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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.

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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.

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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…

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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

Goblins, a Short Story by Jennifer Weigel

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Revisiting the creepy faux fingernail art, I made a couple of goblins… They then ransacked my house. This is their story, as told by myself, Jennifer Weigel.

More faux fingernail art from Jennifer Weigel, featuring wide smiling mouth with red sparkly lipstick and faux fingernail teeth on textured green goblins background
More faux fingernail art from Jennifer Weigel

So it finally happened. My art came to life. And of course it couldn’t be one of the cute pretty pictures, like the sparkly unicorns or the cat drawings. No it had to be the faux fingernail goblins… Ugh. I first encountered them in the bathroom.

I see England.
I see France.
I see someone’s underpants!

Of course you do, it’s the bathroom. That’s totally the room for that. Remind me again why I decided to paint these little green monsters. Ugh. From there, they moved on to the kitchen.

We so tricksy.
We so sly.
We eats all the cherry pie!

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Did they have to eat ALL the cherry pie? Like seriously. But what can I expect, they’re goblins and they’re in the house. Ugh. And honestly they’re just plain gross.

I pick my friend.
I pick nose.
Just whose nose, do you suppose?

Get away from me you obnoxious, vile creatures! I can pick my own nose on my own time, thank you. Ugh. Oh, great, now they’re tearing up the living room.

We be goblins.
We be green.
We be making quite a scene!

No, not the sofa! Now there are little bits of fabric and stuffing flying everywhere. I can see you’re all too pleased with yourselves. Nasty critters. Ugh. Why can’t you just leave?

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I do mischief.
I do bad.
This best party ever had!

I did NOT agree to host your little shindig. Stop tearing up my house! All I know is, it’s about time you moved on to wreak havoc elsewhere. Ugh. Just get out – NOW!

We scare the cat.
We scare you.
We scare all, we care not who!

I may have brought these dreadful disgusting demons into being seeing as how I painted them, but I have no idea what brought them to life or why. What kind of cosmic miscalculation caused this? I need to know so I can avoid it in the future. Ugh. Goblins… need I say more?

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

Faux Fingernails Art by Jennifer Weigel

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So I had some faux fingernails leftover from a costume based modeling session, from posing as Cruella De Vil for the figure drawing group… Here’s a teaser from that modeling session, before the horrible creepy art generation in the aftermath. If you zoom in tight enough, you can see my tiger fingernails, which kept trying to fall off constantly, reminding me why I hate trying to wear the things and why they (d)evolved into art.

Cruella De Vil modeling for figure drawing
Cruella De Vil modeling for figure drawing

My version of Cruella De Vil channels Glenn Close or the original animated character more than the recent Emma Stone variant, but they’re all delightfully devilish.

Anyway, I made this series of “Tiger Sharks” prominently featuring the same tiger faux fingernails, including those used in the Cruella De Vil costume. These “Tiger Sharks” also incorporated some pirate fingernails, because sharks and pirates are tight.

Pirate skeleton hand with faux fingernails
Pirate skeleton hand with faux fingernails

I couldn’t think of a better use for the pirate fingernails than adding them to this skeletal hand. I never actually wore these, they were too hard to come up with something to go with. But I do love the Beetlejuice vibe with the stripes…

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.

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.

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Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Something Rotten, Flesh in Flowers

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This time on Nightmarish Nature we will again explore some of the more fetid fungi and plants, this time focusing on those that imitate rotten flesh in order to attract flies. Among the best known of these are the Stinkhorn and the Corpse Lily or Corpse Flower. The Language of Flowers be damned, literally…

Fungi

Many of the fungi in the Stinkhorn family erupt in mushrooms that reek of rotten flesh and sprout from a white sort of egg sac in various forms, the common type being a phallus like structure with a white body and olive head. The Beefsteak fungus resembles, well, a cut of beef oozing blood. And some mushroom bodies of the Clathrus genus bloom in elaborate lattice structures or devil’s tooth and devil’s fingers that resemble terrifying alien beings. These odoriferous fetid fungi grow in decaying wood material and use their stinky attributes to attract flies and other insects which will then spread the spores from their fruiting bodies. They truly look like something out of an outer space or aquatic nightmare.

Some various fungi that can reek of rotten flesh, drawing by Jennifer Weigel.
Some various fungi that can reek of rotten flesh.

Plants

Some plants also utilize pungent putrid odors to attract flies and other insects, in part to aid in the pollination and dissemination but also to attract insect matter for their own needs, to absorb the insects for valuable nutrients that they cannot otherwise obtain. The largest flowers in the world bear many of these characteristics, also being among the stinkiest. And some pitcher plants mimic rotten flesh to attract flies upon which they “feed”.

The Titan Arum of Sumatra and Indonesia is a plant that over time produces a huge flower somewhat resembling a calla lily but larger as the plant body stores enough energy to do so. While Calla Lilies are often used to symbolize rebirth and resurrection and can be associated with death, often in a funerary setting, the huge Titan Arum does more than that, strongly mimicking decaying flesh in order to attract flies. These flowers can grow to almost 8-feet tall and bloom for only about three days before wilting; they are a huge draw at botanic gardens when flowering because of the rare nature of the event and the remarkable presence that the flower has, in both size and smell. The US. Botanic Gardens has a page devoted to this plant here, where you can even track previous blooms.

Titan Arum flower as drawn by Jennifer Weigel.
Titan Arum flower as drawn by Jennifer Weigel.

Another noteworthy flowering plant is Rafflesia, a parasitic flower native to Indonesia and Malaysia that feeds on the liana vine and grows from a sprouting body bud into a huge flower over the course of five years. Its flowers, once finally formed, can grow to almost a meter across and resembles something out of a horror film. These too smell of death and decay to attract flies in order to cross-pollinate. You can learn more about these unusual plants on this video from Real Science here.

Rafflesia flower as drawn by Jennifer Weigel.
Rafflesia flower as drawn by Jennifer Weigel.

If you’ve enjoyed this segment of Nightmarish Nature, feel free to check out some previous here:

Vampires Among Us

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Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps

Cannibalism

Terrifying Tardigrades

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Reindeer Give Pause

Komodo Dragons

Zombie Snails

Horrifying Humans

Giants Among Spiders

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