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John M. ONeal

ABQ, New Mexico
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 37
  • helpful votes
  • 44
  • ratings
  • The Slenderman Mysteries

  • An Internet Urban Legend Comes to Life
  • By: Nick Redfern
  • Narrated by: Shaun Grindell
  • Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

It's the dead of night; you are fast asleep. Suddenly, you are wide awake but unable to move. Hunched over you in the shadows is an eight- or nine-foot-tall gaunt entity with spider-thin limbs, dressed in an old-style black suit, its pale face missing eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. You finally manage to cry out. The monstrous thing disappears as suddenly as it appeared. You just had a terrifying encounter with the Slenderman. Who - or what - is the Slenderman? His existence began on the Internet, but he didn't stay online.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Love Nick Redfern

  • By CoCoPuff on 05-25-18

A Slenderman classic!!!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

I have to admit that I have loved the works of Nick Redfern since he wrote for the "Fortean Times." I am not sure that Mr. Redfern is the greatest writer in the world, but, damn, is he entertaining. He also chooses great subject matter, and this book is no different. One of the disappointments with putting some of Redfern's books on audible in the past has been that the narrators chosen have not always been very good nor have the production values been very high. Thankfully, the narration is better here, and Nick's exploration of the Slenderman Mysteries is absolutely intriguing. Redfern, like other Fortean types (such as myself), walks that wonderful line between I can't disprove it or prove it, but I am not going to shy away from exploring it. Forteans also seem to have a terrific sense of humor, unlike those dull, unimaginative, and humorless "Skeptical Inquirer" types. (You know who you are!) Fortunately, Redfern knows a good story when he sees it, and he accomplishes that well here. This book will, ultimately, raise more questions than it answers, but it certainly explores most of the relevant theories involved. Just be careful though, it appears that the Slenderman knows when you are thinking or talking about him, so please listen with caution; otherwise, you may be paid an unwanted visit!

  • Hitler’s Monsters

  • A Supernatural History of the Third Reich
  • By: Eric Kurlander
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 18 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 56

The Nazi fascination with the occult is legendary, yet today it is often dismissed as Himmler's personal obsession or wildly overstated for its novelty. Preposterous though it was, however, supernatural thinking was inextricable from the Nazi project. The regime enlisted astrology and the paranormal, paganism, Indo-Aryan mythology, witchcraft, miracle weapons, and the lost kingdom of Atlantis in reimagining German politics and society and recasting German science and religion.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Highly Academic, yet intiguing.

  • By John M. ONeal on 07-04-18

Highly Academic, yet intiguing.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

There have been so many wild theories put forth over the years about the link between the Occult and the Nazis. Eric Kurlander, an accomplished academic and historian, sets out to explore what exactly the truth about all of this is. In order to do so, he is forced to explain the nature of many different fringe movements and beliefs of the time that impacted the thirty-three percent of the German population that the Nazis reportedly used to ride their way to power. (This is, in fact, a frightening tale that parallels some of the recent political changes in the United States, and thus proves that you only need a unified minority of the populace to gain the power of any nation.) The difficulty with this approach is that the first third of the book is pretty dry and cerebral, but crucial to understanding the basis and full depth of some of the entertaining and intriguing, yet arguably kooky, myths and propaganda that the Nazis used to keep their followers aligned and motivated. Naturally, there are some interesting characters that arise from all of this. Likewise, it depicts a group of Nazi leaders who were constantly having to alter their approach to handling their followers rather than the other way around. This does not make them sympathetic, but makes it pretty clear that those in charge were pursuing power for the sake of power rather than having a more mystical agenda; though there were those in the power structure, including Hitler himself, who turned out to have some rather bizarre interests and beliefs that are not only surprising, but entertaining.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic

  • A New Translation
  • By: Eliphas Lévi, John Michael Greer - translator, Mark Anthony Mikituk - translator
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 16 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84

Filling a huge gap in our spiritual culture, here - at last - is a comprehensive and elegant translation of the 1854 French masterwork of occult philosophy. The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic reignited the esoteric spiritual search in the West and led to the emergence of Madame Blavatsky, Manly P. Hall, and the New Age revolution.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A performance tour de force!

