It evokes the Christmas spirit in us all
I like nothing more on a Sunday than to sit down with a mug of tea and a slice of cake.
Ever since I first saw this, by sheer chance, I want THIS CAKE … though doubt I would ever cut into it !!!!
ARE YOU ONE OF THE FRIGHTENED ?
As I type this tonight, the wind howls angrily and blasts against the house, the fire crackles. The clock ticks loudly. Floors creak. A draft catches my arm, and I shiver. Halloween is here!!!
I adore, like most, as the nights draw in to settle down with a good haunting tale but sometimes whilst I enjoy a good book, listening to them can be even better and what could possibly be better than Uncle Boris reading us dead-time stories??? That’s right – nothing !!!!
I have a lot of obscure records in my collection but these might be my favorite
‘Tales of the Frightened’ is a 2 volume record collection of short, creepy little horror tales told by Mr Halloween himself ! It was originally recorded for the radio in the late 1950’s and released in the early 1960’s
Boris opens each story with the question ‘Are you one of the frightened…?’ and each time he asks it, it is slightly more sinister than the last.
Karloff’s voice has that eeriness that few other reading voices have, it is assuring, grandfatherly, but foreboding at the same time. Whilst these are not necessarily terrifying or horrifying they have some amazing sound effects, footsteps, ticking clocks and screams which make them all the better !!!!
My imagination run riots when I turn down the lights and drop the needle – so without further ado, snuggle into your favorite chair, grab a blanket and have a listen to a nice creepy story ,read by one of the most soothingly spooky voices ever.
Time to get ready for Hallowe’en !!!
One of the strangest of all “classic” true crime cases is the 1945 murder of seventy-four-year-old Charles Walton of Lower Quinton, Warwickshire, UK, which combines an unsolved mystery with tales of witchcraft and ghosts.
Warwickshire is best known for being the birth place of Shakespeare but the county also has strong links to witches.
Our story begins in 1885 when a young Charles Walton was walking back to Lower Quinton after a day’s ploughing. Charles claims that he met a black dog and this happened on 9 consecutive days. Nothing unusual there, one might think, but on the 10th occasion he was met by a headless woman.. Mocked by the locals he became morose and a withdrawn young man.
Charles did marry but after his wife’s death he lived almost like a recluse in his little stone cottage with his niece, Edith. He had a simple life working as a hedge cutter. He kept himself to himself and would venture into the village to buy a casket of cider to take back home to drink alone.
Strangely despite Charles being old and seemingly harmless the villagers feared him, he had a certain rapport with animals which fell into a long tradition of individuals with mysterious powers in rural England – there were rumors that Charles would harness toads to a miniature plough, using them to help in his work.
On 14th February 1945 Charles left the cottage to cut the hedge at a nearby farm and never returned. When his niece found the cottage empty at 6pm she became concerned and with the help of their neighbour, Alfred Potter, went in search of her uncle. They did not find him alive.
Charles Walton had been horribly murdered in a strange, ritualistic fashion. The old man’s neck had been pierced by the twin prongs of his own pitchfork. So powerful was the thrust that the tines of the pitchfork stuck six inches into the ground. Walton had been mutilated in other ways as well…his bill-hook had been used to carve crosses into the flesh of his cheeks and stomach. His skull had been caved in with a heavy cudgel and the bill-hook was savagely thrust into his rib cage. What Edith and the policemen who found Walton most remembered was the look of sheer horror in the hedge-cutter’s eyes.
After the local police failed to gather any solid evidence the case came to the attention of Robert Fabian (a famous detective of Scotland Yard) who arrived shortly afterwards with his men who were greeted with silence and doors slammed in their faces by the villagers.
Weird, uncanny incidents plagued the investigation from the start. While exploring the area near Walton’s murder, Fabian realized he was being watched by a large black dog. When a boy came out to ask what Fabian was looking for, the inspector asked if the dog belonged to the boy. “What dog?” asked the child? Fabian turned and the dog was gone. That was not the last time a black dog was encountered during the investigation. One was found hanged from a tree in nearby Meon Hill. Nobody claimed ownership of the dog. Soon after, a rash of dog fatalities struck the region.
Black dogs often appear in tales of the supernatural in England. These hounds are often seen to be omens of evil. The inspector learned that Charles had seen a black dog, for 9 straight days, when he was younger and the villagers believed this was a sign he was cursed.
Fabian began to look more deeply into the history of not only Charles Walton, but the area around Lower Quinton as a whole. He was soon stunned to discover the similarities between the murders of Walton and Anne Tenant. Both skewered to the ground by pitchforks and mutilated by bill-hooks. The resemblance between the killings smacked of ritual. Yet the crimes were over 60 years apart. Fabian also learned of Isobel Gowdie’s burning in 1662. The tough-nosed Inspector felt he was in the grip of something uncanny.
Walton was murdered on Valentine’s Day. That day had special significance to the Druids who once lived and worshipped near the Rollright Stones, a prehistoric stone circle. It was the day that they sacrificed to their harvest gods using “wicker men”…giant hollow images of men that were filled with victims and then burned.. 2 independent witnesses claimed to have seen a number of people, on the night of the full moon, performing a ritual, at the Rollright Stones, chanting and dancing and that the leader wore a disguise which they thought was a goat-headed mask
Fabian also learned that the year prior to 1945 had been a particularly poor one in Lower Quinton as far as agriculture went. The village’s livelihood depended on a good harvest and 1944 had been one of the poorest years on records.
Edith reported to the inspector that her uncles pocket watch was missing, it had not been on his body when he was found neither could it be located in their cottage. Charles wore this watch every day of his life. He was also allegedly in possession of an unusual piece of dark glass about which he was most secretive.
However even using all his years of experience accumulated over a vastly successful crime fighting career, Fabian could not get to the bottom of the killing.
Over 400 statements were taken from local people, including Edith Walton and Alfred Potter, and hundreds of samples of physical evidence were examined. But nothing pointed to one particular person. The citizens of Lower Quinton remained closed-mouthed and inscrutable. It seemed as if the entire village was against Fabian. He finally admitted defeat and returned to London – the case unsolved. It seemed the twin traditions of witchcraft and witch hunting still held sway in the picturesque little town.
There is a little twist to this story, in 1960 Charles Walton’s cottage was being demolished. In the outhouse, despite an extensive search at the time of his murder, the builders uncovered his pocket watch, housed between the bricks and inside it an unknown dark stone. Some say this stone was to ‘ward off’ evil spirits.
ORSON WELLES Born Today May 6th 1915 recalls reactions to his ‘War of the Worlds’ radio broadcast …..
” Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program of dance music to bring you a special bulletin from the Intercontinental Radio News. At twenty minutes before eight, central time, Professor Farrell of the Mount Jennings Observatory, Chicago, Illinois, reports observing several explosions of incandescent gas, occurring at regular intervals on the planet Mars. The spectroscope indicates the gas to be hydrogen and moving towards the earth with enormous velocity. Professor Pierson of the Observatory at Princeton confirms Farrell’s observation, and describes the phenomenon as (quote) “like a jet of blue flame shot from a gun” (unquote). We now return you to the music of Ramón Raquello, playing for you in the Meridian Room of the Park Plaza Hotel, situated in downtown New York. “
London is best known for its colourful history and numerous tourist attractions. What is less known is that the city has been the scene of a few vampire scares.
In the spring of 1922 several terrified witnesses claimed that they saw a massive, black, bat-like creature with a huge wing span flying around West Drayton churchyard in the West End of London. The police were called and gave chase but they report that the creature gave a spine-chilling shriek before flying off.
A couple of days later a man on his way to work claims that he was grabbed, something pierced his neck and drew his blood – he fainted and fell to the ground. He was taken to Charing Cross Hospital, where surgeons insisted he had been stabbed with a thin tubular object. But the patient was adamant no other person had been close enough to do such a thing.
A couple of hours later another ‘victim’ arrived with serious neck wounds again he claimed he had been attacked by an unseen assailant in exactly the same way, at the same spot as the first man.
The next evening a 3rd victim arrived and Police confirmed all 3 men had been subjected to identical attacks and then the vampire rumours started that the police had hired a professional vampire hunter who had killed the creature. The Police claimed that it had been buried, with a stake through its heart in the deepest and darkest vaults of Highgate Cemetery and this is where the next tale of vampirism starts.
Highgate Cemetery started off as a fashionable burial place for wealthy Victorians but over the years it fell into decline and many of the gravestones overgrown. Like most old and decaying places, rumours started that the place was haunted.
Strange happenings started to be reported in 1967 when 2 teenage girls claim they were walking along Swain’s Lane next to the cemetery when they saw bodies emerging from their tombs. Later one of these girls suffered nightly visitations and blood loss.
A few weeks later a young couple where walking down the same lane and spotted a tall dark being hovering behind the gate’s iron railings, then flying off into the darkness.
Newspapers started to report these sightings alongside findings of dead animals, drained of blood being found in the cemetery itself
Over the next few years the stories persisted and in 1969 a group of occultists broke into a tomb to perform a voodoo ceremony and they were stopped when an eight foot tall, black clad creature chased them from the catacombs.
Swain’s Lane continued to be the scene of strange events,in 1971, a girl claimed to have been knocked down in Highgate by a tall, black figure with a deadly white face, but was saved when a car stopped to help her out. In 1974, a man walking his dog came back to his car to find what he reported was a freshly dug-up corpse waiting for him
The strangest of the tales concerns a man who claims the vampire hypnotized him – he had wandered into the cemetery one evening, out of curiosity. When it became dark he decided to leave but got lost when he turned around to find the exit he was confronted by a tall dark figure and described how he had been ‘hypnotised with fear’ and rooted to the spot
Following ongoing reports in local and national newspapers a spate of amateur vampire hunters filled the cemetery with home made stakes, crosses, garlic, holy water and over the following months more vampire hunters arrived at the graveyard only to be supposedly frightened off by its eerie atmosphere and what they believed might be the vampire itself
Even in recent years people have continued to report strange happenings around the cemetery and have claimed to see the vampire on occasions – again a tall dark figure with bright eyes which suddenly vanished.
So what lies behind all these stories of strange creatures in the cemetery – a hoax? Mass hysteria or is there something really lurking in the shadows of the tombstones? Whatever the answer it’s a pretty interesting story
There’s something especially creepy about the idea of a haunted doll, after all these are usually the items most cherished by children and just the idea that somehow deep within this most innocent of childhood companions lies something far darker is guaranteed to send a chill down the spine of even the most hardened of souls.
Stories of supposedly haunted dolls are not uncommon but one stands out above the rest – may I introduce you to Robert. In 1906, in Key West, when painter Robert Eugene Otto (aka Gene) was six years old, his family’s servant gave him a special present. It was a doll crafted in his image, stood 3 foot tall and filled with straw. Dolls that looked like children were common during this time. The dolls name was Robert.
However when this servant was caught in the backyard apparently practising ‘black magic’ she was fired and it is reported that before she left she cursed the doll.
Gene took this doll everywhere, the doll had a seat at the dinner table, was dressed in Gene’s clothing and Gene was tucked up in bed with his doll every night.
Before long, it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll. Gene’s parents said that they often heard him talking to the doll and that the doll appeared to be talking back. Although at first they assumed that Gene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they later believed that the doll was actually speaking.
The Otto family swore that sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle and that they caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Gene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room, they would find furniture knocked over and Gene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that “Robert did it!”.
As time went by, Gene’s parents grew older and each, in turn, died, leaving the adult Gene – and Robert – to live in the house. They spent several years there alone until Gene ultimately met and married a local woman called Anne and they moved into the family home.
Anne, soon began to worry about her husband’s obsession with his doll - he had built a special room for Robert, in the Turret room, with scaled down furniture and lowered ceilings, where Robert ‘mostly’ lived, I say mostly because there are accounts by servants and Anne of Robert being seen darting up and down the stairs and of the dolls dancing feet tapping on the attic floor – one time she was alarmed to hear the doll’s voice singing in the old nursery. Upon entering, she found the doll sitting in one of Gene’s old rocking chairs.
The ending of the story is not a happy one Gene’s wife stated that she was being tormented by her husband’s obsessive behaviour and the terror of living with Robert and was officially diagnosed with insanity. She died shortly afterwards from unknown causes
Soon after her death Gene became ill himself and one day locked himself into the Turret room with Robert where he eventually died.
The house stood empty but there were still reports that people would hear the sound of singing coming from the house at night and on more than one occasion the gruesome doll is said to have frightened school children by peering out the attic window making faces at them.
When a new family bought the house, Robert was discovered in the attic and was given to their 10 year daughter. The family claim that from the moment she got the doll she was plagued by horrible nightmares. More than once she awoke to find the doll sitting on her face, attempting, she believed, to suffocate her. It seemed that Robert intensely disliked being left behind by Gene and had no love for his new “owner.” It was also painfully obvious that he did not like little girls because he is blamed for having torn up and mutilated most of the young girl’s other dolls.
On one certain night, Robert was found at the foot of the new owners bed giggling with a kitchen knife in hand. This was enough to send them fleeing from the home.
More than thirty years later, she still tells interviewers that the doll was alive and wanted to kill her.
Robert was later moved to the East Martello Museum in Key West where he sits perched in a glass box. Despite his new living quarters, the doll is believed to not have given up his menacing ways. Visitors and employees claim they have seen the doll move. It is reported that one of his favourite activities is to stop his picture being taken. Visitors claim that they have major camera problems and even if they do take a picture sometimes it has been blacked out – with the remaining film intact.
Hauntings are usually based around places and sometimes people but what if a doll was really haunted…. Would you believe it ?
Every culture has its legends of creatures that rise from the dead to prey upon the living or ghosts sent back to haunt us. During medieval England there was a strong belief that a corpse could come back to life and terrorise the living, these were called ‘revenants’ and although they are often thought of as vampires, the revenants are not recorded as feasting on the blood of their victims.. .
According to folklore, there are reasons why you would become un-dead. Mostly to do with either improper burial, jealously of the living, a curse or they are created when they seek vengeance from the after life
Descriptions of the Revenants are similar to a corpse in an advanced state of decay with sunken eyes, rotten teeth and jagged fingernails. Flesh exposing bones and innards.
Some of the most detailed accounts of revenants can be found in the book ‘History of English Affairs’ published in 1198 by William of Newburgh, alongside historical facts it documents some of the earliest phenomenon of the British Isles – quite literally, the waking dead.
The first of William’s tales concerns a man who died and was buried in Buckinghamshire. It is said that he returned from the grave and got into bed with his wife. This continued for three nights, until the wife stayed up late with her friends in order to drive away the revenant, who then went wandering around harassing anyone it could find. Interestingly, William states that the revenant walked about in daylight, yet only appeared visible to one or two people even if a group was aware of its presence – thus making the revenant seem to fit with modern ideas of a ghost.
The desperate villages appealed to the church to put an end to this and the matter came to the attention of the Bishop of Lincoln, who asked his learned colleagues for advice, and was told that the corpse should be exhumed and burned. The bishop found this idea “indecent and improper”, and instead wrote a letter of absolution. The villagers opened the dead man’s coffin and placed the letter upon the corpse, and the revenant wandered no more.
William follows this tale with another three examples of similar events. A rich man in Berwick described as “a great rogue”, returned from the grave and strode about accompanied by a pack of barking dogs. The townsfolk hired ten young men to dig up the corpse, chop it to bits, and throw it on the fire.
In Melrose Scotland, a chaplain who liked to hunt came back haunting the monastery and terrifying the local noblewoman with ‘cries of anguish. The lady appealed for help, and a group of men sat in the graveyard and waited for the shambling monster. Midnight came and went, and three of the men decided it was too cold to hang around any longer. As soon as the last man was left alone, the revenant awoke. But the man attacked it with an axe, driving the creature away. Later, the chaplain’s corpse was exhumed and a gaping wound was discovered in the body. With the chaplain’s evil proved beyond all doubt, the corpse was burned and the ashes scattered.
His most famous tale is known as the ‘Vampire of Alnwick’ a man from York had married a local woman and soon became convinced she was having an affair. Pretending to go away for a few days, he hid amongst the roof-beams of his bedroom and spied on his wife, and sure enough caught her in bed with a neighbour. The shock was so great he fell from the roof and became ill. His wife told him he was mistaken in what he’d seen, and when a priest urged the man to confess and receive the Eucharist, the wife convinced her husband not to do so. The man died that very night and became a revenant, bringing with it a plague – there were numerous deaths in the village who all pointed at the revenant for bringing it to the town. The locals dug up the corpse and tore it to pieces, ripping out its heart before setting fire to the remains.
As William himself remarks such events are “not easy to believe” due to their “amazing and horrible” nature, but he adds that if he were to record all such examples of these stories, “the undertaking would be beyond measure laborious and troublesome”, and so he contents himself with these few tales “as a warning to posterity.”
Now you may be thinking, “That isn’t a ghost–that’s a vampire or something.” How do we decide who’s a ghost, who’s a vampire, who’s a zombie, who’s a revenant? Most of our ideas about these are fairly modern and to some extent derived from literature and film
Medieval ghosts were visible, usually able to communicate and people saw them, heard them and sometimes felt them. The only way to record these ghostly phenomena was will a quill, ink and parchment – they were bold and clear.
It seems now that everyone who goes ghost hunting is armed with a dazzling variety of video and audio recorders but it appears that the ghosts have become shy … Odd that.
A particulary interesting segment of ghost pictures truly intrigues me to no end. It is the capture of ‘partial’ ghosts in pictures, where even though no one claims to have seen anything, a partial spectre is caught staring at the camera. It’s rather creepy actually, considering the fact that many of these ghosts caught are clear as day. Of course, the question remains. Ghost, or pareidolia?
Pareidolia is when we see images we recognize in random shapes that seemed to look familiar. For instance, we may see the image of faces or animals in clouds. We tend to make sense of random patterns when they fit something we recognize.
When I looked at this image , taken in the 1970’s at a wedding it is completely normal.. but then look again
When the picture is blown up you can clearly see someone standing behind the man far right. It is completely curious to me. The leg that you see appears to be of someone standing up straight, yet for the eye and the portion of the face peeking out, you would think the person would be standing on the front of their feet.
Also consider how big the foot behind the man is, it is close to the size of the man’s foot in the foreground – and could that belong to a child ?
This could be a trick of course – maybe it could be the way that the man is holding his hands behind his back or the way that the woman’s skirt is draped ?
On researching this picture and the story behind it the people involved - the 4 in the photo and the photographer have all stated that there was no one else in that picture when it was taken and it appears that this is one picture that will go on being talked about.
Is this a photo of a real ghost or merely pareidolia at work? Certainly possible. Yet, pareidolia usually involves a caricature, something vaguely resembling what we imagine. When showed this photo to others, their reaction was either OMFG or that’s just a child… I’m unsure but for now look and try to explain it