My latest novella with Severed Press is now available in ebook (and trade paperback in a few days), LOCH NESS REVENGE. This one is especially near and dear to me because Nessie became one of my first monster obsessions thanks to an episode of In Search Of back in the 70s (you can watch the actual episode here). I remember checking out every book I could find in the libraries in the Bronx, wishing I could fly to Scotland and just live by the Loch, searching for proof of Nessie.
Cut to a few decades later, and I’m hunting her down in a book that blends fact with fiction. So, what’s this latest foray into cryptid terror about?
Deep in the murky waters of Loch Ness, the creature known as Nessie has returned. Twins Natalie and Austin McQueen watched in horror as their parents were devoured by the world’s most infamous lake monster. Two decades later, it’s their turn to hunt the legend. But what lurks in the Loch is not what they expected. Nessie is devouring everything in and around the Loch, and it’s not alone. Hell has come to the Scottish Highlands. In a fierce battle between man and monster, the world may never be the same.
And here’s a little something to whet your appetite (or wet your appetite, when you’re talking lake monsters!) Read the preview of chapter one and if you like what you see, you don’t have to go all the way to Scotland to grab a copy.
Even the Scottish whisky can’t stop the nightmare from coming. And believe me, they have some pretty incredible shit here. The locals drink it like water, but I’m not a local.
I may have been here for five years, but they’ll never accept this American interloper. Fine by me. I realize I’m just a transient, albeit one that’s been here for a handful of years. When the time comes, I’ll be happy to leave the Highlands forever. A girl can only take so much sourdough and tartan.
Hmm, but I will miss the scenery. So pretty out here. Well, when it’s not foggy, overcast, or raining. And the Scottish men, nothing to complain about there, though I wish I could understand them a little better. I have a terrible ear for accents and sometimes I can’t believe we speak the same language. I was barely able to understand what went on in the movie Trainspotting. This is a whole new level.
I’m up and sweating and can’t catch my breath.
Is it technically a nightmare when the thing that wakes you up in the dead of night is a memory?
Not that it matters.
Nightmare…memory…either way, I can never get a full night’s sleep.
I slip my legs out from under the covers, grab the glass of tepid water I keep next to my phone charger, and gulp it down. When it comes, I sweat enough to soak through my clothes.
Years ago, my simple solution was to sleep in the nude.
It didn’t work out. Changing sheets is a hell of a lot harder than slipping on a fresh pair of panties, sleep shorts, and a T-shirt.
The spare clothes are neatly folded on the floor by my feet. I stand, stretch, get down to my birthday suit, pat myself down with a towel, and get dressed.
The radio is still on, some late, late night call-in show hosted by someone with such a thick accent, I can barely understand what the hell he’s talking about. Like I said, I’m Scottish tone deaf.
Snapping the radio off, I collapse back into bed.
The good news is, the nightmare never comes twice.
The bad news is, falling back to sleep is never a guarantee. It’s almost four in the morning.
Early to bed, early to rise.
I went to bed at midnight. Not sure that constitutes early.
I close my eyes, the remnant of the nightmare – memory – still playing like an old filmstrip as the heat from the projector bulb rapidly melts it away.
It was 1995. Shania Twain had exploded on the music scene. I couldn’t stop playing her CD. The fact that it pissed off my twin brother Austin was just a bonus. He was all grunge, all the time, back then.
We were camped right where my RV sits now. Me, Austin, Mom, and Dad.
My father had been downsized by the genetics company where he’d worked for almost twenty years. They gave him a goodbye package that left us flush with cash. No tears were shed. He was a scientist toiling away for a corporate entity. He’d felt he’d sold his soul for long enough.
So he took us out of school and we headed for Europe. He’d missed the chance to live his dream and backpack across the continent when he finished college.
“It’ll be much more fun with you guys. I knew I waited for a reason,” he’d said.
Austin and I didn’t care where he took us. We were just glad to be out of school for the rest of the year.
We alternated between camping out when the weather was agreeable and staying in nice hotels, especially when we were in cities like Florence and Berlin and Barcelona.
By the time we made it to Scotland, spring was fading into summer, and Dad wanted to sleep under the stars in the Great Glen, the glacial fissure that tore Scotland a new one 400 million years ago. The words lush and green are all you need to know to describe the Great Glen. Nature done did it right when she painted this scenery.
Smack in the middle of the glen was a series of lochs, one of them being my current home and setting of my nightmare – Loch Ness.
“We can’t go to Scotland without spending some time at Loch Ness,” my father had said. “Maybe we’ll even see the monster!”
We thought that made this place the coolest stop on our trek across Europe.
Kids are stupid.
It was dark. Austin and I were roasting marshmallows over the remains of our fire. Our parents went down to the water’s edge to clean out the pot we used for cooking chili. I was playing Shania Twain on the boom box, but had to keep it low. When Austin tried to hit the Stop button, I whacked him on the back of his hand with the hot end of my marshmallow stick.
“Jeez, that hurts you asshole!” he shrieked, cradling his hand to his chest.
“You’re such a baby. I can’t believe you came out first. Mom saved the best for last.”
He chucked a marshmallow at my head.
“You’re more like my afterbirth.”
I shrugged it off. We’d been saying the same things to each other for so long, we could recite each other’s lines.
That was as close to ‘twin speak’ as we’ve ever come. We look nothing alike, we act nothing alike, and we sure as hell don’t think alike.
It was then we heard the screams.
Two screams, to be exact.
My mother and my father.
We bolted to our feet, spilling the plastic bag of marshmallows into the fire.
There was a tremendous splash of water.
We ran to them, heedless of what we might encounter. Someone was attacking them. A deaf person could hear their struggle, the pain and terror in their cries.
We got to the shore a moment before we lost them forever.
Their heads were visible, floating atop the churning water. Something big and black and shiny, like the body of an anaconda, was wrapped around their necks. It must have given a sudden, powerful squeeze, because their voices were cut sharply.
“We have to help them!” Austin blurted, going so far as to get in the water up to his ankles.
But I held him back.
I watched my parent’s eyeballs puff up and explode from their sockets seconds before they were dragged down into the Loch’s murky depths.
And just like that, they were gone.
I watch them die every single night.
I can’t un-see their eyes, blowing up to cartoonish proportions before popping like balloons filled with mayonnaise and blood.
It’s why I fucking hate looking at people’s eyes. I can barely stand to look at my own in the mirror. I haven’t worn makeup in years just to save myself the horror.
- The clock says 4:15.
I’m not the least bit tired.
Early to rise it is.
Maybe today’s the day.
If it isn’t, oh well. I’ve got nowhere else to go.
Care to see what adult Natalie and Austin have up their sleeve for Nessie? Go to Amazon and pick it up today.
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.
Looking buff and baked, Joe Rogan has somehow teamed up with the Syfy channel for a show called Joe Rogan Questions Everything. When I first saw the ad for this one, I had a true WHOA! moment. The man who likes to watch babes eat worm guts and coagulated blood balls is now diving into the weird and paranormal?
Eh, why not?
Over the past year, Syfy has been throwing a ton of new, short run shows against the wall and waiting to see what sticks. I’m not sure if this one will adhere to the programming wall for a second season, like Ghost Mine, but it does have something going for it that other shows in this genre don’t – Joe Rogan will call bullshit, literally, to a person’s face when they postulate on the crazy theories that plague their fevered brains. Now that, my friends, is refreshing. Since he’s a martial arts guy, I guess he’s not worried if someone takes offense to his opinion. Might be kind of fun to watch him throw some MMA-style beat down to a man who swears the chupacabra is an ET pet.
He had me at Sasquatch, the focus of his first episode. I get the feeling that like me, he wants to believe. And like me, he needs a little more proof than a few plaster casts and grainy films. Rogan looked genuinely flipped out at times during his squatchin’ night in the woods. Naturally, they didn’t find Bigfoot, but the ride was worth it.
I also watched Joe tackle HAARP and the future of robotics where man and machine will meld as one, then separate into possible warring factions. Can someone say Battlestar Galactica?
Here’s a great reason to watch this show : Drinking Game! Joe gets very, very animated when he talks about the unusual. Every time his eyes pop out of his head, take a shot. You’ll be blitzed halfway into the show. And somehow, I think Joe would approve.
His skepticism and open mindedness is (I can’t believe I’m saying this) a breath of fresh air. For me, the show is a Vulcan mind meld of In Searh Of… and That’s Incredible. Anything that makes me feel like a kid again, even if it’s only for an hour, gets my vote.
Keep searching for the truth, Joe. And keep that BS meter running.
See that picture? That was my first foray into the wonderful and weird world of cryptozoology at a time when I didn’t even know what the word meant. I was about 8 years old and at the tail end of my fascination with whales. I’d read everything the library had about them and was ready for something new.
