Friday, October 31, 2008

"Traps" Released November 11


baited, set and ready

edited by Scott T. Goudsward
Introduction by T.M. Wright

The sound of the snare, the scream of an unsuspecting victim—the deadliest part of a trap is not knowing you’re in one until it’s too late! Featuring top-shelf terror and a rogues’ gallery of twisted tales by some of the genre’s best writers.


P.D. Cacek
Del Howison
Nancy Kilpatrick
Rhys Hughes
Paul Finch
Hal Bodner
Wendy Brewer
L.L. Soares
J.M. Heluk
David Simms
Tracy L. Carbone
Scott T. Goudsward
A.E. Martineau
T. Rex Armés
John Dimes
Mark Rigney
Caroline Allen
Dan Foley
Lorne Dixon
Gregory L. Norris
Cody Goodfellow
Lisa Mannetti
Elizabeth Blue
Martel Sardina
Lyn C.A. Gardener
Flo Stanton
Sarah Totton

Get your copy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No such thing as "Orphaned Works."

(Please scroll down to read my reply)

From the Office of Senator Evan Bayh
Monday, August 18, 2008 11:56 AM
From: ""
To: johndstanton

Dear Mr. Stanton :

Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 2913, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 . I appreciate your thoughts and concerns on this issue.

Innovation, creativity and hard work have fueled the growth of our economy and created countless jobs. I believe that our country's success in a globalized world depends largely on its ability to protect its innovations and breakthrough designs. Yet today, American businesses lose an estimated $250 billion a year to intellectual property theft. One of the most important steps Congress can take on behalf of our content creators is to ensure that adequate protections are in place so that they will be compensated for their work. That is why I authored the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Act, a bold new strategy for protecting Americans from criminals bent on pirating or counterfeiting their products. My bill would improve enforcement by elevating the government's response to IP offenses to the same level as money laundering and other black-market crimes. This legislation would also enhance cooperation between the myriad federal agencies responsible for carrying out the protection of intellectual property rights. We need this reform to establish a focused, aggressive coordination plan for our domestic and international efforts to protect our best and last competitive advantage in the global economy: American ingenuity.

I am pleased that nearly all of the ideas embodied in my legislation have been incorporated in a new bill introduced by leaders of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and myself on July 24, 2008. The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008 will protect American innovation by addressing the shortcomings of our current enforcement regime. This bipartisan, measured compromise represents the best components of a number of intellectual property proposals introduced in Congress. Key among the legislation's provisions are: authorization for the Attorney General to enforce civil copyright laws; enhancements to civil intellectual property laws; enhancements to criminal intellectual property laws; coordination and strategic planning of federal efforts against counterfeiting and piracy; and increased resources for key programs within the Department of Justice to combat intellectual property theft. I am proud to cosponsor this comprehensive approach, which will equip our Government with the tools it needs to investigate and prosecute those who violate the intellectual property rights of American citizens. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to move this bill towards enactment into law.

As you may know, S. 2913 was introduced in the Senate on April 24, 2008. This legislation would limit liability for the use of "orphan works"-copyrighted works whose owners may be impossible to identify and locate. The bill would provide a means for anyone to make use of copyrighted material whose owners cannot be identified. Opponents of S. 2913 are concerned that the bill does not contain protections such as requirements that a user file a notice of use with the Copyright Office in order to claim orphan works status with respect to a work and that an archive of the notices be maintained by the Copyright Office.

S. 2913 was reported out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on May 15, 2008, and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar. Please be assured that as it makes its way to the Senate floor, I will keep your views in mind.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope the information I have provided is helpful. My website, , can provide additional details about legislation and state projects, and you can also sign up to receive my monthly e-newsletter, The Bayh Bulletin, by clicking on the link at the top of my homepage. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.

Office of Senator Evan Bayh
(202) 224-5623
Russell 463
Washington, D.C. 20510

My Reply:

Dear Senator Bayh,

Thank you for your reply, and your concern. I did sign the online-petition opposing S. 2913, but I would like to take this opportunity to express my vigorous opposition, not merely in regards to the fear that “protections such as requirements that a user file a notice of use with the Copyright Office in order to claim orphan works status with respect to a work and that an archive of the notices be maintained by the Copyright Office,” aren’t provided, but to the entire concept of “Orphaned Works.”

First off, the very concept of “orphaned works” is in violent conflict with both the letter and the spirit of the international copyright convention of 1977, in which it was asserted that your creations belong to you the moment they exist.

To give you an example: I was commissioned to produce an illustration for a short story that was published online. My work, as well as the author’s, were credited there. The author subsequently copied and posted my illustration on his web site, promoting his story – however, he failed to credit my illustration. I contacted him – he lives in New Zealand – simply asking he add my credit to his page. As of the last time I checked, he had not complied. Now – if someone else comes to his site, notices my illustration and captures it, he has no idea of who originated it and owns the rights.

You cannot presume this is an “orphan” work simply because a third party overlooked crediting me. NOR should I have to pay some bureaucracy more than I earned for creating it, just to keep someone else from stealing it.

The very concept of “orphaned works” is thievery, and equates the finding of it on the Internet to garbage left at the curb – finders, keepers. An easier concept? If it doesn’t wear a sign saying it’s free, it is NOT. Would you eat an apple in a grocery store, assuming it was free, because it lacked a price tag?

The problem here is that dishonest concerns are trying to railroad through legislation that legalizes the theft of intellectual property, simply because of easy access, due to the openness of the Internet.

It would be like passing legislation that makes it legal for me to walk off with your lawnmower, simply because it was “abandoned” in your front yard while you went into your home for a drink of water.

The law is very clear. What I create is MINE from the moment I create it, until I sell or license it otherwise. There is public domain work, there is free work. In the software world, there is even what they call “post card ware,” meaning you can have this for free, but I’d just like to get a post card from you. Not too much to ask, right?

But WHO so desperately needs my art, my writing, my music so much that he has the RIGHT to claim it as his own and PROFIT from reselling it, that the law should support this thievery? Can’t the individual create it himself? Can’t he afford to commission the work from someone who has the skill? The law is clear – if it isn’t yours, HANDS OFF.

There is NO SUCH THING as “ORPHAN WORK.” If there is, then everything we create is simply garbage on the great cyber curb.

Please, do not in any way support such a vulgar concept. Once such a law is passed and entrenched, it is nearly impossible to undo the damage.

Thank you for your consideration,

John Stanton

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Things That Go “Uuuungh” In The Night

Last Monday AM, around 1:50, Flo was sitting at my computer, and I was in my chair, about 10 feet away. She’d been doing some online research, and turned to chat with me – we’d been talking for a few minutes, and she was mid-sentence when a loud noise practically drowned her out.

It was a very load moan or groan, “Uuuungh,” deep and resonant. The best I can describe it: as if someone had plunged a butcher knife into the gut of a large, robust old man. To me, the sound appeared directly between us. Flo told me that she thought it might have come from out back, though the window and door in that direction were shut tight. Still, we checked both out front and back, and found nothing whatsoever to account for the sound.

Sounds rarely rouse me when I’m asleep (my Brown Noise track drowns out everything), and if they do, if I can’t find anything to account for them, I write the experience off as an artifact from dreaming. But, when something like this happens when I’m awake, and there’s a witness, that shines a different light on the phenomenon.

Micro-anomalies are for the most part overlooked, I think, because there is simply nothing of value that you can extrapolate from them, at least not individually. If, say, tens of thousands of fish or frogs dropped from a clear sky into your neighborhood, it would provoke mass speculation; theories would abound, and range from freakish weather to black holes to Biblical plagues.

We’ve lived in this house for a number of years now, and while we’ve had a fair share of these micro-anomalies, the “groaning old man” is not a regular occurrence; nor am I inclined to call TAPS and report a haunting. If the groan appeared regularly, I’d be sure to record and time it, and stake out various possible entry points – but I doubt he – whatever “he” might be, will cooperate.

The natural tendency is to toe-tag such happenings and file them away in the “unexplained” drawer. The event is neither broad nor significant enough to make any useful speculations about – and if you dwell on it enough, you will look like a nut to everybody else.

I once approached an ATM just as the woman ahead of me left; the machine displayed “Thank you, Mrs. Stanton” for a few seconds, and I turned to see her climb into an elegant white car with an Ohio license plate. I never saw her before, and had no idea if she was related to me – in fact, the happenstance is only significant if I feel that it is to me – yet it is not a commonplace occurrence. How often might I have stood behind or in front of another Stanton in some line somewhere, and simply not known it? What were the odds that I would have noticed this time?

Synchronicity can be incidental – such as a name or verbal pun – or a physical event – something tangible beyond syntax and the coincidences of language.

One Thanksgiving when I was a teenager, we heard the screech of tires, and an ensuing ruckus out front – a child had bolted from our next door neighbor’s front yard, and a middle-aged woman had almost hit her – in fact, she had run over the very tips of the little girl’s shoes; the child was unharmed, but both she and the driver were almost in shock from the near-tragedy. The driver was rushing home after making a last moment purchase for the holiday dinner. She wanted everything to be perfect, because her son, who lived out of state, was visiting for the first time in years.

Almost exactly an hour later, another screech, another ruckus out front. Another neighborhood child, about the same age as the first, bolted into the street, from the same place in the same yard. This time, she was hit, and her leg was broken. You guessed it – this driver was the first driver’s son, who didn’t want to be late for Thanksgiving dinner.

This was on a quiet side-street, not a thoroughfare. There was no geographical reason why a child would choose to cross at this point over any other, and neither child had been visiting next door. Both had just been walking along, and for no understandable reason, had chosen that place and moment to run across the street.

Micro-anomalies – the eerie confluence of implied purpose and possibility – if you catalog enough of these, they just might be sufficient to entertain a dinner guest or two, but they also have a cumulative, disquieting effect. Like a pixel-glitch, a video-hiccup in the face of the person across from you.

At the signpost, up ahead…

While you're at it, check out the publications below - I have an article and three photos in Twisted Dreams, and a photo on the title page in NexGen Pulp.

Order Twisted Dreams Magazine

NexGen Pulp Subscription

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Long Distance Call

The phone call came one cold January evening; it was my father’s ex-fiancé. They had been engaged for a short while, some time before he eventually met and married the woman who would be my mother. Dad never really talked about the personal details of the relationship, but he made it clear he didn’t think they would have been good together. Still, over the decades, she would contact my father. I don’t remember any visits from her, but my mother knew her enough to recognize her, and knew her voice on the phone.

She tried several times to get back together with my father, which of course really piqued mom, that she would have such gall, all those years later. I’m not sure when the last time was that Joanne contacted dad, but I was at least a teenager; perhaps it was even after Flo and I were married.

Dad called my mother over to the phone, and had her listen in for a few minutes. It was definitely Joanne’s voice, mom later concurred. All told, they chatted for at least twenty minutes. Shortly after the conversation ended, dad called me.

The strangest thing about the conversation with Joanne, at least so I thought at the time, was that she had been murdered six years earlier.

According to D. Scott Rogo in his book “Phone Calls from the Dead,” recipients of these calls generally appear to be “blocked” somehow from recalling that the person on the other side of the conversation has died, until the call is ended. This apparently is what happened to both of my folks.

Dad insisted it was Joanne, and said she’d spoken of things only she could have known about. Flo and I visited, and we all talked about the conversation at length. Mom shortly blanked on any details she might have remembered, but still remembers firmly that it was Joanne. At the time, dad recounted a few trivialities from the conversation, though he left out details of most of it; and when pressed, his response was disturbing. There was some part he didn’t want to speak of, and said he would talk about later. That part, he later denied remembering, or that it was in any way significant.

I brought it up a few more times, and while we occasionally chatted about how strange it all was, he always managed to evade any more discussion of the content of the conversation.

My father died of a heart attack three months after that phone call.


Later that year, I was home when I heard a gentle tapping on the front door. It rather startled me, because it was identical to my father’s unique knock; I’ve not heard it since.

When I looked outside, I saw it was the postman who had knocked. He had left a package, wrapped in brown paper, at the door.

The package was from Joanne’s mother, with whom I’d never had contact. It contained a photo of a group of soldiers–one of them was my father. There was a short note, just saying she thought I should have this.

It arrived on my birthday.

Addendum: August 29, 2020

Back in 1986, before the Internet opened up to the rest of us, computer bulletin-board systems popped up all over the country. I had come across a number of them that were dedicated to the more non-ordinary aspects of life – a couple of different approaches on all things Fortean, some centered on psychic phenomena, others on UFOs, and still more focused on categories of paranormal phenomena. I made a list of the best, and conducted and recorded phone interviews with several of the SYSOPs. Up until the bulletin boards, there weren’t any organizations the average person could contact regarding any of these phenoms, and if you happened to encounter something interesting or disturbing of such nature, you would have months to wait for any of a small handful of magazines to bring any insight into reports – or clusters – of these events. With the reporting, culling, and sharing of information in any of these lines of interest, it occurred to me that we could be on the verge of a greater understanding, if possible, of at least, whatever aspects might be empirically quantifiable. It should be possible, I thought, to quickly identify clusters, “hot spots,” and overlapping phenomena. I wrote up a proposal for an article, and sent it to Fate Magazine, with the hopes they might be excited about such possibilities.

It was disappointing when, instead of responding to my query, I received back from Fate, a rate-sheet for advertising, along with a rather snide note. I wrote back that I had no financial investment in any of the paranormal bulletin boards, and, in fact, none of the boards themselves were for-profit operations. In my research for this piece, I was impressed by not only the technical implementation of the boards and the easy access to all types of information, but the professionalism, respect and dedication of the SYSOPs I had interviewed.

With my life-long interests and experiences, I’d had high hopes for a home for some of my writings with Fate. That was dashed rather quickly when Mary Margaret Fuller, Senior Editor and wife of the founder and publisher, took umbrage to my attempt to correct her circulation manager. She made it clear that Fate viewed the bulletin boards as a crushing competition rather than as a resource of unparalleled potential.

At a loss for what to do with my piece, I tried once more. I wrote to D. Scott Rogo, who at that time wrote a regular column, “Parapsychology Today,” for Fate, and offered him my voluminous research. He politely wrote back that he wasn’t “interested in computers.” I thought that was a bit parochial tact for “Parapsychology Today.” My research went into File #13, but I kept the signed letter from Rogo.

Looking back, I notice also that Rogo’s letter was postmarked August 25, my birthday.

In one final eerie twist, back to where this circle began with Joanne and “Phone Calls from the Dead,” D. Scott Rogo himself was murdered four years later.





Twisted Dreams

For those of you (Both of you!) who read my “Synchronicity and Dark Dreams” blog from a few weeks ago, I pulled it because I had the opportunity to submit it for publication. It will appear, along with three of my photos, in the June issue of “Twisted Dreams” – I’ll put a link up at when it’s available.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Requiem for the Damned

“By the damned, I mean the excluded.” - Charles Fort.

What I photograph fits this criteria. The abandoned – a shack at the edge of a cornfield, a derelict factory, an asylum that’s home only to rats, ghosts, the memory of horror.

I find an ancient tree, etched with character, shortly before it is cut down and fed through a wood chipper. I make a study of a stone chimney standing long after its house burned away from it, or a ruined cinderblock filling station; I often find my subject just before the wrecking ball excises the scar, and all trace of memory. This is my art.

I come across abandoned domestic rubble beneath an overpass; a makeshift table, a tiny wooden chair, a mattress dragged who knows how far; a long screwdriver, stuck in the ground behind weeds – easy to grasp for self-defense. A thick folder of seemingly random newspaper clippings, hidden in an electrical box.

Factory walls and railroad cars tagged by artists, bangers or just someone who just wanted to leave his name behind after he no longer needed it.

Transient relics of our transient existence.

The abandoned. The excluded. The damned.

A fat spider I found hanging on its web in the gap between fence and gate, dangling above chain and rusted padlock guarding yet another empty factory… appears on the cover of “Requiem for the Damned,” an Anthology of Horror that goes on sale February 22, 2008.

With fiction by:

Jennifer L. Miller
Eric Enck
Jordan M. Bobe
Cassandra Lee
Dave Rex
Jessica Lynn Gardner
Kevin Lucia
John Stanton
Charlotte Emma Gledson
Jane Timm Baxter
Colin M. Maguire
Scott Harper
Matthew Alan Pierce
Stephen W. Roberts
Michael A. Beaudry

Order a copy here:
Or click on the link from my web site: