Black Petals Issue #82 Winter, 2018

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Nowhere Friend-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Broken Image-Fiction by Andrew Newall
Monster-Fiction by Paloma Palacios
Salvation_Fiction by Scott Dixon, Featured Author
Scream-Fiction by Anthony ('Tony') Lukas
Surviving Montezuma-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist, Chapters 13 & 14
The Foundling-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Girl Who Isn't Talked About-Fiction by James Gallagher
Beggar's Curse-Poem by Alexis Child
Marco-Three poems from Christopher Hivner
In Line at the Terminal-Four poems by Michael Keshigian
Ghost Poets-Four Poems by Jerry McGinley
Killer Clowns-Four Cryptid Poems by Richard Stevenson

By Chris Friend-Winter, 2018


Hi everybody! In the good old days, it was considered wise to have all of the spinning and weaving done by Christmas time. With the holiday season finishing off the year it was once believed that all housework left unfinished would be destroyed by malicious fairies and other spirits connected to the winter blight. Spinning was a special target of wrathful spirits, who enjoyed tangling all the spinning left on the wheel and sometimes would even smash the wheel itself.

Spinning has a long association with fairies and can be traced to more ancient goddesses connected with fate. The proverbial fairy godmother likely has her origins in ancient weaver goddesses who spun, measured, and decided the fates of mortals. In this form fairies were usually welcome in homes where there was a birth and would bestow gifts on the child and predict its fate. Again, it was considered a good idea to have all of the housework done, especially the spinning.

It was considered a good idea to lay out a feast for these enchanted visitors. Fairy godmothers might also appear at marriages and at the death of a loved one. When the fairy godmother appeared at a death it was to escort the person’s soul to the next world. Again, if the housework was not done the fairy godmother might be less favorable in her blessings, possibly cursing the mortals. Many of the matronly fairies, like Befana, the Christmas Witch, may have originated in these more ancient goddesses. With Yule being the longest night of the year and at the end of the year, the coming New Year had to be started on the proverbial right foot and this meant keeping these seasonal spirits happy.


During the Halloween season I usually read something scary, often a horror anthology. This year I read John Skipp’s PSYCHOS (Black Dog and Leventhal)—pretty scary stuff. Full of noteworthy authors such as Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, and Neil Gaiman, this made for a perfect Halloween read. Some content is quite disturbing, but, then again, this is a horror anthology about psycho killers and the like. Recommended, but not for the faint of heart.

Also during Halloween TCM showed the classic silent Haxan—Witchcraft through the Ages (1922). Directed by Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen, this weird movie filmed like a documentary is a look at witches, devils, black Masses, and Hell itself. There are enough wild images for several horror movies. Witches fly on pitchforks to meet with the devil, while a black Mass is held. For an old silent movie this film has incredible special effects and set design. One shot has an elderly witch giving birth to a group of demons. This shocker almost makes The Exorcist look restrained—very bizarre and recommended to anyone looking for something quite different.

Happy winter and stay warm, Earthlings.


Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va, wrote the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft, “Beauty’s Sleep,” & “Dark Trinity” (+ the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP #77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the Doll Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”), writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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