4th of July Surprise! Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast

If you know the world of paranormal radio you likely know the name Jim Harold. He’s one of the great hosts of many para-projects over the years, currenty two of my favorites are Jim Harold’s Campfire Stories (which I often drift asleep listening to in the wee hours of the morning when insomnia takes hold) and Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast.

I was his honored guest recently. From his parlor to mine, thank you Jim for another wonderful experience. You can listen here!

Parting The Veil – Paranormal Podcast 542

Arkansas- Strange America – 4

Greetings friends of the bizarre! We proudly present to you, our Arkansas episode of Tales of the Strange!!

Varla Ventura’s Tales of the Strange: Strange America—Episode 2—Arkansas

We interview with Cryptozoologist of the Year 2017, Seth Breedlove.

Host: Varla Ventura

Co-Host:  Bo Luellen

Guest Website: Smalltownmonsters.com

Alaska – Strange America – 2

Ladies and gentlebeans, wicked weirdos and friends of the bizarre! We proudly present to you, our Alaska episode of Tales of the Strange!!

Varla Ventura’s Tales of the Strange: Strange America—Episode 2—Alaska

We interview Neelie Ravenclaw of the IOPIA (Investigation of Paranormal in Alaska)

Host: Varla Ventura

Co-Host:  Bo Luellen

Visit:  IOPIA website

Alabama – Strange America – 1

Ladies and gentlebeans, wicked weirdos and friends of the bizarre! We proudly present to you, our first episode of Tales of the Strange!!

Varla Ventura’s Tales of the Strange: Strange America—Episode 1—Alabama

We launch our show with a great look at the State of Alabama’s haunted history and a great UFO story.

Host: Varla Ventura

Co-Host:  Bo Luellen

Recommended further reading: Field Guide to Haunted Graveyards by Troy Taylor, Encylopedia of Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger, Beyond Bizarre by Varla Ventura

Leaping Leprechauns: A Bit of Lore

Leprechauns are also known by more than pots of gold in the Fairy Kingdom. The leprechaun can be identified by the sound of his knocking or tap-tap-tapping upon his little shoe bench, as they are cobblers and the sound is that of their tiny hammers making elfin shoes. Fairies prize shoes and fine clothes far more than gold. If you can trap a leprechaun—some say green velvet and fine wine do the trick—the location of all that hidden gold could be revealed. But be aware that simply looking away from the ’chaun for a moment can allow them to vanish back into the green grass or woods where you happened upon them. The leprechaun is believed to be a perpetual bachelor elf who successfully staves off scores of proposals from all manner of feminine fairy, although it could simply be that he prefers the solitary life rather than that he has an actual disdain for the feminine ilk.

Victorian-era Irish writer and folklorist David Rice McAnally Jr. amassed an entire volume of Irish legends, Irish Wonders, upon which William Butler Yeats and other scholars draw quite heavily. While little is known about McAnally, we do know he was a clergyman who heard many stories including accounts of pookas (you’ll find one of my favorites in the chapter on the subject). He wrote one of the best extended descriptions and accompanying stories of the leprechaun to date, which I have excerpted from here.

McAnally describes the leprechaun, or leprechawn, as a creature of neither evil nor good, but of rather mixed quality, the child of an evil father and a degenerate fairy of a mother. (Apparently she spent one too many nights knocking back the whiskey with a pooka). The best way to spot a leprechaun is to know what one is looking for. For physical description, McAnally’s account is unmatched. He writes:

He is of diminutive size, about three feet high, and is dressed in a little red jacket or roundabout, with red breeches buckled at the knee, gray or black stockings, and a hat, cocked in the style of a century ago, over a little, old, withered face. Round his neck is an Elizabethan ruff, and frills of lace are at his wrists. On the wild west coast, where the Atlantic winds bring almost constant rains, he dispenses with ruff and frills and wears a frieze overcoat over his pretty red suit, so that, unless on the lookout for the cocked hat, “ye might pass a Leprechawn on the road and never know it’s himself that’s in it at all.”

If you’re curious about leprechauns and how to catch one, you’ll enjoy a selection of stories I’ve chosen for my new book, Fairies, Pookas and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted RealmYou’ll hear the story of a man who was sure he could outsmart a leprechaun; the tale of a man who was ostracized from his village for not revealing the supposed golden store/indentured leprechaun (though it’s more likely his fortune came from hard work and a decided distaste for The Drink) and an epic tale of fairies and leprechauns on Halloween. All this, and much, much more.

If you’d like a copy, order now at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound 

And watch this site for a giveaway contest coming up soon!

Excerpt and text copyright Varla Ventura/Weiser Books 2016.

photo: Nathan in San Diego via flickr cc

 

The Hopskinville Goblins

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Not all goblins are from a different century. Case in point, The Hopskinville Goblins:

In 1955, eleven members of two families living in a rural farmhouse between Kelly and Hopskinville, Kentucky reported numerous encounters with unidentifiable creatures. In addition to lights and odd noises heard by witnesses nearby, the families claimed that they were terrorized by little creatures similar to goblins or fearsome gremlins. They were described as being three feet tall, thin, with long arms and claw-like hands, and with pointed ears. They were silvery in color and were said to float, trudge as though underwater, and then make sudden appearances outside windows and doorways. Although at first two members of the party had attempted to shoot and then find them, eventually they retreated to the house. The creatures did not enter the house (the family dog was hiding underneath in terror) but they continued to appear throughout the evening. Ultimately the families, including screaming children, made a midnight dash to the police station. Here’s where it gets weird: the families returned to the farmhouse with the sheriff and twenty of his men. Evidence of struggle and damage to the house was obvious, but the officers reported seeing a strange green glow at the edge of the woods beyond the property. They interviewed neighbors who affirmed odd noises and lights, and even the police saw strange lights and heard odd noises while at the property. After the police left, the creatures returned and continued to harass the family until the break of day, when they disappeared, never to return again.

Do you believe in goblins? 

Excerpted from my new book: Fairies, Pookas, Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm, available April 1, 2017.

Preorder at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound 

Excerpt copyright Varla Ventura/Weiser Books 2016.

post image by Francisco Goya via wikimedia commons 

 

Got Ghosts? I Want to Hear from You

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Good evening.

Since my new book is about to get inked, I simply cannot sit still and have already begun working on another! The next one is focused on ghosts, paranormal parlor games, tricks and history, seances and forgotten lore. And I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a ghostly encounter you’d want to share with me? Contact me at varlaventura AT gmail dot com or comment on this post to let me know you are interested in sharing.

Stay wicked.

Exploring the Bizarre Tonight!

Tonight! Thursday, December 29, at 10 pm EST I’ll be joining Tim Beckley and Tim Swartz to discuss otherwordly vampiric beings (and who knows what else) along with the renowned author Rosemary Ellen Guiley. That’s right, folks, not only do you get not one, but TWO Tims, you also get Rosemary Ellen Guiley and me. Come on, get your freak on!

TONIGHT on Exploring the Bizarre, KCOR Digital Radio.

Click HERE to listen.

 

A Christmas Creature Extravaganza with Chris Fleming

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Join me and Chris Fleming on his show Spirit Talk as we share weird Christmas stories and Christmas traditions and creatures from around the world, from the benign to the terrifying. The perfect thing to listen to while you’re wrapping all those presents!

Chris is a fascinating man who has had paranormal encounters and experiences since a child. He is a medium, sensitive, paranormal investigator with a long standing career on television and radio. It was a delightful show to be part of and I hope you enjoy it!

Click HERE to listen!

 

image: By John Bauer – Illustration for The Boy Who Could Not Be Scared by Alfred Smedberg in the anthology Among Pixies and Trolls, Public Domain

A Christmas Ghost of Dickens’ Past

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.

THE 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.

Merry Meet!