Thursday, July 25, 2019
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Hey, everyone. I apologize for not making any posts for so long. I've been dealing with a severe bout of depression, and I've been focusing on collecting and using antique tools for traditional woodworking and metalworking. I have a project that I've been working on that's nearly complete, and I haven't felt like going out and actually getting on a computer. Writing is hard work, to say the least. I'll be posting again soon, perhaps with a book review. Please let me know what you'd like to see! And donations to my Patreon account would be VERY much appreciated! Thank You!
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Hey, folks. Yes, I'm still alive. I apologize for not having posted anything for so long. I've been battling a severe bout of depression lately, and I recently found out that I'm pre-diabetic. So many things have gone wrong in my life lately, and nothing good ever seems to happen to me anymore. I'm WAY behind on my book reviews, and I suspect that some people are getting impatient. But I'll be working on a book review today, and I'll TRY to have it posted by Thursday afternoon. That's a promise.
On the other hand, I'm looking for REAL-LIFE SUPERNATURAL HORROR STORIES!! If you've had encounters with the Wendigo, Sasquatch, werewolves, vampires, the Dogman, or ANYTHING that I've posted about in the last seven years, please shoot me an email! I'd LOVE to post about it on this blog! I haven't gotten any emails from my readers here lately, and I miss hearing from you guys. Even if it's just to say "Hello!" or "I love your blog!", it would be very much appreciated. Please support me on Patreon! Every little bit helps! THANK YOU!!!
Kyle Van Helsing
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Hey, guys! Although I have received some emails regarding encounters with the Wendigo, I need MORE for my blog entry revision. Also, ANY encounters with monsters are welcome at any time. Don't be afraid to send me an email! Rest assured, I will NOT call you crazy, insane, or say that you were hallucinating and such. I am very open-minded, and I am willing to help you if I can. Stories and encounters of skinwalkers, the Rake, haunted dolls (especially Robert the Doll), Sasquatch, the aforementioned Wendigo, werewolves, dogmen, vampires, and all sorts of monsters are all welcome. But NO UFOS! Please don't hesitate to send me an account if you feel like you're in imminent danger or that your life is being threatened! Keep in mind that I can only get online two or three times a week, but if you send me your encounters, I'll respond to you as soon as I possibly can! Also, I am looking to start posting encounters as blog entries for others to read. This will serve to entertain, educate, and scare the literal CRAP out of my readers. Looking to do at least one encounter story a week. As such, I will be expecting you guys to send me, at the very least, one encounter or story in a week. Most professional monster hunters and cryptozoologists get emails regarding such things on a daily basis, and I would like that to happen for me as well. If you could humor me, I would very much appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support! I will be posting again before the end of the month, and it'll be well-worth waiting for!
Thursday, May 11, 2017
A few months ago, I received a book from Visible Ink Press for review, courtesy of my good buddy Nick Redfern. This particular book is entitled The Monster Book: Creatures, Beasts and Fiends of Nature (Visible Ink Press, 2017). Make no mistake: this is an encyclopedia of monsters and nightmarish beasts. I'm always on the lookout for new monsters to write and blog about, and Nick's book will undoubtedly provide some inspiration. But for now, let's move on to the review. But beware: nightmarish creatures from all over the world lurk within!
The Monster Book is an encyclopedia of all things of a monstrous and horrifying nature, and it contains nearly two hundred entries covering all kinds of frightening beasts. The books is divided into ten sections, each of which focuses on one or more different types of monsters. Such creatures include (but aren't limited to) anomalous big cats, werewolves, phantom black dogs, lake and sea monsters, vampires, hairy hominids, shapeshifters, urban legends, lizard men, flying beasts, and dragons, among other things. Each section is written in A-Z format for convenience's sake. Some of my favorite entries in the book include Beast of Bray Road, Cemetery Wolf-Man, Hexham Heads (the full story of which can be read in this blog's entry on Phantom Werewolves), Giant Beaver, London's Bear-Monster, Man-Eating Plants, Basilisk, Giant Salamander, Lambton Worm, Loveland Frog, Megalania Prisca, Mongolian Death Worm, Thetis Lake Man-Reptile, Bunyip, Bloop, Kraken, Loch Ness Monster, Mokele-Mbembe, Oklahoma Octopus, Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui, Bigfoot, Man-Monkey of the Shropshire Union Canal, Skunk Ape, Wendigo, Aswang, Batsquatch, Donkey Woman, Lizard Man, Mapinguari, Monster of Glamis (a fascinating subject, which I may very well do a blog entry on one of these days), Reptile Man, Slenderman, Chile Monster, Dragon, Flying Woman of Vietnam, Houston Batman, Mothman, Gwrach Y Rhibyn (another blog entry of mine, which can be read here), and many, many others. At four hundred and sixteen pages long, that is a lot of monsters!
