Trick or treat, y’all! How are you this fine evening?
We’re mere days away from Halloween, and tonight’s serenade is a DIY Halloween dance party. How could we possibly celebrate Halloween without Michael Jackson’s Thriller?
If you’re old like me, you remember the hype leading up to the release of the full-length (over 13 minutes long) video on December 2, 1983. Directed by accomplished film director John Landis (National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London), it was MTV’s first world premiere video.
All I know is, when the thing finally aired, I was blown away. The story line, the makeup effects, the dancing… But maybe the spoken word performance by horror movie icon Vincent Price put it over the top.
And I’ve had Whodini’s Freaks Come Out at Night running through my head all month long. I think it’s in the background of a television commercial, but it’s absolutely worth posting here.
But if you know me at all, you know I can’t pass up the opportunity to bring out the Backstreet Boys and Everybody. Okay, I confess that boy bands are something of a guilty pleasure, but seriously, watch the dancing–I’d compare it to the ghoulish street parade from Thriller any time.
So what would be on your Halloween playlist? I’d love it if you’d comment below.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween. Hug those you love.
I love the odd, quirky, slightly spooky Werewolves of London by the late, great Warren Zevon. It’s from his 1978 album, Excitable Boy. The song was produced by Jackson Browne, and backing vocals on the original recording feature Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.
To me, it’s a fun song, especially for a cool October evening.
I will also say that in my opinion, Kid Rock ripped off the iconic riff of this song in his All Summer Long, which is supposed to be a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama. Nope, not buying it, it’s Werewolves of London all the way. I won’t dignify it by posting it here, but you can look it up on YouTube.
But as long as we’re talking monsters…
How about a little Frankenstein? It’s Edgar Winter’s instrumental classic from the 1972 album, They Only Come Out at Night.
I hope you’re enjoying this October weekend. Be sure to hug those you love.
Halloween is just over two weeks away. Time for it to get Spooky. I couldn’t resist this classic from the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
This time of year, I’m dying to watch a good ‘dark and scary night in a spooky house’ kind of thing, and in the past couple of years, I haven’t had much luck finding something that fits the bill. I’m not talking about a cheesy, slasher, ‘all the teens are gonna die’ movie–I’m looking for something smart and creepy.
Then I turned on Netflix last night and found this, their original series The Haunting of Hill House. It’s based (loosely) on the 1959 classic horror novel by Shirley Jackson. I watched the first two episodes last night, and it’s creepy as hell. I’m in for the rest of the ride.
It’s just a thought if you’re looking for something Halloween-y to do tonight. Gather with those you love, and I’d recommend leaving the lights on, just saying. Be sure to give them a hug.
Happy Saturday night!
Bonus Track: I couldn’t resist the divine Eagles with a live version of Witchy Woman. Cheers to the late, great Glenn Frey.
Happy October! I know I’ve mentioned it before, but between our anniversary, my birthday, and Halloween, I LOVE October!
For the first October song, I’m choosing Superstition by the amazing Stevie Wonder. That funky bass line just draws you in every time.
And it’s perfect for the countdown to Halloween. I mean, check out the lyrics. And may I be the first to admit that I’ve been singing it wrong for all these years.
Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your pastWhen you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the wayVery superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong,
You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song
When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way, yeh, yeh
Very superstitious, nothin’ more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil’s on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past
When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the way, no, no, no
It made me wonder…
Are you superstitious? I don’t consider myself to be.
Once I visited San Antonio with my mother and we went to this glorious Mexican restaurant down by El Mercado. We were seated outside at a table covered in tile mosaic. There was a hole in the center of the table where an umbrella might go. My mother salted her dinner and when she set down the salt shaker, she accidentally dropped it through the hole. The glass shaker shattered once it hit the ground and salt spilled everywhere.
A Hispanic lady at the next table saw what happened and brought us her salt shaker, miming tossing salt over her shoulder. When my mother reached for the salt, the woman shook her head vigorously then set it on the table rather than passing it directly. To appease the woman, my mother went ahead and tossed some salt over her shoulder and life went on. But I’ve always thought that was a strange experience.
Are there any things you do for good luck?
I just want to be grateful for the good things in my life.
I hope you’re enjoying this fall evening. Be sure to hug those you love.
Happy Saturday night!
P.S. I couldn’t resist this version by another Stevie, the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Here’s one final spine chiller as we gear up for Halloween. The title is pretty self-explanatory. It’s completely true and like I said below, it’s the reason I am considerably less skeptical than I once was. I hope you read it to the end. I’m tacking on a new little snippet that happened a few weeks ago.
On a side note, there is some creepy shit on Pinterest.
This last October story is the most personal. I have no photos or other documentation to prove what I’m saying but this is the single reason that I now entertain a certain amount of curiosity about the paranormal. Up until this point, I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. Yeah, right.
In the earlier days of our relationship, my sweet lived in a haunted house. No, honestly. I know what you’re thinking. Even I didn’t believe it at first. He tried to tell me. I just thought he was messing with me.
Before Mr. R. and I got married, he rented a house with two other guys for a little over a year. It was just a regular older house in a normal neighborhood and it was owned by a personal friend of Mr. R. There was nothing remarkable about it, in fact, it needed quite a bit of updating, but it was a nice size with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. It also backed up to a large lake and had a nice pool in back between the house and the water, these two features being really the best of the whole place.
I vaguely recall Mr. R. mentioning to me that there were times when his roommates were out and he felt as if he were not alone in the house. I completely blew this off. I am an educated, logical person. There is always an explanation for everything. I just thought he was trying to creep me out.
We spent many Saturdays hanging out at the house, sometimes swimming in the pool or fishing off the dock, lots of nights watching television in the converted sun porch just off the dining area. I never noticed anything weird. Never even thought about it. Until…
One night we were watching television and I left the room. As I headed through the darkened dining area, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. My heart jumped and I stopped immediately, looking to my right, the direction of the movement. Mentally, I scolded myself. You saw yourself in the mirror, I thought. There was a mirror on the wall and that explanation made total sense. Except…I was about 10% certain that myself was not what I saw. I shook my head and went about my business.
After that, from time to time as we watched television, I was almost certain that I saw movement in the dining area. Let me describe a little of the design of the house. The tv room and dining area were separated by double french doors which were always left open. The double-wide opening was flanked in the tv room by the multi-paned french doors pushed flush against the wall. The panes of glass reflected light and color from the television, not to mention the lights of the boats passing outside on the lake. So it made sense that the movement I saw was the reflection in the glass doors from the television and from outside. Except…There were times I was sure the movement I saw was not in the glass on the sides of the doorway, but in the empty space of the doorway which would be the center of the dining room.
Mostly I just tried to ignore it, sure that I was being silly. And there were long periods of time when nothing unusual happened. I would forget about it, have no expectation of anything at all.
Until the night I had an experience that I could not explain in any way. Once again, we were watching television. During a commercial, I glanced out into the darkened dining area where my purse was hanging on the back of a chair. Oddly, in the space between the top of my purse and the handles hanging on the chair, I saw a tiny red light, like the ready light on something electronic.
That’s weird, I thought. What in the world is it? My first thought was that it was my phone. But I realized it couldn’t be my phone because: a) my phone didn’t have a red light like that; and b) my phone wasn’t sticking out of the top of my purse, it was in the pocket in the end of the purse, which was the reason I bought that purse to begin with. That’s so weird, I thought, and I looked back at the television without thinking about it beyond being perplexed. When I glanced back at my purse, the red light was gone.
I was properly freaked out for the first time. Mr. R. realized something was wrong, but I’m from the school of thought that says, If I don’t say it out loud, it didn’t happen. I made him sit beside me, and it was only after the show was over, when we went out onto the back deck that I told him what I’d seen.
He told me a few more stories, and now, of course, I was all ears. The master bedroom of the house was separated from the master bath by a short, narrow hallway that ran between ‘his and hers’ closets. Mr. R. said that once he’d been on his way into the bathroom when he’d suddenly changed his mind and turned around in that area between the closets. As he abruptly turned, he said he saw someone standing there, then instantly he didn’t see someone. His sense at the time was of someone who was lonely and desperately wished to be ‘one of the guys’. He told me about many times when he’d been in the kitchen cooking and he’d felt certain that someone was just behind him, looking over his shoulder.
After that experience, I was very aware of the nights when we’d hear thumps and bumps of unexplained origin. I chalked a lot of those up to the wind getting under the eaves, but that only explained some of the noises we heard.
One night, after his roommates left for the evening, Mr. R. and I were in the house by ourselves. We were sitting together on the sofa just chatting about nothing in particular when we heard, from the other room, the distinct sound of someone clearing their throat. “Ahem!” We just stared at each other. “You heard that, right?” we said simultaneously.
One of the last things I experienced in that house happened as we were making dinner one night. Mr. R. left the room, leaving me alone in the kitchen. I heard, from another part of the house, a loud sort of boom, bang, crash as if a stack of pots or something had fallen. I moved in the direction of the noise, the direction Mr. R. had gone, saying, “Hey, are you okay?” I met Mr. R. coming toward me saying, “Hey, are you okay?” We’d each thought the other had knocked something over, yet neither of us had.
As a result of the strange things I experienced in the house, I became somewhat interested in investigations of the paranormal. No, I’m not going out to buy a bunch of electronic gizmos (except maybe a phone app). But I have come to appreciate the TAPS investigators from the SciFi show, GhostHunters. The reason I like them is that they set out to disprove paranormal activity, to find logical, rational explanations for odd things that people experience. One thing I learned from them is that high electromagnetic emissions, such as would be present in an older home with faulty wiring, can cause various physical reactions including feelings of unease, of being watched. I absolutely believe that explains some of what Mr. R. experienced in the house. And then, every once in a while, the TAPS team comes across something that really defies explanation. I can relate to that, too.
Now, a little history on the house. These are things I know to be true, they can be verified in the news and by talking to the family members who owned the house. Some years before Mr. R. and the boys rented the house, the family who owned it experienced an unfathomable tragedy. A teenage son was murdered in a violent robbery at the fast food restaurant where he’d worked. The mother, utterly devastated by his death, hired a psychic to come into the house and give a reading. The psychic advised the mother to place some of the boy’s personal belongings around the house to encourage his spirit to stay. Turns out, there were some skateboards and other things placed in the attic and other spots around the house during the time Mr. R. lived there. Now, normally I’d say that whole business is a load of crap. But things happened there that I can’t explain.
All of that to say this–I’ve always believed that most of the things that happen in this world have logical, rational explanations. I still believe that. Now, I also have to concede that some things simply defy rational explanation.
It gets real when you experience something for yourself. Take, for example, those photos from the Pilar in Islamorada. Or the photos from the Riddle House. I’m much less certain that I have it all figured out. Still, I’m okay with that.
I wouldn’t spend any time alone in that house, though. Nope.
As promised, one last little tale…
Mr. R., before he quit his job (don’t even get me started again), was a steely-eyed newsman. His most recent position was as an assignment editor–those are the folks in the newsroom who know what’s going on and send out reporters and photographers to cover stories. They take phone calls, keep in contact with community leaders and law enforcement, and keep an ear on the scanners.
In that capacity, one day shortly before his last, Mr. R. overheard an odd conversation over the police scanners.
Town of Palm Beach Dispatcher to officer on patrol: I received a call from an on-duty private security guard. He’s reporting that in the house he’s guarding, he keeps hearing children whispering and giggling. The thing is, the house has been empty and boarded up for several years. Can you check it out?
Officer on patrol: (long silence) Oooo-kay.
I’m sad to say that Mr. R. never heard the outcome of that call, but like all my other October stories, it’s true.
This article is copied and pasted from a post I wrote a couple of years ago. WordPress being what it is, I can’t schedule a reblog, so it’s got to be like this. Thanks, WordPress.
Anyway, this is a true story, and the photos from my Samsung Galaxy are completely unretouched. You’re seeing what I saw. Enjoy…
I took the folks down to Key Largo for a couple of days this past summer. Before heading home, we drove south just to sightsee a little. You can’t get that close and not cross the Seven Mile Bridge, right? Mr. R. missed the trip because of work, but he recommended that we stop and check out an outdoor store in Islamorada called World Wide Sportsman (which is actually operated by Bass Pro Shops, but that’s neither here nor there).
Aside from being a cool place to look around, as are most Bass Pro Shops, this particular store had something that interested me. According to Mr. R. the store had a fishing boat that is the twin of the one used in the Keys by Ernest Hemingway. Okay, it’s not his boat, but it’s one just like it.
