Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trick-Or-Treat (Happy Halloween!)

The below flash fiction belongs to Pamela K. Kinney and is copyrighted to her only, so please share thr blog link to your friends and not take off this blog to put on yours, or on forums or websites. Thank you.

Janie and Bobby dressed in costumes, trudged up the sidewalk as they passed other similarly dressed children. It was Halloween, their favorite time of the year. When all children could go door to door, knock, and candy were poured into their waiting bags after yelling, ‘trick or treat.’ If the adult refused, the kids could play tricks on them and get away with it.

Janie and Bobby loved the treats, but they loved doing the tricks even more. They loved doing nasty, terrible tricks.

“It is tradition,” Mama told them. If the adults gave them candy, then fine and dandy, don’t do anything. But for that one who said, “No treats for you here, now go away!” they had permission to go ahead and do what their family had been doing since the early 1900s.

Janie and Bobby couldn’t wait. For the past couple of years they hadn’t been able to play any of their tricks, as every door they had knocked at the owners handed over candy, fruit, popcorn balls, tiny toys, and money. But when they woke up this morning, they sensed that this night would be different. They would finally be just like the rest of their family.

Nothing happened so far. Both of their bags laden heavy with the fruits of their labor, they stopped before the white picket fence that surrounded the yard of a pretty white Cape Cod home. It looked normal and so . . . suburbia.

This was it. They felt it. They would finally get what was owed them. They couldn’t wait.

Janie and Bobby tipped up their masks and looked at each other, shark grins flashing on their sweet, chubby faces. They pushed the gate open and wandered up the leaf strewn path to the front door. No Halloween decorations shown anywhere and no lit Jack-O-Lantern greeted them, just the closed door, painted a cheery blue.

They knocked and waited.

The door opened without one creak, and a little old lady stood on the other side. Her white hair was swept up in a bun and she wore a cheerful flowered print top and white pants. She peered at them, then blinked her eyes behind tortoiseshell glasses.

“Sorry,” she said, “but I forgot to buy candy to give out tonight.”

Bobby grinned. “That’s okay. We rather not have any treats. Tricks are oh so much cooler.” He tossed aside his bag and the sweets scattered across the front stoop.

He lifted his real axe. He had dressed as serial killer on purpose this morning. His sister was garbed as Lizzie Borden, her own axe gripped tight in her fist. She dropped her own bag and raised it high above her head.

The old lady stepped closer and smiled. “I know. I’ve been waiting for you, my dears. Human killers are not very smart. Not when inhuman ones have perfected their own bag of tricks for eons. My kind has been hunting their prey the hard way for centuries. Many still do. Not me though, I found a much easier way. Usually I decorate my place to attract regular human children on this night, but when I moved here and heard of the murders that been going on in this town for a very long time, I devised a different tactic.” She giggled. “It’s justice for the humans in this town after all and delivery food for me.”

Her face cracked and it split apart, falling to the floor. The rest of the body followed. Amidst the scattered pieces of the flesh, a giant shaggy wolf-like creature stood on clawed hind feet. It snatched both children to its breast. Bobby and Janie screamed, but the sounds were cut off when they were taken indoors and the door slammed shut behind them.


Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle Reviewed at Hanging Off The Wire-Giveaway of My Book Too

Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations
was reviewed at Hanging Off the Wire Blog . Check that out and either 1. Follow the blog via GFC, the newsletter, or Networked Blogs. or 2. "Join" Pamela K. Kinney on Facebook, or 3. Promote this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc. to be entered to win the copy of the book, too. Ofr do all three. Of course, l ave her a comment which you did, or if did all three. Giveaway ends November 6th. Hanging Off the Wire

What the reviewer said:

I wasn't expecting to get spooked by this book, but, well, I sort of did. I loved learning the history of Virginia, since some of my ancestors hail from there. And I love ghost stories, so this book was right up my alley. The photographs that go along with the chapters in this book are amazing and really help you to envision what you are reading. The book is gorgeously put together, and well laid out. Anyone interested in history and ghosts will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Legend of Stingy Jack

Come now, friends and fiends, and enjoy the following  tale behind the jack-o-lantern. Every October, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world. Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns”—the name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack—originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities. One day down and counting to. . . HALLOWEEN!

Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who loved playing tricks on anyone and everyone. One dark, Halloween night, Jack ran into the Devil himself in a local public house. Jack tricked the Devil by offering his soul in exchange for one last drink. The Devil quickly turned himself into a sixpence to pay the bartender, but Jack immediately snatched the coin and deposited it into his pocket, next to a silver cross that he was carrying. Thus, the Devil could not change himself back and Jack refused to allow the Devil to go free until the Devil had promised not to claim Jack's soul for ten years.

The Devil agreed, and ten years later Jack again came across the Devil while out walking on a country road. The Devil tried collecting what he was due, but Jack thinking quickly, said, "I'll go, but before I do, will you get me an apple from that tree?"

The Devil, thinking he had nothing to lose, jumped up into the tree to retrieve an apple. As soon as he did, Jack placed crosses all around the trunk of the tree, thus trapping the Devil once again. This time, Jack made the Devil promise that he would not take his soul when he finally died. Seeing no way around his predicament, the Devil grudgingly agreed.

When Stingy Jack eventually passed away several years later, he went to down to Hell to see the Devil, but the Devil kept the promise that had been made to Jack years earlier, and would not let him enter.

Thinking, Ah, Heaven will surely let me in then!, he wandered up to the Gates of Heaven, but was refused entrance because of his life of drinking and because he had been so tight-fisted and deceitful.
Jack went back to Hell to see the Devil.

"Where can I go?" asked Jack.

"Back to where you came from!" replied the Devil. "You doomed yourself to roam the earth, a restless soul who can find no rest ever." Lucifer tossed him a turnip and a ember straight from the fires of Hell itself. "Here, hollow out this turnip and place this ember inside. Use its light to find your way through eternity." 

And to this day, Jack wanders, never stopping in one place, a hauntingly lost soul, who learned you never ever really beat the Devil at his own game.

Friday, October 28, 2011

There Be Vampires in Virginia!

I write fiction, but I also write nonfiction ghost books. My ghost books have more than ghosts or ghostly myths and legends, as Virginia is also rich in tales about werewolves, Sasquatch, UFOs, and much more, just like any other state. There are even vampire stories. For my first book, Haunted Richmond, Virginia, I discovered a vampire in Richmond. The Richmond Vampire even has a Facebook Page .

On October 2, 1925 the railroad dug the Church Hill railroad tunnel. After three o’clock in the afternoon, a worker, Campbell heard a brick fall, then another and another, then a terrible crackling noise sounded along the tunnel roof and he dashed for safety. The roof crashed down behind him. The combined sounds of earth, bricks, timber, and the screams of trapped men were loud and horrifying. Lights in the tunnel flickered and went out, and crew members and laborers rushed for the exits. Some made out of the western entrance, which was only a few hundred yards away, but the others scrambled for the eastern one, nearly a mile away. Engineer Mason became trapped in the cab. Fireman B. F. Mosby managed to crawl underneath ten flat cars and escaped the tunnel, only to die that night from burns he received from the steam of the locomotive. It is said it is undetermined how many actually perished in the tunnel. Today, one of the two sealed entrances is at the end of the former Richmond Cold Storage, now being rebuilt into apartments.

Besides the ghost stories connected to this horrible tragedy, is the legend of the Richmond Vampire that has the vampire as some strange creature that had dug its way out of the Church Hill train tunnel cave-in and was found over a victim, his mouth covered in blood. He had jagged teeth, plus decomposing skin hanging off his arms and legs. The creature took off and ran all then way to Hollywood Cemetery, followed by pursuers, where he hid in a crypt marked W.W. Poole. This is obviously an urban legend, with a basis in fact. The creature was in reality a fireman, Benjamin F. Mosby, burned almost beyond recognition. He had been rushed to Grace Hospital, dying 24 hours later. An interesting offshoot from this was the saying that going to Hollywood meant you were dying.

