Episode 028

Our 4th Halloween episode, this time we have fiction from Orrin Grey & Ambrose Bierce. In addition we look at the life of clairvoyant Marinus B. Dykshoorn.

Marinus B. Dykshoorn, passed away last month. He was believed to have gift from a very early age that went beyond clairvoyance. At his funeral guests came forth with stories of his miraculous healing powers, powers he’d expressly asked them not to reveal. Dykshoorn also assisted police with various investigations and unearth buried treasure, but through it all he chose to keep a relatively low profile.

Ambrose Bierce was born in Ohio in 1842. No one is quite sure when he died or what became of him. It’s theorized he died in 1914 or 1915 before a firing squad loyal to Poncho Villa’s army, but there are conflicting reports. Between Ohio and a shallow grave in Mexico, Bierce fought for the North in the Civil War, rose through the ranks, suffered a head wound, distinguished himself repeatedly by serving three tours and returning to his brigade after his injury. He was granted the honorary title of brevet major for his service.

After the military, he worked in journalism, and in 1871 at the age of 29, his first short story was published. After a stint in England, and a brief period working as an agent tasked with fighting off thieves attempting to rob mining company shipments, he settled in the San Francisco area. Here he returned to magazine work. It’s during this time Bierce begins the penning the satirical definitions that would later become his most famous work, The Devils Dictionary.

Several books follow, many of which include supernatural tales that have gone on to become classics and continue to exert their influence. In 1913 he crosses into Mexico and that’s about the last thing any one is sure of.

This isn’t near all the interesting bits of Ambrose Bierce’s life, remarkable as it may sound. He was a character of history, beyond his literary contributions to both satire and the weird tale. I’ll end with a quote from the man.

“A writer has ever present consciousness that this is a world of… fools and rogues, blind with superstition, tormented with envy, consumed with vanity, selfish, false, cruel, cursed with illusions, and frothing mad.”

I read a short vignette by Bierce called “John Mortonson’s Funeral,” first Published in 1906.

Orrin Grey, (pictured at the left) is a rising talent in the realm of supernatural horror. His appearances in the anthologies Bound For Evil, Historical Lovecraft, The Mothman Files, Candle In The Attic Window and others earned him his first collection of short stories. Never Bet The Devil and Other Warnings, is due in the first quarter of 2012 from Evil Eye Books. Grey will be co-editing his first anthology next year, not yet titled, the collection will focus on fungal monsters.

Orrin reads his vignette, “The Big, Dark House By The Sea.”

Additionally, Orrin has a great little essay regarding his take on supernatural horror over at Strange Horizons. For more information about Orrin Grey’s work you can find him at orringrey.com

Music this time from…

SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES
TOM WAITS
JILL TRACY
METAL CHURCH
FANTOMAS
SHINJUKU THIEF
THE CHURCH
THE DAMNED
ATRIUM CARCERI
CARPATHIAN FOREST
THE CRAMPS
TRIAL
KING DIAMOND
THE ROHAN THEATRE BAND

Episode 028 – Spookatorium

You’ve got pumpkin on your breath,

Prof. Gruntsplatter

Waterboarding Spirits

During the previous run of the show  I gave a fair amount of coverage to the increasing number of exorcisms finding their way into the news. While the Vatican seemed to be devoting some real resources to it, I also looked at the secular concept of spirit release promoted by a small faction of the psychiatric community.

A recent story from Japan, points to a sect of Buddhism, Nakayamashingoshoshu, also interested in purging evil. In this case via bastardization of the “waterfall rite” known as takigyo. The victim, Tomomi Maishigi, a thirteen year old girl had a history of health concerns, both mental and physical, that doctor’s were not able to bring under control. Her father enlisted the help of Kazuaki Kinoshita, a monk. Kinoshita determined the Tomomi was possessed by evil spirits.

She was belted into a chair where water was dropped on her face from a pump 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) above her. This was an established apparatus at the temple where she was “treated,” indicating she likely wasn’t the first to undergo such a thing.  She was subjected to this over 100 times, before it killed her. She died of suffocation after losing consciousness in the chair.

A spokesperson for Nakayamashingoshoshu’s main temple indicated both the binding of the subject and use of the rite as a means of exorcism is not its intent. It is rather a means of helping one bring their wishes into reality. The participant is meant to endure the ritual standing and the water is not delivered to their face. Whether that is the case, or this exposed a process they would have preferred to keep secret, a 13-year-old girl is dead because she was believed possessed.

Here’s a video of a more traditional application of the rite. It’s easy to see how this could go sideways under the influence of someone with bad ideas.

Spookatorium 027

Holy Cats! After three years in the ground the Spookatorium has returned.

In this episode we look at Cotard’s Syndrome a psychological affliction where the sufferer believes themselves to be dead, missing organs or simple non-existent. We’ve got some publishing news from Gray Friar Press, Dark Regions Press, Tartarus Press and the new Phantasmagoria Journal. Then it’s into the catacombs beneath Paris, and a secret workshop in the dome of the Pantheon with UX and arguably secret society urban explorers and preservationists.

Author Richard Gavin speaks on the ideas behind his bleak tale In The Shadow Of The Nodding God from his collection Omens published by Mythos Books, and gives a reading of his vignette Notes On The Aztec Death Whistle. In addition to Omens, Richard has two other collections of short stories available Charnel Wine & The Darkly Splendid Realm are available from Dark Regions Press.

Music this time

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
WESTERING
RASPUTINA
PAIN TEENS
CELTIC FROST
PHALLUS DEI
FAITH & THE MUSE
SLOPPY SECONDS
GOATVARGR
GOD BULLIES
ABANDONER & ANGEL OF DECAY
MALARIA!

Professor Gruntsplatter’s Spookatorium 027

Tell your friends, warn your neighbors!

Prof. Gruntsplatter

Update

Well, I didn’t make my goal of the 23rd, which will remain the target date each month. With the return of the show the lead time was a little shorter than it will be going forward, and there were more cats to herd out of the gate. The show will be up sometime on Sunday, and I think it is a pretty good one.