Halloween in North Carolina, Day #27: North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred, Volume 1: Seaside Spectres (2002)


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Barefoot, Daniel W. Seaside Spectres. North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred, Vol. 1. John F. Blair, Publisher, 2002.


Remember how I said (when I reviewed the book that claimed to contain every known ghost story in North Carolina) that there was no way there could be less than a hundred ghost stories in NC? This book (which is part of a trilogy) is how I know. The neat conceit of the trilogy is that the author picks a folkloric story from each of the hundred counties in North Carolina and retells it. Collectively, these three books have 100 stories in them. Therefore, there have to be at least a hundred ghost stories and legends in NC because that’s how many there are in this book. And since I know for a fact that Barefoot left many out (because he could only choose one for each county), I happen to know that there are, in fact, many more than a hundred.

And that’s the really cool thing about this trilogy.
The trilogy breaks things up into three regions: the Coast, the Piedmont area, and the Mountains. This first one is for the Coast.

Some of these stories, I already knew. The Edgecombe one was fairly disappointing, for example, as not only was I well aware of the Banshee legend, but I already knew all those details. And there are some others from that county that might have been more fun.

There are some quite-creepy stories in here (Barefoot knows how to give you a chill). There are, for example, several stories of ghost lights (some including pretty close encounters with what sounds almost like a fireball) such as the Cove City Light and the Pactolus Light. One story from Bladen County also involves a brief case of multiple spontaneous combustion (though no one died).

Several about the Devil show up (a few new to me, though not all of them). The book starts off with the curse of Bath in Beaufort County by the Reverend Whitefield early in the 18th century (and a quick segue to include the Devil’s Hoofprints, also of Bath). The creepiest is probably the rather-less-lucky Reverend Glendinning’s being plagued by a short demon while he was staying with a family in Halifax County a few decades later. The demon would knock at the door and yell at him through the window. North Carolina used to be a real tough crowd for itinerant preachers.

Witches show up in several tales, though they often are as sinned against (as in “The Evil That Will Not Die” from Dare County) as sinning (“The Bewitched Miller” from Chowan County and “Bewitched in Currituck” in Currituck County). In Tyrrell County, you get an alleged Native American legend (though it sounds more like an especially misogynistic Victorian romance) about a young Native American girl who was burned as a witch simply because she was beautiful and spoiled, and wouldn’t marry anyone. Naturally, since this is the coast, you’ve got a fair bit of cursed coastline, with a haunted island in Carteret County and a haunted coastal woods in Martin County called Devil’s Gut Creek. One of the nastiest stories is a cursed house in Pasquotank County.

Many of these are just legends with few facts to support them (especially since history on the coast goes all the way back to the 1580s). But some are based on actual, recorded tragedies. One of the most notable is the murder of inventor Henry Gatling in Hertford County. Gatling was working on an early version of an airplane some three decades before the Wright Brothers when he was murdered in 1879 by a man who claimed he was angry at Gatling for refusing him a ride the day before. Gatling’s ghost reportedly still haunts the area, though the house has long been torn down.

Obviously, a book like this is worth a read. There are no other projects of this type that systematically include at least one legend from every county in NC. And Barefoot is a good storyteller who also often includes a fair number of facts, certainly enough to go do your own research. While some of these may be rather overexposed and oft-told, there are also some more obscure gems. Check it out.


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The Official Supernatural: “The Scar” (14.03) Live Recap Thread


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My collected recaps and reviews of season one, which first appeared on Innsmouth Free Press, are now up (with a few extras) on Kindle. The Kindle version is available through Amazon and is on sale through this Friday. The print version is also up. If you buy the print version, you get a Kindle copy thrown in for free. I also get paid if you get it on Kindle Unlimited (for free), read the Kindle version, or lend it to a friend via the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Reviews also help with sales. Just FYI.

Recap of events up to this point. Still no rock and the incidental music is frequently dull this season.

Cut to Now and Dean walking back into the Bunker with Sam. Dean is already back in shirtsleeves and talking about how he doesn’t remember anything from saying yes in the Bunker to waking up in front of TFW:TEP at the end of last week. This is almost certainly a lie, since Dean was fully awake and fighting when he went up against Lucifer in the season finale.

Dean is a little shocked to see the Bunker’s HQ turned into an actual HQ (and where the hell were all these people last week, when Castiel was pulling double duty, babysitting Jack and Nick?), and even more so that people are already calling Sam “Chief” after just a few weeks. Yeah, I know. Convenient writing. Just roll with it.

Dean is reunited with Jack and Castiel, who seem glad to see him again, especially Castiel. Then Dean makes the excuse that he needs to go shower and leaves. As the others ask Sam if Dean is all right (think that’s a big old NO, Ghost Rider), and Sam hedges, we see Dean enter his room, take off his outer shirt, and spot a ginormous scar on his right shoulder in the mirror.

Cue title cards.

So, Dean hides this and pretends nothing’s wrong – wait, that’s only half-right. He actually goes to tell Sam and Castiel. No secrets. Who are you and what have you done with Dean Winchester?!

Dean insists that Castiel do a mind-meld (i.e., soul read, which, as we know from season six’s “The Third Man,” is extremely painful) to dig up his memories. Castiel finds some fragments of already-filmed stuff of Michael and his experiments, and seems puzzled why a powerful archangel would be creating monsters (you and me both, dude). He then discovers a new memory – one of DeanMichael getting stabbed in the shoulder, creating the odd scar. There’s a lot of screaming, but no blood (of course) and also no angel light (whoops, continuity error or just plain being cheap about the FX).

Dean has no idea what Castiel just dug up, so they call Jody. Not sure why, but it’s what they do.

Jody is getting a text from Claire (I think) about Alex’s laundry. Claire asks if Jody is on a hunt and Jody says no. Then she gets a call from TFW 1.0.

So, the reason they called her is that Dean recognized the figure that stabbed him/Michael as the same hooded figure that casually murdered Kaia in the “Bad Place” last season. We know (though they don’t) that this was Bad Place!Kaia, so I want to reiterate that she murdered her own counterpart in this world, without an ounce of apparent remorse. I’m thinking that will be important later.

Anyhoo, it turns out the hunt Jody wasn’t telling Claire about involves headless bodies with the same scar.

Dean immediately packs. He, Sam and Castiel are heading out when Jack comes in and wants to help. Sam and Castiel hedge, but Dean’s the one who gets blamed for “hurting” Jack’s feelings by saying he’s not strong enough to go. Yeah, because that’s much worse than taking him along and letting him get beaten to a pulp by demons – oh, wait.

Roadblock number 2 is a female Hunter coming in (apparently Yet Another alt-SPNverse Denizen) with the only survivor of a witch. The witch is dead, but she apparently hexed the girl with an ageing spell. Castiel can’t immediately cure her, so he stays behind to work on it. Dean forges ahead with just Sam.

Oh, by the way, it was established earlier in the ep that Nick is still in the wind and TFW:TEP has no idea he’s turned into a murderer.

In the car, Dean is speeding a bit (75 doesn’t really seem very fast, but okay) and Sam decides it’s time to get pissy and have The Talk about how Dean’s not acknowledging his feelings. Because this has gone so well before, mainly due to Sam always using what info he worms out of Dean to hurt Dean later. Just sayin’, Sam.

Sam whines that time may not have passed for Dean, but it passed for him and he’s worried and he wants Dean to tell him stuff Dean claims he doesn’t remember. Dean is charitable enough not to throw in Sam’s face the times Sam took off on him and did things and told Dean they were none of his business (not to mention that whole “year off” when Dean was in Purgatory and Sam didn’t look for him).

BTW, Dean thinks Sam needs to lose the beard. I’m kinda with him on that.

They arrive at Jody’s, in a meeting at night in the woods. Jody and Dean enthusiastically hug, and Jody admits she’s been hiding the hunt from Claire. Alex is still working at the hospital. Patience is still in school. Jody likes the beard. Dean rolls his eyes at Sam behind her back. Then Dean suggests they go right off into the hunt, even as Sam suggests they wait until daylight. Uh, Sam, honey, Jody just met you at night in the woods and said she doesn’t want to go home until the hunt is done. Go hunt.

There are three bodies so far. Jody thought they were human, but if they’re headless, you can’t really check to see if they’re vampires. Since, like, now vampires can bleed, and all. LOL!canon. And they might be werewolves

Back at the Bunker, Jack decides to pack a bag and leaves note to “Sam,Dean,Castiel.” But as he’s about to go do the Little Orphan Annie shtick, he hears voices down the hall. It’s Castiel and the Hunter, trying to cure the Damsel in Distress in the infirmary. When Jack comes in, Castiel explains that he can’t heal the girl because “the spell is too knotted.” Whatever that means. Castiel got hold of Rowena, who told him to try a reversal spell, but it’s complicated.

Castiel notices the backpack and asks if Jack is leaving. Jack, with a new look of determination, says no and enters the infirmary, presumably to help the girl.

Is the Hunter this week being played by the actress who played the detective in the Warner Bros cartoon ep? She was fun.

It’s daylight in the woods and Dean wants to split up. Sam and Jody veto the idea, so Dean just strides ahead and they run to catch up. Dean finds a campfire (still smoking) with three heads – three vampire heads – on poles in front of it.

Jody and Sam debate over whether it’s just a really big coincidence, or whether these are her three John Does as Dean confirms that they are vampires. But Jody is confused by this. She says that she took their blood home and had Alex examine it. The blood didn’t react to silver or anything like that. Well, vamps wouldn’t.

Dean crouches by the fire and checks out how long it’s been since it was last tended. Then he looks up over his shoulder and is startled by a vivid and hallucinatory flashback of the hooded figure that stabbed him, with the spear in its hands. When he looks up again, though, the figure is actually there and poised to strike. It’s not a flashback. It’s a flashforward, a premonition sort of like Patience’s gift, except briefer and more shadowy. I’m reminded of Zachariah’s claim in “Point of No Return” that Michael foresaw the day Dean would say yes in great detail (except that Dean didn’t quite say yes that day). So, Dean may have a new power. Kewl.

And before anybody starts going on about Dean is fully human, folks, that ship has sailed, hit an iceberg, sunk, been rediscovered and brought up by deep sea submersibles, and set up in a museum. And besides, Nick sure as hell isn’t just an ordinary guy, anymore, either, and it took Sam a hell of a long time to become fully human again – about ten seasons, to be exact. So, no, Dean is not fully human anymore, if he ever truly was.

Anyhoo, the whateveritis gives a startled Dean just enough warning to dodge a strike from the spear. A fight ensues in which the refugee from Arrow gets all Kung-Fu genre on the three of them. Though Dean probably would have won if the hood hadn’t come off and the person he saw looked just like Kaia. EVOL!Kaia (sadly, the actress still only has about three expressions) knocks Dean over, tosses her spear to a mound nearby, swan-leaps over a fence, grabs it, and runs away. All of this is entirely unnecessary for a real fight and looks fake. I hate the way EVOL!Kaia fights.

Back at the Bunker, Jack sits with the young girl, who tells him her life story. As subtext anvils rain down, she asks of Castiel is his dad. Jack says, “One of them,” smiling fondly. When he asks her if there’s anyone they can call, she says her mother, but she fears Mom would hate her. She ran away from home out of rebellion (Jack looks guilty) and was taken in, along with two other girls, by the witch. She says the witch gave them gifts (Jack notices a big, honking necklace that Castiel and the Hunter apparently didn’t), but then the witch turned mean. She locked them up and the other girls withered away to husks. Now, she is withering away, too, but even faster, and she’s scared. Jack reassures her that Castiel will find a solution.

