Black Petals Issue #106 Winter, 2023

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

BP Editorial Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
The Thing in the Yard: Fiction by Vincent Vurchio
A Forest Green: Fiction by Logan Williams
Clown Safe: Fiction by Taylor Hagood
Home Delivery: Fiction by Jon Adcock
Judith and Bobby Save the World: Fiction by Stephen Tillman
Many Wee Undead: Fiction by Marco Etheridge
Meat Pie: Fiction by Anna Koltes
Mexican Coffee and Burgers: Fiction by Fred Zackel
Leaving: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Ghost of the Perfect Hotdog: Fiction by Mark Miller
The Illustrated Woman: Fiction by Jen Myers
Thrice in One Sitting: Fiction by Justin Alcala
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning: Fiction by Gene Lass
AI Self-Mortification: Flash Fiction by Christopher Henckel
Correct Mistake: Flash Fiction by Eric Burbridge
A Moment of Inertia: Flash Fiction by Sean MacKendrick
Get Your Kicks on Route 666: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Let's Do Lunch: Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
"Three Wishes": Flash Fiction by Ronin Fox
Woodsman's Revenge: Flash Fiction by Jada Maze
To a Crow: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Estranged: Poem by Michael Keshigian
At the Terminal: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Angler's Nightmare: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Last Thirteen Steps: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Murderous Words: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
My Childhood Snapshot: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
With Vampires About: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Zombies are Loose: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Lil' Toe Dipper: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Scattered Pieces: Poem by Andrew Graber

Winter, 2024—Chris Friend

Art by Christopher Friend 2024

In early February I wrote of the Celtic goddess Brighid and her Catholic counterpart Saint Brighid. To most sources the Celtic goddess was so popular that the church could vilify the popular figure and made her into a saint.

When Scottish and Irish indentured servants came to Haiti they brought the popular character with them. As with most saints brought to the Caribbean she became blended with the various African deities brought to the New World during the slave trade. With Brighid, she became identified as Mamma Brigette, a guardian of the cemetery and the spirit world. She is also the bride of the better known Baron Samedi.

Since Samedi was such a ghoulish figure it was often left to Mamma Brigette to offer blessings. She was said to be the deity to petition to seriously ill children. She was also called upon to help in legal matters, and when someone needed ready cash. Since she holds court over the spirits, she also governs legal matters. Her favorite colors are black, purple, and violet. Her sacred trees are the Elm and the Weeping Willow. Her spirit is said to live in trees growing in the graveyards.

Like many voodoo deities, Mamma loves all manner of offerings. She loves coffee, red wine, rum, rice and most notably red hot peppers, which she enjoys added to her meals. Her favorite flowers are violets and purple irises. She loves purple eggplants as well.

Art by Christopher Friend 2024

For St. Patrick's Day I decided to do one of my signature Irish vampire articles. Irish folklore tends to focus more on fairies than the undead. But there is some vampire folklore among the Irish with certain fairies having some of the characteristics of the vampire. One such Irish vampire was the Dearge Due, which was a blood-thirsty fairy whose very name translates to "red blood sucker". This vampire fairy can be traced further back then the Celts, and was also a revenant of an undead corpse that can only be stopped by piling on heavy stones on its grave.       

One tale of the Dearge Due was that of the restless spirit of a beautiful woman whose remains lie in a churchyard under a tree known as Strongbow's tree. It should be noted that the two authors, Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu, were Irish and lived near the graveyard where the vampire woman was buried. Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, and Sheridan La Fanu wrote Carmilla, both classic vampire stories.

The Leanhaum-Shee or 'Fairy Mistress' was a destructive vampire fairy who used her feminine charms to seduce vulnerable young men. The only way to distract this vampire was to find another young man for her to prey on so the previous victim could escape. Many of these Irish vampires most likely had their origins as bloodthirsty goddesses who wandered over battlefields drinking the spilled blood of the wounded and dying men. With the advent of Christianity the idea of ancient gods and goddesses dwindled down to ghosts, fairies, and blood thirsty-vampires. The famous Banshee is likely a relic of these goddesses of war and death.


Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va, wrote the BP #84 poems, “The Sentinel” and “Psalm of Mithra” (+ 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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