Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
In the last year of his life, I sat with my grandfather on his porch steps on Halloween night. A bowl of candy between us. The neighborhood had turned and most of the elderly neighbors who kept tidy little homes were now gone, either in nursing homes or dead (he said the latter were better off). The houses were either given to grandchildren or sold to people who just didn't care what the neighborhood used to be. The manicured lawns and smooth clean sidewalks were gone. My grandfather was the last of his kind. And his clean little house was too.
It was an exceptionally warm Halloween. And humid. We sat handing out candy to costume-less teens and loud young parents and their children who forgot to say trick or treat, or even thank you. The kids came in tiny clusters in-between long empty lulls, which suited me just fine.
We didn't talk much. We never did. So when he took a deep labored breath and said that he needed to tell me something, I knew something was wrong. So I whispered ok and kept staring ahead, down the empty street.
He told me on Halloween night when he was ten years old, he played a prank on an elderly widow up the block from where he used to live with his parents. He said it was something he heard about in school. A bag placed on a porch and lit on fire with a match. Inside the bag, the droppings of a dog - a big old dog with a big old appetite. He laughed when he told me that part.
After the fire was lit, he rang her doorbell and ran. And hid. He saw the curtains flick a bit and the widow peek out. Then the door opened. She came out onto the porch and stepped right over the bag, as if she didn't see it. The robe or housecoat she was wearing caught fire. Quickly. He said she just sorta stood still while it all happened. He told me he ran in plain sight down the block, in the center of the street, and into his house. He told me the widow had died.
But no one saw him. And he never told anyone. And he was never blamed, or even questioned.
Some kids came up for candy and I watched him drop a few pieces in each of their bags. They were the last of the night. My grandfather scooped up the candy bowl and slowly stood. Before he went in the house, he turned and said that Halloween was over.
And I guess it finally was.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Fellow yard haunter John Rozum is also the creator and writer of Xombi, a series from DC Comics. With beautiful illustrations by Frazer Irving, it's on stands now, and getting great reviews.
Click below for an interview with John:
And click here for John Rozum's blog.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Been reading some of the case files from the Pennsylvania Paranormal Association, a group featured prominently on my favorite series - The Haunted.
This was a second visit to this location by The PPA. During the first investigation, a lot of physical evidence was collected to establish paranormal activity was occurring at this home, including doors opening and closing, coins being thrown in certain rooms and a shadow figure was capture on video. After an initial cleansing, the family reported a reduction in activity for some time. After a trip to Italy, the family noted a reoccurrence in the activity but different from before. The family reported having bottles thrown across different rooms, seeing black masses, hearing voices, having quarters thrown at them from nowhere, cold spots and doors opening and closing. The family was once again asking for help reducing the activity. Refer to initial investigation for more information - Case No. 10-11-047 Upper Darby.
I found it really interesting that a large number of cases conclude with no physical evidence whatsoever. The abundance of paranormal tv programs make it seem like every investigation is just packed with creepy goings on.
Click here for more case files.
I think I mentioned it somewhere on the blog before. I always had a last-minute and extremely disappointing Halloween costume when the High Holiday rolled around. No home-made hand-sewn dinosaur masterpiece by my mother (who subscribed to Woman's Day and Good Housekeeping, but never made anything from scratch or knitted or sewed or scrapbooked).
Thinking back. I can't say there's one costume that stands out as the year I'll never forget. A boxed Batman was fun....and there was the year I was a boxed Devil. And a boxed Casper. Birthday cakes and mashed potatoes came from boxes, so I guess it makes sense my costumes did too.
If I was forced to choose, I think the Devil would be top of the list. No particular reason unfortunately.
So what was your favorite costume?
Monday, April 25, 2011
Love that someone uploaded this two-part video.
Saw this years ago when it was first-run, and it creeped me WAY out. I think it was the first time I saw a program which treated the subject of hauntings respectfully. And the man's reaction in part two is something that has stayed with me since the first time I saw it.
An early riser, Jim always got up hours before Kay, and when she woke, she would ring a bell if she needed anything upstairs. One day, Jim heard what he assumed was Kay ringing the bell, but when he got up there, he realized Kay was asleep.
After the third time this happened, they decided to make up a code in order to outwit the entity. Kay would ring the bell three times if she wanted Jim to come upstairs. One morning Jim heard the call, but Kay was sound asleep, and the bell was in the other bedroom. When he turned around and walked out, the bell rang again.
"I was frightened." He confesses. "My hair stood up on my neck. I told Kay then, no more bell. I'm not going to answer that bell anymore, and that bell has not rung since."
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Included within the book are tons of wonderful commentaries by an enormous amount of Halloween buffs. One in particular:
"...In the city, there was a lady - she had her kitchen upstairs - and we'd knock on the door, trick-or-treating, and she'd throw pennies and nickels down. We'd run and grab them. But she was up there putting them on the stove. She was a nasty, nasty lady. We got an empty milk bottle and passed it around and all the boys donated a bit [of pee] and we left it at her door. Next morning the bottle was gone. We like to imagine that some time that day she opened the door and the bottle tipped in."
Tom Landry, retired Halloween prankster.
Click here to order.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Got a heads up from Craig of 400 Lonely Things about an interview they did at Musique Machine. I'm even mentioned in there.
Absolutely LOVE their music.
Click below for the interview:
And click HERE to listen to the track "Tonight" from their album Tonight of the Living Dead, and HERE for the track "It Begins."
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I managed to get my Halloween hands on Halloween Nation, the latest book by Lesley Bannatyne. Started reading it last night and love it. It felt like I was watching a Halloween special made by someone who understands what Halloween means to people like us.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The most striking physical feature are the eyes, I think. They're frightening, they're black, almost liquidy. That's the first thing that I've noticed. And then, the skin's white. They look very frail to me, like you could hurt them if you were able to, but you're not able to.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Smurls said they tried several times to obtain support and action from the church. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton said it would consult with experts but official involvement would be unlikely. At one point in time, Janet thought she was getting help from a priest named Father O'Leary but discovered no such priest existed. The Warrens brought in Father (now Bishop) McKenna, a traditionalist priest who refused to abide by the changes in ritual mandated by the Second Vatican Council. He said mass in Latin and had performed more than 50 exorcisms for the Warrens. He conducted the ancient rite which did nothing but infuriate the demon.
Monday, April 18, 2011
He lay there on the bed and took deep breaths of the darkness, hoping for sleep. But the silence didn’t really help. He could still see them out there, the white-faced men prowling around his house, looking ceaselessly for a way to get in at him. Some of them, probably, crouching on their haunches like dogs, eyes glittering at the house, teeth slowly grating together, back and forth, back and forth.
And the women ...
Did he have to start thinking about them again? He tossed over on his stomach with a curse and pressed his face into the hot pillow. He lay there, breathing heavily, body writhing slightly on the sheet. Let the morning come. His mind spoke the words it spoke every night, Dear God, let the morning come.
Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds,
His path was rugged and sore,
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,
Through many a fen where the serpent feeds,
And man never trod before.
By Thomas Moore
Image by theharv58.