The Art of Darkness

London Dungeon Hosts “Rat Café”

July 17th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Rat CafeOn June 24 London tourist attraction The London Dungeon hosted a popup “Rat Café,” similar to the popular Japanese Cat Cafés only, y’know…rattier. Guests were invited to dine on rattucinos, black forest rateau, and car-rat cake.

I’d like to meet the marketing people at The London Dungeon. They sound like a hoot.

The Dungeon’s press release notes that the rats involved were its “very own family of rats;” apparently their entrance queue includes a rat walk where guests can watch friendly rats at play. (The Dungeon also has cockroaches, so that’s nice.) It also stresses that the rat meet-and-greet and dining portions of the event are separated by compulsory hand sanitizing.

There are a number of additional photos here;* the event was so popular that the Dungeon is now considering making it a regular part of their “eccentric things to do” calendar.

As a big fan of rats as pets, I have to say that this is an intriguing idea. You wouldn’t want them tromping through the cupcakes–they’re clean animals, but not that clean–but a friendly encounter with a vintage wire cage full of “plague rats” would certainly enliven a Halloween party. (It should go without saying that you wouldn’t want to go out and purchase live animals for the sake of adding ambiance to a party, but if you’ve got a few of the little monsters already, you might as well make ’em earn their sunflower seeds.)

*The page is on the Daily Mail site; the shortened URL is courtesy of Do Not Link because I’d prefer not to give the Daily Fail any additional traffic.

Posted in Paint It Black | 1 Comment »

Origami Bat

July 16th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Origami BatFabulous commenter Pixel Pixie pointed me to these instructions for making a very cool origami bat. (I commented that I wondered if the folds would be suitable for a fancy dinner napkin and she replied, “One way to find out: vampire dinner party. BOOM.” I like the way she thinks.)

This particular fold is a little bit fiddly, but it’s fairly realistic as origami goes; many of the simpler designs are sort of, “It’s a bat! Or maybe a crane! Would you believe a pigeon?” However, it’s not so complicated as to be completely beyond the amateur origami-ist, so with a little practice you should be able to turn out flappy paper bats on demand. A miniature one would make a cute brooch.

Upon closer examination I’d say it’s definitely too detailed for a napkin fold, but fortunately googling “origami bat” turns up loads of easier designs: This one is nice (although the napkin would have to be pretty stiffly starched), and these look especially straightforward. A couple of others worth noting (probably a tad too complicated for napkins) are the flapping patty bat and this compact design.

The same search also turned up this list of Halloween-themed origami, so you can expand into folded ghosts, witches, spiders, and even tombstones. Some of these would make really interesting placecards or gift toppers, and since all you need is a piece of paper you can practice your craft nearly anywhere.

(Thanks, Pixel Pixie!)

Posted in Resources | 3 Comments »

Moth Mail

July 15th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Moth MailFabulous commenter xJane belongs to the Letter Writer’s Alliance, a “member based organization dedicated to keeping the art of letter writing alive,” which means she writes physical letters with pen and paper like some kind of savage. If you have similar recidivistic tendencies, the LWA is a fantastic resource for all things correspondence-y; they offer interesting workshops, promote local events, and even provide a clearinghouse for finding a pen-pal. However, even if you’re an inveterate e-mailer, the site is worth checking out.

The LWA offers a number of exclusive products to its members (and at a mere $5 for a lifetime membership, it’s certainly a good deal), but also has a few items for sale to the public. One of these is the glorious Moth Mail set, themed around the (mythical) Stellate Moth.

Stay up late and write letters. We’ve harnessed the power of the Stellate Moth to deliver your insomnia-driven musings. Our eclipse of moths has been trained to serve as letter carriers through the ingenious scientific manipulation of naturally occurring soporific pheromones.

This carefully packaged set comes with:
• six handmade lunar envelopes
• a rubber cancellation stamp as large as a Stellate Moth’s wingspan (3.5″x1″)
• twelve artistamps that follow the moon phase
• Stellate Moth field notes, as written by our expert, in-house lepidopterist Dr. Shoggoth.
• paper model of a Stellate Moth

The phase of the moon during which you order your set purportedly affects the type of stamps you receive: Black for the new moon; white for full; and a combination of both black and white for waxing/waning moons.

The LWA blog has a “behind the curtain” post about the making of the package, with closeup photos of some of the elements. It really is lovely, and even if you don’t write letters it’d make a wonderful display piece or gift (you have to admit that night creature-themed stationery is pretty darn gothy).

The public-facing site has some other amusing items, like the Pigeon Post “envelope” (send someone the gift of mild perplexity!) and a small selection of free downloads; I expect there are more available to members.

The LWA is an arm of 16 Sparrows (“Sarcasm folded in half”), and that shop is also worth a look. I particularly like their Blood Money stationery and Misanthropic Calling Cards.

(Thanks, xJane!)

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Vienna Waits For You

July 14th, 2014 by Cobwebs

“Anna should have had a closer look at the fine-print of her rental contract – for the old Viennese apartment is a creature with never ending appetite, living off the youth of its residents.”

(via The Presurfer)

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

Still Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 5

July 11th, 2014 by Cobwebs

This concludes the latest Link-Dump-a-Palooza. We’ll return to regular posting (and once-a-week dumps) on Monday.

1930s Wedding – Lovely theme wedding; even the hairstyles are period.

Black Bat Plant – Also called the “Black Bat Flower,” Tacca chantrieri, available from lots of sources besides this one. Gorgeous, Addams-esque black flower.

Movie Characters’ Business Cards – A collection of fictional business cards. I think my favorite might be “Jack Torrance: Ghost Writer.”

Kraken Cowl – A knitting pattern on Ravelry. Looks more like an octopus, but hey; tentacles!

The Teacup Tauntaun – “Rogue taxidermist” Lupa turned a damaged antique ram’s head into a “smaller, fuzzier, cuddlier” Tauntaun intended for the pet trade. I could say that this is a good example of how you can turn random thrift store finds to more whimsical ends, but frankly I just really love the idea of a snuggly Tauntaun.

Three Panel Plays – Good Tickle Brain condenses all of Shakespeare’s plays into three-panel comics.

The Surreal Mind of Igor Morski – Interesting, surreal artwork.

Turkey Vulture – This sweet little ‘toon makes me endlessly happy. (I like this one too.)

Wayward Manor – Neil Gaiman has written a video game about a ghost trying to scare away the living.

Matriarch – This sculpture (and its smaller companion piece “Next of Kin”) by Andrea Hasler appears to be a camping tent made of flesh and innards.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Still Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 4

July 10th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Ghost Purse – This site is all Japanese and I have no idea if the same design is available elsewhere, but I love this little ghost trying to look menacing.

Klára Pernicová – Artist who creates interesting pieces like snail and slug headphones (which I would totally wear if they were actually for sale) and human ear hair clips (which are creepy).

Animal Lip Art – These little lipstick animals are adorable.

The D’Morte-Disney Tarot – Splendid illustration of the major arcana featuring characters from classic Disney cartoons.

7 Terrifying Video Games You Can Play for Free – A roundup.

Alice in Wonderland Birthday Party – Hostess with the Mostess showcases party ideas for people with far more time and disposable income than most of us have, but it’s still possible to crib an idea here and there. This Wonderland-themed party is pretty stinkin’ cute.

Skull Nails – Nails with skull-shaped heads. These would be a neat detail on woodworking projects.

Horse Master – “The game of horse mastery.” Free, text-based online game. I don’t care if the last game you played was “David Cronenberg and Phillip K. Dick’s Excellent Adventure,” this one is weirder and more unsettling.

This Day in Murder – A murder for every day of the year.

How to Make Origami Claws – Just in case you need to disembowel somebody during a staff meeting.

Posted in Link Dump | 5 Comments »

Still Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 3

July 9th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Spiders Are Adorable – A Tumblr chock-full of spider photos, although some are more adorable than others.

Nightmare Before Christmas Cuckoo Clock – A tad pricey, but the details are wonderful.

Laurie Lipton – Artist who draws lovely, macabre illustrations. I especially like her “Knitter of Bones” (the site is Evil Flash so the image can’t be linked to directly; it’s the bottom image here). She also has a couple of books, here and here

#YummySmiths – Smiths song titles and lyrics replaced with food. I think my favorite is “Girlfriend in a Food Coma.”

Massive Voodoo – Site devoted to the sculpting and painting of miniature models. I love this recent “Theseus and the Minotaur.”

Dinosaur Planter – Cute idea for turning toy dinosaurs into little windowsill planters.

Lost Child Prank – As with many “scare unsuspecting passersby” videos, I’m surprised somebody didn’t get punched.

Making Faces Pottery – Etsy shop with the tagline, “Aesthetically Challenged Mugs.” Sells an array of mugs, vases, and other objects featuring weird, creepy, whimsical faces.

Goth Auctions – I have no idea how reliable this site is, but the concept is interesting.

The Bells – Musician Phil Ochs set Poe’s “The Bells” to music.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Still Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 2

July 8th, 2014 by Cobwebs

8 Creepiest Places in U.S. National Parks – Some nicely atmospheric photos.

Plush Octopus Backpack – This backpack by Hello, t’is Jen is impossibly adorable.

Why Horror is Good for You – Interesting article which argues that being scared can teach positive lessons. (via xJane)

Steel Hip Design – Etsy shop full of unique (and, sadly, commensurately pricey) steampunk jewelry. I particularly like the mad scientist necklace.

The Tell-Tale Tats – Edgar Allan Poe-themed temporary tattoos.

In Extremis – Subtitled “Bodies with No Regrets,” this photography project depicts people who have died and apparently faceplanted in the process. It’s certainly…unique. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

How To Tell If You Are In A Jane Austen Novel – “You have five hundred a year. From who? Five hundred what? No one knows. No one cares. You have it. It’s yours. Every year. All five hundred of it.”

Giant Isopod Sausages – Turn a boring cocktail frank into a cute li’l isopod!

Museum Selling Viking Ships – Just in case you ever wanted your own replica Viking ship.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Still Another Week of Link Dumps

July 7th, 2014 by Cobwebs

It’s time once again to clear out the backlog in my Link Dump folder by dropping them all in your laps. This week will be nothing but Link Dumps. Brace yourselves!

Are You Afraid of Bats? – So. Stinkin’. Adorable.

Tequila Mockingbird – Book full of “cocktails with a literary twist” including “A Rum of One’s Own,” “The Count of Monte Cristal,” and “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarita.”

“Leather Bound” Book – Easy tutorial for making a good-looking prop book.

Eeriest Abandoned Amusement Parks – A brief roundup.

Bleak Movies Coloring Book – Amusing “coloring book” which gives dark R-rated movies a positive spin for kids.

Your Organ Grinder – Etsy shop full of felted anatomical jewelry. Who wouldn’t want a gall bladder brooch?

The Artist is Going to Hell – “Vampire Jesus” explains a whole lot.

Baked in Blood – “Black Metal” cookies with names like Blood Ritual and Pervading Evil. Yum!

The Scary Ham – A very surreal anecdote by Ellen Klages.

Moody Night Scene – Neat little haunted house by I Draw Air Conditioners. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Night of the Walking Link Dump

July 4th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Preserved Tapeworm Necklace – The shop is called MyParasites, but aside from this single item they appear to carry nothing but generic goth-ish accessories. This is certainly shudder-worthy, though.

Penny Dreadful Animated Guides – Attractive promotional videos for the Showtime series.

Gentleman Octopus – Squee-worthy lampwork pendant featuring a very dapper cephalopod.

Academy of Villains – This is a pretty spectacular dance routine. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Capuchin Crypt – Some nice photos of the ossuary in Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. How is “Crypt of the Pelvis” not a Sisters of Mercy album title? (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

American Gods Coming to Starz – Neil Gaiman’s novel is being adapted as a series.

Cream and Sugar – Polymer clay sculpture of cute little tea-stealing fairies.

Paper Mache Dragon Trophy – Dan “The Monster-man” was commissioned to create a Maleficent-style dragon head trophy. It is gorgeous. Update: Apparently there was some sort of site disaster and the blog went away. The main page is still up; you can see photos of the Maleficent sculpt here.

Spooksville Bats Dress – Cute acid-green dress with a bat motif. (Hat tip to Cat)

Really Creepy Bundle – Similar to the Humble Bundle, but, y’know…creepier.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

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