Massive Gothic Nonfiction Book Pile For Halloween

Hello all! Merry day once more!

All year I’ve been on and off reading a big pile of gothic nonfiction books. A couple you might recognise but the majority will be new.

The video is prerecorded and my hair actually looks like this now: 

Such is the magic of the digital era.

Books mentioned:

Caitlin Doughty: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Colin Dickey: Ghostland

Charlotte Gordon: Romantic Outlaws (Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft)

Malcolm Gaskill: Witchfinders

Stacey Schiff: The Witches

Phyllis Grosskurth: Byron

Ossian Brown: Haunted Air

Michael Lesy: Wisconsin Death Trip

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Believe It Or Not! 6 Scary, Creepy Or Weird Full Online Documentaries For Halloween

Doesn’t the air smell of faded leaves and over excitement?! I for one can barely wait to start digging up bodies and spoon feeding them cake and chocolate. That’s what you do, right?

The evenings are drawing in and what better way to relax than with a few informative, yet suitably weird, documentaries?

The Addams Family

These first three really count as one. I’m not sure what TV channel broadcast them first or if they were DVD extras, but it’s a 2007 look at the TV series and original cartoons of the Addams Family.

The Aswang Phenomenon

If you’ve seen bizarre cult classic Mystics of Bali you may have heard of the witch who separates her head from her body and floats through the air…her lungs and spine dangling beneath. Well, apparently they have a similar creature in the Philippines, the Aswang, who oddly seems to take many other forms according to whoever tells the story.

Ripley Believe it or Not!

Ripley’s Museum of Oddities will always hold a special place in my heart as Bill and I visited for our second date (my choice of course).

This documentary charts Ripley’s beginnings from cartoonist to global weirdo phenomenon, celebrating those who always felt a bit different on the way.

Frankenstein and the Vampyre, a Dark and Stormy Night

Two legendary horror monsters were created during the same holiday in Geneva, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the modern, aristocratic vampire by John Polidori. Also with them were poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont.

Their trip isn’t just famous for their creative output, however, there were also drugs, sexual confusion and scandal. Exciting!

If you’d like to see more documentaries on romantic gothic literature, including the Brontes and Edgar Allen Poe, toddle off to this link here.

Urban Legends

An atmospheric wander through urban legends that turned out to have some basis in fact, whether before or after the telling. Remember, Halloween wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t all think nice old ladies were trying to kill us with sweets (candy).

Sacred Weeds: Henbane the Witch’s Brew

This was one of the oddest documentaries I remember from the 90s. It seemed to me that during that period everything went very sun and moon and incense, and to be honest I still secretly love it. There were four episodes in the series; Blue Lily, Henbane, Salvia Divinorum and Fly Agaric, but Henbane deals with Gothic folklore and witch trials.

The premise is what makes it so strange, two people turn up to a castle in the middle of nowhere so scientists in suits can watch them trip out of their tiny minds. The scientists argue before the trial and after, not a single one agreeing or changing their mind in the least. To be honest, though, fair enough if you’ve done the research and others clearly haven’t.

Watch out for the man who seems to have wandered in from some fetish dream, declaring with little to no evidence that witches definitely rubbed ointment on their vaginas and held naked sabbats.

Weird true stories of the Witchfinder General

A mini documentary by me on a piece of local history. Yup, the Witchfinder General happened in my town and the surrounding areas. Amongst the usual stories of accusations and hangings are scary and strange tales told by frightened people of the time, including Betty Potter whose body ‘disappeared.’