Monday, May 31, 2010

Dale the Doll Watches "Dead Silence"

While the human was sleeping, I thought I'd watch a movie that has some substance, one about ventriloquist dolls. Don't you dare make fun of my pajamas (picture above)! The human thought it looked cute on me. It's fuckin' immasculating is what it is, but she'll pay for it later on... Enjoy the video I made for your entertainment. Now, you can know what us dolls think of your horror movies...

This week in horror movies and paranormal tv

Yeah, it's a bloody disaster. I won't even count the measily new season of "Ghost Hunters Academy" (I'd rather watch "Dancing With the Stars" and I'll NEVER do that!) So, I like to put an *asterisk next to what I'm watching. Not much... Don't worry, my little pretties, it won't be an entirely dry summer for us horror lovers--we're just in the wedding/family vacation/new-to-summer-break time of the year. This too shall pass and the good stuff will be back! I might even have some fun insider news for you coming up some time soon...

Animal Planet: “River Monsters” marathon
SyFy Channel: “Stephen King’s The Stand”


Discovery Channel: “Weird or What?”
SyFy: Repeats of “Ghost Hunter” and the new season of “Ghost Hunters Academy”
Animal Planet: “River Monsters” marathon

*TNT Channel: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (movie)
AMC Channel: “The Goonies” (movie)
SyFy Channel: “Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers” (movie)


AMC Channel: “Pet Cemetery” (movie) followed by “They” (movie)
Travel Channel: “Ghost Adventures” (repeats)

Sunday, May 30, 2010


NOTE: Tomorrow (Monday) around suppertime--Dale will have a special video on here!

You want to win some dowsing rods? It's my giveaway for this month as we lead up to Halloween-time. I'd like to do one a month until then and Halloween month will be once a week! These dowsing rods are 9" long and have a protective bead on each end to...Why? Well, to keep you from stabbing your damn self! (I speak from experience)

Instructions on their use will be included by the maker of them who also "programmed" them for use.

These were made by Debe Branning, leader of "MVD Ghostchasers" and author of "Sleeping with Ghosts." She also teaches classes around town on to use them. She was trained by a very wise dowser.

1. Gotta be a follower.
2. Only one entry.
3. Enter by leaving a comment on this post by Thursday at 11 pm EST. Winner will be announced on next Friday's morning posting.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cemeteries: The Good, The Scary, and the Erotic!

Most beautiful cemeteries in America? There’s actually a freaking lot of them. Of course, what you consider to be beautiful might vary, but here are some to look for in your area:

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah Georgia
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts
Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, California
River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon
Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Oakland Cemetery, Iowa City, Iowa
Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, Texas

Most haunted cemeteries in America? Haunted America Tours online listed these top 10 most haunted cemeteries:

10. Haunted Salem Cemetery, Hendrysburg, Ohio
9. Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery Central, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
8. Greenwood Cemetery, Decatur, Illinois
7. Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
6. Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Exeter, Rhode Island
5. Resurrection Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
4. Garden of Hope Cemetery, Gautier, Mississippi
3. Western Burial Ground, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland
2. Stull Cemetery, Kansas City, Kansas
1. St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana

You want to talk about the weird things that happen in cemeteries? We all think of the greatest taboo: Sex in a cemetery. In fact, every time I’m in one, I think about it… my mind can’t help it. So, I wrote a highly erotic short story involving sex in a cemetery. If any of you wish to read it, just email me because I’m not putting it on the blog—it’s explicit.

Murders have been committed in cemeteries, ritualistic occult ceremonies, and here’s what one brilliant guy right here in my state decided to do: “PHOENIX -- A 17-year-old boy who disappeared last year was killed during an argument with a friend and then buried at a cemetery, concealed in a woman's freshly dug grave, authorities said. Richard Waive Palmer, 26, was being held in a Maricopa County jail Monday on a charge of second-degree murder. He confessed last week to killing Robert K. Martin in April 2004 by hitting him over the head with a baseball bat, authorities said.

You couldn’t miss it in the news when mortuary workers cheap out on burials and sell more graves than are available or perhaps toss the ashes out and don’t bury them. In many countries, especially France, they dispose of older bodies to make room for newer ones, thereby creating the famous Catacombs under Paris.

Death definitely holds a fascination, but is it the forbidden cemeteries that represent our dead, that are quiet rarely visited dark spots in our cities that attract the weirdest of us? Or is putting all those bodies in one place somehow changing the land, making it somehow attractive for the weird and strange?

Oh, and, if you’re just a bit curious, there is a cemetery called “Weird Cemetery” in Kentucky!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Since I adore being in creepy places alone and pushing the limits of what I can stand, I enjoy spending time alone in scary places. Not a lot of people have the ability to or want to sit alone in a dark creepy place, but it's one of my favorite delights. I get a thrilling tingle of being in a damp crawlspace or blackened woods or abandoned mine shaft with only my thoughts and little or no light. I figured, why not share these experiences with you in a new series I will do periodically called "ALONE" telling what it was like to be alone in different places. This first installment is alone in an abandoned old west prison complex.

There are only a few of us enjoying the huge abandoned prison for the night. The rest leave for an EVP session in another building on the compound. I remain in the frontier cell block alone. Each cell opens to the outdoors with no protection from the elements except a roof over their heads and bars on each end of the room facing south and north.

I turn off my flashlight and walk with hands in front of me, feeling the row of bars to find my way down the corridor to the distant section of the prison. I am about to pass the last cell when I hear a clanking. One of the cells has a loose door, no doubt. I curiously feel my way back to the culprit and pull it open.

Inside, the cell is black and impossible to see. I have to feel the edge of the bunk beds to make my way in. The constant desert dust in the air has settled heavy for the night and I cough. Just then, a low moan sounds at the far end of the 10-foot deep cell. My finger poises itself over the “on” position of my flashlight ring that I wear on my index finger. With one easy push, I could have adequate light to see what it is. Perhaps one of the group has remained behind?

I fight my instinct to turn on the light and decide instead of go further into the cell, my fingers skirting along the edge of the hard bunk towards the other set of bars, unsure what I might feel and imaging my fingers finding a crusty old shirt on a hard slender body and then angry hands grabbing my wrists and pulling me in. I turn my mind from that imagery knowing no prisoners still exist here and haven't for many decades. Still, my fingers curl against the air, prickling with anticipation of encountering something unexpected.

One of the things I love about ghost hunting and abandoned sites is pressing myself alone in the most nasty and creepy atmospheres and fight every instinct to believe what my mind conjures up.

My heart thumps wildly as I hear what sounds like a soft light sigh. I fight every desire to turn on my light and instead put my hands in front of me and feel along the bars, turning and touching the corner of the room and its chipped and aged wall. A faint male snicker has me swinging around and listening carefully. It came between me and the opening to the cell. The hinged door creaks heavily again and thumps against the opening. If the wind pick up anymore, I’ll be closed inside with…it.

My heart beats in my ears so loudly, I can barely make out any sounds, other than my shallow breath. And then, the gate opens up with a sigh.

“You’re there, aren’t you?” I ask. “You don’t get many women here, do you?” I set down my voice recorder, turn it on and leave hurriedly before the wind kicks the gate back closed.

I wander through the main gate into the “bad” part of the prison. This area has an isolation room that is carved out of a cave with a hole in the roof and hooks in the walls to chain people to, keeping them just far enough apart they couldn’t kill each other but could torment each other. Sometimes, it was said, prison guards would enjoy tossing scorpions or rattlesnakes down the roof hole. It was inhabited by bad memories and also lots of bats.

