Monday, October 31, 2011
The greatest day of the year - I've literally been up since before dawn thinking about all that I have to get done today - there's no rest for the wicked on this, as Edgar Allan Poe called it, "Night of all nights in the year." I'm looking forward to filling treat bags, carving jack-'o-lanterns, watching scary movies, getting the yard haunt ready for action, and getting my own costume on. I think it would be wise if I could cram a nap in there somewhere since I was up with the rooster - but I'm sure I'll be too excited to sleep. I'm thinking there might be a pumpkin spice cappuccino in my future...
Here's wishing everyone a happy, haunted, Halloween! I urge you to remember your mythical past and call to mind why we celebrate this darkest of days. Remember that tonight the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Remember to be a kid (if only for one night). Be safe. Have fun. Remember the rules. I'll be out long after the last trick-or-treater has begged for candy. Stop by - if you dare...
TRICK OR TREAT!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
"What's he supposed to be?"
I'll be honest with you - I'm not sure WHAT the kid was supposed to be - but he had my vote for best costume. A weird conglomeration of cardboard, Gorilla Tape, black long underwear, black football pants (with pads), black landscaping plastic, and various elements that might have been cannibalized from some other Halloween costume that probably no longer fit, including a hand-crafted skeleton type mask that looked right out of the movie Flash Gordon, all of it highlighted with strategic bits of silver duct-tape, this kid had the most unique costume in the entire gymnasium - and it was obviously crafted with a lot of love, ambition, and attention to detail - and obviously without mom and dad's help.
Impressed with the boy's ingenuity and true sense of Halloween spirit, I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him: "Did you make your costume yourself?" He nodded his head in the affirmative, so after telling him I loved the costume and appreciated his effort at making it himself - a Halloween tradition that has long since faded away since commercialism took over the holiday - I asked him: "What are you supposed to be?" He shrugged his shoulders and grinned.
"I'm not sure!"
The perfect answer.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The most satisfying part of the evening was seeing all the young faces in the crowd. As the event was put on by The Friends of the Public Library, I expected the audience to be skewed slightly older, so I was delighted to see one of our local English teachers who had enticed her 8th Grade class with extra credit for attending and taking notes. As gratifying as it is to set the record straight with people who think they know Poe, it's even more rewarding to give accurate facts and information on the great poet to a generation that knows little about him. Read more here:
Monday, October 24, 2011
After all the hard work of storing away countless Halloween decorations in their proper places was done (for the most part), I treated myself to one of the best episodes of AMC'S THE WALKING DEAD that I've ever seen. A great way to end a fabulous weekend. Pictures to come at www.hallowzing.com.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Specifically, this is a rant about Halloween music, and its targets are two-fold. Understand: this is nothing personal against Cassandra Peterson - AKA Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. I'm sure she's a very nice lady. I am equally as sure that Ms. Peterson probably loves Halloween just as much as the rest of us. However, in my mind, she represents all that is commercial and phony about the darkest of holidays. The enemy embodied, so to speak. She has given a face to all the corporations that have exploited and capitalized off the ancient celebration of Halloween, Hallowe'en, All Hallows Even, Samhaim. To be even more direct: I can appreciate a good horror host. If she were only in that role, I could be more forgiving - who doesn't like a buxom, bee-hived, valley-girl, Vampira-esque bombshell introducing cheesy B horror movies? But when she was let into a studio to record 'music' for Halloween, that's where I draw the line! Her compilation albums are so obnoxious, so horrendously banal, and have so little to do with the whole point of this ancient tradition, that it I try to dissuade anyone I see picking one up off the rack while shopping.
I said this rant was two-fold, and here's the sequel: as much as I despise everything the Elvira character stands for, there's a corporate entity that idolizes her and thinks she's hilariously campy and completely Hallow-rific! If you've ever heard of MUSIC CHOICE on cable television, you'll know what I mean. Music Choice is a cable option you can pay for to let you listen to music on your TV. The problem is: they tend to have a limited play-list, meaning they play the same songs over and over and over. Now it would appear that this is a problem for them when it comes to Halloween, for unlike Christmas, there haven't been a lot of Halloween albums released by pop artists over the years - you simply won't find A JOHNNY MATHIS HALLOWEEN, or ROBERT GOULET SINGS HALLOWEEN. Not understanding (or caring) that there have been over fifty years of horror soundtracks to pick and choose from, or that groups like Midnight Syndicate have released fourteen years worth of music to sample, they instead choose to go the Elvira route and compile their playlist almost exclusively from her catalog. Sure, you get the occasional classic thrown in - almost by accident, it seems - Danny Elfman's 'This Is Halloween,' John Carpenter's score for Halloween and Halloween II (but not for the terrific Halloween III or any of Alan Howarth's scores for the later sequels); or a rare Midnight Syndicate track about once a week - so here's a quick, helpful suggestion for the folks at Music Choice:
Purple People Eater has nothing to do with Halloween. Michael Jackson's Thriller has nothing to do with Halloween. The Itsy-Bitsy Spider has nothing to do with Halloween. Dr. Elmo's Redneck Drac has nothing to do with Halloween. Bessie Smith's The Devil's Gonna Get Ya has nothing to do with Halloween. Anything Voodoo related has nothing to do with Halloween. Witchy Woman by the Eagles has nothing to do with Halloween. Evil Ways by Santana has nothing to do with Halloween. Anything recorded by Elvira has nothing to do with Halloween (as hard as that may be to believe). The Chipmunks have nothing to do with Halloween. Crazy Fever by High Noon has nothing to do with Halloween. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman by The Tubes has nothing to do with Halloween. Louis Armstrong's You've Got Me Voodoo'd has nothing to do with Halloween. Night Train by The Kills has nothing to do with Halloween. Martian Hop by the Ran-Dells has nothing to do with Halloween. And for the love of all that's unholy - Maneater by Hall & Oates has NOTHING to do with Halloween! The list goes on and on...
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
In other MODERN POE: VOL. I news, I received a short blurb in the Post Bulletin - which is the biggest newspaper in SE Minnesota with the largest circulation around. Unfortunately, the reporter who contacted had me convinced that I would have a lengthy, in-depth article discussing the book - but in the end it was simply a blurb. Doubly unfortunate is the fact that they spelled Mr. Poe's name wrong. If nothing irritates a Poe disciple more it's when someone misspells his name as Edgar ALLEN Poe, and not ALLAN. Triply unfortunate is the fact that they misspelled MY name too. Quadruply unfortunate (is that even a word?) is the fact that they failed to include the link to my e-store.
I guess bad press is better than no press at all right? Well, for the sake of journalistic integrity, here's the link: https://www.createspace.com/3610670
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
For more information visit: www.hauntedcarterfarms.com.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The chair is basically a small rocker that I dirtied up a bit. A length of fishing line is attached from the top and runs to a small servo-motor that's attached to a cross tombstone that's staked into the ground. The motor runs continuously (as long as my blue outside spotlights are on) and at a very slow rate of speed, so that you almost have to look twice to see if the chair is really moving. It's a cool effect, achieved from hacking the motor out of those white, steel polar bear Christmas yard decoration thingies that I found at a garage sale (the nice lady let me just buy the motors, provided I cut out the motors myself with a hacksaw!)
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I distinctly remember back in early 1995 seeing the trailer for HALLOWEEN 666: THE ORIGIN OF MICHAEL MYERS on television and seeing trade print advertising in magazines (sure wish I would have kept the mags!) I recall getting excited and talking animatedly about the upcoming film - it had been a long dry spell of a good six years since the dreadful HALLOWEEN 5, so I was enthusiastic to see a new entry in the series. Alas, my friends did not share my sentiment. Can you imagine I got teased for liking a group of films they deemed to be 'from when we were kids?' (But I guess after Part 5, who can blame them, right?) As history has shown, my enthusiasm was dampened when they changed the name (and seemingly the whole movie!) but, being the die-hard fan that I was (am) I dragged my friends there on opening night to prove them wrong.
Boy did I ever get teased...
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
What I like best about listening to Midnight Syndicate's VAMPYRE is the band's concentration at constructing true symphonies - and not just in title alone. As a lover of classical music, I appreciated the duo's effort of weaving beautiful melodies into Gothic structures. This is not an album about a vampire, it is an album for vampires and the people who love them. Featuring fourteen tracks that range from mysterious to sinister to downright evil, VAMPYRE: SYMPHONIES FROM THE CRYPT proves that the band does not have to rely on sound-effects alone to sell their unique brand of fear, and demonstrates that even at this early stage of their career they are not afraid to take risks by forgoing the effects and relying almost solely on their musical wits alone. Was it worth the risk? Absolutely! There is no doubt about it, composers Gavin Gozska and Edward Douglas have proven time and again that they are true musical artists that have an uncanny knack at bringing the Gothic to life...or death.
You can pick up your copy of VAMPYRE: SYMPHONIES FROM THE CRYPT (or GATES OF DELIRIUM if you haven't already!) from the official Midnight Syndicate website: www.midnightsyndicate.com
Monday, October 10, 2011
In early Christianity, demonologists often referred to frogs as the ‘Witches Familiar’ or ‘Agent of the Devil’. The fact that frogs resided in swamps and stagnant pools, often dirty and unsanitary places, was used to exemplify the power of consecrated holy water to expel evil spirits and purify sinners. Witches were thought to use frogs and toads in satanic rituals, and to concocted malicious sounding spells and potions from their body parts. Some believe that a witch could be identified by a mark shaped like a toad’s foot secreted on her body or that the image of a toad would be visible in the left eye. Other myths tell of witches extracting toad secretions, or collecting toad saliva for use in flying potions and invisibility spells.
Toads were also popular as poisonous ingredients in potions: “the women-witches of ancient time which killed by poysoning, did much use toads in their confections”. Witches were also believed to control the weather by concocting brews from frogs, toads and snakes, often referred to as “Toad Soup”. Undoubtedly, many experienced illness or death after ingesting or applying some sort of frog-made brew including their toxic secretions. Such folklore and popular mythology was the result of Inquisitional propaganda to eliminate the old Pagan religions and prosecute Witches with charges of heresy during the persecution years.
One of the most widely told myths concerning the toad is that of the “Toad-Stone”, a fabulously jewelled stone that grows inside the toad’s head. This jewelled stone when placed in a ring or a necklace, would heat up or change colour in the presence of poison, thereby protecting the wearer from the dangers of poisoning, a common threat in the Middle Ages.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Creepy Shed is Creepy.
Originally uploaded by Mullenkedheim
Well there was a man lived in a shed
Spent most of his days out of his head
For his shed was rotten let in the rain
Said it was enough to drive any man insane
When it rained he felt so bad
When it snowed he felt just simply sad
Well there was a girl who lived nearby
Whenever he saw her he could only simply sigh
But she lived in a house so very big and grand
For him it seemed like some very distant land
So when he called her, his shed to mend
She said I’m sorry you’ll just have to find a friend
Well this story is not so very new
But the man is me, yes, and the girl is you
So leave your house come into my shed
Please stop my world from raining through my head
Please don’t think I’m not your sort
You’ll find that sheds are nicer than you thought
- Nick Drake
Friday, October 7, 2011
----------------Born: January 19th, 1809 in Boston, MA. ----------------
----------------Died: October 7th, 1849 in Baltimore, MD----------------
--------------------Deep in earth my love is lying--------------------
-----------------------And I must weep alone.-----------------------
Thursday, October 6, 2011
My scheduled E. A. Poe engagements thus far will all be of the local variety. I recently got a mention in our city's monthly newsletter; I've been asked to speak to our middle school and high school English classes, the local Art Guild has scheduled a book signing; a nearby Opera House has requested a brief performance of 'The Raven' in support of my book; and the Public Library is promoting a Hot Reads program which spotlights regional authors - with me being their October selection. Like I said, all small-town fare, but I am tremendously honored and grateful for all of these organizations for choosing to have me and help support their local Poe researcher.
I hope to do them all proud in what is sure to be, with all of the rest of the haunted happenings that occur around our home, one of the most memorable and thrilling months of October of all time!
To purchase your own copy of MODERN POE: VOL. I, please visit my e-store at: https://www.createspace.com/3610670
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Now this might not seem like the highlight of the day - and I would probably tend to agree - I have a definite love/hate relationship with HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS. As a staunch lover of the HALLOWEEN series of films, this one has consistently come in as the worst in the bunch (that is, until HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION was made over a decade later!) The main problem I have with it is the greatness that was HALLOWEEN 4, the shocking, cliff-hanger ending they set-up, and the way the producers of this film dropped the ball in carrying that thrilling conclusion over to this strictly mediocre film (if you want to read my full thoughts on this fun-filled travesty, head on over to Drive-In of the Dead).
Over time, I have grown to - not quite love - but to somewhat 'like' this movie. I can at least appreciate it for what it is; which is a rushed, poorly directed, late '80's slasher with a silly story and lousy acting. It has so much to dislike (like The Shape's horrendous mask, the stuttering kid, the annoying teens and the character of Mikey in particular, etc.) that I've somehow actually ended up liking it for its lameness in a weird, Ed Wood, jr. kind of way. Plus the disk is chock full of behind-the-scenes goodness, where everyone involved pretty much dismisses the film as a missed opportunity whose sole purpose was to cash in on its superior predecessor.
If you're looking for a time machine to 1989, where the hair was high, the jeans were tight, and the music was lousy, this is the movie for you! Hmmm...now that I think about it, maybe the caramel apple with the kids was the highlight of the day...
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Seeing this as we drove past made me think of the Halloween parties we had at the same school back in the late '70's and early '80's. You would think because it was a religious school that Halloween would be shunned - but in all actuality it was really quite the opposite. When I was a kid the church embraced the holiday and all its pagan symbolism, even going as far as throwing one of best and most elaborate Halloween parties in their basement/cafeteria that you could imagine.
As you could probably guess, the St. Thomas Halloween party was an event you looked forward to all year. On the day of Halloween you'd get to wear your costume to school and pass out treats and goodies in class. Everything would be Halloween-themed that day: the spelling words, the arts and crafts, the books at story-time, EVERYTHING! You'd wear your costume all day until it was finally time to go back for the big party - and the anticipation you'd feel as you walked down the steps - strewn with fall leaves and corn-stalks - into the basement was deliriously wonderful - your mind would run wild imagining what sinister scenario was waiting for you behind those two swinging doors.
And each year, the school didn't disappoint. After class let out, the staff would go to great lengths to transform the basement into a creepy Halloween wonderland. The lights would be turned off and the tables moved out of the way. The room would be decorated with cobwebs galore, cardboard black cats and witch heads, ghosts and bats, black and orange streamers on the ceiling, jack-o-lanterns, and more. And the games - oh, the games! Bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the black cat, the wheel of fortune, fortune telling (with a gypsy that had a real crystal ball!) and my favorite - The Devil himself! Yes, even Old Scratch paid a visit to our school! Beelzebub would be a man in a red spandex outfit with a red mask, horns, tail, and trident. Beside was a pile of mats from gym class, and the game would be you tried to get past the Devil without him tripping you. He was sneaky, that old demon. Just when you thought he wasn't looking and you'd make a mad dash for it, out would come the Devil's leg, tripping you and sending you sprawling onto the mats.
But the best was always saved for last. At the far end of the cafeteria, through a second set of swinging doors (and what led into the cook's kitchen area) was the Mad Scientist. A truly demented show, this never failed to both delight us and scare the living death out of us kids. A theatrical, hunch-backed, over-the-top church parishioner played the part to the hilt, letting us feel real sawed up (cow) bones, and (peeled grape) eyeballs. He'd saw and grind his monster's 'body' apart with various implements, all the while trying to entice us to lay on the table and be his next experiment. We would all shriek with fear - many kids couldn't stand the fright and would bolt out the door. It was the absolute pinnacle of Halloween, except for one thing...
When the St. Thomas party was over, you actually got to go TRICK-OR-TREATING! Remember, this was around 1979, so trick-or-treating lasted well into the night. Kids didn't go out until 7:00 p.m. or so and we'd beg for candy until after 10:00 p.m. and sometimes even later! Things have changed since then - trick-or-treating is a lot more of a cautious activity - but the memories of my Halloween youth at the old Catholic school stay with me always, and are a big part of defining the home haunter I am today...
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Originally uploaded by pumpkinrot
Crows are pullin at my clothes
The wind got my fingers froze
Standing all day keepin watch
Over all the treasures we lost
Sometimes the jail can't chain the cell
And the rain's too plain to tell
All alone by a barren well
The scarecrow's only scarin' himself