With Halloween just two days away, the LKL blog asked Dr. Katherine Ramsland of Investigation Discovery’s “American Occult” 5 Questions about the not so spooky, but rather, very scary real life killers and their link to ritualistic dark subcultures.
Ghosts and ghouls have nothing on these satanic worshipping killers. Read below to find out more!
LKL BLOG: Your show “American Occult” deals with strange rituals, kidnappings, and other mysteries, do these occurrences increase around Halloween?
Dr. Ramsland: They don’t increase so much, but they certainly get more visibility around Halloween because people are very aware about dark things, there are a lot of T.V. programs and what not that focus on Halloween, but typically people who are attracted to this kind of thing are doing it at anytime of the year.
LKL BLOG: What’s scarier to you – the supernatural, such as ghosts, or real-life folks involved in underground cults?
Dr. Ramsland: Well definitely the real life things because ghosts aren’t really that scary to me. I’ve been in many haunted houses and what not and ghosts don’t hurt you and keep you prisoner and torture you and things like that the way people can do. The kinds of things people think up to do to others is to me so creepily inventive and that’s what fascinates me and that’s really what is scary. People are really capable of doing some of the things we portray in the program.
LKL BLOG: How common are these subcultures?
Dr. Ramsland: Well, it’s hard to say because so many of them operate in secret. Only when someone gets arrested or somebody turns in the others do we find out about them. It’s hard to put a number on it. I wouldn’t say they are common, but I would say they could pop up really literally anywhere in the country.
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Filed under: 5 Questions
The LKL blog spoke with television star Paul Reiser as he changes pace in his career to focus on music. Pairing with Grammy winning music producer, Julia Fordham, Reiser is making music and sending a message to the families of the US troops.
LKL Blog: You’ve been a musician since before your television fame, but you are most famous for your acting roles. If you had to choose: acting or music & why?
Reiser: There's been something oddly parallel about this music project with Julia Fordham and the new TV show I'm doing. They both started "by accident," ironically in the same month. Over the course of 6 months, all the songs and all the scripts were written at the same time. We recorded the album while we were preparing to shoot the show, and now they're both coming out roughly at the same time. Even though they're totally unrelated, they kind of feed off each other in a strange way.
LKL Blog: The first single on the album “Unusual Suspects” you wrote with Julia Fordham, “UnSung Hero” focuses on families of the troops. How did this collaboration come about & what has the response to “UnSung Hero” been like?
Reiser: I had been a fan of Julia and we met years ago, through a mutual friend. And then sometime last year, we bumped in to each other again and I kind of crazily asked her if she felt like writing together. We gave it a shot – and it worked, and we kept going.
"UnSung Hero" has really taken on a life of its own. It was the last song written, and like all the other songs, I sent Julia some music and waited to see where it took her. As fate would have it, the very next day, she struck up a conversation with a woman whose son is serving in Afghanistan. And her story really impacted Julia, who as a mother of a five year-old, was really struck with what that must mean; to have your child on the other side of the world, directly in harm's way. The song just came to her in one shot. And as soon as we recorded it we felt that we had stumbled onto something special. It just felt so universal.
We were invited to perform the song a few weeks ago at a benefit in Los Angeles for Wounded Warriors Project, and the response was truly humbling. The audience was filled with military families – some with loved ones in combat as we speak, some with soldiers who've returned and are still finding their bearings. They could not have been more passionate about how the song hit them. The thing about Julia's lyrics is that they're so simple and direct. No matter what your politics may be, everyone knows what it feels like to be separated from those you love.
LKL Blog: It’s clear from your work on the piano for the “Mad About You” theme song that you can play & write music. Can you sing?
Reiser: Not at all! And when I do sing, my children ask me to stop. I leave the singing to Julia – who has one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard. She has this phenomenal range, and sings with such emotional honesty – she just kills me. The biggest thrill of this process was getting to hear one of my truly favorite singers in the world sing sitting right next to me. It was a genuine treat.
LKL Blog: You have been a student of music for years. Who inspired you to pursue music initially & who continues to influence you today?
