crazy – Weird Al Yankovic [John] Lana is a massive Weird Al fan so this had to be included.
  3. Krampus – Midnight Syndicate [John] This felt appropriate considering it was Krampusnacht and we love Midnight Syndicate.
  4. Fairytale of New York – Ben Caplan and the Trondheim Soloists [John] I really love this version a lot and decided it would be nice to include.
  5. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone [John] A really nice version, from Lana’s favourite movie Elf.
  6. Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC [John] It’s Run DMC… what more needs to be said?
  7. Marshmallow World – Bing Crosby & Ella Fitzgerald [John] Bing and Ella… just makes me so very happy.
  8. Coventry Carol – Sufjan Stevens [John] My favourite carol and I think this is my favourite version.
  9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Lou Rawls (away TEAM remix) [John] Love.
  10. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Joey Ramone [John] Joey Ramone had to be in the list.
  11. When a Child is Born – Boney M [John] If I don’t have Boney M, I don’t have Christmas.
  12. The 12 Days of Christmas – Bob and Doug Mackenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) [John] This requires no explanation. [Lana] It is now time for us to take off, you hosers.

[John] Well… that’s it for our December challenge!

Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for joining us on this ride! We hope you all enjoy the holidays and we wish you all an incredible 2016!! Go on some road trips, check out some galleries and make every day an experience!

12 Days of Christmas - A Musical Perspective

DECEMBER 24th, 2015


Most of us have sat around a tree at Christmas time and sang (in our case, very poorly) the 12 Days of Christmas. Originally published as a chant without musical accompaniment in 1780, it wasn’t until 1909 that the English composer Frederic Austin gave us the version we know today.

I thought I would write out the song to see how close I came to the original and was shocked to see I was right for a change. It usually takes me a few times to remember the correct order of the lyrics and I wondered if I was the only one. So of course I asked John to see how close she came to the proper order. I must say, I was in for a treat.


12 Days – The John Version

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 4 calling birds, 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 5 maids a milking, 4 calling birds, 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 6 swans a swimming, 5 maids a milking…

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 7 pipers piping…

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 8 drummers drumming…

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 9 ladies laughing…

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 lords a leaping…

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 bats eating pizza (I think John got a little lost at this point)…

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 bottles of vodka, 11 bats eating pizza, 10 nerds in a barn, 9 cats drinking milk, 8 puppies playing fetch, 7 hamsters running in a circle, 6 maids playing tag, 5 drummers drumming, 4 calling birds, 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in my fried brain.


Surprisingly, these are not the right lyrics (I know, it blew my mind too).

Do you know the actual lyrics? Do you have your own version you’d like to share? Email us with your version or recollection and we may choose to share it here on the blog!

Speaking of alternative versions, many artists have recorded different takes on what kind of gift-giving occurred during these 12 days. Here are a few of the more popular (and humourous) takes on the traditional classic.

Bob and Doug Mackenzie – 12 Days of Christmas

Jeff Foxworthy – 12 Redneck Days of Christmas

Bob Rivers – 12 Pains of Christmas

Fay McKay – 12 Daze of Christmas

(As always if you have suggestions to others we should look into please just let us know in the comment section here or on our Facebook page or Twitter.)

Over the course of writing about our December theme, we became inspired and even managed to pen our own version of the song that we know you will want to sing while sitting around your fireplace this year… after imbibing in a few eggnogs perhaps.


The Carbon Lilies 12 Days of Christmas

On the 1st Day of Christmas my true love gave to me an article for our blog.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 4th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 5th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 6th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 6 road trip stories, 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 7th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 7 movie passes, 6 road trip stories, 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 8th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 8 elusive éclairs, 7 movie passes, 6 road trip stories, 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 9th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 9 margaritas, 8 elusive éclairs, 7 movie passes, 6 road trip stories, 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 10th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 Spooktacular people, 9 margaritas, 8 elusive éclairs, 7 movie passes, 6 road trip stories, 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 11th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 art exhibits, 10 Spooktacular people, 9 margaritas, 8 elusive éclairs, 7 movie passes, 6 road trip stories, 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

On the 12th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 senile ghost hunters, 11 art exhibits, 10 Spooktacular people, 9 margaritas, 8 elusive éclairs, 7 movie passes, 6 road trip stories, 5 Haunted Walks, 4 Big Séance hoodies, 3 weeks of transcribing, 2 ponche de crème and an article for our blog.

To be totally honest, we would have loved to have recorded this to share with you all but a lack of time and any discernible singing talent whatsoever prevented that from happening. Who knows, maybe one day we can include it in our list of 12 Christmas songs.

Happy 12 Days everyone… make them musical!!

(You can email us at carbonlilies@hotmail.com)

The Twelve Days of Christmas

DECEMBER 21st, 2015


If you have been following our social media accounts lately, you may have seen that we are watching 12 Movies and listening to 12 Songs for the 12 Days of Christmas. We started on the 1st of December to give us extra time to ensure we get all 12 movies watched in a timely fashion (a lesson we learned doing our 31 Movies and Songs for Hallowe’en), especially considering how busy this month is for us.

How did we come to the magic number of 12? Why it’s from the song of course but that got me to thinking…when are the actual 12 days of Christmas? My original thought was that they were the 12 days prior to and including the 25th…that would explain the gifts would it not? Christmas Day is the day almost everyone exchanges their gifts so it had to be the culmination of this entire gift giving goodness, right? Alternatively, it could be the first 12 days of December (a good way to start the month off with a bang) or perhaps the 12 days surrounding the winter solstice to honour the pre-Christian meaning of the season… I honestly didn’t know but my curiosity meant I would just have to find out.

As you might expect, the 12 days of Christmas are strictly Christian in nature. That made sense to me but I had no clue that the first of these days would be Christmas Day itself. I honestly thought it would have been the twelfth day. I will admit that I myself am not a devout Christian to say the least so I had no idea that there were so many days honoured between Christmas and a day called Epiphany. They represent the feast days of various saints as well as special feasts honouring other momentous occasions in the Christian faith.

Day 1: Dec. 25th Christmas Day – The birth of Jesus.

Day 2: Dec. 26th Boxing Day (A.K.A. – St. Stephen’s Day) - St. Stephen was the first Christian Martyr. He was stoned to death for foretelling the coming of Jesus. (Interesting note…this is the day that the events of the carol Good King Wenceslas occurred).

Day 3: Dec. 27th John the Apostle Day – Most trusted friend of Jesus.

Day 4: Dec. 28th Feast of Innocents – Day to honour the boys killed while Herod was looking for Baby Jesus.

Day 5: Dec. 29th St. Thomas Becket Day – While he was the Archbishop of Cantebury, St. Thomas Becket was murdered for challenging King Henry II for authority over the church.

Day 6: Dec. 30th St. Egwin of Worcester Day – I couldn’t find much on St. Egwin other than he is the Patron Saint of orphans and widows as well as Evesham Monastery (if you have more information please feel free to let me know).

Day 7: Dec. 31st New Year’s Eve (A.K.A. Pope Sylvester Day) – The Pope responsible for converting Emperor Constantine to Christianity.

Day 8: Jan. 1st New Year’s Day (A.K.A. Solemnity of Mary) – The day to honour Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Day 9: Jan. 2nd St. Basil Day – St. Basil was a key figure in the liturgy of the Christian religion making him the Patron Saint of education, monks and exorcism.

Day 10: Jan. 3rd Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus – The day to celebrate the naming of Jesus.

Day 11: Jan. 4th St. Simeon Stylites Day – St. Simeon was so dedicated to his prayers that he chose to live on a pillar for 37 years in order to avoid earthly distractions. (Alternatively, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Day – Founder of the Sisters of Charity School in the United States. She became the Patron Saint of Catholic Schools.)

Day 12: Jan. 5th Epiphany Eve (A.K.A. The Twelfth Night) – The evening before the Wise Men came to the Baby Jesus. It became tradition to add the Three Wise Men to the Nativity scene before the decorations came down the following day.

In the Tudor era, the rich would swap places with their servants for a party held in the evening of the Twelfth Night to mark the end of winter. Pipes, especially bag pipes, were played as well as games such as “Pass the Egg”, “Egg Toss” and “Snapdragon” - a dangerous game where one would pull dried fruit out of a tray of flaming brandy (Thank goodness Hasbro didn’t scoop up the rights to that one). A pea or bean would be baked into a cake and whoever found it within their share would become the Lord or Lady of “Misrule Night” and be treated like a king or queen (later a second pea or bean was added so that there would be both Lord and Lady).

Twelfth Night by Jan Steed

Twelfth Night by Jan Steed

From what I hear, it is good to be the King. Perhaps I will never be King but I shall revel in the fact that I now know more about this wonderful time of year…and the next time someone asks you about the 12 Days of Christmas, you too will know exactly when they are… “And knowing is half the battle!” (To quote one of my favourite Saturday morning cartoons). After reading this article, send us a comment on Facebook or tweet us with the name of the cartoon if you know the one to which I am referring.

This week, we will be back with our big reveal of the 12 Movies and 12 Songs for the 12 Days of Christmas. Don’t miss out!

Black Creek Pioneer Village: Christmas by Lamplight

DECEMBER 15th, 2015


[Lana] In a world full of modern conveniences, it can sometimes be difficult to imagine what life was like back in the 1800’s (don’t just try to Google it, it isn’t the same). Without the internet, movies or television, so many people would be at a loss… but what if they didn’t even have electricity? It’s okay. We still have our electricity. It was only an exercise in pretending. Please don’t panic. If the scenario has you intrigued however… read on.

We wanted to do something special this year in honour of the holidays and when we saw that the Black Creek Pioneer Village was hosting their Christmas by Lamplight event on one of the days we were free to attend, we bought our tickets right away.

[John] I had attended this event once, about six or seven years ago, and had a fun time so I wanted to take Lana and share the experience with him. I knew he would truly enjoy it.

[Lana] Located in York Region, the Black Creek Pioneer Village opened its doors in 1960 as a representation of how a community would have existed in the early to mid-1800s in Southern Ontario. The farmlands of Daniel and Elizabeth Stong (the first European pioneers on the land) are the heart of the village. This includes their first home which was built in 1816 and barn, as well as their second home built in 1832; all of which having been meticulously restored. The village would also boast a blacksmith shop, a store, another home and a church. Over the next couple of decades, the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (now simply the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) saved other historical buildings from all over Southern Ontario and transplanted them to the 30 acre Village.

The staff dress in period costumes of course, and talk about life back in that era while demonstrating their jobs (blacksmith, telegraph operator, baker, etc.) or showing how it was to try to take care of homes with such large families.

For these reasons alone, we would have gone to enjoy the old stories, sights and sounds but at this time of year, the tour is even more special. This is when the Christmas spirit invades the Village. Christmas by Lamplight is what they call those evenings where they stay open late to allow their guests to experience the Village by candlelight.

I must add at this point that John is so creative that she crafted our very own lanterns to take with us. They were light, easy to carry, looked great and received many compliments from the others enjoying the festivities. 

[John] Aw shucks. Thanks. I don’t think they were really that creative; I wanted us to have lanterns to carry like everyone else would have but our budget meant – well, low-budget lanterns, so I figured I would just make them. Nothing fancy.  

[Lana] The tinsmith was our first stop and we were given the simplest but extremely cool little decorations to be hung on the tree or, if held properly and blown on with the appropriate amount of breath, became spinners.

The Edgeley Mennonite Meeting House was our first taste of Christmas music as we walked in to hear two gentlemen playing Jingle Bells while three youngsters accompanied them with sleigh bells.

It wasn’t too much further along the pathway until we came to the bonfire with the carolers. It was at this moment that the nostalgia of simpler times washed over me. I could imagine that small town community where all the neighbours went out to share in their holiday spirit by singing together.

A couple stops later we found ourselves in the old Town Hall. I don’t think it would have been possible to cram more people inside but everyone was willing to put up with the tight quarters to make their own beaded ornaments…a souvenir from a time long past but made with those we love today.

The next homestead held great interest for us. The building itself was gorgeous…everything I would picture for a larger home of that era. The house belonged to a doctor who ran his practice from within those very walls. Here we also had the opportunity to listen as more carols were played, this time on a gorgeous piano in the sitting room. This was also the start of a new trend…holiday snacks. Just a little, only enough for a taste, but oh so good. 

[John] It was lovely watching and listening to the pianist casually entertain everyone. His music was beautiful and really filled the room with a special ambiance. I wanted to sit on the chesterfield and get cozy with a blanket and hot cup of cocoa and take it all in, watching his fingers dance over the keys.

[Lana] The next couple of buildings were too busy to stay for very long; apparently everyone loves to hear about printing presses and blacksmithing. The shoemaker’s home had become Santa’s temporary home (cobbler’s elves / Santa’s elves… I think I’m seeing the connection here) and as much as we love Santa, we thought we would give the kiddies a chance to visit with him so we moved on.

The Burwick House was the highlight of the night for us. We walked inside to the sound of old folk music. Three musicians (a guitarist, fiddler and banjo player) were playing beautiful toe-tapping tunes that we just had to stick around for. It was a heart-warming thing for me to see John’s face light up with a huge smile. 

[John] I would not hesitate to say this was my favourite house in the Village. I’m a big fan of the fiddle and, well, a fan of music. These gentlemen made me incredibly happy and I did not want to leave. It took me back a few years to my cousin’s house at Christmas, with her dad playing guitar, her brother playing the fiddle and everyone singing along. This was a fantastic part of our evening; recalling it now makes my heart smile.

[Lana] Somehow we managed to pull ourselves away and continued with our adventure. We took a quick stroll through the one classroom school and across the bridge to see the impressive Roblin Mill (the last working stone mill in the Toronto area). I really wish it had been open for us to explore. Also located in this little section of the Village was the church and minister’s home. Personally the most interesting thing that I found here was the Noah’s Ark play set. Everything from the Ark to each animal was carved out of wood. These were simple toys for the children which allowed their imagination to run free.

We backtracked then to the home stretch, as it were. The only building we had yet to visit was the Halfway House Inn, which in this case meant halfway to your destination on the other end of town. The bar area was set up for games as well. Across the hall was a huge dining area fully decked out with Christmas dinner and all the fixins. We didn’t end up going upstairs to the actual rooms, or downstairs which now houses the Black Creek Brewery (both were just far too crowded).

The next stops were the buildings which started it all…the houses of the Stong family. There was certainly a huge (figuratively and literally) difference between their first and second houses. Set up only a couple dozen feet apart you could see how prosperous they had become over those couple decades between the homes being built. I still have no idea how a family of nine could possibly have lived in a two-bedroom home. 

[John] It did make me wish I could be less dependent on material things taking up space. However, material things we do have and our books alone would fill half that house, and Lana’s DVD collection… well… suffice it say there would certainly not be room for nine people to occupy any space after the movies were added.

[Lana] Laskay’s Emporium was the true hub of the village. It was a true general store acting as everything from grocer, hardware, clothing, boots and shoes and post office. Here we made our own embossed Christmas cards and were able to send a Morse Code telegraph (which we dedicated to all our readers).

[John] It still amazes me that people could learn to be proficient in Morse Code. Being able to watch the telegraph operators translate our message into a series of choreographed taps on a little machine was mesmerizing for me. I wished we could spend more time observing the process but we did have to move along and so after retrieving our message (from the other side of the shop), we pressed on.

[Lana] With only two brief stops along the remainder of this main road at the saddle and harness shop (where we learned about the different bells used depending on how many horses were pulling your sleigh/carriage) and the firehouse with the old water pumper, we were back to where this whole adventure had begun. There was only one side road which we had yet to take and we had purposely saved it until the end. We barely re-read the sign as our pace quickened. We were on our way to get some hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts (hot cider was also available for those who enjoy that sort of thing). With hot drinks in hand, we decided we would return to the much more modern ticket area/museum/gift shop.

[John] This was Lana’s first time trying roasted chestnuts; he was not a fan. I however, quite enjoyed them and I loved the look on Lana’s face as he tried really hard to appreciate the experience of eating them. It was very entertaining and he did give it a good effort.

[Lana] We took a quick tour of the museum items (including a gingerbread replica of the entire village), picked up a souvenir postcard (as we try to do everywhere we go) and said our fond farewells to the Black Creek Pioneer Village.

[John] This was such a lovely experience and really filled me with the Christmas spirit. It was an odd feeling to roam through the Village as we did, taking in the atmosphere and seeing the employees in period costumes; while planes were flying overhead and street traffic was flowing through one of Ontario’s major universities across the street. Regardless, it was a special night for us both and I am very happy I made us lanterns to carry as it added a lot to the experience; and the light was quite welcome in some of the areas we crossed, as darkness flooded most parts.

[Lana] For anyone in the area, or who is thinking of a vacation to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), we strongly suggest a visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village any time of the year but especially during the Christmas by Lamplight festival.

(*Side note to our friends of the paranerdal nature, there is also a ghost tour in the fall nearing Hallowe’en, for those so inclined.)

We Interiew Patrick Keller: Part 3

DECEMBER 10th, 2015


[John] Well here we are with Part 3 of our interview with paranerd Patrick Keller – our last installment of this great experience.

In Part 2, we learned more about the Big Séance Podcast, how Patrick started podcasting and the importance of being a nerd. You can click here to read Part 1 if you haven’t had a chance to yet!

Join us now for Part 3, as we look deeper into what makes Patrick the fantastic nerd he is and what might be coming up in the future.

Begin Part 3 - pour yourself a big relaxing drink, grab your most comfortable blanket, get really cozy and join us in Patrick’s parlour for the last part of our wee chat.

November 22, 2015

[Lana] Can you think back over the whole year of podcasting and tell us your favourite interview, or your favourite episode if they’re not the same?

[Patrick] I can definitely tell you that the easiest interview that I’ve done has probably been Karen A. Dahlman and that’s probably why she’s been back on about three or four times. If there’s any point where I have a brain fart or just stumble, she takes it up and she goes to something – she’s so smart. She is that intellectual [person] that I am not. She’s been a really good friend and she knows a lot about what I’m fascinated with.

The Hallowe’en shows in general were really fun. My interview with Lesley Bannatyne was really fun. That was actually one of the first episodes I ever listened to on the Paranormal Podcast – it was one of his early ones, that Hallowe’en. I was thinking, that many years later, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m interviewing Lesley!’ and it was just so cool and Hallowe’en is such a big thing that I’m nerdy about and you can tell when she talks about it. I mean, someone who talks Hallowe’en every year on a thousand different interviews, on different shows, you can’t tell she would ever get tired of it. She just loves talking about it. That was probably a really fun one to do.

[John] So if you had the opportunity, excluding the great guests you’ve already had on the show, who would you really love to invite into the parlour to interview?

[Patrick] It would be really cool if I can get to the point where I could have a conversation with some of our most famous paranormal TV personalities. Some of the TV paranormal investigators, because they aren’t easy I don’t think. Whether it’s something their contract says with studios, you don’t ever hear from them. Nowadays there’s a lot of speculation about what happens behind the cameras and how much those shows are produced and they’re accused of a lot of things that I don’t know are necessarily true or not. I haven’t really tried too hard to reach out to those people because I just assume that a little puny show like mine would have no chance but that would be really cool.

I’ve had a few listeners suggest some paranormal personalities, some who I’ve not even been aware of, so I’ve kind of investigated a little bit into them. There’s a psychic from a show [The Dead Files] – Amy Allan – and I’d never heard of her until someone suggested it and so I’m researching her. I don’t know if she would or how hard it would be to reach her but since that’s one of the biggest reasons why I got into the whole paranormal thing - that would be pretty cool.

I think a lot of people would love to peek behind the curtain a little bit, of the whole paranormal reality show. You know, is there stuff that shouldn’t go on behind the scenes? Is it all really real? How much of it is editing? How much of it is the fact that it’s produced? Sometimes I wonder, when I watch some of those shows, ‘are you still into this? Are you into it or are you just happy to have this cool gig with cameras following you?’ If you take away the cameras, would they still be out there getting no sleep, sitting in the dark all night long doing it? I really do think we’re in a heightened (it’s been a little over a decade now) paranormal craze and I really do think that eventually we’re gonna kinda come off of this craze; and the real paranerds are gonna still be there and I hope I’m still there. I don’t know, whether it’s 10, 15, 20 years from now when all the ghost hunters are retired or old, I want to be able to get that interview - [imitates older voice] ‘What was it like back in the day when you were on TV and what was really real and how was that?’ Maybe they’ll talk then. They’ll tell us all, when it’s all over.

[John] That’s awesome.

[Patrick] Yeah, the Ghost Hunter Retirement Centre. We’ll visit them all – see if we can get them all to talk. Ghost Hunter Manor.

[John] Could you imagine all of the supposed hauntings that would then happen as everybody is losing it as they get older? That could be a TV show in and of itself!

[Patrick] It also makes me think of when I die and cross over, and you know a lot of spiritual people will say ‘oh my gosh I can’t believe you would say that’ but I might not want to cross over immediately. I might want to go hang out at the Stanley for a while.

I might want to go to the creepiest location that has just been famous for being haunted and check it out. How do we know that Trans-Allegheny Asylum – how do we know that all those people haunting that place are really old patients? Maybe they’re just former ghost hunters that think, ‘Hey that was a cool place man!’?

[John] I have been saying, since I was probably about 13 or 14 years old, that when I die I want to hang out for a bit. I want to haunt people - not to scare anybody, legitimately; I just want to have a little bit of fun.

[Patrick] Experience it. Be on the other side of it.

[John] Exactly. If I go before you Patrick, I’m going to do my best to come by and play some tricks on you.

[Patrick] Oh will you please?

[John] Oh yeah!

[Lana] John will actually get your Ouija to work!

[John] Oh!

[Patrick] It’s funny because my mom and I definitely have a plan. I think probably my sister has a plan too. My mom, when she dies, she is going to come over to my house and write in the dust because I tend to not like dusting. That’s kind of a thing with us because growing up she used to always make me dust. She didn’t like dusting either so I always had to dust. Now that I’m an adult and have my own place, the place looks awesome – the place looks fabulous and everything is in its place – but don’t lick any of the surfaces because everything is dusty. So she knows that she can come somewhere and write in the dust, something like ‘Hi, it’s Mom’ or something. With her, she knows to be looking somewhere on her nightstand. I’m going to be messing with things that are on the nightstand definitely. That’s gonna be my calling card right there.

[John] I keep saying I’m going to be the one who, as you put your coffee cup down and you turn away to do something, when you come back your coffee cup is going to be on the other side of the room.

[Patrick] I’m going to write that down. I’m going to remember that. Of course, hopefully by the time you die, we will both be very old and the question will then be, am I senile? ‘The coffee cup didn’t just move over there. I’m just crazy.’

[John] So in that case, I’ll do it to everyone else around as well so they don’t think you’re the only crazy one.

[Patrick] There will be no question.

[John] It will be a collective crazy.

You have sort of indirectly answered the next question but I’m now going to go for the direct answer. What tips would you have for anybody who is really interested in getting into podcasting?

[Patrick] I would say if you are going to search for how-to stuff, try to get it from one source so that you get everything in context; because there is a lot of suggestions about mics, a lot of suggestions about little techy things that you might not necessarily need yet. Don’t get the whole, entire podcaster package from the beginning because there are a lot of people that start - I think they say episode seven is the magic episode where people either decide they can’t do it and they give up or they keep going. So maybe you get some cheaper equipment. There are some cheaper USB microphones you can get and do a couple episodes and see what you think. Even before you invest in getting the server space, like I have libsyn (libsyn is the most popular), just go to one place so that you can get accurate information from that one person. If you get pieces from here and there, that could be kind of dangerous - you could be missing something. You know, Jim Harold’s course was really good too and it was a course that I feel like I could trust with the information I was getting; but technology keeps changing. You can do it for free - there is not anything really that you have to pay for. There is enough information out there - just be careful getting information from a lot of different sources.

Know what you are going to podcast about. I think that is a big thing in podcasting. Some people get fascinated with the whole speaking on the mic thing and then they get their podcast and it is like `Oh what was I going to talk about? What do we have that we can talk about?’ Know your passion first. Pick your niche and go with that. Is that nerdy enough?

[Lana] That was good, yeah.

Going to try to get you to go out on a limb now. As of when we recorded this interview, you will have 48 episodes. What do you have planned for number 50? It is a landmark – it’s a milestone.

[Patrick] Oh my gosh! Like I said earlier, I really don’t have anything planned. [Episode] 49 is you guys. It might be something that I mention, maybe. When I think of 50, I’ve heard a lot of people celebrate huge on episode 100 and 200 so it seems kinda silly for me to celebrate on 50. To me, it’s more of a big deal once I hit that two-year mark. Probably that will be more of a celebration for me than the number 50. I probably wouldn’t have thought about it actually. At the beginning of every episode when I say ‘this is episode whatever’ that’s really the first time I think of it. I have to look back to see what number it is and by that point the episode is already done so I probably wouldn’t have even thought about it until you said that. No pressure.

[John] Okay, well I’m challenging you now to think about it because 100 is huge and your two-year mark is huge. We just realized we never acknowledged our one-year mark of the blog but I’m going to challenge you to make 50 something special for you. Not for your listeners but make it special for you.

[Patrick] Okay. There is plenty of nerdiness for me. I can really be selfish. I’m good at being selfish. I can bust out some nerdiness.

[John] Go for it.

[Lana] Maybe the next question could lead into something you could do for the 50th then. Do you have any plans of doing anymore Live and Interactive video podcasts?

[Patrick] Karen, who was in my first Live and Interactive Video, she definitely is trying to get me to do another one. That was kind of a big step for me. Like I said at the beginning, as someone who is not incredibly social - someone who wants to be the best recluse ever when I grow up, I am very reclusive and proud of it usually. So being on camera, like hiding behind a mic is cool but being on camera, I was a little nervous. Plus, you know, I edit. Nothing I ever did was live. You can plan out what you’re going to say and edit out those stumbles and dorky things you say (like plenty of them that I’ve said tonight). It was a little nerve-wracking to be live on camera and not knowing what’s going to happen but I think there’s probably another one coming. I would probably need to investigate some tech things to make it sound better and it is getting better. Now there’s a thing called Blab that I guess everyone is doing. Blab.im - I think a lot of podcasters are doing that. People can chat and be interactive. There’s a couple different platforms, just in the last six months, have come up on the scene. So I know the sound quality and things are getting better. I was not super excited about the sound quality of that whole experience. It was cool to have the video. It was cool to have live interaction, which I had never done, that whole radio show kind of feel. So I think that will probably happen again. I’m hoping I can get it to sound better. That’s my hang up with it but it was fun and Karen is an awesome person to experiment on things like that with because she can just go on for like four hours without me being there.

[John] She also seems like an incredibly supportive person too, and that makes a really big difference.

[Patrick] Oh yeah. She’s very much like a coach. She is very busy too. There is sometimes when - well with me too - there are some parts of the year where I’m just non-existent because there’s so many things going on at school and concert season as a music teacher. But when she’s available, oh my gosh she helps so much – she’s been there for me in many ways. Not even just with the Ouija board. She is good for inspiration and very approachable. I think that’s probably the case with anybody who has tried to reach out to Karen. She’s really a cool lady.

[John’s note: At the time of publishing this article, Patrick has released Episode #50 – please go and check it out! Um… maybe after you’re done reading this article though.]

[John’s note: As we moved forward with our interview, Lana and I really pushed to try to get some more podcast news out of Patrick. We were clearly making Patrick think hard about his future…]

[Lana] Is there any other podcast-related news you’d like to share?

[Patrick] [John’s note: Patrick had to pause and think for a while before answering this one.] I’m trying a new windscreen on my microphone to keep me from popping my p’s.

[Lana] Sounds like it is working.

[Patrick] I’m actually doubling up. I’ve had a pop filter from the very beginning but apparently my p’s are so incredibly massive. Usually you only use a windscreen when you are outside in the elements and I was like ‘maybe I need to combine a windscreen with the pop filter’ and I think it has helped a little bit.

That’s probably not the exciting news you wanted.

[John] We’ll make it flashy for you. Maybe you could throw in a little song there. Maybe you could sing it for us.

[Patrick] WHAAAAT?!?

[Lana] A very small audio clip.

[John’s note: This suggestion clearly did not jive with Patrick, though I maybe haven’t stopped thinking about it and I maybe am wondering if I can eventually get Patrick to agree to a wee ditty.]

