Author Archive

CHRISTOPHER LEE’S CIRCLE OF TERROR   Leave a comment

Horror Icon Christopher Lee turned 92 on May 27. And to celebrate the birthday of the screen legend, I offer you Christopher Lee’s Circle of Terror: a new pop culture game that could finally put a stake in the heart of Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Starting with Lee, you name an actor that played a role he also played. Then name an actor who shared a role with that actor. And so on, and so on, until the chain leads us right back to Christopher Lee. Let the games begin…

CHRISTOPHER LEE is best known for playing DRACULA, a role also played by...

CHRISTOPHER LEE is best known for playing DRACULA, a role also played by…

FRANK LANGELLA, who also played...

FRANK LANGELLA, who also played…

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON in "Frost/Nixon." Tricky Dick was also played by

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON in “Frost/Nixon.” Tricky Dick was also played by

ANTHONY HOPKINS, who also played the role of vampire hunter...

ANTHONY HOPKINS, who also played the role of vampire hunter…

Dr.  VAN HELSING, a role also played by the famous

Dr. VAN HELSING, a role also played by the famous

LAURENCE OLIVIER, who also donned blackface to play Shakespeare's

LAURENCE OLIVIER, who also donned blackface to play Shakespeare’s

OTHELLO. The Tragic Moor was also played on film by...

OTHELLO. The Tragic Moor was also played on film by…

ORSON WELLES, best known to radio fans as the voice of...

ORSON WELLES, best known to radio fans as the voice of…

THE SHADOW.  The cackling crime-fighter was played on film by...

THE SHADOW. The cackling crime-fighter was played on film by…

ALEC BALDWIN. Though that reboot tanked, he launched a successful franchise as...

ALEC BALDWIN. Though that reboot tanked, he launched a successful franchise as…

JACK RYAN in "The Hunt for Red October." The two-fisted intelligence analyst was most recently played by...

JACK RYAN in “The Hunt for Red October.” The two-fisted intelligence analyst was most recently played by…

CHRISTOPHER PINE, who also stars in the rebooted Star Trek movies as ...

CHRISTOPHER PINE, who also stars in the rebooted Star Trek movies as …

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK, a role of course originated by...

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK, a role of course originated by…

WILLIAM SHATNER, who starred in a short-lived TV series as...

WILLIAM SHATNER, who starred in a short-lived TV series as…

ALEXANDER THE GREAT. And as odd casting as that sounds, equally odd for the role was Irish actor...

ALEXANDER THE GREAT. And as odd casting as that sounds, equally odd for the role was Irish actor…

COLIN FARRELL, who also started in the remake of “Fright Night” as

JERRY DANDRIDGE. The sexy vampire next door was played in the original by...

JERRY DANDRIDGE. The sexy vampire next door was played in the original by…

CHRIS SARANDON, who went from evil to good as...

CHRIS SARANDON, who went from evil to good as…

JESUS in "The Day Christ Died." The Messiah was also played by...

JESUS in “The Day Christ Died.” The Messiah was also played by…

MAX VON SYDOW in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Max was less nice as James Bond's arch-enemy

MAX VON SYDOW in “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” Max was less nice as James Bond’s archenemy…

ERNST BLOFELD in “Never Say Never Again.” The super-villain has been portrayed by many other actors including…

CHARLES GRAY, who also played the older, smarter brother of Sherlock Holmes...

CHARLES GRAY, who also played the older, smarter brother of Sherlock Holmes…

MYCROFT HOLMES in “The Seven-Percent Solution.” The part of Sherlock’s big brother was also played by none other than…

CHRISTOPHER LEE in "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes."

CHRISTOPHER LEE in “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.”

So there we have it: A perfect circle including 12 actors. Now it’s your turn. Pick any actor above as a starting point, create a Circle of Terror of your own and post it as a comment below.

Speaking of Lee’s portrayal of Mycroft Holmes, the actor has the rare distinction of having also portrayed Holmes himself, in “Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace” as well as Holmes’ most famous client Sir Henry in “Hound of the Baskervilles.” Sherlock Holmes fans around the world have been delighted to see the detective’s creator in a new thriller, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of The Spook House.

The creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world's greatest magician probe a paranormal  mystery in new thriller.

The creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world’s greatest magician probe a paranormal mystery in new thriller.

Check out the book HERE.

Surprise: Vampires LOVE Garlic and Hate to Wear Black!   1 comment

Unlike TV's Angel, portrayed by actor David Boreanaz, most real vampires would be caught undead in black clothing.

Unlike TV’s Angel, portrayed by actor David Boreanaz, most real vampires wouldn’t be caught undead in black clothing.

By C. Michael Forsyth

If you think that vampires are repelled by garlic and lurk through the streets in black leather duds, you’re dead wrong. Contrary to popular belief, bloodsuckers are not allergic to garlic and in fact love to season their food with the pungent herb, a top expert says.

“As anyone familiar with Anne Rice novels knows, Paris is the center of vampire society—and garlic is an essential ingredient in French cuisine,” reveals researcher Lorraine Previlsky, who has spent the last two decades studying real-life nosferatu.

“Traditional French dishes such as Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, and Escargot à la Bourguignonne Snails in Garlic-Herb Butter are as indispensable a part of a vampire’s diet as blood. If you have the misfortune to feel the cold breath of a vampire on your neck, you can be sure it will be accompanied by the potent smell of garlic.”

YUMMY garlic bread is one of many foods enjoyed by vampires.

YUMMY garlic bread is one of many foods enjoyed by vampires.

Among vamps born and bred in the U.S.A., the herb is just as popular, sprinkled on pizza or in garlic mashed potatoes.

The myth that vampires dress in black like Angel and Spike in TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer also has no basis in fact, according to the expert.

“If you were condemned to dwell in the shadows and walk only at night, you too would hate to wear black,” she said. “Real vampires prefer cheerful colors such as lemon green, fuchsia, pumpkin orange and bumble bee yellow. Anyone who strolls into a vampire bar in black clothing would be instantly pegged as a wannabe.”

The preference for brilliant hues dates back centuries.

DANDIES like this 18th century fop held onto their preference for bright colors after being vampirized.

DANDIES like this 18th century fop held onto their preference for bright colors after being vampirized.

“Bear in mind, the height of the vampire epidemic was the 18th century, when flamboyant European dandies and fops strutted around like peacocks in gay, frilly attire with lots of bright colors,” the expert explained. “Men and women who crossed over in those days have of course modified their clothing choices to blend into modern society, but their basic fashion sense remains the same. The only vampire you’ll run into in a dark alley who’s wearing a dark leather jacket is a ‘greaser’ who was converted back in the 1950s.”

Previlsky isn’t the first to dispel common misconceptions about blood-drinkers. As reported here recently, despite Hollywood depictions in movies like The Hunger, few female vampires are lesbians. And another eye-opening report revealed that far from being bitter enemies, vampires and werewolves are actually bosom buddies.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

ALSO FROM THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE…

If you found this whimsical story by C. Michael Forsyth entertaining, you might enjoy the fiction writer’s new novel, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House. Best of all, today thru May 22, Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday, the new thriller is FREE in every eBook format at Smashwords.com Enter coupon code WD87N.

The creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world's greatest magician probe a paranormal  mystery in new thriller.

The creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world’s greatest magician probe a paranormal mystery in new thriller.

MOVIE “DONNER PASS” WILL SATISFY YOUR HUNGER FOR HORROR   Leave a comment

Teens' poor choice of a vacation spot proves deadly in horror flick.

Teens’ poor choice of a vacation spot proves deadly in horror flick.

By C. Michael Forsyth

I’ve long been intrigued by the tragedy of The Donner Party, pioneers who set out for California in the winter of 1846, became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and were forced to resort to cannibalism to survive.

News of the grisly events captivated the nation. The California Star reported, “A more shocking scene cannot be imagined than that witnessed by the party of men who went to the relief of the unfortunate emigrants. The bones of those who had died and been devoured by the miserable ones that still survived were lying around their tents and cabins. Bodies of men, women and children, with half the flesh torn from them, lay on every side. A woman sat by the body of her husband, who had just died, eating out his tongue; the heart she had already taken out, broiled, and ate! The daughter was seen eating the flesh of the father; the mother that of her children.”

Donner Party members James and Margaret Reed faced a terrible choice when stranded in the mountains.

Donner Party members James and Margaret Reed faced a terrible choice when stranded in the mountains.

The movie Donner Pass takes that already-horrifying tale and adds an extra ingredient to the stew: As a result of eating human flesh, the wagon train’s leader George Donner becomes a wendigo, endowed with unnatural strength and longevity—as well as an insatiable hunger for man meat. When a group of present-day teens pay a visit to a cabin in the cursed mountain pass, they soon find themselves on the menu.

The first scene set in modern times is less than promising. Four teens of quickly identifiable types drive toward the cabin, while one recounts an urban legend that Donner still haunts the woods. The story-teller cavalierly jettisons the well-known facts of the tragedy. In his version, Donner was the sole survivor, while in actuality 48 of the 87 members of the party lived. Par for the course, the kids are not deterred by talk of Donner’s ongoing snack attacks nor is their enthusiasm dampened by news that a woman’s half-eaten corpse was recently found, apparently the victim of a homicidal maniac.

KILLER, SHMILLER: The fact that there's a cannibal killer on the loose doesn't keep the Whore (Krystal Davis from a topless dip in the hot tub.

KILLER, SHMILLER: The fact that there’s a cannibal killer on the loose doesn’t keep Valerie The Whore (Krystal Davis) from a topless dip in the hot tub.

After Joss Whedon so brilliantly dissected the hackneyed remote-cabin scenario in Cabin in the Woods, it’s hard not to groan at another stab at it. However, the movie turns out to be well-executed, with some imaginative twists—and more than one of the characters is nursing a surprising secret. Yes, of course the archetypes Whedon pinpointed are back: The Good Girl, the Whore, the Jock, the Nerd, etc. And the characters die in exactly the order you’d anticipate. (Don’t expect the amorous couple who get busy in the hot tub to make it to the prom). But the interplay between the characters is engaging, particularly when they turn against each other as the situation grows more desperate. Although most of the plot turns are telegraphed five or ten minutes ahead, they are well thought out—and you many not actually see the final twist coming.

TRUST NO ONE: The Bitch (Adelaide Kane) creeps up on The Jock (Dominic DeVore).

TRUST NO ONE: The Bitch AKA Nicole (Adelaide Kane) may have a hidden agenda.

This isn’t the first time Hollywood has sunk its teeth into the myth of the wendigo, which is rooted in Algonquin Indian folklore. The movie Ravenous (1999) also featured a vampiric cannibal spawned by a Donner-Party-type catastrophe, and the intrepid brothers in TV’s Supernatural did battle with one.

Interestingly enough, psychologists have identified a real version of the phenomenon, just as there is for lycanthropy. “Wendigo Psychosis refers to a condition in which sufferers developed an insatiable desire to eat human flesh even when other food sources were readily available, often as a result of prior famine cannibalism,” according to Wikipedia.

I think one reason the Donner Party tragedy so profoundly affected the mind of the public is that it exposed an ugliness in Manifest Destiny and our winning of the West. Just as the sinking of the Titanic later put a damper on the Gilded Age, the Manson family murders revealed the dark side to carefree hippie movement of the 1960s and the Challenger disaster knocked the wind out of America’s triumphant space program.

PARTY ANIMALS: Georgia Donner, Eliza Donner and Mary Brunner survived the Donner Party tragedy--by resorting to the unthinkable.

PARTY ANIMALS: Georgia Donner, Eliza Donner and Mary Brunner survived the Donner Party tragedy–by resorting to the unthinkable.

And perhaps it lingers in our imagination more than a century and a half later because of the awful choice it presented. Would you resort to cannibalism to survive? Drawing straws and dining on the unlucky loser may seem morally defensible in an extreme famine. What would Jesus do? Hard to imagine Him nibbling on the calves of St. Peter. Still, He did say, “Eat of my flesh,” at the Last Supper, so He might be forgiving of cannibals. Anyhow, not much of a worry for a fellow who can mass produce fish and loaves of bread at will. But I digress. Chew the question over, then answer the poll below:

Also by the writer of this review is the new novel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance  in new book.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance in new book.

WAS BIBLE’S LAZARUS “PATIENT ZERO” IN ZOMBIE PLAGUE?   Leave a comment

MIXED BLESSING: Bringing Lazarus back to life unleashed the zombie epidemic, research suggests.

MIXED BLESSING: Bringing Lazarus back to life unleashed the zombie epidemic, research suggests.

By C. Michael Forsyth

Lazarus, the man Jesus Christ brought back from the dead, may have been Patient Zero in the zombie apocalypse. That is the shocking claim of an infectious disease specialist who contends that in performing His most astounding miracle, the Messiah inadvertently sparked the epidemic.

Dr. Godfrey P. Stockworthy and his team used computer analysis to chart every recorded zombie outbreak of the past 2,000 years and created a digital map.

“The map shows waves of outbreaks in concentric circles with the epicenter in the ancient town of Bethany, where Lazarus was resurrected, and spreading first across the Holy Land, then throughout the Roman Empire, then Asia and Africa,” revealed the British researcher. “The first documented zombie incidents took place in 34 A.D. just a few miles from the West Bank town of al-Eizariyat, as Bethany is now known.”

Chapter 11 of the Gospel According to St. John states that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life after the villager lay rotting in a tomb for four days. Little is known of what became of Lazarus after that, other than that the Bible says fearful chief priests considered putting him down. According to Eastern Orthodox tradition, he was driven from Judea and ended up in Cyprus—incidentally the site of one of the earliest mentions of “the walking death,” as ancient historians called the zombie plague. Another account says that terrified townsfolk set him out to sea in a boat without oars and that years later he was cornered in a cave in Marseilles, France, and beheaded. Contradicting that, a 16th century folktale relates how Rabbi Loew, the intrepid holy man who also took down the Golem of Prague, smote him in the forehead with a silver spike engraved with Hebrew lettering.

“Whichever account you believe, it’s noteworthy that in all of them, Lazarus could only be killed permanently by going for the head, just as with modern-day zombies,” Dr. Stockworthy observes.

Medieval zombies were often mistaken for lepers.

Medieval zombies were often mistaken for lepers.


Researchers know now that many cases of what were mistakenly called “lepers” in the Dark Ages and Medieval times were in fact zombies, whose decaying body parts and shambling gait struck fear into the hearts of peasants all over Europe. And historians are in almost unanimous agreement that the Holy Land was ground zero for what has become a widening epidemic. But Dr. Stockworthy is the first expert to pinpoint Lazarus of Bethany as the world’s first zombie.

The study, released April 15 on the eve of Easter, was greeted with skepticism by Bible scholars.

“To suggest that Jesus accidentally created zombies is ludicrous,” declared televangelist Reverend Alvin Becrest. “If Our Lord is responsible for the zombie apocalypse, and I’m not conceding that He is, it must be part of the divine plan.”

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

IN OTHER NEWS…

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance  in new book.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance in new book.

My novel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in the Adventure of the Spook House is continuing to get rave reviews from fans of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

From the Sherlock Holmes Society of London: “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House is an adventure story with depth, full of atmosphere, suspense, ingenuity and a real feeling for place, period and personality. Intensive research, a good ear for rhythms of speech and a literate style make for a cracking good read.”

The spanking new book trailer is now up on YouTube.

New York City dwellers, support independent bookstores by purchasing your autographed copy at The Mysterious Bookshop at 58 Warren Street in the Tribeca area. A neat book store specializing in mysteries, it’s a fun place to browse.It’s open Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm. (212) 587-1011

Independent bookstores need our support!

Independent bookstores need our support!

The Mysterious Bookshop has been a fixture in New York for over 30 years.

The Mysterious Bookshop has been a fixture in New York for over 30 years.

PLUS, TO SEE EXCITING NEW VERSION OF THE BOOK TRAILER FOR HOUR OF THE BEAST, CLICK HERE!

Book trailer for Hour of the Beast.

Book trailer for Hour of the Beast.

To check out the critically acclaimed horror novel, click HERE.

No More Mr. Nice Guy! “AXE GIANT: THE WRATH OF PAUL BUNYAN” Takes a Whack at Tall Tale.   Leave a comment

Beloved figure from America's tall tales has a mean streak in horror flick.

Beloved figure from America’s tall tales has a mean streak in horror flick.

By C. Michael Forsyth

The title of Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan is so spit-out-your-drink funny that when I heard about it, I couldn’t wait to watch what sounded like a horror movie so bad it’s good. Sure enough, the opening scene, set in a logging camp in 1846, is one of the worst ever committed to celluloid. The costumes wouldn’t pass muster in a porn film. Bunyan, attacking the loggers, shows up in what looks like a Halloween mask from a Wal-Mart discount bin and he’s conspicuously smaller than Dan Haggerty as the foreman. Haggerty doesn’t exactly add gravitas to the film. You’re only surprised that he’s still alive and that the dough he raked in from the 1972-74 TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams took so long to run out, he wasn’t forced to resort to a grade Z flick like this before.

But hang on–this is no hatchet job. Despite the 2-star rating it roundly received, the movie turns out to have some good thrills, a dose of humor and enough gore to please any horror fan. I’d categorize it as a guilty pleasure rather than the heap of amateurish garbage the first scene suggests.

UNLUCKY hiker finds out the hard way that Paul Bunyan really exists.

UNLUCKY hiker finds out the hard way that Paul Bunyan really exists.

More than a century and a half after Bunyan’s bloody rampage, a group of young first-time criminal offenders are escorted into the woods as part of a boot camp. When they make the mistake of messing with the bones of Bunyan’s beloved Babe the Blue Ox, the 20-foot lumberjack takes his revenge. He’s not, as it turns out, the cheerful, gentle giant of America’s tall tales, but a dimwitted, deformed, troll-like monster. If you’ve seen your share of horror flicks, you won’t have trouble sorting out which of the youths will die and in what order. You’ve got your slut, your athletic guy, the black nerd, the virgin, etc. But the parts are quite well played and Thomas Downey is hilarious as the over-the-top-tough Sgt. Hokes, the corrections officer in charge of the ill-fated party.

"WHAT, ME WORRY?" Slutty Trish (Jill Evyn) has her next date with the business end of Bunyan's axe.

“WHAT, ME WORRY?” Slutty Trish (Jill Evyn) has her next date with the business end of Bunyan’s axe.

The monster effects, though hardly state of the art, are effective, whisking me back to those delightfully scary, unreal-yet-real Ray Harryhausen stop-motion creatures I saw as a kid.

The goofy premise of the movie got me wondering about what other American folklore heroes could be rebooted as horror movie villains. John Henry swung a mean sledgehammer and his spirit has plenty of cause to be angry at greedy railroad magnates. I can see him as a Candyman-type, vengeful wraith wreaking havoc on passengers trapped on a runaway train. “BEWARE OF JOHN HENRY: He doesn’t like trains. He doesn’t like trains at all.” Or Johnny Appleseed protecting his groves by any means necessary. The tagline: “Don’t Mess with His Apples.”

ALSO FROM THE AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW:

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance  in new book.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance in new book.

Check out the novel HERE.

THE WEEK FROM HELL IS HERE: 9 Days of Tragedy and Disaster!   Leave a comment

DAY OF TERROR: Cowardly fanatics unleashed death and mayhem at the Boston Marathon last April

DAY OF TERROR: Cowardly fanatics unleashed death and mayhem at the Boston Marathon last April.

Spirit of Bostonians could not be broken as many heroes showed by rushing to the aid of the injured.

Spirit of Bostonians could not be broken as many heroes showed by rushing to the aid of the injured.

By C. Michael Forsyth

Brace yourself! The Week From Hell has rolled around again: Nine days that have been plagued by disaster and tragedy over the course of many centuries. Last year on April 15, 2013, the Boston Marathon was cut short when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded killing three people and injuring an estimated 264 others. But that was only the latest in a string of heartbreaking catastrophes. Here are just a few of the past tragedies that have befallen the world between April 12 and April 20:

April 12: U.S. Civil War begins
April 13: Apollo 13 disaster
April 14: Lincoln Shot
April 15: Titanic Sinks
April 16: Virginia Tech Massacre
April 17: Russian troops slaughter gold mine workers
April 18: San Francisco Earthquake
April 19: Oklahoma City Bombing, Bay of Pigs, Waco tragedy.
April 20: Columbine High School Massacre

Until last year I treated this with a certain amount of gallows humor. Now I’m just praying that people around the world are spared from harm–while my family and I take shelter till the disaster-prone time frame blows over. The Titanic and the other incidents above are just the “tip of the iceberg.” Here, drawn mostly from Wikipedia, is the full list:

BROTHER vs. BROTHER: The Civil War ripped America in two.

BROTHER vs. BROTHER: The Civil War ripped America in two.

APRIL 12

• 1861 – The U.S. Civil War begins when Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.
• 1864 –The Fort Pillow massacre: Confederate forces murder most of the African American soldiers who surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
• 1945 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office.
• 1968 – Nerve gas accident at Skull Valley, Utah.
• 1970 – Soviet submarine K-8, carrying four nuclear torpedoes, sinks in the Bay of Biscay four days after a fire on board.
• 2002 – A female suicide bomber blows herself up at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, killing 7 and wounding 104.
• 2007 – A suicide bomber penetrates the Green Zone and detonates in a cafeteria inside the parliament building, killing Iraqi MP Mohammed Awad and wounding more than 20 other people.
• 2010 – A train derails near Merano, Italy, after running into a landslide, causing nine deaths and injuring 28 people.

UNLUCKY NUMBER: Astronaut James Lovell was lost in space aboard Apollo 13.

UNLUCKY NUMBER: Astronaut James Lovell was lost in space aboard Apollo 13.



APRIL 13

• 1945 – German troops butcher more than 1,000 political and military prisoners in Gardelegen, Germany.
• 1948 – The Hadassah medical convoy massacre: In an ambush, 79 Jewish doctors, nurses and medical students from Hadassah Hospital and a British soldier are slaughtered by Arabs in Sheikh Jarra near Jerusalem.
• 1953 – CIA director Allen Dulles launches the sinister mind-control program MKULTRA.
• 1970 – An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 explodes while en route to the Moon, stranding the crew in space.
• 1975 – Bus massacre in Lebanon: Attack by the Phalangist resistance kills 26 militia members of the P.F.L. of Palestine, marking the start of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.
• 1992 – The Great Chicago Flood. Damaged wall of a utility tunnel beneath the Chicago River opens into a breach that floods basements with an estimated 250 million gallons of water.

NATIONAL TRAGEDY: John Wilkes Booth ruins the Lincolns' night at the theater.

ASSASSIN John Wilkes Booth ruins the Lincolns’ night at the theater.


APRIL 14

* 1846 – The Donner Party expedition sets out from Springfield, Illinois for California. After being trapped by heavy snow, nearly half of the 87 pioneers die, many eaten by their starving companions.
* 1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.
• 1909 – Adana Massacre is launched by Turkey’s Ottoman Empire against Armenian civilians. Between 15,000–30,000 people are killed.
• 1944 – A massive explosion in India’s Bombay harbor kills 800.
• 1986 – President Ronald Reagan orders major bombing raids against Libya, killing 60 people including an infant girl, reportedly Colonel Gaddafi’s daughter.
• 1986 – Massive 2.2 pound hailstones fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92. These are the heaviest hailstones ever recorded.
• 1988 – The USS Samuel B. Roberts strikes a mine in the Persian Gulf.
• 1994 – In northern Iraq, two U.S. Air Force fighters mistakenly shoot down two U.S. Army helicopters, killing 26 people.
• 1999 – NATO mistakenly bombs a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees. Yugoslav officials say 75 people are killed.
• 1999 – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing $2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.
• 2010 – Nearly 2,700 are killed in a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai, China.

NEARER MY GOD TO THEE: A century after the disaster, the sinking of the Titantic remains a night to remember.

NEARER MY GOD TO THEE: A century after the disaster, the sinking of the Titantic remains a night to remember.

APRIL 15

• 1715 – The Pocotaligo Massacre triggers the start of the Yamasee War in colonial South Carolina. In the first year of the war, the Yamasee Indians lose about a quarter of their population, either killed or enslaved.
• 1912 – The RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two and a half hours after hitting an iceberg. 1,517 people are killed.
• 1941 – In the Belfast Blitz, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) bombs Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing 1,000 people.
• 1969 – North Korea shoots down a United States Navy aircraft over the Sea of Japan, killing all 31 on board.
• 1970 – During the Cambodian Civil War, massacres of the Vietnamese minority results in 800 bodies flowing down the Mekong River into South Vietnam.
• 1979 – A disastrous 7.1 earthquake occurs on Montenegro coast.
• 1989 – British soccer fans crush together at Liverpool’s Hillsborough Stadium in the FA Cup Semi Final, causing 96 deaths.
• 1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 begin in the People’s Republic of China. Thousands are massacred by Communist troops.
• 2002 – Air China Flight CA129 crashes into a hillside during heavy rain and fog near Busan, South Korea, killing 128.
* 2013 — An estimated 264 runners and spectators are injured and 3 are killed when a pair of young terrorists detonate bombs at the Boston Marathon.

CRAZED student went on killing spree at Virginia Tech.

CRAZED student went on killing spree at Virginia Tech.

APRIL 16

• 73 A.D. – Roman legions crush the Jewish revolt at Masada after months of seige. Hundreds of Israelites commit suicide rather than be taken as slaves.
• 1945 – About 7,000 civilians and wounded soldiers perish when the German refugee ship Goya is sunk by a Soviet submarine torpedo, marking one of the worst tragedies in maritime history.
• 1947 – Texas City Disaster: An explosion on board a freighter in port causes the city of Texas City, Texas, to catch fire, killing almost 600.
• 1990 – “Doctor Death” Jack Kevorkian carries out his first assisted suicide.
• 1992 – The Katina P. runs aground off of Maputo, Mozambique and 60,000 tons of crude oil spill into the ocean.
• 2007 – Virginia Tech massacre: The deadliest spree killing in modern American history. Seung-Hui Cho kills 32 and injures 23 before committing suicide.

THE KILLING FIELDS: Millions were slaughtered by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge fanatics.

THE KILLING FIELDS: Millions were slaughtered by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge fanatics.



APRIL 17

• 1912 – Russian troops open fire on striking goldfield workers in northeast Siberia, killing at least 150.
• 1941 – Germany conquers Yugoslavia.
• 1975: Khmer Rouge forces take over Cambodia. About 1.7 million people are slaughtered by this tyrannical regime, most dumped in the infamous mass graves known as The Killing Fields.
• 2006 – Sami Hammad, a Palestinian suicide bomber, detonates an explosive device in Tel Aviv, killing 11 people and injuring 70.

MASSIVE earthquake laid San Fransico to waste.

MASSIVE earthquake laid waste to San Fransico.

APRIL 18

*1880 — A powerful tornado rips through Marshfield, Missouri, leaving 99 people dead and 100 injured.
• 1897 – The Greco-Turkish War is declared between Greece and the Ottoman Empire. About 8,000 die in the brief but bloody conflict also known as The 30 Day War.
• 1902 – Quetzaltenango, the second largest city of Guatemala, is destroyed by an earthquake, killing about 900 people.
• 1906 – San Francisco earthquake destroys much of city. Death toll of 700 is often cited but experts believe as many as 2,800 may have perished in quake and resulting fires.
*1942 – U.S. planes bomb Tokyo in the Doolittle Raid as revenge for Pearl Harbor, killing 50. All the aircraft are shot down and 11 crewmen are killed or captured. After Chinese civilians help other aviators escape, Japanese massacre 250,000 of them retaliation.
• 1983 – A suicide bomber destroys the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, murdering 63 people.
• 1996 – Israeli army shells the U.N. compound at Quana, Lebanon, blowing to smithereens at least 100 civilian refugees who’d taken refuge there.
• 2007 – A series of bombings wreak havoc in Baghdad, killing 198 and injuring 251.

UP IN FLAMES: The seige of a cult compound in Waco, Texas, ended in tragedy.

UP IN FLAMES: The seige of a cult compound in Waco, Texas, ended in tragedy.



APRIL 19

• 1943 – German troops crush the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. An estimated 13,000 Jews are killed, about half of those burned alive or killed by smoke inhalation. Of the 50,000 survivors, most are shipped to extermination camps.
• 1943 – Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann deliberately takes LSD for the first time, introducing the drug that will destroy thousands of minds.
• 1961 – The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba ends in a fiasco for the U.S., in which most of the 1,500 C.I.A.-trained invaders are captured or killed.
• 1989 – A gun turret explodes aboard the USS Iowa, killing 47 sailors.
• 1993 – The 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas ends when a fire breaks out. Eighty-one people die, including 20 children and two pregnant women.
• 1993 – South Dakota governor George Mickelson and seven others are killed when their plane crashes in Iowa.
• 1995 – Oklahoma City bombing: Timothy McVeigh blows up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168.
• 1997 – The Red River Flood of 1997 overwhelms region from North Dakota to Minnesota, inflicting $3.5 billion in damage.

EVIL punks massacred classmates in cafeteria of Columbine High School.

EVIL punks massacred classmates in cafeteria of Columbine High School.



APRIL 20

• 1792 – France declares war on Austria, the beginning of French Revolutionary Wars in which tens of thousands die.
• 1889 – Nazi madman Adolf Hitler is born. He launches World War 2 in which over 60 million people are killed.
* 1914 – In the heat of a Colorado miners’ strike, coal company goons and the Colorado National Guard gun down nearly two dozen people including 11 innocent children in the Ludlow Massacre.
• 1999 – Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold fatally shoot 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide in Jefferson County, Colorado.
• 2010 – The Deepwater Horizon oil well explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing twelve workers and causing the BP oil spill which lasts six months.

ON A HAPPIER NOTE:

The book trailer for my novel The Blood of Titans if finally complete and up on YouTube.

The author of this article also wrote The Blood of Titans, a story of love and adventure set in the golden age of Africa, available on Amazon.com and Smashwords.

The author of this article also wrote The Blood of Titans, a story of love and adventure set in the golden age of Africa, available on Amazon.com and Smashwords.

Check out The Blood of Titans HERE.

And my newest novel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in the Adventure of the Spook House is getting rave reviews. Check in out HERE.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance  in new book.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance in new book.

Scientists Pinpoint “Hole” Through Which Noah’s Ark 2 Entered Our Universe   Leave a comment

DEAD RINGER for Ark found frozen in Antarctic ice 3 years ago.

DEAD RINGER for Ark found frozen in Antarctic ice 3 years ago.

By C. Michael Forsyth

CANBERRA, Australia–Just 30 kilometers from the spot where the mysterious wooden vessel dubbed “Noah’s Ark 2” was found frozen in Antarctic ice in 2011, researchers have detected low levels of radiation emanating from what could be a hole in the wall between our universe and a parallel one!

The discovery bolsters the theory that the Ark-like ship—which was found with the entire crew and all the animals frozen stiff—somehow floated into our world from one of many others in a “multiverse.”

The faint signal was picked up on January 3 by scientists aboard the Australian icebreaker the Ned Kelly, one of several that were racing to rescue the stranded Russian research ship the Akademik Shokalski, which was stuck in ice. The scientist turned over the puzzling data over to university physicists who analyzed it with the aid of computers.

“The radiation is closely related to terminal gamma ray flashes from an evaporating black hole,” revealed physicist Dr. Peter Jolloway. “It is something you’d expect to detect in deep space—not 450 feet below the ice on Earth. This is absolutely stunning. You either have to believe that there is or was a black hole in Antarctica or you have to accept the possibility that there is a breach in the wall separating our universe from a sister universe.”

The Ark, which closely matches biblical descriptions found in the book of Genesis, was found in the Wendell Sea after a section of the Larsen C ice shelf collapsed. This earthshaking news was suppressed by numerous governments to avoid widespread social upheaval and both Bible scholars and scientists were baffled. It was Dr. Jeremy Blinkley who first proposed that the ark hailed from another universe, one in which both mankind and most non-aquatic animal species became extinct. Support for that theory arose last year when a study of the mitochondrial DNA of tissue extracted from animals aboard Noah’s Ark 2 revealed they all shared a mutation not found on any species on this version of Earth.

RUSSELL Crowe as Noah in the new hit movie.

RUSSELL Crowe as Noah in the new hit movie.


At the time, Dr. Blinkley declared that the results made the discovery of the so-called God Particle “look like a second grade science project.” But the latest development makes that pale in significance, he now asserts.

“This suggests that at this unique location there is a permeable membrane between our universe and another among the infinite number in the multiverse,” the expert told a science reporter. “We may at some point in the future be able to send a probe through it or perhaps one day even a manned mission.”

ALSO FROM THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE: The new thriller Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of The Spook House. LISTEN to an excerpt free.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance  in new book.

Houdini and Conan Doyle investigate a bizarre disappearance in new book.

Irish Actor Dragged off to Nut House After Thanking “The Little People.”   Leave a comment

TOP OF THE MORNING TO YOU! This isn't the kind of little person well known actor meant.

C. Michael Forsyth

LONDON – Just moments after Irish actor Dennis O’Cullen thanked “all the little people” at an awards ceremony, he was hustled off the stage by men in white coats and whisked away to a loony bin!

Now, after spending four months in the Peaceful Gardens Sanitarium, the 67-year-old star is suing both his manager and two doctors for having him involuntarily committed.

“Obviously, I was talking about the peons who work behind the scenes, like the makeup girl and the fellow who points the spotlight, as anyone but those dolts would realize,” he told a London paper.

“I haven’t believed in leprechauns since I was 15. And as anyone who has set foot in my native Ireland can tell you, we call them ‘wee folk’ not ‘little people.’ ”

Although not well known to audiences in America, where he’s made only four films, O’Cullen is a respected stage actor in Britain, where he was once hailed as the “Irish Olivier.”

ACCLAIMED actor Dennis O'Cullen first appeared as "King Lear" in this 1996 PBS presentation, but last year's Best Actor trophy was his first major award for the role.

The incident occurred at the prestigious Christopher Marlowe Awards, after O’Cullen was handed a Best Actor statuette for his starring role in King Lear.

“O’Cullen was aglow because he’d been nominated many times before and hadn’t won,” said a reporter who was covering the star-studded show. “About 30 seconds into his acceptance speech he made the “little people” remark and he was suddenly gang-tackled by four burly men in hospital uniforms. He appeared to be quite taken aback.”

The Shakespearean actor’s manager Edwin “Reggie” Baronsett has apologized profusely for the misunderstanding. However, he insists that having two doctors and several staffers from the mental health facility on hand seemed prudent under the circumstances.

“Let’s not forget that just three years ago at another awards ceremony, Mr. O’Cullen became unhinged after losing for a fifth year in a row to Kenneth Branagh. He went after the presenter Dame Judy Dench with a wooden sword — all the while limping like Richard III,” he points out. “We simply wanted to spare my client another embarrassing spectacle like that.”

O’Cullen has refused to accept the apology.

“Receiving that award should have been the crowning moment of my career,” he declares. “Instead I was made a national laughingstock and was deprived of four months of liberty.”

BELIEF in leprechauns, shown in this scene from the Disney classic "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," still remains strong in Ireland today.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

ALSO FROM THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE…

In a new novel by the author of this article, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world's most famous escape artist probe a paranormal mystery.

In a new novel by the author of this article, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and the world’s most famous escape artist probe a paranormal mystery.

Arthur Conan Doyle & Houdini Solve Paranormal Mystery in Novel   3 comments

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My latest novel has just been published! In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House, the two extraordinary men team up to solve a paranormal mystery.

A brief synopsis:

The year is 1922. A respected judge inexplicably vanishes in a decrepit mansion and two of the world’s most remarkable men are summoned to investigate: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and Harry Houdini, the world’s greatest escape artist.

Aided by a beautiful young psychic, the unlikely partners probe a mystery that becomes murkier and more perilous at every turn and brings them face to face with evil incarnate. To solve the riddle of The Spook House—and to survive its dangers—they must call upon all of their extraordinary mental and physical powers. The story draws upon the real-life friendship of Conan Doyle and Houdini, two vastly different men brought together by their fascination with the paranormal.

The book’s getting a great response. And folks from the many Sherlock Holmes societies and other fans of Conan Doyle are chafing at the bit to read it. Here’s what the first reviewer said:

“The Adventure of the Spook House is an exciting mystery full of twists, hair-breadth escapes and feats of derring-do. The author brings Conan Doyle and Houdini back to life as fully fleshed out characters who make splendid heroes. Thanks to Forsyth’s exhaustive research, the reader truly feels immersed in the 1920s. The novel captures the obsession with the supernatural that Conan Doyle shared with his friends like H.P. Lovecraft and my own great grand uncle Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.”
—Dacre C. Stoker, co author Dracula the Un-Dead, Bram Stoker’s Lost Journal

I came up with the idea after stumbling across the intriguing fact that the two legendary figures were friends—and later bitter enemies—in real life. Writing the book took over a year of research, as I tried to capture the personalities of each historical figure as well as, of course, get the details about them and the time period right. I pored over their autobiographies, books on how Houdini managed his escapes and a huge volume of the more than 1,500 letters written by Conan Doyle’s letters. It really helped me to get a handle on how the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories thought and spoke.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, left, and Harry Houdini, were friends--and later enemies.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, left, and Harry Houdini, were friends–and later enemies.

I learned that each man was, in his own right, brilliant and remarkably athletic—perfectly suited for an adventure of this type. I would be hard pressed to think of a real-life writer and an entertainer who would make better heroes.

The official release date of the book is March 24, 2014 but advance copies of the paperback and Kindle editions are already available at Amazon.com. You can find all other eBook formats, including Nook, at Smashwords.com

Going Old School: “The Call of Cthulhu” Makes One Creepy Film.   Leave a comment

EERIENESS pervades the movie The Call of Cthulhu.

EERIENESS pervades the movie The Call of Cthulhu.

OLD SCHOOL: 2005 Film version of H.P. Lovecraft's masterpiece was produced as a silent film.

OLD SCHOOL: 2005 Film version of H.P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece was produced as a silent film.

*****

By. C. Michael Forsyth

Lately I’ve been re-reading H.P. Lovecraft’s stories for the first time in since high school and joyfully rediscovering his unique vision.

During his lifetime, Lovecraft’s work was ignored by critics and relegated to pulp fiction magazines like Weird Tales that paid him a pittance. Now, of course, he’s regarded as a giant of the horror genre. Some readers still find his florid style over the top. But what might be dismissed as overwrought prose is more correctly read as poetry. His phrases like “a blasphemous monstrosity,” are like Milton’s description of Hell as “darkness visible.” They make no literal sense but are powerfully evocative.

H.P. Lovecraft's genius went unrecognized during his lifetime.

H.P. Lovecraft’s genius went unrecognized during his lifetime.

Such language fits the theme that permeates his work: An otherworldly horror that defies reason. Almost all of Lovecraft’s stories are rooted in the same cosmology, grasping at it from different angles: Before the dawn of history, Earth was ruled by the Old Ones, monstrous god-like beings that have been banished from our world, but ever wait on its edge, seeking to gain entry.

When I stumbled across a 2005 film adaptation of Lovecraft’s masterpiece The Call of Cthulhu on Netflix, I eagerly added it to my queue, wondering how could one possibly translate that story to the screen.

The tale is about a sinister worldwide cult devoted to an Old One named Cthulhu. The main character Francis Thurston recounts his discovery of notes left behind by his great-uncle, a college professor who investigated the cult, piecing together a puzzle whose pieces are spread across oceans and decades, including the bizarre dreams of a young artist, wild rituals in the swamps outside New Orleans, Eskimo idol-worshippers and an ill-fated sea voyage.

The structure of the story is mind-bendingly complex: A frame story within a frame story within a frame story; told through a series of vignettes visited in flashback, which, as each layer is added, builds collectively to a monumental horror.

Director Andrew Leman, a founding member of the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, recognized that a traditional approach was doomed to failure, and so took a bold gamble: His 47-minute short feature is silent and black and white, scored and acted exactly as if it had been produced in 1926 when the story was written.The director perfectly replicates the look of German expressionistic films of that time, like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, giving the movie a creepy and otherworldly feel. The dream sequences in particular are clearly a loving tribute to those films.

DREAM sequence in movie was inspired by silent-era German expressionist films

DREAM sequence in movie was inspired by silent-era German expressionist films

It’s ambitious and in the sense that the filmmaker achieved exactly what he intended, a remarkable tour de force. But because the movie is a slavishly literal translation of the written work — including that clunky non-lineal story structure — it doesn’t completely succeed as a film. It’s certainly not scary at all. I’m not sure that viewers who are unfamiliar with Lovecraft or silent movies would appreciate the film. Indeed, they might interpret the minimalist sets and stylized acting (particularly the fight scenes) as signs of ineptitude and, quite unfairly, put it in the same category as Plan Nine From Outer Space.

Is there any way you could adapt the story into a traditional Hollywood film without completely bastardizing it? One would have to get rid of the frame story and make the great-uncle the main character. The vignettes might perhaps be simultaneous storylines that converge. And Johansen, the seaman who ultimately takes on Cthulhu face to face, would have to be a central, heroic character rather than a minor one.

GIBBERING cult member named Castro gleefully tells all about his evil sect.

GIBBERING cult member named Castro gleefully tells all about his evil sect.


The big rate-limiting factor is that when Cthulhu finally rears his ugly head, it’s hard for him to look like anything but a B-movie monster. For it to work, you’d have to create a special effect like none we’ve ever seen before, something that makes us feel that we are looking into the face of a truly unearthly and incomprehensible horror.

While we’re waiting for someone to figure out exactly how to do that, do check out this highly creative and unorthodox film.

BTW, I couldn’t resist having a bit of fun at Mr. Lovecraft’s expense in this bizarre story.

MORE from the author of this article…

The tables turn on an identity thief in the latest thriller by C. Michael Forsyth. To check it out, click HERE.

The tables turn on an identity thief in the latest thriller by C. Michael Forsyth. To check it out, click HERE.

The author of this article also penned the highly acclaimed horror novel "Hour of the Beast."

The author of this article also penned the highly acclaimed horror novel Hour of the Beast.

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