Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com
The Girl with the B52 Hairdo
Madge was forever spraying her hair, ogling herself in front of that old, cracked dresser mirror. She liked that song, oh what was it? The Ronettes! Yes, "Be My Baby." The song they later used in that movie Mean Streets. That was maybe '62 or '63, I guess. Well, you know what became of Phil Spector. But, anyway.
Ohmigod! You just have to hear all about the strange dream I had last night! No, really, it was so gross. I was driving through this place that looked like a desert; but, it wasn't really a desert; it looked like some housing addition that was set up out on the edge of a desert land. Or maybe some place in Nevada. Ground was all hardscrabble and rock; the roads were torn up with potholes pretty bad.
The Undying Love of Count von Cosel
Ten years ago, I wrote my novel Buried (2008) about a curious case of "forbidden love" that took place many, many decades ago, in Key West Florida. The story, that of German immigrant "Count" Carl von Cosel, in reality one Otto Carl Tanzler, captured my creative imagination in a way few stories ever have: what he termed his "undying love" for his chosen bride, the tragic Elena Milagro de Hoyos, the young Cuban immigrant girl who succumbed to a tuberculoid lung at the tender age of twenty-two. Carl, the putative "Count" (he swore he was descended from a German countess whose poltergeist-like phantasm frequently haunted him) commenced, upon the death of his beloved, to exhume the body and steal away with it to his squalid home. He did this after perpetrating medical quackery upon the luckless Elena, trying, through dint of his bizarre "treatments," to cure her of her disease. Predictably, this did NOT work; but, of course, if it actually had, we wouldn't know this story.
The Joy of Hunger
I have lost nearly thirty pounds in the last two months through a miracle called Intermittent Fasting. Most specifically, I eat ONE MEAL A DAY. This usually consists of a lot of fat, moderate protein, and virtually NO CARBS (breads, grains, starchy vegetables such as peas and potatoes, etc.)
The Ones That Got Away!
I've written about "urban legends"--those apocryphal little horror stories told around offices and break rooms, and now shared as "creepy pasta" on the wild, terror-filled domains of the Internet--for many, many years, publishing one book, Scary Urban Legends (Schiffer, 2010), as well as an unpublished sequel Scary Horror Legends, that I have, nonetheless, cannibalized, off and on, whenever the occasion arises. I'm pretty much enamored with the genre--the weird, dislocating, timeless anonymity, the "everyman" nature of the undeveloped narrative protagonists; the way it exposes the hideous truth lurking just below the surface of bourgeois, suburban American society. Each legend has about it a sense of BEWARE: THIS could happen to ME, YOU, ANYONE OF US. Each nightmare vignette reminds me of what Stephen King once wrote about a short story being like, "A kiss from a lover in the dark."
Vampires, werewolves, and time travelers—the stuff of horror movies, comic books, and bad television pilots, typically for shows that last about ten episodes before finding their way to the mass grave of cancellation, never to be resurrected. Such beings exist only in the childish fantasies of writers and artists, dreamers and gamer-geeks who refuse to grow up—or grow old. Right?
The silent screen gave to us some of the most memorable, iconic images in motion picture history: The Little Tramp, the Robot Maria from Lang's Metropolis (1927), Buster Keaton driving a locomotive across a collapsing bridge; and, of course, who could forget the still-incendiary Birth of a Nation, directed by celluloid pioneer D.W. Griffith?
Five Famous Necrophiles
The subject of necrophilia is one that is near and dear to my sordid spirit; there is something in the obsessive love for an idealized (albeit dead) paramour that strikes us as the very height of deeply touching romantic love. We have written not one, but TWO small books (our novel Buried, as well as The Men Who Loved the Dead, an unpublished monograph on the subject.) about romantic necrophilia; "romantic necrophilia" as distinguished from "opportunistic necrophilia," or one of the other classifications given by Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his excellent text Necrophilia: Medico-Legal and Forensic Aspects. (Which, when I borrowed it through Interlibrary Loan, no doubt left the library staff even more leery of me than they previously had been.) Necrophilia is a practice both odious and morbidly fascinating at the same stroke; mix in the idea of someone who simply cannot let go of their loved one at their passing; who will steal the body, painstakingly preserve it as it decays, build to it a shrine, speak for it, breathe for it, imbue it with a reanimated existence (in their psychopathic brain scape, of course) and you have the makings for a never ending slew of morbid gothic potboilers. The practice was known in the ancient world. Greek tyrant Periander, Herod the Tetrarch (who had his wife Mariamne "preserved" in honey, where after he made love to her until the remains passed the point of being detestable) and other ancient world grotesques indulged in it. For our purposes, we will recount a small list of some of our personal faves. So, without further adieu, let us recount the Wretched Romances of the Rotten, as we present for your edification and delectation, "Five Famous Necrophiles of Morgueland." (All men recounted here, but the curious should also not discount the contributions made by such female necro- pioneers as Joan of Castile and Karen Greenlee. No chauvinists we.)
They say that Marie will never be the same again, and I sure believe it. The way she careened out of that bathroom that night, her face bloody, horrible claw marks stretching across her right cheek, well, you can bet it was an image not one of us would soon forget! But I better explain.
So, you want to learn the mystery of "Hangman's Road"? You want to know, exactly, why they call it Hangman's Road? Have you got a minute, my dear? Because it is rather a lot to relate. All true, by the way. I got it, first hand, from a friend of a friend, whose chiropractor's dentist got it from his dental assistant; she heard it straight from the mouth of the aunt of the policeman WHO WAS ACTUALLY THERE. So, as you can tell, it comes from an unimpeachable source.