Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spooky Story One...Story From a Non-Believer

The Phoenix's 5th Annual Spooky Stories Series...An entire month's worth of frightening stories!

Can you believe it's already time for me to share stories that are sure to give you nightmares? So if you have a real-life scary story, submit it to phoenix@blazingtalons.com. Luckily, I have visitors reading the past four years' worth of spooky stores year-round, and I will get submissions once in a while.

So to kick us off for 2009, I give you an amazing story that was submitted to me over six months ago. I edited his e-mail for the sake of c
utting the length, but his story is left intact. We'll call our author "Will." Will began his e-mail with admitting that he used to be a staunch non-believer. He was rooted in reality and never believed anything he heard. Will never gave a thought to the afterlife, haunted houses, or ghosts.

But all of that changed the day Will rented a house in Southern Illinois...


I had decided to stay in town after graduating from a nearby small college. It didn't take me long to settle on renting a nice little house near the main street running through the quaint historic downtown. I had gotten a good deal, and the house was perfect for me. Two stories, two bedrooms, and a nice big porch. The house was about 70 years old.

My second night there, I was coming home late from work. As I pulled up I noticed that all the lights were on in my house. It looked as if every single light bulb in the house was glowing. I'm frugal, so I'm always saving electricity. I know for a fact that all the lights were off when I had left this morning.

I wondered if maybe my landlord was making a surprise visit or something. I quickly ran from the driveway to the front door, and it was still locked. I fumbled a little bit with the deadbolt, as there was a little trick to opening it. If I forced the key too deep, it wouldn't turn. After several seconds, I was able to open the door. When I entered, my jaw dropped.

All the damn lights were now off. It was completely dark in the living room and kitchen. My heart raced...was someone in here? I flipped on the light switch near the door, activating a lamp on a side table. I ran to my closet and got my baseball bat. After doing a quick inspection with my weapon in hand, I found that no one had broken in and all the lights - even the ones upstairs - were now off. Was I losing my mind?

For the next three or four months, little things occurred all the time. At least a couple times a week, I heard footsteps in the hall. It was the sound of heavy boots walking on a wood floor. The weird thing is, the hall upstairs is carpeted! My keys went missing all the time. I'm practically OCD about where I put things - so I could never figure out how my keys would end up in strange places, like the bathroom floor or near the stove in the kitchen. One time, I couldn't find my keys for hours, only to find them near my wallet on my dresser where I normally put them. But when I touched them, they were super cold! As if they had been in the freezer.

Later that year, I had the scariest thing happen - and it led to me deciding to finally move. Again, I didn't believe in ghosts or haunted houses, but this one incident changed me forever.

Christmas was around the corner. The house did get a little drafty, so I had to really cover up for bed. I had three blankets, and I slept in sweats. In the middle of the night, I woke up shivering. All my covers were gone. They were on the floor, on the left side of my bed. I assumed that I had just kicked them off of myself. I got up and threw them back on. My top blanket is actually the comforter. I had just closed my eyes when the comforter jerked downwards, as if someone was quickly pulling it off of me.

I probably let out a girlish scream, and even though it was cold in the room, I was sweating. I stood up, scared and angry at the same time. I was going to flip on the bedroom light, but something in the corner of my eyes stopped me dead.

At first, I thought it was just a shadow, but my blinds were totally shut, with heavy drapes drawn closed. No light was coming in. Emerging near by bed was a huge black mass. It's hard to explain, as it seemed darker than a shadow, and it was three-dimensional. It seemed to be growing from the darkness, moving towards me. The hairs on my neck and arms stood straight up, and I felt like this entity was coming straight for me.

I'm sure at this point that I let out girlish scream #2 and ran the hell out of the bedroom, down the steps, and into the living room. I turned on every single light on the first floor and slept on the couch that night...and every night for the next month until I moved out of that place.

I didn't ask the landlord about the house's history, as I really didn't want to know. I can't tell you exactly what I saw, or what I experienced, but it's all the truth. And it's a big deal because I don't normally believe in this stuff. So even now, more than ten years later, when I hear someone telling a person "ghost story," I'm not so quick to disbelieve.

Was it a ghost I saw? Or maybe just leftover energy from a previous resident? I have no idea. But one thing was for certain, it didn't want me there.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hair Today, Home Tomorrow

I believe in recycling and reusing. Hey - I was even a founding member of my high school's Ecology Club LONG before it was the cool thing to do. Using recycled materials in manufacturing and construction is a wonderful thing. But sometimes, you can take it a little too far.

Paula Sunshine (and yes, that is her REAL name) built a new addition to her home with HUMAN HAIR.

Little Ms. Sunshine, of Suffolk, England, is not your typical tree-hugger environmentalist nut-job. She is an expert in teaching ancient construction techniques to builders. Originally, ancient people used cattle hair mixed with a lime plaster mixture on the exterior of their buildings. Ms. Sunshine decided to get creative and use human hair instead, however. "It is just the fiber that you need the hair for and human hair does the same thing as cattle hair for plaster."

So she went to hair salons and gathered barrels of hair for her home. And in addition, she's used hair that's even more accessible - her own hair, and hair from her cat and dogs.

I guess she won't have to worry about termites, so much. And you would think the smell would be nasty. Ms. Sunshine says, "I have to say, my bin full of hair smells divine with all the products used." So her house will smell like Prell.

But what if her new living room comes down with a bad case of dandruff?

Maybe for her next project, she should build a sunroom using finger and toe nails.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Internet Addict? You Have a Place to Go

"Internet Addiction" might not be a recognized disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, but a new clinic recently opened - a clinic that helps people "unplug." If you, or someone you know, is addicted to getting online, they can go to The Heavensfield Retreat Center in Fall City, WA and enter their reStart program.

They've created a little quiz to self-diagnose yourself of this horrible addiction. I decided to take some liberties with their questions and infuse it with my own questionnaire. I take my inspiration from Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if..." jokes.

You might be an internet addict if...

1) You dropped cable or dish service because YouTube is all you need.
2) You actually say L-O-L instead of laughing or I-D-K instead of saying "I don't know."

3) You've ended a relationship via Twitter, Facebook, a chatroom, or plain e-mail.
4) Everything in your garage, living room, and bedroom has been purchased from
craigslist
5) You have gotten into at least one argument at a Panera Bread over access to the outlet for your laptop.
6) You actually wish you could just press Ctrl, Alt, Delete in real life.
7) You can't program your VCR's clock, but you can set up a wireless network in your house.
8) You asked your lawn boy if he accepts Paypal.

9) You've actually set up a web page for your pet.


And finally, you might be addicted to the internet if...

10) You named your child "E-Bay."

By the way, to enter the clinic's reStart program will only set you back $14,500.

For half that, I will come to your house and kick your ass every time you turn on your computer.

For those with a real addiction to the internet, this program uses various successful methods in breaking that addition. The treatment focuses on the patient living real life, doing activities that don't include the internet. Internet use during treatment is a big no-no.

For more information on the reStart internet addiction recovery program, you can visit their website at: www.netaddictionrecovery.com

You can also check out their blog at www.netaddictionrecovery.com/blog.html

Or you can visit their Facebook page at http://www.netaddictionrecovery.com/social-network/facebook.html

Or you can visit their Twitter page at http://twitter.com/GetYourLifeBack

Or you can go their YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/netaddictionrecovery

So get online to learn more about reStart's internet addiction recovery.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Love At First...Ride? (Object of Her Desire Part Deux)

Last summer, I brought you a story about that crazy lady that married the Eiffel Tower, and afterwards legally changed her name to Mrs. Erika La Tour Eiffel. She suffers from Objectum-Sexual Disorder. And as you can tell from the name, it's a rare psychological disorder that makes you want to hump inanimate objects.

Okay, so I'm over-simplifying here. But that's really what it is.

So here's another strange case: meet 33 year-old Amy Wolfe of Pennsylvania. She's in love with an amusement park ride called 1001 Nachts. And she is going to marry it.

Ms. Wolfe has been in love with 1001 Nachts for over 10 years and has ridden it at least 3,000 times. The 80 ft. gondola ride that swings you up and down and all around like you're riding a giant pendulum has been the object of Ms. Wolfe's desire ever since she first rode him when she was 13 years old.

"I was instantly attracted to him sexually and mentally," Ms. Wolfe says - referring to the ride as "him." "I love him as much as women love their husbands and know we'll be together forever."

Forever? Well...maybe until the state inspectors declare "him" unsafe for riding.

Ms. Wolfe currently lives 160 miles away from Knoebels Amusement Park where her soul mate is stationed. So in the meantime, she keeps a picture of 1001 Nachts taped to her ceiling above her bed (ewwww).

She also keeps 1001 Nachts' spare bolts and nuts in her pocket.  Seriously.

Amy plans on changing her last name to Weber, the manufacturer of the 1001 Nachts. And when asked what she sees in the amusement park ride, she replied:

"He's so noble, so proud, so strong. I love him as a mate. I love him for the elegant lines of his gondola."

Good grief.

I have one question for Amy Wolfe, soon-to-be Amy Weber...does she get jealous when other people ride "him?"



Monday, August 17, 2009

Facebook Put You In The Doghouse

I like Facebook. It's been a fun way to reconnect with old friends, and stay in touch with current ones. We all post pics of our families, and keep up with the day-to-day and sometimes extraordinary events in our lives.
But a recent study has shown that Facebook has become another outlet for romantic couples to become jealous of one another. The biggest social network can actually ignite the flames of jealousy in otherwise happy relationships.

Amy Muise oft the psychology department at the University of Guelph, Ontario and her collegues have been studying various psychological/social aspects of Facebook for the past several months. She's found that "Facebook is creating jealousy even where there was not jealousy to begin with. Part of the issue with information on Facebook is that it lacks certain context, so there could be things posted on your partner's wall that you really don't know what it means."
A study on Facebook? Leave it to those crazy Canadians.
These conclusions are based on a survey of over 300 college students. Here's how the circle of jealousy works: Your boyfriend posts something to begin the spark. Maybe it's a suspicious post. Or it's a picture of him with another girl. At first, you dismiss it as being non-threatening. "Maybe the other girl is just a friend or a cousin," you say to yourself. Regardless, you begin to monitor your signifcant other's Facebook page, looking for incriminating evidence. Soon, you find yourself burning and consumed with pure jealousy.

Let's face it - your partner gets tagged in some old photo with an ex-flame...it does set something off in your brain. And most of us will become detectives to see if there are other damning pics. Or what if your partner changes their status to "single" or "complicated?" Oh brother...that's just asking for trouble.

"You're exposed to more information," Muise added. "And you can also monitor your partner's activities very easily and without being detected, because they don't know how many times a day you're looking on their Facebook page unless you communicate that with them."

So if you AND your signifcant other is on Facebook, just be careful. Facebook is not to blame - it just makes it easier to gather information. The study is flawed in my opinion since 75% of those surveyed were women. Even this study showed that men were more likely to just not look at their girlfriend's Facebook page.

My fellow dudes on Facebook - just be careful. Know that your woman is tracking your ass. You can talk to that hot ex, just don't send her any "virtual gifts" and do NOT even think about touching her Twitter.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Phoenix Rises...Again, One More Time?

I miss writing.

Life has been rough in 2009. I had yet another brush with death in late April/early May. Yet for some reason, I just will not die. Maybe I'm taking this Phoenix-thing a little to literally.

Funny how life is stranger than fiction.

I think it's time to write again.