maggie-kendall

Of Death and of Life

I was recently afforded the opportunity to read and review a book of poetry, by Jenne Kaivo, entitled Poems Mostly of the Sea. And it was a bit of a wild ride, to say the least, but I suspect that was the point. Either way, Kaivo created something rather brilliant.

Cover of “Poems Mostly of the Sea” by Jenne Kaivo via Goodreads

Cover of “Poems Mostly of the Sea” by Jenne Kaivo via Goodreads

This book is made up of 62 poems, all relating in some way or another to the sea. With this in mind, I began reading the poems with some caution. While I adore the sea and anything relating to it—after all, I was born by the ocean—I worried it wouldn’t have much to do with what we normally face over here at Voices in the Attic. We tend to lean more towards the dark and macabre, and while we’ve taken many a detour into feminist anthems and cries for the environment, I wondered where this would fit in. The sea has always been about renewal and a calming presence for me. Of course I’m aware of all the mythical beasts that supposedly live down there, and all the real-world problems like storms, and shipwrecks, and the like. But I wondered where this book would fit in.

And oh, were my worries ever proven wrong.

Kaivo’s book is full of an array of individual poems that all link together to form a grander theme. Initially, it seems like a general ode to the sea, which, as someone who has always appreciated a nice sea breeze across the back of my neck, I can easily get behind. But with each poem I passed, the figurative storms picked up, and her words raced into darker territories.

The book begins with such poems as “By the Sea it’s Safe and Quiet”, “Whitewaterfall”, and “The Lake”, and in them I can easily see a clear message: the world itself is messy, but there is always a sense of clarity and renewal in the sea. This I feel very deeply. And as I read these poems, I thought I understood that to be the message of the whole book.

Photo courtesy of LunarSeaArt via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of LunarSeaArt via Pixabay

Yet as I read further, I discovered poems such as “Lunatic Mood” and “My City Angst”, which denoted a kind of chaos that most people in this world feel at some point or another, and many just can’t get away from. “My City Angst” was a particular favourite of mine, because it was, at its core, about such a simple task. The narrator was roaming the aisles of a drug store late at night. But Kaivo uses language so fluidly and expertly, and instantly such a simple scene is twisted into something more. The streets are dark, and the buildings are dimly lit, and in the distance, wolves are howling. I can almost feel the wind whipping through my clothes, and it’s as though I’ve been sucked into a horror scene.

In “Let Cake Eat Them”, we get something a touch more fantastical. The narrator is in a bakery when suddenly a cake comes to life and attempts to gobble up the bakery patrons. The horror in this poem was particularly clear, and in “Excalibur” it was just as clear, but in a less fantastical, more real-world sense. Glass bottles are being thrown, and a meth-head is curled up alone in an alleyway.

It seems, at first, that all these examples I’ve provided have nothing to do with each other. They seem disconnected, and many of them don’t even have anything to do with the sea (though, with this, I urge you to consider the title of the book: Poems Mostly of the Sea.)

But I think I’ve figured out the connection between it all. We live in a time of extreme climate crisis. Everyone knows it, though an unfortunate amount of people still insist on denying it. It is in a time such as the one we live in, that a book such as Kaivo’s becomes particularly relevant. Her poems denote a state of disaster that the world currently lives in, and yet, they urge us towards rebirth and renewal. Everything feels fresher by the sea because it’s such a pure, raw sense of nature, untouched by man. It’s just our duty to keep it that way.

Towards the end of her book, Kaivo cycles through such poems as “You Must Know How We Grow on the Dead”, which describes how most plants grow out of the death of those that came before them, and “There is a Traffic Jam on Everest”, which more or less speaks for itself. There are many horrors in nature, but there’s also beauty in it when you stop and appreciate it for what it is. That is the main goal of Kaivo’s poetry: to appreciate the forces of nature for what they are, using the sea is her main example.

Fittingly, Kaivo’s collection of poetry concludes with a poem entitled “Daylight”. It speaks of waking up to a new day and is, essentially, the rebirth and renewal the rest of the collection worked its way towards. It denotes a new dawn, a new beginning, and precisely what awaits at the end of every horror.


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Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Slender Man Made Me Do It

Slender Man Made Me Do It

Slender Man was only meant to be a story, but sometimes reality and stories get blurry.

The unfortunate, real-life event that “Before She Was Found” was based on.

#SaveAmazonia

Modern Western society has a fundamental problem with using shame to encourage people to do things en-masse. And don’t get me wrong, there are certainly instances where this is helpful. However, it can also be of great detriment to the cause one is trying to support.

When I first heard that the Amazon Rainforest was burning, I also learned that I was three weeks late in hearing about this. I instantly felt enraged. The environment has always been a hot button topic, but surely the Amazon is a big enough deal that it burning down is something everyone should be aware of and be on top of, especially three weeks in.

Photo retrieved from Facebook; Original source unknown

Photo retrieved from Facebook; Original source unknown

The problem is, this was the headline that first alerted me to the fires: “When Notre Dame was burning, the world’s media covered every moment of it and billionaires rushed to restore it. Right now the Amazon is burning, the lungs of our planet. It has been burning for 3 weeks now. No media coverage. No billionaires. #PrayforAmazonia.”

So here’s the thing: the Amazon burning down has absolutely nothing to do with the fire that damaged Notre Dame cathedral. Using this comparison is not only completely useless, but is going to have a detrimental effect on garnering attention for the Amazon.

The fact that people cared about Notre Dame is not a problem here. The fact that the Amazon burning down with little to no assistance is. There is no correlation between these two things. And when aiming to get someone’s attention for a cause in a social media news feed, calling them out with the typical headline of “why did you care about event x and not event z” is the quickest way to lose their attention. This has been proven in event after event, disaster after disaster. In addition to this, a majority of these headlines do nothing to actually alert everyone to what’s happening. They don’t fix the lack of awareness, they simply announce that a lack of awareness exists.

So instead of focusing on shame, we should all be focusing on educating.

Because the fact of the matter here remains: the Amazon is still burning, media coverage is only just beginning and it’s not yet nearly enough. For all of us on this planet.

Allow me to explain a little bit about why.

A section of the Amazon pre-fires; Photo courtesy of Ivan Milnaric via Flickr

A section of the Amazon pre-fires; Photo courtesy of Ivan Milnaric via Flickr

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, taking up 5.5 million square kilometres. Nine different countries lay claim to sections of the Amazon, the largest of which is Brazil, at 60%.

The Amazon contains approximately 390 billion trees, which include around 16,000 different types. What’s more, tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon, are composed of a type of climate that provides home to a larger variety of species than any other kind of climate, and rainforests in North and South America contain more varieties than similar forests in Africa and Asia. This means that the Amazon is home to a wider range of species—both plant and animal—than anywhere else in the world.

With this in mind, when the Amazon Rainforest is threatened, as it is by the current raging fires, all of these species of animals and plants are threatened as well. One in ten of the world’s species (the ones we’re aware of anyway) call the Amazon home. If the forest burns, and these living things go with it, that is not only a massive hit to the world, but it also deeply affects life as we—the human beings inhabiting this planet—know it. And not in a small way.

I will spare you the lecture on the effects of taking out whole pieces of the food chain, but I would like to focus a little more closely on the plants that exist within the Amazon.

Any creature on this planet that requires oxygen to live owes a debt of gratitude to trees. Let’s for a moment just do a bit of math. If trees are an important part of getting the oxygen we need to live, if they’re quite literally responsible for the air we breathe, and the Amazon, as established above, contains the world’s largest collection of trees in one place, then it stands to reason that the Amazon is important for more than just beauty and a wide range of critters.

Two of the many animals that call the Amazon home; Photo courtesy of maxpixel.net

Two of the many animals that call the Amazon home; Photo courtesy of maxpixel.net

For those of you that work best with numbers, let’s give this all a bit of perspective. The Amazon Rainforest and all of its plants and trees are responsible for 20% of the world’s oxygen. This is not a small thing that’s currently happening. If the Amazon burns down, animals will lose their home, tribes of Indigenous People will lose their home, we will lose whole species of plants and animals, global weather patterns will be affected, etc. We as inhabitants of this planet will suffer dramatically. But, above all else, it will severely impact our access to oxygen. The Amazon, the lungs of planet Earth, is burning, and she’s taking ⅕ of the air in all of our lungs with her.

And now, we must turn our focus to the source of this catastrophic destruction.

Deforestation means completely removing a forest, or a whole section of forest, in order to make room for land that will be used for developmental purposes, such as residential areas and commercial use. The Amazon has more or less always had a problem with deforestation. However, when I say this, I don’t mean for the same purposes as today, and I certainly don’t mean at the rapid rates that the forest is currently being taken down.

According to Mongabay, “For most of human history, deforestation in the Amazon was primarily the product of subsistence farmers who cut down trees to produce crops for their families and local consumption.” Essentially, local farmers took down a very small amount of trees on occasion in order to provide for their families. Nowadays, that is no longer the case. In the late 1970s, cutting down a couple of trees on occasion turned into clearcutting huge sections of forests for industrialization and, largely, cattle-ranching.

This means that the Amazon Rainforest, the same forest we established above as playing a very important part in the survival of all living beings on this planet, is being rapidly cut down for selfish, short-sighted reasons.

I’m sure at this point you’re wondering what exactly deforestation and cattle-ranching has to do with forest fires—something that greatly sucks, but is often an unfortunate natural occurrence. The thing is, the fires currently blazing in the Amazon are not an accident of nature.

