Kansas City’s Haunted Attraction,The Beast, Adopts Dark Oak’s Aracni-apes.

Now, there is another reason to fear “The Beast.”

This Halloween, two new monsters will be lurking in the huge haunted attraction known as The Beast. Having taken care of them for a year, I can tell you, they are always hungry.


The Aracni-ape is an instinct-driven hunter. This breed likes to hang from trees, feigning death to lure in prey that get too curious.


This playing ‘possum breed can be found in forests, swamps, and caves, any habitat that provides concealment for its drop-down ambush tactics. That includes old buildings.

I hate to see them go, but care & feeding of these guys was getting problematic. I’m sure the staff at The Beast are better suited to care for these little monsters. After all, they have been looking after their pet ‘gators and Medusa, the world’s largest anaconda in captivity, for years. What a happy home The Beast will make for the aracni-apes.

The second breed, shown below, is the more deadly of the two. It prefers to stalk its prey.


The deadly dasher.

Should you visit any of the other Full Moon Productions haunted attractions, keep in mind, these creatures could be in any of them. There is no guarantee they will stay in The Beast.  Watch out for them in The Edge of Hell, The Chambers of Poe, or in the Macabre Cinema attractions.

**The aracni-apes are the intellectual property of Dark Oak Creations.

Happy haunts!


Friday Escape

The weekend beckons.  I’ve disabled the guard (don’t ask, it’s better you don’t know) and have his keys.  Want to come with me?


Come on. As long as we don’t have to pull a Shawshank and crawl through 500 yards of sewer pipe, I think we can make it. If, however, that is the case,you go on without me. Send me a postcard from the beach.

Happy Friday.



Haunted Houses.

At a loss for Date Night? Research and visit a “haunted” house in your area. Get the landowner’s permission, of course. Spending a night jail for trespassing should be avoided. Oh, and remember all those horror flicks where the amorous, sneaking couple comes to a bad end.

 Who in this midnight hour comes here?


Photo source: Pixabay via Unsplash.

As the moon from some dark gate of cloud

Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,

Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd

Into the realm of mystery and night,-

***Excerpt from Haunted Houses, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

For the complete poem, check out this link at Poets.org

Disclaimer! Messing around in dark, abandoned houses and buildings is inherently dangerous. I suggest a daylight reconnoiter before bringing in your lover at night. Use common sense and don’t take risks with the building or the neighborhood. If the property does not pass the “safety” test, find a place that does!

Happy nightfall!



Cat Lover.

Here, Kitty, Kitty.


Midnight Snack. From Dark Oak’s sketchbook.

From a poet:

Perhaps this moment is a dream

And you are in my mind

Please bring me a nice bowl of cream

And leave those tweets behind.

This is the last stanza from the poem The Cat and the Tease, by Theo van Joolen. You can find the poem in its entirety at fairypoet.com

I took a few liberties and added a Dark Oak twist to the original art work by Daniel Merriam.   Merriam is a fantasy artist. You should check it out if you like that sort of thing. I would give an example but my own sketch would be devastated by comparison.


Monsters in the Mist

On the televisionMonsters in America was investigating the Mothman sightings. I watched, because part of me, like Fox Mulder, wants to believe.


The terrifying Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Above: Mothman concept art by Tim Bertelink, Wikimedia Commons, 2016

However, growing up in the country, spending many nights in the woods camping or hunting, and knowing how deceptive eyes can trick the mind, I remained skeptical.  I’ve seen countless owls of different varieties, including a few abrupt, up-close-and-personal encounters. A great horned owl winters-over in the Osage grove behind my house. One night, I saw it on the ground in the moonlight. It looked twice the size  I knew it to be. That would make it roughly six feet tall.Once I worked out the distance to the giant, it shrunk back to normal owl height. Sadly, I feel I must debunk The Mothman as an owl or some other large bird freaking people out in the dark.

The Unintentional Monster.

Still, living in the country and being an outdoors man most of my life, I have seen things that fooled me, and a few I cannot explain.

I have been an avid kayaker since I was eleven-years-old. At that age, once out of sight of  parental supervision on Florida’s Myakka River, I saw myself exploring the Amazon in search of the Lost City of Gold or The Creature from the Black Lagoon .  That flight of fancy was easy to imagine as real on that black water river.


Looking for The Creature from the Black Lagoon. My favorite pastime. –Dark Oak

There were ‘gators, air plant infested palms, Spanish moss and cottonmouths hanging from the low branches of live oak trees. Sometimes, I would think I saw something, just back in the dark, tangled brush, watching me.


What, besides ‘gators and cottonmouths, lurks in these tannic waters?

Besides having an encounter with Momo (The Missouri Monster) while hauling hay late one night (this remains unexplained and is fodder for a future blog post), another encounter will always be semi-real to me.

I was twenty-nine, and had launched my kayak early one morning on Florida’s St. Mary’s River. I was paddling upstream against a gentle current, the morning mist heavy and fog-like in places, when I rounded a bend and saw a monster; a really big one.


The Hydra in the mist.

This multi-headed beast rose fifteen feet above the foggy shoreline sixty feet away. My first thought was my god, the Hydra exists!  My second thought was to call bullshit on the first. I stopped paddling, telling myself there must be a reasonable explanation. As the monster did not attack, I began to paddle forward again, thinking this is where the doubter in every freaking monster movie gets eaten. As I closed the distance, the mist shifting around the beast made it difficult to tell if it was moving or not.  It appeared to be watching me, which was unnerving. If you’ve ever been in a kayak, you know it is a tight fit and leg movement is very restricted. I began to feel like a Snack Pack.* Still, I paddled toward it.  At twenty feet, when I was just about to decide discretion is the better part of valor, the mist diminished and I saw the monster’s true identity.

The hydra was a massive, washed out, flood slain tree. What I took for the heads of the hydra was a root mass. This was facing me, a half a dozen of its larger roots twisted and broken off about 6-7 feet from the center trunk. The fog and mist had simply hidden all the other details from me.  But, at 30 feet and drawing closer, I was near to becoming a devote believer in monster hydras.


Flood slain trees. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  File:Two Uprooted Trees. – geograph.org.uk – 1013005.jpg

Picture the above scene in dim light and fog, bereft of context, with the details hidden and just the large  branches having form. Those conditions can confuse anyone’s mind. So, when I hear about monster sightings and encounters, I run them past the Hydra Test. Most of them do not hold up–most of them.



*Snack Pack, trademark of CONAGRA FOODS RDM, INC




The Green Man

Here in the grip of the Mid Winter Blahs, I offer the hope of spring. The Green Man is a pagan symbol of rebirth (as well as death), of the cyclical dynamic of nature’s character. This a green man I sculpted for a water feature several years ago. The Virginia creeper was kind enough to drape itself around the cast in an artful manner.


Green Man

I cast too many of these concrete features. I stored them outside. These two are the last.


An early prototype Green Man

The Green Man symbols seeks to remind us that there is life after death. The wheel in the sky turns, and all is as it should be.