Friday, May 31, 2013

Legends of Horror

Horror cut its teeth on some of the best acting, best storylines, best screenplay writing, and greatest mood and atmosphere and the conveyance of this art form were the actors. Here are some of the classic horror actors, legends in their genre (in no particular order) and a list of only some of the movies they left an impact on.

Boris Karloff
Voodoo Island
The Haunted Strangler
Corridors of Blood
Arsenic and Old Lace
The Terror
Die Monster Die!

Peter Cushing
The Evil of Frankenstein
The Gorgon
The Skull
Frankenstein Created Woman
Scream and Scream Again
Fear in the Night
Horror Express

Vincent Price
The Fly
The House on Haunted Hill
Tower of London
The Raven
The Last Man on Earth
House of Usher
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
The Haunted Palace

Christopher Lee
Horror Castle
The Gorgon
Castle of the Living Dead
Dracula: Prince of Darkness
Island of the Burning Damned
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
Count Dracula

Lon Chaney, Jr.
The Mummy's Curse
House of Frankenstein
House of Dracula
Ghost Chasers
The Galloping Ghost
A Scream in the Night
The Wolf Man

Bela Lugosi
The Ghost of Frankenstein
Night Monster
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
The Ape Man
The Body Snatcher
Vampire Over London
Voodoo Man

John Carradine
Blood of Dracula's Castle
The Astro-Zombies
Horror of the Blood Monsters
Legacy of Blood
Blood of Ghastly Horror

Legends Week: The Killer In the Back Seat

The legend tells of a woman who goes to a bar with a friend. She leaves and begins to drive home when a car pulls up on her, flashing its lights and swerving toward her, trying to make her go off the road. She speeds up, racing away, the car behind her, flashing its lights into her rear view mirror.

Terrified, she races down the roadway towards her street, pulls into her driveway and the car comes up behind her, lights shining into the back of her car. She runs from her car and the man in the other car yells at her, "Go inside! Call 9-1-1!" She does and when the cops arrive, the awful truth is revealed. The driver was trying to warn her that there was a killer in her back seat with a butcher knife, about to stab her when he scared him from acting it out.

There are a few variations of this theme including one with a gas station attendant who sees the killer while pumping gas, acts strangely and scares the driver. She thinks he's the killer, but he's trying to save her from the killer.

Totally just a made up tale, huh? Well, it's believed it might be based on a true story from the 1960s of a killer hiding in someone's back seat.  I personally thank the legend because it has made me very aware of looking into my back seat before I get into my car.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Legend of Boggy Creek

Even though it's a desperately outdated and incredibly slow-moving pseudo-documentary, "The Legend of Boggy Creek" is a classic that many of us Paranormal Geeks cut our teeth on. The story is a true one - based on the accounts of the Fouke Monster, Bigfoot that wandered the bogs of an area of Arkansas called Fouke. Enjoy the video -

And, if you have a sense of the ridiculous, you might enjoy Julie and I's drunken mockery of the "bottoms"

Legends Week: Bloody Mary

Of the youthful tales, the tale of calling upon Bloody Mary and trying to conjure her image in a mirror is one that outlasts the others. The original tale had the young woman walking backwards up the stairs with a candle and a hand mirror, gazing into the mirror in the candlelit stairwell, hoping to see the face of the man they would marry and if they saw a skull, they would die before they wed.

Originally, it was believed the tale was evoking Queen Mary who had many miscarriages. The young girl was to look into the mirror and call on Bloody Mary and ask if she wanted to see her baby. The image is often called a witch, a ghost, or a demon.

When I was younger and my friends dared me to do it and I couldn't pass up a dare, I remember holding my breath after the third time I called on Bloody Mary. Nothing happened, but my mind rushed with fear, wondering what would happen if it DID work. No one had explained what would happen. Would she possess my soul? Haunt me forever? Pull me through the mirror?

Something inside me shifted as a kid when I realized that nothing happened when I said her name into the dark mirror many times in a row. It dawned on me that perhaps legends are just to excite us and to test our mettle, but they have no basis in fact. It made it possible henceforth as an adult to explore the paranormal without taking others warnings to heart and being afraid to push the limits of interactions.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Epic Rap Battles of History and Drunk History

Humor on YouTube - I love it. You have Drunk History and Epic Rap Battles Of History - two great channels to just have fun with history.

