Strange Days: news oddities for Halloween

Updated: Nov 12

Gregory Williams

Photo via Hansons Auctioneers

Asst. A&E Editor


There's a lot of offbeat stories out there that always seem to fly under the radar given their nature, especially during an election year and with the inescapable you-know-what continuing to wreak havoc across the globe. Most mainstream news outlets may be loth to cover - let's say - a group of swearing parrots accosting visitors at a British Wildlife Park. But in the case of any new readers, worry not, this column couldn't be further from mainstream. And so, in the spirit of the season, here are a few Halloween themed stories you more than likely missed.

A tool kit for everyone

Bids for an antique vampire-killing kit began back in July 16 at Hansons Auctioneers of Derbyshire, England. Its original owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he purchased the kit at a large antiques fair and knew little to no history of its origins. Contained in the ornate wooden, velvet lined box is an array of items one would suspect a prospective vampire slayer would need: a percussion cap pocket pistol, rosary beads, three crucifixes, a pocket knife and a 19th-century copy of the New Testament. However, the authenticity of the kit had been scrutinized by academics, pointing out the odd mixture of traditions the items represent and further stating that most components of the kit differ in age by 100 or more years. But what everyone seems to agree on is its singularity and cultural value, rather than its historical integrity. Bids were expected to reach 3,000 pounds, or close to $4000 U.S. dollars, when it went under the hammer on July 16 earlier this year.

Dolls have feelings, too

A Welsh paranormal investigator reported that during a ghost hunt at the Hideout bar in Wrexham, North Wales, his haunted doll Annie began crying “fresh water” tears. Matt Tillet, the owner of the doll, brings Annie with him on investigations to encourage paranormal activity. He believes the doll is possessed by a demon or some ‘malevolent’ being.

A sickness foretold by a mystic

The blind Bulgarian mystic and soothsayer, Baba Vanga, is said to have predicted that President Donald Trump would suffer from a “mysterious illness” that would leave him deaf and with a brain tumor. As it happens, her prediction did not align with reality, given President Trump’s unusual speedy recovery from coronavirus this October. Deemed the ‘Nostradamus of the Balkans,’ Baba Vanga died in 1996, but her predictions were taken so seriously that the Bulgarian government hired secretaries to write them down. Despite being dead for over 20 years, her prophecies – which included the 9/11 terrorist attack and Brexit - spanned well past her death, ending with the demise of the Universe in the year 5709.

Oh, mummy!

One can only hope that Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities consulted with the mummy slaying Rick O’Connell first before opening a roughly 2,600-year-old sarcophagus. Within the last few months, archeologists have discovered 59 sealed sarcophagi at the Saqqara necropolis, located just south of Egypt’s capital, Cairo. The coffins were remarkably well preserved and are believed to hold the remnants of priests and government officials.

The Conjuring House is open for business

The farmhouse that inspired “The Conjuring” movie franchise opened its doors this year for overnight guests and paranormal investigators. Located in Burrillville, Rhode Island, visitors who stay in the allegedly haunted house are free to roam the property in the hopes of experiencing something out of the popular horror movie. The new owners, who purchased the home from Norma Sutcliff, appear to have capitalized on their home’s formidable reputation. Depending on the day and length of stay, prices range from $125 to $750. The previous owner, Norma Sutcliff, sued Warner Bros. back in 2005 after the incessant trespassing that occurred when the first Conjuring movie was released.


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