Category Archives: terror or horror

Creative Mind

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The gift of a creative mind was given to a man who

many will recognize his work but not know his name:

Richard Matheson.

I cannot finish this late summer without telling Mr.

Matheson’s story all over again. This includes my

research and opinions, too.

Although, two years ago I posted about our losing a

“legend” of his own kind; the topic of “The Twilight

Zone” came up in Dan Antion’s comments recently.

There are many ways that Richard Matheson thrilled

you, along with moved you, and finally entertained you.

This is what we all strive for in our own craft.

“Nails bitten, on the edge of our seats– thrilling

writing.”

Read the rest of this entry

Sleuthing Around

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Small Town Murder, case on “Cold Justice” television series, 8/1/14.

I watch the show, “Cold Justice,” on Friday evenings, when I am not out and

about. If there are grandchildren, an event or special occasion, I don’t like to

sit down and watch t.v. on weekends. I sometimes think to myself, “That is a

form of ‘defeat!”‘ The last straw, in being a free woman, is to just put my p.j.’s

on, watch t.v. and get up during commercials and make popcorn on a Friday

night.

Anyway, last Friday, I was tired. We acquired some stores back from Remington,

Indiana, at the warehouse. Apparently their fledgling distribution center is not

able to handle their orders. We have had ten hour days during the week, instead

of our four nine hour days and a half day, on Friday. We worked 6 hours last

Friday, making it a 46 hour week. Unfortunately, this week we just completed 48

hours. I may just have to get a library movie, or try my luck with another “Cold

Justice” show!

There are my excuses, but I have to admit, I did feel happy to see that their newest

‘cold case’ was one from 8/27/91.

It was from the small, quaint town of Cambridge, Ohio. The person who had been

murdered was a Robin Stone. There were ‘signs’ I was meant to watch this show!

Although she was found to be pregnant when they examined her dead body, the

police had never established who the father was, nor had they found who was the

one who had killed her.

Twenty-three years later, we are much more modern, there is DNA evidence that

could help solve this ‘cold case.’ The women on “Cold Justice,” are not actresses,

they have been hired and are filmed, using their ingenuity and their experiences

to solve crimes. Kelly is a former prosecuting attorney and Yolanda was a crime

scene investigator.

If you wish to read more about Kelly and Yolanda’s background and personal

stories, you may look up the show on the internet. I wish to imagine that I am part

of this team, along with another blogger, who shall remain anonymous. We have

talked about joining forces, to become an extraordinary detective ‘duo.’ We would

use our interest in detective, police and mystery shows, along with our combined

knowledge to become private investigators.

The one who was most suspected in the original time frame of the murder, was

her longest boyfriend and her declared ‘love.’ Her sister and mother were part of

the people who were re-interviewed for this show. The sister was weeping, with

her last words that Robin said to her repeated for the cameras.

Robin had just gotten off the telephone with someone and said to that unknown

person,

“I’ll be there.”

Robin  walked out of the house with those words left hanging in the air. She had

attended her first day of school and there would have been homework to do. But

she left her house with no explanations on where she was heading.

It was Robin Stone’s senior year of high school in Cambridge, Ohio.

Robin’s history of many dates, some different journal entries including how far

she had progressed with each, had been examined back in 1991. Lee Savage was

the name that appeared most often and more consistently than others.

Lee’s father, Jack Savage, was interviewed first in the newest investigation. His

words had been horrible showing disdain for Robin, in the original case notes

revealed as,

“I hope she is dead. She’s welfare trash.”

Jack’s contempt for his son’s ‘off and on again’ girlfriend, was shown again, in the

current interview, even when brought to his attention that his grandchild had been

found dead in her uterus.  DNA evidence proved it, with a high percentage number

that it could have been either Jack’s or Lee’s. A new theory was being formed.

Lee Savage acted like the ‘good ole’ country boy,’ while seemingly cooperative in

the case. He was willing to give his DNA, no concerns about his innocence being

questioned.

To add a counterpoint to this television series, I thought I would mention a famous

man, Dr. John George Spenzer who died in 1932. He was a faculty member of Case

Western Reserve  University. He taught medicine and chemistry courses, having

reached his PhD. in the early 20th century.

Dr. Spenzer, was Ohio’s Sherlock Holmes, having been a consultant on several

murder cases. One sensational murder case in 1908, was of a woman named Ora

Lee. The accused murderer was Guy Rasor. (Don’t these names remind you of

a James Bond tale? The attractive woman, Ora Lee, the ‘bad’ man Guy Rasor?)

Dr. Spenzer was able to use crime scene samples to use as additional proof in this

case. Dr. Spenzer was known for his careful notes, the care taken with specimens,

along with his ability to preserve the specimens with glass plates and plastic

bags. This fascinates me, that he was way ahead of his time, in this, considering

the above case, in a small town in Ohio, where they did not pursue evidence well.

Dr. Spenzer’s specialties were in poisons and toxicology. He was a professor, often

consulted by the Cleveland police force. In one of these cases, toxicology was a

part of the crime. At the Kiser trial, he was used as a professional witness/expert.

This was a 1916 case, where it occurred in Fremont, Ohio. A husband was accused

of murdering his wife, Dr. Spenzer was able to prove otherwise. The husband was

found by the jury to be ‘innocent.’

 

Dr. Spenzer was interested in the Crippen trial, which was held in England, in 1910.

This involved an American doctor who was accused of murdering his wife while

visiting in that country. Dr. Spenzer requested the court transcripts, (later found,

amongst his donations to Case Western.) He took meticulous notes, written in

long hand, with his own opinions and suggestions. Although he was not called in

as a witness or expert consultant, it is interesting that he was studying the case.

This is what he must have considered his ‘craft’ that he was ‘honing.’

Technology in factories and industrial advances contributed to this period of

time’s criminal investigations. Along with the industrial age innovations, crime

scenes were starting to be handled differently. This was the beginning of what we

call Forensic Medicine.

These inventions came to impact the Forensics’ area:

~Victorian goggles. You can imagine these being good while looking at a corpse.

~Microscopic slides. For blood, hair and sediment samples. Also helpful with

arsenic poision, part of toxicology.

~Wimshurst electro-static generator, 1880’s.

Turn of the century pharmaceuticals and medical techniques were changing

drastically the way of approaching crime scenes and enabling eye-opening

new procedures.

~Blood typing.

~Finger printing.

In amongst Dr. John G. Spenzer’s boxes of notes, journals, case files, slides and

examples of evidence, there were some newspaper clippings of Sherlock Holmes.

These donations were exhibited earlier this year at CSWR. While Dr. Spenzer

was consulting for the Cleveland police I venture to say, he had bigger dreams of

expanding his detective work. Those articles on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Scotland

Yard detective would be my first argument that he was wishing to go beyond his

world of academia. I think Dr. Spenzer was fascinated by this side line of his, but

consulting was not satisfying enough. I have no second argumental ‘proof’ but I

think Dr. Spenzer yearned to go beyond the walls of his professorial role, into his

own adventures of being Ohio’s own famous detective.

 

Or maybe those are my far-fetched fantasies. . .

Meanwhile, I will be watching the detective shows and studying the evidence.

 

 

Short Stories: Capsulized Life Images

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When people get together in a school, with their class

led by a staff member or teacher, they sometimes collect

thoughts on paper, items that represent that time in space,

and store them in a nearly indestructible container. They

call these, “Time Capsules.”

I think when we read a good short story, fellow blogger’s

post or a short book, we are reading something, I just

gave a title to, “Capsulized Life Images.”

I wonder if it also, could be called, “Encapsulated Life

Images?”

I enjoy reading compilations of short stories by famous

authors. I recently completed Stephen King’s newer book

with his collection of four harrowing and creepy stories.

It is called, “Full Dark, No Stars,” (2010). It is not as

good as some of my favorites, like the one that inspired

“Green Mile,” and “Shawshank Redemption,” movies.

The first story, let me tell you, had me dreaming, in

nightmare form, about rats! Thanks, Stephen King!

The scary ‘classics,’ to me include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Edgar Allen Poe and Agatha Christie.

I have been thinking about the other genres of short stories,

which include family stories and humorous forays into

everyday life situations and how the author uses his or her

own perspective.

When I was reading short stories, in high school, I really

enjoyed our World Literature book. Someone had taken the

time, a team of staff, I suppose, to compile some of the

most unusual and interesting stories. One that ‘sticks’

in my mind, was titled, “The Scarlet Ibis.” This story was

written and published in the magazine, “The Atlanta Monthly,”

in 1960, by James Hurst. It is considered ‘rich in symbolism’

and it has a metaphor of the majestic yet fragile bird,

compared to a weak, sickly child. The one who is telling the

story, calls himself, “Brother,” and his younger, more fragile

brother is called, “Doodle.” Apparently my memory served me

very well, in this instance, since the story is included in

many compilations of short stories. It is a sad one, but well

worthy of reading (or re-reading) for its simple but memorable

style.

Humor, as a different genre, captures relatable stories of

family. Such as odd occurrences like in, “The Night The Bed Fell,”

by James Thurber. Thurber’s stories were expanded into a likable

television show, “My World… and Welcome to It.” I liked this

show, although they only had 26 episodes of it, starring the

fun loving, William Windom. He was a daydreamer, as some writers

seem to be, visualizing ways to make life better, or imagining

a whole different world.

Hey, have you ever read, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?” This

was released in movie form, in October, 2013. The movie is based

on a short story with the same name. Check out the story or the

movie to find out how an author transcends his time period of

his writing.

The short book, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” by Jean Kerr,

contains images that capture your “Aha!” moments. Sometimes this

helps you to relate, despite the contrast between your life and

the one of being a career parent, (Jean Kerr was a playwright)

with rampant children loose in your New York apartment suite. This

became a television show, a song sung by Doris Day and a movie.

I like P.G. Wodehouse’s sense of humor, sometimes at the ‘expense’

of the upper class in England. Once you read his biography, you

realize why this is true. He was only three years old, a son of a

British judge in Hong Kong, when he was sent back to England to be

raised by a nanny. His dependence on servants, helped him to

develop a deep affection and respect for them.

Once P.G. or Pelham Grenville, also known as “Plum,” reached

school age, he was sent off to boarding school, where all his

holidays were spent with his two brothers and a series of aunts.

“Plum” developed a rather devoted habit of writing short stories

and essays. One biographer said he wrote ‘relentlessly’ in his

spare time. Good thing to remember, as we have heard this before,

great artists, craftsmen, musicians and authors, practice their

craft.

Writing and being a ‘cricketer’ (one who plays cricket) were his

only passions. He had a sharp tongue, got himself in serious

trouble while in Germany, on a radio show, making light-hearted

jabs at the ‘regime.’ Can you imagine ‘giving lip’ while WWII was

going on? Since this was during Hitler’s time of control, Wodehouse

was placed in an internment camp for over a year.

If you are trying to place P.G. Wodehouse, his books include the

character of “Jeeves.” There is a series of books and movies that

were taken from the books. The pictures he shows of servants are

smart and clever, able to manage households and help with his

character’s detective work, too.

The main character in his “Jeeve’s” series of books is Bertie

Wooster. He is a rather ‘spoiled’ rich young man, but tries to

be kind, helpful and be counted on, by his ‘pals,’ and women

who say they are engaged to him, he won’t confront them and

deny this! Lots of fun, some drunken incidents, and reminds me

of the impetus for the character,

In another book P.G. Wodehouse wrote, “Blandings Castle,” again

the servants are friends of the ones who are head of household,

the main characters are upper crust, who sometimes aren’t quite

as important as they think they are. He liked to ‘make fun’ of

the rich, along with business men and persons in the law. His

father being a judge didn’t prevent his getting into and out of

trouble. Reminds me of the stories of ‘preacher’s kids’ or P.K.’s,

who were the rabble rousers in our small town, growing up and in

Delaware, I knew one, too!

The subject being short stories, I would like to recommend the one

called, “Strychnine in the Soup.” He incorporates another kind of

interesting character, the strong-willed, independent, sometimes

older woman. These women can be sometimes, ‘troublemakers.’ In this

short story, Archibald Mulliner is the detective from a wealthy

family and Lady Bassett is the older woman.

Interestingly enough, A. A. Milne did not respect Wodehouse’s escape

from the internment, feeling that his wealth had bought him out

of it. There is a rather silly poem, where P.G. Wodehouse imitates

Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” style, but it is meant to be satirical.

I was excited to know many authors respect Wodehouse and that

Agatha Christie dedicated her book, “Halloween Party” to him.

In 1975, due to the WWII internment and his body of work,

Wodehouse was knighted, Sir Pelham Greenville Wodehouse. He

had written 15 plays, numerous books and collaborations for

250 songs in 30 musical comedies, with Jerome Kern and Guy

Bolton. Wodehouse died in that year of his knighthood, at age

93. A life well-lived, indeed. To me, his stories gave me a

‘window’ into a world I will never inhabit and made it quite

enjoyable.

The final thought I wished to impart is that when we speak of

writing, we include the hope for longevity. The writers of short

stories, listed here, and others you may already know and love,

all have captured our hearts by breathing life into their

characters.