Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Just Got Tagged

What a surprise! Yesterday I checked in at Lucretia's Reflection,
just to see what she was up to when I discovered that she had tagged me in a new challenge. Thanks, Lucretia for passing this on to me. I'm not sure that I'm the best candidate to receive this honor, but I'll do what I can and am comfortable doing. Also, you've given me a topic for this week's entry. That's a good thing because I was lacking for a topic this week. Now I've got one.

Five things you need everyday 

1) Coffee! It's my highest priority every morning. Often, I go to the coffee shop for my fix because they serve great iced coffee, which is one of my greatest thirst quenchers during hot weather, and a decent breakfast. At other times, I just make it at home. Like I said, we're talking high priority here.

(2) Music is definitely one of my greatest loves. Depending upon my mood, I cover a lot of territory ranging from metal or dark wave to classical. Generally, I sleep with classical music on.

3) To say that I'm lost without the internet would be an understatement. So, let's just add that to the list.

4) I love my book reading and do some of it most every day. Currently, I'm reading NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, who I think is Stephen King's son.

5) Water--I drink lots of it.

Books you would recommend 

1) I'd like to begin this list with Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, which starts off with Interview With the Vampire. I have read up to Tale of the Body Thief , which is the fourth in the series. Interview then, is my first recommendation.

2) Alabaster - by Kaitlin R. Kiernan - This book is comprised of a series of short stories about an albino girl named Dancy, who roams the countryside of South Georgia slaying monsters. There's no particular reason why I chose this book over the others I've read by Kiernan, except that it served as a good introduction to her unique style of writing.

3) The Mystery of Grace Written by Charles de Lint, this is a novel that I wouldn't refer to as Gothic, but it's one that I recommend anyway. It's a beautiful tale about a young lady who living in the Southwest, who suddenly finds herself in the middle of the armed robbery of a small grocery store. She later awakens in the familiar surroundings of her bedroom. But how familiar is it?  I consider Mr. de Lint a superb writer who skillfully uses the supernatural to confront the reader with life's most important questions.

4) The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, is the first of her Mayfair Witches trilogy. In this story the reader becomes acquainted with a line of witches extending through multiple generations from seventeenth-century Europe to late twentieth-century New Orleans. Each member of this group has a unique relationship with a spirit entity named Lasher.

5) Child of the Night: I had long wondered how Nancy Kilpatrick, a horror writer from Montreal, would handle her series of vampire novels and I am quite pleased with the results. This first in a series introduces the reader to a new group of vampires, each with their flaws, strengths and weaknesses. I've only read the first two of Ms. Kilpatrick's vampire series, but in in addition to keeping the reader intrigued, there is a noticeably romantic and erotic theme running throughout both. You really should start with the first one though, and that's Child of the Night

Materialistic wishes for Yule/Christmas presents

Here's my disclaimer on this: I'm really not big on Christmas but Yule is okay. So, if I were into getting presents at that time, here's what I'd like.

1) A black Van Helsing hat. They also come in dark brown but black is my preference.

2) A long Victorian style coat or another leather trench coat. It would need to be appropriate for either fall or winter wear. Black of course!
3) A few romantic dress shirts.

4) A dinner date with Tarja Turunen.

5) Enough money to be able to make all of the above happen whenever I wanted.

Five places I wish to visit

1) Burley, Hampshire, England

2) Whitby, England - Time spent there would include the Gothic festival. 

3) Western Ireland

4) The Canadian Maritime Provinces

5) Romania - Especially Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains.

Adjective that describe me 

1) Pensive

2) Melancholy

3) Sensitive

4) Intelligent

5) Literate

Things I'd say to people about life 

1) Live it honestly.

2) Savor every moment

3) Live your life with dignity

4) Don't let them get to you.

5) Life goes by too fast.

Remember early on how I said that I'm not sure that I'm the best candidate to receive this tagging honor? Well, I said that because I don't want to tag anyone. No offense intended, but I'm just not comfortable doing something that might make some one feel obliged to participate when he or she might rather not.

On a different note, I just learned this morning that Voltaire is coming to town on July 13. Tickets go on sale tomorrow! This is very short notice and seems to have caught all of us by surprise, but it's a very pleasant surprise indeed. You can just about count on some photos and my take on the event a couple of weeks or so down the line. 

Until next time then...



Thursday, June 20, 2013

What's Your Goth Type?

It's been quite a while since I first discovered a website called goth (stereo) types: An Illustrated Guide to Goth (stereo) Types.
The site, which is authored by a lady who calls herself Trelia, contains an interesting page that features nearly three dozen drawings of Goths in most of the subculture's known manifestations; from Trad, Romantic and Cyber Goths to those of the Steampunk, Faerie and Tribal variety. Click on the image of your choosing and you'll find more details about the chosen type.

Since the time that I first discovered Trelia's intriguing site, I wondered just which sub genre I typified the most; after all, I already had a style of my own long before I even knew that Goth existed. Once I discovered and found myself drawn to the subculture, I merely began incorporating a darker aesthetic to my look; at least at first. That's also when I bought my leather trench coat, which I still love and enjoy during the winter months. 

Before long though, simply darkening my style wasn't enough, so I started buying new and more appropriate clothing and accessories. At first, my appearance had morphed into something resembling a blend of Fields of the Nephilim's style with a bit of vampire and a healthy dose of metal. As time went by however, I continued looking for dressier items and now, I often frequent a local vintage resale shop in my never-ending  quest for more elegant, if I can use that word, clothing. 

The truth of the matter is that I'm still not sure just where I'm going with these changes in style. On the one hand, my casual dress remains pretty much the same. I might wear a band shirt and my bat necklace and call it a day. But on the other hand, I find myself striving for a more romantic look for those special occasions, which are finally beginning to happen around here again. Wait a minute! Did I just say romantic? I think I did, and that leads me to a recent realization. 

I was thinking about my short stories and how almost all of them have recurring themes such as preternatural romance, darkly erotic dreams that become reality and seductive vampires, to name a few. My God! I thought to myself. Could I actually be a Romantic Goth? Hmm...The thought does seem to ring true even if I do listen to a lot of metal and love my wide-rimmed hats. Of course, I don't believe that anybody can be exclusively of just one type; and more likely than not, a person is going to dress according to what he or she thinks is appropriate for the night's activities. Still, I read something the other day that pretty much convinced me of my leanings.  

I found a passage in a novel written by Nancy Kilpatrick entitled Near Death. In one moving scene David, a vampire, does what he must do in order to both save his mortal lover and their desire for an enduring relationship. Just before committing himself to action he quotes Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

"'How do I love thee..."'
"'I love the to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach..."'

That did it for me. The intensity of the situation made my eyes tear up. In a flush of emotion I realized that I must be a romantic! In a way, that's a shocking realization for me; especially, since I've pretty much given up on the notion that it will ever happen for me again in this lifetime. But what about you all? Do any of you feel that you personify one type over the others

The goth (stereo) type website

Photo source: Gothic Pictures Gallery

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Red Sun Revival

Although it may not have been the longest post I've ever put up here, last week's discussion of Elizabeth Bathory required quite a bit of research and took me quite a while to complete. That said, I'm going to take it easy on myself by briefly discussing my latest band discovery and letting you watch and listen to one of their videos. 

Just a few days ago, I had just put on <A HREF="">Nightbreed Radio
when I heard a song that really caught my attention. As I usually do in such cases, I copied and pasted the artist's name into my Google search so that I wouldn't forget it. Then, when I was ready, I looked for their official website and checked out their few offerings that I could find on You Tube. I was impressed and I hope that you'll be too. 
Red Sun Revival describes itself as "an alternative/gothic rock band," which formed in London just two years ago. The group consists of vocalist and guitarist Rob Leydon, Matt Helm on guitar, Panos Theodoropoulos playing the bass and classically-trained Christina Emery on violin. The band's music also utilizes a generous amount of keyboards, but I'm not sure who the artist is behind those. It could easily be Christina however, as she used to play keyboards for an electronic group known as FutireFrentic. According to the group's official website they have recorded a demo album entitled Running From the Dawn, which is available on MP3 for download. 

This particular offering is entitled, My Child. I hope you'll like them as much as I do. 

Red Sun Revival Website


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory: Transylvania's True Vampire

More likely than not, credit for being the world's best known vampire would have to go to Count Dracula, a creation of nineteenth century novelist, Bram Stoker. It's common knowledge that the author based his story upon a real-life prince who lived in Transylvania during the fifteenth century named Vlad Dracul lll. Although the prince, more commonly referred to as Vlad the Impaler, was responsible for the brutal and often sadistic execution of up to 100,000 souls during his reign, he was no vampire. In fact, he is considered a hero in Romania to this very day as his brutality served to protect his people from Ottoman invaders. Still, there is one who arrived on the scene over 200 years later whose sadistic passions and blood lust may have even surpassed those of Prince Vlad, and it might just be that this person's behavior also inspired Mr. Stoker's famous novel.     

On August 7, 1560 in Nyribator, Hungary a child was born to the Bathory clan, a family of considerable influence. Erzsebet, or Elizabeth as the name is translated, was raised as royalty and grew into a beautiful and statuesque young lady with delicate features and  pale, creamy skin. She was well educated, talented, and learned to read and speak in four languages. Likely as a matter of political convenience, she was given in marriage at the age of fifteen to a Count Ferencz Nadasdy and resided with him at Nadasdy Cachtice Castle (Csejte Castle), which he bestowed upon her as a wedding present. The castle was situated in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. Upon their marriage the count took on his bride's surname; and by so doing, gave her the official title of Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed

Elizabeth's husband was a soldier and as such, was often away from home pursuing his military interests. During his absences, which were often of considerable length, the countess took on interests that were quite eclectic, to say the least. Allegedly, she began surrounding herself with witches, alchemists, wizards, sorcerers and others who dabbled in vile deeds in league with the Devil; at least, as it was believed at the time..Her associates supposedly taught her all that they knew and she reveled in her new found knowledge. 

Not satisfied with just practicing the darker arts she had learned from her new associates, Elizabeth took great pleasure in practicing the art of flagellation upon various victims, an interest she derived from an aunt. Attached to the end of her whip was a type of silver pincer or claw, which was designed to tear into the flesh of the unfortunate person hanging before her. It is said that she derived great pleasure from brutally applying these to the flesh of  various Slavic debtors.

In 1604 Elizabeth's husband died; and having never really loved him, she almost immediately set out to attract another lover; and hopefully, one that could help her attain to an even higher position of political power..Since she was now 43 years of age, her youthful beauty had faded and she became obsessed with regressing back to a more youthful appearance. One day after slapping one of her young female servants and drawing blood, the countess imagined that contact with the girl's body fluid had made the skin on her hand more youthful appearing. She immediately called in the alchemists for consultation as well as her beauty consultant. These assured her that she had indeed, made a most important discovery and one that was backed up by historic precedent. The countess quickly came to believe that by bathing in the blood of young virgins she could restore her lost youth.

Overjoyed with this turn of events. Elizabeth incorporated the assistance of her witches as well as her most trusted helper, Dorotta Szentes (Dorka), in the carrying out of a bold plan. Under the cover of darkness Elizabeth and her assistants began roaming the countryside in search of young virgins. After finding several they would return to the castle where the girls would be stripped naked and hung upside down. Then, each young lady would have her throat cut, her blood draining into the countess' bath. Elizabeth apparently believed that the procedure would be most effective if she bathed while the blood was still warm. If a girl was particularly attractive, the countess would drink her blood. It is said that at first she used a golden flask when partaking, but eventually drank the girls' life essence more directly, even as the child continued to struggle for life. 

Eventually, Elizabeth came to the conclusion that the blood of peasant girls was not serving to achieve her goal and that higher quality blood was necessary. Therefore, she started an academy inside the castle with the supposed purpose of educating proper young ladies in manners and etiquette. A total of 25 at a time were brought to the so-called academy and each of these met the same fate the peasants had met before them. 

Although the disappearances of young girls from the poorer population had surely been noticed by their families, the countess and her diabolical companions were able to continue with their sinister activities unhindered. After all, the poor had no clout, so to speak, and those of higher economic and social standing likely didn't care what happened to them. The luring of young girls from more affluent families was a riskier proposition however, and it was apparently a potential pitfall that the countess and her assistants failed to recognize. One night after a particularly intense session of killing and sanguine pleasure, four blood-drained bodies were carelessly thrown over the side of the castle. Not only were the lifeless remains of the victims quickly identified by the villagers below, but word rapidly spread that some unspeakable horror had been befalling the adolescent maidens who had been taken into the care of the countess. 

It wasn't long before word of the atrocities reached the Hungarian Emperor Matthias ll, who without hesitation, ordered that Countess Elizabeth Bathory be placed on public trial. Since Elizabeth was an aristocrat she could be neither arrested nor put on trial. Instead, Dorka and her witches were put on trial and after being found guilty of their heinous crimes, were burned at the stake. 

Although Elizabeth was never brought to trial, she did face a formal hearing where, in the year 1610, it was decided that she would spend the rest of her days sealed up in a small room in the castle--a room with openings only large enough to pass food through. Elizabeth Bathory died four years later at the age of 54. 

All in all, it is believed that some 600 young girls died  horrific deaths at the hands of the countess; this, although she never admitted to anything. And while it's difficult to accurately verify all of the vile activities that allegedly took place during the years of Elizabeth Bathory's residency at Cachtice Castle, most of the information we have today was obtained during the trial of Dorka and the other witches. 

Although we cannot know for sure just what happened within the walls of that dark and damp fortress during those opening days of the seventeenth century, it's clear that some extraordinary and ghastly events transpired at the hands of the Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory and that she is likely, one of Transylvania's most vile figures and a true vampire in every sense of the word.

A view of Cachtice Castle where it all occurred. 

The authors or creators of these photos are unknown and are used here under the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law.