With the re-release of Ghost Mine this week, I thought I’d give you Hellions a little primer on what to expect and some of the real history and lore behind the story. I literally put everything but the kitchen sink into Ghost Mine, so like a good Boy or Girl Scout, you need to be prepared.
When it originally came out as Hell Hole, I got a ton of letters asking me about the eerie black-eyed kids (not the Black Eyed Peas) that pop up in the book. There are numerous tales about these strange children in paranormal history. Here’s a great article by UFOlogist Ryan Sprague about the big, bad BEC’s – CAN WE COME IN?
Now, you know how much I love Bigfoot. In the era that Ghost Mine takes place, there were tales in the west about hairy Wild Men, but it was decades before they were given the terrible nickname, Bigfoot. Here’s a great article about the Wild Men of yesteryear I found in Cowboys & Indians Magazine called TALL TALES.
Aside from being cowboys, our heroes, Nat Blackburn and Teta Delacruz, are war veterans, having ridden with Teddy Roosevelt as part of his Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. Check out this nice and short video on the tough as nails Rough Riders.
Ghost Mine is set in the abandoned mining town of Hecla, Wyoming, which is an actual mining ghost town! Reading about it is what inspired me to write the book. A couple of years ago, some dude made a video of his trip to Hecla. I kept waiting for something to snatch this guy up and drag him into a mine. If he even was in Hecla. Either way, it amused me for a spell.
Of course, the book is also chocked full of stories of ghosts, Djinn and so much more. I invite you all to mosey on down to your bookstore or laptop to rustle up a copy of Ghost Mine and tell me what you think of my yarn. I’ll be tipping back a bottle of whiskey and waitin’ for you to come a calling.
Bigfoot battling Chupacabras to the death! The Jersey Devil squaring off in an aerial fight with Thunderbirds! Mongolian Death Worms rising from the earth to swallow up Mothman! Dover Demons running rampant! Loch Ness Monsters bursting from the Loch to devour villages! The world is overrun with monsters, and only a select few can stop the madness.
Imagine all of that and so much more. Welcome to my Patreon exclusive choose your adventure monthly serial, CLASH OF THE CRYPTIDS!
Starting in September, we’re going to make history together with the first ever choose your adventure horror novel. CLASH OF THE CRYPTIDS will feature returning characters from my past books, including :
Rooster Murphy (Swamp Monster Massacre)
Nick Brogna (The Dover Demon)
Natalie & Austin McQueen, and Henrik Kooper (Loch Ness Revenge, Savage Jungle)
The Willet clan and Norm Cranston (The Jersey Devil)
Dalton Gray (The Montauk Monster)
And a few more surprise guests.
For just $1 a month, you not only get to read each monthly installment, but vote on where the next chapter will take us. A poll will be posted after each chapter and YOU DECIDE the next chapter. For $3 a month, you’ll also be a character that will eventually become cryptid chow. Monsters gotta eat! For $5 a month, you’ll receive a print edition of the book when it’s complete. And all pledge levels get other exclusive access and behind the scenes peeks into my insane life.
So, if you want to be part of cryptid history, visit Patreon today and become a true blue Hellion. We’re taking the cryptid mania right to 11.
Special shout out goes to Jerry Mulcahy for designing some of the best damn artwork for this beast of a book!
Strap in folks. The world’s about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Oh baby, do I love this cover! Severed Press nailed it. This is exactly the kind of cover I had hoped for when this nasty skunk ape novella first came out with Samhain. Word on the grapevine is the book will be available, in ebook and for the first time PRINT, in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
As for my other Samhain titles, I’m in talks with an esteemed publisher about getting them all back out in the world. Can’t wait to be able to tell you about it.
So, what do you all think?
At some point while I was watching the premier of THE VOID (meh), my latest Severed Press book, SAVAGE JUNGLE (LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEK), came screaming into this world like a demented squatch baby.
They are called the Orang Pendek, masters of the steamy Sumatran rain forest.
Henrik Kooper watched his father die at the brutal hands of the orange-haired ape men. Having barely survived helping twins Natalie and Austin McQueen discover and destroy the beasts lurking in Loch Ness, it’s now his turn for vengeance. Within the treacherous jungles of Sumatra lies the fabled lost city of Gadang Ur. Its secrets are guarded by a savage band of Orang Pendek who lord over the strange and deadly creatures of the hidden land. Utter madness is the lifeblood of Gadang Ur. Henrik’s journey into darkness will take them to the ragged edge of hell on Earth.
Some places were never meant to be discovered.
As an added bonus, here’s a sample chapter to get you in the mood for some Orang Pendek fury…
Austin handed Natalie a gun. She couldn’t remember what kind it was, but it was heavy and looked deadly. He said to Oscar, “Do we just stay here and mow them down?”
“Heavens no,” Henrik said, calmly slamming a cartridge home in his assault weapon of choice. “We’d never survive. The hope is that our guns frighten them enough to veer them away from our position.”
Natalie shrugged her shoulders. “Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?”
The ground shook as they came crashing closer. Their terrified bellows echoed throughout the jungle. Hearing them, feeling them, but not being able to see where they were coming from was absolutely terrifying.
Oscar said, “Just be ready to run. If we get split up, we meet back here.”
“Easy for you to say,” Austin said, the muscles in his neck bulging like ropes. “I have no freaking clue where here is.”
Henrik coolly added, “Just follow the path the elephants are sure to make. They’re better and faster than bulldozers.”
Natalie’s knees nearly buckled. She wasn’t sure if it was from exhaustion, fear, or the rumbling of the earth, which was making it hard to keep her footing.
Please take a detour. Please take a detour. Nothing to see here. No need to trample the Orang Pendek hunters.
She hadn’t noticed the porters taking their machetes to the brush behind them, clearing a bit of a path for their escape. At least it gave them some room to step back and see which way the elephants were going. Bambang handed his machete over to her.
“No, you keep it,” she said.
He shook his head, refusing to let her give it back to him.
“They’re definitely headed straight for us,” Oscar said, taking a blind shot with the elephant gun. The report was deafening. Henrik fired off a few rounds as well. Then Austin joined in.
“Is it doing anything?”
The look Oscar flashed didn’t ease her fears.
They all stepped back as far as they could go, until their backs were against the endless wall of vegetation. Natalie almost tripped over an exposed root as thick as her calf. Austin reached out and grabbed her by her shirt.
“I’m shitting myself. Is anyone else shitting themselves?” she asked.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re all going to need a change of pants,” her brother said, eyes locked dead ahead.
There came a great crashing of branches and trees, centuries-old oaks snapping like dry toothpicks. The jungle tableau swayed back and forth in anticipation of the runaway freight train of excited pachyderms.
Now, even Natalie joined in their desperate attempt to scare them off with firepower. The gun’s kickback smashed the stock into her ribs. She didn’t feel a thing. Abject fear had made her numb.
When the first elephant broke through, rearing its trunk with an ear-splitting roar, she could only stare with mute horror. Everyone had stopped firing their weapons.
She felt a hand at her collar, someone tugging her backwards.
Natalie couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
A second, third, fourth and so many more elephants came crashing into view, their eyes wild not with terror but unadulterated menace.
Because they weren’t alone.
Riding atop each wild elephant was a small, orange-haired being that looked like a cross between an orangutan and a man.
The Orang Pendek rode the elephant herd right at them, crying out with beastly wails that turned her bowels to water.
I know, Hellions, that’s one strange ass title for a blog post, but that’s exactly what it’s all about.
Thanks goes out to an old friend, Brenda B., for sharing this photo and story with me. Somehow, during my research into the Jersey Devil, I missed this! Back in the 60’s in New Jersey, a cow and a deer carcass somehow made it to the top of a telephone pole. Locals attributed it to their friendly neighborhood monster.
Cryptozoologists say the Jersey Devil has kept a very low profile since the early 1900s, but if you go out and talk to the people who live there, you’ll get a completely different opinion. And here’s another shocker – I can’t believe how many folks have first hand Bigfoot encounters in the Pine Barrens. I’ve spoken to quite a few, some of them still visibly upset, even if it happened years ago.
I wonder if this was the Jersey Devil’s idea of a pinata? Maybe she just wanted to throw a party for her horrid offspring.
And speaking of horrid offspring, Pinnacle has discounted all of my books for the month of February. You can snag an ebook of The Montauk Monster for $1.99, The Jersey Devil for 99 cents or Tortures of the Damned for 99 cents. Time to load up those e-readers on the cheap!
What’s the strangest thing ever found on a telephone pole? For me, we threw a Batman figure that had a parachute attached to our phone line. It stayed there for about 10 years, poor Batsy’s color fading with each year.
We recently interviewed Lyle Blackburn on the Monster Men to discuss his new movie, Boggy Creek Monster, and book, Monstro Bizzaro. If you’re obsessed with cryptids like I am, Lyle is one of the best investigators in the field today. His previous books, The Beast of Boggy Creek and Lizard Man have prominent positions on my bookshelf.
When all was said and done, I realized I still had a few more questions I’d wanted to ask. So, here is the original video interview along with the bonus questions Lyle was kind enough to answer. Now let’s go squatchin!
We’re very much alike in that we grew up fascinated by tales of Bigfoot and other creatures (as well as a fondness for The Creature from the Black Lagoon!). How did you take the leap from being a rocker in Ghoultown to cryptid reporter?
LB : In addition to being a musician, I’ve always worked as a writer. Among other things, I wrote for a rock magazine and then for Rue Morgue (www.rue-morgue.com) as their cryptozoology-meets-horror columnist. I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I decided to take some time off from the band to pursue that. I ended up choosing one of my favorite subjects, The Legend of Boggy Creek. Once I started investigating these sort of cryptid cases and writing the books, I really enjoyed it so I continued. I always thought the job of a professional writer sounded boring, but this brought me to interesting places and I met interesting people as part of the writing process – not to mention it involved my fascination with cryptids. My band Ghoultown still plays and records, but we don’t tour like we used to.
One of the best things you bring to the field of cryptozoology is your straightforward, journalistic approach to researching and educating people about creatures like the Boggy Creek Monster and the Lizard Man of Bishopville. You report the stories and the facts as they are without dramatization for the sake of titillating your readers. What made you decide to go in this direction and do you think the field needs more level headed reporting so it can be taken more seriously by the mainstream media and public?
LB: I think these stories are fascinating unto themselves without trying to sway people toward a certain point of view. I just tell the story, report the facts, and let whatever evidence speak for itself. I like to take the reader along as I investigate and give them credit to make up their own mind.
Who are some of your biggest influences and why?
LB: As far as writing and cryptozoology, I would say John Green and Loren Coleman. Green always had a level-headed approach to Sasquatch research and presented the stories in an engaging way. He also paid attention to details and getting the facts correct as best he could. Coleman, of course, paved the way for the modern cryptozoology researcher and has investigated so many of the seminal cases. Many times as I’m doing research, when I trace an investigation back to its original source, Coleman was there first. I’m honored that he wrote the Foreword for my first book, The Beast of Boggy Creek. It’s like having one of your heroes endorse your efforts. So cool.
Out of all the photographic and video evidence for Bigfoot, which to you is the most compelling evidence that it is real? And with just about everyone having a camera/videocam in their pockets, why aren’t we getting more solid evidence? Could it be we are but because it’s so easy to fake now, the real deal might be hiding in plain sight?
LB: To me, the footprints represent the most compelling evidence. Examples such as the Elkins Creek cast from Georgia stand out, especially when I’ve been able to interview the police officer who originally discovered the track.
As far as all the photos and videos, it’s really hard to discern between what might be real and what is a possible case of pareidolia or just outright fake. All the blurry shots don’t do us any good. We need something much clearer in this day and age, and even that is suspect since modern technology allows for such amazing CGI. Most people do carry a smart phone camera these days, but the lack of a clear photo shouldn’t be used as a basis to completely rule out the possibility of these creatures. Chance encounters typically last only a few moments, making it hard to pull out a phone, open the camera app, aim, and take a photo.
I’m sure you’ve heard the Sierra Bigfoot recordings taken back in the 70s. What are your thoughts on it and other similar recordings? Most of them are downright chilling.
LB: They’re definitely creepy and very compelling. In my opinion the Sierra Sounds are legit. And if it’s not a hoax, then that leaves very few possibilities beyond an undiscovered creature such as Bigfoot. I’ve heard recordings from other places which sound very similar; sent to me by credible individuals. They just don’t sound like any known animal.
Do you have any plans to investigate the Skunk Ape in Florida? I have the Fate Magazine with the famous Skunk Ape picture on the cover and keep waiting for someone to hunker down and do some serious research in that corner of the country.
LB: Earlier this year I visited the Ocala National Forest in Florida where there’s been a good amount of Skunk Ape sightings over the years. This was part of the research for my upcoming book, “Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of the Southern Sasquatch” in which I document the history of Bigfoot sightings all over the Southern U.S. I dedicate an entire chapter of the book to the Skunk Ape, although there’s so much to this cryptid’s history and so many sightings, that I could write an entire book on it. Perhaps in the future.
Follow Lyle Blackburn at http://www.lyleblackburn.com
In the mood for a good cryptid book? Check these out…
I just got this ‘Mail a Bigfoot’ postcard with my delivery of squatchy goods from the International Cryptozoology Museum. You can cut out the Bigfoot parts to make your own little hairy guy. I’m going to mail my squatch to one lucky winner. All you need to do is drop a comment on this post with a way for me to reach you. I’ll do a random drawing in a week and announce who gets to adopt Mr. Foot. 🙂
If you can’t get to the museum in Portland, Maine, you can visit it online, check out the curiosities, shop the gift shop or simply donate to keep the wonder alive. Visit their website for more!
Meanwhile, my new Bigfoot has made some fast friends here in the Shea compound. BFFs already!
It’s the heart of winter here in the north east, judging by the snow and preponderance of heavy jackets and wool hats. One of my favorite places in the world is the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Let me tell you about Maine in winter. It’s cold. I mean spit freezing before it hits the floor kind of cold. Portland is right by the Atlantic Ocean. Brrrrr.
Needless to say, Portland is not a big tourist destination in January and February. Sure, plenty of interior parts of Maine get a ton of visitors because of all the skiing. In Portland, there are no slopes. Just cool joints to eat and frozen water.
The Cryptozoology Museum is owned and operated by Loren Coleman, the man I call the godfather of modern cryptozoology. I wrote an article about meeting him at the museum in the summer of 2013 that you can read by clicking here. If you’re a fan of Bigfoot, The Jersey Devil, Mothman, sea serpents, The Dover Demon and a host of other strange and unusual beasties, this place was designed just for you.
Winter months are lean months in Portland, which is why Loren needs your support. Please visit their website and either make a donation, in any amount, or purchase something from their gift shop. Every dollar goes to keep the museum running. There is no other place like it on earth. I went and bought a Bigfoot action figure and signed copy of Fate Magazine today. This way, Loren and I are both happy.
Squatch above soon to be on the Monster Men set!
People ask me all the time what got me into horror. The answer has always been simple. Growing up a kid in the 70s, I was hooked by the weekly documentary TV show, In Search Of.
It didn’t hurt that it was narrated by Mr. Spock, one of my idols at the time. His voiceover work on that show was always, and I mean always, pitch perfect. Somber, serious, Leonard Nimoy took us all on a trip to the weird and paranormal that has been noted as the inspiration for an entire generation of writers, directors and actors. I don’t think I’ve met a writer at Samhain Horror who hasn’t said this show deeply impacted their lives.
In Search Of was my classroom for the bizarre and unexplained. Every week, I sat in my living room sipping on a Nehi, huddled close to our TV that was as big as our couch (at least the cabinet was – the actual screen may have been 20 inches tops). It was where I was first exposed to Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, ghosts, life after death, real buried treasure, aliens, the Bermuda Triangle and ESP, just to name a few off the top of my head. Everything seemed and looked so real, I couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of monster and ghosts populating the same world where I rode my bike with baseball cards in the spokes and played Wiffle Ball marathons until we could no longer see the ball.
The film itself was grainy, the terror palpable as each tale unfolded. Any episode of In Search Of back then was scarier than most horror flicks. And now that I can watch them on YouTube today, it still holds true. I’ve said it many times that the baritone of Leonard Nimoy’s voice is the horror soundtrack of my life. Without him and that wonderful show, I may have never discovered my true passion.
Summer’s winding down and Halloween will be here before you know it. Now’s a perfect time to watch this show for the first time or catch up with a long lost friend. At the very least, it will explain how we horror writers of a certain age came to be.
What’s your favorite episode? I know mine was Bigfoot and my first exposure to the famed Patterson Gimlin film.