Tag Archive | creatures

Beware, take care, strange things are happening….


photo by Chandra Joy

We live in a rain forest. We’re used to rain. We have umbrellas and rain jackets and are okay with getting wet. What seems different is the amount of fog we’ve been experiencing. When I see it through my window, I recall with nostalgia the horror films I enjoyed as a kid. Those films usually had fog in them so creatures could emerge from the dark woods or the ‘deep lagoon’.


I remember Bela Lugosi as a vampire

The films I liked best were in black and white and most often featured that fog — I think they played them on TV. Some of the actors I saw were Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and who could forget ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ on TV (1955-1965) or his oh-so-famous ‘Psycho’? (1960)

Peter Lorre #2

Peter Lorre

Creepy Peter Lorre’s whining, groveling voice alone could make my blood curdle. He often played assistant to a mad scientist — there were so many mad scientists in those plots. I believe I saw him eating spiders in a film once. (Is that true or did my head make it up?)

Old Horror films could be a little scary, but not as terrifying as the ones they make today. You could always back off if you felt too uneasy, (and I did) and say to yourself: ‘This isn’t real. It can’t be


Mummy in tattered bandages

real.’ After all, no self-respecting mummy would appear in those hanging tattered bandages. What kind of mummy fashion statement would that make?

Now horror films are not as much fun for the likes of chickens like me. They’re way too realistic and gory, and too scary to be fun.

Bela Lugosi appeared in ‘Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man’, ‘Ghosts on the Loose’ and ‘Return of the Vampire’ all made in 1943; ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ and ‘One Body Too Many’ followed in 1944. They surely cranked them out quickly. Lugosi starred in many other films until he became addicted to Morphine and became unreliable. (Morphine made me sick when I had surgery in 2017 — perhaps a lucky thing.)

boriskarloff as Frankenstein

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein

‘The Haunted Strangler’ (1958) starred Boris Karloff. In it a dead strangler possesses a researcher. Karloff scared me again in ‘Corridors of Blood’ that year, in which a doctor becomes addicted to anesthetic. The title I so like ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ (1954) is once again about scientists, who try to capture the beast for study.


Always elegant Vincent Price

The oh-so-distinguished Vincent Price, a favorite, could make me cringe just by introducing a show. Price starred in ‘The Fly’ (1958). Again, another unfortunate scientist has an accident with a teleportation device — whatever that is. (Scientists sure got into a lot of trouble.) Price then appeared in ‘The Return of the Fly’ (1959) probably because kids like me loved ‘The Fly’ to begin with. He was a real talent and appeared in ‘The House of Wax’, ‘Tales of Terror’ along with Peter Lorre, and ‘The House on Haunted Hill’, ‘The House of Usher’ and many more.

We were innocent and easily taken in. They created zombies, ghosts, vampires, mummies, and creatures of all kinds who most often appeared through fog, the same kind of fog we’re having right now. What fun. I love it.


Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) during the shooting of his movie ‘The Birds’.


A murder of crows and then some


photo by Susan Kauffmann

The coincidences we experience in life would often be unbelievable in fiction. Right now, I’m in the midst of re-reading ‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham (1874-1965). I  imagined not many people are thinking about that book today, but lo and behold, watching the first segment of a series on Netflix, two incarcerated men are shown discussing ‘Of Human Bondage’. Interesting, no?

Last month I wrote about meeting a stranger under ‘a murder of crows’ because I love that these birds are called a ‘murder’ when they gather in a group. My friend Sandy, while reading my post, happened to have a copy of ‘Country Life’ magazine next to her. The cover reads ‘A murder of crows and other curiosities’. Sandy couldn’t resist. She arrived at my door with a copy of the cover and a page showing some delightful terms for collective nouns

a flaboyance of flamingos

A flamboyance of flamingos

of creatures. Here are a few I truly enjoyed: A wake of buzzards. A charm of goldfinches. A deceit of lapwings. A scold of jays. A commotion of coots. An asylum of cuckoos. A trembling of finches. A conspiracy of ravens. A parliament of rooks. A murmuration of starlings. A fall of woodcock. (Thank you Sandy.)

a volt-of-vultures

A volt of vultures

My dear daughter Susan, who knows me well, gave me such a list some years ago, which, I enjoyed so much, I still have it AND I even knew where to find it. (A miracle in itself.) I’ve always liked ‘a brood of hens’ ‘a cauldron of raptors’, ‘a gaggle of geese’, ‘a convocation of eagles’, an ostentation of peacocks’, a parliament of owls’ and so many more.

Ruch  Muriel 5 yrs. approx

fish were in school but not me

When I was turned down for kindergarten at age five, I was devastated. As the youngest in the family, all my siblings were already in school and I cried all the way home. (My poor mother probably felt like crying too — any promise for a morning break from five children had just been shattered.) I knew about ‘a school of fish’, and didn’t quite understand why fish could be in school and I couldn’t.

Just for fun, here are some more: A richness of martens,

a fever of stingrays

A fever of stingrays

an obstinacy of buffalo, a cauldron of bats, a parade of elephants, a cackle of hyenas, a pride of lions, a troop of monkeys, a prickle of porcupines, a warren of rabbits, a crash of rhinoceroses, a scurry of squirrels, a pod of whales, a shiver of sharks, a swarm of bees, an army of caterpillars, a bed of clams or oysters, an intrusion of cockroaches (yuck!) and a cloud of grasshoppers.

Do you have some favorites of your own?