Category Archives: Ghosts

Whatcha Reading?

Hey, Scribesters! Suze here, coming to you from deep in the cave (the writer’s cave and its next-door neighbor, the editor’s cave).

Whatcha reading these days? Me, I’ve got a couple of books going.

Doctor_Sleep[1]Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep. Ever wonder what happened to Danny Torrance, the little Red-rum kid from The Shining? Well, he’s ba-a-a-ack! (I know, I’m mixing movies here) And honestly things are not so great for him. This is classic Stephen King–beautiful writing about horrifying stuff. I don’t want to put this down. I wish I had a couple days of uninterrupted reading time, but, like a fine wine, I need to sip, not guzzle this book. So far, I adore it!

9780062192356_p0_v1_s260x420[1]I’m also reading a YA book, Slither, Book 11 in The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney. This is scary stuff! Think Grimm’s fairy tales with every myth and monster you can think of (and some new ones too) putting our hero, Tom Ward, and the rest of the world into ever-increasing danger. While the prose reads like a middle grade book, in my opinion these stories are not for anyone younger than 6th grade. And the illustrations are gorgeous–done in the style of old woodcut drawings. There’s one more book in the series coming out next year, and while I can’t wait to see if Tom defeats The Fiend once and for all and if Alice can save herself, I’ll be sad to see this series end.

How about you? Are you on a horror kick like I am? What are you reading these days?  

Marie Higgins-Waitingforyou (2)

New releases and a time traveling guest.

I have a special treat for you all today. I’m doing double duty and bringing you a couple of wonderful new releases! First of all, the Scribes are thrilled to celebrate with our very own Sugar Jamison, and are proud to announce her debut novel, DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD.

Here’s what it’s about!

dangerous curves aheadEllis Garrett is dumping her critical boyfriend, opening a plus-size clothing store, and starting a blog—all to spread the word that fashion shouldn’t require a size-two body, and happiness should allow for the occasional cupcake. Or two. But is indulging fantasies about her sister’s long-ago ex, the still-hunky Michael Edwards, biting off more than she can chew?

Mike must be losing his detective’s touch. He doesn’t recognize Ellis when he bumps into her at Size Me Up, and he certainly doesn’t remember his ex-girlfriend’s outspoken sister being so irresistible. Her curves are indeed dangerous—and so is her wit. Could it be that Ellis is his Perfect Fit? One thing’s for sure: Mike will make it his sworn duty to find out…

Congratulations, Sugar, on your debut release! If anyone wants to purchase a copy (and you ALL should because it’s heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny) you can find it here:

AMAZON, B&N, and Indiebound

 

From Romantic Comedy to a Time Travel Romance with mayhem and mystery, please welcome today’s guest, Marie Higgins, author of WAITING FOR YOU.

Marie Higgins Author picMarie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of sweet romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com

I asked Marie to share some of her deepest darkest secrets with us and answer her favorite Scribes interview questions.

  1. How do you battle the doubt monster?  Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

For many years I struggled with this. I usually ran across the Doubt Monster while writing my first draft. I was told by other authors to keep writing just to get the story idea on paper, then take a little break and return to the story to make it better. That helped for a little while, but then the Doubt Monster returned with a vengeance. During this time, a good author friend of mine suggested I join the online reading place – Wattpad. This website has literally thousands of readers, and most of them are people who like to write stories. I was leery about giving my stories away for free, but I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t believe how many readers ‘followed’ me…and how many uplifting comments I received. If not for Wattpad, the Doubt Monster would have conquered my fears.

  1. I’ve had wonderful feedback from Wattpad readers as well, Marie. They are voracious, supportive, and loyal about authors they love to read. Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

I’ve written many genres already (mostly different historical eras), but I’ve tried my hand at paranormal (ghost stories, and werewolves), and Sci-Fi (time-travel). Once I’m finished with all the projects I have on my plate right now, I’d love to write a Young Adult Fantasy. I even have a crazy idea for a series, too! It’s like a Mad Hatter meets Harry Potter kind of story.

  1. That sounds awesome! What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

Do you mean besides my career taking off?LOL  I took my chances and started writing clean romance (no sex or swearing), and even a few Christian/Inspirational romances (where the Christian element is strong in the plot). I have been greatly surprised of the success I’ve received from these books!

  1. You should definitely have a chat with our resident Inspirational Romantic Suspense author, fellow Scribe, Katy Lee. She has found a warm welcome from the inspirational reading community.     How do you come up with your shtick?

Funny you should ask… I write what I love to read. Some authors I love because they write such beautiful historical romances. Some authors write very humorous stories. And some are famous for their suspense. I wanted to combine all the things I love into my writing, and in doing so, I have created some great hooks, and twists / turns. My readers have called me “Queen of Tease” before…and I’ll happily wear that particular crown proudly!

  1. Not a bad crown to wear for a romance writer! Are you working on another project?

 When I finished writing WAITING FOR YOU, I realized how fun and challenging it was to write time-travels, so…the story I’m working on now that hopefully will be released next month (Sept. 2013), is also a time-travel. This one is titled LOVE LOST IN TIME. Sheri McGathy is my wonderful cover-artist and has made the best book covers for me! I’m so in love with the covers for both of my time-travels!

Check out the book trailer for LOVE LOST IN TIME here – http://youtu.be/E1C_IKJqwC4

6.    Tell us about your new release, WAITING FOR YOU.

My latest release “Waiting For You” is a ghost story / time-travel / humorous romance. I’ve added lots of twists and turns, and it has a great mystery as well! Here’s the blurb:Marie Higgins-Waitingforyou (2)

When a beautiful woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal’s new office and begs for help in solving her murder, he’s intrigued enough to consider her plea. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice, so taking on a client who insists she’s dead seems a good way to refresh his career. The more history he uncovers, the deeper he falls for the ghost. Abigail Carlisle believes Nick is her heart’s true desire, but how can happily ever after happen when she’s already dead?

 Excerpt:

“What can I do for you, Miss Carlisle?”

The woman’s stiff, aloof behavior pricked Nick’s curiosity. In an attempt to draw her out, he flashed his most charming smile. She did not so much as bat an eyelash in return. It stung his ego just a bit, since women usually melted beneath that smile. Nonetheless, he wasn’t here to make her weak in the knees but to gain her trust and represent her.

She re-positioned herself on the chair, pulling her shoulders back primly as she faced him. “I have searched a long time to find you. You are the only person who can help me.”

What an odd thing to say. The urgency in her tone made him curious. It was in total contradiction to her outward, ice-queen appearance. “Really?” he asked. “Why do you think I’m the only person who can help?”

“I don’t think, Mr. Marshal. I know.”

Nick cocked a skeptical brow. “How do you know?”

A flash of hesitation, or perhaps embarrassment, skirted across her face. “My maternal grandmother,” Miss Carlisle paused to draw a short breath, “—told me that one day I would find the man who could help me.”

Nick should be amused at the absurdity of her story, but instead the little she’d said so far—and the desperate pleading in her voice—intrigued him. “And she actually said my name?”

“Well, not exactly,” Miss Carlisle replied, “but it was close enough. She gave the initials N.M., and she said you would be a solicitor.”

“Solicitor? When you use that word, you are referring to an attorney?”

She shrugged, her head bobbing to the right. “They mean the same thing, do they not?”

Disturbing tingles crawled up his back, the sort of sixth-sense sensation one experiences while walking through a cemetery in the pitch dark of night or after a scary movie. Nick shook off the feeling. Was her grandmother some kind of fortune-teller? “So how do you know N.M. is me?”

“She was a gypsy—a spiritual woman in her day.”

“All right, but how do you know I’m the man she had spoken about?”

Finally, a timid smile touched her mouth. “Because you are talking to me right now.”

He shook his head. “I’m afraid I don’t quite understand, Miss Carlisle.”

She closed her eyes as though in pain. “I knew explaining my situation,” she spoke the words carefully, as though testing its meaning, “would be difficult, but I’m at quite a loss for how to clarify myself.”

“Please try, Miss Carlisle, because you have me confused. Why exactly do you need an attorn—er, a solicitor? And why do you believe I’m the man your grandmother spoke of?” More to the point, why are you dressed like someone from the Titanic? The last question would have to wait until he ascertained her reason for seeking him out.

Her breathing quickened as a touch of trepidation touched her stony expression. “Mr. Marshal, the reason I know you’re the man who can help is because you—you can…” She cleared her throat. “You can actually see me.”

Nick stifled a chuckle. “Of course I can see you. You’re sitting right in front of me.”

“True, but your lady friend could not.”

He silently cursed Vanessa again. “I don’t think my friend was paying much attention at that moment.”

“When she walked into the room first, she looked my way, but she didn’t see me.”

He flipped his hand. “I do apologize for that. Vanessa can be a little self-absorbed at times.”

“No, you don’t understand. The reason she couldn’t see me is because, well…” Her blue eyes locked on his with something akin to fear shadowing their depths. It brought about a surge of protectiveness Nick was not entirely used to experiencing, especially with a woman he just barely met.

“I’m a ghost,” she ended in a whisper.

BUY LINKhttp://amzn.com/B00EQQMACU

Coming in print soon!

Great excerpt, Marie! It sounds like another winner. Thanks for being our guest today and sharing the spotlight with Sugar. We love to bring as many great authors and fabulous books as we can to our reading audience. 

Marie has agreed to check in today if you Scribe’s fans have any questions about writing time travel romance or anything else you might be curious about. She is a wealth of information!

Porch Story

So we went to Maine, and I am sitting on the porch with my ghosts and memories as twilight falls and the call of a loon breaks the silence. And then the quacking of ducks from somewhere at the edge of the pond.

“Margaret still feeds the ducks,” John says, which seems very odd to me since they have to make their way from the pond up our lengthy path to get across the road to Margaret’s house.

I wonder what my heroine would do. She’s come to Maine — why? She inherited the island in the middle of the pond, even though she’s not family. She’s thinking the family must be furious. There are a raft of nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts and uncles who on the face of it are more entitled to inherit than she. She’s never asked herself why her.

But the family must have: the family was surely gathering forces to contest the will. At the moment, however, my heroine doesn’t care.

She sits on the porch at the home of a friend, thinking about the past as she gazes out over the pond. She used to come here as a child. There was a guy — but best not to think about that. She hasn’t really thought about him in years and gives herself a moment to wonder now, is he still around? Is he married? Is he dead?

He is one of the ghosts; she fully expects to see him canoeing toward the dock, calling out to see if anyone’s home. Or to find a jar of homemade jelly on her front steps, a sure clue he came visiting.

But no — all she hears are the far-away voices from the camp at the other end of the pond. The sound of oars dipping in the water, or the occasional roar of a speedboat pulling water skiiers on the far side of the island.

It’s all about the island, my heroine thinks, and how it reflects in the water. In some lights, when you photograph it, you can’t tell which is the real island and which is the reflection. It feels like a metaphor for her life.

Clouds gather, a portent of a storm. Mist wafts across the water. The branches overhanging the pond, which look like a samurai warrior and a dragon respectively, sway in the churning wind like marionettes controlled by an unseen hand. It starts to rain, a pattery rain that causes the water to ripple. A drift of lily pads and pond grasses floats across the reflection, effectively dividing it in half.

The rain drops blur the shadowy trees mirrored in the pond, making the upper half look like ghostly men rolling toward the shore, coming for her, coming for me.

Across the pond, out of the corner of her eye, she sees movement — an ethereal figure in white which looks as if it’s walking on water.

