Reality Checking with Brent Raynes

Vampires &

Mothman in California

Fangs or Fiction?

Fangs or Fiction, which premiered last September 17 and 19 on the AMC (American Movie Classics) channel, was sponsored by Sony to promote their new horror flick “Underworld,” a fictional movie wherein vampires battle it out with werewolves for supremacy. In this documentary however, acclaimed author Brad Steiger was interviewed extensively for his comments and to define both real and legendary werewolves. Brad had, after all, authored “The Werewolf Book: An Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings,” so who would perhaps be better qualified?

Although such subjects are shrouded in chilling fiction by some of the best known authors of the science fiction industry, factual based reports (that at least indicate that others do believe such things are quite real) keep emerging as well. Most recently, UFO ROUNDUP (Vol. 9, No. 14, April 7, 2004: carried a disturbing account with the headline, “Vigilantes Hunt Vampires In Southern Romania.” (The original report was attributed to a March 28, 2004 edition of the News-Tribune of Duluth, Minn.)

The article quoted one Constantin Ghindeano of the Romanian national police who was apparently heading up a probe into a reported case of a vampire slaying. “The investigation is ongoing, and we expect to file charges later,” was his quote to the media. Charges of disturbing the peace of the dead, that is. The case involved relatives of one Toma Petre, whose relatives dug up his body from the grave (yes, he was already dead), removed his heart and then burned it, mixing the ashes of the heart with water, and then they drank it. “What did we do?” Flora Marinescu, Petre’s sister pleaded. “If they’re right, he was already dead. If we’re right, we killed a vampire and saved three lives...Is that so wrong?”

“The heart of a vampire, while you burn it, will squeak like a mouse and try to escape,”stated one Ion Balasa, 64. “It’s best to take a wooden stake and pin it to the pan, so it won’t get away.”

Gheorghe Marinescu, Petre’s brother-in-law, stated that was what happened in Petre’s case. Reportedly, after Petre’s death, Marinescu’s son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter took ill. Marinescu claimed that when he dug up Petre’s body he found Petre laying on his side, his mouth bloody. After burning the heart and then drinking the heart/water mixture, everyone was well again.

The article stated that vampire slaying is a very old custom in southern Romania, and that little has changed since the days when the Turkish invaders came through the region some 500 years ago, when they were seeking the mineral riches just to the north in...Transylvania.

What an opportune time now to say a few words about Turner Network Television’s (TNT) forthcoming remake of Stephen King’s classic Salem’s Lot (which will first premiere on Sunday, June 20th, part one, and then Monday, June 21st, part two). If anyone can give you vampire nightmares Stephen King can, and Jeffrey Hayes, Executive Producer of the new Salem’s Lot movie, states: “...25 years ago, the film making process was completely different. The tools we’ve got now allow us to make a scarier project. The cast that we have managed to get together is a testament to the fact that good material never gets tired.” Indeed, the new Salem’s Lot includes such legendary stars as Rob Lowe, Donald Sutherland, Andre Braugher, Samantha Mathis, Rutger Hauer, and James Cromwell. As Director Mikael Salomon, “I’m blessed with fantastic actors that can pick up the character easily.”

“The movie needed to be remade,” stated Rob Lowe, who plays the lead role of Ben Mears in the film. “It’s one of Stephen’s most successful books. They made it years ago when the technology was horrendous. Thematically, we’re going about it in a much different way. The way you shoot it now, you couldn’t have done in 1979.”

I got a sneak peak early preview of the entire new Salem’s Lot, thanks to the good folks of TNT, and I found it to be nothing short of excellent and outstanding. If you enjoy Stephen King’s writings or have previously read Salem’s Lot (and/or seen the early movie version), then I believe you’re certainly in for a genuine treat and won’t be disappointed!

“Mothman” reported again....What’s With California?

Layla Wingate, in her early twenties and the daughter of Patsy Wingate (see interview this issue) shared her own recent sighting of “Mothman” with us in a telephone conversation on May 30th. She said the incident had occurred about two weeks before, either on a Monday night, or at least a night early in the week. She was looking out of her window (she lives in Martinez, California), her view taking in the southern sky, also giving her a view toward San Francisco. Over a Shell Oil Company refinery she watched a rusty red colored creature with bat-like wings flying in circles over the facility. She watched it for an estimated five minutes. It glided quite a bit, occasionally flapping its wings. At the end it fly off toward San Francisco. Layla said it felt evil to her, and that she hadn’t seen this creature since some 13 years or so ago with her family in Bristol, Tenn. (again refer to interview in this issue with Patsy Wingate, Layla’s mother)

By coincidence, a couple of months ago a woman in northern Alabama described to me how early one Sunday morning around 2 a.m. she had been studying for an exam (paralegal) when she briefly, in almost the blink of an eye, she was startled when she thought she saw before her a tall and slender man-like figure with black wings. No facial features were visible, but she sensed it was a male. The figure disturbed her. Recently I learned that on June 4th she was leaving for California to see her daughter, whom she hadn’t seen in three years. She feels that something bad may happen in California and that this may be the last time she gets to see her daughter. In discussing these two cases recently in a phone conversation with John Keel (author of The Mothman Prophecies) he speculated about California’s seismic instability and the potential danger of another severe earthquake there. Sandy Nichols speculated on Layla’s “mothman” being seen over an oil refinery and the recent attack on a refinery over in Saudi Arabia.

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