The Museum of Unnatural Mystery – Quirky site whose stated intention is, “explore the fringe edges of science and at the same time use those subjects to get people interested in the more mundane aspects of scientific work.” (Hat tip to DeVries)
Cricket Flour – Hey, neat; you can buy powdered cricket on Amazon.
Honey, I made the news! Apparently that old lady I fought at the library wasn’t a ghost
kids have you applied the minty paste to the exposed part of your skeleton? yes? well now it is time to lie down in a dark room for hours
Tell the barista your name is Beetlejuice and then get the fuck outta there.
what if an ouija board was like an afterlife call center
“hey joey, line 396 is open. three teenagers in the dark want to talk to some ghost or something”
“i’m gonna prank them so hard”
“im gonna say i’m satan”
“JOEY THIS IS WHY THEY MADE A SHITTY MOVIE ABOUT US”
My parents never allowed violent video games. Just family-friendly board games with questions like, “Who murdered this guy with a pipe?”
You never hear about a new ghost. “Oh yeah, this place is haunted since Jeff died last Tuesday.”
TEACHER: We caught your child playing doctor with another student
ME: Thats natur-
TEACHER: He was trepanning her.
thats me in the corner that’s me in the spotlight why’s this spotlight in the corner
clearly I’m trying to avoid the spotlight that’s why I’m in the corner
can’t wait til i’m a ghost and a dude with a tape recorder asks if there’s anything i’d like to communicate and i get to go “no thank you”
if your grave doesnt say “rest in peace” on it you are automatically drafted into the skeleton war
Author Meredith McCardle recently gave into her “huge nerd” tendencies by painting the first page of Harry Potter on a wall in her office.
Buzzfeed has some in-progress photos and project details. Instead of stencils, McCardle used a borrowed projector to display the text on her wall, traced each letter in pencil, then went back and painted in the letters. She does note that it took longer than she expected:
Can we all take a second to laugh at the fact I legit thought this would be a fun weekend project I could bang out in about 4 hours? In reality, it took 60 hours over the course of 3 weeks, thus proving once again I am absolute crap at time estimation. But whatever. WORTH IT.
This is a great way to spruce up a blank wall, and beyond the ability to trace simple shapes it doesn’t require any particular artistic ability. It’d be fun to use the first page of a classic like The Wind in the Willows or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for a child’s room, or go dark and do The Silence of the Lambs in the dining room.
If you don’t want to commit a whole wall to the project, you could do the first lines of several novels in a frieze near the ceiling:
“You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.”
“May 3. Bistritz.– Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.”
“First of all it was October, a rare month for boys.”
“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.”
This kind of project is great for renters, since all you need to reverse it is a couple of coats of paint.
I’ve talked about plants that would work in a dark-and-spooky garden in the past (such as here), but have tended to focus on non-edible plants. Goth Shopaholic just did a great post about gothy vegetables, including purple potatoes and the carrots pictured above.
Blumhouse has a roundup of lesser-known “really scary” horror movies which mentions the terror anthology Dead of Night. The stories were all written by Richard Matheson, who was also responsible for the earlier Trilogy of Terror, which scarred many a childhood with its story “Prey.” Here’s the “Bobby” segment from Dead of Night (ignore Patrick MacNee there at the beginning; this video includes the last couple seconds of the previous story, “No Such Thing as a Vampire”).
Horror-Themed VCRs – This is such a weird, niche example of retro art, and yet it somehow works. (Hat tip to Fiend4Halloween)
Titanic Sinks in Real Time – A two-hour-and-41-minute video created as part of an upcoming game project. The video is sprinkled with narrative comments which explain what’s going on in the timeline.
Making a Working Ghost Trap – “Working,” in this case, means, “the door opens and stuff,” not “actually traps ghosts.” It’s a great-looking prop, though.
Government Free VJJ – Campaign to knit uteruses and send them to politicians who are trying to limit women’s reproductive rights. Even if you don’t want to mail your Congressman, why would you pass up a free uterus pattern? (via perk)
Bowie Hamster – “The World’s Most Fashionable Hamster” does Bowie.
OCEARCH – A global shark tracker (available on both Apple and Android) which allows you to see real-time data about tagged sharks.
Labyrinth Board Game – A game based on the movie, with surprisingly detailed pieces, has just been announced.
Spring is sproinging (at least in this hemisphere), which means that flowers will soon be blooming. If you grow roses, consider using some for moist potpourri: What it lacks in beauty, it more than makes up for in scent.
The method is easy: Partially dry the rose petals (they should feel sort of leathery, but not be fully dried). In a large nonreactive crock or bucket, layer 3 C petals with 2 Tbsp coarse or kosher salt. Mix thoroughly, then weight with a plate. Let sit in a place that’s not too warm for a month or so, stirring every few days then replacing the plate on top. If you gather more petals, you can add them (along with more salt) to the already-started mixture; just age for a month after you’ve finished adding petals.
You’ll wind up with a crockful of caked, brown petals. Crumble them into a bowl and either use as-is or add other fragrant dried ingredients: Powdered spices, dried citrus peel, or dried herbs are common. To maximize the longevity of the fragrance, you can also add a fixative such as powdered orris root; about 1/4 C per quart of potpourri. After adding other ingredients, the final mixture should continue to be cured for another two weeks so the fragrances blend and mellow.
Here’s a sample potpourri mixture to get you started:
1 1/2 gallons cured rose petals
6 oz dried orange peel
1 oz powdered orris root
1 oz powdered cinnamon
1 oz powdered allspice
1 1/2 oz powdered cloves
The main drawback of moist potpourri is that it ain’t attractive: The finished product is a mass of brown muck. Instead of displaying it in a glass jar, keep it in an opaque container with a perforated lid (like the antique cricket cage pictured above). Historically, this kind of potpourri was put in a ceramic jar with a perforated inner cover and a solid outer cover; the outer cover was removed to let out the fragrance when it was wanted, then replaced to keep the contents fresh. If you can get your hands on some small sachet holders (like this wicker one, they make attractive Christmas tree ornaments.
The salt-cure method can also be used with lavender, or a mixture of lavender and rose.
A while back, Trystan of Gothic Martha Stewart made a steampunky lady artisan’s apron and decided to cover it with faux “band patches.” She eventually decided to make cross-fandom patches (including a Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team patch and a UNIT insignia), but her original intention was to use band names made up from Victorian novels.
She made a list of potential names, and although I think “Mina and the Harkers” is still my favorite, “The Madwoman in the Attic,” “The Wildfell Tenants,” “Lucy Snowe’s Secret,” and “The Desperate Remedies” are 100% bands that I would go out of my way to see.
Similar patches would be a great way to add a little life to a boring jacket or tote. If you have access to an embroidery machine or like to hand-embroider you can make applique patches. There are also many companies who will make custom patches with a small (usually 10-piece) minimum order, so if you want to club together with a few friends you can get professional-looking designs (you could probably also sell the excess on Etsy). If you have an inkjet printer you can also use printable sheets which can be ironed on to fabric. That option is a bit cheaper and would also allow for greater detail in your patch design.
Obviously, if Victorian novels don’t appeal to you there are dozens of other fandoms from which to draw inspiration. I’d pay good money to see “Captain Jack and the Empty Children” or the “Leaky Cauldrons.” It’s a fun, subtle way to show off your fannish tendencies.