Reiser: It was something that i just seemed to take to as a kid. We had a piano in the house growing up, and I just kind of gravitated to it. And my tastes are really all across the board. Growing up, it was the Beatles and Ray Charles and Aretha, then Cream and the Allman Brothers, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel... kind of all over the place. Lyle Lovett to Muse. And I've always loved the really somber classical guys – Rachmaninoff, Sibelius. And any movie with a score by Ennio Morricone.
LKL Blog: You’re currently working on scripts for the “The Paul Reiser Show” on NBC. The series is about a former television star who hasn’t worked on a series in a few years. How autobiographical will the show be?
Reiser: It's pretty darn close, to tell you the truth. I play me – a very happily married man with two great boys and a group of friends I never actually picked. All my friends are either the husbands of my wife's friends, or fathers of my kids' friends. I never particularly chose these guys – yet I got them. (I'm finding out that most guys my age seem to feel the same way.) My "character" is kind of figuring out what he wants to with the rest of his life. When I was approached about creating a new show, I had been happily staying at home for ten years, but was starting to get the nagging sensation that I probably should be getting out of the house once in a while and doing something. So... here I go.
To see the video of "UnSung Heros" go to www.juliafordham.com.
Staten Island natives, Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio, directors of the documentary “CROPSEY,” answer our 5 Questions about the urban legend of “Cropsey.”
A real killer or just a campfire boogey man story? They investigated! Below, read about the disturbing results.
Also, click here for more information on "CROPSEY," the documentary airing on Investigation Discovery and at select screenings across the country.
LKL Blog: Who, or what, is “Cropsey?”
Joshua: It depends on the context of what we’re talking about. For us, “Cropsey” was the name that we assigned to the kind of urban legend that centered around the Willowbrook State School when we were growing up in Staten Island. It was a name given to the escaped mental patient who lived in the tunnels and would come after us with an ax if we wandered into the grounds. At the same time, “Cropsey’s” also a much larger, well known urban legend where a respected member of the community who goes vacationing somewhere in the woods with his wife and newborn child. Some counselors, campers, and Boy Scouts, end up burning down the cabin. His wife and child are killed and he goes mad with revenge. He ends up, a year later, on the anniversary of their death, taking revenge with an ax.
LKL Blog: So when did the urban legend of “Cropsey” become a reality?
Barbara: When Josh and I first met, we talked immediately about what happened to Jennifer Schweiger. We both remembered that time period when we were 15 or 16 years old, the summer all our neighbors and people around the island came out to look for her. We also knew the urban legend of “Cropsey.” We talked a little bit about when we were kids we would always play in the area in the woods surrounding the Willowbrook State School. Over the years from 1972, when Geraldo first broke the story, to 1987, when the institution shut down, going into the woods, playing manhunt or having these parties when we were teenagers, it was always this kind of scary, go into the woods and scare yourself. That was also, when Jennifer disappeared, the location where she was found. When we went back to go over all the kids who had disappeared off the island, and really make that connection, we were able to see “Cropsey” was an urban legend that really came true.
LKL Blog: Friday the 13th, the most superstitious day on the calendar, as you’re delving into this, and realizing what’s going on, and realizing it’s true, what’s scarier, an urban legend or a real life killer?
Joshua: It’s a combination. It’s one thing when you think of it as a child, but then as an adult, now you can put the really scary details to it, knowing that it’s true, it makes it that much more scary. When Barbara and I were making this movie, we’re adults, we may as well been 15 walking in the woods. There is nothing scarier. It’s like Scooby Doo! We’re all tiptoeing, holding on to each other, completely scared. Truth is scarier than fiction. This could happen to you or to any body you know, and I think that’s what makes it really scary.
Filed under: 5 Questions Crime
Michael J. Fox is an award-winning actor, activist, and New York Times bestselling author. He’s also a high school drop-out who’s earned a Ph.D. in real life. Michael shares his hard-earned wisdom in the new book: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FUTURE: TWISTS AND TURNS AND LESSONS LEARNED – which is perfectly timed for the graduation season.
