Black Petals Issue #105, Autumn, 2023

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary-Chris Friend
Cards Fiction by Gene Lass
Barfly: Fiction by Gene Lass
Case Study: Fiction by Martin Taulbut
Delivery: Fiction by David Kloepfer
Joy (noun): a source of delight: Fiction by Noah Levin
Master of Dream: Fiction by Ash Ibrahim
Nightshade: Fiction by Adam Vine
Red Popsicles: Fiction by Caitlyn Pace
Temporally Closed: Fiction by J. Elliott
The Mansion Dwellers: Fiction by Robb White
Time for a Change: Fiction by Lamont A. Turner
Bernie's Friends: Flash Fiction by Phil Temples
Death Visits the Sapling Trust: Flash Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Monster: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
Sleep: Flash Fiction by Kurt Hohmann
Welcome, Ghouls: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Ode to Chateau Marmont: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Cadaver Dogs: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Phases of the Moon: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Darkest Octave: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Green Man Standing: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
The Day That Mary Went Away: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
The Northern Migration of Souls: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
Gone West: Poem by Simon MacCulloch
If I Scream: Poem by Simon MacCulloch
Witchery: Poem by Simon MacCulloch
Carry On: Poem by Simon MacCulloch
The Song of the Dead: Poem by Ben Huber

Autumn, 2023—Chris Friend

Art by Chris Friend 2023

For most of us who spent our youth watching old horror films, the werewolf is usually cursed by being bitten by another werewolf. But the werewolf of folklore was most often a sorcerer who transformed into a wolf through black magic such as putting on a magical wolf pelt. The other way a person might become a werewolf was to be born between Christmas and Epiphany (January 6th) which was a vulnerable time for the birth of children.

The magician who is a closet werewolf likely hides the wolf pelt by day only donning it at night. Even though wolves travel in packs, the werewolf is a solitary wanderer who hunts by themselves. The werewolf is his human form has some of the wolf-like characteristics, such as pointed ears, hair on the palms of his hands, eyebrows that grow together over the nose, or hair growing over the shoulder blades. Also, due to their lack of sleep, they have pale skin, and deep hollow eyes.

The connection to the full moon may be from the belief that the moon can set people crazy and is also because the full moon is a time of uncanny events such as witches’ sabbats and fairy magic.

Another way to be transformed into a werewolf was to drink from the puddle of water in a wolf's print. Eating the flesh from a sheep or lamb killed by a werewolf was considered a bad idea, turning the consumer into a vampire. One way to break the spell of a werewolf was to confront them while in human form. In one case a woman was attacked by her husband in wolf form, yet she managed to get away. The next morning she noticed her husband had strands of her dress caught in his teeth. She accused him of being a werewolf, and with this confrontation the spell was broken and he was free of the curse.


One folk belief about vampires I have always found fascinating is the belief that anything passing over the corpse will cause it to reanimate. One of the usual culprits was often the common house cat, but many other types of animals such as dogs and even chickens could be guilty of resurrecting the dead, causing it to become undead. It was thought that the corpse, in its lust for life, might absorb enough of the animal’s life force to come back from the dead. But even such innocent things as passing a candle over the corpse might cause it to resurrect. Some parts of European folklore even suggest that wind blowing over the corpse could breathe new life in the dearly departed.

But I recently read of a group of mourners who inadvertently passed a crying child over the corpse, causing it to return. The very term revenant can be translated as to return. The undead are often referred to as revenant, meaning to return from the dead. Thus, this left the mourners terrified over the accidental passing of the child over the corpse. And as with many of these tales of the macabre, that the woman's corpse was seen wandering about.

I'm not quite sure what the remedy for ridding the corpse was, but I assume procedures were put in place to help the deceased rest in peace. Another theory holds that a cat or some other creature might house a demon, which finds this an easy opportunity to possess the corpse. Of course, this belief could also be a matter of the pesky varmint is disturbing the deceased’s rest and brings them back to angry life. And so it goes.

Art by Chris Friend 2023

Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va , who wrote BP #91 Poems, “Land of Big Teeth” & “Possessed” (+ BP’s fall 2018 poems, “Demons Play Flutes” & “Purdy Picture”; BP #84’s 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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