Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monster Monday: Father Time and the Grim Reaper

While the approaching of January 1st is a time for reflecting and making resolutions, it is also a reminder of our own mortality. We’ve survived another year – but when will our time run out?

Father Time may know. Usually depicted as an elderly, bearded and robed man, carrying a scythe and an hourglass, Father Time has various roles - from a scribe of sorts, chronicling the major events throughout the year, to an overseer of the changing seasons. He must pass along his duties to the New Year Baby – who in turn ages rapidly throughout the year of his rein and meets the next as an old man. Best not to aggravate Father Time as he has the power to cut your time short.

A power not unlike his kissing cousin – or perhaps his son – the Grim Reaper, aka Death. Heck, they even sorta dress the same. Scythe, hourglass, hooded robe. The poisoned apple really doesn’t fall far from the hanging tree. The Grim Reaper is a figure that has featured in stories from people across the globe and, of course, across time. Some cultures suggest the Reaper is female and darkly angelic, while others perceive Death as a terrifying male skeleton.

Like the Grim Reaper, Father Time reminds us that we can’t escape our fate. We will all meet Death in due Time.

Survival Tip: Unfortunately meeting the ominous duo of Father Time and the Grim Reaper is inevitable for us all, unless you decide to cheat Death by becoming what we hunt…a monster such as the vampire, ghoul, etc. Beware, we will get you before you GET us!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monster Monday: Krampus

If you've found yourself on Santas' naughty list this Christmas,you're gonna want to batten down the hatches - you may be in for a bumpy ride.

According to some Greek mythology, Santa Claus doesn't travelwith elves, but with Krampus, a creepy St. Nick who rides shotgun and doles outpunishment to bad children. And when the traveling duo stumble upon aparticularly naughty child, Krampus stuffs the kid in its sack and carries thefrightened rug rat to its lair - presumably for Christmas dinner.


Though Krampus appears in many variations, most share somecommon spine-chilling physical characteristics - long brown or black hair,cloven hooves, the horns of a goat, and a long pointed tongue even Gene Simmonswould envy.

Not quite the Jolly Old Fellow you might be expecting to slidedown your chimney this year.

Inthe words of Santa himself, you'd better watch out.

Survival Tip: It's a little too late to atone for your sins this year. Our best advice? Dampen the chimney and duck for cover. And maybe add "being nice" to this year's list of resolutions.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

You Better Watch Out: 13 Christmas Horror Films to DIE for

Nothing makes a heart seize with terror more than the Christmas holiday season. Family dramas enacted around the dinner table, crowded malls filled with the desperate and the ruthless, and the relentless pep of carols wherever one wanders. Thankfully Hollywood has a little tradition called the Christmas Horror Film to provide some much needed perspective. You think your Creepmas is stressful, well, it could always be worse.

Here's a list of 13 Christmas Horror flicks we think will help you survive the holidays. Have yourselves a scary little Christmas:

Jack Frost (1977): "A serial killer dies, comes back as a snowman, and wreacks havoc."

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984): "After his parents are murdered, a young tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, due to his stay at an orphanage where he was abused by the Mother Superior."

Gremlins (1984): "A boy inadvertantly breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town."

Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber (2007): The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical." Released December 2007, this is a classic example of horror during the holidays.

Child's Play (1988): "Young Andy Barclay gets the doll he wanted. However, he did not know it was alive!"

Elves (1989): "A young woman discovers that she is the focus of an evil nazi experiment involving selective breeding and summoned elves, an attempt to create a race of supermen."

Saint (2010): "A horror film that depicts St. Nicholas as a murderous bishop who kidnaps and murders children when there is a full moon on December 5."

Black Christmas (1974): "A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break."

Silent Night, Zombie Night (2009):"A week before Christmas a viral outbreak turns the citizens of Los Angeles into the walking dead."

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): "Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn't quite understand the concept."

Dead End (2003): "Christmas Eve. On his way to his in-laws with his family, Frank Harrington decides to try a shortcut, for the first time in 20 years. It turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life."

Christmas Evil (1980): "A psycho in a Santa suit gets to decide who's been naughty and who's been nice."

Scrooged: (1988) "A cynically selfish TV executive gets haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve."

All summaries quoted from

Survival Tip: Make sure you leave the tree lights on while you watch these films, no one will know it's because you're scared of the dark. You could also avoid the mall for one item on your Christmas list. Check out these amazing gothic Chrismas cards available from Ginger Dead on Etsy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monster Monday: Elves

Cheery elves with pointy ears and long noses may very wellbe frantically busy in the North Pole polishing off the last of the toys tocomplete Santa’s extensive Christmas wish list.

But deep in the underground caves, there lives a darkerelven species, known for their aggression, deceit and stealth – and believe us,these beasties look nothing like Snap,Crackle and Pop.

Dark elves are ugly, with long-bulbous noses, and dirty-brownskin. Said to have come into existence as maggots produced by the decayingflesh of the Norse giant Ymir, they were then endowed by the gods with a humanform and great skill as an artificer.

They work with metals and wood, and boast Thor’s hammer as theirgreatest achievement. Ironic, as the hammer can produce natural weather changes– and excessive heat or rain have proven to be an elven weakness.

As with most monsters, pop culture has created both good andevil depictions – the good often used to brand product such as Keebler cookies(believed to be baked by happy elves in a hollow tree), or Dobby the house elf of J.K. Rowling’s,Harry Potter series. The dark species are popular in video games and fictionwhere elves can be wise, beautiful, and deadly, particularly in the work ofJ.R.R. Tolkien whose elven characters inspired an entire language still used byLord of the Rings fans today.

While Christmas elves are still associated with good cheer, thetide may be shifting. Some parents have long-used the “Elf on a Shelf” methodof ensuring their children stay off Santa’s naughty list – wooden or stuffedelves are strategically placed around the house to “keep an eye on little boysand girls.” * shudder *

How creepy is that?

Survival Tip: Elvenweakness depends upon legend and may include excessive heat, rain, nettles orblossoms of some plants and trees.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Slaying fictional monsters this November

You know what's more terrifying than Halloween?

National Novel Writing Month, or otherwise affectionately known as NaNoWriMo, NANO for short. If you're not in the know about this annual torture challenge, it's where writers from all over the world attempt 50,000 words before the November 30 deadline.

We're among those lunatics scribes.

And to honor NANO, or perhaps just give us a fighting chance, we're going to focus on slaying monsters of the fictional kind. YOU SHOULD TOO!

Most-Wanted Monsters is going dark for November. No tweets. No blog posts.

But we'll catch you on the flip side - where we can all tally up our undeads and see how many of the beasties remain on our hit list.

Happy Halloween, and for all of you courageous NANO writers, get out there and kill it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monster Monday: The Crossroads

Pop culture TV shows like Supernatural, currently in its 7th season, and films like Crossroads (1986), starring Ralph Macchio focus on the mythology suggesting humans barter their souls with crossroads demons for wealth, talent, fame or whatever their heart's desire. However, there is plenty of ghostly lore surrounding crossroads as well.

Back in the day, crossroads were where villages intersected, forging the belief that the spirit realm and our world also collided here. Murderers were put to death and then buried at crossroads, as were suicide victims denied burial in consecrated ground. These restless souls are said to haunt crossroads, so beware! Crossroads are also thought to be places of great magic and power - the go-to location for complex spells.

Survival tip: German lore says if you’re being chased by a demon, lead it to a crossroads where it will be sent back to its world with a shriek of terror. Of course, then you’ll have to out wit any crossroad ghosts that might be lingering.

Speaking of spirits, don’t forget to put your ghosthunting skills to the test and follow the Spirited anthology launch contest on Twitter: @Spirited13

And for a bevy of crossroads goodness, follow the Crossroads Blog Tour (@TheCrossroadsBT on Twitter) to win SWAG, ARCs and meet 15 of today’s hottest paranormal young adult authors.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Most-Wanted Monsters: Wem Fire Ghost

In honor of Leap Books' October 31, 2011 release of Spirited, Most-Wanted Monsters is dedicating October to all things ghostly.

November 19, 1995 - Shropshire, UK
While firefighters battled a giant blaze of the Wem Town Hall, a local man snapped pictures of the fire from across the street.

When he developed the film days later, he was shocked to find an image of a young girl emerge from the smoky haze. No one remembers seeing the child on the night of the fire - and no bodies were recovered from the blaze.

Town folk believe the image is that of Jane Chum, a 14-year-old girl whose accidental spark spread into a fire that destroyed the whole town.

The photograph was reputed to be fake, until inspected by Dr. Vernon Harrison, past president of the Royal Photography Society who stated, "The negative is a straight-forward black and white work and shows no sign of being tampered with."

Indeed, the infamous picture remains one of what is believed to be the best examples of genuine ghost photography.

Survival Tip: Though the locals fully embraced this ghost story, even changing the welcome sign to read Ghost Town, Jane Chum isn't known as a haunting trouble-maker. Stick to the outskirts of the hall and you should be just fine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monster Monday: The House of the Seven Gables

In honor of Halloween and the upcoming launch of theSPIRITED anthology by Leap Books, Most-Wanted Monsters is dedicating the monthof October to all things ghostly. From haunted castles, we bring you to one of the most haunted houses in the United States. The House of the Seven Gables, built in 1668 and resting along the harbor in Salem, Massachusetts, was the inspiration for the famous Nathaniel Hawthorne gothic novel of the same name. Books, spirits and witches – of course we had to share our intel on this historic home with you.

Hawthorne’s ancestors held key roles in the Salem Witch Trials. His great, great grandfather mercilessly sentenced many people to death for practicing witchcraft. The monsters Hawthorne faced were from his family’s ominous past – evil, greed, revenge. The house was once owned by his cousin, Susanna Ingersol, it is her spirit sighted the most in the house and drifting through the gardens. The spirit of Hawthorne’s son, Julian, is said to play in the upper levels. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, secret rooms and staircases within the house are said to be walked by slaves seeking their freedom.

Visitors report sightings and photographs of The House of the Seven Gables’ spirits can be found on numerous websites.

Survival Tip: If you visit The House of the Seven Gables and encounter young Julian in the attic, be sure to leave a toy for him to play with…then RUN before he decides to make you his new plaything.


Looking for ghosts this Halloween? We’d bet you’d find them at the House of the Seven Gables.

And while you’re at it, leap on over to Leap Books or Bridge Social Media for a chance to win a copy of SPIRITED, an anthology filled with hauntingly good stories by chilling talent pool of paranormal young adult authors.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monster Monday: Leap Castle

In honor of Halloween and the upcoming launch of theSPIRITED anthology by Leap Books, Most-Wanted Monsters is dedicating the monthof October to all things ghostly.

Starting with Leap Castle in Ireland, because really, all ofthose specters gotta hang out somewhere, right?

Apparently more than a couple spirits make their home atLeap Castle. Considered one of the most haunted houses in the world – and mostcertainly Europe – the castle features a gruesome oubliette. Hundreds of peopleare rumored to have met their death in this dungeon; if you didn’t impaleyourself on the spiked floor, you would succumb to the powerful stench of decayand lack of food. Lovely.

How many people are we talking? Three cartloads of boneswere trucked out of the oubliette when it was discovered.

There have been numerous reports of specter sightings, andeven attacks. The most popular, though, is the story of an Elemental, a type ofmystical spirit that attaches itself to one particular haunting. The LeapCastle Elemental is described as a grey sheep-like humanoid with a decayingface.

Looking for ghosts this Halloween? We’d bet you’d find themat Leap.

And while you’re at it, leap on over to Leap Books or Bridge Social Media for a chance to win a copy of SPIRITED, an anthology filled withhauntingly good stories by chilling talent pool of paranormal young adultauthors.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monster Monday: Sasquatch

Sasquatch are ape-like, hairy humanoids often thought of as wild men and may also be referred to as Bigfoot. Some tales suggest the Sasquatch are fearful of man and seek only to remain hidden and live out their lives peacefully, while others tell of larger-than-life monsters who carry off victims to suffer unknown horrors.

Next to UFOs, Sasquatch sightings or footprint impressions are one of the most commonly reported unexplained encounters. They are also the subjects of numerous hoaxes, with the truth discovered via video and photo analysis, fossil comparisons, or the debunking of anthropologists and zoologists. However, the Sasquatch remains a scientific possibility. So if you’re traipsing through the foothills or hiking in the mountains – BE VIGILANT! You may want to practice your observation skills by conducting this Selective Attention Test:

Survival Tip: Yelling, act your age, not your shoe size, may not be the best way to reprimand a Sasquatch who has wandered into your camp. Try RUNNING AWAY instead. Once you’re too far away to record any solid details, do take a few blurry pictures or indistinct video footage.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monster Monday: Medusa

Sticksand stones may break your bones, butMedusa’s stare will smite you.
Or so the legend goes.
Overthe years, Medusa’s lore has twisted and turned as much as her slithering,serpentine locks of hair. But one thing remains consistent – she’s got looks thatkill.
Andat the heart of it all? Jealousy. In Greek mythology, Medusa was the onlymortal sister of the Gorgon family, a chthonic monster, as in a beast from the underworld, and thedaughter of Phorcys and Ceto. Some believe she was transformed into a truemonster by the Goddess Athena as punishment for sleeping with Poseidon.
Butearly Greek writers simply portray her as a monster born of a monstrous family, kind of the equivalent of a poor little rich girl -except for all the killing. Some descriptionsdepict Medusa as a winged woman with a broad round head, serpentine hair, largestaring eyes, wide mouth, lolling tongue, flared nostrils and sometimes a shortcoarse beard.
However,another myth suggests that Medusa’s powerlay not in her monstrosity, but rather in her beauty – a beauty that paralyzedall who dared to look into her eyes.
I don’t know about you, but I know which beastie I’d rather meetin a dark alley.
SurvivalTip: No head, noundead…but good freaking luck. Medusa can stop anything in her tracks – and hergaze will turn you into stone, even if you come across her by accident. Onemyth suggests Medusa defeated herself by looking into a mirror and turningherself to stone. Carrying a compact in your backpack or purse might not be abad idea.