Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I'm going to take a short break from the blog since I'll be busy with holiday stuff, so I'll just leave you with a cute Christmas picture. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! : )



For more Murray Christmas pictures, check him out on Cute Overload: 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

AtomaCon 2015

AtomaCon passes for 2015 are on sale, and you can attend all three days for $20 (or $10 for teenagers) if you get your passes by December 31st.  This is a great deal, and there's so much to do at AtomaCon that you'll probably want to go all three days anyway, so you might as well get your 2015 membership while it's on sale!  AtomaCon is a convention that celebrates sci-fi, fantasy, science, and the paranormal, and it will take place November 13th-15th at the Charleston Plaza Hotel in North Charleston, SC.

http://atomacon.org/member.html

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hamster and a flying saucer

I collect Charming Tails, and for our anniversary, my husband gave me one I'd been wanting for awhile called "Friendship is Universal."  I decided to put it in Murray's play area to see if I could get a picture of him with it, and he seemed to like it. : )



Monday, December 15, 2014

When Ghosts Attack: Beasts From the Beyond

I haven't watched When Ghosts Attack in awhile, so I decided it was time to scare the crap out of myself again.  This time I watched an episode called " Beasts From the Beyond," which aired on Destination America.  Katharine Driver moved to Flat Rock, Indiana to help her parents renovate their house.  When she was a teenager, strange things happened in the house, such as a Quija board spelling out "BEAST" and "DEATH"  when Katharine's friends decided to try to contact the ghost that haunted the house.  When Katharine arrived to help her parents, she noticed a bad smell and several dead mice in the house, so she called cleaning specialists Cassi Bowman and Vicki White on August 3, 2011.  Cassi said she felt like she was being watched when she was cleaning, and Vicki saw a figure pass by a doorway; she thought it was Cassi (the only other person in the house), but it wasn't.  The next time they went to the house, Cassi saw footprints on the floor, even though she knew no one had been there since the last time they cleaned, and she heard a voice whisper "Get out." Vicki and Cassi did not return after that. (Smart move.)  On October 8th,  Katharine slept in the house and had dreams about a man in a gray suit running through the woods; he looked like he was from the 1800s and kept saying "What have I done?" and "How do I fix it?"  She began having the dream regularly, and one night she awoke to a freezing room and saw the man from the dream standing next to the bed.  Katharine later saw this man in the woods; she followed him, and he disappeared.  She decided to research the area and found out that two people had died in an explosion at the sulfur springs not far from the woods, and she wondered if the man she saw might be one of the men who died in the explosion.  On September 17th, 2012, Katharine woke up feeling like something bad was going to happen, and she was correct; her cat didn't appear when Katharine called her to eat, and she found her dead in the yard.  That night she kept hearing someone repeating the word "cat" over and over again, and then she felt something grip her throat; she said her neck felt cold and like it was being shocked.  She repeated a mantra that her grandmother had taught her ("White light, bright light, please protect me both day and night."), and then she could breathe again.  Katharine has not experienced any paranormal activity in the house since that night.

On June 9, 2007 in Manahawkin, New Jersey, Cam Sammartano and Lindsey Monaco decided to stop sitting around the house and visit a pet cemetery that was said to be haunted. (Sounds like a great idea...what could possibly go wrong?) Soon after arriving at the foggy cemetery, they began hearing barking and growling dogs, so they decided to get back in the car.  Once in the car, Cam tried to drive to the main road, but just kept driving past the cemetery; he tried to do a three-point turn, but the car wouldn't move.  Cam thought he saw something in the woods, and then the car was attacked by something that looked like a dog; Cam and Lindsey were terrified, but the attack stopped when the creature disappeared.  They eventually found the main road and made their way back to Cam's house; he worried about the damage to his mother's car, but when he got out of the car, there wasn't even a scratch on it.  They knew that it would be impossible for the car to not show any signs of damage after an attack from a real dog, so Cam and Lindsey concluded that the animal they saw must  have been a ghost.  They learned their lesson and never returned to the pet cemetery.

Katie Gammage thought it would be fun to work at Eastern State Penitentiary's "Terror Behind the Walls" Halloween attraction, but she was soon proven wrong.  On October 13, 2012,  Katie was locking up and felt like she wasn't alone.  She then saw a male figure wearing prison gear from the 1920s and felt cold air rush past her, and the figure vanished.  She then heard chains rattling and was shoved to the floor by "an unseen force."  An EMT heard Katie screaming and came to help her; she told Katie that the night before, she had seen an orb in the area where Katie was attacked.  Katie continued to work at the penitentiary, and though paranormal activity is still reported in the building, she has not had any more experiences like the one from October 13th.

This episode of When Ghosts Attack wasn't quite as scary as some of the other episodes I've seen, but I still enjoyed it. : )

My rating: 8/10


Thursday, December 11, 2014

World's Most Haunted Places

On our way to Wilmington a few weeks ago, my husband and I stopped at a Books-a-Million in Myrtle Beach, and when I saw a magazine called World's Most Haunted Places, of course I had to buy it.  The magazine costs $9.99 and is 131 pages, and it's one of the most interesting magazines I've ever read.  The magazine is divided into 11 sections: Mystery Mansions and Paranormal Plantations, Haunted Hotels and Sinister Inns, Haunted American History, Sacred Grounds, Ghost Towns, Earthly Prisons, Military Murders, Watery Graves, Creepy Castles, Terrifying Territories, and Imprisoned Forever.  A few of the stories stood out to me, such as the story of LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans, which is really disturbing (fun fact: Nicholas Cage lived there at one point).  I knew that the Queen Mary (which I'd never heard of until Arrested Development, even though it's a very famous ship) was haunted, but I didn't realize that it's haunted by more than 130 spirits and that cabin B340 has had so much paranormal activity that guests are no longer permitted to stay there.  Most people know that the Stanley Hotel in Colorado inspired Stephen King to write The Shining; while he was staying there in 1973, he saw spirits of children playing in the hallway and several ghosts in the ballroom.  Good news for anyone who would like to stay there or go on a ghost tour: all of the ghosts are friendly.

