A Haunting Strain of Music, Part 1

Intoxica with Howie Pyro

“Don’t you know how I hate being disturbed when I’m categorizing my record collection?”

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I like the spookiness, the masquerade element, and the rich trove of vintage memorabilia generated over the years… like these LP and 45 covers. For fun, I looked up the music as well.

 

The rich baritone voice of Boris Karloff, best known for narrating the Christmas special “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” makes for some deliciously frightening Halloween listening. Includes some early electronic music  effects.

 

 Surfing and monsters! I am so there. The green girl in front could be Annette “Funeral”-cello herself. Note the pun on the Whiskey-a-Go-Go club in Los Angeles at the top. Exuberant mid-60s dance pop.

 

 Nothing subtle about this one. “Surf Monsters” seems more fun though. But I could dance to either.

 

You don’t tell say! If so, why are these two — who must be portraying preachers of a sort — so freakin’ happy? And why does Satan look like he walked off a South Park cartoon that was yet 40 years into the future? Questions, questions.

The music looks like it’s jukin’ jumpin’ Rockabilly from the picture, but the title song is more gentle, a country ballad with vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Everly Brothers. In fact, I’d say this song, or songs like it, inspired many nostalgic 1960s imitations, such as The Rolling Stones’ “The Girl with the Far Away Eyes” and the Beatles’ “Rocky Racoon.” Recommended.

And… do I hear Sir Paul McCartney’s “Mull of Kintyre” in the tune as well…?

 

Of course Satan is real. Here’s Mr. Bad News himself! I would so listen to the whole of this album too. After all rock n’ roll was once known as the devil’s music. I also like the album cover where Satan’s face has two different expressions on his left and right sides: evil, and evilest!

 

People smoked, drank, and went to clubs a lot in the 1950s and 1960s (or threw parties at home where they hoped to replicate a club atmosphere, with smoking and drinking) and artists like this provided background music when there wasn’t conversation going on, or someone wanted to dance. The most common themes were those of “exotic” places around the world, like Polynesia or Turkey, presented in a tongue-in-cheek martini-swilling style. Horror and science fiction themes were also popular. This album combines them both, with an “African” mask. 

 

More horror/exotica  from a bandleader with a similar-sounding name. The cover depiction here, however, is more grotesque and less fun.

 

Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/25/17: Bogies

They are the things that make children wake screaming, blind with fear, in the middle of the night. They are the things that slip through the cracks under bedroom windows, the things that turn the knobs of bedroom closets and push them open with agonizing slowness, while the children cower under their blankets and pray that the old stories about monsters not being able to touch them through their sheets are true.

They aren’t.

Innocents on Night Terrors

Things that go bump in the night

Krakhuan: An evil spirit in the shape of a rhinoceros. It walks on two human legs with oversized feet and has a long tail with a poisoned sting.

Mabafoon: An evil fairy that steals the lips from sleeping human children and replaces them with weasel skin.

Chroscrum: A demon in the form of a huge albino hyena. He has a loud, commanding voice and sends hordes of bats to punish his enemies.

Threehatch: An evil spirit in the form of a decaying, skeletal fox covered with carrion beetles.

Kilplacine: An evil, sorrowful spirit that has the upper part of a gaunt corpse with wrinkled white skin and the lower part of a crocodile.

Vlangthrut: A demon that looks like a handsome youth, but his flesh is covered with brown spikes. He has the wings of a pterodactyl and a hideous cackle.

Yathtrice: A demon in the shape of a black elephant with four human arms, two tails, and an aura of impending doom.

Mzabella: A horrible old crone who turns men into rats with her touch. She has two enormous pincers instead of hands and wears the flayed hide of a giant salamander.

Alrathy: A female demon who has the upper part of an elf-maiden and the lower part of a small, fluffy dog. She has hypnotizing eyes and speaks in a harsh tone.

Scorpadrox: A terrible goddess with two inhuman heads, those of a jackel and a hyena. She has oozing carbuncles on her back and lures men to doom with her singing.

Lephuan: An infernal spirit that, when summoned, appears as a sea cucumber with a human head. It speaks in a girl’s voice.

Oniprang: A demon with the body of a musk ox and the head of a cobra on a long, flexible neck. It mocks believers of the One True God and attempts to lure them to hell with gifts of treasure.

Out of Death

Out of Death, something beautiful.

 

(18th century carved horse skull)

Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/18/17: Geisterbahn

Geisterbahn, or German ghost-train ride

Do you enter? I dare you.

Geisterbahn is German for ghost train, the popular amusement park ride that carries thrill-seekers into dark, eerie tableaus designed to thrill and shock them. The most elaborate of these are found at Munich’s Oktoberfest. In the US, these rides are known as Spookhouses, or Haunted Houses. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is an example of the best of the best of them.

Around Halloween, another type of Geisterbahn crops up — the live action haunted house, usually presented by charities, but often featured as part of a regular park’s seasonal offerings. These can be quite elaborate and some are definitely not for kids.

Here’s a list of randomly-generated names for your own haunted house attraction.

Haunted House attractions

Ghost Forest

Killer Plunge

Mutant Raceway

Psychoshot

Vampire Rebellion

Ghost Ninja

Satan’s Circus

Medusa Mania

The Gorgon’s Nest

Psycho Prison

The Joker’s Scream

Haunted Shadows

Defcon Planet

Voodoo Hospital

Satan’s Holocaust

Demon Carnival

Killer Train

Zombie Warning

Mutant War

Midnight Journey

Murder Planet

Mummy Madness

 

 

Ecanus, the Angel of Writers

Ecanus, I seek to become more than a writer.

I desire to be an author and I ask for your Divine Assistance in helping me attain that goal. Fill my mind with original thoughts and ideas so that I may become the successful writer that God created me to be.

Through Jesus Christ’s Precious, Pure and Holy name I pray.

Amen.

 

I am not a religious person, so imagine my surprise when I came across this entity while doing some research on angels. My latent Christianity was triggered, but in a good way.

(Art by Leo Neal)

Fire at the Wax Museum

After a fire at Madame Tussaud’s.

 

Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/11/17: Tiamatan Clan Names

Snow Queen, by Joan D. Vinge, Romanian edition

This beautiful illustration was from the Romanian cover of the book.

Science fiction writer Joan D. Vinge wrote a fairy tale/space opera mashup in the early 1980s called The Snow Queen, which borrowed from the Hans Christian Anderson tale of the same name. Most of the action took place on a frigid water planet named Tiamat, where humans were split into two clans: Summers and Winters. (The seasonal cycle lasted 150 years, so Summers ruled in the warm months, Winters in the colder ones.) In addition, there were also family names. Vinge gave us only a few of them: Dawntreader, Bluestone, Ravenglass, Goodventure, Wayaways. But that was enough for me to extrapolate and randomly generate some more.

(These names would also work well for Elven races.)

Tiamatan Clan Names

Seaglass

Firestone

Greenflight

Soulspinner

Starstone

Dawnglass

Starspun

Goodstone

Sunwatcher

Skywave

Skywatcher

Saltfeather

Goodmoon

Firemoon

Sunfeather

Greenways

Snowflight

Sunstrider

Clearmoon

Bluewoven

Bloodstone

Seaway

Icegrass

Dawnwatcher

Goodstrider

Snowvane

Black Queen V

Cruelty was actually one of her better qualities.

 

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/4/17: Legendary Creatures

World mythology is full of fabulous beasts, beings, spirits, and creatures. There are the ones everybody knows, like gryphons, dragons, and unicorns; then there are those that are semi-familiar, like the harpy and thunderbird; and lastly, some that are truly obscure, like the grootslang, the ahkluyat, the senmurv.

Here’s a list of randomly generated creatures — all of them imaginary —  that falls firmly into the last category.

Legendary Creatures


Jellund: An immortal wolverine with a mass of tentacles instead of a head. It watches over sleeping children to make sure no harm comes to them.

Cenotalon: A huge silver fox with two heads and the wings of a pterodactyl. It has an alert, watchful stance and likes to lair in mountain aeries.

Umbramorg: A mythical heron with eight legs and the iridescent green throat of a hummingbird. Its red-gold plumage appears to be on fire but is never consumed. Legend says it lives on the moon and visits earth only once a year.

Ganjatang: An elephant with the fins and tail of a fish. Students of the occult say it can be found in fetid swamps. It sports a golden mane around its neck and has stubby wings, though it cannot fly.

Harouille: A wise old horse, the leader of all its kind. Legend says it has wings attached to its legs and flies amongst the clouds, creating rain.

Lempsoogle: A giant snail with two heads and the scaly legs of a rooster. It is always surrounded by an aura of heat and puffs out clouds of steam from under its shell.

Sophidyle: The sacred blue crocodile of the city-state of Maggaphis. It is fond of entertaining humans with its singing and has a penchant for stealing scissors.

Sophiclaw: A demonic flying serpent with six wings. It has foul, obscenity-filled speech.

Fornharp: A wise old tortoise with the head and tail of a fox.

Yathnang: A giant catfish covered with green slime. It has ten chin barbels and a single eye in the middle of its forehead.

Cerephant: A giant brown-furred dog with four mouths that guards the Citadel of Lies.

Koratas: Giant scarlet mosquitoes with human heads and arms. They attack the genitals of unwary adventurers.

Ampyroc: A giant raven with an ivory horn on its forehead.

Lephuan: A legendary gazelle of the Southern deserts. It has eight wings and eight golden horns, and will grant you a wish if you catch it.

Leddendrill: The Silver Rabbit of the Moon. It guards the Ocarina of Time and can travel the world in one day.

Jessoboon: A white-furred monstrosity resembling a baboon with three buttocks. It lives under a glacier made of silver ice.

Unimeek: A legendary phoenix that, instead of burning, freezes everything in its path with its icy breath.

Umdyrie the Scarlet: A great dragon that constantly nibbles at the roots of the World Tree, Yggigna.

Aahuan: A nature elemental in the shape of a hawk. It has a frail appearance, a mournful, hooting cry, and a human mouth instead of a beak. Legend says it emits feces made of flame and is able to aim them at its enemies.

Dinoockies: Small, fierce gryphons with the bodies of rats rather than lions.

Bramoth: A giant armadillo-like monster with two heads and jagged teeth. It has a harsh, gutteral voice and will devour the sun at the end of Time.

Aspoone: A giant sea turtle with the tail of a scorpion, with which it uses to procure sharks, its favorite prey.

Rhinavern: A legendary dog with ivory wings and a golden mouth. It has the ears of a human and consumes gems as food.

The Fates

You don’t want to play with these ladies.
They always get their way in the end.

 

Art by Vergvoktre