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