Archive for the ‘ Weird Stuff ’ Category

13 Strange Things That Happened on Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is synonymous with bad luck and superstitions — so much so that some people flat-out refuse to fly, make business deals or get married on this fateful day.

As many as 21 million people in the United States are fearful of Friday the 13th, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C., which estimates that $800 million to $900 million is lost in business every Friday the 13th because of fears of the doomed day. [Top 10 Phobias]

But is there really a reason to be so apprehensive of a day that’s technically just like any other? Of course not, scientists say. You can pick out any date on the calendar or any day in history and find some weird stuff that’s happened. For fun, we’ve rounded up 13 events — some tragic, some just plain strange — that happened on a Friday the 13th:

1. Oct. 13, 1307 – Officers of King Philip IV of France raided the homes of the Knights Templar, who were warrior monks during the Crusades, imprisoning several thousand men on charges of illegal activities. None of these charges were proven, but hundreds suffered excruciating torture intended to force confessions, and more than a hundred died, according to “Tales of the Knights Templar” (Warner Books, 1995).

2. Aug. 13, 1521– Conquistador Hernán Cortés captured Cuauhtémoc, the ruler of Tenochtitlán, claiming the city for Spain and marking the end of the Aztec Empire. Cortés appointed himself the new ruler and renamed it Mexico City, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

3. Nov. 13, 1789 – Benjamin Franklin wrote “Everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes,” according to U.S. government documents.

4. Sept. 13, 1940 – Five German bombs hit Buckingham Palace and destroyed the Palace Chapel, as part of Hitler’s strategic “Blitz” bombing campaign, according to reports from U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

5. June 13, 1952 – A Swedish military DC-3 plane carrying a crew of eight disappeared over international water in the Baltic Sea. This became known as the “Catalina affair” because one of two Catalina rescue planes sent to search for the plane was attacked by Soviet forces. In 1991, the Soviet air force admitted that it had shot down the DC-3 as well, according to the BBC.

6. July 13, 1956 – The United States and Britain turned down Indian and Yugoslavian pleas to stop atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, according to The New York Times.

7. Nov. 13, 1970 – A huge South Asian storm killed an estimated 300,000 people in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and create floods that killed as many as 1 million in the Ganges delta.

8. June 13, 1986 – The Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, were born.

9. Jan. 13, 1989 – The “Friday the 13th virus” infected hundreds of IBM computers across Great Britain, wiping out program files and causing considerable anxiety at a time when large-scale computer viruses were a relatively new threat.

10. Oct. 13, 1989 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average underwent the second largest drop it had ever experienced at that time. Nicknamed the Friday-the-13th mini-crash, the Dow dropped 190.58 points that day. Today, that drop doesn’t even make the top 10 list of largest drops.

11. March 13, 2009 – “SAW – The Ride” premiered at Thorpe Park amusement park in England, only to be temporarily shut down due to “minor teething problems” according to UK news reports.

12. Aug. 13, 1999 – The day would have been Alfred Hitchcock’s 100th birthday.

13. Sept. 13, 2013 – The planned date of the thirteenth installment of the Friday the 13th horror film series, which revolves around hockey mask-wearing Jason Voorhees.

UFO Cover-Up? Britain’s ‘Roswell Event’ Missing From Files

The British Ministry of Defence recently released thousands of government documents related to UFO sightings and reports in the United Kingdom. As the public and UFO buffs pored over the information, there was one subject file (or series of files) that seemed to be suspiciously missing: the Rendlesham Forest Incident, better known as “Britain’s Roswell.”

BBC correspondent Neil Henderson noted, “The missing files relate to a report of mysterious lights from U.S. servicemen at RAF [Royal Air Force] Woodbridge in Suffolk in 1980. The disappearance came to light with the release of 8,000 previously classified documents on UFOs. Officials found a ‘huge’ gap where defense intelligence files relating to the case should be, the papers show.”

Missing files on a famous UFO case? Call Mulder and Scully! Why are these particular files missing? Is it a sign of a conspiracy?

 

David Clarke, the author of “The UFO Files: The Inside Story of Real-Life Sightings” (The National Archives, 2009) who has been working with Britain’s National Archives since 2008 to release the information, clarified the issue.  “It is not the case that files on Rendlesham have been destroyed. What has been lost or destroyed are a series of Defence Intelligence UFO files covering the years 1980 through 1982,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries. While this would include information on the Rendlesham case, Clarke noted, the Ministry of Defence’s files on the topic had already been released. “There is no evidence those files contained anything different to the contents of the actual ‘Rendlesham file’ released some years ago.”

But is it suspicious that any files were destroyed? Perhaps they contained conclusive proof of alien visitation? Clarke doesn’t think so: “Why were these files destroyed? The most likely answer is that, at the time, intelligence staff believed they contained nothing worth preserving. It’s worth pointing out that some 95 percent of all U.K. government files are destroyed at first review. Many, many other UFO files have been destroyed, including most of those from the 1950s when the subject was regarded as having no historical significance (prior to 1967, the policy was to destroy all files on the subject at five yearly intervals). So while there’s a tendency to see a conspiracy or hidden agenda, it’s not as big a deal as is being made out.”

