Category Archives: Scary Stories

International Clown Week: Laughs & Scares

We’re at the tail-end of International Clown Week, and there’s no way I can just ignore a whole week that celebrates those creepy bastards.  After all, one of my favorite horror characters is a clown.

image

Not him, but he’ll do.

So I present to you (drumroll):

7 Fun and Creepy Clown Facts

1.  The fear of clowns is called coulrophobia.  Scientists say this widespread fear is due to the “uncanny valley” effect in which something looks almost human but not quite, creating an unsettling feeling.

2.  Serial killer John Wayne Gacy used to perform as a clown for children’s parties, fundraising events, and parades.  His performing name was Pogo the Clown.

3. Johnny Depp is terrified of clowns.  He’s stated they “have a potential for real evil.”

image

Him? Nah…

 

4. American Horror Story’s Twisty the Clown caused an uproar in the clowning community because the character was so scary.  Many professional clowns are against the scary clown trope because it promotes coulrophobia.  Their anger is understandable because that has got to be bad for business.

5. Masks from Killer Klowns from Outer Space were used to make some of the trolls in the movie Ernest Scared Stupid.

6.  Actors from the TV miniseries of Stephen King’s IT stated that they avoided Tim Curry on set because his portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown was too damn frightening.

7.  Two separate budding filmmakers frightened residents of their respective towns by dressing up as clowns and appearing creepily in places.  The incidents occurred in 2013 in Northampton and in 2014 in Staten Island, and both kept their identities a secret for a while, increasing the mystery and fear.

image

If you feel like celebrating clowns and all the fear they incite, you still have time.  Why not watch some scary clown-related movies like Stephen King’s It, Carnival of Souls, or Poltergeist (murderous clown doll, anyone?)?

Or maybe just dress up as a clown and pop up in random places around your home town.  You know.  Just to get the word out.

Lights Out & Other Creepy Internet Videos

Happy Friday everyone!  The big day has arrived!  I’m going to watch Lights Out tonight!  I’ve said this in a few of my past posts, but I have been so freaking excited for the release of this movie.  I saw the short film a while ago (click here for link to video), and I’ve been counting down to the feature-length movie since I heard they were doing one. And now my wait is over!!!

*Happy Dance* *Happy Dance*

In honor of this movie and since my little obsession with it all started with the short film I saw on YouTube I, I thought I’d post my top favorite scary Internet videos just to get your blood pumping this fine Friday morning.

If you’re at work, fair warning: some of these are jumpers.

The Fallen Angel

Some men out in the woods try to chase down something strange that they saw, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Grudge Girl

This one is short, simple, and just fun.

Body of a Pig

A creepy voice is recorded in a creepy place, and it goes unnoticed until the men involved watch the video.  So cool.

Silent Hill Real Life P.T.

I love the Silent Hill game series, and this fan-made version of the P.T. trailer is fantastically scary.

Marble Hornets series

This is actually a creepy Internet series inspired by SlenderMan.  Although they’re a little slow at times, I enjoyed them.

Max Headroom Incident

Most of these videos are staged or obviously fake, but this one is actually of a real incident in 1987 when someone hijacked a TV station.  The person responsible has never been found.

Bedfellows

I love a good short film, and this one is so freakin’ creepy.  No spoilers. Just watch.

Crooked Rot

It’s hard to describe this one.  It’s a music video?  Kinda? Maybe?  I don’t know, but I bet you won’t be able to stop watching once you start.

The Mysterious Stranger

This short is from The Adventures of Mark Twain.  Claymation is pretty creepy anyway.  Throw in a little Satan, and you have yourself a very freaky little video.

I hope you enjoyed the videos.  So who else is going to watch the movie tonight?  Let me know in the comments, and have a very scary weekend!

The Deadly Flan: My Search for a Long, Lost Scary Poem

When I was in high school, I took drama for a semester.  The class was riddled with problems because the teacher in line to teach it quit within the first few days of the school year.  We had substitute after substitute that just didn’t know what to do with us, but there was one in particular that really tried.

She asked us all to find a poem or some short monologue to perform in front of class.  Being a fan of creepy things, I decided to look up scary poems on the internet .  That’s when I found “The Deadly Flan” by Loro Figgy.

It was a fun poem about a murder, and I practiced and practiced until I had it just right.  I was so excited to perform it in front of the class – and then the substitute quit. *sigh*

I had a copy of it at one point, but it’s been missing for years. And sadly, it was on an old Angelfire site that is now defunct.

It’s missing. I’m sad.

So this is a call for help.  Some parts are ingrained in my mind but not all, and it’s driving me insane.  This is what I remember:

“The Deadly Flan”

by Loro Figgy

I baked a big flan,

A deep cherry flan,

In a pan made of plastic. It melted.

So I served the thing up,

In a big paper cup,

To my guest and she died when she smelt it.

“The death,” the judge stated,

“Was premeditated.”

The prosecution agreed.

“Will you make your repentance,

Before I pass sentence.

Oh, wait. How do you plead?”

Well, I did what I could.

I blamed Sara Lee, Betty Crocker, and Darjeeling Tea.

Said I, “They conspired,

Their short tempers fired,

To kill both my friend and me.”

[MISSING]

“But I with a soul,

As pure as a foal,

Came wandering in unawares.”

“I saw the dire coven,

Their heads in the oven,

And thought they were baking eclairs.”

[MISSING]

“And gave it to my dear friend, Anne.”

[MISSING]

“So you see, oh judge,

The plot wasn’t mine.

Surely, no fault befalls me.”

“The culprits are there!”

And I pointed, “Those three,

Ms. Crocker, Ms. Lee, and Ms. Tea.”

[MISSING?]

Well, I’m here today,

And I’m happy to say,

My pride has made me walk taller.

Though it’s sad and it’s grim,

The company’s slim,

For the town where I live has grown smaller.

[MISSING?]

Perhaps, I’ll invite,

Just to mellow their spite,

For the lies I issued in court,

Betty Crocker, Sara Lee,

And Darjeeling Tea,

And bake them a blueberry torte.

So there you have it.  That’s what I remember.  I plead with any of you out there, if you have read this poem or have a copy tucked away somewhere, please oh please fill in the gaps.

I’ll bake you something for it.

Scary Fairies: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry Series

Today is International Fairy Day, and since it’s also time for a Friday Night Frights post, I thought we’d do a mashup.

I know what you’re thinking.  Fairies?  On a horror blog?  You must be trippin,’ yo.  (That’s what you’re thinking, right?)  But while most people think of Tinkerbell when they think of fairies, you should know that not all of them are sugary sweet.  Some fairies are downright scary.

image

Like this one, but not as hot. Heh. Hot. Get it?

Monstrous fairies pop up in folklore from all corners of the globe.  There’s the Celtic fairy, Ankou, who is doomed to collect souls forever.  The Berberoka are a race of fairies from the Philippines that are basically mermaids who lure fisherman to their deaths.  And we really can’t talk about fairies without mentioning the fairies of Scotland.

Scotland, in particular, has quite a few in their legends that take on some very menacing forms, including – my favorites – the sluagh and Red Caps.  The sluagh were believed to be spirits of the restless dead, and Red Caps were a group of fairies that would mop up the blood of their vanquished foes with their caps.  Cool, right? These guys actually feature pretty prominently in one of my favorite book series: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry novels.

image

As you can see from this pic of my well-worn copy of the first book in the series, I’m a fan.  And if you’re interested in reading about some very non-Disney fairies, I suggest you check these books out.  As of right now, there are only nine in the series (Ms. Hamilton isn’t quite finished yet), and if you like them as much as I do, they won’t take long to read.

What are they about?  I’ll give you a quick rundown (Spoiler Alert?).  Merry is a faerie princess of the Unseelie court (look it up) who comes out of hiding involuntarily and must return to court to find a suitor to give her a child (i.e., knock her up) so she can win the throne.  Along the way, she encounters a whole host of freaky fairies with all sorts of cool, creepy powers.

For real.  Read these. They’re fun.  I wouldn’t lie to you.

Let me know if you end up reading the series, or if you already have (and in that case, kudos to you), let me know what you think in the comments.

I hope everyone has a very Happy International Fairy Day! What are you going to do to celebrate?

Throwback: Are You Afraid of the Dark?

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, Snick on Nickolodeon was the highlight of my weekend (except for Tales from the Crypt).   So many classic Nick shows.  From Clarissa Explains It All to Ren & Stimpy, so many memories and so many laughs.

And, of course, there was this little gem.

image

Are You Afraid of the Dark? premiered on Nickelodeon in the early 90s and taught kids my age the art of the scary story.  Stories were based on urban legends, supernatural beings, or fairy tales, and they always had a twist.  They were like Tales from the Crypt or The Twilight Zone for a younger audience, except instead of the Cryptkeeper or Rod Serling, it had the Midnight Society, a group of kids who met at midnight around a campfire to tell scary stories.  I always thought the Midnight Society was the coolest thing ever, and I wanted so badly to have a group like that of my own.