Legends Week: The Man Upstairs

The Man Upstairs is one of the best babysitter cautionary tales. The parents want a quiet evening out away from the children and hire a teenaged babysitter. When she arrives, they tell her the kids are sleeping and not to disturb them. Seems like an easy gig. The babysitter and call her friends, study her books, get a snack. Only, someone keeps calling her and baiting her with silence. Unnerved at being home alone in a strange place, she checks the doors and windows.

Then, the caller asks her, "have you checked the children?" Unsettled, she calls the restaurant where the parents are, but they are no longer there. Now, she's scared the phone will ring again. And, it does. The caller asks her again "why haven't you checked the children?"

Scared, she calls the police. They tell her that unless he's threatening her, there's nothing they can do, but they promise that if she keeps him on the line long enough, they will trace the call.

The phone rings again and she pleads with her tormenter to tell her what he wants, why he's doing this, trying desperately to keep him on the line. The caller hangs up. She wrings her hands and waits. The phone rings again.

Nervously, the babysitter picks it up and answers. It's the police. The officer warns her cautiously, "do not get excited, do not panic. We traced the call and it is coming from inside the house. Leave!"

She barely makes it out in time to land in the officer's arms. The police go in and find the children murdered in their beds.

I prefer the original 1970s movie version, "When a Stranger Calls," but I really loved the set for the newer version and it had some face to face confrontation with the killer which was pretty cool -

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tonight On Paranormal Geeks Radio: Nick Redfern!

Tonight's Paranormal Greeks Radio show is going to be enthralling. Nick Redfern is the special guest. This extremely talented author and researcher of all things paranormal is an icon to many of us in the PG community. In fact, Julie and I listed Nick as one of the rock stars in the paranormal world in our book, "Paranormal Geeks."  You can find Nick's numerous well-researched and remarkably well written books on Amazon and other sites that sell books. He covers everything from Men in Black to all kinds of monsters, conspiracies to weird places.

The show is on 9 pm EST/8 pm Central/6 pm Pacific on Paranormal Geeks Radio

Bobbie Short - Remembered

With the recent passing of a researcher and mentor in the Bigfoot Realm, it's apparent the effect Bobbie Short had on many in the field. I hope that other researchers come to realize the imprint they leave behind by their motivations, actions, and words. One of her dear friends sums it up nicely here -

Bobbie Short...

The First Lady of Sasquatchery...a pioneering champion of respectful observation/No Kill research.

Her site ...Bigfoot the compendium of to all, free of pop-ups, thousands of hours spent compiling and researching, selflessly devoted to understanding the enigma of Sasquatch...she didn't suffer fools, thugs or nonsense. 

Sasquatchery was her passion, not a cottage industry.  Unlike her detractors, sniping after her passing...Roberta E. Short was the real deal...not a pompous wannabe.

We argued, cussed and discussed, often agreeing to disagree...I loved her shoulder, uncommon common sense, knowledge and wit...and I know she loved me.

Rest in peace...Baby Doll

live and let live...

Steve Summar

Candlelight Tales: Legends Of My Telling

I have a collection on my psychic62 YouTube channel of legends I tell in anonymity. Enjoy some of these legends -

Legends Week: Spring-Heeled Jack

A legend born in the 1800s in England involved a character called Spring-Heeled Jack. He was said to appear out of nowhere and make amazing leaps. Described as devilish looking, glowing red eyes, and clawed hands, he wore a helmet, a cape, and a tight-skinned suit. Some believed he looked like a gentleman, others like a devil. He was even said by some to shoot white and blue fire from his mouth. Some described him as having a high pitched scream and able to leap 9 feet.

One girl in 1837 was reported to have been accosted by him in the darkness, where he kissed her face and tore at her clothing with his corpse-like cold clawed fingers. She screamed and some came to scare him off.

One day in 1845, supposedly with onlookers, Jack tossed a prostitute off a bridge and she drowned.

Wikipedia  Jane Alsop reported that on the night of 19 February 1838, she answered the door of her father's house to a man claiming to be a police officer, who told her to bring a light, claiming "we have caught Spring-heeled Jack here in the lane". She brought the person a candle, and noticed that he wore a large cloak. The moment she had handed him the candle, however, he threw off the cloak and "presented a most hideous and frightful appearance", vomiting blue and white flame from his mouth while his eyes resembled "red balls of fire". Miss Alsop reported that he wore a large helmet and that his clothing, which appeared to be very tight-fitting, resembled white oilskin. Without saying a word he caught hold of her and began tearing her gown with his claws which she was certain were "of some metallic substance". She screamed for help, and managed to get away from him and ran towards the house. He caught her on the steps and tore her neck and arms with his claws. She was rescued by one of her sisters, after which her assailant fled.