Indeed, millions of official government documents are routinely destroyed each year. Some of the documents are secret, but most of them are merely useless and outdated—everything from 1950s-era passport applications and biographical intelligence dossiers on now-dead foreign leaders to sewage treatment plans for planned neighborhoods that were never built. Archiving and recording all official documents would be an impossible (and very costly) task, and some events only take on particular interest years or decades after documents on them were created.

Either the missing files (if indeed there are any missing) contained information so ordinary and mundane that they weren’t considered worth keeping, or they contained information so dramatic and explosive that they needed to be covered up. The documents can be interpreted either way, but the former seems the more likely.

 

This article was provided by Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.com.

ythical Creatures: Beasts That Don’t Exist (Or Do They?)

When scientists visit a tucked-away part of the planet—say, a deep-ocean hydrothermal vent or an isolated jungle mountain—they routinely find dozens of species that have never been documented. It’s discoveries like these that allow folks who believe in mythical beasts such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and El Chupacabra to hold out hope that these creatures actually do exist.

In most cases, hope is all they have, as the scientific evidence for these 10 animals of urban legend simply isn’t very convincing.

Bigfoot

Several names have been bestowed on the mysterious, hairy (and, reportedly, smelly) bipedal man-beast said to roam the North American wilderness, but Bigfoot is the one that’s stuck. Reports of  the creature date back to only the 1950s, and so far no teeth, hair, bones or any other trace of Bigfoot have been found. The best evidence for this beast remains a famous Patterson-Gimlin film shot in California in 1967— and even that looks like a guy in a cheap gorilla suit.

Nessie

Perhaps best known as the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie is the aquatic beast said to inhabit Scotland’s Loch Ness. Nessie was first reported in 1933, and since then many locals and tourists have claimed to see something in the cold, deep water. According to some believers, Nessie is a plesiosaur, a large marine reptile from the age of dinosaurs. Despite occasional reports, doctored photos, and scientific investigations (using everything from submarines to sonar beams), hard evidence of Nessie has yet to surface.

Chupacabra

El Chupacabra, the “goat-sucker,” was first seen in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s. Descriptions vary, but it’s said to be from 3 to 5 feet tall, have a row of spikes down its back, and possess alienlike eyes. It is also a vampire, supposedly sucking the blood out of its prey (mostly goats, sheep, and small animals). It is said to have either come from outer space, or be the product of secret government genetics experiments; its true origin, a 1995 sci-fi film, was recently revealed in the book “Tracking the Chupacabra.”

Jersey Devil

This mythical beastie was literally birthed in the early 1700s. According to folklore, around that time a New Jersey-area woman gave birth to a cursed monster with a horse’s head, bat’s wings and cloven hoofs. Over the centuries this legend has been embellished by tall tales, hoaxes and occasional sightings of weird things in the woods, but according to Loren Coleman’s book “Monsters of New Jersey” there’s no hard evidence that it’s more than a myth.

Champ

Champ is America’s answer to Nessie, a mysterious lake monster said to live in Lake Champlain. Sometimes referred to as “America’s Loch Ness Monster,” Champ comes in many forms but is said to have several humps, be dozens of feet long, have dark skin and a head like a snake or a dog. The famous 1981 photo of Champ was later revealed to be a floating log, but Champ’s legend is kept alive by occasional “sightings” and ambiguous photos and videos.

Montauk Monster

A relatively recent addition to the monster list, the Montauk Monster was a strange creature that washed up on a beach in Montauk, N.Y., in July 2008. A photo of the four-legged, clawed, nearly hairless animal circulated around the Web. Some thought it was a hoax; others believed it was a pig, or an unknown, possibly genetically modified animal. The Montauk Monster was finally identified as a decomposing raccoon.

Feejee Mermaid

While mermaids don’t necessarily fit the public’s image of monsters or beasts, the Feejee Mermaid was quite an exception. Showman P.T. Barnum introduced his infamous FeeJee Mermaid in the 1840s: not a beautiful, half-naked fish-woman but a hideous head and torso of a small monkey on the body and tail of a fish. It wasn’t real, of course—close inspection of the specimen reveals the hand stitching that holds the two animals together —just one of several faked mermaid created to cash in on the public’s curiosity.

Sea Monsters

Stories of sea monsters have been around for millennia; a1752 book titled “Natural History of Norway” described a monster named the Kraken, which was the size of a small island and “round, flat, and full of arms,” and is often under the control of the sea gods. It became the subject of a famous catchphrase— “Release the Kraken!”—from the 2010 film “Clash of the Titans.” Sightings of sea serpents are very rare today, and scientists now believe that many early reports were actually of giant squid, which can reach 43 feet long.

Ogopogo

It seems like every country has its own lake monster. Ogopogo, “Canada’s Loch Ness Monster,” is the mysterious beast that many believe lurks in British Columbia’s Lake Okanagan. Centuries ago, Native Americans believed that a water spirit lived in the lake, and live sacrifices were made to pacify the aquatic demon. (There’s actually no real link between Native American myths and the monster, but this is often cited as its origin.) Ogopogo was in fact named after a popular dance hall song, and despite a lack of scientific evidence, people report occasional odd things in the lake to this day.

Vampires

Vampires are hot. From “Dracula” to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to “Twilight,” no mythical monster has captured the public’s imagination in the same way. Fictional vampires are often tormented, sexy souls, and while blood-drinking human vampires don’t exist—well, there are a few freaks out there who drink blood, but they don’t survive on the stuff—there are many true vampiric animals, including leeches, female mosquitoes, ticks and, of course, the vampire bat.


7 Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires

With the third movie installment of the “Twilight” movies, “Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling vampire-romance novels, slated to arrive in theaters on June 30, vampires have once again crept into pop culture’s collective consciousness.

While true, undead vampires do not exist, some diseases and disorders show themselves in ways that are similar to vampiric characteristics. From sunlight intolerance to an aversion to garlic and mirrors, below are six illnesses that, to some extent, cause people to act like vampires:

7. Aversion to garlic

The fear of garlic, or alliumphobia, is a neurosis that causes people to become freaked out by the mere thought of the stinky plant. In clove form or sprinkled over a pizza, garlic will send alliumphobiacs running in the other direction. Just being in proximity of garlic is enough to trigger a severe panic attack or anxiety for a person suffering from this rare phobia.

The legend that vampires are repelled by garlic stems from its use as a way to ward off evil spirits in southern Slavic countries and Romania. It was believed that those who refused to eat garlic were vampires, and cloves of garlic were placed in the mouths of the deceased prior to burial to prevent them from turning into vampires, according to “In search of Dracula: the History of Dracula and Vampires,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994).

6. Biting mad

Rabies, or hydrophobia, is a disease that causes people to display several vampire-like symptoms, including the desire to bite others. The rabies virus attacks the nervous system and can also cause oversensitivity to sunlight and to other visual stimuli, such as mirrors. The word rabies means “rage” or “madness” in Latin, and was so named because people who contract it often become delirious, aggressive and suffer from hallucinations.

The disease can also affect portions of the brain that control sleep patterns, leading to insomnia, nocturnal sleeplessness and hypersexuality, behavior that shadows the image of a sinister Nosferatu creeping into a dreaming damsel’s bed chamber in the middle of the night.

Bites from bats, which vampires are often depicted as turning into, are the most common source of a rabies infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, two strains of the rabies virus in several European countries can only be transmitted to humans by bats and are therefore known as bat rabies.

5. Hatred of mirrors

Although vampires are depicted as being invisible in mirrors, a real disases, Eisoptrophobia, also known as catoptrophobia, causes people to fear them. This can be brought on by a traumatic event, or formed as a result of deep-seated fears, such as seeing as seeing a horror movie involving mirrors as a child. For people with this disorder, the mere sight of a mirror can bring on an anxiety attack.

Some sufferers of eisoptrophobia believe that looking into a mirror will summon the supernatural, and some think they are being watched through the mirror. Others with the disorder can only stand to look at a mirror for a few seconds, and say that if they look at it for too long, they get the feeling that the person looking back at them is not really them at all, according to “An Excess of Phobias and Manias,” (Senior Scribe Publications, 2003).

Vampires’ legendary distaste for mirrors traces back to European myths that they don’t have a reflection because they have no soul. Because being unable to stand the sight of a mirror is also one the symptoms of rabies, some believe that this vampire myth originated during a rabies epidemic that took place in Europe in the 1700s.

4. A thirst for blood?

In 1985, a scientist claimed to have found a disease that linked the myth of vampires to a very real genetic blood disorder called porphyria. People with porphyria experience the desire to drink human blood to alleviate their symptoms (the genetic disease causes abnormalities in a person’s hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells), declared biochemist David Dolphin. His theory was later refuted and proven to be based on a misunderstanding of the disease.

However, one of the real symptoms of the rare disease is a sensitivity to sunlight, with blisters forming on the skin within several minutes of sun exposure. Another real symptom is red-colored urine, according to the Mayo Clinic, and may explain why historically, people may have suspected porphyria sufferers of drinking blood.

3. “Count” Dracula

Arithmomania is the obsessive need to count things, and has a little-known, but deeply rooted, presence in vampire tales. For centuries, it was believed that besides garlic and crosses, one fool-proof defense against vampires was math. To deter a vampire, one only had to throw a handful of rice or seeds and run away, as the vampire would be unable to resume the chase until he or she had counted every single grain.

During the Middle Ages, people poured poppy seeds in the coffins of loved ones before burying them in holy ground, hoping that it would distract a vampire from biting the deceased, according to “Mindsamaze,” (Hodgson Press, 2008).

This explains why Count von Count, the calculator-hating, cheerfully spooky vampire-like Muppet on “Sesame Street,” is obsessed with numbers and counts anything that comes his way, sometimes resorting to counting his own fingers when there is nothing else around to count. While the character is more silly than scary on the children’s show, every one of the Count’s counting sessions are followed by a sinister crack of thunder and a flash of lightning.

