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The sinister, scarred visage leered at Mary as she cowered in the darkened hall, her hand held firmly over her mouth.

“Now, next time I see you, missy, you better have a fat wad of bills in your hand to give me, or else…you’re gonna work off your debt to me lying on your back, if you know what I mean. I’m the fellow around here that protects vulnerable young things like yourself; lot of bad men around here just itching to take advanage of a sweet young thing like you! I know, because I happen to be one of ‘em!”

He put his grizzled, leering face close to hers, so she could smell the cheap whiskey on his breath. His face looked like a hundred miles of rough road, old and battered,a nd his teeth were broken. His eyes were bloodshot and full of insanity.

“Oh, oh you monstrous man, I can’t believe what you’ve just said to me!”

She pounded him on the chest with one of her thin, white wrists, but he was like hitting solid brick. He laughed, grabbed her wrist, and snarled, “Well, looks like we have a might fiesty filly right here. Well, looks like someone’s got to break you in, teach you some manners> I reckon that someone will have to be me!”

He grabbed her wrist and twisted. With a wrenching cy she broke away from him, running down the dim hall back to her room, withhis booming footfalls and laughter echoing behind her. She slammed the door, flung herself on her bed,a nd began to cry. In a few moments, she got up, wiping her tears from her eyes,a nd walked over to the window. She parted the filmy drapes, looking up and down the cold dusty street for some sign of her husband.

Her husband had brought her, like some grim hostage of fortune, here to Skagway, Alaska, an inhospitable, rough and tumble town that had caught “gold fever” quite recently, transforming almost over night into a filthy, lawless but undeniably bustling and excited boom town of men, both young and old, come to seek their fortune.

And would they ever find it? Not all of them, she knew But her husband had been so determined, and it meant so mych to him, she didn’t feel she could refuse. He had gone off and left her at this forsaken hotel, the “Golden North,” with a promise that he would return a wealthy man. But that had been some time ago, before she had gotten sick.

She dreaded tonight; she knew the saloon downstairs would be bustling with drunken, leering oafs, like the degenerate wretch that had just tried to accost her. The piano music and drunken singing would float up from below, a dull rumble, and the painted hussies in their finery would strut around the room, hangin off of the rough, lusty men playing cards. It was no secret what THOSE women were really up to.

She coughed loudly into her kerchief. She drew it away from her mouth, looked at the spot of blood in the white center. Oh! she was terribly ill. Her wracking cough could be heard all day and night; she was certain it would disturb the other guests. (Of course, she also realized, many of them were too preoccupied with drink and gambling to much care about some woman coughing down the hall.)

What to do now about the threatening man she had encountered out in the hallway? Would he return to torment her? She didn’t know.

I’ll just stay inside her, until my husband returns, she thought to herself in desperation. Skagway was a den of criminality and vice now, such men as the one who had threatened her living and dying in the shadow cast by the new found mania for GOLD. Gambllng, prostitution, vice of every kind were as common as corruption. No, she could expect no help from the law.

She put her face in her pillow to stifle another cough. She had one friend in the entire establishment, a native Alaskan servant who brought her her meals. otherwise, she wouldn’t DARE to leave this room again, not until her husband returned.

If he ever did return.

***
Alas, a happy reunion was not to be.

The poor girl (we can call her, as a matter of convenience, “Mary”) grew more and more desperately ill, day by day, the pneumonia slowly draining the life out of her. She had no money to see a doco, and, even if she had, it is most unlikely he could have done much more than made her comfortable on her way to the casket. Finally, on a day unrecorded by history, she gave up the ghost. (Or, if later accounts are to be believed, the ghost more properly gave up her.)

The town of Skagway unceremnoiusly buried her in an unmarked grave. Perhaps her husband later found the location; we aren’t sure. Certainly, some city official, no matter the level of apathy and corruption, would have been kind enough to take the unfortunate man to the grave site, so he could get some closure.

The young husband cursed himself. Oh why! he fumed; why had he been so cursed with rampaging greed? (Cultured snobs and movie afficianadoes will recognize the faint hint of the themes that drove Erich Von Stroheim’s silent movie epic Greed (1924), a movie based entirely on the novel McTeague by Naturalist novelist Frank Norris. In that sorry tale, a man lets his greed for his wife’s squandered lottery ticket drive him to insanity and ruin. Culminating, as it were, in the murder of his wife. But I digress.)

The young man left Alaska a pale, wan shadow, vowing never to return, and is lost to the rest of this narrative.

His wife, however, decided to remain at the location of her untimely demise, a resident spirit prowling the creaking floorboards, and dim, shadowy halls of the tottering old hotel. As of the early Nineties, the Golden North still stood, an historic reminder of the short-lived “Boom Era” of old Skagway.

Visitors to haunted Room 23 (and we could write an essay on how often that particular number crops up in stories of the unexplained!) often complain of a suffocating feeling when entering the room, as if their lungs have been dipped in cotton, or the air pressure is conspiring to choke the life from them…

And they complain of weird sobs and howls, and we’re sure, many other unsettling anomalies as well.

Room 23 is never rented out to guests. Mary is the permanent resident there, often seen looking out the window by credible witnesses, still searching apparently, for her long-dead husband to come riding home.

My horror novel Buried, available in a beautiful paperback pocketbook edition. Based on the real-life true crime case of Otto Carl Tanzler, a.k.a “Count Von Cosel,” a man who lived and slept with the dead for FIVE LONG YEARS. a horrifying masterpiece!

To get YOUR copy of Buried, purchase at Amazon!

Click Link Here

New interview from Sunday April the 13th. Scroll down.

