Sunday, February 28, 2010
If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you probably know that theories are something I love to knock around. You probably also know I adore abandoned buildings—a deep passion! Look at how beautiful these places are (above). When I look at them, I can’t help but think not only of the building but its very architecture, materials, and geology, as well as the history of those who have inhabited it. They come together to make something quite extraordinary. If you look at five elderly people’s faces, you will see five different lives led, from their genetics (good and bad) to the hard times (worry, anger, laughter)to how much they smoked or drank—all etched in their skin. When I look at these buildings, I see a history that is unique. Some have potential to be haunted, but some because of perhaps its human inhabitants, its geology and very feng shui of its rooms and shape, it becomes something so much more sinister.
at 8:54 AM
Saturday, February 27, 2010
John at Season of Shadows has a wonderful Halloween Radio where you can listen to samples of Nox Arcana (I just posted about them recently) and Raison Detre another fantastic dark-themed musicmaker. Give it a try and see whatcha think. I can't imagine you won't find it wonderful creepy background music--try and turn the light out while you listen. I'd be curious how long you last.
at 4:23 PM
Friday, February 26, 2010
It's a stellar lineup. Hard to believe this many emotionally and mentally crippled people walk the earth, but they do and we keep adding more and more as the decades pass. Seems like nowadays the old-fashioned serial killers who stalked and killed individually and then left BTK or Zodiac-type notes for the police and press are going by way of the lunatics with high-powered rifles hitting a mall at Christmastime. Ironically, it was the former that inspired these bizarre and unnerving movies (below) and the latter whose names you forget a week later, never to be thought of again. It's poetic justice since they probably thought it would immortalize them. It's truly disturbing and yet, in a way, seeing these movies sort of helps one to realize that we should be prepared and live defensively. After all, the killer could be in the apartment next door, beside you on the bus, or stalking you on a quiet country drive.
If you enjoy movies based on real life incidents, here's some movies and some serial killers that really make you wonder about the evolutionary process of man. Thankfully, the justice system snagged them all, with the exception of the Zodiac and that's one I'd like to feature in a future post.
I lived through the Nightstalker Richard Ramirez era myself in the 80s living in the LA area. I remember triple checking the sliding door and windows. At the time, I had a stalker so it made it even creepier. Nothing like sleeping with no air-conditioning in the summer and the windows closed, but I survived. Ironically, he was supposed to have been sighted in a yellow Corolla, which what I drove. For a time there, I had cops cruising alongside me on the LA freeways checking me out. Well, apparently I don't look like the "type," so I never got pulled over.
So, the thing we fear we delight in seeing on the screen. In my recent post about dreams, they say we dream to problem solve how we should handle things happening in our lives. Perhaps watching these movies is a form of problem solving and imaging our own scenarios for survival. Without further interruption--here's your viewing list and the killers who inspired the films:
“Monster” Aileen Carol Wuornos killed 7 men in Florida, executed in 2002. (A female serial killer is an amazing thing when you think of it. It seems to go against nature since women's instinct is to create and support life. Perhaps Ms Wuornos couldn't produce estrogen?).
“Citizen X” Russian mass murderer Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo who killed 52 women and children in the Soviet Union executed 1994. (This butt-lick managed to get past the crippled criminal system in the Soviet Union for years and keep murdering. The justice system there basically killed the last victims. Lesson: Don't expect policing in a communist-run country).
“Zodiac” Zodiac Killer, a Northern California killer in the 60s, never found, left taunting letters, claimed he murdered 37. (Never found. Sometimes, I think with California's justice system, they should just put up a sign saying "kill here--we never convict!" Even if they found him, he'd probably get 3 warm meals a day in a cell the rest of his miserable life and do interviews for cheesy news shows like the Octumom and other famous-for-nothings)
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Psycho” “Silence of the Lambs,” “The Strangers” “Ed Gein” Ed Gein in the 1940s and 1950s exumed bodies to use and killed women, died in prison mental hospital. (This dickless dude was apparently inspiring for a lot of movies because he didn't just dig up dead bodies and kill folks, he used them for parts to make things.)
“Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, convicted of 13 murders in the 1980s in California, on death row. (A real poster child for birth control)
“Gacy," “To Catch a Killer” John Wayne Gacy, raped and murdered 33 boys and men in the 1970s, in 1994 he was executed. His brain was removed and examined and nothing unusual found (something tells me the rotten parts won’t be found in the architecture of the brain, but perhaps in the seat of the soul)
“Dahmer” Jeffrey Dahmer, killed 17 men and boys. (In 1994 he was thankfully beaten to death in prison)
“The Deliberate Stranger” Ted Bundy, over 30 murders in the 70s, executed in 1989. (Supposedly one of those cute friendly guys you'd never suspect. I think I sat next to a dozen guys like this in junior high. Makes me wonder what they're doing now...)
“Helter Skelter” Charles Manson gang, orchestrated his commune members to kill several people in California, still in prison.(And on the news whenever they can interview the ball-sac)
“The Boston Strangler” Albert Desalvo, the Boston Strangler of 13 women in the 1960s, 1973 was found murdered in prison. (Once again, a prisoner did our work for us))
“Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (Really disturbing movie) Henry Lee Lucas, could have killed 350-600 people. George Bush, Governor of Texas comminuted his death sentence (WTF????) He died of natural causes in prison (I sure hope that natural cause was a pillow to his face)
“Summer of Sam” Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, terrorized New York in the 70s with a gun to unsuspecting people, killing 6, wounding more. (Really, pathetic loser. Couldn't really face his victims, just lifted a gun and aimed)
“The Hillside Strangler” Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono. Bianchi was also suspected in the alphabet murders—yet another film based on that. These cousins in the 1970s pretended to be cops to lure women and teens to torture and kill them, both carrying on their life sentences. (Yet another bad thing that resulted in a good thing in that a lot of women were more critical about who was a supposed cop)
“Speck” Richard Speck, raped and killed 8 nurses in the 1960s, died of a heart attack while in prison before turning 50. (Thankfully we didn't have to give him free food and health care for another 30 years!)
“Green River Killer” Gary Ridgway, over 50 women killed, incarcerated. (I'm not sure about this justice system, I think 50 female relatives of those women in a room alone with him-might just do the trick more expeditiously)
at 8:53 PM
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Grim of Grimoire of the Hour and I have decided it’s hard to get a good quality horror writing critique group together in our local areas, so we’ve decided to start a writer’s critique group where people can share scenes and get feedback to hone their skills, share info on potential markets for pedaling their work, and generally support and inspire each other.
I did consider whether to make it a blog, but realized that writers are private people and the work should stay within the group, so here’s my email: email@example.com. We will work through email to pass on our scenes and do our critiques. Once we’ve set up a group of writers, we will make a group mailing list so that scenes can be sent out to the group and replied all by the group members for feedback.
What we’re looking for:
People who are not just hobbyists, but expect to be or are already published horror writers
People who are willing to give feedback honestly and receive honest tactful feedback
People who are actively writing works
People who want to help each other prepare and submit work
So, email me (address in the second paragraph) and tell me a bit about your writing experience, if you’ve been published, what sort of horror you write, and if you could include at least a few paragraphs of some of your work (keep it under 500 words if you can), then Grim and I can review it and make our decisions. We’d like to open it to everyone who applies, but we realize that we need to keep the group tight and professional and not too time consuming for all the group by having too many members' work to read or people at different levels of experience. We're looking for a compatible small group and hope to get ourselves published and taking our writing seriously.
So you know what you're getting into (because you're no doubt interviewing us too), here are examples of our writing: Grim's prize winning flash short story and my flash short story that won the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures" show contest.
at 5:03 PM
In Above the Norm’s chilling account of their trip to Bisbee and the Copper Queen Hotel, Julie reported about Evergreen Cemetery in Bisbee. Her several-part description of their time in Bisbee is definitely worth a reading and just reiterates how predictable activity is in that town. They had what sounds to be a genuine encounter with the unexplained.
