The Vampire Witch with the Pale White Eyes…

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Die Hexe by A. Fuseli. (Public Domain)

Shtriga

A shtriga (Latin: strix; Italian: strega; compare also Romanian: strigă; and Polish: strzyga) is a vampiric witch in traditional Albanian folklore. It is said that the shtriga sucks the blood of infants at night while they sleep, and then turns into a flying insect (traditionally a moth, fly, or bee) and flies away. Only the shtriga itself can cure those it has drained. The shtriga is often pictured as a woman—with a hateful stare (sometimes wearing a cape) and a horribly disfigured face—however, the possibility of a male shtriga (male nouns would be shtrigu or shtrigan) is just as likely.

In Legend

According to legend, only the shtriga itself could cure those it had drained (often by spitting in their mouths), and those who were not cured inevitably sickened and died.

The name can be used to express that a person is evil. Northern Albanian folklore says that a woman is not born a witch; she becomes one, often because she cannot have babies or they die and the envy makes her evil. A strong belief in God could make people immune to a witch as God would protect them.

Usually, shtrigas were described as old or middle-aged women with grey, pale green, or pale blue eyes (called white eyes or pale eyes) (sybardha) and a crooked nose. Their stare would make people uncomfortable, and people were supposed to avoid looking them directly in the eyes because they have the evil eye (syliga) [1]. To ward off a witch, people could take a pinch of salt in their fingers and touch their (closed) eyes, mouth, heart and the opposite part of the heart and the pit of the stomach and then throw the salt in direct flames saying “syt i dalçin syt i plaçin” or just whisper 3–6 times “syt i dalçin syt i plaçin” or “plast syri keq.”

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Shtriga (striga) handprint, burned into the windowsill of a child’s upstairs bedroom. These vampiric witches from Albanian legend feed off of children’s lifeforce, leaving them comatose and eventually dead. It is said a shtriga can take the form of a winged insect, such as a month or a fly. (Supernatural, Season 1, “Something Wicked)*

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“Do you wanna know what it feels like to be strangled to death?” – Doris, Ouija Origin of Evil

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Teen Boy: “Doris. Christ! You scared the crap outta me.”

Doris: “Want to hear something cool?”

Teen Boy: “Uh. Yeah. Sure.”

Doris: “Do you wanna know what it feels like to be strangled to death? First, you feel the pressure in your throat. Your eyes water; and you start to taste something very, very sour in your mouth. Then, it’s like someone lights a match right in the middle of your chest. And that fire grows. It fills your lungs and your throat and all the way behind your eyes. And, finally, that fire turns to ice, like pins and needles of ice are sticking into your fingers and toes, your arms . You see stars, then darkness. And the last thing you feel. . . is cold.

Doris: “Goodnight, Romeo.”

“You Keep Coming Back Like A Song” (Tony Perkins, 1958) Is Played in New Horror Film: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House Dir. by Son, Osgood Perkins

You Keep Coming Back Like A Song, Sung by (Anthony) Tony Perkins, 1958. What a beautiful rendition of this classic song. (See text that follows the video)

Tony Perkins Sings You Keep Coming Back Like a Song

 

The song first appeared in the film Blue Skies in 1946, performed by Bing Crosby and Betty Russell. The song was a big hit and since that time, has been recorded by a number of famous songsters, including Perkins…

Recording History

  1. Bing Crosby & Betty Russell (Blue Skies Film Soundtrack), 1946
  2. Dinah Shore, 1946
  3. Jo Stafford, 1946
  4. Bing Crosby, Solo, 1946
  5. Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra (with Johnny Thompson) , 1946
  6. Chuck Foster & His Orchestra  (with Tommy Ryan) , 1946
  7. Ted Heath & His Music (vocal: Paul Carpenter) , 1946
  8. Dennis Day, 1946
  9. Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson, 1946
  10. Georgia Gibbs, 1946
  11. Frank Sinatra (Radio Transcript), 1946
  12. Gordon MacRae, 1952
  13. Ella Fitzgerald, 1958
  14. Anthony (Tony) Perkins,1958
  15. Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians – 1958
  16. Margie Gibson, 1993
  17. Andrea Marcovicci, 1994
  18. Elisabeth Welch, 1995
  19. Phillip Officer, 2000
  20. Jane Scheckter, 2003
  21. Maude Maggart, 2005
  22. Also Recorded by: Dick James with Bob Farnon’s Orch.; Mantovani & His Orch.; Charlie Kunz; Jackie Davis; John Arpin; Marlene Ver Planck; Geraldo & His Orch.; Frank Strazzeri ……… and others.

Tony Perkins’ Sons Make a Masterpiece: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, 2016

Note of Trivia: The 1958 Perkins version of the song was recently featured in a horror film, I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (film poster, inset), written and directed by Tony’s son Osgood (Oz) Perkins; the music for the film was composed by Tony’s son, Elvis Perkins. The film, a unique ghost story, is a ghost masterpiece of subtlety, beauty, and creeping dread—unlike anything I have ever seen before—and I highly recommend it (5 out of 5 stars).

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Anthony Perkins’ son, Oz Perkins, wrote and directed the October 2016 Netflix Original horror film, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, a subtle and hauntingly dreadful ghost story with cameo appearances by Deborah Harry (Blondie), as the creepy Mrs. Plum. Elvis Perkins, Tony Perkins’ other son, wrote the film’s eerie score. This film is a must-see. (5 out of 5 stars)

Lyrics as Sung by Tony Perkins, 1958

You keep coming back like a song
A song that keeps saying “Remember”
The sweet used-to-be that was once you and me
Keeps coming back like an old melody

The perfume of Roses in May
Returns to my room in December

From out of the past
Where forgotten things belong
You keep coming back like a song

<Trombone Solo Interlude>

From out of the past
Where forgotten things belong
You keep coming back like a song

You keep coming back like a song

(Transcribed by Sanguine Woods in October 2017 from Tony Perkins original 1958 recording.)

Blue Bayou, from Dreamcatcher Soundtrack, 2003

Inner Worlds: A Four-Part Film You Should Watch…

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http://www.innerworldsmovie.com

Parts 1 – 4:

http://www.innerworldsmovie.com/index.cfm?page=video&videoid=1

http://www.innerworldsmovie.com/index.cfm?page=video&videoid=2

http://www.innerworldsmovie.com/index.cfm?page=video&videoid=3

http://www.innerworldsmovie.com/index.cfm?page=video&videoid=4

 

 

 

Vampire Women Rock! Remembering Weird Tales Writer, Everil Worrell (1893-1969)

Worrell’s daughter recounted that her parents “had the walls of their apartment decorated with the art work for her stories and the covers of issues of Weird Tales. When I was born (1928), however, they thought they’d better take the pictures down because they didn’t want to frighten the baby!” 

– Jeanne Eileen Murphy, Worrell’s daughter, from a biography of the author that appeared in the first edition of Robert Weinberg’s Weird Tales Collector in 1977.

I wanted to introduce you, fellow lover of “the weird”, to a long-overlooked writer of quality short fiction, Everil Worrell (1893-1969), who, beginning in 1926, was a regular contributor to Weird Tales magazine. Worrell’s perhaps most well-known story “The Canal” mixes fishermen, vampires, and murky water to make an intoxicating brew. The story first appeared in Weird Tales in December 1927; and was later made into a TV episode on Rod Serling’s popular series, Night Gallery (see end of this post).

Everil Worrell wrote no less than 19 stories for Weird Tales and made the cover three times: “The Bird of Space” (September 1926) with art by E.M Stevenson; “The Gray Killer” (November 1929) with art by C.C. Senf; and “Once There Was a Little Girl” (January 1953) with art by Frank Kelly Freas. Having published stories in Weird Tales between 1926 and the mid-1950s, when the publication first gave up the ghost, Worrell is considered the magazine’s most frequent contributor over such a long expanse of time.

[More information on the life and death of Everil Worrell can be found here: http://tellersofweirdtales.blogspot.com/2012/02/everil-worrell-1893-1969.html; and https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=90458037&PIpi=161705790. In the event that the Internet site URLs above should ever become inactive, I have included the bipgraphical information contained therein at the end of this post under Further Reading.]

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Cover of the 1977 first edition of Robert Weinberg’s Weird Tales Collector

Everil Worrell began regular appearances in Weird Tales in 1926. It’s hard to verify how many stories she wrote in total—twenty four titles are known. Nineteen of them certainly appeared in Weird Tales between 1926 and 1954; one under the pen-name Lireve Monet. As “Everil W. Murphy” she contributed two stories to Ghost Stories*, a U.S. pulp magazine published between 1926 and 1932.

*[Ghost Stories published both original tales and reprints, including reprints of stories by Margaret Oliphant, Agatha Christie, and Charles Dickens. The magazine even published a Robert E Howard story, “The Apparition in the Prize Ring” aka. “The Spirit of Tom Molyneaux”, under the name John Taverel; the story is one of two Howard stories about African-American boxer Ace Jessel, aka. the “ebony giant”.]

You can find more biographical details at the informative Tellers of Weird Tales site here:

http://tellersofweirdtales.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/everil-worrell-1893-1969.html

A collection of Worrell’s stories has yet to be published. They can be found, one by one, at least many of them, in vintage anthologies; and online as magazine scans / PDFs.

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Weird Tales September 1926, Worrell’s first cover appearance.

Worrell’s fiction made the cover of Weird Tales three times, starting with that September 1926 story ‘The Bird of Space” (pictured), which isn’t bad considering this was during her first year with Weird Tales.

Her last appearance was in the March 1954 issue, only a few months before Weird Tales gave up the ghost for the first time in the 1950s (Weird Tales was picked up again, and is still going strong today)—giving Worrell one of the longest-running professional relationships with the magazine of any of its “regular” writers.

Weird Tales was picked up again and continued in print, with some interrupted years, until at least 2014. See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_Tales

Interestingly, the appearance of “The Canal” in September 1926 coincided with the publication of Henry S Whitehead’s story, “The Projection of Armand Dubois”. A month later, another of Worrell’s stories, “Cattle of Furos”,  appeared in Weird Tales at the same time as another of Whitehead’s well-known stories: “Jumbee”.

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IT — The Inspiration for the 1986 Novel by Stephen King

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IT: The Inspiration

by Stephen King

In 1978 my family was living in Boulder, Colorado. One day on our way back from lunch at a pizza emporium, our brand-new AMC Matador dropped its transmission-literally. The damn thing fell out on Pearl Street. True embarrassment is standing in the middle of a busy downtown street, grinning idiotically while people examine your marooned car and the large greasy black thing lying under it. Two days later the dealership called at about five in the afternoon. Everything was jake–I could pick up the car any time. The dealership was three miles away. I thought about calling a cab but decided that the walk would be good for me. The AMC dealership was in an industrial park set off by itself on a patch of otherwise deserted land a mile from the strip of fast-food joints and gas stations that mark the eastern edge of Boulder. A narrow unlit road led to this outpost. By the time I got to the road it was twilight–in the mountains the end of day comes in a hurry–and I was aware of how alone I was. About a quarter of a mile along this road was a wooden bridge, humped and oddly quaint, spanning a stream. I walked across it. I was wearing cowboy boots with rundown heels, and I was very aware of the sound they made on the boards; they sounded like a hollow clock. I thought of the fairy tale called “The Three Billy-Goats Gruff” and wondered what I would do if a troll called out from beneath me, “Who is trip-trapping upon my bridge?” All of a sudden I wanted to write a novel about a real troll under a real bridge. I stopped, thinking of a line by Marianne Moore, something about “real toads in imaginary gardens,” only it came out “real trolls in imaginary gardens.” A good idea is like a yo-yo–it may go to the end of its string, but it doesn’t die there; it only sleeps. Eventually it rolls back up into your palm. I forgot about the bridge and the troll in the business of picking up my car and signing the papers, but it came back to me off and on over the next two years. I decided that the bridge could be some sort of symbol–a point of passing. I started thinking of Bangor, where I had lived, with its strange canal bisecting the city, and decided that the bridge could be the city, if there was something under it. What’s under a city? Tunnels. Sewers. Ah! What a good place for a troll! Trolls should live in sewers! A year passed. The yo-yo stayed down at the end of its string, sleeping, and then it came back up. I started to remember Stratford, Connecticut, where I had lived for a time as a kid. In Stratford there was a library where the adult section and the children’s section was connected by a short corridor. I decided that the corridor was also a bridge, one across which every goat of a child must risk trip-trapping to become an adult. About six months later I thought of how such a story might be cast; how it might be possible to create a ricochet effect, interweaving the stories of children and the adults they become. Sometime in the summer of 1981 I realized that I had to write about the troll under the bridge or leave him–IT–forever.”

Source: Lijla’s Library; book cover artwork: tie-in to the 2017 film, IT.