Episode # 7 Here (scroll down)

Website:Paranormal Talk Radio

CeelyRose

It’s an old, familiar tale: unrequited love. Notorious for its propensity to drive people to desperate acts, how much more desperate could it render the frustrated lover if that individual happened o be the proverbial “woman scorned”?

Picture if you will an ungainly young woman standing, in forlorn loneliness, at the edge of an old field, watching the sun set on what seemed (or, for all practical purposes was) the constricting boundaries of a sober, boring, loveless existence. (We have managed to locate one image of this protaganist, and, indeed, she was never going to win by any standards of earthly comeliness.)

The sunset might have painted her face fresh, might have illuminated the beads of trickling sweat and few bitter tears as they rolled down the heavy jowls and dripped off of the doughy chin. What to do to end this suffering?, the poor creature must have thought to herself often.

This young woman, who lived in Lucas, Ohio in the good year 1896, was Ceely Rose. Poor Ceely was never, in all her life, to know many happy days. Alas.

To begin with, the troubled young woman was, invariably, described as “slow.” Posh, she might have been the shame of her decent, hard-working, God-fearing family for all we know. Her mother suspicioned that her advanced age at the conception and birth of the girl might have had more than a passing influence on her seemingy poor intellectual faculties.

Today, Ceely would, most certainly have been treated with the kid gloves of state-regulated political correctness. In that bygone era, however, people were not as enlightened (nor were they inclined to fret, whine, and fume over so many things that cause consternation and concern today), and, they were also inclined to hold the victim of a condition as responsible as they were to take any sort of pity or have an overabundance of compassion.

(They might have considered the question posed to Christ by the Pharisees,”Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”)

Thus, she found herself shunned and alone. She did manage, however, to devleop an infatuation with “Guy”, the boy across the way. He was a stolid, hard-working chap, a fellow who could often be seen threshing the grain with his shirt off. Guy became the object of Ceely’s amorous fantasies of love and romance. Flattered and completely put off in equal measure, Guy was, perhaps, too kind to rebuff the advances of the tragic Ceely outright. Instead, he answered her increasing odd attentions with the polite lie that his family “did not approve” of their courtship, and that he was too terribly important to farm production to go courting much, anyway. Ceely was, understandably, stricken with despair.

She did not acquiesce, though, to the seeming vicissitudes of fate. She continued her hot, unwanted pursuit of the luckless Guy, to a point where, the two families finally coming to loggerheads over the whole, sordid affair, Ceely’s contemptuous father forbid her from ever hving anything to do with “courting” young Guy again.

Ceely became enraged. Psychopathically so.

It was perhaps a few days later that the family was served a healthy dollop of rat poison along with their cottage cheese.

Ceely, of course, was responsible.

The old man died the same night. The son, well, he lingered for a few days. The mother became quite ill, but, miraculously, recovered. (It was later thought by investigators that she must have eaten a lot less.)

Ceely’s mother, at this point, had figured out quite well what had transpired Miraculously (foolishly, as it later transpired), she found it whin herself to protect her young daughter from the suspicions of the law, who, nonetheless, found themselves stumped by the peculiarities of the two sudden deaths (but who must have known poisoning came from wither the mother or daughter).

Ceely’s mother soon fomented a plan to make tracks for another part of the country, more, it would seem, to protect her murderess daughter than herself. We can imagine the scene wherein Ceely was informed of this imminent departure.

The girl might have balled her fists up in rage, turned purple and red, and exclaimed, “No! I’m not going, and you can’t make me! I love Guy, and one day, when all is said and done, we’ll be married!”

“Ceely.” her mother begged, “please try and listen to reason! Why, if we stay around here, the law will surely begin to snoop around for evidence of your guilt! Ou only hope is to get far away from here, as far as we can, and hide our identities!”

So the woman who was almost killed by the daughter she was so desperately trying to protect, pleaded. But, it fell on deaf, burning ears.

Soon after, Ceely finally finished the job of poisoning her mother. (Why the seemingly imbecilic woman accepted food or drink from someone she knew was guilty of poisoning her husband and son is a matter at which we can only conjecture. Perhaps she had a premonition that Ceely, whom she must have loved as ony a mother can love such a child, would, eventually be her undoing. Perhaps she felt powerless to avert her fate, or felt that life had lost all meaning, and resigned herself to becoming a victim. Who can now say?)

Now the local authorities in Lucas KNEW with a certainty that Ceely had killed all three members of her own family. The trouble was: how to prove such an assertion? As mentally “slow” as she was rumored to be, a confession seemed unlikely. (Not well versed in the law am I, but, it seems to me that the circumstantial evidence alone would be more than sufficient to bing charges of murder. But I digress.)

Ceely did have a sort of grudging “friend” from school, a young woman whose family and herself were almost certain of Ceely’s guilt. She agreed to the authorities to performing the 1896 equivalent of “going undercover.” That is, she lured Ceely into the old barn during a seemingly friendly visit.

She invited her to lie down upon the hay. Both girls stared up at the loft above.

“I-I am in love with a boy,” Ceely’s friend began, innocently enough. “But my Pa says I’m not to see him. He says that that boy isn’t good enough for me.”

“Really,” answered the clueless Ceely. “That sounds just like what my Pa said about Guy. But, we’re going to be married soon, dontcha know?”

The other girl turned over on her side, smiled, said, “Sure. And I jsut know you and Guy will be so happy together. But, oh! What am I to do, Ceely? I just know it is love, true love! Yet, Pa and Ma just don’t seem to understand! Should I, should I run away?”

Ceely suddenly sat up, and her eyes became black, hollow voids, and she said, “No. Kill them! Kill them all! That’s what I did!”

“Oh, oh my! Ceely, you can’t be serious!” The other girl put her hands to her mouth in shock.

