Archive for the 'DIY' Category

Monkey madness

Copernicus is made of awesome. And nightmares.

A box of money hands. Also.

me: Do I want a box of monkey hands? Is this a trick question? Of course I want a box of monkey hands. But I’m not going to take all your monkey hands. I’ll just take two.

Laura: OMG, take the box of monkey hands. What am I going to do with monkey hands?

me: What couldn’t you do with monkey hands?

Not surprisingly, she is the maker of a lovely haunted dollhouse.

Steamcon III

Registration is open for Steamcon III and I envy those who get to attend.

Pringle’s can designer buried in his invention

CNN is reporting (no link since it’s AP) that the designer of the Pringle’s can, Fredric J. Baur, 89, of Cincinnati, will have a portion of his ashes buried at his request in one of the iconic Pringle’s cans. No word if the ashes will be vacuumed packed and pop when the “coffin” is opened.

Posted in Death, DIY | No Comments »

A beautiful secret temple to an ancient god

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Incredible. From The London Daily Mail:

Nestling in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy, 30 miles from the ancient city of Turin, lies the valley of Valchiusella. Peppered with medieval villages, the hillside scenery is certainly picturesque.

But it is deep underground, buried into the ancient rock, that the region’s greatest wonders are concealed.

Here, 100ft down and hidden from public view, lies an astonishing secret – one that has drawn comparisons with the fabled city of Atlantis and has been dubbed ‘the Eighth Wonder of the World’ by the Italian government.

For weaving their way underneath the hillside are nine ornate temples, on five levels, whose scale and opulence take the breath away.

Constructed like a three-dimensional book, narrating the history of humanity, they are linked by hundreds of metres of richly decorated tunnels and occupy almost 300,000 cubic feet – Big Ben is 15,000 cubic feet.


But the ‘Temples of Damanhur’ are not the great legacy of some long-lost civilisation, they are the work of a 57-year-old former insurance broker from northern Italy who, inspired by a childhood vision, began digging into the rock.

It all began in the early Sixties when Oberto Airaudi was aged ten. From an early age, he claims to have experienced visions of what he believed to be a past life, in which there were amazing temples.

Around these he dreamed there lived a highly evolved community who enjoyed an idyllic existence in which all the people worked for the common good.


But it was only as he began a successful career as an insurance broker that he began to search for his perfect site.

In 1977, he selected a remote hillside where he felt the hard rock would sustain the structures he had in mind.

A house was built on the hillside and Falco moved in with several friends who shared his vision. Using hammers and picks, they began their dig to create the temples of Damanhur – named after the ancient subterranean Egyptian temple meaning City of Light – in August 1978.

Mad science

How to charge an iPod or MP3 player with an onion.

Posted in Cool!, DIY | 3 Comments »

How To Make…

a charred corpse.

(And no, not in the aspiring-horror-writer way 😉 )

Cthulhu iPod

Boing Boing has the picture and details of the Cthulhu iPod cozy. What do you think Cthulhu would have on its iPod? My guess is recordings of bloodcurdling screams. I could be wrong and Cthulhu could have recordings of ocean waves for relaxation.

Ray Keim: horror artist

Artist Ray Keim specializes in CGI and animations for education videos and publications for medical professionals, graphics and animations for “edutainment” titles, as well as work on architectural , and theatrical concepts (check out the model here). He’s worked as a model set builder/designer for broadcast television shows and news programs. He is also a self-described fan of the macabre (don’t miss his free desktop images to download – I want to live in them).

He has obviously put countless hours and boundless love and talent into creating 3-D online models of the Haunted Mansions at the Walt Disney theme parks across the globe. If you haven’t checked out his site, Haunted Dimensions, you really should.

Haunted Vampire: I well remember visiting the Haunted Mansion in Disney World in 1976 when I was 12. My favorite part, actually, was the queue and the facade of the building. I wanted to live there. Would you want to live there?

Ray Keim:My first visit to the haunted mansions (both Disney World and Disneyland) was in 1986, when I was 23. When I finally visited the mansions, I wanted one of my own! Especially the Liberty Square mansion at the Magic Kingdom. That is the primary reason why I designed my paper model kit of the Liberty Square mansion. So to answer the question of wanting to live there, I wouldn’t want to live in the attraction specifically, but I would LOVE to live in a real, livable recreation of the Liberty Square mansion!

Haunted Vampire: Which is your favorite Disney Haunted Mansion?

Ray Keim: The mansion in Orlando was the first one I saw first hand, so Liberty Square is “my” mansion.

Haunted Vampire: You’ve done work for Universal’s theme park. Could you
describe what you did there?

Ray Keim: I am a seasonal member of the Entertainment Art and Design team for Universal Studios, Orlando and Islands of Adventure. This past summer I was knee deep in the blood and gore of Universal, Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights events. My primary job was designing graphics for the official Universal Halloween Horror Nights web site, but I also designed event banners, created props and displays for the Halloween Horror Nights VIP Museum, and even created a 3D animation which was used as part of the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” stage show. I also designed paper model kits of two of the haunted house facades from the event, “Psychoscareapy” and “ScreamHouse”, which can be downloaded for free from the HHN site, printed and constructed at home. As an added bonus I had a short cameo in the HHN online promotional video “Share the Scare”, in which a gnarly old lady, known as “The Storyteller” pulled out my tongue with a pair of pliers! Yes, it’s an awesome job! I’m looking forward to my return in the spring!

Haunted Vampire: What other horror-related projects have you been involved with?

Ray Keim: My hobby (and some say my “obsession”) is my web site Haunted Dimensions, which is dedicated to the Disney Haunted Mansion Attractions. Haunted Dimensions started out as a small showcase for some of my 3D illustrations of the California and Orlando mansions, but it has
become widely known for my free paper model kits of the mansions, crypts, tombstones and other objects from the possessed manors. The site also has projects such as how to create a sugar cookie “gingerbread” Phantom Manor, carving pumpkins, and even a few photo journals of some of the ghostly places I have visited. such as the Lizzie Borden House, and the cemeteries of the Boston area.

Haunted Vampire: If after your death you existed as a ghost, where would
you haunt and what would you do to scare people?

Ray Keim: Just like in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, I would want the ability to remind people that we’re all in this together, and you only have one chance to make a positive mark on humanity. I would never want to scare good hearted people, but watch out mean and brutal people!

A ‘Frankenstein switch’ needed

Paging any mad scientists. Mad scientist to the courtesy phone please.

Curiosity cabinets

Great read at Cryptomundo inspired by Boing Boing co-editor David Pescovitz’s “We’re Recognizing That the World Is a Wunderkammer” (which is a ‘don’t miss it, it’s that good’).

Several years ago, I became fascinated with cabinets of curiosity. The Renaissance predecessor to modern day museums, these cabinets, sometimes entire rooms, were filled with a mish-mash of objects, both natural and artificial, that embodied the wonder of the world. (The German term for these collections, wunderkammer, literally means “chamber of wonders.”) Inside, you might find a mummy’s hand, a “unicorn’s horn,” exotic seashells from distant lands, odd insects pinned and cataloged, and possibly even a two-headed lizard in a jar of formaldehyde. As Tradescant the Elder, one of the most notable cabinet keepers in history, requested in a letter to the Secretary of the English Navy in 1625, this was a quest for “Any thing that is strang.”

Inspired by this celebration of science, art, and the strang(e), I picked up an old Chinese tea cabinet at a flea market and began to build my own wunderkammer. I quickly filled the shelves with items of the type I thought were “supposed” to be in any wunderkammer worth its weight in weirdness—antique medical instruments, a primitive eye gouging weapon from Rarotonga, a Balinese shadow puppet, a snake stuffed in a perpetual strike.

That is inspiring. I currently just have odds and ends on shelves. Some items, such as the human skull, have been hidden away because it frightened my young daughters (although now that they’re getting older it might be time to break it out again).

Pescovitz is optimistic by what he sees as a return of wonder, with people taking an interest in science, not just reading about it but doing experiments at home, tinkering with technology for the sheer joy of it.

He also wrote:

Many blogs, including the one I co-edit, have been described as virtual cabinets of curiosity—storehouses of unusual links, odd memes, fringe culture, and weird news.

I proudly consider that the mission of The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire. If I can share with readers the exhaltation I experience each time I am reminded of the world retains secrets, wonder, mystery and intellectual adventure, then I have succeeded in my small way as a blogger.

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