Archive for the Horror Category

How to Hack Your Brain

Posted in General, Non-Fiction with tags , , , , on November 4, 2009 by smilingjacks

Ever wanted to trick your brain? Want to hallucinate without the use of drugs, dull pain, cause yourself pain without actually hurting yourself, or fool your senses in other fun ways? Well, here are some activities which are meant to induce or simulate certain sensations in a safe, relatively controlled manner:

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I haven’t tried any of these methods, so I can’t say exactly how well they work. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and test them out, and feel free to share your experience with the rest of us here. However, if you want to try any of the hallucination-inducing exercises, I would advise against doing so in a state of fear or anxiety, or your brain might have the final word on your trickery.

Hush

Posted in Entertainment, Fiction, General, Horror with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2009 by smilingjacks

Can’t even shout, can’t even cry.

The Gentlemen are coming by.

Looking in windows, knocking on doors.

They need to take seven and they might take yours.

Can’t call to Mom, can’t say a word.

You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.

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“The Gentlemen” are from “Hush” and are properties of Mutant Enemy and Twentieth Century Fox.

The Trick-or-Treaters

Posted in Fiction, Horror with tags , , , , on October 31, 2009 by smilingjacks

Halloween is one of the most exciting nights of the year. People dress up, go to parties, children go trick-or-treating–it’s one of the few times where the night is truly enjoyed by everyone. It’s ironic that a night devoted to spirits, monsters and terror is the one night where we feel safe in the darkness.

Just think about it: we walk through unfamiliar neighborhoods, visits the homes of strangers, and open our doors for people dressed as monsters and serial killers. Would we do that on any other night? Of course not–it would be far too dangerous. Halloween is just a special exception, isn’t it?

No. The dangers we fear by instinct in the dark are still very much present on this most revered night.

It was last year on Halloween. I was giving out candy to trick-or-treaters, as all good neighbors do. They were showing up pretty regularly throughout the early evening. There were young children accompanied by parents, teenagers enjoying their night of independence, and even a few nostalgic adults. You never know who’s going to show up at your door on Halloween.

Eventually, it got late and things started to die down. I hadn’t received a trick-or-treater in about an hour and I was just about turn my porch light off when there was a knock at the door.

It seemed a little late for children to still be out, but I grabbed my bowl of candy anyway. I opened the door, ready to greet the eager trick-or-treaters, when I saw two children wearing the strangest costumes I had seen all night.

Their skin was pale–ghostly white, in fact. Their eyes were completely black. Not just their pupils or irises; their entire eyes were pitch black. Their teeth were jagged like sharks’ teeth. They looked more monstrous than any trick-or-treaters I had seen before, but their clothes were plain. They wore ordinary t-shirts and shorts–normal attire.

Confused, I asked them, “What are you supposed to be? Some kind of monsters?”

“No,” the trick-or-treaters responded with discomforting smiles. “We’re dressed up as humans.”

Startled, I slammed the door and locked it. The trick-or-treaters stood outside the door for a few terrible minutes, banging on the door and calling for me to let them in. Their knocking caused the whole house to tremble. I could only watch the door as it shook in its frame. I was sure that it would fall off its hinges at any moment and they would be in, and yet I couldn’t find it in myself to do anything. I was paralyzed where I stood and transfixed on the door and the sounds of the trick-or-treaters calling to me.

Suddenly, it stopped. There was no pounding on the door, no voices outside, and when I looked out the window, I saw nothing.

I’m not sure what stopped them from getting in. Maybe they never wanted to. Maybe by closing the door, I chose “trick,” but I don’t really care. I just know that I never want to see those trick-or-treaters again.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not opening my door for strangers anymore–not even on Halloween.

