‘Hellier’: A Syllabus

Hellier is a paranormal documentary series (produced by Planet Weird), in which a team of researchers — Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, and Tyler Strand —  begin a several-years-long investigation that begins with a strange case of Kentucky goblins (possibly aliens) and leads to a greater expansive discussion of synchronicity, the Mothman, and other strange phenomena.

As Cassandra Rose Clarke writes in her excellent discussion of the show:

“Hellier isn’t really about proving or disproving anything. It’s about following a trail. The trail starts with the doctor’s email but doesn’t track to a single line; rather, it fractals out, so that what started with an email about aliens ends with a ritual to the god Pan inside an Appalachian cave.”

Part of the trail that the team follows is research, including the reading of books and articles to expand their knowledge of the paranormal, the occult, and magic. One of the first things I wanted to do upon finishing the series was to gather together a list of all the books and media mentioned, so that I could explore them myself as an entry point into learning more about experiences of high strangeness.

Here is that list — combing works that were key to the series (such as The Mothman Prophecies and Secret Cypher of the Ufonaughts), while others were only mentioned briefly.

If I forgot to include anything, please let me know. Also, if a third season comes out, then I’ll update and expand the list to include any new material.




  • Achad, Frater, Liber Thirty One
  • Bard, Janet and Colin, The Secret Country: More Mysterious Britain
  • Brandon, Jim, The Rebirth of Pan: Hidden Faces of the American Earth Spirit
  • Branton, The Secrets Of The Mojave
  • Campbell, Joseph, The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work
  • Crowley, Aleister, The Book of the Law
  • Crowley, Aleister, The Book of Lies
  • Derenberger, Woodrow, Visitors From Lanulos
  • Derenberger,Taunia, Beyond Lanulos: Our Fifty Years With Indrid Cold
  • Greenfield, Allen, Secret Cipher of the Ufonauts
  • Hansen, George P., The Trickster and the Paranormal
  • Jung, C.G., Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle
  • Keel, John A., The Mothman Prophecies
  • Keel, John A., Flying Saucer to the Center of Your Mind: Selected Writings
  • Keel, John A., Searching for the String
  • Kirk, Robert, The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofore Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies
  • Livingstone, Josephine, “The Remarkable Persistence of the Green Man,” The New Yorker
  • Lloyd, John Uri, Etidorhpa: Strange History of a Mysterious Being and an Incredible Journey Inside the Earth
  • Mezrich, Ben, The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America’s UFO Highway
  • Moore, Robert L., The Archetype of Initiation: Sacred Space, Ritual Process, and Personal Transformation
  • Nunnelly, Barton M., The Inhumanoids: Real Encounters with Beings that can’t Exist!
  • Strieber, Whitley, Communion: A True Story
  • Thibetan, Phylos the, A Dweller on Two Planets
  • Vallée, Jacques F., Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact
  • Vallée, Jacques F., Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds

The Great X-Files Rewatch Begins – S1 E1 Pilot

The X-Files


The X-Files had a significant impact on my teenage years — not surprising since I started watching the show when I was thirteen.

Every Sunday I settled in front of the TV with my dad and we watched the latest episode. In between episodes, we chatted theories about what was really going on with the aliens, government conspiracies and other oddities the show revealed.

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Experimental Paranormal Investigations in ‘Spirits of the Stanley’

Spirits of the Stanley

The concept of the paranormal, of something beyond what we see and hear, has always fascinated me. Over the span of my life, I’ve watched a number of shows about ghost hunting and paranormal investigations.

Most recently, I’ve been captivated by Hellier (YouTube/Prime),  a show in which a team of investigators are asked to look into a strange case of Kentucky goblins — only to have the investigation spiral off into progressively weirder territory.

Two of the investigators in Hellier, Karl Pfeiffer and Connor Randall, began their work as paranormal investigators at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, a site well known for having paranormal activity and for being the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shinning. From the period of 2009 to 2016, the hotel hosted five-hour paranormal investigations for the public, which Pfeiffer and Randall participated in as guides.

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The Emotionally Charged Experience of ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch (from Giant Sparrow) is en emotionally charged game —  fluctuating between thrilling, frightening, and tragic.

Edith Finch is a young woman, who returns to her family home, hoping to learn more about her family — all of whom are dead. With so many family members having vanished or met strange and untimely deaths, Edith wants to find the truth behind the question of whether the Finches cursed or just terribly unlucky.

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‘Outlanders’ Is a Charming Community Building Game, Laced with Desperate Survival

Outlanders by Pomelo Games

Outlanders is a mobile building game (found in Apple Arcade), which has the player act as the leader of a small community — a community that requires homes, food, and resources. Each leader has his or her own personality and, therefore, has their own goals, whether they be selfish, social, or otherwise. The player is required to construct and grow the community according to those requirements, while keeping their villagers alive.

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Haunted by Grief: A Review of ‘Personal Shopper’

Personal Shopper, directed by Olivier Assayas, begins with the presence of a ghost. Maureen (Kristen Stewart) wanders through an empty house. Doors slam in the distance, things creak. She speaks a name and we see a flicker of something in the shadows behind her, though it’s not entirely clear what.

It’s a perfect set up for a horror movie — the woman alone in the house, the strange sounds, the ghost — and yet, Personal Shopper confounds the viewer by breaking with the expected tropes. Yes, there are ghosts (or something resembling them), but they are mostly harmless, just whispering figures in the dark.

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