Tag Archives: ghosts

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.

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?

It Was A Dark & Stormy Night …

And it’s not even Hallowe’en as I write this.

Thea Devine here, waiting on the storm, and feeling that an unbridled hurricane can be every bit as scary as a supernatural Hallowe’en scenario. For one, it comes out of nowhere with its own unearthly sounds. You’re at the mercy of its driving winds, and the full force of its destructive and uncontainable nature. You’re powerless and yet you try to defeat it every time.  And when you survive it, you feel as if you’ve gone through some mystical transformation.  You feel superhuman.  You feel you’ve cheated death.

Maybe that’s why Hallowe’en — and ghosts, ghouls, vampires and zombies — has such a powerful hold on the imagination.   Life beyond death, no matter form it takes, is beyond seductive, and perhaps worth the price you might have to pay.

It’s fun to fictionally play with the idea of life beyond eternity. But that’s underscored by the certain knowledge mortality is just around the corner for all of us.  That’s why we write about the monsters, the ghosts, the storms.  Leaving something tangible behind is a way to conquer the beast. Wading into the storm gives you strength.  Manipulating fears with words makes you feel superhuman again.   Overcoming the threat gives you the sense that you can surmount anything.

Hallowe’en always reminds me of the times I watched the classic horror movies with a friend who lived several floors above our apartment.  She would have to go up two or three flights of steps in a dimly lit stairwell after we watched that week’s movie.  Now, remembering those nights, I wonder what would have happened if she’d just disappeared.  In the stairwell. That was barely lit.  Her footsteps echoing and then suddenly, not. With no witnesses. And no clues.  And she was never found.  Ever …

Are you a ghosts and ghouls Hallowe’en person?  Or a princess and fantasy Hallowe’en person?  Your favorite old horror movie?  (Me, The Mummy — love 1920’s Egypt )  Any Hallowe’en moment in your life that you could make into fiction?

Thea Devine has been delving into the world of vampires with The Darkest Heart, and its sequel, Beyond the Night (April 2013 Pocket Star eBook). There are no vampires in her just reissued erotic contemporary novel, His Little Black Book, available now.

Conversations with a Medium

Hi!  For Spooky Week, I decided to bring you a conversation with an honest-to-God Medium, Tracy Timbro. 

Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

So Tracy, what’s it like being a medium?  I don’t do the medium thing full-time.  I’m just a regular lady with a regular job, but with this ability to sense spirits around my friends, family, and coworkers.  I can also go into supposed “haunted” locations and sense spirits.  I have met with people who recently lost loved ones and have made connections as well. 

How do you sense spirits?  I feel a buzzing sensation–very much like static electricity or a magnetic pull–it is absolutely undeniable when I get this feeling.  I will either “hear” the voice of the spirit in my mind or get a mental image of the spirit the way they looked in life.  I may see letters above them that relate to their name. 

Why do you think the Spirits contact you?  They show me images that don’t mean anything to me, but are meaningful to the person with which they are trying to communicate.  I will sometimes feel an emotion connected to them, for example, humor, sadness, friendliness, and especially the love they still feel for the living person near me.  Every spirit communicates differently according to their personality.  I have found many times that spirits send you signs (feathers, coins, butterflies, etc.) 

What does it take to be a medium?  I believe that every single one of us can be a medium.  Everyone has received spirit communication of some sort.  The hardest part is allowing intuition to take over and quieting the rational side of the mind (which is very hard to do!)  The spirit world is at a much higher frequency or vibrational level.  For a spirit to communicate, they must lower their vibrational energy and the medium must elevate their vibrational level.  They meet somewhere in the middle and that is where communication takes place.  I know 100% that there is life after death and our loved ones who pass away still communicate with us and still love us. 

Do you get freaked out when spirits contact you?  I don’t find it scary at all.  I have felt much love and thankfulness from spirits when I communicate.  It may sound a bit weird, but I mentally thank them and bless them after communicating and they return the blessing with a pulsation of energy…yes, I know, it sounds weird.  This is all very weird, I know.  There has been only two times that I felt evil/dark spirits.  The first time was at a New Age sort of gift shop that has since closed.  I felt a choking sensation and felt as if I were going to pass out.  I just walked out of the place, knowing it was not an “enlightened” place as most spiritual shops are.  The second time was at Foxwoods Casino.  My husband and I were driving up to the casino, passing the empty fields just before the casino.  I heard drumming sounds and felt a hand grip my neck and squeeze.  I felt I was being choked and couldn’t breathe.  That scared me.  I refused to go to that casino and will never go back.  There is angry Native American energy there.  (Mohegan is just fine, though!)