Unbeknownst to Ceely, the Sheriff and his deputies were hiding right outside the barn, listening to every word. In an action that almost certainly would have been legally challenged in THIS day and age, the lawmen swooped down upon the girl and promptly arrested her for the murder of her parents.

There was no question as to her guilt according to accounts, she didn’t dispute that at all. Instead, there WAS a question as to her culpability; after all, she was mentally impaired (her photograph suggests she may have suffered from what is now called Down Syndrome), and, thus, could the law really be called upon to exact vengeance against someone who, quite obviously, couldn’t comprehend the full scope and severity of what it is she had done.

(The attentive reader must certainly be asking themselves: Couldn’t she? She seemed fully capable in many other regards.)

It was finally decided to send her to one of the seething snake pits that passed for mental asylums in this unhappy, bygone days. This was, at first, the Toledo Asylum, and then she was transferred to an institution in Lima Ohio. Given what we know about the state of psychiatric care at the turn of the century, we can well-imagine the chamber of horrors Ceely was consigned to for the rest of her natural life.

The filth, bad food, cruelty, severe punishments…bizarre “treatments” that were little more than quackery and torture; these were all what one could expect in such grim, forbidding institutions in the days before social reformers worked to change conditions in mental hospitals and jails.

Ceely died in 1934. The grim old farmhouse wherein she committed her triple murders still stands, as part of Malabar State Historical Park. Of course, it is said by those traveling past the farmhouse that, very often, the image of a young woman can be seen staring out of the upstairs windows, looking out in death as she perhaps did in life; trapped, forevermore, behind the impenetrable barrier of GUILT and TIME.

Stuff from the last few days–
I haven’t been keeping up with this very well, but–
Staying in the old bedroom,
which opened up onto an exit out into the most dangerous neighborhood.
(There were a group of bikers or heavy metal road hogs hanging out at that exit. A motorbike trip. I go in, I go out. Next door, thugs are laughing and cutting up.)

Back inside,
and in a room off the hall is a strange wooden car
with globs of pink paint on it. Unfinished, I grab a can and start to go to town (with a big brush.)

–But someone says, “They only paint the surface. They leave the perspectives.”
Whatever.

I am lying in bed
with my Uncle staring down at me in disgust. I pretend to be asleep; he walks out on scissored legs. Immensely tall,
(he could be) some sort of angelic phantasm.
I stumble around the house; events transpire that I can’t quite remember
or wrap my head around.

Last night with J-R-. He stayed the night
in my new apartment, which is a series of architectural oddities –laid out like white blocks with low ceilings; walls are big, vacant white landscapes. He explains he couldn’t sleep the night before
–because of the unintelligible whispering.
He demonstrates this, looking like a baby chick with his mouth and nose stuck in the air. (Waiting for the worm, I suppose.)
I explain that this is simply the phantasm,
demonic haunting
or whatever.
This place is always accursed
whenever I find myself here.
He’s apparently married to L’s wife; she make an appearance
while we are watching a selection of heavy metal videos,
one of which prominently featured is by Nuclear Assault.
I see the face of the singer of Nuclear Assault on the screen;
I don’t like him.
–I don’t like his vocals.
I explain I am not so much into punk anymore,
that metal is better. L’s reminds me that
at a concert of Exodus and Testament, “how many people would show up?”
I say “about twenty thousand.”
I next find myself sleeping on a couch. I wake up, and both of them are gone. J-R- has disappeared with my tape of the Misfits and Ramones, (which was a bad bootleg.)
I go to the door
(everything is painted so sterile, stark white, but the door is falling off of its hinges and reveals that the place is really decrepit)
Coming up the stairs,
into the causeway–is a family of little urchins covered in dirt
and two women,
large and potato-shaped bodies suffocating under rolling dimpled mounds of fat–

–with a deformed dog that runs ahead. It has a tremendous sheaf of fur stuck up in the back that looks like two wings. OR,
the dog has been cut in half and surgically rejoined. (Which do YOU think is more likely?)

The dog comes up to the door snarling. He is skinnybare and brown mutt. I cower behind the screen.
Next.
***
…out on the streets of what seems to be a large campus. I go up to a group of waiting students, think I see J–. It is not him.
(It is a boy with a scrubby brown beard.)

Instead of a bus, a cab pulls up, and we all get inside. Clown car hijinks and frivolity ensues.
I am worried for a second because I am not sure I will have the money to pay for this. But then I look in my wallet, and, lo and behold, there is a HUGE wad of money in there I knew nothing about.

I am dropped off in front of the coffee bar,
which is run down and dilapidated.
I remark to a fellow sitting outside that they “sure are renovating the old place.”
But I can see through the broken windows (place looks as if it has been gutted by fire)
that two older women
in waitress outfits (out of an old episode of Alice)
are still fetching coffee.
After I globed paint on that curiously large wooden toy “car,” I went with m-ther
in search of a copy of the book
“Butterfly Revolution,” (by William Butler). Which I never finished in 1987. We go to a dingy, hole-in-the-wall little shop with wood-paneled walls, and I go inside.
Inside, there are a number of racks, metal magazine-style racks, with what looks to be collections of DVDs on them, or boxed sets of cheap, older titles
…One of them is a horror thing with Vincent Price and Lugosi,
I think.
Anyway, on the way out,
I run into a young German miss;
anyway, she is speaking German.
She looks at me
(she is dressed in a black vinyl jacket
and black stretch pants. Apple waist and as longish, dirty-blonde hair, worn in loose curls,
down the center of her back.), and
intones that she is happy they had so many good “vampire novels.”
Whatever.
Last night, I attended the funeral of the 14th Dalai Lama. Or,
maybe,
I was just watching a film of it.
Can’t quite remember now,
but do remember seeing his flat-pressed corpse face
and longish hair that had kept growing

after death.
Some Satanist is performing ritualistic passes over him with an athame. The whole thing is just strange,

–as narration intones obliquely.

eight-eight-eighty-eight

The kid stood at the curb of the street, his hands thrust into his pockets. He had scraggly blonde hair, black jacket and pants, black shirt. Around him, I could see the faint chalk outline of an invisible barrier. I knew it was a line I didn’t want to cross.

