Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slivers from the Morningside Mortuary's Shotgunned Silver Sentinel Sphere

Morningside Mortuary vanished one night. The somber wake parlors, the embalming chamber, the crematorium, even the endless, maze-like, marble mausoleum halls that entombed the dead. Gone. The ominous, multi-level structure, that for well over a hundred years provided dedicated funeral service to a sleepy Southern California community, simply was not there anymore, leaving behind one very large, and very deep smoldering hole in the earth.

Morningside Mortuary (18??)
Strange rumors had persisted for nearly as long as Morningside was in business, most notably those involving the reclusive head funeral director Jebediah Morningside (aka "The Tall Man") who, not so oddly enough, also disappeared without a trace on that strange, fateful night. His secretive methods for preserving the dead are still in question today, as much so as the thousands of bodies of his deceased clients from the last century that still remain unaccounted for.

Jebediah Morningside (18??)

And now some thirty years later, the confused property ownership rights and legal red tape has been lifted and the land on which the mortuary once stood has finally been sold (and currently under development.) Public interest in this new project endeavor of course has re-awakened the puzzling “Morningside Myth” buzz and conspiracy theories in the local press, and needless to say, having been obsessed with these phantasmagorical tales for most of my life, I quickly assigned Arcanifact extraordinaire Scot D. Ryersson to acquire anything at all physical on the subject for me. And as always, with a mere handful of unearthed items in relation to Morningside and its shiver inducing, haunted history, Scot has exceeded all my expectations, with:

An amazing assortment of Morningside business cards, also a holiday card for cherished Morningside customers, and advertising clippings…

The most interesting of these ads comes from 1952 and contains an odd typo that says “MorningSTAR Funeral Home.” Could this have been some ironic slip-up from Jebediah himself when placing the ad? (FYI: One of the more curious conspiracy theories over the last few years is that “The Tall Man” was in fact some being from another planet and Morningside Funeral Home was actually his spacecraft that flew off on the night in question, for whatever reason.)

A stationery ledger heading (receipt?) showing funeral costs from 1920.

Eerie wake photos taken at Morningside of the deceased in their caskets.

Each photo contains a handwritten job number and is dated on the reverse. NOTE: further expanding on the “other world” conspiracy theories: strange, almost alien (cataloging?) symbols, see examples below.

The centerpiece of my Arcanifact contains a framed sampling of sharp, shattered, metallic fragments, as well as what appears to be a drill-bit stained with dried blood (?!!) Written on a toe tag (dated records show this tag was worn by one of Morningside’s last clients i.e.; Jody Pearson, in the weeks that led up to the disappearance of his body as well as Morningside itself) and labeled as “Slivers from the Morningside Mortuary’s shotgunned silver Sentinel Sphere.”

(Also interesting: while preparing my Arcanifact, Scot’s investigations into the actual definition of a “Sentinel Sphere”, led to a handful of peculiar theories stating these slivers are part of some form of “deadly airborne security system” designed by Jebediah Morningside himself?!!)

As you can see, these fragments are cleverly displayed inside the hollowed out pages of an antique, hardcover funeral home management book. Originating apparently from the private collection of Jebediah Morningside, this book was found, half-buried in the woods, about fifty yards from where the Morningside structure once stood. Note the dried, mustard-colored substance splashed across the book’s cover, subsequent forensic DNA examination results state: "Dried fluid of unknown, possibly alien origin.”

Once again I wish to thank Scot for assembling another jaw dropping Arcanifact for my collection, and providing us all with factual proof about Jebediah and his mortuary, forever laying to rest those lingering questions: “Did Morningside ever actually even exist? Or was it all just a dream?”

Stephen Banes, St. Louis MO
(Born: May 1st 1968 - Died: 20??)


Disinter more about “The Tall Man” and the Phantasm Philms by clicking HERE.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Atlas Shrugged: A Distillation of Dagny Taggart's Determination

Being in the design world for over forty-five years I have been fortunate to meet many talented people and see a lot of great art. But the gift Scot D. Ryersson gave to me is the most imaginative, ingenious piece I have ever seen. Having been asked by him who my favorite fictional female characters were, my first choice was Dagny Taggart, the independent heroine from Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged. Scot then set about and amazingly distilled Dagny's complete essence and personality into three-dimensions.

I'm sure Ayn Rand would be jealous and want this creative, elegant arcanifact Scot created for herself if she were alive today. I am honored and will always cherish this heartfelt token.

---Janice O’Brien, New Fairfield, CT

For more info on the life and works of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, click HERE.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hold the Olives: Splinters from Mame Dennis’ Martini Glass

A bottle holds so much promise. A flask of perfume, a magnum of bubbly, each offers possibility—of expectations, aspirations, anticipations—with every pop of the top. A grand dame knows this intuitively, and Marion Tanner embraced life with such zing as to inspire her nephew Patrick Dennis to immortalize her as the incarnation Auntie Mame Dennis.

I received my Arcanifact on my 40th birthday. I’d been asked to name a heroine, and, above any other individual I could’ve or would’ve otherwise chosen, Rosalind Russell’s cinematic turn as Auntie Mame came to mind. I stopped myself from scrutinizing this pick, and ran with it. At the New York party at Indochine (versus my other two at home in L.A.; hey, a gal’s got to have fun), Mr. Ryersson presented me with a rectangular box packed in brown paper and rough twine. The wrapping was deliberate, I would learn, since the charming contents inside hailed from the Prohibition era, and required, at least in fantasy, such a prosaic disguise to get past the authorities.

The divine Miss M, in truth or fiction, had a joie de vivre and indefatigable pluck only rivaled (or is it enhanced?) by her utterly chic sense of interiors and fashion. Her young nephew’s recall of his aunt’s madcap life and times opens during the age of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the shards of her martini glass fill this heavy antique bootleg gin bottle like so many sparkling flecks of a Cartier wristband or a beaded sheath.

The drawn-out tassel of silver and black Czech crystal beads wrapped around the bottle’s neck suggest a jeweled sautoir, conjuring the magnificent Mame’s penchant for the exotic and ornate, even when she appears on screen most elegantly restrained in a tailored dark green velvet suit.

The bottle now appears in my dressing room, among my favorite objects I glance at daily, a reminder of Mame’s spirited bid to her secretary: “Live! Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

It’s all here, a wax-sealed talisman filled with dreams ready to be raised in celebration of life and knocked back with pleasure. There are so many layers of story telling, so many messages in these Arcanifacts that Scot D. Ryersson crafts with insight, wit and grace.

---Rose Apodaca, style journalist & co-founder of A+R Store, Los Angeles, CA

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eucritta Melanolimnetes Branchia / Case No: X 9746 (The Gill-Man)

Since I was a child, I have held a strange fascination with the legend of “The Gill-Man.” A half-man, half-fish creature that, according to the very most basic laws of nature should not exist, but does, or did anyway. Found only in the blackest and lagooniest corners of the Amazon, it is still unknown whether this fish that walked upright on hind legs was in fact a “one-of-a-kind” freak mutation, or the actual dawning of some fantastic new amphibious evolution.

Over the years I have collected every scrap of detail I could dredge up concerning “The Gill-Man,” from simple newspaper clippings sensationalizing its initial discovery by a research team in the mid-1950’s, to films and photographs of its capture and disastrous exhibition at an Oceanarium in Florida, etc... And despite the well documented, scientific cases surrounding all known encounters with “The Gill-Man” (least we forget the unfortunate experiments also performed upon it to remove its gills), various reports have shown that this deadly, vicious brute was also very much a sad, lonely, and incredibly misunderstood creature, quite possibly more human than fish.

“The Gill-Man” is a unique specimen, curiously lost in time, and regretfully now destroyed by man. But all is not lost! Thanks to Scot D. Ryersson and his unnatural ability to unearth rare, related objects and info about my fishy obsession, I am actually in possession of the only known, preserved remains left of the creature-- its gills! Scavenged from the wreckage of Ocean Harbor Oceanarium, the clear-view contents of the antique specimen jar are spine-chilling, while at the same remarkably enlightening. As a bonus, Scot has also found for me an original admission ticket (receipt), as well as a two-sided, full color brochure from “The Gill-Man’s” brief and horrific stint as a public attraction at Ocean Harbor Oceanarium in the mid-1950’s.

Thanks again Scot my friend, you have done it again!

---Stephen Banes (St. Louis, MO)

Click the banner below to learn more about “The Gill-Man” aka The Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Detritus from the Estate of Dr. Anton Phibes

After seeing some of the Arcanifacts that Scot has uncovered for others, I knew that I had to see if any personal possessions of the great Dr. Anton Phibes could be acquired. After a few weeks of anxious waiting, I finally received word that Scot had uncovered some evidence from the Phibes homicide case, which had originally been conducted by Scotland Yard. I was extremely excited as I picked up my package at the post office. I also wondered if I would fall under scrutiny by the authorities for my high interest in a still unsolved investigation.

I could not have been more pleased with my Arcanifact! Upon opening the package, I immediately saw a Victrola speaker. The speaker was the type the good doctor used to communicate after his terrible accident. (ALSO NOTE: Victoria's white opera glove.)

Next, I found the embalming bottle, with traces of embalming fluid. Was this indeed one of the same bottles used in Anton's sleep chamber?

Then, I opened the real treasure trove of the collection, a mysterious, old, red box. The handle of the box was Egyptian in design, as Phibes' himself held a special interest in Egypt.

The mirror in the top of the box had the initials of Victoria Regina Phibes. Many of the objects inside were obviously very important to her; a hat pin...

...and a valentine card and poem from Anton.

Two photos of the beautiful Victoria...

...a bat cuff link, and dried rose.

A newspaper clipping announcing the "death" of Dr. Phibes...

One of my personal favorite documents is the original telegram, notifying him that his wife had taken ill...

A concert program of one of Dr. Phibes rare personal appearances as a world renown organist...

...spring and clockwork gears, perhaps leftover parts from a robotic snake?

A jar with a locust, paired with a Brussels sprout...

Finally, I opened a large manila envelope. It contained an ancient page, written in Hebrew, depicting the 10 plagues of Egypt...

The whole collection is detailed in the Scotland Yard evidence report, signed by Detective Inspector Trout himself (NOTE: Phibes' calling card still bearing traces of melted candle wax!)
I can't begin to describe how pleased I am with my Arcanifact. The attention to detail, such as dates, names and locations is incredible. Now my challenge is to display my Arcanifact in a way that is fitting for such a collection.
Thanks again, Scot!

-Mike Chapman (St. Louis, MO)

For more about the wonderfully Abominable Dr. Phibes, click HERE!