Spirits in the Living World: The Search for Answers in the Dark

Paranormal Investigation and the Search for Answers in the Dark

by Kevin Redding

The Haunted Lane

It is a frigid night in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. A small, comfortable, white two-story apartment building sits surrounded by tiny mountains of snow and icy walkways. Past the slippery porch and through the front door, the living room is bright, loud and smells of baked ziti from the kitchen in the next room. An energetic four-year-old named Connor is hopping up and down in front of the TV, watching a burly, spandex-cladwrestler on the WWE Network slamming a man in a cape against the mat in the ring, while his mom Theresa Matthews, mid-40’s, chubby and exuding an aura of ‘cool mom’ with her wild, punk-styled hair, sits behind him on the couch. Framed on the wall above the front door is an embroidered plaque: “The love of a family makes life beautiful.”

Matt Slater, Theresa’s boyfriend, also mid-40’s sporting a huge beard, a Motorhead T-shirt, and two biceps full of tattoos, stands in the kitchen chowing down a forkful of ziti and chatting on the phone loudly, his voice boisterous and excited, while their two dogs dash through the rooms sniffing where Connor was hopping.

This is the Matthews home on a Saturday night. But it isn’t an ordinary night. Snaked between the action figures Connor has left scattered on the floor are cables and wires connected to surveillance cameras on tripods in three sections of the living room and kitchen. A long cable running up the stairs connects the wires to a small TV monitor perched on a nightstand next to a cushioned lounge chair. The monitor provides six views of individual rooms in the house.

James Mulcahy, short, with a trimmed, and thin goatee, wide blue eyes, a studded earring and a baggy black hoodie with a gray skull on the front leans over the TV, and adjusts a bulky audio recorder that glows with yellow lights. Three other people –59-year-old Arra Mowrey, with short, grandmotherly gray hair and black framed glasses, Kelli Weber, quiet and reserved with long brown hair, a tan even in the winter, and black-framed glasses, and tall, grey-haired, tatted- up and wild-eyed Edward “Awesome Ed” Bates, 45 years old– are raising tripods and running wires around the room. Each is wearing a black T-shirt with “POUGHKEEPSIE PARANORMAL” printed on the back in thick, green letters.

“I think we’re just about ready,” said Mulcahy.

This is the Matthews home on a Saturday night, host of a paranormal investigation.

After a month-long hiatus from taking on any new cases, Mulcahy and his gang of ghost hunters are back to business. Equipped with headlamps, EVP recorders to pick up any “electronic voice phenomena” from spirits that may try to communicate with them, and high-resolution flashing cameras, the ever-skeptical Mulcahy leads his group upstairs to seek out what’s reduced Matthew’s seven-year-old daughter to a bundle of screaming terror and find explanations for other strange occurrences happening in the house.

“We think that right now, the high EMF [electromotive force]readings in the house are playing a big role in terms of what they’re experiencing,” says Mulcahy, a 35-year-old local handyman whose interest inthe paranormal began with what he calls a near-death experience when he was 10 years old. “We can’t discredit the apparition. Obviously we haven’t experienced it or seen it but as far as what they’re feeling, it could be the high EMF, perhaps, causing delusion of seeing what they’re really not.”

Slater contacted Mulcahy in early January after attempting to contact various groups, including The Atlantic Paranormal Society, which became the subject of the Syfy Channel show Ghost Hunters. But, none of the groups he contacted got back to him.

“I had seen their group on Facebook,” Slater said of Poughkeepsie Paranormal. “And considering that they were local, only 15 minutes away, they just made a lot of sense. We were just looking to get some answers.”

Slater got in touch with Mulcahy on Facebook. They exchanged phone numbers, and Mulcahy spoke to Slater and Matthews together to gauge their situation and home environment. What they told him was that Matthews’ seven-year-old daughter screamed bloody murder while taking a bath one night. She would later tell her mom that she had seen a dark silhouette of a little boy in the doorway.

“That was definitely real for her,” said Matthews, who asked that her daughter’s name not be disclosed. “She was screaming. I ran up immediately, thinking something was wrong. Maybe she turned on the hot water because the way she screamed….It was a scream I had never heard from her before. It was almost like a scream she was fighting to get out. She said the little boy was just standing there, looking at her.”

“Well, just like any house, people have obviously died in here in the past,” said Slater. “I’m sure that happens.”

“I feel like when people die,” said Matthews, “they come back to where they’re comfortable.” She curled up on the couch with Slater as Mulcahy and his team headed upstairs.

There are also deep, dark footprints embedded in the wood at the far corner of the porch leading to the entrance of the apartment.

Matthews and Slater say they appeared there after a few nights of loud stomping and pacing as if someone had been outside walking back and forth deciding if they wanted to knock or not.

“It’s weird and unexplainable,” said Slater. “There are no other prints on the porch. James was saying it could be pressure treatment on the wood itself because of the weather. But it’s weird.”

Slater cited other “random, strange” happenings.

He said that a few days before he had been standing in the kitchen when he saw a framed picture fall from the edge of the cabinet in the living room “as if it was forcefully pushed off.” He said he put it back and jumped up and down on the floor to jar it off. “I’m a 200-pound guy and there was no budge.”

Is this a sign of ghosts? Mulcahy isn’t quick to draw conclusions. His main concern is “to give the family peace of mind.”

“They wanna know what’s going on, whether they’re going crazy or if there’s legitimately something in their house,” he said.“We want them to feel safe and happy in their own home. And it is their home. They should feel secure here. So we’re here to basically give them that foundation of safety.”

Mulcahy and his band of ghost-hunters, who charge nothing for their services, say it’s their mission to “assist those in need of our help with the paranormal” and vow on their website to “handle each person and case with care and the utmost respect.” The team is based, of course, in Poughkeepsie, the 75,000-inhabitant “Queen City of the Hudson,” roughly 80 miles north of Manhattan, but its members have hunted ectoplasm in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

Cases like the one at the Matthews home spring up often all over America.

Poughkeepsie Paranormal is just one of 121 registered paranormal societies in New York, according to an online directory (http://paranormalsocieties.com/) of all groups in the country, ranging from 1st Sightings Paranormal Investigations in Stony Brook, Long Island, to Northern Ghosts Paranormal Research & Investigations in Buffalo. According to Bill Wilkens, founder of the directory, the number of groups featured on the site “has grown exponentially, reaching almost 5,000 teams [around the world] earlier this year.” When he started the directory in 2007, there were only 50 groups listed.

Fueled by the popularity of reality shows focused on the supernatural and TV programs like the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and The Dead Files, Ghost Hunters on Syfy channel, My Ghost Story on Bio channel, and Long Island Medium on TLC, Paranormal Societies.com lists no fewer than 2,593 paranormal investigation groups spread across the United States.

While many cases are subtle and low-key private home investigations, instances of ghost-hunting range from urban legend exploring to touristy haunted tours of homes, commercial buildings, old prisons and abandoned mental hospitals.

Some sites achieve international notoriety.

In Texas, the San Antonio After Hours Ghost Tour, regarded as the top ghost tour in the country today ($15 for adults, $13 for children and active members of the military) guides visitors through the roads and buildings of the Alamo Mission, said to be humming with the spirits of soldiers killed in the disastrous 1836 battle.

Guests are invited to “stand in the very place where men, women and children begged for their lives while having their heads removed for recreation and revenge.” The tour’s website recommends that guests to equip themselves only with cameras, as the tour guides bring their own ghost-hunting equipment.

According to BusinessWeek, Alamo City Paranormal, which runs the “After Hours” tour owns up to $80,000 worth of ghost-detecting gear and “charges $50 and up for its investigations.”

The tour’s owner, Martin Leal, says that their revenue grew 21% since 2004. Leal has recently been trying to take his “association of a dozen local companies charging for ghost-hunting services, called the American Alliance of Professional Ghost Hunters, nationwide” according to Leal’s website.

Sites like San Antonio are paranormal magnets that pull in would-be ghostbusters and thrill-seekers from all over the country. These are the bread and butter of the ever-growing paranormal industry, heavily promoted by the tourist trade, which aid in bringing financial legitimacy to the industry, its population consisting of a motley assortment of conmen, serious scientific researchers and the just plain curious.

But there are other locales in America’s hamlets, towns and cities where things that go bump in the night are not easily blown up to be something they’re not and, in turn, empty the client’s wallet. These cases, often isolated and untapped, defy easy explanation. They are the domain of Poughkeepsie Paranormal and groups like it.

