The Scariest Thing I Ever Did See

I don’t consider myself easily rattled. My life experiences have led me down odd paths like living in combat zones to jumping from planes to walking into a burning house looking in closets for trapped people. All of them had my heart pumping and sure, I have been spooked here and there. After my video series run of “Spooky NC” I definitely have seen my fair share of things which made my hair stand on end but that’s not saying I was ever terrified. Shocked and surprised would be better descriptions.

There was this time in 1998, however, that I have told few about but I can honestly say, it terrified me.

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Back then I was a few years into the US Army and had enough rank to become comfortable in my own skin and developed true friendships with my fellow brothers in arms. Stationed up in the Dahlonega mountains of North Georgia at Camp Merrell Ranger Training base, I was able to live off post with a couple of buddies, Mike and Jeremy. This was a new-found freedom I had not really experienced before and though our mornings started at 3am, evenings were ours to drink beer and hit the town in search for wild women and song. Actually, Jeremy had a girlfriend and Mike was a goody-two-shoes officer in training so I was often alone in my quest.

One fateful Saturday I had some off time so I headed to visit my high school chums who all led normal college lives in Athens, Georgia which was about an hour and a half from my apartment. It was a welcome getaway for me. No yelling and explosions. Just screaming coeds and booze.

Unfortunately, a soldier’s weekends were always cut short and I had to be back on base the following Sunday morning so I decided the least painful thing to do was to leave that night and drive the curvy HWY 52 all the way back and catch at lease a few hours of sleep. It was a dark and spooky drive with little traffic. I am sure it has changed over the past decade but then it was the Ichabod trip home from the ball, traveling past farmlands and vacant old farm houses.

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It also lacked important things like gas stations and well-lit areas in case of trouble. A two lane road with waist-high grass is no place to have a breakdown, especially when large semi trucks rocket past every so often. Occasionally a dead deer carcass reminded you of these very large trucks.

That night I made the poor decision to not fill up the car before I left the safety of the city and arrogantly believed a quarter tank of fuel was plenty to get me to the BP next to the complex. I learned a few things that night and one of them was the limitations of a Honda Civic LX.

I was within a mile from the intersection where 52 met the road the apartment was on and that is when the engine, oil and that triangle with an exclamation point in the middle light came on. The wheel lost power steering and I remember shouting, “NONONONONO!” and I drifted into the tall grass, clearing the car from the road. I couldn’t make it over the hill which had an orange flashing glow cresting the top. I tried restarting but if you have ever done a bone-headed thing like run out of gas then you know it is hopeless. I tuned on my hazards and waited for a few minutes both pissed at myself and concerned how I was going to make it home and make first formation which was only a few hours away. At that point I was unsure how close I really was to home. It could have been another fifteen miles for all I knew. I decided to walk.

I made my way to the top of the hill and realized how close I was to home because in the distance I saw the warning of road construction that was happening not too far from the apartment. I knew if I began to jog I could be home in less than ten minutes and bribe Jeremy to get out of bed and take me back to the car. The only concern I had at that point was passing the notorious abandoned gas station and shed which nature had taken over some thirty years ago.

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I remember forming a plan to switch to the opposite side of the road when jogging past this creepy structure. Many locals believe weird things go on there and the local sheriff has arrested odd characters and drifters taking shelter there. I wasn’t frightened by this but I didn’t want to find out anything more to add to the legend.

About a hundred feet I began to cross over but then I noticed the weeds were tall and absolutely nowhere to run along side the road. That’s when I also noticed a semi’s lights coming from behind to I was forced back to the other side where the gas station was. This is where I remember but can not tell if pure adrenaline blocked certain stuff out or add stuff in.

As the truck passed at a considerable speed, someone jumped out from behind a brick berm and screamed as if he were in terrific pain, swung either a pipe of a crowbar and hit the pavement inches from my feet. The force of that swing was so strong it must have reverberated up his arm causing him to drop the metal item. I looked over in that split second to see a gigantic human reaching out and taking ahold of my collar. This is when I lose memory of how I slipped out of my shirt and miracled myself up the top of the hill. I turned around and to this day that sight makes the hair on my arms stand on end and feet go numb.

I never saw faces because the road construction orange warning lights illuminated in blinking rhythm behind the few figures. I saw the outline of a large man with disheveled  hair holding a long object which must have been what he swung and missed me with. I saw a few others but for the life of me, I can’t accurately describe them because my next focus was on the child size person who was bald and skipping. It was a fucking Marylin Manson video in real life.

I was living a horrible dream and so terrified I began to laugh. I have no idea why this was my reaction but it was half insanity and half complete panic. I turned to run but only made it so far before I was winded and in hysterics. I had to pull myself together and survive this. I am in a specialized Army unit and this is how I am going to out? No way, José.

What seemed to be a life time, I finally made it to the BP station which was only a few hundred yards from the Apartments. And of course, it was closed with only the illuminating halogen lights over the pumps. A rational person probably would have used the pay phone and call the police but I believed if I could make it home, that was the safest place to be at the moment. And that’s when I heard it.

From the woods behind the gas station I heard cackling and screams. This was a real life horror movie and whether it was just bored red necks screwing with me or more malevolent people, it elicited a terror few have known and even fewer have lived to speak of. And that’s when I fucking began to laugh again! I couldn’t believe it!

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Terribly drawn map

Some how they figured out where I was going and were trying to cut me off through the woods. From deep within these said woods I could hear hysterical and maniacal laughter and screams. It was inhuman and if they were looking to give a young man a heart attack, they were doing a brilliant job. I honestly never heard anything spoken. Just cackling and screaming.

Finally, I reached the apartments and hesitated to run up to the door in fear that they would know where I lived but at that point the sounds were closing in so I either face them outside or pray that Jeremy or Mike was home and lock the door behind me. I decided that I needed some backup and raced through the from door shouting something stupid.

“Jesus, Jeremy! Mike! They are coming!”

Jeremy busted out from his room in complete surprise. I didn’t even get through half the story before he darted into his room and pulled out a .45 and loaded it as I grabbed another shirt. His girlfriend in the bed began shouting at him to call the police and not leave the apartment but our fear had switched to macho and he and I raced out the door down to his car. It’s amazing what a Colt .45 can do for the spirit when up against unknown forces.

We made it to the front gate of the apartment and realized leaving Stephanie alone was a horror movie no-no and went back to drag her along. She was pretty pissed about us darting out and leaving her. I believed we were called assholes no less than 900 times.

We sped to the spot where I was originally attacked and demanded Steph to wait as we got out with the headlights pointing at the station and shed. I didn’t hear any more shouting or laughing but I knew they were there. Watching. Jeremy had the pistol out and like we trained many times before we entered cautiously into the building only to find uneven floors and broken glass. There was obviously no one there or had been there in sometime so we went to the shed behind the store and that’s when we pieced it all together.

I wish we had cellphones with cameras but in the late 90’s because I still can’t believe it and nothing I can tell you would have done it justice. There were quite possibly over fifty candles, all recently blown out. A table with a large pentagram painted on it with, of course, my damn shirt in the middle. Also, a ton of feathers and what we agreed to be a deer skull lying on a chair. It was so creepy and unnerving, I can’t tell if it was something I actually witnessed or a dream. It just doesn’t seem like it was a real event. But it was. I had my friends to witness.

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We walked steadily back to the car where Steph was even more agitated. But before we reached the car Jeremy turned around to the woods behind the shed and shot off a number of rounds from the .45. The sound of the gunfire echoed and we didn’t hear a sound after. I stood there waiting for something to come running but there was absolutely nothing. Not even a cricket chirp.

We came home and Jeremy and I sat on the porch as the sky began to turn a purple hue. Stephanie had enough of the excitement and went back to sleep, shutting the door behind her in a forceful way. He declined to share with her what we found in the shed behind the station. Jeremy had a way of keeping those types of details from her as she was the type to cry over Snuggle Bear commercials.

He and I didn’t really speak, as we had a couple of beers and let the adrenalin drain from the system. I began to tell him about the skipping child-like figure and he cut me off not wanting to know. I think we figured out what scared us both and sometimes it’s better not to dwell on such matters.

When the sun was up I got into uniform and he drove me to put a can of gas in the car as we cautiously kept watch in the woods. I could get out of there fast enough and back to base.

A couple of months later we closed the apartment and I headed to Bosnia as Mike and Jeremy had other assignments. I kept in touch as best as I could but in those turmoil days after 9/11, we all went our own way. It’s an unspoken understanding I have learned over the years.

So that is a very true story. It happened and there isn’t much I can add. I have told this a few times but until now, I really haven’t reflected upon it in great detail. Now I need to go watch cartoons.

Touched By the Ethereal Plane

Life is what you make of it and sometimes you just have to jump at certain chances. This weekend was one of those chances and I could not say no. You’ll see why.

This past weekend I got to hangout with the crew of the show Paranormal State for an investigation at the renown Sorrel-Weed house down in Savannah, Georgia. That alone was a pretty cool thing to do but what happened later into the investigation, I will never forget. It is definitely something that will stay with me for life. Probably should not have power lunged in a provoking nature.

I think every haunted house that is a tourist attraction in Savannah or Charleston seems to have the same premiss; blah blah civil war hospital blah blah slave house blah blah distressed widow’s suicide…and on and on. I guess that all makes for pretty good stories but no matter how many times I visit, I never really get “spooked”. True, a number of years ago I did have an experience in Savannah but so much time has passed, the thrill is gone. I honestly can’t even remember the specifics. This time was different. This time I caught proof. I think.

Before I get into the investigation part I must say Elfie, Serge and Ryan are absolute delights. They are awesome people who truly take their passion to a high level of professionalism in this field. These are not the people who turn a blind eye to very much and it’s very refreshing to see how they rule out all possibilities before turning to the supernatural for an explanation.

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So, I could go on and on about hanging out with the chaps of Paranormal State but I am really wanting to get to the down right creepy. After a tour of a cemetery and a nice dinner downtown it was time to get locked in the Sorrel-Weed house with these guys and try to get spooked. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to being locked in an old house from midnight to 3am especially with beach and beer just a short drive away. But I committed to doing this and I had to ask myself when would a person get to do this in present company? Not often.

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Inside we gathered and got a little history of the place but I was more drawn to the Robert E Lee painting. It was gigantic and probably priceless. Actually, I just wanted to see if his eyes followed me like an old Scooby Doo cartoon. He didn’t.

Soon we turned off all the lights and broke into groups. It doesn’t matter what you believe, when you can’t see in front of your face, the mind will play tricks on you. Every sound is amplified and every slight movement can be exaggerated. It’s hard to stay focused when you can’t get the movie Poltergeist out of your head.

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We broke into two groups and Serge led us down to the basement. I didn’t think of it but before you start shooting photos with blinding flashes it’s important to say “flash”. I had to apologize…a lot. All these pictures from here on were taken in total darkness. That’s important to keep in mind especially with a certain few that no one can explain.

Of course if you have read any of my older posts about being in notably “haunted” areas, I always break into a power lunge. I can’t explain why but it is a tradition and when dealing with the paranormal and superstition, it’s best not to break tradition. This may have been a maneuver that did not go over well with the permanent residences.

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What followed next, I will say, surprised me. We sat in a small group for a while down in the basement and listened to Serge talk about techniques and reasons for certain team practices. It was pretty neat but I didn’t feel out-of-place or spooked in the least. It was just a house that smelled like mildew.

Then Serge asked if I would feel comfortable sitting in the next room alone while the group left. I agreed to do that. Like I said, I wasn’t feeling weirded out or nervous so sitting in a closed room in the dark wasn’t a problem. Until…

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The first picture is a bit blurry but you can see most of the room from this angle. I was sitting on an old couch and to the right was a chimney with another empty room separated by two back sheets. On the left was another black sheet separating a small storage closet. I didn’t really know what to do because the silence was deafening, you couldn’t see a thing and I knew there was a camera with a voice recorder actively recording so for the first few minutes all I did was sit in silence. After awhile, though, I began to talk and snap pictures feeling just a tad silly. That’s when something started to happen.

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After I posed a question about our mortality and what it is like to be dead (stupid stupid question!) something rushed from the left side of me to the right, sat on the arm of the couch and it felt like an index finger and thumb squeezed my ear. It was so fast and so violent I jumped up and before I knew it I was out the door in a cold sweat. The team rushed to me and I couldn’t even explain but they saw my reaction from the cameras and knew something was happening.

The next two photos are what I captured right before I experienced…whatever that was. I didn’t see them until the next morning and it was both thrilling and unnerving. It sucks I didn’t think to look at them until then but I was so spun up I couldn’t think.

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I looked at this for hours completely dumbfounded. I must have taken thirty pictures in a totally darkened bathroom trying to recreate this photo doing everything from putting my fingers over the lens to blocking the flash. It always comes out reddish or skin toned. Also I was sitting on the couch taking pictures holding the camera at a half an arm’s length away from my body. It is impossible to get a shadow unless the flash is behind me. It’s a dark shadow that moved so fast and fucking touched me. That’s all I can possibly believe. And it’s more than a coincidence after asking such a stupid question.

The rest of the night was kind of a blur. We did EVP sessions and I took more photos but after that happened, I was a little spooked and ready to be in a hotel bed.

I will write more on this after I go through all photos and video but I needed to post this. It was a great time but I think for paranormal hunting, I will leave it to the pros and safely watch it on TV. Like right now!

See? Every time I turn the tube on Paranormal State is on! I am happy to watch it from a far.

I know there are plenty of skeptics that laugh at this and can come up with hundreds of reasons for these photos. They are not dust orbs, though. That shit happened. And I look forward to see what’s on the video. But for now, I will be doing this type of investigating.

Beer hunting!

I’ll write more on this later. Check out the Paranormal State reruns on the Bio Channel and A&E. They are a hoot. A big thanks to Elfie, Ryan and Serge. Thanks for not laughing at me when I ran out of the room like I had a rabid squirrel in my pants.

 

Jelly Beans and What You Have to Know: Part 2

I think I have entered into a new low for VeggieMacabre with this idea. But still going forward I will just accept that once I have committed to do something, it’s best to see it through. There really isn’t a need for an introduction since the previous post was part one, so….

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Swedish Fish brand Jelly Beans! Or what I call, “Smorkgi Morks”. It isn’t a mystery by now that any candy brand that has a non-chocolate product is a jelly bean. These amazing fish that are enemy number one for all dentists, have gotten on the bandwagon for Easter. And really, they do taste just like their original candy but I don’t like that. I love the fish because, well, they are fish. It’s fun to eat a school of cherry-like fish but it’s not fun to eat a bunch of cherry-like deer turds.

They still boast “A Fat Free Food” as a part of the logo like the original form but I am suspicious of that. A serving size is thirty-three jelly beans with twenty-seven grams of sugar. That is how people get fat, no? What ever, they taste like processed ick and have nothing more than the novelty of being Swedish Fish caviar, if the imagination is worked real hard.

But will they pass the controlled explosion test?

Did you believe that? Yeah, Spielberg might not call. Anyway, the Swedish Fish Jelly Bean can take an explosion without a scratch. It also can not be digested. So have thirty-three of them!

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Aw shit, it’s getting crazy up in here! Starburst candy has a new spin on their ten thousand Jelly Bean flavors and presents us with “Crazy Beans”. Not too sure if crazy is the right term but rather “this is all we have left” because after years of bringing a new twist to Easter, they have to hide a jelly bean inside another jelly bean to pass the 2013 product test.

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I guess it works. Not for me but an average ten-year-old would agree that it is something cool. Also, a ten-year-old should be writing this. It has come to this, folks.

While I like the concept, the taste is average and I can’t tell what a pink shell over a blue center is supposed to really taste like. It’s a fruity sugar thing. But will it pass the golf iron drive test?

Yes! And nice distance too!

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Red Hots just will not stay in February where the belong! They creep into Christmas and now Easter. What’s next? And don’y you say Halloween or I’ll…I’ll…probably write about them. I just wish we could keep things civil between the holidays and not tread on sacred ground.

These jelly beans, however, are pretty amazing. Yeah, I know that cinnamon is cinnamon but these beans are just like those tiny red dots that can pass for a Sudafed. The funny thing about these are most jelly bean bags have the nutrition facts stating a serving size to be between twenty-five to thirty-five beans equaling twenty-seven grams of sugar. The serving size of these bad boys for the same amount is FOUR! Only four jelly beans allowed before your kids jump off the roof with a Hefty Bag as a parachute.  So keep that in mind before generously dumping them in an Easter basket.

I think these Jelly Beans are great but will they pass the LL Cool J test?

No. He was kind of a dick about it.

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Sweetarts! Should that be one ‘T’ or two? The design has me confused. Whatever, this year Wonka pushes Sweetarts on us too and to be honest, I think I have their recipe cracked. Take the Laffy Taffy jelly bean from the previous review and add Clorox Bleach to them and bingo, we have Sweetart Jelly Beans! I think I am getting too cynical with these reviews.

In all fairness, they do taste like the original small sour powder candy. The other good thing about Sweetart Jelly Beans is the packaging. I am attracted to vivid colors like an ocean-bottom dwelling fish. I can’t help but buy things that are bright blue and green. It’s literally eye candy. (click here)

These don’t need a test. They are what they are. And that is my excuse for not being creative.

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It has all led to this, ladies and gentlemen. Willy Wonka owns Easter. Our savior may have died for our sins but Wonka is reaping the rewards with the jelly bean to end all jelly beans. Nerd Bumpy Jelly Beans.

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Take a normal jelly bean then add a shit load of Nerd candies as a shell and you have a Nerd egg. It’s crazy how great of a concept this is and how much they look like durian fruit or a Gremlin cocoon. But buyer beware, eating too many of these will come with a hefty price. Just watch this taste test.

When I finally came down it was a bit confusing but sumbitch, those jelly beans win Easter. I learned a few things from that experience like for one, you never know how dirty your oven is until you shove your pillow in it and two, my fridge has a shit load of old blueberries under it.

Get a bag but make sure you have a safe-room and your diabetic socks on, these are a doozy.

That concludes the jelly bean review for 2013. I know there are more out there but frankly, I just don’t care. These were the ones that I chose to review. Please let me know what you think of them?

If you need me I will be moving my dentist appointment up three months.

Just A Pause

Before I continue with the awesome Christmas Countdown and everything silly and light hearted, I need to take a pause. A pause to express something. Anything. Yesterday was a day that can not be fathomed by even the most depraved. A day that left us all not asking why did this happen but why did God let this happen. We are all too familiar with the crazed individual or evil agenda of an ideology that preys on the helpless while the brave and strong can only react after the horror has happened. We turn on the television and feel sick when the aerial helicopter streams video of “breaking news” as we watch the roof and parking lot of a school, police entering as lines of kids with their arms up exit. It’s a society that can say, “it looks like another school shooting”. Yesterday was no different but yet it was.

At 9:30 on a chilly and clear Friday morning in a Connecticut elementary school, a heavily armed gunman entered the building as morning announcements were being read. He proceeded to shoot the principal and vice principal, school nurse and administrator with the announcement intercom still on. Then he proceeded to a kindergarten class where he massacred twenty children including the teacher before killing himself. That is what happened. That is what happened and there is nothing we can do about it.

I watched this story unfold from the very beginning when it seemed the lack of urgency with the ambulances and use of the triage tent naively symbolized the worst is over. Later on we learned that the horror had already happened and what those police and fireman walked into…I can’t. I can’t because my brain isn’t wired that way to process such true horror. As I type this some twenty hours after the massacre the little bodies are still in there as every bullet casing is found and little shoe is counted.

So, I would pray but in my tiny world this crosses the line. When the most innocent are butchered and we have to watch the parents rush to a school, who just hours before kissed their little ones awake and saw them off with backpacks too big on their tiny frames, bed-headed and excited for Christmas, they had to learn their babies were lost at the hand of pure evil. I can’t pray right now. But I can demand a change.

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See that? I carried that rifle for six years in the Army and it is designed for one purpose: killing. The bullet is a 5.56mm and travels at approximately 841 meters per second. When it penetrates a human body is tumbles and ricochet, shattering bones and turning organs to mush. It’s an evil weapon but an effective one when you want to win in a COMBAT environment. This was the weapon the gunman used against those children…babies.

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I don’t know why I feel the need to write this. I guess the juxtapose between the M-4 rifle and a kindergarten class makes it clear in my simplistic mind. Things have to change.

Now I sit here at 7:30am on a Saturday in a Starbucks, watching a mother and her two little kids go over a Christmas list for dad before they head out to for a day of holiday fun. It makes me smile but all I can think about is the presents under the parent’s tree for the little babies who were massacred, never to be opened. It’s too much sometimes.

Tales From The Darkside Got Me Grounded

This story is a testament to how much simpler life was back when I was a kid. I had almost completely forgotten about this story until recently when I was talking to Kristen and low and behold, it just popped in there! The brain never ceases to amaze me because this memory has been stored for over twenty years only to randomly fallout like a picture used as a bookmark falling from a Garfield comic. (Because we all have read these in the 80’s) It comes at a good time too because this blog was turning into rubbish with mindless beer reviews and beef jerky. That’s no way to go through life, son.

Saturday nights for a certain period of my life were a special time. For whatever reason, from 7:00 to let’s say 10 or 11:00, my parents hosted a few couples from church for a bible discussion party. Well, I assume that’s what it was though I can’t be sure because my evenings were far better, which you will find out soon. After their bible yap, everyone would mingle and share the desserts each couple brought. I was allowed downstairs for that. Until then I was confined to the parents room with the TV, books of sharks, and whatever else a young seven-year old needed to pass the time. But at 9:00 my attention was devoted to a very special program that sometimes proved to be regretful whether it was later on at night from fears of what lurks under the bed or….well…keep reading.

I didn’t have cable until high school so with five channels (not including PBS because that was like watching school) and four channels on the smaller rotating dial, the selection was limited. But on Saturday nights there was quite the programing on Atlanta 46! The most memorable, of course, was “Tales From the Darkside”. For those not familiar, get out. I kid! I kid! It was a thirty minute program that featured two stories of macabre and strange tales usually starring some middle of the road actor from the time. Not all the shows were great but to a seven-year old, each one was a masterpiece.

One fateful Saturday afternoon my Dad informed me that a couple would be bringing their kids to the bible party and I would have to share my Saturday night of B-rated TV. While I was a little disappointed because as an only child I am a spoiled little dick, I had no say in the matter and began looking for the bright side. I mean, it could be fun.

It wasn’t at all. I knew it the second they arrived as I watched them pull into the driveway. These kids were melvins who brought their own pillows. They brought their own pillows for Christ sake! I sighed and walked limp-armed back to the parents room across the hall, head hung low and waited to hear people walk up the stairs. But instead Mom called for me to greet the un-welcomed guests and walk them to my Saturday sanctuary where no parental guidance was required.

I must have look like a pill giving a limp handshake to…Whats-his-face (let’s call him Jimmy for lack of memory) and his little sister, Rebecca.

Rebecca would be a problem for me.

With their idiotic board games and pillows in hand, we trudged upstairs to ruin my night. I offered to leave them in my room to do their will upon my collection of GI Joe and Legos, but that only appealed to Jimmy; the one kid I thought wouldn’t mind a night of twisted tales of grown up gore. Rebecca was stuck to my side like a rock in tire tread. Looking back as an adult it was pretty cute but to a kid that waited all week to hear the intro to “Tales From The Darkside”, it was an un-welcomed advance and there was no way to give these home schooled kids the slip.

Throughout the evening I tried to be entertaining and cordial. Jimmy wasn’t too bad, partly because he had Castle Greyskull to play house with and could care less about the world around him. Rebecca, however, sat hip-to-hip with me on the floor, eyes fixed on the TV as we watched “Small Wonder” and I nervously counted down the program schedule until “Tales From The Darkside” aired. Only one more “feel-good” show to go!

Dad brought us popcorn and cokes and asked if I was being a good host to which I responded “yeahyeah” without breaking gaze from the TV. He left to rejoin the adults and I could hardly wait because now was the time I had waited for patiently and even though I had to share this moment with these two weirdos, it was happening.

The intro alone distracted Jimmy from battling the forces of Cobra as he joined his sister and me on the floor, soon to witness the macabre and scary tales this glorious show had to offer. And brother, this one was a doozy! It was the first episode and pilot for the show that George Romero himself wrote and produced. The episode was called “Trick or Treat” and had demons, witches, pirate zombies and Satan himself all wrapped into a half an hour. Let’s break it down, shall we?

After the magical introduction we begin the story with a typical Scrooge-like character, Mr. Haggles, played by Bernard Hughes (one of my all time favorite actors). He is having his books balanced by a couple of accountants and we begin to learn what a cheap miser he really is, charging one of them .04 cents for another cup of coffee. But we also learn he has a twisted side too as he scares the two accountants into a bowel evacuation by an animatronic…thing that he uses on children during his favorite “SEASON”, Halloween.

It’s Willy from Alf!!!

That’s right. Mr. Haggles says what I have always believe and that is Halloween is a season, not a day. Anyway, he goes on to explain how every year he tempts the children in the valley to find the IOU’s of their parents that he holds liens on, hidden somewhere in his house, and if they find them all debt is forgiven. But no one ever has because of the terrifying tricks he has set up around his home.

We see during the afternoon of Halloween the bind he has on the parents as they are so deep in debt to Mr. Haggles that they even have to buy costumes for their children on credit in his general store. He taunts them into sending their children to the Hell house with the chance to have their debts forgiven.

Much like Romero’s style, there is a deep cultural issue hidden behind a cheeky horror story. We see how desperate people in financial distress can be and in some cases, putting their children in harm’s way to get out of their situation. I’m not going as far as saying prostitution but…kind of?

Oh Jimmy, find the IOU’s and get those much need braces or don’t find them and get a beating. The odds aren’t good since Mr. Haggles has a house full of spooky sounds and animatronic ghoulish surprises in store. Jimmy comes close but just couldn’t take the torture of Mr. Haggle’s taunts.

As Jimmy runs out of the house his father picks him up in a nurturing way and walks home defeated. Mr. Haggles laughs at the terrified kid but there is a moment when he has his bubble burst when Mr. Muldoon isn’t angry but rather a caring father. You can almost hear Mr. Haggles sigh a “humbug”. Who is next?

Another potential victim rings his doorbell and from his Wizard of Oz type control room, he looks to see who it is. Another kid? A parent coming to whoop an old man’s ass? Not quite!

In every story when a greedy person meets their fate, there seems to always be this third-party who’s entire being is for punishing the sinner. By far, this is my favorite punishment. He looks into the peephole only to see one of the scariest witches as she cackles a “trick or treat”. He opens the door to shoo away this prankster only to come to the realization that this is a real witch. She flies through the house on her broom and magically finds the hidden IOU’s and blows them in his face. Frantically, Mr. Haggles jumps to catch them all completely overlooking that he HAS A FUCKING WITCH IN HIS DEN and runs through the house shouting “my money!”.

 

In each room he is met with these type of creatures, who are not animatronic, but real and all over his cash. He is in disbelief that a pirate-zombie is sitting on his check deposits and scurries to salvage the flying cash. Which leads him to….

 

 

Ah, Satan himself. The Devil reverses the taunting and repeats “you’re getting warmer” and Mr. Haggles crawls his way down a bright red corridor which is made of what appears to be bubble wrap. While the set design looks to be a mediocre haunted garage that can be found in any suburb on Halloween night, it is a little creepy. Mr. Haggles crawls his way, chasing his blowing cash, to what is perceived to be Hell. Good riddance.

But what about all the poor people who were in debt to Mr. Haggles?

 

 

Well, the witch gave it all to Billy. The End.

As we finished this tale of awesome, I came out of my “Tales From The Darkside” trance to the world around me. Only Jimmy was sitting next to me but where was Rebecca? Apparently during the Hell scene she ran from the room and down to the bible study in tears telling her parents that I forced her to watch ‘R’ rated devil shows. Before I could evaluate the situation I heard the familiar sound of my Mom’s fast paced stair climbing gape. There was nowhere to hide. Jimmy looked at me and said, “You’re in a lot of trouble”. Fuck you, Jimmy, you home-schooled melvin.

The credits were still rolling while Mom and her parents breached the door and she yanked me from the floor so fast there was a tiny pop from a sound barrier break. I was escorted to my room by the elbow and Jimmy was taken downstairs to join his traumatized sister and would be given cookies and cake until their parents decided to leave. I cursed them all from my bed having daydreams much like Ralphy from The Christmas Story, thinking how sorry they would be if I was blind or have an affliction that required sympathy. But I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

By the next week when bible study came around, the melvins did not join me. I was thankful for this but my Saturday nights had to be spent without TV. But was it worth it?

Yes it was.

Goodbye

Well, I guess this was coming. I mean, I post about as regular as Jamie Lee Curtis. (Activia joke) I need to get a different forum and narrow the topic to a specific direction. While Veggiemacabre has been great, I am a different person than 2007. Maybe better or maybe worse but not the same. I loved this place and the people I have met through it.

I know Matt ended X-E and started DinosaurDracula. This is sort of the same thing but going forward you will see more of a media side since I have invested so much into software. I have a vision and as soon as the know-how happens you’ll see. Thank you for a wonderful five years. Watch below to get the skinny.

By the way, Veggiemacabre.tv will still be here. Just leaving this blog.

Good Journey!

Christmas Non-Jolly Traditions. Actually, Terrifying Is The Word.

Oh, Christmas traditions are a funny thing, eh? We put a dead tree in the living room and wrap it in electric wires, hang socks over a fireplace, drink booze at work parties, exchange gifts we know people will either give away the next year or return, wear sweaters that would make a crazy old lady wince, bribe our kids with gifts if they are good and use a made-up fat guy as leverage, and listen to music that we love until December 26th then completely hate. And all this has to do, somehow, with the Son of God being born in a barn. Trying to explain this holiday to an extraterrestrial would be difficult if not slightly embarrassing but if we compare our traditions with that of other countries, we may come off as silly but at least we aren’t creepy and sadistic. Let me shed some light on a few traditions other countries have on this holiday of holly jolly.

Let’s start with the Scandinavians. Apparently it’s bad news to go out the night of Christmas Eve because this is the night when trolls, goblins, witches and ghost are said to roam the land and before dawn they are the craziest. To venture out means certain death so pray there isn’t a late night run to the local mart for more cheese and beer.

The Swedes take it a step further by actually setting a table with a huge feast for dead relatives to return from the grave and party all night. The (living) family members close off the room, go to bed and not dare return until morning. They observe any signs that there was a ghostly gathering the morning of Christmas and I guess…open presents? No idea.

In Wales, it’s said dogs that howl during the night on Christmas Eve will go mad by years end. They also make a point to keep a candle lit through Christmas day and if it should go out means there will be a death in the house soon. Oh! Also if you cast a shadow on the wall and it appears headless you are totally fucked. I’m not making these up.

Another odd Netherlands tradition or folklore is to clean all of your Christmas decorations by February second and if you are late or leave behind any needles from wreaths or a tree, that is how many spirits and demons you will have for the rest of the year. This folklore I happen to like because seeing neighbors with Christmas decorations up any longer than a month after December should result in at least a curse.

Here is my personal favorite and it hails from Austria. I am not sure how cute elves were brought about as St. Nick’s assistant because the origin of Santa has a demon named Krampus helping him out. Yeah, a demon who tags along with him to handle the “naughty” list. Did I mention he is a rape demon too? Apparently he is described as an incubus that preys on sleeping people and follows around St. Nick delivering beatings to bad kids and the really bad ones go with Krampus down to Hell. This reward to punishment ratio seems a little bit one sided. If you are good you get a bunch of candy in your shoe. Bad, you get raped, beaten and dragged to Hell.

Damn, Santa is kind of a sick jerk.

Oh This Movie…

It’s not a little known fact that in the 1970’s the horror movie genre really focused on the Devil and all things Catholic, with a battle for the soul. Capstone by the academy award winning movie, The Exorcist, many films decided to ride the coattails of the success and a few New York Times best selling occult books became films. One of these films really slipped the spotlight but a revisit to it shows that just because you aren’t mainstream doesn’t mean you aren’t a winner. Even if if you are a taboo Satan-filled-lesbo-cake-eating-cat-from-Hell-Christopher Walken-minor-role-need-to-go-to-church-after-watching movie. Let us look at The Sentinel.

Now, I am not going to talk about every scene of the movie because you can just type “Netflix” in the browser and watch the movie if you are a member because it is on streaming. But what I will do is give you a brief synopsis, a highlight on some of the greatest actors in this loaded cast, some real “WTF” moments and above all, a look at the climax in a “you can’t do that on TV” scene. Seriously, you really can’t.

We begin with a quick shot at the Vatican as we meet what is, I guess, a select group of priests and we learn that there is a disturbance in the Force. The Force being all things Catholic and good. It’s not a strange beginning to this kind of film because most religious horror movies begin in another country just to show that what might happen in a familiar setting really has a global impact. Or at least traced from a really old place. Jumping to NY!

Think Fast Frisbee!

Here we are in New York as we meet the main characters of the film, Alison (Christina Raines) and Micheal (my favorite 1980’s horror icon, Chris Sarandon). Alison is a famous model as we can see because she is strikingly beautiful and her boyfriend, Micheal is a shrewd lawyer. Of course. They seem to have a happy relationship but only after a series of rocky starts since Micheal was married when they began their fling resulting is a separation from his wife. Via her death. Coincidence? Also, I should mention, Alison came from a not-so-normal childhood and attempted suicide a few times leaving her dependent on anti-depressants. Just throwing that out there.

So, we find out that Alison wants a place of her own for a while since she has been living with Micheal after his wife’s death. Seems like a plan. And that is where we find out that there are forces at work, drawing her to an apartment with a destiny of preconceived notions. (I don’t think that statement means anything.) She is drawn to a place that has both good and evil in it and there is about to be a battle for her. Better? But, that is temporarily postponed when she finds out her father is dying and she goes home to say goodbye and have a flashback or two.

Love that medicine has improved from the 70's!

We see that her father dies and we get a great glimpse of the father he used to be as she flashes back to her teenage years and brother, he was a fucked up unit. She walks in on him naked and in bed with two women and they are eating cake. And laughing. One is fat and the other is rather off her rocker and neither one minds old guy smell and old balls apparently.

Trust me, these boobs aren't worth seeing.

After her father sees her, in a frosting induced furry, he smacks her and really puts all 92lbs behind it. She takes off down the hall and after witnessing that mess, she cuts her wrists and then we flash-forward. Apparently she survived.

Well, after her father is dead and gone she comes back to occupy her residence and is met by none other than Charles Chazen (Burgess Meredith) playing a more devious but quite cavalier gentleman than Rocky’s coach. He invites himself in and introduces his bird, Mortimer, and his cat, Jezebel. This scene reminds me of when Yoda meets Luke for the first time inThe Empire Strikes Back. He’s a quirky guy but you know there is more to him than what he is representing.

Well, after excusing himself he exits, leaving behind a framed photograph of himself. (I find this classy and plan on doing that myself.) But if you think he is a strange neighbor then you gotta meet the two chicks that live below her. Gerde (Sylvia Miles) and Sandra (Beverly D’ Angelo) are two…odd lesbian ballerinas? I think? Anyway, after a brief introduction, Alison learns that Sandra is a mute and unable to talk. Gerde leaves the room to get tea and then this happens…

Claaark! Slow down!!!

This awkward  masturbation scene was both funny and a tad out there. Trying to regain composure, Alison makes an attempt to be conversational but when she asks what they do, Gerde says matter of factly, they fondle eachother. HEYOOO! Alison bolts.

Didn’t I say that I wasn’t going to do a play by play of this movie? Damn. Okay, I will be a little more brief.

Soon the apartment begins to take a toll on her as her fainting spells and headaches become increasingly worse. At night she has reoccurring nightmares and is awaken to her chandelier swinging by upstairs disturbances though it has been vacant for years. All spooky. Though her neighbors seem friendly, especially inviting her to a birthday party for Jezabel the cat, her dreams warn her that something isn’t quite right. “Black and white cake; Black and white cat.” I actually didn’t get that reference. Nevermind. Skip to a scary night.

Alison is again having a tough time sleeping in her new apartment and finally, she gets up and armed with a kitchen knife and a torch she ventures off to see what is going on. And she finds out!

While she is investigating, wouldn’t you know it, her light burns out. That always happens! Especially when a zombie in a diaper robotic-ly  walks past you and stops, facing the wall. This is horror to me! It’s a real “what the fuck just happened” scene. There is no jump scare or some creature attacking Alison. It’s as if she isn’t there and this thing has no real destination. It just mechanically walks from one side of the room to the next! UGH!

Well, curiosity gets the best of Alison and she approaches the remote control Gobot-that-hit-a-wall slowly asking who or what this thing is. You know who?

BAH! It’s her dead father! Alison laughs and gives him a huge hug. It’s very touching.

I’m just kidding. She screams and goes stabby on him, cutting off his nose and all. Bolting, she runs out of the apartment and collapses as people gather around her and call 911.

Jump scene! We are at the hospital.

Oh yeah, remember her boyfriend, Micheal? He is there and being interrogated by police since his new girlfriend is stating she stabbed her dead father and he is still under suspicion for wife’s death. But being the cunning lawyer he is, he gives no details to the investigators even though they coincidentally have a body that fit the description to the havoc Alison said she caused with a knife. This has two great things in that scene; a very young Christopher Walken and the lead investigator’s tie is as wide as it is long.

Micheal starts a little investigation of his own because he believes that there is something more sinister at work after he and Alison visit her apartment to retrace the moments when she stabbed her dead father. But nothing really makes sense to Micheal and after she writes in Latin from a book he reads to be in English, he is convinced the old recluse priest that is on the top floor of the Apartment may know something.

Oh yeah, there is a blind priest that is on the top floor that stares out the window all day. Well, he is seen at the window. That’s an important part. (God, I’m not very good at these)

With no luck getting into the apartment to talk with the recluse priest and even less luck from the Archdioceses, he decides to take matters into his own hands and calls up an old buddy to break in and steal the file on this priest.

THE BLESSING!

Well, in a hurried fashion and better conclusive skills than Velma from Scooby Do, Micheal figured out that all the people who live there have tried to commit suicide at one time in their life and each converted to the Catholic church and reside as a sentinel. And Alison is targeted to be next! No shit!

Armed with a gun, Micheal leaves Alison at a party, though she feels awful, and heads off to stop this rite of…sentinel-passing. When he arrives he sees a split in the wood on the wall and decides to bust it open. Not really sure why. But underneath is a sign straight out of Dante’s Divine Comedy. And sneaking up on him is…

Thank God we haven't invented smell-a-screen yet

…Father Freaky! Yes, the priest tells Micheal this is the gateway to Hell and as random as he came in, he leaves which pisses Micheal off. In a murderous rage, Micheal chokes the priest after he fails to answer his questions. But, little did Micheal count on there being two priests in the room. The other armed with a cement statue. Never expect murder from a priest. Hmmm.

Enter Alison. Of course she returns. She comes back to the apartment only to find Micheal…acting a bit strange. Almost instantaneously Alison knows Micheal isn’t himself. No, he begins to explain how he is damned to Hell because he killed his wife and that she is required to commit suicide and release the gates of Hell. It’s a stretch but that’s what is required.

No, there aren't strings attached to his makeup! What are you talking about?

Now this is the part that separates this movie from all other horror movies. You will never see this again in cinema for a few different reasons. 1: Special effects are much more realistic 2: Plastic surgery is quite advanced since the 1970’s and 3: this would never ever never ever fly with the FCC or any other super PC group. This is as fucked up as cinema gets.

So, Alison runs from decaying Micheal and meets the debonair Charels Chazen who is far less warm and goofy and a tad more…the Devil. He explains that she needs to finish her suicide and become apart of them. Not hearing the noise, Alison turns to run but is met by this…

and this…

and this…

Yes folks, they used real deformed people in the casting for The Sentinel. It is pretty crazy to think that there was an add for extras needing physical deformities to play the role of demons from Hell. This creeps me out to now end. It’s the kind of creep out that makes me want to shower or watch Nickelodeon to counterbalance my “ick” factor.

Well, long story short she is saved by the priests and she takes up the cross as the dominions from Hell shirk back to the abyss from which they came.

This movie is an old favorite of mine. I’m not really sure why? The plot is scattered, the setting seems to be hollow and the lead actress never really makes you care for her outcome. But there is this  1970’s high production feel that I love in horror movies from that time. That fast-paced city life that every-so-often rubs elbows with midevil beliefs and tears at the fabric to what is more important; sanity or soul. Like Matt said. I give it a B+ out of 17.

The End

The Move

So I moved this past week and it was quite they event. Of course it was an event! If I am involved, it’s going to be an event. So let me start this epic tale of how I moved an entire apartment alone in under two days. I know that might not seem like much of a feat but to a person like me it was so BACK OFF! ….sorry.

I live, as many of you know, in a small town in the northern sector of Idaho that is home to a huge University. During the summer months the town drops in population by about….everyone. The only ones around are the locals and the neurotic students who live in academia and refuse to accept that summer can be for fun too. I fall into the latter. But balancing a full-time job and research doesn’t leave much time for beer drinking and river floats. I am okay with that because really, summer vacation died years ago as well as it should have. If I am drunk at noon on a Tuesday sitting on a raft I need to reevaluate my commitments.

So, since there are not too many people around that means there are not too many people to help me move. No matter. I found a better place closer to campus and that’s a good thing since the 2010-11 winter forecast for the Northwest calls for something like an apocalypse of snow and my Georgia driving skills still don’t cut it for such weather. I can literally hit the campus with a football from my front porch. However…I must have been high when I toured the inside completely over looking the pink carpet and a wall color that brought up images from a Beatles song lyric “…yellow custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye…”. I get to that later.

Whenever I tackle a large project I tend to stand in a spot and stare, not knowing where or how to start. I know that things go in boxes and boxes go in a truck but the details overload my brain and if you stand close enough to me, I have been told, you can faintly hear the same alarms that a 737 has before it slams into the ground after being batted down by windsheer.

I do everything wrong while packing, like stack all my books in one astronomically heavy box and this is only after I get distracted halfway through by reading one of them because I forgot I owned it. Then I will pack another box with tissues and my collection of helium balloons. There is a reason I was never a bagger at the grocery store growing up. Guaranteed I would bag your milk, cat litter and eggs together and then tell you to go long.

I will say that I had help with the boxing of stuff and if I didn’t have that help, well, I would have a lot of broken shit. I even learned through observation how to do it! It’s somethin’ to add to the resume’. I am pretty grateful for that but unfortunately the hardest part was yet to come because the new place was not yet available and I would be on my own.

The day of the move was here and I was strategically set to transfer my stuff from apartment one, to truck, to apartment two without total confusion and minimal hernia. I really felt the only problem that would occur would be navigating the two section couch out the front door because it requires a certain angle and twisty motions to make it fit. While I was contemplating this geometrical dilemma there was a knock at the door. Peeking through the peak(p?)-hole I saw the type of visitor I really didn’t have time for: Jehovah’s Witnesses. Cheesus! It was 9am on a Saturday so who else could it be? I reluctantly opened the door and was greeted with a, “hello brother, do you have a few minutes to talk about the Word?”

“What word?”, I thought. I came so close to replying, “yep, I know the bird is the word, everybody knows that the bird is the word. Don’t you know that the bird is the word?” But instead I stood there and patiently listened to their mission and looked at their pamphlets. And then it hit me that perhaps there could be a barter between us.

I did this. As if I learned nothing from karma lessons in life, I conned the Jehovah Witnesses into helping me move my couch in return for a bible discussion later on in the week. Oh, and I gave them a made-up number too. Double farts.

Well, retribution was swift and immediate because when I went to move the Uhaul truck later in the day it completely died and I had to wait the next day for a replacement truck. Boppa Ooma Mow Mow.

Without going into a novel about the two-day war against gravity, stairs and knuckle-smashes I will just highlight a few key issues that will haunt me for time to come and why my next place with be a purchased ranch-style home and include professional movers.

My TV

I was given a TV from possibly one of the greatest people I have met during my time here in Idaho. It was a very generous gift but for a brief period of time I was certain that this gift was not out of love but sheer hate. The TV is an older model that has a 52″ screen give or take a few. But I don’t know what goes into the construction of this piece of technology because it’s 200 lbs of awkward weight displacement leads me to believe that it is full of water, lead and a dead midget that used to power the reception before everything went digital. It is quite possibly the worst thing to move in the history of pushing, pulling, lifting or setting down and doing it by one’s self up stairs is what I could only imagine to be like reverse child-birth. Once I have this thing set up in the den I think the first thing I am watching is porno because I feel that this TV needs to give me something back.

Futon

The funny thing about a futon is how many moving parts the frame has to make it transform from couch to bed. No matter which way you turn the damn thing to negotiate an obstacle, a lever or panel will come crashing down on a finger and cause you to involuntarily speak in tongues. I think I made noises similar to beluga whales mating because on my way up the stairs to my new apartment I heard two girls say “Oh my god, let’s take the other stairs. Something is wounded down there.” Remind me to light dog shit on their front door later, will ya?

Odds and Ends

When all the big items and boxes are finally moved, the little details are left in the old place and I have come to find out that this is the part that will cause fist-itches. I never knew how many pennies one can collect in a year but they are everywhere. God I hate them so. Because of the Uhaul dilemma I found myself in a race against the clock to do one last clean before the landlord showed up to do a final walk through. I was vacuuming like Charro on a four-foot coke rail. Right up to the point the vacuum found a penny causing the vacuum to go from “VROOOOROOOO” to “VROOOREEEEEEE”.

There is nothing like sacrificing a late move-out charge of $100 over one cent. But I made it just in time. I even got the deposit back too. I guess they where surprised that I was a neat tenant since this place was full of college kids that treat these units like Motley Crüe treats a Hyatt room.

So getting settled a new place is taking time. Well, that’s not true because I have collectively been in the place for a day since I have been on business trips since I dragged in the last piece of furniture. But yesterday I was able to come home and begin the second phase: unpacking. This is when I find out that little things like the stubby leg of the coach actually is important and not to be discarded. Oh and wires for all electronics shouldn’t be thrown into one box and tied in a knot. And that in a rush, I probably should have just thrown away my bananas rather than placing them in a box marked “random” and forgetting about them.

Also, dimensions are not always universal. Take my drawers.

HAHAHAHA! *shoots self*

For about 6 hours yesterday I painted the place because living with the current color is like living with your high school science fair awards displayed on the wall; people will notice and most likely not tell you there is a problem. I went to Home depot and $200 dollars later I have a weekend project. The pink carpet however will be a fight worth fighting. I just need to be in the same time zone for one fucking day to do it.

Oh! One more lesson I learned. No matter how careful you try, you will get paint on yourself so don’t wear your favorite pants. Actually, if it’s a latex based paint, do it in the nude. It washes off skin but clothing gets screwed. If you need me I will be freaking out the neighbors while painting with my windows open. Chao’!

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