Archive for June, 2005

Gravediggers’s party disturbs some

From Reuters:

The mourning parents of a traffic accident victim who visited their son’s grave near Antwerp were shocked to find the local gravediggers enjoying their annual barbecue at the graveyard.

Workers at the cemetery in Merksem had music playing and their children were running around near the graves, De Morgen newspaper said Wednesday.

Several things struck me about this story. In the Victorian era, people frequently picnicked at cemeteries and took walks through them as though it was a park. A story about Highgate Cemetery goes that one family would picnic inside the family’s crypt by candlelight and in formal dining dress. The people could be seen inside through a skylight in the roof of the crypt built into the slope of the hillside.

My family and I often take walks in the very old cemetery behind the Presbyterian church in our village. Many generations of my wife’s family is buried there, including her younger brother. It is true we do not play music or grill food. But we have been known to play hide and seek among the tombstones and I’ve been known to stretch out on the soft carpet of grass with my head propped up on a footstone to read a book.

The world does not revolve around the dead. Graveyards are for the living, not the dead. Excessive association of death and grieving with cemeteries is, well, morbid in my opinion.

Hat tip to protected static for emailing me the link to the Reuters story.

Posted in Horror | 2 Comments »

Bram Stoker Awards

Can’t believe I missed this. I know it sounds fanboyish, but this is an award ceremony that I’ve always looked forward to the way others look at the Oscars. Here’s the list of this year’s Stokers:
Novel: In the Night Room by Peter Straub
First Novel (tie): Covenant by John Everson
Stained by Lee Thomas
Long Fiction: “The Turtle Boy” by Kealan-Patrick Burke
Short Fiction: “Nimitseahpah” by Nancy Etchemendy
Fiction Collection: Fearful Symmetries by Thomas F. Monteleone
Anthology: The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, 17th Annual edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant
Nonfiction: Hellnotes edited by Judi Rohrig
Illustrated Narrative: Heaven’s Devils by Jai Nitz
Screenplay (tie): Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondrey and Pierre Bismuth
Shaun of the Dead by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright Studio
Work for Young Readers (tie): Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker
Oddest Yet by Steve Burt
Poetry Collection: The Women at the Funeral by Corrine De Winter
Alternative Forms: The Devil’s Wine edited by Tom Piccirilli
Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Moorcock

Straub’s work is always awesome. And last year I sent Piccirilli a congratulatory email for his win and received a very nice and warm reply.

Belated congratulations to all the winners this year.


Please welcome Nitpicker to the sidebar under reality investigators. He’s back from a far away exotic land.

Posted in Horror | 2 Comments »

Bloggers of the night! What sweet posts they make…VI

Mondo Schlocko casts light on Weird Vampire Tales.
Bubblegumfink serves up Vampire Beach Babes.
FinalGirl howls at Werewolf By Night.
Warrenzone is out for revenge.
MValdemar breaks into song and posts some truly frightening photos.
Old Haunts is the ring master for two scary characters.
Fantastic Planet plays games with human heads.
Dark, But Shining has a version of F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep that sounds, well, worth keeping.
And Corpse Eaters marks a special event…ignore the blood stains.

Lestat cast for Broadway musical

Start spreading the news, Jim Stanek was picked to play Lestat in the upcoming musical version of Interview with a Vampire. From has learned that Jim Stanek will play reluctant bloodsucker Louis de Pointe du Lac, a role made famous by Brad Pitt in the film Interview with the Vampire, in the Broadway-bound musical Lestat. As we previously reported, The Phantom of the Opera’s Hugh Panaro is in talks to play the title character.
“It feels even silly to be talking about the fact that I am going to be a humongous Elton John musical,” Stanek told “He is a legend. To be doing new music of his is pretty cool. I don’t know of any other way to say it. This is an amazing opportunity.”

I’m a song writer too. “Fame! Vampires are undead for ever…”

Posted in Horror | 1 Comment »

Women dig ghosts

From Wakefield (U.K.) Today:

Living TV’s Most Haunted Live beamed three spectre-packed nights from Wakefield and became the highest-rated channel for adults on cable and satellite television.

