A friend, who knows how much I love Halloween, gave me three books the other day: "Ghosts", "Witches and Warlocks", and "Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural". All three are collections of short stories; some are classic tales from well-known authors, and others are from new authors (new in the eighties when the books were published).
I love short stories and this way I can get in at least one creepy story each night of October......alone, when everyone else is asleep and the house is dark except for the glow of the light I'm reading by, and the only sound is from the wind outside, and the soft padding of feet across the carpet. From the cats, of course, who never fail to creep me out when they suddenly appear out of nowhere and jump on the back of the couch above my head when I'm reading.
I started with "Witches and Warlocks", and there are a few stories worth hunting down if you get the chance. The first, titled "Moment of Truth" by Gerry Levinson, is "a hellish glimpse of witchcraft at the end of the world" - truly a chilling tale.
The second is a cute, fun one by Daniel Pinkwater, titled "Wizard Crystal". There is a pond full of frogs....extremely happy frogs, who all have enough to eat, lily pads for each of them, and the pond which is their happy home is free from danger. All night long the frogs sing happy songs, sitting on the lily pads in their danger-free pond.
At the bottom of the pond was a crystal, and the frogs loved it, swimming down to see it during the times they weren't sitting on lily pads, or singing out to the night. It made them happy - extremely happy.
A miserable old wizard, who had been unhappy - extremely unhappy for the past 300 years, discovers the crystal, (through wizardry, of course), and retrieves it from the pond to take back to his house. He is happy - extremely happy.
The frogs are not happy. They leave their danger-free pond and hop through the forest to the wizard's house, encircling it. They start singing of their pond, their lily pads, and whatever else frogs sing about. The wizard hears their song in his sleep, and dreams about frogs and lily pads, and all the while this singing and dreaming is going on, the crystal glows.
In the morning the wizard is happy. The frogs are happy. The wizard is now a happy frog, sitting on a lily pad in the danger-free pond which was once his home in the forest.
The third story is by H.G. Wells, author of such classics as "The Invisible Man", "The Island of Dr. Moreau", and "The War of the Worlds". This story is called "The Magic Shop", and I found it online.
A father and his young son enter the doors of "The Magic Shop". The boy is entralled by what he sees, but the magic is just a bit too genuine for the father.
I loved scary stories as a kid too, Siren, (and I still do). They also scared me silly, and there were times I'd even get up in the middle of the night and turn on the bathroom light down the hall so there'd be just enough light in my room to see clearly if anything was lurking in the shadows. Then I'd run back down the hall, into my room, and leap into my bed making sure I'd at least cleared three feet of ground while I was in mid-air.
Just so nothing could reach out from under the bed and grab my feet, you know.
Hubs and I used to throw a Halloween bash every year before LX was born. And later, I'd do all-out creepy haunted house parties (with icky food, which had nothing to do with my baking skills) for LX when she was little. Her choice - either a birthday party in August, or a Halloween party in October; I wasn't doing both. She always opted for a Halloween party from the time she was in preschool until about third or fourth grade. Then it just got to be too much work. But I have to admit, I miss them.
Still do all out for the holiday itself though. I always take the day off work to turn the yard into a graveyard (or whatever - it was a swamp once, complete with a witch in a beat up old row-boat). I like to put the stuff up Halloween day, so it's always a surprise when the girls get home from school, and then later, when the trick-or-treaters come around.
The big bummer for me is that here Halloween starts at 5:30. Five-thirty! It's still light out, what fun is that!!! At least in our town, it goes until 8:30 - in most other towns around here, trick-or-treating stops at 7:30. Pfft!
LOL! I know what you mean! It's no fun if it's not dark! I didn't go out nearly as far as you do. But I won the pumpkin carving contest at work 3 years in a row. And I've done as many as eight for Halloween night. My favorite story was that I has a Grim Reaper and a little kid walked right up to it and said "OOOO! Skeletor!" Okay, I might have spelled the names incorrectly, but I wish I had a video going when the kid walked up. It was just too cute!
Cute story, Stepper. Yes, the little ones are just too cute! I have fun with the older ones too - I used to make them sing the Barney theme song before they got their candy. You know - the "I love you. You love me. We're a happy family..." song (or something like that; it's been awhile). Just to embarass them. You'd be surprized what kids will do for candy - even teenagers. In all the years I did that, I only got one refusal.
