The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Supernatural tales and music in Montana

From the Helena (Montana) Independent Record:

Internationally known composer and keyboardist Philip Aaberg and Montana Historical Society historian Ellen Baumler will premier their collaboration based on Montana supernatural stories Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11 a.m. at the Myrna Loy Center. Baumler recently spent three days at Aaberg's studio in Chester working with him on an audio book based on her popular "Beyond Spirit Tailings" to be released at the event by the Montana Historical Society Press and Sweetgrass Music. Aaberg created an original score to accompany Baumler's readings from the book. snip Baumler's "Spirit Tailings," and "Beyond Spirit Tailings," were based on her research into supernatural stories and ghostly legends across Montana. The books already are among the Society Press' all-time best sellers.

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Vampire cats and spiders and others

Scary and not-so scary.

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Dancing Dracula

From the West Chester (Pa.) Daily Local:

Halloween haunting season has arrived, and that means it’s time for the Brandywine Ballet Theatre’s annual production of the ballet "Dracula."
Other Halloween activities listed for you Pennsylvanians.

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'I wanted to run away with Dracula'

From the Oakland Tribune:

EDNA O'BRIEN is a superstitious Irishwoman. During a recent conversation she "touches wood" multiple times, usually when she's talking about the opening of her play "Family Butchers" at San Francisco's Magic Theatre. She also touches wood to avoid cursing her new novel, "Twilight," when she happens to mention it in passing. If superstition has helped O'Brien in her 45-year literary career, perhaps we should all be knocking wood. Since her earliest splash, when her "Country Girls Trilogy" was banned in Ireland in the early'60s, O'Brien has become a book world celebrity almost as famous for her auburn hair and striking beauty as for her books that deal primarily with women, family turmoil and Ireland. snip "There weren't many books and not much of what we'd call 'culture' in the town," she recalls. "So when these players would come with their melodramas, I can't tell you how exciting it was just to see one of their fliers stuck to a stone fence. Then to watch those actors. Oh! It seemed they led such charmed lives, which I'm sure now they didn't." A production that remains vivid in O'Brien's memory is "Dracula." "I wanted to run away with Dracula," she says. "I was so daft."
So for all you amateur actors performing Dracula this October - and from my searches through the Internet I know there's a lot of you out there - don't think your production is unimportant just because you're in a small-town. You might be inspiring audience members in incredible ways.

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Electronic ghost detector

I need to get one of these. From Gadgetry Blog:

The Grand Daddy of Ghost meters, the TriField Natural EM Meter ($179) ignores power sources and appliances and has a built-in tone to alert you of spooky activity. It also comes with instructions on how to stay alive (sorry, I added this bit for effect!). The gizmo has a radio frequency range from 100KHz all the way up to 2.5GHz - if that means anything to you - so you can also check for leaky microwave ovens, monitor cellular phone radiation, and look for RF-based surveillance 'bugs'.
See, it's multifunctional.

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Friday vampire cat blogging

Hat tip to Philly Gal.

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Cuddly toys from hell

CavBlog, bounced back bravely from the sad loss of his one-eyed, grumpy hamster Frank, posts about cuddly toys from hell. Cavan's a real trouper.

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Only bayou remains

From The Washington Post:

[Hurricane] Rita abused Cameron's dead as much as its living. The town cemetery is macabre. Coffins float in fetid water, mausoleums are in shards, and human bones lie blanching in the sunlight next to disintegrating burial vestments. Not far away, a church sags beneath a steeple that once pointed to the skies. It points west now, almost accusatorily, to the place where Rita came ashore.

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Spooked: the Haunting of a Kentucky Sanatorium

Via an email, Spooked. Creepy site for a movie on a haunted sanatorium.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

After Life

Via the soon-(fingerscrossed)-to-return Howard Peirce, comes After Life, a series of photographs of Streatham Cemetery through the four seasons.

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It sure beats Calculus

Purdue University in Indiana has added "The Vampire in Folklore, Fiction and Film" to it's Honors program. The class will study all aspects of vampire history, mythos and culture, and even includes a field trip to Castle Dracula in Transylvania! From the University's online journal, The Exponent

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Curt at The Groovy Age of Horror has a terrific post on depictions of werewolves throughout history. There's several images from the historical to movies presenting the different variations of the metamorphosis -- the two-legged wolf man as depicted by Lon Chaney Jr. and Werewolf By Night (left), the four-legged, more beast like version and the beast-like version that walks on hind legs. My own favorite, if you will, is the two-legged wolf man. My introduction to werewolves came through the Werewolf By Night comic. However, in my novel, The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire, the werewolves are the traditional four-legged variety. Go figure. It is Curt's best post yet for Werewolf Month. He also reveals a bit from his own novel in progress that I find intriguing and hopefully will get the chance to read when he completes it. Not only does Curt know his werewolf and wolf man legends well, he knows how to build on them to present something we can readily recognize at an instant yet make it his own.

What dreams and animation have in common is precisely this: imagery unconstrained by physicality. There is a certain logic, then, in emphasizing the rough, jerky physicality of transformation--but I think it runs in entirely the wrong direction. I conceptualize the werewolf in my own novel as transforming in a much more fantastic, fluid manner... snip Besides tapping more closely into the original experience that gave birth to folk-beliefs about metamorphosis, another advantage of this conception is flexibility in the forms available to the werewolf. Rather than changing into one form or another and being stuck there, my werewolf will be much more protean and physically unstable when he shifts out of human form. In a series of comic book panels, for example, he would look a bit different every time. When he needs to run, he "melts" down to all fours, and when he wants to stand upright (to fight with his claws), he simply does so and his body morphs to accomodate his wishes. In moments of extreme intensity, he even radiates metamorphic power. Thus, in one scene, he charges through a graveyard, and his passage is marked by a subtle pattern of warping and distortion in the inscriptions on the headstones and other monuments.
So I look forward to the metamorphosis of Curt from blogger to novelist and back again.

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Night Stalker

I watched the Night Stalker premiere tonight. While it's not nearly as good as the original Kolchak series, it's not as bad as the critics described, particularly the Washington Post's second string reviewer, Chip Crews (whose no chip off the old Tom Shales). There were aspects of the show I really liked (Gabrielle Union, decent directing). It doesn't capture the gritty realism of the original series which helped accentuate the horrific elements by grounding it in realism. Comic Book Wife links to several pro and con reviews. A review which better captures the series than The Post's is the Hollywood Reporter's.

It has been 30 years since "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" prowled at ABC, enough time to challenge anyone's memory. That's probably for the best because in some ways "Night Stalker," as newly envisioned by Frank Spotnitz of "The X-Files" fame, differs markedly from the original. If, however, the new series is judged on how well it scares and entertains and not on how carefully it is cloned, it is both a success and unique among the shows on the fall menu. In the original, which lasted only one season, Darren McGavin played Carl Kolchak, a Chicago reporter who, week after week, ran into stories filled with horrible surprises and elements of the supernatural. His editor, Tony Vincenzo, was skeptical but Kolchak knew there was a lot going on in this world that defied simple and logical explanations. In the new version, Kolchak still knows the world can be a weird and dangerous place, but he's a young man (Stuart Townsend), brash and fearless, unlike the original Kolchak, a wisecracker at the tail end of his career who had seen it all. The new Kolchak migrated west, where he is employed by the fictional Los Angeles Beacon. Vincenzo (Cotter Smith), Kolchak's editor, has faith in his young employee. However, Perri Reed (Gabrielle Union), the paper's crime reporter and reluctant partner with Kolchak, assumes the role of series skeptic.
Don't, however, think that Reed is simply the series version of Scully. Reed is much quicker to believe than Scully in the first few years of the X-Files. What I didn't like is how the series glamorizes the reporters, from their newsroom to the car Kolchak drives to the way they dress to their attractiveness. In the original, Carl Kolchak looked and dressed and acted every bit the part of a dogged, world-weary crime reporter who had seen and lived it all, leaving him as rumpled as his suit and battered as his straw hat. Hopefully, and from some of the reviews it appears to be true, the series improves from this not-bad beginning. UPDATED: From my Night Stalker email group, came this New York Times review:
The series is driven by two urbane reporters at an imaginary Los Angeles newspaper, The Beacon. Stuart Townsend refreshes the crusty Carl Kolchak role that Darren McGavin inhabited in the original 1972 made-for-television movie and in the 1974-75 series. Those who loved the old vampire hunter may pine for Mr. McGavin's creased face and straw hat. The rest of us can admire Mr. Townsend's update of a smoldering loner who is still aching after the loss of his wife. The premiere presents Kolchak's vision of that violent death, but he still has trouble making everyone believe what he saw.
Hey the Times got something correct and on the same day Judith Miller agreed to testify - the stars are aligned right. Overall The Times gives it a good review and that makes me hopeful that Ned Martel saw something in the second episode to create such positive spin.

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The Encyclopedia of Haunted Places

Subtitled "Ghostly Locales From Around The World", it is, as they say, available in bookstores everywhere:

"To truly understand a haunted location, you need to get local," said Jeff Belanger, editor and compiler for the Encyclopedia of Haunted Places. "What makes this book unique is that the entries are written by people who have done the haunted field work to back up each ghostly claim – hearsay and urban legends weren’t enough. Each entry combines the history, the tragedies, and the eyewitness accounts of each haunted locale."
The homepage of the author/editor Jeff Belanger is, a site already in our sidebar.

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Pasadena has more than just the Rose Parade

it's got some spooky history, too. Forget Disney's Haunted House....this tour is a real E-Ticket!

Old Town Haunt Story has it, in 1901, 3 bank robbers successfully entered the bank, blew open 2 of the bank’s basement vault safes, but failed to get away. The building was surrounded by local sheriffs, and then ... they just disappeared. Legend has it that their dynamite explosions, not only open the vaults, but they opened the sealed off catacombs, which apparently, they tried to flee thru ... never to be heard of again ... even though every gold piece stolen was recovered! Soon after, the bank experienced strange things. Strange sounds, empty screams, and finally the disappearance of 2 bank employees and a bank customer that started rumors flying about the “Ghosts of the Bank Robbers” getting revenge on the living. This of course was later dismissed as a local myth. ...Descend into the basement of the historical Union Savings Bank Building where mysterious occurences have taken place in the buildings' deadly 107 year history. In fact, something lives down there in the dark....not some one, but some thing. The basement that was sealed shut for decades is being reopened for your investigation into the unknown.The History of the building is enough to scare most, what will you do when the catacombs and darkness surround you!

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"The Perfect Medium"

The day before yesterday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened a new temporary exhibit - The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult:

The exhibition features about 120 photographs from collections all over the world and arrives in New York after a showing in Paris. Most of the images date from about the 1860s until World War II, a period when people were greatly interested in spiritualism and the paranormal. Using photography to document any images or incidents became a popular way of trying to get proof. [...] The show is divided into three sections. The first features images of "ghosts" or "spirits," while the second section has photographs about mediums and their seances. The third section looks at pictures of what people thought were the vital life forces emanating from human beings.
Eugène Thiébault: Henri Robin and a Specter, 1863 I must have that poster... The Met's page for The Perfect Medium can be found here.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Halloween Short Film Festival

Saw this on Fortean Times. The Halloween Short Film Festival. Jane Porter, pictured on left, won the Lux award for best experimental film for Stolen Sorrow. Too bad the films aren't posted online. They're taking entries for 2006. I don't know if any of the horror bloggers/filmmakers work in short films, but this could at least lead to a chance to visit Britain.

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Want to read something really scary?

The American Library Association is marking this as Banned Books Week until Oct. 2nd to highlight the challenges to intellectual freedom in this country. Here's the horror and (sort of) horror-related books challenged most frequently from 1990 to 2000 in an effort by extremists to get them banned from libraries to keep people from reading them. 1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz 7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling 16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine 27. The Witches by Roald Dahl 34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam 45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard 73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen 77. Carrie by Stephen King 83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King So it's not just that the extremists - and we know who they are, they're the American Taliban - don't want to read the books and don't want their children to read them. They don't want the rest of us to read them either. Go look at the list. Many of the titles will surprise you and if you love liberty and freedom (and good books) it'll scare you.

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Medieval bridge emerges

Spain's severe drought revealed a previously submerged medieval bridge outside of Madrid. Photo here.

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Casket stuck in a tree

From drought we go to flooding. (We bring it all to you here at The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.) Casket stuck in a tree.

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Ice Age twins found buried

From New Scientist:

The babes were placed side by side in their grave and protected beneath a woolly mammoth's shoulder blade, which was propped up by pieces of mammoth tusk. The bodies were wrapped in a material such as animal hide that has since deteriorated and were covered with ochre. Neugebauer-Maresch told New Scientist that more than 31 ivory beads were also found at the burial site. "They had been buried with much ritual - it is really very interesting," she says.

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Boo at the Zoo

The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is celebrating Halloween, too.

Boo at the Zoo is the wildest trick-or-treat in town! Disney princesses, Spidermans, Harry Potters, and other costumed guests are invited to join us at the seventh annual Boo at the Zoo, a safe and fun way for families with children ages 2 to 12 to enjoy the fall holiday. We'll have the traditional spiders, owls, and other animals on hand every day. Plus the Zoo's traffic-free walkways and many animal houses will make trick-or-treating a kid-friendly activity. Costumed volunteers will hand out candy, snack foods, and other special treats at more than 40 treat stations. Animal encounters, keeper talks, festive decorations, and haunted trails round out this exciting extravaganza.
Ticket prices are a bit scary: $13 for FONZ members and $23 for nonmembers ($3 off coupons available at Whole Food). Boo at the Zoo is from October 28-30 between 5:30-8:30 p.m.

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TIME interview with Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon

Geek heaven:

TIME: I think there's actually a law that you guys can't be in the same room at the same time. It's like the President and the Vice President, or something. JW: Like the two Ron Silvers in Timecop. TIME: That's exactly the simile I was looking for. So you guys both have movies coming out on September 30th. NG: It will be National Geek Day.
'National Geek Day' indeed... (via /., of course...)

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Halloween "Haunted House"... on a haunted ship?!?

For all of our readers who'll be in Long Beach, CA this October, this press release announces the opening of the 11th annual "Haunted Shipwreck" haunted house attraction aboard the Queen Mary:

The Queen Mary is known around the world for her reported hauntings. For years, guests, employees and paranormal researchers have witnessed unexplained sounds, voices, apparitions and other phenomena. Shipwreck visitors have the chance to explore the areas where these sightings have occurred, many not open to the public. Mazes are situated deep into the bowels of the ship and Shipwreck guests can navigate the creepy corridors and hallowed hallways of this massive haunted vessel -- if they dare.

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Sea monster captured on film

Calling Cthulhu. Calling Cthulhu. Cthulhu to the white courtesy phone, please. From The New York Times:

For decades, scientists and sea explorers have mounted costly expeditions to hunt down and photograph the giant squid, a legendary monster with eyes the size of dinner plates and a nightmarish tangle of tentacles lined with long rows of sucker pads. The goal has been to learn more about a bizarre creature of no little fame - Jules Verne's attacked a submarine and Peter Benchley's ate children - that in real life has stubbornly refused to give up its secrets.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sherlock Holmes and the Athanaeum Ghoul

From the Manchester (U.K.) Evening News:

In this latest manifestation, a tortuous tale by writer Carl Miller, we find Holmes the worse for wear, overtaken by the boredom of retirement – and cocaine, administered by his caring boy housekeeper. Does Holmes have hidden depths after all? Dr Watson has moved on – and written a play about the old sleuth. As we watch his creaky production on the stage of the Athenaeum Theatre, it is interrupted by a horrible murder. The ghoul has struck. Watson calls Holmes into action. Miller has created a play true to the tradition, a sort of end-of-the-pier whodunnit (you’ll never guess). It involves Victorian underlife, where young girls get sold for toffs’ pleasure, an actor of the old school bent on getting a knighthood, a steam-filled Turkish bath in Covent Garden, a fearsomely howling fiend, like one of the hounds of the Baskervilles, and a coup de theatre which failed to work. Guns go off, things explode, people scream.
The newspaper's theater critic Philip Radcliffe gave the play 4 stars (out of 5). How I wish I could see it performed! I crossposted this from the new blog I created tonight, 221B Baker Street. I often posted items of a Holmesian nature on this blog out of personal interest even though they seldom fit under the category of "Tales of the supernatural." In fairness to the other Haunted Vampires, I need to be more careful in what I post so that I do not unnecessarily push their excellent posts down the thread too fast. With that in mind, I'll still post news of Sherlock Holmes here when it is related enough to horror and the supernatural. Otherwise, you may find them here.

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Tuesday Night (never to be repeated) Vampire... Frog Blogging?

Thanks to Jane @ firedoglake - it was a great likeness, Jane!

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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

and hello blood soaked streets....

Sir Elton John's latest musical Lestat, based on the bloodsucking hero of Anne Rice's book Interview with the Vampire, is to open on Broadway next year. The show, co-written by Bernie Taupin, is scheduled to open at New York's Palace Theatre on 13 April, with previews beginning on 11 March. Actor Hugh Panero will play the role made famous by Tom Cruise in the 1994 film version, directed by Neil Jordan. The musical will premiere December 17 at San Francisco's Curran Theater, where it will run through January 29. ..Speaking in 2003, John said he and his songwriting partner had been "huge fans of Anne Rice's books for a long, long time". "When I read Interview with the Vampire for the first time, I wanted to become a vampire," the singer added. - BBC and Reuters

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The 'sexiest vampire slayer'

USA Weekend features the 'Sexiest Vampire Slayer Alive' in a nice feature on Sarah Michelle Gellar and her thoughts on being Buffy, feminism and being named to People's Top 50 Beautiful list. Oh, and David Boreanaz - Buffy's love interest Angel - undergoes a Q&A.

Do you believe vampires exist? I think they do. They're probably living in New York City, not Los Angeles.

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Ghost walk in New York

From the Tonawanda (N.Y.) News:

When you sense something special about an old building, pay attention. That structure could be talking — literally — to you. So says John Koerner, an American history teacher at Niagara County Community College, who, with his wife Tammy, conducts Haunted History Ghost Walks throughout Western New York. We joined 23 other spirit seekers on the Lewiston phantasm path this past Saturday night, learning that structures, like animals and humans, might embody invisible dimensions communicating unto infinity. Most phantom-prone people believe the Hollywood version of ghosts, those disembodied remnants of someone who died, Koerner instructed his group gathered on Center Street in the heart of the heritage district. “But, parapsychologists think of other possibilities,” he continued to an audience rapt by his introduction.
My house speaks to me too: "Install a new roof. Finish the basement. Clean the attic." Spooky stuff.

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Jesus the werewolf

Not that Jesus. Another one. From The Hindustan Times:

The word werewolf conjures up in the mind an image of a beast set against a medieval Gothic or Anglo township in the serene background of a full moon night with the firs and cedars casting an eerie glow over terra firma. Well, if the existence of a werewolf in 21st century seems strange enough, then brace up, for the werewolf we are talking about is named Jesus. Jesus Aceves, is however not amused at being a werewolf and says that everywhere he goes, people jeer and stare at him. Some, he says, even mock him as he looks exactly like a werewolf straight from a horror movie. "When I was a child people laughed at me. Some even thought I was cursed. Now they stare and scream, 'Werewolf!' At night people react badly because the hair looks darker then. But these people are ignorant. As a child I'd just cry. Now I might end up drinking or smoking drugs to handle the rejection and humiliation," News of the World quoted Jesus as saying.
At least he's not been beaten with a silver-handled cane.

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Dutch witch gets tax breaks

From News 24:

The Hague - Dutch tax authorities have ruled that a Dutch actress training as a witch is eligible for tax deductions for the course, the Dutch tax court said on Tuesday. During the training, which lasts one year and one day, students are instructed in casting spells, magic, preparing potions, working with herbs, prophesying and divining, said the tax authorities.
I'm going to try to write off blogging on my taxes.

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Bible John: terror of Glasgow

The Scotsman has this bit on a Scottish serial killer from 1968:

THE TALL, well-dressed handsome stranger didn't say much - but what he did say earned him the most chilling sobriquet in Scottish criminal history. More than 35 years after his killing spree, mere mention of the name Bible John is still enough to send a shiver up the spine. In late 1960s Glasgow, when his identikit image stared from every newspaper and wanted poster in the land, he provoked fear to the point of hysteria. "I don't drink at Hogmanay, I pray", he was heard telling his third known victim, Helen Puttock. The quote was frighteningly eerie, like a line from a horror film. Whether he meant "pray" or "prey" was a matter of conjecture but other references to Moses, his strict religious upbringing and his father's belief that dance halls were "dens of iniquity" led the media to dub him Bible John.
After three sexual murders that pitched Glasgow into a panic, Bible John disappeared, never to be heard from again. Or did he? Maybe he just got... smarter:
Police are still hopeful of a breakthrough and just last year announced that DNA samples taken from the scene of a crime committed in Glasgow in 2003 allegedly provides an 80 per cent match with samples taken from the Puttock murder scene.

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Mystery Spots

And no...we're not talking sun damage or insect/spider bites. We're talking some seriously mind bending places where physics just don't apply and gravity might not exist...believe it or not.

From Roadside America: The drama of the unexplained is best conveyed by an old codger, wise to government coverups and the shifty vagaries of science. Listening to the ravings of the expert at the Mystery Spot Santa Cruz, California, is half the fun. Unfortunately, many mystery spots fail this crucial test, employing 14-year-olds to convince skeptical summer visitors of their spot's veracity. "Scientists think it's caused by the 'igmmeous' rock in the hill, I think . . . " offered one bored, gum-clicking expert. For our money, America's premier mystery spot is the Oregon Vortex near Gold Hill, Oregon, open to the public since 1930. Tennis balls really do seem to roll uphill here, brooms really do stand on end. After subjecting many spots to rigorous, very scientific tests, our Mystery Spot Test Kit TM indicates that the Oregon Vortex is the most disturbed. What causes the mysterious goings-on here? No one knows. One theory is that a great beam of "high velocity soft electrons" exits the earth through the vortex. Another claims that a giant underground device produces the weird effects.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

The journalist vs the witches

GhanaWeb offers us a peek at some of the challenges facing a society struggling to leap into the 21st century - and they mght not be what you expect:

In a society mired in massive superstition, more so helped by its culture where belief in witchcraft, juju-marabou mediums, spiritualist of all brands and the interpretation of many events by unseen and omnipresent forces, the power of prophets and other spiritual mediums to influence the gullible and influence even state affairs is troubling. The other day a prophet said the Ghanaian presidency should have an Office of Prophecy to intervene in unsual affairs such the sharp increases in vehicular accidents. Another one said all Ghanaians will die if they don't repent and that the spate vehicular accidents occuring are the work of evil forces. For the spiritualists, and there are plenty of them and growing, there are gravity of evil, unseen forces pulling Ghanaians into dark orbits, hence the increases in vehicular accidents and other misfortunes Ghana-wide.
The struggle to maintain traditional beliefs in the face of encroaching (hurtling?) modernity is probably going to be the defining struggle of the 21st century. It has certainly left its mark upon the first five years, and I can't imagine it going away any time soon - but this may simply be a lack of perspective on my part. What struck me in the article was how the writer sees applying journalistic integrity to the coverage of religion as being a necessary part of both preserving those traditional beliefs as well as helping his nation grow. This didn't strike me as a "Westernize or else" position; rather, he wants to preserve his country's rich spiritual traditions - without letting them undermine their society:
As the Ghanaian journalists work to open up the development process from within Ghanaian values first and other values second, they have not done so by analysing, with the help of the best thinking by the best scholars on every important religious, prophetic and other spiritual propositions grounded in journalistic objectivity and fairness. Like good enviromental/science/business writers, Ghanaian journalists who write about the prophets, religion, juju-marabou mediums and other spiritual activities should not only report the news but also should offer an assessment of what the experts know and don't know given the evidence at hand. Aware of a society deeply superstitious, this approach could enlighten the Ghanaian society and help Ghanaians think better, in part because of agreement or disagreement among theologians, philosophers, and other scholars on many religious, prophetic, juju-marabou and other spiritual activities. This, in the atmosphere that religion and other spirtual activities are subjective, personal and experiential; and contention among theologians and philosophers whether reason (or rationality) can reveal the truth about things prophetic, religious or spiritual, especially in Ghana's on-going development process.
I personally found it to be a fascinating look at the internal struggles of a world which we in the West all-too-rarely see - or pay heed to, other than as a source for exotic imagery and color, or as a look-at-the-poor-Africans-starving-and/or-killing-each-other story.

