A Paranormal Magician, Banshees, and Me: UnReal Radio this Sunday, August 10th

werewolfYou can feel it, can’t you? It’s subtle but it is there. I know you may be battling the heat of summer and not believe me, but trust me: Halloween is creeping in. Banshees lurk and vampires dance through the dead of night. Get in the mood for all things bizarre with Joe Diamond, host of UnRealRadio and me this SUNDAY, AUGUST 10th, 6-7:30 PM PST.

You can listen live via this link:


or this one:


(Kenosha, Wisconsin)

Join us as we discuss the Beast of Bray Roard, Banshees, and all manner of creatures of the night !


Freaky Friday: Lock Up Your Daughters

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. sausages1

  • 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.

Freaky Friday: What Big Feet You Have!

Bigfoot Bizarre

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.



Freaky Friday: Screaming Caterpillars and Siamese Twins

Biologically Bizarre

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. chang_eng_conjoined_twins_2

  •  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.

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!

Interview with Dark Harvest Radio

Hello Pumpkins and Pumpkin Eaters!

It’s been ages since you’ve heard the sweet (or should I say scratchy? It’s been Dark and Stormy night…) sound of my voice. Well, the agonizing wait is over. Listen to me live Monday the 24th, at 7pm EST where I’ll be chatting with host Dan Marro on his show The Dark Harvest Radio Show. 

We’ll be talking about all that is creepy, freaky, fun, and paranormal. Listen live!!!

 Dan Marro as the Dark Harvest Radio Program broadcasts live Monday nights from 7pm-9pm(EST) on Global Radio Alliance The Dark Harvest Radio Program is designed to be a forum for those who have a curiosity for the unknown. From conspiracies and cover-ups to ghosts and other dimensions, The Dark Harvest Radio Program will address all topics that fascinate us about this mysterious universe of ours. You can even talk LIVE during the show by joining us at the GRA Live Interactive Chat

Tune in!

Who’s That Knocking on my Coffin Lid? Vampires, Magical Creatures Part Three

Lovers of True Blood, Dracula devotees, and Twilight tweens: I offer you the ancient vamps of my Magical Creatures series!

These are the stories that Stephenie Meyer and Anne Rice read when they were but wee babes, suckling on their mothers (or the  neck of their mother). These are the groundwork stories about vampirism, both horrific, romantic, and psychic.

Currently available exclusively as e-books, these are found volumes of forgotten lore (many a quaint and curious tale!) and cover the realm of such creepy and cool beings as goblins, werewolves, vampires, banshees, mermaids, and phookas, to name but a few.

(If the response is positive on these little e-beasts, I’ll be expanding them into book form!!)

Horror devotees will recall the story of the infamous gathering at a lake house outside of Geneva, Switzerland in the summer of 1816 where a small party celebrated the settling darkness by reading ghost stories aloud to one another. Present were the host, Lord Byron, and his guests: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Shelley) and her sister, and Lord Byron’s physician—John William Polidori. At the prompting of Byron, pens were set to paper to write ghost stories of their own. Here the groundwork was laid for what would become Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a Modern Prometheus. Shelley himself wrote Fragments of a Ghost Story, and Byron wrote something called Fragment of a Novel. This “fragment” became the basis for Polidori’s The Vampyre, A Tale—the first vampire novel published in English, some seventy years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Also in the vampire collection, are two lesser known tales by Bram Stoker: Burial of the Rats and Dracula’s Guest. Both were part of a collection of stories that Stoker had been working on but never published. After his death, his widow decided they were fit for print and submitted them to his publisher in 1914. And Théophile Gautier’s Clarimonde is by far one of the most controversial vampire stories from the early 19th Century. A would-be priest begins to doubt his path and his God when he meets (by chance?) fair Clarimonde. I won’t give it all away but this is some necromantic romance at its best! And finally, George Sylvester Viereck’s 1907 short story The House of the Vampire was the first novel to introduce psychic vampires.

You can purchase these little digital gems following the links below:

The Vampyre: A Tale by Varla Ventura and John William Polidori (Amazon) (B&N)

The Burial of the Rats by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker (Amazon) (B&N)

Dracula’s Guest by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker (Amazon) (B&N)

Clarimonde by Varla Ventura and Théophile Gautier (Amazon)

The House of the Vampire by Varla Ventura and George Sylvester Viereck (Amazon) (B&N)

Review – The Book of the Bizarre – Freaky Facts and Strange Stories

Here is a fun review of The Book of the Bizarre!

Bonnie Cehovet

The Book of the Bizarre
Freaky Facts & Strange Stories

Author: Varla Ventura
Weiser Books
ISBN #978-1-97863-437-8

The inside cover states that this book was designed for the depraved, outlandish enough for the eccentric, and freaky enough for even the hardest trivia nut. I might amend that to add writers who are looking for tid bits to add some zest to their work, someone setting up a trivia party (you don’t have to be a trivia nut to set up a trivia party), or someone who is looking for a book they can read for five or ten minutes, put down, and come back to at a later date.

By nature, this book is about the bizarre (otherwise why advertise and promote it as such). It is also well written, interesting (all 303 pages), and broken down into thirteen categories so that finding what you are looking for is…

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Coffin Box

Hello fabulous friends of the freakery that abounds!!

I wanted to share with you what the lucky winner of the Bizarre Giveaway contest is receiving. (If this is you, don’t look!) I was meant to send this out last week BUT I KNEW I had to find this hard-to-find box for the goodies. I finally managed to scare it up and I think it is well worth the wait.

The spoils include a mini pine cofffin packed with skeletal goodness.


Okay fellow connoisseurs of the curious and fans of the freaktacular, the winner for the Bizarre Giveaway has been chosen (at random using a very complicated system of bibliomancy that my niece, Vivienne, imposed upon me).

So drum roll please…

And the winner of my BIZARRE GIVEAWAY is…

Aphrodisiastes Le Fay!!! Please e-mail varlaventura@gmail.com with your mailing address and indicating how you would like me to sign your copies of THE BOOK OF THE BIZARRE and BEYOND BIZARRE so I can send you your prize!

Aphrodisiastes Le Fay was actually one of the last few entrants in the contest, I’m so glad she decided to sneak in there before the deadline and am very excited to be sending along her BIZARRE giveaway prize. Thanks everyone for participating, all your comments about Magical Creatures were wonderful, creative, and might inspire another book in the near future… Stay tuned for a photo of the winner’s prize before I mail it and of course: MORE GIVEAWAYS TO COME!

Varla Ventura