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Showing posts from 2013

Strange Night Shots at Boulder City Pet Cemetery

I am not a paranormal investigator. I have no interest in paranormal investigating. I enjoy these types of TV shows as much as anyone else, but that’s about it. I partake of paranormal shows as entertainment. It isn’t that I don’t believe in the supernatural at all, I simply take these types of things with a grain of salt. Earlier this month I wrote an article on about the Boulder City Pet Cemetery and got some great pictures in the late afternoon. I decided to return to the pet cemetery at night to see if I could get some good nighttime photos. The setting is perfect; rustic old graves in the middle of the desert make for a very dark, gothic subject. Just the type of pictures I love to take. This is the first photo, unedited. I took a friend with me on this outing. At the time it was mainly for company, but looking back I am glad I was not alone. I did not feel anything macabre at the cemetery during the day. Upon visiting after dark, my main concern was co

Olentzero, the Christmas Jentilak

Olentzero is synonymous with Christmas to the Basque people. He is one of the last surviving relics of pre-Christian pagan beliefs. There are numerous differing legends and practices about Olentzero; almost every Basque village had its own variation. In many ways he is similar to other European counties’ “Father Christmas,” but in just as many ways he is a completely unique character to Basque folklore. Originally he was a giant, or jentilak, who lived in the mountains. He was the last surviving member of a tribe of giants who either died with the birth of Christ, or simply left to avoid being Christianized. Sometimes called Olentzero of the red eyes, he would cut the throat of children who broke the fast. In other variations, he would kill anyone who ate too much on Christmas Eve, which was traditionally a day of fasting. He is often portrayed as being drunk, slouched in a chair with an empty bottle in his hand. He is usually dressed like a peasant and is always very rustic.

Sloan Canyon

I recently began writing for as a freelance journalist. Today, my first article with them went live. I will be focusing on the unique places and people in the Las Vegas and Southern Nevada area (my official title is “Las Vegas Places and Faces Examiner”). I have wanted to write about our local oddities and unique history for some time and this seems to be a good medium to do so through. Blame it on the scorching desert sun, but there is never a shortage of eccentrics here; from Howard Hughes to Lonnie Hammargren to Scotty’s Castle in nearby Death Valley, Southern Nevada is a mecca for the bizarre.   The link to my first article is below. It’s about Sloan Canyon, a local spot loaded with Native American petroglyphs, or rock art. Sloan Canyon has one of the highest concentrations of petroglyphs in North America! I have attached a few photos I took there as well. Here's the link: Sloan Canyon: The Sistine Chapel of rock art

"The Messenger" by Algernon Blackwood

I recently came across this overlooked short story of Blackwood’s and immediately realized that it read much like a Lovecraft tale. Of course, any Lovecraft geek knows that Blackwood was a strong influence on the younger author, so such a finding is not surprising. Nonetheless, this little tale has gone unnoticed as a possible inspiration for Lovecraft’s cosmic horror. “The Messenger” is also very similar to Guy de Maupassant’s “Le Horla,” which is a known influence of Lovecraft. Both feature an otherworldly visitor. However, the messenger does not seem to be as malicious as the Horla, though the story ends before we know for sure what the messenger is here for. Also, the narrator of both tales could easily be insane, the entire thing a delusion of a fevered mind. Due to its short length, I will reproduce the tale in its entirety below. * * * * * THE MESSENGER  by  Algernon Blackwood  (1912) Illustration by W. Graham Robertson from the original

The Hammargren Home of Nevada History

Anyone who has even driven on Sandhill Road between Tropicana and Flamingo could not have missed the one strange wall with all sorts of things barely visible over it. Old casino signs, spaceships (some complete with little green men), and bizarre rickety structures are all visible in short bursts. Who lives there and what is all of that stuff, and—more importantly—who wouldn’t want to go inside and see what else is there? The house, well actually it’s three houses morphed into one, belonging to Dr. Lonnie Hammargren, a retired neurosurgeon and former Nevada Lt. Governor. Yes, he really does live there. The concept of this Las Vegas landmark is to preserve Nevada’s history via Dr. Hammargren’s personal collection. He purchases anything and everything that catches his interest. Some of it may be invaluable to resale, but these are overshadowed by the incredible rare pieces that he has. For instance, the original Batmobile sits in his garage; the roller coaster from the top of the


In the sort of spirit of Halloween, I decided to make my very own bottle of laudanum. An old bottle previously used as décor for our kitchen fit the bill, and from there I found a vintage laudanum label on the internet and printed it. From there, I aged the paper, stained it a little for good measure and cut it out. I used a spray adhesive on the back to reduce bleed-through. Since laudanum was used as a cough suppressant, I decided to go for a cough-syrupy color for the liquid. Basically, just a combo of green and blue food dye did the trick. To top it off, I finally found a use for a small collection of old wine corks that have been accumulating in a drawer. Laudanum was originally invented by the famed Swiss doctor and alchemist, Paracelsus, although his version was quite different from what was later known by the same name. Paracelsus’ version included the mandatory opium and high proof alcohol, but henbane, musk, coral, amber, gold and crushed pearls were also integrated i

The Spirit of the Town by Tod Robbins

Illustration from the first edition “Strange as this tale may be, my readers, do not consider it the weak wanderings of a disordered brain, nor yet as a fiction formed to please alone, but, looking deeper still, perceive the truth. The truth—what a word is that to conjure with, and yet how difficult it is for a mere man to penetrate the cloak of conventionality and custom, and behold it in all its bright nakedness! “When you have done this, you have looked into the eyes of God.” – From the author’s introduction. The Spirit of the Town (1912) is today an all but forgotten novel by an all but forgotten author. Spirit is Robbins’ second novel, but it was published the same year as his first, Mysterious Martin . The novel centers on Jim, a young aspiring author, who leaves his small hometown to seek his fortune in Manhattan. Jim has recently heard from an old friend, George, who had been living there and offered to let him stay at his apartment until Jim could get a st

Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Muñecas)

About seventeen miles outside of Mexico City, deep in the Xochimilco canals, you will find the Isla de las Muñecas, or Island of the Dolls. This small island is home to hundreds of old, decaying dolls. Most of them hang from trees, but some are nailed to walls or other furniture. While it was formerly only known to locals in the Mexico City area, over the last decade the Isla has become an international tourist destination of the macabre. By the end of the 1950s, the island was already well established as an oddity, and its infamy has only grown since then. The original inhabitant of this small island, Julián Santana, lived there much like a hermit. He tended a crop of corn, vegetables, and a garden of flowers which made up his income, until one day when he found the body of a little girl that had drowned in the canals and washed up on his island. After that, he began to be tormented by the spirit of the little girl. A lone doll also drifted upon his shores very shortly after the

The Devil in Manuscript And Other Tales of Forbidden Books

“The Green Book,” a small, unassuming diary of a young girl; an unheard of book of the Talmud known as the “Tractate Middoth”; “The King in Yellow,” a play that drives people to insanity; two mysterious grey stone plaques from the sands of Chaldea known as the “Tablets of The Gods”; “The Confessions of Constantine,” which drives its readers into a homicidal rage—these accursed books are the subject of this collection of olden tales. Each of these tales features a forbidden book, most of which are detrimental to anyone who dares to read them. Some of them are ancient, while others are mass produced—either way they are all dangerous to read. Many of these fictional books served as the inspiration for Lovecraft’s famed “Necronomicon,” as all of these authors were among his favorites (such as M.R. James, Arthur Machen, and Algernon Blackwood). This collection is available on  Amazon , Kobo , and Barnes & Noble  for $1.49.  If you prefer, you can also buy directly from us via Pa

The Blood is The Life: An Anthology of Early Vampire Fiction

Everyone has heard of, or even read, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and many assume it to be the first of its kind. However, the vampire had made his way into literature on numerous occasions before and after. These are the stories you have never heard of. I have split the anthology into three parts. The first deals with straightforward classic vampire tales. These blood-suckers do not sparkle! The second part is dedicated to psychic vampires, including the earliest ever written. The third section is called “Not Quite Vampires” because these tales are often included in lists of early vampire fiction, but are not actually about vampires. They are close to vampires, or vampire-like, but still are not vampires. They are great literature (Lazarus by Andreyev is one of the darkest pieces of fiction I’ve ever read) and are well deserving to be reread by today’s readers. Each story contains reproductions of all original illustrations from their first publications. In addition to that, ther