Nightmare Fuel — The ZoZo Phenomena

 

Hello Addicts,

If you are a regular user of Ouija boards, then many of you have probably heard of this week’s Nightmare Fuel topic. If not, allow me to introduce you to… the ZoZo Phenomenon.

Let me start by explaining, for those just new to the horror realms what an Ouija board is. Sometimes referred to as a spirit board, an Ouija board is some form of a flat surface, most of the time wood or cardboard, with the alphabet, the numbers 0-9, and common words such as “yes”, “no”, and “goodbye”. You place your fingers lightly on a device called a planchette and wait for the spirits to begin moving it around. Once a connection with a spirit is made, you can ask it questions, which the entity answers by moving the planchette to different parts of the board. Because of the nature of people in moving the planchette, whether deliberately or subconsciously, there is a certain level of uncertainty in the effectiveness of the device. What makes the ZoZo Phenomena particularly interesting is a number of people reporting it from around the world before it became a talked about thing, since 1816 according to the earliest stories.

The beginnings of the stories share this similarity, an Ouija board session is started and an entity identifying itself as ZoZo (or sometimes ZaZa or ZoSo). From there, the stories diverge drastically. Some people have reported things like the spirit providing an answer to questions it had no reason to know and impersonating others just to frighten the users of the board. Others have reported bumps, bangs, and threatening messages. Still, others have experienced possession and death threats/predictions. For one person, in particular, ZoZo not only predicted how he was going to die but used the man’s ex to attempt to bring it into being when she stabbed him to death.

Some people say that ZoZo is simply a mischievous spirit or a collection of copycat spirits. Others claim that it is a demon bent on creating as much mayhem, death, and pain as possible. It may also be the result of mass hysteria, deep-seated human fears, or an urban legend. I myself think that ZoZo is a collection or mix and match of all of the above. One thing is for certain, the ZoZo Phenomena is one that should not be taken lightly or ignored, especially if you use an Ouija board.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

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Nightmare Fuel — The Town That Dreaded Sundown

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Throughout history, there have been few serial killers who have become infamous even though their true identity has remained a mystery. One such location with an as yet unidentified murderer is Texarkana, TX.

The terror began February 22, 1946. Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne were parked on the local lover’s lane just outside of town when they were attacked by a large man wearing a white mask with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth. What they thought was an armed robbery became worse when Jimmy was severely beaten and Jeanne violently assaulted by the man. The attacker remained unidentified and quiet for a month before striking again.

On March 24, 1946, a car was discovered on a secluded road with the bodies of another couple. It is believed that the couple, Richard Griffin and Polly Ann Moore were sharing a romantic moment when the killer came upon them. Both people were shot in the back of the head, and Moore was placed in the back seat of the car, wrapped in a blanket. The coroner was unable to determine whether she was also assaulted as in the attack the month before.

A third attack attributed to the “Phantom Killer” occurred on April 13, 1976 when Betty Jo Booker and Paul Martin’s bodies were discovered. Betty Jo had just finished playing at a local club and was getting a ride home from her friend Paul. His body was found on the side of a road with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. It took several hours for her body to be found two miles away. Betty Jo appeared to have been sexually assaulted before being shot to death.

The final attack came on May 3, 1946. Gunfire shattered the living room window of Virgil and Katie Starks. One of the bullets struck Virgil in the back of the head, but that wasn’t the end. Katie attempted to contact the police, and “The Phantom Killer” shot her twice in the face. She survived by escaping the house and running to a neighbor’s house. Due to the amount of blood flowing into her eyes, Katie was unable to identify the attacker.

Panic filled the town during this entire ordeal. Businesses closed by sunset, a curfew was established, and the townspeople purchased stronger locks and barricaded windows. Rewards were offered and many suspects were questioned, and still, the killer remained unidentified. Even the famed Texas Rangers were called in to investigate with no results.

The legend of the Phantom Killer became so widespread that the events of his murder spree inspired the 1976 film, “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”, and the later sequel/remake with the same title. The details of the murder were followed, but with some creative license taken for sake of entertainment. Even with all of this attention, the killer of all those people still remains unknown.

Until next time Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Bunny Man

Hello Addicts,

This week’s Nightmare Fuel comes courtesy of one of my sons.  Let’s take a look at The Bunny Man or The Clifton Bunny Man.

Our story begins with an asylum, which predated the town of Clifton, VA, that was petitioned to relocate. The reason given was that they didn’t feel comfortable living so close to the inmates stored there. During the process of moving the patients to a different facility, they bus transporting them overturned and most of the prisoners escaped. All but two were quickly recaptured. Marcus A. Wallster and Douglas J. Grifton evaded police for four months, leaving half eaten and dismembered rabbit carcasses in random spots. Eventually, they found the body of Wallster holding a handmade weapon that looked to be a cross between a hatchet and a dagger. The press and townspeople dubbed him the Bunny Man, although the name changed ownership to Grifton after the body of more rabbits were discovered. After three more months of not finding any other signs of the final escaped prisoner, the police called off the search for him. They figured he had either already left the area or died. Life went on.

Around Halloween, rabbit carcasses were discovered in the area around the Fairfax Station Bridge. On Halloween Night, a group of teenagers were drinking and having a good time on the bridge, but terror struck the only three remaining on the bridge at midnight. According to the legend, a bright light erupted from the portion of the bridge where the kids were. Within seconds, the teens were hung by their necks off the sides of the bridge with their throats slit and slashes running up their middles. It was determined that the weapon was similar to the one found with Marcus Wallster’s body months prior. These murders became an annual thing as defiant teenagers tempted fate at the Bunny Man Bridge.  Always on Halloween, and always foreshadowed by the bunny body parts, now renamed Bunny Man Bridge.

Fast forward to 1987, and a group of teens are hanging around the bridge, pulling pranks to scare each other and eating candy stolen from other Trick-or-Treaters. At midnight, one member of the group attempts to leave, not wanting to tempt the fate of the Bunny Man. Her body is halfway off the bridge when things brighten and the skin on her chest begins to slice open. There is nothing physically touching her to cause this, so she doubles her efforts to escape, which she does. In the process, the woman collides with one of the hanging bodies and she is rendered unconscious. When she wakes up, her hair has turned bright white and she has been bleeding. The woman spends the rest of her days sitting on a swinging bench on her balcony, just staring in the direction of the bridge without ever going near it.

As with any urban legend of the like, there is little evidence proving that these events, let alone all of the murders occurred. It is possible that this is a story told by parents to keep their children away from the Bunny Man Bridge. However, there may also be a nugget of truth to the story as well. In 1970, two incidents occurred within a week of each other in Burke, VA. According to police reports, people were chased off what he called his property. He held an ax in his hands and was described to possibly be wearing a bunny costume, or something resembling one. In each case, the man was never found, and there have been no similar incidents in the police records since.

Whether the stories are true or not, they do make for interesting nightmares and horror stories.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: Resurrection America by Jeff Gunhus

Hello Addicts,

For this month’s book review, I selected Resurrection America by Jeff Gunhus. Let me start by saying that the book isn’t your typical horror story fare. I assure you that there are enough elements by the end of the book for the more discerning horror tastes.

Resurrection is a small, picturesque town in Colorado attempting to rebuild itself after many years of financial hardship. The day before their annual Fall Festival, an event they hope will jumpstart their tourism industry, the sheriff is called out to the mine overlooking the town. A new company has moved into the long dormant mine with plans to reopen it and give a large donation to the town. The sheriff agrees to keep mum about the company’s presence until they are ready to speak with Resurrection’s mayor and council. The actual plans for the town and the mine are far from the happy, hopeful story given. The real hope is for the events in Resurrection, CO, to kick the United States of America out of their post-war stagnation. Needless to say, what is planned for the townspeople is truly horrifying on many levels.

As I said at the beginning, this doesn’t fall easily into the realm of horror. The story as a whole would fall under science-fiction thriller, but there are enough horror elements to whet the casual Addict’s appetite. What is most frightening about the story is the plausibility of something like this possibly happening with the technology available today. If you are a hardcore horror fan, you may not appreciate the story as much. Overall, I think Resurrection America is a fun read.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel – The 11B-X-1371 Video

 

Hello Addicts,

For this week’s Nightmare Fuel, we take a look at a creepy video named 11B-X-1371.

Released in 2015, the video is a truly creepy one that is chock full of secret codes and hidden imagery. The video itself is two minutes in length and shows a person dressed up in what appears to be an old style plague doctor suit. The setting is a dilapidated building in a forest, and the distorted music and sounds playing throughout the video increase the creep factor exponentially. As the video plays, the person flashes various hand gestures while lights flash and symbols appear on the screen. This alone is enough for excite those of us who enjoy creepy mysteries, but this one is a multi-layered one that really caught on with code breakers and puzzle lovers.

Framed at the top of the video is a binary code, that, when translated, reads, “Te queda 1 año menos” or “You have 1 year less”. The soundtrack doubled as a code that, after being run through a spectrogram, revealed a skull, images of someone being tortured, and “You are already dead.” Other lines of code hidden in the video stills revealed other chilling information, such as the longitude and latitude coordinates of the White House, the phrase RED LIPS LIKE TENTH (which some take as an anagram for KILL THE PRESIDENT), “The Eagle infected will spread his disease. We are the antivirus will protect the world body”, and “Strike an arrow through the heart of the eagle.” Accordingly, many have interpreted all of this, including the costume, as a possible threat of bioterrorism against the USA.

Many have come forward to claim ownership of the video, but the strongest candidate for it is a person calling himself Parker Warner Wright, a US citizen living in Poland. He claims to have created the video at the former Zofiówka Sanatorium, near Otwock, a short distance south of Warsaw. The purpose of the video wasn’t any type of threat but was intended for an art project that needed multiple people to help decode all of the secrets. To back up his claim, he released an earlier video taken outside of the same location with a slight variation on the plague costume.

Regardless of the truth behind the video, I must admit that it is definitely a creepy one that has a lot of mystery yet to be unraveled. Check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quyXS4a0JGQ and judge for yourself. Perhaps you can help decode the full message behind the video.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — Baron Kriminel

Hello Addicts,

Last season I gave a little glimpse at one of the four Barons of Voodoo with Baron Samedi. For this week’s Nightmare Fuel, I thought we’d take a peek at the muscle of the Ghede family, Baron Kriminel.

According to legend, Baron Kriminel was a murderer condemned to death and is invoked to pronounce swift judgment on criminals and those who still owe his family for services rendered. Those possessed by this particular Baron shout obscenities and spit on or stab anyone within reach. If he is served food he doesn’t like, he will torture his host body by biting chunks of flesh from his or her arms. Baron Kriminel’s cruelty isn’t just limited to people. This cruel Loa may demand a black chicken be doused in gasoline and lit on fire, for no other reason than to hear the shrieks from the poor animal.

This Baron is believed to be either an aspect of Baron Samedi, although his fashion sense favors black, purple, white, and deep blood-red. Out of all the famed Voodoo Barons, this is one you never want to appear at your doorstep. The end results may just be the worst pain and torture you can imagine.

Until next time Addicts,

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel – Leap Castle

Hello Addicts,

This week we take a trip to one of the most haunted locations in Ireland, Leap Castle.

Located in Coolderry, Ireland, Leap (pronounced Lep) Castle was built around 1250 A.D. by the O’Bannon clan, secondary chieftains of the territory under the ruling O’Carroll clan. It is the O’Carrolls who are closely linked to most of the castle’s brutal history. One such event occurred in the 16th Century when a fierce rivalry for control of the clan erupted. A priest named Thaddeus was conducting mass for his family in the chapel. Without warning, his brother, Tiege, burst into the room and drove a sword into his back. Thaddeus fell across the altar and died while his family watched. It is his ghost, considered to be one of the oldest reported in Leap, that continues to be a regularly reported sighting in the chapel.

Another bloody aspect of Leap Castle is tied to a small room discovered in 1922. Hidden in the corner of a secret dungeon, just behind the “Bloody Chapel”, is a hole big enough for a human body to fall into. At the bottom was a pile of skeletal remains impaled upon wooden spikes. They are believed to be a combination of prisoners and unsuspecting guests of the O’Carrolls, tossed in and left to die for entertainment. It took three carts to empty the remains found in the pit.

Yet another story of the O’Carroll clan’s brutality within the castle walls involved a dinner party thrown by members of the McMahon family. The McMahons were a family of mercenaries hired to train the O’Carrolls in improved fighting techniques. Unfortunately, instead of payment, the McMahon clan were all poisoned at a banquet held in their honor. Their ghosts are also reported to haunt the castle.

Perhaps the scariest part of Leap’s history is one with the least human connection. Reported by one of the later owners of the castle, Mildred Darby, is a primitive nature spirit called “The Elemental”. Mildred, a known dabbler in the black arts of magic, described the creature as being the size of a sheep, with an inhuman face, decomposed black cavities for eyes, and smelled of rotting corpses. Some have speculated if the malevolent spirit was drawn to the castle by the dark acts of the past or the magical practices conducted at the time.

These are but some of the stories surrounding the Leap Castle, with many others waiting to be shared. In fact, it is one of a few locations I intend to visit should I ever find myself exploring my Irish roots.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis