Spooky Nights

by Vinnie Hansen

As night falls, we advance toward the 100-year-old mausoleum in the cemetery. There is no electricity. Candles and a kerosene lamp light the way.

vINNIES POST mausoleum

Me reading by lamplight

Vinnie reading by lamplight

Here in Santa Rosa Memorial Park, I join seven other mystery writers to read our spooky stories in the echoing marble chambers.

Even though we are competing with the Giants playing in the World Series, the annual event draws a standing-room-only crowd.

No one rose from the dead around us except in our tales.

However, two nights later, at the Dead Writers Costume Party, three local Santa Cruz writers used an Ouija board to conjure up Edgar Allan Poe. Asked what he wished he’d written about, Poe replied: H-O-E-S

Three "dead" authors conjuring up a 4th one.

Three “dead” authors conjuring up a 4th one.

vinnies post HP Lovecraft

This delightful evening, a fundraiser for the Young Writers Program, featured H.P. Lovecraft as an animated host.

I resurrected my Emily Dickinson outfit for the evening. Before I retired as a teacher, I would wear the costume when teaching Dickinson. I’d stay in character for the entire class, in spite of questions like, “Are you a virgin?” and “What’s it like to be dead?”

I also rubbed shoulders with the lovely Beatrix Potter who brought along her hedgehog and Peter Rabbit.

Vinnie as Emily Dickinson, with "Beatrix Potter"

Vinnie as Emily Dickinson, with “Beatrix Potter”

Among others in attendance were Kurt Vonnegut, Dashiell Hammett, Mark Twain, Djuna Barnes, Virginia Woolf, and an imposter Emily Dickinson. Authors were invited to read and I recited “my” poem:

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

If you had gone, which author would you have impersonated? Why? And which author would you have wanted to contact in the Great Beyond?

Posted by Vinnie Hansen. Vinnie is a retired English teacher and award-winning author. Her cozy noir mystery series, the Carol Sabala mysteries, is set in beautiful Santa Cruz, California.

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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  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    October 28, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Hmm, I wonder what Edgar Allen Poe was referring to. I suspect it wasn’t gardening. LOL

    Love those costumes at the Dead Writers Party, and oh how deliciously spooky to go to a reading at a mausoleum. *shivers*

    Thanks, Vinnie, for sharing the fun!

    • Reply
      Vinnie Hansen
      October 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks for checking out the post, Kass! At least that Edgar Allan Poe “response” made sense. Some of the Ouija board answers were more cryptic.

  • Reply
    shannon esposito
    October 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I think I need to move to California! What a very cool night that must have been. Hm… I think I’d like to talk to Mary Shelley and see if she’s surprised at how her creation still lives on in our hearts today… especially around Halloween. 🙂

    • Reply
      Vinnie Hansen
      October 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      You would have been in luck, Shannon. Both Mary Shelley and her creation, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, were in attendance.

  • Reply
    Kirsten Weiss
    October 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Too fun! I wish I could have been there for it.

    • Reply
      Vinnie Hansen
      October 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      For some reason it’s easy for me to imagine you in costume, Kirsten. 🙂

      • Reply
        Kassandra Lamb
        October 29, 2014 at 1:11 am

        Hmm, what dead writer would Kirsten portray? 😀

  • Reply
    Susie Lindau
    October 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Ouija boards are nothing to mess with. Looks like scary fun!

    • Reply
      Vinnie Hansen
      October 28, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      I played with an Ouija board when I was young, but I’ve never understood how they work. Does anyone out there know?

      Thanks for dropping by, Susie.

      • Reply
        Kassandra Lamb
        October 29, 2014 at 1:09 am

        Kirsten and I did a joint post on Ouija boards in July, 2013, Susie. Which was before you joined misterio press, Vinnie.


        They can be a fun party game, but they can also open the door to things better left on the “other side.”

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