Halloween Night Party with Jim Harold

After all that trick-or-treating, I’ll be WIDE AWAKE and ready to join the great Jim Harold as his guest for the last half-hour of his annual Facebook Live Halloween show!

The party starts at 8pm and there’s a lineup of awesome guests and giveaways.

I’ll be joining in at 11:30 EST, until midnight. (Obviously on Oct. 31st).

Here’s the link, the feed will start there at 8pm

https://www.facebook.com/jimharold

We’ll be giving away a signed copy of my latest book, Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor: Ghosts, Seances, and Tales of True HauntingsAvailable  AmazonBarnes & Noble & IndieBound (and wherever books are sold!!!).

 

image by Sarah Pflug via Burst 

Varla on Coast to Coast TONIGHT 10/29

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.

banshees, werewolves, vampires

Halloween Fun with Wisconsin Public Radio–10/29!!

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.  halloween-candy_

Freaky Friday: The Ghost in the Fruit Cellar plus Black Cats and Skulls

Bloodcurdling Bizarre

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!!!!!!!

black cat

  • 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.

Wicked Wednesday: The Pesky Neighbors

wicked witch of the west

It’s basically Halloween, right? I mean everyday is Halloween for me!! But to REALLY get you in the mood, I’ve got some Wicked Wednesday plans.  Watch here for a spell or two or three to try out your witchy powers. Don’t expect a harm-none situation, either. I walk the line, people! Don’t cross it.

This week, I’ll give you two spells from Denise Alvarado’s Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook (used with permission):

To Get Rid of a Troublesome Neighbor

Light a black candle and dress with castor oil. Write the neighbor’s name on a piece of paper along with the word “goodbye.” Place the paper under the candle. Mix powdered mud dauber’s nest with a graveyard dirt and throw it at the neighbor’s front door. Recite Psalms 74,101, and 109 three times each and let the candle burn out. Dispose of the candle remains at a crossroads, along with three pennies.

To Make People Love You

Take nine lumps of starch, mime of sugar, and nine teaspoons of steel dust. Wet it all with Jockey Club cologne. Take nine pieces of ribbon, blue, red, and yellow. I suggest using wide ribbon for the blue and red ribbons, and thin ribbon for the yellow. Take a teaspoonful of the mixture, put it on a ribbon, and tie it in into paket (a small bundle). As you do, call out the name of the person or persons you want to love you. Wrap the paket with yellow ribbon, and as you do so, call out the person’s name. Do this nine times, making nine bags wrapped with yellow thread

Fall Blog Hop Giveaway with Good Choice Reading

welcomingthefallWell 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.

Vampires for All Tastes~A Very Bloody Happy Hour of Horrors

Some of my favorite people, lovers of horror and freaks extraordinaire, are down on vampires lately. They are anti-Twilight-saga, over Anne Rice, tired of trends. But I say “BAH!” Vampires are IMMORTAL and therefore IMMORTALLY popular.  Take, for instance, the glorious vampires  of movie fame, including Bela Lugosi, those beloved Lost Boys, and that creepy little girl from Let the Right One In. And vampire stories have been churned out for centuries including Polidori’s The Vampyre and Viereck’s The House of the Vampire, not to mention the searingly sexy and somewhat taboo story Clarimonde.  And we all know and love Bram Stoker!

You can get my vampire collection, available as digital bookiewooks for your devices, for the low, low price of $1.99-2.99, including haunting cover photos and intros by this vampophile. And for your convenience I’ve sorted them by vampire-loving topics, in case you aren’t sure. You probably would like them all, of course.

So check the mirror for your reflection, dim the lights, drape yourself in some velveteen and grab the ingredients for a Bloody Mary to celebrate a rainy wintery weekend with vamps, Varla, and vodka!

The Vampyre: A Tale by Varla Ventura and John William Polidori. Best for traditionalists, fans of Frankenstein and Lord Byron, historians.

Amazon

B&N

Dracula’s Guest by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker Best for classic vampires.

Amazon

B&N

B&N

Clarimonde by Varla Ventura and Théophile Gautier Best for necrophiliacs, priests, sexy vampires.

Amazon

The House of the Vampire by Varla Ventura and George Sylvester Viereck Best for psychic vampires.

Amazon

B&N

Here’s a fun adaptation of a Bloody Mary, which is veg friendly, for all you blood thirsty vegans out there.  What I think is key here is the lime instead of lemon, a dash of Sriracha  and the spicy garnish. I tweaked this recipe from Food.com:

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces tomato juice, but V-8 is best because it has extra salt and is yummier
  • 2 limes (most people put lemon juice but I just think lime is better)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (get the Vegetarian kind so even your socially conscious drinking pals can enjoy! You can also make a Vegetarian version yourself, following this Martha Stewart recipe)
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce AND a dash of Sriracha.
  • pepper, fresh ground
  • salt, chunky sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish (optional–and frankly I think the Sriracha gives it all the kick it needs!)
  • Garnish: I like a pickled Serrano peppers, or pepperoncinis, or pickled green beans AND a couple of olives. It’s nice to get some kind of swizzle stick to stab these things on–like a Bat swizzle stick.

Directions:

  1. Rub lemon or lime around rim of glass and then put the rim in salt.
  2. Add ice to glass.
  3. Mix Vodka, tomato juice, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, Sriracha,  salt, pepper, and horseradish (if using) and pour in glass.
  4. Garnish as mentioned above.
  5. DRINK it fast and make another.

Everyday Is Halloween

At last, it is here! Our beautiful holiday, the finest of all holidays, Halloween!! And since this year it’s on a Wednesday I get  bookends of revelry!! Last weekend was full of mayhem, both in celebration of the All Hallow’s Season and another very important event here in San Francisco--the Giants winning the World Series. So party goers and baseball fans, clad in clown wigs and witch hats, spilled out of bars and homes alike, throwing black and orange streamers high into the air. (Black and orange happen to be the team colors–fitting for freaky SF.) The streets were mobbed, City Hall was lit up orange, and fireworks exploded in the sky.

This next weekend is the wonderful Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) parade and celebration in SF’s Mission District, including amazing altars to honor those who have died and celebrate the beauty of life.  And in between, there are bat cookies to bake, fake mustaches to perfect, candles to light, and candy to procure. Here’s a song to get you in the spirit:  Everyday is Halloween  by Industrial music gods Ministry in their earlier gothpop days.

Though I’ve been busy I do want to share with you one of my favorite stories about the origins of Jack O’Lanterns.

Wandering Jack
The origins of the jack-o’-lantern are told in a popular Irish folk tale. A man named Jack chased the devil into a tree, then drew a cross on its trunk so the devil couldn’t get down. Pleased with himself, Jack walked away, back to his rather unseemly life of greed and sloth. When Jack died, he was denied access to heaven for being sinful. And the devil, who had eventually managed to get out of that tree, wouldn’t let Jack into hell, either. Jack was doomed to walk the earth forever. The devil, in a rare sympathetic mood, felt pity for Jack and gave him some burning coal to light his way. Jack was eating a turnip at the time. He took one bite, decided he would rather go hungry, and put the burning coal inside the turnip. And that was the first jack-’o lantern ever made. When Halloween came to the United States, people started making their jack-o’-lanterns out of pumpkins.

And for those of you who may be plunged into darkness more than usual thanks to the Frankenstorm, may the lights of the Jack O’Lantern guide you home!

This Blog Has Been Infected! Zompocalypse 2012

The gorgeous beings at Paranormal Wastelands are hosting a Zompocalypse Halloween Hop! And there are TWO (that’s right TWO) ways to win. I’ll be giving away a copy of  The Book of the Bizarre and a grab bag of oozing zombie fun, including bug bracelets and stretchy zombie toys. Winner will be announced on November 2nd.

1. Follow my blog, then leave your comment below telling me your favorite character from horror, movies or books. If you’re inclined, like me on facebook and follow me on Twitter too. Between October 28th-31st.

Comment (leave your email address) anytime between October 28th and midnight on Halloween. I’ll announce the winner by the 3rd or so of November.

AND/OR

2. You can also  go and check out my guest post on Paranormal Wasteland  For Whom the Bell Tolls: The Bateson Revival Device and Other Freaky Stories of  Premature Burial, Funeral Customs, and The Walking Dead

There is a button to enter to win at the bottom of the post.

All entries must be in the US or Canada.

Good luck, and Happy Halloween Month!!!!!!!

Zompocaplyse! A Grab Bag of Giveaway Fun!

The gorgeous beings at Paranormal Wastelands are hosting a Zompocalypse blog hop! And there are TWO (that’s right TWO) ways to win.

Today October 25th: go and check out my guest post For Whom the Bell Tolls: The Bateson Revival Device and Other Freaky Stories of  Premature Burial, Funeral Customs, and The Walking Dead

At the bottom of the page you can enter to win my book + zombie swag.

On October 28th-31st there will be an additional giveaway/Zompocalypse Blog Hop where you can do the following and enter to win again! I’ll repost this in a few days…

Follow my blog, then leave your comment below telling me your favorite character from horror, movies or books. If you’re inclined, like me on facebook and follow me on Twitter too. Between October 28th-31st.

I’ll be giving away a copy of  The Book of the Bizarre and a grab bag of oozing zombie fun, including bug bracelets and stretchy zombie toys. Winner will be announced on November 2nd.

Comment (leave your email address) anytime between October 28th and midnight on Halloween. I’ll announce the winner by the 3rd or so of November.

All entries must be in the US or Canada.

Good luck, and Happy Halloween Month!!!!!!!