Lurking in the 2,592 entries in the third annual Scariest Story Ever Told contest were thrills, chills--and a frightening brain scan of what's on the minds of Southern Californians.
Our eight winners included eight writers--Joe and Denise Altick of Ventura, Peter J. Estes of Lancaster, Sara Ludovise of Laguna Niguel, Michael Hook Mack of Sun Valley, Lynn J. Reinert of Irvine, Michael Schwartz of Reseda, and Lotus Yu of Yorba Linda--and one illustrator, Barbara Abbott of Newport Beach. Honorable mentions for drawings appear on pages E4 and E5.
While our winners stuck with pumpkins, sorcerers and a math teacher, many writers were clearly haunted by the Simpson murder trial. Knives were everywhere. Along with bloody gloves, white Broncos, thumps on the wall and plaintive wails.
In one story, a Simpson juror returns home at last--only to find a fresh notice to report for jury duty.
In others, O.J. Simpson is elected mayor of Los Angeles; Johnnie Cochran is named chief of the LAPD; Mark Fuhrman is made an honorary member of the NAACP, and the Republican Party, hopelessly deadlocked over whom to nominate for President, compromises on . . . Kato Kaelin.
Here are other notable outtakes from this year's Scary Stories.
Topical terrors: An ultra-liberal crusader for political correctness gets trapped in an elevator with House Speaker Newt Gingrich. A woman is abandoned in mid-mammogram when an earthquake strikes and the technician leaves her smooshed in the machine.
Kid heaven: "It was a small school but they had it all--two recesses and a lunch."
Kid hell (scariest thoughts from a 7-year-old): "One scary night my mom tried to kill me with a ax but I cut her head off with a ax and every time a kid came to trick or treat I gave them a piece of her brain. . . ."
Creative spellings: A looner eclipse. Amazing events leave her dumb fondly. Someone whispers in a horse voice. Asteroids destroy the O-Zone. "We were so skard. " A man walks into a pub and orders a few bears . "It was a dark and glomming night." Another is darck and glumey. The wind is rusiling in the trees. Blood is drooping. " Frank Instine was in our bed," not to be confused with a ware-wolf .
Short story: " 'Showgirls' wins the Oscar for best picture."
Shorter story: "O.J. goes free."
Shortest story: "Pope elopes!"
And to all who entered, thank you. Until next year. . . .