Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Afterlight Clothing

You might say you have too many t-shirts, but you're only kidding yourself. There is always another one, the last one, you have to have. Afterlight Clothing has some whimspookal t-shirts that I think I want and I rarely wear t-shirts. I still buy them. You see how this works? It's a sickness. Shirts come in men's and women's style and tank tops are also an option.

Zombie Cat
Dead Tarot Card
Haunted House
Flying Saucers
Black Forest
Fairy Tale Book

Does anyone know the history of the t-shirt? Wikipedia says that the first t-shirts were issued to soldiers as undergarments during the Spanish-American War in 1913 and the word t-shirt became part of the English language by the 1920s. I don't know how accurate that is, but how would we broadcast our identity without them?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dead Fairies from Petite Grotesque

Sometimes things are so strange you just have to fall in love with them. That's how I feel about the dead fairies that young adult author and artist Leah Clifford creates. Yep, you read that correctly. Clifford is an author of a trilogy of books about mythological creatures called A Touch. I haven't read them, but I will be checking them out.

In her spare time she likes to create dead fairies. They are the creepiest little adorable things I've seen in awhile. Her shop is called Petite Grotesque.  Best part of the fairies is that all animal parts were humanely collected.

Luna Moth Fairy
Iridescent Fairy
Meddlesome Fairy
Bat Wing Fairy
Fairy Specimen
Blood Glider Pixie

Excuse me, but these are F*#king Awesome!

Clifford also graciously gives advice about caring for dead fairy: "Do not get them wet. Do not feed after midnight. DO NOT TAUNT FAIRIES."

I think I know what I'm asking Santa to bring me this year.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Washington Irving: Father of American Ghosts

On November 28th, 1859, Washington Irving died in his bed in the town that is now known as Sleepy Hollow, New York. To be sure, he was a celebrated author in his time and if there had been airplanes would have been called a jet-setter. Irving was recognized around the parts of the world that cared as a full-fledged American writer and was considered a master of the short story. Edgar Allen Poe asked for his advice. He was also a diplomat, but that's for some other blog.

Where would Halloween be without The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? It's so ingrained in our American psyche that I almost don't even notice it. From cartoons, to plays, to our love of pumpkins, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is everywhere.  Even Tim Burton would have to admit his remake of the story is one of his best movies.

"On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!--but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!" 
(The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

To be fair, Irving wrote that story and "Rip Van Winkle" while traveling in Europe and both were most likely based on folk tales he heard there, but he tailored them to create a classic American tale. And really, what could be more American than that?

Raise you glass to Irving today and look out over a cemetery to see if the headless horseman rises. And, while you're thinking about Irving, pick up one of these decals. How awesome is this?

Headless Horseman Laptop Decal from Suzie Automatic

Friday, November 25, 2016

Horka Dolls

The Christmas Shopping Season has officially begun in the States today. Be careful out there and don't knock anyone over. It's not worth it to give a gift that has already been infused with pain and suffering.

I'm avoiding the hassle and staying home today. Instead I'll make lists and one of those lists will be for me. I've been a very good girl this year. I'll be adding Horka Dolls to my list (not sure I've been that good, but worth a shot). Horka Dolls are made by Klaudia Gaugier. She has a few for sale at her Etsy shop, but it you haven't been good enough for Santa to bring you one, you can always ask for a t-shirt.  We've all been that good. T-shirts and phone covers are available at

T-shirt/Phone Image
Tank Top
Cellphone Cover
We need to keep the mystery and spookiness in Christmas. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Make a Wish on a Furcula

It's Thanksgiving morning and I'm a little hung-over from Thanksgiving eve so, let's have a little quiet time this morning.

Did you ever wonder where the tradition of making a wish on a turkey bone came from? I did and I found this article by Matt Soniak on Mental Floss called Why Do We Wish On the Turkey's Wishbone?

A little divination with your cranberries and mashed potatoes is just what is called for today and, if I haven't told you lately, thank you for reading my blog.  You're awesome.

Steven Kenney: The Wishbone

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dark Pines Designs

Melanie Weyant opened her Etsy shop this year and it's small, but I have to say I like the direction she is headed in. The name of the shop is Dark Pines Designs and Weyant uses a laser cutter to etch designs in wood. She is drawn to the macabre and spooky pop-ephemera that is our culture.

Baba Yaga Necklace
Wicked Witch of the West
Morticia Addams
Beetlejuice Lydia Deetz
Moon Phase

Pretty nifty, right?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Season With The Witch

I just finished reading J. W. Ocker's latest book A Season With The Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts (2016). I have posted about several of Ocker's other books and greatly admire his blog Odd Things I've Seen. I have nothing bad to say about this book; I liked it very much in fact. However, it has taken me several days to work up the courage to write about it because I'm still not sure how I feel about Salem after reading it.

Let me begin with this: I first visited Salem about 12 years ago one beautiful Sunday during October. I don't know what I was expecting, but I came away disappointed. Sure, we visited The House of Seven Gables and I enjoyed the tour, we ate at a cute, witch-themed restaurant, we browsed in a shop full of herbs (most likely Artemisia Botanicals) which was really cool, and wandered (and wandered) the streets searching for a museum about the actual witch trials <insert that horrible error noise your computer makes here>.  We didn't find the museum because there isn't one. What I did find was people trampling a cemetery dropping bits of caramel corn and used wrappers on the graves. That did it. That set me off. Just ask my husband what happens when I get set off. It's not pretty and that is what colored my view of Salem.

