Interview: Maxim Furek Gets Real About 'Coal Region Hoodoo'
Interview conducted by Nolcha Fox
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves to dive headfirst into the mind-bending world of Maxim W. Furek. This man's life journey reads like a fever dream blending psychology, rock journalism, and the unexplainable paranormal. With a master's degree in Communications from Bloomsburg University and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Aquinas College, Furek is not your run-of-the-mill intellect.
But that's just the tip of the weird and wonderful iceberg. Ever heard of "The Jordan Brothers, a Musical Biography of Rock’s Fortunate Sons"? These Frackville legends dropped "Gimme Some Lovin" before England's Spencer Davis Group even knew what hit them. And on November 12, 2011, Furek immortalized the Jordan Brothers in the Schuylkill County Council of the Arts Hall of Fame. Now that's a tale with more twists than a biker bar jukebox.
Hold onto your seats, because Furek's literary escapades take us further down the rabbit hole. "The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-fulfilling Prophesy of Goth, Grunge and Heroin" isn't just a mouthful; it's a deep dive into the connection between grunge music and heroin. And who would've thought Penn State University and College Misericordia would give it a thumbs-up?
But wait, there's more. "Sheppton: The Myth, Miracle, & Music" unravels an obscure mining disaster, championed by none other than the legendary Timothy Green Beckley and Dave Shrader’s Paranormal 60. And have you ever pondered the controversy behind "Timothy," a song so scandalous Billboard had to take a cold shower? Furek's got the scoop in "Somebody Else’s Dream: Dakota, The Buoys, & “Timothy”."
And if that's not enough high strangeness for you, "Coal Region Hoodoo: Paranormal Tales from Inside the Pit" takes you on a ride through Pennsylvania's weirdest wormholes. Furek's mind is a black hole of the unexplained, and his contributions to "Fate Magazine," “Normal Paranormal,” and “Paranormal Underground” only add fuel to the fire.
But wait, don’t put away those Ouija boards just yet, because Furek's work in progress, "Dream Gliding: Honoring the Wisdom of the Ancients," promises to blow our collective minds even wider open.
So buckle up, folks, because Maxim W. Furek isn't just an enigma wrapped in a riddle—he's a walking, talking rabbit hole of the extraordinary. And if you're ready to embrace the unknown, you better check out more about this guy at maximfurek.com and remember his mantra: “Don’t allow others to define who you are.”
NF: Tell me how and why you switched gears from rock journalist to paranormal researcher/author.
MF: We are allowed to wear as many hats as we choose. I played around as a rock journalist for most of my career and was successful at it, but have always been fascinated with the paranormal. After “Sheppton: The Myth, Miracle, & Music” was published, the doors to the paranormal universe opened in a wonderful, pre-ordained manner. It was meant to be. I believe it was the direction I was destined to take. This new role has been exciting and an opportunity to meet many interesting people and share ideas and theories.
NF: Since I last interviewed you, you changed your title from paranormal researcher to paranormal author. What is the difference, and why did you decide to do that?
MF: Researcher was far too pretentious. I won’t go into houses looking for demons or ghosts. I do my research through reading and personal interviews. I consider myself a student of the paranormal and a paranormal author. I try to make sense of theories, philosophies, and possibilities. I’m only looking for a definition for the undefinable, and then I write about it. As humans, we have an intrinsic need to search for meaning. We are all searching for something.
NF: What is the difference between science and the supernatural?
MF: Probably not too much. I believe that both are part of the same mechanism. With science, we have cause and effect. With the supernatural, you only have the effect, the strange lights in the sky, the apparitions, the high strangeness. So, with that, we attempt to find meaning and definition. We try to understand.
NF: Please explain the term high strangeness.