I duck through the short entrance and feel along the rock walls towards the center. It still holds the faint odor of sweat and urine even decades and decades after being closed. A bat swooshes down and threatens to get caught in my long hair, so I slump down to the floor and remain still until it settles down. In the muggy hot room with the stagnant air, I can imagine hours upon hours of no sense of day or night, no air circulation, and rock all around the prisoner. The bats flutter on the ceiling overhead. I tuck my knees up and listen for a time to their little noises. A low moan reverberates through the cave resonating strangely, followed by a slight whistle. I shimmy myself up to stand, fighting the desire to turn on my light.

“Are you here?” I whispered, my voice echoing in the round cavern.

Cold wet air converges in front of me and then a bat sweeps down, flapping against the air above my head. I duck down again to the floor and listen to my breath as I await the moan again. I hear shuffling nearby, sounds like someone’s feet against the dirt. I stretch my legs out and kick my heels at the ground making the identical sound. If a prisoner were in the hole, his feet would kick out in front of him and make that sound.

“I’m here.” I tell…it.

The faint rattle of a chain startles me and this time I stand up and am met by a swooping bat that disrupts my long hair. I jump back and hit the stone wall, knocking the air out of me as I hear the chain rattle one more time only a foot or two away from me. I turn on my finger flashlight and study the bolt in the wall with the ring in it. Two feet away. No chain.

I curiously flash the light up for a moment to see the entire ceiling covered with bats fluttering restlessly in their toe holds like one large pulsating living being. I back down the narrow low-ceiling tunnel and rush outside, sucking in fresh air and studying the night sky above with relief. I wipe some sweat from my forehead as I imagine the men who stayed in here for hours and days and weeks... I feel a bit queasy.

I work my way down to the farthest cell block. A giant courtyard with super high walls around me is the final row of cells. These ones have closed off doors and single bunks. They seem more like tiny cheap motel rooms than the other bunk bed cells and the godawful cave. I go inside one and study the bunk and table. I sit down and stretch my legs out and my light catches something on the dirt floor. A single large black scorpion is rushes its way towards me with its claws raised in a jousting pose. I lift my feet off the floor and shiver. For all the weird sensations of being watched and strange noises and bats, the scorpion bothers me the most.

The winds in the huge moonlit courtyard outside start up in a circular pattern, a dust devil forming and dancing like a crazy drunken wraith across the dirt ground. I reach over on my knees, afraid to put my feet down where the scorpion is, and tug the door shut. There’s a barred windowless opening, but the dust particles pound against the door like sandblasting machinery and the noise reaches a crescendo. The room rattles. I cough against the dirt as it suddenly dies and everything goes completely still. I have never heard a dust devil end so fast. I get up and push at the door, but it’s stuck. A moment of panic gets to me as the ring on my finger with the flashlight falls to the floor, the Velcro pulling apart. I try to stand in the doorway's threshold up above the ground where the scorpion is. My hands are on the lever and I pull up and push, putting my weight into the wooden door. It flings open and I stumble onto the ground of the courtyard, the moon shining in my eyes.

The jail suddenly seems very silent. With no roof on the cell blocks there should be sounds of people milling around again as the night-time hunt continues, but there is nothing. Just utter silence. The group is going overtime on their EVP session. I look back into the cell for my light ring. The light on it is shining against the scorpion not 6 inches away, glossy in the bluish light. I contemplate how to pull the ring up without it striking. I squat down to see under the bed there are two more scorpions. I shudder inside as I swipe my light away and rush from the cell and out into the ring of moonlight.

I take a few steps on the hard-packed earth and then stop to listen as another footfall pounds the calieche sun-baked earth after I have stopped. I turn my head and study the open square in the night’s light. I am all alone. I feel as if dozens of eyes are upon me from every direction. I take a few long-legged strides towards the doorway that leads to another cell block and hear rapidly following footsteps directly behind me. The sound is of someone running in heavy heeled boots. I pivot around and study the open lit area. The moon’s glow reaches every corner of the courtyard. There is no one anywhere, but I feel their eyes!

This time, I take long slow strides and hear nothing. I assume it was a trick of my ears. Then, as I stop to reassess, I hear two very distinct footsteps again right behind me, kicking at the hard earth as they come down heavy.

I take a deep breath. Right about now, I’m ready to join the others. I’ve had enough alone time feeling the history of the place and listening to the sounds of signs, moaning, creaking, whistling, chuckling, and footsteps. I run the last 20 feet to the opening and stop, pivot around and watch as the last cell’s door slams shut.

Now, I’m mad! There has to be somewhere there messing with me. I storm past the cells to the final one and pull open the door, my tiny light on my finger illuminating an utterly empty cell! I look up at the sky and the courtyard and wonder if another dust devil had started to form. It’s completely still, none of the sounds of a whirlwind. I stalk away across the courtyard again, forgetting the footfalls, forgetting the slamming door. I simply want some artificial lighting and people’s voices. Real people’s voices.

I go through the portal into the next cell block and then through another into the next cell block, heading up towards the museum, glad I’ll be indoors when I remember my voice recorder. I search the cells to find the one in which I left it. I light up the length of the bunk and see my recorder. My flashlight blinks off. I play with the switch. The battery is dead and I don’t carry miniature batteries with me and left my flashlight in the museum. I was determined to be alone and be in the dark and feel the prison and listen to the prison and “be one” with the prison. I never imagined I would lose my only light!

I remember the scorpion in the other cell and I freak out, jumping onto one of the metal bunk beds, my hands feeling along the top bunk and wrapping around the voice recorder. Then, I realize the recorder’s red light wasn’t on. It should have been recording. I click at it and realize the battery is dead. Oh, why not? Everything else in this place is dead!

Just then, I hear a snicker in the corner just like I heard earlier.

“Funny, huh?” I ask. “Well, I’m leaving and there won’t be anymore women to torment.” I warn him. I reach out, feeling in the complete and utter blackness of the room for the gate’s bars. I trip over a rut in the dirt floor and fall into the bars, grabbing at them and realizing that the gate is shut. I hadn’t shut it going in and I didn’t hear it shutting when I was in there. I take a deep calming breath and push and… it opens! But, it creaks as I open it. I close it slowly and it creaks loudly. How the hell did it close silently?

I don’t even care to know anymore. Women alone in this old western prison are not safe here. I stumble over the rutted dirt beat down by lots of monsoon rains in the past summer. I burst into the museum with its florescent lighting and beautiful displays and sigh with relief.

I just did it! I spent over an hour alone in the prison!

Won Again!

It's been that kind of week. I entered two contests and won them both (I'm going out to buy some lottery tickets next!) John at Season of Shadows told me I won "Transylvania" by Nox Arcana which is my very favorite background music while writing horror. Expect some more creepy short stories from me soon! Check out his blog if you're not already following it. He is my very favorite Halloween year-round site. He shows videos of the progress he's making on massive props for a mind-blowing Halloween display each year and loves to find vintage and unusual films having to do with nostalgic Halloween themes on the Internet. He's one of my long-time fav bloggers.

QUIZ: What Horror Character Do You Make Love Like?

It’s quiz time again! Get to know yourself better. Ever wonder what horror character you make love like? Count your a’s, b’s, c’s and d’s and let’s find out!

1. Put me in study group and my role will likely be…
a. Quiet, listening, not contributing, just physically present
b. Socializing, getting to know folks, summing them up
c. Leader, begin to delegate, hate wishy washy folks
d. Refuse to take orders, do my own thing, screw them!

2. My friends would say my role in their lives is…
a. A sounding board, a listener
b. A cheerleader, charm and compliment them
c. A great advisor, influential in making decisions
d. A party animal, just fun and crazy and not serious

3. Sex is all about the…
a. Physical stress relief
b. Anticipation, seduction
c. Getting what I want the way I want it
d. Screaming orgasm

4. When faced with choosing between two things, I…
a. Just choose one, they’re both fine
b. Find myself wanting them both equally
c. I choose with confidence
d. Whatever is the easiest

5. I dance like…
a. A stiff-legged awkward rhythm-less freak
b. Grinding my groin against my partner/dirty dancing
c. Slow dancing, controlling the pace
d. Like a crazy spaz, all arms and legs

Now, count your a’s, b’s, c’s, and d’s and scroll down to find out which horror character you make love like!

a. Michael Myers
b. Dracula
c. Freddy Kruger
d. Wolfman

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I love Zak and the Gang!

Ya’all might wonder what it is that makes me goofy about “Ghost Adventures.” After all, when they’re in season, I post on the day of their show and insert a music video that I think suits the theme for the show and have a drinking game posted that involves a swig for ever “bro,” “dude,” “man” and every time Aaron’s mouth hinges open in shock and horror. It’s just a delight. But, I’m a serious ghost hunter, right? What is it about this trio that curls my toes?

Watching Zak and the gang is kind of like having an ADD kid do math equations, its damned entertaining, but you’re not sure where he’s going with it!

It’s the dramatics of the whole thing. The Brit’s have their “Most Haunted” with the twitchy chick who shrieks and cries with every sound and her eyes want to pop out of her head as if she overdid the Formosa oolong at tea time. But, we have a bad-ass American version of that—three guys locking themselves in for the night, taunting the four walls like macho conquerors. If believe in evil as an entity or the concept of possession, its crazy insane and if you don’t believe in such concepts, it’s just plain fun! I’m sure the Brit’s watch and think, “those Americans are just so bossy,” and we look at “Most Haunted” and say, “Those Brit’s are such scaredy cats.” It’s all culturally relative.

I think these guys did what any basement full of overgrown boys would do, sit around and shoot the shit. They have a few beers, talk about ghosts, swap stories, then say, “hell, we should get our camera and go look for ghosts!” The next day, sober but afraid to say it was a crazy idea, they go out looking for ghosts in some graveyard or abandoned house. It’s like they’re making up this shit as they go along. I like to see it. It’s really the evolution of a ghost hunting team. You start out on a dare or a whim and then you start experiencing things, then you want answers and it sobers you up.

They could be any three geeks on your block!

I don’t expect huge advancements in ghost hunting from the gang. I want to see some average guys getting all excited in the dark and cowering in long halls and hating to be alone and acting tough and retreating. It’s just plain good fun. It reminds me of “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” when they nudged Luther to stay in the haunted house alone one night and he had to act all cool and went inside and fell apart.

Ghost hunting often takes itself too seriously. Just listen to Steve pontificate with his little mini lectures about what ghosts are when he’s explaining something to Tango. No one is an authority. You have a camera and some curiosity, you’re a ghost hunter. They are nothing more than people who’ve had experiences, want to have more, and are still baffled in the end. I’m not an advocate of the efficacy of provoking, but hell if I were a ghost and Zak was begging me to bite him, kick him, knee him in the groin… well, you know I couldn’t resist.

Damn! The boys might just be onto something

(Tonight: Travel Channel--marathon of episodes of "Ghost Adventures")

I won!

I love days like this. It seemed like everything just went so easy and nice and then this--

Over at Hayes Hudson's House of Horrors, I won this cool prize courtesy of Indican Pictures 6 DVDs: SCREAM QUEEN, LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER, GORY GORY HALLELUJAH, A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS, DEAD IN THE WATER, and BLACK WINE!

It's a great blog about all things horror. You should check it out some time!

Handling Ghostly Encounters

People ask me all the time, “isn’t is scary going on a ghost hunt?” That’s not really the way it is for me, but perhaps I’m not your usual ghost hunter. I grew up from a baby into my teens in a very actively haunted home. I have no reference for what it’s like to be “new” at coming across ghostly activity. What I can tell you is that, although I’ve had innumerable unexplainable encounters and some actually chilling, I still have the same reaction at first: “What was that?” You wait for it to either repeat itself or you go in search of its source. This is a natural debunking reaction and highly favorable for ghost hunters as well as "civvies" encountering the unknown.

So, when I come across something novel, my first thought isn’t “ghost,” it’s “what is the source?” When all possibilities have been rendered impossible, you are left with “unexplained.” The unexplained is when I finally get excited. I’m not scared, but sometimes startled if something loud happens, but then I’m thinking it’s something perfectly earthly. However, when that doesn’t seem the case, I get excited. I get quite enthused. It is hard to contain me when I feel I’m chasing something psychically and physically at the same time. I want to pinpoint it. I want to put parameters on it. I want to test it. I want it to repeat itself. So, I am fully engaged when hunting, but my mind is thinking ahead on how to test in new conditions for new situations. You have to literally make up techniques on-site.

I was on a hunt where it seemed as if by my meter’s reaction and the right side of my body, someone was nearby. The KII meter jumped and I realized we might have actually made contact. Then I felt it move across the room. I went to that spot where it went with my EMF meter and told it to come with me. The EMF meter stayed high all the way to my chair. I told it to remain there and I walked away the same path—no reading the entire way. This concluded for me that it was not an EMF emitting source having to do with the building’s electrical in that area. Earlier as I walked with it, it remained high, but now it was completely gone with the supposed entity staying put. I went back to the chair where I told it to stay and the meter went back up where I had told it to stay. I told it to stay again. I walked away again and nothing at all on the meter. I sat down in the chair with the meter still high and we asked questions. Then, at once, it went away and the meter stopped reading. I went back to the other side of the room to find its original spot making the EMF go up again. That night as I slept near that spot, I heard a little girl’s voice twice saying a full sentence. It most definitely came from that same favorite spot. It was also a place where the girl had been seen by others in the past.

My advice to anyone out there who’s had an unexpected encounter, to keep it in perspective. You didn’t get hurt, there was no threat, just an unexplained feeling, sound, smell or sight. Take it in, take a breath, explain it. If it’s not explainable, observe. See if you can find the conditions to happen again at the same time, same place so you can see or feel it or hear it face-on.

Knock those notions of being watched while you shower out of your mind. The truth is, interactions are rare. If a ghost is actually the soul of a deceased person and they can interact with you, they would do it all the time if it were that easy. Hell, your dad might torment you forever about your choice of job or husband, so be rest assured that we encounter them fleetingly and most apparently they encounter us as ghost-like interactions as well.

Serial Killers: Real Life Horror!

So, what makes a person a serial killer? What do they have in common? Can we predict who might become one?

(From The FBI defines a serial killer by these standards: A minimum of three to four victims, with a "cooling off" period in between; The killer is usually a stranger to the victim — the murders appear unconnected or random; The murders reflect a need to sadistically dominate the victim; The murder is rarely "for profit"; the motive is psychological, not material; The victim may have "symbolic" value for the killer; method of killing may reveal this meaning; Killers often choose victims who are vulnerable (prostitutes, runaways, etc.)

Statistically, the average serial killer is a white male from a lower-to-middle-class background, usually in his twenties or thirties. Many were physically or emotionally abused by parents. Some were adopted. As children, fledgling serial killers often set fires, torture animals, and wet their beds (these red-flag behaviors are known as the "triad" of symptoms.) Brain injuries are common. Some are very intelligent and have shown great promise as successful professionals. They are also fascinated with the police and authority in general. They have either attempted to become police themselves but were rejected, worked as security guards, or served in the military. Many, including John Gacy, the Hillside Stranglers, and Ted Bundy, have disguised themselves as law enforcement officials to gain access to their victims.

So, the soup mix that makes an ideal serial killer includes bedwetting, lighting fires, and torturing and killing animals. It also is a psychopathic/sociopathic personality caused most often by; loss of one parent, withdrawal of attention and love from parents, criticism at home while family acts perfectly normal publically, and inconsistency in discipline with one parent being very tough (end up hating authority) and one is very gentle (manipulates “stupid, weak” mother). Genetically, they appear to have less anxiety and fear and it takes more to stimulate them in that way.

