The Devil’s Playground turns out to be a popular name for movies. I have found at least four different productions that go by this name. The Devil’s Playground is a movie from 1976 about a 13-year-old boy named, Tom, and the physical and emotional challenges Tom experiences while living in a Catholic Seminary. It is also the title of a movie from 2002 about the Amish tradition of rumspringa. Rumspringa is a time in life when a 16-year-old teenager raised within the Amish community has a chance to experience the outside world to determine if they will stay in there or join the Amish community in their Christian beliefs. The title was used again in 2010 for a British horror film about the zombie apocalypse. The Devil’s Playground is also a documentary the debuted at the 2017 Calgary Comic Expo. It is this documentary about the urban legend that will be the focus of this post.
If you have come across this post than I can assume that you have heard of this urban legend from someone and you are wanting to learn the whole tale. The Russian Sleep Experiment is a story that first appeared as a post on the website creepypasta in 2010 or 2012 depending on who you ask. It became popular and has continued to intrigue and delight horror fans since it was published. The story is as follows according to creepypasta.com.
The Russian Sleep Experiment
Russian researchers in the late 1940s kept five people awake for fifteen days using an experimental gas based stimulant. They were kept in a sealed environment to carefully monitor their oxygen intake so the gas didn’t kill them, since it was toxic in high concentrations. This was before closed circuit cameras so they had only microphones and 5 inch thick glass porthole sized windows into the chamber to monitor them. The chamber was stocked with books, cots to sleep on but no bedding, running water and toilet, and enough dried food to last all five for over a month.
This post has me wondering if being curious about a subject can make the “universe” bring an event into your own life. In other words, “what you think about, you bring about.” Today, we are looking at just that with the story of Ambrose Bierce; a man fascinated with writing stories about people who disappear. Let’s look at the disappearing man.
Ambrose Bierce was a writer and sometimes newspaper editor that was known for his sarcastic wit. Ambrose was born on June 24, 1842, in Horse Cave Creek, Ohio. He was the tenth of thirteen children born to his parents. Ambrose left home at the ripe old age of 15 years and later lived with an uncle of his. He entered a military school when he was 17 years old and attended classes on different subjects. In 1861 he joined the military to fight in the American Civil War. He was present for many well-known battles. After being shot in the head and suffering from blackouts and dizziness he left the military in 1865. Mr Bierce married Mary ‘Mollie’ Ellen Day in 1871 and they had three children together. Mr Bierce and his family lived in different areas of England and the United States. He was a contemporary of Mark Twain in San Fransisco and was disliked by Oscar Wilde. Mollie Bierce passed away in 1905 and Ambrose continued to be a fairly prolific writer. In 1906 he wrote The Devil’s Dictionary which included such passages as:
The definition of an urban legend is a modern story of obscure origin (a friend of a friend) and with little or no supporting evidence that spreads spontaneously in varying forms and often has elements of humour, moralising, or horror. Also known as an urban myth.
Although many urban legends are just stories these ones are said to be true. Let’s carry on and see if we find them creepy.
The Dead Body Under the Bed
The legend goes like this: A couple checks into a hotel and even though there is a strangely disturbing odour in the room they still manage to sleep in there for the night. The next morning they mention the odour to the hotel staff who then seeks out the smell and, you guessed it, discover the dead body under the bed.
Let’s talk about the Bloody Mary ghost story, first of the history of the real woman Mary Tudor then of the game, and lastly the cocktail. I hope to share some information that you did not know before. Here goes.
The bloody mary ghost story
Mary Tudor was born to King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon on February 18, 1516, in Greenwich, England at the Palace of Placentia. Knowing who her father was it does not come as a surprise that she did not live the easiest, happiest life. King Henry VIII wanted a male heir, and partly because of that he caused great pain to many when he managed to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled. What a mess he created when he insisted on the end of the marriage. But that is a whole other post or book. As I was researching the sad history of Mary Tudor I read the article The True Story of Bloody Mary, The Woman Behind the Mirror, written by Krissy Howard and learned that at the age of 17, Mary was no longer allowed to see her mother. Mary also knew that because she was born female that she was not enough for her father and therefore had caused the exile of her own mother. Imagine what that must have been like? Mary’s Daddy then married Anne Boleyn with all his hopes pinned on producing a male heir. Anne Boleyn ends up having a baby girl who was named Elizabeth. Oops, Anne’s days were numbered. Anne wanted to protect her daughter’s future succession and she managed to get Parliament to declare Mary illegitimate. Gee, thanks, Step-mom, you rock. Mary was then outside of the line of succession and was forced to be the lady-in-waiting for her half-sister, Elizabeth. (Biography.com)