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The Unbinding

Event Recap: The Unbinding Q&A w/ Greg & Dana Newkirk

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A ghost can be a lot of things. A memory, a daydream, a secret. Grief, anger, guilt. But, in my experience, most times they’re just what we want to see.

– Steven Crain, The Haunting of Hill House

This past weekend, I attended the world premiere of The Unbinding, a unique paranormal documentary directed by Karl Pfeiffer, here at The Frida. The movie focuses on an intriguing case investigated by occult researchers Greg and Dana Newkirk. The pair have their own Youtube podcast called Planet Weird and a two season documentary known as Hellier. The show was sold out and the theater was bustling with excited moviegoers donning Hellier shirts. Everyone applauded and cheered as the screen displayed the movie title.

In 2016 the researchers received a message from a person that went hiking in the Catskills mountains in New York with a friend. The hikers came across a wooden effigy in a cave and brought it home with them. It was a female sculpture with a noose tied around its neck and nails hammered into its eyes. The hikers sent the Newkirks pictures and also included pictures of the sculpture on a Reddit thread. Many of the redditors suggested that they contact Greg to investigate.

The hiker that sent the message stated that their friend experienced strange phenomena at their home with seeing wet footprints and spotted an apparition of a woman in the corner of their home. The effigy kept moving to different locations of the house and the friend’s dog barked uncontrollably.  It was promptly sent to the Newkirks for investigation. Initially the researchers were skeptical since most cursed objects they receive end up not being cursed at all. Most objects are not at all malignant, however, things took an ominous turn for Greg and Dana.

The researchers experienced similar events with the sculpture such as seeing the wet footprints. What really shocked me was that the figurine of Jesus that was on a crucifix was completely ripped off and lying on the floor. The sculpture was in the same room as the crucifix when this happened and only one nail remained.  The Newkirks placed a camera a few feet away from the sculpture and on video they notice that it shifts slightly. The entire crowd gasped and swore under their breath at the sight of the footage.

 The Newkirks safely placed it in a locked box and researched the sculpture on and off throughout the years. This film as well as this research project did take four and a half years due to the pandemic along with scheduling issues. However, eventually the researchers did contact a professor that was knowledgeable in Slavic folklore and they also learned that there is a small Ukrainian town in the Catskills area. The team conducted more research and discovered that the sculpture was a Slavic deity named Mokosh who is the protector of women. 

This exciting new discovery led the team to use spirit boxes to communicate with the cronelike sculpture and try to understand why it was so aggressive. There were two entities named Brother Biddum and the goddess Mokosh. Mokosh wanted to be free from Biddum’s energy and wished to be spiritually untethered from him. Biddum’s identity was unknown, but Dana who is an occult practitioner decided that it was best to perform an unbinding ritual in the same forest that the figure was found in.

Overall, I found the movie to be engaging and it is easily one of my top five favorite films of 2023. I appreciated that they included humor into the film and gave away posters. The Newkirks and their fellow researcher Connor J. Randall sat on stage answering questions. They also emphasized the importance of truthful storytelling and how occult researchers often demonize paranormal activity. I did not get the opportunity to ask the investigators a question but it was interesting to hear what the audience had to ask. Two of Greg’s answers that really stood out to me were:

  1. “Anything you want to be magic can be.”
  2.  “Be curious when you’re offered to.”

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