EVP Session, Historic Firehouse, Salem Mass.

I thought I’d do some not-exactly-beer-related posts in observance of the Halloween season just to have some outside of the norm fun.

While traveling, when Tracey and I are not seeking out the local beers and the various establishments that sell them, we’re searching for the local historic, and supposedly haunted places, to rest our weary heads for, hopefully, a not so restful night’s sleep.

My fascination with the paranormal is quite simply an extension of other aspects of my personality – my love for horror movies, occult, Halloween, and generally anything from TV shows like the Adams Family to things that might really be going bump in the night.

Do ghosts exist? I don’t know and I suppose to a large degree that’s what fascinates me about the topic. Certainly there’s a lot of supposed ‘evidence’ out there but I won’t deny that much of it is suspect at best, fraudulent at worst.

human-stories

But every now and then you come across something that seriously defies scientific or rational explanation, and it’s those times that really catch my curiosity.

Pseudo-science you say? Perhaps. But I spend all my working time in the real scientific would, and sometimes it’s just fun to let all of that hard, locked into the laws of Newton, Archimedes, Fermi, Kepler, Schrodinger, Hubble, and Cooper/Hofstadter stuff fade into the background for a bit and imagine ‘what if?’.

I suppose it can all be summed up by one of my favorite quotes by Thomas Hardy, “Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened.”

So with that in mind, I present some recordings I captured a few years ago during an EVP recording session while Tracey and I were spending a long weekend in Salem, Massachusetts (a more beer-centric view can be found here).

Along with graveyard tours, historical presentations and museum exhibitions, we got the chance to investigate with Paranormal Salem in the old Historical Firehouse that’s well known for its paranormal activity.

For those new to the game, EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon the premise of which is that under the right conditions and with the proper equipment voices of spirits can be captured as recordings

What those ‘right conditions’ and ‘proper equipment’ are varies from investigator to investigator, but many believe that all you need is a recorder and a haunted spot.

The audio samples below were captured on my handheld digital record during the EVP session which was held in the basement of the old firehouse. The session consisted of various people led by a representative from Paranormal Salem. All errant sounds were tagged – in other words a statement about the sound was spoken out load so as to not contaminate the recordings.

The sound file from my recorder was dropped into Audacity and split into the smaller samples that you hear below. The sound file was not altered or enhanced in anyway and all sounds and voices are exactly as taken off the recorder. Some fidelity was lost converting them to their current format, but other than that they are totally as recorded at the firehouse.

For each file a question mark will pop up at the point of the interesting sound or voice. I’ve hidden what I think it is saying (if I have a guess) between the two sets of ** so that you can have a chance to guess for yourself before seeing what we think it is. Just select the space between them to see what we think it says.

As with all these types of recordings, you might get better results if you’re listening through headphones.

We’ll start with the least interesting and work up.

The first one isn’t much, just an odd sound you can hear after the girl gets done asking her question:

After Tracey asks if the ghost known as the Boy in the Corner likes to play jokes, she appears to get an answer: What we think it says : **YES**

Another woman in the group asks for one of the ghosts to announce its favorite color. While I think I know what it seems to be saying, I find the choice rather interesting: What we think it says **White**

According to stories, the Boy in the Corner is often heard crying, when asked why that is, the answer seemed pretty clear: What we think it says **Daddy**

I have to admit, the first time I heard that last one I got chills.

Looking at it from an investigation standpoint, I’d say this was a pretty good collection of EVPs with that last one being very good. Unfortunately, nothing showed up in an photos we took.

We had a great time investigating with Paranormal Salem, not only at the Firehouse, but Tracey got to have a very good divining rod session out in the old graveyard and witches’ memorial. If you’re ever up in Salem and are interested in the paranormal you can investigate with them as well. You can find information on their group and investigative tours here.

In a few weeks we’ll be back in Gettysburg staying at the  infamous Sarah Black room at the Farnsworth Inn. Hopefully we can scare up something there. If we do, maybe I share it the next time Halloween comes around.

Until then –  Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh!

Product Review: Micca Speck Digital Media Player, Halloween Sounds and Video Where You Need It.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This post is part of my NOCTOBER series.  A group of posts I’ll be writing throughout November that are about subjects I would have written about in October if I hadn’t taken several weeks off to focus on Halloween.]

I wanted to write up a quick product review on a media player I’ve been using during Halloween for the past couple of years and I need to give a shout-out to Big Ant over at Eerie Acres Cemetery as it was his video review that first put me on to this nifty little box.

