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street photography, Warning: Holidaze Coming!

Pauline had been eager to have Donna over for a private party to get to know her better and celebrate the holidays.  They had been flirting with one another at work at Fast Joe’s Burger Joint for some time, with her working the register and Donna grinding and grilling the meat in the back.

They both worked the late shift and loved Stephen King novels and Ozzy.  Together, they made fun of their over-perky manager who always looked like she was just coming off a morning yoga rave and the 2AM stoners who ordered more food than they could possibly eat.  They snuck off for “smoke breaks” and got high together. They had a thing.

Everything was in place, there were pine decorations and lights over the hearth.  The fireplace was lit and music playing softly in the background, and a kettle warming mulled apple cider.  Pauline was playing the perfect hostess.

Donna was eager to come and was dressed in her velvet finery for the occasion.

She had brought the perfect gift…

Pauline opened the box and screamed.  Staring back at her was a severed child’s head in a jar, neatly cut, eyes glazed over.  It reeked of formaldehyde.  Its blonde hair trailed in wispy swirls to the surface.

Donna stared at her in dazed dread.  Did she know?  It was still a perfectly good head, it wasn’t obviously pallid or rotting and great care had been taken to drain it of any excess blood so it wouldn’t leak out into the jar and muddy everything in its preservation process.

Was it that obvious?

Pauline clamped the lid down on the box in a frenzy and ran to the bathroom.   The retching heaving sound of her throwing up in the toilet echoed down the hall.

Donna worried.  She must know…  It hadn’t seemed too obvious.  The head was still fresh.  Donna had only received it from her cousin Ellie the night before at their family holiday social and had complimented Ellie on her exquisite taste and expert embalming skills.  A child’s head for Krampusnacht was always the most perfect gift, and she did have quite the collection.

But Donna didn’t need another preserved head.  Her mantle was already full so she had moved on to collecting pinky fingers.  They didn’t take up as much room and they were always so delicate and small.  But her cousin Ellie wouldn’t have known that and so, there she was, gifted with one more head and nowhere to put it.

Surely Pauline would appreciate it, they had so much in common.

They both worked the late shift and loved Stephen King novels and Ozzy.  Together, they made fun of their over-perky manager who always looked like she was just coming off a morning yoga rave and the 2AM stoners who ordered more food than they could possibly eat.  They snuck off for “smoke breaks” and got high together. They had a thing.

Pauline had finally stopped throwing up long enough to dash to the kitchen and snatch up the phone.  She was speed dialing, a low tone followed by two high ones.

It isn’t that bad. 

No need to call the cops just because of a re-gifting, how inappropriate and overly dramatic.  She should be taught a lesson in manners, thought Donna as she cut the phone line.  She knew the police would be on their way soon.  She turned to Pauline.

“Don’t you like it honey?” she asked.

Pauline was frozen to the spot clutching the phone in her long beautiful fingers.  She let out a long whimpering sigh, almost more like a hushed gasp or a stifled cry.  She couldn’t move or think or articulate a response so she just stared back at Donna who glowered at her expectantly.

“I said, don’t you like it honey?” Donna asked again studying Pauline intently like a cat fixated on a birdbath.  Donna noticed for the first time how lithe and supple Pauline’s hands were as they cradled the phone.  Her nails were exquisitely manicured and painted bright red for the holidays.  Her hands appeared soft as silk, delicate and beautiful, not hands that were used to grinding meat or working the fryer…

street photography: found Ken doll head

Donna re-arranged her newly begun collection of pinky fingers later that night.  She had to make room for the two new additions…  Cousin Ellie and her family’s Krampusnacht gift exchange had come through yet again.

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

Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist residing in Kansas USA. Weigel utilizes a wide range of media to convey her ideas, including assemblage, drawing, fibers, installation, jewelry, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video and writing. You can find more of her work at: https://www.jenniferweigelart.com/ https://www.jenniferweigelprojects.com/ https://jenniferweigelwords.wordpress.com/

Original Creations

The Elves Reunion, a short story by Jennifer Weigel

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An Elven portal in the woods, emerging from stone and forest floor.
An Elven portal in the woods, emerging from stone and forest floor.

I had heard tale that The Elves dwell in these woods.  Many underestimate The Elves; they have a fondness of heart for Tolkienesque Middle Earth fantasy stories and tales where Elves are the most highly civilized, virtuous and intelligent.  They forget that those are just myths, save for The Elves being cunning.  Remember that the Pied Piper was an Elf, and the children he took were not destined for such a glorious fate.

My sister lost her firstborn to The Elves.  She hadn’t noticed the Changeling until it was too late.  Her baby had already long since been stolen away.  She was so distraught she refused to eat or speak.  She locked herself in her room.  Or my family locked her into it as she succumbed to the madness.  Such are the ways of the family, for all of our protection.  We never question but follow as expected, as a means of self-preservation.  It has kept us all alive.

But I couldn’t get the sinking feeling out of my stomach; the grief became too overwhelming. That is why I came here.  I know I will not be able to rescue the child, nor my sister.  But I seek to avenge their meaningless deaths.  To ensure that it doesn’t happen again.  My family will never act.  I am tired of the Village Elders just shrugging these things off in hushed whispers and badly shrouded secrets.  It happens time and again.  We are all expendable.  They never do anything.

So here I am, in the Elven wood.  Alone.  As soon as my family figures out that I’m here, they will disown me.  They probably already have.  Again, it is for our own protection.  I’ll be just another casualty of The Elves.  Everything is so structured, so regimented.  Anyone who dares act in opposition to the rules vanishes.  We are all so afraid.

I lay in wait.  It’s just a matter of time before the portal appears.  The Elves use the portals to travel across time and space.  They appear where and when they wish.  But this time, I will go through first.  I know not what is on the other side, just that the portals allow only one to traverse in each direction.  We will trade places, if only for a moment until another portal forms.  Hopefully that will be enough time.

The trees shift and morph.  Falling leaves drift slower and slower towards the ground.  There is a stillness that I cannot fully express.  My breath hangs heavy in the silent air.  There is no sound, no smell, no taste.  It is time.  The hairs on the back of my neck and arms rise. I can sense the opening forming.  There is an uncanny familiarity in this moment, as if I have been here before.

As soon as the portal opens, I dash through.  But something isn’t right.  No one came through from the other side.  Or did they?  I cannot tell.  I am alone, in limbo between states of existence.  The world spins around me.  I can feel the drift.  Is this what death feels like?  Cold unbroken silence?  I feel distant eyes upon me everywhere, all around me, in the trees, the clouds, pinpoints of light that shimmer through.

I can feel The Elves eyes upon me everywhere.  In the leaves, in the trees themselves.
I can feel The Elves eyes upon me everywhere. In the leaves, in the trees themselves.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Maybe this is all according to plan.  But who was orchestrating the exchange?  My idea was only half formed in those passing pensive moments I am able to think for myself, few and far between.  My family, the Village Elders… no one allows time for freeform thought.  I hadn’t considered what would happen after the portal exchange.  I never really got past step one.

A voice greets me from the trees.  It is hauntingly familiar but seems only a distant memory.

“I’ve been expecting you.”

The world slowly comes into focus.  Clarity restored, the leaves circle me in an embrace.  My sister emerges, her dark eyes smiling.  She cradles the baby in her arms.

“You made it.  You escaped,” she sings.

“I didn’t see anyone,” I retort, skeptical.  I hadn’t recalled having seen any Elves, dark nightmarish fiends that they are, wild, unkempt, uncouth.  Savage beasts like Pan or Krampus.  Is this an illusion?  My sister seems so lifelike, so much herself.  She is the joyful young mother I had known her to be.  Filled with love and laughter.  Light dances about her, and she shimmers.

“Not in passing,” my sister clarifies.  “You have been living among them your whole life.  I had done so as well until the baby was stolen.  My heart broke; I had to follow after.  That was when I learned the Truth.”

“Why do you think we are so sheltered?  Why are we forbidden to do anything?  They do so to protect us from the Truth about who and what we are,” she continued.  “We’ve spent our lives evading that which we truly know ourselves to be.  We were the stolen ones, not the other way around…”

I notice that the portal I came through is still open, reinforcing my idea that no one had passed through the other way.  It is as if the portal was opened specifically to call me through. My sister extends her hand, beckoning me to join her.  There is a gleam in her eye I cannot pinpoint.  She seems happy, but something still isn’t quite right.  I’m still uncertain why I am here, in this time and place, as if destined to be present in this moment, in this decision.

The Village has fallen away to the woods.  There are no breadcrumb trails to follow home.  The idea of home itself seems distant like yet another illusion.  Nothing makes sense anymore.  I am unsure whether I am coming or going.  Two paths lay open before me.  Which shall I take?

The Elves portal remains but the path is unclear.
The Elves portal remains but the path is unclear.

The trees are full of Elven magicks… 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.

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.

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Original Creations

Eye Candy Jewelry by Jennifer Weigel

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I have been getting ready for a jewelry show in February and thought I’d share some of the fun eye candy necklaces I’ve been working on. Do they thwart or attract the Evil Eye? I think that depends largely on the wearer’s intentions… Each is hand-beaded and features a spooky printed eyeball pendant as its focus.

And the piece de resistance… A RAINBOW Evil Eye necklace with magnesite stone skulls! I love these happy little deadheads – they are just too spoopy… I have seen these beads ranging in size from very small to huge and I love all of them.

Eye Candy Necklace by Jennifer Weigel with rainbow Evil Eye and magnesite stone skulls
Eye Candy Necklace by Jennifer Weigel with rainbow Evil Eye and magnesite stone skulls

I love using eyes in art in weird and unusual contexts in my art. They have so much presence and symbolism. They also bring a sort of surreal atmosphere to any artwork, which bears just a hint of spookiness regardless of context.

Other artworks & graphics by myself that prominently feature eyes have appeared here on Haunted MTL in Insomnia, Indecision, Illuminati, Carriage Factory art installation, The Watchers, The Red Key, and Shaman Sticks.

You can check out some of my Hauntings jewelry on Haunted MTL here, and more jewelry is featured on my website here.

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.

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Original Creations

Wax Museum Living Dead Girls with Jennifer Weigel

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Revisiting my costume modeling work, like my previous witch and skeleton sitting, I participated in a Living Wax Museum as part of No Craft Left Behind at Monika House over Halloween this past year. The premise is that participating performers each choose a historical figure, living or dead, and portray them. Anyone attending the event then asks questions to deduce who the living wax figures are. It’s a lot of fun, and also educational.

Jennifer Weigel in black tragic Gothic dress with crescent moon pendant & crystals and dark, kohl outlined eyes holding sign, from wax museum performance
My identity for the Living Wax Museum

Here are some images of my outfit and props. Since I was a silent film actress, I decided to create intertitle signs to flash at audience members rather than talking, kind of like reading the snippets of conversation between scenes in actual silent films. See if you can guess who I am.

16 signs offering clues to my costumed identity for the wax museum, listed here below
Intertitles for my costumed identity as part of the Living Wax Museum

The intertitle signs from the Living Wax Museum read:

I was a silent film & stage actress.

I was 30 years old when I became famous.

I appeared in more than 40 films between 1917 & 1926.

I was known as the 1st “Vamp” for my femme fatale roles & am cited as the 1st sex symbol of the film era.

Magazines called me “The Arch-Torpedo of Domesticity”, “The Queen of Vampires”, “The Wickedest Woman in the World” & more.

My best known roles included Salome, The Vampire in A Fool There Was & Cleopatra.

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Jewish parents Bernard Goodman, a Polish tailor, and his wife, Pauline Louise Francoise of Switzerland.

I moved to New York City in 1908 & debuted in The Devil on Broadway.

I was falsely hyped as born in the Sahara in Egypt “under the shadow of the Sphinx & the Pyramids” & I dabbled in the occult.

I was known for my kohl-outlined eyes & revealing costumes before the 1930s Hays Code for decency.

I was rumored to have trained with Sarah Bernhardt, received over 1,000 marriage proposals & had a sandwich in my honor.

Most of the films in which I appear were destroyed in the 1937 Fox vault fire.

I married director Charles Brabin in 1921 & retired from acting in 1926.

I died in April 1955 and am buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Ca.

I was named for the daughter of US Vice-President Aaron Burr, Theodosia.

My film name is an anagram of “Arab death”.


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.

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.

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