#SDCC14: Warner Bros. Reveals Full Schedule Including iZombie & Constantine Pilots Plus All Your Favorites
Yesterday we learned WBTV is expanding its 2014 SD Comic-Con events to include Saturday night, and now we have their full schedule, which includes the "iZombie" and "Constantine" pilots plus returning favorites like "TVD," "The Originals," "Supernatural," and "The Following."
The press release you'll find below includes a few non-horror shows, but in our never-ending quest to keep you as up-to-date as humanly possible on the year's SDCC, we're including everything on WBTV's agenda.
From the Press Release:
It wouldn’t be summer without a sizzling, action-packed lineup from Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTV) at Comic-Con International: San Diego. The Studio returns to the world’s leading pop-culture convention in 2014 with 15 series, including 10 returning fan-favorite shows and five programs making their much-anticipated Comic-Con debut. Plus, for the first-time ever, Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment are joining forces for an epic special Saturday night event (more here) on July 26, as previously announced, featuring superheroes, super-villains, screenings and special appearances, including the world premiere of "Gotham."
Participating in all the action are Comic-Con favorites and new additions including "The Following’s" Kevin Bacon; "The Vampire Diaries’" Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder; "Supernatural’s" Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins; "The Flash’s" Grant Gustin; "Constantine’s" Matt Ryan and Harold Perrineau; "The Originals’" Joseph Morgan; "Childrens Hospital’s" Rob Corddry; "Mike Tyson Mysteries’" Mike Tyson; and cast members from "Gotham" — to name just a few — who will join producers Greg Berlanti ("Arrow," "The Flash"), Greg Plageman ("Person of Interest"), Julie Plec ("The Vampire Diaries," "The Originals"), Jason Rothenberg ("The 100:), Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero-Wright ("iZombie," "Veronica Mars"), Kevin Williamson ("The Following," "The Vampire Diaries") and many more to deliver the ultimate experience for fans, with screenings, panel sessions, autograph signings and media appearances.
Comic-Con essentials "Arrow," "The Big Bang Theory," "Childrens Hospital," "The Following," "The 100," "The Originals," "Person of Interest," "Supernatural," "Teen Titans Go!" and "The Vampire Diaries" are all back in San Diego along with world-premiere screenings of complete pilot episodes of highly anticipated new WBTV series "The Flash," "Constantine" and "iZombie" on Preview Night, plus an advance look at a new episode of "Teen Titans Go!" The Studio’s 2,400-square-foot booth will once again be a must-visit destination on the convention floor
SPECIAL SNEAK PEEK PILOT SCREENINGS
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23
6:00 p.m. — It’s OK, you can peek — WBTV gets Comic-Con off to a dramatic start for the seventh year in a row by hosting a special sneak peek, world-premiere screening event on Preview Night, debuting some of the most hotly anticipated new series of the year. For 2014, WBTV will screen the complete pilot episodes of The Flash, Constantine and iZombie. Additionally, Warner Bros. Animation will unveil a brand-new episode of Teen Titans Go! Ballroom 20
The Flash: From the Arrow creative team of executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and director David Nutter, The Flash is a fast-paced super hero drama based upon the characters from DC Comics that follows the high-speed adventures of the Fastest Man Alive. With a pilot written by Berlanti, Kreisberg and DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, the action drama follows police scientist and everyday guy Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who, after an unexpected Particle Accelerator accident, is suddenly charged with the ability to move at incredible speeds, which he uses to help the people of Central City.
Constantine: Based upon the characters from DC Comics and executive produced by Daniel Cerone (Dexter) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight films), Constantine reflects the lore of the fan-favorite comic, combining noirish storytelling with the evolving mythology of John Constantine (Matt Ryan), a morally challenged character who doesn’t come down on the side of either good or evil … but ultimately might be the only thing defending us against the dark forces from beyond.
iZombie: Co-created and executive produced by Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero-Wright (Veronica Mars), along with executive producers Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge (also of Veronica Mars), Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time) stars as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a 25-year-old medical resident on the fast track to a perfect life … until she’s turned into a zombie. Liv transfers her residency to the coroner’s office for access to the brains she must reluctantly eat, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. With her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she now solves homicides to quiet the voices in her head. iZombie is based upon characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred for Vertigo.
Teen Titans Go!: Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy and Raven continue the fun in Teen Titans Go! with all-new comedic adventures, giving viewers a look at what life is really like as a teen super hero … once the cape comes off.
WBTV/WBA SERIES SCHEDULE
PLEASE NOTE: Series stars and creative teams scheduled to attend are subject to change. Additional information on panel sessions, signings and other events will be provided as news breaks.
THURSDAY, JULY 24
6:00–7:00 p.m. — Childrens Hospital (New episodes in 2015, Adult Swim): Creator and star Rob Corddry will share an exclusive video sneak peek at season six and will be joined onstage by select members of the show’s cast for a lively — and medically accurate — Q&A. Room 25ABC
FRIDAY, JULY 25
10:00–11:00 a.m. — The Big Bang Theory (Mondays 8/7c CBS, season premiere September 22; Thursdays 8/7c CBS beginning October 30): Back by popular demand! The Big Bang Theory writers are back in San Diego and ready to share secrets behind TV’s #1 comedy. Ballroom 20
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. — iZOMBIE (Midseason on The CW): iZOMBIE makes its Comic-Con debut with a screening of the complete pilot episode, followed by a Q&A with series stars Rose McIver (Once Upon a Time), Malcolm Goodwin (Breakout Kings), newcomer Rahul Kohli and Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill), as well as executive producers Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) and Diane Ruggiero-Wright (Veronica Mars). Room 6BCF
2:30–3:15 p.m. — Mike Tyson Mysteries (Premiering this fall, Adult Swim): In this new animated comedy series, Mike Tyson is taking the fight from the boxing ring to the streets … by solving mysteries! Join us for a first look at this new adult animated series and a can’t-miss panel featuring Mike Tyson, Rachel Ramras (MAD), Jim Rash (Community) and producer Hugh Davidson (The Looney Tunes Show). Indigo Ballroom
3:15–4:15 p.m. — The 100 (Wednesdays 9/8c The CW, season premiere October 22): After the stunning events in the season finale, join us for a special video presentation followed by a Q&A with series stars as well as executive producer Jason Rothenberg. Room 6BCF
4:15–5:15 p.m. — The Originals (Mondays 8/7c The CW, season premiere October 6): Last season’s top new series on The CW returns to Comic-Con! Join executive producer Julie Plec, co-executive producer Michael Narducci and series stars Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin, Charles Michael Davis, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell for a special video presentation followed by a Q&A. Ballroom 20
5:30–6:30 p.m. — Arrow (Wednesdays 8/7c The CW, season premiere October 8): Arrow series stars Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Haynes, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne and John Barrowman — with executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg — will take aim at San Diego with a special video presentation and panel discussion previewing the show’s upcoming and highly-anticipated third season. Ballroom 20
SATURDAY, JULY 26
4:00–4:45 p.m. — The Vampire Diaries (Thursdays 8/7c The CW, season premiere October 2): The cast and creative team behind The Vampire Diaries return to San Diego for a sizzling sixth appearance at Comic-Con! Series stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham join executive producer/writer Julie Plec on stage for a video screening and Q&A session. Ballroom 20
5:15–6:15 p.m. — Constantine (Fridays 10/9c NBC, series premiere October 24): Based upon the characters from DC Comics, Constantine reflects the lore of the fan-favorite comic, combining noirish storytelling with the evolving mythology of John Constantine, a morally challenged character who doesn’t come down on the side of either good or evil … but ultimately might be the only thing defending us against the dark forces from beyond. Attendees will see a screening of the complete pilot, followed by a Q&A with series stars Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior), Harold Perrineau (Lost) and Charles Halford (True Detective), along with executive producers Daniel Cerone (Dexter) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight films). Room 6BCF
6:15–7:00 p.m. — Person of Interest (Tuesdays 10/9c CBS, season premiere September 23): The smash hit Person of Interest returns to San Diego for the fourth year! Join executive producer Greg Plageman along with series stars for a special video presentation and Q&A. Room 6BCF
8:00–11:00 p.m. — Warner Bros. Television & DC Entertainment Present: The Flash, Constantine, Arrow and the World Premiere of Gotham with Special Appearances by Casts and Producers: For the first time ever at Comic-Con, Warner Bros. Television presents an entire evening filled with some of DC Entertainment’s greatest characters, featuring the world premiere pilot screening — and only Comic-Con screening — of the highly anticipated new series Gotham (Mondays this fall, 8/7c on FOX). The much-buzzed about pilot of The Flash will also be screened — if you can catch it — along with exclusive video presentations of returning hit Arrow and new thriller Constantine. Cast members and producers from all four shows will make special appearances on stage throughout the night. Hall H
SUNDAY, JULY 27
10:00–11:00 a.m. — Supernatural (Tuesdays 9/8c The CW, Season Premiere October 7): Join series stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and Mark A. Sheppard, along with executive producer Jeremy Carver, as they answer questions from the audience about what’s in store for the tenth season of this exciting series, including its upcoming 200th episode! Fans will also be treated to an exclusive video presentation featuring series highlights and special features from the upcoming Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season DVD and Blu-ray™ release. Hall H
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. — The Following (Midseason on FOX): Hit thriller The Following returns to Comic-Con for a third year! Series stars Kevin Bacon, Shawn Ashmore, Sam Underwood and Jessica Stroup will join creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson and executive producers Marcos Siega and Jennifer Johnson for an on-stage Q&A and special video presentation. Hall H
11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. — Teen Titans Go! (Thursdays 6/5c Cartoon Network): Find out what’s in store for Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven — or just throw a meatball party with your friends! The Teen Titans are back at it again with all-new comedic adventures and, after screening a brand-new episode, there will be a Q&A with producers Michael Jelenic (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Aaron Horvath (MAD) and members of the voice cast. Plus, making a special appearance at the panel will be Puffy AmiYumi, the Japanese pop duo responsible for the iconic theme song from the original Teen Titans series. Room 6BCF
The father-son relationship of Increase and Cotton Mather on "Salem" is so complex it could be studied for years, and it's about to get even more heated as Cotton defends John Alden in Episode 1.12, "Ashes, Ashes." Here are several new stills that tease the tensions to come!
"Salem" explores what really fueled the town's infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth behind them.
Related Story: Visit our "Salem" Archive
The series stars Janet Montgomery as Mary Sibley, Shane West as John Alden, Seth Gabel as Cotton Mather, Ashley Madekwe as Tituba, Xander Berkeley as Magistrate Hale, Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale, Elise Eberle as Mercy Lewis, and Iddo Goldberg as Isaac Walton. Stephen Lang guest stars as Increase Mather.
"Salem" Episode 1.12 - "Ashes, Ashes" (airs 7/6/14)
Allegiances are broken and the fate of Salem is tested as Alden's trial begins.
Zombie fans who had sold their last-gen consoles in anticipation of last year’s hardware upgrade were left in the cold when it came to the last-gen only release of Seasons One and Two of The Walking Dead.
But those who survived the hellish winter of 2013-2014 with a generational upgrade to PS4 or Xbox One are being welcomed indoors as both seasons of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead will be available on their consoles October 14th of this year.
Amazon has listed the price for both games at $29.99 each, considerably more than their cost during the recent Steam sale. This price boost may indicate an overhaul of the game, but nothing is known for sure.
Seasons One and Two of The Walking Dead received very good reviews across the board. This may be a must-have for anyone who has trouble deciding between Friday night video games or horror movies.
Developer Deep Silver has announced that the next installment in the Dead Island franchise, Escape Dead Island, will be available this fall. The game will bridge the gap between Dead Island and the upcoming next-gen title Dead Island 2.
The game will be a departure from the standard action-oriented Dead Island trademark. Escape Dead Island is billed as a third-person single-player survival-mystery and will focus on psychological horror rather than a "the gorier, the merrier" approach.
Players can look forward to surviving the latest incarnation of the ever popular zombie horde on PS3, Xbox One, and PC.
IGN reported that the game follows protagonist Cliff Callow, a man plagued by hallucinations, investigating the zombie outbreak on Nera Pala island. After their gameplay demo, IGN pointed out that the game features some very experimental, circular plot elements such as forcing the player to die in order to respawn in a different reality, still carrying the items they possessed before their untimely demise. Deep Silver has already likened the storyline structure to that of the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day.
IGN also noted that, in a departure from the first Dead Island, the graphics are cell shaded. This is done to give the game a more comic book feel and will be remembered fondly by anyone who played the graphic novel-based XIII.
Combat is reported to be very strategic. Stealth kills are said to be a very big factor while the game also features items to be used to distract the undead while you sneak past, such as radios. This continues the recent trend in horror gaming of stripping power from the player and forcing a stealth approach.
Escape Dead Island will also feature some adventure game elements. Players will find items such as ropes and maces that will allow them to shimmy down once unreachable ledges and to destroy boarded up doors, once blocking the way. This means players will be returning to previously explored locations in order to access the newly available areas and advance the story. This is very risky move by the developers as it will result in backtracking, and 99.9% of the time backtracking is the sign of a bad game. Can Escape Dead Island be the 0.1%? We will have to wait until the fall to find out.
On top of going in a bold new direction, developers have sweetened the deal by offering exclusive access to the Dead Island 2 beta to anyone who pre-orders Escape Dead Island at Gamestop.
The official The Walking Dead magazine is getting ready to unleash its ninth issue, which features Norman Reedus on the cover... the regular edition that is. There's an alternate version headed to SDCC 2014 which is sure to please fans of the comic series.
We're just a couple weeks away from the San Diego Comic-Con, and the exclusive cover will only be available at the event in Titan's booth #5537.
Designed by Walking Dead comic book artist Charlie Adlard, the limited edition cover for Issue #9 features the barbed wire bat-wielding Negan, who has yet to appear on AMC's "The Walking Dead" TV series.
In the issue Reedus (aka badass zombie killer Daryl Dixon) is in the house as he talks us through the dramatic and traumatic events of Season 4, from losing the prison to saying goodbye to old friends and welcoming new arrivals. The magazine also takes a special look at those who haven't been so lucky at surviving, including how they snuffed it and why.
Comic creator and TV show executive producer Robert Kirkman rounds up what else is going on in The Walking Dead universe from "All Out War – Part 2" to filming Season 5 and everything in-between.
"The Walking Dead" Magazine #9 is packed with exciting new and exclusive content so even if you aren't attending Comic-Con, be sure to pick up your copy when it goes on sale July 15th.
For more info visit The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine on Facebook, and follow The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine on Twitter. You can get subscription info by clicking here.
This week marks the theatrical release of Deliver Us from Evil, the latest horror film from Sinister director Scott Derrickson. Based on true events, the film follows New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), who begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes.
He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city.
Before you head to your local theater to be spooked by this summer’s most anticipated horror film, we thought it only fitting that we first prime you up with a look at 10 real-life stories of demonic possession, which prove that the real world is a whole lot more horrifying than anything that we’ve ever been witness to on the big screen.
So proceed with caution because the shit you’re about to read is as nightmare-inducing as it gets!
1 - The only logical place to start with this list is the story of young Anneliese Michel, which was brought to the screen in the form of 2005’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose – written and directed by none other than Scott Derrickson. Though the name was changed, the story depicted in the movie was pretty damn faithful to the actual events, which took place in the 1970s.
After suffering her third seizure in June of 1970, the 18-year-old German girl reportedly began seeing devilish faces, which eventually transformed into voices that informed her she was going to “rot in hell.” Though the doctors believed that Michel was suffering from some form of psychosis, which she was heavily medicated for, the girl believed otherwise and became convinced that her body was host to a demonic entity.
Michel was unable to come into contact with things like holy water or crosses, and her condition took a turn for the worse when she began to drink her own urine, eat bugs and experience severe bodily convulsions. Over the course of 10 months, beginning in 1975, Michel was subjected to nearly 70 individual exorcisms, which ended with her death on July 1st of 1976. She weighed just 68 pounds at the time of her death, which was blamed on malnutrition and dehydration.
If you really want to disrupt your sleep patterns, watch the videos below of Anneliese Michel talking in demonic voices during her various exorcisms.
2 – Another one of the most well-known cases of demonic possession was the one that inspired William Peter Blatty to write The Exorcist, which is known as ‘The Exorcism of Roland Doe’ – Roland Doe was actually a pseudonym given to the young boy to protect his identity.
Born in 1936 to a German family, Roland Doe was an only child who lived with his parents in Maryland, and his particular tale of horror reportedly began when Roland’s aunt introduced him to the mystical Ouija board. After she died, Roland attempted to use the board to make contact with her, and it wasn’t long before something from the other side reached back.
Objects began levitating and were hurled around the house in the wake of Roland’s aunt’s passing, and some 40 witnesses attested to various strange occurrences that were seemingly connected to Roland. Furniture was said to move on its own, and at one point a container of holy water smashed to the ground in Roland’s presence.
During the young boy’s exorcism, which is not unlike the one depicted in The Exorcist, Roland reportedly ripped out a bedspring from his mattress and used it to slash the arm of the priest, the wound requiring 100 stitches. The priest’s diary, which provides the majority of information about the ordeal, reports that Roland’s bed shook violently and he spoke in a deep, demonic voice, a la the fictional Regan MacNeil. At one point, the words ‘evil’ and ‘hell’ even appeared on his body out of nowhere.
After 30 exorcisms, Roland Doe no longer exhibited signs of being demonically possessed, and he went on to have a happy, normal life, becoming a father and husband. In addition to The Exorcist, the 2000 Showtime original movie Possessed was also based on Doe’s waking nightmare.
3 – Just about 20 years prior to the infamous Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts was the site of one of the earliest cases of demonic possession, which took over the body of young Elizabeth Knapp. A servant in the household of Reverend Samuel Willard, Knapp’s strange behavior began in October of 1671, when she complained about various pains throughout her entire body. She told Willard that it felt like she was being strangled by some unseen force, and she often broke out into convulsions and extended fits of screaming and crying.
According to Knapp, the ordeal began when she was visited by the Devil one night and made a pact with him, selling her soul in exchange for things like money and youth. Willard wrote in his journal that it appeared as if the Devil was literally talking through Knapp’s body, which oftentimes became so contorted that it took several people to hold her down. He also wrote that she spoke in a demonic voice without her lips ever moving, which was accompanied by her throat swelling up “like a balloon.”
In 1672, Willard’s journal entries about Knapp ceased, and still to this day nobody is sure what happened to the possessed young girl. In his last entry about the subject, Willard indicated that he wasn’t sure what was happening to her but that he knew the things she was doing were completely involuntary.
4 – A pact with the Devil was similarly blamed for the apparent demonic possession of 16-year-old South African girl Clara Germana Cele back in 1906. In addition to developing an animalistic voice, the girl exhibited supernatural strength, reportedly tossing nuns around the room and brutally beating them up. It was also noted that she spoke many languages which she previously had no knowledge of, including Polish, German and French.
"No animal had ever made such sounds,” noted an attending nun, regarding the girl’s demonically altered voice. “Neither the lions of East Africa nor the angry bulls. At times, it sounded like a veritable herd of wild beasts orchestrated by Satan had formed a hellish choir."
Though a two-day exorcism eventually forced the demon out of her body and healed her, the process wasn’t an easy one, as she seemed intent on choking the priest with his own stole. According to witnesses, it wasn’t unusual during the exorcism for Clara to levitate several feet in the air, only being brought down to her bed when sprinkled with holy water.
5 – The strange story of Englishman George Lukins began at a Christmas pageant he was performing in, where he alleged that some sort of supernatural force slapped him and knocked him to the ground. For the next several years, Lukins exhibited a bizarre condition that doctors deemed incurable and which he personally believed was a result of possession by seven different demons.
It was in May of 1778 that a priest was brought in to cure the man that doctors weren’t able to, the exorcism taking place when Lukins was 44 years old. As published at the time in a local newspaper, Lukins claimed during the exorcism that he was the Devil and became very violent, coupled with inhuman barking noises that emitted from his being.
After clergyman demanded that the demons inhabiting Lukins’ body return to Hell where they came from, the man underwent a complete 360-degree change, praising God and exclaiming, “Blessed Jesus.” From that point forward, Lukins was cured, though many at the time believed he had faked the whole ordeal. Skeptics blamed epilepsy for the man’s violent convulsions.
6 – Residing in Iowa, Anna Ecklund began showing signs of demonic possession when she was 14 years old in the early 1900s. A devout Catholic, it is believed that her witchcraft-practicing father and aunt were to blame for her possession, tainting her food and placing a curse upon her soul. In the wake of their devious tactics, Ecklund found herself unable to enter churches and became sexually depraved, resulting in her exorcism in 1912.
After being cured, the girl’s father and aunt allegedly begged Satan to return and continue his torment, which is where this story gets all the more terrifying. After being placed in a convent, witnesses claimed that Ecklund levitated high above her bed and even clung to the walls of her room, speaking in languages she did not know. She also vomited and spit at priests who were trying to help, and it was said that her body became so bloated that the bed she was laying on could barely support her weight.
Three different exorcism rituals, over the course of nearly a month, rid the demonic entities from the girl’s body once more. Many believed that the entities that inhabited her were the same ones that attached themselves to Anneliese Michel many decades later.
7 – Well over 40 demons were said to have a hold on married man Michael Taylor back in 1974 in his British hometown of Ossett, Yorkshire. Taylor’s story began when he cheated on his wife, Christine, with a fellow member of the Christian Fellowship Group he was a part of, claiming that he felt a sense of evil brewing inside of him. After lashing out at the woman with a violent outburst, Taylor’s behavior became even more unusual, which resulted in a group of priests converging on his home in October of 1974.
After a 24-hour exorcism, the priests invoked and cast out 40 demons, eventually becoming so exhausted that they had to call it quits. The priests noted that several demons still called the man’s body home, even after the extended exorcism, and worried that he had still had a whole lot of evil inside of him.
Their fears were fully realized shortly after the exorcism, when the once completely normal Michael Taylor was found outside of his home by police, fully naked and covered from head to toe in blood. Taylor brutally murdered his wife and strangled their pet poodle, tearing his wife’s eyes and tongue out and ripping most of her face off. Amazingly, the man was acquitted of all charges for reasons of insanity.
In more recent years, Taylor has found himself in the news several more times, exhibiting similarly diabolical characteristics. He has attempted suicide on a couple occasions and was on trial in 2005 for molesting a young girl.
8 – The 1980 possession of Connecticut resident Arne Cheyenne Johnson is one of the most notable in American history due to the fact that it was the very first court case wherein the defense tried to use demonic possession as a means of acquittal, rather than the usual mental illness. Known as the ‘Demon Murder Trial,’ the story began with the possession of a young boy Johnson was living with at the time, which apparently hopped from one host to the next.
11-Year-old David Glatzel was the first host of the demonic entity, which wreaked havoc on life in the Glatzel family home. The boy experienced strange rashes and bruises on his body and alleged that he saw a strange old man on the property, who sometimes took the form of a beast-like creature. Deep gashes began to appear on the front door of the house, seemingly confirming David’s claims of paranormal activity.
Eventually, renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (seen in The Conjuring) were brought in to expel the demon, working with a Catholic priest who used the power of Christ to cast the evil out of the young boy.
But that was only the beginning of this tale as the entity apparently jumped from David’s body to Arne Johnson’s in the wake of the exorcism. On February 16th of 1981, Johnson brutally murdered the Glatzel family’s landlord, stabbing him repeatedly with a pocket knife while growling like an animal. Johnson was convicted of the murder, though he only served a mere five years in prison.
The story was turned into the made-for-TV movie The Demon Murder Case, and a major motion picture has been in the works for some time now.
9 – One of the most recent stories of demonic possession came out of Indiana earlier this year, which we reported about here on Dread Central. Back in January, news began to make its way around the net about the possession of the Ammons family, with mother Latoya claiming that both she and her three children were being terrorized by an angry demonic entity.
Strange voices, mysterious wet footprints and levitation were among the symptoms of this particular possession, and the story gained a whole lot of credibility when both nurses and police officers confirmed the claims Latoya was making. Medical staff at the local hospital reported that one of the boys had been lifted off the ground and tossed into a wall by an unseen force, proceeding to walk backwards up the wall in a way that was described as being very inhuman.
“Ghost Adventures” star Zak Bagans purchased the home shortly after the news broke and is planning on living there and documenting his experience. The story is also being turned into a feature film by one of the producers of The Conjuring.
10 – And finally, we wrap up this trip through the nightmarish world of demonic possession with the tale of a girl who is simply referred to by the name Julia, who at the present time is – according to reports – still the host for an entity that’s ripped straight out of a horror film.
According to a doctor’s report released to the public in 2012, the mysterious Julia – identified only as a middle-aged Caucasian woman from the United States – speaks in voices that are quite different than her own and even displays psychic abilities, exhibiting a knowledge of events that she by all means should have no knowledge of. “So those cats really went berserk last night, didn’t they?” she chillingly asked mere hours after a violent cat fight in the private home of a member of her psychiatry team.
An exorcism was eventually performed on Julia with the priests noting that the room grew very hot as soon as they began. During the exorcism Julia levitated off the bed for a full 30 minutes and again spoke in languages she had never learned, recoiling in agony any time holy water was sprinkled onto her body.
The possession began back in 2008, and though the exorcism was helpful, Julia is reportedly still to this day battling the malevolent force that resides within her.
The countdown to late February and the release of The Witcher 3 is on. I know it’s a long way away, but CD Projekt Red, developer of The Witcher series, has, in the words of Ween, "left a little something to help the time go by."
Cocaine references aside, the Scandinavian developer has just announced The Witcher Battle Arena, an online, multiplayer battle arena game to be released later this year.
Players will gear up for three-on-three battles as a selection of eight characters from The Witcher universe: dwarf Zoltan Chivay, Eithne of Brokilon, The Golem, The Operator, Saskia of Aedirn, Philippa Eilhart, Letho Gulet, and Ivoreth. Developers stress that players’ battle experiences will be balanced and based on skill.
Aside from straight battles, the game will also feature a control point conquest mode.
The Witcher Battle Arena will be using the free to play model. While this is usually used as bait to lure players into paying for additional content, CD Projekt Red was quick to reveal that all content in the game is unlockable through player progression, but the option of paying for content as a means to speed up the process will be available.
The Witcher Battle Arena will be available later this year on iOS, Android, Windows phone, and Windows tablets.
The verdict is in on this weekend's July 4th horror offering, Deliver Us from Evil. Does it possess a great deal of bang for your buck, or does its fuse fizzle out before launching? Read on for our take, and tell us your own in the comments section below.
Read our Deliver Us from Evil review!
The film is a paranormal thriller produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Scott Derrickson directs a script he and Paul Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) wrote.
Joel McHale, Sean Harris, Edgar Ramirez, and Olivia Munn star alongside Eric Bana.
Look for Deliver Us from Evil in theaters now.
New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Based upon the book, which details Sarchie’s bone-chilling real-life cases.
For more info "like" Deliver Us from Evil on Facebook.
Today it's Gentle Giant's turn to reveal another exclusive item the company is bringing to the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, and it's one that's sure to make fans of the Alien franchise scream... with delight!
Alien Glow-in-the-Dark Vintage Jumbo Figure - SDCC 2014 Exclusive - Product Description:
Gentle Giant Ltd. is proud to bring you another piece of toy history with our SDCC Exclusive GLOW-IN-THE-DARK Alien Jumbo Kenner-inspired Figure.
Gentle Giant Ltd. has taken an original 18-inch Kenner Alien figure, rescaled it to a staggering 24 inches, and made it glow! Limited edition size of 250 pieces worldwide.
This gargantuan new Jumbo figure possesses new features based on the original – such as white teeth and a 100% glow-in-the-dark body. No detail has been overlooked. This enormous figure even features mechanically-activated jaws, just like the original! Packed in an Alien-inspired collector box, the Alien Kenner-inspired Jumbo Figure is a must-have for toy hunters from all generations!
Pre-Orders will ship after the SDCC
Regular Price: $499.00
Dimensions: H 24’’x W 7.25’’x D 9.85’’
Release Date: SDCC 2014
Click here for more info and to pre-order your Alien Glow-in-the-Dark Vintage Jumbo Figure. (Note that you need to be a Premier Guild member to access the page.)
As we eagerly anticipate the July 11th second season premiere of Netflix original series "Hemlock Grove," the show's first season has just been dated for home video release courtesy of the always awesome Scream Factory.
Read on for complete release details, including new bonus content that wasn't available on Netflix!
From the Press Release
Pack your bags and say your prayers — you’re on your way to Hemlock Grove. From executive producer Eli Roth, the Primetime-Emmy© nominated Netflix Original Series Hemlock Grove: The Complete First Season arrives on Blu-ray and DVD October 7, 2014, from Scream Factory.
Featuring all 13 exhilarating episodes from the shocking first season, the three-disc set also includes all-new bonus features not available on Netflix, including six all new vignettes. Horror aficionados should note that additional bonus features will be announced as excitement builds for this release, and fans can pre-order their copy now at ShoutFactory.com.
In a small Pennsylvania town, something evil has come in search of prey. But who is the true monster in Hemlock Grove? The brutal slaying of a teenage girl sends the townspeople of Hemlock Grove into a desperate search to find her killer. But this sleepy community soon finds itself living a nightmare as secrets and rumors threaten to drive them all down a dark path as they struggle to uncover the truth. As they hunt for a monster among them, rumors mount, and many of the eccentric residents become suspects, from the newly-arrived Gypsy family to the wealthy Godfrey clan. In the twisted world of Hemlock Grove, everyone hides a dark secret.
Executive produced by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever), based on the novel of the same name by Brian McGreevy, created by McGreevy along with Lee Shipman, and starring Famke Janssen (X-Men), Bill Skarsgård (Anna Karenina), Landon Liboiron (Altitude), Penelope Mitchell ('The Vampire Diaries"), and Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II), Hemlock Grove: The Complete First Season, produced by Gaumont International Television for Netflix, is an atmospheric and gripping horror thriller series unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Well then. We cannot say that we saw this one coming. The Tracking Board is reporting that a sequel to the Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy comedic witch flick from 1993, Hocus Pocus, is officially on its way. Read on for the first details.
This new Hocus Pocus will focus (see what I did there?) "on a witch hunter who teams up with a magical housewife to stop a power-hungry evil witch.”
The original cast is not likely to be coming back. Allison Shearmur Productions has signed to produce Hocus Pocus 2: Rise of the Elderwitch. Tendo Nagenda and Jessica Virtue are executive producing at Disney.
The aim for the two protagonist female leads is in the vein of Tina Fey and Melissa McCarthy. While the original film dealt with three witch-sisters coming back on Halloween night, this story seems to focus on drawing different people together to fight a common evil.
UPDATE: According to Deadline, only part of the above story is accurate. They say that Disney is in early development with Tina Fey on a supernatural-themed feature, but it’s not the Hocus Pocus sequel described above. Instead it's currently known as "Untitled Witch Project," which will be produced by Fey and Allison Shearmur with Fey attached to star.
We'll keep our eyes and ears open for more updates!
So far HBO has only released one clip from the upcoming "True Blood" Episode 7.03, "Fire in the Hole," but we'll keep our eyes open for more. In the meantime here's a peek at Sookie and Bill... together again!
As a bonus treat, we have an extra segment from the network's "Farewell to Bon Temps" special that aired June 15th, which you'll find below the preview of "Fire in the Hole."
Related Story: Visit our "True Blood" archive.
Episode 7.03 - “Fire in the Hole” (air date 7/6/14)
Sookie (Anna Paquin) hatches a dangerous plan to take down the H-Vamps, even as Vince (Brett Rickaby) and his armed vigilantes pose an equally serious threat.
Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) gets high with James (Nathan Parsons); Jason (Ryan Kwanten) eyes a family future with Violet (Karolina Wydra); Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire) is forced to find a new place to stay; Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp) sheds her past.
Meanwhile, Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) offers Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) a compelling reason to return to Louisiana – and be the vampire he used to be. Written by Brian Buckner; directed by Lee Rose.
Eric Bana’s latest role as real-life NYPD Officer Ralph Sarchie finds the accomplished Aussie actor firmly entrenched in a world where evil goes way beyond the typical street crime and routine arrest. As a cop with South Bronx's 46th Precinct in the Nineties, Sarchie had seen it all...
But it was his involvement with cases concerning the occult the revealed his true purpose.
On a rainy night on location in the Bronx way back in July of 2013, Dread Central and a few other outlets had the chance to speak to Bana (fittingly, inside an old church) about the responsibility of telling Sarchie’s story in a believable way.
Dread Central: So it sounds like you’ve been dealing with quite a bit of prosthetics and other things like that on this film. How has that experience been?
Eric Bana: No, not for me. Not too bad. I mean, I have a reoccurring stitch that comes on and off a couple of times a day, but no, my prosthetic load is almost nothing compared to what some of the other characters have. There is a large prosthetic load on that department, but not for me.
DC: We just spoke to the real Ralph Sarchie. How have you been getting into this real-life guy’s skin?
EB: Scott [Derrickson] wrote a really very character-filled script. I mean, that’s why I signed on to do the film. That character was just so strong on the page. So he was really there. And I came out a couple of months before we started shooting. I got to meet Ralph and spent some time with him and just selfishly kind of cherry-picked what I felt would work well for the film. So I have stolen some bits and pieces and some elements, but it wasn’t entirely essential. He was just very giving in his time. There are certain elements to police work in the 46th and in the Bronx. There’s a certain way about them that you can’t get away with not playing. So getting some time with those guys was really helpful.
DC: For you what was the meat on the bone in this story? What interests you about it?
EB: A character who is so complex but at the same time really elegantly written. I remember years ago I read Man on Fire. In fact, it wasn’t offered to me. I always read stuff that I can’t even do. I read Man on Fire and it was a great script, but the central character was… You read it and you thought, "‘Wow, how are we going to follow this guy doing all this stuff?"’ And then Denzel... he’s probably out-and-out my favorite actor. I saw the film, and it was probably one of the greatest acting lessons because he was just so good as that character that you never questioned whether or not you were meant to like him or not. You just experienced his trajectory. That was what it was about. The character of Ralph Sarchie in this movie reminds me, in some ways, whether it be likability or complexity, of that because not everything we see him do we’re going to enjoy. But it’s a great challenge as an actor. In Scott’s films the characters are very strong... really, really strong. When I saw Sinister and Emily Rose, I was really intrigued. I thought this script was in keeping with that strong character at the center of these really interesting, scary stories. So, selfishly for me, it was Ralph that really jumped off the page and Scott’s previous work. I’ve not worked in this genre, and I’m really excited about it. It’s potentially a lot of fun.
DC: Ralph said he was always a true believer in the supernatural, in the occult. Does your version of him in the film have a little bit more of a skeptical edge?
EB: Very skeptical. So I liked that arc. Without giving too much away, certainly for a majority of the film, I’m playing the role of someone who is selling the supernatural to him[self] when he comes across it. It’s the beginning of that character’s journey. He’s just a 46th Precinct, tough-as-hell cop. So that’s who he is. He has no predetermined belief in the supernatural or anything like that.
DC: What’s his trial by fire that takes him through the gateway into this weird world?
EB: Well, I guess that insinuates that he gets there in the end, and I don’t want to give away whether or not he does.
DC: This is apparently a hardcore, no-going-back R-rated story, and was so even from the script. Were you concerned about the content?
EB: Definitely, yeah, but there were some really good discussions. At the end of the day, I think you really have to put your total faith in the director in those instances because tonally and visually, that’s really in the edit. They can make it a smorgasbord of material, and it’s up to them then, according to taste and preference, to go and assemble that, because it’s really all in the edit, how that stuff plays out: how brutal or non-brutal, how gory or non-gory. So I’ve really got just complete faith in Scott. I’d met with him a couple of times long before we signed on, and we got along extremely well and saw things very similar. So I have a lot of trust in him.
DC: As the lead actor, when you’ve got so much blood and gore to deal with and there are so many intense scenes you have to prep for, how do you get in the mindset for reacting to demons and being scared?
EB: Have you seen some of our locations? The first question I asked Scott when I met him was, “Tell me we’re not shooting this in Toronto, please?” He said, “No, no. We are shooting this in the Bronx.” I was like, “Okay. This is a great early actor-director conversation. I’m going to hold you to that.” Because quite often these movies will end up going wherever it’s going to be best on paper and not best for the movie. In this case the producers and the director were just right from the get-go [saying], “No, we’re shooting in the Bronx.” And it’s absolutely essential cinematically. It doesn’t exactly let the production design department off the hook totally. They’ve had to work really hard as well. This is not you come to work and just chill. Every night it’s pretty full-on for the crew and we’re out on the street at night. And it adds... a certain level of tension amongst everyone without even thinking about it; every day we come to work based on locations that really, I think, will help the film.
DC: What kinds of accidents – happy accidents or unhappy accidents – have resulted from doing so much on location?
EB: I’ve got to say the locals have, by and large, been very, very, very good to us.
DC: Were you at all familiar with this borough before doing this? Or just through the movies?
