Aloha, spooky nerds!
When I set out to collect the week’s best in paranormal pop culture news, I knew ahead of time I wanted to give a shout to Netflix’s Dead End: Paranormal Park. I have been waiting to check it out for some time, and it delivered as an emotionally intelligent, fun show for all ages. And I figured there would be other movie and TV news within the realm of the weird. What I did not expect was the real deal stuff that dropped this week. Not only did China release a report about alien civilizations but the whole dang city of Amarillo, Texas went on record with a video still of… something caught on camera.
Before we dive in, don’t forget to continue the strange talk with our weekly paranormal pop culture Talking Strange podcast and video series hosted by yours truly, and available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube!
China Telescope May Have Picked Up Signs of Alien Life?
China’s Science and Technology Daily this week published, then deleted, a report saying its Skye Eye — the world’s largest radio telescope, which launched in 2020 — had detected signs of alien life. According to Time, the telescope picked up narrow-band electromagnetic signals that differed from the usual ones, and the report cited “Zhang Tonjie, chief scientist of an extraterrestrial civilization search team co-founded by Beijing Normal University, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Berkeley.””
The Science and Technology Daily is a state-backed newspaper reporting on the Chinese ministry of science and technology. Why the report was pulled remains unclear, but Futurism interviewed SETI researcher Dan Werthimer who said, “The signals that we found so far are all [radio frequency] interference, they’re not from extraterrestrials, they’re from terrestrials.” Werthimer added that this interference (from televisions, cell phones, satellites, etc) is a big challenge when trying to detect signals from off-world, but remains optimistic that there is indeed life out there. But for the moment, it seems likely Sky Eye didn’t tune into E.T. so much as F.M.
Boo, Bitch Teases “A Motherf*%king Ghost”
Netflix unveiled the trailer for Boo, Bitch, its new limited series comedy starring Lana Condor as a teen who wants to make the most of her afterlife. Coming from the minds behind Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and On My Block, the show is described by Netflix as about a “high school senior, who’s lived her life safely under the radar, seizes the opportunity to change her narrative and start living an epic life, only to find out the next morning … she’s a motherf*%king ghost.”
The supernatural rules of Boo, Bitch are unclear but it appears that Condor’s character, Erika Vu, maintains a physical form as she sets out to become social media famous as a ghost. Joining her for the mission is Zoe Colletti as her BFF Gia. The series also stars Mason Versaw as Jake C., Aparna Brielle as Riley, Tenzing Norgay Trainor as Gavin, and Jason Genao as Devon. The show hits Netflix on July 8.
Dead End: Paranormal Park Premieres with Spooky Heart
Speaking of Netflix, the new animated kids show Dead End: Paranormal Park premiered this week to positive reviews. Based on Hamish Steele’s DeadEndia graphic novels, the show focuses on Barney (voiced by Zach Barack), a trans teenager who seeks a place to belong, and goes with his friend Norma (Kody Kavitha) to work at the theme park of deceased movie star Pauline Phoenix (drag icon Coco Peru). The park turns out to be haunted and infested with demons and ghoulies, and there’s even a talking possessed dog (Alex Brightman).
The Verge’s review states, “Dead End introduces its players and lays out its premise within the first 15 minutes of its premiere 30-minute-long episode and quickly settles into a rhythm that falls somewhere between Disney’s Gravity Falls and Cartoon Network’s Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends.” The show is charming, sweet, and also humorously, and effectively, pays homage to horror classics.
It should be noted that, back in May, a group of five Republican senators — Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mike Braun (R-IN), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) — expressed concern about the show, along with Nickelodeon’s Danger Force and The Loud House, and Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The senators called the shows “hypersexualized” without specifying details, and asked the TV Parental Guidelines Advisory Board to update its rating system. With Dead End, apparently the senators are triggered by a children’s show, suitable for ages seven and up, for having a trans main character. The fact they are so concerned about this is the truly scary part.
Amarillo, Texas Has a Chupacabra Problem
Look, we don’t report every single ghost, UFO, or cryptid sighting, but when something bubbles up into the mainstream, and is being talked about on official channels? Well, that’s when we perk up. Such was the case this week when the City of Amarillo’s Twitter account tweeted out an image from the Amarillo Zoo that puzzled the folks in Texas.
According to the tweet, “The Amarillo Zoo captured a strange image outside the zoo in the dark and early morning hours of May 21 (around 1:25 a.m.). Is it a person with a strange hat who likes to walk at night? A chupacabra? Do you have any ideas of what this UAO- Unidentified Amarillo Object could be?”
Whatever the tall, bipedal figure is, some Twitter users claimed it was an identifiable person, while others postulated it was the Coors Light Wolf or even Rocket Raccoon. Those are preferable to a potential skinwalker or wendigo, which are shapeshifting entities from indigenous cultures who are not to be trifled with. For that matter, if it is Rocket Raccoon, he can kinda be a pain to deal with as well.
This Week on Talking Strange
To celebrate Pride month, we are joined this week by author and paranormal researcher Ken Summers to discuss his book Queer Hauntings: True Tales of Gay and Lesbian Ghosts. Ken chats with us about famous LGBTQ+ ghosts from history — Truman Capote! Aleister Crowley! The Ladies of Llangollen! — as well as intersex deities within various folklore and religions.
Until next time: Be kind, stay spooky, and keep it weird.