The Art of Darkness

Madame Talbot’s Victorian Lowbrow

October 17th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Madame TalbotIntrepid reader Terri dropped me a line to ask if I’d heard of Madame Talbot’s Victorian Lowbrow; the name sounded vaguely familiar, so I dug around and discovered that I mentioned them briefly clear back in–yikes–2007, when they were just an eBay storefront. Now they’re all growed up, and they have all kinds of awesome stuff.

They’ve got posters with that weird overly-detailed vibe often seen in vintage illustrations, one-of-a-kind curio exhibits such as a collection of antique poison labels, vintage memento mori that range from coffins to pauper’s burial suits, and that’s just in the first row of links. Clicking around the site is like wandering through your elderly aunt’s attic…the one with the mysterious past and troubling interest in dead things. It’s really quite awesome.

They also buy weird stuff, so if you have “odd and strange curio items and artifacts such as circus sideshow, carnival, Houdini, dime museum, macabre curiosities, Egyptian mummies, Egyptian artifacts, antique real human shrunken heads, old trophy skulls and other human relics, Medieval to 19th century torture devices, chastity belts, and folk art, strange carvings,” or any of the other things mentioned in the site’s rather long list, they might take it off your hands. I particularly love their, “Free identification of Material. Discretion is assured.” note, as well as the information that if you’re selling an entire collection you should call and ask for “Lucky.” It’s all so…clandestine.

The holidays are coming, so if you’ve got a special morbid someone on your list (or just want to augment your own wish list), check this place out.

(Thanks, Terri!)

Posted in Needful Things | No Comments »

There’s a Short Story in Here Somewhere

October 16th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Shoe ConsultantBoingBoing recently posted a vintage photo captioned, “E. Horton Kinsman, Shoe Consultant” and invited readers to comment about their fictional “experiences” with Mr. Kinsman in the comments. The whole thread is a fun read, but this one, by Halloween_Jack, is worth noting in particular:

You think that he’s just a bespectacled nerd with a made-up profession, but that’s only on the surface. E. Horton Kinsman knows things that would drive you people mad if you even caught a glimpse. E. Horton Kinsman has gazed into the abyss and calmly said, “You’re definitely a 10 1/2 narrow.”

You think that you know about the cruel shoes, but only E. Horton and his peers (of which there are damn few, mister, and fewer each year) know that all shoes are cruel. Your feet yearn to be free, to run across an endless prairie and grip the smaller branches of a tree, but you imprison them in mean little hard-bottomed foot corsets; you torture them in Procrustean devices, deliver the inquisition in the form of your Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos. E. Horton will sell you those infernal agonizers with a smirk, but only if you put your feet in his hands and trust completely will he put your feet in a confinement which will truly set you free.

And he knows about foot fetishes, does our serene E. Horton. He’s seen countless sultry dames saunter in with their stockings with the seams up the back, seen how they lift up one leg as he kneels before them and dare him to look with their eyes, not knowing that he’s seen it all and done it twice, three times on Sunday, always with his socks on. Same with the dudes who come in and complain that their cowboy boots aren’t breaking in properly, their upper lips trembling under their Marlboro Man mustaches. He’s broken in more cowboys and cowgirls than he can count, plus bikers in their black leather and cops in their SWAT boots and librarians in their sensible shoes. Dominatrices come in in their thigh-highs expecting to take charge, and come out subdued and thoughtful. Priests and nuns and ministers of every faith end up giving confessions instead of taking them. Dorothy took off her ruby slippers for him, once.

Ingrown toenails and bunions and plantar warts and fungus of every type and severity, including some possibly not of this world. People with two toes on each foot and people with seven toes and once–just once–a pair of cloven hooves. He shod the Elephant Man out of his in-store stock. He gave Nancy Sinatra the Boots That Were Made For Walkin’. He set up Carl Perkins with blue suede shoes, and Elvis Costello with red.

The E. stands for Eldritch. You think you know what that means, but you don’t.

If they made a movie out of this guy’s life, I would watch the hell out of it.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 5 Comments »

It Gets Better, Morbid Kids

October 15th, 2012 by Cobwebs

I’ve mentioned previously that the teenage years can be something of a crucible for goth kids, but that things do eventually get better. The splendid Order of the Good Death has a similar message, with particular attention to following one’s career dreams. Good stuff.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

Secret Pumpkin Reminder

October 13th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Just a quick reminder that signups for this year’s Secret Pumpkin gift exchange close on the 15th. Details are here.

I personally run the exchange and can guarantee that your address will never be used for nefarious purposes. It’s loads of fun, so if you’d like a taste of Halloween in April, sign up before it’s too late!

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The Link Dump of Amontillado

October 12th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Ouija Crafts – Modest roundup of ouija-inspired projects.

37 Easy No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas – I think I’d take exception to the “easy” part, since a few of these are more complicated than just carving the thing, but there are some neat ideas.

Keepin’ Halloween Alive – Nicely Halloweenish Alice Cooper track, plus an optional “Cooperoke” version for singing along. (via Halloween Addict)

What’s This? – EPBOT did some amazing repaints of Nightmare Before Christmas bath toys and turned them into lovely decorations.

The Macabre And the Beautifully Grotesque – Facebook page devoted to just what it says it is.

You Are Never Truly Alone – Just try not to think about this possibility now.

Fanged Pumpkins – These are oddly hilarious.

Nerdy Corsets – Great idea for repurposing kids’ novelty bedsheets.

Skull Bracelet – Pretty carved-skull bracelet. (Hat tip to Kitten Herder)

Happy Halloween Wreath – Tutorial for a rather horrifyingly festive ribbon wreath.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

The Best Love Song Written for a Rat You Will Hear All Day

October 11th, 2012 by Cobwebs

A number of people responded to the last entry in the most recent Death is Not an Option by saying, “Willard? Never heard of it.”* Yes, Willard was a highly popular horror movie in the early 70s, and it even spawned a sequel, Ben. Which included a sentimental song, to Ben, sung by Michael Jackson. It reached the top of the pop charts, was nominated for an Academy Award, and is counted as Jackson’s first #1 solo hit. (And was originally written for Donny Osmond, which makes it extra-weird.)

Here, enjoy 13-year-old Michael Jackson at the Oscars, singing a love song about a murderous rat.


*Children! You are all children who read my blog!!! And also get off of my lawn.

Posted in Whatever | 6 Comments »

Understory Pottery

October 10th, 2012 by Cobwebs

CephalopotOne of the things I love about running this blog is that people send me interesting stuff I would otherwise miss. Intrepid reader Jean-Robert recently dropped me a line about Mimosa Greer of Understory Pottery:

She makes ceramic cauldrons and pumpkins as coffee cups or up to the size of soup tureens. She also has a line of “cephalo-pots” that are octopus or squid themed.

You had me at “cephalo-pot.”

Her designs tend toward the naturalistic, with lizardy plates and luna moth bowls and yes, more cephalopods than you can shake a stick at. Given the prices on the few items currently in her Etsy shop, they’re also quite reasonably priced. She takes custom orders, so I’m betting something Cthuloid or bat-adorned wouldn’t be out of her range.

In addition to Etsy and her main site, she also has a Facebook page which features lots of additional photos of her work. I particularly like the cauldrons.

(Thanks, Jean-Robert!)

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Trivia Tuesday

October 9th, 2012 by Cobwebs

(No prizes, but if you can answer them all without googling you get bragging rights.)

  1. The English word “pumpkin” originates from the Greek pepon (πέπων), which means what?
  2. Which wife of Henry VIII is said to haunt the Tower of London chapel in which her body is buried?
    A) Catherine Parr
    B) Catherine of Aragon
    C) Jane Seymour
    D) Anne Boleyn
    E) Anne of Cleves
  3. In Celtic folklore, the Kelpie is a water creature that usually appears as what kind of animal?
  4. What flowers are traditionally associated with Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations?
    A) Roses
    B) Chrysanthemums
    C) Daisies
    D) Lilies
    E) Marigolds
  5. This cryptid, which attacks livestock, has a name which literally means “goat sucker.”
  6. In the Old Testament, Saul asks the Witch of Endor to conjure up what dead prophet?
    A) Samuel
    B) Ezekiel
    C) Daniel
    D) Isaiah
    E) Elijah
  7. Algonquian mythology includes this fearsome man-eating spirit. Humans who indulge in cannibalism are at great risk of becoming one, and it also gives its name to a cannibalistic psychosis.
  8. The Boto, a were-creature from the Amazon, is a shape-shifting what?
    A) Jaguar
    B) Monkey
    C) Dolphin
    D) Parrot
    E) Piranha
  9. During the Salem Witch Trials, this slave was one of the first to be accused and the first to confess to witchcraft in Salem Village.
  10. The festival of Lemuria was intended to exorcise the spirits of the restless dead, and usually included offerings of beans. What ancient culture celebrated this holiday?
    A) Roman
    B) Etruscan
    C) Greek
    D) Persian
    E) Babylonian

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Trivia | 4 Comments »

Easy Halloween Mobile

October 8th, 2012 by Cobwebs

MobileFinding Time to Create has a nice tutorial for creating an attractive mobile out of vintage-y paper cutouts. Although she specifies a particular brand of patterned paper, this same idea could be used with any designs you like.

Halloween postcards were extremely popular in the early part of the last century, and reprints are widely available. If you have a good color printer, you can also just look for images online (the work of Ellen Clapsaddle was particularly well-regarded). Other attractive options would be vintage poison labels, thrifted covers from paperback books, family photos of past Halloweens, or lightweight memorabilia like spooky greeting cards.

If you don’t like the tulle at the top (I suspect it would be hard to dust), substitute ribbon instead. A few plastic spiders hot-glued to the ring or dangling amongst the paper items might be a nice addition as well.

I quite like the restrained, subtle nature of this mobile. It’s nicely thematic for the actual holiday, but it’s also attractive enough to leave up as a year-round decoration.

Posted in Paint It Black | No Comments »

Where Link Dumps Fear to Tread

October 5th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Latch Hooked Christopher Walken – Rather epic rug project.

Haunted Mansion for Sale – If you have around $900,000US to spare, you can buy a live-in replica of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

Tattoos Inspired by Childrens’ Movies – I think the Toy Story one is my favorite. (via WitchArachne)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlepersons – Splendid print of what a “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” featuring characters from the 1990s would have looked like: Dana Scully, Edward Scissorhands, and Zack Morris are amongst the members.

Boo! – Squee-worthy ghost cake pops from Bakerella.

10 Cryptids More Terrifying than the Mongolian Death Worm – I dunno; the Bunyip looks sort of cuddly.

Halloween Cuckoo Clock – These instructions are for a prop made of construction paper and foamcore, but there’s no reason why the same pattern couldn’t be used to cut something more sturdy out of wood.

17 Euphemisms for Sex From the 1800s – Some of these are funny; a few are oddly creepy.

Homemade Candy Corn – I’m not sure the payoff would be worth the effort, but I generally like Alton Brown’s recipes.

Halloween Dessert Table – Great-looking spread.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

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