Is spring-heeled Jack truly gone after these centuries?  Supposedly not!

A traveling salesman on the Welsh border claims in 1986 he ran into a figure that could leap huge bounds, slapped the salesman on the cheek, and appeared to be wearing a black ski suit with an elongated chin.

And, as soon as 2012, a family traveling the road said they saw a cloaked figure in black leap a huge distance in seconds.

As legends go, this one is rather extraordinary. The details are just odd enough that it reminds me of a Mothman figure or Jersey Devil. The springs in his boot heels, making him leap, the fire from his mouth, the metallic claws and glowing red eyes --

Isn't it interesting that over centuries and separate continents, similar oddly-described men could be scaring citizens? You would think one might have a flying man, or one might have a man with red eyes, but it would seem this figure is a universal one.

I, for one, would like to witness Spring-Heeled Jack. I think a well placed blow to the crotch might be enough to keep him at bay, but mostly the concept of a man in a tight oilskin outfit and red eyes and flames coming from his mouth sounds quite comical.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Coins Dropping From Nowhere

Coins dropping from nowhere. It's a fairly commonly reported paranormal phenomena. Lots of researchers have studied it like Barry Taff. And some investigators have run into cases where dozens of coins dropped from mid air and landed heads up. Is it possible? Why does it happen? Here's a video offered by someone who has had this happen a few times.

Why does this happen?

Actually, of the poltergeist activity, coins dropping is probably one of the most commonly reported phenomena. The sound of it is familiar and coins are symbolic to most humans. It would seem, if you were going to manipulate something, a small metallic object that makes a distinct sound, is found in most locations, and symbolic would be an ideal choice. It's also an ideal choice of hoaxers who place them atop of doors or toss them from their pockets. So, finding genuine coin phenomena can be a tough trick. You need some good witnesses.

I know of a case where trained police officers witnessed them materializing from 3-4 feet off the ground and dropping, dozens of coins, and all heads up when they landed.

The single most terrifying moment I ever had in the paranormal realm was a poltergeist activity in which the coins were controlled. My family was packing to move west from our haunted home in Virginia. My mother, sister and I sat at the breakfast room table discussing the move while my father and brother were in Arizona, finding the rental house. We heard a loud crash, went rushing across the home to the music room where a portrait on the wall fell from the wall, went 12 feet away, knocked over a folding TV dinner stand that had a jar of pennies on it and stacks of 10 pennies ready to be placed in paper rolls. The picture was unbroken upside down under the tray, 12 feet from its original position, the legs were splayed out, the jar was still standing and the 15 or so stacks of 10 pennies were still flawlessly stacked. Happened in seconds. Made no logical sense. Horrified me beyond reason. In fact, I slept in the cottage out back.

So, can coins be manipulated by ghostly activity? It would seem so. How? That is the great wonder.

Legends Week: Sleepy Hollow

Sometimes, a short story is all that is necessary to begin a legend. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was a short story by Washington Irving and it was such an American classic horror story that it has become synonymous with autumnal harvests, Halloween, scarecrows, Jack O'Lanterns, and American historical literature.

Taking place in a peaceful glen in New York in the late 1700s, the area was said to be haunted by the spirit of a Hessian trooper who lost his head in a battle during the Revolutionary War. The story evolves with a wealthy daughter whose father is hoping to marry her off. The two men that vie for her hand are Ichabod Crane, the bony, nervous schoolteacher and Brom Bones, the town bully. Bones plays some pranks on the twitchy schoolteacher to embarrass him in front of the young woman. When Ichabod rides home through the woods, he sees a headless rider on a horse with his head upon his lap. The schoolteacher tries to race away and all that is left of him is a wandering horse, a shattered pumpkin, and no Ichabod. The story leaves one to wonder if perhaps Brom Bones dressed up as the Hessian to scare the schoolteacher off and win the young woman's hand.

The concept of the headless horseman has been well embedded in imagery of Halloween and inventive costumes. The imagery of being in an autumn forest, chilled night, darkness, and a rearing horse with a headless occupant have created fright in children for centuries. In fact, it's inspired a few movie, as well -

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Legends Week: Shark Attacks!

Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, I always like to do a marathon of "Jaws "movie and drink beer, eat ice cream and seafood, and remember the summer of 75. "Jaws" is my favorite movie of all time. I think it is perfection in the legend it brings to life, the acting, cinematography, unfolding of the story, dialogue, characters, and it provided everything we could want and more!

