Say the words Bigfoot, ghosts and UFOs out loud in a midtown Starbucks and you will get looks.
Northern Secondary alum and former Forest Hiller Cal Goodbaum and I chat about the paranormal over our lattes and macchiatos and bask in the stunned gazes of people shaken by the big hairy beast of myth and legend.
The 30-year-old has launched his own podcast called Supernatural Stories, and he’s been taping many an ad on poles in midtown Toronto, in the hopes of hearing people’s ghost stories, miracles, and strange sightings.
“It took me about two months to put together the first podcast, and I immediately started getting submissions,” he tells me, adding he’s getting a steady flow of people approaching him with stories. “People will message me, saying they saw my post. ‘Would you be interested in a time when I saw a ghost in a graveyard?’”
For me, I am always in awe of society’s fascination with the paranormal.
I’m even wading into the online publishing fray with a news website dedicated to the paranormal in Canada. Tackling it with a journalist-meets-social-anthropologist skew is what I’ve been doing with the Superstitious Times.
Although I’m going with the written word — features and news-based articles — I understand how Goodbaum’s podcast idea plays on the emotions and experiences people have with the paranormal.
It was born out of both his interest and his need to occupy his time. He suffered from an abscess and was bed-ridden. He couldn’t play music because the collateral damage was carpal tunnel in his hands.
The musician needed something to do with his studio, so why not record ghost stories and edit them for the podcast, which is available on iTunes, by the way.
Though Goodbaum’s had a few experiences with poltergeist activity and precognition, he’s still weighted in science.
“I’ve always been interested in science. The more I’ve learned from a science perspective, the more I’ve learned that the paranormal is a thing,” he assures me. “(But) I feel our world lacks spirituality and lacks a focus on consciousness and awareness of the self.
“Paranormal just fits into that awareness.”
We’re not talking about Shirley Maclaine pyramid quackery. We’re just talking about the unexplained, which with a little bit of investigation could lead to the supernatural just becoming natural.
As a person who loves social anthropology, I find ghost stories, mysterious animals and extraterrestrial visitors are some of the most consistent themes across cultures.
Why not bring everyone together over tea, scones, and ectoplasm?
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