Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Guest Post by Nicola Reynor - Ghost Hunting tips!

Beginners Should Read These Ghost Hunting Tips
Ghost hunting sure is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. It makes you want something to happen one second and makes you want things to remain normal the next.
If you’re scared of ghosts but want to try out ghost hunting, nothing should stop you. But you can’t head to any haunted place without knowing anything about ghosts and looking for them!
Here are seven tips that you’ll find useful before heading out on your first ever ghost hunting trip.
Pick a Location
Paranormal activity occurs in several locations so the first thing you need to do is decide the type of ghost or spirit you would like to encounter. Lost souls, spirits of murderers and their victims, accident victims, and others can be found in and around hotels, parks, cemeteries, hospitals, prisons, and private homes, and also near scenes of major disasters or accidents.
As a first-timer, don’t think of spending the night inside a haunted mansion or an abandoned mental asylum. Your safety should be your primary concern and you need to be wary of angry spirits. You also need to be safe from strangers, so avoid going to crime-prone neighborhoods.
Research Well
Once you’ve decided on a location, you’ll need to do a thorough research on that place. Ask locals or use the Internet to get more details about the spirit that has been sighted or reported around the place you intend to visit.
Furthermore, you’ll need to know if the spirit appears during a particular time of the day or night, the exact place where past sightings have been reported, if the spirit is vocal, etc. Being ready with relevant information will help you prepare better for your visit and will help you avoid wasting time.
Most importantly, do take a look at the place or terrain during the day so that you know what to expect.
Never Go Alone
You should never go ghost hunting alone- not just because a spirit could do something to you, but also because there would be no one to help you should you injure yourself physically while walking around in the dark. As such, traveling with a friend or in a group of 3-4 people is recommended.
Taking pet dogs along can also be a great experience. After all, animals have intuitive powers and are able to sense the presence of ghosts!
Prepare for the Visit
You’ll need to be mentally as well as physically prepared before you go ghost hunting. Mentally, you will need to stay relaxed and keep fear out of your system; ghosts rarely hurt people who respect them.
To experience paranormal activity, you need equipment that can prove the presence of a spirit. So the hunting gears like rifle scopes, spotting scopes, guns etc. may or may not help you hunt ghosts! Carry a camping compass- it can act as a simple EMF (electromagnetic field) meter by picking up electromagnetic waves associated with spirits. In addition to this, carry a baking thermometer- spirits are associated with sudden changes in temperature!
Also carry a digital audio recorder and a camera and/or a video camera. Do take along a notepad and a pen to note down your observations in short. When analyzing data later, you’ll be able to relate your observations to other findings easily.
Apart from this, you’ll need to be dressed appropriately and be armed with flashlights, glow sticks, walkie-talkies, ropes, and a first aid kit for the visit.
Don’t Go Under the Influence
Smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs can distort your senses, so don’t indulge in these activities before your visit to the haunted place or while you’re hunting ghosts.
Also avoid setting anything on fire while you’re ghost hunting. Smoke can appear to be an apparition in photographs, and it will also give mischievous or angry spirits something dangerous to use.
Take Permission
Whether you’re going to explore a private or government property, it is important to take permission from the owner or authorities beforehand. You don’t want to turn up at a private home to find someone living in there and have them turn you in for trespassing. Abide by the rules of cemeteries, parks, and other properties to avoid being caught and fined.
Inform Loved Ones
Before undertaking an adventure of this sort, remember to inform your friends or relatives where you’re headed to. Take your mobile along and keep in touch with them so that they can help you should anything go wrong. Ask your ghost hunting team mates to do the same!
Ghost hunting is certainly not for the fainthearted; but at the same time, there’s nothing one should be scared of. If you’re responsible enough, ghost hunting can be fun.
With the tips given here, you now know how to go about planning and preparing for your first ever ghost hunting expedition. So be wise and you’re sure to have an exhilarating experience!

"Nicola Reynor is a blogger, fashionista and pet lover. Being a blogger, she likes to share her thoughtful and creative ideas on fashion, style, health, travel and lifestyle. She is also crazy for horror movies and story. You can find more about her at Nicola+"

Monday, September 14, 2015

Guest Post by Spencer Blohm - The Strain: Trilogy vs. Television Show.

Vampires and vampire culture have been a staple of the Western horror genre for centuries, though it has significantly evolved throughout the years. Vampires have gone from bestial creatures that stalked the night like animals to an ideal of romance and sophistication, catering to young adult fantasies. This is part of the reason why Guillermo del Toro's The Strain is so unique in an otherwise flooded market of the same themes and stories.

The hit television series, though always intended for the small screen, started its life as a trilogy of books written by producers Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro. In many ways, the show is a master class in how to adapt a book to television, making changes to the novels that fit the visual style and the pacing of a season in TV.

These changes include the novels focusing heavily on the protagonists, leaving many of the machinations of the strigoi, specifically series big bad Eldritch Palmer, in the background. The show instead uses Palmer's plans as an anchor for the rest of the series and as a way of building tension. Further, Eichorst doesn't even appear in the first book but plays a prominent role in the first season of the show, providing an excellent counterpoint to his nemesis Abraham Setrakian and multiple opportunities to see their dynamic in flashbacks.

One other smaller differences is that the strigoi in the show can talk despite not having the physical capability of doing so in the books where they communicate telepathically and just move their lips accordingly. The character of Mr. Fitzwilliam is far more prominent in the show, acting as Palmer's bodyguard, and Dutch is entirely made up for the show in order to use hacking as a way of moving the plot forward more quickly than the books can.

It's difficult to choose which one is a better story, largely because they each choose where their focus is. Unlike a comparison of Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart to the film adaptation Hellraiser, where a larger amount of time is granted to worldbuilding and explaining unclear motivations to make the book better, The Strain gives us as much in both book and show, but it ultimately gives us different aspects. In the show, we’re able to experience a series of flashbacks throughout the episodes to better understand the strigoi’s origins and Setrakian’s involvement with them in the past. Although we also get some of that in the novels, the larger focus is on the present.

Critics, by and large, have enjoyed it according to the 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many feeling that the adaptation from the novels is anything from passable to masterful. While the second season took a larger departure from the source material, it still remained plenty loyal to the books.

In both cases, del Toro’s take on vampires is fairly original, which is to say it draws more from the folklore that Bram Stoker used to inform his novel rather than the resulting book. Rarely are vampires portrayed with the animalistic fury of the show, especially now in paranormal romance novels. In fact, The Strain’s departure from the vampire-as-sex-symbol trope is so great that the strigoi have no human sex organs or drive at all.

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have done an amazing job of reclaiming the vampire as a terrifying threat rather than a representation of unsuppressed libido. The strigoi are monsters plain and simple, but that combined with an excellently adapted novel plot and some fascinating ideas makes The Strain worth the watch. Catch up with the show on FX through DTV or streamed on Hulu to prepare for the third season, which will generally cover the events of the second half of The Fall. You won’t want to miss this newest take on the popular blood-sucking creatures.

Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Spooky September Challenge - Top 10 Spookiest Movies.

I'm participating in Parajunkee's Spooky September Challenge!  Top 10 Spookiest Movies.

1. The Changeling.  This movie is a classic.  You will never look at red bouncing balls the same way again.  Gave me the CREEPS!

2. The Others.  Very creepy and atmospheric.  The director didn't use any tricks.  It was all editing, mood and lighting.  Truly one of my favorites.

3. Sixth Sense.  I absolutely loved this movie.  Did you guess the big twist at the end?  I didn't!

4. The Exorcist.  I think this goes beyond spooky.  This is straight up Horror and truly horrific it is. What makes it even more frightening is that it is based on an alleged true story.

5. The Ring.  There is a reason this was such a sensation.

6. The Innocents. Some versions are creepier than others.  Watch the one with Deborah Kerr.  The kids singing is probably one of the freakiest things about the movie.

7. The Skeleton Key. OMGOMGOMG!  Did you see this?  I want to write the sequel!

8. The Devil's Backbone.  Guillermo del Torro is one of my favorite directors.  This movie was about a boy in an orphanage and a ghost.  Very scary.

9. Poltergeist.  I think this movie still stands the test of time.  The clown doll under the bed, seeing things in the mirror.  Even the beginning when things get started and the mom turns around and the chairs are piled up.

10. Haunted with Aidan Quinn and Kate Beckinsale. A sleeper of a movie, but very spooky.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Spooky September - Tribute to my Favorite Spooky Creature!

I'm participating in Parajunkee's Spooky September Challenge! Today's we're talking about my favorite spooky creature.

It's definitely between two.  Ghosts and witches.  I think first of all, these were the first spooky creatures that I learned about.  Fairy tales always seemed to have a witch and it seems that most cultures just simply grow up knowing about ghosts.

What I love about ghosts is that they are so mysterious.  There is always a reason why they are there and the trick usually is to figure out why.  They are also very versatile.  They can be friendly and helpful or evil.  Young, old, from long ago or very recent.  Beautiful or ghastly.  They can bring messages, have their own agenda or simply just exist.

I also love witches and always have.  I confess, I've always wanted to be one! That's why I think I've always been searching for one.  I loved reading about them, watching them, drawing them and writing about them.  Like ghosts, they are versatile too.  Good witches like Glinda, bad ones like her sister.  Any age, any time period, ones that fly and ones that do spells or just tell you the future.  Like ghosts, there is something very mysterious about them.  They can be as old as time or someone who just discovered her powers.

What about you?  How do you feel about ghosts and witches?  Are there any other creatures that you prefer?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Spooky September Challenge - Spookiest Campfire Story You've Heard.

I'm participating in Parajunkee's Spooky September Challenge! Today's writing prompt is the Spookiest Campfire Story I've Ever Heard.

I used to go camping a lot when I was younger with my family.  I remember one time pleading with my dad to tell me a scary story.  He obliged in his corny, dad way...it was a scary story with a joke ending, about a Wrap, Wrap, Wrap on the door...and at the end...it was...WRAPPING PAPER.  *Insert eye roll*

However, one time at Girl Scout Camp, I remember a counselor talking about the "Fifth Dimension" (not the music group), and how it was said to be "out there somewhere" and that anyone could "just fall into it."  A young scout with a vivid imagination pictured this black hole in the woods moving around like a spotlight waiting for unsuspecting victims.  I'm sure I was afraid to get out of bed to even go to the bathroom that night!

How 'bout you?  Do you have any good campfire stories?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Spooky September Challenge - Tribute to your favorite Horror Writer.

I'm participating in Parajunkee's Spooky September Challenge! Today's writing prompt is a tribute to my favorite Horror Author.  If you checked out my Spooky September post from yesterday, it's no surprise that my favorite Horror Author is Stephen King.

By "Pinguino" ("Pinguino's" flickr account) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I'm pretty sure my first SK book was his short story collection, Skeleton Crew.  After that, I can't remember what I read chronologically, but my favorite book by King, is The Stand.  Some people think he's overrated, some say his endings are horrible (and admittedly, I haven't been impressed by some of them), but then I'll read a short story or read another of his novels and get entertained, thrilled and chilled once again.

Here are some of my favorite posts that I have written about Stephen King.

Happy Birthday Stephen King - my birthday wishes to the Master of Horror.
A Conversation With Stephen King - when he spoke at UMass Lowell in December of 2012.
Carrie - Read Along, Part One: Blood Sports.
Carrie - Read Along, Part Two: Prom Night.
Carrie - Read Along, Part Three: Wreckage.

Here are some of my reviews of Stephen King books.
Bag of Bones
Cycle of the Werewolf.
Doctor Sleep.
Just After Sunset.
Mr. Mercedes.
'Salem's Lot.
Under The Dome.

If you want to see all the SK books I've read, you can check out my Goodreads page.

What is your opinion of Stephen King? Do you like him, dislike him, neutral?  Who is your favorite Horror author?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Spooky September Challenge - Top 10 Spookiest Books.

I'm participating in Parajunkee's Spooky September Challenge! Today's writing prompt is Top 10 Spookiest Books.  These are not in any particular order.  

1. Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz.  I think this is one of Koontz's superior novels.  It's about a young man who can see demons, who walk among us.  One day he has to flee his hometown and finds refuge in a traveling carnival.  But, it's not the last he sees of the demons.

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker.  While a bit difficult to read at times, it really is a classic.  Some seriously messed up imagery gave me chills.

3. Beautiful Sorrow by Mercedes M. Yardley.  This was not just creepy but a beautiful collection of short stories and poems.  Mercedes knows how to make dark fiction a masterpiece.

4. Bag of Bones by Stephen King.  I listened to this on audio and it was narrated by King.  So, there's that.  This book is about a writer, Mike Noonan, who has writer's block after his wife's death.  He retreats to a town in Maine and collides with the supernatural and a town secret.  It has a haunting quality and scares that are expected from Stephen King.

5. Dr. Sleep by Stephen King.  A follow up to The Shining, this story follows Danny Torrance into adulthood as he has to battle evil once again in the form of a vampiric cult.

6. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  This is one of my favorite books of all time.  Libby Day is the sole survivor of her family's massacre.  Twenty five years after the crime, she meets a young man who is in a group who believes that her brother, who is in jail for the crimes, is innocent.  Libby and he go forward into investigating.  This is a gritty, dark and raw thriller.  There are twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end.

7.  Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. This is a fun YA supernatural thriller.  It has ghosts, great characters, and a fun plot.

8. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons.  A group of pre-teens in the 60s, fight evil in their hometown.  Lots of scares and coming of age moments.  Soooo many creepy scenes!!!

9. You Come When I Call You by Douglas Clegg.  This novel was like recalling a dream.  To be honest, I don't remember a lot about it, but I remember people in a small desert town battling evil.  While I don't necessarily remember specifics, I will never forget how this book made me feel.  This was actually the first novel I read by Clegg and he has never disappointed me. 

10. Pet Sematary by Stephen King.  Okay, remember how I said that this list was in no particular order?  Well I left this one for last because it scared the living crap out of me.  I don't get scared easily, but this was heart thumping, horrifying and at times even cruel. 

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think of them?  What was some of the spookiest books you've ever read?

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