Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A True Tale of Fright

A True Tale of Fright

As Told by Kristina, aka Cuore Della Luna

Ouija Board

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night at all, it was actually nice and calm that night, which is typical for Colorado. Nice people, nice scenery, nice weather…well, most of the time. Occasionally, all that niceness just gets to be too comfortable, and Mother Nature will bear down on us with a nice Blizzard, just to remind us all that she’s still in charge. But that Halloween, she was very kind to us, and it was still 60 degrees out when the sun dipped below the mountains.

I was 15, young, pretty and so unaware of it, and being naturally a shy person, with normal teenage insecurities, I was thrilled to have been invited to a party, a real party, with my friends from the 10th grade class. It was Cindy’s birthday party, held on the Saturday before Halloween. It was 1987….Michael Myers had managed to scare us all with that white mask and bloody knife, then came Jason, to haunt our summer camps and of course, Freddy had come along to invade our dreams. Some of us had never seen the Damien movies, or the Exorcist, too young to be sneaking into theatres when they first came out, and parents unwilling to put those nightmarish thoughts into our tiny heads. VCRs were still an expensive toy to own, mostly for taping things off of TV, and video stores were still getting established. But still, we knew the plot lines, from someone’s older brother who had seen it, and told his sibling to torture and scare him, who in turn, told all of us. That Halloween time, yes, our heads were filled with images of teenage slasher films, even if only in our subconscious. It’s only natural, when you’re a teenager yourself, at a party with other teenagers, to have those thoughts dancing in the shadows.

I can’t remember whose idea it was to play with the Ouija board, or even who brought it. We were all sitting in the living room, with candles as our only light source. Cindy and her boyfriend, John, had managed to “sneak” away into Cindy’s bedroom to have some alone time. I had been eyeing Brian, a boy from my church, wishing I could be doing the same thing. Danielle was there, and Amber (with her appropriately long, lush, red curly locks), Jennifer, my neighbor from up the street, and some other kids were around whose names escape me now. But since Brian was there, in the living room, willing to participate in the Ouija Board experience, well, then so was I.

My parents had a Ouija board, the kind that Parker Brothers still makes, and had since I could remember. My sister and I had tried to play with it, after I discovered it one boring summer day in the closet, but nothing ever happened. I had been so frustrated with it, because I had read those directions so carefully, followed every step it said to get it to work, and still, nothing would happen. But, that was the kind of child I was, so sure that if you just followed the steps, followed directions, obeyed, then everything should work out as planned. It’s funny to think on that now, as the painful lessons of young adulthood have taught me so well that directions are merely guidelines, and blind obedience is not often rewarding.

Ouija Board 2

All of us, me, Amber, Danielle, Brian, and a couple of others, each had two fingers lightly resting on the planchette, and were moving it around in the figure 8, as we knew to do. Jennifer, because of her faith, decided not to join us, but stayed on the sidelines to watch. I remember feeling the electric current, the thrill of having my body so close to Brian’s, as was necessary to have us all fit around the board. We giggled and laughed, wondering what we should ask the board.

Finally, someone asked “Is anyone here? Would anyone like to speak to us?” We all watched as the planchette moved to “Yes”. Then we all accused the others of moving it, each in turn, denying it. I know that I didn’t move it; I just felt it trail along to the answer. So, once we all quieted down again, I asked “What is your name?” The planchette slowly moved to the letter “J”, then to “O”, then more quickly to “H” and “N” before it came to rest in the center. “John”, I murmured. Things became quieter, as people who had been talking in the corner came over to watch us. Someone else asked “How old are you?” The planchette moved to the number “6”. Then I said “Awww”. It felt somehow safe, and sad, to know that we were talking to the ghost of a 6-year-old little boy named John….if it was indeed true, and someone wasn’t moving the planchette around to scare the rest of us. I was straddling the fence in that mysterious, tumultuous place called adolescence, on the one side, wanting to believe in the magic, that of course a sweet little boy was talking to us through this board, and on the other side, encountering the skepticism that only going through adolescence can teach, that becomes so easy and natural once in adulthood, knowing that of course, someone was moving the planchette, trying to fool us all.

Suddenly, we heard a loud crash and bang from upstairs. Immediately, as a test, I turned to the board and asked “What just happened upstairs?” The planchette began to move slowly to “T”, then “H”, then “E”, then more quickly to the rest of the letters before it came to rest in the center, to form a complete sentence:


Amber jumped up and ran upstairs to find out what happened. We heard people talking and laughing upstairs, and then Amber came to the head of the stairs, a little bit pale, and breathed out “Oh my God you guys, they did, Cindy and John were wrestling on her bed, and they broke the headboard off the rails, and so the mattress fell off its rails. They really did break the bed.”

Immediately, we all took our hands away from the board, all of us shivering a little, laughing some at the excitement from it. I think we all had been assuming that one of us was pushing it, but how could any of us know what had happened upstairs? My heart began to race at the thought that maybe it was a real spirit talking to us. Could it be? The thought frightened and thrilled me.

Amber rushed back upstairs to tell Cindy and John what had happened on the Ouija board, and so they both came downstairs calmly, slightly puzzled and bewildered (and not tucking or straightening out their clothes, I noticed…I guess they really were play wrestling when the headboard broke). We all quickly jumped in to tell them both of what had happened with the Ouija board.

John was always the most secure of all of us, studious, more of an old soul, and in our teenage excitement, he was able to absorb what we told him, and somehow, by telling him the story, I felt better, not as frightened by it. John was smaller than all of his classmates, which made his pairing with Cindy seem perfect, since she was so petite. I had always held a secret crush on John, for his calming ways, the way he seemed to be breezing through his teenage years, despite his physical limitations in stature, his confidence. I remember at a dance at the high school, a really great song came on, and I was dancing with reckless abandon, completely feeling the music, loving that my body could move to the rhythm. I turned on a spin to seeing John talking to another person, and he was looking and pointing at me, and I saw him say “She’s a really great dancer.” I was high all night from that chance comment that I got to witness. Ever since then, he had held a special place in my heart, the place reserved for those that have shown me kindness. I was happy for him, that he found Cindy, but also a little sad, seeing how much he was falling in love with her, because I felt I had lost out on something special.

The party wound down after that, as curfews seemed to suddenly come crashing down on it. I went home, exhilarated, thrilled at the encounter with this Ouija board, and a little boy named John. Did I dare believe it?

Ouija Board 1

At school on Monday, it was all we could talk about between classes. Amber and I then decided to have everyone involved meet at my house and try it again, this time with my Ouija board, just to test it out. Maybe it was just that board that it would work on, and nothing would happen on mine.

After school, Danielle, Amber, Brian, Cindy and John all came over to my house, and I got my parent’s Ouija board out of the closet. Jennifer had declined the invitation, since she felt that we were messing with something that we just shouldn’t. Cindy was a little afraid of it, so she just wanted to watch, and John stayed by her side. Cindy agreed to take notes for us.

We each again put our two index fingertips on the planchette. This time, we asked if John was there, and the planchette moved quickly to “Yes”. We each began to ask questions of him, and as the letters became sentences, and sentences became thoughts, the story of John began to become clearer.

John had been killed on May 14, 1965, when he was hit by a ’57 Chevy in front of his house, on Murray Blvd., across from our high school. He was very excited, he spelled out, because he was about to be reincarnated into a new little boy, who was to born the next afternoon, at Penrose Hospital. The parent’s names were Clearborn, he had spelled out for us, Mary and Martin Clearborn. I could almost feel his excitement and happiness at this chance to be a person again, and I felt happy for him, too.

However, as I caught myself in this feeling, the skepticism in me began to rise, and so I asked that we try a test. We each, in turn, would take our fingers and place them on the planchette, and ask John a question, something simple, like “Are you here, John?” or “Are you with us, John?” The planchette refused to move, for any of us, except for Danielle. I did notice that it moved much more slowly to the “Yes” answer than it had when we all had our fingers on the planchette, but move it did. John asked Danielle point blank if she had been moving it on purpose, trying to scare us, and she shook her head and said plainly, “No”, that she wasn’t moving it, she wasn’t making this up.

Her calmness in the face of being accused of moving the planchette made me question whether she really had been moving it, that her calmness meant that she was lying to us. If it had been me, I would have answered with a resounding “NO! Of course I’m not doing it!” The fear of someone thinking I was lying would have come out loud and clear in my voice. It didn’t in hers…she seemed to expect that her “No” was enough, and that she had nothing else to prove then. To this day, I still wonder if she really was trying to fool us, although I can’t reconcile why she would do it. She was well-liked by everyone in this little group, and then also, how could she know that the sound of the crash was the breaking of the bed? I then wonder if maybe, just maybe, Danielle was a little bit psychic, a sensitive, and that she was receptive to the communications from the dead, and that maybe she’d been aware of it for some time by then, and so had no problem with being accused of faking it for the rest of us…she just knew better. If she was, I pray for her now, that she has been able to handle this gift, or curse, and that by being “outed” that day, she has been able to cope with it well in her life now.

Ouija Board 3

We resumed asking the board questions, with Amber, Brian, Danielle and I touching the planchette again, and suddenly, the planchette began moving in a figure 8, something we hadn’t intended. We all looked at Danielle, and John asked her again if she was doing it. She had a look of fear on her face this time, the kind that only a teenager can give, the kind that shows up when someone is deathly afraid that they will no longer be accepted by her peers. She stammered out “No, NO! I am NOT doing this!” That caused my heart rate to rise a bit then, because she sounded sincere this time. Suddenly, the planchette started to spell out letters again for us, quickly, so quickly that Cindy could barely keep up with writing them as we spoke them out to her. Put together, it spelled


All of us, our eyes became very wide, and our pupils became very wide. My heart was in my throat. As if on cue, we all took our fingers off of the planchette at the same time. What we saw then scared me so much that I had tears in my eyes.

The planchette halted right in the center, stopped utterly in its tracks.

If someone had truly been pushing on it, the planchette should of kept going a little on that waxed, unused board, pushed on by the velocity it had when it was spelling out that horrid message. It didn’t, it stopped dead in its tracks, right in the middle, with no other movement. We all looked at each other, fear and wonder in each of our eyes. Danielle looked at all of us angrily, breathing fast, eyes wide with fear, and asked “Now, NOW do you believe me?”

