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Thursday, July 29, 2010

My first Tombstone

I have made real progress on my first tombstone tonight. Those of you that know me also know that I have ADD. At times I can be what my wife calls me as "being shiny". My attention span can sometimes be that of a 9 year old and it gets worse when I'm tired or really stressed out. again those of you that know me also know that with my job I am working a crazy amount of hours and I am stressed most of the day. (Being a Plant Manager of a production facility means I am constantly fixing one problem after another.... but if it was easy they wouldn't need me.) So with that said, a few days ago Gavin and I started on this project. We measured and cut two equal pieces of styrofoam and I cut two slots in the back of one and placed pvc pipe (so I can slide the stone onto rebar for support.) I then glued them together with foam adhesive. Tonight, with me being hopped up on sinus meds I decided to cut the shape out. I made a template (I cheated... I have heard most people use photoshop or such to enlarge the template but I couldn't figure out how to print something as large as a tombstone so i just used Excel.) Here's a pick of me using the template to cut the shape.....
So I cut the shape out. I then used an electric sander to sand the sides down evenly and refine the shape a bit. I then decided that I wanted to have a base for the stone to sit on so I used some of the left over foam and made one. Here is a pic of that....

Notice that it is leaning. I've decided that since I am a Southern Vampire fan (actually my wife is...I just like True Blood) I am going to make this Bill Compton's grave stone. Since he "died" in 1868, I figured the stone will have settled by now and it being "crooked" just makes it more realistic. Tomorrow I plan on working on the engraving. I have an idea I'm gonna try using spray paint to "carve" the letters so it looks like they have faded with time. If it works I'll take pictures and describe what I am tried.

Well, that's all for tonight.. Time to go sleep, 3:30am comes awefully quick.
Happy Haunting!!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Review - How to Build a Corpse by Di Stefano Productions

Sometime last September I was browsing a forum somewhere and there was a post about this website that had pictures of a baby with a corpse. So being the ever curious one that I am I immediately searched for it and found the website Corpses for Sale. As I looked around the site I remember thinking, "These are some realistic looking corpses if I ever have seen some."
On the site there isn't much about the author/corpse maker and at the time of my site viewing the site hadn't been updated since 2007. So in April of this year I sent an e-mail to the site asking if the book they offered was still available. I received a prompt reply that it in fact was still available. So my wife (the ever trooper that she is) sent the $24.45 ($19.95 + $4.50 p&h). A few days later, I received the book. As you can see from the picture, the book is put together a lot like Steve Hickman's series is. The book appears to be produced either from a home printer or at a Kinko's or store like that. My assumption is that these are word documents that have been printed and comb bound (like you would use one of these for ) The formatting does look good and the pictures in the book are clear. I would have prefered the pictures to have been color though. Now for my disclaimer: I have not tried any of the instructions in this book yet. With that said, it is definitely on my list of "when I have the time to do this I will". The book is divided in several "chapters" and they give clear and concise instructions on what to do. the author appears to have researched how the body looks and decays very extensively. The techniques in this book are unlike any of the other online instructions that I have seen for "corpsing" techniques. Some basic techniques for body casting are also included in the book. At the end of the book, there is a list of suppliers for some of the materials needed. I figured that if I followed the directions in the book exactly, I can build a very realistic looking corpse for about $60 out of pocket...
So the question... is this a must have item? No, not in my opinion. The corpsing techniques that you can find online for free will suffice for most. I do feel that for under $25 this was a good buy for me. I do, however recommend this for anyone that wants to bring the "realism" factor up a notch (or several) in their corpses.
Happy Haunting!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Set Review - The DC Prop Builder's Handbook Volumes 1&2 by Brent Ross

I know, I know.... I promised this review over a month ago. I got this set for Christmas last year. (We actually called it Scarymas we even had a haunted tree.) I believe I started "wishing" for this set of books around the same time that I wanted Steve Hickman's series. I found them doing a websearch after seeing the DC Cemetery on the series "Route 666.. America's Scariest Home Haunts". It was really one of the first home haunts that made me pause a moment and say, "Wow... I want to try that..."
So you can purchase this set at DC Props. The author is Brent Ross from Mountain View, California. There's a good bio/history at the DC Cemetery site, so I won't give it here.

The books are well put together. I haven't decided if they are a "home publishing" job, but if they are it's a good job. My biggest gripe with the books are the pictures. I wish they would have been in color and maybe a little larger in some cases so I could see them better. I like the contents of the books; however, I do feel that some of the projects are beyond my skill level. Volume 1 has a nice section on static props. In fact, my original Cemetery Gates project was based off of the project in Volume 1. The instructions for each project are very clear and concise. They are also easy to follow. In my opinion, the Animated propsare from basic to what I consider advanced. I'm not sure I will ever attempt to make most of them, but I do find myself seriously considering the pipe organ. Volume 2 has really great info on Pneumatics & Computer controls. Again, I think the projects in this volume is more advanced than I am able to tackle, but it definitely gives the reader all the info needed to begin their journey towards pneumatic prop building. (I'm just not sure if that's what I want to do yet.)
So I think this set is a must have set for the serious Home Haunter/Prop Builder. It is jam packed with information that is valuable for both the novice and the more advanced builder. Also, if you don't have the time to build the pneumatic lifters, erectors, movers, etc you can purchase them already built from DC Props website.

Happy Haunting ....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A yard haunt or not???

    So the Frog Queen posted earlier a question Yard haunt or not?? Basically asking about her display... Here is what I would say if she had asked me...
    I personally think that you could go with either a haunt or a yard display… Actually better yet a haunted yard display. The thing that I like the most about what I have seen of your work (read “the pictures that I have seen of your stuff”) is that it let’s my mind start to work. Let me elaborate…. I look at this picture….

     In my mind, I imagine it being dusk. Maybe it is a simpler time, that I am taking a shortcut home through the graveyard of the old abandoned church on the outskirts of town. What was that I heard??? A twig snapped??? The rustling of some leaves??? What’s out there??? Is something/someone following me??? The feeling of anxiety is starting to build…. My mind is working overtime… convincing myself that there is something lurking just out of sight… I know that it is there… it is only a matter of time before it gets to me…

     Or (and here is the weirdo in me) I imagine this is the graveyard that is in the books “The Vampire Diaries”. (Yes I have read them.) again my mind does the scaring.

     So back to the label… I think it is a yard haunt… simply because your “display” qualifies with most of what Webster’s dictionary says “haunt" means….

Main Entry: haunt
Pronunciation: \ˈhȯnt, ˈhänt\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French hanter, probably from Old Norse heimta to lead home, pull, claim, from heimr home
Date: 14th century

transitive verb 1 a : to visit often : Frequent....
(I often visit your site for inspiration)
2 a : to recur constantly and spontaneously to
b: to reappear continually in ....
I constantly ask myself when thinking of my yard “what would the Davis’ do with this???
3 : to visit or inhabit as a ghost.... Y’all have ghosts in your display… Not all ghosts are scary… creepy yes, unnerving at times yes… but not always scary.

     Of course these are just my opinions, and for those that read my blog know that the picture in this post is from the Davis Graveyard and is not my property… hopefully they won’t mind too much that I used it in my post…..

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I guess this weekend was the weekend for making prop candles. If my raving about the book How to Haunt your House wasn't enough to get you to go buy it, maybe this project will convince you. (That's right folks, this is a project from Book 1. In fact, the Mitchell's even have a video tutorial here.) These are so simple to make that I have about 50 or so more planned. For Under $10 I purchased enough PVC pipe and hot glue to make many many candles. I got the battery operated tea lights from
Wal-mart last year when they were on sale after Christmas and I am using left over styrofoam from other projects for the insert. I think this one came out nicely. So far I've made 2 of them, I plan on making more this week if I am not exhausted from work. If I can do this and make them look good anyone can, so watch the tutorial and go make you some prop candles.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

OMG!!!! I'm so excited I could Pee myself!!!!

So while doing my normal rounds today (read "As i stalked my favorite home haunts today") I popped over to the Mitchell's website and guess what??? How to Haunt your House Book 2 is available on!!!! One might ask me "Bill, why in the world do you need/want another book on Home Haunting??? You haven't even completed your column project yet and that would take a normal person only 1 or 2 weekends..." My answer is I am an addict.... yes I admit it, I am addicted to all things home haunting. So if you have already purchased book 1 go ahead and get book 2...I don't even have it yet and I recommend it...that's how good book 1 is... And for those of you that don't have Book 1, ya might as well buy them both... Go on know you wanna do it...go support the Mitchell's and get their books....
~ Bill