Connect with us



I spent the night in a haunted house.

And not just any old haunted house – the Conjuring house.

This one. Right here. As pictured.

Well, virtually spent the night.

It’s like I’m really there…

When I was tipped off that The Dark Zone was going to be live-streaming 24/7 the Conjuring House (aka the Bathsheba killing-babies-for-Satan house), I was on it in a heartbeat. It was such a fun gimmick for un-fun times that I leapt at the chance and volunteered for the job.

(Well, more like begged Boss for the job)

While I off-and-on watched the fun during the week, I took a day off the 9-to-5 to stay up as late as I possibly could on Tuesday Night/Wednesday morning – the spookiest because it’s right in the middle of the week.

And I am no novice, my friends. I have ghost-investigation-watched-from-my-couch for many, many years. So, of course my first order to stay my (virtual) night at the haunted house was to build my base camp – a.k.a. my 2-story ghost fort:

The shark is a sensor/beacon for “cool” spirit activity

I knew it would be a long night, so I prepared:

You have to stay hydrated…

There were snacks, too, but less of those. Less is more, right?

After taking my old-person meds (always remember to take your meds before ghost hunting!) and vitamins, I snake-wriggled my way into my new home for the night. Glorious Spouse wished me well and left me to my own devices. My own ghost devices.

Glorious Spouse jealously posts my radness after bringing me cake
Into the darkness I go, prepared for my entire existence to be proven wrong…

The Beginning:

Oh, yes, let’s go back to the beginning. I hear it’s a very good place to start.

When I was a child, I actually hated horror and all things scary. That being said, I was incredibly superstitious (goes hand-in-hand with Catholicism) and after moving, I slowly became obsessed with ghosts. This is mostly due to my parents believing there are at least two ghosts in their house and I grew up there, so I was absolutely convinced.

From that moment on, I read everything I could about spirits and the supernatural, while still being absolutely terrified of it. At eleven, I figured that I would one day put all of my information to use and join as a member of “the Government’s O.S.I.R. (Office of Scientific Investigation and Research Department” when I was older because what else would I do with my life?

But here I am instead, writing about horror in a virtual haunted house with peach pie wine…so it’s even better than I could have imagined.

Anyway, it was in my mid-twenties when I started seeing…inconsistencies and oddities in the ghost theories. This was about the same time that I started to question the reality of a soul, of a heaven, of a hell – the whole nine yards. One kind of bottomed out the other is what I’m saying. And when I settled into atheism, I felt an enormous self of relief and joy. I was no longer afraid of these things, but rather, just enjoyed them. I had the opportunity to find pleasure in being scared or rattled that I never had before.

Now, this is not me knocking whatever you believe. You do you, man. I’m just giving some insight of my background and process to get to this point. At the end of the day, I still watch ghost investigation shows with utter enjoyment. I still listen to “ghost stories” and they are some of my favorite horror themes in movies and attractions. I find that there is something romantic and beautiful in the ideology and reverence we have for the spirit in our stories and cultures. I enjoy and appreciate it, maybe even more so now. Even if we don’t share the same theory, I still have respect for the idea – that people, wronged or hurt or dangerous people, can still impact our world.


And I am still enthusiastic to make a ghost fort and drink and watch an empty screen for anything to happen.

But we can all agree on “f*** this basement”, right?

Apps for Ghosts

I didn’t have any tangible things for ghosts to play around with (besides the piano that they keep ignoring), so I downloaded a few apps to try to make communication with. The first one was a Ouija board for one called Spirit Board and had 4 stars out of 5, downloadable for a smart phone. The reviews said that it was very scary – perfect!

 It even came with the classic warning/rules:


I started out with basic questions: are you there? How are you? Are you here or in the virtual Satan house? What’s your name?

The ghost seemed to have trouble understanding me…as if it were a poorly written A.I.

Your name is “DONT BE SCARED”? Worst prank ghost ever

Eventually I started…asking other questions.

No, because I asked what color your…eyes…were.

After eventually getting bored (5-10 minutes), I switched to another downloadable app, “Ghost Hunting”. 4 out of 5 stars out of two thousand. I figured I could try it out.

Ha ha, what a funny story, Mark

It acted half like an ovilus and half like an EMF reader.

I’m a sucker for some sweet ovilus action. I guess I just love words being said randomly (Voodoo Priestess can attest to this). So this app was a little more up to my speed. I mean, there really wasn’t any rhyme or reason to it. Again, it was a pretty simple A.I., but it felt more enjoyable because of the spontaneity of it, like those late 90’s fishing games where nothing happens for, like, five minutes and then suddenly…

Oof, where are you going with this, spirit?

The Chat-rooms Demand More

I checked out the chat-rooms (are they still called that?) a few times, but it honestly made me feel bad for the house. I lot of people had the opinion that, since they paid human money, the house should somehow…perform for them? As one person put it, “with a house with so much history I want to see a little more action”, as if the house were a living, sentient being that could shake its ghostly money-maker for virtual sugar-daddies dumping sweaty bit-coin into its partially drawn curtains.

I guess that’s the benefit of low expectations. I expected nothing but regular house noises, annoying spirit-box sessions and night-vision cameras…and I got exactly what I came for.

Endless satisfaction

The End of the Night:

I stayed up as late as I could because, let’s face it, the soft glow of the dark-vision cameras and gentle hum of static was too much calm and peace for an old person. I stayed up until about 3:30 A.M. so I could at least pass the demon hour. After that, I slept soundly in the belly of the (virtual) haunted house until the morning came.

To be honest, it was peaceful, almost nostalgic. It reminded me back of my old days as a security guard, watching the feed and my mind slowly unraveling horrific tales while I was the only presence around.


In a way that Norwegians watch Slow TV to combat the fatigue of isolation during the winter months, I, too, connected with the live-feed. Being in isolation, but watching another person, in real time, as they go about their day was oddly satisfying. Ghost investigating without silly sound effects or sped-up cameras was actually relaxing and grounded.

As I said previously, it did remind me of the old fishing games, or even of actual fishing, where there is no rhyme or reason. Nothing is plotted or scripted – everything unfolds subtly, suddenly, or not at all.

The Bottom-Line of Spookiness:

If you want to know if it’s made me a believer again – short answer is no. It’s going to take a lot more than virtual ghost house. But I will give you believers this, I had the pleasure to see a few irregularities, such as distortion to a camera that didn’t have distortion any other time, and two things in other cameras whip past around the same time.

Also, it’s interesting that, of the eleven words from the ovilus game, one of them was “nose bleed”. I got this the morning after my “investigation” when still checking in and goofing around. The coincidental part is that the ghost investigator the night prior had a pretty bad nose bleed, so was walking around the house with a wad of T.P. shoved up his nose:

(Not pictured because I’m not an animal)

However, my crowning achievement was spotting a little ghost orb in the basement. Of course I didn’t capture it on camera or video because ehhhh… (shrug). But whatever it was or may be, I sure did annoy the heck out of my spouse by screaming up the stairs about it, so that has to be worth something…

Do I think all of that were the remnants of witchery, baby-murder, or death?


Well, let’s just say that I’ve always been rather fond of the American Atheist’s symbol. Their international logo is of an atom; however, one of the orbitals of the atom is broken, or so to say, open-ended. That is represent the unknown.

I cannot say 100% that, no, ghosts don’t exist. I rely on science and logic to recognize and reason out the world that surrounds me, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be new knowledge in the future, and that doesn’t mean that we have all the answers.

So, I came into this haunted house with the only expectation of having an experience – either with someone else miles away from me via chats; with myself in the dark, meditative silence of my ghost fort; or with something that still remains unknown.

And with that thought, it was $20 well-spent.


When not ravaging through the wilds of Detroit with Jellybeans the Cat, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Brianna Schullo

    May 20, 2020 at 2:33 am

    I really enjoyed this! Excellent work. It was super thorough and entertaining. My favorite line was the, “virtual sugar daddies dumping sweaty bit-coins.” What an image.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Vampires Among Us



This is the kickoff to a new series exploring nature that is kind of horrifying, at least in ways. Our first subject is Vampires Among Us. There are lots of animals named for vampires, sometimes due to folklore and sometimes for their appearance (like the Vampire Squid), but most of these animals don’t have blood sucking tendencies.

Bats & Birds

There are legit vampire leaf-nosed bats in Central and South America that drink blood. They feed on mammals and are often shown to feed on livestock. They’d be kinda cute if they weren’t so creepy. There are also vampiric birds: some finches in the Galapagos have developed the taste for blood of other birds, mainly seabirds that flock to the islands to raise their young.

Vampire Bats
Vampire Bats

Leeches & Lampreys & More

And then you get into leeches and lampreys and other denizens of the water that are known to attach themselves to larger creatures and drink their blood. Leeches were even believed to have medicinal value (and still are in certain circumstances). And there are also numerous plants that are known to be parasitic and feed on other plants, wrapping their roots or vines around others to steal nutrients.

Lamprey Teeth
Lamprey Teeth


Now I’m going to drift off into the realm where this becomes truly horrific. Spiders. Now, spiders aren’t vampires per se, seeing as how they actually kill their prey – they don’t just feed off of it while it remains living and wanders about its business. But because of their structure, they cannot eat solid foods, so they have to inject their prey with enzymes to liquefy it so they can slurp it out like a protein shake. That’s sort of vampirism on steroids if you ask me, just the kind that no one is coming back from.

Spider Eating
Spider Eating

Bloodsucking Bugs

But let’s get back on topic. Now let’s consider mites and ticks and fleas and mosquitoes and the like. Some drink blood for their survival; others do so as part of their reproductive cycle (like mosquitoes which otherwise eat fruit and nectar but need the extra protein from blood to grow their eggs).

Ticks need to feed on blood once at every stage of their life cycle and can pick up diseases along the way (like Lyme Disease) but don’t always do so. Different ticks are more likely to come in contact with different things and often humans are not their preferred meal but they are opportunistic and will feed on whatever is available when necessary. Symptoms of illness from tick bites may take years to develop and can have really weird side effects (like the allergy associated with Lone Star Ticks which makes a person unable to consume mammalian flesh).


Anyway, here are some brief glimpses of vampirism in nature. Thank you for joining us for Nightmarish Nature and may you avoid getting bitten by any true vampires among us… And I still think spiders take first place in the creepy eating category here, even if they aren’t technically vampiric.

Continue Reading

Original Creations

Buried Treasure by “Dread Pirate” Jennifer Weigel



This story came to me in a sort of roundabout way from a rather unusual source. So I thought I’d share it with you, dear readership, and see if you can make heads or tails of it. – Jennifer Weigel

Spanish Moss on Live Oak limbs, marker drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Spanish Moss on Live Oak limbs, marker drawing by Jennifer Weigel

Dread Pirate Rum Tum Tugger could tell this was the right spot.

The site, beneath the sweeping limbs of the Live Oak, Spanish Moss swaying gently in the breeze, was a perfect match to the crude map he had bought off that soothsayer Deuteronomy.

The earth moved easily, as if it had been excavated previously. He dug in with greater fervor with each swipe. The sandy soil gave way to reveal something hard. He scooped and smoothed the remaining detritus from the surface as he uncovered a box.

The carton was simple.

No markings; no ornamentation; no writing. Just a plain cardboard crate, brittle from having been buried for so long but still sturdy. He hoisted it from its burrow.

“Ha HO!” he shouted to the passing breeze, rousing a small cloud of birds that erupted from a nearby thicket. They captured his attention for a moment, but he quickly refocused and returned to his task.

The box was locked but no difference.

Any self-respecting ruffian like himself could pick a lock in seconds. And he did so with panache, as was his way. He pried the lid open and licked his lips.


Inside was the legendary Kernel of Eternal Life, a small sparrow’s heart, still beating.

Promotional Poster for Dread Pirate Queen Miss Kitty performance art by Jennifer Weigel
Promotional Poster for Dread Pirate Queen Miss Kitty performance art by Jennifer Weigel

Artwork description: Myself as Dread Pirate Queen Miss Kitty wearing black bell sleeve shirt and black vinyl skirt with strapping leather belt over leopard print shirt and tights, with strapping leather boots, pirate head wrap and leopard cat ears.

Image text reads: Purr! Avast ye mateys, Dread Pirate Queen Miss Kitty invites ye to check out her booty stash and dig ye up a dungbie prize. Seek ye some buried treasure! Just grab ye a plastic litter scoop and dig… dig… dig… to ye heart’s content.

I created this image for a promotional poster for a performance piece in a charity art show in which I, as Dread Pirate Queen Miss Kitty, hawked a carnival sideshow style sidewalk installation. For a mere $5 donation to the animal shelter the show supported, gallery goers could dig around in a kiddie pool full of litter to find a prize: a cheap plastic trinket from the dollar store. I had some takers, including one kid who seemed to really enjoy the digging and whose parents were all in, saying “You know, you can totally do that at home too.”

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

For more cat antics, we invite you to read C-2747’s logbook here on Haunted MTL. Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.

Continue Reading

Original Creations

Queen of Everything Mother’s Day Wishes



Happy Mother’s Day to the Queen of Everything… nothing gets by you.

Happy Mother's Day Queen of Everything card
Happy Mother’s Day Queen of Everything card

Artwork description: A Happy Mother’s Day card featuring a picture of a Nefertiti doll with swooping hair, glitter makeup, and elaborate gold and blue headdress and evening gown.

Image text reads: Happy Mother’s Day! You are the Queen of Everything and you shimmer brighter than the twinkliest star in the sky. Stay sparkly and shine on in your magnificent glitter bombasticness. You ARE truly everything everywhere all at once and you’ve seen and heard it all. Eyes in the back of your head and superpowered hearing mean we can’t get away with much no matter how hard we try. So Queen on and rule over home in sparkly sentinel.

Queenly scary early morning makeup mishap
Queenly scary early morning makeup mishap

And may this be a testament to why us kids shalt never get you out of bed too early or run amok while you are getting ready to start your day… Because being the Queen of Everything takes planning and preparation…

Feel free to check out this Mummy Dearest Mother’s Day card from 2021 here on Haunted MTL.

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Continue Reading