Shark statistics?

Not bad, the US has 51 attacks a year, but only 3 deaths. Florida is the #1 state for them, but considering the warm water, large population of swimmers, and enormous amount of beachfront - yeah, I'm not surprised. Brazil has the most of anywhere in the world. The Bahamas, Africa and Australia also have a great many of the percentages.

Do you have a chance of surviving a shark attack?  Here's some tips?

The greatest shark legend ever is the one told in the classic movie "Jaws."

The movie was so epic and so amazing - you're going to enjoy this inside look into the filming of it -

Legends Week: The Hook

One of the most beloved urban legends of all time is "The Hook."

We Americans love our urban legends. This classic old-time one goes like this; a couple on lover's lane listening to music and making out, hear an announcer come on to warn that a serial killer has just escaped from a nearby institution and has a hook on his right hand. He admonishes everyone to lock their doors and
stay inside. The girl gets scared and begs her boyfriend to leave when she hears sounds outside. When they arrive home, they find the hook caught in the car door handle.

Many variations have been done of this theme, but it seemed to serve as a cautionary tale for young adults and the dangers in the world, especially when you're not focused on your environment.

Legends Week on Ghost Hunting Theories!

This week on Ghost Hunting Theories, I'm covering legends, so turn down the lights, curl up and get in the mood....

I plan to have posts about famous legends, obscure legends; all with dark themes, horror, and urban legends are included!

The next post goes up in just a few -

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What's That Wacky Redhead Up To Now?

Where do I begin?

I've been working the full-time job (transcription) and stock trading on the side (hoping to convert to this full-time), while working on about 5 books at one time, writing the blog, researching and coming up with theories in the Bigfoot world, working on some experiment ideas in the paranormal realm, and Julie Ferguson (my co-author and best friend) and I are going to make a trek into Appalachia very soon to hit tons of paranormal places and do everything from research to urban exploration, Bigfooting to ghosting.

We will not only be blogging about it, but tweeting and facebooking, so if you aren't already friends with me in social networks, go to the left side of the screen where the links are to my other sites and my YouTube channel where no doubt I will have tons of videos of abandoned sites and amazing places.

We are working on a new book in our Abandoned series, "Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories (Appalachia Edition)." And, we will be working on our "Paranormal Geeks Field Guide."

This summer, expect us to re-release "Zombie Housewives of the Apocalypse" and the new one in the series, "Zombie Housewives of the 1970s."

I will also be releasing more in my erotic horror series under the name Anna Melissa on Nook and Kindle, "Pagan Bloodlust.". I also have a romantic horror novel (first in a 2-part series) "The Hunt: Ghosts" and a SciFi Horror novel (MetaNet) coming up -

Expect me to release on the blog more interesting theories.

In case any of you are missing my sidekick, Dale the Doll (the pain in the ass), here's our latest interaction  -

Oddities Week: Human Chimeras?

Animal/man hybrid reports: What kind of conclusions can we make about such things if they truly exist? Well, knowing that humans and animals cannot mate and create offspring, there's only one option - DNA manipulation.

Goat Man:  (listverse) The Maryland goatman has been seen in Prince Georges County, Maryland, USA, since the 1970s. It is reported as having the lower body of a goat and the upper body of a man. He also has the horns of a goat. He’s about 7 feet tall and 300 pounds. The goatman was first sighted by a couple of lovers who had been making out in their car. The goatman had an ax in his hand, while staring at the couple. He then ran into the woods. A woman reported that she had seen the creature in her backyard while her dog was barking urgently. She was too scared to go outside and found that her dog had had it’s head chopped off, when she went outside the next morning.

Lizard Man:  (Wikipedia)  The Lizard Man is described as being 7 feet (2 m) tall, bipedal, and well built, covered in dark hair with scaly lizard like skin on hands, feet and face. It is said to have three toes on each foot and three fingers on each hand which end in a circular pad on them that stick to walls. The creature has an incredible degree of strength, more than capable of ripping into a car. It might have a tail.

Dog Man: (Wikipedia) The first known sighting of the Michigan Dogman occurred in 1887 in Wexford County, when two lumberjacks saw a creature whom they described as having a man's body and a dog's head. In 1938 in Paris, Michigan, Robert Fortney was attacked by five wild dogs and said that one of the five walked on two legs. Reports of similar creatures also came from Allegan County in the 1950s, and in Manistee and Cross Village in 1967. Linda S. Godfrey, in her book The Beast of Bray Road, compares the Manistee sightings to a similar creature sighted in Wisconsin known as the Beast of Bray Road.

