Categories
Featured Haunted Places

The Urban Legend of Skinned Tom

If there’s anything we’ve learned from pop culture, it’s that getting caught cheating never ends well. You can end up losing your career, family, inheritance, and – in the case of Skinned Tom – even your life. This urban legend from Walland, Tennessee has it all for the average horror enthusiast: blood, sex, vengeance, and a cautionary tale for young people to not go looking for trouble. But how did Tom go from an attractive ladies man to a terrifying body horror urban legend who has supposedly haunted Lover’s Lane for decades? Here’s what the stories say.

The Legend of Skinned Tom

Map of Walland Texas Location

Decades ago in Walland, Tennessee, a young man named Tom was living the dream. He was handsome, funny, and smart…and the ladies noticed. He slowly began to womanize everybody in town, and yet, as with most playboys, he was never content. He would spend a bit of time with a woman before breaking up with her and moving on to the next, but everything changed when he met a gorgeous woman from the next town over. Some tales of Skinned Tom called her Eleanor. She was basically his dream girl, except for one unfortunate fact: she was already married. Tom didn’t mind, and he got a rush from sneaking around with a married woman trying not to get caught. He even pulled it off for a while, as they would kiss in Tom’s car near Lover’s Lane and do what all secret lovers do. That is, until Eleanor’s husband tracked them down and got the ultimate revenge on Tom for making him a cuckold. 

The legends say that Eleanor’s husband dragged Tom out of the car and skinned him alive with a hunting knife at the sight of his smug face. Gory? Yes. Deserved? Debatable. Tom had begged the angry man not to hurt him, swearing that he had no idea that Eleanor was married (a complete lie) and that he would never go near her again. But her husband saw right through Tom’s phony antics and got the ultimate vengeance on the man who had wronged him.

The Legend of Eleanor

As for Eleanor, there are different versions of what happened to her. Some urban legends say that her husband had killed her with the hunting knife right before he skinned Tom, albeit in a much less gruesome way. Others say that he had kept her alive on purpose, forcing her to watch as her lover was brutally murdered and tortured right before her eyes. That’s definitely something that would scar you for life, right? The part of the story that doesn’t change, however, is Tom’s brutal end…and how he now makes it his mission in death to prevent others from making the same mistakes he did in life. 

According to many urban legends told around the campfire in Tennessee, the ghost of Tom still hangs out around Lover’s Lane to teach young adults a lesson or two about adultery. He is described as a bloody skeleton who still holds the very same hunting knife that was used to remove the skin from his body, and will scare away anybody who tries to make out in the Tennessee countryside. Cheating is a painful act that hurts everybody involved, a lesson that Tom had to learn the hard way, and you’ll definitely stop smooching a married lady once a bloody, knife-wielding skeleton comes your way.

Skinned Tom’s song:

“Have you see the ghost of Skinned Tom?

Bloody red bones with the skin all gone

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on.”

Sources

https://aminoapps.com/c/paranormal/page/blog/skinned-tom-from-tennessee/bNbl_zeDfouBEk3vNDGRMln1BDNmvqwGXN1

https://americanupbeat.com/the-most-haunting-urban-legends-from-every-us-state/24

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

The Hatchet Lady of Red Rocks – Urban Legend

The Red Rocks park and amphitheater in Colorado is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful landmarks in the United States, as a simple Google search will explain. What your favorite search engine won’t tell you, however, is that this site isn’t home to just hiking trails and memorable concerts…but also to one of the most terrifying urban legends of the state. One that will keep you up at night and make you think very differently about the gorgeous red rocks that sit below the legendary Colorado sunset. Let us tell you about the story of the Hatchet Lady of Red Rocks.

redrocks theatre Colorado

Urban Legend of the Headless Hatchet Lady

Several ghosts have been rumored to lurk the grounds, but none are more famous than this decapitated damsel. People have reported seeing a headless woman riding horseback through the Red Rocks area, while carrying a bloody hatchet and scaring the life out of teenagers who try to get frisky or cause trouble. What is it with urban legends and their love for taunting young adults? Versions of this tale revolving around the headless woman typically say that she’s a former camper who was murdered, and later decapitated, on the grounds and who stays around in the afterlife to get a few spooks in. And maybe catch a few concerts at the arena, perhaps? While the tales of her being literally without a head are the most commonly told around the campfire, there are also several other versions of the origin of The Headless Hatchet Lady.

Old Mrs. Johnson

Hatchet Lady of Red Rocks witch with head

Another tale gives the woman a name, Old Mrs. Johnson, and believes that she lived on the premises in a small cave. According to stories, she used to pull a coat over her head and walk around the property swinging a hatchet to scare off her daughter’s suitors. In some cases, she even went as far as to chop off the offending body parts of any man who came near her precious daughter. It was their blood that stained the rocks, and gave them the signature red color! Terrifying, right? Old Mrs. Johnson was a lonely lady who wasn’t too keen about the idea of young love, which explains why her ghost is said to scare off primarily teenagers who are getting busy amid the red rocks. 

The idea of blood-soaked rocks and hatchet-wielding old ladies is far-fetched to most of us, but not to those in the Colorado area who believe in the wrath of the Headless Hatchet Lady. The tales say that when her apparition is seen with a head, she looks exactly like you would expect… an older, feral-looking woman with ratty hair and a witchy vibe that would make you want to run the other way. Even so, many flock towards the more deserted parts of this Colorado landmark in hopes of getting a glimpse of the Headless Hatchet Lady. The Red Rocks area of Colorado is undeniably beautiful and has a history of athletes, musicians, and other famous figures that have taken selfies in front of the scenery. However, if you look hard enough, you might just come face-to-face with one of the state’s most terrifying urban legends… the Hatchet Lady of Red Rocks!

Categories
Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

Was Vlad Dracula The Real Count Dracula ?

Count Dracula has earned his place alongside the most iconic horror monsters, including Frankenstein and the Wolf Man. The 1897 novel by Bram Stoker has left a legacy on the gothic horror genre and beyond, with the depiction of vampires in pop culture transforming over the decades in the same way that Dracula’s victims did upon receiving a bite from the famed blood-sucking monster. But where exactly did the origin of vampires begin? Is Dracula real? Who inspired his taste for human blood? As it turns out, Count Dracula is widely believed to be based on real-life prince Vlad Dracula also known as Vlad the Impaler, who used his royal status as a weapon and lived up to his violent name. 

Who was Vlad Dracula aka Vlad the Impaler?

Born in the early 1400’s as Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (now known as Romania), this ruler had a variety of monikers. The first was Vlad Dracula, which means “Son of Dracul” and was adapted from his nobleman father Vlad II Dracul. And then there’s the universally known Vlad the Impaler, a name derived from his reputation for torture and mutilation of his enemies. But he had quite the journey towards such cruelty, and it all began when he was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1442.

Map of Wallachia and Transylvania region 1400's

“The sultan held Vlad and his brother as hostages to ensure that their father, Vlad II, behaved himself in the ongoing war between Turkey and Hungary,” said historian Elizabeth Miller. While the two boys were treated decently, being taught in science and philosophy as their father returned to Wallachia, Vlad III felt reasonable hostility towards his captivity. It came to a head when Vlad Dracula was ousted as ruler of his country and later killed by noblemen. Vlad III made it his mission to reclaim his late father’s seat from Vladislav II, which he did for a mere two months before the latter returned from the Balkans to reclaim his throne. 

In the years after, Vlad III switched teams and severed his ties from Ottoman governors to obtain military support from King Ladislaus V of Hungary. After the fall of Constantinople in 1454, he achieved his goals and was named voivode of Wallachia in 1456. That’s when the bloodshed began. 

How did Vlad Dracula get his name? 

Bran castle Vlad Dracula's castle in Transilvania

Tales of Vlad III’s lust for blood have been told for centuries. One tells of two Catholic monks that he had impaled to “assist them in their journey to heaven,” before butchering their donkey as well. Another time, diplomatic envoys declined to remove their hats for religious reasons upon a meeting with the voivode, only for Vlad to keep the hats forever on their heads by nailing them to their skulls. Perhaps one of the most famous, however, is the time that Vlad III invited hundreds of unsuspecting and feuding boyars to dinner –  before having them stabbed and then impaling their still-twitching bodies. Red Wedding from Game of Thrones vibes, anyone? The most widely-believed reason for the dinner massacre was that the boyars were causing strife and dysfunction amongst the land, and Vlad simply did what he had to do… but we’re more inclined to believe that he just liked the violence and power that came with it. 

“I have killed peasants, men and women, old and young, who lived at Oblucitza and Novoselo, where the Danube flows into the sea,” Vlad III wrote to a military ally in the late 1400’s. “We killed 23,884 Turks, without counting those whom we burned in homes or the Turks whose heads were cut by our soldiers.” His body count is believed to be around 80,000 – with 20,000 being impaled and put on display in the city. The violence continued until his death in the 1470’s.

How did Vlad Dracula inspire Dracula?

Dracula by Bram Stoker Book Cover

As you can see, Count Dracula and Vlad Dracula aren’t exactly the same person. The two biggest similarities are likely a surname and sensational taste for blood, but they share other traits as well. The Transylvanian setting, reputation as an outcast, and desire for vengeance are just a few other mutual characteristics between the Romanian prince and the classic horror icon. Was Dracula a real person? Not exactly, but he had a beautifully bloodthirsty real-life inspiration!

Sources

https://www.livescience.com/40843-real-dracula-vlad-the-impaler.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/sciencemain/vlad-impaler-real-dracula-was-absolutely-vicious-8c11505315

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler#CITEREFFlorescuMcNally1989

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Borley Rectory – Most Haunted House in England

There are many, many demon houses in America – from the hauntings of Amityville to Georgia to Connecticut and every state in between. But there’s another Gothic-style home that came far before any of these famous hauntings – across the pond and described as “the most haunted house in England” by famed psychic researcher Harry Price. Yes, we’re talking about Borley Rectory. Built in 1862 and demolished in 1944, there were claims of paranormal activity within the house for many decades – from owners, paranormal experts, visitors and more for many decades after the house was destroyed. Sure, there were a few skeptics… but what haunting legend doesn’t have its haters? Read on to learn more about Borley Rectory and the horror it bestowed upon Britain many years ago.

The Reverend

Quite a few hauntings around demon houses involve religion, whether it’s regarding a nun spirit (wait for it) or the priest who is forced to come in and perform an exorcism on the property. The difference with Borley Rectory, however, is that it was made specifically for Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull to live in after becoming rector of the parish. The manor was built after the previous rectory had burned to the ground just one year prior… and immediately became a source of gossip for the townspeople. Partly for the gothic exterior that stood out in a rural suburban town, and partly for the spirits that were seen wandering the grounds throughout the years.

Borely Rectory Image from 1800's

Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull lived there with his fourteen children until his death in 1892, and those three decades were supposedly filled with all types of paranormal activity and unexplained events – a claim which would be supported by later owners. His daughters were the first ones who claimed to see the ghostly nun – which would become one of the most prominent spiritual figures within the home and an apparition seen by many people of Borley. Despite these claims of ghostly activity, the Bull family owned the house until 1927 when the Reverend’s eldest son died. That’s when Reverend Guy Eric Smith and his wife moved in and began to ask questions that the Bulls never had. 

Society for Psychical Research

Society for Psychical Research

When you find the skull of a young woman in one of the cupboards of your new house, like the Smiths did, it’s likely that you’d have a few questions. Especially since the paranormal activity at Borley Rectory reached a peak right after this discovery of human remains. The couple apparently saw a headless horseman pulling the carriage while they heard unexplained footsteps and servant bells ringing… which prompted them to contact The Daily Mirror and plead for contact with the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). That’s how the Smiths met Harry Price, the famed paranormal investigator who would later call Borley Rectory “the most haunted house in England.”

Price’s presence in the house only upset the spirits, and his report of terrifying experiences at Borley Rectory included objects being thrown and “spirit messages” in the mirror. As could be expected, this phenomena came to a halt shortly after Price left the house. While the investigator had many skeptics who doubted his claims of paranormal activity at the house, including Mrs. Smith herself, his experiences captured the attention of people far outside of Borley and contributed to the house’s infamy. It’s also worth noting that many other paranormal investigators over the years, including famed ghosthunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, supported the idea of frightening phenomena within Borley Rectory. 

The Smiths stayed in the house for only a couple years, being replaced by Reverend Lionel Algernon Foyster and his wife Marianne in 1929. This family reported far more frightening events than those before them – including being locked in rooms, threatening mirror messages, and being violently thrown from the bed. The Reverend compiled an entire report of paranormal phenomena that they experienced during their time at Borley Rectory, which caused Harry Prince to circle back around and become even more interested in the house. While he failed to exorcise the property on two occasions, he drew enormous attention to Borley Rectory and inspired many ghosthunters and mediums to attend and study the ghosts within the walls. How popular was this home in the city of Essex, exactly? Let this quote from The Daily Mirror tell you. 

Daily Mirror Borely Rectory 1929

“The rectory continues to receive the unwelcome attention of hundreds of curious people, and at night the headlights of their cars may be seen for miles around. One ‘enterprising’ firm even ran a motor coach to the Rectory, inviting the public ‘to come and see the Borley Ghost’, while cases of rowdyism were frequent.’”

The Spirits

After the Foysters left Borley Rectory in 1935, Price would move in and spend years experimenting with the paranormal phenomena in the house. He held seances, hired psychics, and recorded instances with meticulous detail to uncover the history of the house. The closest he got was one instance in 1938, in which medium Helen Glanville was reported as having made successful contact with a nun and an unidentified male spirit. The man even predicted that the Borley Rectory would be destroyed in a fire in March of that year. Spoiler alert: he was right. 

Despite the fire badly damaging the house and the entire demolition of the property in 1944, there has been continued interest in the ghostly activity within Borley Rectory. Both from Harry Prince and the many ghost hunters that came after him. What’s the deal with the nun, and why exactly did the Foysters experience more terror than any other family?

There are plenty of books, movies and mini-series that you can check out for answers, as you become immersed in the mystery of Borley Rectory. 

Books

Films

Borley Rectory horror film 2017

Borley Rectory horror film 2017 poster

The Haunting of the Borely Rectory 2019

The Haunting of the Borely Rectory 2019 horror movie poster

The Banishing Coming 2021

Categories
Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books

Best Horror Coloring Books for Adults

Who said that scary things aren’t for kids? Or that coloring books aren’t for adults? Both of these things are proven dreadfully wrong with the best coloring books inspired by the horror genre. Yes, they’re a thing. Your favorite monsters jump off the page as you color in between the lines and create a ghoulishly gorgeous work of art – all while relieving stress and soothing the mind with a set of crayons as your guide. If you’re looking to unwind and relax after a long day – and need something a bit more abnormal than the typical Netflix and wine – try these horror coloring books for adults to channel your dark side with a bit of creepy color. 

The Beauty Of Horror: A GOREgeous Coloring Book

The Beauty Of Horror: A GOREgeous Coloring Book

This horror coloring book by Alan Robert is one of the most popular on the web, and you’ll see why as you glance into its pages. GOREgeous features “an onslaught of severed heads, monsters, deadly weapons, and skeletal remains” as you “visit burial grounds, the zombie apocalypse, serial killer lairs and gruesome torture chambers.” Their words… cute, right? Invest in this page-turner that has tons of gore-geously good reviews on GoodReads on Amazon, and get that red crayon ready for all the blood, clown noses, and leftover guts. You’re going to need it. 

Horror Coloring Book for Adults : Horror Stress Relieving Illustrations with Scary Monsters, Creepy Scenes, and a Spooky Adventure

Horror Coloring Book for Adults

This horror coloring book isn’t for the faint of heart. You won’t find any “good witches” or soft scares within these black-and-white pages – only the most terrifying and intricate illustrations that will freak you out and frustrate you as you try desperately to color within the lines. Trust us, once you see the complexity of these designs, you’ll see that you’ll need the entire box of crayons. That being said, this horror coloring book is ideal for the artsy scare lover… and you’ll want to stick this art up on your bedroom wall for the most gorgeous horror house on the block. View on Amazon

Zombie Coloring Book

Zombie Coloring Book

Take a break from witches, skeletons, and killer clowns as you go back to basics with a horror staple: zombies. These undead creatures will always have a place in your favorite scary movies and TV shows… and now on your nightstand, too. Choose from 20+ zombie illustrations – ranging from ugly and gross to interesting and a bit cute – and fill them in with your favorite colors to bring life back into your relaxation routine with a few undead monsters. Sure, the title of this book is a mouthful, but Zombie Coloring Book really is an incredible habit for everybody!

Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland Coloring Book 

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Coloring Book

Plenty of children’s movies are a lot more creepy once you watch them as an adult, like Alice in Wonderland. Between the Chesire Cat’s scary smile and the Queen of Hearts yelling about beheading children, this classic Disney film is almost as scary as any horror film from the early 2000’s. And it gets even more horrifying with this adult coloring book that features demonic versions of the film’s classic characters. A giant, murderous rabbit is something that you didn’t even know you needed until now, and you can make him any color you like for ultimate nightmare fuel. View on Amazon

The Beauty of Horror 2: Ghouliana’s Creepatorium Coloring Book

The Beauty of Horror 2: Ghouliana's Creepatorium Coloring Book

It’s pretty rare in the world of horror for the sequel to be just as spooky and stunning as the original – unless we’re talking about horror coloring books for adults. Ghouliana’s Creepatorium has just as many distorted ghosts and scary skeletons as the GOREgeous book that we told you about earlier… and it doesn’t even need to be Halloween to stick these finished illustrations up on your refrigerator. Let loose and embrace your inner artist with these spooky designs that never go out of style… and know that there are plenty more coloring books to try in the The Beauty of Horror lineup. Thanks, Alan Robert!