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The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two

In the fall of 2012, seventeen horror writers and artists met in Northern California to spend four days together in a haunted mansion. Ten of them were survivors of the original Haunted Mansion Writers Retreat; the rest were virgins who encountered the house and its ghostly denizens for the first time. Joining them were the GhostGirls, the paranormal investigators who had recorded a plethora of EVPs as well as anomalous lights and ominous shadows in the mansion in 2010. This anthology collects short stories and poetry — as well as real impressions and investigative conclusions — inspired by that long weekend.

Contributors include Nichole Boscia, S.G. Browne, Christian Colvin, Fran Friel, Kristin Galvin, William Gilchrist, Sèphera Girón, Stacey Graham, Rain Graves, E.S. Magill, Chris Marrs, Rena Mason, Angel Leigh McCoy, Lisa Morton, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, Kim Richards, Kay Sundstrom, Dan Weidman, and Steve Weidman.

Reviews:
“Subtitled Stories, Essays, and Poetry by Authors Who Spent Four Days Together in a Haunted House, Year Two is just that. And more. Notable, affecting work comes from Kay Sundstrom, Rena Mason, Kim Richards, Sephera Giron, Rain Graves, Angel Leigh McCoy, and Stacey Graham. I’m guessing they had a ball writing these pieces while under the mansion’s brooding influence and the gravity of its history.” — Hellnotes


 

Morbid Cvrs-newMorbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Stories of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual

From Scribner’s Fall 2009 catalog:
“This is a unique and original compendium of completely true stories first published in the cult magazine Morbid Curiosity, “a Reader’s Digest of the dark side” (San Francisco Weekly). For ten years, Morbid Curiosity was a one-of-a-kind underground magazine that gained a devoted following for its celebration of absurd, gross, and unusual tales — all true — submitted from contributors across the country and around the world. Loren Rhoads, creator and editor of the magazine, has compiled stories from all ten issues in this sometimes shocking, occasionally gruesome, but always fascinating anthology. With the same voyeuristic appeal of Mortified and Found, this quirky book is filled with stories from ordinary people — who just happened to have eccentric and sometimes peculiar interests. Ranging from the outrageous (attending a Black Mass, fishing bodies out of San Francisco Bay, making snuff films) to the more “mundane” (visiting a torture museum and tracking real vampires through San Francisco), this curiously enjoyable collection of stories, complete with illustrations and informative sidebars, will entertain and haunt readers long after the final page is turned.”

 


Reviews: 
Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues is a fun if disturbing read for lovers of great nonfiction and the macabre. As promised, the tales will cure your blues.” — Library Journal

Morbid Curiosity Cures The Blues is a must-read for those who want a glimpse into the dark side of people’s lives. There is something to suit everyone’s tastes. From the cradle to the grave and beyond, these stories tantalize and terrify.” — Dark Scribe Magazine

“Think of Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues as Penthouse Forum letters for the disturbed crowd — except that these occurrences did happen. What it all boils down to is that this collection will be one of the strangest reads ever to enter the mind, knowing that Loren Rhoads prides herself on getting realistic accounts. Want more details? Pick it up and worry about the therapy bill later.” — Horror World

Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues is a collection of the strange, the shocking, and the sinister, but at the same time the stories are all so personal that they are heartfelt and heart-wrenching. These stories go beyond mere voyeurism. Through them, you take a journey to some very dark places. Like the authors, you won’t emerge unscathed, but perhaps you’ll have a deeper understanding of the dark side of the human psyche, including your own.” — Fatally Yours


 

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Morbid Curiosity magazine

Because she believes that there’s nothing more important (or socially dangerous) than human curiosity, Loren created Morbid Curiosity magazine in 1997. The final issue came out in May 2006. In its 10 issues, Morbid Curiosity magazine collected 310 survivor narratives about encounters with the unsavory, unwise, unorthodox, or unusual: all the dark elements that make life worth living.

Contributors probed every facet of homicide and birth, illicit substances and what passes for modern healthcare, graveyards, natural disasters, UFOs, sexuality, humanity’s inclinations toward violence, and so much more. They wandered from Auschwitz to Malaysia, from Hiroshima to Mexico. Through it all, Morbid Curiosity questioned authority, consensus reality, and accepted wisdom. Its tongue was often planted firmly in cheek.

