Black Petals Issue #77 Fall, 2016

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Archangel-Fiction by BP Editor, A. M. Stickel
Drop-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
Essence of Andrew-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Lupine Savagery-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
Smith's Emporium-Fiction by Tony Lukas
Spider Line-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Surviving Montezuma, Chapters 3 and 4-Continuing Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Apsara-Fiction by Jessie Johnson

Autumn, 2016-Chris Friend


In John Carpenter’s classic horror film Halloween the killer Michael Myers is sometimes referred to as the Boogeyman. Folklore’s boogey-man or bogyman is a kind of dark fairy most often used to frighten ornery children. The term was originally applied to the devil and also used for bogies who would steal children and drag them to hell for grisly torments. The word bogey itself may have been derived from a Middle English term for bluster or brag. Boogey-men are often described as shadowy black figures who can become threatening black dogs, tree trunks, or monsters with icy fingers and glowing yellow eyes. They are believed to lurk in cellars, attics, cupboards, caves, hollow tree trunks, and practically any dark and dank place.

In one story boogey-men tormented a family in Shropshire. These two resembled a little old man and woman. When the family got sick and tired of being bedeviled by the two, they decided to move, only to have those quarrelsome bogeys follow them to their new residence.

Looking through a keyhole at night meant you might catch a glimpse of the boogey-man looking right back at you. One of the most famous of these was old Bloody-bones, or Rawhead Rex. This nasty goblin hid in a cupboard, usually behind the stairs. If you glimpsed old Bloody-bones you would see the monster standing over a pile of bones from the many naughty brats he had eaten—a gruesome sight of a being skinless as if flayed alive. Anyone foolish enough to look through the keyhole risked becoming his next victim!


In some folklore, if milk or water was not left out for the fairies they became vampires and drank human blood. In a similar vein (pun intended), in Russian folklore if vodka was not placed in a drunkard’s grave, the dead drunk (more pun) would return as a vampire to drink the blood of those individuals too stingy with their booze.

The old belief that boogey-men could catch someone looking through a keyhole brings to mind the classic Werewolf of London. Released by Universal in 1935, this little gem features Henry Hull as the werewolf. The story has Hull as a botanist searching for a mysterious flower in Tibet, which only blooms during a full moon. While Hull is in the mountains there he is bitten by a werewolf. When he returns to London much mayhem occurs. One of the notable things about this werewolf is the minimal monster make-up. Both make-up and story structure seem to owe as much to Jekyll/Hyde as to the werewolf of folklore. The reason that this film makes me think of the boogey-man is the scene where two old biddies peep through a keyhole and see Hull looking right at them. A silly scene in which Hull in full werewolf form is dressed up in coat and hat is another salute to Jekyll/Hyde. While this movie is tame enough for older kids on Halloween, it’s probably best to stick to Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie for the little ones.

Happy Halloween, Earthlings! Here’s some of my poems to get you in a holiday mood.


At 50


Like blue vines

Old veins wrap

Around my ankles,

Snake up

The marble pillars

Of my legs,

Leaving them

Cold and restless.




Priests of the night

Offer prayers to a dying moon,

Search fields astir with mice

Within a temple of sky.


Vintage Halloween


The harvest glitters

With the sparkle of fairy dust

As witches sweep the sky

On broomsticks

With black snakes

For handles and

The ground thunders

As goblins play leap-frog

Over tombstones.


Xmas in the Doll Asylum


Your shrine is an ossuary

Of doll parts

Scented with teardrops

Of perfume,

Rancid and pink.

Under a ghost-white moon

You wait for a kiss

From Santa Claws.



Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va, who wrote 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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