Article: Tattoo Boo: HALLOWEEN INK

A very festive sleeve
A very festive sleeve

The machine hums and whines as it draws blood; a rivulet trickling from the wicked grin of a smiling Jack o lantern. He presses until she winces. He pauses to wipe. She stretches, adjusts. “Do you need a break?” he asks. “No, please, I can’t wait to see it!” she gushes, closing her eyes to accept the temporary discomfort for a permanent change.

Tattoo artist Chris “Blick” Blickenderfer, owner of American Tattoo in Verona, Pennsylvania, helps fans of the season transform their bodies into art. Using skin as canvas, he projects visions onto bodies.

Halloween is a major theme for ink.

Tattoos featuring skulls are a staple in the industry, including vibrant Mexican-inspired designs reminiscent of Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. As a fan of H.R. Giger, Blick has incorporated bio-techno aspects into his designs as well as allowing earthly remains to peek through organics and other foliage.

Haunting scenes enacted across a back or along an arm, nods to favorite horror movies, and genre books get creative juices flowing. It is hard to get him to choose a favorite. “I’m very critical of my work,” Blick admits. “Some of my favorites include a quintessential Halloween scene, a portrait of Reagan from The Exorcist, and a flamboyant Headless Horseman.

A demon on the calf
A demon on the calf

Instead of remaining in the cemetery, the dearly departed have left visible fingerprints on their loved ones. Many customers use their bodies to convey loving remembrances of their departed, their ink memorializing transformed lives. From initials and names to miniature footprints and portraits, people carry their grief in this personal way.

 

A haunted manor tattoo
A haunted manor tattoo

 

 

 

 

According to Pew Research (March, 2014), 23% of Americans in all legal age groups sport ink. For some, it is an expression of self. For others, it sets apart their beliefs. And for others, it is a celebration of their favorite things, including the Halloween season.

Article: The Historical Vampire

From 1897, a copy of Philip Burne-Jones' painting, THE VAMPIRE
From 1897, a copy of Philip Burne-Jones’ painting, THE VAMPIRE

We may think of vampires as hypnotic, blood-thirsty villains (or heroes) of the modern horror genre, yet vampires have been part of western culture for 1000 years.

 

English historian William of Newburgh (1136 – 1198 A.D.) wrote of revenants – the word ‘vampire’ only appeared in the English language in 1734 – in his History of English Affairs. One account related how a man of ‘evil conduct’ died and was buried, only to rise and wander from house to house at night, killing townspeople. A group of men removed the corpse from its grave, cut out its heart and burnt it on a funeral pyre.

 

Five decades later, vampire hysteria began in Moravia (today’s Czech Republic), to spread over the next 500 years westward to France and Germany, and eastward to Russia.

 

Although not your stereotypical vampire, Count Dracula was just as blood-thirsty. Born in 1431 in Schassburg, Transylvania, young Vlad became known as Vlad Dracula (son of Dracul) after his father joined the Order of the Dragon (Dracul), a Christian organization dedicated to fighting the Muslim Turks. When Vlad took the throne in the Romanian province of Wallachia, he became one of the most brutal rulers in history, responsible for the torture and death of over 40,000 people. His penchant for impaling his enemies on stakes, beneath which he dined on bread dipped in their blood, earned him the nickname ‘Vlad the Impaler’. Vlad was assassinated by the Turks in 1476, his head allegedly taken as a trophy.

Countess Elizabeth Bathory
Countess Elizabeth Bathory

The Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory played an equally horrible role in furthering the belief in vampires. Born in 1560, the ‘Blood Countess’ believed she could retain her youth and beauty by bathing in the blood of young girls. She tortured and ex-sanguinated hundreds of girls, the discovery of whose bloodless bodies around the countryside led to rumors of vampires among the peasants. Countess Bathory was arrested in 1610 and imprisoned for life in her castle.

 

Greek theologian Leo Allatius (1586 – 1669) undertook the first methodical treatment of vampires in his work, On Certain Modern Opinions Among the Greeks. Other writers followed, recording the folk beliefs that circulated about vampires: You could become a vampire by being bit by one; drinking the blood of a vampire; inheriting the condition from your parents; committing suicide or suffering a violent death. You could protect yourself from vampires by wearing a string of garlic, a rosary or a crucifix around your neck, or by draping garlic around the windows and doors of your home. If bitten, you could break the spell by burning the vampire’s heart and consuming it.A suspected vampire could be stopped from rising by stuffing its mouth with garlic and spreading garlic, thorns and poppy seeds in and around the coffin. To destroy a vampire, you had to drive a stake of aspen, maple, hawthorn or whitethorn wood into its heart, behead it, remove its heart and burn it, or simply burn the entire creature in fire or sunlight.