This vamp is not the only vampire connected with Virginia, when I wrote Haunted Virginia: Legends,Myths and True Tales. I discovered stories of bodies resurrected from their graves by grave robbers in Northern Virginia; one of them had two ridges around the wrist of each arm—speculation said vampire. Another story concerned Sir Thomas Lunsford had been accused of being a child eater back in England. Of course, when he came to the New Country, he lived a quiet life until his death in Port Royal. The last vampire I believed was real—as a serial killer. A European named Rupp moved to Big Stone Gap in the 1890s. It was determined he was killing and eating those who had disappeared by finding body parts in his cabin. He was never caught, but is said to haunt the area.

Whether real or made up, vampires stalk Virginia. Besides the cardinal as a state bird and dogwood as state flower and tree, maybe we need a state vampire? Don’t you think the Richmond Vampire would make a great candidate?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Supernatural Friday: Halloween Macabre

The below poem belongs to Pamela K. Kinney and is copyrighted to her only, so please share thr blog link to your friends and not take off this blog to put on yours, or on forums or websites. Thank you.

Darkness spills

its ink across the sky,

Jack-o-lanterns on porches and fences

shine golden light

A cackle,

and a shadow flies against the crescent moon:

It’s a witch on a broom!

Black cat’s yellow eyes are all

you can see in the night

A low hoot calls from a tree,

and an owl swoops down. Scattering leaves.

Childish laughter,

adults’ murmurings,

and doorbell chimes,

It’s Halloween.

An icy breeze swirls around

costumed bodies, causing shivers,

But is the cold,

or something more?

Misty, ghostly forms danced

across neighborhood lawns,

Voices on the air

None mortal,

More shadows flood out

the moon in the sky,

And jack-o-lantern light

blinks out

Children dragging bags of candy

are led by parents

Into safety of homes,

doors and windows locked tight.

All Hallows Eve

now belongs

to its rightful owners,

Let the dance macabre begin!

Ghosts Are Amongst Us

They haunt right alongside us, around us, and in places you never think would be haunted. They can be where the least you expect them. And spirits are not “trick ponies,” they will not perform on cue every night or day, so invisible, they might still be there, leaving you a feeling of being watched or even dread. Though the dread may be unintentional, as the phantom may not be evil (though there are times a bad one may be there), but your own psychic attention may give you that.

What are spirits? Where did the words come from?

In traditional belief, a ghost is the soul of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestations, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely: The mode of manifestation in photos or seen by the living’s eyes can range from an invisible presence, shadow people, translucent or wispy shapes, and orbs, to realistic, life-like visions—solids. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as a séance. Paranormal investigators use equipment to find proof of paranormal activity and to make contact with phantoms.

In many tales, ghosts were often thought to be deceased people looking for vengeance, or imprisoned on earth for bad things they did during life. The appearance of a ghost has often been regarded as an omen or portent of death. Seeing one's own ghostly double or "fetch" is a related omen of death.

Another widespread belief concerning apparitions are that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material. Early beliefs were that ghosts were the person within the person (the person's spirit), most noticeable in ancient cultures as a person's breath, which upon exhaling in colder climates appears visibly as a white mist. This belief may have also fostered the metaphorical meaning of "breath" in certain languages, such as the Latin spiritus and the Greek pneuma, which by analogy became extended to mean the soul. In the Bible, God is depicted as animating Adam with a breath.

Ghosts are also termed spook, spirits, phantoms, fetch, haint (a common feature of southern oral and literary tradition), wraith, revenant, apparition, spectre, shade, and entity. Poltergeist, German for a “noisy spirit,” is for a spirit said to manifest itself by invisibly moving and influencing objects. The Bell Witch was considered a poltergeist.

Most times, a poltergeist is just mischievous, though there instances of it being sinister, not unlike the Bell Witch. Was the Bell Witch a poltergeist or more along demonic lines? Good question. It was an entity that tormented a pioneer family that lived in what was then Red River, Tennessee in 1817-1827 ( Red River is now known as Adams, Tennessee). It was substantiated by eyewitness accounts (other than the family), affidavits, and manuscripts written by those who witness the phenomenon. More about this interesting tale can be found in author Pat Fitzhugh, The Bell Witch: The Full Account.

Besides the poltergeist phenomena, there are three other types of hauntings. First are residual hauntings. These are a recorded playback of what happened in the past. Maybe it could even be a time warp (one idea of mine, though I can’t prove this, but who knows, a feasible one like any other theory). There is no interaction with the living -- the ghost does not see or hear you because the ghost is not actually there. Only his/her energy remains, it is a remnant of his living form that you are seeing, just like when you watch a video. This cycle continues in the same place at usually the same time of day or year indefinitely until the energy is exhausted or diminishes to a low enough level that it is undetectable by human perception. One account of residual hauntings are the Union soldiers marching into Centre Hill Mansion in Petersburg, Virginia every year at certain time on January 24th. An interesting fact about the steps the soldiers march up is that they are not even the original staircase from the Civil War era, but new ones put in by Charles Davis. And yet, like clockwork, the soldiers march up those steps at the same time each January 24th.  None died, but after the fall of Petersburg, Centre Hill became occupied by Union troops, led by General George L. Hartsuff. President Abraham Lincoln visited Centre Hill on April 3, 1865 to go over the local situation with General Hartsuff. This meeting took place only eleven days before Lincoln’s assassination. 

The museum holds a Ghost Walk that you can reserve by calling the Petersburg Visitors Business Center at either (804) 733-2400 or 1-800-368-3595 after the first of January for prices and times. Do it quick and call early to reserve your spot as they fill up fast.

Traditional, or intelligent, hauntings are the second. Whether actual human spirits that had not crossed over into heaven and had some unfinished business with a living person, or a message they wanted to deliver before they could move on, or even those that just want to stay in a place they lived in life or be on our plane of existence (more and more, I suspect they can travel back and forth between here and the “other side.” These ghosts will unlock doors and open windows, run the faucets and even interact with you directly because they are an "intelligent" presence, the personality of a person who was once alive but has stayed behind rather than passing over.

The third type of haunting, and undoubtedly the most frightening, is a demonic, or inhuman, haunting. To me personally, I think when a human was evil in life, they too would be considered under demonic. There have been stories of where priests have gone in to exorcise a possessed person, and instead of a inhuman demon, this one claims to be the parent or someone alive once, tormenting the person.

The entity is similar to a traditional haunting because the spirit is intelligent and are existing in the present moment with you. These spirits are malevolent and hostile, suffering from psychological instability or distress stemming from an unresolved conflict with the people who are being subjected to the demonic activity. Demonic presences tend to be ‘unleashed' in order for them to manifest. This is one reason why the use of an Ouija Board is customarily discouraged among many ghost hunters. So if you find one in the game section of the store, don’t buy one. Not understanding and without protection, one can open up a portal, letting in things they can not handle and most times, demonic in nature.

With Halloween nearly here, ghosts are more so on people’s minds. When you step out into the night for that Halloween party or that haunted house or trails attraction, do be unnerved if you see shadows move in the darkness. It may be just shadow people. Spirits roam Halloween as it is said the opening from the “Other Side” is more so on certain days of the years then the rest. And they want to party just like the living—right?

Again, it may be your imagination, least, you tell yourself that. Then again. . . wait. . .is those shadows closer than before? Watch out—

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Bunnyman, the Urban Legend

There are urban legends of the man with the hook in Lover’s Lane,  the Halloween campus murder, the babysitter story, and many more of serial killers that are not real. Or are they? But the Bunnyman is unique in that he wears a bunny costume.

The myth first popped up in 1976. It had the Bunnyman responsible for the deaths of two children in Clifton, Virginia. Rumors of the disappearance of other children, plus the horrible mutilations of animals, circulated during the telling of the story that same year. No one dared go out at night, especially not near the bridge where this psycho is supposed to be hanging around.

In 1992, more was added to the tale of the Bunnyman, where murdered children hang from a covered bridge and the supposed killer is an inmate escapee dressed in a bunny suit. The Bunnyman earned his nickname because he nourished himself on rabbits while perused by the police. Other variations of the tale had him hunting rabbits and using their pelts to make clothing for himself.

Years later, when people began to use the Internet, this terrifying legend got new rebirth. One widely circulated version on the Net has inmates from an insane asylum escaped in 1904 while being transferred to Lorton prison. One of the inmates was named Douglas J. Grifon. He murdered fellow inmate Marcus Wallster. He became the Bunnyman. The location, plus the names of several victims Grifon killed as the Bunnyman and dates of their murders are mentioned and says anyone can check the Clifton Town Library to verify the facts. Facts that are not true.

There’s no insane asylum in Fairfax County. Lorton Prison never came to be until 1910. And when it did, it was part of the District of Columbia corrections system, not Virginia’s. Neither Wallster nor Grifon appeared in any court records, and there is no Clifton Town Library.

More is added to this tale of this murderer dressed as a Bugs Bunny from Hell. It says that a note found on the inmate, Marcus, who supposedly was found hanging from the tunnel entrance beneath Bunnyman Bridge. The words on the paper written, "You'll never find me no matter how hard you try! Signed, The Bunnyman."

It is claimed that if you walk all the way down the tunnel at around midnight (which believe me isn’t much of a walk, as I’ve been there), the Bunnyman will snatch you before you get a word out and hang you from the entrance of the bridge. Then you’ll swing back and forth like a Halloween decoration left over after the spooky night itself.

Another story told in 2001 has a guide and six local students (no mention if they were in high school or college) had found parts of mutilated rabbits strewn around, heard noises, and thought they saw figures moving in the woods. Frightened, they left the area.

There are many stories told by young people about Bunnyman. The Internet is a great breeding ground for the Bunnyman legend where once it was spread by word of mouth, except now the world learns of this scary being, where before it was just the localities of Northern Virginia and lower Maryland.

In Reston, Virginia, there used to be a dirt road leading off of Sunset Hills Road, just before it intersected with Reston Avenue. The kids in town knew that it led to the Bunnyman’s house. Supposedly, one Halloween night he dressed up in a bunny costume, shot his wife and kids, then opened the door to trick-or-treaters all night with the corpses of his family still in the house.

Another tale has a guy in a bunny costume standing in the middle of the road at the bottom of a hill in Clifton. As cars came down the hill, he would throw an ax at the vehicle and somehow, he always killed the person or persons inside.

There’s the tale of a mental patient that escaped from a bus transporting patients when it crashed in the woods near the bridge. The authorities were called in, but when they searched for the man, they never found him. Later, carcasses of rabbits began to be found, scattered around the bridge. It seems that the mental patient was living in the woods, surviving off of the meat of the rabbits. But when they discovered some teenagers gutted and hanging from the bridge, the local authorities put out a manhunt for "the Bunnyman,” as the local children called him. The story goes that they eventually caught up with him. Just as they were about to apprehend the Bunnyman, though, he jumped in front of a train roaring down the tracks. Since then, it is said that the Bunnyman’s spirit haunts the bridge, and that on Halloween at midnight, his spirit becomes visible right over the bridge that bears his name. Drunken teenagers can always be found at the base of the bridge at midnight on Halloween, waiting to see if the spirit of Bunnyman will appear.

Another take on the legend has a young man from Clifton, Virginia who came upon the bridge while traveling. Later, he killed his parents and dragged their bodies into the woods to hang them from the bridge, and then committed suicide. In 1943, three teenagers, two men and a young woman, went to the Bunnyman Bridge on Halloween night. The next morning they were found dead, hung from the bridge, their bodies slashed open. Notes were found attached to their feet, with the words written," You'll never catch the Bunnyman!"

One witness claims to his own personal experiences with Bunnyman Bridge. He has been out there about a dozen times, since it’s about fifteen minutes from his house. Most of the time, he and his friends hang around the bridge, waiting to see if anything would happen. Nothing does, but they feel as if someone or something is watching them. Even though the bridge is located about twenty-five miles from Washington D.C., it is still in the middle of nowhere. Only a few houses nestle within the woods that surround the bridge and railroad tracks. If you drive through the tunnel, only one car at a time, as it is small. The last time he and his buddies went out there, they heard voices that came from the woods, whispers that sounded as if they originated twenty feet from where the young men stood. Frightened, they bolted.

So scary is the Bunnyman, that he inspired a cult horror flick, Donnie Darko.

To read more bout the truth and more about the Bunnyman, check out my book, Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales, published by Schiffer Publishing. Buy it at AMAZON, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, and other brick and motar bookstores and online places.

The next time you decide to check out Bunnyman’s Bridge, especially on Halloween night, watch out for rabbits. Especially if one of those bunnies looks bigger than normal, and after standing up, and suddenly is clutching an axe: RUN!

My Book Signings in Richmond Wednesday the 26th and Thursday the 27th

I will be signing my new release, Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations, along with my first two nonfiction ghost books at Libbie's Barnes and Noble 5501 W. Broad Street Richmond, Virginia 23230 804-282-0781 on Wednesday, October 26th, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

On Thursday, Oct. 27th, I will be signing my new release, Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations, along with my first two nonfiction ghost books at Barnes and Noble at Chesterfield Towne Center 11500 Midlothian Turnpike Richmond, Virginia 23235 804-794-6640 , from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beware of the Devil Monkeys!

Thus begins for days leading up to Halloween on ghosts, monsters, the Bunnyman and other serial killer urban legends, and other terrifying things. Then on Halloween, there will be a special Halloween horror fiction of mine for all to enjoy.

Today, we'll talk about a Southern legendary monster, the devil monkey. Devil monkeys are described as baboon-like creatures able to leap like kangaroos. They have dark, “mean” eyes, pointed ears, short to shaggy fur that varies from red to gray to black, and large flat feet. Ranging in height from three to eight feet, it is said that they won’t back down, even from dogs, and although thought to be vegetarians, there are stories told of them killing livestock and small game. They exhibit a range of primate hoots, calls, screeches, whistles, and unearthly screams, and have an odor so bad, they have been also called Skunk Apes. It has been seen in the area of the Appalachian  Mountains to even in British Columbia.

A cryptozoologist, Chad Arment, investigated the sightings of these creatures that one Virginia family and their friends had experiences with. This occurred from 1959-1990s, in the mountains that surround Saltville.

Paranormal investigators Pauline and James Boyd’s parents were attacked in 1959 by a creature that left three scratch marks on their car. Not long after, a couple of nurses were driving home when an unknown animal attacked their vehicle, ripping the convertible’s top off. Badly shaken, they escaped otherwise unharmed.

Friends of Pauline saw one of these creatures trotting across the road in front of their car. It leaped over a ditch, glided over a fence, and bounded through weeds along the road.

Other sightings have occurred as recently as 2001, when a giant black monkey was seen nine different times over the course of two weeks in rural New Hampshire. It has even been told that a search party was formed to track one of these they thought was a devil monkey, but that the dogs refused to follow the trail.

Another beast, the "Belt Road Booger” was encountered by several people in Georgia in the 1970s. It was thought this might have been a devil monkey. The Nalusa Flaya of Choctaw legend bears a strong physical resemblance to the devil monkey, though the devil monkey does not appear to have any of the supernatural abilites attributed to this legendary monster.

 What are these devil monkeys? Some people think devil monkeys are feral monkeys released into the wild or escaped from research facilities, such as the ones that broke free in Florida due to Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Cryptozoologists think that are a surviving species once thought to be extinct, like a fruit-eating spider monkey originating from Brazil, or a large baboon that lived 650,000 years ago in East Africa. Maybe they could even be a sort of Sasquatch?  Or could these beasties be nothing more than an illusion? Whatever devil monkeys are, they are a fascinating tale to tell on Halloween around the hearth fire or around a campfire.

In 1996, a woman named Barbara Mullins was driving down a stretch of road in Louisiana known as Highway 12 when she noticed something odd on the side of the road. At first Mullins through the carcass she had found was that of a dog, that was until she saw it’s baboon like features. Mullins snapped several pictures of the carcass with her camera; the resulting images have been the topic of much debate in the cryptozoology world. The creature was described as being about the size of a large adult Saint Bernard and covered with a think coat of dark wooly hair. It's most notable attribute was its decidedly simian features, extended feet, and small, presumably pointed ears. I went to the website with the pictures and concluded myself it was nothing more than some dog, maybe gone feral. To me, there was nothing ape-like or monkey-like in the dead animal's appearance.

Was that a screech you heard in the night? Beware, it just might be the. . .devil monkey!

Ten Scary Books to Read

Autumn brings a chill to the air and shadows of darkness block out the light earlier as evening draws near. This is a good time of the year to stockpile books and read indoors. Most of all, it's October and Halloween is fast approaching. So the reader wants something frightening to devour. I have many favorites, but I will only do ten here. If you want others to know your own suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: A 1959 novel by author Shirley Jackson. Finalist for the National Book Award and considered one of the best literary ghost stories published during the twentieth century, it has been made into two feature films and a play. Jackson's novel relies on terror rather than horror to elicit emotion by the reader, utilizing complex relationships between the mysterious events in the house and the characters’ psyches. This is also the only book to scare me in the daytime, in a room full of people.

2. Ghost Story by Peter Straub: For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past -- and get away with murder.

3. Hell House by Ricard Matheson: Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums, one physical and one mental, $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death.
Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine, which has been abandoned and sealed since 1949 after a decade of drug addiction, alcoholism, and debauchery. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townfolks refer to it as the Hell House.

4. It by Stephen King: A promise made twenty-eight years ago calls seven adults to reunite in Derry, Maine, where as teenagers they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city's children. Unsure that their Losers Club had vanquished the creature all those years ago, the seven had vowed to return to Derry if IT should ever reappear. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that summer return as they prepare to do battle with the monster lurking in Derry's sewers once more.

5. Salem's Lot by Stephen King: For vampire fans. Author Ben Mears returns to ‘Salem's Lot to write a book about a house that has haunted him since childhood only to find his isolated hometown infested with vampires. While the vampires claim more victims, Mears convinces a small group of believers to combat the undead.

6. Dracula by Bram Stoker: An 1887 novel by Irish author, Bram Stoker. The classic vampire story revolves around a struggle between good and evil, tradition and modernity, and lust versus chastity. The author didn’t invent vampires, but his novel has so captured the public’s imagination that he is rightly considered their popularizer.

7. Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe: Of course, I would add Poe's works!

