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About A Gothic Curiosity Cabinet

MY NAME IS TODD ATTEBERRY. For better or worse, this is my site and my story.

I believe in myth, legend, ghosts and yes C., I believe in fairies.

My grandfather was a grave digger. I grew up in a haunted house and had my own personal ghost follow me around for some years afterwards. I come to this shit naturally.

Horror as a genre seems to come and go in cycles. When I was coming of age in the sixties and seventies, it was undergoing a renaissance. Hammer Studios was in full production, and even for a kid watching at home, there was always something new. Or something old, for the classics were new to us. The Haunting was made into a film. Dark Shadows was on TV.

Also, old people were more interesting back then. That generation seemed to still hold onto more of the old ways and beliefs. They could tell you a story at night around the fire which would make you think twice about walking down a dark alley. Or turning off the light to go to sleep for that matter. I loved storytellers so much, I became one myself.

THESE ARE MY STORIES. Most of them come from other places, from a wide variety of sources. It’s not scholarship. They’re folk tales, and folk tales change based on who is telling them. I like to start with facts, which makes me different.

The folk tales, stories of haunted houses and graveyards … they have more of an effect on history than we realize. They are beliefs that are shared by a community, passed down from generation to generation. Urban legends usually have some basis in fact. Often the opposite of the legend. But those beliefs shape history.

When you know the history of a place, it begins to make sense on a myriad of levels. You see how the very landscape of a place affected what happened there. No matter what else might change, the general landscape stays the same.

Does it really matter if the Blood Stone was the site of human sacrifices, when for two thousand years people have believed it so? That’s history itself.

And so we have this site. It’s my diary, arranged in a somewhat haphazard fashion. It’s where I go, who I meet, what I see, what I believe and what I do in my spare time. It’s a journal of haunted places, occult belief, a dash of paganism, real witchcraft, where to travel and why, occult gardening and of course, love.

Somebody famous and dead once said “love makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders, smooth as raven’s claws.” I don’t have a clue what it means, but I love it all the same.

Someday it’ll be a book or a motion picture … it will read better than it was lived, I’ll tell you that. For in the end, horror is about facing and conquering fear. That’s sometimes messy, and as a result, I’m thought quite mad on at least two continents now, by people who know me well.

You were warned.

Meanwhile, the road goes ever on …

T

NOTE: If you really must reach me, you can do so by writing to todd@greenmandesignstudio.com.

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WHO AM I ANYWAY?

I help people make their dreams come true through communication and the magic of the internet. It’s Green Man Design Studio, and mainly I work with photographers and a handful of some of the sweetest clients a person could want.

I find poisons and potions and the horticultural habits of the ancients fascinating, and so have my own witch’s garden. Since I really don’t care a lot for sunny days, I also made it a moon garden, so I have a place to hang out at night.

Just inside the door from the garden is the Tea Room. There we make music for pagans, under the name of Dread Poets. It’s not a band, just a project with a name, but it keeps me out of the pubs for the most part. Why music for pagans? Pagans have the best taste in music, that’s why. They aren’t afraid of things adventurous, revere the artists of the past and burn the best incense.

For the most part we take poetry of the romantic era and set it to music. The kind of music that forty years ago would be found in the cars of people driving down country roads, looking for spooks and smoking an awful lot of dope.

If you want to know what I tell my own kid about paganism, magic and witchcraft, there’s this.

And if you want to know what it was like growing up in the gothic midwest of the 1970s, there’s this as well.

I have an unhealthy attraction to things dark and mysterious, and frequently travel to places where something ghastly has occurred. Which results at times in the sudden realization that I’m sleeping in a bed where a hundred years ago, the former occupant shot himself and has been seen periodically since.

I’ve stood on the spot where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

AM I A PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR? Not a chance. There’s only one way you’ll ever believe in the paranormal. If you see something with your own eyes, or hear a story that makes you believe. If EVPs were going to prove the existence of a great beyond, Zack Bagans would have the Nobel Prize by now.

I go to haunted places, and I love a haunted inn, pub or hotel where I can sit and soak up the atmosphere. There are places where you can feel that something might happen at any moment. And that my friends, is the best you can hope for. That and a good single malt scotch to pass the time while you wait on spooks. Or a shot of absinthe, depending on what type of spooks you’re looking for. These things must be handled delicately.

As I said, it’s personal experience that will make you a believer, and having a nip or two won’t dissuade you from believing if something happens.

Occasionally it does. I heard the giggle of Washington Irving’s niece at Sunnyside, his home. I saw the white lady in The George and Pilgrim Inn in Glastonbury, England. I’ve lowered my camera to see colonial era soldiers watching me, and nearly had the shit knocked out of me in the old Talbot Inn, in Bardstown, Kentucky. Weird shit happens and you can’t predict it, and spirits don’t appear on cue or with any regularity.

I’M A PHOTOGRAPHER and I’ve been featured in depth by SmugMug, that fine family company which hosts websites for photographers. You can read that here …

My photography and some of what you find on this site has been featured in a startling variety of places. It seems a lot of people do their research via Google these days, and I sounded authoritative enough for the fact checkers at Simon and Schuster if nothing else.

I seem to field a lot of questions from school children who want to know about the murderess Lavinia Fisher, who was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina in 1820. Charleston kids also want to know about pirates as well. To be honest, I rather love that about my job.

I also recently found myself telling the story of Lavinia Fisher in the book Haunted Charleston: Scary Sites, Eerie Encounters, and Tall Tales.

My photography has graced the covers and inside pages of History and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley, by Jonathan Kruk, and Haunted Long Island II, by Lynda Lee Macken, as well as Gap Creek by Robert Morgan.

I’ve been credited in Footloose Pilgrims: A Journal of Moped Travels Through Europe by Dick Lynam and Bill Lynam, The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff and The Economic Survival of America’s Isolated Small Towns, Gerald L. Gordon. I list those here because they didn’t ask permission, and thus deserved shamed for having trusted such a notorious source.

Cocktails with Harvey (1)

You can also find me credited in the following fine publications and websites:

The New York Times
The Boston Herald
BBC
The Guardian
CNN
MSNBC
Broadway World
Indianapolis Post
NY Daily News
Fodors
Country Living Magazine
House Beautiful
Good Housekeeping
AMC

Recent client list includes:The Daughters of the American Revolution, a.k.a. the D.A.R,  The Civil War Trust, Plimoth Plantation, History Press, Algonquin Press, Black Cat Press, Historic Hudson Valley, Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, Philipsburg Manor, Horseman’s Hollow, Sunnyside, SmugMug, The Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy.

I’ve also worked freelance as an illustrator and graphic designer for major corporations, agencies and institutions, including Ogilvy and Mathers, Lintas/New York, Bristol Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly.

Enough about me. “WHO are YOU?” said the caterpillar.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Carole Lucca June 21, 2016, 2:23 am

    So very different, so very talented

  • Susan Ann Farrell December 28, 2016, 8:45 pm

    I was curious if you ever studied the Three Village area in Long Island , NY?
    I had the privilege of growing up in Stony Brook , NY . I grew up in one of the first homes supposedly built there.
    My Grandparents owned the first village grocery store . Edward and Bertha Kearns. So many ghost stories came out of my town. The Hadaway House is now a restaurant that hold the spirit of a young girl hanging in the rafters.
    The Church high on a hill near town that holds secret tunnels below that connect a network of select homes of the first families there.
    I learned this when after my grandparents passed away my mother attempted to make renovations only to be told 2 things . One when they removed the very old oil burner to install a new one they found a slab under it . Upon prying the slab they found a tunnel.
    Also they were told no existing walls could be removed as the entire house was held together with wooden pegs.
    My mother decided it would cost too much to make adequate changes.
    So she contacted the historical society about the tunnels and they made a deal and she moved us far away from our beloved home.
    Our home scared her . Always had even as a child. Myself I loved it. Not even the old black slave cemetery on the property scared me.
    Myself , my cousin, and four of our close friends had many adventures in those woods behind our home.
    Many nights we would go to the cellar and tell ghost stories.
    We would travel through town on our bikes and visit all the places that scared people. The old amphitheater that was built before I was born hidden in the woods behind the town.
    You could hear voices if you listened.
    The old boat house down by sand street beach where children had drown.
    We would sit by the big Hercules statue near town and play for hours.
    Ride our bikes through head of the harbor and lay flowers by Mary’s grave.
    So many old creepy houses up there.
    Then as we grew we would ride to Setauket, and old field, port Jefferson.
    It’s all part of The Three Village area.
    You can find home after home there that have been preserved because of some paranormal type of event.

    • turnicate January 6, 2017, 6:50 pm

      Actually I have several articles on the Three Villages area and the Setaukets. You can find them by going through this section right about here. I’d love to hear more of your stories!

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