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

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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