Examples of corporate greed dominating over caring for the environment are scattered throughout human history. In my twenty-four years on this planet, I can think of dozens of examples, including the government ignoring laws and responsibilities towards critically endangered species and what’s going on with the Trans Mountain Pipeline on Canada’s West Coast.

The skies over São Paulo, Brazil, blackened with smoke in the middle of the day. Photo courtesy of: Picture Alliance/ Andre Lucas/ Getty via InsideHook

The skies over São Paulo, Brazil, blackened with smoke in the middle of the day. Photo courtesy of: Picture Alliance/ Andre Lucas/ Getty via InsideHook

As I said at the beginning of this article, the environment and what we as inhabitants of this planet should be doing to maintain it has always been a hot button topic. Most recently, political candidates are being heavily discouraged from talking about climate change in their campaigns because it is widely viewed as a detriment to their ability to be elected. Far too many people still believe that climate change either isn’t worth our action, or just isn’t real or pressing enough in the first place.

But what’s happening in the Amazon is perhaps the most alarming thing that’s happened to date. The main problem isn’t that too many people don’t know or don’t care about what’s happening. It’s that the source of the fires has far too much power.

Jair Bolsonaro is the current President of Brazil, and the person with the ability to arrange efforts to fight the fires. Despite this, he is doing shockingly little, and social media and news outlets are full of his excuses as to why. All of them are problematic at best.

The Prime Minister of France, Emmanuel Macron, has sent out a call to arms of sorts, to other world leaders, imploring them all to discuss the ongoing crisis with the Amazon, and how best to put an end to it, at the G7, which happened this past weekend, on August 24th through 26th. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau voiced his agreement to this, along with several other world leaders. The secretary for the United Nations, and the Bishops Conference for Latin America also spoke out about their concern and their desire to take action.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s President; Photo courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s President; Photo courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

Bolsonaro’s response to this, though, was to essentially tell other countries to stop meddling in Brazil’s affairs. When relief efforts were offered and monetary donations were sent, he responded in a live broadcast, saying “these countries that send money here, they don’t send it out of charity. They send it with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty.” Just before these comments, however, he dismissed those that called for him to act by saying that Brazil “did not have the resources” to fight the Amazon fires alone. Even still, he’s accused of having turned away relief efforts, and is doing little by way of having the fires dealt with himself.

This behaviour alone is suspicious, and becomes downright condemning when presented in combination with the accusations that Bolsonaro had a personal hand in starting the fires in the first place, in order to encourage cattle-ranching in newly cleared land. 

The thing is, these accusations don’t just come from nowhere. They’re not the result of an angry group of people that simply want to make a world leader look bad. Bolsonaro’s political campaign is founded on a disregard for the environment, particularly in reference to the Amazon. He’s expressed support for miners, farmers, and loggers, people who aren’t themselves negative, but require space that he’s taking from the Amazon to give them.

As of Thursday, August 22nd, there were more than 2,500 active fires blazing throughout the Amazon. It is a certainty that a majority of, if not all, these fires were deliberately set; there simply exists no proof as of yet in terms of who set the fires.

An investigation is underway in Brazil, and Bolsonaro continues to point fingers while being fairly useless in regards to actively trying to stop the fires and save the forest. He has suggested many possible suspects, including local farmers, and environmental groups he claims set the fires in order to make him look bad after he cut their funding.

Proving that a government official, especially a world leader, has done something like this is not a small or easy undertaking, and it’s not likely that any one person or even a group of people will be able to do it. What is possible is putting enough scrutiny and pressure on said official so they are unable to continue what they’re doing.

Keeping that in mind, as well as all the information I’ve presented you here, I would like to wrap this up by giving you some suggestions of what you can do on an individual basis to help the Amazon Rainforest and all of its plant, animal, and human inhabitants. I’ve always been someone who has wanted to help world issues such as this one, but I never know quite what to do. As I began this article by saying, people are so quick to shame and blame those for what they are or aren’t doing, but serious, real tips on what each individual inhabitant of this world can do to solve these issues isn’t given nearly as often as it should be.

So:

Talk About and Share What’s Happening:

The number one thing we need to do is circulate true information that not only informs everyone as to what’s happening and how to help, but calls attention to Bolsonaro’s actions. Whether or not he actually set the fires isn’t as important as making sure he deals with them and ensures they’re put out. The more attention we put on him, the harder it will be for him to refuse to do anything.

We’ve already proven with social media that we’re really good at calling attention to issues. The next step is making sure that the information put out there is accurate, backed up by research, and informative. Remember: don’t simply shame someone for not knowing what’s happening or not supporting a cause. Explain to them what the problem is, and why they should do something about it.

If you can do nothing else, you can at the very least share news articles and posts about what’s happening.

Support Organizations Helping in the Fight

There are a number of people and organizations that have been fighting the destruction of the Amazon for years now, including the tribes of Indigenous People that make a home out of the Amazon. In order to properly discuss these tribes and all of their contributions to the forest and their ways of life and the lawsuits they’ve filed (and won—which makes what’s happening even worse) in order to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, I would need a whole other post. They’ve been fighting tooth and nail in a battle they don’t deserve to lose.

Here is a list of organizations that aim to actively help fight the fires and fund further resistance to government and business attacks on the Amazon and the Indigenous People that live within it:

SOS Amazonia Logo

SOS Amazonia Logo

  • Survival International: This site fights alongside Indigenous People all over the world, including some of the tribes within the Amazon, in an effort to help amplify their voices, and to fight things such as the deforestation of the Amazon and the fires that are currently blazing.

  • Amazon Watch: Amazon Watch provides detailed, accurate information about what’s happening, who’s responsible, and what can be done to stop it. They list many ways one can take action to stop and prevent further destruction of the Amazon, discuss climate change, and protect indigenous people and their rights.

  • Rainforest Concern: They aim to protect Indigenous People who make their homes in rainforests, as well as protecting all the wildlife and animals that live in these places. Their main concern is rainforests and habitats that are being threatened. They have a major focus on the Amazon Rainforest.

  • SOS Amazonia: This is a site specifically for saving the Amazon from the current forest fires. It includes education on what’s happening and what widespread effects and consequences we’ll all be facing, as well as how to stop it.

Support Organizations that Plant Trees

The number one problem with deforestation is that it takes away massive amounts of trees, which are of vital importance to our ability to breathe clean air. There are a number of organizations that aim to plant trees to combat all the ones being taken down. Here are just a couple to start you off.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

  • Ecosia: Ecosia is an Internet search engine that works just the same as the power players such as Google, and Bing, etc, but for every approximately every 45 searches, it plants a tree where a tree is most needed.

  • One Tree Planted: This is a reforestation project based in Peru. 60% of Peru is covered by the Amazon, and this project aims to help fight against the deforestation that’s happening, and build habitats back up for various birds, as well as other animals such as jaguars. They’re focused on a danger zone specifically in Peru, but they do actively work to replant trees that are part of sections of the Amazon.

Sign Petitions

I recognize that these days, petitions are a dime a dozen, and they often feel like they aren’t doing much. However, when you think about the first point here, which was to make as much noise and really call out Bolsonaro and other government officials with the power to do something, signing petitions goes hand-in-hand with this. Make your voice loud, and make your voice heard. We’re fighting for our lives right now.

Here are two petitions actively working to combat the Amazon forest fires:

  • Greenpeace: This petition will go straight to the Brazilian government.

  • Change: This petition asks authorities to further investigate the wildfires and who’s responsible, so as to put a stop to them.

These are just a small handful of things you can do to help stop the fires and save the Amazon. That being said, it’s always important to continue to do your own research, and make sure that the information you’re getting is complete and accurate. And as always, make sure you share as much as possible with those who may not know or understand what’s happening.

Individual voices can be far more powerful than you think, and in a world with such quick access to social media and news platforms, we can make our voices heard.


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Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

8 Spooky Social Media Recommendations

Voices in the Attic began as a school group project at Algonquin College, between 5 students who all shared a general taste for the dark, disturbing, and macabre. Because of this, I like to think we’re all particularly good at finding the creepier places on the Internet. Of course, all the Voices up in the Attic have their own favourites, but I’d like to share with you just a few of mine.

Reddit is a particularly favourite haunt of mine, and was even before I actually liked horror. ‘Guilty pleasure’ is probably not quite right, though it was something I felt like I shouldn’t be doing, but just couldn’t help. After all, I would read through just a few stories, and then not sleep for a week. On this site, there are two threads in particular that I like to peruse:

Creepy Things Kids Say

Photo courtesy of darksouls1 via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of darksouls1 via Pixabay

“Creepy Things Kids Say” is a thread that is pretty much self-explanatory. It asks all the parents (or anyone that spends time around children) of Reddit to tell stories of the creepiest things their offspring have ever said or done. Some involve stories of children that seem to be recounting past lives, others are things that suggest certain parents have future serial killers on their hands, and others take a more paranormal turn. I’ve read so many that I couldn’t even begin to pick favourites (though there are an alarming number of children that talk to shadows in their closets), but I do highly recommend you check these out for yourself. Maybe don’t do what I did though, and read them while home alone, or just before bed. Then again, if you’re into the added level of terror, go for it!

Unfortunately, the thread is archived, so it’s no longer open to comments and contributions, but if you search around enough, new threads for the same subject are often popping up. And if you do have stories of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section below this post!

Unexplained Paranormal Happenings

While this particular thread is also archived, there are several iterations of it, and much like “Creepy Things Kids Say”, they also pop up fresh from time-to-time.

This thread is even broader than “Creepy Things Kids Say” in that it essentially encompasses any creepy, unexplained encounter a person has experienced. There are instances of ghosts, both benevolent and malevolent, there are alien encounters, there are even incidents that seem to imply a glitch in time. Some reports are more on the vague side, coloured lights flashing from no apparent source, or sounds that seem to come from nowhere. But others get very specific. In the end, the only thing these stories all have in common is that they were never explained.

Some seem quite nice, like relatives visiting from beyond the grave, while others are so creepy that I had to sleep with the light on for several days after reading them. Nonetheless, I still continue to scroll through this thread from time-to-time, and also highly recommend it for anyone looking for a few chills on a night home alone.

Moving on from Reddit, I’ll make a brief stop on Twitter, with only one account. However, it is an account I enjoy immensely.

Witch Court Reporter

Photo courtesy of Eddie Howell via Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Eddie Howell via Unsplash

“Witch Court Reporter” is an account that ‘live tweets’ proceedings and details surrounding historical witch trials as though they’re happening this minute. It generally involves a lot of misbehaviour and antics from witches, but cats and children are also mentioned quite a bit throughout the tweets.

The tweets seem to cycle through different periods of history, and different trials or incidents. They’re categorized by hashtags used by the account. One of the most recent batches is filed under “#wilts1661”, and actually overs an incident another of this Attic’s Voices covered, which is the Daemon of Tedworth.

The tweets range from the mundane to more horrifying, and while nothing that I’ve noticed is terribly graphic, they do, on a number of occasions, reference torture, illness, and death, so if you’re sensitive to these things, do be aware. It’s an account worth checking out, however. It’s one of the first accounts Voices in the Attic followed on Twitter, and they’re pretty good for a bit of quick historical horror browsing for anyone interested in the witch trials, history, or horror in general.

But of course, no list of social media horror hotspots is quite complete without making its way through YouTube.

MostAmazingTop10

I’m certainly not new to the YouTube community. I’ve been poking my way through different fandoms and music videos and whatnot since I was twelve years old, and the horror community is only my latest stop. That being said, I’ve always had a sort of fascination in the creepy and the unexplained.

MostAmazingTop10 was a channel I stumbled upon by accident. I can’t remember what it was exactly that I was watching at the time, but one of their videos cropped up in the recommended sidebar, and the title was quick to grab my attention. In fact, all of their titles are pretty attention-grabbing for horror fans.

As their channel name suggests, each of their videos is a top 10 list, and they each follow a theme. For instance, some of their videos are: “Top 10 Scary Iceberg Stories”, “Top 10 Mysterious Hidden Tapes That Were Found”, and “Top 10 Scary Islands Nobody Wants to Live On” to name just a few. They cover a range of subjects from creepy theories surrounding popular TV shows, myths and legends, video recordings, etc.

The videos cycle through four different hosts who are, at the current moment, Rebecca Felgate, Landon Dowlatsingh, Ayman Hasan, and Che Durena.

Personally, I like Rebecca’s videos the best. She runs a witty, slightly sarcastic commentary while delivering her lists, and some of her subjects even include creepy things with a comedic twist such as “Top 10 Scary Things You Should Never Say to Siri”, which involves her antagonizing Siri, with rather eerie results.

That being said, each host brings their own flare to the lists they present. Che is the newest, but he grew on me very quickly as he has a very calm, collected tone while telling stories, which somehow makes his stories that much creepier.

All in all, it’s a very creepy channel, with excellent stories and even more excellent storytellers.

Mr. Nightmare

Mr. Nightmare’s logo; Property of Mr. Nightmare

Mr. Nightmare’s logo; Property of Mr. Nightmare

My latest creepy craze is Mr. Nightmare videos. Unlike MostAmazingTop10, Mr. Nightmare is narrated by just one person. It does follow the same vein as the former though, in that it’s a channel that presents lists of themed creepy stories. Mr. Nightmare’s lists aren’t a set length, though, and each video has a random number of stories.

Another difference between the two is that while MostAmazingTop10’s lists are researched and compiled by the hosts, Mr. Nightmare’s lists are composed of stories submitted by channel viewers. Somehow, I feel, this makes the tellings all the more creepy.

Mr. Nightmare delivers his lists one story at a time, just like any other list channel, but instead of simply narrating them, he uses sound effects and creepy music in the background, that really ups the chill-factor. I often have goosebumps while listening to his stories.

Some of his videos include: “3 True Scary Walmart Horror Stories”, “4 Creepy True Uber Stories”, and “3 Creepy True Attic Horror Stories”.

I dare you to give his stories a listen sometime.

KendallRae

Unfortunately, no matter what you believe in when it comes to the paranormal, some stories in this world are heartbreakingly true. Kendall Rae is a YouTuber who highlights true crime videos. Every video is the result of clear research and effort she puts into shedding light on unsolved crime cases such as murders and missing persons. Her hope, as she’s explained in some videos, is to garner new attention for cases, whether they be cold cases or fresh crimes, in the hopes of solving them and either returning a missing person to their family, or bringing a family peace and/ or closure in the face of a horrible tragedy that can’t be undone.

There’s honestly so much to say about Kendall Rae, but first and foremost, she’s a very rare person. She’s someone who clearly has great interest in unsolved cases and mysteries, but rather than simply indulge a morbid fascination, she chose to go one step further with her interest, and found a way to use it to help people. In fact, some of her videos even have second parts after a conclusion has been reached in a case, where she updates viewers on what happened.

Her videos generally range anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes long, but regardless of length, they’re all very captivating. With every one I watch, I find myself sucked into the story she weaves, as she gives a summary of the case, and then presents which theories police and other investigators have gone over and dismissed or focused in on.

Before I continue on in my list, I’d like to drop a quick mention to Thorn, which is a foundation she strongly supports in all her videos that feature missing people. It’s a foundation run by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, which aims to save exploited children, and help put an end to sex-trafficking. Please visit the linked website for more information.

With that in mind, I’ll continue through my list, into the territory of other blogs and sites that run in a similar vein to Voices in the Attic!

Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura logo; property of Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura logo; property of Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura is an online magazine and travel company that aims to catalogue all the world’s strangest places to go and sights to see. The coolest part about this site, however, is that its content is user-generated. Anyone who signs up for an account can contribute content to the site or suggest edits for articles already posted. Because of this, it contains vast amounts of information gathered from all around the world.

Categories that can be contributed to are places, food, stories, videos, events, and trips. And once you click through to any of these links on the site, you’re brought to pages and pages of articles about the world’s oddities. Topics covered on Voices in the Attic, can also be found on Atlas Obscura, such as the Alnwick Poison Gardens, and Toronto’s Casa Loma.

For anyone interested in taking a trip and seeing the strangest sights they can find, or even just learning more about the absurdities found in their own backyard, Atlas Obscura is an excellent place to start.

Notebook of Ghosts

Notebook of Ghosts is an online blog run by a woman named Ash. According to the site, it began, much like Voices, as a small project, that grew into something more. For her, it was a personal interest. She kept a notebook when she was younger of all the ghost stories, terminology, and quotes she heard that she wanted to remember.

Now that notebook is a more polished presentation to the world, in the form of Notebook of Ghosts. It serves to educate readers about the world of the paranormal, and encourage discussion about what is real and what isn’t. The site is filled with articles about all manner of paranormal and generally spooky things. So if your thirst for the paranormal is craving more creepy sites to read through, and more stories to uncover, this is a great stop for you.

***

These are just a few of the creepy places on the Internet that I like to spend my time, but there are so, so many more where they came from. I encourage you to read through and enjoy these, and even do some digging of your own. Who knows what you might come up with?


In that vein, if you know of any haunts these Voices could hang around, feel free to drop a link or a mention in the comments below. Shameless self-promotion is always welcome, and even strongly encouraged.


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Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

How Annabelle Came Home

A lot of people are afraid of dolls. One of my oldest friends always made me put a sheet over my shelf of porcelain dolls when she came for a sleepover because she was too afraid to look at them. It’s not an uncommon distaste among those who watch horror movies, or even those who don’t.

And for anyone who’s seen the Annabelle movies, it’s quite clear why.

It’s pretty common for horror movies to begin with script scrawling across the screen, noting that the movie is based upon real events. Directors use it to up the fear or general sense of dread in the movie, and in many cases—certainly my own, at least when I first started watching horror—it works. The more horror you watch, though, the less of an effect those warnings have on you. And really, not that many of them are actually true, or if they are, they’re so loosely based on real events they might as well be entirely made up.

Annabelle, however, is a very real doll, and while The Conjuring series has taken several liberties with her story, they don’t stray far.

The Warrens first encountered the Annabelle doll when they were contacted about three friends experiencing some trouble. They were being terrorized by what they insisted was a possessed doll one of them owned.

Photo of the real Annabelle doll, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Photo of the real Annabelle doll, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

One of the friends, Donna, had been gifted the Annabelle doll—which was a Raggedy Ann Doll—by her mother, who had bought it from an antique shop. Donna and her roommate Angie noticed weird things about the doll almost immediately. They reported that it was not just intensely creepy, but it also seemed to move around on its own. Sometimes they would even come home and find it in a completely different room than where they’d left it.

It was also known to move positions, such as standing up when they’d left it sitting down, and it even left them notes saying things such as “help us” and “help Lou”. But things soon escalated, and that was when the Warrens were called in.

The third friend, Lou, was particularly bothered by the doll, and often beseeched Donna to just get rid of it, citing that he really felt that something malevolent was going on. However, Donna had grown attached to the doll, and refused.

