GUEST BOOK REVIEW by Jeff Parsons: Worlds Before Our Own

Worlds Before Our Own
By: Brad Steiger

Twenty-two years before Technology of the Gods… Seventeen years before Fingerprints of the Gods… Fifteen years before Forbidden Archaeology… …there was Worlds Before Our Own, Brad Steiger’s groundbreaking argument for the existence of a global prehistoric civilization. The evidence Steiger had amassed for such a claim was based primarily upon finds of “erratics” — mysterious “man-made” artifacts found in the deepest, most primordial geological strata. In the past couple of decades the concepts first presented in Worlds Before Our Own have garnered tremendous critical and popular support. This is the book that started it all.
Twenty-two years before Technology of the Gods… Seventeen years before Fingerprints of the Gods… Fifteen years before Forbidden Archaeology… …there was Worlds Before Our Own, Brad Steiger’s groundbreaking argument for the existence of a global prehistoric civilization. The evidence Steiger had amassed for such a claim was based primarily upon finds of “erratics” — mysterious “man-made” artifacts found in the deepest, most primordial geological strata. In the past couple of decades the concepts first presented in Worlds Before Our Own have garnered tremendous critical and popular support. This is the book that started it all.

What if the world is far different than our understanding of it? Understanding formulated and cultivated by an established intellectual community that made up its mind long ago about the way things were supposed to be, despite evidence to the contrary. Naturally, presenting such proof in the form of the book ‘Worlds Before Our Own’ would gather scathing reviews. I’m a fan of this Brad Steiger book because it opened my mind to many possibilities.

Whether we realize it or not, our ideas have been shaped by what we’ve been exposed to, which often corresponds to prevailing thought. Think about it. At one time, the cosmos revolved around Earth. You were considered to be a heretic if you said otherwise. The gorilla was thought to be the imaginations of crazy people until famous experts saw them. The Pyramids, then Stonehenge, then other early sites were considered to be the precursors of civilization. Then, Gobekti Tepe was recently discovered in Turkey. Over 12,000 years old, it was built in the neolithic before the invention of pottery, writing, or the wheel apparently. Planets didn’t exist – of course not – until they were discovered by new technology. UFOs were seen by many people, all considered to be crackpots. Now they’re on military and personal cell phone videos and are being actively discussed by ‘rational’ people.    

This 1978 book obviously has no recent documentation, which begs for an update because the presentation opens your mind to the possibilities of, as the book says, worlds before our own, mysteries hidden by time, doubting opinions, and hidden agendas. I’ve read and reread this book with a healthy amount of skepticism. Many of these accounts originate from people and to state the obvious, not everyone is truthful. But even if only 1% of it is true, it’s simply mind-boggling.

Here’s some of what the book talks about…

At Glen Rose, Texas, hominid footprints, 16” long, are located alongside dinosaur tracks. The 6’ long hominid stride increased to 9’ when running. Either gigantic humanoids existed in the Cretaceous Period or dinosaurs existed in the Pleistocene Era, alongside giants. Or, of course, it’s all a mistake, but footprints and artifact mysteries are not isolated incidents.

Many other tales, written accounts, many scientific, indicate the existence of giants. Not just footprints, but skeletons too, some as tall as 36’ discovered in diverse places. Many cultures and religions mention giants as casually as they mention known historical locations and occurrences.

The old news accounts are fascinating, not just from small press, but from science journals and respectable newspapers as well.    

In addition to the accounts of witnesses, there are physical artifacts that also confound the accepted notion of what we know. A gold necklace found embedded in coal or a metal bell shaped vessel, inlaid with a silver floral design, encased in solid rock. Both removed from far underground, imprints intact within the surrounding matrix. Many examples of these erratics have been found, things which disturb the preconceived notions of history and archaeology. Some examples range closer to an easier acceptance of credibility, such as unparalleled examples of stonework, metallurgy, glassmaking, and electroplating which can’t be reproduced using today’s technology, yet they were available to ancient civilizations. Even more incredible ancient technologies pertain to tales of godlike crystals, manna generators, and flying machines, taken from religious texts and ancient historians.

Did you know that the Great Flood was described by many religions, cultures, and histories? According to some cultures, many related cycles of destruction have occurred after which we continually rebuild. Maybe these events passed on to the realms of legend over the course of forgotten millennia, and while little to no scientific proof exists, that doesn’t mean that something didn’t happen.      

Sometimes, legend only has to go back a century or two. Early American explorers and Indian accounts tell of gigantic flying monsters vaguely similar to the pterodactyl. The creatures could walk, run, fly, and swim, developing a craving for human flesh that nearly destroyed a tribal community. The details of these accounts are astounding.

We all only know what we do until we discover something different. And then, it’s up to us to choose how we handle it. New discoveries are happening all the time. It’s good to have an open mind. This book will introduce you to an ancient world of mystery.

And… after reading this book, you should also try his 2010 book ‘Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside’, regarding folklore and how unnervingly real it can be.

In addition to his two short story books, The Captivating Flames of Madness and Algorithm of Nightmares, Jeff Parsons is published in The Horror Zine, The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories, Aphelion Webzine, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 4, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Dystopia Utopia Short Stories, Wax & Wane: A Coven of Witch Tales, Thinking Through Our Fingers, The Moving Finger Writes, Golden Prose & Poetry, Our Dance With Words, The Voices Within, Fireburst: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group, Second Flash Fiction Anthology 2018, SNM Horror Magazine, and Bonded by Blood IV/ V.

SHORT STORY: Mister-Man by Eric Butler


Debbie’s jaw clenched in anger as she stared at her son’s tear-streaked face. Another meltdown in public, another long embarrassing walk back to the car while strangers’ stares burrowed into the back of her skull as she did all she could to calm him down. After they arrived home, she locked herself in her bathroom, waiting for his tantrum to stop before facing him again. Her stomach twisted in knots as she struggled to keep her anger in check. Eventually, he quieted down. Debbie waited, taking deep breaths while thinking happy thoughts that did nothing more than remind her she was anything but.

When she opened the door, she wasn’t sure what to expect. Jon lay on the floor, curled under his favourite blanket, holding onto the cause of all this misery. Mister-Man, the stuffed monkey, glared at her with its one good glass eye. A gift from her late husband, and the only thing Jon would speak to.

The doctors suggested replacing it might encourage Jon to branch out. All it encouraged was another epic tantrum. Would it be too much for one direct word? Instead, every conversation had to go through Mister-Man … just like when his father was alive.


Just one word, but she was suddenly energized. Debbie rushed forward and snatched Mister-Man. She hurried to the living room; afraid she’d lose her nerve. At the fireplace she paused, staring at the toy one last time. God, I hate you. A smile crossed her face as she remembered saying those exact words to Jon’s father at the end. She tossed Mister-Man into the flames, imagining its tiny screams.

Stopping in the kitchen to pour a glass of wine, Debbie decided to take a nice hot bath. She danced through the house, skipping and twirling to an imagined beat. She turned on the faucets, splashed in some bubble bath, and slipped out of her clothes. Frowning, Debbie swore a scraping noise echoed down the hall. Leaning closer, she strained to hear over the water splashing.

A sudden bang against the door startled Debbie causing her to stumble back, wine sloshing over her hand. Furious, Debbie jerked the door open.

“Enough,” she shouted, ready to reprimand Jon for his newest outburst.

Her eyes widened as she gasped. Mister-Man stood in the hall, hugging a butcher knife to stay upright. Its faux fur was singed, exposing angry pink skin underneath. A grotesque smile split the monkey’s face, exposing two rows of human teeth.

“I won’t be as easy to remove this time,” Mister-Man said, a perfect mimic of her late husband’s voice.

Debbie blinked back at the doll. This can’t be. The monkey used the knife to drag itself closer. Debbie shrieked as she stumbled back, slipping in the spilled wine. Her neck struck the tub and after an initial burst of pain, Debbie went numb.

She blinked at the stuffed monkey as it inched closer, a wide smile on its face.

“Don’t worry … my dear. You won’t feel a thing.”

-The End-

Boo-graphy: Eric Butler is an indie horror writer who lives deep in the heart of Texas. When he’s not writing novels and stories for anthologies, he’s doing the bidding of two adorable huskies. He’s been married for over 20 years and has a teenager in the house, so he won’t be running out of horror material for quite some time.

GUEST POST: Zach Jenkins

If you are a movie buff, chances are that you have attended or intended to attend a film festival. Whether it’s a theater experience or from the comfort of your own home, it is a very enjoyable time. My fiancée (Paige)  and I co-operate a horror film festival called Thrills, Chills, and Kills Film Festival. This year will be our last fully virtual event, as we are planning a physical event next year. Our growth has been eye opening to say the least. Our first year (2020) we had a tiny festival with only 15 films with one of them being feature length. In 2021 we had a massive jump in attendance and in submissions. With a jump from 15 to 76 films accepted, we knew this was taking off a little bit. This year (October 20th-23rd) we had an even larger jump in submissions. We had 290 films submitted to us across every continent and we narrowed it down to 84.

I encourage anyone with a love of film regardless of genre to attempt a virtual festival, it’s rewarding watching Directors, cast, and crew grow after their film gets screened. I will explain the process behind running a film fest using TCK as an example.

  1. Selecting the best site to manage submissions. We use FilmFreeway, it offers everything from email forms, ad creators, laurel creators to marketing options, and direct downloading of materials.
  1. Choosing your name and branding is very important in terms of standing out.
  1. Using Facebook groups and other areas to post for submission calling. It is very important to use this alongside any marketing the website provides. All you have to do is make a post with a picture of deadline dates and explain what your festival is and why filmmakers would submit their films.
  1. When the films start rolling in, it can be overwhelming at first but use any tools when it comes to sorting the films. We use built in flags on FilmFreeway and we also use Google Sheets and Trello for keeping everything together.
  1. When the final deadline is over with, it is time to make your final selections. We have judges that select awards for us. We provide nominees and they pick their favorites based on criteria. You can do this any way you would like.
  1. It is important to provide information to the selected directors, this can be done in the notification section on FilmFreeway. Provide everything you see as important.
  1. Find the perfect destination to stream the films. We use BingeWave, we can embed it into our website or we can direct viewers to watch on their site. There are many ways but be mindful of privacy first because most of the films are for festivals only at the time and are unreleased. You always want the security of knowing the films won’t be pirated.
  1. During festival time, make sure you are watching as well. It can be extremely fun to use the chat function to chat with actors, directors, and anyone else apart from the films. We have a blast hearing stories and connecting filmmakers to their audience.
  1. After the festival has concluded, you should announce winners of awards and send their winner laurels. The laurels can provide credibility for future years.

I hope you learned something or maybe got inspired. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to either me or Paige.

Hello everyone, my name is Zach and I am a co-founder of Thrills, Chills, and Kills. I am the goofiest one of the bunch yet least likely to get injured from inanimate objects. I may have the least experience in writing (as you can probably tell) I make up for it in creative vision (most of the time). Horror has been in my veins for as long as I have been alive.  Having watched Halloween around a million times by now, I could probably quote every scene. 

I am also an aspiring filmmaker. I have completed 2 short films already and have ideas for several more films in this warped brain of mine. My first film The Mind’s Window is a 13 minute short about being locked in a space not knowing what is lurking on the outside. You can watch it on YouTube for the time being. I have always wanted to make a film that I’m proud of and I told myself this is the time to start. I have another film that is fully shot but is in editing purgatory at the moment. 

GUEST POST: Christina Bergling

What Scares You?

What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?

This should be an easy question to answer. Considering the amount of horror movies I watch, I should have a scrolling list in my mind from which to choose. However, as I roll through that list, I can’t settle on one I consider scary.

I have a long list of ones that have disturbed and upset me. The Sadness (2021) that I saw at Telluride Horror Show. The Treatment (2014) that I saw at the Stanley Film Festival. Martyrs (2008) and Inside (2007), French movies. The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (2004) by Asia Argento, Dario Argento’s daughter. The Human Centipede (2009-2015), all three obviously.

I can even think of ones that creeped me out or unnerved me. The Conjuring (2013) was “creepy as balls” to quote my husband. Antebellum (2020) and Get Out (2017) for the other horrors they capture. Se7en (1995) for the lust murder.

I could keep going on either list, yet I still don’t land on scary. That begs the inevitable question, what is scary? What do I think makes a movie scary? What scares me, onscreen and off?

I have had vivid, graphic nightmares my entire life. When I was a child, anything and everything I watched would reappear twisted in my nightmares. I had a sheltered childhood, so that would result in the ghosts from the Ghostbusters cartoon haunting me or something equally benign. In short, I was scared of just about everything.

One night, while I was babysitting, I found Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995) on the family’s HBO or Cinemax or something. I was never allowed to watch anything violent at home, so when I flipped the movie mid-way through, I decided to sneakily watch it at someone else’s house. After all, it was just a movie, and I so wanted to watch horror.

The movie scared the hell out of me. The scene where Matthew McConaughey crushes someone’s head with his mechanical leg embedded in my brain. I can conjure it even now, these decades later. I was so terrified that when the parents came home and I left, I ran home because walking in the dark was too fraught with terrors.

It has been a lot of nightmares and horror movies since that night. Perhaps I have become desensitized. Or perhaps the things that scare me have changed. Or how I define scary itself.

When I muse on what scares me, “adult” or “real” fears are what bubble to the surface of my brain. No supernatural elements or phobias. Family members dying or getting hurt, financial devastation that leads to not being able to take care of my family, failure, myself, being stranded alone in the dark, being trapped. Not all of them are rational, and the scenarios concocted in my mind inflate to being outrageous. Ultimately, I think I would classify these as anxieties rather than full on fears.

When a strange noise creaks from upstairs in a dark and empty house, I definitely startle (I also startle constantly in a haunted house). However, fear does not cinch around my heart. Rather, I resign myself to wait. I’ll find out what it is when it comes to kill me. That behavior might be from overdosing on horror. Never investigate the strange noise.

I’m not proposing that I am fearless. When I’m hiking a mountain and there is a sheer drop off, my pulse surely reminds me that I am a fragile mortal. And the fall would kill me. Yet I find my fears mundane in their everyday origins. Who doesn’t fear these things? It feels like highlights of the human condition.

I have been obsessed with horror so long that any tickle of fear it elicits is exciting. It’s fun, and it’s safe. I can feel the thrill and the injection of adrenaline, knowing nothing is really going to happen. As a creator of horror, I appreciate the manufacturing of terrifying circumstances—events and things that exist beyond our plane.

So, for the sake of this article and to make it more than my subconscious rambling, let’s redefine fear in this context. If movies and books don’t scare me but rather upset and traumatize me, let’s talk about recent times I have been afraid in real life. Skin tingling, fight or flight fear.

I recently lost my daughter in a Target for ten minutes. She wanted to walk down the aisle and swap out some pants. Since the children’s department was in sight from the wide aisle, I figured it would be fine. After all, she has wandered off to look around in a store before. My son and I finished what we were doing and went to find her in that section.

She was not there. Nothing.

Suddenly, no one seemed to be in the area. I hurried through the section, looking behind racks for her curly head and whirling my sight for any hint of movement at the right height. I jogged up and down the aisle, yelling at my son to keep up.

Still nothing.

My mind swelled and filled with worst case scenarios. I saw her finding something interesting and just wandering off. I pictured a stranger snatching her hand and dragging her out the front door. I kept telling myself it was fine, she had to be there somewhere, she would appear any moment; but that frantic mantra did nothing to soothe the pulse raging through my veins.

I could feel every cell in my body. They twitched and vibrated in time with the repeating panic. Every turn with no glimpse of her felt like walking off a precipice, a jump that meant nothing could ever be the same. Even my hands seemed to have vanished.

Fear, cold and consuming, draped over me.

Then she appeared, and all that adrenaline left me trembling as I nearly cried with relief.

As vivid as it was, this is a pretty mundane fear, something to which I think most parents can relate. There is nothing fantastical or irrational about it, which are hallmarks for horror fear for me.

Maternal fear is an instinctual fear. I have also experience primal fear. One summer, I was at Girl Scouts camp with my daughter. Everyone was around the fire, singing and making s’mores. My daughter needed a blanket, so I volunteered to walk down to the cabin. My brain needed a break from the sound.

I meandered down the gravel road, enjoying the pale moonlight painting the ground through the trees and my footsteps as the only sound. The chill of the night air licked at my cheeks, and the calm of solitude flattened over me.