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Kolchak premieres Thursday at 9

I've looked forward to the return of Kolchak, the Night Stalker since I first posted about it back in March. There is always that risk of getting your hopes up when it comes to remakes of television programs. I just have a good feeling that this is going to be done well. There's no way it can capture the feeling of the original, particularly the first two TV movies and the first season of the series. This also isn't faithful to the original. In this version, Kolchak is a widower and the police suspect him in his wife's death. In the early '70s version, Kolchak was a hard-nosed crime reporter always out to get the scoop. One had the sense he'd be just as dogged in investigating corruption in City Hall as he was when it came to digging up the dirt (vampire humor) on the supernatural (too bad we don't have reporters like him covering the White House in these days). I'm not sure how I feel about the change if Kolchak's motivation. The death of the wife might give his character more edginess. However, it sounds a bit like The Frighteners. Here's the official Night Stalker web site. It's got some neat features to play with. I particularly like the answering machine message telling Kolchak to check his fax.

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Witch link to missing man?

I hope the Australian police aren't just on a witch hunt. From The Northern Daily Leader in Tamworth, Australia:

NEW ENGLAND detectives are investigating a number of leads following last week's public appeal for information on the disappearance of William "Bill" Roach in 1993. Police say Mr Roach may have been cursed by a coven of witches after he had mocked them at a secret ceremony he visited with his practising witch girlfriend. Police say his state of mind may have put him in a risky position where he may have been subject to foul play. Mr Roach's mother Yvonne told a Sunday paper he was going through a "weird time" experimenting with marijuana, witchcraft and dungeons and dragons.
For the record, I would never, never, never mock a coven of witches at a secret ceremony (or any place else) and I do not mean to imply they were anyway involved.

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I do hope that should you visit some of Jill's favorite travel haunts, that you'll consider staying an extra night here in northern California. The Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz mountains is very lovely and idyllic. It is also thought to be home to around 50 different apparitions, ranging from the ghosts of men buried beneath the floorboards by gangsters, to that of six year old Sarah Logan, who drowned between 50 and 60 years ago in the very brook that passes through the dining room of the hotel.

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Heartland ghosts

As The Atchison Daily Globe reports, the ghosts in Atchison, KS have been put on notice:

When trying to capture ghosts on video or audio, Mr. Talbert said he and his team have to stay ahead of them. “These walls have eyes and ears,” Mr. Talbert said. “They’ll play with the camera, flick switches, unplug the microphone or the headphones jack.” With two other paranormal hunters from the Kansas Paranormal Group, Mr. Talbert attempted to capture evidence of ghosts in the house and piece together history that has been scattered by time and speculation.

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The other, other other white meat...

The New York Times(possibly requires registration to view):

Tobias Schneebaum, a New York writer, artist and explorer who in the 1950's lived among cannibals in the remote Amazon jungle and, by his own account, sampled their traditional cuisine, died on Tuesday in Great Neck, N.Y. He was in his mid-80's and a longtime resident of Greenwich Village.
The Advocate:
Tobias Schneebaum, an openly gay explorer and writer, has died at this home in Great Neck, N.Y. He was in his mid 80s, and the cause of death was due to Parkinson's disease, Schneedbaum's nephew told The New York Times. Schneebaum gained fame after he lived among cannibals in the Amazon during the 1950s and claimed to have eaten part of a human heart. He was featured in the 2000 documentary Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, in which he returned to the Amazon and Indonesian New Guinea.
More here, written prior to his death...

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Someone Mention Vampire Sex?

Vampire Girls Gone Wild! Just in time for someone's Halloween viewing pain...I mean pleasure. Some movie reviewers are forced to sit through some "sucky" movies....

But how much girl-on-girl and mix-and-match bondage sex can you take in one low-budget French-Canadian snark about a vampire who has gone butch because women's blood is purer than men's? I would have been offended if I wasn't having so much fun watching. The victims of the centuries-old Slovakian blood countess -- known in contemporary Montreal as Elizabeth King (Caroline Neron) -- are choice-blood donors, picked for the vitality and youth that neck-to-fang transfusions will confer on her. But when she hooks up with the bi-curious wife of a cop (Conrad Pla), the countess knows she's not in Slovakia anymore. - The Miami Herald
and then there was dead on arrival in theatres, Embrace Of The Vampire
Seductive bloodsucker saga with Alyssa Milano as a sexy college student drawn into the erotic world of a handsome vampire who appears in her torrid dreams of forbidden lust. Will she choose her caring, collegiate boyfriend or the kinky demon of the dark?

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Dem bones, dem bones...

People visit this site looking for all kinds of things... Mostly, as Carnacki has pointed out before, they come looking for "vampire sex", but hey - many of them stick around for more than a couple of page views, so we must be doing something right. This said, one of tonight's/this morning's visitors came to us via a Google search for Ossuary Chapel. Now, I knew they weren't unique to Sedlec, but I was a touch surprised by how many there are - they must have been all the rage circa 1400 or so... There're several in the UK, such as this one in Rothwell; there are the beautifully-painted skulls of Austria and Bavaria. Paris has her catacombs, Rome has necropoli and catacombs to boot. St. Catherine's in Sinai, Egypt; St. Mary's in Wamba, Spain... It goes on and on. The Industrial Age is represented as well, by this utilitarian Gothic-Art Deco ossuary that holds the remains of soldiers killed at Verdun. The bones themselves are not on view, but their resting place serves quite well as a reminder of the horror of war, where the others are intended to convey the horror of sin. The best account that I happened to find tonight of a visit to an ossuary other than Sedlec has to be the description of this one in Sedal, Portugal:

The artwork on the ceiling continues the combination of weirdness and whimsy: curly-haired cherubs hover above painted skulls-and-crossbones, and scythes are interspersed with elegant flowers. A statue of Jesus and an ornate, gilded altar are overshadowed by the chapel’s most gruesome decoration: two desiccated corpses hanging on a side wall. The bodies of a man and a small child are now several hundred years old, but there are still skin and shreds of clothing clinging to their pathetic frames.

Well, my list of places I must vist just grew... How about yours?

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Polish up the old resume

Ghost Finders Scotland is hiring.

Ghost Finders are currently looking to take on two new team members. We are looking for serious individuals who have plenty of enthusiasm for paranormal investigations/research. The ideal candidates will be able to assist the team with research, running our forum, and assist with general duties within the running of Ghost Finders. Applicants should also be able to bring fresh ideas into the team regarding our investigations and website.
Applications due Oct. 5th.

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"Sugar maple and sassafras leaves flirt with red."

Nothing supernatural here; rather, this column is a paen to the natural as we observe the transition from Summer's warmth and light to Winter's cold and ice:

Everywhere you look - if you look - the signs of the new season are upon us. Turtles no longer sunbathe. Wood frogs and spring peepers have fallen silent, a long time ago. Soon the last bullfrogs and green frogs slip into protective pond mud, where their suburban ponds remain, without asphalt death caps from new parking lots. Now and then a treefrog announces thunderstorms from its arboreal perch. In a few weeks they burrow under logs and freeze, stop breathing, yet live. Crickets have a few more weeks to serenade the moon.
It's a prose poem as much as an essay... and quite worth reading in full.

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It's late. It's stormy. You have the candles and the incense lit. I should think that regardless of whether your spirituality drives your desire to try and contact the spirits, or you just wanna scare the kids silly, pulling the shiny new Parker Brothers box out of the hall closet has got to take some of the edge off of your evening.The artist at Carnivalia has thought of you, and has designed and hand crafted a diverse selection of more aesthetically pleasing alternatives. Of course, once you've made contact with who or whatever it is , it's possible you will have a whole new set of problems.

