The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

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Real Spells for a Fake Witch - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

Real Spells for a Fake Witch

A mysterious man offers a woman dressed as a witch a device that allows her to cast real spells on Halloween. 


“Hey, Witch.”

Jill spun around with the box of wines wine she held, about to punch some guy for calling her a nasty name, but lowered her fist when the gentleman in a white suit and pink ascents continued. “I love your costume.”

“Oh, thanks,” Jill replied, her face flushed red in embarrassment from the misunderstanding. She was outside the liquor store, about to get her car after picking up some last-minute alcohol for her and her husband’s Halloween party tonight. She was dressed as a witch – decked out with a pointy purple hat, black corset, ripped leggings, and red heels for the occasion.

“It’s missing an accessory,” the man commented as he looked her over.

Jill clenched her tongue, bracing for whatever line he would give.

The man shook a finger at the sky when he realized his answer. “Real spells.”

Jill tilted her head back in unexpected confusion. “Real spells?”

“Or, more specifically, the ability to cast real spells,” he elaborated in a manner of an eccentric billionaire. 

The man in the white suit reached behind himself and impossibly pulled forward a green metal chest the size of a watermelon. Before Jill could respond, the man opened the case, revealing a glowing green fog surrounding a crystal ball. 

“Trade me one of your bottles of wine, and this device is yours,” the stranger offered.

Jill leaned forward and stared into the box. “How does it work?”

“Simply hold the crystal and say, ‘I cast,’ and what you want casted. Although, this device will only work until midnight, and you’ll have to live with whatever you created.”

Jill thought the deal over. Even if the crystal ball weren’t magical, the item would make for an excellent display prop or an accessory for her Halloween outfit. The exchange may be more in favor of the stranger, especially if the ball was mass-produced. Besides, she could always go back inside the liquor store and get another bottle of wine. She was grateful she was able to buy booze on a Sunday now.

Jill held out the case of wines. “I accept your offer.”

Without studying the selection, the man pulled out one of the wines. He reviewed the label for a moment – not long enough to read everything – before holding the chest forward for Jill. Jill picked up the crystal ball, losing herself as stars and planets swirled around inside. The display consumed her focus until the liquor store door dinged from someone entering did she snap out of her trance. Jill looked around for the stranger, but he was nowhere. She shrugged.

“I wonder,” Jill said as she held out the crystal. “I cast five boxes of red wine.”

The crystal glowed red before unleashing a spark of purple lighting at the pavement. Jill closed her eyes and jumped back but held tight onto the crystal. When she felt the danger pass, she saw five cases of premium boxed wine sitting before her. 

“Holy shit!” Jill cussed. “It fucking worked!”

Jill glanced around to see if anyone else saw what happened, but no one was around. She loaded up the wine in her black Jeep. After buckling in, Jill grabbed her iPhone from the phone mount and texted her husband. She told him to meet her in the garage as soon as she pulled inside. 

Upon arriving home, her husband followed her instructions. The garage door closed as Jill jumped out of her car.

“You won’t believe what I got,” Jill said, her voice racing as she pulled out the crystal ball from her pocket.

Her husband, Mike, took the crystal. “Neat. Where did you get this?”

“I traded a bottle of wine for it to this weird guy in a white suit,” Jill explained, still in a hurry. “It’s magically.”

Mike flipped up his eye patch for his pirate costume as he studied the crystal ball against the garage light. “I’d say.”

Jill yanked the crystal ball from him. “No, I mean, this is really magically. Watch. I cast a vanilla cake the shape and size of a human skull on a silver plate.”

The crystal glowed red before and then unleashed a spark of purple lighting at the ground, creating a vanilla skull cake. Jill smiled, proud of herself for holding steady during the spell casting this time. When she noticed Mike hadn’t said anything, she saw his face was drooped down and whiter. She picked up the cake.

“Don’t you think this is cool?” Jill asked, her voice soft.

“I’m worried,” he responded softly. “Remember that old Simpson’s Halloween special where the things they wished for had negative side effects?”

“Oh,” Jill uttered but then perked up. “But what’s wrong with this cake then?”

“I bet the cake has that fondant icing I hate,” Mike said.

Jill nabbed a tiny piece of icing from the back of the skull for a taste test. “Damn. It is fondant. But I bet other people will enjoy it.”

Mike shrugged. “I guess small spells have small consequences, so how about we keep it that way?”

Jill huffed. “I suppose you have a point. Besides, the guy said this would stop working at midnight anyway.”

“Of course he did. Typically spooky wares guy. Was he dressed in a black robe?”

“No, I said he wore a white suit with pink accents.”

“Oh, that’s right. You did say that.”

“Yeah, and he also had this strange, pink tie with white swirls,” Jill added. “The pattern made me think of Norse mythology or something like that. He wasn’t an old man either. He looked about our age.”

“Well, we should get this stuff inside,” Mike said. “We do have guests.”

“Right, you go back inside, and I’ll bring in the wine. I might have cast a spell for more wine earlier.”

Following the recommendations of her husband, Jill kept the spells small throughout the night. Whenever she wanted something, she went to the garage to create the item, which made for the perfect cover. She casted spells for things like more food, new wine glasses after being broken by a guest, full-size candy bars for the trick-or-treaters, additional Halloween decor, and other small items that wouldn’t raise suspicions.

The party lasted until almost midnight. As Jill and Mike cleaned the living room with the house to themselves, a thud hit their window. Jill thought nothing of the sound until she heard another one. She peeked out behind the curtain. A group of teenagers was throwing eggs and toilet paper at their house.

Jill pulled out the crystal from her pocket. “Oh, I’ll teach you a lesson.”

Jill stormed outside, prompting her husband to stop vacuuming and follow her. The teens laughed and started to run away. Jill’s eyebrows lowered and pulled closer together as she aimed the crystal ball.

“I cast a giant black widow to scare them!”

The crystal glowed and sparked to life a 10-foot tall black widow spider. The pranksters screamed in terror while Jill laughed in delight. The spider chased after them, knocking over her mailbox and some streetlights in the chase. The spider spewed webs, capturing the teenagers.

“Okay, this is going to have some major consequences,” her husband said.

“You’re right, you’re right,” Jill agreed with a sigh. “I cast spider be-gone.”

The crystal did not respond. Jill shook the device and tried again, but with no result.

“It’s 12:02,” Mike said while looking at his watch. “Didn’t you say everything would go away at midnight?”

“Yeah, I thought it would be like Cinderella, and everything would turn to normal, but I guess that’s not what he meant. He did say I would have to live with whatever I created.”

The black widow returned with the three teenagers, dropping them off like a cat offering a mouse. From above, three firetrucks landed like flying saucers, surrounding the spider and their home. Troops of humans in bright white and yellow uniforms poured out from the firetrucks. One with a rifle fired at the spider, stunning the creature and causing her to collapse. Another group rushed over to the teenagers and proceeded to free them.

Jill and Mike stood close together as a short woman with a yellow overcoat approached them. The couple read the name Captain Mists on her silver name tag. The leader glanced over the couple, spotting the crystal ball in Jill’s hand.

“May I see that,” Captain Mists formally requested, pointing at the crystal ball. Jill handed over the spell casting device without saying a word. The woman grunted in frustration. “Not another one.”

Captain Mists whistled, getting the attention of her team. “We got another spell caster situation. Standard procedure. Clear out anything that’s  not theirs and wipe their memories.”


Real Spells for a Fake Witch - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

This short story was triggered by my random logic process. As I was leaving a convenience/gas store, I saw a woman dressed as a witch leaving, which got me thinking of how witch rhymes with another word and what if someone offered the power to cast real spells. I’ve written a story with just Raven, so I wrote this one to feature Loki by himself.

Happy Adventures! 

The Cursed Photo from the Barbershop - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

The Cursed Photo from the Barbershop

During a walking ghost tour, a photo taken of a barbershop has consequences for a young couple.


I zipped up my hoodie to shield myself from the chilly October night breeze. The tour group moved along the downtown sidewalk and stopped in front of a barbershop. My Tinder date, who I will refer to as Rebecca, recommended the ghost tour walk. After reading one of the host’s many books about ghost stories and urban legends in Oklahoma, she learned about his guided tours. I have to admit, I was enjoying the tales from Jeff Provine about Norman.

Jeff told us that sometimes when people take a photo of the barbershop, a man in a brown overcoat and hat would appear starring back at them. Just about everyone-my date included-proceeded to pull out their phones and snap their cameras. The group inspected their photos only to have captured nothing.

The group moved forward while my date pulled me back for a moment.

“You should try with your camera with no one around,” she suggested.

When we met up for our date, Rebecca thought bringing my Polaroid camera was a fun idea. She also mentioned that she hadn’t been out with anyone with such a hobby. I was about to tell her that nothing would happen, but she put on an irresistible smirk that I could not deny. I smiled at her and pulled up my camera. I enjoyed the thoughtful, selective nature of the limited printed photos in a world of unlimited takes. While the tour host talked about the restaurant next door, I snapped a picture of the barbershop.

We rejoined the group, letting the photograph develop in my hoodie’s pocket. After a few stops, Rebecca asked to see if the barbershop photo had finished developing. I pulled out the picture, and she inspected the image like a person searching for treasure.

“I think you got something here,” Rebecca whispered with excitement as she showed me the photo.

“That looks like a brown smudge to me,” I told her with honesty. 

“Well, maybe it needs to develop more,” she said.

I didn’t say anything back. She was too cute, and I was enjoying the night. The tour was more informative than scary. We didn’t actually go hunting for ghosts, and no one jumped out to scare us. I think the best way to describe the experience was like a walking history tour involving ghosts and murders. I don’t want to spoil the tour for anyone, but I wanted to give some backstory on my cursed barbershop photo.

After the tour, Rebecca and I went our separate ways. When I got back to my apartment, my roommate was still gone. He was out of town for the weekend visiting family. He was a relatively chill roommate who kept to himself. He let me decorate the dining area, which I did by hanging my Polaroid prints with clothespins and strings all over the room. He thought they added much life to the bland beige walls of the apartment.

As I dumped out my belongings on the dining table, I got a text from my date asking me to send her a photo of all of the Polaroid pictures from the night. I laid them all out on the rustic white table my parents handed down to me when they bought a new one for themselves. Using my phone, I took a picture of the dozen prints. In the process, I took a closer look at the one in front of the barbershop. Where I thought I saw a blemish at first resembled more of the person Jeff described. I sent Rebecca a closeup and a copy to the tour guide too. Rebecca immediately FaceTimed me.

“I told you!” was the first thing she blurted out to me. “I told you so!”

“Okay, okay,” I admitted. Then I thought of a line. “Maybe you should come over and make sure this man in brown doesn’t try to kill me.”

Rebecca laughed. “Maybe I should. You know, to make sure you don’t die. Text me your address.”

I texted her my address, and she said she would be there in about 15 minutes. I proceeded to tidy up the apartment. I cleaned the place before leaving, but I didn’t expect her to come here as this was our third date. I started with the kitchen since I was already there. After emptying the dishwasher, I rounded up the prints on the table. As I was picking them up, I noticed the man in brown was in all of the photos. He stood in the exact same position compared to the one in the barbershop.

I assured myself, “This was to be some exposure glitch.”

I stacked the photos face down on the coffee table. I decided to worry about them later. I scrambled around the apartment, throwing out trash and cleaning dirty surfaces. I was straightening my bedsheets when I heard the doorbell rang.

I rushed to the door. However, when I answered, no one was there. I called out hello, but no one but the wind answered. I questioned my hearing. Did the doorbell ring? I closed the door and checked my phone. There were no new messages from Rebecca, and only 10 minutes had passed since her last text. As I was about to put away my phone, I received a text from Jeff.

“Thank you, but I should warn you that those who were able to capture a photo of the man in brown said they were haunted by him until they got rid of the picture,” Jeff’s message read with a winky face emoji at the end. 

I chuckled. He was clearly joking around, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. On my way back, I realized all of tonight’s prints had been scattered all over the living room. I proceeded to pick them up, which I figured got blown around from the wind when I opened the door. As I collected the final one, the doorbell rang. There was no mistaking the ring was mine.

I put the prints in my back jean pocket and answered the door. The man in brown stood before me with an old straight razor to Rebecca’s throat and a hand covering her mouth. Dirt covered his three-piece suit like someone dragged his outfit out of the ground.

“I want the photos,” the man demanded in a low grumble. His voice sounded rough like he hadn’t spoken in ages.

Without hesitation, I handed them over, and he pushed Rebecca onto me during the exchange, causing us to fall backward. As we stood up to shut the door, the man was gone.

Rebecca and I ended up staying up all night – not in the way I had hoped.


The Cursed Photo from the Barbershop - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

After the love for my previous short story, I’ll Never Walk Sutton Wilderness in the Dark Again, I was inspired to write another semi-realistic horror piece. This one was inspired by a story by Jeff Provine where people on his ghost tour would capture a photo of a man in a brown suit at the barbershop in downtown Norman, Oklahoma. So, yes, that part is true! I thought having the man come to life to reclaim the pictures would be a spooky tale for the season.

