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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore NA

What is Lycanthropy and Where Did It Come From?

The official definition of Lycanthropy? “A delusion that one has become a wolf,” or “the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic.” Basically, it’s the werewolf that’s become a common fixture in not just horror, but cinema in general. There’s something truly terrifying about this half-man, and half-wolf creature that brings bloodshed wherever it goes. Perhaps it’s the fact that this affliction usually happens to a helpless man – in the wrong place at the wrong time as he’s bitten by a mysterious creature and becomes a monster right before his own eyes. Or the fact that lycanthropy dates back to centuries-old folklore, and many believe that the wolfman isn’t just a symbol of cinema… but a real-life terror that walks among us. Here’s what you need to know about the phenomenon of lycanthropy. 

Lycanthropic woodcut of a village attacked by werewolves by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1512

Where did Lycanthropy Originate?

Where does the legend of lycanthropy, or werewolves, originate? It’s complicated. Like many mythical creatures, the werewolf is a widespread concept in European folklore… was a critical part of stories told throughout the Medieval Period. However, the witch hunt (literally) for werewolves began during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period alongside the witchcraft trials. According to Wikipedia, “the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century.”

Being accused of witchcraft is one thing, but accusations of lycanthropy were quite literally a whole other beast. While many believed that you could become a werewolf by being bitten by one, others believed that lyncathropy took place by sleeping under the full moon or eating the wrong type of meat. In her book “Giants, Monsters, and Dragons,” folklorist Carol Rose notes that “In ancient Greece it was believed that a person could be transformed by eating the meat of a wolf that had been mixed with that of a human and that the condition was irreversible.” Yikes. 

Accusations of Lycanthropy

While the accusations are featured in less textbooks and movies than those of witchcraft, they were very much alive for centuries. One of the best known cases is that of Peter Stumpp, who was accused of werewolfery, witchcraft, and cannibalism in the 16th century. Known as “the Werewolf of Bedburg,” he had a violent and brutal history of torture, murder, and eating everything from goats and lambs to human children. After a grotesque execution where he had flesh torn from his body, limbs broken in multiple places, and was beheaded before being burned… his lyncathropy story became one of the most famous in history.

That being said, Peter Stumpp was a special case. And like the Salem Witch Trials, it’s safe to say that most accused of lycanthropy were not actually werewolves. Or were they? Many genuinely believed that werewolves walked among us centuries ago… and they remain a common presence in the gothic fiction and horror genres. We all love a good werewolf movie, but it becomes a bit darker after learning the fascinating history of lycanthropy.

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Featured Scary Movies and Series

Remembering the iconic Friday the 13th series

Of all the terrifying creatures in the world of horror, there are few as famous as Jason Voorhees. His hockey goalie mask and machete has graced the bedroom walls of horror enthusiasts for decades, and you can’t go a single Halloween night without seeing at least 10 Jasons. But his real legacy lies with the Friday the 13th franchise – a series of 12 slasher films, comic books, video games and more based on Jason’s killing sprees. These follow Jason’s journey from a kid who “drowned” in Crystal Camp Lake to one of the greatest horror villains of all time.

There’s no denying the legacy of the Friday the 13th franchise, and Jason Voorhees, in popular culture… but did you know that most of the films received negative reviews from critics? If it’s not a Rotten Tomatoes score that makes a film memorable, then what is? Many say that it’s Jason’s terrifying appearance that has spawned merchandise, Halloween costumes, and killer tattoos for nearly 40 years. Others say it’s the sex and violence that make for a scary good (even if not sophisticated) time. Or perhaps you’d like to decide for yourself? Watch these top five films from the Friday the 13th lineup to determine why the franchise is so iconic. 

Interested in the real history of Friday the 13th, well we’ve got that too!

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th original movie poster

The film that started it all – and funny enough, doesn’t even include Jason in his trademark hockey mask. What it does have, however, is young Kevin Bacon, lots of blood, and a sweet tale of vengeance. Friday the 13th follows a tale of teenagers who are trying to refurbish an abandoned summer camp, which has been vacant since a young boy drowned at Camp Crystal Lake many years prior. But things take a violent turn when they start getting murdered one-by-one, and you’ll never guess who’s doing it. This is the first movie in a decades-long tale of torment and fear, and who doesn’t love a good 1980’s slasher flick? Stream on Amazon here.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th part 3D movie poster

This is the film where Jason gets his iconic hockey mask and finds his identity as a killer, and it’s a lot of fun along the way. It was released in 3D, which was a huge deal back in 1982, and therefore gave you a lot of grotesque images of body parts coming at you through the screen. But that’s just horror, right? This is one of the best films that lays the foundation for the rest of the franchise, and you’ll really connect with Jason! Stream on Amazon here.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Friday the 13th Final Chapter Movie poster

For the record, this film is definitely not the final chapter in the franchise. Not even close. However, it’s still one of the best Friday the 13th movies that introduces you to Tommy Jarvis, the brave kid with an affinity for masks who comes face-to-face with Jason. Portrayed by a young Corey Feldman, this film marks Tommy’s first appearance in the franchise… but definitely not his last. You’ll see him hack away at Jason with a machete and kill him, and the terrifying results will unfold over the next few films! Stream on Amazon here.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Freddy Vs Jason Movie Poster

If you asked somebody on the street which Friday the 13th film was their favorite, it would likely be Freddy vs. Jason. It’s one of the best and most popular features, likely due to the face-off between two of the biggest villains in horror. There’s just as much blood as you would expect, as Freddy raises Jason from the dead (once again) to get back into the killing spirit. While the clawed villain from your nightmares was expecting the hockey-masked murderer to help him, things get a little twisted as they start battling each other and fighting over who gets to kill whom! Stream on Amazon here.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Friday the 13th part vii movie poster

Sure, the title is kind of a spoiler… but if you’ve watched any of the movies, you already know that Jason lives. Again, and again, and again. While Tommy Jarvis murdered Jason years ago, things take a dramatic turn after the former is released from the mental hospital and returns to Crystal Lake to confront his fears. A bolt of lightning and some seriously bad luck ressurects Jason from the dead, and the killings start once again as Tommy tries to stop the hockey masked murderer once and for all. This movie is less scary, and more funny… and one of the best parts of what makes Friday the 13th so iconic? It doesn’t take itself too seriously! Stream on Amazon here.

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Best Of Best of Movies Featured Scary Movies and Series

The Best Movies About the End of the World

Remember when everybody thought the world would end in 2012? Nearly a decade later and we’re still here, but the terrifying apocalyptic movies will never stop… and we like it that way. These films are the ideal combination of action, suspense, and horror – watching society unravel as the main characters quite literally run for their lives, often to no avail. What would you do if you were simply getting your hair done at the salon, when buildings started to collapse all around you? Is there any imaginable way to escape a natural disaster of this capacity? Answer these questions and get a fix of apocalyptic horror with these top-rated films about the end of the world.

These Final Hours (2015)

These final hours movie poster

If you found out the world was ending, what’s the first thing you would do? Some would say goodbye to their loved ones or chill out with Netflix and good food, but the protagonist in These Final Hours wants to party. And party hard. The film begins in Perth, Australia as an asteroid collides with Earth, with about twelve hours to go until a firestorm reaches the country. James wants to experience the “party to end all parties” before he exits the planet, but things take a unique turn as he meets new people and comes across terrifying things. This is definitely one of the most underrated end-of-the-world thrillers, ever. 

Take Shelter (2011)

Take Shelter movie poster

The end of the world is even more terrifying when it’s all happening inside your head, and that’s exactly what happens to Curtis LaForche in this apocalyptic thriller. He sees raindrops made of oil and swarms of black birds, while nobody else does… and his increasing anxiety and strange behavior begins to cause issues with his job, family, and life. Is he simply going through a rough time period, struggling with mental illness, or foreshadowing a future disaster? You’ll have to watch this Jessica Chastain thriller (her specialty) and find out. 

2012 (2009)

2012 end of the world movie poster

For many years, there were conspiracy theories about the world ending in 2012, as this was the conclusion of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Obviously, it didn’t happen… but we did get a pretty sweet disaster movie out of it. Released in 2009, this film centers around Jackson Curtis and his attempts to save his family from impending doom. And by that, we mean a series of natural disasters that are slowly crumbling the Earth and killing off the population. This film has the ideal combination of action and scares, and you can sleep easy knowing that we all survived the year 2012. 

I Am Legend (2007)

I am legend movie poster

I hope you are enjoying the apocalypse. So what do you do when 90% of the Earth’s population is killed by a virus, while you’re the 1% who lives and the other 9% are terrifying mutants who want to kill you? Ask scientist Robert Neville, who is living a post-apocalyptic life in the ruins of Manhattan. Will Smith gives a breathtaking performance as he tries to survive and find a cure for the virus, while tracking down any fellow survivors and trying not to get attacked by the mutants. As you can imagine, it’s an eventful film!

Children of Men (2006)

Children of men movie poster

The premise of this film is quite simple. Humans have mysteriously become infertile and society is quickly (and not so quietly) dying out. There are less natural disasters and more quiet moments of fear, but Children of Men still has plenty of action. When a woman is believed to be pregnant, it becomes a symbol of hope for society… and the film follows a group of people as they do whatever it takes to stay alive. 

World War Z (2013)

World War Z Movie Poster

Brad Pitt spending a nearly 2 hour movie trying to stop a zombie pandemic, and looking amazing doing it? That’s why you need to watch World War Z. Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations agent who is assigned to gather clues about how to stop zombies from taking over the planet – guided by his duty to his job and need to protect his family. This movie is based on the 2006 novel World War Z, which you should also check out! If Brad Pitt can’t make the apocalypse fun who can?

28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later movie poster

This film hits a bit close to home in 2021, as it centers around four individuals trying to rebuild their life after a contagious virus hits and destroys society as they once knew it. Before there was Bird Bo or The Quiet Place, there was 28 Days Later… as this film shows the survivors trying to cope with their losses while avoiding the zombies that could possibly infect them. Among many, many other things. Some critics even say that it revived the zombie genre all the way back in 2002!

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore NA

California’s Haunted Lighthouses

Lighthouses are a common fixture in the world of horror, and there are many reasons why. Perhaps it’s the eerie crashing of the waves, or dim light that may or may not bring lost ships to safety. But there’s one aspect that definitely plays a part in the horror of lighthouses – the real-world fear of loneliness. Lighthouse keepers often choose to live in solitude, spending their days alone as they save ships from danger and witness horrific shipwrecks. It’s very common for lighthouse keepers to die alone in their chamber of solitude, and continuously haunt the area for years to come. This is the case with some of the most haunted lighthouses in California, which combine the common fears of the sea, lost spirits, and abandonment for a true horror story. Here are the top haunted lighthouses in California that you need to know….

Point Sur Haunted Lighthouse

Point Sur Haunted Lighthouse

Location: Monterey, CA

Nestled on the rocky coastline between Carmel and Big Sur, this lighthouse isn’t just one of the most haunted in California, but the entire country. That being said, you’d never know just by looking at it. It’s perched on a volcanic rock with a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean, on a beach that’s more serene than spooky. It’s when you get close enough that you realize it’s haunted by the souls of all those who perished in shipwrecks near the shore. And even the families who lived here in harmony, and simply wish to return as spirits and enjoy the breathtaking ocean views. Many ghosts have been sighted throughout the years, but one of the most famous is a tall man in dark blue, 19th century attire – and you’re guaranteed to hear about him when you take a guided tour of Point Sur State Historic Park.

Battery Point Haunted Lighthouse

Battery Point Haunted Lighthouse

Location: Crescent City

Believe it or not, you can actually apply to work as a keeper at Battery Point Lighthouse. You’ll work on a one-month rotation, help upkeep the museum, and keep the ghosts at bay! Okay, maybe not. But there has been some extreme paranormal activity inside this red-bricked building. People have heard footsteps on the tower stairs during storms, slippers have moved in the middle of the night with no explanation, and strange smells of cigars are a common occurrence at the Battery Point Lighthouse, even more than 100 years after it was built. Visit the museum and learn more about the haunted history of this lighthouse!

Point Piños Haunted Lighthouse

Point Piños Haunted Lighthouse

Location: Pacific Grove, CA

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that the Point Piños Lighthouse was just a cute little house… not a haunted institution. Can’t it be both? It’s still in use today as a way to warn ships of upcoming rocks and dangers, and also has museums and exhibits on the grounds. Many apparitions have been seen throughout the years, but one of the most popular spirits is that of Emily Fish, the “socialite lighthouse keeper.” She served as a keeper from 1893 to 1914, and it was quite rare at the time for women to hold such a position. She did a great job upkeeping the grounds and keeping the lighthouse in top shape, and as it turns out… she does the same thing in death. Fish is frequently seen hanging out around the lighthouse and keeping things running!

Alcatraz Island Haunted Lighthouse

Alcatraz Island Haunted Lighthouse

Location: San Francisco, CA

There’s a very good chance that you’ve heard of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, and the prison that once housed some of the worst criminals in America. It’s hard not to be consumed by evil when you’re surrounded by murderers and thieves – many of whom were killed by other inmates or while trying to escape “The Rock.” Many of these bad vibes can also be felt in the lighthouse, which has been out of service for decades. Take a cruise to Alcatraz and discover why the island, and its lighthouse, are considered to be some of the most haunted places in California.

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

5 Ghost Ships Sighted on the West Coast

The sea has always been a prime spot for terrifying tales. From the monstrously beautiful creatures that lurk in the depths of the ocean (think mermaids) to the countless people who have vanished at sea without a trace, this large body of water is as scary as it is stunning. And it’s not just human spirits that you’ll come across on the water, but also ghost ships. These urban legends have been told for centuries, with stories of sailors who disappear and mysterious ships that quite literally go passing in the night. Flying Dutchman is a classic ghostly vessel that you may have heard about at a bonfire or two, but do you know about the spirit ships that sail along the West Coast? From Washington to Alaska, here are the spooky mariner tales that will keep you away from the water. 

SS Baychimo

SS Baychimo Ghost Ship

Formerly used to trade provisions for pelts in Inuit settlements, this ghost ship cruised along the Alaskan coast for nearly four decades. There have been countless sightings of the SS Baychimo since she broke free of the ice, and her crew, in 1931… always sailing with no crew in sight. The scary part? Quite a few people have managed to board the ship, but have been unable to salvage her due to intervening factors – like the creeping ice floes that stopped Captain High Polson or the freak storm that trapped a group onboard for 10 days in 1933. It’s almost like supernatural factors always help her escape, right? The last known sighting of the SS Baychimo was in 1969, around 38 years after she initially went missing. The Alaskan government has been unsuccessfully trying to find her since 2006, and we’re sure that she’s still cruising along the ice somewhere!

Squando 

Squando Ghost Ship

There are some tales about ghost ships that are simply low-key, with the vessel escaping its crew and calmly sailing the seas solo for decades. The story of Squando is not one of them. In fact, it’s downright brutal. This Norwegian ship docked in San Francisco back in 1890, and took a violet turn when the Captain and his wife decided to murder and decapitate the first mate. The reasons for the killing vary by telling, but one fact remains the same – the headless corpse was discovered in the San Francisco bay some time later. As a result, the Captain and his wife were captured and executed. While the ship found a new crew shortly afterwards, they eventually murdered the new Captain… and the next two were also killed in violent ways. By 1893, the Squando’s reputation as a cursed ship preceded it, and the entire crew decided to desert the vessel in the Bay. However, that hasn’t stopped its legacy from sailing on. Over a century later, there are still stories about the Squando, and how you can still make out the ghostly outline of the ship sailing off the Embarcadero along the San Francisco coastline.

Siletz Bay Ship

Siletz Bay

Does the fact that this ghost ship has no name or backstory make it even scarier? Quite possibly. Siletz Bay is a scenic area in Oregon composed of gorgeous blue waters, and it’s been said that you might just get another view on foggy days: a phantom ship. Many guests have reported seeing a ghost ship sailing away at a distance, only for it to disappear within seconds. It’s quite literally a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment. Not much is known about the ship or why it was seemingly abandoned, but the spiritual vessel has created quite the buzz in Oregon. It’s a top location in many haunted tours within the state, and guests arrive from all over the world to catch a glimpse of this ghostly ship. 

Lost Ship of the Desert 

Lost Ship of the Desert Ghost Ship

Spanish treasure galleons and riches buried deep beneath the desert grounds of Coachella? That’s what the urban legends say. The Lost Ship of the Desert has been a subject of folklore for centuries, with people saying that an ancient vessel is buried along the Colorado Desert in California. People have tried to dig up the remains to no avail for years, while others claim to have seen the ghostly ship in either its full or deteriorated form. Whether you believe the legends about Spanish explorers, think it’s Viking ship (many people do!), or have doubts about whether it’s there at all… the Lost Ship of the Desert will have a place in folklore for years to come.

The Queen Mary

Queen Mary ghost Ship

This legendary vessel gives a new meaning to the term “ghost ship.” The ship itself isn’t a ghostly apparition that you need to stretch to get a sight of – in fact, it’s one of the top landmarks in California. What makes it ghostly? The countless spirits and haunted experiences that happen within the halls of this 80+ year old ship. Time magazine named it one of the top 10 haunted places in America back in 2008, and people flock in from all over the world to stay in the haunted rooms and participate in the hotel’s many ghostly encounters. From the well-dressed man who appears at the end of the hall to the little girl who supposedly drowned in the pool many years ago, the spirits have made a home for themselves at The Queen Mary. And they’re dying for you to come and visit this ghostly ship. 

Another infamous ghost ship we just added to our encyclopedia of supernatural horrors is The Ghost Ship Jenny and it might be the most terrifying yet.

Sources:

http://www.weirdca.com/location.php?location=160

https://www.beachconnection.net/news/ghost_siletz061420.php

https://www.desertsun.com/story/desert-magazine/2019/12/02/5-facts-lost-ship-california-desert-what-we-know/3981175002/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Ship_of_the_Desert

https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/most-haunted-hotel-america-queen-mary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary#Haunting_legends