In Kansas City, Kansas, a group called Heartland Paranormal took photos of a woman holding her child as well as a skeletal face peering out the window at the site of the Battle of Black Jack, where the confrontation between abolitionist John Brown and pro-slavery forces occurred on June 2, 1856.

In Columbia, Pa., the Lights Out Paranormal group investigated an old, abandoned firehouse, which was being fixed up to serve as residential property. As documented on its website (http://lightsoutparanormal.webs.com/thekeystone.htm) the group picked up a total of three EVP voice recordings. While the first of the recordings is faint and inaudible, the others aren’t quite as lackluster. There is a low yet sinister whisper of “Get out” when one of the investigators announces that the team is downstairs. When the investigator mentions not knowing the exact time when logging the information, the same voice whispers: “It’s now. There’s a fire.”

In Washington, a group called Puget Sound Ghost Hunters investigated the Dumas Brothel, built in 1890 and reported to be the home to eerie voices, footsteps and apparitions of a woman through the hallways. The group reports logging screams, whispers, footsteps, and full-on conversations on itsaudio recorders.

And in Virginia Beach, Va., Tidewater Paranormal was calledto assist a client whose best friend and roommate committed suicide in the residence. After the group detected little activity, it performed a shamanic cleansing for good measure.

Tales of the supernatural, the dark and macabre have terrified and titillated humans from the beginning of time, but the current soar in popularity owes much to the late author Jay Anson, whose wildly popular 1977 book “The Amityville Horror” told the purportedly true story of George and Kathy Lutz, who moved into the house where 13 months before troubled 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family.

The Lutz family, terrorized by increasingly chilling occurrences, moved out of the house just 28 days after moving in on Dec. 18, 1975. George often woke up at 3:15 a.m., the exact time of the DeFeo murders, to the sound of the front door slamming, only to see that there was nothing there. Kathy would frequently discover red welts on her chest and be levitated two feet off her bed at night. Their daughter Missy developed an imaginary friend named “Jodie”, described as a pig-like creature with red eyes. Kathy and Missy would see “Jodie” throughout the house and in windows, as well as images of the devil with its head blown out in the fireplace.

The 1979 film version of Anson’s book spawned at least 10 Amityville-themed sequels and has a secure place in the pantheon of Hollywood’s supernatural-themed classics of the period, which includes The Exorcist (1973), Poltergeist (1982), The Shining (1980)and comedies like Ghostbusters (1984).

There have been well-known paranormal investigators in the United States since the late ‘60s and ’70s, most notably Ed and Lorraine Warren, whose paranormal investigations were portrayed by actors Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively, in the 2013 horror film The Conjuring

The Warrens were heavily involved in the Amityville case, examining the house alongside hand-selected paranormal reporters and crew a mere 20 days after the Lutz family moved out. Ed, a demonologist, claims to have been pushed to the ground by some unseen force after attempting to provoke any spirits in the house using crosses and holy water.

Lorraine, a clairvoyant medium, said she was pushed and overwhelmed by demonic presence in the house. She claimed she “saw” the DeFeo’s bodies along the floor in white sheets.

In an online interview, Annette Hill, author of “Paranormal Media: Audiences, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture”, tells University of York sociology professor Laurence Taylor that the spike in interest in the supernatural represents “a quite intense form of cultural participation” and that “people have this collective subconscious engagement with these experiences.”

Hill, a professor of media at Lund University in Sweden, cites a survey in her book that shows a giant rise in belief in the paranormal following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. When asked if there is a correlation between the popularity of these beliefs and historical moments, Hill says, “Yes, absolutely. You see ghost beliefs peaking at certain key moments of crisis. It could be war, it could be economic unrest, it could be religious uncertainty. And [the fact that] we look for things in unusual places to deal with uncertainty is so well-known that Business Week anticipated there would be a huge rise in paranormal beliefs as a result of the economic crisis.”

Stephen Flusberg, assistant professor of psychology at the State University of New York’s Purchase College, says that belief in the supernatural among humans is extremely widespread and can be linked to theory of mind, the ability to infer the range of mental states of others.

“Human beings are the most social creatures,” said Flusberg, “and we have evolved in ability to tune in to the minds of others. We see intentional actions everywhere we look. The side effect of this social ability is that we end up seeing intentions where there are none.”

