Category Archives: macabre

The Dead of Winter

Here it is again. Winter. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. Where others see beauty in a fluffy white glazing of snow, I see only three months of hibernation. Because I hate the stuff.

It’s no mystery why my mind tends to wander to the grim topic of death. I’m in the dead of Winter here in Missouri, after all. I’ve been thinking about the dead – more specifically, how different cultures remember the dead – and decided to share what I know.

Winter takes my mind to dark places. Perhaps its icy clutches haunt me…

winter-horror

Over the years, humans have honored their dead in peculiar and sometimes macabre ways.

Ever heard of post-mortem photography? Straight from Wikipedia: “Post-mortem photography (also known as memorial portraiture or a mourning portrait) is the practice of photographing the recently deceased. These photographs of deceased loved ones were a normal part of American and European culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Commissioned by grieving families, postmortem photographs not only helped in grieving, but often represented the only visual remembrance of the deceased and were among a family’s most precious possessions.”

No disrespect intended, but having grown up in a different century, some of these photos seem a bit disturbing now…

1

Look closely. The youngest child on the far left is deceased, propped up with a wooden stand. You can see the discomfort and sadness in her brother’s face.

2

The story goes that the photographer drew pupils on her closed eyelids to make her more life-like.

5

Sometimes even a man’s best friend wanted to say goodbye.

Then there’s the following photograph, which has become somewhat of an urban legend, because no one can prove or disprove the story behind it. People say the reason all the children seem to be frowning, or even grimacing, is that they are being forced to pose with a classmate who died the day before.

8

They say the deceased student was propped up with a wooden board and her head was tied to the board by means of a head scarf. Do you see her? Look closer…

9

Urban legend or not, that’s pretty creepy.

And then there are cultures like the Toraja people of Indonesia who keep their post-mortem loved ones around for weeks, months, or even years after death, until enough money is raised for a fitting and proper funeral. During this time, the deceased relative is symbolically fed, dressed, cared for and taken out, and is very much a part of their family’s lives.

11

But if you think post-mortem photography and mummification is strange, the thought of drinking from a human skull might push you over the edge, right? That’s probably why the Aghori tribe of India are considered taboo among their neighboring communities. They ritualistically smear themselves with cremated ashes, consume human flesh, and drink from skulls to become closer to the spiritual world of the dead.

10

To each his own, but that’s not quite my cup of tea.

*

So there you have it. THIS is what Winter does to me, people. The dead of Winter… when the deceased whisper to us on the icy breeze, telling us to cherish our precious days, albeit bitterly cold. Winter will pass, just as humans pass, and the world will continue to spin.

Well, as usual, this has been a bit of uplifting cheer from your admin here at Dirty Little Horror. Happy Winter, folks.

winter-horror-2

Advertisements

Interview with author Mark Sheldon

Crystal Lake Publishing just released Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (For Hire!) and I had to know more about this book, so I tracked down author Mark Sheldon for an interview. Here’s what he had to say…

*

How long have you been writing?

Pretty much ever since I could. As early as Kindergarten I was writing little stories and making booklets out of construction paper and drawings. Before that, I’m sure I was making stories up and telling them, though I naturally don’t have too much recollection of that period of story making.

 

What draws you to dark fiction?

I think I’ve always had something of a morbid fascination. Earliest memory, I used to watch Murder She Wrote with my parents every Sunday night, and then act out the murders afterwards with my stuffed animals. That was definitely a hint that I was either destined to be a sociopath and/or a horror writer. And then I watched Jaws with my dad in the third or fourth grade – that was definitely a major turning point in my addiction to the macabre.

 

In your latest book, Sarah Killian: Serial Killer – For Hire, you take the reader into the secret world of assassins for hire. Was it fun writing an anti-hero novel?

It was fun – and very challenging, too. I’ve always loved the anti-hero stories that take the stereotypical villain and turn them into the good guy. Wicked, Dr. Horrible, etc. So that part was very fun. Normally, once I start writing I don’t stop until it’s done (other than to eat, sleep, and go to my day job, of course). Sarah, however, was a very difficult person to live inside the head of for too long a period, and the fact that the book is told from the first person made that connection to her brain even more visceral. As such, I had to take frequent breaks after writing a chapter or two, to work on something else for a while before going back to Sarah. That was a very unusual process for me.

 

What is your favorite personality trait of main character, Sarah Killian?

Her sarcasm. Definitely her sarcasm. That’s the part that I think allows us to look past her rather significant emotional character flaws and accept her as a human, and not just a psychotic sociopath. Also, she would probably murder me if she knew that I said this, but she’s something of a closet geek, which is just cute considering she murders people for a living.

 

Where can we pick up a copy of Sarah Killian: Serial Killer – For Hire?

It is available on Amazon and other online retailers, and also through your local book stores (though you’ll probably have to specially request it at this point!)

http://buff.ly/2aC0Y2S

 
In what ways have you grown as an author since deciding to become one?

As with life in general, growth like that is difficult to measure. With every sentence you write, you improve a little bit upon the one before it. The hardest thing is not going back and re-attacking the stuff I wrote ten years ago and just letting it be what it is.

 

Do your personal experiences affect your characters?

Definitely. Sarah a little less so, what with being a female and a sociopathic serial killer, but I definitely still managed to work myself into her character. Her mutilation of the Barney doll in the opening of the book was very therapeutic for me.

 

Recently you’ve been writing a 12-part series, The Noricin Chronicles. Wow. 12 parts! Please tell us more about this series.

This was actually my first series, and is all done now – I published the last book back in 2013. It wasn’t a horror/thriller series like Sarah Killian, more of a sci-fi/fantasy adventure. In a nutshell, I would describe it as Harry Potter meets the X-Men and The DaVinci Code. It tells the story of Dan Regal, a 12 year-old boy who finds out that he is a member of a secret race of humans with super powers, and goes to a school to learn how to harness and control those powers.

nc

 

Which authors do you read for personal pleasure?

JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Dean Koontz, Dan Brown, and Michael Crichton (currently re-reading Jurassic Park) to name a very few.

 

Are you working on any projects we haven’t discussed?

I have a sci-fi space thriller that is currently in the sketch phase. Sort of a mash-up of Lost, Aliens, and the game Doom. And then of course I will be starting on book 2 of Sarah Killian hopefully soon.

 

Where can we find you on the web?

My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Author-Mark-Sheldon-237502636284937, and the page for Sarah Killian is: www.facebook.com/SarahKillianSKForHire

Now that I have something other than The Noricin Chronicles published, I will be working on getting a more generic website for myself up and running, but in the meantime my non-Facebook home base is the Noricin homepage, at noricin.webs.com

 

sarah-killion2

 

 

More Regrets Than Glories, by Rick Powell

A collection of dark poetry just hit the market, written by friend and talented author, Rick Powell. You may remember Rick from his guest appearance on April 3rd, 2015, when he shared a few poems from his book, My Soul Stained, My Seed Sour. A little over a year later, Rick is back with his new book, More Regrets Than Glories, and another poem to share. If you enjoy what you read, consider picking up a copy of the book, please.

KINDLE: https://www.amazon.com/More-Regrets-Than-Glories-collection-ebook/dp/B01GANL3U6?ie=UTF8&keywords=more+regrets+than+glories&qid=1464492710&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

PRINT: http://www.lulu.com/shop/rick-powell/more-regrets-than-glories/paperback/product-22694866.html

 

The Coachman

The dark coachman stopped at my house this Autumn night,
I was hesitant as I stepped up to the cold seat to sit at his side,
His countenance was in shadow from the hood of his aged cloak,
We started on without a word as through the forest we did ride.

I then wrapped the thick wool blanket around my thin, pale form,
Ma said I have had the chills for days and nothing could cure my ill,
Pa had no money since this year the crops were bad all around,
I asked “Where are we going?” but the coachman’s voice was silent still.

I looked back to my home and at the windows dark as the blackest pitch,
The forest beyond my house was even more dark and silent in the night,
My memories of the last days were muddled and I hope to be well soon,
I hope that this fever will pass and I will be better by the morning light.

I remember my parents talking about the Doc at the edge of the other town,
They were most frantic as my Ma kept a cool rag on my burning head,
I passed in and out of the blackness as I heard them arguing about what to do,
I felt my skin was braised by the fires of Hell, even though cold sweat filled my bed.

Why would they send me with this coachman, when my health was most dire?
Why did they not come with me, my only family that I have ever known?
Why does this dark horse that pulls us seem to be a beast out of a nightmare?
Why do I see a deathly grin of the coachman, when the Autumn moon is shown?

mrtg

DAY EIGHT of The Dirty Dozen, 12 Days of X-mas: Gifts for the Hardcore Horror Fan

The hardcore horror junkie can be hard to shop for, so I’ve put together a list, chock full of ideas, sure to please any fans of the macabre. I only wish I had posted it sooner, on Day 1 or 2 of the countdown. But there’s still time to order some of these before X-mas, and all of these items would make great BIRTHDAY gifts as well, just right for the horror fan in your life.

Luna Moon Gothic Jewelry: https://www.etsy.com/shop/lunamoonsvintage

luna

 

Twisted Ponies:

https://www.facebook.com/twistedponies

 

Box Of Dread:

http://www.boxofdread.com

Box of Dread is a really cool subscription that arrives at your doorstep monthly in the form of a package filled with surprise horror swag. I’ve heard good things from people who signed up. Apparently. you get a decent amount of swag (posters, DVDs, action figures, etc) for the cost.

box of dread

 

Mogwais and Gizmos!

There are TONS of places online to purchase a mogwai for that special Gremlins lover in your life. Just remember the rules! No bright light, no baths, no munchies after the witching hour. 🙂

Long Gone Dolls.

This shop is amazing. I’ve linked the Facebook and Etsy page, but I should warn you, they go extremely fast. One minute the newest doll is for sale, the next minute it’s long gone. No lie!

Visit on Facebook, or check out the Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LongGoneDolls

 

And check this out! Handmade cthulhu statues! I totally need this for my writing desk!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/123210685/cthulhu-figurine?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=horror%20toy&ref=sc_gallery_2&plkey=3b532ab1d78897c7051837898b3bdbd64c3e29ae:123210685

cthulu

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today, but the world wide web has SO MANY great gifts for the horror fan, if you’re willing to search. 🙂 See you tomorrow, for Day Nine of our X-mas celebration.

DAY FIVE of The Dirty Dozen, 12 Days of X-mas: Death March Studio

It’s Day 5 of our 12 Days of X-mas bash!

I can’t afford five golden rings, but I’ve got lots more horror to spread! I do love dark photography, don’t you? Please welcome special guest Death March Studio. If you like their work, check out their Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/Death-March-Studio-893543987368494

I’d also like to credit the models (and I hope I snagged their names correctly from the page): Tara Tarpey, Christina Marie, and Nick Schultz appear in these photos. Enjoy.

Death March - Tara TarpeyDeath March 1Death March 2Death March 3 - Christina Mariedeath march- nick schultzdeath march

Death March Studio. If you like their work, check out their Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/Death-March-Studio-893543987368494

Dark Poetry by Alistair Cross

As promised, this blog will focus on a variety of entertainment, so long as it’s plenty horrific! Today, I bring you poetry.

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies. By the age of 8, he began writing his own stories. Fast forward to 2012 – that’s when his first novel was published by Damnation Books, and he’s been busy cranking out dark tales and poetry for his readers ever since.

Alistair hosts a live radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE, and you can find his website at: AlistairCross.com. The two poems we’ve chosen to share with you are dark and clever and evocatively disturbing. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

The Beautiful Girl

I woke up with a girl

Who was dead as could be

This a most macabre scenario

That made no sense to me

~

I couldn’t recollect her

From the night before

But there she was with cold blue flesh

In a dress made of velour

~

Her sightless eyes were watching me

Her mouth agape in fear

And down her cheek a tell-tale streak

Of a single dried up tear

~

And for weeks now I have wondered

How she came to be

This beautiful, decaying girl

Who keeps me company

***

A Book of Morbid Methods

I met her in the pages

Of an old dust-covered book

A book of misadventure

And the sad wife of a crook

~

She married into money

That was her belief

But she recently discovered

She’d been married to a thief

~

She was written to be pretty

She had diamond rings and furs

And she said it was all mine

If I’d trade my world for hers

~

She was angry at her writer

For her husband’s cons and lies

For her life of sins and secrets

And her pseudo-human guise

~

But I told her it was dull

Here on the other side

That over here, life’s dismal

And ruled by greed and pride

~

I declined her proposition

But she said, “Just look at me…

I have everything I want

I am glamorous and free…”

~

For a moment, I considered

What did I have to lose?

The world might have more meaning

If viewed from in her shoes

~

She watched me as I pondered

But she sensed my hesitation

Then a tear fell from her eye

And she said in desperation…

~

“My husband is suspicious

That I know what’s going on

He’s a man of morbid methods

I’ll be sorry before long.”

~

And this I did consider

What was I to do?

Maybe if I tried

I could rewrite a page or two

~

And so I traded places

With my newfound fiction friend

But what I didn’t realize

Was the book was at its end

~

For, just moments after stepping

Into the pages of this book

By way of strangulation

I was murdered by the crook

tandc

Visit the author:

ac

%d bloggers like this: