Saturday, December 24, 2011

Marley was dead.

 The season of the ghost is now upon us. Again? I've written about this before, of the uncanny connection between the Christmas holiday and the day which is the reason for this blog existing. The progression is a natural, if not often thought of one; All Hallow's Eve is celebrated on the verge of the major change, the summer's abundance ending, with the fear and knowledge that the end is coming, the nights growing longer, on the ever chilling wind. Halloween leads into the season where our weather is (in climates which allow) the coldest, the most severe, the darkest. And this is where Christmas happens.

 Christmas itself is a study in contrast. What is generally celebrated as the feast of light, good-will and peace among women and men happens in the dead of winter, when the earth and world are barren and frozen. Families travel to be together during the times of the year which can bring the harshest weather for traveling, and there is a mad rush to give-- to others, our family and friends.

 I think Charles Dickens lighted onto this concept of what Christmas was, and penned "A Christmas Carol." For the modern world, it's hard to imagine a Christmas season without "A Christmas Carol"-- whether in the original novella form, or the numerous film and television adaptations the classic has seen. What would appear the definitive story about the celebration of Christmas is, frankly, a story where a miserable man is literally haunted by Christmas personified as actual, from-the-grave ghosts. In other words, "A Christmas Carol" is about a man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who is so miserable and cold to the world he lives in Christmas sees no choice but to terrify him, and shake him out of his wicked ways. While Scrooge is alive, his soul is dead. And while his ex-business partner Marley is dead, he returns to Scrooge with a message more alive than the both of them.

 It would appear Mr. Scrooge needed a little Halloween to show him what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

 What works so perfectly about the tale is that Christmas is so full of ghosts-- the ghosts of our past, our childhood, those and that which have come before. The year-ending season is a time to stop. And think. About the Christmases of the past- who was with us, what we might have done, and what we may have wished we had done. While Marley serves as a frightening specter to Scrooge because, in life, Scrooge knew him, and now must witness the ghostly fright that is his existence after death-- the Ghost of Christmas Past haunts Scrooge (and us) because of the many forms the ghost takes. Often depicted as a candle, or with either a candle or candle-stopper, the ghost always haunts, fragile and fleeting, because she was here-- and will always remember. Never be able to be changed.

 Her successor, the Ghost of Christmas Present, was and has continued to be a manifestation of the modern Christmas spirit-- a very much St. Nicholas/Santa Claus type of spirit-- bearded, joyful and abundant in laughter, good will (and size.) But at the same time, the ghost is deeply reflective, offering biting critiques on society, in addition to his jovial nature. This ghost's haunting is different-- haunting to Scrooge and us all by making us aware of our surroundings-- the joy of the season, the suffering of the less fortunate in the world, like the Crachitt family. And lastly, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come haunts us when we think of the ghosts of the past, the ghosts of the present-- and what they mean if they remain unchanged. This ghost, nearly always depicted as a Grim Reaper or similarly hooded figure (and, in an original twist in the recent Disney animated adaptation, as simply a shadow never seen) scares-- or, rather, makes him aware-- Scrooge into the knowledge of the nature of his ways, by literally bringing him to the grave. Where all the memories of Christmases past and present will end, without opportunity to change them for the better.

 And so. While Christmas has become not only a Christian holiday, but developed a secular following and celebration around the season of giving gifts-- I wish you a Merry Christmas. And all the comes with it.

Happy haunting, if your need be.

Images: Behind the Thrills & Brett Helquist

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Missing October

 As the holly, the ivy and the mistletoe go up and the snow soon begins to fall, I thought I'd post a set of photos I took at Forest Lawn this past October.

 The following I took during the early afternoon of October 17. I had just discovered the different kinds of black and white options on my new camera, and enjoyed looking at old friends such as Silas Henry Fish, the Pratt monument and others through eyes of black and white.

 Part of me was torn between being able to capture Forest Lawn at it's most beautiful peak-- deep, bursting autumn oranges and reds and leaves--and capturing a different view, by using the black and white.

 The weather was a bit odd. The sun shone high and bright, while enormous gusts of wind rushed across the grass, taking leaves from the trees. All Hallow's Eve was only a few days away, and the cemetery was  extremely quiet. The only other person I saw was a Forest Lawn caretaker driving by.

You may view my Photo Album here:

Forest Lawn, 10-17-11 (Early afternoon wind, Black and White)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Merry Krampuslauf

I had no idea until earlier today of the legend of Krampus. A character seemingly more at home in the dark nights of October, the Krampus myth lives throughout the countries of the Alps. Legend has it, that Krampus travels with Saint Nicholas during the Christmas season-- giving warnings or punishments to children who have been bad, while Nicholas rewards the good with presents.

 Krampus, simply put, is one scary beast. Traditionally, he is depicted as a devil-like, horned demon creature. In some areas of the Alps, on December 5, young men will dress like Krampus and scare children by shaking bells and chains. Think of a more vengeful, angry, horned Marley's ghost hell-bent on terrorizing children.

Sounds just like Christmas to me. Or, how Christmas should be. I don't know about you, but if this creature came to my door, I'd be begging Saint Nicholas to just leave me coal.

 And here's some video from YouTube of what Krampus looks like and is, in modern times. I believe this will be the first in a series of posts that examines the many, shall we say, similarities between Christmas and the holiday I prefer.

If only we had Krampus in America.

YouTube User: MOSHV4L

Second Postcard Image via Derek Nobbs @ Anachronistic Decay 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Goodleberg Cemetery, Wales NY, in October

 Sacred grounds, cursed. The final resting place of American Revolutionary, Civil War veterans. A dismembering, elusive serial killer. An early 1900's abortion doctor, disposing of bodies in a nearby cemetery. In secluded, small-town America. And why, yes, there is a very good possibility it is the site of an ancient Native American burial ground. Also, evidence of satanic or otherwise dark rituals and vandalism have happened and been reported on the grounds.

 All these things make up the myth, legend and truth that surrounds Goodleberg Cemetery, in Wales, NY. About a half hour from my home, the legend of what happened and continues to occur around the small cemetery continually tops lists of the most haunted places in Western New York. For years I read local supernatural researcher and author Mason Winfield's writing on the subject, and, of course, grew up with bits and pieces of the legend. Naturally, Goodleberg was the perfect destination for an October cemetery this past month.

 Here is what I knew about Goodleberg going in. Sometime in the early 1900s, a doctor who performed abortions disposed of the bodies/fetuses and, on occasion, the body of a mother who did not survive the procedure, in and near a small, rural cemetery and its pond. Decades later, when serial killings took place throughout Western New York, pieces of the victims had turned up around the infamous doctor's cemetery-- and, of course, the land which housed the graves gained the reputation of being haunted, cursed, by the women and children the doctor had buried there.

 All this sounds like the elements of a decent, if not stellar, horror film. For, the stuff of local legends, while hardly ever true, makes great fiction. But. Most of Goodleberg's legend is true.

 Thankfully, we have Winfield's writing and research on the subject to confirm this, as even Goodleberg's Wikipedia page is quite sparse and uninformative, at best. And, quite perfectly, when my partner, friend and I made the trip to Goodleberg this past October, we ran into Winfield at a nearby coffee shop afterwards.

 The facts are among the following. Loosely translated, Goodlberg can mean "Hill of Ghouls." According to the website Dark Destinations, the term "ghoul" is an Arabic one, and it is argued that the name originates more from simply the surname "Goodle," as there is an early woman with the name interred there (although the website is lacking any proper citations.)

 Goodleberg's doctor was named Albert Speaker. According to Mason Winfield's research, Dr. Speaker (1880?-1948) appears to have been a "medical examiner," who acted as more of a coroner. Dr. Speaker had an office in Buffalo (not too far from my house) and a residence in South Wales, on Hunter's Creek Road, very close to Goodleberg. On our trip to the cemetery, we had thought the foundation of a house which can be seen from among the graves may have been Dr. Speaker's-- however, the home he lived in is still standing. It is apparently common knowledge among locals that Dr. Speaker performed abortions, most likely in his home. Whether this alone was enough to spring urban legends of disposed bodies in the nearby cemetery in pond, or whether these locals who have given life to the story are telling the truth-- it is not certain. No police evidence exists of any found bodies-- but, as with so many things about Goodleberg, so many macabre possible coincidences have come together over one, small, country-side cemetery. In his reasearch, Winfield has found the possibility that Dr. Speaker was connected to "crime elements," which may factor into his demise or some of the other, more grisly happenings around Goodleberg.

In October 1948, local papers reported that Dr. Speaker had died of a heart attack. Again, locals disagree, stating that his death was most likely a suicide (of hanging, by some reports, in a nearby tree) to avoid the shame of a trial. Whether this trial may have been connected to performing abortions or missing women, though, remains to be seen. Interestingly enough, Speaker is not buried in Goodleberg, but is interred in a New York City cemetery, by his surviving siblings. There does appear to be a documented connection between Dr. Speaker, the cemetery and at least one of the missing women who did turn up murdered. In August of that same year, Speaker's home was searched by police in connection with the disappearance of Helen Lindeman.

The pond, directly behind the cemetery.
 Some back story on Mrs. Lindeman. The wife of a prosperous dentist (who would have been involved in the same professional and social circles as Dr. Speaker), Helen disappeared while running errands in a small village suburb of Buffalo, NY. Body parts began to be discovered on Hunter's Creek Road five weeks later. Two weeks after that, a torso and head were discovered in remote areas of nearby Cattaraugus County. Dental records were used to identify the remains as that of Helen Lindeman. On Halloween of the same year, after the murder and death of Speaker, fire was set to Dr. Speaker's home. By who, we may never know. Someone trying to conceal evidence? A husband? Locals who knew or presumed to know more of the story?

Other murders in later years came to be linked with the Lideman murder, although no tangible connection ever surfaced aside from being discovered close to Goodleberg Cemetery.

Apparitions of all kinds continue to be reported around Goodleberg. There are reports of those who return to their cars and find small, children's handprints on their windows. Some have reported seeing a woman in black, who many connect to Helen Lindeman, as there were reports of people who thought they had seen her in the Goodleberg area after her disappearance and before her murder, hitch-hiking and wearing all black. Some have reported seeing the legendary large black dogs, or hell hounds. Though no homes stand on the side of the road the cemetery is on, houses are on the opposite both before and after the cemetery. Some locals have reported hearing strange chants in the cemetery at night, and finding strange, burnt markings in the ground and vandalism to the cemetery in the morning. And there are those who suggest that all this may be merely kids horsing around-- drinking, singing, smoking and desecrating the sacred grounds. While we absolutely found evidence of such vandalism, I, surely, still wonder. There simply seems to be something dark about the grounds which attracts other dark energy.

On a superficial level, I felt no such darkness walking through the cemetery. I felt a sadness, after having walked the road to the cemetery (after a car struck and killed someone walking on the road in more recent years, parking is not allowed directly by the cemetery), and saw the stones of these long-ago people turned over; cracked, smashed, vandalized and possibly lost to time. However, I would love to return to the cemetery-- perhaps at nighttime, if cemetery hours allow. I'm sure this won't be my last post on Goodleberg.

View my Photo Album of Goodleberg here: 

Goodleberg Cemetery

Read some of Mason's more in-depth writings on the history of the Cemetery HERE. 

Watch Mason discuss Goodlberg on a local program televised several years ago around Halloween:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Remembering Edgar on El Dia de los Muertos

I've always been intrigued by the Mexican holiday El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead.) Celebrated on November 1 and 2 to commemorate the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Now celebrated actively throughout the world, the day has pagan roots, dating back to an Aztec festival dedicated to Mictecacihuatl, the goddess of the underworld.

 Every year a local art gallery, El Museo, celebrates the festival with an exhibition "Altars" featuring all kinds of locally done altars. When my good friend Kitty, who manages the gallery, asked if I was interested in being a part of the exhibit this year, I initially jumped at the chance without a clear idea of what I would do. I first had several different people in mind to memorialize in an altar, but when I thought of doing one for my good friend Edgar Allan Poe, a series of ideas came to me and I knew I had to do one for Edgar.

 My first experience doing an art project for a show since elementary school, I had an amazing amount of fun putting this together. The concept of a Day of the Dead altar is creating a display of objects commemorating a departed person's life, which in Mexico traditionally uses sugar skulls and other food objects. Unsure of how to incorporate a sugar skull, the first idea I had was to use some kind of alcohol or brandy for Edgar. The clear choice became the cognac the traditional Poe Toaster, until recently, left on Edgar's grave during the early morning night hours of his birthday, alongside a rose. Each object seemed to flow into the next-- when I thought of the cognac, I pictured the shot glasses standing on stacked bricks from "The Cask of Amontillado," standing in front of the altar.

 I initially wanted to use a photograph of Edgar, but when I thought of which to use, one that wouldn't be too conventional or standard, I had the small revelation that in order to commemorate the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe, the altar should be toward his wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe. His devoted wife, Virginia stands over so much of Poe's body of work. His love for her, and her untimely death at the hands of tuberculosis, created much of his most famous work. Virginia is the maiden Annabel Lee, the long lost Lenore and, I believe the source of the intense fear of death and disease Poe explored in his writing throughout his life. And so, I needed a photograph of her. Which presented a problem, as there is no entirely confirmed photograph of Virgina; only paintings and sketches done after her death. I took the most famous painting, and used photo software to try and make the picture look like a Poe-era photograph. The framed piece became a center of my altar.

 Once put together, the base of the altar was covered by white cloth and frayed grey cloth sold in stores this time of year as "Halloween/creepy cloth." For the surface I used pieces of scrap wood dyed to appear older, for the floor boards from "The Tell-Tale Heart," which, through an opening, holds, in a bed of manuscript pages of Poe's work, a heart. The heart of the old man, and also, in my altar's case, the heart of Poe's work, his love for Virginia. Scattered about the altar are raven feathers, which appear throughout his work; the idea of the raven, that once lost, those we love are lost forever. The manuscript pages I made I took from "The Raven," "Annabel Lee," "Alone," "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat," and all from passages relevant to Virginia and Edgar's relationship.

 All in all, I absolutely loved doing this piece, "Quoth the Raven." Exploring what makes Edgar's work on life, love and death is central to the concept of the Day of the Dead, and to create something, an altar, to memorialize his and Virginia's contribution to the world was a great experience. I was proud to be a part of the exhibit that also held great pieces commemorating lost loved ones, pets, community members, well-known people and even the victims of World War II's holocaust. For anyone who may be in the Buffalo area, the exhibit will be at El Museo through November 25.

You may view my Photo Album of making the piece and the opening here:

Poe Altar, "Altars" Opening, El Dia de los Muertos

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

 Well. Halloween 2011 is almost over. I have my usual regrets, larger it seems than many years past. The month and life got away with me, and I barely had time to decorate a haunt. Next year I will work faster, smarter, harder on the haunt-- beginning November 1. You really do have to stay on top of these things a year a head of time, or you will find yourself overwhelmed.

 I did carve this pumpkin. With another three left uncarved. So. I did do many great festive things-- the haunted houses, constant stream of horror movies, reading (and seeing a dramatized version of) Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw," started to read "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury. And I have much material for cemetery posts, in the coming weeks.

 Until then, I wish you the Happiest, most Haunted of Halloweens.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October in Forest Lawn, 2011

  Well, here begins my previously posted about trips to Western New York cemeteries during October. I have been keeping up with the trips, although they haven't as quickly translated into posts. While originally this was conceived as a weekly posting, I believe that this week leading up to Halloween will be Cemetery Week at Ghost Upon the Floor, and I'll update with new cemeteries ever day or so. I think it best to start chronologically, and start with my several trips to Forest Lawn I've made in these last few weeks of October.

 I photographed monuments, stones, angels, changing leaves and graves in what very well be my favorite cemetery. In the photo albums, which are more photo essays now, you will see things I've already photographed. Old friends such as the Pratt Monument and his angels make appearances, as do new statues and stones I discovered around the graveyard.

 While planting some deep fall colored mums in my recently discovered great-grandparents' urn in one of the cemetery's older sections, I discovered the grave pictured above, of Silas Henry Fish. Something just struck me about the way Silas' grave is constructed, on a shady hill, in his single, solitary above ground crypt. A huge cross lays on top of him, as opposed to the few stone flowers which adorn his wife's next to him. The first day of photography, as you can see above, I was there near sunset, and the sun setting shadows reminded me, for some reason, of the last act in Bram Stoker's "Dracula," as Jonathan Harker and company race the setting sun and the Prince of Darkness to his castle. When I returned a few days later for a series I will post later this week, I took several black and white photos of Silas Fish, and the stone work is even more striking and highlighted. I'm partial to the name Silas, too, I might mention, because of the character in Neil Gaiman's modern children's classic "The Graveyard Book." And this Silas lies on one of the most silent, peaceful hills in Forest Lawn.

 Always, I'm drawn back the short distance to the hill where the Pratt Monument stands. I took some shots of Pratt and his Angels in Autumn, and explored their section a bit more than before. Among the new stones I found were this pondering woman, who stands seated in a fenced in area among one of the older, circa 1900 areas of the graveyard. I'm ever fascinated by the artwork that lies within Forest Lawn. And however many times I visit the grounds, I always find some new beauty.

 I could spend hours among the stones, walking with my camera, finding and rediscovering new areas, art and the ways in which we remember those who have lived, and gone before us. I took far more photos than I have uploaded to the photo albums, but I tried to narrow the selection down to something I hope you, too, will find interesting-- a tour of the bright bursting orange autumn fall in this sprawling, magnificent cemetery.

View the photo albums from my first two trips below:

October in Forest Lawn, 2011
Fall in Forest Lawn Afternoon, 10-04-11


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More fear...

 Always, I don't feel like I'm doing enough to enjoy October. Life gets in the way of decorating, taking the trip out to the pumpkin farm. But tonight I did something right. I went to another area haunted house, Frightworld, with my friend Laura. And was, as is forever the case with Frightworld, absolutely pleased and surprised. 

 As I wrote about in my previous post, when we went to the Haunted Catacombs a few weeks back, a brainstorming session afterward led to the idea that the perfect haunted house incorporated a simple house, being outside, with preferably a cemetery. Frightworld's "Wicked Woods" seemed to walk right out of our talks, and had us walking through complete darkness, to a forest, to a cemetery in a forest, to a house. 

 And several more things managed to scare me. I appreciated how well the houses relied on complete darkness. Simple, easy, but so very effective, walking through complete darkness is the perfect build up to some good scares. One of their houses also perfectly executed a claustrophobic feeling, walking through rows of hanging laundry in what appeared to be an attic. Claustrophobia was also very well used with the use of those now famous balloon walls which have, until now, pressed against you from the left and right. Tonight, I went through my first room where the wall was the ceiling, and gradually went down farther and farther- until you were on your hands and knees. Very disturbing. Very unsettling, indeed. 

 One last bit of note, what made these houses were the actors. They weren't all focused on simply jumping out and you and making you jump that way, but a woman dressed as a girl sitting on a bed in a room full of dolls with creepy voice and another woman singing to herself in the corner provided for more creepiness and frights than if they had simply jumped out at us. And chainsaws. How could I forget the chainsaw men. 

 Oh, how I love to be scared. As with so many October things, I wish these came more than once a year. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Have you heard?

 Of the Ghost of John. I recently discovered Kristen Lawrence, and her Halloween Carols music on YouTube. A Halloween and October-centric singer and composer, I do believe this woman has some considerable talent. I am fascinated with her rendition, with full organ, of the traditional verse "The Ghost of John." There is just something special about the lyric and her soft but strong melodic voice, and the sound of the carol, as if a Christian church hymn.

 The video, below, is set to All Hallow's Eve related stills. Enjoy. I've been listening to this as I upload and ready the first of the October cemetery visit posts, which will begin tomorrow. Until then, I wish you all a Happy Haunting and do wish you are enjoying the season as much as you can.

YouTube User: TheIndustrialClef

Monday, October 10, 2011

Something wicked...

A woman working at the Tim Horton's coffee and bakery shop suggested that I do this to my hot apple cider. Never had I heard about doing such a thing before- adding whipped cream and caramel to top off the hot cider. Tasted like a caramel apple, she said. And it did, to my delighted surprise.

My apologies for the brief post tonight- today was personally not a good day. Although earlier was fantastic- we ventured out to an October cemetery and I am preparing quite the post for tomorrow evening.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall in Sleepy Hollow

"It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet." 

 -Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

 While doing my cemetery photo wandering this weekend, which I am readying to begin posting tomorrow, I had the random thought of how much I wanted to read Washington Irving's original tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Always enamored with the tale, the above passage struck me as so beautifully representative of the glory of this season we are in.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spirit's Tombstones

 I was impressed with many things at Spirit Halloween Superstore this year. The life size Frankenstein, Regan from The Exorcist and Scream killer were fun, and the giant black mug I picked up, with "Vampire Blood" written on the side, is very enjoyable, indeed.

 But there is something about these tombstones that appeal to me. On my first trip, I made a note to come back for them on a later visit.

When I went to pick them up, the only thing that prevented me from doing so is the fact that the backs of these stones aren't painted. Though they easily could be painted, and also very well could be placed in an area of my cemetery that wouldn't show the blank white back, the fact these stones seemed unfinished stopped me from picking them up-- at least for now. I may give in and buy one or both later on (although the $24.99 price tag is a bit steep.) Whatever complaints I may have about the unfinished quality of the backs, I want to stress that I remain fascinated and absolutely impressed with these designs, and the overall product. The imagery-- the angels, the angel of death, the weeping shrouded figure-- is original for Spirit, and executed wonderfully.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Some more fear

And now for something a bit light-hearted. These photos of people at Nightmare Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Canada have been making the viral rounds on the Internet. Shot of a number of visitors at a certain point in the haunted house attraction, these show some of the-- shall we say, interesting-- reactions humans have to express their fear. I don't know if I find other people frightened amusing, but what does interest me most about this is wondering what, exactly, is in the bottom corner of the room that would elicit such good reactions.

 Seems like a possibly decent horror writer's workshop prompt to me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Conjuring up some atmosphere...

When I was thinking of what to write this evening, as I just begin decorating the house outside and in, the thought of what I like to have as a backdrop for my decorating (however late) came to mind.

 Whether I'm getting out the orange stands of lights, fog machine or tombstones, I have some essential needs for a soundtrack: horror movies. And not just any horror movies-- for this ghost, having John Carpenter's "Halloween" playing on the TV, followed by something older, something black and white and flickering like Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" is called for. And these are just two of many which will do.

 No matter how many times sequels, remakes or re-imaginings are made of "Halloween," film will never achieve, in my humble opinion, the October orange effect of Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode walking the autumn streets of Haddonfield with a pumpkin, to Carpenter's genius score. And no matter how often the character of Count Dracula graces the silver screen, films like Lugosi's will always carry a dreamy, nightmarish authority that I've always found something of a comfort in. These films, seen so many times, remain vibrant and needed for the season-- even if only in the background as we begin to decorate, or fall asleep to at night.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree"

Each start of October for the last few years, I've felt a desire to reread what may very well be my favorite novel of Ray Bradbury's-- "The Halloween Tree." A writer of science-fiction, the paranormal and tales not so comfortably labeled (but always with an October bent), Bradbury's seemingly young adult novel follows the lives of several young friends on Halloween night. "It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state," begins Bradbury's novel, which is no small literary feat.

 Throughout the boys' night, they come to know and understand the origins of All Hallow's Eve, as they are taken on a fantastical tour through history of humanity's ability to deal with the harvest, the darkness, the coming death. The passages in the novel, as the boys literally travel the history of Halloween night and are confronted with their own mortality, are simply beautiful. Rarely has Halloween been so perfectly captured, described, explored than in this book.

 And while the inevitable animated adaptation is not in so many ways the novel-- it is a very respectable job. Narrated by Leonard Nemoy and with a script by Bradbury himself, the adaptation, rarely shown and hard to find on VHS even on the internet, does the work proud.

 I think I'll go find my copy, and crack the spine.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Short Film: "The Closet"

Tonight, a short film. I submit for your approval "The Closet," a short heart-thumper I found a while back, and made a note to save this for a post on a rainy night. What always impresses me most about short films like this is the fear they can create with so little-- time, money, effects. I do believe this one does a pretty good job bringing the fear.

YouTube User: DayWaltFearFactory

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Halloween Candy Project

 Tonight, I bring you the "Halloween Candy Project."

I'm always amazed at the amount of sweets I'll allow myself to indulge upon during the holidays (beginning with All Hallows Eve through that other holiday of the more wintry persuasion.) As I recently finished my second Cadbury Halloween Buzzard Egg of the season, I had a bit of an idea. What if I kept a record of all this candy which I consumed during the Halloween season?

 With full knowledge that my findings likely may be disturbing, frightening or simply uninteresting, I have decided to take a photo of all the candy I eat or encounter this season-- and upload them to their own folder in my Google Photos, aka the "Halloween Candy Project." I only have the eggs and chocolate covered pumpkin Peeps so far. However, if any of this interests you in anyway whatsoever, please check back in the album from time to time. I believe the results of what I amass by the 31st should be amusing, if nothing else.

Halloween Candy Project

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What are you afraid of?

I do believe I'm starting October off in many of the right ways, even if the house decorating is woefully behind schedule. Tonight, I visited one of our local haunted houses, the House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs in Buffalo, NY. A yearly feature of my life since childhood/adolescence, the Catacombs and other area haunted houses have been a highlight of my seasonal celebrations. There are few things like the air beginning to chill and sky darker sooner, and the houses opening-- bringing the fun of the scare.

 Last year, the Catacombs took a year off, and naturally I was looking forward to going with my friend Laura and seeing what they had come up with during the year off. I wrote a post similar to this last year, and talked about how I'd rather not spoil certain scares or new techniques for anyone out there who may have yet to experience them-- suffice it to say, I was eerily surprised and pleased by a scare consisting of a video, a zombie and a shotgun. And I remain petrified of the balloon walls you have to walk through as they press against you; for they bring out a claustrophobia I'm not usually familiar with the moment I'm between them.

 While some of the houses left a few things to be desired (or relied too heavily on strobe-lighting), all in all, my experience at the Catacombs was a good one. We shall see how it compares to the other area houses, which I plan on consuming sometime soon this month. As we left, my friend and I brainstormed the best elements to a haunted house-- what worked, what didn't. For us, the classic theme of a house haunted is best-- with some outdoor woodsy, cemetery scenes preferred. Strobe lights would be kept to a minimum-- and never relied on-- with more spaced out scares, to never become too predictable. And the actors and props should leave the haunted house visitor some time-- not too much-- to take in all the scenery around she or he. Some rooms were spectacularly decorated, and I'd wished we'd had time to look at some more of the detail before screaming and/or running out with a scare.

 So. My question this evening. What are you afraid of? What makes a good haunted house for you?  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's here.

One may think that people who live the season would feel more ready for October to be here.

But, as always. I feel behind and running out of time and almost panicked-- and yet, so, so, so happy that October is finally here. Creeping up, seemingly out of nowhere, with the speed of this video of a time-lapsed pumpkin's growth.

 Must start decorating today. No time to lose.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

October in the Cemeteries

 As you likely know, I love going to cemeteries, and spending hours there photographing the stones, monuments and other testaments we as humans leave behind to remember our lives and those whom we've loved. 

And there's no better time than October to photograph a cemetery. Which is why I have decided to visit one unique, upstate New York cemetery a week and document what I find, see and photograph here on the Floor. 

I have some interesting destinations ahead of me, some I've never been to-- and legends I've always wanted to check out. More than one of these cemeteries have been reportedly haunted--by many different people, over a great number of years. I plan on making my visits each weekend, and writing up the post on Saturday-Sunday. Fall is here, and I cannot wait to share the orange falling cooling dim harvest nights among the stones. 

Until then, I leave you with a brief video I took at Forest Lawn in July, of a small stone, circa 1800's, which caught my eye. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another first.

 My first pumpkin of the season. Imagining, before the first day of autumn this Friday, what I could carve on its face, what decorations will go up soon around its spot on the porch. Yet again this year, I have no pumpkins of my own (ones that I have grown.) The garden was going so well, so strong, until I was away for three days, when they just weren't watered the same, and about a month later I believe they became the victim of a fungus, and the plants never yielded any fruit.

 I will try again, more determined, next year. But until then, I am more than content imagining how I can carve this beauty. 

First pumpkin, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall comes to Forest Lawn Cemetery

 This past weekend, I visited Forest Lawn again. Unlike trips of the past, where my intentions consisted only of wandering the cemetery, walking among the stones and finding new monuments and areas to photograph, this visit had a more specific purpose.

 I was looking for my great-grandparents' grave. My mother mentioned this to me the week earlier, and I was, of course, absolutely interested on where these relatives of mine were in the great cemetery. I've visited Forest Lawn so many times, but I'd never gone with the intention of finding a specific grave site.

 And so I set out on Saturday afternoon with my partner. The people at the office were extremely helpful, looking the names up on what appeared to be a DOS based system, and then going to a very large, very old, very heavy and very informative bound book of maps of the cemetery's different sections. I did not know what to expect, or guess where they could be. The woman at the desk gave me directions on the larger map of the cemetery to the section they were in, and a blown up guide of the section, with varying, possibly larger stones and monuments marked, in the hope I could use them to find my way to where my grandparents were.

 On our way I came across some interesting items of note. Autumn had begun to shine in the cemetery. Early fallen leaves crowded some of the roadways, and these gorgeous few leaves had begun to burn a bright orange red near section D, where my relatives were.

 I hadn't expected it to take long, but it began to take longer than I felt it should have. I took about 10 minutes to realize I was looking at the section map from the wrong angle, and once figured out, another ten to realize where the graves marked on the map where. I made my way through what I thought was a direct line to where my relatives should be... And I found a tree. A large tree, which literally encompassed several stones. Markers laid in the ground, toward the base of the tree, were almost covered with age and earth, and two stones stood back, behind the leaves.

 Around the tree, several stones I had to feel to read, as time had worn so much of the inscriptions away, appeared to have circa 1800 dates, and I began to wonder if my great-grandparents were among these older, nameless graves.

I was walking to the front of the section when I spotted their names, and found them.  By their own tree, in this older section of the cemetery, with decidedly unique designs and structures to their stones. A rough, well preserved, coral-like boarder lines their stones, and I have to say I've never quite seen something like that before. Their urn had a wildly strong weed growing out of it, and at the base, had a green plant which easily may have been planted when the stones were made. I intend to go back and clean up the urn a bit, perhaps put a new, fall-hearty plant in there. I snapped dozens of photos of my great-grandparents stones, and also of the surrounding area. I'm always fascinated that there are so many areas of the cemetery I haven't been in, and the unique beauty that lies within.

 You may view my photo album of the trip here.

Forest Lawn, 09-10-11 (Start of Fall, Trietleys)