Cindy read back to us what had been spelled out…not that she really needed to, since we all seemed to grasp the evil intent of that message as it was being spelled out. We each in turn caught our breath, calmed a bit, and we decided to try the board again.

We asked John if he was still here. The planchette slowly, more slowly than before, moved to “Yes”. We then asked if he was alright, and it moved to “No”. We asked if someone else was with him, and it moved to “Yes”. We asked who it was. It spelled out for us:


A new take on his story began to emerge, and as it was told to us, letter by letter, word by word. The movements went more quickly, each of us saying the letters as they were spelled out for us. John spelled out that it was his father that had been driving that ’57 Chevy, and that he had murdered John by running over him. He then said that his father now had him in a cage, and that he was afraid, because he didn’t know if he was going to be able to be born again, or to meet his new parents, Mary and Martin.

Then, again, the planchette moved around in the figure 8, quickly, and each of our eyes grew wide, and my heart began to pound again. A lump formed in my throat as the planchette began to move again, so fast, so fast the planchette practically leaped from letter to letter, and again, a new set of letters formed for us:


That was it. We all took our fingers off the planchette, thoroughly frightened, and called it a day. Suddenly homework and parents seemed like gifts to us, the perfect excuse to just get away from what we had just seen. The normal world, the real world, what a blessing it seemed to me right then. They all left, and there I was, putting the Ouija board away before my parents got home, heart still pounding, tears forming in my eyes. I was afraid, afraid for myself, afraid for my friends, and afraid for little John.

I know now that I was wrapped up, obsessed with what this Ouija board was telling us, in a way that only teenagers seem to be able to do. It was all that I thought about all that next day at school. I was frightened, yes, but exhilarated as well. It was binding us all closer together; we were becoming a group, something I had craved for so long, a tribe of my own. And Brian was a part of it, and John, and that was worth more to me than anything frightening that this wooden board would tell us.

Ouija Board 4

Amber, Danielle and I decided to go to the new Penrose Birth Center the next day after school, before we were all to meet at my house to try the Ouija board again. It was right up the street from our neighborhood, so we figured it would be a quick trip before we all went to my house. We wanted to see if maybe, just maybe, there was child named Clearborn that had been born there. Amber and I were determined that if this was true in any way, we wanted to see him, this little baby. This was in the day where anyone could go look at the newborns, before a couple of crazy women had stolen newborns from hospitals, before the maternity ward was under lock and key. Danielle was more afraid, and when Amber and I went flying in to go look at the babies born that day, we had to convince her to come with us, practically dragging her in with our peer pressure pleas.

We looked up and down the rows of those precious little newborns, and not one of them was named Clearborn, or Clareborn, or Cleary, or Klerbern, or anything else remotely close in spelling or phonetics. We walked out of there so disappointed and dejected. It wasn’t true, there was no baby Clearborn. Then, with an excitement that almost showed the lightbulb over her head, Amber remembered that this isn’t the only place in the Penrose Hospital system where babies were born; there was the main hospital downtown that had a whole floor for their maternity ward. However, we were all meeting at my house again, to try the Ouija board again, and didn’t have time to drive all the way downtown and back. We decided that we would go to Penrose Main the next day after school, to check there. Then, we all hopped into Amber’s car and drove to my house.

We all assembled in the lower part of my parent’s split level house again, and again I got the Ouija board out of the coat closet. Cindy and John again stayed off to the sidelines, notepad in Cindy’s hands, and Brian, Danielle, Amber and I surrounding the Ouija board. Taking a deep breath, we each put our fingertips on the planchette. Immediately, it began going in that fast figure 8, faster and faster. “Uh oh”, I thought, as my heart began to race again.

We asked it “Is this John?” and a quick movement to “No” answered that. We asked “Who are you?” and it refused to answer, just kept moving in a figure 8. We asked it that three times before finally moving on. We then asked “Are you John’s father?”, and the planchette kept moving between “Yes” and “No”, “Yes” and “No”. We asked, “Is John there?”, which was answered with “Yes”. Then, suddenly, it just stopped in the middle for a few seconds, and then spelled out this:


And it stopped in the middle again, abruptly, before the fast figure 8’s began again.

This time, Brian’s bravado came out, and he started laughing. He said, “Yeah, right, I know we’re all going to die, everybody’s got to die someday.” The planchette shot to the letters:


My eyes grew wider with fear. It had spelled out his name. It had called him out. Brian kept it up though, and laughed, and said “Oh yeah, so I’m going to die in 24 hours. Who else, huh? How you going to do it, tough guy?” The planchette moved quickly to spell out:


So Brian laughingly asked, “Oh yeah? When am I going to die? How am I going to die?”

To which it answered:


Brian’s bravado began to infect us all, and we all let out little laughs at this board that was trying to scare us, or this entity, or whatever. John was pshawing at it all, and said “Danielle’s just doing this to scare us”, to which Danielle cried “I’m not doing it!” We all joined in, though, and began to ask the board when and how we were each going to die, each in turn, each with a sense of sarcasm, challenge and humor.

The board spelled out that Brian and John were going to die in 24 hours, that Amber and Cindy were going to die in 48 hours, and that Danielle and I were going to die in 72 hours. No matter how many times we asked, the board would only move in figure 8’s when we asked HOW we were going to die, or asked for its name.

Brian and John were laughing by now, feeling confident, feeling the spell of obsession broken. I, however, was scared, scared to death. I could see from Amber and Danielle’s face that they were scared, too. Cindy seemed on the fence, a little scared, but feeling John’s confidence, and I think protection. I couldn’t stop thinking “What if it happened, what if it was true?”

Ouija Board 5

We stopped then, some of the spell broken by John and Brian’s laughter over the whole thing. The laughter helped to ease the tension and fear in the room, that moments ago was so thick it was almost choking me. I picked up the board and planchette, noticing that the planchette felt warm this time, where it hadn’t before now, and put them back in their box as everyone was saying goodbye. When everyone had left, the fear came rushing back into me. I wanted to break that board, burn it, throw it out…I never wanted to see it again. I thought about that twice, though, because the wrath of my mother at that time was more fearful than anything some scary ghost demon could promise to do. So, instead, I put it back in the closet.

I knew that I needed to tell my mom what happened, even though I was pretty sure to get in a ton of trouble for having kids in the house without her permission (my mother’s particular pet peeve, and as a normally obedient teenager, this reminds me of how obsessed I had become with our talking with this Ouija board). But, I was so afraid; I felt like I was 5-years-old again, and the boogeyman was in the closet, and I wanted my parents to protect me. I wanted my daddy. Unfortunately, Dad was on the road then as a long-distance truck driver, and so I would have to settle for my mom, which meant I would get in trouble. Dad was definitely the more lenient of the two, and his anger was more understandable. My mother, her anger was so hard to read. But, I also thought that if she knew what had happened, then she would probably get rid of the board. So after dinner, I sat my mom down, and told her the whole story. As I did, I cried and shook, from the sheer terror of it all, and the fear that I and my friends were really going to die in the next 24-72 hours.

My mom was angry, as I had expected, but for reasons that I had not. She was upset because she knew that we had been messing with something dark, something evil, and she was afraid for me, which translated into that unreadable anger. I didn’t find out until years later that her anger stemmed mostly from that, and not that I had disobeyed her wishes about kids in the house. She was mad that that it had gotten a hold of me enough to have me sneaking off to Penrose to go look at babies, that I had become that obsessed with it, and forbade me to go back there, to check again the next day. She tried to forbid me from seeing my friends again, but when I explained that we all had lockers next to each other, and that Brian went to our church, she lightened up and said that we weren’t to ever play with the Ouija board again, and then grounded me for a week for not telling her what I had been doing and having kids in the house without their permission. She took the board out of the closet, and said that she was going to throw it away (I found out years later that she hadn’t, which from what I understand of Ouija boards now, I’m really glad she didn’t. If there is any evil force now attached to that board, it can just stay there for all I care. No need to go breaking or burning it to set that force free to attach to some other vessel.)

I’m not sure why, but getting in trouble over it all seemed to comfort me, make me feel like it was all just a game that I had been playing with my friends, that it was normal. The fear that I was going to die, that my friends were going to die passed into just a mere curiosity. Of course I wanted to see if anything would happen, and so kept in close touch with my friends over the next few days. Cindy did get sick during her supposed time to die, two days later, which had scared me and Danielle when we didn’t see her at her locker that day, but Cindy had called Amber that morning to tell her that she was sick with a cold, so wouldn’t be to school that day. Obviously, I didn’t die either, or I wouldn’t be here to tell you this tale. So, we were all ok.

And I never touched a Ouija board again.

Ouija Board

Oh, one thing did happen after all this that spooked me a little. I looked in the Sunday paper after all this had happened, and looked at the Births section. A little 8 lb. 4 oz. boy had been born at Penrose Main Hospital, with the last name of Klerbern.

If you'd like to try a reading with an online Ouija board, as well as learn more of their history and myths, then click here.

In Fine Spirit

On learning that I wrote material in a medieval setting,
a cousin inquired if I wrote ghost stories -- perhaps
confusing the dark ages with renaissance romances.

She being a favorite 'Aunt' though, I set out to do that,
and finished it on the day she passed away -- and never
got to hear me sing this ballad.

The hero's name is that of one of her in-laws,
a grand old man of my memory.

Please enjoy ....

Spirit Song

The fearful wind whispers through the broken reeds,

Hugo - Hugo
Hear the tiny claws scramble on cold hard stones,

beware, beware.
Listen to the story of the Jouvenal sword,

attend, attend

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom,
while eagles hide with mist shorn wings,
and a floating sword carves truth from sin
to pay debt to the ghost of Jouvenal.

The castle had stood a thousand years
to turn Persians and Mongols aside.
The towers were tall ‘round a hidden well
and mossy stones within thorns did hide.
Myth said twas mortared with virgin blood
with a ring moat of serpents and tears.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
while brave knights swear fealty anew.
Purpose and honor should inspire them
to match the life of Jouvenal.

Sir Hugo remained while four rode out
to claim full pride of a battle guard.
By lot his fate was to guard the gate
with less valor sure for bloodless sword.
“Safe return my friends,” he cried anon
“The gate awaits those without fear.

Their race came stride their foaming steeds,
three dead in saddle and comrade dear.
“Betrayed,” he cried with parting breath.
“Preserve our pledge, quick - prepare.”
Hugo strode out 'fore postern gate,
spear and shield stood forever near.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
for a blood quest is honor bound,
and such treachery must quick renounce
or face the wrath of young Jouvenal.

