Tag Archives: ghosts

The Pool From Which We All Drink

It was always our hope here at misterio press to make this blog more a group effort. We are pleased that this idea is now coming to fruition. Kass Lamb will still be doing her Mental Health posts a few times a month but we will now have other authors from our group contributing on other topics, mainly of a paranormal and/or true crime bent.

Today, Catie Rhodes brings us one of her favorite topics as the first installment in Transcendental Tuesdays. Take it away, Catie!

The Pool From Which We All Drink

CatieRhodes-200x300

Catie Rhodes

Some time ago, I read Lisey’s Story by Stephen King. As always, when I finished the book, I read his author’s notes. The first sentence of the first paragraph reads:

There really is a pool where we—and in this case by we I mean the vast company of readers and writers—go down to drink and cast our nets.” – Stephen King

Folklore interests me for this very reason. Seeing bits and pieces of the same tales from all over the world fascinates me. The universality of our existence makes us have similar fears and similar hopes. All we do is put little touches and little splashes of color over the same themes and ideas. The thought of it is humbling.

For an example, let’s look at “The Phantom Coach of East Texas” and talk about how it connects to the rest of the world.

The following is a summary of the story. If you’d like to read the original, check my sources at the end of this post.

The Phantom Coach of East Texas

The legend of the phantom coach in East Texas was collected from a former slave named Ben Smiley. It takes place in pre-civil war East Texas on the Ayish Bayou.

In this era, people came from miles around to gather in one another’s homes for socials.

a social of the 1800's

These gatherings provided a chance for young people to court. At one such gathering, the daughter of a local planter fell in love with a young man from one of the visiting families. Soon afterward, on the night of the harvest moon, the girl’s father held a social at their home to announce her engagement to the boy.

The young couple slipped away from the social to take a moonlight ride in one of the coaches. As was customary during the era, the slaves whose job it was to drive their owners to the social stood around the fire outside swapping tales. Ben Smiley, from whom this story was collected, was among these men.

The sound of hoofbeats and the rattle of a carriage moving interrupted the men’s swapping of tales. One of them ran to stop the carriage. He spoke to the newly engaged couple who told him they would be back soon. He let them go, and the couple was never seen again.

No one could explain why the couple would have eloped. Both sets of parents were happy about the engagement. The community was excited for the couple. The slaves speculated the couple was spirited away by demons.

Years passed and the incident was forgotten by everybody except the missing couples’ parents. The father of the young woman who had disappeared had a social on the night of the harvest moon. Once again, the slaves stood around the fire outside swapping stories.

The coachman who had tried to stop the couple years before was in the middle of telling a story, but he stopped to stare down the dark, pine tree-lined drive in front of the house. His face grew slack with alarm. The other slaves turned to see what had upset him.

All of the slaves saw a gold, shapeless glow emerge from the pine trees and move noiselessly toward them. In the glow, they saw the shape of a carriage—which was being drawn by a force other than horses. The figure of a woman sat inside coach. The coach passed the horrified slaves slowly and without sound and faded into the fall night.

Ben Smiley, the teller of this tale, was convinced the ghost of the girl who had disappeared so many years before sat in the coach. As the legend goes, the phantom coach and its ghostly passenger came up her parents’ drive each harvest moon until they died.

Great story, right?

Versions of this story are known in Italy, Spain, England and Ireland.

In England

In England, the most famous occupant of a phantom coach is none other than Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VII. After her failure to produce a male heir, Anne’s relationship with the king deteriorated. He had her charged with treason and sentenced her to death.

Anne Boleyn’s ghost has been been seen in the grounds of Blickling Hall, which was the Boleyn family home. She is dressed in white and sits in a ghostly carriage. Anne, the carriage’s horses, and the coachman are all headless. Anne holds her severed head in her lap.

Blickling Hall and grounds

Home of Ann Boleyn’s family; her headless ghost is said to ride in a phantom carriage through the grounds (photo by Evelyn Simak CC-BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia)

Sir Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, stated his belief of Anne’s guilt at her trial. Sir Thomas, too, roams the night roads in a phantom coach crossing each of the twelve bridges that lie between Wroxham and Blickling. Traveling this route is said to be Sir Thomas Boleyn’s punishment for betraying his daughter.

