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Rediscovering Vampires

I love fantasy and yes, there are many popular fantasy TV series and books I have never ever experienced in any format; they include ‘The Game of Thrones’, ‘Season two of Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Shannara Chronicles’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and episode four and beyond of ‘The 100’ to name but a few of those missed experiences.

Along with those television series there are several books I have never read too and they are; all the above that have novelizations.  Book four and beyond of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, the third book and beyond of Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, ‘The DragonLance Series’ and ‘Goosebumps’ to name but a few there too.

Now, I am currently trying to make amends for all of that.  I am currently re-reading the first book of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ by Anne Rice with the aim to read right through all the chronicles by this time next year – next week this will be put on hold right after I have finished ‘Interview with a vampire’ because I have ordered from my local library a trilogy from Michael Moorcock ‘The Eternal Champion’ because I am curious about a symbol I am rather fond of which apparently originates from these novels.

I am also watching some of the above mentioned television series, back to back, one to three per night – the ones I have started with is the box-set I have bought of ‘The Vampire Diaries’.  You are probably wondering why I have bought something that expensive if I have never watched one of the episodes first.  Well, it’s about vampires; I know I will love it.  Its touch and go in regards to Twilight but I guess because it has vampires I might find it tolerable, who knows… Twilight is another vampire movie I have never watched and I am a die-hard vampire fan, go figure.  Well I was too busy to keep up to date with my vampires for about a decade, so I am forgiven right?

The vampire Diaries has me hooked by the way; I have watched five episodes this week so far.  I am scrutinising the whole thing because I specialise in vampires in my novels and I don’t want to clash too much with anyone and I was nervous at first because something in the vampire diaries has clashed with my novels (the corvid) and the fact that a few of my vampires have the ability to roam the day too.

I am also hooked because Damon gets my hormones going… but let’s not talk about that, we’re talking about vampires in general and fantasy, not my hormones on some women’s health site. 

So, yes, I am happy to find that this series hasn’t brutalised vampires too much for me like True Blood has, I feel True Blood went too far in de-romanticising vampires.  I was distraught about that.  In the True Blood series you couldn’t tell the vampires apart from anything you see in a normal human to human slasher movie, werewolf movie or zombie movie, vampires in my opinion are much more far removed than those other movie types and I found it hard to chew.

Although being a horror fan I did love the brutality, but I was too angry that it was caused by vampires drunk on blood, dripping with blood and acting like psychotic corpses.  A lot of people will argue with me that vampires are just that ‘psychotic corpses’ but I will deny that is what vampires are, vampires to me, love very deeply and have a gentle demeanour about them, they are not rabid animals.

So, yes, I am returning to vampires.  I am returning to my love for them and with this reunion come rediscovering my hidden identity again.  I feel like I am filling up the hollowness in me and I am feeling more like who I was meant to be, rather than some obscure faint shadow.

I don’t do short stories of vampires unfortunately.  I linger too much on my vampire novels that I am ashamed to say they are epic sized.  I can’t stop adding things to them.  I think ‘War and Peace’ will have nothing on one of my vampire stories.

So that’s it for today, more to come tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and do post a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Should I make my vampires sleep?

I have had a passion for vampires since I first watched “The Twins of Evil” when I was six years old and by the time I was nine years of age I wanted to write about them.  From the age of eleven I became what I thought was “A Goth”, though not entirely serious, I allowed my mother to dictate to me a lot on how I should portray myself to the world, but in my eye at the time, black slacks and a black polo-neck would suffice for the tag, with black shoes.  I wanted to wear black gypsy skirts but my mother insisted that with my size (as I was very overweight when I lived with her) I looked like I was wearing a tent and so, I didn’t have the confidence to wear them.

The passion I have for vampires is so deep, that it is a strong part of who I am.  When I haven’t read a book about vampires, researched them or watched a movie with them in it for a while, I start to feel a deep hole inside of me.  This hole swallows me up, makes me moody, makes me depressed and ultimately makes me feel alone.  Because I am alone, in regards to this passion for vampires, I know nobody who is in regular physical contact with me, who has the same passion.  A lot of people I know merely tolerate that this obsession is a part of me. 

The people I have who are my friends and are Gothic, weirdly enough do not share the same concept about vampires as I do and nor do they view being Gothic in the same light as me either.  Whenever I talk about vampires to another fan of vampires or Gothic culture online, I come up against a brick wall.  A wall of which I find sleazy and corny, yet despite saying this, I am not the old school romanticist that I’ve often been accused of being!

In my opinion the last decade of vampire movies has either become too soft that it’s another version of “My Little Pony” or too vicious that it makes me think that the so-called vampires in the movie are just another type of vicious intelligent zombies.

Since I was nine years old, I have been writing an extensive series based on vampires, complete with an encyclopaedia about the mythos.  I say series, yet I really mean saga.

There are over 70 stories in this series and I have never once approached a publisher about them and nor do I feel ready.  Not with my vampires, I am very protective of my vampires.  Yet when I have discussed my stories with close vampire loving online friends and gothic culture dudes and dudettes, I have been told that my ideas are too old fashioned and romantic.  That the days of the aristocratic vampires are numbered and this pains me.  I have been told that despite the fact I know the market of vampires really well, I have failed to understand how they have evolved within the media and how the new style of vampires are what publishers and producers want more of.  So therefore, I feel I would waste mine and the publisher’s time in even approaching them.

I spend two thirds of my serious writing time on my vampires.  The rest of my fiction, poetry and songs are left on hold.  This is why I sometimes think that I will never get published, because I won’t put my vampires to sleep.

Because I won’t put my vampires to sleep, I neglect my other stories, I neglect this blog, which is why I have made a difficult decision to try and talk about my vampires in new posts in the future, or vampires in general.

If you would like to discuss with me what you like about vampires, or tell me what you expect from vampires, I would like to hear your thoughts. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Conversation with a tree

copyright 2016 Tina Cousins

copyright 2016 Tina Cousins

I had a conversation with a tree today.
The tree told me about the deforestation that his friends were experiencing in some parts of the forest.
He told me that this didn’t bother him much, you see, you have to see the positives of life; that even in death, there is everlastingness.
I asked him what he meant and he explained that nothing that dies is wasted, not truly. Even in death you have your uses, you are needed, and you still exist.
I asked about spirits and reincarnation to him, but he simply replied, perhaps, but there is more to it than that.
Take me, for instance, said the tree. When the woodcutters come to claim my life, I may still have my roots to keep me alive, but if that isn’t to be the case, you must think. What do the woodcutters make from me? Wood to burn to enhance their life for a few hours so they do not freeze to death in winter? Then I become ashes and what becomes of those ashes? Those ashes are still a part of the wonderful circle of life; I become potash for various floras, bringing life into this world, simply by my dying.
I sat fascinated and watched the wind rustle his leaves, too in awe to speak.
The tree continued on with his explanation, with patience and love. I am made into paper, for your journal, enriching the lives of humans by whatever the pages contain within, a store of knowledge, a canvas for art, a visual guide to places you may never have a chance to go to if it weren’t for me.
If not a book then shelves to put them on or I might become the chair that you sit in to read those books, or the bed that you lie in to dream about those books and art pieces.
I may become part of the tools that cut my friends down, giving them a new lease of life and usefulness.
When I am gone and I am cut down, homes may be built in place of where I stood. Perhaps farms will develop here and feed the world? Or perhaps my offspring will grow in my place?
Death is not the end, but it is the beginning of new things.
As to the subject raised earlier, yes, I do believe in spirit and I believe that with the spirit of nature everything is eternal; it just depends on your perception of it; of course, most people’s perceptions about it are wrong.
They cloud themselves up in the dark negativity of everything, which they don’t allow themselves to see the light and what a positive thing it can be.
I thanked the tree for his insight and went home to write this for you.

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Constructive Procrastination

Procrastination is a part of a creative person’s life; something they get comfortable with and sometimes it seems that procrastination is an essential part of who we are and where we get out ideas from. For me, I am constantly procrastinating; this blog is a fine example because I often do not post a thing for weeks on end!
However, as procrastinating I can be, I am always doing what I consider to be “constructive procrastination” because whatever I am doing when it is not writing regularly for my blog, I am in fact, building myself up for other creative activities – usually writing things that aren’t meant for my blog, reading books, researching, filling my mind up with wacky art and images etc.
What have I done since the last post on my blog?
I’ve started and completed two jigsaw puzzles, one of them was a 1000 piece Ravensburger “Santa Express” Limited Edition 2013, the other was Christmas Quarter 500 piece puzzle, I have since started another one of those Christmas Quarter puzzles, despite it being mid-February. Now this seems like procrastination at its finest, but for me this closes my mind to everyday worries and opens my mind for new ideas – a type of meditation.
I have sketched several pieces of clothing that my characters like wearing in a fantasy story that is in planning stage.
I have also read two adult sized novels “The Light Fantastic” by Terry Pratchett and “Occupy Me” by Tricia Sullivan, I am a slow reader – an adult novel of approximately 300 pages will take me about five to eight days to complete because my brain insists on showing me everything that’s going on in fine details like a movie.
I have also read snippets of other books too, as I am a multi-reader, I can have about twelve books on the go at any one time and not get confused!
I have researched the history of the Cathars, Japanese folklore and Hammer movies.
I have done one or two pictures from an adult colouring in book, another form of meditation for me.
I have sorted out my much overdue papers into organised piles and backed my computer up.
I have watched online videos and looked at online images in regards to natural history, local nature, religious history, philosophy, Cosmic Ordering and been a member of some online Goth, geek and fantasy groups at Facebook.
I have researched to the best of my ability as to how I can get into comic book writing and how to sell my art.
My son has come down sick twice since the last post, so I had to take care of him.
I have watched the rugby and I have written the synopses of several stories I am about to write as novels.
Actual writing I have accomplished as part of a/or several novels – approximately 800 words – not a lot. But that’s fine when you consider I am actually writing an average of 800 to 3000 words per day, even if it is just a diary entry or my 750 words from 750words.com – I am actually writing a whole lot more than I used to!
I am writing in depths about the dreams I have at night. I have been writing down my ideas behind ethical behaviour and the changes that needs to happen to society for a better world. I have written how I feel about my family and circumstances. I have been making business plans and life plans. I have sat down for several hours in the last few weeks with my husband lulling over ideas about our life and even brainstorming my stories with him! I have also helped my son start writing his own stories and he is nearly 6yrs old!
A lot of what I am writing is not actually story based or for the blog. I have written several posts since the last time I have posted on this website, but the situation has been that I found it unsuitable for my readers here because I am either ranting about things or I am giving too many of my ideas away.
I have written notes on historical facts that I feel will help me with my stories. I am a self-student of the social sciences, since leaving the OU course for social sciences because I couldn’t cope with the demands in math and stats as well as having a teething baby on hand.
I have finally decided how one of the novels I am writing is going to end, so now I know this and have written the bullet points; it should be finished by April 20th, and yes, I am going to approach someone with it. The story is a horror with some Japanese folklore element to it, because I have studied the Japanese culture and language a lot in the last eight years as I love their comics and their sense of humour and horror; if and when I get published, I hope this opens a doorway to Japanese media, because I would love to travel to Japan and use the language skills I’ve developed. I should get on quite well in Japan speaking Japanese, as I have learned enough to get me by as someone who speaks the language a little better than the average tourist, though learning their script is near impossible for me at this stage!
I have also discovered through an ESA examination that I might have a neurological disorder I should discuss with my doctor, because I have been blacking out, phasing out, getting shaking hands and been getting a lot of problems with my upper body mobility. I have noticed that this is slowing my writing down a lot, because I am making huge errors such as forgetting how to use punctuation – writing different words than I originally wanted to and generally not making much sense at times, so if you come across this, please note it and let me know, thanks!
I write descriptions in depth or comedy scenes, but none of this is embodied into a story yet.
I don’t know if I am a proper writer and I don’t know if proper writers do exactly what I’ve been doing, but I am curious to find out. Is there more to being a writer than just sitting down writing poems and stories? Do we essentially write mostly about anything but those two main ideas society have about us?
I have never joined a writers group so I wouldn’t know. I would like to join my local writers group but the bus time tables make this difficult for me as the classes are twice a month at 7:30pm and the last bus to my village is at 8pm and I can’t walk that far home these days – I can’t drive either and have been advised not to with my medical conditions, such a shame really as I would have enjoyed it.
So that’s me since the New Year in a nutshell.

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ERB

Over the last couple of days I’ve been reading like a maniac ergo not written very much, I’ve been fortunate enough to have won two goodreads.com giveaways which has kept me busy; Also I have been watching funny rap take outs from ERB. It’s a recommended watch because you’ve got Darth Vader VS Adolf Hitler and Thor VS Zeus that type of thing.
You can find ERB on youtube

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Feather Boy

About ten years ago I watched a lovely fantasy series called “Feather Boy” on the television and I was taken by it completely enough to finally read the book; a book I was lucky to find at a charity shop a few weeks ago; such a beautiful tale about a little boy who is bullied and is then asked by his school to do a project at the local care home, where he had to befriend one of the elder residents.
He gets chosen by a lady called Edith Sorrel; this took the boy (called Robert) by surprise as he is the boy that never gets chosen for anything. Little did Robert know at the time that the reason behind Mrs Sorrel’s request for them to work together on the project was because Robert resembled her long dead son, David!
The story starts off like a mysterious ghost story; there is a mild horror element to it for the age range it’s aimed at (9 to 13yrs) and some very mild swearing. However, the gist of the story was that Mrs Sorrel wanted Robert to visit an old house she knew of thirty years ago; a house that is utterly derelict and has a bad history that gives the local children the heebie jeebies. The true story however was less adventurous and in Robert’s mind, disappointing.
The story teaches a lesson, a lesson that it’s easy to make something out of nothing; easy to misunderstand people and have an overactive imagination. The story is written around an old story about a prince who wouldn’t speak and a great firebird. This story is all about rebirth on many levels, it’s quite a spiritual book, very touching and for the first time in my life I have actually cried at an ending I knew would happen.
So, if you love tales about rebirth, revenge, growing up, courage and phoenixes, this book is very much for you.

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Vlad Dracula III

Since the 2nd January I have been slowly reading a history book with a fine comb called “Dracula, Prince of many faces; his life and his times”. I am reading this because I have never sat down at length and read an autobiography of the real legendary hero of Romania outside of short documentaries, articles and mentions in other history books.
So, because a lot of the things I knew about Vlad Dracula before I read this book seem to come from so many other sources, I feel that they are perhaps more accurate than this book. I know you probably think I am wrong to state that because the person who wrote the book was a historian, though I dispute it nonetheless; on the ground that according to my research the Florescu family were well known to be enemies of the Dracula’s and this book was no less written by Radu Florescu, possibly a descendant from those enemies.
I found the historian to be a sympathiser of the Turks and the Ottoman empire despite his apparent heritage; he also doesn’t view Dracula in the same light as other historians and other sources that I have read and he seems to have altered certain facts of major events within his life to make Dracula come across as an unstable tyrant who was unpopular from the start; quite the contrary to the fact. OK, I grant you it is tyrannical to go around killing people in the manner that he did, but by and large he is a much loved hero in Romanian culture, not something a lot of tyrants can proclaim.
So, it makes me wonder, if a lot of Romanians hold Dracula up in a favourable light, whether or not Dracula was as bad as this historian claims he was?
Obviously taking his executions into account they were evil and sadistic, but then again the same could be said for a lot of other cultures in the world at those times. He especially learned his techniques in every manner from the decade or so he was held prisoner and educated by the Turks themselves, so, he is as he was nurtured and the Turks certainly did nurture him ultimately for their own gain. They wanted money, horses, food and a certain amount of young boys integrated into the Ottoman empire to form part of their expanding armies as a sort of security against any Wallachian response and allowed Dracula to govern Wallachia for them, something of which didn’t last long once Vlad Dracula established himself back on his home soil; Dracula rightfully denied the payment and tried to juggle diplomacy between the Turks and the Hungarians for a long time, though eventually it was decided that the Turks were taking too much advantage of their supposed alliance and Dracula dealt with them promptly and harshly as would any other good ruler of the times.
The attack on German immigrants however, is a new thing that I’ve learned about him from this book. Because it is the first I have heard of these events, I cannot dispute it as a legitimate fact.
Many of the things I have learned about Vlad Dracula have made me feel in awe of his cleverness in these very tricky treaties and wars. He was very canny and wasn’t easily duped.
His reactions against the Turks taking possession of his land was by poisoning everything valuable such as wells and damaging his own crops and livestock; he also built dams to mire the edges of the Danube to protect his people from the canon fire from the Turks and then ensuring that his own people moved to safer places away from the invaders leading up to the famous “night of attack” was a very admirable feat, and showed how benevolent he was towards his people despite claims from German sources; He was also incredibly lucky, as six years before this event he was in a war where only 8000 Romanian peasants armed with only pitchforks and scythes, ousted 24000 Turkish professional troops, how he mustered that I have no idea, but to me it shows me how great he actually was, I am very taken by the history of this great and unappreciated man!
I am not taking for granted that things within this book are fact – due to the other sources I’ve learned from. I cannot vouch for whom or where those other sources came from, but I do know one of them was about the legend of Dracula in both media, fiction and fact in one of Jonathan Ross’s specials where a baroness spoke of how great a hero Vlad Dracula actually was and how rightfully offended she was of various inaccuracies and the fact that this great man was turned into a successful horror story.
Some of the events in Draculas life seems more altered in this book than from the other sources too, for example, the incident where he killed a man’s wife and replaced her – from other sources it was said that she didn’t iron his clothes properly and that he was a soldier in Dracula’s army, this book claims he was a normal peasant and his wife got the length of the shirt wrong – so there are some questions about who is right or not.
I have no formal qualifications in anything of which I am saying, but I have read a lot and watched a lot of documentaries over the years about this great prince; I am also an amateur genealogist. I like reading books about wars and royal classes from the 11th to the 17th century and all over the world not just limited to Europe. I read and study these independently to assist me to write such things accurately in any fiction I write, I write a lot containing feudalism generally in many of my fantasy works.
I also educate myself on all kinds of superstitions around the world and so-called heathen beliefs, to again, make my worlds seem more real. I have studied the social sciences to help me further, though I gave up my undergraduate qualification when I found my illness and having a toddler very difficult to juggle with university studies.
By and large I try hard to learn about all things cultural and I think if you are making worlds that aren’t based on Earth or are based on an earlier time on Earth, you need to do the same thing too, otherwise everything will seem unreal to the reader.

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Mummy, you’re not a salad!

Listening to children can inspire more writing as they say the funniest and strangest things.

My son Henry is only five years old, yet he inspires me every time he talks to me. Yesterday I was having trouble getting Henry out of my bedroom in the morning whilst I got myself dressed, I chucked him out of my bedroom no less than six times, before he started to initiate a game with me; the game – he was Mr. Wolf and I was Miss Piggy and he was going to blow the bedroom door down and eat me up. I told Henry “It’s too early and I am not dressed yet”, to which he replied – “Mummy you’re not a salad, wolves don’t eat salad they eat little piggy’s”, which I must admit took me aback.

So always take advantage of communicating with children whenever you can, because they will inspire you, particularly for comedy and fantasy.

 

 

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2.5 hours sleep

Having only 2.5 hours sleep last night, I am quite surprised at how my brain is on top form this morning; something that’s been a struggle for over eighteen months now.   I scored 821 points in online scrabble and I’ve written over one thousand words before noon that’s going to be published on my blog, this is a record for me as I tend to linger over one thousand words in a whole day that’s usually utter rubbish and will never be published anywhere.

The post I wrote for my blog will be published on the 8th August so keep an eye out for it as there is something in this post that will be the main theme for that day.

That is…

As a writer I procrastinate profusely because I am overloaded with more ideas that actually knuckling down to work. I get an average of two novel or short story ideas a day and I have over seven large files containing just ideas, some of these ideas have been with me since I was ten years old and they are so vast (as in an epic series) that I can’t actually believe that anyone would actually want to publish all that drivel without severely abridging my work (insert pained expression here).

One of the main reasons why I have been afraid of professional success has been that an editor will come along and say to me; “cut this out and this and this and this” and I will be standing there agape and aghast that they dare think that they are gods of my worlds! Demons of apocalypse, back away from my creations you heinous, cruel, heartless reapers of my poor innocent imaginary friends, BACK AWAY NOW! (Holds up baseball bat in defence of my many worlds). Oh, OK, maybe I can kill a few darlings as Stephen King would suggest in his book “On Writing”, but it will be painful and they will be mourned by no one else except for me. Damn being a writer is depressing.

Anyway, focusing back onto this subject – I’ve tried to force myself to concentrate on one main story for the last few years and you know what? I don’t think my brain can work that way. I think I need to have many stories on the go at once, I know when I used to be like that I was more productive as a whole and I was told by a college lecturer (of GCSE English Literature) that if I want to be a writer I should focus on one story at a time or else I will become confused and so will my readers. Actually thinking back I think this is bullshit because as a writer I do more than just write my work, I actually read my own work too and edit to the best of my ability – so what utter tosh.

Since 2002 I’ve been working on a fantasy comedy based around some drunk leprechauns, I have the beginning, middle and end, but I have got bored with it seven chapters on because of computer faults deleting most of it with corrupt files etc., after four occasions where this happens and you have no hard copies you get a little disheartened with the story and start to wonder if the story is bad luck, don’t you? Well I do.

Anyway, between writing the leprechaun comedy, I’ve been writing snippets for an epic vampire series – something I’ve been working on since I was ten years old, god I love vampires.

The vampire stories will never be neglected, they are always added to at least once a week, even if it’s just a sentence, they will never be forgotten, because to me, they are my family and I will defend these stories the most if I ever feel brave enough to trust them with a publisher.

Over the years, before I started to concentrate on just one or two, I had started two dystopian stories, a comedy about a female wrestler, a comic about a cat, a comic about a sex crazed astronaut nun, a comic about dominant women invading a planet for mates, a crazy millionaire woman who kills herself after committing murder, a novel about a plague survivor, cowboy vampires, and a console addict sucked into a computer world – to name but a few.

Some of those ideas I gave up because I found similar books or movies during the writing of them by accident and was concerned of plagiarism, but having original ideas is difficult – so therefore I may start some of them up again and do them anyway soon.

No matter what genre I write, I don’t think I can help but have some humour in my stories – I would not be at all surprised if I eventually get coined as a crossover author for horror, fantasy and comedy.

I am starting a horror novel today, based on the advice of my husband and the fact that I am enthusiastic about it and it’s fresh in my mind – so, here I go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The man in the picture by Susan Hill

The man in the picture by Susan Hill

As a lover of anything to do with carnivals, masquerades, festivals, harlequins and circus’s as well as plunging into the depths of horror stories and movies, I found this novel absolute pleasure. Never before had I ever read a whole novel in one sitting, taking just 90 minutes, I was heavily pregnant with my first born son and it was just after 1am when I started, I thought I would only read a few pages before falling asleep, but I couldn’t, I just could not put the book down, it was like I was under some kind of spell.
It is an addictive read, I want more books of this kind and I have found myself looking subconsciously for stories of a similar theme over the past five years, never finding anything as compelling or as long as this masterpiece and I must say that is disappointing.
I both love and hate books that compel me so.
At first glance it would seem familiar in a Dorian Grey kind of way, but it isn’t – it is like a ghost story, but that’s not quite right either, the plot is simple, but fantastic. I am surprised it isn’t more widely known; I am surprised that Susan Hill fans have never made much of a scene of this novel as they have with “I’m the king of the castle” or “The woman in black”, but then that is hardly surprising as I rarely see this book on shelves in libraries or stores.
I think it should someday become known as a classic horror story, though its elusiveness to the public may be a detriment for that to become so.

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