Before calling the Warrens, Donna and Angie reached out to a medium. The medium told them that the doll was being haunted by a young girl named Annabelle, who used to live on the property that existed before the apartment complex was built. She died there, and had remained ever since. Through the medium, she told the girls that she felt a sense of comfort and family with them, and that she only wanted to stay and be loved. This appealed to the girls’ compassionate sides, and they invited Annabelle to possess the doll and remain with them forever.

This was, of course, a horrible mistake.

The doll’s actions escalated once again, this time in the form of extreme aggression, particularly targeted towards Lou. He would wake up in the middle of the night to Annabelle in his bed with him, or on top of him and strangling him. One night he even woke up with vicious scratch marks on his body, though they had mysteriously vanished by morning.

Once the Warrens arrived, they conducted an investigation and informed the girls and Lou that “Annabelle” was in fact, not a little girl possessing the doll, but a demonic presence that used the doll as a conduit in the hopes of possessing Donna, Angie, or Lou. And they’d invited it into their lives.

Thankfully, the Warrens had arrived just in time, and Ed and Lorraine took Annabelle off their hands. They had a priest—Father Cooke—cleanse the apartment before leaving and taking the doll with them. However, the violence and havoc this not-so-innocent Raggedy Ann brought with her was far from over.

Photo of part of the Warrens’ Occult Museum courtesy of 826 Paranormal via Flickr

Photo of part of the Warrens’ Occult Museum courtesy of 826 Paranormal via Flickr

While the Warrens were driving—intentionally avoiding the interstate so as to avoid any accidents courtesy of Annabelle—they discovered that the doll was still, despite the blessing from Father Cooke, frighteningly powerful. As they drove, Annabelle repeatedly tried to force the car off the road, or into trees, or into some form of accident or another.

The Warrens did make it home safely, but Annabelle just continued to do the same things she’d done with Donna, Angie, and Lou. She moved easily from room to room, even moving beyond locked doors.

At one point, an exorcist—Father Jason Bratford—came to the house, took one look at Annabelle, and dismissed her power. He shouted that she was just a ragdoll, and couldn’t harm anyone, and then threw her into Ed’s chair.

Later, Father Jason called Lorraine to tell her that he had been involved in a horrible car accident while driving home. He lived, but his vehicle was completely totaled. It turned out that his brakes had failed. Even more eerie, was that he reported having seen Annabelle in the backseat just before he crashed.

After this, the Warrens constructed a case specifically for Annabelle so that her evil would be contained, and she’d no longer be able to hurt anyone. They had it built out of wood and glass, and she remains to this day, in that case, within their Occult Museum. Annabelle doesn’t move anymore, now that she’s trapped in the case, but it would seem she’s still something no one should trifle with.

Upon visiting the Warrens’ museum, and hearing the story of Annabelle, a young man and his girlfriend walked up to Annabelle’s case. The man banged on the glass, inviting Annabelle to prove she really could scratch people, by scratching him. Ed threw the man and his girlfriend out, but the damage was already done. On the way home from the museum, they continued to make fun of Annabelle, before their motorcycle crashed into a tree, killing the boy and hospitalizing the girlfriend for over a year.

Most people now know to respect Annabelle and her power, even if they don’t totally believe. But then again, how could anyone visit the museum, hear these stories, and not believe?


What about you? Do you believe the Annabelle doll is really cursed, or do you think it’s just as series of problems and coincidences explained away by something else? Feel free to drop a comment below, or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook!

For the previously written post about Annabelle, see “Annabelle Comes Home: A Review”.


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Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Welcome to the Dark Side, Nintendo

With the surprise announcement of Nintendo’s current work-in-progress, the sequel to the modern classic Switch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the internet has been abuzz with speculations and theories. Within hours, social media platforms were flooded. 

The minute-and-a-half glimpse fans received at E3 2019 is packed with a multitude of little details that have been thoroughly picked apart and analyzed. It is dark, tense, and eerie—words that have not been used to describe a Zelda game since the Nintendo64 classic Majora’s Mask and the aesthetically haunting Twilight Princess.

Fans have been fed and are savouring the taste of anticipation, broadcasting what they speculate and hope for in the next game no matter how outlandish, far-fetched, or even credible their theories are.

However, Nintendo normally shies away from such dark themes in order to advertise content to younger audiences. Even Twilight Princess, arguably the series most mature and thematically somber release, is relatively tame in nature compared to other T-rated video games for other platforms. And it’s still a game targeted towards children despite the rating.

So for Nintendo to present a mummified corpse in a twisted and tortured fashion was quite a statement for the company of wholesome family entertainment.

What had happened to him? (screenshot taken directly from the trailer)

What had happened to him? (screenshot taken directly from the trailer)

So who is—was—this person? The body has all the trademarks of the series most prominent antagonist, Ganondorf, but producer and project manager Eiji Aonuma has yet to officially confirm this.

If the game’s development does indeed follow the theme of the trailer, this game is definitely going to be more sinister than any before in the Zelda franchise and I am here for it.

I, like many others, had grown up with The Legend of Zelda, cherishing it for its charm and sense of adventure. As a result, I had come to expect the standard, formulaic Zelda playthrough that the next storyline would be developed around. And while I still genuinely enjoy playing these titles—The Windwaker will forever be my favourite in the series—they no longer present much of a challenge. 

Perhaps this is just what happens when you play each game a hundred times over as a child. But I’m an adult now, with responsibilities and little time for such leisure. So when I sit down in front of my console, I want something that’s not only entertaining, but that’s going to stimulate my intellect.

Breath of the Wild was a welcome break from such a rigid structure and presented a huge leap for Nintendo.

Company developers have finally acknowledged that its audience does not need to be hand-held through the mechanics and presented the freedom for players to experience the game as they wished. And even though they tossed out the formula and major dungeon-progression system, it still feels like a Zelda title. 

Going back to the darker theme of the Breath of the Wild sequel trailer, what excites me is not the possibility of Nintendo creating a flagship game in the horror genre, but because it means the series is finally maturing. 

I grew up with this series, now show me how this series is going to grow and keep up with me. 

By presenting a darker Zelda possibility, it feels as though Nintendo has finally recognized that the children they created games for have grown up and can handle more mature content.

So throw me your mummified villain and all he represents, Nintendo. I am ready.


Michelle Bonga

Michelle is a wandering soul. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. She hopes she’s doing something right. She is a great person to talk to; doesn’t talk much herself. If you’re nice, she’ll haunt you forever. Or until she’s bored.

The Vanishing

We lose things all the time: a sock, in the dryer, house keys, spare change. Sometimes we even lose each other, or ourselves. Sometimes we also lose whole islands.

Wait, what?

Yes, that was genuinely something that was lost one day (and no, I’m not talking about Atlantis).

Photo courtesy of leoleobobeo via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of leoleobobeo via Pixabay

Isla Bermeja was an island located off the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It was a small island, only about 80 square kilometres, and lay at a distance much further away from the rest of Mexico than any other piece of land the country lay claim to. Because of this, Mexico’s economic zone reached 200 nautical miles. Without the island, however, this zone was greatly reduced. This is a problem because it means the difference between who can claim the rights to specific oil reserves: Mexico, or the United States.

The Gulf of Mexico is where the Hoyos de Dona (Doughnut Hole) lies, which contains oil that Mexico and the U.S. fought for—and continue to discuss—ownership of. The existence of Isla Bermeja placed the Hoyos de Dona in Mexican territory, but when the island vanished, it took with it the treaty that legally recognized this ownership, and the U.S. claimed rights to the oil reserves.

There are a lot of things that cause fighting and shady business in this world, and oil is certainly very high on that list. So the sudden disappearance of an entire island made a much bigger mystery than it might have had it not been for the connection to oil. Don’t get me wrong, of course a whole island vanishing into the night would have piqued the interest of a large number of people. After all, Atlantis draws great fascination, and it’s just a legend. But the disappearance of Isla Bermeja was about a lot more.

Some theorize that the CIA actually had something to do with Isla Bermeja being physically booted from the world map. It’s not seen as completely out of the realm of possibility that the U.S. had it blown up in order to shrink Mexico’s economic zone enough to give the U.S. claim to the Hoyos de Dona and its oil. Naturally, however, nothing could ever be proven.

But, as with anything else that’s lost, a search—many searches, in fact—was conducted.

Photo courtesy of  Earth Chronicles

Photo courtesy of Earth Chronicles

The island was first discovered to be missing in 1997, when a fishing expedition was unable to locate it out in the water. It had been on maps ever since the early 1500s, but not continuously, as there was a period of time between 1775 and 1857 where the island was inexplicably dropped from all maps, only to reappear once again between 1857, and it’s physical disappearance in 1997.

Some of this puzzling mapwork, including and excluding the island with no apparent rhyme or reason, is why some people believe the island never actually existed at all. Significant research was done in 2009 to search for the island and prove once and for all whether or not the island ever existed, but no conclusive results were produced one way or another.

It seems most likely that the island did really exist, once. Afterall, it wasn’t just one or two maps that included it, paper towns style, but all maps for over two whole centuries combined. Nonetheless, the mystery remains. Did Isla Bermeja sink beneath the sea? Was it blown up due to greed over oil? Or did it never exist at all? It would seem that’s a secret the empty waters prefer to keep to themselves for the time being, but who knows? Maybe one day someone will figure it out.


Fun fact: if you type ‘Bermeja Island’ into google maps, it drops a pin right into the Gulf of Mexico, where Bermeja Island was supposed to be, but nothing is shown there. Just wide open water.

What are your thoughts on the disappearance of Isla Bermeja? Feel free to leave a comment with your own theories below!


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Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

The Mystery of the Charfield Railway Children

“It’s like watching a train wreck” is a common expression used to refer to the way people can’t take their eyes off a horrible moment, can’t keep themselves from watching tragedy unfold. The details behind such situations hold a source of morbid fascination for many, despite the nightmares they create for those involved.

