Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cool Website: Phenomena Log

If you're like me (and if you read this blog, there's a good chance you might be), you probably think that real-life accounts of paranormal experiences are pretty interesting. I decided to search the internet and try to find a website with a bunch of these accounts, and I was happy to find this one:

There's some really fascinating stuff on this website (accounts of alien abductions, hauntings, out of body experiences, etc.), and if you've had your own paranormal experience, there's an area where you can share your story.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Movie Spotlight: Poltergeist (2015)

When I heard that a new Poltergeist movie was coming out this year, I knew I had to go see it and write about it for the blog. The trailer was pretty good, and I was sure I'd like it more than Poltergeist 2 and 3.  The 2015 version stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris, Jane Adams, Susan Heyward, and Nicholas Braun. This movie is about a different family than the one that was being tormented in the other Poltergeist movies, and I was glad that the little girl wasn't named Carol Anne in this one...after hearing that name more than 100 times in Poltergeist 3, I would be happy to never hear that name again. ; ) The Bowens are the ones being tormented this time around: father Eric (Sam Rockwell), mother Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt), teenage daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), son Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and youngest daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements). When Madison is taken by evil spirits, the family must do everything in their power to bring her back, which includes enlisting the help of Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), the host of a show called Haunted House Cleaners (note to networks: please make this a real show ASAP).

I'm not one of those irritating people who think that no movie should ever be remade and then spends way too much time complaining about it on the internet, so I really liked Poltergeist. I enjoyed every minute of it, and while I wouldn't necessarily say the movie scared me (the original didn't either), there were parts that really creeped me out, and I spent the whole movie feeling a sense of dread and anticipation about what would happen next. Each member of the cast gave a wonderful performance (especially Sam Rockwell and Kyle Catlett), and I liked the way the movie used technology that wasn't around when the original Poltergeist came out in 1982 (drones, cell phones, GPS, etc.).  If you don't like clowns, you probably won't see this movie in the first place since there's a terrifying clown on the movie poster, but if you're planning on seeing it anyway, just be warned that there are a bunch of them in the movie (if I'm remembering correctly though, only one of them really does much). (Horror movies: making people hate clowns since 1990.) If I moved into a new home and found a box of creepy-ass clown dolls in the closet, I'd be tempted to burn the house down. ; )

My rating: 8.5/10

Friday, May 22, 2015

Haunt Jaunts Call for Submissions: Shadow People and Cursed Objects

Haunt Jaunts, a travel website about haunted/paranormal places, is planning to release an anthology, and they need your submissions. They're looking for fictional stories (5000 words or less) about shadow people/ghosts or haunted objects, so if you've written something like that, please submit it (if you haven't written something like that but would like to, you have until July 31st to submit). Here's all the info:

Good luck! : )

Monday, May 18, 2015

International Ghost Investigators: Hollywood Division (Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor)

International Ghost Investigators: Hollywood Division airs on the Audience network and stars David Anthony Higgins and Paul Greenberg.  It's a very funny show, and in this episode, David and Paul lend their expertise to Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor (who I love...Ben is one of my favorite actors, and I've been a fan of Christine since Hey Dude).

Paul is photocopying his ass when David gets a call from Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, so they decide to go to  New York to help them out.  Ben says the landscapers are freaked out by what's been going on and asks if Paul and David have a certificate to show the landscapers, so they'll start working again; they tell Ben that they can't give him the certificate until they do an investigation.  Christine says that when she was getting the house ready for their guest Desmond Tutu, she put some cartons of ice cream on the table and turned around to look in a cabinet; when she turned back around, the cartons were "stacked like a pyramid.  Ben says that one of the gardeners ran up to him one day, yelling and pointing at the lawn mower, which was mowing the lawn by itself.  Christine adds that their housekeeper once saw the vacuum move across the room on its own.  David takes out an ovilus ("ghost talker") and tries to communicate with the spirits in the house; he asks them to make themselves known, and the phrase "bowling ball" comes from the ovilus.  He asks the spirits if they've been bothering the gardeners, and the word "leprechaun" is heard.  David asks why the spirits are there, and the answer is "penis."  Worse words follow, so David throws the ovilus outside.  Christine says that Carlos, one of the gardeners, told her that he once felt like he was "being dragged into the bowels of Hell" in the yard.

Paul and David decide to investigate the yard, but first Ben catches them eating spaghetti on the bed; Paul spills his and has to change his shorts, so he borrows a pair of Ben's underwear.  David finds a tree that he thinks is a "witch trap" and some stacked rocks that he also thinks are a "sign of witches."  The stacks fall down, and David runs off; he finds Paul standing in the corner of a shack, just like The Blair Witch Project (except Paul is peeing).  They find what could be the "portal to Hell" and decide to enter through the mist-filled doorway.  

