In my last post, I talked about a really fun event currently happening on facebook: The Thriller & Horror Month Event. If you’re a horror fan and haven’t checked it out yet, you’re missing out on some interesting topics, a multiple author story being generated (it’s weird and funny and sometimes takes some pretty strange twists – you never know what to expect), giveaways and chatting with some really great authors, some of them my faves.
Oh! And I’m not sure when this last giveaway ends, but as of the time of this blog posting, you could still enter for a chance to win a signed paperback of Karen Perkin’s deliciously creepy book Thores-Cross.
Guess what? Today is my day! Claire C. Riley will be putting up an excerpt and some interesting things about me. Hmm…I hope you think they’re interesting. Now I’m just a tad worried.
I’ll be giving away some books during my turn for the event. One paperback copy of TALES FROM THE MIST, a horror/paranormal anthology signed by moi to someone in the US (sorry for those overseas – it’s that darn postage!). AND I’ll also be giving away two e-copies of my short story, The Consuming. I hope you’ll join the event and enter at Claire’s website for a chance to win the ebooks. All you have to do is tell us what supernatural characters you like best – ghosts, weres, vamps, witches, etc. and “like” my facebook author page. Not sure exactly when, but the contest will probably end sometime on Friday, the 20th, so enter now!
So, for my day, I decided I would talk about ghosts. After all, ghosts figure prominently in The Consuming and I’m often asked about my inspiration for the story or if I’ve ever seen one. Well…
I live in a haunted house. Seriously. I know. I know. There are those of you who doubt. I’ve known people who were doubters that went away believers after a visit to my home. I don’t expect I’ll make any of you non-believers believe with just this post, but maybe you’ll be entertained anyway.
The house I now live in belonged to my grandmother. It’s been in the family for about 47 years. But it’s older than that – at least the main part of the residence is.
I practically grew up here, visiting with my grandparents basically anytime I wasn’t in school. My grandmother shared her love of horror with me. Some of the best times were snuggling on the sofa with her, eating popcorn and watching the old horror flicks.
Then I lived with her for a brief time while I was in college to be closer to school and work. Being that I was always running behind — I needed as much in the way of a head start as I could get in those days.
So over the years, weird things would happen. There was a painting on the wall above the sofa. Apparently our resident ghost didn’t like it. We’d leave the house and come back and it would be off the wall with the front facing the sofa. There wasn’t anything wrong with the hook – it was strong and sturdy, the picture appropriately placed. Just messing with it, we couldn’t knock it off the wall. And it never happened while we were home. But every time we left and came back, there it was – on the sofa. I guess we weren’t getting the hint fast enough as one time we came back and it not only was off the wall, but it was all the way across the room on the love seat… the front facing away from us. Hint received. We put another painting there and never had another problem.
Now imagine a living room, opening up into a formal dining area. It’s all open spaces with just pillars on either side separating the two rooms. I was home alone one day and a column of smoke started coming out of the wall in the dining room. It was extremely bizarre – controlled. It billowed out and filled up the dining room but didn’t venture out of that area. Didn’t come into the living room at all, just stopping at the border of the two rooms. There was no smell and no heat.
I could see a shape in the smoke, but nothing ever solidified enough so I could tell what it was. I can tell you this though. I was scared. The hair on my body stood at attention and my heart rate accelerated to the point I thought I might have a heart attack. I think my flight or fight mode was broken though. I couldn’t flee and I certainly wasn’t prepared to fight. The only thing I could do was stand there transfixed, watching the swirling vapor.
But even with little things that happened over the years, I’d never felt threatened and I didn’t feel threatened on that day. But it did scare me. I finally got up my nerve and said, “I know you’re here. I don’t know how to help you, but I will if I can.” The smoke gathered up and again in a very controlled manner returned to the area of the wall that it came from. Other family members have since reported similar happenings.
Like I said, little things have happened over the years, I won’t bore you with those. But the most frightening – someone sat on my bed in the middle of the night. I woke up when the bed shifted and thinking it was the dog, I sat up. But there wasn’t anyone there. No one I could see anyway. I could; however, see an indentation where someone was sitting. I was scared spitless. Really. My mouth was so dry, I don’t think I could have yelled for help even if it had crossed my mind. I backed up to the headboard, bringing my knees to my chest and just sat there, staring at the hollowed depression where none should be. My breathing was ragged and I felt for sure I was about to hyperventilate.
After about a minute or two (it felt like hours though) whoever it was got up. The bed shook and the indentation was gone. I eventually got up the nerve to get out of bed and turn on the lights, sleep completely out of the question for the rest of the night.
It happened many nights after that. But since nothing ever happened and I never felt like it was a “bad” entity, spirit, ghost, or whatever you want to call it – I stopped being afraid (eventually) and could go back to sleep immediately afterwards.
Of course, I was afraid that my family would think I was nuts if I talked about invisible beings sitting on my bed at night even though they had all experienced weird things in the house. So I didn’t tell anyone for the longest time. But I was glad I finally did. My room used to belong to my aunt and she said that the same thing had happened to her. When she turned her bed a different direction, it stopped. My bed was in the position hers had been during her haunting experiences, so we turned my bed around and I never had another middle of the night visitor. At least not one that woke me up.
More recently within the past couple of months, I had an experience that should have frightened me and I’m not sure why it didn’t. I was lying in bed one night, reading when all of a sudden, a cup on my nightstand flew across the room. Okay, it was more like four feet, but still… It didn’t fall. It didn’t slip. It was airborne. I looked around and of course didn’t see anything. I went over and picked up the cup and looked it over. Fortunately it was okay and there hadn’t been anything in it to spill. I set it back down and put my hands on my hips and spoke to the room. “That was not nice. That cup goes to my set and you could have broken it. Please don’t do that again.” Yeah. Brilliant, right?
I know my grandmother has visited me a time or two. I’ve felt her. And I’ve heard her. One day I decided to make some red beans. Now I’m not someone who cooks a lot and when I do, I usually just throw things together and somehow they come out okay. I’d never cooked red beans before, but my grandmother made the absolute best red beans and I missed her cooking. I couldn’t get the juice to thicken and was standing there perplexed, not knowing what to do. All of a sudden I felt my grandmother beside me and I heard her voice just beside my ear telling me to “add a little sugar”. I never would have thought of that. Ever. Even then, I said, “Sugar? In beans?” I shrugged my shoulders and thought, what the heck? And added a little. Then I heard this voice say, “just a little more”. My beans were awesome and tasted just like my grandmother’s.
Come to think of it, the incident with the cup was probably my grandmother telling me I should be doing something besides reading. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t scared.
Now the spirits in my house are pretty tame and I’m okay with them. Hopefully they’re okay with me. But the house next door? It’s been in the family far longer than this one. It has way more activity than mine does. And it’s a lot more…malevolent, at times. At about halfway between the two houses, I start feeling this fear crawl up from the base of my spine and I can feel my heart beating in my throat. I really don’t like going there. I just don’t.
Whatever or Whoever the entities in that house are – Casper they’re not!
But that’s a post for another day — maybe Halloween. Bwahahaha! I will tell you that my great niece who lived there when she was five would always complain of being tired and unable to sleep because the man “wouldn’t stop talking” to her. No man or boy lived in the house at the time.
What about you? Have you ever had a “ghostly” encounter? I’d love to hear your stories. Want one of my character’s in a future book or short story to be named after you? Just tell me in the comments why you love horror and I’ll put your name in a drawing. I won’t promise it will be a good or bad guy/gal. I’m a pantser (writers who just write without much of -if any- outline or synopsis), so we’ll both have to be surprised. Winner to be announced
Saturday! oops! You still have time. We decided to extend the time to enter to Monday, 09/23 due to some technical glitches with facebook on the event page. We’ll make the announcement sometime on the 23rd! Get to entering! And check out the blog posts that come after this one for more chances to win more prizes.
As always, thanks for reading! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out on new releases, special events and giveaways.