Just in case you overslept or went off-grid, here’s the link to the CBS Sunday Morning story about mermaids, featuring Faith Salie dressed as a mermaid, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade and lil’ ol me doing an interview.
I’ve been keeping a secret (sorta). A couple weeks ago the crew from CBS Sunday Morning came to my humble abode to interview me for a segment on mermaids! I got to sit knee-to-knee with the amazing Faith Salie who made me feel like a Mermaid Queen as we talked, walked and laughed. For any fan of this long-running show, you’ll be pleased to know that every person treated me with such graciousness and respect, from the camera man to the producer, and I had more fun doing an interview than I ever thought possible. Can’t wait to see the whole thing put together and grateful to have been part of it
Grab a coffee and watch it live, with me!
This Sunday, August 11th, be sure to watch! Faith went to Weekie Watchee, Coney Island and Varla’s parlour!
Click here to find out what time it airs in your neck of the woods.
And remember, shows are archived on the site so you can watch it later, too….in case you stay up a little too late Saturday night. Ahem…
And check out the books!
Amy and Isaac Post were a pretty radical couple for the 1840s. As outspoken abolitionists it isn’t surprising that their open-minded attitude meant that not only were they Quakers, free-thinkers, anti-slavery, and women’s rights advocates, they were also believers in the Spiritualist movement. They held regular abolitionists meetings in their home and hosted the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Cassius Clay and Frederick Douglass as lecturers, and went on to help Douglass establish his legendary newspaper the North Star. The Post home was a station along the Underground Railroad and it is said that they housed more than twenty escaped slaves. Amy Post was extremely outspoken in the women’s movement. She was friends with Harriet Ann Jacobs, who wrote Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl. But in the company of radicals and free-thinkers, they also invited the Fox Sisters into their home. Kate and Margaret Fox were just at the beginning of their career as infamous mediums and the Posts were introduced to a new world of psychics, séances and the Spiritualist belief in afterlife communication. In fact, Isaac Post became a medium that channeled the ghosts of Benjamin Franklin and other notables in the book, Voices from the Spirit World (published in 1852). How’s that for open-minded?
—an excerpt from Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor: Ghosts, Seances andTales of True Hauntings
Image of Amy Post (top) obtained from http://www.winningthevote.org/APost1-big.htmlOriginal source: Rochester Public Library, Local History Division Collection, PD-US, via Wikimedia Commons
Image of Isaac Post public domain archives, via Wikimedia Commons
Looking to tune in, turn on or maybe just space out? This is my (mostly) current list of upcoming and past radio appearances. Many of these were to discuss topics relevant to my latest book, Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor: Ghosts, Seances, and Tales of True Hauntings! Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble & IndieBound (and wherever books are sold!!!).
NEW FOR 2019
Sunday, August 11, 2019: Segment on Mermaids with Faith Saile on CBS Sunday Morning.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019: Jim Harold’s debut interactive video show: Watch it here.
June 20, 2019: Night Light Radio with Barbara DeLong! Listen to recorded show here.
Thursday, May 9, 2019 Spaced Out Radio with Dave Scott, Midnight, EST. http://spacedoutradio.com/
Wednesday, January 9th, 2019. Nox Mente. 9pm EST. Dreams & Dreaming show!
Monday, January 14th, 2019. Open Canvas. 10 pm EST. Revolution Radio, link here: http://www.freedomslips.com
Thursday, February 7th, 2019. Spaced Out Radio with Dave Scott. Midnight, EST. http://spacedoutradio.com/
Tuesday, February 19th, 2019. Night Light with Mark Eddy and Barbara DeLong.
10 pm to midnight blogtalkradio/nightlight
Many of these are archived so you can still listen! Click the links to try it!
Friday, June 1st, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, 10 PST to Midnight. coasttocoastam.com
Monday, June 4th, Dr. Pat Show, 10 a.m. PST thedrpatshow.com ARCHIVED, CLICK TO LISTEN.
Monday, June 4th, I recorded a great talk with Justin from Beyond Reason. Check it out at here. .
Tuesday, June 5th, Paradelphia Radio.8-10 EST, paradelphia.com
PODCAST OF PARADELPHIA AVAILABLE HERE: http://wildfireradio.com/paradelphia-radio-207/
Wednesday, June 6th, Ghost Chronicles, 7 p.m. EST, neghostproject.com
Thursday, June 7th, Stirring the Cauldron with Marla Brooks. 9-10 EST. stirringthecauldron.podomatic.com
(AVAILABLE NOW AS A PODCAST!)
Wednesday, July 4th, Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast, available here:
Sunday, July 15th, Beyond the Strange Radio with Dave Cruz, 6 pm PST, 9 EST
Live video youtube stream here. VIDEO!!!
Tuesday, July 17th, Weiser Books Radio Hour with Mike Conlon (link forthcoming)
Sunday, July 22nd, 11 PM EST (10 CST, 8 PST) Paranormal Into the Night Radio. Check it out here.
Thursday, Aug. 9th, Within the Chaos, 10-midnight EST. Go to http://tobtr.com/10894493 or call in to listen at 516-387-1922 and www.blogtalkradio.com/viberadionetwork .Visit the Within the Chaos Facebook page for more info.
Thursday, August 16th. Paranormal Now, 9 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. CST. with Alan B. Smith. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormalnow
Sunday, August 19th, Paranormal Soup with Jason Bland (VIDEO) 11 p.m. EST to 1 a.m. EST. mwpparanormalsoup.com
Friday, August 31st, Church of Mabus Radio. 8 p.m. ESTchurchofmabus.com
Tuesday, September 11th, Coast Insider Live Chat Hour, with George Noory, 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST.
Thursday, October 4th, Spaced Out Radio with Dave Scott, Midnight, EST. http://spacedoutradio.com/
Friday, October 12th, Hyperspace with Solaris Blueraven. Midnight EST. kcorradio.com
Sunday, October 14th, WBGU Dead Air Paranormal, 8 p.m. EST, https://www.bgfalconmedia.com/wbgu-fm/
Thursday, October 25, Within the Chaos, 10-midnight EST. Go to http://tobtr.com/10894493 or call in to listen at 516-387-1922 and www.blogtalkradio.com/viberadionetwork .Visit the Within the Chaos Facebook page for more info.
Saturday, October 27, Into the Parabnormal with Jeremy Scott. Show is from 6-9 pst/9-midnight EST and I’ll be on about 9:30 EST. www.ParabnormalRadio.com
Sunday, October 28, Beyond the Strange Radio with Dave Cruz, 6 pm PST, 9 EST. Live video youtube stream here. VIDEO!!! We will be dressing up!
Tuesday, October 30, 1:05 pm CST I’ll make a brief appearance live on the Tom Barnard show to discuss the weirdest and wackiest spots and stories of Minnesota! http://www.tombarnardpodcast.com/
Wednesday, October 31, 11:30-midnight EST I’ll be joining Jim Harold’s Halloween show via FB live! Details forthcoming!!!
Thursday, December 6th, Spaced Out Radio with Dave Scott. Midnight, EST. http://spacedoutradio.com/
NEW TIME! Wednesday December 12th, 11 pm -1 am EST. The Angel Rock with Lorilei Check it here: lnmradionetwork.com/theangelrock
Thursday, December 20th, Within the Chaos, 10-midnight EST. Go to http://tobtr.com/10894493 or call in to listen at 516-387-1922 and www.blogtalkradio.com/viberadionetwork .Visit the Within the Chaos Facebook page for more info
There are a few more podcast recording/being recorded during this time as well, so watch here for details.
We Are Family
The idea of family ghosts, or ghosts that attach themselves to people and are “inherited” from generation to generation can perhaps be traced back to a time when families remained in one place for longer periods of time. Were these “inherited” ghosts simply ghosts of a place, a castle for example, where all of the bloodline was destined to live? The Irish Banshee is sometimes equated with a family ghost, as at one time this supernatural songstress was said to belong to the original clans of Ireland (from which all Irish bloodlines are descended). In Germany, we find the White Lady, a warning phantasm associated—like the banshee—with those of ancient lineage. She warns her mortal family of impending death and is not attached to place so much as person, as she will follow from town to town as the descendants move. In Austria, a White Woman appears howling on rooftops to warn families that someone in the house below will die within the month. And in Italy there are numerous examples of “inherited” spirits, especially among prominent families of royal lineage. In Venice, for example, the Donati possess a ghost in the form of a disembodied head that floats into the doorway of a doomed family member. But are these ghosts attached to a family or is it that the ability to see them—the second sight, the Shining, the clairvoyance—is actually what is inherited?. Either way, ghosts are no doubt in our DNA.