Ape Man:  (Wikipedia) Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch, is the name given to an ape-like creature that some people believe inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid.

Moth Man:  (Wikipedia) On Nov. 15, 1966, two young couples from Point Pleasant, Roger and Linda Scarberry, and Steve and Mary Mallette told police they saw a large white creature whose eyes "glowed red" when the car headlights picked it up. They described it as a "flying man with ten foot wings" following their car while they were driving in an area of town known as 'the TNT area', the site of a former World War II munitions plant.

Well, what do you make of it? Does man tend to project his own upright bipedal tendencies upon other creatures? Do we wonder to ourselves - what if??? Or, is there something truly unexplained and sinister going on like DNA testing?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oddities Week: Radiation Birth Defects

Near Fukishima Nuclear Plant in Japan they found mutations in butterflies. I know, I know, perhaps the earlier Godzilla movies were predicting Mothra before their time -

The Chernobyl disaster gave us lots of examples of how radiation can create aberrations. This makes me wonder at times if high radiation on earth actually created our form of life from something else and we are


Let us not forget what radiation does to humans - such a tragedy -

Oddities Week: Sex and the Single Ghost Hunter

It's oddities week and Sex and the Single Ghost Hunter Friday -
So, let's talk about oddities.

I met a man who was handsome, had a steady job, in great shape, real nice. But, he was also a kind of a bland guy with no interests, hobbies, not really sure what he was. He had no quirks of personality. He had no accent. He had few facial expressions. He wasn't into horror, paranormal, going to carnivals, stargazing, collecting movie memorabilia, or any other oddities that would make him, well, interesting or even memorable.

A man who can wear a tatt or a hat - 

Oddities are what make someone a complete character. Any author knows that their characters must have little quirks to make them seem real. A guy who likes to see every episode of MST3000 and gets excited to do bumper cars is quirky. Another man who can repeat verses of Poe and likes to beachcomb with a metal detector is delightful.

Oddities. They make someone more human.. It's the things we become obsessed about or excited about that make us a-dorkable beings. I like a man who has lots of interests and hobbies or quirks and geek qualities. I'm never quite sure what to do with someone with no dreams, no escapes, no focus, no passion.

It goes without saying, but the more interesting a guy's mind, the more handsome he is to the female. In fact, it's the quirks and oddities that make him seem human and almost child-like or vulnerable and accessible, curious and excited about life. That energy is addictive.

The single best test for a man who is quirky enough? If he can play "what if?" and he comes up with exceptionally creative responses.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chiller Channel

"Beneath" When a group of young friends commemorating their high school graduation take a trip to the remote Black Lake, their celebration turns into a nightmare with the sudden appearance of a bloodthirsty, underwater predator. Stuck in a leaking boat with no oars, the teens face the ultimate tests of friendship and sacrifice during a terror-stricken fight for survival. Beneath is written by Tony Daniel and Brian D. Smith, and directed by horror icon Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter, Habit). Produced by Fessenden and Peter Phok for Glass Eye Pix (Stake Land, The Innkeepers, I Sell The Dead).
**This movie was just shown at the Stanley Film Festival and will be on Chiller in the upcoming future.**

And, Friday, May 31st - NEW YORK – May 22, 2013 – On Friday, May 31 @ 9pm, Chiller presents the debut of its first-ever anthology film, Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear. The film comprises five unique – and hair-raising – takes on the human senses, each the vision of select up-and-coming writer/directors (including 20-year-old phenom Emily Hagins, who recently debuted her newest feature, Grow Up Tony Phillips, at SXSW 2013): Smell: Nick Everhart (2012 Doomsday) See: Miko Hughes (Directorial Debut; Actor: Pet Semetary, New Nightmare, Steve Niles’ Remains) Touch: Emily Hagins (Grow Up, Tony Phillips; My Sucky Teen Romance) Taste: Eric England (Madison County, Roadside) Listen: Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton (YellowBrickRoad) 5 Senses of Fear is produced by Andrew Gernhard, Zach O’Brien and Colin Theys for Synthetic Cinema International.

Oddities Week: Consanguinity and Inbreeding

We call it "inbreeding" and physicians often refer to children with defects by asking if the parents have consanguinity - or are closely related.

A table shows relationships and the rate at which their offspring might be given similar genes that create the defects -
Typical inbreeding coefficient percentages are as follows, assuming no previous inbreeding between any parents:
  • Father/daughter, mother/son or brother/sister → 25% (14)
  • Grandfather/granddaughter or grandmother/grandson → 12.5% (18)
  • Half-brother/half-sister → 12.5% (18)
  • Uncle/niece or aunt/nephew → 12.5% (18)
  • Great-grandfather/great-granddaughter or great-grandmother/great-grandson → 6.25% (116)
  • Half-uncle/niece or half-aunt/nephew → 6.25% (116)
  • First cousins → 6.25% (116)
  • First cousins once removed or half-first cousins → 3.125% (132)
  • Second cousins or first cousins twice removed → 1.56% (164)
  • Second cousins once removed or half-second cousins → 0.78% (1128)
  • Third cousins or second cousins twice removed → 0.39% (1256)
  • Third cousins once removed or half-third cousins → 0.20% (1512)

What we look for in our breeding population is diversity and if two parents are so closely related that they carry the same gene for disease, there is a guarantee the child will have this difficulty. There is increased risk of birth defects, , facial defects, mental difficulties, weak immune systems, as well. Certainly, this doesn't even cover the social implications of dipping into one's family pool to breed. That's a whole different can of worms.

Famous folks who married their cousins:  HG Wells, Thomas Jefferson, Johan Sebastian Bach, Franklin Roosevelt, Jesse James, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin (ironically), Edgar Allen Poe, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rudy Guliani.  Considering the millions and even billions of choices on the earth, it seems to me that someone marrying their cousin is just freaking lazy.

Now, let's move on to the horror -

Oddities Week: It's Raining Fish!

Talk about oddities!  There is nothing odder than having it rain fish.

The theory has been that winds and water spouts crossing over water pick up the lighter fish and carry them, dropping them as the winds die down. Although it hasn't been tested in action, the theory is the logical one.

A desert town in Australia was astonished to see it raining hundreds of fish from the sky. The fish had traveled hundreds of miles and were still alive when they hit the ground. It was believed they were picked up by a tornado.

Check out this story:
The phenomenon of 'The Rain of Fish' or 'Lluvia de Peces' has been occurring in the Departamento de Yoro of Honduras each year since the mid 1800s. The occurrence has been puzzling not only the residents, but also scientists since it started. Each year witnesses report that in May or June, dark storm clouds, accompanied by thunder and lightning will appear over the horizon and move over the region. The clouds are accompanied by a very heavy rain which will last upwards of three hours. Once the rain has finished, the city streets are littered with living fish.

National Geographic headed to the region in 1970 and were able to witness the event, though they were unable to offer up an explanation. They were able to determine that all of the fish that appear are roughly the same size, and are all the same species. What's more puzzling is that this particular species of fish do not inhabit any nearby waters. One scientific theory is that the fish are sucked up in waterspouts formed by the high winds. Some think that the fish may be flying in from as far away as the Atlantic Ocean, which is some 200km away. Another theory suggests that the fish may be residing in underground rivers in the area.

While science has yet to offer a definitive explanation, the residents believe the annual event is nothing short of divine intervention. Between the years 1856 and 1864 a Catholic priest by the name of Father Jose Manuel Subirana was living in the region. Many Catholics, especially those in Honduras, consider him to be a saint, even though the Vatican never gave him such an honor. While he was living in the area, it is said that he spent three days and three nights in seclusion and prayer, asking God to tend to the impoverished nation and provide sustenance. The legend says that when the Father had concluded his three-day prayer the first 'Rain of Fish' occurred, which has continued to this day. Upon arrival of the miraculous fish, residents are all too happy to rush to the streets collecting the fish for sustenance and nourishment.
Starting in 1998 a festival has been held in honor of the event in the city of Yoro. It is also worth noting that in recent years residents have been reporting not one, but two occurrences of the 'Rain of Fish' each year.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oddities Week: Unusual Burial Options

I can't help it. I have an evil sense of humor, so try and stick with me as we discuss the "grave" business (pun intended) of what to do with your carcass when you're gone. Some of the alternatives had me laughing and cringing as I discovered these really weird and interesting things to do with a dead body. There is no other approach to this bizarre subject than tongue in cheek...


Summum Mummification of Transference says, “Gifted artisans design each Mummiform to exact specifications. The Mummiform and "life mask" can be designed to incorporate the symbology of any religious or philosophical belief that you may hold. Everything is created in exact accordance with your wishes, as set forth in your pre-need arrangement." The casket can then be put in the ground deep enough that the cold won’t bother your remains or triple casketed. The price, you ask? The current costs for Mummification services are $67,000* within the continental United States." (Personally, I'll only do this if my servants are buried with me).

