Something Wicked This Way Comes: An Excerpt from My New Book!

I’ve a little surprise for you tonight. My newest book, Fairies, Pookas, Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm is due on April 1st. You can pre-order it now at Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, or at any local bookshop. If the title is not enough to convince you, perhaps a little excerpt from the intro will entice you.

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Johann Heinrih Füssli’s (Henry Fuseli) Titania and Bottom, c. 1790. Image courtesy Wikimedia commons.

From the introduction to Fairies, Pookas, Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm

If you are usually a fearful person, who likes to barricade your door and hunker beneath the bedclothes each night, worried about what might rattle the locks or slip through the cracks, you should not undertake to read the book that follows this introduction. Many of the stories in this book harken back to a different era: one without the niceties of today. A time when most homes did not have electricity, where candlelight failed to chase away all the night shadows, horses were the main mode of transport, and the fairies and goblins of olde still roamed the earth in large numbers. Today, we can leave a night light on or we can listen to the soothing sounds of ocean waves on our iPods lull us to sleep. We fear burglars or worse; our nightly news is more terrifying than some gentle old tale. Or is it? If you think fairies are not merely delicate beings who follow you about on gossamer wings, you are in for quite a shock: The Kingdom of the Fairy is one of vengeance, thievery, trickery, and wild creatures who wish nothing more than to steal your child, drown you in the bog or spoil your best Sunday shoes. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. You have been warned.

Before we head deeper into the shadowy forests and craggy caves of the Fairy Kingdom, I should begin by explaining what I am referring to when I say fairy. The Irish or Gaelic word for fairy is sidheóg or sidhe, (shee). The bean-sidh (bahn-shee) is a wild and fearsome member of the fairy kingdom signified by her mourning like wail, but can also refer to any female fairy spirit, and daoine sidhe (deenee-shee) can be any fairy creature. The Dutch, German and French words are all similar: fée. In Russian, the phonetic translation is feya and Italian or Latin, fata all of which give root to the modern word for fairy, faerie and fae. They are known as the Good People, the Little People, the Wee Folk. Around the world there are terms for magical beings who dwell in a land not far, far away, but rather one that co-exists or overlaps with our “regular” world. Fairyland. It can be accessed on purpose by witches and seers, on accident by drunken fools, and without effort by children. Faeries can be called upon to help as they can be implored to bring harm. Their trickery is legendary and perhaps this is the origin of the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Under the domain of fairies one might find all manner of loathsome, fearsome or irresistibly naughty beings. They love to test human nature. Hobgoblins, sprites, bogeys, pixies, changelings, pookas, goblins, bonga, duende and elves, all dwell in the Kingdom of Fairies. They creep about at cross roads, they hide beneath leaves. They are the twig-snap behind you on a walk in a moonlit forest, the rattle at the window that you can only hope is just the wind. They are seen with a drunken eye and with a sober nod, a fit of laughter and a scream of terror. The hobgoblin will clean your house for a saucer of milk but the banshee will destroy every cup and saucer in your cupboard with a vengeance stronger than a hurricane.

Read more when the book comes out!

Preorder at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound 

Excerpt copyright Varla Ventura/Weiser Books 2016.

Oh How We Love to Hear You Scream

Doll hangs from bathtub in a bloody mess

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?

 

Watch Him Saw Me In Half: Interview with Joe Diamond, LIVE, Tonight, June 12

Joe Diamond

What happens when you get a magician, a live radio show and one very excitable freaky chick together, all by the light of the moon? You get Joe Diamond’s interview with me, live, tonight. SUNDAY, JUNE 12TH, 8-10 PM CST. (THAT’S, 6-8 PM PST OR 9-11PM EST. I don’t know what time it is in Australia.) And no, he won’t actually be attempting to saw me in half, nor will he put me in restraints (too, too bad!) but I promise you we will have a delightful romp through the world of the strange. Please join us!

You can listen live via this link:

UnRealRadio

or this one:

WLIP

(Kenosha, Wisconsin)

Come howl beneath a Great Lakes half moon tonight!

 

 

The Paradelphia Story: Tuesday, May 17

among the mermaids

I’ll just dive right in here: I’m so excited to announce I’ve finally booked a date with Rick Prewitt and the crew at Paradelphia. We’ll be talking about mermaids and other wild and dangerous creatures that dwell upon slimy rocks and forested caverns. Join us!

TUESDAY, MAY 17

8:30 PM EST

Click here to listen live on Wildfire Radio.

 

It’s Totally Okay to Space Out Saturday Night

stormy path

Spaced Out Radio is the perfect excuse to get freaky with me and the esteemed host, James Tyson THIS SATURDAY, MAY 14. 10PM-MIDNIGHT PST.

Join us as we amble along a dark and shadowy path where only the truly weird dare to tread.

So mix yourself up a little something something and get cozy.

Click here to listen in.

Image: Shannon Landers Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

Spend the Night with Me (and George Noory)

Nobed by creepy pasta

DAHLINK. I know you thought tonight is the night you’re finally going to get to bed at a reasonable hour but you were sadly mistaken. You can’t miss tonight’s Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. Why? BECAUSE I’LL BE THE GUEST.

Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to eat your gruel and pour yourself a draught of ale before I’m on. I’m the second segment so that’s MIDNIGHT to 2PM PST.

TUNE IN HERE if you are a Coast Insider (you can also listen after-the-fact as a Coast Insider).

Click HERE to find your local station and tune-in live (and call in!)

We promise to keep you very, very awake.

 

Image: CreepyPasta 

Sabine Baring Gould, Father of Werewolf Lit?

Believes in werewolves.

Believes in werewolves.

Sabine Baring-Gould was an eclectic man. Born in England in 1834, he is best known for the hymns he composed, among them the infamous “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” He was married for nearly 50 years and fathered 15 children. He was a collector of stories and folk songs as well as an accomplished novelist, and was known to write while standing. He spent years collecting folklore of werewolves which eventually resulted in , The Book of Werewolves, which was published in 1865 and is still one of the largest studies of werewolf lore to this day. He died in 1924 and was buried next to his wife.

 

 

What Happens When You Crawl Out From Under a Rock: Beyond Reality Radio

I’m baaaack. I’ve been hiding in the darkest and most wonderfully terrifying of places but more on that later. Let’s celebrate together. Pour yourself a large glass of something that burns going down and tune in to Beyond Reality Radio this Monday, April 11, at 9 p.m.-midnight EST.

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Co-hosted by hosted by Jason Hawes (TAPS/Ghost Hunters, awesome dad, badass, author) and JV Johnson (promoter and organizer of SCARE-A-CON and publisher/editor of TAPS ParaMagazine & The Horrophile, all around insanely cool guy) that should be enough for you to tune in. But if it isn’t then think of me, dear ones. How wretchedly distraught I will be if you can’t join.

Click here to listen in.

 

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 

 

The “CALL OF CTHULHU” Cocktail

Can I get a hell yeah?

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Call of Cthulhu: A Cocktail

By Peggy Nadramia and Joe Netherworld

Since the beginning of our association in the Cocktail Lab, we have discussed our mutual desire to create a libation evoking the essence of the slumbering horror that is Cthulhu, the cosmic Old One first brought to the consciousness of man by New England author, Howard Phillips Lovecraft. But it couldn’t happen until the stars were right, and we had received the Elder Sign. The time has come.

The Cocktail Vultures have been pleasing your palate for awhile now, but all is not fun and games here at the Lab. Last night we were possessed with an irresistible frenzy to mix, to mix well, and to taste a drink both powerful and beguiling. We have found it.

The short story “Call of Cthulhu” first appeared in 1928, in an issue of Weird Tales, the pulp magazine familiar to every…

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