A recent broadcast from WFMU's Noise and Syrup show contains two nicely creepy and Infocultish audio tracks.
The show is long, a little over three hours, but you can click through to the tracks in question from the playlist page.
The first one is a spoken word piece, "Isle of the Dead" by Willem De Ridder (from his Snuff album). It starts almost exactly at 1:00, ends around 1:21, and is a weird story about a man exploring a town in search of... well, listen. There are echoes of Ligotti and Cortazar.
The second is an intro to EVP, a recording called Ghost Orchid. There's a history and sketch of the EVP field, followed by some samples. It starts around 2:01, and goes on for a while.
The rest of the >3 hours program is also worth listening to, but is mostly music, rather than spoken word. Those tracks should set the mood nicely.
While the First World War produced epochal amounts of documented horrors, it also saw many fictions and legends. Smithsonian reports on one that feels like an urban legend, taking place on the Western Front, between opposing trenches.
Part Night of the Living Dead and part War Horse, like all oft-told tales, it had several variants, but the basic kernel warned of scar-faced and fearless deserters banding together from nearly all sides—Australian, Austrian, British, Canadian, French, German, and Italian (though none from the United States)—and living deep beneath the abandoned trenches and dugouts.
So far so non-horror. It's even sane, this mode of resisting the horrors of war. It's a kind of secession from both sides, like the 17th-century Clubmen.
Don't worry. There's Gothic a-plenty:
According to some versions, the deserters scavenged corpses for clothing, food and weapons. And in at least one version, the deserters emerged nightly as ghoulish beasts, to feast upon the dead and dying, waging epic battles over the choicest portions.
There we go. What a combination of fears and myths. How potent a story for soldiers!
It's also a story that appealed to veterans and other people after the war ended in 1918. The Smithsonian points to several novels, like this one from 1920, which take the inter-trench soldier story onwards.
the area “was peopled with wild men, British, French, Australian, German deserters, who lived there underground, like ghouls among the mouldering dead, and who came out at nights to plunder and to kill. In the night, an officer told him, mingled with the snarling of carrion dogs, they often heard inhuman cries and rifle shots coming from that awful wilderness as though the bestial denizens were fighting among themselves.”
Have any such stories emerged from the current war on terror?
What are the best horror novels of the 21st century?
We asked this question in 2015, and ended up with a rich list. Your humble blogger has been gnawing through the list, tome by shuddering tome.
So for Halloween 2016 we can reproduce the list, linking to reviews as I have generated them. We can add to the list, as people suggest more. The constraints: books must be published after 1999, be novels (rather than collections), and available in English. Asterisks indicate the title appearing in two or more sources.
Jeffrey E. Barlough, The Cobbler Of Ridingham Laird Barron, The Croning Lauren Beukes, Broken Monsters Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War (read) Ramsey Campbell, The Grin Of The Dark Justin Cronin, The Passage (read) Mark Z. Danielewski, House Of Leaves (read and taught) Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects Neil Gaiman, American Gods (read) Ray Garton, The Folks Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box ** ____, Horns ____, Twentieth-Century Ghosts Charlee Jacob, Dread in the Beast (review) Brian Keene, The Conqueror Worms ____, Ghoul ____, The Rising Jack Ketchum, The Lost Caitlin R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl Stephen King, Doctor Sleep ____, Duma Key ** ____, Lisey’s Story ** ____, Under The Dome Sarah Langan, Audrey's Door ____, The Missing ** Richard Laymon, The Traveling Vampire Show John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let The Right One In Bentley Little, The Walking Jonathan Maberry, Ghost Road Blues Josh Malerman, Bird Box (review) Michael Marshall, We Are Here Joe McKinney, Flesh Eaters David Morrell, Creepers Adam Nevill, Last Days Weston Ochse, Scarecrow Gods Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted ____, Lullaby Norman Partridge, Dark Harvest ** Tom Piccirilli, A Choir Of Ill Children (read) ____, The Night Class Dan Simmons, Drood ____, The Terror (read) Bryan Smith, The Freakshow ____, Soultaker Scott Smith, The Ruins (read) Peter Straub , A Dark Matter ** ____, In the Night Room ____, lost boy lost girl Steve Rasnic Tem, Blood Kin Jeffrey Thomas, Boneland (review) ____, Punktown Paul Tremblay, Head Full of Ghosts Jeff Vandermeer, the Southern Reach sequence (review of first book) David Wong, John Dies At The End Rio Youers, Westlake Soul
After a certain point your humble blogger may be equipped to publish his pick of the litter.
Douglas Harrison, 42 of Memphis, was arrested in connection with a series of dead bodies found in a freezer located in his shed. According to reports, the bodies were dressed in clown costumes with clown makeup on the faces.
The Memphis Coroners office made a gruesome discovery today after several 911 calls were placed by neighbors regarding their concern of suspicious activity at the residence of Harrison. At approximately 8 p.m., police were dispatched to Walnut Street and Polk Ave. Upon their arrival, authorities were met by a group of residents at the corner where they assisted police in locating the home in question. Police proceeded to the 800 Block of Polk Ave where they located the home. Authorities knocked on the door of the residence and was met by a male, dressed in a Clown costume, who appeared to be in his late 30’s to early 40’s and seemed to be under the influence of drugs.
Upon entering the home, authorities indicated that the home “smelled of cotton candy and death”. The inside of the home was covered wall to wall with circus decorations and the sound of circus music could be heard throughout the home.
So this goes much further than threats. And it scales up from an individual victim to a series, linking clowns to serial killers. The dead are forced into clown costumes. And there's the specter of clown sex.