What Big Eyes You Have: Werewolves

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It seems that unlike the mindless zombie or the ancient mummy, or event the licentious vampire, we don’t fear the werewolf so much as feel sorry for the werewolf. It is a wild beast caught in a trap. We worry for him, we wish it could be another way. We don’t want to become werewolves the way we want super powers or immortality. We want the werewolf to be free of the curse that binds him. Free to be either beast or man, not tragically stuck being both.

Here are a few interesting facts about werewolves you may not know:

  • Werewolves are not always mean: In medieval romances, such as Guillaume de Palerme, the werewolf is not the terrifying creature of more modern tales, but rather benign, appearing more like a victim and less like the enemy. (True also of Harold in Eugene Field’s story).
  • Werewolves are not always male: The 1588 story from the mountains of Auvergne tells the tale of a she-wolf whose paw was cut off by a hunter. When he opened the bag where he had placed his prized paw he discovered instead a woman’s hand. It didn’t take long to figure out who was missing the hand (a nobleman’s wife) and she was burnt at the stake. That’s one way to end a marriage…
  • Werewolves are not always wolves: Were-creatures can be in the form of many beasts. In variations of lore from around the world we find examples of were-cats, were-sharks, were-bears, and even a were-dolphin.
  • Werewolves are not always fictional: There is a rare but very real disease now called clinical lycanthropy. Those diagnosed believe themselves to able to transform into a non-human animal, specifically a wolf.

For those of you who aren’t such fans of the werewolf you will want to avoid the darkest of woods at night, especially any woods that looks much like the one described above—full of ravens, vampires, and serpents—and you should never, ever go out on a full moon. You may fare well, as the heroine of our story does, but to hedge your bets you might want to keep a little satchel with you full of silver bullets (you’ll need a gun to fire them) on hand, or a silver dagger if you can’t get a gun. If you are a dead-mark a bow and arrow might do, but it is very risky. Oh, and make sure to stock up on wolfsbane. It will ward off wolves but it can also be an antidote to wolf bite, if taken within a few hours of contact.

Check out my book, Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires & Other Creatures of the Night. 

banshees, werewolves, vampires

 

Photo: James Finister via flickr

Book cover by James Warner, copyright Weiser Books 

 

Z is for Zombie: What You Need to Know Before World War Z

zombieZombie, zombie, zombie.

Yes, Yes everyone loves to say how FAKE zombies are and how very unrealistic it really is that a zombie apocolypse (zompocalypse?) could actually take place. But let me tell you: zombies ARE real. It may not be in the exact way you think. Even if you don’t beleive me, I’m going to give you one tip that just might save your life.

To release a zombie from its bondage, give it salted water or salted food, and it will drag itself back to its grave.

Okay that’s it. That’s my sage advice. Now enjoy some freaky facts, zombie-style. And send me your pictures of your zombie drag when you head out to see World War Z!!

  • In Night of the Living Dead (1968), the actors playing zombies were paid only one dollar for their work, but each also received a t-shirt that boasted, “I was a zombie in Night of the Living Dead.”
  • One of the investors for Night of the Living Dead was a butcher who paid the director in blood and intestines from his shop.
  • 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 ants’ 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’ heads fall off. Then the maggot turns into a fly and is ready to start the cycle over again.
  • The origin of the tombstone lies in the fear of the dead, it seems. Lest the restless spirit, zombie, or other ghastly incarnation of the formerly living try to escape from its well-nailed coffin and six feet of earthly barrier, a large heavy stone was added to the grave to ensure it was sealed. Later, the tombstone was used more formally as a place on which to engrave epitaphs and depict angels, doves, and similar symbols of heavenly ascension.
  • Do you like to walk with the dead? Prefer the moans of animated corpses to conversations with mortals? Well, you should probably join or organize a Zombie Walk. A Zombie Walk or Zombie March is an organized public gathering of two or more people who dress as zombies and wander around, limping their way in an organized route to a public center or cemetery. What a stress reliever!
  • Narcolepsy, an uncommon sleep disorder, is a state of perpetual exhaustion. Contrary to common belief, a narcoleptic is not going to fall asleep randomly or in mid sentence while speaking. However, if someone else dominates the conversation and bores them for long enough, narcoleptics may very well fall asleep. Side effects of narcolepsy include cataplexy (complete loss of muscle tone), hallucinations, and caffeine resistance.
  • In an act that makes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre look mild, a homeless man in Florida was attacked by another man on a freeway onramp. The crazed man began tearing away at the victim’s face, biting with his mouth, and then eating the chunks of flesh he tore off. Though the police and hospital are not confirming, the attacker is believed to be under the influence of bath salts–and not the kind that soak your cares away. Bath Salts are an amphetamine, and this is not the first time the drug has led to zombie-like behavior.Users snort, smoke, or inject the amphetamine, which can lead to extreme reactions including severe hallucinations. Reports of bizarre and extreme crimes while under the influence continue to flood the news. A man slayed a goat while wearing women’s underwear, a couple repeatedly called 911 to report a non-existent intruder, and more than one person has exhibited the urge to eat another persons flesh!

I don’t think this is quite what Vincent Price was expecting as The Last Man on Earth. But then, who ever said the apocalypse would be predictable? (Oh wait…)

 

Zombies of Miami (Bath Salts Strike Again)

On a Miami, Florida off-ramp, a completely naked man attacked a homeless man with a ferociousness that makes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre look mild. The attacker began tearing away at the victim’s face, biting with his mouth, and then eating the chunks of flesh he tore off. Though the police and hospital are not confirming, the attacker is believed to be under the influence of bath salts–and not the kind that soak your cares away. Bath Salts are an amphetamine, and this is not the first time the drug has lead to zombie-like behavior.

Users snort, smoke, or inject the amphetamine, which can lead to extreme reactions including severe hallucinations. Reports of bizarre and extreme crimes while under the influence continue to flood the news. A man slayed a goat while wearing women’s underwear, a couple repeatedly called 911 to report a non-existent intruder, and more than one person has exhibited the urge to eat another persons flesh!

I don’t think this is quite what Vincent Price was expecting as The Last Man on Earth. But then, who ever said the apocalypse would be predictable? (Oh wait…)

Me, victim of a zombie encounter or just up all night?

Me, victim of a zombie encounter or just up all night?

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!!!!!!!

Horror Movie Madness Giveaway! WINNER

We have a winner! Ron Oliver, you’ve won the Horror Movie Madness giveaway. You’ll be receiving your soon–it’s going out it today’s mail! Here’s a sneak peak of what is creeping around in the big package coming your way, which includes copies of both of my books and some freaky fun things!

One of Ron’s favorite horror movies is The Exorcist. In a competitive genre, The Exorcist is definitely a stand out. Thanks to all who entered, and don’t worry if you didn’t win!! See the other posts about the Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop AND watch for the Zombocalypse Giveaway coming later this week!

I’m just in a giving mood this Halloween season. I want to give YOU, dear reader, signed copies of each of my freaky trivia  books, The Book of the Bizarre and Beyond Bizarre, along with a grab bag of zombirific  Halloween splendor, including but not limited to stretchy zombies, bug bracelets, stickers, and grow-your-own maggoty worm things.
How, pray tell, can you win such a wonderful prize? It’s easy! Do one or more of the following for a point to enter. No more than 6 points allowed per person. Each point counts as an entry (so if you do everything you have 6 x the chances to win.)

1. Follow my blog. (If you already do, just say so in your comment and you’ll get the point.) (1 point)

2. Add me to your interests on facebook. You just click on my page, like it if you haven’t already, and then to the right of the like button you’ll see an a tab that you can click on. A drop-down menu appears, and you just say “add page to interests.” (2 points)

3. Follow me on twitter. (1 point)

3. Comment with the answer to this question (2 points!):

What is your favorite horror movie???

Answer by October 21st, 2012. The winner will be announced on October 22nd.

Open to US residents only (if you live elsewhere you can enter if you want the prize to go to someone in the U.S. )

Fangs, Fur, and Fey Giveaway WINNER!!!

 

A coffin bag full of books and zombie bags full of fun!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and ghouls…

The winner of the Fangs, Fur, and Fey Giveaway is…..

Zara Alexis.

Zara, you can expect a package of creepy fun coming your way soon. Included are copies of my book, The Book of the Bizarre, and Reginald Bakeley’s Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop. Also a zombie-grab bag of fun!!!

See the pictures of your spoils below…

And if you didn’t win take heart! There are three more giveaways happening this month, so watch here for more details. I’ll be giving away more spooky swag and copies of both of my books.
Congrats Zara!!

(Check out Zara’s cool blog here: http://zaraalexis.wordpress.com/)

Happy Halloween!

To the victor go the spoils!

Zombie Bees

Zombies have been spotted for the first time in Washington state!

Zombie bees, that is. A beekeeper in a Seattle suburb is the first in the state to report his bees infected with the parasite that causes bees to fly at night and them to fly at night and em to fly at night and fly erratically about until they die.

Infected bees have been previously spotted in California and all beekeepers have been on alert to watch their hives for symptoms. It is not confirmed what relationship if any the parasite has to the Sudden Hive Death syndrome–all the bees in a hive dying off at once.

Read more about zombie bees here: Zombie Bee Article
This reminded me of a story I wrote about in Beyond Bizarre about zombie 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 ants’ 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’ heads fall off. Then the maggot turns into a fly and is ready to start
the cycle over again.

Zombie Bride Revisited

If you are a fan of zombies or a fan of weddings or even a fan of art you should check out this woman’s amazing job on some wedding invites and announcement for a couple recently wed.

http://cargocollective.com/emilybawn#1627368/Invitations

They are incredible!!

Weird Wedding

Sparked by the recent internet sensation zombie-invasion engagement photos, you can read my Bride of the Bizarre inspired Huffington Post entry here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/varla-ventura/bride-of-the-bizarre-zomb_b_935399.html

And in honor of the subject of the day, I’ll include a few tidbits excerpted from the Bride of the Bizarre chapter of Beyond Bizarre:

In March of 2010, a couple spent their first night as newlyweds in a rather unattractive honeymoon suite–a Massachusetts jail. The bride was arrested after trying to run over the groom’s ex in a parking lot. Her groom was by her side–and a passenger in the car. Both were arrested, and the bride was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon. The groom was charged with disorderly conduct, and both were booked into separate cells in the local jail. They were released the next day.

  • Also in March of 2010, a 28-year-old South Korean man married a pillow. The body pillow, which has an anime character printed on one side, was dressed in a white wedding dress. Ever the gentleman, the groom reportedly takes the pillow out to a regular dinner (ordering “her” a meal) and even brought the pillow to an amusement park.
  • The first spouse to fall asleep on the wedding night will be the first to die.
  • Meeting a nun or monk on the wedding day is an omen of barrenness.
  • It is against the law in North Carolina to register at a hotel as a married couple if you aren’t actually married.
  • Kate Hodgson and her groom, Darren McWalters, strapped themselves to the wings of identical biplanes, which flew side by side about 1,000 feet above ground, and recited their wedding vows. The reverend who married them used airborne communications to perform the ceremony.
  • Every time big screen star Joan Crawford remarried she changed all the toilet seats in her house.