Book Review: Sepultura by Guy Portman

Book Review: Sepultura by Guy Portman

Hello Addicts,

One of my favorite of slasher-style tales is where you get to see the crime from the killer’s point of view. Being able to get a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer to find out what makes them do what they do so brutally as well as the lengths they’ll go to remain hidden. I thought Sepultura would be a good one to try, and the results were mixed.

Dyson Devereux works in the Burials and Cemeteries Department and is a very meticulous person in his tastes, fashion, food, and drink. He has a son with Rakesha, an ex-girlfriend he still has a physical relationship with, and is very much a player when it comes to women in general. He is a judgmental person who not only looks down his nose at those he believes are beneath him because of how they dress or carry themselves. His interactions with these people give you an idea of his level of sociopathic tendencies. One of those individuals is Rakesha’s boyfriend, who Dyson refers to as Free Lunch. He hates Dyson but has no problem living off the money he provides for Rakesha and their son.

When Free Lunch gets physically confrontational, you see just how efficient of a killer Dyson is. He kills the younger man and cleans up enough of the mess to immediately spend time with one of his girlfriends in bed. Like most serial killers, he has a plan on disposing of the body and takes a souvenir to remember the act. As the story continues, you see his talent at making people disappear first hand. He gets rattled only a couple of times when he runs across people who bear a likeness to some of his previous victims but is cool when it comes to speaking with the police. It isn’t the only murder in the book, but it best illustrates just how much thought he puts into his crimes.

As I said in the beginning, I have mixed feelings regarding this book. It is the second book in the series, but the story stands alone well. You don’t need to have read the first book, Necropolis, to know anything about Dyson Devereux’s character. I can say that I wasn’t a fan of his, but because of his arrogance, pretentiousness, and disdain for people. That shows how good of a writer Guy Portman is. Dyson is one of those main characters who you either love, hate, or love to hate. Some people likened him to Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, a comparison that seems a good fit. I liked the attention to detail of viewing people he looks down on as not people, but things. With some, the only given names are the labels of what he dislikes about them.

One of the things I disliked about the book, however, is the dialog written with very heavy accents. It worked well for some, like the Italians, but made understanding others practically impossible. Multiple times I had to reread sentences to decipher what the character said. Also, how Dyson establishes himself as being above everyone else felt overdone at times. The ending felt kind of rushed as well.

Overall, I thought the book was okay, but not exactly a home run. If you can get past the heavy Cockney style accents and the heavy-handed descriptions, you will enjoy this book. If you can’t, then you might want to skip this one or go for an audio version. I recommend it for those American Psycho and Dexter fans out there.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

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Nightmare Fuel: Black Aggie

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Hello Addicts,

This week I take you on a tour of a cemetery in Baltimore, MD in search of a particular statue known as Black Aggie. It is a statue with a bit of history to it, and a legend that makes it Nightmare Fuel.

Our story begins with the death of a woman named Marian Adams. She was married to Henry Adams, the grandson of President John Quincy Adams, until her death by suicide in 1885. Distraught by the loss of his love, he traveled to Japan in June 1886 in search of comfort. Upon his return home, he sought out famed American sculptor, Augustus St. Gaudens, and commissioned a statue from him to replace his late wife’s headstone. It took four years, and when finally finished was regarded as “the most powerful and expressive pieces in the history of American art.” While the piece itself was never officially named, it is commonly referred to as the Adams Memorial, although its nickname is Grief.

Strangeness surrounded the original statue. Henry Adams never spoke publicly about it or his wife’s death, even refusing to acknowledge the artwork’s nickname. His family heritage intensified the public’s curiosity, but it took hiding the statue behind walls of trees and shrubbery to capture the people’s fascination. It became a popular site to find, even though the piece was described as unnerving to see. Perhaps it was the public’s enthusiasm for it that inspired another artist, Eduard L. A. Pausch, to produce a copy, later dubbed Black Aggie.

The statue was a near identical copy of Grief, although differing in some details. Instead of being made of pink granite, Aggie was grey. It was also missing the bench and the original stonework of the original. Also, inscribed at the base of the statue was the name Agnus, the family name of the replica’s owner at the time, General Felix Agnus.

General Agnus was a war hero during the Civil War, who retired from the military to take over his father-in-law’s position as publisher of the Baltimore American newspaper until his death in 1925. The legend of Black Aggie began with the General’s body being buried at the statue’s feet.

A statue by day, stories began to spread of the stone woman moving on its own and dead spirits gathering around her on some nights. If your eyes met hers, you risked blindness. Pregnant women who passed through Aggie’s shadow faced possible miscarriages. While it’s easy to attribute these stories to fear and superstition, it’s the ones that followed that frightened people even more.

A local college fraternity took to including Black Aggie in their initiation rites, with the pledges being made to spend the night on the statue’s lap. One anecdotal case mentions that the stone woman came to life and squeezed the life out of the young man. Another instance reported by a night watchman was of a boy found frightened to death at Aggie’s feet. Other reports are of red glowing eyes at night and people dying after disrespecting the statue.