With a combination of isolation and anger, their sick fantasy life becomes their escape. Killing does not live up to the fantasy in their head and so they reenact it over and over in an attempt to satisfy. In their fantasies they are in power, stronger than normal, better than others. Imagine for a moment the power in a sick person’s head if he is walking around thinking “you stupid people, you have no idea how this very minute I am deciding if you live or die.” It is an arrogant and disturbing alternate world in which they exist.

Movie serial killers are chilling. Real life ones even more so. After all, they are the ones swimming in the public pool with us, walking towards us on the sidewalk, shopping in the lane next to us in the grocery story. We can’t know if they wet their beds, torture animals, start fires, or impersonate the police. We could even be holding a door open for one as we exit a store.

Real life is so much more horrifying than movies, isn’t it?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Personal Dares: Shake Up Your Life!

We all had a group in school, even if it was the outcasts. They often defined our activities and choices and even dared us to join them in acts of stupidity.

Me? I was without category. I hung with the brilliant students but got As and Bs. I hung with the stoners but didn’t do drugs. I hung with the cheerleaders but didn’t cheer. I hung with the math geeks but sucked at math. I hung with the moody depressing Goths but was cheerful. I was, I suppose, without peer. I liked it that way. No one ever directed my choice of clothing, my hobbies or what I did with my body. I was free to be me. Basically, I was saying "I'll hang with you, but you do not define me." Instead, I looked inward for who to compete with (me), who to outdo (myself), and who to dare to do something new (me); I was my own competitor.

Did you ever just dare yourself to do something? Whether it was to spontaneously hit the road with no destination in mind or climb a rock face off a hiking trail just to see the view? Did you ever prod yourself to do the very thing that most scared you? Some therapists call this counterphobic behavior, but shaking up your world now and again is highly recommended.

We think we know ourselves until we up and do something completely different. Do you remember the “Seinfeld” show when George decided to do the exact opposite of what he normally did and he succeeded for the first time in his life? That is totally true. When you’re in new territory, doing something different, expanding your boundaries, you meet some new part of yourself you can call upon in the future.

The part of you that threw her arms up in the rollercoaster when she was terrified out of her mind just met a concept she may never have realized; reality can be taken many ways. A person on a rollercoaster can be excited, nervous, terrified, or having complete abandon. She just learned she can experience this event different ways. She isn’t any different, she simply let herself “let go” instead of bracing. It’s rather symbolic of life, isn’t it? It’s all about choices; brace or let go, force or resist, hate or love...

I’ve done the usual things; overcoming fear of heights and fear of speed and snuck into abandoned places and crept around closed cemeteries; the usual kinds of dares, but on a more weekly basis, I just to shake up my life so I don’t take things for granted. I hate to repeat the same day over and over again and get a myopic view of my universe. The last time, I went to a neighboring town and acted like a tourist. I strolled along the shops, engaged in friendly chatter with the store clerks asking recommendations for where to lunch, had a really nice lunch at a place I’d never heard of, and sat near a fountain and watched the people go by as the people were foreign. I came home later on feeling like I’d been on a vacation.

So, this week, this month, this year, did you give yourself a personal dare? Did you live up to it? What did you learn about yourself?

Upcoming Cold-Themed Horror Movies

Yeah, you’re wondering, why cold themes? We’re hitting June time here in AZ and that means triple-digit temperatures every day. What does one do in such a situation? Play movies like “Storm of the Century” and “30 Days of Night” and “Wind Chill” to dream of better times. I also start looking for other cold-themed movies coming up cause all year round I like to bundle up and watch them from beneath blankets (In the summertime that means nonstop air-conditioning for the typical 90 minutes of DVD watching). I also think that horror movies should generally occur in fall and winter; it’s just bleaker and more desolate, which is another reason I think desert settings for horror are great too. When things can’t live in the environment, it seems even harder to survive...

“The Thing” (Prequel)

To be released in 2011, “The Thing” is a movie prequel to the 1982 version by John Carpenter starring yummy Kurt Russell. I’m excited about this for several reasons. One is that they gave us a prequel which is what I’ve wanted all along and two because it’s being made by a Scandinavian director with many Scandinavian actors which should make it quite authentic to the premise: “At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson. While Dr. Halvorson keeps to his research, Kate partners with Sam Carter, a helicopter pilot, to pursue the alien life form.

“Cold Skin”

To be released in 2010. On the edge of the Antarctic Circle, a ship approaches a desolate island far from all shipping lanes. On board is a young man, on his way to assume the post of weather observer, to live in solitude at the end of the earth. But on shore he finds no trace of the man whom he has been sent to replace, just a deranged castaway who has witnessed a horror he refuses to name. Then the night falls, and the young man will soon realize that with each night comes an army of humanoid killer amphibians...

“The Pack”

French movie awaiting release. In the middle of a snowy no man's land, Charlotte picks up Max, a hitchhiker; they stop in a truck-stop restaurant , and when Max doesn't come back from the bathroom, Charlotte starts looking for him in vain. She decides to return during the night but gets kidnapped by the bartender, La Spack, who turns out to be Max's mother and needs to feed her kids, 'The pack', a bunch of blood lusting ghouls. Charlotte now faces a terrifying reality: these ghouls are already dead... and hungry. Alone and in the middle of nowhere, she quickly realizes... she's next on the menu!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finding a Psychic

In my post “Watch Your Wallet: Flim-Flam Ghost Communications” I discussed finding a psychic in a room full of psychics, but suppose you want to go to psychic’s strip mall shop or one inside a new-age store or even one your friend goes to that works from home?

Friends: Should you take the friend into the room with you? A good psychic will tell you that it’s not a good idea because it will interfere with the reading. If they don’t tell you that, then be suspicious. A good psychic would let you record the session so you can play it back later because ideally during the session you will offer nothing but a poker face—no eyes widening, no head bobbing, no signs of ressurance. This is a very hard part of a reading but if you give even a slight recognition, the psychic will repeat what they said in several different ways to reaffirm they hit the nail on the head. This is a cold reading technique and a great parlor trick used by sham artists. See this old post about whether your psychic is a mentalist. When you get a full reading, a lot of the content is lost to you because you focus on the parts that apply and ignore the ones that don’t. If you recorded it, you can play it back and see just how “on” this psychic was.

Physical contact: Ideally, the psychic will read your palm or use tarot cards or in some way touch you or pass something physically between you, perhaps have you hold a crystal and hand it back. That physical contact makes the passing of information easier. You’re going to run into a lot of different psychic types; tarot card readers, aura readers, channelers with spirit guides, tea leaf readers, palm readers, and mediums who speak to the dead, but the need to link is the same for all of them.

So, what type of psychic should you use?
That will be entirely up to you. I’m going to say that fake psychics, if unprompted by you, will assume you are having relationship problems and then second assume that you are having finance/career problems. They are using cold reading techniques. If they approach you with either of this avenues, back away. I had one psychic come up to me in a shop and tap me on the shoulder and say “you shouldn’t feel guilty. It wasn’t your fault.” That was an enticement to get me to do a reading. The fact is, everyone feels guilty about something. I didn’t bite. I, in fact, had zero in my life to feel guilty about, I’m an upfront kind of gal. I declined her offer, but on a person who doesn’t know these techniques, that burst of “knowledge” spontaneously would shock them. I could come up to you and say “you’re not making yourself understood to your loved one. There is poor communication because of it.” Voila! (95% of the population if you’re dating the opposite sex). Some times, I enjoy getting my aura photo done, that’s probably one of my favorites, but if I were having a personal reading, I’d choose a palm reader for the fact that a physical connection can bring a greater depth to the reading. I read palms, but I have the advantage of the touching as well as the hand to give me a much better reading of the person.

Who do you trust? A psychic is like finding a friend. You have to look them in the eye, shake their hand, and see if you feel comfortable. A good psychic will not have a problem with eye contact. In fact, they need it. It’s a good sign if they can look you in the eye instead of summing you up head to toe as if checking how nice your purse and shoes are and hence assuming if you need cash or have cash so they can adjust the reading accordingly. If they seem to probe your eyes, they are making a connection. Good sign. Some psychics will tease you with just enough to make you come back. Avoid them at all costs! They’re like the therapist that stops the session when you just discovered you hate your father. If the psychic is in a shop and you can hear the reading they are doing with another person, definitely observe it. Is the person being read giving away information being reiterated to them by the psychic? Watch that interaction for those “gut feeling” signs that tell you this is not the one to use.

Warnings about using psychics:
We all want to know what’s in store for us and many of us want someone else to make or justify our decisions, but that codependence that occurs with psychics is frightening. I know many people who have seen the same psychic weekly for many years. This is a therapist, not a psychic. A psychic should give you a few moments of a window into knowledge about you and your life and set you free to be empowered by that information. They should give you techniques to deal with it at home. I recently read a dead relative of a dear friend and I told him that the reason she showed up during the reading (something I’ve never had happen before) was because every time he thought of her, she came. She was extremely maternal and protective of her “favorite.” So, I told him that he should feel free to talk to her out loud and not feel stupid. When he has a hard time in his life, she will come and be there and he should feel her comfort and know what decision he must make because he will feel the rightness of it in his gut. He doesn’t need me anymore. He shouldn’t. He can continue on his own now after a 10-minute read. Admittedly, I don’t charge for this service, but if I decided to make my living as a psychic, I would ideally be more into helping a quantity than a chosen few who come regularly. It works my skills and it spreads the insight to more people.

Warning signs:

When you give no visual or audio feedback the psychic gets frustrated and says “the spirits aren’t talking today” or some other excuse for lack of information. If they stop and ask you “does this sound familiar?” They are hoping to get information from you. Instead, say “keep telling me more and I’ll let you know.” Put it off and do not give feedback if you can help it.

He/She wants to set up your next appointment before you leave. Congratulations, you now have an unlicensed therapist!

They want to sell you things with the treatment from crystals/stones to protective devices or charms.

Under no circumstances make the reading “fit” by twisting your knowledge. Well, she said that my sister was sick for a long time. One time she did have mono… It’s possible for a psychic to pick up stray “signals” and go down the wrong path but they should be able to have a technique to pull back in and hone in on you, whether it’s touching you, having you touch something, or restudying your eyes.

Consumer Savvy: I readily admit that the same consumer skills that keep you safe in the real world do the same here. You know how when you see a ton of cheesy godawful commercials by the same company at every commercial break you think, “I would be paying for this ads if I go there…” This applies to psychics too. Check out their clothing and jewelry and overhead of their location. It sounds cruel, but if the shop is in a strip mall or a rented building, there is a big hungry rent to pay. If they are visiting for a short time, like a weekend, in your town and asking a large sum of money because they are famous or somehow have a piece of amazing equipment or spirit guide…be very wary. Spiritualism is as big a business as the church.

What can you do on your side to prepare for a reading? My advice is, don’t seek out a psychic if there is any aspect of your life you do not want to talk about or confront. The funny thing about psychic readings is when you get a legitimate psychic they will focus on the one thing you are trying the most not to expose. So, if you go to the reading hoping to discuss your love life and prospects but the one thing you don’t want to deal with is your boss picking on you at work and making you miserable, guess that the psychic is more likely to pick up on? The thing you don’t want to face because it has a place in the mind’s storage that is like an unlocked box just waiting to be raided. Kind of like when someone says “don’t picture a wooden crate with apples in it.” What did you just do? You just envisioned it, didn’t you?

I could have probably made this post into smaller installments. There’s so much to talk about in relation to psychics. Feel free to ask me more. I know other psychics would be really angry I’m confessing all this, but hey consumerism should work in the spiritual realm too.

Honest psychics have an important role: Lots of psychics make a good living doing an honest service and I appreciate that very much. Doctors do humanitarian work and charge for what they do, so psychics certainly should feel free to. It’s not a way that I ever personally wanted to make a living doing because it's a talent that I see can aid friends. I am, however, using those skills for my soon to be opened Etsy shop and I hope to be able to make it possible for people to feel what objects intentions are—their feelings, memories, and moods put together in a way that the common person not trained in their own psychic skills could visually see the mood and the power of objects and perhaps even sense the aura of it amplified by having the right parts placed together with powerful emotions attached to them. Every psychic finds their own path whether it's to aid the research world, to help family and friends, to make a living or spread knowledge. When you find a good one, it's pure magic.

Is "Predator" possible?

You know I love conjecture. I’ve talked about whether there could be zombies or vampires or werewolves, so why not the Predator from the movies?

Invisibility cloak: This is the most important aspect of the Predator. He needs to be able to hunt without detection. In the movie, the creature can turn his cloaking ability off. This is not only possible but should be out for use by 2011! Original designs had a costume with tons of little squares on it that worked like television screens. A camera attached to the backside of your outfit interprets what’s behind you and shows it on the little screens so people don’t necessarily see you, but see images of what should be there if you weren’t there.. Make sense? From How Stuff Works: “However, another team is working on a cloak that because of its weight and thickness and being made of metamaterials that don’t absorb or refract light, it will redirect it. Currently, the team is only capable of working with wavelengths larger than light. They have the statistics to prove that invisibility is possible, but at the moment, it's still theoretical.”

How about the exoskeleton with its neat gadgets and protection? Yup, we can do it! From tacticalwarfightergear“The history of exploration and development of bionic external skeletal structures goes back nearly fifty years. New emerging designs for warfighters are patterned after these early Hardiman models. Overview objectives for this project boil down to several main points with several critical sub-functions attached. • Feature: Bulletproof Ballistic Protection. • Function: Hydraulic Assisted Bionic Enhance • Nanotechnology enhanced Bio-Med Sensors. • Compact Silent Renewable Powered Energy. • Internal Personal Portable Cooling system.” (Photo above) (Tell me if this ad for it doesn't sound like something from "Terminator"): What the exoskeleton program at DARPA plans to do is turn ordinary soldiers into super-troops who can leap tall objects and run at high speeds. This program is progressing through beta testing with promising results. DARPA has set specifications for exoskeletory machines. Here's what researchers are demanding from exoskeletonizing humans with machines:
• Increased strength - Soldiers must be able to carry more weapons and supplies. With increased strength, exoskeletonsoldiers must also be able to remove large obstacles from their path while marching. • Increased speed - Average humans walk 4 to 6 mph, but special operations soldiers are often expected to carry up to 150 pounds of supplies in their backpacks. Most of today's troops cannot go fast enough carrying this much weight and armor on their backs when fighting with aloof fleet-footed enemies burdened only by AK-47s and RPGs. These units will need to advance until they can deliver speeds faster than 15-20 mph. • Jumping and Leaping Capabilities – Mechanical suited exoskeleton soldiers must be able to leap over obstacles such as vehicles and small buildings obstructing their mission. Soldiers will benefit from increased endurance when marching long distances over unpredictable terrain. With increased strength, they will also be able to repair heavy equipment that would otherwise be impossible to repair. Experts expect fewer casualties because of increased body armor.

The ultrasonic sensor that traces a ricochet to find out its origin point. Possible! Of course, whether the military will talk about it, who knows…

Now, if you recall the Predator had the ability to fix himself up—he was biological beneath the suit of armor. He carried his own cautery kit which would be feasible to seal an injury closed. This is much like those old-fashioned techniques of heating up a knife blade and applying it to seal a cut closed. Portable cautery kits are available.

