THEY FLEW FROM VIRGINIA TO HEAR GHOST STORIES IN NH

After my Heartpounders II Halloween Horror for Adults show at the Warner Town Hall in NH last Friday, two women in their late twenties came up to me.

“We flew up from Arlington Virginia for this,” one said.

Sometimes people travel distances to attend my shows, but that’s pretty far, I thought. “For this show?” I asked, wondering if I’d heard correctly.

“Yup. Two rental cars and an airplane,” said the other. “This is such a pretty area.”

I was still wondering if they were visiting local family or something and had heard about the show. “You’re saying you flew up from Virginia just to attend this performance. That’s it.”

“When we were kids, you came to a Zainy Brainy store in Arlington and did a show,” said the first. “Our moms bought your recordings. We grew up listening to them.”

Zainy Brainy was an upscale toy store chain back in the age of cassettes. I’d visited a few, but completely forgotten about it.

“We loved the story about the man chased by the thunderstorms.”

The Storm Breeder. Wow, well, I’m moved,” I replied, wishing I’d told it that night. “Thanks for coming all this way. What are your names?” They introduced themselves and we shook hands and talked a little bit more.

“Do you live near here?” asked one.

“Next town over, in Bradford.”

“It’s really beautiful up here,” said one. “Well, thanks for the show. It was amazing.”

And after a few more words exchanged, they left.

Days later, I’m still impressed.

I have one more Halloween Horror Show for adults this season, a different one, coming up this Friday the 25th at 7:30 pm. at the Sweet Beet, 11 West Main Street in Bradford, NH. Hopefully you won’t need to come as far to see it. I’ll be telling The Storm Breeder, oddly enough.

It’s outdoors, so bundle up and bring chairs. BYOB. Hot chili, hot cider, donuts and apple crisp will be on sale before, during and after the show, all made by the wonder chefs at the Sweet Beet.

The show features horror tales from colonial America, old Russia, Confucian China and a new mystery story yet to be performed at any of my Heartpounders shows. Music on 12-string guitars, alto recorder and Celtic harp. They are not suitable for young children.

TICKETS ARE $20.

This is the third annual Halloween storytelling at the Sweet Beet. Hope to see you there!

 

A DEEPLY FRIGHTENING MYTH OF SURVIVAL

In the sparse life of the ancient Eskimos, a daughter who will not marry is a death sentence.

Sedna is just such a girl. No suitor quite suits her, not even when a mysterious stranger pulls up his kayak onto the pebbly beach and brags of his staggering wealth.

Sedna’s angry, aging father insists she go with the man to become his wife. With no choice in the matter, she slides down into his kayak.

As events unfold, both father and daughter end up in a situation that is beyond horror, beyond betrayal.

A dark, elemental tale from the traditional Inuit of the Arctic Circle, Sedna the Ocean Mother is possibly the scariest, most unsettling story Odds Bodkin tells. Especially for women. It is not cultural appropriation. It is cultural reverence.

This tale is performed with 12-string guitar and a few character voices, plus vocal effects of sea birds, gales and frantic paddling.

To benefit the New Hampshire Telephone Museum, which is a must-see on its own, Odds Bodkin’s Heartpounders II tales are for an adult audience only. Please do not bring children. Original acoustic music–much of it created live, on Celtic harp, 6-string guitar, and 12-string guitars–accompanies the stories.

Friday Oct. 18, 2019 at 7 pm/Warner Town Hall, Warner NH

TICKETS $10 MEMBERS, $15 NON-MEMBERS

ADULT STORYTELLING for HALLOWEEN…TWO Odds Bodkin SHOWS

HEARTPOUNDERS: HALLOWEEN TALES OF HORROR is Odds Bodkin’s adult storytelling evening with live music for 2018. Two shows remain:

Plaistow, New Hampshire on Friday Oct. 26th at 7 p.m. FREE TO THE PUBLIC

Cambridge, Massachusetts on Sunday, Oct. 28th at 5 p.m. Tickets: $15


Friday Oct. 26th at the Plaistow Town Hall GET DETAILS

Sunday Oct. 28th at Grendel’s Den (RECORDING EVENT) GET DETAILS

GRENDEL’S DEN IN CAMBRIDGE: NEXT SUNDAY/Halloween Horror for Adults

‘Tis the season for horror, just about everywhere. But you can refresh yourself with some fictional creepiness, replete with live music, with Odds Bodkin and his evening of tales, Heartpounders: Halloween Tales of Horror. A New England man chased by storms. Boys who turn to panthers. A Rocky Mountain ghost train nightmare. A tale from the angry serfs of Russia. And others. All with driving music.

Tickets are $15. Buy dinner and drinks at settle in for a fun evening!

A live recording event.

American Mythology: The Phantom Train of Marshall’s Pass

During the late 1800’s in Colorado, narrow gauge railroads crossed the Great Divide of the Rockies heading for Sante Fe and other parts west. In those days, nothing facilitated the Westward Expansion and what Americans thought of as Manifest Destiny more than the invention of the steam locomotive. The Iron Horse, as it was known.

Various folklores grew up around the railroads, including those of ghostly trains. Much as in earlier seafaring times when folklores centered around phantom ships—the Flying Dutchman being the most famous—where dead souls seeking vengeance chased the living, so too in the early Industrial Age in America similar tales were handed down about the captains of the locomotives. The engineers.

Whether these frightening accounts were actual events or not remains open to debate. Still, they are a part of American mythology.

The attached early map from the Denver and Santa Fe Railroad shows Marshall Pass (in the story, Marshall’s Pass) the topmost rail crossing of the Great Divide. It is at this Rocky Mountain pass that one of the tales I’ll be telling this weekend takes place.

It’s accompanied with a flat-picked score on a Taylor 6-string guitar.

 

DARK TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL

Friday, October 19th at 8 p.m. at the Sweet Beet, Bradford, New Hampshire.

An outdoor event. Bring warm clothes, chairs and blankets.

Freshly made hot food and drinks available for purchase.

 

Tickets $13 in advance, $15 at the gate

Avoid the Jikininki, Eaters of the Slain

Kairyo the samurai quickly left the slain on the battlefield. It was getting toward dark. Once night fell, the Jikininki would emerge from the forest to eat the dead.

It was best to not meet them. They were ghosts of the night woods.

That night he slept far enough away from the river not to hear the voice of the Kawa-Akago, the demon in the water. It used a baby’s cry to lure its unwitting victims to the shore as they searched for the lost child. It struck from just beneath the surface.

————–

A story excerpt from a Japanese tale of the supernatural.

Come hear it and three other chilling tales this coming Friday night, Oct. 19th, at 8 pm at the Sweet Beet Market in Bradford, New Hampshire. Music on two 12-string guitars, 6-string guitar and Celtic harp.

No children, please. An adult evening of storytelling with Odds Bodkin.

Special thanks to Hanna Koby, event producer.

Tickets $13 in advance, $15 at the gate.

FOREST DEMONS of JAPAN

The Demon Heads is a new story I’ll be debuting this coming October 19th at an outdoor Dark Tales of the Supernatural show for adults. It’s about a samurai turned Shinto priest who encounters a group of Rokuro-Kubi, particularly nasty forest demons from Japanese folklore. Creating this tale has been fun. A new tuning on 12-string guitar, historical research into the Battle of Odaihara in 1546, new character voices and vocal effects, and most especially informative, learning about how the fear of night demons kept many Japanese out of their own forests after nightfall.

The tale is truly shocking and horrible, perfect for an adult evening of tale telling. Along with three others to round out the nightmare.

Dark Tales of the Supernatural/Info and Tickets

HOWL LIKE A BANSHEE, WHISTLE LIKE A TRAIN this Saturday in MA!

Mercer is the engineer. O’Reilly is the fireman who shovels coal next to him in the engine’s cab. Only these two men behold the banshee, the fairy woman who warns of death, wailing in the air above Irish homes.

Only this isn’t old Ireland, this is Colorado, and a phantom steam train is chasing them through the high Rockies. The banshee is there, however, only this time she’s in the black plume of smoke above their pursuer. Between her behind him and a washed out bridge up ahead, Mercer must make a decision. What does he do? Come hear The Banshee Train, based on my children’s book, accompanied by fine flat-picked bluegrass guitar, and find out.

Not only that, we’ll learn to whistle like a train and howl like a banshee as part of this music-filled story. Kid tested. Lots of fun.

Two more fun, spooky tales with happy endings fill out my upcoming show at The Burren in Somerville MA this coming Saturday, October 21st at 4 p.m.

Other music on Celtic harp and 12-string guitar.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $14 at the door.

FUN SPOOKY TALES FOR YOUNG FAMILIES at The Burren in Somerville, MA

The Burren is a fine music venue, and since Tom Bianchi’s kids grew up listening to my stories (he books shows there), he’s invited me to perform this October 21st, Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Having worked with kid audiences for decades, I know they’re sensitive to good and bad, even good and evil, but are much too sensitive for truly frightening stories. Like the rest of us, they love to be just a little scared, but not so much that they have bad dreams afterwards. And so for this Halloween season, I’ve created a new storytelling show just for them and their parents.

FUN SPOOKY TALES FOR YOUNG FAMILIES features three tales, one based on The Banshee Train, a children’s book I wrote, one from Danny Kaye’s Around the World Storybook, and the last a galloping Italian fairytale with a witch who is roundly defeated by magical helpers who aid a little boy on a quest.

The Banshee Train, with a flat-picked country score on guitar, tells of a trainload of people saved by a banshee in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Kids learn all about steam trains in the process. The guitar playing is worth the price of admission, I’ll bet.

The Stranger at the Dance is a French Canadian story about a girl who almost disappears when Old Scratch, the devil, shows up at a barn dance. Because he’s well-dressed and handsome and she doesn’t know who he is, she dances with him. Luckily she’s saved by her fiancée and the village priest, and the devil is thrown out. It’s performed with a beautiful score on Celtic harp.

The Little Shepherd is a rollicking participatory adventure about a boy cursed by a witch never to grow an inch until he finds a mysterious fairy inside a singing apple. Wild vocal effects, hilarious character voices including tiny fairies and a fun participatory score on 12-string guitar makes this a slightly spooky, but mostly delightful tale, a great way to end this show of child-safe Halloween stories.

Hope to see you there. Please let friends with young kids know about this unique performance!

Tickets are $10 in advance, $14 at the door available here.

 

 

 

DRUIDS AND HALLOWEEN: Heartpounders Show Tonight in Nashua, NH

As part of the introduction for tonight’s show, HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror, I’ve be delving into some ancient history. Albion, the old name for England, which means “the white land” (probably because of the chalk cliffs of Dover), when Julius Caesar arrived to conquer it, was a pagan land. People believed in nature spirits, living in a land of mostly forests. This was centuries before the Vatican sent its missionaries to convert the druidical people living there to Christianity.

Caesar wrote about the druids, the priests of the time. They believed that mistletoe was magical, since it lived in clusters on oak tree branches without any visible root systems. They built giant wicker cages in which they burned alive slaves and enemies during a harvest celebration called Samhain. Modern witches still celebrate Samhain. “Witch” derives from the same root words as “wicker”, “wicked”, “willow” and other words, which in their day referred to the ability to use natural herbs to heal (willow contains salicylic acid, otherwise known as aspirin).

When the leaves fell and the darkness of winter approached, Celtic people believed that the boundary between the living and the invisible forces beyond the grave thinned out. Every manner of ghost, goblin and bogie was able to cross over into the world. Rituals to keep them at bay were held at this time of year.

Fast forward to today. Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve (during the later Christianization of the British Isles by Vatican prelates, they did their best to stamp out this night of primitive beliefs by declaring it sacred, or “hallowed”) has proven to be a tough root to pull out. In America at least, this ancient rite is still animated by parties, costumes and monsters.

Tonight’s show of very scary stories with music begins at 7 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. It’s not meant for children.

Music is on 12-string guitars, Celtic harp and alto recorder.

Tickets

TWO SHOWS IN NH THIS WEEKEND/No Cellphones Required

“Smartphone dystopia” is a term recently coined by Google engineers who now send their young kids to elite Silicon Valley schools that ban smartphones and iPads. Read about that here.

To completely escape smartphone dystopia, at least for an hour, tonight I’ll be performing a story show, THE HARVEST: Tales of the Land at 6 pm in Gilford, NH for the Belknap County Farm Bureau. My audience: farmers. Three disarming and insightful adult stories, with echoes of the Monsanto vs organics war. It’s a private function.

However, Sunday night’s show at 7 pm is public. HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror unfolds at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. Composed of the grittiest, most unsettling supernatural tales I know, the show includes mythic material from New England, Russia, China and other far flung places. It also explores Samhain, the old Celtic celebration, and how it was turned into All Hallow’s Eve by the Church during the conversion centuries following St. Patrick’s and others’ arrivals among the Druid pagan sacrificers of Northern Europe.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $13 at the door.

You’ll have a chance to enjoy your natural imagination at work, without a single “Like” button.

Have a great weekend!