Archive for Bobtoberfest

Wide Awake in Sleepy Hollow

Posted in Archive with tags , , on October 22, 2012 by Occult Detective

It’s not really Bobtoberfest until we get our first haunted attraction in and this past Saturday was it. Kim, Connor, and I made our second trip to Conner Prairie’s Headless Horseman event down in Fishers.

Our first excursion into Sleepy Hollow territory was back in 2010 and we had a helluva good time. Hoping for more of the same, we made the hour journey south and passed through the hallowed gates and into Hallowe’endom.

We had an 8:15 appointment with the Headless Horseman so that left us with a couple of hours to kill before we chanced the losing of our heads.

Luckily there was plenty to keep us occupied until our date with death.

We wandered the grounds and let Connor play some Carnival games. They had a miniature golf hole set up where you had to putt through a pumpkin’s grill, a mallet and bell strongman contraption, pumpkin chunking, of course, but the real highlight was C.R. Ryan Demler’s Magic Show.

Demler was very good. He played well to the audience, especially the kids, and that’s the name of the game at an event like this. Conn got to go up “on stage” and help out with a card trick that amazed the children. Connor, ever the showman, threw the magician a couple of curve balls, keeping him on his toes, which was fun.

Then it was time to get in line for our haunted hayride through Ichabod Crane country.

We took a brief respite in a tent showing Disney’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow, walking in just as Crane began his terrifying ride through the Hollow. Foreshadowing of what we were getting ready to experience? Oh, indeed.

The park was running a bit behind schedule, but we finally passed through at around a quarter till 9. The “actors” were great and we chatted up a young boy and girl in period dress who were supposed to be fluffing the crowd before the hayride. They were good kids and stayed well in character, playing up the “ghost” in The Golden Eagle Inn.

The hayride itself was as fun as I remembered it, even though, I suspect because of all the rain they’d had, they were forced to use two Horsemen to pull off their stunt. Distracting in that there were two very different horses, a chestnut and an appaloosa, being ridden by the stuntsmen. Still, it was a great hayride with plenty of all-ages thrills.

That being said, Connor was a bit disappointed.

He’s 9. He was 7 the last time we were there, so for two years his imagination had added some things to the previous experience, so his expectations weren’t quite met.

Kim and I have decided that were going to plan the rest of this year and each following Hallowe’en to be more of a unique experience and not revisit stuff we’ve hit before. Will make for a more meaningful Witching Season for all of us.

We’ve still more than a week till Hallowe’en and we’ve lots more planned between now and then.

Is there a better time of year?

Nope, I didn’t think so.


Posted in Archive with tags , on October 20, 2012 by Occult Detective

Do you follow me on twitter? No?

Well, if you’ve a mind to, I can be found here:

Now, I only bring this up because
I had a little idea that I wanted to share.

Here’s what I tweeted only yesterday—

I propose we tell each other
Halloween stories in 123 characters or less.
Shall we start, officially, on Oct. 24?

Sounds easy enough.

That’s it. A simple little jolt of
good old fashioned Hallowe’en fun.
A frightful story told in a mere
one hundred and twenty-three characters.

Be sure, should you decide to join in,
to add the following hashtag:


so everyone can follow along.

And please, do retweet your favorites.

The fun begins on Wednesday, October 24th
and will continue until All Hallow’s Eve.

You scare me and I promise…
I’ll do my best to scare you in return.

GRAVE CONCERNS: A Parker Brothers Mystery (Part 3 of 5)

Posted in Archive with tags , , , , on October 19, 2012 by Occult Detective

A Parker Brothers Mystery

by Bob Freeman


“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Cassidy paced back and forth nervously, eyes on the bare trees and their lone inhabitant, a mottled brown and gray barn owl who was just as curious about her as she was it.

“You’ve always got a bad feeling about something,” her cousin replied. Sarah was more intent on the work of the Parker brothers than on the local wildlife. “Quit with the traipsing about already. You’re making my skin crawl.”

“Well excuse me, Miss Ain’t-Scared-of-Nothing,” Cassidy barked. “You’ll have to forgive me for not being overly fond of watching two of my best friends waist deep in a grave they’re intent on robbing.”

