Saturday, October 7, 2023

You look like you’ve seen… a few Ghosts.


 This October night, something different. Now, is the time when ghosts are present. We have some new ghosts being wrought across the floor. The ghost of Halloweens yet to come? What a ghost, what a trio of ghosts, indeed. 



Friday, October 6, 2023

“Plant rosemary by your garden gate…”


 Tonight’s film was one I have found myself returning to most years in early October, for my witchy fix: “Practical Magic.” 

 To me, this film will always be perfectly immortal. The right amount of humor, horror, romance, schmaltz, with an incredible heart. The cast is, of course, amazing. Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Dianne Weist and Stockard Channing (who have quite a few Oscars between them) are incredible. As well as the little girls who play Sally’s daughters; they are incredible little actors.

 I believe, for the first time, last night I noticed that the woman from the opening of the film when Sally and Gillian are children, wanting the love spell with the pigeon, comes back at the end as a part of the phone tree coven.

 I will also eternally plug what is now a series of books that Alice Hoffman has now written. While the first novel this film is based on is incredible, the follow ups manage to be even more meaningful; with “The Rules of Magic” being perhaps my favorite, the origin stories of the aunts Franny and Jet. If you love this movie and haven’t read them, why are you reading my blog? Go read those, instead.

 Before the film, I found myself in the lower gorge of Niagara Falls for my brother’s wedding. A beautiful place in the fall.


Thursday, October 5, 2023

“In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson…”


 Every October, I return to and linger a long while in Sleepy Hollow. The town, in reality and fiction and folklore, embodies the spirits of October in more ways than there are headstones in the church yard. Washington Irving’s story is, quite possibly, the most perfect ghost story. The mystery, the doubt, the fear, the urban legends— it is so perfectly the stuff of ghosts. 

 Tonight I went to put on Robert Van Nutt’s animated story book version of the tale, narrated by Glenn Close, which is such a perfect, and book accurate, adaptation. In the process, I found and rented Hobey Ford’s “Ichabod: Sketches from Sleepy Hollow,” which while a very short short, was highly entertaining and worth the one dollar and ninety-nine cents.

 I still watched the Van Nutt version, after. The slowly moving illustrations are the perfect, nostalgia-tinged way to experience the story, in as close a way to reading the text can be without reading the text. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Sometimes, I like to go for walks in graveyards


 And run there. And take photographs. And, sometimes, I just read under a tree. I have a favorite tree. 

 This afternoon I went to read there, but ended up taking my camera (and phone) and taking countless photos, too. The ones here are all from my phone.

 This area of the cemetery is one of my favorites. One of the oldest areas on the oldest grounds, which was also used as a cemetery before the cemetery was officially incorporated. Here, in the fading afternoon light, the world, and even October, stands still. Every now and then a leaf will fall to the ground. If you’re listening, you can just hear it.   

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The Bride


 Tonight, I kept going with the Universal Monsters. You can’t beat them. “The Bride of Frankenstein” truly is one of the greatest film sequels of all time. The continuation of the story is seamless (though there is some reworking of the original “Frankenstein’s” ending), and the horror, the humor, emotion, the creepy atmosphere, even the acting and characters— all feel elevated. Even the new characters like Dr. Pretorious and Minnie feel both elevated and like they have been there all along.

 Karloff’s performance is perhaps a huge reason for this. No doubt, more time to live within the character gave him more depth, but the addition of being able to talk some of his lines gave Boris the opportunity to add layers to the character that seem the most true connection to Shelley’s original novel, where our Monster (?) famously speaks eloquently and waxes philosophical. 

 Tonight there was some rain, to break the humidity, and the brightening leaves feel more like the season. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

On Fog and Heat


   I write this from my desk overlooking a yard full of trees. Leaves to my left, leaves to my right, leaves everywhere I look are starting to blaze. Deep red, yellow, orange. And it is just under 80 degrees. Which does not seem right, to this Ghost, at all. 

 Yesterday morning I ran in the fog. The mysteries of the earth really seem to hover over creation when the fog comes, and, somehow, it was just what we needed here to feel autumn's warm, cooling embrace. The world hides in the fog, and what is hidden always feels like such a celebration of Halloween. 


At the Ghost's haunted house, interior Halloween decorating remains on hold for a few days, as life has thrown us new furniture and such we are in the process of assimilating. Nevertheless. October carries on, and I have been putting up what I can. 


Again last night, about midnight, I poured myself some apple cider in a wine glass-- why not?-- and followed up "Frankenstein" with Todd Browning's 1931 undead classic, "Dracula." The sets. The ghostly nature of it all, looking so far back into the past; somehow, this film gets better each year, and each time I watch it. Toward the final half of its short running time, the day began to catch up with me, and I started to fall asleep. Bela, his Count Dracula, Mina and Renfield and Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker, somehow, all showed up in my dreams. "Dracula" is such a dreamlike film, falling asleep to it, which is something I have done before, seems like a particular type of black magic. When I woke, Van Helsing was standing above the Count's coffin with a stake; I rewound the DVD and watched the last half in its entiriety, before retiring, dark and dreary, to my bed. 

 Sadly, I did not dream of vampires. That I remember. 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

On little black cat's feet...

  Hello, old friend. Welcome back to the nights of breeze taking leaves, the red orange bursting from the green in the trees, the flickering candle light behind pumpkin flesh on a porch. 

 Life, as always, continued to challenge this year. In some ways, I have been less prepared for this Season of the Witch than any in recent memory. But when the heat begins to leave us, and make us create our own with sweaters and hoodies and baking ovens and candles for the sun leaves sooner; that, is a challenge, the Ghost is always up for. 

 I started the (no fewer) than 31 Days of Scary Movies a bit early last night, as soon as midnight brought our favored month with it. As I have the last several years, I have started the month of night off with not my fancy, gorgeous 4k print of James Whale's 1931 immortal classic "Frankenstein," but with the nostalgia-dripping box set of Frankenstein from the early-mid 2000s, which the Ghost bought at a time he did not have much else, and each cent has been worth it tenfold ever since. I love the ambient menus with thier old movie sound effects and voices and sound effects of real ghosts, nearing the age of almost 100 years, and listening to the rain, the wind, and, of course, the electric volts used to summon the monster. 

 As always, the sets hit me first. What would it have been like to be on those sets, all those years in the buried past, and see the graveyard with the tower reaper, the stairs leading up to the lab, and the high-vaulted rooms of the Frankenstein estate-- up close, in living color, in person? Also of not much note, on this viewing I noticed more than usual how Elizabeth and Henry seem to have the beginnings, or want for the beginnings, of a relationship even when they are first introduced, and it's a nice detail to wonder just how long Henry's descent into his experiments have been, and what Elizabeth's motives are for staying around and still wanting to marry into all this wealth. 

Sometime while I was watching this scary movie, the fog crept in al lover my world. I looked outside and it was as if Carl Sandberg's poem had come true; and, this time, it was a little black cat who's feet the fog crept in on. I had one more glass of apple cider-- perhaps too much sugar before bed-- and went to sleep with the theme music and scenes from John Carpenter's classic ghost movie, "The Fog," playing in my head. 

 Oh, and earlier in the day I placed this lovely Bat! gifted from a dear friend on our door. 

 I have missed you, October.