Welcome back to the virtual garage sales of horrors, where the items are ridiculously overpriced but the nightmares are free!
As I said in the last edition, there are a lot of classic stories that start as a re-selling of something. An object that passes hands from one sorry soul to the next, the new victim unwitting of the danger they’ve just accepted with a few quick bucks. Don’t buy dolls from creepy dudes off the street. Buy them instead through your local re-sale app!
There’s a plethora of killer kitsch, abnormal antiques, and just plain weird shit that people are positive that you’ll want haunting up your place. Whether it’s odd, old, gross, or weird, here’s six horrific things that could be in my house right now if I gave up the cash:
6) Vintage Christmas Santa ::heart-eyes emoji:: – Price: $30
It’s Christmas in…well, August now. There’s a few issues I have with this one that I’ll get into in a hot second. First, let’s gaze into this “vintage” monstrosity.
Okay, first let’s talk about the obvious…red. ALL red. Not his nose “like a cherry”, the whole amorphous T-1000 gel of a Santa is red, apart from his white trimmings and beard, and black boots. As we begin to take it all in, we realize the awkwardly shoved trophy glued into his hands and finally notice that our eyeless Santa is a literal trophy.
And no one could be prouder of this baby boy than Santa, clearly.
Apart from that, you’re to hang this on the tree with that meat hanger of a hook up top that will probably not cause any kind of tetanus strain from the 1950’s.
For $30, you can celebrate any baby boy in your life, as long as he’s the World’s Greatest…
How much I’d actually want it: 1/5
How obliging my glorious spouse would be to have this in our home: 4/5 (it only comes one time of year – zing!)
5) Kurdt …? $27
I believe that this one is a puzzle or is cursed, so let’s be cautious not say its name three times.
So, not even the person selling it has any advice or description to encapsulate Kurdt. Is it a dog with a halo? A werewolf with an unfinished sombrero? Perhaps an undecipherable code from the Vatican or extraterrestrials (just kidding, they play for the same team).
Whatever it is, it’s a conversation starter for the low price of $27! Maybe you and your guests can finally unravel the mystery and put the sweet spirit of Kurdt back to rest–
Oh God, it’s been activated!!!
4) Clown Tape Holder $5
Picture this: you love clowns. You cannot and will not get enough of them. You would marry every embodiment of a clown if it were feasible, legal, and fiscally responsible. You want them everywhere in your life and then one fateful day you spot this happy little chap.
Look at him playfully kicking up his feet like a lazy teenager, smiling away the hours. Delightful fool!
But...sigh…you already have so many. How could you justify bringing one more happy,
horrific joyful painted face into your world? If only it served another purpose!!!
But what’s this???!
Yes! You can pull tape from his threadbare, gaping anal cavity! What a delight!
Someone had you in mind when specifically hand-crafting this clown tape dispenser. Now you can pull out sticky strips of off-brand tape from his behind to your heart’s content while staring, lovingly, into his cold, dead eyes.
A happy ending for all, indeed.
How much I’d actually want it: 1/5 (f*** clowns, man)
How obliging my glorious spouse would be to have this in our home: 4/5 (small and practical)
3) Jesus Porcelain Doll for Repair. Inspirational Collectable – Price: $60
Sure, you may have a vintage inspirational creepy portrait of Christ, but what if you need a little extra push for that holier-than-thou war you’ve got with Helen from across the street? You know, Helen, with her antique claw-foot Bathtub Madonna. Yes, you need an inspirationally creepy edge, too, and this is just the ticket.
The description post also rings inspirational and not at all like something found written in a serial killer’s notebook,
“Let the little children come Titus Tomesco mohair. Broken shoulder plate back portion. Otherwise good clean condition. Non smoking, pet free home. 15” from head to kneeling position, 19” overall. Comes dressed in shroud, garment, robe.”
There’s only one picture to encompass all of his Pantene Pro-V tresses and…off-putting ceramic beard, so there’s not much to work with. We do not get to see his “shroud, garment, robe”, nor his kneeling position. And for a broken Jesus doll that’s worth $60, I want to at least see the whole kit and caboodle.
How much I’d actually want it: 2/5 (I’m good)
How obliging my glorious spouse would be to have this in our home: 1/5 (doesn’t like hairy dudes, sorry)
2) Heather Doll – Price $50
“Clowns and dolls”, as grandpappy used to say before jamming more slugs into his double-barreled shotgun, “that’s what will destroy us if we don’t watch out.”
So, this doozy of a doll is guaranteed safe, though. Just look at her:
As the description says, “A fine porcelain doll sculpted by Jake Grobben. Box is a bit tattered, but doll has never been taken out.”
Yes, folks, you can sleep easy knowing this Squawky Tina has been locked into the box for maximum security. No demon-dolling around at night for her!
A fine, protective mesh encompasses her head to eradicate any eye beams or net any fangs. Her hands have been bound tightly at her sides under thick pads of gauze. Her neck is encapsulated and weighted to the box, but her eyes still spark defiance and a little head-tilt that edges a dangerous dare to let her out…
She even comes with official papers, letting you know how many people have succumbed to her porcelain clutches. Heck, she even arrives with a flower to place on your grave. Forward-thinking!
How much I’d actually want it: 3/5 (I’m up for a challenge)
How obliging my glorious spouse would be to have this in our home: 2/5 (“You’d take it out of the box, right?”)
1) Authentic Mexican Masks – Prices Vary
I’ve hit the mother-lode. Sweet baby Huitzilopochtli, LOOK AT THOSE!!!
Do I even need to say anything? The ad lists that there are over 50 masks in varying prices, and are “like new” from Mexico. Barely any blood from the last victims on them at all!
How much I’d actually want it: 5/5 (did you look at the pictures???)
How obliging my glorious spouse would be to have this in our home: 4/5 (“I’m not driving there and they’re weird, but you can put up whatever you want in your study.”)
So…guess who drove an hour one way to get a mask?
Pfft, not me……….
I drove it to get two masks!
That’s right. Something in the Virtual Garage Sale of Horrors caught my eye and I gave up my human money for their beautiful charm. Are they haunted by Mexican ghosts? Only time will tell…
Into the Deep Woods 1, an October AI journey with Jennifer Weigel
I am embarking on an AI journey using NightCafe to illustrate this graphic story based on a dream I had awhile back. I am also using Canva, so here’s to learning more online systems of image dissemination and propagandizing…
I will include some of the original AI generated images with each piece along with a bit of the dream that inspired it. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Artwork description: Overall layout: Lightning strike through the corner into obscure clouds and map-like graphic in gray tones sets the mood for Into the Deep Woods.
Part 1, Art: AI generated image of a girl with reddish hair dressed in a robe of some sort and holding a staff. A similar girl in soldier garb fades behind her. Edited in PhotoShop.
Part 1, Text: 1.) Two sisters entered the woods, one a soldier and the other a witch. Only one lived. 2.) The young witch had picked up a bit of magic as she and her sister fled into the deep woods to seek the old witch… They were tired and alone, this was their one and only chance… 3.) The war raged on all around as the Nazis drew closer…
Prompt (Horror): Portrait of soldier girl sister
Prompt (Horror): Portrait of witch girl sister (Evolved from soldier girl)
Prompt (Horror): Soldier girl sister hit by lightning (Evolved from soldier girl)
As mentioned this series is based on a dream that I had awhile back. The two girls first enter the woods to escape the Nazis. In my dream there were initially more soldiers with them who perish due to the war or hazards in the woods. It wasn’t unlike Pan’s Labyrinth but on a much smaller and more intimate scale.
It had been awhile between having the dream and creating this story to share with you. And I quickly learned that the term “Nazi” is prohibited by the AI art generator interface. So there are some changes that have been made, but hopefully you can still follow along. The time and place are not as relevant to the overall anyway.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
Nightmarish Nature: Worrisome Wasps
This time on Nightmarish Nature we are examining wasps. Wasps are truly terrifying, and not just because some of them sting or are aggressive, though those are often the first ones we think of because we as humans come in conflict with them more directly. No, wasps are extremely varied and some are just outright bizarre… stinging doesn’t even begin to touch on the worst horrors they can inflict.
Now many wasps are actually very helpful to us humans. They act as pollinators and keep pests under control. But if you are another insect, especially a large or fleshy one bulking up, watch out. An encounter with the wrong wasps can mean an untimely and horrible death. A few wasp species will disassemble and eat insects bit by bit but that’s just the start of it, others do even more sinister things.
There are parasitic wasps that will lay their eggs in or on a host insect, like a large beetle, a cicada, a spider or a big juicy caterpillar – there’s pretty much a wasp for everything… A female may sting said insect to subdue it while she acts out her nefarious plans for the next generation (I once watched a spider hanging out in an outdoor potted plant whose fate was sealed, unaware of the horror that awaited it as a female wasp flitted on and around it, stinging and laying eggs before flying off again). Different wasps have different host insects and strategies for this, but the result is pretty much the same. Essentially, when the wasp’s eggs hatch, the larva will eat the creature from the inside out, either saving its vital organs for last or waiting until the time is right.
Caterpillars are especially susceptible to this in all stages of development: egg, caterpillar and pupa. Some species of wasps will lay eggs among caterpillar eggs, others will lay them within the caterpillar eggs, and still others will target the caterpillar itself, or even its pupa. Most build upon the host’s voracious appetite and ability to grow in mass so quickly, waiting until the opportune time to engage in their own frenzy of consumption. Some wasps will even target other wasps that target caterpillars, and this can go like four layers in – it’s like Inception level consumption from within.
And weirder still is the mutualism found between fig trees and very small wasp species. Both are dependent upon one another for their reproductive cycle to be complete. It’s very complicated and I won’t do justice to the cycle trying to explain it, so I recommend that you check it out here on the US Forest Service site.
Anyway to make a long story short, eating figs can even result in eating wasps. Crunch. Crunch. It isn’t actually all that terrifying though; the fig breaks down much of that matter (especially from the original female insect) to use itself as it ripens. And honestly a lot more foods contain insect parts than you may be comfortable with already, they’re pretty much in everything… So that horror aside, the coevolution of figs and wasps that has gotten them to this point is really quite remarkable.
Wasps are truly extraordinary. Many species are super specialized in their life and reproductive cycles. There are over 900 species of fig wasps alone, each dedicated to a different species of fig tree. And the parasitic wasps are also very specialized, with different species targeting different hosts at different stages of their development.