Contributors included Michael Arnzen, Trey Barker, Alan M. Clark, John Everson, Ray Garton, Brian Hodge, Charlee Jacob, Brian Keene, Nancy Kilpatrick, Simon Wood, and others at the cutting edge of horror, speculative fiction, and mystery — except that, in Morbid Curiosity, the horror stories they related were all true.

For more details, and ordering information, visit the magazine page.

Awards:
bramstokerfinalistmedallionIn 2005, Morbid Curiosity #9 was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction presented by the Horror Writers Association.

In 2004, Morbid Curiosity won the San Francisco Bay Guardian‘s Best of the Bay Award for “Best Nightmare-Inducing Local Magazine.”

At Denver’s Death Equinox 1998, Morbid Curiosity received the Idiot Savant Award for “Most Intellectually Evocative.”

Reviews: 
“Fascinating frontline journalism. If you want to know how people really react to worse-case scenarios without the attendant Springer-style circus punch-ups, here’s some seriously good reading.” — Bizarre magazine

“For a decade, Morbid Curiosity has been a confessional where Americans revealed their deepest, darkest secrets. The title was no joke: Morbid Curiosity was definitely morbid. It was also frequently gross, disgusting, perverse — and very funny, if you prefer your humor to come in a decidedly dark hue.” — The Washington Post


 

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Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries

In 1995, Loren edited the book Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries for Automatism Press.

Death’s Garden was originally envisioned as a showcase for Blair Apperson’s photos. Before his death, Blair documented graveyards from the California Gold County to the Bahamas. As Loren pursued the project, she discovered that everyone’s life has been touched by at least one graveyard. The book blossomed into a collection of over two dozen essays and more than 200 photographs involving 27 contributors, ranging from confrontationalist Lydia Lunch and ceramics professor Mary Jo Bole to artist/poet Jane Handel.

In Death’s Garden, cemeteries from Argentina to Wall Street provide a quiet place for meditation, the best place for a ghostly game or to gossip about dead celebrities, and the only place to really connect with others in our tumultuous modern world. Authors considered teenage suicide, the death of parents and friends, their own mortality, the transience of fame, and the nature of death itself. The limited edition of 1000 copies sold out in 18 months.

Reviews: 
“This impressive book is so striking that, upon opening its binding, one is hard pressed not to be moved by its contents. With every perusal, the reader finds another thing to think about.” — Carpe Noctem

Death’s Garden is an anthology of cemetery tours from all around the world, well-photographed, and smart enough to know it’s not the where and when of certain burial grounds that intrigues us, it’s the why as well. There’s a certain joy about Death’s Garden which is hard to pin down; the sense that just as no two graveyards are the same, no two burial beliefs are the same, either.” — Alternative Press

“The photographers and writers relay their thoughts on the relationship between the living and the dead, creating a feast for the eyes and senses. Death’s Garden goes a long way in showing just what these residences of the dead have to offer to those of us that are still among the living.” — Maximum Rock N Roll


 

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Lend the Eye a Terrible Aspect

In 1994, Loren co-edited the book Lend the Eye a Terrible Aspect with Mason Jones. They wanted to confront North America at the end of the 20th century. Topics spanned bringing Christmas to a crack house, working as a transsexual prostitute, Hollywood’s effect on drive-by shootings, enduring homophobia from the police, finding one’s own ethnic identity, surviving interracial rape, and the human need to form tribes.

Lend the Eye collected essays, short fiction, and artwork by Americans and Canadians. Contributors were a who’s who of underground music and art, including Jello Biafra (of the Dead Kennedys), Don Bajema (author of Winged Shoes and a Shield), Stephen Holman (creator of the cartoons “Life with Loopy” and “Phantom Investigators”), recording artist Deborah Jaffe (Master/Slave Relationship), performance artist blackhumour, and Mark Lo (publisher of the legendary zine File 13).

For more details, and ordering information, visit the book’s page.

Reviews: 
“The book analyzes how we, as North Americans, live in arguably the most affluent nations on Earth, but also are the poorest in soul. The contributing writers are all aware of this fact and seek to expose our culture for what it is: a media-controlled fishbowl. The writers in this collection are scared and angry about what they see approaching.” —Maximum Rock N Roll

“An intriguing collection of fiction and essays by some of the more interesting voices from the San Francisco/Los Angeles axis… It stands out as an important collection of observations of our contemporary society.” — Factsheet Five

“This is a great collection of essays and fiction about the issues facing North America. I can’t even begin to list all of the good things in here. Anybody living in this day and age needs this book.” — Cyber-Psychos AOD