The Bible of St. Louis


The Bible of St. Louis is one of the greatest works of illumination in history, with 4,887 illustrations providing an astonishing view of both scripture and the 13th century. The three volumes contain excerpts from the Bible and commentary. They were commissioned between 1226 and 1234 by Blanche of Castile for the education of her son, King [Read More...]

Christopher Lee Warns Against the Occult

The great actor debunks the rumor that he is an occultist with a collection of 20,000 books on the subject, then delivers a warning about messing with such things at all: “You’ll not only lose your mind. You’ll lose your soul.” I spent the weekend re-watching many of his Hammer movies. The man is a [Read More...]

Ivy Wishes You a Happy Halloween


  Pumpkin spice flavored pooch. [Read more...]

I’m Haunting the National Catholic Register

I wrote a new article drawing on some of the research I published here: Do you believe in ghosts? You may be surprised to find out which Church Fathers and doctors did and which didn’t. What’s clear is that, whether or not many Americans believe in ghosts, many clearly want to. Television and film are crowded with [Read More...]

A Compilation of My Dark and Ghostly Posts


My first writing was in the horror genre, contributing to publications like The Horror Show and Cemetery Dance, and writing entries for the encyclopedia Supernatural Fiction Writers. I even worked for George A. Romero’s Laurel Entertainment film and TV production company for a little while. I think there’s value in exploring dark themes, fear, and even revulsion in [Read More...]

“The Man Comes Around” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Johnny Cash: “The Man Comes Around” Really, only one guy could have the final slot in this series: the man who made dark country his motif by dressing all in black. I wanted to end on a note of  hope, and Johnny’s song about the Last Judgement is the perfect way to go. [Read More...]

St. Joan vs. Boris Karloff

Karloff in "The Lark"

I’ve loved the classic Universal monster movies since I was a kid in the 1970s. That was the decade of the “Monster Kids,” who became fans thanks to a combination of TV showings of classic films, Famous Monsters of Filmland and Castle of Frankenstein magazines, and endless parodies of the characters made famous by Karloff, [Read More...]

“Caleb Meyer” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Gillian Welch: “Caleb Meyer” I’d forgotten all about Gillian Welch’s song about the ghost of a murdered rapist until a reader reminded me of it on Twitter. She’s got a great voice for this kind of song. [Read more...]

“The Snakes Crawl At Night” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Charlie Pride: “The Snakes Crawl At Night” More murder, but this time with an oddly cheerful chorus in this tale of a man being tempted to murder by Satan .   [Read more...]

Jellyfish DNA May Help Diagnose Ebola, Other Diseases


What a weird and wonderful world: Discs of souped-up filter paper could change how we diagnose infections. To demonstrate the power of the approach, which involves embedding DNA from jellyfish and other organisms into paper, its developers have successfully used it to identify two strains of Ebola. Although far from being ready for testing in [Read More...]

“Leavin’ in the Morning” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Drag the River: “Leavin’ in the Morning” This was a new band for me, recommended by a reader on Twitter. The punch is in the final line. [Read more...]

Do You Believe in Ghosts?


It’s time to tackle the question I’ve avoided in this series. Do I believe in ghosts? I am a Fortean as well as a Christian. I allow for the possibility of the strange, improbable, and anomalous in the world. I also enthusiastically embrace a supernatural worldview which includes daily miracles, the power of prayer, the [Read More...]

St. Thomas Aquinas Believed in Ghosts

St. Thomas Aquinas at Prayer

We’re coming up fast on Halloween, so I want to jump ahead a bit to see what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say about ghosts. The section is found in the Summa Theologica, Supplementum Tertiæ Partis: Question 69. Matters concerning the resurrection, and first of the place where souls are after death, Article 3. Whether [Read More...]

“The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Bill Monroe: “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” Mr Bill was asked once about the allegorical elements of this song, which appears to be about parents sending children off into the world to be tempted by the devil and lured to damnation by sin. His answer (and I’m paraphrasing from memory) [Read More...]

Great Documentary About M.R. James From “Sherlock” Star/Creator

Writer/actor Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock, League of Gentlemen) writes and hosts this fine documentary on the greatest ghost story writer of them all: medievalist and Biblical scholar Montague Rhodes James. Special treats include locations from James stories (such as St Bertrand de Comminges, stuffed crocodile and all), a passing shot of a tombstone for “Mrs [Read More...]