Book Review: The Butcher’s Tale

Hello Addicts.

Imagine a future where people addicted to reliving other peoples’ memories they will give up everything for the experience. That is where former shock jock, Johnny C. Vid, finds himself at the beginning of The Butcher’s Tale by Nicholas Walls.

In the future, a new technology known as Vicarious Reality (VR for short) has become a popular past time.  It allows you to experience your greatest fantasies without actually doing them yourselves.  Even though it is someone else’s memories, you feel like it is happening to you.  The sights, the smells, the excitement, all feel like the real thing when it is nothing more than a replay piped through a physical connection in your brain.  That is where we find Johnny C. Vid, a former popular shock jock, turned unemployed and homeless VR addict.  So desperate for a fix, he goes to where his current supplier obtains his recordings in the lowest levels of the city. It is there that he finds a massive man wearing a pig mask hunting for people to torture.  It doesn’t take long for Johnny to find himself impaled on a meat hook, wishing for death.

The first half of this book was a good read for fans of slasher horror tales.  The amount of blood and violence is on par with what you’d find in a “Friday the 13th” or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movie.  Johnny also gives off serious Captain Ahab vibes as he remains focused only on his pursuit of destroying the man in the pig mask, whom he calls “The Butcher.”  The reason “The Butcher” tortures his prey is also clearly given: he too is a VR addict.  The difference? He rips the recordings from his victim’s minds so he can relive every juicy moment of pain, fear, and anguish.  For Johnny C. Vid, it’s not some noble quest to vanquish the demon but straight-up vengeance.

What took me out of the story was, after the midpoint, the narrative shifts from horror to space opera/spy thriller.  To me, it felt a bit disjointed after Johnny got his revenge, and the horror aspect ended.  Overall it is a good read, but only if you look at it as two books, an original and the sequel, for the price of one.

Until next time, Addicts!

D.J. Pitsiladis

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

Nightmare Fuel: Black Aggie

NightmareFuel

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

NightmareFuel

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

Book Review: Planet Dead: The Briggs Boys (Planet Dead Shorts Book 1)

Hello Addicts,

I’ve read many zombie apocalypse tales over the years, both good and bad.  The good ones tend to spawn prequels, which provide essential backstory on popular heroes and villains.  Planet Dead by Sylvester Barzey, is one such series.  This month, I decided to look at a tale set in that universe, Planet Dead: The Briggs Boys (Planet Dead Shorts Book 1).

The story opens with the Briggs brothers, Robert and Peter, arguing just outside of their infected mother’s room.  Robert, the older brother, knows what will happen once she turns and wants to send her off before she becomes a zombie.  Peter, the doting son, remained by his mother’s side after his older brother left to join the military and start a family of his own.  He holds on to the hope that Mama Briggs will not die or become a rabid, flesh-eating monster.  When she inevitably does, a small horde joins her, and the boys find themselves under siege in their own home.  What follows is a nonstop ride involving mercenaries and a possible cure.  Follow the epic beginning of the Briggs Boys as they find their place in Planet Dead.

I enjoyed this short glimpse into the Planet Dead world.  The story moved at a comfortably rapid pace, and I found myself not wanting to put it down until I found out what happened next.  The characters were well-developed, given the story length, and you can’t help but want to follow them in the later novels.  The only issue I had has more to do with prequels in general, predictability.  It becomes easy to guess the story ending and the fate of characters that don’t appear in the main novels.  That aside, I recommend this introduction to the Planet Dead world.  If you started with the main novels, this short provides some fun character backstory.  Personally, I plan on reading the rest of the books in the series as soon as I can.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

Nightmare Fuel by D.J. Pitsiladis: Ted Bundy’s House

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Imagine you buy a home with the intention of renovating it and selling it for a profit, only for strange things to start happening.  The idea of owning a haunted house intrigues many but is also a source of nightmares to many others.  But, what if the house in question was the childhood home of one of the sickest and most handsome serial killers in American history?

The little blue house in Tacoma, WA, was purchased in September 2016 by David Truong who planned to fix and flip it.  A month later, when Casey Clopton, the contractor hired to work on the house, arrived with his eleven-year-old daughter, she complained about feeling uneasy and refused to be left alone inside.  The feeling was echoed the following week by a member of the demolition crew, but the work went ahead as planned.

Things began happening, and Clopton figured it as nothing more than his employees playing pranks on each other.  That thought started to change one day when they arrived and found all of the doors and drawers inside wide open, even though the outer doors were locked up tight and the alarm system was still armed.  Another time, while cleaning a flood in the basement, the words “Help Me” appeared in the window even though there was a screen between the glass and the outside access.  “Leave” also appeared in drywall dust with no visible footprints anywhere near.  Electronics became unplugged and quickly died.  Then, a dresser inset in the hallway wall pulled itself free and toppled forward.  According to Clopton, two people were needed to move the dresser, and they were all on a different floor at the time.  Other reports ranged from jiggling doorknobs to phantom footsteps and knocks.

It was when Clopton talked to neighbors that he discovered the home’s infamous history.  The house he was renovating was the childhood home of serial killer Ted Bundy.  Bundy, who confessed to at least thirty murders, moved into the home with his family in 1955 when he was nine years old.  While that seems rather innocuous, keep in mind that he is suspected to have started his murder spree while living in that home, although nothing has definitively linked or cleared him of the crime.

Clopton called in two pastors who read scriptures and performed blessings in every room.  The clergymen encouraged the workers to listen to Christian music while they worked and to write Bible verses on the walls.  They did all of that and managed to finish the house four months later than planned.  The home sold shortly afterward.  It is unknown whether the new owners are aware of their new purchases’ history or if the protections done are still protecting them.  It almost makes me want to check the history of my home.  Almost.

Until next time, Addicts….

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema by Michael Vaughn

Hello Addicts,

For this month’s book review, I thought I’d take a break from fiction and embrace my inner cinephile and review a book about different movies. Of course, for our group, they can’t just be ordinary movies.

We all love them. There’s that one movie people think is so bad that it’s good. The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema by Michael Vaughn is chock full of movies that fit that bill. While we tend to favor more of the horror genre, there is that and more. He provides a wide bevy of options in drama, horror, science fiction, action/adventure, comedy, and fantasy. They cover movies involving cannibalism, zombie sushi, killer cars, transvestite bikers, shallow graves, blow up dolls, killer insects, mutants, aliens, and killer tires (yes, there is a movie about a killer tire). Notable names are attached to these films, either as directing, acting, and sometimes both. There are entries from noted directors Peter Jackson, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Danny Boyle, and John Waters. Even actors like Ewen McGregor, James Brolin, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, and Ryan Reynolds find places in some of these flicks.

It was fun to read and find out about some of the stories behind the movies I already knew about, but this book has given me a lot more to watch that I may not have thought about before. It is a good resource to find earlier works from stars, writers, and directors you are already fans of, and see where they started. The book also doesn’t just cover movies made here in North America. The author included movies he’s watched spanning the world. These are all tested flicks, and he gives you his take on each one. There are also content warnings for those movies that deal with subject matter or special effects that may not sit well with certain audiences.

Overall, I found the book to be very informative and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a less than serious movie or who just wants a fun movie to watch. It may just help you find that diamond in the rough film. Big kudos to Michael Vaughn for providing such a helpful reference guide.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

Book Review: To Watch You Bleed by Jordon Greene

Hello Addicts,

How do you define horror? What is the difference between a horror story and a thriller? Those are the questions I needed to ask for this review. There is a fine line between the two, and To Watch You Bleed by Jordon Greene.

The tone of the story is set in the opening chapter with a car crash involving two young boys caused by their drunken and abusive father. The dad dies on impact, while the youngest boy holds on long enough for the driver of the other car to come and check on them. Once the older boy mentions that their father died, the other driver runs away, ignoring all cries for help. Flash forward to Halloween three years later, and we find a family of four getting ready for their coming day. The oldest daughter, Mara, is upset with her parents because it is the final Halloween party of her senior year, and she is grounded while her younger brother, Aiden, is allowed to go. Lenore, their mother, is anything but looking forward to greeting trick or treaters that night. Her husband, Dalton, promises to, but later backs out of it, claiming to be working late on a new client project. As night arrives, Aiden goes off to the party, where the girl he is in love with waits for him. Mara locks herself in the bedroom, where she waits for her boyfriend in a barely there negligee. Dalton blows his wife off, even rejecting her phone calls, to spend the night celebrating with his buxom secretary. Lenore is alone when three kids arrive with evil intentions.

The three masked boys hold Lenore and Mara hostage while they wait for Dalton to arrive home. Their true intentions for the family become horrifyingly clear when they stab Mara’s boyfriend in the neck and leave him to bleed out while their target races home. After Dalton arrives, they kill the boyfriend anyway by sawing deep into his throat with a sharp hunting knife. Dalton is forced to watch at gunpoint as his wife and daughter are violated and tortured. Things only get worse as the night wears on, more blood is spilled, and the bodies begin to pile up.

This was a difficult story for me to read, mostly because I’m not that big of a torture story fan. While the blood and gore was fitting to a point, it was hard to stay motivated at times to continue reading because of how unjust the story felt. It seems like the more sympathy you felt for a character, the better the chance they died in a very horrifying way. The information from the first chapter made it pretty simple to figure out who the three boys were there for, and who one of them was. It seemed to take forever for Dalton to figure out who the leader wanted to hurt, and he only did so when the boy spelled it out for him. The story did have a good rhythm throughout, and that was one of the reasons I stuck with the story. I feel the story qualifies as a horror story because of how the amount of terror the characters, and by extension the reader, feels as the story unfolds. There are points when you think characters might make it, only for the rug to be pulled out from under them.

Overall, the story is a good one to read, but if you are not a fan of torture style stories and movies, then you might not feel the same way. If those are your cup of tea, then To Watch You Bleed  is for you.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review — “How a Loser Like Me Survived the Zombie Apocalypse”

Hello Addicts,

As much as I enjoy a good horror story, I will admit that I am a sucker for the occasional oddball or offbeat story in the genre.  “How a Loser Like Me Survived the Zombie Apocalypse” kind of fits that bill, but it wasn’t as humorous of a story as I thought it might be.

The book, written by Steven Bereznai, follows a man named Marty at the start of the zombie apocalypse.  He is engaged to the love of his life, part owner of a gym, and in an otherwise happy place in his life.  All of that changes when he wakes one morning to find his fiancee, Steph, missing.  As he searches the house for her, he finds her eating a dog in the backyard.  She attacks him on sight like a rabid animal, and he is forced to kill her.  That begins his backward cycle to the person he was before meeting Steph, a man with little to no self-esteem.  It is only made worse when he ends he ends up at his business with the ex-girlfriend partially responsible for his self-esteem issues in the first place.  It isn’t long before she begins playing her mind games again.  Add to that the uncertainty of the infections and how it is transmitted, and you have a group of mistrusting survivors who are easily manipulated.

 

I expected this story to be more of a funny take on the zombie apocalypse type of stories.  Even with that in mind, I enjoyed this story a lot.  It was relatively short and paced pretty well, mostly.  You couldn’t help but wonder just how much of what was going on between the survivors was because of the ex-girlfriend, or if Marty read into things based on past experiences.  You couldn’t help but feel for him.  There were times, however, where it felt like things were rushed along a little too quickly when drawing it out might help the story more.  That being said, I did have a hard time putting the book down until I finished the story.  If you are looking for a nice, fun, and quick read, this is definitely a book to check out.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Suicide Forest

Hello Addicts.

For the season finale of HorrorAddicts.net, let’s take an overseas journey to the Aokigahara Forest, in the shadow of Mt. Fuji in Japan.

The forest is about a two-hour journey from Tokyo, but that hasn’t stopped people from visiting for the beautiful sights, the macabre discoveries, and others for ending their lives. It is estimated that 500 hundred individuals have entered the forest since 1950 and never left alive, with a record-setting 105 deaths reported there in 2003.  Approximately seventy sets of human remains are discovered in the forest every year, some so old they are only moss-covered bones when they are brought out.

 

suicide forest

Then there is the paranormal aspect of the forest. Due to a number of suicide victims not yet discovered, many spiritualists believe that the souls of the dead have permeated into the trees themselves, adding to the difficulty of escaping the forest once inside.  Once discovered, the bodies of the departed are brought to the ranger’s station, where they await removal from the park.  Each time one unlucky ranger must spend the night in the same room as the body(s), since leaving them alone overnight is to deal with a moving corpse and a screaming yurei, or ghost of the departed.

Some additional facts about the Suicide Forest are:

  1. Many refer to its lush green beauty as the “perfect place to die”.
  2. The density of the Sea of Trees makes it easy to get lost without running across another living human being.
  3. Compasses malfunction due to the magnetic iron ore in the area.
  4. It is the second most sought-after place to end one’s life, behind the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA, USA.

For those who are considering suicide, know that there are people who care about you, understand the pain you are going through, and want to help you through it all.

Until next season Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

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

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

Nightmare Fuel — The Midnight Game

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Welcome to a new season of Nightmare Fuel. What better way to start than with a game… The Midnight Game, perhaps?

To play, you will need paper, a writing utensil, a drop of your own blood, a candle, matches, a wooden door, a clock or watch, and a shaker of salt. You start by writing your full name (first, middle, and last) on the piece of paper and allow the blood droplet to soak into it. Then, turn off all lights and place the paper in front of the door with a lit candle upon it. Next, knock on the door twenty-two times at a rate of once per second, making sure the last coincides with the stroke of midnight. Finally, open the door, blow out the flame, close the door, and immediately light the candle again . Following this ritual calls The Midnight Man, an entity humanoid in shape and blacker than the darkest shadows. You play the game by wandering around the house with only a candle to light your way. If the flame blows out, it is said the Midnight Man is there, and you have ten seconds to either relight the candle, or encircle yourself with salt. To win, you need to last with the lit candle or remain in the salt circle until 3:33 A.M. without turning on any other lights.

If you break or choose not to follow the rules, it is said that you will either relive your death multiple times over, or see your greatest fear while your organs are removed one at a time. Some have even described having horrific nightmares in the nights following the game.

Legends say that the game was used as punishment for those who broke Pagan rules. Over the years, it has become a popular thing to play among teenagers, much like Ouija boards, Bloody Mary, or “Stiff as a Board, Light as a Feather”. If you choose to play, it is recommended that you treat it and the Midnight Man with respect, lest the bogeyman makes your torment more horrific.

If you plan on checking this legend out yourself, please do so with caution. The legends also say The Midnight Man may literally scare you to death.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Review: “The Tank” by Nicola Lombardi

Hello Addicts,

Imagine you live in a world where any crime, from murder to having a difference of political opinion, is cause enough for lifetime incarceration?  The governments which come to mind probably are Nazis, communists, and, to some people, the United States’ current political climate.   Dystopian stories are some of the scariest ones you can read.  True, there may not be blood, gore, monsters, or jump scares like the traditional horror stories utilize, but they deal with people as the monsters.  People so desperate for relief from red tape, corruption, and chaos that they are willing to give up freedom to feel safe and in control.

the-tank“The Tank” by Nicola Lombardi tackles the dystopian story very well and in a pretty believable manner.  It is the future, and a military coup has placed the New Moral Order (NMO) in charge.  When is person is convicted of a crime against the NMO, they are delivered to one of nine Tanks for storage.  The Tanks look fundamentally like grain silos, however there are no cells inside.  The “guests”, as the training manual refers to the prisoners, are tossed into the main cylinder of the building and left to suffocate and rot among the other prisoners.  Those who survive the landing struggle to survive as refuse until a quarterly Cleaning, which involves acid, occurs.

Giovanni Corte is named the Keeper of Tank 9, one of the more sought after positions.  For enough money to relocate to an island with no more worries, he sacrifices one year of his life to run the facility.  Spending a year with little to no human interaction, save for the brief daily prisoner deliveries, plays on a person’s mind.  Before long, paranoia begins to rear its ugly head, which only gets worse when he finds a diary possibly left for him by the previous Keeper.  In that are mentions of spirits roaming the halls in revenge for being tossed into the Tank.  Things only get worse for Giovanni as the story progresses.

I thought the story was well told and you got pulled into the story pretty well.  There are a few spots where you notice that the translation from Italian didn’t work out as smoothly, but overall, I really enjoyed this book.  If dystopian stories are your cup of tea, definitely check this one out.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review Car Nex: Demon SQUASH! (A One Hour Special) by Tim Miller

Hello, Addicts!

This week I take a look at the book that takes a not so serious look at one of the few reality television shows I enjoy: Ghost Hunting shows.  This one follows Simon Smoke, the host of one such show named SQUASH!.  On its fifth season, the ratings aren’t doing well at all.  In order to keep the show from being canceled, Simon takes his video crew to the small town of Pleasant Storm, TX on the fiftieth anniversary of a blood bath that decimated the town.  Blamed on the Car Nex, or Carnivore Nextdoor, the team doesn’t hold much hope of seeing a return of the beast.  By the end of the night, they will have wished they were right.car-nex

I found this story to be a fun little tale told in a less than serious manner, which I’m sure the author fully intended.  As a passing the time sort of story, this one delivers pretty solidly.  If you prefer your horror less tongue in cheek and more serious, then this story may not be for you.  All in all, I recommend this story in the Car Nex universe to people looking for a little light horror.

Until next time Addicts,

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel – The Philip Experiment

Hello Addicts,

We’ve all heard theories on what ghosts are.  Generally speaking, they are viewed as either spirits of dead people, remnants of energy stuck in a constant loop, or demons sent to torment us.  In the 1970’s, an experiment was conducted that showed another way to view ghosts, as literal creations of our minds.

In 1972, a group of scientists gathered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with the premise of creating a ghost through intense concentration.  They came up with an intricate back story for the ghost, which included some details of his death, and gave him the name Philip Aylesford.  For weeks, nothing happened.  Eventually, they decided to try recreating the atmosphere of a classic spiritualist séance, much like the ones attended by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife.  In these séances, the scientists surrounded themselves with items from Philip’s era, along with photographs of the kind of castle they imagined he’d live in.  A few more weeks passed without any success, and then it happened.  Philip communicated with the scientists.

philip-experiment

It began simple.  The scientists would ask questions about the history created for the spirit, and the ghost responded using a series of knocks and raspy whispers to confirm his identity.  After that, the phenomena increased with each session in ways not easily explained by science.  Philip would slide the table from side to side and was known to chase people with it from time to time.  In each case, the scientists claim that no one was touching the table at the time.  In the end, the group was unable to conclusively prove whether Philip was their creation, or some other entity portraying the character they expected to find.

The existence of ghosts tends to be a more personal experience and belief.  They may be spirits of the deceased, creations of our own minds, or a figment of our imaginations. The only true variable is who you ask.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Goatman

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

For this week’s Nightmare Fuel, we take a look at another popular cryptid legend.  Our destination is Beltsville, MD for the legendary Goatman.

When one thinks of someone being a Goatman, they may think of a character portrayed by comedian Jim Breuer on Saturday Night Live.  Another thought is of the famed satyrs from Greek and Shakespearean mythology, such as Pan.  While these appearances are close to the descriptions given of the cryptid, they differ in two distinct ways.  The first being that, while the creature has the body of a man and the hindquarters of a goat, it also possesses a goat’s head instead of a human one.  Also, while the versions from the mythology and SNL want to make people laugh or play pranks on us mortals, the creature in Beltsville, MD has been reported as wielding an axe.

There are different versions of Goatman’s origins.  Some involve brokering a deal with the Devil or the creature being born that way and living life as a hermit in the woods, attacking those who wander into his domain at night.  His favorite haunts in the latter legend includes a local lover’s lane.  Other, more modern legends have the creature being the result of early DNA experiments, always with the end result of the scientist mutating into the beast.

the goatman

The reports of the infamous creature are not just limited to Maryland, with other sightings occurring in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Florida, Washington, and Ontario, Canada.  One story from 1962 depicted the Goatman hacking fourteen people to bits because they wandered too close to his lair.  According to unidentified witnesses, it emitted sounds only the “devil himself” would make.  When authorities arrived on the scene, they found partially eaten limbs and a blood trail that led to a cave.  No official written police reports of the incident are said to exist.

The Goatman may be just an urban legend; however, this doesn’t seem to keep people from continuously reporting sightings of the creature.  It may also be people wanting to keep the story alive to frighten future generations.  The only advice I can offer to you is, if you are wandering near an ominous looking cave near a rusted old bridge and hear terrible noises, make your way further from the bridge.  It may allow you to live just a little longer.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — Baron Samedi

Hello Addicts,

This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes us down to the bayous of Louisiana to visit a bit of voodoo royalty.  I am speaking of one of the more widely known loas, or spirits, of voodoo, Baron Samedi.

Dressed in a black tail coat, top hat, dark glasses, and cotton plugging his nostrils and a face painted white like a skull, Baron Samedi is responsible for digging the graves for the dead and welcoming them to the afterlife after they are buried. He is a married man, but it doesn’t stop him from chasing mortal women, swear continuously, tell filthy jokes to fellow spirits, and behave otherwise outrageously.  Rarely is this loa seen without a glass of rum in his hand or a cigar to puff on.  And, although he is known for death and sickness, many people offer entreaties with the hope of their loved one being denied for death and be healed instead.baron_samedi

Baron Samedi’s likeness can be found in many forms, such as in “The Princess and the Frog”, “Live and Let Die”, and even in WWE wrestling programs from the 1990’s.  If you do run across someone dressed as the Baron, offer him a cigar or a glass of rum. You never know if it will be the real one, and he may grant you more time on Earth for you generosity.

Until next time Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Wendigo

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

This week we take a peek into one of the more famous legends of the Algonquin tribe, the Wendigo.

Wendigo-beastThe Wendigo, or Windigo in some translations, is a tale prevalent in the Northern United States and Canada.  It is viewed by some as a demonic spirit capable of either possessing a human or taking the form of one.  Other legends claim that people are cursed to become the creature by the simple tasting of human flesh.  The latter version of the legend depicts the creature as over fifteen feet tall and gaunt with deeply sunken glowing eyes, an overly long tongue, yellowed fangs, and yellowing skin, either in the process of decay or covered in fur.  They are almost impossibly thin with an unending hunger for human flesh.  There are also some who claim that the creature is so thin that you can only see it when you are looking at it directly in the face.  It is believed that to become one of these creatures is so terrible, you are better off killing yourself than to resort to cannibalism, even when your survival depends on it.

These tales are commonplace in locations where a combination of food scarcity and long harshly cold winters make survival a dire challenge.  There are even some reported cases where people with access to ample food supplies become so overwhelmed with desire for human flesh, they will kill their own family for it.  These cases are what psychologists refer to as “Wendigo Psychosis”.

Sightings of the beast still occur to this day, mostly in the northern Minnesota plains and in Canada.  Some see it as a simple superstition or warning to dissuade people from the practice of cannibalism.  Others say that the creature lives on; killing any it comes across.  For those of you enjoying a campout this summer, be careful when wandering in the woods, lest you become the Wendigo’s next meal.

Until next time Addicts…

Nightmare Fuel – The Slender Man

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

The entity known as The Slender Man has become a major part of our mainstream consciousness, thanks in large part to the various video games, stories, and news reports involving him.  This week, we look at the possibility that The Slender Man legend may be much older than originally believed.

For those who do not know, The Slender Man is a tall being with exceedingly long, branch like arms and legs.  He wears an all black suit and has been sometimes described as having tentacles sprouting from his back.  He has no face to speak of, although some stories say that he may be able to change his visage into whatever you fear the most.  Some stories also grant him the ability to imitate voices.  According to the stories, he stalks his prey by toying with their minds before revealing himself and moving in for the kill.  Although his motives and specific victim preference are never clearly defined, the stories usually depict him tormenting children.

The modern legend of The Slender Man is attributed to a creation of Creepy Pasta and/or the Something Awful websites.  There are other sources who trace the idea even further back, possibly as far as 16th Century Eastern Europe.  Two woodcut carvings from that era were discovered in the 1800’s depicting a being known as Der Grossman, or “tall man”.  The legend goes that misbehaving children would encounter Der Grossman days before they disappeared forever.  Any attempts to stop him through violent means meant retribution against the tenants of the nearest town, including impalement of the townsfolk with the darkest hearts upon tree branches.

What is also interesting to notes is that the artist who created the carvings, Hans Freckenberg, was known for his accuracy in depicting human anatomy.  Der Grossman did not resemble any of the characters used in his other artwork.  Adding to the eeriness is that Freckenberg vanished shortly after completing the pieces.

There are other stories of people encountering the creature we’ve come to know as The Slender Man, but I’m saving some of those for another episode.  Until next time, Addicts…

Nightmare Fuel — Sleep Paralysis

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Very few things are better than a good night’s sleep.  To relax and slumber while your body heals itself and your mind goes through a reboot of the upper level thought processes.  Many a writer or artist attributes their creative career to dreams had while they slept.  But, what happens when you wake up and realize that you can’t move or speak?

The medical term for this condition is “sleep paralysis”, and it can occur when you are either just falling asleep or starting to wake up.  Your body naturally makes it so that your muscles are “deactivated” when you sleep.  If it didn’t, every action you took in your dreams would be acted out in real-time and you or someone else stand a good chance of getting hurt.  With sleep paralysis, you wake up faster than your body is able to turn the physical switches back on.  Even if you know what is going on, you can’t help but feel the terror that follows.

What is perhaps the most frightening thing about sleep paralysis are the hallucinations that sometimes accompany the condition.  People have reported seeing things that range from an old hag sitting on their chests, demons, aliens, and shadow people, beings darker than the blackest of shadows.  Lying helpless in your bed while these entities stare at you is deeply terrifying, and that is something I speak from experience.  Thankfully, it lasts only a matter of a few seconds to a few minutes, but the memories can potentially last a lifetime.

So, when you go to bed tonight, make sure to get nice and cozy for a good night’s sleep.  You never know when you might wake up to find an old hag staring at you from your chest or a black shadow standing beside you .  Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel – The Dybbuk Box

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

EBay has long been an auction mecca for everything imaginable.  You can buy vehicles, whole towns, and even a ghost in a bottle.  For one such item, the website became the birth of an urban legend.  This episode we bring you the story of the Dybbuk Box.

In 2003, an eBay auction was posted for a Jewish wine cabinet that the owner claimed he’d bought at a yard sale a couple of years before.  The original owner was a 103-year-old Polish woman who escaped the Holocaust with the box.  The family was told to never open it and seemed anxious to part with the item.  When the new owner, Kevin Mannis, brought it to his antique shop, he quickly found out why.  Within half an hour of the cabinet arriving, Mr. Mannis received a telephone call from a terrified employee who claimed that someone was in the store’s basement destroying things and cussing up a storm. When he and the police arrived, there were no signs of an intruder and no other way out of the store.  That proved to be just the first of many bad events to follow.  By the time he listed the box on eBay, his store had been raided by the FBI, his identity stolen, his lease taken away, and his mother suffered a stroke when he gave the box to her as a gift.

Aside from the stories, the contents of the box in the listing are an interesting sort.  Inside are two U.S. wheat pennies, two small locks of hair bound with string – one blonde and one black or brown, a small granite statue engraved and gilded with Hebrew letters that spell the word “Shalom”, a dried rosebud, one golden wine cup, and a very strange black cast iron candlestick holder with octopus legs.  Also reported to accompany the ordinary looking cabinet is the smell of jasmine or cat urine.

The box eventually was sold to its current owner, John Haxton.  He claims to have experienced some physical maladies since obtaining it, including hives, welts and coughing up blood.  Presently, Mr. Haxton, with the help of a Rabbi, has sealed the ybbuk inside the box and hidden it away for study.  This has only helped the story to grow like wildfire, eventually coming to the attention of director Sam Raimi, whose horror production company, Ghost House Pictures, released the film “The Possession” in 2012.

Whether the story is real or just a creepy way to sell an otherwise ordinary item, the dybbuk box is a sensation that ranks up with Slenderman and the Boogieman.   Buyer beware!

 

 

Nightmare Fuel –Robert the Doll

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts.

This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes us to the Florida Keys, where we look at a haunted and cursed doll named Robert.