8. The Red Church by Scott Nicholson: A boy and a sheriff must solve the mystery of a haunted Appalachian church when a strange preacher returns to town. Stoker Award finalist

9. Phantoms by Dean Koontz: CLOSER… They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California.
AND CLOSER… At first they thought it was the work of a maniac. Or terrorists. Or toxic contamination. Or a bizarre new disease.
AND CLOSER… But then they found the truth. And they saw it in the flesh. And it was worse than anything any of them had ever imagined…

10. Wolfen by Whitley Stieber: This is out of print, but still my favorite werewolf novel. Do a search for it in your local used bookstores, or through Amazon or Only two people have grasped the full horror of the Wolfen--one man and one woman, both cops, locked in a strange passion of love, hate, and sheer terror.

Another author to read for his dark fantasy is Ray Bradbury. He even has some perfect for this time of the year. Just google his name or check for bhis books on Amazon or Barnes and

And if you're interested in reading any of my scary fiction, try Spectre Nightmares and Visitations: 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 houses. 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 pages into Spectre Nightmares and Visitations.
Just tell yourself that they're only stories.

Print at Amazon

EBook at Genre Connections

Sunday, October 23, 2011

20 Scary Movies for Halloween Viewing

It's that time of year--when people want to be frightened. Where they will dare to view scary films on television or by DVD.

I watched these kind of movies all year round, but more so at this time of the year. It's just a Halloween tradition for me (I read scary books too), just as Christmas films for December are, too. Below is twenty hauntingly scary films compiled for your viewing pleasure . . . or is that your viewing fear?

1. The Haunting (1963)--this film is just like the book it's based on--The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- is the only book to scare me in the daytime, in a room full of people.

2. Killer Klowns of Outer Space--this is a great film, where the clowns are actually aliens, out to take people, not to probe, but for food! And with humor thrown in, maybe those scared of clowns will even enjoy this. (By the way, there's supposed to be a sequel in 2012 (in 3D)-Killer Klowns from Outer Space 2).

3. American Werewolf in London-a great classic werewolf horror film, with touches of black humor.

4. Alien--Space, where no one can hear you scream. A haunted house movie set in outer space.

5. Halloween (1978)-not into slasher flicks, but this one was intense and down-right scary. Forget the fremake--watch the original.

6. The Lost Boys--a 1987 vampire flick that is mixed with a Peter Pan theme. Very good--unlike the sequels.

7. Dracula (1931)--another vampire movie--the star probably the most famous vampire in the Western world. I adored Bela Lugosi in the role, his accent and presence brought the Count to life for me. Read the novel by Bram Stoker--still one of the best vampire novels around.

8. The Blob (1958)--Actually Caltiki the Immortal Monster (some places the Undying Monster)-1959-- scared and creeped me out more--but still this is a cult clasic of a blob monster from outer space that consumes all life in its path as it grows bigger and bigger.

9. John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)--so like the short story, "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell that it scares me. The first version in 1951 starring James Arness as the alien was fine, but this was that short story brought well to the big screen.

10.  Ghost Story (1981)--based on the novel of the same name by Peter Straub, is a good ghost story. Four successful elderly gentlemen, members of the Chowder Society, share a gruesome, 50-year old secret. When one of Edward Wanderley's twin sons dies in a bizarre accident, the group begins to see a pattern of frightening events developing.

11. Dog Soldiers--a werewolf tale set in Scotland where a troop of English soldiers battle a family of werewolves. It's intense, has action, and one of tnhe better werewolf movies around.

12. The Howling (1981)--Another great werewolf movie.

13. Lady in White (1988)--a very good ghost story, where the ghosts aren't bad, but has for a villian a killer. Like something Stephen King would write, with a boy growing up in a small town, who encounters a ghost of a young girl who'd been murdered.

14. House on Hauntd Hill (1999)--a remake did made a super haunted house movie.

15. Descent (2005)--A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators. What makes this really terifying, is the tight places below earth is the setting for this film.

There are so much more movies that I like and would love to add--Ghostbusters, Mummy from the Thirties to Mummy starring Brendan Frazer, many, many more, but twenty is all I said I would put here in this post. So do leave comments on those you think people should watch.