Irish Mythology

Both the Anne Boelyn tale and The East Texas Phantom Coach can be connected to the Dullahan of Irish mythology.

The Dullahan is a headless rider on a black carriage pulled by six headless horses or he is a solo headless rider on a black horse. Like the East Texas phantom coach, the Dullahan’s approach is silent. Like Anne Boleyn, The Dullahan carries his head with him.

The Irish Dullahan is an omen of death. He stops before the door of one who is about to die and shouts the person’s name. His call draws forth the soul of the soon-to-be-deceased. Unlike the Banshee (or Bean Sidhe), the Dullahan’s call is not a warning. He actually draws the soul out of the person whose time it is to die.

We All Add Our Own Twist

The Legend of the East Texas Phantom Coach was told by a slave named Ben Smiley. His telling added certain elements that drew from what he knew.

The gold of the East Texas phantom coach could be attributed to imagery used in African American folk music, including spirituals. According to the source material by John Q. Anderson, this gold imagery in spirituals came from the Bible story of Elijah and the descriptions in the Book of Revelation.

The silent, golden coach is also similar to “will-o’-the-wisp” folklore. This phenomenon is also known as ghost-lights and swamp gas.

oil painting of a will-of-the-wisp

Will-of-the-Wisp ~ oil painting by Arnold Böcklin, 1882

According to European folklore, the mysterious lights are faeries intent on leading travelers astray. The American version of this folklore explains the lights as spirits of railroad workers killed on the job.

The way all these stories intersect fascinates me. Connecting all the dots is like a game. It makes the world around me feel very, very large.

Floor is open. What stories can you share from the pool from which we all drink?

Sources:

“The Legend of the Phantom Coach in East Texas” by John Q. Anderson. Western Folklore, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Oct., 1963), pp. 259-262.

The Ghost of Anne Boleyn

Mystical Myth: Irish Dullahan

Will O’ The Wisp

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie’s debut novel, Forever Road, is Book 1 in the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

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A Ghost at Nemacolin Castle

Hey, Shannon here! As much interest as I have in the paranormal and as many hours as I’ve logged watching Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, I’ve sadly never had a personal experience with a ghost. So, I’m going to tell you about my mom’s experience.

A few years ago, my mom took a tour through Nemacolin Castle, built by the Bowman family in 1789 in Brownsville, Pa. There were eight people in the tour, four of them were my mom and members of her family. As they were led through the rooms, she snapped random pictures with her digital camera.

This is one of the pictures she took in the Tea Room:

When she was going over the photos later that night, she realized there was someone in the mirror that did not look anything like the other four people in the room with them.

Here’s a close up of the mirror:

 Can you see the man in the white shirt and mustache? Or do you see something else?

My mom contacted the castle staff the next day and a local paranormal team was there. They asked her to bring her camera back and show them where she was standing when she took the picture, which she did.

It was determined from the angle of the mirror (after two sets of drained batteries on two different cameras) when they recreated the photo, the man would have been standing right beside her.

Chills, right? Have you ever captured anything on film you couldn’t explain?

To read a great mystery about ghosts, check out Catie Rhodes’ new release, Forever Road. Her protagonist sees ghosts, much to her dismay.

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.

Check it out on AMAZON  And then come on back and tell us about your own ghost sightings!

Posted by Shannon Esposito. Shannon is a mystery writer and stay-at-home mom. She loves daydreaming and hugging her kids (including the four-legged ones). She writes the Pet Psychic Mystery series and also has a stand-alone paranormal mystery, The Monarch.

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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Brotherly Love–From Beyond the Grave

In honor of Catie Rhodes’ new release, FOREVER ROAD, we’re telling real-life ghost stories this weekend. Why? Because Catie’s main character sees ghosts, and isn’t all that happy about possessing that particular talent. But here, I’ll let Peri Jean tell you about it herself:

Forever Road coverMy 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.

I just love Peri Jean!

And now for the real-life ghost stories. Yesterday we had three short tales of ghosties or other strange ghost-related events. Today we have a longer and more poignant tale to tell. You might want to have a tissue handy.

From Stacy Green:

After five years of trying to have a child, and a miscarriage that had left me deeply depressed for weeks, I had finally reached the 12th week of pregnancy. But due to a genetic issue, my baby was at high risk of being born with Downs Syndrome. On June 7, 2005, my husband and I went to the University of Iowa for prenatal testing. That day my brother, Kevin, called my mom to see how I was doing and ask when we’d get the results. He told her he was worried about me.

He died in a car accident that night.

I rushed to my parents’ home two hours away and went with them and my sister-in-law to the funeral home to make arrangements. You can imagine the rest of that day. I went to bed in my parents’ guest room–exhausted, empty, and feeling guilty that I was worrying about my test results when my brother had just died.

I became trapped in a horrible dream. My brother stood at the foot of my bed staring at me with an expression I’ve never been able to fully describe. I knew it was him, even though his face was swollen and his mustache was missing. He kept trying to tell me something. In the dream, I jumped out of bed and ran out of the room. He followed me from room to room, the same pleading expression on his face. I’ve never been so scared in my life!

An alert on the weather radio, signaling an upcoming storm, woke me. It also woke my mother. We went down to the kitchen and I told her about the dream. It had been so vivid, so real. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I told her that he didn’t look like himself and that he was wearing the burgundy shirt and khaki pants he had worn at Christmas.

My mother turned white. “That’s what he’s going to be buried in.”

After an hour of talking, I explained it away as coincidence. The last time I’d seen him he’d been wearing that shirt. My mind just filled in the blanks. Still, I couldn’t shake the realness of it all.

The next day was the viewing. I looked in the casket and nearly collapsed. Not only was Kevin wearing those clothes, but his face was swollen and puffy from the trauma, and he didn’t have a mustache.

Kevin was eighteen years older than me, and I’d never seen him without a mustache. Ever. Barely able to stand, I asked his poor wife about it. “He was trimming it a few days ago and messed up,” she said. “I told him to shave it off.”

There’s no way I could have known that. The mustache sealed the deal for me. Kevin had come to me the night before. I was convinced he was trying to tell me something, but what?

I got my answer later that day when the call came from the University of Iowa. Our tests results were back. It wasn’t  absolute, but the screening indicated that our baby was very likely fine.

And then it hit me: that’s what Kevin had been trying to tell me. The day he was killed, he’d told Mom how worried he was that I wouldn’t be able to handle it if the test results were bad news. In the dream, he was trying to let me know that everything was going to be okay. I know this in my gut. The clothes, the mustache, the test results—too many things to be a coincidence.

My family will never get over my brother’s loss, but I am so grateful to him for coming to me the way he did. I’m not sure I would have believed in the test results if he hadn’t visited me in my dream. After that experience, I believed it would be okay. My anxiety about the baby went down, and I was able to relax and enjoy my pregnancy.

My daughter, Grace, was born on December 26, 2005, and she is perfect!

Grace

I told you to get tissues!

Stacy’s going to have her own new release in just a couple more days! Stay tuned for Tin God, and come on back tomorrow for one more ghost story, with an honest-to-god picture of a ghost!

Do you have any ghost stories? Please share them in the comments.

And don’t forget to check out FOREVER ROAD. You will love this book!

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.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

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.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Secrets in Stone: A Living(?) Mystery Novel

Today we have a special treat! Kirsten Weiss is taking us on a tour of old cemeteries, complete with ghosts.  Take it away, Kirsten!

In 2013, the idea of a fictional murderer attending his victim’s funeral seems old hat. And the heroes of modern mystery novels are less likely to prowl a darkened cemetery looking for clues.

But in the real world, cemeteries are experiencing a revival.

Perhaps it’s because of the rising interest in all things haunted. Or perhaps today’s modern cemeteries, designed for the ease of gardeners rather than for ornamentation, give us a greater appreciation for the overblown monuments of the past. Or perhaps it’s simply because they’re old and beautiful.

Whatever the reason, older cemeteries can make an intriguing wander. Interested? Check out these must-see American cemeteries.

headstones in Oakland Cemetery

Oakland Cemetery (photo by Ann Sullivan-Larson, CC 3.0 license, Wikimedia Commons)

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA. One of Atlanta’s most famous landmarks, this cemetery was designed as a Victorian “garden cemetery,” during the days when picnicking amongst deceased loved ones didn’t seem quite so odd. As the name suggests, the cemetery has the feel of a garden, dotted with spectacular monuments.

Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, GA. Located amidst Savannah’s famous squares, the Colonial cemetery is rich in history and ghosts. Look for the tombstone altered by Union soldiers during the occupation of Atlanta. The final resting place of prominent Savannah citizens, dueling victims, and 700 victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1820, it’s little wonder that the cemetery is believed to be haunted.

It’s most famous specter is that of Rene Asche Rondolier (or Renee Rondolia Asch), a disfigured orphan who lived in the cemetery in the early 1800s.  He was accused of the murder of two girls whose bodies were found in the cemetery, dragged to the nearby swamps, lynched and left for dead.  But in the days that followed, more dead bodies turned up in the cemetery. The people of Savannah were convinced Rene’s ghost was the culprit, and to this day the cemetery is known by some as Rene’s playground.  It’s said his ghost roams the grounds at night.

One tourist believes he’s actually caught little Rene on video.

Unitarian Church Cemetery, Charleston, SC. This lovely, overgrown graveyard, its gnarled trees draped with Spanish moss, has lovely examples of death’s heads from the Colonial period, as well as its share of haunts, including an entirely fictional ghost.  According to legend, Annabel Lee was romantically involved with Edgar Allen Poe when he was stationed in Charleston.  But her father kept them apart.  Poe eventually left town and Annabel died months later of Yellow Fever.  Poe returned to pay his respects, but the irate father was determined to keep them apart even in death, and moved Annabel’s grave to an unmarked spot in the lower end of the cemetery. People swear they’ve seen the ghost of Annabel wandering the cemetery.

death head on tombstone

Death head tombstone (photo by Kirsten Weiss)

Saint Louis Cemetery No 1, New Orleans, LA. Because of the high water table, residents of New Orleans were forced t bury their dead above ground, making for a miniature cityscape of monuments. One of this cemetery’s most famous residents is voodoo queen, Marie Leveau. The cemetery is easy to find – just outside the French Quarter. Marie Leveau’s unmarked tomb… not so much. Several tombs within the cemetery are possibilities, and you’ll find them chalked by the x’s of supplicants and littered with offerings. Good luck figuring out which tomb belongs to the real Marie.

Above-ground graves in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans

Above-ground graves in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 (photo by Photoartel, CC 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Key West Cemetery, FL. What makes this cemetery unique are the epigraphs. Key West has always attracted its share of eccentrics, and this is where you’ll find headstones reading: “I Told You I Was Sick,” and “At Least I Know Where He’s Sleeping Tonight.”

statue of angel in Key West Cemetery

Key West Cemetery (photo by Averette at en.wikipedia, CC 3.0)

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA . This cemetery catapulted to fame after the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil hit the bestseller lists. It’s a lovely southern gothic, shrouded in oaks dripping Spanish moss. Though, the famed “bird girl” statue from the book cover is gone, the cemetery is still worth a look.

graves in Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery (photo by Minipaula, CC 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA. This is the final resting place of America’s version of royalty – the celebrity. You can find the graves of silver screen idols, Rudolph Valentino, Tyrone Power, Fay Wray, and more modern celebs, like Johnny Ramone.

Johnny Ramone statue in Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Johnny Ramone statue in Hollywood Forever Cemetery (photo by Sean Russell, CC 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

 

How about you? Have you visited any haunted, or otherwise interesting,  cemeteries lately? What’s your favorite cemetery, or ghost story? Kirsten’s going to be hanging around today to chat, so please comment below.

Kirsten Weiss’s fictional detective, Riga Hayworth, hasn’t prowled any cemeteries lately, but she’ll be dealing with the undead in her upcoming paranormal mystery novel, The Infernal Detective. The cover for that book was inspired by the death’s heads from Charleston’s Unitarian Church cemetery. Watch for it in May, 2013.

 

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.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!