Friday, October 30, 2020

Tricky Treat Thoughts (October 2020 in Hindsight)

 I know October still has another day, but the library is closed on Saturdays because of the pandemic. 

I am pleased with my blogging this month.  Some spooky posts mixed with some personal stuff filled these digital pages.  I was excited to continue my supernatural short story series.  Click INTO THE FOLD if you want to jump in.

I actually released a video for The FreakOptic Files in October.  While it is not a Halloween video, it is all about a Halloween color.  Watch FREAK ORANGE A GO-GO below...⤵️

In book news, the year of Dinkel continues!  A reader from the UK sent me a photo of his copies of my two paperback books.  It always amazes me when someone takes a chance on my words.  I secretly hope he is enjoying DARK EXCURSIONS and VISION BENT while having tea. πŸ˜  

On a personal note, the mother of one of my best friends passed away this month.  I've known this friend (she inspired Dark Excursions) and her mom since 1996, the year I moved to Omaha.  My half-blind eyes prevent me from driving, but I was able to attend the funeral online.  It was initially weird to watch a live streaming funeral.  It felt like  I was intruding on something private.  However, I was ultimately thankful this option was available. 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words this month.  As for November...all I can promise is I'll keep blogging as long as the library remains open during these turbulent times. 

Be well...

Stay safe...

Freak Out, 

P.S.  It was 5 years ago this month when I released DARKENING STURGEONS as an e-book....

Ben Straker is dealing with abandonment issues, a potential romance and a town on the verge of chaos after a series of mysterious disappearances...

The Collective Eye will open late in November, but here is one more look at October...

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


     Ricky Jones sits alone at the monitoring station, putting in his time as the newbie of the group.  Four screens bathe him in a vaguely blue illumination, a spotlight in the darkened students lounge of the old science building.  He studies the four images before his milk chocolate eyes.  Two screens are stationary while the other two are in constant jerky motion.

    Val and Marnie, in the upper left screen, are exploring a storage area in the attic.  Books, equipment and a few old skeletons fill the claustrophobic space.  Footsteps have allegedly been heard reverberating through the rafters.  Ricky wishes Marnie wasn't in charge of videoing because she jumps at the slightest noise.  Val is in his film class, so she knows how to hold and move a camera in a variety of situations.

    Lexi and Derek, in the lower right screen, investigate a peculiar lab in the basement.  A metal surgical table centers a room full of broken or long-unused equipment.  Old newspapers have documented numerous accounts of eerie sobbing emanating from the bowels of this abandoned building.  Ricky wishes Derek would focus the camera more on the surroundings and less on Lexi, who is encouraging him with flirty smiles and laughter.  Derek is intensely attractive, so people often make allowances for him, including Ricky. 

    The lower left screen displays a classroom, it's lab tables cluttered with test tubes, microscopes and miscellaneous science class contraptions.  Claims of objects being hurled in this room have been reported.  A specific hallway on the first floor can be seen on the upper right screen.  It's an old university legend that the spirit of a night watchman stalks this corridor, searching for lost souls with the aid of an oil lantern. 

    Ricky Jones is searching for proof of an afterlife.  In the last year, he watched his grandmother waste away from cancer.  It's impossible for him to believe that the woman who raised him after his parents flaked is simply gone, like she never existed.  He needs to know for certain that she goes on in some form.  This drew him to the university's ghost hunting group.  His reasons for wanting to join touched each of the members, so they gladly accepted him into their fold.

    His alert eyes dart from screen to screen, waiting for something to happen.  Waiting for the others to encounter unexplainable phenomenon.  Waiting for what appears in the upper right screen.  A dim light hanging in the air begins illuminating the hallway, immediately catching his attention. 

    Ricky stares as the light on the screen grows brighter and begins moving towards the camera.  He leans forward, mesmerized, when all four screens suddenly go dark.  Urgency hits him and he grabs for his walkie to contact Val, but finds the charge is gone.  Urgency morphs into panic as he realizes the students lounge should be as dark as the screens. 

    The guttural scream echoes throughout the old science building and then abruptly stops.  Marnie clutches at Val in the attic, while Lexi plunges into Derek's arms in the basement.  Hurried, whispered discussions lead the pairs to one decision.  Flashlights in hands, they quickly converge on the monitoring station, calling out for Ricky.  All that answers them is the silence of his empty chair bathed in a vaguely blue illumination, as if Ricky Jones never existed. 

2020, John L. Harmon 
This story may share threads with...


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 

P.S. A different post about a different ghost...

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Front Seat Writer

 We now take you to a surprisingly good day...

My sister and I day-tripped to a nearby city to visit our oldest sister.  We had some time to kill, so we browsed around a few stores.  My sister purchased a sturdy and rather cool ice-scraper/snow brush.  I purchased a book for a friend and then became ridiculously excited by an apple-scented deodorant I've been wanting to try!  Don't even ask because I can't explain my unbridled joy over finally finding this personal hygiene product. 

While I was still floating in an apple-scented afterglow, we lunched with our oldest sister and her husband at Angus Burgers and Shakes. I told my sister she had to use the restroom before we left the restaurant because it's really cool.  Our oldest sister seemed to laugh at the idea but later agreed with me.  The sink's faucet is designed to resemble an old-time pump from a well.  The basin looks like it's lined with copper for that rustic ambiance.  I swear I need to start writing a coffee table book about cool and interesting public restrooms. 

Anyhoo, we picked up desserts and lunch for her youngest daughter and went back to our oldest sister's home.  My niece joined us at the dining room table and I asked about her online classes.  She is home from university thanks to COVID-19.  Even with this change of scene, she is studying many things, but we talked about two subjects near and dear to my freak heart...writing and filmmaking.

She told me all about a short film she wrote and directed. THE DOORWAY is about a door that randomly appears and one person is compelled to step through it.  There's humor, a sort-of love triangle and a dinosaur, so what else can you want?   I really enjoyed THE DOORWAY and there were creative elements that reminded me of me, just a little.  I will never tell my niece the latter because no 20 year-old wants to hear that from someone old.  However, she could actually be reading these words right now. 

Yes, I officially came out as a writer/blogger/indie author.  There wasn't a big , dramatic scene.  I just casually mentioned my books and this blog.  It felt right, but, of course, I downplayed my creative doings.  I didn't go to university to become a writer and I'm sure it shows. So, I have no idea what my niece will think of my work, if she explores my catalogue.  Hopefully she won't look upon my books & blogs with utter disdain.  Yet, a couple of previous posts here may be offensive/shocking and don't get me started on my books, especially DARK EXCURSIONS.

Oh well, at least my creative side isn't a dirty little secret anymore.  It feels good to free that side of myself and probably nothing will overly change because of it.  I'll continue to write and blog, always striving to capture my authentic freaky self and the rest of my family will continue to do what they do.

In conclusion, it is a remarkable sensation to discover a kindred creative spirit within my immediate family.  I believe my niece was surprised to learn that her generally quiet uncle has worlds within him.  I'm not even sure how much time passed but our conversation was more enjoyable than apple-scented deodorant.

I sincerely wish my niece success in her creative endeavors, while hopefully staying true to her voice and vision.  If you have 14 minutes to spare, please step through THE DOORWAY...

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

SIDE NOTE: I didn't write this post while riding in the front seat, but it started to take shape as my sister and I traveled home.

Freak Out,

P.S.  When I was a backseat writer....

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

FOOTFALL JOE (verse two)

 One of the early videos in The FreakOptic Files was a creepy little poem called FOOTFALL JOE...

As visually simple as that video was to shoot, the multi-layered audio, with varying speeds, gave me hours of frustration back in 2017.  FOOTFALL JOE is far from my most-viewed FreakOptics video, but it holds a special place in my horror heart.

Cut to 2020... 

While recently digging through my unreleased words, I unearthed a sequel to FOOTFALL JOE, written in early 2018.  I vaguely recall attempting a video but failing to capture the perfect visuals.  So, I abandoned the project and forgot all about it...

Until now...


FOOTFALL JOE (verse two) 

You best beware 
of the blinding snow 

For it won't stop 
Ol' Footfall Joe 

He will patiently wait 
behind a tree 

And follow you home 
or wherever you flee 

Then he'll steal you away 
and remove your light 

But only in 
the dead of night 

2018 / 2020, John L. Harmon 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind spooky words!

Freak Out, 

P.S. A very short scary story from the vault...

Monday, October 5, 2020

freakboy on film: SWALLOW (2019)

 (written & directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis) 

With my Mad Scientist Glasses on, I was browsing the library's DVD collection when one caught my half-blind eyes.  The cover looked like a horror film and when I deciphered the title, mind went to unspeakable places.  All I knew for certain was I would be borrowing this DVD.  

After arriving home and popping in the disc, I was relieved to find SWALLOW was in English and had a Descriptive Audio track. (click SUBTITLES). Then the film began and it wasn't really clicking with me.  I didn't really care about privileged newlyweds living in a privileged home and expecting a privileged baby.  I was about to shut off the DVD when the wife did something odd and SWALLOW suddenly had my undivided attention. 

Richie and Hunter Conrad have a golden life.  The newlyweds have youth, love, security and a baby on the way.  They want for nothing.  Yet, if this is true, why does Hunter swallow a marble, then fish it from the toilet and keep it as an indigestible memento?  

Is Hunter bored with the endless days of being a housewife?  Is she worried about her pregnancy?  Is she feeling disconnected from her husband's wealthy upbringing?  Is there something deeper going on in Hunter's mind?  

Haley Bennett, as Hunter, is mesmerizing.  She exudes a vulnerable strength as her swallowing of small objects spirals out of control.  Austin Stowell, as Richie, slowly manifests the husband's real self as he "deals" with his wife's compulsion.  Denis O'Hare plays a pivotal role late in the film and fans of the 1980's series SLEDGEHAMMER will be surprised to see David Rasche as Richie's wealthy father.   

I think SWALLOW is a psychological suspense thriller.  We watch on the edge of our seats as Hunter's life begins to unravel.  We watch in horror at the reactions of others to Hunter's inability to stop herself from swallowing dangerous objects.  We watch with bated breath as the reasons behind her compulsion begin to surface.  It's a strange, shocking journey to take, but I think it's worth it.  

In conclusion, SWALLOW ended up being a hidden gem on the library shelf, so I'm glad I didn't shut it off.  Plus, there was occasionally a  ROSEMARY'S BABY vibe, sans Satan & witches.  Readers of this blog understand how this would  enhance my viewing experience.

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 

P.S. A different post about a different library gem...

The Collective Eye is looking a bit different this month, but at least it's open...