In the future might man go to other planets geared out like the Predator? Oh yeah, certainly could. Would we, however attach mini rocket launchers to our suits and collect skulls? I hope not, but you never know what space might do to men in a dream hunting suit.

So far as the bad-ass rastas---I think our soldiers are gonna be on their own with that accessory…

Monday, May 24, 2010

Watch Your Wallet: Flim Flam Ghost Communications

It won’t make me popular, but I’m gonna say it, there’s a helluva lot of "equipment" out there that’s nothing more than bogus crap and people are paying ridiculous amounts to purchase it or having readings done with it. The top of my list of you-have-to-be-shittin-me devices is the “Frank’s Box.” (Later on, I will discuss how to pick a psychic)

There are some “big” names in the ghost communication world who make 90-100 dollars a pop to let folks talk to their dead relatives through a supposed “telephone to the dead” apparently (according to them) designed after the Edison’s original idea for a potential telephone to the dead. This Frank’s Box seems quite mystical to those who don’t understand it, just like a television might seem quite miraculous to one who doesn’t understand the components.

There’s a lot of ways to describe this device, but this site has the best. “Frank’s Box,” according to its inventor, “consists of a random voltage generator, which is used to tune an AM receiver module rapidly. The audio from the tuner (“raw audio”) is amplified and fed to an echo chamber, where the spirits manipulate it to form their voices.” Apparently doing so is difficult for the spirits, (the operator) employs the help of a spirit “technician,” whom he calls on to corral wayward spirits to within earshot of the receiver. What it sounded like was the rapid twirling of a radio dial so that only noises and word fragments were audible.

The sad thing is that people so want to contact the dead and that makes them very very vulnerable. Just like when purchasing anything, there’s an expectation that the higher the price, the more valuable and authentic the product. People enter this experience primed and ready to listen closely for any sign, not wanting to miss one cherished encounter. Random words from the radio tuner send out words and with the right manipulation, like listening to a crappy EVP, one can believe it says just what they are told it says…

How do you keep from being suckered into such charlatan techniques? Here's a few clues:

Do they show up in a location and give “one time only” readings for that weekend or weeknight, charging you a “special” amount of just under $100? You might get emails or see ads in the paper for the “brief event.” Yes, these are key techniques to suck you in. It’s like those commercials that say “order in the next 10 minutes and get this extra shit you don’t need.” You make a decision under distress knowing it will be going away soon.

Is this a device that they will not answer specific questions about? Are they vague? Do they talk about the spiritual realm instead of the functioning of the machine? “It makes it possible for your dead relative to have a voice,” is not going to cut it. Do your research first. A schematic of the Frank’s Box will tell you this is a receiver and ya’all know how I feel skeptical of receivers, even audio recorders which can pick up all kinds of signals. You want to experience this? Twist your am radio tuner back and forth rapidly, slowing down occasionally and speeding back up. Guess what? You just conversed with the dead…(rolling my eyes)

With the explosion of ghost hunting shows and equipment in the field swamping the market, lots of folks feel they need a Flir, a KII or an EMF meter, but honestly there is nothing yet that can be proven to speak to the dead or measure them. Should we actually make such devices they will under no circumstances be field equipment that proves absolutely their existence, it will happen in a controlled environment where all signals can be blocked and the catching of evidence absolutely pure and clean. That’s the field of science. There is no room for proof without a controlled situation, controlling all parameters.

So, for now you can consider a psychic as perhaps your best conduit for the spirit world, but picking a psychic is a tough thing. I went to a metaphysical store recently where psychics have chairs all around the room. One slow walk around the room looking at candles and smelling fragrances and I already knew which ones were strong, which ones were weak and which ones were total shams. How does someone who hasn’t worked their psychic abilities (we all have them) know who’s good? I suggest you take that same walk around the room. Be sure and make eye contact with each psychic. Ones who are busy should look away quickly because they are concentrating. If they are watching you, they are reading something altogether different because they just engaged their logical mind with curiosity. If the psychics aren’t doing a reading, see if they hold eye contact without speaking to you. If they speak to you in any way, they are soliciting work. If they are truly psychic, they will hold your gaze for a fair time and not speak. They will let you come to them.

That was my little insider tip.

(Later, I will be writing a more in-depth post about psychics and how to choose them)

Ghost Hunting Shows: Are They Faking It?

Okay, okay, before you get all defensive and irate, it’s not THAT kind of post. Actually, a dear blogging friend, Grim, brought up this idea. We were contemplating the “genuineness” of the TV ghost show personalities. Not whether they fake evidence, but more important to their integrity, are they enhancing their assets?

You know once you go celebrity, we’re all allowed to sit around and conjecture about your love life, your weight gain and your apparent changes…

So in the spirit of “TMZ” and “Insider,” let’s start a frivolous unimportant conversation based purely on speculation for the sake of air time...

Does Grant from “Ghost Hunters” dye his hair?

Does Zak from “Ghost Adventures” take steroids?

Does Ryan from “Paranormal State” wax his eyebrows?

Does Kris Williams from “Ghost Hunting” use a push-up bra or something more permanent?

But, like the gossip shows on TV, we must discuss…

Should Steve stop tattooing? Would you like to see him without this freakin hat? Maybe he could neaten himself up a bit? Use a razor? Wear something not baggy, dark and depressing? Let’s give him a George Clooney makeover. Now, wouldn’t that add a new feel to the show? Perhaps brighten his attitude. Hell, he might even crack a charming smile.

The Klinge Brothers from “Ghost Lab” might want to go to a boot camp and toughen up their bodies and their diets. I’d probably put them through a diction lesson or two so they can bite off some of their twang. Perhaps we could use Seth Rogen as an example for their “after” shots.

Would you like to see J let his hair grow out? However much he might have?

Would you get G to shave his neck finally?

Let’s start the banal and superficial conversation now. I’m curious to see where ya’all stand on important issues regarding the ghost hunting shows; whether they are faking it or should fake it…

This week in horror movie and paranormal TV

I know, I know…kinda slim pickin's, but there is still a pulse, so I will continue to find those shows in this between-season time. I’m going to put an asterisk next to the ones I will be watching in case you’re wondering.

SyFy: “Ghost Whisperer” marathon
Animal Planet: “River Monsters Unhooked” creepy underwater creatures marathon

Travel Channel: “Ghost Adventures” marathon
*The History Channel: “Ancient Aliens” followed by “The Universe”

SyFy: “Ghost Hunters” marathon
Animal Planet: “River Monsters Unhooked” marathon
*The History Channel “Monsterquest” marathon

*ABC Family “The Goonies” (movie)
SyFy “Jeepers Creepers” (movie) followed by “Hostel II” (movie)

ABC Family: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azaban” (movie)
SyFy “Yeti” (movie—absolutely hilariously bad—worth the watch!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

QUIZ: What Post-Apocalyptic Monster Could You Beat?

It’s quiz time again cause, well gosh darn, they’re fun! Count your a’s, b’s, c’s and d’s and scroll down to find out what apocalypse-related monster you could survive.

1. When it comes to partying I tend to…
a. Like a crowd, there’s fun in numbers
b. Prefer a bottle of wine and a private date
c. Keep my eye on the troublemakers and calm them down
d Stay up all freakin night, last to go home

2. When it come to anger, I tend to…
a. Have no trouble showing anger can go berserker
b. Distrust others and tend to scare them away
c. Protective of loved ones, get angry for them
d. I think first and plot out how to deal with it best

3. So far as the time of the day is concerned, I…
a. Have bursts of energy throughout the day
b. Get creative at night and stay up late.
c. Am a morning person and with caffeine, go all day long
d. Love the night—prefer to sleep in the daytime

4. If I had to pick a major in college at this point in my life, I would pick…
a. Fitness/health/nutrition
b. Medicine/doctor
c. Psychology/behavioral science
d. Electronics/contracting/building

5. A weapon I would actually be willing to carry is…
a. A baseball bat
b. A knife
c. A shotgun
d. A torch

See if you get more a’s, b’s, c’s, or d’s and scroll down and find out what post-apocalyptic monster you could kick butt against!

a. Zombie
b. Vampire
c. Radioactive scavenger
d. Night-dwelling “Omega Man” creatures

Building the Ultimate Horror Movie

Sometimes, it feels like either budgets run out, directors get cranky, or special effects guys are working with archaic programs, but the best of intentions in horror movies can turn into a horror on the big screen.

