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Halloween Countdown, Day 24

For the next two days, I'll be speaking and leading seminars for the terrific students at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. If you happen to be in the area, I hope you'll consider attending my public lecture there. Never fear: the Countdown to Halloween will continue, even though I'm out of state. Speaking of which...

Celebrating its 14th year, "Out ov the Coffin" is hosted by the fabulous D.J. Ichabod. What was born as a means of spreading dark and esoteric music to the Nashville area via WRVU, broadcasting from my graduate alma mater, Vanderbilt University (Go 'Dores!), is now an spine-tingling and atmospheric podcast. Check it out for some perfect seasonal music! You won't be sorry. This year's Halloween special is now up and available for streaming.



Following up on my post on "off the beaten path" Halloween movies, I now can say that 2011's Absentia is definitely a "must see" film for Halloween. Don't miss it! Here's the trailer:



Text of the Day: Today's story is "Isle of the Undead" by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (1910-2003), originally published in the October 1936 issue of Weird Tales.

Excerpt: Darrell spun around, and as he stared, he felt a dryness seeping into his throat, choking him....

Out of the winding-sheet of fog into the moonlight crept a strange, strange craft, her crumbling timbers blackened and rotted with incredible age. The corpse of a ship, she seemed, resurrected from the grave of the sea. Her prow thrust upward like a scimitar bent backward, hovering over the gaunt ruin of a cabin whose seaward sides were formed by port and starboard bows. From a shallow pit amidships jutted the broken arm of a mast, its splintered tip pointing toward the blindly watching moon. The stern, thickly covered with the moldering encrustations of age, curved inward above the strange high poop, beneath which lay another cabin. And along either side of her worm-eaten freeboard ran a row of apertures like oblong portholes. Out of these projected great oars, long, unwieldy, as somberly black as the rest of the ancient hulk.

Now a sound drifted across the waters, the steady, rhythmic br-rr-oom, br-rr-oom, br-rr-oom of a drum beating time for the rowers. Its hollow thud checked the heart, set it to throbbing in tempo with its own weary pulse. Ghostly fingers, dripping dread, crawled up Darrell's spine.

Stiff-lipped, Vilma gasped: "What—what is it?"

Cliff answered in a dry husky voice, the words seeming to trip over an awkward tongue. "It's—it's—it can't be, damn it!—but it's a galley, a ship from the days of Alexander the Great! What's it doing—here—now?"

Closer she came through the moon-path, a frothing lip of brine curling away from her swelling prow. Closer—her course crossing that of the Ariel—and the watchers saw her crew! They gasped, and the blood ebbed from their faces.

Men of ancient Persia, clad in leather kirtles and rusted armor, and they were hideous! In the yellow moon-glow Cliff could see them clearly now—a lookout standing motionless in the stem, the steersman on the poop-deck, the drummer squatting beside the broken mast, the rowers in the pit—and all, all were a bloodless white, the skin of their faces puffed and bloated and horribly wrinkled, like flesh that had been under water a long time.

Read the Complete Short Story: Here.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
alicia_stardust
Oct. 24th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
I recently watched Absentia and thought it was super creepy. That's saying a lot with me!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 24th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you thought so, too! Perfect Halloween viewing, definitely.
ankh_hpl
Oct. 24th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
'Dores??? One must ask: what sort of Dores? Battledores? Stevedores? Dores of perception?

eldritchhobbit
Oct. 24th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
ROFLOL! Commodores, actually. As in Commodore Vanderbilt.

My fave is the a cappella group on campus, which dubbed itself "The Swingin' 'Dores." ;)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )