It is that time of the year again, the magnificent time when writers and lovers of horror get together around the bonfire to rejoice in the telling of a good scary tale. To add one more layer to the festiveness, we at the Coffin Hop love to give stuff away. There are 100+ blogs conducting their own giveaways, so the more you hop, the better chances you have to win big time! There will be free embellished cellphone cases, t-shirts, books, ebooks, art, and many, many more things. Besides, you'll get to meet new like-minded fun people!
Now for my part, I decided to go back to basic Halloween monsters and urban legends. I'll be covering old school staples of the season like the Headless Horseman, Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and maybe even Witches, along with the most retold scary stories. I'll be posting on the 24th, 26th, 29th, and, of course, the 31st. For my giveaway, I'll be asking you to bring to the light the best unknown monsters and urban legends. You can choose a real little known gem, or go full out with your crazy imagination. Two of my fellow Coffin Hoppers will select the best three comments and on Friday November 2nd I'll announce the happy winners.
- 1st place: A PDF copy of "Perpetual Night" by yours truly, a digital copy in the format of your preference of the "Coffin Hop Anthology Sampler", and a paperback copy of "House of Reckoning" by John Saul.
- 2nd place: A PDF copy of "Perpetual Night" and a paperback copy of "The Halloween Tree" by Ray Bradbury.
- 3rd place: A PDF copy of "Perpetual Night" and a super cool set of Tim Burton playing cards.
'K, so drum roll please! Here we go!!
The Headless Horseman has captivated our imagination from the moment Washington Irving hit the "publish" button in 1819. But did you know he most probably based his legend on actual Northern European folklore? The iconic apparition can be found in at least German, Irish, and Scottish tales, though its oldest form may very well be in the Celtic legend of Dullahan. This headless fairy rides a black horse with his head under one arm and wielding a whip made from human corpse's spines.
Scary enough for ya? It gets better...
It is said that the Dullahan only stops riding when it is time for someone to die. The moment he stops, he calls out a name and that person perishes instantly. In a different version, he is the headless driver of a black carriage that can be scared away by casting a golden object on his path. This black carriage is said to be collecting souls as it rides along the Wild Hunt, a spectral group of huntsmen whose sight foretells great catastrophe upon the seer.
In movies (Wild Hunt, Headless Horseman): The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980), The Wild Hunt (2009), Sleepy Hollow (1999).
In books (Wild Hunt references): John Masefield's "The Hounds of Hell", "Perpetual Night" by yours truly.
Ever since 1996 the Historic Hudson Valley organization holds a Legend Celebration on Philipsburg Manor in the real town of Sleepy Hollow, NY, where Irving lived and his story took place. It features a rider portraying the Headless Horseman and is attended by thousands every year. I've been there and it's so much fun, you're missing out...
HUMANS CAN LICK TOO
A 16 year-old girl is home alone after her parents have decided to celebrate their anniversary and trust her to the sole companionship of her loving golden retriever dog. This is a small town where crime is rare and they would be back in a few hours, so each went their merry way. The girl kissed goodbye to her parents and watched TV until 11pm, when she decided to go to sleep. Her beautiful dog followed her upstairs and, like every night, he got under her bed and licked her hand goodnight.
A few hours later the sound of something dripping woke her up. It was late and the girl wondered why she hadn't heard her parents get home. With a certain uneasiness, she reached out to her dog under the bed and feeling the reassuring lick, she fell fast asleep.
Once more, a persisting dripping sound awoke her. Much too afraid to get out of bed, she looked for the comforting gesture of her pet licking her hand. Seconds later, she hid her head under the covers and fell asleep.
Morning came and the silence in the house felt eerie. Not a sound from her parents that she could hear but the annoying dripping sound echoing through her room. This time, encouraged by the rising sun, she went on to track the source of the noise, though strangely, her loyal dog was nowhere to be found... She walked into her bathroom, where the horrific sight of her dog's mutilated corpse hanging from the curtain rod greeted her. The dripping sound came from blood droplets hitting the growing pool on the tile floor. Screaming in terror, she ran to the phone in the living room. There, laying on the soiled carpet, her parent's mangled bodies looked at her with empty eyes. Next to the phone was a bloody note that read: "Humans can lick, too."