Author Archives: Dale Rappaneau

The Alien Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill: Part 1/3

Aliens, abductions, flying sauces – oh my! Few things send goosebumps dancing across skin like a good alien story, which is why this especially delicious one has been broken up into multiple parts. From a telepathic life-sized alien leader to hallucinogenic dreams, it’s definitely a spooky tale.


As if pulled straight from a Stephen King novel, Betty and Barney Hill’s run-in with alien abductors happened under the cover of night, on a nearly deserted highway (US Route 3), just south of Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Betty, in the passenger seat, spotted a bright ball of light moving below the moon, describing it as a falling star moving upward like a plane, except that it moved erratically and was growing larger in size. Fascinated, Betty begged Barney to pull over so she could watch it some more, and the two stopped at a picnic area. Barney feared for bears in the area and retrieved a pistol hidden in the car’s trunk.

Using binoculars, Betty watched the light travel across the moon’s face, and she immediately thought it to be a UFO. Barney, on the other hand, thought it resembled a normal plane — though, as the light began to descend rapidly toward them, he quickly changed his mind.

“This object that was a plane was not a plane,” he later said.

The two immediately ran for the car and drove toward Franconia Notch, a mountainous stretch of road. Moving slowly to keep an eye on the light, the Hills navigated the isolated road, trying to avoid the object as much as possible. But, as they later recalled, the light would bounce in and out of sight, as if playing a game of cat and mouse with them.

About one mile south of Indian Head, the object descended toward their vehicle, forcing Barney to stop in the middle of the highway. (Barney claims the object filled up his whole windshield and resembled a huge pancake.) Holding tight to his pistol, Barney got out of the car and approached the object, and he saw what looked to be about a dozen humanoid figures peering out of the object’s windows.

Then he received a message from one of them. A telepathic message saying, “Stay where you are and keep looking.” At the same time an image flooded his mind: humanoid figures wearing black uniforms and black hats.

Barney panicked. He fled for the car in a hysterical state. “They’re going to capture us!” he shouted at Betty. As the object shifted closer, Barney drove at top speed down the highway, telling Betty to keep an eye on it.

Almost immediately, both Betty and Barney heard beeping and buzzing sounds that seemed to be bouncing off the trunk. The whole car vibrated. Their bodies tingled. Betty described it as feeling a static discharge just before touching metal.

A second series of rhythmic beeping followed, and both Betty and Barney felt a waking-up sensation, like they had returned from sleep or being unconscious. After the initial confusion, the two realized that they had somehow traveled 35 miles on the highway, yet neither could recall the trip or what happened between the first and second set of beeps.

One moment they were fleeing for their lives, and then all was silent. No object of light. No beeping sounds. Nothing.

Just them, the highway, and a deep fear for what they had experienced.

Come back tomorrow to learn more about this alien abduction.

The Ghost Legend of the S.S. Ourang Medan

Titanic objects sometimes disappear, that’s the truth. And sometimes, as with the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the object’s absence becomes such a point of fascination that it transcends reality, to become something of legend.

What really happened to the plane? Where is it? Why is it that even now, in the Internet era, such objects can still disappear?

OurangMedanAnswers remain elusive, yet the fact remains, titanic objects disappear. Take for another example the tale spinning wildly around the S.S. Ourang Medan, a Dutch cargo ship that shipwrecked in Indonesia after every member of the crew suspiciously died. (Which would make such a sweet story for a ghost ship Halloween costume!)

Here’s the story:

In June 1947, while navigating the Strait of Malacca, two American vessels, City of Baltimore and Silver Star, received a Morse code distress message from the Ourang Medan. The message said, “All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” The message was followed by indecipherable Morse code, and then a final message of “I die.”

Silence followed. No more messages were received.

Immediately the Silver Star sought out the distressed ship, finding it undamaged floating on open waters. Inside, corpses (including a deceased dog) were littered throughout the ship, all posed in terrified positions, arms outstretched toward the sky as if reaching for something. Worse still, the ship and corpses showed no signs of struggle or fight. So what happened?

Well, the answer remains unknown. Soon after boarding the ship, rescuers fled. A fire broke out in the ship’s cargo hold and eventually caused the ship to explode and sink. Whatever happened remains mystery.

But there are a few theories:

1) Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Vincent Gaddis, in the novel Invisible Horizons, puts forth a theory that an undetectable fire or malfunctioning boiler system might have poisoned the crew with excess carbon monoxide. That same fire or boiler malfunction may have even been the fire that caused the ship to explode and sink. A worthy theory, but there are others.

invisible horizons

2) Unsecured Hazardous Material – Details about the Ourang Medan’s construction or history are non-existent. Moreover, searches for an official registration or accident investigation record have proved unsuccessful. For these reasons – and others – Roy Bainton, in the article A Cargo of Death, argues that the ship may have been smuggling illegal substances or wartime nerve agents. He believes that sea water leaked into the cargo hold, reacted with the hazardous material, released asphyxiating or poisonous fumes, and thus killed the crew. And maybe there was some nitroglycerin or something in there for the final explosion. Who knows.

3) Paranormal Phenomena – Here’s the creepiest theory of all: some argue that the Ourang Medan came under paranormal of extraterrestrial attack, citing the terrified positions of the dead and how the arms were reaching toward the sky. Maybe something was up there worthy of being terrified of? Rumors claim that some of the deceased were even pointing upward.

It’s hard to say for certain what caused the death of an entire ship, but it’s clear that some things in the world will forever remain a mystery, even with all of this advanced technology.

But really, isn’t life a little sweeter with some morbid mystery in it?

When Evil Dead Meets Army of Darkness

Could it be? Could Sam Raimi soon release an Army of Darkness 2? And better still, is there a possibility of seeing the Evil Dead reboot cross into the Army of Darkness universe? (And better better still, would this mean new Evil Dead movie costumes?)

The answer to two of the three above questions is a resounding yes. (Costumes will come later.) And the post-credits scene from the recent Evil Dead was the first hint to future developments:

During the 2013 Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, Bruce Campbell spoke on the subject of returning as Ash for Army of Darkness 2:

The last one was 22 years ago. I just haven’t been racing to do it. Sam Raimi is just a little bit busy making the biggest movies in Hollywood. I use to be busy. Now I’m not. That’s why I’m here.

Ash would have to stop occasionally from chasing some deadite to catch his breath. Maybe we could do that, I guess. That would be exciting. Fight in a walker. That would be all right. Hit them with my cane. Fake them out, have a fake heart attack, distract a zombie. I like it [Seriously] All right, sir, the answer is yes.

Earlier that same year, Fede Alvarez, director behind the Evil Dead reboot, announced at WonderCon that he’d like to make an Evil Dead sequel while Raimi finishes up the Army of Darkness 2 script. Then, he added, both worlds would come together for a seventh (and final) film.

But who cares, right? All of this discussion took place a year ago. What’s the recent development? Where’s the details? The goods, the guts, the release date?

Here’s what Alvarez said on May 5 of this year:

Sam, Bruce and Rob Tapert and I are good friends and we talk to one another often and we’re always coming up with new ideas and projects. Sam is teasing Army of Darkness 2, which he is working on the script with his brother, but at the same time Evil Dead 2 is something we definitely want to do at some point. But part of the reason I think the last one was successful is because Sam took his time to find the right team of people to do it. We took the time to find the right script and all of that. If you had Evil Dead 2 coming out the following year, its just for the market, not because you’ve found the right idea. It takes time to find the right idea and that’s what we’re doing. Its always in the background and always in our heads. And every time I talk with Sam, we’re bouncing around ideas to find what would be the perfect sequel.

So obviously, the movie has yet to still receive a definitive release date – never mind a cast list – but the possibility remains open. Clearly both Raimi and Alvarez want to continue their respective creations, while also finding a way to tie the two story-lines into a single creation.

They just have to find the perfect way to do it.

Halloween: Cancelled, or Continuing As Usual?

Happy Halloween!

We are now only hours away from the celebrations the candy, Halloween costumes, haunted houses, trick-or-treating, parties, and so forth. I don’t know about you, Reader, but I’m barely able to sit still. Watching the clock isn’t helping, either. Time needs to hurry up!

In the meantime, though, lets take a minute to contemplate whether or not Halloween can actually be cancelled. Sound crazy? Not so.

After all, the White House announced at 1:54pm today that it cancelled its annual Halloween celebration due to hurricane damage to Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area And its not the only one.

The White House’s decorations.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie actually signed an executive order on Wednesday postponing Halloween celebrations across the state until Monday, writes CNN.

I’ve taken this action to minimize additional risks to lives and the public safety as we begin the process of rebuilding and recovering from Hurricane Sandy, Christ told CNN.

In addition, residents in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut have been asked to not celebrate Halloween on October 31, and many Halloween celebrations and parades have been cancelled or postponed.

However, while many on the East Coast have decided not to celebrate the holiday, some are using Halloween as a release from the recent devastation.

We were already planning on having a party, Brooklyn resident Adam Scher told CNN. But now that nobody can get into Manhattan we are really having a party.

Along with his business partner, Scher is holding a party within their public relations office in Clinton Hill.

People need something to do tonight. Everyone has been cooped up inside for the past four days, and nobody has anywhere to go or anything to do, so why not provide them with some fun celebratory festivities!

Yeah, New York may not be the best for trick-or-treating, right now.

But Scher is not alone in this determination to celebrate Halloween:

A 13-floor, 70-unit apartment building in Hoboken, New Jersey, is out of power and surrounded by water. They’ve been using smartphones to communicate with the outside world, and have been trapped for days. To entertain the kids, the residents all gathered in the lobby, encouraged the kids to dress in costume, and went trick-or-treating throughout the building.

If anything, the recent disaster has caused neighbors and friends to band together, to create a unique Halloween experience unlike any other.

So what about you, Reader? Are your Halloween plans cancelled or continuing as usual?

Top Halloween Costumes From Last Weekend

To all of my fellow East Coasters braving the current storm, best of luck!

To everyone else, let’s move on with the usual business!

So, since Halloween falls on Wednesday, last weekend saw all the big parties and all the sweet Halloween costumes. Maybe you went to one yourself. Maybe you won a costume contest. Maybe you did neither and are waiting for the big party come Wednesday. Whatever the case, keep on partying on, because this holiday season isn’t over.

To prove it isn’t over, today we’re showcasing some of our favorite costumes that have recently hit our inbox or the Internet. These are truly awesome costumes.

Full-body UV Demon.

The Simpsons.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Botched Restoration of Ecce Homo Fresco.

Tim Burton's Queen of Hearts.

Tim Burton's Mad Hatter.

Lisbeth Salander.

If you want to show of your costume, feel free to post it in the comments section below. We’re happy to see what you’re wearing for Halloween.

Halloween Counterterrorism Summit Creates Mock Zombie Apocalypse

You can’t make this up: Hundred of Marines, Navy special ops, soldiers, police, firefighters and other emergency personnel are preparing for their worst nightmare, a zombie apocalypse, using countless individuals dressed in Halloween costumes and makeup.

This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party, aid Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the October 31 training demonstration. The event will take place at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island in the San Diego bay. Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.

Honestly, this summit sounds like a lot of fun.

In this specific scenario, a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes, writes the Dallas News. The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies.

Sometime during the event, some team members will be bitten by zombies and must be treated at a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment. (I’m not making this up it’s all true.)

No one knows what the zombies will do I our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do, said Barker. If a law enforcement offices sees a zombie and says, ‘Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.

If this all feels somewhat familiar, your feeling would be correct. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a Zombie Apocalypse campaign, using the idea of a zombie apocalypse to inform people about realistic disasters.

Last month, the Homeland Security Department joined the campaign, telling citizens if they’re prepared for a zombie attack, they’ll be ready for real-life disasters like hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack, writes the Dallas News.

If only the public could observe the mock zombie apocalypse…

So what’s the point? Why spend so much money to create a zombie apocalypse, rather than a realistic disaster event?

The defining characteristics of zombies are that they’re unpredictable and resilient, said defense analyst Loren Thompson. That may be a good way to prepare for what the Pentagons calls asymmetric warfare.

In addition, writes the Dallas News, organizers can also avoid the pitfalls of using a mock enemy who could be identified by nationality, race, or culture something that could potentially be seen as offensive.

Zombie Pumpkins In The New York Botanical Garden

Think you know Halloween decorations? Take a look at this: Using a 1,693-pound pumpkin, Ray Villafane created a life-size zombie art exhibit that is now on display at the New York Botanical Garden.

The carving process began on October 20 and ended on October 21, during which Villafane and his team spent hours scraping, cutting, tearing, de-seeding, and constructing numerous pumpkin pieces, the most impressive being the aforementioned life-size zombie.

Villafane’s exhibit is part of the New York Botanical Garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden, an event that promotes the artistic uses of pumpkin in displaying the holiday’s themes.

Check out the video below the following photos to see Villafane working away on the life-size zombie.

Taking a look at Villafane’s artistic studio, Villafane Studios, one sees that the man’s passion for pumpkin art goes well beyond the New York Botanical Garden. Here are some of our personal favorite:

Ten Behind-The-Scenes Photos From Classic Horror Films

As the name suggests, today we’re showcasing ten killer behind-the-scenes photos from classic horror films. These photos lend humanity to films that have horrified and frightened countless individuals, in addition to spawning lots of Halloween costumes. Plus, it’s just fun to see someone dressed in a full Alien costume sitting on a box, looking tired and exhausted from the demand of filming. It’s almost as great as seeing Pennywise get his makeup applied.

Honestly, these photos are bound to put you in the mood for Halloween. So let’s get into it:

Even Hannibal Lector needs to eat.

 

Nick Castle giving Michael a drink.

Putting makeup on the Pennywise.

 

Oh, Carrie, you so crazy.

 

Tony Pantanella gets a zombie ready on the set of "Night Of The Living Dead."

 

Freddy enjoying some tunes with the gang.

 

Nicholson doing what he does best: be insane.

Does his face actually taste of leather?

Toying around on the set of "Child's Play."

One tired Alien.

The Top 20 Cities for Trick-or-Treating

We’ve all wondered it: which city really is the best city for trick-or-treating. Here at Fright Catalog, we’re happy to talk about the best Halloween costumes or props, but we’ve tried to avoid the topic of our favorite trick-or-treating cities, because it’s bound to get people stirred up and defensive. One person’s perception of the best city may not be the same as another’s, so its been best to avoid the topic.

Now, its time to put this concern to rest, because Zillow recently released their fourth annual Trick-or-Treat Index, which ranks the top 20 cities around the country to get the best Halloween loot

The index ranks cities based on four equally weighted data variables: Zillow Home Value Index, population density, Walk Score and local crime data from Relocation Essentials. Based on those variables, the Index represents cities that will provide the most candy, with the least walking and safety risks.

Here’s the list:

One thing to note: Zillow follows the list by saying, There is a common belief that wealthy neighborhoods are the Holy Grail for harvesting the most Halloween candy, going on to describe their index as a more holistic approach to trick-or-treating.

As a child, my family fell into the idea of wealthier neighborhoods = more candy, because we believed wealthier families had more money, thus more candy to give. Unfortunately, wealthier neighborhoods are often more spread out, too, so you spent more time walking than actually raking in the loot. Nothing worse than swollen feet and a pillow sack full of more air than candy.

So, Fright fans, anyone disagree with this list? Anyone feel the need to defend their own city and why it should make the list? Let me know.

Safety Reminder: Halloween Deadliest Day for Child Pedestrian Fatalities

Days left until Halloween: Seven.

You know what that means! Halloween costumes, decorations, and props? Nope!

Its time for me to be a wet blanket on everyone’s Halloween celebrations, by talking about safety precautions that both children and parents should be taking on Halloween.

Today, State Farm reported, Kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day. The company then listed findings from detailed analysis of their internal data:

  • Over the past 21 years, State Farm found that one hundred and fifteen child pedestrian fatalities have occurred on Halloween. That averages out to 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31, which is double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.
  • Approximately one-fourth (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred between 6-7pm. Over 60% of the accident occurred in the 4-hour period from 5-9pm.
  • Over 70% of the accident occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
  • Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32% of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23%).
  • Young drives ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.
  • Drivers ages 36-40 and 61-65 were involved in the fewest child pedestrian fatalities on Halloween. Together, these age groups accounted for nine child pedestrian fatalities (8%) in the 21 years of the study.
  • Each of the last six years of the study (2005 2010) has seen Halloween child fatalities below the 21 year average of 5.5.

So what can parents and adults do to keep children safe?

Keep your little ones safe.

The most noticeable thing is to pay attention to children while walking on streets located away from intersections and crosswalks. The higher percentage of injuries in these areas may be associated with the decrease in attention parents give to their children, because they assume such areas are safer.

In addition, parents may want to hold off on trick-or-treating during the hours immediately after the 5pm workweek release. This increase in vehicular traffic may be the reason for an increase in accidents between 6-7pm, when people are anxious to get home and start their own holiday.

Of course, almost all of this is pure speculation, and in no way am I an expert at interpreting data or preventing pedestrian fatalities. The purpose of today’s post is simply to reinforce the importance of safety during Halloween.