The Search Terms from the Black Lagoon: The Hollow Earth, the Hello Kitty Doll of Clinton Road, and More Queries Answered

abandoned computer

Previously: Shortwave Spirit Radios and More.

Welcome back to The Search Terms from the Black Lagoon, in which I take the weird and unusual search terms that led people to The Ghost in My Machine and try to figure out exactly what you were looking for. I’ve been finding lately that the terms in my analytics are slightly less bizarre than they used to be; I suppose that’s the price I pay for my SEO being on point. In any event, though, there are still a few that might be worth exploring; let’s get started, shall we?

  1. “What is the center of the earth? Funny answer”

I’m assuming that a) your search brought you to the Well to Hell’s Encyclopaedia page, and b) you’re not interested in what’s actually at the center of the earth. Maybe you’re looking for some information about the Hollow Earth? It’s definitely been disproven many, many times, but it persists as a conspiracy theory even so.

  1. “Should I or shouldn’t I game instructions”

I suspect you’re looking for “Should I or Shouldn’t I? What Would Others Think?” It can be a useful developmental tool for elementary, middle, and high school students; it’s not, however, the kind of game you’ll generally find here at The Ghost in My Machine. Sorry if you ended up journeying down a rabbit hole you never wanted to find while looking for the appropriate game.

  1. “Is the poor house in Bangs, Ohio haunted?”

Like all abandoned places, the Knox County Poorhouse has its fair share of ghost stories. It’s up to you to decide whether you believe them or not. Although there used to be a high-octane (and totally fictional) haunted attraction called The House of Nightmares run out of the poorhouse’s ruins, it had to cease operation in 2006 after four floors of the place collapsed.

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The Most Dangerous Games: The Gambler’s Game

playing cardsPreviously: The Doors of Your Mind.

Not to be confused with the excellent Ichor Falls short story “The Gambler,” The Gambler’s Game is neither as long as many of the other games and rituals we explored, nor as involved: All it requires is a pack of cards and an hour or so of your time. But although the game is short and sweet, the stakes are high; what would be the point of playing if they were not?

It’s common knowledge that the Devil loves to gamble; however, it hasn’t been confirmed whether the Gambler of this game is he — or whether the name of the game might refer to the player him or herself instead. Whoever or whatever your opponent may be, though, be warned: He plays for keeps.

As always, play at your own risk.

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Haunted Road Trip: The Whaley House of San Diego, California

Whaley House exterior

Previously: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Like many places believed to be haunted, the Whaley House of San Diego, California doesn’t look like much. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t hold a certain kind of beauty to it; on the contrary, it’s an excellent example of the Greek Revival architectural style. But it isn’t a grand castle; it doesn’t sit brooding alone, as Shirley Jackson’s Hill House did; the wind doesn’t whistle through its cracks, and there isn’t an ancient cemetery out back. It has, however, seen a lot of history in the nearly 160 years it’s stood at 2476 San Diego Avenue, though — most of which has not been good. Tragedy visited the Whaley family time and time again, from fires to betrayals and—of course — death.

Let’s just say there’s a reason the Whaley House is thought to be one of the most haunted locations in America.

Although the family wouldn’t take up residence in the building now known as the Whaley House until 1857, the first Whaley arrived in California in 1849. Thomas Whaley, then 25, seized the opportunity presented by the Gold Rush and relocated from New York to San Francisco. He set up shop with George Wardle, selling hardware and woodwork from his family business, Whaley & Pye; he also dealt in mining equipment. Young Whaley revealed himself to have quite a head for business, eventually opening his own store — only to lose it shortly thereafter to a fire in 1851.

Whaley House parlorAt that point, he moved again, this time to San Diego. His business acumen saw him well through the transition, and by 1853, he had earned enough to return to New York; marry his intended, Anna Eloise DeLaunay; and bring her back to California. They arrived in San Diego at the end of 1853 and began having children almost immediately: Francis, born in 1854; Thomas Jr., born in 1856; and Anna Amelia in 1858. Construction on the Whaley House began in 1856; when it was completed in 1857, the San Diego Herald hailed it as “the finest new brick block in Southern California.” But again, tragedy was just around the corner: Thomas Jr. perished from scarlet fever in 1858, and Whaley Sr.’s store burned to the ground for a second time.

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Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Three-Legged Licca-chan

Licca-chanPreviously: The Smith Sisters, Murdered Anonymously

Type: MO (Malevolent Object).

Period/location of origin: 1967, Japan.

Appearance: Subject appears to be a fashion doll of the type known in Japan as Rika-chan or Licca-chan. Subject measures eight inches in height, and may be blonde, brunette, redheaded, or adorned with any other of a number of possible hair colors. Like Barbie in the United States, subject may hold a variety of different jobs and practice a huge number of hobbies; the fact that subject’s fictional biography states that she is 11 years old seems to have no bearing on the occupations in which she may engage.

Subject is most notable for having not two legs, as is standard in commercial Licca-chan dolls, but rather three instead. The third leg may or may not be an unusual color or made of questionable materials.

Modus operandi: Subject may be present in a variety of different scenarios and may behave towards target accordingly. These scenarios include, but are not limited to, the following possibilities:

If subject is encountered on the floor of a public restroom:

Subject’s third leg will appear purple. Subject may or may not turn its head to face target of its own accord; should this event occur, subject may open its mouth and speak the words, “My name is Licca-chan and I’m cursed. I’m cursed. I’m cursed.” Upon leaving the restroom, target may now find subject’s words inescapable: Target may hear the words whispered constantly in his or her ear; target may answer a ringing telephone and hear the words spoken down the line; target may wake from uneasy sleep with the words echoing in his or her brain; and so on and so forth. Subject’s ultimate goal is to cause target to destroy his or her own eardrums in an effort to escape the sound of the words.

If subject is encountered in the toilet of a public restroom:

Subject’s third leg will appear purple. Subject may encourage target to flush it down the toilet; should target do so, target may then be involved in a traumatic accident resulting in the amputation of at least one leg. During recovery, target may discover a new leg growing in the spot previously occupied by target’s natural leg; the new leg will be the same shade of purple as subject’s third leg. Target may then inexplicably sicken and die, presumably due to the presence of the new leg. The methods by which subject may or may not cause the accident, the amputation, and the growth of the new leg remain unknown.

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