Looking Up

I grew up next to an old abandoned nudist colony called Nature’s Rest founded by the friends of the guy who ran NYC’s garbage industry for the Italian mob at the turn of the last century, but that is not the interesting part of this post. Before, the poultry farm, the brickwork and its cable cars, and General Lacy’s (who hid General Howe on his lot after his refusal to go north to Saratoga during the Revolutionary War) bog iron industry, and the nudist colony there was a Native American community. What remains is their bonsai forest.
In the Pitch Pines of NJ, we have very flexible trees. Near the headwaters, the native Lenni Lenape would create their burial grounds. Much like ours today, with some wonderful landscaping.
One of the landscape designs was to bend trees at 90-degree angles for decoration and to serve as trail markers. The picture below is of one of them. You can tell it is not natural, for when you look above the trunk at the bend, you will see where the original top of the trunk was cut off.
Other landscape designs would have circles of various species of trees in which they forked the tops to look like antlers. Usually, next to them, they would also have trees shaped to look like lightning bolts. Another feature of these gardens was to bend them while they are young and let them spray out like giant spreading junipers. There will also be one or two bull pines, which they would lean at 45-degree angles.
Now, where I grew up playing in, this old nudist colony was actually one of their cemeteries. In the area, the Boy Scouts would pitch their tents are about thirty circular depressions in the ground where many of the natives were buried. Also, where the burned-out farmhouse was and by the old apple trees is still a large open field with circular indentations. Once you disturb the ground in the pines, it never comes back. In this cemetery and the other one on the other side of the neighborhood by the pond that disappears and comes back, lichen grows in the open spaces they cleared centuries ago. Another feature of their landscaping is mountain Laurel hedges. Also, they had plentiful wintergreen patches next to the scrub oak they cultivated for the acorns. The blueberries, well, they are just everywhere.
Now, between the two native cemeteries, was their neighborhood. Each lot had a circle of forked trees on both sides, with oaks in the center. Each had about an acre.
Now the secret to this is when things might strike you down thinking that life is a bitch, keep looking up. You will be amazed at what you find. Plus, if you are looking up, you are not looking down into the grave or up from one…
It is also better to think of the people who lived in your neighborhood before you who had good or average lives, rather than a couple of nudists who owned property with the mobster that dropped murder victims into the mineral quarries next to where the Hindenburg blew up.
Like visiting, your grandparents, it is better to focus on the living and happiness they once spread through the world. Not of the tragedies that once befell an area, even if they sound cool and made documentaries about them (Oh, the Humanity!). So learning from that, I walk with the spirits of the Lenni Lenape that once went through my woods and no longer feel the presence of the nude mobster who would drive through town with his rat rod with the devil hick hood ornament thumbing his nose to the Pineys.
Looking for the Lenni Lenape’s ornamental trees is much more fun now, but I still look for the bog iron that General Lacy’s men have left behind too by the edge of the ponds…

New Arkham: Tales from the Flipside

This is Professor Wilmarth and your friendly neighborhood Cthulhu welcoming you to another journey within the world of the macabre and the strange. In this season’s issue, we have several tales of aliens, strange houses, killer turtles, and the end of the world.

  We begin with Henry traveling back to Cromwellian England to face an evil that has spread out through American history…Next Hilton brings us a forboding home in The House Jack Built. Then Martin Pearson gives us a tale of a private dick looking for an alien embassy in New York City. In Deschenes’ LGBTQs, we learn it’s not nice to fool with mother nature or men in 5-inch heels. Followed by Simak’s Worry Wort in which a copyreader follows the course of a young lad’s power to shift the events of the world to a naive Utopia, which might be the end of everything. Herbert then brings us to a deal too good to be true when a young couple gets to trade their mobile home for a palace. Last we have Stuart bringing us into a deep freeze in Who Goes There?; a tale of an alien invasion that wins one cell at a time.   

   Some stories touch on historical facts and others you will hope are just pure fiction. Let’s see if you can figure out all the connections between the tales. Who knows, you might even find more than I reveal at the end of our installment from Arkham: Tales from the Flipside.

  Well, Cthulhu is hungry, don’t mind if he starts nibbling on your toes as you begin to read, don’t worry, the world will be over before he eats anything important.

Part Two to Lost Taira: What a Boar!

Read the latest installment from The Sinclair Narratives, the sequel to the Lost Tiara where Henry and Bjorn fought back Rasputin, Crane, and Jp Morgan II on the eve of WWII as the bird flu was spreading throughout the world after Crane robbed a magical and deadly tiara from the recently executed royal family of Russia. In What a Boar! Henry and Bjorn who has reached far beyond his 80th birthday (and his bones are creaking and he doesn’t like it) go on a boar hunt…

Normally Bjorn reaches 80, has a bar fight, walks out after everyone is unconscious, and dies the next day. This time it didn’t work out; he was rubbed by a magical boar back in 1918 in the Pines of NJ that was infected by the flu and now during the SARS2 epidemic a hundred years later as the Russians are getting revenge for toppling their Russian Provisional Government, Bjorn goes hunting for that magical pig of resurrection with Henry. For when the boar that infected him dies, so will Bjorn!

Read the latest from The Sinclair Narratives from Arkham: Tales from the Flipside!

How and Illustration is Made: Behind the Scenes of Danny and the Tree of Life

The latest tale within Tales from Mr. Pelinger’s House is Danny and the Tree of Life. It’s about a boy who grew up in the shadow of the largest tree in the world at the top of the temple on top of the largest mountain in the world. Read about his journey to climb the fabled Tree of Life as it spans through the galaxy. Travel up this tree with him to see all its wonders!

Before you do, let us see how this tale was made.

First I draw and paint the backgrounds in graphite and then colored pencils. Then I will draw and paint a very large head to be added to a smaller body… Well, when it is done, the head won’t be so large or the body so small. Photoshop allows me to put these drawings together like that old toy called Colorforms. This process allows me to get more detail into the faces, but still, be able to save money by working on sheets of paper under 9″ x 12″. It is also easier to store the paintings since I will be moving them from place to place (nobody else is buying them…). Below is an example:

 

Keep coming back and see how the rest of the book was made. You can also find Danny and the Tree of Life within the pages of Tales from Mr. Pelinger’s House. I welcome you to get your copy now.

Another Tale within the Mr. Pelinger’s House Series

Danny and the Tree of Life

This is the tale of a two-year-old that grows up quickly! Danny within the temple on top of the tallest mountain in the world has been living in the shadow of the tallest tree in the world. Not only is it the tallest tree in the world, but it is the tallest tree in the galaxy, the fabled Tree of Life. He leaves his home to climb to its top through the galaxy to learn all of its secrets.

Journey with Danny and meet the Moon Smith, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, Hermetical Hymie, and many more people.

Danny and the Tree of life and the other great stories are available in Tales from Mr. Pelinger’s House available now! Buy your copy here.

Lovecraft Tour of Salem

In this video follow Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin of the Salem Smugglers’ Tour as he brings you on the Lovecraft Tour of Salem. He will bring you to the locations behind Lovecraft’s most famous stories. For example, he will bring you to the Bentley-Crowninshield House. The house appears within The Thing on the Doorstep.  Further, he will bring you to the old Charter Street Burying Ground. Inside the pages of Pickman’s Model, they mention the graveyard. Moreover, he will give you the real histories behind the locations and the people who lived in them. So watch this video and take the tour of Arkham, which we locals know as Salem MA! Lovecraft and Cthulhu would be so proud!

To find out more about the weird locations in Salem and the tunnels that run under the city, book a tour on the Salem Smugglers’ Tour. Plus read the books Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa.