All posts by Chris Walden

Chris Walden is a multifaceted guy with a background in technology, writing, and theatrical production. He is the force behind Mythmade Productions in Austin, Texas and enjoys creating unique experiences for people that go beyond mere entertainment. He lives in Cedar Park with his wife, daughter and some number of cats. He is a regular correspondent for Saul Ravencrafts activities.

The third shoe drops

by Chris Walden

They say that some events, like meaningful deaths in one’s life, happen in threes. This has been one of those months. Three voices who greatly affected me in my life have been silenced.

Photo of Ed Solomon in his later yearsThe first was my dear friend, Ed Solomon. He was the last one I encountered, and the first to leave, January 4th. Ed was a music teacher, father, grandfather, storyteller, entertainer, and so many, many other things. I met him over the phone, connected by our mutual interests in magic, theatre and stories. We talked on the phone and corresponded for years. During the last couple of months before he suffered the final, debilitating stroke that ultimately took him from us, I spent several days with him, sharing things about technology, life, art and everything. Ed’s memorial service was last Sunday. There I met many other people who had been affected by having Ed in their lives. They were from all walks of life and all of them expressed admiration of what he accomplished and how he had gently and profoundly transformed them. I wish I had met Mr. Solomon earlier. I could have used him during some of my early years of fumbling. I’m very fortunate, however, that I did meet him, and through him all the others who are now a part of my life.

Leonard Nimoy at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona.
Photo by Gage Skidmore

On February 27, we lost Leonard Nimoy. I first discovered Nimoy portraying Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek series, which I watched eagerly in syndication as a kid. Spock was in tune with his emotions. He still had them, but he governed them, using logic and his intellect. As a young, curious person who didn’t necessarily fit the norms (even in the 1970s) Nimoy’s textured performance of this character resonated with me. If Spock could survive the slings and arrows of Doctor McCoy, surely I could get through what was being thrown at me. Of course, by this time, Nimoy had left Star Trek and was now the host of In Search Of, the weekly program about the strange, the odd and the unusual. I reveled in discovering the world of UFOs, ghosts, psychic phenomena and all manner of weird things that still deeply interest me. These were parts for Nimoy…acting jobs. My real introduction to Nimoy was through his art. He was a writer, a poet, a photographer and a filmmaker. His book, I Am Not Spock, gave me a look behind the scenes about how being so closely associated with a single character affected him. It was illuminating to see how Nimoy could speak so profoundly to me through his acting while suffering his own versions of frustration and insecurity. Of course, later in his life he wrote another book, I Am Spock, where he had come to the other side of much of this and acknowledged how much of his life and success was predicated from his relationship with his Vulcan side. Nimoy was 83, the same age as Ed Solomon, when he passed. This may not be a coincidence.

Photo of Terry Pratchett on Day 2 of the 2012 New York Comic Con
Photo by Luigi Novi

Finally, today, the third shoe dropped. Terry Pratchett, a fantasy and science fiction writer, whose writing has becoming very entangled with my own view of the world. Pratchett’s writing was funny, even silly. It was satirical storytelling that covered everything from bureaucracy to religion, fame, magic, the apocalypse… He was an equal opportunity offender and an incredible word smith who gave me some of my favorite quotes from such memorable characters as Death, Granny Weatherwax, and many others. (Here is just a taste of his wonderful way with words.) In life, Terry was an atheist, which fascinated me, because I found some amazingly spiritual ideas in his writing… ideas that influenced my own spirituality. I’m sure he would have found that amusing, like someone who sees Jesus in a knock-knock joke, but it is a fact. He created a place in my brain where I could appreciate the humanity in many of the things that people take very seriously. Like Ed Solomon, like Leonard Nimoy, Terry Pratchett made me think. It wasn’t the sort of regurgitation that we think of as learning, but a real, open-ended approach to thought where the answer was not predetermined. Terry was suffering from an uncommon form of Alzheimer’s. It finally claimed him on March 12.

So, three voices who echo in my brain, who have actually helped shaped some of those brainwaves, are no longer here. They have moved on. In the case of Ed Solomon, I wrote a brief story (more a scene) describing what I feel waited for Ed as he left us. It flowed so quickly from my mind that I wonder if I was merely taking dictation. I hope that Leonard Nimoy and Terry Pratchett also found something wonderful waiting for them, whether they believed in it or not.

For myself, I will miss their voices. I have a rich history to revisit, and I imagine I will do quite a bit of that, again and again. But I am especially conscious that history is all I will have. There will be no new words or ideas, just new discoveries as I find new understandings in the existing canon. The new ideas, the new words are now up to me. That is always the way. We are guided and shaped by people, but eventually it is up to us.

Ed Solomon, Leonard Nimoy, and Terry Pratchett, thank you for the positive influences you have had on my view of the universe. Your body of work will continue to influence others for who knows how long. Rest in peace.

Shadow Hour Archive – Healing Energies with Elizabeth Ohmer Pellegrin – 1/26/2011

The Shadow HourUPDATE: 3/27/2015  Elizabeth contacted me recently about this interview and I was only too glad to expedite getting it up on the web. I have spoken to a number of energy workers and I find the topic fascinating. My own explorations into extra-sensory perceptions have been more vague. I do believe, however, that there are people who can and do detect and manipulate energies in ways that I cannot fully grasp. Enjoy! [cMw]


For years, shamans and healers have used energies to influence people who have disease and other afflictions.  Elizabeth Ohmer Pellegrin is a Reiki practitioner who will share her insights about these techniques and what they might mean to us.

See Elizabeth’s blog for some of her personal reflections.

Visit her web site at nolareiki.com
Reiki Alliance Website: reikialliance.com
Hear a radio interview with Phyllis Furumoto: reikitalkshow.com — her grandmother brought Reiki to the west in the late 1930s from Japan
Office of the Grandmaster, Phyllis Furumoto usuishikiryohoreiki.com

The  opening and closing themes for the Shadow Hour are from the piece Glassy Shadows by Adam Certamin Bownik and is available on Jamendo.

(Download mp3)

The Shadow Hour Archive – Ouija – 6/9/2010

The Shadow HourUPDATE: 4/13/2015  The Ouija™ board remains a very controversial subject. A favorite gateway to evil in horror movies and stories, it’s hard to imagine that anything good could come of these devices. In fact, I dug this episode out when Larry Flaxman, a periodic guest on the show, posted a question as to whether anyone had ever had positive experiences with these things. To my perspective, talking boards are tools. If you use them you should prepare them properly and use them with some care. Enjoy this decidedly different exploration of Ouija™ with my guests on this classic episode.

Chris Walden


Many people have strong feelings about the Ouija™ board. (Actually Ouija™ is a trademark for the product manufactured and sold by Parker Brothers, a toy and game company. The generic term is “talking board.”) Is it simply a game? It is manufactured by a toy company and sold in toy stores. Yet we are warned again and again that talking boards are doorways to dark entities, demons and our worst fears in the unseen world.

Tina Fiorda and Tilde Cameron have a different view of the subject. Their work, “A Book of Insight, ” not only discusses the talking board, but was authored in part through communication through such a device. It promises to be an unusual program which may change your view, or strengthen what you already believe.

Cover for "A Book of Insight"
You can check out Tilde’s and Tina’s work “A Book of Insight” through the Shadow Hour Store.
 - GlassicismThe opening and closing themes for the Shadow Hour are from the piece Glassy Shadows by Adam Certamin Bownik and is available on Jamendo.

The Shadow Hour Archive – Dr. Rita Louise and Dark Angels – 4/21/2010

The last time that Dr. Rita Louise was on the program we touched on her newest book, Dark Angels, and the mysterious entities that can attach themselves to people. We’re going to revisit this topic in much greater detail and talk about the nature of these beings, how people become attached and what, if anything, can be done about it. It looks to be a disturbing episode.

(Download the mp3)

Product Details

Buy Rita’s book, Dark Angels, now, through the Shadow Hour store.

See more about Dr. Rita’s energy work and training at her web site:  http://www.soulhealer.com/
Here is information about Mr. Brooks, the film that we discussed.

 - GlassicismThe  opening and closing themes for the Shadow Hour are from the piece Glassy Shadows by Adam Certamin Bownik and is available on Jamendo.

Shadow Hour Archive – Ed Solomon and our stories 7/9/2009

The Shadow Hour

UPDATE: 12/30/2014 Today I am about to take a road trip to say goodbye to a dear friend. Ed Solomon was a mentor, a kind spirit and a positive spirit in my life.

photo of Ed Solomon contemplating a skull
Master storyteller, Ed Solomon

He always encouraged me in my exploration of off-centered entertainment. In one of our many conversations he was telling me about the value of storytelling and why he thought it was so fundamental to people. At the time I was broadcasting The Shadow Hour and thought this would be an interesting conversation for our listeners.