“Hey man,” he intoned, “Come on over here.”

His mouth was full with teeth; his lips were too bright red. I thought maybe he was wearing lipstick, makeup; he was quite pale.

“Hey man,” he smiled, and the smile was horrific. He looked as if he were chewing an immense wad of gum, but I make he was simply chewing his over sized tongue. Slight beads of sweat, or maybe chilling rain water, ran down his sunken cheeks. He smiled. (He smiled like a predatory animal.)

“Hey, little man, I got something… I want to talk to you about something.”

He thrust his hands into his pockets. I could see that they were balling and uncurling his fists. Around him, a kind of spiritual stink wafted. He smelled like rotten eggs, both figuratively and literally. I didn’t want to step into his sphere of influence; one move across the invisible barrier around him, and I knew I was toast.

“What are you afraid of? Hey, I’m talking to you, motherfucker!”

“What?” I turned, my eyes scanning the pale complexion, the sunken eyes, the mirthless, insane grin; that mouth full of teeth. Upstairs, I could hear the thunderclap of drums, the roaring of heavy distortion. A show was starting.

“Hey man, I’m just here for the band. I’m, I’m like their roadie…”

“Sure. But, come on over here, I got something I want to show you.”

“Man, I ain’t got time for bullshit. What, are you gonna whip out your prick?”

I opened the door, smelled heavy clove cigarette smoke wafting down from above. Piercing feedback looped downward into the void of the staircase, as my wobbly legs went up, up, up…

I could hear a murmur of voices under the noise; young voices. Kids anticipating hard rock deliverance. It was a small place on literal stilts, over a hot dog venue. It was about as big as a closet; it functioned, in its off-hours, as a record store. The owner was a severely socially-impaired man of questionable psychological stability. He rarely spoke, or even changed expression.

I knew they would be jammed in pretty tight up there tonight. I wasn’t sure the band, and, right now, I didn’t care. I just wanted to be away from the total bloodsucker that was standing, blocking the entrance.

The staircase suddenly seemed like a vast, supernatural ladder toward some forlorn fate. My legs felt like rubber; my feet were sinking in a miasma of glue. I went up, up; above me, a rectangle of light promised an escape from what seemed like a penetrating darkness enfolding me. I felt cold, all energy drained. I wondered if I would ever make it to the top.

I could hear the whoosh of the glass door being pulled open slowly, down there. I was almost to the top of the stairs, but it felt, strangely, like I was scaling a mountain. It was as if, the farther along I climbed, the farther away the top of the stairs receded from me, until I was looking up at them from some grave point in a swelling, enfolding hell darkness with no bottom and only (only) solitary egress. I turned, listening for heavy tred on the stairs.

The vampire was slowly following me up, his arms held strangely, stiffly, out by his sides. He looked as if his appendages had become petrified by rigor mortis. Perhaps he was the walking dead.

At any rate, I was standing with my heels to the stairs, petrified, grasping at the darkened wall, making my terrified way upward. I nearly fell several times.

All of the humanity had been sucked out of that pale figure with the too-red mouth and the limp blonde hair. The eyes were dun pits of morbid, soul-sucking evil. I fell backward, having finally reached the top.

He seemed to float upward, carried by some invisible darkness enfolded within himself, and I was sure that he was going to overtake me, coming down on top like some bird of prey closing in for the kill.

But he smiled and bypassed me entirely.

He turned into the main part of the record store, where the band was set up on the floor and the kids were crammed together in sweat and tension. Suddenly, above the chaotic din of the music, I suddenly heard piercing screams.

I turned looking past the florescent arc of the lighting into the swirling miasma of bodies spilling into the vestibule beyond. I could see commotion.

(What did Jim Morrison sing in that song, about when the music was over? You had to turn of the lights? Turn off the lights? Turn off the lights?)

“Dance on fire, till the end…”

I saw the crowd (the tiny crowd) convulse under the weight of a killing attack. My eyes reeled up in my head, and my heart throbbed, and I found myself standing in a torrent of blood as the demon raged (like a hungry dog, like a Tasmanian Devil from some low-rent cartoon, killing and killing and killing) with gay abandon.

A river of blood flowed beneath my sneakers. I could see mouths work uselessly, screams stifled, eyes bulging. But there was no escape from this rage. No end to this nightmare, except the only way out: Sudden, instantaneous death.

I moved forward on invisible wires, like a puppet drawn along by the hands of a sadistic puppeteer. I was in a dream-like stupor, shocked beyond being concerned about my own safety. It was a massacre the likes of which has rarely been equaled.

Broken bodies lay like discarded mannequins, in grim, bloody repose, while pools of fresh crimson puddled around them. The faces were invariably streaked red and white with the horror of their final moments, their eyes telling the testimony of their death throes. Hideous rictus’ of pain gripped their features. I was reminded of the death photo of bloody Bonnie Parker.

In the midst of it all, standing, frozen forever in that tortured moment of time, HE stood like a filthy thing cas tout from a nightmare, stinking of blood and covered in a sheen of human sweat and bood and skin. Flecks of hair dotted his full, bloated cheeks.

“I would like, if I may, to tell you a story.”