Sound is an essential element of a home haunt.  Like the background music in a movie it’s an important part of setting the overall mood that you’re going for; whether it be scary, eerie, or yes, even whimsical.

The problem is that sometimes getting the sound from where it is to where you need it can be a pain in the ass. Oh sure they sell these neat little things called cords, but those things aren’t always a cure all, in fact sometimes they can be down right frustrating.

Cords seem to be made these days under the assumption that nothing you have that makes sound is any further than 12ft from where you want the sound to go. Stores are full of terribly expensive cords that will move your sound 1, 3, 6 or 12 feet, but if you want to move it 30ft (something I do routinely in my home haunt) get ready to chain lots of cords together and hope that you don’t find yourself having an RCA jack when you need a 3.5mm. Sure you could go out and buy all those cords, or get custom ones made off the internet, but why not put your money into something that makes sound (and video) portability a little easier in Halloween (and non-Halloween) applications. Something with a little versatility?

The Micca Speck fills that bill nicely. This little unit (smaller than a pack of cigarettes) is a complete multimedia player capable of playing movies, music, and photos in a full range of formats; while also supporting folder hierarchies with a fully functioning file browser. The draw back? The Micca has no internal memory itself, but thanks to two slots on the unit’s front, if you can get it on an SD/SDHC card, or a USB host (flash drive, external hard drive, even a phone) you can play it on the Micca Speck.  What type of sound are we talking about? The unit outputs HDMI PCM 2.0, analog stereo and supports MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, APE, AAC formats.

What you get.
What you get.

That all sounds fancy, but what’s the bottom line? I used a Micca Speck to run my haunt’s thunder and songs, through my Haunt Master’s lightning boxes. With the Specks small size (and lack of any volume control) I was worried that the little box didn’t have the punch I needed.

No worries. The unit sounded great pumped through my 600 watt stereo system and even with my Bose cube speakers just sitting in the front windows the clear, distortion free sound could easily be heard well before you got in front of my house. While this set up didn’t really solve a portability issue I was having, what it did do was free up a laptop that would usually be tasked with this duty and allow me to use it somewhere else.

The unit’s portability could definitely help out in other areas – think running sounds for a cauldron creep, flying crank ghost or some other prop (except for one issue that needs to be addressed. More on that in a minute), conveniently and easier right from the prop location. The unit comes with a 3.5mm AV to R/L/V male RCA cable, so if your prop’s sound system is set up to accept male RCA jacks, you’re golden. Plus, its small size makes it easy to conceal in any prop.

Need video in your haunt? The Speck supports formats up to 1080p and 20-50mbps per second and will play videos in the following formats: MKV, AVI, TS/TP, MP4/M4V, MOV, VOB, PMP, RM/RMVB, MPG, M2TS, and WMV.

I put my second Micca unit (yes, I got two. Usually when I get something like this, fall in love with it, go to get another and find out they don’t make them anymore. Decided not to chance it in this case) to run my window projection effect. I ripped some videos off of a couple AtmosfearFX DVDs I had bought, loaded them onto a thumb drive and hooked the unit up to my projector. This is the second year I’ve run it without so much as a thought. I simply turn on my projector at night, and turn it off when I want.  The Speck unit does all the work.

Here’s some other basic information about the unit:

  • The box contains; 1) one Speck Unit, 2) one IR remote control, 3) one 3.5mm AV to R/L/V male RCA cable, 4) one 100-240V AC adapter. The unit has an HDMI output as well, but does not come with an HDMI cable.
  • The unit has features like auto play, repeat one/all, shuffle play, language settings, playback settings, and output settings; all of which can be controlled by the system’s menu or by the remote control.

However it’s not all puppy dogs and unicorns with the Speck. After a few years of using mine here are some things to be considered:

  • The unit has no battery support, so you have to use the included AC adapter. That’s not a major issue because as home haunters, we’re used to running electricity all over the place.
  • The unit is programmable through a system menu. To use the menu you need to hook the Speck into something that will accept the RCA jacks. To program mine, I just plugged them into the side jacks of a small TV I have, programmed the Speck to the settings I wanted, and then moved it where I needed it to be.
  • Most of my applications have been set and forget. I program the Speck as to which file type I want to play (audio/video/photo), set it to auto play and repeat all, and forget it. Which I think is the best way to use this unit, because to me, the remote is kind of useless except for simple things like skipping songs or turning shuffle on and off. The bottom line is that programming the Speck is more easily done through the menu.
  • The system uses a standard browser/file structure when dealing with media files. Any files in the top director of a device or card (IE not in a folder) will be played automatically if the auto play function is selected. I name my files so that they will be listed and be played in a certain order which seems to work great for my videos, but didn’t for the unit running the music. I didn’t have shuffle accidentally on (the files always played in the same order, just not the one I set up). This isn’t a deal breaker, but I’d like to find out why it’s doing it.
  • This one could be tough. When setting up my unit for the music, I of course just needed the audio so I just hooked up the L/R jacks. No dice. I couldn’t get the unit to start until I also plugged the V RCA jack into a female RCA jack. Luckily, the unit was sitting next to my living room TV, so I just plugged it into an unused side jack. This is probably an issue with grounding but can be pretty inconvenient if you just want the unit out in your yard running audio and aren’t lucky enough to have another RCA female around. I’m going to do some playing around this year to see if I can figure out an easy fix, if I find one I’ll pass it on (likewise if anyone else has a fix, feel free to pass it on!)
The Micca Speck menu. You'll need a TV, computer or something similar to use it.
The Micca Speck menu. You’ll need a TV, computer or something similar to use it.

And that’s pretty much it. The Micca Speck is a pretty nifty, straight forward media player that can be used in multiple applications in your haunt (or any other media activity you need a portability). The unit is still available on Amazon.com for about $37, which might seem pricey if you’re a bare-bones haunter, but I feel it’s better than untangling $37 dollars worth of wires every year.

In fact, I’m thinking of purchasing one more to run the sound for a new animated prop next year. But hopefully, that’s another post.

Halloween 2014 and Noctober

Like a groundhog with a poor sense of season, I’ve come out of my yearly self imposed hibernation.  The reason for this yearly posting hiatus is always the same, and shouldn’t be a shock to the people who’ve been reading this blog for any considerable length of time – I love Halloween.

It’s just a great time of the year.  When else can you find horror movies broadcasted up and down the channel guide at any time of the day or night?  When else can you turn your yard into an eerie cemetery? And when else can you dress up in a costume and act like a kid again – OK, I guess anytime you want.  But when can you do it and not have people immediately wonder if you forgot to stagger you medication again?

So it is every year that immediately after the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival, or The Kennett Brewfest, which ever one comes last, festival season comes to a close for me, and I turn my attention fully to October 31st.

And we were busy this year.  We had several projects we wanted to tackle so we jumped immediately into build mode. Several tombstones were desperately in need of repair and paint upgrades, and one needed to be reshaped and totally repainted from scratch. I also decided to totally revamp our sound set up from just thunder and lightning along with some music, to T&L+M plus some ambient sound effects. Overall not a hard thing to do, but it did require switching sound sources around along with spending a good many hours working in Audacity (if you want to do any kind of sound editing I can not recommend this program enough).

But the real project this year was 12 to 14 feet of new cemetery fence because my son insisted that we finally have a fence that ran the entire length of the front yard. The first section took about three hours, what with a second trip to Home Depot because I’d bought the wrong size of PVC pipe the first time, constant remeasuring, and a fuzzy recollection of how I’d built the previous sections (I built the original five sections over ten years ago).  After that however we were pretty locked in, finishing the second section in just under 30 minutes, and 20 “I’m a man with a particular set of skills” jokes. Once finished, we put the completed fence up, gave it several coats of “rusty metal” paint, and sprinkled on some crows and skulls.  My son could finally rest easy. We had fence.

Below are some pictures from this year’s set up.  Some taken during the day while setting up, and a few that I took at night.  As always click on any picture in the gallery to see the real sized images in a slide show.

 

It was a fun time as always, and Halloween night was a blast.  Although we didn’t get as many TOTers as we did last year (more little ones, less older ones) which means I currently have way more candy in the house than my blood chemistry probably needs.  Oh well, that’s what co-workers are for.

The FCG in Motion
The FCG in Motion

Besides all the construction and craft work, I also took the time to drink quite a few “Halloween inspired” beers, or beers that just had a Halloween feel to them.  That’s the one draw back of taking these two weeks off every year, there’s always some cool beer that I want to review or some post about Halloween I want to write.

Why don’t you do it in November?

What?

Why don’t you do it in November, biped?

Ah, because Halloween is in October, Buddy?  You do remember that right? Or did you bang your head trying to walk through the closed glass door again?

Sigh…write some reviews and posts about Halloween in November, call it….I don’t know, Noctober. What’s the harm?  Besides what are you going to write about in November anyway?  Rants and Bitches about how everyone was already putting their Christmas stuff up two days before Halloween? Or how you saw your first “Holiday Commercial” complete with carol music Sunday night during The Walking Dead? More amazing insights on the great “Proper Way to Cook a Thanksgiving Day Turkey” debate?

OK. OK.  I get your point. Hmmm, well it might help me release some of this pent up anger that started swell within me when I walked into BJs on Friday and was greeted by a 25 foot frosty the snow man and 20 foot inflatable snow globe.

OK.  Why not?  Noctober it is. Should be fun.  And to start it off, I want to give shout outs to some people (even though they don’t know me) who’ve helped me over the years to get the cemetery to where it is today.

First, Tara over at the Scaryladyvideos Youtube channel for all her great videos on building and painting tombstones. The lady is an amazing artist. Next, Big Ant over at Eerie Acres Cemetery for his reviews on things like fog juice and electronic components that have been very helpful. Not to mention his creative talent.  And finally, Eva Halloween over at The Year of Halloween, who drops a little bit of Halloween into my blog reader everyday.

Also thanks to the kids for loving Halloween as much as I do, as well as Tracey for putting up with all the wires, sounds and especially – the horror movies.

 

The Final Sip - xxxxx
The Final Sip – And also to my neighbors, who put up with over 500 Watts of “lightning” in the trees around my house every Halloween.

The Full Moon Post – October 2014, The Blood Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse and Selenelion.

Love, Love, Love, October.  It’s a collection of natural events and observances that just speak to me.  The days are getting a little cooler, as well as shorter, the night sky is getting clearer, and at the end of the month we observe a time when the veil between this world and the next lifts, allowing spirits from the other side to cross over. But equally important to me, October is the beginning of the return of the full moon in all her glory.

As dusk arrives earlier and earlier, it affords the opportunity for the night sky’s biggest player to once again take center stage. Summer moons are good but with sunset not until well after 8pm here in Delaware it doesn’t give a lot of time to truly enjoy them. But there’s something herald-like about a fall moon, as if it all by itself it is solely responsible for the proclamation of the oncoming of the winter seasons. The reason is simple orbital geometry.

Just as the sun makes ever varying paths across our sky between the two solstices, so does our moon.  In fact, the moon is locked in a never ending dance of “seasonal balance” with the sun, their two paths in constant opposition.  In the Summer time, when the sun is high in the sky the moon’s path is quite low, to the point that it’s so close to the horizon in June that it deepens in color, thus lending to the nick name “Honey Moon”.

But as fall approaches and the sun slowly slides down the celestial sphere the moon’s path rises, making it more and more predominant in the night sky, rising earlier – setting later.  While it’s the receding sun that largely declares the arrival of fall during the day, it’s the increasing moon at night that affirms that fact.

And this year, the October moon brings in the fall months with a big show.  The moon reaches the point in its orbit called the syzygy (when it’s exactly 180 degrees away from the sun’s disk) tomorrow morning (the 8th) at 6:51am.  Yep, the Full Moon Post is a day early this month but there’s a good reason.

Tomorrow also marks the 2nd total lunar eclipse of the year, and 2nd of 4 total eclipses throughout 2014-2015.  Normally this would be a big deal, except that the geometries at play are working against us a bit this time.  The area in which the eclipse is visible from start to finish, covers most of the Pacific ocean with partial visibility either at moon rise or moon set falling on either side.

What that means to us here on the east coast near Delaware is that the moon will enter the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow at 5:18am and slide fully into it at 6:27am.  Maximum totality (when the moon is closest to the center of Earth’s shadow) occurs at 6:55 with the moon setting 6 only minutes later.

Yes, sadly we don’t get to see the back half of the eclipse when the moon begins its journey out of darkness.  But because the moon sets at 7:01am and the sun rises at 7:05am we get a chance to witness an event that is rare to any specific location on the Earth – selenelion. A selenelion occurs when the sun and an eclipsed moon (a lot of articles about this eclipse are indicating that this name only applies when the lunar eclipse is a total one, but that’s not the case) appear in the sky at the same time, an occurrence that due to the fact that they are 180 degrees apart on the celestial sphere, actually can’t happen.

But as I explained in my recent review of Seirra Nevada’s Equinox, there’s a huge trick at play here.  Because of the way light from the sun and the moon are refracted through Earth’s atmosphere when they’re both close to the horizon, they’ll both appear simultaneously in the sky for a brief period of time before the moon finally slips out of view. This alignment happens somewhere on the Earth during any lunar eclipse, but not always at a location from which it is visible, and infrequently enough at any single given location on Earth to be considered uncommon.  Add to that fact that this one occurs during a total eclipse and it certainly would seem to warrant the description of “rare”.

The eclipse also changes another aspect of the moon this month – the name.  While normally referred to as the Hunter’s Moon; because of the reddish color it will take on during the total eclipse many people will refer to it as a Blood Moon, although to be honest this moniker is normally used for the October moon in certain aspects of paganism.

So besides this “rare” event what else does October hold?  Well as I write this the people of the Jewish faith have already celebrated Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. They now are getting ready to start the seven day (sometimes 8 day) festival of Sukkot on October 9th, which is the last Pilgrimage Festival of the year. Due to differences between the Islamic lunar calendar when compared to our current Gregorian solar calendar, the Islamic New Year moves around greatly. But this year it falls on October 24/25.

And of course there’s Samhain, a Gaelic festival and the penultimate festival in the modern pagan Wheel of the Year.  It marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Of course, here in the US, it is more commonly referred to as Halloween, and is celebrated with ghoulishly costumed visitors descending on your house in search of treats.

So what’s a good activity for craft beer lovers to do during this particular time of the year? Well I use it to channel my inner “Halloween haunter” and drink any beers I can get my hands on that have a Halloween style theme.  Rogue’s Dead Guy is a frequent visitor to my refrigerator this time of year, as well as beers from Wytchwood Brewery and the Day of the Dead line (more on those in a later post); as well as several others.

Just make sure you have plenty left over for after all the kids have returned to their own haunted houses.  Light a bonfire away from your house (to encourage spirits to move towards the fire and thus pass by the house), allow the veil to lift around you, and enjoy the calming quiet of the night of the dead.  Perhaps you’ll even be contacted by some spirits from your own past.

Time for another beer.

Grittys Halloween Ale
The Final Sip: Halloween themed beers are easy to find if you search around. Like this great example from the fine folks at Gritty McDuffs.

 

 

 

Pesky Apparitions That Annoy a Beer Loving Home Haunter

As I said in my last post, for me October = Halloween.  It’s been that way since I was a kid running around the neighborhood trying to load up on as much candy as I could possibly drag back to my house.  Only taking a break from my task half way through my route to hit Mrs Bill’s house to get a carb/sugar boost from the caramel covered apples she’d make (a sad statement on society today that this is no longer acceptable practice).

Whatever this odd neuron in my head was that made Halloween my favorite holiday (or observance if you want to get picky) also spilled into my normal life.  I love horror movies and books.  Enjoy going to haunted attractions just to see “how they’re done stuff”.  And now sit for hours watching SYFY channel’s Faceoff with my daughter because watching makeup artists turn people into monsters is just way cool.  TV?  Yeah, well I’ll admit that shows like Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Archer do slip into the mix; but really my viewing schedule revolves more heavily around the likes of The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Ghost Hunters.

So it’s no surprise that when I bought my house, the first thing I thought of was, “I wonder how many Trick-or-Treaters we get?”  Ok, the first thing I thought was, “Really?  She want’s me to pull up all these carpets in the living room, dinning room and hallway and resurface the hardwood floors?”  But work with me here.

And consequently the home haunt has been growing as every year we try to add something different to the every expanding collection that now takes up a closet I built in the basement that runs the whole width of one room.  It’s fun, the kids like it and every year it allows me to let my creative side loose and do things you normally don’t get in our 9 to 5 pre-apocalyptic world.  And of course it stands to reason that while all this is happening, I like drinking some good Halloween themed beers, and I have a few favorites.  But during these times the house is also full of pesky poltergeists that can just annoy the crap out of you when all you want to do is paint some tombstones and drink some good beer.

First we have skeletons, the pretentious douches of the home haunt world.   Although in their native element they would be relatively inexpensive “4th class non-medical grade skeletons”, these boney bastards (known as buckies in the home haunt world) immediately take on an air of cocky, self-importance when they walk into a home haunt.  They seem happy to do nothing; sitting around in chairs and on workbench tops until the big night, only then gracing the world with their presence.  Their only task during this “down time” between their exile in the closet and the “big night” seems to be stealing beer from the fridge and drinking it, which is both useless and wasteful from a skeleton’s perspective as all you have at the end of the night are a bunch of Buckies sitting around in pools of wasted beer, which is a sadder thought than a drunk sitting in his own urine.  I mean, at least he got some benefit from it!  But as they don’t care about things like ownership, beer rules or manners they simply ignore these facts and will drain a beer fridge dry if not kept a careful watch on.

Skeleton

In comparison, pumpkins are usually about as unassuming as the scrubby next to the kitchen sink.  If you have no use for it for long enough; you might forget that it’s actually there.  Quiet and reserved, pumpkins don’t seem to get flustered by much, even as you’re taking a sharp kitchen knife to the top of one of their comrades.  But it is at this point that the Jekyll/Hyde nature of pumpkins comes out for, like Gremlins, they should come with a set of rules: don’t burn kerosene soaked toilet paper in them, and don’t give them evil faces.  For indeed, pumpkins quickly assume the personality of whatever face you give them changing them from quiet, cooperative gourds into obnoxious bullies that can be possibly quite difficult to handle.  One of the push buttons of a carved pumpkin is the almost relentless protectiveness that they adopt about their brethren in other forms.  So if you don’t want a patch of wicked Will-o’-the-wisps in your work room; never offer a carved pumpkin a slice of pumpkin pie, and be careful that they don’t notice that the beer you’re sipping on is a pumpkin ale.

killer pumpkin

Ghosts on the other hand are truly passive.  They’re usually residual in nature; continuously doing the same thing again and again (like the one that appears on our deck every year on Halloween night) without noticing or reacting to whoever might be around.  Sometimes you find an intelligent one however; one that seems to be desperately trying to reach out and get your attention.  This could manifest as simple noises, appearing in mirrors or photos, to just making the dog bark.  But some like to let you know that they’re about by moving objects when you’re not looking.  And nothing is more annoying than having your beer disappear from the work bench, only to find it hours later (sometimes empty) on top of the refrigerator upstairs in the kitchen.  If asked politely, ghosts will often return the beer or at least move it a little closer towards you but you can bet that a good portion of it will be gone.  I suspect they use the beer as energy to manifest themselves enough to move the bottle; which is why you always find it more empty than the last time you saw it.  Anyway, that’s what I’m going with.  This one isn’t the one that haunts my deck, but looks amazingly similar.

From a beer lover’s perspective, Zombies are an issue only by their destructive nature.  They don’t give a crap about the beer you’re holding or in fact beer at all which in many ways makes them more annoying than the other entities above.  As proof of this, I point to this season’s premiere episode of The Walking Dead.  While in a convenience store looking for supplies, the group is descended (literally) upon by a hoard of zombies, all of which shamefully ignore the Terripan Brewery and Sweetwater cases that are stacked at an end cap just ripe for the taking.

Dude!  Forget about eating the guy.  Grab the BEER!
Dude! Forget about eating the guy. Grab the BEER! (Beer Street Journal/AMC)

No, instead they ignore this potential party in the making to eat a couple of members of the group and pointlessly destroy cases of beer and shelves full of wine.  Dicks.  But as unwelcome as they are at frat parties, weddings or airplanes, they are invaluable at the home haunt, but must be contained with great care.  Because as I pointed out, although they might not want to drink your beer, they have no remorse in destroying it while they’re trying to eat you.

In comparison crows and ravens are perfectly harmless.  These birds have no real desire for beer, or in fact for anything you have except corn or seed.  But they do have the annoying penchant for gathering in murders and ominously watching you as you try to get things done.  They seem to have an eerie knack of staring at you accusingly like a Catholic High school Nun or your significant other after a night out with the boys.  This can be quite creepy, especially if you’ve ever watched “The Birds”, and can easily distract you from the task at hand.  They can also be stubborn and aggressive, especially when  you’re attempting to shoo one off your bottle of beer.

Crows

Lastly, Ghouls are a home haunter’s best friends.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the two that do “black light magic” in my living room window every year for 20 and 16 years now.  They’re helpful around the haunt, quick to set stuff up and are always coming up with new ways to scare people.  And although they aren’t human, they have no problem abiding by our laws in such that, since neither of them are over the ages of 21, neither of them seem overly compelled to steal the haunt’s beer.  In fact, often the only time they come in contact with one is when asked to bring one from the fridge.  Beyond that they are indispensable at keeping the other creatures in line, making sure that no matter what issues they have, they are where they need to be, doing what they need to be doing on the big night.

ghouls
A video of the ghouls doing their thing. Click on the photo to watch.

Ghouls and beer.  You can’t have enough on Halloween.

Happy Halloween everyone.  And to my Celtic friends, Blessed Samhain!

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