Badurday- October 29, 2011- Christopher Eccleston

I wracked my brain for a choice for Halloween weekend and came up with Christopher Eccleston.  He’s a super actor. He played the 9th Doctor on the  Doctor Who series. My spouse has watched this show since the 1970s and was thrilled when it came back after a hiatus. Christopher was only the Doctor for one season, but he did a great job with it. Who is badder than Doctor Who, really? I mean, he’s the time lord, right? but, the reason I’ve chosen Christopher for the Bad Boy of the week is the movie The Others. This show came out in 2001 and I loved it. It was an awesome, suspenseful movie. The kind I adore. Where the suspense is the thing. No gore, just tense scenes that make me want to know what’s up. This movie delivers that in spades.

Christopher plays Nicole Kidman’s character’s husband who fought in World War II. She’s living in a mansion on the island of Jersey with her two children who are photosensitive and can’t be in the light.  I love, love this movie. Very atmospheric and quite a treat to watch for Halloween. Rent it. You won’t regret it. 

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Phantasy Friday: Samhain; Night of the Witch, Day of the Dead

For practicing witches, Samhain is a time for taking inventory of life and getting rid of weaknesses and what is no longer desired. A time of bonfires, the names of those passed on written on flash paper, offered to the flames in mourning or memory. A time of the altar draped in symbolic black, with white glittered sticks representative of frost and autumn leaves laid respectfully before the God symbol (Yes, God is in Wicca), a time of celebrating the harvest with blessed cakes and wine.

In other faiths, burial places are mown, cleaned and whitewashed in a yearly celebratory ritual. Some merely leave flowers or other tokens to show respect or appease the dead upon completion of the task; others long-burning candles, lit to flutter against the darkness, a field of glittering points of light illuming the night. Still other cultures make it a day of family frivolity, eating picnics from spread cloths among the newly beautified graves.

I’ve put together a quick compilation of other events and practices attached to Samhain and it’s celebrations. Hope you lovers of the paranormal find some useful tidbit to apply to your writing!

Samhain and the Wild Hunt
Samhain is the night of the Wild Hunt, when furious ghosts of the restless dead ride the sky on phantom horses with a pack of spectral hounds, shrieking and making wild noises. Nothing has been able to inspire terror like descriptions of flying black hounds and hell-fire hooved horses with hideous eyes. In the medieval versions, witches joined the phantoms, the ghostly train led by pagan goddesses-turned-devils (by Christianity), including Diana, Holda, Herodias, Hecate and Berchta.

A Cornish version of the Wild Hunt, Devil’s Dandy Dogs, is the most diabolical of ghostly packs, hunting the countryside for human souls. The Sluagh, or the Host, is a band of the unforgiven dead of the Highland fairy folk. Diana’s train punished the lazy and wicked but were generous on occasion: if a peasant left out food for them, they ate it and magically replenished it before they left.

A bit skeptical about the Wild Hunt? You may want to take into account that in the English countryside it was reported flying over the terrain as late as the 1940’s.

Samhain is a time when the Cowan may celebrate with the Witch.
The word Cowan is an old Scottish term for a mason who has learned the trade without serving an apprenticeship, and refers to a person who has not been initiated into the Craft. While Cowans may not attend circles, or Esbats, the regular meeting of covens where magical work is performed, they may be invited to seasonal festivals, Samhain, or All Hallows Eve, being one of them.

Crossroads and Samhain
Since antiquity, the junction of roads have carried magical significance. From the Greek goddess of witchcraft, Hecate, goddess of the crossroads, who had animals sacrificed to her there on Samhain to encourage her blessing; to Ireland and Wales, where it was traditional on Samhain, the Druidic New Year, to sit at a crossroads and listen for the howling wind, which prophesied the year to come.

Samhain and Fairy Rings
A Fairy Ring is a circle of natural mushroom fungus growth on grass and turf. Inedible –and animals tend to shun the circles– the mushrooms have reddish, buff or tawny caps. Here it’s said fairies and witches meet to dance in the night. In Britain, fairy rings are known as Hag Tracks, supposedly created by the dancing feet of witches.

Superstition attached to fairy rings says to stand in one on a full moon and make a wish, and that wish will come true. If one wishes to see and hear fairies, fairies being beyond the awareness of the five senses, one can run around a fairy ring nine times under a full moon and gain that ability.

However — it’s dangerous to do so on Samhain and Beltane (May Eve), the two major festivals of fairies. Fairies may take offense and carry the mortal off to Fairyland.

The Cailleach Bheur of the Highlands
On Samhain it’s said the Cailleach Bheur of the Highlands, a lean blue-faced hag, a supernatural remnant of the Celtic goddess of winter, is reborn — and returns to stone on Beltane’s Eve, April 30th.

Bells and Samhain
Bells share a connection between witch and Church. Both ring bells to drive away evil, the resonance of bells purported to carry such purity that nothing untoward can remain in its presence. In early history, Church bells were rung on Samhain night to drive away evil or any demons that may be hanging around Church entrances, as well as to prevent witches flying over villages or towns. It was believed the vibrations of pealing church bells would upset witches’ balance, causing them to fall from their brooms or the backs of demons they rode upon.

Witches also believe there is power in sound, and ring small bells during ceremonies to increase power. Larger bells are struck, rung or caused to ‘sing’ to dispel negative energy. Cleansing of any site where magic is worked is necessary to ensure ‘an it harm none’.

Mayhap this Samhain will come your invitation, and you’ll witness witches dancing deosil (pronounced jestle, clockwise) in a circle of blessing around a bonfire, blue and red flames leaping high against the black curtain of night. Stumble across sacred symbols scribed in the earth by a silver, sharp-tipped athame. Know the honeyed taste of blessed cakes washed down by the heady flavor of blessed white wine. Smell sweet incense and breathe the bite of sage, the smudge of protection, healing and blessing. Hear the bells, the delicate handheld tinkling intermingled with the bold brass and iron strikes of Crone and Church.

I left out touch, you say? Oh, no. I merely left it til last. Here’s hoping you don’t feel the cold wash of terror that precedes the raking claws of the sweeping, night-bound Wild Hunt as it boils across the sky this Samhain. May you never cringe from the burning, slashing, soul-searing green glow that radiates from the hideous eyes of the Wild Hunt’s thundering horses and baying packs.

I know; they’re the Old Gods, and rarely considered now beyond the historical significance of a scholar’s page. But they sustained our peoples’ ancestors for centuries. That alone should earn them a small tug of the forelock and a whispered prayer of respect on their night; Samhain.

Halloween is upon us, folks! Happy Haunting!

~Runere~

Visit Runere at www.RunereMcLain.com or friend her on Facebook at Runere McLain. Follow her on Twitter@RunereMcLain

Phantasy Friday: Season of the Witch; Healer or Halloween Horror?

“Star light, star bright,                                                  
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Get the wish I wish tonight.”

Sound familiar? It’s one of the earliest taught rhymes in childhood. And if you’ve ever said it you could be accused of practicing Witchcraft.

Yes, this innocuous little saying is one of the oldest acquiring spells known to the Craft.  I guess familiarity does breed contempt. Or at least greater acceptance. But then maybe our Foremothers had the wisdom to use simple knowledge rhymes as a way to live in society, yet remain faithful to their creed to practice in secret.

Has your Mother ever slapped your hand down for pointing, hissing under her breath it was rude? Another leftover protection against being accused of Witchcraft. Most witches ground themselves to gather power, delivering the ‘intent’ to the selected recipient via direct stare and an extended forefinger. Pointing. Rude indeed in that context. (That stare is where the term ‘evil eye’ originates.)

Witches and their abilities have carried weight down through the centuries, but it has been the simple Herbalists who’ve gotten short shrift of the situation. Our own Rita Bay offered the observation during a program on herbs and healers, that there was often no distinction made between a healer and a witch. It stuck with me. Many a wise woman and herbalist was condemned as a witch for no more than her knowledge of what nature offers man as curative . . . or poison. If a plague or contagious illness appeared in a village, the herbalist was called upon to treat it. If members of higher society died despite her best efforts, their families’ grief often led to an accusation of witchcraft. Condemned, she was usually immediately killed as there were few trials, and those there were, mockeries of the real thing. The saddest part is the rest of the village sickened and died, and the popular consensus was she’d leveled a curse on the town with her death. If anyone was wise enough to realize the only person capable of helping contain the sickness had been foolishly executed, you can be sure they kept that opinion to themselves. To do anything else might end with them accused of being the witch’s cohort!

White Witch, Dark Witch, Green Witch, Solitary Witch, Solitary Hereditary,  Gardnerian, and on and on. There are probably as many types of Witch in  the Wiccan religion as there are factions in Christianity; and by that I mean Baptist, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and others. If I left anyone out of either group it wasn’t intentional, I just wanted to convey enough for understanding.

But this is the Halloween season, the time of ghosts, black cats and witches; cemeteries, hauntings and skittering bats.  Now I’m not saying anyone is afraid or anything . . . but when dealing with the unknown can one ever be too cautious? I’ve talked to a few friends and they’ve offered a few situational spells to share. Some to beckon, some to chase away. Whether you believe or not, I hope you have fun reading them!

In Summoning a Ghost:
(For conversation with the dead, attend to ceremony;
Avoid the grave’s annoyance, by speaking always gently.

Earth, bone,
 And winding sheet,
Let this spirit
 Come to me–
Yet send it
In peace,
Or not at all.

(If it come, it should be offered white wine, not red; and knelt to, from pity.)

To be said when passing a cemetery:

Knit your fingers, hold your breath,
Say to yourself this verse for death:

Keeper of bones
I know thy face,
But I shall yet
Outstrip they pace.

 

 

To protect against ghosts, demons, goblins or plain old criminal riffraff, here’s an inscription to be written over a doorway:

Who comes to me I keep,
Who goes from me I free
Yet against all I stand
Who carry not my key.

And after long hours spent trick or treating, of being caught up in the frightening illusions of the night, here’s a soothing spell to ensure little ones sleep free of nightmares!

Against Evil Dreams

The nightmare will toss its cold black mane
And gallop on ebony hoofs from your pillow, away
As far as the moon, if you will say:

Thou evil thing
Of darkness born,
Of tail and wing,
And snout and horn,
Fly from me
From now til morn.

Then think of the fire that burns by day:
Sun in his glistening chariot, Drawn by foam-white Stallions, out of the sea.

Just ten more days til Halloween! See you next week with a post on Samhain practices and rites!

~Runere~

Visit Runere at www.RunereMcLain.com or friend her on Facebook @Runere McLain. Follow her on Twitter@RunereMcLain

Badurday- October 15, 2011- Ben Chapman A/k/A Creature From the Black Lagoon

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Ben Chapman, was a six foot, six inch tall man and he was the lucky devil who got to play the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Call me crazy, but that guy could move. The creature was not a handsome thing but he was very sensual in his movements. Watch the film sometime and pay close attention.  Since it’s October, I thought I’d show you a montage of sea creatures as the bad boys of the day.  Some of them may actually be girls- I, for one, don’t want to get close enough to check. Do you?

Phantasy Friday: New Orleans Voodoo; Requests and Tributes to Marie Laveau

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau's Tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1

Halloween is the time when everyone’s thoughts turn to the occult. Maybe only in the form of scary costumes for children, maybe a few remembered snatches of hushed family conversation about an unusual–and unexplainable–incident, maybe throwing a worried look over your shoulder in the dark, no matter how determined you are not to do so.

It’s possible something deep in the human psyche renders Halloween a time you’re more susceptible to something oppressive in the room, or a misplaced cold draft that caresses the skin to produce a fine shiver. The sensation of being watched by the unseen. Or maybe it’s the way the hairs on the back of your neck prickle for no observable reason. Candles and cobwebs. Ghosts and goblins. Tricks and treats. Samhain (pronounced Sowen), the night the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest, and spirits are reputed to walk freely upon the earth.

Ooooo! Shivers! I love Halloween!

I promised today would be Voodoo info day for Phantasy Friday. And lucky I am to live so close to New Orleans, Louisiana. After all, who’s better known than Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau? Or the fact New Orleans herself  is touted as one of the most haunted cities in America, the City of Spirits. And yes, the ‘spirit’ part can be taken two ways, because Bourbon Street is definitely Party Central! I understand some of the girls from the writers group are planning a trip to New Orleans in the near future. So this is for them. Just in case they decide to stop for a visit with Marie Laveau. C’mon, Sayde Grace! Ask Marie for her blessings on your new book VOODOO, I DO. I dare you!

Okay, playful poking at friends is over. Down to business.

Have you ever wondered how to –properly– make a request of Marie Laveau? Well, I’ve got a couple of quick etiquette tips if you’re planning a visit to her crypt in St. Louis Cemetery #1. Especially propitious right now, since the Halloween season is considered one of her most receptive times.

One way is to knock three times on her tomb before making your request. But be warned; once that request is granted, according to folklore you must return to her crypt and mark three X’s, side by side (and totally against the law!) on its surface in chalk or with a red brick chip. Or you may also leave her a money gift (coins only!), candles in powerful Voodoo colors of white, red or black, cigars, alcoholic beverages, fruit, flowers, or hand-made items that will please her.

Gifts and tributes left to Marie Laveau and Marie Laveau II at her tomb.

Pennies stacked in payment for Marie's services, and the obligatory three X's marked side by side on her crypt (totally against the law!) in chalk or with a red brick chip during a return trip to acknowledge a request granted.

Another way, if you feel inclined to ask for her help with a problem — making money, finding love, or hurting an enemy — is to make your request to her aloud, and stack three pennies on her tomb as payment for her services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I’d offer a word of caution though.

Be very, very careful what you wish for  —-

—– the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is always listening.

 

Here’s to haunting you all month, folks!

~Runere~

 

Visit Runere at www.RunereMcLain.com or friend her on Facebook @ Runere McLain. Follow her on Twitter@RunereMcLain

Badurday- The Halloween Edition

This year, for our Halloween edition of Badurday, I decided to focus on one of my favorite bad boys of the horror genre. Mr. Boris Karloff.  He was born as William Henry Pratt. His father was the Deputy Commissioner of Customs Salt and Opium. What the heck kind of job was that? Importing opium? Really intriguing. I knew people used to use it quite openly but I had no idea there was a department of the government dedicated to it- I guess the tax man always wants his part, yeah? 

And wouldn’t you know it, old William Henry Pratt a/k/a Boris Karloff (have to get in the legalese, ya know)  was British. Even British men born in 1887 appeal to me.  Surprised? 

Boris was actually a handsome dude under all that makeup. He played Frankenstein’s monster in an early version of the movie (1937)- it was his breakout role (after 80 films).  He was credited in the opening credits as “?”  How fun was that? AND to have 80 films  under your belt before your breakout role is encouraging to us aspiring to the best seller list, right?

The man of the day, Boris, also played in The Mummy and The Mask of Fu Manchu among other roles of the creepy persuasion. He played Frankenstein’s monster three times and Frankenstein, the scientist, once.  I didn’t much care for the Abbott and Costello movies he played in. They were a bit too silly and Boris was really too dignified for that.

 One of the neatest things is that he played in Arsenic and Old Lace on Broadway as the Brewster brother that was the murderer. The role was actually written for him. He was not in the movie version with Cary Grant but they did refer to him in it.  They said the brother looked like that movie star. (I love that movie, by the way).

Here are some great pics of Boris and I was even able to find you guys a shirtless one.  My favorite one I found was of four wonderful actors together. I adore all of them.  Enjoy your Halloween and check out a Boris Karloff movie if  you have the chance.  

Handsome Boris

 

Basil Rathbone, Boris, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre

 

shirtless and becoming a monster

Bad-urday HALLOWEEN Edition

One of my friends (and her initials are RomanceMama) calls me her pagan friend as I adore Halloween and all the fun it brings.  I’m not into gore but I love suspense and Hitchcock-style movies.  I love the opportunity to be someone else for a night (and even, dare I say it, act silly!)   Anyway, all this to lead up to a handsome man that was taken from us all too soon.  This guy burst on the scene in The Patriot and was just adorable.  cute, cute.   He went on to play lots of great roles.  Loved him in Four Feathers, A Knight’s Tale, Casanova, and I could go on and on- he never really did any movie I didn’t enjoy.   So, in honor of Halloween (because this was an awesome costume), I give you the incomparable  HEATH LEDGER:  heath

There is also a wet picture of Heath because there was no Wets-day celebration this week.  It seems I have been dubbed the blog police and “someone” thought they were in trouble with me for failing to post a wet man.  Now, am I that much of an ogre??  I hope not.  Anyway, here’s a wet Heath:

heath_ledger_02 and just because he is so adorable in this shot, one more:

heath_ledger_01  Heath: you are missed.  What a smile the world lost in your passing.

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