Apparently The White House is incredibly haunted; the spirits of Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson, Dolly Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, and Abigail Adams have all been spotted there.  Lincoln is the most frequently seen ghost, and the Lincoln Bedroom has had more paranormal activity than any other room in the house.  Mary Todd Lincoln used to hold seances at the White House to try to contact her deceased sons.

I had never heard of the Island of the Dolls (which is in Xochimico, Mexico), an island that's full of dolls hanging from trees.  Some believe that the dolls are possessed, and the pictures in the magazine really creeped me out.  Here's a link to the island's website, so you can have nightmares too. ; )

http://www.isladelasmunecas.com/Island-of-the-dolls-pictures.html

The front of the magazine says that it should only be on display until November 11th, so hopefully that means a new issue will be coming out soon.  If you really want to read this issue though, you can still buy it from the publisher's website:

http://engagedmediamags.com/sports-entertainment/magazines/special-issues?product_id=67691677

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Movie Spotlight: If I Stay

If I Stay is a 2014 movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Stacy Keach, Lauren Lee Smith, Liana Liberato, Aisha Hinds, Aliyah O'Brien, and Jakob Davies.  It's based on a 2009 young adult novel by Gayle Forman and is about a teenage girl hovering between life and death.  The film goes back and forth between the past and present, where Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her family have been involved in a car accident.  Mia has an out-of-body experience and sees herself lying on the ground and then being loaded into an ambulance.  Mia continues to have this out-of-body experience once she gets to the hospital, and she eventually finds out the fate of her mother (Mireille Enos), father (Joshua Leonard), and brother (Jakob Davies) while her physical body is still unconscious.

Chloë Grace Moretz is a great actress, and she did an amazing job in If I Stay; all of the other performances were great as well (especially Jamie Blackley as Mia's boyfriend).  I thought the movie might be depressing, but it really wasn't that depressing considering the circumstances, and it was very thought-provoking.  I'm not sure anyone can watch If I Stay without thinking about what they would choose if they were in Mia's situation.

My rating: 8/10


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Thir13en Ghosts

Thirt13en Ghosts is a weirdly-spelled 2001 movie starring Tony Shalhoub (love him!), Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Rah Digga, and F. Murray Abraham. The movie begins with paranormal investigator Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham) losing his life while trying to catch a spirit known as "The Juggernaut."  Cyrus has left his mansion to Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub), his nephew, who moves there with his daughter Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and son Bobby (Alec Roberts), along with their nanny (Rah Digga).  When the family is checking out their new home, Cyrus' former assistant, psychic Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) poses as a power inspector to get inside...where he discovers that twelve ghosts are trapped in the house.

I'd been meaning to watch Thir13en Ghosts for awhile since I've been a fan of Tony Shalhoub for a long time (since Wings...and then I became a bigger fan after I discovered Monk), so I'm glad I finally watched it.  The movie wasn't very scary, but all of the actors were great, and the movie kept my interest.

My rating: 6.5/10


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Funko Pop! Vinyls: The X-Files

I started collecting Funko Pop! Vinyls a few months ago, so I was pretty excited to find out that they're releasing some for The X-Files next year.

http://funko.com/blogs/news/18183859-the-x-files-pop-and-wacky-wobblers-coming-soon

I probably won't buy The Cigarette Smoking Man, but I'll definitely get the other ones...I loved The X-Files, and Mulder is one of my favorite characters of all time!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MysteryQuest: Return of the Amityville Horror

I recently discovered a show called MysteryQuest on the H2 channel, and I decided to watch an episode called "Return of the Amityville Horror" since I had just read a book about Amity.  On the night of January 1, 1976, Kathy Lutz was sitting in front of the fireplace when "a hooded figure materialize[d] from the flames."  The Lutz family only spent one month in the house, and for good reason; while they lived there, they experienced objects moving on their own, disembodied voices, and demonic spirits.  Not long after the family left, a news crew took a picture of the house, and in it was a picture of a young boy with glowing eyes (they showed the picture, and it's super creepy).  Though Amity is one of the most well-known haunted houses in history, the family who currently lives there has not experienced any paranormal activity.

Three thousand miles away in Clovis, California, a house known as Wolfe Manor is experiencing similar problems.  Wolfe Manor used to be a sanitarium (Is it just me, or does it seem like every former sanitarium is haunted?), and owner Todd Wolfe believes that some of the former patients are still there.  Mystery Quest sends demonologist David Considine and paranormal investigator Chris Daddio to investigate Wolfe Manor, and Todd says that most of the activity takes place in the basement (where dead bodies were kept in the sanitarium), kitchen, and the rooms of Mary and George (two spirits believed to haunt the home).  They set up an infrared camera, FLIR thermal camera, and Platoon Early Warning (PEW) System to try to catch any paranormal activity.  David and Chris are joined by research scientist Andy Coppock and medium Melissa Sehgal, who start out in Mary's room, while David, Chris, and paranormal investigator John Arel check out the basement.  The FLIR thermal camera shows a heat anomaly on a column in the basement, and the PEW System alerts them to an intruder on the property, but there is no one outside the house.  In Mary's room, the electromagnetic amplifier indicates a great deal of activity, so Melissa tries to communicate with Mary.  The team takes their equipment to PFM Engineering (Andy's headquarters) in Carson, California, which also happens to be (possibly) haunted...a security camera caught a chair moving by itself and a cubicle wall dislodged itself and fell over.  The team then decides to investigate PFM for paranormal activity, and by that point, I totally lost interest in the episode.

When the team reviews the recordings and video footage they took at Wolfe Manor, most of it is inconclusive, but some video from the second floor convinces the team that they may have found a vortex "between this world and the other side."  I enjoyed MysteryQuest, but the title of the episode was misleading since this show was actually about Wolfe Manor, and the Amityville house was only mentioned a few times.  I feel like a lot of people were probably tricked into watching this episode because they thought it would be about the Amityville Horror.

My rating: 6/10

Friday, November 21, 2014

AtomaCon Panel: Bigfoot Hunting

On Saturday, November 15th, I attended the Bigfoot Hunting panel at AtomaCon in North Charleston, SC.  It was led by Cheralyn Lambeth and M. Doc Geressy (who are both members of the Carolina Ghostbusters), and it was a fun and entertaining discussion.  Doc stated that just because we haven't found something doesn't mean it's not there and that if Bigfoot doesn't want to be found, it wouldn't be that hard for him to evade everyone.  Cheralyn pointed out that every major civilization has stories about a Bigfoot-like creature.  They talked about the famous 1964 Bigfoot documentary made by David Patterson, and Cheralyn said that a line going down the back of Bigfoot looks like it could be a zipper and that it wouldn't be that difficult to make a fake Bigfoot film.  As for why someone would fake it, she said that professional filmmakers do things all the time to amuse themselves, such as giving Bigfoot breasts in the Patterson film.  Doc said that if the film was a hoax, it was a very good one and wondered why, if it's easy to fake, more people don't make Bigfoot films?  He also noted that generally the people who have claimed to see Bigfoot don't seem like intelligent or credible people and that if someone like Bill Nye claimed to have seen him, then people would probably believe in Bigfoot.  Cheralyn said that you can't prove that something doesn't exist, and I'd never thought of it that way, but it's so true...you can prove that most things do exist, but if no one has proven the existence of something like Bigfoot, it might just mean we haven't found it yet.  And, really, don't we all secretly hope that Bigfoot exists?

I really enjoyed this panel, and I thought about Bigfoot more than I ever have in my entire life.  I even ended up writing about Bigfoot later that night...I've had a lot of fun writing paranormal jokes and haiku for this blog (which are all going into a book I'm publishing next year), so here's a haiku I wrote after the Bigfoot panel:

Bigfoot, how we wish
You’d reveal your existence,
But we understand
Why you stay hidden.
Steer clear of rednecks with guns,
Or you might become
A Bigfoot-skin rug
Or head mounted on a wall.
Stay safe, furry one.

Also, if you're interested in Bigfoot, check out Graham Roumieu's Bigfoot books (Me Write Book and I Not Dead)...they're hilarious!

http://paranormalcrystal.blogspot.com/2014/04/book-spotlight-bigfoot-books-by-graham.html 

Carolina Ghostbusters:
http://carolinaghostbusters.com/

M. Doc Geressy:
https://batdoc.wordpress.com/

Cheralyn Lambeth:
http://www.galleryquest.webs.com/

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AtomaCon Panel: Haunted Carolinas

Last year I didn't find out about AtomaCon (All Types of Media Arts Convention) until two days before it began, so I just went the last day and attended one panel (Ghost Hunting Tech); this time I bought a three-day pass as soon as they went on sale last November, so I was prepared to spend all weekend there and learn more about some of the things I'm interested in. On Saturday, November 15th, I attended the Haunted Carolinas panel, so I could hear Tally Johnson, Cheralyn Lambeth, Rebel Sinclair, Pamela Nance, and Ashley Field talk about haunted places in North and South Carolina.

Lavinia Fisher might be Charleston's most notorious ghost, and Rebel Sinclair said that she may have been buried in a potter's field (under what is now The Citadel's football field) since that's where executed prisoners were buried back when Lavinia Fisher was executed.  The panelists talked more about the Old City Jail later; Rebel said that the ghosts of jailers have been seen there, and Pamela Nance and Ashley Field (who make up the paranormal investigation group Spirit Hunters of the South) talked about an investigation they did in 2010.  They said that in a replica of a jail cell, Pamela took pictures while Ashley acted like a jailer, and when they looked at the pictures they took, a ghostly face could be seen between the bars of the cell.  In the morgue area, they heard footsteps running toward Ashley, which then knocked her into Pamela, and when they listened to the recording, they heard a male voice say "That shook 'em" and a female voice say "F**k them."  They believe that the female voice belonged to Lavinia Fisher since it was the voice of a white woman, and she was the only white woman ever held in the jail.  At one point, a cameraman forgot Ashley's name, and a spirit supplied it for him (creepy!).  This story sounded familiar to me, and I was pretty sure I must've seen Pamela and Ashley on a show I wrote about for my blog, and I was right:
http://paranormalcrystal.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-ghost-story-caught-on-camera.html

It's not uncommon to hear about spirits of soldiers killed in battle, especially in the Carolinas.  Cheralyn Lambeth said that at Kings Mountain Battlefield, two soldiers were killed by American troops and have haunted the road they died on ever since.  She also showed us a picture of a flag in the Fort Sumter museum that has a ghostly face in it. The flag was shot down and retrieved by a Confederate soldier, and the Union army was so impressed by his bravery that they saluted him; during the 100-gun salute, a Union soldier was killed, and many believe that his face is the one in the flag.

Other hauntings the panelists discussed include:

-14 Legare Street: The house is said to be cursed, and Rebel believes that she and her now-husband were passed by Ruth Lowndes' coach while walking on Legare Street; they smelled horse-hide, but there were no horses around.  They realized that they had just passed #14, the house where Ruth's husband lived alone during their marriage.

