Back to your regularly scheduled programming, as they say. I’m tackling my to-do list with a newfound ferocity, and may you reap the benefits of my web browsing as a result. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you back to the blog and my ongoing alternative research to feed my horror writer’s heart and muse with A Collection of Curiosities – Part VII.
If you missed it, I compiled an ever-growing resource post of the places that inform these collections. Check out Inspiration for Horror Writers if you want more articles like these.
A Collection of Curiosities – Part VII
This series of posts are meant to inspire and titillate — they are creepy, fantastic, strange, bizarre, and wonderful articles from a variety of sources around the web that I’ve curated for your enjoyment. In this month’s collection, I present to you five collected articles of supernatural, paranormal, creepy, unusual, and macabre origins, ranging from spirits and hauntings, to the folks who tried to speak to the dead. We revisit the Old Hag syndrome and night terrors, and look back into Mesopotamian folklore to find hauntings.
As a special treat, there will be two of these Collection of Curiosity posts this month, as I have a backlog of posts from being offline for a month that really ought to be shared. The rest of the collection is shared at the bottom of this post, and as always, you can subscribe to the blog for future updates.
Stay tuned for more. 😉
10 Slavic Spirits and Monsters you’ve probably never heard of
“Existing alongside Egyptian and Greek paganism, pre-Christian Slavic deities remain among the most mysterious ancient beliefs in history. Passed down for generations before the first written documentation, these creatures of folklore evolved completely apart from Western influence.”
Riding With the Witch: Anxiety & Archetypes in Sleep Paralysis
“You wake up in the dark, the night crackling around you like a TV on a nonexistent channel. It’s harder to see than it should be — and what’s that sound? The static, again. It’s audible. By now you’re getting a little scared; your eyes aren’t adjusting at all and you’re becoming certain you’re not alone, something is in here with you, maybe a few feet from the bed? There. A dark shape, and a feeling in your chest more visceral than anything you’ve experienced, a fight-or-flight response like no other. Only you can’t move. At all.”
Rufus Cantrell: Invasion of the Body-Snatcher
“It is commonly known that in older days, medical colleges, desperate to find corpses to use as subjects in their anatomy lessons, were usually not overly finicky about how they acquired them. As a result, grave-robbing became a lucrative industry for anyone with a strong enough stomach to tackle the job. By the 1870s, American medical schools were dissecting thousands of corpses a year…and they scarcely hid the fact that nearly all of them were former residents of the local churchyard.”
Rufus Cantrell: Invasion of the Body-Snatcher via Strange Co.
Mesopotamian Ghosts: The Oldest Excuse for Haunting
“There are a few interesting quasi-naturalistic hypotheses why we see ghosts out there, from etchings in the landscape that play back like recordings, to mental projections from our memory, to bleed-through from other dimensions, but the most parsimonious explanation remains the one that was offered when our species first put pen to paper. Well, clay tablet. It seems that ever since we started recording things in ancient Mesopotamia (the reputed cradle of Western civilization and site of one of the species’ first publishing industries, if we figure written history starts around 3100 B.C.), we’ve posited that ghosts come back because they have unfinished business here on Earth.”
The Tale of Two Skeptics and Spiritualism
“Spiritualism is the belief that the dead are inclined to and have the ability to communicate with the living. According to the Camp Chesterfield website, a “spiritualist is one who believes, as part of his or her religion, in communication between this and the spirit world by means of mediumship, and who endeavors to mold his or her character and conduct in accordance with the highest teachings derived from such communion.” Thus, many seek moral and ethical guidance from those spirits, who are constantly evolving. Historically, spiritualism hit its peak from the 1840s to the 1920s. Though still alive and thriving today, spiritualism’s membership decreased greatly by the late 1880s due to accusations of fraud. Regardless if you are a believer or not, we must acknowledge that every religion or area of study has its fraudulent members.”
The Tale of Two Skeptics and Spiritualism via Notebook of Ghosts
Want more? Check out the other wunderkammer-themed posts:
“I’ve heard a few times that it’s unwise to look at a writer’s search history. It gives the uninitiated the impression that you are either deranged, morbid, or psychotic. While this may very well be a possibility in certain cases, I can assure you that I purge that cache regularly. Try and catch me, coppers. Moo hoo ha ha.”
“I was half in love with Victorian England before I began writing Wake the Dead ages ago. It’s a particularly macabre period in history, largely due to the fact that the entire country was thrust into mourning following the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert. It marks a period in history that is attributed with heightened ritualized action surrounding death, commemoration, and grieving that is so intense that it’s frequently referred to as a cult of death.”
“Stuff! Being the third collection of curiosities, oddities, and wonders discovered online — I’ve got some new stuff for you. I tend to aggregate a bunch of weird and wonderful saved links as I’m researching and I often have nowhere to put them beyond my bookmarks, where they’re eventually forgotten. I figured some time ago that it might be best if I put them to use, sharing the interesting and bizarre stuff I come across from my collection of writing inspiration.”
“I might be late to the party, but I suspect that’s the fashionable way to handle these things. I like scheduling these “wunderkammer of the web” type posts for the 27th or the 28th of the month, so technically I’m a day off. What this is: I’ve always had a longstanding fascination with the occult, the subversive, and the alternative: give me a good ghost story or chunk of folklore, and I’m off and running. My mind likes to live in the weird, and accordingly, it’s often where I gather inspiration from.”
“You may have noticed that it’s been a bit quieter in these parts as of late. I’ve noticed a turn in the venues I use for output as the sun comes out from hiding all winter. This is to say my writing efforts fork in two directions: writing the blog and writing fiction.”
“Oh hai. Let me tell you: it has been a busy few weeks around these parts. I’m in the final leg of preparations before I move, and my life is in boxes. I can’t find anything. I’m wearing old, achey flip-flops and a rotation of outfits that are heat-tested for the insane weather we’ve been experiencing in Montreal. I’m barely living at my apartment, which is serving as a storehouse for all my worldly possessions (and especially my books.) We take possession (pun) of our new home on June 1st, with another ten days before all of our stuff follows us.”
Title image: Steampunk – A Box Of Curiosities, a photograph by Mike Savad. A print which you can buy here.
Until next time, guys and ghouls: stay creepy. 😉