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Oh! No! A Murder of Crows!!

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“Oh! No! A Murder of Crows”

A flock, a flight, a ‘murder of crows’,

Which word to use?

I’m in the throes!

~ ~ ~ ~

I am both terrified and fascinated by crows, and even used a particular ‘murder of crows’ in my latest novel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”.

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks and paperbacks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks and paperbacks are Sold!

Yes! That’s what a flock of crows are called, you know . . . a “murder”. But why?

I recently looked up the etymology of “murder of crows” and learned the term is used primarily by writers and poets (not scientists and/or botanists).

According to zBeckabee who posts on FunTrivia, The term “murder” was used to describe a flock of crows as far back as the 15th century, as published by the Oxford English Dictionary. (Here’s a spine-chilling version from 1475: “A morther of crowys.”)

The OED suggests this is an allusion to “the crow’s traditional association with violent death” or “its harsh and raucous cry.” If you’ve ever heard dozens of agitated crows in full cry, it really does sound as if they’re yelling bloody murder.

This usage, which apparently died out after the 1400s, was revived in the 20th century. The first modern citation in the OED comes from 1939, but the usage was undoubtedly popularized by its appearance in An Exaltation of Larks (1968), a compendium of “nouns of multitude” by James Lipton.” ###

Of course Edgar Allen Poe (the poet in residence of my ancestral hometown (Baltimore) uses crows in metaphors, as tormentors, and certainly as messengers; Alfred Hitchcock (my Fave author) uses crows.  And who doesn’t delight in the writing of Joyce Carol Oates and particularly her “Mudgirl Saved by the King of Crows“.

And, let’s not overlook crows at the box office. Oh! Yikes!! Crows don’t seem to fare well on the big screen if 2013 “Wrath of the Crows” directed by Ivan Zuccon is any indication http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2070897/.

But enough about Ivan, more about . . . me!

Let’s take a read of how I used crows to torment-the-tormenter in my latest novel: From “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” this is our beloved anti-hero Father Vivenzio scrapping with the messengers of doom in my novel:

“His breathing quickened; he cautioned himself to not appear fearful. Don’t look over. Don’t look over. A lone howl, long and mournful, emanated from the shadows of the pine grove near the back of the graveyard. The exact source of the howling could not be determined.

The priest clutched at his robes and reached into his pocket for his handkerchief. He mopped his brow, patting the beads of sweat from his forehead. The New Orleans heat had been unbearable when he left the rectory that morning. But now, without the protection of his three-cornered hat, the crows might be attracted to the top of his shiny, baldhead, he imagined.

He scurried along Washington Avenue from St. Charles Avenue to Prytania Street. “How could any family live across the street from a cemetery? Even if it is their own cemetery?” Two hundred years of history. What secrets are enfolded in the history of the Calais family? He admonished himself for his uncharitable thoughts and shrunk down into his collar as a raven cackled in the distance. He did not feel inclined to run from the pack of dogs or cower from the crows and ravens cawing their contempt. This damned heat!

“What the . . .?” Father Vivenzio uttered stopping in his tracks. His eyes caught something strange attached to the cemetery’s wrought-iron fence. Something hanging on the gate up ahead? He stared at the object as he approached, trying to figure out what was hanging on the black iron bars. The object grew more distinct as he advanced. The realization of what it was struck him like a bolt of lightning.

” [Dear Reader: It’s a voodoo doll that has been left for the Good Father to find.]

What does happen to Father Vivenzio is revealed at the end – last chapter – no spoilers here.

But, aren’t you marvelously merry that you did the click! click! on “A Murder of Crows”?

Leave your “Hello” in the comments ~ I love having visitors!

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My #Blog ~ Conjuring Demons and Beasts for #Halloween

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For decades I have followed, and been followed by, the Garden Variety ghost: The Residual, The Poltergeist, The Hat Man, The Shadow, Doppelgangers – you know — normal ghosts! If I ever think I might be leaving ‘someone’ out of the mix I refer to True Ghost Tales http://www.trueghosttales.com/types-hauntings.php

Although I was introduced to Demons and Beasts while living on Tucson’s Sonora Desert when I was six years old, I have absolutely, and resolutely, avoided thinking about these malevolent forces from The Dark Side knowing that a) Seeing is Believing; b) Quantum’s theory of “imagine your reality; and clichés of that ilk.

My rare run-ins and near misses have invariably been with the Red-Eyed Beast. My playmate in Tucson was Linda deSoto. We ran up and down the neighborhood streets of Tucson, Arizona with all of the other six-year olds, traded the happenings at our houses, and probably attended Brownie meetings together. All of how we occupied our time slips into the blur of the past except for one story that Linda told me, which began with the announcement, “You can’t come into our house. My mother says so.”

This made me sad, and then after she explained, and her edict then made me more scared than saddened. There was a Red Eyed Beast in the house. The Beast caused the eyes of the photograph of the Virgin Mary that hung in the deSoto’s living room to glow red at night. Linda’s sixteen-year old cousin had witnessed the embodiment of The Beast and the priest had been called to exorcise the house.

For the next few weeks the Red-Eyed Beast was all I imagined. Its hooves. Its horns. Its hot acrid breath on one’s face, staring at them as they slept. A year later, after I was visited by the ghost of my grandfather, ancestral visits began to fill my world. We moved to a new neighborhood and I concerned myself with my own family’s ‘skeletons in the closet’.

The Ghost Chaser's Daughter -- available everywhere books are sold!!

The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter — available everywhere books are sold!!

It wasn’t until fifty years later, and after I enjoyed my first Amazon Best Seller that one of my readers approached me with her own Red-Eyed Beast story (The Red Eyed Beast of Bodie).

This is a small excerpt of how the Beast of Bodie came about in real life:

As the Sheriff moved to right his mother’s dining room chair, Ruth let out a piercing scream and bit down on her fist.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She tasted blood. Did they see it? She pointed and Samuel gaped. She raised her arm, jabbing with her finger toward the threshold of the parlor – turned infirmary. There, pacing back and forth, between her and her husband, was a foul-smelling animal.

“Jesus Christ! What is that?” screamed Michael as he scrambled to scoot his chair backwards.

It hissed at Michael, and then turned its red eyes on Ruth.

“What the f**k!”

“Andrew!” Samuel admonished, as he rose very slowly, gauging the . . . the. . .

“Is it a black raccoon? The stench is killing me.”

It hissed again, and opened its mouth exposing razor sharp teeth. Glistening spittle hung from its jaw.

“It’s a wolf. . .or rather . . . a coyote!” Whatever it was it paced a line between them and the nearly departed. It lowered its head sniffing the ground, seemingly daring someone to challenge it.

Ruth wailed, “Oh My God! It’s drawing a line between me and my own husband.” Her breath now came in short, sudden gasps. What if that wild animal turned on Douglas! Is it a black raccoon?

“Samuel, Dear God! How did it get in here?” It was a raccoon, wasn’t it? The creature turned a belligerent stare at Samuel. Then, it moved its head in a circular motion, gnashing sharp fangs. It hissed at the Sheriff before staining the polished floor with snot. Its red eyes flashed in the candle light.

“No, it’s not a raccoon! It’s a God-damned reptile! Look at its tail!” Andrew screamed shrilly as he picked up his dinner knife – and held it as though ready to make a stab at the wolf-like beast.

“For Christ’s sake, Andrew. Pardon me, again, Ma. It’s got a wiry black coat!”

Eyeing the diners, the beast turned in a circle. If it were a Collie, or a Labrador, one might imagine it was about to bed down. But it wasn’t – and – it didn’t.

Ruth pleaded, “Samuel, please! Do something! It’s right next to your father!” as her son responded by unclipping the strap of his holster.

“I’ll take care of it, Mother. You and Malika get into the kitchen! Just back away slowly!”

At that instant, the beast bayed loudly. Douglas stirred.

Michael and Andrew traded looks.

“Samuel, I’m saying it’s not a reptile, in spite of its tail. Look down! It’s got hooves, for Christ’s sake,” screamed Michael.

“Michael, try to be calm.” Samuel directed. “Everybody be calm while I get it out of here or blow it away!”

As the beast paced, its hooves clattered on the bare wood floor. It hissed at the family.   Venom sprayed toward Michael, who held his hands up to protect his face. One of the three candles sparked, flared, and died.

Darkness loomed closer. 

~ ~ ~ ~

But what of Demons? The succubus and incubus (and Oh! So! much more) of The Underworld? Liza Phoenix does a wonderful job of categorizing the various Demons for us on her website http://www.lizaphoenix.com/encyclopedia/demons.shtml

But my curiosity about Demons tends toward ZoZo – the Demon of the Ouija world. You’ve experienced the demonic power of ZoZo, have you not? If not – be forewarned by reading about this malevolent force on Ghost Theory: http://www.ghosttheory.com/2011/08/25/what-is-zozo

Two encounters with ZoZo when I was a teen-ager asking Ouija to part the curtain to show me my Fate that convinced me what a ninety-six pound weakling I was when it came to the forces of Malovolence pacing on the Other Side of The Grave.

What about you? “Game” for a little playing with fire? Do YOU conjure Beasts and Demons? Do let us know!!

 

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My #Blog “Spirit Writing” and Psychography

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Instructions:

Place yourself in a near-meditative state so that you can commune with the Spirits in the evening before bedtime;

Speak with them about how you are laying out a pen and paper for their use;

Summon them into your space in a warm and reassuring manner;

Leave a light on when you retire for the evening – one that will provide a soft welcoming glow

In the morning, if you are most fortunate, you will have waiting for you a written message from The Other Side.

– – – –

Instructions:

Create a soothing atmosphere in your home, or in your room for this exercise.  I suggest soft lights, ethereal music, and symbolic objects.

(In my bedroom, beside my bed, I have Day of The Dead wall hangings.  My bedroom is always prepared in case “Someone” wants to step over.)

In my bedroom I have Day of The Dead icons to welcome The Spirits.

In my bedroom I have Day of The Dead icons to welcome The Spirits.

While sitting comfortably at a writing table with a pen and sheet of paper in front of you summon to your conscious mind The Spirit World while in a near-meditative state.

Do not pick up the pen until you are summoned by sheer will to do so. The ‘overwhelm’ of this supernatural occurrence may take several sessions – relax and wait for your Visitor to arrive.

Although it may take several attempts on your part until your Spirit finally finds the courage to step into your realm The Spirits will begin the long journey back in order to tell their stories – by your hand.

They will compel your hand forward, writing their life story, their fears, and maybe even their frustrations of not being able to move through their “chained to Earth” state to the Greater Beyond.

– – – –

The first published account of Spirit Writing, or psychography is a reference to this supernatural phenom by Hyppolyte Taine in 1878.  During the height of the Age of Spiritualism the French skeptic makes reference in the 3rd edition of his “De I’intelligence”.  Not much to go on until the dramatic accounts of Fernando Pessoa who murmurs to his companions that “he felt owned by something else” when his fountain pen would scrawl words across a parchment.  These occurrences of the Portuguese poet took place between 1912 – 1914.

The Spirit Writing of Pessoa. Courtesy of Wiki.

The Spirit Writing of Pessoa. Courtesy of Wiki.

 

In thinking back over my own writing I often feel a sense of having the words placed at my fingertips as I type. Most particularly this phenomenon overtook me when I was writing of the relationship between two sisters – ancestral aunts of mine – in my novel, “The Jenkins of Baltimore”.  What is noteworthy about these two sisters is that, as I typed their story between the hours of midnight and 3 AM, I could quite distinctly hear the dialogue between them in the “authentic period” style of the 1820s.  Most curious is that the two sisters – who each married brothers in the Baltimore Jenkins clan – died in childbirth less than 24 hours of each other. The obituaries in the novel that marks their lives are the authentic obituaries published in 1826:

[Page 65] “ . . . The tears came later.

OBITUARY

Baltimore Gentlewoman Mourned by Family

Anne Marie Wells, consort and muse of William Valentine Jenkins,

Died the 25th instant February;

Leaving one daughter and ten sons motherless.

Known for her beauty, kindness and gaiety this pious woman has departed, at a most vulnerable moment, immediately following the birth of her eleventh child—a son. Gone from those who will love her eternally; Her disconsolate husband mourns bitterly his fate and seeks solace in his family, the kindness of his community, and the wisdom of the Almighty while attempting to understand the cruelty of this most unjust misfortune.

– Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser, February 28, 1826

~*~

OBITUARY

Complications from Childbirth

On the 27th Instant of February in her 28th year, Harriet Wells,

Wife of Mr. Frederick Jenkins

Unexpectedly departed the loving arms of her family, to join her

Sister, Anne Marie, in Heaven.

We forever struggle to understand the mysteries of the Lord,

As Two families face a dark future as a second Wells’ Daughter,

Wife and Mother enter the Kingdom of Heaven in the same week.

These two lovely women leave behind thirteen children, and now

Two devout families must now make the journey through

Life without the calming serenity of a Mothers’ gaze.

~ Baltimore Patriot, March 02, 1826

~*~

The Jenkins of Baltimore. Not an account of supernatural occurrences; but written from the benefit of Spirit Writing.

The Jenkins of Baltimore. Not an account of supernatural occurrences; but written from the benefit of Spirit Writing.

My words in “The Jenkins of Baltimore” are no more than my ancestors coming back to tell me of their vivid experiences.

And, in some ways, that is the reason that I write of the supernatural – to reach into The Beyond to commune with . . . . The Dead.

