Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guest Post: Waiting for Hitchcock’s Cameo

This week's guest post comes to us from the blog of M.G. Miller. It was first posted on his blog on 9/19/11 and had me laughing (when I really should've felt bad for him). Enjoy!

Don’t walk under ladders.

Don’t cross the path of a black cat.

Don’t break mirrors.

Just don’t.

I never was superstitious. Up until earlier this year, that is. And it all started with a peck at the window.

Near the end of January, I started to get sick. I mean, really sick. Sicker-than-I’ve-ever-been-in-my-life sick. It began with a low-grade fever that never went away, and at certain times of the day it turned into an all-out rager. I could count on it at six a.m., at twelve p.m., and again at six p.m. Then my ears started ringing. Loud. Almost too loudly to hear the sound. Who knows how long it had been going on until one day when the ringing and the fever were mercifully waning, I became fully aware of it:


But I was still too out of it, too weak to investigate, too sick to care.


All I could I seem to do was lean over the side of the couch, hover over a trashcan and spit the most awful, vile, acidic– You get the idea. Weirdest thing was, whatever I was expectorating ate through the plastic lining of the trashcan. I tried to make light of it, told my friends I’d probably been abducted in the night and an alien was now gestating inside me. I’d gone to two doctors, though, and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Both gave me antibiotics, and while I would get better for a while, soon after the antibiotics wore off, I’d begin declining again.

As I was stumbling to the bathroom one day, I passed my bedroom and caught movement outside the window.


And I saw a bird, a robin, flying at my window, trying to get in. That’s when I became superstitious.

Ever heard that a bird getting into the house was supposed to be a portent of death? I hadn’t until several years ago, when one happened to fly into my living room. I had company at the time, and he had a little freak-out. He said his grandmother had told him an old wives tale about a bird flying into the house meaning death. I just laughed, though, and did my best to get the bird to leave, which it eventually did, along with my company.

When I saw the robin outside my bedroom, continually crashing against the window, I recalled that story, and I wondered, since I was so sick and the bird was so intent on trying to get in, was it really a portent of death? Did it really signify that the Grim Reaper was knocking at my window in the form of a deranged robin? (Go ahead, laugh, I think about stuff like that, makes the world a more interesting place.)

The worse I felt, the more intent the bird seemed to become trying to get in. It went on non-stop all day. I told several friends about it, several co-workers, even freaked them out when I took them back to my bedroom at any given time of the day, and I’d just tell them to wait.


“Whoa!” I heard on more than one ocassion. It was so constant, so unrelenting, that I was able to take several pictures.

I was sick by varying degrees for the better part of four months, and all the while, that damn bird, like a messenger of the gods, crashed and pecked and flew straight into my window.

But one morning, I woke to silence. Merciful silence. The ringing in my ears had finally let up, my fever had finally abated, and the robin was gone.

No, I never was superstitious, never avoided walking under ladders, crossing the path of a black cat or worried if I happened to break a mirror. But after my encounter with the Mad Robin from Hell, I’m a little more conscientious about these things now.

So what superstitions do you have? Are any of them due to some crazy real life circumstance? Or do you laugh at black cats and break mirrors while you walk under ladders on your way to work?

All About M.G. Miller

M.G. Miller is a Southern Gothic novelist and former editor for Surreal, a national magazine of speculative fiction. He has won Best Novel awards from Arkansas and Oklahoma states, a Deep South Prize from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and an Arkansas Governor’s Award for Literature. His award-winning literary novel, Bayou Jesus, concerning racism and religion in the Deep South, will be reissued December 25th by Southern Exposures Press exclusively on Amazon Kindle and has recently begun production for the audio version. Bayou Jesus is the first of three Miller titles to be released in 2012. In July, his historical horror novel, Her Grave Embrace, will be reissued as well, followed next December by Murderous, a novelization based on a true crime.

Join Mike at his blog  or connect with him on Facebook  or Twitter .


  1. Sounds like a Hitchcock story! I guess I'm a little superstitious. I know when I was a kid I believed all that step on a crack stuff!!

  2. I think a lot of people tend to be a little superstitious. I have a habit of knocking on wood. Not sure if it ever does any good, but I do it. :)

  3. Mike, sorry to hear that you were so sick and I am really glad the robin and the illness went away. (What did you do to ward it off? Were you knocking on wood or spitting to prevent the evil eye?)

    Superstitious? Me? Well, maybe a little. I do draw the line at those stupid email letters (knock on wood) where if you don't forward it something terrible will happen. Somehow that doesn't bother me at all, but black cats, ladders, broken mirrors, and stepping on a crack - yikes! I give them all wide berth. :D


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