“We’re not grave robbing,” Sarah was quick to respond.  “We’re… liberating something buried here.” She turned away from her vigil over Allen and Dale’s digging “If Dr. Connors is correct, that is.”

“Well I’m not as well versed in local folk lore to know what the hell we’re after. What is it about this Cairnwood place anyway?”

“You want the legend or the fact?” Sarah asked.

“Fact, of course.”

Sarah took a seat on one of the headstones and motioned for Cassidy to join her.

“Beats the hell out of me then. What I do know is that this place has been abandoned since 1988, right after this terrible flood and a couple of suspicious fires. One that nearly burnt down Somerset, the other that did a number on the manor house. It’s old, built sometime before the Civil War, I think, and there have been ghost and monster stories attached to it almost from the very beginning.”

“And the people who lived here?” Cassidy’s eyes focused on the Manor.

“The Cairnwoods? Oh, they were of old money, but the line died out with a crazy old wizard named Leland. He passed away just before the fire that ruined the mansion, but there’s more to it than that. I overheard Dr. Connors talking to the boys and he said something about two sets of books he had that had differing historical records about Cairnwood Manor. I didn’t quite follow all of it, but it was enough for him to send us out here to snoop about.”

“Well, that’s all as clear as mud,” Cassidy rose from her headstone seat. “Why are we digging up this Michael Somers’ grave? What does that have to do with the house and its mysterious past?”

“That’s what we’re about to find out,” Sarah replied. “I think.”

The girls both turned as they heard a loud chunk resound from the grave. The Parkers stopped their digging and stared at one another, then looked to the girls.

“We hit something,” Allen said, a hint of nervousness in his voice.

“By something you mean a… coffin, right?” Sarah and Cassidy slowly approached.

“Yeah,” Dale said, “a coffin.” He knelt down and brushed dirt away from the coffin lid. Sarah shined her flashlight into the nearly six foot hole. “Michael Somers’ coffin,” Dale added with a confident smile. “Toss me the hammer and pry bar from my pack, please.”

“Are you sure about this, Dale?” Cassidy asked, taking a step back as Sarah retrieved the items.

“We’ve come this far,” he replied. “Allen, give me a hand here, little brother.”

Allen and Dale set to work on opening the coffin lid, prying at the old and rotting wood. The barn owl hooted its displeasure and took flight. Cassidy wished she could as well.

“Sarah, remember what I said about having a bad feeling?”

“Yes,” Sarah replied, taking her cousin’s hand in hers.

“It’s worse,” she whispered.

Then came the sound of rending wood and the guttural growl of something altogether unnatural. The two boys clamored out of the grave with terrified urgency as a great and furry beast erupted up and out of its underground prison. It cried out toward the moon overhead, a long and mournful howl that bristled with rage and unrepentant fury.

Sarah and Cassidy fell backward, crashing to the ground, eyes wide with fear, scarcely noticing the Parkers scrambling toward them as they were transfixed by the magnificent and mind-numbing beast that stood above them. The creature roared, it’s hot breath bellowing forth as if the very fires of hell were trapped in its lungs, as broken chains fell away from its rippling sinews. It sprang away from them with amazing grace and speed, hellbent for Cairnwood Manor. The four of them watched as the beast burst through the once mighty doors of the house, disappearing into the darkness within, the sound of its fury echoing through the night.

“Wh-what the hell was that?” Cassidy stammered.

“That,” Dale replied,” was a werewolf.”

Dale wandered toward the grave as Allen helped the girls to their feet. “Bro, we need to get out of here. We  need to call dad… and Landon. We need to… ” He couldn’t believe his eyes as his brother dropped down inside the now empty grave. “What are you doing?”

“Dale, we’ve got to get out of here,” Cassidy cried.

The elder Parker climbed up out of the hole, something large in his hands, wrapped in worn cloth.

“Not without this,” he said.

He knelt on the ground, unwrapping the object as the others surrounded him. Inside was a large leather-bound tome, intricate and foreboding. On its cover, in gilt lettering, was a title, below it the familiar family crest of the Connors family.

“Liber Monstrorum,” Sarah read aloud. “What does that mean?”

Dale looked up at her and replied, “The Book of Monsters.”

End, Part the Third

Welcome to Wyrd Hollow

Posted in Archive with tags on October 17, 2012 by Occult Detective

It started simply enough. Connor and I parked ourselves at the kitchen table, a stack of blank paper between us, he with an ink pen, me with a pencil. Then we did what we do — we drew. Conn was furiously pounding out some awesome Adventure Time characters. He’s really growing as an artist. At nine years old, he gets it. He pours a lot of emotion into his drawings and it makes a daddy proud.

With that in mind, while he churned out his latest obsession, I turned toward something for us to twist our heads around in the future and whipped out this quick little sketch —

Nothing special, but it did spark an idea for a larger world that Conn and I might play in. The story started dancing around in my skull and before you knew it, Conn and I were slowly building our own little pocket universe. I thought it might be something we could work with the next night, but then the “day job” happened, and then I had an old friend stop in unannounced and suddenly I wasn’t getting any sleep… mainly because this world was calling.

I snatch up my pencil and paper and this is what fell out. I should add, that after the fact I scanned these images in and added the text.

Welcome to Wyrd Hollow.

Tonight, gods willing and Wild Turkey Creek don’t rise, Conn and I will have our first adventure there, with, I suspect, many more to follow. Where will this little world take us? That’s for Wyrd Hollow to decide.

More Tarot Tuesday — The Great Beast

Posted in Archive with tags , , , , on October 16, 2012 by Occult Detective


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

The Great Beast is the Fifteenth Trump
in the Occult Detective Skrá Tarot.

Its meaning relates to liberation and
embracing one’s True Will, representing
the Completion of the Great Work.

“The Great Work is, before all things,
the creation of man by himself,

that is to say, the full and entire conquest
of his faculties and his future;

it is especially the perfect
emancipation of his will.”
— Eliphas Levi


Tarot Tuesday — Nightstalkers

Posted in Archive with tags , , on October 16, 2012 by Occult Detective

Last week, by request, I unveiled The Star, the Seventeenth Trump in the Occult Detective Skrá Tarot. This week we take a look at a card very apropos for the Hallowe’en season — The Nightstalkers Trump. Nightstalkers is the name of the paranormal investigation group I founded in 1983. This card embodies the Nightstalkers mission statement and is symbolic of all truthseekers out there exploring the greater mysteries, hence the two icons in the upper corners, the hunchback and the soldier.

Quid est Veritas

Nightstalkers is the Seventh Trump
in the Occult Detective Skrá Tarot.

Its meaning relates to inquisitiveness and
bravery, representing the fearless search
for truth wherever it might lead.


A Trip Back in Time

Posted in Archive with tags , on October 15, 2012 by Occult Detective

Sunday, Kim, Connor, and I crossed the county line and into Hobbitland territory for jaunt back in time to 1812. Every year, Grant County hosts Mississinewa 1812, a “Living History” event complete with battle reenactments, period vendors, magicians, fortunetellers, clowns, and some generally awesome food. It’s one of the highlights of October for me and I’ve only missed a single event in its 25 year history (for the birth of my son).

We had a great time, as always, though I think this year was just a little more special. Connor, now 9, was really in to it for the first time and that just added to the whole experience.

Of course we couldn’t escape without eating a bit and buying a couple of trinkets. As for the food, not bad. We shared a cinnamon roll, war balls, an apple dumpling, turkey stew, and a sausage sandwich. Oh, and Connor wolfed down a frankfurter :) We always end up out there light of wallet, but Connor brought home a replica padlock and I procured a tiny vial of black iron gallic ink just the same. Kim had her eyes on a beautiful hand-sewn bag, but at $20 we passed. I’ve been bummed about it ever since. She deserved it and I wish we could have snagged it for her. I guess I’ll have to make it up to her next weekend when we visit the Headless Horseman.

Anyway, here are a few pics from our journey back through time along the banks of the mighty Mississinewa.

We’re already counting down the days until next year.

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