 

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The ‘Why’ of Why Children See #Ghosts ~ a Blog quoting Shirley MacLaine

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In my last several blog entries I have focused on children who see ghosts – particularly on the ghosts of Grandparents’. The relationship between infants who stare intently at ‘something’ while laying in cribs; toddlers who speak of imaginary friends; and even the eerie experiences of three-to-six year olds who speak in reference to relatives they have never met is fascinating to me because the first apparition I ever saw was that of my grandfather who died on Christmas Day, 1956; six months before his ghost floated through our home checking into bedrooms and peeking into nooks.

I am currently reading ‘Going Within’ by Shirley MacLaine and could not have chosen a book more tailored to my current journey into topics of metaphysics, quantum mechanics, and spiritualism. So I was struck with electrifying excitement when I read the following passage from Shirley MacLaine’s book which buoys the research of Nicole Leader regarding ghosts and children:

Shirley MacLaine. Going Within:  “Most children have a balance of their left and right brain hemispheres and are basically psychic until they begin to learn conditioned techniques of thinking, and to accept  limitations. The reason most children are psychic is because a child’s pineal gland, which according to Eastern esoteric teachings is the organ of telepathy, is highly developed from birth. This gland gradually shrinks from lack of stimulation or use as the child grows older and begins to use left-brain logic more than right brain intuition and feelings.

“The psychic child sees what is hidden from ordinary left-brain mortals in a dimension known as the fourth-dimension, beyond those dimensions we perceive in ‘reality’.

“The fourth-dimension is the realm of the super-conscience. It is the dimension that Einstein addressed as having no time or space. . . .” From here MacLaine goes on to topics dealing with the super-conscience.

~~~~~~

The first question I asked myself regarding this short excerpt on why children see into The Other dimensions is whether or not there is such a thing as the pineal gland. Click on these links to see what I discovered. Physiologically the pineal gland is the endocrine gland that secretes melatonin. But on a spiritual level it is referred by Rene Descartes as the ‘principal seat to the soul.’  More science-based websites than Wiki say this about the pineal gland.

The website ‘International Ghost Hunter’s Society’ takes an in-depth look at how the pineal gland figures into the ghost-sighting lives of youngsters in this blog by Dave Oester.

These links provide in-depth physiological, scientific and metaphysic explanations as to why (1) children see ‘imaginary’ friends; (2) children seem to ‘see’ what’s beyond our own scope; (3) children are more likely to see grandparents and ancestors; (4) and — I might add — why children become afraid of the dark!

Have you, or maybe your children reported seeing ‘imaginary friends’ that seem oh! So! real?  What are your family’s experiences with ghost sightings? Please leave A Reply message here, and we will continue discussing the topic of ‘Why Children See Ghosts’.

~~~~~~~~~~

Emily Hill writes under the flag, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’ and has recently published ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ which is available on #Kindle, and Smashwords’ iBooks.

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

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How #Science Explains #Paranormal, Parallel Universe, Predestination

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~~~~~~~~~~~ ☆☆☆☆☆~~~~~~~~~~~

It is Quantum Physics that explains ‘The How’ of the Paranormal World, and Quantum Mechanics that applies the Holographic Universe [the ‘We’re actors in The Movie of Life’] of Quantum Physics to our everyday existence.

~~~~~~~~~~~ ☆☆☆☆☆~~~~~~~~~~~

For the past fifty years the Scientific community has been moving toward — and flirting with — the Paranormal community.  Didn’t know that? Neither did I until I met Seattle psychic Neil McNeill at a writer’s conference last summer.

McNeill was leading the workshop ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ [how authors should write paranormal into their ghost stories without making mis-steps]. I so enjoyed his workshop that last month I took his class, ‘Psychic Sampler: How Psychic Are You?’

McNeill opened his class by asking the nine participants what super-power they would like to possess in their idealized world. When my turn came I chose ‘Time Travel’ to which Neil offered this:

“If the scientific community is correct, Time Travel is actually possible – just look to Quantum Mechanics!”  Show. Stopper.  The seed was planted.

I would never have inched within a football field length of Quantum Mechanics – and Quantum Physics – without Neil’s insight.  However, I did not reflexively begin exploring the Quantum world until two weeks ago when I read ‘Going Within’ by Shirley MacLaine. It was one-thing-leads-to-another which started me on a journey through New Age thought, past Quantum Physics, and onto Quantum Mechanics.

It is Quantum Physics that explains ‘The How’ of the Paranormal World, and Quantum Mechanics that applies the Holographic Universe of Quantum Physics to our everyday life.

I’m not going to try to unravel – in this blog post – a course on a topic I only have a fingernail grip on, My Dear Readers. But, THIS is what I think I understand so far:

A ~ Scientists were baffled by the fact that in Newton’s Law of gravity an apple falls to the Earth; but stars stay in the Heavens.  That not everything crashes toward the molten core of our planet. And also: Why Einstein’s theory of relativity does not seem to apply to black holes and the pre-Big Bang universe. Scientists began to seek a ‘unifying theory’ that explained the WHOLE Universe; past, present, and future – without the contradictions they were bumping into;

B ~ Analysis of the atom revealed the electrical pulses of neurons and protons and their electricity-producing ORBITS around the atom: Orbits that are wildly similar to the orbits of planets around suns! [Hair on Fire!]

C ~ Affirmation that there is MUCH space [lots of room] between atoms, neurons and protons –
But why then do ‘things’ look solid?? [Aha! Now we are getting somewhere!]

D ~ By 1970 scientists were abuzz over Quantum Physics and the matrix of the Holographic Universe  ☆

E ~ ☆☆ The Holographic Universe introduces the concept of the Parallel Universe  — yes! Parallel Realities — and therein the appearance/cross-over of Spirits and other entities into our conscience state! Parallel Universe concepts are introduced on YouTube by Michio Kaku, and Max Tegmark.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here’s Where Things Get Interesting ~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have discovered, while plodding into the world of Quantum, that Quantum Physics and Quantum Mechanics ACTUALLY explains, on a scientific level, the following:

#1 ~ The Kubler-Ross After-Death Phenomenon: An overwhelming number of Dr. Kubler-Ross’ interviews of people who have died and then ‘come back’ talk of ‘hovering’ out-of-body and painlessly being an observer of their own death experience. This phenomenon is explained via Quantum Mechanics.

#2 ~ The ‘Your Life Flashes Before You’ at the moment of death: In the Quantum world a human being, and its world, is presented to be merely a projection of electrical impulses translated to a ‘movie’ that has been pre-programmed.

#3 ~ Explaining Déjà vu, All Over Again:  In Quantum, it has been postulated that an experience happens INSIDE the brain BEFORE it occurs in your reality (the six-second delay between mind experience and body reaction discovered by Dr. Libet).  Once one accepts point #2 ~ then the movie-projector simplification of reality – and my wish for Time Travel – becomes a distinct possibility! More on Deja Vu? Meet Michio Kaku.

#4 ~ Pre-Destination: Explained! But I won’t go into HOW pre-destination is explained until a later blog post.

A Story:  I had a lover at one point of my life whom I found consuming-ly fascinating. It was destined that we would part company and continue our separate journeys in THIS life; but I said to him when it was obvious that we would break off our affair, “Our conversation is not over – we’ll be talking to each other, at least telepathically, even after death”. That is, death as I understood it at that point.  I’m beginning to realize how possible this scenario is.

The movie versions of the theories of Quantum Physics:

Total Recall

The Truman Show

The Matrix

The Purple Rose of Cairo

The 13th Floor

The Spider Web, Johnny Houser on ‘Repeating-Coincidences’

Blog on Parallel Universe and Vardogers

You’re Invited! If you’ve come to this point in the blog I know that you can correct, or collaborate on what I have learned about how Quantum crosses into Paranormal ~ Please share  Your thoughts on this topic as a Reply!

~~~~~~~

Emily Hill has just published her second novel, and newest title, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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“In The Company of #Ghosts” My #Blog

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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A question was asked on Facebook, “Which creature from the paranormal world do you prefer?”.  Well of course my answer was ‘Ghosts!’ But before you leave a comment extolling the virtues of your Fave creature, let me explained the versatility of ghosts over some of the other creatures lumbering around Supernatural Scenarios.

Ghosts are so elusive.  Sasquatch and Black-eyed kids are also elusive, but can they be conjured? All signs point to ‘No!’, so they lose out on this and other elements of my subjective comparison of Creatures.

Lonely? Ghosts make their presence known.  Plates rattle, pots and pans move about. Why, have you ever heard of a vampire jingling your car keys mid-air when the house is empty of everyone – but you?  No Creature will reassure you that you are not alone more suddenly than a ghost!

Ghosts vividly re-live The Past with you – they are, well – sentimental Creatures. Ever experience a Residual Haunting?  Zombies have long-forsaken The Past by the time they are lurching toward their next meal – just ask Dan O’Brien! Which brings me to my next point:

Zombies can handily eat you out of house and home after they have chomped off the hand that feeds them – your’s!! (And vampires will bleed you dry)  A ghost in the house will not increase your grocery bill. – or your heating bill, for that matter.

Ghosts are interactive in many cases – they will seek out your company, react to your thoughts, understand your needs – they are . . . well . . . sensitive. Look how devoted Sam was to Molly (Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze) in the 1990 devotional of a ghost who fully understood the needs of his woman.  Speaking of Sam and Molly:

Need a bed mate?  Choose ghosts!  Ghosts are much more trust-worthy than vampires in the bedroom department. My preference is the midnight incubus, but being versatile – ghosts also come in the succubus variety, according to author Gladys Quintal.

I’m not saying that ALL ghosts have sterling qualities and the makings of a BFF  Lover – there are exceptions!  Just ask Charlie Sheen who played a Wraith in the Winner-of a-Movie from 1986.  Actually, ghosts come in all kinds of ‘bad boy’ varieties!  I mean, if you want a goon to settle the score on an earthly foe, I’d choose Demons – who live in the same afterlife neighborhood as wraiths, but I believe are a touch more difficult to rid oneself of.

Red-eyed Beast from my collection, The Ghost Chaser's Daughter.

Red-eyed Beast from my collection, The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter.

So, to sum up, why did I choose Ghosts as my preference-creature on a Facebook poll?  Loyalty, Sensitivity, Presence, No-drain-on my economy, Imaginativeness at bedtime.

Now You! Which Creature-category from The Beyond strikes YOUR fancy?

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#Ouija for Christmas? No! No! No! ☆ myBlog

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You might be thinking that the coolest gift you can give this holiday season would be a Ouija board. And to that I say, “No! No! No!” There has long been a debate over whether or not the spate of disturbing occurrences associated with Ouija boards can also be attributed to other seer tools such as Tarot Cards, and the like.  To that postulation let me offer that I’ve never had the same level of menace after spreading my Tarot cards as I have with using Ouija. Frankly, I think Ouija boards are dangerous in that — in INexperienced hands — they offer a portal to malevolent entities that most Ouija board users are either not aware of, or don’t know how to close off.

When I was thirteen I attended a slumber party which was held at the home of a playmate whose parents took us to church the next morning – a Christian family. I note this as ironic because most Christian and Judeo religions consider the use of Ouija a  serious sin. What happened at that session hooked me on Ouija and ultimately I wore my Spiritualist mother and Catholic father down and for my sixteenth Christmas there was a Ouija board waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

Published in my book, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’, here is what transpired:

"Summoning Ouija" available in 'The Ghost Chaser's Daughter'

“Summoning Ouija” available in ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’

Summoning Ouija 

I knew it was wrong – that I shouldn’t. But I did it anyway. I begged and begged for a Ouija board until, on my sixteenth birthday, my wish was granted. The Catholic Church considers using a Ouija board a venial sin, so it was unusual that I would have received something so occult from my parents, who were Catholics. I was delighted.

Summoning the “Oracle” was the perfect slumber party pastime – innocent fun, or so my friends and I thought. My girlfriends and I would wait until midnight, giggling and gossiping as we watched the clock move closer to the Witching Hour.

All of my slumber party friends were totally keen on sorcery and black magic. A set of fortune telling cards, the ability to read tea leaves, and my Ouija board were my plies to the In Crowd. And, it didn’t hurt that I had lived in New Orleans where sessions with Bourbon Street fortunetellers and Voodoo witches were the norm for a teenager.

It was October, the beginning of my junior year. Halloween was just two weeks away as this one particular slumber party took shape. As midnight approached we all trouped to the kitchen to load up on snacks; bowls of popcorn, grab-fulls of candy bars, and bottles of Coke, which would see us through our séance with Ouija. It would be our first session with my new board, hoping to awaken “The Power.”

From the kitchen, we scampered back to my room where I ceremoniously lit candles, placing them on the floor around the séance table. We turned off the overhead light and the candles began sputtering, spitting, and casting long shadows on the walls of my room. Then midnight struck – twelve chimes from the grandfather clock in our living room. The last chime echoed down the hall, bouncing off the darkened walls. Four of us took our places at the séance table where the Ouija and its planchette had been placed, waiting for us.

I looked into the faces of each of my friends and announced, “we should begin now.”

The candles cast shadows across the room leaving each girl’s face in half darkness and half illuminated by candlelight. My best friend, Marty, and I were guiding the planchette – her fingertips perched on one side of the lens, my own fingertips on the other. I’m sure our first question had to do with whether or not one boy, or another, liked us. We waited, trying not to giggle, hoping for the planchette to begin its journey.

It didn’t take long before the lens began its circular motion, signaling that dark forces had arrived from Beyond to join us. Marty and I looked up at each other, her eyes were wide, disbelieving. I furrowed my brow and shook my head, discouraging her to react. I did not want to upset the circular motion of the planchette. Lindsay had already discounted the power of the Ouija as a “phenomena of static electricity, or ideomotor action, or some other method of scientific influence”. I was sure that her brother, the science whiz kid of Federal Way, Washington had given her the words of this dry explanation. I didn’t want her, or any of my other friends to interrupt any force that I felt was trying to reach us. The seconds ticked by as the Oracle continued its journey around the board.

