Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Southern Culture on the Skids

I love this band!

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

 

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Tales of Rock – Spooky Rock ‘n Roll Stories

Ah, who doesn’t love a good horror story? Especially if it involves your favorite rockstar? Ghost sightings may be a tad overrated (almost everyone claims to have seen or felt some mystical presence and there’s hardly any proof) but it’s still interesting nonetheless. Could legendary rockers be trying to contact the living? Did they really try reaching out to former bandmates and colleagues? Do they have any unfinished business or some messages they want to send?

Is it even true or just a product of someone’s overactive imagination? But to be fair though, strange, tragic and unexpected deaths occur commonly not just in rock ‘n roll. So it’s not exactly far-fetched to think that there are restless souls just wandering around maybe in cemeteries or recording studios.

This list is a compilation of all those horror stories. Keep in mind that these are nothing but claims, there’s no way we can verify any of them. So, are you ready?

P.S. Try to keep the lights on.

10. Elvis Presley

 

He was only 42 years old when reports came in that he died of sudden heart failure. There were plenty of speculations surrounding his death though and some say the cause is polypharmacy due to the number of prescription drugs found in his system.

It was devastating for fans. And until today, there are still people who believe he’s still alive. But the thing is, there are various ghost-sighting claims of him in the hallways of his Graceland Mansion. Another story goes that in the old building (which used to be the RCA Records Studio but was converted into a TV production facility) where Elvis Presley recorded “Heartbreak Hotel,” strange things would happen when Elvis’ name is mentioned.

“Well, the human being is one thing. The image is another. It’s very hard to live up to an image.” – Elvis Presley

The crew members in the studio claimed that during a show, when someone mentions The King’s name, the sound system would produce an unexplainable noise or the lights would turn off – you know, stuff that happens in horror movies.

9. John Lennon

John Lennon’s death was nothing short of tragic. Even today, speaking about it is both spine-chilling and heartbreaking. And so, it’s not exactly “impossible” for his restless soul to wander around the earth. And there are not one but two accounts of his supposed visits to the living.

The first one is from the remaining Beatles who got together in 1995 for a studio session. George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney were recording “Free as a Bird” and when they posed outside for a photograph, a rare white peacock was included in the shot at the very last minute.

“I said to the other guys, ‘That’s John!’ Spooky, eh? It was like John was hanging around. We felt that all the way through the recording.” – Paul McCartney

In 2009, John’s son Julian Lennon also claimed he was visited by his father. It was when he was handed a white feather by an Aboriginal tribe elder. Before his death, John told Julian: “If anything ever happens to me, look for a white feather and you will know I am there for you, always looking out for you.” When we think about it, we get major goosebumps.

8. Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison has had a long-standing fascination with shamanism and the spirit world. He even wrote the poem “The Ghost Song.” So him making a comeback to probably scare off his former bandmates is something Jim would do – the man clearly liked to have fun.

The Doors’ Ray Manzarek said in one interview:

“I have a recurring dream. Jim has just returned from France [where he died in 1971] and has accomplished what he went there for in the first place – to rest, get clean, change his rock star lifestyle. We talk about where he’s been and what he’s been doing. I ask him if he’s been working on any new material, and just before he answers, I wake up. When I first told Robbie about it, he said, ‘Yeah, me too!’ He had had the same dream.”

The thing is, if we believe Ray, we’d have to be 100% certain Jim’s really dead because according to some crazy conspiracy theories, he faked his death and is currently living in seclusion. So, which is which?

7. Cass Elliot

This is perhaps one of the most famous ghost stories out there.

While staying at a flat in London, Cass Elliot died in her sleep with her death ruled as “heart failure due to fatty myocardial degeneration due to obesity.” She was 32 years old. Based on the autopsy, there were no drugs found in her system. Four years after that incident, Keith Moon of The Who also died in that very same room.

You’d think that’s the place she haunts but no. Remember the Ghostbusters guy Dan Aykroyd? He claims that Mama Cass’ ghost haunts his Hollywood home once owned by Cass.

