Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kindle Book Give Away!

My next book is out!  Yay.  The Midnight Queen is the second book in the Prophets of Shadow series that started with The Twilight Saint.  If you want a free kindle copy of either book, let me know and I'll send you one!

Aiela has spent her entire life sheltered from the world. Her only dream has been to escape the quiet island life she's know and find adventure in the world outside. After the death of her mother, Aeila escapes to the University, a world filled with technological wonders and exotic people. But her own history is dark and the secrets behind her birth may destroy everything that hold Aiella together.
 
 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Black Friday Wish List: Johnny the Skull


I saw a commercial for this and I've decided that this is what I want for Christmas.  What more could a girl ask for?  Johnny Skull lets you pretend to be a real ghost hunter.  You get to shoot ghosts and hunt the dead.  Perfect.  Johnny the Skull is an electronic game that projects ghosts on the walls and ceiling as it swivels its head in all directions. You shoot at the ghosts with an electronic gun and the person that shoots the most ghosts wins.  This looks like wonderful ghostly fun.  The box even reads "I see dead people."   I think this is all that's going on my Black Friday Wish list.  The rest can wait.  It isn't worth facing the terror that is Black Friday for anything else.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ghostly Comments and Fabulous Stories

I love comments on my blog.  They make my day and teach me more about the paranormal than I could learn writing any of my books.  I'm so grateful for my followers and their knowledge of ghosts, hauntings, and haunted locations.  I even like the negative comments.  I love to hear from folks who set me straight on my facts and make sure that every one of my stories is historically accurate and correct.  I love history and I'm glad I have people who make sure I never go astray.  I want to celebrate some of the amazing and wonderful stories I've gotten in comment form on this blog. Thank you all for posting these stories and know they have often made my day.  Here are some of the wonderful stories I've collected from comments!  They are all anonymous.


About St. Bernard's Preparatory School:

I go to SBP and I dorm in the girls dormitory. I've heard so many ghost stories, and I kind of believe all of them. One is about how during camp one summer, a counselor in the girls' dorm woke up to a voice in the hallway on the top floor. She thought it was a camper, so she went out into the hallway and faced towards the bathroom, because the bathroom lights on both floors are always on, and she saw a little 'girl' standing there, and she told her to go to bed, but she saw it was a boy and she got freaked out and went back to her room. I have no idea if this story is true, but weird things have been happening in the dorms, apparently, but I believe it is my eyes playing tricks on me. Another one happened just last year in the guys' dorms, and this is something I heard from one of the guy's friends, but the boys say the boys' dorm is in sections and not just a long hallway like the girls' dorm, so in one section there were three boys in three different rooms, but all in the same on.

About Ghosts and Pregnancy:

Hi there :-) I was googling this topic because I am 8 weeks pregnant with second child. We live in a very old house (built in late 1800's). Last night I was in the bathroom and turned as I sensed someone standing next to me. No one was.. But it happened again a minute later and I had this incredibly strong sense of someone gentle placing their hand on my lower back then leaving. It was unnerving but not scary which was just bizarre. I am a scientist and have never really believed any paranormal activity is possible. I wonder if possible? Or crazy hormonal hyper vigilance? Lol :-) 

From Waverly Hills Peneteniary Post:

I never had a paranormal experience per say, but I worked on construction remodeling the Farview state penitentiary, inWaymart,PA. for the criminally insane.It was a creepy place, They had these weird paintings of clowns, flowers,etc... I guess to help keep the patients calm. I worked there for months and never had anything happen until this one day, I was working in the basement, there was a long hallway that had rooms to the one side.I was working in one of the rooms by myself, jack hammering a part of the floor to install new pipes, out of nowhere, The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and a chill ran up my spine, I threw the jack hammer down and spun around like a cat, but nothing was there. It felt like someone was right behind me, it freaked me out. Later in the week I was talking to a guard and he told that was the morgue I was working in. I bet if they had someone do an investigation there, they would have an eventful experience.


From Searcy State Hospital Post:

The things you hear at this place is enough to drive a sane man into being placed into the confines of the place. I worked for the PD of Mt. Vernon and have gone there several times for various reasons. I have seen some things that if told would not be believed. Every time I've been on or near Sercy, I've felt the presence of the paranormal..most in my family including me are sensitive to the paranormal.

From Kildare Castle/McCormick Post:

My family purchased this home in early 1966 from Jackie Smith Blackwell (a friend of "Eunice" on Andrew Jackson and a whole different story). We lived in this home during 1966-1967 years. I was in the 6th grade at Chapman Jr. High. It truly was a wonderful place to live. We have many memories that we frequently share. I love that it had a furnace in the basement for heating with forced air using the old style radiators in the rooms. It actually has a small room with a window in the attic, on the front of the house, where you can see the grounds. It was spooky climbing into the attic and not knowing what might be discovered; you had to go through a crawl space to get into the room which was about 6' x 8' in size. From the first floor main kitchen you get to the basement by going down a spiral shaped wooden staircase. One night I had to go turn off the basement light and I was barefoot; never grab and pull a metal chain when barefoot on a concerts floor! On my way down those stairs a bat flew at me. There is a large closet with beautiful stained glass on the double doors in the main living room; this must have been used for storing fine china and linens that were likely used for entertaining on a grand scale. The main floor had 10 or 12 foot ceilings, fireplaces everywhere and 3 kitchen areas. It had beautiful bear claw bathtubs throughout! There was a full bath in the basement as well. If my memory serves correctly, a total of 52 rooms including those in the basement. We loved sliding down the wood banister of the stairs from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor; these stairs are located just inside the main front door. Directly under the stairs on the first floor (at the highest end) was a door that opened to one set of stairs that went from first floor to basement. We actually had a water battle on the second floor one Saturday morning after breakfast but before we began our weekly cleaning. Now you know how my Saturday's were spent during that time. To turn the light on or off you pushed a button. And the elevator, yes it had one, however, it's known as a "dumb waiter" (not sure of spelling) and to go up or down you pulled a rope that was at least 1 inch in diameter and it was the original rope! There was a push button light switch in the dumb waiter. Today it still has the original fire escapes. In the basement is a wine cellar with the original wine racks, at least during the time we resided in the house. My favorite room in the entire place at the time, of course, was the round tower bedroom located on the 3rd floor. This will be on the left side if you are looking at the front of the house from the street. It has a huge veranda out back on the main floor. The small windows above the doors could be opened but it was difficult. At one time there was a small house to the right off the main house; we always believed a groundskeeper had lived in it at some point in time. The last I saw, this small house was rubble. It was rumored that the McCormick's had planned to cover the roof with silver dollars. At the top of the tall windows to the left side of the main entrance (in the upside down V) is the date and initials, McC, 1886. I always hoped to buy this place again someday and restore it to as much of its original glory as possible and make it into a bed a breakfast. I may attempt to post again and include some pics. Hope you enjoyed reading of my living experience.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Only 33 More Shopping Days Until The Apocalypse

According to some, the world is about to end.  Since I like to be prepared, I'm getting ready for this apocalypse.  I've even put up my end of the world clock because I don't want to miss the apocalypse when it happens.  That's right, according to my end of the world clock, there are only 33 more shopping days until the world ends.  Better take advantage of those black Friday sales to load up on gas masks and bulk food, because you won't survive if you don't.  If you think it is going to be a zombie apocalypse, you should probably load up on ammo too.  In order to get ready for the end, I've  exhumed an old blog post I did about Mayan prophecies and ghosts.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Many books, blogs, and papers have been written about the Mayan prophecies regarding 2012 and the end of the world. Many believe that, according to the Mayan prophecies, the world will end on December 21, 2012. This is special fun for me since this is the day before my birthday. It is also the solstice. I love Mayan history and have been lucky enough to travel to some old Mayan ruins and talk to some Mayan people about their history and mythology. Since today marks the beginning of the end, I thought it would be an excellent time to revisit my trip to Chichen Itza. During this trip, our amazing guide spoke to us about the 2012 prophecies and about the ghosts that haunt these awe inspiring ruins.

Chichen Itza is one of the most monumental of a series of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan area. My fascination with the Mayan culture began with my trip to Chichen Itza. We were lead through the sprawling ruins of the fallen city by an amazingly knowledgeable Mayan guide that explained to us that Mayan history came in phases and that the ruins were in layers depending on their period of origin. There were the Olmec, Toltec, and Classical Mayan phases, none of which were surviving when the first Europeans set foot on the shores of the New World.


One of the most fascinating things our guide explained to us about the Mayans had to do with the 2012 prophecy. At the time we travelled, the 2012 prophecy was far less well known. Our guide told us that the Mayan calender was cyclical and that the Mayan's believed that the world was born and died many times. He talked about the last apocalypse. He said that it was an apocalypse of water and that the earth was covered in a great flood. He said that when that age, the age of water, was brought to an end by the flood a new age was born, an age of fire. We are now in the age of fire. In 2012 our age of fire will end in fire and an age of ether will be born. The end of the world will also be the beginning of a new world. This is interesting to me because so much is said of the end of the world in 2012 and so few people discuss the possibility of a rebirth. The Mayans viewed death as a rebirth and ends as a new beginning. So, if their calender ends and something does happen in December it seems probable it may be something wonderful. The end to the bad things and the world of fire that has come before and the birth of a new age could be something very positive.

The history of Chichen Itza itself is bathed in blood. The Mayan's were deeply religious and believed that it was a great honor to die for the gods. In the Popul Vuh, the Mayan Bible, the Mayan's lay out their faith in sometimes tedious details. Their faith was deep and long and they were willing to die for it. In fact, some of the best athletes that competed in the famous ball courts were sacrificed. The Mayan's didn't fear death and see sacrifice with dread and horror. They saw death as a passage to the next world. Chichen Itza was the site of mass sacra fices. Chichen Itza may have also died in violence. Some archaeological evidence shows that in 1221 a great civil war may have contributed to the disappearance of Mayan Culture in the great cities at the time. By the time the Europeans saw Chichen Itza, it was already a ghost city.

What is most interesting about the ghosts that are said to wander these old ruins is that it is not the great pyramids that are haunted. The places where the sacrifices went on and where the stone was stained with blood remain quiet. It is the old observatory that is said to be haunted by the specters of old priests and Mayan men. Many tourists and guides have described seeing specters wandering this site. The Mayans were brilliant astronomers and were able to compute the circumference of the earth long before Europeans. They mapped the stars and predicted astrological events so perfectly that we can still count on their astrological predictions to come true. The observatory was in many ways the most important place to them as their religion was deeply connected to the movement of the stars. It therefore seems appropriate that it is this place that the ghosts cling too. The ghosts of the sacrificed have gone to the embrace of the gods, but those that searched for knowledge in the light of the stars are still lingering, searching for answers in the night sky.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How Moving and Remodeling Affects Hauntings

It is commonly believed that haunting activity can be stirred up by remodeling.  I have heard countless ghost stories with this theme.  Some of my favorite stories about remodeling are from private interviews with people.  For example, one Alabama woman told me the haunting in her house was so negligible that she thought it was all folklore and her imagination until she remodeled the house and then the ghosts started appearing in broad daylight on her front porch.  Neighbors called to see who was milling about their house.  Another story that comes to mind as an example of this had to do with an old hotel that sat vacant for many years.  Finally, it was remodeled and renovated and the quiet hotel exploded with paranormal activity.  Similar stories are all too common. 

Ray Farrel from P9 Paranormal gave an explanation for this phenomena that made a lot of intuitive sense to me.  He said, "Similar to a ghost or spirit held in a location because of an unfulfilled need, are those that are very aware of where they are but have 'gone into hiding' or are terrified of 'moving on'. Many hauntings stem from souls that have a stained life history and refuse to budge from our dimension through fear of what their fate is in the next. It is sometimes the case that their need to continue their misdeeds will overcome their need to stay hidden and if other opportunities present themselves, such as a potential 'victim' coming along, then they will betray their presence. Others though will not dare give themselves away - until something happens to make them feel unsafe."

It seems that any change in the landscape of a location bound haunting can lead to an increase in activity.  We are moving in the next 2 weeks and for many years, my sons and I have come to believe that my mother-in-law wanders about our house from time to time.  She's a pleasant spirit that just makes some noise and turns faucets on and off.  However, as we pack to leave, the activity has become just down right creepy.  At this point, we hope it is her because if it isn't I'm glad we're getting out of house.  There has been some interesting activity surrounding our animatronic Halloween witch.  She's been broken for many years and my husband propped her up at the front door.  She used to have a motion sensor that would cause her to cackle and threaten to eat people.  That motion sensor is so broken you have to punch her in the nose to get her to work.  While my parents were visiting, she went off almost constantly for over an hour, even after she was unplugged.   That could be explained away by itself, but now the baby toys that you touch and sing cute little songs have begun singing on their own and shadowy figures have been seen by both my sons.  Is this another case of alteration in the environment of a haunting causing increase paranormal activity?  Or is it a case of us going crazy with moving stress?  At this point,  anything is possible.  It is probably more likey that we all going crazy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monsters, Queens, and Books!

Over the last few weeks, I have been working very hard to finish editing The Monster Hunter's Manual, my first middle grade book.  I am excited to be working with a new editor at Our Street Books.  She has been wonderful to work with and I feel like The Monster Hunter's Manual will be one of my best books.   It is the story of two brothers who are force to move to France and live in a haunted castle with their eccentric aunt after their parents die.  It is the first in a series of books about Gabriel and Alex's adventures in France fighting zombies, ghouls, werewolves, and many other things that go bump in the night. 

I am also preparing for the release of my new post apocalyptic fantasy novel, The Midnight Queen. It is the sequel to The Twilight Saint.  Here is the cover art for this tragic tale of violence and deception.   In a deperate future, a dark queen rises from the ashes of oblivion to unify a broken world.
 
The first book in this series is The Twilight Saint.  It is available at amazon.com


I'm hoping to get back to searching for more ghostly tales for this blog next week.   Krampus day is coming up and the winter solstice always brings dark tales of ghosts and witches!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Haunting on Larrabee Street

This haunting story has always been one of my favorites because it does not have a history. The haunting on Larrabbee Street has often been compared to the Amityville case, however, the house on Larrabee Street didn't have the history the Amityville house had. It is a haunting that is unexplainable. The spirit that haunted Allen and Deborah Tallman came from nowhere.


The Tallman's moved into the house on Larrabee Street in Horicon, Wisconsin in 1986. At that time, they had a little girl and a boy who was about 6 years old. Deborah Tallman was pregnant. The Tallman's loved their new home and began a fairly typical America life in their new home. Although they loved their new home, The Tallmans immediately began having difficulties in the house. They were plagued by a rash of sicknesses and their cat went crazy, climbing the walls and screaming all night. Deborah was close to her family and her family usually spent a considerable amount of time visiting Deborah. These visits began to decrease in frequency following the Tallman's move into their new home. Both Deborah's mother and sister indicated they felt sick in the Tallman home. They felt sick and suffocated.

It took more than a year for the haunting to escalate and culminate in the events that lead to the Tallman's fleeing their comfortable home. Deborah had her baby girl and the children began to complain more and more about things in their room. The little boy said that a hideous, diminutive, old woman would come into his room at night. The little girl was plagued by visions of monsters. The Tallman's grew more and more tired as their children kept them up night after night. Even their attempts at time away from home were thwarted when the babysitter saw furniture moving on it's own.

The children's nightmares could be brushed off as childhood fancy, but when Allen began to hear things and see things the Tallmans called their preacher. The preacher came into the home and told the Tallmans that their home was in the grips of something from the devil. He told them that the only way to dispel the evil that had been growing in their home was to go to church more. The Tallman's listened to the preacher to no avail. Things got worse. Windows in the basement relocated on their own, the refrigerator door remained open on it's own, the children continued to be visited by nocturnal terrors. Allen saw the garage catch on fire and when he rushed to extinguish the flame he saw a green eyed demon above the door. Allen even saw a full bodied ghost that rose from the floor in a a kind of fog and took form just long enough to tell him that he was "going to die."

Desperate, the family called the preacher again. The preacher came and told them to play church music all the time. The family listened. They listened and their was a brief reprieve before the entity came again. This time the entire family and the babysitter saw the specter just long enough to turn them all white with fear and send them fleeing into the night.

After the Tallman's left their home, the house became a local sensation and lines wrapped around the neighborhood with curious spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of some random terror. Many spectators claimed to have been successful in their desires. Many claimed to see snow blowers running up and down the driveway by themselves and furniture being flung around inside the house. Of course, none of these stories have ever been confirmed, but the stories themselves turned the Tallman house into a local legend that grew with time. Stories of the house being a gateway to hell and blood dripping from the ceilings proliferated and a media frenzy swept incidents out of control.
Despite this, and despite accusations that it was a hoax on the Tallman's part, the Tallman's have shown nothing but the desire to stay out of the spot light. They've turned down interviews and even rejected Oprah when she invited them to be her guest. They seem happiest forgetting the horror on Larrabee street.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Breathtaking, Haunted Beauty of The Linn-Henley Library

Halloween is over.  It was an amazing Halloween this year.   For one, I got to speak at The Birmingham Public Library Archives or the Linn-Henley Research Library.   I have been fascinated by this old building and its hauntings and history for years so telling ghost stories in this library was like achieving a big goal for me.   The Birmingham Archives is a building of uncommon beauty.   When you step in, you are greeted by some of the most striking murals ever to grace the walls of an old building.   These murals were done by Ezra Winter and each scene represents the amazing literature of the world.  One mural shows a scene from A Thousand and One Arabian Nights.  Another mural shows a picture of Krishna for the Bhagavata Purana.   Walking through the library is like walking through a living, breathing work of art.

The beauty of the library is amplified by the uncanny quiet that fills the building like a tangible presence.  The silence makes the building feel haunted and this feeling is not false.  The staff at the library are happy to tell tales of Fant Thornly, a former librarian who wanders the halls of the old building at quiet moments.  Many have seen Fant wandering the archives.  The have smelled his cigar smoke lingering in quiet corners and heard him riding up and down on the elevators.  One electrician described seeing him standing in the very doorway of the room that I told my ghost stories in.   One librarian picked a picture of Fant out of a stack of old photos she was given and named him as the ghost she saw in the room I spoke in.

The Linn-Henley Research Library was built in 1927 and was the Birmingham Public Library until 1984. At this time the primary library was moved across the street into a modern building of glass and harsh angles. The two buildings are attached by a catwalk and the architectural differences between these two buildings that are connected like Siamese twins are so vast that they should be in different countries. But the two buildings are bound together by their common purpose.

In 1984 when the old building was partially abandoned it took on a new purpose and became the archives where the old books were stored and the history was kept. There are no stories of bizarre deaths here. There are no horror tales of Indian burial grounds or murdered children, but the ghosts that have been described in this building are so terrifying that some of the librarians have refused to go back into the stacks alone and without every light on. Many staff members know about the haunting in a general sort of way. They know that doors open and close on their own and phantom noises fill the building when it is empty, but a few report an even more active haunting. They describe seeing Fant in the shadows.

As I told my ghost stories on Halloween day, it was wicked fun to be able to share the tales of the ghost that haunted the very room we were standing in.   Some of the staff believe many of the tales told of Fant are fancy, but even the skeptics believe that there has been to much activity in the library to be able to explain it all away.   Fant still wanders the Linn-Henley building and I hope he was listening when I told my ghost stories.  That would be a real honor!