A flash of color.

A young friend of mine, who may or may not be bipolar, recently described one feature of depression as a dimming of the colors. Though I’d never thought about it that way before, I was immediately struck with the truth of the statement … in both a literal and figurative sense.

Today I snapped a photo simply because I actually noticed the depth and vibrancy of the colors:

20151118 hp november colors

To find and notice color in mid-November, in Minnesota, is a good thing, especially on a rainy day.

(And, by the way, it’s a miracle that we’ve only had rain and not snow … a miracle that I appreciate very much.)

When I uploaded the above image from my phone to my PC, I noticed a backlog of unnamed, unsorted, un-posted files, including the following shots, which I took almost exactly a month ago, at the height of leaf season:

I took the photographs because I could objectively see how lovely the colors were, and I had good intentions of posting them somewhere, but I don’t think I ever did.

Isn’t it funny how that drab view of a clump of wet sticks caught me by the heart today and inspired this quick post, when that golden tree failed to move me to action just a month ago?

Maybe I’m coming out of the worst of this thing … though I am tired of resolving to feel better, so today I’m just letting whatever happens happen. Instead of fighting, I’m trying to make peace with my black dog.

This blog hiatus I’m on was actually planned. By mid-October, I knew I was going to need a break as soon as Halloween was out of the way. (November is a terrible month for a paranormal-themed blog anyway.) I did intend to come in and made some kind of announcement about taking November off, but I didn’t quite make it before I crashed. So this is that belated announcement. I may be back before December, but right now I’m not really planning on resuming regular posting (or being much engaged with social media) until then.

And on that awkward note, I’m out for now. My Ogre has come home and we’ve got plans to go stock up on soda while the prices are low.

(Hey, I’m a little surprised I decided to write anything, to be honest. The words aren’t coming easily at all lately.)


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Oct 26-Nov 1


Danse Macabre

recommended by Joanna Wagner at Danse Noir

This week, I’m most excited about:


For this installment of M&M Media, I looked for stuff that seems particularly appropriate to this very special week. At Netflix, I’m concentrating on the best scary films that are currently available on streaming.  Many of them are classics, others are more recent entries into the macabre & mysterious genre. (Click on the linked title to add the film to your Netflix streaming queue or to watch straight from your desktop.) When it comes to television, I’m highlighting nostalgic programming. See the TV listing info provided and set your DVR appropriately.

Speaking of retro, check out THREE fabulous Halloween safety videos, over at Patrick Keller’s Big Seance blog.




Note: there’s a big difference between the R rating of today (which usually indicates a lot of blood and gore) and the R rating of classic horror (which usually indicates adult themes.) There’s something telling about that, isn’t there?

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) R

On IMDb here.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) NR

On IMDb here.

The Omen (1976) R

On IMDb here.

The Fly (1958) NR

On IMDb here.

Metropolis (1927) NR

OLD school sci fi.
On IMDb here.

Children of the Corn (1984) R

Perfect if you’ve got a trip to a corn maze planned for later in the week :)
On IMDb here.

Laura (1944) NR

Not remotely horror, rather noir suspense / mystery. If you haven’t seen it, and it you want something involving but not scary, per se, give Laura a go.
On IMDb here.

Barbarella (1968)

This is one I have not actually seen. After watching the trailer, I’m not really inclined to change that. All I can say is WOW. Interestingly, Netflix says it’s R, while IMDb days it’s PG.
On IMDb here.

ghost stories & hauntings

The Others (2001) PG-13

A pretty gentle ghost story, nice if you don’t want much blood or gore.
On IMDb here.

The Awakening (2011) R

On IMDb here.

Dream House (2011) PG-13

I’m sharing a short clip here, because the actual trailer really spoils the movie. This movie is somewhere between horror and drama. I loved it, but it is sad.
On IMDb here.

The Sixth Sense (1999) PG-13

Pretty sure everyone has already seen this on, but sometimes it’s fun to let a  classic play while one’s attention is on other things, like carving pumpkins, or putting final touches on costumes or decorations.
On IMDb here.

Housebound (2014)  NR

I’ve raved about this movie before. If you haven’t seen it yet, it really is great fun (and well written) and quite spooky to boot. (A bit of gore but that’s not the point.) It’s more understated than the the trailer suggests.
On IMDb here.

The Pact (2012) R

A great haunted house story with a female lead character who isn’t an idiot.
On IMDb here.


Let the Right One In (2008) R – Original Swedish Version

Yes, it’s subtitled. I think this is superior to the American remake, in part because the kids seem more like kids, which is creepier.
On IMDb here.

Byzantium (2012) R

Not the easiest  or most straightforward film, but lovely in its own way. This is a real drama wrapped in a real vampire story. It’s a bit annoying in some parts, but overall, I think it’s worth the time it takes to watch it.
On IMDb here.

The Corpse Bride (2005) PG

Tim Burton doing his thing. 
On IMDb here.

V/H/S (2012) R

An anthology style film with a lot of fans. Some segments are better than others. Note that R rating. It’s earned.
On IMDb here.

Silence of the Lambs (1991) R

Another that you’ve probably seen, and perfect for background ambiance. 
On IMDb here.

We Are What We Are (2013) R

A darkly beautiful, slow burner. Yes, it is about what you think it is, so no surprise there, but the performances and the atmosphere are memorable.
On IMDb here.

The Addams Family (1991) PG-13

My favorite love story ever.
On IMDb here.

Nightbreed (1990) R

This is fantasy, not horror. Very Clive Barker. Very 1990.
On IMDb here.

Stonehearst Asylum (2014) PG-13

A fairly faithful retelling of the Poe tale, The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether (You can read the short story at this link.) Lovely to look at. Kate Beckinsale, Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine. This is a great movie for anyone who doesn’t want grue & violence but does want something macabre & mysterious. Again, I’m sharing a clip rather than the trailer which gives away the plot. (What’s up with that anyway?)
On IMDb here.

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) R

I’ve recommended this before. A brave, absolutely stunning performance here by Jill Larson, who plays the title character. The first 2/3 of the movie is the best … really, really creepy.
On IMDb here.

Twixt (2011) R

A surreal, beautiful film. A bit of a challenge, and (as is so often the case) it devolves toward the end. There’s some sharp, witty moments in the writing … especially about writing. Quirky. I love it for the look and feel more than the story.
On IMDb here.



(Check you cable/satellite provider directory,  or go here to search for it. You probably have this channel which features retro TV shows. I’ve shared the original air date, but most of us saw these in syndication.)

Svengoolie presents “Frankenstein”

James Whale’s 1931 horror masterpiece for Universal Pictures returns in a gorgeous new print. See Boris Karloff’s monster in crisp detail. What better flick to put on for Halloween night?

See it on MeTV on October 31 at 10PM | 9C



Original air date: October 7, 1963

 Beware that old Rimshaw house! Opie and his pal hit a ball into the decrepit manor. They hear eerie noises inside. Andy sends Barney and Gomer to investigate, and those two get spooked as well. We won’t give away the ending, but anyone who’s watched Scooby Doo can surmise it’s not supernatural.
See it on MeTV on October 30 at 9PM | 8C.



Original air date: October 31, 1963

 This early episode, the sixth overall, has a premise that seems unlikely to modern ears: The Clampetts have never heard of Halloween. The new Beverly Hills residents make the rounds to meet neighbors and are delighted to earn candy along the way.
See it on MeTV on October 30 at 8AM | 9C.



Original air date: October 21, 1978

 Thirteen black cats jump from a van in front of Ponch, kicking off an array of lighthearted Halloween capers. The saddlebags are filled with candy and costumed kids — sporting some great boxed Ben Cooper costumes of the era — are about. It all makes for one of the most enjoyable CHiPs outings.
See it on MeTV on October 30 at 6PM | 5C.



Original air date: October 29, 1974

 The gang sports some great costumes here. Richie wears a classic skeleton suit, like the punks in The Karate Kid. Ralph is Alfred Hitchcock. Potsie is a superhero. Fonzie is, well, the Fonz with a mask. At one point, Joanie tells Richie that it looks as if, “Bela Lugosi sucked all the blood out of you!” Learn how Fonzie bobs for apples.
See it on MeTV on October 30 at 9PM | 8C.



Original air date: March 22, 1977
Laverne and Shirley and Lenny and Squiggy head to a supposedly haunted Ramsdale Manor for a couch. Shirley warns, “Beware the legend of the Ramsdale Hairy Thing!”
See it on MeTV on October 30 at 9:30PM | 8:30C



Original air date: November 1, 1982

Just as Cheers was starting, George Wendt appeared as a guest on this late M*A*S*H— as a Private with a pool ball stuck in his mouth. Again, there are some fantastic costumes here, perfect for a deep reference for your next Halloween party. Hawkeye is Superman, BJ is a clown, Hot Lips is a geisha, and Potter is a cowboy. A psychologist would have a field day with those decisions.

 See it on MeTV on October 30 at 7:30PM | 6:30 C



Original air date: November 1, 1962
The wonderful Ellen Burstyn is in the horror hall of fame for her role in The Exorcist, a genuinely disturbing film. A young Burstyn plays a part in this Halloween mystery, too. Saying any more might give away whodunnit!

See it on MeTV on October 28 at 9AM | 8C.



In  “Monsters and Junk Like That,” father Steve is stuck wearing a costume of a Tin Man.

See it on October 30 at 6AM | 5C.


Elsewhere on the airwaves:

On History

The Real Story of Halloween 

 “A look at how our modern-day Halloween traditions have ancient roots.”

See it on Oct. 27 at 4PM | 3C OR Oct. 31 at 6PM | 5C



American Experience: “War of the Worlds”

“Recalling the 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” by Orson Welles and his “Mercury Theater on the Air” crew, which occurred on Mischief Night. Some listeners believed the program’s account of a Martian invasion to be true and panicked due to the format, which featured “reporters” breaking into “regular programming” with realistic accounts of an in-progress attack. Included: remarks from film historian Peter Bogdanovich; and Welles’ daughter, Chris Welles Feder.”

See it on Oct. 27 at 8PM | 7C

Secrets of the Dead: “Vampire Legend” 

This episode follows a group of scientists as they uncover ‘deviant’ burials dating back to medieval England, pointing to a belief that the dead could rise from their graves. Predating Eastern European legend, these discoveries force a reexamination of modern vampire lore. The show features an interview with a modern-day vampire slayer, who, for the first time publicly, gives his account of the vampire-slaying ritual.”

See it on Oct. 27 at 9PM | 8C



It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

“An hour-long special that includes the original Peanuts classic and the bonus cartoon “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown.”

See it on Oct. 29 at 8PM | 7C


On FXX (Look up your channel here.)

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

“All 25  episodes air in consecutive order.”

Oct. 31 from 12PM-12:30AM (Central time:11AM-11:30PM)



Wicked City | ABC | Tuesdays | 10/9c | Oct 27

Ash vs Evil Dead | STARZ | Saturdays| 9/8c (?) | October 31


Find links to (nearly) all featured Macabre & Mysterious Media here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

One week until Halloween 2015!

2015 1 week til halloween

Another week has flown by. I hope you all are having a great season so far.

I’m still not at 100%, but today I’m heading out for a whole day with a friend. Our plan is to go hunting at the Goodwill, then drink too much coffee and talk our heads off on a patio somewhere, (if the sun will come out!) then, after dark, venture into the Alchemist bar.

alchemist with tenders

A shot from the day Ogre & I discovered it.

Here at the blog, great photos are still coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. Time is running out for participating in this year’s hunt. It’s a perfect weekend to print off a list and go out taking pictures for an artist date (solo) or a game (with friends.) Now’s the time to catch all the fall colors and decorations, while they are in full-bloom (so to speak.) I’d love to display your results.

Here’s this week’s cross stitch project progress photo:

cross stitch 1 week until halloween

I’m almost done … except for those bleeping black areas. To complete it, I’ll need a bright, sunny day. Because I’m old. (Black on black is a challenge for 40-something eyes.) Meanwhile, I’m designing my next project … which I think will be a sampler. Gotta tell you, I’m a bit shocked I’ve actually made so much progress in about five weeks.

What have you been doing to celebrate the season?

Two weeks until Halloween 2015!


2015 2 weeks til halloween

Another week has flown by. What have you been doing to celebrate the season?

Me? I’ve been having a bad spell. It seems inevitable that I will go down for the count at some point every October, and this has been that week. I’ve been sleeping a lot more than usual. I’ve been watching movies and catching up on TV shows. I’ve been cross stitching … kind of obsessively.

My son turned 20 this week(!) so we had some guests over and ate more pineapple upside down cake than is reasonable. We also managed an outing to the pumpkin farm / petting zoo that we have visited so often in the last decade or so. (When we were home schooling, we used to take his lessons there so he could spend the day working near the goats and chickens, usually with a cat in his lap.) This week, we were very aware that it was probably our last trip to the farm.

Yeah. I’ve got some melancholy going on.

Here at the blog, great photos are still coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. (I’m going to have to take a day when I feel more up to it to go out and get a bunch of pics for my own album.)

Here’s this week’s cross stitch project progress photo:

cross stitch 2 weeks until Halloween


Don’t forget to check out my daughter’s cool Halloween buttons, there’s still time for them to arrive so you can hand them out at Halloween.

I hope you all are having a great season so far.

If you need a little boost to get into the mood of things, consider watching some recommended movies (Halloween, Ghosts, Iconic) and/or taking some seasonal photos.

Three weeks until Halloween 2015!

2015 3 weeks til halloween

Another week has flown by. What have you been doing to celebrate the season?

Me? Honestly, It’s been a bit of a lost week for me. (Been writing, writing writing.) Today, Ogre and I (and our dog) went off on on a little adventure, but nothing scary came of it …we just saw a lot of pretty leaves as we drove 150 miles north to buy some candy, then turned around to drive straight home :)

Here at the blog, lots of great photos are coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. (I’m working on my personal album there too, but I’ve got some work to do if I want to make a respectable showing.)

I just published a catalog of the Halloween buttons my daughter makes and sells at her Etsy shop, Pooka Creations. (The 2015, limited edition, Halloween Hero buttons are now available!)


Have a look and order something from her … it will impress her that her mom can bring in some business for her :)

Other than that, I’ve been stealing some time to work on my cross stitch project.

cross stitch 2

at 3 weeks until Halloween

cross stitch 2

at 4 weeks until Halloween – for comparison

Cross stitching takes a LONG time … especially when you’ve brilliantly decided to use black silk on black canvas!

This week, I think I’ll be pulling out our boxes of Halloween decorations. The time has come to sort through what we have and decide what will be moving with us to North Carolina. (With any luck, next year I’ll be celebrating in the same state as my favorite Halloween Buddy, my baby-girl.) I suspect I’ll have to carve a fresh Jack O’ Lantern, though the one from last weekend is holding up surprisingly well. I think my boy and I will be going to a pumpkin farm / petting zoo for his birthday. (Nostalgia demands it. He practically grew up there, because it was very close to our old house.)

I hope you all are having a great season so far. If you are having trouble getting into the mood of things, consider watching some recommended movies (Halloween, Ghosts, Iconic) and/or taking some seasonal photos.

Fun, 1 inch, collectible, buttons for Halloween!

Regular readers know that my creative and talented daughter has an Etsy shop where she sells original designs on 1″ collectible buttons.


BTW, a one inch button is about the size of a quarter. Thanks to the movie Office Space, many of us think of these little gems as “flair.”

Pooka’s buttons can be purchased in a pin-back style ($1.25) or as a magnet ($1.75). (Oh, I almost forgot that she now offers key chains too, for $3.)

The magnets can be used to decorate any metal surface, of course, but they can ALSO can be worn in a pendant (which Pooka Creations sells.) Here’s a video I made about it a couple of years ago, that shows how it works. (I think all the designs shown in the video are still available.)


Just last night, Pooka listed this year’s limited edition Halloween Hero button for the 2015 season.


Does that look familiar? She chose this year’s design in honor of my cross stitch project.

I have written about Halloween Heroes in the post, Twisted Ding Dong Ditch (Reverse trick-or-treating the Halloween Heroes).

At the Pooka Creations shop, My girl describes the intent behind these buttons, and why she began to make them. Here’s an excerpt:

On Halloween 2013, I went through neighborhoods looking for thirteen houses that had decorated fabulously and were handing out candy to kids. I gifted each of those houses with a special “Halloween Hero” button I had made just for the occasion, and I thanked each of them for keeping my favorite holiday alive and well. I thought others may enjoy collecting these designs for themselves, or may want to hand them out to awesome Halloween Heroes in their own neighborhoods.



Now seems a fine time for me to share a selection of my daughter’s Halloween-appropriate wares. There’s plenty of time for you to order some as tokens for the Halloween Heros you know, or to choose some favorites, from all of her designs, to be special hand-outs on Halloween night.

Pooka Creations is known for careful craftsmanship, quick shipping, and helpful (and charming) customer service. (Check out her nearly-200 five-star reviews.)

Aside from the designs shown in the video, here are a few that I think are especially appropriate for the folks who find their way to this blog:

Then there’s the special things:

pooka creations steampunk set

… and this REALLY special thing:


This post-apocalyptic styled necklace is the first piece she’s offered that branches away from her beloved buttons.

(… Well, the SECOND piece, really, because the first one already sold.)

Clicking on any of the stand-alone images in this post will whisk you to Pooka Creations,

where you can browse through even more designs and place your order.

Otherwise, click the following link to go to the shop’s main page.



Boundaries: a chain link veil.

Maybe it’s the season, but the moment I saw this week’s photo post theme, I knew I wanted to take a shot of a fence around a cemetery. Halloween is, after all, when “the veil between the living and the dead” is at its thinnest.


By the way, I went in search of the source of that phrase and couldn’t find it. I was expecting it to be attributed to a poet or a mystic, but it seems the concept is so old, and so widespread, that no one knows its origin. If any of you happen to know more about when and where the idea was born, please drop me a comment.


Find all my photographic projects at Haunting Photos (there’s also a link in the blog header.)

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click here to visit the Post a Week home.

Here are some of my favorite entries for boundaries  from others:

(I’ll add more as I have time to browse, so feel free to check back.)

kittensDusk, the Languorous BoundaryFences and Fear Makes Good Boundaries | Eiffel Tower | rock wall in the autumn woods |  On the Other SideAuschwitz Birkennau | especially the cemetery wall | 9 gorgeous shots | I don’t know what to call this – just click | storm | islet in a sea of clouds | narrow rock path into fog | Jack O’ Lantern guard? |  cannon | Autumn in South Korea | The Great Wall of China | black skimmers | chocolates | 3 boundaries in Cornwall | Venice | baby in a basket | gator boundary | in North Carolina | haiku | public nudity prohibited | sphynx cat | of the same mind | sun breaking through clouds | sun breaking through clouds too | sea, sky and sand … and a rainbow | framed flowers | a ha-ha ditch explained | windswept | child pondering fence | seasonal wall | especially the Sleepy Hollow cemetery shot | mirror | a wall for each vine! | sparklers | six word story | typewriter | of the same mind II |


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