X-phile

The horror! The horror! For Barry McDonald, believing is not always seeing.

"Not a damn thing," says Barry. "That's Barry."

Barry, who also stumbled upon the nesting place of Ohio's Big Foot, "The Grassman." Barry, who also discovered crop circles near his home in Ohio. Barry, who also heard the wailing of La Llorona in Pueblo. Barry, whose life also sounds a little too close to the first season of the X-Files.

"I eat, breathe and drink the supernatural and the unknown," he says. "The pyramids. Stonehenge. Witches. Wizards. Heaven. Hell. The mysteries of the Bible. Mars. Anything out of the norm. It all sort of bleeds together."

I think that I shall never see a poet as dead as he pretends to be: Barry McDonald in his casket.The basement tapes: Barry McDonald in his basement dedicated to all things creepy.
John Johnston
I think that I shall never see a poet as dead as he pretends to be: Barry McDonald in his casket.The basement tapes: Barry McDonald in his basement dedicated to all things creepy.
I think that I shall never see a poet as dead as he pretends to be: Barry McDonald in his casket.
John Johnston
I think that I shall never see a poet as dead as he pretends to be: Barry McDonald in his casket.

Which is another way of saying that Barry is pretty much a ten-year-old boy in a 36-year-old man's body. And every year at Halloween, he lets it all hang out.

"You've got it," he says.

Barry can't explain his fascination with "the creepy" any more than he can explain his urge to create. Something will bubble up inside him and he'll pick up a guitar, a sketch pad, a socket wrench or a toy skull and work himself into a "creative freakout." But eventually Janet -- who's relented on her cemetery ban but still monitors Barry's obsessions -- will steer him away from the freakout and back to his computer. "Sit. Chill out. Write," she'll say.

And he'll write poetry -- but not just any poetry. As soon as he touches the keyboard, he's back in the Lowry Officers' Club. "My mind opens up and it's like I'm watching a movie," he says.

A scary movie that he describes on a Web site, screams-of-terror.dhs.org, which offers a collection of Barry's poetry and short stories, as well as the work of other writers, both famous and infamous. Barry hopes the project will spark an Edgar Allen Poe revival and show the literary establishment that gore can also be art. "If I can give people a chill, then I've done my job," he says.

Barry also hopes the site will help launch his works in progress, including a novel called Natas (that's Satan spelled backward), an anthology of ghost tales called Haunted Colorado and a CD of his readings. In the meantime, though, Barry will continue to play in cemeteries, lie around in cold fields, dig graves in the front yard and wonder who -- or what -- calls his house each night at 6:50 p.m.

Ring!

"There it is again," he says. "It's been going on for months."

Ring!

"And whenever we answer it, there's no one on the other end."

Ring!

"The line is just, like...dead."

Ring!

"Weird," Barry says. "Don't you think?"

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