Archive for the Occultober Category

The Witch House: Day 8 of the 13 Days of Occultober

Posted in Occultober on October 26, 2022 by Occult Detective

A few months ago, my wife and I were out and about town, prowling yard sales in our small community. Stopping on Wabash Street, at the house of one of my childhood friends, I was surprised to find her there, helping her mom with her rummage.

As we chatted, another woman approached and joined in to reminisce about the old neighborhood. She asked when they had torn down the old house on the corner, to which my friend replied, “You mean the “Witch House”?

In the 1970s, the place we kids called Witch House sat quietly on the corner of Wabash and Marple. It had fallen into disrepair, crowned with a rusty tin roof and cloaked in weathered wood slat siding.

Whenever we played “Werewolf By Night”, my version of Hide-and-Go-Seek, Witch House was off-limits. Too many kids were scared of it.

Why “Witch House”? Well, for no other reason than that for a group of eight year old kids obsessed with Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries, comic books, and late night horror movies, it looked like what we imagined a Witch House would.

One weekend, when I was spending the night in town with my paternal grandparents, we took to the streets after dark and biked across the brick roads and graveled alleys until we found ourselves outside the old ramshackle house.

Inside, we knew there was a witch or ghost or something else altogether unnatural in residence. We always had. That fateful night, we were going to find out.

Ditching our bikes in the bushes, we used a pry bar we’d liberated from one of our parent’s tool sheds to get past the swollen door and crept across the buckling wood floors. Yes, the house was empty, or nearly so, and it echoed and creaked with our every step, but there, in the front room sat a lone rocking chair. All by itself. Just sitting there.

We gathered around it and I took the lead, calling out for whatever hoary spirit that might call the place home to come before us. I used made-up incantations, combining language from Doctor Strange comics and those odd occult books I rummaged through in the public library.

The air was humid and we were all sweating profusely.

Then it happened.

The chair began to rock, ever so slowly. It creaked and lilted. And we gasped and ran and climbed on our bikes and rode away as fast as our legs could propel us. And we laughed. Nervously at first and then slowly in that uncontrollable way only kids can, joyously.

We believed we’d experienced contact with something beyond the world of the living.

It was just a few years later that the house was razed, and now there simply stood an empty lot. As vividly as I remember those long ago days, it was that more recent visit that I reflect on now. I could see it in her eyes as she recalled that house that was, of how it had effected us as children, of how even now, after it had long since been put to the torch, it still left its shadow on us.

That Witch House had cast a spell on us many years before, and a ghost of it still remained.

Answering the tough questions for the #spookyhalloween tag

Posted in Occultober on October 21, 2022 by Occult Detective

1. Favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde

2. Name something you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark forest or in an abandoned building.

Rats. I hate rats.

3. Have you ever played with a Ouija Board?

Countless times.

4. Favorite horror monster or villain?

I’m a sucker for movies about “The Devil”.

5. The creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

There are a lot of to choose from. How about the time I was writing in my shack and I sensed something come up behind me and felt its breath on my neck?

6. If you were dared to spend the night in a “haunted house”, would you do it?

It’s what I do for a good time.

7. Are you superstitious?

Not particularly.

8. Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Often.

9. Which urban legend scares you the most?

Rawhead and Bloody Bones

10. Do you prefer gore or thrillers?

Thrillers

11. Do you believe in multiple dimensions or worlds?

Absolutely

12. Ever made a potion of any sort?

Indeed I have.

13. Do you get scared easily?

Not really.

14. Have you ever played Bloody Mary?

As a kid. Nothing happened…unfortunately.

15. Do you believe in demons/the devil?

Yes.

16. You’re home alone but you hear footsteps in your house, what do you do?

Strike up a conversation.

17. If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Sleepy Hollow

18. If you could only wear one Halloween costume for the rest of your life, what would you be?

Merlin from Excalibur.

19. Would you ever go to a graveyard at night?

Absolutely.

20. In a zombie apocalypse what is your weapon of choice?

Longsword.

21. Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go trick or treating?

Party.

22. You’re in a horror movie. Are you the final girl, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

The smart one? Or the Killer? Let’s find out.

23. Do you have to watch something happy after watching a horror movie so you can go to sleep?

Nope.

24. Whilst watching scary movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, the person with their eyes covered the whole time, or the person who falls asleep

These days? Fall asleep. Though I’ve been known to talk to characters on screen. Sometimes even in my sleep.

25. Are you the one who gets scared, or the one who does the scaring?

I do the scaring. Though usually on accident.

26. Favorite scary book?

Hm. Scary is hard to define. Has a book ever scared me? Let’s just say The Shining.

27. How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?

3-4 years old, if Frankenstein counts.

28. What was your first Halloween costume?

That I remember? Superman.

29. What are you going to be for Halloween this year

A struggling author and paranormal adventurer.

30. If you could have a spooky halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf), what would you pick?

I’ve had some great black cats in my day (Boo and Tiny in particular). A tame wolf who came and went as he pleased would be interesting.

The 13 Days of Occultober Begins…

Posted in Occultober on October 19, 2022 by Occult Detective

The Thirteen Days of Occultober has begun.

To embrace the scavenger hunt aesthetic, we’ll be moving around a bit, across my various social media platforms. Check back at occultdetective.com to see where we’re showing up next.

Read Day One at Patreon
HOBBITLAND

Read Day Two at Substack
LITTLE PIPE CREEK

Read Day Three at Tumblr
THE HOSTESS HOUSE

Read Days Four & Five at Twitter
WESTLEIGH FARM & SEVEN PILLARS

Read Day Six at my Facebook Author Page
JEROME CEMETERY

Read Day Seven at Instagram
THE ELWOOD OPERA HOUSE

Read Day Eight at OccultDetective.com
THE WITCH HOUSE

Read Day Nine at Pinterest
HOOKMAN’S CEMETERY

Read Day Ten at Mastadon
THE MURDER HOUSE OF LISTON GLEN

Read Day Eleven at TikTok
IOOF CEMETERY

Read Day Twelve at Facebook
GOOSE CREEK

Read Day Thirteen at Youtube
BEACON LODGE

Who’s up for a virtual scavenger hunt?

Posted in Occultober on October 14, 2022 by Occult Detective

13 Days of Occultober begins October 19th.

There’s Nothing Better Than #Occultober

Posted in Occultober on October 11, 2022 by Occult Detective

13 Hallowe’en Reads

Posted in All Hallows Read, Occultober on October 10, 2022 by Occult Detective

Look, almost everyone loves spooky season, and there’s something comforting about snuggling up with a scary book on those nights when the autumn chill has you in its grip. I thought it might be fun to make a list of hauntingly good Hallowe’en Reads, books that really set the mood and promise fitful nights of unease and bad dreams. These are all stories I have read multiple times. Many are near lifelong favorites.

You’ll notice a common theme. I like me some pulpy fiction. The more purple the prose the better.

Anyway, I wish you many happy nightmares in the days and weeks to come.

13. The Devil Rides Out & Gateway to Hell
by Dennis Wheatley

12. The Complete John Thunstone
by Manly Wade Wellman

11. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

10. The Complete Tales and Poems of
Edgar Allan Poe

09. The Shining by Stephen King

08. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

07. A Dark Matter by Peter Straub

06. The Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James

05. Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories

04. Tales of Horror and the Supernatural
by Arthur Machen

03. Tales of the Uncanny and Supernatural
by Algernon Blackwood

02. The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft

01. The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard

All Hallow’s Read 2022 #AllHallowsRead

Posted in All Hallows Read, Occultober on October 4, 2022 by Occult Detective

“You know, there aren’t enough traditions that involve giving books,” Neil Gaiman thought. And from this simple kernel has sprung All Hallow’s Read (#AllHallowsRead on twitter). So here’s his line of thinking:  “I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.”

I have designed an All Hallow’s Read poster for several years running now, since 2014 I think. Always a lot of fun. It’s a tradition I hold near and dear to my heart and I hope it means something to you.

Give a scary book this and every Hallowe’en. Keep the nightmare alive…

The Thing on the Roof by Robert E. Howard

Posted in Occult Detectives, Occultober on September 29, 2022 by Occult Detective

Occultober rolls on. As part of this year’s celebration, I decided to read aloud a story of John Kirowan, one of my favorite occult detectives and written by my favorite author.

Originally published in Weird Tales Magazine Vol XIX No 2 in February, 1932, Robert E. Howard’s “The Thing on the Roof” is a shuddery tale of an old, legend-haunted tomb in Honduras, and the doom that pursued the man who opened it.

Hastily narrated, and with little editing, any errors are my own. I am not accustomed to reading for a stretch like this, so my voice becomes slurred at times. Such is the slow and steady creep of age, I presume.

Still, it’s a fun story, steeped in Lovecraft’s legendarium. And I had an odd thought… what if a certain Dr. Jones had followed up on Tussman’s expedition. Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Toad?

Spooky Season is all but upon us

Posted in Occultober on September 12, 2022 by Occult Detective

Hey, Sleuths. It’s mid-September which means we’re racing toward Occultober, my annual celebration of all things strange and unusual. I’ve a feeling in my gut that tells me this one is going to be special.

Old Ghosts Can Be Like Old Friends

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on November 2, 2021 by Occult Detective

As I’ve often shared, I grew up on the edge of my maternal grandparents’ 60 acre ranch, but what I don’t speak of often is of how my mother, after a falling out with hers, moved us from the farm into the nearby town of Converse, population 1200 (give or take). Considering I went to school and bought my comics there, you wouldn’t think there would be much of an adjustment.

Well, you’d be wrong. I hated it. I hated the house we moved into. I hated being away from Turkey Creek and Little Pipe Cemetery. Luckily, moving out was just four years away… but, I adjusted over time. Still, I resented being taken away from the farm. I loved it in the country, but our new home did have a peculiar charm to it.

It was (is) haunted.

I thought maybe it was because of all the renovations required to make the dump livable, but there was plenty of activity in that house. Mostly of the residual kind, but on occasion, intelligent presences manifested over the years. Night terrors and sleep walking, things I had “grown out of” returned. There were phantom smells, footsteps, and knocks. And little secret rooms hidden in the walls which I made use of.

Of course this was a time, these young teenage years, when I was experimenting more readily with magic, so I was attracting a certain amount of activity through these studies. I certainly felt something with sinister intent. Overactive imagination? Maybe…

Later, when I discovered an old map of the town, prior to its name change to Converse, should I have been surprised to discover that our house was built on the site of a former church and cemetery? Our neighbor had a skeleton in their basement, dug up while doing some excavating, and when you looked out across our yards you could see the roll of the lawn give up the telltale sign that graves had once littered the landscape.

The intelligent hauntings have seemingly long since passed, though residual activity still occurs there on occasion. It seemed to be rekindled when my father was struggling with cancer from the hospital bed we’d set up in the living room. After he passed, things quieted down again, or so my mother says.

Still, sometimes when I visit, when I walk into the rooms I called my own as a teen, I get the sense still there is something there, watching me, wishing I would lie down to sleep there as I had once done. Maybe someday I will again, just for old time’s sake. Old ghosts can be like old friends, even the ones who mean us harm.

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