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Your Paracast Newsletter — May 12, 2024

Free episodes:

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
The Paracast Newsletter
May 12, 2024


Take a Fascinating Trip Through Modern Folklore, Strange Experiences and the Legends and Myths of Advanced Ancient Civilizations with Special Guest Gareth Rees on The Paracast!

The Paracast is released every Sunday and available from our site, https://www.theparacast.com, your favorite podcast app, and the IRN Internet Radio Network. All episodes from 2023 and 2024 now feature better audio and fewer ads.

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This Week's Episode: Take an exciting trip through modern folklore, strange experiences and the legends and myths of advanced ancient civilizations with special guest Gareth Rees. Speaking with Gene and cohost Tim Swartz, you’ll discover how modern myths and folklore of place have always driven Gareth’s writing and he has contributed weird fiction and horror stories to numerous anthologies. His new book is “Sunken Lands: a Journey Through Lost Kingdoms and Flooded Worlds,” published by Elliott & Thompson. It’s an exploration of lost worlds, starting in the UK, then going out to the Bay of Naples and the Louisiana wetlands. It is about how folklore and mythology cling to places and carry messages from the deep past in a time of climate change. Gareth’s first book was “Marshland,” about a deep map of a semi-rural former industrial edgeland in the middle of London, blending factual writing with weird fiction. His second book, “The Stone Tide,” is an autobiographical work about Hastings on the East Sussex coast, where he wrote about the mavericks who have gravitated there: Aleister Crowley, John Logie Baird, Alex Sanders, Teilhard De Chardin. “Car Park Life,” his third book, is about parking lots, where he explores the boring spaces around chain stores, superstores, retail parks. Even though there’s nothing really paranormal in it, the process of extracting meaning from the mundane could be described as magical.

After The Paracast — Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on May 12: Author and folklorist Gareth Rees continues his discussion with Gene and cohost Tim Swartz about modern folklore. He explains how he first got into the subject, the beginnings of his ongoing explorations. He also talks about his book, "Car Park Life," which is about such mundane things as parking lots, or car parks as they are known in the UK. He explains how such random journeys around the countryside inspired him and served as the source for compelling information in his book on the topic. Even though there's nothing really paranormal in it, the process of extracting meaning from the mundane could be described as magical. Duncan Barford, from the podcast "occult experiments in the home" writes: "Rees, and all psychogeographers, I think, are making this transition away from technic and into magick, focusing on the potential for meaning that these spaces provide, and resisting the function that has been imposed upon them and that might also be imposed upon us when we enter into them." All and all, it's a fascinating journey with surprising results.

Reminder: Please don't forget to visit our famous Paracast Community Forums for the latest news/views/debates on all things paranormal: The Paracast Community Forums. Visit our new online shop for great branded merchandise at: https://www.theparacast.shop.

I Remember David Biedny
By Gene Steinberg

When I try to recall when I first encountered David Biedny, I have to wonder whether it wasn’t a little surreal.

So in 2002 I started up one of the early Internet-based radio shows, originally entitled The Mac Night Owl LIVE. It focused largely on Apple gear, but I later changed the name to The Tech Night Owl LIVE to support that company’s foray into consumer electronics that led, eventually, to the introduction of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and other gear.

Out of the blue, I got a letter from one David Biedny. He came across as if he’d known me for a long time, but his name didn’t ring a bell. I got the impression he might have met me a time or two because we both worked for tech magazines, such as Macworld and MacUser, during the 1990s and early 2000s.

David had carved out a stellar career. He did a stint as a special effects designer for Industrial Light and Magic, and his work appeared in such films as “Terminator 2” and “Hook.”

He wrote one of the first comprehensive books on Adobe Photoshop, the industry standard image editing app. Entitled “Adobe Photoshop Handbook,” it was regarded as the best of the breed. He also hosted weekly sessions at Yale, where his graphics expertise was on display.

For a time, he produced offbeat, humorous segments for another online tech radio show, and indicated he might want to work with me instead. Thus came the David Biedny Zone, which we introduced with a theme reminiscent of Twilight Zone.

It was my first exposure to David’s unpredictable, off-the-wall, funny, satirical and sometimes angry views of the tech world. He was never boring, and we got a good reaction to his periodic appearances.

One day in late 2005, we got to talking after recording a segment, and I realized that we shared an interest in UFOs and other paranormal subjects. We even read some of the same books.

Somewhere during this conversation, it hit me. I hadn’t really followed the world of the strange and unknown that much after the second iteration of my magazine, Caveat Emptor, ended its run more than a decade earlier. I hadn’t lost interest, but the pressure of putting food on the table, being a father and all the little daily affairs of life set my attention elsewhere.

Indeed, on the night of March 13, 1997, I was actually writing a large book that provided hints and tips for users of Macintosh personal computers. Yes, I did listen to Art Bell on his Coast2Coast AM radio show from time to time, but the events of the day were not on my radar.

I was living in a small city surrounding Phoenix, AZ at the time. That night, the Phoenix Lights appeared, but I was otherwise occupied and never heard of it until I read the newspaper accounts the following morning.

I later wondered whether I would have actually seen something strange if I just stopped and looked out the window.

Anyway, that talk with David was the springboard for the launch of The Paracast. Only we didn’t finalize the name, then. We considered Paracast World, and began to record the first episode.

One of our first guests, prolific paranormal author Brad Steiger, said make it simple. Thus came the final title: The Paracast. And, yes, I did thank Brad profusely for his help.

The Paracast premiered on February 28, 2006, a 90-minute episode featuring Brad and the UFO field’s notorious court jester, Jim Moseley.

There was no budget, no publicity. We streamed new episodes on Apple’s QuickTime, and posted links to the show using Apple’s iTunes podcast feature.

Despite the lack of promotion, The Paracast’s sometimes skeptical and irreverent approach to the offbeat caught on. Somewhere along the line, listeners called us “the gold standard of paranormal radio.”

The very qualities that David brought to his “Zone” segments on my tech show were in full force. Sometimes he could be downright infuriating, out of control. Otherwise, his brilliant, skeptical mind helped us put a guest’s feet to the fire if they were in any way deceptive.

I remember one episode, back in 2007, where David’s amazing originality delivered the question nobody ever seemed to ask. So he wondered whether the guest, flying saucer contactee Jim Sparks, ever had to use the bathroom during his day-long presence aboard a craft.

Sparks stammered, but finally blurted out something evasive about managing to hold it in during his visit. But it was nonetheless true that such experiencers, as in every episode of a Star Trek series, never thought about relieving themselves.

Now David also had to confront his demons. His moods could change drastically. One day he called and begged me to ban him from The Paracast Community Forums for a while. He couldn’t control himself and might just say things he could never take back.

He was also a UFO experiencer, he said, reporting at least two unusual encounters that he described in great detail on the show. He also brought on a friend to relate the strange outcome of a trip they took from Boston to New York City. What was usually a four-hour trip took just two hours. And David swore they weren’t speeding, something that would have been near-impossible in such a traffic-heavy corridor.

In late 2009, David’s life seemed in shambles, based on what he told me. His girlfriend broke up with him on Facebook, and he had a personal tragedy to confront in his own family. By early 2010, he wrote and said he couldn’t take it anymore. His presence as cohost of The Paracast was hurting his real job, as a graphic designer. Thus, he had to quit.

I knew of some of his personal troubles, but his decision was a big surprise, out of the blue. I asked him to stay on, but he refused. Although his departure left The Paracast at the crossroads, I soldiered on. Until I selected a new cohost, there was a rotating selection of special guests handling those chores.

After his resignation, David’s behavior became even more erratic. At first, he continued to post in the forums.

Then the troubles began.

One of the regular sponsors of The Paracast was the long-departed UFO Magazine, edited then by Bill and Nancy Barnes. But David had a falling out with them over something they said about government UFO disinformation agents. I’m serious.

So we stopped carrying the ads.

After David quit the show, I asked him if he had any problem with resuming those ads, and he said he didn’t. Well, at least until we actually ran one of them on the next episode.

He freaked and posted an anger-filled message expressing his feelings of deep betrayal in the forums. I called him and asked him what was up. He did, after all accept the return of UFO Magazine ads.

But he denied saying such a thing. I said, fine, I’ll remove them. He said “truce” and ended the conversation.

The very next day, he initiated an online flamewar against me, one that continued for several years. Whenever I attempted to mollify him and settle the dispute, his responses consisted of threats of all sorts that I’d rather not repeat.

Over the years, he also hosted a podcast on a local radio outlet in Upstate New York, called “Angry Human.” That title said it all. Evidently it was discontinued in 2015.

That was then.

But one evening last year, my wife, Barbara, came to our home office area with her iPhone. She asked me to talk to someone who had called via Apple’s FaceTime; it was an audio call.

The voice on the phone was only vaguely familiar, very manic, and he was hard to follow. I asked him his name, and he said, “David.”

“David who?” I responded.

“David, David Biedny” he said.

His nervous voice was barely recognizable.

I tried to calm him down long enough to have a real conversation without much success. After a few minutes, he just hung up in the middle of a sentence.

So was this David, or someone playing games? I wondered, and wrote to him asking if he really called me. The Caller ID display had the correct number, but he never answered.

Until he called me a few weeks later, and we had yet another disjointed, manic discussion. Again, he hung up mid-sentence.

I left him a voicemail with no response.

I didn’t know until later that he had withdrawn from the online world and was in ill health. He died in his sleep on January 29 of this year. He was only 61. But I didn’t hear of his passing until Don Ecker, of Dark Matters radio, posted a message of David’s passing in our forums a couple of days before I wrote this column.

David Biedny was an original, always frustrating, endlessly profane, incredibly funny, a true original. Although he unexpectedly behaved as my enemy for a time, I never held it against him

I treated those two phone calls as his attempt to mend fences. I only wish that he stayed with us long enough for us to have a long talk.

Alas it was not to be.

Rest in peace, David Biedny. I hope and pray you have finally found peace.

Note: We have reposted the premiere episode of The Paracast from 2006, featuring three amazing individuals who are no longer with us: David, Jim Moseley and Brad Steiger.

Here’s the link:

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Long time on and off listener to your show and just read the newsletter about David Biedny. Just wanted to say I thought your words were kind, gracious, thoughtful and straightforward in light of what must've been a difficult time when he left the show under a bit of a cloud.