Author Archives: Cynthia Pelayo

About Cynthia Pelayo

Cynthia (cina) Pelayo is the author of short story collection Loteria and the young adult horror novel Santa Muerte published by Post Mortem Press. Her short stories and poems have appeared in DM, Weird Year, Flashes in the Dark, SNM Horror Magazine, Seedpod, Static Movement, and more. Pelayo is the Publisher/Gravedigger of Burial Day Books and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. She is currently at work on two novels and a series of short stories and poems. You can find her on Twitter at @cinapelayo or at

31 Days of Halloween – Day 26 Stages of an Exorcism


Movies significantly water down the ritual of Exorcism. What is important to know is that exorcisms still do occur and are taken seriously by the Catholic Church. Here are some notes and the stages of an exorcism.


  • Once engaged in an exorcism it cannot be called off.
  • There is the belief that no matter the outcome of the exorcism, the contact is partly fatal for the exorcist, because every time the exorcist engages in an exorcism something in him dies.
  • If an exorcist loses he may never again perform the rite of Exorcism.
  • The place of the exorcism is usually in the home of the possessed person. Once chosen, the room where the exorcism will be conducted is cleared of all objects that can be moved.
  • The only people in the room who are dressed in a special way are the priest and his assistant, both wearing black cassocks. Close family can be in the room, but the number is limited to usually a few.


Beginning: Presence

From the moment the priest enters the room he is looking for the sense of a presence, an invisible, intangible and unhuman element.


Step 1: Pretense

In the early stage of an exorcism, the evil spirit does everything they can to hide behind the possessed. This first job of the priest is to force the spirit to reveal itself as a separate entity from the possessed. This step can sometimes last for days. If the entity does not show itself the priest cannot proceed.


Signs the priest is looking for at this stage include the behavior of the possessed increases in violence, physical attacks, gnashing of teeth, repulsive stench and so on.


Step 2: Breakpoint

The violence and repulsive behavior intensifies. Here is where the priest typically falters. The possessed no longer speaks in their voice. It’s a new alien voice that speaks. Inhuman sounds may begin to emit from the possessed. The spirit may begin to use words like “I” or “We” and refer to the possessed body as “Ours.”

Step 3: Voice

During the breaking point the priest hears the voice. It’s a disturbing and distressing babel of syllables, sometimes slow and sometimes fast. The exorcist can only proceed to the next step when this voice is silenced.


Step 4: Clash

Here we begin to see two-way communication, a conversation. This is the most dreadful part for the exorcist. Here the priest must provoke. The main battle is seen here, will the total inhuman invade and take over the body? He must lock wills with the evil thing. Here the priest must finally force the thing to give its name, and some exorcists will go further and try to pursue as much information as they can.


Step 5: Expulsion

Once the priest has the name he can move toward expelling the evil spirit. Sometimes the priest will appeal to the possessed urging them to use some of their own free will to help fight and aid the exorcist. During this stage the exorcist is under full attack. The exorcist will be lured but he must fight all traps. If the priest falls under any trap he can be damaged physically, emotionally or mentally.


If the exorcism is successful it ends. The victim will wake up and sometimes remember everything that’s happened and sometimes they will not remember anything at all.

Of course there is much more detail in between, but we just thought some of you would be interested to see those stages listed out.




31 Days of Halloween – Day 25 Ed & Lorraine Warren – The Ghost hunters


If you’ve had a relative interest in the paranormal over the last few decades, or if you’ve seen any of the following films – The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, or the Haunting of Connecticut, then you may have a relative idea about the career of the Warrens.


Edward “Ed” Warren and Lorraine Rita Warren have claimed to have investigated thousands of hauntings. The Warrens have been involved in some of the most famous paranormal cases covered in some of the aforementioned films. The Warrens are also well known for their involvement in investigating the infamous Amityville haunting.


It’s been said that Ed was the only non-ordained demonologist serving the Catholic Church. Lorraine claims to be a clairvoyant and a light trance medium.


The Warrens have stored thousands of items throughout their investigations which they claimed were haunted or contributed to hauntings. The Warren Museum is contained in the back of Lorraine’s house in Monroe, Connecticut.


The Warrens have met with many critics over the years. Most of their critics have claimed simply that the Warrens are nice people but that their artifacts, photographs and video recordings provide no proof of the paranormal.


Regardless, strange things have always surrounded themselves around the Warrens. For example, during a viewing of The Conjuring 2 this past June, a man in India died during the climax when the fictional Warrens were battling it out with a demon. The man was rushed to the hospital, declared dead and his body was moved to the morgue. Even stranger, when someone went to the morgue to claim the body it was gone.

Lorraine is 89 years-old and continues to work in hauntings. Her belief in the paranormal is still strong as her belief in demons, evil, and possession is tied into her Catholic faith. She believes that prayers and a prayer of the rosary can often neutralize evil spirits.


The Warrens met when they were 16. He was an usher at the local cinema and she had gone in one day to watch a film and noticed him. By then both had encountered paranormal events, Ed seeing orbs in his room and Lorraine had begun to see lights around people. Ed and Lorraine were married at 17 after he returned from World War II. When he returned from the war he studied art and would stand outside painting houses he believed to be haunted.


After a long career fighting ghosts, demons, werewolves, and more Ed died in 2006 after a sudden collapse was followed by a series of illnesses that kept him housebound.




31 Days of Halloween – Day 24 Victorian Mourning

The Victorian era is generally thought as the period during Queen Victoria’s reign, from 1837 to her death in 1901. When we think of the Victorian era we generally think of the artistic and cultural behaviors of the time. Victorianism is punctuated with social values, arts, religion, romanticism, and a dash of mysticism.


