Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Answer - Tell - Pray

It's fitting Harry Houdini died on Halloween. In 1926, after a student tested Houdini's abs of steel with repeated blows, Houdini wound up in the hospital with what looked like a ruptured appendix. Many believe Houdini had appendicitis before the student punched him in the gut, but was too stubborn to seek medical attention. 

Before his death, Houdini asked to be buried in a bronze casket along with letters written from his mother. He also left a secret code with his beloved wife, Bess, and said if she ever held a seance that he would make his presence known with the code, which was later revealed to be:

 Rosabelle- answer- tell- pray, answer- look- tell- answer, answer- tell.

The name Rosabelle came from a song that Bess sang when she and Houdini first met. The other words related to secret messages used between a magician and assistant during an act. Apparently each word corresponds to a letter, which ultimately spells out the word "believe". 

Every Halloween, Bess would try to contact her famous husband, but to no avail. Finally, after ten years, she threw in the towel, announcing: "My last hope is gone. I do not believe that Houdini can come back to me, or to anyone...The Houdini Shrine has burned for ten years. I now, reverently... turn out the light. It is finished. Good night, Harry!"

Even so, every Halloween there have been seances to try and contact the escape artist. As part of their "31 Days of Halloween", Atlas Obscura has some nice photos of Houdini's gravesite here.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cliff Coffins

Did you know that in China, the Philippines, and Indonesia, there are coffins hanging up in the cliffs? Neither did I. According to Atlas Obscura: "The tradition of hanging coffins is quite ancient, in China going back to 772 BC, although it is still practiced in some places, such as Sagada on Luzon Island in the Philippines. The reason for hanging coffins varies as much as the cultures that have practiced the burial tradition, ranging from practical reasons to avoid the dead being disturbed, to more spiritual beliefs like bringing the deceased closer to the heavens."

I think it's definitely better than crowding up the ground with coffins, but I had two other thoughts after reading this story: If you were a mountain climber and was scaling one of these cliffs, how creepy would it be to come across some of these coffins?  And: What if one of these fell?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jessica Lange to Hang up her Pointy Hat after Season 4 of American Horror Story

Jessica Lange is planning to ride her broom out of American Horror Story next season as her acting career winds down. She told the LA Times: “I am coming to the end of acting. I have a list: another stage production, maybe one or two more movies, one more season of ‘American Horror Story’ … and then that is it for me. Because I think that’s enough. I want to go out with a bang … or should I say, a scare?” 

Let's hope it's a scare. Whether she's wearing a nun's habit or a pair of black stilettos, she's become my favorite witchy woman.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gwar Goes Trick or Treating

Like last year, I got very busy and have been crappy about updating this blog.
So how about some Gwar trick or treating?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Creepy Costumes of Yesteryear

Flavorwire has published 20 Incredibly Bizarre Vintage Halloween Costumes, which begs the question: Why were Halloween costumes so creepy back then? Is it because they were photographed in black and white? Is it because they didn't manufacture slutty costumes for eight-year-old-girls in the old days? Whatever the reason, these inventive and creepy costumes are worth a gander. . .

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cheesecloth Ghosts

I found this easy project over at Martha Stewart. It requires styrofoam heads (they've freaked me out since I was a kid and my father had one to support his hair piece), cheesecloth, glue, and screws. The result is cool and creepy. Seeing these guys floating between the backyard trees is going to be a treat, not to mention it will spook the kids at my Halloween party this year. . .

Keep Calm and Spook On

Fabulous. . .

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paranormal Activity 5 Moved to 2014

Paramount pictures has recently moved Paranormal Activity 5 to October of next year. The film with now be released on October 24, 2014.  Before that, it's Latino counterpart, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones will be released on January 3, 2014. So we get two of the movies in one year - Yay! And none this October when the time is perfect for one - Boo!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Afterworld According to Corey Taylor

My book review about Corey Taylor's book, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Heaven (Or, How I Made Peace with the Paranormal and Stigmatized Zealots and Cynics in the Process had been posted.

Speaking of books, last October Nick Groff published a book titled Chasing Spirits: The Building of the Ghost Adventures Crew. I never even really knew about it until a few months ago. I hope it's better than Zak Bagans's book. Not that Zak's book was bad; I just wanted more about his encounters with the other side than how-to tips for aspiring ghost hunters.

This makes me think of another thing: I bet Nick didn't opt for any glam pics in his book the way Zak and Corey Taylor did, although I think Corey wins that glam ghoul photo contest (if there was such a thing).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Mysterious Russian Wilderness

We're already almost halfway through September and I haven't posted a thing. I blame it on being so busy, but this happened last year and I'm going to do my best to get posting!

One thing I've been doing when the day is done on Mondays is watching Siberia. It's been on for weeks now and is wrapping up. I think NBC put it in as a filler show, but it's a good time. It reminds me of Lost and the Blair Witch Project mixed together with a dash of X-Files tossed in.

It's a mockumentary about a group of people who thought they were signing up for a reality show in which they had to survive the wilds of Siberia in order to win half a million dollars. Pretty soon it becomes clear this isn't the case, however, as various producers and people working on the show are mysteriously killed off. The characters on the show soon realize it's up to them to get out of there, but there are a lot of barriers in the way. Strange things keep happening like the sky lights up green, it snows about a foot overnight after being in the 80s the day before, a dead tiger is found in the woods, and one they are being hunted by a weird group called the Valley Men.

The show is about to wrap up and I'm wondering how they're going to make it out. I will definitely miss my Monday nights with Siberia.

On a side note, my friend sent me an article about the Dyatlov Pass Incident that made me think of Siberia. In the 50s, nine hikers died mysteriously in the northern Ural mountains. They had been camping and something that the Soviets called 'a compelling natural force' was responsible for their deaths. This compelling force of nature drove the campers from their tents in the night. When their bodies were found, investigators discovered that two had fractured skulls and ribs One woman was missing her tongue. Weeeirrd.  Lucky for us, a film is going to be made about the incident.  Read about it here.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Witchy Women

Season three of American Horror Story will premier October 9th. Subtitled "Coven", the show will take place in New Orleans and focus on the Salem witch trials. According to executive producers, there will be a feminist theme running throughout the season and "a very strong theme of family, specifically mothers and daughters." Additionally, the tone will be lighter and peppered with more humor. Thank god. I had to drop out of last season because I couldn't stomach the brutality. Maybe enough people complained about all the meat hooks and human skin masks. . .

The cast of this season will be star-packed. The almighty Jessica Lange will play a witchy bad ass and Angela Basset will star as a voodoo queen. Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, and Sarah Paulson will return as will actors from Season One, including Frances Conroy, Dylan McDermott, and Taissa Farmiga. Kathy Bates will also be starring as historical serial killer, Delphine LaLaurie and Gabourey Sidibe will have a recurring role, which is unknown for now.

Overall, it sounds like a tasty brew. Check out the promo videos below:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven

I write book reviews and the book I'm reading now is called A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Heaven: (Or, How I Made Peace with the Paranormal and Stigmatized Zealots and Cynics in the Process). The title alone made me pick it out for review. When I got it in the mail I was surprised to learn it was written by lead singer of Slipknot, Corey Taylor. I was a little hesitant as I started the book, hoping it wasn't going to be a maudlin, over-the-top, in-your-face-motherfucker! account of this guy's run ins with ghosts. Well it is, but it's brilliantly funny and smart as well.

Taylor recounts in chilling detail the encounters he's had, beginning at a young age, with things that go bump in the night. I'm not done with the book yet, but so far I've read about a horrifying abandoned house in the woods that he and his friends broke into when he was a kid, a haunted mansion in the Hollywood Hills where Slipknot recorded one of their albums (and where he ran into a ghost butler while naked in the shower), and his own houses that have included odd things like a shadow man that followed around his then three-year-old son.

Because Taylor writes with such zest and wit, I'm too busy laughing to be scared. But after I put the book down, I start thinking about the stories he's shared. That shadow man, in particular, forced me to leave the hall light on last night.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Odessa Catacombs

My friend sent me a link to this place on Atlas Obscura. Apparently Odessa has a large system of tunnels underneath the city, which dates back to the 1600s. During World War II, Ukrainian rebels hid from the Nazis in the catacombs, some of them staying for the duration of the entire war.

Nowadays, people go exploring in the tunnels and some never come back. In 2005, a group of teenagers decided to ring in the new year in the catacombs. One girl, Masha, got separated from her group of friends and never made it out. Her body wasn't found until two years later.

Today, a small area of the tunnels remains open to the public as a museum. However, if that doesn't scratch your itch to experience the place, you can hire a guide to bring you further in. I would bring lots of batteries for your flashlight and leave a trail of bread crumbs behind. . .

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Terrifying Dolls

While I don't think they're as creepy as clowns, dolls can be pretty spooky. Just think Annabelle.
Buzzfeed has a collection of some utterly terrifying dolls. Check it out. 


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Halloween Creeps into the Craft Stores

Every August the Halloween stuff starts to materialize in the craft stores. I was in Michael's today and saw signs of October 31 looming in a middle aisle.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More Conjuring

I found this film trailer for the Conjuring that includes the real Perrons. It could have been a cheesy mess, but it's actually nicely done. . .

Monday, July 29, 2013

House of Darkness, House of Light

I just stumbled across this little gem on Youtube. It's a mini documentary in which the Perron family addresses their battle with "Bathsheba" in the farmhouse that inspired The Conjuring. It was interesting to see the family now and then. Andrea Perron, who was eleven years old when her family moved into the house, wrote the book House of Darkness, House of Light on which the movie was based.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Conjuring up the Blog Again

I'm back to this blog earlier than I have been in previous years. There's just something in the air that beckons that Halloween spirit. I'm like those crafters who start making vampire jewelry in July (actually I am).

Perhaps I'm inspired because I just saw The Conjuring - the film that documents a chilling case investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren. I was particularly interested in the film because I was lucky enough to attend a few of the Warren's lectures before Ed passed away. Some friends and I were even lucky enough to spend the day with them on a ghost hunting tour, poking around haunted areas of Connecticut.

Anyway, the movie centers on the Perron family who bought an old farmhouse in Rhode Island. Not longer after they moved in, things started to go wrong. Very wrong. As in disembodied hands clapping in an old wardrobe and clocks stopping at 3:07 a.m. wrong. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson do a fantastic job of personifying the Warrens. Vera's eyes are so pretty and she is fragile yet strong like Lorraine. I was incredibly impressed with how well Patrick Wilson mirrored Ed's Connecticut accent. Spot on! Lily Taylor was perfect as terrified mom Carolyn Perron and Ron Livingston was gorgeous as dad Roger. Yeah, he's easy on the eyes. Oh, and his acting was good up until the climactic scene where he seemed a little bored by something trying to yank his wife's soul into hell.

The cinematography was splendid. The early 70s came to life on screen and made me nostalgic for the days when we played simple games like "hide and clap" rather than video games on smart phones.

I won't give any plot points away, but I will say there was lots of chilling use of white sheets. And the climactic scene near the end will stay in my head forever. It's a classic haunted house story, albeit one that is beautiful, lush, and spooky as hell. Director James Wan has alluded to making more movies based on the Warren's cases. Something tells me it's going to involve their famous haunted doll, Annabelle.