Happy Holidays, you weirdos! I’ve got a little present for you. I recently got together with my esteemed publisher for Weiser Books Radio Hour, to read to you from a little tale from Charles Dickens’ A Haunted House.
Charles Dickens’ Christmas ghosts were rampant in his 1894 pamphlet Christmas Stories, a holiday supplement to Âll Year Round, a publication for which Dickens served as editor. The Haunted House is both a fictional house where like-minded guests and ghosts gather and a literary gold mine, where Dickens’ favorite authors of the day gathered to tell their particularly assigned ghost stories. Dickens created the setting and each room of the Haunted House was assigned to one of his favorite writers (and to himself).
Wilkie Collins, born in London in 1824, met Dickens in 1851. Shortly after this, both men acted together in Edward “Dark and Stormy Night” Bulwer-Lytton’s play Not So Bad As We Seem. This “set the stage” for what would become a lifelong friendship. Like Dickens and most of Victorian England, Collins had a healthy relationship with the idea of ghosts. That is to say, he believed in them—at least as a literary device. He wrote dozens of plays, short stories, and novels, the most famous of which was called The Woman in White, which was later adapted for the stage and even modern film.
Wilkie Collins was assigned “The Ghost in the Cupboard Room,” occupied by one Nat Beaver, a salty old merchantman who has some nervous ticks brought on by a most unexpected specter of his past. Join me, to find out what haunts this sailing man; who else was in the house; and to hear a tale of terror (and bondage) on the high seas.
Click HERE to listen.
Kick off Halloween on this eve of All Hallow’s Eve with a little ramble down a shadowy path. Who knows what will scream, reach out or come looking for you while you are distracted listening to the radio? We cannot say, nor can we guarantee your safety. What we can be sure of is a wild romp through a world of bizarre creatures, freaky facts and all manner of vampires, banshees, werewolves and other strange things. So keep this freaky Halloween thing going and tune in to hear Dave Cruz of Beyond the Strange Radio Show talk with me about whatever frightening things come to mind. And if you listen carefully, you just might hear a story I’ve never told before on air. It’s quite fearsome, and haunts me to this day. If there’s time, we may take callers so get ready with your own terrifying tales.
Listen live here. Tonight, October 30 at 7 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST.
Just click the website and the player will be going.
Later it will be archived into a podcast so you can relive all the scary stuff in the light of day. But you really should listen now. What else are you doing on a Sunday night, besides sewing your kid’s Halloween costume?
Join me and the lovely hosts of Ghost Chronicles, Ron Kolek and Anne Kerrigan. Tune in live tonight at 7 p.m. EST to hear some bewitching banter and a few good ghostly tales!
click HERE to listen
photo by Shannon Landers via flickr
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.
Well my pretties, it is officially autumn and we all know that Halloween is just a scream away. To help get you in the mood, I’m doing a giveaway as part of Good Choice Reading’s Fall Blog Hop. One lucky s.o.b. is going to win a copy of my NEW book, Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night. Comment on this post to enter to win.
Contest begins…now! and ends at 12am on September 27th.
Fans of the bizarre, the fantastical, the supernatural, and the downright weird are likely already familiar with The Church of Mabus radio show. I’ll be on it Saturday the 14th from 11pm EST to 1am EST (that’s 8pm-10pm Pacific coasters!) so I hope you can join me as we discuss mermaids and whatever creepy, freaky, twisted things that lurk in our mutual brains. With hosts Jeffery Pritchett and BeezleBub.
Church of Mabus Show Link
Tonight, from 6pm PST to 8 PM PST, I’ll be chatting it up with the great geeks of Paranormal Geeks Radio. Join me and host Jim Heater LIVE at 6pm PST:
You can listen live tonight from 6-8pm PST. Join us! We’ll speak of mermaids, ghosts, and other creatures of the night!!
Lycanthropy is a clinical disease, one in which a supposedly deranged individual “imagines” that they are a werewolf. And according to Sabine Baring Gould, everyone of us has the potential to be a werewolf–we all have a primal, uncontrolled element to us that manifests in some people as madnees, others as cravings, and others as murder. Not quite as “sexy” as the vampire, werewolves have an element of the pathetic and loyal dog, so often seeming to be animals without choice. In many stories the werewolf tries desperately to hide who he is, attempting to protect the ones he loves from his own animal-urges.
Have you encountered a werewolf or seen a were-creature?
I want to know! I’d like to include your first-hand account in my forthcoming book, Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night. Email me at varlaventura AT gmail.com. I’ll contact you if I’d like to include your story in my collection.
Banshees are among the most feared creatures of the fairy and supernatural realm, and this may be in part to the sympathies they invoke when you hear their wailing. You could easily be lured into the dark of night, hoping to help the pathetic creature who sounds as if she is in mourning. Some tales recount that banshees are the ghosts of women who have died in childbirth; others say they are the restless sprits of unrequited lovers.
It is common for families to inherit the banshee, who arrives time and time again to warn of an impending death.
To quote Raymond Buckland from his book The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts:
“It has been said that a banshee is really the disembodied soul of someone who once lived and was attached to the family in some way. It depends upon the relationship that the banshee had with the dying family member as to how the banshee announces his or her coming death. If the person about to die was of a gentle, kind disposition, then the banshee will appear and sing soft songs of warning, summoning the person to death. But if the person destined to die was of a hateful disposition, then the banshee will make her announcement with horrible cries and screams.”
Have you ever seen or heard a banshee? I want your first-hand accounts for my upcoming book, Banshees, Werewovles, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night (Weiser Books, October 2013).
Contact me at varlaventura AT gmail.com (you know how to actually type that, right?) and let me know what creepy creatures you’ve encountered.