Check out I09.com’s 13 tips for surviving a night in a cabin in the woods. Spot on for how to survive.
I didn’t sleep well last night. That’s an understatement. Let me explain a couple of things…
When I was very little I had terrible nightmares. I don’t remember too much about it, but had my mother really understood it she probably should have taken me to a specialist for night terrors. I would routinely wake up in the middle of the night with terrible nightmares that would just return as soon as I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. These nightmares could be of anything…one of them had Shaggy from Scooby Doo chasing me with a knife. In another, the Thing from the Fantastic Four was climbing up the side of the house with glowing green eyes and was going to eat me when he broke through the window. These nightmares happened a lot, and I know there were more, but I don’t remember them any more. Those two I still recall, but only barely.
Things changed in 1984. Like most ten year old boys, I was a huge fan of Voltron. There was no monster the giant robot couldn’t kill with its blazing sword. So, despite not knowing I was doing it, I started what was essentially lucid dreaming – controlling my dreams consciously. Well, sort of. I couldn’t control the content of the nightmares, but I could stop them after they began. I would simply imagine Voltron appearing, forming his blazing sword, and cutting the monster in an X pattern. I know this sounds silly, but this is actually an actual form of dream therapy. Not the Voltron thing, but taking control of the dreams, making the conscious mind put the subconscious on a leash. For some people it might be angels or Jesus or Batman or whatever. For me it was Voltron. It doesn’t matter what the dream totem is, just so long as your mind can conceive of it defeating your nightmares.
The night terrors ended after I learned this trick. They still happened from time to time, but the Voltron trick always worked. Eventually I didn’t have to consciously visualize it (which usually happened after a nightmare had woken me up), it just happened in the dreams. For most of my adult life I haven’t had nightmares because of this.
Last night was…different.
I went to bed around midnight, mostly thinking about work and a party coming up this weekend. There had been thunderstorms in the area, usually a very good atmosphere for me to sleep. I fell asleep after working through some of a story I’ve been working on in my head, something I usually do before bed. The story is a sci-fi epic, not a horror story, so there was no reason for it to disturb by dreams.
Around 1:30 AM I woke up convinced something was in my room. Specifically something was crawling on the wall to the left of my bed. It was black, and I’m pretty sure it was human-ish in appearance, but smaller, maybe two or three feet long. When I say it was human, what I mean is it hand four appendages and a head. While it didn’t look like an insect or spider, it acted like one and scurried along the wall toward the floor. I couldn’t make out details because I didn’t have my glasses on. I must repeat – I saw this when I woke up, not while I was sleeping!
I jumped out of bed, didn’t even bother to grab my glasses, and flipped on the main room light. There was nothing on the wall. I grabbed my glasses and turned on the nightstand light. Nothing there. No monster, no sense that something was in the room. It was just a nightmare. I sighed, turned off the main room light and got back in bed. But I was so shaken I left the nightstand light on. I took off my glasses and went to bed with the light shining bright.
At about 4 AM I woke up again. This time I was convinced something was at the end of the bed, and I saw, clearly saw, what looked like a rake held up at the end of the bed. I grabbed my glasses in a hurry, looked over, but it was just the floor lamp. There was nothing there. I took off my glasses and realized that I couldn’t see the top of the lamp without them and so it kind of looked like a rake standing there. I put my glasses back on, realized I badly needed to urinate, and went to the bathroom to take care of my business. The storms had passed and it was quiet and peaceful in the house. My cat didn’t even stir to greet me.
I went back to bed, chiding myself on being silly. I took off my glasses and decided that I didn’t need the light on. I turned it off and went back to sleep. It wasn’t until I woke up for work this morning that I realized these dreams, these hallucinations if you will, weren’t dealt with by my old pal Voltron. Normally nightmares, even to this day, end up being slashed apart by the mighty robot’s sword, but not these. That defense mechanism didn’t even trigger.
I’m not worried that my apartment is haunted. I’ve thought that before, but I’ve had many sensitive friends tell me there’s nothing there. I wonder if perhaps this is just my subconscious finally pushing back after years and years of being chained up. I don’t know, but while I’m dead tired today, I don’t really feel like going to sleep.
Time for a story…back in 1982 I was eight years old and the thing I wanted most in the ENTIRE world for Christmas was Marauder from the Team America toys. Don’t worry if you don’t remember the toys – they were originally the Evel Knieval stunt cycles, but Knieval got in some legal troubles and the toys got renamed Team America. Marvel Comics was hired to do what they did a lot in the early 80s, come up with a story line for these toys. Seriously – GI Joe, Transformers, Rom the Space Knight, Insectaurs, Micronauts, Visionaries, you name it and Marvel came up with it. The toys were owned by various companies, but the character names and stories about those toys was all Marvel’s doing.
The writers didn’t always like doing the work, though, and Team America was one example of that. Apparently J.M. DeMatteis hated writing the book but had to. But to an eight year old, comics were just awesome stories about the toys you wanted for Christmas. And I wanted the Marauder. Check this bad boy out:
Oh yeah, that’s right, black chopper that does STUNTS! And no batteries! And it had KNOBBY TIRES!!! Yeah, ok, so the toy wasn’t anything spectacular, but I wanted it. Of course, I didn’t get it – I got the blue version instead, which was known as Wolf. So much disappointment.
The thing was, the toys did kind of suck, and sure once you had one you knew they sucked, but the story? Well, the writer might not have liked it very much, but damn he pulled out one of the craziest ideas ever.
You see, the Marauder was a mysterious rider who would show up wherever Team America (now apparently called the Thunderiders) went and would stop bad guys. Everyone thought it was one of the members of Team America, but they were always shown to be conclusively not to be the Marauder. The black rider even went up against, and stood toe to toe with, the Ghost Rider. That’s actually pretty freaking awesome.
So who was the Marauder? Nobody. The Marauder was a psychic gestalt of all five members of the team, each lending part of their skill and physical ability, which then possessed someone else, sometimes just a random stranger but often one of the team member’s girlfriend. And it was eventually revealed that the five members could do this because they were mutants. That’s right, these guys were part of the X-Men!!!
How fucking cool is that?
The comic only lasted twelve issues, but I’ll tell you, over the course of 1982 and until the big reveal and cancellation of the series in 1983, all my friends were buzzing about who the hell the Marauder was. Of course, we all wanted to toy, and none of us got one.
I kind of miss those days when you couldn’t just google whatever and instantly know everything there is to know about a thing.
I’ve mentioned before that I was a lurker on the Something Awful forums at the time Slender Man came into being. I still find Slender to be an interesting character, the first real internet-created monster, who went from a concept to full blown character in just a few days, and is now the star of stories, games, and videos. It’s probably akin to being someone who picked up the very first issue of X-Men when it first hit the stands now seeing Marvel’s mutants starring in a massively popular film chain.
The point is, though, that Slender Man is fictional, just like all of what came to be called Creepypasta. There is nothing special about Creepypasta – it’s just horror stories, no different than what Stephen King writes, or Lovecraft, or Poe, or even Shakespeare. They are stories intended to make you scared, but they aren’t real. The best stories do always have a seed of truth in them, but that’s different than expecting Carrie to be a real telekinetic girl, or chanting made up words hoping Cthulhu will rise from the depths. Most people understand this. Most people don’t need to be told that these are works of fiction.
Sadly, most does not mean all. And now we turn to the sad tale of two twelve year old girls from Wisconsin who decided Slender Man was real, Creepypasta was real, and made a plan to murder their friend in sacrifice to Slender Man.
The two girls made a plan to kill their friend during a birthday sleepover. After twice having to change plans because they couldn’t go through with it, they finally stabbed the girl 19 times after luring her into a nearby forest. The girls then left the victim to bleed out and headed into the woods where they believed there was a mansion where Slender Man would be waiting for them. Fortunately, the victim managed to crawl out of the woods. She was found and rushed to the hospital where she is in stable but critical condition. The two girls were found a few hours later, wandering near a road on the edge of the forest, the weapon in a backpack.
The girls made it clear they had done this horrible act in an attempt to appease Slender Man, whom they believe to be real. They also believe Slender is the leader of Creepypasta, and that to join this world, one must commit murder. These two twelve year old girls convinced themselves that not only is a meme real, but that he lived in a magical mansion in the woods nearby. Sanity is clearly not a friend of these two.
I have to wonder, though, what on earth could have pushed them into believing this. When stuff like this happens, people try to immediately blame whatever is convenient, i.e., I’m sure the Creepypasta Wiki will be dealing with all sorts of angry parents who are too stupid to realize that a site dedicated to amateur horror stories did not drive two little girls to attempt murder. Thing is, this sort of stuff usually happens for personal reasons. Murder is a personal thing. It’s not about outside influences usually. That’s what we’d like to think, because no one wants to believe that someone can just become that fucked up in the head all on their own, but it can and does happen. Usually the influences that cause this are local – bad home life, school bullying, something like that. Blaming Creepypasta or the authors there is just not fair.
This story hasn’t kicked up a lot of national coverage yet, but it might…a cheap and easy way to show the “dangers of the interwebs” to idiots who would rather believe whatever the talking head on tv says than actually find out what happened.
It’s just a really sad day when someone uses something that was meant to be fun and interesting as an excuse for hurting people.
Time for a bit of “news of the weird.” You may or may not know that legendary DJ and voice actor Casey Kasem is in very poor health. The man known for his weekly countdowns, and as the original voice of Shaggy on Scooby Do, has been bedridden for some time now. And then last month, he vanished.
That might sound dramatic, but he did literally vanish. His children from his first marriage had been feuding with his wife, Jean, whom you might remember from her tiny appearance in Ghostbusters (as Lewis’s date at the party) or her years on the sitcom, Cheers. Jean wasn’t allowing Casey’s children any visitation. They went to court, but the judge sided with Mrs. Casem. Then shit got weird.
In early May of this year, Kasem disappeared from his home in Santa Monica. This sparked a nationwide search for the beloved voice actor, and a couple of days later, he was discovered, with wife Jean, in Washington. Or rather, Jean was discovered. Casey wasn’t able to get out of bed. This time, the courts did find in favor of the children and ordered Jean to have a doctor examine Casey. The doctor found he had stage three bed sores as well as both a lung and bladder infection.
And here’s the really weird part, as if vanishing celebrities wasn’t weird enough. Kelli Kasem showed up with an ambulance to take her father to the hospital for treatment and her step-mother, Jean, attacked her with a pound of raw hamburger. You read that correctly – Jean Casem threw a pound of raw ground chuck at her step-daughter in an effort to keep her from taking Casey to the hospital.
What on earth possessed the woman to do this? The Bible, of course. She said she was emulating King David, throwing raw meat to the wolves so that they might pass by her door. Or something along those lines. This woman is seriously crazy.
In any event, at least Casey is now in the hospital and doctors are trying to get his conditions under control. But who knows just how weirder this story will get…
I have often seen men at cons I go to wearing kilts. It seems a sort of nerdy thing, with utili-kilts being very popular among the geek chic. So I decided to order one myself, and it just arrived yesterday.
I tried it on and after I got the hang of all the snaps and so forth (a real kilt would have a pin, but this is a modern cargo kilt), I walked around for a while. Very interesting, not nearly as “breezy” as I thought it would be.
I highly recommend anyone of the masculine persuasion to try one. This along with facial hair is almost a guaranteed gold star on your man card.
Last night’s season finale of Agents of SHIELD really encapsulates everything that was wrong with this season.
Let me start off by saying I actually LIKED the finale for the most part. There was closure on the Hydra storyline, Ward got his from May, Garrett got a Whendonesque ending, Fitz admitted how much he loves Simmons, and SHIELD is on its way back thanks to a wonderful, absolutely wonderful, cameo by Sam Jackson.
But…the mystery of Coulson’s resurrection is still hanging over our heads. I get we know how (alien juice) and why (because Coulson WAS a fallen Avenger…which brought a tear to my eye). But the repercussions haven’t been dealt with. We got the final scene with Coulson scratching Kree language all over a wall (how many media outlets are going to miss that it’s Kree writing? Seriously, we ALL KNOW what it is). What we didn’t get was finding out Coulson has the personality of Captain Marvel in him, or that he has special powers because of it.
But…we got ZERO closure on Skye. We still don’t know what she is, and if that really was her father, it didn’t look like a Kree. Is she an Inhuman? What the fuck, Agents of SHIELD…this was your CENTRAL MYSTERY and you failed to resolve it. Ok, fine, you have a second season, but couldn’t we have maybe had a hint? Skye glowing, or flying, or something? You dropped the ball on this…again.
And that’s really the point. All season long the show dropped the ball. All we needed was just something, a crumb that the Skye story is worth waiting until Season Two. We got nothing.
Oh well. It looks like Agent Triplett is here to stay, hooray. Trip is the fucking MAN. Way better than Ward. I would not mind him hooking up with Skye, Simmons, and May…at the same time! And we get Patton Oswalt back. And the Avengers gun returns, though clearly the Hydra blaster is better. Coulson should carry that bad boy around. Sure, May should have kept the Berserker Staff, because she kicks much ass with it, but our heroes are in a good place at the end of the season. Well, except Fitz, who may have brain damage. Anyone expecting him being wheelchair bound next season?
Anyway, while it was a really good episode, I wish there was one more code episode to go, to really set up the next season.