Thump Thump

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Joel Cairo Gets Excited, Sniffs Handkerchief

My friends, please say hello to the 1947 Project. A weblog that documents a year in the underlife of the City of Angels. This one's for Mrs. Carnacki. As for you, Mr. Spade, you... you bungled it. You and your stupid attempt to buy it. Kemedov found out how valuable it was, no wonder we had such an easy time stealing it. You... you imbecile. You stupid fat-head you. (via)

You'll Laugh 'Til You Stop

This is a tale of madness, obsession, death, and Scrabble™.

This link has been around since mid-2004, which is ancient in Internet years. If you have seen it before, do watch it again -- it's even better than you remember.

It would seem that since I last watched this gem, VidLits has been reimagined as a marketing company. I certainly wish Ms. Dubelman all success in her endeavor -- sufficient success that she can afford to do more noncommercial Flash-based storytelling.

More info about Liz Dubelman, "Craziest," and VidLits here and here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Isla de los Muñecas

Planning a trip to Mexico City? You will probably want to visit Xochimilco, the last of the pre-Columbian waterworks that once fed a city of millions. You are of course free to cruise about in a decorated gondola, listening to the sound of the mariachi. Or you can board a swamp boat, head out beyond the confines of the waterpark, and visit la Isla de los Muñecas: the Island of the Dolls:

Don Julian (es) lived there for fifty years, and for the twenty-five before his death (es) two years ago [as of 2003 -- he died in 2001. --M Valdemar], sought to appease the ghost of a drowned child with the dolls he pulled up from the depths of the canals. Dead dolls of all kinds hang from the trees and vines and rafters, their eyes bewitching and disturbing the visitors who have come to gawk and photograph in this surreal sanctuary. [link]

Realiza un Viaje Virtual
por la Isla de los Muñecas: Zoom in and turn to the left. A la izquierda. A la izquierda.

Filed by Barbara under Travel & Tourism

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Most Haunted Building in the Midwest, part I

Dramatic Recreation -- Events May Not Have Happened

Cincinnati, Ohio. 1896. In his many years as a hack, the coachman had learned not to pry too much into the affairs of white folks, especially not rich, young, good-looking white folks. He picked up these particular white folks outside Legner's Bar, at the corner of Fourth and Elm. He took note of the pale, trembling woman, the small, dark, nervous fellow holding her, and most of all, the angry blonde man with the piercing eyes. And then he looked straight forward.

"Can you take us across the river? Our lady friend has taken ill, and we wish to take her home to her family," said the blonde man, without emotion.

"Yes, boss," said the driver, and then to his horse, "Geddup." They headed across the new Cincinnati & Newport bridge and into Kentucky. His eyes fixed on the thriving markets and stately brick homes of York Street, the hack couldn't see the pool of dark, venous blood slowly forming at the young woman's feet.

In an hour's drive, they had passed out of Newport and into the surrounding farmland. "Stop here, driver," said the blonde man. There were no homes to be seen in the area. "Her house is just beyond those trees. We'll walk across from here; it's faster." As they descended from the cab, the driver noticed that the woman was now unconscious. The blonde man pressed a handful of coins into the driver's hand; without counting, he could tell it was more than enough to buy discretion.

Pearl BryanAs they driver pulled away, the two men shouldered their burden and headed up the hill toward a small grove. "Scott, she's so cold. Pearl's cold. She's dead! What shall we do?"

"Quiet, Alonzo! Let me think." There had been complications: Pearl's cervix had not dilated as expected, and the dental picks and forceps he'd used had done more damage than anything else. The gift that he'd intended was now inaccessible and mangled beyond use. He needed to find a suitable substitute that would please his Master. Of course! He reached into his kit and withdrew a filthy gum lancet. Small and fine, it was intended for flensing the gums to treat pyorrhea; it was not ideal for what he planned next, but it would do. He inserted the blade in the hollow of Pearl's throat and began to slice.

Scott Jackson was surprised by the sudden spray of bright red blood that splashed across the boughs high overhead. He giggled. "Whaddaya know, Lonnie? She wasn't dead, after all!" Alonzo Walling promptly vomited in the dirt.

* * *

The lodge members gathered in the abandoned abbatoir on the Licking river. Dressed in identical, hooded robes, it was all but impossible to tell one from another. Lighting a single kerosene lantern, they made their way to the cellar, to the site of the old dry well, into which the various sluices and grates above had drained when the slaughterhouse was in operation.

"'Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law'," announced a member whose robe was covered with an elaborate stole embroidered with a goat's head and pentagram. "We gather together to call upon our Lord, that He might bend to our will. Who among us has brought a gift to draw forth the Master?"

"I have." One of the lodgemen stepped forward to the edge of the well, and withdrew a leather satchel* from beneath his robe. He removed an item from the satchel and held it up in the flickering lamplight.

Pearl's head appeared pink and orange in the half-light. Her auburn hair had been shaved off, leaving the skull stubbled and glistening. Her eyes and mouth were closed and placid. She appeared as if she were sleeping, were it not for the red, meaty stump where her body had once been attached.

"Do you offer this gift freely, and of your own will?" asked the priest.

"I do."

"What has been given freely may not be taken back."

The hooded acolyte dropped the head into the deep well. It struck the damp soil at the bottom of the sump with a soft splat. The gathered men waited and watched. Their heady pre-ritual cocktail of absinthe, hashish, and cocaine was having its intended affect. As they watched, it seemed as though a heavy, oily fluid -- the blood, lymph, and offal of thirty years' worth of slaughtered pigs, mixed with some chthonic ichor drawn from deep beneath the earth -- rose up around Pearl's head until it was completely covered. Slowly, slowly, the vile fluid drained away. The sump was empty. The gift had been accepted.

* * *

"Open the door in the name of the law! Mr. Jackson, this is Jule Plummer of the Campbell County Sheriffs Department. I have a warrant for your arrest, and to search the premises!"

* * *

"Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling, you stand before this court convicted of murder in the first degree. At the request of the Bryan family, I offer you one last chance: Tell us where the girl's head is, and the Governor has agreed to commute your sentence to life in prison."

Jackson spoke up: "If I told you that, it would bring down the wrath of the Devil himself." [link contains embedded .wav file]

Is there a building in Wilder, Kentucky cursed by Satan himself? Some sources say it's true. In part 2, we'll learn about the Kentucky mafia, and their involvement with the cursed building.

* A bloodstained leather bag was found in Jackson's apartment and entered into evidence at trial. It can be seen today here. <<Back.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bienvenue á Thump Thump

Greetings and welcome. My name is Monsieur Ernest Valdemar. You might know me from the famous newspaper account; it seems I had my first "fifteen minutes of fame" some century-and-a-half ago. More recently, I was resurrected as a mascot of sorts for a certain horror blogger, who, taking ill due to a series of unfortunate sleep disturbances (with which I can only too eagerly sympathize), declared a hiatus from blogging last September.

I have grown weary of waiting for Mr. Peirce to resume his ruminations, and so I have taken it upon myself to begin this new weblogging enterprise -- Thump Thump: A Weblog to Read in the Dark.

Do not fear that the work may be too much for one in my position; fortunately, my status as a mesmeric corpse affords me contact with certain personalities who might not otherwise be available. I shall of course post notices and the occasional opinion piece as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief; however, the chief blogging duties shall fall to my crack editorial staff:

Vincent will be joining Thump Thump as the New Media editor. Vincent will seek out and share links to the best in web-native content -- from frightening Flash to demonic digital art to macabre MPEGs.

Ambrose is our new Fiction editor. Ambrose will share the best of public domain and creative commons short fiction of the macabre and weird -- a substantial portion of which he himself wrote. Of course, he'll serve everything up with a dose of his famous misanthropy as well.

John's department is It's True! (According to Some Accounts). Expect tales of the strange and unusual, as reported in first-hand accounts and tabloid newspapers. From tales of haunted saloons to Malaysian bigfoots, if someone, somewhere, thinks it's true, so does John.

There's a longstanding journalistic tradition that women journalists are shunted off to the Lifestyle pages, and Thump Thump is no exception to the rule. The lovely Barbara will be covering travel & tourism, shopping, home and fashion, and livin' la vida muerta.

Peter's beat? True crime. The true crime genre sometimes takes a beating from the horror afficianados. Let's see if Peter's keen eye for teasing the truth from the tangle of sensationalism won't appeal to Thump Thump's readers.

These are the correspondents currently contracted to provide features; I hope to be adding more correspondents in the future. Fortunately, the talent pool to which I have access isn't going anywhere. And of course, if Mr. Peirce begins to feel well enough, he is always welcome to chime in with an opinion piece or personal reminiscence as editor emeritus.

In articulo mortis,

M. Valdemar
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief