The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Terry Sharp: Hell-bent on fighting Satanists

Groovy Age of Horror has activated the bat signal to spring the horror blogosphere into a grassroots "spread the word" campaign for a highly worthwhile comic book, Faceless: A Terry Sharp Story. From the online preview:

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ENGLAND - 1962. By day, Terry Sharp is a hard-living, skirt-chasing, celebrated director of classic horror films. But by night, the horror turns real - Terry has discovered a shadowy group of Satanists hell-bent on taking control of the British government. This knowledge has made him a marked man. Black magic or bullets - the Faceless conspirators don't particularly care which - as long as the end result is Terry's death. Too bad for them, Terry Sharp isn't ready to die just yet - not without taking a whole lot of bad guys with him
This is the kind of story telling the Haunted Vampire is happy to help promote. Now if you'll excuse me, I got a comic book to race out and buy. UPDATE - Groovy Age of Horror has snagged an exclusive. UPDATE 2 - Exploring the Terry Sharp web site, I found this comic book, The Black Forest. The story is set on the battlefields of World War I with an American fighting vampires and other creatures of the night. The comic was released in 2004 when I was busy fighting to stop other bloodthirsty horrors. I'm going to look for The Black Forest. The other great news is The Black Forest 2 is scheduled for release on Sept. 7, 2005.

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Haunted by Granny

The Mirror of London has the story of a family haunted by Granny:

The 58-year-old - Sue's mum - says: "The first thing was the sheets moving as I lay in bed. I sensed my mum and felt the blankets moving around me. It was like she was tucking me in just like she used to." When Joe, 75, died in 1997, the problems got worse. "After the funeral, the boxes of his old stuff would move about," says Sandra. "I'd make a point of putting, say, a pension book on the table and walking out of the room. Each time it moved." Next she heard footsteps at night. Then the coughing started. "It scared me so much that I wouldn't go to bed," she recalls.
My grandmother is probably haunting the Bingo Hall.

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'Bewitched' statue Part Deux

I've blogged this already. Go read this post to read my thoughts. Here's the latest story, this one from the L.A. Times:

When the city's design review board approved the project this month, many in town were relieved. "It's probably going to be the best-looking statue in town," said Megan Kalgren, 20. Scooping herbs into little plastic bags to sell for "spell kits" at her mother's witch supply store, Kalgren said she had attended meetings about the statue and thought the opposition was ridiculous. "A bunch of people were complaining, but I'm like, 'It's a statue, it's cute, get over it,' " Kalgren said. A customer in Kalgren's store, Natasha Rooney of Rochester, N.H., said she was a witch and saw nothing offensive about honoring the television version. "I think it's cool," said Rooney, 16. "Salem is all about history, and even though the statue that is going up may not be historical, it fits right in with the town." Salem Mayor Stanley J. Usovicz Jr. agreed: "Despite the unfortunate events in 1692," he said, "I think — and many people here also think — that popular culture and contemporary art in a historic city makes a great deal of sense."
Makes sense to me.

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Theater calls in ghost hunters

From the Glasgow Evening Times:

Members of the Scottish Paranormal Investigations (SPI) team will spend a night in the Tron Theatre to analyse spirit activity.

The team's overnight stay comes after several people, including the theatre's caretaker, reported seeing spectres in various parts of the building.

The tower is the oldest part of the Trongate theatre and dates back to the 16th century. It has survived several fires and has a rich history which includes a spell as a place of execution.

There have been reports of people dressed in old-fashioned clothing seen near the tower and also of people looking out of its window down to the street below.

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Incan children sacrificed in ceremonies

If you kids don't behave, I'm going to send you to the temple. From Discovery News:

Recent evidence sheds light on the young boys and girls who were killed during Inca sacrificial ceremonies in the 15th and 16th centuries, evidence that includes pottery and human remains found at South American mountaintop sites.

Although archaeologists do not believe the Inca practiced cannibalism, as did their Aztec neighbors to the north, the evidence does suggest that Inca leaders targeted children to serve as sacrificial "tribute," somewhat similar to money collected for state taxes.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

North Wales Paranormal Research calls it quits

The North Wales Paranormal Research team has decided to give up the ghost. The founder of the group, which began in 2002, has announced on the organization's web site that she and the other directors decided to shut it down.

We've all travelled up and down the country, as far afield as Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire and Newcastle Keep in Newcastle upon Tyne. In addition to these we have investigated some of the supposedly 'most haunted' buildings in the UK, including Chingle Hall, the aforementioned Derby Gaol and Plas Teg. In addition to the larger scale venues, we have also been involved in a number of private residence cases which have all proved interesting. We've had some very interesting results but most importantly of all we have all had great fun along the way.
Good luck in the future.

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Perfect tour for me

I would love to do this.

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Coming attractions

I haven't done this in a while. I should go back to see how many of the upcoming movies I wanted to see I managed to see. I was going to see House of Wax this weekend, finally, but instead took the kids to see Madagascar (I know, I just ruined what little street cred I had in the horror blogosphere). UPDATE: When I compiled similar lists earlier in this blog's history, I was pretty much writing it for myself as a checklist reminder of movies I wanted to see. But I want to throw out the question to others: Which of the upcoming movies are you most looking forward to seeing? June 10 - Haute tension. French film opens in the U.S. Trailer here. This will probably go into my NetFlix queue even though I'd prefer to see it on the big screen. June 17 - Batman Begins. Let's just say I'm cautiously optimistic. June 24 - Land of the Dead. ::Drool:: Long awaited, eagerly anticipated and politically probably more relevant than ever before, I can't wait for this movie to open. Bewitched. I saw a trailer for it before Revenge of the Sith. It looks like the great pilot episode for a remake of a TV series. I doubt if there's enough to make it worth seeing on the big screen. Nicole Kidman as a witch is hot, though, and the wife loves Will Ferrell. July 1 - War of the Worlds. If the drive-in at Stephen City, Va., is playing it, that's where I'm going to try to see it. For some reason, seems like the perfect place to see this movie. Undead. An Australian zombie film hits the U.S. probably to ride the coattails of Land of the Dead. But it looks like a good popcorn flick and if you haven't seen the trailer yet you should. The Guardian raved about it. To be honest, I'm looking forward to this more than the big budget War of the Worlds. Here's what The Guardian had to say about Undead:

There's a few bob in zombie films nowadays; it's a lucrative niche market, and platoons of the walking dead with their outstretched arms and vacant stare are relatively cheap to rustle up. But Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's superb zombie spoof Shaun of the Dead recently raised the bar very high for this kind of thing, as well as giving us an unimprovably brilliant description of the zombie's befuddled, belligerent behaviour: "Like a drunk who's lost a bet." This is an Australian zombiesploitation splatterfest by the Spierig brothers, Michael and Peter, and it likeably declines to take itself too seriously, while simultaneously being very clearly the creation of people who take the genre very seriously indeed.
July 8 - Fantastic Four. This may sound like the most trivial of concerns, but I really wish they had made The Thing more clunky looking. Irregardless of the reviews, this is on my must-see list. The inner-fan boy in me cannot be denied. Trailer here. Dark Water. I don't know if I want to dive in to these waters after walking out of Ring 2. As someone on the IMDB message board asked, "No pirates?" July 22 - The Devil's Rejects. Long-time readers of this site know I've been watching the development of this movie with keen interest. July 29 - The Brothers Grimm. From the IMDB description of the plot:
Folklore collectors and con artists, Jake and Will Grimm travel from village to village pretending to protect townsfolk from enchanted creatures and performing exorcisms. They are put to the test, however, when they encounter a real magical curse in a haunted forest with real magical beings, requiring genuine courage.
Terry Gilliam directing. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. What's not to like? Night Watch. Russian fantasy film with vampires, witches, shapeshifters and other creatures battle for control of the night. Here's part of how described Night Watch:
Once it receives its long due stateside release, the smash Russian fantasy epic Night Watch will inevitably be compared to The Matrix, most likely because of all the people running about a modern-day city (wearing sunglasses at night, no less) doing battle with forces that normal folks can’t even see. Also, the film was a box office hit and the first in a planned trilogy. But truth be told, Night Watch has much more in common with the worlds created by fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman, most especially his classic Neverwhere (filmed for British TV) about a secret world existing just below the surface of everyday London. The two works share an abiding interest in the careful creation and delineation of complex universes of the unreal – not to mention a love of dark, shady places, and large-scale struggles between good and evil.
Entire review well worth reading. Don't forget to answer which movie you're most looking forward to seeing.

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New feature added

I added a new feature to my sidebar between recommendations and advertisements for some of my visitors. You know who you are.

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'The Opera Ghost really existed'

The Bad Hair Blog has a great post on The Phantom of the Opera novel by Gaston Laroux and the many movie and stage adaptions that followed.

The Phantom of the Opera story, while originally a horror tale, is in a sense a retelling of the French folk tale of Beauty and the Beast, and of course of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the book written by Victor Hugo in 1831, not the Disney movie).
Go read the entire post here or at the Blogger News Network here.

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Vampires beware

Paging Dr. Van Helsing. Dr. Abraham Van Helsing to the white courtesy phone please. Scientists discover what gives raw garlic its potency at the molecular level.

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Scottish ghost hunters investigate pub

Notice how often British public houses are haunted? Perhaps the spirits (no pun intended) get confused and believe they are in heaven. Ghost Finders Scotland has details posted of a recent investigation of The Saracen Head, a pub in Glasgow reputed to be haunted. (Among the items on display at the pub is the skull of the last witch executed in Scotland.) There are photographs, recordings and video files online as well as technical aspects of the investigation. My favorite is Video File 1 and EVP File 2. Link here to the entire report.

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Archaeologists dig up Thracian tombs

Mysterious races, gold treasures in tombs, coded messages in the pottery, it doesn't get better than this. From Time Europe:

Whatever was in that tomb, Kitov's crew had to get to it first. Otherwise, the tomb raiders could make off with priceless historical artifacts. So Kitov and crew moved to Kazanlak, to a site near a spring with rumored healing powers. And they began to dig. Finally, about a month later, they struck gold — literally. Inside the tomb, they found the remains of a man who had been chopped into pieces, the bones of his legs, hands and lower jaw positioned carefully on the ground. Next to the dismembered skeleton was a life-size mask made of solid gold. Kitov was so excited, he now can't recall how he reacted. But his teammates remember him grabbing his head with both hands. "It can't be possible," he gasped. "It can't be possible."

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Ancient tombs found in China

From the Xinhua News Agency:

Seventeen ancient tombs believed to be built in the Warring States Period (403 - 221 BC) were found in a recent rescue excavation at an express highway construction site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Nearly at the same place, an ancient village dating back 4,000 years was also discovered by the experts, who are from a research institute on archaeology of the autonomous region.

They were surprised by the unique burial style. Bodies were put in jars, pots or basins and then buried in tombs in nearby Chenjiaying Village in Chifeng's Songshan District.

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Light blogging of the dark

Maybe it's the fun I had yesterday with the extended family or maybe it's the beautiful weather keeping me outside or maybe it's having four-days off in a row this weekend when I've been working six days a week. But I'm feeling lazy this Memorial Day weekend. So here's a round up of other great stuff you can go read: Mondo Schlocko has part two of a great interview with horror film maker Eric Stanze. Shaun Jeffrey of In the Shadows has landed an agent. Exclamation Mark has a post that Luke Halpin should read. M Valdemar and attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat help those of us who began following Layla Hardesty's live journal and The Outbreak in the middle of their stories. Don't also miss HP's great answer to a question I asked about the terror of the "twist" ending in horror. That question was prompted by this great post on Corpse Eaters. Bill Cunningham at DISC/ontent writes about his story meeting for a monster movie script he is writing. Let's wish him the best of luck. And The Groovy Age of Horror has a thought-provoking essay on how to establish a niche as a horror blogger. I see The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire's niche as the traditional supernatural aspects of horror: ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc., with the occasional lost city or artifact or Fortean event thrown in. That is why there are very few posts on slasher films, UFOs or conspiracy theories on my blog. As interesting as I find such things, others cover those topics much better. UPDATE - Corpse Eaters posted his thoughts on the issue here. M Valdemar's take here.

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Apparitions of Mary

The Chicago Sun-Times has a run down of past events.

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Haunted shop frightens customers

Maybe this shop should have a "ghostly white sale" instead of a "white sale." From the BBC:

Staff and customers at a lighting shop in North East Lincolnshire have been turning a whiter shade of pale after a spate of ghostly goings-on. Lights drop from the ceiling, shades are thrown, doors open and slam, and footsteps echo throughout Beagles Lighting on Cleethorpe Road, Grimsby. Paranormal investigators, who were called in by shop owner Fiona Glover, have declared the shop haunted.
Yes, I know a white sale refers to sheets and other linens and this is a lighting shop. But who hasn't worn a white sheet as their costume to be a ghost for Halloween? So go read the entire story. It's got great details.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Pimping online ghost hunting classes

The West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters will be offering an online classes for beginning ghost hunters. (I'm holding out for the in-person experience.) For information on the courses, email Susan Crites at (Replace AT with @ of course.) Write "Enrolling Basic Ghost Hunter Training!" in the subject line.

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Saskatchewan farm grows mysterious trees

Here's an interesting tale about trees that seem to belong more in Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" than on a quiet Canadian farm. From Virtual Saskatchewan Online:

Skip and Linda Magowan's farm in The Thickwood Hills northwest of Saskatoon is becoming a hot spot for fans of the strange and unusual. This aspen's trunk, photographed in early spring, looks like it belongs to an elephant. The attraction is a stand of aspens economically named 'the crooked trees' by folks who live in the vicinity. The trees are located on the northern perimeter of the Magowan farm and they're surrounded by normal aspens that grow boldly skyward in competition for sunlight. The crooked trees, on the other hand, feature branches that loop, twist and reach out in every direction. The effect is an eerie, even haunted appearance.
The article goes on to describe the area as a hot spot for UFO activity. I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

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Depp pays for cannon to shoot gonzo's ashes

David Boyle pointed us to this story on Salon that actor Johnny Depp (Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, From Hell, etc.) is paying for the tower and cannon to shoot out Hunter S. Thompson's remains on to his ranch. It is good of Depp to do this for it is a fitting tribute to a journalist who lived a unique life. Our country needs journalists of Thompson's caliber now more than ever for the man's courage and writing ability were peerless.

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Haunted Times editor gives ghost talk

From the Mount Pleasant (Iowa) News:

Moon said he has had contact with spirits since he was seven years old. For several months he saw a boy standing at the end of his bed. He said he was glad when his family moved, but his new house had more paranormal experiences than the previous one.

Moon focused on two pieces of paranormal evidence during the hunt. The first was using photographs to look for ghosts. Moon recommended a digital camera with 3.2 mega pixels or less. The digital gives the opportunity for ghost hunters to see the image they have captured immediately rather than have to get film developed that may be touched up. Moon took the group to the Bentonsport Cemetery where everyone with a digital camera captured orbs. According to Moon, an orb is a spirit. Most spirits, he says do not take human shape because it requires a large amount of energy. The only way to get the energy is by taking it from the living, or from electrical devices

Several people on the tour experienced camera malfunctions or cell phone batteries going dead after being fully charged when arriving at the inn.

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Bloggers of the night! What sweet posts they make...IV

Finally organized my links section into some kind of order and added quite a few that I'd been intending to post. The side bar is a work in progress. Any links you'd like me to add, feel free to post in comments.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

The ghost in the cabin

When I first moved to Gerrardstown, a quiet village on the Virginia line, my wife and I bought an old house on the main street near the Corner Grocery. The original part of the house was a log cabin built about 1804. There had been many additions over the years, with the last in the 1860s making it a two story woodframe. But the original log cabin remained as the kitchen with the exposed log walls and original very wide floor boards. When we moved in, we thought the house lovely. But curious things would happen. One night my wife heard the back door -- an old-fashioned affair made of boards and with a cast iron latch -- open with it's distinct metallic snick. She called down the narrow stairs to me -- except I had just stepped out of the shower in the upstairs bathroom. I wrapped a towel around and crept down the stairs with a shillelagh held ready to strike. I saw nothing and heard no one. The back door was closed. I drew the bolt of it shut and put it down to her imagination or the wind or one of the three cats or the dog. Speaking of the pets, there would be times when the animals would all be together in the living room, sitting near us as we read. It could be disconcerting to see all four animals suddenly raise their heads and follow together as if watching something or someone walk across the room without us seeing anything, not even a lady bug flying. A month after moving in the previous owner stopped by with his truck for he was still removing items from the barn. He asked how we liked the house. I told him we loved it, but, in a joking manner, I wish he had told us about the ghost. Instead of laughing, his face drew ashen. "What do you mean?" he asked. So my wife and I told him of the events I related above. He told me he and his wife always had a feeling the house was haunted. He said they heard strange sounds on occasion and other occurances, but he did not go into specifics. But he did not joke about the house being haunted.

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Evidence of Viking Templars in Minnesota in 1362?

Long thought by many an elaborate hoax, a stone carved with Nordic runes may hold more secrets than previously thought. From WCCO News Channel 4 in Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Wolter and Nielsen scoured rune catalogs and found the dotted R's. "It's an extremely rare rune that only appeared during medieval times," Wolter said. "This absolutely fingerprints it to the 14th century. This is linguistic proof this is medieval. Period." Wolter and Nielsen traced the dotted R to rune-covered graves inside ancient churches on the island of Gotland off the coast of Sweden. "The next thing that happened is, we started finding on these grave slabs these very interesting crosses," Wolter said. Templar crosses are the symbol of a religious order of knights formed during the Crusades and persecuted by the Catholic Church in the 1300s. "This was the genesis of their secret societies, secret codes, secret symbols, secret signs -- all this stuff," Wolter said. "If they carved the rune stone, why did they come here? And why did they carve this thing?" Wolter has uncovered new evidence that has taken his research in a very different direction. He now believes the words on the stone may not be the record of the death of 10 men, but instead a secret code concealing the true purpose of the stone.
Entire story well worth the click on the link.

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The mad genius from the bottom of the sea

This man sounds like a real-life version of Jules Verne's Captain Nemo (except for the ship sinking and vengeance plotting). From Wired:

Craven, who will soon turn 80, moves at a brisk shuffle, his black sneakers taking two steps for every one of mine. Back and forth we pace, like inmates in a jail yard. Craven's mind is already way beyond the Marianas project. "I've decided to run a marathon to demonstrate my newest innovation," he says. "You see, I apply cold temperatures to different parts of my body in three bastings. The third is the most complicated - I ice the terminuses of my lymphatic system. My body heals itself. Look at these hands," he says, opening and closing his fists. "I have no joint pain of any kind!" Craven may sound like a brilliant psychotic, but he's got plenty of credentials: a PhD in ocean engineering, a law degree, and a stint as chief scientist for the US Navy's Special Projects Office. There he was instrumental in developing the Polaris missile program, the submarine-based backbone of America's nuclear deterrence and one of the most complex defense systems ever. In fact, most deep-ocean activities - saturation diving, exploring with submersibles, searching for tiny objects on the ocean floor - owe their origins to top secret, cold war-era Navy projects in which Craven had a hand.

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Tim Boucher: occult investigator

Sometimes when I can't sleep I hit the next blog button. I came on this site, Blither, which deals with a real-life terror:

Went in for the usual chemo treatment today. But, as life would have it, it turned out to be not so usual.First off the tech couldn't seem to draw blood from my port. They check my blood every time I go in. Usually there is no prob in drawing it. But today my body decided to be defiant. The tech kept having me take deep slow breaths.. in through the nose out through the mouth. Again and again. But to no avail.They even tipped me back (the infusion center has recliners) and basically tried to "pour" the blood outa me. But that didn't work either.Finally they just did it the old fashioned way.. needle to vein.The results were even more fucked.Seems my white blood cell count is down below acceptable levels. Well.. acceptable as far as the chemo goes.
And I book marked it and looked around the page and found this, Tim Boucher, Occult Investigator, on his links:
Adventures of an Occult Investigator Hi! I'm Tim Boucher and I always thought mystical/supernatural shit was really cool, so I became a real-life occult investigator. I study all manner of myths, magic, saints & superheroes, from the esoteric to pop-culture. To find out more about me, check my FAQ page!
Tim Boucher definitely belongs in my side bar. So that's what happens when you hit next blog. You never know where in the world you're going to go. Feel free to post any other links I should have in my sidebar. I still plan to re-organize it some day soon. But for now, I'm going to bed. Good night.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

FBI investigates alleged cult in Louisiana

Paging Inspector LeGrasse. Inspector LeGrasse to the courtesy phone, please. From the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate:

Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputies worked to bring two alleged cult members to jail in Amite on Tuesday while the Federal Bureau of Investigation dug up the grounds at the Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula looking for more evidence. The extradition of the two suspects and the excavation are part of a seven-week investigation into the alleged occult practices of the church that includes sex with children and animals. Nine people have been arrested so far.
Did they worship Cthulhu by chance?

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Ghost hunter writes guide to San Francisco

From the Fairfield (Calif.) Daily Republic:

Dwyer has had many experiences with ghosts, including one at his workplace, known as "The Ghost of 3 West." Built over the former site of a military recuperation hospital used in World War II, the Kaiser spirit is described as a young man wearing a bomber-style leather jacket. He likes to hang out on the third floor in the rehabilitation area. "I had my back to the door and I felt someone was watching me," he said of the encounter, adding he enjoyed it. "Ghostly activities don't scare me," Dwyer said. "I find it encouraging to know something survives bodily death." Dwyer got interested in ghost hunting as a teen in Alameda. "I would hear these stories about the old Victorian buildings and desolate ships," he recalled. He started checking them out and even trespassed at the Oakland Airport to check out a B-29 that was rumored to be haunted. "It was very spooky inside," Dwyer said. "There were five or six ghosts inside."
He's working on Ghost Hunter Guides for Los Angeles and New Orleans, too.

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Pimping North Carolina ghosts

From the Mountain Express of Asheville, N.C.:

Of course, not everything on the tour is quite as intangible as Warren's ghosts. Some of the stories are rooted in real blood – for instance, the strange events at Barley's Tap Room, which also serves as the tour's home base. Here, we are told, is the scene of Asheville's biggest mass murder, a 1906 shooting spree that claimed the lives of five people, including two police officers. Step by red step, Warren leads us through a tale about a man named Will Harris, who killed his way up Eagle Street and down Broadway in a drunken, jealous rage. These bloody events, Warren says, center around the very site where Barley's now stands. Warren then tells about brief snippets of spooky happenings inside the bar, from unexplained sounds and ghostly voices to the odd story of the seemingly possessed service elevator. Ghosts or no ghosts, these are good yarns spun elegantly around a real-life tale of horror. (Later, however, over drinks at the bar, Doug Beatty, Barley's owner – and partner in the Haunted Asheville Ghost Tours – confirms most of these stories, and adds a few of his own.)
Those interested in taking the tour may visit Joshua Warren's site, Haunted Asheville.

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Shiver me timbers! Blackbeard's ship be found

Experts hope to prove a ship found in 1996 off the coast of North Carolina belonged to the dread pirate Blackbeard. From The Associated Press:

"Everybody's got an emotional attachment to Blackbeard," said Bradley Rodgers, an East Carolina University archaeologist and co-author of the article. "He is a very colorful part of our heritage. It doesn't surprise me at all that people are jumping on the bandwagon." Project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing said his team has found strong clues the Queen Anne's Revenge sank at the site in 1718 — though the team hasn't been able to confirm it. "Until such time as we find that absolute one artifact that has initials in it, we'll continue to keep the door open, but I can tell you that door's just about closed," Wilde-Ramsing said. Blackbeard, whose real name was believed to be Edward Teach or Thatch, led a band of sea robbers who plagued the shipping lanes off North America and the Caribbean in the early 18th century. Historians believe the Queen Anne's Revenge was the French slave ship La Concorde seized by Blackbeard and his men near the island of Martinique in 1717. The story goes that Blackbeard ran aground with Queen Anne's Revenge and its sister sloop Adventure near what is now Beaufort Inlet. After abandoning the ships, Blackbeard was eventually tracked down at Ocracoke Inlet by volunteers from the Royal Navy and killed in a battle Nov. 22, 1718.
Arrr. The Haunted Vampire be fond now lads of all things piratey. And if ye ever find ye'selves in Ocracoke, the Haunted Vampire recommends Blackbeard's Lodge to swing ye hammock. Aye.

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Investigation of a haunted plane crash site

From an email from Susan Crites (published with her kind permission):

I suppose it must feel the same way at the base of what was once the World Trade Center; dead, absolutely dead, perhaps, a place only for the dead. That’s what it felt like at the site of the TWA passenger aircraft crash in Clarke County, Va. It was unnerving! In the early 1970’s, more than 90 people were killed instantly when their passenger airliner crashed into a mountaintop in a very remote area of the Shenandoah Valley. When the smoke cleared, it was a grisly place. Only one body was recovered intact. The rest were scattered over a 200 x 900-foot arc that surrounded what remained of the fuselage. Hardened, experienced, first-time responders were nearly overcome by what they saw. The body parts, arms, legs, and gore, were hanging from the trees. People still talk about their experiences in the days that followed the crash in very hushed tones. Our Paranormal Investigation began at the large, limestone rock where the nose of the aircraft made contact, then exploded. When we got out of our cars, we immediately smelled gasoline. Perhaps, it was a remnant of a previously passing car with a leaking gas tank or could it have been the ghostly smell of long evaporated aviation fuel? As we spread ourselves out throughout the bright, moonlit site, we noticed the utter silence. It was like standing alone in the bottom of a grave. There was no wind, no forest sounds, no night birds, no normal sound at all. And, it was hot. The night was damp, a chilly fifty-five degrees, but we were sweating from the heat! In my previous visit to the site, at noon on a warm sunny day, it had been bitterly cold. This was a very peculiar place! Contact with the ghosts of the crash victims was slow to build. But, as the evening progressed, the ghosts reached out. One took the hand of an experienced Paranormal Investigator. Others touched members of the group at points throughout the site! We made several confirmed sightings of entities walking in the woods. It was surprisingly easy. The site is on a heavily-traveled road. Whenever one of the local super-macho, two-wheels-on-the-back-axle and no muffler pick-up trucks roared by, the brightly lit woods blackened instantly and glowing ghosts could be seen moving through the openings in the trees. Then, we could hear their murmuring and an occasional distant, muffled scream! For our Psychic Team members, the Investigation was heart-wrenching. They could “feel” the terror and loneliness that permeates the place. While none of us was comfortable at the crash site, the Psychic Team members suffered in the chaotic energy. An interesting side-bar to this story began during the Paranormal Investigation and came to a surprising end the following day. The Paranormal Investigator who felt the ghostly hand in hers, also felt something jostle her pocket as she made “Contact” with the ghost. In that adrenaline-pumping moment, she thought nothing of it. The next morning, this experienced Investigator awoke with an urgent need to return to the site. She didn’t know why, but she got in her car and made the long drive back to the crash site. She walked back into the deep woods where she encountered the ghostly child then walked back toward the road. She was utterly astounded to see her new, expensive audio recorder placed carefully on the “crash rock!” How it got there, she will never know. That she didn’t lose it anywhere nearby or place it there herself is a truth she will ponder for years to come. I don’t recommend this site for Ghost Hunting in a group of less than four. It has a strange, unsettling, and very disorienting energy. This isn’t a wild gunfire and screaming kind of a haunted site, but if you want to feel what it might be like, you can feel it everywhere you go. It feels like death! Author’s Note: Special thanks to Robin Brevard and Sheryl Reid for their kind help in making this Paranormal Investigation possible! Copyright Susan Crites 2005; all rights reserved

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mae West séance scheduled in haunted mansion

Actress Mae West is a favorite of The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire. The Book-of-Thoth has history and details of a special event.

Mae West tried to tune into the unquiet dead up and down Broadway. According to Whitney Bolton, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, a week after the Italian-born actor Rudolph Valentino died [1895-1926], Mae West and her friend Texas Guinan arranged for a séance in a Manhattan loft. Suspicious that the 31-year-old heartthrob was secretly poisoned by a rival, Mae summoned an Italian Medium to officiate. At the table sitting opposite Mae were Texas, her brother Tommy Guinan, and the gangster Owney Madden who owned The Cotton Club, a man remembered more for violence than his spiritual side.

The one outside interest that Mae devoted herself to was the occult and spiritualism, according to Thyra Samter Winslow, whose interview with the author of "Diamond Lil" resulted in a lengthy New Yorker profile in 1928. And the rendezvous with Rudolph in 1926 must have been memorable because two years later Mae was holding séances in the smoking room of the Royale Theatre to communicate again with him. Visiting New York to see "Diamond Lil" on Broadway, the actor Jean Hersholt was invited backstage and pulled into a darkened room where a Medium was channeling Caruso and Valentino. Hersholt recalled that Rudy called upon Mae and said: "Mae, you have a lot of enemies and don't trust any of them."


In order to raise the ROAR of the crowd on August 17, 2005 when Mae West’s birthday will be celebrated in Manhattan in a haunted nineteenth century mansion, the organizers are looking for Leos [domestic or foreign]. Ten adults born between July 23rd - August 23rd, and before 1980, will be admitted free to this star-studded Benefit.

Click on the link for more details of an event I would love to attend. More details also at

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Haunted restaurant serves up the paranormal

Would you like gravy on that, hon? From The Minot (N.D.) Daily News:

Glady Pierce has added history, ambiance and the paranormal to attract visitors to what has become one of the most successful restaurants in Saskatchewan. Pierce, the owner of the Hopkins Dining Parlour in downtown Moose Jaw since 1978, was recently featured on national television, not about the food or the history of the building, but about a ghost that allegedly continues to roam throughout the three-story mansion. Pierce and her Victorian restaurant were recently featured on the CTV prime-time show "Creepy Canada,'' which presents episodes of the paranormal. The segment aired during the 2003-2004 season, but Pierce keeps a video of it on site and shows it to visitors in the lounge. According to employees who work for Pierce, the Hopkins house is haunted by the ghost of Minnie Hopkins. She was the wife of territorial homesteader Edward Hopkins, who built the structure in 1905, the same year that Saskatchewan became a province.
Make your reservations early. The dinners are to die for.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Vampirism in the hands of big pharma

FizerPharm's work on vampirism may create new business opportunities for blood banks. Link here. Hat tip to Boing Boing.

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Whitburn, England full of ghostly events

From Sunderland (England) Today:

GHOSTHUNTER took himself to Whitburn on a sunny Sunday just recently – and was very glad that he did. He went in search of what rumour had told him was one of the most active ghosts in the area, and found rather more than he bargained for. The first port of call was the welcoming Jolly Sailor pub (somehow, quite a few of GhostHunter's expeditions start at pubs). Even before entering the pub, GhostHunter thought that he might be staying awhile. Having ordered his meal, it seemed time to start investigations. Martin the landlord was later happy to chat about the pub's ghostly resident. Now, GhostHunter had heard that the pub was haunted by a dramatic Green Lady.

According to the story, the ghostly lady was remarkably active for a ghost. She dated back to the 1770s and had a tragic history. It seems that she lived in the pub, which at that time was an inn catering to the passing coach trade.

GhostHunter has quite the gig, going from pub to pub to hear ghostly tales and investigate strange occurrances at night in quiet English villages and towns then writing up his experiences in newspapers. Where do I apply for this job?

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Pimping Massachusetts ghosts

Paging Stephen King. Stephen King to the white courtesy phone please. Could anything be more fun than investigating New England ghosts? From the North Adams Transcript:

Attention all ghost-seekers, mediums, witches, psychics and things that go bump in the night: The Masonic Temple and the New England Ghost Project are hosting the first-ever Berkshire Paranormal Conference in July. "Nothing like this has ever happened in North Adams," said Mason Josh Mantello, 26. As part of the conference, two Salem witches will conduct a midnight seance and Ghost Project Psychic Investigator Maureen Wood and Executive Producer Ron Kolek will teach a workshop in Ghost Hunting 101. Ghost Project's Karen Mossey will speak of her work as an electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) expert. She was featured on the Maury Povich show, and the recordings of her father beyond the grave were used in the movie "White Noise."
The conference is July 15-17 in North Adams, Mass. The group's web site is the New England Ghost Project. The position of sugar momma to fund my trips to these events is still open.

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Witch crossing - Update 2

Sarah Vowell, in her excellent collection The Partly Cloudy Patriot has a hilarious essay "God Will Give You Blood to Drink in a Souvenir Shot Glass." She writes about her visits to the scenes of horrific events in history, including Salem, Mass., where 19 women were put to death for "witch craft." The actual reason for the killings remains much debated with theories ranging from hallucigens in the town's water supply to a fight over property rights. Any way, I don't mean to digress. Back to Sarah Vowell (who also is a Buffy fan and a lover of history particularly the macabre. Sure I'm happily married, but you know, I can carry a torch with the best of them -- the romantic kind, not the burn the witch at the stake kind -- yes, I have been drinking, why do you ask?) OK, back to Sarah Vowell again. She wrote:

"Salem boasts everything you would want from a trip down American memory lane, from information to anxious giggles. At the Witch Dungeon Museum, a place about as dignified as it sounds, there is the fun kind of bad actress in a period costume emoting through a reenactment of Elizabeth Proctor's witch trial, 'I am not a witch! I am innocent!' There's a colorful old guy walking-tour guid named Bob who must not be a member of the chamber of commerce because he says things like 'They hung dogs for being witches, that's how stupid these people were.' There are freaky talking mannequins in the Salem Witch Museum that recite the Lord's Prayer and while they do resemble shrunken apples they nevertheless help the visitor understand how hard it must have been for the condemned to say the line about forgiving those who trespass against us. snip "[Sarah Good] famously proclaimed to the reverend and I'm guessing the town 'You are a liar; I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink.' Could she have any idea then that, three centuries later, bloodthirsty tourists would sip her life story form a souvenir shot glass? What would she think of the local ice cream parlor going by the name Dairy Witch Or that the high school football team is called the Salem Witches? Or that a cartoonish witch adorns the town's police cars and newspaper?"
So that leads me to this story "'Bewitched' statue bothers some in Salem" in today's Washington Post:
Executives at TV Land surely expected gracious applause when they announced plans for a bronze statue of Samantha Stephens in "Bewitched." And why not? Everyone loves the statue of Ralph Kramden in "The Honeymooners," which was commissioned by the rerun cable network and is now on display in midtown Manhattan. There were upbeat reviews for their homage to "The Andy Griffith Show," which enshrines Sheriff Andy Taylor and young son Opie and which you can see near the statehouse in North Carolina. But the plans for the salute to "Bewitched" didn't go over well. That's because TV Land decided the place for this nine-foot tribute to America's most beloved housewife witch is in the middle of Salem, Mass., a town best known for hanging 19 citizens accused of witchcraft. Okay, it happened a long time ago -- in 1692 to be exact -- but it's still a sore subject. Capitalizing on that history with a statue of a broom-riding TV witch struck some locals as in really bad taste. "It's like TV Land going to Auschwitz and proposing to erect a statue of Colonel Klink," says John Carr, a former member of the Salem Historic District Commission. "Putting this statue in the park near the church where this all happened, it trivializes the execution of 19 people."
OK, not only does John Carr violate Godwin's law, but does a town that has cartoonish symbols of witches on the Salem Police Department's cruisers and uniform patches really have a leg to stand on in calling a statue of the lovely Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery distasteful? The statue has already been cast. If the town doesn't want it, I volunteer to take it off TV Land's hands. Now that my wife has read this post, I must withdraw my offer to TVLand. My wife agrees with Salem officials. She thinks the statue would look cheesy on our yard. Curses! Foiled again! UPDATE 2 Karen Dresser-Smith takes my point of view in this letter published in the North Shore Sunday:
To the editor: I think it's sad how people take such a defiant stance on a issue that doesn't warrant a quarter column in the daily newspaper. All of this turmoil over a donated statue that people won't look twice at once it's been there a month amazes me, when a real issue was buried very quickly and didn't get the press it deserved. It seems to me that just a little over a year ago, not 30 yards from where the new proposed statue is to be erected, that a bench was removed like magic overnight. It also occurs to me that the bench disappeared - in front of the fountain - just about the time that the $400k-plus condos were being shown to prospective buyers. The homeless had been using it for years, that is, until the new owners realized that the homeless weren't exactly part of the view that they were selling. And just that quick, like waving a wand, the bench disappeared. If you believe it was anything but that, there's a museum around the corner offering tall tales and other folklore. Salem is the Witch City - will be forever and you can't change it - so get over it. Whether you like it or not, the destination is Salem for witches. Do you think that the Harry Potter convention is coming to our fair city because of the China trade? When I see the kids wearing colonial hats instead of witch hats, maybe I'll change my mind.
I didn't write anything about the bench or the Harry Potter trip or the condos or the kids and witch hats. But other than that, our views are nearly identical. So similar it is astounding It's like magic.

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Two enemies unite to bring the apocalypse

From the Asia Times:

In Muslim legend, "Khorasan" is from where an army will emerge to support Muslims in the Middle East. Their battle will end with victory in Palestine and the revival of Khilafah (caliphate). For the past few decades, Muslim academics have described Khorasan as the Central Asian states, Afghanistan and Pakistan. "End of Time" programs are sold in CDs and DVDs across the Muslim world, which romanticize the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Hizbut Tehrir and add to their popularity. Al-Qaeda is working to turn the story of Megiddo and the End of Time into reality. And the president of the United States, George W Bush, believes Armageddon is at hand: "The evil one is among us," he said in 2002, in a clear reference to the Antichrist. To quote Michael Ortiz Hill, "[T]he Commander in Chief of the most powerful military force in human history has located American foreign policy within a Biblical narrative that leads inexorably towards the plains of Megiddo ..."
I liked this story much better with Gregory Peck.

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What secrets are hidden in museums

From Ken Macleod's blog:

The Hunterian Museum is quiet, with the sort of hum that might be an aural hallucination. The smell is of locusts and wild honey, like John the Baptist's menu. The windows are like in a church. There is armour and parchment. There are vases and mummies. Every length and lath of wood is polished to a force-field sheen. Around the hall are galleries where minerals and fossils lie under sloping glass. And under these displays are drawers that glide out, in memory, as if on wheels. They are full of detritus and shards labelled in india ink and held together with varnish and Sellotape. In a corner of one of these galleries I had a table and a chair, and on that table I laid out bones taken from the drawers, and looked at them and puzzled over them, and doodled them, and fiddled with suspending them from bits of thread, and read all about Metriorhynchus when I wasn't skiving off and reading about something more exciting, like the Portuguese Revolution or The Outcasts of Foolgarah (by Frank Hardy. It's a great book.) I took more than one girlfriend to see that table. Come up and see my fossils. It wasn't much, but it hardened them for the experience of seeing my bedsit. (Mouse footprints in the frying pan lard. Trace fossils! No, they weren't impressed either.) Anyway, I checked all the specimens I could find, including in the basement of the Natural History Museum where they keep the stuff not on public view: the dragon's egg, the Woking Martian, the Piltdown skull; and, more excitingly, the above mentioned bones of the arthritic crocodile and the original reconstruction of the hind foot, in a little tray lined with indented baize. I drew it and made notes. All the bones were flat, and the foot was a flat paddle.
Hat tip to wickerman for emailing me the link.

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Count Dracula's online diary

Through his post on Dracula (the novel) blogged, I just found out Count Dracula is keeping his own blog, Count Dracula's Diary.

Another terrible night - and not just toothache, which is getting worster and worster. Dracula busy ironing spare cape when doorbell ring; he forced to answer it, who else is there? My Daughters of the Night too lazy, always playing loud music in their bedchamber, not hear thunder let alone doorbell. So Dracula traipse down four staircases to answer door – is only Mrs Hilspringer, damned village gossip, come to collect donations for church fete! I, Dracula, Prince Of Darkness and Slayer Of Souls, what do I care for blasted church fete? Then I smelt burning – Dracula’s only spare cape scorched under the iron he had so foolishly left face down on the garment!

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Genetically modified food damaged rats in study

This is like something from H.G. Wells' The Food of the Gods. From the Independent of London:

Rats fed on a diet rich in genetically modified corn developed abnormalities to internal organs and changes to their blood, raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM food.

The Independent on Sunday can today reveal details of secret research carried out by Monsanto, the GM food giant, which shows that rats fed the modified corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood.

According to the confidential 1,139-page report, these health problems were absent from another batch of rodents fed non-GM food as part of the research project.


Although Monsanto last night dismissed the abnormalities in rats as meaningless and due to chance, reflecting normal variations between rats, a senior British government source said ministers were so worried by the findings that they had called for further information.

Nine other global health organization have ruled the corn as safe. It's been on the market since 2003. I'm sure we can trust that our Food and Drug Administration ignored the huge campaign donations made by Monsanto and other agri-businesses to this administration and judged this corn as safe based on the scientific-evidence alone.

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Scottish dig yields archaeological treasures

From The Scotsman (which has been heavy on the archaeology stories lately):

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed a "vast array of important national treasures" at a Loch Lomond site which shows signs of human settlement from four different historical periods spanning 4,000 years.

The dig, at the location of a new golf resort and time-share development at Midross, has revealed "extremely rare artefacts" including an ornate Iron Age glass bead believed to be only the second discovered in Scotland.

Experts believe the 300-acre site also contains an early Christian burial ground with possible Viking or Norse connections, a complete shale bracelet, a roundhouse believed to be from a Neolithic or Bronze Age settlement, a blacksmith’s iron-smelting workshop where weapons were made and an Iron Age settlement covering 1,000 square metres.

I hope no ancient curses were awakened by this dig to haunt the golfers and vacationers -- although that would make a good scary movie.

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Banquet hall of ancient gods found in Jordan

Who knows what secrets are held within? From Sci-Tech Today:

Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a Nabataean monument during an excavation at Jordan's ancient city of Petra, the English language newspaper Jordan Times reported Wednesday. It quoted Patricia Bikai, who headed the excavation team that made the discovery, as saying that they "initially thought the building was either a shrine or a royal residence". "However, after further examination we identified the monument as a banquet hall, which was decorated with 22 stone heads of ancient gods," she added.
I bet the food at our Methodist Church's covered-dish dinner next Sunday will be better.

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Welsh town built most famous spaceship in secret

The construction was done with the utmost secrecy. The ship could outrun almost any other vessel in the galaxy. From the BBC:

A relatively long time ago, in a west Wales town not too far away... arguably the most famous spaceship in the universe was created. In the winter of 1979 word started to spread in Pembroke Dock that a flying saucer was being built in an old giant aircraft hangar in the town. Those involved were sworn to secrecy. For three months they worked on the only full-scale Millennium Falcon, the spaceship from the original Star Wars trilogy, to be built for the films.

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Steve Jackson game foretold 9/11 and other events

The conspiracy world is abuzz with this article about Steve Jackson's 1990 card game called Illuminati supposedly foretelling the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon as well as foreshadowing the deceptions by President Bush and his administration to trick the American people into supporting the Iraq war. Though I love conspiracy theories as much as anyone, I usually don't post about them here since they seldom involve the supernatural. But I know a lot of the horror blogosphere are also fans of role playing games and are familiar with the name Steve Jackson. So here's the link. Judge for yourself.

How did Steve Jackson know the Illuminati Plan so precisely? In fact, he knew the Plan so exactly he got a surprise visit from the Secret Service, who tried their best to shut him down and prevent him from publishing his game. As you will see from viewing excerpts of Jackson's account of the raid, they were very interested in his files entitled, "Illuminist BBS". Let us listen to Jackson's account of the raid [ ] "On the morning of March 1, [1990] without warning, a force of armed Secret Service agents - accompanied by Austin police and at least one civilian 'expert' from the phone company - occupied the offices of Steve Jackson Games and began to search for computer equipment. The home ... the writer of GURPS Cyberpunk, was also raided. A large amount of equipment was seized, including four computers, two laser printers, some loose hard disks and a great deal of assorted hardware. One of the computers was the one running the Illuminati BBS." The company, "S.J. Games" fought back in court and finally won, but nearly went under financially. The investigation zeroed in on "fraud" supposedly committed by the company regarding the hacker activity and the fact that the company promoted the hacker's newsletter, "Phrack". However, this is so flimsy that it makes no common sense; in fact, the affidavit made so little sense that a Judge threw the case out, awarding S.J. Games $50,000 plus $250,000 attorney's fees. That is a lot of taxpayer's money to pay for a stupid, nonsensical case! But, it does highlight the fact that our Illuminist government, the Secret Service then run by President George Bush (Sr.) was worried about something that S.J. Games was up to, and cooked up a reason to invade their offices and confiscate their materials. We think, after you review these materials, you will believe, as do I, that the real reason the Secret Service invaded S.J. Games was to shut them down so they could not produce the game "Illuminati -- New World Order (INWO), for it revealed too much of the plan that was still 11 years in the future.

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Saturday vampire dance party

Friday vampire dance party is back: Currently Evanescence: My Immortal (Live) Formerly Pink: Just Like A Pill. The Darkness: I Believe In A Thing Called Love. Fat Boy Slim: Weapons of Choice

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Ghost hunters search for orbs in Orlando

A reporter joins a ghost hunt. From the Orlando Weekly News:

The ominous, 112-year-old Dr. Phillips House stares down at me like a bully in the school lunchroom. It's 10 p.m. on Friday, May 12 and I'm going ghost hunting with a group of local amateur paranormal investigators who call themselves White Light Investigations. The group chose to investigate the historic inn, 135 N. Lucerne Circle East, after reading Internet rumors that the place was haunted. David Messina, the general manager of the bed and breakfast, welcomes us with open arms. "I've worked here for nine years," Messina says. "I've never personally seen anything, but I've gotten some guest complaints about strange things happening in their rooms."
Strange things happening in hotel rooms? I'm shocked. Shocked to find out strange things occur in hotel rooms. But go read the story. It's really fun and well written.

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Astronaut investigates inexplicable

I only have a bachelor's degree and I'm amazed by the mysteries of the universe. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell has a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT. And he also believes in the reality of anomilies. From the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun:

His interest in the unexplainable began on his way back to Earth aboard Apollo 14. He gazed out the window and realized he was connected to the stars, his colleagues and the planet through his own molecules, he said. "You could see the Earth, the moon and the stars with each rotation of the spacecraft," Mitchell said. "The stars were literally brighter for me. It was an awesome, awe-inspiring view of the heavens." He could not find scientific literature on his experience, and he had to delve into Sanskrit literature to define his personal moment, inspiring him to begin scientific research on unexplainable occurrences. Further incidents spiked his interest in topics that traditional science labeled as hoaxes. Mitchell said a telepathic partner "teleported" tie pins from a jewelry box Mitchell had lost years before, and a Tibetan healer cured his mother's glaucoma. As a scientist, he had a hard time believing it, he said, but he could not deny it either. "I was used to looking at science in theory and in abstract, not in what I was experiencing personally," he said.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Scientist spooked by ghost study in Scotland

From the BBC:

A scientist investigating one of the UK's "most haunted" locations has said "something quite odd" was going on.

Professor Richard Wiseman used 200 volunteers to carry out a study of Mary King's Close in Edinburgh. It yielded reports of apparitions, phantom footsteps, unexplained cold spots and unseen hands.

I've got to visit the British isles to experience this for myself. Who wants to spring for airfare? (I need to find me a sugar momma.)

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Kabbalist blesses search for Ark of the Covenant

Paging Indiana Jones. Dr. Jones to the white courtesy phone please. From Israel National News:

An unnamed Kabbalist has granted blessing to famed archaeologist Dr. Vendyl Jones to uncover the Holy Ark of the Covenant. Jones plans to excavate the Lost Ark by the Tisha B’Av Fast this summer. The famed archaeologist, the inspiration for the “Indiana Jones” movie series, has spent most of his life searching for the Ark of the Covenant. The ark was the resting place of the Ten Commandments, given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and was hidden just before the destruction of the First Temple. The Talmud says the Ark is hidden in a secret passage under the Temple Mount. Jones says that the tunnel actually continues 18 miles southward, and that the Ark was brought through the tunnel to its current resting place in the Judean Desert. Throughout the many years of his quest, Jones has been in close contact and under the tutelage of numerous Rabbis and Kabbalists. Extremely knowledgeable in Torah, Talmud and Kabbalah sources dealing with Holy Temple issues, Jones has now received permission from both known and secret Kabbalists to finally uncover the lost ark.
Let's hope the Fourth Reich Nazis don't try to steal it first to use it as a weapon. Hat tip to the Daily Grail.

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Did a Scottish Templar find America?

Paging Dan Brown. Dan Brown to the white courtesy phone ... oh never mind. From The Scotsman:

IT IS 1398 and the fleet sails from Orkney on a voyage funded by the Templars to the New World. On board are Prince Henry Sinclair, Lord of Rosslyn, and the Zeno brothers, renowned Venetian sailors. One hundred years before Christopher Columbus discovered America they reached Nova Scotia where Templar architecture and the oral history of the Mi'kmaq Indians are all that remain to inform us of this voyage. Prince Henry's death shortly after returning to Orkney meant that news of his epic journey was lost for centuries.

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Archaeologists discover British coliseum

From The Scotsman:

The two-tier stone built structure, in Chester, which dates back to 100AD, hosted gladiatorial contests, floggings and public executions. Experts say the amphitheatre is the only one of its kind in Britain and the new evidence proves that Chester must have been an important site within the Roman Empire.

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Cannibalism: it's what for dinner (in some cultures)

Don't read while eating. From Global Politician:

A notorious and rare representative of this category of cannibalism is the punitive ritual of being eaten alive. The kings of the tribes of the Cook Islands were thought to embody the gods. They punished dissent by dissecting their screaming and conscious adversaries and consuming their flesh piecemeal, eyeballs first.
The article, by the way, can only be described as pro-cannibalism. No, I'm not joking.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sherlock Holmes and the Creepy Cellar

Note: reprinted from March 25 with minor edits. When I was a boy of about 10 or 11, I decided to explore our farmhouse's basement, a place as dark and mysterious as any pyramid in Egypt or crypt in Highgate Cemetery in my youthful imagination.

I do not know what led me to explore it. The house had a long history of being haunted by a ghost of a long-dead relative. And the room in the basement I went on that day was the spookiest place in the house. I may have been bored. More likely I decided to explore it because of my curse: I was born with an insatiable curiosity, a dreadful and at times dangerous affliction.

For whatever the reason I explored the basement on that long ago day, what I found changed my life forever.

Most of the basement was well lit and as ordinary as any recreation room you might imagine from the 1970s.

However, further back were older, almost forgotten rooms from before additions expanded the farmhouse. Down one narrow tunnel-like hall was the room with the oil burner furnace. I had been in that room several times holding the flashlight for my father as he repaired it or changed filters.

Off the tunnel-like hall was a door made from scrap lumber. That door opened to the oldest room: the cellar. The original outside entrance of the cellar had long been sealed off.

I carried a flashlight in one hand and pushed the door open with the other. I shined the beam of light around. Spider webs hung from the ceiling and I broke my way through them. Dust motes danced in my flashlight and my sneakers sounded loud on the bricks as I crossed the room, so much larger in my memory than it is today.

Rows of shelves lined the brick wall. Mason jars of long ago canned vegetables covered the shelves, looking vaguely like a mad scientist's forbidden experiments stored in formaldehyde in his laboratory.

And stored on one shelf was a wooden crate. I shined my light in the box with a mix of trepidation and curiosity.

Inside was a treasure trove of items to a boy. There was a pocket knife, a compass, a military blade in a sheath, a U.S. Army magazine clip holder made of dark green canvas. And books.

I held the flashlight between my chin and shoulder and opened the book on top.

"Sherlock Holmes and Other Detective Stories" by A. Conan Doyle. Wood-engravings by John Musacchia. An Illustrated Edition. Copyright, 1941 -- Illustrated Editions Co. Inc.

The illustrations are not the immortal Sidney Paget illustrations one usually thinks of when imagining Sherlock Holmes. These are wood engravings, black with white lines. At the time I thought them frightful. Looking at them now, I can understand why. Looking at them now I see the illustrations as a cross between Victoriana and art deco as imagined by H.P. Lovecraft. The illustration of the dead Bartholomew Sholto as seen through a key hole is particularly horrific. I skipped the first story in the book, The Red Headed League, for I disliked the drawing so much.

I knew of Sherlock Holmes and had read a story or two before. But as I sat down on an old paint can as my stool and began to read in that spooky atmosphere, I fell in love with the words.

"My dear fellow," said Sherlock Holmes, as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street, "life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent."

So begins the Sherlock Holmes' tale, "A Case of Identity."

I read in the creepy gloom of the cellar until I finished the story. I took the book with me outside into the sunshine. I still have it as well as 94 other editions and pastiches.

I also took the book with me in other ways. For my 30th birthday, I traveled to London. The first place I went after taking a nap in my hotel was Baker Street.

Recently, my two oldest daughters asked me to watch the PBS series Wishbone's version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. And after that, they asked to watch one of my Sherlock Holmes movies so after careful consideration to not put in anything too frightful, we watched Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. They told me how much they liked Sherlock Holmes. To me, it was like a dream come true. After I finish the book I'm currently reading to them, I'll read them The Hound of the Baskervilles.

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Sherlock Holmes remains the best of all men

From The New York Times:

Mr. Carr's Holmes is, in other words, a thorough product, or even an exemplar, of the Victorian mind-set - supremely rational, nervously asexual and slightly superstitious. And a point implicitly made by this novel and by Mr. Klinger's erudite annotation is that no small part of why we love the Holmes stories is because of the way they so evocatively recreate an entire 19th-century world: the trains, the hansom cabs, the mews and alleys, the shopkeepers and street urchins, the social pecking order so precise and well organized that you can tell a person's occupation just by observing his boots or his shirt cuffs. One reason the Sherlockians thrive is that the Holmes stories provide them so much texture and detail to work with.

Holmes is a bohemian of sorts, but he is also a defender of the Victorian system. The stories all begin with a threat to the social order, to the rational scheme of things, and they all end with Holmes having restored that world to the kind of clockwork precision of which he is a symbol.

Hat tip and thanks to my friend DCDemocrat for pointing the article out to me.

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Vampire art work and other delights

Groovy Age of Horror continues Groovy Age of Dracula month with some awesome pictures. Check it out, dig?

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Pimping Virginia ghosts

This weekend's camp out at Antietam National Battlefield by the West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters has been rescheduled to a tour of a haunted plane crash site near Berryville, Va. From midnight diva's email:

"ONLY ONE BODY WAS LEFT INTACT" HAUNTED PLANE CRASH SITE Paranormal Investigation Saturday, May 21, 2005 Experienced Paranormal Investigators know that violent death often produces confused and frightened ghosts. They know that concentrations of violent death can produce a place that literally vibrates with supernatural energy. More than 30 years ago, a passenger aircraft crashed killing more than 90 people. Many of their spirits still wander the crash site crying, "Help me!" This Saturday night, we will conduct a Paranormal Investigation of this remarkable place. Our Psychic Team will attempt to make "Contact", the supernatural energy will be stirred up, and ANYTHING can happen. And, it probably will! This will be a major Adrenaline Rush! When we leave the crash site, we will spend an hour or so in one of the most famous Haunted Cemeteries in the area! The minute you step into this place, you can feel the supernatural energy! We've all heard the stories of encounters with ghosts in this place! Supernatural energy pulsates through this cemetery and we are going to find it! Don't miss this one; change your plans, get a babysitter, divorce your spouse, quit your job, check out of the hospital. You'll never forget this incredible Paranormal Investigation! A SPINE-CHILLING EVENT! Saturday Night May 21, 2005 No Later than 8:30 PM Meet us at the Sheetz on Route 7, off of the Berryville Exit on I-81 At the top of the exit, go toward Berryville, away from Winchester The Sheetz is about a mile from the exit. There is only on Sheetz on the road. $25 per person All proceeds benefit the work of the WV Society of Ghost Hunters RESERVATIONS, PLEASE! CARPOOLS AVAILABLE To read about the crash of TWA Flight 514 go to this link.
I'd be there with them, but, uh, it sounds too spooky I've got to mow my lawn that night.

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Ghostly tales from haunted old England


However, the my next job was in a home for the physically disabled and was in an old house in Arrowe Park, Upton. This home had once belonged to a member of the Hellfire club and the huge furnishings that once occupied the home now are kept in the Birkenhead museum. The carved wood fireplaces and various pieces are covered with imps, demons and fairyfolk. When the house was being refurbished , the builders found a pentagram on the floor of the hallway. It measured about 20 foot on diameter. Anyway, there is a spiral staircase that the care assistants use to leave their belongings and no-one would change alone as it was rumoured that there was a ghost there. I never felt anything untoward there, but in another part of the building I did see a little girl pass by the doorway of one of the rooms and when I poked my head out through the door there was nobody there. It was a long empty corridor. All the rooms off it had to be unlocked with keys and used only for storage.
The MysteryMag site looks good and will be added to the sidebar. I'm going to try to revampire my links this weekend.

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Investigation of an old British pub

If I was a ghost, I'd haunt a British public house too. The Book-of-Thoth has the second part of an investigation of the Ancient Ram Inn.

Lying there in the dim light, my eyes absorbing the numerous strange objects and ornaments that cluttered the room, I suddenly became aware that something seemed "different".

I didn't know what it was; only that there was just something 'different' in the room. I had been idly watching an old grandfather-clock; not so much consciously, but because it commanded my line of vision on the wall opposite and it had almost an hypnotic effect in the undisturbed stillness. An orange glow reflected from the light of the gas fire, which by itself, seemed to reflect unreal images in a semi-real environment. You could see the light move across the yellowed glass; strange images, I thought, yet consoled by the fact the cause was only a gas container. It would have been easy to let imagination to wander in the confines of the Inn; but it was more an hypnotic effect, like fleeting illusions that seemed to be trying to defy reality.

The entire account is well-worth reading.

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Boy loves ghost; I love Wallace and Gromit


Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a review of a movie that was totally not on my radar. I'll always love Reese Witherspoon from TWILIGHT and ELECTION, however I've found myself totally not interested in her recent fare. But this flick sounds delightfully fucked up. A romantic comedy between a guy and a ghost? Ghostly adventures? Count me there! also has news and the trailer link to Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Life is really good some nights.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sinking their teeth in a vampire tome

This sounds like my kind of book and movie. And for those of us interested horror, make sure you check out the last graph of the Variety article. From Variety:

After a heated auction, Sony Pictures Entertainment paid seven figures for "The Historian," Elizabeth Kostova's upcoming first novel. Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher will produce. The novel, to be published on June 14, mixes history and mythology to re-create the world of Dracula and vampires. A decade in the works, the adventure tale centers around a young woman who searches Europe for her missing father, who took on the challenge of locating the grave of Vlad the Impaler (the bloodthirsty feudal lord who inspired Bram Stoker's "Dracula"). Along the way, she comes across a slew of bloodsuckers who try to stop her. The auction drew surprising heat last week, some of it sparked by stellar reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, the rest by unfounded rumors that some major directors wanted the book. snip "All of Hollywood has been focused on horror, and we remembered during that last cycle of genre exploitation what a wonderful meal 'Rosemary's Baby' was, a supernatural tale so carefully crafted that its believable premise troubles you long after you left the theater," Wick said. "(Kostova) makes the vampire legend feel plausible."
This sounds like a great book and should make a cool film. I'm happy for Ms. Kostava. I really am. I'm not jealous at...[sob]...all. [sniff]

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Werewolf vs. Vampire Women...

...and other horror genre movie news. Link. (Yes, I just wanted Werewolf vs. Vampire Women in a headline, is that so wrong?)

Word has it that 20th Century Fox is the studio closest to signing a deal with Arclight Films, who are representing Perfect Creature, a project that hopes to see the light of day by years’ end. The New Zealand production will most likely star Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows, Stuart Wilson and Scott Wills. The story is set in “a retro-futuristic world,” described by the filmmakers as a sci-fi alternate 60s/70s, where vampires and humans peacefully co-exist — and presumably wear neru jackets and platform shoes — vampires having been accepted as the next step on the evolutionary ladder. All is well until the vampires get sick and begin preying on the humans for their healthy blood.

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