David and Paul tell Ben and Christine that they have "ghost squatters" and show them the video they took after they entered the portal; it's a "time portal to a cemetery in 1890" in St. Louis.  David says that he talked to the head gardener in the portal, and that he told David that his gardeners would be willing to mow Ben and Christine's yard.  Problem solved!

This was my third episode of International Ghost Investigators: Hollywood Division, and it was my favorite so far. If you have Directv, check this show out!

My rating: 10/10

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Never Trust an Angel on sale!

Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays will be on sale for 99¢ May 14th and 15th (Thursday and Friday) and $1.99 on May 16th and 17th (Saturday and Sunday). It was voted the best comedy book of 2013 in the Turning the Pages Book of the Year contest, so if you like comedy, I hope you'll check it out! : )

Satan is sure that his overachieving son will run Hell someday, but his wife has a secret that may change everything. Jesus wants to quit his job to start a Christian metal band, and now it's up to God to find a new Messiah...but the person he has in mind doesn't want the job. Will God be able to find a suitable Messiah? Will Christian metal be as terrible as it sounds, or will Jesus take the music business by storm? Will Satan and Angel's relationship survive Angel's betrayal? You'll find answers to these questions and more (How did Judas end up with a courtroom TV show?) in Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Contact in the Desert Conference

The Contact in the Desert conference takes place May 29th-31st at the Joshua Tree Retreat in  California, and I wish I could go because it sounds awesome!  The website describes the conference as "a weekend of exploration into ancient astronauts, extraterrestrial life, human origins, crop circles, UFO sightings, contact experiences, and the need to know." Weekend passes cost $235, and it does cost to go to workshops, but lectures and panels are included in the price of the weekend if you like UFOs and have a lot of money, get your passes now!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Movie Spotlight: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death is a 2014 movie starring Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Adrian Rawlins, Leanne Best, and Ned Dennehy.  It is the sequel to The Woman in Black (of course), which came out in 2012 and starred Daniel Radcliffe. During World War II, a group of orphans moves into London's Eel Marsh House with Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McCrory), their caretakers. (That's a terrible idea...didn't they see the first movie?!) Things get weird almost immediately because apparently the Woman in Black can't give these people one night of peace before she starts haunting them.  One of the orphans sees the Woman in Black the next morning when two kids lock him in the nursery, and one of those kids is dead by the next morning, so I guess the Woman in Black doesn't take bullying lightly. ; )

I don't remember much about the first Woman in Black movie, other than the fact that I liked it more than this one, so you probably don't have to watch the first one to understand the sequel.  The Woman in Black 2 was kind of boring, and like most of the horror movies I watched, not scary enough, but the acting was better than a lot of the acting I've seen in the movies I've watched for this blog.

My rating: 6/10

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Visiting the UFO Watchtower

I recently visited the UFO Watchtower in Saguache County, Colorado, and though I didn't see any UFOs, I did have a great time looking around and talking to Judy Messoline, who created the watchtower. Judy wrote a book called That Crazy Lady Down the Road, which is about the watchtower and includes accounts from people who have seen UFOs, so of course I bought a copy and will be reviewing it for the blog. Here are some pictures my husband and I took during our visit to the UFO Watchtower. : )

I wanted almost everything in the gift shop, but I tried to control myself. ; )

Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Review: American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus

American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest is a 2015 book by Hannah Nordhaus. La Posada hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been haunted by Julia Schuster Stabb, the author's great-great-grandmother, since the 1970s. Julia lived from 1844 to 1896 and is the most well-known ghost in Santa Fe; she is most often seen in the room that used to be her bedroom back when the hotel was her family's house. Nordhaus says that Julia's story is one of "forbidden love, inheritance and disinheritance, anger and madness" (pg. 8) and that there have been rumors that Julia committed suicide or was murdered by her husband, and of course that made me want to know more.

Nordhaus found a book of her family's history at a relative's house and discovered that she wanted to know more about Julia's life and death, so she did historical research and met with psychics and paranormal investigators. She also tracked down a diary written by one of Julia's daughters and spoke to a former La Posada employee who had seen Julia's ghost. She traveled to New Mexico and Germany to find as much information about Julia as she that's dedication!

Though Nordhaus did experience some paranormal activity when she spent a night in Julia's former bedroom at La Posada, I wouldn't consider American Ghost to be a paranormal book (which makes it different from all of the other books I've reviewed for this blog) since it focuses more on Julia's life than her afterlife. The paranormal aspect was what drew me to this book, but finding out who Julia was and how she lived was really interesting. I was surprised that I ended up being so invested in the life of someone I'd never heard of, but I was pretty enthralled by the mystery of Julia.

My rating: 8/10