Enter Nessie. I can’t remember where I first saw that picture. It was either on In Search Of or in a magazine or newspaper. I just remember the doors of my imagination being blown wide open. I would never be the same. Back in the 70s, there was a lot of interest in the strange creature swimming the depths of Loch Ness in Scotland. It was relatively easy to get my hands on all things Nessie. I devoured it all.
My father saw my budding interest in mythical sea creatures and bought me a book not only about the Loch Ness Monster, but all creatures bizarre and unknown. And so was laid an integral part of the foundation of a future Monster Man.
Out of all the cryptids out there, I think the case for sea creatures is the most solid. We know so little about the pitch fathoms of our seas. As our underwater technology improves, we discover new species of creatures plumbing the depths on an almost daily basis. Personally, I don’t think Nessie lives in the Loch. It’s my belief that if she exists, she kinda gets lost from time to time, slipping from the cold ocean into the Loch for a spell, stirring peoples’ fascination. And in a world where there’s so much doom and gloom, isn’t that a good thing?
So, what is Nessie? Is she a plesiosaur, a remnant from the time of the dinosaurs? Maybe she’s some kind of super sized eel, or a misindentified family of seals? Thanks to my man Scott for this latest article that says sightings of the monster skimming the waters is nothing but the result of a geological phenomenon.
Like all mysterious beasts, I really hope there is some truth to the Loch Ness Monster. Even though the photo that cemented my interest as a child was proven to be a hoax, I still hold out hope.
Like this blog post was too long coming, so is our latest episode of the Monster Men where we talk all things Loch Ness. Can’t believe it took us over 40 episodes to get the the core of my monsterhood. Sit back, put on a kilt, pop open a bottle of good Scotch and enjoy.
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.
Anyone who has visited this old blog and chain knows that I’m a real big time ghost guy. From having my own experiences to visiting famous haunted locations and writing books about our evanescent neighbors, I can’t seem to get enough, During my travels, I was lucky enough to become friends with the lovely and hysterical Annaliesje Cady, head honcho of the coolest damn paranormal group, Pink Kitty Paranormal.
The crew of PKP ain’t your average ghost hunting squad. Donning pink tutus and fur-covered EMF meters, they go where others dare not tread with a sense of adventure and fun rarely seen in the paranormal circuit these days. If I could tag along with any ghost hunting group in the world for a night in a dark cemetery, PKP would be my # 1 choice. I recently sat down to chat with the beautiful members of PKP…Annaliesje, Scooby, Daniella and Zeegee, and had a blast. I can’t think of a better group to spotlight on Halloween week! Ladies, take it away…
1. I love the name of your group. How did you come up with Pink Kitty Paranormal?
ANNALIESJE…I have dreamed of having my own ghostie hunting group for like ever, that was based on a part of what I love. That would be PINK. I love Kitties (KITTY). I love the PARANORMAL. Some peeps think of PINK KITTY being a little dirty and that it means a certain female anatomy. I say to them all, “That’s fine, all of us girls have one”!!!
ANNALIESJE…Myself, Daniella, Scooby and Zeegee (Zombie Girl Nowal) were friends before PKP got started. But we all actually met at a hair salon!! Go figure!!!
3. Because everyone in this field has a back story, what got you interested in ghost hunting and the paranormal in general?
ANNALIESJE…I had an experience with my mom when I was in high school but really got interested about 6 years ago when I started getting hooked on some popular paranormal shows. I signed up for a contest, Ghost Hunters Academy on a dare and actually got called by a producer. I ended up not getting picked for the show. I tried to contact other ghostie groups in my area but nobody wanted to let me join. That is when I said “F” it, I will start my own damn paranormal group!!
SCOOBY…I had some experiences but mainly fell into it when Annaliesje asked me to be a photographer for PKP. I am scared as “F” but can’t stop coming back for more with these crazy bitches!
ZEEGEE…I have had experiences since I was born and my mother as well. Something has been following me, well, since I was born. I have been curious every since. When I was asked to join PKP, I said HELLS YES!!
DANIELLA.. I have been interested in the paranormal since I was little. I had my first paranormal experience when I was about 10. But really I have to say that it is because Leonard Nimoy’s show, In Search Of. He is the one that made me the ghostie huntress that I am today. THANKS LEONARD! ❤
ALL OF PKP..We have to say that every one of our clients have been coolio with us investigating. They usually know what we are about and how we dress. A lot of times they want to investigate with us. We have to say we end up winning them all. Maybe we might get a few in the future that we won’t be able to win over. All we have to say to that is…..OLE!!!
5. Some of you were featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures. Care to tell everyone what that was like? Did you meet any of the GA crew?
ANNALIESJE..hahaha yes, I wouldn’t say we were featured. We did get credits at the end but not for PKP. Myself and former PKP member, Nurse Rachel, helped with GHOST ADVENTURES reenactment scenes on the Shanghai tunnels episode. PKP then were volunteers for the Cascade Geographic Society, who runs most of the tunnel tours, and we were asked to help. With such short notice, Nurse Rachel and I were the only ones that were able to participate. We both had a blast. I played Nynah, a young native American girl that was sold into slavery. I also played a saloon girl . Nurse Rachel played the main saloon girl that helps shanghai a poor chap..lol. The only one that we got to chat with were the filming crew for Travel Channel. Joe was my favorite. We picked on each other a lot. Filming took from 10am to 7pm on a Tuesday. It is amazing how long it takes to film a few minutes of what really airs. Sadly Zak, Aaron, Nick and Billy were already gone but months later Aaron and Billy did meet my dad in Vegas and took pics with him at a Gold Show..don’t ask..long story..always is..lol
ANNALIESJE…I would have to say the second time we investigated an old hotel in Carson, WA. It’s funny how you can investigate a location and it’s quiet the first time and the second time you go back it does a one eighty..zoom! We went back to film some footage that was asked for by a network. Everything that had to do with video died, even with fully charged batteries. Something there clearly did not want us to film. We got clear sentences in our PKP gotcha ghostie box (when asked, “Was that you that made our cameras die?” the reply was a very loud and clear, “yup”!!! and when asked, “Why don’t you want us to film you?”, the reply was, “Because it’s abomination!!!”
And we were also followed to our hotel room. Let’s just say we left the lights on when we went to bed and for the record, I NEVER DO THAT EVER!
SCOOBY..F ing everything!!!
ZEEGEE..Agree with Annaliesje..something followed us to our room and we got a lot of readings on our k-2 meters and more evp’s from our room..that shit was carrrazy!
DANIELLA..Carson, WA for sure. Something was f ing with us! It was the first time we encountered a hostile ghostie. The whole investigation was awkward and uncomfortable!!
7. If you could list your top 3 dream ghost investigations, what would they be and why?
ANNALIESJA..DisneyLand! Because I want to see if I can talk to Walt!! It would be great to get some evp’s of that brilliant man and plus..I love everything Disney ❤ Alcatraz! Because I want to dress the team up in prison stripes and have Daniella be a cop and get some evp action with birdman!! Amityville Horrrror House. Well because, I just remember watching a documentary about it when I was little and some paranormal group left cameras in one hallway and caught a little boy with glowing eyes..I want to mess with that little ghostie! Lol
SCOOBY…Graceland! Because I want to see if Elvis still lives! Neverland..well, just because! Last but not least..THE BUCKINGHAM PALACE! Get some dirty evp’s on the royals!!
DANIELLA.. I like psycho shit, so first off would be Trans Allegheny, Viscilica Axe Murder House. Last would be Hurricane Mills..Loretta Lynn. Because I love her and love that she has haunted shit happen to her there. Want to hear her stories!!
ZEEGEE..Tower of London, Lizzy Borden House and of course Waverly. Why? Because I like GUTS!
8. OK, if you could have your favorite cocktail, food and dessert right now, what would they be?
ANNALIESJA..Margarita on the rocks but with fresh oranges and lime freshly squeezed..triple sec and the most expensive f’ing IT WILL KILLYA (tequila) possible. Sushi..I just love sushi!! I would say all dessert..I am like Buddy the elf..I love anything sugar..it is my weakness!
ZEEGEE..I just trust my bartender to set me up..whatevs. Sushi..oh yeah..A spoon of NUTELLA!!
SCOOBY..A slightly dirty martini made with Kettle 1. Kraft Mac And Cheese. The inner Mexican in me says, FLAN!
DANIELLA..Well, I am drinking a GodDamn good Cab right now. Anything prepared by the sexy chef, Gordon Ramsay! Lavender crème Brule!! Mmmmm!
To follow the adventures of PKP, just click on any of thier pictures and it will take you right to their YouTube channel and FaceBook page. Happy hunting!
Jack and I discuss the television shows that warped our minds and made us complete horror/monster addicts. What shows did you watch as a kid that influenced you?