Monthly Archives: October 2016
Countdown to Halloween: The Mummy (1932)
Countdown to Halloween:Haunted Mine
As some of you probably already know, I am highly skeptical of most ghost videos on YouTube. Occasionally you do find a gem or two that provides some genuine scary or at least spooky images. These two about a guy who explores old abandoned mines caught my eye. Most of the time when exploring these mines nothing happens. His videos reveal a lot about these old mines and what they used to do. But when exploring one particular mine in Nevada, something weird did happen on the first visit. And then on the second visit towards the end something weird also happens. In the first one, old chains are hanging in the entry area. They were once used to support the platform that moved ore out. One in the rear seems to be moving unusually as if it is being deliberately moved. Of course it might be the result of vibrations caused by walking around the mine or a microquake. The second one appears to have a voice at the end and a what sounds like a French police siren. One likely possibility is that the camera, which records sounds, picked up a transmission that had nothing to do with the mine. Or it could be someone was pranking the guy. Some have suggested perhaps someone lives in that mine and created that message to scare people away. There is also another possibility: that it is all faked to create buzz. Whatever it might me, the videos are fun to watch and appropriate for the Halloween season.
Update:Titanic Key Sells For $104,000
A locker key found on the body of Titanic steward Sidney Sedunary was auctioned off on Saturday for $104,000 reports Fox News. The key was sold by auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son.
Source: Locker key from the Titanic sells at auction for $104,000 (Fox News,23 Oct 2016)
Countdown to Halloween: Danse Macabre
French composer Saint-Saens started this in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano using text by poet Henri Cazalis. In 1874 he altered it into its present form replacing the vocals with a solo violin. Danse Macabre is based on an old French superstition that on Halloween Death will call forth the dead from their graves. While he plays a violin, they will dance for him until the sun comes up when they must return to the grave for another year. Here is an interesting rendition of it using some nifty graphics.
Britannic To Become Underwater Tourist Attraction?
HMHS Britannic, which sank in 1916 off the Greek coast likely by a mine, could become an underwater diving park. It has been declared a war grave and the Greek government has made it difficult to get permits to dive to it even for legitimate research purposes. That appears to have changed. The Greek economy is not doing well and there is a serious effort underway to make it an historical attraction with museum, hotel, and diving school. Unlike Titanic, there is not likely to be any salvage and would be treated as a historical exhibition you can dive to.
Source: Could the wreck of Titanic’s sister ship help save Greece’s sinking economy? (Daily Telegraph,18 Oct 2016)
World War I: HMHS Britannic (militaryhistory.about.com)
Titanic Locker Key Up For Sale;Premier Inks Deal With Canadian Film Producers
*Fox News reports that a rare Titanic key with a brass tag stamped “Locker 14 D Deck” is up for sale. It was found in the body of Titanic Third Class Steward Sidney Sedunary. A direct descendant of Sedunary has put it up for auction with well known Titanic memorabilia auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son. It is valued at somewhere between $36,640-$61.070. It will be auctioned off on 22 Oct 2016.
*Premier Exhibitions has inked a deal with Infinity Filmed Entertainment Group and Partners in Motion to allow them exclusive access to Titanic artifacts for a new television series. The series titled Titanic: Stories from the Deep will explore the stories behind the artifacts. The series is expected to move into production in 2017. (Titanic Artifacts To Be Examined In New Series, TVReal.ws 14Oct2016)
*I never knew there were people that collected mourning covers sent via the mail. There were many printed after the Titanic disaster for people to mail to friends or others indicating their sadness at the tragedy. A writer for Linn’s Stamp News looked recently at two such but unmailed covers. What caught his attention was not the cover itself (which he said was typical of the period)but the words inside:
“She struck where the white and fleecy waves,
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side,
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board,
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! Ho! The breakers roared.”
(Titanic Memorabilia Goes Beyond Mailed Covers,Linn’s Stamp News,7 Oct 2016)
From the Halloween files: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, I recently realized, is an underrated gem. Wandering through my local library one recent Saturday, I noticed the book on the science fiction/fantasy shelf. I realized never read this book and checked it out. I wish I had read the book sooner as the story is compelling and scary. A perfect book for autumn and for Halloween.
The story is told primarily from the point of view of two 13 year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway. They are in the cusp of leaving childhood and forever changed when Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show comes to town in autumn. It is unusual for a carnival to come so late in the year and the boys are excited. It comes when everyone is asleep at 3am in the morning but the boys watch it set up and are excited about it. As the story progresses though, it becomes clear the carnival is not at all what it seems to be. They see their teacher, Miss Foley, come out of the Mirror Maze in a panic. And later they see Mr. Cooger turned into a 12 year-old boy by riding the carousel backwards. Cooger then insinuates himself into Miss Foley’s house as a relative. Later when Cooger ages back on the carousel, Jim wants to hop on but Will accidently hits the breaker. The carousel spins out of control and Cooger grows very old. Ultimately he becomes a new act for the carnival when the boys return with the police, Mr. Electrico. Mr. Dark, aka the Illustrated Man for the many tattoos on his boy of the souls he has taken, realizes the two boys are a serious threat that must be dealt with.
The carnival is a façade, designed to ensnare the unwary to become either servants for Dark or to send them back home more miserable than before. Dark and his cohorts are the Autumn People. For them the calendar goes from September to October and stops after Halloween. They are locked perpetually in that world, much like a vampire is, neither going forward nor backward. Autumn, since it is the transition from summer to winter, is a melancholy period of leaves falling, cooler evenings and other things. And the Autumn People thrive during this period finding people who have lost the joy of living and replaced it with fears, guilt, and misery. Charles Holloway, Will’s father, is sad at being too old to play with his son. And he fears death. Those fears and many more draw Dark and his carnival to their dark harvest.
Dark seems to have all the power at his disposal as all evil villains do. He manages to capture the boys and nearly brings about Charles’ death until he realizes the one true power that will defeat Dark and his people: joy. It is interesting that in this battle between good and evil that it comes down to something simple. There is no waving of swords, chanting of magical phrases. Instead Charles realizes that the simple love he shares with his son gives him power over Dark. And once they realize he has that power, it truly frightens them. For it is the one thing that can truly kill them. Joy, laughter, happiness are the weapons against evil here and it shatters Dark and his carnival. Dark is killed by simple affection in the end.
The depiction of good versus evil is focused not on the spiritual but on how we allow our self-perceptions blind us to the joys of life. If we allow our miseries to cloud our outlook, it can blind us to the real evils that come knocking on our door. The lightning rod salesman wanted to meet a beautiful woman. He did and got turned into a dwarf to serve in the carnival with no memories of what he once was. Miss Foley was seduced by Cooger’s promise of youth that she failed to see he was not her nephew at all. Enjoying simple everyday joys counteract the bad things we have in our life.
With its skillful combination of fantasy and horror, this book is considered at the top of many horror lists. Ray Bradbury wrote a lot of books, many of them in the science fiction genre, but also wrote others outside of those parameters. It was made into a Disney film in 1983 and one of the rare dark movies made by them. While it differs in some ways from his book (Bradbury was involved with the movie), it gets the setting right and the basic story is there. The book though is far superior to it and recommended reading when you want a genuine spooky book that will entertain and delight. Unlike Stephen King, who frequently lambasts small towns in his books, the small town setting is exactly the right place for this story. And its story of good versus evil has never gone out of style.
Ray Bradbury (Official Site)
Ray Bradbury Biography (Biography.com)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Sparknotes)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Goodreads)
Premier Exhibitions Update: Equity Committee Website & Letter
The Equity Committee, along with the Unsecured Creditors Committee has set up a website so that Premier’s equity holders can have access to important information about the case. The website is http://www.upshotservices.com/premiercommittees. A recent letter to shareholders issued by the Equity Committee can be found here: http://www.upshotservices.com/rms%20titanic%20inc/equity%20committee%20website%20letter.pdf
Jack Was Never There
Taking a stroll down conspiracy lane finds a new entrant. This has nothing to do with the real Titanic but the fictional retelling in James Cameron’s Titanic. If you have seen this Academy Award winning movie, you know the story of Jack and Rose. But some out there, perhaps with lots of time to spend with nothing to do, are putting out the theory that Jack was simply made up by Rose. The thinking is this: since she was being trapped into a marriage she did not want, she created the delusion of Jack. While it is plausible in some senses, it begs the question of who painted her (did she paint herself?)or how he was seen by others at a dinner. Then again these are inconvenient truths for the conspiracy minded.
Source:This sinister Titanic fan theory about Rose puts an entirely different AND darker slant on the film (Daily Mirror,4 Oct 2016)