[Patrick] No you will not be getting me singing.

It is probably embarrassing how much I don’t have a plan right now. I was really worried right before Hallowe’en because last year I remember I had a lot more time to plan ahead and there were some weeks when I did have two episodes ready to go. This has been a busier year and I haven’t been able to put as much focus as I did before. I was kinda bummed for a while because I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do for the Hallowe’en season, which is the biggest time paranormal nerds are out there looking for content. So I feel I kinda just squeaked by that Hallowe’en season. I tried to do as many episodes as I could. I went weekly for about three weeks I guess, four weeks maybe. Usually every other week is it during the normal part of the year – I’m doing good if I can do every other week. I think part of that is I’ve learned to produce better and that might not necessarily be a good thing. That has maybe taken away from the more natural ‘whatever comes out’ kind of thing. There is a fine line between over-produced and there is a lot of things I take out and tweak that I can make sound better. Maybe I need to scale down some of that so I’m not spending 15 hours on one episode. If I cut that down, maybe I can have an episode every week. It just depends on what people like. Do people listen because - it is kinda the trend with podcasts nowadays is to have them be more produced. This American Life and Serial, you know everything is so produced (even though they’ve got a team of 20 doing it). Did that answer any question there?

[John] It did.

[Patrick] I’m usually pretty okay with there not being a plan. I would like there to be a plan. I’m more likely to have a plan when summer hits and I’m on a break, you know, when I can sit down with an old fashioned pen and paper and brainstorm on some things. Kind of like [John] said when you come home from work and you think of writing and it’s just not there. Sometimes you just don’t have any energy left for it. Although I will say I’m a late-night person and you’ve seen that, when I’m online. When I come back from school, that’s when I start falling asleep - before dinner. If I sit down before dinner I’m [snoring] in the chair but once eight o’clock hits, BOOM! I [eventually] have to remind myself that it’s probably time to go and get about four hours of sleep before I have to get up and do this whole thing all over again. That’s when the creative juices happen, so sometimes I get to planning then.

[Lana] So we did the interview too early today!

[Patrick] Well you probably noticed I tried to push it off a little longer than probably you would have liked to do.

[John] Oh it’s cool. I’m just going to make Lana stay up all night to start working on [transcribing] while I go to sleep.

[Patrick] It doesn’t matter how early I have to get up, I’m always gonna be a late-nighter. Summer is bad - it will sometimes stretch to four in the morning.

[Lana] Yeah, me too. We’ve probably talked around that time.

[Patrick] This morning, I woke up at 9:30. I could have easily woken up at 10:00 and most people can’t do that because they’re used to waking up at 6:30 so they naturally wake up at 6:30. Uh-uh. When school gets out, it takes me only a day to get into summer mode.

I know people say that you can’t stock up on sleep but, man, weekends - don’t mess around with my sleep. I hate the process of winding down and going to sleep on the weekends but once I’m asleep it’s nice. If I don’t have to be up, I am sleeping in. When you don’t have kids, you can be selfish. It’s a lot easier to do it that way.

[John] Although I’m sure Meril keeps you busy in the morning.

[Patrick] He does but my partner is usually the early morning person and I am not; there are times when we go to bed three or four hours apart so actually that allows for it. He can be up first thing in the morning, because I’ll take [Meril] out at 2:00 in the morning and he enjoys his late night walks. He’s kind of a night dog too. He generally likes when things are quiet. That’s when he eats. When things are really quiet and you’re trying to sleep you’ll hear [chomping sounds] at two in the morning. That’s when I guess he’s more comfortable, when things are quiet. From the time he was a puppy. He was better walking down the street – [where we lived] there were a lot town homes and so there were a lot people walking down the street, a lot of cars and everything – and I could tell that when it was dark and later at night he could relax more. He’s just like ‘This whole street is mine!’ Maybe I’ve rubbed off on him a little bit with some of my anxieties.

[John] We’re going to get you to really dig deep now.

[Patrick] Okay. Oh God I thought that was deep.

[John] What one thing would you like our readers to know about Patrick Keller?

[Patrick] I think it would probably be kind of along the lines of what I’ve already said - you’ve got to be two or three different kinds of nerd, like what I would tell my kids. Find something that even if everyone around you thinks it’s incredibly dorky or doesn’t matter or is silly, find some passions and try them out for a while, even if they don’t last very long - try researching it a little bit, pick up a book. If I would have known when I was in high school how much I would love reading now, you know I embarrassingly never read the books I was supposed to, growing up. Pick up a book and force yourself to try it. And I want people to know, and I hope people get this; I don’t want them to think that I am trying to be some expert on something. Does that make sense?

[Lana] Totally.

[Patrick] I’m going to bounce from one topic to another. I’m gonna bounce from E.V.P. to Ouija board to something else and I’m not trying to be an expert and I don’t think anybody probably is an expert. Just go out and try things. Don’t be afraid. That would be another good one. Don’t be afraid.

Of course people have their experiences and I can only talk about my experiences but I think a lot of people read into other people’s experiences and develop this fear of the paranormal. At least from my experiences I can tell you that I don’t think there is anything - yes be cautious, yes be wise - but you have to be cautious and wise when you go get your mail out of the mailbox on the street too. You have to be cautious and wise with everything. If it is something that you are curious about, I really do think that sometimes there are people or spirits on the other side that are reaching out and it’s not always a demon and it’s not always something that accompanies a sound effect from TV. It might just be someone reaching out just letting you know that they’re there. So don’t fear so much, don’t let other people’s fears influence you. That was kind of a mixed bag of responses right there.

[John] Did you even know you had so much to say about it?

[Patrick] On a roll!

[John] Okay so we are going to keep it going. We’ve got three more questions for you.

What inspires you?

[Patrick] What inspires me? [Thinking…]

So I have always been a music nerd; from the very beginning I was a music nerd. I have even blogged about this I think a few years ago. There would be times growing up when I would be in the corner of my room just kinda huddled listening to my walkman. Listening to either film score music (John Williams - I was really into Jurassic Park, E.T., just the film scores of it) even when it had words that went along with it - I’m not a lyrics person, I’m not a words person; sometimes just the right music, the right notes that happen in a pattern, the right harmonies that happen at one time – I really do think can really set off a meditative state or just send me to this other world. My parents, a few times, would catch me crying listening to music and think ‘Oh my God, is he okay? Do we need to get him some help?’ No, it was just that I was being moved by whatever music that I was listening to. It could have been a song about pizza but I was moved because the right notes and harmonies happened at the right time and something clicked in my head.

Every now and then I go back to that and if I have my earbuds in and I listen to the right song, even if it’s – like, oh my God there’s this Sheena Easton song I was listening to the other day and I don’t even know – don’t ask me how; you know sometimes you get in these YouTube rabbit holes where you just go from one to the next and you’re like ‘how in the world did I get here?’ I downloaded one of Sheena Easton’s best-of albums and it had been such a long time since I had heard some of her songs and I’m just jammin’ out to this Sheena Easton song. That’s shameful, right? That’s shameful and I listened to it like 20 times. I listened to it for three days straight and I got so much out of that and now, not so much. It did what it needed to do; it put me in a happy place. It probably gave me some good vibes.

Every now and then something will, whether it be some current song that’s out or - film scores tend to do it for me. Broadway music tends to do it for me. Completely not paranormal but I can’t deny that I was originally a music nerd. That’s probably where I get, even if I don’t realize it, that whole meditative state. Now I think that probably, even if it is unconscious stuff going on, hopefully I get some inspiration from that. That’s my deep answer.

[Lana] So in short, Sheena Easton.

[Patrick] Sheena Easton, Debbi Gibson, ABBA…

[Lana] A little Tiffany?

[Patrick] Michael Jackson. I have been a fan of a lot of shameful artists like that.

[John] Okay, I’m going to get you to dig even more.

[Patrick] Oh gosh, I’m going to need some therapy after this one. Maybe this is my therapy.

[John] What is your intention in this life?

[Patrick] [Thought-filled sigh] Oh my God, this is like Oprah.

[Lana] These are [John’s] questions by the way.

[Patrick] My intention in this life… [Thinking]…

I don’t necessarily think I’ve succeeded yet but I think about this with my kids. I teach at such a large school and have had a gajillion students especially when I first started. At the end of a three-year rotation I would have had every single student in the building; and I still have a lot of kids now but I don’t necessarily see as many now but it is thousands and thousands of kids whose faces I almost always remember (I don’t always remember their names). I guess sometimes, because everybody will have a stressful day and with any job you have frustrating days or you wonder if what you are doing is working; I guess I want people to feel valued.

I want to know that I made a difference in a student’s life even if it’s just that they saw that I was a giant big nerd and so it was okay for them to be a giant big nerd. I guess probably the same thing with the podcast and anything I’m lending my voice to. I don’t want to be doing it for no reason. I hope that there’s, in some tiny way, something that I’ve done for each kid that has gone through my classroom. Sometimes I get little hints and little pieces of evidence when kids come back and talk to me. Little things they remembered or little stories or something that we did that I don’t even remember and I’m like ‘okay cool, I’m creating memories’. Yeah. If I could just know that – I guess I just want to make a difference and contribute. Did that sound good? I’m channelling my inner Oprah.

[Lana] Yeah, very good. The last one is going to be a lot lighter. This might even sound a little familiar to you.

[Patrick] Oh okay.

[Lana] Other than a paranerd, other than a music nerd, what kind of nerd are you?

[Patrick] I am a puppy dog nerd. I love puppy dogs. My dog actually just came over and gave me a lick on the foot right now. I don’t know if he’s dropping hints to me, or what.

