Tag Archives: Peri Jean Mace

Belle Grove Lives Again…Sort Of

a portion of Bell Gorve plantation house

Belle Grove Plantation (circa 1936; public domain)

There’s Something About Old Houses

I live in a newly developed area. The subdivisions are filled with thousands of homes based on maybe five exterior styles and maybe ten floor plans.  When I first moved down here, I drove up to the wrong house fairly regularly. They all looked exactly the same (and still do).

I’ve always loved old houses, but living here has given me a new appreciation for them. Old houses have character and presence newer homes just don’t have. One old house might have original stained glass windows. The next might have hand carved molding or unique tile work in the kitchen or bathroom.

Yes, the newer homes are more energy efficient and have fewer (expensive) age-related issues. But I still like old homes better. The uniqueness and the attention to detail simply can’t be matched. This might sound weird, but I sometimes think I can feel the history of a place speaking to me.

My Fascination with Belle Grove

The grandest of old homes are, of course, the plantation homes sprinkled throughout the South. I’ve toured quite a few in Louisiana. The juxtaposition of the plantation homes’ beauty and the horror of their role in history is both fascinating and repellant.

(Those who know me know I have a lurid interest in repellant things.)

One of the grandest plantation homes ever to exist was Belle Grove. Built in Iberville Parish, Louisiana between 1852-1857 for the cost of $80,000, it is said to be the largest mansion ever built in the South. Its seventy-five rooms were spread out over four floors.

front of Belle Grove

Even neglected and falling down, she’s impressive!

Belle Grove was abandoned in 1925 and burned in a mysterious fire in 1952. In its place now sits a neighborhood of modest homes, much like the one I currently live in (and sometimes mistake for other houses on other streets).

Belle Grove

( all pictures circa 1936, public domain)

Belle_Grove_Plantation_06 pub domain

 To learn more about the Belle Grove, check out its website or Facebook page. Click here to watch a really neat You Tube video featuring pictures of Belle Grove Plantation set to music.

The Connection to Black Opal

I first encountered Belle Grove in a book called Ghosts Along The MississippiLooking at the pictures awakened my imagination. That this beautiful place no longer existed made me sort of sad.

So, when I hired Kimberlee Ketterman Edgar to paint the cover of Black Opal, I asked her to include a plantation house based on Belle Grove. Here’s the cover art Kimberlee created:

 

BlackOpal_Ebook for BN
My series heroine, Peri Jean Mace, ends up stuck at the huge house on the cover after charging off to confront her boyfriend because she thinks he’s cheating on her. She ends up getting into more trouble than she ever imagined possible and discovering secrets she never wanted to know. But that’s the norm for Peri Jean.

Download it today at:

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Interested in trying out my Peri Jean Mace stories but aren’t quite ready to purchase anything? Well, today is your lucky day.

Subscribers to my newsletter can read a brand new, exclusive 14-page Peri Jean Mace short story titled “Peckerwood Bocephus.” This story takes place twelve years before the events in Forever Road and is the story of how Peri Jean got the tattoo on her arm.

Click here to sign up.

After you sign up, look for instructions on downloading “Peckerwood Bocephus” in the Final Welcome Email.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Are there any fellow admirers of old houses out there? Which ones have you visited and which one was your favorite?

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of Forever Road and Black Opal, of the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

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Ghost, Ghosts Everywhere (All Weekend Long)

To celebrate the release of Catie Rhodes’ book, Forever Road, in which her main character sees ghosts, we here at misterio press put our heads together and came up with some real ghost stories for you all.

Yes, these are real ghost sightings by one of us, or by people we know and have every reason to believe are sane!

Today, we’ve got three short stories for you, and then tomorrow and Sunday, we’ll be bringing you two more!! (In Sunday’s story, someone actually ‘captured’ the ghost in a photo, which we will show you.)

But first you’ve gotta meet Peri Jean. She’s a hoot!

Forever Road cover

My name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.

Now I’m not sure I can anymore.

See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor.  Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.

That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder.  My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.

None of this can turn out good.

Forever Road is available on AMAZON for your reading pleasure!!

And now our real-life ghost stories:

 From JoAnn Bassett:  I’d taken my parents on a tour of the state of Colorado and we stopped for a night in this huge hotel where hardly anyone was staying. I had no idea at the time that this was The Stanley Hotel, where the movie based on Stephen King’s The Shining was shot.

Late at night I heard music coming from a downstairs ballroom. I looked out the window and saw a diffused light coming from the ballroom windows and when I opened my window I could hear Big Band songs being played by a large dance band. I figured someone was having a wedding and the bride and groom liked old-style music.

photo of Stanly Hotel at night

The Stanley Hotel at night (photo by lojjic, CC license 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

In the morning, I mentioned it to the desk clerk and her shoulders slumped. “Not again,” she said. I learned later that a couple who were married there in the 1940’s had died in a car crash going back down to Denver, and now and then when they begin to miss each other terribly they come back to the place of their wedding and re-enact their last beautiful night on Earth. I was so creeped out when I left (and it was a bright sunny day) I had to grip the wheel to avoid joining them by crashing my car on my way back to Denver!

I KNOW I heard the music and saw the shadows of people dancing in the ballroom on the first floor! And the song I remember was “Stardust.”

From Kirsten Weiss:  My sister believes in nothing but herself – and certainly not in ghosts. And while she won’t out and out say she once lived in a haunted apartment… Here’s her story.

Mysterious shadows that moved up the stairs and across the walls – she could rationalize those. Even the pumpkin that tipped over and rolled away after one of those shadows flitted over it–even that she could try to deny.

creepy hand

Photo by en:User: Drgnu23 subsequently altered by en:user: Grendelkhan, en:user: Raul654 and en:user: Solipsist. CC license 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

But once while she was alone in the apartment, she stepped out of the shower, and saw an adult hand reach beneath the bathroom door.

There wasn’t room enough for a child’s hand to slip beneath that door!

It was impossible, uncanny, and terrifying. She perched on the toilet seat, feet tucked under her, bathroom door locked, until she heard her roommate come home.

 

From Kassandra Lamb: My mother died at 76 after a 6-month battle with cancer. She and my stepfather had retired to Florida but most of their friends and family still lived in Maryland (including my brother and I at the time) so my stepfather decided to have her memorial service up north.

After the service he headed back to Florida. He’d already decided that he didn’t want to live in their house alone, so on that long drive south, my stepfather was thinking about everything he needed to do to get the house ready to put on the market. As he thought about how he would dispose of my mother’s clothing, he started getting a case of the guilts. Was it disrespectful to be so hasty about throwing out or giving away her clothes and other personal belongings?

When he got home, he walked into the bedroom and opened the closet door. The rod in the closet had broken, on my mother’s side of the closet, and had dumped all my mother’s clothes onto the floor. He looked at the ceiling and said, “Got it, Hon.” Then he went to get bags to start packing up her clothes for Goodwill.

Now when’s the last time you heard of a closet rod breaking loose like that? It happens but not that often. This was just too much of a coincidence! And it totally fit with my mother’s sense of humor.

My mom laughing

My mom laughing HAO over something my brother said.

How about you? Have you ever seen a ghost, or know somebody who has?

Don’t forget to check out Catie’s great book, Forever Road.  It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read!  (And be sure to stop back tomorrow and Sunday for two more real-life ghost stories.)

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

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