Tag Archives: Shock Totem #5

The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster

I have long been a fan of all things cryptozoological—along with UFOs, treasure hunting, archeology, and just about every other “nerdist” pursuit one could think of in the realm of mystery. But cryptozoology, the study of “hidden animals,” is the one I find most interesting, as it refers to the search for undiscovered—though quite possibly nonexistent—animals such as Bigfoot, Loch Ness, Champ, and the chupacabra.

Animals that could very well be—and indeed in some cases likely are—lurking in our own backyards.

Around my hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, we have the Bridgewater Triangle, an area of about 200 square miles that encompasses the Hockomock Swamp (Hockomock meaning the “place where spirits dwell”). For centuries it has been the location of UFO and Bigfoot sightings, as well as giant birds and mysterious lights. There have been reports of ghosts, of Satanic rituals being performed. Though I’ve not witnessed anything out of the norm in the triangle—and I’ve looked—it has nonetheless fascinated me since childhood.

The small town of Fouke, Arkansas, has been that place of fascination and mystery for many people, as well, specifically musician and author Lyle Blackburn. And his first book, The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster, is a testament to this.

Lyle Blackburn is probably best known as Count Lyle, lead singer/guitarist for the gothabilly horror-punk band Ghoultown. But he’s also a damn good writer, and The Beast of Boggy Creek showcases this.

The book attempts to compile the complete history behind the legendary cryptid known as the Fouke Monster, from possible sightings in centuries past to more modern-day sightings, specifically the 1971 sightings that sparked the backwoods legend we now know as the Fouke Monster. Obviously it covers the classic horror film, The Legend of Boggy Creek, in depth, as would be expected, but it goes beyond that.

Peppered throughout The Beast of Boggy Creek are detailed eye-witness accounts, collected theories, a chronicle of sightings of “hairy bipedal man-ape creatures within 50 miles of Fouke” (though not a comprehensive list of all sightings, as that alone would take up an entire book itself, if not more). There are also personal anecdotes from the author, maps, illustrations, photos, and an exhaustive bibliography for the would-be crypto-geek.

This is a detailed and engrossing history lesson, one that could only have been written by someone with a passion for the subject matter and the inherent mysteries that surround cryptozoology. Perhaps the best thing about this book, however, is not that it is such a comprehensive look at the Fouke Monster, but that it is presented as a compelling, personal story. Lyle Blackburn doesn’t just give you the details in a stale, here-are-the-facts manner, as is often the case with similar works of nonfiction; he presents it all as if he were on stage with Ghoultown—it’s a show, it’s entertainment, and for all intents and purposes, it’s real.

Whether you’re a hardened believer, a skeptic, or something in between, The Beast of Boggy Creek is a highly recommended and entertaining read.

And if you want more, check out Lyle’s Monstro Bizarro column over at the Rue Morgue website for additional crypto reads.


A short clip of Lyle’s appearance on Discovery Channel’s new series, Monsters & Mysteries in America

This review originally appeared in Shock Totem #5, July 2012.

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Kindle Users: Free Shock Totem

This week only we’re running promos on the first five issues of Shock Totem (not including the special holiday issue). Starting today, Kindle users will be able to download issue #1 for free. Tomorrow, issue #2 will be free, Wednesday, issue #3, and so on.


Click the links below to download!

Monday/Tuesday: Shock Totem 1: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Tuesday/Wednesday: Shock Totem 2: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Wednesday/Thursday: Shock Totem 3: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Thursday/Friday: Shock Totem 4: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Friday/Saturday: Shock Totem 5: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted

We ran a similar promo a little over a year ago, and it generated 10,000 downloads. We hope to once again reach thousands of new readers. If you haven’t read all—or any—of our issues, now is the perfect time. If you have, please encourage others to give us a shot.

Thanks!

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Tales from the Bookworm’s Lair Reviews Shock Totem #5

A fine fellow by the name of Bibliorex has reviewed Shock Totem #5 over at the Tales from the Bookworm’s Lair website.

“If the first four issues are anything like this one, Shock Totem is one of the strongest horror fiction magazines on the market today.”

To read the full review, click here. Have you picked up your copy yet?

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Shock Totem #5—Now Available!

Shock Totem Publications is very happy to announce that our long-awaited fifth issue is available for purchase!

This issue of Shock Totem is yet another eclectic mix of horror fiction and nonfiction, featuring previously unpublished stories from the likes of Ari Marmell, Darrell Schweitzer, Joe Mirabello, Mekenzie Larsen, and others. There is also a five-part illustrated microfiction serial, by Kurt Newton, which is something new for us; plus a conversation with horror legend Jack Ketchum, narrative nonfiction by Nick Contor, reviews and more.

The full table of contents is as follows:

* Taking Root: An Editorial, by Mercedes M. Yardley
* In Deepest Silence, by Ari Marmell
* Girl and the Blue Burqa, by D. Thomas Mooers
* Digging in the Dirt: A Conversation with Jack Ketchum, by John Boden
* Hide-and-Seek, by F.J. Bergmann (Poetry)
* Eyes of a Stranger: An Essay, by Nick Contor
* Postmortem, by Kurt Newton
* Jimmy Bunny, by Darrell Schweitzer
* Strange Goods and Other Oddities (Reviews)
* Little Knife Houses, by Jaelithe Ingold (2011 Shock Totem Flash Fiction Contest Winner)
* Canon, by Anaea Lay
* Bloodstains & Blue Suede Shoes, Part 3, by John Boden and Simon Marshall-Jones
* The Catch, by Joe Mirabello
* Three Strikes, by Mekenzie Larsen
* To ‘Bie or Not to ‘Bie, by Sean Eads
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Author Notes)

As of right now, you can order this issue—and past issues, which are all still available—directly from us or through Amazon, in both print ($6.99) and digital ($2.99) formats.

As always, thank you for the support!

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Announcing Shock Totem #5…

Shock Totem is proud to announce that we will finally be unleashing another great issue of darkly weird fiction!

Our fifth issue was originally scheduled to come out in January, but for reasons which you can read here we made the hard choice to delay it until July. And now with July nearly upon us, that wait, thankfully, is over.

For those who have yet to see it, here is the cover for issue #5:

Another brilliant piece of work from Mikio Murakami, who has done all our magazine artwork since issue #3.

Here is the official Table of Contents:

* Taking Root, by Mercedes M. Yardley (Editorial)
* In Deepest Silence, by Ari Marmell
* Girl and the Blue Burqa, by D. Thomas Mooers
* Digging in the Dirt: A Conversation with Jack Ketchum, by John Boden
* Hide-and-Seek, by F.J. Bergmann (Poem)
* Eyes of a Stranger, by Nick Contor (Essay)
* Postmortem, by Kurt Newton (5-Part Illustrated Micro-Serial)
* Jimmy Bunny, by Darrell Schweitzer
* Strange Goods and Other Oddities (Reviews)
* Little Knife Houses, by Jaelithe Ingold (2011 Shock Totem Flash Fiction Contest Winner)
* Canon, by Anaea Lay
* Bloodstains & Blue Suede Shoes, Part 3, by John Boden and Simon Marshall-Jones (Article)
* The Catch, by Joe Mirabello
* Three Strikes, by Mekenzie Larsen
* To ‘Bie or Not to ‘Bie, by Sean Eads
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Author Notes)

We’re really pleased with how this issue turned out. It’s unlike any of our previous issues, which were themselves unlike previous issues, yet as always it is still clearly Shock Totem. We think you’ll enjoy it.

Look for it next month, in print and digital formats. And if you want to get it out of the way now, you can preorder the issue here.

As always, thank you for your continued support!

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And the 2011 Flash Fiction Contest Winner is…

Little Knife Houses
by Jaelithe Ingold


As many of you know, throughout the year we host a bi-monthly flash fiction contest on our forum (not to be confused with the bi-weekly one-hour flash challenge). From those bi-monthly winners, an overall winner is chosen by a neutral judge, to be published in the next issue of Shock Totem.

This year’s judge was James Newman, and from the five stories he chose “Little Knife Houses,” by Jaelithe Ingold, which was based on the artwork for our third issue.

Ah, but now we have to break Newton’s Law, the rule we set forth in issue #2, which, after publishing Kurt Newton in our first two issues, stated that we would never again publish an author back-to-back.

Jaelithe, however, was featured in issue #4, with her story “Fade to Black”—which, incidentally, was also the contest-winning story for Café Doom’s 2010 short-story contest. So…rule broken.

And for a good reason! You’ll be able to read “Little Knife Houses” in issue #5 (see the cover and more info on that issue here).

Congratulations, Jaelithe!

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The Slushin’ for Nothin’ Blues

“Delay is preferable to error” —Thomas Jefferson

I used that quote in the editorial for issue #2. I should have seen then that I might one day have to quote it again.

Our second issue was delayed. When January of 2010 came around, we found ourselves short of content. Specifically fiction. We finally filled the issue around the end of March, at which point I made the decision to further delay its release until July, so from there we could continue our July/January release schedule.

And we did, for a while. Issue #3 came out in January of 2011, and issue #4 came out in July, right on schedule. And then we hit a wall. The slush pile stopped producing gold. And here we are, once again without enough content for our next issue.

So I’ve made the decision to delay issue #5 until July of 2012. But this time I’m going to be smarter about it.

By the time our belated second issue came out, we were well on our way to filling the next issue, and in the following months we accepted a lot of stories—all of which we put into that third issue, nearly doubling its size. In hindsight, we should have saved a few of those tales for the fourth issue.

But you know what they say about hindsight.

Going back to that second issue, I thought we’d had a hard time finding content because we were still a new publication, that authors weren’t sending us their best work—or any work, for that matter—because they were still unsure about Shock Totem. I see things differently now. Sometimes four months just isn’t long enough to find the right content, at least if we want to keep releasing a magazine that is up to the standards we’ve set with our previous issues.

So hopefully by delaying our next issue, we’ll be finalizing issue #6 when issue #5 comes out next July. That’s the goal, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable. I just wish I’d figured this out back in July of 2010.

With that said, we do have some content ready for our next issue, and soon we’ll be announcing the overall winning story from this year’s flash fiction contests, which will be featured in issue #5 as well. And how about a peek at the cover?

Can you dig that? I hope so! And how about this…

Before our fifth issue is released, we will be releasing something else: our first non-magazine release. It’ll be a novel, slated for publication in March 2012. We’ll run a contest soon that’ll reveal the name of this novel, but it’ll require some detective work on your part. It should be fun.

Hopefully this will hold everyone over until issue #5 comes out.

You guys have always been great to us, so I thank you for your anticipated patience and understanding. It is very much appreciated.

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The Road to Five…

…begins now. We’re once again open for submissions. Issue #5 is a blank slate; we have nothing for it yet. So send us something great. Tell your (writer) friends!

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