So, what would the ultimate horror movie be like? Perhaps we could “Frankenstein” one together by taking the bits and pieces of horror movies that have been made and turn them into the beast that we seek.

Mentally disturbed killer: “Psycho” pretty much set the standard on something in a reclusive, moody, slightly disturbed and uneasy feel that made us come to the conclusion that even the most innocent seeming milquetoast man can be an insane threat, a regular ticking time bomb. Some other moviemakers have taken it upon themselves to make blatantly disturbed killers like Michael and Jason, but honestly they look threatening already. There’s no question that dude with the mask is the bad guy, duh! So, in our dream horror movie, the mentally disturbed element is masked as something innocent or nonthreatening, unsuspecting, even trusting…

Creepy estate: “The Haunting” (1963) was a perfectly dark, twisted, dusty, ornate, and creepy location. What was so unsettling about it was the features that could make it grandmother’s home; fancy china, little statuettes, large gilded mirrors, but with no signs of life (at least not mortal life). However, when “The Haunting” was remade in 1999 and the moviemaker apparently thought somehow the original classic was not only worth remaking, but why the hell not make a huge circus-like home with kitschy features and bells and whistles? It was not scary or moody. It was entertaining and Willy Wonka-like. What’s so scary about grandma’s house? Finding a prosthetic leg in the attic, an extra set of old dentures in a desk drawer, not finding giant statues of lions and cherubs and a spinning room….

Wounded hero: “The Changeling” gave us a male character that had lost his wife and daughter and escaped to start a lonely reclusive life elsewhere, but unable to get rid of his father-like tendencies when it comes to a boy ghost in need of resolution. Moviemakers have taken the wounded character and just plopped him on the floor with no life to him at all such as in “1408.” You have a man who has lost all faith in afterlife and lost his child and marriage, but in the battle with ghosts it had little to do with those emotional issues and more to do with his sanity. A wonderfully provoking idea of using a man who was jaded about the afterlife faced with the afterlife was performed with the precision of a surgeon using a chainsaw…

Soundtrack/background music: “Phantasm” was perhaps not a cinema blockbuster, but the film has a huge cult following for it’s weirdness but that wouldn’t have won it so many fans if it didn’t have a very creepy sounding soundtrack. It had this kind of cadence that played the tension and the threat with such simplicity that the sounds haunt you after seeing the movie. If scary incidents had background music, this was the score. “Friday the 13th” no matter how much you say the “chh chh chh, hah, hah, hah” sounds were scary—it worked once, maybe twice, but by the end of the freaking movie it was basically screaming “something is about to happen—you dumb moviegoer!”

Violence/Gore: “Night of the Living Dead” is a good pick here. It doesn’t happen so often you get numb, but sometimes it’s just suggestive, like the zombies wandering around with limbs and guts in their hands, chomping away, but not gratuitous. “Dawn of the Dead” (remake) Threw gore right into your face so often and so profusely, it became rather numbing. It actually was distracting from the chase and pursuit going on and sidetracked us into ridiculous scenes like the zombie baby birth. Now, some folks are fine with that level of gore, but if the story is really good, suspense should make you more uneasy than constant in-your-face blood and guts. It’s the not-knowing-when-it’s-going-to-happen that’s more frightening than it’s-always-happening…

So far, we have the killer from “Psycho,” the location from “The Haunting” (1963), the hero from “The Changeling,” the musical score from “Phantasm,” and the violence and gore from “Night of the Living Dead.” Sounds good to me—now, Hollywood revive your dying patient and perform a miracle by Frankensteining these bits together!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Netflix Instant Watch Review: "Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness"

My toes curled when I saw this in the instant watch documentaries on Netflix! Wahoo! I've long been an urban explorer, actually since I was really little, but have taken up the passion again with a hunger that is hard to quench. What is it about sorting through abandoned places and crawling, climbing, and poking around? It's hard to describe unless you've ever just been curious "what's in there?" then gone inside and found time frozen... The most interesting places to me are ones no one has been in for a very long time, not the tagged properties in the city everyone knows about. I'm talking about places put to rest and hidden away where no one goes, sometimes with furnishings and belongings till left behind. As a psychic whose main expertise is touching items and gathering info, this is a thrill ride!

This documentary follows a whole lot of nerds, the guys who had no group in school, sulked in a dark corner, weren't real good at conversing... You know the types. We called them spazes and goths, sometimes nerds and general misanthropes...

This quirky bunch of people finds what they do to be the coolest thing in the world. They test their bravery and skills against something that can't talk back, a sewer, a tunnel, a crumbling building. They go in the darkness when no one else is around (their favorite time) and make a conquest like Zak Bagans screaming at a haunted building with bravado he might not have if that building were full of people.

This is funny and amazing and totally stupifying because a lot of the documentary is about the personalities who do it. It's a whole (pardon the pun) underground culture. They go all over the world with more equipment than a ghost hunter. Even if you're not so into urban exploring, this video was so worth seeing for the beauty alone. There are lots of still shots of the most amazing sights you will never see if you don't haul yourself off at nighttime to trespass and endanger your health and your freedom. Live vicariously through these guys and see stuff you never imagined...

OldBlackCatBoo, Gummerfan and @eloh awards!

Andrea at Ghost Stories was sweet enough to bestow both these awards on me. Since I have had them recently (I feel so special to be included), I thought I'd answer her questions for her. I've passed them on before and I might like to add a few new people to pass them on to.

The beautiful blogger award tells you to share 7 things no one probably knows about you (damn, this is gonna be hard since ya'all know I have diarrhea of the brain)...
1. As a kid, when we went to our summer home on the Chesapeake, we'd drop crab traps off our dock. Since I was the tiniest kid, I had to put the chicken necks down inside it and then retrieve the crabs when the trap filled. I still have scars on my hands from their fighting--but, damn! They tasted good. Love my blue crab!
2. I once did spelunking (cave exploring) and rapelling down a mountainside. Never again!
3. I was a freestyle rollerskater and did elaborate dance routines, jumping, spinning (love to spin and get dizzy) and was still doing it when my son was little in our driveway. I think the neighbors thought I was either totally awesome or kind of savant.
4. I used to own an ATC (3 wheel offroad motorcycle) and grew up riding a dirt bike. I loved the dirt bike, hated the ATC (crashed all the time) and got rid of it within a year.
5. I dance just about every single day. I love to dance. Don't know if I'm any good, but I really love it.
6. When I got my IQ done in 6th grade, the teacher called my mom to the school. I thought, "oh shit, they realized I need the slow kid's class." It ended up they didn't know what to do with me because I'd scored on genius level. So, they allowed me to do more creative projects which was a blast. I'd get to decorate the classroom doors for Halloween and stuff which meant ditching class and I still got As and Bs without doing my homework, so I thought it was a sweet deal. They wanted me to concentrate on my abilities, but I was seriously only concentrating on boys at that time.
7. I hate the color blue. I know almost everyone's favorite color is blue. I think it's a brown-eyed, red-haired thing, but I know it instinctively looks horrible on me and when you live in the desert and there's so much freaking blue sky all the freaking time, you get to really hate it. Plus, as a kid I wanted to be a model and ALL models at that time had blue eyes. The first brown-eyed model I remember seeing was Cindy Crawford! So, the only blue you will ever see me in is jeans.

Okay, so for the second award, Life is Good, I am to answer 8 questions posed to me from Andrea:
1. If you could visit any haunted location, what would it be and why? Aspen Grove, my childhood home!
2. What's your favorite Halloween treat? I love miniature Milky Ways
3. What do you love most about blogging? Getting to know people and be myself and laugh a lot.
4. How old were you when the paranormal entered your life? From baby-hood.
5. Who do you admire the most? When I think of admiring someone, I think of wanting to be more like them. I'd probably say Bill Maher because he simply says how he feels about stuff and is extremely logical about it. Sometimes, he says things that are totally asanine, but he says them with conviction. That takes some cajones.
6. What is one thing you want to change about your past? Jeez, I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't have that past...I guess it'd have more to do with no focusing on making everyone around me happy at the expense of my own happiness. I never knew what I wanted because I didn't know I was allowed to want things or have my own goals or direction. I thought it was dictated by all the elders (baby of the family syndrome).
7. Favorite music? I love so much music--I guess if there's one that's a favorite genre, maybe classic rock (but not the 60s, more like the rock from the 70s/80s) or Reggae--it always makes me feel happy.
8. Is life beautiful? Hell ya! People aren't always beautiful, but life is. Nature, the seasons, the act of working out hard and feeling your muscles burn, being able to direct your own fate, learning something new every day, considering others and the world when making decisions, laughter is the most beautiful thing, having a universal view of the world...

Okay, so I'm passing on these awards to OldBlackCatBoo, Gummerfan and @eloh

For the Beautiful Blogger award you have to list 7 things no one knows about you.

For the Life is Good award you can answer these 8 questions:
1. Chocolate or beer?
2. Who would you like to see be president?
3. Fast car or motorcycle?
4. Do you talk baby talk to pets?
5. Country you most want to visit?
6. If you had to live in a big city, which one?
7. What would you want to raise or grow on a farm?
8. Have you ever kept a diary?

Parquor: Extreme!

Ya’all know my love for urban exploring, but when I was growing up I was a freestyle rollerskater, gymnast, springboard diver and skateboarder. I used all those skills doing some crazy stunts from trees to buildings and was doing a form of Parquor when it had no name yet.

Parquor/Parkour or the “art of displacement” is the art of using obstacles in one’s path to get places. You might consider Gene Kelly as one of the original parquors in “Singing in the Rain.” You might have done a form of it as a kid if you ever pretended your kitchen floor was hot lava and you had to use the countertops to get out of the room.

(From Wikipedia) Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.
• Parkour requires... consistent, disciplined training with an emphasis on functional strength, physical conditioning, balance, creativity, fluidity, control, precision, spatial awareness, and looking beyond the traditional use of objects.
• Parkour movements typically include... running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, balancing, and quadrupedal movement. Movements from other physical disciplines are often incorporated, but acrobatics or tricking alone do not constitute parkour.
• Parkour training focuses on... safety, longevity, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing off, and dangerous stunts.
• Parkour practitioners value... community, humility, positive collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and the importance of play in human life, while demonstrating respect for all people, places, and spaces.
—American Parkour Community Definition (above)

I admit that, I have given up skateboarding and the sport of parquor, but my appreciation for the sport is actually greater than it is for skateboarders. To be able to do these stunts without wheels—now, that impresses me!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Traumatized: Kid Movie Horrors!

You have to remember as a kid watching a perfectly innocent movie only to come across something unexpected…horror!

My first time experiencing this was the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” I loved that movie; the music, the inventor, the charming children, Truly Scrumptious and her beautiful wardrobe, the goofy grandpa, the beautiful countryside and big rambling home… And then came…the child catcher. I still think of that character and I shiver with terror. That to me is the original fear; a scary looking man who lures children with treats and steals them from their parents to force them into hard labor in a dark scary place with no teddy bear or soft bed to comfort them.

So, what got us that first tingle of fear and our future love of horror? Let’s have a look at just some of the culprits:

Flying monkeys, wicked witch, and the Wizard from “Wizard of Oz.”

Slugworth, Oompa Loompas and Willy Wonka in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:

The Rock Biter in “The Neverending Story”

So, what childhood movie both horrified you and also piqued your interest in horror down the line?

Burying Your Own Family Members: Do It Yourself?

I saw this documentary on instant watch on Netflix and it was fascinating. I was both horrified and very sad and also comforted at the same time. By the time it was done, my typical American fear of dead bodies and dealing with death was gone.

“A Family Undertaking: POV” is an amazing PBS documentary that shows how even today family members can and do opt to do a loving funeral themselves, sometimes involving the dying person in the details of their homemade casket and such. The process is watched with people who are dying and their funeral by their family members. It’s very intimate and very strange and surreal, but also in the end very loving and almost joyous.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Death Masks and Post Mortem Photos

What are death masks?

They are molds made upon the dead person’s face to forever hold their image in three dimensions (Alfred Hitchcock in photo above). From Socyberty online “The making of a death mask is a messy business – literally. They are difficult to make and the best position for the corpse is not lying down but sitting up. The shift from sculpture to masks came about in the Middle Ages when the art of waxwork and plaster casting became more sophisticated. The tradition evolved from royalty to eminent people and continues to this day. Another use, rather than in memoriam for an individuals was for the scientific study of human physiognomy. It was said that experts could tell criminals from the shape of their heads. Casts were also used to record and collect data on the racial differences in the human head.”

What are Post Mortem Photos?

They were very popular in the Victorian era when photography was relatively new. Families felt comforted to get a picture of their lost loved one, often times the only record they have of their existence since photos were rare for many families. Often times, the baby would be held in the parent’s arms or photos taken in a coffin or with family members around (or propped up between their parents like the photo above). As macabre as it seems, it put a reality on the loss. There were other memorials made for the grieving families including wall hangings made with designs done in the dead one’s hair woven throughout it and funeral flowers.

As creepy as these things may be, they are also morbidly fascinating. A Google image check for post mortem photos and death masks shows you a wide array of images that make you stop and stare in amazement. It was quite a different era during the Victorian times. It not only brought such morbid deathbed images, but also a fascination with séances and spiritualistic practices. Interesting how that fascination with death also came with a very puritanical time sexually and clothing that covered the body on every surface. They apparently had no issues with mortality, but only with mortal urges

QUIZ: Which Horror movie Killer could you evade?

Ever wonder what kind of horror movie killer you would likely be able to evade? It’s quiz time again since ya’all so enjoy finding out more about yourselves and I know I like to learn more about you too!

1. I take pride in the fact that my approach to life is…
a. Avoiding bad parts of town, and being on the alert at all times
b. Not a party person or a social climber, I’m regular folk
c. Without a dark history or skeletons in my closet
d. Not adventurous at all, not given to impulsive behavior

2. It’s my day off, my ideal thing to do would be…
a. Go into the city’s farmer’s market
b. Head out to the lake
c. Hang at home with my family
d. Get caught up on my chores

3. A skill that I have that I’m most proud of is:
a. Agility/speed/athleticism
b. Knowing bullshit when I hear it
c. Being honest and considerate
d. Enjoying the company of friends rather than being alone

4. I choose a friend because of…
a. Intelligence
b. Not being fake or posing
c. Ethics and honesty
d. Reliability and loyalty

5. Music I prefer most often…
a. Heavy metal
b. Pop
c. Symphony
d. Classic rock

Count your a’s, b’s, c’s, d’s and see which one you have the most of, scroll down and find out which horror movie killer you could evade being killed by…

a. Jason Voorhes “Friday the 13th”
b. Patrick in “American Psycho”
c. Jigsaw “Saw”
d. Norman Bates “Psycho”