I’m in a Pub

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Hi. I never know how to being these posts, So right this second I am in a pub that was established in 1688. So that makes it older than any bar in the USA by a mile. I am gathering my courage to attacking the crazy folklore that is said to be laden throughout this place. So, I will just make friends and do my normal thing until I feel it’s is appropriate to go weird and ask about dead queens and Satanism. Give me a second.

-Will

Scotland and Spookems

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I am not really sure what I mean by that title but let’s just go with it.

I’m in Scotland! This trip has a lot of angles to it meaning there is mostly business but if you think I will waste a trip to a place so notorious with lore, spooks and spectrums not to mention a monster in the lake (Lake Loch Ness) right outside my window, you’re crazy. I am bring you with me every step of the way here so pay attention to Tumblr and my notifications because you will be inundated with posts from now through the 31st with so much spookiness. That is a guarantee.

One thing I need to figure out is how to find a power converter for the Mac so in the meantime the main website might not be updated properly so just hang loose on the blog format until then. I thought I brought the right ones but some are European and not the UK versions for the conversions. This is how I typically pack so there is no wonder why I am not married yet. In fact, I am pretty sure I packed three pairs on boxers and twelve t-shirts. Thank goodness this hotel has laundry service each morning.

So, I have some plans to take advantage of my presence in Scotland DURING the 2017 Halloween Hell Show. I am going to some scary/haunted castles and that is certain. The second half of my trip will be in a haunted inn which is said to be one of the most sought after destinations for people like me and is rumored to have driven a few people mad with fright. I would let you know the rest but I will be keeping that for a surprise throughout the week.

I am keeping the GoPro for the main video source and yes, it will be much less annoying than the coverage of the Aokigahara haunted Japanese forest because now I have a STICK! Well, it’s like a mounted handle so I will not swipe over the microphone and you can hear solid audio instead of “SHSDFGHJSKOUWYEGUTGJKLH”. For a lot of shorts and quick posts just check out the Veggiemacabre Tumblr. I really want to bring you with me on this trip so the best way I can is multiple ways. You understand.

I do have some work to do here and that means lots of golf. I guess it’s the destination or something for golfers or so they tell me. I mean, the sport was invented here some 4,000 years ago. They invented an outside sport where the weather is windy, cold and rainy most of the year. Got it. I have to do this for some of the trip but my American friends shouldn’t mind too much because by the time I get off the courses it will be barely the afternoon back home. I still have plenty of time for the spooky stuff.

After today I found out I’m not too good. In fact, I am pretty humbled by this game here in Scotland. Hitting a drive into a 45 mile per hour wind can really take your ego down a notch. In fact, if you even think about hitting the ball slightly outside of the green, forget it. It’s gone. Fairies already took it underground to build a weird Swede-style house. To look for it means the group behind you gets ill and your caddy thinks you suck even worse. Honestly, it’s a stress that makes one question what the fuck is wrong with people who can afford this silly game. You can hit a perfect shot on one hole and then slightly tilt your neck on the next and you hit like complete shit. I can’t say I hate it but if given the choice, I would rather be a competitive line-dancer doing “The Shimmy Slide” for ever.

I hope you can read my sarcasm.

So, the internet is total shit here. It might be the time of the evening I am writing this but even Tumblr said it is “crappy internet”. Honestly, the millennials who run Tumblr are amazing. Please never grow up to be old and cranky like the rest of us.

So, I will try my best with the Halloween Hell Show shenanigans for the next 10 days but trust me, October will be the best one yet and we will have a blast. That I know!

Just a Note For the Halloween Hell Show

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Hi there! The season is kicking a long and while I am a bit behind on the posts from September, they are written and waiting for proofreading because I have a habit of coming off illiterate if I do not. You know what they say, “write drunk; edit sober”. So please stay tuned for that and the amazing fun we will have in October.

There is one item I do want to throw out there. Every season I budget for what crazy stuff I will buy and write about. Come November, however,  it is pretty shocking the load of stuff that is intended to be shared but often I just run out of daylight in the season. No one wants to read about a talking skeleton wearing a Hawaiian shirt when the mind is on Christmas trees. It’s the dilemma of having a full-time job AND a secret Halloween obsession.

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This year, I need to change it up. Between the three hurricanes and the massive earthquake in Mexico City, I just cannot put wasted funds toward unnecessary junk when it may fall to the way side. I mean, there is NOTHING left in Puerto Rico, guys. Nothing! Watching this happening has effected me quite a bit and I think the best way to do something is donate my silly Halloween Hell Show budget to charity. It ain’t much but it is something especially since there is no guarantee I will get around to posting it.

But don’t worry! It will still be as fun and stupid as it ever has been in the past! I will be in Scotland next week taking you to hunt Nessy in the Loch, haunted castles and a cemetery so scary it has government warnings when you enter. Also, I will be on the Moors! I have more reviews hitting this week and a series to honor Monster Madness and the movies you should be including in your playlist.

If you want to join in this particular charity, I am donating to Dominica Hurricane Relief Fund.  I have researched this pretty thoroughly and it is a crowd funding charity and every dime goes directly to the people. It’s hard to pick right now. The entire Caribbean is devastated and they have no clean water, power, or even food right now. It’s a shit show in many areas so whatever can be given should be.

Okay, that is my song and dance. I wanted to share so it might inspire someone else to give a little because September has devastated so many and if the Halloween Hell Show can help even 0.00001% and bring others along, I would say that it is doing its job.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming. Up later this evening, we go back to Savannah with spooky haunted hotels and personal accounts of ghosts hijacking  phones? Yup. That is a thing.

The Spookiest Way To Escape Monday

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I hate this time of the day. I hate Sundays, actually. I shouldn’t because I should be thankful for everything and love every second but when the sun gets low on the horizon and I know what awaits me in less than a few hours, I get salty. I am sure it comes from my youth and holding my homework off until after America’s Funniest Home Videos or worseprocrastinating all the way until after Amazing Stories finishes causing the stress to really amp up. I thought maybe these feelings would ease over the years but still, as an adult, when the sun gets low, my worries about Monday’s responsibilities weigh heavy.

I find comfort in the sanctuary of my bedroom on these nights watching something via ROKU that takes me away from the realities of the tough meetings and cutthroat races which begin the minute my tie is tied. Usually, it is something that brings me a guilty comfort I wouldn’t want just anyone to see. I guess tonight I’ll confess to you what takes me out of my anxiety.

Hollywood Ghost Stories

I have written about this before but nothing chills my bones more than this documentary. One of my first introductions into the horror genre, it absolutely terrified me so much that became a weirdo horror fan. That is staying something! It wastes no time in hitting you with both fists by starting with an interview of William Peter Blatty and the movie, The Exorcist. Imagine never seeing any horror movie and watching documentary showing you all the scariest and most shocking parts of a horror movie and informs you they are all true.

The Haunting 1991

Again, something  I have written about before but this one still gets me! Based on a book about a supposed true story, this made-for-TV movie aired on a Sunday night about this time of the year. I didn’t sleep for a week after and many nights I camped in a sleeping bag at the foot of my parent’s bed. This Hallmark Channel styled narration really amped the demonic haunting, thanks to the skilled acting of Sally Kirkland. It’s one that gets under the skin and stays there. Especially the laundry room scene. “Janet!”

This Ghost Documentary 

Not sure how or when I found this but it is the quintessential ghost documentary of all time. It never ceases to make me pull the covers close and go into fight or flight mode when one of the cats pushes bedroom door open. This one covers some of the most incredible footage in the world of the paranormal so make sure you have everything you need in bed because you will not want to go downstairs to the kitchen after watching this.

That’s my quick blurb about my guilty bedtime comforts this time of the year. What are yours?

Don’t forget the closet light!

A Day In the Aokigahara Forest

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 Note: I want to mention that this post deals with the topic of suicide. Mental illness is a disease that comes with an unfair stigma unlike any other disease. Those that suffer, do so silently and often the way out is of their own accord. Please, if you feel this way talk, reach out and ask for help. It always gets better. Always.

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Over the years I have visited many spooky places across the country and all but a couple have left something to be desired. I am a big optimist and fall for folklore and urban legends because I want to believe. I love the stories of the lone tragic dead bride who is cursed to wander the halls of a Holiday Inn for all eternity. So many places jump on the ghost story wagon and when you’re a gullible tourist, like myself, you should walk away disappointed when you don’t get the willies even though almost all the stories are greatly exaggerated.

There is a place, however, which exceeds any folklore or spooky yarn. It is so dark and disturbing, Hollywood and authors alike have tried to capture the essence of this destination but have not even touched what I experienced. Even the Japanese people themselves do not talk about it and if you, as an outsider, bring this into conversation you will be met with judging eyes and uncomfortable body language. This is the place people enter and they do not plan to come out. It is said to be cursed and full of vengeful spirits that float on the periphery of the eye to lure visitors to their doom. It’s name is the Aokigahara Forest but is also called the Sea of Trees, Sea of Forest, Japan’s Demon Forest but is most commonly referred to as the Japanese Suicide Forest.

I spent an entire day inside this forest and even though I successfully found my way out, it has not left me. I do not believe it ever will.

The dark history of this forest goes back to almost twelve hundred years to a period of famine in Japan. To reduce the number of mouths to feed, families would abandon their elderly in the forest knowing they would have no way of finding their way out and would eventually die of starvation or exposure. In the sixties, a the book Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees) became a very popular story which ends with the two lovers in the story committing suicide inside the forest. This is speculated to be the reason many people sought the forest to be a final destination and the book, itself, has been found many times inside the forest.

The Japanese government would post the numbers of deaths inside the Aokigahara Forest but after the financial crisis of 2008, there was a dramatic spike that only increased over the following years. After 2013, it was decided the stats were not to be published for fear it would only draw more attention to this macabre destination. As of this year the average is thought to be as many as two per day.

The Aokigaraha Forest is located at the base of Mt. Fuji and has the most insane topography because the floor is formed from lava flows from the volcano. The trees are lush and grow in twisted, odd formations and thick moss covers almost everything. It is so dense that in the middle of the afternoon it can feel like the middle of the night so shadows will not cast. And the sound! I have never to an outside location where your ears feel almost compressed and it feels absolutely deafening. Your breath sounds like waves of noise and you have to stop to get your heartbeat under control just to listen for anything in the woods. I can understand the what those who come here might feel. The forest surrounds you and every sense you have is taken over.

As you will see in the video below, I get turned around a few times. It is about fourteen miles of forest and most of it is almost impossible to get to. If you leave the path it can be extremely dangerous because of the lava flow rock floor, caves and deep pockets are everywhere. You could be walking through and drop into a cavern, never to be heard from again. Also, hundreds of years of fallen foliage makes traversing the area a knee-deep slog what could hide almost anything underneath. I left the trail only a few times but just feet away, I lost my orientation and came close to my way losing the trail. The forest and trees have a way of wanting to keep you.

I did my best to keep track of where I was through simple land navigation tricks like measuring my stride and footsteps to figure out how far in I was and how long it would take to get back. The trail map, however, was definitely not calibrated to exact distance so a few hours in, it was clear I really turned around. To add a little stress to the situation, I had a bus home scheduled for 7pm. By the end of the day it was a race to not only get out of the forest but get out as close to where I started from. Not easy when all the signs are in Japanese characters.

There were times when I could not tell if my mind, ears or eyes were playing tricks on me. I saw absolutely no one the entire time I was in the forest. There were no hikers, workers or even the tourists with a curiosity like myself. I moved with a quickness to see as much of the forest as possible in the six hours I was in but occasionally I stopped dead in my tracks because I heard people having conversations off the trail. Knowing the dangers of leaving the trail I would quickly look in the direction I thought the voices were coming from and there was nothing. This seemed to happen more frequently the longer I was in the forest.

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They say, if you follow ropes in the Aokigahara, it will lead to something. It does. I made the decision not to publish completely what I found to show respect for whoever was there, the Japanese culture and the topic of suicide. I did not find a body but I did see an abandoned tent, blankets, empty pill cases and looped rope tied high in a tree. It was the most sinking feeling of utter hopelessness I have ever felt. And I don’t think that feeling will leave me for a long time. That’s all I have to say about that.

Eventually I made it out of the forest, though it was a little stressful finding the right stop that still had an active bus associated with it. When I realized the one I waited for was not an active stop, I had to go back into the forest to make it a stop that had a bus. That’s when my mind was the most paranoid and I really felt hundreds of eyes on me as I moved with a quickness to escape the dark. I can still distinctly remember hearing people out there but I know there were none.

Well, spoiler alert, I survived. I found my way out and made it home but even as I write this, I know that forest came with me. I think about it all the time and the feelings that permitted the trees, the ground and the silent air. Even I write this, I can hear that split second chattering out beyond the trails. There is something there. That I know.

I kept this video pretty raw because any music or editing would detract from what was happening. I am a bit annoyed by the GoPro Hero 5 I was using because apparently there is an audio port I couldn’t see so there is a lot of accidental finger rubbing over the microphone. To be honest, that camera is a pretty big disappointment for the cost.

I hope you get at least 1% of what I experienced from this video. It’s shaky and raw but hopefully it can bring you a little closer to the Sea of Trees: The Aokigahara Forest. With much respect to the culture of the Japanese people, thank you.