She freezes. Who’s heading toward her island? Anyone could — it’s wide open all the time. If she were there, she’d be defenseless. Here, on the porch, in the rain, she can do nothing about it. She feels terrorized nonetheless.

The ghost men in the water come closer and closer, reaching for her, reaching for me. The white ghost floats along the length of the island, seeking — what?

Ducks quack loudly, one-two-three. “They’re on their way to Margaret’s house again,” John says from the kitchen window. “We’ll visit tomorrow morning.”

My heroine (and I) look up. The mysterious white figure is gone.

Does being away from home set your imagination in motion? Do you weave stories from dust motes? Do you believe in ghosts? Yes, the island really exists.

Thea Devine is working on her next erotic contemporary romance, and other projects. She will be attending CTRWA’s Fiction Fest in September, and speaking at the NJRWA Put Your Heart in a Book Conference in October. She was among those honored as a Romance Pioneer at this year’s Romantic Times Convention.

The Presence Unseen

Thea Devine today ruminating on fiction and life. I’ve been watching Under the Dome, which has become of particular interest because in some of the promo Stephen King has done for the series, he’s been pictured in the small Maine he says was the model for the small town in under the Dome.

Bridgton, Maine. It’s a really pretty town, with antique homes, antique shops, a book store, a find-everything-here department store. There’s a lake and a movie theater, and what more do you need in summer?

It’s about ten miles down the road from where we’ve summered for an untold number of years.

John just came back from opening up the house. He said it was good to be back in Maine, to see and catch up with our neighbors and friends. And yet — and yet … there is a presence — of friends who’ve left, friends who have died.

And, as John said , the presence not there is still a presence.

I feel it myself. I’m sure I’ve written before that Maine, for me now, is full of ghosts. I love being there, but I resist going because I know I’ll feel the presence of those I love and miss.

I am, as it were, under the dome. There are monsters in the lake, ghosts hovering in the branches. I shudder to go out at night in the deep darkness where there are no lights, where nothing can be seen, only felt and heard.

I imagine a lurking presence — familiar and unknown.

I’m in Stephen King territory now — in real time, in real life — and thus influenced, I dream up mysteries that haunt the woods behind our house, secrets buried for generations in the attics and cellars of abandoned farms that dot the hills, heroines returning to their roots, running from their bad decisions, heroes who are local, hard-bitten and wise.

The question is, do I write those stories in Maine– or as far away as I can get from the presence of the ghosts?

Or will I still be haunted by the presence unseen?

What would you do? How would you feel?

Thea Devine is currently working on her next erotic contemporary romance. She will be attending RWA and speaking at the NJRWA Put Your Heart in a Book Conference in October.

Pictorials, Paper Dolls and Old Magazines

We went to Arizona to visit family over Christmas vacation. It was our first trip there ever and one of the highlights (among many) for me, was our visit to Tombstone, the town that didn’t die. I walked the streets of history that I’d only seen in books — pictorial histories, which I discovered years ago when I wasn’t writing, hadn’t been published, hadn’t a thought I ever would be published.

Pictorial histories put me in the picture. I didn’t have to have lived in that time and place to describe what I saw in those old photographs, I was writing westerns initially — five of my first nine books (I know — who would have thought) — so I relied heavily on pictorial histories (Before Barbed Wire is a good one) to describe how it was from those taken-at-the-time photographs.

I love them, don’t you?

When I veered into the Victorian era, I found troves of photographic histories on everything from harems to Sherlock Holmes’s London. I also loved the reproduction editions of the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues from the 1890s. Especially the house kits. I love floor plans.

And for clothes — I bet most of us have the Dover paper doll editions as well as their photographic histories of fashion. But at some point, it occurred to me that there might be a wealth of other kinds of paper dolls on-line : fictional characters, movie stars (from the thirties and forties), teenagers from the fifties, along with accurate depictions of the fashions of the times.

And then — old magazines. I found about a half dozen copies of Ladies Home Journal from the 1920′s in a basement we were clearing out. I pored over them for years. I added to that collection when I realized I could find more magazines from the 20s on-line — from any era, really. Is there anything more immediate than reading a woman’s magazine of the day? The articles, the advertisements, the fashions, the advice — personal and decorating … how different, how the same …

I haven’t succumbed to one of those “build your own” western towns or southern plantations. Yet. (I’m very tempted by the plantation, though.) I do have a Victorian house pop-up book that came complete with its own punch-out family. And lots of furniture. I haven’t set it up. Yet. I just like looking at it and imagining what’s happening there. You know — family secrets, secret panels, something the family album, ghosts on the staircase, eerie dreams, hovering fog, blanketing snow, a haunted attic …

Of course, a lot of this is available on-line. Call me old school. I like holding a book.

And of course, before we left Tombstone — I took loads of pictures. I don’t know if I’m ever going to write another western, but you never know: I do have a couple of ideas.. So — do I even need to say? — I bought all the pictorial histories I could find as well.
Do you love paper dolls, pictorial histories and old magazines? Do you ever use them? Do you have a secret source you’d like to tell?

My Secret, just between you and me: there are Downton Abbey paper dolls on-line.

Thea Devine is currently working on her next erotic contemporary romance — and readying those original backlist westerns for eBook release.

Deborah Malone Shares About Her Christian Cozy Mystery

Cozy Mystery author, Deborah Malone is visiting the Scribes today. Debbie has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine “Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails” edited by Olin Jackson. She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards. Her debut cozy mystery “Death in Dahlonega”, was a winner in the ACFW Category Five Writer’s Contest. Today she is here to tell us about her next in the Trixie Montgomery series, “Murder in Marietta.”

Murder in Marietta follows historical magazine writer Trixie Montgomery on her latest assignment that can make or break her new career. The Marietta History Museum’s resident ghosts are stirring up trouble in historic downtown Marietta, Georgia. Trixie begs her best friend to come along.  Their plans to research the spooky sightings vanish into thin air when a dead body is discovered in the museum. The director of the museum and her boss’ friend, Doc Pennington, shoots to the top of the suspect list when his fingerprints are the only ones found on the murder weapon, a civil war rifle. Unwilling to risk losing her boss’s faith in her journalistic abilities, Trixie and Dee Dee offer to help sniff out the real culprit only to wind up in hot water when they are kidnapped by the real killers. Will they be rescued in time? 

Welcome, Debbie, can you give us a sneak peek at your new release “Murder in Marietta?”

Thank you for having me today, and I sure can! Trixie and Dee Dee head off to Marietta, Georgia for another assignment. They visit the Marietta History Museum where they spend the night to see if they can sight the resident ghosts. Sometime during the night a murder takes place in the museum and the director, Doc Pennington, is put on the suspect list. He asks Trixie and Dee Dee to help him find the real killer. Nana takes a larger role in this book and she won’t disappoint you with her antics.  All of this together makes a recipe for murder and mayhem.

Sounds like fun! What inspired this book?

 I’ve always loved to read so I think it was natural that I’d transition into writing. Mysteries have been my genre of choice since I was a young girl and loved to read Nancy Drew.  Cozy mysteries are one of my favorites and Ann George has been a big influence on my writing. As for writing Christian Fiction – Margaret Daley’s books were a big influence.

How did you know you were called to write?

I’ve always wanted to write, but while I was writing my manuscript I wrote it as a secular book. While I was writing it I was thinking I’d like to write it in a manner that wouldn’t be offensive to Christians. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “Christian fiction.” I had finished the manuscript when I read one of Margaret Daley’s books and went to her website where I ‘discovered’ Christian fiction. I couldn’t get enough. I joined ACFW and began to study how other writers wrote their books. I went back and rewrote my manuscript as Christian fiction.

Are you a panster or do you outline?

I’m definitely a panster. I have a general outline on how I want the manuscript to progress, but that’s it. Then I might do a general outline for each chapter, but none of it is done in detail. Now after I’ve written a chapter I will go in Microsoft One Note and detail the chapter so I can keep up with my characters, timeline, setting, etc.

 How long have you been writing?

I started writing seriously in 2001 when I started writing for “Georgia Backroads” a historical magazine. I am still writing for them. I started on my book in 2002, but life got in the way and so I came back to it around 2009/10.

Tell us something silly about you.

My friends and family could probably answer this better than me. The one thing I can think about is that I love to sing – but I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. So I sing in the car with the windows rolled up and the radio/CD’s going to cover up my singing.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

There aren’t any deep messages in “Murder in Marietta, but there is a theme of forgiveness and faith. For the most part I hope I make someone laugh and take them away from the stresses of real life for just a while. I want them to have some laugh out loud moments.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on the third book in the Trixie Montgomery series. Trixie and Dee Dee along with Nana and Trixie’s mama Betty Jo have gone to Savannah/Tybee Island, Georgia for a vacation. Of course they are going to have to help someone find a killer.

What has been your most challenging experience writing a book?

I don’t think I can list just one. Learning the craft/rules of writing was a big curve for me. Then there is the editing. Then there is submitting to publishers. And then when you are finally published you think you are home free – not! Then there is the marketing. It seems there are always new challenges to learn in writing and publishing a book.

Tell us a fond childhood memory?

I have many fond memories, but one that stands out is when my grandmother bought me a horse. My parents weren’t able to afford one so she chipped in to help and one Christmas they surprised me. Boy was I surprised.

Awwww! That is a sweet surprise! Debbie, I have enjoyed getting to know you a little better. Thank you for visiting, and I have to tell you, your covers are beautiful and entriguing.

Readers, keep in touch with Debbie at:

www.deborah-malone.com

www.deborahsbutterflyjourney.blogspot.com

www.sleuthsandsuspects.blogspot.com

www.cozymysterymagazine.blogspot.com

You can find her books at: www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com

Ghosts of November–Interview with Paranormal Investigator Jim Chianese

Hey, Scribelings, Suze here. Guess what? We’ve got a special treat for you today! Paranormal investigator Jim Chianese is back, (click here to read his last interview with us). But wait, there’s more! Next Thursday, I’ll be asking some similar questions to ghost photographer and author Julie Griffin, so be sure to visit us again. Here’s what Jim has to say:

Hello Scribes!!!  Thank you again for having me.  I love the questions you guys have, it forces me to think.  Well, it has been a very busy year, Jeff and I have formed our own Ghost Hunting group, Connecticut Ghost Investigations (click here for more information) and have spent most of the time trying to get it up and running.  We still work with East Coast Angels on occasion.  If it is okay, I’m going to answer your questions with the story of a case we are currently working on and will probably be for a while longer.

Of course it’s okay! Since you last visited us, Jim, what has been your most memorable case? What can you tell us about it?

A mutual friend found out about Jeff and I investigating paranormal events and told us about the house he grew up in: a 200 year old colonial built by one of the founding families of our little town.  He lived there for about 20 years.  While he was growing up, items would be found in different locations than where his family had left them, and his sister saw a woman in the field by their house, but when she looked again the woman disappeared.  There were several instances where he felt someone touch him when there was no one in the room with him.  After hearing this, Jeff and I were eager to investigate.  Unfortunately, his family has since sold the house and property.  The house was torn down several years ago.  Our friend did tell us where the property was located and that it was currently a vacant lot.  We decided to test a theory.  Would the spirits still be on the property or were they tied to the house and now that the house is gone, would they be gone also? All three of us agreed on a date and time during the day to do the investigation.  We picked the daytime vice night for safety reasons.  We did not want to be walking around unfamiliar terrain.

Would you say it’s more, or less, difficult to investigate a building as opposed to an open site such as a cemetery? How do these investigations differ? Which do you prefer?

We arrived at the location of his old house and property with the CGI team.  The property itself had been kept up even without the house on it.  As he gave us a tour, Jeff and I took Electromagnetic Field (EMF) readings.  This was to give us a base line reading and also to see if there was anything close by that could produce an electromagnetic field.  There was a transformer across the road but its field diminished entirely after about a foot.   All the readings showed what you would normally find outside.  This is a similar technique we use when in a house.  In a house we take readings from all four corners and the center of each room to gain a base line of the entire house.  We sometimes find, specifically in older houses, that the wiring in the house will give off an exceptionally large EMF field.  This field has been known to make people sick who are sensitive to it.  However, that is not the case here.  We decided to sit in what was once the living room and conduct an Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) Session.  This is where we sit quietly and ask questions.  The theory is that the spirit will be able to imprint a voice response on the electronic media.  Ideally, we would receive an answer on our digital recorder(s).   We sat here for about 15-20 minutes.  Unfortunately, the wind started to blow.  When we reviewed our recorders later we could not hear anything over the noise of the wind.  One of the difficulties investigating an outdoor location vice a building.  At this point, our friend told us about the family cemetery located on the property.  This cemetery dates back to the late 1700s when the house and property were originally settled.  Not being able to resist, we headed to the cemetery.  As we were walking to the cemetery, Jeff felt a tingling sensation in his legs (as if asleep) after walking for some distance.  It was definitely noteworthy, simple because he only felt it in a specific area and not right when we stood up like you normally would have.

What equipment or tools do you consider essential for an investigation? Have there been any recent advances in technology that are yielding good results?

I’ve mentioned the EMF reader and digital voice recorders already.  There are many different kinds of EMF detectors, some light up, some have a digital display, some are analog, some digital.  They all operate under the same principle and provide similar results.  There are several models that have more than one function, usually combined with a flashlight or thermometer.  This helps to cut down the amount of equipment you have to carry.  After all, you only have two hands.  The digital voice recorders are the same ones you see at any electronic store.  We take the saved file and import it to our computer.  We then use an audio software program to listen to and clean up the file to see if we have an EVP or not.  We also use digital cameras.  I have one that has an infrared (IR) light built in to take pictures in the dark.  There are several modified cameras that can take a picture using the full spectrum of light.  The theory is that a spirit may not be able to be seen in regular light, but you might be able to pick it up in IR or full spectrum.  These are all great tools and gadgets to have on an investigation, but the best tool you can have is your own body and a notebook.

When we arrived at the family cemetery, we were all taken in by the tombstones.  We were reading the names and dates and trying to figure out who was who.  Just like most people do when you go to a really old cemetery.  The cemetery is about the size of a 3 car garage.  I was drawn to a particular corner of the cemetery.  When I got there, I immediately felt slightly nauseous.  Sort of like the day after a good night out on the town.  I left the area and found Jeff.  I waited a few moments until I wasn’t feeling nauseous anymore then told him to go to the same corner I was in.  He took the EMF detector over with him and it didn’t register anything at all.  I asked him how he felt and he responded fine.  He then asked if I was sick.  I answered yes and at this point in time our friend comes over and says you too.  He then states he started to get a headache when we entered the cemetery and he never gets headaches, but when he got to the corner of the cemetery we were in he started to feel nauseous also.  Another one of our investigators came over and stated she felt a slight pressure around her arms and an overwhelming sense of sadness, at this time she began to cry.  I told her to step out of the cemetery to see if the feeling passed.  She walked out and in a few short minutes she felt better.  Jeff and I began an EVP session in this corner.  Upon reviewing the files we did get a direct answer to one of our questions.  When asked the question “was this your property at one time” we received the answer “Yes” on two different digital recorders. 

Can the weather or astronomical events (such as phases of the moon, planetary alignments, periods of increased solar flares) affect your investigations? Do you find more activity at certain times than others?