But whose parents are just going to let their 10-year-old out at midnight to hang around a campfire at a secret location in the woods?  Not many.

image

 

There were so many awesome stories and characters.  Some of my favorite episodes were:

  • The Tale of Laughing in the Dark:  A kid visits a local carnival’s haunted house and steals the nose of Zeebo, an animatronic clown that turns out to be a little attached to his missing body part.
  • The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors: New neighbors arouse the suspicion of children in the house next door, who suspect they might be vampires.
  • The Tale of the Frozen Ghost: A kid and his babysitter visit his aunt’s house and encounter a spirit haunting the area.  (To this day, I still utter a sad little “I’m cold” when I’m freezing.  Watch it. You’ll know what I mean.)
  • The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner: A boy accidentally unleashes a comic book villain who terrorizes his town.
  • The Tale of the Dangerous Soup: A teen starts working in a restaurant and finds out their best-selling soup has an interesting ingredient.

image

I might just have to watch some of these again.  They might be for a younger crowd, but I’ve never really grown up, so it’s okay.

Anyone out there have some favorite episodes they want to share?  What are your favorite scary shows from your childhood?

Frightmaster Lovecraft, Spinnin’ Terror

It’s Friday again, and if you’re looking for a way to start your weekend off with a fright, then I suggest you look into the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

image

Even if you haven’t read any of Lovecraft’s stories, you are still sure to have read, heard, or watched something that was influenced by him.  Multiple musicians, directors, comic book artists, and authors (including the master of horror himself, Stephen King) have cited Lovecraft as a huge inspiration in their work.

And for all you Evil Dead fans (myself included), you know the Necronomicon?  Yeah.  He invented that.  Respect.

Now, if you’re looking for light reading, this ain’t it.  His stories boast some of the heaviest content I have ever read.  Thinking about the size of the universe and your place in it can make you feel small, but Lovecraft’s descriptions of our place in the galaxy, the origins of our ancestors, and ancient inhabitants of our planet make you feel positively microscopic.

image

It’s not feel-good material is what I’m saying.  It’s just good.  Really good.

My favorites of his stories are “At the Mountains of Madness,” “Dreams in the Witch House,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Shunned House,” and, of course, “The Call of Cthulhu.”

image

It’s about this guy, but scarier.

I suggest you start with all of those and keep going.

Not much of a reader?  No problem.  Check out the following movies and TV episodes based on or influenced by his work:

  • Re-Animator (1985): This horror-comedy based on Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West – Re-Animator” is gory, disturbing, and hilarious.
  • Masters of Horror – “Dreams in the Witch House” (2005):  The second episode of this awesome series (check it out if you haven’t already) is directly taken from the story of the same name.  It’s dark and creepy, and it’s one of my favorites.
  • South Park – “Coon 2: Hindsight,” “Mysterion Rises,” & “Coon vs. Coon & Friends” (2010): Trouble begins in the first episode of this trilogy when DP drills too deep into the ocean floor and releases Cthulhu from the watery depths.  Of course, Cartman is there to make friends.  If you love to laugh, this will not disappoint.
  • The Thing (1982): Although it isn’t actually based on the story, this movie is reminiscent of “At the Mountains of Madness,” one of my all-time favorite Lovecraft stories.  Antarctica? Check.  Doom? Check. Gloom? Check. Creepy Alien Lifeforms? Check.

I believe I’ll take my own advice and re-read some of my favorite stories over this long weekend.  What about you?  Do you have any favorites?  What Lovecraftian horrors give you the chills?

Have You Heard of the Goatman?

It’s another edition of Friday Night Frights, and for this one, I really want to draw your attention to one of my all-time favorite scary stories.  Have you heard of the Goatman?

There are Goatman legends in quite a few parts of the country, namely the Pope Lick Monster in Kentucky, the Lake Worth Monster in Texas, and the Goatman of Maryland.

But I’m not talking about those.

I am from Oklahoma, so Native American folklore has always been pretty fascinating to me.   I grew up around Native American burial grounds, and there have been more than a few arrowheads found around my childhood home.  Since I’ve always been a horror junkie, these circumstances have fueled my imagination ever since I was little because – well – burial grounds = dead people = ghosts.

Like these guys but – you know – scarier.

So when I came across Anansi’s Goatman Story a few years ago, I immediately fell in love.  If you haven’t read it, I suggest you go read it now…unless it’s still daytime.  Wait until night for a better effect.

In my opinion, this version of the Goatman is the most terrifying.  This story just speaks to me. My house was near the woods, so I have little trouble imagining myself in the same situation.  I can remember so many fun times with my friends out there in the forest: camping out, having sleepovers with late-night treks through the trees, and telling so many scary stories that every snap and crackle we heard became a monster.  I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I were alone out there at night.

forest-868082_1280

Thinking about hearing strange jabbering noises coming from the dark woods while you’re helpless to do anything, smelling something so out-of-place it puts you on edge, and realizing one of the people in your group doesn’t belong – well, that just creeps me right the hell out.  But in an extremely good way.

Because of the popularity of this story, other internet storytellers have hopped on board the Goatman train.  And I love every story I read.  There have been stories on Reddit’s No Sleep and Creepypasta that have a similar vibe, and I hope they keep coming.  Just check them all out.

So what’s your favorite scary story?

Paranormal Celebrations, True Stories

Happy Paranormal Day!  I hope everyone out there is getting a good dose of the supernatural, but in case you’re struggling to find the right way to celebrate, here are my suggestions.

  1.  Watch a little Paranormal Activity…with your imagination.  I will defend these movies forever.  Just imagine yourself in those situations.  Would you need crazy CGI to freak out if you were in those characters’ shoes?  No.  You wouldn’t.
  2.  Read a good piece of supernatural fiction.  My favorites are the Anita Blake and Hollows series.  They might not be truly scary, but I love the magical worlds Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison create.
  3.  Get lost in the true and not-so-true creepy stories on Reddit on subreddits like NoSleep or Paranormal.  I’d also suggest searching for creepy stories on the AskReddit subreddit.  I love reading about people’s scary experiences.

tension-fi-NathanGrey

Now for a true story.  Let me set the stage.

I was a freshman in high school, and my mother, sister, and I had just gotten home after a grocery trip one day after school.  As my mother began to prepare our dinner and my sister started to pass some time on the computer in the dining room, I remembered I had a permission slip that I needed signed for a field trip.  So, I went to my room at the back of the house to search my backpack.

My room was right across from my parents’ bedroom, and at this time my bed was situated where the end of the bed was even with the edge of my door frame about 10 feet across the room.  My mother that day was wearing a cream-colored sweater. This comes into play in a minute.

While I was searching for the permission slip in my backpack at the foot of the bed, I heard my dad come home.  He was talking to my mom and sister, and I could hear them joking around.   I finally found the piece of paper I was looking for, and while I was wrestling it from the other papers in my bag, I saw very clearly with my peripheral vision my mother walk past my doorway and into her bedroom into her closet.

Or so I thought.

I told her to wait one second while I got her to sign the paper, and I heard a very clear, “Hmm?”  I immediately followed her into her room with the paper and a pen and turned into the walk-in closet.

No one was there.

I stood there for a few seconds, really confused because I had JUST SEEN HER WALK IN THERE and she had JUST ANSWERED ME.  I walked back to the kitchen and saw that my mom was exactly where I left her, washing vegetables for dinner.  My sister was still on the computer, and my dad was taking off his work boots.

What. The. Hell.

I walked back to my parents’ room, but – of course – nothing was there.  I didn’t really expect there to be.  I was so weirded out that I didn’t even make a big deal about it, which is pretty strange because I’m all about this stuff normally.  I just couldn’t believe that had just happened.  I ended up telling my mom about it one day, and she said that the house could be creepy sometimes but that it was probably nothing.  My sister thought it was cool and said she felt creepy in the back of the house at times.

I forgot about it for the longest time until one day my family and I were eating dinner at a restaurant in Branson.  We were talking about creepy things, and my dad happened to mention that he thought there was something in our house.  He said he’d seen out of the corner of his eyes a Native American woman in a cream-colored shawl walk around our house at least a few times.

Say what now?

I had a momentary freak-out when I heard this and told him about the woman I had seen go into his bedroom closet.  He just said that he believed it.  My parents’ house is located in Eastern Oklahoma, and there are quite a few Native American burial grounds close to our house.  It’s very possible we have a few ghosts that call our land home.

Each of my family members’ have seen or felt creepy things in the back of our house from time to time.  My sister has even had a few things moved from her shelves and placed on the floor in her room.

Silly ghosts.

So that’s my story.  It’s not flashy, but it’ll do.  Anyone out there have a creepy paranormal encounter?  I’d love to hear it.

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback: Chilling Children’s Stories

Slumber parties. Sleepovers. Campouts. When a group of children gather, it’s just a matter of time before scary stories are told.

Some of my best memories are of ghost stories told in whispers at sleepovers after all the adults had gone to bed.   So for this Throwback Thursday post, let’s talk about the books and stories that fueled the fire.

In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories

1461122295892

This book was my first introduction to reading horror stories.  My mom would take my sister and me to the public library for their summer reading program, and we always wanted to check out this book.

Like most children’s books, the stories are short and simple.  But although it’s written for kids, the content is chilling even today.  It’s full of tales taken from folklore of various cultures.  The illustrations set the tone of the book with a little bit of humor and just the right amount of creepiness.

The story that stands out most to me is the one about the girl who wore a ribbon around her neck. Spoiler alert: her husband removes it on her deathbed, and her head falls off. As a kid, I loved that one.

The Scariest Stories You’ve Ever Heard

1461122128741

I snagged these at book fairs in elementary school and brought them with me to every sleepover.  My love of urban legends came from these books, which were directed at a younger audience but were still full of dark and scary content.

The call is coming from inside the house!” Yep. The first time I ever heard or read these words was from the first book in this series.  I remember the first time I read about the hook hand and the one about the boyfriend who is hung over his car while his girlfriend waits inside, listening to the scratch, scratch, scratch of his feet above.

Good times.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

1461122419009

Oooooohhhhh, man.  Lets talk about the big daddy of them all.  If you’re in your mid-20s to mid-30s and had even a slight interest in scary stories as a kid, you KNOW these books.  They’re still favorites of mine today.  Quirky, creepy, gross, and sometimes funny – how could you not love this stuff?

And let’s talk about the thing that elevated this from just another scary book to an unforgettable experience – Stephen Gammell’s horrifying illustrations.  Even if you can’t remember a specific story, I know you can remember the pictures. The one with the rotting ghost woman is the lock screen on my phone.  If my husband wouldn’t object, I’d display his art in my house.  Just sayin’. I LOVE IT.   The books are still around today, but the drawings have been replaced by those that are considered “kid friendly” instead.  I feel sorry for children today that won’t have the opportunity to get freaked out by these things.

So what about you? Are there any creepy books from your childhood that you miss?

I Saw The Ring: Not a Movie Review

I would really like to know what mad marketing genius came up with this one.  Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, in the year 2002, there were these crazy things called VHS tapes.  Before DVRs were a thing, people could use these devices to record and watch their favorite shows and movies directly from their televisions (which were much fatter in those times). 

freeimages.com/NitinAle
freeimages.com/NitinAle

A young lady was rearranging her VHS tapes late one summer night, trying to find the perfect one to cure her boredom.  An infomercial was playing (one about the Magic Bullet blender – her favorite), and during a commercial break, the girl heard a high-pitched noise that drew her attention to the screen.

Her television screen, once colorful with brightly flashing images, now reflected only one image against a backdrop of darkness – a ring of light. As she watched, the image changed, replaced by the black-and-white image of a woman with long, dark hair standing in front of a mirror.

As the woman smiled knowingly into the camera, the image changed again – and again and again and again. Dark, disturbing pictures flashed across the screen one after another. Soon after they started, the images were gone, replaced by the dark screen with its ring of light. The girl stared transfixed as a child’s voice was heard. “You will die in seven days.” Immediately, a new commercial, this one bright and happy, replaced the image, and the girl’s semi-hypnotic gaze was broken.

The girl didn’t know what to think. Was that real? Had she just imagined it? She hadn’t had much sleep lately, but she’d never hallucinated before. She wrote down what she had seen and attempted to go to sleep.

The next day she interrogated her parents and sister. Had they seen it? Anything like it? They hadn’t, and the girl began to worry that she was going crazy.

1460609967747

When the seventh day arrived, she impatiently waited for the dark and the time she had seen the strange video.  The time came and went without incident, and the girl was able to have a good night’s sleep.

She forgot about the odd images for months, her attention focused on preparing for the magical world of college.

One night in October, her college friends asked the girl if she wanted to go see the new horror movie, The Ring.  The girl jumped at the chance.  She was always up for a horror movie.  It was a good one, but when twenty minutes or so had passed, something crazy happened…

I think you know where this story is going. The creepy video I (oh, I’m the girl in the story if you didn’t know) saw in the middle of the night – with absolutely ZERO INDICATION that it was for a movie – was the cursed video from The Ring.  Who does that?!

And I just want to be clear about one thing: IT WAS AWESOME.  I flipped out a little in the theater when I saw the video that had made me think I was going crazy that summer, but I was thrilled.  You know how Naomi Watts looked pretty freaked after she saw it the first time and got the phone call? That’s how I felt. I mean, I didn’t actually think I was going to die, but it was a pretty creepy feeling. And it made me appreciate the movie that much more.

I actually feel pretty special to have been one of the people to get side-swiped by the thing.

So. Anyone else out there have a fun, late-night viewing of the CURSED video? If I never find another person that saw it, too, then I’m just going to assume they’re all dead.  Like I said. I’m special.