Real Events that Inspired Scary Movies?

This Day In History: Mr. October Hits Three Homers in Three Swings (History.com)

On October 18, 1977, in the sixth game of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson hits three home runs in a row off of three consecutive pitches from three different pitchers. Only the great Babe Ruth had ever hit three homers in a single World Series game (and he did it twice, once in 1926 and once in 1928) —but he didn’t do it on consecutive pitches or even consecutive at-bats. Jackson’s amazing home-run streak helped the Yankees win the game and the series, the team’s first since 1962.

During his pre-game batting practice, Jackson was unstoppable: He stepped to the plate and immediately knocked three pitches high into Yankee Stadium’s third-tier seats. Then he smacked the next one hard into the rear wall of the right-field bleachers. Jackson kept on pounding homers into the stands—so many that that backup catcher Fran Healy was reminded of the old baseball adage that the better you hit in batting practice, the worse you hit when it counts. As a result, Healy later recalled, "I thought to myself, ‘Boy, is he gonna have a horseshit game.’"

But he didn’t. In the second inning, Dodger pitcher Burt Hooten managed to palm Jackson off with a walk, but on his next at-bat, in the fourth, the slugger nailed Hooten’s first pitch low and hard into the right-field bleachers--"a line drive," Los Angeles Times reporter Jim Murray wrote, "that would have crossed state lines and gone through the side of a battleship on its way to the seats." In the fifth, with two out and two on, Jackson treated reliever Elias Sosa’s first pitch the same way. And in the eighth, he emerged from the dugout to a standing ovation, reached down for pitcher Charlie Hough’s diving knuckleball, and sent it flying 450 feet into the center-field bleachers. It was, Murray wrote, a "booming Jack Nicklaus-type tee shot, high and far, the kind that pitchers wake up screaming in the middle of the night over."

That last homer put the Yanks in the lead 8-3, and—in spite of the ubiquitous security guards and policemen in riot gear who lined the first- and third-base lines—the stadium was about to explode. It got so bad that Jackson had to come in from the outfield during the last inning and get a batting helmet to protect his head from the cherry bombs and firecrackers that the bleacher creatures were throwing onto the field. When the game ended, the field flooded with fans. They had a new hero: Reggie Jackson, now known as "Mr. October."

In his 21-year career, Jackson hit 563 home runs and retired as the all-time leader in Series slugging, with a .755 average. And no one ever achieved what he did in 1977: three home runs in three swings, and five homers in all in the series. Still, Jackson was uncharacteristically modest. "Babe Ruth was great," he said. "I’m just lucky."


Top 10 Real Events that Inspired Scary Movies (TopTenz.net)

The term “horror movie” first appeared in the writings of critics in response to the release of Universal’s Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931).  The term has since come to describe any film that strives to elicit the emotion of fear, disgust, and shock.  A large collection of classic scary movies have screenplays that are based on real life events.  Some of the most popular fictional serial killers and horror movie franchises have been inspired by people.  This article will examine ten historic events that were used in scary movies.

10. Sawney Bean

Inspired: The Hills Have Eyes

Sawney Bean was the head of a 48-member clan that lived in Scotland during the 15th or 16th century.  He was reportedly executed for the mass murder and cannibalization of over 1,000 people.  The story of Sawney Bean appears in The Newgate Calendar, a crime catalogue of the Newgate Prison in London.  Legend says that the family came to include eight sons, six daughters, eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters.  The group lived in the mountains and thrived on ambushes and murder.  The victims were brought back to their cave, dismembered, and cannibalized.

One evening, the clan ambushed a married couple and the man was able to fight off the group with a sword and pistol.  He escaped and reported the events to the authorities.  It wasn’t long before King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) led a manhunt into the area with a team of 400 men.  The group discovered the Beans’ cave in Bannane Head.  It was rife with human remains, having been the scene of hundreds of murders and cannibalistic acts.  The clan was captured alive and taken in chains to the Tolbooth Jail in Edinburgh, then transferred to Glasgow where they were promptly executed without a trial.  Some historians look back on the story and believe Sawney Bean never existed.

The Movie: The Hills Have Eyes

In 1977, Wes Craven directed a horror film titled The Hills Have Eyes.  The movie tells the story of a large family on a road trip that becomes stranded in the Nevada desert.  After meeting a group of people, the family is hunted by a clan of deformed cannibals in the surrounding hills.  Craven wrote the screenplay based on the legendary tale of Sawney Bean.  He decided to place the clan in the American desert and made them into a cult.  In the movie the killers include dozens of incestuous family members, similar to the Sawney Bean story.

9. Star Jelly

Inspired: The Blob

Star jelly is a gelatinous substance, which, according to reports, is deposited on the Earth during some meteor showers.  It is described as a translucent or grayish white gelatin which tends to evaporate shortly after having fallen.  Explanations for star jelly have ranged from a natural byproduct to a paranormal substance.  Since the 14th century, star jelly has been reported in various locations around the world.  Ancient civilizations used it as a medicine.  Star jelly doesn’t have a scientific classification.  However, one possible explanation is slime moulds, which appear suddenly and exhibit a gelatinous appearance.

The Movie: The Blob

In 1950, four Philadelphia, Pennsylvania policemen reported the discovery of “a domed disk of quivering jelly, 6 feet in diameter and one foot thick at the center.”  When the men touched the substance it dissolved into an “odorless, sticky scum.”  In 1958, the story inspired a collection of filmmakers to develop an independent movie named The Blob.  The Blob is a horror/science-fiction film that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that terrorizes the small community of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.  Irvine H. Millgate is credited with the story.  Millgate was a friend of producer Jack H. Harris.  He was inspired after reading a 1950 article about the Philadelphia star jelly incident.

The Blob (1958) was Steve McQueen’s debut leading role and also starred Aneta Corsaut.  The movie was a box office success and earned $4 million on an $110,000 budget.  The film has had a lasting impact on the genre of science fiction and cult horror.  A number of great storytellers have identified The Blob as an inspiration for their work.  A comedy sequel to the movie was made in 1972, titled Beware! The Blob, directed by Larry Hagman.  In 1988, a remake was released directed by Chuck Russell.  Star jelly is also thought to have inspired themes in the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).  In the movie, alien spores fall to Earth in a rain shower and form blobs of jelly that produce alien seed pods.

8. Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate

Inspired: Natural Born Killers

Charles Starkweather was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska.  At the age of 18 Charles was introduced to a 13-year-old girl named Caril Ann Fugate.  The following year he entered the Crest Service Station in Lincoln, Nebraska, robbed the store, took the clerk hostage, and executed him in a remote area outside the city.  On January 21, 1958, Starkweather murdered Fugate’s mother, stepfather, and 2-year-old sister.  According to the testimony given at Fugate’s trial, she did not take part in the murder of her family, but did help bury the bodies around the house.  After hiding for a week, the couple went on a killing spree across Nebraska.  Starkweather and Fugate murdered eleven people in a two-month span.  They were eventually captured in Douglas, Wyoming in early 1958.

Upon their arrest, Starkweather claimed that Fugate had nothing to do with the murder spree.  However, he later changed his story and testified against her.  Starkweather said that Fugate committed half of the murders.  He accused her of having a happy trigger finger.  In 1958, Charles Starkweather received the death penalty for the murder of Robert Jensen.  Fugate received a life sentence for her role in the crimes.  Caril’s jail time was eventually commuted, which allowed her to be paroled in June 1976.  She remains the youngest female in United States history to have been tried for first-degree murder.  Charles Starkweather was executed by way of the electric chair in Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 25, 1959.

The Movie: Natural Born Killers

Since his death, a collection of films have been inspired by the Starkweather-Fugate murder spree, including The Sadist (1963), Badlands (1973), and Natural Born Killers (1994).  Natural Born Killers is a movie directed by Oliver Stone.  It tells the story of two traumatized children who become psychopathic serial killers.  The film is notorious for its violence and was named the 8th most controversial movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly.  Natural Born Killers was promoted with the tagline: “A bold new film that takes a look at a country seduced by fame, obsessed by crime, and consumed by the media.”

Read more here.


Finalists Unveiled for 2011 National Book Awards (Reuters.com)

Organizers for the National Book Awards on Wednesday announced the 20 finalists for 2011's honors, which are among the most prestigious in U.S. publishing.

Winners in four categories -- fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature -- will be announced at a gala event held in New York on November 16 and hosted by actor John Lithgow. Finalists in their respective categories follow:

FICTION

Andrew Krivak, "The Sojourn"

Tea Obreht, "The Tiger's Wife"

Julie Otsuka, "The Buddha in the Attic"

Edith Pearlman, "Binocular Vision"

Jesmyn Ward, "Salvage the Bones"

NONFICTION:

Deborah Baker, "The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism"

Mary Gabriel, "Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution"

Stephen Greenblatt, "Swerve: How the World Became Modern"

Manning Marable, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention"

Lauren Redniss, "Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout"

POETRY:

Nikky Finney, "Head Off & Split"

Yusef Komunyakaa, "The Chameleon Couch"

Carl Phillips, "Double Shadow"

Adrienne Rich, "Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010"

Bruce Smith, "Devotions"

YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE:

Franny Billingsley, "Chime"

Debby Dahl Edwardson, "My Name Is Not Easy"

Thanhha Lai, "Inside Out and Back Again"

Albert Marrin, "Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy"

Lauren Myracle, "Shine"

Gary D. Schmidt, "Okay for Now"

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)


TV, Game Profanity Can Lead to Cussing, Meanness (CNN.com)

Swearing in television programs and video games can lead adolescents to adopt the coarse language and can also influence aggressive behavior according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

"We didn't know this before and I was really surprised because we've got all these ratings for television, film and video games for profanity," said study author Sarah Coyne, Ph.D., assistant professor of family life at Brigham Young University and researcher of media and human development.

She added that a lot of the time, the ratings are incorrect.

"I think as a society we've gotten really lax concerning profanity," she added. "I think it's in part because we hear it all over the media."

Researchers surveyed more 222 children ages 11 to 15  from a large Midwestern middle school.  135 of the participants were girls.

The students were asked about their favorite shows and games, including how often they watch television and play the games.  They were asked how much profanity they thought they were exposed to and about their feelings about profanity. Researchers determined that exposure and their stance on profanity were significantly related.

Coyne said the statistics point to a "trickle-down effect."

"So maybe you watch television, play video games with a lot of profanity and kind of you get more used to it," she said. "You get more desensitized to it, you become more accepting of it, then you kind of start using it in your own life and then kind of show the lack of respect for people."

The study found aggression could be presented physically -  hitting, kicking or punching. However, it could also show in the form of relational aggression like gossiping or spreading rumors about someone.

"I think that parents should be a little bit more aware of what's out there in the programs our kids are watching, and the video games they're playing," Coyne added. "They could be a little more vigilant in terms of profanity exposure.

She adds that television and video games need to be more accurately labeled for profanity.

America's Five Most Haunted Hotels (Yahoo.com)
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

If you're into things that go bump in the night, there is no better time of the year than Halloween to stay in a purportedly haunted hotel.

Paranormal tourism not only gives traveling ghost hunters a chance for an encounter with something otherworldly, ghost tours routinely provide a wealth of knowledge about the history of the town and establishment as well.

MainStreet took a look at five of the most haunted hotels in America and their spooky stories. If you want to stay in a haunted hotel, book soon because Halloween will sneak up on you like a ... well, like a ghost.

Read on if you dare:

The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa
Eureka Springs, Ark.

Ghost tour leaders on the nightly excursions through the hotel tell visitors that the professional ghost hunters from the television show proclaimed this luxury hotel-turned-school-turned-cancer-hospital-turned-hotel as the third most haunted building they had ever investigated.

The hotel is one of the only places the team supposedly caught a full-bodied apparition on infrared camera. Those aren't the only cameras capturing spirits though, as guests routinely share photos of ghostly faces and orbs - round balls of light thought by some to be spirits. Many of the photos can be seen on the website or in the "ghost book" at the front desk.

One of the most playful ghosts to inhabit the grounds is Michael, a young Irish stonemason who came to America to help build the hotel. According to legend, when he leaned over the landing to see a pretty girl passing by, he fell to his death near room 218, one of the rooms with the most reported paranormal activity.

Another part of the hotel that is haunted involves the area on the 4th floor in which Dr. Baker, who wasn't actually a doctor, lived when he converted the hotel to a cancer hospital. Under his care in the 1930s and 40s, it is thought that nearly 300 residents died there. Baker, along with some of his patients and nurses, have reportedly been seen roaming the halls as ghosts. One patient has been seen numerous times fumbling for her keys outside of room 419. Recently, a little girl who was visiting the hotel with her parents began talking to someone in their room who the mother could not see. The parents concluded from the girl's description and reported conversation that she had seen Irene Castle, a famous ballroom dancer of the 1920s who was later depicted in a movie by Ginger Rogers. Castle frequented the hotel in her later years and died at her nearby home in 1969. Perhaps she is one of the spectral dancers who have been heard in the ballroom late at night.

The hotel also houses a former morgue where autopsies were performed and bodies were stored, with some reportedly taken and hidden on the grounds to conceal the actual mortality rate at the facility. Believers typically have some sort of experience at the hotel, say staff members and skeptics - well, they have been known to leave in a hurry in the middle of the night.

2. Buxton Inn
Granville, Ohio

Audrey and Orville Orr, owners of the Buxton Inn since 1972, said they never advertise their inn as haunted, but the stories of the ghosts that inhabit the 199-year-old building have gotten around, resulting in recognition by TripAdvisor.com as one of The 10 Most Haunted Hotels in America.

Orville Orr said that when he and his wife first purchased the property, they didn't even want to talk about the strange happenings at the hotel, being of a conservative background. Even when he saw the apparitions for his own eyes, he says he didn't want to believe it. "I couldn't understand it."

The inn was originally a tavern and has operated continuously since 1812, on a major road heading west through which many supplies were traded and travelers passed. By 1972, there was talk of razing the building for a parking lot, but the Orrs stepped in and completed a full authentic restoration of the four buildings and 25 guest rooms.

Major Buxton was one of the owners and operators of the inn from 1865-1902 and can periodically still be spotted on the first floor of the main building. Ethel "Bonnie" Bounell was an owner from 1934-1960 and her favorite scent of gardenias can still sometimes be smelled wafting through the hallways.

The Orrs have long made peace with their permanent guests. "A psychic told us we don't want to get rid of them, they like coming back to visit," says Orville. The Orrs wish to respect their predecessors' dignity by not hyping the ghosts, but they don't mind when the curious come to see if they can experience them, too.

3. The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa
Denver

Built in 1892 by a well-known Denverite named Henry C. Brown, the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa has been a temporary stop for every president since Teddy Roosevelt, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge. The Beatles even have a suite named for them, as they stayed at the hotel during a tour stop in the 1960s.

Many believe the hotel has a connection to the "unsinkable" Molly Brown, the Denver socialite who survived the 1912 Titanic disaster, but that is just legend, says hotel management.

While none of their purported ghosts are believed to be legendary singers or former presidents, one is believed to be Louise Crawford Hill, another Denver socialite who took up residence there in the 1930s when the top two floors were converted to apartments.

The front desk has reported calls coming from Room 904, the room Hill occupied during the times when ghost tour operators are telling the story of her scandalous affair. It wouldn't be so creepy if the 9th floor hadn't been under renovation at the time, with the wires all stripped from the entire top two floors.

Others have reported seeing a train conductor wearing clothes from the turn of the century walking through the lobby. He is believed to be a visitor who came to the hotel when a train depot operated near the hotel. Still other visitors have reported gas fireplaces turning on by themselves and music emanating from the restaurant late at night.

4. The Myrtles Plantation
St. Francisville, La.

Many of the country's haunted places are in the historic southern states, and ghost hunters have long designated the Myrtles Plantation as one of the nation's most haunted. The plantation, built in 1796 by General David Bradford, was reportedly built on a former Native American burial ground and when Whiskey Dave's workers discovered them, he ordered them burned. That in itself is enough to bring on restless spirits, they say.

The most famous of ghosts who inhabit the Myrtles, however, is Chloe, a former slave who had a romance with Bradford's son-in-law. Scared of being banished from the home to the fields, the story goes, Chloe began eavesdropping on her lover's private conversations. Her lover and master caught her, drew a sword and cut off her ear. More desperate to show her worth to the family, she baked a poisoned birthday cake for one of the children, hoping to nurse the sick family members back to health. Instead, the wife and two of her children died.

Her fellow slaves, fearing retribution, lynched Chloe from a chandelier in one of the rooms, and since then is said to have been photographed numerous times at the inn, still wearing the turban she wore to cover her severed ear. The chandelier in that room has been reported to sway back and forth in the middle of the night for no reason as well.

Other ghosts, including children who died from then-incurable diseases, are also reported to roam the halls of the Myrtles. If you stay in one of the 11 guest rooms, make sure to book your spot on the ghost tour early and if you run across a woman wearing a turban or see balls rolling across the floor on their own, think nothing of it. The owners say their ghosts are harmless.

5. Hotel del Coronado
San Diego

Built in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado was known in the late 19th century and early 20th century for a resort for anyone who was anyone and took months to travel the vast space between the East and West Coasts. The Hotel del Coronado even once had its own school to teach the children of their most long-term guests.

Since that era, some of those long-term guests have apparently never left, bringing their occupancy into the afterlife. One of the most famous of the hotel's ghosts is said to be Kate Morgan, a lovesick woman who checked into the hotel in 1892. She waited for five days for the love of her life to meet her; he never did and Kate was found dead at the bottom of an exterior staircase leading to the beach.

Since then, Kate's ghost has been reported on the beach and in the hotel, and when she is feeling particularly feisty she plays harmless pranks on guests, says the hotel's management.

Another hot spot for paranormal activity is the hotel gift shop, where crystal routinely flies off of the shelves and pictures fall off of the walls. The target seems to be souvenirs of the movie Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, which was filmed at the hotel in 1958. Marilyn's ghost, perhaps? Hotel management doesn't think so. They believe whoever's ghost it is just doesn't like sharing the limelight with the 20th century beauty.