As you can see the weather can affect an investigation (i.e. the wind during an outdoor investigation).  Even during an investigation inside the wind can play a factor.  If it is a windy day and a window is slightly open or the insulation is bad; you could feel a slight chill or something could be moved by a slight breeze.  That slight breeze could be misinterpreted to be spirit activity.  As for astronomical events, there are several theories that say the phases of the moon affect certain human behaviors.  Could these phases affect the spirit world or do they affect us in such a way that we perceive something as paranormal that really isn’t?  We use equipment that measures the electromagnetic field in the local area, if there is electromagnetic wave coming from space and bombarding the earth on the particular night of the investigation it can do one of two things.  First, it can give us a false positive reading.  Secondly, it could give the spirit an extra dose of energy so it can communicate with us.  It is hard for me to say that there is or isn’t more activity during these times.  At a recent investigation on a crystal clear night, we had a lot of activity, but we also had a lot of activity during a rainy night.  Unfortunately, there really isn’t any cold hard scientific facts that can prove or disprove paranormal activity.  There are however, theories that are being tested everytime a ghost hunting group investigates.  Some day there may be enough empirical evidence to prove these theories. 

Have you investigated outside of New England? Do you think this area has more paranormal activity than other places in the country? If so, any reasons for that?

Most of my investigations have been in the Connecticut/Rhode Island area with one in Maine.  I do not think New England has more activity than anywhere else.  There are paranormal groups investigating all over the world.  I think there is more of a focus on the New England area here in the United States because it comprises the original states.  In other words, lots of old buildings are still around.  That is not to say that spirits are only in old buildings.  They just have more of an allure for us than new buildings.  Think about that old house in the neighborhood that everyone thinks is haunted.

Do you do any research into places before you investigate them? Or do you like to go in with an open mind, and do the research afterward?

We will interview the owners and have them tour us around the building or house and explain their paranormal experiences.  This allows us to get a feel of the people involved and the place itself.  We will ask question about the history of the place (i.e. when was it built, history of owners, did anyone die there, etc.)  We approach all investigations with an open mind. You need to because not every place is haunted that people think is haunted.  Sometimes there is a very mundane reason for what is happening there.  Once we investigate a location and go through the evidence collected we sometimes have more questions than when we started.  That is where the research aspect comes in.  For instance, an EVP that said “where is Joe?”.  Was there someone named Joe that lived there? 

In the last year, have your views on the paranormal changed at all? If so, how?

My views haven’t changed at all in the past year.  I do believe there is a spirit world that does on occasion interact with us.  I do sincerely want to help people understand what they are experiencing whether it is paranormal or not.  I do not believe every place is haunted that someone says is haunted.  And most of all, when you have ruled out all of the impossible, then what ever remains, however improbable must be the truth.  Yeah, big Sherlock Holmes fan.

Other than being generally heroic by serving our country as a naval officer, and making a mean bottle of wine (I’ve been the lucky recipient of a couple of bottles!), what are your other hobbies and interests?

Well, I don’t know about being heroic, but I do make a great bottle of wine.  I have several hobbies which I love to participate in.  My favorite is SCUBA Diving.    I have been a certified SCUBA Diver for about 20 years now and I’m currently working toward my PADI Divemaster certification.   I am also currently studying Seizan Ryu Kempo Jujitsu with both of my sons.  It helps keep me in shape and it is a great bonding activity with my boys.  Except when they put me in an arm bar, then it’s not so fun.  I have been known to enjoy the occasional geocache.   I learned about geocaching during my last deployment.  It is a great activity to get you out on those really nice days.  I look at it as hiking with a purpose.  I also belong to a couple of Masonic organizations which keep me pretty busy at various times of the year doing fund raising events for all of our charities.  I guess it is my own way of paying back to the community.

That’s about it for me.  I hope everyone enjoys my ramblings.  Please feel free to check out Connecticut Ghost Investigations on our web page www.connecticutghostinvestigations.com or stop by and LIKE our Facebook page.  Just click here, or search for Connecticut Ghost Investigations or use the link on our web page.

Thanks, Jim! OK, readers, have any questions about the paranormal or investigations?