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Happy Halloween!

The day is here, my friends! We made it! Happy Halloween, Happy Samhain, and (slightly early) Happy Día de los Muertos!

Thank you for joining me in my month-long holiday celebration. I truly hope you've enjoyed it. I have!

To those of you who have shared goodies with me through email or snailmail or other means, thank you so very much for making the holiday extra-special for me!!!

Everyone, please stop by, grab a virtual latte or cider or hot cocoa, a candied apple or some roasted pumpkin seeds, or even a goblet of blood and a plate of brains, and say hello!


Happy birthday to greenhoodloxley, and happy early birthday to ithiliana, amedia, madkestrel, crackferret, thaisa, actourdreams, tlg2009, coppervale, st_crispins, adamantrealm, sneezythesquid, bibliotrope, crazywritergirl, rymfireebooks, and darchildre. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!


Now for the grand finale. What can I say? This is my favorite. I hope you enjoy "Hallowe'en in a Suburb" by H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937).

The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
And the harpies of upper air,
That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
Never shone in the sunset's gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
Where the rivers of madness stream
Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves through the rows of sheaves
In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral power
Spreads sleep o'er the cosmic throne,
And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
Sprung out of the tomb's black maw
To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
Shall some day be with the rest,
And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
Of horror and death are penned,
For the hounds of Time to rend.

Halloween Countdown, Day 30

Halloween/trick or treat
We're almost there, everyone!

"The high mountain peak of the mansion was littered with what looked like black bones or iron rods, and enough chimneys to choke out smoke signals from three dozen fires on sooty hearths hidden far below in dim bowels of this monster place. With so many chimneys, the roof seemed a vast cemetery, each chimney signifying the burial place of some old god of fire or enchantress of steam, smoke, and firefly spark. Even as they watched, a kind of bleak exhalation of soot breathed up out of some four dozen flues, darkening the sky still more, and putting out some few stars."
― Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree (1982)

Halloween Pumpkin

"And it was the afternoon of Halloween. And all the houses shut against a cool wind. And the town was full of cold sunlight. But suddenly, the day was gone. Night came out from under each tree and spread."
― Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree (1982)



Halloween Countdown, Day 29

“For some nights I slept profoundly; but still every morning I felt the same lassitude, and a languor weighed upon me all day. I felt myself a changed girl. A strange melancholy was stealing over me, a melancholy that I would not have interrupted. Dim thoughts of death began to open, and an idea that I was slowly sinking took gentle, and, somehow, not unwelcome possession of me. If it was sad, the tone of mind which this induced was also sweet. Whatever it might be, my soul acquiesced in it.”
― J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Carmilla (1871)

Alice. Endless twilight. Alice fading

Check out more of these wonderfully atmospheric and eerie photos here.

Halloween Countdown, Day 28

Daniel Danger, an artist, painter, and printmaker out of New England, is another creator whose work fits the bill for the Halloween season.

Check out his artwork here on his Tumblr and here at his store.

These definitely put me in the Halloween mood.

tumblr_mt87e385Yd1qczwklo4_500 tumblr_mt87e385Yd1qczwklo6_500

"It was very quiet. The woods were made for secrecy. They did not recognise her as the garden did."
― Daphne du Maurier, "The Pool" in Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories


Halloween Countdown, Day 27

Forever Knight
Mental_floss has an eerie list of "7 Weird Graveyard Inventions" just in time for Halloween.

My quotes for the day come from Forever Knight - do you remember that? - the series that ran from 1992-1996 about the vampire Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn-Davies) who tries to redeem his past actions while serving as a policeman in Toronto. All were spoken by the wonderfully wicked character Lucien Lacroix (Nigel Bennett), Nick's 2,000-year-old vampire master.

"They say no two persons are alike. Never is that more true than when it comes to our desires. Some cherish what others abhor. One man's precious cargo is another man's poison. Some prize what others revile. Prize what you will, prize what you can, but always remember, even he who dies with the most prizes still dies."

Tu alma me pertenece / Your soul belongs to me

"If you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t return... hunt it down and kill it."


"A ghost is a hallucination of some famous regret, no more. Ghosts are mistakes that we have made. They come not from beyond the pale, but rise up from our gravest doubts about ourselves. Each ill-considered thing that we have done is a ghost that haunts us. If we let it."


Halloween Countdown, Day 26, Part II

Have I mentioned yet how excited I am to hear that Twin Peaks is coming back - with a nine-episode continuation of the series, set in the present day, explaining what has happened these past 25 years? In a statement issued by Showtime, David Lynch and Mark Frost said, “The mysterious and special world of Twin Peaks is pulling us back. We’re very excited. May the forest be with you.” Oh yes.

And this news makes me happiest of all.

Take a peek at the teaser.

On a different note, I had to share this.



Halloween Countdown, Day 26

Today I bring you the "Gratuitous Niece Picspam" edition of the Halloween Countdown. I just can't help myself.

Kaitlyn's having a good October. She's been hanging around pumpkin patches and singing, as you can see, to complement her costume as Anna from Frozen.

Kaitlyn Pumpkin Patch Kaitlyn as Anna in Frozen

"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
- Henry David Thoreau

Kaitlyn Pumpkin Patch

"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see."
- Linus, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Halloween Countdown, Day 25

Halloween/trick or treat
Today let's join the town of Manitou Springs, Colorado in remembering Emma Crawford.

