Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Own Off The Shelf Costume From Back In The Day

My brother and I in our own off the
shelf Halloween costumes. Not sure
when this was, but somewhere between
1977 and 1979. I am the fireman btw.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WORST PRE-FAB HALLOWEEN COSTUMES FROM THE DAY

Beginning in the 70s, pre-fab costumes really took off. Some were sure hits with kids (and parents none to skilled at a sewing machine) but the folks at Retro Crush have stumbled upon a few that will leave you scratching your head as to who would wear that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

FRIDAY ROUNDUP

UFOs spotted in West Texas not far from the famed Lubbock Lights of so many years ago. HERE

And new research at CERN suggests faster-than-light particles exist, which might knock Einstein's theory. HERE

New understanding of ancient quarrying techniques could further dispel the notion that ancient astronauts had a hand in earth's megalithic structures. HERE

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

PA Locals Corral Mystery Animal

This interesting historic account was brought to us by Cryptomundo and the letter 'H'

Catch Strange Animal
Hopping Along Highway

Washington, Pa., Aug. 22 (AP) – An “animal without a name,” which goes for vegetables and nuts in a big way, had the townsfolk puzzled today. No one could identify it.

The “watcha-call-it” has been viewed by hundreds since Saturday, when, hopping along the road like a kangaroo, it was corralled by a group of men and boys.

Its rear legs are like a kangaroo’s, its head and ears resemble those of a squirrel, and the eyes and nose bring to mind a rabbit. Its hair varies from brown to green.

Game Protector Carl Stainbrook is investigating whether the animal escaped from a carnival sideshow.

“I never saw anythink (sic) like it,” he said. “I searched through a book on the mammals of America and can’t find anything like it.”

Source: Reading, Pennsylvania
Reading Eagle
August 22, 1939

Without knowing the size of the animal or much else, it's hard to speculate on what it could have been. My top contenders, however would be: Ornate Tree Kangaroos, Wallabies, and Pademelons.

Of these, a Pademelon is the most squirrel-like.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ancient Irish Burials Hint At Long-Held Belief In The Undead

Archaeologists working near Kilteasheen, Ireland unearthed two skeletons from the 8th century buried with stones in their mouths. The reigning theory is that this was done to prevent their return from the grave. There, too, seemed something special about where they were buried since the two men were buried at different times and were of drastically different ages and yet laid to rest together, sometime in the 700s. Middle Ages burials elsewhere have associated this practice as a way to deal with potential vampires and other undead. However, the folklore surrounding that tradition didn't emerge throughout Europe until the 1500s. Still, the archaelogists from the Institute of Technology in Sligo think this may still have been done to prevent revenants, a term for ghosts or animated corpses. It is likely these men were outcasts from the whole of society, such as criminals or victims of some unexplained disease. This would explain why such lengths were taken not only to bury them in a special area, but also to make sure they stayed buried.

The Wild Boy

Emerging from a German forest like a wraith, an English-speaking 17 year old boy revealed to locals that he had been living in the wild for more than five years with his father who had died two weeks prior. After a simple burial in a shallow grave beneath a cairn of stones, the boy followed his father's instructions and ventured north to where he could be discovered by local citizenry.
 
 
It seem the pair had fled into the woods in a survivalist mode after Ray's mother (whom he called Doreen) had passed away. The two men lived a nomadic life, moving from place to place and calling tents and huts homes.
 
 
When authorities examined the boy, there were no indications that he had been physically or psychologically abused; his health, too, seemed in good condition. Ray had little recollection of his life prior to living in the woods with his father.
 
 
However, given that he had been 12 at the time, I find this somewhat hard to believe. I have to wonder if there isn't some underlying trauma at work that has yet to manifest itself. If anything, his socialization skills have doubtlessly been truncated by an less than ideal existence in the woods.

Learn more HERE

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is Latest OC UFO Work Of Famed 'Hoaxer'?

