Thursday, December 22, 2016

From Hever Castle, Home of Anne Boleyn; Happy Holidays!!

See below from Hever, Anne Boleyn's childhood home; Oh, to be in England!!

Wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs, walk off the Christmas pudding and take a stroll in the gardens where the warm bark of the redwood trees glows against the winter sky.

On the way up to the Castle the yew topiary stands majestically and the Winter Garden displays attractive and interesting colours and structures. For the more energetic take abracing walk around the Lake.

After your Winter Walk, warm up in the Moat Restaurant where hot seasonal meals will be served, in theCastle with its welcoming log fires, or head to the Hever Shop 
for some seasonal sale 

As our little gift to you, when you visit for Winter Walks, you can purchase aCastle & Gardens ticket for theGardens only price.
 Buy day visitor tickets online to save.
Winter Walks
Winter Walks

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Brides of Dracula on Svengoolie, with Erzebet as Muse

Showing as I type tonight, The Brides of Dracula, on Svengoolie,  You will remember that originally, Bram Stoker wanted to make Dracula a woman, and that woman would have been based on the Erzebet myths.  Baroness Meinster, who purloins an innocent French school teacher to her spooky castle on the hill, is very much an Erzebet figure.  The Baroness wears a red, silk lined black Dracula cape, and 19th century clothing befitting a dowager of her station, in basic black lace, of course.  She has a creepy son, who is, of course, the vampire.

You may want, at this point, to refer to the novel so Deanna Raybourne and some of her characters.

Image result for the brides of dracula public domainImage result for the brides of dracula public domain

From Wikipedia comes the following synopsis of this movie, a Hammer film, as is Countess Dracula with Ingrid Pitt:

The Brides of Dracula is a 1960 British Hammer Film Productions Horror film directed by Terence Fisher. It stars Peter Cushing as Van Helsing; David Peel as Baron Meinster, a disciple of Count Dracula; Yvonne Monlaur as Marianne Danielle; Andrée Melly as her roommate, Gina; Marie Devereux as a village girl; and Martita Hunt as the Baroness Meinster.[2]
The film is a sequel to Hammer's original Dracula (USA: Horror of Dracula) (1958), though the vampires possess abilities denied to vampires in the previous film, much like those in the original novel. Alternative working titles were Dracula 2 and Disciple Of Dracula. Dracula does not appear in the film (Christopher Lee would reprise his role in the 1966 Dracula: Prince of Darkness) and is mentioned only twice, once in the prologue, once by Van Helsing.

The motif is the same as the stories of Erzebet with regard to a young girl, headed for girls' academy, who finds herself stranded at an in, and taken away to a sinister castle on a hill above the village.  We,as viewers, surmise she is not the first, nor will she be the last, young girl lured to the castle.  Here, however, the young girls are not there to slake an aging Baroness's search for blood, but they are there to appease the evil, but hansome vampire son, the real Baron, who is the Master of this Rampling Gate. 

There is even an evil servant woman, reminiscent of Anna Darvulia or Ilona Jo.

There is even a hint of Jane Eyre in the movie's plot; the madwoman in the attic is played by the evil son, chained, until the young, naïve French girl lets him go.

This film is a mad, but fun Svengoolie romp.  Here is more from IMDB:

Merry Christmas, and beware The Witching Hour!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Programs offered by The Holocaust Education Committee - Never Forget!


Authors, exhibits, Holocaust specialists and dramatic presentations are provided to schools, libraries, churches and other community venues through grants and collaboration with community groups.

Since 1993, Holocaust institutes and workshops have been offered to Quad City educators, students and community members.  Institutes are scheduled in the fall of odd-numbered years.

The Jeff Leibovitz Special Collection, housed at the Western Illinois University Quad City Campus in Moline, provides access to over a thousand resources, including sets of traveling curriculum cases focused on Making a Difference, Rescuers and Resisters, and Diaries and Memoirs. 

The Ida Kramer Children and the Holocaust Essay Contest and the Meyer and Frances Shnurman Holocaust Visual Arts Contest are open to students in grades 7-12.  Submissions are due annually on February 1.

Applications for the Rauch Foundation Teacher Scholarship, from $200 to $2,000, are due annually on April 1 or October 1 to support professional development.  The scholarship covers expenses for travel, housing, and/or registration for conferences, workshops or tours.
Youth, 18 years old or younger, interview, research, write and illustrate a 10-page book about a Holocaust survivor, liberator or rescuer.  
Promoting a higher awareness of the Holocaust as a unique historical event with universal implications for today


Monday, November 7, 2016

A New Erzebet Literary Sighting, or should it be Citing!

Never mind the Once Upon a Time Segment last night where the Maleficent character looked like Erzebet, here is a humor/horror story featuring her. The story is titled "attack from above" and is in Chapter 16 of Dracula Transformed and Other Bloodthirsty Tales. The authors are Mike McCarty and Mark McLaughlin.  There is always a naughty, bathroom humor spin to their horror, and some of the tales are quite funny.  In this one, an all white Erzebet runs a contemporary disco/night club. It is named Club Contessa and Dracula characters Dracula, Renfield and Lucy appear. Literally, there is a fascinating spin to the false legends of hte blood baths, and an explanation for why virgin blood was soon favored. In a grim way, the story reminds me of nightclub disasters where so many are killed.  There are even practical explanations for why the gore and blood are so carefully cleaned up, and for why Erzebet or the Contessa gets away with her crimes.  Still, no one comes to look for the missing people? I once talked to Mike M. on Anne Rice, and he made a point of showing me a parody of her work that he had done.  I'm surprised he would want to write part of a horror book on vampires, because I, for one, am a huge admirer of Rice.  Oh well.  Tastes change, no pun intended. The Contessa is first introduced as Erzebet in Chapter 13, of this confusing novella nestled among short stories: "That pale skin, those eager coal=-black eyes, those scarlet lips--there could be no  mistake.  It was her: the Coutnes Erzebet Dolingen-and before that, Countess Elizabeth Bathory. The Love of his Life!" (1995).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Countess, Lady Gaga, and Funko Pop! Something New and Happy Halloween!

American Horror Story The Countess Pop! Vinyl Figure

American Horror Story The Countess Pop! Vinyl Figure

Price:$19.99 + $6.49 shipping
Only 4 left in stock.
Estimated Delivery Date: Nov. 2 - 7 when you choose Standard at checkout.
Ships from and sold by ShopfromMe.
  • From season five of American Horror Story comes the villanious Countess! Based on Lady Gaga's Golden Globe winning turn as The Countess, this Pop! Vinyl Figure captures the tantalizing character in her red gown with a hint of blood dripping from her lip. The American Horror Story The Countess Pop! Vinyl Figure measures approximately 3 3/4-inches tall and comes packaged in a window display box.

New (5) from $14.00 $4.00 shipping

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: There's Just no Clowning Around

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: There's Just no Clowning Around: Clown Dolls Laugh, Clown, Laugh! Even though you're only make believing Laugh, clown, laugh! Even though something inside is grie...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Doll Museum: October 19th Rendezvous by Theriault's

Doll Museum: October 19th Rendezvous by Theriault's: October is Doll Month, or at least Theriault's has made it one with several terrific auctions this month.  Here is information for the l...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

日本語で博士 E の人形博物館 [Dr. E's Doll Museum in Japanese}: Sweetest Day; Dr. E's in Japananese

日本語で博士 E の人形博物館 [Dr. E's Doll Museum in Japanese}: Sweetest Day; Dr. E's in Japananese: 最も甘い日のための人形   ああ、愛、そして人形の愛します。 バーバラ ・ ピムは、誰もが、特に、すべての女性が「愛すべきもの」を必要と書いた 今日私達は言う、あなたの情熱を見つけるし、それをフォロースルーします。 恋と人形を愛し、彼らは、幸せな甘い日のための私の情熱...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Library Wars

From Atlas Obscura:

And we thought The Historian was intense :)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Halloween Dolls; Think Cool!

The grave's a fine and quiet place, but none do there I think embrace. John Donne

I belong to a Facebook Group titled “For the Love of Fall and Halloween.”  That says it all.  We love, love autumn.  We countdown the days to Halloween, and share our collections of Halloween decorations and autumn leaves.  It is inevitable that the dolls and figurines of the season also frequently appear.  I love the season because of the memories it evokes.  When I started school, it always seemed to get cooler much faster than it does now.  Fall meant apples and new school books, new clothes, new friends, and new classes.  My mother would be sewing my Halloween costume, and we would be planting mums in different colors.

Scarlett, Courtesy Gathered Traditions

Quintessa. Teri Long, Long Gone Dolls

Autumn meant caramel apples and The Spoon River Scenic drive.  It meant leaf collecting, and handmade ink blocks to make our own leaf designs and stencils.  Fall fashion meant new sweaters and boots, plans for Thanksgiving, and cool, crisp nights.


We got out the blow mold ghosts and masks we loved to decorate with, and took out my cutouts for our window.  Some were vintage examples, scarred with ancient scotch tape but still beloved.  Others, equally loved were now faded, collage projects of construction paper, poster paint and old magazines.  My favorite decoration along these lines was a Halloween poster the local 7th graders made for Bell’s Auto.  The grim reaper, hooded and draped with real material, reached out a hand made of chicken bones! The effect was truly eerie!  I wish I’d had Instagram in those days!

Courtesy, R. John Wright


My collection of witch dolls, some from Salem came out, along with my Crypt Keepers.  Even our doll houses had ghosts. One Tootsie Pop ghost wrapped in Kleenex was a gift in grade school from a little friend named Joanie. It still haunts the doll house.  Others are was novelty candles.  Beanie Baby ghosts and other Halloween plush share room with vintage pumpkin lanterns and hard plastic figurines.


On Halloween night, after we decorated with gourds and as many jack o’ lanterns as we could carve; my dad took me and my friends trick-or-treating.


The next day, sugar skulls and assorted skeletons and Calaveras decorated the house for The Day of the Dead, an important holiday to my mom and me; we both taught Spanish.


By the time “The Nightmare before Christmas” came out, I was in Halloween Heaven! I also recommend Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree and the Bradbury narrated animated film of the same title.


At Thanksgiving, my Pilgrims and Native American dolls decorated our table along with turkey statues and chicken candles.  We hardly had room to eat!


In memory of those wonderful days, and of my family that made them so good, I share with you some of the fall dolls and collectibles from my collection.  Turn out the lights, plug in the blow mold décor, switch on the led candles and turn up the air conditioning so you can cuddle up under your favorite blanket as you enjoy this tour of autumn dolls, toys, and collectibles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Pokémon Go

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go Public Domain Image   Among my many doll and toy artifacts that make up Dr. E’s Doll Museum are several Pokém...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Finding Erzebet's body; an Excerpt

Finding Erzebet's body;


She is a rag doll, very old, surrounded by other dolls, all buried together.  The rest of the dolls sit around her.  Her eyes are black buttons, her hair is black thread piled on top of her head in a knot, similar to her painting. She is a body turned into a rig doll.  Her dress is faded, but there is still a high collar, or rough.  The skirt is dark with lacings, the sleeves long, once white linen, puffed at the wrist. Her mouth is embroidered. 


She has turned into the doll over the centuries, morphed into cloth stuffed with dried grass.  Her autopsy consists of a a seam cut down the middle to see what kind of grass her stuffing is.  A group of little girls are the MEs.  She and the other dolls were dug out behind the runs of an old doll hospital in Prague.

Courtesy, Sir Flacon, ebay

Monday, July 11, 2016

2.5 ft Roaming Rosie Red Antique Doll Animatronics - Decorations -

One of my dolls in action; I almost didn't get her.  I had to wait to go to the store.  She was nearly the last one.

2.5 ft Roaming Rosie Red Antique Doll Animatronics - Decorations -

A Paper on Vampires I will be Presenting Soon

In difficult and dangerous times, people often turn to monster tales for comfort, especially stories of immortal supernatural monsters and madmen, like vampires. Yet, while mad, monstrous, and immortal, literary vampires including Dracula, Carmilla, Lestat, The Blood Countess, still have human emotions and very human agendas. The creatures’ mystery and unattainability make them even more attractive. Vampire heroes are the “bad boys” of fiction, often waiting to find the one thing many have not found in their long lives, eternal love. Vampire women are femme fatales, “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” (Krentz) Vampires are also the ultimate scribes and historians. Because they live nearly forever, they are eyewitnesses to history who record it as no one else.  This paper explores how vampire culture intersects with contemporary culture portrayed in novels by Rice, Stoker, Le Fanu, and others, so that humans appear monstrous and monsters appear human. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cumbered with Serving, Best with Woes, Learn of the Lady from her Letters

In times of great stress, we take comfort in small things, hence my fascination with the little book, "In Small Things Forgotten." which I used in my dissertation, and mentioned in my book on Barbara Pym, "The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym."  I mention Pym her in a post on Erzebet because, but for the reputation a Victorian Catholic clergy assigned to her, Erzebet would be one of Pym's excellent women, widowed, still responsible, caring for others, yet unlike most of Pym's women, fantastically wealthy.

"Who should blame us if we only want the trivial things?'  Barbara Pym, quoted in the film, "Miss Pym's Day Out" starring Patricia Routledge.

I have been involved with caregiving, and solving other's issues for some time now, more intensely the last two years, and completely immersed the last 5 months.  Things that give me respite are often not possible; it is another full time job.  One cold Feb. day, after hours and hours at the hospital waiting or battling with incompetents, I hang a small, plastic red heart on one of my trees.   It becomes my focus point over the next month or of doctor's visits, a botched attempt at rehab at Fiendish Manor, battles with insurance companies, a fraud situation perpetrated by Fiendish Manor, lawyers, caregiver agencies, and so much more aggravation.

An hour on the couch with my little cats, watching Netflix, or immersed in a Patricia Cornwell, Elizabeth George, or James Patterson, these keep me alive.  These and correspondences with women who read my old columns on, but became my fast friends.  They lead by example, as each faces a family trauma, or serious personal illness, and yet, they keep on.

My mother, now gone herself, stressed to me often that if something were to happen to one of us, to her, to me, to Dad, the two left would have to keep going.  I'm trying.

One thing that has happened to me is that I continuously compare myself to Erzebet, to the Erzebet portrayed in her letters as compiled and published by Kimberly Craft.

As I've written before, the letters are all about Erzebet's attempts to manage her 27 or so estates in times of war and illness, alone as a widow, constantly worrying about her granaries and funds.  How would she care and feed for all those in her charge?  I found nothing happy or even light-hearted in her in her letters.

Now, here I am.  Involved in the care and responsibility of 5 houses, shopping for others, arranging their medical care, calling for their medicines, trying to live their responsibilities for them. Not feeling well myself, not at all well, not sleeping, yet rising early to make this or that appointment for someone else. Worrying about those charged with the care of my family, dodging attempts from members elsewhere in my family overseas to take advantage of Dad and of Me, worrying about my own family, my husband, our son.

I'm an only child, and in this age of technology and social media, I feel so alone.  How must Erzebet have felt, a young widow, with her parents dead, living in dangerous times, a religious outcast according to some?  Wealthy single women, or even gentlewomen of modern means, have never been treated favorably.  I had one modest house before I married, and I had neighbors who constantly resented me for it.

Pym, and I, have read and commented on Coventry Patmore's "The Angel of the House." I, and Erzebet, have had the burdens that kept The Angel grounded, but we are both very far from receiving the praise and admiration she got from her doting, if not smothering husband.

Norah Loft has written about single women in the 16th century and 17th century who tried to run and own estates, and J.S. Mill has addressed the laws that kept women from owning property, and see also The Married Women's Property Acts, and Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women."

Ah, Erzebet, Ah, women kind.

Public Domain Image of a Letter by Erzebet

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Scary Doll Gallery

Here are images of some scary dolls, brought to you tongue in cheek.  I hope you enjoy them, and feel free to share with us  your own scary doll stories.

Clown by Grace Dorbeck. author.

China doll with teeth from Colemans, Vol. I; formerly Laura Tresko Collection.

Skull. author.

Dia de Muertos Calaveras. author

Blow Mold Ghost; author

Goth Doll Sisters. author.

Witch made of Fimo. author

Deadly Nightshade the Paper Doll, Herb's Daughters by Ellen Tsagaris

By A. Thorndyke

Courtesy, Aberntathy's. Voodoo Doll Mascot

Goose at Halloween

"Lucy" and other Skulls . author

Halloween Ceramics, Lefton and Jackson's Pottery. author.

Doll Graveyard, author

Roaming Antique Doll, author

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Class I Taught on Anne Rice

Courtesy, Gathered Traditions, "Scarlett"
Anne Rice at CommUniversity February 2006
“Before you can see the light, you have to deal with the darkness”
Chinese fortune cookie
Week I: 
A. Biographical background and film Birth of the Vampire/What attracted YOU to Rice?  A “round the room” discussion
1. Rice on Writing
2. Class Overview
3. Reviews on
4. Rice and New Orleans
5 . Biography
6. Her icons and symbols
7. History and Rice
8. Christ the Lord

B.  The Vampire Chronicles/Now a Musical at SF based on books
            1. Interview
            2. Vampire Lestat: Who and What he is “We have souls, you and I” ( Memnoch 4 quoted in Hoppenstand 4).
            3. Ten books, one critic calls “Long in the Tooth”
            4. Her vampires as outsiders and avenging angels, the most Byronic of all Byronic heroes

Week II:  The Mayfair Family and The Witching Hour/”How Untypical the Typical Rice Aficionado is” (Hoppenstand, Gothic World 2).

1. Gothic fiction incorporates domestic issues ( Hoppenstand 2). E.g., V.C. Andrews, John Saul, Stephen King, William Peter Blatty (31).
            2. Rice and characters “Like us” (3).  We feel sympathy for them.
            3.  Influences:  Castle of  Otranto, The Monk, Melmoth the Wanderer, Vathek, The Mysteries of Udolpho

Week III:  Historical Novels and Erotica, including Cry to Heaven, Christ the Lord and The Feast of All Saints.
1. Vampires and Polymorphous sexuality
2  Cry to Heaven and androgyny
3. Liberation of Women and sexuality
4. Writing and freedom of lifestyle/cf Marquis de Sade and “Reflections on the Novel”

Week IV:  Anne Rice Memorabilia and the Doll Collections:  Influences on her work and the work of others; the Vampire Genre
1. Dolls
2. Tudor History
3. Vampire lore
4. Egyptology
5. Religion
5. Ghosts et al
6. Art and antiques
7. Law and Political Science
8. Dickens, Brontes, Love craft, Woolf, Shakespeare, and the gang
9. Family Influence
10.  Children and daughter’s death
11. Fairy Tales