And so it is that we stopped in at World Wide Sportsman. We found the large shop fairly uncrowded and sure enough, the Pilar was sitting smack-dab in the center of the place. Again, the Pilar is not Hemingway’s boat. It just happened to be built at the same Brooklyn shipyard and is a twin of the more famous one that is supposed to be in Cuba these days. But I was curious all the same.
Some years ago, I read an interesting novel by Michael Palin (yes, that Michael Palin, the one from Monty Python) called Hemingway’s Chair. In the story, a mousy postal worker with a fascination for all things Hemingway learns that Papa’s fishing chair is about to be sold at auction and he schemes for ways to make the chair his own.
And so, having left the others browsing for souvenirs and trinkets, it was with curious interest that I climbed aboard the Pilar with hopes of snapping a photo of Hemingway’s chair. And there it was. Right on the stern of the boat. But it was unlike any fishing chair I’d ever seen. It was made of highly polished wood and sat low with a beam that jutted forward from the seat parallel to the deck with a footrest at the end, so that if you were in the chair, your legs would stick straight out in front of you. As I puzzled over the unexpected style and how best to capture it with my trusty phone, a couple boarded the boat and the wife plunked herself down into the chair and began mugging for her husband’s camera. Seriously?!
Annoyed, I took myself below deck, if only to escape the rampant dumb-assitude. There, in the dimly lit cabin, I found something I liked even better than the fishing chair. There was a vintage desk complete with typewriter and chair. I know. It’s not Hemingway’s typewriter. But it was cool. Plus, I thought it was the perfect illustration for one of my favorite Hemingway quotes: Write drunk. Edit sober.
So I snapped four pictures in fairly rapid succession. I hurried, figuring Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum would undoubtedly be down any second. I had to use a flash in the murkiness of the room and I couldn’t actually see what I was getting, but I hoped that at least one photo would be good enough to post with the quote.
It was not until later when I wanted to choose the best shot that I saw something interesting. I’ve arranged the photos in the exact order in which I took them. In the first and second frames nothing seems out of the ordinary. In the third you begin to see a hazy little anomaly to the left of the typewriter. The anomaly is clearer in the fourth photo.
What is it? I don’t know. Like I said before, I’m not really a huge believer in the whole ghostie thing. But I’ve lived long enough to know that there are some things you simply can’t explain.
Before October is over, I’ve got another couple of weird stories for you. Stay tuned…
Happy Halloween! Can you believe it’s nearly November? It’s almost legitimately time for holiday commercials. Nevermind that I saw my first Christmas commercial on October 10. And yes, I was keeping track. Thank you, Hallmark Channel.
Mr. R and I had a blast at last week’s Halloween party. It was great to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in a while, and to meet some new people, too. In spite of the fact that it was a Will Farrell-themed event, I went as a Gothic vampire. But Mr. R ended up with a unique and theme-appropriate, although perhaps not public-appropriate costume, as Ron Burgundy in the pool party scene.
Yeah, he was sans-a-shirt all night, beneath a little bathrobe . He wore dark shorts over blue BVDs, and managed to drop trou at one point in the evening, all the while shouting, “Cannonball!” In his all-in devotion to the moment, he even shaved off his goatee and colored his hair and mustache, only to be outdone in commitment by a guy who came as James Lipton (and yes, he was in Bewitched with Will Farrell, I had to look it up), who shaved the top of his head to emulate the self-important drama guru’s receding hairline.
Tonight, however, is a quiet night at home. We’ve had a bit of a cool front, so there might be a fire in the fireplace, who knows? I mean, the evening temperature’s hovering in the high 60s. Fuzzy socks have made their annual appearance.
For tonight’s two-fer serenade, I’ve picked two of my favorite Halloween songs. The first is the late, great Warren Zevon with Werewolves of London. Kid Rock sampled this in his song, All Summer Long, but he called it Sweet Home Alabama. Nuh-unh, Kid, you can’t fool us.
Okay, the second one isn’t so much a Halloween song as it is a spooky video. But it’s one of my guilty pleasures, so please bear with me. Don’t miss Antonio Fargas as the driver of the broken-down bus.
I hope you have a great Halloween. Save a few of your favorite treats for yourself. Be sure and hug the ones you love. Happy Saturday night!