Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The 31 Days of Halloween

In just a few hours the month of October begins. The Gothic Tea Society is participating in three 'blog walks' and we are very excited about it. As any visitor might see from our regular postings we tend toward spooky and bizarre on a daily basis, but the fun is in posting extra spooky, morbid and dark topics to delight our visitors and hopefully they will stay for tea, and then visit often!
Check the buttons over there------> and please do visit the blogs who were kind enough to organize the blog walks. There are lots of other fun blogs to visit as well. And while you are here- please do take a peek at the personal blogs of The Gothic Tea authors- Visitors always welcome!

Sweet Screams!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

COOL new book!

ASYLUM: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

I found this at work today and fell immediately in love. This is a photographic history of abandoned insane asylums, stuffed to bursting with glossy black & white and full color photographs of the grounds, rooms and hallways of some of America's most notorious mental institutions.

I must own this book.
So, who's buying it for me?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Paranormal Activity

As some of you may know, I write film reviews for the horror website Brutal As Hell.
Horror fans, on the whole, are a jaded lot - we've seen it all, and none of it is really able to scare us anymore.
However, this film is getting rave reviews across the board by horror fans who have definitely Been There and Done That.

I am hesitant to buy into the hype, but I will be watching this film asap.
Tis the season, and all that.

Just a Cool Pic...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Suddenly, Last Summer

Easily one of the most disturbing stories to emerge from the 50's (and based partially on actual events) this scene in particular - in which Catherine Holly finally remembers what happened to her cousin last summer, despite his mother's attempts to shut her up with a lobotomy - haunted me for days after I first saw it.

Halloween Countdown Calendar

I wanted to help spread the word about this delightful Halloween Countdown Calendar! Just like the holiday advent calendars we all know and love, but this one counts down the 31 days of October! It is available from Inky Dinky HERE. Happy Haunted Days! Let them know you saw it here when you order.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Painted Skulls of Halstatt

The Halstatt Painted Skulls Ossuary was built back in the 12th century when the village was flourishing, the population exceeded 3000 souls and there was no more room in the cemetery, so the authorities had to come up with some kind of solution. They decided to “rent” graves, if you will, bodies would be buried for only 10-15 years before being dug up, and the skulls removed, in order to make room for other corpses. The skull would then be cleaned and exposed to sun and moon light for weeks, until they became bleach-white, before being placed in their final resting place, the ossuary.

The tradition of skull painting began in 1790, when members of the deceased’s family started painting flowers and crowns of flowers because, they couldn’t decorate the grave with flowers, now could they? Some of the skulls also have the name of the deceased painted on them, the dates of birth and death and some kind of symbol depicting the cause of death.

Read more HERE.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 19 is annually 'Talk like a Pirate Day' In an effort to assist all you land lovers here is a partial vocabulary list to assist you in participating.
And while on the subject of Pirates, keep yer eyes on the horizon for Pirates of the Caribbean 4!

  • Ahoy: Hey!
  • Avast: Stop!
  • Aye: Yes
  • Black spot: to be 'placin' the black spot' be markin' someone for death.
  • Booty: treasure
  • Buccanneer: a pirate who be answerin' to no man or blasted government.
  • By the Powers!: an exclamation, uttered by Long John Silver in Treasure Island!
  • Cat o' nine tails: whip for floggin' mutineers
  • Corsair: a pirate who be makin' his berth in the Med-...Medi-...that sea 'tween Spain and Africa, aye!
  • Davy Jones' Locker: the bottom o' the sea, where the souls of dead men lie
  • Doubloons: pieces of gold...
  • Fiddlers Green: the private heaven where pirates be goin' when they die.
  • Furner: a ship which be yer own, not one ye steal an' plunder.
  • Gentlemen o' fortune: a slightly more positive term fer pirates!
  • Go on the account: to embark on a piratical cruise
  • Grog: A pirate's favorite drink.
  • Jack: a flag or a sailor
  • Jolly Roger: the skull and crossbones, the pirate flag!
  • Keelhaul: a truly vicious punishment where a scurvy dog be tied to a rope and dragged along the barnacle-encrusted bottom of a ship. They not be survivin' this.
  • Landlubber: "Land-lover," someone not used to life onboard a ship.
  • Lass: A woman.
  • Lily-livered: faint o' heart
  • Loaded to the Gunwales (pron. gunnels): drunk
  • Matey: A shipmate or a friend.
  • Me hearty: a friend or shipmate.
  • Me: My.
  • Pieces o' eight: pieces o' silver which can be cut into eights to be givin' small change.
  • Privateer: a pirate officially sanctioned by a national power
  • Scallywag: A bad person. A scoundrel.
  • Scurvy dog!: a fine insult!
  • Shiver me timbers!: an exclamation of surprise, to be shouted most loud.
  • Son of a Biscuit Eater: a derogatory term indicating a bastard son of a sailor
  • Sprogs: raw, untrained recruits
  • Squadron: a group of ten or less warships
  • Squiffy: a buffoon
  • Swaggy: a scurvy cur's ship what ye be intendin' to loot!
  • Swashbucklin': fightin' and carousin' on the high seas!
  • Sweet trade: the career of piracy
  • Thar: The opposite of "here."
  • Walk the plank: this one be bloody obvious.
  • Wench: a lady, although ye gents not be wantin' to use this around a lady who be stronger than ye.
  • Wi' a wannion: wi' a curse, or wi' a vengeance. Boldly, loudly!
  • Yo-ho-ho: Pirate laughter

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ten steps (short film)

Alone in an old house during a power cut, a young babysitter who is scared of the dark, faces the prospect of a terrifying trip to the basement.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I fear the dentist for a reason.

USS Cyclops

The story of the USS Cyclops has special significance for me. One of my great , great uncles, Frank C. Nigg was a crew member on the Cyclops. My Great, Great Grandmother Jessie Nigg ( gone many years now) used to tell us the story of her older brothers loss on the Cyclops. She told us that one early Spring her mother was very sick and confined to bed. She, Jessie was the oldest still at home and was caring for her mother during the illness. One evening Jessie heard her mother call her name over and over, she ran upstairs to see what she needed. Her Mother said ' Do you hear that?' ' Do you hear?' I hear the ships bells ringing ( they lived nowhere near a harbor) ' Something has happened to Frank, and I am hearing the ships bells!' her mother said. Try as she might, Jessie never heard the bells. But indeed, a few weeks later, the U.S Navy declared the ship lost at sea with all hands.

USS Cyclops (AC-4) was one of four Proteus-class colliers built for the United States Navy several years before World War I. Named for the Cyclops, a primordial race of giants from Greek mythology, she was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name. The loss of the ship and 306 crew and passengers without a trace sometime after 4 March 1918 remains the single largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history not directly involving combat. The ship's fate is still a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. No wreckage of the vessel has ever been found.

The loss of USS Cyclops with all 306 crew and passengers, without a trace, is one of the sea's unsolved mysteries, and is often credited to the Bermuda Triangle. It was the earliest documented incident linked to the Bermuda Triangle involving the disappearance of a U.S. vessel. In his 1975 book The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved, author Lawrence Kusche investigated this mystery. He revealed that a diver off Norfolk, Virginia, in 1968, reported finding the wreck of an old ship in about 300 feet of water, stating that the bridge "appeared to be on stilts." He was later shown a picture of the Cyclops (which had that peculiar bridge structure) and was convinced it was the ship he had seen. This would have put the Cyclops, according to Kusche, within 60 miles of the Virginia Capes and into the teeth of a storm that hit the area on 9-10 March 1918 (this storm was reported to have done extensive damage between Indiana and Washington, D.C.). The storm, combined with the unusual cargo of manganese, may have sunk her. However, further expeditions to the reported wreck site failed to find anything.
Most who link the disappearance to the Bermuda Triangle cite the fact that the vessel disappeared having sent out no distress signal. However, ship-board communications were in their infant stages in 1918, and it would not be unusual for a vessel, sinking fast, to have little or no opportunity at a distress call.

Most serious investigators of the incident believe the ship was likely farther to the north of the Bermuda Triangle when it disappeared, but there is little evidence to either substantiate or dispute that. An in depth look at the incident can be found in the book, Great Naval Disasters, by authors Kit and Carolyn Bonner.

For a list of those lost on that fateful voyage, including my own relative Nigg, Frank C. - Lieut. (JG) go HERE.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tagged Bats

The Broodwich

The Voice: It is the Broodwich. Forged in darkness from wheat harvested in hell's half acre. Baked by Beelzebub. Slathered with mayonnaise beaten from the evil eggs of dark chicken force-fed to dogs by the hands of a one eyed mad man. Cheese boiled from the rancid teat of fanged cow. Layered with 666 separate meats from an animal, which has maggots for blood.
Frylock: See, told ya.
Shake: I tasted mustard.
The Voice: Yeah... Dijon mustard.
Shake: Well... how come no bacon?
The Voice: Bacon is extra!

Channeling Boxing Helena

This picture just creeps me out. As did the above mentioned movie. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

When unexpected radiation raises the dead, a microcosm of Average America has to battle flesh-eating zombies in George A. Romero’s landmark cheapie horror film. Night of the living dead (1968) A classic, Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Macabre Dolls

I really like this artist's work!

Frozen Charlotte

Frozen Charlottes are a type of unjointed china doll popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The name came from Fair Charlotte, a well-known American folk ballad attributed to William Lorenzo Carter. It is believed to have been composed some time between 1833 and 1860. The ballad tells the tale of a beautiful young woman who set out in a sleigh with her lover, Charles, on a bitterly cold night to attend a ball fifteen miles away. Her mother warned her to wrap herself in a blanket to keep warm, but:

"No, no, no," fair Charlotte said
And she laughed like a gypsy queen
"To ride in blankets muffled up,
I never can be seen."

The couple rode off into the cold and, after traveling a mere five miles, Charles remarked:

"Such a night as this I never knew,
The reins I scarce can hold."
Fair Charlotte said in a feeble voice
"I am exceeding cold."
Away they ride through frozen air
In the glittering starry night
Until at length the village inn
and the ballroom were in sight.
They reached the door,
Young Charles stepped out
And held his hand to her
"Why sit you there like a monument
that hath no power to stir?"
He called her once,
he called her twice
She uttered not a word
He held his hand to her again
And still she never stirred
Then swiftly through the lighted room
Her lifeless form he bore
Fair Charlotte was a stiffened corpse
And word spoke nevermore.

Of course there was a lesson to be learned from this tragic tale, and many young girls who later played with Frozen Charlottes probably were warned:
Now, ladies, when you hear of this Think of that dreadful sight, And never venture so thinly clad, On such a winter's night.

Most Frozen Charlottes ranged in height from one to four inches. The one-inch-sized dolls were commonly known as "penny dolls" because they generally sold for one cent. The popularity of Frozen Charlottes can be attributed, in part, to the fact that their relatively low price allowed children to accumulate a collection of dolls with which to play.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rainy Day

Monday, September 7, 2009

Danse Apache

Apache is a highly dramatic dance associated in popular culture with Parisian street culture in the beginning of the 20th century. The name of the dance (pronounced ah-PAHSH, not uh-PATCH-ee, like the English pronunciation of the Native American tribe) is taken from a Parisian street gang (see Apache (gang)), which in turn was named for the American Indian tribe due to the perceived savagery of the hoodlums. The term came to be used more generally to refer to certain vicious elements of the Paris underworld at the beginning of the 20th century.

The dance is very brutal to the woman, and sometimes said to reenact a "discussion" between pimp and prostitute. It includes mock slaps and punches, the man picking up and throwing the woman to the ground, or lifting and carrying her while she struggles or feigns unconsciousness. In some examples, the woman may fight back.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yellow - The Color of Fear

Two books you must read, if you have not done so already.

The Yellow Wallpaper
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1892.

This disturbing short story chronicles the descent into madness of a woman who has been virtually imprisoned in the upper floors of a summer retreat home. Forbidden to do anything but lie in bed, our increasingly unhinged narrator becomes obsessed with the wallpaper in her room:

"It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw — not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper — the smell! ... The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell."

The King In Yellow
by Robert W. Chambers, 1895

Most likely inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story of three years prior, The King In Yellow is one of the most influential - and most overlooked - works of Gothic horror ever written. A collection of short stories ranging from sci-fi fantasy to romance, The King In Yellow's first four tales - The Repairer of Reputations, The Mask, In the Court of the Dragon and The Yellow Sign center around a fictional play entitled The King In Yellow, which drives insane anyone who dares read it. The play itself does not exist, and Chambers offers only eerie excerpts to tantalize his readers.

Having read the collection entire many times over, I can safely say that it won't drive you to insanity...but I must admit: I felt considerably "altered" after having read it.

The King In Yellow would go on to influence many modern writers of horror, most notably H.P. Lovecraft, who refers to the play in several of his short stories. The King In Yellow itself was inspired by both Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and the Ambrose Bierce short story "An Inhabitant of Carcosa."

Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Stranger: Indeed?
Cassilda: Indeed, it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


San Bernardino Mountain fire 2007

Madonna della Guardia

Being a treasured icon for three generations of Italian-American Catholics at Corpus Christi Parish in San Francisco, the Madonna della Guardia has been restored after a destructive fire. In 1941, a group of church members traveled to Genoa, Italy, to procure such a statue and found her. The church brings it out once a year for the Feast of the Madonna della Guardia in late August.

In 2006 an arsonist broke into the church and set the blanket-covered statue on fire after dousing it with gasoline. While beating out the flames, firemen broke off pieces of arms, hands, and heads. The church was able to find a sculptor to recreate all of the missing pieces, sculpting several of them from scratch, using old photos of the statue for reference. Tragic story, but personally, I think the burned version is really beautiful.
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