Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Frozen Dead Guy!

Granpa Bredo's Frozen Coffin

Today would have been the 110th birthday of Bredo Morstoel. “Grandpa Bredo”, as he is now known to locals in Nederland, Colorado, passed away on November 6, 1989 at the age of 89, but his story didn't end there. Bredo's corpse became the subject of his grandson's home-brewed cryonic experiments. Though his relatives were deported Grandpa Bredo has remained behind, lying frozen inside of a shed in Colorado. His postmortem predicament led to support from locals and finally a festival that began eight years back. The ninth annual Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival will be held next weekend (March 5-7, 2010).

This joyously macabre winter festival features frozen turkey bowling, frozen salmon tossing, tours of Grandpa's shed, live music, ice carvings, a hearse parade, and much more. The festival also has a coffin race, though their coffin race is much different than the one held during the Emma Crawford Festival and Memorial Coffin Race in the relatively nearby Manitou Springs (see Emma Crawford Festival and Memorial Coffin Race). This year's festival is being covered by a crew from a Japanese reality show. Considering the crazy Japanese reality shows I've seen, that is a pretty strong sign that this festival is a wacky one to attend.

Wish Grandpa Bredo Happy Birthday and read more about his strange tale and the unusual festival that centers around his frozen remains.

-Tom G

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Honoring the Man in Black

Tomorrow marks 78 years since the birth of Johnny Cash. His final album, American VI: Ain't No Grave, came out this past Tuesday, more than six years after the iconic musician passed away. Johnny Cash's relatives and the record company that released the final album are encouraging fans to celebrate his birthday by wearing all black on Friday. They are running a Facebook event for that day with free prizes being awarded to some of those who post photos of themselves wearing black.

During the 1970s, Johnny Cash made his tendency toward wearing black clothing into a trademark, releasing the album Man in Black. In the title song from the album, Cash explains why he wore black so often.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

Considering how much of my own wardrobe is black, it is likely that I would have been wearing all black tomorrow anyhow. So, I will honor Johnny Cash's birthday instead by choosing the birthplace of Johnny Cash and his hometown as the Dark Destinations for this week.

Visit Kingsland, Arkansas, the birthplace of Johnny Cash.


Visit Dyess, Arkansas, his hometown.

-Tom G

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Haunting of the Hotel del Cornado

This coming Friday will mark 122 years since the Hotel del Coronado opened for business. The hotel was possibly an inspiration for description of the Emerald City in some of author Frank L. Baum's Land of Oz books. It has also been used as a filming location for a number of films (including Some Like It Hot and Wicked, Wicked). The Hotel del Coronado is also reputed to be haunted due to a tragedy that occurred when the hotel had only been open a mere four years. It is a tale of love gone wrong; a chilling Valentine for our dark travelers.

On November 24, 1892, a young woman, using an alias, checked into the hotel's room 302. Five days later the woman was dead. Her corpse was discovered, the apparent victim of a suicide, outside the hotel on the steps leading up from the beach. It wasn't until after her death that her identity was discovered; she was Kate Morgan, a con artist who assisted her card shark husband at bilking unsuspecting men out of their money during poker games. Her husband had left her after discovering that she was pregnant and wished for them to settle down. She apparently took her own life after days of fruitlessly waiting for him to return to her.

The hotel has changed the room number twice since the incident, but the rumors of haunting persist and it remains the most requested room in the hotel. Some have claimed to witness the ghost of Kate Morgan looking from the room's window or wandering the halls of the hotel. It has been theorized that Kate may not have taken her own life: rather she had been the victim of a murder staged to look as though it had been suicide. The truth may never be known. Perhaps if you stay at the Hotel del Coronado, the long dead Kate Morgan will whisper her story into your ear as you sleep.

Check in to the Hotel del Coronado to read more about the hotel, the current number of Kate Morgan's room, the other haunted room and learn what horror television show regularly used the hotel as a shooting location.

-Tom G

Monday, February 8, 2010

Own Bill Murray's Mansion!

Okay, it's not really Bill Murray's mansion; it's the house in Georgia that was used as the fictional home of Bill Murray in the film Zombieland (2009). I should also mention that you will need at least a few million dollars for your down payment on this very large home. The actual owner of the mansion, Lee Najjar, has put the house on the market with an asking price of 25 million dollars.

In Zombieland, the main characters (portrayed by actors Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin) spend a memorable night in the mansion just prior to the climax of the film at Pacific Playland amusement park. The scenes for Pacific Playland were actually shot at Wild Adventures Water & Theme Park in Georgia, nearly four hours away from where the mansion scenes were filmed (see Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park).

Click here to learn more about the mansion used in the film Zombieland and to see it in Google Streetview.

-Tom G

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Elastic Park

Larry Moss, the artist behind the Balloon Manor Halloween attraction (see Balloon Manor), is at it again. His newest project is called Elastic Park; it is an interactive dinosaur-themed exhibit featuring Airigami balloon artistry. The exhibit, which will be both fun and educational, is intended to be a travelling exhibit that will be featured at numerous museums (click here to view Elastic Park Web site).

Larry needs your help to make this exhibit a reality. Pepsi Cola is running a contest called the Pepsi Refresh Project. Various organizations are competing for a $50,000 grant to fund their projects. The winner will be determined through online voting. Currently, Elastic Park is in 13th place in the contest. Voters are allowed to vote once per day and voting ends February 28. Please take a moment to visit the Elastic Park page at the contest web site and vote.

Click here to vote for Elastic Park!

-Tom G