Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Quick Filler

It's been over a week since I've posted anything here and truth be told, I'm working on an entry that will likely be somewhat longer than my usual fare. This has been and is being a fairly busy week and I realized that I may not get my project finished and posted here for several more days. So, I thought that I would put up a couple of music videos that I hope you will enjoy. 

This first selection is actually a bit out of character for me as it features a Norwegian black metal band known as Dimmu Borgir. I say out of character because quite frankly, I'm not the biggest fan of that particular sub genre. This group impresses me however, because they provide a symphonic sound to their music and I find that somewhat unusual for black metal. I also find their overall sound compelling. This video seems to almost always begin with a short commercial, which you may or may not be able to skip within five seconds. Still, I hope that you'll bear with it because I think that Dimmu Borgir has a lot to offer. 


Next, I present something that is much more along the lines of my usual musical tastes. This is a doom-metal band from Finland that I only discovered a day or two ago. They are known as Swallow the Sun. This is a performance of a song entitled Too Cold for Tears. 

The graphics on this second video are pretty good in my opinion, so I hope you'll enjoy it. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

World Goth Day 2012

Over the weekend of May 22 to 24, 2009, a decision was made at BBC Radio 6 to sponsor a musical subculture weekend, which would include Goth programming on Friday, May 22. This was the humble beginning of an event, which by the next year, would be known as World Goth Day. 

This special day offers Goths the opportunity to not only celebrate the existence of their spooky subculture, but to raise public awareness of its actuality as well. How these goals are accomplished however, depends upon the participants, their locations and other similar factors.

Because World Goth Day falls on a Tuesday this year, some of the bigger celebrations will be taking place on Saturday. Some of these festive occasions include the World Goth Day 2012 Dance Party sponsored by the Dancing Ghosts in San Francisco and a fundraiser for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in Tewkesbury, U.K.

For those, such as myself, who live in areas where there are no planned events, celebrating the day may consist of smaller celebrations with Goth friends, if they're available, or simply by listening to some good Gothic music, reading some dark literature or perhaps, watching a scary horror movie. Whatever way you choose to celebrate, all I can say is ENJOY!

For fuller listings of events, downloadable music and posters, forums and other general information you can go to the World Goth Day Website.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Legend of Mercy Brown: A Vampire Story

"On January 17th, our beloved Mercy passed on to meet Jesus and join her mother and sister in paradise...

"Funeral will be held at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in the spring, when the conditions are right enough for a proper burial..."  

This is a tale about America's best-known vampire. It is a story about a rural family in late nineteenth century New England, which after suffering tragedy after tragedy, accused its own of vampirism in a futile effort to thwart further calamity. Twelve reported cases of vampire attack came forth from that region during the 1800's, but the Legend of Mercy Brown is the most famous of them all. 

Consumption, as it was then called, ran amok in those perilous times; often killing entire families within a matter of months. With no way to know that so many deaths had been caused by a virus--Tuberculosis to be exact, frightened families and individuals turned to superstition and the supernatural in their attempts to stem the steady march of death toward their very doorsteps. At the time, it was believed by many that consumption was caused by attacks of the undead--vampires--deceased family members who had returned from the grave to drink the blood of their former loved ones.

The Brown's were a farming family that lived in the small town of Exeter, Rhode Island during that time period. Its members consisted of father George, mother Mary, a daughter also named Mary, a son known as Edwin and two other children in addition to daughter Mercy. During the 1880's, tragedy first struck the family when wife and mother Mary lost her life to the disease on December 8, 1883. Almost exactly six months later, consumption claimed the life of the couple's daughter Mary on June 6, 1883. She was 20 years of age.

Early in the next decade the Brown family's only known son, 24-year old Edwin, contracted the disease. Desperate to find a cure for his progeny, George Brown took him west to Colorado, where the young man appeared to make gains toward recovering his health. 

Unbeknown to the absent father and son, the disease continued to wreak havoc upon the family and on January 17, 1892 Mercy, whose primary desire had been to marry and raise a family, succumbed to the disease. Due to the severity of the winter, her body was placed in an above-ground crypt until a proper burial could be conducted after the arrival of spring--a common practice at that time. 

After father and son returned to Exeter, Edwin's condition once again began to deteriorate; According to the website entitled, Mercy Brown: New England's Vampire Legend, the dying young man claimed that one night, he felt his deceased sister Mercy sitting on his chest, attempting to draw the remaining life out of him. 

At the same time, rumors had begun circulating among the local townsfolk and reports of sightings were spreading. Some claimed to have seen Mercy walking among the graves in the cemetery; others had allegedly, spotted her meandering across local farmlands. Surely, Mercy Brown is a vampire, local residents thought, a member of the undead who has returned from the grave to claim the lives of her entire family member by member!

The constant talk by the townspeople forced George Brown to take drastic action. He would discover whether Mercy was indeed a vampire and if she were, he would do what was necessary to save Edwin and the rest of his family. After requesting the assistance of a physician from nearby Wickford known only as a Dr. Metcalf, Brown and his assistant set about the task of examining, first the bodies of his deceased wife and daughter, then that of Mercy, which was still above ground in the crypt. 

After digging up the graves of both mother and daughter, it was determined that neither was a vampire because both bodies were decomposing as would be expected. Still, when the two next opened the crypt and gazed in at the remains of Mercy, it was discovered that not only had her body changed position inside the coffin, but her face was flush, her skin had not decomposed and most importantly, her nails and hair had continued to grow. Obviously, the unfortunate Mercy Brown was a vampire determined to draw the life out of her entire family!

Filled with fear, both men knew what had to be done. Quickly, they cut open Mercy's body and examined her organs--organs that still dripped with liquid blood! In order to guarantee that she would never rise from the grave again, they burned her heart on a nearby rock and gave the ashes to Edwin to eat. In those days it was believed that consuming a vampire's ashes would bring an end to the curse of death. In the case of young Edwin however, it didn't work and shortly after the event, he passed from this world. 

Mercy Brown was soon given a proper burial and she was permanently laid to rest under a gravestone that bears her name to this very day. She is interned in Exeter's Chestnut Hill Cemetery along with her other family members.

It's easy to pass off the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Mercy Brown as a lack of medical knowledge and of falling prey to fear and superstition. Yet, even today there are those who say that you can sometimes see her ghostly form ff you visit her final resting place under the cover of darkness..Wherever the truth lies on this matter, Mercy Brown's burial site continues to attract both local visitors and those from afar. Her name and legend continue to live on throughout the centuries. 

Sources: Mercy Brown's Obituary was taken from the website Mercy Brown: America's Vampire Legend.

Photo by Svenstorm (Josh McGinn) on Flickr         



Monday, May 7, 2012

The Night Goth Came to Me

After a process that took years and likely, lots of frustration before coming to fruition, the new student radio station finally took to the airwaves on April 1, 2000. At the time, FM radio still maintained a bit more relevancy than it does today; for while internet radio was indeed becoming a reality, venues such as Pandora Radio,, Rhapsody, and YouTube had not yet become a reality. Local music affectionados had long awaited the on-air arrival of KXUA and its potential as a source for alternative music. It was time for the new venue to deliver; or was it?

I tuned in to the new station's 88.3 frequency on that Saturday morning and was surprised to hear, rather than the expected music, an onslaught of political speeches. "What's this shit," I asked to no one in particular each time I turned the radio back on. I believe it was later in the day when the musical programming finally kicked in; this, after the announcement that the barrage of political diatribe had been an April Fool's joke. 

I don't remember if it was that first Saturday evening or a following one during which I found myself at home and tuning in to the station. Either way, music was playing that I found compelling and exciting. Interested in knowing who the artists were that were performing these extraordinary tunes, I waited patiently for the DJ to come back on. When she took to the microphone I heard names that I'd never heard before--names like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, the Sisters of Mercy and Type O Negative. What I found equally compelling was the way in which she segued into the next musical set: "You're listening to The Crypt," she said, "and the Death Mistress!"

That's all it took and I was totally addicted! I listened to her Saturday night program almost religiously after that, and I luxuriated in that new sound (it was new to me anyway) and in learning about the dark but compelling subculture that was associated with it. Before long, I had bought my first black trench coat and was beginning to darken my outward aesthetic. 

In a sense, I had missed the boat because the Goth culture had been flourishing for quite some time before I became aware of it; and even after the realization of its existence struck me, I had a long road ahead before I would gain any real connection to the scene. I tell that part of the story in a previous post entitled Isolation, which you can find by going here.

As I sit typing out the conclusion of this post, I do so with great gratitude to the Death Mistress; for it's because of her, that on a dark night during the spring of the year 2000 Goth came to me. 

Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery,       .