If you have not yet heard of OddSalon, you should click the link immediately after reading what I have to say. There is a secret announcement hinted at but not really announced at the bottom of this post.
Oddsalon is a new parlor-style forum that hosts twice monthly salons about weird things, or perhaps better stated, a weirder view of the ordinary including lost history, secrets, crimes, hoaxes, tricks, enlightenment, disasters, and so much more.The shared brain-child of three gal pals who are contributors to Atlas Obscura, Death Salon, and The Order of the Good Death, they cull creative ideas, topics, and people from around the SF Bay Area for a truly entertaining and enlightening evening.
Oddsalon: Fake! Tues., Mar. 25th, 2014
This one includes a wide variance of interpretaions of the word “fake” including the topic of mermaids–real, hoaxes, or a little of both? The speaker has (with my permission) used my book Among the Mermaids as major source material. And she’s terribly entertaining. And if you go, and stick it out, you just might learn something fake about me.
Think you know the secret? Attend the OddSalon and then reply to this post with the answer to this question: What was the last slide of the night? If you are right, you’ll win a signed copy of my mermaid book (or another book I wrote if you prefer).
The event is in San Francisco at the DNA Lounge.
Tune in, my prettys! THURSDAY, Jan. 16th to Citizens Awareness Vanguard radio for a strange creature chat with Chris & Mark. I’ll be on LIVE. Show starts at 9 PM EST/6 PST. Grab a glass of something strong and lock the front door. Creatures of the night are afoot!
Listen by clicking the following link:
CAV RADIO SHOW
Greetings you little elves and gnomes and hobgoblins, ye’ merry creatures of the night. Tune in tonight at 6 pm PST/9 PM EST for a delightful hour of the paranormal persuasion. I’ll be a guest on Paranormal Minds Radio.
Click here to listen live.
You never know where the conversation will lead, although I can guarantee you will probably want to double check your locks after.
Tune in this Monday the 16th of December for a frightfully delightful show with host Tim O’Brien of Ripley Radio and his weekly Oddcast. Check out the show’s press release. Lots of great guests and topics, from Twinkie overload to banshee screams!
Twas the week before Christmas and things got weirder than usual onRipley Radio, the official radio broadcast of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! We hear how hot-dog eating champion Joey Chestnut added dessert to his repertoire and won a Twinkie eating contest by downing more than 10 pounds of those sweet little delights accounting for 18,000-plus calories! And, Jodi Pliszka reveals how drinking a whole lot of cola over a long period of time, can be quite detrimental to your health.
Additional Wacky and Unbelievable Stories on the Dec. 16 episode of Ripley Radio: Angela unveils where the most unusual, and most dangerous drinking locations are in the world; Florida TV personality Scott Fais explains how the state’s snowbirds this year may be upset to learn that a popular hot springs soaking spot located in a deep sinkhole, has been closed; in Texas, lightning does strike twice when it hits the same man twice within seconds while he competed in the off-road challenge – Paychecks for Rednecks; and Varla Ventura, author of Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night, provides a primer on the Irish fairy creature, the Banshee.
Chris Kenner provides this week’s musical egress with the original version of 1961’s I Like it Like That!
Ripley Radio is a journey through the weird, wacky, whimsical, wild, and totally unbelievable world of the odd, strange and unusual. Each show provides listeners with amazing and absolutely true tales of today, as well as unbelievable facts culled from the extensive archives of the company that has been freaking out families for more than 90 years!
I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight with George Noory talking about Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night, including ghosts, ghouls, and other bizarre entities! It’s always a great time with George. Join us!!
I will be on MIDNIGHT to 2am (that is 10pm to 12 am EST). This is the SECOND half of the show, but tune in early because the first half of the show sounds freaktacular too!
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2013/10/29You can look on the Coast to Coast website to find what local station broadcasts, or listen live online.
I will be doing an interview with the esteemed WPR today at 1:30 PST, 3:30 CST, 4:30 EST talking about Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night.
This is a great afternoon show, and I’m honored to discuss such trickery and freakery with the hosts!
You can listen live, HERE.
FYI: This is a show that takes callers stories and questions so please listen and join in.
It’s the last Friday in October and it’s time to really bust it out with freaky, Halloween-worthy, facts so have at it. Share them at a cocktail party, wow your blind date, or amuse your children. And if you want more, check out my books The Book of the Bizarre and Beyond Bizarre for loads more terrifying trivia and hilariously horrific facts. Happy Halloween!!!!!!!
- When Stephen King had writer’s block while working on his novel It, he had a nightmare about leeches inside of discarded refrigerators. He says he woke up and knew immediately where the novel was supposed to go.
- In 1925, a few miles south of Portage Wisconsin, August and Patricia Heinz and their children suffered trauma of the supernatural variety. The family, which also included 7-year-old Freddy, 9-year-old Charles, and 11-year-old Elizabeth, had moved into the simple two-story farmhouse 10 years before and lived there happily without incident. But then, in February 1925, an unexplained fire destroyed one of the barns. In June, another barn burned, also without explanation. And then late one June evening, as the family sat down to supper., they heard the sound of footsteps descending from the second floor. Young Charles and his father investigated, but found no one else in the home. After they had sat back down with the rest of the family, the footsteps began again. This phantom sound continued on and off for the next three months. Further incidents began to occur. Patricia discovered that each morning her broom was missing from the kitchen, only to turn up in some strange place, such as a remote corner of the property or a different room in the house. Suspecting the children up to mischief, August and Patricia questioned each one, but all insisted they had nothing to do with it. Exasperated, Patricia decided to chain down the broom and lock the kitchen door. The next morning, she was horrified to discover the door still locked, but the chain broken and the broom outside in the yard.The events culminated one evening when August and his neighbor returned from a hunting trip. Once everyone, including their guest, were seated at the table, the sound of footsteps began. August recounted the story of this mysterious ghost to their guest. The neighbor decided to take action. Thinking that he might scare the ghost, the took his unloaded shotgun and crept towards the stairs where the sound of the footsteps had been heard. He leapt out, let forth a wild scream, and pointed his gun. Though he believed the gun to be unloaded, a shot flew out, shattering the plaster and wallpaper. Freddy and Charles recalled hearing a man moan after the shot, and all the family members heard the sounds of moans and cries coming from the fruit cellar. Once the sounds had ceased, the family was never again haunted by the spirit of the house.
- In January 2008, an eight-one-year-old Chilean man woke up at his own funeral. His family dressed him in his finest suit and laid him out for a proper wake, only to witness him opening his eyes mid-mourning. Upon waking he simply asked for a glass of water. The family was overjoyed.
- The black cat is the most common enchanted animal of the mystical world. Often the companions of witches, black cats are believed to have the power to reason, perform sorcery, and understand human language. Just about everyone knows the superstition that says when a black cat crosses your path bad luck will follow. But there are ways to counteract this omen. As soon as you spot the black cat, spit on the ground, turn yourself around three times, or walk backwards retracing your steps. As you pass the cat, reach down and stroke its back as a gesture of kindness
- During the seventeenth century, Azariah Pinney, a resident of Bettiscombe, a town in the heart of the English countryside, returned home after living in the West Indies for quite some time. Pinney brought a slave home with him to help care for his house, known as Bettiscombe Manor. The slave, unfortunately, soon fell ill, and lying upon his deathbed, requested one thing from his master. He asked that his corpse be sent home and buried in the land of his birth. Pinney agreed, but when the slave passed away, he broke the promise and buried the slave in a nearby church cemetery. Immediately after the burial, a strange moaning drifted up through the earth under which the slave had been buried . Before long, the moaning turned into an endless and agonizing scream, which tore through the countryside. Upon finding out about Pinney’s broken promise, the local villagers demanded that he immediately dig up the body and remove it from the cemetery. Pinney did as told, and returned with the body to Betiscombe Manor, where he stored the body in the attic. The tortured screams ceased. The corpse remained in Pinney’s house, where it decayed over time, until all that remained was the skull. As the years passed, Bettiscombe Manor saw many owners come and go. Some did not take well to sleeping so near the infamous skull and made the mistake of removing it from the attic. One owner threw the skull into a nearby pond, thinking it would sing, but the skull rose to the surface shrieking in anguish. Another family buried it in the backyard garden, but it dug itself out of the ground. In the end, the skull was returned to the house, where it is said to reside peacefully to this day.
Bad Boy Bizarre
It’s that day again, FREAKY Friday, where every Friday in October I’ll be giving you some freaktacular tidbits to start your weekend off right. Share them at a cocktail party, wow your blind date, or amuse your children. And if you want more, check out my books The Book of the Bizarre and Beyond Bizarre for loads more terrifying trivia and hilariously horrific facts. This week is full of freaky sausages and butts.
- Think kids these days are bad? In 1598, a young peasant girl named Pernetter Gandillon roved like a wild animal around the Jura Mountains, between France and Switzerland. One day, she came upon a little boy and girl picking strawberries, and she pounced on the girl, intent to kill. When the little boy tried to defend his sister with a pocket knife, Gandillon wrestled the knife from his hand and slashed his throat. He was four years old. The people of the village were so horrified by the event that they tore Gandillon to pieces. Oh yeah, she was also a werewolf.
- Sisters Delfina and Maria were the owners of Rancho El Angel, a brothel in Guanajuato, Mexico, in the 1950’s and 60’s. The sisters had a successful business, but they also had a problem on their hands: the prostitutes who got too old to work expected continued financial support. Every good businessperson knows that carrying dead weight is unsustainable, and the sisters came up with a workable solution: killing their low-achieving sex workers. They also killed any customer who appeared to have a big wad of cash with him. When investigators finally questioned the sisters and examined their property, they found the bodies of 11 men and 80 woman!
- According to the Associated Press, there was a bizarre burglary in April 2008 in Spain. A Prowler broke into a funeral home in Burjassot (no one is sure exactly what the burglar intended to steal), and when neighbors alerted police, the creepy criminal tried to hide. Police, along with the funeral parlor’s owner, searched the place and found him lying on a table in a glassed-in viewing chamber that is used during wakes. The police said not only was he breathing, but he was also dressed shabbily–a dead giveaway in a parlor where the custom is to dress the deceased in their finest suits.
- A 22-year old man was arrested in Fresno, California for breaking and entering the home of two farm workers, rubbing one’s face with spices and whacking the other in the head with an eight inch sausage, the ransacking the workers’ house and running away. The money stolen by the police was recovered, and the alleged assailant presumably was given a good grilling by police.
- A 35-year-old man, dubbed the Butt Bandit, was arrested in Valentine, Nebraska, for making imprints of his, ahem, posterior on store windows with petroleum jelly. He was convicted of eight counts of public indecency and one count of disturbing the peace after terrorizing the town for more than two years. He was sentenced to a whopping thirteen and a half months in jail. A word to the wise: make butt-prints on your own windows instead of going to town.
Welcome again to Freaky Friday where every Friday in October I’ll be giving you some freaktacular tidbits to start your weekend off right. Share them at a cocktail party, wow your blind date, or amuse your children. And if you want more, check out my books The Book of the Bizarre and Beyond Bizarre for loads more terrifying trivia and hilariously horrific facts. This week’s edition is dedicated to all you freaks out there who said I should show Bigfoot some love. Check out this map of Bigfoot sightings!
- According to an account reported to Phantoms and Monsters, in November 2007, a Michigan woman and her husband were home one evening watching TV when they heard two gunshots coming from next door. The husband quickly got dressed and headed to his neighbor’s house, where he expected that the neighbor, Bob, was warding off the ear that had been sighted in the area lately Bob had let his two dogs outside before bed, as he did every night. One of the dogs before bed, as he did every night. One of the dogs took its usual romp towards the woods, but stopped suddenly and then cowered. When Bob saw this, he assumed the dog had seen a bear, so he headed outside with his rifle. That is when he looked up to see a dark figure, standing upright at about six feet, seven inches tall. Thinking it was a human he shouted at it. The creature looked at Bob and then walked back into the woods, this time on all fours. The most unusual thing, Bob said later, was the creature’s eyes-the glowed red. Bob aimed his shotgun at the beast’s chest, which is when he noticed it had no fur. He fired and hit it, but the creature did not move. The figure stood upright again, and Bob fired again, but this time he missed. The figured disappeared into the woods. No blood or tracks were discernible.
- Roman Emperor Maximus was the legendary king who was so large that he could wear his wife’s bracelet as a wedding ring. He was said to be between eight and nine feet tall, and was a compulsive eater, binging on four pounds of flesh and six gallons of wine a day. He was as much muscle as we was fat, though, as he was known to be capable of knocking out the teeth of a horse with a single blow.
- Many lifelong residents of Kirkland, Ohio, grew up listening to tales of melon heads, a strange race of local mutants. Local legend has it that these people, known for their oversized, bulbous craniums, are the result of a physician’s bizarre experiments on children suffering from a debilitating disease called hydrocephalus. This condition causes large pockets of water to form in the bran, and Dr. Crow was hired by the U.S government to investigate and care for children with the disorder. Instead he performed twisted operations on his patients, injecting their brains with more water and exposing them to radiation. Many children died, and the remaining victims mutated into wild, vicious creatures. One day they attacked the doctor, ripped him to pieces and ate him. Then they unleashed themselves on the woods around the crude hospital they had been imprisoned in. The story goes that the melon heads roam the woods in packs, terrorizing humans and animals alike.
- Three Andean mummies were discovered by an archaeologist/mountaineer in October 1995. They had been undisturbed in snow at the top of 20,000 foot Mount Ampato, in southern Peru, for at least 500 years. Then an earthquake exposed them. One of the mummies was the remains of a young woman, referred to by local shamans as Juanita. She had apparently been sacrificed to Incan gods. By disturbing the remains, the authorities are said to have brought bad luck to the Peruvian region. Within a year of the discovery, a Peruvian commercial jet crashed and killed 123 people near the discovery site. Then thirty-five people were electrocuted when a high-tension cable fell on a crowd celebrating the founding of the city of Arequipa (which is also near the discovery site). Local shamans said these deadly disasters were the acts of the angered ices princess. To break the curse, the shamans gathered in the city of Arequipa in August 1996 and chanted: “Juanita, calm your ire. Do not continue to damn innocent people who have down nothing to you.” Apparently, it worked–no deadly accidents have been reported in the region since 1996.
Welcome to the first installment of Freaky Fridays, where every Friday in October I’ll be giving you some freaktacular tidbits to start your weekend off right. Share them at a cocktail party, wow your blind date, or amuse your children. And if you want more, check out my books The Book of the Bizarre and Beyond Bizarre for loads more terrifying trivia and hilariously horrific facts.
- In 1990, Dr. Phillip J. DeVries published a study in which he identified not only caterpillars that screamed, but also the nature of their screams and the reason behind them. The caterpillars have two sets of organs-behind the head, shaped like grooved rods, and one that protrudes from the top of the head that, when rubbed together, produce a sound DeVries described as being like that of a comb running over the edge of a table. The “screams” are actually a call to arms for troops of ants, who come to protect the caterpillars from predatory wasps. The caterpillars secrete amino acids as a reward for ants.
- In Texas, the fire ant, one of the South’s biggest pests, is facing a new predator of its own. Researchers at Texas A&M University have introduced a tiny phorid fly originally native to South America, to lay their eggs onto fire ants. These eggs hatch into maggots inside the ant and begin to eat away at the ant’s brains, essentially turning the fire ants into tiny little zombies. The ants wander around for up to two weeks while the maggots eat away at their brains, until the ants’ head fall off. Then the maggot turns into a fly and is ready to start the cycle again.
- These days most Siamese twins have the option of attempting surgical separation at birth, but back in the early 1800s, there wasn’t a choice for two guys born joined at the hip. Chang and Eng Bunker were the original sideshow Siamese twins, and they were actually joined at the sternum by a piece of cartilage. Their livers were fused together, but each organ worked independently. The Bunker’s developed a killer business model, traveling the world they put themselves on exhibition. They finally settled down in North Carolina, of all places, and adopted the surname “Bunker.” They bought slaves, set up a farm, and even got married–to two sisters born and raised in North Carolina . For a time the twins and their wives all shared a bed made for four, but the sisters were prone to bickering, and soon two separate households were set up. The brothers would alternate three nights at each home, during which time they were apparently very busy: Chang’s wife had ten children, and Eng’s wife had eleven. The story of Chang’s and Eng’s death is rather touching: Chang contracted pneumonia and died suddenly in his sleep. Rather than undergo an emergency separation from his dead brother, Eng stuck by Chang’s side and passed away three hours later. The twin’s liver is preserved in a museum in Pennsylvania.
- The cymothoa exigua parasite latches on to a snapper fish’s tongue and sucks its blood until the tongue atrophies and falls off. But instead of swimming on to its next victim, the parasite hooks itself into the fish where the tongue used to be and functions like a new tongue. The fish can use this new “tongue” just like its old one. The only difference is that the new tongue siphons off some of the fish’s food. Sneaky and effective dieting technique, anyone?
- In a remarkable 2008 story from Colorado Springs, Colorado, fully developed infant foot was discovered in the brain of a newborn baby who was being operated on for a life-threatening tumor. Doctors explained that is not uncommon for the type of tumor presented in the tissue-most often muscle, hair or teeth—from an undeveloped fetal twin. It is extremely rare for the tissue to develop this far. The foot was removed, and the infant was expected to make a full recovery.