Tag Archives: the other

Happy Halloween

or Samhain or whatever other holiday you are celebrating today.
Halloween or All Hallows‘ Eve is a Christianized feast to remember the dead, based on the traditional Celtic Samhain, that was also thanking for the harvest.
Many tales and traditions entwine around this holiday, such as:

  • (mostly) children dressing up as monsters and the-like to go asking for sweets (Trick-or-Treating) in the neighborhood
  • Jack O Lanterns being put in yards and windows to keep out wandering spirits (One version of the tale around the Lantern can be found at Ed Mooney Photography: The Tale of the Jack O Lantern another here in Nashoba Hostina’s Gallery: Jacks Lantern)
  • even bonfires as you can read in Ed’s other article: Tlachtga and the Sacred Flame

But I don’t really want to cover that part, far too many other people have already done that.

One of my very first pumpkins...

One of my very first pumpkins…


Halloween for me is special because we do not really celebrate it in Germany. Roughly 10-20 years ago, no one even knew about it. Depending on which Federal State you are in you even celebrate other things on the 31. October (and the 1. November).
In the Lutheran regions the 31.10. is called the Reformation Day, a day to remember Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses at the church door in Wittenberg. In my region/state this is considered a civic holiday. Whereas the Catholic regions have the 1.11. (All Saint’s Day) and other’s – like the state I studied in – have neither.
So I grew up with the knowledge of the 31. being the Reformation Day.
When I was about 8 or 9 I first heard about Halloween.
Back then we had evening projects in Primary School and one of them was lead by a woman that had moved to our small town from America. She told us about several things like the language, muffins, traditions and of course: Halloween.
And it then made sense to me why they played spooky cartoons on Reformation Day. 😉
We even had a costume party back then and I remember going as vampire, with a sliced black plastic bag as cape and tediously sought black clothes (back then my wardrobe was a bit more colourful than it is today…) and ridiculous face paint. 😀
That year we also went Trick-or-Treating (as ghost-thingies), but the majority of people around us didn’t really know what that was about, so we had to explain it over and over again. As a result we skipped the Trick-part when they weren’t prepared. By now people know that kids walk around on this day asking for sweets, but they are rarely in costume and, especially the boys, prefer Tricks to Treating….It’s a pity, but I can’t change that.
For a few years my father also grew pumpkins in our garden, so I’d be able to carve them around Halloween. He doesn’t do it anymore as I was barely around the last few years, but it was always fun to create the scary faces – even though they looked never as great as some others do.
One of my wolve-themed pumpkins...

One of my wolve-themed pumpkins…


What also is different in Germany is that there are rarely any Haunted Houses.
There is also not that much decoration in the houses. In Kölln-Reisiek a village or small town close to where I studied is a family that turns their house into a Haunted Mansion every year, it’s only small but somewhat cute. But really large ones? Not that I know of. You have The Dungeon in Hamburg, but that’s not really the same as you can go there throughout the whole year.
Apart from the fact that you are able to buy costumes and sweets and everything, there is not that much celebration going on here and it is one of my goals to one day spent a Halloween in the U.S. and/or other places with Halloween/Samhain traditions to see how it is celebrated there at first hand.
What I like about Halloween is the spookiness that accompanies it. The lores, the legends and just the belief that the souls of the dead and other spirits have the chances to walk freely on earth (again) hold a great fascination for me. Though not just those that are specific for this holiday.
At the beginning of the month I discovered The Fairytale Traveler, a blog about journeys into regions of these things. For the whole October they introduced the people to A Monster a Day, which was pretty cool as I also learned new stories.
Apart from that there are also the Horror stories that accompany Halloween. I don’t mind a good scare, though by now I am more scared by psychological things than, supposedly scary looking creatures. Even though I do cringe at sudden revelations in movies. Occasionally I myself try to write scary stories, but they are more often than not just unfinished drafts. What I did finish is a story about the Owlman of Cornwall. A creature that is said to live in the woods of Mawna and occasionally appears before people. Some even connect him to the Mothman that appears shortly before a disaster. Anyway, if your German is good enough you might want to have a look into the story: Augen (Eyes).
Another story that is fitting for the occasion and rather young compared to the one above is about spirits that inhabit pumpkins and trick people. But I haven’t gotten around to typing it yet.
One of the Pumpkins I carved for the party.

One of the Pumpkins I carved for the party.


But enough about stories, let’s get to the fun part of Halloween: The Halloween Party.
In my semi-adult years I never attended a fully fletched Halloween Party. I organized one for my college, but that wasn’t the same. Even though we decorated the cafeteria barely anyone dressed up or did actually do something remotely Halloween-ish. It was more like a normal party with decorations…
Another Halloween was spent at the Hammerfall concert in Hamburg I mentioned in my concert review from last year, which was pretty cool, yet strange to be there at that time of the year.
As the 31st is not a civic holiday in Schleswig-Holstein (where I studied) I was only able to go to the small Haunted Mansion I talked about earlier last year.
But this year will be a bit different.
I will be in Hamburg again and though we do not know what we’ll do at Halloween itself we (Black Kat, Iron Eve and me) will go to the Hellnights on the 1. November. A Horror punk concert-festival with The Other and other bands.
Or to put it into one of my much liked alliterations:
Halloween in Hamburg and Horrorpunk Hellnights in the Hafenklang.
(Just like Hammerfall in Hamburg on Halloween 😉 ).
I’m curious what will happen and wish you all a save journey through the spirit-filled night. 🙂
PoiSonPaiNter

Weekend of Horrors 2011

To get me back into the writing mood for the several festival and concert reviews I still owe you, I thought I’ll write a bit about an event that transpired some years ago, to get back into the flow after my long break due to said festivals and traveling. Don’t worry you’ll get the reports and reviews later.

Of hidden Hotels and changed plans

This event was a convention, my very first ever at that and it wasn’t about Anime and Manga – which would have been the more likely thing to happen. No, it was a Horror-convention called the “Weekend of Horrors” (WoH) in Bottrop Germany.
The WoH claims to be the biggest convention for its genre in Europe and provides its visitors with tons of Horror-movie actors, merchandise and other stuff a Horror-movie fan would like to have.
Back in 2011 someone from the Marketing of the convention wrote a post in The Forum (the one I’ve mentioned so many times >_<) and it sounded interesting, especially as The Other – a pretty cool Horror-Punk band – where scheduled to play there. When I mentioned it to the colleague of mine – whom I’ll be calling “Black Kat” from now on – she found it interesting as well and we started to look into getting there.
It was in the middle of my semester back then so Kat had to come to Hamburg for me to be able to pick her up and on her way there she send me a pretty hilarious SMS about her status:

“No failure in the course of operation, no suicidal sheep on the tracks and no megalomaniac persons that are hopping in front of the train.”
(And yes, I still have it as I’m far too lazy to delete the old stuff, if I don’t need to.)

Anyway, after I’ve picked her up at the train station we made our way to Bottrop, which took us quite a while, as the motorway down there always has quite a bunch of construction sites and stuff.
So when we arrived we looked for a parking lot and our Hotel. We soon found both, though the lot seemed to be for short parking only and the hotel was quite hidden in the boulevard.

Our Hotel entrance hidden between different stores

Our Hotel entrance hidden between different clothing stores


Anyway, all the days before, we eagerly waited for the program to be released, but only after we arrived did we get a chance to look at it.
And to find out that the convention was already over for the day, as we had arrived more or less late (5-6pm and yes, already closed…).
What we also had noticed was that there would be a town’s fair right beside our Hotel…with horrible Schlager music (I won’t go into more detail here, just look it up if you want to know more, sorry)…so staying was not an option.
So we had to make some different plans for the evening.
We ran a search for Gothic or Metal bars, clubs etc. on the Internet and what we found was the Cage Club/Drachenlager (Dragon’s Lair) in Bottrop
On our arrival we had asked the receptionist for bus directions to the convention side, as we stayed a few towns/villages away from Bottrop and after figuring out which bus we would need to take and when, we made our way for it.
After searching for it and asking Kats „personal road atlas“ (aka her boyfriend) we even managed to find it.
As this trip was filled with mishearings we ended up creating the term “Keksboxen” (Cookieboxing) for the kind of dancing we saw on the dance floor that night. (The others were about freezers and tan somehow…)
It describes the way some people dance to quite electric Gothic music – which would be EBM and stuff if I’m not mistaken – it looks as if they are kickboxing against an invisible foe. And yes kick was misheard as “Keks” (cookie)…but we preferred the other term and still use it. 😀
Anyway, we stayed quite a while that evening, had a good time drinking and talking and when we returned to the Hotel the fair was already closed, so no disturbing music while trying to sleep.

Convention time!

As I said before I wasn’t sure whether my car was ok to be parked where it stood, so after waking up I stumbled down and checked again to find out, the place was free for parking at the weekend…
When I walked back I saw a coffee shop and asked Kat whether she’d like something from it. So I went back, again, waited for the thing to open and got us something to drink before the breakfast buffet of the hotel was opened. And let me tell you: I’m horrible at carrying full tea cups on saucers up the stairs…

The stamps we got for the days we've been at the comnvention

The stamps we got for the days we’ve been at the convention

Well, after we got ready for the day we went off to Bottrop again.
When we arrived at the convention we had a wonderful discussion with the employees as we only had a print out of a mail that said that we bought the tickets, as they  weren’t able to properly deliver them in time – just as they weren’t able to release a program in time… Let’s just say: At the end we even got the card for Friday and the stamp for the day. 😉

The convention itself was in an hall-thing and housed several meters full of DVD stands, well, basically each hall was stuffed with DVD booths, one ending into the other. Other than that were there booths for costume articles, one or two for jewellery, games, merchandise, an exhibition of Alien-masks and of course the autograph alley. I don’t know what it is like on big conventions but paying 5 Euro for one mere autograph and even more for a photo session felt pretty much like a rip off…
Across from their alley was the stand of The Incredible Blood Brothers and when we told the younger – looking – one of them that we had missed their show the day before he gave us a little show of what they did. He simply put a spoon and a nail into his nose and one of us hat to pull it out…
Afterwards he even gave us an autograph, for free. 😉
When we later returned and his brother was there we also got his. 😀
(By the way: As I mentioned in my Wacken 2012 Review, I even saw the brothers again walking around in the mud. 😉 )

The Spidey Bathrooms

The Spidey Bathrooms

I think we also chatted with the guys from the gaming booth and I might even have tried one of the games, but I can’t remember…too many zombie stuff anyway…
Ahh zombies! They had a zombie-walk! With the high amount of three zombies, but one of them was quite funny as he walked into a pole and did other ridiculous things and a zombie couple that looked more ridiculous than frightening…
Also more cuddly than frightening were the two Werewolfs that ran around the convention and with whom we even made photos.
And of course the decorations: Spider webs in the bathrooms, for example, to get the people into the right mood. Very Scary >_<

That evening was also the one were The Other would play, so we eagerly waited for that. The concert was pretty great, but having an indoor concert at about 16 o’clock with about 150 people was a really weird experience as well. It was my second concert of them, but with a friend a concert becomes way more funny. And if the band is giving out jelly eyes…well it gets messy, but fun nonetheless 😀
Before the concert we talked to a guy that just stood there and found out that he was the friend of the zombie-guy 😀 It also took them about the same amount of time to get there from – I think it was – Sweden as we did from Hamburg…it’s always sad to hear things like that…
There also was this other guy, weirdly dancing in the front the stage, wearing ear plugs – not quite Keksboxing, but close to it. We weren’t quite sure if he knew where he was though…
But the weirdest thing about this concert was when we left the darkened hall and walked into the brightness of the afternoon sun…
Bright daylight after a Horror Punk concert, just as weird as their Midday concert at Wacken 2010
Oh, and the convention ended that day after the concert. Really obvious decision to end a day of a Horror convention around 17 o’clock. Remember the bright sunlight I mentioned? Absolutely understandable…[/sarcasm]

The result of eating Jelly Eyes....

The result of eating Jelly Eyes….or rather being fed them…

On our way out of the hall we continued to talk to the zombie-guys friend, before they departed and we were stuck with an even weirder fellow. He was somehow keen on making his own Horror movies, meeting his stars and he talked a lot about smoking, and I don’t mean regular cigarettes…To get rid of him we decided to return to the hotel before returning to the club again later.
The only good thing about the fair was that we could get some food on our way „home“.
The second evening in the club wasn’t as fun as the night before. Even the other people we chatted with didn’t make it better, but it might have been the music that wasn’t as good as the day before.

Lady bugs and trains can make for scary stories…

Sunday was the last day of the convention and we only had one point left on our list: A reading session with Boris Koch and Michael Tillmann.
The day before I had talked to them at their book booth where they sold copies of a Anthology (Gothic – Dark Stories) that I had read some years ago – though I had to wait for the next day to actually get it alongside two others (Gothic – Darker Stories, Ein Gänsekiel aus Schwermetall [A Goose Quill made of Heavy Metal], all of them Anthologies). While talking I also mentioned The Forum and asked  them whether they would like to participate in a reading circle for one of their books. They seemed interested and I handed them a book mark with the URL.
Their reading session was then in the cafeteria of the building, only separated from it through a more or less thick, black curtain. So you heard the rustling and dulled noises from outside.
It still was fun as we were the only two attending their session and they read some quite interesting stories. I will never look at lady bugs the same way…will you after reading the summary below?
Boris read a story about a man that obsessively collected lady bugs to gain their „luck“:

To collect the luck the man ripped off the lady bugs‘ legs and wings and put their black bodies into bottles, jars and everything he could get a hold of. And it worked. He got riches, he got beautiful women and everything else he desired. When he died old and satisfied after a long and prosper life his coffin was led into the ground and crushed the last lady bug. Not long afterwards, the world ended.

And this is only the short version of it…
Let’s just say: It was weird to be the only ones there, but it was still fun. 🙂
(Besides we later did have a reading circle for Boris‘ „Der Königsschlüssel“ (The King’s Key). 🙂 )

With that ended an interesting convention and we returned to the hotel to watch one of the movies I’ve acquired. Which was obviously a Horror movie and an adaptation of one of the most disturbing books I own – and read: Clive Barker’s „The Books of Blood“ and its story: The Midnight Meat Train. A story that makes you reconsider taking the New York subway at night…
Well, watching this resulted in two funny things.
The first one being that when Ted Raimi appeared on screen I said: „Ha, we’ve seen that guy today!“ 😀
The other transpired after the movie:

It was warm in the room and we opened up some of the windows, but after getting ready for bed we soon closed them again as there were roof overhangs before them.
When every light was turned off, I saw a shimmer below the door and asked Kat whether she locked the door. She confidently replied with yes. Not three seconds had passed and she got up again to check the door. 😀

We weren’t afraid. No. We just did not want make the same mistakes all those people in the movies make. 😉

Final words

The next morning we had to get up far too early as I had to attend some lessons. Several traffic jams in Hamburg cause me to miss half of the first one…

Have a look at a building nearby the convention side for the closure....

Have a look at a building near the convention side for the closure….

But regardless of all the negative stuff I’ve mentioned throughout the text we still had a great weekend, that we wouldn’t mind repeating one day.
It was weird to have the Convention end so early and the only scary things being „shock“ moments during the movie and our own imagination, but it was still fun.

And mind you: All the above was in 2011. They had plenty of time and chances to work on all the things I’ve mentioned. I can’t say how it is “today”, all I know is how it was back then. By now they also changed locations (they are now in Oberhausen), so maybe they manage to stay open longer than before. Who knows…

And as The Other and some more bands were announced to play this year it has become interesting again and Kat and I shortly discussed attending again.
We’ll see if we actually do it or pass again.
Probably the later as they will also play at the Hell Nights that we at least have in mind to attend in November.

Stay scared 😉

PoiSonPaiNter