Saturday, November 28, 2015

AtomaCon 2016

AtomaCon passes for 2016 are on sale, and you can attend all three days for $25 (or $10 for teenagers) if you get your passes by January 1st.  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 2016 membership while it's on sale! AtomaCon is a convention that celebrates sci-fi, fantasy, science, the paranormal, and other fun stuff, and it will take place November 18th-20th at the Radisson Charleston Airport hotel in North Charleston, SC.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Movie Spotlight: Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious: Chapter 3 is the 2015 prequel to Insidious, and it stars Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, and Lin Shaye. After psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) agrees to help teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) contact her dead mother, a demonic figure begins haunting Quinn. When the demon becomes violent, Elise reluctantly agrees to go into the spiritual world with help from paranormal investigators Specs (Leigh Whannell, who also wrote and directed the movie) and Tucker (Angus Sampson).

Insidious: Chapter 3 is a good movie, but I didn't like it quite as much as the first two Insidious movies. All of the performances were great though, and the demon was a real asshole (like most demons)...what self-respecting demon keeps harassing a teenage girl with two broken legs? Seems kind of lazy. ; )

My rating: 7.5/10

My Insidious: Chapter 2 review:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

AtomaCon Panel: Demonology: Is it real?

Of all the panels I attended at last weekend's AtomaCon, I have to say the Demonology: Is it real? panel was my favorite. It was led by Alex Matsuo, founder and director of the Association for Paranormal Study and author of The Haunting of the Tenth Avenue TheaterThe Haunted Actor, and More Than Ghosts. A demon is a malevolent entity (or a fallen angel according to religion), and I never gave them much thought until I found out that The Exorcist was inspired by a true story. Alex said that she specializes in residential cases in her paranormal investigations and has come across a few demonic cases. According to The Bible, only Jesus can deal with demons, but he's not around to help out, so instead Catholic priests/clergy or pastors are called upon to exorcise a demon once they decide that someone is possessed. In order to get to this point, the individual in question must be evaluated by a priest, who assesses whether the person is suffering from mental illness or demonic possession (they have similar signs).

Signs of possession:
-hysterical laughter
-talking gibberish, speaking in languages the individual doesn't know, or speaking in tongues
-knowledge of things the individual has no way of knowing
-shifts in bone structure and body contortions
-aversion to holy objects/holy water
-changes in voice, personality, and appearance

Characteristics of demonic activity:
-foul odors
-oppressive feeling
-shadow figures
-reaction to religious objects/prayers
-heavy objects moving on their own

Stages of demonic possession:
1. Manifestation: when the demon is invited in (either directly or indirectly)
2. Infestation: when the demon makes itself known (growling, whispers, etc.)
3. Oppression: when the demon oppresses an individual physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually
4. Possession: when the demon has access to the body
5. Perfect Possession: when the individual accepts the demon, and an exorcism is no longer possible

In order to act on behalf of Christ, the priest must do an act of contrition before he performs the exorcism. Before the exorcism begins, the possessed person will be restrained so they can't hurt themselves or anyone else, then the exorcist will recite prayers both in English and Latin, which takes 35-40 minutes when read non-stop. The exorcist will also attempt to get the name of the demon and ask for the time and date of the demon's departure.

During the panel, we watched videos of exorcisms from other religions, which was pretty interesting, and Alex played an audio recording from one of the 67 exorcisms performed on Anneliese Michel (who was the inspiration for The Exorcism of Emily Rose), which really creeped me out. Anneliese died from malnutrition and dehydration at the age of 23, and her parents, a priest, and a pastor were all charged with negligent manslaughter. (You can find out more about Anneliese here:

I've watched a bunch of movies about demons/possession and read a few books on the subject, so I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about it...but the Demonology panel was fascinating, and I learned a lot. I didn't really enjoy riding home in the dark afterward or trying to fall asleep that night though. ; )

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

AtomaCon Panel: Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp and Other SC Cryptids

Last weekend I attended the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp and Other SC Cryptids panel, which was led by Tally Johnson and Tina R. McSwain, at AtomaCon; Tally is the author of Ghosts of the South Carolina Upcountry, Ghosts of the South Carolina Midlands, Ghosts of the Pee Dee, and Civil War Ghosts of South Carolina, and Tina is the founder and director of the Charlotte Area Paranormal Society. For anyone who doesn't know, a cryptid is an animal whose existence has not been proven or accepted by science...some well-known examples are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Jersey Devil. There aren't many SC cryptids besides the Lizard Man, but we did learn in the panel that there have been reports of a river monster in the Broad River, and people have seen two women, one blonde and one dark-haired, both dressed in white gowns, in the Scape Ore Swamp.

If you grew up in South Carolina, you've probably heard of the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (aka the Lee County Lizard Man), who was first reported in July 1988 when 17-year-old Christopher Davis claimed that he hit a "Bigfoot-like" creature with his mother's car. It was pointed out in the panel that this far-fetched claim was the product of a teenager who didn't want to get in trouble for wrecking his mom's car, but that didn't stop hundreds of people (including the national media) from descending on Bishopville to try to catch a glimpse of the Lizard Man.  Two years later, a mother who was driving with her five kids reported seeing the Lizard Man in the woods as she was driving over a bridge. For a decade or so, there weren't any reported sightings, but in August 2015, a woman claimed that she saw the Lizard Man as she was leaving church, and she took a picture with her cell phone...most people assumed it was a hoax because whatever is in the picture looks like someone wearing a rubber lizard suit. I'm pretty open-minded, but I hope that the Lizard Man is a hoax...I'm not crazy about regular lizards, so I don't want to live in a world where human-sized lizards exist. ; )

You can find more information about the Lizard Man here:

Tina R. McSwain:

Tally Johnson:

Monday, November 16, 2015

AtomaCon Panel: Haunted Theaters

I had a great time at my third AtomaCon...I went to a bunch of informative panels and met some really cool people. Since I have a paranormal blog and am also a playwright, it should be no surprise that I attended Alex Matsuo's Haunted Theaters panel. Alex is an actress, playwright, director, and author (of The Haunting of the Tenth Avenue Theater, The Haunted Actor, and More Than Ghosts), and she is the founder and director of the Association for Paranormal Study, which is based in San Diego and Raleigh. The first theater she covered in the panel was the Tenth Avenue Theater in San Diego, which was originally a Baptist chapel. The building is haunted by a British lieutenant (church members heard a British voice giving military orders and would sometimes see him standing in the chapel), a preteen girl named Missy who fell down the stairs and split her head open (Missy's spirit likes to talk to people, turn lights on, and follow people around), a pastor who hung himself in the chapel because he felt guilty about Missy's death, and a former church member named Carol LaRoche, who haunts the bathrooms.

A few of the other theaters covered in the panel:

-Theatre Royal in London: haunted by "The Man in Grey," who wears 18th-century clothing; seeing him is considered a sign of good luck

-New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City: haunted by Olive Thomas, who died of mercury poisoning at 25; her ghost is usually spotted by men and is wearing her Ziegfeld Follies costume and holding a blue bottle (which is what held the mercury that caused her death)

-Palace Theatre in New York City: haunted by more than 100 spirits, including Judy Garland

Alex told us about some of her own experiences, like feeling hands grabbing her dress and ankles during a Civil War reenactment at Gettysburg and once seeing a shadow figure mimicking an actor onstage during a performance. She said that spirits need energy in order to manifest, and theaters are full of energy (from everyone in the theater, lighting, electricity, etc.), which may explain why so many theaters seem to be haunted. The Haunted Theaters panel was really interesting and made me want to read all of Alex's books to find out more about her paranormal experiences. I'm going to a haunted theater (Dock Street) to see my favorite band next month, and I've never seen a ghost there, but I'll keep an eye out this time. : )

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes

Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes is a 2005 graphic novel by writer Andy Hartnell and artist Nick Bradshaw. It's a collection of the Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes four-issue miniseries that was published July-October 2004, and it picks up after the events of the Army of Darkness movie. Chainsaw-wielding hero/S-Mart housewares employee Ash Williams discovers that he was sent back to the wrong time, which means that he hasn't been to the cabin in the woods yet. He realizes that his girlfriend Linda must still be alive, so he decides to try to save her and destroy the Necronomicon.

I bought Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes as a birthday present for my husband, but when he was finished with it, of course I had to read it too. I thought it was an great  story, and the artist did an incredible job of capturing the spirit of the Evil Dead movies. It was interesting to see what Ash was up to right after the movies ended, and I definitely want to read more of the Army of Darkness graphic novels. : )

My rating: 8/10

Friday, November 6, 2015

One week until AtomaCon!

AtomaCon (All Types of Media Arts Convention) takes place November 13th-15th at the Charleston Plaza Hotel  (4770 Goer Drive) in North Charleston, SC. This will be the convention's third year and my third time attending...I had a lot of fun at AtomaCon in  2013 and 2014, so I've been looking forward to it all year. 

AtomaCon focuses on sci-fi, fantasy, science, technology, and gaming, and this year I'm planning on attending panels on Ghostbusters, crowdfunding, haunted theaters,  music, video editing, and demonology. There's something for everyone, so if you live in or near Charleston, you should check it out. : )

Visit the AtomaCon website for more information:

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I hope everyone had a great Halloween...I think it needs to be once a month instead of once a year. ; ) Here are some pictures of my husband and I dressed up as Owen and Claire from Jurassic World. : )