Robert Gene Otto, known by all as Gene, was four years old when his family’s maid presented him with a gift, a three-foot tall straw doll dressed in a sailor’s suit that bore an uncanny resemblance to him.  Instantly falling in love with it, he named the doll Robert, after himself, and the two of them became thick as thieves.  When the family ate dinner, Robert had a place setting like the rest of the family.  When little Gene went to bed, Robert slept with him.  The boy and the doll even carried on conversations with each other according to Gene’s mother.  The little boy even went so far as to blame his fits of rage or any odd occurrences in the home on Robert.

When Gene married and inherited the family home, he relegated Robert to a room of his own in the house’s turret.  Visitors reported hearing footsteps coming from the room along with a demonic laughter when no one was upstairs.  School children walking past the house saw the doll in different windows, scowling down at them.  At one point, Robert was moved to the attic but still found his way back to the little rocking chair by the window.Robert the doll

When Gene passed away in 1972, a new family moved into the home.  Their ten-year-old daughter found Robert in the attic and laid claim to him, but that did not last long.  The girl was traumatized by Robert, even going so far as to accuse him of trying to kill her.

Fast forward to 1994, and Robert is donated to the Key West Martello Museum, but his antics are far from over.  Reports from staff include childlike laughter, changes in the doll’s expression, and even position in his glass home.  Some people say that they hear a tapping when they walk past his case, only to find the doll’s hand pressed against the glass when they look back.  One employee claimed that they cleaned Robert before leaving for the night, turning off all the lights as they walked out.  The next morning, several lights were blazing bright, including the one next to Robert’s case.  Stranger still was the dust on the soles of the doll’s feet, like he’d been walking around outside his glass case.

If you do go visit Robert, it is a recommended practice to introduce yourself and ask for permission before recording or taking pictures of him.  It is also suggested to not disrespect the doll in any fashion, as bad things have been known to happen to those who do.  The effects have ranged from camera malfunctions to actual accidents after leaving the museum.  To this day, Robert still receives letters begging forgiveness of their rude behavior towards him.

Until next time, Addicts!

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel: Centralia, PA

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

This week we visit the real life town that inspired the 2006 movie Silent Hill… Centralia, PA.

Located in coal mining country of eastern Pennsylvania, the town once boasted a population of a thousand people in 1981, but now has been all but abandoned with a population of ten.  The reason for this is a fire that has been burning beneath the town since 1962.  No one knows the exact cause of the fire, although some of the theories circulate around a fire starting at the city landfill that spread into the mines along a vein of anthracite coal.  As the years went on, the fire spread closer to the town, with telltale signs of smoke and steam rising from the ground.  No matter what methods were used to cut off the fire or stop it in its tracks, nothing worked.  Eventually, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, amongst other gaseous byproducts, were being detected in the residents’ homes. Sinkholes also began to appear. It is these elements that were included in the movie adaptation of the popular game series.

Today, the town is all but abandoned, with most of its residents having long ago relocated to other areas.  Those who remain are determined to stay until their dying day.  Centralia itself still exists as long as the townspeople who refused to relocate still live, as per a court order.  Eventually, the town will be a memory, but one that has a creepy vibe about it when the steam and fog rolls on in.

Until next time Addicts,

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

 

Nightmare Fuel:  Black Eyed Kids

NightmareFuel

 

Hello Addicts.

I thought I’d ring in the new season’s Nightmare Fuel with a creepy bang by looking at the phenomena known as The Black Eyed Kids, or BEKs for short.

Picture if you will, it’s ten o’clock at night, and you are sitting in your living room reading a book or watching television.  You wonder who is bothering you so late, and, when you look out the window, you find a couple of children standing on your porch with their heads bowed.  Knowing no child their age should be out so late, you feel a strong urge to open the door to find out what is wrong.  Instead, you ask them through the closed door if you can help with something and why they are out so late in the first place.  They answer with, “Please let us in,” or, “Can we come in and use your phone”.  You feel a  strong compulsion to open the door, but there is also a weird or bad vibe from them.  Instead of opening the door, you make sure the doors are locked before telling them you can’t help them.  When they do finally look up, your blood chills.

black eyed kids.png

What you thought were normal children are now staring at you with eyes so black you wonder if they are empty sockets.  The smaller of the children asks again, “Please let us in,” and you feel a stronger urge to open the door.  Instead, you shout at them to leave or you will call the police.  You look away long enough to get your cellphone, and find an empty porch when you return to the window.

That is but one of the many stories that have been circling since the first reported sighting of the Black Eyed Kids in the late 1990s. The stories share many similarities with some encounters dating back to World War II.  Skeptics regard these stories as merely victims of pranks, urban legend, or just campfire stories, but to the people who have reported these encounters, they all are quite real.  Stories detailing what happens when the children are allowed inside are very rare.  What stories I have found detail the death of the home’s occupant circumstantially linked to the BEKs.  One story where the homeowner claims to have allowed these children inside, and then felt a menacing vibe from them.  It was so strong, she left when the kids refused to. By the time she returned home with the police, the kids were gone.  All reported run-ins with the BEKs have related tremendous feelings of terror and dread, which lead some believers to speculate that the kids are demons, alien/human hybrids, or something much more terrifying. Reports of run ins with the kids are still shared and reported to this day, and they don’t always stick to houses.  Some have even shared stories taking placed in empty parking lots late at night.

So, when Halloween around on us this year, keep in mind that the child asking for candy at your doorstep may be in costume, possibly even wearing a pair of all black contact lenses.  Then again, they may be the real deal.

Until next time…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: The House That Dripped Gore by Dan West

house dripped goreHello Addicts!

While I generally try to not watch reality television, one type has caught my attention when they first debuted about a decade ago, the ghost hunting shows.  I’ll admit that I believe ghosts are around and that I enjoy these shows partly for their findings and partly for their attempts at making compelling television.  When I saw what “The House That Dripped Gore” was about, I couldn’t resist checking it out.

This story follows Stanley Matheson as he is hired to check out Hull House, a haunted home inherited by a rich benefactress.  In Stanley’s research of the home he finds that it was the birthplace of a cult and that all of the problems with the home grew from there.  He wastes little time in putting together a team consisting of an unbelieving skeptic and two mediums, one a buxom curator of a dark objects and other paraphanelia and the other a victim of a possession that ended with his team dead.  Will this ragtag group survive their stay at Hull House, and what secrets will they discover?

I wanted to like this book, I honestly did.  This story plays out in a similar fashion as the “Scary Movie”, “Tales From the Crypt”, and “A Haunted House” horror comedies, which I’m somewhat a fan of, but not a whole lot.  The attempts at humor come across as a bit heavy handed and downright low brow at times.  The twists and turns are what one might expect from this style of horror comedy.  If you are a fan of the aforementioned movies, they you will enjoy this book.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: Turning Face: A Tale of Horror, Comedy and Wrestling! by Terry M. West

turningface copyHello Addicts!

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a big fan of two things: horror stories and professional wrestling.  When I saw that we had a book with both, I knew it was one for me.

