Tales From A Weird World

REMEMBERING FRIENDS…

Dreams are curious creatures.  I’ve heard all the usual explanations for dreams: it’s your brain having a sort through of all the experiences you’ve had and so on but what, I ask you, is Kim Basinger doing popping up in my dreams when she is the last person I would be thinking about (no offence, Kim, but it’s been a while).  I’ve always had very vivid dreams, most of which I forget like everyone else, but sometimes I get caught up in a right humdinger (remember the one about Lady Gaga and strange men eating KFC?)  Well this one was kind of in the same bracket but without the extra side orders.

Recently, I was very sad to learn about the passing of my childhood best friend.  We had drifted apart over the years, but you never expect to hear that someone you grew up with has died.  Dreaming about my friend should not have been a shock.  And dreaming about us in a situation that we both had fond memories of (being at school together) seemed like the perfect place to find her.  She was in her school uniform, aged in her early teens, and I passed her in a corridor on my way to a lesson somewhere.  I stopped her and she looked at me with a peaceful expression but she didn’t quite look as if she was really seeing me.  I asked her if she was okay and she said that she was.  I put my hand on her arm and said I had heard that she had died and she laughed, seemingly a bit annoyed, and asked me where I had heard that one.  I told her another school friend had told me and she snorted and said ‘why on earth did she do that?’   My friend looked… different.  I’m not sure what it was about her, whether it was because I was remembering her as her younger self, or I was perhaps having trouble remembering her face and my mind was filling in the missing details (although I can see her as clear as day in my mind while I write this).  It was quite an emotional experience because I knew, of course, deep down, that she was no longer living. Then my grandmother made an appearance too – not sure what she was doing at my old school – but she hardly seemed to notice me and just went about her business.  I moved on to my old form room where some old school friends who I haven’t thought about in a long time were sitting around chatting.  One of them was sporting a black eye.  Well, he had been a particularly irritating child at school, so maybe that was a subconscious wish on my part.

WE NEED A BIGGER TUB…

We sat around watching some kind of slide show about clocks – what else? – when I noticed a stack of old looking documents beside me and I thought, ‘ they must be from the asylum!’  Of course.  Where else would a stack of old looking documents have come from?  It’s my dream, and I say they came from an asylum.  I picked up an old white envelop that was busy turning a nice shade of brown and noticed it was dated long ago.  It appeared to be an envelop full of photographs.  I pulled one out to look at it and it was a photo of an inmate taking a bath whilst at an asylum.  The inmate was wrapped in some kind of sheeting and looked for all the world to be… wait, was that Kim Basinger?  I frowned at the photo wondering what on earth she was doing there and then I became aware that there was a figure standing just behind me.  It was ethereal and glowing and looked a little bit curious as to why I was holding an old sepia photo of her having a bath in asylum settings.  The ghost of Ms Basinger looked at me for a moment and, feeling that I was holding something that was very much her property, I gave her the envelope of photos with an muttered apology.  She smiled and I knew that if I looked away for a moment then she would be gone.  And I was right.  I turned to look at my schoolmate with his black eye and then when I turned back she had, indeed, gone.  I felt as if I had experienced something truly incredible.  Although now I am somewhat concerned that something has happened to Kim, so I’m just going to do a quick Google to make sure she’s okay…

I wonder what it is that makes us dream about seemingly random people.  And I wonder if it means anything.  It was nice to see my friend one last time though.

Nicola

©Nicola Kirk 2016 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com

BLOODY HELL, MARY!

Well, we have a nice turn up for the books today – I am delighted to be able to present you with a one off interview with Bloody Mary herself.  Bloody Mary is known by many names (Mary Worthington, Mary Jane, Mary Whales and Mary White to name but a few) and she has taken time out from her hectic mirror stalking schedule to be here with us today.  Just in case you are not familiar with Bloody Mary’s work, take a few seconds to observe the following:

I’ll give you a moment to come out from behind the sofa.

Nicola Kirk: Bloody Mary, welcome to Weirdworld!

Bloody Mary: Hi, nice to be here, thanks for inviting me.

NK: Wow, where to start!  You seem to be doing very well for yourself these days?

BM: (Laughs shyly) Yes, well, there are a lot of mirrors out there.

NK: For those out there who aren’t aware of who you are, would you like to tell us a little about yourself?:

BM: Sure.  Well, I kind of popped up in the 1970s, at least that’s when the folklorists and urban legend people started to take notice of me.  I’ve built up a rather terrifying reputation for myself over the years, even if I do say so myself. I love Googling myself to see what comes up.  There are endless tales of people being terrified out of their wits after having summoned me and then have me crawl out of their mirrors and trying to kill them – ha!  I’m quite the horror celebrity these days.  But people always seem to have found mirrors fascinating, haven’t they?  People try everything with them –  from divining the future to, well, calling up dead people.  You know, historically, young women would try out a little ritual where they would take a lit candle and walk up stairs backwards with a hand mirror at midnight in the hope that they’d see their future husband in the mirror .

NK: Sounds like something exciting to try.

BM: Well, yes and no – if they looked in the mirror and saw a skull looking back at them then it meant they would die before they got married.

NK: Oh.

BM: Yes.  Although, from my point of view, this sort of ritual can be quite entertaining.  Some girls can’t decide which version of the ‘ritual’ to use.  Should they carry the candle, and eat an apple at the same time, whilst walking backwards and trying to brush their hair?  You know, some people just aren’t born multitaskers and the end results can be really amusing to behold.

NK: How have rituals progressed over the years?  Any bloody sacrifices?

BM: (Sighing) Nothing that exciting.  Sometimes, if they’re brave enough, people try to summon me on their own, in their bathroom with just with a candle, and other times, if they’re drunk enough, people try in groups with a bottle of vodka for backup.  The drunk groups are the best.  There’s always someone who runs into the wall while everyone else runs for the door.  Sometimes I don’t even have to put in an appearance, they spook themselves out before they’ve finished the chanting and run away.  That can be disappointing, especially if I’ve been gearing myself up for a grand entrance.

NK: So, if someone was minded to try and summon you, how would they go about it for the best results?

BM: The most generally accepted way is to stand in front of a mirror in a dimly lit room, candles are a nice touch, and to chant ‘Bloody Mary’ three times.  Some people call for Mary Worth or Mary White, I even had someone calling for Mary Whitehouse once – I’m not sure what they were expecting but they looked pretty shocked when I appeared and asked them what they thought about social liberalism.  Sometimes people try calling for the Candyman for a change but I don’t pull off the brutalised black male artist look too well. But a friend of mine, Hanako-San, she has a tough job.  She haunts toilets in Japanese schools.  People are forever banging on third cubicles on third floors and asking if she’s there.  They get horribly frightened when she actually says she’s home – I don’t know why people go looking for us if they’re just going to run away screaming when we answer.  I suppose it could be something to do with the way we sometimes attack them, but sometimes we can be nice.

NK: Hanako- San doesn’t know Moaning Myrtle does she?

BM: Who?

NK: From..uh… Harry Potter – okay, not to to worry, let’s move on.  What’s your average customer like?

BM: Young and female.  I don’t know why, but it’s always girls having slumber parties.  The number of times I’ve turned up to find everyone in a onesie.  It’s like no one makes an effort these days.

NK: What sort of thing can people expect when you appear in their mirror?

BM: Depends what sort of mood I’m in and if they’re interrupting me while I’m doing something important.  I’m not always a bloody faced screaming corpse you know, I do have quite a repertoire.

NK: Funnily enough, I did try to Google reports of people having met you on a good day and I thought I was onto something when the search turned up ‘A friendly welcome and a good Bloody Mary!’ but unfortunately it was just a pub review on Trip Advisor.

BM: (Shrugs) Yes, well, you can’t have everything.  I have to tell you, being summoned all the time by people looking for a bit of a thrill does get a bit tiresome so you can appreciate that I’m not always going to be sunshine and smiles.

NK: Um, not ever by all accounts.  Having read a few experiences left by people on the internet, they’ve reported being screamed at, cursed and apparently you sometimes try to strangle people?

BM: (Holds hands up) Guilty as charged.  Although I did see a piece of viral tat going around on Facebook once that if you didn’t forward a post on to at least fifteen people then I would appear at midnight to slit wrists, throats and pull eyeballs out with a fork.  I mean really…

NK: Bit over the top?

BM: I don’t even own a fork.

NK: Right.  You have become more famous as the years have gone on, haven’t you?

BM: I really have!  I’ve had films made about me and all sorts.  There was Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005), The Legend of Bloody Mary (2008) and I even got in on that Paranormal Activity 3 (2011).

NK: Yes, we featured a clip from that film at the beginning of this interview.

BM: Nothing like a little publicity.

NK: Have you see the doll they’ve made of you?

BM: Seriously?

NK: Bloody Mary Doll

BM: (Recoils in horror) Woah!  That’s… that’s just nasty.  I don’t look like that, do I?  What’s going on with the hair?  I do like her dress though, I think I could make that work.

NK: There are all sorts of back stories attached to your legend, aren’t there?

BM: Oh yes, I’ve got so many possible origins these days, it’s hard to keep up with them all.  The one I like most is that I am Bloody Queen Mary, famous for her violently imposed religious views.  Not that I’m particularly religious but being mistaken for royalty is quite flattering.  Other stories I’ve heard about myself is that I was a particularly vain woman who spent so long looking in mirrors that I came back to haunt them, and anyone who dares to call me up in a mirror will do so at their peril – but I don’t think I’m that vain.  I spend more time looking out of mirrors than into them these days.  One thing I did read (an essay by Alan Dundes called Bloody Mary In The Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety) was that elements of my legend could be linked to the onset of menstruation due to the similarities in feelings between that and how people feel when summoning me.

NK: Yeah, I’m not so sure about that one.  When I hit puberty I don’t recall experiencing mindboggling terror – certainly nothing in the same vein as being murdered by something leaping at me from my bathroom mirror.  Getting your monthlies is a bit different, I think.

BM: I think it’s also something to do with the association with blood and the bathroom, too.  An interesting notion but not one I personally like to be associated with.  I still prefer the ‘mess with me and I’ll rip your face off’ approach to my legend.

NK: And finally, do you have any words of advice for people who are considering summoning you to their mirror?

BM: Yes: bring a change of underpants.

NK: So there we have it, coming to a mirror near you: Bloody Mary!

BM: Thank you!  

Nicola

©Nicola Kirk 2016 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Everyone,

Happy New Year to you all!

I’d like to introduce my latest theatre script, which I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Available now from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format:

SCARLETT THOUGHT SHE HAD BURIED HER GRANDMA…

Scarlett’s dead grandmother is the definition of ‘mean spirited’. After living a life of sin, Satan grants Grandma just a few measly hours to make amends with the people she upset in life, or there will be hell to pay. Quite literally.

But Grandma being Grandma, if she’s going ‘down’ she’s taking Scarlett with her unless her granddaughter does something about it, and quick!

Nicola

 

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  On here, that is.  I am now proud to announce that I have finally finished my latest novel, The Little Book of Dating Disasters and it is now available on Amazon in either book format or on Kindle:

“EVA HARPER IS LOOKING FOR A MAN… But not just any man. Eva’s man must be funny, sensitive and if he could turn out not to be gay, well, that wouldn’t go amiss either. But finding such a man soon starts to feel like a mission impossible, leaving Eva’s private life a Ground Zero for Disastrous Dates. But when Eva meets Ethan Law, she quickly discovers he is everything she could possibly want – except for one small problem. Ethan is a male escort. Can Eva overcome her jealousy before it’s too late and what lengths will she go to to keep her man?”

So go on, give yourself a little lighthearted entertainment over the Christmas break and get yourself a copy.

Here’s to a very happy new year!

Nicola

STRANGE BUT TRUE

What warrants the label of ‘strange’ for you?  Does a noise in your closet in the dead of night fill your mind with images of ghosties and ghoulies and leave you shivering under your covers, or do you fart, turn over and go back to sleep again (yeah, you know who you are)?  Are you the kind of person that drives past a dilapidated building just that little bit faster than normal, checking your rear mirror as you go in case a lost wraith is chasing after you, or do you make a mental note to have a nose around at a later date because, well, you never know what you might find.

When I encounter something that might be a bit out of the ordinary, when I hear a strange noise that I can’t place when I’m alone in the house (and like many people, I have knowing what every noise in my house is down to a fine art) or see something that I’m not sure is ‘the norm’, it feels as if reality takes a step to the side, time slows down and my brain whirrs at a hundred miles an hour as it tries to figure out, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, what just happened there?!’  I’ve always loved the paranormal, and I wonder if what I consider to be strange is the same as what people who don’t give two hoots about the World of Weird consider to be strange, or am I so used to looking out for general cosmic oddness now that I need a bigger hit of it to get the same high?

Wait, am I a weirdness junkie?

THE SPOOKY HAND IN THE HAIR FROM THE GRUDGE WAS BAD…

BUT OLGA DECIDED THE SPOOKY FOOT ON THE SHOULDER WAS INFINITELY WORSE

I remember reading once that a person visited a stately home and while they were minding their own business, looking at one of the centuries old portraits hanging on the wall, reality suddenly hiccupped and the person in the portrait appeared to move.  Oh, pack it in, I don’t mean the person leapt out of the frame and started chasing them around the grounds, but moved just enough for the viewer to have one of those ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, what just happened there?!’ moments.  Now that is my kind of strange…

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE COMMENT SECTION OVER THERE… 

So come on, don’t be shy, write and tell me what sort of things you have experienced that have left you thinking ‘uh… not sure that was supposed to happen… did anyone else see that?’

Big or small, we all secretly love a little bit of strangeness.

Nicola

weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk
©Nicola Kirk 2015 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com

Colchester Castle Museum – Just Where The Sat Nav Left It…

A few weeks back I promised myself a day out and I found myself trundling down the dual carriageway on the way to Colchester with a view to enlightening myself about all things old and Roman at the Colchester Castle Museum.  Amazingly, I found my way there without getting lost, which is quite something as generally satnavs lie to me.   They do.  I end up driving down a dirt track at the end of some farmer’s field with the satnav screaming at me: “You are lost!  You are lost!”  while I scream back, ‘but you sent me this way!  Oi!  It’s no good you re-routing now, is it?!’

The castle hadn’t opened by the time I’d arrived so I went for a wander down the high street.  Two piano shops and a croque monsieur sandwich later, I went and bought myself a ticket to the castle museum for a very reasonable £7.50 and, for an additional £1, you can have a little Samsung tablet to wonder around with that tells you additional bits and bobs as you go around the displays, including graphics of how the castle’s interior may once have looked hundreds of years ago.   Hold the tablet up at the appointed place, turn around, and a 360º view of the place in its former glory appears on the screen, moving as you move.  Nifty.

Chainmail Shirts Are Soooo Last Century Darling

The museum is torn between ages.  The thick stone walls of the ancient Norman Keep and the lovely modern glass display cases and airy atmosphere inside the museum combine to make it a very unique place.  It’s not your average museum full of untouchable objects, there are parts of the museum where you can dress up as a Roman soldier (apparently this is mainly for the children but hey ho…) and you can handle a chainmail shirt so  you can feel just how incredibly heavy they were and other replica items so you get a real feel for the history of the place.  I heard one father say to his kids: ‘here you go, pick up this shield… heavy, isn’t it?’ I smiled while the kids staggered around under the weight of the replica shield. ‘Now imagine trying to lift a heavy sword at the same time AND wear one of these chainmail shirts.’  And then imagine wearing a helmet you probably can’t see too much through and then maybe some other armour and then having to fight for your life, I thought to myself.  Jeez… and they say a policeman’s lot is not a happy one; it beats the pants off being a Roman soldier.

Fleshing Out History – Sometimes Cake Just Won’t Do It

After a pleasant couple of hours gazing at all things ancient and Roman, I went across the way to a little church with a  wonderfully overgrown graveyard.  It’s almost as if it’s been forgotten about what with the way the ivy has been left to crawl up over the gravestones and the trees keep everything else in perpetual heavy shade, but if you have a look at the sign by the main entrance of the former All Saints church, it’s actually Colchester’s Natural History Museum.  Now this is something I bet the Church never foresaw happening.   The church has been turned into a stage for all things stuffed and feathered with slightly surprised expressions on their faces (excluding the lady on the front desk, she was very nice and smiley).  It was a serene environment to take in some information about the local wildlife and salt marshes.  On the day that I went, there was a lady doing face painting for the kids, and whilst I decided against it, I did see a few kiddies wandering about sporting some pretty cool face paints.   But it does seem that being a church in Colchester is a hazardous pastime – the  ones I came across had been turned into either museums or vintage markets and coffee shops… which is fine by me because it means these fine old buildings are still being kept in use, but I bet the occupants of the tombs under the ancient stone floors wonder what’s going on in their Holiest of Holies.  I did like the polite notice up in the Church Of The Holy Sale Now On though, asking people not to plonk their chairs on top of the underfloor residents.  It’s nice to see a bit of respect still lingers in this day and age of ‘ I Want Everything Now And I Don’t Care Who I Put My Chair On To Get It.’

How To Redecorate A Church, Vintage Style

I love what they’ve done with the place…

I think I might venture back to the lovely old town of Colchester at Christmas because it hasn’t yet succumbed to the giant department stores that sell all the same old things and kick all the other little boutiques which we all love out of business. It has retained its many individual shops with shopkeepers who still smile at you and take a moment to chat.  That’s something I miss, working in London where even the briefest shopping excursion can feel like a soulless chore where you’re just washed along the shopping aisles with the rest of The Masses.

Nicola

weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk
©Nicola Kirk 2014 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com

Told You It Was A Long Way!

I know my blog is mainly about the weird and wonderful, and most sisters do find their brothers at least a bit weird but I’m also finding my brother to be… really rather wonderful at the moment (but for goodness sake don’t tell him, I’ve still not entirely forgiven him for telling me I had a child-bearing arse when I was a teenager).

I take my hat off to anyone who goes running.  The thought of running fills me with horror.  I have dreams where I go for a run (seems like a good idea at the time) but for the life of me, I can’t think how to do it, my legs get tangled and I can’t move fast enough to outpace a snail.  As for the thought of going out to run mile after mile, well it just doesn’t compute on any level…  So, for my brother to say he’s going to run the London Marathon (again) on 13th April 2014 to raise money for Asthma UK just blows my mind a bit.  He’s going to drag his butt 26.2 miles around London in aid of charity.  Now that is quite something.  I’ve had experience with asthma when I was a child and was fortunate enough to grow out of it, but Stuart was not so lucky and it’s something that’s plagued him since he was little, but he doesn’t let it hold him back.  Like that Duracell Bunny he just keeps on going and going.

In November he grew the most intriguing facial fluff for Movember when he and his friends raised money for Prostate Cancer Research – for a while he was renamed Wing Commander Morgan-Philps – my goodness all he needed was a stiffer upper lip and a plane and he’d have been well away.  This time, it’s running a marathon to beat asthma, when he suffers from it himself.

So, I have a favour to ask – could you spare a couple of quid to sponsor Stuart in his Run Of Insanity?  Come on, let’s cheer him on!

But here’s a message from the man himself:

“Hello ladies and gents,

I will keep this short and sweet.

I am running the London Marathon again this year in aid of Asthma UK. Asthma is a condition I have suffered with for over 20 years and thought it was right to do something to support the charity that helps others that suffer a lot more than I do.

I appreciate that some of you may have donated last year when I did Movember or have had other people asking so please forgive this request again and anything that is given is very much appreciated.

http://www.justgiving.com/Philpsy

Regards.
Stu
Asthma UK
Thanks everyone!
Nicola

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