BEK

Candle Cove

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Urban Legends with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by smilingjacks

(Note: I am not the author of this story. It was written by the wonderful people at Ichor Falls, another horror site and a great one at that. In honor of Halloween, I’m including it here today because it’s one of my favorite Internet-based horror stories. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do)

NetNostalgia Forum – Television (local)

Skyshale033
Subject: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

Does anyone remember this kid’s show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7. I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don’t remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

it seems really familiar to me…..i grew up outside of ashland and was 9 yrs old in 72. candle cove…was it about pirates? i remember a pirate marionete at the mouth of a cave talking to a little girl

Skyshale033
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
YES! Okay I’m not crazy! I remember Pirate Percy. I was always kind of scared of him. He looked like he was built from parts of other dolls, real low-budget. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn’t belong on the body. I don’t remember what station this was! I don’t think it was WTSF though.

Jaren_2005
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Sorry to ressurect this old thread but I know exactly what show you mean, Skyshale. I think Candle Cove ran for only a couple months in ‘71, not ‘72. I was 12 and I watched it a few times with my brother. It was channel 58, whatever station that was. My mom would let me switch to it after the news. Let me see what I remember.

It took place in Candle cove, and it was about a little girl who imagined herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate ship was called the Laughingstock, and Pirate Percy wasn’t a very good pirate because he got scared too easily. And there was calliope music constantly playing. Don’t remember the girl’s name. Janice or Jade or something. Think it was Janice.

Skyshale033
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Thank you Jaren!!! Memories flooded back when you mentioned the Laughingstock and channel 58. I remember the bow of the ship was a wooden smiling face, with the lower jaw submerged. It looked like it was swallowing the sea and it had that awful Ed Wynn voice and laugh. I especially remember how jarring it was when they switched from the wooden/plastic model, to the foam puppet version of the head that talked.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

ha ha i remember now too. ;) do you remember this part skyshale: “you have…to go…INSIDE.”

Skyshale033
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Ugh mike, I got a chill reading that. Yes I remember. That’s what the ship always told Percy when there was a spooky place he had to go in, like a cave or a dark room where the treasure was. And the camera would push in on Laughingstock’s face with each pause. YOU HAVE… TO GO… INSIDE. With his two eyes askew and that flopping foam jaw and the fishing line that opened and closed it. Ugh. It just looked so cheap and awful.

You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.

kevin_hart
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i honestly, honestly thought the villain was pirate percy. i was about 5 when this show was on. nightmare fuel.

Jaren_2005
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
That wasn’t the villain, the puppet with the mustache. That was the villain’s sidekick, Horace Horrible. He had a monocle too, but it was on top of the mustache. I used to think that meant he had only one eye.

But yeah, the villain was another marionette. The Skin-Taker. I can’t believe what they let us watch back then.

kevin_hart
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
jesus h. christ, the skin taker. what kind of a kids show were we watching? i seriously could not look at the screen when the skin taker showed up. he just descended out of nowhere on his strings, just a dirty skeleton wearing that brown top hat and cape. and his glass eyes that were too big for his skull. christ almighty.

Skyshale033
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Wasn’t his top hat and cloak all sewn up crazily? Was that supposed to be children’s skin??

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

yeah i think so. rememer his mouth didn’t open and close, his jaw just slid back and foth. i remember the little girl said “why does your mouth move like that” and the skin-taker didn’t look at the girl but at the camera and said “TO GRIND YOUR SKIN”

Skyshale033
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
I’m so relieved that other people remember this terrible show!

I used to have this awful memory, a bad dream I had where the opening jingle ended, the show faded in from black, and all the characters were there, but the camera was just cutting to each of their faces, and they were just screaming, and the puppets and marionettes were flailing spastically, and just all screaming, screaming. The girl was just moaning and crying like she had been through hours of this. I woke up many times from that nightmare. I used to wet the bed when I had it.

kevin_hart
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i don’t think that was a dream. i remember that. i remember that was an episode.

Skyshale033
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
No no no, not possible. There was no plot or anything, I mean literally just standing in place crying and screaming for the whole show.

kevin_hart
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
maybe i’m manufacturing the memory because you said that, but i swear to god i remember seeing what you described. they just screamed.

Jaren_2005
Subject:
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Oh God. Yes. The little girl, Janice, I remember seeing her shake. And the Skin-Taker screaming through his gnashing teeth, his jaw careening so wildly I thought it would come off its wire hinges. I turned it off and it was the last time I watched. I ran to tell my brother and we didn’t have the courage to turn it back on.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

i visited my mom today at the nursing home. i asked her about when i was littel in the early 70s, when i was 8 or 9 and if she remebered a kid’s show, candle cove. she said she was suprised i could remember that and i asked why, and she said “because i used to think it was so strange that you said ‘i’m gona go watch candle cove now mom’ and then you would tune the tv to static and juts watch dead air for 30 minutes. you had a big imagination with your little pirate show.”

Moreschi the Castrato

Posted in General, Non-Fiction with tags , , , on October 30, 2009 by smilingjacks

In the 19th century and earlier, boys with beautiful singing voices sometimes had their voices preserved through extreme methods. The castrati were boy soprano singers who were forcibly castrated with the purpose of halting the natural voice changes that come as a boy matures into a man. These poor boys never had the chance to develop as ordinary people do. As a result of their lack of testosterone from an early age–in addition to their trademark, prepubescent voices–their joints retained childlike softness and their limbs often grew to unnatural lengths. Their appearance was sometimes described as “elf-like.”

R. UNIDO-MÚSICA

Alessandro Moreschi (aged 55 at the time this picture was taken) was the last of the castrati.

But make no mistake. There was nothing magical about the castrati. They were the victims of some of the worst exploitation of child performers in history, and for a long time the cruelty they suffered was considered normal. Eventually, however, the Italian government and the Roman Catholic Church issued official bans on castrating for musical purposes.

But that wasn’t the end of the castrati’s pain. Castrati were banned from marrying, due to their inability to produce children (which was viewed as a social requirement for marriage in those times), and their abnormal and often startling appearances made it difficult for them to carry out normal lives and made them the subject of grievous public ridicule.

The last surviving castrato was Alessandro Moreschi. Once called “The Angel of Rome,” he is the only castrato ever to have produced solo recordings. What you’re about to hear is very eerie, I will warn you. What sounds like a young boy is, in fact, a middle aged man who lived a life partly trapped in boyhood. The weakness in his voice is partly the result of his age and waning health at the time of the recording and partly the result of a displaced vocal technique which was meant to cater specifically to the acoustics of the Sistine Chapel.

There’s a definite passion in Moreschi’s singing. It’s almost like a constant sobbing.

As you listen to the recording, keep in mind that the singer was a person who had no place in the world outside of music. Throughout his life, Moreschi was used as a tool–a living instrument. You can understand then, why he might sob; why his voice might waver as he sings.

This is a one-hundred year old recording of Alessandro Moreschi, the last living castrato:

The Legend of the Jack-o-Lantern

Posted in General, Non-Fiction, Urban Legends with tags , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by smilingjacks

Jack-o-Lanterns are an absolute staple of Halloween customs in the United States, the United Kingdom, and many places in the world. Each year, children and adults alike are delighted to paint and carve the faces of pumpkins in unique designs. There are even contests centered around the practice and a number of people who actually make a profit from carving Jack-o-Lanterns.

We’re all familiar with pumpkin carving, but have you ever wondered where the practice came from? Like many Halloween customs, the Jack-o-Lantern originated in Ireland.

There’s an old Irish legend about a delinquent trickster by the name of (you guessed it) Jack. He was a debouched man who liked to engage in sins of the flesh, loved to drink, and made all sorts of mischief. His neighbors considered him an impossible nuisance, but no one could capture him because his lucky turnip always kept fortune on his side. It’s said that he even managed to play a mean trick on the Devil himself.

jack

Jack met the Devil one dark Halloween night on the Irish countryside. The Devil had heard that Jack’s slyness rivaled his own, and he was determined to show the mischievous mortal who the one true hell raiser was.

After they made their introductions, they both went about getting chummy with one another. They bantered and drank and laughed together, both sizing each other up until an opportunity could present itself.

It was Jack who made the first move. Seeing some fruit in a nearby tree, he asked the Devil to climb the tree and fetch some fruit for the two of them. Despite his reluctance to respond to the request of a mortal, the Devil was happy to oblige. After all, there were a lot of cruel things that could be done with fruit. He could poison the fruit, or convince Jack that the fruit could give him magical powers and then challenge him to a flying contest off the roof of a barn, or a whole score of other things. The possibilities were vast.

The Devil made his way up the tree, smirking at all of the treacherous thoughts he was having. He didn’t notice soon enough that he was in fact the victim of Jack’s treachery. While the Devil was up in the tree, Jack took a cross out of his pocket and placed it on the tree’s trunk. When the Devil tried to climb down with the fruit, the cross repelled him. He was trapped in the tree and at Jack’s mercy.

“You wretched mortal,” the Devil said. “Just as soon as I get down, I’m going to make sure you never forget this!”

“I’ll let you down,” replied Jack. “As long as you swear never to take my soul into Hell.”

Jack knew he wasn’t righteous enough to make it into heaven, and he had no plans to change his ways. By forcing the Devil to submit, he figured he could come away with the certainty that he would never be made to suffer for his deeds. The Devil was beyond annoyed, as he would have loved to see Jack face damnation, but he was quite literally stuck, so he agreed.

The Devil didn’t get his revenge that evening. Midnight came too soon, and he had to yield with the coming of All Saint’s Day. Jack had won.

Then, years later, Jack fell ill and died. When he faced Judgment, to no one’s surprise, he was rejected from entering Heaven. Unfortunately, this meant he was forced to go to Hell.

The Devil laughed gleefully at the sight of the dejected Jack.

“I have no place to go but here,” Jack admitted upon seeing the Devil.

“That’s right,” said the Devil. “You have nowhere to go. After all, you won fair and square, and a promise is a promise. I will never take you into Hell”

Jack’s dead heart sank as even Hell wouldn’t have him. He was an orphaned soul with no home.

“Then where will I go?” asked Jack.

“Nowhere,” the Devil replied. “You were hated in life, you’re too wicked for Heaven, and you have no home here. No one wants you, Jack. You’re all alone.”

In a moment of genuine sorrow, the pitiful Jack muttered, “But how will I find my way?”

Just to mock the poor mortal, the Devil grabbed a single ember of hellfire and threw it at Jack. Then, he returned to his pit, leaving Jack all alone.

Jack sat by the light of the ember, wondering where he would go and how he would find his way in the darkness. Then, seeing the glow of the ember, he got an idea for how to light the way on his travels: with his lucky turnip. He took the turnip out of his pocket, hollowed it out, and placed the ember inside to make a lantern that he could use as he wandered about in search of a home.

Out of sympathy for the wandering ghost of Jack, his old neighbors put out lights to guide him on his endless travels. As the story spread, so did the tradition of placing out lanterns for Jack.

Even today, the people of the world carve Jack-o-Lanterns and light them on Halloween. Most of us think of it as just a fun pastime–a way of being festive, but these fun little decorations were originally meant to light the way for Jack and other wandering spirits.

Don’t let the lore deter you, however. In fact, I encourage you to all to set a Jack-o-Lantern out on Halloween. The drifting spirits will appreciate it, I’m sure. Who knows? The home they decide to settle down in might even be yours.

Happy Halloween.

jackolantern

Ghost Video Captured in Cemetery

Posted in General, Internet Legends, Non-Fiction with tags , , , , on October 28, 2009 by smilingjacks

This is another old favorite that’s been on the Internet for years. Longtime paranormal fans will probably recognize it. If you haven’t seen it before, then be sure and dim the lights, turn up the volume (it’s not a screamer, don’t worry) and be creeped out.

Ah, the paranormal. A strange and sometimes terrifying subject.