VIKING FUNERAL: Of course, I’m frustrated that Viking funerals are outside the law. One woman wrote online asking about them since her husband wanted one. I laughed for a good 15 minutes when I read one person’s response in the chatroom, “you mean put in a raft and set afire? I think that can be done…” (somehow I envision this dude with a canister of kerosene and one of those Bic fireplace lighters waiting at the edge of a lake with a Walmart pool raft exchanging some crisp bills to “do the deed” while he downs a Budweiser).

GREEN FUNERAL: The rage nowadays and actually not a bad idea. Nixing the embalming and burying in bamboo and cardboard in a green hillside where the only markers are trees or bushes and no one would guess it’s a cemetery. (I just have one word for these places, "Poltergeist." I do recall a wonderful gem of a movie based on the idea of a subdivision being built where a cemetery was. Some Superstore is going to eye that plot of land and no one's going to remember it was a cemetery. What an excavation that'll be!)

FAMILY BURIAL: No, not burying your family with you! I wrote about this recently and it’s a creepy and not often talked about thing most often in rural areas (God, I hope so!) Folks are opting to design their own casket with their family members working on the artwork and having a solemn, quiet, peaceful send off with just the loved ones on a happy corner of the yard. You know, that place the family dog likes to bury his bones. (It's going to be Christmas for him every day!)

SPACE: Yeah, it’s the final frontier, but for some folks it’s the final resting place. I had to wonder (and thankfully the site for Celestis tells us) if we become space debris that falls to earth, because it would seriously suck if I were launched and then came back to kill my offspring. What really happens is not that you necessarily go into deep space and land on some happy planet and are revived like Spock in “Star Trek: Wrath of Khan.” This involves being in a rocket that orbits the earth until it finally fails and burns on reentry into a blazing glory. (Well, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s one fucking expensive and delayed cremation plan. You'd save money catapulting your urn into the night sky and hiring fireworks to be launched simultaneously.)

CRYOGENICS: Have your head lopped off and frozen indefinitely. Of course, that ain’t gonna get you a new body to attach to later on. (nor will it guarantee that in 2090, someone isn't going to throw the breakers on the old building before teardown and let you spoil...)


ART: What if I want to donate my body to something worthy or even beautiful? Body Worlds (photo above) is a traveling show with real human displays. Your body fluids are replaced with a hardening polymer. (Jeez, aren't actresses in Hollywood already into this craze while alive?) Believe it or not, the waiting list is long, 6500 people wanting to donate themselves. (I think I'm a "piece of work," but not necessarily a "work of art." Besides, as much of an exhibitionist as I am, I don't see myself wanting to display my innerds, just my outards...)

RESEARCH: Donate your body through a local university. There’s no telling if you’re going to be used to understand disease or as a practical dissect for incoming med students, but you will be helping someone learn something and if you never did that in your lifetime, this may be your chance. (However, there's no telling what affectionate name the students will give you, so if that produces chills just thinking about it, move down the list to the next one...)

ORGANS: As well, you can donate your organs and honestly really should! My brother donated his organs and a woman in Greece was able to see again! Another person underwent heart valve surgery and survived. I am on the list and hope to keep myself healthy throughout life so they can still be salvageable when I'm say, 110 and decide to finally let go of them!

REEF: You couldn’t live underwater while alive, but when you die, you can join the building of a reef for sea life. At Great Burial Reef they turn you into a part of the reef (photo above): "Living ocean reef burials are performed individually and privately. After a brief dedication ceremony, the sealed burial reef is carefully lowered to the ocean floor by our crew. The precise GPS coordinates of the burial reef are recorded and provided to the family on a Certificate of Living Ocean Reef Burial." I actually really dig this idea—might consider it, (but if your family was a bunch of leaches, you might just be sick of others living off you, so perhaps not an ideal resting spot).

No matter how they discard of your carcass, what really matters is what you do while you’re here. No one will remember you for your send-off unless they were joyously awaiting it (in which case you need to work on your social skills).

It truly does come down to ashes to ashes, dust to dust (well, unless you go mummy and then that's more like plump to dehydrated...)

Oddities Week: Flesh Suspension & Body Modification

I admit to finding the extremes of human fetishes and role playing to bring me some wonderful inspiration for my horror writing. One that I’ve never wanted to explore because it so repels me made me actually decide to shed some light on the practice for that very reason. Didn’t I mention once that I tend to be counterphobic? I wouldn’t be much of a writer of horror if I didn’t take a look at the horror versions of human beings, those who believe their vampires or serial killers or even those who enjoy flesh suspension; the hanging from hooks by one’s own flesh.

