Labyrinth Exhibit Coming to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta

An exhibit featuring characters and costumes from the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth will be on display this fall at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts.
Sir Didymous on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Jim Henson film Labyrinth, which means a new special edition Blu-Ray (with staircase maze display case!), theater screenings, a board game that looks amazing, and an exhibit coming this fall to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.

The exhibit will include Hoggle’s head, Jareth’s throne, goblins, David Bowie’s costume from the stair maze, and many other items related to the fantasy film so many of us wore out VHS tapes watching over and over again. There will also be a Labyrinth-themed masquerade ball to kick off the first day of Dragon-Con September 1st.

Despite it’s cult status, Labyrinth disappointed at the box office and became Jim Henson’s last movie.

Labyrinth 30th anniversary blu-ray
Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Blu-ray

Watch centerforpuppetryarts.com and for more info.

via Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Photo: Legendary Maryland Goatman Spotted in Washington DC?

A recent photo seems to show what may be evidence of Maryland’s legendary goatman.
Photo of the Maryland goatman
Is this Maryland’s elusive goatman? Photo courtesy of Ryan Davis.

On April 25th, Cult of Weird received an email with a very intriguing photograph, which claims to be photographic evidence of the infamous Maryland Goatman, a legendary creature said to haunt several locations in Bowie, Maryland, just outside of Washington DC, including the community of Laurel, where this image was allegedly taken.

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I wrote a detailed history of the legend in Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?, but for those new to the legend, here are the bare-bones essentials. The creature is often described in campfire tales as strange mutation which somehow escaped from the nearby Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. He’s usually described as resembling a Greek Satyr—a bipedal humanoid with two furry goat-like legs, a human male’s upper body and the horns, and sometimes the muzzle, of a goat.

A man named Ryan Davis reportedly took the photo, and had this to say:

I’m in DC for the GRC summit starting today and was playing tennis Saturday morning at Montpelier Park while some friends played golf at Pawtucket Greens. As we were packing up we saw something on the forest bordering the park. As I took out my camera phone it came up onto two feet and I realized it was a goat. I told some people back in DC about a goat waking on two legs and they said it was some old Maryland Goatman legend. I called WBAL in Baltimore and talked to someone about it but I don’t think they believe me. They think it’s a bear holding a freshly killed goat. They ran the story this morning. As a reader, thought you might enjoy.

The urban legend itself is absolutely absurd. The creature haunts Maryland make out spots, and leaps out at passionate young couples brandishing an ax. The creature was also blamed for locally high-profile pet mutilations in the 1970s.

Many reputable sightings of strange creatures do occur in Bowie, Baltimore, and several other densely populated areas in and around the Washington area, though almost all of the sightings describe large, upright, hairy hominids which sound much more like the equally legendary Bigfoot. Literally hundreds of these sightings have been collected in Mark Opsasnick’s essential book, The Maryland Bigfoot Digest. Hardly any of the people who’ve allegedly seen what they call the Goatman, actually describe a creature like the one in the photo.

I do not agree with WBAL’s assertion that the photograph depicts a bear carrying a dead goat. That’s asinine. The Goat’s head clearly belongs to the body of the hairy creature pictured. I do not, however, believe this to be a legitimate photograph of Goatman.

I would never accuse the photographer of being untruthful, but I do believe he, himself to be the victim of a hoax. The whole thing is just too good to be true.

It’s a great photograph. It isn’t blurry (meaning the creature wasn’t trying to avoid human beings just several feet away), and the only part of the creature’s body that’s hidden is the legs. The trickiest bit of any decent satyr costume are those utterly bizarre backwards bending goat legs—take it from someone who knows—Halloween costume parties are cutthroat affairs in my family. Perhaps the most suspicious part of the anatomy is the location of the head—low on the shoulders, creating an almost humpbacked appearance. A human’s head and shoulders could easily be concealed in the interior of a costume while a taxidermy-ed goat’s head is displayed to the prankster’s victims.

The Internet lost its collective mind Thanksgiving weekend, 2015, debating the existence of the creature after a MoviePilot.com article brought the creature’s alleged existence to the world’s attention once more. Five long, cold months is plenty of time for a hoaxer to build a clever costume, to have fun with come Springtime.

If further photographs and sightings occur in the coming days I could change my tune. I hope this is real. I WANT this to be real. But to my eyes, it’s just too good to be true.

Maryland goatman photo

J. Nathan Couch is an authority on the subject of goatman legends and the author of Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? For more, go to his website www.jnathancouch.com

Ed Gein's cauldron

Ed Gein’s Cauldron: The Story Behind the Ghoulish Relic

Ed Gein’s cauldron is said to have been found containing blood and human remains in the aftermath of the killer’s crimes at his isolated rural farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin.

If you’ve been following my writing long enough, you’re probably aware that Cult of Weird’s base of operations is in the weird backwoods of Wisconsin, uniquely positioned in the heart of some of the strangest and most depraved crimes committed in modern times. Amidst our ghosts and goatmen, UFOs and hodags, there are other, much more tangible evils lurking. Here, a 12-year-old girl was stabbed and left for dead as a ritual sacrifice to Slenderman. Milwaukee cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer murdered and dismembered 16 young men before he was finally arrested in 1991. In 1957, the investigation of a missing hardware store owner in Plainfield lead authorities to the discovery of eccentric handyman Ed Gein‘s deranged hobbies.

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For many of us here in Wisconsin, who grow up with this bogeyman in our backyard, the story of Ed Gein becomes a lifelong fascination. In Plainfield, however, there are still families who remember or were directly affected by Gein’s actions. It doesn’t take long to find someone who says they were babysat by Gein, someone whose relative was exhumed by Gein, someone who ate Gein’s venison (although he didn’t hunt), or someone who remembers seeing headlights in the cemetery at night. The so-called “House of Horrors” was very real, and locals have been trying to heal from the wounds of that nightmare for nearly 60 years.

I’ve been researching Gein since I was probably about 14, have been to Plainfield several times, and have written about those strange and tragic crimes on many occasions hoping to unlock some of the mysteries that remain, uncover new stories, gain new insight into Ed’s state of mind.

A cauldron that belonged to Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein
Photo of Ed Gein’s cauldron, courtesy of Pientka Auction Service.

In early 2015 I was contacted by a man named Dan McIntyre. He had stumbled onto some of my work and reached out with his own story because he was hoping to drum up interest in an upcoming auction. McIntyre, it turned out, was hoping to get rid of a gruesome relic previously owned by his grandmother. He said she had purchased it in March of 1958, just a few months after Gein’s arrest, when his property and belongings were sold off. McIntyre said his grandmother found the old, simple cauldron at the sale, and thought it would make a great planter.

Years later, a friend of McIntyre’s named Hollis Brown, who, according to McIntyre, had been a neighbor of the Gein’s, caught a glimpse of the cauldron stuffed away in the garage. Horrified, he realized he had seen it before…on the Gein farm where he was assisting police with the cleanup.

McIntyre described this revelation in an email:

Hollis saw many terrible things. He told me upon entering the home he saw a woman’s breast as the doorbell. Inside he saw a skin lampshade, a comforter/blanket made from human skin, furniture made of skin/breast, bloody gut buckets, a change purse made from a woman’s vagina, a belt with nipples on it. When Hollis saw the cauldron in my parents garage, he recognized it as the same Black Cauldron that he has seen Eds parents use to render hog fat on the farm. He also recognized its as the same cauldron in one of the outbuilding sheds, and remembered Eds sinister use for it. He remembers the cauldron was covered in dry blood and guts, next to two barrels/tubs of bloody human entrails, intestines. 50 yrs. later Hollis recognize the cauldron in my parents garage and turned white as a ghost. I asked him how does he know it was the same one covered in dry blood? He lifted his arm and said,”the hair on my arm stands straight up every time he looks at it in my parents garage.”

I immediately broke the news of this object and its impending sale here on Cult of Weird for fellow Gein researchers and collectors. That weekend, the cauldron and a few other more mundane objects that belonged to Gein (shovel, skis) were sold. When I followed up with McIntyre and the auction house, they informed me that Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures had phoned in the winning bid.

In my communications with McIntyre afterwards, he expressed belief that the cauldron had a dark energy, which might have been dormant while it was sitting covered in his garage. When it was disturbed in preparation for the auction, he seemed to feel something had reawakened. He experienced a mysterious illness, disruption of nearby electronics, and other phenomena when the cauldron was mentioned. In the presence of the cauldron, he described feelings of unease, dizziness and anxiety.

He wrote:

I’m not so sure that displaying an item that represents such evil is a good idea. What evil will it inspire? I wonder if I should have kept it, and planted flowers in it, only to be forgotten in time. Then there would be one less item in this world to remind us of the evil that lurks on the flipside of mankind’s good.

Is Ed Gein’s cauldron charged with negative energy?

The cauldron was featured in an April, 2017 episode of Zak Bagan’s series Deadly Possessions on the Travel channel. McIntyre appeared on the episode to share his story, as well as a group of paranormal researchers who experience bad things after purchasing the skis.

The cauldron can now be seen on display at Bagan’s Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, along with other purportedly haunted or cursed objects.

More: What happened to Ed Gein’s Gravestone?

Pope Lick Monster Legend Claims Another Victim

Kentucky’s deadly train track-dwelling goatman legend known as the Pope Lick Monster has claimed another life.
Pope Lick Trestle where the goatman is said to live
The Pope Lick “trestle of death” in Louisville. Photo credit: @amills4294

Over the weekend, Louisville’s Courier-Journal reported on the latest death on the deadly Pope Lick trestle, where several people have lost their lives over the years while searching for the legendary half-man, half-goat monster said to live there.

26-year-old Roquel Bain and her boyfriend where visiting Kentucky for a haunted tour of Waverly Hills Sanatorium and decided to check out the nearby legend of the Pope Lick Monster. The mythical goatman creature is said to live on a train trestle that towers 80 feet above Pope Lick Creek, luring curious teens to their death.

Cult contributor J. Nathan Couch, who investigated the Pope Lick Monster while researching his book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? notes this legend holds the distinction of being the only goatman directly responsible for, at the time, at least three deaths. He writes:

The monster is said to possess a wide array of supernatural skills to lure people out onto the trestle including mimicry, telepathy, and/or hypnosis. Once a victim is lured onto the trestle, the Pope Lick Monster uses its abhorrent physical appearance to frighten its intended victims, causing them to leap or fall to their demise. Some versions of the legend insist the monster waits for a train to approach—then from beneath the trestle—holds its charmed victim down until the train runs them over.

Image from the short film Legend of the Pope Lick Monster
From the short film The Legend of the Pope Lick Monster, 1988.

Bain is the latest victim of Pope Lick. She and her boyfriend were walking on the railway, which they believed to be abandoned, when they realized a train was quickly bearing down on them. Bain’s boyfriend dangled off the edge, then climbed down unscathed when the train had passed. That’s when he realized his girlfriend didn’t make it. She was struck by the train and thrown off the track, where she was later pronounced dead.

More: Pope Lick Monster: Searching for Louisville’s Deadly Legend

Occult America Explores the Nation’s Esoteric Roots

From seances and psychics in the White House, to the supernatural origins of alternative religious practices, America’s roots are steeped in mystical beliefs and esoteric traditions.
Occult America book
Occult America by Mitch Horowitz
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America was founded on secret knowledge and esoteric mystical traditions. In Occult America, author Mitch Hororwitz traces these roots and examines the strange stories of seances in the White House, the history of the Ouija board, the arcane symbolism on the dollar bill, and more.

From its earliest days, America served as an arena for the revolutions in alternative spirituality that eventually swept the globe. Esoteric philosophies and personas—from Freemasonry to Spiritualism, from Madame H. P. Blavatsky to Edgar Cayce—dramatically altered the nation’s culture, politics, and religion. Yet the mystical roots of our identity are often ignored or overlooked. Opening a new window on the past, Occult America presents a dramatic, pioneering study of the esoteric undercurrents of our history and their profound impact across modern life.

Occult America by Mitch Horowitz

Occult America is available right here.