The Art of Darkness

The Four Link Dumps of the Apocalypse

June 29th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Kteis – Etsy shop full of amazing, ethereal hand-painted silk scarves and clothing. (Hat tip to Pensive Pumpkin)

Thomas Kuntz – Artist who creates spectacular and creepy automata.

The 7 Most Terrifying Archaeological Discoveries – An interesting roundup, although I don’t think any of these would even slow this blog’s readers down.

The Necronomicon-Thin Crust Edition – Pizza. Eeeeevil pizza. Includes instructions.

Offbeat Historical Photos – Yes, yes they are.

JAYFK – The Journal of Are You Fucking Kidding explores a variety of “dodgy” science claims in an almost lyrically-profane fashion.

Skull Cutout Tights – These likely wouldn’t hold up for an extended period, but as a one-off they’re attractive.

Gifts for the Macabre – Amazon Listmania! list. Some good ideas for the hard-to-buy-for goth on your list. (Hat tip to Kitten Herder)

27 Essential Texts About Paganism For Your Bookshelf – There are surely items that should have been added and/or omitted, but this might be a good place to get started.

Witches Dinner Party – Some attractive place-setting ideas. I love the stripey plates.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

A Bonus Case of the Fantods

June 28th, 2012 by Cobwebs

You know what you don’t have? Enough things to give you the creeps. Here’s a brand-new one for you.

When I was writing the Unspooky Saturday edition of the Mujina story (a Mujina, if you don’t feel like clicking the link, is a magical badger that particularly likes to prank people by appearing as a faceless human), I happened upon this tidbit from the Wikipedia article about the Mujina:

On May 19, 1959, Honolulu Advertiser reporter Bob Krauss reported a sighting of a mujina at the Waialae Drive-In Theatre in Kahala. Krauss reported that the witness watched a woman combing her hair in the women’s restroom, and when the witness came close enough, the mujina turned, revealing her featureless face. The witness was reported to have been admitted to the hospital for a nervous breakdown.

Ever since running across that anecdote, if I enter a public restroom and find another woman at the sink I wonder briefly if she might whip around and be all faceless.

Good luck getting that out of your head.

If you have similar silly and unreasonable fears, share ’em in the comments!

Posted in Whatever | 4 Comments »

Time Bandits Map Reproduction

June 27th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Time Bandits Map

Just look at this gorgeous thing.

Working from a series of scans, graphic designer Jon Heilman has created a replica of the “time portal” map from the movie.

The newest DVD of Time Bandits contains a small foldout of an actual screen-used map. It’s very beat up, has lots of weathering and seems to have been poorly assembled from multiple scans (probably made by simply placing the map on a flatbed scanner) so that some details are lost or misaligned. Also, the clock panels are completely cut off. However, this scan combined with a couple images from books I have plus every screen capture I could make served as enough reference material to create a very accurate replica.

The maps are printed on canvas and measure 40″ x 24.25″. The artist is selling them for $100 on Etsy, where he also peddles some other interesting “fake” documents.

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Simon Pegg’s Latest…Thing

June 26th, 2012 by Cobwebs

A Fantastic Fear of Everything

I think my favorite bit is the hedgehog.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

The SCP Foundation

June 25th, 2012 by Cobwebs

SCP ImageThe SCP Foundation is one of those wonderful pockets of deep weirdness that the Internet seems to constantly spawn. It is presented on its face with absolute sincerity, and it’s only by digging well down into its depths that you discover its true nature (and also that you can play along).

Its motto is “To Secure, Contain, and Protect” (hence the name), and you know that bit at the end of Indiana Jones where shadowy government agents are shown storing the Ark of the Covenant in some very large and clearly-arcane warehouse? If those guys had a Website, this would be it. The heart of the site is the “SCP Series” links (nav bar at the top of the page), which list, in highly official language, the various things that the Foundation guards.

The series entries are marvelously evocative, hinting at strange and eldritch realms that threaten public safety–and sometimes the world itself–which are kept contained by the SCP. They’ve got what appears to be a Classical Greek vase, with instructions to store it at freezing temperatures…in a room which doubles as an incinerator. Sometimes it spontaneously generates bizarre, hostile little humanoid monsters which fortunately are highly flammable.

They keep tabs on an abandoned school building where unconscious students and faculty who disappeared years previously are sometimes found (sadly, when awakened they die of extreme dehydration, followed by rapid decomposition); and also on a morgue where the dead keep returning to life.

They’ve got a helmet which seems to cause the wearer to become possessed by a Roman infantryman (they hold regular interviews with him) and they’ve got Kali in a cage (and are trying to prevent her followers from murdering enough people to set her free).

Then again, they also have the Tickle Monster.

You’re allowed to play along. Their Guides section (also at the top nav) contains information on how to write and submit a “contained” item of your very own. Their Classes and Library sections discuss object classifications, and also list items that they’re not interested in hearing about any more (stop submitting the Holy Grail and talking dogs).

The site is a marvelous source of inspiration, and a wonderful way to immerse oneself in the spookily plausible.

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

Around the World in 80 Link Dumps

June 22nd, 2012 by Cobwebs

Eat Your Heart Out – “Deliciously bad-taste cakes.” NSFW. Some graphic but oddly edible images.

PlayFic – BoingBoing mentioned an interesting programming toolset for easily writing your own text adventure games. Some of the comments with other suggestions are also enlightening. If you’ve always wanted to write another sequel to Zork, here’s your chance.

Virginia Cheeseman – UK entomological supplier. Ships to most of Europe, although sadly not worldwide. (It also took me a few minutes to realize that “Virginia Cheeseman” is her name, not a description of her location and occupation.)

MyPhotoStitch – Automatically converts an uploaded photo, sketch, or other image into a cross-stitch pattern.

Vampire Cookies – As xJane puts it, “a use for those gods-awful lip cookie cutters.” (Thanks, xJane!)

Hair Hats – Artist Nagi Noda’s sculptural hair…things. They’re certainly arresting.

Volpin Props – Freelance propmaker who creates some astonishing stuff.

Superhero Wedding Inspiration – Lots of interesting ideas that could be re-themed to darker comic-book heroes.

Lovecraft and Tesla – Illustration of a fictional version of SyFy’s Paranormal Investigators, starring H.P. Lovecraft and Nikola Tesla. I would watch the hell out of this. (Hat tip to pdq)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Art – A collection of illustrations from the book that scarred a generation of kids.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing…No, Really

June 21st, 2012 by Cobwebs

Darth GargoyleOne of the grotesques on DC’s Washington National Cathedral is Darth Vader. I’ll give you a moment to boggle before I continue.

In the 1980s the Cathedral sponsored a competition for children to design decorative sculpture for the new West Tower facade. One of the winners was 13-year-old Christopher Rader, who submitted a drawing of “this futuristic representation of evil.” I suppose we can all be deeply grateful that Beavis and Butthead weren’t around in the 80s.

Darth can be found on the northwest tower:

First, bring binoculars! Darth Vader is very difficult to see by the naked eye. Leave the building through the ramp entrance which is through the wooden doors near the standing statue of Abraham Lincoln. Go down the ramp, and step onto the grass on your right. Then, turn around and look back up at the tower closest to you. Start at the top of the tower. There are two large pinnacles, or points, on the corners of the tower and a much smaller one in the center. Follow the center pinnacle down and find the first gablet, or tiny peaked roof. Darth Vader is the grotesque on the right on the north, or right-hand, side.

The cathedral offers tours of their grotesques, and photos of many of the gargoyles can be seen here.

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

DIY “The Bride” Dress

June 20th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Here’s an easy weekend project: Turn a mundane outfit into something The Bride of Frankenstein might wear to go dancing. (It’d work with a man’s shirt or trousers too.)

This was inspired by an upcycled slip made by SmarmyClothes (I disagree with the “zombie” label; stitches are much more Frankensteinian). It appears that her garment was actually cut and stitched back together; my method uses a faux seam that’s a little more forgiving of mistakes: You can rip out stitches and re-do them until you get the look you’re after.

If you’d like to try your hand at something similar, I’ve posted a tutorial here.

Posted in Paint It Black | No Comments »

Start Saving Your Pennies

June 19th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Lego Haunted House…because this will be available in September.

Although there are lots of Lego “haunted houses” custom-built by hobbyists, this is the first “official” version. I have to say, it sounds rather splendid.

  • Includes 6 minifigures: 2 glow-in-the-dark ghosts, Vampyre, Vampyre’s Bride, Zombie chef and butler
  • Features unique ‘crooked’ design featuring boarded up windows and working front gate.
  • Haunted House opens to reveal detailed interior with 3 floors.
  • First floor features fireplace that swings open and displays a ship in a bottle on the mantle.
  • Cook up a ghoulish meal with the Zombie chef in the kitchen complete with old-style stove, jars and table.
  • Write letters from the Vampyre’s haunted office.
  • Pull the lever hidden in the chimney to release the drop down staircase and access the top floor.
  • Top floor features gramophone, records and newspaper LEGO® elements.
  • Customize the Haunted House with new stickers for wall hangings, spider webs and curtains.

Kotaku has a closeup look at the included minifigures, and here’s the official walkthrough video:

The kit includes over 2,000 pieces and suggested retail is US $179.99. Sounds like a holiday wishlist item to me.

(Hat tip to SpookyBeth)

Posted in Needful Things | 4 Comments »

Mark Reads “Shadow War of the Night Dragons”

June 18th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Book CoverOkay, this backstory is going to take some time to explain, so buckle up.

John Scalzi is a noted science fiction author (let me recommend his Old Man’s War, which is a conscious and spot-on homage to Robert A. Heinlein, and The Android’s Dream, which is hilarious) who also runs a popular and well-worth-reading blog.

Last year on April 1 he unveiled his “secret fantasy project,” a trilogy of novels called The Shadow War of the Night Dragons. His publisher posted an excerpt of the purported first novel, this being the first sentence:

Night had come to the city of Skalandarharia, the sort of night with such a quality of black to it that it was as if black coal had been wrapped in blackest velvet, bathed in the purple-black ink of the demon squid Drindel and flung down a black well that descended toward the deepest, blackest crevasses of Drindelthengen, the netherworld ruled by Drindel, in which the sinful were punished, the black of which was so legendarily black that when the dreaded Drindelthengenflagen, the ravenous blind black badger trolls of Drindelthengen, would feast upon the uselessly dilated eyes of damned, the abandoned would cry out in joy as the Drindelthengenflagenmorden, the feared Black Spoons of the Drindelthengenflagen, pressed against their optic nerves, giving them one last sensation of light before the most absolute blackness fell upon them, made yet even blacker by the injury sustained from a falling lump of ink-bathed, velvet-wrapped coal.

And, of course, after letting his readers stew in their own outraged juices for a few days, he announced that the whole thing was, of course, an April Fool’s joke.

But here’s the thing: That stupid story has taken on a life of its own. It was nominated for, and won, Tor’s 2011 Reader’s Choice Award. This year, on April 1, Tor announced that they were launching a manga version of the series (which Scalzi then threatened to actually write). And then the “excerpt” was nominated for a Hugo Award and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win.

And now, the newest twist in the tale.

Mark Oshiro started his Mark Reads project by reading–and commenting copiously and hilariously upon–Twilight. Then he moved on to Harry Potter and a number of other works. His shtick was that he read all of these things “cold,” with no prior knowledge of the books, so all of his commentary was wonderfully unencumbered by spoilers. His latest project is Mark Does Stuff, where for a mere $25 he will make a video of himself reading anything you want.

One of Scalzi’s fans sponsored a reading of that same silly Shadow War of the Night Dragons excerpt, and it pretty much broke Mark’s brain.

It’s just so…beautiful.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

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