Monthly Archives: October 2009

Welcome to the Blog— 44’D’s Halloween Special

Cick Here: 44-D Alert: N.Y. Republican Scozzafava Throws Support to Democratic Candidate–Palin pick gets stiffed

Halloween Night at the White(Orange)house

click image above for a Halloween at the White house slide show

moonanibatFor all of their stomach-turning gore, horror films and haunted houses attract people in droves, why?

Well, people just LOVE to be scared: their hearts race, their breath quickens, their muscles tense… must be human nature ….

Join us now for a multifaceted look at the History of Halloween, all the ghosts, witches, goblins, scary movies, and real life adventures that are all part of what must be the scariest— most exciting, holiday of the year…

Your Index of Horror


pumpkinsmallThe Symbols of Halloween


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spookysmallHalloween Around The World

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batssmall44-D’s Scariest Movies

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ghostsmall44-D’s Haunted Library

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skeletonsmallSpooky Halloween Story From My Childhood

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littlewitchHaunted Salem! Your Guide to the Witch City

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Werewolfsmals2The History of Werewolves

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truebloodsmallHBO’s True Blood: Our Guiltiest Pleasure

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vampiresmallHow Vampires Rose From Myth to Modern Obsession

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frankenstinesmallThe Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

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obamapumpkinwhitehouseHalloween at the White House 2009

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halloweenicons1Punkins, Punkins, Punkins! The Coolest Pumpkins Evah!

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The Symbols of Halloween

jack-o-lantern2
When the Irish immigrants arrived in America, they brought with them the tradition of carving-out turnips (or, sometimes, a potato or rutabaga) and placing coals or a small candle inside the hollow. These were then displayed on doorsteps at Halloween to ward off evil spirits. However, the Irish quickly discovered that Jack O’Lanterns were much easier to carve out of the pumpkin which was a fruit native to their newly-adopted home…something of a blessing since turnips where nowhere near as plentiful or easy to find as they had been in Ireland. (The belief behind the Irish tradition of such carving is based upon the myth about a man called “Stingy Jack,” whose story may be accessed via the link below.) This practice spread swiftly among the general population in America and was soon an integral tradition of the Halloween festivities. The Jack O’Lantern is quite possibly the most well-known symbol of modern day Halloween.
The pumpkin (which is a fruit) has been growing on the earth for several thousand years. A type of squash, it is a member of the gourd family which also includes cucumbers, gherkins and melons. The pumpkin is indigenous to the Western Hemisphere and originated in Central America. It was used in olden times (and is still used today) as a food crop. Over the course of centuries, pumpkins spread their vines across the entire North and South America. When European immigrants arrived in the New World, they found the pumpkin to be in plentiful supply and used by Native Americans for culinary purposes. The seeds were later transported back to Europe where the pumpkin quickly became popular as a food source.

The origin of the custom of “trick or treating” is a controversial one. Some believe that the practice originated with the Druids who threatened dire consequences to residents who failed to respond generously to the demand for free goods or money. Since a similar tale stems from various historical roots among the countries which comprise the British Isles, it is probably safe to assume that the practice is ancient, even if its precise origin cannot be ascertained with any certainty. Another theory is that the Irish began the tradition of “trick or treating.” In preparation for All Hallow’s Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions of food for a feast to be held in the village. Yet another possible origin is that the custom dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades which were held in England. During such festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for the promise to pray for the wealthier family’s departed relatives. Distribution of such “soul cakes” was encouraged by the Church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The custom was referred to as “going a-souling” and was eventually practiced only by the children who would visit the houses in their neighborhoods and be given gifts of ale, food and money.

Yet one more possible explanation for the present day custom of begging candy and other “treats” from neighbors on Halloween involves a Celtic figure by the name of Muck Olla. According to Irish custom, it is traditional to solicit contributions from others in the name of Muck Olla, who would be sure to punish those too greedy to disoblige.

No matter the exact origin of the custom, it is a commonly accepted concept that it was once believed the spirits of the departed returned to visit their old homes during Halloween and, in ancient times, people left food out for such spirits and arranged chairs so that they would be able to rest. For this reason, it has been suggested that it was this olden day custom which eventually evolved into the tradition of people masquerading as departed spirits and journeying from door-to-door in order to beg for treats.