I had a very odd encounter there in 2004 and was excited to hear they were going. I had gone back since and had strange encounters in that cemetery, but nothing like that night of a blue moon on July 31, 2004. Looking back, that night had radio events, Electron Flux, K4 sudden impulse…a total geomagnetic activity night. The cemetery is planted on top of mine tailings. Mind you, this town is geologically rich and mines a lot of copper, turquoise, silver, as well as gold. You probably know from my theories that this is a ripe environment for activity.
My ghost hunting partner, Ginny, and I broke off from the larger group of ghost hunters we were enjoying a workshop with. We went to the cemetery late at night and I worried more about people finding us in there than any actual activity.
I was so wrong.
Immediately, we had sensations we didn’t have in the daytime there. It felt like something was pacing and studying us. We felt painful head pressure and were strangely jumpy (and we’re hardcore about scary places). All of a sudden while taking a picture, I felt as if something whizzed behind me. It was a completely stagnant night. I figured, maybe a bug? But, there was no sound or air movement.
I kept taking pictures, but then I felt something zoom overhead. The best way to explain it is the crackling sensation when lightning hits too closely or static electricity in the air on a really dry day (only this night was muggy from monsoon season). Sort of like eletricity snapping down power lines. The next time I felt as if something were flying by, I raced after it and took pictures. I was tripping around the cemetery, my buddy in tow. She commented too that something seemed to be moving about. It felt like a chase to me and I wondered what was chasing what??? In one picture above, you see the tiny white light taking a rest while the big white light it's been chasing sits overhead. I felt like the chase was over at that point and we left the site.
We got back to our B&B and uploaded the pictures to my laptop and we were shocked to see a little light chasing another light. It sounds weird and I can’t explain it, but it’s exactly where I felt this thing was chasing the other thing. As I said, it was the most stagnant and breeze-less night. I wondered if perhaps I caught a bug, but these are definitely not bugs. I have plenty of experiences with those in photos. It never felt as if there was sound or wind movement or anything else to show something was moving, but it definitely felt as a rushing tingle passed by us and raced off like an electrical pathway.
Julie’s wonderful review of her trip on Above the Norm got me all excited about Bisbee again. I haven’t been in a couple years. It might be time to go again when I know the geomagnetic activity is freaking out—if it ever comes back again—it’s been almost dead since 2008.
I will be picking up a Flip cam this springtime to ready myself for warm-weather hunts and I hope to get some film up for the blog so you can see some of the crazy AZ places I like to haunt while I'm living...
at 10:12 AM
You can’t talk about famous ghosts without mentioning the most beloved one in America; Abraham Lincoln. The haunting of the White House by Lincoln is a favorite story amongst historians and romantics in America. After all, when you have a parent that you trust and you believe is a good and honest person, then who replaces them? We have yet to have a president we regard in quite the same one as the man responsible for stitching America back together again. His early loss makes him an likely suspect to malinger (think of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe). Perhaps we're not ready to get rid of the ideals that put America on the map. But then, again, perhaps we sense that he really is still amongst us...
(From Wikipedia) President Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman have all claimed to have heard unexplained knockings on their bedroom doors. What made them think it was Lincoln is unknown. Calvin Coolidge's wife reported seeing on several occasions the ghost of Lincoln standing with his hands clasped behind his back, at a window in the Oval Office, staring out in deep contemplation toward the bloody battlefields across the Potomac. Carl Sandburg, Lincoln's biographer, said he did not see the ghost but "strongly felt his presence" when he stood at this same window during a tour of the White House. Elenaor Roosevelt often sensed someone watching her in the former Lincoln bedroom. Winston Churchill said he stepped out of the bath to the adjoining bedroom and saw Lincoln standing neare the fireplace. Lincoln's ghost made many apparitions during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. Roosevelt was (coincidentally like Lincoln) president during war time. Maureen Reagen (President Ronald Reagen’s daughter) said she had seen ghost several times in Lincoln’s bedroom. The Reagen’s dog apparently would bark at the door but not enter. Lyndon Johnson supposedly spoke to the ghost of Lincoln, asking his advice. Senator McCarthy proclaimed that he entered Lincoln’s old office and a bust of the president flew across the room and nearly hit him. (Of course, in McCarthy’s case, Lincoln was a bad aim—-he should have hit him upside the head and knocked some sense into him).
The Roosevelt presidency saw the most activity and many conjecture that it was because he was a president during a wartime. If that were so, Lincoln should have been pounding on Bush’s head to get his attention. Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands visited during Roosevelt’s presidence and she was awakened by a knock at the door to find President Lincoln there. Why do you suppose he showed himself for some and not for others? Was he a harbinger of some message to beware?
Rapping on bedroom doors was reported by many presidential families. In a place like the White House such a thing would be a common daily activity by servants and the like, so it’s entirely possible that element is a residual memory of the building.
Following Truman’s time in office, Lincoln has rarely been seen. Some wonder if it might be because of massive renovations or perhaps the time period has lengthened from his demise. Still, he has been seen in modern times, only less frequently.
Is this pure romanticism for the man and the sacred place in which these people reside? Is it because earlier generations identified with him more? If so, then Kennedy should have been seen wandering the halls for the yuppie-time presidents.
When I did my study of 50 haunted places, the White House was not a strong contender because it lacked a lot of traumatic history within its walls and the geology was weak. The building’s construction is promising. The thing that might outweigh all other factors is the symbolism of the White House. If a ghost of an average Joe can haunt his home because it was his beloved sanctuary, then surely an assasinated president could linger in a place he felt very protective of and very proud of.
Should we give more weight to the impressive list of witnesses above? Well, here is a bit of proof that may show that Lincoln might have been a man more determined and more sensitive to haunting the White House. This is what he told a dear friend one time of a precognitive dream:
“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room. No living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds met me as I passed alone. I was puzzled and alarmed. Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room. Before me was a catafalque on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng or people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. `Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers. `The president,’ was his answer. `He was killed by an assassin.’”
Lincoln’s life would appear to be quite serendipitious and perhaps that carried over into his passing. Many people note connections between Lincoln and Kennedy. At this site they listed them out:
Lincoln was elected on November 6, 1860; Kennedy was elected on November 8, 1960.
Both had previously been members of Congress. Lincoln was first elected to Congress in 1846; Kennedy in 1946.
After their assassinations, both men were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson - and both Johnsons were born 100 years apart: Andrew Johnson in 1808; Lyndon Johnson in 1908.
Both men were killed on a Friday by shots to the head as their wives sat beside them.
John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in a theatre and fled to barn; Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy's accused killer, shot from a schoolbook warehouse and then fled to a movie theatre. Both assassins were killed before they could be brought to trial.
Both assassinations were the result of conspiracies (even though the conspiracy surrounding Kennedy's death is still disputed by some).
Lincoln was shot inside Ford's Theater; Kennedy was killed in a Lincoln limousine, made by the Ford Motor Company.
Just as Lincoln foresaw his own death, Kennedy seemed to have a premonition of his death as well. Just a few hours before he was murdered in Dallas, John Kennedy told Jackie and Ken O'Donnell, his personal advisor: "If somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it."
Kennedy also received other psychic warnings about his death. Psychic Jeanne Dixon advised the president that she foresaw his assassination as he traveled through the South. He also received a warning from his secretary that his trip to Dallas could have tragic consequences and urged him not to go. Her name was Evelyn Lincoln.
So, what do you think? Does Lincoln still linger? I have to admit my skepticism with the ideal of beloved figures dying early and haunting, but in the case of Lincoln, there appears to be a kind of alchemy and almost astrological destiny that makes me think…he’s still there.
at 7:32 AM
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ever since “Let the Right One In,” “Frostbiten,” and “Sauna,” I’ve become addicted to Scandinavian horror. Maybe its in my Norwegian/Sami/Swedish blood, but I totally get the way they make movies. So, when Netflix Instant Watch popped a new on in the instant watch, I had to put it in my queue on my day off.
“Dead Snow” is about a group of Norwegian friends who get the scariest lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to a snowy town in the mountains where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area.
Scandinavian horror and Nazi zombies? Holy heck!
The group is actually a nice fresh group of friends who aren’t your usual nubile buxom babes and muscle-bound self-absorbed young men. Instead, they seem like they’d actually be friends in real life. It takes a while to go through the usual establishing of characters and their relationships but it’s actually interesting in such a beautiful setting. Now, once the action begins, it pounds you!
The cinematography is (as in all Scandinavian horror) striking and unique. The zombies themselves are the most bad-ass zombies of all time and fast on foot as they rush around in the snowy scene in their WWII uniforms.
The movie is definitely a lesson in the fact you don’t really need to be carrying weapons to kill zombies. One extremely original scene of zombies eating a person was filmed through the person’s perspective as she’s being eaten. The lineup of zombie soldiers in uniform along a ridge of snowy mountains was chilling and totally exhilarating! There’s just something about blood and snow!
Favorite line in the movie? When one of the guys in the cabin gets a call out to 9-1-1, he says they’re being attacked by what looks like WWII soldiers and the operator hangs up on him. He tells his buddy and his buddy says, “Of course she hung up on you. It sounds like you’ve smoked your underpants.”
I’m telling the zombie lovers that the final killing scene in a big snowy field with the Nazi soldiers running toward the survivors is totally wicked fun with a kicking soundtrack. It’s all the zombie killing you dream of! This is perhaps a bit more of a guy zombie movie, but since I’m a tomboy at heart, I totally enjoyed it! It does not get more hardcore than this—it’s a man’s fantasy zombie movie.
For creative ways to kill a zombie—this movie gets a 10 out of 10! In fact, I confidently say that the final fight is the single best zombie/human slaughter ever filmed!
I’d say if you liked “The Evil Dead” and “Dog Soldiers,” you’ll enjoy this one. This will be added to my collection!
at 12:37 PM
This documentary was terribly fascinating (I found it on Netflix Instant Watch). They cover how researchers learned of the dream types by observing electrical activity in the brain and how our bodies become hypotonic during REM sleep so that we’re paralyzed and can’t act out our dreams.
They follow research done on mice that has been extremely helpful. The mouse’s brain activity was recorded as he ran a maze. Then, when he went to sleep, they observed that dreams during his non-REM state were bits of his maze experience in tiny second bursts, very brief, very sporadic. Then, in his REM state he replayed the maze experience like a full-feature film with his body paralyzed to keep him from acting out this very life-like scenario that feels like he’s experiencing this. REM dreams 5 times longer than non-REM dreams.
They assume that humans during non-REM are taking their pasts and seeing how it might relate to the future and in REM we are trying to experience and move into the future. Facing challenges and test possibilities ahead of time. The future is unknown, but we can step into it without risk in REM state, testing scenarios. Dreams have been responsible for noble prizes, scientific discoveries, novels, films, and visual arts. We can think outside the box and less linear.
Testing on subjects before and after sleep proved interesting results. Given a word association puzzle to solve, the subjects are graded. One third of them are left to sit and rest for a while. One third of them are left to sleep but awakened before REM sleep. One third of them are left to sleep through REM sleep. Upon completion of their quiet time, they’re given the test again, at which time the subjects who slept through REM sleep scored exceedingly higher compared to their pre-rest score and the other two groups had no improvement at all. It creates free association through the parts of the brain that solves puzzles more. Connecting old and new ideas and making new solutions.
About 50% of people can dream about a subject they want if they remind themselves before falling asleep, “I will dream about my term paper” and they will usually get a gratifying response to that desire with a sense of resolution.
Nightmares are actually very important. Primitive states show up in our dreams much like ancient man, being stalked by creatures. They were simulated rehearsals for survival in the waking world. As children, it might be creatures. As we get older, it’s more modern settings like forgetting your locker combination or phone number, serial killers, et cetera.
Some say we don’t dream, but we just don’t remember them. There are some people who actually have no dreams; those who have had strokes and had damaged parietal lobes. Parietal lobes combine our senses and the space generated for existing in dreams is produced from that region.
Do dreams mean anything? One scientist took elements in dreams and gave them a number and then coded dreams down. They can compare someone’s dream elements with the “norm.” Some people’s dream series show a repetitive pattern of helplessness or frustration, anger or depression. They can compare a man whose dreams are mostly about misfortune with the common man of his age and find out his are disproportionally higher than average and then notice that he has all women in his dreams and no male examples and his encounters with women are negative. He can guess this man’s life is filled with concerns with female relationship issues and issues which he feels helpless to fix which are occurring in his life. The scientist found out a few years later that man divorced.
Most dreams are about our waking emotional concerns and preoccupations in social lives.
As odd and freaky as dreams can be, they really are about puzzle solving and working our skills. If you have a dream where a chipmunk climbs out of your desk drawer and asks you for a bottle of beer, there might be a situation in your life in which someone did something or something happened that was completely out of your expectations. Now, your dream is working to make you ready for such situations in the future, sort of dress-rehearsing.
That animals dream, as well as humans, is intriguing. Apparently, we all have skills to work. Next time your dog is sleeping and his legs are thrashing--he's surely chasing a cat into the next county.
at 10:05 AM
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
(Another installment of my ventriloquist doll, Dale, reporting from his ever-jaded viewpoint)
I consider myself to be a private ventriloquist’s mouthpiece, but since my present-day owner, Autumnforest, has this nice blog about spooky things, I thought I might tell you a story about my past. Just to scare you humans.
You see, I’ve had many different owners over the years. Very few actually used me for my purpose (i.e. to mouth the very things they’re thinking but are too scared to take credit for saying). Most just thought I was something to add to a collection. There is nothing about me that screams “collectible” but humans are illogical creatures, so I ended up much of my time on shelves with (of all the indignities) baby dolls! All of my owners were very good to me in that they didn't change my clothes constantly, let their babies chew on me, or force me to listen to their 9-year-olds practice the clarinet. However, just before Autumnforest bought me and brought me home, I had given up on the species all together.
You see, one particular home I resided in was a very dark period of my life. This was the 30 years before Autumnforest became my owner. The owner came upon me when he inherited a bulk of items from his mother’s estate. I was actually his childhood doll his mother kept, but that phase of his life where he wanted to be a ventriloquist had passed and now he was nothing more than a drunken, unshaven, bloated wreck. We’ll call him “Wendell.”
Wendell had me at the bottom of a pile of debris, from clothing to luggage to shoes and umbrellas. He had no reason to neaten up the pile for a good six months’ time. I nearly suffocated, mind you, not to mention my nose was right next to a particularly well-fermented sneaker.
One dreary rainy day someone plucked me from the pile and set me on the dresser to contemplate my fate. The woman was past her prime, her skin hanging like a hound dog, crinkles around her mouth from smoking cigarettes the past 30 years. She frowned at me and shivered (the usual reaction). When she rushed off screeching to Wendell, I found myself in a dilemma. It was obvious Wendell no longer wanted me, nor did this retired bar maid.
Long after the room grew dark and I started to enjoy my little perch away from the pile of smelly refuse, Wendell came in and flicked on the light. He smelled of whiskey and cheap cigars, sweat stains under his armpits. He squinted at me and swayed a bit on his feet. He poked me in the chest.
“You remember this, Dale?” He grabbed me with both of his meaty fists and squeezed my chest until I became faint. “Remember that time I let my dog play with you? Dragged you around the house? I got a pit bull now, Dale. Whatcha think, huh?” His eyes were glazed, but his mood was clear. He intended to torment me once again.
We had gone through this in his childhood when he was afraid to tell his mother that, while he liked the idea of ventriloquism, when faced with a doll in his room staring at him and knowing his evil intentions, he didn’t want me anymore. He kept me, though. So he could feel like the big man and fearless, he put me through the ringer. There was the phase where he placed a sock over my head and another time when he hung me from a noose from the ceiling fan as his light switch pull. I was actually thankful when at the age of 12, he put me in a shoe box and buried me in the backyard for a good three weeks. It was the first peace I'd had. His mother, however, realized I was missing from his shelf and I was hastily returned.
It seemed the only thing Wendell feared was his mother and now that his mother was gone, Wendell was ready to focus all his fears and bullying into me and this time he didn’t have to keep me. His mother would never know what happened to me.
The tavern wench called out from the other room, buying me a few more minutes. I can only guess Wendell joined her in a few more drinks and passed out. His “lady friend” moved me the next day to the top of the closet, but shocked me when she actually said out loud, “I’m sorry little fella, but I don’t like dolls staring at me.”
Wendell probably forgot me too until one day when he happened to actually exert the effort to lift his puffy head and look up at me on the shelf in the closet. He snarled and yanked me down and then proceeded to curse at me with his whiskey-laden spittle spraying my face.
If there is a pivotal moment in any synthetic human’s lifetime, it is when a decision is made and no turning back is allowed. In that very moment, I decided all humans were not worth imitating and certainly not worth living beside.
By the time Wendell shook me several times, tore my ragged clothing off me leaving me a messy naked wreck and breaking the mechanisms that allow me to talk, he dumped me on the floor and stumbled away in search of drink.
Thank you, Jack Daniels!
So, how did I get free of Wendell and end up in the hands of Autumnforest? The nice aging lush picked me up, along with many of his mother’s belongings and spread me out on a table in the driveway. She didn’t have an outfit for me, but used Wendell’s old christening gown. I was scooped up easily by an older balding man who later sold me in antique shop, disgusting attire and all.
I did notice something in Autumnforest’s eyes when she sighted me. I honestly hoped she’d just pass by. I was quite happy in my quiet corner propped up in a rocking chair. However, she is the sort of human one calls “sensitive” and she could not help feeling (gulp) empathy for me. I do not like the concept of someone feeling sorry for me, but honestly I am glad that I sat there in my tattered gown and locked jaw for her to find me.
I would never confess this to my human, but I retract what I said about living with humans and emulating them. She not only bought me a spiffy outfit, but has included me in many fun events as well as showcasing me where I can keep my eye on the activities and cast a protective eye in her direction. She is all whimsy and childishness, so someone has to watch over her.
And that is how I ended up in Autumnforest’s possession where I will stay all the years I am allowed to remain intact.
(The movie above, “Phasma Ex Machina” promises to be the movie I would have written if I wrote an ideal ghost hunter-themed movie. This looks wickedly cool. I haven’t found a date for release, but it’s gotta be soon)
*See also “The Eclipse” review in my last post being release March 26th.
After writing about “The Strangers,” I couldn’t help thinking about how amazingly well directed that movie was. I wondered what the director was up to now. He’s got a fantastic project in the hopper. It’s due out in 2011, but I will be counting the days. “Alone” is about woman who, after she suffers a tragedy, becomes a shut-in in a fancy apartment. Trouble is, the place is haunted and she soon finds herself seeing things
“Box of Shadows” is awaiting release. It centers around a group of college friends, who discover a 15th century coffin that allows them to experience the world as ghosts. While their first adventures in the spirit world are playful and innocent, the "Box of Shadows" soon brings out the group's most dangerous impulses and desires. The friends find themselves pulled into a world of evil where they learn the line between life and death is there for a reason.
“The Ward” by John Carpenter is in production. Due out 2010. Set in a mental institution where a young woman, Kristen is haunted by a mysterious and deadly ghost. As danger creeps closer, she comes to realize that this ghost might be darker than she could have imagined. Kristen, early 20's wakes to find herself bruised, cut, drugged and held against her will in a remote ward of Chamberlain Psychiatric Hospital . She is completely disorientated, with no idea why she was brought this place and no memory of her life. The other patients in the ward, four equally troubled girls, offer no answers and Kristen quickly realizes things are not as they seem. The air is heavy with secrets and at night, when the hospital is dark and foreboding, she hears strange and disturbing sounds. It appears they are not alone. One by one the girls disappear and Kristen must find a way out of this hellish place before the ghost comes for her too. As she struggles to escape, she will uncover a truth far more dangerous and horrifying than anyone could have imagined.
Some remakes and sequels are promising, others are just plain stupid:
“Poltergeist” (will surely be as bad as the “Amityville Horror” remake)
“Dark Shadows" (promises to be better than the campy original)
“Ghost Rider 2” (how stoned was this production crew to think this was worthy of an original, much less a sequel?)
“Ghostbusters 3” (by Ivan Reitman, I think it’ll be fun if the originals will join)
“It” (the Stephen King miniseries, you know, the one with Pennywise the clown. I doubt it’ll be any good, the original was a questionable plot line)
“Mirrors 2” (the original was pretty okay and original but definitely not worth a revisit)
“Paranormal Activity 2” (hey, director, did you ever hear of “Blair Witch 2?” Stop while you’re making a profit!)
“Pet Semetery” (okay, another Stephen King not worthy of a first let alone second version)
“Silent Hill 2” (better be by the same folks and not have such a damned dark ending--people do not like seeing families separated and children involved.)
“The Orphanage” (who would remake a masterpiece?)
at 6:24 AM
Monday, February 22, 2010
This movie is due out March 26th and I read a review in "Variety." It’s supposed to be a rather haunting ghost story. I’m dying to see it because it’s in picturesque Ireland and because Aidan Quinn stars in it and I think it’s a total dish of yum (the one with the beard)!
Here’s Variety’s review:
By JOHN ANDERSON
Michael Farr - Ciaran Hinds
Nicholas Holden - Aidan Quinn
Lena Morelle - Iben Hjejle
Malachy McNeill - Jim Norton
Thomas - Eanna Hardwicke
Sarah - Hannah Lynch
Don't die angry. Such is the lesson of playwright-provocateur Conor McPherson's "The Eclipse," a film of such seductive grace, humor and startling side trips into buttocks-clenching ghastliness that auds won't know what to make of it (although it won't keep them from wanting to visit Ireland immediately). Heavy distributor interest at Tribeca will guarantee the film a respectable theatrical run, as well as bouquets of affection for Ciaran Hinds and Aidan Quinn, who are as good here as they've ever been.
McPherson, whose theatrical work ("Shining City," "The Seafarer") usually includes supernatural elements, has accomplished what might be called a literary film, inasmuch as the spare but loaded dialogue and the visual signifiers -- a father emptying a dishwasher, for instance, near a photo of a hollow-eyed woman wearing a head scarf -- tell us everything we need to know in economical, elegant ways. The father is Michael Farr (Hinds), who has yet to adjust to his new role as single head of household; he's a bit confused about his new role, as are children (Eanna Hardwicke and Hannah Lynch). Mom, dead from cancer, is far from forgotten. In fact, she hasn't really left the room.
The city of Cobh -- its cathedral provides the backdrop for much of the movie (a political-theological as well as aesthetic choice on McPherson's part) -- is in the middle of its annual literary festival. Michael is a volunteer, and among the visiting celebs he's assigned to drive around are Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), a London-based writer of ghost stories, and Nicholas Holden (Quinn), an American whose novels are composed of elements of Hemingway, Mailer and Carver. Nicholas is an egomaniacal brute in intellectual's clothing, and he wants to revive the one-night fling he had at another festival with Lena, who is wisely declining his overtures. She and Michael, however, seem to be on intersecting trajectories. Michael and Nicholas are on course to collide as well.
But Michael has other emotional irons in the fire of his soul. His father-in-law, Malachy (Jim Norton), is residing, bitter and unhappy, in a nearby nursing home, and he's also making nightly appearances in Michael's dreams. Or are they dreams? It's no great leap to understand Michael's disordered subconscious as the result of unresolved grief over his wife and worries about his children. But McPherson never lets the viewer off with only one explanation for the strange things that appear -- or scream -- in the night. The inexplicable is a big part of the picture's charm.
McPherson's enormous indulgence, however -- and his mistake -- is in his visual realizations of Michael's horrific visions. Yes, the man is having waking nightmares, but the jump-scare manner in which Malachy appears, and the way he's portrayed, with a ghoulishness worthy of Rick Baker, is too much. Auds will laugh immediately after they gasp, and the effect is to take the viewer right out of the movie. It's a tonal derailment of everything else that's happening in the film and, unfortunately, will likely be the film's big talking point.
Much worthier of conversation are the performances. Quinn, alternately charming and loathsome, is brilliant, as is Hinds, an actor who has elevated everything he's been in (which ranges from "Prime Suspect" to "Persuasion" to "Munich"). Hjejle, the Danish actress seen in Nils Arden Oplev's "Portland" and Ed Zwick's "Defiance," is certainly glamorous, but also believable as a writer. That the drunkest person in an Irish film is an American (Nicholas) will have to be considered payback for what we did to Barry Fitzgerald.
Production values, notably the shooting of d.p. Ivan McCullough and the editing of Emer Reynolds, are first-rate.
at 4:05 PM
(Above: The Russian film "EVIL" used this Nox Arcana song "Night of the Wolf." YouTube has more Nox Arcana videos to give you a sense of the music.)
Whatever floats your boat… I happen to like dark scary music, it really turns me on. I feel as if I’m in a horror movie with the soundtrack playing as my life is in motion.
I was lucky enough to win a contest at Season of Shadows and received a fantastic CD by Nox Arcana. It had me absolutely hooked! Anyone into horror should know about this music. It’s dark, ambient, creepy, sounds like it should be the background sound for a haunted attraction. It’s moody, very atmospheric, and if these sounds don’t make your hairs stand on end, your nerves are dead. As a writer of horror, this is my #1 favorite. I put it on my laptop and listen to it while I write horror in a dark and scary backyard corner near my newly erected cemetery (pictures will be upcoming as soon as I get the headstones and fencing in). There’s music and sound effects and deep scary voices, chanting children, whimpering…you name it, but it’s also very beautiful to listen to, just soothing and yet eerily haunting. You can pretty much find albums for every time of the year too. I go through phases, so I enjoy it all. I hope to eventually collect all the albums.
Here’s some albums by Nox Arcana (The titles of the album tell you the mood of the collection – they really are compatible).
Shadow of the Raven
Carnival of Lost Souls
Phantoms of the High Seas
There’s a ton more of them. I’ve never been let down by any music on these CDs and they have provided me lots of mood and atmosphere for great horror writing inspiration.
at 2:47 PM
Okay, nothing to get too excited about, but I had this wall behind my sofa and I wanted to incorporate the bare tree limb theme that runs throughout my house with something that's purely decorative art and not art-art, you know? So, I did acrylic (hate them) paint washes on the surface to make it feel kind of like silk fabric and a bit Asian influenced and then I painted bare tree limbs. I'm pleased with the effect in the scheme of the entire room. It's not really a challenging painting--took me 30 minutes, but for its purpose, it'll do. I hope to get some down time to be able to dabble in oils again and start working on a series of my psychic visions. It will be so challenging but exciting.
at 10:40 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010
This documentary (above is part 1 and YouTube has all the parts) was on Instant Watch on Netflix and when I had the day off work and it was rainy and chilly, I curled up with my laptop to work on my horror writing but was highly distracted by this documentary about Zombie movies and America’s love of zombies. I put the laptop away and watched it with a big smile on my face!
You get to hear from the famous zombie moviemakers and what inspired them. “I Am Legend” and its vampires inspired George Romero’s zombie movies. For “Night of the Living Dead,” he said he never wanted them to be about vampires, he wanted the creatures to be the dead come back to life and be hungry for living flesh.
The Romero version of a zombie wasn’t directed by a master as old-time zombies, but simply starved to find live food for itself. For $6000 they rented the farmhouse to make the movie. It was a small “guerilla” filmmaking by folks around the Pittsburgh area willing to join in. The lead actor was a friend of theirs who was the best actor amongst their buddies. That he was an African American wasn’t the intention and yet it ended up giving a social statement with the script exactly as it was written without changes. Putting an African American man in the lead in the 60s and acting as leader of the group was revolutionary.
This documentary also discusses “The Zombie Survival Guide” and how people would survive a zombie attack. You hear from zombie actors, makeup artists, and those who participate in zombie walks. A discussion is held about how zombies act out what us us work-a-day “sleepwalking” humans can’t. They also discuss why people love zombies so much.
It was definitely a riveting watch. I suggest you either watch the parts on YouTube or put it in your Instant Watch queue if you have Netflix. Lovers of zombies will totally rejoice!
at 5:35 PM
Horror movies based on real-life events are always the most chilling because they are even more preposterous than a writer's license would dare allow.
A horror movie I found to be absolutely chillingly scary was “The Strangers” staring Liv Tyler. It was a brilliant film that depended more on sound and the unknown to scare the crap out of you. This is a very hard film to watch alone and in the dark. It’s definitely one of those “I would do this…” or “I would do that…” kind of films where you look around the surroundings and come up with plausible defenses should it ever happen to you. That’s the point of how they film is so horrifying – it’s humans at their most vulnerable; in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. I admit I can’t camp. I don’t like knowing only nylon comes between me and others who wander at night while I’m fast asleep and no witnesses are nearby. That’s the feel of this film, except the tormenters aren’t swift; they’re slow and unpredictable, creepy, and unseen.
I was surprised to find this movie was based on a true story, although I shouldn’t have been surprised. There are mass murderers who simply stalk and kill quick and clean and then there’s the cat-like ones who play with their prey and feed off the terror before they give the final blows; this movie is definitely the latter.
The concept for the movie “The Strangers” was based on a real life unsolved mystery and the moviemakers took the concept and filled in all the blanks that we’re left with. The real-life story doesn’t involve a couple, but a family.
From Wikipedia, here is the description of this still to this day unsolved murder mystery:
In 1981 American quadruple-murder that took place in Keddie, a resort town in Northern California. The victims were Glenna Sharp, known as Sue (age 36), her son John (age 15), and his male friend Dana Wingate (age 17). The final victim, Sue's daughter Tina Sharp (age 12), was missing when the murder was discovered; her remains were found in 1984 in Feather Falls, Butte County. Sue's two youngest sons and their friend were uninjured; found in a room with the door wedged shut by a chair to keep them in. A second daughter, Sheila, had stayed the night with neighbors. No arrests have been made in connection with the murders. The cabin in which the murders took place was demolished in 2006.
The following morning, Glenna's 14-year-old daughter, Sheila, who had spent the night with a friend at a neighboring cabin, found the dead bodies of her mother, brother, and brother's friend lying in the front living room; all had been bound with electrical wire and duct tape, and were beaten and stabbed beyond recognition. Tina Sharp was nowhere to be seen.
The savage nature of the crime was undeniable; the walls were covered with knife cuts, and the furniture had been destroyed. A sheriff patrol commander, Rod DeCrona, who arrived to the scene remarked that "There was blood sprayed absolutely everywhere". Upon examination of the bodies, it was clear that each of the victims had been bludgeoned with a claw hammer and stabbed repeatedly with steak knives. DeCrona also said that one of the knives discovered at the scene had been used so forcefully that the blade had bent entirely in half.
The case soon grew cold, and Tina Sharp's bizarre disappearance went unsolved as did the murders. The town of Keddie began to lose its visitors, and the resort turned into a ghost town. Three years after the crime, in 1984, the dismembered head of Tina Sharp was discovered near Feather Falls, roughly fifty miles downhill from the cabin resort. After this discovery no new information regarding the crime ever surfaced. No arrests have ever been made in regard to the crimes, nor have there been any solid leads as to the motivation of the killer(s). The murders remain unsolved to this day.
A documentary was made based on the murders and you can find out more about the whole crime and the video here.
If you’ve seen “The Strangers,” does the movie seem so farfetched from the actual crime or do you think the actual crime was much more dark and tormented?
at 9:01 AM
Saturday, February 20, 2010
WARNING: This true story is rather nasty, so if you're squeamish, don't proceed.
“Psycho,” “Silence of the Lambs,” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” were all movies inspired by a real-life killer: Ed Gein.
What did he do to inspire three of the most dark horror movies of all time? Well, Ed was a very very bad boy…
(Info obtained from Wikipedia)
Edward Theodore Gein “Ed” was born in 1906. In 1957, cops found body parts in his Wisconsin home and thus a dark and disgusting history was exposed. For years he had been robbing graves and using the bones and flesh to make trophies. He confessed to killing two women; Mary Hogan and Bernice Worden; two local shop owners. Their bodies were found in his shed, their heads in his home. He was ultimately found guilty and imprisoned in a mental hospital.
It’s always intriguing to learn the background that seemed to plant the seeds for such demented behavior. Ed’s father was an abusive alcoholic. Even though his mother despised his father, they remained married because of religious and moral beliefs in marriage. The fervent Lutheran family beat the ethics into him that drinking was bad and and all women were evil and dirty. The mother liked to read from the Bible and emphasize the bad and evil things. Their mother believed the two sons would end up like their father and so she was very abusive. The boys worked hard to make money for the family when the father died of a heart attack.
Later, there was a fire on the farm and Ed led the police right to his brother’s body which was strangely not burned but was bruised, leaving them suspicious. Even though the coroner found the death to be by asphyxiation, no charges were put against Ed. He remained on the farm with his mother, his only friend and love of his life until she died after a series of strokes.
When he was finally caught following speculation when the women in town disappeared, investigators discovered Worden's decapitated body in a shed, hung upside down by ropes at her wrists, with a crossbar at her ankles. The torso was "dressed out" like that of a deer. She had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle, and the mutilations performed after death.
They also found these things in the house:
• Four noses
• Whole human bones and fragments
• Nine masks of human skin
• Bowls made from human skulls
• Ten female heads with the tops sawed off
• Human skin covering several chair seats
• Mary Hogan's head in a paper bag
• Bernice Worden's head in a burlap sack
• Nine vulvas in a shoe box
• Skulls on his bedposts
• Organs in the refrigerator
• A pair of lips on a draw string for a windowshade
When questioned, Gein told investigators that between 1947 and 1952,while he was in "daze-like" states, he made as many as 40 nocturnal visits to three local graveyards to exhume recently buried bodies. On about 30 of those visits, he said he had come out of the daze while in the cemetery, left the grave in good order, and returned home empty handed. On the other occasions, he dug up the graves of recently buried middle-aged women he thought resembled his mother and took the bodies home, where he tanned their skins to make his paraphernalia.
Shortly after his mother's death, Gein had decided he wanted a sex change and began to create a "woman suit" so he could pretend to be a female. Gein's practice of donning the tanned skins of women was described as an "insane transvestite ritual".
You wonder where he might be haunting the world nowadays? His first mental hospital was at Dodge Correctional Institution and then later to Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. He died at 77 of congestive heart failure due to cancer at the Mendota State Hospital. His home was burned to the ground while he was imprisoned (no surprise there) and his car that he transported the bodies in was sold to a freak who wanted to use it for a carnival type sideshow item.
I’ve always said that real life is always creepier than anything we can think up because the writer’s mind is usually a healthy one, albeit creative. The killer’s mind, however, has no boundaries whatsoever. This is definitely a case where the scariest movies are based on real insanity.
at 9:50 AM
Friday, February 19, 2010
(Above. That's Loft on the left and Repo on the right)
I’m totally giving away my age when I say, I recall when this made-for-tv horror movie “The Ghost of Flight 401” (I believe it's easier to find on VHS) came out in 1978. Starring Ernest Borgnine, Kim Bassinger and many other familiar 70s faces, this movie had a huge urban legend surrounding it.
Was there ever a flight 401 that started an airplane haunting?
The movie premise: An aircraft crashes in the Florida Everglades, killing 103 passengers. After the wreckage is removed, salvageable parts from the plane are used to repair other aircraft. Soon passengers and crew on those aircraft report seeing what they believe to be the ghost of the wrecked airplane's flight engineer.
Here’s some info I got on the true story here:
On the night of Friday, December 29th, 1972 Eastern Airlines Flight 401 was carrying 176 people as it neared it's destination of the Miami Airport. Flying the L - 1011 jumbo jet were Captain Bob Loft and Second Officer Don Repo, who were engaged in routine landing procedures when a warning light flashed on the control panel indicating a problem with the landing gear. It is possibly that this is the reason neither of them noticed that the plane was actually descending around 200 feet per minute faster than what they thought. Seconds later the airliner slammed into the Florida Everglades, killing 101 people immedietly. Both Captain Loft and Officer Repo survived the initial impact, but both were mortally wounded. Captain Loft died before he could be pulled from the burning, twisted wreck and Officer Repo died a day later. The story of these men should have ended right there, but this was not to be the case. Eastern Airlines salvaged much of the stricken airplane and redistributed them among similar aircraft in their fleet.
Soon, reports of ghostly hauntings began to come in from the planes who had received spare parts from Flight 401. Most of the apparitions were reported by Eastern's crew members, especially those on one particular plane of the airline's fleet. Repo's ghost appeared frequently, both in the cockpit as well as in the galley, the area where flight attendants prepared passengers meals. He seemed to be especially concerned with flight safety, and reportedly fixed a faulty oven circuit on one occasion. In other instances, he pointed out a potential fire hazard and a hydraulic leak.
Loft's ghost was also seen on various flights, usually sitting in first class or in the crews cabin. A stewardess once confronted Loft, asking what he was doing on the plane as she had not seen him board and could not identify him on the passenger manifest. Receiving no reply, she reported it to her flight captain. He walked back with her and recognized Loft, who disappeared immediately in front of a dozen people!!! The airline was (at least outwardly) a bit skeptical of people who reported the sightings, and suggested that they seek psychiatric counseling at the company's expense. Nevertheless, skeptical or not, the airline removed all of the salvaged parts of the ill - fated Flight 401 from the aircraft they had been put into. The paranormal sightings ended with that. Eventually, the sightings were turned into a best selling book by newspaper reporter John G. Fuller.
I’d love to open a discussion (as I usually do) about whether you believe this sort of haunting could occur and why.
at 10:11 AM
I like to toot the horn for blogs I enjoy so much that I have to rush to read their newest entries. I’ve got one I can’t wait to share with you. Do you ever see a movie with a friend and afterwards review its points with each other and nod your heads in complete agreement? Reading this blog is much like that. I nod my head the entire time and get nostalgic, as well.
If you like the kind of horror movies I gravitate towards; the classics, the 70s stuff, Castle Horror Films, the eccentric, the unusual, and dark, as well as old horror movie posters, then you really have to follow this blog The Bleaux Leaux Reveaux
I have yet to ever read a review that I didn’t totally agree with. It’s witty, doesn’t give away too much, and this reviewer seriously knows his horror genre. I’m thrilled every time I see a new entry. When he gives a good review of a movie I have missed somehow, I rush out to find it. He never lets me down.
So, if you want to hear a reviewer who will give you movies to see you haven’t seen before, get you excited about the classics in the genre, and has a vast knowledge, definitely follow this one!
at 6:46 AM
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tell me, does my blog seem like it’s run by someone who as a child:
At 3 years old, wandered down to the creek where she picked up a snapping turtle and brought it home to show her mom, at which her mother promptly began to scream hysterically. The next day, that toddler brought her mom a black snake and grass snake and the next day, a crayfish.
At about 10 years old, the little girl decided to build a hot air balloon by stitching sheets together and then using her brother’s camping stove to heat air to fill it up. Of course, it didn’t work, but she did manage to start a nice little fire, luckily, right beside the creek where she could put it out right away without getting caught.
At 11, the girl made a parachute and jumped off the barn, luckily dropping and rolling and managing to get up and walk away just fine.
At about the age of 10, after seeing a Bigfoot documentary movie, she promptly came home and put on about 6 shirts and several pairs of pants, work gloves, and a scarf around her neck in the summertime. Why? To go into the woods in search of Bigfoot, certain the layers protect her.
Inside her huge barn the girl had a giant blackboard from a schoolhouse and schoolhouse desks. She drew a map and started a UFO sighting headquarters where folks could report any UFO sightings. She rode her bike around the neighborhood leaving flyers in mailboxes.
At one point, the girl decided to put the ghosts at Aspen Grove to rest, so she had a séance and then buried some of their relics and prayed over them. Since activity didn’t stop in the house, she hurriedly dug up the relics and snuck them back into her mom’s showcase before she noticed them missing.
A beat up old car in the field next to her house, always drew the girl's attention. It was a 1940s/1950s big black car that rolled into the field during a seance being held in the main house and no ID was ever found and no owner. Weeds had since grown into it, but the girl decided to try and put the parts back into it and work on it so she could drive to California and become a surfer and an actress. She played Beach Boy tunes all summer as she tried to buff and polish and figure out where all the parts went on the car.
I could do this all day, but the point is…what was the focus of your childhood dreams and play? Did you like to build things? Did you like to be the boss? Did you like to dream of fame and fortune? Did you want to create art? Tell tall stories? Sing and dance? Play an instrument? Go on adventures?
What does your current life and your blog say about that child--does he/she still exist?
I thought I’d remind you to keep feeding that kid—it’s the genuine wellspring for new post ideas and an overall excitement about life.
After all, we are all just kids in grownup clothing.
at 1:42 PM
Six-thousand pages of UFO-related papers were released in Britain, covering the years of 1994-2000. This is the fifth and largest installment released by the Defense Ministry. These include reports very odd-shaped UFOs, substances being extruded, different colors, different lights and even physical illness.
The popular shape today appears to be the triangle and many believe this is a takeoff of people’s knowledge of the Stealth bomber influencing their reports. One man reported his car engulfed in a tube-like light and then dust particles after which he became very ill. Another reported a blue triangle hovering over his garden. Yet more have reported white powdery substances across the countryside and strange mysterious illnesses.
Question of the day: “Is Britain’s release of more UFO reports helpful for proving UFOs exist or does it shed less credibility on witness reports as being outrageous and nonsensical? And if so, was this their goal in releasing them en masse?”
at 7:39 AM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
When I was growing up in Fairfax, my mother was an historian and art teacher. I was practically raised inside of the Fairfax Library. We used to walk to the library a few times a week where I would restlessly search the rows of books and learn about subjects I enjoyed (leading to my insatiable knowledge for things that catch my fancy), while my mother searched the books in the Virginia Room.
One summer, I recall, my mother was sitting in her chair in our living room, studying her paperwork as she unraveled the history of Aspen Grove. Bored enough to actually inquire about what she was doing, she gladly spouted a bunch of information about what she thought were fascinating battles fought locally and the use of the house as a hospital. I should have known better than to ask. To me, history was everywhere. It was mundane. I loved going to friend's suburban tract homes where things were modern and chrome and fresh and new. To me, history was dusty and moldy and creaky and (yawn) boring.
As I wandered off to look for some mischief, my mother called out.
“I did learn something new at the library the other day. It’s pretty exciting. It was about Braddock’s Gold.”
I turned and waited, but mother wasn’t great at prompting.
“So?” I asked.
“General Braddock buried gold that was to be the payroll. I found something in a soldier’s diary about it. He knew about the burial place. There was a set of matching books, maybe 20 of them, small ones. They were entries from diaries of soldiers. In one of those, I found a soldier’s account of the burial and where they buried it. Today, the gold would be worth a fortune.” She sighed.
The wheels in my young mind turned and a plot evolved. History still held some mysteries, apparently. Especially more intriguing ones than battles!
First, let me tell you from this online passage, the story behind Braddock’s gold:
“During the time of his expedition into the North Huntingdon area, General Edward Braddock camped one evening with his army near what is now known as Circleville. That evening, Braddock sent two scouts to locate the river which he knew was nearby. These scouts traveled down the valley along the Crawford run area and finally came to the Youghiogheny River; however, these men did not know its true name. After this discovery, the two scouts returned to the Three Springs encampment and told Braddock they had found the river. Braddock then called his troops together and told them the scouts had located the river. According to the map George Washington had drawn for him, they were not too far away from Fort Duquesne where they had planned to attack the French and Indians.
At this time, Braddock suggested they should have counsel among themselves in regard to the King's gold they were carrying for the payroll. Braddock requested that the men wait until after the battle to get paid because a number of them would be killed. Therefore, he reasoned there would be fewer to divide the gold. The men voted in favor of Braddock's plan. Braddock then suggested they hide the gold instead of taking it into battle, lest it fall into the hands of the French and Indians.
It was decided that the two guides, with General Braddock as witness, would retrace their trail to the river and cache the gold until after the battle. The three followed Crawford Run to the river, buried the gold under a walnut tree, and returned to the camp. On the twelfth day of the expedition, the army moved out towards what was known as Charlie Larimer's farm. There they turned south in the direction of the river, thinking it was the Monongahela, though it was the Youghiogheny. They followed the river banks to the forks of another river located at what is now called McKeesport. This second river was the Monongahela, but Braddock thought it to be the Allegheny River. They crossed the Monongahela into what is now Duquesne. When they started down the river valley, they saw the Turtle Creek Valley, located on General Washington's maps. Realizing the mistake, they re-crossed the river at a point now known as the city of Braddock.
The French and Indians were waiting in a narrow passage to ambush Braddock and his army. The result was a near massacre, with General Braddock mortally wounded. The remnant of the army hurriedly retreated up the valley of the Monongahela, eventually marching to Uniontown. There on top of the summit, Braddock's body was buried at a site near Fort Necessity.
But what about Braddock's gold? It still remains buried somewhere near the Youghiogheny River.”
So, I called one of my friends over and we trudged to the library and up to the claustrophobic Virginia Room where I studied the shelves I had seen my mother hovering over and found the matching set of small books. We eagerly began to take them down and study them at the table. I’m certain the librarian thought we were diligent students in the summertime to be studying in a dusty library. Well, I found the book! We studied the passages. He described 50 paces east from the tree.
Too eager to get on with the search, I put the book back up and we rushed home. I was certain it had to be on my property. I didn’t take the time to research more about the area where it supposedly occurred. We walked 50 paces east of every large tree in my yard and dug down. It took the entire summer, but we never found the gold. I did, however, on a few digs find some more relics for our shelves.
To this day, I always think some eager treasure seeker in Pennsylvania near the Crawford run area and Youghiogheny River; who doesn’t mind a trip to a library in Fairfax to find the set of books with the soldier’s diaries, might just be happily rewarded with a treasure worth a fortune.
Just another great mystery that remains a mystery to today.
at 10:25 PM
(The trailer from the original “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark”)
Guess what? A remake of “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is coming up. In case you didn’t see the 1970s classic with Kim Darby, you will need to see this one. The movie idea is a great one; a home that has little tiny nighttime demons that torment the woman living there. Very freaky, very uncomfortable. No release date yet, but I’ll be all over this one.
“Night of the Demons” Remake. In post production. February 2010? Shannon Elizabeth.
Angela Feld is throwing the Halloween party to end all Halloween parties at the infamous Broussard Mansion in New Orleans, where dark events transpired almost a century ago. But when the packed party gets busted by the police, Angela and her friends Maddie, Lily, Suzanne, Colin, Dex and Jason are the only ones left behind. Soon Colin and Angela make a grisly discovery in the basement and inexplicable events start to take place. With the mansion gates mysteriously locked, the seven find themselves trapped for the night...and soon they're fighting ancient demons for their very souls.
“The Evil Dead” and “The Gate” are also being remade.
In other words, so far as demon movies go—we’re in for a lot of repeats. I’m definitely going to be following “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” because I always thought that could have been a lot scarier than the original. It had that Zuni hunting doll feel from “Trilogy of Terror.” It’s amazing how much tiny creatures can freak people out!
at 7:20 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This is a subject that really excites me. I hope to do more posts in the future on this as ideas evolve.
Let’s think about hundreds of years ago when ghost hunting meant séances or Ouijas and psychic mediums to intercede. Fast forward to the time of Edison and we see the beginnings of the concept of EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon—voices/sounds caught on tape not hard by the recording individuals). Along comes the 21st century and we’ve made it to using electrician’s tools and audio/video equipment to try and capture phenomenon and look for commonalities and ways to better predict and determine if a place is haunted. But, we’re certainly still not there yet. Even with shows like “Ghost Hunters” presenting evidence, it cannot be verified, weighed or measured.
Our tools today are crude and ineffectual. Voice recorders are apt to pick up all kinds of signals, as it is a receiver and we live in a world filled with satellite signals, radiowaves, cell phone, microwave signals…you name it! Your EMF meter and KII meter—meant for electricians and can easily pick up all the free flowing electromagnetic signals wandering around in a world that is not a shielded lab.
So, what’s up next for ghost hunting? Let’s look at some avenues of possibilities:
Visual: Better photography in thermal, ultraviolet and infrared spectrums, x-ray photography, photography of radiation, microwaves, full-spectrum, Kirlian, and anything else we can come up with visually. Ideally if we find the spectrum these spirits can be seen in, we should be able to film them fully and not just a blip in one photo.
Audio: The use of the infrasound spectrum by using meters to see if infrasound (very low frequency sounds not heard by human ears but felt by the body), as well as ways of sending out messages in the infrasound spectrum. As well, ultra high frequency might be another avenue for exploration.
Spiritual: Seances and mediums aside, the concept is a good one. Why not expand our minds to be able to astrally project or perhaps remote view and lock into other spirits? The expansion of the human mind in controllable exercises could show some actual legitimate help in the field for communicating with spirits. Spiritual paths may have to be combined with brain stimulation devices to work the temporal lobes or the pineal gland. We often are visited by the dead in our sleep. There's a reason for this. Our mind state makes it possible for the passage of messages and information. Sleep studies and lucid dreaming in combination with a sleep helmet custom made to send electrical stimulation to the proper region of the brain--all possibilities.
Physics: Ultimately, quantum physics and research at places like CERN could actually shed some light on how ghosts occur, how they communicate, as well as how psychics gather information. Once we know their paranormal pathway, we can hopefully tap into it and transfer information through this means and detect it when it's occurring.
Controlled situations will be essential for proof of ghosts. We have to have labs shielded from EMF, radiation, microwaves, radiowaves, et cetera, where a truly controlled study can be done. This will help us to prove whether EMF meters and other devices have any efficacy at all and perhaps what does seem to work to measure their presence. It might need to be a portable constructable shielded room placed in a haunted environment.
The final step for ghost hunting will be the most obvious one; bring the ghosts to us. After all, there is no reason why a ghost would be limited by walls, weather, space, distance, or even time. The ideal situation is a lab that is completely controlled and shielded in which we can bring forth and test ghostly properties.
I’d very much like to hear your concepts on the future of ghost hunting.
at 3:15 PM
Maybe it’s the spring-like weather but I had so much fun doing an earlier post
on “What Did You Do With Your 1980s?” that I just had to do a prequel and talk about the 70s.
70s started out for me as a little kid (see above--I was born with a double earlobe on the left side--you can see in my school picture. I was told by a psychic medium as a kid that meant I was psychic--hmm, I noticed Adam Sandler has one too and the Asian lady from "Lost"--wonder if they're psychic?). You can start to see adolescence encroaching right into full out teen-hood and disco era. I was on the short flag team in high school and was a mean twirler! I was in jazz dance and modeling and pageants, as well as acting (never got parts!) The swimsuit shot were both model poses, one at about 6th grade, the other my senior year.
Embarrassing tibit: When we first moved to AZ, I was going into 10th grade. I faked a southern accent (godawful) and got more boyfriends than any one girl should ever possess. I had an entourage that followed me everywhere and I acted quite stupid too (which really grated on my nerves), but worked beautifully. I had rides everywhere and free lunches and lots of dates. The hardest part, however, was how to hide the accent from my parents when guys would come over. I’d have to try not to talk in front of either of them. Luckily, we had a formal living room and I’d keep the guys in there where I could play music to mask my dialect from mother’s eagle ear.
Music: The first half of the 70s were it—the best music ever made, will never be that good ever again! Perhaps it’s just the music of your adolescence when music suddenly becomes the background soundtrack to your emotions and your social life. I remember we had a swimming pool nearby at Aspen Grove and in the summertime you could hear 10cc, Paul McCartney and the Wings and England Dan and John Ford Coley blaring over the intercom. I loved all the artists of the 70s—all! I was a top 40 type of gal and I did freestyle rollerskating, so I did dance routines to just about everything you can think of and much of it was the "soundtrack" to my skateboarding.
Styles: Yeah, I wore disco—a lot! I had tons of Gloria Vanderbilt painted on pants and lycra dresses and stilettos. I also enjoyed the first half of the 70s when we wore rugby shirts and painter’s pants and double-zipper jeans with earth shoes! I wore harem pants to school and see-through pants—yeah, clear plastic pants with a leotard beneath it. I was always trying to shock and awe with my different hair color of the week and most bizarre clothing ensembles.
The 70s were bleeding away from the 60s “love” generation and eco-friendly and going into hardcore sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll and ending on the superficial disco era that would lead into the total superficial glamour and yuppie-dom of the 80s. In retrospect, the best part of the 70s was about 74-76 because that’s when it was its own decade without other influences.
So, what did you do with your 70s? (assuming you were around then—many of you are very young critters)
at 7:55 AM
Monday, February 15, 2010
It’s been a while since I’ve done a movie review of more obscure ones that you might not have caught. This is a great find if:
1. You always dreamed of living in a converted warehouse in the city
2. You like stalker films
3. You like Diane Lane
4. You always wanted to be a window dresser and live with mannequins
5. The 80s was your era
I love this movie and have it as part of my collection of stalker films. I like stalker films myself because I used to have a stalker and I so enjoy seeing movies where women get to kill them face-to-face (sinister grin).
I also had a dream as a kid of being a window dresser (like Rhoda on Mary Tyler Moore Show) and living in the city in a converted warehouse where I could have a huge open area to rollerskate around my apartment and dress up mannequins as permanent house guests. I wanted to be a quirky Mary Tyler Moore meets boho artist chick. Well, this movie chillingly recreates that scenario.
It’s a classic stalker movie, but really the sex is pretty awesome (with her boyfriend, not the stalker) and plenty of topless Diane Lane (has she ever done a movie not topless?) and a totally cool 80s style fashion statement throughout.
Honestly, very sexy, very tense, very beautifully filmed in Pittsburgh (not a place I usually think of as a fashion center, but a gorgeous filming site that adds to the mood and the industrial feel).
As this is obscure, it may be hard to find. I found it on sale in some places like here and used VHS copies here.
If you liked “P2,” “Lipstick,” or “Someone is Watching Me!” this is your movie. Guys will like it for the sex and nudity, gals will like it for the Mary Tyler Moore meets Cindy Margolis feel (you know, good career girl/naughty career girl).
P.S. Women, will be yelling at how she handles it, but I was stalked for years and I must say they had no stalker laws in the 80s. The cops basically told me the car he drove and to watch out for it and left me to my own devices. So, back in the 80s, this was pretty chillingly realistic.
at 8:42 PM