Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nostradamus--Are His Predictions Coming True? Did His Daughter Leave a Terrible Legacy?

Michel de Nostredame, better known by his Latin name Nostradamus, was an apothecary and seer of the 16th century. Although studying to be a doctor, he was expelled for his practice as an apothecary, but was still called "Doctor" my many contemporaries.

His later works turned to the occult after he wrote a popular Almanac and then his well-known predictions written in 4- lined quatrains based on astrological equations. It is interesting he became such a famous "seer" considering his predictions were notoriously inaccurate, and he many times blurred the possible "correct" divination with an incorrect mathematical problem because of a missing birth date or day.

Many say that his past predictions have come true, and that 2012 will bring World War III and a World Religion. Some of his supposedly accurate past predictions are:

* The great fire of London in 1666
* World War II and the rise of Hitler
* September 11th
* The rise of Napoleon
* The death of the Kennedy brothers
* The creation and use of the atom bomb

Click here for a more detailed explanation:

Nostradamus lost two children and his wife to the plague (even though he created a rose pill that was supposed to cure it), then married a widow and had six more children. Some say he fathered several illegitimate daughters, one that left a terrible legacy of evil and destruction in her wake.

Read here about Anna, from the soon to be released anthology, The Daughter of Nostradamus.

  The sun turned black but for the burning red smile of a demon.  Its ruby rays incinerated the unfortunate few who remained outdoors. 
The wind blew cold from the east and hot from the west, and its howls caused deafness in the young and insanity in the old.  The children slept too long in their beds, for to open their eyes now would mean the plague.
A dark haired woman screamed and threw back her head for she knew the child inside was killing her.  It clawed and scratched and she feared for the lives of her kin.  She was cursed with this, her thirteenth child.  Her blood was weak and her husband left many years ago when the crops would no longer grow. She did not know how this child was growing inside her.
She knew the birth would be her end.  The gods were angry and the earth was covered with loosed devils tonight.  The baby ruptured forth in a spray of blood, and its mother bled to death as the eclipse ended. 
The newborn spent its first night on earth in a pool of his dead mother’s still-warm blood, and slept peacefully there until morning, when he was found by Anna as she delivered her homemade bread. She picked up the bloody infant and ran home to her sister, screaming the signs from her dreams were all around, and the demons had left a son.  That night she cut her palm with a spirit knife, and poured her blood onto the fire and prayed for the black ghosts to take back their child.   
She bled for the first time that night, and in her dreams the wolves waited at the fringe of the forest, but they were not allowed in the clear.
Anna and her sister lived alone, for their mother was exiled from their village. Anna, with her piercing black eyes and raven hair was considered to be the daughter of the black-eyed magician who passed through town years before. Upsetting and intriguing the townspeople, he came before the drought and made disturbing predictions of the future while seeking herbs for his rogue medical practice. Her blonde haired, blue eyed mother and sister never argued the point.
The baby’s cries jarred her in the darkest part of the night, and she knew she would care not for this dark boy. Her wakefulness was burden enough, for her visions and nightmares often kept her sleepless for days. She knew he brought with him a stain, a faint grey mist that would settle and then spread.
When her sister Mina awoke in the morning and found the child gone, she would tell her his siblings came to find him in the night.
She listened to his cries for another moment then went to him.   
She lifted him from his bed and picked up her knife before walking into the forest. Although her sister believed Anna’s thoughts about the child were muddled for an infant can be nothing but innocent, she knew she needed to snuff the black spirits in the evil boy.
The woods were quiet as a tomb, and she knew the ghosts were watching and waiting for the dark task to be complete.  The animals burrowed deeper underground and the birds flew away as she entered.
It was kinder, she thought, to plunge the knife into his heart than to leave him alone and alive to be devoured slowly by the creatures that walk the dark.  She placed him under the sad arch of a willow tree, and looked at him one last time.  His eyes looked calmly back at her, and she pressed the knife into his heart, and once again in the other direction to form a cross so evil would have to avoid him and he would be taken by the angels.
He did not cry or whimper.  He closed his eyes and the wind began to blow. Anna looked up at the moon and knew her soul was lost.

Visit the Daughter of Nostradamus page on Facebook--enjoy the fun and evil pix.  Click here:!/TheDaughterOfNostradamus

Friday, October 12, 2012

Terror by Red Death--My First Horror

Edgar Allan Poe was a brilliant and possibly mad poet and writer.

The genre of horror cannot be mentioned without including him in the conversation. He may have been depressed, alcoholic, and lovelorn--all of which provide fertile ground for all sorts of terrors. He also happened to be a master of words, and the combination makes for gorgeous and horrible tales.

When I was in third grade our teacher told us we were going read Masque of the Red Death in her class, and I was ecstatic, not because I was a fan of Poe and that young age, but because we were going to read something that had the word 'death' in it.

I considered myself a ghost story and horror fan at that age, but my interest leaned more to Tales from the Crypt comics from Oh! Johnnies, a store that sold everything from magazines to fountain sodas, and Dracula with Bella Lugosi. But then Mrs. Walsh, my third grade teacher that had a plastic peace sign on the chimney
of her house, gave us a thin books of Poe's stories right before lunch on an overcast spring day.

I read the first page and was astounded there was this kind of writing in the world. It resonated with something dark in me, even at eight years old. I walked home for lunch with my nose in the book, and told my mother all about it over a bowl of macaroni and cheese. She listened carefully as I told her of the colored rooms and how the matching glass windows infused the rooms with gorgeous light. I told her of the black room with the blood red window, and she told me she did not like that, and wrinkled her nose.  This tickled me.

By the weekend I had enlisted my poor five year old sister to be a victim in my Off-Broadway edition off the book. Being the director, I had to tell her a little bit about the plot, but she was not old enough to process the details, and heard only--blood, death, and monsters. She basically had a fit and cried for the next hour, and I got into a bit of trouble. All this drama somehow made the whole scenario more delectable to me, and I have never been the same. I ponder why I love the fear, the nerve-wracking tension, and the constant search for a book or movie that will actually scare me.

I read the story at least three more times before the teacher made us turn in the books. I went to the library to look up other stories from Poe, and although I liked others, especially The Black Cat, none affected me like dark tale of Prince Prospero, his opulent surroundings, and eventual demise because of the Red Death.

I considered doing a similar color theme as the chambers of Prince Prospero's castle to the bedrooms in my previous home, but there was something just a tick too dark for even me to live with, and the stained glass windows would certainly be tough to recreate.

Although I have read endless horror books, poems, and stories, The Red Death was my first love, and remains one on my favorite pieces of literature--and a clock chiming at the midnight hour will forever send a chill down my spine.

I wonder if it has anything to do with my love of short stories--and germ-phobia...

Please read the short but terrifying tale below.

My short and bloody tale Absorbed on Amazon.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jack White at Radio City--More Than Music

Although the Lincoln Tunnel was closed due to an accident and getting into NYC and Radio City was murder last night, Jack White made it worth my time and suffering.

He started his set at 9:00PM with Missing Pieces, a song that seems to be about losing more body parts than just your heart in a bad affair, then burned through his songs like devil was on his ass.  He seemed angry and moody, but his dark vibe and almost frenetic pace made for a hot and riveting concert.

His six piece, all female band is painfully talented. They looked beautiful and made me wonder if they all sold their souls. His Grammy nominated back-up singer Ruby Amanfu swayed and shook her tambourines, and her ringing yet soulful voice was a perfect match to Jack's jagged vocal hammerings.

But as I watched I knew something more was taking place here. Jack White is more than a musician.

During the song Cannon I was taken somewhere else. The hard, heavy, and unrelenting guitar riff was menacing, the stage simply lit in black and white shadows, and Jack's raw vocals transformed the venue into a haunted house, a place of evil and monsters, and it was glorious. The simmering anger you felt in the earlier songs was transformed into a diabolical thing here, and whatever shadowed alley he was going to scurry down--I was going with him.

That was way better than drugs.

He interacted with all six women on stage in an intimate and connected way--his contact seeming to fuel their intensity and dedication to the songs. They watched his every move and the set was flawless.  Ball and Biscuit took the blues to the deepest shade of indigo, and the frenzy of its culmination was a lost-in-space, nerve blasting experience. 

That was way better get the picture.

Everyone in the audience was on their feet from the moment Jack White stepped on stage, until we shuffled out a bit sad that he only played for an hour and a half. He uttered only two words to the audience during the entire show, 'thank you', as he and the band stood close, linked arms, and bowed.

There were no pyrotechnics, flashing images, or opening acts to dilute the music, yet the stark atmosphere induced some type of hypnotic time warp and an almost southern modern-Gothic feel.

Having an eighth row seat gave me the delicious illusion that Mr. White and I made eye contact several times, although I am sure it was my then beat-addled brain sending cosmic wishes to my rapidly pounding heart.

I have a weakness for talent: an extraordinary ability to draw, paint, play guitar, articulate, create mood, write, or influence people. The ultimate is a mind-blowing combination of two or more of these talents, and that is what I experienced last night.

I wanted him to talk to us, his audience, to give us a hint of his humor, thought process, or just for him to speak to let us know he was human. But then the odd, blurry feeling may have been lost, and the night would have taken on an entirely different feel. In a blustery, pissed-off way, it was perfect.

Too short? Yes. But, oh, so sweet...

His set from last night:

Missing Pieces
Weep Themselves to Sleep
Love Interruption
Hotel Yorba (White Stripes)
Top Yourself/Maggie's Farm (Raconteurs)
Cannon/John the Revelator (White Stripes)
Screwdriver (White Stripes)
Rock Island Line
Blue Blood Blues (The Dead Weather)
Trash Tongue Talker
Papa Was a Rascal (James Booker cover)
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (White Stripes)
I'm Slowly Turning Into You (White Stripes)
We're Going to Be Friends (White Stripes)
Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
Hypocritical Kiss
Ball and Biscuit (White Stripes)


Freedom At 21
Sixteen Saltines
Seven Nation Army (White Stripes)
Goodnight, Irene (Lead Belly cover)

Page from 100 Unfortunate Days that shows my soft-spot for guitar players:

Day 93

I was born in Venice on the Fourth of July—which means nothing to anyone in Venice. I had with jet-black hair and very light blue eyes. Then all my hair fell out and grew in very light blonde. My eyes have remained light blue. I was left on a ferry boat when I was three months old—I don’t know if it was on purpose or not—but I was raised covertly by the Queen of England until I was five, then she could not keep me under wraps anymore because I moved around too much and she felt I should be going to school.

I was sent to stay with the Queen’s illegitimate sister who lived in France. She taught me how to play the guitar and wear makeup. I stayed there until I was eight and then I worked in a coffee shop and slept there at night next to the picture window that had a toile cushion beneath it. No one minded. I ate small sugary biscuits with tea or coffee every day for breakfast and wrote sad love songs until I kissed a boy. I got a tattoo of his initial on the underside of my middle finger and never told him. I left the lyrics to a song on a table outside the coffee shop one afternoon and could not find them later that afternoon. I heard a song on the radio a year later that used my lyrics. I never told anyone.

I took a train to Germany and dyed my hair jet-black again. I had five children in five years and gave them all away to charity. I worked in a guitar shop and met Jimmy Page and we spent the night together. I got a tattoo of his initials on the underside of my middle finger of my other hand and swore my love to him eternally. He said he would love me forever too.

I stayed awake once for three days because I was sad. I moved to Spain because I needed to be warm and painted my front door a different color every day. My skin loved the sun and the black faded from my hair. I wore jewelry with diamonds and flowers in my hair. When I looked at the sky at night I could see the face of my true love who I knew I would never meet. Sometimes I see children with light blue eyes and jet-black or light blonde hair and I know they are mine. I never say anything.