Is the barrier between the living and the dead really thinner on Halloween? Is there a time of the year when spirits seem to be more active than other times?  I’m really not sure if the barrier is thinner on Halloween.  I think maybe the awareness of the paranormal is heightened at this time.  Being aware of the subtleties of the spirit world is the key to connecting with those who have passed.  Anyone at any time can ask a loved one who has passed to give a sign–any sign–that they are still near to them.  Then all that is needed is to be aware.  I guarantee if you are patient, you will get a sign.  It may be a song perfectly timed on the radio, a feather in your path, many sightings of coins, a bird unexpectantly close to you, butterflies, dreams that seem very real, or lights flickering.  You will instinctively know the sign is for you.  That is all it takes!  The time of year when spirits seem to be more active is when people gather:  weddings, holidays, and celebrations.
Is there anything people can do to disconnect with malevolent spirits who are bothering them? I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this question.  I have never encountered this problem myself.  I can only offer my opinion.  I do believe that some forms of malevolent energy may, in fact, be created by the living.  For example, a very depressed, sad or angry person puts forth negative energy.  All energy created is very real (positive or negative) and greatly effects people.  When you walk into a room after people have argued, you can sense the heaviness in the room.  Consequently, when a loving, positive energy is created, you feel at ease and peaceful.  Some hauntings may be residual:  a sort of rewinding and playing out of an event that happened in the past.  The energy is imprinted into the surroundings.  Sometimes this can be exacerbated by the layout of the environment:  quartz or lime deposits in the ground or electromagnetic fields created by power lines/wiring.  Other hauntings may be intelligent and caused by a soul that refuses or is unaware that it has “passed on.”  I do believe you can take charge by making your demands known to a spirit haunting a location.  Prayer and imaging white light around onself are also very powerful in protecting oneself against negativity–even in daily situations.  In extreme situations of demonic and very dark presences, I would seek the help of a clergy member or paranormal expert.
Do you do spirit readings or anything like that for people? Can people contact you if they are interested?  I have met with people on a casual basis and done “readings.”  Most of my spirit contact has been incidental with people I work with, family, and friends.  It is my dream to reach out to more people.  I am amazed and truly fulfilled each time I make contact with a loved one in spirit!  It’s best to reach me by email:  tracytimbro64@yahoo.com.
 Is there anything that you’d want to people to know about the spirit world?  Yes.  The spirit world is our true home.  Life on earth is a learning experience to further advance our souls in the direction of love.  I like to compare life on earth to a student going off to college, and our loved ones in the spirit world are like our parents back home.  Like the college student, we will work tremendously, get tired and exasperated pulling all-nighters, fall in and out of love several times, party gloriously sometimes, learn a million lessons (some lessons staying with us, and others forgotten), lose our faith a couple of times, and then get our faith back.  All the while, our parents are back home, like our loved ones in spirit, worrying about us, praying for us, supporting us, trying hard to guide us in the right direction, and attempting to communicate with us with phone calls, packages, and emails!  I think many people would find comfort in knowing this is not our “true” home and that a greater existence awaits us. 
Thank you so much Tracy – what great information!

Julia Rachel Barrett – Ghostly Love

Happy Freakish Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

Please welcome today’s guest  Julia Rachel Barrett.  If you haven’t read any of Julia’s books, you are missing out on some great reads. Click here to read my review of her book Beauty and the Feast.

 And in  the spirit of our  Spooky Week theme – please check out her ghostly love story Incorporeal.

Let’s here what Julia has to say about romance.

****

Why Write? 

Perhaps the better question is, why not? I have a spotty history in the world of literature. Like so many readers, I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was very young, maybe five or six years old. Here’s a truism, if you love to tell stories, to make up stories in your head, you probably love to read and chances are you’d like to write.

It’s not as simple as it seems and a lot depends upon what your goals are. Do you want to sell a whole lot of books? I suspect anybody can sell bunches of books if the subject matter is prurient enough. Do you want to be a damn good writer? Takes work.

A Tale of Ghostly Love

How did I begin? I began by reading everything in sight, in every genre available to me. My early loves were poetry, mystery stories, fantasy/science fiction, and even comic books. Don’t laugh. Comic books are great for learning economy of words. The creator has to express an emotion and move a story forward in very few words. Of course comics also contain expressive action words like Pow! Bam! Smack! Crash!

I moved from poetry to short stories – which are making a comeback with the advent of e-publishing – to nonfiction articles for nursing and medical journals to literary fiction. Aside from freelance articles, finding a publisher for my works of fiction was an exercise in futility. I queried agents and publishers for too many years without results. While I was raising small children and working part time, I filed the manuscripts away and focused on my job as a hospice nurse.

Smokin’ Hot Good Read

In 2007 I found myself sidelined by a climbing injury…tore my left knee up pretty bad. For a year I either wore a titanium brace or used crutches while researching surgeons and then waiting for the surgeon I chose to fit me in for a repair. A friend took pity on me and brought me a romance novel – Kill and Tell, by Linda Howard, and I was hooked. I had always dismissed romance as ‘bodice rippers’ and it was one genre I ignored. Linda Howard told a damn good sexy story. I went on to read everything she’d written up to that point and moved on to Karen Marie Moning, then Hannah Howell and Lynsay Sands. I realized that with the life I’d lived, I had stories to tell, romantic stories, gripping, touching, loving stories, and I wrote my first romance.

Never looked back. Now I look forward to a brave new world of self-publishing. I can revise and release the series of short stories I worked so hard on years ago. In the meantime I have a full-length paranormal romance available on Kindle, Incorporeal, and I’ll soon release the sequel, In the Flesh. I have nine romances out to date with publishers in ebook and print and I’ve self-published another five books in a variety of genres and lengths.

Coming soon!

Come visit me anytime on my site – Julia’s Worldhttp://juliarachelbarrett.net

Thanks for having me, Casey!

Any time Julia. Thanks for being our guest today. Please feel free to leave Julia a question.

Tell us, what are your writing goals? And why do you write? And for our readers, what are you looking for when you choose your next book?