Trick or Trick – It’s Halloween, and you just ran out of candy. We live off the beaten path. Trick-or-treaters don’t come this way. Our street has too few houses to make it worth the effort — and the road is dark. We don’t even bother to buy candy for the holiday anymore. When local kids, our kids, […]
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
– Traditional Scottish Prayer
I’ve never met a ghoul, and I have questions about long-legged beasties, but I can speak from personal experience about things that go bump in the night. Long ago in a house far away, we had our own ghosts, or at least “night bumpers.”
I cannot claim to have seen a ghost, but I lived in a house where we could hear them. It was 1965 when we bought our tidy little brick house. It had been built in 1932. Most of the house was on the ground floor — kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms and the bath. The upper floor had an unfinished attic and a big bedroom. It was a small house. Solid, a short walking distance from the college where my husband worked and where I was finishing my B.A.
The ambiance of the house from the moment we walked into it was cozy. Friendly. It welcomed everyone, made them feel at home. The house had been built by a couple who had lived there for more than 30 years. They had raised children their children and eventually died in that house.
They were not murdered or anything sordid. They merely grew old and passed on in the house they loved. We loved it too.
The house was a bit neglected. Not falling down, but in need of paint and some modernization. Cosmetic fixes. Paint. Floors needed refinishing. The boiler needed updating.
For the first few months, we lived on the ground floor, but we planned to move to the big upstairs bedroom. It was spacious and had windows full of light. We decided to fix it up, give it a coat of paint and redo the floors before settling upstairs.
Shortly after we moved in, our ghosts began to walk. It was startling the first time we heard it. Loud. Clear. Heavy footsteps, like the soles of hard leather shoes or boots. Plus the sharper noise of heels. It turned out everyone — anyone — could hear it. The noise started every night around eight and continued off and on until midnight.
We called the walkers “The Old Man” and “The Old Woman.” They wore different shoes. Her shoes had that sharp sound — high heels on hardwood. His shoes were clunkier, maybe work boots. Both of them had died in the house, so they were prime candidates for ghosthood, especially since no one else had lived in the house until us.
Initially, we heard them upstairs and on the stairway. After we painted the stairs, the footsteps retreated to the upper floor. Once we began painting the bedroom, we heard them for a while longer, but only in the attic. Then, one day, our ghosts were gone. They never came back.
Were they watching to see if we cared for their home? Were we all hallucinating? Maybe the couple who had lived there were watching. Making sure we did right by their house.
I suppose we passed muster and they felt it was okay to leave.
Life is full of stuff that can’t be explained rationally and we didn’t try. But I’ll bet anyone who was in our house during the months our ghosts walked never doubted what they heard.
From the biggest pumpkin patch, to the most gloriously orange pumpkins, to a house made of pumpkins, to the finest carved jack o’lanterns. It’s that time of year again. Orange, orange everywhere. The world is pumpkin colored, pumpkin flavored. Try the muffins or a have some pumpkin coffee.
It’s almost here, the spookiest, funniest, silliest holiday of the year. Halloween is the perfect kid celebration. Dress up in weird costumes. Harass your neighbors until they give you candy. Decorate the house in ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties. Not to mention things that go bump in the night! Most of the pictures in the […]
My top 10 Halloween Songs, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog
With Halloween just a short time away, it seems only right that I give you my top ten favorite Halloween songs. When I thought of this list I soon had 20 titles, so I stopped looking and started trimming it down. Some of the titles sounded good, but the music was a disappointment. For example, I hunted down the theme song to the old television series, Thriller, but the music was more of a 50’s jazz sound and not scary at all.
A few were fun songs and while they were popular, they didn’t make the cut. Ghostbusters immediately came to mind. It is a slick melody, but not necessarily fitting of a fright night. Little Shop of Horrors was a fun play and the title tune is catchy, but also not scary or fun in a traditional Halloween way. Rocky Horror Picture Show gave us Time Warp. That may make a lot of lists, but not mine. Sweeny Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, has some gruesome moments, but which song would make the grade here? A Little Priest?
Counting down from number 10, I offer the first 5 as musical themes to frighten the little trick or treaters. Perhaps you would like to have these playing through a speaker on your front porch to encourage little ones to make the frightful climb to your front door. Who knows what might be lurking just inside?
10. Halloween movie theme
9. Jaws movie theme
8. A Nightmare on Elm Street movie theme
7. Exorcist movie theme
6. Psycho movie theme
These five should provide plenty of creepy music for you. If that doesn’t do it, add in one of my all-time favorite television themes.
5. The Twilight Zone theme song
We can lighten the theme up for a moment “with a spooky little girl like you.”
4. Spooky, Classics IV
The classic theme song from The Addams Family goes on my list. It is not “mysterious and spooky,” but it is a lot of fun. Go ahead, sing along.
3. The Addams Family theme song
If it is Halloween, then we need some Werewolves. This famous pop song was recorded in 1978 and the studio recording featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac on drums and bass.
2. Werewolves of London, Warren Zevon
There is no doubt what will be number one. It is the all-time classic that everyone knows. Despite the fact that radio stations overplay it every year at this time, its appeal never wears out. It was released in 1962 with Bobby Pickett performing the song with his Boris Karloff imitation. The week before Halloween it went to number 1 on the charts. Fittingly, it has been dragged out every year since.
1. Monster Mash, Bobby Pickett
Monster Mash, Bobby Pickett and Leonard L. Capizzi, Garpax (US); Decca (UK) labels, 1962
Masks Off – We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?
Her slight, svelte, lithe, muscular body seemed part of the shadows as she moved in near total silence through the shadows of Gotham. The chill of the night barely registered on her heightened vampiric senses. She was on the hunt, prowling to find an evil-doer whose warm blood would satisfy her.
She no longer needed blood, not at her great age. She could easily live on nothing … but the hunger remained after the need was gone. Tonight, the thrill of the hunt amplified that need and sharpened her senses.
She smiled, a little ruefully, wondering what her family would think if they could see her now. She had been very careful to avoid letting them see. Waiting until they were deep in slumber before creeping out. Flying over rooftops, hunting the dark alleys of nearby cities. Never prowling the streets of her town.
The dogs knew. Her granddaughter knew, but didn’t believe. In the end, it didn’t matter. Marilyn Armstrong, intrepid blogger, sometime author, pundit, and senior wise-ass … was Vampiric Authoress, ancient blood scourge!
Evil-doers everywhere, quake in fear. She is coming. You will pay for your misdeeds.
My granddaughter would like to wish you the best of holiday cheer. To all of you from all of us.