As I approached the cabin, a smell smashed into my face like a wall, hard enough to pack my nostrils and wriggle into my sinuses. The odor was foreign yet distinctly wild. I could taste it. Shaking it off, I continued on the gravel. As the cabin lights came into view, I heard rustling and digging ahead. Squinting against my weak night vision, I made out a hulking black shape.

My mind clicked around the realization: a bear.

Terror flooded through me, independent below my mind. There were no thoughts, no panicked monologue. My body reacted without bothering with evaluation or ratinalization. It knew there was real danger ahead, and it knew down to my marrow that it was time to flee.

With strained effort, I applied my thoughts back into the situation. My legs wanted to run, but I held them fast, reduced the urge to slow backwards steps. Once I was far enough away for my breathing to slow, I turned and hurried back to the fire.

Primal fears might be the most consistent for humans. I don’t think I know anyone who would remain calm and unaffected when faced with a predator that could kill them without much effort. The base reaction in the moment does not even need a brain to identify the threat.

In life and reality, I think it is clear that I have fears, from maternal panic to instinctual flight. When it comes to horror movies and Halloween though, I’m still searching for nightmare fuel to quicken my heart and bleed into my days.

Boo-graphy: Christina Bergling has been writing since childhood. She has written a variety of styles. A blog from Iraq, software user guides, articles for a numismatist magazine. More than anything, she is a horror author.

Crystal Lake released her latest novel, Followers. Limitless Publishing published her novel The Rest Will Come. HellBound Books published her two novellas, Savages and The Waning. She co-wrote Screechers with Kevin J. Kennedy. She is also featured in numerous anthologies, including Collected Christmas Horror Shorts
(1 and 2), Demonic Wildlife, Colorado’s Emerging Authors, and Graveyard Girls.

Bergling lives with her family in Colorado and spends her non-writing time working in IT, hiking mountains, dancing, and sucking all the marrow out of life.



Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Parker Finn
Stars: Sosie Bacon, Jessie T Usher, Kyle Gallner
Year: 2022
Rating: R
Run-Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.

I went to the movie Smile with my teenager at the theaters the first weekend it came out, and I went in blindly. I hadn’t seen a single preview. All I knew going in was that it was a horror movie with people who had creepy smiles. Sold. I was in.

The movie starts with Rose Cotter, a therapist who works at an emergency in-patient facility. A patient arrives at the facility and she stays to help despite already being there well past her shift and sleep seems to be something she’s postponed for some time. This is where the real inciting incident of the movie kicks off, and from that point on, we spiral down a whirlwind of suicide, ancient lore, and of course those creepy smiles.

As the movie progresses, the protagonist of the story slips into a psychotic break that keeps us guessing about what’s really happening. Her clothes, habits, and constant fidgeting make it clear that she’s not okay. And let’s not forget the ominous backstory of family mental health problems snuck in. The cinematography doubles down on the theme with artistic swirling angles and views, reminding you that perception is everything.

Despite all the reasons not to, I was #TeamRose, and I believed her. Rose teams up with an ex-boyfriend to track down a pattern of what happens to the long line of others who encountered the same triggering event. The lore they uncover had me on the edge of my seat, I had to see what happened! I needed to know more.

And then we get to the final leg of the movie, the big showdown, the face off with the monster, and this is where the movie lost me. To be honest, it’s probably my beef with a lot of monster movies. The monster was so underdeveloped and so clearly didn’t fit into the world introduced that I lost all concern or tension over what would happen next. Womp womp.

Despite a lack-luster reveal of the real monster, I’d give Smile a solid four out of five popcorn tubs. The entirety of the movie was filled with well-woven details to make us question what we thought we knew, the acting for every smile was fantastic, and of course those swoon-worthy camera angles.

When we left the theater, my teenage son said, “No, Mom. Just no. That was creepy.” Any movie that can give my teenager the heebie-jeebies is a win in my book.

Boo-graphy: Cass started her writing career as a journalist in college who moonlighted as an actress. Now at home with her husband, two sons, and two dogs, she’s discovered that fiction novel writing combines her love of the written word with her love of creating compelling characters. When she’s not staring at a computer screen, she can be found planting bulbs in the garden, her nose in a book, or watching Smallville with her family. Cass’s debut novel, Legacy Witches, was released in October of 2022.