When it comes to professional wrestling, most people think of the major federations like WWE, Ring of Honor, and TNA.  This story doesn’t take place in any of those, but in one of the independent federations deep in the heart of Texas.  Tojo Smith is an Earth born demon whose very existence is to promote evil in any fashion possible, albeit on a small enough scale to not draw the attention of Heaven.  He takes his childhood love of professional wrestling and creates a heel character, or villain, to promote the hate Hell requires.  What Tojo doesn’t count on is the crowd getting behind his character and cheering him on.  He does everything possible to remain the bad guy, but the crowd continues to cheer and this catches the attention of a denizen of Hell.

I really enjoyed this story and felt a lot of nostalgia for the Texas based federations I used to enjoy watching when I was a kid.  I didn’t find the story all that horrifying as it played out much in a similar soap opera fashion as a pro wrestling storyline.  If you are a fan of the art of wrestling, or enjoy reading about demons creating mayhem on Earth, then this story is for you.  Definitely a fun read.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

Nightmare Fuel: The Watcher of Westfield

Hello Addicts,

For the season finale, I thought we might go house hunting in Westfield, NJ, where one home has garnered a lot of attention over the past year. It’s a house with everything a young family might want, including it’s very own stalker.

A family of five closed on the $1.3 million house in 2014 and were excited to move in, but within three days their happiness turned into terror.  A letter left at their front door claimed that the house had been watched since 1920’s by people known as The Watchers, with the latest member of their clan doing so for the past twenty years.  The current Watcher boasted about roaming around the house and imagining living with the rich occupants.  As if that alone wasn’t creepy enough, The Watcher claimed to have told the previous owners to fill the house with young blood so he could learn their names and call them to him. He also claimed control of the house later letters to the homeowners, asking them which room each family member would get so he could plan better.  He even hinted at something hidden within the walls of the home..

Although it is still an ongoing investigation, skeptics have hypothesized that the entire affair was made up by the new homeowners as a way to back out of the completed sale. Another possibility is that they wanted to create something to grab attention and give them their fifteen minutes of fame, and, if so, it seems to be working.  Movie studios, such as Blumhouse Productions and New Line Cinema, are already rushing to secure the story rights for a potential movie.  All of this may come as little relief to the current owners of the home as they refuse to move into the house and are unable to sell the home because of the ever vigilant Watcher.

Until next season Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — Sawney Bean

Hello Addicts!

Cannibal families have long been a staple of horror movies.  Some of the more famous ones being The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of a Thousand Corpses, and The Hills Have Eyes.  Today I thought I’d share a spotlight on one of the famous cases that contributed in large part to those movies, that of Sawney Bean.

According to the legends, Sawney Bean lived with his family in a seaside cave in Scotland around the Fifteenth or Sixteenth Century. They were an incestuous family that consisted of forty-eight people: Sawney, his wife, their fourteen children, and thirty-two grandchildren.  The family lived off the land and the flesh and blood of any poor soul who wandered too close.  Stories say that, after they killed their prey, they would then butcher the bodies and pickle the flesh they didn’t use right away.  The family managed to avert capture, aided by the cave entrance being covered during high tide, for years.  According to some accounts, they murdered around one thousand people before their capture and eventual execution.

As gruesome and possible as this legend is, many historians are unsure of the story’s validity.  They cite the rampant anti-Scottish slant that fits a little too well with England’s view of the Scots at the time.  Sawney was a common generic name at the time to describe anyone from Scotland, much like Paddy when describing the Irish.  The one consistency that remains with the story is it’s ability to frighten, making it a good boogeyman story for children.

Until next time Addicts…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — Dyatlov Pass

Hello Addicts!

This week we take a trip to the cold Ural Mountains for a real horrific mystery.  A group of nine Russian skiers led by Igor Dyatlov ventured out for a ski trek across the northern Urals and were forced to make camp on the side of a mountain name Kholat Syakhl, which translates to “Dead Mountain”.  On February 26th, their campsite was found in disarray, The tent the group stayed in was torn out from the inside as if those on the inside needed to get out in a hurry.  Footprints, both barefoot or sock covered led away from the campsite and to the trees where the first two bodies were found near the remnants of a fire.  They wore only socks and underwear, so their cause of death was deemed as hypothermia.  Shortly after, three more bodies were found along the path back toward the campsite, all in the same state of undress, and all frozen to death.  They may have been the lucky ones.

Two months after Soviet authorities came across the campsite, the remaining four hikers were found, and the real mystery began.  Three of the bodies bore injuries one might suffer in a car crash — a fractured skull and chest injuries, but none of them showed any outward signs of injury to coincide with the injuries.  In addition, one of the hikers was missing her eyes, tongue, some of her lips, a portion of her facial tissue, and a fragment of her skull.

Many theories exist to explain what happened, but no one appears to be able to cover all the details of this mystery. The reasons range from an avalanche, to secret government testing, and even UFO’s.  Someday we may find out what actually happened on Death Mountain, but then the question becomes do we want to know?

Until next time Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — Elisa Lam

Hello Addicts,

This week’s Nightmare Fuel looks at the mysterious case of Elisa Lam.  Lam was a twenty-one year old Canadian college student on a trip through California that included a stopover in Los Angeles.   On January 31st, 2013, an elevator security camera in her hotel, the Stay on Main, filmed the student enter and press multiple floor buttons.  When the elevator doors didn’t close after a few seconds, Elisa stuck her head into the hallway and looked to her left and right in a quick turn of her head.  Seeing nothing out there, she backed up to the middle of the elevator car before pressing her back against the wall with the buttons.  Throughout her entire time with the elevator, the doors didn’t close and her behavior became more erratic.  Eventually she is seen walking out of sight of the camera, and the elevator doors close.  As the car stops on each floor, the shiny doors open and close just like normal.

The video itself might seem a little creepy to some and strange to others, but that isn’t where the story ends.  A massive search involving the FBI begins at the request of Elisa’s parents, but nothing was found.  A week after her last conversation with her parents, the video is released and becomes viral.  As popular as it is, the footage doesn’t help in finding the missing student.

Around February 19th, 2013, the hotel sends a maintenance worker to the water tanks on top of the hotel’s roof after guest complaints about the low pressure, discoloration, and oddly tasting water.  Inside the tank he found the naked decomposing body of Elisa Lam with her clothing and personal effects floating next to her.  Her death is ruled an accident, although some people point the cause finger at the fact that she was bipolar or may have been under the influence or some other illicit drug.  What is never completely answered is how she wound up in the water tank with the unhinged lid closed behind her.

While she is gone from the land of the living, the bizarre circumstances of her death and its influence is still seen.  Some people have noted the similarities between the case and the 2005 horror movie Dark Water, and there are a slew of movies and television series that have used the case in their plots including Castle and the latest season of American Horror Story.  As strange as this story is, it is not the only strange thing about the Stay on Main, also known as the Cecil Hotel, but that is fuel for another episode.

“A Dark and Winding Road” by Matthew Weber

Hello fellow Addicts.  D.J. Pitsiladis here with another dark and sinister review to offer you.

23356124A Dark and Winding Road” is a collection of dark short stories that range from park animal vengeance to a government program to take care of people deemed too much of a burden or danger to their families and society, and finally a teenager so bullied he calls upon a demon for revenge.  No two stories share the same scare factor, so be prepared for some horror filled variety.

