Friday, May 22, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Beware of Big Hairy Toes! (Retold Folktale)

As I am working on a horror wip at this time, I found this old folktale and rewrote for your Supernatural Friday of Memorial Day Weekend enjoyment.  As you go camping this summer, maybe even this weekend, it is spooky tales like this that are told around the campfire. Let's restart a tradition and get that fire going in the woods or at the beach, and tell spooky stories. 

Once upon a time an old woman went out in the woods. She planned to dig up roots to cook for dinner. Suddenly, she spotted something funny sticking out of the leaves. Digging around it, she discovered it was a great big hairy toe. Now it came to her that there was good meat on it and it might make a tasty dinner, so she stuck it in her basket and took it home.
Back at her cottage, the old woman boiled hairy toe soup in a kettle. That night she had the soup for dinner. The old woman went to bed that night with a full stomach and a big smile.
Around midnight, a cold wind arose and blew in the tops of the trees around the old woman's house. A large black cloud crept over the moon and from deep in the woods a hollow voice called out, "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
Inside the house, the old woman stirred uneasily in her bed and nervously pulled the covers up over her ears. She forced herself back to sleep.
Something stomped from the woods as the wind whistled and jerked at the treetops. In the clearing at the edge of the forest, the same hollow voice said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
Inside the house, the old woman shuddered and turned over in her sleep.
A, stomping sound stopped outside the cottage. The night creatures shivered in their burrows as a hollow voice howled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
The old woman snapped awake and with her heart pounding and her stomach clenching, she leaped out of bed, she ran to the door and barred it. Knowing her cottage was secure, she lay back down to sleep.
The front door burst open with a bang, snapping the bar in two and sending it flying into the corners of the room. The sound of giant feet stomping up the stair came to the old woman’s ears. Shaking, she peeped out from under the covers. A massive figure filed her doorway. "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
The old woman bolted upright and screamed: "I ATE your hairy toe!"
"Yes, you did," the giant figure said as it advanced into the room. It grabbed her.
No one living in the region ever saw the old woman again. The only clue to her disappearance came from a giant footprint pressed deep into the loose soil of the meadow beside the house. The footprint was missing the left big toe.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Catch Me at the Science Fiction Yard Sale This Saturday, May 23rd (Rain Date: May 30th)

I will be selling and signing copies of my nonfiction ghost books and some of my fiction (like Spectre Nightmares and Visitations) and Paranormal World Seekers DVDs at Starfleet Atlantic's Science Fiction Yard Sale this upcoming Saturday, May 23rd, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Rain-date is May 30th (but so far it has been on the date it is set first for years, so pray no rain during the daytime). The address of the free and open the public event is 4844 Linshaw Lane, Virginia Beach, Va. 23445. For directions or other information: 757-499-2359. There will be plenty of other vendors too.  And I will also have some used books, clothing, and collectibles, (plus a used Epson printer) for yard sale prices.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Supernatural Friday: What's Scary on Your Reading List This Summer?

Mrmorial Day Weekend is a week away. People will be thinking of swimming as the pools open and others head for three days at the beach. Daytime will last until 8:30 p.m. And yet, people read scary reads even though Halloween is still about five months away. Horror books are as good a read for the beach or to read indoors in the AC as that latest bestseller by James Patterson.

What is horror? Horror fiction, horror literature and also horror fantasy is a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, scare or startle viewers/readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society. The genre has ancient origins which were reformulated in the 18th century as Gothic horror, with publication of the Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole.

So, see you can even take on the old classics. Like Dracula by Bram Stoker, H P. Lovecraft’s tales, those scary tales by Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson ghost story, The Haunting of Hill House, and many others. Today, horror has changed into many different ways. From urban fantasy. psychological, to gory fiction to weird, science fiction horror, paranormal romance, and Johnny-come-lately term, cozy horror (can being scared ever be called cozy?) not unlike cozy mysteries. 
So many ways to read yourself shuddering palpitations of the heart.

What are you reading, or what other scary books are you planning to read this summer? Leave a comment, so others can find these great reads in their local library, or at their bookstore or online estore.
Happy Haunting. . .I mean Reading!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Author Interview for Women in Horror Plus I Have a Giveaway

Monday, May 11, 2015

Upcoming Interview May 13, 2015

I want to apologized about no Supernatural Friday this past Friday, but been in layout for my fifth nonfiction ghost book, Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area, that has been available for preorders since January and releases August 28th. Supernatural Friday returns this Friday.

I will be interviewed for "Women in Horror" this Wednesday, May 13th, at Author M.F. Wahl's blog. You can read past women horror authors and listen to their videos at the link, until mine is available to read and listen to. I will also have a giveaway of a signed copy of my collection of horror and dark fantasy tales, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations when the interview goes live that you can win.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Supernatural Friday: May Day/Beltane-Let's Dance Around the May Pole


May 1st is the first day of May. But it is more than that. I remeber in sixth grade, we dressed up and danced around a may pole at the elementary school I attended in San Diego. It was all about dancing around a pole with ribbons. It goes back to Beltane and pagan rites.

With the Roman invasions of Western Europe and Britain, much of the symbolism and rites of the Floralia and Beltane became entwined -- eventually becoming the holiday we now call May Day or Walpurgis.  The custom of going 'a-maying', collecting flowers, greenery and the maypole early on the morning of May 1, survives virtually intact to this day. Same are the balefires in Britain, Germany, and other countries of Europe.  The sexual aspect of the holiday, however, has become almost extinct in many countries.  The festivities were viewed as sinful by some Christian leaders, and in 1644, the celebration was banned by the Puritan-controlled Parliament in Britain.

Druids and their successors raised the Beltane fires on hilltops throughout the British Isles on May Eve. These fires were lit in order to bring the sun’s light down to earth. In Scotland, every fire in the household was extinguished, and the great fires lit from the need-fire kindled three times by three men, using wood from nine sacred trees. When the wood burst into flames, it proclaimed the triumph of the light over the dark half of the year.

Then people thrust brands into the newly roaring flames and whirled them about their heads in imitation of the circling of the sun. As the sun rose at dawn, those who had stayed up to watch it might see it whirl three times upon the horizon before rising in all its summer glory.

Beltane was also considered one of the three "spirit-nights" of the year when the faeries could be seen. Stories talk that at dusk, one must twist a rowan sprig into a ring and look through it, so that you might see one of them, or more.
Veils between  the mortal world and other worlds are claimed to be thin on this day (like All Hallow’s Eve), and it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve, the Fairy Queen tries to entice people away to the land of the Faeries. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you might see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of her horse's bells as she rides on her night ride. The legend also says if you hide your face, she will pass by, but if taking one glance at her may have her choose her to go with her. A Scottish ballad called Thomas the Rhymer, tells of this, in which Thomas chooses to go with the Queen and never seen afterwards.

According to old folklore, May is not a favorable time for marriages in the legal and permanent sense. References in the old books of this belief, say woe is to had by those who do marry during this month. One reason might be is May is the pagan handfasting month.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Supernatural Friday: The Raven Said, "What the Nevermore?"

In honor of Ravencon that I will be at later today and rest of the weekend, I will blog about myths and legends of the raven.

Because of its black plumage, croaking call, and diet of carrion, ravens has long been considered birds of ill omen and of interest to creators of myths and legends.

The raven is the national bird of Bhutan, and it adorns the royal hat, representing the deity Gonpo Jarodonchen (Mahakala with a Raven's head; one of the important guardian deities of Bhutanese culture.).  As a carrion bird, ravens became associated with the dead and with lost souls. In Sweden they are known as the ghosts of murdered persons.
In Irish mythology ravens are associated with warfare and the battleground in the figures of Badb and Morrígan. The goddess An Morrígan alighted on the hero Cú Chulainn's shoulder in the form of a raven after his death. 

Ravens were also associated with the Welsh god Bran the Blessed (the brother of Branwen), whose name translates to "raven." According to the Mabinogion, Bran's head was buried in the White Hill of London as a talisman against invasion. The name of the god, Lugh, is also derived from a Celtic word for "raven." He is the god of the sun, and the creator of the arts and sciences.  He is depicted as giant and the King of the Britons in tale known as the Second Branch of the Mabinogi. Several other characters in Welsh mythology share his name, and ravens figure prominently in the 12th or 13th century text The Dream of Rhonabwy, as the army of King Arthur's knight Owain.

According to legend, the Kingdom of England will fall if the ravens of the Tower of London are removed. It had been thought that there have been at least six ravens in residence at the tower for centuries. It was said that Charles II ordered their removal following complaints from John Flamsteed, the Royal Astronomer. However, they were not removed because Charles was then told of the legend. Charles, following the time of the English Civil War, superstition or not, was not prepared to take the chance, and instead had the observatory moved to Greenwich.

The earliest known reference to a Tower raven is a picture in the newspaper The Pictorial World in 1883.[  This and scattered subsequent references, both literary and visual, which appear in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, place them near the monument commemorating those beheaded at the tower, popularly known as the “scaffold.” This strongly suggests that the ravens, which are notorious for gathering at gallows, were originally used to dramatize tales of imprisonment and execution at the tower told to tourists by the Yeomen Warders. There is evidence that the original ravens were donated to the tower by the Earls of Dunraven perhaps because of their association with the Celtic raven-god Bran. However wild ravens, which were once abundant in London and often seen around meat markets (such as nearby Eastcheap) feasting for scraps, could have roosted at the Tower in earlier times. 

During the Second World War, most of the Tower's ravens perished through shock during bombing raids, leaving only a mated pair named "Mabel" and "Grip." Shortly before the Tower reopened to the public, Mabel flew away, leaving Grip despondent. A couple of weeks later, Grip also flew away, probably in search of his mate. The incident was reported in several newspapers, and some of the stories contained the first references in print to the legend that the British Empire would fall if the ravens left the tower. Since the Empire was dismantled shortly afterward, those who are superstitious might interpret events as a confirmation of the legend. Before the tower reopened to the public on 1 January 1946, care was taken to ensure that a new set of ravens was in place.
To the Germanic peoples, Odin was often associated with ravens. Examples include depictions of figures often identified as Odin appear flanked with two birds on a 6th century bracteate and on a 7th century helmet plate from Vendel, Sweden. In later Norse mythology, Odin is depicted as having two ravens Huginn and Muninn serving as his eyes and ears – Huginn being referred to as thought and Muninn as memory. Each day the ravens fly out from Hliðskjálf and bring Odin news from Midgard.

The Old English word for a raven was hræfn; in Old Norse it was hrafn; the word was frequently used in combinations as a kenning for bloodshed and battle.
The raven also has a prominent role in the mythologies of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, including the Tsimishian, Haida, Heiltsuk, Tlingit, Kwakwaka'wakw, Coast Salish, Koyukons, and Inuit. The raven in these indigenous peoples' mythology is the Creator of the world, but it is also considered a trickster god.[ For instance, in Tlingit culture, there are two different raven characters which can be identified, although they are not always clearly differentiated. One is the creator raven, responsible for bringing the world into being and who is sometimes considered to be the individual who brought light to the darkness. The other is the childish raven, always selfish, sly, conniving, and hungry. When the Great Spirit created all things he kept them separate and stored in cedar boxes. The Great Spirit gifted these boxes to the animals who existed before humans. When the animals opened the boxes all the things that comprise the world came into being. The boxes held such things as mountains, fire, water, wind and seeds for all the plants. One such box, which was given to Seagull, contained all the light of the world. Seagull coveted his box and refused to open it, clutching it under his wing. All the people asked Raven to persuade Seagull to open it and release the light. Despite begging, demanding, flattering and trying to trick him into opening the box, Seagull still refused. Finally Raven became angry and frustrated, and stuck a thorn in Seagull's foot. Raven pushed the thorn in deeper until the pain caused Seagull to drop the box. Then out of the box came the sun, moon and stars that brought light to the world and allowed the first day to begin.

In the Talmud, the raven is described as having been only one of three beings on Noah's Ark that copulated during the flood and so was punished. The Rabbis believed that the male raven was forced to ejaculate his seed into the female raven's mouth as a means of reproduction. Interestingly according to the Icelandic Landnámabók – a story similar to Noah and the Ark, Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarson used ravens to guide his ship from the Faroe Islands to Iceland.