Tag Archives: Tarot

My Blog: Why *DO* I write about the Supernatural?

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

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I am a member of Werner’s “Supernatural Fiction Readers” group and group members were recently invited to introduce themselves. The following is what I wrote.  If YOU are a Goodreads member, please come find me, and let’s be friends and trade book suggestions!

My post on “Supernatural Fiction Readers”:
“Thank you for the invitation to introduce ourselves. I am an author who writes under the moniker “The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter” because, well. . . err. . . my mother WAS a ghost chaser! And I, of course, I am her daughter.

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

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

My mother should have been born during the Spiritualist Movement of the 1880s because there was little she would NOT do to attempt to commune with the spirits.

It seems this was all brought on by a brush with Death during a bout with malaria. She saw “the light” and heard the voices of her ancestors calling to her. But in the farmhouse parlor where she lay with chilled packs on her head (her grandmother’s attempts to break her fever) she also heard the voices of her grandparents as they fretted over losing her. She remained on THIS side of the grave for sixty-two years beyond that moment — always fascinated about what lay beyond the grave.

My own polio crisis (with last rites administered at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Ohio) provided me a similar experience; and not surprisingly — a similar outcome. Over the years my mother and I were simpatico in our collection of Katrina dolls, Ouija board sessions, and Tarot card readings.

I came to writing by way of genealogy.  In 2009 I wrote a novel about the day-to-day life of my father’s ancestors as I heard the voices of my ancestral aunts telling me the story during midnight writing furies. I felt that I could actually HEAR their voices, and typed out the dialogue as they spoke. The result, published by A.V. Harrison Publishing,  is “Jenkins: A Family Saga” about the life of an 1830s Baltimore household during the long trudge toward Civil War.

After “Jenkins” was published I felt it only fair to write SOMETHING about my mother’s family, thus beginning my odyssey as “The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter“.

Several years later I entered “NaNoWriMo” a global author’s challenge to write one novel — in one month. A year of polishing, editor’s help, and book design efforts resulted in “Voodoo Vision” which was re-named to “Ghosts of White Raven Estate“.

Reading is the primary joyful pastime of my life — I would love receiving the comments of my blog visitors on why THEY came to a love of reading and/or the supernatural. Please let me know!

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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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myBLOG ☆ New Orleans Is More to Me Than Beignets and Mardi Gras

My New Orleans Jazz club souvenirs, circa 1964

My New Orleans Jazz club souvenirs, circa 1964

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When I was thirteen my family moved from Southern California to New Orleans, Louisiana. I was transformed from a Surfer Girl (described thusly by an old boyfriend I looked up decades later) to a Southern Belle. It was the most exhilarating time in my life—and such a tumultuous time in the nation’s history. It was the summer of 1963.

My father had been hired by The Boeing Company to work at the Michoud plant in New Orleans. With the intention of arriving New Orleans in time for my sister and I to start school in September, my parents sped from California to Louisiana over a six-day stretch in our 1961 Plymouth station wagon. I remember the ‘are we there yet?’ laments over how long it took to cross Texas, and my parents looking for a house to move their three children (and our dachshund ‘Winkie’) into when we arrived. But, I don’t remember the motels and diners along the way. When we arrived in Louisiana my parents decided to settle the family across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans—in Slidell.

My sister started school without me that academic year. I didn’t register for seventh grade until after my paternity was established. To the Registrar I looked like a Creole (non-white) and was registered with the school district as a mulatto.  You see, schools in The South remained segregated as that school year began (and in spite of the Civil Rights Act). In contrast my sister, a blue-eyed honey blonde, undoubtedly fathered by a white man, was whisked into the eighth grade.

Upper right, me in elementary school, lower right, attempting to enter junior high in Slidell; plus high school graduation photo.

Upper right, me in elementary school, lower right, attempting to enter junior high in Slidell; plus high school graduation photo.

In spite of my rocky start I finally was admitted to Slidell Junior High two months into the school year and was enthusiastically accepted by the most wild, fun-loving clique a thirteen year old could hope for. Did I say wild? My social circle included kids from Southern families, military brats, and kids like myself whose dad’s had been hired during Boeing’s expansion. (Our school was ‘integrated’ by one black student four months into the school year. He was escorted through from class to class surrounded by six Federal Marshalls.)

Our first few years in Slidell we lived on the edge of a swamp, off Magnolia Road. Alligators, armadillos, and snapping turtles made frequent crossings to the wetlands through our yard. We rented from a Cajun family who invited us over every Sunday afternoon for a crawdad feed and lots of beer. I was thirteen when I started drinking.

I was fourteen when hurricane Hilda, a Category 4 storm, crashed into New Orleans causing widespread flooding, devastation, and death. The element of Hilda that I remember most vividly was the ‘train-barrelling full speed into the house’ eardrum bursting noise. Wrapped in blankets, and huddling in the bathtub, my siblings and I could NOT hear one instructive thing my mother was yelling at us as my non-plussed father snored in the other room.

I was fifteen when I got my driver’s license and keys to my dad’s 1965 Mustang.  I made a barreling beeline across the Lake Pontchartrain bridge to the jazz clubs on Bourbon Street. The bouncer carded me and my girlfriends at Al Hirt’s Club, so it was off to Pete Fountain’s which wasn’t as particular about who they let in to their club. That was also the year I discovered the Tarot card parlors in the French Quarter and was convinced of the authenticity of fortune telling. You see, I had a crush on a tall blond kid whose dad owned the radio station in Slidell. My swain was Blakey Adams. During my first Tarot reading the fortune teller—a Caribbean woman dressed in glorious color, bangle jewelry, and a headwrap told me that I was in love with a boy whose initials were B. A. (I swear to you, dear blog reader, this is true.) I was bowled over and was, of course, sold on everything that New Orleans had to offer—the marques, the lights, the alcohol, the jazz clubs—and the fortune tellers.

That love for The Big Easy has lasted now for fifty years – 1963 to 2013 – so why NOT write a novel that features mon amore—New Orleans.

☆  Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ☆ is NOW available on Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and iBooks.

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☆¨*• myBLOG ~ Fortune Telling ~ Obsessions And Patterns

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Cartomancy ~ Fortune Telling Using a 52Card Deck

I have been telling my fortune using Tarot cards and the 52Card deck since I was sixteen and living in New Orleans.  In other words, for 45 years – which is how long it’s been since I left the Christian faith.  Fortune telling, throwing runes, shuffling cards, crystal balls and tea leaves are associated with Black Magick and dark forces according to Christian religions [and maybe Judea] – so this blog post is not going to be of much interest for those proselytizing for Jesus Christ, or the Catholic Church.

On that note, I’ll proceed:

My Tarot deck is stained, and the edges of some cards are singed from holding them too close to candle light. My Tarot deck has moved with me from New Orleans to Seattle to Edmonds and has seen me through college, marriage, motherhood, divorce; and remarriage. In other words my cards know me better than any one!

Recently I’ve renewed my interest in telling fortunes and came across the technique known as ‘Cartomancy’.  Let me take this opportunity to remind my friends once again that using a Ouija board is a very strict No! No! in my world just because of the Terror Factor – and my own experiences – but, somehow ‘cards’ are more benign. Is that delusional ?

So, with my Cartomancy ‘draws’ now underway, I began to notice wild coincidences and card-patterns! Upon realizing these patterns I immediately thought of my Facebook friend Johnny Houser who studies The Web of life’s coincidences. For instance, repeatedly the King of Spades came up, as well as the 3 and 5 in that same suit.  The ‘chances’ of any particular card coming up in 36 pulls from 312 cards is pretty exceptional.  Why would certain cards come up in a draw time after time – if Fate wasn’t a key?

My statistical thinking went something like this:  If I have 52cards to draw from day-after-day; and IF in six draws (52×6 = 312 draws) and ONLY CERTAIN cards come up, a web of Fate is developing. So I began tracking the draw-set from each day and was able to develop a Dominate repeating pattern of four cards; and a Lesser repeating pattern of three cards In other words seven cards CONTINUALLY repeated themselves.

I thought it curious that the number of repeating cards equaled SEVEN (an auspicious number in matters of Fate.)

Here is the chart I came up with to track the repeating cards:

Charting Fate though Cartomancy

Charting Fate though Cartomancy

And, here are the Dominate and Lesser repeating cards in my recent six draws from 312 cards (52 x 6)

After six draws THESE Seven Cards continually repeated -- Why??

After six draws THESE Seven Cards continually repeated — Why??

Oh!  You want to know ‘The Question’ ?

I had asked about money matters.  What is curious is that from the first draw only marriage and relationship cards came up. The ‘love matters’ of my life bled through, and continued to dominate the messages that I was receiving from The Cards. Mischief, Betrayal, Confidences not kept; black cards dominated red cards.  But the clubs seemed to neutralize the spades; and harmony appears to reign in spite of challenges, according to The Fates.  We shall see – yes?

Do You ‘Pinterest’?  My Board ‘The Draw of The Cards’ is here! Come See! 

Dominate Cards:

8Hearts = A convivial marriage

3Spades = A beloved who travels/wanders

5Spades = A beloved who journeys far

KSpades = An ambitious man [my husband? – I’m not sure]

Lesser Cards:

4Diamonds = Surrounded by friends who do not keep confidences

5Clubs = Questioners good marriage

JClubs = A generous, though mischievous friend [my former lover, who is still in touch – I’m sure!]

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Do YOU use horoscopes, cards, runes, or Ouija to guide yourself to YOUR fate?

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