Overall, The Monster Book is well-written, thought-provoking, neatly organized, and more than a little spooky. The book has both an index for finding information quickly and a bibliography that's just over seven pages long. Although this encyclopedia doesn't list every single monster in the world (which would be a huge undertaking, to be sure), that doesn't detract from this tome's value as a great all-around reference book. I heartily recommend this book to all of my friends and this blog's readers. The book can be ordered from either Amazon or from Visible Ink Press here. And now, I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank both Nick Redfern and Visible Ink Press. My sincerest thanks go to Nick for his friendship and his kindness, and to Visible Ink Press for kindly sending me this book, free of charge, for review. Thank you so much to both of you, and I am greatly looking forward to your next books, Nick!!!
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
“The Wendigo is hungry, always hungry. And its hunger is never satisfied. The more it eats the bigger it gets. And the bigger it gets, the hungrier it gets. It can grow as tall as the trees, and still it aches with hunger. And we are hopeless in the face of it. We are devoured.”
–Larry Fessenden, Wendigo (2001)
These days, you don’t see many books about the Wendigo on the shelves in the bookstores. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be very many people who are willing to tackle the enormous amount of lore and material that is available about this horrifying beast. And trust me, there is a lot of material to be had! Close to a year ago, I heard about a book entitled Sudden Storm: A Wendigo Reader via the Internet. When I saw this title, I immediately knew that I absolutely had to get ahold of a copy. Not having a whole lot of money with which to order a copy for myself, I decided to contact the publisher, Fiddleblack Publishing (through Twitter, of all things). I explained my situation to them, and soon enough, I had a response! They actually agreed to send me a copy, free of charge! Who knew that Twitter could be so useful? Anyway, I provided them with my mailing address, and I waited. About a week later, I had the book. This review is LONG overdue, and I would like to offer Fiddleblack Publishing my sincerest apologies for not having posted this review sooner. I’ve been through a lot in the past year, and I hope that they can forgive me.
Sudden Storm: A Wendigo Reader is a collection of scholarly essays compiled by writer and film director Larry Fessenden, who wrote and directed the movie Wendigo (2001), as well as directing the movie The Last Winter (2006) and the “Skin and Bones” episode for the short-lived TV anthology series Fear Itself (2008). He also collaborated with the scriptwriters for the 2015 PS4 horror survival hit, Until Dawn (Sony Computer Entertainment, 2015). All of this and more he relays in his introduction to the book. He also discusses how he was introduced to the monster as a child and how it literally scared the SHIT out of him. He then recounts his obsession with it as an adult and as a writer and a filmmaker, as well as his subsequent research into the subject and how it continues to influence his work to this very day. Needless to say, the Wendigo has, figuratively speaking, consumed him.
Sudden Storm: A Wendigo Reader is composed of seventeen scholarly essays, interviews, stories, and script excerpts by a number of different writers, with each one giving their own thoughts on the Wendigo. Each one of these shall be briefly examined in this review, which is why it’ll be quite a bit longer than the others. The first thing presented is a script excerpt from Mr. Fessenden’s Wendigo (2001), in which the young boy Miles speaks to his father, George, about the Wendigo, after which they go sledding in the snow. In the first essay, “Seeing Wendigos”, Victoria Nelson discusses the monster in regards to literature, mainly concentrating on Algernon Blackwood’s novella “The Wendigo” (1910). She also takes a look at E.M. Forster’s 1920 tale, “The Story of the Siren”. While the latter story isn’t actually about the Wendigo, Nelson takes note of some interesting parallels between the two stories. Afterwards, she touches upon Fessenden’s Wendigo, and then draws upon “parallels” between the Wendigo and UFOs. The next entry, “The Wendigo”, recounts a “goblin story” as told by former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt of a ferocious monster in the woods that a man named Bauman once encountered and subsequently told Roosevelt about. Most people, however, regard this story as being an early account of a very aggressive Sasquatch. The next essay, “The Many Faces of the Wendigo: An Examination” by Chris Hibbard, is an in-depth guide to the basics of what you need to know about the Wendigo. This is a fantastic essay, and the original version (first published in 2008) can be read here. The next essay is Carter Meland’s “It Consumes What It Forgets”. This essay is about the Wendigo’s hunger and how it is unable to relate to or to feel any sort of kinship with humans and the pain that it causes them because of that hunger. It cannot love or feel anything other than its unending hunger, and nothing else matters to the beast other than killing and eating. In short, that hunger has caused the Wendigo to forget its humanity, and therefore it consumes what it has forgotten.
In “Story of the Wendigo” by Sheldon Lee Compton, a very short story is given about a man who has been possessed by the Wendigo and kills his starving family. Following this tragic tale is an excerpt from the “Skin and Bones” script, as written by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan. The next essay is “Prophesy”, written by my good friend Nathan Carlson. Nathan is the world’s foremost authority on the Wendigo and the lore surrounding this horrible beast, and I trust him and his research implicitly. In “Prophesy”, Nathan speaks of how the white men destroyed a sacred manitohkan (effigy) in 1895 that kept starvation and the Wendigo at bay. A shaman gave an ominous prophecy that the Wendigo was coming, and the beast would destroy everything and everyone who didn’t flee. This set into motion a chain reaction that led to mass panic, famine, starvation, and fear, all of which only hastened the Wendigo’s coming. In 1896, a man named Felix Auger fell victim to the hunger himself, and had to be executed. He was buried under a pile of heavy logs to keep him from coming back as a full-fledged monster. Tragedy after tragedy followed, until eventually the prophecy was forgotten…that is, until 2008. Nathan turned on the TV early in the morning one night, and the Fear Itself episode “Skin and Bones” was on. At the time, Nathan was writing the very same essay featured in this book. And when the show was over, the news immediately came on and shocked the world with the story of Vincent Li, who murdered a young man named Tim McLean on July 30th aboard a Greyhound Bus. Li stabbed the young man to death with a large knife and then hacked his head off with the blade and consumed some of his flesh. When Nathan heard the news, he sank into “a fog of horror and revulsion”. You can actually feel Nathan’s pain as you read this essay. However, I don’t want to give away the rest of the story. But needless to say, Nathan was both horrified and sickened by the similarities to the Wendigo and the sheer brutality of the act. The shaman’s prophecy has come true, and it threatens to devour us all.
The essay following Nathan Carlson’s “Prophesy” is an interview with filmmaker Christian Tizya of Watson Street Pictures, conducted by Larry Fessenden himself. This interview explores the mythology of the Wendigo, the murder committed by Vince Li in 2008, native beliefs regarding the beast in modern times, and Christian’s opinions regarding cinematic and literary portrayals of the beast. The next essay, entitled “Pantheon” by Kim Newman, deals with the monster’s portrayal in popular culture. This is mostly in regards to television and the movies, but some literary material is examined. Some of those films include Antonia Bird’s Ravenous (1999), Larry Fessenden’s films Wendigo (2001) and The Last Winter (2006), as well as some brief mentions of other, lesser-known films. “Wendigo of the Week: A Myth Too Big for the Small Screen?” by Samuel Zimmerman deals entirely with the Wendigo as portrayed on television. The shows covered include Supernatural (S1/Ep01, “Wendigo”), The X-Files (S1/Ep19, “Shapes”), Sleepy Hollow (S2/Ep06, “And the Abyss Gazes Back”), and Fear Itself – “Skin and Bones”. Zimmerman takes the time to look at the deeper meanings behind the creature’s portrayal in these TV shows, although his comments regarding the Supernatural episode “Wendigo” (which I loved) are far from flattering. In “Myth and Media Consumed”, Alison Natasia examines the “Wendigo Archetype” in Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980) through the common denominator of the two: cannibalism (as the Wendigo itself is never actually mentioned by name in the film). And in the sixteen-page essay “Windigo Teaching: Cannibal Critiques in ‘Ravenous’ and ‘Wendigo’”, Carter Meland dives deep into these two films. Here, Meland summarizes the lore that surrounds the Wendigo for reference in conjunction with the films. Next, he takes the time to summarize and dissect each film, looking at the deeper meanings and taking care to note and discuss each connection to the original Native American beliefs that he finds. He also examines Joseph Boyden’s novel Three Day Road (Penguin Books, 2006) in the same manner. Since this essay is so long, I’ll move on to the next one to avoid any spoilers. Don’t worry, because we’re almost done.
The next essay in line is “Consumption, Chaos & Family Values”, written by Bernice M. Murphy. In this thought-provoking essay, Bernice examines Stephen King’s novel The Shining (Doubleday Publishing, 1977) and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film of the same name, but with a twist: she looks at the two works as stories of a man, Jack Torrance, who becomes possessed by the Wendigo and slowly turns into a monster. It should be noted here that Jack’s never-ending hunger isn’t for human flesh: it’s for alcohol. This too can be interpreted as a more modern variation on the more traditional Wendigo’s hunger for human flesh, but the end result is always murderous violence (among the many themes and parallels explored in this essay). Following this is an excerpt from the script of The Last Winter (2006), written by Larry Fessenden and Robert Leaver. And finally, the last essay in the book is “The Last Winter: Why Wouldn’t Nature Fight Us?” by Bernice M. Murphy. This final essay takes a deeper look at the themes found in the film and their connections to the Wendigo. She presents the unseen force that plagues the people as the Earth itself, rising up against everything that mankind has done to it. It is interesting to note that the Wendigo itself is seen as a force of nature, more specifically as the personification of both winter and hunger. This is fascinating stuff, to put it mildly. At the end of the book is a short afterword by Larry Fessenden, which is followed by an annotated list of recommended reading.
Overall, this book is well-written, neatly organized, and is both very educational and extremely entertaining. There are some spelling and grammar errors, but this does not detract from the book’s value as a thought-provoking, in-depth look at the Wendigo, the lore and beliefs surrounding the beast, and the monster’s portrayal and its place in popular culture. And in addition, the book features some truly amazing artwork that will both tantalize and horrify you. All in all, I cannot recommend Sudden Storm enough, and I strongly urge my friends and this blog’s readers to order a copy for themselves as soon as possible. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Fiddleblack Publishing for sending a free copy of this book to me, a guy that they don’t know and have never met, and for giving me this great opportunity to begin with, even though I took much longer to read through this book and to get this review written, typed, and posted than I should have. I hope that you guys at Fiddleblack can find the kindness within your hearts to forgive me, as I have been through a lot in the last year, and I hope that you very much enjoy this review! Thank You!!!
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Monsters Among Us is divided into five parts, and each chapter (and the contents therein) has something to do with the section’s theme. The first part of the book (and the first two chapters) deals with hellmouths (entrances to the underworld), creatures that seem to have come from the underground realm, beasts that attack (and ride inside) vehicles, a dogman with a love of jogging, and lizard men that dwell beneath the streets of Los Angeles. The story of “The Torrance Werewolf” is particularly frightening, involving a young girl and her teenage brother who witnessed a man who came up from an underground area. He somehow knew the little girl’s name (even though she and her brother had never met the man before), and kept asking her to come forward. When he started to get angry, he began to change, and he gradually became a doglike monstrosity. She and her brother managed to escape largely unharmed. Another story involved an eyewitness who saw a grinning, dog-headed man riding in the back seat of a black limousine. And this review is just getting started!
The second part of the book (chapters three through five) deals primarily with Linda’s specialty: sightings of werewolves and dogmen, as well as shapeshifters of a most peculiar and frightening nature. In chapter three, you’ll find a story of a man’s dog-headed son, and a man who went up to a farmhouse for help with a flat tire, only to encounter a wolfman who not only appeared to live there, but actually threatened to kill the man if he didn’t leave. In addition, there’s a story of a policeman who had a disconcerting encounter with a cigarette-smoking wolfman in a gray hoodie, and a werewolf wearing a plaid shirt that attacked a family taking a nighttime drive in Colorado. In chapter four is the truly horrifying story of "The Church Lady Werewolf", in which a middle-aged woman transformed into a horrifying wolf-beast with long claws, cloven hooves for feet, and a roar like a lion’s inside of a church and in front of a congregation of over two hundred people!! This story must be read to be believed. Chapter five deals with werebeasts from South America, and a man’s theories that such things may stem from witchcraft, that native South American beliefs that the Ucumar (the South American equivalent of Sasquatch) is a spirit-being may well be true, and his beliefs regarding guardian spirits. Fascinating stuff.
Section three (chapters six through twelve) is mostly about wolfmen and dogmen who stalk people around their homes at night, nighttime bedroom invaders, and shadowy wolflike entities, among other things. In this rather long section, you’ll find stories about a phantom dogman that reeks of sulfur (which is commonly associated with demonic manifestations), a woman’s encounter with a shadowy dog-beast in her basement, a recounting of Nick Redfern’s encounter with a strange cape-wearing wolfman (which I’ve covered in full detail in this blog’s entry on Phantom Werewolves), a wolfman that spoke what the eyewitness said “sounded like perfect Greek or Latin”, a man’s unnerving sighting of Anubis (the Egyptian jackal-headed god of death and mummification) in Addison, Illinois, a shadowy wolf-beast that told a young girl to put some arrowheads back where she had found them (although she did keep one, and the beast apparently didn’t mind), an incredibly frightening tale of a shapeshifting werewolf stalker, Linda’s very own encounter with what appears to be the Grays of classic UFO lore, and a truly horrifying encounter with a nine-foot-tall werewolf straight out of The Howling (1981) that glared at a young boy through his mother’s bedroom window and scared the living HELL out of him! The final two chapters deal with sightings of wolfmen on the homestead and more window-watchers, as well as roadside encounters. I won’t say anymore at this point, as I don’t want to completely spoil this section of the book. Now, onto the next section!
Section Four of Linda’s book (chapters thirteen through eighteen) deals with two sisters and their encounters with multiple anomalies over a period of five years, including a Sasquatch, a possible dogman, balls of light, a Thunderbird, a possible devil monkey (or a kangaroo, one of the two), poltergeist activity, and another shadowy wolf-creature, as well as stick structures and portals. Other chapters include a shadowy wolfman, anomalous happenings in the Bong State Recreation Area in southeastern Wisconsin (and no, there was no smoking involved!), sentient green mists, weird green glows with euphoric side-effects, ball lightning, “the Oz Factor”, invisible arguing dwarves, and a glowing dogman, among other things. She also talks about misty monsters and the possibility that some of these creatures are able to “cloak” themselves, rendering them virtually invisible to human eyes. In chapter eighteen, Linda gives a chilling account of a gray-furred wolfman known as “The Hairy Hartland Thing”, which seems to have an unnatural interest in the eyewitness’s house and has a disturbing habit of staring through her child’s bedroom window. Hold on, folks…we’re almost done.
The fifth and final section of the book (chapters nineteen through twenty-six) features discussions of UFOs and their possible connection with Sasquatch and werewolf sightings, UFO sightings, sightings of Sasquatch in the Chicago area, invisible predatory stalkers (these stories are truly chilling, to put it mildly), an absolutely hilarious story about a clumsy Sasquatch that bumped its head on some scaffolding and then took a dump in some hollow concrete blocks (which the eyewitness actually kept!), and a group of people being hunted by an invisible monster. Linda also takes the time to talk about the mechanics of invisibility, land spirits (genii loci), fairy paths, and more portals. In fact, Linda spends the entirety of chapter twenty-five detailing her investigation into the possible existence of an interdimensional portal in a farmer’s field. Needless to say, it’s incredibly fascinating. In the twenty-sixth and final chapter in the book, Linda talks about physics (a class that I never took) in regard to anomalous phenomena, including the possible existence of alternate universes and other dimensions. I have to say, without giving away the ending of the book, that her conclusions are both stunning and thought-provoking.
Overall, Linda’s book is very well-written, neatly organized, and free of grammar and spelling errors, and it is both highly informative and very entertaining. Linda’s research, her investigative skills, and her somewhat dry sense of humor make this book easy to read and follow along with, an on top of that, it’s a ton of fun to read. This book can be frightening at times (most of the time, in fact), but that just makes it even more fascinating to me! The sheer scope and the depth of Linda’s research is absolutely mind-boggling, and it may leave your head spinning after you put it down the first time. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll always be going back for more!
I have to say that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to both Linda and TarcherPerigee: to Linda for her friendship and her kindness for all of these years, and to TarcherPerigee for sending me a copy of Monsters Among Us, free of charge, and for giving me the opportunity to review this book. This book is absolutely incredible, and I honestly cannot recommend it more! If you’d like to read it for yourself, I suggest that you get up, go to the bookstore, and buy a copy…NOW. Oh, and beware of wolfmen with glowing eyes along the way! They’re out there, and these beasts are hungry.