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Frighteners: A Journey Through Our Cultural Fascination with the Macabre
Frighteners: A Journey Through Our Cultural Fascination with the Macabre | Peter Laws
13 posts | 3 read | 1 reading | 43 to read
For fans of Stiff by Mary Roach and Ghostland by Colin Dickey, this illuminating journey written by an ordained minister seeks to uncover the reasons we are drawn to the morbid side of life. The Firghteners is a bizarrely compelling, laugh-out-loud exploration of society's fascination with the dark, spooky, and downright repellent, written by a man who went from horror-obsessed church hater to a God-fearing Christian, who then reconciled his love of the macabre with his new faith. Laws takes us on a worldwide adventure to shine a light on the dark corners of our own minds. He meets the people who collect serial killers' hair, spends a night in a haunted hotel, and has dinner with a woman who keeps her own coffin in her living room, ready for the big day. He's chased by zombies through an underground nuclear bunker, hunts a supposed real-life werewolf through the city streets, and meets self-proclaimed vampires who drink actual blood. From the corpse-packed crypts of Rome to the spooky streets of a Transylvanian night, he asks why he, and millions of other people, are drawn to ponder monsters, ghosts, death, and gore. And, in a world that worships rationality and points an accusing finger at violent video games and gruesome films, can a love of morbid culture actually give both adults and children safe ways to confront our mortality? Might it even have power to re-enchant our jaded world? Grab your crucifixes, pack the silver bullets, and join the Sinister Minister on this celebratory romp through our morbid curiosities.
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Love this quote...Halloween is Christmas for spooky folks 😂 so true! Halloween is my favorite time of the year

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This one time, the author of one of my favorite non-fic books of ALL TIME sent me a private message on Facebook to ask me what it was like to live in Providence & what the Lovecraft scene was like here...&, uhhhh, I‘ve never read any Lovecraft. None. Nor have I visited any of the local landmarks.

YEAH. That just happened. 🙈😳😭

LiteraryinLititz Hey, I lived in Providence for years and never heard anything about Lovecraft. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It‘s still so cool that he messaged you! 3mo
Norlad The universe is telling you to read HPL 😬 3mo
monalyisha @LiteraryinLititz I know his grave‘s around here somewhere but his work‘s never really appealed to me. I even lived in Salem for a few years, which is the site of “The Witch House.” I offered to take a day-trip & tag him in some pics (I think we live suuuper close to his grave). I also had gems like, “Uhhhh, I‘ve drank Lovecraft-inspired beer?” to offer. Hahaha. Oh god. 😳😅 3mo
monalyisha @Norlad The universe has terrible timing! 3mo
Birdsong28 So cool. 😀 3mo
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I mean, I think he‘s going to be disappointed, as my Instagram is mostly selfies, & pictures of my bunny & my husband. BUT LOOK WHO‘S FOLLOWING ME RN!

#authorcrush #dead

(Oh, and if you haven‘t read the tagged book yet & you‘re interested in spookiness & spirituality (intellectually or personally), add it to your TBR stat!)

Clare-Dragonfly I have added SO MANY books to my TBR because you posted about them. 5mo
monalyisha @Clare-Dragonfly 😂😍 I love that!!! 5mo
RainyDayReading I‘ve had this one on my TBR for ages!!! Can‘t wait until I can finally get my hands on a copy! 5mo
Clare-Dragonfly AS A MATTER OF FACT I already stacked a different edition of this from your review 😂😂😂😂 5mo
monalyisha @Clare-Dragonfly At least we‘re consistent! 5mo
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While I LOVE the supernatural & mildly-spooky, I‘m actually not that into the horror genre (movies or literature). I don‘t enjoy being scared & I wouldn‘t say I have an interest in the “macabre,” just in the “otherworldly.” Regardless, so many aspects of this book SPOKE TO MY SOUL.

Glowing review continued below👇🏻

monalyisha 1/4: The way that the author — an ordained Christian minister, strangely (or maybe not so strangely) enough — navigates the terrain between religion & lore totally captivated me. I‘m equally interested (in a theoretical way) in the idea of god & in the idea of werewolves, so, like, “Hi, perfect book!” 👋🏻 (edited) 10mo
monalyisha 2/4: Not only does Rev. Peter Laws explore the (he says natural) interest in “monsters, ghosts, death & gore,” but he delves into controversial topics like video game violence & “morbid play” (particularly in children who are trauma-survivors) &, given his profession, he comes down on the issues in ways that may surprise you! He‘s funny, & smart, & WEIRD AF, &, full disclosure: I definitely developed a teeny-tiny author crush. (edited) 10mo
monalyisha 3/4: If I have any complaint about the book, it‘s that he could‘ve gone deeper into “scary” issues like race & gender. For instance, despite a chapter entitled “Sister,” there‘s no discussion of society‘s fascination with witches (& witchcraft‘s recent resurgence & link with feminism & politics). The chapter on ghosts is a bit threadbare, too (#verybadpunintended... y‘know, ‘cause sometimes ghosts are sheets 🤷‍♀️👻). Also, there are a few typos. (edited) 10mo
monalyisha 4/4: But GODDAMMIT (heh), I loved this book & will definitely be purchasing a copy for my shelves (an honor I bestow only upon titles I truly love). The attention paid to both darkness & light - & the genuine reverence shown for both - is worth *your* attention. (edited) 10mo
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“In Denmark, corpses had their toes tied together so that, if they tried to rise, they‘d trip over like dead nerds.”

TheReadingMermaid 🤣🤣🤣 10mo
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If Peter Laws doesn‘t specifically mention Buffy in this section about vampires, we‘re gonna be in a fight.

Also, someone was snacking (not on human blood) while reading this library book before me & there‘s some schmutz on the page. Actually, upon second-look, I think it might be a booger. 😷 I love libraries (clearly) but this is my least-favorite aspect of borrowing books.

julesG 😰 10mo
ravenlee The worst is library cookbooks (especially from the kids‘ section). 😣 10mo
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C.Perone 😂 10mo
Librariana Oh yuckies! On behalf of library staff, my apologies. I promise that when we get books back, we do inspect them, especially for things that could prove hazardous down the line, like water damage, etc.... but we don't always catch every little thing 😕 I do hear ya, tho, as even we as employees and borrowers worry. 10mo
LeahBergen 🤮 10mo
monalyisha @Librariana I‘m also library staff & we totally don‘t inspect for (internal) gunk/boogies (especially since we have mostly children‘s items. I think we‘d have to get rid of 3/4 of our collection 😅). 10mo
CouronneDhiver Charming. That‘s happened to me a time or two... yuck 10mo
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The view from here:

Cozy sweater? ✅
Hag stone? ✅
Totally icky chapter on murderabilia? ✅😱

Jess_Franzino Love the stone! 10mo
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“A 2014 Dying Matters survey found that only 21% of adults have spoken to someone else about their end of life wishes.”

For the record, I want my tombstone to read, “Late to her own funeral.”

There, now I‘m part of the solution.

laurenbescoby My partner and parents know I'm on the organ donor register (can't take em with you!), and that I want to be cremated. Not sure what I want doing with my ashes yet. All a bit morbid but important! 10mo
monalyisha @miralunasbooknook I weirdly just found out that you can be made into a record? 🤷‍♀️: http://www.andvinyly.com 10mo
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laurenbescoby @monalyisha Well that's that sorted. Just need to figure out the song! 10mo
monalyisha @miralunasbooknook 😆👻🎶 10mo
laurenbescoby Also great song choice! Mine would be something by Tori Amos. 10mo
TrishB My Mum paid for hers and left instructions as to what she wanted to wear, music, readings etc and what she wanted everyone else to wear! We didn‘t know until we found the big envelope marked ‘funeral‘ when she died. It sounds morbid but it really helped..... 10mo
monalyisha @TrishB That sounds really considerate, actually... both financially & in terms of making you feel like you were making the right choices, because she already made them. I‘m sure it was comforting that certain things felt “right” during a time when so much probably felt wrong. 🖤 Love the idea. She sounds like she was a smart woman. 10mo
TrishB She was very organised!! ❤️ 10mo
UnidragonFrag @miralunasbooknook organ donation has very specific parameters and if you plan on living to a ripe old age and die anywhere other than a hospital, there's a very good chance that they won't accept your organs. It's a great sentiment, but any number of things can exclude a person, unfortunately. I work for a whole body donation program and our restrictions aren't as tight (plus we pay for cremation). That's my plan as of now. 10mo
laurenbescoby @UnidragonFrag Is it the same in the UK? Still happy to be on the list, as if I shuffle off this mortal coil any earlier than average then I would like to go knowing I opted in to save others. ^_^ 10mo
UnidragonFrag @miralunasbooknook organ donation parameters are pretty universal. They're just unusable in certain situations and while i'm not 100% on the qualifications in the UK, it's likely it's similar if not the same as in the US. My company doesn't branch out of the country (yet), but there are tons of whole body donation programs. It's just little known, I guess? People may not think about it. 10mo
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“These female heroes frequently defeat the villain in gruesome fashion too. They deliver machetes to the head or axes to the face. Where else in culture are such actions by women seen as positive & appropriate? Horror & crime fiction can give women a chance to face their fears, but also a way to defeat & control them, by using not only their intelligence, but also the aggression society tells them to hide.”

Joy0201 How is the tone of this? It intrigues me, but I don‘t want I feel judged for my own love of horror. 10mo
monalyisha @Joy0201 If that‘s your concern, you are 100% safe. The author LOVES horror! 10mo
monalyisha @Joy0201 He‘s all about horror entertainment being a safe outlet for the darker feelings of humanity. 10mo
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Do I recognize that Peter Laws, aka “The Sinister Minister,” has way too many selfies on his Instagram page for a respectable man of the cloth & that he‘s probably kind-of an arrogant prick? I mean, yeah. Of course. But am I also crushing pretty hard on my brand-new author crush? YES. 🙌🏻😅🔥

monalyisha Follow-up question: Is that a Centipede mug?! Answer: Yes. 10mo
Chrissyreadit No I‘m completely intrigued. How would this be on audible? 10mo
monalyisha Hmmm... @Chrissyreadit it might be okay! His writing style is pretty conversational, so that would work. It‘d depend on the reader! 10mo
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I fell in insta-love with this book & I‘m praying it lasts! 😍🙏🏻

It‘s an investigation into the macabre by an ordained minister who‘s a HUGE horror buff. His contention is that faith & fright *aren‘t* incompatible. He asserts that the common vicar‘s message that “spooky things are a no-no” “ironically suggests that God has no interest in the supernatural.” (Also, he‘s *hilarious!*)

Musings cont‘d below 👇🏻

monalyisha 1/2: As a fan of fantasy (especially ghosts, witches, & magic) *and* as someone with a degree in Religious Studies (as well as English Literature), I can‘t even begin to tell you how up my alley this book is! (edited) 10mo
monalyisha 2/2: We had a Halloween party at the library where I work recently. When my coworker was promoting it, one little boy raised his hand & explained (huffily, which was kinda cute... but only ‘cause he‘s a kid) that he wouldn‘t be coming because — & I quote — “I believe in God!” I run into the line between faith & fright pretty frequently & I‘m OVER THE MOON to be reading an educated & passionate investigation into it! 🖤👻 (edited) 10mo
kyraleseberg Wow! Stacked! 10mo
FantasyChick I absolutely loved this book! Laws' look into the dark and macabre is fascinating!! 10mo
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What season is it again?

This is pretty much where I‘m at right now. Tying up loose #WitchPleaseSwap ends, refusing to let Halloween go, secretly stalking my #StuffedStockingSwap match, & just tryin‘ to keep my tootsies warm!

(I miiiiight also be avoiding a family party. My uncle got promoted to lieutenant of the state police, which is a pretty big deal...but I just want to stay home & read! 😩)


monalyisha Note: I did not buy these socks for myself (they were a gag gift from my dad) & I am not the kind of person who starts celebrating Christmas this early... they were just readily-available in my sock drawer. 😆 I feel like this is important. 10mo
laurenbescoby @monalyisha We definitely differ on this. I may have been watching cheesy christmas films while the youngest napped on me... 10mo
Clare-Dragonfly I see Moxie is helping with the warm tootsies 😍🐰 10mo
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monalyisha @miralunasbooknook Ohhh man. Haha. I try to avoid the songs, too. I like the occasional “So This is Christmas” or “Silent Night” but I get easily tetchy by the onslaught. Ultimately, it‘s a cozy, pine-scented family time, though. Can‘t be mad about that (she says, as she continues to read instead of departing for family time). 💖 (edited) 10mo
monalyisha @Clare-Dragonfly I‘d say “she lives to serve” but it‘s so blatantly untrue... 😅 I definitely owe her one now, & she knows it. 10mo
QuietlyLaura Moxie is so cute! Can you smuggle a book into the party? Maybe sneak off for a bit and read? 🐰 10mo
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Getting a deeper look into the dark and twisty tonight. I don't want to put this one down! Such a fascinating read so far 😈
#netgalley #darkandtwisty #arc #horrorculture

DiruVamp Ohhhh this sounds fabulous! @callunakeep (edited) 1y
FantasyChick @DiruVamp it is so interesting! I'm about half way through but I'm thinking this is a must read for anyone who loves the dark and macabre! 1y
Reviewsbylola Love the creepy cover! 💀 1y
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