13 Halloween Candy Facts To Pig Out On

If there is one event that took place in the second half of the 19th century that split America down moral and ethical lines, it’s definitely the invention of candy corn. Here’s the story, plus 12 others:

262 Fun-Sized candy bars will kill you. An average American weighing 180lbs would need to consume 5.4lbs of sugar in one sitting for it to be a lethal dose, which would be the amount in 262 fun-sized candy bars (9.3 grams of sugar each). CRACKED.COM

Candy corn was invented 140 years ago and called Chicken Feed. During the 1880's, many confectioners made sugary treats based on the agricultural industry, in the shape of pumpkins, chestnuts, and turnips. CRACKED.COM

Fun-Size was made specially for Halloween trick-or-treaters. NIE Twix FUN SIZE S WICKERS size The Mars company came out with Fun Size in the 1960's as a slightly larger treat than their junior size, targeted towards Halloween consumers. Other companies followed suit and began using the term, although Mars holds the trademark. CRACKED.COM

Salt Water Taffy gets its name from a smart-ass comment. Ocean flooding had ruined several candy shops on the Atlantic City boardwalk in New Jersey after an 1883 storm, so when a young customer asked a candy shop owner what she could buy his response was to joke that salt water taffy was all that was left. CRACKED.COM

Smarties were made with the same machines that produced bullets during WWI. Machines that compressed gunpowder into pellets for use in ammunition were repurposed to make the candy after swapping out some ingredients. CRACKED.COM

Nestle set off a 132lb chocolate firework. Launched in Switzerland in 2002, the largest chocolate firework (and somehow not the only chocolate firework) was made by Nestle and was 9.8 feet tall. It was likely made using the child labor and modern-day slaves they've been caught with on their cocoa plantations as recently as 2019. CRACKED.COM

Snickers is named after the inventor's favorite horse. After the success of the Milky Way bar, owners Frank and Ethel Mars purchased a 3,000 acre horse farm in Tennessee. They were about to release a new peanut candy bar when Ethel's favorite horse Snickers died, and SO they named the new product in it's honor. CRACKED.COM

Cotton Candy was invented by a dentist. At the end of the 19th century, dentist William Morrison partnered with a confectioner to make a machine that would use centrifugal force to spin sugar into cottony strands. The first name for the concoction was Fairy Floss. CRACKED.COM

Bubblegum is only pink because of what food coloring happened to be on hand. The light pink that became SO synonymous with bubblegum that it took on its name just happened to BE the one food coloring that was around when Walter E. Diemer invented the chewy treat in 1928. CRACKED.COM

Reese's Pieces almost didn't appear in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Steven Spielberg was deciding between M&M's and Hershey's Kisses for the movie when the Hershey Company offered $1,000,000 to use Reese's Pieces, which launched just a few years earlier, instead. CRACKED.COM

Caramel apples were first made with Halloween leftovers. Kraft Foods had a lot of leftover caramel candies from the holiday in the 1950's, so a crafty employee experimented by melting them down and adding apples. This is very similar to the invention of candy apples in 1908, but for some reason it took people 40 years to think of using caramel. CRACKED.COM

Skittles are the most popular Halloween candy in the U.S. According to sales data from CandyStore.com, Americans purchase 3.3 million pounds of Skittles every Halloween. They also top the list in the most populous state, California. CRACKED.COM

 

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Tales of Rock – Spooky Rock ‘n Roll Stories

Ah, who doesn’t love a good horror story? Especially if it involves your favorite rockstar? Ghost sightings may be a tad overrated (almost everyone claims to have seen or felt some mystical presence and there’s hardly any proof) but it’s still interesting nonetheless. Could legendary rockers be trying to contact the living? Did they really try reaching out to former bandmates and colleagues? Do they have any unfinished business or some messages they want to send?

Is it even true or just a product of someone’s overactive imagination? But to be fair though, strange, tragic and unexpected deaths occur commonly not just in rock ‘n roll. So it’s not exactly far-fetched to think that there are restless souls just wandering around maybe in cemeteries or recording studios.

This list is a compilation of all those horror stories. Keep in mind that these are nothing but claims, there’s no way we can verify any of them. So, are you ready?

P.S. Try to keep the lights on.

10. Elvis Presley

 

He was only 42 years old when reports came in that he died of sudden heart failure. There were plenty of speculations surrounding his death though and some say the cause is polypharmacy due to the number of prescription drugs found in his system.

It was devastating for fans. And until today, there are still people who believe he’s still alive. But the thing is, there are various ghost-sighting claims of him in the hallways of his Graceland Mansion. Another story goes that in the old building (which used to be the RCA Records Studio but was converted into a TV production facility) where Elvis Presley recorded “Heartbreak Hotel,” strange things would happen when Elvis’ name is mentioned.

“Well, the human being is one thing. The image is another. It’s very hard to live up to an image.” – Elvis Presley

The crew members in the studio claimed that during a show, when someone mentions The King’s name, the sound system would produce an unexplainable noise or the lights would turn off – you know, stuff that happens in horror movies.

9. John Lennon

John Lennon’s death was nothing short of tragic. Even today, speaking about it is both spine-chilling and heartbreaking. And so, it’s not exactly “impossible” for his restless soul to wander around the earth. And there are not one but two accounts of his supposed visits to the living.

The first one is from the remaining Beatles who got together in 1995 for a studio session. George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney were recording “Free as a Bird” and when they posed outside for a photograph, a rare white peacock was included in the shot at the very last minute.

“I said to the other guys, ‘That’s John!’ Spooky, eh? It was like John was hanging around. We felt that all the way through the recording.” – Paul McCartney

In 2009, John’s son Julian Lennon also claimed he was visited by his father. It was when he was handed a white feather by an Aboriginal tribe elder. Before his death, John told Julian: “If anything ever happens to me, look for a white feather and you will know I am there for you, always looking out for you.” When we think about it, we get major goosebumps.

8. Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison has had a long-standing fascination with shamanism and the spirit world. He even wrote the poem “The Ghost Song.” So him making a comeback to probably scare off his former bandmates is something Jim would do – the man clearly liked to have fun.

The Doors’ Ray Manzarek said in one interview:

“I have a recurring dream. Jim has just returned from France [where he died in 1971] and has accomplished what he went there for in the first place – to rest, get clean, change his rock star lifestyle. We talk about where he’s been and what he’s been doing. I ask him if he’s been working on any new material, and just before he answers, I wake up. When I first told Robbie about it, he said, ‘Yeah, me too!’ He had had the same dream.”

The thing is, if we believe Ray, we’d have to be 100% certain Jim’s really dead because according to some crazy conspiracy theories, he faked his death and is currently living in seclusion. So, which is which?

7. Cass Elliot

This is perhaps one of the most famous ghost stories out there.

While staying at a flat in London, Cass Elliot died in her sleep with her death ruled as “heart failure due to fatty myocardial degeneration due to obesity.” She was 32 years old. Based on the autopsy, there were no drugs found in her system. Four years after that incident, Keith Moon of The Who also died in that very same room.

You’d think that’s the place she haunts but no. Remember the Ghostbusters guy Dan Aykroyd? He claims that Mama Cass’ ghost haunts his Hollywood home once owned by Cass.

“A ghost certainly haunts my house. It once even crawled into bed with me. The ghost also turns on the Stairmaster and moves jewelry across the dresser. I’m sure it’s Mama Cass because you get the feeling it’s a big ghost.” – Dan Aykroyd

Before you dismiss Dan’s accusations, actress Beverly D’Angelo also made the same claim when she bought that house back in 2007. We don’t know what kind of “run-ins” she’s had with Cass though – maybe lights blowing out or small items moving around.

6. Kurt Cobain

So far, all the “ghosts” on this list are from the restless souls of rockstars who died sudden or tragic deaths. If spirits really roam our world because of unfinished business, we’re fairly certain anyone from John Lennon to Mama Cass had plenty of them.

Kurt Cobain falls under the same category. He may have taken his own life but some theories still suggest that he was actually murdered. Still, that doesn’t take away the fact that there were several reports of sightings in a couple of places that even attracted “ghost hunters.” The most well-known haunted spot is a bench. This bench is in Viretta Park in which is across Kurt’s house in Seattle, Washington.

“If there was a Rock Star 101 course, I would have liked to take it. It might have helped me.” – Kurt Cobain

There are plenty of fans visiting the area on a yearly basis and most of them say they could feel Kurt’s presence anywhere near the bench. Some even believe they saw his ghost lingering on it.

5. Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons died of morphine and alcohol overdose in his room at the Joshua Tree Inn. Now, there are claims that the motel room remains haunted. And so, for everyone who’s in for a bit of scare, they would definitely check in to Room 8.

“It’s definitely our most popular room. It’s amazing how much it means to people — people of all ages, really. Some of the people weren’t even born when Gram died here.” – Joshua Tree Inn rep speaking to The New York Times

Just how scary? Well, claims vary but there were those who spotted him walking across the pool at dawn. The staff members also say they see apparitions of the legendary musician.

Country singer Kacey Musgraves shared her experience while checking in at the motel. A painting was in the room high up and when she came back, it was propped on the couch even though no one else went in there but her.

4. Sid Vicious

We all know the tragic deaths of Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

On October 12, 1978, Sid found Nancy on the bathroom floor of their room in Hotel Chelsea bleeding to death. He was charged with her murder and he attempted to commit suicide several times after that. Less than four months later after completing a detox program, his mother discovered his body – he died of an overdose.

Now, there were reported sightings of him and Nancy at the Hotel Chelsea usually in his own Room 100 and also in the elevator. Some spotted him closing and opening doors. And guests inside Room 100 claim they hear a couple arguing, someone playing loud music, and even temperature changes.

“We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.” – Sid Vicious’ note found in his jacket pocket

The hotel even sells Sid Vicious dolls at the front desk. They aren’t the only ghosts ‘residing’ there though.

3. Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was only 22 years old when he died tragically. He was a prominent figure in rock ‘n roll and he has influenced several legendary musicians like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and The Beatles. He was killed in a plane crash along with fellow musicians like Richie Valens. Because his body was ejected from the plane, he had fractures, lacerations, and a fatal trauma to his head and chest.

Several residents near the crash site in Clear Lake, Iowa claim that they often see a phantom plane near the area in addition to some ghostly lights.

“I just want to say that one time when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play … at a Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him. … And he LOOKED at me. And I just have some kind of feeling that he was — I don’t know how or why — but I know he was with us all the time when we were making this record in some kind of way.” – Bob Dylan

Apparently, he also haunts his homeroom class in Lubbock High School because there were reports that his music can be heard even if there’s nobody in the building and the door’s locked.

2. Hank Williams

Speaking of unfinished business, oftentimes it’s not really surprising that the souls of these rockstars linger long after they’ve departed our world. The King of Country Music was set to perform at a New Year’s Day concert in Ohio. He was being driven by Charles Carr who stopped at a gas station to refuel. That’s when he realized Hank was dead in the back seat of his Cadillac. The official cause of death was “insufficiency of the right ventricle of the heart.”

There were several claims of ghost sightings in various locations but more notably at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN where he made his Grand Ole Opry debut. From seeing a white mist on stage to his voice echoing through the halls – sometimes, the ghost goes so far as stomp around loudly or try to crash some things backstage.

“Hank had a voice that split wood. From his records, it sounded like he was projecting from a completely different place in his body.” – Beck via The Rolling Stone magazine

He’s not the only who haunts the Ryman Auditorium though because the place is pretty famous for being haunted by soldiers and other country artists too.

1. Jimi Hendrix

New Haven, Connecticut has so many ghosts you can actually go on a walking tour and visit various haunted houses. So if you’re looking for a good scare, it’s the place to go. From faint piano music playing from under the lake to demonic dolls, there’s no shortage of spook here. And as it turns out, even our favorite Guitar God has taken up residence here – at least if you believe the stories.

Jimi Hendrix is often “heard” playing at the Woolsey Hall in Yale University. Why there? Well if you can recall, he performed with his band there back on November 17, 1968.

“I like after-hour jams at a small place like a club. Then you get another feeling. You get off in another way with all those people there. You get another feeling, and you mix it in with something else that you get. It’s not the spotlights, just the people.” – Jimi Hendrix

To be honest, though, we’d do anything to hear him play again.

Wanna be a better guitarist? Click this link to learn the secret!

https://beginnerguitarhq.com/guitar-exercises/

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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13 Facts You Never Knew About Halloween

Artwork by TylerHawx

Halloween is the spookiest night of the year, where some people say spirits can wander the earth freely, and others say their children can wander the neighborhood unattended, trick-or-treating, or causing havoc.

But how much do you really know about Halloween? As Hallow’s Eve approaches, learn a little bit more about the holiday. You might be surprised at what you find.

1. There’s a $1,000 fine for using or selling Silly String in Hollywood on Halloween.

The prank product has been banned in Hollywood since 2004 after thousands of bored people would buy it on the streets of Hollywood from illegal vendors and “vandalize” the streets. The city ordinance calls for a maximum $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail for “use, possession, sale or distribution of Silly String in Hollywood from 12:01 AM on October 31 to 12:00 PM on November 1.”

2. Dressing up on Halloween comes from the Celts.

Celts believed Samhain was a time when the wall between our world and the paranormal world was porous and spirits could get through. Because of this belief, it was common for the Celts to wear costumes and masks during the festival to ward off or befuddle any evil spirits.

3. The moniker “Halloween” comes from the Catholics.

Hallowmas is a three-day Catholic holiday where saints are honored and people pray for the recently deceased. At the start of the 11th century, it was decreed by the pope that it would last from Oct. 31 (All Hallow’s Eve) until Nov. 2, most likely because that was when Samhain was celebrated and the church was trying to convert the pagans.

“All Hallow’s Eve” then evolved into “All Hallow’s Even,” and by the 18th century it was commonly referred to as “Hallowe’en.”

4. We should carve turnips, not pumpkins.

The origin of Jack-O-Lanterns comes from a Celtic folk tale of a stingy farmer named Jack who would constantly play tricks on the devil. The devil responded by forcing him to wander purgatory with only a burning lump of coal from hell. Jack took the coal and made a lantern from a turnip, using it to guide his lost soul.

The myth was brought over by Irish families fleeing the potato famine in the 1800s, and since turnips were hard to come by in the U.S., America’s pumpkins were used as a substitute to guide lost souls and keep evil spirits like “Jack of the Lantern” away.

5. Halloween symbols aren’t random.

Black cats, spiders, and bats are all Halloween symbols because of their spooky history and ties to Wiccans. All three were thought to be the familiars of witches in the middle ages, and are often associated with bad luck.

Bats are even further connected to Halloween by the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire, which drove away insects and attracted bats.

6. Fears of poisoned Halloween candy are unfounded.

One of the parents’ biggest fears is that their child’s Halloween candy is poisoned or contains razor blades.

In reality, this fear is almost entirely unfounded. There are only two known cases of poisoning, and both involved relatives, according to LiveScience. In 1970, a boy died of a heroin overdose. The investigators found it on his candy, but in a twist, they later discovered the boy had accidentally consumed some of his uncle’s heroin stash, and the family had sprinkled some on the candy to cover up the incident.

Even more horrifically, in 1974 Timothy O’Bryan died after eating a Pixy Stix his father had laced with cyanide to collect on the insurance money, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

7. Halloween and the candy industry supposedly influenced Daylight Savings Time.

Candy makers supposedly lobbied to extend daylight savings time into the beginning of November to get an extra hour of daylight so children could collect even more candy (thus forcing people to purchase more candy to meet the demand).

They wanted it so badly that during the 1985 hearings on Daylight Savings they put candy pumpkins on the seat of every senator, according to NPR. (The candy industry disputes this account, according to The New York Times.)

kids halloween candy
Remember doing this? 

8. Candy Corn was originally known as “chicken feed.”

Invented by George Renninger, a candy maker at the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia in the 1880s, Candy Corn was originally called “buttercream candies” and “chicken feed” since back then, corn was commonly used as food for livestock (they even had a rooster on the candy boxes).

It had no association with Halloween or fall and was sold seasonally from March to November. After World War II, advertisers began marketing it as a special Halloween treat due to its colors and ties to the fall harvest.

9. A full moon on Halloween is extremely rare.

Though a common trope in horror movies and Halloween decorations with witches flying across the full moon, the next full moon on Halloween won’t occur until 2020.

The most recent Halloween full moon was back in 2001, and before that, it was in 1955.

10. Halloween is still the Wiccan New Year.

Halloween originates from a Celtic tradition called Samhain, a festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. They believed it was a time that spirits or fairies could enter our world, and the Celts would put out treats and food to placate the spirits — sometimes, a place at the table was even set for the souls of the dead.

Wiccans still celebrate Samhain as a New Year celebration today.

11. Trick-or-treating has been around for a long time.

Versions of trick-or-treating have existed since medieval times. In the past, it was known as “guising” where children and poor adults went around in costumes during Hallowmas begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers. It was also called “souling.”

Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Classic. Charlie Brown

12. Trick-or-treating as we know it was re-popularized by cartoons.

Trick-or-treating was brought to America by the Irish and became popular during the early 20th century, but died out during WWII when sugar was rationed. After the rationing ended in 1947, children’s magazine “Jack and Jill,” radio program “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and the “Peanuts” comic strip all helped to re-popularize the tradition of dressing up in costumes and asking for candy from door-to-door.

By 1952, trick-or-treating was hugely popular again.

13. Halloween is the second-most commercial American holiday of the year.

The candy industry in America rakes in an average of $2 billion annually thanks to Halloween (that’s 90 million pounds of chocolate).

Americans spend an estimated $6 billion on Halloween annually, including candy, costumes, and decorations, according to History.com. (The most commercial holiday in the U.S. is obviously Christmas.)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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10 Halloween Date Night Ideas You and Your Partner Will Love

Even if the spooky season’s your absolute favorite (what’s not to love?), you still might feel exhausted at the thought of attending a Halloween party. After years of putting effort into a punny costume, dressing up and hitting the town, maybe you’ve just outgrown it, and you’d rather stay home with your partner and go to bed by 10 p.m. instead.

Not so fast! There are so many awesome ideas for Halloween-themed date nights that are perfect if you’re not planning on going out but still want to ring in the holiday somehow. Some of them are scary, some of them are cozy, but all of them are the absolute best this time of year. Below, find the fun activity you should do with your boo before November starts.

1. Watch scary movies.

Cuddle up on the couch and have yourself a marathon complete with every Scream sequel, lots of Halloween candy, and some warm, cozy cocktails.

2. Carve pumpkins.

It’s a messy, on-theme activity that you can get creative with. Make a jack-o’-lantern you’ll both love, like your college logo if you and your partner have the same alma mater.

3. Go to an amusement park or carnival.

Lots of amusement parks will be on theme for Halloween. Ride some roller coasters, run through some impromptu corn mazes, and get scared by rogue employees that are a little too excited to dress up for the month of October.

4. Attend a midnight screening.

And don’t think you can get away with seeing a regular film at midnight on Halloween—think horror or at least a psychological thriller. Come on now.

5. Even better if it’s at a drive-in.

Yes, drive-in movies still exist, and we guarantee you and your partner will spend the entire night squeezing each other. That’s how spooky it’ll be.

6. Pay a visit to a haunted house.

Or a corn maze, ghost tour, or hayride. If it’s spooky, it’ll get the job done. The eerie activities are endless.

7. Bake Halloween-inspired treats.

Ghosts, bats, pumpkins, skulls, and so on. Aren’t sugar cookies the best?

8. Tell scary stories (bonus points for setting up a bonfire first).

Cue the Are You Afraid Of The Dark? flashbacks. A flashlight to hold beneath your face is absolutely mandatory.

9. Visit a graveyard.

Any time of year will be creepy, but October’s perfect if you’re really trying to get spooked. Thrill-seekers will love this one.

10. Dress up and be creepy on your porch while handing out candy.

If little kids scream in horror at your costumes, you know you’ve succeeded.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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8 Super Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween

Artwork by TaylorHawx

Halloween is a time for candy, costumes and the Charlie Brown cartoon special, but how did it become this way? Why are children and teens encouraged to run around the neighborhood threatening tricks? Jack-o’-lanterns are a pretty strange concept, but historically, strangers giving you candy was supposed to be a bad thing.

You may already think that Halloween is a pretty bizarre holiday: What other celebration could inspire both a Sexy Olaf costume and spooky drones? That said, sexy snowmen can’t hold a candle to Halloween’s truly bizarre origins (even if that’s just because a snowman would melt if it held a candle). Chances are you really have no idea just how weird Halloween truly is, so here are eight facts to fix that…

1. Originally, you had to dance for your “treat.”

Most experts trace trick-or-treating to the European practice of “mumming,” or “guysing,” in which costume-wearing participants would go door-to-door performing choreographed dances, songs and plays in exchange for treats. According to Elizabeth Pleck’s “Celebrating The Family,” the tradition cropped up in America, where it would often take place on Thanksgiving.

In some early versions of trick-or-treating, men paraded door-to-door, and boys often followed, begging for coins. Most of these early trick-or-treaters were poor and actually needed the money, but wealthy children also joined in the fun. Door-to-door “begging” was mostly stopped in the 1930s, but re-emerged later in the century to distract kids from pulling Halloween pranks.

2. Halloween is more Irish than St. Patrick’s Day.

Halloween – Kiss & Make Up

Philadelphia, PA – 1978

Remember that kid Jimmy I told you in the band series? (Link below.) He did magic and got gigs at kid’s parties as Jimbo the Clown. I told you in that chapter that he was really good at makeup. Well, one day he invited me and my friend, Steve, over to get made up as the group Kiss for Halloween. How great would that be, right?

https://atomic-temporary-111921946.wpcomstaging.com/2018/07/27/renegade-1978-to-1979-chapter-7-youth-group-show/

We go over to his house and he’s got everything ready. He plays every Kiss album he has in his collection while he does our makeup. It takes hours but we’re having fun. We hoped it would come out okay.

Well, that’s my friend Stephen Peoples as Kiss drummer, Peter Criss and that’s me as bassist, Gene Simmons.

Awesome, right?

That’s me, as Gene, (Holding Larry’s bass from our band) Steve as Peter, and the guy on the right is Jimmy Hunsinger that did all of our make-up as lead guitarist, Ace Frehley!

We look like the real deal!

It was a fantastic Halloween!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Trick or Treat

Is that Yvonne Craig, Sally Field, and Lynda Carter? (I don’t think so!)

Philadelphia, PA – 1970s

That special time rolls around every Autumn. It’s not as great as Christmas, but it’s right up there.

Halloween!

There’s all the preparation leading up to the event. It’s almost too hard to believe. We get to dress up as cool characters for one night a year and collect candy from everybody in the neighborhood. Do you mean to tell me we just knock on doors and they give us free candy? How is this possible? We love candy!

Halloween in our neighborhood was especially good. You paint or carve pumpkins into Jack O Lanterns. Each kid in the family picked out their own pumpkin and created their own design. We’d sit them out in a descending line down the steps to show off our handiwork.

Watching Doctor Shock on channel 17. Mad Theater and Horror Theater. All the classic monster movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman were the best! Doctor Shock was the host and practically invented the genre long before Elvira and MST3K! He even brought his little daughter, Bubbles on the show.

Remember the real horror stories you heard as a kid? That bad kid from around the corner who’s going to be out with his minions to cut kids’ bags and steal their candy! (The mothers were ready with firearms!)

Not really.

It seemed like when you were a kid there were always horror stories. It’s as if they were all made up by adults as words of caution to children in general. There was no such thing as the boogeyman. But many were told of his existence. But it was to scare kids into not wandering off at night. Because in reality there were bad people out in the world who could hurt you. So they gave him a name.

Razor blades in apples? Did anyone ever get one? Of course not. But I think everyone would agree that if any kid ever got a piece of fruit in their trick or treat bag, that sucker went straight into the trash.

And what sort of person gives out fruit on Halloween? How have they not heard of the protocol? Did they not get the memo?

CANDY! WE ONLY WANT CANDY!

I want store-bought, name-brand candy ONLY. I want full-sized Snickers and Hershey bars. What’s with this new thing called “Fun Size?” There’s nothing fun about a tiny version of the real thing you want.

Image result for best candy bars

That’s what I’m talking about.

Image result for best candy bars

Yes, please!

Remember there was always that random neighbor who gave out little bags of loose candy? What sort of crap was that? Juju bees, hard candy, Dots, and candy corn? No one wants that loose candy that you’ve had your hands all over! Straight to the trash! 

We’d get so much candy, we’d have to stop home and dump it because our little orange buckets were brimming with treats. Once our bounty was secured, we’d head right back out again for more. Did we get tired? Hell no! Sugar kept us going, baby!

You wanted to eat it all at once! But your mom was always there with… “You can have ONE!”

Some people even gave us money! It was a bunch of pennies and nickels but hey, we prefer the candy but if you want to give us cash that’s okay too! (How about you toss a few bills in there, pops?)

Back then I remember people doing some decorating to their homes but not at the level at which people celebrate Halloween today. Halloween has become the most profitable holiday behind Christmas. You don’t even get a day off from work.

A few years ago, My friend Scott had come up to visit. I remember us walking into one of those seasonal Halloween stores that pop up around September each year. There was every terrifying nightmarish object imaginable in that store. The place looked like the prop department for Hammer Films!  My friend said, “I remember when Halloween was about getting dressed up, carving pumpkins, and trick or treating. Now it looks like Hell hath come to Earth!”

I found that very funny.

But I think I know as an adult why people love Halloween so much more now. For one night a year, you get to pretend to be someone else, party and drink, and you don’t have to spend time with your family!

But I digress…

When we were in grade school, you got to wear your costume to school on Halloween. That was so cool. You got to see what all of the other kids were wearing that year. The teachers would take us all outside in our costumes and walk us around the neighborhood near Lawndale School. We were like little celebrities in our Halloween parade. People would stop and say how cute we all looked.

Pictured: Melissa, & Deneen Hanley, Sandra Hoffer, Wayne Kacheleries, RJ McMeans, & my sister Jane

When you’re little your parents take you to the department store and you get to pick out your costume. They were all stacked on the shelves in boxes with the clear cellophane window on the lid so you could see the character’s mask. There was a great assortment of costumes for kids of all the things we liked. Most of all, the characters we wished we could be every day. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.

The funny thing was, you thought you were getting this:

Image result for batman 60s

…and this.

Image result for superman

But you ended up with this:

Image result for 1970s batman halloween costume

Yea… Lame.

Girl: I wanna look like Lynda Carter in the show, Wonder Woman!

Yea… good luck with that. Not happening. WW doesn’t wear a polyethylene bag to fight crime.

Those cheap costumes looked more like pajamas than superhero outfits. But at least they were flame retardant. (It said so on every box) At least you knew the superpower you possessed dressed in one of these ridiculous costumes was you wouldn’t burn to death. Big deal.

Then there was that plastic mask with its razor-sharp edges.

Image result for 1970s batman halloween costume

I was always afraid I would cut my eye on one of the eyeholes in those kinds of masks. You’d be wearing it and the flimsy rubber band that was stapled to it would always come off. It would always somehow pull out of the sides. It never happened at home. It only gave way when you were blocks from your home.

But before that even happened the mask would get all steamed up inside. Sure, there were nose and mouth holes but the whole mask would get wet inside. It was gross. Your face would be soaked as you walked around your neighborhood collecting candy.

The first costume I can ever remember wearing was The Green Hornet. I was just a little guy, maybe 5 or 6 years old. I put it on thinking it was cool, and my dad would laugh because he said I looked like an adult midget! (No offense to little people, but it was the 70s and my father was not politically correct)

Image result for 1970s green hornet halloween costume

Does that look like the Green Hornet to you? No. It looks like the Green Hornet’s jommies.

Almost as bad…

Yea, that’s me.

But we didn’t care. As long as you had something that resembled a costume, you were good to go. My friend RJ would go out as the same thing every year. He didn’t care. Put on some banged-up ragged clothes, burn a cork and rub the charcoaled end all over your face, and grab a pillowcase for candy and your good.

Me: What are you supposed to be?

RJ: A bum.

Me: Cool. Let’s go get loads of candy!

It was that simple.

Remember when you were all fired up in your costume and chomping at the bit to get out there and start trick or treating and your mom would say this?

“It’s cold out. Put on your jacket.”

“Really mom? Batman doesn’t wear a coat over his costume!”

I remember as I got older we went with more creative costumes. If we had store-bought costumes we’d grown out of, we’d simply give them to younger kids in the neighborhood.

One year, someone in the local government came up with the brilliant idea of making the kids go out in the late afternoon. We thought this was a terrible idea. Halloween was meant to be played out at night.

I had passed on one of my old kid’s costumes to this kid who lived up the corner named Douglas Miller. It was a store-bought astronaut costume.

Image result for 1970s astronaught halloween costume

I remember the only cool thing about it, was that they had built in a tiny light bulb in the mask that could be operated by a little battery pack you had to carry. I give the company points for creativity and making a costume that is more visible at night. But here comes Douglass with the costume on carrying his trick or treat bag in broad daylight. I think he was the only one out at 4 pm in the afternoon!

That rule was quickly abolished the next year. The costumes looked bad enough at night let alone in daylight!

But the costumes did get better as we got older. I remember going out as Dracula one year. A friend of my dad’s had made a really amazing cape that was red on the inside and black on the outside. I slicked my hair back, popped in some fake fangs, and became a vampire that night.

I was a cowboy one year, complete with a cool hat, vest, boots, and a pair of toy Rango guns on my belt. Being a hippie a year or so later was also good. I really didn’t look that much like a hippie though. More like a biker or Jerry Garcia.

My older sister was a pilgrim one year and the costume looked really authentic.

And of course… there’s my absolute favorite Halloween costume of all time.

Pictured: Chaz (Gene Simmons)– Steve Peoples (Peter Criss) – Jimmy Hunsinger (Ace Frehley) Jimmy did all of our makeup. Such a talented fellow.

But the absolute most creative Halloween costumes I ever saw were made by our neighbor, Mrs. Hanley. She was an expert seamstress, who could make anything out of fabric.

Although brilliant designs with expert craftsmanship, they weren’t always that functional. Case in point, one year her two daughters went out as Witch Hats. Not witches. Just hats.

Image result for giant witch hat as a costume

This is the only image I could find on the internet that even remotely resembled the costume. Just picture a giant black witch hat, with a wide brim and a hole cut out for the child’s face. I couldn’t find the costume online because they were custom-made and completely original designs created by Mrs. Hanley. Elegant in theory, but as I said. Not very functional. You can’t climb steps in it. You can’t clear a doorway either. So, sadly the Hanley girls had to stand down at the bottom of people’s steps, and whoever they were with would have to point to them and say to the neighbor. “Oh, and can you give me two more candy bars for the Witch Hats down there?”

But she made them better costumes the next year. A more functional model. Mrs. Hanley made her girls into Mice. They were really cute costumes and the girls looked adorable. Again, custom designs and fully handcrafted. Something like this, but better.

Image result for cute mouse costume

But here’s the thing…

The tails on the costumes were made of stiff wire. They even curled up at the end. So sadly, the girls’ little tails were getting hooked on everything! Doors, doorknobs, door frames, railings, street signs, fences, and other children.

Clever costumes, but be careful! They’ll put your eye out!

We were happy just to go from door to door with our little bags out and the neighbors would make a fuss and dump the treats into our bags. It was simple and efficient.

But there was always that one family…

We’d stop at the Hunsinger’s house at the corner of Fanshaw Street and Hasbrook Avenue. They had a super ferocious dog named Jason, so there’s that. But the worst part was, you couldn’t just stand on the porch with your bag out.

You had to go in the house. Say what your costume was, and tell a joke to EARN your treat. (Did they not get the memo either?) We’re not here to perform like chimps for your entertainment. We walk up. Bag open. Say Trick or Treat, and you turn over the goods to us and we thank you. Period!

I get that they wanted to see us, take photos and engage us. It was all in the spirit of the holiday, but come on. I have 39 Reeses Cups in this bag. How about we make it an even 40 and I’ll be on my way. Okay? We’re on a tight schedule here. We got rounds to make tonight!

We’d have a whole route mapped out to maximize our return on Halloween. But the final destination and most glorious was Rising Sun Avenue. It was wall-to-wall stores for blocks. We’d start at the beginning and go in and out of every single store getting candy. And it was the good candy too. You know what I’m talking about. We’d work one side of the street down to about Levick Street and then cross over and come down the other side and hit every store over there too.

Funny thing was, there was a really nice candy store called Bauer’s on Rising Sun. You could go in that store any time of year and it smelled like what a child would imagine what Heaven smelled like. Just delicious chocolates and sweets of every kind imaginable. A nearly mythical place from fables and storybooks.

But… on Halloween, I remember getting a giant taffy from there. It looked like an oversized lollipop on a wooden stick. The business end was carefully wrapped in wax paper and it was gently placed into my bag for transport. But wouldn’t you know, the very next place I walked into, I was given a candy apple? The clerk would blast that thing into my bag like they were Steve Carlton and it would shatter my lolly from Bauers! Thanks, Lefty!

After a few exhausting hours of trudging around in our costumes to as many places as possible, we’d head home.

But that’s when the inventory and trading took place. We’d lay out all of our candy onto the carpet. Counting how many of certain brands we got that night, and exchanging them with our family and friends. It’s probably the only time in your childhood where you actually can possess a substantial amount of something you love, and it’s absolutely FREE!

Pictured: RJ McMeans, Jane, Chaz, Nancy & Gail

But what I remember most was the excitement on the street itself. Kids running up and down the sidewalk in their costumes. The crisp snap in the Autumn air. The smell of the Fall. The leaves crunched under your feet as you ran from door to door.

The night wasn’t filled with ghosts and goblins. It was full of happy children and the sound of laughter.

Have a Happy Halloween, everyone!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Tales of Rock: These Are The Scariest Songs Of All Time, According To Pandora

Today begins an entire week’s worth of Halloween-related posts. Enjoy!

Pandora was on a mission to find the “scariest song of all time.”

So the Oakland-based internet radio company started looking at the many factors that go into making a song sound sinister. In all, 450 attributes were evaluated by the Pandora team.

“Scary songs use key, tempo and timbre to create tension and manipulate the way the listener interacts with sound,” according to a news release. “This includes the use of what scientists call ‘non-linear’ sound. Non-linear sounds are generally scratchy, disorganized, and chaotic, like the sound of vocal cords vibrating violently during a blood-curdling scream. Humans (and many other species) are hard-wired to perceive such sounds as life-threatening.

“The data science team identified structural and musicological properties best fit for frightening moods, including anguished, distraught, eerie, harsh, menacing, spooky, tense, anxious, and volatile, and scored each song against these traits.”

The song that topped the list turned out to be Nine Inch Nails’ “The Becoming.”

Here are the top 10 scariest songs of all time, complete with commentary from Pandora:

1, Nine Inch Nails, “The Becoming”

“This song makes use of distorted “non-linear” instrument timbres and effects, which humans are programmed to find distressing. This contrasts with the hushed + screaming vocals which creates a suspenseful & unsettling mood. Melodically, this song makes use of an exotic-sounding scale, which features a major third, but a flat second scale degree, which gives a dissonant quality.”

2, Pixies, “The Happening”

“Like ‘The Becoming,’ there is more use of distorted, ‘non-linear’ sound along with aggressive vocal attitude, and this one is in a minor key, which is usually perceived as a ‘dark’ sound.”

3, Bauhaus, “Dark Entries”

“The mood of this song is dominated by the tonal quality of the instruments, including distorted riffs and scratchy guitar solos. There is a high level of dissonance between the chromatically descending guitar line and the vocal, which is not a melody exactly, but a series of monotonic, almost unrelated pitches that clash with the accompaniment. The lo-fi aesthetic and freaky vocal delivery make for an unsettling experience, like being chased through the woods by a chainsaw-wielding maniac.”

4, Joy Division, “Transmission”

“The combination of lo-fi production, synth pads, and an exaggerated reverb effect creates a menacing, claustrophobic quality. The song finishes with an intense wall of sound, which along with the staccato and insistent bass guitar rhythm makes this a truly anxiety-provoking track.”

5, Lamb Of God, “Contractor”

“Due to its sheer aggression, it’s a typical example of the death metal genre: it’s loud and distorted, includes a fast tempo, makes use of technically proficient drumming and guitar riffs, and is rhythmically complex in the form of shifting tempos and syncopated hits. The vocals are extreme and gritty and a good example of the ‘death metal growl.’ Lyrically it’s confrontational and threatening.”

6, Tool, “‘nima”

“Similar to the Lamb Of God in its aggressive, confrontational vocal attitude, ‘nima also features loud distorted tones throughout. Still, there is some dynamic range too, with some quieter, more drone-like stretches.”

7, Nirvana, “Heart-Shaped Box”

Like many Nirvana songs, this one defies pop conventions. The harmonic progression is difficult to pin down as major or minor, but there is an unmistakable dark and menacing quality to the music. There is a dissonance between the vocal melody and instrumental parts that is disorienting and can be a bit disturbing to the listener. It makes use of heavy, distorted tones, but also features quieter, brooding stretches.

8, Korn, “Bottled Up Inside”

This song relies on loud, distorted timbres, and some ‘non-linear’ tones to create an aggressive, frightening effect that will transport you straight to the dungeon of despair. The relentless pounding of the drums and the deep, sludgy doom-guitar riffs give this song a truly menacing and diabolical feel.”

9, A Perfect Circle, “Thinking of You”

“This song has a creepy combination of tones, including heavier distorted ones, alongside more ambient & suspenseful tones that will leave you convinced the demons are watching you. The melody at times makes use of an exotic-sounding scale that adds to the mood — the first two vocal notes you’ll hear from a ‘diminished 5th,’ a musical interval which since the 18th century has been nicknamed ‘Diabolus in musica,’ or ‘The Devil in music’ due to its dissonant quality.

10, Whitechapel, “Eternal Refuge”

Eternal Refuge is another Death Metal entry, therefore it’s extreme in its volume and distortion, with that famous ‘death metal growl.’ Try putting this on at home in the dark.”

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Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Children of the Night: The Best Horror Actors of All Time

Behind every great horror film monster is an actor with the perfect chops for sending a chill down your spine.

Some of the silver screen’s best actors and actresses have portrayed monsters or ghosts or the victims in which those monsters stalk.

In honor of Halloween, my love of films and the wonderful performances that have existed in horror films, I will count my top-5 horror actors of all-time.

No. 5: Boris Karloff. From 1919 to 1971 Boris Karloff racked up credit-after-credit as monsters, murderers and maniacs. Most notably, Karloff was Frankenstein’s monster in the 1931 Universal Studios classic “Frankenstein.” Karloff would portray the famed man-made monster two other times in his career and also starred in Universal’s “The Mummy” as Imhotep — the mummy himself. Karloff was tall and menacing-looking, with haunting eyes and prominent cheekbones. His looks, along with his cold and chilling acting style made him the perfect horror film actor.

No. 4: Bela Lugosi. Hungarian born Bela Lugosi is most recognized for his role as the evil vampire Count Dracula. His mysterious looks and accent became Dracula’s signature for decades (until another actor on this list flipped the switch). Lugosi was Universal’s Dracula several times throughout his career, and also appeared in 1941′s “The Wolf Man;” played Frankenstein’s monster in “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man;” and appeared in films like “The Black Cat” (alongside Karloff) and “The Human Monster.” An icon of horror cinema, Bela Lugosi’s name is still recognized by horror fans of all ages as one of the genre’s best performers.

No. 3: Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It’s hard to separate Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, chiefly because the duo starred in a bevy of Hammer Horror Dracula films together. The two were pitted against each other several times: Lee as the haunting and suave Count Dracula, and Cushing as the altruistic vampire hunter Van Helsing. Lee starred in several Dracula films including “The Horrors of Dracula,” “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave” and “Taste the Blood of Dracula” — to name a few. Cushing portrayed Van Helsing several times, and starred as Doctor Frankenstein in Hammer’s Frankenstein series. Both actors starred in several other horror and sci-fi films: Cushing in “Star Wars Episode V: A New Hope” and Cushing in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.”

No: 2: Lon Chaney Jr. Perhaps no horror actor pulled off inner torture and turmoil quite like Lon Chaney Jr. Chaney Jr. is most known for his role in 1941′s “The Wolf Man.” He’d portray the famed werewolf four other times but also starred as Frankenstein and Dracula in various Universal films. Chaney Jr. — a one time Colorado Springs resident — was a classically trained actor, starring in films like “Of Mice and Men” prior to his roles with Universal. Chaney Jr.’s chops allowed him to pull of the inner guilt, turmoil and fear as a lycanthrope which in turn made his Lawrence Talbot/Wolf Man character a sympathetic near anti-hero.

Honorable mentions: Jamie Lee-Curtis, “Halloween;′ Sigourney Weaver, “Alien;” Jack Nichoslon, “The Shining” and “Wolf;” Robert Englund, “A Nightmare on Elm Street;” Bruce Campbell, “The Evil Dead.”

And the best horror film actor of all time is …

No.1: Vincent Price. His ghoulish laugh, hauntingly deep voice, pointed haircut and mustache and acting chops made Vincent Price a legend. The king of macabre performances, Price shines in films like “The Last Man on Earth,” “House of Wax,” “House on Haunted Hill” and the original “The Fly.” Even in the 1970s and 80s Price continued his run as horror’s screen king, starring in films like “The Abominable Dr. Phibes,” “Theater of Blood” and Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands.” Price’s laugh and voice have been used in songs (notably Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”); cartoons and on various radio programs. He read many of Edgar Allen Poe’s works on recordings throughout his career. Price has become a horror icon and rightfully so. Beyond his looks, Price pulled off creepy, mysterious and wicked better than anyone.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock – Halloween Edition – Stull, Kansas

Stull is an unincorporated community in Douglas CountyKansas, United States.[1] Founded in 1857, the settlement was initially known as Deer Creek until it was renamed after its only postmaster, Sylvester Stull. As of 2018, only a handful of structures remain in the area.

Since the 1970s, the town has become infamous due to an apocryphal legend that claims the nearby Stull Cemetery is possessed by demonic forces. This legend has become a facet of American popular culture and has been referenced in numerous forms of media. This legend has also led to controversies with current residents of Stull.

Geography

Stull is located at 38°58′16″N 95°27′32″W (38.9711124, -95.4560872),[1] at the corner of North 1600 Road ( CR-442) and East 250 Road ( CR-1023) in Douglas County, which is 7 miles west from the outskirts of Lawrence and 10 miles east of the Topeka city limit.

Founding

Stull first appeared on territorial maps in 1857.[2][3] During this time, the settlement was called Deer Creek.[3] It is unclear where this name came from, although Martha Parker and Betty Laird speculate that it could either be a translation of an indigenous location name or that it could have arisen after a deer was seen by a body of water.[4] The first European settlers in the area spoke German as their native language.[5] Some had come from Pennsylvania Dutch Country, whereas others had recently fled the German Confederation “for more freedom and to escape military duty.”[6]

19th century

During the late 1850s, the handful of families living in Deer Creek organized a church that met in the homes of its members until 1867, when a stone structure called the “Evangelical Emmanuel and Deer Creek Mission” was built; this church later became known simply as “Evangelical Emmanuel Church”.[5][6] Until 1908, the sermons at the small chapel were preached in German.[5] In 1867, a cemetery was chartered for the town next to the church.[6][nb 1] In 1922, those living in Stull raised $20,000 to construct a new, wooden-framed church across the road. The following year, the church changed its official name from “Deer Creek Church” to “Stull Evangelical Church”. The old stone Evangelical Emmanuel Church was abandoned by the community in 1922, and over the course of the 20th century, the church slowly fell into a greater and greater state of decrepitude, finally being demolished in 2002.[6][nb 2] Due to a growing congregation from Stull and Lecompton, a larger church was eventually needed, so in 1919, the community voted to build a new church. In 1922 a new church was built and eventually got the name “United Methodist Zion Church” in 1968.[6] This new church holds services and meetings that continue today under the name Stull United Methodist Church.[6]

In the late 1890s, a telephone switchboard was added to the house of a Stull resident named J. E. Louk, and soon thereafter, on April 27, 1899, a post office was established in the back of the very same building.[2][12] The town’s first and only postmaster was Sylvester Stull, from whom the town derived its name.[12] According to Parker and Laird, the United States post office simply selected the name based on the name of the postmaster.[13] The name stuck even after the post office was discontinued in 1903.[12][13]

Stull residents opened two schools prior to Kansas being admitted to the Union. The first school only lasted for about five years, the other school named “Deer Creek” experienced increasing enrollments and started being used for church services by the Lutheran congregation and the United Brethren on Sundays. Along with church services, the school held debates, voting for general elections, and competitions in baseball, horseshoes, sewing, and cooking. The school continued until 1962 when it closed; students thereafter went to Lecompton to continue their education.[6]

Farming brought the community new hope and continues to be the common livelihood of the remaining residents. Construction on the Clinton Reservoir led to changes in road routes and farming locations. While this did mean the loss of farms to eminent domain and county purchase, it helped Stull and its surrounding communities become more progressive.[6][14]

20th century

In 1912, only 31 people lived in the Stull area, and at its maximum size the settlement comprised about fifty individuals.[12][15] Christ Kraft, an inhabitant of the settlement during the 20th century, recalls that life in the small town was “quiet and easy, sometimes even boring.”[16] Before automobiles were popular in the area, trips to Lecompton, Lawrence, and Topeka, took two, three, and four hours, respectively. In early 20th century, organized baseball became popular in the area, and members of Stull played in a league with members from other Clinton Lake communities, like Clinton and Lone Star.[16] Eventually, a baseball diamond was constructed in Stull.[2] During this time, hunting rabbits was also a popular activity,[17] and it was not uncommon for the Stull community to bring hauls of about 300 freshly-killed rabbits to butchers in Topeka.[2]

During the early 20th century, a number of businesses were established in the area, but most were short-lived; the exception to this general trend was the Louk & Kraft grocery store, which was established in the early 1900s and lasted until 1955.[12][18] The Roaring Twenties brought preliminary discussion about constructing an interurban railroad line between Kansas City and Emporia that would have run through Stull.[19] Anticipating that their city was about to grow, the residents of Stull began discussing the idea of establishing a “Farmers State Bank” in the area; the Lecompton-based banker J. W. Kreider even secured an official bank charter.[2][16] However, neither the railway or the bank were ever built, possibly due to the advent of the Great Depression.[16]

During the 20th century, the settlement suffered two major tragedies. The first occurred when Oliver Bahnmaier, a young boy wandered into a field that his father was burning and died. Oliver’s tragic death led to the rumor that if one stepped on Oliver’s tombstone, they would go to Hell. The second occurred when a man was found hanging from a tree after going missing.[12][20]

Legend of Stull Cemetery

Far removed from the horrible story of The Exorcist or the bizarre black masses recently discovered in Los Angeles, and tucked away on a rough county road between Topeka and Lawrence is the tiny town of Stull. Not unlike the town of Sleepy Hollow, described by Washington Irving in his famous tale, Stull is one of those towns motorists can miss by blinking. Stull and Sleepy Hollow have another thing in common. Both are haunted by legends of diabolical, supernatural happenings.

The opening to the University Daily Kansan article “Legend of Devil Haunts Tiny Town”, penned by Jain Penner.[21] It was this article that caused Stull to largely be associated with the supernatural in the popular consciousness.[8]

The Stull Cemetery[22] has gained an ominous reputation due to urban legends involving Satan, the occult, and a purported “gateway to Hell“.[23] The rumors about the cemetery were popularized by a November 1974 issue of The University Daily Kansan (the student newspaper of the University of Kansas), which claimed that the Devil appeared in Stull twice a year: once on Halloween, and once on the spring equinox.[24][11] People soon said that the cemetery was the location of one of the seven gates to Hell and that the nearby Evangelical Emmanuel Church ruin was “possessed” by the Devil. Others claimed (erroneously) that the legend was engendered by the killing of Stull’s mayor back in the 1850s (of note, Stull was never organized as a town, so never had a mayor).[6] It is also said that during a trip to Colorado in the 1990s, the Pope redirected the flight path of his private plane to avoid flying over the unholy ground of Stull (although there is no evidence that this happened).[23] Most academics, historians, and local residents are in agreement that the legend has no basis in historical fact and was created and spread by students.[8][11]

In the years that followed the publication of the University Daily Kansan article, the legend persuaded thrill seekers to visit the cemetery, and they would claim that weird and creepy events such as noises and memory lapses happened to them leading to further speculation that the town was haunted by witches and the devil. It became a popular activity for young folks (especially high school and college students from Lawrence or Topeka) to journey to the cemetery on Halloween or the equinox to “see the Devil”. Many would jump fences or otherwise sneak their way onto the property. Over the decades, as the number of people making excursions to the cemetery grew, the graveyard started to deteriorate; this was exacerbated by vandals.[8][11] To combat this, the county’s sheriff office patrols the area around the cemetery, especially on Halloween, and will arrest people for trespassing.[25] Those caught inside the cemetery after it is closed could face a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.[23]

In popular culture

Despite its dubious origins, the legend of Stull Cemetery has been referenced numerous times in popular culture. The band Urge Overkill released the Stull EP in 1992, which features the church and a tombstone from the cemetery on the cover.[8][26] It has been argued that the British band The Cure canceled their show in Kansas because of Stull’s cemetery,[23] although this too is false.[8] Films whose plot is based on the legends include Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (2001),[27] Nothing Left to Fear (2013),[28] and the unreleased film Sin-Jin Smyth.[27] The cemetery is also the site of the final confrontation between Lucifer and Michael in “Swan Song“, the season five finale of the television series Supernatural and the History Channel documentary.[8][29] In-universe, Sam and Dean Winchester (the series’ protagonists) are from Lawrence; in a 2006 interview, Eric Kripke (the creator of Supernatural) revealed that he decided to have the two brothers be from Lawrence because of its closeness to Stull.[30] In an interview with Complex Magazine, pop star Ariana Grande talked about her unsuccessful attempt to visit Stull and stated that she was attacked by demons.[31]

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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