Tag Archives: haunted house

Why Do Creepy Dolls Scare Us So Much? A Reunion (with Death) Maybe??

 

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And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

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As All Hallow’s Eve creeps closer, and the winds begin to howl, whistle, and moan we look at the traditions of Halloween with a shudder – but still fascinated, all the same.

 

My short, sinister story, “Dolls Watching” tells a tale of reunion – between college girlfriends, the present  and the past — and destiny.

Antique dolls arranged on the guest bed of protagonist, Cassandra, bear witness to the horrors of daily life in a desert ranch house that had been deserted after the tragedy of death.

Clocks tick, tock – tick tock – away the time waiting for the one person who has lived close enough to the other side of the grave to still have the ability to see . . . into the past.

And isn’t that what we expect of those creepy dolls that claw at our attention this time of year? Don’t they speak to us from their cracked porcelain faces and stained couture that spell out the ravages of time?

Wiki explains that, “Dolls have traditionally been used in magic and religious rituals throughout the world, and traditional dolls made of materials like clay and wood are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.” Indeed! Some sources even go on to explain that dolls were originally used as Spirit Containers for the deceased. You’re an Egyptian maiden who wants her mother around for all eternity? Have your artisans fashion a clay likeness, conjure her spirit – and Voila! (well, maybe “Voila!” is not the appropriate Egyptian exclamation – but you get my drift.)

Have YOU been stricken, smitten, or out-smarted by a creepy doll? Oh, do tell!! We’ve circled our chairs and are waiting for you to tell us ALL about it.

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myBlog ‘The Page 69 Test’ Applied to #Ghosts of White Raven Estate

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

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Authors and bloggers this week are discussing ‘The Page 69 Test’ – described here by Beth Groundwater.   Basically the test is to read page 69 of any novel and determine if it is the book you want to be reading — much like — according to Beth, music lovers ‘test’ a CD, album, etc. by listening to Track 7.

So! Let’s try the test-du-jour on Ghosts of White Raven Estate .  Here’s page 69 of my latest novel:

Scene:

Widow Paris is proposing to Father Vivenzio that she become Victoria’s companion-of-sorts after the priest has abducted Victoria from (Corbeau Blanc translated to: ) White Raven Estate.  The Voodoo Queen’s ulterior motive, as we will find out, is to insinuate herself into the young woman’s estate:

Let’s listen in as Widow Paris (Marie) has just asked Father Vivenzio (Giorgio)  if Victoria’s beloved cat, Bon-Bon has been delivered to the cottage where the abducted heiress is being held:

Father Vivenzio:  “Yes, [Bon-Bon was delivered] yesterday afternoon. They’re inseparable, the angel and the she-devil.”

Widow Paris chuckled, “So, she’s now happy?”

“Victoria? Wonderfully happy,” he stated sarcastically.

“Well, maybe my plan will help make things more tenable for the mademoiselle.”

“I’m almost afraid to ask, Marie.”

“Don’t be. As I said, it involves money, and it involves opportunity.”

Father Vivenzio pushed his chair back from the desk.

“Comfortable, Giorgio? Ready?”

He nodded, as he picked lint off the sleeve of his robe.

“Giorgio, don’t feign disinterest. It doesn’t become you.” She watched the priest pick up his wine glass and wet his lips. “Now, listen. Mardi Gras is less than a week away. I think it would be beneficial for me to have the company of a beautiful, little white mademoiselle for an afternoon. She could join me on a shopping trip to D.P. Scanlan. Wouldn’t that set Chartres Street on fire?”

“Victoria? You want Victoria to join you on your flirts and – err – business ventures? That is what you want?”

“Of course. She’s such a beautiful little head turner, after all. Can’t you imagine how our gentlemen benefactors would be drawn to the prim virginity of such a lovely creature? I love the idea of the two of us sipping tea at Antoine’s after visiting some of the shops on Decatur Street.”

“Good luck. I could barely get her to cooperate in coming here. Correct that – she did not cooperate – barely or otherwise. Why would she want to cooperate with your devious plan?”

“Because we would propose it to her in the most glorious manner.”

“I’m not at all convinced of the upside to this plan, Marie.”

