A Brief Interlude

Hey gang,

I’m taking a week or two off to recharge my batteries — The Ghost in My Machine will be back towards the beginning of June with more creepiness. In the meantime, if you’re in the States, I hope you’re all having a fabulous holiday weekend; and if you’re not, then I hope you’re having a fabulous regular Monday. Cheers!

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The Most Dangerous Games: The Raven Man

ravenPreviously: Musical Chairs Alone.

I was unable to find out anything about The Raven Man’s origins; I was, however, able to find two different versions of the game: One you can play alone, and one that requires three people. The three-person version is a liiiiiiiittle sexist — the rules stipulate that one of the players must be a “virgin girl” intended to function as a symbolic sacrifice, while the “incanter” must be male — so if that gives you pause (it did me), then you may want to stick with the one-person version. In either event, though, I’ve provided the instructions for both; each required a good deal of cleaning up, but I believe the instructions I’ve put together here to be the clearest and most precise versions out there. Once the Raven Man has been summoned, you may ask anything of him: Questions for information, tasks for him to complete; and so on. Be careful not to ask too much of him, though; he does not take kindly to being used.

Ravens, of course, have long been believed to be ill omens. Carrion birds are not often looked upon kindly; as such, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many cultures associate ravens with death and lost souls. They’re also, however, sometimes considered very wise, indeed — which, when combined with their less-than-savory reputation, may account for the Raven Man’s dangerous nature.

As always, play at your own risk.

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Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: The Blind Maiden Website

Dead MacPreviously: Bielefeld, Germany.

Type: EV (Electronic Virus)

Period/location of origin: Contemporary (exact year of origin unknown); Spain; the Internet.

Appearance: Subject appears to be an unclaimed Internet domain with the URL www.blindmaiden.com. Other possible variations include www.blindmaidelaine.com, www.blindmadelaine.es, and www.blindmaiden.es.

Modus operandi: If subject is accessed at any time other than midnight on the night of a new moon, target will see only the following error message:

Blind maiden website

However, if subject is accessed precisely at midnight on the night of a new moon, the error message will be absent. Instead, target will see a flickering montage of disturbing images. These images depict people expressing tremendous fear; they also all possess empty eye sockets. At the conclusion of the montage, the following text will appear:

This website will take you to a whole new level of horror.

A horror that will use all five of your senses.

You must be very careful not to click on anything by accident.

You will be faced with a real experience of absolute horror.

Click the “Accept” button to engage actively in the experience.

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‘Night Terrors’ Augmented Reality Smartphone Game Has the Potential to Be All Kinds of Amazing

By now, you guys have probably already heard about Night Terrors — but just in case you haven’t, here’s the basic rundown: Currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, Night Terrors is an augmented reality smartphone game that has the potential to be so cool I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Seriously, you guys — I’m giddy just thinking about it. The premise is simple — save the cheerleader, save the world girl and survive your house — but it’s that last bit that’s the cool part. Mapped via your phone’s camera and viewed through your phone’s screen, the game actually takes place in your own home. If a spook pops out of the wall, you actually have to run away from it — literally. In terms of immersive storytelling, I haven’t seen something this exciting since Sleep No More, and never before in video games.

The best part? Pretty much all of the effects are being accomplished through practicals: Actors, puppets, and all of the magic that goes into a film with excellent special effects. Night Terror’s developer, Bryan Mitchell, was formerly a cinematographer; as such, he’s taking an extremely cinematic approach to building the game’s environment. As cool as CGI can be these days, I still think there’s something to be said for a good practical effect — something real, not just pixels — so that? Is incredibly exciting to me.

Check out the promo video up top, and head on over to Night Terror’s Indiegogo page to kick in a few bucks.

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Haunted Road Trip: Mount Misery Road and Sweet Hollow Road, Long Island, New York

Sweet Hollow Road

Previously: The Whaley House.

In the affluent Long Island suburb of Huntington, New York, there lies an area known as West Hills. The home of poet Walt Whitman, it contains a large nature preserve — and running through that nature preserve, there is a road. It’s called Mount Misery Road, and it definitely lives up to its name — if the tales attached to it, that is, are to be believed. Nearby Sweet Hollow Road does nothing to dispel the spookiness that sits heavily around the area; indeed, despite its idyllic-sounding name, Sweet Hollow Road is just as haunted as Mount Misery. By what are they both haunted? Ghosts, perhaps; stories, certainly. Either way, though, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the road should you find yourself in either of these locations.

Mount Misery Road has no street sign — just its name painted in white on a tree at the spot where it begins — and it has no street lamps. There are no telephone poles or cables, or even any sign beyond the asphalt that paves it that it isn’t simply a vision from the past. It’s twisted and narrow, and like Clinton Road in West Milford, New Jersey, it’s easy to see why it inspires so many strange stories. We have to make sense of the accidents caused by such treacherous roads somehow.

The northern driveable portion is roughly half a mile; once you hit the forest, though, you’ll have to go on foot. The Mount Misery Road trail meets up with the Walt Whitman trail after about a third of a mile; from there, you can either head west on Walt Whitman for another half mile, then take Round Swamp Road and Hilltop Drive to reach the southern driveable portion — or you can attempt to soldier on through to where Mount Misery Road continues just south of the Northern State Parkway, although you’ll likely be on your own out there in the wilderness if you do so. All told, Mount Misery Road is only about a mile and a half long — but what an eventful mile and a half it is.

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