A Peculiar Q & A

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Instagram (@judeandtheobscure if you aren’t already following my account) with a request for questions. Without further ado, here is my very first Q & A!

Anonymous questions:

“What is your favorite [sic] horror film? You can give one before 2000 and one after 2000 if that’s easier.”

Ooh, tough one! The Mummy (1999) is more of an action-adventure than a horror film, but that’s definitely my favourite film of all time. If I had to pick a classic horror film (i.e. pre-2000), it’d have to be The Omen (1976). My post-2000 horror film would be The Witch (2015).

“What’s the most haunted place you’ve ever been?”

The first two ghost hunts I did were at Drakelow Tunnels, Kidderminster, so that’s probably the most haunted place I’ve deliberately been to! I’ve been to Dudley Castle and Warwick Castle quite a lot too (although not for spooky purposes!) and they’re both allegedly haunted too.

These questions were from my good friend Sarah, who is a legend. Shout out to Sarah!

“Do you think that paranormal entities serve a purpose/have a function or do you think they merely “exist”?”

I think it’s possible that some entities do! There are plenty of people who agree with the theory that some latch onto a location or a person because they have a mission to carry out or a message to deliver.

“Personal opinion on the most significant (or cool, or interesting, or downright spooky) historical example of the paranormal/unexplained?”

Whether you class this as a paranormal incident depends on which theory you believe, but the spookiest example that immediately came to mind was the Dyatlov Pass incident.

Nine experienced hikers perished on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl in Russia’s Ural Mountains in 1959. The evidence suggests something made them run out of their tents, none of them properly dressed for the weather, and six subsequently died of hypothermia. The other three hikers were found with physical trauma – chest fractures, a shattered skull, even a missing tongue and eyes. It’s a story that’s stuck with me since I first read about it, primarily because it has remained unsolved. Theories range from an avalanche, to an animal attack, to aliens. There are even folks who reckon it was a yeti.

I find it especially spooky because we may never know exactly what happened. Historians and paranormal investigators alike have their theories, there have been documentaries and horror movies made on the subject, but we’ll probably never find the answer.  *shudder*

The most significant event I can think of is probably the Patterson-Gimlin film (1967), which is likely the most famous piece of footage of Bigfoot out there. Two friends filmed what they believed to be Bigfoot in Humboldt County, California, and the still I’ve included below is arguably the most iconic image of Bigfoot.

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“Spookiest/most unexplainable encounter you’ve had?”

Ooh, there’s been a few! The spookiest was definitely the very first “paranormal” encounter I ever had. It was when I was in primary school – I’ve got a feeling I was about 6 years old. I was asleep at my dad’s house and something abruptly woke me up, although I don’t know what. I lifted my head off the pillow and saw a face looking at me above my headboard.

The figure – though I could only see its very white, very gaunt face – was standing between the head of my bed and the door. It must have been reasonably tall for me to see it, as I had bunk beds at the time (the lower bunk had drawers and shelves instead of another bed). I’m now roughly 5’6″ (1.7m) and, picturing the bunk beds now, they were probably as tall as I am. We stared at one another for a couple of seconds. Then the entity opened its mouth and made a gasping, growling sound, which (obviously) startled me and I put my head back down on the pillow with the duvet over me. When I looked up, the thing was gone and, shortly after, my dad came in to check on me. I asked him if anyone had been in my room and he replied that no-one had.

I’ve talked to other people about this experience. A friend of mine at secondary school believed it was probably sleep paralysis, a condition in which a person is conscious but unable to move and they may hallucinate vividly. I respectfully disagree, as I distinctly remember moving and speaking throughout the experience and I’ve never had any sleep problems before or since. What I find most odd is that I’ve never had any other strange or potentially paranormal experiences at my dad’s. I’ve heard noises without a source at my mom’s house, but nothing more at Dad’s house.

“Do you think “paranormal”/”horror” films have created an undue fear or resistance to the paranormal?”

I think so! In some ways, horror films have the potential to get people interested in the paranormal, but I think they often give a false representation of what ghost hunters/paranormal investigators do and what “contacting spirits” is actually like. There’s this idea that all spirits are trying to manipulate or kill you, whereas the couple of times I’ve been ghost-hunting have been really positive experiences. It was fun and interesting rather than scary. I came away from those experiences with a lot to think about, but I wasn’t upset or frightened.

Generally, we’re all a bit scared of what we don’t understand and that’s totally natural. My very first “paranormal” experience was terrifying, but that was largely because I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I feel like I’m armed with information and experience when I go ghost-hunting now, so there’s less to feel afraid of!

Thank you to the folks who contributed! These were such interesting questions and I had loads of fun answering them.

If you couldn’t think of anything to ask this time around or missed the submission deadline, never fear! I think I’ll do this again – maybe we should make it an annual thing? Let me know what you think!

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Q & A!

Quick post to say I’m opening up the floor to you folks!

Ask me any spooky questions you like. They can be about my opinions (e.g. “What’s your favourite horror film?”, “Do you believe in Bigfoot?”). They can even be factual questions (e.g. “You mentioned [insert case/cryptid/haunting/paranormal term here] and I don’t know what that is. Explain!”).

Just some ground rules: I won’t be answering any questions I consider to be insulting or too personal. I also won’t answer any questions that aren’t relevant to this blog: for example, “How do you think politics and social issues influence urban legends?” would be a very good and topical question, but, in this case, “Which way do you vote?” is not. Like many other things, politics is important to me; it’s just not specifically what I’m doing here. Lastly, any hate comments and/or trolling won’t be acknowledged – I enjoy chatting to sceptics very much, but that can be done in a civil manner.

To ask your question, either drop me a comment below this post or a message on Instagram (@judeandtheobscure). Specify if you would prefer not to be named or if you would like me to include your Instagram handle or blog name (get yourself that promo, yaaas).

Q & A submissions open Saturday 6th January 2018 and close Saturday 20th January 2018. I’ll then finalise them over the weekend.

Get askin’!

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Update: you can read the Q & A here!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

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It’s alright, Danny. 2018 will be better.

Firstly: a big, BIG thank you to you lovely people who take the time to read what I post on this daft little blog! I can’t express my gratitude enough – this is very much my passion project and I’m very protective of it. People rarely want to hear my opinions on Bigfoot, horror movies and hauntings (funnily enough, there’s not much call for it in everyday life), so this is a place I’ve created where I can share all that stuff. Even if it doesn’t matter to anyone but me, it has its own small space in the world.

Secondly: a plan of action for 2018. I’ve noticed that I’ve posted a lot of horror film reviews and analysis pieces recently. This is no bad thing – I’ve enjoyed writing them – but I’m aware that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. My main goal is to get back into the habit of writing the research series (which you can find under Lunar Files, Haunted Files, Hidden Files). They take more time than a review – the review content is coming directly from my own head, but those articles require research and I prefer to have them structured more formally (more like an essay, for example).

I’d also like to write more about how I’ve brought spooky things into my life – a bit more about my ghost-hunting antics, about my tarot reading and about how these things intersect with my politics and feminist views. These aren’t all separate parts of my life; they’re all important elements of my identity.

Finally, by way of an explanation (not an excuse): I’m a university student, so my posting schedule is rather erratic. My degree has to be the priority – as much as I would love to write this blog, travel around hunting monsters and be spooky as a full-time career, only a lucky few get the privilege and opportunity to do that. I’ll do my best to post as frequently as is possible. I can only apologise for denying you the pleasure of my company and boundless wit, but duty calls.

Thank you again. I’m sorry that I can’t be more profound with my expression of thanks, but there is profundity enough in the world. It would be insincere of me to be anything other than my irreverent self.

Yours in life and in death,

Jude.

P.S. Remember that Inside No. 9 starts again tomorrow at 10pm on BBC Two! That’s not strictly relevant, but I’m planning to do a brief (hopefully spoiler-free) review of each episode and avoid doing any lengthy horror movie reviews for a while. If you haven’t ever seen it (where do you live, under a fucking rock?), the previous three series are on iPlayer. Love yourself and watch it.

P.S. 2. Ask A Mortician‘s Caitlin Doughty posted a new video in tribute to her “year of content”. But the fun doesn’t stop there – it’ll continue through 2018. The death revolution begins now! Subscribe if you haven’t already.

P.S. 3. I’m not sponsored by any of the people/products I’ve ever mentioned. You think I’m making money here? Please, I wish. I just love talking about the things I adore and the people I admire.

Halloween Goodies for Freaky Folks

Carve your pumpkins and boil your cauldrons, Halloween is nearly here!

I’m starting your October off the right way by sharing handy compilations of horror films, spooky documentaries and general scary paraphernalia. Get comfortable and be prepared to be scared!

Hours of Halloween Horror:

I scoured YouTube for all the free horror films I could get my filthy hands on, and this is the result!

Nostalgia Critic’s “Stephen King” Reviews:

Take a trip down nostalgia lane and watch the Nostalgia Critic look back on the best (and worst) of the Stephen King adaptations – without the rose-tinted glasses.

A Study In Scares

Analysis of the horror genre, movie theories and reflections on the art of the scare.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist:

Themes from horror films, assorted popular spooky tunes and songs to get you in that autumnal mood.

Upcoming Horror

Watch the trailers for the latest horror films debuting in the dark half of the year.

 

Hope you enjoy the playlists (but, like, get some fresh air too)!

Spooky Semana: 29/08/17

Spooky Semana: a week (ish?) in which I saw a higher-than-average frequency of spooky sh*t.

Wednesday 23rd

While cooking at a voluntary project I’m involved in, we ended up chatting about what we wanted at our respective funerals. The general consensus was no black attire would be permitted at any of them and the music for the service would need to be eyewateringly inappropriate. “My Heart Will Go On” if the cause of death is cardiac arrest, “Wind Beneath My Wings” if it’s a hang-gliding accident.

Thursday 24th

Not necessarily ~spooky~ but a new tarot deck arrived in the post! I ordered the Wild Unknown after deliberating and lusting after it for months… finally I caved. It’s beautiful – the card stock is just right, although the cards are bigger than I’m used to, and I’m finding the imagery a wee bit challenging. But all in all, a lovely purchase and a nice reward to myself after my exam results.

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Friday 25th

My brother and I wound up binge-watching BuzzFeed Unsolved. I’ve been disappointed in BuzzFeed’s previous videos dealing with tarot, mediumship and other aspects of parapsychology – they’ve either seemed sensationalised and insincere or they’ve been sceptical to the point of making the viewing experience uncomfortable. The couple of tarot videos they made really misrepresented it. However, Unsolved is fantastic – Ryan is a believer, Shane is a sceptic, and they chat about cases and go on wacky investigations together. It’s great. Catch the latest episode here.

Sunday 27th

Taylor Swift dropped the music video for her new single Look What You Made Me Do, the first from her upcoming album Reputation. Taylor Swift might not be a name that you associate with the content of this blog, but the opening to the video was near-terrifying. The music video opens in a cemetery, as a zombified Taylor crawls out of a grave marked “Here Lies Taylor Swift’s Reputation”. The lyric video is equally dark, with its angular style, serpentine imagery and red/black contrast. Watch the music video here.

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Thanks for the nightmares, Tay-Tay.

Monday 28th

Michael O’Shea’s horror-drama The Transfiguration is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and major digital platforms. You can take home the tale of an isolated boy obsessed with vampires who starts to blur the line between his real life and his bloodthirsty fantasies. I stumbled upon this film by chance in a sponsored Facebook post and, having now watched the trailer, I can’t wait to sink my fangs into it.

Watch the trailer below:

Tuesday 29th

Two of my favourite drag queens, Katya Zamolodchikova and Trixie Mattel, released Part 2 of the “Death” episode of their web series UNHhhh on Monday and I’ve just caught up. In the episodes, they discuss their fears about death, their thoughts on the afterlife and, OH HONEYYYY, they design the most sickenin’ funerals possible. Watch Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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Hope you enjoyed this round-up of my weird week! Sorry for the lack of posts recently – I’m hoping to get back on top of my pile of drafts soon and crank out some new content!

Welcome!

This is my very first post. I’d like to give you a brief overview of why this blog exists and my intentions, although you can find a more detailed discussion of the kind of topics you’ll find here on my homepage.

First and foremost, this is a library, of sorts. I’ve gathered up all the websites I habitually look at for information, the books I’ve read and the films I’ve watched. Some of them are for entertainment purposes, but you’ll find plenty of fact-checked and informative material too. I’ve been interested in the paranormal since I was nine years old – at least, that was the age when I properly understood its significance and was able to research it. As such, I’ve been collating these resources for about a decade.

Think about that – a decade’s worth of reading and learning, and you can access it all in less than a minute.

Secondly, I’d like to post the occasional analysis of a historical case/recent story/sighting. I run another blog about feminism, which is my main site, and I obviously have academic and social commitments. However, I’ll endeavour to post as much original content as I can. I’m based in the Midlands (England, UK), so I’m lucky enough to have access to plenty of haunted locations and mysterious sites.

Finally, I’ve had so many inexplicable experiences that I want an answer for. Connecting with other people who have experienced similar things or who are knowledgeable about the subject is the only way, as far as I can tell, to set myself on the path to discovery.

Jude