Amityville ‘House of Horror’ Photos, 1974

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At about 3:00AM on November 23, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murdered his family—mother, father, two sisters (aged 18 and 13), and two brothers (12 and 9)—at their home in Amityville, Long Island. These are the crime scene photos not showing the bodies. In the first photo you see one of the “evil eye” windows that gives the original house, in retrospect, such a disturbing presence.

There’s such a dissonance between the innocence and ordinariness of what’s seen and the horrible events lurking just outside of view (all of the victims were shot in their beds). DeFeo, Jr. claimed he was “possessed,” laying the groundwork for later tall tales, but of course he was just an evil shit of the common Homo sapiens variety.

The photos are via Tombolare, originally from The Amityville Files, where you can see more.

Kenner’s The Empire Strikes Back Toys: Turret & Probot Playset (1980)

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Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Flyer (Laramie, 1984)

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Image is via Cyclopeatron. Check out the red version, in package, at Tome of Treasures. With the exception of Strongheart, all of the art used is by Timothy Truman, as seen in The Art of the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Game.

The smaller Fantasy Flyers are here.

Atari Theatre Kiosk, 1976

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Photos from the San Francisco Chronicle‘s ubiquitous Gary Fong showing the experimental, six-sided Atari Theatre Kiosk at the BART station on Powell Street. According to Peter Hartlaub’s Chronicle article, as well as a ’77 Vending Times article (photo below) posted by The Golden Age Arcade Historian, games included Pong, Jet Fighter, Space Race, LeMans, Trak 10, and Tank. You got 90 seconds for your quarter. Screens at the top of the kiosk displayed BART schedules and other Bay Area news.

The experiment ended in 1977. The single arcade cabinet was more cost effective, easier to repair, and easier to move/transport. Still, it’s a powerful reminder that companies like Atari used to make humdrum and stressful places more fun.

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Enter A Higher Strangeness

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My new blog, an exploration of the paranormal and occult in popular culture, is called A Higher Strangeness. I’m still tweaking things, but the first post is up. My plan is to keep posting every weekday at 2 Warps to Neptune, while posting intermittently at the new blog. Still, all of the work I put into these projects is squeezed into a very small window (after the kids go to bed and before they wake up), so there may be a drop off.

When I told my wife what the new blog was about, she said, “So you’re going to have two blogs that no one reads?” I said, “I prefer to think of it as having two ‘niche’ blogs that strange and interesting and intelligent people can appreciate.”

The Empire Strikes Back Mix or Match Storybook by Wayne Douglas Barlowe (Random House, 1980)

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George Lucas/was blinded by ego and fame and greed/on his giant ranch in Marin County/where all the people who don’t vaccinate their kids live/when he sold Star Wars to Disney/who hired Sith Lord J.J. Abrams to reboot yet another beloved franchise based on explosions and CGI/where sad farewells were said.

Wayne Douglas Barlowe wrote and illustrated the influential Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials (1979), which lots of you remember and probably still have.

Audio Visual Club, Circa 1984

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Absolute badasses. They ate Betamaxes for breakfast.

The photo is via Scott Hanselman, who is standing in the back row.

Presto Magix Jigsaw Puzzle: The Amazing Spider-Man (Circa 1980)

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Awesome in retrospect, but probably annoying in action. If I want to do a puzzle, I’ll do a puzzle. I don’t want my Presto Magix action scene constrained by unnecessary borders.

The back of the box is blank. There was a hulk set as well.

(Image via eBay)

Kid Sitting on Spider-Man’s Lap, 1980

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That “kid” is way too big to be sitting on Spidey’s lap. The boy on deck wearing the Spidey shirt looks profoundly bored. The kids deeper in line may be playing with a Spidey Mego doll.

Not sure what the Superman “head in the hole” is all about, but it’s sad-looking. The web I like.

The location is East Towne Mall in Madison, Wisconsin.

(Photo via Chuck Patch/Flickr)

Model Kits: The U.F.O. from The Invaders (Monogram, 1979)

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The original model (seen below) was released by Aurora in 1968 and has a long history that you can read here. The Invaders is an influential sci-fi TV show about an alien invasion and one man’s attempt to stop it (think Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Fugitive).

The original Aurora model—apparently based on the notorious George Adamski photo taken in 1952—makes an appearance on the box of UFO: Game of Close Encounters.

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