Halloween at Applebee’s?

Boy, it has been a busy few weeks. It’s a hell of the thing running a sales team, starting a  company, raising a zoo, traveling around the US and running a two month-long Halloween show. There are never enough minutes in the day but we must persevere anyway. I believe it was Matt from then X-Entertainment who said it best, “…Time wants to chop off my dick and feed it to Minutes the dog.”. I get that.

Now it’s on with the show.

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Last week I was cruising around the interwebs and noticed the restaurant chain Applebee’s was getting into the Halloween spirit by featuring a few spooky cocktails and even a $1.00 “Zombie” drink which turns out to be not worth the savings the next day. I coaxed a few friends to accompany me so I wouldn’t be the only one drinking four gigantic fishbowls full of Blue Curacao and telling the bartender my theories of Atlantis. Only in middle-age do I know thyself.

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Before I get into the Halloween cocktails I do need to address how awesome-ly retro and simplistic the Halloween decorations were there. Grilled chicken salads taste so much better under an orange and black streamer and I don’t think there is really anything better than a cozy bar on a chilly night this time of the season. It always made me wonder what the rush was to leave the Slaughtered Lamb?

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The first cocktail was the Cauldron Cocktail for only $5.00! It’s a mix of rum and fruit juices with a shot of Sprite for bubbly texture. Basically your average cocktail in a Florida beach resort but without having to sell your first-born to afford it. I wouldn’t say this is very spooky but I like the effort. Also, if Applebee’s was held at gunpoint this glass weighs about the same as a medium dog so it can double as a liquor/juice holder and a defensive weapon. IMG-7009

Next we tried the two premium cocktails; Dracula’s Juice and Boo Lagoon. Dracula’s Juice was actually pretty good because it had the added element of frozen lemonade which helps even out the super sweet Razzmatazz. I am not a huge Razzmatazz fan unless I am playing Scrabble.

Boo Lagoon is absolutely adorable in name only. Well, the name and the gummy shark. Blue Curacao and I parted ways years ago at Myrtle Beach. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say a certain someone is not invited back to a certain amusement ride.

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Now for the main event. Appleebee’s decided to go all in on a one dollar horror drink made from Bacardi Rum, passionfruit, cherry and a splash of Sprite but really the magic is the gummy brain resting on top. It’s made quite an impact around the web so I think this will be a big hit for 2018. Is it as cool as a Candy Corntini from Rockafellas in Salem, Massachusetts? No way but it is pretty good for a place that has a long list of banned patrons across the country. You haven’t lived unless you’ve retrieved your car the next day from an Applebee’s parking lot in the hopes no one recognizes you.

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These days I’m not really that big on the drinking during a weeknight but on certain of occasions, one has to make an exception. I always find these little trips are what makes the season memorable, even if it’s clouded with a massive liquor/sugar hangover the following day.

So, A+ for the Halloween effort, Applebee’s! The price is right for what you get and the gummy candy brains are a nice touch. I probably would have preferred something to remind me of the event like a Halloween mug or something but for a dollar, what am I complaining about?

You can watch the Periscope live event reviewing all of these in Applebee’s with my friends here. It gets stupid but what do you expect? It’s Applebee’s and booze!

Casserole of Disaster Visits: Eastern State Penitentiary

better eastern1 Welcome back to the Halloween Hell Show as we continue our journey through the spookiest season of the year. Speaking of journey, this week we will be traveling around the country and world to some of the weirdest and creepiest places I have visited. It’s a segment I will call “Casserole of Disaster Visits”. (I know it’s lame)

Tonight we start out with what is believed to be the most haunted establishment in not just America but the world. A penitentiary which housed some of the most famous criminals to include Al Capone and Willie Sutton and broke just about anyone who entered its massive doors. This place is this infamous Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Opened in 1829, Eastern State was the first of its kind to bring reform through physical, psychological and spiritual strain, using isolation as the main tool of choice. An imposing structure which was constructed like a wagon wheel where each of the long blocks met in the center, housing hundreds of small single person cells. From the outside it looks like a fortress with its massive high stone walls making it feel nothing less than medieval. This place was without hope by design.

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Many prisons of the late 1800’s through the mid-1900’s required hard labor in general population to serve out a sentence but not Eastern State. The method of reform and penance was to live with one’s self in total isolation away from everything in a cell so small, the bed would take up most of the floor space. Prisoners had no windows other than a small skylight to ensure that even a glance beyond the walls to civilization was impossible. If they misbehaved, torture methods like freezing exposure or loss of circulation tied to a chair was the preferred punishment. This was an institution of psychological pain which was then referred to as “reform”.

