Road Trip Homilies: Wounded Knee and the Snake Givers

As I walked along a sandy path in Badlands National Park, I noticed a sign warning me to "Beware of Rattlesnakes." The wind stinging my cheeks reminded that even if the snakes decided to brave the cold, they'd be sluggish and unlikely to bite.  Still, as I walked, I listened for the tell tale "rattttttttttetattatt" and prepared myself to leap out of the way.For some reason, I couldn't get snakes out of my mind as I drove to the Pine Ridge Reservation located south of Badlands. I'd taken this … [Read more...]

The Crucifixion Made Halloween Possible

The recent death of Jack Chick made me think about my own personal history with Halloween. For awhile, we celebrated the holiday like any normal Catholic family. The last year I remember dressing up, I wore a Yoda costume because of my deep abiding love for Star Wars.But, as my parents got deeper into the Charismatic movement, they stopped letting my sister and me celebrate Halloween. I don't blame them, as they got bombarded with all the supposed evils of the holiday. Not only did they have … [Read more...]

Things Keeping the Undead Alive

We've been relishing October here at the blog, though not for all the pumpkin-spiced crap. We enjoy the unabashed focus on the eerie, the ghostly, the supernatural; for many of us at Sick Pilgrim, they served as our gateway to Christianity and the Church. So this time of year is, in many ways, our homecoming.This month we bring you our regular listicle of small joys with a twist: "Things Keeping the Undead Alive,"  suggestions for cheap-to-free things that will give you the shivers from our e … [Read more...]

Jack Chick and The Year of Mercy.

 HAW! HAW! HAW!My parents threw themselves into the charismatic movement of the late 1970's and early 80's. Every Sunday, we would drive to a weekly charismatic prayer meeting. Being a book person even at the age of seven, I always looked at their large book table. As I shopped around one evening, I noticed a bunch of tracts with cool drawings on the front. One caught my eye because it had a spooky looking ghost on the front. Being obsessed with the paranormal, I couldn't … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: John Wayne Gacy and Me

I don't remember where I hid the bodies or how I struck them down. Many are rotting in Louisiana. Others were tossed along the many roads I've traveled all around this country.Sometimes I can't even recall their names. Part of me wants to doubt I did it. Another part insists an extenuating circumstance limits my culpability, no matter how guilty I know that I am. I'm not sure if I would condemn concerns over the reaction of my wife, my family, and my closest friends as mere vanity. But I'm … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: Weapons of War

The LORD will guard you from all evil; he will guard your life. The LORD will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever.R. Our help is from the Lord (Psalm 121)  On Monday I binge-watched three episodes of The Exorcist, the new Fox show, and when I was done I had to face the dark hallway that led to my dark bedroom, where my children were asleep, as usual, in my bed. I made it to the bathroom, turned on the light, pulled back the shower curtain in one quick m … [Read more...]

Scary Things You Should Watch (Other than the Presidential Election)

Like most of you, we are horrified at the progression of this presidential election. It's unsettling, scary and hard to process. It's one of the reasons why we've turned Sick Pilgrim over to the spooks this month. Because, really, these kind of scares can be cathartic when real life stresses us out so much we'd rather not get out of bed.So, if you need a good movie (or movies) to watch, Jess and I came up with a good batch of them. Enjoy!Jessica Recommends: Rosemary's BabyA young … [Read more...]

Spooky Pilgrim: Joanna’s Ghost Dreams

I am at my grandmother’s house, sitting with her at the kitchen table that’s been there since before I was born, a glass-topped table with a yellow-painted wrought iron base. I am an adult and visiting by myself, and, as she’s done many times before, my grandmother is sitting in her spot at the table and telling me things. She tells me that recently she’s had a quite vivid dream of my grandfather, and as she describes the feeling of it to me, I can feel it, too, along the “psychic family network” … [Read more...]

Five Sacramentally Scary Books You Should Read for Halloween

 (Possible Spoilers Ahead) As a supernatural thriller writer, I'm asked all the time about my favorite scary books. My answers always surprise them, because most of my favorites are not recent. In fact, the only modern horror writers I read are Stephen King, Dean Koontz or Peter Straub. And, maybe more shocking, I'm not a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft at all. All of the things he supposedly does well can be found in the works of earlier and much better writers.Further, my favorite … [Read more...]

Spooky Pilgrim Strange but True Stories: Lehua’s Tale

(So, we here at Sick Pilgrim love all things spooky, weird and strange. We thought it was pretty fitting to tell real life stories of the strange and unusual, especially during the month of October. It reminds us there is an Unseen world to consider and try to understand. Plus, as Catholics, we have a long history and tradition of the Weird Tale. It's kind of our thing. Feel free to read these at night...alone...in the dark.....and have your rosary beads with you.Sick Pilgrim reader Lehua … [Read more...]