(He’s so humble and polite now, I thought madly.)

And I, too dumbfounded and in shock to reply, simply nodded my ascent.

He began:

“Once, in the frozen wastes of Alaska, long before the coming of the white man, a solitary tribe took their children to the igloo of the native elders, and left them there for several days, so that they could be educated. Do you follow? Hm? Do you?”

He approached me slowly, subtly, and I backed away just as slowly, afraid to turn my sight from his terrible countenance. The world seemed to have frozen to a point where, in the silence, all that could be heard were occasional dying groans and the glug-glug of trickling blood.

“The elders of the tribe stayed with the children during the day, but at night they departed, and the boys were left to fend for themselves. Ah yes, of course they were all boys. Naughty boys. At any rate, when the adults left them for the evening, they quickly got up to no good, and, stealing out of the igloo (which they were forbidden to do), they went across the frozen tundra, in search of a way to occupy their boredom.

“It just so happened that a little girl lived with her grandmother in an igloo nearby, and she often went out in the evening to gather wood. One night, as she was crossing the tundra back to her igloo with an armload of wood, she came across the naughty boys. They sneeringly began to taunt her, and knocked her armload of wood from her hands. She started to cry, and they laughed, saying, ‘Oh, what fun it is to abuse this little baby! Come, if she’s going to cry, let’s give her something to really cry about!’

“And with that they knocked her to the ground, and began to hurt her with sharp sticks, poking her until she bled. She twisted and turned on the cold, hard ground, crying out in pain. Finally, bored from their bullying, they threw down their makeshift spears, and took off into the night, giggling.

“The little girl rose, painfully, from the cold ground, wiping her tear-streaked face. She slowly began to collect her wood, and then walked, still sniffling, back to the grandmother’s igloo. When she got there, her grandmother took one look at her, and knew immediately that something bad had happened to her.

“‘Oh grandmother! wailed the little girl, –The bad boys from the igloo across the way have hurted me! They threw me down on the ground and poked me with sharp sticks until I bled’

“At this, the grandmother was outraged, and she began to curse the boys, and pull her hair, and she finally took some old ash from the fire, and wiping it about her eyes, exclaimed,

‘I will go over to that igloo in this ashy paint, and surely, that will scare them enough to teach them a lesson!’

“But, at this, the little girl began to laugh, and wiping tears fom her eyes, said, ‘Oh, grandmother, they are such mean boys that that wont scare them at all!’

“And the grandmother shouted and groaned, and, flying around the igloo, she finally settled on some colored paint, and, rubbing this about her face, said, ‘Now I will go over to the igloo of the bad boys, and I will surely frighten them and teach them a lesson!’

But the little girl just continued to laugh, saying, ‘Oh grandmother! They are such bad boys that that will not scare them in the least!’

And with that the grandmother began to race around the igloo looking as if she were about to explode. Suddenly, she grabbed an old piece of whale bone and, with a wild cry, began to cut grooves into her old, seamed face and down her stooped old form, until blood ran down onto the floor of the igloo. At this, the little granddaughter found herself too surprised to speak!

“‘Now!,’ said the grandmother exultantly, ‘I will go over to the igloo where the bad boys are staying, and I will crawl on my belly, and they will be so frightened that, surely, I will teach them a lesson they will never forget!’

“And, because the little girl now agreed with her grandmother that, indeed, she would frighten the little bys out of there wits and teach them a lesson they woumd never forget, remained silent, and merely stepped out of her grandmother’s way.

“Her grandmother fell to her belly, and began to crawl across the frozen ground, hissing like a serpent, sticking her tongue out, and trailing blood. When she finally got to the door of the little igloo, the bos, who heard her approach, looked out curiously. They suddenly began to panic and cry out, for they believed she was a monster!

“One of the boys shoved his fingers into a crack in the igloo. I suppose he thought, by securing himself in this way, the monster wouldn’t get him? He was wrong, though! the grandmother entered on her belly, still hissing like a snake, and reared up to her full, frightening height. Blood coursed down her body onto the ground, stainging the frosty earth, and her face was stil smeared in ash and paint.

“She reached over with one powerful, talon-like hand, and yanked the little boy’s fingers free from the wall. Then she raced around the igloo, driving all of the terrified little boys out of doors and into the freezing night.

“They disappeared into the howling darkness, the mad old woman driving them, like terrified sheep, forward. It was only later, when the horrified elders went searching for their young charges, that they found, high up in the cliffs of ice, the frozen blue bodies of the little boys. They had tied each other together so they wouldn’t get lost in the bitter wind and blinding gale. Now, they were like a frozen blue necklace of human death.

“As for the grandmother, she was never seen again. Legend has it she became a skin walker, or some sort of terrible ghost haunting the frozen wilderness, always in search of bad little boys to torment and drive to their own destruction. They say her face is hideous black, and that she trails blood as she goes.”

He looked down at his feet. He had stepped in a pool of black blood, his footprint standing out in scarlet distinction as he walked. He suddenly said, –But I exhaust you with my patter. You’ve seen enough for tonight.
I didn’t understand what he meant; but, at that point, I don’t think it really mattered. He disappeared like a flash of shadow, through the window, leaving me standing, dripping and alone, in the midst of so much death.

Family terrorized by giant rat. No foolin’


Like something out of that old horror movie with Peter Weller (Of Unknown Origin), or that other horror movie anthology with Emilio Estevez and Lee Ving (Nightmares), a family in Sweden found themselves under siege by a, dig it, FIFTEEN INCH RAT. A situation that would leave my own mind cracking. (I’ve actually seen such jungle-sized rats before, back in the Eighties, when I lived in Panama, Central America.)

Such animals are said to, at times, devour human babies in inner-city slums. I’m sure that’s probably true.

The old black man looked down at the courthouse steps. Below him, a crowd of murderous southern white folk had gathered hell bent on stringing Henry up by the neck until he was dead. The Sherriff, seeing that a lynching seemed imminent, had judiciously decide to move Henry up to the attic and bolt him in.

The Sheriff didn’t fancy the idea of a lynching; henry hadn’t even been arraigned yet.

“Scoundrel! Varmint! Bring him on down and let us deal with him!”

The angry crowd began to chant his name, saying thee sort of things…and even worse. Cursing and spitting and a vociferous shouting of many voices were drowned out only slightly by the closed window Henry looked down, his blood turning to ice.

Why did they want to kill him? Because he was black, and because they thought he burned down their precious courthouse?

That had been the third one built since the Yankees had destroyed the first one back during the war. Well, thought Henry, he was a free man now, because of them Yankees, but he was a marked one.

“Because I’m a black man,” he said to himself. “That’s the only reason they want to string me up without a trial.” Henry knew that, even if he was found innocent of the crime, he would most likely be lynched anyway. Of course, it was all Burkhardt’s doing; Henry knew he was going to take the fall for it anyhow. That’s why he had ran.

“Would have got away, too, if them Pinkertons hadn’t caught up to me.”

Henry looked out the window, at the ugly mob assemble below. He knew he wasn’t really any safer up here than he would be down in a regular cell; mobs like the one below had been known to bust into jail houses and take the occupants out, ripe for a hanging.

Suddenly, Henry had an impending vision of his own death.

It came on him instantly, filling his mind’s eye with the image lying on the attic floor in ruin. He suddenly felt rage move within him. He flung open the window, leaned out, addressed the angry crowd below.

They welled up in rage, but he shouted them down,
and they quieted so he could be heard.

“I know I’m a dead man. But I swares, before all that’s holy, that I’ll haunt you until the Day of Judgment! Do you hear me? I’m an innocent man, and if I’m to die tonight, you’re going to be looking at my face from now until the end of time!”

The crowd was momentarily cowed, before surging forward again, their angry voices swelling.

Henry suddenly looked skyward, noting the heavy, low storm clouds brewing. Lightening flashed.

A low, heavy rumble drowned out the noise from below. Someone below spotted something.

“Look! Smoke!”

Someone else said, “Didn’t lightening just strike?”

Another said, “I could have swore it went in at the window! But, maybe I’m just seeing things.”

The Sheriff was already pounding his way upstairs with a bucket of water, anticipating a fire. That silly lightening rod he had bought from the salesman didn’t seem to have done much of anything. He was terrified his jail might, indeed, be on fire after being struck by a bolt of lightening.

He flung open the attic door, his deputy right on his heels. The Sheriff looked around the room.

At first, he breathed a sigh of relief; the room didn’t seem to be on fire. There was sure something smoking up here though. That’s when the two men caught sight of the strange, blackened form lying on the floor.

They waved away smoke, coughing a little as they approached it. It was Henry, of course; he looked a if he had been burned alive.

“Oh my Lord,” choked the deputy. “He’s been struck by the lightening! Burned alive!”

The Sheriff tossed the bucket of water over the charred remains. But it was useless, of course.

“Well,” he said, putting his hands on his hips, “I guess that mob outside can go home now.”

The two men fell silent, and then the deputy said, “Sheriff, look!”

The Sheriff looked to where the deputy pointed. He slowly approached the still-open window. There seemed to be something peculiar about the glass, something he had never noticed before.

“Must have been the lightening what done it, Sheriff?”

The Sheriff clamped a gloved hand to his mouth in shock, then turned suddenly and asked, “What was it he yelled out just before? Something about us seeing his face…until the Day of Reckoning?”

Note His image, burned into the ancient glass, is still there. Of course, one could tell oneself that that is, indeed, the original glass, from the time of Henry Wells’ death. But how likely is that. A far more frightening possibility is that, no matter how often the glass is replaced, the vengeful image of Henry Wells ALWAYS reappears. And always will.

“What? You don’t understand my joke, huh? Schizophrenic, don’t really feel like myself. Makes perfect sense to me! Don’t look at ME like I’m an idiot.”

Last night, at some sort of strange party with a tall young man in a tuxedo. He is moving around the dance floor with the corpse of a plump, older woman attached to his neck. Her stiff, cadaverous arms are folded around his neck; her face is set in a comic-grotesque rictus of death.

He doesn’t want this. He wants MY woman, instead. He sits down on the couch, exhausted, sticks his tongue out at me. He is like a young, ugly version of Christian Bale. With an ungainly, undeveloped body, too, and a miasma of sweat crowning him like a halo.

(Where did he stash the body? He was wearing her like a cape.)

He says something to me I can’t quite catch. I respond with: “I’m not quite feeling myself today. But I’m schizophrenic, so I guess that’s understandable.”

He eyes me quizzically, not quite understanding the joke. This makes me unaccountably angry, and I get up, yelling– Tension electrifies the air. Someone comes out of a door behind me, tries to calm the situation down. He fails miserably.

Note: In light of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Malaysian passenger plane, we thought it might be time to post this.

The life and death of Amelia Earhart was a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

The Aviatrix, who mysteriously flew into a cloud bank to never again be seen, has been the subject of much speculation and controversy over the years. And little wonder: During her lifetime, Amelia distinguished herself in the then male-dominated world of aviation, being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, and intended to be the first woman to actually circle the world in an airplane before her mysterious final vanishing act.

Alas, Amelia made history for being The Woman Who Was Not There.

Apparently, that peculiar fame has followed her in death.

