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I grew up in a small but comfortable house in northeastern Maine.  The backyard overlooked the ocean from a short, rocky outcrop.  The front faced onto the gravel road that Father drove to and from work.  A poorly defined gravel driveway ended behind the house at a small ramshackle shed that I dared not enter under Father’s strict orders.

         Mother never strayed far from the house despite her apparent contempt for the simplicity of her everyday existence.  She cooked.  She cleaned.  She laundered the clothes and washed the dishes and did all of those things that a good housewife should.  But every afternoon, she plopped my brother Shane and I in front of the TV to watch cartoons while she gazed longingly at the sea.

A surreal seascape with a pine tree and coastline going off into darkness.

Shane and I shared a room.  Our window faced a small broken-paned hole in the ramshackle shed.  Late at night, long after the world was asleep, a faint glow emanated from that shed.  Always careful not to wake my brother, I pulled myself up to the window and peered out.

Every night, Father stole away into the shed and flicked on a small lamp.  He opened a door in the floor, from whence he pulled a large wooden box.  Out of this box he drew the most beautiful fur coat.  The brownish-gray fur glowed in the lamplight as if it were alive.  He gently massaged oils into the coat to keep it supple and carefully replaced it under the floorboards.  And when he had finished, he withdrew from this haven and locked his secret firmly behind a deadbolt.  Until one winter day…

A surreal seascape with a rocky coastline going off into darkness.

It was biting cold that day, the kind of cold that gnaws away at your bones from the inside out.  Shane and I ran home quicker than usual, hoping for two mugs of hot chocolate to thaw us out.  Preferably heaping with marshmallows.  But Mother was nowhere to be found.

“Mother,” I called to the cupboards in the empty kitchen.

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“Mother,” Shane called to the silent TV in the empty living room.

“Mother!” I screamed to the howling wind out the front door.

         Nothing.

         The wind beat the porch door into the front of the house with a rhythmic “Ker-chunk!”  A terrified Shane dashed about the house crying.  He frantically searched for any scrap of evidence while I braved the outdoors.

A dark surreal seascape with waves out to sea.

I rounded the house, past the frozen flowerbed and along the wind-tattered backyard fence.  Another loud “Ker-chunk!” resounded through the air, but not from the front porch door.  A chill wormed its way up my spine as I spied the driveway.

         “Ker-chunk!”  The door to the ramshackle shed lay in ruins, leaving a splintered gaping hole.  In that hole, Mother swayed back and forth.  Her clenched fist tightened around a hammer as she swung into the floorboards with a wild, untamed lunacy.  I melded into the fence, unable to move and scarcely able to breathe.  I stared at her.

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         A final “Ker-chunk!” and the floorboards loosed their secret.  Mother madly grabbed the wooden box out from under the floor of the shed.  She pried it open, her black eyes brimming over with tears.  She pulled out the fur coat and barked a shrill cry to the wind.

Another dark surreal seascape with waves out to sea.

Mother ran from the tattered shed clutching the fur to her chest and darted around the back of the house.  Her gaze slipped right through me as she tore past, unaware of my presence.  Meanwhile, the gravel road growled and spat under Father’s tires as he crested the hill towards the house.

         Father sped into the driveway upon seeing the shed.  His truck jolted to a harsh stop.  He erupted from his poorly parked truck and raced around the back of the house just as Mother hurled herself over the rocky outcrop and into the sea.  My heart sank into my stomach and my legs became jelly, free from their rigid, frozen stance.  “No!” I screamed as I dashed to his side.  He clenched my hand tightly, fighting back tears, while I buried my face in the warm cuff of his coat.

A surreal seascape with two figures looking out from behind a fence atop a rocky outcrop.

         “Such a pity.  Such an exotic beauty,” the townsfolk murmured.  But Father and I knew.  She had been our selkie.  She had merely returned home.

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

Zombie Christ – Second Coming Art by Jennifer Weigel

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So I probably should have taken a before picture, but I found a faux wood stained plaster Jesus statue and turned it into Zombie Christ. Because it’s the second second coming. Or something. It’s kind of an offshoot of my nail polish paintings reappropriating thrift store art

Anyway without further ado, I present…

Zombie Christ remake statue by Jennifer Weigel
Zombie Christ remake statue by Jennifer Weigel

I was a little concerned that I made him too green at first, but I’m happy with the finished result. This statue just looked so anguished. It’s eyes had been closed but I like them better open and even painted them with blacklight reactive nail polish so they will stand out even more and be interactive in other ways to add creepy factor.

Another view of sculpture
Another view of sculpture
From the top...
And taking it from the top…

Sadly I don’t have a blacklight anymore or I’d share a picture that way too. Oh well. I’ll leave you with a fun detail shot instead.

Zombie Christ detail with eyes
Zombie Christ detail with eyes

Next time I may make him more gray than green though. We shall see…

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 Creations

Jennifer Weigel Art Collection Highlights Part 3

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So it’s been awhile since we’ve looked at some of the things I have gathered, so I thought I’d bring back my art collection for another round… Here are the first and second highlights in case you missed earlier explorations.

Art Collection highlights

From left to right: M Pena Windstone Editions bat-winged flap cat, bone mask by Terry and Susan Wright, wood cat in skull by labcreature, real hair art by myself, pencil drawing of Barbarois Elder for Vampire Hunter D anime cel

Art Collection highlights

From left to right: Barbarois Elder for Vampire Hunter D anime cel, Turn Me Royal portrait of my father and stepmother as Frankenstein’s monster and his bride, painted horse skull

Art Collection highlights

Left to right: Overgrowth by Ellie Bradley, heart by TenderFlesh, praying devil girl by Torman’s Treasures

Vintage plastic Jack O LAntern

And a vintage plastic 2-foot Jack O Lantern I got at a yard sale and have kept on display on his very own stool in the living room since. So happy.

Anyway, there are some more highlights from my art collection, as it is always growing and evolving. I have lucked into several of these pieces at antique and thrift stores or acquired them from the artists or more. And yes, I still have Da Ting the taxidermy shih-tzu from the first of these posts.

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 Series

Nightmarish Nature: Assassin Fashion

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I thought about featuring some sort of Father Nature bit for Father’s Day, but having already explored Perilous Parenting I decided to focus on more creepy insects instead. Because we love creepy insects here at Haunted MTL. Thus, I present Assassin Fashion, featuring the Assassin Bug…

Assassin Bug drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Assassin Bug

Fashion Plates

Now I don’t know about you, but my first thought after snagging my prey and slurping out their dissolved innards is that I totally want to wear the dried up husk of their now lifeless body. Like that necklace made of nothing but shrunken heads. That is some first-rate fashion right there, and no one would dare to say otherwise lest they want to become a part of the dead-flesh coat… And this is exactly what the Assassin Bug does. Like a spider, it stabs its unsuspecting prey, turns it into a giant protein shake inside of its insectoid shell-glass, sips it out, and then attaches the corpse’s carapace to its ever growing collection atop its back.

Aside from being totally badass, these nightmarish embellishments serve a number of additional functions. They help the Assassin Bug blend in among its prey, masking its own odor and helping it to appear as a mass of insects that belong in or near the nest (especially among those more social networking creepy crawlies like ants and termites). In fact, it may even draw the attention of those clean up crews seeking to bury their dead, luring them in to become part of the body snatched horde. And the horrifying additions also act as a sort of armor and potential decoy for other predators like lizards and birds, who can end up with a mouth full of dead bug bodies rather than a bite of juicy Assassin Bug.

Wearing the Latest Trend in Dead Ant Bodies, drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Wearing the Latest Trend in Dead Ant Bodies

Kissing Sucks

And Assassin Bugs don’t just carry around one or two dead bodies, they may totally pile them up, as well as use other insects’ and plants’ secretions to their own advantage. Here’s a cool video from Deep Look that shows a partnership some Assassin Bugs have with Tarweed, keeping moth caterpillars from eating all of its flowers so that it can itself reproduce and spread.

Fortunately humans are too big to be susceptible… Or are we? There are also parasitic Assassin Bugs known as Kissing Bugs or Vampire Bugs that feed on mammal’s blood at night; they even act as a vector for other parasites that can cause disease years after feeding, which are associated with Chagas disease and are transmitted to mammalian hosts when the Assassin Bug poops while feeding and the host animal smears the poop into the bite when itching it.

pencil drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Pencil Drawing by Jennifer Weigel

So here’s a pencil drawing I did of a dead bug I found (I had a whole series of these back in the day). I hadn’t at the time known what it was, but it turns out to be an Assassin Bug. I wonder what its fashion sense was like…

So remember, if you want to be at the forefront of creepy horrific fashion, just look to the Assassin Bug for inspiration. If you’ve enjoyed this segment of Nightmarish Nature, feel free to check out some previous here:

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Vampires Among Us

Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps

Cannibalism

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Terrifying Tardigrades

Reindeer Give Pause

Komodo Dragons

Zombie Snails

Horrifying Humans

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Giants Among Spiders

Flesh in Flowers

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