Oh gosh, I’m a book nerd. I’m a photography nerd. I haven’t done a lot of cemetery photography lately but there for a while I was really heavy into the cemetery photography and I feel like I learned a lot with that. I’d like to have time to do more of that. I wanted to do some this fall with all the pretty colours and everything but things were so busy it didn’t really happen. God, there’s all kinds of things I’m nerdy about why can’t I think about it? I really do subject people to pain when I ask them this question, don’t I? Oh my God, I don’t know what else to say.

I have a few random collections. I have my old yearbook collection. I thought I would take that further than it ended up going but I couldn’t find any more yearbooks. I was collecting yearbooks from my high school from my hometown from as old as I could get. I have this one from 1910 and then several from the 1920’s. I was hoping to keep going with that but I haven’t done a search for a while. That was kinda nerdy.

I get really into decorating for Christmas and I’m thinking about that in my head now. Being in a new house, a bigger house, and we have two giant bay windows. I’m like ‘Ugh, God that’s all I need are giant bay windows. Now I’ll have to put two giant trees up in the bay windows.’ I guess some people would say I’m pretty nerdy with that. I go in and out in phases with that.

I’m a candle nerd. I like to light candles a lot especially in the fall and the winter. I guess that’s it. I guess there is a limit to how nerdy one can get. Get back to me in two years when I shift into something new.


[John] Well dear readers and friends, with that we had exhausted Patrick’s brain and needed to give both Patrick and Meril a break to refocus for our turn at answering questions. (Meril really is an incredibly cute and sweet puppy dog!)

Following our interview of Patrick, he turned the mic on us and recorded an interview with us for his Big Séance Podcast (holy nerve-wracking, Batman!). Many of you have likely heard that episode already but if you’d like to listen again or listen for the first time, please click here.

We wish to sincerely thank Patrick Keller for his time, friendship and incredible support of Lana and I and of Carbon Lilies. We truly are appreciative for our relationship with you, Patrick. You have given us so much that words cannot express the depth of our gratitude.

In honour of Patrick and the Big Séance Podcast, if you read through Part 3 then please tweet us @carbonlilies and Patrick @BigSeance with the two hashtags #paranerdalexperience and #puppydognerd.

Have a wonderful life experience lovelies and remember what Patrick said… don’t let other people’s fears influence you!

We Interview Patrick Keller: Part 2

DECEMBER 9th, 2015


[John] As you read in Part 1, we had the honour of interviewing the delightful Patrick Keller of the Big Séance Podcast a few weeks ago.

In Part 1 of our interview, we discovered what sparked Patrick’s interest in the paranormal and his work with E.V.P. research. We also had a backstage pass to the stories behind Missouri Spirit Seekers and Patrick’s inability to connect to spirit via the Ouija board.

We left off discussing how frustrating it can be to witness paranormal investigators and tour guides dramatizing stories and events, while knowing full well that if they didn’t add those extras to the stories and documentation we likely wouldn’t be as interested to watch and partake in the experiences ourselves. After all, hours of zero activity or drama won’t draw in the majority of us will it?

Join us now as we delve further into Patrick’s story and learn more about the Big Séance…

Begin Part 2 - pour yourself another drink, grab your blanket, get super cozy and join us in Patrick’s parlour for more of our wee chat.

November 22, 2015

[John] Why did you choose the name Big Séance?

[Patrick] Um… I think I actually had a blog post about this and I’m trying to remember [John’s note: Blog post “Séance Etiquette” dated April 13, 2012]. From the very beginning, I was trying to just kind of paint this picture of - I think there was an episode of a children’s show from the 80s called “3-2-1- Contact” – it would either be before or after Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, or one of those. They had a little show within a show [John’s note: “The Bloodhound Gang”] and I remember they did some episode about a séance where there was some psychic medium or something and it was very played up, very silly and it was low budget. I remember thinking ‘that was so cool’ and just that vision in my head was kind of cool. So I tried to just figure out a way I could paint spiritualism and spirit communication and everything that I was interested in, and I guess ‘séance’ popped in my brain and it sounds cool and you know - I don’t know why ‘big’ came into it but I wasn’t thinking a podcast was coming down the line in the future.  I guess it just popped out of my brain, I really don’t know. I should look back at that blog post. I probably have forgotten what inspired it all. I guess to me it’s like a metaphor; it’s just symbolizing my curiosity for communicating with spirits and what life is like on the other side - everything that I like to blab on about.

[John] What actually inspired you to start the blog in the first place?

[Patrick] I guess probably in - what was it - it was in two thousand and…

[John] …and twelve?

[Patrick] Twelve? Okay yeah. Wow! That’s some research! 2012 - I tend to do things in two-year increments. So it was either 2010 or 2012.

[Lana] Spirit Seekers was 2010.

[Patrick] I’m guessing it was probably a peak of new bloggers because I was hearing about blogging a lot. I started following a lot of Wordpress bloggers and I guess I just decided to jump in myself; and I don’t know if you remember or if you were following me at that time but I was doing daily blog posts for probably a year or just under a year. That just was not going to happen for much longer. That was a little rough but I enjoyed it and in many ways it was kind of like a diary, I guess. I got everything out that I needed to get out. The funny thing is I’m not really a writer, for sure, but I’m not really a speaker either, so I don’t know how that took me to the podcast. I don’t know - I enjoyed talking about it and sharing my thoughts on it. It was just kind of a cool outlet. I don’t know if blogging is bigger now or as big; I don’t remember exactly what got me into it. I’m sure there’s a blog out there that got me into it.

[John] So other than leaving behind the daily posts on the blog, how do you feel the blog has evolved for you? How has that portion of your life evolved?

[Patrick] One thing for sure, I look back at some of those earlier posts and I can tell that my knowledge on things has grown. Even my opinions and theories have grown a little bit so that makes me cringe sometimes when I look back at some of the older ones; but a lot of people aren’t visiting those posts anymore obviously, so that’s okay.

I definitely started thinking more about how to word things and produce things, making it more attractive. Before, I was just spewing out all my thoughts on a blog page and then hitting post; but now that I have the podcast and when all my thoughts go to the podcast, there’s nothing left for the blog. I throw it all out there on the podcast.

With Jim Harold and the Paranormal Podcast, I was such a big fan of his (and like I’ve said many times, for years, his was the only podcast that I listened to so he was podcasting) and I had thoughts in my head while I was blogging – ‘could this be a podcast?’ - but I never really thought about it too seriously. Then once I started listening to other podcasts out there and realized what a big thing it was, I decided to just do it - like I said, I tend to every two years shift into a new nerdy passion. I had the paranormal investigation team - that must have been 2010 right?

[Lana] It was.

[Patrick] 2010, then 2012 the blog, 2014 the podcast so I think I just get tired of things and move on. I’m hoping I don’t get tired of this podcast because 2016 – you know that’s the next point.

[John] I was just going to say we’re coming up to your next change - your next metamorphosis.

[Patrick] Maybe it’s a TV show, I don’t know.

[John] Oh!

[Lana] There we go!

[Patrick] I know no one in that world so I don’t think there’s going to be a TV show.

[John] Do you have an ultimate goal for the blog or do you feel it is more just supporting the podcast at this stage?

[Patrick] I think right now it’s just mainly a home for the podcast. Every now and then, something comes up in my paranormal world that is easier to express on the blog than the podcast. Like the cool funeral home ghost story that I got from a listener, which was really cool and was a big hit. That was a perfect thing to put on the blog. The funny thing is this listener who sent that in, I was communicating to him. I was trying to figure out if I was going to read the story on the podcast or put it on the blog and he was like ‘Are you really going to talk about somebody peeing?’ because if you read that story, you know he was using the restroom – standing – and a ghost walked by and glanced at him really quick before walking on. He was like ‘Do you really see yourself reading that on the podcast?’ So I thought ‘Good point! I guess we’ll put this one in the blog’.

[John] The Big Séance Potty Show.

[Patrick] Exactly! I didn’t think that one all the way through.

[John] So the blog is your support system for the podcast.

[Patrick] That’s how I think of it right now. One of these days, I don’t know, maybe I shift back from podcasting to blogging but I think right now the passion definitely is on the podcast side of it.

[John] Yeah, we like you in the podcast. Well we like you in the blog too but we enjoy hearing your voice and your stories so I hope you don’t leave that behind.

[Patrick] Yay!! Thank you.

[John] How long had you been listening to Jim Harold before you decided that you wanted to be his student?

[Patrick] Jim Harold started out, I believe in 2005 if I’m correct, and I started tuning in in 2008. I immediately, in 2008, decided to go back to his back catalogue and listen to that whole thing. It was actually Jim who – I remember I responded to something he was promoting; his podcasting course that he was trying out for a while. I don’t even think I messaged this to him, I think I had shared it and mentioned the fact that I was just thinking about it and he actually saw it and jumped in and said ‘Dude, I think you should do this’. I was like `Oh my gosh, if I have his blessing, then sure’. I think it was $100 or something, his course. Courses sometimes in podcasting, people give them a hard time because there’s a lot of free information out there too.

The thing is with podcasting is technology changes so quickly. There’s a lot of outdated, helpful instructions on how to have a podcast but also, just the fact that you can get everything from one source; and I trusted Jim because obviously that was what podcasting was for me and what I was used to. It was really cool. There were step-by-step videos that you could do at your own time. You could watch and communicate with him at any time. Like I said, it was having his little blessing, having him chime in. Oh my gosh, the $100, it was so worth it to just push me into it. So far, I think I’ve been his only student. I think he’s going to try to re-package that and try some different things but it was definitely worth it for me. I don’t know why that wasn’t more of a thing.

[John] Did that really help you solidify the decision to start your own podcast? Was that the defining factor or did you know before then that you definitely wanted to do it?

[Patrick] When I saw that he was putting the course out and I saw him promoting the course, I guess that’s when I started thinking about it more. As soon as I paid that $100 and started, I didn’t look back. I just got really excited about it and started planning the nerdy elements of it, like the intros and the outros and started testing things out. You know, the geeky tech side of it with the microphones. I’m on my third generation already of equipment. That was probably a side effect of it - I spent too much money but that part of it was so fun and when I commit to something, I tend to jump into it and really commit to it and focus on it a little too hard; which is probably why I move on from things every two years. I knew I could do it once I jumped into it. It was really fun. That first year for sure, that first Hallowe’en season of doing two or three Hallowe’en episodes - oh my gosh, they were so fun but it was so stressful - but fun stressful. You know, I didn’t sleep a lot. Before I did the Hallowe’en episode this year I actually listened to the old episodes and all these memories came back just from doing a nerdy podcast. How nerdy is that?

[John] I think that’s awesome.

[Patrick] Yeah! All the people I’ve met; you guys - how would I have randomly connected with you guys, met other paranerds or what other nerdy hobby could I get into and meet psychics and mediums and listeners. It’s just really cool. I’m glad I’m doing it. I’m going to stick with it.

[John] We’re really glad you are doing it too and honestly, I’ve said to Lana so many times, it’s such a cool thing. I tend to see my life and live my life very much in the opportunities and the people that are put in front of me; and having to just go with it even if it is the most terrifying thing in the world, it’s there and I have to give it a shot. From listening to Jim Harold and discovering you and listening to you, and through you we have discovered so many other people and connected with people that have enriched our lives so much. We’ve really discovered a lot about ourselves and discovered a lot more about how we want to do our blog and what we want to see for ourselves in the future. Even just on an energy level, on a spiritual level, what we’ve learned and how we’ve been able to push through what honestly has probably been one of the hardest years for us. We’ve been able to get through it and a lot of it has come through some of the people and the knowledge that you’ve been able to share on the podcast. I am strongly of the belief that everything really is connected. What we have gained from connecting with you, through your circle and what you’ve shared, has been honestly life changing in many ways so we owe you a lot.

[Patrick] That makes me very happy to hear because there are some days where I wonder if what I’m doing - if there’s a point to it. I didn’t mean that to sound so negative but do you know what I’m saying? I don’t have this master plan - especially during the school year I tend to go week by week. I don’t have this big produced entity that has three or four or five shows ready to go so it really is sometimes just what pops up into my world when I put content out there. Sometimes I’m not even really sure about it, it’s like ‘I’m not really sure if this is that cool but it’s what I’ve got right now so I’ll do what I can’. So that makes me feel cool that people are taking it and using it and feeling like it’s worthy of listening to and learning from. That’s cool.

I’m excited for you guys too. That’s awesome.

[John’s note: At this point, Patrick turned the table, took on the role of interviewer and led us down a side street for a while. Perhaps one day we will share with you what we shared with Patrick but until then, we return to our own questions for Patrick as Lana brings the conversation back into focus.]

[Lana] Reeling it in, reeling it back in.

When you did your 30-second promo and your first episode on the 25th of June [2014], how nervous were you and what was going through your head at the time?

[Patrick] I can’t say that I was nervous. Okay, I wasn’t nervous in the planning of it for sure - it was nothing but excitement. I’m telling you; I worked a couple of weeks on just two elements - the intro, the outro. What is this podcast going to be about? How is the format going to be? (And it has changed just a little bit since the beginning.) I really had fun with that but the first actual interview with my buddy Marilyn Painter, I don’t know if I could have been able to have my first interview be with anybody else because she already knows my nerdiness so well. It was really comfortable to record with her but I was really nervous when I interviewed her and I still get nervous when I do any interviews.

Communicating verbally, believe it or not, is not my biggest strength so there are a lot of things that I script and I definitely have to plan things out. That part I get nervous about even to this day, a lot. I get nervous about the Skype call and is it all going to work out? Are the tech things going to work out? But then once I start editing – I’m a big editor and a lot of podcasters hate that part of it. Oh my gosh, I will sit down and put in the little bumpers and different parts of it and piece them together and make it sound good. I will work on that for 10-12 hours easy. I really love that – most of the time – you know, it’s tiring too. I like it but the interviews, I will always forever be nervous about that but still you get a lot of good out of it. It’s a good nervousness; it’s just a general anxiousness about it all.

[John] What is it that really makes you nervous though? Is it the actual interviewing or is it the output?

[Lana] Or is it that you don’t know what’s coming?

[Patrick] That’s probably it. I think because I’m so OCD – knowing what’s going to happen, that’s probably it actually. Am I going to sound like a giant dork? What is my response going to be? This happens in my teaching too and the kids laugh at me, and my whole family has this issue where there’s this every day word that people use – you might be trying to think of the word ‘dog’ and you say ‘you know, four legs, fur, likes to lick, barks…’ ‘Oh dog!’ I have a third grade vocabulary just in general and so I get nervous about that – am I gonna sound smart? Am I gonna have the word that I need? I’m not an intellectual at all and so I guess that’s the part that makes me nervous. But I think a lot of people, from some of the feedback that I’ve gotten, a lot of people like the fact that I’m kind of this dork that’s just ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m just having a conversation’. I think a lot of people like that even though it’s painful for me.

[John] It’s that authenticity that I think really does draw everybody in. I know that’s what keeps us going because you’re human and you’re perfect in your imperfections. It’s that just being you and allowing what happens to happen and to not make it anything that you’re not. I think that’s what is really special about you and what you do.

[Patrick] Well I appreciate that. I know, probably in the first couple of episodes I was probably trying to figure out that sound. There’s a fine line between sounding like this professional podcast and me the dork. So I think I’ve been kind of back and forth trying to figure out where exactly I land in the middle of the those things. It’s funny, I’ve had one of my teacher friends at school tell me ‘You know I listened to your podcast the other day and you speak really slowly on the podcast’. I said ‘I do?’ I guess in real life I really just blurt things out. I guess I’m not that natural that when someone’s been listening to the podcast who knows me and speaks to me on a regular basis and says apparently I speak really slowly on the podcast.

[John] Well I know you’ve talked about not being entirely sure where the podcast might be going and as 2016 is coming up, your two-year mark is coming – what might that shift be; but do you have even an ambiguous vision of what you really want the future of the podcast to be?

[Patrick] There are many episodes – there are a couple months there where all of my episodes were driven by the books that I was reading. With how much time it takes to podcast in general plus the job, you know my books have slowed down so I’ve kind of had to figure out another way to figure out what happens. I can tell you right now, a lot of times it ends up being the interactions that I have in my world and in social media, which has led us to having this conversation here with you guys.

So, here’s some behind-the-scenes – you know we’re getting ready to record your interview with me on my podcast and so that’s how that came about. I think from the very beginning, the blog ended up being a way for me to just express kind of the normal, nerdy, paranormal things that came up in my life; and that would be an example of that – you know our conversation that we’re having here today – and so I do believe your interview (that hasn’t happened yet [at the time of this blog interview]) should be my next episode. So right now it really is week-by-week. Sometimes I shift back and forth on themes. For a while it was a psychic-medium theme. I’ve struggled to get some paranormal investigation type of people on the podcast – I don’t know why and I don’t exhaustively try to contact people. There are definitely some people that I could contact and I would like to get some more of that content on the show. I really don’t know other than you guys next week.

[John to Lana] No pressure!

[Patrick] It’s gotta be a good one man!

[John] So it’s going to be a five-minute podcast episode that you’re releasing? Is that it? [John’s note: At this point there was laughter and an awkward pause]

[John to Lana] He didn’t answer that one.

[Lana to John] I know, eh!

[John’s note: We joked with Patrick a bit before pulling ourselves back together and moving forward - albeit now feeling extremely more nervous than before about being the sole guest on Patrick’s podcast episode #49]

[Lana] We know that in your regular gig you’re a teacher. How does your teaching life and your podcasting life influence each other? Or do they at all?

[Patrick] For a long time it was hard for me to figure out a way for me to just, in a conversation, talk about paranormal things with my students. In many ways it just doesn’t fit. It’s gotten easier because I think a student really wants to know what kind of nerd their teacher is.

I’ve mentioned this on the podcast several times – the word ‘nerd’ itself comes out of my mouth at least 10, 15 times a day. It’s really something – 14 years ago when I started teaching, if I ever mentioned the word ‘nerd’ either another adult would hear it and gasp ‘did you just call them a nerd?’ or a student might get insulted; and I really have tried – and I have succeeded, I can tell you, in my building – we have turned that around. Being a nerd is a cool thing. I always tell them they have to be two or three different kinds of nerds and rock it and really be proud of it. So it’s something that I talk about a lot and even teachers now know – they’ve caught the whole theme with me. I’ve integrated it in some of the projects that I’ve done, especially in my new music production & technology class that I’ve begun teaching this year; and it’s that class really that has allowed me to kind of combine the two because I had a big hand in writing the curriculum and putting this class together, and I said ‘we are going to do a podcast unit - we have to’.

So I’ve been able to talk about it a lot more – my experiences in podcasting – and I’ve even had a couple of students do kind of paranormal, spooky Hallowe’en-type projects just this last quarter which has been cool. Not so much paranormal has been crammed into my teaching world but definitely the whole podcasting part of it has now – it feels like it’s kind of joining together a little bit which is cool. Every now and then the kids will ask me for a cool story from some experience I had and we have our resident ghost in my classroom (that I don’t think really is a ghost but it’s a fun story). They ask about those stories every year – ‘Isn’t there the ghost of Mrs. Owen here?’ ‘Oh, so you want a Mrs. Owen story? Okay!’ Which is funny because Mrs. Owen started from some research and posts that I did on the blog a couple of years ago. We bust it out every now and then, we get our paranormal on. Can’t go too much though.


[John] Well folks, that’s it for Part 2. We still have another installment to share with you, so stay tuned for Part 3 to be posted soon and remember what Patrick said… “Being a nerd is a cool thing.”

In honour of Patrick and the Big Séance Podcast, if you read through Part 2 then please tweet us @carbonlilies and Patrick @BigSeance with the two hashtags #paranerdalexperience and #thebloodhoundgang.

We Interview Patrick Keller: Part 1

DECEMBER 8th, 2015


[John] Some months ago, while in casual conversation with one of our favourite podcast hosts, we mentioned to him the idea of potentially interviewing him for our blog. He graciously agreed and after some time passing, he likely forgot about it and/or hoped we had forgotten about it. So, in early November while chatting with him about our Hallowe’en endeavour to watch 31 movies for 31 days, said podcast host asked me about interviewing us for his podcast to talk about our experience. Lana and I talked it over, after recovering from brief heart failure, and decided we would be happy to oblige and perhaps it would be a great moment to set up a time to interview this lovely gentleman for our blog.

So, about two weeks later we were virtually hanging out in the parlour talking to the wonderful Patrick Keller, host of the Big Séance Podcast. This was not an easy feat for us as we have enjoyed developing a friendship with Patrick over the last year and we did not want Patrick to be scared off by just how twisted and insane these two fans really can be. We prepared a number of questions to ask Patrick and decided we would let the conversation go where it may, and discover what our final product would be.

We were not disappointed and we know you won’t be. We spent a few hours with Patrick and our interview will be published in multiple parts, so watch closely this week for our posts!

So with that…

Begin Part 1 - pour yourself a drink, grab a blanket, get cozy and join us in Patrick’s parlour for a wee chat.

November 22, 2015

[Lana] What sparked your interest in the paranormal?

[Patrick] I was not one of those people that grew up having all of these paranormal experiences. I don’t remember having any. You know, sometimes I wonder if I ever had the imaginary friend or the ghost friend because when you hear stories about that it’s like they don’t even know the difference between a real human and a ghost. So I wonder if I did have an imaginary friend - that would be a cool story but no, I actually didn’t really have a huge interest until probably around 2007-ish. Ghost Hunters had been out for a while. I didn’t catch them from the beginning but I caught up and saw all their old episodes. Then randomly, I remember, I grabbed a book out of a bin at Borders or Barnes & Noble, one of those places. It was Ghosts Among Us by James Van Praagh and a year before that I had just begun this whole obsession with reading. At that point it was just reading fiction and I had never really been a reader before and someone convinced me to start reading, so I read a book a week for a year. I couldn’t get enough. I was so proud of all of a sudden being a late bloomer in the whole reading area. But I saw this book Ghosts Among Us and I had been watching the Ghost Hunters shows, my parents kind of started watching it too so we would watch Ghost Hunters and then bounce back and forth over the phone and talk about it. I read the book and it just started this whole explosion. I stopped reading the fiction and then I just moved on to completely non-fiction. There for a while it was a lot of psychics and mediums and their take on life on the other side and ghosts (a little bit of that). I also started a few paranormal investigation-type books, which then led to having the paranormal investigation team. Which was the next big step.

[Lana] Did you have any kind of paranerdal experiences?

[Patrick] HA! Paranerdal! I love it.

I don’t think I ever had any experiences when I was just reading the books and watching Ghost Hunters but I was definitely obsessed with it for a while and curious and couldn’t get enough information about it. I don’t think I had any experiences but definitely there were some experiences once we started the paranormal investigation team, Missouri Spirit Seekers. We had a lot of fun for about two years, I guess. We had 10 or 12 investigations and learned so much. We definitely had our feelings in different places. My sister tends to get touched when she goes places. She tends to probably be the more sensitive one out of all of us. This is my family by the way, I guess I should have started out by saying that – it was my Mom, Dad, my sister and her partner. It was a lot of fun but I did a lot of research and figuring out how it would work. The tools and how they work. I got really into E.V.P., which then started my next paranormal obsession (sorry - paranerdal). I have my small handful of stories I usually tell but I don’t have this wealth of all these cool, crazy paranormal experiences that happen, I just don’t. I don’t know how I stay so obsessed with it but I still love it.

[John] What do you think that you were actually drawn to that spawned the obsession for you? What was it that really attracted you to everything?

[Patrick] I guess, and I had never really thought of this, I had grown up going to the Baptist church and growing up in organized religion and having this kind of fairytale Heaven and Hell. You know, that’s what they say and that is just what you go with. I kind of got away from that after high school and college and got to the point where I was not at all interested in the organized religion part of things but was definitely conflicted in my head thinking about things and how things work.

Then, all of a sudden, thinking about ghosts and reading every psychic and medium’s take on life on the other side and then I thought ‘cool, I can totally believe this’. I was no longer fearing things I guess, this whole ‘will you go to Heaven, will you go to Hell?’ - that is such a childlike way of looking at it – but I just started getting so passionate about figuring out what life was like on the other side. What’s going to happen? What’s it going to look like? Who’s going to be there? Are all my past puppy dogs going to be there to greet me?

There for a while I kind of got frustrated too, because there are quite a few different takes that many mediums and psychics have on what it’s like and when you read 20 books from 20 different psychics you get a little frustrated. I mean, for real I want to know what happens and everybody’s saying something different. That’s also formed what I kind of assume is going to happen. Right now I have this whole opinion that whatever you envision in your mind or whatever you expect to happen on the other side is what’s going to happen. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that I don’t fear death and things anymore. I very rarely fear anything paranormal because I’m always running toward it I guess but at the same time, I don’t have a ton of those experiences.

[John] How cool is it though, that you grew up in the Baptist culture and yet your parents and sister were there with you in the investigation crew?

[Patrick] My family kind of grew out of that culture with me too and have moved on to, I think, probably wiser opinions and theories.

[Paranormal investigating] was a lot of fun. It was difficult at first. My Mom would say that I’m a natural teacher and they had a hard time sometimes with me wanting to teach them and take charge. They were there to have fun. You know, this is just a family fun thing and for me it was always ‘but this is serious, this is serious research’. So I had to take a step back for a while and realize that I was the one reading the books and I was the one doing all of the evidence review and analysis, which I would have no other way as a control freak. So I took on that responsibility and was cool with that and loved it. I just had to realize that they were in it for a different reason than I was. They were very good at it. I trained them well, when I wasn’t on their nerves because I was telling them what to do.

I really do believe we made a really good, professional team. We didn’t know all the answers and we weren’t the best team out there but there are a lot of goofball teams out there and I do believe we took it seriously. It might take two months after the investigation to get through everything and go through the analysis with me putting my charts and graphs and everything together and sometimes at the end you didn’t really get a clear answer, you just had 50 pages of confusing data but it was worth it. We did have a lot of fun; we have a lot of memories. My mom would always bring snacks and hot beverages when it was in the winter, so when you take breaks you’d have snacks and everything. She got upset once because on the website, for her title, I called her the Snack Bringer. She was a little upset by that because she’s ‘just as much an investigator as the rest of us!’ but she was a really good Snack Bringer.

[Lana] So why did you guys become inactive?

[Patrick] We went inactive, I think, for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is that reaching out and accepting phone calls from strangers, accepting a call and going and visiting someone you’ve never heard of or you’ve never met because they need help - as much as that was probably helpful for some people, and I feel like we did help some people, it’s not my most favourite thing in the world. So maybe I’m not the person to be there. I mean that’s just a small part of it.

The other part of it is that my family lives three hours away and so getting everyone together was tough and I think I just got burned out a little bit. When you’ve got a full-time job and it’s a job that takes a lot of time already anyway, and you get so obsessed with data and doing it right and pouring over video late at night; we didn’t have a ton of requests for investigations and that was probably good at the time because when one investigation took two or three months or more to really feel like I got through it, that didn’t leave a lot of time for other investigations. Part of that is just the fact that I was doing all of that on my own.

I guess I got what I needed to learn out of that and that went into my research with E.V.P. and I started experimenting really heavily with E.V.P. I did some things with Randall Keller, my long lost cousin from Maryland. There for a while, I kind of got burned out on that too. I tend to jump into things really heavily, so hard that I get burned out on them so I haven’t done anything with E.V.P. in a while either but I think I used all of those experiences that I learned from both of those things, in what I do today.

[Lana] It seems that you are drawn strongly to spirit communication, from the Spirit Seekers to E.V.P. and wanting to communicate. What drew you into that?

[Patrick] Well, I think there’s probably nothing like the first moment that you realize you’ve captured an E.V.P. I think back to that first E.V.P., and people who follow me probably know that I very, very rarely will say something is definitely 100% communication from spirit but this first one, I am pretty confident that it has to be something. It was our second investigation actually and I don’t know if it’s my favourite because it’s my first or if it’s just the best example we have out there; it was from the basement of a church.

It was so cool that we had a church open to us coming and made it public that we had an investigation. They were very proud of their activity and just the process of going through that and listening to it realizing ‘oh my gosh, I may have just communicated with spirit’. Then, things like when you are on an investigation and when you have a communication through knocks – I tend to have communication with knocking or wrapping several times - you know, some of those experiences you may be able to argue that it was something in the natural world but even when you’re not sure, that just makes it exciting. Just the feel of when the hair on your arm raises and your heart starts racing because you’re like ‘oh my gosh, are we in the presence of something? Are we having a communication?’ It doesn’t happen very often but it’s a really cool feeling and not scary at all. A lot of times around Hallowe’en, you know we play up the whole Hallowe’en spooky thing, those of us in the paranerdal community; it’s almost never spooky, it’s just exciting.

[Lana] I find it strange that you have all this luck with E.V.P.s and with knocks but you can’t seem to work the Ouija.

[Patrick] I cannot work the Ouija board! I get so frustrated. I’m excited about it and I think it is really cool. I think you guys probably know how fascinated I am with all things like spiritualism and the whole picture that that paints - with the parlour, the Victorian everything and the crazy medium sitting at the table and the candles - so I love it. I can’t get anything from the Ouija board. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I hear so many people talking about being fearful of the Ouija board and I’m like ‘okay but I’ve tried it a lot and nothing happened’. Until I have a reason to be fearful, I would just like something to happen. I mean I don’t try that very regularly either, every month or so I’ll get it out and try and cross my fingers. Maybe I think too hard.

[John] I was going to say, do you think that you may want it too badly?

[Patrick] That’s sometimes what I figure. I know that you guys know Karen A. Dahlman as well and I get a lot of advice and help from her and she’s been a great friend over the last year. I think that is one thing she has mentioned, ‘maybe you’re just trying too hard or focusing too hard. You’ve got to relax; you’ve got to just let things take over’. I guess I have some more practice at that to do.

[John] You have to let go of some of that control, eh?

[Patrick] It might be some of the OCD too. Just taking over and wanting things to be perfect. Things don’t happen like you plan them out I guess.

[John] No they don’t.

[Lana] For people who want to communicate with spirit, do you have any tips for them?

[Patrick] Well, I guess since that is one of my first lessons, to let go, that would be a good first one. E.V.P., I think is probably the easiest thing for people to jump into if they’re wanting to try spirit communication. People have their different theories about this but I don’t feel you have to be anywhere haunted to achieve spirit communication. It’s my opinion, my belief, that once you reach them, once you send that searchlight out and someone knows you are there and willing to communicate from the other side or wherever, I think they can communicate with you no matter where they’re at. I don’t think they have to be in your room, standing next to your microphone saying hello.

[Lana] Do you think it matters what tool you use? If you can connect with them on E.V.P., is it just as likely to connect on the Ouija or another source?

[Patrick] Well I probably would have thought that until I started doing the Ouija and failed at it so miserably. I guess it’s worth saying also, that I never really got a ton of what I feel is legitimate communication from E.V.P. either but I did have some compared to none.

I think with E.V.P. you don’t have to go all out from the very beginning and have all this equipment. You could even still do E.V.P. with tape cassette. This day and age when you want to share digitally and online, having a digital recorder is usually best but that’s really all you need. There are even some theories out there about how it’s easier to get E.V.P. on cheaper devices that have a mechanism inside that can maybe help with documenting and recording their communication. I think that’s probably something good to start with. Some people like pendulums. I, myself, have never tried that one but that seems another one that would be an easy, cheap form of communication to start with and experiment with. E.V.P. was the most fun for me back in the beginning.

[Lana] Whether with the Seekers or not, what was your favourite paranormal location?

[Patrick] My favourite paranormal location – it’s really unfair – but it’s probably one of the undisclosed locations. We investigated a large facility near my hometown that has a lot of history. It was really, really cool and it was one of the first ones we investigated that we could go back and do some research into the history and connect with some of the stories to figure out what is truth. That’s another one where we didn’t get a ton of evidence but just the experience and the feelings there. Even if it was just us making it all up ourselves. It was just fun. There were definitely some moments where there were some scary, you know, just the sounds and some of the things that happened when you’re in this big, giant basement and all of a sudden this huge machine just goes off or the boiler kicks in or - just the sounds that can be in some of these old places. It gives you a fright and then you laugh and everybody laughs and then you move on. It’s cool!

There were so many cool memories like that. There was a room, I’ll say like a storage closet, where a student in the ‘60s or ‘70s, and we did find out that it was documented - it was a real thing - committed suicide in this area and there have been a lot of legends and stories about that story since. We feel we may have gotten some communication of an emotional kind the few times we were there, but I’m not sure. You know it’s kind of like after the fact, once you learn a little more about the tools and what you’re doing it is kind of like ‘hmmm, maybe that really wasn’t what we thought it was’ but it could have been and that was a cool experience. It was one of the first experiences where we definitely felt the feelings. My sister felt things. It was cool. I can’t say much about it though.

[Lana] Did you like to know things going in or did you like to discover things after you had already done the investigation?

[Patrick] I have debated back and forth on the best way to do that. I think definitely if you are going to have a psychic or a medium on your team - a psychic and a medium can get their feelings hurt sometimes because they don’t want to be used as a tool, they want to really be involved and I think you have to be careful with that - but I think that most of them would agree that you want to keep them in the dark on where they’re going and what the actual place is. We didn’t have that situation. I think I, myself, want to know. I want to know what questions to ask while I’m there.

There were situations where we were going somewhere that was known to have possible child spirit communication and you don’t want to go into a place asking questions that might be inappropriate for a child. If you are going to use trigger music, I want to be able to plan that. I liked picking out music from the era that you think the spirit may be from. I kind of got into that too. I like to prepare, I guess too much, and so if I went in blindly it would take all that fun away from it. There are just so many things you don’t know until three or four months after the investigation so if I really didn’t know anything, I would not be able to go back and try something again until three or four months later when I found out, so I probably like knowing before going in.

[Lana] If you could get everybody back together to do a dream location where would it be?

[Patrick] I like a lot of the really creepy asylums like the Trans-Allegheny - that one would probably be up there. I don’t know if I would get my whole, entire family back. I might be in there by myself but that’s where you are almost guaranteed to have some kind of experience - at least from what I’ve heard from everybody else. A big creepy location like that would probably be my pick.

[Lana] So I’m going to veer off just a little bit for this one question. You have said on your podcast a couple of times, that you are not a fan of a haunted ghost tour. Why is that?

[Patrick] First, I should tell you I haven’t been on many, to be fair. They tend to be more goofy, I guess, and I’m all about taking it seriously all the time. I sometimes need to lighten up and have fun on those things and realize that people are there for fun. The few times that I’ve gone - and sometimes the tour guides get on my nerves. They talk down to you or assume you don’t know anything or you can clearly tell they are making some things up like we’re children. Then there are some really interesting paranerdal folk out there and when they break out some of their tools and toys and start walking around, I don’t know, it just bugs me sometimes because I’m like ‘this is serious, what are we doing?’ You know, people walking around with tools they have never touched in their entire life and don’t know how to use it. Not all tours are like that, I’m sure. When we went to the Myrtles Plantation, the tour there was kind of interesting but there was a lot of ‘you can’t do this and you can’t do this and you can’t record’ and I was just like ‘Uhhh! People came all the way here and this could be so cool’. I don’t know - I guess I just have issues with tours. I guess I probably need to get over myself mostly.

[John] Or you need to start your own so that you can run it the way you want to.

[Patrick] There you go.

[Lana] That would be cool actually.

[Patrick] That would take a lot of research too. I was in the position to possibly be involved a couple of years ago and it didn’t come close to being a real thing; but one of the conditions that I brought up was that I would have to be able to have time to research these things. I would have to interview some people because I’m not going to make up things. Nothing’s going to come out of my mouth that I don’t think really happened or are real stories. So I would not be one of those people who could do it for fun, for entertainment and just embellish things. I wouldn’t be able to get myself to do that. I’d feel bad. I’d be like ‘guys, I just lied to you - I’m sorry’.

[John] So when you do get yourself up to Canada to come and hang out with us up here, you would have to do the Haunted Walk in Ottawa, Kingston or Toronto because they vet all of their stories. So they have actually done the research and they’ve talked to, if there are still living, witnesses and any new stories that come up they actually go and do the investigations and spend months researching everything before they actually incorporate it into their tours.

[Patrick] I like that. That sounds right up my alley.

I have to tell you, as many things that get on my nerves about the paranormal; I mean I definitely play a part in that too. There are a lot of paranormal things that I still participate in. I will go to a lot of ghost tours just because it’s paranormal and it’s cool. You know, so, I don’t know, I’m kind of bipolar about the whole situation.

[John] I think that’s normal though, really, if you think about those of us who love it and we believe it and we’re just that skeptical. I’m on the fence so much and so Lana watches all of the ghost hunting shows; and I don’t watch that much TV but when I do watch those shows, I love watching them and I think that they’re interesting and the whole time I’m sitting there watching, I’m saying ‘there’s no way that this would happen!’

[Patrick] That happens to me every week when I’m watching Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures – and I love them, I will never stop watching them, I will always be a fan – but oh my gosh it works my nerves. Because you know there’s such a produced element to it. Yet if they didn’t have that produced element then I probably wouldn’t have been attracted to it from the very beginning.

[Lana] Exactly.

[John] It’s a bit of a dichotomy, right? I think those of us who are the most skeptical are probably the most guilty of perpetuating the whole thing, right?

[Patrick] Yep. I agree.


[John] Thank you everyone, for joining us in our time with Patrick. We have a lot more of this interview to share with you, so please stay tuned for Part 2 to be released soon!!

In honour of Patrick and the Big Séance Podcast, if you read through Part 1 then please tweet us @carbonlilies and Patrick @BigSeance with the hashtags #paranerdalexperience and #snackbringer.

See you again soon with Part 2!