The Baldknobbers.

When I was a kid, Branson, Missouri, was just another small town slumbering in the hills. Only a handful of “opry'” families were singin’ and dancin’ for a living, pulling in a few people passing through on the highway. There were no national acts, no big music stars, just home-grown Ozark folks mixing corn pone humor with country music and dance acts. I didn’t care about that stuff. I visited Silver Dollar City theme park on a school trip and discovered the ride, “Fire in the Hole.”  This in-the-dark roller coaster ride introduced me to the Baldknobbers. I was fourteen, and the ride lit me up. What a concept!

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Scene from the Fire in the Hole ride. By Fire72 at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20605516

Masked, night-riding vigilantes torching and murdering across the Missouri countryside was easy to believe while on the ride. These nasty bastards were the afterbirth of the civil war reconstruction policies and formed to counter disgruntled rebel veterans who turned outlaw against the Union carpetbaggers.

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Fire in the Hole Baldknobber about to raise hell. By ME Vince Titled: Bald Knobber with cannon. – I (FIRE 72) (Vince) created this work entirely by myself., CC BY 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24279304

And then, under the corrupting influence of power, the Baldknobbers went bad, murdering and lynching citizens for political and financial gain.

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Baldknobbers portrayed in a 1919 silent movie.  Photo from wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Knobbers

It is the distinctive horned mask that separates them from other vigilante groups. It is this mask that excites me as a Halloween/creature prop maker. It is a pity that so few photos of them exist.

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A typical Baldknobber mask. The horns were standard to the model. Photo courtesy of LegendsofAmercia.com

They remind me of fat-headed demons, with the oval of the mask face emphasized by the white paint, and this circular design carried into the horns with the white rings. Still, it is the blank, emotionless expression that makes the mask truly frightening. This demon has no humanity and no remorse. That’s scary.

For more information on these rascals, visit the Legends of America blog. You will find good writing and research there.

If you’re ever in Branson, MO, drop  by Silver Dollar City and check out the Fire in the hole ride. They have tamed the ride a bit since the ’70’s to accommodate the tender minds of small children and sensitive souls, but it is still a fun. You just won’t see lynched, hanging bodies and sucking chest wounds anymore. Okay, I’m joking about that last, but you get the idea.

Happy haunts.

 

 

On Little Cat Feet.

I am mostly a dog person and have lived with many over the years. However, I’ve nearly always lived with several cats at once, too.

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“Leave me alone, mortal. I’m plotting.”

Many of the cats adopted me, even after I explained that, mostly, I was a dog person. Catlike, they did not argue. They just ignored my protests and attached themselves to me anyway. I have adapted to this arrangement; although the midnight bazooka-barfings at the edge of the bed still tend to startle me.

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“Let me help you with that.”

Here’s a couple of cat quotes for your philosophic considerations.

“I have my favorite cat, who is my paperweight, on my desk as I am writing.”

—Ray Bradbury

And another from The Old Man himself.

“One cat just leads to another.” —Ernest Hemingway

Happy Haunting!

 

 

Wayans Walks Through Hell

I found this video of Marlon Wayans, of Scary Movie 1 &2 fame, touring Kansas City’s world famous haunted house attractions. I wonder if he would do it again?

It must be difficult doing an interview while walking through all the scares, trying to be cool and chatty.

I’m not sure if this haunted walk was through The Edge of Hell or The Beast, or a bit of both. Full Moon Productions  has two other haunted attractions in the KC West Bottoms, Macabre Cinema, and The Chambers of Edgar Allen Poe. Check them out at Full Moon Productions.

I have been inspired! Back to work. Now, where has Igor gotten off too? Probably sleeping in the bog, again. Man, good help is hard to find.

Happy haunting.

 

 

 

Hollywood takes on Pennywise the clown.

Stephen King’s “It” is one of the creepiest novel’s I’ve read.

Made into a mini-series in 1990, King’s story of kids fighting an ageless monster that stalks the town in cycles introduced perhaps the scariest clown ever: Tim Curry as Pennywise.

Now, Hollywood is taking a shot at this epic tale and iconic monster.

Watch this trailer. Stephen King’s It 2017

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Image from Warner Bros.

The Warner Brothers preview looks promising.  I can’t wait to see it.

Float on, everybody.

End.

Halloween Surprise.

What a curious congregation.  What Devil’s work is this?

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“We are gathered here,”

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“On this hallowed night,”

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“to join two spirits, who have long been separated,”

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“in eternal matrimony.” 

“That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .”

>From The October Country, by Ray Bradbury.  Click for more info.

 

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Reading in red.

This post is a preview of a short–very short–attempt at a video. The learning curve to “doing it all” is a steep hill with sharp rocks at the bottom. But, real fun usually has an element of danger, so the bumps, bruises and broken feelings are just part of the roller coaster haunted house ride.

Happy haunting.

End.

 

Vintage Halloween, 1965.

First Halloween Party. No girls allowed. This was 1965, after all.

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From the top: Pirate, Skeleton, Micky, Skull Face, and Felix, all prepped for mayhem. 

Dig those crew-cuts!

This was a time when kids ran the neighborhoods barefoot and unencumbered by parental supervision beyond, “Be home by 9:00.” Trick or Treating was the maximum freedom. The 9:00 pm curfew extended until 11 or even midnight. This was plenty of time for mischief and learning how not to tip over a Porta Potty.

Halloween was also the night all the “Old man Johnson’s” got their comeuppance. The culmination of a years worth of threats against the neighborhood kids came due this night.  Three or more “Stay out of my yard!” warnings rated soaped windows or toilet paper in the trees. The more grievous crimes rated eggs on the walls, letting air let out of their car tires, or worse–dog poo in the mailbox.  What great fun!

For more retro fun, check out www.monsterbashnews.com

End.

 

Monday Morning Skeleton.

Ugh. Monday morning. This guy is no help. He just waits for me to begin work.

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“Stop staring at me!”

I will leave you with a monstery poem while I find motivation–and coffee.

Monsters

There’s monsters in my closet,

They came to say hello

They want to take me someplace

But I don’t want to go.

–By Hailey Elizabeth  at Hellopoetry.com

End.