What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Friday, August 23, 2013

Here comes a candle to light you to bed

So, there was this idea for a novel that came to me yesterday. It's a mashup of several things, but it'll end up being a very dark urban fantasy (toeing the line to horror). And here's where I need you're help.

Oh Great Internet Brain,

I need twisted nursery rhymes or children songs about murders or murders. Particularly songs used to tell children to behave or the killers will come for them.

The main inspiration for this is the song, The Shankhill Butchers by the Decemberists (although I like Sarah Jarosz's voice a little better). Although something along the lines of Lizzy Borden (Lizzy Borden took an axe…) works as well. I've run into the more common ones, "Oranges and Lemons", "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater", "Ring-a-round-the-rosy", "Four and twenty blackbirds", like that. So probably something regional, or if there is a genre of murder ballads for children (if there's a specific name for it). Something that can be for a recurring horror, something to put the kiddies into therapy and having a need for their woobie.

Any thoughts?

As a reward, as a part of my search I turned this up. "What (the murderer) probably was not aware of was that a chunk of his skin would eventually be flayed (after he was executed), tanned and used to cover an 1852 copy of The Poetical Works of John Milton."

Sleep tight.


Eric said...

I can't think of anything you haven't already, Steve, but will come back if something crosses my mind. But the one thing that did flit around my brain reading your post was the late-1950s phenomena of "Geiners". If you're not aware of them already, these were gross (and not really all that funny) jokes kids started coming up with after Wisconsin police arrested the noted grave robber, murderer and taxidermist: "Why did they have to turn up the heat at Ed Gein's house? To keep the furniture from getting goosebumps."

Not exactly what you were asking for, I know. But kids' timeless tendency to find morbid, macabre humor in frightening and disgusting things might be something you can use. (And you didn't specify an era, though obviously the Decemberists' song is from the past decade and the real Shankhill Butchers committed their atrocities in the 1970s.)

Hope that's vaguely helpful....

Steve Buchheit said...

Thanks, Eric. Kids tend to handle these things better than most adults (combination of not fully understanding and being more accepting of the world as is than as we want it to be).

Just did a little search on Geiners, maybe I just need a good limerick.