Who is Emma Crawford, you ask?

Here's the official story from the Emma Crawford Festival website: "Emma came to Manitou Springs for the miracle mineral springs in 1889. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which back then was a death sentence. Unfortunately, she lost her battle on December 4, 1891. Her dying wish was to be buried on top of Red Mountain. Her fiance, William Hildebrand (a civil engineer on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway), and eleven other men carried her body up the 7,200 ft. slope. In 1929, after years of stormy weather, her remains washed down the side of the mountain. Only her casket handles, a nameplate and a few bones were found. Some say she haunts Red Mountain.

"Emma was buried some years later in Manitou Springs' Crystal Valley Cemetery in an unmarked grave. A Memorial Stone was erected in 2004 by Historic Manitou Springs, Inc. (which operates the Manitou Springs Heritage Center) to honor her life.

"Now, the townspeople honor her every year in late October with The Emma Crawford Festival."


And what do the good people in Manitou Springs do at the Emma Crawford Festival, you ask?

They have a parade. They wear costumes. THEY RACE COFFINS. Each team is required to have an Emma in the coffin, and the race is entirely uphill. The fastest teams compete in the finals.


Well played, Manitou Springs. Well played.

May Emma Crawford rest in peace, and may all of today's competitors at the 20th annual memorial race be swift of foot and coffin. (Special thanks to sittingduck1313.)

Emma Crawford Coffin Races Emma Crawford Coffin Races


Halloween Countdown, Day 24

Apparitions/ Father Jacob
Are you looking to binge-watch a miniseries/series for the Halloween season? Here are my top four recommendations for smart and savvy -- and doable (that is, weighing in at a reasonable number of hours for consuming all of the complete episodes to date) -- Halloween mainlining.

Total Hours: 6
Apparitions (The Complete Series) - British
Father Jacob Myers, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, examines evidence of miracles to be used in canonization, but he also performs exorcisms. As he discovers, his duties run deeper than just sending demons back to Hell; he later must prevent them all from escaping. One of Apparitions' claims to fame is that, unlike other portrayals of exorcism and spirit possession in fiction, this series attempts to be more respectful, doctrinally accurate, and historically based, incorporating the nature of demonic possession as described by the Church and recounting historical events associated with Christianity and other Abrahamic religions. Extraordinarily humane and textured performances by Martin Shaw, Siobhan Finneran, and Rick Warden make this a thoroughly chilling and affecting work.

Total Hours: 8
Penny Dreadful (The Complete First Season) - British/U.S.
Three great classics -- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray -- meet in a mash-up that pays tribute to the original texts and reimagines them through the sensationalist lens of the late Victorian penny dreadful. The writers know their stuff; multiple times I anticipated quotes or references (Varney the Vampire FTW!) and had to applaud in delight. Eva Green's performance in particular strikes the perfect chord for Halloween. I was delighted and moved by David Warner's guest appearance as Abraham Van Helsing, as well. Watch this first season and you'll be all caught up with the rest of us. (Note: This isn't for the kiddies.)

Total Hours: 8
The Returned (The Complete First Season) - French
In a small French mountain town, many dead people reappear, apparently alive and normal: teenaged road crash victim Camille, suicidal bridegroom Simon, a small boy named "Victor" who was murdered by burglars, and Serge, a serial killer. They try to resume their lives as strange phenomena occur. During recurring power outages, the water level of the reservoir mysteriously lowers, revealing the presence of dead animals and a church steeple. At the same time, strange marks appear on the bodies of the living and the dead. Subtle, haunting, and dark, this program won the International Emmy for Best Drama Series with good reason. The second season is due out in 2015. (Thanks to peadarog for first recommending this to me.)

Total Hours: 13
Miracles (The Complete Series) - U.S.
Miracles follows Paul Callan, an investigator of modern miracles for the Catholic Church who questions his faith after repeatedly finding mundane explanations for various supposed phenomena. After he witnesses a true, supernatural miracle that saves his life, only for his findings to be dismissed on a lack of evidence, Paul leaves his position. He is approached by Alva Keel to join his organization Sodalitas Quaerito, investigating and cataloguing "unexplainable" phenomena. Along with former police officer Evelyn Santos, Paul and Alva attempt to battle the impending "darkness" before it's too late. Do the letters "godisnowhere" mean "God Is Now Here" or "God Is Nowhere"? The series considers this an open question, and it delivers some genuine spookiness in the process.

Apparitions DVD Penny Dreadful DVD The Returned DVD Miracles DVD

So what do you recommend?

"Perhaps it has always been there, this thing, this demon inside me. Or behind my back, waiting for me to turn around."
- Vanessa Ives, Penny Dreadful


Halloween Countdown, Day 23

I find this photo to be exceptionally creepy.

The official Ebay listing describes it like this: "Circa 1902 bucolic image of a little girl surrounded by her collection of fine German bisque antique dolls which were, of course, pretty new back then. She also clutches onto the newest sensation, the Teddy Bear, which appears to have been made by Steiff. On the back of the photo is written 'To Rebecca, from Mae Eileen.' It's not hard to speculate that Rebecca had some jealousy issues, as Mae Eileen's pretty face is deliberately and angrily scratched out, as well as the doll's face on the rocking chair. It only adds to the mystery of the photo but you must admit this is quite a great collection."

I'm pretty sure there's a Gothic novel to be written here, or perhaps a short story or poem.




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