MF: The term is a way to measure paranormal events. We look at supernatural events as having a high or low level of strangeness. It was initially popularized by J. Allen Hynek’s investigation into the UFO phenomenon, “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry” (1972). He looked at various strangeness levels or bits of information that made the event either high or low on his scale. The 1977 film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” was derived from Hynek’s classification in which the third kind denotes human observations of extraterrestrials.
NF: When and why did your fascination with the paranormal develop?
MF: I write about that in my “Coal Region Hoodoo” introduction. It encompasses a lot of things that I experienced during my adolescent years, my formative years. I’ll leave that to your readers to investigate should they have a burning desire to learn more about me. Otherwise, I’d rather focus on my work rather than on my personality.
NF: I’d like to talk to you about your latest book, “Coal Region Hoodoo.” What made you decide to write it?
MF: It was the right time. “Sheppton: The Myth, Miracle, & Music” did well in the paranormal realm and I was able to find a demographic interested in my research. “Coal Region Hoodoo” is an extension of the Sheppton narrative, but a book that goes further and deeper in scope. I believe it’s my best book yet.
NF: In “Coal Region Hoodoo,” you refer to your “sociological exploration of high strangeness inside the Pennsylvania wormhole.” What exactly does that mean?
MF: That came from Albert Einstein. His wormhole theory suggested that bridges, or wormholes, connect two points in a space-time conduit, theoretically creating shortcuts and reducing the travel time of long journeys across the universe. The Sheppton wormhole theory is my attempt to understand or perhaps define the high strangeness surrounding the apparitions and humanoid creatures witnessed by the Sheppton miners. One interesting possibility is that the humanoid visitors were sent from another dimension to give the trapped miners a message of hope.
NF: Why did you include two different chapters about Bigfoot?
MF: Pennsylvania has the most Bigfoot sightings after California and Washington. Most of these sightings are in the mysterious Chestnut Ridge, a remote region between Pittsburgh and West Virginia. It’s our version of the Bermuda Triangle, with numerous documented sightings of UFOs and Bigfoot, often together. On a personal level, I remain fascinated with this huge creature that thousands of people around the globe have seen — all providing basically the same description of the shaggy beast.
NF: “Coal Region Hoodoo” is very comprehensive. How were you able to include so many diverse variables in your book, and what makes your book different from other books about the paranormal?
MF: These diverse topics were important to me and there was a need to include all of them in the book. “Coal Region Hoodoo” is a blend of the paranormal and the spiritual through a sociological lens. It’s comprehensive because it required a wide scope and that sets it apart from similar titles.
NF: You included information about people impacted by the supernatural from various sources. Please tell me the names of the people you interviewed and a brief statement about each of them.
MF: I interviewed Ed and Lorraine, probably the most infamous of all demonologists. They were responsible for the Conjuring franchise, films that gave the Hollywood treatment to their experiences. Fred Tracey gave me personal information about the Philadelphia Experiment. I also interviewed Dr. Frederick Santee, the so-called “White Witch,” and others. I supplemented “Coal Region Hoodoo” with over four hundred references from books, interviews, and magazine articles. It was a lot of work, but it seemed to come together well.
NF: You are confident about the success of Coal Region Hoodoo. Why is that?
MF: As the Beatles sang, “I got a feeling!”
NF: Please give me a brief synopsis of your work-in-progress, “Dream Gliding: Honoring the Wisdom of the Ancients.”
MF: My current role as a paranormal author is like gliding on an air current. You relax and allow the universe to take you where you are intended to be. It’s difficult to explain, but when you are experiencing it, it is a solid and tangible thing that has substance and a life of its own. We are all on a journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately, none of us have the capacity to know where that journey will take us but, with free will, we choose the path and direction. I call that concept dream gliding.
NF: Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
MF: Yes, a couple of psychological thrillers — “Florida Rapture” is one of them — that hopefully will be completed at some point. I enjoy writing fiction and creating interacting characters and dialogue. The trick is to try to make them realistic and not one-dimensional. The reader has to be able to relate to your characters.
End of Interview