According to Flusberg, this helps explain why belief in an afterlife, and that the mind can survive the death of the body, is natural for human beings to believe. And when it comes to those in groups who actually seek out the paranormal, there lies a major confirmation bias.

“We tend to weigh evidence, and seek out evidence that confirms our prior beliefs,” he said. “The scientific method is used explicitly to override this innate confirmation bias we all suffer from. Little noises happen, things move, things fall just because the world’s a chaotic place. It’s all within the realm of natural physics. So now I’m in a dark, supposedly haunted, house and I believe in ghosts and there’s a weird sound. There it is! Proof to support the belief!”

Ghost-hunting groups “make the conclusions based on what they see on TV and that’s a big problem,” says Loyd Auerbach, a renowned parapsychologist, adjunct professor of Integral Studies at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, Ca.,since 1983, and lecturer. “That’s like basing police work off watching Cops

Auerbach says ghost-themed reality shows have created unrealistic expectations.

“Too many people are influenced by all these shows in terms of expectations,” he says.

“Ninety percent of the people who call are just reaching out for help. Being scared is a big factor. They don’t know how to handle it. Sometimes they’re angry because the phenomena is consistent and it’s pissing them off. I’ve had to talk people down from the idea that there’s a demon in their house. Just because noises are happening, it doesn’t mean there’s an evil force in the house.”

“Lots of people get messed up from this stuff,” says paranormal investigator and theologian Paul Eno who has worked with the Warrens and the Rev. John Nicola, the Catholic priest who served as technical advisor for The Exorcist, and appeared on the Travel, Discovery and History channels, and in the short film The Devil’s Hour, which accompanied The Conjuring.

“My concern is that a lot of the people interested in the paranormal treat it like bird-watching and you can’t do that,” he said. “To go looking for the paranormal is really stupid. It’s thrill-seeking. And not to say that there aren’t good groups out there, but as a rule think it’s a really dumb thing to do.”

But, he said, “It’s such a huge industry right now and you really can’t rein it in because people are making too much money.”

Based on the production of books, e-books, paranormal TV ad revenue, movies and live events over the last 10 years, Eno estimates the paranormal craze floats a nearly $30 billion-a-year industry. And this doesn’t include sales of EMF meters, infrared video equipment and other ghost-hunting gear.

Earlier this year, Eno was speaking to a room of 230 beginning ghost hunters at a paranormal convention in Clearwater, Florida. He was asked to give a piece of advice to all the would-be thrill-seekers and what he said nobody in the room expected:

“Don’t. Don’t do it.”

And while well-educated scholars of this field, like Auerbach and Eno, don’t encourage the tactics of D.I.Y. ghost-hunters for grounded reasons, their words of wisdom have little effect on wannabe ghost-hunters, like those in Long Island Paranormal (LIPI), who meet once a week in the brightly lit garage attached to group-founder Michael Cardinuto’s one-story house in the Suffolk County hamlet of Ronkonoma. This place could be his boyhood clubhouse, ramped up with technology and testosterone.

Long Island Paranormal (LIPI) is affiliated with the American Alliance for Professional Ghosthunters, a conglomeration of 13 groups across the country and one in Ireland.

A refrigerator sits in a corner, surrounded by a few microwaves perched on the floor and on small tables along one wall. In the center of the garage, where under other circumstances you might expect to see Cardinuto’s pickup truck parked, are two long folding tables with three laptops plugged in and open for use.

Cabinets stuffed with financial data and investigative files line the walls, the color of which are obscured by what seems to be hundreds of certificates and awards and printouts of banners from locations the team has investigated.

Cardinuto, 37, works two jobs, one at Wendy’s, where his teenaged employees are very interested in his after-work hobby, and the other at Sports Authority, where his employees are more skeptical and more likely to roll their eyes.

LIPI was formed on March 8, 2003 as an outlet for an interest in urban legends and the paranormal shared by Cardinuto and his longtime friend and co-founder Rob Levine, a sales consultant for Brothers 3 Pools, a pool cleaning and installation company.

“We were so tired of hearing about all these stories and hauntings and we wanted to see for ourselves if any of this was true,” said Cardinuto, who organized the group along quasi-military lines.

He is the group’s self-styled colonel. Levine holds the rank of lieutenant colonel. With them at one recent meeting are Dimitri Haritos, a married father of two and medical biller, who serves as the group’s demonologist. He’s a second lieutenant. Pete Ferraro, head of the “psychic department” is the first sergeant. Ferraro, at the far end of the table, immersed in the laptop in front of him, fails his arms and mutters incoherently to himself throughout the night.

When Cardinuto formed the group, the major boom in paranormal hunting TV shows was still a few distant years away. The group relied on a ton on self-educating and purchasing of equipment that corresponded with what paranormal theorists were saying was needed to catch ghosts.

In 2006, referred to by Cardinuto as “a big year” for the group, LIPI launched a website (http://liparanormalinvestigators.com/) and started to buckle down to recruit members, who had to survive a rigorous interviewprocess. By 2007, the group had grown to 22 members, conducted its first home investigation—a purported haunting of a suburban home in Bayside–and started travelling out of state. “Ever since then, it’s just been skyrocketing,” said Cardinuto.

“There’s not a group out there in the world that’s like this group,” says Cardinuto. “We are probably the most organized out there. We all have different army rankings and basically the way you move up is by taking different exams based on equipment and leadership skills.”

The group hosts a weekly radio show, called “Ghost News Network” every Sunday night between 6 pm and 8 pm through Sepia Radio Network, an online, not-for-profit network devoted to the supernatural, on which LIPI members discuss local urban legends, offer a paranormal definition of the week, review equipment, and air segments such as ‘This Week in Paranormal History’, ‘Ghost Weather’ and ‘Fan Questions.’

“It’s no bullshit,” said Cardinuto. “I run this like a business.”

The group stresses the importance of technology. On any one of their probes LIPI investigators might carry a 35mm camera, a barometer to read the change in pressure caused by unseen entities, a carbon monoxide detector, digital audio recorder, digital EMF reader, static reader, thermometer, dowsing rods to track energy, a DVR system, an electrosmog meter to detect frequencies, a germanium diode to scan entity-heavy frequencies, K-2 meters, a thermal imaging projector to gauge the surface temperature of an area, and a zap checker to detect radiation.

Cardinuto says he has documents proving LIPI has spent $97,000 on its vast array of equipment, a little more than $12,000 in 2013 alone.

According to Cardinuto, the group’s money, which pays for the equipment, group trips to locations and office supplies, comes from monthly membership fees, donations, fees and honoraria from library and college presentations the group gives, an online store via their website that sells pieces of equipment like energy loss meters, for $60.00 as well as holy water necklaces for $8.00. The rest of it comes from their own pockets.

“We also come up with creative ways of gaining money,” said Levine, “like collecting scrap metal.”

The group protects its investment. Anyone who walks into Cardinuto’s headquarters hoping to join the team must study for, and pass, an exam for each piece of equipment.

“I didn’t really learn anything until I joined Long Island Paranormal,” said Haritos. “Just to become the lead investigator in this group, I had to take an over 100- question verbal question test and pass with over a 90. In order to become a lead investigator, you can’t teach other people if you don’t know everything.”

Auerbachis not impressed.

“The fact is, that none of the technology that anyone uses, myself included, can be shown to detect anything paranormal,” he said. “Certainly not any better than human beings. The equipment is not a detector of the paranormal, it’s a detection of what’s happening in the environment and, technically, can be detectors of anomalies or an unusual effect in the environment, which you must connect to a human experience. I can just walk into an old abandoned house and get an EMF reading that’s off the map. You know, pipes do that, wiring. I gotta tell ya, I’ve probably found more bad wiring in those older homes than I’ve ever found ghosts. I think I’ve recommended electricians multiple times over saying ‘you have a ghost here’ certainly.”

_____________

It’s now 8:55 p.m. and Mulcahy, Bates, and Mowrey are unwinding in the kitchen. The team is tense and tired. Mulcahy rubs his head and complains of a headache and a need for fresh air. Mowry accidentally hits a chair with her thigh. “Did you hear that?!” Bates says in a loud and disturbed tone, his wide eyes focused on the ceiling.

“I just bumped into the chair,” Mowrey says.

“I thought that was from upstairs,” Bates says, gazing suspiciously around the room and at the ceiling.

A half hour later, after gulping down some Mountain Dew and eating scraps of ziti and a breathing in a dose of fresh air, the team assembles in the crowded living room. Matthews and Slater, now joined by Slater’s 16-year-old-son and his friend, sit on the couch with one of the dogs curled between them. Mulcahy sits at one end of the coffee table. Bates and Weber lean against the TV cabinet. Each is equipped with an EVP voice recorder that will flash green if any sort of energy hovers nearby.

Mowrey sits in a cushioned chair, designated to lead the procedure and call forth any spirits.

“Anybody in here want to talk to us tonight?” Mowrey gets things started, her voice direct and serious. “Knock on the wall, stomp your feet. Let us know you’re in here. You see these little gadgets with green lights on them. If you go near them, they’ll light up in pretty colors. They won’t hurtcha.”

The room is quiet. The dog shuffles and then lets out a long, drawn-out growl.

“I’m lighting up over here,” says Weber. Her EVP recorder is flashing green at a rapid pace.

“What is he growling at?” asks Mowrey.

“I don’t know,” says Matthews, with some concern in her voice.

In the dark, the silhouette of the dog is still.

The growl lingers, on and off, sounding like a bad motor.

“He must be sensing every bit of the energy and power surge that’s circulating in this house,” says Mowrey. She addresses whatever force might be present in the room: “Can you tell us why you knocked that picture over? Did you not like it for some reason?”

The dog growls faintly.

Weber’s EVP flickers off. “Here we go.”

“We’re lit up again, I’m lit up again!” says Mowrey. “It seems like it’s not necessarily anything paranormal, but instead all power in the room and he’s sensing that.”

“Ya know the dog whistles only they can hear?” Mulcahy cuts in. “That’s pretty much what’s going on with this EMF. He’s hearing that EMF frequency coming through and it’s affecting him.”

“See, now we’re dead and he’s quiet,” says Mowrey. “But I bet the minute it goes up again, he’s gonna start growling.”

The team wrapped up the EVP procedure in an hour. They spent three hours in the Matthews home, conducted a full sweep of the rooms that were said to have had activity, with EVP scans, flash photography, and video capture, looking for any signs of orbs, a spherical globe, or energy or anything out of the ordinary at all.

After a week looking over everything they have, Mulcahy puts it bluntly: “We really didn’t find much of anything, as far as evidence goes.”

However, the team offered some speculation.

“I decided to pour some water over the footsteps on the porch and, sure enough, they were still there,” Slater said. “But I think that when the porch was being built, and the finishing had been put on it, the person that was doing it may have been standing in that specific area and forgot to finish that portion where the footprints were. So that claim was debunked as being a natural occurrence.”

Mulcahy dismissed the sight of the boy’s silhouette and things moving in the house as phenomena caused by high amounts of EMF in rooms throughout the house.

“The power lines came from the road right into the house. High EMF’s, which we detected all over, can cause headaches, migraines, nausea and hallucinations that make you see things that aren’t really there. Our brain is made up of impulses, and the electro-magnetic frequencies affects the brain in a way that we feel insane. And this will affect small children even more so.”

The falling picture? The cabinet may have been wobbly and normal vibrations caused the frame to topple.

“Logically thinking, what we like to do is debunk everything we possibly can. There were no signs of paranormal activity in that house.”

As he does after every investigation, Mulcahy went to the house to discuss the results with Matthews and Slater.

“We were satisfied with the results,” says Slater. “What they were saying made sense and it made us feel better. Those footsteps are still there but James’s explanation makes sense.”

Though it’s easy for skeptics, debunkers or scientists, to dismiss the supernatural as superstition and mock paranormal investigation as pseudo-science,a recent poll by the science news website livescience.com determined that 71% of Americans have had a paranormal experience, 34% believe in the existence of ghosts, 56% believe that ghosts are spirits of the dead (while only 2% say that they are a result of hallucinations), 37% believe that houses can be haunted and 43% believe that devil possession exists.

“I get looked at all the time,” said Poughkeepsie Paranormal’s “Awesome Ed” Bates, talking about driving the group’s Paranormal-mobile around. “People say to me, ‘Are you crazy?!’ and I go, ‘Yeah I’m crazy!’ But we’re all going to die at some point, including the naysayers. At least I know where I’m gonna be when I do!”