 

Vlad Dracula, the most famous vampire of all who was actually just a man.
Vlad Dracula, the most famous vampire of all who was actually just a man.

As time passed, the vampire wound its way into mainstream culture, where it now enjoys fortune, fame and infamy on screen and in literature.

Book Review: Vintage Young Adult Halloween Scares

The Halloween lifestyle stems from what we all experienced as wee goblins. Remember searching for the best decorated house in the neighborhood? This house had full size chocolate bars last year! Who put this apple in my bag? I find myself constantly trying to recreate these memories with my own kids. Sometimes, to no avail.

I lecture my kids with the whole, “I watched this when I was only seven!” routine. Try as I might my 15 year-old says I am too obsessed with the holiday. “Who goes to Halloween events in February, Mom?” My 11 year-old says he is still not ready for Knott’s Scary Farm. My 8 year-old wants to be Sharknado this year. The only hope I have for a protégé is my five year-old daughter. She loves Nightmare Before Christmas, says her face hurts in the sun because she’s a vampire, and she wanted to be Nightmare Moon for Halloween. I can work with this! To keep her looking forward to Halloween all year, I find myself reading my favorite childhood Halloween stories to her.

Vintage is the whats in for the genre now. I cannot say I am complaining. Pop on your Monster Hop LP, grab a lantern, turn off the lights and check out whats on my children’s Halloween book list!

 

Dennison's Bogie Book cover
Dennison’s Bogie Book cover

Dennison’s Bogie Book by Dennison’s manufacturing company, 1920.
Pinterest in the 20’s! I found that this “guide” was written for us future Halloween lovers,  who think about the season all year long. Perfect for little ones to create their own Halloween Party. Your littles do that right?!

 

Georgie's Halloween
Georgie’s Halloween

Georgie’s Halloween by Robert Bright, 1958.

Perfect story for grade school children! A shy ghost returns home from his village’s Halloween party to be awarded a “Best Costume Prize” by the mice in the attic of his home. See boys and girls, ghost have passive personalities too! Theres a series of these vintage treasures published as early as 1944.

 

A Woggle of Witches
A Woggle of Witches

A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams, 1971.

Witches are essential to Halloween Night, but even they get frightened! This story will be followed up with its sequel, “A Halloween Happening”. Being published in 1981, the witches realize there’s nothing to fear and commence the Halloween celebration.!

 

Scary Stories series book covers
Scary Stories series book covers

Scary Stories To Tell in The Dark, More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark,  More Tales To Chill Your Bones  by Alvin Schwartz, 1980, 1984, 1991.
The ultimate must read for every child in the universe. The songs and sillier stories, like “The Big Toe”, are funny bone ticklers for little monsters. Alvin Schwartz’s version of “The Hearse Song” is tons of fun for the little ones to sing. Most of these books can be found at your local library or Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. I recommend that you grab them when you can as they are treasures that can be passed on to countless generations of Halloween lovers.

Omnium Gatherum’s HALLOWEEN TALES Now Available!

Halloween Tales book cover
Halloween Tales book cover

HALLOWEEN TALES is a new Halloween/horror anthology from Omnium Gatherum and editor, Kate Jonez. It collects several seasonal tales of horror from many members of the Horror Writer’s Association Los Angeles Chapter.

Contributors include: Nancy Holder (Buffy: The Making of a Slayer), Lisa Morton (Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween), Michael Gonzalez, Hal Bodner (Bite Club), Janet J Holden, John Palisano, David Winnick, Kate Jonez (Ceremony of Flies), R.B. Payne, Steven Booth, Maria Alexander, Eric Miller, E.S. Magill, Tim Chizmar, Robin Wyatt Dunn, PS Gifford , Xach Fromson and Halloween Forevermore’s own Terry M. West (Heroin in the Magic Now).

This collection is a perfect Halloween night reading experience!

HALLOWEEN TALES is available in both paperback and Kindle editions and you can order it here.

 

 

Article: The Séance Experience

A séance generally requires sitters and a medium
Dr. John Dee, noted occultist
Dr. John Dee, noted occultist

A séance might be the perfect way to round out your Halloween party, but it’s no modern parlor game.

References to séance communications date back to the 3rd century Greeks. The earliest known recorded séance is attributed to England’s Dr. John Dee, in the 16th century. Three centuries later, séances had gained such popularity that in 1854, Illinois senator James Shields presented a petition signed by 15,000 people asking the U.S. Congress for a scientific commission to investigate the paranormal phenomena many of them had witnessed. Unsurprisingly, Congress declined, but that didn’t stop President Abraham Lincoln himself from hosting a séance in the Crimson Room of the White House in 1863!

The traditional séance is held in a darkened or candlelit room. Ideally, no more than eight participants, often called sitters, sit around a table or in a circle on the floor in a quiet room where they will not be disturbed.  They place their hands flat on the table, fingers touching, sometimes holding hands, and are encouraged to relax by closing their eyes and taking long, deep breaths.

A séance requires sitters and a medium
A séance requires sitters and a medium

The medium (the person who contacts the other side) may pray or ask spirit guides for protection before calling on any spirits present to make themselves known. The medium will direct the other sitters, and each should get a chance to speak to at least one spirit if they so desire.

The spirits may acknowledge their presence in any number of ways:

-Table rapping: sitters hear loud knocks; the medium may ask spirits to communicate by knocking once for “yes” and twice for “no” or something to that effect.

-Table tilting: the séance table moves of its own accord, despite being held by the sitters.

-Levitation: the table or other objects in the room levitate.

-Changes in temperature: sitters feel cold breezes or drops in temperature.

-Odors: sitters smell perfume, cigars or home cooking.

-Ghostly sounds: sitters hear disembodied voices or music.

-Luminous phenomena: stars, balls of fire, strange lights or other luminous objects appear in the room.

-Apports: small portable objects, sometimes coming from miles away, appear in the room.

-Ectoplasm: this grayish, viscous psychic substance emanates from the medium’s body, occasionally forming into the shape of human limbs or even complete spirit entities.

Not all spirits can or will come when called. On the other hand, some who do may not be a sitter’s dearly departed, but an animal (generally someone’s pet), a spirit guide or even a wandering spirit who speaks a foreign language!

Some spirits are funny, and some are sad. If, however, a negative, angry, or malevolent spirit manifests, it should be told to leave, and the séance should immediately be stopped. Otherwise, the séance can be closed by kindly bidding the spirits farewell, thanking them for coming, and asking them to return to the other side.

 

AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED To Haunt Book Shelves 9-30-14!

America's Most Haunted book cover
America’s Most Haunted book cover

My purpose with Halloween Forevermore was to create a watering hole for different horror animals. Whatever your dark passion, I want you to be able to find it here. One demographic I am definitely interested in appeasing: lovers of the paranormal. I am a fan and a student of documented hauntings (if you have seen my Whaley House Ghost photo video or read my tale, The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed, you can see my love for ghost stories).

So I was extremely excited to see that AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places by Theresa Argie & Eric Olsen will be hitting the shelves on 9-30! It is being published by Berkley and it will be available in Kindle and paperback versions!

And if you haven’t visited the America’s Most Haunted site, you are missing out on quite a paranormal feast!

Here is the info I was sent by this wonderful organization:

There are some places in America you simply shouldn’t visit alone. At Waverly Hills Sanatorium, thousands of patients died at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic in the early 1900’s and their spirits never left. In the halls of Mackey’s Music World, demonic possessions were more common than musical performances. Aboard the decks of the Queen Mary in California, echoes of the cries of hundreds of lost sailors ring clear night and day. These are places that no sane person would ever truly explore – until now.

 In AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; September 30, 2014; $16.00), “Haunted Housewife” investigator Theresa Argie and journalist Eric Olsen combine spine-tingling stories, documented evidence and interviews with some of the top names in paranormal investigation, including the stars of television’s Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and others to take readers on a terrifying tour of our nation’s most haunted houses, hospitals and historic places.

 Experience the crawl through the death tunnel, also known as the body chute, where visitors have reported sightings of an inhuman creature that creeps along the walls and ceilings. Get to know the spirits, ghosts and other demons that wait in jails, lounge in mansions, fester in lunatic asylums, and even stay in the stately old hotel that served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining.

 The evidence provided with these first-hand accounts, stories and personal testimonies will have readers sleeping with the lights on. Are you brave enough to take a look?

And here is some info about the authors:

Theresa Argie is an experienced paranormal investigator who has worked with some of the field’s most respected experts. Eric Olsen is a leading journalist in the field of paranormal investigation. Together, the two host the internet radio show, America’s Most Haunted. They both live in Ohio.

I am happy to announce that I will be receiving a copy of AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places for review! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! You can pre-order AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places right here!

 

Expect my review before Halloween!

Samhain: Facts, Beliefs & Folklore

Vintage Irish Halloween art

Halloween:  hallow=holy  een= evening

The Celtic Festival of Samhain celebrated in Scotland circa October 2008
The Celtic Festival of Samhain celebrated in Scotland circa October 2008

All Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Eve (whatever you call it):  it is the old Celtic harvest festival of Samhain, pronounced sow (as in cow)-en.  Celebrated in Ireland and ancient Britain this was the mark of the New Year, the time that summer was ending and the onset of winter beginning.

A magical time when the veil between the worlds of the living and dead was at it’s thinnest.   It was believed that the dead revisited their homes and the fairies came out to roam.  Some say Samhain was the God of Death but there is no evidence to back this theory.  The Celts didn’t believe in demons, instead it was fairies that were the makers of mischief.

In order to stave off any mischief from occurring during the evening of Samhain, home owners would set out a “treat” of milk or food in hope of deterring any “tricks” being played upon their household.  A small meal would also be left for a deceased relative who came visiting.  In the 19th century the Catholic Church made Nov. 1st All Saints Day, thus the pagan festival of Samhain merged with the Catholic holiday and became All Hallow’s Eve (the night before the holy day).  Eventually people began to dress up to deceive the spirits and therefore go out during All Hallow’s Eve to walk freely among the spirits and perhaps collect the “treats” left for the dead?!

 

Vintage Irish Halloween art
The legend of Stingy Jack gave birth to the Jack-O-Lantern

Irish folklore tells the story of Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil not once but twice.  After being tricked into captivity by Jack a second time the Devil agreed not to take Jack’s soul when he died.  However upon his demise Heaven didn’t want him either, so Jack asked the Devil to take him but since a promise was made the Devil sent him on his way into the night with a burning piece of coal to light his way.  Jack carved out a turnip to hold his coal and has been wandering ever since.  Folks began to call this lost soul “Jack of the lantern” and later shortened it to “Jack O’Lantern.”  Later the Scots and Irish began carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes and set them in front of their homes on All Hallow’s Eve to keep away the evil spirits.  When the Irish began immigrating to the U.S. during the potato famine they brought along their traditions.  Pumpkins which are a native fruit to the U.S. became an excellent replacement for turnips.
 
 
 
 
 
Another thing associated with Halloween is dunking for apples.  That was actually part of divination rituals performed at the end of the year to see what the future would bring.  “Ducking for Apples” foretold marriage.  The first person to bite one would be the first to marry in the new year.  Another divination ritual was peeling an apple, the longer the peel before breaking off the longer your life.

So remember with Halloween soon approaching, leave a little something out for the visiting relatives!

TALES OF POE Autographed Poster Giveaway!

Tales of Poe autographed promotional poster
Tales of Poe autographed promotional poster

We have sung the praises of the horror movie, Tales of Poe, from the start of our website.  The movie is currently on the film festival circuit,  and we can’t wait until you are able to watch this incredible terror anthology inspired by the work of Edgar Allen Poe.
 
The Tales of Poe folks were kind enough to sign a promotional poster and allow us to give it away on the Halloween Forevermore website!
 
It is signed by: Alan Rowe Kelly (director), Bart Mastronardi (director), Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Adrienne King (Friday the 13th), Tom Burns (composer), Brewster McCall (The Cask actor), Bette Cassatt (V/H/S 2) and Michael Varrati (writer of the Dreams segment).
 
Enter our Facebook contest by following this link to the giveaway, whether you are on a mobile device or desktop.
 
 
This contest ends on September 19th at Noon PST!
 
 
Check out our review of the film by clicking here.
 
Check out a video we shot at the Tales of Poe movie premiere by clicking here.