The latest viewing figures for the shows at Wakefield Theatre Royal, Caphouse Colliery in Overton and two city mills reveal that spirits are a big magnet to women viewers.

A spokesman for Living TV said: “The latest Most Haunted Live event for the summer solstice reached more than 2.2 million viewers. Over the three nights the main show averaged an amazing 5.2 per cent share among women aged 16 to 44 in pay TV homes, up 81 per cent on the slot average for the previous quarter, making it the top cable/satellite channel among all adults.

Jack the Ripper theories

A new book covers some old theories on Jack the Ripper. Per usual, I deny any involvement although I don’t have an alibi for the Ripper killings. If you still suspect me, my motive for the killings is different than you probably think.

National Talk Like a Pirate Day

Arrr, ye scurvy dogs. National Talk Like a Pirate Day is Sep’embarrr 19th. Ye’ve been warned.

Posted in Horror | 2 Comments »

Haunted Louisville

From the Louisville (Ky.) Courler-Journal:

Even before he moved into his 1895 chateau-like mansion, Domine learned he might not be the only person residing there. Despite some frightening encounters with unusual phenomena, Domine, a university professor, remains a skeptic, but that’s an asset. He doesn’t just relate stories told him by others; he’s done hundreds of hours of research in local archives to determine if there’s any corroborative evidence to support their stories. His conclusion? There usually is.

Perhaps the most “haunting” tale, if you will, is the well-documented story of a young woman hoping to elope with her military sweetheart as World War I raged. Their likely rendezvous: the steps of a Christian Scientist church. Unfortunately, the Spanish flu epidemic hit and took her lover shortly before they were due to skip town, but she didn’t get the news. Three days later, she also succumbed. Now, “The Lady on the Steps” sadly paces on the portico, forever searching for a boyfriend who never shows up.

Then there are the ghosts at the J.B. Speed Art Museum. Several employees and visitors have seen a woman in white wandering the lower level, and in a main-level gallery the faint smell of rose perfume can often be detected. The ghost — commonly thought to be “Miss Hattie” Bishop Speed, the museum’s founder — is generally benign but has shown a jealous streak: Odd things have occurred around a portrait of another woman, the first Mrs. Speed, who died several years before Hattie came along. In an area devoted to Native American culture, there may also be the ghost of an angry warrior. Did he once wear one of the beautiful articles of clothing displayed there? No one knows.

The most startling story involves the “Phantom of Brook Street,” probably a Victorian maid named Jennie Bowman. One day in April 1887, Bowman surprised two burglars while everyone was out of the house. Her bloody murder was a local sensation. Fortunately, the perpetrators were soon caught and later executed. End of story? Hardly. Many area residents say she still roams the street, and one resident of a house where the murder may have taken place gave Domine a meticulously detailed story of the strange goings on in her kitchen and a creepy servant’s stairway in the back.

Dracula’s ‘Historian’

More rave reviews for Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian.” From The Baltimore Sun:

One of the most anticipated books this summer is by a woman writer who labored in obscurity for many years, holding a variety of jobs while she created a fanciful world with inquisitive heroes and ghoulish creatures.

Yes, that describes J.K. Rowling, whose sixth Harry Potter is almost certain to be the summer’s biggest hit. But it applies just as well to Elizabeth Kostova, first-time author and recent writing program grad, whose suspenseful saga The Historian should become a familiar sight at beaches and pools.

The Historian provides another twist on the Dracula myth, this one steeped in scholarly sleuthing. While researching his dissertation on 17th-century Dutch trade, a young American historian comes upon a mysterious book that initiates another quest: A search to find the grave of Vlad the Impaler, the historical inspiration of the legendary vampire.

Over the course of this hunt – inherited from his mentor and continued by his daughter – the historian encounters mysterious deaths, disappearances and other ominous signs suggesting that the 15th-century Vlad, who was widely feared for his cruel tortures, is still alive and indulging his regrettable tastes.

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