Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

It's finally arrived! The kids all have their costumes, candy has been purchased to hand out, and I have some exciting news to share before I head out for the evening.

First, I received an email today that my story came in first place for Kat Harris' ghost story contest. You can go here: to check it out. Very unexpected in a GOOD way!

My second bit of news is even MORE exciting, for me at least. I hadn't said anything, for fear of jinxing my chances, but I can't keep this to myself, at least today, of all days.

A while back, I submitted an application to join a local paranormal research group. It was a three page application, BTW. I don't think I've ever filled one out that was so detailed for a job, much less a volunteer position. They receive hundreds of applications, so my chances were slim at best. Then the email came...they wanted to interview me!

On Wednesday night, I donned my make-up (this is only done for VERY special occasions), my daughter straightened my hair...who knew it was so long??? I put on my best "casual" attire and drove to the meeting place. I was to be interviewed by six of the members. Nothing like walking into an inquisition!

Of course I talked WAY too much, not sure if it was nerves or just my lack of control over my own mouth. I thought it went well, but they explained that I was the first interview, and they had a few others scheduled. The position they needed to fill was for an investigator/researcher and someone to write articles for their monthly newsletter on urban legends and local folklore. HELLOOOOOOO, I write, it's what I do!!!!

I left the almost two hour long interview and tried NOT to get excited. It did go well, but it would be Friday before they would be letting me know anything, and even if they liked me, I would not be a member until I had gone on a few investigations. They want to see how potential members click with the group as a whole, and probably want to make sure that you wouldn't run screaming at the first sign of anything paranormal. After that, potential members are on a 90 day probationary period.

Let me interject something here. You may be thinking that this seems a bit extreme. It's not. This group has been on a national TV program (Ghost Hunters), they are regularly featured on a local news station here, host their own paranormal convention every summer, and have requests from homeowners and businesses to do research and investigations by the bucket load. It's a BIG deal.

Wednesday night, after I had been back home for about an hour, the call came...EARLY. They liked me!!!!! I will be going on two investigations, one in November and one in December, and I will find out by the end of the year whether I have earned a permanent position.

Told ya it was COOL stuff! Hope you all have a great Halloween, and I'm sure you haven't heard the last of my ghost stories!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ghosts Screwin With Ya

How many of you have been on a REAL paranormal investigation? You know, one complete with EVP detectors, infrared cameras, digital voice recorders, LIVE web cams and last but not least, an old abandoned hospital with plenty of activity? Sounds fun, huh? IT WAS!

So many times, choices we make affect our lives. Often it has a negative impact, but other times, the far-reaching positive impact to our lives is phenomenal. I've had a few people that have come into my life that instigated changes that made me who and what I am today.

Joining a "New Age" type group after the beginning of my paranormal journey, which you can follow by starting here: , I met some GREAT people, just like I have blogging. Marlene had the biggest impact. I love her dearly. If not for her, I would have never started writing again. Our lives have taken different turns and we don't talk often, but I think of her a lot.

Another member of the group was MJ. He lives in Missouri with his wife and kids, and he LOVES ghosts. So much so, that he was a member of a paranormal group here in Oklahoma. This group is pretty cool. They have one of the longest, if not the longest, on-going investigations in a single location. They have a lease on an old hospital that has been vacant for decades. Web cams are set up, along with streaming audio, that you can see and listen to 24/7 on-line here: .

On Saturday nights, they have walk through investigations with their team. You have to be a member, or be approved to come. MJ made the trip down one weekend about four years ago and surprised me by getting me an invite too!!!

The drive was about an hour long, and I made it right before dark. It was late in the summer, so the weather was gorgeous. The building is large, imposing and CREEPY! The location is kept secret to try and avoid more trespassers than they already have. The police are diligent about patrolling, and they do arrest and prosecute, so you guys keep that in mind if there are any buildings like this in your own area.

I won't bore you with the play by play, but the place was amazing! There were four of us, MJ, his brother-in-law, myself, and a member of the group who walked through after we arrived. It is mostly dark, they do have a few lights and the web cams set up, but other wise we used flashlights. It has a basement, and five floors. We used the stairwells and even got to go up to the roof. The most active area is the old administration area. Active seems like an understatement.

While in the two adjoining rooms off of the lobby, we had a three inch wood screw going flying over our heads and hit the wall in front of us TWICE! We had glass (there is glass littering the floor from all the past vandalism) thrown and hit the member with us in the calf so hard that it left a red welt. I was standing in one room, with my back to the door watching the three men. Something tapped my arm and I'll admit it, a squeal escaped my lips, as I jerked, a piece of glass fell from my sleeve. Unfortunately, MJ was recording, and he let EVERYBODY listen to that later!!!! So much for being a fearless ghost hunter.

Later, we were assaulted with the strong smell of flowers in a room on the second floor. We stood in the room, and you could feel COLD air swirl around us. Cold like a freezer cold, and it was in the temperature was in the high 80's . The guys had me leave the room and stand in the dark hall, but the smell left them and followed me, along with the cold. They then made me come back and stand in the room ALONE, in the dark, and same thing. IT WAS SO COOL!

I had the best time, and would love to go back one day. I do have other stories that I will share, so check back often this month!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blog Chain Blatherskite

Sorry for my absence, I promise there are more ghost stories coming soon!

Until then, it's that time again! My turn on the chain gang...

The chain started with Kate ( ) and the last post was Elana ( ). Be sure you check out the writers on the chain, cause let me tell ya, writer or not, they have some very insightful posts!

So, here's the question this time around:

How, as a writer, do you find the balance between having too much or too little confidence in your work?

As with so many writers in the chain before me, I have that ego swelling, that self-importance when you write. That "Aha!" moment when you say to yourself, "Damn, that's good stuff!".

You read it again, and you send it off to your crit partners. Then with each small suggestion, correction, and truthful comment, that initial, "Damn I'm good" turns into "Well crap, I thought it was good, but I see where they are coming from..."

You move on to revisions....endless revisions it seems. Here, you ride the confidence roller coaster.

I learned early on that criticism in any form is hard to take. In the end though, it only helps to make you a better writer. It's true what they say..."If it doesn't kill ya, then it will make ya stronger".

I will admit that anyone who has rejection issues should NEVER try and get published. The confidence level drops even further when those rejections come in for your phenomenal work that you just know is the best novel ever written.

I think the same should apply to those with a need to make excuses when you get rejected...LEARN from it...GROW as a writer.

Until this chain question, I really hadn't given my confidence level much thought. I know there are writers out there with far more education, far more talent, and far more tools to succeed in publishing, but it has never intimidated me. I want others to succeed. I get excited when one of my crit partners gets a request for a partial, and even more so when it's for a full. Someone else's success should only boost your own confidence, never deflate it.

I suppose I should pass the chain on over to Leah ( ) , but never fear, I'll be back this week with another ghost story, I'm just waiting on some pictures to go with's about my trip to an old abandoned hospital with a REAL paranormal research team!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

CL Wilson is unstoppable!

King of Sword and Sky is the third book in the Tairen Soul series by phenomenally talented CL Wilson. Wilson is a master story-teller who hasn’t disappointed me yet.

How many times have you read a second or third book in a series, only to become bored, or shake your head wondering why an author even bothered to write a series? This is SO not the case with the Tairen Soul series.

When I read my first CL Wilson book, it was in a bag of paperbacks that a friend had loaned me, pointing out a book that she really liked. I’m not a big sci-fi junky, so I tossed the highly recommended sci-fi sounding romance aside, dove into the historical fiction books, and then the historical romances. The last book left was Lady of Light and Shadows by CL Wilson, that darn sci-fi romance.

Not having anything BETTER to read, I started it…and couldn’t put it down! The only problem I had with the story is that I wanted more of a back story than I was getting. OF COURSE I didn’t know that it was the second book!

I ran out and bought Lord of the Fading Lands (book one), and there was my back story! The only complaint that I have now about CL Wilson, is that her publisher is not fast enough releasing the next book! Queen of Song and Soul will be out in June of 2009, and I will be counting the days.

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you will LOVE these books. I can seriously see them made into a movie, in fact, I hope they are (not that ANY movie could ever do a book justice).

Speaking of doing this story justice, you should visit CL Wilson’s web site at and take a look around.

I know this isn’t a ghost story, but I do have a few more coming, along with the next post in my fellow writers blog chain, so I’ll be back soon!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cute Ghosts and Dark Entities

Tommy’s birthday was great; he had to go on a treasure hunt to find his birthday present. We had a cook-out and invited a few friends. His birthday cookie and cupcakes were quite fitting, considering my theme this month. Speaking of the theme this month, I have one heck of a story for you today!

To follow from the beginning of my ghostly stories, go here: .

By now, I’m sure you realize that yes we did bring something home from our stay at the haunted Crescent Hotel. I’ll also take this time to tell you that the stories you are getting this month are not even close to the whole story, just a sampling of what I think are the more interesting events that have taken place over the last six years.

Since I mentioned my son, Tommy, at the beginning of this post, those of you keeping up will know what an evil genius he is. Go here if you are unaware of what an arch-villain my son has the potential of becoming (Literal Dan’s son ain’t got nothin on Tommy, just compare: ).

But alas, Karma has a way of evening out the world. When Tommy started telling us that something was in his closet, we just laughed and shook our heads. We weren’t falling for his tricks again. This went on for weeks. You had to give it to the kid, he was tenacious. Bed time came with the whining and complaining, I made a production of closing his closet door each night. It was mirrored, the kind that slides open. He even went so far as to come and get me to show me how the door was mysteriously open on more than one occasion.

Tommy spent the night at a friend’s house one weekend. After putting the girls to bed, I went by his room and closed his closet door, just out of habit. I shut the door as I left. A bit later, I took some clean clothes to his room, cursing the fact that I had closed the door as I struggled not to drop them. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and found his closet door open! Okay, I admit I was more perplexed than scared. I told Kel, he came in; shut the closet door, and then the bedroom door, just as I had. About an hour later, he went back and guess what he found? The door open again! To this day, we can’t explain that closet door, but we did start leaving it open at night, so it wouldn’t open by itself and scare Tommy.

Okay, here’s the story that may get me in trouble with my husband. Monkey Toe Momma ( ), DON’T READ THIS WHEN YOU ARE ALONE!

By now, we were fully aware that our house had issues. I was okay with this. In fact, I had embraced the paranormal. I had made several trips to a few cemeteries, armed with tape recorders and digital cameras (not that I really needed to go anywhere to find ghosts).

One night, shortly after going to bed, I started seeing weird shadows on my ceiling. Sitting up in bed, I looked down the hall through our open bedroom door, to check for any kids who could be causing them (I learned not immediately to blame paranormal happenings on ghosts when you have so many kids running around). No sign of them, so I laid back down. Watching the ceiling, the shapes seemed to form across the room above a window, moving up to the ceiling.

“Do you see that?” I whispered to Kel.
Lifting his head, he grunted “See what?”

The shadows were gone.

“I saw a shadow over in the corner.”

He laid his head back down and I continued watching. A few minutes later, there above my window, a dark shadow formed, working it’s way up to the ceiling.

“Right there, look!” I whispered again.
Up goes Kel’s head off of the pillow and the shadow disappears again!
“There’s nothing there Terri, go to sleep.”

By now, I am getting pissed. I know what I saw, and whatever this damn thing is, I’m not imagining it.

“Prop your pillow up, and when I poke your leg, just open your eyes and look, okay?” I whisper again.
“Fine, but then I want you to leave me alone so I can get some sleep.”

The room goes quiet. I wait impatiently for our night-time visitor to reappear. I didn’t have long to wait. As soon as I saw the black shadow taking form, I poked Kel. No response. I poked him again, as I watched this thing form into a thick black mass. It snaked up the wall, and then onto the ceiling. You could clearly make out the form of a head, followed by shoulders. As it slid across the ceiling towards us, I frantically poked Kel’s leg and whispered, “Do you see that?”

“What the hell is that?” He didn’t wait for a response from me. That thing was sliding closer to us. It was now over the foot of our bed, on his side, and gaining ground. Soon it would be directly over Kel!

“LEAVE!” Kel yelled, raising his arm and pointing his finger at the dark entity.

I will never forget the sound of his voice, nor the aftermath. The shadow slid backwards. It followed the length of the wall across from us, turning the corner, going toward the door. When it reached the door, it went down, and slithered under the top of the door frame, hugging the wall the whole time, then was gone.

“What the hell was that?” Kel repeated his earlier question.
“I don’t know, but I’m glad you saw it too.”

Then I got the giggles. Kel was not amused.

“I don’t think that’s funny.”
“You thought I was crazy, didn’t you?” I said between laughs. I was just relieved that he had seen what I was seeing, and knew that I was not imagining it.

I rolled over as soon as I could control the laughter.

“What are you doing?” Kel asked.
“I’m going to sleep.”
“You’re what? How can you sleep after seeing that? What if it comes back?” Kel sounded a bit alarmed.

Needless to say, Kel spent another sleepless night standing guard against the paranormal beings that had taken up residence in our home. I think I was deep in slumber within a few minutes. I will admit, that was the only time I’ve ever seen anything like that. Kel will admit that he hopes to never see it again.

Last time I told you not to bother leaving the light on….maybe I was wrong about that.

Until next time (oh yes, there are still more stories to tell), you guys have a great weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hitchhiking Ghosts Can Be Messy Houseguests

If you have been following my October ghost stories, then you’ll know that my son, whose thirteenth birthday is today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMMY!!!), pulled one over on my husband and myself, making us think that we had brought home a ghost from the Crescent Hotel ( ). That’s where I left off, so I will continue from there.

Things calmed down (my nerves) once Tommy had taken credit for frightening (yes one-eyed Dan, I’ve seen Frighteners, cute movie) us into acting as though our house contained the portal to hell. Speaking of portals, did you know that if a ghost follows you, let’s say, to your house, he/she opens a “portal” or lights a path for others to follow? Just a tid bit for later down the road.

Although I was no longer alarmed, I was curious (okay, obsessed) about what had happened to me when I went to the Crescent Hotel (keep up people, that’s been explained here: ).

I started my research, which is helpful as a writer, but when you just obsess about a place, or ghosts, or the history of a hotel, friends and family start to shake their heads and roll their eyes when it’s the only topic that you seem capable of discussing. I’m sure I was rambling on about some obscure fact that I had found one night, and my husband just kept looking above the entertainment center. There’s NOTHING there, and it was so obvious, that it started to annoy me (I thought he was either rolling his eyes, or tuning me out). Here’s about how that conversation went:

“Ahem. Hello? What the heck do you keep looking at?”
“Well, you keep looking at nothing a lot.”
“I don’t want to talk about it, let’s go to bed. Now.”

I’m not gonna argue about going to bed, quite the contrary. It was HOW he said it, constantly looking eight or nine feet up the wall. It was creepy. He stood up, and actually took my arm to steer me out of the living room.