EB: The Warriors was one of my favorite films. But, no. So, like I say, I was really excited when they signed off on… every location. When we were on Long Island for the jail, I think that was a real jail, right? We have a tiny bit of stage work the last week, but basically we’ve been out here every night.
DC: You’re pretty tall and the locations seem pretty cramped. How’s that been working out for you?
EB: My brother is 6'7" so I’m getting a taste of what life is like for him. Joel [McHale] is taller than me, so… Tight spaces are really interesting. You were talking about before how does [location work] help? It just helps. You pare it down to the bare essentials, but you’re always going to have your A-camera operator and focus puller, your boom operator, one actor, and the way that [cinematographer] Scott Kevan is shooting this film, so much of it is very dark and with flashlight. We sort of self-light ourselves through scenes. Scott will quite often be in there with a torch running bounce in the room whilst we’re in there. So I really like it. That stuff never distracts me. I really enjoy that stuff and I enjoy having another job to do, if it’s like, “Is it possible for you to hit that bounce in the corner in this part of the scene.” It doesn’t take me out of the moment. I really enjoy that sort of stuff. So the shooting style of the film also really adds to the experience.
Joel McHale, Sean Harris, Edgar Ramirez, and Olivia Munn star alongside Eric Bana. The film is a paranormal thriller produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Scott Derrickson directs a script he and Paul Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) wrote.
Look for Deliver Us from Evil in theaters now.
New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Based upon the book, which details Sarchie’s bone-chilling real-life cases.
For more info "like" Deliver Us from Evil on Facebook.
A few days ago we brought you a gallery's worth of images from the David Jung-directed The Possession of Michael King, heading our way in August from Anchor Bay, and now today we're back with the first official trailer for the film.
The Possession of Michael King Release Details
Anchor Bay Films is releasing the highly-anticipated, terrifying supernatural horror film THE POSSESSION OF MICHAEL KING in theaters on August 22nd and available On iTunes, On Demand, DVD, and Blu-ray on August 26th.
THE POSSESSION OF MICHAEL KING is an intense supernatural spine-tingler from the producers of White Noise and The Haunting In Connecticut, directed by first-time director David Jung and starring Shane Johnson (Starz’ upcoming “Power”), Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3), Julie McNiven (TV’s “Supernatural”, “Mad Men”), and Tomas Arana (Guardians of the Galaxy). The film is written by David Jung from a story by Jung and Tedi Sarafian (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines).
The film tells the story of documentary filmmaker Michael King (Johnson), who doesn’t believe in God or the Devil. Following the sudden death of his wife, Michael decides to make his next film about the search for the existence of the supernatural, making himself the center of the experiment – allowing demonologists, necromancers, and various practitioners of the occult to try the deepest and darkest spells and rituals they can find on him – in the hopes that when they fail, he’ll once and for all have proof that religion, spiritualism, and the paranormal are nothing more than myth. But something does happen. An evil and horrifying force has taken over Michael King. And it will not let him go.
THE POSSESSION OF MICHAEL KING was produced by Paul Brooks and executive produced by Scott Niemeyer and Guy Danella.
Indie filmmaker L. Gustavo Cooper is back with another tale of terror called The Devil Incarnate, and it's getting set for an October 7, 2014, DVD release from RLJ / Image Entertainment. Read on for artwork, details, and more!
Graci Carli and Rod Luzzi star.
The future looks bright for newlyweds Trevor and Holly, but their dreams are about to devolve into a nightmare of unspeakable terror.
On a random visit to a tarot reader, they encounter a mysterious old woman who tells them that Holly is pregnant. As the child grows within her, Holly begins to exhibit increasingly bizarre and violent behavior. Soon their joy is overshadowed by a mounting sense of dread that something sinister lurks within her womb. Desperate to save his wife and unborn child, Trevor searches for answers and discovers Holly may have fallen prey to an ancient curse spawned by an evil demon with an insatiable lust for blood.
More talent is on its way to the upcoming anthology film based upon the stories of Thomas Tessier, World of Hurt, and we have all the details you need right here without having to suffer through any pain at all. Well... some pain is okay, but don't blame us if you get really messed up.
From the Press Release
Producer/actor/writer Tom Malloy (pictured) has just signed on to bring his extensive and multifaceted producing skills to THOMAS TESSIER’S WORLD OF HURT horror anthology.
“My whole life I’ve been an avid fan of scary and horror movies,” Malloy said, “and the idea of bringing Tom Tessier’s stories to the screen was exactly the project I was looking for. And when I saw the caliber of the talented directors involved, I was in!”
Tom not only produces; he also acts and writes. He brought all three skills into play as the producer/writer/actor who starred in THE ATTIC with Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men") and THE ALPHABET KILLER, which was directed by Rob Schmidt (WRONG TURN, "Masters of Horror"). Tom has worked alongside Eliza Dushku ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," WRONG TURN), Cary Elwes (SAW), Bill Moseley (TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS), and Tom Noonan (THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL). Malloy has even shared screen time with Betty White.
“Getting in on the ground floor of a horror franchise like THOMAS TESSIER’S WORLD OF HURT is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I can’t wait to see these five very dark and disturbing stories come to life. And then we’ll start right in on WORLD OF HURT 2!”
In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Tom is an accomplished author whose book BANKROLL: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films is considered the “gold standard” of indie film financing instruction.
The nightmare-inducing series based on the hit video game series Silent Hill by Konami Digital Entertainment returns to IDW this summer with a brand new chapter, Silent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story.
Featuring the dark origins of Downpour’s enigmatic antagonist, this new comic book series will delve deeper into the history of prison guard Anne Marie Cunningham as well as further explore the fog-shrouded haunted town that is caught between realities.
Introduced in Silent Hill Downpour, officer Anne Cunningham set out on a bloody quest for revenge. The mystery surrounding her journey to Silent Hill and the terrors she faced upon her arrival will finally be revealed, giving readers an entirely new perspective on the acclaimed video game.
Having written both previous Silent Hill series at IDW, Sinner’s Reward and Past Life, as well as co-written the video game Silent Hill Downpour, Tom Waltz returns to the foggy town that bleeds horror.
“This will be my fourth foray as a writer into the dark side streets and alleyways of everyone’s favorite haunted vacation town, and I couldn’t be more excited,” said Waltz. “More so because we finally get to share Anne Marie Cunningham’s canonical backstory, a mystery only hinted at until now. In our new story we can finally present all her grim and dirty secrets to Silent Hill fans, old and new alike.”
Diving head first into Silent Hill is Australian artist Tristan Jones (Ghostbusters, Hoax Hunters), who is handling covers and interior art.
Debuting this August, Silent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story opens up a whole new experience for fans and players and stands tall as a horrifying tale all its own!
We've been talking about the upcoming Sasquatchploitation film Love in the Time of Monsters for some time now, and the good news is the film has found distro so we'll actually be able to see it, too! Oh, happy day!
From the Press Release
After a successful premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival and a recent screening at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood (through Dances with Films), Indican Pictures is proud to announce that they’ve secured the domestic distribution rights to horror comedy Love in the Time of Monsters.
“We just came to love this gem of a movie, and after watching it on the big screen with a riled up audience, I knew I had to have it!” (Randolph Kret, Indican Pictures VP)
Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th, Hatchet I, II, III, Daredevil, Wishmaster), Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, F/X’s "The Strain," Hellboy, Hellboy II, TNT’s "Falling Skies"), Michael McShane ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?," "Doctor Who," Spawn, A Bug's Life), and Shawn Weatherly (Former Miss Universe and Miss USA, "Baywatch," Police Academy 3) all star. Love in the Time of Monsters marks the first time both horror legends Kane Hodder and Doug Jones are appearing in the same film!
Love in the Time of Monsters is a suspenseful, campy, hilarious horror film that weaves an outrageous tale of love and zombie Bigfoots through the dark woods of Northern California. While Love in the Time of Monsters is violent and scary at times, its major themes are sacrifice, courage, and forgiveness; imagine if Peter Jackson and John Hughes co-created Night of the Living Dead or Aliens.
Two sisters travel to a cheesy tourist trap where they battle toxic monsters dressed in Bigfoot costumes in order to save the ones they love with the help of one of the redwoods’ most mysterious inhabitants.
Dread Central is pleased to announce that we've teamed up with Nightmare Magazine to present new horror fiction to our readers. Once a month we'll be featuring a story from Nightmare’s current issue. Kicking things off is our July selection, “The Black Window” by Lane Robins.
We hope you enjoy it; please let us know what you think!"THE BLACK WINDOW" by Lane Robins
The house looked like a sand castle after the tide had come in. Except sand suggested a crumbling grayness, and the tall, narrow house was a fresh white. A front porch was large enough for a swinging bench if I could bear that level of domesticity. Blue shutters marched from the ground floor to the third, and above that—
“. . . a finished attic,” the Realtor told me.
The house was . . . nice. Nothing I’d ever wanted. I loved my job, loved that my years were split between sublet apartments and archaeological digs around the world.
But things had changed.
New job, new town, new responsibilities.
“There are four bedrooms, two bathrooms,” he said, and ushered me in.
The house was simply laid out—a hallway, a room on either side, stairs at the end of the hall. The kitchen was to my left, and it might have been updated since the thirties, but nothing else seemed to have been. The floor was scarred hardwood, and the doors had actual keyholes. The dining room was dark. Windowless.
“That’s unusual,” I said, roused to comment.
The Realtor sighed. “The house was bigger once. There was even an attached stable. But time takes things away.”
That was the first utterly true thing he’d said. Six weeks ago, I’d been a daughter. Now, I was a parent to my fourteen-year-old siblings, Maddy and Aiden. Now, I was an orphan.
Six weeks ago, I’d been a footloose archaeologist. Now, I was trying not to let my grief sink me, starting a job as a community college teacher in Missouri, and taking on a mortgage.
The twins needed stability. I wished I could have kept them in their Chicago home, but our parents had double-mortgaged and I couldn’t afford the payments.
“There’s even a garden,” the Realtor said. “You like to dig, right?”
You like to dig. That was one terrible way to sum up my now-dead career as a field archaeologist. It wasn’t worth correcting him. Controlling my grief had ground me down to the essentials. I had to be strong for the kids. I had to make it work.
The second floor echoed the first: a regular bedroom on one side, a windowless bedroom on the other, stairs and bath at the end of the hall. “Isn’t there a law about windows in bedrooms?”
“Grandfathered in,” the Realtor told me.
It was good enough. A week later, we moved in.
• • • •
“Holly,” Maddy yelled from the floor above, “I’m claiming this room!”
It was the first thing she’d said to me since I’d told them about the new house. A miscalculation on my part. I’d accepted the necessity of moving; I’d expected them to have done the same. But Maddy had shrieked, thrown her purse at me, and stormed into her room, where she posted her displeasure on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, tagging me so I’d know I was ruining her life. Even Aiden had complained, just once, but bitterly—you’re getting rid of Mom and Dad’s house?
I’d been furious and hurt. Didn’t they understand what I’d given up? Didn’t they think I missed our parents, too?
Didn’t they know I was doing my best?
So now, with Maddy laying noisy claim to a room, I took it as a good sign. Maybe she’d forgiven me.
Aiden stood beside me, contemplating his sneakers. When I nudged him, asked, “Don’t you want to pick a room?” he looked at me blankly. His new normal. He used to be an expressive kid. There were pictures boxed somewhere in storage to prove it.
Another shout from above. “Holly, I can’t get a signal! I need the internet!”
“I’m working on it,” I shouted back. The local cable company had made soothing noises about super-fast cable, made less soothing noises about how soon it could be connected. “Can you wait a week?”
A wordless shriek was my answer.
Aiden didn’t weigh in one way or another. Then again, his laptop had broken and he wouldn’t let me get him another. Not even a tablet.
Aiden had been in the car when the truck plowed through the intersection. Dad had died behind the wheel, and Mom . . . Aiden had been playing with his laptop when the truck hit. His laptop had torn through the car like a missile, breaking Mom’s neck.
“C’mon,” I said. “Let’s go pick a room.” He pulled away when I touched his shoulder.
Maddy had picked the second-floor bedroom with the wide window, alongside the larger of the two bathrooms. It was a nice day and sunlight radiated brightly enough to penetrate through the hall and into the dark bedroom. I put my head in. Not as grim as I remembered. Still, I wanted Aiden to have real light if possible. I urged him upstairs.
Maddy said, “Why can’t he be down here with me?”
“Don’t you want your own bathroom?”
“I’ll have to share with you,” Maddy said. Her grimace made it clear what she thought of that.
I shook my head. I wanted to be on the same floor as Aiden. He needed looking after. “You can have it all to your lonesome.”
That didn’t make her happy either. She scowled and trudged up the stairs after Aiden. I didn’t know what I’d done wrong now, and gave up trying to figure it out.
Aiden ignored both third floor rooms, and peered up the narrow stairs. “There’s an attic? I always wanted to live in an attic,” he murmured, as if he’d nearly forgotten that desire. As if he’d nearly forgotten how to want things.
We went on up. The attic was spacious, shadowy beneath the slanted eaves, but dry and clean. The floorboards had been painted white, and unlike the lower floors, the west side of the attic had a window. In keeping with the blind walls below, the window had been painted black.
A small window on the north wall spilled light across the floor, raising dust motes. Aiden wandered the room, testing how far he could go before the slanting roof made it impossible to walk upright.
“Can I have this room?”
“There’s no bathroom up here. No outlets; it’ll be dark,” I pointed out. But this was the first thing Aiden had asked for since the accident. I wanted to give it to him. I had kept all my gear, had battery operated lanterns from my digs. We could make it work.
“I think it’s painted on the outside,” Maddy said. She picked at the glass with her thumbnail, but the black wasn’t coming off.
It was an odd window. The north window was the usual type of attic window, a wood-paned hexagon that didn’t open. The black window looked like a regular window, two large panes, one above the other.
Maddy shoved at the sill, grunting with frustration, and my heart skipped. “Don’t!” I imagined her falling through, another abrupt tragedy. My hands shook.
She huffed. “Jeez, calm down.”
Aiden ran his fingers along the join of frame and glass. “Maybe they caulked it shut.”
“You’ll roast during the summer,” Maddy predicted. “The whole attic’s gonna stink like sweaty boy.”
“I don’t care.”
“You’ll be two floors away!” Maddy said, an edge in her voice. Her inevitable anger.
Aiden said, “You can text me.”
“You’re a dick,” she said.
“Hey,” I intervened. Maddy stomped downstairs, and I tried to remember that she was grieving, not just a pain in the ass.
I found a smile for Aiden. “You sure you want the attic?”
He nodded, studying the window.
“Maybe I can get the paint off.”
The air was cooler in the deep slant of the wall, and the black glass was blacker, the color deeper, dense. I ran my fingers over the glass, testing. It was cold even on the warm day. The glass didn’t have any of the streaks or bubbles I expected from paint. Stained glass, maybe.
I unclipped the penlight from my belt loop. The light bounced back, didn’t seem to penetrate.
I breathed against the glass, laid my palm against it. The window . . . twitched.
I jerked back, falling over my feet, dropping the light. It hit the floor, bounced, and disappeared into a gap between the wall and eaves.
“You okay?” Aiden said. Not quite concern, not quite disinterest. At least he’d noticed.
“Bird must have hit the house,” I said. “Startled me.”
• • • •
I took a bedroom on the third floor, the better to keep an eye on Aiden. I chose the dark one in case Aiden changed his mind about the attic. I never knew what the teens were thinking, and half the time I figured they didn’t either—changing their minds as the wind blew.
It was nearly three am, after a brutally tough series of days—packing, moving out, the drive, moving in—and I couldn’t sleep because Aiden was doing . . . something . . . in the attic. Scrabbling and scratching and thumping.
I struggled up the stairs, leaden with exhaustion. “Aiden?”
He crashed about and swore, a flurry of noise, but no boy. I finally located him, a dark shadow beneath the dark eaves, glimmering light edging his face.
“My penlight . . .”
“I can’t reach it,” he said. “And I can’t sleep with it shining.” He sounded as tired as I felt, near tears.
The penlight had caught somewhere beneath the black window—even more eerie at night, velvety matte and as deep as a starless night. I tore my eyes away and tested the gap between the wall. Two inches. Wide enough to swallow the penlight, too narrow to get a hand down there.
I sat back, tried to think. My penlight had a carabiner at the end of it, making it easy to hook to things. “Get me a wire hanger.” Aiden did, and I pressed my shoulder against the window, trying to get the angle right. Metal grated, wire catching. I pulled.
In my ear, the window sobbed. Something like a dying foghorn over distant waters. I nearly lost my grip. Just the wind, sighing through the eaves outside. Nothing more.
I yanked the hanger up; caught on the end was a small book with a metal clasp.
“What’s that?” Aiden asked, peering over my shoulder.
“Old,” I said, my fingers sandy with dust. “Guess we’re not the first one to lose stuff here.” I passed him the journal and went back for the flashlight.
Once I had it snagged, I switched it off and left us in the dark.
“Can you sleep now?”
“I’ll try,” he said.
“You want me to stay until you do?”
Quick, heartfelt. Hurtful. A clear rejection.
“Sleep well,” I told him, and sought the hall below. The strange wind, that breathless sob of air, seemed to follow me. I shuddered. It took me far too long to realize it wasn’t the wind. I opened Maddy’s door, and her sobs hitched, broke. “Get out!”
Her face was blotched and swollen with tears. When I hesitated, she threw her pillow at me and said, “I hate you! Get out!”
Mom would have known what to say; she would have soothed Maddy’s tears. Dad would have jollied Maddy out of them, fed her ice cream and made her laugh so hard she nearly puked chocolate sauce. They’d done the same for me once upon a time.
I lay in my bed, in the darkness as absolute as a tomb, and refused to cry. Above me, the window keened.
• • • •
The next night, Maddy got over her huff enough to boot me out of the kitchen when she declared my pizza making skills “pathetic.” I climbed the stairs into Aiden’s attic. He jerked away from the window and I felt that familiar swoop of anxiety.
The window was still sealed. No four-story drop for him.
I wondered if I’d ever get free of that sick sense of terror, that at any moment I was going to lose Aiden or Maddy.
“Hey,” I said. “Pizza in ten or twenty or whenever Maddy gets bored of playing chef.”
Aiden pointed at the black window, greased with his earprint, and said, “Do you hear that?”
He gestured me over to the window. Reluctantly, I put my ear to the glass—so strangely cold on a warm night—and I heard the whistle and suck of a vast wind, stronger and louder than it had been last night. Not just a wind, but a gale. I retreated, went to the other window, and peered out. Late spring evening, the sun still high, and the trees . . . motionless.
“It’s not windy outside.”
“Not here,” Aiden said. “The window goes someplace else.”
“That’s not possible.”
I put my hand back on the black glass, leaned closer, rested my forehead against it, trying to look through. The window shivered; vibrations moved through my skull. I pictured black storm clouds in a black sky, a whole range of inky colors, rising and falling. It wasn’t wind, I thought. It was like whale song, the cries of some enormous beasts some enormous distance away.
I shivered. I’d had this same cold feeling once on a dig in the Yucatan, right before I saw a jaguar stalking our camp. The hind-brain recognized threats before the conscious mind could.
“I think you should move downstairs,” I said slowly.
“Please.” I looked at the attic room, at Aiden. He seemed small and lost in this space, dwarfed beside the window. We’d rigged lights but all they did was cast shadows. Aiden crossed his arms over his narrow chest.
“No. I like this room. I like the window.”
“I don’t think it’s safe.”
“Driving down the street’s not safe,” Aiden said. He sounded tired and bitter.
Maddy poked her head into the room. “I’ve been calling and calling . . . what’s going on?” Suspicion crawled across her features, shifting quickly to anger. “What are you two talking about?”
“Nothing,” I said, just as Aiden said, “The window.”
Maddy glared at me and stomped over beside her brother. “What about it?”
“It’s weird,” he said.
“Weird how?” she snapped.
“I think it goes someplace else,” Aiden told her.
Maddy wrinkled her nose. “Like where?”
“It’s got to be a trick of architecture,” I said, trying for rationality. “No wind outside, but maybe beneath the eaves?”
Aiden didn’t even look at me. “Just someplace else.”
“What’s that?” Maddy asked. She pounced on Aiden’s bed, dragged a book out of the tangle of sheets. I recognized it when she brought it up, and forgot about the window for a moment.
“Oh, the book?” I held out my hand, but Aiden snatched it from Maddy.
“It’s about the house,” he said. “About that window.”
The window loured behind us, black and cold. I thought about that bluster of wind, about the sounds that traveled thinly through the glass. “The book’s about the window?”
“I just started reading,” Aiden said.
I licked my lips. I itched to have the journal in my own hands, but Aiden cradled it close. Maddy shifted to stand at his shoulder. A united force.
“You tell me what you find out,” I said. “And don’t mess with the window.”
• • • •
Aiden delved into the journal with all the fervor of a born-again into the Bible. At first, I was glad to see it—I wanted to know about the window just as much as he did. Was it paint or some special glass that made it so dark? What made the winds—an accident of architecture, or design? I imagined the three of us talking about it, bonding. But though Aiden spent all his time with the journal, he shared nothing with me. When I asked him direct questions, his answers were unsatisfying, and full of covert glances at Maddy. He was talking to her, but not me.
After six meals spent in attempted interrogation, while Aiden ignored me and Maddy rolled her eyes and bitched about the food, I gave up. At least, I gave up asking Aiden. All he’d coughed up was that the window had been in the stables and was moved to the main house after the stable came down.
I decided I’d have to read the journal myself. Easier said than done. Aiden guarded the book zealously. I was determined. I couldn’t let it go. Now that I’d heard the winds behind the black window, I couldn’t stop hearing them.
At night, in my room, the sound crept through my walls, moaning like the spirits of the forsaken. When I wasn’t listening to the window, I was listening to Aiden cry out in his sleep, to Maddy sobbing in the dark.
I was equipped to solve old mysteries. To be a parent? I was ill-equipped, digging without a plan.
When Aiden was out of the attic, I was in it, poking at the window. The glass stayed cold, but when I breathed on it, the glass refused to let my breath touch it. The sounds outside were louder, it seemed, or maybe I was just . . .
The window scared me.
The black window felt like a threat, a looming storm over our heads.
The next time Aiden headed for a shower, I braved the black window’s judgmental eye and tossed his room ruthlessly. I found the journal with my fingertips first—the cracked leather binding, the thick paper, crumbling at the edges—and pulled it out from his pillowcase. I locked myself into my bedroom, journal in hand.
Aiden shouted through the door, but I ignored him. Did him good to get upset about something other than our parents for once. Besides, he’d lied to me when he said he hadn’t read far into the journal. Aiden had bookmarked dozens of pages—the journal bristled with curling scraps of paper. He’d read it through more than once.
Maddy joined Aiden, drawn up the stairs by his unexpected fury, and she added her protests to his. “It’s not funny, Holly!” she shouted. “Give it back. It’s not for you!”
“When I’m done!”
As I read, my outrage at Aiden’s lies turned to a brittle anxiety. Aiden had bookmarked it like a textbook, studied it. And the material was . . . disturbing. Each scrap of paper marked another horrifying entry about the window.
The window had been in the stable. But no one knew who had put it in. The stable hand said it just appeared one night. It had been a mystery, but a benign one.
Until the stable hand disappeared.
The horses shrieked and Annabel fled the supper table, gathering the boys as she went. I followed, quick as my bad leg would allow. I feared fire, but what we found was something peculiar. The horses frothed with terror, and Annabel and the boys hastened to get them to the paddock. I lingered, and when I saw . . . when I understood, I fell back against the doors, numb and bewildered.
Our stables are small, as befit our small family. Eight stalls, eight horses. Yet, the eighth stall had vanished as if it had never been.
Four stalls along one side; three along the other, a smooth expanse of sanded wood where there should be another space, and Edward and Pretty, the spotted mare, vanished along with that eighth stall.
My breath failed as I saw the unaccountable window had not disappeared with Pretty, but moved, closer to the house, settled into the first stall.
I read on; apparently the horses never recovered their nerves and Annabel had the stables torn down, the land given over to a much needed vegetable patch. I checked the date—1942—the midst of World War II, and the homeowner’s bad leg probably a result of World War I.
The pounding on my door stopped.
I flipped to the next bookmark, though my fingers were numb from clutching the book so tightly. The paper fluttered free and I lost the spot.
I browsed roughly, the pages tearing beneath my fingers, scanning the tiny text. The page that I stopped on was a faded sketch of a house plan. I recognized the tower at the end—where we lived now—but most of the page was taken up by the main house. The western wall of the house was marked with a black X. The note alongside it was laconic, a simple—the window is returned here.
I flipped the page, read more crabbed text.
The boys are fascinated by the black window, though Annabel tries to keep them from it, mindful of Edward’s incomprehensible fate. We have sealed off the parlor, much to the relief of the daily girl whose job it was to clean beneath that window’s gaze.
Though we have barred the door, the boys prove most enterprising at finding the key. How many mornings must I drag them out of there? They wait to see how daylight fails to seep through the darkness, and wonder at the shadows untouched by the sun’s rays. Annabel is distressed, nearly to hysterics. She has locked the room once more, and thrown the key away. Perhaps that will be the end of it, and we will, like one of Poe’s tales, have this room bricked in.
The next page dropped a photograph into my lap, showed me the family. Mother, father, two boys about Aiden’s age.
They looked nice, I thought and cringed. There was disaster looming on every page of the journal—the main house gone, the black window moved to the attic.
I opened to the next marked page, close to the end. The handwriting, tidy through all previous pages, was pen scratchings and damaged paper here.
The boys went through the window. I woke this morning certain that something was wrong. Houses become a part of you. Our breath lingers in the halls, our hearts beat in the empty spaces, our nerves search out the measure of our walls like they are our skins. I knew, even as I woke, that the house had changed. It was too empty, too small, too . . . terrible. A silence had crept inside where there should have been boyish voices.
The dining room was vanished. Only a smooth expanse of faded wallpaper remained. The boys . . . I knew they were gone. That they had managed to coax the window open. Annabel came upon me there and screamed. She tore through the house haranguing the servants to “look for the window! The black window!” By the cook’s shrieks, we found it, a black gloss in the pantry, shelves missing where the window had come to rest.
Annabel is determined to retrieve them, and may the good Lord forgive me, but I can not encourage her. The boys are lost to us; I know that. Nothing lives behind that false glass. I have heard the eerie cries, seen the darkness massed behind the window. It is the land of the dead waiting there, and nothing living can abide in it. But she will not be swayed.
I will use the servants’ exodus as cover for our own. I will plunder the house of our possessions; I will send Annabel to the church to pray and prepare for her rescue attempt. While she is out, I will fire the house and see if fire will do what tearing down could not.
The next pages proved that he had followed through, that he had burned down their home, and that Annabel had not forgiven him. She left him in the ashy rubble and returned to her family.
He moved into the ramshackle tower—the only remnant of his home.
I had cause to store all my goods in the attics while the rebuilding occurred—a rebuilding I had no desire for, but the community pitied me and in a paroxysm of civic duty subjected me to a welter of dust and noise, the chatter of strangers who commiserated with me over the loss of my family, and would not see that I had become that most useless of citizens: An old man who wants to be left alone. An old man with a secret.
The black window, you see, returns; it always returns. I have barricaded it behind furniture and hope that left alone, it will sleep. That it will remain unopened.
I closed the journal. I didn’t want to read more; I didn’t need to. So much of Aiden’s obsessiveness made terrible sense. The land of the dead? Aiden was still young enough to believe what was written. And Maddy—she hated me, sided with Aiden no matter what.
Panic broke through me, a lazy roll deep in my guts.
The house was silent. Aiden had stopped yelling at me. Maddy had stopped trying the door handle. When?
Aiden hadn’t wanted me to read the journal. Why?
Because I would stop him.
Would stop them.
But now they knew I knew.
I was on my feet, fumbling with the door latch, the slippery key, the old knob fighting me. I clung to hope. Aiden might be grief-stricken, guilt-mad, despairing, but Maddy . . . she was so angry. She wouldn’t let him go; she’d already lost so much, our parents, her friends, her school, her home . . .
I had climbed rock-strewn hills alongside goats, navigated tight underground caverns with ease, but I made a series of pratfalls as I raced out of the room, toward the attic. Toward the faint sounds that told me I wasn’t too late, wasn’t too late—
Glass cracked like a gunshot. Like a broken window.
• • • •
When I burst into the attic, Aiden was just dropping my wood ax to the floor. Beside him, Maddy held a lumpy woven coil that I recognized—the rope ladder from my field gear.
A silvery crack raced across the pristine blackness of the window, like a zipper pulling apart.
The space beyond moaned, hungry.
“Don’t,” I whispered, breathless. “Please, don’t.”
The window tore. Darkness spilled into the attic, icy and thick as fog banks. Maddy spun and hurled the rope ladder into the darkness. Aiden slipped over the side, vanishing like he’d been swallowed whole.
“We just want Mom,” Maddy said, her voice as broken as the glass. “We want Dad. It’s okay, Holly. You tried.” She slung a leg over the sill.
I forded the room, blackness spreading like ink over my legs, sneakers, ankles, jeans, coiling hungrily around my hips. I caught Maddy’s arm, but she slid from my grasp, sucked out into the eclipsing darkness. My nails left rake marks on her flesh, and her blood spotted the floor between us.
Then they were both gone.
• • • •
I went after them though my legs shook and tears slicked my face. I crossed the sill, and slung myself down the first rungs.
Maddy and Aiden were so young. They believed blindly. If some delusional writer said it, it must be true. It could be built on. The land of the dead? A fact; therefore, our parents would be waiting for them.
The ladder’s rope steps curved and swayed beneath me as I climbed down into . . .
I wanted to think ‘void’ but void suggested emptiness and this place was anything but empty. It was black and cold and so full of dark, broken things that the air vibrated with their passings and collisions. So crowded that I felt my lungs constrict. My bird’s eye view was dark, dark, dark, but there were shapes moving around me, above me, below. And threaded beneath all of that movement, other dark lines. Buildings? Roads? Nothing I understood.
Something bellowed in the darkness, a foghorn burst of loss and hunger, a cry that weakened my bones.
Maddy’s pale hair was an unmoving beacon. My hands and feet were slow to move me down one rung to the next. Maddy clung, shaking, to the ladder. When I reached her, she launched herself at me, holding hard enough to bruise.
“Go up!” I told her. Tried to tell her. The words were torn from my lips and shredded. Nothing human was welcome here. I shoved Maddy upward.
We both looked up, and there was nothing to see, no sign of the window to our world. Her face contorted, terror and fury and betrayal—this wasn’t what she’d wanted.
I had to believe we could escape; I shoved harder. “Go!”
Her lips moved, Aiden, and I nodded.
She climbed slowly, so terribly slowly, and I felt all of that black within the black swooping around us, noticing us . . .
I forced myself downward. Aiden had been just a moment before us on the ladder. He couldn’t be too far . . . Unless he’d fallen.
My throat and eyes burned.
This place felt like it was eating away at my bones from the inside. Some sizzle in the air made my lungs ache. I leaned into the ladder, coughing. I rubbed my face on my wrist and left it smudged black.
I went down.
Hand under hand, foot below foot, I went, swaying through the caustic air, buffeted by cold, fume-laden winds.
I nearly stepped on Aiden’s head, his pale hair coated with black streaks. He clung to the end of the ladder, a flutter of cauterized nylon dangling below us, into an abyss.
He stared down, hypnotized, one foot free. Ready to step off.
Wanting to believe.
His wrist felt like it was in rigor, ice cold and stiff. I recoiled, then seized hold again. He turned his head, slowly registering my presence. His eyes were black holes in a black-smeared face. His lips moved. I thought I saw the word why, the word find.
Below, the darkness shifted, revealing a landscape so inhospitable, the last of my breath went.
Aiden leaned forward, the ladder swaying, shifting with his weight, leaning over the darkness like a lure above black waters. I had one hand locked on his wrist, the other on the ladder. I tried to pull us up even one rung, but he resisted.
It was the final shock, piled on all the others. I couldn’t save him. No matter how desperately I wanted to. I couldn’t drag him up the ladder if he wouldn’t go.
I rested my face against his cold cheek and sobbed, the cries scoured out of my throat. “Please, please, please. They aren’t here. They’re gone. All we’ve got is each other.”
He couldn’t hear me. But he could feel my tears on his skin.
A cold touch on my hair, not a creature passing too closely by, not a gust of that foul, cold wind, but Aiden’s tentative fingers. An awkward pat. Offering comfort.
Aiden’s eyes glittered with tears, damp black streaks on his skin. The first connection I’d made with him since the funeral, and it was over the grief I’d been refusing to let him see.
I had been an idiot.
I pulled at the rung above, staring at his tear-stained face, and after a long, painful moment, Aiden did likewise.
We scaled the ladder, the fabric of it thinning, wearing beneath the constant winds.
We climbed and we climbed, stiff, cold marionettes. We climbed, sobbing and scared. We climbed. Just when I decided the window had vanished and left us stranded, clinging to the ladder, Maddy reached out her hand.
I pushed Aiden through the window, followed after. The attic was creaking and dead around us, the boards gone silver and cracking beneath the dark fogs.
“Hurry, hurry!” Maddy croaked.
We staggered from the attic, down the stairs, and out into the afternoon light. The kids looked like hell, skin grayish, lips and eyes stained black. Twin streaks of blackish blood ran from their noses, their lips. I didn’t feel much better. My nail beds were black and my breathing bubbled.
We huddled against each other, watching the house, watching the attic disappear.
• • • •
We ended up in the hospital for three nights, coughing up blood and bile and something that tasted like machine oil. The doctors were horrified as well as bewildered, though they assured us we were recovering.
Maddy and Aiden refused to leave my side so they found us a room to share. Aiden whispered on our second night, “Do you think Mom and Dad were there?”
“No,” I said.
“But it was dead there. It was the land of the dead,” Maddy said. She sounded like a two-pack-a-day smoker. “The book said so.”
“The book was wrong,” I managed. “I’ve seen humanity in every stage of ruin. There was nothing human over there.” I took a needed breath. “If it was the land of the dead, it wasn’t our dead.” I had been dreaming of what I’d seen, waking shuddering and anxious.
Maddy shivered, fell silent. She should have been the healthiest of the three of us, but the long minutes alone in the attic had done their own sort of damage.
We’d all come out with damage, but I reminded myself of the key part. We’d all come out.
• • • •
Three months later, Maddy and Aiden came home from a field trip and said they’d driven past our old house. They said it was being sold as a one story cottage, and that the front window was black.
Nightmare Magazine is edited by bestselling anthology editor John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead). This story first appeared in Nightmare’s July 2014 issue, which also features original fiction by Mari Ness (“Death and Death Again”), reprints by Denis Etchison (“Talking in the Dark”) and Tom Piccirilli (“The Misfit Child Grows Fat on Despair”), the latest installment of the horror column “The H Word,” plus author spotlights, a showcase on the cover artist, and a feature interview with Del Howison of the legendary Dark Delicacies bookstore in Los Angeles. You can wait for the rest of this month's contents to be serialized online, or you can buy the whole issue right now in convenient eBook format for just $2.99. It's a great issue so be sure to check it out. And while you're at it, tell a friend about Nightmare!
This story comes out of Mexico, and it's a doozy. There's a moment at the beginning of The Conjuring that made me sure I'd love the movie because it nails Ed Warren exactly. When the co-eds say they invited the spirit to live in the doll, Annabelle, Ed says (in the film), "You did WHAT?!?"
That, my friends, is Ed Warren, And that is my exact response to this story.
Alexandra Huerta is a 16-year-old orphan living with family in remote Tepotzlan, Mexico.
After voicing a desire to speak to and know her dead parents, who died when she was a baby, her guardians suggested she use a ouija board combined with a drug called Brugmansia. Brugsmansia, also called Angel's Trumpet, is used in shamanistic black magic rituals common in the rural areas surrounding Tepotzlan.
Alexandra, her brother, and her cousin brewed the traditional tea from the flowers of the plant, ingested it, and began using the ouija board.
You did WHAT?!?
Within minutes, they were all overcome. Speaking in voices not their own, they proceeded to attempt to harm themselves, even using kitchen utensils. The paramedics were called when attempts to rouse the teens from their horrific behavior failed. One paramedic took a two-minute video you can watch below... and be warned it is not for the faint of heart.
Writhing and saying that she's going to die, Alexandra is behaving, well, possessed.
The teens reported symptoms including horrific visions, numbness, and muscle spasms. They came out of the apparent effects of the possession while in the hospital. Their current condition isn't known, as family won't allow them to speak to outsiders. However, they say they fear they are still possessed.
According to the story, a local priest refused to perform an exorcism because they didn't attend his church, then stated a special priest from the city is required for exorcisms.
Is this a case of unsuspecting teenagers sent into madness by a natural drug concocted from the Angel's Trumpet flowers? Was their behavior just the effect of a strong hallucinogenic drug, or is there something more sinister at work? Did their attempt to reach the dead while dropping their mental and spiritual defenses lead to a flood of what can only be called the demonic?
Man, Ed, we miss you. You and Lorraine are needed in Mexico.