In the woods, Dean is still striding ahead and Sam still wants to chew the fat. This is basically just an excuse by the writers for some infodumping from Sam about how he thinks Michael sent his super-vampires (I guess he somehow found a way to perfect them?) to kill EVOL!Kaia for reasons as-yet unknown. Dean’s like, yeah, all right, but that doesn’t change the plan. Which is, obviously, to find and capture EVOL!Kaia. As Dean walks off, Jody pats Sam on the shoulder and follows Dean. Yay, Jody.

Thanks to Dean’s tracking skills (which are still excellent), they can follow EVOL!Kaia. And they do, as the day passes again toward night.

In the Bunker, Castiel and the Hunter do a Latin spell together, but it only speeds up the ageing process and DiD starts to choke as Jack looks on, distressed. I check my watch.

By the way, it was also infodumped at the beginning that Mary and Bobby stayed back at Michael’s laboratory to … uh … clean up his experiments.

Back in the woods, Jody skips a call from Claire. She tells Sam she promised Claire that she would cover all human-related cases but would let Claire know about “anything monster-y.” This, however, would be too much. It seems that Kaia was Claire’s “first love” (well, yeah, it would be rather awkward to continue much further with Claire’s weird puppy-dog hero worship thing for Dean, since he’s twice her age and totally not into it, or ever address again that whole Daddy Issues stuff she had going with her Fagin dude that Dean killed). So, Jody is not going to tell Claire. Or, at least, she’s going to put it off as long as she can.

Jody asks Sam about how he and Dean are doing (more infodumping about feels!). Sam says that Dean is “working something out – alone” (hey, man, you asked Dean to address what Michael did to him and he said he was by going on this hunt). Sam doesn’t think Dean is any more ready for this hunt than Claire would be. Jody points out that maybe Dean needs to be on this hunt. After all, hunts are how Dean works out dark and destructive feelings. Dean’s entirely barren field of fucks in “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” fairly leaps to mind here.

Boy, the woods are really nice and clean and open here in Vanco – I mean, Sioux Falls (and it was amusing to see Sam geek out once again about serial killers, to Jody’s consternation and Dean’s exasperation).

So, cut from Sam’s manly, brooding, bearded face to EVOL!Kaia dropping down into a crouch next to some cabin. She enters, briefly scans the interior, then goes to the sink for some water. After stealing some crackers, she comes back out. The creaking of wood warns her, but this turns out to be deliberate. She turns right into a gun butt from Dean, who was waiting on the porch. As she falls, Sam and Jody happen to be standing there (even though they weren’t when she walked out onto the porch. Continuity error, there).

Gotta say, that was pretty satisfying. I rewatched it a time or two. She’s a tad high on the Jerk Sue scale.

So, they tie her to a chair and interrogate her. After they confirm that she is the Kaia from the Bad Place, they ask her why she came through the rift. She refuses to say why, so Sam asks her why she’s (still) in Sioux Falls. She says it’s “because of him.” She means Michael and Dean confirms he’s no longer Michael. She snarks, “I know. You’re much weaker.” Because really, she wasn’t already obnoxious enough. Gotta say that seeing any version of Kaia ever again on this show was not high up on my wish list and this episode is not changing that opinion.

Anyhoo, Dean says, yeah, whatever, but “you’re still scared.” She claims she’s not scared of Dean (but she sure should be). She’s afraid of “them.” She means the monsters Michael has been sending after her. Every time she stops running, more come. As she speaks, we get a view of her camp, with three new super-vamps surveying the severed heads of their predecessors and snarling.

EVOL!Kaia claims she wasn’t trying to kill her double, with whom she claims to have had a Very Special Bond, but “the blonde” (Claire). Which is bullshit, of course, because if she’d actually cared about her double, and seen through her eyes, she would have known perfectly well not to try to kill Claire.

Jody says they need to get her back to the station for more security and protection. Dean says they have to “break her” right then and there. While Jody and Sam look a bit horrified, EVOL!Kaia smugly claims all Dean wants is the weapon she normally carries (but, for whatever reason, stashed someplace because Stuff to Keep the Plot Going). It does not seem to occur to her that these people who knew Kaia and “the blonde” might want to break her for less esoteric reasons – like revenge. For all her sparkly weapon and fancy martial arts, EVOL!Kaia is quite stupid.

By the way, back at the Bunker, DiD has died. As Castiel covers her face with a sheet, Jack weeps over her body, proclaiming that he could have saved her if he’d still had his own sparkly powers. Then he gets an idea (very belatedly). He pulls off the sheet, looks at the necklace, and asks the Hunter where she put the witch’s body. Um … excuse me? Didn’t the woman just salt and burn the witch on the spot? Nope, she brought her back to the morgue, where the witch is in the cooler. That was their first mistake. The second was not noticing the Big Honking Green Necklace On Her Neck that is identical to the one on DiD’s neck.

Some days, there just aren’t enough facepalms.

So, Jack explains in excruciating detail for Castiel, the Hunter and any of the slower members of the audience that the witch is still dead because the witch-killing bullet is still inside her. But the necklace drained DiD because it was trying to revive the witch, which it couldn’t do because the witch-killing bullet was still inside (really, it’s that spelled out). He yanks the necklace off her neck.

Back in the cabin, Dean is admitting that yes, he’s there for the weapon and is willing to torture EVOL!Kaia for it. He then tosses her around a bit, but EVOL!Kaia just smirks because sure, why would she be the least bit afraid of a guy who is wearing the face of the immensely powerful being that is sending monsters after her, 24/7? I’m not sure if the actress would be any better with more competent writing, but the script sure isn’t doing her any favors.

Meanwhile, Jody and Sam want to protect this puir widdle not-innocent who just bragged about killing her own double and trying to kill Claire. Pretty sure if Jody were actually in character in this scene, she’d be shoving Dean out of the way and cutting strips of skin off EVOL!Kaia.

Meanwhile, the vampires are coming. In case anybody still cares.

So, she claims that Dean is just like Michael, with his “threats” and “violence,” and she starts blathering on about how she “saw” Dean shove a gun in her double’s face (yet shows no fear because bad acting and awful writing make for a totally unrealistic character), and he’s afraid and “weak.” And this is the part where the script really crashes and burns for me.

Yeah, Dean forced Kaia to get into a car with him. And there’s been a lot of bashing of Dean (some fans really dig that) over the decision. Now, I’m okay with scenes where an antagonist calls Dean out on being so violent, but the ones that work (like, say, the interrogation scene in season one finale “Devil’s Trap”) involve much better writing and acting than this one.

The thing is that no other reaction from Dean in the scene where he threatens Kaia would have been in character. To Dean, Kaia was just shrugging off that she’d been helped out of a bad situation (the clinic) and refusing to help him, Sam and Jack rescue their mother, who was being tortured by Michael, right at that moment.

It wasn’t just that Kaia was afraid to help. It was that Kaia made it abundantly clear that she just didn’t give a shit. Too bad, so sad, getting on a bus now. If she hadn’t been afraid, she just wouldn’t have been bothered.

And just as an in-character Jody would have been ripping EVOL!Kaia apart rather than standing weakly by and mouthing platitudes about how torture is wrong (because Jody is a mama bear when it comes to Claire), an in-character Dean would have been bashed just as cheerfully by the same parts of fandom if he had not gone full-on Mad Max in 13.09 to save his mother, once he found out she was actually alive and – oh, yeah – being tortured by the archangel he was once supposed to say yes to, on anyone who got in his way.

But even this is rather beside the point because the very person who is calling Dean out on threatening Kaia is the one who murdered her. And excuse me, but murder (“accidental” for being the “wrong victim” or not) is far worse than a threat that isn’t actually carried out. So, screw you, EVOL!Kaia, you hypocritical little Psycho Sue, and get off my damned screen.

By the way, back at the Bunker, Jack brings the witch’s necklace back to the infirmary, smashes it, and DiD is instantly revived. So, there goes that B-plot.

In the cabin, more painful infodumping as we get a flashback to Michael appearing to EVOL!Kaia and offering her a place in his army if she gives him the spear. She attacks him (because, well, she’s stupid) and he easily evades her attacks (some nice stuntwork from Ackles, which unfortunately shows up the Kaia stuntwork in all its flaws) until she somehow manages to knock his feet out from under him and stab him in the shoulder. Not the heart, not the neck, not the eye, not anything that might have been, you know, effective. Just the shoulder.

Also, it’s pretty sad when the writers forget that full-power angels have wings and can easily outmaneuver a human using them, not to mention, smite them. Remember Anna against Mary in “The Song Remains the Same”? Like that. So, this fight is just straight-up lame.

Anyhoo, all is interrupted by the arrival (finally) of the super-vamps, who proceed to beat the crap out of Sam, Dean and Jody. A plot hole bubbles to the surface when one of the vamps insists he’s only there for EVOL!Kaia and they proceed to beat the crap out of Dean. Because I’m pretty sure that Michael’s vessel is still every bit as important as a spear that could kill him. If not more so.

The vamps are so dumb that when Dean frees Kaia by shooting her chair leg and she jumps out the window, they don’t follow her. So, it’s not a real shocker that she stabs one of them from behind, and then the other two conveniently turn around so she can whirl her big stick a few times and lop off their heads. She then pauses for a bit and Jody says hey, you came back instead of leaving us to die. EVOL!Kaia sullenly insists she came back to kill the monsters (because that totally makes sense – not) and then she bails.

Oh, please, Show, can’t you just kill her off offscreen? I’m begging you.

Afterward, Jody has a broken arm, but insists on driving herself home, after telling Dean not to blame himself (which is a bit like telling Dean not to breathe, but I appreciate her effort).

Back at the Bunker, Castiel visits Jack in his room and tells him he’s proud of him. The Hunter (who now has a name, Jules) is taking DiD back home to her mother. Can we keep Jules? She’s about the only decent thing about this trainwreck of an episode.

After Castiel leaves, Jack coughs up blood, but doesn’t tell anybody. Because it wouldn’t be a Supernatural episode without Secreth and Lieth.

In the car, Dean feels guilty for having said yes to Michael and says Sam was right (well … not really. About a lot of things). He just wanted to skip to the end where he got the weapon and killed the Big Bad. He says he never should have said yes (Sam, who would not be alive, and who knows full well what Lucifer was planning to do to the universe, had Dean not showed up at that church, says nothing to contradict him).

Dean then admits that he actually does remember all of being possessed. He doesn’t remember most of what Michael was doing, but he remembers the possession mostly as a kind of drowning and being too weak to overcome it. Which makes Sam’s whinging earlier in the ep about how he had to deal without Dean around, while Dean got to not remember the past few weeks, look pretty damned bad.

Credits.

This was a pretty inept script, full of endless, momentum-stopping, intelligence-insulting infodump, characters acting stupid or out of character simply to advance the plot, simplistic and linear plot turns (we still don’t even know why Michael left Dean, just how Dean got the scar), an unnecessary B plot, bad acting and some not-so-hot stuntwork, especially from the main guest star. Not what I would have liked to see from a Jody return or a Dean possession aftermath ep.

It’s probably therefore no big surprise the show got a fairly low rating of 0.4/2 in the demo and 1.39 million watching. in part due to audience bailing in the second half (though it seems that Legacies‘ unloved series premiere also dragged it down). Let’s hope next week has at least a tighter MOTW script because Show, you can do better than this.

Promo for next week.


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