Thank you for joining us for the Spooks and Spirits Blog Event. We hope you enjoyed it. We will have another event later this year.
Our next supernatural topic will be: Vampires!
If you are an author and you have a vampire tale, or you would like to submit an original short story for the event, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope to run this event in the summer.
The Ghost House.
It stood on Burford Road, set a little back
Half-hidden by hedges but not off-the-beaten-track
It had a wooden five bar gate and a gravelled drive
and windows that stared at you as if it was alive
Its red-tiled roof had darkened and begun to slide;
people swore they saw strange shadows flit inside,
though the house was long since empty, left to rot and die
like the face seen at the window by some luckless passer-by
All the children relished the scary stories told
About the Haunted House that was ever dark and cold
Even the adults gave a shiver, pulled their collars close
As they passed it by, sitting brooding and morose
They miss it now it’s gone, taking its spirits with it too
The road is bland and boring, the houses dull and new
It had character, charisma, a charm-all of its own
With its wooden five-bar gate and its hedges overgrown.
S. P. Oldham.
If you love ghost stories and are looking for something to read, here is our recommended reading list:
1) Tell us about your book
My ghost series – An OBX Haunting – has two books in it, and more to come. Book 1 is A Love Haunting, Book 2 is The Siren of Diamond Shoals. The genre is Paranormal Romance/Ghost. The series is a forever love story told through the eyes of a ghost. There are tears to be shed, laughs to enjoy, and even some adventure.
In Book 1, A Love Haunting, we meet Jordan Snow, a newly deceased man who fears he is doomed to wander the sandy roads of the OBX and be alone forever. However, as he shuffles along, feeling sorry for himself, he meets Luke, a skateboarding angel who was sent to teach Jordan the ropes of being dead and his new undead life is changed forever. Luke also introduces him to new friends, a trio of ghosts who haunt The Black Pelican restaurant – Maggie, Elise, and T.L. While Jordan enjoys playing Go Fish with his new friends and surfing with Luke, he has one burning wish. He yearns for one last kiss from the wife he left behind when he died. His new friends decide to team up and help Jordan get his kiss but a storm of the century is about to hit the OBX and ruin their plans.
In Book 2, Jordan has a secret. He had promised Luke that he would allow his wife to get on with life and never try to contact her again. But Jordan has already broken that promise. He has been calling Emily on the phone and watching her from the house next door to hers. Now just as Jordan is trying to figure out a way to confess to Luke, he and his friends find out that one of their people (a shadow person being transitioned to a ghost) has been captured by a pair of drunken pirates who plan to use her to get back in the good graces of Blackbeard. Since Jordan and his friends are not fighters, they must figure out a way to trick the pirates and send them running for the hills. Let’s just say that ploy involves dressing up like KISS. Once they get Cecelia back to safety, Jordan discovers there is more to the story. It seems that Cecelia has some critical information. Moira, the Siren of Diamond Shoals, has something of theirs locked away in a chest in her dungeon – the bones of Maggie and Elise’s husbands once thought to have been lost at sea. Now Jordan and the gang have to come up with a new plan. A bigger, better plan because Moira is the most dangerous Siren on the Eastern Seaboard and she is mean.
I also write Supernatural Horror Crime Fiction books. That series is called The Devil’s Due Collection. It contains three books at present – Death Most Wicked, The Devil’s Lieutenant, and Scorn Kills. While The Devil’s Due Collection doesn’t have ghosts, it does have some very dark characters who will give you chills. And some potential candidates for book boyfriends. Check me out on Amazon.
2) Who is your main character? Jordan Snow is the leading character.
Luke, Elise, Maggie, and T.L. appear in both books, they are joined in Book 2 by several new characters that they meet in their adventures. I love Jordan. He is a sweet guy who is very naïve in some ways. And he is devoted to his wife. He was a doctor before he died, so he is a healer too. Plus he makes a good book boyfriend.
3) Do your ghosts have any special abilities or traits?
Jordan is a newbie ghost. Luke is a transition angel who teaches him all the ins and outs of being a ghost. Because Jordan is newly dead, he has options available to him. For instance, he doesn’t just hang out where he died, popping out and scaring anyone who happens by. Under Luke’s tutelage, he learns how to suck electricity to give him the ability to transport anywhere he wishes. Jordan also has a thing about shoplifting, so he figures out a way to leave money whenever he takes something from a store. He becomes a transition ghost at the end of Book 1. That means he goes to the scene when someone dies and helps them to either go into “the light” or learn how to be a ghost. His first assist is a little girl who is 8 going on thirty. Because she doesn’t believe in God or Heaven, she is to stay on earth. Jordan does his best to show her the ropes, but she is a handful and plays tricks on him.
4) What is your favorite movie featuring a ghost and why?
I can’t answer that question with one answer. There are two ghost movies I loved. I loved the movie Ghost because it was so romantic, and it opened your mind to the possibilities of what could be in the hereafter. The thought that someone could love you so much that they would hang around to keep you safe rather than go into “the light” is so romantic.
My second movie choice is Beetlejuice. I loved the quirkiness and humor of this film. It was so uniquely fun and fascinating. I wouldn’t want to experience the craziness there, but I loved watching it.
I guess you could say that my taste in ghost movies is reflected in my An OBX Haunting books. While I like the spooky ghosts, I find the funny and loving ghosts more memorable, more probable.
5) Where can readers find out more about your work?
I took part in this great anthology which contains true life accounts of paranormal incidents. You can download it for FREE!
Ghost hunting shows have been popular for at least the last decade or more. In the UK, Most Haunted, starring Yvette Fielding, was something that had rarely been done before, when it first started in 2002. Yvette and her crew would visit some of the most haunted places in Britain, and Yvette would attempt to communicate with the spirits.
It was rare that Yvette would pick up anything more than a few bumps in the distance, or the crew would share how they were feeling.
There are many of these types of shows on TV, many in syndication as the popularity of them has waned in recent years. While they were all cleverly edited to ramp up the tension, it was rare that anything was caught on camera.
What was your favorite show?
I wasn’t sure how to say it and in the end I just kind of blurted it out.
Paula looked at me with her eyebrows raised.
I shrugged and tried to think of another way to say it, but Paula spoke again.
“You're telling me there is an actual, real, honest to goodness ghost in this hotel?”
I nodded and saw her smile cynically.
“This is a wind-up right? Some sort of initiation for the new manager?”
I shook my head.
“I’m afraid it’s true and you will know it is true soon enough, but I wanted to warn you.”
Paula looked at me with suspicious eyes and her mouth pursed.
“So, what does this ghost do? Is this place like that hotel… you know? In that film, should we rename it The Shining?”
I suppressed the urge to correct her and explain that The Shining was a title of a book, and the hotel in the book was called the Overlook. People didn’t appreciate my attention to detail unless I was turning down a bed.
“Not really”, I replied, “mostly it just does stupid stuff, like a teenager with a grudge.”
I thought about some of the scarier things and decided to start with the more mundane.
“Well, we had a wedding reception here last month, we asked it to be nice, but it poured washing detergent onto the dance floor and the bridal suite had all its sheets and pillowcases covered in treacle, twice. Silly stuff, like that.”
“This happens a lot?”
I nodded and shrugged my shoulders.
“And you have no control over this... entity?”
“No”, I said, “But we can sometimes keep it occupied.”
“Movies, slapstick works best. Or sometimes ones that are really weird. Like Monty python or Airplane. We put one on in an empty room and it seems to keep him contained.”
Paula shook her head.
“Him? Why a him? Really though are you sure it’s not just a member of staff messing around?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer and was glad that at that moment a dish floated past slowly at eye level, and then smashed on to the floor.
“Probably not.” I said looking at the broken crockery.
Paula seemed a little shaken, but she rallied.
“We have to get rid of this ghost.”
I agreed but how?
We had a priest come out to bless the rooms, but all that holy water just made the carpets damp, an old lady walked around with bundles of burning herbs, that set off the fire alarms. Paula called in a medium, but she left after five minutes when something emptied a vase full of water over her head.
The Ghost was staying, it seemed.
We all called the ghost Toby, I have no idea who picked the name, but Paula started to use it too when she was annoyed at another one of his spectral antic.
“Toby has put, what I can only hope is ‘dog’ poo all over the corridor by the staff room, its on the bloody ceiling!”
“Toby has pulled up the skirt of the laundry woman again and she is threatening to leave!”
Almost every day was a new, juvenile thing.
Some days we even saw Toby.
Guests would say “Don’t look now but there is a young man in black trousers climbing up your hedges in the garden.”
And we would know it was Toby.
Complaints came in regularly about a young man running up and down the corridor, knocking over furniture or banging about on the fire escape and although we continually went to have a look, it was almost always Toby.
Staff would mutter. “Don’t look now but Toby has just appeared behind you with some sort of drink in his hand, I think we should go before he throws it.”
He would sometimes sit on a seat in the restaurant. Dark hair, deep set eyes and a high necked buttoned up shirt with black trousers. Usually a waiter would go over to explain the restaurant was closed and get a fright when Toby disappeared, or a guest would be annoyed that someone was at their favourite table and we would have to do our best to offer them a better table or try to shoo him away.
Days were never dull with Toby, but my blood pressure could do with a break.
The worse times were when he got angry, things got smashed, beds were over-turned, and staff members often ran screaming from flying bottles or chairs flung at them from across the room.
It was the down season and Paula had been with us for a few months, she was settling in well.
Flying crockery didn’t worry her any more, she still got frustrated, but the movie trick worked most of the time, and we had not had too many nasty incidents.
During these quiet months, the owners would rent to anyone who had some cash to splash and unfortunately a local university wanted to rent out most of the place for a big shin dig. We all knew what to expect, this particular university had a reputation for being full of spoilt idiots who spent daddy’s money doing whatever they pleased.
No one was looking forward to this event. The place was made spotless although it was unlikely to stay that way and a world class chef was brought in to make sure the food was to these snobs liking.
They arrived, most of them in a school bus painted red and purple, some came in limos and some in Bentleys.
These were the worst of the breed. Drunken, snotty rich kids who would threaten to tell their fathers on you for anything they didn't like.
We took a substantial damage deposit from them, it was insurance against these inbred twits and their uncaring attitude to everything.
By 11am both Jacuzzis were half empty of water and had semi naked lads leaping in them and dunking each other while laughing loudly, the “No Glass By The Pool” sign had a large pile of champagne bottles piled up underneath it and the rest of the pool area was covered with bathing suits, discarded clothes, damp towels, sunglasses, lotion, half empty plates, and anything else they had ferried down with them.
By 5pm, all the students had gone to get ready for the evenings events and I was left to tidy up the mess.
I thought I saw Toby a few times, watching the festivities or following groups of privileged tyrants as they ran down the corridors whooping and shouting orders to the staff. Maids hid, and porters locked themselves in the broom closet, no one wanted to serve them, they had wandering hands and quick tempers.
The banquet itself was a drunken affair, food fights broke out, a strip tease was hastily halted, and many plates and glasses were smashed or knocked over. Most of the young men were dragged back to their rooms in the early hours covered in their own vomit.
We had made no effort to confine the ghost, feeling that his antics would not be noticed. What fun is there in putting a dirty sock or a fake turd in the punch bowl when one of the guests had probably already done it?
Even dirtying the sheets lost its charm, when many of the guests fell asleep in drunken piles on the floor.
After checkout, the damage was tallied up and the itemised bill handed over,
The university rep didn’t even glance at it, he just signed it and said, “Keep the change.”
We watched them all leaving with sighs of gladness and then Paula gave a small squeal and pointed out the window.
Sitting on the red and purple bus was a young man we all recognised. Black hair, deep eyes and a high neck shirt.
“Goodbye Toby.” Paula laughed waving at the bus.
“He must have thought they were more fun.” I said smiling.
Paula put her arm around my shoulder. “Right, let’s get this place clean.”
The air felt warm around me and I thought. ‘It already is.’
Electronic voice phenomenon or EVP as it is known, is when the voices of spirits are caught using a recording device. Some of the voices are not heard at the time, but can be heard later on the recording, as the voices are too low to hear with the human ear.
EVP is often used on ghost hunting shows. Usually they are able to pick up a few words or phrases from recordings.
It has become very popular in recent years. You can perform your own tests at home, using the recorder on your phone. Simply switch the recorder on and ask some questions to any spirits who may be in the room. Leave a gap for any answers, You can even leave it in the room alone and see if it picks up anything.
Copyright Kat Gracey
“What you are doing is wrong? It’s an abuse of your powers,” Geraldine hissed as Petra hurried to answer the door.
“Shut up, you nag. If you want to keep a roof over your head, you’ll shut up and let me work.”
She paused to check her reflection in the mirror by the door. Her dark hair was neatly swept back in a bun, her make up looked presentable.
Time to earn some cash.
Taking a deep breath, she opened the door to their guest.
“Welcome to our home. We are so sorry to hear about the sad departure of your loved one, but hopefully, we can connect you with them once more.”
Petra led the young man inside, a smile plastered on her face – somewhere between welcoming and sympathetic. The man, who was no more than twenty, entered the house warily. His eyes darting everywhere.
“David. My name is David,” he said.
He was well built, tall, with black hair and a beard. He had seen a lot in his short life, Petra would bet money on it.