What ghosts haunt your family? Is it a clan thing?
—an excerpt from Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor: Ghosts, Seances andTales of True Hauntings
image credit: Annie Spratt via Unsplash
In Praise of Vampires
Although some of my exes may disagree, I am not (at least not last I checked) a vampire. However, I do identify with much of what the current living vampire community represents. And am, of course, quite interested in vampire lore, mythology and culture, pop and otherwise. After all, I wrote a book called Banshees, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts. I am frequently asked about vampires: Are they real? Am I one? How does one become a vampire? Do vampires drink blood?
If you’ve heard me on Coast to Coast, you’ve heard me patiently answer: I know many living vampires, people who self-identify as vampires, and I have found them to be empathic, courteous, thoughtful and gentle people. One of my favorite pals is Father Sebastiaan. He is a Fangsmith, founder of Vampire World and founding father of vampire community. Along with the charming Victor Magnus, they put on vampire balls and events around the world. In response to the most common, frequently asked questions about vampires, Father Sebastiaan and Victor Magnus have put together an excellent Q & A on their website, Vampire World. They are far more qualified to talk about real, modern vampires than I am. Below, you’ll find the first of many questions. Click this link to learn more (reprinted with permission)
Are Vampires Real?
Yes, but not in the ways you may think. Living “Real” Vampires are human beings with a higher energetic need for vital life-force (Chi, Prana, Mana, Ki) than the average human. If this Need goes unfulfilled, the Vampire experiences lower states of spiritual, physical, and emotional wellbeing. In order to sate this need, one must learn ethical techniques of gathering excess energy (called “feeding”). Vampires are usually divided into psychic (energy) and sanguine (blood) categories, but this often leads to misconceptions. A better terminology separates them into awakened and unawakened. All Vampires can practice just energy feeding. “Lifestylers” may practice a philosophy or employ the imagery, but are not all energetically Awakened. We also recognize Sympathetic Psychic Vampirism, a temporary Need resulting from a donor being depleted after being fed upon too much and for too long.
First place winner, Barry Huddleston.
I was a bit startled by the response when I first got it in my inbox as I was not expecting a poem as the fairy tale. But I couldn’t help but love this take on the fairy tale, and the inherent talent Mr. Huddleston obviously possesses. I also loved the idea that someone’s guilt, the fear, anticipation and possible sin of meeting her lover would cause hallucinations. Hey, we’ve all been there, ammiright?
Something twisted in the shadow of the trees as she made her way down the woodland path. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she knew she was being watched. In the far distance, beyond the dusky silhouettes of trees she could see the inky blackness of a pond and beyond that, the castle lights. Suddenly, she felt something grab at her ankle. Stunned, she turned and saw…
A paw, a white paw, it was a rabbit and nothing more
or so she told herself as she dashed to her bedroom door.
A glimpse of white or was it the evening mist?
Was it the fear of a rabbit or the fear of her tryst?
Again she drew up her courage and sought out her rendezvous
in the cool misty forest where the apple trees grew.
Was that her lover among the greenwoods or a Pooka in disguise?
She couldn’t tell and discretion belongs to the wise.
Once again she dashed for the safety of her room.
Was she afraid of a rabbit, the forest, or the gloom?
Pooka was that you, are you testing or tormenting me?
Did you place fear in my heart and cause me to flee?
A whisper replied in the still of the night,
“don’t seek out love until you feel it is right.”
copyright Barry Huddleston, 2017. Re-publication requires express permission of the author.
Second Place: Nicole Williams
This beautiful story came in early on in the contest and stood out right away as one of my favorites, even after reading so many amazing entries. Although the first paragraph was part of the contest entry, I believe that Ms. Williams could easily out-write my intro any day. When I read these words, “With hellhounds and red caps beneath, they rode upon the night” I knew I had found a beautiful writer and a kindred spirit! Enjoy her gorgeous fairy tale, dear reader, with the light on.
Suffering from an intense drought, the ground drank the life giving force as quickly as it landed. Above her, the trees began to rage as if a storm has suddenly come, yet the sky was clear. She laughed anxiously at the turbulent canopy above and was surprised to hear an echo from behind her. She turned quickly to glimpse a menacing figure watching her from the shadows. Paralyzed with dread she could not move however her heart raced, beating like a trap bird within her chest. The creature only stared, slowing inhaling through his gaping mouth as if tasting the air, or her fear. Upon its head sat a jaunty cap, soaked in blood. A rivulet of the viscous fluid dribbled into its open mouth and the creature smacked its lips, its grotesque flesh trembling with delight. Its voice was like rocks grinding upon themselves as it pointed to her and growled, “We…Hunger.”
Snatching her gown from the clutches of the greedy brambles, she ran faster than she had ever before, leaving the creature’s laughter to reverberate through frightening forest. As she approached the pond, she looked behind her to find the creature scuttling along beside a hoard of black hounds. Their teeth gleamed in the moonlight as saliva rained into the dry grass beneath their immense claws. She stumbled upon loose debris and caught her palm against a sharp stone as she fell. It bled into the earth. Holding her hand to her chest, she picked herself up, and ran towards her salvation while the beasts gnashing at her heels. She would be safe within the illuminated protection of the castle, if she could make it there.
With labored breath and tired limbs, she struggled around the curve of the dark pond. As she passed, a ripple disturbed the surface and from its stagnate depths, a dark horse materialized. Upon its back a man of shadows rode. She struggled in vain, as he took her into his fatal embrace. Unable to speak, she mewled in terror.
“What beautiful sounds you make.” He stroked her hair. “But regrettable, you are not for me to keep.”
With hellhounds and red caps beneath, they rode upon the night mare to the heart of the land. His breath was warm upon her face as he smirked. “The woods my dear, they must eat.”
Mistaken for the wind whistling through trees, the locals welcomed her shrieks. They dance and sang throughout the dark, celebrating the end of the terrible drought. And the laughing girl who wandered into the hungry woods, she laughed no more that night while the forest feed- feasted by ancient rite.
—copyright 2017 by Nicole Williams. Re-publication requires express permission of the author.
I hadn’t intended to do any kind of third place. In fact, I’ll quote myself by saying, “there is no third-place!” However, I decided to post an honorable mention in the contest: probably the youngest writer to submit an entry (at least who admitted it) this 15-year-old author did a damn fine job. Short stories can be among the most challenging, for writers of any age, and I can tell you if my writing had been this refined at the age of 15…well let’s just say I probably would have been published earlier. It’s got a lovely twist at the end, too! Enjoy and please leave encouraging comments for Cameron!
Something twisted in the shadow of the trees as she made her way down the woodland path. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she knew she was being watched. In the far distance, beyond the dusky silhouettes of trees she could see the inky blackness of a pond and beyond that, the castle lights. Suddenly, she felt something grab at her ankle.
She shrieked as she whipped around and saw a man laying on his stomach, his lower half concealed by the forest just off the path. He was clutching her dress and looking up at her, his eyes pleading. Blood poured from his mouth and nose. He opened and closed his mouth, trying to speak, but no words were coming out. Finally, he succeeded. “Help me… it came from the pond…” His short manifesto finished, his head splatted into the mud. He was dead. Behind him, something began to break the delicate surface of the water. Out of fear, the princess stumbled back into a ditch filled with bushes, producing many loud cracks as the thing slowly emerged from the water. Once fully out, it stood about
four-feet tall at the shoulder, and 10-feet long from head to tail. The princess did not move, and tried to hold as still as possible. From her hiding spot, the creature appeared black, silhouetted against the light glinting off of the pond. It’s movements lizardlike, it jerked its head back and forth, scanning the trees for the source of the loud noise. The girl stayed still, hidden from its view. Satisfied that it was alone, the lizard ambled slowly toward the corpse of the man.
Highborn and blind to the difficult side of life, danger was near unknown to the princess. Whatever this new feeling was, she did not like it. As she crouched, hidden, she saw the thing place it’s jaws gently around the torso of the man, and began to carry him in the direction of the castle. As the thing slowly waddled into the dim light of the moon, she could make out tough green skin, and four clawed feet slowly pattering away. It looked like a gigantic lizard, cold, black eyes rotating in their sockets to scan the forest around. Glinting in the light, she saw the long teeth of the lizard, and a golden ring on the man’s finger, with a shining green stone in the center. The lizard continued on into the darkness toward the castle.
The princess waited for hours, just to be sure it was gone. She slowly emerged from her hiding spot and walked cautiously toward the castle. After a long, scary walk through the woods, she arrived at her bedroom window. She would never sneak out to walk through the night again. Her nan was always warning her against it. “There’s bad people out there.” she would say. “Bad things. Bandits who would kidnap and ransom you without a second glance. Inhuman things too. Unholy beasts sent by satan to terrorize good, god fearing children like you. Shapeshifters, evil, satanic beasts who can appear human, but can also transform into godless creatures from hell.” the princess had shrugged her warnings off. That stuff wasn’t real. That kind of thing just happened in stories.
Safe inside her bedroom, she dropped her filthy dress to the floor and crawled into bed. The next morning, her cook brought her breakfast in bed. She sat up and looked at the plate. “What is it?” the cook smiled and answered. “meat pie m’lady.” the princess smiled and scooped up a mouthful with her fork. Delicious. Even in the most difficult famines, her loyal cook was always able to get the most delicious meat. If he ever ran out, he would always have more the next morning. As she chatted with the cook, she decided to tell him about the dream she had that night. As she told her story, the cook’s smile bent downward into a frown. Finishing the tale, she asked him what was wrong. “M’lady. That was no dream. Look.” she followed his gaze and noticed her dress, caked with mud, lying on the ground in front of her window. She was scared, but decided that it didn’t matter much, she had escaped without harm and that was all that mattered. She told the cook as such. He smiled and agreed. He swore he would not tell anybody of what she had seen, because if he did, the princess would surely never be allowed into the woods again. As she neared the bottom of her meat pie, her fork clanged against something metal. She looked down slowly into the pie. Her fork had struck a golden ring. In her pie. She thought back to the lizard carrying the man away. Glinting in the light… a golden ring… with a green stone… “m’lady?” her cook asked. “Something troubling you?” the princess, her hand shaking, turned the ring over with her fork. In the center, partially concealed by bits of flesh, was a shining green stone. What had happened the night before was no dream. And her cook… She looked up slowly at his face, glaring at her darkly. “Didn’t yer nan warn you of ones like us? Not to go meddling in places you don’t belong? You might get hurt.” The princess sprung out of bed and bolted for the door, but the shapeshifter got there first. He grinned, and the princess realized she had never before noticed before how sharp his teeth were. “You’ve seen something you shouldn’t. You know what happens to girls who go out into the woods at night? They have accidents.” his skin began to ripple, and he fell onto his hands and knees, scales sprouting all over his body…
The cook carried her body into the kings chamber and laid her down. Through his sobs, the king managed to ask what had happened. “I found her In the woods while I was going for a walk this morning. I’m terribly sorry for your loss sir, and the kingdom mourns with you. Would you perhaps like a little breakfast to help you feel better before the funeral? I’ve made a delicious meat pie.”
copyright 2017 frog farkle. No republication without express permission of the author.
Ah, at long last. I know I told you I’d announce the winners by early June but guess what? There were A LOT of entries and I had to sift through (with great pleasure) many wonderful stories. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a contest more! So to every one of you who sent in an entry, I thank you. And I want you to know I agonized over the winner. I chose a winner, a second place and—because I wanted to—a runner up/honorable mention. Each of these will be published over the next three days for your reading enjoyment, beginning tomorrow (which might be today for you). If you are a prize winner, I have already contacted you and if you are wondering where your prize is…well, it’s on the way! Rahlly it is!