The Ghosts Among Us

stockvault-haunted-house-at-night131716Do you believe?

I’m not sure I do. I think of myself an open-minded skeptic — but one who’s always ready to listen without judgment to a good ghost story, the closer to home and more believable, the better!

So for Halloween, I asked members of the Goodreads Horror Aficionados group to share any ghostly experiences they have had.  Here are three of the stories — read and enjoy… and keep your eyes open tonight!

  1. Encounter in Dover Castle , from Little Book Cove:

A true story happened to me that now makes me an avid real paranormal believer. When I was 12, my father took us on a day trip to Dover castle. me being me, I left him and my brother and ran off to explore. I ended up in the king’s bedroom and someone walked past me. It was so quick, but I knew it was a man because they gave the most disturbed cry I have ever heard. I instinctively ran out to look but there was just a wall. At that point I was scared shitless screaming to find my dad. He put it down to it being big castle and me getting lost.  It wasn’t until years later when we was watching a paranormal ghost show on ITV, . and Dover castle popped up and apparently it’s one of the most haunted castles in England!

…I forgot to say he had to have walked into the wall cbeause there was no other way he could have  walked.

2.  The House of Sighs, by Rhian

In the last house I lived in, on 2 occasions I heard a woman sigh, and I often had the feeling of being watched. Only after I moved out did people tell me the previous occupant was found dead there.Aapparently she was an alcoholic and was found dead.  I had been wearing a gold ring which I found when I moved in, which probably belonged to her.

CODA: Thankfully, Rhian doesn’t wear that ring anymore — somewhere along the line, it broke in half.

3. Church Spirits, by J. Gowin

I’ve had a few run-ins with things that were a bit peculiar. An unexplained light in the sky; a set of glowing eyes staring in the window; and several others, but there is one tale which I think is closest to your search. It involves a haunted church.

Our childhood friendships are unique in there closeness. You know their families; you’ve slept in their houses; and you’ve eaten at their tables. When I was a teenager,  the family of one of my friends bought a fixer-upper. For many years it had been a church, so it needed remodeling. They had to put in bedrooms, a kitchen, a laundry room and so on. Lots of people helped, and I was one of them.

After they moved in, they started experiencing odd things. Shadows sometimes moved across the lawn at night, without something to cast them. The daughter (who is about my age) claimed to see “a little black boy” in the bathroom mirror, while she was alone in the house. And everyone claimed to have heard the sounds of boots walking down the hall at night.

So these are the stories — are there rational, scientific (or psychological) explanations for these incidents? Or could something else be going on?

Decide for yourself.

Being a teenager at the time, I dismissed it as just shadows and noises. However my friends continued to make strange claims, even going so far as to talk of seeing a wraith watching the house from the backyard. That last claim caught me funny. I figured that they were having one over on me, so I suggested that the teenaged daughter and her then boyfriend had “defiled” what had been holy ground. In doing so they had opened a passage to hell, BWAAA HAA HAA!! After that they didn’t tell as many stories, and I was fine with it.

Some time later, I had occasion to sack out on their couch. In the middle of the night I was roused by the sounds of boots walking in the hallway.


A little something for writers

Lately, I’ve been happily writing away at my novel, whose details I will share soon. For now, suffice it to say it features ghosts, romance, fair-trade coffee, murder, political corruption, left-leaning politics, and more ghosts — all in a fairly compact package.

Pushing me along as I write are my Horror Writers Association mentor Erinn L. Kemper and my local writing buds in the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, where I lead one of their small critique groups. Having been in several writing groups over the years, I’ve figured out that there are definite strategies for getting a writing group to work for you. To share some of what I’ve learned, I’ve written a blog post for the Writers Alliance of Gainesville on  how to get the most from your writing group.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think. If you belong to a writing group,  what would help you get even more from it?

An Un-haunted Life

I grew up surrounded by people who’ve seen ghosts and love to tell tales of their sightings.  Some are old family stories — like the tale of the bald, faceless Buddhist nun who walked through the mirrored bathroom wall of my mother’s childhood home in Macao. Some are new-ish — like the time my brother in law, reading in his loft apartment one sunny afternoon, saw a terrified-looking man edge his way along the back wall of his living room and then disappear through the wall.  Or the time a girl from my high school took her own life and was seen  at her own funeral.

I was there, and I saw nothing.

I’m not sure if ghosts are real — but if they are, I suspect I don’t have the capacity to see them., which may be a blessing. But I do wonder about them — and when I wonder about things, I write about them.

So far, this has earned me hours of entertainment, publication in several small journals, and affiliate membership in the Horror Writers Association.

I love a good ghost story — so  if you love reading or writing them. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t worry, I’m not that scary.