When your love of horror novels starts to wane and you need inspiration, where would you turn?
Perhaps the lengthy and intricate stories of Stephen King? Or maybe visit one of the newer novels you fell in love with by Joe Hill? You could even get lost in the intricate and complicated dark worlds of Peter Straub!
OR you could turn to the leader singer of two of your favourite all time bands.
Now in case you’re not familiar with him (what’s wrong with you) he’s the lead singer of both Slipknot and Stone Sour. One band has terrifying music and each member wears horrifying masks. While the other has terrifying music and the members wear no masks! (Unless the masks in Slipknot are really their faces and their normal appearance in Stone Sour are just human masks that they’re wearing?)
The point is, I respect and admire this man to no end. He is insanely intelligent, well-travelled and his brain works in such crazy but interesting ways. You would never know that a man who can appear so terrifying is actually such a well-articulated, interesting and intelligent fellow!
Now before I move on, for those who know me personally I’m sure you were confused when I said Slipknot was one of my favourite bands. But I’m a huge fan of heavy metal, hard rock and everything inbetween (except screamo or wuss rock as I called it). It all began when me and my brothers watched Street Fighter 2 The Animated Movie and the song they used in the credits was Korn’s Blind. We were immediately hooked and so began our love for Korn, Metallica, Slipknot, Stone Sour, Limp Bizkit (shut up they used to be good), Orgy, Bush, Our Lady Peace (when they didn’t make wuss rock), POD, Adema, Disturbed, Finger Eleven, Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu and of course Marylin Manson.
I remember in high school, all of the punk rockers and metal heads at school went on and on about how smart Marilyn Manson was. And then Bowling for Columbine came out and he gave a well thought out argument which just made everyone freak out about how smart he was. Unfortunately if you hear other interviews with him you’ll discover he’s just a pompous rock star who’s high on himself and masks his lack of interesting thoughts by speaking in a calm and soothing voice.
So when I first started listening to interviews by Corey Taylor I thought “why isn’t anyone talking about or admiring him! He’s so much smarter! And cooler!”
Over the years however my love of music has slowly died. Namely because the hard rock of the 1990s/early 2000s has died and all that remained were Slipknot/Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold and every other Korn album.
However despite my love of music dying, I never lost the love I held for Corey Taylor. And so you can imagine my surprise when I was killing some time in Chapters and walked by the $10 bin.
Now if I’m in a used book store, this is always the shelf I check first. Sometimes you find gems in there like an original Stephen King or Agatha Christie that would normally sell for much higher. But when you pass by the $10 bin at Chapters, it’s usually the group of novels that the store can’t give away. Biographies of celebrities you’ve never heard of, cook books from bloggers you didn’t know had cook books, run of the mill courtroom drama novel and cheap romance novels.
So as I was walking by this table my eye saw a book cover that looked somewhat interesting. I walked over and picked it up and my mouth dropped open.
I had found a gem.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven,or How I Made Peace with the Paranormal and Stigmatized Zealots and Cynics in the Process. (YES that is the name of the novel, even he mocks it).
I was stunned that I found a book by one of my favourite singers, about my favourite topic. The only other thing that would be better than this is Tom Brady starting a podcast where he discusses Super Nintendo Videogames. (Hey Touchdown Tommy, if you’re reading this….make it happen)
So knowing that he was an incredibly intelligent man I was so excited to read this.
It was a short novel – about 230 pages – but it was incredible, captivating, fun, hilarious, terrifying and one of my favourite books I’ve ever read. Here’s why!
Corey Taylor has had some terrifying experiences in his life. Let me repeat that, he has had some TERRIFYING experiences in his life. Now in the book he discusses that he isn’t entirely sure what these experiences meant, but that he doesn’t believe in the religious aspects of the paranormal and so he didn’t believe them to be demons or evil spirits. But from a person who does believe in demons, these stories often sounded like just that. A horrifying encounter with a demon that meant to inflict harm. Some of them were kind of heartwarming (a few ghost children who followed him from home to home because they attached to him due to his paternal instincts) and some of them were downright terrifying (a ghost shoving him down the stairs while he was carrying his baby, or the demon that chased him out of the abandoned cabin in the woods – yes you read that right). Whether you believe in ghosts or not, they were outright terrifying stories. In one of the chapters where he detailed conducting a ghost hunt in an abandoned school, I read the last line of the chapter which involved him hearing a child’s voice on the audio recording. I believe my words were “Fuck!” I closed the book and tossed it on the table because I was too scared to keep reading. And besides the ghosts aspects you learn so much about him and his life. Such as when he released one of my favourite albums of all time – Volume 3: The subliminal Verses – he was in a deep depression, a crippling alcoholic and was experiencing hauntings in one of LA’s oldest houses on a near nightly basis. It has so many great stories that every ghost fan would love, if you read it for this alone you’ll love it.
You know I’m all for my ghost theories. I’ll literally never critique or judge your theory regardless of how out there it is. If you say it’s angels and demons I’ll say “cool, tell me more” if you say it’s the souls of the dead I’ll say “interesting, can you tell me about some stories when you encountered them?” I mean my theory involves parallel dimensions and tears in the fabric of reality! So I was sooooooo fascinated when I read Corey Taylor’s theories which he called “intelligent energy”. I won’t get too into it because he wrote about 7 chapters on it, and all are worth reading. But basically he did something so innovative I’ve never thought of it. He combined science and the paranormal using proven and accepted scientific theories in an incredibly intelligent and well thought out way. He focused mostly on the laws of energy and thermodynamics. To summarize quickly, energy cannot be destroyed it is simply transformed. This is a scientific law that is accepted by the entire scientific community. So he asks, if the energy from a person cannot be destroyed, then when they die where does all of the energy from the person go? If it’s being released from them, then maybe that’s what we’re catching glimpses of and that’s whats lingering in the world. Not necessarily their spirit but rather the displaced energy that never found a suitable conductor. He also goes into detail about why he thinks ghosts are attracted to certain individuals (himself namely), why the idea of Ouija boards are dumb, and how accepting spirits rather than trying to cleanse them might be the better way of handling them. It’s all incredibly fascinating and he really dives into the science at some parts. It’s such a well thought out theory that he almost made me question my very own theory, ALMOST, I still believe that Earth 2 Joaquin is sitting on the couch beside me which is why I heard the floor boards creaking right beside me where no one was standing.
It was interesting to read how similar and yet how different his and my thoughts were on certain spiritual topics. He spent portions of the book criticizing not those who were religious but those who ran the institutions and their failure to adapt to the modern world. He also criticized those in the scientific community who outright refused to conduct any research or tests into the so called paranormal. The reason he discusses this and why I’m discussing it on here is because he points out, why is it impossible for science and the spiritual world to discuss rather than debate and argue. Why do scientists, agnostics and atheists have to mock and insult religion? Why do certain religions have to argue against science and it’s findings? He states he is an atheist but will never mock someone for their religious beliefs and he hates other atheists who do. He also states that he hates those who are religious who mock science, get mad at him for not believing in God and who force their beliefs on others. His main argument here, which you can read several chapters on, is that if science treated the spiritual world like a science experiment – conduct tests, develop tools and research then maybe they could find the cause of so called paranormal things. And vice versa, if the spiritual world didn’t reject science so much and investigated scientific theory and ideas rather than demonology and the occult then perhaps they could learn more about the paranormal. It’s an interesting argument he puts here. And while I don’t agree 100% of what he had to say on these topics he didn’t present them in offensive or terrifying ways. Overall it was an interesting set of chapters to read.
I’d read this book again and again. And you should too. It’s one of the most interesting books about alternative ghost theories you’ll ever read. The stories themselves are everything you want in ghost stories, the personal anecdotes about his rock star life are so much fun to read and of course his theories are fascinating and really well thought out. If you’re a fan of Corey Taylor, ghosts, alternative scientific theories or the paranormal then I urge you to read this book! It is after all only $10 at Chapters!