Ed was unsure how this would go, but he trusted me. We got on the phone and he gave a stellar hour of his time.

Ed was a band director and musician who helped introduce thousands of middle school students to the joy of music. He was a writer, magician and storyteller who used the very old school approach to teaching and exploring the questions of being human with his tales of wonder. He was a kind man who cared so much for others and wished them to be the best in whatever they were.

Today, December 30, 2014, he has been moved into a hospice care facility.  Today I will make the 2-hour drive and share my thoughts and those of others as I say goodbye to my dear friend. I will miss him terribly.

Here is Ed Solomon as I like to think of him, a wise soul, a great thinker, a marvelous storyteller.

(Download mp3)

UPDATE: 3/8/2015 Ed passed on January 4. Today we all gathered to say our final goodbyes by, what else?, telling stories about how he had influenced our lives. His reach and impact on people was much broader than I ever knew. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to have him in my life.

The Shadow Hour Archive – Horror expert Professor Griffin talks about what scares us 6/24/2009

The Shadow HourUPDATE: 4/19/2015  This marked my first conversation with Joseph Fotinos, who portrayed horror host, Professor Griffin. Joseph is deeply passionate about horror and we share a lot of similar tastes. We ended up going into extra innings, with me trying to get the broadcasting tool to grant us more time on the fly… something I had never tried before. [Chris Walden]

Photo of Professor Grifinn with a canister of film spinning on top of his headTV horror host, Professor Griffin, talks to us about the history of horror and what scares us.  He is a treasure chest of horror film knowledge and should have some fun stories about the past, present and future of horror.

(Download mp3)

 - GlassicismThe  opening and closing themes for the Shadow Hour are from the piece Glassy Shadows by Adam Certamin Bownik and is available on Jamendo.

 

The Shadow Hour Archive – Chris Brethwaite, near death experiences – 6/17/2009

Check out the International Association for Near-Death Studies at their web site: http://www.iands.org/

 


 - Glassicism
The  opening and closing themes for the Shadow Hour are from the piece Glassy Shadows by Adam Certamin Bownik and is available on Jamendo.

The Shadow Hour Archive – Jason Offutt and Shadow People – 6/10/2009

The Shadow HourUPDATE: 6/1/2014  This episode marks my first conversation with Jason Offutt, discussing his book DARKNESS WALKS: The Shadow People Among Us. This is an area of the paranormal that I find truly disturbing. I understand that psychology and physiology have various explanations for the things that people see, but there is something one hears in people’s personal experiences that doesn’t feel like a simply mistaken perception.  This episode has a few chills, even today.

Chris Walden

(Download the mp3)

The Shadow Hour Archive – Vampires Among Us – 6/3/2009

Shadow Hour logoUPDATE: 5/8/2014  I went to a gathering of weird magicians in Connecticut. It was a wonderful time making the acquaintance of others who, like me, were working to make entertainment for people who carry Halloween in their hearts all year round. One of them was a striking figure. Long, dark hair and pale skin, he performed under the name of Vlad and easily made you believe that he was a creature of the night… not of this world.

Vlad was (and is) a really nice guy and has always been very supportive of me. When I found out that his interest in vampires was more than merely theatrical, I knew I had to have him on The Shadow Hour. We set it up and I had my very own interview with a vampire! I learned a lot in talking with Vlad. He was patient with my ignorance as I stumbled into the understanding that there is always a basis in truth to the tales and legends. I learned about the people who consider themselves to be vampires and who act on it. I’m deeply grateful that he took the time and opened up as much as he did about something that is deeply personal.  I hope you enjoy revisiting it.

Chris Walden

(Dowload MP3)

 

The Shadow Hour Archive – Don Dennis and TSPI – 5/27/2009

The Shadow HourUPDATE 4/22/2014  I love how this happened and the ripples it caused in my life. Now that I had some momentum with the program I was constantly looking for sources for news and guests. I had a collection of elaborate saved Google searches that helped me look for paranormal news that did not overlap with other things. (It was weird how many paranormal searches would collide with sports stories.)

In that news I found a story about a ghost investigation group who had arranged a cleanup day for a historic cemetery in Beaumont, Texas. Most of my exposure to “ghost hunters” was from television and I was really pleased to see a group who was showing such respect for the dead. I contacted Don and he was my first Ghost Group Guest. Of course, that wasn’t the end of the story… but I’ll save some of that for later. At this point neither one of us know what’s ahead.

Don and I are still in touch, by the way. He’s a good guy.

Chris Walden

(Download MP3)