Orange County, CA residents spotted a mysterious light last night that appeared to change colors and shift about the sky. If one witness is to be believed similar lights have been spotted elsewhere in the country recently.No explanation has yet been presented as to what may hve caused the unexplained sight. You can watch a local news report here.

Could this, though, be the work of infamous hoaxer Linn Murphy who has long played the UFO prank on hapless OCers? In the middle of the last decade, Murphy flew an RC disc outfitted with colored lights, pausing football games and generating traffic problems. Considered a nuissance by some and a rebel by others, Murphy's pranks. In reality, he mightn't be either.

Read more about this curious fellow here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mysterious Geoglyphs Across Middle East Puzzle Scientists

Read more about these mysterious formations that have been likened to
Peru's famous Nazca Lines and which may be well over 2000 years old.

Minions of Misery Award Nomination

I was nominated for a 'Minions of Misery' award by Keith Pyeatt, author of Struck! and Dark Knowledge. In the same fashion as Miss America must abstain from drug-fueld orgies with congressional aides throughout her reign, I also have certain requirements to meet in order to fulfil the honor bestowed upon me.

Firstly, I must mention a DARK BOOK: Well, all the truly dark books I know are securely locked up deep within the hidden recesses of the Miskatonic University library in Arkham. But there is one that slipped out, and I'd be remiss not to mention it here: The Mound. That's right, in fulfilment of the honor bestowed upon me, I'm gonna plug my own stuff. Deal! Seriuosly, it's the perfect supernatural thriller to curl up with as we head into the haunting season.

Secondly, I am compelled to reveal a DARK SECRET about myself. Yeah.... You're not ready for all that. Instead, I will reveal a slightly interesting tidbit: when I travel, I usually wear several t-shirts that I've designed myself. These are great conversation starters about my work and often function better as a promotional tool than shoving a business card in someone's hand, since it calls upon them to be curious about you.

Lastly, we come to the DARK MOVIE: This one is obscure. It's the made-for-TV horror flick from 1981 called "This House Possessed," starring Parker Stevenson that included the scariest shower scene since Psycho. This film--atrocious as it is--really impressed itself upon my tender young psyche and has remained with me all these years.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Famed Pascagoula Abductee Passes

This caught my attention since it happened near a town that's only about 40 minutes away from me.

On the evening of October 11, 1973, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker claimed to have been abducted by aliens while fishing near Pascagoula, MS. The two heard a strange droning, looked up, and spotted two flashing blue lights coming from a domed, cigar-shaped vehicle in the sky. The men recalled that it must have been between 30 an 40 feet across and 8 to 10 feet high as it levitated 2 feet from the ground.

Suddenly, a door opened to reveal three man-sized beings who seized the two fishermen and levitated them inside. Parker fainted, but Hickson managed to stay lucid. He recalled the creatures as being pale and wrinkled without any eyes and only slits for mouths. Their heads, which were possessed of strange "carrot-like" protuberances that seemed to mimic the placement of ears and a nose, sat atop their shoulders with no discernible neck. Their hands were like the claws of a lobster and their single leg terminated in an elephant-like foot. Their movements, Hickson thought, were oddly mechanical.

The two men were examined by some sort of device that seemed to scan their bodies, according to Hickson. Parker had no recollection, but later hypnotic regressions revealed some vague tid bits. Twenty minutes later, the two men were taken back to their spot on the river bank.

Too frightened to move, the pair sat in their vehicle for nearly an hour, drinking whiskey. Although, I'm not sure how this would have deviated from their intended post-fishing routine...

The pair decided at last on a course of action. They contacted the folks at Keesler Air Force Base who informed them that they were no longer interested in such reports and that they should probably contact the local police department. So, at 10:30 that night, Hickson and Parker entered the Sheriff's office, catfish in tow, to tell their tale.

While the Sheriff wasn't sure he bought their tale (I'm thinking strong whiskey breath might have contributed to this conclusion), he did think the men were sincerely disturbed by SOMETHING that happened on the river that evening.

According to a secretly taped interview (later transcribed by NICAP), the men's story continued even after the Sheriff left them alone, lending credence to the belief of many that their story--fantastic or not--was true.

In the days that followed, the spoke to no one about the event, but co-workers could tell something wasn't right with the men. It wasn't before long that the men got a call from the Sheriff, complaining about reporters that were now hounding him for information on the case. The two men each blamed the other for leaking the story to the press. In short order, the whole area was soon buzzing with the tale.

According to research by famed UFO researcher Jerome Clark, the men were taken to the Air Force base to be examined and debriefed by military intelligence.

The story was going national quickly and the men found themselves in front of UFO big wigs like James Harder and J. Allen Hynek. Hickson acquiesced to a polygraph that determined that, at the very least, he BELIEVED the story he was telling. But research by other journalists revealed that the fishing spot at which the men claimed the incident transpired was in full view of two 24 hour toll booths and neither attendants on duty at the time heard or saw anything strange that evening.

The stress of it all soon took its toll and the two fled 150 miles north to hide out with family.

Many years later, Parker (who no doubt knew all the details of Hickson's account by then) claimed to have lied about fainting and he actually remembered it all. But he had more to offer.

In addition to the bizarre carrot men, a small female being grabbed his man junk and injected a needle into the underside of his shaft. She communicated with him telepathically; informing him his abduction had a purpose. Parker said that nearly 20 years passed without incident when suddenly one evening he encountered the craft again. Aboard was the same female being who informed him that the two shared the same God, the Bible was truth, and that she and her kind wished to live on Earth but could not because of humanity's war-like nature.

The excuses carrot nosed beings will come up with as to why they didn't call the next day. Tsk, tsk, tsk...

The two kept a fairly low profile in the decades following, only occasionally speaking about the event. Hickson co-wrote a book on his experiences. He passed away September 9, 2011.

Maybe it was all a prank that got out of hand--so out of hand that these two men felt ensnared by their own lies. I could see that. Maybe they really did see something strange that night, but maybe their drinking began a bit earlier than the bit of whiskey to calm their nerves and the details got a bit confused. Or perhaps we should be watching out for more than just snakes, gators, and creepy banjo-pluckin' inbreds on the rivers and streams of Mississippi.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Art Inspired By Classic Halloween Motifs

I love this stuff! Reminds me of Hallowe'en of yesteryear,
and the illustrations of favorite holiday children's books.

Experimenting With Time--And Dreams

The seemingly precognitive dreams of John William Dunne, an Irish-born aeronautical engineer [1], were chronicled in his 1927 essay entitled "An Experiment With Time." Dunne began to theorize that time exists simultaneously at all points and that his dreams, which he recorded unerringly, could find analogs in the real world within a 24 hour timespan in either direction of his predictive visions. Dunne's tome would go on to inspire writers such as T. S. Eliot, William S. Burroughs, Robert Heinlein, and C. S. Lewis. You can read a deeper analysis of the work at Professor Solomon. [2]

An Eerie Soundscape To Haunt Your Senses

Enjoy a haunted "soundscape" from The Haunted Gallery blog, a site where you can also find designs for bringing sound more effectively into your haunted house or haunted trail experience.



"Picture a blustery late November afternoon. The sky is grey and sinister looking and threatening an unseasonably late thunderstorm. Ill tempered wind rakes the leaves of a single gnarled tree in an old dreary churchyard. Nearby, a gravedigger chips away at the at a neat little square in the chilly ground. Eerie church bells mourn that death has claimed another for his own. Listen carefully to the subtlety of the atmosphere... the scavenging crows overhead, the frigid bite in the air, careful hammering of each coffin nail... Oh, where you not aware? Why, of course, this grave belongs to you. Rest in Peace..."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Modern Film Recalls Silent Film Horror

Released in 2005 from HPLHS films, the $50,000 "The Call of Cthulhu" is a faithful adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's seminal work that relates the tale-within-a-tale-within-a-tale-within-a... Anyway, it traces the vestiges and hints of an ancient, murderous cult in worship of an even more ancient and deadly being from beyond time and space.

However, unlike any would-be attempt to modernize the effort with barely-clad neophyte actresses and stilted performances from some young Keanu Reeves-esque thespian, this film imagines the story as it might have been revealed to audiences when the novella was first released in 1926.

The cinematography is a flawless verisimilitude of silent classics from the silver screen; and the art direction is almost fetishistic in its decadent pastiche. It's all there: from the luminescent halation of bright whites to the scratches and flecks one would expect to find in early 20th century cinema. Only rarely does some digital nuisance intrude to betray this film's modern origin, but so inconsequential are these that they are dismissed and forgotten almost instantly.

You can watch the entire film (it is not a feature-length work) at IMDb by following the link below:

So, That's How They Do It...

IMpractical Magic

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturdays Are Silly

Since tomorrow you will once again be confronted by how sucktastic today's newsprint comics are, I thought I would bring something better to the table. Cyanide and Happiness is one of the better strips around--and it's only online.




Friday, September 9, 2011

On Ignorance, Knowledge, And The Future.

Bear with me; I'm on a Lovecraft kick this week...
 
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or fleed from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age." -- H. P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu"
 
As we chase the weirdness of quantum phsyics like a white rabbit down the wormhole of strange implications, I see moments when these words could ring horribly, horribly true.
 
But enough of that! On to tentacles in the sky....
Apparently, this was released last year. I think I will look for it. Read more HERE.

Just For Fun Friday

You know what disturbs me the most about The Shining? Shelley Duvall's wardrobe. Therein lies the horror, my friends. Sometimes, I lay awake at night with horrible visions of red jumpers beneath gingham prairie dresses surmounted by stringy tendrils of hair that surely gave inspiration to Lovecraft when describing those horrid Cthuluian tentacles.

Saving The World, One Ugly Book Cover At A Time

I don't have ads on here. I have me. I use this space to plug me. Wait... Let's rephrase that: I don't assault you with ads you couldn't care less about and that only serve to clutter up the website until it loads slower than an elderly hooker. No, if you see something on here, it's either topical or my own promotion (which usually means it's tangential to the general theme anyhow).

To that end, if you self-publish or know someone attempting to do so, I'd like to take a moment to let you know that, in addition to writing, I am also a freelance graphic designer--on a mission. I want to save the world one book at a time. So, if you want to avoid the mess illustrated here (no offense to this author), then by all means give me a shout. My rates are reasonable and I think you'll find the product more than satisfactory. To see more of my work, you can check out www.fresheiredesign.blogspot.com

And if you're not writing a book, I can also design corporate graphics for your business (cards, brochures, etc...) or perhaps your paranormal investigation team is looking for an interesting promo. Let me know!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011 Paranormal Hoax Photo Contest

Inspiration by freshEIRE
Inspiration, a photo by freshEIRE on Flickr.
Enter The 2011 Paranormal Hoax Photo Contest!

Airship Mysteries Remain

One thing that has always puzzled me about old tales of mysterious airships and their strange occupants is how often those same-said occupants have seen it necessary to either lasso a cow from their craft or shimmy down to the ground on a rope, often attached to an anchor.

If we assume, as ancient astronaut theorists do, that these UFOs are otherworldly craft that have doubtlessly ventured from far away (a proposition requiring staggering technology), then don't we find it odd that their sole means of getting down on the ground consists of a rope?  And no brillant beam of impossible properties is snagging that bovine--just a lasso.

Moreover, these accounts almost never speak of strange beings. They are described as men (sometimes women) in sailor-like suits or uniforms of the ilk expected of a crewman aboard any vessel. Nary a word is written about big heads, big eyes, strange coloration or any other queer feature that would set these aeronauts apart from their contemporaries.

You can read other tales of airship visitors and the like over at Mysterious Universe, including several throughout England and Ireland that seem as if they're retellings on the same parable.  There are also those from the 19th Century American West.

Monday, September 5, 2011

More Irish Monsters

Continuing from the last post, let's delve deeper into the monsters of my ancestors. No, not hillbillies--older....

The Leanan Sidhe is a sort of vampire meets a muse. She attached herself to artists, poets, writers, and musicians and suck up all their creativity and left them bereft and depressed to the point of suicide. You know, like a groupie. Well, she'd come by with her big ol' cauldron and fill it up with their blood. From here she drank or bathed or soaked her cuticles or whatever to retain her beauty and intoxicatingly inspirational powers. I wonder if Oprah has a cauldron....

The Dullahan or "dark man" is a harbinger of death in a sort of Irish headless horseman tale. The headless Dullahan rides a black horse with fiery eyes while clutching his head beneath his arm. Wherever the rider stops, death visits hapless mortals. However, you can bribe the Dullahan with gold and he may spare your life. I wonder if he ever thought about running for office...

The Bean Sidhe is a more common entity in the list of Irish monsters, although you mightn't recognize the proper spelling. The "Banshee", as Americans term it, is a spirit that attaches itself to a family and wails horribly in anticipation of death within the clan. And you thought your relatives were a bunch of loud mouths.

Ruling over the Fomori, a race of demons living deep in the lakes and seas, Balor was the sort of god of the underworld in ancient Celtic myth. He had one leg and one eye with which he could stare down a person to death. His victims were given over to the Fomori. Balor's own son, Lug, killed him with a slingshot (giant? slingshots? hmmmmm....) With Balor dead, the Fomori were free to evolve into sea monsters and seek out their own human prey, which is pretty much how I see the whole Kate Plus 8 thing working out.

Sluagh are dead sinners that come back from the dead to hunt down souls. They arrive from the west (like so many tourists, probably landing in Shannon) in flocks and attempt to gain entry into the homes of those knocking on death's door. It was tradition among some to keep west-facing doors and windows shut at all times.

Carman was an witch-goddess in Celtic lore. Like an evil stage mom, she traveled about with her three sons: Dub, Dother, and Dain (the Irish words for Darkness, Evil, and Violence). Together they destroyed anyone or anything in their path. Eventually, Tuatha De Danann (the people of Danu) defeated the old witch with powerful magic and banished her kids across the sea--probably to America. Thanks.

Kelpies are shape-shifting sea monsters that often appear as a horse. The horse would come from the sea, ride across the land, and entice victims to ride him. Once mounted, the Kelpie would race to the sea, dive in, and drag the victim down to its lair whereupon it would be quickly eaten.

Caorthannach was banished from the emerald isle when St. Patrick was running his pest control service. This fire-spitting beast (a dragon some say) didn't want to go so easily, but St. P was able to do the job. With one word. That's how badass he was.

Friday, September 2, 2011

It Devoured The Remains

"Nachzehrer are a German sort of vampire, and are much like zombies, though they would become restless in their graves and chew through their burial shrouds."

READ MORE and HERE as well.

Perhaps it was fitting that Bram Stoker was an Irishman...

In Ireland, a folk tale exists of the Dearg-due, a type of vampire. Legend tells that a beautiful woman committed suicide to escape a terrible marriage. She was buried in Waterford, but arose from the grave to exact revenge on those men who conspired to make her so miserable in life. Thenceforth, she would rise one night a year to lure other men to their death with her beauty. Her arrival could only be held off if her grave were found and stones piled high atop so that she was unable to dig herself out.

Dearg-due is likely a corruption of the word dréag or driug, which in Gaeilge means a portent or harbinger. This, in turn, was probably borrowed from a word used by the oft-invading Norse Vikings, draugr. Draugar were creatures that "walked again" after death, which included ghosts.