The tradition of wearing costumes at Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. In ancient times, Winter was an uncertain and frightening season when food supplies often ran low. For many people who feared the dark, the short days of Winter were filled with constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that spirits returned to the earthly world, people would wear masks when they left their homes during the night hours. In this way, they would avoid being recognized by the ghosts and be mistaken merely for fellow spirits. During Samhain, Celtic villagers would don costumes to represent the souls of the dead and dance out of town, in the hope of leading the dead along with them. Similarly, in Christian religions, parishioners would dress as their favorite Saints and display relics of these departed souls.


The use of witches and cats (together with ghosts) in the celebration of Halloween originates with the Druids, who believed that ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, elves and all manner of supernatural manifestation emerged on Halloween night to possibly harm the living. It was a common Celtic belief that cats (particularly black ones) had once been human beings who had been transformed into felines as punishment for their evil deeds or through coming in contact with bad magick. Black cats were often tied with silver ropes because it was thought such creatures possessed the ability to protect sacred treasures. Catholic traditions blended with the Celtic beliefs and eventually turned the cat into a witch’s familiar, along with the theory that the witch herself had the mystical knowledge to transform herself into the form of a cat. The British once believed that elves rode upon the backs of villagers’ cats and would lock up the animals in order that the elves might not catch them. At one time, the British believed that it was the white cat who brought bad luck and not a black once, which was considered to be lucky.

Christianity painted the image of a witch as an ugly old hag, often sporting a wart on her nose. Considered by the Church as cohorts of the devil, witches were said to employ spells and charms in order to bring harm to good men and women. Aside from the association with cats, they were said to be assisted by bats or spiders or other creepy-crawly creatures while carrying out their wicked deeds, possessed of the demonic ability to adopt the form of such animals. It was also implied that witches often had need of baby fat in order to attain full power. However, this evil witch character is pure fiction. Witches may be traced back to at least the Celts…and possibly even further. In ancient times, the men and women who were designated as “witches” were considered to be wise people initiated in the mysteries if the spiritual world. They were also healers and experts in the art of medicines. Modern day witches are revivers of these old Pagan religions and related rituals.


In ancient times, Celtic priestesses would roam the countryside, chanting in order to frighten away the evil spirits thought to be abroad on Halloween night. It is believed that this old custom may be the origin of the Halloween Parade.


Apples have long been associated with female deities and with immortality, resurrection and knowledge. One reason being that if an apple is cut through its equator, it reveals a five-pointed star outlined at the center of each hemisphere, also known as a pentagram. The pentagram was a Goddess symbol to many cultures, including the Roma (gypsies), the Celts and the Egyptians.

With the coming of the Roman invasion into Celtic lands, came the Roman festival which honored Pomona and which was merged with the Druid celebration of Samhain. Pomona was the Roman Goddess who presided over Fruits and Gardens. She was invariably portrayed as a beautiful maiden whose arms were filled with fruit and who wore a crown of apples upon her head. It is generally accepted that it is from Pomono that the association of apples became aligned with Halloween, along with the custom of “bobbing” for this particular fruit and its close link to the Autumn harvests.

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Halloween Around The World



(courtesy: (www.novareinna.com)

As one of the world’s oldest holidays, Halloween is still celebrated today in several countries around the globe, but it is in North America and Canada that it maintains its highest level of popularity. Every year, 65% of Americans decorate their homes and offices for Halloween…a percentage exceeded only by Christmas. Halloween is the holiday when the most candy is sold and is second only to Christmas in terms of total sales.

Austria

In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is because it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be brimming with strong cosmic energies.

Belgium

The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross once’s path and also ulucky if it should enter a home or travel on a ship. The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.

Canada

Modern Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Jack O’Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and the decorating of homes with pumpkins and corn stalks.

China

In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bondires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Haloween night. Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion “boats of the law” from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the “pretas” in order that they might ascend to heaven. “Pretas” are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. The presence of “pretas” among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous. Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the “pretas,” which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.

Czechoslovakia

In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night. There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member’s spririt.

England

At one time, English children made “punkies” out of large beetroots, upon which they carved a design of their choice. Then, they would carry their “punkies” through the streets while singing the “Punkie Night Song” as they knocked on doors and asked for money. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween night. Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also employed as fortune-telling tools. If a pebble thrown into the flames at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year. If nuts tossed into the blaze by young lovers then exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage. For the most part however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints’ Day. However, in recent years, the American “trick or treating” custom, together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a relatively popular pasttime among English children at Halloween, although many of the adults (particularly the older generations) have little idea as to why they are being asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate their small and hopeful callers.

France

Unlike most nations of the world, Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors. It is regarded as an “American” holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996.

Germany

In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits.

Hong Kong

The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.

Ireland

In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, the tradition is still celebrated as much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods. After the visiting, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At these parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple,” in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree, and players attempt to take a bite out of the suspended apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts with sweets or pastries as the “treasure.” The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face-down on a table with sweets or coins beneath them. When a child selects a card, he or she receives whatever prize might be found there. A traditional food is eaten on Halloween called “barnbrack.” This is a type of fruitcake which can be baked at home or store-bought. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake which, so it is said, can foretell the future of the one who finds it. If the prize is a ring, then that person will soon be wed and a piece of straw means a prosperous year is forthcoming. Children are also known to play tricks upon their neighbors on Halloween night. One of which is known as “knock-a-dolly,” where children knock on the doors of their neighbors but then run away before the door is opened.

Japan

The Japanese celebrate the “Obon Festival” (also known as “Matsuri” or “Urabon”) which is similar to Halloween festivities in that it is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. Special foods are prepared and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere. Candles are lit and placed into lanterns which are then set afloat on rivers and seas. During the “Obon Festival,” a fire is lit every night in order to show the ancestors where their families might be found. “Obon” is one of the wo main occasions during the Japanese year when the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Memorial stones are cleaned and community dances performed. The “Obon Festival” takes place during July or August.

Korea

In Korea, the festival similar to Halloween is known as “Chusok.” It is at this time that families thank their ancestors for the fruits of their labor. The family pays respect to these ancestors by visiting their tombs and making offerings of rice and fruits. The “Chusok” festival takes place in the month of August.

Mexico, Latin America And Spain

Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as “El Dia de los Muertos.” It is a joyous and happy holiday…a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls’ Day), the three-day celebration actually begins on the evening of October 31. Designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween, many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks. Frequently, a basin and towel are left out in order that the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members, including snipping weeds, making repairs and painting. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. Often, a live person is placed inside a coffine which is then paraded through the streets while vendors toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration. In Mexico during the Autumn, countless numbers of Monarch butterflies return to the shelter of Mexico’s oyamel fir trees. It was the belief of the Aztecs that these butterflies bore the spirits of dead ancestors.

Sweden

In Sweden, Halloween is known as “Alla Helgons Dag” and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, “Alla Helgons Dag” has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint’s Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.

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44-D’s Scariest Movies


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What scares Audiegrl?

theringlrgeThe Ring (2002)
Rachel Keller is a journalist who decides to go undercover on the mysterious death of her niece and her three friends, who seemed to all died on the same day at the same time- 10:00 PM. After being told that her niece was found in a closet with a horrifying look on her face, she searches through her room and finds some pictures, pictures of the cabin where her niece and her friends had stayed a week before the deaths. Rachel finds the cabin and finds an unknown video there. She decides to watch it there, and now has only a limited time to live. She and her divorced husband, Noah, research about the video and find facts about Anna Morgan and her daughter, Samara Morgan, the maker of this video. With only a week left, Rachel and Noah discover the unknown secrets of the life of Samara Morgan, and, hopefully for them, a way to break the curse.
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What scares Betsmeier?

psycholargePsycho (1960)
Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
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What scares Bluedog98?

thehaunting2The Haunting (1963)
Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion. As time goes by it becomes obvious that they have gotten more than they bargained for as the ghostly presence in the house manifests itself in horrific and deadly ways.
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What scares Buellboy?

sessionnineSession Nine (2001)
An asbestos abatement crew wins the bid for an abandoned insane asylum. What should be a straightforward, if rather rushed, job, is complicated by the personal histories of the crew. In particular, Hank is dating Phil’s old girlfriend, and Gordon’s new baby seems to be unnerving him more than should be expected. Things get more complicated as would-be lawyer Mike plays the tapes from a former patient with multiple personalities, including the mysterious Simon who does not appear until Session 9, and as Hank disappears after finding some old coins.
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What scares Cardinals19?

frailtyFrailty (2001)
Fenton Meeks, comes forth to tell the FBI that his brother Adam may be the serial killer who calls himself God’s Hands, who the FBI has been searching for. The film uses flashbacks to show Meeks’ childhood with a father who believed he was on a mission from God to destroy demons that inhabit human bodies. Fenton saw his dad as evil, while Adam saw him as a hero.
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What scares COgene?

theomenThe Omen (1976)
Robert and Katherine Thorn seem to have it all. He is the US Ambassador to Italy and they want for nothing in their lives, except one thing: they do not have children. When Katharine has a stillborn child, Robert is approached by a priest at the hospital who suggest that he take a healthy newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife he agrees to to so but after relocating to London, strange events – and the ominous warnings of a priest – lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate.
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What scares Ericesad?

theotherlrge
The Other (1972)
In the summer of 1935, 9-year-old twins Niles and Holland Perry live with their family on a Connecticut farm. Their loving grandmother Ada has taught them something called “the game.” A number of accidents begin happening, and it seems to Niles that Holland is responsible. It is Ada who begins to see the truth, and she is the only one who can stop this macabre game of murder.

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What scares GeoT?

them3THEM! (1954)
After several people in the New Mexico desert wind up missing or dead, including an F.B.I. agent and most of his family, police Sgt. Ben Peterson teams up with F.B.I. agent Bob Graham to find out what’s causing the strange occurrences. They find send a strange print found at one of the crime scenes and it is sent to the Department of Agriculture. Doctor Harold Medford and his daughter Doctor Patricia Medford arrive and ask to be taken to the scene of some of the disappearances. When they get there they are shocked to find gigantic ants, whose mutations were caused by the first atomic bomb explosion nine years earlier. They manage to destroy the nest of ants, but not before two winged queen ants and a couple of drones have hatched and escaped the nest. Now it is a race against time to find the two queen ants before they can establish more nests and hatch more queens.
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What scares HerselWellingtonIV?

finaldestinationFinal Destination (2000)
Alex is boarding his plane to France on a school trip, when he suddenly gets a premonition that the plane will explode. When Alex and a group of students are thrown off the plane, to their horror, the plane does in fact explode. Alex must now work out Death’s plan, as each of the surviving students falls victim. Whilst preventing the worst from happening, Alex must also dodge the FBI, which believes Alex caused the explosion.
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What scares LibbyShaw?

capitalismCapitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Michael Moore will once again take film goers into uncharted territory. With both humor and outrage, Moore explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings.

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What scares Ogenec?

evildeadlrgeThe Evil Dead (1981)
Five friends go to a cabin in the woods for a vacation. They discover The Book of the Dead and a tape recorder belonging to a professor, who also owns the cabin. One of them plays back what is recorded on the tape– which just happens to be Candarian resurrection passages translated from the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead) by the professor, which unleashes an evil force from the woods. The people start turning into evil deadites, and the others soon learn from the tape that the only way to kill a person who is turned into a deadite is by total body dismemberment. People are dying left and right; one girl early in the film looses control and runs off into the woods, only to be attacked by the trees.

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What scares Shanti2?

carrieCarrie (1976)
Carrie White is a shy young girl who doesn’t make friends easily. After her class mates taunt her about her horrified reaction to her totally unexpected first period one of them takes pity on her and gets Tommy Ross, her boyfriend and class hunk to invite Carrie to the senior prom. Meanwhile another girl who has been banned from the prom for her continued aggressive behaviour is not as forgiving and plans a trick to embarrass Carrie in front of the whole school. What she doesn’t realize is that Carrie is … gifted, and you really don’t want to get her angry.

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What scares SouthernGirl2?

wolfcreeklrgeWolf Creek (2005)
Based on a true story…Three friends embark on an adventure in the rugged Australian outback, having set out to see the famous Wolf Creek- a famous crater made by a meteor thousands of years ago. They spend time partying and bonding during their road trip to the landmark. When they arrive they leave their car at the bottom to make the 3 hour hike to the top of the crater. Upon their return to the car, they find that it will not start, and must enlist the help of a seemingly charitable fellow, who happens to “coincidentally” be meandering around one of the most remote areas of the world. They decide to allow him to tow them and their car back to his dwelling, where he has promised to quickly fix the car. However, the three soon realize he has other plans in store, when, after being drugged, awake to scenes of terror, grisly dismemberment, and even death. We get to know the three on a personal level, so that what happens to them is more than mere gore and torture; we actually feel for these characters and want them to succeed. A surprisingly well-done, yet very difficult film to watch.
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What scares TheLCster?

itIT (1990)
In the quiet town of Derry, Maine, Seven friends, Bill, Eddie, Mike, Bev, Stan, Richie and Ben (the Losers Club) have all been seeing and hearing strange things. Most of which revolve around a clown called Pennywise in which they all admit being real, the kids eventually discover that the leader of the club, Bill’s little brother fell victim to this evil. The group sets out to stop the force and put it to rest once and for all. 30 years after defeating IT, Mike Hanlon, the only member who remained in Derry, is suspecting that IT has returned and is forced to call back all of the Losers Club, due to a promise they all made to return if its evil shall ever resurface. Uncovering new powers, clues and evil the club reunites as adults and come face to face with the evil that has haunted and fed on Derry for the last centuries.
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What scares Webb?

blairwitchprojectThe Blair Witch Project (1999)
In October of 1994, three student filmmakers hike out to the woods of Blair, hoping to find evidence of a local legend “The Blair Witch”. At first, they find nothing except a pile of stones arranged by hand. As the sun goes down, they realize they are lost, but there is little panic. They camp out, and in the middle of the night they see and hear things, things that are not normal. When they awake, they find wooden dolls in cross-like formations. They were not there that night. Then one of the students, Josh, is separated from the group. The other two finally realize that they are in a very serious situation, and that they are being stalked, stalked by something that may be the very thing they were looking for…
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44-D’s Haunted Library


hauntedlib

Welcome to the 44-D’s Haunted Library. Just in time for Trick-or-Treat the Scary Scribes Scream-Out. The selections here are guaranteed to make you sleep with the lights on!

Please feel free to nominate books in the comments section. I had to cut myself off at some point~~Audiegrl 😉


Hellbound HeartsHellbound Hearts by Clive Barker, et al…

As editor/author John Skipp says in the foreword of the newest zombie short stories collection, there is just something scarier about the horror genre in the written word. That something is the reader’s imagination. This anthology celebrates Hellraiser creator Clive Barker and the merciless world of the demonic Cenobites he created.
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Strain-Book-One-TrilogyThe Strain-Volume One by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months — the world. (yes, that Guillermo Del Toro)
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wwzthumb2World War Z by Max Brooks

An ‘oral history’ of the global war the evil brain-chewers came within a hair of winning. Zombies are among us—turn on your television if you don’t believe it. But, Brooks reassures us, even today, human fighters are hunting down the leftovers, and we’re winning. Look for the movie in 2010. If this guy is not the conceptual artist for the film, there is something wrong in the universe.
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evilatheartthumbEvil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

Chelsea Cain’s novels featuring Portland detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell have captivated fans through two nail-biting entries, Heartsick and Sweetheart, both of them multiweek bestsellers in The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. Hey, when characters from True Blood start reading your books, its on…
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blackhousethumbBlack House by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Follow up to The Talisman, Retired cop Jack Sawyer takes on the territories again when strange murders start happening. If you are familiar with a turn of the century serial killer named Albert Fish, then you will be prepared for this chilling story.
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floatingdragonthumbFloating Dragon by Peter Straub

The quiet suburban town of Hampstead is threatened by two horrors–one is natural, the unstoppable creation of man’s power gone mad. The other is not natural at all–and makes the first look like child’s play. This one is a yearly must-read for me.
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iamlegendthumbI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

A survivor of a modern apocalypse kills vampire like creatures during the day and barricades himself in at night for protection. Ok, maybe you caught the cheesy Charlton Heston version or the Will Smith hi-tech version of the movie. Doesn’t matter. This is the guy who wrote the book back in the 50’s. He influenced Stephen King and the horror genre. Anything written by Matheson is bank.
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everylastdropthumbEvery Last Drop by Charlie Huston

Just imagine a world where New York City is divided by vampire clans who each have different reasons to hate PI Joe Pitt. Huston creates a world that is at once supernatural and totally familiar, imaginative, and utterly convincing. Just think Elmore Leonard with fangs.
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thestandthumbThe Stand: Expanded Edition by Stephen King

The Stand…you either love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it. Stephen King’s most popular book, according to polls of his fans, is an end-of-the-world scenario: a rapidly mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 percent of the world’s population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil. Remember folks, this is just fiction.
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thehistorianthumbThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

A motherless 16-year-old girl stumbles upon a mysterious book and papers dating back to her father’s student days at Oxford. The unnamed heroine uncovers an academic quest that begins with her father’s mentor’s first research into the history of Vlad Tepes (Dracula) and reaches a kind of conclusion many years later.
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thegirlnextdoorthumb2The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

The books introduction is written by Stephen King who said, “The Girl Next Door is alive…in a way most works of popular fiction never attain; it does not just promise terror but actually delivers it.” Also, the fact that its based on a true story makes it even more disturbing.

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reddragonthumb2Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Lying on a cot in his cell with Alexandre Dumas’s Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine open on his chest, Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter makes his debut in this legendary horror novel, which is even scarier than its sequel, The Silence of the Lambs. Why? you may ask…Just one word…teeth

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heartshappedboxthumbHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Before you crack open this chilling thriller, you might want to rethink your nighttime habits… Hill’s story about an aging rock star (with a penchant for macabre artifacts) who buys a haunted suit online will scare you silly. But don’t take my word for it… Oh, did I mention that his dad is Stephen King? Enough said.

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thestorethumbThe Store by Bentley Little

The novel builds paranoia by starting with simple descriptions of the picturesque landscape and the deceptively banal Western town that is Juniper, Arizona. Then The Store arrives. The pattern of delight and worry in the citizens, as The Store spreads its tentacles into local concerns, is believable–disturbingly so. Trust me, after reading this, you will never look at WalMart the same again.

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Spooky Halloween Story From My Childhood


_____________blogpost by Betsmier______________


trickortreatWhen I was a little girl we of course went trick or treating on our street. We lived at 1217 N. Second St in Phoenix. We lived in the big family home that my Grandmother lived in.

Before I was born there was the true story of Winnie Ruth Judd. As a little girl I was told how she killed her two roommates and then tried to ship the bodies to LA. There was a house a couple of blocks down the street from where we lived and we believed that that is where she killed them. Every Halloween we would go to that house trick or treating. It was always dark which of course made our imagination run wild. We would ring the doorbell and then we would run like crazy. Never bothering to see who was there. Winnie was committed to the State Mental Hospital for her sentence and she escaped several times. We always thought she went back to that house. We found out much later that that was not the house. In fact my mother’s cousin’s husband was the Winnie’s landlord and he took the suitcases that she stuffed the bodies in to the train station for her. There were five of us that would go trick or treating together. My best friend, her sister and brother, my middle sister and myself. My younger sister was too young to go then.

Anyway, that’s the scariest story from my childhood.

True Crime Story: The Trunk Murderess


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Murderess Willie Ruth Judd

Willie Ruth Judd was an American medical secretary living in Phoenix, Arizona, dubbed the “Trunk murderess” in 1931, convicted in a trial marked by sensationalized newspaper coverage and suspicious circumstances. Judd was charged and convicted of the murder of Agnes LeRoi, one of her two friends (the other being Hedvig Samuelson) she allegedly murdered in mid-October 1931 in Phoenix, Arizona. The fateful fight that led to the shooting of the two women reportedly was fueled by a conflict of interest—all three women were interested in the same man.

Judd was displayed in headlines across the country and the world as the “Tiger Woman”; “The Blonde Butcher”; “The Arizona Tigress”; “Wolf Woman”; and “The Velvet Tigress” due to her alleged ferociousness. The case quickly became known as “The Trunk Murders,” as the one intact body and the dismembered body were shipped in trunks by train from Phoenix to Los Angeles.

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Winnie Ruth in 1969 after being returned to confinement after her fifth escape

Contrary to popular belief, Judd was tried and convicted only of the murder of Mrs. LeRoi, whose body was not dismembered. The jury that tried Judd condemned her 8 February 1932. An appeal was unsuccessful. Judd was sentenced to be hanged 17 February , 1933 and sent to Arizona State Prison. The death sentence was repealed and she was sent to Arizona State Mental Hospital 24 April, 1933.

From 1933 to 1962 Judd escaped from the Arizona State Hospital seven times, often for several years at a time. She was released 21 December 1971 and moved to Stockton, California. She died 23 October 1998 the age of ninety-three.

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Related Articles

The Trunk Murderess

Winnie Ruth Judd: Trunks of Blood

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Related Books

bookoneThe Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd by Jana Bommersbach
Glamour, blood and a cold-case, what more could even a tabloid desire? But there was more to it than that and Bommersbach weaves the tale well – with care and detail, including the endings which make Judd into a female Houdini who drove the Arizona prison system nuts.

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burymedeepthumbBury Me Deep: A Novel by Megan Abbott
Edgar-winner Abbott explores gender inequality and its sometimes tragic results in her well-crafted fourth crime novel, inspired by the true story of Winnie Ruth Judd (aka the Trunk Murderess).

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Haunted Salem! Your Guide to the Witch City

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Salem, Massachusetts is home to a world of haunting enchantments. Walk the narrow streets of our “Witch City” and you will pass unusual shops, strange museums, and travel through time as you read the epitaphs of history on one of our many colonial graves. Meet real Salem Witches who are waiting to guide you through our city’s mysteries. Shop mystical emporiums that will entice you with treasures found nowhere else. Scare yourself with one of our several family oriented haunted attractions. Take a tour of the Witch City’s streets with a guide who can introduce you to real local haunts.

The infamous Witch Trials of 1692 gave birth to a heritage that Salem cannot deny. Today, we in Salem embrace our past and strive to present it to our guests in a way that gives respect to those who lost their lives to intolerance. Listen closely to the whispers on the winds and you will hear the cry of these innocent victims of the Witchcraft hysteria. Experience the Witch trials firsthand by visiting one of our many museums that are dedication to them.

The Curse of Giles Corey

One of Salem’s most famous Witch Trial victims of 1692 was Giles Corey, who, along with his wife Martha, died during the hysteria that swept our city over three hundred years ago.

The Accusation of Giles Corey. From Another Drawing of the Salem Witchcraft Trials

The Accusation of Giles Corey. From Another Drawing of the Salem Witchcraft Trials

Giles initially supported the claims against his wife (was it her cooking?), offering “evidence” that his wife had been “muttering” through her chores. He soon recanted, however, when he became aware of the severity of the prosecution and what lay in store for those accused.

According to the laws of the time—which were the source of much confusion, given that Salem had been operating without a charter for many months—the wealth and property of the accused could be confiscated if he were found guilty of the crime of Witchcraft. This would leave the heirs of those accused without inheritance. However, a person could not be found guilty or innocent if he refused to enter a plea, thereby protecting his possessions for his family.

Such a tactic, though, came with a terrible price. In order to extract a plea, authorities would place boards across the silent “criminal,” piling the boards with heavy stones until the accused made a plea of guilty or innocent.

It was this very tactic that Giles Corey used. Knowing that he would be found guilty no matter what his plea, Giles made the difficult choice to endure this Puritan form of torture that his children would inherit the fruits of his hard labor.

Sheriff George Corwin, much reviled son of Witch Trials magistrate Jonathan Corwin, profited greatly from the trials, confiscating property and dividing the spoils. It was he who presided over the crushing of Giles Corey, which took place at a field that is now Howard Cemetery, overlooked by the old Salem Jail.

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Old Drawing of the Death of Giles Corey by Being Pressed With Heavy Stones After Conviction as a Witch During the Salem Witchcraft Delusion

It was later said that, as stones continued to be places atop the wooden door covering Giles Corey, that all he would say is “more weight.” While this is more likely the results of folklore, what is reputed by witnesses of the time to have been said is far more damning in retrospect. With his dying breath, Giles Corey addressed Sheriff Corwin “Damn you Sheriff I curse you and Salem!”

Local Salem historian and former High Sheriff of Essex County Robert Ellis Cahill discovered some years ago that the curse of Giles Corey may have come to bear. He notes that each and every Sheriff down from George Corwin to himself, each headquartered at the Salem Jail overlooking the the place where Corey was killed, had died while in office or had been forced out of his post as the result of a heart or blood ailment. Corwin himself died in 1696, not long after the trials, of a heart attack. Thankfully, Cahill’s heart attack and subsequent blood ailment forced him into retirement and not into an early grave, for he later went on to chronicle many strange stories of New England’s past.

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Tombstone of Giles Corey

The Curse of Giles Corey was not just leveled at the Sheriff but at “all of Salem.” It is said that each time Salem has undergone a major tragedy (such as the great fire that nearly destroyed the town), it was not long after a claimed sighting of the ghost of Giles Corey. Coincidence? Perhaps. Still, could the words spoken by this tragic victim of hysteria have left an imprint that is still at work in Salem today?

Sources: HauntedSalem.com, Haunted Happenings by Robert Ellis Cahill, A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Frances Hill

Museums and Historic Sites

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Quicktime VR Panorama of the Old Burying Point
Salem’s Old Burying Point is where 1692 Witch Trials Judge John Hathorne, ancestor of famed Salem author Nathaniel Hawthorne, is buried. It is also one of New England’s oldest graveyards!

The Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Witch Museum brings you back to Salem 1692, a time of hysteria and fear that ended with the deaths of twenty innocent people. Using life size figures, stage sets, a sound track narration and lighting, the museum recreates the accusers and accused, the court proceedings and finally the execution of the victims of this terrifying wave of persecution. The thought-provoking narration invites visitors to ponder questions of human rights and tolerance that affect contemporary life and determine for themselves how a witch hunt can occur.

The Witch Dungeon Museum
An award-winning live reenactment of a witch trial from the original transcript of 1692 followed by a guided tour through the dungeon.

Witch History Museum
Experience the characters and untold stories of the 1692 witch hysteria. Learn the fate of the victims as a guide brings you back in time in Old Salem Village where you will view 15 life-size scenes.

The Burying Point
The Burying Point is the oldest cemetery in Salem. If you love roaming through old graveyards, make sure you stop here. Among the buried is Judge John Hawthorne, the most malevolent of the Witch Trial judges. Also located within the Burying Point is the Witch Trials Memorial, erected in 1992.

Gallows Hill Park
In 1692, at what is now a baseball field and children’s park, twenty innocent people were condemned to die. Nineteen were hanged while one was crushed under heavy stones. Each year at Halloween, Salem Witches hold a public circle to commemorate those who died as part of the hysteria. They also honor all those who died for freedom, including great leaders of recent past. Following the ritual, the Witches hold a candlelight procession to the center of town.

The Witch House
This historic house, built in 1642, earned its name because it was once the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, who helped preside over the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The accused were often brought here to be examined for supposed “Witches’ marks“.

Hex: Old World Witchery
Cast your own spell at Salem’s newest Witch shop. Located across from the Samantha statue, Hex honors the old ways of Witchcraft and Hoodoo with ritual tools, jewelry, incense, candles, oils, statues, charms, roots, and herbs! Also get readings from Salem Witches (and proprietors) Christian Day and Leanne Marrama.

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