Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

Terrorific Travels: The Mutter Museum

Terrorific Travels: The Mutter Museum

written by Kerry E.B. Black

Medical abnormalities can provide horrific materials for fertile imaginations. The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians on 22nd Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is designed to enhance appreciation of the mysteries of the human body, the museum explores the history of treatment and diagnosis of diseases and disorders. Still, the scope of its offerings could offer any horror fan heart palpation.

Speaking of the heart, need an off-beat outing for celebrate St. Valentine’s Day? The Mütter Museum displays human hearts for up-close inspection. Get under the skin while exploring skeletons, including the tallest male skeleton in North America displayed beside the remains of a dwarf and a two-headed baby, and a wall of 139 skull specimens. The Mutter Museum hosts preservations and casts of body parts, both healthy and abnormal. Wet samples and models. Human hairballs. Slides with sections of Albert Einstein’s brain. 5,500 types of medical instruments and apparati spanning centuries. Cabinet-style displays and presentations allow an appreciation for the human condition otherwise unavailable.

Visitors can meet the Soap Lady, named because a fatty substance called adipocere encases the remains. Authorities exhumed the body in Philadelphia in 1875. (Adipocere does not commonly form. It may form in warm, alkaline, and airless environment like this body’s burial site.)

Mutter Museum 1Exhibitions explore hot button issues like an exploration of vaccinations and medicine in times of war. On-line, the museum offers a look at astronomy in medicine from the 15th and 16th centuries and other topics.

Be sure to stop in the delightfully off-color gift shop. Along with glass skull steins and an “I heart guts” plush, some of the less-tasteful items for sale include “soap lady on a rope” and conjoined twin cookie cutters.

Established in the 19th Century, the museum continues to dedicate itself to providing in-depth research opportunities for physicians, but the doors open to the layman daily, except holidays. It is, however, open for visits on Halloween.


King of Cameos

King of Cameos

written by Kerry E.B. Black

Not only is Stephen King a prolific writer with fifty novels and hundreds of short stories to his credit. His non-fiction, columns, essays, poetry, and comics garner praise, and he additionally writes screenplays. He’s even made cameos in some of the adaptations of his stories and books.

His first published novel, “Carrie,” also became his first to be adapted to a film in 1976. Stanley Kubrick famously changed “The Shining” in 1980. “Stand By Me,” “Misery,” “Shawshank Redemption,” and “The Green Mile” became major motion pictures, while “Salem’s Lot” (twice), “It,” “The Tommyknockers,” “The Stand,” “The Langoliers,” “Storm of the Century,” “Rose Red,” and “Bag of Bones” became made for television miniseries. Stephen King created television series, too, including “Golden Years” (1991), “The Dead Zone” (2002-2007), “Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital” (2004), “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” (2006), “Haven” (2010), and “Under the Dome” (2013).

Of the over twenty adaptations of his works for film or television, Stephen King appeared in many. Also, he acted in a couple of established tv show episodes. Follows is a list of some of his appearances on silver and small screen:

Creep Show                       (1982 movie)   starred in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”

Maximum Overdrive      (1986 movie)            uncredited appearance as man at cash point

Creep Show 2                    (1987 movie)            played a truck driver in “The Hitchhiker”

Pet Semetary                    (1989 movie)                      played a minister

The Golden Years            (1991 tv)                              played a bus driver

Sleepwalkers                   (1992 movie)                      played a cemetery caretaker

The Stand                        (1994 tv miniseries)         played Teddy Weizak

The Langoliers                   (1995 tv miniseries)         played Tom Holby

Thinner                               (1996 movie)                      played Dr. Bangor

The Shining                         (1997 tv miniseries)         played the band leader

Storm of the Century  (1999 tv miniseries) as lawyer in & a reporter on a broken tv

Frazier                      (2000 tv series episode “Mary Christmas”)          played Brian

The Simpsons           (2000 tv series episode titled “Insane Clown Poppy”) “played” himself

Rose Red                     (2002 tv miniseries) uncredited appearance as pizza delivery guy

Kingdom Hospital             (2004 tv episode finale) played Johnny B. Goode

Fever Pitch                         (2005 movie)  himself throwing out first pitch at a Red Sox Game

Gotham Café                     (2005 movie)   Mr. Ring

Diary of the Dead             (2007 movie voiceover) news reader

Sons of Anarchy                (2010 tv episode “Caregiver”) played Richard Bachman

Stephen King is scheduled to appear on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on 11 September, 2015. He and his wife Tabitha also acted in George Romero’s 1981 “Knight Riders,” portraying Hoagieman and his wife.

Said Mr. King, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” Stephen King lives by this motto. His considerable talent is supplemented by dedication to his craft and a desire to experience life in his own creative way, be it through participating in the band “Rock Bottom Remainders,” acting, writing, or private pursuits.

*First published at Halloween Forevermore

Article: Jane Austen’s Gothic

janepictJane Austen had a dark passion.

She read Gothic romance novels. In fact, she read some obscure Gothic literature, even works written in German.

These atmospheric tales of the supernatural provided a springboard for her satirical “Northanger Abbey” published in 1818. This novel sees Isabella Thorpe recommending a list of gothic classics to her friend Catherine Morland. The impressionable young woman begins to recognize in her associates gothic victims and villains.

For years, Austen’s readers assumed the “horrid novels” the girls read together were mostly the invention of the author’s fertile imagination. However, historian Michael Sadleir researched the titles and rediscovered them.

First mentioned in the exchange between Isabella and Catherine are two well-known gothic gems by Ann Radcliffe, “The Mysteries of Udolpho” and “The Italian.” The other titles provided the basis of Mr. Sadleir’s literary investigation. They include “The Castle of Wolfenbach” (1793) and “The Mysterious Warning – A German Tale” (1796) by Eliza Parsons, “The Necromancer, or, The Tale of the Black Forest” (1794) by Ludwig Flammenberg, “The Midnight Bell” (1796) by Francis Lathom, “The Orphan of the Rhine” (1798) by Eleanor Sleath, and “Horrid Mysteries” (1796) by Marquis de Grosso.

These rediscovered stories were bound and reprinted first in 1968 by The Folio Society and again in 2005 by Voran Court Books. “Northanger Abbey” therefore proves even the proper and intellectual Jane Austen had a taste for the macabre.

Pumpkin Soup

Super Simple Pumpkin Soup


by Kerry E.B. Black


Super-Simple Pumpkin Soup

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


halloweenpumpkinSurmount the challenge of feeding your monsters before Tricks-and-Treats this Halloween by preparing this super-simple pumpkin soup.


To create, you need:


6 cups chicken stock

1 can pumpkin puree

1 medium onion, fine chopped or minced

1 ½ Tablespoon butter

1 clove minced garlic (approximately 1 teaspoon)

Salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste

1 cup heavy whipping cream

For garnish, if desired, add a dollop of sour cream, roasted pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley and thyme.


Mince onion and sauté in butter in the bottom of a stock or crock pot. Add other ingredients except whipping cream and garnish items. If added to a crock pot, cook on high for 4 hours. If using a stock pot, cook on low heat until warmed through (about 45 minutes.) Stir in cream. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, baked pumpkin seeds, and/or a sprinkling of herbs.

Paired with a loaf of crusty bread, this creamy soup warms your band before they march into the night.

You can spice the soup up a bit by adding a dash or two of powdered red pepper.

Bone appetite!

*First Published at

Autumn Sangria

Autumn Sangria



autumn-sangriaAutumn is a time of change, so I suggest we switch up our Sangria, dress it with the proper spices and make it ready for the fall.

This simple recipe produces delicious and attractive results.

2 peeled and chopped pears
4 peeled and chopped apples
Jim Beam’s Fire Whisky (about 2 ½ cups)
Burnett’s Pumpkin Spice Vodka (about ½ cup)
½ quart apple cider
bottle Pinot Grigio
cinnamon sticks

To make a sangria suitable for an autumnal gathering, begin by cleaning, peeling, and dicing fruit of the season. I used Bosc pears and a mix of Gala and Granny Smith apples. Place the fruit in a bowl and cover them with Cinnamon whisky and Pumpkin spice vodka. I went heavier on the cinnamon because I like Jim Beam’s spicy bite. However, adjust the proportions to suit your taste. Float a few cinnamon sticks atop. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When preparing the drink for consumption, pour the drunken fruit into an appropriate container. (I used my crystal punch bowl.) Add ½ a quart of apple cider and 1 bottle of cheap Pinot Grigio. Turning Leaf caught my attention with its pretty label, appropriate name, and inexpensive pricetag. Give the mix a gentle stir. When serving, be sure to add a scoop of the fruit to float atop the wine glass. (The fruit was my sister Heather’s favorite part of the drink!)
Cheers, and happy haunting!

*First published at

Gentle Harvest

Charli Mills at issued her latest 99 word challenge. Show a harvest. This is where my mind went.

(By the way, exciting things are happening at Carrot Ranch. They’re hosting a writing rodeo, and it looks exciting, challenging, and fun. I’m looking forward to roping some words and busting a bucking story or two. Join the fun?)

In any case, here’s the story. What do you think?

Gentle Harvest

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Death walked the hospital halls like a shadow until she found Jane’s glowing soul.  She listened to Jane’s life whispered in rattles and gasps. Death assumed a comforting form. For this soul, she became Jane’s beloved Grandmother. Death stroked the patient’s sweaty hair from her forehead until her twitching calmed. Her voice reverberated with love. “Jane?” Jane’s eyelids fluttered. Pain and fever stole vision. Death hummed a childhood song, one Jane had sung with her Grandmother when they had brought in crops and sipped iced tea after. By holding hands, Death made her harvest and guided Jane home.


Happy birthday, George R.R. Martin

Happy birthday, George R.R. Martin, writer of amazing stories. Known for his detailed and dark plots, compelling, often flawed characters, and intriguing dialogue, Martin writes at his own pace. When asked why he kills off main characters, he asserted he wants his readers to genuinely fear for their favorites, fear turning the page when one is in danger. His most notable book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” serves as the inspiration for the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” His written works have earned Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, and his adaptation has garnered many Emmy and other awards. He produced television’s “Beauty and the Beast,” is an active member of SFWA, and speaks at conventions. He announced good news for his fans. His “Wild Cards” will be adapted for television, and he will produce Nnedi Okorafor’s “Who Fears Death.” He and his wife support a Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary near his home in New Mexico, USA.

George R.R. Martin

Riptide of Despair

My response to the challenge allowed me to explore a metaphorical riptide and the little girl caught up in it. Erin is the main character in my MG novel, Mae in May, but my heart cries for anyone trapped within life’s many emotional maelstroms.


Riptide of Despair

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

For Erin, life assumed a terrifying unreality.

Parents never fought. They loved each other, and they loved their kids. Certainly, they didn’t whisper terrible truths their child should never overhear, worldly wisdom she couldn’t process.

Best friends never became strangers. Their shared experiences cradled them together in a treetop far from harm or concerns. Beyond a doubt, Erin loved Marlin, her best friend and should-be brother.

Most important of all, a beloved aunt never left their son and niece to navigate life on their own.

Swept up in a riptide of confusion, Erin slumped into a huddle of despair.



Nina’s Spell

Charli Mills and her Rough Writers want to see 99 word stories with “spells,” be they from grammar books or otherwise. My story revisits a couple of ladies from my novel “Wolves at Bay.”


Nina’s Spell

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Lillian wiped her hands on a towel. “You’re magical, you know?”

Nina crinkled her nose. “Whatever do you mean?”

“Everything you touch, everything you do, is permeated with love, even when people receiving your help doesn’t deserve it.”

Nina tapped her finger on the tabletop. “Everyone deserves love.”

“I don’t think so. If I were treated as badly as you are, I don’t think I’d be as gracious. Certainly, I wouldn’t help them.”

Nina sighed. “People fear difference, worry they’ll catch it or something. I mean to show the palsy’s not contagious, but kindness is.”

“That’s your spell, then.”

2013-02-25 21.13.23

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