The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

We've moved! Please check out, the new home for our 'Tales of supernatural horrors!'

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Spooky film

This sounds like my kind of independent film making. From the Greenock (U.K) Telegraph:

SPOOKS, goblins and things that go bump in the night are all being brought to the streets of Greenock. Young film-maker Fraser Coull is lining up a scary story for the silver screen and plans to start shooting around Inverclyde next month. Fraser has completed a shooting script for short film PITS — Paranormal Investigation Team Scotland — which he describes as a "dark thriller" and a "cross between Ghostbusters and Taggart".
Cool article about his efforts to attract interest for the project. It'd be great if the DVD became available to see the final results. It really does sound like a movie I'd like to see.

Link to post

Run DMC ghost

I'd run, not walk this way, from the Run DMC ghost. From Virgin:

Run DMC rapper Reverend Run claims he was visited by the ghost of late bandmate Jam Master Jay only days after he was murdered. The hip-hop star, whose real name is Jason Simmons, claims Jay visited him from beyond the grave to demand money shortly after he was shot dead in a New York recording studio in October 2002. He said: "Jay came to me a couple of days after he passed and said I owed him some money. And let me know that when you die, you don't die. "I couldn't actually see him, but I could feel him. He was talking to me, saying, 'You owe me some money.' "I was like, 'Oh God,' because I was in charge of all the money so I offered to give him some right there and then and he was like, 'No no, give it to my wife.'
If the people that we owe money to haunt us after they die, I'm doomed. Doomed! I say!

Link to post

Friday, July 29, 2005

Anne Rice

Anne Rice Anne Rice is writing your life. Which Author's Fiction are You? brought to you by Quizilla Hat tip to BeaucoupKevin.

Link to post


I love Old Haunts. This Bud's (actually Miller) for you, Keith.

Link to post

Vampire sex

Via site meter, I just discovered my blog is ranked 11th on yahoo search for vampire sex out of 4,630,000 sites on the planet. It was this "sexy" post that did it. Nevertheless, I'm happy.

Link to post

Friday vampire cat blogging

I do not drink...a saucer of milk. Hat tip to PhillyGal.

Link to post

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Britain's mysterious triangle

What is it about Britain? From The BBC:

Tourism leaders in Cornwall are hoping to cash in on a new survey which has found Cornwall to be the spookiest place in the country. The survey has identified an area, that includes Penzance, which it is calling the Cornwall Triangle. Jamaica Inn, Bodmin Jail and the Dolphin Inn are just some of the haunted sites found there. South West Tourism welcomed the report saying it will help add to the overall mystique of the area. Chief executive Malcolm Bell said: "I'm sure it will add to the attractiveness of the area.
And The Sun:
FIRST there was the legendary Bermuda Triangle, an area of ocean where ships and planes mysteriously vanished without trace. Now paranormal researchers have identified three more treacherous areas a lot closer to home — the Penzance, the York and the Norfolk Triangles. The Penzance Triangle is a 226-square-mile area of Cornwall between Land’s End, St Ives and the Helford Estuary. Here you are twice as likely to spot a UFO and three times more likely to see a ghost, than in the rest of the UK, according to research by Sky Travel. The region has the most sightings of unexplained phenomena in the country. The researchers, led by paranormal expert Lionel Fanthorpe, spent months collecting documented cases of UFO and ghost sightings, crop circles and mysterious creatures, then plotted them on a map. The boffins, commissioned by Sky Travel for their Mysterious World series, were stunned by the concentration of supernatural activity in the Penzance Triangle.

Link to post

The Devil's Rejects revisited

I posted my initial thoughts of The Devil's Rejects last night immediately after seeing the movie. When the movie was good, it was really good: Texas Chainsaw Massacre as if directed by Sam Peckinpah. Well acted. Stylistically interesting. Great cinematography. Unabashedly gory and violent. I'd looked forward to it for some time. I was tired of the PG-13 horror flicks liked Cursed that were afraid to cut loose and give the horror audience any splatter. But this wasn't really a horror flick. There were a few scary scenes, but scary in a way a tornado is scary. No sense to the destructiveness facing the victims at the hotel. Just people randomly in the path of destruction. Where Rob Zombie, as director and writer, failed, however, was in the half of the story line with the vengeful sheriff. I touched on last night how the scenes with the police struck me as unrealistic. They raid a house with 75 bodies and a few still living victims in cages in the cellar (though the prisoners are not shown being released, it's safe to assume the deputies freed them). Four deputies killed and a dozen wounded. Yet in subsequent scenes after the initial raid, the deputies are shown as if moving in slow motion. No urgency in the behavior of the deputies at the station. He relied too much on the "news footage" to create that illusion, which made it distant and remote to the audience. Zombie should have filled the screen up with actors in the background doing things to create the impression that a massive manhunt was underway, that police officers also had "cowboyed up" as they say on the streets after an officer goes down. That leads me to the part of the story that dragged the movie down. Zombie wants us to see that the sheriff in his quest for vengeance for the death of his brother becomes as much of a monster as the Firefly family he is hunting. Yet it happens with too much being said in over-the-top dialogue and not enough being shown. And it should not have been the sheriff alone. Where Zombie either did not think of going or feared going (and it's probably the former and not the latter) is to go into the heart of darkness of authority. He hints and dances around it with the sheriff's quest for dark revenge. But the sheriff outsources the capture to the Unholy Two bounty hunters. A better way of handling it would have been to show the sheriff and deputies go down that dark path together. Whereas Zombie captured the maniac Fireflys realistically, he missed out on how police behave when pushed by terrible circumstances. Hunter S. Thompson in his classic work Hell's Angels and David Simon in Homicide, Life on the Streets captured the sense that the boys in blue can be as much a gang banded together as the people they hunt. This would have given more weight to that half of the storyline and showed the closeness between the police just as he did with the Fireflys. Family is family no matter the circumstances, in other words. Instead it was left to just the sheriff alone to suffer the consequences of those who fight monsters. Zombie could have shown the deputies questioning their prisoner for information with some rather old school techniques of the telephone book placed to the side of the head to hide the marks as the flashlight is smashed into the side of a skull or the fingers twisted or pressure to sensitive pressure points on the body. Or he even could have shown the officers using the newer techniques of "interrogation" used at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib and given the movie a current relevancy as to what happens when the government fights monsters and becomes one while doing so. That would have made the movie much more darker and relevant and horrific. And it could have given more depth and meaning to the still fantastic ending.

Link to post

Damn Nation

Digital Spy has uncovered that MTV bought the rights to Dark Horse Comic's Damn Nation, a series about a vampire infestation taking over the United States.

Link to post

Buffy's beau on Slayer pic

Oh what does he know? Let's hope he's wrong. From E! Online:

According to Freddie Prinze Jr., his wife's days as a vampire-hunting slayer chick are through. Pounding a stake through the dreams of Buffy fans everywhere, Prinze said that chances were slim that Sarah Michelle Gellar would one day star in a film version of her hit series, either for television or on the big screen. "Not with Sarah," Prinze said during an appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour where he was promoting his new ABC sitcom, Freddie. "I've never heard of it coming back whatsoever."