Due to the popularity of the statue and the damage caused by the people coming to see it, the decision was made to donate it. After several years where its whereabouts were unknown, the statue is now on display in the rear courtyard of the Dolly Madison house in Washington, D.C. After its removal areas of grass that refused to grow while it lay in Black Aggie’s shadow have begun filling in once again.

Is there something to this tale, or is it just an urban legend? Who can say? Perhaps these stories are as anecdotal as they sound, but what if there may be some factual evidence to back it up? Regardless, I hope this provides some fuel for your nightmares.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

Nightmare Fuel – The Tragic Tale of Olivia Mabel

Hello Addicts,

In the last episode, I gave a brief overview of tulpas or thought forms. That is so I can bring you this week’s Nightmare Fuel, the tragic tale of Olivia Mabel.

Olivia Mabel was a happy wife and mother living on a ranch just north of Dallas, TX whose life was rocked by the death of her son, Aiden, who was found dead in one of their ponds. Devastated, Olivia began drawing away from everything else in her life. She spent less time with work, friends, and church, and eventually divorced her husband before secluding herself away in her home.

On February 27, 1994, police arrived at Olivia’s home responding to multiple silent calls to 911. After repeatedly knocking on the front door without a response, the officers broke the door down. Inside the house was filled with dust, stale air, and neglect. They eventually discovered Olivia’s body in her son’s immaculately kept bedroom, sitting in a rocking chair in front of a shrine dedicated to Aiden and clutching a stick figure doll. Based on the state of her body, the authorities figured that she died months prior.

The altar to Aiden was what you expect to find for a grieving parent: personal possessions of his, letters from his mother to him, hand-drawn pictures, candles, flowers, and an urn filled with ashes. Affixed to the front of the altar was Sanskrit writing that translated to “construct” or “to build.” These elements contributed to a feeling of an “angry presence” in the home.

Before long, some people began piecing together a theory on what may have happened to Olivia Mabel. They believed that the constant concentration, thoughts, and effigies focused on her son may have created a tulpa version of him. What is most disturbing about that is, if true, it is the first case where a tulpa is believed to have killed its creator. Fueling this is a note found at the scene from Olivia to her son which reads, “My Aiden, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I should have never let it get like this. I’m leaving. I will not let you keep me you ViLE, EViL CREATURE. Mommy’s coming for you, Aiden, my sweet Aiden. Mommy loves you.” What makes this note especially odd is that the letter was dated February 27, 1994, many months after her estimated death.

Did Olivia die of a broken heart, or did she create a tulpa of her son, who later killed her? If she did create a thought-form, what happened to him? If not, who placed the phone calls to 911? Is this case unique, or just a mischaracterization of a heartbreaking tragedy? We may never really know.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel – The Tulpa

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Have you ever heard of a being born of a thought?  I’m not talking about in a birds and bees kind of way, but literally, an entity created from a person’s mind?  For this episode of Nightmare Fuel, we take a look at tulpas.

A tulpa is an entity created by your mind and imagination that can sometimes gain a physical form with intelligence and sentience.   Tibetan Buddhists believe that by concentrating on a thought hard enough can make it become a real person, animal, or object.  The more you focus on the thought form, the stronger and more tangible it becomes.  Some say that a tulpa only exists in your mind, but there are some stories where they took on a physical form.

One of the more famous tulpa stories is about Alexandra David-Neel, a woman who created one in the form of a jolly monk.  She raised it like a child until it evolved into a separate entity.  Eventually, it became evil and needed to be destroyed.  David-Neel considered that the monk existed only in her mind, but some people claimed to have also seen him.  The Philip Experiment, previously covered in an installment of Nightmare Fuel, is another possible tulpa case.

The tulpa also plays a role in the world of fiction, especially in horror and fantasy tales.  Stephen King’s novel “The Dark Half” is a story about a writer’s pseudonym that comes to life in a murderous way when the author attempts to “bury” him.  Other examples are the entire cartoon series of “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and an episode of Power Puff Girls, “Imaginary Friend,” where an imaginary friend begins being able to affect the real world, causing the girls to create a tulpa of their own to fight him.  Stories involving tulpas have also appeared in episodes of The X-Files, Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as in other mediums.

So, the next time something gets broken or taken, and they blame it on their imaginary friend, don’t be so quick to think of them diverting the blame.  It is a probability that they don’t want to get into trouble for doing something they knew shouldn’t, but there is also the possibility that they are telling the truth.  They may, through their powerful gift of imagination, have created a tulpa.

Until next time Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

 

Nightmare Fuel: The Pooka

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

I have a confession to make. I’m a Jimmy Stewart fan. To me, it just isn’t Christmas season without a showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” because it reminds me of the impact one person has on other people’s lives. However, this is a horror podcast, and, as good of a movie it is, it’s not my all-time favorite. That honor goes to another of Jimmy’s classics, “Harvey.” If you’ve never seen the movie, Jimmy Stewart plays a middle-aged man with a best friend named Harvey, a six-foot three and a half-inch invisible rabbit. Said rabbit is also referred to in the movie as a pooka, which is the subject of this week’s Nightmare Fuel.

A pooka is a much-feared member of the fae world in Ireland. Known as mischief makers, they enjoy nothing more than to spread fear and havoc. The appearance of these hobgoblins depends on where in Ireland you find yourself. Sometimes they appear as a small, deformed goblin demanding a portion of the season’s crops. Other times it can be a huge, hairy bogeyman terrorizing travelers out at night. Additional reported forms are an eagle with a massive wingspan or a black goat with curly horns. The hobgoblin’s favorite, however, is a sleek, dark horse with deep yellow eyes and a long mane. Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about a pooka is its ability to speak with a human voice.

The little creatures are known to be destructive and vindictive if slighted or ignored. It will damage property and scoop up travelers out late and toss them into muddy bogs or ditches. Some say that the mere sight of the little beasties can frighten hens into not laying eggs and cows not giving milk.

That is not to say that the pooka is all mayhem and chaos. There are some stories of them being helpful when given the proper respect by providing prophecies and warnings when asked.

So, the next time you hear a human voice calling to you when no one else is around; don’t be so quick to dismiss it as a figment of your imagination. It may be a pooka, and there may be painful consequences if it views your disregard as a slight to it.

Until next time addicts,

D.J. Pitsiladis

Music Review: Terror Universal, Make Them Bleed

Hello Addicts,

I’m a metal head and have been since middle school. I started with hair bands (it was the 80s, what can I say) and eventually graduated to harder music in college and beyond. I have fond memories from my younger days of banging my head to Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, and Disturbed among other bands. When I saw the Terror Universal’s video for the song “Through the Mirrors,” I felt a strong need to check out the rest of the album.

The band is made up of former members of Soulfly, Machine Head, Ill Nino, and Upon a Burning Body with each member wearing a mask that looks designed by Ed Gein and at home on Leatherface. Even their names play on the horror vibe they strove for: Massacre on drums, Thrax on guitar, Diabolous 2 on bass guitar, and Plague on lead vocals. With that image in mind, the video brought memories of early Slipknot and Drowning Pool videos. The longer I listened, the more of a distinction I picked up from the band. When I heard the rest of their debut studio album, I instantly added to my regular music rotation.

Every song is energizing in different ways, whether through harmonic choruses, catchy rhythm and beats, well placed screaming lyrics, and the sound variety. Each song is a story unto itself. The three standouts from the album are the previously mentioned song “Through the Mirrors,” “Spines,” and “Dig You a Hole.” Now, that’s not to say the other songs on the album aren’t great as well. Each finds just the right balance between tempo and singing styles. While my headbanging days are long behind me, I still felt the familiar adrenaline rush while listening to the album. If you are into horror metal or metal in general, I highly recommend this outing from Terror Universal and look forward to their next.

Until next time, Addicts…

Nightmare Fuel – Resurrection Mary

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Hello Addicts,

Imagine driving along in your car and seeing a young woman in a white dress and dancing shoes walking along the roadside.  You feel sorry for her and offer a ride, which she graciously accepts.  When you arrive at the address she gives, you are shocked to see it is a cemetery.  You look to verify the address with your passenger, only to see her vanish in front of your eyes.  Immediately, you wonder whether she was there or if you were losing your mind.  A third option to offer is that the young lady in question was a ghost.

Hitchhiking ghost stories have long been a part of urban legends for decades, if not longer.  The scenario described above is one version of a famous tale from Justice, IL, a village not far from Chicago.  Resurrection Mary, as she is known, is described as a light blond-haired, blue-eyed woman wearing a white dress.  Additional details only sometimes reported are black dress shoes, a thin shawl, and a small clutch purse.  Another commonality in each story is Resurrection Cemetery, the location giving Mary part of her name.  Some reports claim that a woman matching her description runs out and either attempts to jump directly in front of the vehicle or on the side runners as they drive by before disappearing.  Other tales describe meeting the young lass walking along Archer Avenue, or at the O’Henry Ballroom, only to disappear once arriving at the cemetery.  Dozens of men over the years have claimed sightings or interactions with the ghostly woman.  In fact, Mary is considered one of the more famous hauntings in the Chicago area.

How did Mary become a ghost, you might ask?  Researchers of the legend commonly agree that the young woman spent her last evening alive dancing at the O’Henry Ballroom with her boyfriend before getting into a heated argument with him.  She left alone on foot along Archer Avenue when a car came out of nowhere and struck her down.  Her body is discovered the next morning and buried in the Resurrection Cemetery wearing the same white dress and dance shoes from the stories.  Whether this version of the story is real or simply an urban legend is impossible to say, but doesn’t the beauty of a good story lie in not knowing?

So the next time you’re driving at night and see a young woman matching Mary’s description, think twice about picking her up.  Once you arrive at the cemetery, she will most likely vanish before your eyes.  Then again, she may enjoy your company and take you with her.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis