The X-Files "Ice" at 25: The episode that changed Mulder and Scully forever

When discussing the first season of The X-Files, or the show’s overall legacy, “Ice” deserves special praise. First aired 25 years ago on Nov. 5, 1993, the Season One is a bottle episode set on an remote research base in Alaska.
Borrowing liberally from John Carpenter’s The Thing, the eighth installment was the best of the series thus far, raising the bar for episodes to come. 
The alien parasite story is the third by renowned X-Files writers Glen Morgan and James Wong (after “Shadows” and “Squeeze”). More than previous episodes, “Ice” puts the agents’ trust in one another to the test. It aligns with the show’s overarching theme of paranoia but advances the Fox Mulder/Dana Scully dynamic, and places them in their most stressful context yet—while pushing personality differences to the extreme

American Horror Hotel Stories: Haunted spots for scary stays in every state

BY AARON SAGERS

Although we're about to check out of the Halloween season, it doesn't mean the time is over to check into some scary action. In fact, all across the country there are haunted houses (and hotels, and B&Bs) worth a visit for year-round paranormal tourism.

As a lover of ghost stories, and professional paranormal pop culture nerd, I am often on the hunt for haunts, with my tastes leaning more towards comfortable hotels with a ghosty rep and less creaky old drafty mansions. This used to be a more daunting task, when establishments were reluctant to embrace their spectral folklore for fear they might attract the wrong crowd, appear less reputable, or basically scare away guests.

Thankfully, things have changed in the past decade or so, with the popularity of paranormal reality TV, and successful movies like The Conjuring. Now ghost stories are a selling point for many locations, and with Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House, I would not anticipate a good haunted hot spot to have much difficulty filling its vacancy.

I currently have a running tally of more than 100 supposedly haunted hotels, and I've stayed at a large number of them. And many have become well known in the mainstream, and dubbed some of the "most haunted" destinations in America.

The Stanley Hotel, aka The Shining hotel, is a part of pop culture in its own right - and for good reason. Shown above, the Estes Park, Colo., location is luxurious and set in the scenic Rocky Mountains. Meanwhile, the RMS Queen Mary, moored at Long Beach, Calif., is an ocean liner that carried civilian passengers and then troops during World War II. Now it is a tourist attraction, party venue, and the focus of many ghost hunts.

But what of the less-famous locations, and how do you hunt down your haunts? To that end, I have a beginner's guide of 50 haunts for all 50 states (plus Washington D.C.). This is by no means a comprehensive list, but is just to kickstart a spooky stay. In my search, I relied on active listings using Booking.com's database, and tried to lean towards the lesser-known. Don't just take my suggestions, or only use these listings. Instead, begin your own ghost hotel hunt.

The Haunting of Hill House, and The Best Haunted House Tales For A Creepy October



By AARON SAGERS


With the new horror series The Haunting of Hill House, viewers settling for some “Netflix and Chill” time may instead be in for “Netflix and chilled to the bone.”

The 10-episode series, which hit the streaming service last Friday, begins 26 years with the Crain family who encounter supernatural threats in an old mansion. As the story switches between 1992 and 2018, the show follows the Crain father and his five adult children (including the skeptical paranormal author son), and their younger selves. Over the course of the show, they dig up the past, face down specters, and their own personal ghosts.

Based on the 1959 classic of the same name by Shirley Jackson, the updated Haunting of Hill House varies quite a bit from the original, but is nonetheless a faithful adaptation in spirit. It is a downright scary longform horror show that puts character drama at the forefront. 

As much as you should check out the decidedly creepy show, the source material is a must-read, and remains the best haunted house stories of all time.

But it is certainly not the only good story for a literary adventure to catch your breath, and tingle your spine. 

With that in mind, read ahead for the best haunted house tales to keep you creeped out for the rest of October. 

The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
By Shirley Jackson

The old manse Hill House has a bad habit of killing off inhabitants – so, of course it seems like a good idea (very bad idea) for occultist and paranormal investigator Dr. Montague to bring some folks along for a stay. Although phenomena begin as merely unsettling occurrences, the house is feeding off Eleanor, the sensitive waif, and getting stronger. As much as I love The Shining, I think even Mr. King would allow me to say Hill House is better, and a work of genius. The Haunting, the 1963 film based on Jackson’s story, is also pretty great, but not near as exceptional as the novel.

The ghost of aviator Elsie Mackay, and a night spent at Scotland's Glenapp Castle

BY AARON SAGERS
[NOTE: You can listen along to the story on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/aaronsagers/the-ghost-of-elsie-mackay-scotlands-haunted-glenapp-castle]

It is 1 a.m., and despite the fact that I am exhausted, and feeling heavy due to copious gin cocktails, I am determined to draw a bath and listen to some period music. After all, I am staying in a majestic suite in a Scottish castle, and I happen to be sleeping in “the haunted room.”

The Castle is Glenapp in Ballantrae, Scotland, just off the Ayrshire coast. And the haunted room is the Earl of Orkney suite. The supposed ghost? Elsie Mackay.

'Conjuring' spinoff director Corin Hardy reports hauntings on 'The Nun' set

Hauntings associated with movie productions is nothing new. The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and The Omen are among the most oft-cited examples of sets allegedly plagued by paranormal activity. But even a more recent production such as The Conjuring supposedly dealt with strange happenings.

Which makes it all the more fitting The Nun, the upcoming horror spinoff to The Conjuring, has also had some spooky visitors on its Romanian set, according to director Corin Hardy (The Hallow).

In an interview with Cinema Blend at last month's San Diego Comic-Con, Hardy said he encountered two shadowy figures who hung out as he directed a scene in an old fortress.