Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Week: Halloween Is Here!: A Dark and Terrible Thing Is Coming!

"A Dark and Terrible Thing is Coming!"

It’s coming,
Like a terrible thing
It’s scary,
Dark, and with a toothy grin.

So you better beware,
Have everything ready
Decorate appropriately,
For the end is near.

Just remember one thing,
It only comes but once a year
Halloween, costumed in orange and black,
A mask upon its gruesome face
Ringing your doorbell with persistence,
Innocent child or demonic being
Feed it candy, just to be safe.
Trick or Treat.

I hoped you enjoyed this poem I wrote, "A Dark and Terrible Thing Is Coming!" It's an original poem and copyrighted to me, so do share the link with friends, not the poem, please. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Week: Day 3: At the Movies

Enjoy this short horror story set on Halloween. It's copyrighted, so don't copy and paste it elsewhere, but do share the link wit friends so people can come to my blog and read it.

"At the Movies"


Pamela K. Kinney

The mummy dragged its foot as it drew closer and closer. “Oh God, Chessie, you spilt your drink in my lap!” 
Shushes filled the theater. Chessie cringed as her sister leaped to her feet, her seat banging loudly as it hit the back. More shushes.
“I’m sorry, Jan. I’ll grab some paper towels from the restroom.”
Chessie jumped out of her seat and bolted out of the theater into the lobby. She raced into the women’s restroom and tore a handful of paper towels from a dispenser on the wall, soaking one with water. Back in the theater, she shoved them at her soda-soaked sister. Jan’s boyfriend, Bill, snorted with amusement.
Chessie sank into her seat. “I’m sorry, Jan. That scene in ‘The Mummy’s Hand’ scared me.”
Bill shook his head as Jan pat-dried her pants.
“You’re such an idiot, Chessie. I don’t know why Jan had to bring you.”
Jan said, “Because my mother said I had to. If the freak here would get some friends then I wouldn’t have to drag her with us.” She glared at her sister. “She’s such a loser that no one likes her.”
Chessie stared at the big screen and willed herself not to cry. She watched the mummy stalk a pretty girl in a long dress that apparently was some reincarnation of a dead Egyptian princess. She hadn’t wanted to spend part of her Halloween watching some dumb classic horror movie at the Majestic Theater anyway. Even if the costume she wore was a mummy. Strips of white cloth made the cheapest costume, or so her mother told her. She’d wanted to be a vampire or something way cooler, but no, she got to be a stupid mummy instead.
Because Jan had taken her to her middle school’s Halloween party, she let her sister bullied her to see the film afterwards. Bill and Jan rather have gone to see some gory horror flick at the Regal Cinema near them, but Mom told her no, because of Chessie being too young for something like that. Mom had seen the Majestic--a second-run movie theater, was holding a Halloween Classic Horror Film Festival. Her mother had picked ‘The Mummy’s Hand’ being early enough to get Chessie home before eleven o’clock.
Worse, she couldn’t eat any of the treats from the bag of candy she’d gotten at the party. Because she was scared one of the workers might see her munching on it, she hid it beneath her costume. It made her look like she had a pot belly.
“Aw crap, this ain’t workin’,” whined Bill. “Who cares about some old, cheesy black and white film about a mummy covered in dirty rags? There’s no gore. Let’s go over to my house and we can either play video games or listen to some music CDs. Or better yet, watch some Halloween stuff on TV. I think they got ‘Hellraiser’ on one of the channels.” He stood. Jan joined him, throwing the bunch of paper towels wadded up into a big ball at Chessie. Bill leaned over and dug under Chessie’s costume, snatching a chocolate bar from the hidden bag. “And Chessie, you not invited, either.”
Chessie huddled deeper into the seat as Bill headed to the back of the theater. Jan stared after him and turned to Chessie with a glare. "I'm going with him. You get on home and just tell Mom  I went over to Bill's after we saw you got inside the house. Tell her otherwise and you'll be sorry." She ran to catch up to her boyfriend.
Chessie fought back the tears threatening to spill. She’d be damned if she let even one tear fall.
I’m going to finish watching the movie. I’ll head home after it ends. Don’t worry about me, Jan.
“Like you even would,” she mumbled under her breath.
The girl watched the film, pretending interest and after a while, found the movie not half bad. No one dare to push the mummy around. Actually, no one ever push any of the monsters around. If some human tried, the monster either ate or killed the dummy. Chessie thought how she’d like to be like the mummy, big, scary, and taking nothing from no one.
I wish I could be an undead mummy. Then let my sister and everyone else try anything. I would . . . rip their heads off!
That’s when she noticed something odd about the film. The creature suddenly changed direction and picking up speed, looked like it headed for the audience. Which was absurd.
Chessie sat up. In another second the scene would change and the mummy would be back on track, attacking the movie victim it had been stalking.
But in slow motion, as if time had slowed down, the monster tore through the screen and landed on her. A musty odor shoved up her nostrils as she stared up at the bandaged face, noticing twin red lights. Not lights—had to be the mummy’s eyes. The mustiness changed to a cloying perfume that drifted into her nose and mouth. The mummy placed a bandage hand around her throat and began to squeeze. Her heart pounding inside her chest, she began to thrash as she tried to throw up the creature. She couldn’t understand why no one came to her aid.
Chessie screamed, wetting herself.
As suddenly as she’d been attacked, she found herself standing on her feet, her scream fading in the theater and others telling her to be quiet. She touched her throat and rubbed it, but it didn’t feel bruised. The perfume smell had disappeared. A glance at the movie screen and she saw the mummy back in the movie.
Embarrassed, Chessie raced out of the theater, keeping her eyes glued to the floor so she wouldn’t see the pity and anger in everyone’s eyes. Once again, she had been nothing more than a moron and a wuss. And she pied in her pants like a baby! She’d let her imagination get the better of her.
She took her bag of candy out and carrying it, walked away from the theater. After a while, the lights of downtown became darkened streets of homes. The only light—other than street lamps—came from the full moon riding the night sky like a bright diamond against black velvet. Its creamy whiteness grew even more brilliant, almost blinding her. She took her eyes away and focused, determined to get home where she could hide in her room and pig out on candy.
Out of nowhere, pain slammed into her. The bag of candy fell from stiffened fingers to the sidewalk.  Raging heat washed over her.  She screamed, clawing at the bandages covering her face. The agony grew so unbearable that she dropped to her knees and crawled over to the edge of the sidewalk next to the street and rolled over onto her back. The moon shone at her eyes, diamond-sharp in its brilliance. The light burned and she wanted to cover her eyes, but couldn’t move her hands or any other part of her body. Suddenly, her vision went black. The pain gone, instead her eyes felt soothing cold. She rolled over onto her stomach and stood. Still blind though. Her arms stuck out in front, taking one step, then another, suddenly she stumbled into a wall.
A wall? There been no wall that she remembered. One side had held fences and lawns of homes, the other was the street. She pressed her hand against the ‘wall’ and felt the surface give. Not made of brick or anything a wall might be made of. Where was she?
She called out. “Hello?” Her hello came out like a growl.
What the—?
She whipped around and yelled.
“Shoot it! Shoot that thing!”
Her vision returned. Two men, one with a gun, stood before her. A woman with long black hair and in a long dress hovered behind them. Fear masked the men’s faces, but not the woman’s. Chessie noticed that the people’s clothing were only black, white or gray. No other color. That’s when she saw everything around her, the woods—woods?—had no color, looking like a black and white movie.
The woman held out her arms. “Klaris!” She took a couple of steps, but the man without a gun grabbed her. She struggled in his arms.
“Shoot the mummy!” he yelled at the other man. “She thinks she’s some long dead Egyptian princess.”
What’s going on here? Why couldn’t she speak, only uttering growls?
Something zipped past her. Oh God. The man with the gun. . . he was shooting at her for real!
She wanted to turn tail and run. Only she lurched forward, dragging her one foot behind her.
Like the mummy in the old movie. She couldn’t make herself stop either. Just keep making for the men and the woman. Worse, the man with the gun kept shooting at her.
This has to be a nightmare.
Her foot struck a rock in her path. It hurt.
No, not a nightmare, the pain proved how real her situation was. She remembered the wish she had made, that she wanted to be like the mummy. But wishes are the stuff of fairytales.
This one showed her how wrong she was, otherwise explain being a mummy in a forties film.
Please, please, please. I wish to be a normal girl again.
The light appeared, blinding her, and then her eyesight returned. She stared down at her hands and saw normal hands of a girl. Checking herself over, she found that her fake mummy bandages vanished and she wore a long dress instead.
On hearing gunshots, she looked up and saw the mummy lurching toward her and the men. Sweat beaded her forehead and her heart began to beat against her chest.
She’d gotten her wish. Human again, but this time the wish made her Anaka. She moaned. She was going to die unless she wished again. This time, word it right.
Just as Chessie opened her mouth to wish, the air grew hot.  She glanced up at the sky and saw fire the colors of a burning pumpkin blazing across it. The tang of smoldering celluloid filled the air. She coughed. The cough switched to a scream as fire danced across her arms and crackled in her hair. Pain clawed along her nerves.
She screamed.

The next morning, the theater manager at the Majestic found the back door ajar. Worried that someone had broken in, he rushed inside and found nothing disturbed. Not until he entered the projection room. He bent over to pick up the strip of a film, ‘The Mummy’s Hand,’ lying on the floor, blackened and withered.
Halloween pranksters?
But why just that film and nothing else burned or stolen?
With a sigh, he tossed the entire ruined film into the trash and walked away. He paused for a moment, listening, and then shook his head. His own imagination had been playing tricks with him lately, making him think that he heard ghostly voices in the old theater.
There was no one else in the building but him. And the only ghosts came from the old films he showed here.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Week: Day 2: Spirit, Phantom, Poltergeist--a Ghost Is a Ghost by Any Other Name!

Ever done a ghost tour, or been on a paranormal investigation?  Listen to some ghostly tales told before a fire burning in a hearth? I’ve done all three myself. Ever had a feeling of being watched or even dread wash over you—though the dread may be unintentional, as the phantom may not be evil. What are spirits, ghosts, phantoms, and the other various names given them? Are they each something different, or really a single entity with just many titles?

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 that concerns an apparition is that it is 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 is 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 each year on one special date. 2014’s is Friday, January 24th (6:00 PM-9:00 PM). You can reserve a spot on the tour through the Petersburg Visitors Business Center at either (804) 733-2401 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 upon us, ghosts are on people’s minds. When you answer the knock at the door to hand out treats to the trick-or-treaters, or head out for a Halloween party, enter that haunted house or step upon the trail of the haunted trails attraction, do be unnerved if you see shadows move in the darkness. It might be shadow people. Spirits roam Halloween as the legends claim that the opening of the veil is more certain on Samhain than any other night.  So maybe, just maybe, you did see something out of the ordinary that is not a person in costume.

After all, the dead want to party just like the living—right?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Week: Day 1: Trick-Or-Treat (Flash Fiction)

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

Pamela K. Kinney

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 began screaming, but the sounds were cut off as they were taken carried indoors and the door slammed shut.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Supernatural Friday: Having Dead Family Members Over for a Dumb Supper

A séance is a good way to communicate with those who have crossed into the spirit world. It’s also perfectly fine to talk to them at other times. You may find yourself walking into a room and suddenly reminded of someone you've lost, or catching a whiff of a familiar scent.

But this being Halloween (or Samhain if you prefer), why now have a dumb supper? Wait, you ask, a supper for those who can’t speak, or are stupid people? No, the word "dumb" refers to being silent. It is all about a way of honoring family dead and ancestors. The origins of this tradition have been fairly well debated -- some claim it goes back to ancient cultures, others believe it's a relatively new idea. Regardless, it's one that's observed by many people around the world.

Pagans do it. Even in Mexico, they have been doing this on Day of the Dead for a long time—bring food to the graves of their dead, or inviting them to their homes. Though they don’t have to be silent about their Day of the Dead.

In many cultures, ancestor worship is an ancient practice. It is usually found more in African and Asian societies, yet more and more Pagans of European heritage are beginning to embrace the idea. They would build an altar to honor their ancestors, with photos, heirlooms, and even a family tree sheet. It can be left up all year long, or only out at Samhain.

Why hold a Dumb Supper on Halloween night? It may be even a unique idea for a Halloween party with a few friends (the living, not your dead guests). This is the night when the veil between our world and the spirit world would be the thinnest. We know for sure the dead will hear us speak, and maybe even speak back. It's a time of death and resurrection, of new beginnings and fond farewells.

First of all, make your dining area sacred, either by casting a circle, smudging, other method. Turn off phones and televisions, eliminating outside distractions. This is a solemn and silent occasion, not a carnival—a time of silence. You may wish to leave younger children out of this ceremony. Ask each adult guest to bring a note to the dinner. The note's contents will be kept private, and should contain what they wish to say to their deceased friends or relatives.
Set a place at the table for each guest, and reserve the head of the table for the place of the Spirits. Although it's nice to have a place setting for each individual you wish to honor, sometimes it's just not feasible. Instead, use a tealight candle at the Spirit setting to represent each of the deceased. Shroud the Spirit chair in black or white cloth.

No one may speak from the time they enter the dining room. As each guest enters the room, they should take a moment to stop at the Spirit chair and offer a silent prayer to the dead. Once everyone is seated, join hands and take a moment to silently bless the meal. The host or hostess, who should be seated directly across from the Spirit chair, serves the meal to guests in order of age, from the oldest to youngest. No one should eat until all guests -- including Spirit -- are served.

Menu choices are up to you, but because it's Samhain, you may wish to make the traditional Soul Cakes. Other food to serve: apples, late fall vegetables, and game. Set the table with a black cloth, black plates and cutlery, black napkins. Candles should be your only source of light. Black ones if you can get them. Realistically, not everyone has black dishware sitting around. So it's perfectly acceptable to use a combination of black and white, although black should be the predominant color.

Duties of hosting a Dumb Supper, is to make sure that no one speaks. That makes a host's job very tricky. It means you have the responsibility of anticipating each guest's needs without them asking you in verbal terms. Depending on the size of your table, make sure each end has its own salt, pepper, butter, etc. Keep an eye on your guests to see if anyone needs a drink refill, an extra fork to replace the one they just dropped, or more napkins. 

When everyone has finished eating, each guest should get out the note to the dead that they brought. Go to the head of the table where Spirit sits, and find the candle for your deceased loved one. Focus on the note, and then burn it in the candle's flame (you may wish to have a plate or small cauldron on hand to catch burning bits of paper) and then return to their seat. When everyone has had their turn, join hands once again and offer a silent prayer to the dead. Everyone leaves the room in silence, but before they walk out the door, they should stop at the Spirit chair, and say goodbye one more time. This includes you too.

Like ghost stories or watch TV shows with paranormal investigations? Check out my latest ghost book, Haunted Richmond II. It’s available at Schiffer, Amazon, BarnesandNoble, Books A Million and your local indie bookstore (if not in, they can order it, or order through their online website).

Return once more to haunted Richmond, where no building is safe from supernatural happenings. Visit Stories Comics, which holds more than just comics within its walls. Step back in time at Henricus Historical Park where you'll be welcomed by dead colonists, Civil War soldiers, and other haunts. Discover that not only is the Richmond Vampire out for your blood, but the Werewolf of Henrico waits for you beneath the full moon. It seems that the War Between the States is still being fought between ghostly Confederate and Union soldiers at Cold Harbor, Sailor's Creek, Parker's Battery, and Petersburg Battlefield. All this… plus a sea serpent, a lost city, ghostly cats, Bigfoot, a UFO, and haunted churches, parks, and colleges. So be sure to plan your visit now to a very paranormal Richmond. The dead don't stay dead in this town!

For fiction stories, my collection of short dark fantasy tales, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations is at Amazon or in print or eBook.

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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I am a Guest Blogger at Colonial Ghosts on the Dead Don't Stay Dead in Williamsburg!

I  am a guest blogger at Colonial Ghosts about how haunted Williamsburg is, talking about the Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center and the investigation I did there (plus couple of photos).

Ghost Books Signing at Chop Suey Books Sunday, October 27th

I'll be signing three of my nonfiction ghost books, "Haunted Richmond," "Haunted Richmond II" and "Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales" this Sunday, October 27th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Chop Suey Books, 2913 W Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia 23221. 804-422-8066

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Author Appearance at Something Wicked/Zombie Survival Haunts in Petersburg Friday, October 25th

I will be doing an author appearance and selling and signing my books (nonfiction ghost books and some of my horror fiction) at Something Wicked Haunts this Friday, October 25, 2013--7:00 p.m.--Virginia Motorsports Park, 8018 Boydton Plank Road, Petersburg, Virginia 23803. Something Wicked

 A video of their attraction:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ghosts of Written Word by Pamela K. Kinney

Ghosts of Written Words


Pamela K. Kinney

Ghosts made by written words,
Haunting, mist upon the pages
Forgotten dreams, or nightmares
Of authors' own imagination darkly,
Ghostly tales for autumn nights
Such stories full of chill,
Readers' own thrills.
 (copyrighted by author)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Supernatural Friday: Haunted House Movies To Watch on Halloween

Today is all about haunted house horror films and maybe even the books they are based off of. The one that comes to mine for me as the definitive scary one is "The Haunting "(1963), based off Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Yes, there was a remake in 1999, with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, but that was not well done. No the original closely patterns the book, which is the only book to still scare me during the daytime, in a schoolroom full of people when I was in junior high school in El Cajon, California. As says in the beginning of the summary on IMDB, "Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion." 

Of course, the nephew of the owner of Hill House joins them in this scary adventure.
The dark energies of the house zeros in on Eleanor Vance. A woman in her thirties, she is lonely and living with her sister and brother-in-law after her mother died.  No matter of the frightening things happening in the house,  Eleanor feels  a sense of belonging and happiness in the house. The book makes it hard for anyone to determine is it the house and the ghosts in the place, or Eleanor herself that causes what happens there. Not unlike my short story, "Bottled Spirits." Is it madness or real ghosts that are affecting my character, Jessica. Those are always the best kind of scary movies or books, they make you wonder which is it.

Another  'haunted house' horror film, is "Legend of Hell House," based off Richard Matheson's book of the same name.  In this film from 1973, a physicist, his wife, a young female psychic and the only survivor of the previous visit (a psychic too) come to the notorious Hell House to prove/disprove survival after death. Previous visitors have either been killed or gone mad, and it is up to the team to survive a full week in isolation. Though the book was set in New England, they changed the setting to England, because of the British actors used. Like "The Haunting," it is a good, scary movie. I enjoyed the book too, when I read it while in college, though the novel had more intense sexual scenes and more graphic violence. The movie screenplay was toned down to a more 'brooding' atmosphere. The ghostly owner of Hell house is actually based off loosely of Aleister Crowley.

The Conjuring (2103), based off a real incident in the 70s, where a paranormal investigation and eventually an exorcism was preformed. Though centered more on the demonic spirit, this is also centered around the farmhouse the spirit lived in life and where the modern residents are tormented by the entity. There is a website for the real Perron family and real Bathsheba Witch that you can fread about at   The movie was not based off the trilogy House of Darkness House of Light by Andrea Perron, but off  the case files of Ed & Lorraine Warren. I am looking forward to buying the Blu Ray edition of the film on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

House on Haunted Hill was first shown in theaters in 1959 and there is also a remake, released in 1999. The first one starred Vincent Price (my fave classic horror actors), and the remake had Geoffrey Rush who kind of looked like Vincent and was the character, Stephen H, Price, as the owner. In the original, Vincent as Frederick Loren offers ten thousand dollars to five people to be locked in a spook house with him and his wife.  In the remake, Rush's characters pays some people $1,000,000 (inflation?) to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past.  I would suggest both to watch. I actually enjoyed the remake this time around.

The Amityville Horror ( 1979) and the remake (2005)--the first one is the best. The remake, so-so. Though originally about a  family tormented by demonic spirits and the husband possessed, it was found  all faked. Still, some scary stuff.. whether you believe it or not.

Paranormal Activity (2007) is the first movie in a series that keeps spitting out sequels around Halloween. Strange things happen in the night and a couple decide to try and capture it on video. What ensues is a gradual building of suspense and terror, and how with "Ghost Hunters" and "Ghost Adventurers" on TV influencing regular people who will try to prove or disprove a haunting with a camcorder.

Monster House (2006) is because the kids need a scary movie to watch and I enjoyed it. Made with computerized animation, this film has three teens discover that their neighbor's house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

Other 'haunted house' films to check out (some are super, others, not so):
The Changling (1980) --one great scene makes this one of the scariest films: George C. Scott tosses his dead daughter's ball into the river, then comes back home, and sees it fall down the stairs.
Poltergeist (1982)--famous word: "They're here!" 
The Shining ( 1980)--there is a TV remake that Stephen King was more like his book. Watch both.
House (1986)-- There is a second, House II.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
Thirteen Ghosts (2001)--This is a remake of the film of the same name from the Forties.
Return to Haunted Hill (2007)
The Woman in Black (2012)--actor, Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame in first grown up role. I enjoyed this movie in the theater and own it on DVD.
The Orphanage (2007)
The Others (2001)
Burnt Offerings (1976)--haunted house chiller from Dan Curtis has Oliver Reed and Karen Black as summer caretakers moving into gothic house with their young son.
Ju-On: The Grudge ( 2002)
Rose Red (2002) --mini series. This is so obviously The Haunting of Hill House redone.
The House on Skull Mountain (1974)

There are haunted hotels and haunted apartment movies, but I focused on the home versions.   Whatever you feel about these films as you view them--what Halloween is about begins with the phantoms and ghosts haunting one's home that goes back to the primal fear of the caveman in his cave, doing all he can to prevent monsters and the dead from terrorizing him in his own place of safety.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Everything Dark Poem

(Do not take this poem and post elsewhere as it is copyrighted to the blog's author, but do share the link)

Everything Dark


Pamela K. Kinney

Night wind



ghosting the land.

Trees cloth in

gypsy colors,

At dark,

shift to shadows.

October witchery



The dead walk,

Undead rise,

Specter nightmares.

Monsters costume

as us;


costume as fiends.


Or treat?

Who cares?

October dressed

In autumn finery,

With magic,

Switches to

cemetery shroud.

The 31st is now

A knock at

the door.

Don’t answer!

Past candy time,
Everything dark

Now; it’s scary time!