I just learned this today, and it’s a perfect time to talk about it, seeing how close we are to Halloween.
On this day in 1962, the novelty song Monster Mash reached number one on the American Billboard 100 list. The Monster Mash, performed by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, was released as a single in October of the same year, along with a full length LP called The Original Monster Mash, which contained several other monster-themed tunes.
Pickett himself was an aspiring actor who sang with the band the Cordials at night after attending auditions during the day. While performing Little Darlin’ one night, Pickett did a monologue, imitating horror movie actor Boris Karloff. The audience loved it, and band member Lenny Capizzi encouraged Pickett to do more.
Later, the two band members composed Monster Mash and recorded it with Gary S. Paxton (who owned the record label Garpax Records), Leon Russell, Johnny McCrae, Rickie Page and Terry Berg, all credited as the Crypt-Kickers.
The song is narrated by a mad scientist who’s monster rises from the slab and begins to dance.
Monster Mash has been released and re-released many times over the years, and several bands have done cover versions of it, most notably the Beach Boys. Rush also included samples from Monster Mash in their 1996 album Test for Echo in the instrumental track Limbo.
The Misfits also recorded their own version of the song, which was released with the DVD release of 1969 stop motion film Mad Monster Party. The song was later released as a single in 1999 and a new version was recorded for their 2003 album Project 1950.
Monster Mash is one of those songs that comes back year after year. Make sure that you hear it at least once this Halloween. It will make this time of year complete for any horror buffs. And a treat for everyone, here’s the Monster Mash to groove along to.
From the prairies to the east now, as we take a look at two rather odd things in the Nations Capital. Often when one might think of Ottawa, Parliament or the Ottawa Senators come to mind. And sometimes, when you look hard enough, you’ll see the unexplained.
Haunted Chateau Laurier Hotel, Ottawa
The Chateau was commissioned by Charles Melville Hays who was the General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway of Canada. The Chateau Laurier was the first hotel built in the chain of Canadian Pacific hotels. Other well-known hotels in the chain are the Banff Springs Hotel and the Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, the Empress Hotel in Victoria, the Hotel Vancouver the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, and the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.
The Château Laurier was opened on June 12, 1912, by its namesake Sir Wilfrid Laurier. It is fashioned in French Renaissance style using granite blocks for the base, limestone for the walls and copper for the peaked roof. Throughout the years, secret political meetings have been held behind closed doors away from the Parliament Buildings. The hotel has been visited by celebrities such as James Cagney, Shirley Temple, Harry Belafonte, Marlene Deitrich, Roger Moore, Karen Kain, and Bryan Adams.
Charles Melville Hays who commissioned the hotel had gone over to Europe in order to choose furniture for the hotel’s dining room. Unfortunately, his return trip was on the Titanic which sank on April 14, 1912, which was 12 days before the scheduled opening of the Chateau Laurier. The only surviving male in his party was sculptor Paul Chevre who created a bust of Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Hay’s wife Clara and all the women in his party survived.
Hotel guests and staff have seen the ghost of a male who resembles Charles Melville Hays. It is understandable why his spirit wants to stay grounded in the Chateau Laurier. This project was very important to him and he never lived to see the grand opening.
Staff and guests have heard noises such as rattling and shaking inside the Chateau Laurier. There has also been the sighting of the ghost of a little girl. On another occasion, a woman fled from her room in panic because objects began moving around her room at their own will.
Many guests have had the eerie feeling of being watched as soon as they enter the hotel. It is also alleged that a guest from the media was accosted by a ghost in a stairwell.
Not everything happens to be a ghost or goblin to cause people to stare in disbelief. We stay in Ottawa, as we detail some of the rumours of former Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King, then Prime Minister of Canada.
Privately, William Lyon MacKenzie King was highly eccentric with his preference for communing with spirits, including those of Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, his dead mother, and several of his Irish Terrier dogs, all named Pat. He also claimed to commune with the spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, American president and close friend. He sought personal reassurance from the spirit world, rather than seeking political advice. Indeed, after his death, one of his mediums said that she had not realized that he was a politician. King asked whether his party would win the 1935 election, one of the few times politics came up during his seances. His occult interests were not widely known during his years in office, and only became publicized later, and have seen in his occult activities a penchant for forging unities from antitheses, thus having latent political import. In 1953 Time Magazine stated that he owned – and used – both a Ouija board and a crystal ball. In the 1970s biographers used the extensive diaries he kept during most of his life to delve deeper into his occult activities. One person he held seances with was Canadian Artist Homer Watson.