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Theme parks turn into haunted houses

We're coming up on the really most wonderful time of the year. Can you smell it? Doesn't the air have a hint of fallen leaves? From The Miami Herald:

Autumn hues may be the color of the season in most of the country, but in Florida the color is red -- as in blood. While travelers go hunting for a red October amid the leaves of New England and North Carolina, travelers in Florida go haunting in the halls of houses that are havens of horror.
Lots of details about how Florida's theme parks are transforming for Halloween. Article also includes links to the different events.

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Singapore's 'vampire' murder trial

From The Electric New Times of Singapore:

SINGAPOREAN student Ram Puneet Tiwary used to be up all night and slept during most of the day. Like vampires, Tiwary's name is linked to blood - he is accused of murdering his fellow Singaporean flatmates in September 2003.

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Serenity launches Friday

Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon's sci-fi film Serenity opens on Friday. It's being discussed over at the TPMCafe:

The primacy of character, story, and theme, as opposed to special effects, also distinguish the Serenity ambience from what's found in so much science fiction, horror, and fantasy. The carefully woven sense of another reality and its fascinating inhabitants provide a context rich enough to inspire feelings of care and, if my experience is typical, a general sense of being more alive. This work is thoughtful in its messages, beautiful in its recognition of struggle and contingency, and deeply invigorating.
That sounds very much like what made Whedon's BtVS such a great work of television. The official site for Serenity is here.

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War is Hell

The South Dakota State University's student paper, The SDSU Collegian, has an interview with an alum who's just published his first novel, Dogs of War (completely unrelated to the recently blogged-about movie with the similar name). The article provides some interesting insights into the ins and outs of getting published, as well as pointing to what looks like it might be a very entertaining read - after all, what's not to like about Nazi werewolves driving Panzer tanks? The author, Steve Ruthenbeck, has a website here; the publisher, Harbor House Books, is here.

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The Amber Witch

BellaOnline has an interesting tidbit about Mary Schweidler: The Amber Witch. Purporting to be a firsthand account of a 17th century witch hunt, and cited as an authoritative source on such matters, it is actually a Victorian hoax... Read the story online here.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Corpse Bride

I fell in love with Corpse Bride this evening. The movie is a living Halloween card delivered a month early. Oh, as usual with Tim Burton's films, I wish he wasn't afraid of giving the movie goers a scare or two. But that's a minor quibble to a film this wonderful. That's not to say it's a movie I would take my young children to see. Any movie with a maggot popping out of a mouldering corpse's eye socket is probably too dark for them to see even if the stop-action animation is a delight. Danny Elfman's score also is fantastical. When Victor Van Dort (voiced perfectly by Johnny Depp) practices his wedding vows in a dark woods, he puts the wedding band on what he believes is a twig. Unbeknownst to him, it is the skeletal finger of the Corpse Bride, murdered and buried in a shallow grave behind the church (where Christopher Lee scarily provides the voice to Pastor Galswells). The Corpse Bride (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter) is delighted by the marriage. She takes Victor into the Land of the Dead with her. While the Land of the Living is gray and slow moving, the Land of the Dead is filled with laughter and companionship. Considering the allure of the Corpse Bride (what matters a bit of decomposed flesh when she moves like that?) and the Land of the Dead, you do have to wonder why Victor is so eager to return to the Land of the Living and his arranged upcoming nuptials to Victoria (voiced by Emily Watson). When it seems as if the movie is veering too close to soap operatic love triangle, the movie returns to the delightful macabre humor, such as when the maggot (voiced by Enn Reitel channelling Peter Lorre) tells the Corpse Bride, "I would think you'd lost your mind if I hadn't just been crawling through it."

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Good evening, Thank you for a kind welcome...and remember, you invited me in. As I've already mentioned to Mr. Carnacki, I sadly am unable to offer you any of the bubblegumfink cheer, as I feel it would be inappropriate for the MHV. The future of the bubblegumfink blog is still uncertain. I say 'uncertain' because the dead do have a habit of returning. I do know that I look forward to having this wonderful outlet to discuss slightly darker matters once in a while. Finally, I would like to add that it is not my intention to inundate the Haunted Vampire with my posts, only to contribute in some small way to what is already a fine blog. Nighty night.

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Bubblegumfink died Friday. So like the good grave robbers we are here at The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire, we immediately stole him. Long live bubblegumfink! Please bid him welcome and may he bring some of his happiness to our shadowy world.

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Some Favorite Travel Haunts

When you get the urge to travel and want to taste a little of the "out of body" experience, may we suggest: The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, CO

In 2000, Julia Kanellos, the hotel's historian, started taking curious guests past room 904, the onetime residence of Mrs. Crawford Hill. A prominent local figure, Hill spent the last fifteen years of her life in the hotel, dying there in 1955 at age 94. "A few days after we began the tours, the switchboard started getting calls from room 904", recalls Kanellos. The most troubling aspect of these calls was that the room was under renovation at the time and had no power, let alone a telephone. The calls ceased when Kanellos dropped room 904 from the tour.

Hotel Del Coronado, ("The Del"), Coronado, CA

The resident ghost is believed to be Kate Morgan, who, stuck in a bad marriage, ended her life with a gunshot at the hotel in 1892. The room where she stayed is now known as the Kate Morgan Room (Room 3302) and is a popular destination for fans of the paranormal. Visitors have claimed to encounter things that go bump in the night, windows that open and close on their own, objects that move about helter-skelter and lights that turn on and off.
Casa de la Paz, St. Augustine, FL (ironcially named the most "Romantic US B&B "in 2004)
A young bride on her honeymoon came with her new husband as guests of the original owners of the house. On their last day in St. Augustine, the young husband decided to take a boat out for a day of fishing. He told his bride to pack and wait for him at the house because he did not know exactly when he would return. During the day a terrible storm came up, the boat capsized, and he never returned to her. She was so distraught that she stayed in St. Augustine and grieved herself to death. Her spirit has never left the house, waiting for his return. During the time the inn was used as apartments, some tenants reported hearing a knock on the door and a voice saying, "Is it time to leave yet?" Others heard a door shut and saw a figure walking down the hall. Many people have come and gone through the house, yet her soul remains in limbo, waiting for her husband to return. She's often seen at the top of the stairs with her bag packed, ready to depart
One if by Land, Two if by Sea, NY, NY
This romantic restaurant is a history rich hideway on a quiet street, however, it has known to be not so quiet inside. It's resident ghost is one of the building's original owners, Aaron Burr. According to the General Manager, Rosanne Manetta, Burr's ghost and occassionaly that of his beloved daughter Theodosia, who was lost at sea, have been known to thrash about the dining rooms sending dishes and paintings crashing to the floor. Burr, of course, although being Thomas Jefferson's Vice President, was more famous for sending Alexander Hamilton to his early grave in a sunrise duel.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

eBay...Not for the feint of heart....

now...this is what eBay is all about... fun and fantastic finds! Better go place your bid now before this treasure escapes! Gotta love the description.....

oh...and don't miss the "Creepy Insane Evil Wicked Haunted Clown *Not a joke*"

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Happy Vampire Cat Blogging Friday

the kitty eyeballs of evil are watching where you least expect them.

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Da Vinci Code evidence?

(I'd like to apologize in advance to Lewis Perdue...) The Guardian has an article about the art researcher who Dan Brown claims as inspiration for his best-seller. Linked to the article are the infrared images (PDF format) of the art that appears beneath Da Vinci's work:

The Adoration of the Magi could have been dreamed up as a playground for semiologists. Even the visible work is packed with figures, faces, beasts, buildings, foliage and an extraordinary amount of activity, much of which bears no relation to the biblical account of the three kings' visit to the Virgin Mary and her newborn child.
I hereby resolve to make it my duty to link to as many articles about pop-culture that contain the word 'semiologist' as possible.

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No Hobbits after all?

Remember the discovery of 'Hobbit' skeletons in Indonesia? Some researchers are claiming to have evidence that these skeletons are not, in fact, another hominid species:

Scientists are to present new evidence that the tiny human species dubbed "The Hobbit" may not be what it seems. The researchers say their findings strongly support an idea that the 1m- (3ft-) tall female skeleton from Indonesia is a diseased modern human.
Proponents of the original theory aren't buying it:
But there's a problem with the sceptics' version of the story. The Hobbit team has found more human remains. These include a lower jaw with the same unusual features as the original find (including twin roots to the molars). "Let's buy into [the sceptics'] argument just for a bit of fun," said Professor Bert Roberts of the University of Wollongong, Australia, a member of the discovery team. "We've got a complete lower jaw that's identical to the first so there we have a situation where we've now got to have two really badly diseased individuals. "We've got a diseased population like some sort of leper colony, living in Liang Bua 18,000 years ago. The probabilities have got to be vanishingly small."
This will not the last we've heard of this, I'm sure...

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Jules Verne's 'Leyden ball' gun - being built today

...the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little cases of glass. These glass cases are covered with a case of steel, and weighted with a pellet of lead; they are real Leyden bottles, into which the electricity is forced to a very high tension. With the slightest shock they are discharged, and the animal, however strong it may be, falls dead.     - Jules Verne (1875) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Turns out the Department of Homeland Security wants some:
Mide Technology Corporation of Medford, Massachusetts is working on a non-lethal device called the Piezer (pronounced "pee-AY-zer"). [...] The Piezer contains piezoelectric crystals, which produce a voltage when they are compressed. The Piezer is designed to be fired from a standard 12-gauge shotgun. Mide claims the Piezer could be effective at 40 to 50 meters, longer than the 'bean bag' rounds also dispensed with shotguns.

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The Devil's gardener

Imagine this - you're forcing your way through the Amazon rainforest and you come upon what looks like an orchard - and there aren't any people around who could have made it:

According to local legend, peculiar clearings in the Amazon rainforest made up of a single tree species were created by an evil spirit. [...] "Someone walking around the jungle who steps into a devil's garden would immediately notice the difference between the garden and the surrounding vegetation," study author Megan Frederickson of Stanford University told LiveScience. "It looks a lot like an orchard – as if someone had come along and planted the trees."
Turns out the culprit is a species of ant. They use formic acid to exterminate the plant species around their nest that they can't utilize, leaving one species intact.

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Scottish werewolves

IGN's The Horror Geek Speaks has a review of the new horror film, Dog Soldiers:

The story about a group of British army men forced to fight a small throng of werewolves in the desolate Scottish countryside cribs from countless other films—both in the genre and beyond. Recounting all the things the film borrows would take up the bulk of the review—but rest assured, if you've seen Jaws, Predator, Southern Comfort, Night of the Living Dead, or about a half dozen other famous films, you'll spot the 'homages' littered throughout this effort. What really sets Dog Soldiers apart is the way it takes the obvious homages, weaves them into the plotline, and still makes the viewer feel as though a great deal of thought went into the script. Despite the fact that there's nothing overly original to be found in the film [...], [director Neil] Marshall makes it all seem fresh and interesting anyway—no small feat when one thinks about it logically.

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Orson Welles' career: bad luck or witchdoctor's curse?

Stumbled across this a couple of days ago:

This is a story I've heard vague tell of before, but Geoffrey McNab does an excellent job of mapping it out in The Independent this weekend. It's 1942, and Orson Welles in in Brazil, working on the documentary, It's All True. First, one of the subjects of the documentary drowns. Meanwhile, Orson's got enemies back in Hollywood; some of them are conspiring to pull the funding on his documentary, whilst others are merely butchering The Magnificent Ambersons in ostensible response to a single disasterous preview screening. The money finally runs out before Welles can finish filming, and when he tells this to a witch doctor who is supposed to appear on camera, the witch doctor pierces a copy of the script with a steel needle strung with red thread – supposedly putting a curse on the director that would last until his death in 1985.
Anyone else remember those Paul Masson commercials? Or for the electronic boardgame 'Dark Tower'? I'm voting for curse.

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Old homes made from bones

From the Times of London:

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY archaeologists are joining Czech colleagues to study the world’s oldest-known houses, some of them built from mammoth bones, Norman Hammond writes. The houses lie beneath the vineyards of southern Moravia, along with early evidence of such craft activities as modelling in clay and weaving, all carried out around a central hearth. Between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago, Moravia was a more hostile place than now, its climate dipping to very low temperatures. Archaeological evidence suggests that its inhabitants sheltered themselves and gathered around the hearth to share food, make small models of themselves and their animal prey, and probably tell stories about it all. Their descendants followed the mammoth and reindeer north into yet more hostile worlds, eventually into Siberia and across the Bering Strait to become the first Americans, the investigators believe.
[protected static: the preceding message was pre-recorded. So... would this count as bare-bones housing? I'm sorry, but coming up with clever commentary for each posting is such a mammoth undertaking. (ducks) Okay, I'm leaving now...]

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Extra! Extra! Ruby slippers stolen! Little girl from Kansas stranded forever? Munchkins outraged!

Details here:

Dorothy's sequined ruby slippers aren't in Judy Garland's hometown of Grand Rapids, Minn., anymore. But they're all over the Internet, depicted on T-shirts and in the prayers of at least one surviving Munchkin. "Doesn't the person who stole those ruby slippers know that they aren't good for anybody else, that they only worked for Dorothy?" Margaret Pellegrini, one of nine surviving Munchkins from the 1939 classic film "The Wizard of Oz," said Tuesday from her home in Glendale, Ariz. Investigator Steve Bennet said Grand Rapids police are following a "couple of new leads," concerning the 66-year-old, size 5½ slippers, which were stolen last month from the northern Minnesota community's Children's Discovery Museum.

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Cursed Hindu relic coming to London

Paging Dr. Indiana Jones to the white courtesy phone... Dr. Jones to the courtesy phone, please. A cursed diamond known as the Black Orlov or "Eye of Brahma" will soon be going on display in the Natural History Museum in London:

A rare black diamond said to have been cursed when it was removed from a Hindu idol in India two centuries ago is to go on public display for the first time in Britain. [...] The diamond was discovered in India in the early 1800s, when it weighed 195 carats. It was allegedly cursed - as were all its future owners - when a monk removed the gem from the eye of the idol of Brahma at a shrine near Pondicherry in India. At least three former owners have apparently killed themselves. In 1932, J W Paris, the diamond dealer who imported the stone to the United States, jumped to his death from one of New York's tallest buildings shortly after concluding the sale of the jewel. And 15 years later, a [pair of] Russian princesses, Nadia Vyegin-Orlov and Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky, leapt to their deaths within a month of each other.
You throw me the idol, I throw you the whip! The museum's website is here; the exhibition here.

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Pinball of the Dead!

[Person 1] You put zombies in my pinball game! [Person 2] You put pinball in my zombie game! [Together] Hey, it's delicious! Because what's not to love about crushing zombies? With a pinball? Yeah, the game's a bit old, but the review still cracked me up. And really, what isn't there to love about crushing zombies? Pinball of the Dead is by THQ/SEGA for Game Boy Advanced.

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Latest on FL restaurant ghost lawsuit

In an earlier post, we told y'all the story of an alleged restaurant ghost in Orlando, FL that'd been the center of a lawsuit. Well, this story, much like the spectral inhabitant of the restaurant, apparently won't go away:

Haunted or not? Psychics psyched Spirited offers pour in from ghost-busters who want to help a scared Church Street business. Mark Schlueb | Sentinel Staff Writer Posted September 18, 2005 Ghost-busters are ready to hit Church Street. Since news went around the world that ghosts scared away the renter of a Church Street Station building, self-styled psychics, mediums and paranormal investigators have been clamoring to get inside and talk to the spirits. "I've got people who want to spend the night there and communicate with the ghosts. I've got people who want to go in there and debunk it," said attorney David Simmons, who represents the building's owners. "They're coming out of the woodwork, and some of them are a little off the wall." The building at 125 Church St., just east of the headquarters of its part-owner, boy-band magnate Lou Pearlman, is at the center of a $2.6 million legal dispute.
Who you gonna call?

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'World of the strange'

icLiverpool has an interview with local ghost hunter, Tom Slemen... The subject? His latest book, "Strange Liverpool":

TOM SLEMEN, Liverpool's renowned ghost-hunter, was drawn into the art of story-telling by his grandmother, Rose. As a child, he would often visit and, in those pre-electronic gadget days that now engage youngsters from dawn to dusk, listen spellbound instead to her stories. Tom says: "She told me magical tales of Liverpool's past. She brought alive characters such as the Galosher Man, the Teacher Clock and Spring-Heeled Jack. My imagination was fired by her tales. "While I was researching Haunted Liverpool I found a lot of facts that would not fit into my paranormal story books. Thinking of my gran's stories, I thought, how about a 'Strange Liverpool', to follow up the Haunted and Mysterious series and I just went from there?
Who knew Liverpool was such a strange place? Not I, that's for sure... Well worth reading the entire thing - the article has 4 or 5 abbreviated (I assume) versions of stories that are in the book. If these stories are any indication of the books overall, this might be a series I need to add to my Amazon wish-list... Sounds like a good series

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Haunting music

After nine years, Dead Can Dance has reunited for a North American tour. Dark and moody, with incomparable soaring female vocals, this band helped provide the record label 4AD with it's signature sound in the early '80s (along with the likes of the Cocteau Twins). Their blend of international folk styles, medieval, rock & electronic influences makes for an ethereal combination:

You may not know the music, but you'll never forget the name of the band or the ghoulish images that skitter through your brain the first time you hear Dead Can Dance. The band is the partnership of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, composer-songwriters whose sound spans continents and centuries to bring forth moody music that echoes cultural influences from Ireland to the Middle East, from the 12th century to the present day. DCD makes music that could belong to any or all cultures.
And did I mention the dark aspect of their music? If you like traditional music, you'll probably like DCD; if you like medieval music, you'll probably like DCD; if you like shoegazer music, you - well, you get the idea. Personally, I couldn't imagine my internal soundtrack without them. This past Sunday, I had the privilege of seeing them live for the first time, and I was blown away. Live was orders of magnitude better than CD - and I love their CDs. There were a few false notes in Sunday's show, as could be expected from the second night of their tour, but by-and-large I spent most of the show in awed bliss. Metroblogging Seattle has another concert-goer's account here - while I found a few things with which to disagree in her assessment of the show, by-and-large she's spot-on. If your musical tastes run to the dark side of things and you haven't heard this band before, I hope you'll give them a listen. If you're already a fan, I hope you can catch them live if they pass through your area.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Soldiers Spooked by New Orleans Spirits

The images of a destroyed New Orleans aren't the only things haunting California National Guard Members. They're seeing ghosts of little girls.

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The Ghost and the Darkness - come to life

Paging Val Kilmer. Mr. Kilmer to the white courtesy phone, please. Okay, it involves a lot of regular lions instead of two quasi-mystical killer lions... (and there's certainly no Val Kilmer or Michael Douglas here) but 1000 farmers in Ethiopia have fled from lions that have killed 20 people in a month.

Tadesse Gichore, an official in the remote southern Soro district, said 14 villages had been attacked and 750 domestic animals killed.
You want vampire cats? I'll show you vampire cats. Here kitty, kitty, kitty... That's a good kit...

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Death of a monster hunter

Eli Weisenthal is dead at age 96.

“When history looks back I want people to know the Nazis weren’t able to kill millions of people and get away with it,” [Weisenthal] once said. [...] Wiesenthal was first sent to a concentration camp in 1941, outside Lviv, Ukraine, according to the Wiesenthal Center Web site. In October 1943, he escaped from the Ostbahn camp just before the Germans began killing all the inmates. He was recaptured in June 1944 and sent back to Janwska, but escaped death as his SS guards retreated westward with their prisoners from the Soviet Red Army. Wiesenthal’s quest began after the Americans liberated the Mauthausen death camp in Austria where Wiesenthal was a prisoner in May 1945. It was his fifth death camp among the dozen Nazi camps in which he was imprisoned, and he weighed just 99 pounds when he was freed. He said he quickly realized “there is no freedom without justice,” and decided to dedicate “a few years” to that mission.
One less speaker for the dead; one less witness to the depths of depravity and monstrosity of which humans are capable. And while he was certainly not without controversy, the world is now more dangerous with his passing. Exactly how dangerous remains to be seen; unfortunately, that degree depends entirely upon "the angels of our better nature". Analysis of the degree of danger has been left as an exercise for the reader.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Wooo-ooooh, werewolves of... Wisconsin?

With all apologies to the late Mr. Zevon (and apologies are definitely due given my singing voice, digital or otherwise), who knew Wisconsin had werewolves? And you know, I'm not sure even Warren could've made "the hairy-handed gent/who ran amok in Elkhorn" sound good...

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Feng shui causes mysterious strife, of all places, China:

A decision by one of China's leading universities to promote a course in feng shui and architecture has opened a furious debate. [...] Feng shui - literally "wind and water" - was banned by the communists as an element of "feudal superstition". But it lived on in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the overseas Chinese community and became popular in the West in the 1980s and 1990s. [...] [W]hen Nanjing University's architectural culture institute offered courses in "architectural feng shui" it came under fire from the old guard of Chinese architecture, egged on, it was reported, by the Communist Party.
I think they just need a few more well-placed lucky frog statues.

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Marriage rights - for witches

Last month, Victoria became the last Australian jurisdiction to repeal anti-witchcraft laws. Part of the Vagrancy Act of 1958 outlawed "fortune telling and pretending to exercise witchcraft" as well as "any occult or crafty science."; additional penalties were proscribed for "any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration.". With this repeal of the Act, pagan officiants are now recognized as legally allowed to perform weddings in Australia; four have already been certified by the state, and are apparently being flooded with requests for ceremonies.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Someone's Going on Vacation

Wish it were me. Looks like a fun place to explore the spooky history...oh, yeah...and relax on the beaches.

Many years later in the 1700s, a young man from a fine English family began his nefarious career along the coast of Carolina and Virginia. Edward Teach (with variations in spelling) was said to have been the most dreaded of all pirates. Known as the infamous "Blackbeard", he was said to have a residence on the island. Lt. Robert Maynard of the British Navy was sent to capture Blackbeard in an effort to end his evil activities. Legend has it that during the long night preceding his capture, Blackbeard, impatient for the dawn cried out "O Crow Cock, O Crow Cock" and that from that came the name Ocracoke. In the ensuing battle he was beheaded and his head attached to Maynard’s vessel as a trophy. It is rumored that the headless body swam ‘round and ‘round the ship seven times. - Ocracoke History
After reading this story, might I suggest to my vacationing "buddy" to stay out of the water.... ;-)

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Marie Laveau....Queen of Voodoo

Voodoo is a spicy New Orleans heritage as is "slightly" shady Louisiana politics. There is no story as "high spirited" as the legacy of Marie Laveau, the undisputed "Queen of Voodoo", who managed to combine the two ingredients for powers that some claim still continue to this day. Even folks who don't believe in her spirit have been known to frequent her grave in Saint Louis Cemetary #1 and do the traditional markings for her blessing..."just in case."

....Marie's chief works were in sorcery, Black Magic and the paranormal. Prominent politicians would seek her help, sometimes asking her to predict their futures. For a fee, Marie could cast and remove spells. She was reputedly good with love potions and curses, too. But one thing she was particularly skilled at was obtaining secret information about prominent locals. She divined her information not so much through clairvoyance as through a spy network of servants and slaves in New Orleans who feared the Voodoo Queen. Marie had once been a hairdresser and knew how the gentry foolishly liked to talk, even about confidential matters. Society women would chat away with Marie the hairdresser as though she were irrelevant, a mere servant. In reality, these silly aristocrats were feeding Marie vital information which she would use later to her advantage. Men, too, readily succumbed to the beguiling Marie. It is believed by some that Marie Laveau once operated a house of prostitution on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, as a rather prosperous side-business. As she became more powerful, she had her spies listening closely in almost ever prestigious home in the city. Marie had many clever methods for recruiting new spies. One trick was to secretly place a Voodoo doll near the front door of her victims, usually the house-servants of distinguished New Orleans homes. The victims, upon discovering the Voodoo doll, would be convinced they were being hexed (by some witch other than Marie), and would run to the Voodoo Queen for help. Marie, also referred to by many locals as the "Bosswoman," would offer to dispel the doll's power if in return the victims would agree to spy for her. Thus Marie could covertly gain knowledge of goings-on within the household where the victims of the Voodoo doll labored. - The Voodoo Queen
I'm sure that her spirit is not happy about the destruction of her beloved city. I would suggest some Government Officials carry some blessed gris-gris with them from now on. "Just in case"

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Vampire fashion

Because the un-dead never go out of style, New York Times' Sunday Magazine featured the latest vampire fashion, complete with vampire models (specialized camera equipment is needed to capture their images). Here's the latest for Victorian-era vampires, updating the clothes they love for the 21st Century. And here's the accessories to go with their outfits. I featured a few below, but entire slideshows worth viewing. UPDATE: Bumped up because originally posted when more important things were occurring and I buried the following with several Katrina related posts. And I think the vampire models look spooky.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Vampire Gothic

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Vampire with Necronomicon

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Vampire in the country

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Vampire gloves

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Vampire shoes

For the shoe bloggers.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Too bad this scary looking movie isn't released during Werewolf Month, but Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit looks to be a terrifying thrill ride of an adventure (is that enough superlatives?) that I am eager to see. The Guardian takes an advanced look:

"At first it was called Wallace & Gromit and the Veggieburglars, and it was about these rabbits who keep invading Wallace and Gromit's vegetable plot, and then we started to develop that into an idea of a great rabbit beast who comes to town. A were-rabbit as opposed to a werewolf, because it seemed to fit the Wallace and Gromit world." Park and Baker were inspired by the venerable cycle of Universal studio horror movies. "They're all filled with blood and guts and we thought that that could really suit Wallace and Gromit's world because it's absurd. It's about people locking up their vegetables rather than their children."
As someone who has felt the horror of a ravaged garden, I can tell you were-rabbits and were-groundhogs are the most vicious monsters imaginable!

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Friday vampire cat blogging

He's a scary looking vampire cat. Hat tip to PhillyGal. Here's a link to show some vampire/cat love, courtesy of the always-a-pleasure-to-visit bibi's box.

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Wanted: Witches

No, not dead or alive... Alive. For employment:

A company called Häxriket ("Witches' Realm") based in Åhus is looking for ten witches in Kristianstad and another ten in Hässleholm [both in southern Sweden - ed.]. And they're recruiting through the Swedish Employment Office. Specifically, Häxriket is looking for jobseekers with the ability to see into the future. Applicants should also be able to tell people's fortunes. [...] The successful applicants will work by telephone from home and [w]ill earn 210 kronor per hour of calls.
That's approximately US$ 27.50 per hour of calls. That's a lot of calls... Me, I'd love to be able to walk into a job interview being able to see the future: Interviewer: So, please tell me something about yourself. Me: Thanks, the offer's great. I'd like to start next Tuesday.

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The Most Haunted House in America

or at least New Orleans....The Lalaurie House. And for good reason. I remember taking a ghost tour in Nawhlins and this was one of the stops. As the tour guide described the horror filled history of this house, I felt a freezing cold chill go through me...on an 80+ degree day. Ghosts, goosebumps or something else. You can decide. I've already made up my mind.

Royal Street, or Rue Royale as it was originally called, was one of the most elegant streets in the Quarter. In 1834 one house on Rue Royale belonged to Delphine Lalaurie, the highly cultured socialite wife of Dr. Louis Lalaurie. Delphine was by all accounts a gracious and beautiful hostess. Her stylish balls and sophisticated dinner parties were the talk of antebellum Nouvelle Orleans. Furthermore, she was known for her charity work for the poor and the sick. However, Delphine had a dark side to her personality. She routinely starved and brutalized her slaves, whipping and torturing them. Furthermore, her staid physician husband committed ghoulish, experimental medical procedures on some slaves. ...Then the ghosts began to appear. Neighbors heard shrieks at night coming from the run-down house and some claimed to see apparitions. Visions of tortured slaves appeared on the balconies; some people claimed to see a white woman, perhaps Madam Lalaurie herself, with a whip in hand. Others claimed to have seen the ghost of the girl slave who had died after running from Delphine. Over the decades other horrible apparitions were reported -- butchered animals and visions of tormented slaves in chains. No one has been able to prove or disprove the validity of these sightings. Although one thing is certain: Evil did once dwell on the Rue Royale in the House of Lalaurie. - The Ghosts of New Orleans .

More at The Cold Spot and The Ghost Source

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Count Gore Ve Dal chat

The Washington Post hosted an online chat with Count Gore Vi Dal today. From the transcript:

Arkham, Mass.: Horror movie hosts like yourself and Fritz the Nite Owl of Chiller Theater in Columbus, Ohio, and Sir Graves Ghastly in Detroit -- great site maintained by a fan: -- made television watching an event. I have many fond memories of the programs not just because I saw cheesy horror films, but because the hosts made it fun, made it special. With stations losing ratings to ever increasing entertainment competition, shouldn't stations bring back programs like "Creature Feature?" Why don't station managers realize that to attract viewers they have to offer more than just a movie? They have to offer interesting and affable hosts. Count Gore De Vol: Unfortunately, there's another side to the picture. The cost of local production. Take into account crew, sets, equipment and electricity and you find that it's a very expensive proposition.
Lots of fun comments and memories from the Count's fans.

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Want to buy a haunted house?

Or perhaps, as is more likely to be the case for most people (but not our faithful readers, I'm sure!), avoid such a purchase? Check out this press release, Psychic Teaches Property Buyers/Renters How To Spot Haunted Properties Before Investing:

From time immemorial, property seekers have been plagued with a big problem - unknowingly buying properties that later turned out to be haunted. Investing in property can drain the buyer’s bank account. Worries about monthly mortgage payments or rents are one thing but if the property turned out to be haunted, it would be a total investment disaster. Putting it back immediately on the market would raise suspicion, not to mention a loss of money. If only the buyer knew it was haunted before putting money in it. [...] The author has been asked countless times if it really is possible for a non-psychic to detect haunted properties before buying and hence avoid the problems that come with them. His answer is: “If the mind can be quiet and if the person can interpret what it’s trying to say, it is indeed possible.”
But can the mind tell you if the seller's being honest about the age of the roof?

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Good omens: review of Narnia test-screening

And it all sounds quite promising indeed.

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"Shadow over Innsmouth" coming to big screen - with a twist

Well, if Carnacki isn't going to post it, I am ;-) According to one of the local alt. weeklies, a Seattle film crew is going to start filming a feature-length film titled Cthulhu:

It may seem odd to spin a story by the famously bigoted H. P. Lovecraft into a horror flick with gay themes, but screenwriter Grant Cogswell and director Dan Gildark hope their new movie Cthulhu—which starts shooting in Seattle and Astoria, Oregon, next week—will do precisely that. The Lovecraft short story "Shadow over Innsmouth" concerns a man who takes an archaeological interest in a small New England town, only to discover that its people worship a sinister fish-god called Dagon. Soon he learns that his own ancestors interbred with a race of amphibious monsters on the site, and that he's in danger of becoming a monster himself. Cogswell saw in the story's subtext a horror of small-town life that he says resonated with the experience of gay friends: "I knew folks who grew up in these backwoods places and then in their 30s, one of their parents died or had a stroke, and they had to go back and face their past."
This is the exact formula that Stephen King exploits - where Lovecraft was too uptight to explore his own psyche too deeply, King plunges on in, particularly in his earlier tales. The supernatural (often quite overtly Lovecraftian in nature - think "Graveyard Shift" in the collection of the same name) blends smoothly and darkly with the petty evils of small town life: abusive alcoholics, grinding poverty, rapists, brutal gossip. The Canucks hate the swamp Yankees hate the affluent city folk; the Catholics hate the Protestants... ...and everyone hates anyone who isn't white, non-white being a category that encompasses everyone from the seasonal Jamaican apple pickers to Jews and Portugese. The horrors of the supernatural exploit and exacerbate these tensions; sometimes, you can't tell the two strands of evil apart, so closely do they mimic one another. I've got high hopes for this one - they've got an excellent production team working on it as well.

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'Creature Feature' chat

The Washington Post is holding an online chat with Count Gore De Vol at noon today. He was the host for Channel 20's 'Creature Feature.' Should be interesting. Link here to join in. I'll post a link to the transcript and highlights after the chat.

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