Real World Horror

Real World Horror: Tallman Bunk Beds

Today in Real World Horror I want to talk to you about the Tallman Bunk Beds.

Yup haunted bunk beds.

Ghosts, these days will haunt just about anything. You’d think they’d leave little kiddies alone. Asshole ghosts be assholes.

The Tallman haunting was covered by Unsolved Mysteries back in the 1980’s and is said to be so freaky that it rarely airs today. I don’t know if that is the case but I certainly can’t recall ever seeing that episode.

The story revolves around  Debbie and Allen Tallman who purchased the supposedly haunted set of bunk beds. Almost as soon as they had them in the house they started experiencing paranormal visions (the kids saw a ghostly woman), doors opening and closing without intervention, a chair wandered about the house seemingly of its own volition, and disembodied voices started speaking. Naturally the Tallman’s regrated their purchase as their home was terrorised.

Things got worse when the haunting targeted the youngest son, Danny, but Allen gave it a firm word or two and it started targeting him instead.

There have been numerous witnesses to the haunting, which in itself is a rarity. In particular a babysitter who saw a vision of fog and flames.

The Tallman’s ultimately destroyed the bunk beds. I must admit that had I been in their position I would have been hesitant to do so, destroying a supposedly haunted object doesn’t necessarily stop the haunting, sometimes it makes things a whole lot worse.  

Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Though the family moved away for good measure.

Classic Horror

Classic Horror: Christmas Carol

In the spirit of the season, I want to talk about one of the classic pieces of literature tied closely to Christmas. But this is a horror appreciation site, which limits my options but also presents me with a great one.

Today, I am going to talk about A Christmas Carol.

Holiday cheer and ghosts, what more could you want?

Written by Charles Dickens and published in 1843, A Christmas Carol is the story of Scrooge, a miserly chap whose sole focus is money. He cares not for anyone around him be they friend, family, or any part of his community. Then one Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by three ghosts, the ultimate self-help team, who turn his perspective on its head. By the end of the book he realises that worth is not in money but in people.

While today we think of Christmas Carol as being all about Christmas, when it came out it was not seen that way. This is because at the time Christmas was a very religion focused holiday, unsurprisingly. A Christmas Carol took the focus away from religion and made it the far more the humanitarian holiday we know and love today. Odd for a story about ghosties.

Admittedly this is one of those instances where I saw the film before reading the book, what with there being a lot of film versions (FYI The Muppets Christmas Carol is one of the best ones and everyone should watch it, while not a perfect adaptation it’s got Michael Kane singing with puppets so…yeah).

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Reviews, Reviews - Books

Review: Heart-Shaped Box

Today I want to look at Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. 

Heart-Shaped Box was published in 2007 and was Joe Hill’s first novel. It won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. 

Being a huge Stephen King fan, I was naturally drawn to this book by his son and I was not disappointed. Joe certainly shares his father’s skill for storytelling with well-crafted plots, believable characters and a firm grasp of what makes the horror genre great.  

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Folklore

Folklore: Funayurei

Today’s legend comes from Japan and delves into Japan’s apparent love for creepy ghost ladies. We will be looking at the funayurei, a type of ghost, commonly portrayed as women with a passion for sinking ships. 

The Myth

The funayurei legend has multiple variations, they all have the same basic structure and story but with subtle differences that change amongst tellers.  

Common points across almost all telling’s are that these creepy ghost ladies like to sink ships. In some versions, the funayurei are very much like sirens, beautiful women who lure ships into dangerous situations for the crew of the ship to meet a watery end. In some versions, the funayurei don’t lure the ship into dangerous territory but rather fill the ships with water themselves to sink them.

One of the key differences between funayurei and sirens is their origins. Sirens have always been sirens, meaning they are a creature completely separate from humanity, they were born sirens, they did not become sirens. However, the funayurei were once people who were turned into funayurei. Their myth has an almost vampiric element to it, in that those killed by the funayurei will rise themselves as funayurei. 

Appearance-wise the funayurei are creepy ghost ladies but they might not always appear as such. They can turn themselves into ships to ram into and take down other ships. This takes the ghost ship to a whole new level. 

Over time, funayurei have developed a range of abilities, not only do they sink ships but they can affect the navigation gear on a ship, effect the crews moral, they might force a ship to run aground by setting a fire in the open sea making the ship’s crew think it land is nearby so they sail off course.

Usually, funayurei live in the sea but have been known to swim up in rivers as well. They like to appear on rainy days, which is not a surprise as they were likely invented as a way for people to understand and explain ships having accidents in poor weather.

There are ways to protect yourself and your ship from the funayurei, such as throwing rice balls, flowers or incense into the sea. You can also freak them out by staring them down. They don’t like their water being messed with and will leave if you stir it with a stick.

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cliches, Horror Writing

Clichés: Ghosts

It should go without saying really that ghosts pop up a lot in horror stories. Traditionally when a lot of people think horror they will think of ghosts and ghost stories.

This isn’t a bad thing, as ghosts can work amazingly in stories when they are done well.

A good example of ghosts being done well is the Haunting of Hill House television series that came out recently. The ghosts here were very well crafted and it was clear from the first episode that a lot of thought had gone into their conception and creation.

However, despite ghosts being excellent narrative tools they can, and often are, the victims of excessive clichés. All of which, I believe, stems from the same issue, a simple lack of thought.

A recent example of this being when I went to see a play that I will not name here (it wasn’t the woman in black, I feel the need to point that out). The story clearly established the ghost character, her motivations were crystal clear and her abilities firmly shown early on. It was pretty good if a little overdone. But right at the end everything about the ghost changed, her motivations changed completely, it went from “find me” to “join me forever” and her abilities went from “dick around with small technology within the house” to “being able to cause traffic accidents miles away”.

I remember sitting in the theatre and thinking to myself “Well, the writer clearly wanted a twist ending and just couldn’t come up with one.” I was disappointed and frustrated, to say the least. But this leads nicely into the main cliché that ghost characters suffer from.

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