While there are many areas of Victorian society to explore one that we are particularly interested in are Victorian funeral practices and Victorian mourning. The Victorians had rules in place for all manners of social interaction, and they also observed specific rites and rituals for death and dying. It was Queen Victoria who most famously took death to the extreme, as well as grieving in grand-scale when she went into a deep mourning after the death of her husband, Prince Consort Albert. Many who watched her followed suit with their own practices.


Large flower arrangements, grand clothes, and even symbolism in headstones was very important during this time. It was also the Victorians who popularized the use of burial in park-like cemeteries.


Death during this time was a public event and darkness and gloom were part of the ritual.


Following on are some images we found of Victorian mourning. You’ll see large dark costumes popular with women. Women were typically the last caregivers of those who died and so they were in a position to publicly display their sense of mourning on a large scale to the public.


vm1 vm2 vm3 vm4 vm5 vm6 vm7 vm8 vm9

vm11 vm12 vm13 vm14




31 Days of Halloween – Day 23 Slender Man Attack


In Spring of 2014, three girls were having a slumber party at their home in Waukesha, Wisconsin – about 20 miles west of Milwaukee. At some point in the evening two of the girls lured the third into the woods where they stabbed her 19 times and left her there to die.


While the victim crawled toward the road to find help the other two girls wandered the woods searching for Slender Man, hoping that he would be happy with their tribute and take them away to his kingdom.


The victim was eventually discovered by a cyclist and taken into emergency surgery where her doctor said she was just a millimeter away from death. The victim has recovered and returned to school. The juvenile attackers are awaiting trial, and their case has only gotten more tangled.


While the victim was in surgery a major hunt was underway to catch the perpetrators, who were eventually found walking along interstate 94. In one of their backpacks authorities found the five-inch long kitchen knife that was used to stab the victim. Little remorse was shown because it was an action the girls’ thought necessary in order to prevent Slender Man from harming them or their families.


During the interrogation, the girls claimed that they needed to kill someone not only for protection but to become proxies of Slender Man. They believed by killing someone they would prove their loyalty to him and thus he would take them to live in his mansion in the woods.
The court proceedings have been ongoing then. As of August 2016, the girls have pleaded guilty by mental disease or defect. One of the girls’ attorneys claims she suffers from oppositional defiant disorder and schizophrenia. The other girl has been said to have schizotypy and a delusional disorder. As of October 2016, both girls will have separate trials.


The girls discovered Slender Man through the Creepypasta Wiki, a website that hosts creepypasta fiction, which are short horror stories that originated on the internet. The origin of the Slender Man is often traced to an internet image of a tall man, dressed in black with an obscured face. His mythos has evolved from internet users who have written thousands of stories about the faceless man in a black suit who sometimes has tentacles that reach out from his back. As part of the mythos, it’s said that the Slender Man can cause amnesia, confusion, and paranoia. He is often depicted in forests and with children.
Immediately after the attacks the administrator of the Creepypasta site released a statement sending their thoughts to the victim and stating that the stabbings did not reflect the creepypasta community whose focus was that of a literary site.


There have been suspicions of other children aiming to do harm because of this fictional character. For now, we will wait to see how the trial of these two young girls develops.




31 Days of Halloween – Day 22 The Curse of the Billy Goat


October 22nd 2016 marked the 46th anniversary of William “Billy Goat” Sianis’ death. October 22nd 2016 also marked the first time the Chicago Cubs won the pennant since 1945 moving on to the World Series.


The Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908, the longest drought in Major League Baseball. Right behind them are the Cleveland Indians who last won a World Series in 1948. Both teams will meet on October 25th for Game 1 of the World Series in probably the most anticipated game in not just baseball, but sports history.


The Curse of the Billy Goat is probably the most famous of curses behind the curse of the Kennedy family. Between 1876 and 1945 the Chicago Cubs were one of the most successful baseball teams winning 16 pennants. Sporting Life newspaper called the 1908 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers A Battle of Titans! The 1908 World Series was actually a rematch of the 1907 World Series where the Cubs played against the Tigers, winning four games to none. The teams met again in 1908 with the Cubs winning five games for their consecutive World Series title.


In 1945 the Cub yet again met the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. The Cubs won game 1. Detroit won game 2. The Cubs won game 3…but something very odd happened during game 4.


The owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, William “Billy Goat” Sianis purchased two tickets to game 4. One for himself, and one for his pet goat named Murphy. At the gate, Andy Fran, an usher stopped him saying that no animals were allowed. Sianis appealed to the owner, P.K. Wrigley who said it was fine for Billy to come in. When Sianis asked why not the goat, Wrigley replied “Because the goat stinks.” According to legend, Sianis threw up his arms and said “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.”

The cubs lost game four and were swept by the Tigers for the remainder of the series.


In 1969, a year before his death, Sianis said he felt better about it all and so lifted the curse…but the goat was not satisfied.


In 1973, the goat Socrates – a descendant of Murphy, along with Sam Sianis – a nephew of William, were escorted to Wrigley in a white limousine and walked down a red carpet towards Wrigley Field, but was again denied entrance.


In 1984, Sam Sianis and his goat were allowed to walk Wrigley Field where he raised his arms and said “The curse is lifted.” The Cubs failed to make the World Series that year, even though they were just one game away from winning.


1989, Sam and his goat walked Wrigley again in an attempt to beat the curse. No luck.


2003 – the Bartman Ball…


and more years of unfortunate events in past decades, including balls dribbling beneath people’s legs, black cats, and you name it.


So, has the cursed been lifted?


The Cubs are now walking into the World Series for the first time since 1945. For safe measure, should a goat be given a seat at Wrigley Field…just to be safe? We think so. Give the goat a seat!