-1914 Chester County Jail: Tally Johnson said that six ghosts haunt the jail, and one of them (the spirit of a man imprisoned for slitting his wife's throat, putting her in a trashcan, and setting it on fire) possessed the leader of the paranormal group Tally was investigating with. Tally and his fellow paranormal investigators did a ghost box session at the jail, and the spirit they communicated with knew the names of all three of the investigators; when they ended the session, the cell door slammed shut.  There is also a Victrola at the jail that plays by itself.

-Southend Brewery: Rebel told us that the building is haunted by a man who hanged himself, and sometimes people walking by can see his ghost.

-Cheralyn said her scariest moment was when she arrived at the hotel she was staying at during a paranormal investigation at Waverly Hills Sanitarium (All former sanitariums are haunted, aren't they?) and discovered that the hotel was hosting a Toddlers and Tiaras convention. (That does sound terrifying...I'd rather run into a ghost than a pageant mom.)

-Rebel said that sometimes the FBI holds EVP sessions after a murder because the sound waves from the event might still be there.

-Pamela and Ashley played an EVP recording where a spirit answered questions and told them his name.  They decided to do an EVP session after Ashley's leg started burning all of a sudden, and they found out that the spirit of a man who had been shot in the leg was present.

-Tally said that the ghost of his great-grandfather appeared in his house the night before his wedding and tipped his hat to him...then Tally realized that he was no longer worried about getting married.

The Haunted Carolinas panel was really interesting, and I'm glad I got to go to it.  The panelists were very knowledgeable about hauntings and paranormal investigations and told some fascinating stories.


AtomaCon:
http://www.atomacon.org/

Tally Johnson:
http://tallyjohnson.wix.com/sc-ghost-talker





Cheralyn Lambeth:
http://www.galleryquest.webs.com/


Rebel Sinclair:
http://www.blackcattours.com/RebelSinclair.html



Pamela Nance and Ashley Field
http://spirithunter.us/

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pictures from AtomaCon 2014

AtomaCon was held at the Charleston Plaza Hotel in North Charleston, SC on November 14th-16th, and I had even more fun than I did last year since I went all three days instead of just one.  Here are some pictures from the convention:

Me with Ecto-1

Me with Ecto-1 again

My husband with KITT

Me with a replica of the Vigo painting from Ghostbusters 2

Kyle and me with our Ghostbusters gear

Posing with Jimmy Woody of the Carolina Ghostbusters

Me with some Carolina Ghostbusters and South Carolina Ghostbusters
(Randi Jackson, Jeffrey Lewis, John Arledge, Cheralyn Lambeth, and Scott Freeman)

Kyle with something from Star Wars
(Can you tell I don't know much about Star Wars?)

http://www.atomacon.org/

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Jamie Marks is Dead

Jamie Marks is Dead is a 2013 movie starring Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Madisen Beaty, Judy Greer, and Liv Tyler.  The movie begins with high school student Gracie Highsmith (Morgan Saylor) finding the dead body of classmate Jamie Marks (Noah Silver) next to a river.  No one ever paid much attention to Jamie when he was alive (except for the bullies), but Gracie and fellow student Adam McCormick (Cameron Monaghan) begin seeing Jamie's ghost.  Gracie warns Adam not to get involved, but Adam befriend the ghost of Jamie and works to find out what happened to him.  As if that weren't enough for a teenage boy to deal with, Adam's mother (Liv Tyler) is paralyzed in a car accident and becomes good friends with the driver (Judy Greer) who caused the accident, which Adam has a hard time comprehending.

Unlike most movies featuring ghosts, Jamie Marks is Dead is definitely not a horror movie, but if you want to watch a good, well-written ghost story, give it a chance.  All of the actors did a great job, and the story is one that sticks with you long after you've finished watching the movie.

My rating: 7/10

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Spotlight: Amity by Micol Ostow

Amity is a 2014 novel by Micol Ostow and is about two families living in Amity (the New England house made famous by The Amityville Horror) ten years apart.  The novel goes back and forth between two narrators: Connor, whose family lived at Amity ten years previously, and Gwen, whose family currently lives there.  Amity is a young adult novel, but I'm 33, and I enjoyed it; since it's aimed at teenagers, it was tamer than the horror I usually read (Stephen King, Bentley Little, etc.), but I cared about what happened to the characters and liked reading about how the house affected Connor, Gwen, and their families.  For more information about Amity, check out the author's website:

http://micolz.tumblr.com/

My rating: 7.5/10


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Finder's Keepers

Finder's Keepers is a 2014 Syfy original movie starring Jaime Pressly, Patrick Muldoon, Tobin Bell, Justina Machado, Marina Sirtis, Kylie Rogers, and Joey Luthman.  The movie begins with two police officers entering a house and finding a bunch of dead bodies. Soon one of the cops is attacked and killed by a bloody little boy holding a creepy doll.  Cut to single mom Alyson (Jaime Pressly) telling her daughter Claire (Kylie Rogers) that they'll be happy in their new home, but it turns out to be the same house where the kid with the creepy doll murdered his entire family and two police officers, so you know everything's going to go to hell.  Things start getting weird soon after Claire finds the tiny murderer's creepy-ass doll and becomes way too attached to it.

I went into this movie thinking it would be really cheesy, which is the reason I usually watch Syfy orginals, but it actually wasn't, considering it's a movie about an evil doll.  The actors were great, and it kept me entertained, which is the main thing I want from a movie.

http://www.syfy.com/movies/finder_s_keepers

My rating: 6.5/10


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween 2014

I look forward to Halloween all year, so I'm kind of sad that it's over...here are some pictures of me in my Janine Melnitz costume. : )









Friday, October 31, 2014

Hamster Halloween

Happy Halloween! This is Murray, my new hamster...we got him on September 18th, and I've taken some pretty cute pictures of him with my Halloween decorations. : )






Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Carrie the Musical at City Stage Co.

My husband and I went to Wilmington, NC to celebrate our third anniversary last week, and the highlight of our trip was seeing City Stage Co.'s production of Carrie the Musical (directed by Nick Gray).  I was pretty sure I'd like it since I'm a fan of the Stephen King novel and movie about a telekinetic teenager and the worst prom ever, but the musical was even better than I expected.  I loved every minute, from the first note to the tragic finale, which managed to break my heart even though I knew it was coming.  The casting was perfect, and every actor did an amazing job.  I loved the songs and got chills every time the cast sang together.  Hannah Elizabeth Smith shone as Carrie White, and the moment that Carrie stops being afraid of her mother was simply incredible and put such a smile on my face.  Katherine Vernon was terrifying as out-of-her-mind Jesus freak Margaret White.  I've always thought that Margaret was much scarier than any horror movie monster or killer, and I'm sure that anyone who has read my plays wouldn't be surprised to learn that the super religious scare the shit out me. ; )  Hannah Laham and Annie Tracy Marsh were wonderful as lone survivor Sue Snell and class bitch Chris Hargensen, and I could listen to those two sing all day.  I was also impressed by Chandler Davis as gym teacher Lynn Gardner, Patrick Basquill as Chris' partner-in-crime Billy Nolan, and Brad Mercier as nice guy Tommy Ross, and Mercier's Tommy was so likable that I was hoping the character would have a different fate in the musical than he did in the book and movie.

I'm so happy that I got to see City Stage Co's production of Carrie the Musical, and I feel bad for anyone who doesn't get to see it.  I can't recommend it enough, can't stop thinking about it, and wish I could see it again. : )

My rating: 10/10

Here's all the info if you want to experience this phenomenal musical for yourself:

http://paranormalcrystal.blogspot.com/2014/10/carrie-musical.html


Murray contemplating whether this Carrie action figure is something he can eat




Guest blogger Patricia Lane: Crow's Asylum

Patricia Lane, who has guest blogged for me before, runs a Halloween attraction some of you might be interested in.  If you live in or near Benton, Arkansas, check it out! : )
***********************************************************************
Hello, friends.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And no, I’m not talking about Christmas.

It’s almost Halloween! My favorite time of the year. And what makes it even better? Haunted Houses and dressing up and candy. Did I mention haunted houses?

Now I used to go through the generic haunted houses and I just couldn’t get scared in them. Most were really corny and the good ones took hours (and big bucks) to get in to. So about three years ago, a fellow paranormal investigator and close friend of mine offered my husband and I to be in a haunted house. We figured Sure, why not? We didn’t have anything better to do. We didn’t get trick-or-treaters and we both loved to dress up, but with no kids knocking on our door and the fact we weren’t special enough to get invited to costume parties, we jumped on the chance.

 That first year we were just a hodge podge of scares and we were very small, we only had six actors, and we nicknamed it The Maze of Terror. (Yeah, I know. Very original)

Over the next year, the creator, my husband and I came up with idea for a theme and a name. As the main scare was a demon possessed scarecrow named Crow, we eventually came up with the name of Crow’s Asylum. We made it better, despite it being in a garage. The second year, we were even bigger with more actors.
  
Crow’s Asylum gets bigger every year it seems and we work on ideas and concepts all year round. The haunt’s backstory, Crow took over an insane asylum and released the patients to run amuck, was created earlier this year by myself and the creator. We like to joke that he is the CEO and my husband and I are the vice presidents. Each year, we take one of the patients and feature them as our central theme. This year, it is Stitches, a psychotic serial killer clown. And we are having so much fun with it. And I cannot wait for the finished haunt and showtime.

This will be the last year at our current location as we will be moving to Spook City in downtown Benton, Arkansas next year.

 So if you’re in the area come check us out

 We open on Halloween night from 7 until the monsters are full and can eat no more

Crow’s Asylum Haunt
5526 Palisades Dr
Benton, Arkansas 72019

Check us out on Facebook and online



Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Night Frights

Since I'm obsessed with Halloween, I searched the Directv guide for Halloween shows and recorded a bunch of them.  I found one on the Travel Channel called Halloween Night Frights, which is about Halloween-themed roller coasters and theme park attractions and originally aired in 2013.  Since watching this show is the closest I'm going to get to going on a roller coaster (I've been talked into it a few times, and it's always turned out to be a bad idea...people with vertigo should never ride roller coasters), I decided to write about it for the blog.

-Verbolten (Busch Gardens in Williamsburg,Virginia): This roller coaster has 16-foot drop and a "monster jolt when you least expect it."  Verbolten is surrounded by woods and takes passengers through a dark tunnel with flashing lights and images.

http://seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-williamsburg/attractions/rides/verbolten/

-Scarywood  (Silverwood Theme Park in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho): Every October, Silverwood Theme Park turns into Scarywood and is "overrun with 185 menacing ghouls."  A train called the Zombiewood Express takes up to 270 passengers to a "zombie-killing battlefield," which looks like a lot of fun...I would definitely go if it weren't in Idaho.

http://www.scarywoodhaunt.com/

-Phantom Fright Nights (Kennywood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania): Zombies walk around the park, and The Phantom's Revenge, a 16-story high roller coaster, travels more than 80 mph and is especially scary at night when riders can't see what's around each turn.

http://phantomfrightnights.com/

-Morey's Fears (Morey's Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey): More than 100 zombies prowl the pier, and the Ghost Ship attraction allows guests to be frightened by actors in a claustrophobic maze.  The Sea Serpent is a 935-foot roller coaster whose "specialty is torturing seasick riders through two cobra-roll inversions" before taking them backwards.  

http://www.moreyspiers.com/

-The Legend and Raven (Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana): Holiday World celebrates Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, and Halloween.  The most popular Halloween attraction is The Legend roller coaster, which is named for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and goes through four dark tunnels and has a spiral drop.  The Raven makes riders feel like they're flying and also goes through four tunnels, which is especially disorienting at night.

http://www.holidayworld.com/

-The Haunted Graveyard (Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut):  The Haunted Graveyard features 24 terrifying scenes and more than 200 actors whose "sole mission is to make you pee yourself." (I think I'll skip this one...I have no desire to pee myself anywhere, let alone in public.)

http://www.hauntedgraveyard.com/

-Mamba (Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri): Mamba is a mile-long roller coaster whose peak is 200 feet high (just thinking about that makes me nauseous), and as if that weren't scary enough, a creepy monster might be sitting behind you on the ride.

https://www.worldsoffun.com/things-to-do/halloween-haunt

-LeVampire (La Ronde in Montreal, Canada): LeVampire is an inverted roller coaster that "spirals ninety feet in three seconds."  The track is above your head, and there's nothing under your feet, so I don't really know why anyone would ride this. ; )

http://www.laronde.com/larondeen/

-Nights of Horror (Luna Park in Brooklyn, New York): The Cyclone roller coaster was built in 1927 and takes riders through "five turns, nine hills, and seven heart-stopping plunges."

http://lunaparknyc.com/

-Howl-O-Scream (Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida): More than 800 scary characters roam the park, and the Alone House is a haunted house that you have to go into by yourself and face off against a "machete-wielding madman" before going through thirteen terrifying rooms. (No, thanks.)

http://seaworldparks.com/en/howloscream-tampa/

Monday, October 20, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Dead Silence

Dead Silence is a 2007 movie starring Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, Bob Gunton, Laura Regan, and Judith Roberts.  The movie begins with newlywed Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) receiving a ventriloquist's dummy from an anonymous source.  Jamie leaves to pick up dinner, and when he returns, he finds his wife (Laura Regan) dead--murdered by Billy the evil dummy.  (You left your wife alone with a creepy ventriloquist's dummy?  Don't you know you're in a horror movie?!) Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg), the cop in charge of the case, thinks that Jamie is responsible for Lisa's death and is determined to prove it. (It should be noted that Detective Lipton is a straight-up weirdo who takes his electric razor everywhere and shaves at really inappropriate times.)  Jamie returns to his hometown to bury Lisa and find out the truth about Billy the dummy.

The movie was directed by James Wan, who also directed The Conjuring and Insidious, and while Dead Silence was not nearly as well-done or as scary as those movies, it was better than I expected a movie featuring ventriloquist dummies to be.  All of the actors were very good, and the filmmakers managed to avoid making the dummies look cheesy while they were threatening or murdering people (which probably isn't easy to do).

My rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My thoughts on the upcoming Ghostbusters movie

Paul Feig recently announced his plans to make a new Ghostbusters movie starring hilarious women, and as a woman who writes comedy, of course I love the idea.  I seem to be in the minority though, and seeing all of the online comments from people claiming that this movie will ruin the franchise (as well as their childhoods) just makes me roll my eyes.  If you don't like it, don't watch it...the existence of this movie isn't going to take away from the greatness of the original Ghostbusters movies.  Those movies will still be the same movies; they're not going to change at all.  I don't like The Omen remake (The Omen II, III, and IV aren't great either), but that doesn't change my feelings about the original at all, and The Omen is still my favorite horror movie.  And to the guy who said that there's no such thing as hilarious women: you're obnoxious, sexist, and need to watch more comedy.  I can think of a bunch of hilarious women: Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Maria Bamford, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer, Kaitlin Olsen, Kristen Wiig, Wanda Sykes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (do I need to keep going?).

I'm excited about this movie-I've seen a lot of things that Paul Feig has been involved with (Bridesmaid, The Heat, Freaks and Geeks, The Office, Arrested Development, etc.) and I've enjoyed all of them, so I don't understand why so many people are just assuming the movie is going to be awful (though it's rare to see people actually saying something nice on the internet, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised).  Also, screenwriter Katie Dippold has written for Parks and Recreation, one of the best shows on TV the past few years, and that gives me high hopes for the movie.  Some people are saying that if you're a true fan of Ghostbusters, you can't support the reboot, but that's bullshit.  If you're a fan of Ghostbusters, why wouldn't you want to see more of it...or at least give it a chance instead of bitching about it and saying it will fail the second it's announced?  I'll probably see this movie opening weekend, and maybe I'll even wear my homemade Ghostbusters costume...because despite how most of the whiners on the internet feel, women can be Ghostbusters.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mark your calendars for AtomaCon!

AtomaCon (All Types of Media Arts Convention) is a fairly new convention, and it takes place November 14th-16th at the Charleston Plaza Hotel  (4770 Goer Drive) in North Charleston, SC.  Last year I didn't find out about Atomacon until two days before it began, so I only went the last day and attended the Ghost Hunting Tech panel (http://paranormalcrystal.blogspot.com/2013/11/so-you-want-to-be-ghost-hunter.html).  This year I'm prepared...I bought my three-day pass back in December and am planning on attending a bunch of panels and writing about them for the blog.  I'm especially excited about the Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Meetup...I'm dressing up as a Ghostbuster for Halloween, so this will give me another excuse to wear my costume! If you're a fan of Star Wars, Dr. Who, Sherlock, The Walking Dead, Godzilla, Lost, or Star Trek, or if you'd like to learn more about ghost hunting, Charleston's haunted history, cosplay, building props, designing video games, or searching for Bigfoot, there's something at AtomaCon for you!  Check out the AtomaCon website for more information:

http://www.atomacon.org/

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Carrie the Musical

My husband and I are taking a trip to Wilmington, NC for our anniversary in a few weeks, and we're going to see Carrie the musical while we're there!  Carrie the musical is based on the Stephen King novel about a telekinetic teenager, and it's being performed by City Stage Co. October 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 31st and November 1st and 2nd.  If you live in or near Wilmington, and this sounds like something you'd like to see, email your name, phone number, date you'd like to attend, number of tickets, and which seats you'd like (you can find the seating chart here: http://www.citystageco.com/come-see-show/) to CityStageCoReservations@gmail.com or call 910-342-0272 to make your reservation.  Tickets cost $20-$25 or $18 for students, teachers, and military, and the theatre is located at 21 N. Front St. #501. I love musicals, and I also love Stephen King, so I'm really excited to see Carrie the musical. : )

http://www.citystageco.com/city-stage-co-shows/carrie-2014/

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Halloween Display 2014

Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I usually start decorating in early September.  Here are some pictures of this year's Halloween display. : )







Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Paranormal Works of Stephen King

Since it's finally October, I thought I'd do a blog post about the world's most popular horror author: Stephen King.  I've read almost everything he's written, and many of his novels have a paranormal/ supernatural element, so I've compiled a list of his paranormal works and included a link to each novel's Amazon listing.

1. Carrie (1974)



2. Salem's Lot (1975)



3. The Shining (1977)



4. The Dead Zone (1979)



5. Firestarter (1980)



6. Christine (1983)



7. Pet Sematary (1983)



8. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)



9. It (1986)



10. The Tommyknockers (1987)



11. The Green Mile (1996)



12. Storm of the Century (1999)



13. Dreamcatcher (2001)



14. From a Buick 8 (2002)



15. Under the Dome (2009)



16. Doctor Sleep (2013)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Boone Hall Fright Nights

If you live in the Charleston, SC area, you might be interested in Boone Hall Fright Nights, which takes place at Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant and runs from September 26th through November 1st.  Boone Hall Fright Nights offers four scary attractions this year: Frightmare Factory, Twisted Terror in 3D, Wicked Woods Hayride, and Zombie Town Bloodfest. (You can find a description of each attraction on their website.)  Tickets are $12 for the Wicked Woods Hayride, $10 for Frightmare Factory, $10 for Zombie Town Bloodfest, and $8 for Twisted Terror in 3D, or you can buy a pass that gets you into every attraction for $27.

http://www.boonehallfrightnights.com/

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cool Website: The Haunted Writer

The Haunted Writer is a website that showcases free paranormal Kindle books, ghost hunting tools (and includes links to buy them), and videos and accounts of real paranormal occurrences.  If you've had your own paranormal experience, there's a place to submit your story, so submit away if you want the world to know about your brushes with the paranormal.  I thought the posts about haunted locations were really interesting, and you can find them here if you'd like to read them:

http://thehauntedwriter.com/category/haunted-locations/

Check out the video about the five most haunted places on Earth, which is near the top of the haunted locations page. : )

http://thehauntedwriter.com/

 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ghostbusters pictures

I had a great time seeing Ghostbusters in the theater a few weeks ago, so I thought today I'd post some pictures of mine that are related to Ghostbusters. : )

Getting ready to see Ghostbusters!

Bret trying to eat Slimer

Ready to bust some ghosts with Peter Venkman

Bret is not at all interested in the Stay Puft marshmallow Man


R.I.P. Bret.  You were the cutest hamster in the world, and I miss you so much it hurts.





Sunday, September 14, 2014

Movie Spotlight: The Quiet Ones

The Quiet Ones is a 2014 movie starring Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, and Olivia Cooke.  In 1974, Oxford professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) recruits some students to help him prove that the supernatural isn't real.  They run experiments on Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke), who thinks she's possessed, and they try to prove that her mind is responsible for manifesting the strange things that have been happening around her.  They keep her locked in a room, and her mental health declines the more they experiment on her (this sounds pretty illegal).

The Quiet Ones was a good movie, and all of the actors were great, but I don't understand why a movie called The Quiet Ones was so freaking loud.  It's one of those movies where the dialogue is really low, so you have to turn the volume up, and then there are occasional loud noises that will scare the shit out of you.  I know many scary movies do this, but the loud noises in this movie seemed to be ten times louder than the dialogue...so loud that we had to put our hamster in a different room because we were afraid the noises were so loud that they could cause him to have a stroke!  A word of advice: if you watch The Quiet Ones, watch it with the closed captioning on, so you won't have to turn the volume up too high.  The loud noises were really annoying, and I would've given the movie a higher rating without them.

My rating: 7/10


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Oculus

Oculus is a 2013 movie starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaite, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, and Garrett Ryan.  Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillan) suspects that an antique mirror her father (Rory Cochrane) bought in 2002 has caused terrible things to happen to her family.  Tim (Brenton Thwaite), Kaylie’s brother, is being released from a psychiatric hospital, and Kaylie enlists his help in proving that the mirror has supernatural powers.  Tim is skeptical, but Kaylie is sure that the mirror has killed forty-five people (maybe the movie should’ve been called Murder Mirror since no one knows what an oculus is…is that even a real word?).  Kaylie has a dog that she never bothered to name since she plans to use him as bait, and at one point she puts the dog in a crate next to the mirror in hopes that the mirror will make the dog sick or kill it, which would prove that she’s right about the mirror.  Of course this made me think that Kaylie is a terrible person who needs to die by the end of the movie. ; )

Oculus was better than many of the paranormal movies I’ve watched, and all of the actors were great.  I liked that the movie went back and forth between present day and 2002, so the audience could experience the initial events that Kaylie thought were caused by the mirror.

My rating: 8/10


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Goat Herpes and Other Problems on sale

I'm doing a Kindle Countdown Deal on Goat Herpes and Other Problems, so it's on sale for 99¢ for the next few days.  I hope you'll check it out...I'd love to make you laugh! : )

It's Willow's first day on the job at Godly Acres, the world's premier rehabilitation facility for gods and goddesses, and she might be in over her head. Sex addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, goat herpes...you name it, there's a Greek god who has it. Will she be able to help these gods and goddesses work through their issues? Find out in Goat Herpes and Other Problems! (Goat Herpes and Other Problems contains the plays "Godly Acres," "Godly Acres: Bitch Session," and "Playing Doctor.")

Friday, September 5, 2014

Encounters: U.F.O. Experience

A few days ago I found out about something called Encounters: U.F.O. Experience in Myrtle Beach, and since it's only a two-hour drive from Charleston, my husband and I decided to take a road trip the next day to see it.


The building is easy to spot since there's a UFO coming out of it.  I so want to do that to my house. ; )


Encounters: U.F.O. Experience is full of information about UFO sightings and abductions throughout history, as well as replicas of a few extraterrestrials and an alien mothership.





Encounters: U.F.O. Experience is very interesting and informative, and I'm glad I found out about it before it closed.  I liked the gift shop too...everything in it was pretty inexpensive, and I bought one of almost everything in it.




The museum is located at Broadway at the Beach, and tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for children and seniors, and free for children under four years old if you reserve or buy your tickets online before you go (tickets cost $14 for adults and seniors and $10 for children if you get them at the box office).  It's only open until September 21st, so if you're interested in all things extraterrestrial, get there soon!

http://ufoexhibition.com/

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: True Casefiles of a Paranormal Investigator by Stephen Lancaster

True Casefiles of a Paranormal Investigator is a 2012 book by Stephen Lancaster.  He had his first paranormal experience as a child when he was attacked by "a violent and unseen force" (pg. 1); years later, his mother told him that the same thing happened to her when she was 10 years old, the same age Stephen was when he had his terrifying experience.  Stephen later assembled the P.I.T. (Paranormal Investigation Team) Crew and began producing a TV show (starring the P.I.T. Crew) called Monstervision TV the following year.  I don't want to give too much away about the book, but I will say that there's a chapter about a poltergeist that I probably shouldn't have read right before I went to bed...the case involved floating purses and Stephen being hit in the eye with a spool of thread that flew off of the dresser, and it was pretty creepy!  I really enjoyed the chapter about the Webb Memorial Library since I spent eight years working at a library... there was a ton of spooky stuff in that chapter, and if any of that had been happening at my library, I wouldn't have lasted eight minutes there, let alone eight years!  I also really liked the chapter called "The Music House," which was about a house that was haunted by a female child and an adult male who were most active when music was playing.  The owner thought it might have something to do with the home's antique piano, so Stephen tested this by playing it; while he was playing, all three of his video cameras turned off, then he heard a male voice, and a mist that he could not see in person turned up in pictures that were taken that night.

True Casefiles of a Paranormal Investigator is a fascinating read, and Stephen is a brave man.  I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in becoming a paranormal investigator or to people like me, who are interested in it, but are too chicken to ever do it themselves. ; )

My rating: 8/10


Friday, August 29, 2014

New Paranormal Show: Intruders

Intruders began airing on BBC America on Saturday, August 23rd, and it stars Mira Sorvino, John Simm, James Frain, Millie Brown, and Tory Kittles.  According to the show's website, it's about "a secret society devoted to chasing immortality by seeking refuge in the bodies of others"...sounds interesting!

http://www.bbcamerica.com/intruders/about-the-show/

Intruders takes place in Washington and Oregon, and the primary characters are:

Jack Whelan (John Simm): A writer and former cop
Amy Whelan (Mira Sorvino): Jack's lawyer wife, who disappears in the first episode
Richard Shepherd (James Frain): An assassin who is in pursuit of a young girl
Madison (Millie Brown): A nine-year-old girl who is not what she seems
Gary Fischer (Tory Kettles): Jack's friend from high school, who asks Jack for help with a murder case

I enjoyed the first episode and will definitely watch the rest of them...I want to see where this goes.  : )  If you missed the first episode, you can watch it here:

http://www.bbcamerica.com/intruders/videos/full-episode-1-she-was-provisional/

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ghostbusters in theaters

This year is the 30th Anniversary of Ghostbusters, so it's heading back to movie theaters starting August 28th (well, Fandango says the 29th, but my theater is showing it on the 28th, so other theaters probably are too).  I was only three years old when it came out in 1984, so I'm happy to have the chance to finally see Ghostbusters on the big screen!  If you'd like to go, check Fandango for showings in your city:

http://www.fandango.com/ghostbusters30thanniversary_175021/movieoverview

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Haunter

Haunter is a 2013 movie starring Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Samantha Weinstein, Peter DaCunha, Peter Outerbridge, and Michelle Nolden.  Abigail Breslin plays Lisa Johnson, the ghost of a teenage girl who was murdered in 1985.  She's the only one in her family who is smart enough to realize that the fact that every day is the day before her 16th birthday means they are all dead.  Lisa, her parents (Michelle Nolden and Peter Outerbridge), and her brother (Peter DaCunha) were murdered in 1985 and keep living that day over and over again...it's like Groundhog Day for ghosts!

I've been a fan of Abigail Breslin since Little Miss Sunshine, and she was great in Haunter.  I've watched a lot of movies I've never heard of for this blog, and Haunter is better than most of them (the acting is much better too).  The plot was interesting, and I liked that it was told from a ghost's point-of-view.

My rating: 7/10