Link to post

The gentle side of Transylvania

From the Prague (Czech Republic) Post:

We headed out early, following a steep cow path to a high meadow dotted with mushrooms, white ones big as saucers and pink and yellow beauties like flowers. The meadow and the broad sky framed by distant mountains tempted one to doze in the mellow autumn sun. Our destination was the village of Bran, the site of a Transylvanian castle infamously connected with the Dracula legend. Making our way along the wide crest of the ridge, we stopped to pass the time with a lone old woman. She wore a black kerchief and her skin had weathered to a rich chestnut hue. Sitting on a rock knitting, minding a quartet of cows, she responded with a happy, gap-toothed grin to our guide's hello in Romanian.
The gentle side is just a trap to make you Dracula's prey...bwhahahaha. Actually it's a really good travel article and makes me want to pack up the kit and fly off to Transylvania tonight.

Link to post

Ancient tombs yield treasure

From The Telegraph of London:

Archaeologists have unearthed 2,400-year-old treasure in a Thracian tomb in eastern Bulgaria, the director of the country's history museum said yesterday. Professor Daniela Agre, who led the team of 15 from the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute, said the finds, made on Saturday, provided enormous clues to understanding one of Europe's most mysterious ancient people. "The Thracians are one of the founders of European civilisation, this is important for all of us, not just Bulgaria," she said. "The period of the grave is exceptionally important. It was a peak moment in the development of Thracian culture, statesmanship and art. They had very strong contacts and mutual influences with Greece, Anatolia and Scythia."

Link to post

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Devil's Rejects

My quick thoughts to The Devil's Rejects. Warning SPOILERS dead ahead.

  • C+. Long time readers of this blog know I've been looking forward to this movie. I wasn't disappointed, but I did hope for something more.
  • The parts done well such as the cinematography were done extremely well, but more than half of the story, mostly the half of the story with the sheriff, did not hold up.
  • The Fireflys came off as a force of devastating nature, like a Texas tornado across the dusty plain leaving a trail of random, inexplicable death and destruction. That part worked, but it didn't really frighten me.
  • I dislike when movies get little things wrong about human actions. The hostage situation at the hotel captured that part well, but from my experience the last surviving hostage would have collapsed trembling instead of running. Nervous exhaustion from long hours of fright causes people to fall trembling and crying when they're rescued. The scenes involving law enforcement officers also did not seem real. "Silence of the Lambs" captured police officer behavior accurately when they searched the building for Hannibal Lecter. It made the movie more realistic and thereby frightening. In The Devil's Rejects, Rob Zombie failed to do that in the scenes with the police. The deputies showed no sense of urgency or give a sense a massive manhunt occurred elsewhere off screen when the movie showed the sheriff and his deputies at the office. The largest crime in the nation's history (the movie is set in the 1970s), four officers killed, a dozen wounded, yet it seemed like just a laidback, boring shift from all of the excitement at the sheriff's office.
  • I'm in love with Mrs. Zombie. Don't tell Mrs. Carnacki.

Link to post

Ghost hunters investigate inn

From the Cadillac (Mich.) News:

Ghost hunters welcomed me with open arms Sunday, allowing me to prowl all three floors of the Osceola Inn, which is closed for renovations. The day looked promising before the doors were even unlocked when Tim Harte of the MESA project, a scientist who measures electromagnetic fields with analog and digital sensors, reported that he saw an apparition in white move through the lobby while he was peeking through the windows. When general manager Bruce Krouse arrived to let us in, he told a couple of his own stories. He has heard a voice speak over the loudspeaker and has seen doors mysteriously open and close.

Link to post

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Stonehenge founders?

New research is being conducted on the prehistoric Scottish settlers known as the Beaker People. From The BBC:

Aberdeen University is sending 23 skeletons from its collection to Sheffield University where they will be analysed with the latest technology. The research will concentrate on a little-known race of Bronze Age settlers called the Beaker People. It is thought they may have introduced metalwork to Britain 4,000 years ago. They may also have built many of the country's stone circles, including Stonehenge. The race got its name from the clay pots or beakers they buried with their dead, suggesting an early belief in the afterlife.
More on the latest Stonehenge research here.
Stonehenge has always mystified. Julius Caesar thought it was the work of druids, medieval scholars believed it was the handiwork of Merlin, while local folk tales simply blamed the devil. Now scientists are demanding a full-scale research programme be launched to update our knowledge of the monument and discover precisely who built it and its burial barrow graves. This is the key recommendation of Stonehenge: an Archaeological Research Framework, edited by Timothy Darvill of Bournemouth University, soon to be published by English Heritage. It highlights serious flaws in our knowledge of the monument, which is now a World Heritage Site. 'Stonehenge has not been well served by archaeology,' admitted Dr David Miles, chief archaeology adviser to English Heritage. 'Much of the area was excavated in the 19th century, when gentleman amateurs - glorified treasure-hunters, really - would get their labourers to dig great trenches straight into its barrows and graves.

Link to post

Kid Oakland

Kid Oakland's launched his own blog. Yeah!

Link to post

Vampires and garlic

" vampires confronted with the odor of garlic : hissing, snarling, baring fangs." For the record, Billmon, vampires are not as evil as those people.

Link to post

Louisiana ghost story

Via my mother who emailed this to me:

This happened about a month ago just outside a little town in the bayou country of Louisiana, and while it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's real. This guy was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a real dark night in the middle of a thunder storm. Time passed slowly and no cars went by. It was raining so hard he could hardly see his hand in front of his face. Suddenly he saw a car moving slowly approaching and appearing ghostlike in the rain. It slowly crept toward him and stopped. Wanting a ride real bad the guy jumped in the car and closed the door, only then did he realize that there was nobody behind the wheel. The car slowly started moving and the guy was terrified, too scared to think of jumping out and running. The guy saw that the car was slowly approaching a sharp curve, still too scared to jump out, he started to pray and begging for his life; he was sure the ghost car would go off the road and in the bayou and he would surely drown, when just before the curve, a hand appeared thru the driver's window and turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend. Paralyzed with fear, the guy watched the hand reappear every time they reached a curve. Finally the guy, scared to near death, had all he could take and jumped out of the car and ran to town. Wet and in shock, he went into a bar and voice quavering, ordered two shots of whisky, then told everybody about his supernatural experience. A silence enveloped and everybody got goose bumps when they realized the guy was telling the truth and not just some drunk. About half an hour later two guys walked into the bar and one says to the other, "Look Bubba, there's that idiot that rode in our car when we was pushing it in the rain."

Link to post

Lestat The Musical

An anonymous poster sent me the link to the official Lestat The Musical web site. Right now it appears to just be taking email addresses for future notices. For more information on Lestat The Musical, see my post here.

Link to post

Monday, July 25, 2005

New York's Ghost stations

This could be an excellent setting for a short horror story. From the New York Daily News:

A night spent in the station revealed a few interesting characters in predawn New York. It also was a battle against boredom that the clerk had mastered. He mixes a small amount of paperwork with listening to the radio, reading newspapers and talking to other clerks on the telephone. Between midnight and 5 a.m. Wednesday, about 18 people entered the station from Adam Clayton Jr. Blvd. They included a few lost souls looking for a nonexistent southbound train, a few seeking shuttle-bus passes and a woman in a red dress who was searching for a party and used the pay phone.

Link to post

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I've always wanted to travel to Cairo and see the Pyramids and Sphinx. I had saved money to make the trip just as I had for London. I bought the tour books and planned my excursion and day dreamed. Then a family member's medical problems followed by a friend's financial problems and one thing after another until the trip was put on the wish list of places to visit. Egypt is often seen as a land of mystery and exotic beauty. But one of the benefits of traveling and also of meeting people from elsewhere is learning that while some things separate us culturally we share so much more in common. I fear most Americans care less about the 88 dead in Sharm el-Sheik than they do the dead in London. And they care even less about the 40 just killed in Baghdad. There are several reasons. The White House manipulated the terror alerts so frequently in the 2004 election season that many Americans have tuned out events. There also are those who would rather gouge out their own eyes than to see the truth that the administration's decision to go to war in Iraq instead of finishing the job against al-Qaeda made the world much less safe for everyone. The people killed, however, whether Egyptian grandmothers or British office workers or Iraqi children, all bled the same red blood. They all had dreams. They all had disappointments. They all enjoyed sharing meals with friends. They all enjoyed laughter. And they all probably told the same jokes though in different languages. And since Dracula is one of the most recognized literary figures across the globe, they all probably saw a vampire movie at some time in their lives. We share so much in common with others on the planet. Unfortunately today we share in the sorrow.

Link to post


Horror without end.

Link to post

Ghost Finders Scotland

Ghost Finders Scotland has an excellent web page including multimedia features of their investigations. Their latest is from their July 17 investigation of Airth Castle.

Bedroom 9 Temperature – 21 degrees EMF readings – none

Walkround – Scott picked up on a woman with a stillborn baby, or a baby who had died very young. He got the name Kate/Katie in connection with this. He also felt there was a man called Thomas who was trying to help this woman. Scott felt the presence of the two daughters he had felt earlier. He felt that these were not very nice women. He also felt that there was a man called Henry in this area. Scott sensed that people would refuse to stay in this room due to the atmosphere felt here.

Vigil (Mark and Paul) – During this vigil, some noises were heard in the corridor outside the bedroom. No other team members were in this area at that time. A noise like a moan was heard and when checking back on the camcorder, it seems to be a woman saying “I’m here”. We asked for a name while running one of our low frequency sound recorders and quite clearly heard the name “David Baxter” in response (See EVP File 2). There were also several light anomalies picked up on the camcorder The bathroom area of this room had a distinctively oppressive atmosphere, very different from the room itself.

Later in the investigation the room was locked off with a camcorder recording inside, several noises and light anomalies were captured during this time. (See Video Files-Video File 1- Video File 2 - Video File 3 (Noise) )

Link to post

Vampire name generator

Vampire name generator. My vampire name is Lord of the Far East. I guess Lord of the Mid-Atlantic doesn't have the same ring.

Link to post

Fraud by fake vampires

From Reuters:

An Italian couple stole 50,000 euros from a woman in the Sicilian city of Palermo after convincing her they were vampires who would impregnate her with the son of the Anti-Christ if she did not pay them. The man, a cabaret singer, and his girlfriend took the money from their victim over four years by selling her pills at 3,000 euros each that they said would abort the Anti-Christ's son. Police uncovered the fraud after the 47-year-old woman's family became concerned when they discovered she had spent all her savings, local news agencies AGI and ANSA reported.
Committing fraud in the name of vampires? I suspect that couple will troubles with more than just the law. (At least that's how it would go if I wrote the plotline.)

Link to post

Dead and Undead

From the Snohomish County Herald:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Executives from The WB on Friday confirmed that their mascot cartoon frog is dead. It was a sad but necessary move as they try to prove the network's legitimacy and aim to shed its reputation of being teen-centric. The WB formally presented four new shows - one sitcom and three hourlong dramas - that bring some big names to the network and introduce some up-and-comers. There was also a string of announcements, including the introduction of James Marsters to the cast of "Smallville." He'll be playing the classic DC Comics villain Braniac, one of Superman's most formidable enemies. Marsters is known to fans of The WB for his role as Spike, the vampire who first tried to kill, then fell in love with, Buffy on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel."

Link to post

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Friday vampire cat blogging

I forgot to post Friday. Ergh Hat tip to PhillyGal.

Link to post


From The Guardian:

"Before my eyes a large spherical mass, about 8in in diameter, emerged from the vagina and quickly placed itself on her left thigh while she crossed her legs. I distinctly recognised in the mass a still unfinished face, whose eyes looked at me." Baron Albert von Schrenck Notzing, the respected Munich psychiatrist and physician from whose book, The Phenomena of Materialisation (1923), this passage appears, became fascinated with mediumistic phenomena while conducting hypnotic experiments in the late 19th century. The Baron studied the medium Marthe Beraud, known as Eva C, for over a decade, though he didn't witness her more spectacular manifestations, taking testimony instead from her adoptive mother. What the Baron calls "mediumistic teleplastics" is better known as ectoplasm ("formed outside of the body"), a mainstay of physical mediumship demonstrations of the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Emerging from every orifice on the medium's body, ectoplasm would first manifest in the shape of drops or a thin thread, before expanding to take on shapes: human, animal or abstract. Sometimes viscous like albumen, sometimes more rubbery or netted like muslin, the substance was said to be sensitive to touch and sunlight hence, conveniently, the preference of mediums to perform undisturbed, in darkness.
Entire article well worth the click.

Link to post


I've posted only twice on UFOs since beginning The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire blog. It's not that I don't find such stories interesting (and there is a theory that they have a supernatural connection), it's just that too many other blogs cover it much better than I ever could. U.F.O. Bits is one I highly recommend for people interested in the subject.

Link to post

Archaeologists find child sacrifice

From The Associated Press:

Archaeologists digging through an Aztec temple say they’ve found a rare child sacrifice to the war god, a deity normally honored with the hearts or skulls of adult warriors. The child found at Mexico City’s Templo Mayor ruins was apparently killed sometime around 1450, in a sort of grim cornerstone ceremony intended to dedicate a new layer of building, according to archaeologist Ximena Chavez. Priests propped the child — apparently already dead, since the sand around him showed no sign of movement — in a sitting position and workers packed earth around his body, which was then covered beneath a flight of stone temple steps.
Hat tip to Protected Static for emailing me the link.

Link to post

Friday, July 22, 2005

Robin Hood's grave concluded

I shut down the comments in the Robin Hood grave thread. It was up to 83 comments (a horror blogosphere record), but one of the commentors decided to threaten me with libel (odd considering I tried repeatedly to play peace maker and to keep people from throwing accusations at each other). I doubt if the commentor had grounds considering that in the United States we do have a First Amendment and for all I know the commentor could have posted libelous material about himself anonymously in order to make the threat. He also referred to an email he sent me that is neither in my inbox or my spam filter. The deciding factor, and probably one that makes me look bad, is I was tired of playing administrator in a post that I didn't care that much about. It was a link to a topic on another site, one of my quick hits. The posters apparently have a long history with each other, some good, some not so good, from elsewhere. I had begun to feel like a party host with guests who I wanted to make welcome, but I hadn't specifically invited. And I was having to spend a lot of time refilling their cups and cleaning up their spills without any of them particularly commenting on what a nice house I had. In other words, except for one or two exceptions, they weren't posting comments in any of my other posts. So if I can keep on with the party metaphor for a moment longer, I turned off the stereo on that post. I passed out the coats. I escorted the guests to the door and closed it. Drive safely going home.

Link to post

Vampire hunt in Wales

British paranormal investigator David Farrant, an occasional commenter here, recounts an investigation in Wales:

We spoke to the locals - and I should add here that the Welsh are not exactly the easiest people in the world to get information out of … especially if you're English - they seemed very guarded as if to protect their own life styles and little communities, and most people all told the same story; that there was a terrible spectre that haunted the Manor House that was supposed to be the apparition of a vampire and nobody went near the place at night. We also checked with the police at Beaumaris before we started the investigation but they were unhelpful except that they confirmed that Baron Hall hadn't been lived in for many years and it was the ancestral home of the Bulkeley family who were very high up in the community. The first thing we did, was to visit the Manor House by day - this would have been in the late summer or early autumn of 1982. It was very difficult to find. We had to go up long winding lanes, and there was not even anyone around to ask, but we eventually located it, hidden, right in the middle of nowhere. As it loomed up in the distance, in the grounds, we discovered a short flight of steps, very overgrown but not vandalised, and at the bottom of these were two securely locked iron doors with bars in them at the top, so of course, we had to look through these to see what was inside! When we shone the torch through them - and there is a comparison to Highgate Cemetery here - there were concrete shelves on either side of a small room and at least six coffins were clearly visible. We automatically assumed that these contained the remains of people who had lived in the house and who had been interred in the family vault. At the time, I remember thinking that this seemed unusual because there were no churches in the vicinity and it was almost as if the vault lay on unconsecrated ground. It was a bit of a mystery … the point being of course, that if this was the case, it could probably have given rise, or served as a reason, for the vampire stories.
Entire tale well-worth the click to read all.

Link to post

Rosslyn Chapel

Paging Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones to the courtesy phone please. The Scotsman leads a photo tour of Rosslyn Chapel.

Another vaguely possible theory holds that when the Templar fleet escaped from La Rochelle in Western France they took with them their treasure of gold, silver and jewels. This legendary treasure also suggets a striking explanation for some of the more unlikely carvings. Botanists have confirmed that there are depictions of sweetcorn and cacti in the chapel, South American plants that were unknown in Europe at the time the chapel was built. Sir William St Clair’s grandfather, Sir Henry Sinclair, may have sailed from Orkney to America in 1398, nearly 100 years before Columbus. The reason he sailed? To take the Templar treasure from Rosslyn to the New World, where it could be buried in safety - a place that no-one would think of searching. The sweetcorn? While Sir Henry stayed in Nova Scotia building a treasure pit, some of his shipmates possibly sailed further south and brought back samples of indigenous plants. The Holy Grail In 1962 Grail-seeker Trevor Ravenscroft claimed that a lead casket was buried in the Apprentice Pillar. This casket contained the Holy Grail itself – the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and used again at the foot of the cross to collect his blood. Buried for years under the Temple of Solomon, it was found when the Templars excavated the area and has been kept hidden ever since. Quite what Ravenscroft used for evidence that it ended up in the pillar has never really been explained. The whole notion of there being a Holy Grail is speculative in itself, never mind trying to prove that it’s in a pillar in Rosslyn.

Link to post

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Victoria legalizes witches

The Australian province of Victoria decides the debate about the floating abilities of witches and ducks and wood was too confusing. From The Age:

It's clear skies for witches and other followers of the occult in Victoria with the repeal of an antiquated law making witchcraft, sorcery and fortune-telling criminal pursuits illegal. Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls has introduced legislation repealing the Vagrancy Act, saying many of the offences had no place in a multicultural and tolerant society. "It is almost 200 years old and is steeped in the language and attitudes of Dickensian England," Mr Hulls said.
In related news, U.S. Attorney General Torture Boy is currently reviewing the Vagrancy Act at the request of presidential advisors James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who like the idea of the United States regressing 200 years.

Link to post

Rome's ancient Jewish catacombs

From The Associated Press:

A Jewish catacomb in Rome predates its Christian counterparts by at least 100 years, indicating burial in the city's sprawling underground cemeteries may not have begun as a Christian practice, according to a study published Wednesday. Scholars have long believed that early Christians were the first to bury their dead in Roman catacombs. But Dutch experts from Utrecht University who dated organic material from a Jewish catacomb in the city say it appears that early Christians inherited the practice from Jews. "Perhaps it doesn't clinch the argument, but it makes it very likely," said Leonard Victor Rutgers, an antiquities professor who led the university's team.
OK, several points I want to make. 1. How cool must it be to be an antiquities professor in Rome? 2. If there is anything better than an archaeological dig of ancient underground cemeteries, I don't know what it is. 3. Here's my standard disclaimer: I had nothing to do with any bodies found down there. I was in Cairo at the time.

Link to post

Peruvian writers

5,000 years?!? From MSNBC:

Archaeologists in Peru have found a “quipu” on the site of the oldest city in the Americas, indicating that the device, a sophisticated arrangement of knots and strings used to convey detailed information, was in use thousands of years earlier than previously believed. Previously the oldest known quipus, often associated with the Incas whose vast South American empire was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, dated from about A.D. 650. But Ruth Shady, an archaeologist leading investigations into the Peruvian coastal city of Caral, said quipus were among a treasure trove of articles discovered at the site, which is about 5,000 years old. snip Shady said no equivalent of the “Rosetta Stone” that deciphered the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt had yet been found to fully unlock the language of the quipus, but said their existence pointed to a sophisticated, organized society where such information as production, taxes and debts were recorded.
Hopefully no one will decipher it and discover I have an overdue bill with the Peruvians.

Link to post

I vant your blood!


Typically, "Have a pint" signifies an offer of beer. However, last weekend in San Diego is was more often associated with the annual Robert A Heinlein Blood Drive. The previous record of 372 pints of donated blood was shattered at this year's Con with the new mark set at 596 pints. The sudden rise in generosity can be largely attributed to Diamond Select Toys' offer of 500 limited edition Spike action figures. The toy, featuring an unpainted Spike from Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was offered up to the first 500 donors. When workers arrived Friday morning, they found 110 anxious donors already in line. "We are thrilled at the response that we got from our fans!" said Chuck Terceira, Director of Diamond Select Toys. "The bottom line is that Diamond Select helped Comic-Con put on a successful blood drive, and thanks to Buffy fans it was record-breaking!"
Vampires. So many willing to give blood for vampires.

Link to post

Sword of Dracula

From's horror area:

Vampire and comics fans who bring proof of recent blood donation to the Dracula Hammerfest, a July 23, 2005 promotional event of vampire movies and talks by Sword of Dracula comic creator Jason Henderson at Thor's Hammer Comics in Austin, Texas, will get a price break of half admission, say promoters. Admission to the event is "two comics," but because the vampire comic creators have promoted blood donation regularly, anyone bringing a recent receipt from a blood donation center can get in for just one. "An in-store event lets us do things a little differently from the theater events," says Henderson, producer of the new Sword of Dracula series debuting in comic stores this August from Digital Webbing. Henderson will also be throwing a Dracula Night double feature with a harder edge at the world-famous Alamo Drafthouse next month. "This is a basically a viewing party/seminar for fans of the genre-we're gonna relax with some pizza, some drinks and talk about the history and lore of vampire films."
Sounds like a fun time. And people should always donate blood. It's the gift of life or something. Not me. But you guys should.

Link to post

A mediocre Dracula

Ouch! Dracula's bite isn't nearly as harsh as this reviewer's:

Some people figure if they set no expectations they can't be disappointed. I'd personally rather be the squeaky wheel that rolls away satisfactorily greased once in a while. I hoped Dracula - as the opening production of this year's Jason Miller Summer Theatre Festival - would dazzle. I wanted to disappear in a fantastic, magical world where a few goodhearted men could prevail over the potent evil. While it's fair to say the production is an adequate summertime diversion for those seeking an evening's entertainment, it doesn't reach the high standards I expect of a professional theatre company. The play continues at the Hanlon's Grove Amphitheater in Nay Aug Park in Scranton through July 31. It seems director Bob Shlesinger was torn between his partiality for comedy and a desire to create a foreboding atmosphere. And with such a stylistic otherworldly show, defining decisions must be made. The show is technically successful. Michael Draper's sound design is alternately demonic and anxiety provoking. The cold granite rooms of Van Helsing's art deco home are dressed with plush, red velvet. Mist oozes from everywhere and the green, hamster-wheel lighting effect illustrating Dracula's hypnotic powers is marred only by the fact that Joe Lombardo, as Dracula, isn't convincingly mesmerizing without it.

Link to post

Federal zombie dogs

Zombie dogs. Hat tip to Cookie Jill.

Link to post

Angels and ghosts

From Poynter comes a Baltimore Sun reporter's story about gathering information for her series on dying children and the difficult decisions by parents, doctors and nurses about the measures to take to extend their lives but at the cost of prolonging their suffering:

On so many of those summer nights, I'd leave the cool hospital and head out into the humid air, and I'd look up at the sky. I don't think I'd ever noticed before how beautiful and huge and full the moon was. It felt a little like everything in life we overlook, or we can see, but never really know. I came to think of it as R.J.'s moon. The story was humbling. For many of my biggest questions, I could never get an answer. And as R.J. got closer to death, I realized the things I was witnessing were more powerful than my flimsy words could ever capture. One night long past midnight, I was plopped on the floor, scribbling. His mother was tapping at her laptop, exchanging messages with the ad-hoc sorority of mothers across the country sitting at the bedsides of their own dying children. R.J., who had been dozing, started to stir. He pointed at the end of the bed with his long finger. "They're coming," he coughed out in his hoarse, old-man voice. "They're coming." As his mother nervously asked, "Who's coming?" and R.J. kept trying to tell her, the feeling in the room shifted somehow. There was a sense, even before he uttered his next words, that we were crossing into something big. "The angels," R.J. finally managed. "The angels are coming."

Link to post

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


From Variety:

John Moore has become bedeviled by "The Omen 666." Moore, who directed "Behind Enemy Lines" and "Flight of the Phoenix" for 20th Century Fox, has been set by the studio to helm a remake of the 1976 horror classic about the arrival of the Antichrist in the home of an unsuspecting family. Dan McDermott is writing a script that contemporizes the tale. Project is on a fast track, as the studio has set a tentative Oct. 3 start date, with 20th prexy Hutch Parker and Peter Kang overseeing. Richard Donner directed the original, which starred Gregory Peck as an ambassador whose dark secret --allowing a baby to be substituted for the one his wife (Lee Remick) lost in childbirth -- comes back to haunt him when the hellish prodigal son begins to hit his evil stride.
Do we really need this movie? (OK, I'll skip the obvious joke.)

Link to post

Wayward flying fish

Like fish out of water. From The Mirror of London:

FISHERMAN were baffled after catching the first flying fish off the British coast. They had never seen the six-inch winged creature which is normally found in the warm waters of the South Atlantic and Pacific. It was identified by experts at an aquarium who believe it may have moved north as a result of global warming.

Link to post

Buffy in the buff

Sarah Michelle Gellar wants to strip down to garner more serious movie roles. From Monsters and Critics:

Sarah Michelle Gellar wants to strip off for her next film role. The sexy actress admits she is desperate to bare all on the big screen before she hits 30 so her fans can see her in her prime. Gellar, who shot to fame in the hit US TV series 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer, hopes her naked ambition will convince directors to cast her in more racy roles so she can shake off her teen star image. When quizzed on the subject, she said: "I am approaching 30 and I need a change. The sort of roles I would like are not being offered, so this way might just shock people into choosing me."
It's sad that she feels she has to bare all to get cast for more serious roles. She's a very talented actress. I'd be lying though if I didn't admit to seeing a bright side to the situation.

Link to post

Godzilla and Poe

Godzilla and Poe. I've got day off envy.

Link to post

Lair of Cthulhu

Via Fortean Times, comes this link.

Link to post

Beast of Roslin spotted

I haven't posted a big cat story in a while. From the Edinburgh Evening News:

A WILDLIFE enthusiast believes he has photographed a large puma-like cat roaming the Midlothian countryside. Alastair Ross is used to seeing birds and foxes in the fields around his cottage home near Roslin. But he knew straightaway he had seen something out of the ordinary when he spotted the animal from his window.

Link to post

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ancient tunnels found in Wakefield

Is Exham Priory near there? From Wakefield Today:

A DOG helped to unearth what could be an ancient labyrinth under the city after it smelled a rat when builders unearthed a mysterious hole in a car park. Builders were resurfacing the Tarmac of the Old Vicarage, on Zetland Street, when they came across the hole on Monday. The discovery re-ignited rumours about a serious of tunnels linking the old vicarage to the cathedral and possibly beyond. Dave Wiper, of the Modern Savage Tattoo Parlour, one of a number of shops based in the building, was the first to discover there might be some truth to the whispers when he fell down the hole chasing after a friend’s dog and ended up in the masonic lodge across the road. He said: “There have always been these rumours – and everyone thought they were just that – but when this hole appeared we didn’t know what to think. “The dog, Sandy, is a trained ratter and, the next thing I knew, she started making the hole bigger and then disappeared. When I went in after her, I found myself in a 16th century cellar. “I couldn’t see a thing, so I felt my way along the wall, which went on forever, then I heard the dog running around in front of me. “I thought I had fallen into a crypt because I knew there used to be a graveyard nearby but then I felt a light switch. “I turned it on, realised I was somewhere I shouldn’t be, and made a quick exit.” The ancient warren has been one of the city’s freemasons’ best-kept secrets for years. A small stone staircase in the cellar of the Zetland Street lodge, which is built on the site of the old rectory, takes you even farther underground to the first of a series of rooms with passageways leading off them.
Entire story well worth reading. Many stories from Wakefield Today make it onto my blog. Certainly more than my local newspaper. Coincidence?

Link to post

Creatures frozen for 32,000 years return to life

Wasn't this the plot of an X-Files episode? From LiveScience:

A new type of organism discovered in an Arctic tunnel came to life in the lab after being frozen for 32,000 years. The deep-freeze bacteria could point to new methods of cryogenics, and they are the sort of biology scientists say might exist on Mars and other planets and moons. "The existence of microorganisms in these harsh environments suggests -- but does not promise -- that we might one day discover similar life forms in the glaciers or permafrost of Mars or in the ice crust and oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa," said Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Link to post

Zombies and cheerleaders

From The Village Voice:

In a world of zombies, aliens, and ghost-dogs, domestic dissolution is seemingly still the problem of the times, pushing a few of the stories Anne Tyler–ward. Link does it sweetly, with wishful thinking on the brink of disaster, in "Lull," where a cheerleader fated to live life backwards remembers (during a spin-the-bottle interlude in a closet with the Devil): "That was what was so nice about being married. Things got better and better until you hardly even knew each other any more. And then you said goodnight and went out on a date, and after that you were just friends." But this is just a story-within-the-stories, as told by a telephone girl named Starlight, from whom sex with a twist can be had ("it's Stephen King and sci-fi and the Arabian Nights and Penthouse Letters all at once"). Though sometimes we're left on one side of the liminal space, mostly the otherworldly nostalgia creeps closer to revolution. "It gets better," the storyteller's mantra, replicates in these pages, giving Link the right to keep going and going.

Link to post

Monday, July 18, 2005

A putrid corpse

The putrid corpse of Robert Novak continues to haunt. From the Whiskey Bar:

CNN executives announced today that they will not bury the badly decomposed corpse of columnist and on-air personality Robert Novak, despite complaints from producers that the stench of his putrifying flesh is making it difficult to book guests for the network's talk shows. "We realize some viewers may be unsettled by the sight of a rotting pile of maggot-infested tissue on their living room TV screens," explained CNN/US president Jonathan Klein. "But Novak has a contract, and we feel that as long as we can squeeze a little more free publicity out of his legal and ethical problems, we have no choice but to keep him on the air." Klein refused to comment on a recent outbreak of typhus at CNN studios in Washington that left five of Novak's makeup artists dead and 23 hospitalized, citing pending litigation. He also declined comment on the alleged involvement of Novak's personal chef in an interstate graverobbing conspiracy. "Those charges are under investigation by the police, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this tiime," Klein said. "But I can assure you that anyone convicted of a crime and sentenced to a lengthy term in a federal prison will be fired from this network -- just as soon as the appeals process has been completed."
I usually love the Undead.

Link to post

Haunted Memories

Cute doll.

Link to post

Harry Potter as horror novel

Hat tip to 42 for emailing me this link. I haven't picked up my copy yet of the latest J.K. Rowling novel. It'll probably be a beach book like The Historian. From The Boston Globe:

All the same, there has been a sea-change over the past few Potter books, beginning with the opening scene of the fourth, ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." It is the difference between fantasy, which was the territory of the first, second, and most of the third books, and horror, the new territory now entered in earnest. It is hard to pinpoint the exact differences between fantasy and horror, of course, and, like any other genre, there are blendings that make that distinction still more difficult. But by and large I would say that fantasy creates an alternate universe, complete with its own rules and magical beings. The struggle in fantasy is between large forces of good and evil, such as we encounter in J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Horror fiction is darker, bloodier, more gory, and less rational. It is, in fact, the landscape of bad dreams, as in: ''There was no waking from his nightmare, no comforting whisper in the dark that he was safe really, that it was all in his imagination . . . he was more alone than he had ever been before." One can argue endlessly whether horror fiction is good or bad for the young soul -- surely, it is not coincidental that a blurb from Stephen King is featured on the book's flap. But I'm not sure that horror will nourish those young faces I saw gleaming outside the bookstore early Saturday when the book was released. Some young people will embrace this new darkness, while others will feel disenchanted, even disinherited. No one knows exactly where Rowling is ultimately heading with her series, but she has certainly turned a corner here. There are still the delightful moments of legerdemain: ''The furniture flew back to its original places; ornaments reformed in midair, feathers zoomed into their cushions; torn books repaired themselves as they landed upon their shelves; oil lanterns soared onto side tables and reignited. . . ." There are glorious decorative effects, at which Rowling is particularly ingenious: ''The ceiling and walls had been draped with emerald, crimson, and gold hangings, so that it looked as though they were all inside a vast tent. The room was crowded and stuffy and bathed in the red light cast by an ornate golden lamp dangling from a corner of the ceiling in which real fairies were fluttering, each a brilliant speck of light."

Link to post

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blog of death

Cookie Jill in a comment elsewhere led me to this terrific site, The Blog of Death.

W. Pauline Nicholson W. Pauline Nicholson, one of the cooks that prepared Elvis Presley's favorite meals, died on July 7 of cancer. She was 76. Nicholson met the King of Rock 'n Roll in the mid-1960s after his neighbor praised her cooking skills. The legendary singer hired Nicholson to work at Graceland and soon became an ardent admirer of her peanut butter and fried banana sandwiches, meatloaf and banana pudding. When he learned her husband, Ossie Nicholson Sr., had lost his job in 1974, Presley hired him as a guard. Nicholson also worked as the Presley's housekeeper and occasionally babysat for their daughter, Lisa Marie. She remained on staff at Graceland until her retirement in 1990. In later years, Nicholson cooked for Lisa Marie and her mother, Priscilla, whenever they requested her services. In fact, she prepared a home-cooked meal for them last Christmas. In 1981, Nicholson was featured in the documentary, "This is Elvis."
There's obits on the world's oldest panda in captivity, an ATF investigator descended from Founding Father Josiah Bartlett and a heroic Marine general. The great thing about reading obits is they're stories about people and their lives. Here's one of my favorites on the site:
Makobo Modjadji To the Balobedu people of South Africa, Queen Makobo Constance Modjadji VI was a woman with the magical ability to control the clouds and rivers. Known as the rain queen of the northern Limpopo province, she allegedly received her supernatural powers from her grandmother, Queen Mokope Modjadji V, who died in 2001. For two years, Modjadji governed the Balobedu, one of only a few tribes in Africa with a female line of succession. She ruled through a council of men and was forbidden from marrying. Despite its mystical nature, the queen's power was so feared that other tribes avoided the Balobedu, even while warring with each other. In times of drought, caravans of gifts were sent to the rain queen in order to gain her favor. African leaders, such as former presidents Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, visited with past rain queens. The rain queen even received a government salary, since the mystique of her post boosted tourism to the region.

Link to post


Joss Whedon's film directorial debut drew crowds. From The Scotsman:

HUGE demand for tickets to see the directorial debut of the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has forced organisers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival to arrange more screenings. In an unprecedented move the festival will now show two more screenings of Oscar and Emmy-nominated Joss Whedon's world premiere of Serenity. The film, based on his cult television series Firefly, is set 500 years in the future, and centres on Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, a hardened veteran who fought on the losing side in a galactic civil war. Reynolds ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transporting passengers and cargo on the Firefly-class ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family - squabbling, insubordinate and utterly loyal.

Link to post

Saturday, July 16, 2005

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

I've got to say, all of the horror bloggers had a great week of posting. Just hit the sidebar to read some great stuff. You can't go wrong. I've added a few new blogs to my side bar. Jessaisms is one I stumbled on late at night. I put her in the horror bloggers as an "honorary." Any blogger that writes that well about zombie movies, has giant cockroaches crawling on her and describes the masturbating habits of dolphins deserves to be counted as belonging in our dark and spider webbed corner of the blogosphere. Most of the new blogs are in the reality investigators. Check them out for some interesting posts, particularly No Quarter, which is a group blog of former CIA spooks. (See, spooks! They definitely belong on a horror blog that focuses so much on ghosts.) Also, go read Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic writer extraordinaire and Iraq war vet Ginmar's post here.

Link to post

War of the Worlds

Excellent take on the War of the Worlds. I still think the movie had an anti-climatic ending. Wars are like that sometimes.

Link to post

Haunted New York

If a ghost can make it there, that ghost can make it any where. The Daily News rounds up a great list of haunted sites in the Big Apple and the stories behind them, including:

The New Amsterdam (214 W. 42nd St.) hosts a creepy show in the ghostly form of Olive Thomas, a one-time Ziegfeld Follies girl. Thomas' spirit allegedly made its first appearance in 1930, after she was poisoned in Paris. Stagehands have said they witnessed her shaking equipment.
Not included in the list is Hungry Lucy, a NYC ghost that this gothic trip-hop duo is named after.

Link to post

Friday, July 15, 2005

Don't call me Dracula

Sounds like the start of a good Pearl Jam song. From London's Evening Standard:

We all know superstars have their demands but Christopher Lee got straight to the point - don't mention Dracula. Before agreeing to open an exhibition in London, Lee, 83, who played the blood-sucking count 10 times, submitted a list which would have done any diva proud.
Hey, it's Christopher Lee. He can do anything he bloody well wants. UPDATED: As Stacie Ponder aka FinalGirl points out in the comments (and I should have pointed out in the original post) Lee's only requests were a car to pick him up, Earl Gray tea and water. Hopefully Lee will go Count Dooku on the Evening Standard!

Link to post

An unstoppable machine

Be afraid, Karl.

Link to post

Monster slayer

Battling the forces of darkness and evil.

Link to post

Masterpiece's Sherlock Holmes

Masterpiece Theatre will bring us a new Sherlock Holmes. From The Washington Post:

Rupert Everett will star as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC's latest incarnation of the Victorian super-sleuth. The adaptation of "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking" will air as part of "Masterpiece Theatre," PBS co-chief programming exec Coby Atlas announced Wednesday. Sure, this poses a challenge for PBS, which must now find a "Masterpiece Theatre" production starring a homophobic actor to preserve that perfect "balance" demanded by Corporation for Public Broadcasting chief Ken Tomlinson. And yet we were thrilled to hear that Everett would take on the role held for years on PBS by Jeremy Brett and hope Everett does several more episodes. And Helen Mirren will be back for the last-and-this-time-we-really-mean-it season of "Prime Suspect," Atlas said.

Link to post

Dark Horse's Dracula

Dark Horse Comic plans a new Dracula comic.

Dracula: Book One Asylum — Part of DH Press’s coming series of prose novels based on the classic Universal Monster characters, Dracula: Book One is set against the backdrop of World War II. Dracula has returned to life and returned to the Seward Sanitarium spreading insanity and his vampire curse in a bid to dominate the world. Arriving December 2005.
Obviously his plan succeeded since the insane currently dominate the administration of the most powerful country on the planet.

Link to post

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blackbeard's ship

Arrrr. Sail Ho! From National Geographic:

The pirate Blackbeard's flagship may finally be yielding its identity after nearly 300 years on the ocean floor. Though researchers have yet to find definitive proof, evidence continues to surface off the coast of North Carolina that wreckage there was once the vessel known as Queen Anne's Revenge. The wreck has generated attention ever since its 1996 discovery in Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. The wreckage includes a dozen cannon and large anchors rated for a 350-ton (355-metric-ton) ship, found amid a mound of debris where records indicate Blackbeard's flagship ran aground in 1718. "We have extensive historical records, and there is no evidence of any [other] vessel of this kind of armament sinking anywhere during the 18th century on this coast," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, director of the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project, a consortium of researchers investigating the wreck.
And if you ever drop anchor in Ocracoke, hoist ye hammock at Blackbeard's Lodge. Tell 'em Cap'n Carnacki sent ye.

Link to post

Well said

Hear, hear.

Link to post

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dark Water

HP has a great review of the Japanese original version of Dark Water on his blog M Valdemar. He raises many excellent points. My favorite is this:

Jennifer Conelly in scenes that have been modified from the original film to make them far less subtle (and consequently, less scary).
I have a theory about that. I don't think screen writers and directors of horror movies intentionally intend to make bad movies. But when they begin to see horror movies as "product," either themselves or the financiers begin to tell them to crank it up to generate audience appeal and such things. And what is lost is subtlety. In horror, less is often more. To paraphrase Stephen King in Danse Macabre, the movie cannot produce a monster more potent than the viewer's imagination can produce. It is one of the elements that made 1943's The Uninvited the finest haunted house movie ever made. Once shown the ghost, werewolf, alien, unspeakable Lovecraftian horror, etc., the viewer can say, "I can handle that. It's not as bad as I imagined." Or as HP says more eloquently than me:
If you show a CGI ghost-girl taking her hand, you're in Scooby-Doo/R.L. Stine territory, Pops.
Go read his much better post. We've not been getting enough M Valdemar lately.

Link to post

Zoroastrians in Iran

The BBC has a fascinating photogallery on Zoroastrians in Iran.

Link to post

British Library receives cursed book

I checked this book out. I kept it until it was long overdue. From The Guardian:

The British Library has just been presented with a legendary book, regarded by many bookbinders as one of the greatest modern bindings in the world - but haunted by tragedy and disaster. The gold leaf blazing and the light flashing from hundreds of gemstones studding the tails of the peacocks on the cover defy the extraordinary history of the Sangorski special edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the great Persian poem of love, life and loss. The original copy, often referred to as The Book Wonderful, or The Great Omar, took two years to make, and sank with the Titanic in 1912. Its creator, Francis Sangorski, drowned in a bathing accident off Selsey Bill six weeks later. The second copy took Stanley Bray six years to recreate from Sangorski's original drawings, and was destroyed in the London Blitz.

Link to post

She loves zombies

She loves zombies.

Link to post

A haunted ghost buster

Dan Akyroyd's house is haunted.

GHOSTBUSTERS star DAN AYKROYD gets into trouble with his wife when he recalls stories about the couple's haunted Los Angeles home - because she fears they'll never be able to sell up. The movie funnyman insists two 1960s ghosts haunt his home - the spirit of pop icon MAMA CASS and a man who died in his bedroom.
He tells an amusing anecdote about sleeping with a ghost. Go read it.

Link to post

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ghost hunting tips

BellaOnline, The Voice of Women has a list of great ghost hunting tips from the paranormal editor, Ellen Kay. Which leads me to these questions: 1. Why does BellaOnline have a paranormal editor? 2. Why wasn't I hired? I love the paranormal. I love women. I'm perfect for the job. Despite this injustice, go read the article anyway. It's a fun read.

Link to post

Poll: 1 in 3 believe in ghosts

Yes, but what about vampires? From Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK Gallup reports today that its latest poll found that one in three Americans “believe in ghosts.” The numbers: 32% of all adults say they believe that “ghosts/spirits of dead people can come back,” while 48% do not, and 19% are unsure. An even larger number of Americans believe that houses can be haunted, with 37% holding that position, 46% saying no, and 16% not sure. There's an ideological twist, with 42% of liberals saying they believe in ghosts--but only 25% of conservatives and 35% of moderates saying this. Belief in ghosts declines with age, with 45 of those 18 to 29 sticking to that, while only 22% of those 65 and over holding that view. The poll was based on interviews with 1,002 adults, with a plus or minus 3% sampling error.

Link to post

An obituary

From The News & Observer:

On June 3, 2005 at 10:45 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, Dorothy Gibson Cully, 86, died peacefully, while in the loving care of her two favorite children, Barbara and David. All of her breath leaked out. The mother of four children, grandmother to 11, great-grandmother to nine, devoted wife for 56 years to the late Ralph Chester Cully and a true friend to many, Dot had been active as a volunteer in the Catholic Church and other community charities for much of the past 25 years. She was born the second child of six in 1919 as Frances Dorothy Gibson, daughter to Kathleen Heard Gibson and Calvin Hooper Gibson, an inventor best known as the first person since the Middle Ages to calculate the arcane lead-to-gold formula. Unable to actually prove this complex theory scientifically, and frustrated by the cruel conspiracy of the so-called "scientific community" working against his efforts, he ultimately stuck his head in a heated gas oven with a golden delicious apple propped in his mouth. Miraculously, the apple was saved for the evening dessert. Calvin was not. Native Marylanders and long time Baltimore, Kent Island and Ocean City residents, Ralph and Dot later resided in Lakeland, Florida and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Several years after Ralph's death, Dot moved to Raleigh in 2001, where she lived with her son, David. At the time of her death, Dot was visiting her daughter, Carol in Memphis. Carol and her husband, Ron, away from home attending a "very important conference" at a posh Florida resort, rushed home 10 days later after learning of the death. Dot's other children, dutifully at their mother's side helping with the normal last minute arrangements - hospice notification, funeral parlor notice, revising the last will, etc. - happily picked up the considerable slack of the absent former heiress. Dot is warmly remembered as a generous, spiritually strong, resourceful, tolerant and smart woman, who was always ready to help and never judged others or their shortcomings. Dot always found time to knit sweaters, sew quilts and send written notes to the family children, all while working a full time job, volunteering as Girl Scout leader and donating considerable time to local charities and the neighborhood Catholic Church. Dot graduated from Eastern High School at 15, worked in Baltimore full time from 1934 to 1979, beginning as a factory worker at Cross & Blackwell and retiring after 30 years as property manager and controller for a Baltimore conglomerate, Housing Engineering Company, all while raising four children, two of who are fairly normal. An Irishwoman proud of and curious about her heritage, she was a voracious reader of historical novels, particularly those about the glories and trials of Ireland. Dot also loved to travel, her favorite destination being Eire's auld sod, where she dreamed of the magic, mystery and legend of the Emerald Isle. Dot Cully is survived by her sisters, Ginny Torrico in Virginia, Marian Lee in Florida and Eileen Adams in Baltimore; her brother, Russell Gibson of Fallston, Maryland; her children, Barbara Frost of Ocean City, Maryland, Carol Meroney of Memphis, Tennessee, David Cully of Raleigh, North Carolina and Stephen Cully of Baltimore, Maryland. Contributions to the Wake County (NC) Hospice Services are welcomed. Opinions about the details of this obit are not, since Mom would have liked it this way.
The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire salutes Dot Cully and her favorite children. ;)

Link to post

Bat signal

I'm putting up the bat signal, visit this site today. Do it for the kids.

Link to post

Monday, July 11, 2005


Some time ago, a good friend, 42, sent me a book Hostage to the Devil by Father Malachi Martin. I intended to review it, not just my usual hastily written post, but an opus of a review. I pictured it as reading like a New York Review of Books style review. Other bloggers from across the blogosphere, particularly the conspiracy sites, would link to it and comment on it. In my imagination, it was going to be the big, breakout post for The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire. Then something happened along the way. I began doing research on the subject. As I did research, my view point changed again and again. I went from thinking that if exorcism helped people, it was good. It did not matter how it worked as long as they benefitted. But then I read stories like this and thought the last thing I wanted to do is embrace a subject that could lead to people being harmed. I read about exorcism on religious sites, on paranormal sites and conspiracy sites. And the more I've read on the subject, it seemed the less I knew. The confidence I felt when I decided to tackle the subject is gone and replaced with confusion. So I don't know when I'll post my Hostage to the Devil review. But I know the subject has my head spinning like Linda Blair's in The Exorcist.

Link to post

Monster Fetish

Bibi's got a Monster Fetish worth seeing.

Link to post

The many faces of Count Dracula

Newsday lists a rundown of Count Dracula's many incarnations from Nosferatu to Dracula the Musical.

Link to post

Vampire bats

I'm not into true crime (unlike my wife) so I'm not interested in another movie about a serial killer but the Vampire Bats sounds possibly good. From Variety:

Von Zerneck and Sertner will develop and produce telepics at the studio under the new pactpact. Sony and Von Zerneck/Sertner Films already have two projects set up at CBS: "BTK Murders," based on the recent capture of Wichita, Kansas' notorious serial killer; and "Vampire Bats," a Halloween-timed thriller about a college prof looking into the death of a student. Von Zerneck and Sertner will exec produce "BTK Murders" with Diana Kerew and Judith Verno; the duo are exec producing "Vampire Bats" with Jill Tanner.

Link to post

Ancient tombs found in China

Construction workers dig up ancient Chinese secret burial place.

A total of 249 ancient tombs dating back to 2,000 years ago have been excavated under a middle school construction site in Handan, north China's Hebei Province. Workers also found more than 500 pieces of antiques. Hao Liangzhen, vice director of the Handan cultural heritage bureau, said Friday most of the unearthed tombs were from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), while others were from the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.) and the Jin Dynasty (265 - 420).
The site has a really cool photo of the tomb opening. If a director called Central Casting and said, "Send me down an old tomb opening discovered by construction digging. And make it snappy!" Central Casting would send this set to audition for the role knowing it was perfect for the part. (Don't you love my pretend dialogue, like movie directors still talk like they're in the 1930s?)

Link to post

Russian Stonehenge?

From DailyGrail comes a link to a Pravda story on archaelogists discovering a Stonehenge like structure in Russia.

Two years ago, Russian archeologist Ilya Akhmedov made a sensational discovery: he found an ancient construction resembling the English Stonehenge near the site of ancient settlement of Staraya Ryazan (now this is a big Russian city), in the village Spasskaya Luka. It was estimated that the construction is 4 thousand years old. This discovery is smaller than the English analogue and is made of wood. This is astonishing, but similar discoveries were later made all over Eurasia within the next two years. Not amateurs but rather experienced researchers discovered these ancient observatories. As a rule, all of these constructions are based upon the same principle: on the day of the summer and winter solstice the sunrays fall upon some definite spot of a sanctuary made of megalith stones or wood. This is strange that none of the researchers has made an attempt to compare these discovered observatories and find out their common principles. In June 2005, a new expedition of astronomers headed by journalist and orientalist Andrey Polyakov left for Staraya Ryazan.

Link to post

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Oz is ready

Seth Green is willing to reprise his role of Oz if a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie is made. From Insomniac:

"In fact, I'd love to do it," [Green said.] "But you know, I couldn't actually be Buffy. I don't kick like her [Sarah Michelle Gellar], and quite frankly, I don't bring in the crowd. I think it has something to do with her exceptional figure and gorgeous face."

Link to post

Pimping "The Historian"

I haven't plugged Elizabeth Kostova’s "The Historian" in a few days. Here's a pretty good review in The Indian Express:

Gleefully I rub my hands together, because the novel already feels like what The Da Vinci Code ought to have been but wasn’t: an intelligent romp through personal and collective history, literature and legend, led on through a maze of obscure codes and secret symbols, hidden texts and medieval traditions; and, of course, the imagination. A novel that brings together the mystique of Vlad the Impaler, Dracula, and Evil. Best of all, a sumptuous quest-novel with an intelligent woman as protagonist and narrator. And her narration is cool, thoughtful, intelligent. Much is promised, then, and the novel mostly lives up to the promise. It is an academic quest, far more in the tradition of A S Byatt’s Possession than in the farcical potboiler style of Dan Brown.

Link to post

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Movie score card

Back in May I posted a list of the summer movies that were horror related. Here's the list and my grades on the ones already out . 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. GRADE: Incomplete. It did not make it to a local theater and I was right. I'll have to watch it at home on DVD. June 17 - Batman Begins. Let's just say I'm cautiously optimistic. GRADE: B+. Was mostly well done. Could have done with more Oldman and less Holmes (one of the few times you'll ever see that on this Sherlock-loving blog). 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. GRADE: A-. I thought some reviews made too much of the movie working with some "name" actors. It did kind of lose something by having recognizable faces, even if their acting was great. 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. GRADE: Incomplete. I dodged that bullet. My wife didn't want to see it after the reviews. 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. GRADE: C+. Began decently enough, but too many problems better documented elsewhere. 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. GRADE: Incomplete. I'm still looking forward to seeing it, but it didn't make it to a local theater. 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. Reviews aren't good. 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.

Link to post