Jump forward to about eight months ago when I had the opportunity to visit Salem once again on a cold and windy Tuesday in March. I was there for my job, but took the opportunity to sneak downtown at lunch for a second look. The streets were empty (it was bitterly cold) and I stumbled, literally, onto the memorial for the Salem Witches by accident. Had I not previously written about it in the blog, I probably would have passed it by thinking it was a nice little pocket park. In fact, I had to tell the person I was with what it was. I found a gift shop that was open and went in to get warm and found the usual witch trinkets. My mistake was looking for more. I went into the Peabody Essex Museum gift shop hoping to find something more authentic about the witches and though it was a lovely gift shop, there was nothing on witches. I had lunch at a nice brewpub and enjoyed a decent witchy brew. The restaurant had one other table of people.

So, you can see why I wanted to read Ocker's book about Salem. I wanted to know what I was missing. I wanted to rediscover a love for Witch City. Ocker spent a month in Salem with his family to see the city from an insider's view during October. He talked to people who loved Witch City for everything it is and to people who loved living there, but hated the month of October. My experience in Salem apparently is one that other have experienced.

I loved following Ocker vicariously through Salem. He visits nearly every fortune teller, drinks crazy cocktails, talks to real witches, and visits every site that is connected to the witch trials of 1692. He faces the problems head-on, full-steam-ahead. He interviews a curator at the Peabody Essex Museum about the lack of witchery there and to the owners of the side-show style attractions. He doesn't hide the fact that people are celebrating a tragedy and are having a really good time doing it.

I think Ocker's conclusion is that people and the City of Salem aren't really celebrating the tragedy or real witches at all. He feels people are celebrating their idea of Halloween and in doing so creating jobs and bringing money into the small town that has lost it's seafaring and industrial job base. Almost by accident, they're keeping the names of the people innocently put to death for a crime (that shouldn't be a crime) that they didn't commit. If Salem didn't promote the witch trials, no one would remember their names.

I think there is a bigger lesson to learn in Salem that isn't being brought to the front. The city isn't so much celebrating the accused as they are mocking the people who ever considered witchcraft a crime. By dressing as a witch or a vampire or a super hero we're showing those who would judge people for being different that there is nothing scary here. Behind the costumes or unfamiliar religion people are just people. That is something I can celebrate.

Thanks for reading this far. I meant for this to be a short post, but I had to talk it through for myself. Did Ocker convince me to visit Salem next October? In the end, I think that he did. Will I visit all the kitschy, out-of-date monster and witch exhibits that I avoided before? I think I will. This time I'll go to Salem with the understanding that I'm part of a group of people who want to face the darkness with humor and compassion, not hate. That is a lesson I can get behind.

Read this book.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bird Ov Prey: Occult Fashion

You need some new t-shirts, right? Jordan Haley has a collection you should take a look at. His shop is called Bird Ov Prey and along with the line of occult t-shirts there are pins and patches as well.
Phrenology Skull
Occult Crow Claw
Death's-Head Cicada
Strike True
Gnothi Seauton
The website also has some stunning jewelry, but there are no prices available, so fall in love at your own risk.

Gold Ritual Dagger
Crow Claw

Bird Ov Prey also has an Etsy shop if that's where you like to save your favorites. That way your friends and family know what you'd like for Christmas.  You know that's why you have that list.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Crazy Carnival in Hell?

I first saw the work of Nina Huryn at Ghoultide Gathering a few years ago. Huryn uses leather and paint to create spooky images. The leather is tooled and cut and when you see a finished piece you have the urge to reach out and run your fingers across it. Or, in my case, to rub in on your cheek. Others do that, right?

Huryn's work reminds me of a crazy carnival in Hell. It looks a little scary, but also kind of fun. You can purchase her work on Etsy at Creature of God.

The Skeletons Watch the Purple People Eater
Hands on the Planchette
Alice the Extraordinary Flea
Skull with Brown Hat
Red Devil
Yellow Eyed Witch Pillow
The Black Pines aka Caution Trick or Treating Can Be Dangerous

The more I look at these pieces the more I need one. The shop also carries painted pillows and purses.     You'll want to take a look at those, as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Christine Altmann Is Everywhere

I really don't know how I haven't come across Christine Altmann before this. Altmann is a full-time Halloween artist and she is on every art site that I regularly visit. I don't get it. How have I not seen her work? It's embarrassing.

She must have assistance, because I can't imagine where she finds the time to create art if she is also managing that many different shops.  She is on Etsy, Zazzle, Society6, Deviant Art, Craftsy -  I could probably find more.  If she doesn't have help and is looking for an online-presence manager, I'm available - just saying.

Altmann's art is highly detailed and harkens back to an era where Halloween was all pumpkins, witches, and ghosts. I love the traditional colors and boldness of her work. Her paintings remind me of what I loved about Halloween as a child.

The one thing I didn't find was where you can purchase her original art work. In her shops you'll find high-quality prints on everything from canvas, to notebooks, to pillows, to phone cases, to sneakers and more. I'm surprised she hasn't printed on a car. I'd be in line to order that. Did I mention the cross stitch patterns?

For the sake of my fingers, I'm showing you a few prints that represent her work- they're all on Etsy. Do yourself a favor if you like her style and check out all the links to her work above. It's pretty awesome.

Happy Halloween
Halloween Bonfire
Reading The Tea
The Collector
Home to Broomtree
The Scarecut

I'm a little overwhelmed by the vast number of items Altmann's work can be printed on. How would one choose? I must say though, that I'm leaning toward these sneakers.