Haunted Ohio


Just beyond the Ohio border there is a place that teenagers and young adults like to visit, in Hillsville, Pennsylvania and no one could really tell you the legends that surround the place. This is probably one of the reasons why it fascinates so many people. They refer to place as Zombieland and they aren’t really even sure why. All they know is that its spooky and weird things happen there. Fueling the excitement in this place is the long, steep, winding, country roads that are pitch black without your headlights on. The mysterious blue light that illuminates a ten foot by ten foot space in the middle of a field, the creepy, old houses that sit next to some of the roads, the old, creepy bridges. Some legends do exist that people have committed suicide in the area, but nothing really has been confirmed. However, on several occasions, missing persons from the Youngstown, Ohio area have had their bodies found in Zombieland.


In February of 1991, Kenneth Biros murdered 22 year old Tami Engstrom in a fit of rage, and then cut up her body and spread the parts out of a wide are in northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania. This took place at his Brookfield, Ohio home right near an area known as five points. His former home still stands and has become a hostpot for avid ghost hunters, searching for the ghost of Tami Engstrom. Next to his home stands abandoned railroad tracks, where people have reported numerous ghost trains.


These are just a few haunted locations around the Youngstown area to satisfy your paranormal thirsts this Halloween season. Happy hunting!


Slipknot Unmasked


In the early days, the nu metal heavyweights SLipknot tried very hard to conceal their true identities in public, but as time went by and band members branched off into various side projects such as Stone Sour and the Murderdolls, the masks are no longer a means for concealing their true identities, but instead a uniform for the band, and a means for standing out from their contemporaries. Fast forward 15 years after the release of their self titled debut and the band has had their first major changes in their lineup as bassist Paul Gray passed away in 2010 and drummer Joey Jordison exited the band a year ago.

Now we are awaiting the release of the band’s fifth album “5: The Gray Chapter,” and the band recently released the video for their new single titled “The Devil In I,” which features their new bassist and new drummer. As the band opens the new chapter in their careers, the masks once again become a symbol of concealing their identities, but you might say that everyone already knows what the core members of Slipknot look like, how are they concealing their identities? The band has worked incredibly hard to keep the secret as to who these new members might be, until the video was released…


Slipknot fans who identify themselves as Maggots, closely examined the new music video, looking for any clues that may lead them to who the new members of the band might be. Fans found those clues to be the tattoos and the size and stature of the band’s new bass player, they believed him to be former Krokodil bassist Alessandro Venturella. Slipknot’s frontman and main mouthpiece, Corey Taylor came out this week to admit that he was upset at fans leaking this information to the online forums, but he never confirmed nor denied if it was true or not, then the plot thickened…


Laura Jane Grace, the transgendered lead vocalist and guitarist of punk rock band Against Me! released tweets that accused her former drummer Jay Weinberg, the son of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, as being the new drummer for Slipknot, then she went on a Twitter bashing spree, both on her own, and bantering with fans. The tweets her quickly dismissed by Corey Taylor and had Maggots discussing the possibilities on social media. But this begs the question, have fans figured out the identities of the newest members of Slipknot, or are we being duped by a hoax perpetrated by the band?

Paul Is Dead?

Paul McCartney is dead…really, he is. At least that’s what we’ve been told for years. What is probably the biggest mystery in rock ‘n’ roll, far surpassing Elvis is still alive and whether or not the Illuminati really do run the music business, although this phenomena could be what started the latter conspiracy theory. To dive down deep into the heart of this conspiracy theory is the only way to truly find out what the real story is here. Most people would tell you that its nothing more than a crazy hoax, but others believe every word of it. Can we ever truly figure out whether or not the Paul McCartney that we all know and love today is the real Paul McCartney or is he an imposter?


It began with college students who were caught up in an obsessive trend of finding backmasked messages in popular rock songs of the time, which resulted in the discovery of a hidden Satanic message in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven,” which really wasn’t all that shocking considering that Jimmy Page was not one to hid his admiration for Aleister Crowley, but the biggest discovery that came about was hidden beneath numerous popular Beatles’s songs. The discover were clues to a massive government cover up surrounding the Beatles; Paul McCartney had died in a car accident in 1966 and was replaced by a look alike and sound alike. But what was even more eerie than the clues discovered by playing the records backwards, was the clues that had been hidden in plain view.

Fans became obsessed, looking for clues everywhere they could find them. Clues were found hidden within album artwork, with the most popular, and probably strangest being “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” an album that just contained an overwhelming amount of clues. These clues included what looked like the band standing over a fresh grave, flowers in the shape of Paul’s guitar, a model car just like the one that Paul supposedly died in, a collection of dead celebrities posed in the photo, and one that has baffled fans since the album’s release; why was Paul towering over the rest of the band in the group photo? Paul was just slightly shorter than John and George and just slightly taller than Ringo, yet in the group photo of the band, he was roughly about 6-7 inches taller than his bandmates. Could this be because this was not the real Paul McCartney?


We could seriously go on for hours, discussing clues and pointing out fallacies in the theory, but look at the examples I presented and do your own research and figure out for yourself whether or not you believe that Paul McCartney is dead or if he’s still with us.

Social Media Destroyed Independent Music Promotions


Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram, Friendster, etc.; all used to be wonderful tools for independent artists to get word out there about their art. MySpace was the pioneer at leading this revolution when they came out with their MySpace Music feature, where an artist could create an artist’s page that could prominently display their music and videos and you could connect to the artist via messages as well. It increased awareness for local and independent music. However, as things progressed and MySpace became flooded with millions of artists looking to become the next Jeffree Star or Tila Tequila who became famous just from joining MySpace Music, the site had to deal with irate users who were bombarded by friend requests from bands and artists all over the world. At this time, MySpace created an option to block requests from artist pages. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Maybe its keeping people away who wouldn’t be interested in discovering your music since its not on Top 40 radio, or it could keep away someone who may like your music and never know it. This feature was the beginning of the end.

Several years have passed since MySpace fell off the social media totem pole and Facebook lead the new social media revolution. Facebook took a different approach to the idea of artist pages, instead of a page where you can send requests to people, who now have access to all the information about your band, you have to recommend to people to go “like” your band’s page. Being that I am someone who has gone through this difficult task of self promoting, its hard to get your friends to click that little “like” button on your page. I have 1700 Facebook friends and just over 300 “likes” on my music page after 4 years.

The slow death of independent promotions really only begins there. Then you have event invites. If you have a minimum of five independent musicians among your Facebook friends then you probably get at the bare minimum 2-3 event invitations a day, not including invitations to other events from friends that are not related to independent music, that increases the amount of invites that you get to probably about 5 a day. The more friends that you have on Facebook, the more event invites that you get. Its gotten to the point where people see an event invitation and they simply ignore it, without even clicking on the page, or they RSVP without even reading what it is and then either forget to attend or just have no intention of attending from the very beginning.

Then this brings us to Tumblr and WordPress. Both sites are fantastic outlets for bringing art to a mass audience, and you can even register your Tumblr or WordPress site as a .com, making it easier to remember the address for accessing the site. This has without a doubt made artists lazier when working on promoting themselves, but its also a lot more cost effective because you no longer have to pay a large sum to a web designer and domain names are now a lot more affordable as well. But is this really the best route for artists to take? Artists such as Jay-Z and Katy Perry use WordPress to house their official websites and Davey Suicide uses Tumblr for his official website. If its good enough for them, then why isn’t it good enough for me?


An independent artist needs to learn the grass roots approach at promoting themselves, they need to start at the bottom and work their way up. When I was a young musician coming up, earning my keep, trying to gain a following, and gain some respect; I would go to shopping malls and keep flyers in my pocket and nonchalantly hand them out to people until the mall would kick me out then go and do it all again the next day. Sometimes we would even go to local venues all over the area and hang out outside, handing flyers to people as they exited, or putting flyers on cars. This is the proper way to pay your dues, if you have never done this at least once in your life as a musician, then you haven’t done it right.

A few months ago, I put together a small music festival, and in our first year of what we plan to be an annual event, we experimented with just simply using social media to advertise, until the last week when we ran a radio commercial spot, that we only ran three times before the event. Artists used word social media and nothing else to promote the festival. The turnout wasn’t bad, but it also was not all that it could have been. It made me realize that as an independent artist and/or promoter, you need to get out there and you need to make things happen, because sitting in a computer chair and simply using the internet in hopes that it will do all of the work for you, isn’t going to make you famous, and it won’t make you a success. Sure, a lot of people in Youngstown, Ohio know the name MacabreFest, but they don’t know the experience that it was.