13 0’Clock!

Hey folks, guess what? I bet you can’t guess. Well, try at least.

You’re right! I am starting another web series and this time it is more than just my ugly mug you will have to stare at. The great Thomas Boatwright of BOATWRIGHT ART will be joining me in a fun little web show called “13 0’Clock”. The schtick is it will air every 13th of the month! Pretty neat, huh?

Also! While we chat about relevant pop culture news and topics of fun interest like how friction’ cool Peter Cushing was, Tom will sketch a piece that YOU, that’s right, YOU can have for your very own!

Now I know this was supposed to be on the 13th of this month but Final Cut was being a real little bitch with exporting error codes that took a whole two days to figure out. The crazy thing was I never could figure out the error code 1001 and the twentieth time I tried to upload, it did. That I cannot stand in the least. BUT, it is finally up so pretend it’s Saturday, February 13th and I am right on schedule.

Enjoy our intro, episode 0.0 of 13 0’CLOCK! Thanks Thomas for being a good sport.

Ode To My Favorite Halloween Painting…From A Calendar

I am about to share with you a very special memory from 1985. It’s no secret many of my nostalgic roots are grounded in the autumn season, Halloween in particular. As a kid I looked forward to the month of October sometime around July so I would always flip the kitchen calendar ahead to see what it had in store for the upcoming season. The year 1985 won hands down.

Mom always had Charles Wysocki calendars and I am sure if you grew up in the 80’s, you are familiar. I loved the detailed artwork especially in the Halloween and Christmas scenes. They had so much going on it was like Where’s Waldo chaos but with nothing specific to find. It was just busy and to a seven-year old in with ten TV channels, no VCR and definitely without video games, this was pure entertainment to me. I spent hours staring at this odd world and daydreaming what a horror hotel would be like. This is responsible for my love of Halloween.

A few months ago I was thinking about this calendar, in particular October of 1985. With a few Google searches and some wild guesses like “spooky scene 1980’s calendar”, to my amazement, not only did I find it but I could buy the original. And I did. It’s currently hanging in my office but I took it down to scan and share it with you.

Here are some closer images to take a gander at.

Good grief, the top corner has some pretty crazy things going on. From a lynched scarecrow to a an executioner walking his spiked pig and cow-cat, it’s hard to wrap you mind around the scene if you didn’t have the whole picture. I’ve been debating whether to send this cropped portion as a Halloween card but all my friends don’t need any further excuse to question my sanity.

I am a big fan of the wispy ghosts through the cemetery. I remember thinking of these before bedtime at seven years old. Oh my innocence lost.

Holy cats, look at all of this! It’s hard to know where to start but my eyes always go to the Amish Jedediah guy in the broken window. Know idea why because you have a number of crazy creatures carrying hammers and axes, looking menacingly at you. I would make fun of the guy with the ax for the way he is sitting but, you know, he has an ax. I’ll let that one slide.

Notice the chipmunk-bear riding a bird? Yeah, I barely did too. And a naked dog…thing.

Here we have two gents having a nap, one with a horned dog on his lap. I think they are asleep but judging by the theme, they may well be dead. I’ll leave that up to your imagination but we clearly see a blue hand sticking out of the bag so death isn’t exactly a gamble.

Pithia’s Bloodlust Wrinkledeath is by far one of the greatest names to be named a name. Can you imagine your last name being Wrinkledeath? There could only be one profession for you! If you weren’t a body remover you had to at least be a pro wrestler.

This is funny because back in the day the girls in my second grade class wore these pants which had straps for their feet. I believe they called them stirrups. I always thought the guy with bare feet was wearing girl pants. That dates me as an old man.

So there is my little piece of my history which explains what made Halloween so special to me. There are thousands of these types of memories but it’s rare to own one and get to relieve it, if only for a few minutes.

Inspiration from a Skating Wall-Walker

Inspiration doesn’t come easy these days. I try to find it by volunteering or helping those less fortunate but even then it’s a fleeting moment of “meh”. I’ve been sucked into corporate America and closing on a house, so soon I will be assimilated into the masses who go to Home Depot on Saturdays and become an active member of a home owners association. While it is necessary to leap forward as an adult, I still do require a bit of inspiration that reminds me of simpler times. And that happened a few weeks ago when I took some kids roller skating.

Let’s be clear, I don’t skate. Charlie don’t surf, Billy don’t skate. I will, however, watch those who do and that’s mainly hoping for wipeouts or older male teens who have roller skate dance-offs. I like to laugh at misfortune. But after an hour or so the hilarity diminishes and I am forced to complain that the music stinks or the fact sweaty kids are gross. My volunteering for the local rotary chapter always turns out to be more painful than I anticipate.

I don’t know how roller skating was decided as the activity I was chaperoning but I will say, stepping into a roller rink building is like stepping back to 1987. This carpet agrees. There is not much that can change besides the music and if the main activity is roller skating in circles and a few limbo games, you gotta stick to what works. Even the arcade barely changed, I assume. There is no way a place would buy half of these “push the quarters off the ledge” machines.

I think what really hits the nostalgia bone is the fact nearly 90% of all the elementary and middle school birthday parties I was invited to was hosted at Sparkles Roller Rink. And I hated every single one of them. The reason being is I can’t skate. To this day I have the worst balance and if there are wheels under my feet, my face is on the floor. What made it even worse was being forced to wear the damn skates because everyone else would know I suck. By putting them on I could at least hang on to something and avoid the constant torment of adults questioning what wrong with me like “aren’t you having fun?” or “are you feeling okay?”. If there is anything worse than your peers making fun of you it’s the parents of the birthday kid asking if you wanted special treatment. I always opted for catastrophic falls and holding on for dear life to an awful video game no one wanted to play and without of quarters.

Lost in my own thoughts when I should have been watching the kids we brought, I spotted something that I had not seen in years. It was a roller skating wall-walker. And what really blew my mind was the fact he had to be at least 60!

This is not the greatest picture but in a room full of strange kids, I had to take my pictures quickly and discreetly.

As you can see he is walking that wall. It’s clear that if this wasn’t his first time on skates it had to have been at least 40 years since he has graced the rink. It was both inspiring and a little nerve-racking. This dude’s hips were in definite danger especially when negotiating the breaks in walls that were for access to the rink. There were a few “whoa” moments and even a spill or two.

Every time he completed a lap (which took 20 minutes) I was certain he would just return to a bench and join the other adults who, by the way, had their feet firmly planted to the ground. But no, he just started a new lap. It was like watching a goose trying to cross a highway. He didn’t give a shit.

Around the fourth lap or so, I had to give this guy some encouragement. So I waited until he crawled his way past my side of the rink and I said “way to go, man!”. He shot me a look like I just told his daughter to wear shorter dresses. I was a little taken aback because I had been so impressed with his resilience and stubbornness to master an activity designed for an 8 year old that I was certain he would give me a thumbs up. Nope, he was a bit of a dick.

Well, even though his attitude towards me was shitty, I am still inspired by his determination to both look foolish and not give up. I can’t imagine the amount of aspirin this dude had to take the next day. I saw him flail and flop on the ground no less than a dozen times. So, every time I am engaged in a long and arduous activity I will think of the 60 year old wall-walker and remember, don’t give up.

Okay, I just reread this post and I disagree with all of this. The guy never got better at skating but in fact much worse. He should have given up the second he started tap dancing backwards and making arm gestures like a mime pulling an imaginary rope. He lost 16,000 man points and I can’t imagine at 60 years old, someone would aspire to be a decent roller skater. There are so many other great activities that don’t require you to look like a cat with tape on its feet.

Sorry for all of this. Happy Thursday!

 

 

 

Touched By the Ethereal Plane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beer hunting!

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

 

Dollar Store Challenge

It’s all downhill from here, folks. I have finally been able to participate in a joint project with the two of the greatest bloggers, writers and just all around good people; Matt from Dinosaur Dracula (former X-Entertainment) and Brian from Review the World. In comparison, I really don’t belong but Matt and Brian were cool enough to let me in on this great idea. I feel kind of like the kid brother who gets to tag along with his older brother and friends for a boat ride. Then a shark shows up and they get stranded on Cable Junction until Dad comes and electrocutes the shark. What? Where was I?

Anyway, we decided on a $5 limit for a shopping spree to the local Dollar Store/Tree/Mart. From there we would bring our findings home and in real-time, post a video reviewing our prized finds. I knew from the beginning that Matt and Brian’s would be spectacular. And they are.

Brian from Review the World! It is absolutely impossible to watch anything that Brian does and not instantly be in a better mood. His attitude and positivity makes this planet that much better to be on. Spend the day watching some of his past adventures. You’ll love ’em.

Matt from Dinosaur Dracula! He’s the star, no doubt. His videos are about the damn funniest eight minutes on the entire internet. His sincerity and hilarious view-point is something that can not be matched. I try and fail miserably…often. Get lost over at Dinosaur Dracula. It’s a great place to be!

Dippy me!

I am so flattered to be apart of this. I have been a fan of Matt and Brian for years and the chance to work (not really work) with them is cooler to me than fishing with Robert DeNiro. Please take time to watch their videos and join the DinoDrac community. Amazing people over there.

It’s nice to have awesome friends like those guys.

Thanks for stopping by!

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