  • By Brian Allen on 06-29-17

Challenging, yet rewarding.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

This is not an easy listen due to the broad and complex nature of the work. However, the metaphors presented through out are colorful and profound. The ceremonies and rituals described extensive and intense. One truly gets a glimpse in this classic work of the exacting detail and passionate commitments that Occultists of yesteryear used to practice their craft. Being a curious layman of such things, I found some of this unintentionally humorous, yet enjoyable, especially the elaborate description of what is needed to evoke Satan should one really want to. (Hint: it doesn't actually seem that doing so is really a possibility considering what is involved.) On the other hand, I was touched by the practical practice of duality when it comes to working with the occult. In other words, what is above happens below and vice-versa. For those listeners who are frightened, yet curious, about such things, the writer is very careful to warn you about the idea that balancing darkness and light is crucial in order to avoid getting swept away in something unwanted, whether or not it is real or imagined. Sean Pratt, the narrator, does a tremendous job of handling difficult words and translations. This is very cerebral and challenging stuff, but worth the effort if one is willing to put in the time.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Take a Walk on the Dark Side

  • Rock and Roll Myths, Legends, and Curses
  • By: R. Gary Patterson
  • Narrated by: Mike Dawson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

Take a Walk on the Dark Side is the ultimate book for today's rock and roll fan: a fascinating compendium of facts, fictions, prophecies, premonitions, coincidences, hoaxes, doomsday scenarios, and other urban legends about some of the world's most beloved and mysterious pop icons. Updating, revising, and expanding on material from his cult classic Hellhounds on Their Trail, Patterson offers up a delectable feast of strange and occasionally frightening rock and roll tales.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening

  • By Brenda Evans on 11-06-17

Too much fun!!!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

The late/great R. Gary Patterson of Coast to Coast Fame does a wonderful job of creating a thought provoking exploration of the myths, legends, and curses of Rock and Roll. From Blues Legend Robert Johnson, who is believed to have made a pact with the Devil at the paranormal charged crossroads, to guitar great Jimmy Page's obsession with Occult Legend/Satan incarnate Aleister Crowley, this intriguing book is pure entertainment from beginning to end. It includes the 27 club and bizarre coincidence/synchronicity involving all that leave one wondering if there is, in fact, something to the idea that our rock idols and performers are, indeed, on a Highway to Hell that definitely involves the existence of the paranormal and even the mythical Devil himself. Therefore, listen at your own risk! This is quite a memorable listen to say the least. Mike Dawson, the narrator, even has that deep gravely voice of someone who might even be familiar himself with the rigors of the road.

  • Tinseltown

  • Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
  • By: William J. Mann
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,525
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,385
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,391

By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America's new favorite pastime and one of the nation's largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence; yet Hollywood's glittering ascendancy was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies - including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everybody's a dreamer...

  • By Steven on 01-08-15

Perfection when it comes to story-telling!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

The one downside to Tinseltown is that the writing, the narration, and the production values of this terrific audible production now set a new standard that few are likely to live up to. William J. Mann does a brilliant job of capturing Hollywood in the twenties by activating all five senses and thus bringing each and every player in this captivating story to life and thus unquestionable immortality. This real-life murder mystery has been explored numerous times in different forms of media, but Mann even manages to uncover yet another potential possibility in this yet to be solved mystery. Christopher Lane's narration is flawless, and he thus keeps you hanging on every word; of course, everyone depicted in this story has a motive for murder, and so it is not hard to hook the listener. This is a must-have masterpiece! Pure genius at its best!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Hunt for the Skinwalker

  • Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah
  • By: Colm A. Kelleher Ph.D
  • Narrated by: David Bendena
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 708
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 648
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 643

For more than 50 years, bizarre events at a remote Utah ranch have ranged from the perplexing to the wholly terrifying: vanishing and mutilated cattle, huge otherworldly creatures, invisible objects emitting magnetic fields, and more. For the family living at Skinwalker Ranch, life was under siege, and no one had been able to explain the horrors that surrounded them...But maybe science could. Leading a first-class team of research scientists, Colm Kelleher spent hundreds of days and nights on the Skinwalker property.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mesermizing tale of the supernatural.

  • By John M. ONeal on 02-13-18

Mesermizing tale of the supernatural.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-13-18

Would you consider the audio edition of Hunt for the Skinwalker to be better than the print version?

There is a bit of repetition in both the written book and the audio version, itself, due to the writer's insistence on backing up his observations and insights as though this book had been written more for skeptics than those more willing to accept the mysterious, haunting, and bizarre nature of the phenomena involved in this intriguing said-to-be real-life tale.

What did you like best about this story?

The subject matter is truly fascinating, especially for those who have been intrigued by the legends of Skinwalkers and the strange rumors about the Skinwalker Ranch itself. The book proposes that, perhaps, all paranormal phenomena might, in fact, be related to some degree, which is a fresh and intriguing approach in and of itself.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

David Bendena has a soft-spoken approach to the material that sometimes helps enhance the suspense of the book by drawing the listener to concentrate closer to what is being unveiled in certain scenes. At other times, this soft-spoken approach seems overdone, especially in regards to when the book is exploring history or various theories that are intent to try to help explain what was observed at the Ranch.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

I was totally intrigued by the information regarding the fact that some of the "Buffalo Soldiers" were not only stationed in the area, but had both Masonic and Occult ties. This book also does a nice job of adding various tidbits of information about the phenomena of the Skinwalker myth itself and similarities between the phenomena at Skinwalker Ranch and that which has been reportedly observed at Dulce, New Mexico.

Any additional comments?

The book seems to be trying too hard to convince skeptics of what is going on at Skinwalker Ranch. It also spends too much time laying out various possible theories, though some of what is laid out is not only important to understand what the scientists themselves are attempting to prove, but just downright interesting in and of themselves. This audio book was a great find, but leaves me wanting much more on the subject.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Hotel California

  • By: Barney Hosykns
  • Narrated by: Nick Landrum
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 134
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 121
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 120

The classic account of the LA Canyons scene between 1967 and 1976, featuring Joni Mitchell; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; The Eagles; James Taylor; and Jackson Browne. Ambition, betrayal, drugs and genius all combine with great music making.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Solid Hollywood Music History.

  • By John M. ONeal on 02-13-18

Solid Hollywood Music History.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-13-18

Would you consider the audio edition of Hotel California to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version of this book. I suspect though that I would have been tempted to gloss over certain aspects of the book itself, and thus run the risk of missing out on some interesting observations and insights. There are some really nice nuggets of insight in this book that are more interesting than the, overall, thrust of the story.

What other book might you compare Hotel California to and why?

"Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon" should be the required companion piece for this book, though "Weird Scenes" is more tabloid and conspiracy driven in nature than "Hotel California." "Weird Scenes" also deals more with all of the happenings leading up to the late sixties and, ultimately, culminates with the Manson Family; while "Hotel California" documents the gradual take over of the music business by Corporate entities and Cocaine Cowboys, which goes well into the '70s.

What does Nick Landrum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Nick Landrum does an amazing job of reading Hotel California. It seems like he really brings out the nuances of the book and the various characters involved that might otherwise be missed by a casual read of the written text.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The book does an effective job of documenting how drugs (Cocaine mostly) and the bottom line driven Corporate landscape began to suffocate and thus kill all that was creative about the early music scene in Hollywood. It also illuminates a number of interesting musical casaulties of that time that prompted me to go back and listen to their works.

Any additional comments?

This is a very serious and important look at the not particularly positive growth of the music industry in Hollywood, and how the bottom line first managers, agents, and distributors controlled what American and, to some degree, what the rest of the world would listen to. It also documents how drugs (mostly cocaine) eroded away many of the artists ability to effectively express themselves musically. Be warned that the book really slams the likes of David Geffen, David Crosby, and the "Eagles."

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Ghost Studies

  • New Perspectives on the Origins of Paranormal Experiences
  • By: Brandon Massullo
  • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings
  • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33

This fascinating book is far more than a compilation of ghost stories. The Ghost Studies provides scientific explanations for paranormal occurrences. Included are new and exciting scientific theories that explain apparitions, hauntings, and communications from the dead, and the latest research on the role of energy and electricity in hauntings.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Latest Paranormal theories and sceintific research

  • By John M. ONeal on 01-08-18

Latest Paranormal theories and sceintific research

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-08-18

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have a long time interest in the paranormal after experiencing events that I cannot explain and having worked for years in the mental health profession with various kinds of psychotic people. In truth, I still take a "I can't prove it, can't disapprove it" sort of approach to the subject. Thankfully, Brandon Massullo uses the latest in scientific based theory to explore various ideas on not only whether or not the paranormal actually exists, but what might be people experiencing if not the paranormal.

What did you like best about this story?

I am totally interested in the idea of how electromagnetic fields impact people, and how there seems to be a collective memory or a "collective unconscious" in the environment of known locations that are haunted. Massullo presents all this in a way that is not too boringly technical, yet still gives enough information to expand one's own knowledge on the subject.

What does Jeff Cummings bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Cummings gives a sold performance as the narrator. He does not get in the way of the story, and his voice is reasonably pleasing. There is an energy to his presentation that prompts one to keep exploring the text.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Go to where the scientific method breaks down and is way over it's head." Massullo is not Rupert Sheldrake when it comes to exploring that which can't be explained by science. Still, he is a working class version that gives the everyday guy like myself a glimpse into the latest theories of the paranormal without making them too technical or boring.

Any additional comments?

This is a good find! Thanks, Audible.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon

  • Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops, and the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream
  • By: David McGowan
  • Narrated by: Bill Fike
  • Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108

The very strange but nevertheless true story of the dark underbelly of a 1960s hippie utopia. Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and early 1970s was a magical place where a dizzying array of musical artists congregated to create much of the music that provided the soundtrack to those turbulent times. But there was a dark side to that scene as well. Many didn't make it out alive, and many of those deaths remain shrouded in mystery to this day.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a blast!!!

  • By John M. ONeal on 12-26-17

What a blast!!!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-26-17

Would you listen to Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon again? Why?

This is a spooky and dark (though down right fun) collection of unexplained murders, strange coincidence, and bizarre facts. Though the writer suggests that there might be a more nefarious network of conspiracy theories that exist beneath the surface, he does not waste time proposing theories that can't be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. That said, he is not subtle when it comes to pointing out their possible existence. The writer has a Jim Marrs ("Alien Agenda," "Crossfire," "Our Occulted History," and "Population Control") appreciation for a good story, even if that story might be slightly more urban myth than actual fact, though, in due respect to the writer, he does point those differences out.

What other book might you compare Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon to and why?

I have not read or listened to the book (which can also be found on Audible) myself yet, but the writer spends a lot of time quoting from "Hotel California" by Barney Hoyskns. This book reportedly covers the same territory, and is on my list to be listened to soon. I suspect that Hoyskns book might be taking a more balanced approach to the subject at hand.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are so many that I can't decide upon a particular favorite. I guess what I kind of like the most about this book is how the music scene in Los Angeles (and specifically Laurel Canyon) sort of suspiciously and mysteriously developed overnight, and how basically untalented a majority of these legends were to begin with. Most also came from military related backgrounds and were given credit for launching a major counterculture movement that many of them had no real sense of or involvement with. For most of them, they were just party hungry and sex fueled young men, who got themselves mixed up with some pretty nasty sociopaths and psychopaths (Charles Manson and company).

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I absolutely had difficulty stopping this audible presentation, that is because it is too much fun under the darkened California sun. For someone who spent thirty three years in Los Angeles and much of that time in the entertainment business itself, this book is sweet revenge on those who want to believe that social movements in this country come from the people themselves and not the power brokers of the manipulating status quo.

Any additional comments?

This book leaves me wanting more. The "City of Angels" has always had an extremely dark shadow about it, which Mike Davis covered in "City of Quartz," Kenneth Anger in "Hollywood Babylon," and William J. Mann in "Tinseltown." Though rolling around in the dark is fun at times, make sure one takes a break in the sunlight too.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Mothman Prophecies

  • By: John A. Keel
  • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 618
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 430
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 425

West Virginia, 1966. For thirteen months the town of Point Pleasant is gripped by a real-life nightmare that culminates in a tragedy that makes headlines around the world. Strange occurrences and sightings, including a bizarre winged apparition that becomes known as the Mothman, trouble this ordinary American community. And journalist John Keel, arriving to investigate the freakish events, soon finds himself an integral part of an eerie and unfathomable mystery.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Smart, compelling, disturbing

  • By Marc on 05-01-05

Fun, spooky, intriguing, and thought provoking.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-13-17

What made the experience of listening to The Mothman Prophecies the most enjoyable?

I grew up in Southeastern Ohio, and so the collapse of the Silver Bridge had a huge impact on me as a child. To connect a supernatural element to all of this makes the story spine-tingling and psychologically menacing. This was a tough audio book to put aside, because I kept finding myself wanting to hear more and more.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It is a blend of supernatural intrigue with real-life tragedy, and it is done so while completely and effectively capturing the atmosphere and essence of that particular part of the country. This is the kind of work that I can't wait to listen to again. I also like how the author seeks to explain and understand various supernatural theories and how that might apply here. This is a story that still haunts Southeastern Ohio and West Virginia.

What about Craig Wasson’s performance did you like?

I have always been a big fan of Craig Wasson. There are times when his choice of accent and infliction seem, perhaps, stereotypical and safe, but he successfully brings the full potential of the text to life. Mr. Wasson also does so without drawing attention away from the text and onto himself. This is truly a wonderful performance. I wish that Mr. Wasson would read everything that I purchase here at Audible.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This was an amazing audible experience.

Any additional comments?

The author, Craig Wasson, and the producers of this particular production should be very proud of what they accomplished.