DOPPELGANGER : a ghostly double of a living person that haunts its living counterpart.
Today marks the official release of my 4th novel with Samhain Publishing’s horror line, Sinister Entity. For those of you who read my debut novel in 2011, Forest of Shadows, this book will have a few familiar characters. It picks up where things left off, only 13 years later (love that lucky 13). If you didn’t read FOS, no worries. Sinister Entity was written to be a standalone novel, kicking off what I hope will be a terrifying series that delves into the darker realms of the paranormal.
Now, what does this all have to do with doppelgangers? It turns out, quite a few notable people in history, from Percy Shelley to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, have had encounters with doppelgangers…sometimes with disastrous results. Doppelganger is German for ‘double walker’. It’s literally a paranormal double of a living person. The whole phenomenon has fascinated me for years. So I did what all writers do; created my own doppelganger and had it take one on.
Normally on a release day, I’d post an excerpt from the book to get you hooked like the crack dealer I am. This time around, I can do you one better. I wrote a short story that introduces the main character of Sinister Entity during her investigation of a wailing, shadowy ghost that haunts a snow filled cemetery. It’s called The Graveyard Speaks and here’s the best part. It’s free! Download your copy and if you want more, come on over and face the evil spirits in Sinister Entity.
But wait, there’s more! My book is being released alongside my buddy Jonathan Janz’s awesome new novel, The Darket Lullaby. To celebrate, the simply amazing Erin from Hook of a Book reviews is hosting a FB author Q&A on April 2nd between 9 and 11pm ET. Email questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll post them on FB. Jonathan and I will do our best to amuse and if needed, frighten you. Nothing is out of bounds. Seriously. Click here to Like the page and join the party.
I’m not done. Call within the next 10 minutes and you’ll get 4 Shamwows for the price of 1. Wait. Scratch that. What I meant to say is that I’m also giving away a signed copy of Forest of Shadows to a random person who comments on this blog post. If you live outside the US, I’ll send you an e-version of the book.
So come on, grab your voice recorders and a change of underwear. We’re going on a sinister ghost hunt.
I miss the old video stores. Nothing was better than running there on Friday afternoon to search for a couple of horror flicks. Unlike bookstores, there was always a horror section. I’m surprised the video store by me didn’t charge me rent, I spent so much time nestled between the rows of stacked VHS boxes.
There was some slick, usually highly deceptive artwork on some of those horror tapes. In fact, the better the box, the worse the movie. That didn’t bother me because I have always been a connoisseur of bad b-horror movies. I like a bad horror movie more than a good, non-horror movie.
Video stores were a shangri-la of discovery. It was there where I was finally able to get my hands on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Freaks. Before the advent of VHS, you either saw a horror movie in the theater, or you were out of luck. Classic underground movies like The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes (both by Wes Craven) were mentioned with a sense of reverance and awe, especially if you were the lucky one to have caught them in the cinema.
When movies came to VHS, our lives changed. Suddenly, the history of cinema was open to us. And a whole new generation of horror films spilled wide like steaming guts on dew covered grass. I’d stroll over to the new release shelf and see Puppet Master and Witchboard. I couldn’t get them in my hands and my money and membership card on the counter fast enough. When my wife and I were dating, we’d spend whole days and nights watching whatever 5 or 6 horror movies we gathered from the video store. In our prime, we must have watched almost 200 horror flicks a year. Yeah, we were dedicated.
Monster Man Jack and I recently took a trip down VHS horror memory lane. In this podcast, I think we mention about 40 different movies. I hope they bring back great memories for you. You can watch our Generation VHS episode here.
Now, we could have talked about movies for hours. What are some of your personal classics? What are your memories of the video store? I look back at that time with no regrets, knowing I appreciated every moment I spent there. And thanks to all those movies, I solidified my status as a Monster Man. Thank you, Demonic Toys. Hail to the Re-Animator! And goodnight, Near Dark.
I had to search through my files for my tattered bucket list this week and draw a nice, straight line through one of the items, ala My Name is Earl. To my surprise, the audio book of my novel, Evil Eternal, was just released. As I told my good friend, Jack, now I can afflict the blind with my brand of horror.
I can’t describe the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you hear a professional read your words back to you. In Evil Eternal’s case, narrator Seth Michael Donsky adds a delicious, sinister flair to the story. Hearing him read the book, I kept saying, “Did I write that?” I couldn’t have asked for a better person to narrate it. You can download a copy at Amazon or Audible, and also hear a sample from the very first chapter. It’s ultra-wicked.
Also, if you purchase the audio book, you’ll be putting a nice deposit in your personal karma bank. My wife was diagnosed with Lupus last year. Apparently, she’s had it for years but her doctors assumed it was other things. Lupus is like that. I’m donating 25% of all the royalties from the sale of the Evil Eternal audio book to the Lupus Foundation of America. We never knew how debilitating Lupus could be until we came face-to-face with it. We have a very long road ahead of us, but we’re indebted to one amazing doctor for realizing what was taking my wife from me, piece by piece. Help us make sure no one else has to go through what we and so many others have.
Today marks the start of something new for me. Every couple of months, I’m going to post a hodge-podge of places to go and people to see on the internet, all of them horror and paranormal related. These are the locations, people and achievements that have captured my imagination and gratitude. They are wellsprings of inspiration, information, entertainment and mental edification. Find something that interests you and give them a lookey-loo…
Congratulations goes out to Robert Rumery on the publication of his first comic, The Grove, from WhatTheFlux Comics. If you know me, you know I’m a horror comic junkie. Nice job, Robert. I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it.
Looking for great horror books at steep discounts…or even free? Author, editor and all around cool dude in a loose mood, Brian James Freeman has started eHorror Bargains, your one-stop-shop for the best in horror. All of your horror deals are right here. Stop by and load up your e-reader!
Book Reviews. I have 2 places where you can go to get tons of book reviews (and if you’re an author, query them to have your book spotlighted). The first is Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK. Super reviewer Erin covers multiple genres as well as author interviews. She is the hardest working book reviewer out there today and a lot of writerly types owe her our gratitude.
Another mega-review site is Matt Molgaard’s Horror Novel Reviews. Matt and his team do an excellent job of reviewing not only new horror works, but classics and older hidden gems. If you need to stock up your horror library, this is the place to go. Then head to eHorror Bargains and see if you can get some of them without busting your budget.
Bigfoot. You know I can’t help myself from throwing something about the hairy fella in here. Huge thanks to Scott Albright who brought this post to my attention (actually, it’s as large as a novella) about Bigfoot and why no one has found their bones or bodies. Author Robert Lindsay did some yeoman’s work putting this together. Must read for all you squatchers!
Ghosts & The Supernatural. The definitive place to get everything you need about the world of the paranormal is Jeff Belanger’s Ghost Village. This is the Bible for everyone interested in what lies beyond the veil. You can also sign up for their free monthly newsletter.
Books. I’m super excited that my book release partner on April 2nd is the uber-talented Jonathan Janz. His new book, The Darkest Lullaby, comes out the same day as my Sinister Entity. Here’s a link to a review of his book. He has one of the coolest cover in the Samhain library.
Podcasts. My newest podcast addiciotn is Darkness Radio, a radio show broadcast out of the Twin Cities. You can listen to their archives online or through iTunes. These guys have a damn good time talking about the world of the strange and the unexplained. Love their take on things.
OK, that about does it for this month. I hope you stop by some or all of these great places and supoprt them. If there are hot spots you think I should know about, send them to me and I’ll include them in future posts.
Grant is gone. Amy’s home with her beautiful baby girl. New folks are attempting to fill some big shoes. And that’s not all of the changes we’ve seen on Ghost Hunters this season.
We all knew things would never be the same when Grant rode off to start his own board game company. For a lot of us, they haven’t been the same since they shipped Kris Williams off to GHI, never to return. (And boy, has GHI gotten an unceremonious burial at sea. I’d love to know the back story on that show). For my money, the best season was when it was just Jay, Grant, Steve, Tango and Kris. It was the perfect team size and they just clicked.
Along with the personnel changes this season came a totally fresh design to the show. From ditching Mike Rowe as the narrator in favor of Jay – who does an admirable job, to creepier music, slicker editing and even some quick recreations of spirits walking the halls, Ghost Hunters has a completely new look and feel. The Monster Men went through all of the new moving parts in our latest podcast that you can watch below.
I will say that overall, I think the changes were long overdue and breathe some new life into the show. I would like to see them investigate more homes and actually try to help people. I don’t get a sense of urgency when they visit another abandoned asylum. If it’s haunted, who cares? Just steer clear and everyone’s happy. And let’s stop giving hotels and restaurants a boost in foot traffic because they were featured on the show.
Now, I know that a lot of you that come to this blog and chain watch the show. What are your thoughts on the changes so far? Who do you miss more, Grant or Amy? Who are your favorite teams? Is it Britt and KJ, Jason and Steve, Michelle and Tango? Or how about Maddie and Jay? Since my new book, Sinister Entity, is coming out in a few weeks, I’ll give away a free copy of my first book, Forest of Shadows (Sinister Entity is the sequel) to a random person who comments on this post.
I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’ve watched every episode since the start and I’ll be there until the end.
Somehow, the phenomenon of the eerie Black Eyed Kids (from here on known as BEK) slipped under my radar during my formative years as a paranormal junkie. Apparently, strange pairs of children with deep, unnatural black eyes have been ringing people’s doorbells for decades. They’ve been linked to UFO appearances as well as ghosts.
People who encounter BEK get an immediate creepy vibe from the kids. It’s more than just their otherworldly eyes. They talk like they’re from another time and place and exude an undercurrent of menace. Their main goal seems to be to get you to invite them inside. They’re just kids after all. What’s to fear? Just who they are and why they show up asking to use phones or for directions to places that don’t exist is anyone’s guess.
I first heard about them about a year ago on Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast. I’ve been intrigued ever since. Today it’s easy to dismiss them as teens popping in some contacts and playing a practical joke. But what about encounters with BEK in the 50s and 60s? Custom, cosmetic contacts were not something easily attained by anyone, much less local jokers.
Again, no one has any idea what’s behind BEK. But it is enough to give you pause the next time your bell rings at night.
Are BEK news to you, or is it something you’ve always known about? What are your theories? Too bad In Search Of isn’t around to whip up a creepy episode. Anyone have Leonard Nimoy’s number?
I’m going to write more about BEK in the coming months, but I thought I’d start you off with an excellent post I found on the Para-Rational blog. If you’re going to cut your teeth on BEK, this is the place to start. Here’s a taste and feel free to click over to read the rest of the post.
After combing through the storied about Black Eyed Kids that I can find, there are several traits that seem to commonly apply to run ins with Black Eyed Children.
They Travel in Pairs – Most encounters with Black Eyed Kids are with two of them. Why this is, I can only surmise as they need two to take down their prey? One is usually the speaker while the other stands by silently. Could it be that one is focusing on their mental attack while the other is verbally communicating with the chosen victim?
Black Eyed Kids Appear in Youthful Form – The normal situation is for the Black Eyed kids to apprear as a pair of kids in the 10 to 16 year old range. Reports of younger kids are less common and there are a few reports of them appearing as adults as well.
The Insist on Getting Your Permission – Another universal trait is that they need your permission to enter your home, your car or to help you with something. In some way you must invite them into your life. Why? This sounds like a classic vampire trait, could this be where that part of the vampire legend came from? Every story so far has come from people that have refused. I am guessing those that said yes are not around to tell their story.
Black Eyed Kids are Psychic – Another common element among Black Eyed Kid Stories is that they seem to be able to know what we are thinking and will show it by answering questions before we ask them, or by anticipating our actions. This is very bad, because that means they are in our heads. This also mean that they are able to do the next thing to us.
They Can Compel Our Actions – Commonly when people encounter Black Eyed Kids, they find themselves opening doors for them, or moving to help them without consciously deciding to. All indications are that they Black Eyed Children can compel our physical actions to help them achieve their goals.
Their Eyes are Completely Black – This is obviously where Black Eyed Kids got their name. When victims break their trance, they quickly realize that the beings in front of them have completely black eyes. No white, just bottomless, black orbs. Some debunkers have claimed that it could be kids with contacts or with the condition of Mydriasis. If it was just this one trait, I might work with that theory, but this goes well beyond just having black eyes!
Their Clothing is Unusual and Drab – Another common element is that their clothes look old fashioned or even hand made. This goes along with their strange manner of speaking showing that they don’t seem to have a grasp of human mannerisms. This reminds me of the stories about the Men in Black that appeared in Point Pleasant in the 50′s and 60′s.
To read the entire post, please click here.
I never thought the Syfy channel would become the mecca for ParaTV, but thanks to the runaway success of Ghost Hunters, the network churns out new ghost-themed shows quicker than Willy Wonka on meth. The latest entry is STRANDED, a new take on the old theme, created by Destination Truth’s own Josh Gates. Now, Josh is by far my favorite para-celebrity because he doesn’t take things too seriously, but serious enough to put his life on the line while searching for the uknown. I swear that man is going to at least lose a limb while schlepping through the jungle looking for dinosaurs or an Africanized Bigfoot. It’s also produced by Jason Blum, of Paranormal Activity and Sinister (by far the scariest movie of 2012) fame.
The premise of Stranded is simple. Take a handful of real people and drop them in one of America’s most haunted locations for 5 days. Arm them with cameras and some basic ghost hunting equipment and let the good times roll. No camera crews or Syfy production folks to get in the way. The best part is, no matter how scared they get, they can’t leave.
I mentioned in my previous post on Ghost Mine that I liked the idea of making folks investigate a haunted location for more than the obligatory night. That way we all get a better feel for the place, and allow enough time to stumble upon some real scares.
In the first episode, three twenty-somethings (exes Sarah and Sean and their non-believing friend, Xand) are dropped off on Star Island off the cost of New Hampshire. Their mission : to stay at the haunted Oceanic Hotel and find out if spirits really do roam the halls. The hotel has been shut up for the oncoming winter, ala The Shining. Anyone care to place wagers on whether Xand changes her tune about the paranormal?
When they arrive at the empty hotel on the first night, a book is left behind explaining the haunted history of the hotel. Ghost Hunters fans should remember when Jason, Grant and the team investigated the hotel a few years back. The trio spend the next 5 days living in the dark in the shuttered hotel, jumping at noises and filling up hours of night vision recordings.
Kudos to Sean for coming up with the creepiest method for ghost hunting – ever! It seems the spirit of a little girl likes to open and close the doors of the hotel rooms on the 4th floor. Sean decides to raid the nursery (a kind of prop for tourists to get their chills) and tie little nooses around their necks, with the other end on the door knobs. If any door is openened, they’ll know because the doll will be out of place. What we’re left with is a long, dark hallyway filled with strangled dolls on either side. They should have renamed it Hangman’s Hall.
They do get a disembodied voice giggling and there are odd sounds every night. It’s just enough to put them on edge, which, as a viewer, is where we want them. It ain’t fun until the skeptic cries, and in that sense, Stranded doesn’t disappoint.
The first episode was interesting, but I’m hoping it can crank things up in future episodes. Personally, I’d like to see them bring in some older, more grounded people who are less prone to suggestion. The trio in the first episode were on edge the moment they stepped onto the dock. I wish they hadn’t been given any info on the stories of the hotel. It colors their perception of things. Better to let them discover the paranormal for themselves. Use graphics to clue the viewers into the history.
For those of you who saw it, what did you think? Para-good, or para-bad?
I’ll be staying tuned. Hey, Syf, feel free to drop me off any place you’d like. Let’s see how a horror author holds up in a haunted house.