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!

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.


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.


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.


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…


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.




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.



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….


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.

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