Widow Paris glared across the desk at the priest, “Alright, let me spell it out for you. She wants out! For God’s sake can you imagine being under house arrest at a convent? The horror of it all makes me shudder. The prim devotion, the prayers, the lack of fashion!”

“Alright! I get it!”

Marie noticed that while the priest refilled his own wine glass, none was offered to her.

“What do you think? A little outing?”

After a few moments time he responded. “Hmm, well maybe. Let me think about it.”

“Giorgio, what’s there to think about?”

“Marie, let me ask you this . . .if you spent time with Victoria would you be able to determine the power behind the poltergeist at Corbeau Blanc. If I’m to manage the estate—in Victoria’s behalf, of course—I need to find a way to control the, uhm, situation.”

[and this is were we turn the page. I hope you enjoyed this peek of Page 69 and that, for you, ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ passes ‘The Page 69 Test’.

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How ‘White Raven Estate’ Became The Setting for my Newest Novel

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

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

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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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House of the White Raven – La Maison du Corbeau Blanc – is the setting for my newest novel ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’. 

Originally the New Orleans Garden District mansion where heroine Victoria Calais overcomes her rivals was christened, ‘the House of Calais’.

However, there is little intrigue or magic in naming the manor after the family and I mourned this fact as my novel moved toward its publication date.  Even in the hours just before I released ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’ I was still pondering an alternative name for the estate that ancestral spirits would not leave.

In their reluctance for Victoria’s ancestors to depart  it helps that the Calais Cemetery and Mausoleum is situated directly across the boulevard from the Calais manor! At exactly the right moment (as the author) I could conjure any number of Calais ancestors to skim over the graveyard’s lush lawns and back into ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’ – which they do each time that Father Vivenzio comes to call!

Throughout the novel I torment Victoria’s enemies with crows and ravens – hmm – for some reason my psyche thought this was just right; but how to ‘tie it all together’ for the reader?

The Calais family members – at this point in the telling — are white Europeans. But I woke up one morning as the last draft of the novel was approved, deciding emphatically that the Calais home should christened ‘The House of The White Raven’ – or in French, ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’.  My own ancestors are French Canadian and I loved the autobiographical tie-in with my beloved characters.

In the novel, antagonist Father Vivenzio notes (derisively) that the ‘House of the White Raven’ was financed from the coffers of Victoria Calais’ ancestral grandfather in the late 1600s. To leave the mystery open to interpretation the priest does not specify the exact source of the wealth or how it was derived.

La Maison du Corbeau Blanc ~ The House of The White Raven

La Maison du Corbeau Blanc ~ The House of The White Raven

Deciding that I liked the ring of ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’ I set about researching the significance of the White Raven [Corbeau Blanc] and was even more convinced that my intuition had guided me to an appropriate alternate name for the Calais family estate.

You see, Dear Reader, there are many myths about the raven – and happily many directions an author can go in while devising a prequel as to how the manor came to be named after the white raven.

Some of these myths are contained in Native culture, some in biblical scripture.

* The White Raven as Grandson – in the Tinglit tribe (Alaska) the White Raven is born, in human form, to the daughter of Old Man Grandfather. The relationship between Victoria and her ancestral father figures is made apparent as they come back from the grave to assist her in overcoming her adversaries. (But how would have a French-Canadian 1600s grandfather have come to an association with a Pacific Northwest tribe?)

* The Raven as Trickster and Transformer – If Victoria’s great-grandfather had transformed himself in some way – say from lowly ship crew to wealthy New Orleans liqueur proprietor – and because he is White – he could have used ‘The White Raven’ as a double-entendre.

Additionally, the raven has significance in Bible scripture:

* The Raven as the first animal to depart (and never return) to Noah’s Ark – because scripture does not define a role for the raven, as it does for the dove; Victoria’s great-grandfather (who never returns to his ancestral European home) could logically choose this animal to symbolize his flight from  . . .  France . . . or Sicily, or?

Maybe he was Sicilian and had a French wife; or the converse.  Maybe he encountered – or married – a Native American woman for whom the mythological raven held countenance. Will the process of creative writing make him a shipmate, or a frontiersman?

So, over the next year, as I pen the prequel to ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’, I will have to devise a journey by which the patriarch of a French Canadian family comes to name his 1660s estate ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’.

I see Sambuca, Sicily; Nantes, France; and Montreal, Canada in my literary journey.

I hope that you will be along for the trip!

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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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Chapter 4: #Voodoo Queen ~ #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, “Voodoo Vision: House of Spirits” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce in this blog entry the Voodoo Queen herself . . . Widow Paris.  Of the four main characters in this 2012 NaNoWriMo novel, Widow Paris is my ‘Fave’ for her glamour, and her ability to conspire and beguile at the same time.  I hope that you enjoy THIS peek of ‘Voodoo Vision’.  If you are just now joining the ‘excerpt peek’ Chapters 1, 2-3, are included in the line-up of my blog entries.

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Chapter 4

Father Vivenzio dashed up the steps to the rectory. Once inside he quietly closed the door facing Girod Street and looked across the polished floor to the door of his office. Although accustomed to the sight, he shuddered at what he saw. A Voodoo staff was propped just to the left of his door. The dark gnarls that seemed to clutch at the wooden cane resembled the knuckles of a hag. A shaft of light from the stained glass windows caught the amber eyes of the shrunken head decorating the crown of the walking stick. It seemed alive. Watching him. Judging him.

The priest hurried past flinging open the door to his sparsely furnished office. A bookcase, matching desk, and liquor cabinet were the only furnishings, save for one guest chair—occupied at the moment. The fabric of his robes rustled as he rushed across the marble-tiled floor.

An elegantly dressed, slender black woman turned in her chair to greet him, her bracelets jangling as she arranged the brightly colored fabric of her sarong. A brocade wrap protected her from the chill of the rectory office. She was physically and temperamentally more accustomed to the heat of the Caribbean.

“Widow Paris! I’m so pleased that you have waited for me. You’ve made yourself comfortable, I presume?”

“Giorgio, I wasn’t sure if maybe I had the time wrong.”

“Please allow me to apologize. I’m so sorry.”

She arched her finely shaped eyebrows and cocked her head. “Go on, I’m curious what you have to tell me.”

“I think you will find my news most interesting, and encouraging. I was just at the estate of one of St. Ann’s most promising benefactors.”

“Let me guess,” she interrupted. “The Calais’.”

“What the hell! Is there anything you don’t know?”

Widow Paris threw back her head, revealing gold-capped teeth and a broad pink tongue. Her laughter was throaty and decadent, “don’t despair my knowledge of your appointments, Father; unless it was your intention to betray our arrangement. Surely you realize there’s not much you can do that won’t be discussed throughout Tremè. My people help me, and I, in turn, help them.” Her bracelets set off another peal of jangles. She adjusted the head wrap that covered her coal-black hair. Still, tendrils crept out at her neckline like snakes slithering down her back.

I am surrounded by spies. The hair on the priest’s arms stood up in an involuntary shiver as he imagined how his swiping at the ribbon the Voodoo doll hung on must have looked. “Let me begin.”

“No. Let me.”

The priest was silenced.

“You don’t seem to appreciate what it means that Jasmine is a member of my church. Go into any household in the Garden District and you will find members of the Afro-Catholic Church—my church. You make a habit of dismissing people as you conjecture their station according to your world–the White world,” and with that Widow Paris concluded her assessment of the priest’s flaws.

“Well, now, if that doesn’t just explain Jasmine’s attitude toward me.”

“Partly, I suppose.”

'Voodoo Vision' Cast of Characters

‘Voodoo Vision’ Cast of Characters

“Then you know, from your well-placed sources, that Madame Calais has made a sizeable contribution to the church in gratitude for the services and attention her family received from St. Ann’s Church during this past epidemic.”

Widow Paris’ yellow-speckled eyes flashed and the image of a jaguar came to mind as Father Vivenzio felt the glare of the Voodoo priestess. He continued, “So tragic. I did what I could.”

He chose to overlook her snort and let her commandeer the exchange. “Let me guess, you have received from the Calais Trust a contribution of, what? Ten thousand dollars?”

He shook his head, defeated.

“What I don’t know is when you are going to make a contribution to my church based on the Calais generosity.”

“For Christ’s sake, is that what this is all about? Why, I was planning to share the Calais contribution with you this afternoon, Marie. Which is why I am so relieved that you waited for me.”

“How nice. I know that you are anxious to help me with the needs of my people in return for their attendance at mass.”

There was no way out of the split that he owed Widow Paris for their shared endeavors—and his involvement—on both sides of the religious aisle.

He drew out his bankbook and began to write out a check. After the ink dried he handed it to her.

“You’re a shrewd woman, Widow Paris. Very shrewd.”

She laughed in a throaty, suggestive manner. “This should buy someone’s much deserved freedom. Thank you.”

The priest grunted his acknowledgement.

“So, your long-term plans for the Calais’? Do tell,” she coaxed.

“Well, as you undoubtedly know, the Calais fortune is now held solely by the matriarch grandmother and her granddaughter.”

Widow Paris opened and closed her black lace fan as Father Vivenzio continued.

“The grandmother is ailing, and the granddaughter is losing her eyesight.”

She looked bored. “Yes? Yes? Get to the good part, Giorgio!” Widow Paris’ eyes glittered.

“In the end, an incredibly beautiful and wealthy ingénue will be left without a family. Except for the familial community of her church, of course.”

“Well, that is fascinating, now, isn’t it?” she taunted. “Whatever is to be done?” Father Vivenzio stared at the ceiling. “The parish does need a new convent. The current quarters here at St. Ann’s are crumbling. And Madame Calais’ granddaughter was not happy being quarantined there as her immediate family died, one by one, in the Yellow Fever epidemic. It was, of course, my doing that she took flight from the epidemic and was placed here at St. Ann’s. Her father was against it at first, but once the girl’s mother and sister died, he relented in order to save her. Then, he too died. Her grandmother presented the check to St. Ann’s two days ago, but, obviously, you know that. I advanced the idea that the donation, of which your own church will enjoy a portion, be used to renovate the convent.” He pushed back his chair.

Widow Paris sat silently as the priest struggled to his feet, his weight being a hindrance.

“A little red wine, to celebrate our windfall?” he asked.

The priestess nodded. “What’s better than celebrating a glorious afternoon with the blood of Christ?”

~*~*~

I hope you’ve enjoyed these first four chapters of ‘Voodoo Vision’. If you would like to add a copy to your eBook library, it is available at:

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Kindle

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Nook

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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•*¨* ♠ ☆ New Novel: ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ Parties its Way onto The Book Scene

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This is a very exciting week for me, and I have All of You to thank.

☆♥*¨*• So, Thank You so Much!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’, my NewEST novel partied its way onto the eBook scene with Mardi Gras spirit!

I am so proud of the production team that helped me bring to my readers the first full-length novel that I’ve published in three years.  (‘The Jenkins of Baltimore’ another family-saga— with Civil War overtones—was my 2010 novel.)

‘‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’’ is a NaNoWriMo 2012 winning submission to the eBook world, published by the A.V. Harrison Publishing team of Linda Hope Lee, editor; and Kathi Humphries Design and New Media as contributing designer.

This wild-ride of a New Orleans Garden District 1800s family broke into the Amazon Kindle TOP 4percent within 48 hours of publishing; ranking 45,300 with dozens of sales around the globe!

‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ is available where books and eBooks are sold.

Kindle

Nook

 Smashwords for iBooks

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And, once again, Thank you for your support and encouragement over this past year as my newest novel took shape.

I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing the story!

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☆ Dumb People And The 5 Worst Things They Do Around Ghosts ☆

The Dead ~ They will always be with us

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Really? You want to know  my opinion of the dumbest things people do when encountering an entity, whether it’s  Ouija board’s dark powers, or an apparition wavering over a tombstone in your local cemetery?

Well, then . . . here goes. The Top Five things dumb people do when encountering entities from Beyond The Grave:

They ~

#5 Don’t say a blessing when closing off their contact with an entity;

Blessings are universal, regardless of your spiritual or religious beliefs. It is a ‘Wishing You Well’ karma token that allows the entity you’ve encountered to go on its journey with a brush from your positive side. Do not overlook the courtesy of a blessing as you take leave from an apparition, or energy source, from the Spirit World.

#4 Shout at the entity as though it cannot hear;

Oh Baby! Don’t ever shout at an entity! That shows such disrespect and you beget what you begat—if you know what I mean.

Bad dreams? Creepy-crawlies when you’re alone in the house? It may be pay-back from not treating those on The Other Side with dignity. No Shouting!

#3 Challenge the entity to show itself;

This is universally the silliest thing to do. That entity that you are challenging to ‘prove itself’, may indeed prove itself in a big way! What in the world makes dumb people think that an entity, or force of energy, from the dark side will reciprocate on-scale to a prove-you-are-real’ challenge?

#2 Toke up! Or down a drink before an investigation;

If you’re thinking a ‘little enhancement’ will a) give you the hair on your chest that you need to venture into that dark forbidden place; or b) heighten your supernatural senses before an investigation—then you’re in for a wild ride that you may not have bargained for.

Gonna’ try it anyway? Let us know how it all went down. BwahahaHA!

#1 Come to an investigation, or a portal site, with piss-off on your mind

Dumb People: This is where the ‘birds of a feather’ axiom comes in. You want a scary, evil entity to follow you back to your bedroom? Yes? Then go into the SpiritWorld with a bad-ass attitude. But you’ll be traveling alone—because I, for one, am NOT coming with you on that trip of no-return!

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☆ myBLOG: Locating the Sixth Haunted House

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NEW in eBook format – FULL 22-story collection on Amazon.

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He described kitchen cabinet doors that slowly swing open and shut on their own volition, door knobs that turn in the middle of the night, phantom birds that flutter around the living room – I experienced all of these supernatural occurrences when I lived in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood between 1986 and 1999.My thirteen years of experiences led me to write a series of ghost story eBooks, and started me on a quest to locate other Greenwood residents who have had similar ‘ghostly’ experiences in their Greenwood-area homes.I’ve now located six haunted houses in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood since first publishing my Ghost Stories. I am launching an active search to locate other residents of Greenwood who have experienced supernatural activity in their home, including ghost sightings, and occurences such as those detailed in this account.Here’s how I became aware of the sixth haunted house: This past month I received an email from a young man who lives in a rental house four blocks from the haunted cottage that I purchased in 1986. The very day that this young man, and his fiancé, moved into their Greenwood rental, odd and unsettling occurrences began.My correspondent contacted me after he began researching the Seattle neighborhood that he calls home. Like this young man, I also had suspicions about the area around North 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue after a conversation with a taxi driver led me to accounts of Greenwood circa 1907 and the spooky history of the Woodland Cemetery Association.When I lived in my 1907 cottage, very strange things occurred in my own house, and that of my next door neighbor.These strange occurrences are detailed in my eBooks, the latest titled, Ghost Stories And the Unexplained: Book Two.

After I sold my property on North 82nd Street, I learned that a former radio talk show host had lived on my street, but at a different point in time. He admits having an exorcism performed to rid his rental of ‘things’ that to this day he will not discuss.

When I lived in Greenwood, my next door neighbor, a single mother raising a four-year old daughter described to me an imaginary playmate that her daughter said would come to her nursery at twilight. The daughter’s description was that of a little girl dressed in a white pinafore, Mary Jane shoes, and white stockings.

It was not long after the ‘playmate’ episodes began that the mother experienced a ghost sighting. As she stared into the hallway mirror, brushing her hair, an apparition matching the description of the daughter’s playmate brushed past the mother and floated down the stairs into the living room where the daughter’s portrait hung. The mother and daughter moved out of the house within days and the house remained empty while their lease ran out.

This brought to three the number of houses within walking distance that I knew were haunted. Next came my son’s admission that the neighborhood kids shied away from one of the houses on the north side of the street – also constructed in 1907. This dwelling was dubbed ‘House Number Four’.

After my first ghost story collection published, a friend told me of an acquaintance whose wife had gone mad while living in the Greenwood area. The friend conjectured that the stay-at-home mom may have been driven insane by visits from ‘the other side’ while alone in the house all day. This brought the number of haunted properties, that I had tracked down, to five.

House Number Six came to light this week in an email that I am including in my blog. Edited for brevity and to redact names and addresses the email reads:

“I found your email address while researching Greenwood.

Visit http://www.prlog.org/11766213-wild-coincidence-brings-author-to-discover-fifth-haunted-property-in-seattles-greenwood-district.html for details. [copy, paste into search]

My fiancé and I have been renting a house in Greenwood for the past year. We moved into the house almost exactly a year ago this month. We were looking forward to living [in this house] and excited to be in the neighborhood, but we definitely experienced odd things immediately [after moving in], I more so than my fiancé.

[My fiancé] asked our property manager if any of the past tenants reported [our house] being haunted…” (The property manager indicated that he had no knowledge of reports of the home in question being haunted, the email explains.)

“Once of the first things we [witnessed] together was the kitchen sink turn on full force, in the middle of the afternoon. We had to turn it off.

I cannot say I’ve been terrorized but I’ve certainly been spooked, especially in the past month. My fiancé was away travelling on business for two weeks and so I was left with our dog and cat. The animals, I should add, seem to be aware of oddities but never seem to be alarmed. This helps me keep cool, I must admit.

Anyway, while my fiancé was away I can say I was annoyed by the [following] "phenomena":

-knocking on walls in middle of night. To the point I could not get more than a few hours of sleep;
-foot steps above, clearly not dog or cat footsteps, when I’m in basement doing laundry;
-cold breezes and drafts when I’m in the living room watching TV or reading, (apparently from nowhere, as no windows or doors are open);
– my Xbox360 game console turned off in the middle of gameplay. (I’m convinced it was the violent content of the game [that caused the interruption of the game].

During these weeks I questioned my sanity. . .my imagination. . .when it came down to it, I could not dismiss much of it easily.

One friend who is very interested in paranormal things, who also lives in the area, posed an interesting question one evening as I was retelling stories of sleepless nights and frustrations. She asked if any of this seemed to coincide with the road construction on 85th, near [the restaurant] Pagliacci Pizza, which is very close to our house. A light bulb went on. With all the heavy machinery, rumbling and grinding, it made complete sense all this [construction] would disturb whatever. . .whoever . . .

The frequency of activity seemed to increase until one evening. [Around] 6:00PM, I snapped and yelled that I was “not impressed – that ‘You’ needed to stop harassing me.” I continued to say I was “sorry that ‘You’ are restless”, and that I wanted him/her to find peace, asking how I could help.

I immediately put out a glass of wine as an offering, a glass of scotch and some fresh water. [The activity] stopped after that. Not one strange thing, noise or otherwise occurred. I’m not a religious person per se, but I am spiritual. So, at my sister and another friend’s recommendation, I stated to our ghost: that "God" whatever that is to ‘You’, is not pleased with this behavior, it is not right, nor funny, to frighten.

Over the last week I did see a bedroom light turn on and off. . . And last night I was kept up. . . with tapping on the heat ducts and walls. The same random, non-rhythmic, but clearly deliberate tapping. This convinced me to [do a Google search] of Greenwood [and its history].”

The Greenwood resident then located my eMail address and contacted me with this account. He continues, “I’ve never denied the existence of the paranormal but I haven’t had too much history with it. The events experienced over the last year have convinced me that there is an all-too-real paranormal world, or dimension, out there.” Signed Nate

~*~ ~*~

I invite other residents of haunted houses, who have had similar supernatural experiences such as these to leave a comment here!

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☆ myBLOG: How ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ Came to Be #NaNoWriMo

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NEW in eBook format - FULL 22-story collection on Amazon.

NEW in eBook format – FULL 22-story collection on Amazon.

An NPR program discussing African-based religions and regaling the life of New Orleans 1800’s Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, caught my attention a year ago.

The blend of Spiritualism, New Orleans, and Laveau (a complex and colorful historical figure) played on my fancy. I began paying attention to the posts of my occultist Facebook friends, such as Jose Prado, whose beliefs and spiritual outlook I respect. A gentle, and generous, person, Jose writes extensively and in measured tones about non-Christian religious beliefs and has – through his posts – provided me with insights on Occultism and Voodoo.

Through the coincidences of synchronicity I learned that one of my Edmonds, Washington author friends had actually taught topics concerning Marie Laveau, and we met to discuss sources of information for my study of New Orleans’ Voodoo Era.

The stars began to align by November 2012. With the inklings of what has now become ‘Voodoo Vision’ I felt compelled to join the global fray of writers pounding out novels as the challenge of NaNoWriMo 2012 loomed. What better way to keep my interest in writing one novel, in one month, than New Orleans, History – and Voodoo!

Voodoo, from my outsider perspective seemed rich with possibilities. Add to the Voodoo backdrop of my novel the parallels of Catholic symbolism, and the scandalous folly of priests and I had the beginnings of a thesis on good and evil.

What challenges me as I add the final touches – and seek editorial comment on my upcoming novel, ‘Voodoo Vision’ is this: How much behind-the-scenes Voodoo ritual to include. Layer by layer I find that I am going back to strengthen and fine tune the conflicts between the slaves and free persons of color, some of whom (as characters in my novel) adhere strictly to the teachings of the Catholic Church and some of whom mix the two religions to their own spiritual and occultist advantage. Taking ‘advantage’ being one of the underlying elements of my novel – and how far one will go to get what one wants.

For instance, take the role of Father Vivenzio, the book’s villain: I wanted Voodoo ritual to serve as a catalyst for bringing together the Catholic Church of 1853 New Orleans with African-based religious practices that took place within the Catholic parishes during that time. I established Vivenzio’s avarice by composing a chapter around the priest’s rape of the leading black character’s daughter during a gathering in Congo Square. Not one to take lightly the scandal of the Catholic Church of late, I felt it appropriate to paint in real terms the human frailties of the Catholic Church, but in terms of yesteryear.

The next three months are going to be ‘full steam ahead’ for me as I edit, re-write the novel; and on design elements of the eBook tile with ‘Kathi Humphries Design and New Media’ to bring you the most colorful, exciting, haunting look at New Orleans in The Voodoo Era — originally named “Voodoo Vision” this novel ultimately was published as “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”.

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☆ myBLOG: The Ghost Matrix

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NEW in eBook format - FULL 22-story collection on Amazon.

NEW in eBook format – FULL 22-story collection on Amazon.

Yes, I believe there is a Ghost Matrix.

Let me begin by reminding you that there are six major categories of hauntings – from Residual hauntings where the ‘energy’ of a traumatic event is trapped in place – think of Lizzie Borden’s House on this one – to Poltergeist activity; and Demon activity, Shadow People, Doppelganger’s, and Intelligent/Interactive hauntings (http://www.trueghosttales.com/types-hauntings.php)

The phenom that grabs my interest this morning is the hauntings that take place in what I am going to dub as The Ghost Matrix.  In my book (no pun intended) The Ghost Matrix can extend into any of the six classic haunting scenarios.

The most obvious occurrence of The Ghost Matrix takes place when an apparition seems to walk through walls.  The apparition is actually walking through a doorway – a doorway in THEIR world, in a dwelling or building from another time period.

My rumination on The Ghost Matrix began when I read an on-line story about a woman who saw – in a series of incidents – the bottom half of an 19th Century-dressed woman sitting on the edge of an iron-framed antique bed which seemed to float mid-air in the woman’s modern 20th Century home.  The bed mattress and its coverlets were cut in half horizontally (as was the apparition-woman’s upper torso) by the woman’s ceiling.  Startled, but fascinated, by this floating leap from physics the new home owner began to investigate the history of the property she had purchased (the actual land titles).  It turned out that her new 20th Century rambler had replaced an old 19th Century farmhouse, which had been razed. Archived newspaper accounts described the murder of a 19th Century farm woman and more recent newspaper accounts that the new homeowner located teased about the property being haunted by the spirit of the murdered farm woman.

The apparition was caught in The Ghost Matrix – her own reality and surroundings at the time of HER life.  There have been reporting’s of the heads of ghosts popping up out of floors where murders have taken place in basements and crawl spaces of re-built properties and other reported incidents when ‘our world’ overlaps in time and space with ‘the other world’.

If YOU have heard of a concept that mimics The Ghost Matrix but, explained in other terms, I would love to hear from you.

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