He talked about the book, his on-going battle with Parkinson’s, and other topics as he answered "5 Questions" for the LKL Blog.
LKL Blog: If readers could take away just one thing from your new book, what do you most hope that would be?
Michael J. Fox: Well, it’s that education is great but that if you think it’s going to be the blueprint for you life to follow for a desired or expected outcome, then you’re wrong. Life is really what happens when stuff goes wrong. And you find yourself able to rise to the occasion and learn from new opportunities that come out of losses. It’s just – hang on and enjoy.
LKL Blog: Besides your own, what’s your favorite book and what’s the appeal of it for you?
Fox: Oh, boy. There are so many books that I love. I’m just going off the top of my head here, but probably “All of the Pretty Horses.” Just because McCarthy is such a brilliant writer. There’s a great line in there and I’m not going to get the quote right, but the young protagonist is talking to this woman in Mexico, this older kind of woman, and she said, ‘Whatever it is, you never get it.’ Whatever that prize is, you’re never going to get it. It’s never going to happen because you’ll realize it’s not what you thought it would be.
So it ties into something I learned at one point in my life and that I’ve really taken to heart, which is that your happiness grows in direct proportion to your acceptance and an inverse proportion to your expectations. It’s really about acceptance.
LKL Blog: It’s been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Do you agree or disagree with that and why?
Fox: You know I quote in the book, I quote [retired basketball coach] John Wooden and he’s great, he says, ‘It’s what you learn after you already know everything that really matters.’ And that’s what it is. I mean, a lot of knowledge is probably worse than a little knowledge because it’s all fluid. I mean, no matter how much you know, expect to learn more and more. And know that your truth may not be somebody else’s truth. So you have to be willing to change the way you look at things and you can learn from other people’s knowledge and it may give you something new.
Filed under: 5 Questions LKL Web Exclusive Michael J. Fox
Betty White's both been adored and adorable in her distinguished six decade career. Saturday, she will be honored with the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be simulcast on TNT and TBS at 7 pm ET. She took some time out of her busy week to play "5 Questions."
LKL Blog: You have been in some of the most popular and most loved television shows of all time – is there a particular show, character or memory that stands out for you? Why?
White: It’s a tossup between Sue Ann and Rose – because of the wonderful writing.
LKL Blog: Your friend, Sandra Bullock, is going to be presenting you with the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award on January 23rd. What’s the secret to being having such a long, respected comedy career?
White: Incredible good luck and loving the work.
LKL Blog: You’ve held your own – and then some – with some of the biggest comedians out there over the years. And you are known for your impeccable comedic timing. When did you realize you could make people laugh?
White: I grew up with parents who both had a great sense of humor. We loved to kid each other and we laughed a lot. I’m a very happy only child.
LKL Blog: People have come to know and adore you as the dim-witted but loveable Rose Nylund from the Golden Girls…and the man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens from the Mary Tyler Moore show, among other characters you’ve played – but who is the real Betty White? What interests you? What do you like to do in your spare time? What would people be surprised to learn about you?
White: They used to as my husband, Allen Ludden, that when I was playing Sue Ann Nivens, the Happy Homemaker who could do everything cook, sew, broadcast, etc. His answer was “They are like the same person except Betty can’t cook.” I like to think I’m more like Rose Nylund as she was such a positive thinker. What interests me? Anything to do with nature – space, astronomy, science. And in my spare time – well, there really isn’t any.
LKL Blog: You’re a passionate advocate for animals and have been for many years…how did you become interested in speaking out for them?
White: I am deeply involved in animal health and welfare. I’ve been with Morris Animal Foundation for 43 years. We fund humane studies into specific diseases for dogs, cats, horses and zoo and wildlife.
Bonus Question: Larry King is about to celebrate his 25th year on CNN and I’m sure he’d appreciate your advice – any thoughts for him on how to have a long and successful television career?
White: Congratulations to Larry on his 25th year on CNN! Advice? I would like him to advise me!
Filed under: 5 Questions LKL Web Exclusive
Sting took some time out of his concert stop at New York's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine to talk to us about his Christmas memories, and the mystique of winter. His new album, "If On A Winter's Night," is available now. Sting will also be performing on the LKL Christmas music show, airing Dec. 23rd. We taped the performance earlier this week and it's incredible.
LKL Blog: What are your fondest childhood holiday memories?
Sting: I think when it snowed it made my little gray industrial town into this magical landscape. And I used to work with my daddy on the milk grounds, so we were the first people at 5 in the morning to disturb the snow. So that memory for me was magical, even though it was cold, and after a few hours I was pretty miserable. When we first went out there it was great. I still love the snow.
LKL Blog: What do you like to do to celebrate the holidays now?
Sting: My greatest Christmas gift is for my six children to come home, and we sit around the fire, and we talk about what's happened to us in the year, and what we've done, and what we hope to achieve next year. Just sitting with them, with the fire on, and a few dogs around, that's the greatest gift I could ever have.
LKL Blog: Why did you decide to do an album centered on the winter season?
Sting: The record company said to me, "Why don't you do a Christmas record," and I said, "I'm not really into Frosty the Snowman, I don't really like Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, and I'm not that into Santa Clause." So I said why don't we consider doing an album about the winter, because it's a very rich season. It's full of imagery, ghosts and spirits, and magical stories. So I said let me do that. So I spent 6 months doing research, looking at songs from many centuries, many different kind of genres - folk songs, classical songs, sacred songs. We ended up with "If On A Winter's Night" and it's doing incredibly well, much better than anyone expected. I'm thrilled.
LKL Blog: What do you like to do in winter?
Sting: Well, I ski, I snowboard, I love to walk. I like to walk with my dogs in the snow. I like the winter. It's a season that's important for reflection. Animals hibernate, humans reflect.
LKL Blog: And are you now sporting the beard for winter warmth?
Sting: Last year I was in an opera in Paris, and I was the star, and I played Dionysis, the Greek God, so they made me get this beard, and I kind of liked it. My wife breeds Irish wolfhounds, so it's not so far removed from the dogs, so it gets me more affection.
Filed under: 5 Questions LKL Web Exclusive Music Sting
Christian music singer Steven Curtis Chapman’s 5-year-old daughter, Maria, was killed in an accident involving the family car 18 months ago. Cutris sits down with us to answer “5 Questions” about his faith, family and new album, “Beauty Will Rise,” a collection of songs that helped him cope with the tragedy.
Chapman will be one of Larry's guests on a special "Heroes" themed show at 8pm ET on Thanksgiving night.
LKL Blog: When you write, you draw on your faith, your experiences and your struggles - but how difficult was it to do this one in light of what you've been through in the past year and a half?
Steven Curtis Chapman
Chapman: Emotionally, it was the most difficult songs to ever write. But at the same time, they were - because I wasn't writing songs, really - all of the rules, all of the normal processes that I think through when I’m writing a song, I'm always thinking about the listener, I’m always thinking about the general rule – is this going to connect to someone who's driving down the road, will it connect to their life? What are the commonalities in all of that? But honestly, these songs were me literally just sitting down, writing in my journal, pouring my heart out. I’m not trying to think about how is anybody going to hear this. In that way, they were some of the easiest songs that I’ve ever written. But emotionally, the hardest for sure, because what it cost for these songs to come to be. But in terms of just pouring out my heart – they just kind of happened. They just came out.
LKL Blog: Was this the first time you were writing for yourself instead of for your audience?
Chapman: You know, that's a great way to put it. I haven't really thought of it in those terms but probably so. Definitely the first time I've ever written a collection of songs this way. I'd say there have been songs over the years that I've written that have been pretty selfish - like I'm just going to write this, probably nobody will ever hear it. I'm a terrible journaler. I've probably got 20 or 30 journals I've started just laying around the house somewhere. Every Christmas I get another one and say, "Ok, this is the year I'm going to be a good journaler." I'm just not good at that. I think these are – as I say – my musical journals. So definitely these are the ones just written the most for myself in this journey, and my family.
Filed under: 5 Questions Larry King Live
Editor's note: Personal finance expert, Suze Orman, is a frequent guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and writes a regular column for “O” magazine. We asked her to answer “5 Questions” about Oprah’s announcement on ending her popular talk show in 2011.
Programming note: Suze Orman will be one of Larry’s guests tonight, along with Oprah’s friend, Gayle King, and Oprah’s 4th grade teacher, Mary Alice Duncan, to talk about how Oprah is doing after her big announcement last week. Tune in at 9pm ET / 6pm PT to hear what they have to say!
LKL Blog: Tell me about your first experience meeting Oprah?
Suze Orman: It was at the start of 1998. I could not have been more nervous if I tried. Oh my god I was going to meet Oprah Winfrey and be on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I was like a little kid with nervousness, excitement and butterflies overtaking every part of my mind and body. This particular show was to be about a woman by the name of Lorna Wendt who was gong through a divorce with her husband Gary Wendt, who was CEO of GE Capital at the time. She wanted half of their joint estate in the divorce settlement, totaling about 50 million dollars for her, but was slated to get only 10 million dollars. She was not pleased with that amount and was voicing her opinion about it nationally. Obviously my segment was about divorce and the ramifications and emotional stress that one goes through in regards to money.
The producer in charge of my segment, Katie Davis, called me on the stage to take my place and get ready for the segment I was there to do. As I was brought on to the stage, Oprah came over and stood right there next to me. Obviously Oprah could feel and see how nervous I was; and before I knew it she reached out and held my hand in hers.
There I was, shaking and sweating all over Oprah Winfrey’s hand. All I could think was oh my God, I can’t sweat in Oprah’s hand like this. So I very gently removed my sweaty little palm from hers. As soon as I did that she looked at me and grabbed my hand back again this time holding it with a far firmer grasp. She held my clammy little hand in hers till she was ready to sit down and start our segment. There was not much time left in the show, maybe three minutes in total, but enough for Oprah to ask me a question that went something like this: “What is the key to life?” Okay now! As I sat there thinking, “Hey that was not a question I was told she was going to ask now what am I going to do,” I thought for a second and without missing a beat, I found myself saying something like this: “When you can be as happy in your sadness as you are in your happiness, then you know the key to life.”
With that Oprah looked at me and said, “We are gong to have to do an entire hour show on you.” She said goodbye to everyone and then she got up and was gone. I sat there all by myself in shock as I kept saying, “Did I just hear Oprah say she was gong to do an entire show with me?” Did that really just happen? Sure enough March of 1998 we did our first hour show together and the rest is history.
NOTE: Tonight on LKL we will be discussing the new federal advisory board recommendations concerning mammograms for women (to read more about their recommendations, CLICK HERE).
Peter Criss, original drummer and founding member of the rock band, KISS, shares his story of overcoming breast cancer. While many people think breast cancer doesn’t affect men, they are wrong: In 2009, there will be an estimated 1,910 cases of breast cancer diagnosed among men in this country, according to the National Cancer Institute. Of those cases, 440 deaths are expected. For women, the numbers are much higher: an estimated 192,370 women in the U.S will be diagnosed, with 40,170 deaths. Doctors stress early detection can save your life. This blog originally appeared on Oct. 27th.
Peter Criss answered our “5 Questions” about his diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
1. LKL Blog: First of all, how are you doing? We've read that you are cancer free?
Peter Criss: I am doing great thank you for asking. Yes I am thank God cancer free!!
Peter Criss, 63, says of his breast cancer, "Early detection saved my life."
2. LKL Blog: There's a lot of awareness and information out there about breast cancer – but most of it has to do with women. Frankly, a lot of people don't realize men get it too. How did you discover that you had breast cancer? Tell us about finding the lump....
Peter Criss: First, let me say I agree there is very little awareness and information for men on breast cancer. I would like to see that change for men, more information in and out of doctor's offices. So men feel more comfortable talking about it and getting it checked.
Now how I found the lump? I am very aware of my body. I got home one day from the gym, after a shower I felt a little lump in my left nipple. It hurt the more I messed with it. I just knew something was wrong, my brain went ( red light ! ). I showed it to my wife Gigi. She was going to her gynecologist and she said she will have the doctor take a look at it.
I went with her to her appointment to see the doctor. The doctor felt it and took a sonogram of my breast. She did not like the look of the sonogram and called Dr. Swistel and asked if he would check me right away. He agreed and I went right over to his office at Weill Cornell NY Presbyterian Hospital. He ordered some test (biopsy, mammogram and ultrasound). I went to a doctor by where I live in New Jersey to do the test – they said it was just a nodule or cyst, you're cool get it out if you want to, if it hurts. Dr Swistel did the operation. I felt fine afterwards. I got a call over the weekend – he said that I had breast cancer but don't freak out you will not need chemo or medication because we got it (early). But I need to go back in and operate. The operation went great. I had my check up October 5th and I am cancer free!!! I said to my wife and doctor I am going to tell the world, perfect time as it is breast cancer awareness month .
Bob Greene, Oprah Winfrey's expert on diet and fitness, and author of the best-selling "Best Life" books, has a new book out: "The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes." In this "5 Questions," Bob shares his best tips with us on dealing with the disease.
Editor's Note: November is Diabetes Awareness Month
LKL Blog: What is the single most important thing people with diabetes need to do?
Greene: You have to be diligent monitoring your blood sugar. You think it would be a no-brainer, but it's not. People get tuned into changing their diet and exercise habits, then ignore getting a handle on blood sugar. Everyone hates the finger prick, but it's the most important thing, and so many people just don't do it.
As experts we advise "eat this, don't eat that," but each individual is different. We really don't know how each person responds to changes in diet and exercise, so you have to do regular blood sugar tests as you make these changes to see what works best for you.
LKL Blog: What simple thing can people do to combat diabetes?
Greene: It may sound strange, but move around more. Type II diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but now we're seeing it in kids. The reason it was adult-onset was we slowed up as we aged, but not now. Our lives have become more sedentary, and that has led to children getting diagnosed with it.
When you move around more, it changes your sensitivity to insulin, making the insulin more effective. Of course, regimented exercise is the best way to achieve this, but barring that, wear a pedometer, move more and things will improve. Nutrition habits, reducing carb intake, and sleep are also very important.
LKL Blog: Is there anything you can do to prevent getting diabetes?
Greene: Let's just talk about type II, because lifestyle can contribute to that. If you're inactive most of your life, that greatly increases your chances. An active lifestyle can prevent many cases of diabetes. My book addresses pre-diabetes too. Someone with pre-diabetes can, with the right lifestyle changes we've discussed, significantly decrease their chances of becoming diabetic.
LKL Blog: What is the goal of your approach?
Greene: People need to know diabetes is a serious condition. I want to give people hope, but they need to realize this is serious. I want people to manage their condition. You can live a normal life by modifying your lifestyle. That's the overriding message.
When people get a condition or disease, there are two usual responses. Sometimes it motivates people to tackle their condition and make positive changes in their life. But unfortunately, for most, it gives them an excuse and they trow up their hands and feel sorry for themselves. That's who we're trying to reach. You can manage this condition. Some people say their life is better after being diagnosed. They didn't exercise or eat well before, and now they do and feel healthier for it.
LKL Blog: Your "Best Life" approach also deals with the mental and emotional state of people, and how it contributes to weight. Does that approach apply to someone with diabetes?
Greene: It applies even more to people with diabetes. The missing piece for people with diabetes is managing emotions. If you're in a bad relationship, financially stressed, or generally unhappy, there's a tendency to use food for comfort. This gets you in even more trouble if you have diabetes. This is what will strip your motivation to control this disease. So I'd say emotional well-being is an extremely important factor.
To learn more, go to www.thebestlife.com/diabetes.
Filed under: 5 Questions Health LKL Web Exclusive
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LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.
With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.
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Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured
Visit the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.