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Cybertainment

A Web of Intrigue and Horror --Just Right for Halloween

October 30, 1998|ERIKA MILVY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Swarming throngs of fetishists, conspiracy theorists and alien abductees convene in a nether world known as cyberspace. A free-for-all for fans of the creepy and the kooky, mysterious and spooky (and altogether ooky), the Web is an extraterrestrial terrain where weirdness runs rampant. And Halloween is just the night to explore it.

If you're planning to make Saturday a video night, you'll find that the obvious choices--like, say, "Halloween" Vols. 1-5--will be the first to leave their shelves. Original ideas for frightening film fare can be found at the Official Universal Studios Horror webzine, a database of over 1,200 horror film reviews: http://www.horroronline.com/.

There are tons of sites on the Web where you can get party ideas and cutesy postcards of Casper and Sabrina. But if you would prefer a more authentic, chilling Halloween thrill, you should venture to some truly sinister sites such as the Black Dahlia site (http://www.bethshort.com/), which offers disturbing information and grotesque photographs of 1940s actress Elizabeth Short. Her naked body was found drained of blood and cut in half in Los Angeles in what is called the strangest of all "unsolved" murders in the annals of modern crime. This comprehensive Web site will satisfy those who are truly obsessed with the morbid details of the crime. It's not for children or the faint of heart.

Somewhat less disturbing but equally reality-based is Parascope, the premier site for all paranormal activity. At http://www.parascope.com/ you can read the conspiracy news line, which offers new information about the second-car theory in Princess Diana's fatal accident. Other corners of this site feature a UFO roundup, a historical account of the origins of the vampire myth and a host of tidbits on aliens, government cover-ups and oodles of other paranormal phenomena.

Yet another site for folks who celebrate the Halloween spirit all year long is the Official Homepage for the Kansas Ghost Hunters (http://home.swbell.net/shawnb/). These real-life ghost-busters have been awarded the International Ghost Hunters Society's highest honor--the Floating Orb--which is awarded on the basis of "exceptional photographic evidence of life after death as represented by floating orb(s), balls of light, ectoplasm vapor and swirling vortices that are the spirits of the dead in their natural energy configuration." Photographs are exhibited at this site.

At National Geographic's stylishly designed Salem Witch Hysteria Site (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/97/salem/index.html), you are the suspected witch under investigation in an interactive Colonial witch trial. Some 25 people were killed in Salem in the late 1600s. The site offers historical information about those involved in the mass hysteria as it puts you at the stake.

If you like your deathly delights live, the Internet offers numerous places to experience real-time heebie-jeebies. A haunted print shop in Belfast, Ireland, is setting up a live ghost-cam so netizens can help them catch the ghost of a girl who died in the building in tragic circumstances at the turn of the century. Her spirit has been associated with a series of strange events, which traditionally reach their peak at Halloween. The ghost-watch starts at 10 a.m. today, PST. The ghost-cam will be recording 24 hours a day for the next week. Viewers are asked to record any unusual manifestation. At http://www.irelandseye.com/ghostnew.html.

Other live Halloween events are taking place at http://www.broadcast.com/halloween/spooky.html. Tonight, the site will host a live audio seance with certified medium and professional psychic Alex Palermo.

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