Want access to an exclusive newsletter full of weird, spooky, and otherwise strange and unusual stories, games, and more? If you become a Patreon supporter for The Ghost In My Machine at the “Raven Man” tier level, that’s exactly what you’ll get. In case you’re curious about what these newsletters are like, I’ve put together a preview joining some highlights from previous editions — and if you want more, there’s plenty where it all came from. I didn’t name it “TGIMM’s Collection Of Curated Curiosities” for nothing.
Each newsletter, which comes out twice monthly, features five sections: “Read,” “Question,” “Explore,” “Watch,” and “Listen.” “Read” features a collection of links to stories (usually around four or five) I’ve found over the course of the previous two weeks and a paragraph or two to set the stage — what I think is notable about them, who I think the stories will appeal to, and so on and so forth. “Question” asks you to, well, question what you think you know about a given topic. “Explore” gives you something active to do — a game to play, a location to visit (either online or in real life), etc. “Watch” might be anything from a fantastic short horror film to something from one of my favorite horror YouTube channels — something you can watch for free, right then and there. And “Listen” gives you something to, well, listen to — a sort of haunted jukebox, if you will.
Below, you’ll find one item that’s been posted in each section of a prior newsletter, as well as a link through to the particular newsletter volume from whence it came. Want access to all of ’em, plus everything else that’s to come? Consider becoming a patron. In addition to the newsletter, you can also get voting privileges to help determine what topics I cover in The Most Dangerous Games and The Encyclopaedia Of The Impossible, behind-the-scenes access, and more. Plus, you’ll help me be able to produce more of the content you love — more frequent posts, more in-depth research, and all sorts of other good stuff.
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And as always, thanks for reading!
Today, the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia is the headquarters for one of the world’s biggest news corporations. In 1976, however, it housed The World of Sid and Marty Krofft, an amusement park designed by and featuring the worlds and characters of the aforementioned Krofft brothers. Even if you don’t recognize the Kroffts by name, you’re probably familiar with at least one or two of their creations; several of them, including Land of the Lost, have had reboots in recent years.
What I always remember the Kroffts for is H.R. Pufnstuf, a kid’s television show that aired in 1969 featuring a combination of live actors, people in giant mascot costumes, and puppets. I wasn’t around for its original airing (I may be getting old, but I’m not quite that old yet), but I grew up watching reruns of it all the time; it fascinated me in the way that all things involving puppets did (and, to be honest, still do).
You know what it makes me think of now, though? “Candle Cove.” When I imagine the “show” depicted in Kris Straub’s now-infamous short story, I imagine it looking a lot like H.R. Pufnstuf.
Atlas Obscura has the history behind The World of Sid and Marty Krofft. A fascinating — and, perhaps, unintentionally spooky — read.
On July 29, Frank Ramirez posted a video on Facebook purporting to showcase a series of events that occurred in an allegedly haunted hotel room he stayed in in Harlington, Texas. At the start of the video, he says that he turned his camera on after witnessing the phone fall of its cradle and a cup by the sink fall to floor all on their own; he wanted to document what was happening in case other phenomena occurred. And… they do. At about the 1:15 mark, the phone flies off the cradle; at roughly the 2:30 mark, a towel on the counter slides to the floor in way that looks like it’s being pulled by an unseen force; and a few other things occur throughout the course of the video. It subsequently went viral.
Now, it’s worth remembering that this stuff is easy to fake; seeing isn’t always believing, the camera is very capable of lying, and just because something looks low-budget doesn’t necessarily mean it is low budget. Frank did post a second video trying to debunk his first one, though, and he says he still believes what happened to him was real.
Was it? Wasn’t it? You be the judge.
Hookland popped up in my Twitter feed, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Created by writer David Southwell, it’s a place… kind of. It’s locations and photographs and odd tales that are frequently only one sentence long, because you can’t help but read the sentence, “Beyond locked gates and short tunnel, lies the closed physic garden of Hook, where so many have felt ‘dislocated‘” without wanting to know exactly what went down in that garden.
“Hookland is that discovered memory you can’t dismiss. Hookland is the recovered memory you secretly hope is true. Hookland is that place you visited once, but cannot find on any map. Hookland is where all the weirdness you’ve edited out of your life comes flooding back. Hookland is ghost soil.”
South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp made an explosive entrance onto the scene with 2009’s District 9, and although his two feature-length followups — Elysium in 2013 and Chappie in 2015 — didn’t make quite the same splash, he’s been a busy man. One of the projects he’s been working on in the years since is Oats Studios, releasing a number of short films on YouTube that range from the weird to the heart-pounding.
“Zygote,” which was written by Blomkamp, Thomas Sweterlisch, and Terri Tatchell, directed by Blomkamp, and stars Dakota Fanning and Jose Pablo Cantillo, is sci-fi/horror at its best — something sure to please fans of the original Alien film. It tells the tale of a mining operation gone wrong, and what happens when the last two survivors of the disaster try to escape. Oh, and if you played the video game INSIDE, you might find some similarities here, too. Running time is around 22 minutes.
I’ve been listening to the podcast Inside Psycho, and have subsequently had the Psycho theme stuck in head nonstop for the past week. I don’t mean the ungodly noise that plays during the infamous shower scene — I mean the one from the opening credits. It’s just so good, you guys.Hitchcock has been noted as saying that 30 percent of the film’s suspense is due to Herrmann’s strings-only score, and, well… I believe.
It’s worth actually watching the title sequence — not just listening to it — for Psycho as well; Saul Bass was one of the best — he was known for often creating credits sequences that were better than the actual movies the sequences belonged to — and his work on Psycho does a remarkable job setting the scene for what’s to come.
[Photo via MichaelGaida/Pixabay]