Baron turned coward crested the hill
leading ranks of minions most foul.
Nothing stood ‘tween his covet tower
but slender knight called Jouvenal.
His charged intent hardly slacked
as archers called he from the rear.

The crossbow has but two hundred range,
while the Sythian bow crosses three.
In motion swift as a falcon wing
six arrows set these archers free.
Then followed the Baron’s favored horse
and two squire sons he held so dear.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
where evil is met with more sure portent.
So bold are they two hundred to one,
but quick to their heels from Jouvenal.

The milling throng did distant withdraw
to curse this blight to well laid plan.
But none would stride upon the road
where Jouvenal did protect his clan.
Yet chivalry did provide relief
for single challenge did honor share.

A knight strode down the rutted road
with shield and banner lofted high.
Sir Hugo met with buckler and sword,
with courage found one cannot deny.
The sparks did match the flow of blood
from fallen knight ,neath Hugo’s glare.

Another fine knight approached the field
to clank in the dust before the keep.
Five more in turn did quick battle meet,
and each in turn made a widow weep.
But each defeat took a bitter toll
of strength and blood beyond repair.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
where valor designs its own defeat.
A warrior slow wounded in victory
will match the sad fate of Jouvenal.

As he fell to knees, no foe ahead
Sir Hugo cried out to comrades down.
“Support me now in oath and quest
to carry this day - defend the crown.”
Dead comrades all did answer the call
bound by fine will each could share.

The sword swept up from the stricken hand
to dance in the air with spinning light,
to vanquish each challenge evil bent,
and none could pass dead Hugo’s might.
New souls departed were two score more
before all ran from the Baron’s care.

The sword still stands before open gate
imbedded in stone than none can take.
Good will can pass with contented heart,
giving a prayer for courage sake,
but evil does shrivel and run away
from symbol of shame they must beware.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
where sword of Hugo defends the gate.
Where honor is sacred to comrades
you will find the spirit of Jouvenal.

Jouvenal - Jouvenal - Jouvenal

Dressed up for Halloween


A Tale of Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served cold. That’s a quote from Star Trek. Don’t tell me otherwise, I know.

If you had been forced to watch every episode of the original series, every movie in the franchise plus the endless TV spin offs, dozens of times over, you would know too.

Don’t get me started about the conventions. I’ve been to more conventions than a shoe brush salesman. My fingers bled making those costumes. The Klingon costume was made of real leather. Thousands of hand sewn stitches. I still have the scars.

Why did I marry him? He proposed to me in Klingon. Back then, I thought that was so cool. We married at a Trek Convention back in the 80s. Captain Kirk was our celebrant. No, not William Shatner, some guy from Fantasy Weddings R Us.

So, at first it was fun, you know? We spent our honeymoon at Vulcan – it’s a town in Canada. We’ve been to Star Trek The Experience at Vegas, we joined protest groups to Save Star Trek and we’ve been to conventions in Australia, Japan and Germany. If it’s Trek, we’ve done it. Then we did it again.

But I got over it. I grew. I got into those reality shows. You know that one about swapping wives? I wanted to be swapped. I applied over and over again. I would have taken any of those loser husbands, just as long as he didn’t have an unopened collection of action figures.

Enterprise was the final straw. Everyone said Enterprise was crap. But we watched it, every episode. He made me sign the petitions when it was cancelled. He made me make a big We Love You Scott Bakula Sign and stand outside the man’s house in LA for a week. Bakula wasn’t even home.

You know what he gave me on my last birthday? The complete set of Enterprise on DVD. What would you have done? I had to get my revenge for all those years I’d wasted watching Star Trek with him when I could been living a real life. On a reality TV show.

I planned it for months. I arranged everything so cleverly, he didn’t even know what hit him.

``Go put on your Klingon suit,” I told him. “I’ve got tickets to a very special convention. It’s being televised.”

He was so excited, you would have thought he was going to get laid.

So here I am, sitting on the stage, and here he comes, striding through the door in his stupid Klingon suit. This is the moment I have been waiting for, when he stops, stares around in confusion, and hears the chant of the crowd.

``Je-rry! Je-rry!”

Kiss Me, I'm Irish!

PS: The mask is from Dover Publications free downloads.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pictures for Halloween!!

"Yeah, Bustah's back
And now he has a buddy!"

This is who Bustah has been hanging around with recently, meet "Bones", and yes, he is a "Star trek" fan!!

As you can see, Pye does not like witches hanging from his ceiling!!

Halloween is not complete without black cats!!

Everyone has heard of werewolves, they do have a rarer, shyer cousin here in the American Southwest. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one, and take it's picture. This is the Werecoyote!!

Here is a wee bat, to carry Samhain prayers to the Otherworld for us.

Spiders, too, are part of a spooky celebration!!

What would this Holiday be without masks to confound and keep the Spirit World at bay?

We must have our carved pumpkins or turnips to keep away unhappy spirits!!

Bunnies are traditionally for Oestre, but, if you look closely, the eyes of these fellows are.. strange... as if there was an internal fire consuming their supposed sweetness.

Spooky Movie Time

As Halloween grows ever closer, TV channels play the horror films, and review the history of Halloween (All Hallow’s Evening, Samhain, Day of the Dead). I managed to get 50 of the top 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Of course, I had to watch this to see how many of them I have seen. Not too bad, 45 of 50 movies have passed through my eyes and into my psyche.

50) Last House on the Left

I remember this film with marvellous chills.

49) Les Diabolique

48) The Thing

I never tire of this film.

47) Nosferatu (the original)

Always the scariest Vampyre.

46) The Sentinel

45) The Wicker Man (not the remake)

I remember being glued to this film.

44) I didn’t get this title, but I had seen it.

43) It’s Alive

Shiver shiver!!

42) An American Werewolf in London

I never tire of werewolf films!!

41) The Hills Have Eyes (the original)


40) Black Sunday

39) Dawn of the Dead

Zombie films should be fun and funny!!

38) Peeping Tom

37) House on Haunted Hill

Haunted houses always give me the willies!!

36) Cape Fear (with Robert Mitchum)

How could anyone top Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck??

35) Aliens

The Aliens make this film series, H.R. Gieger’s Alien is CREEPY.

34) The Hitcher

Could anyone pick up a hitchiker after seeing this???

33) The Fly (with Jeff Goldblum)

Even my brothers can’t watch this all the way through!!!

32) Pet Sematary

“Here kitty, kitty…”

31) Friday the 13th

Funny, freaky, a definite carload drive-in movie.

30) The Blair Witch Project

Was it supposed to be scary, I was bored to tears.

29) The Serpent and the Rainbow

28) When A Stranger Calls

I wonder how many kids stopped babysitting after this came out?

27) Frankenstien (the original)

Yes, yes, always the best!!

26) Seven

Very disturbing, and believable. The beast that lurks within man is the worst.

25) Phantasm

Unforgettable, the music is an excellent accompaniment to the tale,

24) Suspira

23) Rosemary’s Baby

Incredible filmmaking, with a well-written story to back it up, the acting was superb. One of the finest horror films to watch over and over.

22) Don’t Look Now

21) Jacob’s Ladder

This is one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. It still slithers in my subconscious.

20) The Ring

Yaaaawwnnn… wake me up when it gets scary.

19) Hellraiser

I will never watch this film series again, it upset me that badly!!

18) The Haunting

A good ghost story is one that can be retold over and over.

17) A Nightmare on Elm Street

More funny than frightening, but… Freddy is so cool as a nightmare monster!!

16) The Omen (the original)

Gregory Peck is incredible in this film, but then, when isn’t he??

15) Freaks

14) Halloween

How could I be frightened by someone that shares my family name. Mwah-hahahahahaha!!!!

13) Scream

Loved the mask, it still gives me a giggle.
12) Misery

One word… Hobbling.

11) Audition

The people in the Far East are the Masters of the Horror Film, they bring the arts of their heritage to the art of film making.

10) Wait Until Dark

It is bred into our genes to be afraid of the dark, ask anyone that has been lost in the woods!!

9) Night of the Living Dead

Woooo-hooooo!!! The best zombie movie, I enjoyed the heck out of the fact that the hero was one of the first black heroes in film making.8 ) Carrie

Go Carrie Go!!! Who doesn’t identify with Carrie?

7) The Silence of the Lambs

I must admit, there are Hannibal Lecter quotes that have become a part of my family’s history. “Free Range Rude” is so appropriate in the town I live in!!

6) The Shining (with Jack Nicholson)

”Heere’s Johnny!!” Yeeeeks!!

5) Texas Chainsaw Massacre

This film makes me grateful that I live in the desert.

4) Psycho

Did any of you quit taking showers after seeing this???

3) Exorcist

I could not watch this film all the way through without having nightmares until I was in my 40’s!!!

2) Alien

When the baby alien rips out of John Hurt’s belly I think I jumped straight up to the ceiling!!

1) Jaws


Let us know what your favourite horror films are, and the ones that scared you the best/worst.

Halloween on the Town

Last night, I went with some friends to an old movie house (built in the 1920's) which now houses a Werlitzer organ along with all its pipes. We listened to short organ program with musical numbers appropriate to the holiday. Then we viewed a silent Laurel and Hardy film ("Habeus Corpus") followed by the original 1925 silent film version of "Phantom of the Opera" with Lon Chaney. Both films were accompanied by music from the Werlitzer. Here are some images from last night.
What's Halloween without a Halloween Tree?

Some people know how to arrive in style. This is a 1939 Packard hearse. Note the orbs flitting about it. Oooooooooooo.....

Here is the usher.

Here are a couple of patrons come to watch the film (just for Heather....)

Finally, here is the organ and its pipes. I took this without a flash. In any other situation, this would be a awful picture, but for this occassion, I think it is just totally freaky....

Images: Lori Gloyd (c) 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Cry-An Owl Creek Exclusive!


Bernadine was kind enough to make a trip to my Owl Creek Bridge (anita64.wordpress.com ) in order to share some stories about making her Supernatural Thriller Based on the Legend of La Llorona.

I hope that you enjoy her story and that you are as inspired by her determination to see her creative dreams realized as I am.


I first heard of La Llorona when I was a kid growing up in a small town in New Mexico. Ever since I can remember, we were told stories of a woman who drowned her kids in the river—basically to get revenge from her lover who had betrayed her. But after drowning them, she realized what she had done and let out a horrifying, heart-wrenching cry. From that moment she was condemned to roam the rivers forever, crying and searching for her children.

As kids, our parents always told us that La Llorona would take us away if we went by the river to play alone, or if we misbehaved. On top of being completely scared stiff that La Llorona was going to get me, the whole idea that a mother would kill her own child absolutely terrified me.

When I decided to make a movie, there was no question in my mind that it had to be about La Llorona. On the one hand, I definitely wanted to do something focused on my culture. And from a more personal perspective, having grown up in a very superstitious environment (a combination of old Spanish beliefs dating back to the time of the Inquisition mixed with Native American beliefs), making a movie about La Llorona was a way for me to conquer my some of my fears/demons, with La Llorona being a big one.

Like most of the more than 28 million people in the U.S. who grew up with stories of La Llorona, I originally thought that this ghost was from my small town. After learning that she’s basically everywhere and has been a strong force in the Latino world for five centuries, I set off on a search for her across the U.S. and Latin America. I dug up historical material on her dating back hundreds of years, interviewed people who believe they’ve seen or heard her, and collected stories, artwork, poems and songs about her from all over the continent. You can see some of my research on my website www.TheCryTheMovie.com. I also went on to explore “Lloronas in other cultures,” and found several similar legends from all over the world like the Greek Medea, the Jewish Lilith and the Irish Banshee. In the end, it took me 5 years to get to a place where I felt as though I knew La Llorona well enough to write a script that would truly capture her essence. Then it was writing, rewriting, finding money, shooting, finding more money, post-production, distribution…what seemed like endless work.

Since it’s Halloween, I want to mention a few creepy experiences that I had while making The Cry—moments where I definitely felt La Llorona’s presence.

The first creepy experience happened one day when I was shooting in Spanish Harlem. Some santeros (traditional saint makers) from New Mexico had carved a wood statue of Death in the form of a woman (Dona Sebastiana). It was quite difficult to transport the santo to New York because it was a large, life-size carving and very fragile. In any case, the day my best friend, Horacio, and I were unloading Death from the vehicle, a freak accident happened where I was hit in the head—just a hair above my right eye—

with something flying through the air. It felt as though a brick had hit me, and I almost lost my eye. I remember grabbing my head and seeing blood pouring into my hand. Horacio ran and caught me just as the world started spinning and I was falling to the ground. The experience totally freaked me out not only because it happened when we were moving Death, but also because in The Cry the way that I physically show La Llorona’s curse on people is through their bleeding eyes. A few months later when I was doing post-production on The Cry, one morning my project manager suddenly had some bloody tears coming out of her eyes. She never did find out why that happened.

Another creepy experience happened when I was shooting some of my flashback scenes in New Mexico. Basically, I had spent several days looking for the perfect river location to shoot La Llorona drowning her kid, and found it months before we shot there. The place had a strange, haunting feel to it that made it perfect for The Cry. What was creepy about this was that a few weeks before we shot there, my sister, Rita, who still lives in NM called me to tell me that a woman named Bernadine—my name, which is pretty uncommon—had gone to the same location and drowned her two kids and herself. When I heard this my stomach fell to the floor. As I was shooting my scene I remember looking out over the river and feeling La Llorona’s presence more than ever.

The last creepy experience that I want to mention happened when I was in the final stage of post-production. In The Cry, I am the voice and cries of La Llorona. It took me quite some time to figure out what La Llorona would say, and this is something that I wrote only after digging deep into my knowledge and “relationship” with her. On the day I was in the studio recording La Llorona’s voice, something very strange happened. All of a sudden, something moved through me, taking control of my body and my voice. It felt as though for that slice of time, I was outside of me, hearing someone else’s voice come out of my body. It was a haunting, yet amazingly experience. The sound team that was recording in the control room was frozen stiff with how scary my voice sounded. You’ll get a taste of it yourself when you see The Cry, and you can read about more creepy experiences on my blog www.TheCry.typepad.com/thecry/.

Making The Cry is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. (Details included in my next horror film.) But despite all the unbelievable struggles, if given the choice, I’d do it all again. The film helped me learn so much about myself—my culture, my power as a woman, how to face and fight my fears—not to mention how to make a film. Though I have to say that perhaps the most important thing I learned by making The Cry is that nothing is more fulfilling, empowering and magical than pouring your heart and soul into a dream and making it come true.

As per La Llorona, we’ve been together for many years now, and I know her well—perhaps better than anyone else on the face of the earth. And although I no longer fear her, I am now more certain of one thing than I ever was before: There’s nothing worse than a mother who murders her child…and La Llorona is real.

I hope you enjoyed Bernadine's article.

Please visit Bernadine's Sites and check out her wonderful work:



email: TheCry@LaLlorona.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And one more true story.

My Grandpa Roy told me this story when I was a kid.

Most of his adult life, my grandpa worked for the movie studios-- MGM, RKO, Warner Brothers. At various times he worked for them as a horse wrangler, grip, and greensman. Sometimes he just did whatever needed doing on the set. One day, back in the 1930's, he was asked to pick up a truck in Hollywood and deliver it over the hill to the WB facilities in the Valley.

Now Grandpa Roy had a grandfather named James who visited him quite frequently. On this particular day, Great-Grandpa James joined Grandpa Roy for the ride over the hill. Back in 1930's there were no freeways as there are today, and travel to and from the Valley required negotiating narrow, twisting canyon roads. The route they took that day was over Cold Water Canyon Road.

As James sat in the passenger side of the truck, my grandpa Roy began the ascent up the road. James was quiet, as was his nature, but just before the truck reached the top of the grade, James turned to Grandpa Roy and said "You need to check the brakes before you start that downhill grade. You won't make it if you don't."

Grandpa Roy had always followed his grandfather's advice so he pulled over to the side of the road. He got out and slid under the truck for a look. Sure enough, there was a problem with the brakes, and had he proceeded down the grade more than likely they would have failed and he would have careened out of control.

I don't remember what Grandpa Roy said about how he got the truck down the hill. I don't remember because I got stuck on what Grandpa said next about Great-Grandpa James riding along with him.

You see, Great-Grandpa James was dead and had been for many, many years.

Lori Gloyd (c) 2006

Ghost Train

This is not a horror story, but is true
and could fit into the Halloween
"trick or treat" category.


The Ghost Train Saga

Ely, Nevada is a place ‘too far’ for most people, being about 320 miles away from each of Reno, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Those who sojourn there, however, can take a ride on the ‘Ghost Train’ – even today. The story surrounding its name is used by the local Chamber of Commerce in advertising – referencing ‘connectivity’, ‘power of community action’, etc. as hallmarks. In reality, support of the Train is possibly the only thing in history that the residence have ever agreed on!

Up though the Second World War, rail travel and freight was frequent throughout the this country, and Nevada was no exception. The old wood-burning locomotives were a fixture of many communities, though fuel was difficult to come by in the desert mountains. So, the Eastern company that owned the Ely railroad decided to retire these engines in the early 1950’s – and old #40 was designated to travel back East to be housed in a museum of the ‘real West’. Never happened!

Despite a barrage of messages, orders and threats, the engine never left Ely – while the locals attempted to find a way to keep this part of their heritage and local flavor. Finally, a crew of executives and workers came from the home office to seize the engine and ‘put an end to this nonsense’. The problem was – they couldn’t find the train! Each night the engine would puff merrily along some section of track or another to the delight of the residence; but it could never be found during the day! Hundreds of miles of track were searched, with the sheriff and city officials enrolled to ‘get to the bottom of this’. Citizens were brought in to testify as to what they knew – but many denied even knowing of the train’s existence at all. Posters and buttons appeared with the phrase “WHAT TRAIN?” At one station house it was discovered that there were no records of the engine at all – no schedules, fueling receipts – nothing.

One can only suspect a collusion between rail workers and the local citizens; but it is still not known exactly where the engine was hidden or how it was removed from the tracks. The officials finally gave up, writing a letter gifting the “Ghost Train” to the city if it ever showed up – and exempting it from any rail use fees. It is maintained by a team of volunteers and makes short runs every day of the year – and possibly now holds the record for ‘longest continuous operation’ of any engine.

You won’t find it in any book though – since officially, it does not exist.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Welcome To The Danse

Feeling Brave?

Visit Anita's Owl Creek Bridge to learn the Strange History of
the Soul Food Cafe's Chamber of Horrors at:


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Shiloh Cemetery, Texas

Hey! Look, a pic of one of several cemeteries across the USA bearing my name. I'm in with the dead "In Crowd!" Whhooooo....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I enjoy these stories here as a contracst to normal life ...
making what I live each day more poignant --
yet ...


Surely, if a Nightmare is portrayed as white (an offense to Epona), then a Daymare would be black – and so it is. I awakened to full expectation of joyous birds and dew kissed leaves now revealing their colored souls; and I wandered to the porch to sing up the dawning as I must. Things were not right at all!

The air was dank and filled with noxious odors – and I could scarcely see across the street, though it was not any faerie mist at all!

The plants were scraggly and not native here at all -- might have been plastic for all I know, except that they were in such dire health, and stricken from some constant whacking and crashing of machines. Even the comforting grass looked like grayish stone!

I ventured out to explore this terrible place – to talk with folks and learn what life was like in this dismal parody of the world of my youth.

I found that my country could no longer be called ‘Christian’ as it engaged in a preemptive war and forces its will on others.

I learned that ‘value’ was what someone wished to charge, not a matter of worth or what someone would wish to pay.

I shudder that useful vocabulary was reduced to what SpellCheck allowed, and that adverbs had been given a silent death.

I came to know that ‘integrity’ was only referenced at election time, and that ‘who to blame’ the protection of decisions rarely made.

I looked for a ‘real world’, but found that term locked in to ‘fantasy TV”, and to ‘get real’ was a term of approbation, given that each person’s view of things defines the universe.

I wept to find that organized religion was only a license for murder in various forms, and that becoming a minister was as easy as registering for the draft (what?)

I experienced that a ‘warranty’ simply means the gadget doesn’t work, and that ‘special of the day’ meant it would cost me more – and be smaller in portion.

At least I don’t have to go to an art museum with all the paintings sprayed about, or go to a zoo with all the pit bulls roaming about.

Shudder …

it’s almost Halloween …

perhaps I’ll stay in bed.