The Charfield Railway Disaster was a train crash that occurred on October 13th, 1928, in Charfield, Gloucestershire, in the UK. Three trains were involved in this crash: Two goods carrying trains, one of which was empty at the time, and a third train that was carrying both passengers and mail.

Photo courtesy of Ben Brooksbank via Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Ben Brooksbank via Wikimedia Commons

Aboard the passenger train was conductor Henry Adlington, and fireman Frank Want. These men were the main parties investigated as potentially being responsible for the accident.

Just before the accident, Adlington’s train was on its way into the station, and the empty goods train was on its way out. The second goods train had stopped on the tracks, and was in the midst of being shunted onto the siding.

Henry Button, the signalman at the station, had put up the red signal that indicated for the passenger train to come to a halt in order to allow for the station employees to finish shunting the goods train from the tracks. However, due to foggy weather that morning, Adlington and Want misinterpreted the signal, and instead saw it as green. They continued through the tunnel in the station, slammed into the parked goods train, knocking that train off the track, and taking the second, empty goods train, with them as it attempted to pass through the tunnel in the other direction.

Due to the speed and force of the derailment, part of Adlington’s train broke free and was flung completely clear of the tracks, while the other part—including some of the passenger sections—telescoped, and got wedged up against the bridge.

Button was quick to call for help, only seconds after witnessing the crash, but because the crash was so violent even with his quick action, several victims didn’t make it. The victim count is a subject of debate: witness accounts say that 15 were killed and 23 were injured, but the official report states that 16 were killed, and 41 were injured.

Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt via Unsplash

None of these details are terribly significant to the part of the story I wish to focus on today, however. What is important to note, is that due to the damage caused by the train crash and the ensuing fire, the victims that died were so unrecognizable to family members, that they could only be identified by their belongings. This being said, two victims—children—remain, to this day, unidentified.

Despite the fact that nobody ever came forward to claim the children, family members of the other victims had pooled funds and efforts, and erected a mass grave. They agreed to include the unidentified children.

The speculation surrounding these children is where this story veers towards the paranormal. There were many theories drummed up for the children at first, such as the thought that they may not be humans at all, but ventriloquist dummies, or that they were in fact small riding jockeys. Ultimately, though, it was concluded that they were children: likely a boy and a girl.

Despite them never being claimed, however, their graves were visited.

Photo courtesy of Lario Tus via Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Lario Tus via Shutterstock

Over the years, many reports were made of a woman dressed all in black, arriving at and leaving the grave site of the unknown children. She left them flowers at every visit, and visited fairly regularly. But then, she stopped coming, and no one has reported seeing her in decades. It’s believed that she’s dead now, as witnesses described her as an elderly woman at the time. No one ever knew who she was, though, or why she visited the children. Some speculated that she knew more about the accident than anyone else, and that she knew who the children were, but as no one ever spoke to her, nothing could ever be proven.

To make matters even stranger, there also exist many reports by those passing by the site of the trash, of two ghost children. It’s believed that these are the ghosts of the unidentified children who died in the crash, wandering around, waiting for someone to come back and claim them.

Unfortunately, a lot of things will likely remain forever unsolved about the nearly hundred-year-old accident. The woman in black and the children she visited were never identified, and on a more or less supernatural note, depending on what you choose to believe, no one ever figured out why Adlington and Want swore up and down that they saw a green light through the fog, instead of the red one that was proven to have been there.

Perhaps things are just meant to remain a mystery.


For more detailed information on the actual railway disaster, feel free to check out “Charfield Railway Disaster 1928”.


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Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Annabelle Comes Home: A Review

From the very first The Conjuring movie, I was fascinated by the room of cursed objects in the Warrens’ house. Every time a sequel or spinoff came out, I would always hope that this was the one that would be about the room, or would at least give more insight about the objects inside and where they’d all come from. Every time I was let down.

Until Annabelle came home.

The timeline for The Conjuring and all the movies within the series is all over the place. The timeline for The Conjuring universe is as follows:

  1. Annabelle: Creation

  2. The Nun

  3. Annabelle

  4. The Conjuring

  5. Annabelle Comes Home

  6. The Curse of La Llorona

  7. The Conjuring 2

There are other movies in progress, including a third Conjuring movie, and another spinoff entitled The Crooked Man featuring one of the entities from The Conjuring 2, but this is the order of what’s out so far. So the timeline jumps all over the place.

But finally, we’ve been made it to 1955, during which time Annabelle Comes Home takes place, and we finally get to learn more about the room of cursed objects.

Screenshot from  Annabelle Comes Home  produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

Screenshot from Annabelle Comes Home produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

In real life, it’s much more than just a room. The Warrens have a whole occult museum dedicated to objects they’ve obtained from various cases, now locked away safe. Annabelle is, like in the movies, the centrepiece, as the most malevolent of all the objects. 

Ed and Lorraine Warren (may they rest in peace) were paranormal investigators, and there are quite a few horror movies based upon various cases they worked. The Amityville Horror and A Haunting in Connecticut are two of the more prominent examples. The Conjuring series, including all its spinoffs, encompasses a few of their cases, one of which, is the Annabelle doll.

Annabelle has more or less been the centre of everything throughout the Conjuring movies, either appearing in prologues or flashbacks. With each Annabelle movie we’ve gotten a bit more about her story and how she came to not only live with the Warrens, but also how she came to be in the first place.

In Annabelle Comes Home, not only did we get a full movie about where she came from and who she was, but we got a full view of all the power the seemingly innocent doll wields.

I confess myself a bit torn on the movie, overall. I did enjoy it, and would certainly see it again, but I still left the theatre wanting a bit more. This being said, I think my expectations for the movie were exceedingly high in a few ways. As I said, I’ve been hoping for more on the room of cursed objects since watching the first Conjuring movie, but I’ve had several movies to build up hopes and thoughts about the movie’s potential. By the time I found myself sitting in the theatre ready to watch, there was no way the movie could live up to those thoughts.

It’s also worth noting that The Conjuring is the scariest horror movie I’ve ever seen. Of course, this is a completely personal thing, every horror movie viewer is scared by something different, but along with the Paranormal Activity series (particularly Ghost Dimension), The Conjuring and all its sequels and spinoffs really did it for me.

Annabelle Comes Home, however, did not.

Annabelle Comes Home  movie promo poster

Annabelle Comes Home movie promo poster

Or rather, I should clarify that it did scare me, but not nearly to the same degree as the previous movies did. However, between watching the previous Conjuring movies and the latest installment, I’ve watched a buttload of horror movies, and have grown to be a bit desensitized (which, oddly enough, is not a thing I ever thought I’d say about myself. Then again, if my younger self could see me even running a horror blog at all, she’d fall over from shock.)

All of this aside, however, I do truly believe that Annabelle Comes Home was everything it could possibly be. My problem is that I wanted a catalogue of every item in that room and a detailed backstory for all of it. But that’s a packed room, they’d need several room-of-cursed-objects movies in order to cover it all. I think that the movie really covered everything they reasonably could, and did a great job of terrifying the audience while doing so. Despite my overall sense of fearlessness, there were several instances that I jumped in my seat, and I did even hide behind my hands twice.

The movie involves Ed and Lorraine Warren going off on another business trip and leaving their daughter Judy home with the babysitter, Mary-Ellen. Mary Ellen plans some special events for the weekend, as it’s Judy’s birthday. None of the kids at school want to come celebrate with her, however, because they’re all either too afraid or have parents that are too afraid, having just learned what Judy’s parents do for work. Because of this, Mary Ellen plans to make Judy’s birthday extra special with just the two of them, and later, Ed and Lorraine once they get back home.

However, Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela discovers who her friend is babysitting for, and crashes the weekend, with the express desire of getting behind the locked door that leads to the room of cursed objects. For anyone that’s seen even a handful of horror movies before, I’m sure you can imagine what ensues from here.

Screenshot from  Annabelle Comes Home  produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

Screenshot from Annabelle Comes Home produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

Daniela breaks into the room, accidentally lets Annabelle out, and, of course, chaos ensues. Let’s just say that the warning on Annabelle’s box, “Positively do not open”, is there for a very good reason.

Despite the fact that there’s simply not enough time to catalogue every item in that room, the movie does do get through several choice items, including coins for the ferryman, which leads to several interesting twists and turns in the movie.

I would also love to take a moment to talk up McKenna Grace. That child is going places, and the fact that she’s already got such an impressive resume only serves to fuel that fact. Annabelle Comes Home had a few lead characters that different sections of the movie were dedicated to, but I feel it’s safe to say that, ultimately, Judy Warren, played by McKenna Grace was the central figure.

All in all, I did quite enjoy the movie, and while my own hopes may have been a bit too high, I think the movie did turn out great, and it holds up quite well against the rest of the series from which it comes.

I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet seen it (though for anyone who isn’t quite as used to horror movies, do be aware, as it will be quite scary). And remember: don’t pay his toll, he’ll take your soul, and whatever you do—

Positively, do not open.

Photo of the real Annabelle doll that currently sits in the Warren’s Occult Museum (Photo found via Reddit)

Photo of the real Annabelle doll that currently sits in the Warren’s Occult Museum (Photo found via Reddit)


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Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

The Beast of Gévaudan

In a sleepy little town once known as Gévaudan*, between the years of 1764 and 1767, a series of chilling murders took place. Bodies were found in terrible conditions, with heads chewed off, and throats ripped out, all left in a bloody mess. Approximately one hundred people fell victim to this same murderer: the Beast of Gévaudan.

Photo courtesy of Viergacht via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Viergacht via Pixabay

The exact origin of the legend of werewolves is hard to pin down. Many believe that it’s likely to be the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. It’s believed to be, in addition to the first werewolf story, the oldest surviving work of literature.

But the ancient Greeks had werewolf stories as well, such as the Legend of Lycaon, and of course, though the origin is hard to pin down, we all know the classic, Little Red Riding Hood.

The Beast of Gévaudan was something different though. It was a real life werewolf story, come to life straight off the pages. Or so it seemed.

The first official victim to be claimed by the Beast was a young girl named Jeanne Boulet. She was not the first to be attacked—there was another, unnamed, young girl before her, who was protected by the herd of cows she was tending— but she was the first to die. Boulet was 14 years old, and she was only the first of many that would soon come after her, almost all of them women and children.

Photo courtesy of pixundfertig via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of pixundfertig via Pixabay

Over the next few years, the number of victims steadily rose, and the Beast’s body count garnered national attention. At the time, France was just fresh out of the Seven Years War, and having suffered severe losses, they were looking for a way to redeem themselves in the newspapers, and in the eyes of the world. At the same time, François Morénas was an editor of a newspaper entitled Courrier D’Avignon, and it had profited quite well off of the coverage of the Seven Years War. After the war, circulation of his newspaper began to fade. While France was looking for a new cause, so was Morénas.

In fact, Morénas is often credited in history as the main source of coverage on the Beast of Gévaudan, and his newspaper was what really got the story circulating. Drawings were being done of the Beast, based on first hand accounts. It was often described as a combination of a wolf and a dog, but that it was about as big as a cow. It was described as having reddish coloured fur, with black streaks in it, and a very large mouth with oversized teeth.

The Beast of Gévaudan was more than just a story to be covered, though, and something needed to be done. More and more people were encountering this creature, and very few were living to tell the tale. That being said, the reason that drawings and descriptions of the Beast exist is because some people were lucky enough to survive their encounters.

One such person was Marie-Jeanne Valet. Once the problem the Beast posed became more nationally known, hunting parties started being formed. At first it was simply people within Gévaudan, the first being Jean-Baptiste Duhamel. He was an infantry captain who’d suffered a particularly humiliating loss in the Seven Years War, and in an effort to redeem himself, gathered an army of approximately 30,000 men to face the Beast. They were, however, much like in the war, unsuccessful.

King Louis XV then stepped in, and replaced Duhamel with a hunting party of his own choosing, which was headed by Jean-Charles D’Enneval, a famous wolf hunter from Paris. He was also unsuccessful though, and newspapers at the time speculated that it was in large part due to his refusal to work with the locals to solve the problem.

Statue of Marie-Jeanne Valet fighting the Beast; Photo courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

Statue of Marie-Jeanne Valet fighting the Beast; Photo courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

This is where Marie-Jeanne Valet comes in. Much like the men that came before her, she was unsuccessful at slaying the beast, but she made it a step further than any of her male counterparts. She left her home and was heading towards a farm close by, when she turned around to find the Beast breathing down her neck. With some quick thinking, she immediately plunged a homemade spear she’d been carrying, into the Beast. Reportedly, it put a paw to where she’d struck it, cried out, and tumbled into the nearby river, allowing Valet to get away.

But this encounter immortalized Valet’s name in history, and she was henceforth known as “The Maiden of Gévaudan”. There are even pop culture references to her that make her out to be the slayer of the Beast, and in 1995, a statue of her fighting the Beast was erected in Auvers, in Southern France.

As people began to form armies and attempt to take down the Beast, a deeply unsettling fact that only served to drive their fights more, became apparent. Being that Gévaudan had lots of farmland, many people that encountered the Beast did so while tending to various animals, such as sheep or cows. However, one detail that all Beast encounters that also involved farm animals had in common was that the Beast paid no attention to the animals, and very clearly targeted the humans.

Artist’s rendering of the Beast based on eye-witness accounts; Drawing done by A.F. of Alençon

Artist’s rendering of the Beast based on eye-witness accounts; Drawing done by A.F. of Alençon

The problem many of these people that tried and failed to take down the Beast were encountering, was that bullets didn’t seem to affect it the same way they would an ordinary wolf or dog. Various armies that had formed had showered the Beast with bullets, and while many did find purchase, none ever succeeded in bringing the Beast’s death. This was where many of the legends and speculations about the Beast not being a normal wolf originated. Many began to theorize that it was something a touch more supernatural.

Nothing was ever proven, however, and the Beast was eventually killed in 1767 at Mont Mouchet, by Jean Chastel, a local farmer and inn-keeper. He melted down a religious amulet to make silver bullets, and that was what finally took the wolf down. Silver bullets, as I’m sure many are aware, are the well-known way legends suggest using to take down a werewolf, and perhaps this Beast of Gévaudan lent a bit to the origin of that belief. Regardless, whatever Chastel did, it worked, because after that, no one else was killed, and the Beast was never seen again.

Like with Marie-Jeanne Valet, monuments have been erected to honour Chastel, that can still be seen around France today.

It’s possible that the Beast was just a particularly large wolf, with a particularly large kill count, and that the story just grew way out of proportion because the people of France were looking for a win and a story in the post-war time they lived in. It’s also possible, I suppose, that the Beast was a real life werewolf we all grew up hearing legends about. Like I said, nothing was ever proven, and the problem was taken care of either way.

The answer will just have to remain up to your imagination.


*Gévaudan is now modern day Lozère in Southern France.


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Chernobyl: Mini-Series Review

Accidents happen, history is full of them, but the question is: what happens in the aftermath?

Image courtesy of HBO.

Image courtesy of HBO.

At approximately 1:23 on the morning of April 26th, 1986, reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. As was highlighted in the new mini-series Chernobyl, one of history’s worst nuclear disasters was not handled well. In fact, the poor handling was compounded by several fatal errors, made worse by the ineptitude of the Soviet government.

In its entirety, Chernobyl only runs for five episodes. But those five episodes give a detailed, harrowing look at the events leading up to and after the initial explosion. The problem is, calling it human error doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The majority of the series follows Valery Legasov, the deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute. While he is initially brought in to advise Soviet politician Boris Shcherbina on how best to clean up the site and prevent further spread of lethal radiation, Legasov eventually becomes the driving force behind the investigation into what really happened that night in Reactor 4.

But Legasov isn’t alone. The morning following the explosion, Ulana Khomyuk, a nuclear physicist, discovers that the dust on her window in Minsk, 400 kilometres away from the reactor, is already intensely radioactive. Deducing that it must have been caused by one of the reactors at the Chernobyl plant, she rushes there to join the clean up efforts, and aids in conducting her own investigations of what happened. Unlike many of the other characters in the series, Khomyuk’s character isn’t based on a real person, but instead comprises the efforts and work ethics of all the Soviet scientists who worked with Legasov and made sure that the errors made at Chernobyl would never be repeated.

Image courtesy of HBO.

Image courtesy of HBO.

The series begins with Legasov hiding tapes outside his home, which contained a complete account of the events leading up to the explosion. These tapes were damning for Anatoly Dyatlov, an engineer in Reactor 4, as they made clear he was a significant party responsible for what happened. After hiding the tapes, Legasov hangs himself, and the viewers are taken back two years and one minute. From their apartment, a good distance away, a firefighter and his wife watch in shock as Reactor 4 explodes.

As someone who has been endlessly fascinated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but understood very little of the mechanics behind it, this series was an excellent watch. I sound a bit cavalier when I phrase it like that, and I do mean it from a standpoint of morbid curiosity, but then isn’t that how most disasters work? After all, the expression “it’s like watching a train wreck” exists for a reason.

That being said, I think Chernobyl did an excellent job making viewers truly understand what happened. This was a truly terrible disaster, and in the end, it was something that could very easily have been avoided were it not for the sake of human arrogance and vicious denial. The series gave significant insight into what happened, including who was ultimately responsible, and how even with overwhelming evidence, the government and the KGB still tried to cover it up. It was a very entertaining series, but it was also informative.

History remembers the name Chernobyl, and even the name Pripyat, as being ghost towns, that to this day are still so radioactive they’re uninhabitable. What fewer people remember—what the series sheds light on—is the role that the government played in what happened, in addition to individual engineers, like Dyatlov.

For anyone who has yet to watch the series and wishes to (and those that don’t, I strongly encourage you to), I’ll refrain from detailing too much of the show, so you can experience it for yourself. That being said, I’d really like to impress upon those of you who’ve yet to see it how worth watching it is.

Image courtesy of HBO.

Image courtesy of HBO.

The level of arrogance from the government, the KGB, and other officials who were supposed to be in charge of civilian safety, that was presented in this show was infuriating, as evidenced by the amount of screaming at the TV myself and another of the Voices did while watching, however, it was true to life. The creators of the series went to great efforts to stick as closely to historical events as possible, and it worked out well.

Upon doing some further research into the series, I learned that it actually gathered much of its own research from a book written by Svetlana Alexievich, who gathered the stories from Pripyat locals that experienced the event directly. This makes many moments throughout the series even more chilling. One that stands out in particular is a scene wherein residents of Pripyat watched the reactor burn from a distance, while radioactive ash fell like snow upon their heads. They were aware it was ash, but horrifically unaware of the radioactivity, and so they danced and played in it, not realizing the clock counting down the end of all their lives had just started ticking

As I said, the truth of the matter is that history is full of accidents, some more or less intentional than others. The important part is what we learn from them, and that we do better going forward. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as illustrated in the TV series, was a chaotic mess, and by all means, should have been avoided. It provides a warning for what happens to those who put loyalty based upon arrogance and ignorance above common sense and common good.

Let’s just hope that history doesn’t repeat itself.


There are two previously published posts on Voices in the Attic that relate to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster: Frozen in Time and Open for Visitation and The Black Bird of Chernobyl. Check them out!


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Don't Let Them In

This post was first published on SPINE Online, November 20th, 2018.


Imagine this: you’re sitting home alone, late at night, possibly curled up on the couch with the TV on. You’re right in the middle of the best part when, all of a sudden, there’s a knock at the door. You pause your show and get up to see who’s there.

When you reach the door you switch on the porch light from the inside, which illuminates two children standing on the front porch: a boy and a girl. They’re both very pale and their light hair hangs in their faces. You can’t tell if they’re distressed or in trouble, but why else would two children this young be on your doorstep so late at night? You reach for the handle to open the door and see what’s wrong when it hits you: a sense of dread so dark and overwhelming that you yank your hand off the doorknob as though burned.

You don’t say anything, but it doesn’t matter because a child’s voice floats through the door. “We’re lost and our mother will worry. Can you please let us in to use your phone?” What would you do? Most people would want to help two children lost in the middle of the night. Surely most people would open the door.

I highly recommend that you do not. Because here’s the kicker: when the children look up at you you’ll find that their eyes are entirely pitch black.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

The Black-Eyed Children are an urban legend that dates back to 1996. A reporter named Brian Bethel wrote a post about an encounter he had with two children with completely black eyes, along with an encounter he heard about someone else having elsewhere with similar children. Since then, there have been numerous other reports of children turning up on people’s doorsteps or by their cars, asking to be let in.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

According to the legend, these children generally range from 6 to 16 years old, are very pale and often have outdated clothing, or clothing you wouldn’t expect to see on children of that age. But aside from the pitch black eyes, nothing else seems to be out of place about them.

Every encounter with these children has followed the same general patterns. They appear on the doorstep of someone’s house and ask to be let into the home, usually asking to use the phone to call their mother who is worrying about them. If they appear by your car, they usually ask for a ride home — once again, because their mother is worrying.

These children cannot come into your house or your car without your explicit permission but thus far, in all of the reported encounters, this hasn’t been a problem. There are no reports of anyone being harmed by a black-eyed child because no one has ever been known to let them into the house. This is because everyone who’s encountered a black-eyed child reports the same overwhelming sense of fear and dread that washes over them the closer they get to the child.

There is no real confirmation of any of these encounters aside from the reports posted online from those claiming to have personal experiences with these black-eyed children. It’s simply a matter of word-of-mouth, so ultimately it leaves the rest of us to believe what we choose to.

That being said: should you ever find yourself face-to-face with a black-eyed child, with nothing but your front door between you and them – do not let them in.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe

“Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks, and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”

Many are familiar with the old rhyme about a very real set of murders that took place back in 1892. That year, on August 4th in Fall River, Massachusetts, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home. They had been hacked to death with an axe so many times their bodies were barely recognizable. History’s favourite suspect for the murders is their daughter, Lizzie Borden

However, Lizzie was never proven guilty, and these murders remain unsolved to this day.

Lizzie Borden was the daughter of Andrew Borden and the step-daughter of Abby Borden. She was the one to discover Andrew’s body, and set off the subsequent chain of events that were later immortalized in history.

Photo courtesy of Payette Media House via Adobe Stock

Photo courtesy of Payette Media House via Adobe Stock

Contrary to what the rhyme would suggest, it wasn’t forty strikes or an axe to each of the two murder victims, but instead, twenty-nine altogether. Nonetheless, these murders were particularly brutal. Those that saw the bodies described them as completely unrecognizable, and were quite sickening. Andrew Borden in particular had a number of blows to the face, one of which had gouged out his left eye.

The detail that really confused law enforcement, though, was the lack of blood anywhere but on the bodies, and the lack of any signs of a struggle within the homes. Andrew was found lying on the sofa, and Abby was found on the floor of her bedroom, but everything surrounding them and around the rest of the house was completely untouched.

Before Lizzie was accused, the main suspicion had fallen upon a labourer who worked for Andrew Borden. The labourer was supposedly by the house earlier that day to ask for the wages he’d earned, only to be sent away with nothing by Andrew Borden himself. It was also believed, due to certain medical evidence found on Abby’s body, that she’d been attacked by a tall male.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Despite such evidence, however, the suspicion did eventually fall on Lizzie. There were many reasons for this, including the fact that some people said that she had never gotten along with her step-mother, as well as the fact that police believed the murders had to have been committed by someone in the Borden house, and the only people home that day were Lizzie and the Bordens’ maid, Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan. There was also suspicion that Lizzie didn’t have a positive relationship with her father at all, and that many of the details she’d provided in her defence just didn’t add up.

Lizzie said she was in the barn on the property, looking for equipment for an upcoming fishing trip, at the time of her father’s murder. She insisted she was in there for about fifteen minutes, but according to further investigation into the details of that day, the barn was far too hot for someone to want to be in there for more than just a few minutes. In addition, there were no footprints in the dust where Lizzie said she’d been looking.

Another piece of evidence brought to the attention of police was a blue dress. Bridget Sullivan said that Lizzie had been wearing it on the morning of the murders, and a friend of the Bordens’ later testified in court that she’d seen Lizzie burning it. When questioned about this, Lizzie said she’d been burning it because it had old paint on it.

Nevertheless, none of the evidence found was enough to lock Lizzie away, and law enforcement concluded that she wasn’t capable of the murders anyway as she’d never done an unkind thing in her life. She was eventually cleared of the crime, and the murders were never solved.

Photo courtesy of it’s me neosiam via Pexels.com

Photo courtesy of it’s me neosiam via Pexels.com

The continued interest in the Borden murders after all this time goes beyond a simple unsolved crime, however. 92 Second Street, where the Borden house is located, is still open. In fact, now it’s the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast/ Museum. As horrific as the murders were, their setting has now been turned into a place for tourists, which you too can visit, should you have the courage. And the tours that go through here don’t stop at historical facts about the Borden family or the crimes. Paranormal tours are hosted at the location as well, for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the spirits said to still be hanging around in the house. In fact, the Borden house is actually home to significant paranormal tourism and opportunities, because anyone who joins the tour is invited to bring a Ouija board, or use one that’s provided, and are taught how to contact the spirit world.

I personally wouldn’t start off contacting the spirit world in the setting of such horrifying crimes, but there are certainly braver souls out there than me. And should you find yourself interested, feel free to follow the above link, and sign yourself up.


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Frozen in Time and Open for Visitation

This post was first published on SPINE Online, October 28th, 2018.


Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, the fact remains that horror is not simply limited to fiction. The debate over whether or not ghosts do exist is one that’s been argued for centuries. However, what is not up for debate is the existence of ghost towns. Perhaps you’ve seen coverage of this matter in a movie. Think Silent Hill for a popular example. But ghost towns don’t just exist in the movies. They are very real. And, ironically, considering the name, they tend to draw quite a large amount of lively tourism to them.

Have you ever wondered how many ghost towns there are, dotted throughout our world of the living? Perhaps you’ve even heard of some, like Hashima Island in Japan, or Oradour-sur-Glane in France. Or, perhaps you’ve heard of the one I intend to cover today: Pripyat.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Chernobyl Disaster, this is the breakdown: On the morning of April 26th, 1986, in Pripyat, Ukraine there was a power surge in the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl power plant. It triggered a chain reaction that ultimately led to a catastrophic nuclear disaster. Prior to this event, Pripyat, the city most directly affected by the accident, held a population of approximately 14,000 people. After the disaster, it held 0.

But the thing that makes Pripyat so fascinating is the tourism that it attracts. The reasons for the abandonment of all ghost towns in this world vary greatly, but Pripyat’s is still relevant, even now, some thirty years later. It remains to this day extremely radioactive, and experts predict that it will remain that way for hundreds of years still to come due to health risks posed from the radiation. The include various kinds of cancer, deformations, and acute radiation syndrome. In fact, many people who evacuated Pripyat in the early days following the accident developed cancer and subsequently died from it.

Despite this level of danger, Pripyat has attracted countless tourists from all over the world. Evidently radiation has died down just enough to allow tours through parts of the city, but if you ask me it’s still a very calculated risk by all those that enter. After all, every person that goes into Pripyat on a tour must be cleared by a radiation detection machine before leaving. How inviting!

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

But I can understand the fascination that ghost towns such as this generate. Maybe it’s a side effect of being a writer, this unrelenting curiosity, but it’s astounding to me that a place which was once so thriving and grandiose could turn into something so haunting and left-behind. Pripyat in particular looks and feels like a place completely frozen in time. There are pictures of dolls and teddy bears left behind, old classrooms and nurseries completely as they were, but with a thick layer of dust and decay covering them now. There is even a ferris wheel that was new and completely unused at the time of the evacuation that stands in this vacant world inhabited by nothing but radiation, dust and debris, and perhaps the occasional animal.

But when I really get thinking, I have to wonder if the radiation is truly the only thing that haunts the city.

I’m not saying outright that Pripyat is a town full of ghosts. But I have a hard time believing that a town that was abandoned so quickly and so entirely by all its living inhabitants wasn’t taken back over by inhabitants of a different kind.

For a more detailed guide on the requirements of touring Pripyat, please refer to this blog written by Stephanie Craig, a woman who participated in a tour group through the city herself.


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

The Year Without Summer

Before 1815, Mount Tambora, measuring at 4,300 metres tall, was one of the largest volcanoes on Earth. For comparison’s sake, Yellowstone is currently 2,805 metres tall, and Mauna Kea, the world’s current largest volcano is 4,205 metres (excluding the section below sea-level).

On April 5th, 1815, tremors began to shake Mount Tambora, a volcano located on Sumbawa Island, in present-day Indonesia. For a few days it seemed like it would be just like any other volcanic eruption. But on April 10th, a catastrophic eruption occurred, which was so massive it could be heard as far away as Sumatra Island, over 2,000 kilometres away, and its effects reached as far as Europe and North America. To this day it remains the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. It measured at a 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI), a number that was last reached in 180 AD when the Lake Taupo volcano erupted.

For a more detailed look at how big the Tambora eruption and its after-effects were, Erik Klemetti gives an excellent breakdown in the article “Tambora 1815: Just How Big Was The Eruption?

Photo courtesy of  Jagoush  via Adobe Stock

Photo courtesy of Jagoush via Adobe Stock

When Tambora first erupted, approximately 10,000 people were killed immediately. It was later discovered that these were all residents of a village that had previously lived in the shadow of the volcano. The village was also called Tambora, and after the eruption it was completely buried in volcanic ash and pyroclastic flows.

Many decades later, various remains and signs of the life that had once existed there were eventually uncovered. Items such as dishes, pots, and glasses were found. In addition to these belongings, entire homes, which included the remains of people still in them, were found, buried beneath volcanic debris.

On top of this, the language that was spoken in this area was exclusive to Tambora, so when the village was wiped out, so was the language. An entire place, its culture, its language, and its residents were completely removed from the map in a matter of moments.

Those first 10,000 people, however, were unfortunately not the only victims of Mount Tambora’s volcanic wrath. Over the next couple of years, the deal toll from the aftermath totalled close to 90,000 people.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The continuously rising death toll that followed over the years was due to many different problems such as crop failures, subsequent famine, problems resulting from ash build-up in the Earth’s atmosphere, etc. In fact, there was so much ash build-up that it blocked out the sun’s rays and global temperatures dropped by an average of 1-2 degrees Celsius for the following year, which plunged the world into a volcanic winter. In North America, there was frost and snowfall throughout the months of June, July, and August. Because of this, 1816 was dubbed “The Year Without a Summer”. In fact, temperatures around the world were in flux for a few years afterwards.

Climate change wasn’t the only thing that the eruption of Mount Tambora and the subsequent “Year Without a Summer” inspired, however. Because of all the ash build-up in the atmosphere, sunsets that year were a particularly vibrant shade of orange, and despite the terrible reason behind them, they were strikingly beautiful. Painters such as J.M.W. Turner were inspired to capture the beautiful sunsets, and writers such as Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Pidoltri created works inspired by the event. In the summer of 1816, the three writers took a trip to Lake Geneva. But because temperatures were all colder than usual that year, they were stuck inside a cabin for much of their time. To keep themselves amused, they created a contest among themselves to see who could come up with the scariest story. Shelly presented Frankenstein, Byron presented his poem, “Darkness”, and Pidoltri presented Vampyre.

Art wasn’t the only thing that came out of this horrible aftermath, however. The invention of the bicycle, the discovery of Indiana and Illinois and the birth of the anti-slavery movement were also attributed to the aftermath of Mount Tambora’s eruption.

Photo courtesy of  homocosmicos  via Adobe Stock

Photo courtesy of homocosmicos via Adobe Stock

1815 was Mount Tambora’s largest eruption, but it wasn’t the only one. Tambora remains to this day an active volcano, and it had two more eruptions after 1815, in 1880 and 1967. There was also higher seismic activity in the volcano between 2011 and 2013.

Nowadays, Tambora stands at approximately 2,851 metres high. It’s about half of what it once was, and though it’s still active, it doesn’t pose the same threat it did prior to 1815. That being said, Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with, and there are plenty of other volcanoes - such as Yellowstone - that lie in wait. And if Yellowstone does decide to go, well, the effects are extremely likely to rival even those of Tambora.

We can never truly know when the next disaster will happen. All we can do is treat the Earth with respect, try to be prepared, and acknowledge that everything is a little more interlinked than we are perhaps willing to admit.


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

A Screaming Omen

Irish mythology contains a lot of twisted creatures that have, over time, been cast aside in favour of more light-hearted, Disney-like creatures. For example, when you hear the word ‘fairy’, what exactly comes to mind? A thumb-sized, blonde girl with a green dress and a magic wand? Tinkerbelle certainly had an attitude, but she isn’t exactly what I’d call dangerous.

Fairies from Irish mythology, on the other hand—the real, original fairies—are a little less “faith, trust, and pixie dust”, and a little more problematic. But Irish mythology covers quite a lot of creatures that are classified as fairies, such as banshees.

Photo courtesy of  rodjulian  via Adobe Stock

Photo courtesy of rodjulian via Adobe Stock

The origin of banshees has been traced back to the 8th century, where they were, regardless of what you believe in, real women. They were hired to stand outside the houses of those who were close to death, or at the funerals of those who’d already died, singing mournful tunes in order to help family and friends of the dead grieve. These women were referred to as keeners, because of the sounds they made for their songs.

As time went on, however, these women and their jobs became less popular. Reality faded into legend, and the keeners were replaced by banshees—spirits that roamed the hills of Ireland, warning the living that someone around them was soon to join the land of the dead.

Contrary to what some would believe banshees aren’t actually harmful. Banshees are harbingers of death: they don’t cause it, they simply warn of it.

However, while it seems to be agreed upon that they can take several different forms, ranging from a hauntingly beautiful young woman to a wrinkly old hag, it seems that the myth has formed different iterations over time. In some instances, the banshee is an angry spirit that trails their enemies, shrieking in celebration when said enemy finally dies. In others, they’re very dedicated to their families, even in death, and they follow them around, singing songs of sorrow, or screaming a warning into the night when a family member is about to pass on.

Photo courtesy of  locrifa  via Adobe Stock

Photo courtesy of locrifa via Adobe Stock

In the latter, the legend goes so far as to say that banshees follow very specific families. That list has grown over the years, but it originates with the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, the O’Grady’s, and the Kavanaghs. Each family was believed to have its own banshee, and as the members married and had children, the family’s banshee would continue to follow each descendant and watch over them for generation after generation.

While mostly considered to be a myth in modern-day culture, the belief in banshees was originally so strong in Ireland that it was considered blasphemous if you were someone who didn’t believe.

Nowadays, no one can really say for sure. But if you ever find yourself in Ireland, and are awoken by a piercing scream, be aware that death may be near.


What are some myths you’ve heard around the world? Feel free to leave stories in the comments below!


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

The Ghost of Watson's Mill

When I was a kid, my grandma told me my first ghost story. Maybe this doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but my grandma doesn’t like ghost stories. She doesn’t believe in them, she doesn’t tell them, they just “aren’t her cup of tea” as she’d tell me.

But she told me this one. So, without further ado, here’s a story this Voice has been meaning to tell from the beginning:

On the way out of Ottawa, Canada, there is a small suburb called Manotick. I’ve been there myself countless times growing up. It was where the best dancewear store was, so my mom would take me to buy all of my clothes and shoes. It’s where my mom rushed me to practice from school every day for the two years I was in the Nutcracker. It’s where my mom took me and my grandma for Sunday afternoon lunches when I was a kid.

Photo courtesy of  emkaplin  via Adobe Stock

Photo courtesy of emkaplin via Adobe Stock

It’s a peaceful, sleepy little town, with cute shops and beautiful scenery, The Rideau River runs right through.

But in the very heart of this peaceful, sleepy little suburb, it’s also where Watson’s Mill stands.

Watson’s Mill is not in itself a problem. It was opened in 1860, by Joseph Merrill Currier and Moss Kent Dickinson. They had obtained the water rights to the property just a year previous, and in fact, it’s Dickinson who’s said to have named Manotick in the first place, after the Ojibwa word for ‘long island’ or ‘island in the water’.

It was a powerful mill; according to Rideau-info.com, it “was capable of producing 100 barrels of flour a day and the sawmill could cut up to two million board feet per year.” The problem in this story was a combination of things.

In 1861, on the one year anniversary of the mill’s opening, Joseph Currier brought his new bride, Anne Crosby Currier, in for a tour. They made it all the way up to the attic, while Joseph pointed out all the machinery and inner-workings of the mill to his beloved bride. On their way back down, however, tragedy struck.

Photo courtesy of  bonciutoma  via Adobe Stock

Photo courtesy of bonciutoma via Adobe Stock

Anne was dressed in a flowing dress with a hooped skirt that allowed the dress to drag behind her. It was no doubt a beautiful dress, but an unfortunately disastrous choice to wear inside the mill.

On their way back down from the attic, between the third and second floor, a part of Anne’s dress got caught in one of the Mill’s rotating shafts. The rotating shafts moved too quickly for her to realize in time to pull herself free, and she was yanked against a pillar, dying on impact.

Joseph was so heartbroken that when he left the mill that day, he never looked back. He sold his shares to his partner, and never again returned. Anne, on the other hand, never left.

Over the years, many have reported seeing and hearing things that had no explanation while wandering in and around the Mill. Some reported seeing a woman peering out of a second-floor window, while others swore they heard light footsteps creaking across the upstairs floorboards, even when there was no one up there to make them. What’s more, some visitors to the Mill even report being grabbed or shoved while walking around the upper floors. Many believe it to be Anne, likely trying to warn them away from the same fate she suffered.


378967_238880029509354_1636456070_n.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.