“A ghost certainly haunts my house. It once even crawled into bed with me. The ghost also turns on the Stairmaster and moves jewelry across the dresser. I’m sure it’s Mama Cass because you get the feeling it’s a big ghost.” – Dan Aykroyd

Before you dismiss Dan’s accusations, actress Beverly D’Angelo also made the same claim when she bought that house back in 2007. We don’t know what kind of “run-ins” she’s had with Cass though – maybe lights blowing out or small items moving around.

6. Kurt Cobain

So far, all the “ghosts” on this list are from the restless souls of rockstars who died sudden or tragic deaths. If spirits really roam our world because of unfinished business, we’re fairly certain anyone from John Lennon to Mama Cass had plenty of them.

Kurt Cobain falls under the same category. He may have taken his own life but some theories still suggest that he was actually murdered. Still, that doesn’t take away the fact that there were several reports of sightings in a couple of places that even attracted “ghost hunters.” The most well-known haunted spot is a bench. This bench is in Viretta Park in which is across Kurt’s house in Seattle, Washington.

“If there was a Rock Star 101 course, I would have liked to take it. It might have helped me.” – Kurt Cobain

There are plenty of fans visiting the area on a yearly basis and most of them say they could feel Kurt’s presence anywhere near the bench. Some even believe they saw his ghost lingering on it.

5. Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons died of morphine and alcohol overdose in his room at the Joshua Tree Inn. Now, there are claims that the motel room remains haunted. And so, for everyone who’s in for a bit of scare, they would definitely check in to Room 8.

“It’s definitely our most popular room. It’s amazing how much it means to people — people of all ages, really. Some of the people weren’t even born when Gram died here.” – Joshua Tree Inn rep speaking to The New York Times

Just how scary? Well, claims vary but there were those who spotted him walking across the pool at dawn. The staff members also say they see apparitions of the legendary musician.

Country singer Kacey Musgraves shared her experience while checking in at the motel. A painting was in the room high up and when she came back, it was propped on the couch even though no one else went in there but her.

4. Sid Vicious

We all know the tragic deaths of Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

On October 12, 1978, Sid found Nancy on the bathroom floor of their room in Hotel Chelsea bleeding to death. He was charged with her murder and he attempted to commit suicide several times after that. Less than four months later after completing a detox program, his mother discovered his body – he died of an overdose.

Now, there were reported sightings of him and Nancy at the Hotel Chelsea usually in his own Room 100 and also in the elevator. Some spotted him closing and opening doors. And guests inside Room 100 claim they hear a couple arguing, someone playing loud music, and even temperature changes.

“We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.” – Sid Vicious’ note found in his jacket pocket

The hotel even sells Sid Vicious dolls at the front desk. They aren’t the only ghosts ‘residing’ there though.

3. Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was only 22 years old when he died tragically. He was a prominent figure in rock ‘n roll and he has influenced several legendary musicians like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and The Beatles. He was killed in a plane crash along with fellow musicians like Richie Valens. Because his body was ejected from the plane, he had fractures, lacerations, and a fatal trauma to his head and chest.

Several residents near the crash site in Clear Lake, Iowa claim that they often see a phantom plane near the area in addition to some ghostly lights.

“I just want to say that one time when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play … at a Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him. … And he LOOKED at me. And I just have some kind of feeling that he was — I don’t know how or why — but I know he was with us all the time when we were making this record in some kind of way.” – Bob Dylan

Apparently, he also haunts his homeroom class in Lubbock High School because there were reports that his music can be heard even if there’s nobody in the building and the door’s locked.

2. Hank Williams

Speaking of unfinished business, oftentimes it’s not really surprising that the souls of these rockstars linger long after they’ve departed our world. The King of Country Music was set to perform at a New Year’s Day concert in Ohio. He was being driven by Charles Carr who stopped at a gas station to refuel. That’s when he realized Hank was dead in the back seat of his Cadillac. The official cause of death was “insufficiency of the right ventricle of the heart.”

There were several claims of ghost sightings in various locations but more notably at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN where he made his Grand Ole Opry debut. From seeing a white mist on stage to his voice echoing through the halls – sometimes, the ghost goes so far as stomp around loudly or try to crash some things backstage.

“Hank had a voice that split wood. From his records, it sounded like he was projecting from a completely different place in his body.” – Beck via The Rolling Stone magazine

He’s not the only who haunts the Ryman Auditorium though because the place is pretty famous for being haunted by soldiers and other country artists too.

1. Jimi Hendrix

New Haven, Connecticut has so many ghosts you can actually go on a walking tour and visit various haunted houses. So if you’re looking for a good scare, it’s the place to go. From faint piano music playing from under the lake to demonic dolls, there’s no shortage of spook here. And as it turns out, even our favorite Guitar God has taken up residence here – at least if you believe the stories.

Jimi Hendrix is often “heard” playing at the Woolsey Hall in Yale University. Why there? Well if you can recall, he performed with his band there back on November 17, 1968.

“I like after-hour jams at a small place like a club. Then you get another feeling. You get off in another way with all those people there. You get another feeling, and you mix it in with something else that you get. It’s not the spotlights, just the people.” – Jimi Hendrix

To be honest, though, we’d do anything to hear him play again.

Wanna be a better guitarist? Click this link to learn the secret!

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Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

13 Facts You Never Knew About Halloween

Artwork by TylerHawx

Halloween is the spookiest night of the year, where some people say spirits can wander the earth freely, and others say their children can wander the neighborhood unattended, trick-or-treating, or causing havoc.

But how much do you really know about Halloween? As Hallow’s Eve approaches, learn a little bit more about the holiday. You might be surprised at what you find.

1. There’s a $1,000 fine for using or selling Silly String in Hollywood on Halloween.

The prank product has been banned in Hollywood since 2004 after thousands of bored people would buy it on the streets of Hollywood from illegal vendors and “vandalize” the streets. The city ordinance calls for a maximum $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail for “use, possession, sale or distribution of Silly String in Hollywood from 12:01 AM on October 31 to 12:00 PM on November 1.”

2. Dressing up on Halloween comes from the Celts.

Celts believed Samhain was a time when the wall between our world and the paranormal world was porous and spirits could get through. Because of this belief, it was common for the Celts to wear costumes and masks during the festival to ward off or befuddle any evil spirits.

3. The moniker “Halloween” comes from the Catholics.

Hallowmas is a three-day Catholic holiday where saints are honored and people pray for the recently deceased. At the start of the 11th century, it was decreed by the pope that it would last from Oct. 31 (All Hallow’s Eve) until Nov. 2, most likely because that was when Samhain was celebrated and the church was trying to convert the pagans.

“All Hallow’s Eve” then evolved into “All Hallow’s Even,” and by the 18th century it was commonly referred to as “Hallowe’en.”

4. We should carve turnips, not pumpkins.

The origin of Jack-O-Lanterns comes from a Celtic folk tale of a stingy farmer named Jack who would constantly play tricks on the devil. The devil responded by forcing him to wander purgatory with only a burning lump of coal from hell. Jack took the coal and made a lantern from a turnip, using it to guide his lost soul.

The myth was brought over by Irish families fleeing the potato famine in the 1800s, and since turnips were hard to come by in the U.S., America’s pumpkins were used as a substitute to guide lost souls and keep evil spirits like “Jack of the Lantern” away.

5. Halloween symbols aren’t random.

Black cats, spiders, and bats are all Halloween symbols because of their spooky history and ties to Wiccans. All three were thought to be the familiars of witches in the middle ages, and are often associated with bad luck.

Bats are even further connected to Halloween by the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire, which drove away insects and attracted bats.

6. Fears of poisoned Halloween candy are unfounded.

One of the parents’ biggest fears is that their child’s Halloween candy is poisoned or contains razor blades.

In reality, this fear is almost entirely unfounded. There are only two known cases of poisoning, and both involved relatives, according to LiveScience. In 1970, a boy died of a heroin overdose. The investigators found it on his candy, but in a twist, they later discovered the boy had accidentally consumed some of his uncle’s heroin stash, and the family had sprinkled some on the candy to cover up the incident.

Even more horrifically, in 1974 Timothy O’Bryan died after eating a Pixy Stix his father had laced with cyanide to collect on the insurance money, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

7. Halloween and the candy industry supposedly influenced Daylight Savings Time.

Candy makers supposedly lobbied to extend daylight savings time into the beginning of November to get an extra hour of daylight so children could collect even more candy (thus forcing people to purchase more candy to meet the demand).

They wanted it so badly that during the 1985 hearings on Daylight Savings they put candy pumpkins on the seat of every senator, according to NPR. (The candy industry disputes this account, according to The New York Times.)

kids halloween candy
Remember doing this? 

8. Candy Corn was originally known as “chicken feed.”

Invented by George Renninger, a candy maker at the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia in the 1880s, Candy Corn was originally called “buttercream candies” and “chicken feed” since back then, corn was commonly used as food for livestock (they even had a rooster on the candy boxes).

It had no association with Halloween or fall and was sold seasonally from March to November. After World War II, advertisers began marketing it as a special Halloween treat due to its colors and ties to the fall harvest.

9. A full moon on Halloween is extremely rare.

Though a common trope in horror movies and Halloween decorations with witches flying across the full moon, the next full moon on Halloween won’t occur until 2020.

The most recent Halloween full moon was back in 2001, and before that, it was in 1955.

10. Halloween is still the Wiccan New Year.

Halloween originates from a Celtic tradition called Samhain, a festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. They believed it was a time that spirits or fairies could enter our world, and the Celts would put out treats and food to placate the spirits — sometimes, a place at the table was even set for the souls of the dead.

Wiccans still celebrate Samhain as a New Year celebration today.

11. Trick-or-treating has been around for a long time.

Versions of trick-or-treating have existed since medieval times. In the past, it was known as “guising” where children and poor adults went around in costumes during Hallowmas begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers. It was also called “souling.”

Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Classic. Charlie Brown

12. Trick-or-treating as we know it was re-popularized by cartoons.

Trick-or-treating was brought to America by the Irish and became popular during the early 20th century, but died out during WWII when sugar was rationed. After the rationing ended in 1947, children’s magazine “Jack and Jill,” radio program “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and the “Peanuts” comic strip all helped to re-popularize the tradition of dressing up in costumes and asking for candy from door-to-door.

By 1952, trick-or-treating was hugely popular again.

13. Halloween is the second-most commercial American holiday of the year.

The candy industry in America rakes in an average of $2 billion annually thanks to Halloween (that’s 90 million pounds of chocolate).

Americans spend an estimated $6 billion on Halloween annually, including candy, costumes, and decorations, according to History.com. (The most commercial holiday in the U.S. is obviously Christmas.)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Halloween – Kiss & Make Up

Philadelphia, PA – 1978

Remember that kid Jimmy I told you in the band series? (Link below.) He did magic and got gigs at kid’s parties as Jimbo the Clown. I told you in that chapter that he was really good at makeup. Well, one day he invited me and my friend, Steve, over to get made up as the group Kiss for Halloween. How great would that be, right?

Renegade – 1978 to 1979 – Chapter 7 – Youth Group Show

We go over to his house and he’s got everything ready. He plays every Kiss album he has in his collection while he does our makeup. It takes hours but we’re having fun. We hoped it would come out okay.

Well, that’s my friend Stephen Peoples as Kiss drummer, Peter Criss and that’s me as bassist, Gene Simmons.

Awesome, right?

That’s me, as Gene, (Holding Larry’s bass from our band) Steve as Peter, and the guy on the right is Jimmy Hunsinger that did all of our make-up as lead guitarist, Ace Frehley!

We look like the real deal!

It was a fantastic Halloween!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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The Bizarre Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allen Poe is a Halloween Story Of Its Own

More than 150 years ago, Edgar Allen Poe, literary icon and father of gothic horror, died a dark and untimely death. His demise is shrouded in so much mystery, the story could easily be plucked from the pages of one of his books.

(Cue thunder and lightning.)

Edgar Allen Poe is a name synonymous with suspense and dark romance. His poem “The Raven” is a classic that still appears in modern pop culture, and yes, a football team named themselves after it. Without his book “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the world’s very first detective story, we very well might not have the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. His beloved moody aesthetic has even inspired other prolific cultural icons such as Salvador Dali and Alfred Hitchcock, according to Biography.

And with the recent news that Mike Flanagan, creator of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” will be adapting “The Fall of the House of Usher” into a series, Poe’s name is buzzing around yet again.

Though many of us can recite a famous morbid line or two, not everyone knows about the tragic life and utterly bizarre death of the Master of Macabre.

It seems Poe was destined to become well acquainted with melancholy, and even some scandal. Born to transient, alcoholic actors—both who died within a few days of each other—Edgar was sent off to a foster home when he was just 2 years old. Later, at age 27, he secretly married his cousin Virginia … who was 13. To be fair, we’re still not sure if this was indeed a romantic relationship. It’s certainly a conversation starter in cultural relativism circles though. Oh, did I mention that the controversial relationship was also cut short by death, when Virginia was overcome with tuberculosis? Are you surprised? Me neither.

Edgar Allen Poe’s child bride Virginiaupload.wikimedia.org

During his life, Poe was the poster boy for “starving artist.” Struggling to make any sort of money from his work, he resorted to gambling to pay off debts. Spoiler alert: It led to more debt … We’re talking burning your furniture to stay warm kind of poor. Not a good look. It eventually led him to joining the army to escape his creditors.

“The Raven” was Poe’s first worldwide success. Other works like “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” began gaining popularity and critical acclaim. At long last, the writing career he had pursued since the age of 13 was finally coming to fruition.

And then….DEATH! Behold, I’ll tell the tale.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poeupload.wikimedia.org

Once upon a midnight dreary … it was a rainy night in Baltimore, 1849. Election Day (more on that later), a man was found addled, immovable and in the shabby clothes of a stranger. That man was none other than Poe. He spent the next three days in delirium, flowing in and out of hallucinations and calling the name “Reynolds,” who to this day, is unidentified. The great poet’s last words ever uttered were said to be: “Lord help my poor soul.”

Though an official record states the cause of death as “brain swelling,” it has sparked much speculation and alternative theories.

There’s the good ol’ fashioned “beating by ruffians” theory, thought to have happened after friends left Poe in a drunken stupor. Or, for something a bit more sensational, the gang fight could have been instigated by a woman who “considered herself injured” by Poe. Seeing as Poe had a reputation for tumultuous romances, this is entirely plausible.

Then there’s a possible “cooping.” Don’t know what “cooping” is? I didn’t either. But Smithsonian Magazine defines it as “a method of voter fraud practiced by gangs in the 19th century where an unsuspecting victim would be kidnapped, disguised, and forced to vote for a specific candidate multiple times under multiple disguised identities.” It added that before Prohibition, alcohol was often given as a reward for voting. So basically, Poe could have been voted to death. You really can die from anything.

One doctor has hypothesized that rabies was to blame. This theory has a few reported kinks to it, however, as there was no evidence of hydrophobia. Yeah, apparently a common side effect of rabies is a fear of water!

A more modern theory developed when Poe’s grave was dug up and, inside his skull, an unidentified mass was found. A mass that studies now show could have been a lethal brain tumor. I, for one, could see a mind like Edgar Allan Poe’s eating him slowly from the inside in silent agony. And they say that you don’t have to be pained to be creative.

There are still other theories of carbon monoxide poisoning, heavy metal poisoning, and, yes, alcohol poisoning. Though that last one is a tad boring.

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poeupload.wikimedia.org

No matter which theory ends up being true, the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe is one that continues to bewilder, inspire, disturb and delight us. In a way, he is the absolute epitome of transfiguring the grotesque into the beautiful, both in life and in art. And his romantic, yet sorrowful spirit lives on in our retellings of his beloved classics.

Though he himself is nevermore, his poetic style will remain timeless forevermore.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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