BP and I officially kicked off our Halloween season with a couple of trips downtown today. The first was to see the scarecrows that the merchants put up in front of their stores. "The Parade of Scarecrows" is an annual event both for the town, and for me and BP - we haven't missed it since it began.
Later this evening, we went to the used bookstore for a book-signing. It was a good time; BP and I both enjoyed it. Three authors were present, one who wrote a book herself, and the other two were co-authors of another book. Both books were collections of stories and legends of ghosts, the supernatural, and unexplained occurrences in Michigan. If I wasn't planning on purchasing either book, after flipping through one of them, I felt compelled to get it after one story caught my eye. It was.....bah-bah-baahm....(that's supposed to be a scary musical introduction)
"The Legend of the Melon Heads"
I first heard about the "Melon Heads" just a few weeks ago when I related something strange I saw one morning. It was still dark, and I was sitting on the back porch, drinking coffee while I let Quetta out. Suddenly she stopped in her tracks. The fur along her back rose, and she growled low from the back of her throat. A white....thing...bounced up the hill from the ravine. Bounced. It did not run, hop, or leap - it bounced. Like a ball. And it was round. Like a ball - about the size of a basketball, actually. It "sat" there for a few seconds, Quetta started barking wildly, and it bounced away, back down the hill and through the ravine. It was weird; I couldn't - and still haven't figured out what is was.
My co-worker said, "Melon Heads!!!"
She grew up just a few miles north of the nursery, where the Melon Heads supposedly live and ever since she can remember the story has existed. "You gotta be kidding", I said when she explained the Legend of the Melon Heads.
The legend goes that once there was a hospital that treated children with hydrocephalus - water on the brain that causes the head to swell to an extremely large size, hence the cruel name "melon head". Experiments were supposedly done on these poor children, leaving them dysfunctional. When the hospital closed down, the children were released "into the wild", banded together, and lived in the woods in what is now Saugatuck Dunes State Park - one of the most beautiful places in the area which I've visited many times, I might add, without ever once seeing a Melon Head. But many others have...and still do insist they've seen small bodied, large-headed creatures roaming the woods and peering into steamy windows of parked cars inhabited by teenaged couples, (the remote area is known as being good for "parking").
Apparently, some of these creatures have kin in Ohio. Stories down there are nearly the exact same as the stories here, right down to the hideous experiments done in the hospital, excepting the Ohio Melon Heads are more vicious than the Michigan Melon Heads. Ohio Melon Heads will rip you apart limb for limb if given the chance. Michigan Melon Heads just scare the cr@p out of you.
None of this is true; there was no hospital and no experiments (here anyway; I don't know about Ohio) - or no insane asylum as another version of the story goes. There was though, a school for disabled children in the area in the early 1900s, and speculation says it's quite possible some of these children suffered from hydrocephalus. And because kids can sometimes be cruel, it's also quite possible some of these hydrocephalic children were taunted and called names....like Melon Head.
Depsite the many theories, myths, and regardless it's all improbable, Melon Head sightings are still reported to this day.
Whether or not they migrated to my backyard one dark morning....who knows? The legend says nothing about bouncing Melon Heads.
Don't you love local legends like that? Here, it's the werewolf supposedly buried at the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Konawa, Ok. In Texas, there's the Hoxie Bridge, where it's said one can hear the ghostly wail of a baby who was thrown from the bridge, long ago. There's a swamp monster roaming the woods near a cousin's house in Louisiana. And there's a Boggy Creek monster, too, in Arkansas, I believe.
If you're looking for a good, scary movie to watch tonight, here's a suggestion: "Paranormal Activity" has become the biggest grossing movie of all time. A friend saw it, and said that if "Blair Witch" gave you a good scare, "Paranormal" probably will, too.
Got a little decorating started today...working on the lights now. But I finally had to end up turning the air back on today. It's been over 80 the past two days and the temp in the house was 82 when I finally gave in and turned it back on. Pfft.
I want it cool in October!
"There are people you meet, who move in and out of your life, like ghosts-- and after they're gone, you find that they've left a part of themselves with you.