Not surprisingly, there is actually a website devoted to it. The motivations for this are extreme and varied. There are those who enjoy self mutilation and feel a kind of emotional purging with it, as if giving yourself physical pain takes precedence over emotional pain; a kind of externalization of the internal. There are those into body modifications from extreme piercings and tattooing to having their ears pointed like elves and implants placed under the skin for decoration. It seems that those into altering their bodies to extremes are searching to feel at home in a body that they for whatever reasons do not accept as the house of their true self. It isn’t enough for them to have certain hobbies, likes, and dislikes; they want to display it publicly for all to see and hopefully cringe. It reassures for them that the world does not understand them and drives the chasm between them even wider. Others believe in the artistic concept of such practices. To suspend from hooks by one’s own flesh it symbolic for a complete and total cathartic freeing of the soul and release of fears and a moment of evolution into a new fearless realm; a kind of twisted rite of passage.

For the majority of people who are afraid of a simple needle in the doctor’s office, the concept of sticking a metal hook into one’s skin and then hanging from it is unthinkable. It’s not actually a new concept for our culture. Ancient man and many tribes used this method as a passage for their men. I admit to getting a tattoo that is a life-sized oak leaf in many colors. This took over 2 hours to complete and was of course quite painful, but as a female the pain was kept within the context of childbirth and admittedly was a cakewalk. So, the pain was not an attraction for the process. For me it was a symbol that brought good luck, that embodied the essence of me, and enhanced my beauty. As hard as it is to get into the mindset of someone who would hang by hooks, for some it’s a badge of honor and a source of pride. Just think, if you can hang by your skin, everything else is pretty simple (like the childbirth pain measure that I carry).

What do I see when I look at someone suspending by their flesh? I see a lot of pain. Oh, not the obvious pain, but a sort of deadness in the eyes. I would liken the practice to pornography. You have your folks who start off with something light like Playboy magazine or soft core porn and then work their way right up to the hard stuff, and then the harder stuff, like an addict needing more drug to provide relief. This is really just the evolution of self-mutilation taken to an extreme with the hopes of finally feeling something. It still repels me as a human being but fascinates me as a horror writer. After all, any good villain should have the same disregard for pain and dead lifeless eyes….

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oddities Week: Materializing Coins

I am especially intrigued by the strangest behaviors by ghosts, such as poltergeist, shadow people, and one especially vexing playful activity - materializing coins.

When you read amazing accounts of active hauntings, you sometimes hear about falling coins that materialize from nowhere and confuse the observers. Barry Taff, the researcher best known for the Entity Case, reported such incidences, some of them quite extraordinary in amount and persistence. At a recent MUFON lecture I attended, two Navajo Nation speakers told of a haunted location where these coins not only materalized sometimes from 3 feet off the ground, hit the ground, sometimes rolling and bouncing, but always 65 out of 65 times, landing heads up.

Immediately, I can't help noticing the importance of coins to humans and the whimsy necessary to have them land heads up. It almost seems like a purposeful message. But, what is the message, and how does it manage to materialize something so substantial?

What is the meaning of raining coins?

The throwing of coins and rocks are often associated with poltergeist activity. Some believe it is because coins were placed on the eyes of the dead and others believe it's a common way for a ghost to say "hey, I'm here. I'm okay. I made it to the other side."

In "Poltergeist Agents" by Barry Taff, from Continuum 

"Another incident took place when Jim and I had to make a stop at my apartment one afternoon in order to pick up some papers. While Jim was waiting for me to gather up my material, some coins came flying at us from my bedroom - although neither of us had entered that area of the flat, nor did I have a large quantity of pennies stored anywhere. The pennies were moving relatively slowly and seemingly directed at Jim. He did little more than smile excitedly in response." 

If we're going to play devil's advocate, here goes - coins are small, noisy, and have a personal importance to the living. Seems like an ideal item to manipulate. Conversely, for anyone wanting to hoax, pitching a coin makes noise and is easy to fish from your pocket and toss.  Still, this does not explain the appearance of coins dropping from ceilings and other unusual appearances. As someone who reads objects, I can tell you that coins are a metal that retains information amazingly well. Whether this is a factor in components that makes them easily manipulated by unseen forces, I'm not sure, but it's an interesting coincidence.

What are your theories?


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