The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Getting in the Mood

Halloween is one of my two favorite holidays (the 4th of July is the other). Unfortunately, it has been years since I’ve done much of anything to celebrate. This year we’re hoping to make up for all those uneventful Halloweens past.

As a general rule, we’re trying to keep the party relaxed, low key in a lot of ways. The basics are:

1) Costumes are required. If you show up without one, you’ll be subjected to whatever “punishment” the costumed guests require in order to enter.
2) We’re providing lots of liquor.
3) There will be a bonfire.
4) There will be music.
5) There will be some fireworks (we found some leftovers from the 4th while cleaning up over the weekend).

As for decorating, we aren’t doing much. Most of my wife’s co-workers refer to the Devil Queen as “that scary crack house,” so how much more decorating do we need? However, if the weather gods would like to provide us with a thick fog, that would awesome.

To add to the ambiance, we’re replacing all the light bulbs with low-watt, colored bulbs; think Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death. I’m also building a voodoo alter (sort of). Our skull arrived yesterday (“John, unless you’re going start reciting Shakespeare, would you please quit messing with that!”), so now all we need to do is find the shrunken head. Yes, my wife has one.

I have a World War I era photo album full of pictures from the Western Front. I picked it up at an antique shop years ago; there are some battlefield photos (skeletons churned up by the constant artillery fire), that I thought fit the occasion (creepy death). I’m considering copying one and projecting it onto a wall with a colored tint (red, blue, or green?) to add to the macabre atmosphere.

As for the menu, it will be limited and rather ordinary in many regards. No “special” Halloween food per se, but the presentation may make up for that. Descriptions can go a long way; instead saying “we’re having brats,” substitute “roast flesh.” It certainly sounds quite different, no? Right now I’m trying to figure out some sort of arrangement where it looks like you’re fishing them out of an animal’s body cavity, but I haven’t worked that one out yet.

We have some other ideas that we’re working on: dry ice, games of divination, and the like. I guess we’ll see what happens.

And, hopefully, we’ll have another working bathroom finished in time for the party. Currently, I am one caulk job and two coats of paint away from installing a sink and toilet in the hall bathroom. The question is: will I make it in time? Wish me luck.

Oh, one further note on the ambiance. The Devil Queen is haunted. Really. More on that later.

12 Comments:

Anonymous davidLBC said...

I'd like to see that photo album. But I'm wondering, are photos of real skeletons - possibly from contemporaneous WWI or Spanish Flu deaths - a little too macabre for some of your guests, especially in the context of a war? There are many soldiers dying in Iraq right now, not to sound too dramatic.

The party sounds great. Hope you all have good fun! I believe one of my bungalows is haunted, too. My cat was never quite at ease when we were living there.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I have to chime in that I agree with David, but morre on the grounds that it's disrespectful to the dead. I hate to say it, but the same should apply to the shrunken head. For some reason, that one didn't bother me as much emotionally, but I can't think of any good reason why not.

Full disclosure: I'm traveling to Ft. Benning this weekend to see my "baby" brother graduate from basic training. FWIW.

-Lenise

3:29 PM  
Blogger John said...

David and Lenise,

I think you're both right about the WWI photo being over the top and inapropriate. So, that idea has been nixed. If I decide to project something on the wall, maybe I'll find a copy of one of Durer's etchings. The Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse might be cool.

As for the shrunken head, it's not a real person's head. I'm not sure if that make too much of a difference though.

Anyhow, thanks for the reality check; I don't need to look like too much of a social retard anymore than I already do.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Maryam in Marrakesh said...

hey, the party sounds great. we wish we could come!

The food descriptions are hillarious. But most importantly, is that a painting you did?

8:22 AM  
Blogger John said...

Maryam,

Thanks! And, yes, the painting is mine. It's a little pen and ink thing I did a year or so ago. When I have a chance I do little "cartoons" like this for my own amusement; in recent years, there have been a lot of house related ones. Go figure.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Brenda from Flatbush said...

Others say 'tasteless'--here in Brooklyn, the photo idea would be hailed as 'transgressive' and 'politically charged' and you would be lauded for your wit and daring. Whether that's a good or bad commentary on Brooklyn I will leave to the judgement of others! As for the animal cavity presentation, I feel certain that something involving two racks of baby-back ribs and a mortar underlayment of mashed potatoes could get the job done...and ye are the man to do it. Wish I could come and fish out some brats from the peritoneum!

8:23 PM  
Blogger John said...

Brenda,

God bless you, I love a woman who can routinely wrap their tongue around a word like "paritoneum." I must confess that I did momentarily confuse it with "perineum." That certainly gives it a whole different meaning, no?

9:06 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Hi John!

That party of yours sounds great!!
The tradition of celebrating Halloween is only just spilling over to Germany - but it mostly consists of all kinds of kitschy pumpkin decorations and children trying to snatch as many sweets as possible... But nothing like your party - what a pity!!

Have fun! Anna

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds great...wish I could donate my voodoo mask for the alter, but come to think of it, I recall it being for fertility. Perhaps not all your party guests would appreciate that!

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Maryam in Marrakesh said...

John - You are SUCH a talented artist. Wowza.

I am tagging you on my blog for something on Monday so make sure to visit....

4:30 PM  
Blogger Lenise said...

OK, now I'm embarrassed. Fake shrunken head, no problemo!

8:52 AM  
Blogger John said...

Anna,

Thanks!

Felicia,

Please, no fertility masks. Now, if you have one for wealth, bring it on!

Maryam,

Thanks! And, my response to the "tag" will follow soon.

Lenise,

Hey, nothing to worry about. No harm, no foul.

11:41 AM  

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