The name's Luna.
24/Los Angeles/wannabe blogger & researcher
Just another freak in the Freak Kingdom.
A place for me to ramble about books I love... also probably the only blog I'll ever have that will keep its theme. I don't want my page to be a mess so I'm only going to shelve books starting with what I've read in the past year.
I'm not always eloquent, and I'm certainly not pretentious. I am just a huge nerd who lurks in used bookstores and likes to read and do research for fun.
As part of my 13 Days of Halloween celebration I decided to post my top 10 favorite creepy TV documentaries! I wrote this a couple years ago so I had to go back and fix all the links or else this would have been up this morning. Anywho, there's one for each of the remaining days of Halloween! Enjoy!
For me, there is no better way to celebrate Halloween (and autumn in general) than by filling lazy afternoons with paranormal TV documentaries. I've been obsessed with these shows for years. I have very fond memories of sitting in my parents' living room in the slanted golden light of late autumn afternoons with a cup of soda and a big bag of chocolate chips, flipping through the channels to find spooky specials. Something about these shows, even and especially the older ones, is wonderfully addictive to me. More than anything I love them because they invoke a peaceful feeling of nostalgia. Something about opening your mind to the possibility of the paranormal- even if its just for 30 to 45 minutes- makes you feel like a kid again, sitting in the front yard with friends in the dusk among the fallen leaves and scaring yourself with old ghost stories.
Needless to say, I have amassed a pretty long list of shows that I've watched over the years (and more recently dug for on youtube and documentary sites). For this list I decided to go with shows that I think others will enjoy nearly as much as I do, and I've numbered them based on how excited I think they'll get you for Halloween! . (I've included links to the videos, of course, and I did try to find the ones with the best quality, though it proved to be a difficult task... sorry if they're mostly 360-480p) Let me know what you think!
1. Vampire Secrets
A History Channel docudrama (I suppose you could call it that... there isn't much acting, just neat supplemental scenes with narration over them) from 2006. The early 2000's (and late 90s) were the History Channel's golden years, in my opinion. I've watched it almost every year since then and it's my all-time favorite stand-alone TV documentary. It gives a really awesome overview of the history behind the vampire myth and the atmosphere created with the re-enactments is perfect. I think anyone would enjoy this one, and I recommend it often (it even has 4/5 stars on IMDb).
2. Haunted History - New Orleans and Edinburgh
I love Haunted History. It's so atmospheric and relaxing, and of course nostalgic. The narrator's voice and the simple reenactments are a comforting presence after a stressful day. The episodes I've chosen for the #2 spot on my countdown are my top 2 favorites from the series, which ran from 1999-2001. As it says in the intro, you "catch a glimpse of our historic past" through the interesting local stories and "through a veil of sightings and ghostly encounters", and I think that's the most entertaining way to learn about history. You may find the one about New Orleans to be especially interesting since American Horror Story: Coven has come out; it talks about the sadistic Madame LaLaurie and the ghost of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau wandering around the cemetery where she's buried. I recently found out that they did a re-boot of this show and completely destroyed it. The narrator in the '99-'01 version of the series had the most perfect spooky voice I've ever heard and now they have some idiot with one of those voices that belong on something like "World's Wackiest Wipeouts!" or some shit. (I call it a "WOAH BRO!" voice.) They also added the overly dramatic music (a la Inception) that is common to even the most mundane shows these days, as well as over-the-top reenacments and story telling. So stay away from that garbage and enjoy the first two seasons, compliments of youtube!
New Orleans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvomCZxFBFA
3. A Haunting
Speaking of reenacments, if you want cheesey ghost stories done RIGHT and another pefectly creepy narrator, look no further than Discovery Channel's A Haunting (although now I think it mostly comes on that channel 'Destination America'... used to be History International). This show started in 2005 and still comes out with new episodes. It profiles one or two "true life" ghost stories, told by the people who allegedly experienced them and acted out by really bad actors who look nothing like them. I love it. Anyway it always profiles really awesome ghost stories. Another autumn weekday afternoon favorite. I could only find one episode in its entirety, but it's a good one.
4. Ancient Mysteries w/ Leonard Nimoy - Witches and Bigfoot
How can you not want to listen to Leonard Nimoy tell you all about paranormal history? His voice is more magical than Morgan Freeman's (YEAH, I said it!). These two episodes are my favorites. They're from the 90's so they're pretty simple, but they contain a lot of interesting information. I especially like the one about witches; I think it does a really good historical overview.
5. Is It Real? - Ghosts and Vampires
Even though it can at times be overly skeptical and snarky, it's one of my favorite shows. They are always trying to prove that whatever they're talking about is bullshit, so they get some very eccentric "experts" on the show. These two episodes are my favorite, mostly for the weird people they talk to. In 'Ghosts', there's the coffee-addled ghost hunter, and in 'Vampires' there's Don Henry and that nutter who hunted vampires in England in the '70s... classic Halloween semi-educational entertainment.
I couldn't find these episodes anywhere anymore (thanks a lot Nat Geo), the only one I could find on youtube was for The Nostradamus Effect, which is still neat so I'm putting it here anyway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5QIxp34_BE
If you have the Netflix DVD service you can rent them, but I don't think any of them are streaming anymore.
6. The Haunted History of Halloween
I haven't watched this one in a while; I'm saving it for the afternoon of the 31st. It's from the late '80s or early '90s. It can be a little dull at times, but it's a classic. It does a pretty thorough overview of the history of Halloween- including the dumb protests about it as "Satan's holiday" or whatever the hell, which is lame but a part of the history nonetheless. I only included it because I have watched it almost every year for forever. I have a very clear memory of getting my 2009 Mischief Night costume on and watching it in the spare bedroom at my parents' house before heading out to Lucky's Pub to see the boyfriend's band.
7. Ancient Aliens - Aliens and Evil Places
Gotta throw some Aliens into the mix! They have one about the undead but I like this one better... plus, it's more convincing. This episode takes you to the Suicide Forest in Japan and other interesting "cursed" places throughout the world. The craziest story is about some strangely murdered hikers in Russia... WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED, MAN?!
Once again, difficult to find decent videos of this series on youtube. It's worth finding in HD though- it's season 3 episode 10 if you're interested. I know there are some episodes of Ancient Aliens streaming on Netflix, not sure if this is included though. And of course they're available to rent on DVD from them as well.
8. The Unexplained: Witches, Werewolves, and Vampires
This one is just delightfully tacky. It's a 1994 Halloween special, and it is so perfectly... '90s. Doesn't teach you much but it's got some cool stories and of course a good mix of oddball "experts". Great to have on in the background of a Halloween party because it's not like a historical doc, it's just a lot of fun.
9. Castle Ghosts of England
Another atmospheric favorite. As you can probably tell, a major factor in my enjoyment of TV documentaries, especailly when pertaining to the paranomal, is the narration. I just love this guy's voice. Good ghost stories, simple reenactments. Reminds me a lot of Haunted History.
10. America's Castles: California Dreamers (The Winchester Mystery House)
This one's not scary at all, and the narrator is a little corny, but the Winchester house has a great paranormal story behind it... I'm running out of time to finish and I don't want to spoil anything, but trust me you'll be glad you learned about it! I included it on the list because I think everyone should know about the Winchester house, it's really cool! So just watch the part about that, it's the first 20 minutes or so of the video.