2. Flaunting fangs

Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia is a rare genetic disorder that affects tooth development. It causes a person’s teeth grow in abnormally, and at a later than average age. In some cases, many of the person’s teeth are absent except for the canines, which in effect appear to be protruding, and the teeth that do grow in are pointed, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Every human has canine teeth, the sharpest, pointiest teeth in the mouth that are used for biting food rather than chewing it, which is mostly the job of the back teeth. While vampires have been depicted with eerily long fangs for centuries, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that vampires began to be shown with retractable fangs.

Fans of the show “True Blood” are familiar with a vampire’s tendency to swiftly sprout fangs only when they are about to feed, while hardcore “Twilight” fans, or “Twihards,” are aware of the fact that Stephenie Meyer chose to portray her vampires completely without fangs.

1. Scorched by sunlight

An extremely rare genetic disorder, xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, causes a person’s DNA to be unable to effectively repair the damage caused by ultraviolet light. One in a million people have the disorder in the United States, according to the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society (XPS). People with XP develop severe sunburns when exposed to even a small amount of sunlight. While the seriousness of the disorder varies, in extreme cases, all exposure to sunlight is strictly forbidden.

When a person with XP is exposed to direct sunlight, their skin can blister and develop oozing, raw wounds on its surface. Even some indoor lighting, such as incandescent light bulbs, emit UV rays and should be avoided, according to the XPS. Other symptoms of XP include a painful eye sensitivity to the sun, causing them to become irritated and appear bloodshot, as well as a glossy white thinning of the skin.

Sorry, Twihards, none of XP’s symptoms include sparkling in the sunlight like Edward Cullen. While Edward seems to be an unusual vampire due to his ability to handle sunlight, older versions of vampires, including John Polidori’s 1819 short story “The Vampyre” and James Malcolm Rymer’s “Varney the Vampire,” published in 1845, were able to walk in sunlight without a problem. Traditionally, vampires are nocturnal creatures because it is easier for them to stalk human prey at night.

The 7 Most Unintentionally Creepy Places on the Internet

#7. Edarem:

Meet the dark side of YouTube (we know — you thought YouTube was nothing but one giant dark side). Meet Edward Muscare, also known as Edarem:
He looks like equal parts “unsettling uncle no longer allowed at the family reunion” and “half-mad grandpa screaming obscenities at the cat” with just a dash of Emperor Palpatine and two shakes of “fairy tale witch” thrown in for flavor. But his channel isn’t anything too disturbing: He films himself giving opinions on current events, ranting about daily annoyances and lip-synching to his favorite songs. He looks pretty unsettling, sure, but it’s also kind of cute: Here’s this weird old guy just having fun and being eccentric, singing “Pretty Woman” and wishing happy birthday to some of his old flames. And then, there is this:

Yep. Registered sexual offender, convicted for sexual battery back in 1987. Remember that birthday video? Watch it again now, and the context completely changes: It’s a terrifying sex offender singing children’s songs to “the one that got away,” Most likely from his van.

#6. Reborn Dolls

Reborn-Baby.com is the website of an artist who displays and sells her handcrafted baby dolls, called “Reborn Babies,” and don’t worry, folks, it’s not just a creepy name.

The glossy, dead eyes, the disturbing attention to detail — even mapping out individual veins below the skin — an unquestionably talented artist has used her gift to conquer the uncanny valley and rule it with an iron fist from atop Mount Soul-Rape in Involuntarily Urination Castle. To fully impress upon you the scale of their horror, there’s not much we can say that the images don’t scream inside of your mind with a thousand ghostly voices:

#5.
The Buffy Boards

You can find an Internet forum for pretty much anything, from fans of My Little Pony to people who like to get peed on by fans of My Little Pony. So at first glance, the Bloody Board, a forum for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seems comfortingly normal. They post tweets from former cast members of the show (mostly about how much it sucks to work at this gas station now), speculate about plot points, discuss favorite episodes and fan art — the usual stuff. But on close inspection, something’s just a little off …


One user, “jamie_marsters” appears to be quite prolific, posting and replying many, many times a day. We suppose it’s sort of creepy that she’s taken the name of Buffy star James Marsters, and changed it to Jamie to imply familiarity, like an ex-girlfriend or an old babysitter might. A quick look at the profile statistics and things get much worse. Look at the number of total posts “jamie” has made:

Huh, she must be really into the community to make almost 40,000 posts. The only problem being: There’s no community. There is only jamie_marsters. Scrolling through the archives reveals that there are virtually no other users, just this one, posting non stop, replying to herself, over and over again, every minute of every day for the last six years, alone inside her own dark little echo-chamber of madness.

#4. The Sim City 3000 Utopia

Vincent Ocasla has beaten Sim City 3000. For those of you saying, “So what? He beat a video game,” you should know that beating Sim City is like finishing Pac-Man or arguing with your wife — there is no actual “win” condition. Or so the creators thought, but they didn’t count on Ocasla’s unsettling obsession. He created a flawless, fully functional Sim City of roughly six million residents, and it only took him four years. Those aren’t “in-game years” either — those are actual real years of his life: 1.5 years of theory and planning, and 2.5 years of construction (read: clicking on water pipes and power lines while he slowly forgets what it is to experience human love).

The amount of sheer calculation and planning that has gone into this city is beyond any harmless hobby. While we were going about our daily routines, Ocasla was planning. While we were laughing, struggling and just getting by, Ocasla was planning. While we were making love and arguing and growing old together, Ocasla was planning — planning his ruthlessly efficient, totalitarian dream-state. The ominous Latin names and sinister music in the video don’t do anything to convince us he’s not the next Borg overlord, either. And then there are his words. When asked about the fact that in his city, the average life of a citizen lasted only 50 years, he stated: “Health of the Sims was not a priority, relative to the main objective.”

#3. Louisville Free Face

With all the Craigslist posters asking for someone to fart in their hair while they jerk off in an astronaut suit, the simple perversions often get overlooked. Like the man behind Louisville Free Face, who doesn’t want anything super-freaky at all, save to go yodeling in some lady’s valley. In fact, he loves taking the V-train downtown so much that he decided to set up a website informing all the ladies in the Louisville, Ky., area. Here’s some info from his “about me” page.

Notice anything unusual?


Hint: It’s not his age.

But hell, if that’s perversion, then a lot of 14-year-old Twilight fans need to start registering with the state. Dude loves head; that’s his bag. Big deal. Then you get to the “terms and restrictions,” “privacy,” and “application” pages.

#2. Humanbeing151/insomniac

#2.
Humanbeing151/insomniac

Humanbeing151, who goes by the name “Insomniac,” has a desire to meet P. Diddy that is so intense it can only be quantified as “Lovecraftian.” His YouTube profile says that he has “150,000 written songs,” and while he has nearly 1,300 videos, only one of them has any music. Or sanity.

There’s only one message in all of these videos: Diddy needs to check his MySpace inbox because he’s been sent an “important message.” Various titles for these plaintive clips include “Diddy Dear Mr Diddy please read this,” “Diddy TV official,” and “Diddy Diddy diddy diddy diddy DIDDY P diddy Puff Diddy diddy twitter.” While most desperate YouTube stars throw “BOOBS TITS HALO” into the video tags when they want people to find their videos, Insomniac takes the less-subtle approach and puts these things straight in the title. Presumably in the hopes that Diddy, while incessantly Googling himself one day, will stumble across “P.Diddy dirty money angels diddy angels Diddy dirty money angels angels dirty money,” and click on it, wondering how he forgot that time he starred in an anal-centric porno.

If you follow the video feed chronologically, you can see the downward spiral of a man that starts at “complete insanity” and somehow goes downhill from there. As evidenced by some of his more recent videos, which have titles like “i will pay $5000 to see Diddy,” featuring a background image of a man on all fours, utterly crushed with despair. So what’s this all-consuming important message for Diddy? We don’t know; he won’t say. We can only assume it has something to do with this:

A room in Insomniac’s home is filled with what appears to be thousands upon thousands of notebooks. What could they be? Songbooks? An epic poem detailing the importance of sub-standard sample-based hip hop? A new Bible with every single name replaced by “Diddy”? Eventually, Insomniac pulls one out and flips though it, where we can see that every single page is filled with the words “Dear Mr. P Diddy please accept” or “Brother Diddy please accept.”

Insomniac’s dream is so desperate and heart-wrenching, we can’t help but root for him a little bit and hope that he finally gets his wish to meet Diddy in person. Besides, Diddy’s one of the richest entertainers in the world; after Insomniac’s done sewing his Brother Diddy Suit, Mr. Combs could almost certainly afford some new skin.
#1.
“Kerry’s TV, Mask & Lycra Page”

If you’ve ever spent more than an hour searching for porn, you’ve probably stumbled upon a tranny site, and while Eddie Izzard and 80s glam metal have taught us understanding and shown us that dressing up like a chick doesn’t have to be wrong or pornographic, “Kerry” is here to teach us that transvestites can be objectively terrifying even without the surprise wang reveal.

Kerry is a straight, married, male cross-dresser whose interests include “movies, British media, science fiction, computers” and “growing ever more powerful as he feeds off of your fear.” We understand that he’s trying to look more like a woman and that not everyone is capable of doing so with just some eye shadow and lipstick, but his mask barely resembles a human being in the first place, and that human being happens to be Michael Myers in the second.

Or what looks like a very racist interpretation of Oprah:

Actually, that wasn’t totally accurate: Kerry doesn’t always wear a mask … sometimes he wears a full-on bodysuit (NSFW):

He’s like Buffalo Bill, but without the pit and the murder … as far as we know.

Kerry also enjoys cosplaying.

She dresses up as The Avengers’ Emma Peel:

And Batgirl:

And she even takes videos:

Videos that unhinge you from reality and send you hurtling off on a one-way trip into the black abyss of insanity. And hey, what trip is complete without souvenirs!? Buy some Kerry masks of your own on his site! For the kids!

The Lost Meaning of Halloween

BY CHRISTAN HUMMEL

All Hallow’s Eve, Hallow E’en, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Samhain. By whatever name it has been called, this special night preceding All Hallows day (November 1st) has been considered for centuries as one of the most magical nights of the year. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest.

As ubiquitous as Halloween celebrations are throughout the world, few of us know that the true origin of Halloween is a ceremony of honoring our ancestors and the day of the dead. A time when the veils between the worlds were thinner, and so many could “see” the other side of life. A time in the year when the spiritual and material worlds touched for a moment, and a greater potential exists for magical creation.

Ancient rites

In ancient times, this day was a special and honored day of the year.

In the Celtic calendar, it was one of the most important days of the year, representing a mid point in the year, Samhain, or “summer’s end”. Occuring opposite the great Spring Festival of May Day, or Beltain, this day represented the turning point of the year, the eve of the new year which begins with the onset of the dark phase of the year.

And while celebrated by the Celts, the origin of this day has connections to other cultures as well, such as Egypt, and in Mexico as Dia de la Muerta, or the day of the dead.

The Celts believed that the normal laws of space and time were held in abeyance during this time, allowing a special window where the spirit world could intermingle with the living. It was a night when the dead could cross the veils and return to the land of the living to celebrate with their family, or clan. As such, the great burial mounds of Ireland were lit up with torches lining the walls, so the spirits of the dead could find their way.

Jack-o-lanterns

Out of this ancient tradition comes one of our most famous icons of the holiday: the Jack-o-lantern. Originating from Irish folkfore, the Jack-o-lantern was used as a light for the lost soul of Jack, a notorious trickster, stuck between worlds. Jack is said to have tricked the devil into a truck of a tree and by carving an image of a cross in the tree’s trunk, he trapped the devil there. His pranks denied him access to Heaven, and having angered the devil also to Hell, so Jack was a lost soul, trapped between worlds. As a consolation, the devil gave him a sole ember to light his way through the darkness between worlds.

Originally in Ireland turnips were carved out and candles placed inside as lanterns lit to help guide Jack’s lost spirit back home. Hence the term: Jack-o-lanterns. Later, when immigrants came to the new world, pumpkins were more readily available, and so the carved pumpkins carrying a lit candle served the same function.

Festival for the dead

As the Church began to take hold in Europe the ancient Pagan rituals were co-opted into festivals of the Church. While the Church could not support a general feast for all the dead, it created a festival for the blessed dead, all those hallowed so, All Hallow’s, was transformed into All Saints and All Souls day.

Today, we have lost the significance of this most significant time of year which in modern times has turned into a candy fest with kids dressing up as action hereos.

Many cultures have ceremonies to honor their dead. In so doing, they complete a cycle of birth and death, and keep in line with a harmony and order of the universe, at time when we enter into the cycle of darkness for the upcoming year.

As you light your candles this year, keep in mind the true potency of this time, one of magical connections to the other side of life, and a time to remember those who have passed before us. A time to send our love and gratitude to them to light their way back home.

 

6 Terrifying Tales of Halloween

IS HALLOWEEN just a delightful holiday for dressing up, parties and candy? Or is it really a time when restless spirits are allowed to roam more freely among the living? Is the veil that separates our world from the world of the dead more transparent at this time of year? People report paranormal phenomena at all times of the year, of course. But there’s something about Halloween night that heightens the senses and, perhaps, connects us more readily to forces unexplained. Consider these seven chilling true stories of Halloween frights.

 

IS HALLOWEEN just a delightful holiday for dressing up, parties and candy? Or is it really a time when restless spirits are allowed to roam more freely among the living? Is the veil that separates our world from the world of the dead more transparent at this time of year? People report paranormal phenomena at all times of the year, of course. But there’s something about Halloween night that heightens the senses and, perhaps, connects us more readily to forces unexplained. Consider these seven chilling true stories of Halloween frights.

Evil in the Attic

Attics can be scary places… maybe even more so around Halloween time. Take it from Eve, who as a young girl ventured into her attic alone in search of costumes. “My mum and sister went to my neighbor’s house, leaving me alone in the house,” says Eve. “It was about 4:30 and already beginning to get dark. I took that opportunity to sneak upstairs into the attic to try on some Halloween stuff. I quickly ran up the steps, knowing that if my mum came back and caught me, I would be in deep trouble. Although all the windows were shut, I felt a cold breeze pass through me, but I thought nothing of it at first because I had had no past experiences of paranormal phenomena.”

Eve rummaged through the bag of Halloween costumes and pulled out a witch’s hat, which she tried on for size. Almost immediately, some unseen force hit the hat. She dropped the bag and quickly turned around, but found nothing against which she could have knocked the hat. “As I bent down to pick up the bag, I saw the handle to the bathroom door turn and the door rapidly opened,” Eve says. “I walked cautiously into the bathroom, wondering what had caused the door to open in such a way. I had a feeling that there was another presence in the room. I looked out of the window to check if my mother and sister were still outside, and sure enough they were. Just as I was about to turn away form the window, I saw the reflection of the cupboard door sliding open. I turned around hastily to try and see what was causing these incidents, but I wasn’t quick enough to catch whatever it was.”