The prison was finally closed down in 1971 and was left vacant (other than cats) until 1996 when parts of the cell blocks were refurbished enough to allow people back in as a National Historic Landmark. Tours are daily with the help of an audio headset voiced by the actor Steve Buscemi which is narrated quite well. My friend and I stayed on track for as long as we could but with time constraints we hustled to get as much in as possible minus Steve.

Watch the video of me talking about the Eastern State Penitentiary and my theory of how freezing water-torture came about. I’m not saying it is historically accurate but I am pretty sure it was just as stupid.

The Hell Show continues! Don’t forget tonight I will be doing something live and announcing tomorrow’s #CODAMN! I hope you can be apart of the craziness.

Halloween Bratwurst, Beer and Hot Sauce

Oh World Market. How I love thee, especially during the Halloween season. Every year you bring out the strange and unusual and fill my Hell Show with content. I can’t say great content but nonetheless, content.

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Over the last couple of Halloween Hell Shows, World Market has been the place to be for rare Halloween sodas and adult beverages. Unfortunately, this year the pace of new flavors has slowed in those particular categories but that is not slowing anything down here! Tonight I am reviewing a few items I picked up over the past week and will give them a fair shake in the CoD HQ.

I also picked up a large amount of “horror” themed beer and wine but that will have to wait for the weekend. Lately, the week days have been pretty slammed with work issues so no time for a foggy head during the 9 to 5.

Come join me for Halloween Brats, Beer and Hot Sauce from one of my favorite retail chains; World Market. If you are asking yourself how I filled twelve minutes in a video review I will tell you I don’t know. I just don’t know. But come watch anyway. Or just play it as background noise for Jack-o-lantern carving. Either way.

What Are YOU Watching?

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If there is one thing I love about this season it is the fact that movies like Cabin In The Woods will be airing on random weekday mornings for the duration on October. Channels like AMC or Freeform (formerly ABC Family Channel) have their annual Halloween horror programing starting as early as the first of October. It’s such a treat to see what spooky films will share time slots with The View giving me a great excuse to work from home.

Thanks to the geniuses over at Nerd Much, we have gotten an early program guide for AMC, SYFY, Turner Classic Movies, and Freeform.  Sure, with subscriptions to Shudder, Netflix and Amazon Prime we can watch most of these without commercial interruptions and Reagan won’t be saying “your funting, daughter” but I think it’s a little more special to watch these scares on primetime with McDonald’s commercials every fifteen minutes.

Below are the scheduled times and dates (all Eastern Standard). So get your calendars out and start cancelling plans early because have horror movies to watch!

Monday: October 1st

  • Resident Evil (Syfy at 2:30PM)
  • ParaNorman (Freeform at 5PM)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 7:10PM)
  • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 8:50PM)
  • ParaNorman (Freeform at 12AM)
  • Tuesday: October 2nd

    • Sorority Row (Syfy at 1:30PM)
    • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 5PM)
    • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 6:30PM)
    • Monster’s University (Freeform at 8:30PM)
    • Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) (Freeform at 12AM)

    Wednesday: October 3rd

    • Silent House (Syfy at 1PM)
    • Willy Wonka (1971) (Freeform at 4PM)
    • Monsters University (Freeform at 6:30PM)
    • American Psycho (Syfy at 7PM)
    • Monster House (Freeform at 9PM)
    • The Monster (1925) (TCM at 10:45PM)
    • The Final Girls (Freeform at 12AM)

    Thursday: October 4th

    • ParaNorman (Freeform at 5PM)
    • Insidious (Syfy at 6:30PM)
    • Monster House (Freeform at 7PM)
    • The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform at 9PM)
    • Teen Spirit (Freeform at 12AM)

    Friday: October 5th

    • Into the Dark (Hulu)
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Freeform at 3:30PM)
    • The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform at 6:10PM)
    • The Goonies (Freeform at 8:20PM)
    • Z Nation Season 5 Premiere (Syfy at 9:00PM)
    • Van Helsing Season 3 Premiere (Syfy at 10:00PM)
    • The Breakfast Club (Freeform at 12AM)
    • Deadly Friend (1986) (TCM at 2:00AM)
    • Demon Seed (1977) (TCM at 3:45AM)
    • Saturday: October 6th

      • Monster House (Freeform at 10:10AM)
      • Willy Wonka (1971) (Freeform at 12:20PM)
      • The Haunted Mansion (Freeform at 2:50PM)
      • The Thing From Another World (1951) (TCM at 4:15PM)
      • The Goonies (Freeform at 4:55PM)
      • Cabin in the Woods (Syfy at 5PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 7:35PM)
      • No Escape Room (Syfy at 9:00PM)
      • Maleficent (Freeform at 9:45PM)
      • Cabin Fever (Syfy at 11PM)
      • Warm Bodies (Freeform at 11:50PM)

      Sunday: October 7th

      • Monster House (Freeform at 7AM)
      • Willy Wonka (Freeform at 9:10AM)
      • The Haunted Mansion (Freeform at 11:40AM)
      • Alice in Wonderland (Freeform at 1:50PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 4:25PM)
      • Maleficent (Freeform at 6:35PM)
      • The Mummy’s Hand (1940) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Sweeney Todd (Freeform at 8:40PM)
      • The Walking Dead Season 9 Premiere (AMC at 9:00PM )
      • Dark Shadows (2012) (Freeform at 11:20PM)
      • Fright Night (Syfy at 11:25PM)

      Monday: October 8th

      • Sweeney Todd (Freeform at 4PM)
      • Dark Shadows (Freeform at 6:30PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 9PM)
      • Clue (Freeform at 12AM)

      Tuesday: October 9th

      • Jurassic Park (Freeform at 3PM)
      • The Addams Famly (Freeform at 6PM)
      • The Quiet Ones (Syfy at 9PM)
      • Warm Bodies (Freeform at 12AM)

      Wednesday: October 10th

      • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Freeform at 3PM)
      • Lights Out (Syfy at 7:15PM)
      • The Devil’s Bride (1968) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Truth or Dare (Syfy at 8:30PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 9PM)
      • Horror of Dracula (1958) (TCM at 10:00PM)
      • Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1965) (TCM at 11:30PM)
      • ParaNorman (Freeform at 12AM)
      • Horror Hotel (1960) (TCM at 1:15AM)
      • The Face of Fu Manchu (1965) (TCM at 2:45AM)
      • Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966) (TCM at 4:30AM)

      Thursday: October 11th

      • Light as a Feather (Hulu)
      • ParaNorman (Freeform at 4:30PM)
      • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Syfy at 5PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 6:40PM)
      • The Boxtrolls (Freeform at 12AM)

      Friday: October 12th

      • The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
      • Leatherface (Syfy at 7PM)

      Saturday: October 13th

      • ParaNorman (Freeform at 7AM)
      • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 1:15PM)
      • The Seventh Victim (1943) (TCM at 2:15PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 2:50PM)
      • CUCUY: The Boogeyman (Syfy at 7:00PM)
      • Monsters, Inc (Freeform at 7:25PM)
      • Karma (Syfy at 9:00PM)
      • Monsters University (Freeform at 9:30PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 12AM)

      Sunday: October 14th

      • Sweeney Todd (Freeform at 7AM)
      • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 9:30AM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 11:10AM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 1:15PM)
      • Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic (Freeform at 8PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 9PM)
      • The Robot vs. the Aztech Mummy (1958) (TCM at 10:45PM)

      Monday: October 15th

      • The Black Hole (1979) (TCM at 12:15AM)
      • ParaNorman (Freeform at 4PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 6PM)
      • Monster House (Freeform at 12AM)

      Tuesday: October 16th

      • Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic (Freeform at 3:30PM)
      • Monster House (Freeform at 4:30PM)
      • Willy Wonka (Freeform at 6:30PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 8:55PM)

      Wednesday: October 17th

      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 6:30PM)
      • The Old Dark House (1932) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Sweeney Todd (Freeform at 8:30PM)
      • The Walking Dead (1936) (TCM at 9:30PM)
      • Isle of the Dead (1945) (TCM at 10:45PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 12AM)
      • Bedlam (1946) (TCM at 12:15AM)
      • Die, Monster, Die! (1965) (TCM at 1:45AM)
      • The Sorcerers (1967) (TCM at 3:15AM)
      • The Terror (1963) (TCM at 5:00AM)

      Thursday: October 18th

      • Sweeney Todd (Freeform at 4PM)
      • Dark Shadows (Freeform at 6:30PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 9PM)
      • Maggie (Freeform at 12AM)

      Friday: October 19th

      • Lore Season 2 (Amazon Prime Video)
      • Dark Shadows (Freeform at 3:30PM)
      • The Goonies (Freeform at 6:10PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 8:50PM)
      • Monster House (Freeform at 12AM)
      • Dreamscape (1984) (TCM at 2:00AM)

      Saturday: October 20

      • Monster House (Freeform at 7AM)
      • ParaNorman (Freeform at 9:05AM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 11:10AM)
      • The Goonies (Freeform at 1:20PM)
      • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 4PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 5:35PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 7:40PM)
      • Killer High (Syfy at 9:00PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 9:50PM)
      • The Haunted Mansion (Freeform at 11:55PM)

      Sunday: October 21

      • Paranorman (Freeform at 7AM)
      • Spooky Buddies (Freeform at 9AM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 11:05AM)
      • The Haunted Mansion (Freeform at 1:15PM)
      • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 3:20PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 5PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 7:05PM)
      • The Mummy (1959) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Maleficent (Freeform at 9:15PM)
      • The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964) (TCM at 9:45PM)
      • Pharaoh’s Curse (1957) (TCM at 11:15PM)
      • Sweeney Todd (Freeform at 11:20PM)
      • Eyes Without a Face (1959) (TCM at 2:30AM)

      Monday: October 22

      • Maleficent (Freeform at 4PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 6:10PM)
      • The Witches of Eastwick (Freeform at 8:20PM)
      • Son of Frankenstein (1939) (TCM at 9:00PM)
      • Warm Bodies (Freeform at 12AM)
      • The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) (TCM at 12:00AM)
      • Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) (TCM at 1:30AM)
      • Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed! (1970) (TCM at 3:15AM)

      Tuesday: October 23

      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 4PM)
      • The Witches of Eastwick (Freeform at 6:10PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 8:50PM)
      • Monster House (Freeform at 12AM)

      Wednesday: October 24

      • Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic (Freeform at 4PM)
      • Monster House (Freeform at 5PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 7PM)
      • White Zombie (1932) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 9PM)
      • Mark of the Vampire (1935) (TCM at 9:15PM)
      • Spooky Buddies (Freeform at 12AM)
      • The Devil Bat (1940) (TCM at 1:30AM)
      • The Corpse Vanishes (1942) (TCM at 2:45AM)
      • Bowery at Midnight (1942) (TCM at 5:15AM)

      Thursday: October 25

      • The Canterville Ghost (1944) (TCM at 9:45AM)
      • Jurassic Park (Freeform at 4PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 7PM)
      • The Haunted Mansion (Freeform at 9PM)
      • The Final Girls (Freeform at 12AM)

      Friday: October 26

      • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
      • Castlevania Season 2 (Netflix)
      • Jurassic Park (Freeform at 12:30PM)
      • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Freeform at 3:35PM)
      • The Haunted Mansion (Freeform at 6:40PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 8:50PM)
      • Channel Zero: Dream Door (Syfy at 11PM)
      • Teen Spirit (Freeform at 12AM)

      Saturday: October 27

      • 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) (TCM at 6:00AM)
      • Dark Shadows (Freeform at 7AM)
      • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Freeform at 9:40AM)
      • The Adams Family (Freeform at 12:20PM)
      • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) (TCM at 2:15PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 2:30PM)
      • Monsters Inc (Freeform at 4:40PM)
      • The Power (1968) (TCM at 6:00PM)
      • Monsters University (Freeform at 6:50PM)
      • Dead in the Water (Syfy at 9:00PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 9:20PM)
      • Toy Story of TERROR! (Freeform at 11:25PM)
      • ParaNorman (Freeform at 11:55PM)
      • House of Dark Shadows (1970) (TCM at 1:30AM)
      • Night of Dark Shadows (1971) (TCM at 3:30AM)
      • Black Cats and Broomsticks (1955) (TCM at 5:30AM)

      Sunday: October 28

      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 9:40AM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 11:50AM)
      • Toy Story of TERROR! (Freeform at 2PM)
      • Monsters Inc (Freeform at 2:30PM)
      • Monsters University (Freeform at 4:35PM)
      • Hotel Transylvania (Freeform at 7:05PM)
      • The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971) (TCM at 10:00PM)
      • The Goonies (Freeform at 11:20PM)

      Monday: October 29

      • Children of the Damned (1963) (TCM at 10:00AM)
      • Village of the Damned (1961) (TCM at 11:45AM)
      • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) (TCM at 1:15PM)
      • Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) (TCM at 3:45PM)
      • The Goonies (Freeform at 4:30PM)
      • The Nanny (1965) (TCM at 6:15PM)
      • Island of Lost Souls (1932) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) (TCM at 9:15PM)
      • 25th Anniversary Release: The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 9:20PM)
      • Mad Love (1935) (TCM at 11:00PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 12AM)
      • The Fly (1958) (TCM at 12:15AM)
      • The Frozen Dead (1967) (TCM at 4:15AM)

      Tuesday: October 30

      • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920 Silent Film) (TCM at 6:00AM)
      • The Magician (1926) (TCM at 7:15AM)
      • The Devil-Doll (1936) (TCM at 10:15AM)
      • The Mysterious Island (1929) (TCM at 11:45AM)
      • Doctor X (1932) (TCM at 1:30PM)
      • The Return of Doctor X (1939) (TCM at 3:00PM)
      • King Kong (1933) (TCM at 4:15PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 4:40PM)
      • Things to Come (1936) (TCM at 6:15PM)
      • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform at 6:45PM)
      • Toy Story of TERROR! (Freeform at 8:25PM)
      • The Addams Family (Freeform at 8:55PM)
      • Warm Bodies (Freeform at 12AM)
      • Night of the Living Dead (1968) (TCM at 2:45AM)
      • The Plague of the Zombies (1966) (TCM at 4:30AM)

      Wednesday: October 31 Happy Halloween

      • Hands of a Stranger (1962) (TCM at 6:00AM)
      • Dementia 13 (1963) (TCM at 7:30AM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 7:30AM)
      • Carnival of Souls (1962) (TCM at 10:15AM)
      • Toy Story of TERROR! (Freeform at 11AM)
      • Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic (Freeform at 11:30AM)
      • Spirits of the Dead (1968) (TCM at 11:45AM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 12:30PM)
      • From Beyond the Grave (1973) (TCM at 2:00PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 2:40PM)
      • Black Sabbath (1963) (TCM at 4:00PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 4:45PM)
      • Dead of Night (1945) (TCM at 6:00PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 6:50PM)
      • House of Wax (1953) (TCM at 8:00PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 8:55PM)
      • Pit and the Pendulum (1961) (TCM at 9:45PM)
      • Masque of the Red Death (1964) (TCM at 11:15PM)
      • Hocus Pocus (Freeform at 12AM)
      • House on Haunted Hill (1958) (TCM at 1:00AM)
      • Theatre of Blood (1973) (TCM at 2:30AM)
      • The Last Man on Earth (1964) (TCM at 4:30AM)
      • Halloween 5: The Revenge (AMC at 1:30AM EST)
      • Halloween 6: The Curse (AMC at 3:30AM EST)
      • THe Invasion of Neptune Men (AMC at 5:30AM EST)
      • Hocus Pocus (FF at 7:30AM ET)
      • Halloween 4: The Return (AMC at 9AM EST)
      • Halloween 5: The Revenge (AMC at 11AM EST)
      • Hocus Pocus Marathon (FF at noon – 11PM ET)
      • Halloween 6: The Curse (AMC at 1PM EST)
      • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (AMC at 3PM EST)
      • Halloween II (AMC at 5PM EST)
      • Halloween (AMC at 7:30PM EST)
      • Stan Against Evil (IFC)
      • Halloween 4: The Return (AMC at 9:30PM EST)
      • Halloween 5: The Revenge (AMC at 11:30PM EST)

Ghosts and Goblins! A Halloween Story

I believe Halloween freaks like myself have that one event, memory or place which is the responsible for our undying love of the season, even into middle-age. For me, it was a book. As far back as I can remember, I loved this book and would take it almost anywhere. In fact, I can recall my parents concern I was become a little obsessed with it and offered almost anything to replace it or at least broaden my horizons. I heard none of it. This book took me to a weird, spooky place and even today, that is where I want to be. This book is Ghosts and Goblins.

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For almost thirty years I thought I had lost this book and it slowly drifted from memory until a fateful day when I was exploring my parent’s basement I was reunited with my beloved book. A little used and the cover is missing but still readable. It’s what is on the inside of the book that matters, no?

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Ghost and Goblins is a collection of old stories, poems and limericks from various sources but the real magic is the illustrations by Tim Kirk. They were so mesmerizing I don’t even recall reading much of the stories. Except for one. THE one. The story and illustration which terrorized an only child and would pop into mind late at night believing there were ghosts right outside the door. That story was “A Halloween Story” by Margaret Widderman and it solidified my love of October forever.

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My good Lord, look at what is happening in this room! These kids have no idea there are demons floating all around them but do seem generally taken with the story. There are jack-o-lanterns lit in the windows and hot chocolate with doughnuts on a plate making an absolutely rad-ass evening of fright. It reminds me of being a kid watching The Exorcist on TV knowing full well that in an hour I would sent to bed scared out of my wits. I don’t know why we do the things we do but that is what makes us the Halloween freaks we are.

“There was Something that howled around the chimney, And Something that rattled on the wall- And it wasn’t wind, the Thing, nor a tick-tock on a string, Nor anything they said it was at all:”.

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That stanza of the poem/story used to creep me out. It was like the part in a ghost movie when logic and reason starts departing as the characters begin to accept paranormal activity is afoot. I remember reading this under a blanket with Cheez-it dusted fingers listening closely as the house settled. Was that a ventilation duct expanding or was it Captain Howdy scratching outside the door? At that time, the latter seemed more plausible.

For better or worse, this book shaped my love for Halloween and all things creepy. Still to this day, I love thumbing through these pages getting the same delight I had at age seven. Tim Kirk’s imagination and illustrations make this book such a treasure and I am so grateful to have found it after all these years. I can’t tell you how hard it is to describe a childhood book in your late thirties. “It’s a book with demon ghosts sneaking up on kids eating doughnuts…has a rotting corpse in a tux reading a magazine on the inside cover…”.

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The Hell Show continues! Thanks for reading my story about reading. This is typically my favorite week of the season because finally no one gives me the side-eye when I dress in all black and orange. It’s a lonely summer.

Big Lots Were Wolf Rug!!!

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I don’t know how they do it but every year Big Lots strikes first and strikes hard with new animatronic Halloween decorations and this season is no exception. I have reviewed new items in the past from Big Lots and it always seems to be a little KB Toys to the Toys R Us, if you catch my drift. Very much a discount store with many of it’s items hovering close to their expiration date or selling cookware from celebrity chefs who fell from grace receiving facial wounds from a prostitute. (that’s a real thing)

I think where I am going with this is Big Lots isn’t known for high-end products. But that is when Halloween hits and holy cats, I dare you to find better for the cost. The aisles of Arizona teas from 1999 seem to drift away when the Halloween season comes around. And let’s just talk about the Halloween season at Big Lots! It starts in July!

Well, I can go on and on waxing love for this retail chain but tonight it is all about the queen of the dance; the Werewolf Rug. This beast comes in around $70 when I purchased it but looking now, they discounted the item down to $50 and for most households, this is still not even the Halloween season yet. Oh well, I still love this and buyer’s remorse won’t hit until December 23rd.

The notable cool features are the eyes which light up blue or red and has the iconic wolf howl. This can be activated through touch or even motion so you can also test out the new defibrillator on grandma when she visits.

All in all, it’s a cool product to start the season off with and I am going to try really hard not to do a posthumous Burt Reynold’s impression, if you know where I am going.

Watch my review and in the comments tell me your favorite werewolf movie. It’s a tough one for me but The Howling still gets me today. How about you, Bright Boy?

Slains Castle

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I will tell you, this season I had the opportunity to visit some pretty amazing and creepy places around the world. Of all the spooky spots I will say this one takes the cake. Said to be the spot that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, Slains Castle is now a ruin south of Aberdeen, Scotland. There are no gates or tolls or a even a sign saying “Slains Castle this way”. Nope, just word of mouth is how I found this one.

I was playing golf at the impossible Cruden Bay golf course losing more balls than my dogs when I noticed a castle way off in the distance from the 9th hole. My caddie informed me that was the infamous Slains Castle and was one of the creepiest place in Scotland so be sure to never visit. He obviously didn’t know who he was talking to and for the rest of the game I hammered him with questions. When he said it was the castle that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, I damn near threw my golf clubs into the sea and ran directly there.

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The next day I set out to visit Slains Castle before, what I thought to be, a mass tourist exodus. Before I get to that, can I tell you how amazed I was that for the entire trip and over 300 miles driving, I drove a manual transmission on the opposite side without incident? That was a shocker.

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The castle was not as easy to find as I had imagined. Like I said earlier, there were no signs or huge billboards like we have in the states. The ruins I saw were way off in the distance so to find the way there was pretty much a guessing game using a sense of direction. When I found a small dirt road, it didn’t feel like the way to a famous castle but like everything else on these trips, the real thing is always more impressive than your expectation little to no fanfare.

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Slains Castle is, in fact, not a tourist attraction. Actually, I don’t even think I was allowed to be there but there was absolutely no one around for miles and miles which made this visit all the more creepy. Oddly enough, later that evening I was reading up on the history of Slains Castle and there were a lot of people who die visiting there! No kidding, a woman was found dead there not long before my visit and in the recent years past people have fallen off the sea cliffs and all sorts of bizarre deaths. Kinda glad I read that after my trip.

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To be there was surreal and absolutely unnerving. It wasn’t like visiting a burnt out old building with urban legends from kids in the neighborhood. No, this was a ruin from the 14th Century that even in it’s prime was creepy enough to inspire the story of Dracula. The sounds of the North Sea crashing against the cliffs were almost completely silenced when inside the open stucture. To add to the lore, a murder of crows flew in and out of holes in the walls and some just perched staring down at you. It was as if hundreds of eyes were on you and not just the crows.

You’ll notice at the beginning of video I enter and quickly turn around. I was a little overwhelmed for some reason. Maybe it was the fact I was walking into a castle for the first time or maybe I heard something, I can’t truly recall. I do remember being shaken right away and you can clearly see that when I did a 180.

I spent roughly an hour walking through the ruins without sign of a single human. No car sounds in the distance. Not even a boat to be seen out at sea. It was such a sensory overload I had to walk out just to collect my thoughts. When navigating the halls it kinda felt like R2D2 as he(?) was stalked by Jawas. It all felt just a little too much.

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Leaving these kind of places is always weird like backing out of the driveway of the Amityville house. It is empty, you know that and I know that but deep down it feels like it isn’t. You get this sense that something is watching you leave and that dreaded sense or foreboding loneliness setting back in. Maybe I am being overly sensitive, I don’t know, but it is a real feeling that even now as I write this in bed, I get goosebumps and the hairs stand on end.

Watch my visit to Slains Castle! Sorry not sorry about the bagpipes.

 

The Banshee Labyrinth

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Oh Scotland, you have my heart. From scenery that would make the most complaisant person weep to history so rich and dark it makes every step sacred as you walk along the same streets as the Jacobites. It humbles you. That’s all I can really say. I am so enamored with history that I often wonder how I am in the business of selling the future.

Today, as we spend the last few days of the Halloween season, I take you to the self-described “most haunted bar in Scotland”, The Banshee Labyrinth. Center in the Edinburgh New City, it is a multilayered pub that offers a little something for everyone. It is only open after 4:30 but I heard it has great food, music and even a cinema. But really, at the end of the day, it is all about the atmosphere. This place is amazing and makes you feel as if you are the etherial plane, between this world and the next.

I lucked out and got a private tour from one of the managers. I knew from his Cramps t-shirt we would be best friends if I was a resident but I will take a personalized tour just the same. He goes into the darker realms of the Labyrinth and shares his stories about all the ghostly happenings in this bar. There is even a coven of witches which is said to have sealed a demonic force in a stone circle that is right above a section of the underground pool rooms. You can enter but you have to leave the same way or you risk getting really hurt. I didn’t take any chances.

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The most famous story was from a group of workers who were renovating parts of the Labyrinth and heard faint crying from one area. When they went to investigate they found a girl with long black hair weeping in the corner with her face buried in her hands. They approached her and she looked up. This is when I would have shit twice and died on the spot. She had no eyes and let out a blood-curdling scream causing the workers to flee from the building for their lives. But that isn’t the worst of it. Later in the day they all received calls informing them someone in their families had died that very afternoon. Hence the Banshee.

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So, come take a tour with me and Drew as we should you Edinburgh and Scotland’s most haunted pub, The Banshee Labyrinth.

CoD Visits Greyfriars Kirkland Cemetery!

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Holy cats, my friends! I have been to a lot of freaky locations but this one is a doozy. Smack in the center of Edinburgh, Scotland is one of the most notorious cemeteries for the macabre and bizarre not to mention widely regarded as the most haunted in the entire world. THE WORLD! This place is Greyfriars Kirkland Cemetery and though I have heard of it in the papers and watched it on travel documentaries, it almost completely overwhelmed me in person. That is really saying something because I am usually an underwhelmed sort of guy. It’s my nature.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to find because, well, I wasn’t looking for it at that exact time. Everything in Edinburgh looks so mysterious and spooky it isn’t hard to accidentally pass a notably haunted dungeon or spooky pub when looking for something  specific. Along any search you will find so many other places. It is as if God created a holy land for weirdos like myself because around every corner is breathtaking beauty with a touch of evil.

Established in 1560, the cemetery has seen quite a lot of turmoil in the old days of Scotland. Some of the capital punishments were so insane, movies today would probably not get an ‘R’ rating if they were truly accurate. The most notorious was the judge and death-dealer George Mackenzie who got his evil notoriety for the persecution of Scottish Covenanters, a Presbyterian movement in the 17th century. He would take delight in sentencing thousands to torture and beheadings, impaling the said heads on the cemetery gate spikes. He is now located in the Greyfrair cemetery inside the Black Mausoleum but that is not where his story ends.

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Not in the 1600’s or 1700’s or even in the 1800’s but as recent as 1999 a homeless guy was caught in the brutal Scottish winter and sought shelter anywhere he could find it. In desperation he broke into the MacKenzie Black Mausoleum to escape the icy rain. While in the tomb he began to break into the coffins to see if there were any valuables worth taking to sell. He took a step backwards and the entire floor gave way below. The vagabond landed in a long forgotten sealed room but this room was not empty at all. It was full of half-decayed corpses so well-preserved from the airtight vault most still had their skin and hair even after two hundred years.

The homeless guy, obviously panicked and covered in what can only be imagined, crawled his way out of the vault and through the mausoleum. He ran screaming out of the cemetery where he was met by a police officer who was terrified by the vision he was witnessing. What emerged from the tomb ever since that night is said to be something dark and malevolent and speculated to be the ghost of George MacKenzie himself!

The locals call it the MacKenzie Poltergeist and as of today there have been hundreds of people who have lost consciousness around the Black Mausoleum and many more reporting violent attacks especially when provoking…whatever resides in this tomb. I saw the tomb with my own eyes and brother, it is as evil as you can believe. Especially at night! I’ll get to that soon.

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Walking around the grave yard was a little spooky but mostly a trip back in time. Every chiseled mural is a look back in time to when death was around every corner. From wars to occupation to the Black Plague, it is all here. There are even bars over the ground to thwart grave robbers and ghoulish doctors from exhuming fresh corpses for study. Or…whatever they did with the bodies.

Here is a short little video of my daytime visit to the Greyfriar Cemetery where you can see the black tomb and other macabre visuals. And as a bonus they had a dog blessing in the cemetery at the same time!

So, long story short…I missed my train back to Aberdeen. I was waiting on the wrong track or had a few beers or whatever. The point is I missed my ride and had to stay a night in Edinburgh. Oh shucks.

What does one do in a beautiful city with such a tortured history that predates the United States by a thousand years? One goes back to the Greyfriar Kirkland Cemetery to see if the ol’ MacKenzie Poltergeist is real, of course! And that is exactly what I did.

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Thank goodness for liquid courage because had I done this without some “spirits” I may have pissed myself. Every scene was something out of the mind of Washington Irving. From silent crows staring from the walls while strolling closer to the gates to the ghostly howl of the wind, everything was shaping up perfectly to be found in the morning, babbling like a crazy person, huddled in a crypt.

IMG-1516Once again, I found myself in the place few venture alone. There was no one in the cemetery and it was well after midnight on a weekday so the random daredevils and curious ghost hobbyists were most likely doing something more productive. The only noises were the slight breezes moving through the dead leaves that were still hanging in the low branches. It was a scene that will forever stay with me and for that I am grateful.

There it is! The infamous Black Mausoleum right in front of me in the dead of night. The place were hundreds of documented attacks and injuries were reported by some invisible force. The spot where thousands were walled up and died a torturous death. The resting spot for one of the most evil beings ever to walk the Earth. The place were hundreds were executed in ways we couldn’t imagine. And it was there in front of me as time seemed to stop.

I sat there for a while nervously watching and listening to any odd changes that seemed out-of-place to the norms of the night. I tried to get the famous nursery rhyme that is said to enrage the MacKenzie Poltergeist into acts of violence out of my head. “Bluidy Mackingie, come oot if ye daur, lift the sneck and draw the bar!”. 

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I summoned up the courage to get closer and peered into the crypt, praying that red eyes wouldn’t be staring back from the blackness. I took the pictures and shot the video (which is too dark to see) and after a few more minutes decided I had over stayed my welcome. The feelings of overwhelming dread came over me. I have had this happen before in very few places. The only way I can describe it is like standing in the ocean on a sandbar and staring off the edge into the blackness of the sea. Nothing is there that you see but there might be something that can see you. It causes you to walk a little quicker with a purpose to find a way out. No rational explanation other than the fight or flight defense that is deep within our DNA.

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I got out unscathed. For the rational and non believers this might seem like a “no kidding” moment but I challenge anyone to peer into the blackness of the Black Mausoleum that has been the source of so much violent activity, the government has a UK warning of danger in this cemetery. Something is going on.

Thanks for coming a long with me to visit the Greyfriars Kirkland Cemetery in Ediburgh! Like the Japanese haunted forest, it was something I had to do and I am glad I get to share it.

Stay tuned for the next crazy place I found! This one will blow your mind!

Halloween!

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