I was again ‘minding the store’ for the first couple hours of last night’s coffeehouse at Windber’s Grand Midway Hotel as owner Blair Murphy rushes about, preparing the place for the next few weeks’ activities. A whole crew of ghost-hunter/paranormal researchers and the like are expected to headquarter here this Saturday–and that’s just the first of a series of events providing a solid month of ghoulish fun. The planned highlight is this year’s Dracula Con (a one night extravaganza on Saturday, October 13).
Unlike last week, the coffeehouse had a decent turnout. Maybe it was the arrival of cooler weather? One sure factor was the return of the pen and paper game players, headed up by resident Game Master Ron S. (back from his family vacation). The regular crew was joined by an entirely new player. Once a spare lightbulb was located for added illumination, about 10 of them gathered around the large table in the dining room. This is where the Guinness-certified World’s Largest Tarot Card is painted on the ceiling and those assembled embarked on what Ron later proclaimed one of their best nights of fantasy gaming to date.
Incidentally, the artist responsible for that work (Terrance Kaufman) has contributed his lush and masterful talents to a lovely new mural that graces the side of the old Eureka building beside the railroad tracks.
And right across the street, the side of the local courthouse building sports another newly completed mural that celebrates our town and many of its best known sights. It’s by a different artist and in a very different style, but like Terrance’s work, adds another attractive new touch to the downtown area.
Check them out, if you haven’t done so as yet!
Speaking of new things in town: Here’s a correction about the new bakery/cafe (14th on Graham) that recently opened. The sign in the window says they open at 7 AM weekdays, not 8 as I wrote last week.
Yet another newly opened business in town is the new smoke shop a few doors away on 14th Street itself. I’m not a fan of tobacco in any form myself, but those who partake now have a convenient new option (yes, Syn, including you).
But the main focus of this series of blog entries remains the doings at Windber’s fabled haunted hotel, so….
A coal train rumbled past the front door early in the evening, reminding all why Windber came into existence back at the end of the 19th century.
The night’s 1st movie was:
We’re talking the 1986 David Cronenberg-directed version, starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. The following feature was, by popular demand (well, Syn demanded it and I wasn’t about to stand in her way) its sequel:
Starring Eric Stoltz as the ill-fated couple’s equally doomed son. I confess to being distracted by my hosting duties (plus using the free coffeehouse Wi-Fi to check various sites online) and therefore watched only parts of these fondly recalled blasts from the Sci-Fi/horror past.
At some point Blair texted with the news that he was bringing a spooky new DVD to finish the night with. Anticipation swells!
In the meantime, Rick F., formerly a dedicated regular but little seen the past few months, was one of the other guests. This time he had his daughter’s significant other in tow. This was Joe’s 1st time at the Midway, so I talked to him about the place’s history, its several ghost stories, showed him copies of the 2 movies Blair has created and otherwise made him feel at home.
In addition to cruising the internet, I used my laptop to show off an image of a newly released paperback book which contains my latest short story publication. Hey, if I don’t promote my work who will? Accordingly (and for any who missed seeing it so far), here’s a look at the amusingly weird cover art:
Like many others in attendance, I enjoyed a couple mug-fulls of fresh-perked coffee (in my case with sugar and some very tasty White Chocolate Macadamia Creamer), though late in the evening I opted for a caffeine-free Chamomile Tea to wind down with.
Blair arrived, plopped in the DVD of a new, 2018 horror movie:
All about a family beset by inherited insanity. Gabriel Byrne and Toni Collette are the increasingly unstable parents. The kids are pretty creepy in their own right, too. I thought it was stylish, violent but not TOO gory most of the time and had some oddly compelling camera angles. Syn in particular noted she was impressed by how they focused on the son’s reaction, rather than a potential gross-out shot of a horrific accident he was party to. Of course, moments later we do get an unnerving look at the aftermath. Covered in flies (as an unintended tie-in to the evening’s previous offerings).
Details? No. That would be a spoiler–and we can’t have that!
An above average, suitably weird fright flick by a first-time director–a good way to end the evening, I thought. Then it was off into the (surprise!) rainy night for me, walking home at about midnight.