Since 2007 book reviews, events, publishing announcements, opinions, wild ideas and more!

Monday, March 30, 2009

THE PARANORMAL MUSEUM

John Zaffis, of the Paranormal Research Society of New England, has many photos related to his "Paranormal Museum". This web page holds images of numerous objects taken from homes, or given by people, because of negative energy or unexplained occurrences related to their presence. Dolls, books, paintings, organs, clothes, and statues are on display.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Celebrating World UFO Day

World UFO Day is coming! It will arrive in our atmosphere July 2, 2009.

I am producing an article for Stories for Children Magazine, which has UFOs as one of their themes for the July issue. I find it interesting and promising that such a professional and well-received online magazine is taking part in the UFO discussion.

The article will be a Q/A interview with Dr. Richard Boylan, a former university professor and psychotherapist who has presented at conferences at MIT and other respected venues regarding UFOs and "space visitors".

Does anyone else have plans for celebrating World UFO Day?

Rita Milios, The Mind Mentor
Latest book: Dream Share, a paranormal "tween" novel
Visit www.DreamShareBook.com (coming May 09)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

GHOST HUNTING 101 AND 102 WORKSHOPS

P.I.T.T. (The Paranormal Investigation Team of Tulsa) hosts two informative workshops created to aid and support paranormal research. "We will advise from years of experience, and field knowledge, "states the group, " on the latest trends, data collection protocals, and so much more." Discover how to apply scientific and technical procedures to research into the paranormal phenomena.
  • 101 Workshop is Saturday, June 13th, Tulsa Little Theater (1511 S. Delaware), 9:30am -5:00pm. There is a cost.
  • 102 Workshop is Saturday, July 25, Tula Little Theater (1511 S. Delaware), 9:30am-5:00pm. There is a cost.
The workshops provide opportunities to learn to eliminate and identify false positives, learn to verify accurate historical research, and apply theory, ethics, and techinal procedures. Learn proper video and audio analysis, data collection, correlation, and more!
Must pre-register to attend, and some proceeds will go to the Tulsa Little Theater.
Questions - call Teri 918-694-7488 or visit www.PITTok.com

KOONTZ "ODD"


No, the author is not odd but his character of Odd Thomas is both odd of name and odd of talent. The popular novels about the fry cook with a fey skill of seeing the dead and sensing things often best left unseen, have won a following. There is a haunting beauty under the horror and the happenings of this character, a rare fabric of the hero lost amid the jumble sale polyester of so much of modern life, and a shining light of hope in the polluted air of the horrific. Not everyone's cup of tea, but for those who have found in Odd a favorite read, these are eagerly awaited books. Visit Odd's page at http://oddthomas.deankoontz.com/

Sunday, March 22, 2009

GHOSTLAHOMA: Over 100 Years of Oklahoma's Haunted History


In El Reno, at the historically haunted Elks Lodge, during Paracon Oklahoma 2009, the book, GHOSTLAHOMA, featuring Oklahoma's true ghost stories was unveiled. Authors Tonya Hacker and Tammy Wilson present over forty tales that cover the state. The work salutes the familiar ghost stories of "Dead Woman's Crossing" but also lesser known tales such as the "Bricktown Banshees" and present fascinating reports of their first hand investigations into such places as the Woodward Hospital and the old Skirvin Hotel. The 128 page, illustrated, permabound book is published by Whitechapel Press (Dark Haven Entertainment )and available from Amazon.com Link: Ghostlahoma webpage

13 NIGHTMARES DELIVERS


Dennis McDonald's recently released story collection, 13 Nightmares, delivers on the chills and thrills scale. A tagline from one of the stories is featured on the back of the book : "Horror is best written in the dark." McDonald was surely in the deepest bowels of subterranean dark when penning these tales because they will satisfy the most supernaturally starved, macabre munching, horror hound around. So sit back - do not try to get comfortable because these will keep you on the edge of your seat - and do read "13 Nightmares". Find it on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com

Friday, March 20, 2009

KEITH BIRDSONG TEAMS WITH MICHAEL VANCE


Something big just got bigger. Legendary cover artist Keith Birdsong has painted the cover for “Weird Horror Tales”, an homage to pulp magazines from the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s “Weird Tales” and “Horror Stories”. The collection was written by Michael Vance, and is now available.


Birdsong, amous for his extremely realistic covers for “Star Trek” novels, featuring the actors from the movies and television series, has also done work for “Star Wars”, the cyberpunk role-playing game “Shadowrun”, and children’s books like “The Halloween Hex”. Additionally, Birdsong’s work has been featured in films, on Hamilton Collection collectors’ plates, and on U.S. Postage stamps.


"Vance offers up thirteen tales of Lovecraftian horror with a deft sense of suspense and heart-pumping terror,” said Ron Fortier, editor of the title. “Earl Geier’s art for these stories is as stark and brutal as a cold knife’s edge. His grasp of terror is second to none, and delivers nightmarish scenes with incredible, horrific feelings. Whereas Keith Birdsong’s cover is simply creepy to the max. It is a work of intense imagination that will pull you into this collection like a twisted siren’s song.”
“My stories are founded on the premise that there is something larger than our narrow view of reality,” said Vance. “Each interconnected story shares setting, history, prominent families, and a macro plot. The stories also focus on the Azrealites, a religious cult that works tirelessly to reinstate that ‘Other’ on Earth through science and the occult.” These stories about the fictional town of “Light's End” in Maine have been published in dozens of magazines in three countries, including “Dark Corridor”, and have also been recorded by renowned actor William (“Murder She Wrote”) Windom.


Vance’s influences on these stories are H. P. Lovecraft, William Faulkner, Alfred Hitchock movies, and The Twilight Zone television series. The interior illustrations are by artist Earl Geier who is best known for his horror, fantasy and science fiction artwork. In the role playing game industry, his work includes art for “Battletech”, “Call of Cthulhu”, and many others. He has illustrated books for “Cemetery Dance” magazine, Chaosium, Gryphon and Subterranean Press. For comic book, he's had work published by Dark Horse Comics, Comiczone, Now, Innovation and DC Comics Paradox. Vance has written for national and international magazines, and as a syndicated columnist and cartoonist in over 500 newspapers.


His history book, “Forbidden Adventures”, has been called a "benchmark in comics history”. He briefly ghosted an internationally syndicated comic strip, wrote his own strip and several comic books. He is listed in the Who's Who of American Comic Books and Comic Book Superstars. The publisher of “Weird Horror Tales”, Cornerstone Book Publishers also publishes Masonic and esoteric books, selected pulp fiction, art literature, limited children's books, and poetry collections.


For more information about Cornerstone, go to www.cornerstonepublishers.com. Airship 27 packages and publishes anthologies and novels in the pulp magazine tradition. In the past, Airship 27 has released “Witchfire”, a series of “Captain Hazzard” pulp thrillers, more pulp fiction in “Brother Bones” and “Secret Agent X” and the WWII/SF thriller “The Light of Men”. For more information on Airship 27, go to www.airship27.com.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'GHOST STORIES' Theme of Paracon 2009


In historic El Reno, Oklahoma, Paracon 2009, Sat. March 21, will focus on ghost stories: why we love them and why they linger on. Various personalities will address the topic from a variety of viewpoints: storytellers, television personalities, skeptics, researchers, historians, and others...

For info:
Tonya Hacker, Tammy Wilson, or Amanda Wagamanokparacon@gmail.com(580) 402-6732www.ghouli.org or www.eerieok.comOklahoma ParaCon 2009 Hosted by the “Ghost Divas” and the El Reno Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is set for Saturday, March 21, 2009 at the Historical & Haunted Elk’s Lodge No. 743.El Reno, OK – The 4th annual Oklahoma Paranormal Conference will be held at the historic Elks Lodge in El Reno, Oklahoma on March 21, 2009. This year’s event will feature many speakers from across the nation and Oklahoma. 2009 speakers include nationally recognized ghostologists such as Oklahoma favorites Troy Taylor, author, and TruTV’s “Haunting Evidence” star Patrick Burns who will headline the conference.
Other speakers are Oklahoma’s very own skeptic, Dr. Bryan Farha, Paranormal Deep Sea Diver Lee Ehrlich of Florida, Georgia Ghost Society founder Bob Hunnicutt, Oklahoma story-teller Marilyn Hudson, Oklahoma’s only TV horror host Brian “Dr. Fear” Young, and Paranormal Investigation Team of Tulsa and Tulsa’s Spirit Tour coordinators Teri French and Russ White. The event is being emceed by internationally known Brian and Anna Marie of Ghostology! - internet radio powered by CBS.
This year’s theme is “It was a dark and stormy night…Celebrating the ghost story!” Ghost stories have intrigued everyone for centuries, so we invite everyone to explore, share and understand the power of the ghost story. From the psychology behind why we like to be afraid to the ghostly tales of yesterday and today, it will all be discovered in a fun and educational setting.
Ghostlahoma, the only book solely dedicated to Oklahoma ghost stories will be released at the Oklahoma ParaCon. Written by para-historians Tonya Hacker and Tammy Wilson, Ghostlahoma will chill your bones and warm your heart with over 40 true tales of hauntings from the Sooner State. From the first published ghost story in Oklahoma to present day phantom hitchhikers, this book will take you through over 100 years of Oklahoma’s haunted history.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

HAGER HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST, EL RENO, OK


Feel in the mood for something different? Visit the Hager House Bed and Breakfast in the future. Two different teams have been in the B&B and have found a great deal of activity according to owner , Raelyn Grant .
The Hager House Bed and Breakfast

619 S. Hoff Ave.El Reno, OK 73036

405-262-2565

Sunday, March 8, 2009

1905 Weatherford, Oklahoma


In 1905, Mrs. Katy James and her baby went missing while out in a buggy. Frantic family members searched the area around Weatherford but found no sign of her, the baby, or the buggy. Eventually it came to light she had been murdered by Mrs. Fannie Norton of Clinton, Oklahoma. Her baby had been left with a family. Investigating the disappearance and the murder was the noted Sam Bartell, Deputy Sheriff in Oklahoma Territory and one time U.S. Marshall. Finally, Norton was identified and trackd to Shawnee where she attempted suicide. It was a crime that captured the attention and imagination of the entrie region. Some investigators in years to come would muse that Mr. James, seemed a little distant in the affair and perhaps did not grieve as much as a man in his position might be expected. Rumors of possible divorce and perhaps loss of property and land have been discussed and caused many to wonder if Norton had been hired to do the dirty work, as their appeared so little motive otherwise.


Later, pranksters from the local university in Weatherford would confuse the story and terminally cloud exact locations, the truth of "Dead Woman's Crossings", and generally everything else about the story. It is interesting to note that in the region are several hillocks named "Dead Woman" as well as the water realted site. Is it possible there is an older back story that helped confuse the two events into one? Definitely something to consider and research.

The Skirvin - The Real Story

Over the years, around this romantic and marvelous hotel, have grown many legends. Many of the 'facts' reported have perpetuated errors in the historical record of the building. Some paranormal groups have profiles of the hotel's past with these errors. It is time to clear the air.
The Skirvin Hotel - gem of Oklahoma City for decades and recently reopened in rennovated glory - was inspired by the Southland Hotel in Dallas. Galveston native and capitalist, W.H. Skirvin bought land in 1909 at the corner of Broadway and First in Oklahoma City and announced his plans in 1910 to build a "modern hotel" ("Work Starts Soon on the New "Skirvin House". The Oklahoman. (Feb.27, 1910; pg. 5).

The architect for the hotel, Solomon A. Layton, oved the classical styles and incorporated them into many of his buildings. That location was also where a delapidated landmark was falling down, the old Richardson Real Eatate Office, known from very early days ("Landmark Demolished..." The Oklahoman (May 1, 1910;pg. 39). The Skirvin House was being called the SKIRVIN HOTEL by April of 1911 when a story advertized the "ten-story hotel". It opened September 26, 1911. Within about months additional floors were being added and expansion continued at a good pace. ("Add Five Stories to Skirvin Hotel", The Oklahoman (July 10, 1912:pg. 1). The hotel soon became one of the stellar facility hosting events attended by politicians, the wealthy, and large conventions. As early as 1913, it could honestly claim in its ads that it was "one of the great hotels of America" (The Oklahoman, Dec. 21, 1913:pg. 14).

In 1913, manager Fred Scherubel died, "Health Troubles Cause of Suicide of Skirvin Manager (Oklahoman, April 18, 1913:pg. 1) followed a day later by an article indicating bullet trajectories and other issues had the police looking more closely at the death ("Officers Probing Scherubel Death", ibid, April 19, 1913, pg. 5) and two days later he was "tenderly laid to rest" in full Masonic rite splendor ("Fred Scherubel Funeral" ibid., April 21, 1913, pg. 1).

Is it haunted? Over the years nebulous stories of phantom and frisky ghosts had emerged but lack any real substantive historical basis or quantative evidence. Until someone can supply some dates, names, and facts - or can do a quantative study of the facility - they should probably remain in the arena of urban legend. That is perfectly fine as well. Stories give the past its depth, romance, and appeal.

The hotel is a survivor, a lovely old building that somehow dodged the bullet of the mis-guided movement called "urban renewal" that stole so much of the past from the future.

Vanishing Hitchiker - Oklahoma

The vanishing hitchhiker may be a tale of truly ancient origins. A Chinese story tells of a ghost of woman killed in a well haunting the travelers along a stretch of road until her body is found. A few stories and poems from the middle ages may also hint at the concept.

A version dated to the civil war was collected in the Ozarks in the late 1800’s. Chicago in the 1920’s with its bootleg, fast autos, and “flapper” lifestyle, saw the rise of the definitive Vanishing Hitchhiker in the form of Resurrection Mary. Through all of these is the thread that the normal (therefore virtuous) present is going to “hell in a hand basket” because of the “loose” and “antisocial” behaviors of the young. They must, the stories all agree, be cautioned and brought back to the “straight and narrow” path of acceptable social behavior.

The Vanishing Hitchhiker motif again achieved great notoriety during the late 1960’s and 1970’s across America, no doubt in response to the cataclysmic social changes occurring in society. The Vanishing Hitchhiker seems to have always had an element of cautionary notice about the shortness of life. In the hippie culture of the 1960’s this aspect was very visible with a few new wrinkles. These disappearing riders were often labeled as runaways, angels, demons, Jesus, and victims of drug overdoses, or serial killers. They reflected the fears in society about the dangers to be found on the road by those who ran away, they reflected the values of the “Jesus People”, and other evangelical movements, and early New Age spirituality in a personification of the rider as a spiritual or mystical figure. No matter when it is found, the story keeps its strong message as a cautionary tale about the safety of the family and of the risks of departures from the social norm.

Oklahoma has reported sightings of a “lady in white” or sometimes the “Lady in yellow” in the Ardmore area and the roads around the lakes. Explanations have ranged from drunken visions to clouds of bioluminescent insects. No images proving the truth of either the claim of the apparition or the insects has been seen by the author. There is also, to my knowledge, no song such as the one described in this story. Every good legend deserves a theme song though.

She is sometimes glimpsed strolling along the old blacktop roadways around the lakes. A few people have described her dress as being slightly in the style of the 1930’s with a longer skirt that flapped about the knees and a cloche hat. Others however have merely cited the faint blurred form or the slightly luminescent image by the roadside in the dusk or evening hours. Who she is and why she walks is apparently unknown. Or, if anyone does know…they aren’t talking

Preacher Girl of Healdton, Oklahoma - 1918.

Many strange stories recount the simplicity and innocence of an earlier day. Some underscore the things accomplished since and some seem to remind of the things lost in the swelling tidal wave called progress. South Central Oklahoma was a hive of change as the oil industry boomed and Healdton would become known as the birthplace of noted television personality, Rue McClanahan. There was a female of note there much earlier however. Meet Miss Annie Browne Dollar, ten-year-old daughter of a carpenter in Healdton, Oklahoma. For twelve days in 1918, she had suffered from some malady that had her in a rigid state, talking only in a whisper. Then one day she was perfectly fine and restored to normal physical activity. There was, however, a new light in her eyes as she shared she had “talked with Jesus” and the “Angles.” Soon she requested a Bible and was soon preaching on the streets, going were the “Spirit” directed. Reading aloud from the scriptures, far above her known reading ability, she would bolding preach the Word of God, and then lapse into the mystery of “unknown tongues”. She seemed very concerned for the soldiers on the battlefield in those days of WWI and felt certain the war would be the last followed quickly by the end of the world. The era was also one that saw a plague sweep across the globe and thousands became ill with Influenza. Searching for more on this amazing story it was learned that Annie Dollar, in 1920 along with a Willie and Vernon Dollar, was an inmate of the Oklahoma Methodist Orphanage in Oklahoma City. It can be assumed that she, like so many other children in this period, lost her father to this illness.

Hearth & Home?

The ancient Germanic tribes would build a fire to welcome the home goddess Hertha into their homes for the winter soltice. evergreens came into adorn walls and other surfaces, bringing good aromas and splashes of colors. A large flat stone was placed in the home just for this time and branches would be burned there because it was believed the action would bless the home, bring good luck, and health over the cold days into the warm ones. People would walk through the smoke to help insure this would happen. These altar stones of Hertha would later become simply "hearth stones" and eventually refer to the stones in and around the fireplace of a home.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

UFO's - EARLY GREY ALIENS

The archetypal "small grey aliens with large eyes" may be much older than some believe. An Australian blogger finds a 1960's mass market paperback referring to them (http://theozfiles.blogspot.com/2007/04/gray-aliens-1963.html) and it has been suggested by some that the 1891 book , Meda: A Tale of the Future by Kenneth Folinobly, may be the first to use the "big headed" concept ( ). Various covers from pulp magazines, such as Amazing Stories!, do show large headed aliens and "bug eyed monsters" that might be considered precursors of the classic large headed, small bodied, and grey alien of more recent cultural mythology. Stephen King in his Dance Macabre noted the similarity of the alien image with the fetus. Were the horror film works of the early 1950-80's, a cultural reflection of the fear of our future, or perhaps, awareness of social responsibility for the future?