Thanks to Janine De Guzman for bringing the photographic moment to life.

Thank you for reading and Happy Halloween!

I’ll never walk Sutton Wilderness in the dark again - art by Mikey Marchan at Design Pickle

I’ll Never Walk Sutton Wilderness in the Dark Again

This is the story of why I’ll never walk Sutton Wilderness in the dark again.



The sun wouldn’t rise for another hour when I leashed up my dog for our walk. You see, my wife and I started going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Last week, our trainer wanted us to add cardio to our routine, so Tuesdays and Thursdays became our cardio days. Our gym was small, and with only one treadmill working at the moment, I opted to get my exercise later in the day via a hike through the nearby urban wilderness. I figured this would also be an excellent opportunity to walk our dog, Penny. 

Fall showed no signs of coming early to Oklahoma as we stepped outside to the 75-degree heat. With all of the lakes and the Gulf Stream, Oklahoma can get unbearably humid. On Tuesday, when I did the walk at 10 am, I felt sweaty enough to want to take a second shower from a 40-minute hike, so this was much better. Today, I opted to start at 6 am before I’d shower and match my wife’s time at the gym.

Despite the dark, there were several cars parked in the lot for Sutton Wilderness. 

“Goes to show that the Sutton Goatman isn’t real,” I joked.

I had heard of the urban legend about a Goatman stalking the woods at night, but that was the extent of my knowledge until I listened to a local podcast that went more in-depth. The host described the story as one that echoed other Goatman stories across the nation. His research compared the sightings of woodland monsters, like bigfoot, through a cultural lens, with people from British backgrounds familiar with apemen, werewolves from Germanic history, and the goatmen from the Dutch. Similar to other Goatman stories, this creature existed near a hospital, or in the case of Sutton Wilderness, a psychiatric ward.

The urban wilderness was once grounds for the Griffon Memorial Hospital, an old central state mental hospital. As the hospital shrunk, the state turned the landscape into the park people enjoy today. According to urban legends, the hospital found a baby deformed with horns to the point they thought the child was a goat at first. The hospital cared for the baby, and as the child grew up and the landscape changed, the child decided to stay here.

The podcast host noted that this would put the Goatman well over 70 years old and said that some people believe the spirit of the Goatman is what haunts the woods. Regardless of the form, the legend warns that people will hear footsteps made by hooves coming from behind them. If a person walked faster or slower, the steps would match their pace until one would feel hot breath on their neck, by which time, you were too late. If you turned around, the Goatman would grab you and drag you deep into the woods–never to be seen again.

The main trail for the park was about a mile and a half long, with the two main entrances looping back at a wooden pavilion. We took the path to our right. Although it was dark, and I could barely see with all of the tree coverage, I was more concerned about my dog eating something she shouldn’t than anything else. The city had widened the trails a couple of years ago to give people more space when crossing each other and reduce the tick population.

My dog stopped. Her ears perked up and turned to the south toward the rhythmic beat of drums off in the distance. 

I tugged on her leash and assured her, “It’s just the high school band practicing, Penny.”

I was over a third of the way on the trail before I encountered my first person. They appeared to be an older gentleman–hard to say with the blue disposable face mask, long sleeve shirt, pants, and fisher hat they wore. I nodded my head hello, and they walked past without saying a word.

When we got to the long straight path near the pond, something behind us caught my dog’s attention. I turned around, and there was a white light floating through the bushes, moving fast along the trail and getting closer. I’m ashamed to admit that my brain took a long moment before realizing this was a headlight from a bike. In my defense, bicycles were not allowed on the trails. I pulled Penny closer to me as we moved to the side and let them pass.

Penny and I came to the final stretch of the woods, which had the thickest tree coverage. Penny’s tail curled inward as she got closer to my side. An educational sign about life in the woods highlighted the various animals one could find, such as bark beetles, ornate box turtles, cedar waxwings, bobcats, eastern wood rats, and downy woodpeckers. Back away from the sign was a hut made out of fallen tree branches. I always viewed this “fairy house” as something fun for kids to explore, but not today.

There were pieces of the bike I saw earlier scattered on the ground. The bike looked like it had been mangled by some machine as no person or creature could do that kind of damage. I turned on my phone’s flashlight. While I stayed put on the paved trail, I used the light to follow the bike pieces to the hut.

Something moved inside. I cut away the shadows with my light and revealed a pair of green eyes reflecting at me.

I ran, and so did Penny. I was struggling to keep up with her, but I had her on the leash still. Behind us, I heard what sounded like hooves matching my pace on the paved trail. I dared not to look back.

The sun was rising as we made our escape out of the woods and back to the gazebo. With the sound of hooves gone and no warm breath on my neck, I stopped to catch my breath. Staying behind in the trees was someone about my height. I thought I saw horns like a goat, but as I tried to get a good look at them, they faded into the shadows.


I’ll never walk Sutton Wilderness in the dark again - art by Mikey Marchan at Design Pickle

This short story was inspired by an actual walk I had through Sutton Wilderness one morning. My muse spoke to me along the walk and I recorded several voice-to-text memos of the scenes for this story as I walked my dog. Bits like the drums, the person in the mask walking, and the cyclist happened to me, adding to the realism of the story.

The podcast referenced in the story was from the Tales Unveiled episode, The Wilderness of Sutton. (I also produce this show and voice Sam.) The goatman legend is one of the urban legends about the area, so if you want to know more about this myth and others, give the episode a listen.

While I first published the story to my supporters on Patreon, I did share this on r/NoSleep where the work got some great feedback and traction. I had a few people reach out to me asking if they could read the story on their channel, so I’m excited about that experience. I’ll update this page with those links as I get them. (Find them at the top.)

Thank you to Mikey Marchan at Design Pickle for creating the story art based on my photo. Love the woods scene? You can get Spooky Sutton Wilderness design in my store.

Thank you for reading!

Equity Brewing Co

Equity Brewing Co in Norman is more than a beer company. Suzette Grillot and Hannah Grillot describe their business as a values-oriented company as Oklahoma’s first woman-owned brewer.

In addition to the brewery, Equity is home to other women-owned businesses. Brown Cow Bakeshop by Soreeta Hinds incorporates flavors from their beers into desserts. Brooke Rood of Forage & Gather creates charcuterie boards that pairs with the drinks. Just Books is a social justice bookstore focusing on authors that are women and people of color, LGBTQ+, international and disabled.

Visit Equity Brewing Co at 109 E. Tonhawa Street in Norman, Oklahoma, or at their website https://www.equitybrewingco.com/

Thank you for watching this episode of Uncovered in Oklahoma. Thanks to my superstar supporters, Revolve Productions, and the Keller Kenton family, as well as all of my supporters on Patreon. If you love what I’m doing, please join me on Patreon for bonus content, early access to new episodes. A preview of the second story for my July episode is available now for my supporters

Happy Adventures!

Summer Treats, Fair-Weather Friend, Turkish Delight

With summer here, I traveled across the state, visiting four different businesses in this second volume of summer treats. I started in Norman with Beanstalk Coffee and Sno for their iced coffee, snowcone, and lemonade. By chance, I ran into Frios, selling popsicles (including popsicles for dogs) at the Wheeler Ferris Wheeler. Addi’s SugaShack in Norman showed me their banana pudding snowcone and funnel cake fries. I wanted to include something from the Tulsa area, and I found Rusty Gate Creamery in Jerks for ice cream and pineapple whip. 

Pizza and Beet outside of Fair-Weather Friend - photo by Dennis Spielman

I spoke with Adrienne and Reed Jaskula, who recently opened up Fair-Weather Friend, about their beers and pizza for a different kind of treat. They described their beers as not having a style. By using different yeasts and hops, they keep the spirit of experimentation alive by utilizing numerous tanks. As for their wood-fired pizza, they use beer yeast to ferment their dough, giving it a unique flavor. 

Chicken Tava at Turkish Delight - photo by Dennis Spielman

Sevim Cumpian from the Turkish Delight food truck shared her delightful food with me for my last story. Their best seller is the chicken tava, which features mushroom, green peppers, tomatoes, seasoning, chicken and pepper paste, and topped mozzarella cheese. They serve it with freshly baked bread and with rice and onion salad. 

Thank you for watching this episode of Uncovered in Oklahoma. I also want to take a moment to thank my superstar supporters, Revolve Productions, and the Keller Kenton family, as well as all of my supporters on Patreon. If you love what I’m doing, please join me on Patreon for bonus content, early access to new episodes. I’m already working on the next one, which will another installment of creative burgers, so be sure to subscribe for updates. Until next time, happy adventures!

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