Terrified, Eve threw the bag back into the cardboard box and ran downstairs and out into the front garden, waiting anxiously for her mum to return home. “That night, I had a nightmare about what might have followed if I had stayed up there any longer,” Eve says. “Evil, gleaming red eyes stared at me from the bathroom cupboard, locking me in the toilet and causing complete havoc all around the house. Several unexplainable things have happened up there since then, including ‘self-breaking’ objects.”

What was it, beside her own equilibrium, that Eve disturbed in that attic that evening?

The Phantom’s Car

It was Halloween evening 1995 when Pamela and her brother were heading home on a country road near Greenbelt, Maryland. At the time, I was not licensed to drive, so as usual my brother was the driver. As it was darkening, Pamela reckons that they were moving at about 25-30 mph on the two-lane road, with her brother at the wheel.

Suddenly appearing behind them, and approaching quickly, was a black vehicle with two large, round and glaringly bright headlights. Almost as quickly, the car was beside them on the left, as if trying to pass. But, Pamela says, it seemed that the old black car was floating rather than riding the pavement. “This old car was in the path of head-on traffic,” Pamela recalls. “It seemed like those other cars kept going without interruption. My brother and I looked over inside the car and there were four young teenagers, two young men and two young ladies.”

Strangely, they looked to be dressed in farm clothing from the 1930s or 1940s – and they all looked as white as ghosts. The young lady in the front passenger turned her head slowly to Pamela and her brother and smiled, then turned back. The two people in the back seat just stared. Then, inexplicably, the car floated past them… and vanished into thin air.

But that’s not the end of this ghost story. “In 1997, my brother and I were on the same road, around the same time, again coming home,” Pamela says, “and the same spirits appeared and repeated the same scene. In 1998, my brother was alone driving home on this road and the same ghosts appeared again, repeating the same scenario.

“Maybe these teens were going out on Halloween and got into some terrible accident. They are clearly stuck on this road driving! God rest their souls!”

 

The Voice in Blood Cemetery

At Halloween, many people test their bravery by venturing into dark cemeteries. Sarah and her husband, who had always been fascinated by the unknown, decided to do just that on the Halloween night of 2002. It was an experience, she says, that changed her life.

“We chose Blood Cemetery in Mukwanago, Wisconsin,” Sarah tells us. “I think it goes by a different name now, but the Blood family was the first African American family in that town, and they are buried in that cemetery near a statue of a book on a pillar.”

Sarah’s husband used to live in that town and often heard tales of supernatural events occurring in the cemetery. This got Sarah’s juices flowing, so armed with a camera, two flashlights and an audio recording device, they headed into the tiny cemetery.

“We headed for the Blood monument first,” she says. “After waiting around in vain for the Blood family to show themselves, we did a little walking around. We were about 48 feet away from the Blood monument when something made me turn around and look back at it. I saw what appeared to be a giant blue orb. It was about the size and shape of a human head, and about that far off the ground. I didn’t look long enough to make out a face, so I cannot tell you if it was truly a face or not.”

That’s all it took for Sarah and her husband to run out of the cemetery at a speed they never imagined they could attain. Although the ground was dry, they both stumbled and tripped as they ran. Her husband said he felt as though he was being sucked into the ground, but Sarah swore it felt more like hands grabbing at her ankles and pants. At the outer edge of the cemetery, they caught their breath and gathered their courage for one more short walk around the gravestones with the audio recorder and camera. “I tried to open myself up a little and I was lured to a random area of the cemetery,” says Sarah.

“We stood there for about 10 seconds, until I felt the sudden urge to run. I said, ‘Oh my God! We have to go!’ I started running with all my might. My husband followed. I turned and I snapped a picture of the spot we were standing. When we got back to the car, we listened to the audio. This is what we heard: the shuffling of our feet in the leaves and then it stops. ‘Grrr…. Get out!’”

“The voice was obviously not human, but not quite animal,” Sarah is certain. “It was a demon. The picture showed a whole lot of nothing… except for two little red eyes.”

The Hooded Figure

High schoolers and even college students seem to love Halloween as much as little kids do. It’s an opportunity to challenge their fears of the unknown and to indulge in scary pranks. Chris will never forget the Halloween of 1981, when he was enrolled at a college in his hometown.

Chris and five or six of his friends decided to check out a small cemetery at the edge of campus. A rusty, worn, chain-link fence encircled the few graves of past college faculty and their relatives. “It wasn’t long before I felt… ‘something’,” Chris remembers. “A few minutes later, I heard the crunch and rhythm of footsteps shuffling through the leaves on the ground. Some of the others heard it, too, and we all looked in the direction of the footsteps, and when we didn’t see anyone, we assumed it was another friend trying to scare us.”

They all laughed it off, at first, but the sound of the footsteps continued. Every couple of minutes, Chris would look down the length of the fence. He squinted his eyes, trying to find the prankster in the dark, but he couldn’t see anyone, even as the crunch of leaves got louder… and closer.

Then, to the left of his vision, coming from the dark edge of the woods, Chris saw it. “Vague in shape, it was definitely cloaked in black head to foot,” Chris says. “It seemed to move in spurts of speed, and then, as though time fast-forwarded, it would be ahead of my speed of sight – closer to me than before until it stopped at the corner post of the fence.”

The figure changed shape from a thin, tall form as it turned to its left and faced the students. It was cloaked and hooded, although Chris could make out no arms nor eyes to look at for familiarity. There was no shape of feet, even though the hem of its cloak floated inches above the leaves and grass. Scared, Chris wheeled away from the whole affair, and without saying a word to his friends, ran uphill to the first lighted building he could find.

“I felt someone running beside me,” he says. “I was relieved when I saw one of my friends. We stopped running and asked each other what we saw, and we both said the same words, saw the same vision. Since that night, I have seen my friend often. Except for one occasion a couple of years after that Halloween, we have never talked about what we saw that night.”

 

Ouija Attacks Dogs

Halloween often inspires people to break out their Ouija boards, even if the “talking board” has been sitting gathering dust on a shelf the rest of the year. Bea and her friends Ingrid, Anna, Lara and May decided to experiment with the board one Halloween night some years ago in Bea’s large house in Australia.

Bea’s parents were away on business, and her brother and sister were visiting an uncle in South Australia, so she and her friends had the house to themselves for a sleepover. Naturally, sleep was the last thing on their minds. Anna, who was really into séances and the paranormal, suggested playing with the board, which she brought with her.

“I have two Pomeranian dogs, Muffy (tan) and Shadow (black),” says Bea, “and my friend Ingrid has a white Pomeranian called Hayley. “Muffy, Shadow and Hayley, along with Anna’s dog, Ernie and Lara’s two dogs, Archie and Rosie, were all in the backyard and we hadn’t heard a peep out of them for about an hour.”

Upstairs in Bea’s bedroom, the girls arranged themselves in a circle with Anna’s Ouija board in the center. They each placed two fingers on the planchette. Anna started by asking the board, “Is anybody there?” The board moved to YES. Then Ingrid asked, “Who?” and the board spelled out: GAIL.

“Who are you?” another girls asked. Again the board spelled out only: GAIL.

“More detail,” another requested. But the board only replied: GAIL.

“What’s going to happen tonight?” Bea asked. DOGS, the board spelled.

“What are you going to do to our dogs?” YOU’LL SEE, replied the Ouija.

Bea pushed the board aside and the girls just sat there staring at each other. The silence was soon broken by a piercing whimper from the backyard. The five girls jumped up and raced down the stairs, fearing for their dogs. “We flung the back door open and raced out,” says Bea. “We soon discovered Lara’s dog Archie whimpering in a corner. We didn’t even take a second glance at any of them. We simply picked up our dogs (all of them were small ones) and ran them inside up to my room. Once we had them upstairs, we fussed around inspecting every inch of them. Lara screamed and we rushed over to see her holding Archie, who had a burn mark on his left side in the shape of a pentagram in a circle (the symbol for witchcraft).

“We spent the whole night with the dogs in our arms and vowed to burn the board the next morning.”

Suicide Ghost

“This experience is very dear to me, though it grows blurry with time,” Satori tells us. “Memories fade like breath upon a mirror… especially ones that were dim to begin with. But this is what I remember, I do not know exactly what I saw, but I do know it changed me.”

Satori’s experience took place at an all-girl’s Catholic college she attended where, it was rumored, there was a particular bathroom that was haunted. The girls frequently talked about the icy air in this room, and of hearing and seeing strange things, and a feeling of being watched. Satori dismissed them as tall tales.

One Halloween, however, Satori and her friend decided to go and “talk” to this spirit. They went into one of the bathroom stalls that had a bathtub, because it was said to be the center of the haunting energy. “My friend got into the tub and started feeling around,” Satori says. “I did too… and I felt the most amazing feeling – a tingling, like electric current, coming from the walls and the faucets. I was stunned but, oddly enough, not afraid. Elated was more the word.

“We got out of the tub and that’s when I saw it: the pale image of a young girl with dark hair and deep, sad eyes. She was wearing some kind of slip. Her wrists were cut and her blood was dripping down the drain. She looked like me! Again, I did not feel fear, only sympathy.

“ ‘I think she put the razor in the soap dish,’ I said to my friend. ‘I know,’ she answered. Suddenly, I felt this presence, this tingling warm feeling inside… like the way your arms prickle before a storm. I said to it, ‘Come out. Don’t be afraid.’ And the feeling got stronger. Then I said, ‘It’s okay. We understand. You can go back.’ And the feeling seemed to move upward in my body until it disappeared. Then there was no more energy.”

When the girls stood to leave, however, Satori was stricken with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loneliness. “I knew she did not want us to leave,” Satori says. “I said to her gently, ‘I’m so sorry, but we can’t help you. You need to go back now.’ Then I felt the sadness lift and the room grew lighter. I felt her leave. She never returned and no one spoke of her again. But I will never forget her. She taught me a lesson: compassion heals all wounds, whether alive or dead.”

 

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