Amelia Earhart was born in Archison, Kansas on July 24, 1897. By all accounts she was a natural-born “tomboy” with no end to a love of climbing trees, riding horses, building forts, and talking with her friend “pudgy”. But it was the swirling, limitless skies that always entranced Amelia ear hart the most, and it was in the skies that her fate would eventually lie.

Amelia Earhart’s dreams lay, literally, in the clouds. The fairly new sport of aviation, at that time still a frontier ready-made for square-jawed pioneers of the sky to barnstorm to new heights, and go for new distances and speeds, beckoned to Amelia like a prop-driven siren song from her earliest days. Of course, at the time, a woman’s place was deemed to be, chiefly, in the kitchen, not in the airspace, and so Amelia found herself, often, bumping up against the male-dominated world of aviation like an angry bull determined to best a particularly noxious matador.

She would not be deterred by the prevailing sexist attitudes of the age. When Charles A. Lindbergh, a bonafide American hero, managed to become the first man to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, the entire country christened him a Living Legend (a role that, regrettably, would diminish in years, with his opposition to America’s entry into the Second World War), Amelia must have known, somewhere deep inside herself, that one day she must follow in his giant footsteps. Since Lucky Lindy’s Transatlantic triumph, fourteen other pilots, each trying to duplicate Lindbergh’s flying feat, had gone to a watery grave.

Amelia, while working in a military hospital as a Red Cross nurse, thrilled to the stories of derring-do delivered to her by injured and ailing military pilots, all of them male. At the same time, she was attending aerial barnstorming expositions, thrilling to the wonder of (some might say suicidal) stuntmen quite willing to climb out on the wings of their bi-planes and swoop over roaring clouds to breathless acclaim.

She finally moved with her family from Massachusetts to Los Angeles, taking a job as a telephone operator, but her heart was still in the air, and she finally took the initial step that would seal her fate and place in history, forever. She signed up for local flying lessons, at first being met with some amount of skepticism and resistance by the male veterans at the airfield. She didn’t let it faze her, and the skepticism on the part of her male colleagues slowly turned to respect and then to outright admiration, as Amelia turned out to not only be a competent pilot, but a veritable aeronautical genius in the making.

She not only knew how to fly, she knew her airplane on the inside, as well as the out, learning all she could about mechanics, instrument flying, etc. She became the first woman to soar to over 14,000 feet, and the first woman to accompany a pilot across the Atlantic–and live to tell the tale. When her parents divorced (forcing Amelia to sell her plane) she moved to Medford Massachusetts with her mother, taking employment as a social worker, and becoming a beloved friend to immigrant children, most of who could not speak English. Some people, it would seem, are just naturally talented and good, from the inside out. This author feels Amelia Earhart was just such a person.

The Icarus-like lure of flight still beckoned, however, and Amelia was a regular and much-valued member of the aeronautical societies. She took every opportunity possible to become airborne, and still the dream of being the greatest woman pilot to ever crank a prop burned deeply within her breast.

It would soon be realized, beyond her wildest and most dangerous dreams.

Some of Amelia’s feats included setting the first women’s airspeed record of 181.8 miles per hour, competing in the first all-female air derby, taking a record-braking flight in a “gyroscope” (a primitive forerunner to the helicopter), and being instrumental in establishing passenger flight between New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. All this, and she found the time to be president of the first women’s aeronautical association, and write a column for the fledgling Cosmopolitan (a column on aviation, of course).

With all of this going on, it is a little surprising that Amelia (who one imagines as being a sort of female aerial maverick happier behind an instrument panel than anywhere else) , managed to fall in love with George Putnam, and was duly married. Putnam would be both husband, manager, mentor, and friend over the ensuing years, and one must imagine, with a sort of hopeless poignancy, how deeply he would feel the tragedy that occurred later.

Amelia, not satisfied with simply being the Most Famous Female Pilot in America, soon set her sights on the most dangerous (at the time) undertaking any pilot could contemplate at the time: the often-fatal Transatlantic flight. Alone.

It was a precarious ordeal, a true odyssey of hit-and-miss and near disaster that is quite beyond the scope of the present volume to adequately cover, but, needless to say Amelia survived the voyage.

On May 20th, 1932, Amelia Earhart landed in Londonberry, Scotland, and won instantaneous international acclaim. Now, not only was she a celebrity, she had flown across the Atlantic and landed directly in the pages of world history> She was the first woman to have ever made that voyage, and for it she was awarded France’s Cross of the Legion of Honor, as well as the National Geographic Society’s Gold Medal. She continued to set record, and was catapulted into the status of celebrity lecturer and role model to a new, more independent-minded sort of young woman, who saw in the fulfillment of Amelia’s strange vision of aerial fame the promise that ANY dream, no matter the obstacles involved, could be attained with sufficient courage and effort.

When Amelia addressed a conference in New York concerning “Women Changing the World”, in 1935, among those in attendance were Dr. Edward C. Elliot, president of Purdue University, who found himself very impressed with the dauntless courage of this remarkable young woman, and who later invited her and her husband to a dinner invitation, and the announcement of a special offer.

“We want you at Purdue,” he stated flatly. Dr. Elliot, a progressive educator interested (coincidentally) in both aviation and the role of women in higher education and an advanced society, must have seen in Amelia the answer to a dream come true. Delighted, Amelia accepted unconditionally, although she did wonder what the nature of her duties, specifically, would be.

Amelia Earhart was made an honorary faculty member of Purdue University, an advisor to the Women’s Career Department as well as the Aeronautics Dept. This horrified some of the more orthodox faculty members, who noted she was far from being “academically qualified” to be a faculty member. But her presence at Purdue was more in the order of boosting morale, anyway, and while she did lecture, her duties were chiefly to simply interact with the female students, to speak with them, and help inspire them. Which, many attested later, is exactly what she did.

