Friday, October 25, 2013


Whenever I conjure the many nightmare recollections of my Halloweens past, one singularly dreaded memory lurches monstrously to the forefront—that of my grandmother’s record player. More specifically, the timeworn 75rpm sound effects album she used to run on a constant loop for the neighborhood trick or treaters. At the time, I’m certain dear old grandma didn’t understand what she was doing. She didn’t comprehend the distorted fears coursing through my veins because of the darkly loathsome and unearthly strangeness seeping from those crackling old RCA speakers into my young and impressionable ears. I still have scars.

If you are not aware of the maddeningly fiendish LP of which I so tremblingly scribe, then let these words be your warning. Do not listen to the Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House (Disney 1963), unless you want hideous horrors lurking in your palpitant heart forevermore.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s Disney. How scary can it be? Let me tell you, it’s my belief this album wasn’t pressed like normal LPs. It was created in some demonic and accursed den of bad dreams. Also, it was made in the sixties. That was a different time. Things were more provocative. Even Disney sometimes had an edge. Never more was this edge evident than in this dastardly record.

The needle hits the vinyl, and the hissing and popping begins, a menacing portent of the maddening audio agony to follow. Then, as if from some cave of abysmal blackness, comes a voice. A woman’s voice. Ghostly and ghastly. She speaks with a witchy coolness redolent of some unseen world beyond the grave.

But before I disclose what shadowy and sacrilegious things the echoing voice has to say, let me explain one of the most genuinely frightening aspects about the album—its cover. A picture, yes. Only a picture. An artist’s depiction. At first glance it seems simple enough, even childishly innocuous. An old house, graying and antiquated, with a prodigiously disheveled yard suggestive of the open country. Tombstones, spread across the overgrown lawn in a blanket of death markers, elicit a deep sense of dread.

Cryptic epitaphs inscribed by a grave keeper’s unsteady hand, lamenting of the horrifying forthcoming experience: “Here lies a most terrific collection of recorded sounds.” The fearsome words summon images of a dire world.

Snaking, curling ribbons of static electricity emanate with a fierce intensity from the stormy, shadow-haunted sky. A sallow and gnarled tree, a sad relic of a forgotten and prehistoric past, twisted and bent by the prevailing winds. Shunned by the world of the living, now a permanent denizen of the graveyard’s perpetual dusk.

A beckoning gloom surrounding the giant house of horrors evokes a most disturbing trepidation. It’s balanced gruffly, cast in sinister silhouette, with baleful and warped unevenness on a deceptively small knoll. Spitefully scowling. Fiendish and spectral on the stormiest of nights. A threshold to unhallowed ground. A frightful gateway into a cryptic world. Dark decay spreads over the ancient structure. Strange gables and unusual windows, perversely tall and narrow, hint at a stately manor whose magnificence had been faded by the mists and storms of generations.

Finally, the most disturbing part of the album cover. The part that used to infect my fledgling mind with inexplicable perversity, ideas of witchcraft, and swinish revelry. Way up high, on the crooked old house’s third floor, in a one-room lookout tower, a single window is ablaze with the orange glow of numerous candles. Candles used in the administration of the most unspeakable of black and blasphemous rites. Images of terrible things inside that attic torture chamber would trouble me, torment me, and skulk incessantly in my imagination, frittering on the fringes of psychosis as I listened to the hissing, crackling turntable.

And so the ghostly voice of the aforementioned woman initiates the madness with a simple narrative…

“You are a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing…high on a hilltop near your home there stands a dilapidated old mansion. Some say the place is haunted, but you don’t believe in such myths. One dark and stormy night, a light appears in the topmost window in the tower of the old house. You decide to investigate…and you never return.”

Immediately I’m transported into the picture on the album cover, shivering in a howling wind from some fathomless void. I hear the rattling of chains, the struggles of the undead trying to free themselves from the locked iron gates of their sepulchers.

A black cat crosses my path. It sees me and arches its scrofulous spine, spitting out a hellish howl and hissing in a fitful tantrum. But it’s not afraid of me. It’s the ghastly ghoul emerging furtively from an open grave, moaning in devilish anticipation of fresh human brains. My brains!

I start to run. The lightning strikes and the wind wails and the rain falls sideways in sheets. My frightful flight brings me to an old, decrepit door. I open the door and there’s another ghoul! My screams echo through the night.

The unearthly strangeness is just beginning. Next up to tingle my terror is the sizzling, slow burn of a bomb’s fuse. The suspense builds as the fuse blazes, and the witchy woman is teasingly nerve-wracking. Will the bomb blow or not? The tension is unendurable.


And the sinister sounds continue. Werewolves on the moors. Unfortunate logging accidents. A big black cat that turns rabid. A doomed cruise ship dashed against a rocky coast. Climbing across a suspension bridge above a black and bottomless cavern. The famously maddening Chinese water torture. Possessed birds directly out of a Hitchcock thriller. A rocket trip to a hungry Martian welcoming committee.

And that’s just side A.

On side B the loathsome audio storm rages on with a cruel and squawking cacophony of mixed and murderous sound effects that have mystified, terrorized, and brought generations of young ones to tears. Constant rain. Howling wildcats. Baying hounds. Macabre denizens of the underworld. Heavy footsteps and violent crashing. When will the torture ever end?

Happily, it does have an end. The LP is twenty-five excruciating minutes long, and my pounding pulse has a chance to wind down after that supremely traumatic drubbing of my senses. My chest heaves as I catch my breath, blissful to have survived the horrific audio ordeal. I am relieved and grateful, for my young life will continue. Because I would have a heart attack if forced to endure just one minute more.

Then, terror of terrors! Though the record is finished, the player seems to have a mind of its own!

The needle, as if guided by some unseen hand, lifts up and swings to the very edge of the record again—back to start. The grim static, surreal scratching, and primeval popping begins in maniacal earnest, and my eternal nightmare reigns supreme. I cannot escape the horror reverberating fiendishly through the dungeon that is now my mind. Forever will I be plagued by that disembodied voice, that witchy woman’s deep and disturbing tone, and her spinning disc of horrors.

And I don’t know exactly what it is about that house, that terribly ramshackle old palatial estate on the album cover. Wait. Yes I do. It bears a dreadful resemblance to my grandmother’s house! When the realization hits, I know it’s too late…I’m trapped inside that loathsome darkness, somewhere in an abyss of shrieking lunacy. Dragged up a flight of rickety and cobweb-infested stairs. A grisly ghoul is taking me to my final fate, to be endlessly trapped as a tormented voice in the recording. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear me, shrieking ceaselessly from that lone tower window.


J. Joseph Wright penciled his first novel in the fourth grade, but, after failing to publish it, toiled away in obscurity until his freshman year in high school. Upon reading and, inexplicably, enjoying one of J.'s witless essays, his English Comp teacher, a man of questionable taste, recommended he write for the school newspaper. Soon J. was regaling the student body with a fantasy horror fiction column, gaining a robust early fan base, albeit from a captive school audience. After college, J. left a highly lucrative career in public television for an even more lucrative career as an independent author, and now writes Adult Horror, Sci-Fi, Children's Fantasy, and even some Paranormal Romance. His novel Jack James and the Tribe of the Teddy Bear was a Finalist in the Kindle Book Review 2013 Best Indie Book Awards.

Website -
Twitter - @jjosephwright
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His latest work is entitled GHOST GUARD. Here's a bit about the #1 Paranormal bestseller: 


An Amazon #1 Bestselling PARANORMAL ROMANTIC-COMEDY ACTION THRILLER Hit #1 on September 30, 2013!

A new PARANORMAL ROMANTIC-COMEDY ACTION THRILLER from the Amazon bestselling J. Joseph Wright Collection.

In the spirit realm, only one force can protect the innocent souls of the dead...

Never before have living agents been teamed up with ghosts on such a level. Never before has a paranormal crew been equipped, trained, and specially assembled to hunt ghost hunters, face angry mobs bent on otherworldly revenge, or do battle against ancient immortals from the stars. Never before has the spirit realm seen anyone like Rever Ott and Abby Rhodes. Only problem is, Rev and Abby don't know whether to fight the enemies of the supernatural, or fight their love for each other.

The cloak and dagger intrigue of James Bond with the supernatural eccentricity of Ghostbusters and the primal darkness of Underworld.



Today's giveaway is by bestselling author Susan J. McLeod. It's the first in her Lily Evans Mystery series and is entitled SOUL AND SHADOW. It mixes paranormal with mystery and the result is a book you'll fall in love with! Double dare you to put it down!

We're giving away two print copies of SOUL AND SHADOW! To win, please go to HALLOWEENPALOOZA'S OFFICIAL FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE. Find October 25th's post announcing today's blog and giveaway. Simply comment "I WANT TO WIN" in that post, and if you're one of the first two to do so, you'll WIN!!! 

So hurry! This is the perfect book to read on a cold frosty night! 


Susan J McLeod was born in Rochester, New York, on October 22, 1957. She began writing at a very early age, when she discovered that she could invent worlds that were much more fun than the one she lived in. Worlds where candy grew on trees and rivers of chocolate milk flowed. Where adventures were always waiting to happen and no one had to go to school.

Over the years, Susan visited ancient Rome, medieval England, and resided for a long spell on a starship orbiting Orion. A recent stay in Pharaonic Egypt resulted in her romantic suspense novel Soul and Shadow, which won a silver medal in the 2011 Reader's Favorites contest. It has been published by Imajin Books. Fire and Shadow, the second story in the Lily Evans series, was released in October 2012.
Susan also writes short stories and poetry, and has won awards in both mediums.

She works for a non-profit family foundation that supports Zara's Center, a haven for AIDS impacted orphans.

U2 sums up her philosophy in life when Bono sings "We're one, but we're not the same/we get to carry each other, carry each other."

Right now, Bewitching Book Tours is hosting a blog tour of the second in the Lily Evans Mystery Series. FIRE AND SHADOW will be featured all week at the following sites! It's Halloween-priced at only $1.99. That's half off its original price. Please stop in for excerpts, interviews, reviews and more! 

October 21
Dalene’s Book Reviews

October 21 review
My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

October 22 Interview
The Simple Things in Life

October 22 Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

October 23 Guest blog
Reading in Twilight

October 23 Spotlight
Pure Textuality

October 24 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.

October 24 Spotlight
Books & Tales:

October 24 Spotlight
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic

October 25 Spotlight
BookwormBridgette’s World

October 25 Spotlight

October 25 spotlight
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog

October 28 Spotlight
A Night’s Dream of Books

October 28 Spotlight
Mila Ramos

October 28 review
adrienne woods books and reviews


In ancient Egypt, a young priestess of the goddess Hathor is laid to rest in a beautiful tomb with everything she needs for her journey into the afterlife…

Three thousand years later, archaeologist Ursula Allingham discovers the mummy of Amisihathor and is confronted by a mystery. Is the man buried with the priestess really her husband? Or was she actually in love with a scribe called Kamenwati and separated from him in life as well as death?

To answer these questions, Dame Ursula turns to Egyptology student and artist Lily Evans, who reluctantly agrees to help. Lily learns that she is psychically linked to Amisihathor and experiences a strange, unsettling phenomenon—the memories and emotions of the Egyptian woman. Luckily, Lily has her beloved pet Cleocatra and her irrepressible friend Katy to keep her grounded in reality. Or so she hopes.

Dealing with the challenges of falling in love with Ursula’s grandson Kent, the reappearance of her ex-fiance Stephen and the demands of her mother and her boss Professor Briggs, Lily soon realizes she has taken on much more than she bargained for.


1 comment:

  1. Lol! So entertaining! I'm glad I was never subjected to that horrible record!