It is the Dead End of the Annual #CoffinHop. 2nd Year running and still my favourite Blog event of the year. It is a time of year when fears are bled out onto the page, where the horror that can grip us in daily life can be released. This is the last day, the DEAD END of the #CoffinHop. So hop around through the bone yard visiting all the other CoffinHoppers – *Click on the skull above to get to each coffin.* #CoffinHop is that time of the year when we can face our fears, admit them and then master them. It’s ok to be scared, it’s ok to feel fear…
Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. – John Berridge
So we are a day away from the end of Coffin Hop 2012. Just like last year it has been a BLAST. However it is not over until it is over so don’t feel glum. If you have not had a chance to hit up all the incredibly talented authors on this blog tour, you still have 2 days left to catch up & still 2 days left to enter my contest *Click on the EYE above*. Just click on that skull at the bottom of this post and it will take you to the Coffin Hop Boneyard where you can find all the other incredible authors.
Now, I know some may scratch their heads wondering what sort of person writes horror or reads horror. Well I can’t speak for all horror authors but I can speak for myself and I can speak of most of the other coffinhoppers since I am privileged to call a lot of them friends. I think Horror has got a bad rap over the years and Horror Authors along with it. So much so that the publishing industry uses every other euphemism to market a Horror Author and their Horror Fiction other than the term: Horror.
In May I wrote a post on: What is Horror? It was a question posed and answered by a group of horror author bloggers. You can find the full post here: Shivers down my Spine
But here are some passages that I would like to highlight for you…
horror |ˈhôrər, ˈhär-|noun1 an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust: children screamed in horror.• a thing causing such a feeling: photographs showed the horror of the tragedy | the horrors of civil war.• a literary or film genre concerned with arousing such feelings: [ as modifier ] : a horror movie.• intense dismay: to her horror she found that a thief had stolen the machine.• [ as exclamation ] (horrors) chiefly humorous used to express dismay: horrors, two buttons were missing!• [ in sing. ] intense dislike: many have a horror of consulting a dictionary.• (the horrors) an attack of extreme nervousness or anxiety: the mere thought of it gives me the horrors.2 informal a bad or mischievous person, esp. a child: that little horror Zach was around.ORIGIN Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’ (see horrid) .
I think the very origin of the word answers the question: What is Horror? Horror is an involuntary trembling and shuddering from sheer terror. For me however, true horror is those scenes that play with your mind. Psychological fear is far more intense and horrific than mere physical fear. The mind is a scary place. It’s capacity for imagining the worst and the darkest is scary. Think of your favourite horror movie, the imagined monster behind the shadow at the foot of the door that is ajar is far scarier than the monster that is seen and can be fought. What is unknown is far scarier than the known? For me, that is true HORROR.
Horror is the difference between the UNKNOWN vs the KNOWN and theUNTHINKABLE vs the IMAGINED. Horror is those shivers down my spine, that prickling on my skull and the bone-deep chill that makes my heart want to stop.
“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…”
So what is so different about Horror Authors? I will tell you this. I think Horror Authors are the SkyJumpers of the publishing world. To be a Horror Author you need to plumb the depths of the human heart and all its terrible secrets. You have to face the darkness and then shine a light on it, exposing it. Not only are we SkyJumpers but we are SkyJumping into a dark night sky. That takes guts! It requires a strong spine and a streak of recklessness. On top of that we are the red headed step child that the Publishing world does not want to acknowledge.
But when you – as a reader – read a piece of horror fiction, you have no other choice but to dig deep yourself into your own emotions and FEEL. Horror Fiction strips away all your defences and lays you bare as an emotional being with equal amounts of joys and fears. Horror Fiction strips away all polite etiquette and gets you to connect with your most primal and your most HUMAN instincts and emotions. You may be scared stiff but you won’t stop turning the pages to find out what happens. Horror fiction is a guaranteed Page-Turner. Horror Fiction has a way of getting under your skin and being unforgettable. For a time, while reading that Horror story, you forget your own horrors.
“Blessed are the weird people – poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters and troubadours – for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.” – Jacob Nordby
Horror Authors > Are we crazy? Are we dark? Some may be. But then great minds are always called Crazy by someone, somewhere.
But is it crazy or dark to have the courage to acknowledge both the light and the dark, the day and the night, the joy and the fear? Call me crazy then and call me dark. But it is through writing down the dark stories that I can get to the light. It is through writing down the dark stories that darkness does not overwhelm me. Humanity can be a horrific thing and sometimes we need to acknowledge the truth of that horror to let the wild and precious beauty shine in through the cracks in the dark. You cannot appreciate the Dawn unless you have experienced the coldest, loneliest, darkest hour of the Night. If I didn’t write the stories and poems that I do…then I would truly be haunted by the dark…
Often the most haunted places are places where violence and bloodshed have occurred. Revolutions overthrow governments, old ways must die for new ways to take control and often this takes on a decidedly bloody tone. Today’s city is one with a violent history, tsars and revolutionaries, priests, prophets and magic. This is above all a place where people fight passionately for what they believe in even if means to the death.
For a state founded by fierce bloodthirsty warriors in the 9th century, it is not hard to believe that Russia is a place of Warriors, Battles, Wars, Bloodshed and above all Passion. It was the East Slavs who settled here in this strange forbidding land first in the 3rd century but it was the Swedish Vikings who named and founded this land as Rus or The Land of Rus. For many centuries Rus was ruled by feudal laws: The strongest took power by force and the weakest either died or moved on. The first major revolution came in 1237-40 at the hands of the Mongol Invasion. Half of Rus’s population were slaughtered and the vast expanse that was Rus was parceled off and controlled by various nations. Moscow fought back viciously and valiantly and in 1380 defeated the Mongols. Moscow was now the centre of Rus once again and this city showed its strength and might. Deciding that feudalism would not keep them strong, they looked at the early example set by Rome and decided that Rus needed to be a Tsardom. They crowned their first Tsar (Russian for Caesar) Grand Duke Ivan IV (Ivan the Awesome who later was known as Ivan the Terrible) ruling Tsar in 1547. Ivan the Terrible established Moscow as his ruling base and through fierce wars and battles and much bloodshed he added land to the new mighty city; the new Rome as he saw it. Once again Rus underwent death and destruction as The Time of the Troubles began with a severe famine that killed 1/3 of the population (about 2 million). It was a time when brigands roamed the countryside killing, destroying and taking anything in their way. Russia was a country without a leader once again until the first Romanov, Michael Romanov, finally took back control after a number of false tsars had tried to take control. His rule did not come without bloodshed, he ordered the current false tsar’s 3-year-old son to be hanged and for the wife to be strangled to death. The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia from 1612 until their violent death and destruction in the Russian Revolution of 1917. The famous slaughtering of the ruling Romanov family was seen as a victory by the peasants and militant revolutionaries. Tsar Nicholas II known as Bloody Nicholas was forced to abdicate the ruling throne on 2 March 1917. A few months later in July, the Tsar, his wife, his son, his four daughters, the family’s medical doctor, the footman, maidservant and cook were all killed by the revolutionaries. The world watched in vain as the horrific executions were done and the Iron curtain slowly fell over Russia. Once again Moscow was the centre of most of this bloodshed.
Moscow is without a doubt one of the cities in the world with the most violent history. Moscow is recognised as one of the strangest and most haunted cities in the world. The facts and history alone of bloody violence and constant revolutions are enough to send a chill down anyone’s spine. It is a land of militants and mystics, poets and politicians, tsars and peasants, a land of contrasts. Russian literature and poems are full of fantastic creatures, legends and bloodcurdling myths…
The Bronze Bird
In the Bronze Bird (Anatoly Rybakov) there is a tale told of the Golyginskaya Gat (a log road across a swamp): “If they wander on to the Golyginskaya Gat, they might get lost there forever,”. This is the place where an old Count and his son were beheaded in the 17th century. He was one of the false Tsars who attempted to overthrow the Romanovs and instead was defeated and executed by beheading. Then they were buried in the swamp land which was unconsecrated by the Russian Orthodox Church with the hope that their souls would be doomed to eternal suffering. The legend of their haunting goes like this: Cursed by a burial in unconsecrated ground, the restless, maltreated souls of father and son rise from the swamps at night and ask passers-by to bury their remains as befits Christians, insisting they were just innocent victims of malignant libel. If an unlucky man so approached cannot utter an intelligible response, the princes grow even more pressing, coming closer and removing their own heads, to be polite!
In the 19th century, Kuznetsky Most Street was a thriving centre of fashion and nightlife with many boutiques and gambling houses. Gamblers often played all night long, losing all their cash. As the legend goes, those hit particularly hard might even be considering suicide when they suddenly saw a grey coach with wonderful horses stopping in front of them. The coachman, hiding his face, was ready to take them “wherever your soul wishes” for very little money. Few were able to grasp the covert sense of the phrase, indeed, they had just considered taking their own lives. Those who got into the mysterious coach were never seen again.
Gospitalny Val Street, Moscow
There is an old cemetery here dating from the 18th century. The city suffered an outbreak of the Plague. So many people died in this outbreak that the city had to start burying its dead on the banks of the river outside of the cemetery. These days, people say melancholy flute music is sometimes heard from the dark cemetery park on spring nights and, when it rains, an invisible musician plays his sad music until dawn, accompanied by the rattling of iron shackles heard from the tomb of Dr. Fedor Gaaz. Locals call this cemetery “Infidels’ crypts.”
The Bauman District, Moscow
The macabre history of this district is that this impure place was a place where witches were burned or took their own lives by suicide. Since 1558, a hunchback old woman with a crook has haunted these lands, appearing to residents of Ostankino village shortly before their deaths. As the legend goes, she even predicted to Emperor Paul I that he would not live until spring. Her prophecy came true: the tsar was murdered by officers of his guard in the early hours of March 12, 1801. The same old woman told Alexander II that he would die at the hands of an atheist – and this prediction also came true when he was assassinated by a terrorist on March 1, 1881. It is rumoured that the old prophetess also appeared to local residents before the Ostankino TV Tower fire in 2000.
Many of these haunted places are so dangerous and so cursed even to this day that the Haunted tours that run in Moscow will not take you there for fear of death themselves. Moscow is indeed worthy of being called one of the 10 most haunted cities in the world. So before you take a walk through these desolate hauntings it might be wise to have some liquid courage. So I have included a few Vodka Martini recipes (below) in honour of this ancient city that is sure to bolster and shore up your courage to face the shadowed spirits who walk the veil between worlds in Moscow, that Mighty, Mysterious city.
Decadent Vodka Cocktails with a Terrifying Twist
Click on any of the DECADENT COCKTAILS
– this will take you to my Pinterest page,
One more click will take you to the delicious concoction’s RECIPE…
What is the use of posting cocktails unless you try them for yourself?
Come back and tell me which was your favourite flavour!
Day 2 of The Haunted & The Hauntings takes us to a place of Voodoo and Magic. This city is famous in the Horror and Paranormal Circles. It has inspired legends, myths, tales that terrify and movies that horrify. It has also been a favourite obsession of mine and has inspired my new WIP – The Tattooist Trilogy.
This city has been called the Most Haunted City in the USA. It has also been called “The Crescent City”, “The Big Easy” and “The City that Care Forgot” I first became familiar with this city through, what else but my favourite medium, books: specifically The Vampire Chronicles of Anne Rice. I could not get enough of this series and could not get enough of this strange haunting city. This city is one of the main settings in my NEXT BIG WIP – The Tattooist Trilogy. I am also planning on a 2013 trip – it falls under research – to this city of Hauntings, Voodoo & Vamps. In my thirst for knowledge + WIP research I explored the earliest times of this notorious city.
Perhaps the earliest legend that has fueled the Hauntings in this city is that the vast swamp that was New Orleans was once a sacred Indian burial ground. In 1718 King Louis XV founded the city of New Orleans, named after the city of Orleans lying on the banks of the Loire River in France, in the hope and belief that it would be a profitable trading station for the French because of its appealing location on the Mississippi River. Once people started trickling in to live here though; murderers, thieves, rapists, common criminals and laborers were the first inhabitants. I assumed they came here and set up camp to escape their various crimes and the punishment they were sure to face on apprehension. In these early days of New Orleans, it was only the desperate and the damned who would choose to make their home here: They called it The French Quarter in 1721. It was a topography that perfectly mirrored the depraved, the desperate and the damned who settled here with natural harsh elements like quick sand, alligators, venomous snakes, mosquitoes and rampant disease. For the next hundred years the murder rate in this new city was high and along with numerous major fires, hurricanes, wars and the dreaded yellow fever epidemic this city became a place of death, decay and destruction.
During this first 100 year period of New Orleans, the Haitian slave revolt (1791 – 1804) happened in Haiti. To escape the massacre the refugee plantation owners, bringing with them their slaves, escaped Haiti to make their way across the ocean to a new home and refuge in New Orleans. For the first time New Orleans heard the sacrificial drums of Voodoo. Voodoo had come to New Orleans. Voodoo is a strange mix of various African – originating in Benin and Nigeria – magic, belief and rites mixed with Catholic elements. Voodoo brought with it snake magic, seers, ritual animal sacrifice, fortune-telling, black magic, bonfires and orgies and notorious Voodoo Queens: the most famous Voodoo Queen would have to be Marie Laveau. Both a practicing Catholic and a Voodoo Queen; she acted as an Oracle, conducted private rituals, performed exorcisms and offered sacrifices to spirits. To this day people still come to her tomb to offer up favors and offerings. Her grave is the one of the most visited graves in the world. There are still sightings of this Voodoo Queen in modern-day New Orleans.
It is no wonder that this city with its notorious history, its birthplace founded on a purported sacred Indian burial ground and its mix of the depraved, the damned and the illicit combined with the black magic of Voodoo Queens has spurred the title of the Most Haunted city in the USA. It is a place layered in history, in magic and ancient sacred rites. It is a place where the veils between ritualistic beliefs, fears are thin. It is indeed a place where spirits watch you from veiled shadows.
Another thing that this city is famous for is Cocktails, decadence and illicit deliciousness…It is not known as “The Big Easy” and the home of “The Mardi Gras” for nothing. So for a treat today I have included some New Orleans cocktails and some Halloween inspired cocktails for your enjoyment.
New Orleans Classic Cocktails
Click on any of the DECADENT COCKTAILS
– this will take you to my Pinterest page,
One more click will take you to the delicious concoction’s RECIPE…
What is the use of posting cocktails unless you try them for yourself?
Come back and tell me which was your favourite flavour!
The Haunted & the Hauntings are the things that truly send chills up and down my spine. Perhaps you would wonder why someone able to see ghosts and been in my share of haunted places is chilled to the bone. But this is just the reason why The Haunted & The Hauntings do chill me…because I know they are real. It is those nightmares that walk and connect with us that truly petrify us. Not the bogeyman but the shadowed spirit at my door…this is what I know to be all too true.
But just like there are people who are able to see these veiled creatures of the between world, there are places on this earth that seem to be filled with the walking dead, the seeking spirits, the hungry haunts. So today I thought I would welcome you to DayTwo of the COFFIN HOP by sharing a short haunted travel guide of two of this world’s most Haunted places…
The Parisians have an interesting history with the dead and departed. It started in the Roman times when Parisians buried their dead on the outskirts of the city but with the rise of Christianity they soon took to burying their dead in consecrated ground which meant under and around their churches. By the 12th century however these consecrated burial grounds became overcrowded and the only way around this was to have mass burial sites for those who were short on cash. By the 17th century these mass inhumations though caused the sanitary conditions of Paris to become unbearable though as Paris depended on their waters from their many underground wells which was now being contaminated by these mass inhumations. It was then that, with the government looking for a way to clean up the city, they decided to use long abandoned stone quarries under the mines as new burial grounds for the dead of Paris. It took two years from 1786 to 1788 to exhume all the mass buried bodies and transfer them to the underground sepulchre which soon became known as the Catacombs of Paris. Soon the very tunnels that led to these stone quarries were walled in a macabre “brick work” of bones and skulls. It brought a new meaning to “walking with the dead”. So although the government of the day managed to clean up the city’s water supply they also turned the city into a city that walks on the bones of its dead. These catacombs are now listed as one of the most haunted places in the world with guided tours there. Visitors here claim to have been touched by unseen hands, have the sensation of being watched or followed, experienced temperature changes, hysterical breakdowns, and the feeling of being strangled.
Paris may be the City of Light but perhaps it is only called that because it lies on the City of Death…
Although London is often seen as the epitome of modern day civility, its history is quite the polar opposite. This city has one of the most violent and savage pasts in the world. It is a city that Kings and Queens have fought viciously over and fought passionately and horrifically for the rights to rule. From the horrific tales of imprisoned nobles in The Tower of London to Jack the Ripper, this city has more than its fair share of horror and dead crying out for justice. This city alone has spanned the popular gothic genres with its historic architecture and less than polite past. There are numerous ghost walks and haunted tours that can be found at the tips of your fingers if you google “Haunted London” – 79, 600, 000 results to be exact. One that stood out to me though was: The London Ghost Walk
These great London Ghost Walks are led by ghost book author and paranormal television presenter Richard Jones. The walk lasts approximately 2 hours and takes place regardless of weather conditions.
Twilight creeps through the narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards. It’s gnarled fingers unlock ancient secrets of dark deeds that lie entombed behind crumbling walls. It whispers into the shadowy recesses of a forgotten part of London, disturbing the sleep of the long departed, and the city of the dead stirs once more into ghostly life.
Thus London’s spookiest tour begins, and a spine-chilling night awaits you in the company of masterful story teller Richard Jones, author of the definitive book on the capital’s sinister history Walking Haunted London. For this is the only ghost walk to feature startling recreation of psychic phenomenon and you will witness much that is mysterious and inexplicable.
With its unique combination of expert guidance, dramatic storytelling and strange occurrences, this is THE London ghost walk. Often copied but never equalled, it unfolds against the backdrop of London’s oldest, eeriest and most haunted quarter. Untold horrors skulk in the silent shadows, and spectral voices echo across ancient plague pits. Mists and Miasma’s swirl through abandoned graveyards, as a lone monks keeps his weary vigil amidst crumbling, weatherworn tombstones and the devils breath is felt on a wind swept corner.
So come along, as the darkness falls, and enjoy an entertaining journey through a part of London you would never dream still existed. Encounter streets so sinister, that you will never be sure who, or what, might be waiting around the next corner, or lurking just a few graves along. (taken from the site)
Now I don’t know about you but this is one Haunted tour I would love to take…
Have you visited these haunted cities so praised as architects of civility and style in the modern age but so filled with macabre and bizarre pasts? Which haunted city is on your bucket list to visit?
Join me here tomorrow for the next X spots that mark the places where the spirits watch you from veiled shadows…
Remember to visit all the other coffin hopping macabre and haunted places buried in the
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, October 24, 2011 at Midnight (PST)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 31, 2011 at Midnight (PST)
Winners will be drawn and posted November 1, 2011
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY SITE’S CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL SITES IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. THE MORE SITES YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME?
***Authors have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this tour is subject to these rules***
Life is precious and fragile. We are all part of the animal kingdom and supposedly we are the most intelligent species. I am not so sure about that. But I do know that we are the cruelest species. Death is a natural part of the circle of life as are predators and prey. But though animals hunt for food and sometimes kill for dominance, animals do not murder.
Murder is something that is the reserve of humanity. A murder was the first crime in the world when one brother murdered another out of jealousy and envy and then covered it up. So Murder is truly as old as humanity itself.
Some psychologists believe that everyone is capable of murder but that some are not capable of controlling this black streak. But some murders don’t fall into the murder category, they fall into manslaughter or self-defense. When you hear those terms, you can understand the theory that anyone of us is capable of taking a life especially if it is to save another person’s life or to save your own life. Does this make us more human or less human? No matter how murder is justified, killing is killing. A life ends at another’s hands.
Murder does lend itself to the world of cinema and fiction. There is nothing as riveting as a good old-fashioned murder mystery. There is nothing as thrilling and spine-chilling as a psychological thriller. There is no antagonist/villain as frightening and horrific as a psychopathic, cold-blooded serial killer.
I write dark paranormal fiction and in my stories there is always a lurking ghost, a psychological twist or a cold-blooded killer. Many people ask me why I write about the stories that I do. Am I that fascinated with ghosts and murder? Yes I am. I am fascinated and horrified by ghosts, spirits and killers because like it or not they are there. That scares me. To conquer your fear you have to face it. So I face it by writing about it. Often this means I do not sleep at night and this is caused by a combination of my imagination and my insomnia.
My next WIP is a psychological thriller and it involves psychological twists and a cold-blooded killer. This killer curdles my blood. Already the killer haunts my dreams. But the worst thing about this character is that I am struggling to name him. He does have a moniker that he will be known by in the story but he does need a name.
Let me tell you a little bit about him. He is a psychopath. He is exceptionally cruel and sadistic. He is also a perfectionist who never leaves any trace of himself at the crime scene. He is fastidiously clean, almost surgically I would say. He preys on people that he feels are “fallen”. He is incredibly alluring and seductive. He is hard to say “no” to. By the time his victims realise he is the final person they will see, it is too late and they are taken by surprise. This man could be anyone. He might be your friend, your brother, your father, your lover, your husband or your colleague. He stalks you like a silent lioness. Do you know his name?
So…this is where you blog-hoppers come in. I need you to put your creative hats on and spin me a first name and surname for my sadistic killer.
The best name will win three ebooks by three phenomenal authors. (I will be announcing the names of the authors and their books closer to Halloween but believe me you will want these ebooks.)
The best name will also become the name of my sadistic killer.
You need to be subscribed to this blog to enter (so join up if you are not already) as well as leave your best answer (along with your email address for winner notification) in the comments on any of this week’s posts on this blog. You also need to have visited and commented on at least 5 of the CoffinHop bloggers.
The winner will be announced on this blog on 5th November.