Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Memorial: John Wolfe

I have been very blessed to know some amazing bloggers, but one who was very dear to my heart was my good friend, John Wolfe. He ran the blog Season of Shadows and embodied all things vintage and true Halloween. He would begin early in the year designing elaborate home haunts and sharing on video how he went about designing them. He did lots of volunteer work and was always available for anyone. He sought to understand the spiritual and the other side. In fact, as he was dying, he said he would contact me through EVPs. And, he asked me to write his memorial which I did and he read it and approved of it before his passing at much too early an age in his 30s. Each Halloween, I will post his memorial here. Halloween is his season, his paradise, and I miss him something awful every October. I'd like to share him with you now -

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream"
(Edgar Allen Poe)

 (John Wolfe)

“Night of the Wolf” Nox Arcana (one of his favorites)

I am so very sorry to have to announce that one of the most beloved Halloween Bloggers of all time has passed from this earthly plane to his higher purpose. 

John Wolfe of Season of Shadows blog was not only adored by all who came to his blog, but felt they were visiting his home. He was a gracious host. His love of nostalgic Halloween, horror, and crafting haunting props was what drew people in, but it was charity and kindness to others that made him so loved. 

When I started blogging in 2008, he found my blog and we fast became friends. Through the years, we emailed regularly and shared our ups and downs in life and his wisdom and spiritually centered point of view helped me during my divorce when I was scared of the unknown. He reminded me of my potential and also of the fact that I love horror and so the unknown should not frighten me. He comforted me, believed in me, supported my blog, and was a voice of reason when I needed it most.

John was everything Halloween and horror. He had an artist's eyes and hands, a Buddhist's soul, and a child's excitement and enthusiasm. Here is John's favorite Halloween memory in his own words:

On the night of October 31st, we had a huge turnout of trick-or-treaters and parents. One masked face quickly blended into another amidst the backdrop of strobe lights, black lights, dark hallways and creepy music. By the time the fog machine had belched its last puff of smoke, the clock signified November was upon us. 

Quickly, we broke down the haunt’s interior, knowing our 5 AM wake-up call would soon be screeching louder than a group of scared, plastic jack-o-lantern toting, eight year old’s. My grandparents were to be vendors at a community arts and crafts sale that morning and several of us had volunteered to lend a hand.

Four hours of sleep and tons of caffeine later, the previously masked faces of trick-or-treaters were now replaced by the faces of paying customers blurrily passing by. Alone I sat, half coherent, manning my grandparents’ booth – exhausted from climbing out of a grave (about a thousand times) the night before.

“Excuse me,” “Excuse me,” a cheery voice called out, interrupting my detailed analysis of the inside of my eyelids. It was a woman, in her mid 30’s, inquiring about the price of an item on the table. She commented on how tired I looked, so, I lightly brushed on the fact I was exhausted from Halloween activities.

Without missing a beat, the woman began explaining how horrible her night had started out. She had the intentions of staying home, utterly depressed over many circumstances in her life, when her phone rang. Friends, aware of her mood, were inquiring about getting her out of the house to go trick-or-treating with their kids. 

After a lot of persuading, she finally accepted but was still unable to shake her depressed state throughout the night. Eventually, they came upon a home that contained haunted rooms and a hallway leading up to the house’s front porch. Inside the haunt, there was scary music, strobe lights, a graveyard, fog and “monsters” everywhere. 

Inspired by the fact someone had so much passion to create something so large, all for a single night; that haunt (our haunt), helped to pull her out of her mood and shift her attitude. In fact, she said she was still feeling the positive effects that next morning and was inspired to more consistently follow creative outlets in her own life. 

Though I’m appreciative of all visitor feedback, and I have a lot of fond Halloween memories, I’ve always been extremely proud of that moment. It’s not often that Halloween is thought of as an uplifting night. Many times, we see individuals (and groups) chastising Halloween because of its darkness and supposed negativity. It goes to show that even amidst the darkness, a ton of love, light and joy can be spread and people can be uplifted by the efforts of haunters and Halloween enthusiasts everywhere. 

So, that was one of my favorite Halloween memories.

(This is video above is one of his amazing Halloween haunts he put on for the neighborhood)

"For most men, time moves slowly, oh so slowly, they don't even realize it. But time has revealed itself to me in a very special way. Time is a rushing, howling wind that rages past me, withering me in a single, relentless blast, and then continues on. I've been sitting here passively, submissive to its rage, watching its work. Listen! Time, howling, withering!"
(quote from “Dark Shadows” show)

He shared his knowledge as a Halloween haunter. He had how-to instructions meticulously laid out and videos on YouTube. John also was a man who put 110% into everything he did from his work to his haunt designs, his blog to his spiritual growth. Here is his other site Winds of the Soul that shows what a very spiritual and tender soul he was.

Here is some commentary by other bloggers who loved him:

Damian the HalloweenNut (The Misadventures of HalloweeNut)

John Wolfe was an Artist, through and through. Not just a haunter, but an Artist, of the greatest kind; talented, humble, kind, friendly, and funny. I had discovered his site in late 2009, through Pumpkinrot's blog. I was astounded by the sheer detail, yet simplicity, of John's amazing creations; so much so, that I immediately emailed him to tell him I enjoyed his work. We started sending emails back and forth, and he would sometimes advise me on haunt ideas. I came to enjoy reading his almost daily blog posts, listening to his online radio, and chuckling and smiling at his tales of Halloweens past. He never failed to appreciate his loyal fans and readers; I remember at Thanksgiving 2010, he had sent me a free Nox Arcana CD and other cool Halloween goodies simply because to show his appreciation of his regular readers. I still have the CD, and I will always cherish it, because it was a mark of a great Artist, Haunter, and Friend. If there is an Afterlife just for Haunters and Halloween People, I know that John Wolfe will be there. John, if you can read this, know that you will never be forgotten, not by me, or anyone, for Artists Never Die. God Rest.

From Barry at Gnostalgia He was a man who enjoyed giving joy. From time to time, I will watch his Halloween videos. I can't help but laugh at the trick or treaters' reaction to his animated prop witch. Shock followed by laughter. The Halloween candy was finished in a few days, but the memories will endure. The ripples from his good deeds will last forever.

Please donate in his memory to John's favorite charity. Water was the focus of his charity work. It is the essence of life. I have also placed a Season of Shadows button my blog in his memory to make it easier to donate. Or you can donate here.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Safe passage, John, to the greatest haunt of all. Forever you will be the guardian of Halloween in our hearts and in the spirit of the Season of Shadows.

**See John's projects on video here**

As an adjunct, this year I tried to communicate with John using a Psychomanteum and got some very unusual results - 

Friday Vlog: When Sharon Met Dale the Doll

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Proof Dolls Are Evil

Royal De Luxe (my favorite of the performance arts troups)

Brothers Quay (my favorite creepy stop-motion films)

(Marionettes are always creepy)

Ventriloquist dolls are perhaps the most disturbing. 

Regular dolls are not much better.

John Carpenter: The King Of Halloween

(Today's post is by a special guest author, Jared Hill

The director John Carpenter was behind several of the most iconic movies released during the 1970s and 80s, which was something of a golden era for horror cinema. Some notable films were Halloween, The Fog and The Thing, and these horror flicks still represent the hallmark of his work, even after a few decades without a new Carpenter film. But, the director’s work extends beyond the horror genre and has made its mark on the film industry as a whole.

Starting out with Carpenter’s big hits, Halloween has to rank near the top of the list. The first film of this series pretty much set the tone for a huge onslaught of 80s horror films yet to come. Just the sheer power of the character of Michael propelled studios to come up with a number of similar characters for the horror film genre, such as Jason in the Friday the 13th series, among others.

While Halloween did get inspiration from scary movies from the past, Carpenter’s movie The Thing basically re-envisioned a classic horror movie in a new setting with a more psychological bent. This time, scientists in Antarctica slowly lose their grip on reality while dealing with an unknown creature that makes them doubt each other as much as they fear their dark, desolate surroundings. This added psychological horror surpassed the typical jump-out-of-your-seat antics of many horror movies.

A final highlight in Carpenter’s filmography is The Fog. Carpenter decided to embed this story in the tradition of scary stories told by the campfire to make it come to life a little more. This background imbues the movie with a sense of supernatural forces from the past coming to wreak havoc in the present day. The original idea stemmed from Carpenter's visit to Stonehenge, which evoked ideas about the strange, lifelike fog there.

Movies from the later part of Carpenter’s career met with mixed success and made financiers turn a cold shoulder to his projects. Escape from L.A. touched on some social commentary in a sci-fi context and Memoirs of an Invisible Man tied comic undertones into a tale of government wrongdoing in a sci-fi context. Both films failed at the box office and neither managed to gain a fan following after the fact.

That being said, a few of his movies didn't get the praise they truly deserved upon release and have now achieved cult status. In They Live, Carpenter leads viewers on a satirically self-aware romp through the more conspiratorial edges of the sci-fi genre. Two other underestimated Carpenter movies cap off his Apocalypse Trilogy and focus on mass psychology and vulnerability of the mind. First, The Prince of Darkness merges occult themes with sci-fi ideas to concoct a terrifying evil force that is set on overtaking an entire population for its malevolent purposes. The final installment, In the Mouth of Madness, examines how ideas from books or other media might horribly alter the behavior of those who consume them.

Most recently, Carpenter contributed to the Masters of Horror series on Showtime with Cigarette Burns, the eighth installment of the series. The series, despite . In this episode, he again takes on the idea of how something larger than a single person, like a movie, might affect large numbers of people. The 2011 movie The Ward takes viewers directly into a mental institution, but with a supernatural twist to add to the torment of the protagonist and the viewer alike. The film continues to carry on Carpenter’s tradition of psychological thrillers and is easily available through platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Direct TV.

While neither of these last few efforts really spoke to fans or critics, John Carpenter’s place in the history of cinema remains significant. The memorable scenes from his horror movies continue to send chills down spines. But, it is his ability to blend deeper social, psychological and even existential questions into multiple genres will define his legacy as a filmmaker.

How To Burn Off Halloween Candy Calories

I was casually wondering about the calories in Halloween candy and then, since I'm strictly dieting, I wondered how is the best way to work it off. Then, I thought about how chocolate is the love medicine for women. So, how much sex would it take to burn off those fun-sized bars???

(Fun sized bars):

Snickers (80 calories) 15 minutes of foreplay followed by *10 minutes of intercourse

Milky Way (75 calories) 15 minutes of kissing followed by *7 minutes of intercourse

Baby Ruth (85 calories) 15 minutes of kissing followed by *5 minutes of foreplay followed by *10 minutes of intercourse

Tootsie Pop (60 calories) *10 minutes of intercourse

Reese’s cup (44 calories) *7 minutes of intercourse OR 20 minutes of foreplay

M&M fun size little bag (99 calories) *15 minutes of intercourse or 45 minutes of foreplay

1 roll Smarties (25 calories) 15 minutes of kissing

*You can half your intercourse time if you use the doggy style position because it burns twice as many calories (wink).

Now, considering the amount of candy one typically finishes off while waiting for the little boogers to knock at the door, it seems Halloween should be accompanied by bottles of Viagra and a crate of KY jelly on the Halloween display stand in the stores.

Warning: Enjoy in moderation (the candy, not the sex!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meet Me, Julie (and Dale the Doll) At Phoenix FearCon!

This coming weekend, Julie Ferguson and I will be at Phoenix FearCon.  We will be bringing Dale along!  We have a book signing table with tons of books and lots of abandoned location atmosphere. Please come by and visit! We love to meet our horror-loving, para-geek friends!

We will also be going to the Halloween Ball on Halloween Night as part of the VIPs for the event. I will go as a pirate wench and Julie is going as a 1980s rocker chick. Dale the Doll, however, is not invited to that event!

What You Didn't Know About Night of the Living Dead

What I believe to be one of the best horror movie of all time, has a lot of intriguing facts you might not have known.

It was filmed in the Pittsburgh area.

Evans City Cemetery, Evans City, Pennsylvania

Head northwest on on Franklin Rd for half a mile. Continue onto Pioneer Rd. for 1/5 mile. Turn left on PA-68/W. Main St for almost 3 miles. Turn left on Magill Rd. for 3/4 of a mile to cemetery.

I went there a couple years ago and it is literally unchanged!

Originally, Barbara survived the night.

The main character was originally written as a big burly truck driver.

"Night of the Anubis" was the original title.

The bodies in the truck were actually ham and chocolate syrup the zombies ate.

The house was slated for demolition, so the owners allowed use of it for $300 a month. 

The entrails were supplied by a local butcher.

Some of the limbs that were "eaten" were mannequin limbs with silly putty on them. 

The man who played the father actually worked in a lot of roles in production of the movie.

On top 10 most profitable films of all times, here's how the movie did on that list:  #9: Budget: $114,000.  Box Office Revenue: $30,000,000

George Romero originally asked Karl Hardman to direct it, but instead Hardman chose to produce and make the awesome electronic soundtrack.  Karl's daughter in real life played the daughter in the movie. 

The film took only 30 days to shoot, all 20-hour days. Some of them even slept inside the house when they could. 

For the scene where Ben kills Harry, Hardman said, " the character I saw what was coming. The force of the bullet was to slam me into the corner. I was to bounce off the corner, hit the piano on the other side of the doorway leading to the basement, then clutching myself, fall down the steps into the basement of the house. Well, there was a coat tree next to the door which had been in every shot and there were coats on it. Eleven times I got shot, slammed myself into the corner, bounced off onto the piano and got wrapped up in that coat tree, and the coat tree would follow me into the basement. By the time we got a good take I was so exhausted from laughing I hardly had enough energy left to do it."

You know you have a classic timeless movie when the stills from the movie are like works of art.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Victorian Era Medical Oddities

Perhaps the reason modern-day goths love the Victorian Era is the simple fact that it was a dark and macabre time period from the mid 1800s to early 1900s. There was a decided preoccupation with death and with deformity. Sideshow "freaks" created employment for those who were disabled with birth defects, but it did nothing for compassion and understanding of the human condition, no matter how that condition looks physically. Here is a collection of their ongoing documentation of what they considered "odd." 

It helps to remember that some people are odd looking but normal inside and some people are normal looking but odd inside and the majority of us lie in between; a bit odd looking/a bit normal looking/a bit odd inside/a bit normal inside. 

Torture medical devices -