I really enjoyed this book.  It got my blood pumping in all the right spots and made me wish at points that I didn’t need to put it down for such essentials as work and sleep.  In some ways, it reminded me of Stephen King’s earlier anthologies in how fun the stories felt.  I very much recommend this book for anyone looking for a fun break away from the norm.

Until next time….

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Man Who Killed Halloween

Hello Addicts,

This episode’s Nightmare Fuel comes from the state of Texas.  As a child, I loved Halloween for the trick or treating, especially for the candy we got.  The one bad thing I remember from that time was not getting to taste any of it until my parents checked them for fear of poison or razor blades being hidden in the goodies.  I didn’t really question it then, but in later years, I was curious about where and when that problem ever occurred or began.  A documentary on urban legends gave me a probable answer involving a 1974 murder case involving Pixy Stix.

Eight year old Timothy O’Bryan was out Trick or Treating with his father, sister, and two neighbor children in their Deer Park, TX neighborhood.  They waited at the front door of a house eager for the candy goodies, but they moved on when no one answered the door.  Timothy’s father remained at the house with in the hopes of still getting candy from the resident for his children.  He eventually joined his kids a house or two later with five Pixy Stix grasped in his hand, and gave each child one.  Later in the evening, Timothy wanted some of his candy before going to bed, so he opened the Pixy Stix and his father helped him get the flavored sugar when it didn’t want to come out right away.  Shortly after that, the boy complained about stomach pains and began vomiting.  Young Timothy died on the way to the hospital.

Toxicology tests showed that the cause of death was potassium cyanide poisoning.  When police tested the other four Pixy Stix straws, they discovered them sliced open, the poison added, and then stapled shut.  For the longest time, the police focused in trying to find the house the dead boy’s father, Ronald Clark O’Bryan claimed to have gotten then tainted candy from.  When they found the house and ruled the homeowner out as a suspect, the police began to focus on the father.  Police soon found out that Ronald had taken extra insurance policies out on his children just before Halloween and was majorly in debt at the time.  The surmised murder plot involved the deaths of all the children given the poisoned candy with Ronald’s son and daughter being the intended victims and the other children as a way to cover his tracks.

Ronald Clark O’Bryan was convicted and sentenced to death, but maintained his innocence until the day he died.  His execution came via lethal injection on March 31, 1984.  During his trial, Ronald was dubbed by the media as “The Candyman”, but others still refer to him as “The Man Who Killed Halloween”.

Until next time, Addicts.  Pleasant dreams.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Slit Mouthed Woman

Hello Addicts,

This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes us to the Land of the Rising Sun.  There is an urban legend.  I first heard about this woman around the time that The Dark Knight first came out in theaters in 2008 because of the resemblance to The Joker in the movie.  Even now, as I refresh my memory of the Japanese urban legend, I feel chills.

The more modern version of the Slit Mouthed Woman tale goes that a woman decides to get a divorce from her husband, who is schizophrenic, bipolar, and physically abusive.  When he discovers this, he snaps.  He knocks her out, ties her up, and, with the aid of very sharp scissors, proceeds to slice her mouth open from ear to ear.  Not satisfied with that bit of torture, he taunts her by saying, “Who will think you’re pretty now?” before using the scissors to decapitate her and then killing himself.  Thus, the legend Kuchisake-onna is born.

The spirit of the woman wanders the streets while wearing a surgical mask.  When she spies her victim, she walks up to them and asks if they think she’s pretty.  Before they are able to answer, she rips away the mask to reveal her disfigured face and asks, “Do you think I’m pretty now?”  If the person answers in the negative, she removes their head with her scissors,  If they say, “Yes”, she is so pleased that she uses the same scissors to make their smile just as pretty as hers.  If you give a non-committal answer like, “You’re average looking,” she becomes confused long enough for you to attempt an escape.

This tale has been around for a very long time, and was made into a Japanese film titled “Carved” and also loosely included in “The Grudge”.  The Slit Mouthed Woman, guaranteed to send a chill up your spine, especially if you see a lovely lady walking up to you with a surgical mask on.  She might just be a doctor, a nurse, or someone trying to keep from getting sick.  Then again, she may be something much deadlier.

D.J. Pitsiladis

A review of “Consumed” by T.S. Charles

Hello fellow Addicts.  D.J. Pitsiladis here with another book review to share with all of you.

I’ve been reading a lot of different horror tales as of late, but I thought a venture back to one of my favorite nightmare creatures might change things up a bit.  I’m speaking, of course, about zombies.

“Consumed” is a story about a boy named Zack Treadwell, an orphan who has a tendency to get into trouble and bounces from foster home to foster home because of it. When he transfers to one of the only schools in the area who will accept him, Zack makes friends with some of the more unique kids in his classes, one of which, Nick, becomes his best friend. He is unnerved when Nick reveals that he knows about his past, how his parents died at the hands of a small band of zombies, and the cover up that landed him under mental evaluation and then in the foster care system.  When he tells Zack that the home base for those same zombies was in the forest just on the outside of town, and is able to prove it, they begin to plan how to expose the cover up and bring those involved to justice.

I thought the premise of the story was a good one.  Instead of a massive zombie outbreak, there are small ones here and there that the government covers up.  Even the narrative being told in the mindset of a teenage boy worked, but only to a point.  It kept my interest, but there were points where I had to remind myself that it was a horror story I was reading, not a coming of age one.  When the roller coaster ride began, Zack became less of a believable character to me.  Teenage and young adult novel readers might enjoy it, but I don’t think the story really works for an adult audience.

Until next time…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Poltergeist movie curse

Hello Addicts,

With the upcoming release of the Poltergeist re-make, I thought we might take a look at a possible curse associated with the original trilogy of movies.  The deaths of four people over the six-year span of the franchise are attributed, albeit loosely in some cases, to this curse.

We’ll start with the oldest daughter from the first movie, and the first to fall to the curse, Dominique Dunn.  In late 1982, Dunn ended an abusive relationship with her live in boyfriend, John Sweeney.  Desperate to convince her into giving him another chance, he arrived on her doorstep to talk.  When it seemed clear that his efforts were not working, Sweeney wrapped his hands around the actress’ throat and choked her for four to six minutes before leaving her to die, which she finally did five days later.

The second victim of the curse was Julian Beck, who played the evil spirit, Reverend Kane.  His death in 1985, seven months before the release of the second movie, was expected as he had battled stomach cancer for the previous year and a half.  Less than two years later, the actor who portrayed the Native American shaman Taylor, Will Sampson, died from complications following a heart and lung transplant.  Like his movie counterpart, his death wasn’t unexpected since even he knew the surgery carried a slim chance of survival.

And this brings us to the most famous victim of the Poltergeist movie curse, Heather Rourke, aka – Carol Anne.  In February 1988, Rourke was en route to the hospital with what was believed to be a bout of the flu when her body went into cardiac arrest.  They managed to get her heart restarted and she was flown to the Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA, where the doctors detected a bowel obstruction.  She later died on the operating room table.

On the surface, these deaths may seem connected by some form of a curse, but plenty of actors, actresses, and others connected with the films are still alive and working today.  Perhaps what feeds the idea of a curse on the movie franchise is a long-held belief that the corpses in the swimming pool scene of the first movie were real skeletal remains.  This story is backed up by the director and others involved with the movie.  Perhaps some unhappy spirits connected with those bodies found a way to convey their feelings in an attention-getting way.  Or perhaps this is all just a matter of eerie coincidences.

What do you think?

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review — “The Prince of the Earth” by Mike Robinson

Hello Addicts,

Today I review for you “The Prince of the Earth” by Mike Robinson.  The story takes place in two different periods of a woman’s life twenty years apart.  In 1988, Quincy Redding took a solo expedition into the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland looking for a challenge before marriage and for the legendary Grey Man of Ben Macdui pass.  After befriending some of the local villagers, she ventures out to the pass.  After several days of travel, she arrives at her destination.  When she awakes the next morning, she is missing a foot and hears the childlike voice of The Prince who tries everything he can to coax her out of her tent so they can play.  While this game of cat and mouse plays out, we are also shown Quincy in 2008 trying to deal with the return of The Prince to her life.  This time, what he removes are the very people she loves and holds dear.  What begins as the erasure of her youngest brother spreads to her father, her son, and even her husband before she gets a chance to face the being down and sees what he is truly capable of.

This book definitely has an H.P. Lovecraft Elder Gods feel to it.  You feel sorry for Quincy in each timeline as her story progresses, especially when it comes to the scenes involving her older brother and the stuff her puts her through as well.  While I liked the tale, I did find some parts a bit confusing, especially towards the end when it became more difficult to tell the difference between the two eras.  There is also the beginning, when Quincy is afraid that The Prince has returned, but doesn’t really offer any reasons why she thinks that.  All in all, it was a good read, but might not be for all readers.  I rate it a 3 out of 5.

Until next time….

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — Wisconsin Werewolves

by Don Pitsladis

This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes a look at werewolves.  We all know the legends, people cursed or blessed with the ability to change into a wolf every full moon.  They are portrayed as heroes, villains, victims and heartthrobs in books, television, and movies.  What if there is more to them than just what we see and read?  What if they, in fact, actually existed?

In 1936, Mark Schackelman was driving on a highway in Wisconsin that ran past a believed Native American burial ground when he saw someone digging and pulled over for a peek. He described what he saw that day as a large man covered in hair with long limbs, opposable thumbs, and a face that was a cross between a dog and ape.  This modern day sighting ended up being the first of many in the same general area, with the majority occurring along Bray Road.  This creature is known by some as The Dogman, but most people refer to it as the Beast of Bray Road. Sightings of these creatures are not limited to just Wisconsin, having also been reported in Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois among other states.

Do werewolves exist, or are they all mistaken identity or hysteria?  With reports of these creatures as recent as 2014 and the amount of animal species still being discovered, who is to say? The next time you hear an animal in the backyard messing with your trash cans or scratching at the door, be sure to flash a light outside first.  It may be your dog asking to be let in or a hungry raccoon, but, then again, it might just be something larger and more frightening.

Nightmare Fuel — Rawhead, The Bloody Bones Man

hellyeacreepyshit.com

 

Hello Addicts,

This week’s Nightmare Fuel comes courtesy of an entity known as Rawhead.  He is described as having a scalped head with blood running down his face, sometimes he has a boar’s face, and other times he is missing all of his skin.  Early renditions of his story have him hiding in dark cupboards, under the basement stairs, or staring at you from between your feet at the edge of your bed.  More recent anecdotal stories have him lying next to you, staring at you with a most gruesome grin.

The origins of the story date as far back as a British nursery rhyme from 1715:

Rawhead and Bloody Bones
Steals naughty children from their homes,
Takes them to his dirty den,
And they are never seen again.

Another version of his story is found in old legends about a conjuring woman named Old Betty and her friend, a wild boar hog named Rawhead.  The story goes that a hunter killed the hog, and when the old woman found this out, she sics the spirit of her friend on the man.  Clive Barker used this particular incarnation of Rawhead in his movie, “Rawhead Rex”.

There are still reports of people who believe they’ve seen Rawhead, The Bloody Bones Man to this day.  Is he a legend based on fact, a fictional creature made real by people’s belief in him, or the product of overactive imaginations?  I’ll let you be the judge, but let me leave you with this one word of caution…

When your sleep is disturbed tonight by someone climbing into bed with you, don’t be surprised to find a bloody skull staring back at you instead of your spouse or significant other.

We’ll see you next time with some more fuel for your nightmares and dark imaginations.

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

“Dark is the Sea” by Heather Blanchard

Hello fellow Addicts!

This week I bring an offering of witchcraft and mermaids in the form of “Dark is the Sea” by Heather Blanchard.

Rowan Munro was ten years old when she was kidnapped by a man whose face she doesn’t remember.  She managed to escape, although the how is also missing from her memories.  When her mother disappears months later, Rowan’s father moves her to London, far from her home in the Scottish village of Dorchay.  Years later, she returns to stay with her aunt and discovers her heritage is a very unique one.  She also rekindles a friendship with her best friend Violet, a young witch being trained by her aunt, and falls in love with another childhood friend named Blake.  Amidst all of this, a mysterious and powerful entity, known as The Hunter, has set his sights on her.

In many ways, this book reads like the Twilight series of books, only without the vampires.  There is a very clear romantic theme throughout the book, as well as plenty of paranormal goings on.   From The Hunter to a castle haunted by shadow creatures, this does have a lot to keep any reader’s interest.  If there are any faults to it, it’s Rowan’s reactions to certain key events.  It is a good read, but more so if you are a fan of paranormal romance stories.

Until next time, Addicts.

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

“Animosity” by James Newman

Hello fellow Addicts!

animosityAs lovers of horror, we are misunderstood and stereotyped by people who aren’t fans of the macabre.  Horror writers tend to face that stereotype even more so than the average horror fan at times.  People think that we love the ugly side of life, that we yearn to act out in the ways we describe in our stories simply because that’s how we think and spin a tale.  When horrible things happen, it’s not entirely clichéd to think a lover or creator of fright might be involved in some way.  Author James Newman tackles that very fear in his book, “Animosity”.

Andrew Holland is a horror writer that lives in a very picturesque neighborhood.  His neighbors are fascinated and excited to have a best-selling author living among them, at least until he makes a horrifying discovery.  While out walking his dog, Andrew stumbles across the body of a girl around his daughter’s age.  At first, there is the normal excitement and fear you might expect when a vicious crime like that occurs.  People begin to wonder who the murderer might be, whether they are still in the area, or worse, is it one of their own?  It is only a short span of time before the neighbors start behaving differently towards him.  It becomes painfully obvious that everyone he once considered a friend now thinks him a monster because he writes about them.

I liked this story because of how it played with the fear most people in a similar setting have today.  Is the kind man down the street really a nice guy, or is it an act to cover some heinous crime or depravity.  With serial killers like Ted Bundy and the BTK, that fear is justified.  I think that, for the most part, the turn of the people in the neighborhood was handled in a fairly believable fashion.  There were a couple of people whose actions didn’t seem to fit all that well because it seemed to go completely against the nature of their character.  Also, the way the news seemed to focus their reports of the crime on Andrew and his past seemed an artificial way to make him feel persecuted.

My rating for this book is a 3.5 out of 5.

Until next time…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis