I was also going to name this “A Pumpkin Flavored Phil Factor”. It’s that time of year, again. Sigh. It has begun. Pumpkin flavored everything is back in stores! WTH? Seriously, are pumpkins such a wonderful delicacy that we have to flavor EVERYTHING with them? Why pumpkin? Is there any other time of year where a flavor takes over the country for a couple months? Around the winter holidays why isn’t there nog flavored everything? Around St. Patrick’s Day we’ve got our Shamrock Shakes, but that’s about it. How about this? I’m going to give you a list of ten pumpkin flavored items below and you try to guess which one isn’t real.
5. Soda pop
6. Potato chips
Guess what? They all are real! That’s too much pumpkin flavored stuff. What’s next, pumpkin-flavored fish sandwiches at McDonald’s? This time of year it’s actually an effort not to accidentally eat something pumpkin flavored. This madness must end! When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law stating that any company that produces a pumpkin flavored food item has to have it approved through a special sub-committee and if it is just too stupid of an idea they will not be allowed to sell it. If you know of any other odd pumpkin flavored foods or drinks please share them in a comment.
As always, if you enjoy what you read at #ThePhilFactor and want to support my bid for President, or Sexiest Man Alive, please hit the Facebook or Twitter share buttons.
(This is a proactive disclaimer for those who take everything waaay to seriously: This entire blog post is a joke. I am probably not seriously suggesting you do anything I say here. You’re an adult. Think for yourself.)
Does anyone remember my post from four years ago about snorting Tide Pods? This has an eerie familiarity. Yes, TikTok, the arbiter of all things cool, has brought us the NyQuil chicken challenge! At first I wondered if bored farmers were giving their chickens NyQuil and then watched them fall asleep. Knowing famers, I was a little worried what they might do to those chickens after they fell asleep. But no, there are no victims.
People are making chicken with NyQuil and it puts them to sleep. You know what else it does? It makes people feel better when they have a cold or flu! Is that so bad? I don’t think so, which is why I’m going to open a restaurant where I serve many popular dishes with different medications mixed in.
What could be better than that when you’re sick? Go to a restaurant feeling lousy, have your favorite meal and you feel better later? It’s like a Walgreens Pharmacy and Red Lobster had a baby!
The Medicine Restaurant and Bar in Birmingham, England
Come in. Let me take you to your table. Have a seat. I will need your medical history before you order. We don’t want any of those pesky allergic reactions. Take a look at the menu:
All pictures are not mine and were “borrowed” from better websites than mine.
NyQuil Chicken: A beautiful chicken breast grilled with olive oil, Mediterranean spices and NyQuil. Guaranteed to satisfy your palate, relieve cold symptoms and help you get a good nights sleep.
Ritalin Redfish Cajun Style: Enjoy this savory sea treat with cajun spices that will wake up your tongue while the Ritalin wakes up your brain. Please consult your physician before finishing your appetizer.
Anxiety Alfredo: Feeling a little anxious or over-stressed? Nothing calms my mind more than a bowl of pasta, especially when it has a little something extra soothing for your nerves. Feeling a little too gonzo? Maybe you need a little benzo. It’s what gives our alfredo that silky smooth aftertaste.
Tepezza Taco Tuesday: Problems with your thyroid? Are you’re eyes looking a little too big? Then stop by for Tepezza Taco Tuesday! If you’ve got two eyes you get two tacos for the price of one! (Tepezza did not give me consent to use the name of their medication.)
I’m just getting started. Wait until you see the drink menu. You don’t need to tip our waitresses but please pay your copay on the way out.
Anywho, it’s up to you if you add meds to your food, but please consult your physician and don’t take me seriously.
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry that I haven’t been here in six weeks. Part of the reason I haven’t blogged as frequently is that I travel for work quite a bit. A lot of my travel is to Pennsylvania. What I’ve discovered is that Pennsylvania is such a pathetically aspiring red-neck wanna be state that they’ve named a lot of their towns after other more red-necky places. Here are the top ten dumbest named towns in Pennsylvania.
Indiana: Yes, there’s an Indiana, Pennsylvania. One of the top ten most boring states is Indiana, so of course Pennsylvania looks up to Indiana.
Hecktown: Quite obviously, 150 years ago some Quaker religious maven made sure they didn’t name this Helltown. How cool would that be? The zip code would end in 666.
Wind Gap: Is it pronounced Wined Gap or Wind Gap? I know that it’s Wind Gap, but what does that even mean?
Ohio: Yes, there’s an Indiana and an Ohio, Pennsylvania. Again, they chose another boring, redneck state. It’s like Pennsylvania waited until all the other states named themselves and then stole their ideas as if no one would notice. There is also an East Texas town in Pennsylvania. Could they have been more lazy when they picked these names?￼
Climax: Ok, this isn’t rednecky, but it’s definitely fun. I’m sure the religious zealots in Hecktown probably never visit here.
Egypt: A lot of people don’t know this, but Egypt is the redneckiest of the middle Eastern countries.
Mars: I hate to beat the same drum but Mars is know as the ____ planet? It’s the red planet. The red neck planet.
Scalp Level: I have a feeling that this town was founded by some aging, balding men.
Intercourse, PA! As you would imagine, if you’re traveling in Pennsylvania, you get to Intercourse, PA before Climax, PA. There’s quite obviously a battle between good and depravity in Pennsylvania.
Trust me, there are plenty more oddly named places in Pennsylvania. I’m curious though, what are the oddest town or street names that you’ve come across in your life?
So last Friday I posted this picture of myself on social media. Every Friday this summer I’m posting a pick of myself in a Hawaiian shirt. I have quite a collection.
But the picture above garnered more comments and attention than my usual Hawaiian shirt pictures. I bet that some of you know why. I didn’t and was surprised why this shirt caught peoples attention. About 60% of the pineapples on the shirt are upside down. I thought that was odd, but just figured that Old Navy was getting rid of some misprint shirts cheap. I was very naïve for thinking that.
Traditionally the pineapple is a symbol of welcoming. Flags and signs like the one above can be seen all over the world indicating welcome and friendship. Apparently some people use the upside down pineapple as a symbol of being really, really friendly.
As it turns out, the upside down pineapple when displayed on your clothing or as a decoration on your house indicates that you’re a swinger! According to google, the informal definition of the word swinger is “a person who engages in group sex or the swapping of sexual partners.”
Now all those pineapple upside down cakes that my mom used to make suddenly seem very suspicious. That could explain why us kids had to go to bed when they invited the neighbors over for parties in the basement. Now I’m wondering if our basement was a secret sex dungeon. I’m also wondering if Old Navy is really a swingers cult. When does the deception end? Is my dad really my dad, or was it my next door neighbor? Now that I’ve worn the shirt, am I a swinger? Is someone swinging with me right now?!!?
When the weather turns cold I’m getting this sweatshirt
Suddenly thanks to one of my favorite fruits, my whole life is a lie. If you want to read a little more about swinger symbols so you can either encourage or avoid attention read this fun article from Men’s Health magazine. And if you are an upside down pineapple, well, you already know what to do! ; )
Something weird has been going on. Fellow bloggers, do you look at your stats as much as I do? I like to see what people searched that brought them to my blogs, and where the searchers are from. Almost once a week over the past year I found that someone has been getting to my blog through libguides.np.edu . That wasn’t a search engine that I’m familiar with, so I went to the link.
libguides.np.edu is a library search engine for National Park College in Hot Springs, Arkansas. As far as I know, I don’t know anyone from Arkansas. Is it one of you fellow bloggers? Could it be that my books are in the library at National Park College? Could it possibly be one of the friendly librarians at National Park College?
Your Friendly Librarians
Kristen, Lynn, are you fans of The Phil Factor? Or could it be a student? I don’t think it’s a student. 18 year olds are bit out of my demographic. The mystery of the consistent views from this small college is driving me crazy. If you are the National Park College visitor, please say hello in the comments section below.
What I’m secretly hoping is that someone who works at National Park College in Hot Springs, Arkansas is a huge fan of #ThePhilFactor so much so that they invite me to be a speaker at graduation or for the ceremony welcoming incoming freshman. I would give a hell of an inspiring speech. Kristin & Lynn, do you think you could help me with that? I’m a published author. You could do worse. If not, could you at least get my books in your library?
Fellow bloggers, what are some of the oddest quirky things you’ve come across in your stats? Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
Back in the day when I was cranking out five posts a week, one of them was Music Monday. I have eclectic tastes in music and modern alternative rock is one of my favorite genres. I figured the title of this song was perfect to fit in with my paranormal binge over the past month.
I first heard this Lizzy McAlpine song about a month ago and was immediately hooked. I’ve always enjoyed a song that tells a story full of quirky details. This song, All My Ghosts is almost perfect. I hope you enjoy it and it gets your toes tapping to start your Monday.
After I spent an evening learning about what Monroe County Paranormal Investigations does, I was fortunate to be able to go on a ghost hunt with them two days later. To be clear, this wasn’t an investigation. Myself and several others bought tickets to join M.C.P.I for a mini-class on the tools they use and how they use them in a location with a haunted history. The location was the Union Tavern in Rochester, N.Y. The structure, pictured above, has quite a past. It’s first known history dates back to 1819.
The property was first owned by a renowned pirate. Later in the 1800’s it was rumored to be part of the Underground Railroad. During the 1930’s, when recreational alcohol was outlawed, it was a speakeasy (secret bar). Since then it has passed through several hands as a bar/restaurant. The one thing that has been consistent throughout it’s history is reports of paranormal activity. The Monroe County Paranormal Investigations had been here before for a requested investigation and found strong evidence of invisible entities in the restaurant, including several reports of a little boy who catches people that fall on the stairs.
After a brief introduction to their tools the investigators gave us some of their equipment and set us loose in the restaurant that was closed for this event. I didn’t take many pictures because it was quite dimly lit inside and I didn’t want to use my flash.
I found this in the basement. I think it was a plant.
The pros had brought with them a digital voice recorder that they left running throughout, an EMF meter, an infrared camera, and some dowsing rods, and a thing that can make a laser grid on a wall so you can see if anything passes through it.
The first thing I was able to watch was Rob, the founder of MCPI, sit down at a table in an area of the restaurant where there had been previous reports of ghost sightings. He held out his EMF meter
He spoke aloud asking if anyone was there to come close to his meter. At first nothing, but a few minutes later his meter made a noise and the red bulbs lit up. Then he asked the entity to come closer and make the meter light up again. It did. He next used a name that the owners provided for the ghost that they see in this area of the bar. “If this is Leann, come close to my meter to light it up.” And it did. He asked Leann if she liked cooking and baking. The meter lit up again. Rob pushed out a chair and asked her to sit down. Keep in mind that he wasn’t holding the meter in his hand the whole time. He set the meter down on the table and it still seemed as if the ghost was responding to brief questions. After about five minutes of interaction Leann the ghost may have wandered off.
Here’s my part of the story. The half dozen others who had joined myself and the MCPI had quickly grabbed the available EMF meters and infrared thermometers, leaving me with dowsing rods. Yes, dowsing rods like the kind used 200 years ago to find water. See the vertical hollow handles where it’s thicker? That’s where you hold them. You’re not actually touching the rods themselves. They are lightweight and very sensitive to movement. Someone whose hands shake nervously shouldn’t even bother trying to use these.
I didn’t mind getting “stuck” with these instead of an electronic meter. They just seemed more organic to me. After Rob’s conversation with Leann tailed off, I wandered away from the others down the bar. I held the dowsing rods and asked if anyone was there if they could push the rods together. At first it seemed like they moved, but I didn’t feel that I held my hands steady enough. So I planted my elbows on the bar to stabilize my arms. I waited until the dowsing rods were completely still for about ten seconds, and I said softly “If anyone is here can you push the rods together?” I felt cold goosebumps sweep across my body and suddenly the rods that were pointing straight out moved towards each other until they crossed. I was excited, but skeptically cautious. I wanted to see it again to be sure I was getting a response.
I planted my elbows solidly and waited until the rods were still. I again said “If you are still here, please push the rods together.” Again, after my question, the rods seemed to almost jump together. The difference this time was that two young guys that had showed up with all the latest ghost hunting tech were near where I was conducting my experiment. As the rods moved one of the guys with an EMF meter suddenly said, “I’m getting a good reading here!”
Later I moved upstairs and found a back room that no one seemed interested in. I thought, “If I was a ghost, I’d go in here to get away from all these people.” I steadied my hands and waited. Then I whispered again, asking for someone to cross the rods. They started to move tenuously. just a little. I again asked the entity to “push them harder, to make them cross.” After my second ask I felt the goosebumps sweep over me and the rods again seemed to move on their own. I heard noise just outside the doorway and it was a guy with a meter who excitedly said, “Hey, I just got a big reading.”
Keep in mind that we were probably walking around that bar for about 90 minutes and I only had two ten second interactions. Ghost hunting can be boring sometimes too. What’s my verdict? Did I really interact with a ghost? My answer is Probably. I’m telling you, when I got those responses, my hands were as still as a statue. The rods seemed to almost jump that first time. Plus the tech ghost hunters seemed to confirm what my goosebumps were telling me. I walked all over that place repeating that same routine, but all I got was those two brief instances. I’d like to thank the gang at MCPI for a great education and experience!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my ghost stories. What do you think? Do ghosts exist?Have a great Sunday! ~Phil
Who remembers what movie those ghosts are from? It’s one of my favorite paranormal movies. If you haven’t read Part 1 of my interview with the paranormal investigators from the Monroe County Paranormal Investigations, scroll back and read that too. These guys are interesting and funny.
Me: What was the funniest thing that ever happened during an investigation?
Rob: “The bed” is probably the funniest. So we’re investigating this house in the city. I am not a little person.
Brian: Neither am I.
Rob: Brian and I together; not little people. We’re investigating this home. We have two brand new investigators working together downstairs. We’re upstairs. I’m sitting on a bed, and I say, “Brian, come over here and look at this. You’ll see how the light is reflecting.” He sits on the bed and the bed collapses.
Brian: Not quietly! Baboom!
Rob: There’s a huge crash and between the two of us there’s 140 pounds of humanity. It lands on the floor. The two brand new investigators were downstairs and the homeowner says, “What was that?”
Brian: I was on the floor crying, laughing thinking “Oh my God. What are we gonna do?” One of the new investigators yells up the stairs “Are you ok?”
Rob: Do you know how hard it is to yell “We’re ok” while you’re laughing?
Later the whole team talked a lot about feeling evil in the air when they enter some haunted places. All four of them indicated that at one time or another they had felt something, an energy upon entering a structure or room that had made them emotionally upset or fearful.
Rob: It was an explosion of energy in that one location. It was such an emotional intense event that I didn’t sleep for a week. I slept maybe ten minutes at a stretch and every time I closed my eyes I would wake up and I would swear my hands were covered in blood and there were police cars in my driveway coming to get me. I texted Stacey and I said “I don’t know what any of this means, but there’s a rose colored heart, there’s an egg, somebody painted the word love, and there’s a motorcycle. I don’t know what any of that means.”
Stacey: So I was doing research on the case Rob is referring to. I wanted to know more and know where the person was buried. I went to the cemetery. The stone was rose colored, and there was her face.
Rob: It was an old picture and it had faded so it was just an oval egg. The guy behind her stone was a biker so he had put a Harley Davidson little thing on top of his gravestone.
Stacey: Then there was a little plaque that said “love” in white.
Brian: The only kind of advice that I’ll typically give to people, if you have activity in your home is this. Imagine, if you’re dead and don’t know, if somebody comes into their home, you’re going to be like “Hey! Hello? What are you doing here?” And they’re not hearing or responding to you, you’re going to make noise, Smack, bang bang bang, right?
What if instead, when you get home you said, “Hey, thanks for watching the house for us today”? You just acknowledge them. It is amazing how many times that when we tell people to do that, everything quiets down.”
Me: I agree with that last piece of advice. It’s what I did in my house. There’s so much more they said that I could go on a few more pages. I sincerely want to thank everyone at M.C.P.I. for enduring my questions and allowing me to accompany them on a ghost hunt two days later. If you want to hear how that went, come back Saturday morning!
If you’re in the States, Happy Paranormal Day! If you’re elsewhere, just enjoy your regular day and read my interview with some real ghost hunters. To be fair, I’ll say that they are not ghostbusters or ghost hunters. They are Paranormal Investigators, and I was fortunate to spend some time with them.
The gentlemen in question are not all gentlemen. There are some ladies that like to get spooky too. About a week and a half ago I went to a presentation by the members of the Monroe County Paranormal Investigations. The MCPI is a not-for-profit organization. When a home or business owner calls them to request an investigation they will not be charged a penny. To me, that gives this organization credibility. They do what they do for the mystery and science of it. As an organization, they have done investigations in over one thousand homes and businesses. Below are my questions and their answers edited for length.
Me: Do you ever disagree about what you’ve seen, heard, or experienced?
Rob: “Every. Single. Investigation.”
Brian: Yep. The one with the football thing; we almost had a knock-down, drag-out over that. I’m just like Nope. Nope.”
Rob: “He was convinced that because it was only moving, the little lights on the wall were only moving that much, that it wasn’t movement. But that much is movement! If it moves that much it’s moving!”
Brian: But I was arguing that the thing is this big and it’s only moving such a…”
Rob: Movement is movement! It moved Jerry! (Seinfeld reference. If you get it, you win 50 Phil Factor dollars to spend in the gift shop on the way out)
Picture courtesy of Live Science
Me: Has there ever been a time when you were emotionally moved by an encounter?
Rob: Brian and I were called to a case. Healthy 27 year old people die. It sucks. We went out, we sat down for over three hours. We investigated for maybe 20 minutes. For the other two hours and forty minutes we listened to this woman’s story. Her 27 y.o. daughter went to a doctors appointment on Thursday, was given a clean bill of health. She was dead on Saturday. The only thing that happened was on Friday, her husband, who was in the military had come home. They knew that the husband was both verbally and physically abusive. So they attributed that to what happened.
Brian: The girls mother was insistent, obsessed.
Rob: Because of this, she had lost her job, alienated her husband, and basically made her other younger daughter feel like she was completely invisible because she became obsessed. There was an autopsy done. Natural causes. There was nothing founded. There was a second autopsy, same result. The state reviewed the autopsy and found nothing different. She got so obsessed that she was collecting cans and bottles to come up with $5000 for a renowned expert to do another autopsy. We got so emotionally involved in that case that Brian has actually been to the cemetery with flowers for the young ladies grave.
Brian: The mother, I think we’re kind of painting her in a negative light. She was a sweetheart. Her grief had driven her to do all this stuff. As paranormal investigators, there’s a lot of grief that we deal with. A lot of times what we do ends up being counseling. Sometimes there may not be anything going on in their home. They just want there to be.
Rob: Do you think people want to be haunted? Of course. You had an argument with someone and they pass away and you didn’t get a chance to resolve the argument.
Phil speaking to my readers: There is plenty more to the interview. Part 2 will post on Thursday. I found that last story about the grieving woman surprising and fascinating. You never see that side of paranormal investigations on the ghost hunting TV shows. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments. On Saturday I’ll post my experience going on a ghost hunt with them. Have a great Tuesday!
May 3rd is National Paranormal Day! Yup, that’s a real thing and the perfect excuse to talk to you about ghosts. The question is, do ghosts exist? Several surveys asked this question and found that anywhere from 40-57% of people do believe in ghosts. Are you one of them?
There are also many scientists that don’t believe that ghosts exist. and here are some of their theories:
1. The Power of Suggestion: If someone tells you a place you are visiting is haunted, you’re more likely to report having seen a ghost than people who were told that the same location was being renovated. If you look at something ambiguous and want to see a ghost, you’re more likely to see what you want.
2. Magnetic fields and “infrasounds”: Science shows that applying various electromagnetic fields to someone’s brain could cause perception of haunting or a presence. Several studies have linked infrasound, which is audio frequencies that are below the level the human ear perceives sounds, to induce bizarre sensations.
3. Toxic hallucinations:Another explanation offered is the brains reaction to poisons such as carbon monoxide, pesticides, and mold.
4. Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations:These I am personally familiar with, and you might be too. Hypnagogic hallucinations occur when you are falling asleep but not in REM, or dreaming sleep yet, and hypnopompic hallucinations occur when you are waking up but not all the way out of REM sleep. Another feature of these hallucinations is sleep paralysis. This is when you perceive yourself to be awake, but really aren’t, and you are unable to move your body. Often during this state you may also see things that aren’t really there. I know this is a legit thing, so if someone tells me they saw a ghost when they were lying in bed, I’m skeptical.
5. Those orbs on ghost hunting TV shows… It’s been proven by the Paranormal Photography Investigations Center (R.I.T. Professor Andrew Davidhazy) that those are not ghosts but are just airborne dust close to the lens and caught in the light of the camera.
My thought: In the right circumstances these explanations may be a legitimate reason that some people believe they’ve seen ghosts. But what about the other times when the conditions listed above are not present?
We just reviewed the science against ghosts being real. Guess what? There are also some scientists that argue in favor of ghosts existing.
Picture courtesy of Higgypop.com
In an article published in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Dr. Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona concluded that it was possible to measure the presence of spirit by an increase in photons in an otherwise black box when a spirit appeared inside the box. Dr. Schwartz has written several books on his experiments on multiple paranormal subjects. You can find his book here on Amazon. Dr. Schwartz isn’t the only one doing photons and laser grids to prove the existence of ghosts. If you click this link you can find hundreds of other similar articles.
Two days ago I went to a presentation by some local paranormal experts and tonight I’m going on a ghost hunt with them. If I come back alive tonight, I’ll give you my perspective in a couple posts near and on National Paranormal Day!
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor.