ALCATRAZ

ALCATRAZ – The haunted ruins of Alcatraz Prison sit on a small island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. During the 30s and 40s it was a tough prison depicted in the films Dark Passage and The Last Gangster. The locale’s popularity endures today with recent films such as The Rock and X Men: The Last Stand. There are many ghost stories both past and present. Unexplained eerie clanging sounds have been heard from vacant cells and hallways along with intense raw and cold sensations that emanate from some areas. In the 40s one prisoner screamed all night about a creature with glowing eyes that was killing him. The next day guards found the man strangled to death in the cell. At head count guards recorded one too many prisoners and claimed to see the dead convict in line with the other inmates for a second before he vanished.


THE WALKING DEAD

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WALKING DEAD – A graphic novel, The Walking Dead (Days Gone Bye) by Robert Kirkman is told from the protagonist’s POV. He’s a lawman that comes out of coma to find a world that’s nothing like the one he knew, before his big sleep. It’s more about survival in a post-apocalyptic society than a volume on epidemics and zombies. But, it’s the focus on human survival and the interpersonal dynamics that makes Walking Dead work as a story (where so many mindless formulaic zombie tirades fail). Another testament to the quality of the book is this: I’m not generally a comic book guy. So, the graphic novel works on many levels, with visuals and pacing to make it different than a straight novel or the television version.

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THE TELL-TALE HEART

The Tell-Tale Heart and Other WritingsThe Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TELL-TALE HEART – We’ve probably all read one of Poe’s masterpieces. If you haven’t, then the Halloween season is a perfect time to do so. The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe is chockfull of mystery, horror, prose and poetry. The Tell-Tale Heart (Poe’s best work) describes the obsessive thoughts of a maniacal paranoid violent criminal in the florid effusive language of the day. In The Black Cat, the narrator imagines a slight by his favorite pet cat and is overcome with perverseness, rage and violence; when he’s under the influence of alcohol. All of Poe’s works are in the public domain; available across the internet, he is the father of American fiction.

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WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE

WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE – Sarah Winchester left behind a seven story mansion known as the Winchester Mystery House.  It’s now in the middle of San Jose, what was once Santa Clara valley orchard farmland.  In 1884 she began with a nearly unlimited renovation budget paid for by the several millions left behind by her late husband.  William Winchester was the heir to the estate of the famous Winchester repeating rifle.  Based on the consultation of a spiritualist, Sarah lived in the midst of nearly forty years of construction.  In her community she endured public scrutiny, engaged in bizarre behavior and believed in occult reasons for her bad luck.  She was convinced her torment was caused by the influence of spirits of the dead; due to their deaths caused by Winchester’s rifles.  The pictures and description don’t do the house justice, the scale is overwhelming and the house is something to see firsthand.  It’s the ultimate Halloween haunted house!