The planchette, its lens stopping on one letter at a time, would slide and then stop, slide and then stop. Lindsay wrote down a letter on a scrap of paper each time it stopped. She felt she was the only objective witness.

B – E – E – L – Z – E – B – U – L It was giving us nonsense. Was it a code, or the initials of several boys Marty would date? (She was dating Darryl at the time.) Her own initials were MAR for Martha Anne Robinson.

“It’s not working,” was Marty’s conclusion as she broke the code of silence and dropped her hands into her lap.

The others grew impatient. If Ouija wasn’t going to disclose to Marty her one true love, why should it work for them?

“Let me see that,” demanded Peggy. Lindsay’s scrap of paper with its series of letters passed from hand to hand as we each tried to determine the code of the Ouija’s message. We were musing about the combination of letters, intent on the scrap of paper that Peggy now held. We were completely absorbed in deciphering its message; all quiet, intently studying the meaning.

“What’s that?” yelped Mindy. She was staring intently at my closet doors, which were intended to slide back and forth on a center-clip track.

“Christ!”

“Are they swinging?”

Yes, indeed they were; actually swinging back and forth. The clip that kept the two sliders on track weren’t working, or something. The doors weren’t sliding open and shut; they were beginning to swing back and forth, hitting against the clothes hanging in my closet and then swinging into the open room as though the clip was not holding them at all. Lindsay stood up. Debbie began gulping and crying.

“Flip on the light!”

Bunched together like a football huddle we stumbled in the semi-darkness toward the light switch. Marty flipped her palm up, across the plate. Nothing happened. By this I mean the overhead light did not go on. At least we had the candlelight.

“I want out,” Debbie sobbed.

We heard the closet doors slide open. I am sure that, although it was 1967 and we were on the cheer squad, where such language was not tolerated, someone said, “Fuck us!” We started giggling, all except Debbie, who was in complete meltdown.

“It’s your dad, right?”

“My dad hates this stuff. He thinks it’s BS,” I whimpered. “Now everybody be perfectly still and shut up. I don’t want to wake up my parents.” Years of domestic tumult had allowed me to perfect the skill of compartmentalizing so that the sheer terror I felt could be set aside until later. Under no circumstances did I want things to get so out of control that my dad would have to be summoned from a sound sleep.

The closet doors stopped swaying. No one said a word. The doors hung quietly, on their track, perfectly still.

“I don’t think this is really happening,” I offered. The only problem with that analysis was that it was happening – and the collected conscience of six high school girls was recording it. No one spoke, hoping that I was right, that the power of the Ouija had not lashed out at us from the other side of eternity. Calm. It was stone quiet except for the sound of our breathing.

We heaved a sigh of relief. Peggy spoke first, “What the hell was that?”

We were still staring at the closet doors, now in a hug of collective horror. The closet doors held our attention because it sounded like they were sliding open. And yes, once again, there they were moving.

“Dear God.”

“Shut up.”

“Please, please, call your father,” someone pleaded.

“No way am I waking him up for this. It will be over before I would be able to convince him to get out of bed.”

“Try the light switch again.”

Nothing.

Then Peggy spoke. I mean that it was Peggy speaking, but it was not her voice. It the most unnatural sound I had, or have, heard since. Tuvin guttural chanting would be the closest description to what we heard. “You will be in love with him, long after he is dead.”

It did not help dissuade us that the message was irrelevant since the Vietnam War was in full swing in 1967. Debbie was hugging her knees as she sat in a tight bundle on the bottom bunk of my bed. Marty and I were looking at Peggy who was staring into some void, trance-like.

Lindsay was angry, “This is such bullshit.” She strode across the room. I thought she was preparing to storm out, or to wake up my parents herself.

Suddenly we were bathed in blinding light. She had flipped the light switch, which this time had worked. We were momentarily blinded but stumbled away from each other – and certainly kept our distance from the closet. Peggy flopped down on the bed, exhausted and sweating. Marty and Mindy were showing Peggy every concern as Debbie continued to sob, “I didn’t like that one bit!”

Lindsay grabbed her pillow and sleeping bag, “I’m sleeping in the living room!”

Silently I slid my Ouija board back into its box and dropped the planchette in after it. I carefully folded the tabs into place to keep the box lid shut.

“I can’t go home, I’d wake up my mother,” Debbie was sniffling, thinking only of her escape. “But, I’m not sleeping in this room.” She followed Lindsay into the living room.

My friends were a bit distant toward me over the next month or so. But, eventually things returned to normal. I went to confession, lied, but kind of skirted around telling the priest what had happened by confessing to using Tarot cards. I was sentenced to a stern papal lecture and the usual penance: saying several rosaries.

Football season started, followed by midterms, and then Christmas – the Christian holiday. As was usually the case I ultimately told my mother what had happened that night. She was truly fascinated, but I am convinced that, like me, she never told my dad.

The strange occurrences that plagued our house took an uptick after that night and my mother, convinced that it was the influence of the Ouija board, spoke about getting rid of it. But, ‘the how’ of it all stumped her. Burn it? If it had a soul, burning it sounded dangerous for all the backlash it might cause from the unexplained dark sources of our lives. Simply throw it in one of the garbage cans? About that time she and my dad took instruction and renewed their vows in an attempt to exorcise my mother’s torments.

Time passed and finally one day she announced to me, “The Ouija board is gone.”

Nearly forty-five years have passed since that night but my memories of the Oracle’s horrific powers have not.

* * *

Do you have experience with Ouija boards? Are you planning to buy a Ouija board as a Christmas gift for someone? Let us know – comment below and join the discussion!

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GUEST BLOG: Seer and Popular Author ~ Rick Waid ~

My Paranormal Journey: One Man's Obsession

My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession

This week I have the tremendous pleasure of interviewing Rick Waid, well-known in paranormal circles, and the author of the very popular new book, ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’.  Rick’s book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as well as through his website (listed at the end of this blog).

Rick Waid is a seer, remote viewer, and past life reader. Rick realized his gifts during his late-30s; his mother was also a reader. As Rick began to connect with the Other Side through Electronic Voice Phenomena (also known as EVP), he began having visions and hearing his spirit guide. As his gifts developed, he learned how to remote view and was able to psychically see places he had never actually visited. As Rick’s gifts continued to evolve, he began seeing the past lives of other’s. He now connects with the Other Side frequently, and receives messages from loved ones Beyond The Veil.

A sought-after radio guest, Rick has been interviewed on numerous on-line radio programs. His candor and sincere approach, make him a popular choice among paranormal-radio hosts including Kurt Logsdon, Todd Bates, Diana Stack, and Evan Jensen of ‘Beyond the Edge of Reality/Australia‘.
I found Rick’s responses to my questions fascinating, and informative. They provide the perfect backdrop for getting to know the author of ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’:

1)  What message, or lesson, do you want the paranormal community to take away from reading your new book, ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’?
Answer:  You should never give up on something you believe in. No matter how many people you encounter who are against [it].  Always get permission of the owner to research any place.

2)  How has your life changed for the better – and also – what challenges do you now face, since entering (nearly full-time) into the paranormal realm?
Answer:  I have made so many new friends and have opened more paths toward my destiny. There are still so many people that do not believe in the paranormal. My biggest challenge will be convincing people that they are around us daily.

3)  Now that you are a successful author; which compels you more – your journey as an author, or your journey in the paranormal world? What similarities do your find in each?
Answer:  They both compel me, because I want to write [a] second book that continues from ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’; and I want to be very active in the paranormal world where I can help so many with my gifts.

4)  You describe in your book feelings of invalidation, and non-caring, as you began realizing that you were experiencing paranormal activity. Will you describe the break-through of overcoming the feelings that those closest to you may not have believed in your psychic abilities at first?
Answer:  Many people turned away from me and never wanted to talk to me again. I knew I could never give this up because of how many people I was helping with my insights into their situations. This is what [compelled] me to stick with it; because I saw it in their face and felt it in my heart.

5)  You did readings on GhostPlace.com as you began developing your psychic abilities; are you staying active in that on-line community?
Answer:  They were there for me when I started and I will be going back there for them.

6)  Please introduce us to your Guide; a description of how you perceive this entity, would be helpful.
Answer:  I have never met my guide. I ask for their guidance and I can feel I am receiving it. I believe my guide is the same as other people’s guides. I saw a man with a white beard in many of my reads and I saw him in a dream. This could be my guide but I have not had a one on one with him.

7)  What do you feel emotionally, and physically, in your psychic state?
Answer:  I feel at times like I am the person I am reading. I see through their eyes and I feel their sickness and pain and see things in their past present and future.

8)  Describe how you differentiate yourself between a medium, a psychic, a channeler?
Answer:  I am a seer and I see objects that are connected with passed loved ones. I am able to pick up injuries by scanning the body. I am able to hear spirits talk to me and offer information about the sitter. I am not like a normal psychic or medium. I offer direct connects to people which holds meaning to them. This is the difference between me and most because I remote view a lot.

9)  Do your visions or messages, come in interpretative symbolism, or are the messages you receive more than distinct?
Answer:  They come in both ways. When I see stuff I try to figure out why and offer the information. Usually the sitter knows exactly what I am offering them.

10)  “Come find me . . .” This would be an interesting case to describe to those who have not yet read your book. How did that case resolve itself?
This case is still on going. There are so many [examples of how] the police have gone [above] and beyond to find this young lady. They have put so many [resources into leads that come to dead-ends. They will not do any more [investigating] unless they [find someone who] was involved with the disappearance.

11)   It’s said that people with physical challenges/sickness live close-to-the-line of the other side – does that describe you?
Answer:  I am in great health and this does not fit me. I have talked to many people with serious illnesses, and I have seen them being watched by the other side. People are really there waiting.
12)  Reading people, how did you transition to that service?  Answer:  I was an EVP specialist and I was getting into trouble for recording [at locations] I was not supposed to . One day a man gave me a bible brochure and I started seeing small green bibles everywhere. That is when I felt the recordings were not what I was supposed to do anymore. So I [used] the recorder [to describe] what I perceived I would see on my next job site. I realized this was my new path because the [information I was receiving] was more accurate.
13. What elements of your upbringing and family life hindered –or facilitated — the development of your psychic gifts?
Answer:  There was none. My mom was a reader, as were my siblings. This fact was hidden from me for my protection until I was ready to accept it.

~*~  ~*~

Rick Waid ~ Seer and Author.

Rick Waid ~ Seer and Author.

I know that you will want to follow Rick Waid and his wildly popular, ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’; here’s how:

On Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Barnes & Noble

Rick Waid on Facebook

Rick Waid’s blog ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession

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Chapter 6: “The Mambo Hut” #Ghosts #Free Read

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

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Thank you for finding your way to the blog of ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’. As you may know I am running serialized blogs of my most-recently published eNovel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”. I have skipped over Chapter 5 because of the adult content. So! Enjoy ‘Jasmine and The Mambo Queen’, Chapter 6.

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Chapter 6

Jasmine Visits the Mambo Queen

The palmetto fronds scratched Jasmine’s skin as she snuck along the trail leading to Widow Paris’ shanty. Her legs itched unmercifully. Jasmine looked over her shoulder imagining that someone was following her, but only saw the outline of weathered oak trees adorned with Spanish moss that swayed back and forth, fanned by the night air. An eerie yellow, pock-faced, moon followed her–its menacing glow casting long shadows. Crickets chirped, and gators lumbered along the banks of the bayou that night – as they did every night. The musky smell of rot and roots hung in the air as Jasmine glanced around as frightened of her surroundings as she was intimidated by her situation. Jasmine had never been to the home of the Mambo queen at night.

Torch fire from flaming spears set in a circle in front of the shanty flashed heavenward. The outline of the shanty was partially blocked by pine boughs. Rats scurried and snakes slithered across the dried mud in front of her. Step by careful step Jasmine moved forward fending off palmetto fronds and tree branches. Wisps of wind cooled the back of Jasmine’s neck.

From somewhere the hoot of an owl announced her journey. She held her breath. It hooted again, calling out from the spooky depths of the pine woods. The warning traveled deep into the swamps and was mimicked by other owls. It was a different noise that caught Jasmine’s attention—the slap of a paddle out on the water. She stood perfectly still and turned her eyes to the gloomy waterline. She stopped breathing and listened. Silence all of a sudden, complete silence; no katydids chirping, no drone from the cicadas. The only sound Jasmine heard was the deafening roar in her ears. Her heart pounded, her throat constricted to the point where a scream would not have been possible. She wanted the sound to be a paddle hitting the water, but she involuntarily whispered, “Loup Garou.” Even better it be a swamp witch than the beast, Loup Garou. Jasmine’s eyes darted from right to left. Please! Please don’t hurt me!  Stone cold silence prevailed. Torturous nothing. She stood waiting to be torn apart by Loup Garou, trying desperately to push out of her mind the vision of the beast with its sharp fangs and its glowering yellow eyes. If attacked she hoped she would die in the first swipe of the creature’s talons. I’m going to die, she whimpered. Damn Zömbi for not bringing Josie back to me so we could get on our way back to Corbeau Blanc.

If the angry swamp monster was going to pounce, with drool hanging from sharp fangs she wanted her death to be instant. She imagined its yellow eyes burning into her skin as it fixed on her—and her fear. She waited, crouching, and listening. The seconds ticked by. Then she heard a second splash further up the banks and wondered; why am I still standing here unharmed? Jasmine then chuckled at her good fortune. Loup Garou had moved along. She wiped the tears from her eyes, “Lawdy, that was close!”

The katydids took up their song again. Now if only the hum of the cicadas would quiet down so she could reassure herself that indeed the creature was making its way back up the shore away from her. But the cicadas would only be silent if the heat lifted – and that wasn’t going to happen.

Jasmine was now within sight of her destination. As she tiptoed closer a board on Widow Paris’ porch creaked. The noise sent a second shock of fear through her body. She held her breath and peered toward the shanty. A man stood on the porch peering out at the darkness, ready to charge any intruder. She watched him crane to see beyond the bright cast of the torches into the shadows where she hid. “Zömbi,” she whispered. With relief she remembered back to the first time they had met. She was seventeen at the time, years ago. He was now at least twice her age.

* * *

That day at the open-air market was as clear in her mind as if it had happened yesterday:  “Miss Sophie? Is that you?” his rich baritone voice boomed out over the crowded stalls, calling for the attention of her mother. The year was 1840 and Sophie d’le Blanc had been showing her how to select ingredients for the Calais family’s meals.

Jasmine stood aside as he rushed toward them parting the masses of servants and slaves with his stride. Her momma handed her the bushels and packages she had been carrying and held out her arms welcoming the powerfully built man.

“Rasmussen! Oh, my goodness! Look at you dressed all fine and dandy! You’ve stepped up right nicely, haven’t you?”

“My name’s Zömbi now, Miss Sophie. I changed my name when,” and his brash laughter startled those around him who had been disinterested in the raucous exchange until then, “well, when I changed my face. Didn’t you know that?”

“Hmm, that was a bad stretch, wasn’t it – Zömbi?”

He nodded. “Yes’um. It surely was. I’m a carriage driver for a rich widow-lady now.”

“Really now? Are you?” Sophie looked up at Zömbi, shielding her eyes from the morning sun.

“Yes, I most certainly am.”

“How old are you, Zömbi?” Her mother took his hands and leaned in, looking deeply into his eyes.

“Oh, I’d say I’m more’n thirty–maybe,” he surveyed the crowded stalls. “It’s been sixteen years since Mr. Hawkins sold me, Miss Sophie.”

“Hmm. I guess it has been. The only measure of time I have is my sweet little Jasmine, here. Well, not really little no mo’, cause she’s growin’ up faster than a weed.”

Jasmine remembered the terror she felt over the impending introduction. She looked down at her calico dress and bare feet and jostled the packages her mother had handed her so that she could pat her hair. Zömbi appraised her and that look of appraisal stuck for going on fifteen years.

Their age difference making no difference to either one of them, Jasmine and Zömbi jumped the broom at a celebration in Congo Park not long after that introduction. The ceremony was kept a secret from the Calais household, “No reason to bring up Zömbi and all that nasty past, Jasmine,” her mother wagged her finger in warning. “That is, if you don’t want to be separated—or sold.”

Zömbi’s commanding voice brought Jasmine back to the present, “Who out there in those weeds? You want trouble, or you gonna make yo’self known?”

“Zömbi! It’s me!” Jasmine hurried on toward the shanty and stepped into the light of the torches. “Call our daughter out. What’s the matter with you?”

“Jazzy?”

“Don’t you start that cuddle talk. Josie and I gotta’ long ways to walk before dawn. You know the trouble I’ll have if Mr. Boulware discovers I’m not back!”

At that moment Widow Paris stepped onto the porch, backlit from the lanterns placed around her front room. “Jasmine? Is that you, honey?”

“Yes’um. I’m here for my daughter Miz Paris. We needs t’ be gettin back now.”

“Well, I’m pleased you’ve found your way to my doorstep, Jasmine,” Widow Paris extended her arm, sweeping it toward the door in a welcome. “Come in for a little spell, and join the congregation. So you won’t be late for your chores we’ll have Zömbi take you and Josie back to the Calais’ in the carriage. You can rest on the way.”

“Yes’um.” Jasmine stepped around the vèvè and up onto the porch assisted by Zömbi who pulled her close.  They walked through the doorway of Widow Paris’ home together.

* * *

“Shh,” Widow Paris cautioned Jasmine as she entered, “Iwa is with us. We are trying to reach Bondyé.”

Wide-eyed, Jasmine nodded and looked around at the others who had gathered after the celebration. They sat crossed-legged in a semi circle facing the altar.  Josie was sitting off to the side in the semi-darkness, her eyes closed. Some of the worshippers were staring straight ahead; others rocked back and forth humming. Jasmine picked a spot next to Zömbi.

She matched up one person to each of her fingers. There were not quite enough people to fill the fingers on both hands. Besides herself and Josie; Zömbi and Widow Paris; there was Sarah, Atabel, and Edgard. They seemed focused on Josie, but Jasmine couldn’t determine why.

“The séance has not begun,” Zömbi leaned over and whispered into her ear. “Shh,” he advised, although she had not said a word.

She nodded and settled in, picking out the trinkets and other objects on the altar as her eyes adjusted to the candlelight thrown by the white tapers. One shiny charm, placed among the beads and burning candles caught her eye—an amethyst in a silver setting.  She thought it looked familiar, but decided her suspicions not possible. Although it looked like the ring worn by Miss Victoria, she decided her impression must be the result of fatigue and a night of celebration.

A bullfrog belched a deep, repetitious rumble that Jasmine had not heard as she crept toward the shanty. She found the refrain soothing as she relaxed into the call while the mauby gourd was passed around. The stir she had created by stepping through the brush toward the shanty was settling down outside. As she took her swig the sweet root that tasted strongly of rum, burned her throat. She passed the gourd on to Edgard who looked down at her but continued to rock hypnotically. His gnarled fingers wrapped around the neck of the gourd. His thumb was missing—from a machete accident, she’d heard. He balanced the gourd in the cradle of his hand and drank hungrily. The congregation was silent up until the moment Zömbi picked up the agogô and began the entrancing rhythm of the campana. The bells would call Iwa to them. Over and over, the same five-beat pattern, as the congregation rocked back and forth.

Minutes ticked by as the white candles that circled the altar burned down. She heard a whispered prayed off to the side. Oh, all-powerful Iwa, we call on you. Keep hidden from us trials and misfortune. We offer what is now yours, your cigar, and your liquor. In return keep our church safe from any calamity that may wish to cross our path.

In unison the worshippers hummed their assent, and the prayers continued around the room as the single drum beat of the agogô continued.

* * *

It was two or three hours past midnight when Jasmine narrowed her eyes and peeked at her surroundings. Widow Paris’ boa constrictor had wrapped itself around the beam in the far corner of the front room, leaving the worshippers to their conjuring. She stifled a yawn and stared into the flames of the candles. Their wax had spilt over creating puddles on the white altar cloth.

Jasmine felt as though she were still entranced; her only reference to the real world was the repetition of the agogô beat outside the shanty. She was carried far away before she realized that Josie had begun to slap her thighs. Softly at first, rocking all the while, her head thrown back. Jasmine brought herself slowly back taking notice that while she was in her own trance, Zömbi had moved.  He was now sitting behind Josie.

“It might be Ogoun, we’ll see,” whispered Widow Paris. “Ogoun,” was what her congregation whispered in agreement.

The surroundings were unnervingly quiet when Jasmine finally woke up. The earliest beginnings of morning would come within an hour or two. She looked around at the worshippers. Five members of the church were sprawled out on the bare floor, sleeping in a tangle of limbs as gossamers of smoke hung in the air. Jasmine looked around for Widow Paris and saw that she was sleeping under mosquito netting in an alcove at the back of the shack. Thick pillar candles burned on either side of her bed. Her snake had moved along the beams and now wrapped itself around the corner beam above Widow Paris’ bed. It was the first time Jasmine had seen Mambo without her characteristic headwrap. She was beautiful.

“Zömbi,” Jasmine shook her husband awake. With his eyes still shut he reached for her hand and patted it, smiling.

“I’ll get Josie. Let’s get you back,” he reassured her.

As they trundled the fifteen-year old into Widow Paris’ carriage, Zömbi asked. “Were you there? Iwa appeared.”

Jasmine shook her head and climbed into the passenger compartment.

“What did he say?” She whispered.

“You’re going to be free—you and Josie. Mambo said that was his message.”

“That’s not possible, Zömbi. Unless she and I both die.”

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Voodoo Vision’. If you’d prefer not to wait to find out what happens next, full edition copies are available at: 

Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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Chapter 1: “Someone Is Watching” ~ #Free Read Excerpt ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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Now that my 2013 novel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce, in this blog entry, the synopsis and Chapter 1.  In this chapter you will meet Victoria Calais and her grandmother, Madame Calais and come to realize the haunting presence that eerily hangs over their centuries old Garden District manor.

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Synopsis:

1853 New Orleans ~ As the frenzied drumbeats of Voodoo ceremonies vibrate throughout the city, Victoria Calais, beautiful ingénue and resident of New Orleans’ Garden District, is losing her vision.  A Yellow Fever epidemic has just swept the city, leaving her parents and sister dead.

As she goes blind Victoria is visited by a poltergeist that terrorizes the family priest, Father Vivenzio, a frequent (an opportunistic) visitor to the Calais’ estate, La Maison du Corbeau Blanc (The House of the White Falcon).

Unable to gain spiritual supremacy over the unworldly activity swirling through Corbeau Blanc, Father Vivenzio calls on Widow Paris, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.

The identity of Father Vivenzio’s supernatural nemesis is revealed at Mardi Gras during a wild carriage race through the streets of New Orleans!

Excerpt:  Chapter 1

1853 ~ Someone Is Watching

It all took place in the fashionable Garden District of New Orleans, where beautiful estates hide behind the screen of tree-lined boulevards. The year was 1853, during an era when family loyalties were guarded vigilantly, some even from beyond the grave.

* * *

Dusky afternoon sunlight streamed into the bedroom of young heiress, Victoria Calais, casting the room in a brooding hue that foreshadows an evening squall. Flying toward the Crescent City at that moment was the kind of storm that causes shutters to clatter, and the shadows of gnarled oaks to bob and weave across expansive lawns.

Victoria sat at her vanity, staring into her mirror but unable to make out her own reflection. Her fingertips, like the feelers of an ant, followed along the edges of each cosmetic item laid out on the embroidered runner decorating her vanity.

A gentle breeze rustled through Victoria’s bedroom, bringing with it the fragrance of rose petals, reminding her that she was not alone. Victoria stiffened and craned her neck squinting into a milky field of vision from heavy-lidded eyes.

“Hello? Who’s here?” She waited. Every instinct told her that someone was standing in the shadows of her room.

A tear rolled down her cheek. Dr. Faust’s diagnosis, delivered the previous day, had been devastating. Hysterical blindness was his prognosis. The diagnosis did not sit well with Victoria’s grandmother, Madame Calais, if her outburst was any indication.

Victoria remembered what life had been like during the weeks that Yellow Fever swept through New Orleans killing her parents, and sister, Evangeline and reached for her sister’s doll. She tugged at its skirt, causing it to fall over with a loud thunk, its porcelain head hitting the mahogany shelf.

“Meow!”

“Oh, Bon-Bon! Did I frighten you, my little pet?”

“Meow!”

Victoria turned toward the plaintive cry just as her cat bounded off the bed and pranced toward her across the richly woven carpet.

“Can you guide me back to my bed?”

Victoria followed the sound of the little bell on Bon-Bon’s collar as the cat scampered back across the room.

“Who understands what has gone on in this room better than you, my attentive little sentry.”

Victoria retraced her steps, her left arm wrapped around the doll.

“Are you there, Bon-Bon?”

A repetitious mew guided her back toward the bed, one carefully retraced step at a time.

Quite suddenly, Victoria stumbled forward, an unexpected lurch into the uncertainty that was her new world.

Bang! The doors of the wardrobe crashed shut.

“Hello! Answer me! Is someone there?”

Eerie silence hung in the air, as the room grew more chilled. Victoria scrambled to her knees looking around apprehensively as a voice called up from the bottom of the stairs. “Victoria! Are you up in your room still?”

“Yes, Grandmother!”

“What is going on? I heard something fall.”

“I tripped, Grandmother! It’s nothing! Bon-Bon was here to save me!”

“Oh, Mon Cher.” Madame Calais softened her voice. “Refresh yourself and come down, Victoria. You’ve been alone in your room all afternoon. We’ll have tea and discuss matters.”

* * *

After dinner that evening a sweeping storm ripped open the southern skies, causing rivulets to run down the side of the Calais home like the veins on the back of an old woman’s hands. In Victoria’s bedroom, shadows danced on the walls as pillar candles spit and flickered. A chill settled over the house, unusual for a New Orleans evening.

Victoria sat on the edge of her bed in semi-darkness. Candles sputtered, causing her to flinch as she sat through the evening deluge pounding at the shutters as she stared straight ahead, listening. She held tightly onto the doll that had belonged to her late sister moving her fingertips over the doll’s porcelain face with its dainty nose and rosebud lips.

“Evangeline is gone, and I am nearly blind. What is to become of us, Bon-Bon?”

The feline pawed at Victoria’s fingertips.

She swiped at her tears and squinted as a shadow passed under her bedroom door.

“Grandmother!” she called out. “Grand-mere?”

Silence loomed. There’s no one to talk to now that Evangeline is gone. Victoria peered across her room trying to blink away the veil preventing her from seeing what had been staring at her the whole time – an apparition wavering in the glow of the candles.

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’. If you’d prefer not to wait to find out what happens next, full edition copies are available at: 

Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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