All Hallow’s Read: A new tradition


Sabotnik: Vampire Hunter. And A Vampire Hunter’s Best Friend.

If you’re having vampire problems, the best place to do it might be Bulgaria. In Bulgaria, you’ve got backup.

While some vampire hunters are half vampire, Bulgaria’s subotnik are all human. Sometimes. Other times, they are all canine.

At this point, you’re probably thinking they can change into dogs. Which would be nice, I imagine, if you’re trying to hunt vampires. But it’s not the case. Here’s the deal.

The sabotnici (That’s the plural form of sabotnik), are humans–men and women– born in Bulgaria with special powers to hunt vampires. They get these special powers from being born on Saturday, the day when the dead are honored and vampires must take an extended dirt nap. Sabotnici can also be born on the Unclean Days that happen between Christmas and Epiphany (January 6).

Sabotnici have the power to see vampires in their shadow forms when other people can’t. They have magical knowledge that helps them kill vampires, but also use conventional weapons.

But dogs can also be sabotnici. Dogs born on Saturday, or on the Unclean Days also have vampire-hunting powers. The human sabotnici use canine sabotnici to help them in their hunts because of their enhanced puppy senses, and also because a bite from a sabotik dog is instantly fatal to any vampire.

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

The Slender Man

Warning: This post rates 4.5 out of 5 on the creepy scale.

Have you ever seen the Slender Man?

Perhaps not. But if you examine some of your old photos as a child, you might find something surprising in the background.

The Slender Man, as he is called, is a mysterious figure who often appears around children, though he has been spotted by others.

He is an naturally tall figure with arms that reach down to his knees and fingers like the twigs of a tree that has lost its leaves for the winter. The black suit, white shirt, and thin black tie can’t completely camouflage his oddness, but they allow him to move freely among humans.

Modern sightings of him date from the above photos from 1986, noted for happening the week before the Stirling Library Fire, in which 14 children died. The photographer, Mary Thomas, herself disappeared in June of that year.

His face has never been seen. Some speculate he is featureless, that his face is a blank space of skin.
An additional detail is unclear. Some who have survived an encounter with the Slender Man, or a figure like him, claim that he has additional tentacles that extend from his back during an attack. This has lead researchers to connect the Slender Man with the German legend of Der Großmann (The Tall Man) which dates back to the 16th century. And possibly to this woodcut:

An encounter with the Slender Man, if you’re lucky enough to survive, can leave you with the symptoms of “slendersickness”, memory loss, insomnia, paranoia, coughing fits. The Slender Man also has the power to distort photograph/video and to teleport–though that last one is in debate.

To read more, or if you have an encounter with the Slender Man, you can consult the

Some say that the Slender Man legend informed Steven Moffat’s invention of The Silence on Doctor Who (who are possibly just as scary as the Weeping Angels, I can’t decide…). More here:

Here’s a blog by the brother of a man who had to be hospitalized after the rest of his unit disappeared after an encounter with a mysterious figure in Iraq:

There are also many documentaries and blogs referring to the Slender Man, or something like him. Just google it.

In the end, we only know one thing for certain about the Slender Man. It’s a load of hooey invented on June 11th, 2009, by a guy named Victor Surge on Something Awful (SA) Forums with some clever image manipulation. (Even the Der Großmann stuff is made up, though not by Surge.) You can read more on

Feel better? I do.

Pimpin’ my book

Hi DotWers:

My book is out. Some of you might already know that I write.

But I’ve released my first young adult novel, called Over My Dead Body. And since this is my blog, I’m going to pimp it out. Instead of a demon this week, you get an advert.

You can read Over My Dead Body on your Kindle, or your iPad, if you’ve got the Kindle app. It’s also available on Kobo, and will be out on the Nook any minute now. No printed version yet, but if you want one, give me a shout and I’ll let you know when you can order it.

True story, but I was actually offered a regular old print contract from a publishing house for this one. I turned it down, for various reasons. It’s a long story. But if you’re one of those folks who doesn’t care for self-published stuff, well, this is a book that would have been published the regular way, and be in your local bookstore, except now you can have it this year instead of next, and it will only cost you $3.53.

Just sayin’.

If you’re a long-time DotW reader, you’re going to recognize some of the multi-cultural demonic influences in Merit’s story. I hope you’ll check it out!

Can a DotW compendium be far behind?

The artwork was done by Sam Garvey. She’s great. Check her out at

Over My Dead Body
Teresa Wilde

Merit Boatman has gone to a better place. Or has she?

When sixteen-year-old workaholic and Tic Tac addict Merit Boatman bites the dust in a freak traffic accident, the last thing she expects is evil Viking god Loki to show up to threaten her afterlife. According to Loki, she’s the only one who can figure out why souls are disappearing before getting to their final destination, and if she doesn’t do it in seven days, he’s got a special place in Hell reserved just for her.

This wasn’t exactly on her To Do list.

Neither was working as an undercover ghost in an office of Death Gods whose job it is to transition souls to the After. Or falling for a certain three-hundred-year-old samurai with a talking dragon. Or making best friends with a valkyrie determined to send her off to Valhalla.

With Loki’s deadline looming, Merit has to face the ultimate challenge—putting her afterlife on the line for her friends, and for everyone on Earth, by facing down an invisible monster who considers her soul a tasty afternoon snack.

Life’s a bitch. But for Merit Boatman, death might be even bitchier.


“So I suppose you’re here to take me to heaven?” I asked Brunnehilde.

She thumped the butt of her spear on the ground, and the tremor it created hit a six on the Richter scale. The people around us cast nervous glances at the skyscrapers on Michigan Avenue. Maybe they could feel her, just a little. Her knife-sharp cheekbones reddened with rage. “No, you’re a good Swede. For your After, you’ll go to Valhalla.”

Not quite what I expected. “I always thought I was Lutheran.”

“Valhalla,” she repeated. “This is clear as sausage water.”

Uh, from the Mount Rushmore set of her face, sausage water was pretty clear.

My paternal grandfather, Farfar, had fed me Viking mythology with my Cheerios. I knew the tales of Odin and the Norse gods like I knew my Sunday school stories. And, of course, he made sure I knew how to swear in Swedish. “Förbanna.” Damn. “Isn’t Valhalla just for warriors?”

She spelled it out for me as if she was dealing with a dense child. “You’ll go to the hall of Odin, through the sacred gate Valgrind, where you’ll be greeted by the bearded god Bragi, lover of poetry.”

Didn’t sound too bad. I nodded.

“There, the great warriors wait to fight once more, with Odin the All-Father, at Ragnarök, the end of days, on the plain of Asgaard. Until that time, they train themselves by day. By night, in the hall of Valhalla, they feast on roast boar and drink ale by the barrel, toasting the bravery of their comrades and the fellowship of brothers—”

Well, I couldn’t drink legally for another five years, and pork wasn’t my favorite. My fighting skills consisted of giving my twin brothers double-headlock noogies, so I might have an adjustment period. Maybe I could get used to it. I admit the idea of a hall full of hot warriors had some appeal, as long as they showered.

“—and you will have the honor of serving at their feet,” Brunnhilde finished.

I blinked at her for a while, waiting for her to clap me on the back and let me in on the joke. The straight line of her mouth never twitched upward.

A vision of eternity stretched before me. My future set in stone. Forever. Nothing would cease, nothing would end.

And I was a beer wench.

“Is it too late to convert to Hinduism?” I asked.

“Enough!” Brunnhilde’s cry reverberated down the corridor of skyscrapers. I imagined windows breaking all the way over to State Street. “You’ll go to the hall of Asgaard. But I can’t take you there.”

“Whew,” I said, a little relieved. “Anywhere else. Really.”

Brunnhilde stuck out her chiseled jaw. “I cannot take you there yet. I have forgotten my pen.”

To read more, buy Over My Dead Body.

Shhhhh. It’s Dumah.


Ishtar (Photo credit: neilalderney123)

Dumah, or Douma, is the angel of silence, the stillness/sleep of death, and vindication.
He has been described as having a thousand eyes and carrying either a flaming sword or fiery rod. Yep, that would make me shut up, too.

And if that didn’t make you feel like silence, Dumah also has a giant posse. Word. Ten thousand angels of destruction are at his command. Other sources say that he’s a major player when it comes to tormenting souls in Hell.

Dumah plays a role in the legend of Ishtar (No, not the movie, the story of the passage of the goddess of fertility, war, love, and sex through the underworld. She’d be a great blog post, actually.). In the Babylonian tale, Dumah guards gate #14. Which is kind of weird because I thought there were only seven gates.


The economics of the zombie apocalypse

New CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) radio show called “The Invisible Hand” focuses on economics. From the site:

Every choice we make in life can be seen as an economic choice. We have limited time, limited money and limited information. Every day, we parcel out these scarce resources in a never-ending series of choices.

Philosopher Adam Smith gets the cred for our title. He theorized that if people made choices with their own economic self-interests in mind, then a collective force would guide the marketplace to benefit the common good. This force…was like an invisible hand.

On the show we explore whether ideas like that–ones found in the pages of an Economic text book–can also be found at work in the real-life stories of the world today.

This week, host Matthew Lazin-Ryder explores the economics of the zombie apocalypse.

Thanks to DotWer Jolaine Incognito for the tip!

Bone-eating zombie snot worm. (No, I couldn’t come up with a better title)

Hey. If the world is a really freaky place, the ocean is the Amsterdam red light district of freakiness.The Canadian Broadcasting Company’s excellent Quirks and Quarks radio program featured something called the bone-eating zombie snot worm, which is a creature that… well, they explained it better, so Ima shut up and let them talk.Bone-eating zombie snot worm

If you want to skip the (really interesting stuff) about the pearlfish swimming up the sea cucumber’s butt–but why would you?–the bone-eating zombie snot worm stuff starts at the halfway mark.

Okay, just to nit-pick, things that feed on dead creatures are technically ghouls, not zombies.