; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, March 27, 2023




By Raymond A. Keller, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Cosmic Ray,” the author of the international awards-winning Venus Rising Series, published by Headline Books and available on Amazon.com, while supplies last.

Venus Rising: A Concise History of the Second Planet

Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus

The Vast Venus Conspiracy

Lady Columba Venus Revelations

Flying Saucers and the Venus Legacy

“Midnight Madness” at WOR:  Long John Nebel (right), his panelist (center), and guest (left) debate the nature and possible origin of sundry paranormal phenomena.   Photo source: “Argosy” magazine (New York City, April 1958)

Unique Panelists

Panelists on Long John Nebel’s Party Line were just as unique as the program’s guests.  All of the regular panelists on the show were living in the New York City metropolitan area, and among these were:

Bill Preston, Artist, and Comedian

Bill Preston, an artist, and comedian, first came to the attention of Long John Nebel when he read a newspaper account of Preston’s visit to Mexico in order to paint the bullfights but ended up fighting the bull himself.  

William Neff, Magician

William Neff was one of the foremost illusionist-magicians in the United States, and in 1957 he was so recognized as being the greatest in that category through his selection as the winner of the Bernadette-Orson Welles Award.  

Joseph Markoff, Retired Army Major

Long John Nebel relied heavily on Joseph Markoff for obtaining background information on both the guests and subjects featured on the Party Line program.  Nebel described Markoff as a “walking encyclopedia who knows something about everything.”  A retired military officer, Markoff had traveled extensively through many countries on duty assignments, picking up much concerning the cultures and languages he encountered along the way.  

Mel Schilloni, Semanticist

Mel Schilloni could always be counted on by Long John to ask the most probing and challenging questions.  Interestingly, Schilloni considered himself an expert on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. 

“Tex” Dumont, Science Writer and Ghostbuster 

“Tex” Dumont was a pseudonym to protect this popular science writer’s real identity.  Long John considered Dumont his primary authority on extra-sensory perception (ESP) and poltergeists, i.e., those annoying ghosts who toss plates around and generally create havoc among the human beings so unfortunate enough to run into them.  Naturally, back in the late 1950s, if the editors of the newspapers and science journals who published Dumont’s articles knew that he was investigating ESP, ghosts, and other psychic phenomena, he would most certainly receive a pink slip and find himself in the unemployment line.

Roy Benson, Comedian

Roy Benson was a popular nightclub comic on the New York City scene.  

David Bell, Psychologist

Besides being an accredited psychologist, David Bell was also considered to be a scholar in all areas related to the higher functions of the human mind.

Charles Leedham, Investigative Journalist

Charles Leedham, an investigative journalist, always approached the subjects discussed on the Party Line in a skeptical vein.

Morris Paley, Police Sergeant

Morris Paley was a police sergeant in the Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Police Department.  When guests or topics dealt with possible infringements of the law, the presence of Sergeant Paley on the panel proved most effective in getting to the truth of the situation.

Occasional Panelists

While all of the above regular panelists lived in the greater New York City area, the following panelists, living further afield, would occasionally visit Long John Nebel in the WOR studio when they happened to be visiting the metropolis, or especially called in for Long John to tap their expertise:  Richard Himber (band leader); Ivan T. Sanderson (animal trapper and cryptozoologist); Will Oursler (religion and inspirational writer); and Jules B. St. Germain (attorney).

Some Remarkable Guests

One who lived back in the day when Long John Nebel ruled the radio airwaves might rightly acknowledge that every guest on the Party Line had something remarkably “off-beat” to say about a subject that would never be discussed on any other radio stations at the time, being then considered as “taboo” by most American and Canadian listeners.  A few of the more popular guests included:

Harriet M. Shelton, Medium

Harriet reportedly spoke with Abraham Lincoln on a daily basis.  Sometimes when she was on the Party Line, she would even channel Lincoln’s comments on some of the more dire contemporary issues.  She even wrote a book containing a collection of the messages she channeled from the late Civil War president, Abraham Lincoln Returns (New York City:  Evans Publishing Company, 1957).   When Long John asked her what Lincoln thought about paranormal phenomena, she noted that she had channeled this message from him in 1955, “To believe in what you can see and touch is no belief at all; but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing.”

Dr. Frederic Wertham, Psychiatrist

This doctor devoted his life to crusading against the alleged corrupting influence that comic books exercised over the minds of children everywhere.  Dr. Wertham explained why he thought comic books were so pernicious:  “They give children motivation and exact details for accomplishing murder, rape and other forms of anti-social behavior.”  When Long John asked him to provide some examples, the psychiatrist denoted four DC Comics characters:  Superman, Batman and Robin, and Wonder Woman.  Apparently, Superman is representative of a master race, inspiring fascist and racist tendencies, a la Friedrich Nietzsche.  Batman and Robin are leading children into the consideration of a homosexual lifestyle, and even worse, pedophilia.  And as for Wonder Woman, always being tied up by a villain, she was apparently being set up for rape or acts of sexual deviance carried out against her will.   The doctor’s frequent castigations of the comic book industry were in large part responsible for the adoption of self-regulation by the sundry comic book publishers in the Comics Code Authority (CCA) rules and placement of the CCA stamp on the cover of many comic books.  This was a preemptive move by the CCA made in 1954 and expanded thereafter to more and more comic book titles as Congress was getting ready to enact laws and impose legislation if the industry failed to clean itself up.

Long John Nebel’s Background  

Long John Nebel first came to the attention of WOR radio management back in 1951 when its vice-president, Bob Leder, read an article about him and his powers as a highly effective salesman in an issue of Argosy magazine.  Written by that magazine’s correspondent, Pierce Fredericks, it inspired Leder to drive out to Nebel’s Auction Barn in Parsippany, New Jersey, and interview the suave, Chicago-born gentleman.  Leder was looking for new blood in the then-flagging commercial radio industry, somebody that management could count on to peddle sundry wares via the airwaves, generating advertising revenue for the station.  

Nebel acquired the nickname “Long John” back in his elementary school days, as he was the tallest and thinnest among his classmates.  After completing the eighth grade, at the age of eleven, he quit school to illegally sell fireworks.  When his father, a medical doctor, discovered what his son was up to, he forced him to find other employment.  Long John then decided to leave home and join the circus, signing on as a clown.  From his circus experience, he went on to manage Siamese twins in a freak show and then took a turn as a magician.  After the circus arrived in New York City, Long John stayed on, whence he became a self-made expert in telepathic communication and fortune-telling.  Tired of living on the edge all of the time, but realizing that he could sell almost anything, he put his savings to work in purchasing a general story in Parsippany, New Jersey, where he converted it into an auction house. From then on, Long John began his illustrious career of buying, trading, and selling everything under the Sun and, in the process, amassing a small fortune for himself.    

His fascination with the occult rose from his work as a magician, fortune teller and mind reader.  When Leder offered him the job of conducting his own program at WOR, pending the approval of the station’s board of directors, it came as no surprise that the focus was going to be on all aspects of the supernatural.


(Editor’s Note:  Keep checking this website for Part IV, where the Cosmic Ray looks at the two most popular contactees ever interviewed by Long John Nebel on the “Party Line” program.  - Lon)



Have you had a sighting or encounter?
Contact me by email or call the hotline at 410-241-5974
Thanks. Lon

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Welcome to Phantoms & Monsters 'Personal Reports' - cryptid & unexplained accounts directly from the archives of Phantoms & Monsters, and the Phantoms & Monster Fortean Research team. Narrated by Lon Strickler. Join us in the chat, discuss, and ask me questions about the accounts.

Featured in this edition:

A young woman was out in the evening selling cable and WIFI services to customers at their homes in Cape May, New Jersey. As she goes to the next house, she unexpectedly encounters a huge canine-like cryptid.

After a while witness begins to wonder if the residents of Cape May are aware of the cryptid canine, and are they actually hiding its presence.

I will describe this incident and others in detail and answer all questions from the chat room.

Please join us in the chat, so that you may ask questions. Don't miss this opportunity.


A Paranormal Life welcomes Robin McCray, a Sasquatch People' contactee, experiencer, & habituator. Bernadette McDaniel (Host)

Robin McCray's first encounter with the Sasquatch people was when she was very small, and has had contact with them ever since. She has been an active habituator and experiencer her whole life.

Robin has worked with many cryptids as well as other beings. The Sasquatch people have taught her many things. She has learned more things than she ever believed she could. Her contact and relationship continue yet today.

Robin has had a lifetime of experiences with them and she looks forward to many more.

Please join us in the chat, so that you may ask questions. Don't miss this opportunity.


We are asking the worldwide public to come forward with your sightings & encounters. Contact us by email - Thanks. Lon

Have you had a sighting of a winged humanoid or huge bat-like creature in the Chicago, Illinois metro area / Lake Michigan region? The entity has also been referred to as the 'Chicago Mothman', 'Chicago Owlman' & 'O'Hare Mothman' or 'O'Hare Batman.' - Chicago / Lake Michigan Winged Humanoid Regional Interactive Map - Please feel free to contact me at lonstrickler@phantomsandmonsters.com - your anonymity is guaranteed. Our investigative group is conducting a serious examination of his phenomenon. We are merely seeking the truth and wish to determine what eyewitnesses have been encountering. Your cooperation is truly appreciated.





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Have you had a sighting or encounter?
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