Location. Location. Location. Real estate’s three most important considerations also apply to fiction. Horror writers need the right location for a creepy story. Well, forget the abandoned house, the derelict cruise ship, clown college (shiver!) As Hunter Shea’s SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE and my new novel BLACK MAGIC demonstrate, head for the Everglades.
Everglades National Park takes up the southern tip of Florida. It’s a swampy savannah that stretches out flat as far as the eye can see. It’s sometimes flooded, sometimes not, and dotted with islands of trees. There are good reasons (other than Skunk Apes) to put the Everglades high on the horror locale list:
1. Isolation. Though it’s just miles from Miami, cross the park border and there’s nothing and no one out there. No cell service, no roads and once you trek a few miles in, no landmarks worth mentioning. Expect to get lost moments after starting your hike. Especially in the dark.
2. Scary creatures. I have an evil sorcerer in BLACK MAGIC to up the scare factor, but the Everglades has its own menagerie from Hell. Alligators, crocodiles, vultures, deadly cottonmouth snakes, literally tons of mosquitoes, plus stingrays, sharks and jellyfish where the ‘Glades meet Biscayne Bay. The last time I visited, I counted sixteen alligators and crocodiles sunning themselves at just one observation point. Who’d ever want to meander through that?
Recently anacondas have taken up residence, after being released by moronic owners when they grew to adult size at over fifteen feet and 220 pounds. These constrictors eat anything and everything and have no natural predators. In my novel I describe one eating a deer. I did not make that up. There’s a picture on the NPS website if you don’t believe me.
In BLACK MAGIC, sorcerer Lyle Miller summons all of these creatures (and razor-toothed killer rabbits) to defend him as he tricks unwitting boys to help conjure a hurricane over south Florida. Read this non-tourist friendly Florida tale and you may cross the Everglades off your bucket list, if SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE didn’t already do that for you. — Russell James
Hunter here. I highly suggest you grab a copy of Black Magic. Perfect summer reading! You can pick up a copy by clicking any of the links below:
You can also tag along with Russell as he journeys into the dark and strange at his website.
It’s that time again to go through my grab bag of people, places and things that have grabbed my interest and, in some cases, admiration. When it comes to horror and all things preternatural, I’m a total junkie. Even if I quit my job, I don’t think I’d have enough time in my day to read, watch and listen to everything that interests me.
So, seeing as we all have limited time in our busy lives, I’ll present you with a half dozen items you can check out at your leisure. They all get the Hunter Bloody Seal of Approval.
Websites. Don’t be fooled by the name, Who Forted is a treasure trove of all things strange and paranormal, not an ode to flatulence. The FORT comes from Charles Fort, the writer and researcher who delved into the world of the unexplained, giving rise to the phrase Fortean or Forteana to describe the mysterious and unfathomable. Who Forted is packed with videos, articles and discussions on everything from aliens to black-eyed kids and, in a current post, monster vomit. Come on, who isn’t curious about monster vomit??
Movies. The only problem with The Bigfoot Hunter : Still Searching is that it’s only an hour long. You can watch it for free on YouTube. It’s a low budget documentary created by a handful of young guys following a couple of, shall we say eccentric, Bigfoot hunters. It’s funny, at times creepy and a tad frightening. And I’m not talking about Bigfoot doing the scares. A must see for any squatcher.
Podcasts. I’ve become seriously addicted to the Mysterious Universe podcast. I download each weekly episode from iTunes. Hosted by a pair of informed, entertaining Aussies, this has become one of my favorte podcasts. From their own website, they describe their show as : bringing you the latest news and podcasts covering the strange, extraordinary, weird, wonderful and everything in between. We strive to maintain a balance of healthy skepticism and entertainment while never losing our sense of humour.
Books. Fellow Samhainer Russell James is the proud poppa of a bouncing, baby book, his third with our illustrious publisher. Black Magic is one of the most original, gripping books I’ve read in a long while. You have to check this one out. Here’s the book’s description. Just click on the cover to order a copy from Amazon today.
In this magic shop the magic is real. And the trick is on you.
Citrus Glade is a dying town that needs new businesses, but the one that just opened is doing much more harm than good. Stranger Lyle Miller’s magic shop seems to only stock what its select customers desire. When four outcast boys buy common party tricks, only Lyle knows what those tricks can really do. As subtle changes occur around town, a few residents realize that something is amiss…and getting worse. But it may already be too late. Lyle’s black magic has empowered more townspeople to help him execute his Grand Adventure, a plan that will reduce the town, and half the state, to rubble.
Short Stories. I came across Allison M. Dickson’s short stories while cruising through Amazon on my Kindle. She has a good number of taught, thought provoking, horrific stories out there, each for under a buck! So far, I’ve read Vermin, Dust and Taste and have dug them all. Perfect little appetizers that you can devour any time you’re hungry for horror.
EVPs. There’s something about EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) that just sends a tingle down my back. I’m sure a lot of them have a natural explanation, but even if just 5% are genuine, that’s enough to give me the willies. You can check out a bunch of them at Texas Wind Talker. Best listened to during a sunny day with people close by.