Friday, August 26, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Will You Marry Me, Even If You're Dead?



It seems that it’s never too late to be baptized. Even the dead can get this.
Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism refers to the religious practice of baptizing a person on behalf of one who is dead. A living person then receives the rite on behalf of a deceased person. Baptism for the dead is best known as a doctrine of the Latter Day Saint movement, practicing it since 1840.
Those who practice this rite view baptism as an essential requirement to enter the Kingdom of God, and therefore practice baptism for the dead to offer it by proxy to those who died without the opportunity to receive it. The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) teaches that those who have died may choose to accept or reject the baptisms done on their behalf.
Another event never too late to preform, is marriage for the dead. Yes, you are reading that. In Chinese tradition, a ghost marriage (pinyin: mínghūn; literally: "spirit marriage") is a marriage in which one or both parties are deceased. Other forms of ghost marriage are practiced worldwide, from Sudan, to France since 1959. The origins of Chinese ghost marriage are largely unknown, and reports of it being practiced today can be found. Chinese ghost marriage was usually set up by the family of the deceased and performed for a number of reasons, including the marriage of an engaged couple before one member's death to integrate an unmarried daughter into a patrilineage to ensure the family line is continued, or to maintain that no younger brother is married before an elder brother. A previously engaged woman upon the death of her fiancée, can choose to go through with the wedding, in which the groom was represented by a white cockerel at the ceremony. However, some women were hesitant since this form of ghost marriage required her to participate in the funeral ritual, mourning customs (including strict dress and conduct standards), take a vow of celibacy, and immediately take up residence with his family. A groom had the option of marrying his late fiancée, with no disadvantages, but there have been no records of such weddings.

Then there is the posthumous marriage (or necrogamy). This is a marriage in which one of the participating members is deceased. It is legal in France and similar forms are practiced in Sudan and China. Since World War I, France has had hundreds of requests each year, of which many have been accepted.
And so it appears you can still be baptized or even marry that special person, even though you are moldering in your grave. Death isn’t the end, but the beginning. 



Saturday, August 06, 2016

Supernatural Friday: What Happens in Chester, Vanishes-from Spectre Nightmares and Vistiations





I will be at Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in Sufolk, Virginia, next Saturday, August 13th.  And my collection of horror and dark fantasy stories, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations is one of the books I will have for sale and will sign at the New Author’s Expo at the festival, from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The all day festival is free and open to the public.




I'm sharing one of the stories from the book, teasing you with "What Happens in Chester, Vanishes." You'll need to purchase the book from me at the festival (click the link above to be taken to their website to get the address and more information), or if you can't be there, then from online at GenreConnections.com or AMAZON to read the rest of the stories included in it.

Book Blurb:
Many things scare us. But the most fearful things are those that infect our nightmares and visitations. Monsters from the closet or from another planet. Ghosts that haunt more than a house. Werewolves are not the only shapeshifters to beware of. Children can be taken from more than the human kind of monsters. Even normal things can be the start of a heart-pounding terror. Prepare to step beyond the door into Spectre Nightmares and Visitations.

Just tell yourself that they're only stories.






Enjoy the story:        

"What Happens in Chester, Vanishes"


Okay, that’s weird.

The people that had just been walking and driving their cars in Chester Village Green a few minutes ago had vanished. The beautiful Chester Library and the other buildings stood there silent and empty of life.

Of all the strange things that happened in my life, this one beat them all.

My cell phone! Of course.

I took it out and tried to make a call to my mother in Powathan. It didn't work. And I charged it up fully last night. Now it lay in my hand like a broken toy. Whatever infected Chester had done something to it, too. Upset, I stuck it back in her purse. 

The silence felt so . . . unnerving. Nothing moved. Nothing made a sound. Not even a breeze. Nothing, except the noise my car made, loud in the unnatural stillness.

I felt pain from my arms and my hands. With a quick glance, I saw I was gripping the steering wheel so tight that the veins on the top of them popped up. Shoot, my skin gleamed ghost white. Another quick glance in the rear view mirror and I saw how pale my face was, too.

I decided to park the car. So many spaces to choose from, which one should I choose? A giggle rose up hysterically as I drew my car into one and turned the engine off. I couldn’t stop it.

“Oh, God, oh God, oh God,” I began to giggle, tears in my eyes.

The giggling passed, I let go of the steering wheel and just sat there staring out through the car window and unsure what to do next. 

Do I get out? Was it safe to do so? Maybe I was asleep and this was all a nightmare.

No, I remembered waking up this morning and having a cup of coffee and some yogurt. I pinched myself just to be sure.

“Ouch!”

Guess this is not a dream, Marisa.

"What happened here?" I said, letting the sound of my own voice give me comfort. "Is everyone else gone in the rest of Chester? Does that include the rest of Richmond, or even Virginia itself? Is everyone on vacation, or something?"

Like someone would answer me.

It looked like I wouldn’t have to worry about being late for work at the library today. Most likely my supervisor didn’t make it to work today either. Apparently, no patrons neither. 

Taking a deep breath, I got out of the car, leaving it unlock if I needed to get back in, and walked slowly up to the front glass doors. I found the doors opened easily and entered.

Okay, does that appear good or not? Why are you even entering the building, you idiot?

I swept my gaze around and found an empty circulation desk, a couple of books on it, one flipped open, along with another one lying under the scanner the library used to check books out. Another glance to my left caught other books lying on the floors or on tables, as if whoever had them had just dropped them, leaving them there like unwanted children. The silence bothered me. I began to imagine that the books were watching at me from their bookcases. Like they were saying, 'How dare you being the only human here?" 

Nothing more for me here, I bolted out of the place and ignoring my car, ran down Center Street to Route 10. Same thing there, too. Chester had become a large-economy size version of one of those collectible heirloom villages sold in gift shops, only minus the people, animals and vehicles. 

As I looked straight across the street at the Chester Fire Department, I saw that the bay doors stood wide open, bereft of the fire engines. All the buildings suddenly became ominous, like they waited to pounce on any unwary fools. 

Fools like me.

I made for the nearby shopping center. It was foolish of me to even have checked it out. Nothing there like everywhere else, not even breeze-tossed scraps of papers flittering across the empty parking lot. 

Deciding to be prudent, I headed back to where my car was parked. But like everything else in the madness it had vanished.

Maybe aliens came and took everyone away, like that episode in Twilight Zone.

Yeah, if it were that simple an explanation. 

I trudged like a drunken sailor back up Center Street to Route 10. 

I prayed. Whatever happened to Chester, please take me too. Being alone the rest of my life like this is something I don’t want to do

I looked up at the cloud-filled sky above. "Look, I admit that I prayed last night before turning in that I'd like to be alone, with no one to bother me and all, but I was in a blue funk after a day of full of crazy patrons and a smart-mouthed supervisor." I began to cry. "I would love to hear Mrs. Tilt right now yelling at me in her usual nasty way. At least it would be another human being."

Wait. Was that a sound? 

It came again. It came from Route 10. Like someone talking.

I ran on shaky legs and hoped that meant there another human besides me was in this god forsaken place. I dropped to my knees on the street when I found nothing but an empty street. I didn’t even notice the pain from my scraped knees. My mind had snapped at that moment.

I yelled, "Stop it, please stop it! If you're going to torture me, then just go ahead and kill me right now.”

I saw it then. Large and bright yellow, its siren screamed in protest as it barreled toward me. Instead of excitement, I found I didn’t care that this might mean I wasn’t alone anymore. 

I jumped up and opened my arms, welcoming my death. Within a second it slammed into me. Pain lanced through me, as the bones in my body smashed, flesh tore and my brain splattered within my skull.

****

"I didn't see her until too late," cried the young firefighter. "Suddenly there she was, like a ghost appearing out of thin air. The woman stood there like a deer caught in our headlights. The worse part is I swear she held her arms open like a woman welcoming her lover back." Tears welled up in his blue eyes and streamed down his cheeks. He looked up from his kneeling position by the body at the chief who had been with him in the engine. They had been returning to the station. "I'll remember hitting her for the rest of my life."

Chief Thomas frowned as he realized the silence all around them. "Hey, where's everyone else?"

The other frowned, confused. "What?" He got to his feet and looked around. There was only him and Chief Thomas and the fire engine. No vehicles, no people gawking at the accident. Even the station was quiet like a tomb. The broken body of the woman had vanished, her smeared blood that had painted the cement gone. "Oh God, what's going on?"

Childish laughter filled the silence. Looking up, both men saw a gigantic child's face peering down at them. Another larger face of a woman appeared next to the child's.

"Dinner time, dear," said the woman’s face. "Then you can come back and play with your town. And please flush that nasty bloody body down the toilet, then wash your hands. Didn't Daddy tell you not to kill your playthings, or he won't get you any more toys from another dimension?"

Friday, July 29, 2016

Supernatural Friday: How to Get Down and Scared






Here we are and it’s the last Friday of July and been a heat wave where I live in the triple digits for this past week, and I just finished a scary read and thinking of another to read.

Why do we read stories and novels to scare us silly; to give us nightmares at night? It’s not October or close to Halloween.  No excuse to read anything spooky. And yet, many of us will choose a book that we know on the pages are monsters or serial killers. Any excuse to be scared to death.

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat. It's a basic reaction to a stimulus, such as pain or dangerous threat. Fear is separate from anxiety, which occurs without external threat. It means to terrify, or to frighten.

Physical reactions from fear are:
Rapid heart rate

Increased blood pressure

Tightening of muscles

Sharpened or redirected senses

Dilation of the pupils

Increased sweating

So why would a person get a scary book when these symptoms of fear take over them? For the imagination is the greatest bringer of fear--you read a few pages and suddenly, you thought you saw a shadow in the corner move or heard a sound.

But being frightened is good for you. Just as laughter is. Fear is that rush that brings out the prey in all of us, from our caveman days.

So go ahead. Pick up that book and buy it, or check it out. Read it. You know that shadow in the corner of the room didn't more and the sound was the house settling. Nothing more.


Or is it?



Friday, July 22, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Monsters Don't Exist (Original Poem)






Monsters Don’t Exist
By

Pamela K. Kinney

Mother said that monsters didn’t exist
That they came from fast food or scary movies.
She lied!
And kept lying when the monster came that night
He instructed Daddy to change and attack,
To rip her throat out and tear out her heart.
Her eyes pleading as she screamed,
“Run! Don’t let the monsters catch you!”
But I didn’t run,
Why would I?
Then the monster held out its clawed paw to me,
And I took it, asking, “Can we play?”
He called me his dear child, the promised one,
“I’ll teach you all I know, how to do what I do,”
He said, “Just as the one before me taught me.”
And so among the fires and slaughter we went,
I skipped beside him, only stopping
To play catch with bodiless heads.
When we left that place near to morning
What remained of the township right behind us
Inhuman sheep leaving for desolate pastures.



Friday, July 15, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Death By Monster (Original Poem)



An another hopefully heart-stopping original poem by me for Supernatural Friday. Please do share the link of the blog and not the poem, so people can read it. 


"Death by Monster"
By
Pamela K. Kinney


Cold as
death,
Somber dark
unfolding,
Silver sharp;
fear stabbing
moonbeams at trees.
Monster hunting,
preying on
innocent souls.
Silvered moonlight
reveals
that death
is never pretty,
but shines

the color of blood.



Friday, July 08, 2016

Supernatural Friday: A Hell of My Own Making (Original Poem)






Enjoy this original poem I wrote. Please share the link so others can read it and not the poem to your site. 



A Hell of My Own Making
                 By

  Pamela K. Kinney


The humidity dripping off me
Hot…oh, so damn hot!
Death should have ended
the endless heat along with the cold.
And yet, here I am, burning.

Burning, burning, burning;
Not from sun above,
Nor from a house on fire
But from fiery flames of Hell,
Flickering, black, and cruel.

Demons everywhere,
Laughing and jabbing at me
So, I burn on.
It’s my own damn fault
I let hate overcome me.

It took one moment to fire that gun;
A second for the bullet to kill that person
Now seconds become minutes become hours
become years, and from there eons.
A moment of stupidity exchanged for an eternity of hellfire

Friday, July 01, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Beware of the Skinwalkers


Witches known as skinwalkers who can alter their shapes at will to assume the characteristics of certain animals are in religion and cultural lore of Southwestern tribes.
In the American Southwest, the Navajo, Hopi, Utes, and other tribes each have their own version of the skinwalker story, but they all end up to the same thing--a malevolent witch capable of transforming itself into a wolf, coyote, bear, bird, or any other animal. The witch might wear the hide or skin of the animal identity it wants to assume, and when the transformation is complete, the witch inherits the speed, strength, or cunning of the animal whose shape he/she has taken.
Navajo skinwalkers use mind control, make their victims hurt themselves and even end their lives. They are considered powerful, able to run faster than a car and jump mesa cliffs without any effort at all. No faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings like Superman, but not much lesser.
For the Navajo and other tribes of the southwest, the tales of skinwalkers are not mere legend. There’s a Nevada attorney, Michael Stuhff, one of the few lawyers in the history of American jurisprudence to file legal papers against a Navajo witch. He often represents Native Americans in his practice and understands Indian law. He knows and respects tribal religious beliefs.
As a young attorney in the mid-70s, Stuhff worked in a legal aid program based near Genado, Arizona, many clients being Navajo. He confronted a witch in a dispute over child custody. His client was a Navajo woman who lived on the reservation with her son. She wanted full custody rights and back child support payments from her estranged husband, an Apache man. At one point, the husband got permission to take the son out for an evening, but didn't return the boy until the next day. The son later told his mother what had happened. He had spent the night with his father and a "medicine man." They built a fire atop a cliff and, for many hours, the medicine man performed ceremonies, songs, and incantations around the fire. At dawn, they went to some woods by a cemetery and dug a hole. The medicine man placed two dolls in the hole, one dark and the other made of light wood. The dolls were meant to be the mother and her lawyer.  Sruhff didn’t know how to approach this, so he consulted a Navajo professor at a nearby community college.
The professor told him it sounded like a powerful and serious ceremony of type, meant for the lawyer to end up buried in the graveyard for real. He also said a witch could only perform this type of ceremony only four times in his life, because if he tries it more than that, the curse would come back on the witch himself. Also, if the intended victim discovered about it, then the curse would come back onto the person who had requested it.
Stuhff filed court papers that requested an injunction against the husband and the unknown medicine man, whom he described in the court documents as "John Doe, A Witch,” to let the husband know he know what he and the witch had done. He described the alleged ceremony in detail.
This upset the opposing attorney by the motion, as did the husband and the presiding judge. The opposing lawyer argued to the court that the medicine man had performed "a blessing way ceremony," not a curse. But Stuhff knew that the judge, who was a Navajo, would be able to distinguish between a blessing ceremony, which takes place in Navajo hogans, and a darker ceremony involving lookalike dolls that took place in the woods near a cemetery. Which he did. Before the judge ruled though, Stuhff requested a recess so that the significance of his legal motion could sink in. The next day, the husband agreed to grant total custody to the mother and pay all back child support.
Stuhff took it as serious as the husband did, because he learned that sometimes witches will do things themselves to assist the supernatural, and he knew what that might mean.
Whether or not Stuhff believed that witches have supernatural powers, he acknowledged the Navajos did. Certain communities on the reservation had reputations as witchcraft strongholds and the lawyer wasn’t certain that the witch he faced was a skinwalker or not. "Not all witches are skinwalkers," he had said, "but all skinwalkers are witches.
Skinwalkers are at the top, a witch's witch. Skinwalkers are purely evil in intent. That they do all sorts of terrible things---make people sick and they commit murders. They are also grave robbers and necrophiliacs. Greedy and evil, to become a skinwalker, they must kill a sibling or other relative. They supposedly can turn into were-animals and travel by supernatural means.
Skinwalkers possess knowledge of medicine, medicine both practical (heal the sick) and spiritual (maintain harmony). The flip side of the skinwalker coin is the power of tribal medicine men. Among the Navajo, medicine men train over a period of many years to become full- fledged practitioners in the mystical rituals of the Dine' (Navajo) people.
But there is a dark side to the learning of the medicine men. Witches follow some of the same training and obtain similar knowledge as their more benevolent colleagues. But they supplement this with their pursuit of the dark arts. By Navajo law, a known witch has forfeited its status as a human and can be killed at will.
Witchcraft was always an accepted, if not widely acknowledged part of Navajo culture. The killing of witches was historically accepted among the Navajo as it was among the Europeans." At one point in history, there was the Navajo Witch Purge of 1878. More than 40 Navajo witches were killed or "purged" by tribe members because the Navajo had endured a horrendous forced march at the hands of the U.S. Army in which hundreds were starved, murdered, or left to die. The Navajo were confined to a bleak reservation that left them destitute and starving at the end of the march. They assumed that witches might be responsible for their plight. They retaliated by purging their ranks of suspected witches. Tribe members reportedly found a collection of witch artifacts wrapped in a copy of the Treaty of 1868 and "buried in the belly of a dead person."
In the Navajo world, there are as many words for the various forms of witchcraft as there are words for various kinds of snow among the Eskimos. If the woman thought a man was adan'ti, she thought he had the power of sorcery to convert himself into animal form, to fly, or become invisible.
Few Navajo want to cross paths with naagloshii (or yee naaldooshi), otherwise known as a skinwalker. The cautious Navajo will not speak openly about skinwalkers, especially with strangers, because to do so might invite the attention of an evil witch. After all, a stranger who asks questions about skinwalkers just might be one himself, looking for his next victim.
In the legends, it is said they curse people and cause great suffering and death. At night, their eyes glow red like hot coals. It is said that if you see the face of a Naagloshii, they have to kill you. If you see one and know who it is, they will die. If you see them and you don't know them, they have to kill you to keep you from finding out who they are. They use a mixture that some call corpse powder, which they blow into your face. Your tongue turns black and you go into convulsions and you eventually die. They are known to use evil spirits in their ceremonies. The Dine' have learned ways to protect themselves against this evil, always keeping on guard."
Although skinwalkers are generally believed to prey only on Native Americans, there are recent reports from non-Indians claiming they had encountered skinwalkers while driving on or near tribal lands. One New Mexico Highway Patrol officer told us that while patrolling a stretch of highway south of Gallup, New Mexico, he had had two separate encounters with a ghastly creature that seemingly attached itself to the door of his vehicle. During the first encounter, the veteran law enforcement officer said the unearthly being appeared to be wearing a ghostly mask as it kept pace with his patrol car. To his horror, he realized that the ghoulish specter wasn't attached to his door after all. Instead, it ran alongside his vehicle as he roared at high rate of speed down the highway. The officer said he had a nearly identical experience in the same area a few days later. He was shaken to his core by these encounters, but didn't realize that he would soon get some confirmation that what he had seen was real. While having coffee with a fellow highway patrolman not long after the second incident, the cop cautiously described his twin experiences. To his amazement, the second officer admitted having his own encounter with a white-masked ghoul, a being that appeared out of nowhere and then somehow kept pace with his cruiser as he sped across the desert. The first officer told us that he still patrols the same stretch of highway, but is petrified every time he enters the area.
Once Caucasian family still speaks in hushed tones about its encounter with a skinwalker, even though it happened in 1983. As they drove at night along Route 163 through the Navajo Reservation, the family felt that someone was following them. As their truck slowed down to round a sharp bend, the atmosphere changed, and time itself seemed to slow down. That's when something leaped out of a ditch.
"It was black and hairy and was eye level with the cab," one of the witnesses recalled. "Whatever this thing was, it wore a man's clothes. It had on a white and blue checked shirt and long pants. Its arms were raised over its head, almost touching the top of the cab. It looked like a hairy man or a hairy animal in man's clothing, but it didn't look like an ape or anything like that. Its eyes were yellow and its mouth was open."

The father described as a fearless man who had served two tours in Vietnam, turned completely white, the blood drained from his face. The hair on his neck and arms stood straight up, like a cat under duress, and noticeable goose bumps erupted from his skin. Although time seemed frozen during this bizarre interlude, the truck continued on its way, and the family was soon miles down the highway. Days later, the family awoke to the sounds of loud drumming at their home in Flagstaff. They peered out their windows and saw dark forms of three men outside their fence, trying to climb the fence to enter the yard and inexplicably unable to cross onto the property. Frustrated by their failed entry, the men chanted as the terrified family huddled inside the house.  Strange about this was if skinwalkers, why not assume a shape of a bird and fly over the fence? No mention either of police called. One family member said she called a Navajo friend who walked through the house and said they were skinwalkers, that the intrusion failed because something protected the family. She admitted that it was all highly unusual since skinwalkers rarely bother non-Indians and performed a blessing ceremony.