The Watchers In The Woods

I was right about there being more to the strange figures in the woods a few weeks ago.

After that first sighting

there was another. This time, there were more of them, these strangers Watchers.

Now, it seems that the Watchers seem to be getting curious about the Smol Monsters, and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting curious to see where this all goes…

(Originally posted at Patreon subscribers get to see posts 3 days before they open to the general public.)

The Thing In The Attic

Auntie Yaga’s Home For Wayward Monsters

The Thing In The Attic

There was a polite tapping on the office door frame and a small, violently yellow and mauve colored form oozed into the room.  Auntie Yaga looked up from the paperwork she’d been avoiding dealing with, glad for the interruption.

“Susan!  Your timing is excellent,” she said, smiling.  “What can I help you with?”

Susan was the self-appointed receptionist at Auntie Yaga’s Home for Wayward Monsters.  Visitors weren’t allowed without appointments, and Auntie Yaga hated talking on the phone, so Susan had taken on the job of screening and handling the majority of incoming calls.

“We just received a phone call from a couple who have run into a problem with their home renovation.  The woman, Jeannie Harrigan, said that Marika told them to contact us, as it’s likely more up our alley then hers” Susan said, her voice a warm, honeyed alto, entirely at odds with the fact that her appearance was an amorphous, jelly-like blob with a large number of eyes and pseudo-tentacles.  (Some of her relatives had once terrorized Lovecraft himself, a fact which she was rightly proud of.)

Marika was a friend of Yaga’s.  She was a professional spiritworker who specialized in poltergeist haunts, which explained why she’d been called for issues with a renovation.  Poltergeists are very territorial and extremely averse to changes in their homes, and often react aggressively to major upheavals.  The nature of both of their career paths led them to periodically send prospective clients to one another.

“Did she say what the issue was, by any chance?”  

“There’s something in the attic that’s been throwing things and stomping around all night, and it’s making it next to impossible for the family to get any rest.  They’ve ruled out raccoons or other wildlife, and Marika ruled out poltergeist or demons, but said that it was possibly some kind of lurk and to contact you.”

“Alright. Please call her back and set up an appointment.”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Late the following morning, Auntie Yaga arrived at the Harrigan home.  It was an old Victorian that had clearly seen better days.  It wasn’t unlivable, but it had obviously not been well-cared for over the years and had probably been sitting unoccupied for quite some time.  Just as clear, though, were the telltale signs of restoration work being done to return it to its former glory.  The age and structure explained why they’d called a spiritworker when wildlife had been ruled out.  Yaga was pleased that they’d not automatically assumed ghosts first, which was less common than one would think.  She knocked on the door, which was answered by a younger man in his early 30s.

“You must be Tom,” she said, nodding her head, “I’m Auntie Yaga.  My assistant spoke with you yesterday.”

“I am,” he confirmed, nodding back.  “Please come in. Jeannie’s in the back.”

Tom led her through several rooms in various stages of repair to the back of the house where a woman of similar age was rolling painter’s tape around a window.  Introductions and general niceties were exchanged, and they got down to business.

They’d bought the house a few months earlier for a ridiculously low price, both due to its state of disrepair and the local rumors that it was haunted.  Eager to begin the restoration, they’d moved in and got started almost immediately after signing the paperwork.  

The first few weeks had been quiet, but then they had started hearing noises, like someone banging on the walls or dragging heavy furniture across the floors, but investigation turned up nothing.  First they called in a plumber, thinking that maybe there were problems with pipes, but everything was in order.  They tested for things like carbon monoxide, black mold, and other hallucinogenic elements, all of which had come up negative.  Next, they thought maybe a family of raccoons had taken up residence in the attic and contacted the local wildlife control, but turned up nothing.  The house was surprisingly free of rodents, which was odd given how long it had sat empty, but they’d just been glad to not have to call an exterminator on top of everything else.

Nothing explained the ongoing banging and dragging noises.  So, at their wits’ end, they thought maybe the rumors about a haunting had something to them after all, and contacted Marika, who came out to check for ghosts or poltergeists, but even that turned up nothing.  That was when she told them that they might have a monster on their hands, and had instructed them to call Auntie Yaga at the Home.  They admitted being highly skeptical of the entire idea of monsters, but nothing else had turned up answers.  They were desperate and willing to explore all possibilities.

Yaga listened to them, asking a few questions here and there as they told their story and when they were done asked to be shown to the attic.  Jeannie led her upstairs, while Tom took over taping the window frames.  When they got to the door, she asked that she be allowed to go up alone, to see what she could find out.  Jeannie consented, visibly relieved, and so she continued up the stairs.

 *  *   *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The attic was in better shape than she’d expected, given the general disrepair of the rest of the house.  It had a high ceiling with the original beams still strong and solid, and most of the floorboards were still intact.  There were a number of storage trunks, boxes, and pieces of old furniture scattered around left by former residents, but surprisingly little dust and cobwebs.  Auntie Yaga closed her eyes and listened carefully.  After a moment or two, she smiled, opened her eyes, and said “I know you’re in the corner behind that fainting couch, my friend.  You can come out.  It’s alright. “

There was no response, but she could hear the soft sound of something roughly human sized breathing in the shadow.  There was a faint rattling rasp to it that concerned her a little, but she’d be able to deal with that soon enough.  For now, she sat down on top of an old steam trunk and started talking about the Home for Wayward Monsters that she ran, along with her childhood friend and former Monster-Under-The-Bed, Glatis (named for the Bête Glatisant, or Questing Beast, of Arthurian Legend), and how they helped humans and monsters learn to live with one another.  After a little while, she heard the sound of something moving and a shaking, slightly-hollow voice whispered “They’re destroying my house.  Can you make them stop and go away?”

She turned to look at the speaker.  He was roughly 6 feet tall, but quite hunched over and painfully thin, even for a shadow-lurk.  He was also very, very old and frail.  It was entirely possible that he’d been living in the house for several generations.  She sighed, and mentally swore at the world for the thousandth time.

“Sadly, I can’t.  It’s their house now, and they don’t want to leave”, she replied, gently.

The elderly shadow-lurk bowed his head, and sat down on the fainting couch, his slight form barely moving the dust.

“They aren’t destroying the house, you know.  They’re trying to fix it.  Other than you, it’s been empty for a very long time.”

He huffed.  “I’ve been here since this house was built in 1842.  It’s my house more than it is theirs.”

“I know, but you and I both know that human laws don’t recognize that.”

He huffed again, but nodded in agreement.  She sighed regretfully.  He was so old, and had been here so long.  She had to find a way to either convince him and the homeowners to co-exist, or to convince him to move to the Home with her and the others. He was just too old to do anything about the humans in his territory anymore, and they both knew it.

He was silent for several moments.  She waited, patiently.  After a time, he spoke again.

“I don’t want to leave.  This is my home, but I’ve been around long enough to know how the human world works, and I’m too old to fight it.  If you think you can convince them to let me stay, I will stop trying to drive them out.  I’ll even make sure that they never have any problems with wildlife or trespassers, to the best of my ability” he said, then added in a conspiratorial whisper “I’m too old to be a threat to anyone, anymore, but don’t tell them I said that.”

She smiled.  “I won’t.  Let me go talk to them and see what I can work out.  I’ll be back in a little bit.”

With that, she went back downstairs to tell the Harrigans what she had found and see what they would decide to do.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

About an hour later, she made her way back up the stairs to the attic, this time with Jeannie and Tom following somewhat nervously behind.  They’d agreed to meet the elderly shadow-lurk and were willing to let him continue to live in the house for the rest of his days, with some stipulations.  In short order, an arrangement that was amenable to both the Harrigans and Eliphalet was settled on, and Auntie Yaga promised that she would check up on them all regularly as they got settled in their new lives together.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Later that night, back at the Home For Wayward Monsters, as she wrote up her report and documentation for the day’s newest adopted family, she smiled in satisfaction.  In addition to adopting Eliphalet as a member of their own family, the Harrigans had offered to have him help with the restoration plans to include more shadowed areas for him to live comfortably in. She had a feeling they were going to get along well.  

Hers was an odd life, to be sure, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Originally posted at Patreon subscribers get to see posts 3 days before they open to the general public.)

Spring Roads and Melting Snow

Back in the first days of January, 2020, I started a list page in my bullet journal titled “Places To See”, and started to fill it out with what was going to be places that I planned to visit and write about for the travel blog I was planning to formally do. I’d wanted to do something like travel blogging for years, and well, I had the time, the internet, and Patreon available to me, so dammit, it was time.

Yeah, that worked out well, huh? A+ timing.

It’s now almost a year and a half later and I’m just a few days away from being fully vaccinated (I’ve had both shots, and am now in the two week waiting period) now. I still have the time, internet, Patreon, and the original list. It’s going to need to be updated, but that’s a matter of a couple hours’ worth of research, and not a big deal. Hell, getting this site back up to date took longer than this will.

Of course, I’ve also got an actively raging case of agoraphobia now, and some New and Exciting Social Anxiety problems. I had the agoraphobia and social anxiety long before, but they’ve gotten A LOT worse in the last year and a half. It’s really hard to logic your brain’s hysterics down when it’s not actually wrong, for once. It really has been life-threateningly dangerous to leave the house or talk to people, and well, “it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you” and all that. So now I have to work on getting them back under control, on top of things.

Anyone could do it if it were easy, I guess?


I’m debating on whether or not I can get the brain weasels under a semblance of control before Memorial Day and, if so, taking a trip over to Yarmouth to finally check out the Edward Gorey House. The timeline is mostly because trying to get on and off the Cape after Memorial Day is a nightmare and even the damned Pandemic didn’t slow that down much. (Mutters something angry and incoherent about selfish assholes who couldn’t be arsed to sit their asses down for a few weeks, making this whole ordeal orders of magnitude worse for literally everyone else.) If I’m going to go, it’ll be easier to do so before Tourist Season starts, or wait until after Labor Day when they all go home.

I have to say, it’s both amazing and terrifying to be thinking about actually getting back on the road and Going Places. I haven’t been more than 20 miles from home in over a year, and while I love my home and my cats and my partner, OH MY GOD I NEED TO BE ON THE ROAD AND NOT STUCK IN THIS DAMNED HOUSE ALL THE DAMNED TIME.


I don’t do well being stuck in one spot for long. It’s not natural.

Guess it’s getting on time to see what roads are thawed out enough to travel on, which are washed out and gone, and which I’ll have to come back to later. It’s going to be good to grind the rust off and get some miles under my feet again, even if it’s going to be a while still before I can do any longer distance runs.

Learning New Skills: Fun With Photomanipulation

One of the things that’s been slowing down my ability to do a Massive section of “Auntie Yaga’s Home for Wayward Monsters” is the fact that you can’t photograph monsters lurking in the shadows, and while artwork is great, if one is wanting to say, oh, do a Sponsor-A-Monster type thing, photos work better.   Sure, you can do photomanipulation to add them in, but that involves technology, software, and skills that I don’t have.

You can see my problem.

I was poking at the problem the other day, and in the process of chasing down several rabbit holes discovered that my Chromebook has a drawing app buried in it’s factory defaults.  The touchscreen is Wacom, so it’s actually decent for drawing on, and well, one thing led to another, and I’ve been having fun learning how to draw things into photos.

There are very definitely monsters and ghosts in the photos.

It’s looking like I may be able to run a Sponsor-A-Monster program after all, with a little practice!  Some of my travel stories may also be able to get a little extra “help”, too, if I get good enough at this.

*cackles wildly*

(Originally posted at Patreon subscribers get to see posts 3 days before they open to the general public.)

Dishwasher Souls, Goblin Markets, and Other Curiosities

I collect odd things.

No.  That’s not right.  I collect ephemeral, liminal things and interesting curiosities.

A dried (probably cursed) pomegranate in a small birdcage.  Several souls, carefully bottled and labeled after washing, stored in a velvet-lined box.  Flowers painted in moonlight.  Somewhere around there’s a star, wrapped in a scrap of silk.  Threads of rose and nettle. Ghosts, moth dreams, roadside gods…you get the idea.

I also collect unusual humans…a mixed media painter who makes amazing abstract art in soap; a soapmaker and herbalist who also creates beautiful jewelry and wall art out of wire and found objects; a professional muse…

Sometimes, I even collect places.  An empty rest area in Maine at 2:15 in the morning in late October.  A chimney with no house deep in the woods in mid-March.  A parking lot antique shop of abandoned amusement park paraphernalia run by retired carnies, only open when the stars are right. 

I don’t know what to do with this, to be honest.  I suspect that, in a different world, I’d have a table or shop tucked away in a corner of a bazaar or open-air market where I’d trade a story or curiosity for a coin or two, or have a little travelling wagon that would appear or disappear with the seasons for the same.

My little curiosities and ephemerals have a harder time in a world that has certain…


of how Things Are Supposed To Work and it doesn’t like strange little collectors and purveyors of art and other oddities like me.  We are messy and don’t fit into neat little boxes.

Still, I collect my curiosities, my cursed fruit and weird little monsters, and someday, hopefully, I’ll figure out how to share them the way that they need to be.

(I’ve been reexamining what had been October’s Market and wondering if I can get it back to what it was supposed to be, as it got very much lost in the weeds trying to figure out how to make it something that could exist in the “Real World”, and in the process forgot what it actually was.  The fact that we live in a capitalist hellscape that makes it exceptionally difficult to do what I want to do with it doesn’t help, and I need to find a way around that without losing it’s heart again.  I desperately miss my Market.)

(Originally posted on Patreon at

Something Weird Is In The Woods

I was walking through the Woods one night, and saw a strange, pale creature walking along the road.   The Wood was silent as snowfall, despite being a clear, spring night, as if all the other creatures held still and quiet as it walked.  It nodded slowly as we passed one another, and continued on it’s way.  As it passed out of sight, the trees seemed to sigh and the Wood released the breath It had been holding, and the owls and chorus frogs began to call once more…

I have a suspicion that my new friend here may have other friends somewhere in the Woods, as well, and I am looking forward to meeting them.

(Originally posted on Patreon at

KonMari’ing A Room and Life Path To Better Suit The Way Things Are

Lately I’ve been staring at my work room and I’ve got to tell you, it’s been driving me out of my skull.  It’s cluttered, and the shelving (or lack thereof) is not working for me, and the lighting is frustrating, and and and…

I need to KonMari this room, but in the process, I need to figure out what the path I’m going to take going forward from there is, because that is a huge part of determining what stays and what goes.

It’s more than a little daunting, and I’ve been hemming and hawing and staring at the walls and avoiding thinking about it, like a good little packrat.

Earlier today, Himself mentioned that he’s been wondering why we didn’t make this room the bedroom and floated the idea of swapping the master bedroom with the work room.  (He wasn’t aware that I’ve been pondering a massive overhaul in here.)  See, when we first moved into the house, we sort of defaulted to “X is the master bedroom because that’s the master bedroom, so obviously that’s where it goes”, and to be honest?  It’s a massively wasted space.  It literally has the bed, two nightstands, a table for folding laundry on, and a whole lot of unused space.  The dressers are kept in what is basically an antechamber that separates it off from the main house, which doubles as a sort of walk-in closet.  The work room is half its size at the other end of the house (standard New England ranch) , and is a much more reasonable size for a room that is literally only used to sleep in.

So, we’ve decided to swap the rooms and see if it works better.  I mean, we own the house, it’s not like we’re moving any time soon, and if we hate it, we move things back.  Which means that I need to do the thing with the going through All The Things so we can do so is a sane fashion.  Which also means that I need to figure out that thing where I decide the creative path I head down is.

To be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve already decided that route, but this is going to make it official.  There’s a lot of stuff I’ve been hanging on to, unused, for nearly a decade now, and honestly, if I haven’t used it by now, I’m really not going to, and if I change my mind later, I can replace it.

Something tells me that I will never bother replacing things like the plastic rabbit I found at a junk shop that I was going to incorporate into a mixed media sculpture that I don’t remember anything else about, or the now-rusted shut old tin that once held skeleton keys but hasn’t even been opened since 3 homes and 7 years ago.  They honestly don’t spark joy anymore, or even a glimmer of nostalgia, but are starting to spark guilt and self-reproach, so it’s probably long past time for them to be thanked for the happiness they once brought me, and for them to go on their way.

Let’s face it.  I’ve been mostly focused on writing and paint/ink based art for a long time now, and that’s where I’m happiest.  It’s time my work area reflected that.  (Also, the other room has exponentially better lighting and enough space for me to actually set up and use the floor loom, which the current room is too small for.)  On to new things!

(As a note, for the applicable tiers, due to vaccine-related joint pain, the monthly postcard is going to be delayed a bit.  My hands have been REALLY unhappy with me, and not up for the level of dexterity I need to do something I’m happy with.)

(Originally posted on Patreon at

This Monster-Filled Life…

Apparently getting my first round of vaccination did manage to shake a bit of brain cells loose and once my arm stopped hurting (seriously, Day Two Arm Pain is NOT KIDDING) and the weirdly fluctuating headache and fatigue wandered off (mild, overall, but enough to make me want to do nothing more than eat soup and read), I’ve managed to reorganize my work table, restart an Auntie Yaga story (nightgaunts!  midnight runalong rescue! a cute and fluffy mock-wolpertinger!), and start a new piece of art.

I might also be working on a piece of interactive fiction based on a really neat portal fantasy dream, though I’m still trying to figure out how to present it.  I had to get a cork board to tack sticky notes to to track the paths…

I kind of also impulse-bought a new set of watercolor pencils that should be arriving tomorrow.  In my defense, the current ones I have are an old, cheap set that do well enough for what they are, but are probably not great in the lightfast department (meaning they’ll fade fairly fast), and there are only twelve of them.  The new set is professional-grade and there are 72 of them.  I am super excited!

Hope you all are well!

(Originally posted on Patreon at

Steps Forward, Steps Back…

Just wanted to make a quick post, since I’ve been radio silent for a few weeks.

After having to take a few days off for health reasons (short version, I hemorrhaged a blood vessel in my left eye a few years ago that flares up sometimes), I drafted almost an entire new installment of “Auntie Yaga’s Home For Wayward Monsters”, got 90% or so through it, decided it was exactly nothing like what I wanted to write, and scrapped all but maybe two paragraphs.  Started over, but I’m a bit behind where I wanted to be, as a result. So that’s where I’m at with that.

It’s been a rough month.  Dad ended up back in the hospital and we nearly lost him a couple weeks ago.  He’s fine now, and hasn’t had an episode since, but it wrecked me pretty badly for a bit.  The good news, though, treatment is going well, overall, so hooray for small mercies.  March is historically a hard month for me, as it’s both the month that my mom was born in, and also the month that she died is, two weeks apart, which basically makes me want to just hibernate until April on a good year, so that scare REALLY did a number on my ability to function for a bit.

It’s spring, finally, and good gods, not a moment too soon!   The spring peepers have started screaming their little froggy mating songs in the wetland out in the woods behind the house, and soon it’ll be warm enough to sit on the screened porch and work out in the fresh air.  It’s looking like I should be able to get vaccinated shortly, which will at very least free up a few extra brain cells again, even if it’ll still be a while before I can consider any kind of travel.  (If nothing else, it gives me a timeline on when I’ll be able to visit my dad, even if I can’t resume any other travel-related activities for a while yet.)

So, yeah, just wanted to drop a quick update.  Hope y’all are doing okay.  

(Originally posted on Patreon at

Patchworks and Palimpsests: Stories Older Than Bones

Recently I was wandering down a rabbit hole of podcasts and folklore, and I got thinking…Mythically speaking, New England is really fucking *weird*.

What do I mean by this?

So, most places have a pretty distinctive story type associated with them that is best described as a patchwork quilt, various pieces  sewn together to form a coherent theme.  (For Reasons, mostly that I could write entire libraries on the subject, and for the sake of brevity am going to narrow the field, I’m going to stick with a superficial overview of just the US for now.)  For example, if you’re talking about the New Orleans region, the story fabric is full of ghosts and Voodoo and cypress swamps and is very much this rich tapestry woven of the history of the various cultures who have lived there.  Even if you don’t know that the story is set there, the elements and images are so strongly tied to it, that you know This Is A Story Of New Orleans And Its Environs.  The South is riddled with Civil War ghosts and haunted plantations and again, it’s all tied to the history of it’s peoples, to form a recognizable fabric.  Pacific Northwest, cryptids, the Midwest, LOTS of road ghosts, etc.

Appalachia, though, things start getting – interesting – which I’ll come back to in a minute.

New England is more like a collection of badly scraped palimpsests, held together with a bit of rodent-chewed twine, randomly fished out of a harbor or found in an abandoned cabin out in the woods, which somehow still manage to be recognizably New England Stories.  It shouldn’t work.  There shouldn’t be anything to tie them together, nor link them so notably to this specific region, yet here we are.

(If you’re unfamiliar with what a palimpsest is, it’s a manuscript page which the text has been scraped or washed off of so that it can be reused for a new document.  One of the reasons we have fewer medieval writings remaining than we should is because this was done fairly regularly, so a lot of things were lost to reuse the parchment or vellum, which were costly and difficult to produce.  It’s not uncommon to still be able to see the residual ink or paint from the previous documents underneath the newer writing.)

We’ve got our share of ghost stories, sure.  Mostly Revolutionary/Colonial Era, but there’s also pirates and haunted mills and rather more witches than were ever actually hung in Salem or anywhere else in the region.  We’ve got a surprising number of cryptids, but they aren’t well known, even in the places they’re from, aside from one lake monster up in Vermont.  We don’t really have a solid folklore Theme like other places with the amount of history we have.  Not like other places have.

Except we do.  What we have is the Land Itself and it is Alive and Haunted As Fucking Balls.

This is where I swing back to Appalachia.

See, Appalachia has a LOT of ghosts.  On the surface, they’re much like the ghosts elsewhere, tied to the history of immigration, racism, classism, and violences done there, but when you start to look into it, there’s a lot of those ghost stories that start with something else, and a lot of other stories that don’t have ghosts but they do have Other Things.

They start with the mountains and the land itself.  They start with stories of Things That Are Older Than Humanity, things that are darker and hungrier and wilder that don’t stay quiet and still.  Don’t go out at night, close the curtains and don’t look out the windows after dark, take care in the woods, be courteous to the stranger you meet out by the old abandoned mine or down the holler (the one whose voice doesn’t sound Quite Right, but it wouldn’t be polite to ask about), and no, that’s probably not really a deer, so best stay clear of it….

Interestingly, this is more or less the same thing that happens with New England.  The specifics change, because the histories are different, but the heart of it is the same. It all goes back to the land itself, and the land in these places is a little bit different than it is elsewhere.

There are two things that people often either forget or aren’t aware of.  One, that the Appalachian Mountains start down South, but they also run solidly through New England and up past Nova Scotia.  Two, that those mountains are far older than people think.  It’s easy to miss.  They’re small, as mountains go, worn smooth, and not particularly Exciting to look at.  Not like, say, the majestic cragginess that is the Rockies.  They’re..comfortable looking.

The Rocky Mountain range is, geologically speaking, pretty young.  It’s only between roughly 55-80 million years old; practically a toddler of a range.

The Appalachians, though, are approximately 480 million years old.  They once towered over the heart of Pangea itself, having been born along with it.  To quote a meme going around the internet, they are older than bones.  Those soft, rounded mountains are, very literally, part of a completely different land, relics of a place that ceased to exist before the lands we know of came to be.

Of course the land here is different. The land is older and wilder and hungrier.  This is why Appalachia tells the stories it does. This is what King knows about Maine, and Lovecraft knew about Massachusetts and New Hampshire and why their stories are the way they are, and why this is what people remember about us.

Our tales aren’t about the ghosts of teenage girls killed in car crashes trying to find their way home, or soldiers reenacting battles they died in, because we live in a place where we walk with ancient things from other lands, who never left, and who still watch us from the hollers and hills and the shores, and are older than bones and older than sin, and they Remember that we humans are the newcomers here.  Our mythological patterns reflect that we can still see the lines of them on the parchment clear as day, and know that if we aren’t careful, we, too, will be pulled deeper into the ink.

I don’t think they were necessarily the first, either.

It’s just my observation, though.  I could be wrong.  But I know what I’ve seen when I travel, and the things that I’ve seen in the place that I call home, and I don’t think I entirely am.

(Originally posted on Patreon at