(It certainly did rankle some staid, conservative Midwesterners, however, that Amelia had the temerity to keep such “scandalous” personal habits as wearing men’s pants and being seen unchaperoned at local soda fountains, according to the excellent book Haunted Indiana 2, from which much of the material for this chapter has been gleaned.)

Amelia did not stint in her rigorous personal habits, and, while fulfilling duties at Purdue, kept up her steady schedule of lectures, writings, and interviews, as well as keeping a practiced hand behind the instrument panel. It was only a short time later that she began to contemplate the final, fatal adventure, for which she would forever become an enigma.

It was an around the world flight, a feat that had already been accomplished, but Amelia would, upon completion of this last, most dangerous deed, bring to the feat one important distinction: She would be the first woman to have ever accomplish it.

Secondly, though, she would also be the first to follow a path around the equator, the longest path. Doubly dangerous. Perhaps, at this stage, her overconfidence was getting the best of her.

It was a discussion of her plans with Dr. Elliot that led to the establishment of the “Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research”, and it was generous grants by the local elite that bought her the state-of-the-art plane in which she was to make the endeavor. Housed at the Purdue University hangar, the plane was a subject of continuous examination and tinkering by Amelia in the lead-up to her historic endeavor. In fact, for a shore period, she practically “haunted” the place.

She would fly from Oakland, California to Honolulu, she reckoned, and from there, across the equator until she arrived back in Oakland. Her navigator would be the ill-starred Fred Noonan; a man history would have trouble remembering considering his loss was virtually blotted out by the long shadow cast from Amelia.

The first attempt out was a disaster, and they survived the crash of their plane in Honolulu, limping back to California, for repairs and a few more months of waiting. Amelia seemed undaunted, despite the ill-omen.

Finally, in June of 1937, they set out on the second attempt, heading first to Miami, and then spending the next three weeks making a dizzying itinerary of stops: San Juan, Dakar, Calcutta, and Papua, New Guinea.

They hoped to arrive back in California by the Fourth of July.

On July 2nd, they took off from New Guinea, heading for Howland Island. It was then as if the sky swallowed them up. It was the last time either one of them were ever heard from.

Though authorities mounted a relentless search (the most massive search for a vanished plane up till that point in history, in fact) , it proved to be of no avail. Amelia Earhart, her co-pilot, and plane had vanished as mysteriously as if they flown directly into another dimension. In fact, in loonier circlers of speculation, this is exactly what some individuals have suggested happened.

Also, UFOs have, of course, been blamed. A more conventional explanation might have Earhart crashing on a remote island, being killed, or surviving to be killed by the natives, or dying of natural causes. No one, I’m sure, will ever know the truth.

Some people are simply too good, too talented, too wonderful to remain long in this world. We are sure Amelia was one of them.

However, there are those at Purdue University that feel that, strictly speaking, something of Amelia remains behind at her once-beloved adopted university. Stories have circulated for years that Amelia, though she be long dead and gone, has returned to walk the Spartan halls of her former residence hall, perhaps curious and confused at all the modern changes that have been wrought since her strange disappearance. Perhaps, though she is delighted by them.

Stories from the mechanics that have worked at the Purdue Airport have related the tale of a shadowy female phantom that lurks in a corner of Hanger Number One, watching attentively everything that goes on. If approached, this female flier, a short woman dressed in a flight suit with close cropped hair (exactly the description of Amelia) seems to simply vanish. This account has been repeated a number of times from various sources.

An amusing anecdote has the WW2 Era military occupying the hangar to test out a super secret form of aircraft fuel> Sentries were stationed around Hangar 1, and the regular mechanics (who had, by now, become more than familiar with the ghost of the vanished Aviatrix) waited curiously to see if the extra presence of the military officials and soldiers would have any additional effect on the “ghost”.

Indeed, they did not have long to wait. Late one night, they rushed out of the hangar at the sound of a soldier firing his rifle. White as the proverbial sheet, the man was yelling excitedly into his walkie-talkie, and soon a cadre of officers had assembled to debrief the sentry. His claim? That a strange “intruder”, a short woman in a flight suit, had approached him in the night. When he ordered her to “halt!”, she ignored him and kept coming. Hence, he shot.

Only the mechanics had any inkling of what the hubbub was really all about, ands reportedly tried to explain, as best they could that, several years earlier, that Hangar 1 had housed the plane Earhart had personally labored over for many long months. The plane that she, most likely, died in.

There is no record as to whether or not the officers bought the tale about Earhart’s ghost, but we can well imagine they were not entirely amused by the episode.

More recently, a woman working in the Hangar office reported the sound of an old-fashioned prop engine being started up while she was sitting at her desk. Rushing out to the hangar to see

And it is not just Hanger 1 that is said to be haunted by Amelia, but her old residence hall, toward the “end room of the first floor”, where she had stayed during he tenure as a “faculty member”, is also said to be haunted by the strange form of a woman in old-fashioned clothing, with close-cut hair, who, upon being approached, is said to vanish into the surroundings. Also, sometimes, it is reported that the sounds of an old-fashioned typewriter can be heard late in the night, when, reportedly when Earhart was most fond of doing her writing.

Furthermore, doors and windows have reportedly opened and closed by themselves, and objects have a curious way of disappearing and reappearing in the strangest places. Is it the ghost of Amelia? Or, is it perhaps some other restless spirit?

Whatever the case may be, we can be sure of one thing: Amelia Earhart left her mark on Purdue University, and it is there that her spirit still, obviously, is strongly felt. In both the figurative, and perhaps even literal sense.

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