Connect with us



There is a mineshaft in a place you might know as Virginia City, a little historic town in northern Nevada with haunted bars, hotels filled with blood and cemeteries decorated with skeletons and baby cribs. This mineshaft is not difficult to get into; it is buried beneath a general store. All we had to do was pay the reasonable fee of $10 each and voila, the gate opens and down a shabby, groaning ramp we went. The descent is far lower than the store advertises, which claims a two story descent but is actually 10 story descent. Probably some legal reasons why they don’t list it, who knows. Anyway, the ramp turns into stairs, which are so frail it feels as though they might collapse with each step you take. Minus the measly, vintage light fixtures dangling from the walls, it is an abysmal darkness. It is impossible to avoid walking into cobwebs and there were many times I almost tripped on a loose, rusty nail and fell to my death. 

I was with my boyfriend at the time, Brandt. We were both 20, underage in such a boozy town but our fake IDs have worked wonders before so I didn’t doubt they would work now. Growing up, we both loved going up to Virginia City and we wanted to have a little date for our six month anniversary.

The further we went down into the mineshaft, the more I wanted to turn back around. But every time I brought it up, Brandt told me we have to keep going because there was no way we were going to get our money back and he’ll be goddamned if he let $20 go to waste. And I tried to tell him that he could’ve let me pay for half because my parents gave me some extra money for our trip but noooo, he had to be a dumb chivalrous man about it and that lead into an argument about how it’s the 21st century, you don’t have to let women pay anymore if they don’t want you to and he was like “it’s the principal of the thing” and then we had a fight about principals and, long story short, we didn’t turn back around. That is how long this flight of stairs was; we were able to fight and resolve multiple different arguments.

Anyway, we continued to make the fateful trip down the stairs, and did I mention how much colder it became the further down we went? Mind you, I was in booty shorts and a tank top, so I was fucking shivering just halfway down. Brandt was in jeans and a tank, but he runs cold and would not stop bitching about it. I was really tempted to push him down the stairs because he wouldn’t shut up and I just wanted this dumb mineshaft trip over with. I could be looking at stupid shirts in a general store or using my fake ID in some random bar instead of this.  But down we went, and the colder we got, and the more pissed we became at each other.


We stopped holding hands a long time ago, but after a moment of silence Brandt grabbed my hand and held me close, claiming he felt something graze his ankle. I was tempted to squat down and feel if there was something in the space between the slats in the stairs, but I didn’t want to entertain his childish fears because he has a history of crying wolf – I call it “youngest child syndrome” — and I just wanted to get out of there. So, I held his hand and told him it was probably just a cobweb or spider or something, who knows how many were crawling on us. We went down another story — or at least I think it was another story, it became really difficult to tell – when we both heard a faint laughter below us. It was like those stereotypical witch cackles, except this was deeper and lasted much longer. I tried to pretend that it was just our imaginations playing tricks on us, but the laughter just grew louder. Brandt and I looked at the dark outlines of each other’s faces and I could tell he wanted to get the hell out of here, $20 or no, and let me tell you I have never loved that man more than when we both took off running up the stairs.

But up the stairs was the worst thing we could’ve done. We only made it up three steps when a slat broke and our legs fell through it, our bodies slamming against the stairs behind us and breaking those, too. The pieces of wood and nails came tumbling down with us and it was at this moment that I realized I might die because my stupid boyfriend didn’t want to waste $20 at a Virginia City tourist attraction. Brandt hit the ground first and I fell flat on his arm. I heard a crack and we both screamed. For a moment we forgot the creepy cackling because we were in the worst pain of our lives. After a few short seconds we started to calm down a bit, and then the angry screaming started. We fought and talked over each other, my voice louder than I realized it could ever go – though maybe the vast powerful echo of the place helped with my volume. My relationship with Brandt was not a very happy one, suffice to say.

We were so pissed at each other, even though Brandt had no reason to be pissed at me and I had every reason to be pissed at him. We only stopped when we heard a loud door slam from far away. This was when the terror took hold of us again. We cried for help for a few minutes, but that was a lost cause because we were ten stories below ground and the teenager at the front desk of the general store looked like he’d rather be in the cemetery than working at the store. Even worse, our phones were completely out of service.

After a few deep breaths, we helped each other stand and leaned against one another. Getting up was miraculously not as difficult as I expected after falling down the stairs. We must’ve been closer to the bottom than we thought. Hobbling, we followed a faint light, which ended up being where the stairs ended, and there was a small little railroad that lead into a subtly green lit hallway.

We followed.


Brandt and I crept past a curtain and entered a bright room that reeked of dust and death. It took our eyes a moment to register the light when we realized it was completely, wall to ceiling to wall, covered in bones. Most of the bones were disconnected, but there were a few fully clothed skeletons wearing hardhats and dusty pleated trousers with soot all over their faded, ripped shirts. There were clumps of hair next to one skeleton, and the toes of a boney foot were sticking out of the shoe of another. Brandt and I were too stunned to do anything until the cackling started up again. And now we could see who I it was coming from.

In the far corner of the room, next to the door with a sign that read EXIT in bright red, a figure was rocking back and forth in a chair as creaky as the broken stairs far above us. The figure was wearing a construction hat and suspenders, like a miner from the Silver Rush. Brandt and I inched closer to exit, leaning against the wall so we could maintain our distance. The thing in the chair had long white wiry hair. Crooked teeth poked through its thin cheeks from all angles, dried blood crusted on its lips, and the skin on its neck drooped so far down I could’ve sworn it was melting. Its shirt was ripped open, revealing broken and missing bones where the ribs should be. As the thing rocked back and forth in its chair, its laughter changed volume and tone. It tapped its fingers against the arm rests and its toes against the floor, all of which were covered in a slimy sore muscle. Each digit stuck to the wood before lifting into the air, blood and an oozing film sticking to the surface.

My first instinct was to book it as fast as I could, get in my car, and drive Brandt and me to the nearest hospital our sore bodies could find. Yet we weren’t able to pass the laughing body. It wasn’t blocking the exit, we could’ve simply walked past it, but something was holding us back. We stared at the thing in the chair, entranced with its rhythm. I don’t know how much time passed, how long we stared at it, until it suddenly stopped cackling and stood. It walked over and whispered something in my ear, then took a hold of Brandt’s hand and led him away to a different part of the room neither of us noticed before. Brandt disappeared behind a curtain with the figure, and I was left all alone. For a moment, I wasn’t sure which direction to go, what to do.

But you already know what I did.

You know I didn’t go after Brandt. I don’t know what happened to him, and I didn’t waste any more time in this terrifying mine shaft under the general store. My body was cold and my heart was colder.  I opened door and you can’t imagine how relieved I was to find a set of stairs that went up into daylight. They looked brand new, at least newer and in better shape than the broken ones. I ran, walked, crawled up them, listening to the heavy door slam behind me as I reached the surface. My phone’s service was restored, but I didn’t know who to call. I just sat on a bench on waited.


A few moments later, Brandt appeared out of thin air and sat next to me without a word. His presence had changed and he smelled terribly. He was quiet and rocked back and forth, wincing in pain with each movement. We were silent, then quietly walked to my car. I drove us to the hospital. I had broken Brandt’s arm when I fell on it and our ankles and backs were sprained, but that was as far as the physical damage went. I dropped him off at his apartment then drove myself home and went to bed. I stared at my ceiling, the darkness suffocating me. I had to turn my nightlight on.

Brand stopped talking to each other after that. We really officially break up, but it was over between us the minute he sat next to me on that bench. I texted and called him a few times; he never responded. I ran into him a few months ago at a summer food truck event. We made eye contact for a minute and he looked sad, exhausted. That was the last time I saw him.

I don’t know what happened to him down there in that mine shaft when I left him. I don’t know where he is now.  


CourtCourt is a writer, horror enthusiast, and may or may not be your favorite human-eating houseplant.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Weigel

    August 25, 2022 at 8:18 am

    The undertow in these kinds of places runs deep, something to do with the Eldritch horrors lurking there. That was certainly $20 poorly spent…

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: Cannibalism



Let’s return to explore more Nightmarish Nature, shall we? This segment focuses on cannibalism, as we generally find it icky / taboo and because it’s more common than you might think. There are many different reasons that different creatures engage in cannibalistic practices. Energy waste doesn’t last long in nature; gaps are filled as things evolve to utilize whatever resources are available to meet their own needs. C’est la vie (light up another cigarette). In any case, the challenge to the cannibal lies in determining kinship and not accidentally erasing their own line or progeny, thus decreasing their likelihood for survival over generations. Oh, and in avoiding those pesky prion diseases…

Resource Driven Cannibalism

Monkey cannibalism, staring at you, smiling wide and thinking about Brains...
Drawing of monkey cannibalism, thinking about Brains…

Resource driven cannibalism can occur when competition for resources is high. This may be due to scarcity, with individuals taking to eating each other to avoid themselves starving to death (with those consumed either still alive and killed to this end, or eaten after death of other causes). Or it may be outside of the cannibal’s control, considering the spread of Mad Cow Disease from feeding beef meal harboring the prion disease (and parts from other mammals like sheep) to growing cattle to save money, ’cause it’s not like the cows were allowed to order whatever they wanted. Or it may be due to direct conflicts with other groups of the same species, either due to competition for resources, mating rights and/or territory. These behaviors have been noted in mostly male chimpanzees raiding other groups, which have even been documented as all out wars against other males in neighboring bands, campaigning to eradicate all outside of their ranks.

Social Demonstration

African Wild Dog cannibalism, tongue lolling out
Drawing of African Wild Dog

Thinking about chimpanzees, males are also documented to gang up on alpha males seen as too controlling or sadistic, with groups of younger males attacking and rendering the alpha male to pieces, often consuming his flesh and blood in the process. This can upend established hierarchies to replace them with new structures, for example with a new male taking on the role of leader. But cannibalism can also be used to reinforce existing hierarchies, as seen in African Wild Dogs wherein the dominant pair will kill off any offspring that other dogs may have birthed so that the pack will focus on raising only the alpha pair’s pups, thusly reestablishing and enforcing social structure while ensuring the best survival chances for the pups raised by channeling all resources to the one brood.

Infanticide & Filial Cannibalism

Tom Cat calling out "Here kitty..."
Drawing of Tom Cat calling out “Here kitty…”

Like African Wild Dogs, other parents may also eat their offspring, or better yet their rivals’ offspring. Stillborn or unhealthy offspring may be consumed, or just any that they can get their hands on at birth. (Again with the young male chimpanzees…) Some creatures enter into cycles wherein smaller individuals are more vulnerable to predation by larger ones both within and outside of ones own species, as is seen among many fishes with eggs and smaller fishes playing an important role as prey to larger ones. Other creatures may engage in these practices to reduce competition (for themselves and/or their offspring) and/or increase opportunities to mate. Male cats are notorious for killing kittens that are not their own in order to bring females into heat again sooner, potentially increasing the likelihood of mating with said females themselves while decreasing future competition. Win-win! Female cats must take great care to hide their kittens in order to protect them from males as much as other predators, and can have kittens by different fathers within the same litter in order to increase their kittens’ overall survival as a group with father cats more willing to accept kittens when their own kin are present.

Sexual Cannibalism

Cannibalism in spiders: 'cause spiders eating just about anything is terrifying, and they eat just about anything
Drawing of spider yelling “More spiders”

Mantids and spiders are especially known for sexual cannibalism, with larger females consuming males during copulation, but this is not always linked to vast size differences and does not appear in every species. Females who engage in this practice may have healthier eggs in larger clutches, thus increasing the survival likelihood of more of their offspring. Sometimes the risk to the male suitor of being mistaken for another species by an aggressive would-be mate is high, and various rituals have developed within certain species to help avoid such mistakes and entice the female to mate. Male spiders are known engage in elaborate dances, movements, tapping and silk spinning rituals to avoid being eaten pre-copulation or at all. It’s a hell of a lot more involved than a good pick up line and a well-timed drink, as you can see here.

Peacock Spider mating ritual

If the above video doesn’t load, you can find it on PBS YouTube here.

Thank you for joining us for another exciting episode of Nightmarish Nature. If you enjoyed this, please feel free to check out these previous segments:

Vampires Among Us


Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps

Continue Reading

Original Creations

Revisitations: The Devil Went Down to Georgia



So I’ve been working on more painting into found art (as seen here before) and I thought I’d share a newer one, based on the song The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels. But first let’s make like my She Wolf post enjoy a couple variations of the song, shall we?

Charlie Daniels Band, Devil Went Down to Georgia, Live

First we have Charlie Daniels, the writer of the song which was inspired by the beautiful poem by Stephen Vincent Benet titled The Mountain Whipporwill. You can read the poem on Your Daily Poem here.

primus, devil went down to georgia, animated

Then we have to watch my favorite version, the animated music video by Primus. I know there are claymation-haters out there who find the effect bit too “uncanny valley” but how can you not just love those chickens?

Anyway, without further ado, here is my painting, incorporated into a found still life, original signed L. Harady.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia Revisitation art by Jennifer Weigel, nail polish on found thrift store painting by L. Harady
The Devil Went Down to Georgia Revisitation art by Jennifer Weigel, nail polish on found thrift store painting by L. Harady

Here The Devil is defeated, crushed along the lower edge of the artwork beneath the fiddle and lamenting his loss. The bow jabs into his sneering nose as if to add insult to injury, but his eyes still glow, alight with the prospect of coming back for another round. (They actually do glow, I have acquired some blacklight reactive nail polish to use in these pieces now.) I suppose I may go to Hell for this portrayal (or for defiling yet another painting) but alas, such is the price of art sometimes. I guess I’ll add it to the list…

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

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

Cravings Part 2, story by Jennifer Weigel



If you missed the beginning of this pregnancy horror story by Jennifer Weigel, you can catch Part 1 here.

Jayden’s stomach turned.  Who or what was this creature standing before him, and what had it done with his wife?  Claire proceeded to eat more than half of the jar of eggs in a fury of consumption; Jayden finally retreated to the office alone unable to watch any more.  He heard a sloshing sound as she finished the jar and proceeded to drink the brine before retreating to the bedroom and crashing into their bed, presumably to pass out.  Again.  Later that night, he crept in to find her sleeping, clammy and sweaty, nervously twitching.  Her body made the most abnormal guttural sounds as her internal systems groaned and sputtered.  It was definitely getting worse.  Jayden resolved to call Dr. Randolph the following morning; this had gone on for far too long already.

The next day, Claire awoke with a start from another bad dream that she couldn’t remember.  Crying uncontrollably, she clutched her swollen belly, still ripe with child, and hurriedly exclaimed, “Blood sausage!  I must have blood sausage!”

Jayden woke from his curled-up safe haven beside her and muttered, “Wha…  What is that?  I’ve never even heard of such a thing.”

“Go!” she snapped.  “I’m starving.  Go now!  Return with blood sausage.”


Jayden staggered over to the dresser, threw on some clothes, shuffled into his waiting shoes, and gathered himself to duck out the door in the well-practiced gesture he’d become so accustomed to.  “I’ll stop on my way home from work, I guess,” he mused, making his own plans.  Claire seemed to settle down a little as she woke further, but it was little consolation.

“Thank you Sweetcheeks,” she said.  “You’re the best.”  She blew him a kiss.

While at work, Jayden managed to secure an appointment with Dr. Beth Randolph, Claire’s primary physician since before he had known her, for later that day.  He took off early and rushed home to gather his unwilling wife.  She was going in, whether she liked it or not.

He opened the front door and peered inside.  The house was dark and quiet, as he’d come to expect.  He crept in and stole upstairs to the bedroom to rouse Claire from sleep.  He’d tell her where they were going once he got her in the car, no sense in making this even more difficult than it already was.  Unsurprisingly, there she was, a shadowy form hunched over in the bed, her back to him with the covers pulled up over her eyes.  He peeled away the comforter and blanket to reveal a tangled mess of white knitted yarn; Claire was nowhere to be found.  He looked around, trying to focus on the darkness of the bedroom that enveloped him.  That unsettling feeling had returned, like he’d had at Maresh’s shop, sinking into his gut.  Claire was here idling, watching, waiting; he could sense her presence sizing him up as if she could read his mind and was on to his plan.  But why was her company so disconcerting?  This was still their house, their home, their lives intertwined…  Jayden felt his trust ebb, spine tingling sensing danger.

“Hey there Sweetcheeks,” Claire’s voice echoed from the darkness of the closet.  “Do you have something for me?”  She emerged into the room, her eyes wide, frothing slightly at the edges of her mouth.  Tiny bubbles of drool burst forth from her quivering lips and trickled down onto her chin.


“I couldn’t find any… blood sausage… whatever that is,” Jayden lied through his teeth.  He hadn’t even gone to the store.  Claire should never have expected him back at this hour; apparently she didn’t even know what time it was.  But that seemingly wasn’t a concern.  She wasn’t herself.  Something about her fragile frame, the way she rocked from side to side, reminded him of that crazy old witch doctor Maresh.  He finally managed to connect the two; it was as though she were possessed.  It was imperative that she saw Dr. Beth Randolph as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to sever ties to that crazy old hag and hopefully start to snap out of it.  He simply had to get her to that appointment.

“No blood sausage!”  Claire shouted, becoming more and more agitated.  “No… blood… sausage!”  Her breathing became less regular and her body shivered all over as she hulked towards him.  “I am sooo hungry!”

She lunged towards him, stumbling into his arms and collapsing towards his feet laughing maniacally.  Jayden reached for her instinctively, to lower her to the ground gently, and felt something sticky and warm envelop his hand.  Feeling lightheaded, he glanced down as he fell to the floor beside her.  Protruding from his gut was a long silver thread, no something pointedly metal and hard, oozing thick oil sludge all around.  Not oil, blood.  His blood.  Claire continued laughing, her lightning-fast fingers quickly and methodically ripping their way into his tattered shirt and worming around within his wounded frame to pull forth bits of viscera, which she wrung in her hands and smeared up and down her arms and torso.  As Jayden passed out, she mouthed each of her fingers in turn, sucking the precious liquid off of them one at a time, before she began to feast on his entrails.

Claire’s belly was finally full.  The baby developing within squirmed and settled, as if finally satiated.  She swiped a stray bit of flesh from her bosom, licked it off of her fingertips, and heaved a sigh of relief.  Miracle Madame Maresh Meliasma was right; she just needed to get to the root of her cravings.

Pregnancy 4, doll hands canvas art by Jennifer Weigel
Pregnancy 4, doll hands canvas art by Jennifer Weigel

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