“Whoa! What’s going on? Why are you in such a hurry to get out of here?”
“I said I don’t want to talk about it, and I mean it.”

Can you say warning bells going off?

What the heck?

So I did what I do best. I pestered him. All the way to the bedroom, and then once we got in bed. I never let up. I finally got my answer, but was unprepared for it.

“ALRIGHT! I saw a man staring at me. It was like half his face was coming through the wall? Happy? Now I don’t want to talk about it.”

Now before you start to think that my husband is a nut-job, let me tell you that when he reads this, first, he’s NOT gonna be happy about me telling people (which will only get worse as I tell you guys more of our ghostly encounters), and secondly, he’s “the great white hunter”, you know, with deer heads on the wall, football game on the TV, and two feet SOLIDLY on the ground.

I think that was one of the few times that he shut me up. I didn’t know what to think. Like any sane person, I wondered if he was just yankin my chain. Maybe he was tired of hearing about this theory or that theory. Off to sleep I went, deciding to gauge his demeanor in the morning.

With the dawn, came the realization that not only had he not slept, but he was a nervous wreck. Whatever he had seen really rattled his cage. I, on the other hand, was checking the walls, high and low, hoping to catch a glimpse of anything. Of course, I didn’t see a thing. Just my luck.

Fast forward a week or so. I was sleeping soundly, when he shakes me awake, whispering in a desperate voice, “We have a visitor.”

“What the hell. Who’s here? It’s not even five yet.”
“A VISITOR!” He whispered more urgently, raising his eyebrows up and down.

Still in a bit of a stupor, it finally hit me! A GHOST!!!!

I shot out of bed, fast on his heels into the living room. He stopped me short of the dining room, whispering.
“I was at the computer, and I felt this icy hand on my shoulder, and thought it was you, but when I turned around, no one was there.”

I stared across the dining room to where the computer sat in a corner, looking for any sign of a ghost. A mist, a blurry figure, just anything (cause you know, by now I had studied up on this stuff). NOTHING! I was so disappointed. That is until I stepped into the dining room and ran right smack into the coldest pocket of air I’d ever felt in my house, right under the vent that was blowing HOT air.

If anyone had walked in and seen us, they would have hauled us off in straight jackets. Here we were, in our PJ’s, walking around the dining room with our hands out in front of us, like we were playing some drunken game of Marco Polo. That cold spot moved around for a few minutes, and then was gone. It was great!

I finally went back to bed (I like my sleep, and even ghosts won’t keep me from it for long….you’ll see an even better example in posts to come). The next week or so was again, uneventful….UNTIL my son had a friend over. We’ll call his friend “D”.

Tommy and D were sitting at the bar on the dining room side. I was standing on the other side of the bar in the kitchen. They were to my right. In front of me on the bar was a plastic cup, half full of water. As I stood there talking to them, this cup slides to my left a few feet, then off of the bar, and slams into the wall across from the bar (about three feet) and hits the floor, water going everywhere.

I remember looking at the cup, then the bar, and then the boys. Their eyes were the size of saucers!

“Was a cat up here?”
The boys both just shook their heads “no” in unison.
“Hmmm, that was strange.”
All I could come up with. What the heck do you say when that happens? I shrugged and walked off. This was six years ago, and every time I see D he brings up the cup flying off that bar!

I’d like to say that my story ends there, but alas, this was just the beginning.
I’ll share with you the story about the dark shadow and the closet ghost next!
Until then, don’t bother sleeping with the lights on, ghosts will show up when they want, no matter the lighting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ghostly Blog Chain Blatherskite

It's that time again, time for the blog chain to commence! This group of writers is fantastic! You will find most have messy desks (which makes me feel so much better about my own), and they have some quirks that I share, and some that I just shake my head at! Here's the question this time:

What kind of quirky habits or rituals do you have regarding your writing? (or regarding anything else, if that is more fun.)

After following this chain from Mary , who started it (BAAAAAA BAAAAAAAAA), all the way to the last one to post, Elana (the only one WITHOUT even a desk to mess up), I have to say that YES, I have a messy messy desk, but no sheep like Mary. The only real quirk I have while writing is that I MUST be listening to music. Each major scene in The Crichton heir has a song that I played over and over while writing it. I called it “my mood music”.

I also have ADD (I dropped the “H” years ago, with so many kids, I don’t have the energy to be hyper too). The way my brain works is CRAZY. I start one thing, then another, then another, often forgetting what I was doing to begin with. I have to make lists if I have a lot to do, and I have to stick to them. The only way that this helps when I am writing, is that if you know anything about ADD, then you know that another "quirk" is hyper-focusing. YES, I will hyper-focus until my eyes feel like they will pop out of my head. Whether it’s research (I will spend HOURS and HOURS researching one thing.) or reading a book, or even writing. When you get in the “zone” everything else disappears.

Now, in keeping with my October theme, this post wouldn’t be complete with out a little ghostly tid-bit. Here’s where I start to get REAL quirky (my daughter just calls it WEIRD). Ghosts don’t scare me. Oh, they used to, as you can see from my previous stories. However, once you realize that fear comes from the unknown, and you spend hours and hours researching paranormal topics, not only on the web, but interviewing people, and even speaking to psychics (yes, I believe in them too, but not all…another post would require my thoughts on the charlatans that defraud grieving people), you realize that REAL people pose a far greater threat than the dead ones.

My beliefs would be considered quirky I suppose. I KNOW that ghosts exist, without a single solitary doubt. I’ve seen too much, heard too much, and felt too much to ever doubt the existence of them. Now here’s where things get subjective. I believe that ghosts are individuals who have died, but have not “crossed over”. They are stuck between this plane of existence that we live in, and the next, the one that our spirit moves on to (most people would call it heaven).

There are many things that keep a person “stuck”. Some die suddenly and often tragically. They are not even aware that they are dead, and become trapped. Others know they are dead, but led such a “sin-filled” life, that they are afraid to cross over, afraid of what may await them. Then you have the ones who just loved life so much, that they refuse to move on, clinging to a world they are no longer a part of.

Whatever caused the ghost to remain trapped, there are times when they can and do interact with the living. Oh, and they CAN travel. That I do know for a FACT, which I will go into a bit in my next post. I have even HEARD them speaking. NO, the voices in my head are my characters, I actually heard one on a tape recorder that was VERY loud, and VERY clear, and kind of attitudal, if you ask me. Again, that story will be coming up this month too.

Ghosts can be found in many places. Of course, there are cemeteries, you can pretty much bet that somebody is hangin around there (I have a really good picture of a guy that was doing just that….he was dead of course, and we didn’t SEE him when we took the picture, he just ended up in it), then you have hospitals. Now, I can tell you that OLD hospitals can be an interesting place to visit. I was invited on an investigation that I will post about later that was in an old abandoned county hospital, and let me just say that it’s hard to duck and dodge things that someone throws when you can’t see the person throwing them! Ghosts can also be found where they died (like a hospital), could be a house, a street where an accident took place, pretty much anywhere, but they do have the ability to “hitch a ride” so to speak. So you just never really know if you have a ghost looking over your shoulder while you grocery shop, or watch a movie, or even typing at your computer.

I will continue with my own personal experiences soon, but be sure to check out the next to post in the blog chain, Leah .

And I also wanted to thank David McMahon for featuring me TWICE now on his blog! He's got a great blog with some really great people that have stopped by. Go check him out (okay, I meant his blog, not actually HIM)!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ever Had a Ghost Hitch a Ride With You?

Onward and upward we go, on to my next leg of the paranormal crazy train that became my life! As mentioned in my previous post, I had quite an interesting visit to not only a historic hotel, but one that brought out the “Linda Blair” in me…can you say PEA SOUP?

I left off on our drive AWAY from the Crescent Hotel, which BTW, was featured on Ghost Hunters, the show on Sci-Fi (not our drive…the Crescent Hotel). Actually, so was Carroll Heath, our tour guide, but this was three or four years AFTER my experience there.

We drove back to the cabin we were staying in, which was so nice! They were new, sat on the edge of a mountainside and overlooked a beautiful lake. I felt fine, even after scarfing the McDonalds we had stopped for. It was our last night there, and I wanted to stay up late and see if the raccoons we had been told about would come to the back door to snack on the assortment of goodies that we had left for them. Hubby went to bed, while I read in the living room. It had one of those dimmer switch lights, which I had turned down low, so as not to disturb Kel.

Suddenly the lights went out! I rolled my eyes and got up, turning the dial a bit higher, cursing dimmer switches. About two minutes later, out they go again. Gritting my teeth, I felt my way back to the switch, and turned the darn thing ALL the way up. I sat back down, and picked up my book, but before I could read a full sentence….you guessed it, out go the lights. Third time’s the charm for me; I just left the stupid thing off, put my book down, and awaited the raccoons.

Now, after reading my previous story, you may be smacking yourself on the head, wondering why I didn’t run screaming out the door. I seriously thought it was a malfunctioning light. I am NOT an alarmist, and although I do have an imagination to rival most, I only use it when I write. That, and I so wanted to see the darn raccoons!

I wasn’t disappointed, two HUGE raccoons showed up, sitting on their hind quarters, clutching pieces of bread in their tiny hands and eating their midnight buffet. I got Kel out of bed to watch them, and I was surprised how BIG they were…I think they were extremely well fed by the guests.

The night ended with no more odd occurrences, at least none that I noticed. We both got up the next morning, dreading the long drive back to Oklahoma. While I finished packing in the bedroom, Kel was loading up the truck outside. I was busy, and didn’t even realize that I could hear the fan running from the bathroom vent, until it suddenly clicked off. I remember standing at the end of the bed and looking towards the bathroom thinking Kel must have somehow snuck by me. I called out to him. No answer. I turned and went out of the room, through the living room, and out the door. Sure enough, there was Kel, loading the truck.

“Did you leave the fan on in the bathroom?” I yelled to him.
“Yeah, sorry, I forgot to turn it off.”
“Was it on a timer or something? It just clicked off.” I replied, shifting my weight from one foot to another, not wanting to go back in alone.

Seeing my discomfort, Kel left the truck and came over. I followed behind him back into the cabin. He went straight into the bathroom. The switch was off. There was no timer.

“Are you sure you didn’t turn it off?” He asked me, after fiddling with the switch a few times.
“Of course I didn’t! I told you that I was in the bedroom packing when I heard the switch click and the fan stop.”

He just shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and continued to get ready to leave. I shadowed his EVERY move! I was NOT going to be left alone in that cabin by myself again. Yes, now I became a chicken, a big one, I think I clucked a few times for good measure.

I breathed a sigh of relief once we got on the road. I even relaxed a bit, which was hard to do driving through the mountainous Ozark region. I am scared of heights, and some of the drop-offs next to the highway were pretty steep. I tried to ignore the beautiful scenery and read some more, at least until Kel just about ran off the road!

“What the hell?!” Kel said, while straining his head to look behind him into the backseat of his truck.

It was my turn to look at him as if he had lost his mind.

“I just saw a man sitting in the back seat, Terri. I swear I did, but there's no one there.”

Mmmhmmmm. Some vacation! We were both coming back not only paranoid, but now Kel was seeing things. Bad sign. No more vacations for us for a while.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, and we were both happy to be home, and glad to see the kids (we already had his, mine, and ours BEFORE we were legally married). By the time we dropped into the bed, it was late that night, the kids were all asleep, and we were exhausted. We always left the light on in the bathroom, so that it illuminated the hallway. It wasn’t as bright as the hall light, and the kids often got up in the night.

I was almost asleep, when the house was engulfed in darkness. I could feel Kel jump out of bed.

“It was probably one of the kids just going to the bathroom hon.” I said, from the comfort and security of my side of the bed.
“I’ll just check on them.” So off he trots down the hall, first turning on the bathroom light. I watch from my bed. Our room was at the end of the hall, which gave me a full view of the nightly bed check; first the girl’s room, then my son’s.

Finding them all snug in their beds and asleep, he then proceeded to examine the light switch in OUR bathroom. At this point, I get up. The longer I watch him trying to turn the switch half on to see if it could be done, the more nervous we both get. We start to discuss the lights from the cabin, then the exhaust fan, and then of course the man in the backseat that wasn’t there came up. Within a few minutes, we had convinced ourselves that we were screwed with a capital “G” as in ghost, boogey man, poltergeist, and any other word that may or may not contain a “G”.

I was so upset that I actually called the ghost tour place and left a frantic message on their recorder, claiming to have “brought something home with us” and “not knowing what to do about it”.

Needless to say, we slept little that night. By dawn, I was overjoyed at the sight of the glorious sun. The light swept away the fear that had gripped us both, not only fears of the unknown, but fear for our children. Hey, who hasn’t seen Poltergeist, or Amityville Horror?

That afternoon following snack-time, the pantry light was left on. Any parents with small children know what a battle it is to get them to turn off lights after they have turned them on. Kel lined them up and asked them who had left the light on. Being in total “parent mode”, we looked at my son with confusion when he started laughing. Had he lost his mind? What the heck?
“Did you turn on the pantry light, Tommy?”
“No, I turned OFF the light.” He responded between giggles.
“What light?” I eyed him suspiciously.
“The bathroom light; last night.” He said between laughs. Like that was going to make up for NOT turning….WAIT! Did he just say last night???????????

Okay, I’ll admit it, I wanted to KILL him right then. That little turd turned off the bathroom light the night before. Our “ghost” was an eight year old boy, not only that, but he KNEW! He had heard all of it! He was worse than a ghost, he was EVIL I say!

Talk about feeling STUPID! Yeah, we did.

You might think that my story would end there. If only it had…

Until next time, keep the lights on and avoid ghost hang-outs, you might have uninvited house guests…I did.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

And the Paranormal Journey Continues...

As promised, here is the beginning of my paranormal story. My previous post was a prologue of sorts, so I will go directly into my first trip to the Crescent Hotel!

It was Saturday, October 4, 2002. The weather was beautiful, much like it is today. Kel and I decided to arrive at the hotel early, so we could get our ticket to the ghost tour and have time to look around. At this point, I didn’t know much about the history, but boy was that going to change!

Walking into the hotel was like walking into a past era. The furnishings are gorgeous and a huge fireplace sits in the center of the lobby. Double doors at the back of the lobby lead to a sweeping veranda over-looking manicured gardens and a beautiful catholic church. The hotel sits on a mountain top, so the view goes on for miles. I had never been anywhere so picture book perfect before. The place was like a fairy tale, unfortunately it was a bit too much like a Grimm’s fairy tale, but I just didn’t know it yet!

I was entranced. The atmosphere, the surroundings, the antique furnishings all lent to the surreal feeling that had over-taken me. I couldn’t wait for the tour to start. We had gone to the second floor and purchased our tickets before we ventured out to the veranda. A small TV sat on a table, and a group of young men stood around watching a college football game (it wasn’t OU, so I can’t remember who was playing). Kel struck up a conversation about football with the men, so I wandered over to the steps leading into the darkened garden. I remember standing there, feeling the pull to go down and explore, even in the dark, but the ghost tour would be starting soon, so I resisted.

We made our way back up the stairs to meet on the second floor. The group was large, so they split us up into two groups. We were in the group led by tour guide Carrol Heath (pictured below). We made our way up to the third floor. Seated along the hall, we settled in for the “history” part of the tour.

The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886. I’ll leave out the specifics of who built it, but I do know, and even have pictures of the original owners (OCD is helpful when you are a writer, but when you just OCD about a hotel, you get called obsessive like it’s a BAD thing). It was opened to cater to the rich, advertising the “healing springs”.
After that fad had passed, it became a women’s college, and then closed its doors following the depression.

Here’s where it gets REAL interesting. Around 1937, the hotel was bought by Norman Baker, formerly of Muscatine, Iowa. Baker opened the Baker Cancer Cure Hospital. He sent out flyers in the mail (I actually have an original…Ebay is so cool), advertising his 100% cure rate for cancer. Having guaranteed his cure, when patients started dropping like flies, he couldn’t very well cart them out in broad daylight, now could he? OF COURSE NOT!

In the cover of night, the bodies were taken down into the basement. Autopsies were preformed (the original autopsy table is still down there). Then the bodies were incinerated. Ashes were spread here and there (underground tunnels, scattered amongst the trees next to the hotel, etc). Baker would have the patients write a series of letters to their loved ones upon arrival. He would continue to send these out long after their death, so he could still receive the checks from their families.

Baker was eventually arrested for mail fraud (remember those flyers he sent out?), and spent a few years in Leavenworth. He retired quietly to Florida after his release, where he died in the 1950’s.

Now, this is but a small bit of info on Baker, but believe me when I tell you I have books on the man and mountains of research. He was interesting to say the least. From his days in vaudeville, to inventing a compressed air organ, the Tangley Calliope, to owning his own radio station, he was an entrepreneur, but one with a God-complex.

Okay, I digress, not all of that came from the ghost tour, in fact, very little. As we sat in the hall, our tour guide, Mr. Carroll Heath, regaled us with stories of the many reports of hauntings over the last few decades. The playful spirit of Michael, a brick layer who fell to his death while building the Crescent, to a little old lady that likes to move your suitcases against the door in the middle of the night, the Crescent seemed to have any number of Victorian aged gentlemen and ladies, along with Baker’s unfortunate patients.

While sitting and listening to these stories, I was engrossed. I never took my eyes off of our guide. The heat in the hallway seemed to become overwhelming, and I found myself using a pamphlet to fan my face, which felt flushed and on fire. I started feeling a bit lightheaded when we stood to take the actual tour of the hotel, beginning in the basement where the autopsies were done. I went to our guide and asked where the closest restroom was, simply to splash water on my face. He directed me to the fourth floor. I told him that I would catch up, but he insisted on waiting with the group right there on the third floor.

Here’s where things get a bit blurry. I made it up to the restroom, which was thankfully right off of the stairwell. I splashed water on my face. I do remember that, but not much else. Time seemed to stand still. I would have sworn I was only in there for a few minutes…Kel said it was closer to TWENTY! I climbed down the stairs, clutching the rail for dear life. When I made it down to the group, we proceeded to the lobby area. I told Kel that I needed to leave. He agreed, since he had developed a stomach ache. He went to go find a restroom, and I located the tour guide (No, we actually hadn’t eaten anything yet, so it wasn’t something we ate, and I didn’t have an upset stomach…yet).

Mr. Heath was by the stairs, and as I approached him, he said “You can’t stay.” I was a bit taken aback. “No, I was just going to tell you that my husband and I were leaving.”
He placed his hand on my arm. “You are too sensitive. Go.”

Okay, on my weirdness scale, that was off the charts. Too sensitive? WTF did that mean? So thinking about that, I went to sit in the lobby. When I reached the fireplace, I was overwhelmed by dizziness again, and practically rushed outside, knowing I was either going to pass out on the way, or before I reached the bottom of the steps leading to the parking lot. I have never in my life passed out, and I didn’t care for this feeling. I sat on the bottom step, with my head resting on my knees, hoping that Kel would find me there.

Here’s where things got really messed up. I remember him coming out and I felt like I needed to RUN to the truck. I had tunnel vision, another new concept for me. I felt like I was dragging him to the truck, I couldn’t get away from that place fast enough. Only problem is, that’s NOT what happened.

After conferring with Kel, his version is quite a bit different. He found me at the bottom of the steps and helped me up. We walked about fifteen feet to small bricked in flower garden, where I sat (no recollection of this). He asked if I wanted him to go get the truck, since it was about 35-40 yards out. I told him no, and he helped me stand, putting my arm over his neck. He had to support my weight all the way to the truck. He helped me in.

Next thing you know, I am bailing out of the truck, and violently vomiting (Kel’s description). He came around, really not knowing what to do. I sat on the floor of the front seat, refusing to get all the way back into the truck. I do remember most of this, although I have holes in the actual order of events that Kel has had to fill in. He finally got me back into the truck.

I tried to get Kel to write out his version, because he is such a great story teller. He told me that I was the writer, so I should tell it. I have had to go ask him for verification several times. Now here’s his wording about the rest.

I looked zoned out – looking straight ahead like I was hypnotized. He backed the truck out and asked if I was alright. “I’m burning up.” I replied, which shocked him, since the temperature had dropped into the 50’s. About ten seconds later, my teeth are chattering and I say, “I’m freezing”. I was still staring straight ahead and hadn’t looked at him, which he said scared the hell out of him. He turned to me as we were in front of the hotel and said “Terri”. No response. He raised his voice and once again said “Terri!” This time I turned and looked at him. He said it looked like I had swallowed a light bulb and it was stuck in my throat. An eerie pale white glow came from the inside making me look like you would imagine a ghost would - glowing. He said it was freaky. He is the logical type, and he was completely baffled as to what could cause that and it alarmed him to say the least.
“Just go. We must leave.” Was all I said in response.

After turning onto a residential street away from the Crescent Hotel, I said “Honey, I’m hungry, let’s get something to eat.” Like nothing had happened. He said it was freakin weird. That was the first sign that he had seen that I was “myself” since the ghost tour had started.

We drove through McDonald’s, went back to the cabin, ate, and I never felt ill, or abnormal again. I would like to say that nothing else happened, but I’d be lying. That I will save for the next post!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Journey Into the Paranormal Begins

Having promised ghost stories, I have now made myself accountable! I have thought long and hard (yes, it did hurt) about which story to tell first. I suppose it would be best to go in a somewhat chronological order, as there are a few. It kinda shows my spiral into the paranormal realm.

As so many out there, I was always interested in ghost stories, witchcraft, etc while a teen. I read every Stephen King book I could get my hands on in Jr. High. The school library actually had quite a few books on the history of witches/witchcraft…I read those too. My mom kept telling me that those books were going to “warp my brain”. Hmmmm, maybe they did! Either way, I thought that stuff was cool, but I was safely on the sidelines. I didn’t have any ghosts in my house, or anybody else’s that I knew, and no coven of witches hanging out in MY neighborhood. Then I grew up and moved past any interest that I had in all that “hocus pocus” stuff.

Fast forward to 2002. I’m planning a trip to Eureka Springs to get married to my second (and current husband). He had picked this beautiful cabin in the Ozark Mountains to stay in. While researching the area, I ran across the Crescent Hotel. I guess you could say that my journey would start there, although I wasn’t aware of that at the time.

The Crescent Hotel reminded me of a smaller, scarier version of the Stanley Hotel (from the Shining). It was built in 1886 and has a history that is unparallel by any hotel as far as a gruesome past. They also offered a GHOST TOUR!!!! How exciting is that? I was so there. I made Kel (hubby) PROMISE that we would take the ghost tour.

Our trip was actually six years ago to the day! Today is my anniversary. I didn’t even realize that I was telling this story on the exact date until I had almost finished! I did however; remember it was my anniversary…unlike SOME people who shall remain nameless (KEL). That’s another story though, and actually very amusing.

I will post tomorrow about that fateful tour (I just heard the Gilligan’s Island theme song start in my head) and the consequences, because, yes, there were LONG reaching consequences for making the decision to place ourselves in a situation that we had no idea could spiral so far out of control.

See ya then!
Sorry about the poor quality pics, my scanner needs a new cord! I may have to repost the pics, considering you can actually see the Crescent Hotel in the background in our wedding photos...we hadn't been there yet, we visited on October 4!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October is Here!!!

October. The month of the BEST holiday EVER! Well, at least IMHO it is.

Halloween...Who doesn't LOVE a good ghost story? Scary costumes? Decorating the house to look CREEEEPY? All the great shows on TV this month?

Kat Harris, over at has posted an October contest for ghost stories. She has a really cool story posted if you'd like to check it out. I sent her my very own ghost story, you can read it here if you'd like, but be warned...IT'S SCARY AND TRUE!

Check out this picture taken at a castle in France by my friend and writing partner, Lisa.

COOL, huh?

I have already been to the Halloween store with my youngest girls, and they both want to be PIRATES! I swear I didn't prompt them, not at all. I'm probably more shocked than anybody about their choice in attire for trick or treating. It's always been Princess this or that (the three wearing crowns, MINUS the bloody neck, are mine). This year they want plastic swords! I'm PROUD.

I am going to try this month to post a few of my own ghost stories, so check back often. I think the black shadow from my bedroom (NOOOOOOOOO, this isn't gonna be one of THOSE x-rated stories, sorry) should be first, maybe my stay at a haunted hotel, perhaps my paranormal investigation with a REAL group of Ghost Busters to an abandoned hospital would be in order....there are so many to choose from. Should keep me busy!

Do any of you guys believe in ghosts? Yes, no, maybe? Enquiring minds wanna know!