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The Devil in Disguise: Modern Monsters and their Metaphors

Unspeakable Gibberer:

A very appealing article on monsters and their influence on humanity and their reflections of our world.

Originally posted on The Geek Anthropologist:

Throughout the past decade or so, we’ve had a resurgence of monsters. Werewolves, vampires and zombies have all experienced their zeitgeist moment, capturing the public’s attention and circulating through television spin-offs until the next monstrous trend took over. The latest incarnation of our fears, Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain, will premiere on FX on July 13, featuring a new breed of vampire. Other shows, like Hemlock Grove, Salem, and In the Flesh feature a horrifying panoply of nightmarish creatures. But it might be useful to think about why pop culture is raising the dead, and what it says about our contemporary fears.

Monsters have for centuries been manifestations of society’s fears and anxieties. As Stephen T. Asma explains in On Monsters, Monster derives from the Latin word monstrum, which in turns derives from the root monere (to warn). To be a monster is to be an omen […]…

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Controversy Over Gollum Creature Siting In China

After photos surfaced Tuesday of an apparent “Gollum” creature spotted near the Great Wall of China, the story went viral. Within a day tens of thousands of comments and speculations collected as to what the thing could be. Anything from a hybrid pig man, to an actual “Gollum” (A character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit books) or an ancient lineage of mountain folk being discovered. All the talk got people pretty excited, as will happen when these possible hoax photos pop up.

But new controversy has sprung up after a young man has come forward with not only his testimony, but with photos of him in makeup and being photographed for a local advertisement. However, though it seems very likely that that is the case, some folks have began to point out marked differences in the photos taken by a wayward hiker, and those provided by the young man in the costume, such as; why are the ears slightly shaped different? Or why do the eyes look smaller or closed, when in the costume they are gaping holes. The initial photos by the hiker have been proven authentic and not modified, yet I still see what maybe shoes on the creatures feet, which made me curious before I found that this may all be a hoax.

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Along with these differences come a string of questions in regards to why a hiker would spot this “guy in a costume” and no photographers or crew shooting the young man. The hiker explains that while he was on his journey, near the Great Wall, that he was struck with fear as he spotted a bronze skin toned creature drinking water from a small pond (Below.)

drinkingdrinking2In comparison to the photo of the man in the costume, I am curious as to how he is able to drink with his hands through the mask. Not only that but I feel as though the eyes and ears look slightly different in the photos supplied by the hiker.

Either way, its always fun to have a new hoax to speculate about. I feel people gasp tightly to these kinds of false discoveries because we need something new and different in this world. Hence the reason people are so keen on finding bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster or aliens. It gets our imagination running at full speed. It scares us and exhilarates us. It makes us feel alive when we find something strange or unlike us living and reminds us that maybe, just maybe we humans aren’t so special in a world, or universe full of possibilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovecraft eZine Issue #31, June 2014

Art by Lee Copeland – http://www.leecopeland.com

Art by Lee Copeland – http://www.leecopeland.com

That’s right, the June issue of the Lovecraft eZine is up and out there folks. This months enjoyment includes, of course, the free online edition, the nook/kindle format, a special print edition, and soon the podcast/recorded edition of this issue. Currently at #31, it is hard to believe that this online fiction eZine has made it so long. I have seen many similar sites/mags come and go, yet there is something special that keeps this Lovecraftian train rolling; The people. The community that Mike Davis has gathered is special. They are kind, supportive, and generally interested in each other when given the chance. This is a good place people, and a good environment to breed creativity and generosity to our fellow man in this insignificant universe we live in.

Though video chats, games, contests, and general awesomeness on Mike’s behalf, the Lovecraft eZine has trudged through the primordial soup of the internet that commonly drags down and devours many a man and fiction mags alike. But with a thriving cult… uh I mean community supporting and enjoying what Mike does, there is no end in sight for this… uh… site… yeah.

This months issue includes stories from a few commonly known entities in the Lovecraftian writing milieu; Joseph S. Pulver, Ross E. Lockhart, and Scott Nicolay. And features a few regular columns that everyone thirsts for; Robert M. Price’s Echoes from Cthulhu’s Crypt, and Ronnie Tucker & Maxwell Patterson’s hilarious comic strip, Cthulhu Does Stuff.

Get over to The Lovecraft eZine and share in the weirdness. Enjoy a little horror and maybe gain some perspective through the tales you read or the information you siphon from these texts. While there, do Mike, and presumably every reader and partaker of the site, a plus one and buy the print edition, or simply click on one of the sponsors that endorse the eZine, or click on one of the Amazon portals to access all sorts of Lovecraftian goodness while supporting the site.

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The Drabblecast: The Parasite Parade

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My friends, if you haven’t been listening to the podcast, The Drabblecast, then you might be no friends of mine. I take that back I need all the friends I can get. But if you haven’t checked out the fabulous work done by the team at The Drabblecast, then you are missing out. Hosted by Norm Sherman, The Drabblecast is a weekly podcast that brings you full audio productions of some of the brightest and weirdest fiction out there. Anything from the diabolical floaters in your eyes becoming sentient organisms, to otherworldly entities possessing a teddy bear and saving an abused girl from her mother.

Great stuff here folks, and you shouldn’t be missing it. Below is a video that Norm and the family have posted on YouTube, entitled: The Parasite Parade: A children’s book. This is a proper example of how creepy/weird the imagination of Mr. Sherman really is and the production value that goes into every episode. Though the episodes are mostly heard, rather than seen, you won’t be disappointed while you listen to some of the most fantastical or horrifying literature read to you along with scores of music to accompany the tale while creating an ambiance that you just can’t get out of reading these stories.

The latest episode, Local Delicacies is out now and awaiting your ears. You can download The Dabblecast where ever you listen to podcasts (i.e. iTunes,) or you can just go to Drabblecast.org and browse their archives including over 300 episodes of weirdness and hilarity.

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If you have checked out The Drabblecast, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer

Book Bound in Actual Human Skin

bookboundinskinThe book you see to your left has officially been identified as being bound in human skin. June 4th a tweet from the Harvard Library confirming that a copy of French writer Arsene Houssaye’s “Des destiness de l’ame” was given to friend Dr. Ludovic Bouland. The book in question, when translated, is a text entitled “a meditation on the soul and life after death.”

It was upon his receiving of the book that Buffalo Bill… oh I’m sorry Dr. Bouland bound the book in human skin (believed to belong to the back of an unclaimed female mental patient, who died of natural causes,) because, and I quote:

“I had kept this piece of human skin taken from the back of a woman, … A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering,”

Though it is not uncommon to see a skin bound book in the Harvard Library, they are typically bound in sheep skin. And after many tests, including a check to make sure its not ape skin… cause that’s lest creepy… they concluded with 99.9% confidence that the cover is indeed human and not some makeshift paper bag book cover we all did in junior high and high school to protect our texts.

Although I’m sure a plethora of tests weren’t really necessary since Boulden was kind enough to leave a note within the book declaring that the book was lined with human flesh. Because why would someone lie about that, especially back in 1880.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t be surprised if more of these popped up in the future. Though the texts may be archaic, back in the 16th century it was common and even a manner of remembrance to bind a book in human flesh, or for criminal confessions to be bound in the perpetrators skin.

It is also known that numerous 19th Century accounts exist of the bodies of executed criminals being donated to science, their skins later given to bookbinders.

Turns out human skin

Weird Review: When The Stars Are Right, By Scott R. Jones

when the stars Title: When The Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality

Author: Scott R. Jones

Publisher: Martian Migraine Press

Number of Pages: 130

Format: Print(Paperback)

Rating: 3.75 Out of 5 Stars Aligned

 ANSWER THE CALL

ENTER THE BLACK GNOSIS

The Great Old Ones: hideous monster-gods that populate the pantheon of weird-fiction writer Howard Pillips Lovecraft’s increasingly popular milieu, his so-called Cthulhu Mythos. Protean, nebulous, unimaginable, and impressively persistent in their psychological and spiritual presence.

In When The Stars Are Right, author Scott R. Jones deftly breaks down the barriers between the bright logic of our daytime intellect and the fearful non-Eucliean symmetries of our darkest dreams, revealing the Black Gnosis: a radical mode of being that anticipates a new appreciation of humanity’s place in an increasingly dire and indifferent cosmos. When The Stars Are Right asks the reader a simple question: “Are you keeping it R’lyeh?” The answers may surprise you.


“When all is madness, there is no madness”

 A few months ago I was contacted by publishing company, Martian Migraine Press, and asked to review a fairly new book that explores a new spirituality based potentially off of the works of the late H.P. Lovecraft. Being primarily reviewer of weird fiction, I was a little reticent at first to consent to analyze anything non-fiction, let alone something set in a religious context. However also being a fan of Mr. Lovecraft, I had to see what this was all about.

For years I have been familiar with the H.P.L’s work, and for those years I have been submerged in minor research dealing with Lovecraft’s nihilistic world views, and how they influenced his writing. His outlook on human life as being meaningless paved the way for giant aliens, monsters, and deities that break our sanity only to put to scale how insignificant we humans really are in this vast universe. Though we might be able to stop these creatures from taking over our realm, there is always that underlying theme that beyond the veil of reality, there are always hellish entities scratching at the membrane of our dimension to break a passage through and reign supreme. But something that may be forgotten is that most of the time there are people behind these nightmarish creatures whose life’s purpose is to open the gates to let these things in. Cthulhu cults, worshipers of Yog-Sothoth, Witches of Azathoth all are bent on assisting their deities on ruling the universe, whether it be through some occult magic, or sacrifice. But that is not what Scott R. Jones preaches in his new book, When the Stars are Right: Toward an Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality.

What Mr. Jones has accomplished is beyond any Cult of Cthulhu, or Esoteric Order of Dagon. It is not so much a practice of occultism, but rather a philosophical approach to what Lovecraft may have been hinting at in his writings. Taking a more poignant stance behind Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, and Dagon and unveiling a study in character of each of the gods, taking into account what they stand for and what teachings they have in store for those who are enlightened by what Jones identifies as, The Black Gnosis.

“The Black Gnosis is madness, yes, and that madness is infinite and all engulfing and will consume a mind in order to free it, but the R’lyehian recognizes that there is nothing there to be consumed in the first place.”

This is technically the Zen of the R’lyehian. The knowledge and understanding, of what it means to truly believe the dreams that Cthulhu is broadcasting, and the acknowledgment that Nyarlathotep lies behind every message, both heard and unheard. But this is a level of clarity that is not reached through meditation, but rather through Divinely inspired Madness. It’s that moment, Jones explains, when the protagonist catches the merest glimpse of Dagon’s form as it embraces the white monolith and is plunged into a madness. The moment when Danforth peaks out side of the escaping plane in Mountains of Madness and sees the Plateau of Leng. That is the Black Gnosis.

Amid the teachings and direction induced by Jones, are personal events that endeavored the author to write such a tome. It is through these shared experiences that we begin to see a partial biography that guides the reader down the path Jones took toward finding his own R’lyehian spirituality.

I say his own, because this book does not possess a formatted practice for each follower. Rather asserts each reader to discover their own path, create their own altar, and write their own tome/Necronomicon to follow. There are no gods to worship, yet through the teachings that are presented through Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath, and Dagon, one can find the advice and guidance needed to creating their own path. This outlook on religion being about philosophies and not consistent worship is a method of spirituality that allows the practitioners of it’s faith to find inner strength and peace of mind – or lack of it through the Black Gnosis – *wink wink.*

I myself am not very religious and don’t find much significance in the daily worship, but rather in the ideas that religions have to teach and be used toward humanity. Though Jones may have a darker outlook, it is a structure that is more appealing in today’s environment. I admit I did not agree with every theory he has to share, yet I felt a connection to this book that alone says good things.

In the beginning of the book, Jones immediately attempts, though respectfully, to dismiss Lovecraft’s doing in this spirituality. But what I think readers might not understand right away is that the dismissal is toward what the public has done with Lovecraft’s creations, and not what the man himself created. By which I mean, when reading this book, for the love of Cthulhu, don’t think of tentacle face slippers, Nyarlathotep plushies, or cutesy anime cartoon adaptations of any of Lovecraftian creations. Those things aren’t in the nature of Keeping it R’lyeh.

While reading this book I experienced some issues with my heart, which inevitably scared the hell out of me and my family. With doctors unable to explain what was happening, I was left with a mind full of anxious fear. Temporarily forgetting about the book in the midst of all the excitement, I found myself in a very negative frame of mind, and one day decided to pick it back up. Full of fear, and anger I found a new hope and acceptance in Jones’s words. Though, as I said, the book may have some darker spots than I needed at that time, it was all about the message that can be found within. No, I am not a R’lyehian, at least not yet, but I did take something away from my reading. And I believe there is something in there for anyone who may be looking for a sense of identity, or searching for a purpose in their life. You don’t have to pray to Cthulhu (though it might help,) nor do you have to partake in any occult worship. Just listen to your dreams and don’t be afraid of what they have to show you, and what messeges they might convey.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed When the Stars are Right have also checked out:

 

If you have checked out When The Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 

Weird Review: NOS4A2 by, Joe Hill

NOS4A2_coverTitle: NOS4A2

Author: Joe Hill

Publisher: William Morrow (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) 2013

Number of Pages: 704

Format: Print (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars aligned

 

COME TO CHRISTMASLAND

What would you do for a lifetime pass to a place where every morning is Christmas and unhappiness is against the law?

Don’t give up on wonder! Don’t give up on dreams!

We’re looking for go-getters who love children and aren’t afraid of adventure!

 


“NOS4A2 is a fast-paced, wind through your hair, stomach-flipping roller-coaster ride that will make you white-knuckle the binding and refuse to let go. We follow Victoria McQueen, a Brat (as her father lovingly calls her) with enough snotty attitude to earn the name. However, Vic has a quality that will make you fall in love with her: imagination. Through the power of her mind and her Raleigh Tuff Burner bicycle, she is able to dream up ‘bridges’ that allow her to find things. Whether it be a family heirloom, a photograph, or just looking for trouble, Vic is able to find it with the help of her Shorter Way Bridge – a long-destroyed covered bridge that fell into the water. Unfortunately it is this same bridge, and Vic’s adolescent rebellion, that inevitably send her to Charles Talent Manx.”

That is an excerpt from my review of NOS4A2, for Haunt of Horrors Press. As you can probably tell by reading the above passage I am absolutely in love with this book. Hill has accomplished something special with this novel which officially places him in the running with the rest of the worlds best horror writers. Though most already know that he is an offspring of the King himself, he has done a damn good job of writing under his pseudonym, earning his way with the absence of his family name.

Hill utilizes an excellent tool within this horror/fantasy and that is the use of a portal. Both Manx, and Vic find there way through Hill’s “inscape’s” that he has mentioned in his other great novel, Horns. Through these inscapes, Vic, with the help of her Shorter Way Bridge, finds Maggie, a junkie who loves scrabble. She helps explain to Vic how her bike and bridge are part of these inscapes; “Big old hole in reality… I am reaching into my inscape to get the tiles I need. Not into a bag. when I say your bike or my tiles are a knife to open a s-s-slit in reality, I’m not being like, metaphorical.”

These inscapes are an excellent adaptation to the use of the portal tool. Hill has begun to create and expand a new universe that I wish I could join. Whether it be ‘The Treehouse of the Mind,” the Crooked Alley, a sack of scrabble tiles, or a bike, these “knives,” as Maggie calls them, are used to poke a hole in reality allowing the user to manipulate or alter it to there choosing. This opens up so many opportunities for Hill’s characters, and increases anticipation and cravings to see him continue to play around in this realm of thought.

This is a novel that every reader, casual or avid, horror fan or not, should have on their book shelf!

Check out the whole review HERE!

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed NOS4A2 have also checked out:

 

If you have checked out NOS4A2, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 

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