Thursday, October 27, 2016

Creature Creation

It is nearing Halloween and The Colonel and I are participating in a few programs for the county's history center. I am portraying a spirit who tells of hauntings in the area. The Colonel is a Cryptozoologist (a pseudo-scientist who searches for creatures that have not been proven to exist due to lack of evidence).

The Colonel tells the program attendees about some of the creatures on his list such as the Skunk Ape (Florida's Big Foot). But his main focus is on the Moss Man.

Florida's first Moss Man sighting was in 1978 in a Boca Raton park called Red Reef Park. A couple were taking a romantic stroll on the beach near the park. They spied a skinny, ragged creature with bright colored eyes. It was covered in a grassy, leaf-like substance.

The Moss Man was seen for a couple of years, especially when slow rolling fog came in from the ocean. In 1980, the creature began appearing again. There were at least eleven sightings. The 1990s saw a few more glimpses of the Moss Man.

Tales speak of a Moss Man the 1500s Spanish Conquistadors invaded the Florida region. One of the men kidnapped a Native American princess. He was a terrible man. He raped her, decapitated her and then tied her head to a tree.

The legend continues to claim that the princess' hair took root in the tree and her spirit infected all plant life in the area. A medicine man created the Moss Man from the vegetation to wreak havoc upon the Spanish and their descendants to drive them away.

It is said that the Moss Man is around six to seven feet tall and can weigh anywhere from 200 to 450 pounds. That's a lot of Spanish Moss!

Well, if The Colonel was a Cryptozoologist focusing mainly on the Moss Man, we had to create one to unveil for the program attendees (the first program was for a group of kids...not a one was afraid of our Moss Man).

The Colonel ordered the PVC pipe kit that would become the Moss Man's skeletal system. He pieced it together and attached it to a base of wood. He then ordered some monster hands (they came all the way from China). We hit Hobby Lobby and found the perfect foam head. Once The Colonel painted the head gray I painted the facial detail.

We visited a local cemetery to gather Spanish Moss. There was plenty on the ground in the older section of the cemetery.

Now came the time to attach the moss to the Moss Man. We had a bit of chicken wire left over from our ghost manufacturing and used it to fashion a chest, back and shoulders.

Now came the time to artfully attach the Spanish Moss to our man. The Colonel let me have the lead in this. He said I have a better artist's eye.

As we were building our Moss Man we were conscious of the fact that we would have to transport him to two local libraries for our historical programming. We ended up deciding that wrapping him up in an old sheet and then tying the sheet down with rope would be the best way to go. We would then use our hand truck to wheel him to the bed of the truck and secure him in the bed with more rope. It did work as planned but we sure got some strange looks from people as we wheeled the suspiciously humanoid-form, draped in a sheet into the library...especially since it was packed with early voters.

The Colonel wants to put the Moss Man on our front porch for Halloween after the programs are over. I think the Moss Man will go nicely with our ghost and pole-dancing skeleton already in the yard.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halloween Haints

Halloween, our favorite holiday, is nearly here. The Colonel saw a new Halloween decorating idea on line and wanted see if we could do it for ourselves. There were no instructions accompanying the photograph of the decoration but we both hold college degrees and felt very confident in our ability to execute the project.

We were going to make ghosts to set out in the yard. We wanted to make one for our yard and one for My-Favorite-Father-In-Law's yard. He also likes decorating for Halloween.

The material used in the ghost fabrication is chicken wire. The Colonel and I stretched out the roll of chicken wire and using wire cutters, cut the roll into four 6-ft pieces.

We then took two of the pieces and "stitched" them together with tiny zip ties to create a tall tube.

We placed the chicken wire tube over a bucket so that it would stand as we began forming our ghost. We used a piece of rope to mark the shoulders. The Colonel then cut the excess wire away (we would use that to form the head) and we closed the top end of the tube.

Sculpting with chicken wire is not easy. I pinched and pulled on the wire and eventually a ghostly human form took shape.

The Colonel worked on the head as I worked on the body.

When we were satisfied with the form of the ghost we took her out into the yard to be painted.

We were pleased with our first attempt. We placed her in various spots in the yard to see what she would look like.

The Colonel then painted the yard ghost with glow-in-the-dark spray paint. We later checked her out in the dark garage. She glowed perfectly.

It was time to sculpt another ghost with the remaining chicken wire. The second ghost took less time to make (we knew by then what we were doing). She was taller than the first ghost and she looked older. I got the feeling that they were mother and daughter ghosts.

The Colonel and I liked the older, taller ghost and decided to give her daughter to My-Favorite-Father-In-Law. He was thrilled with her. We placed her in the front yard and used landscape staples to anchor her in place.

When we returned home we placed our ghost in our front yard. She looked great. I especially think seeing the fence through her is a great effect.

This is my other Halloween yard decoration...a pole-dancing skeleton. I couldn't resist. It is lit up at night with a spot light.