She led him into the parlor, where the Ouija board was waiting for them. As they took their respective seats, Petra saw her sister, Geraldine, hovering in the doorway. She waved her away.
Geraldine didn’t approve of contacting the dead for money, but she didn’t have to worry about the upkeep of the house. Besides, she had certain gifts, those that hadn’t vanished when she…transitioned, so she might as well use them.
“Now, can I have the name of the departed please?” Petra asked.
David stared at her. Finally, he said, “Jane.”
Petra nodded, placing her fingertips on the planchette. She closed her eyes, tuning into the spiritual plane. It came naturally to her. As a member of the Anuri clan, she was a gifted witch. Or at least, she had been.
“Jane. I call upon you to cross over and make yourself known. Please give us a sign that you are here.”
They sat in silence and all Petra could hear was the ticking of the clock behind her. Some of the spirits took time to come through. She called for her again, and again, but no spirit appeared.
“I’m sorry, this doesn’t usually happen. Were you close to the deceased? Sometimes if the connection isn’t strong…”
“She was my mother.”
“Oh. I’m very sorry for your loss. Let me try again.”
“I don’t think that will be necessary. She would never show herself to the likes of you.”
Petra bristled, what did he mean by that? Was he calling her a fraud?
“I’m not sure what you mean? I assure you, I am completely capable of contacting the departed.”
“Oh, I know that. Your sister is proof of that,” he said, tipping his head in her direction.
“You can see her?” Petra asked.
“Yes, I can. She’s been dead, how long now? A hundred years.”
Petra glanced at Geraldine, who was frantically gesturing to get him out of the house.
“How do you know that?” she asked.
“I know all about you. Petra of the Anuri clan of witches. That was until you were turned by a vampire. Haunted by your first victim, as all bloodsuckers are.”
It was true. Geraldine was her first victim, before she knew what was happening to her and before she got a handle on her urges. They had come to an uneasy truce over the last few decades.
“That was a long time ago. I learned how to control it, I don’t harm humans.”
David, if that was his real name, didn’t look as though he believed her. “Who are you?” Petra asked.
He removed a silver stake from his jacket sleeve, and it became obvious. “You’re a hunter.”
“I have been tasked with stopping the spread of creatures like you.”
Petra felt fear flutter inside her, but it wasn’t for herself. “You can’t. I mean, you can’t kill me now. I am the keeper of the Anuri knowledge. I have to pass it on to the next priestess.”
David glanced to Geraldine, who nodded. “It’s the truth, sir. If she doesn’t then the clan will fall. You know how important they are in the fight. Do you want to be responsible for their loss?”
He sat back in the chair and sighed. “I have worked with the Anuri in the past. They are necessary in the fight. I will allow you to pass on the knowledge.”
Petra let out a breath. “Thank you. It should only be a few more years before…”
“No, you misunderstand. You may pass on the knowledge today, then I will have to destroy you.”
“No, she’s too young,” Geraldine said, wringing her hands. “Having all that knowledge implanted in her brain, it could drive her mad. They are supposed to receive it when they come of age.”
“That is my only offer. Take it or leave it.”
Petra weighed her options. The knowledge had to survive. Her own life didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Besides, once she was vanquished, Geraldine would be set free. She had carried tremendous guilt over the death of her older sister. They had been so close as children and Geraldine had been the only one to try and help her once she transitioned. It meant her death, but Geraldine would never have turned her back on her.
“Agreed,” Petra said.
“Petra, don’t,” Geraldine begged.
“No, I have to do this. She is a strong girl, she can take it. A deal is a deal.”
The hunter would not stop in his quest and if he managed to stake her before the knowledge was passed on then the clan would fall. She couldn’t allow that. He was being more than generous.
They left the house, taking the hunter’s truck and drove to a farm, some fifty miles away. The girl had lost her parents a few months ago. She had been sent to live with her aunt, although the woman had no Anuri blood in her veins. There were arguments amongst the clan leaders about where the child should go, but they had no legal right to her. I would have loved to have taken the girl in, but I was an outcast. Unclean. They only tolerated me because of the knowledge.
David parked his truck on the edge of the cornfield. A girl ran through the stalks, her brown hair flying out behind her. She looked happy, which considering all she had been through, was a blessing.
They got out of the truck, while Geraldine lagged behind them. It was part of the curse, she could never go further than thirty feet from Petra. They were joined together, for better or worse.
Petra walked toward the girl, feeling the weight of her actions weigh heavily upon her. It was so much to put on her.
“Alexis?” she called.
The girl stopped running. “How do you know my name?” she asked.
“I knew your mother. She wanted me to give you something, if that’s okay.”
The girl nodded slowly. David stayed back while they walked a little way into the cornfield.
“I have a gift for you,” Petra said.
“For me?” the girl looked excited, but she had no idea what this gift would entail.
Petra crouched in front of her. “You know that your mother was very special?”
“Well, you are special too. Very special. You will grow up to be a very powerful young woman.”
David watched the exchange, waiting for Petra to try to run, but so far, she was keeping her word. Her sister stood nearby, looking worried.
“You won’t have to worry much longer. Soon you will be free,” he said.
“Is that how you see it?” Geraldine asked.
“Your sister murdered you.”
“She was not herself. When she came to her senses, she was horrified at what she had done. She has worked hard to ensure our clan survives, you have no idea what you are doing.”
“A vampire is a vampire, no matter who she was before. They are made to kill. Sooner or later, she will give into that impulse and a human life will be taken.”
“She could do so much good.”
David tightened his grip on the stake, which he kept hidden at his side. “You still see your sister. But I have faced vampires, my village was plagued by them as a young boy. They killed my mother and my sister. From the age of eight, my father raised me to hunt them. It is only because of hunters and the witches that help them, that they haven’t taken over the world.”
Geraldine was silent. He knew she could not argue with that. The first vampire was discovered in a cave, almost 500 years ago, frozen in ice. He was thawed out and it soon became clear that he was still alive. Efforts were made to keep him locked away, but he escaped and started creating more of his kind. If a hunter had taken him out, vampires would not be an issue. And he would have grown up with his family, had a normal life. He mourned his mother and sister every day, but he knew that the hunt must go on until every last vampire was extinguished.
Some may claim to be good, to have stopped their evil ways, but it was a lie. Whether it was a lie to him, or one they told themselves, didn’t matter. Sooner or later, they would face a situation that they couldn’t escape. They would feed, and once blood started flowing, it didn’t stop.
He watched as Petra placed her hands on the child’s face. After a few seconds, her eyes rolled back into her head and she started to convulse.
“She’s too young,” Geraldine said.
When Petra finished the transfer, the girl sank to the ground and lay still. Petra came back to them, tears falling.
“She survived the process, but I don’t know what it will do to her mind.”
“You shouldn’t have done it,” Geraldine said.
“I can’t risk dying and losing the knowledge. Hunters don’t stop, you know that.”
David raised the stake.
“Wait,” Petra said. “Promise me you will take the child home and that you will make sure she is okay.”
David glanced at the girl. “I will keep an eye on her, until she comes of age and into her powers. You have my word.”
Petra nodded. “Thank you. Well, sister. In case this is it, I am sorry for everything.”
Geraldine shook her head. “No, sister. I forgive you. We’ll be together in the afterlife.”
“I hope so.”
She spread her arms, waiting for David to strike.
“May God be with you,” he said, then he drove the silver stake through her chest, piercing her heart.
In seconds, her body turned to dust, a sudden breeze blew her apart, scattering her across the cornfield. Geraldine gave him one final look before she faded away.
David tucked the stake back inside his coat and checked on the girl. She was still unconscious, but the shaking had stopped. He scooped her up and walked toward the farmhouse to return her to her family.
The front door lay open. “Hello?” he called.
A woman appeared. When she saw Alexis, she yelled for her husband.
“What have you done?” she snarled.
“I have done nothing, ma’am. I was passing, and I saw her lying in the field. I couldn’t wake her.”
Her husband appeared. “What’s going on?”
David handed the girl off to him. “I hope she is okay,” he said.
He walked away, leaving them to deal with it. After a good night’s rest, he was sure the girl would be okay. He would check in on her again in a few weeks. He had to deal with a nest a few hundred miles away. He would stop in on his way back.
He would keep his promise to Petra, for the woman she once was. He would ensure that the Anuri clan survived. Without them, he was sure that humanity would fall.
About ten years ago, i went on a ghost hunt with a group of friends in Armagh, Northern Ireland. We were with a local team and we explored the house first, before we sat in one of the rooms. The lights were left off, as the man in charge attempted to communicate with any spirits that were present.
As we sat in the room, it became quite cold. The man in charge said that a spirit had entered the room, a soldier who used to live in the house.
I saw the outline of a man appear to walk around the table and stop behind someone in the group, when I asked if that was where he was standing, the man in charge confirmed this. It looked like a shadowy outline, but it wasn't solid, it looked like heat waves moving around in the shape. It is the first time I have ever seen anything so clearly.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”