Observation for Now

It has always seemed to me that the human race needs more things to wonder about, rather than less.

-- Gregory L Reece

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Three Spooky Walpurgisnacht Compilations






01. CBS Specials Intro - Morton Stevens (0:05)
02. The Thing - Curtis and The Creepers (2:58)
03. Keep Them Cold Icy Fingers Off of Me - Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys (2:50)
04. Let Sleeping Monsters Sleep - John Wayne Shot Me (2:41)
05. Voo Doo Juice - The Ghouls (2:13)
06. The Haunted House - Sam the Sham (3:19)
07. Slide Her Under the Door - Moses Longpiece (1:57)
08. The Green Monster - The Alberto Combo (2:37)
09. Haunted Haze - Chris Kevin (2:02)
10. Jole Blon's Ghost - Wayne Raney (2:31)
11. The Rockin' Ghost - The Modernaires (2:22)
12. Mr Ghost Goes to Town - Zeke Manners & His Swing Billies (2:46)
13. Pet Sematary - Ramones (3:26)
14. Sambra Macabre - Harry Breue (1:58)
15. Grave Robber at Large - Creature Feature (2:58)
16. Do the Zombie - The Symbols (2:23)
17. Haunted House - Creed Taylor Orchestra (3:04)
18. Darkness - The Nobles (2:15)
19. Rockin’ Bones - Ronnie Dawson (1:48)
20. Death Angel - Substantial Evidence (2:48)
21. Morgus the Magnificent - Dr John (2:20)
22. Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Ralph Marterie & His Marlboro Men (2:35)
23. Graveyard Blues - Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orchestra (3:24)
24. Ghost Train - The Corillions (2:14)
25. Ghosts from Boot Hill - Hellbender (4:03)
26. My Girlfriend Is a Witch - October Country (2:07)
27. Skeleton Jangle - Original Dixieland Five (2:37)
28. Scary Skeleton - Sue Schnitzer (1:48)
29. Skull and Cross Bones - Sparkle Moore (2:31)
30. Man Eating Plant - Creepy Clyde (3:30)
31. Bogey Wail - Jack Hylton (3:22)




1 -   T'ain't No Sin (To Take Off Your Skin and Dance Around in Your Bones)          Lee Morse and Her Blue Grass Boys        (3:30)
2 -   Unmarked and Covered With Sand          Frank Wilson (1:59)
3 -   Night of the Vampire       The Moontrekkers    (2:45)
4 -   Murder in the Graveyard         Screaming Lord Sutch         (3:01)
5 -   The Ghost Walk       Borrah Minevitch       (2:54)
6 -   Hearse With a Curse         Gasser & The Weirdos        (2:28)
7 -   Haunted Heart          Sammy Kershaw       (2:43)
8 -   Witch Girl        The Mystrys   (2:03)
9 -   Dante's Inferno         The Mark IV   (2:02)
10 -  The Ghost Hop The Surfmen (1:54)
11 -  Curse of the Hearse Terry Teene  (2:28)
12 -  Cemetery Stomp      The 'Knurlings           (3:12)
13 -  Lie'n in the Grave    The Studebaker Bro's          (3:14)
14 -  Haunted House         Hap Palmer    (2:47)
15 -  I'm a Jazz Vampire  Marion Harris (3:07)
16 -  Zombie Zoo       Tom Petty      (2:56)
17 -  Jungle Hop       Kip Tyler and The Flips        (2:00)
18 -  Ghost Party     The Black Albinos     (1:53)
19 -  Satan Takes a Holiday     Rosengarden and Kraus     (2:37)
20 -  Wombie Zombie        Billy Tayor and The Tear Drops      (2:16)
21 -  Crazy Bones     Four Freshmen        (2:04)
22 -  Ghost Walk      The Rocking Ghosts            (2:11)
23 -  The Goblin Band      Glen Gray and The Casa Loma Orchestra           (3:10)
24 -  Ghost Dance     Truett and George    (2:59)
25 -  The Spook        The Tomko's (2:34)
26 -  Swingin' at the Séance    Glen Miller and Orchestra    (3:11)
27 -  Have You Seen the Ghost of John?  The Undermasks      (1:20)
28 -  Witch Doctor's Wedding Tomm Holmes           (2:24)
29 -  The Wobblin' Goblin         Rosemary Clooney   (3:18)
30 -  Monster Twist Tyrone a'Saurus and His Cro-Magnons    (2:41)



01. Reveille - American Military Bugle Call (0:32)
02. Danse Macabre (Franz Liszt piano transcription) - Camille Saint-Saëns (9:59)
03. Graveyard Dance - Ray Sanders (1:44)
04. March of the Trolls - Edward Grieg (2:56)
05. Zombie Stomp - The Del-Aires (2:07)
06. Dance in the Graveyards - Delta Rae (3:40)
07. Laurie (Strange Things Happen) - Dickey Lee (3:02)
08. The Skeleton Dance (1929) - Carl Stalling (5:09)
09. 'Til the Following Night - Screaming Lord Sutch with The Savages (3:42)
10. Spooky Boogie - Cecil Campbell and His Tennessee Ramblers (2:25)
11. Zombie Jamboree (Back to Back) - Harry Nilsson (2:54)
12. Yodeling Ghost - Patsy Montana (3:06)
13. She Came Out of the Cold (1967 demo) - The Iveys (2:17)
14. The Cat - Rod Willis (2:23)
15. Tennessee Hillbilly Ghost - Terry Preston (Ferlin Husky) (2:26)
16. Cha Cha with the Zombies - The Upperclassmen (2:39)
17. Skeleton Frolic (1937) - Joe DeNat (7:13)
18. The Way Out Mummy - Bob Ridgley (2:00)
19. Rigormortis Rock - The Gazmen (2:17)
20. Pet Sematary - Ramones (3:30)
21. Misty Water Woman - Rick Springfield (4:37)
22. The Ghost Song - Salty Holmes (2:51)
23. Flip Top Box - Dicky Doo and The Don'ts (2:09)
24. Dead Shall Rise - The Dark (3:54)

Hope this holds you little ghouls for a while!


Monday, June 01, 2015

Book Review: The Terror That Comes in the Night by David J Hufford



This 1982 study is by David J Hufford, and its complete title is The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions, from the University of Pennsylvania Press.


It’s a fascinating study of the tradition he calls “the Old Hag,” which is a specific series of occurrences that come to some people.  The group of most-common symptoms or descriptors include
  • lying flat on your back
  • feeling awake and aware of your surroundings
  • inability to move
  • an awareness of the presence of another
  • a numinous impression of the Other; this is NOT a common visit from a physical friend or pet or what-have-you
  • a sensation of pressure on the body, making it feel difficult to breathe
Oftentimes the spell ends when the experiencer feels themselves finally able to move -- even if only a finger, or shift their head slightly.  Breaking the paralysis breaks the experience.


Hufford discovered that this pattern is widespread and has often happened to people who have no knowledge of the folkloric description of this event.  Often, an experiencer would be afraid to tell another in fear of being thought crazy.  Many times after a lecture on the topic (or a media article or a radio interview) Hufford would meet more people who would report their own “encounters.”  Many times the full stories of the experience would mention other common elements that had not been mentioned in his talks or the present discussion.

Other experiencers told about their spell without knowing anything about the widespread occurrence of similar happenings.

The experience happens during (or around) sleep, so is it just “a nightmare,” without objective confirmation?

The origin of the word nightmare is [Middle English, a female demon that afflicts sleeping people : night, night; see night + mare, goblin (from Old English; see mer- in Indo-European roots).]  And the Old Hag experience is often dismissed by the uninformed as “only a nightmare.”


The Old Hag is not a nightmare, nor an instance of Sleep Paralysis, although SP is often a feature of the entire Old Hag event.   Experiencers are not bad people and they are not crazy.  The impulsive action of dismissing the experience as being reported only by “the superstitious” or by “the mentally weak” shows only that the scoffer  is small-minded and petty.

The source of the term itself comes from Hufford’s own first encounters with the experience, when he was a teacher in Newfoundland.  The term refers to the folkloric idea or a witch “riding” an unwilling person.  The term “hag-ridden” when applied to somebody who seems all worn-out derives specifically from this cultural meme.

There are plenty of artistic works which reference the Old Hag.  Most of the time the occurrence is not called that, but it “fits the bill” to a greater or lesser extent.  Some of these artistic expressions of the Hag are

  •  de Maupassant’s  story “The Horla”
  •  the book The Entity
  • the film of the same name
  •  the oft-quoted passage that begins Varney the Vampire: She tries to scream again but a choking sensation comes over her, and she cannot. It is too dreadful -- she tries to move -- each limb seems weighted down by tons of lead -- she can but in a hoarse faint whisper cry …. And yet now she could not scream -- she could not move
  • Dracula’s visit to Mina Harker’s bedroom when she is forced to drink his blood
  • the unnamed thing in “What Was It? A Mystery” by Fitz-James O’Brien


To his credit, Hufford also refers to John Keel’s investigations involving ultra-terrestrials (often aligned with UFOs), and specifically to Keel’s book Strange Creatures from Time and Space (Fawcett, 1970)  which has a chapter on these topics called “The Bedroom Invaders.”

The case studies (more than thirty) also show some connections between the Hag experience and haunting or poltergeist experiences.  These supernatural trappings pull the Old Hag experiences out of the “odd psychological brain misfire” realm and into the supernatural.

Some of these experiences also involve second parties who saw the respondent during or after the encounter.  At times the experiencer’s eyes REALLY WERE OPEN.  They REALLY WERE trying to move (appearing to tremble with the effort but not actually moving).



This is a fascinating topic with ties to actual psychological realms such as Sleep Paralysis and Sleep Research.  The reported supernatural areas that are also overlapped show that the Enemy of Mankind (that ol’ Debbil) may also be trying to affect people.

WHAT IS IT that is holding the respondents immobile?  One case study describes a gelatinous, amorphous thing.  Another of Hufford’s interviewees described feeling as if he were being held down by “hundreds of tiny arms.”  A source quoted on page 232 says, “The thing feels like warm raw meat, and when punched, has the elastic quality or rubber…”

It’s not a phenomenon that is solely common to “Western Civilization.”  In the chapter “The Old Hag and Culture” Hufford also quotes a study that included sixteen Eskimo reports.  The experience has a special name in two of the Eskimo languages!  There are also occurrences in Samoa and the Philippines.

Say your prayers and keep reading!  This is a well-written (though scholarly) look at  a disturbing phenomenon experienced for centuries.  Well done!

  
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