Tag Archive | ghosts

HELL HOLE Excerpt : What Lies Beneath

Greetings from sunny New York where the crime rises with the humidity in July. Fear not for me. I’m safe in my air conditioned lair, my killer cat always on the lookout for dangerous interlopers.

It’s been a wild month and a half with 2 books coming out one after the other. THE MONTAUK MONSTER is flying off the shelves and devouring the beach read competition. I’ll be talking all things Montauk and monsters up in Maine a week from now. I have a signing at Bridgton Books (Bridgton is a town Stephen King once lived in and penned some great books) on Friday, July 25th from 1-3pm.

I’ll also be at the North Bridgton Library to talk writing and have a fun Q&A on Tuesday, July 22 at 7pm. I’ll make sure I have all of my books on hand.

OK, now let’s get down to HELL HOLE. I wrote this western/horror for my father last year because he was such a fan of westerns. Unfortunately, he passed away before he could read the finished product, but I sense he has his copy up there in the great beyond. HELL HOLE is just one of several horror westerns that Samhain will be publishing this year, along with Jonathan Janz’s excellent western vampire, DUST DEVIL’S. It’s strange how we all decided to head out west at the same time without talking amongst ourselves about it.

HellHole

 

Mine is a little different because it’s set in Wyoming in 1905, a couple of decades after the real wild west’s heyday. But it does have an old cowboy, Rough Riders, Teddy Roosevelt, a creepy abandoned mine, black-eyed kids, ghosts, wild men, Djinn and a hell of a lot more. And I’d be remiss if I left out a half-Mexican beauty named Selma. To whet your whistle, I’ve posted a little excerpt below. Take a gander and make the trip to Hecla, Wyoming with me, where things are never what they seem. Info on getting your own copy is on the BOOKS tab.


 

It didn’t take long to circumnavigate the hills, even taking it as slow as we did. By noon, it felt like the sun was sitting on the brim of my Stetson. We were about to call it a day when Selma pulled up her horse and barked, “Look over here! What is that?”

Peering down, I saw a footprint of some kind. It was made by someone that had been barefoot because you could make out all the toes. Odd thing about it was that there were only four toes.

And it was big. Longer and wider than any foot I’d ever seen.

“There’s another one over here,” Teta said.

About seven feet to the north of the first track was another. All told, we found six of them, though only two were deep enough to retain any kind of definition.

Que demonios?” Teta said, whistling as he walked around them. “I never saw a foot that damn big.”

I jumped off my horse and bent down to get a closer look.

“Awfully wide,” I said.

“You can see there’s a right foot and a left foot,” Selma said, pointing to the nearest set.

“And only four toes on each,” Teta added.

“Let me see something, try to gauge the size.” I put my boot next to the footprint. It was bigger than mine by a good five or six inches, and I wore a size twelve.

Selma said, “Maybe it’s an old footprint. Time in the elements just wore it enough so it looks bigger than it is.”

Tracing my fingers in and around the best print, I shook my head. “Nope. This one’s fresh. Couple of days old at the most. The ground up here is too dry to keep a print for long, even one that’s as deep as this. Had to have been someone awfully heavy to make it.”

“How do you know that?” she asked.

“He did this for a living, long time ago, back before you were born,” Teta said with a wry smile.

“Then you think it’s real?”

“The print is,” I replied. “Can’t tell you about the person that made it. Hard to imagine a man big enough to leave a print like that. Maybe he was wearing some weird kind of boot. Could be ceremonial for one of the local tribes. Not every Indian is on a rez. I hear there are still Cheyenne and Crow about.”

I’d seen Apaches wear some peculiar stuff during their ceremonies. It wasn’t hard to imagine an Indian sporting something like this, though the depth of the impression bothered me. Could have been a man with someone on his shoulders.

“But why would someone do such a thing?”

“I’m just a white man. It’s hard for me to get into the head of an Indian. They have different dances and different ways of dressing for everything you can imagine. I’ve heard of some that believe in a wild man of the mountains. It’s kind of like some big, hairy bear that’s also part man. He’s said to be taller than any man, stronger than an angry bison and faster than a mountain lion.”

“Do you believe in it?”

Teta gave a quick laugh and I cut it off with a sharp look.

“No, I don’t. But they do. And when they believe hard in something, they do their damnedest to make themselves look like it. What this tells me is what I’ve thought all along. We have some rogue Indians out here keeping the white men away from their hills.”

The first cool breeze of the day whispered through the trees and shook the brittle leaves. It sounded like small bones rattling in a jug.

Teta instinctively placed his palm on the handle of his Colt. “Suddenly, I don’t like being here with so much cover.”

“Me neither. Let’s get back to camp. I have to rethink things.”

Selma was quick to mount. Her head swiveled from side to side, anticipating danger everywhere. Poor girl had no experience with things like this. I had a good mind to bring her back to her father myself in the morning.

We had only gotten a few feet from the tracks when a piercing howl erupted behind us. My insides went numb. All three horses reared.

I hoped to hell we didn’t get bucked.

Not with whatever was at our backs close enough to raise the hairs on our heads.

Wait No More…THE WAITING Has Arrived

The WaitingI am thrilled to let you all know that my latest novella, THE WAITING, is finally here. This is my 5th book for Samhain and my first based on a true and very terrifying story. In a house outside New York City, the ‘solid’ apparition of a young boy is still seen by the couple depicted in the book. It is a haunting that defies logic or explanation. THE WAITING is my attempt at making sense of an exceedingly bizarre series of events that continue to this day.

The early reviews have been great. 4 stars from Night Owl Reviews.

“It has all the makings for a classic ghost story. If you enjoy being spooked by ghastly little children with sinister intentions, this novella is definitely for you. 5 Stars!” — Tim Meyer, Horror Novel Reviews

From Long and Short Reviews : “I stayed up late to finish The Waiting, although I wouldn’t recommend doing the same to anyone hoping to get a good night’s sleep. It’s much better to read this book in the middle of the day while ignoring any unusual shadows or heavy footsteps in the corner of the room.

So, what’s THE WAITING all about?

Clinging to life, haunted by the dead.

Newlywed Cassandra Pagano lies in a state between life and death, her body fed and preserved by the machines at her side. While she struggles, unaware of the world around her, someone waits—a boy. A phantom that appears solid, real, alive. Cassandra’s husband, Brian, sees him in the house, by her bedside, running down darkened hallways. The boy walks without sound, whispers words that can’t be deciphered.

Terror and tension are driving Brian to the breaking point. Why is the boy there, and what does he want with Cassandra…and her fading soul?

 

You can get your ebook of THE WAITING now for under $3.00 everywhere ebooks are sold. I guarantee you will never look at life and death the same way again.

Waiting for THE WAITING

Okay, another round of shoveling, another couple of Motrin. You will not defeat me, Father Winter!

I am comforted thinking about the release of my new novella, The Waiting, in just two months. In just 8 weeks, the snow will be history and I’ll be back in shorts and sleeveless shirts (ala Larry the Cable Guy, my fashion guru). With The Waiting, I’m diving right back into the world of ghosts, but with a twist. This time around the story is real. And it’s not one I got from secondhand accounts. This is the kind of stuff that turns people into insomniacs or ‘day sleepers’.

Intrigued?

Let me take things on step further. Here’s a sneak preview from chapter 13. You can pre-order a copy (it’ll be out as an e-book only) at Samhain, Amazon and B&N. Now turn off  your EMF meter, bathe yourself in a protective circle of light and read on….

Alice worried constantly about her daughter, but it wasn’t until recently that she considered there might come a day when she would lose her. When she had first arrived at the house, she could feel the hope that crackled in the air. Like all energy, it had come and gone, morphing into something new, in someplace new.

Now the house felt cold and expectant. Her negative thoughts weren’t helping the situation. All of Cassie’s pain and their worry were building a cocoon of despair. Somehow, they had to find a way to break free of it.

Well, today she would try her best to dispel the negativity. Cassie was going to come out of it. Things always get worse before they get better. She knew Brian never left the house without making sure all of Cassie’s machines were pumping and draining away. That meant there was time for a shower before heading downstairs. Better to start clean and new.

When she was done, she wrapped a towel around her hair, put on a nice shirt and jeans and walked down the noisy stairs.

“Good boy,” she said when she saw the half-full coffee pot on the warmer. He made it a little weak for her taste, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Alice had bought a handful of gossip magazines at the bookstore. She wanted to make today a silly girl day, even if Cassandra couldn’t laugh or groan along with her. Then maybe she’d take a cue from Brian and pop in a movie and watch it with her. The Waiting

As she walked out of the kitchen, she said, “Cassie, honey, you’re never going to believe who Brad Pitt is fooling around with.”

The mug slipped from her hand, bathing the floor and her feet with piping hot coffee. If there was pain, her mind was too stunned to register it.

A small boy sat at the end of Cassandra’s bed. One knee was bent and most of that leg was on the comforter. The other was locked straight, his foot flat on the floor. He looked at Cassie with beautiful, shining eyes and a round face with skin as flawless and smooth as fresh cream.

He didn’t look away, despite the crashing of the coffee mug and her sharp gasp of surprise.

The sun filtered through the window. It bathed him in a diffusion of soft, yellow light.

Alice’s heart raced and her hands began to tremble. She found it hard to keep her grip on the tabloids.

The boy moved with surprising grace, shifting off the bed and seeming to glide to the head of Cassandra’s bed. He bent forward, and Alice lost sight of him for a moment. When he straightened, he smiled, then reached out to the control panel of the infusion pump.

Part of her wanted to yell at him not to touch it. If she thought a real, living boy was in the room with her daughter, she would have.

But she knew what she was seeing was not an actual boy.

The certainty of what she beheld kept her mouth from opening and her legs from propelling her into the room.

She watched him turn his back and walk around the bed until he left the view within the doorframe. She was struck by how quiet the house was. The boy’s footsteps didn’t elicit a single tick from the cranky wood floor.

When he was gone, the infusion pump started to howl. It broke her trance and she walked over shards of ceramic, leaving coffee and crimson-colored footprints in her wake. She was not surprised to see that the boy had disappeared.

She was concerned about the warning chime on the pump. When she looked down, the floor by the bed was covered in a foul-smelling miasma of blood and clots of infected tissue. The drain tube in Cassandra’s stomach had slipped out. Her digestive acids must have flared up, spewing rot and gore from the open wound the surgeon had left until it spilled onto the floor.

The smell was overpowering. She clamped a hand over her mouth to keep from vomiting.

What do I do?

The Ghosts Of Eastern State Penitentiary & The Scariest Places In The World

I’ve been saving this post for Halloween, and for good reason. Halloween, or better still, Samhain, is the time when the dead truly walk among us. Who doesn’t love a ghost story? Arguably, the best part of John Carpenter’s classic, The Fog, is the very beginning when John Houseman tells ‘one more story‘ on the beach just before midnight.

Even better are the true tales of hauntings and wayward spirits.

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is on just about every paranormal enthusiast’s bucket list, including my own. Ghosts aside, the enormous, crumbling prison is a living piece of history, some of those aspects carrying on through time. It’s been featured on many of the ParaTV shows, and my own daughter, the future Monster Woman, Ivy Shea, has been there twice – on school trips of all things!

The first time she went several years ago, she said it was just an old, empty building and she didn’t think it was scary at all. Pretty brave for an 11 year old. This year, they went back to Philly and once again walked the haunted halls. Ivy said the vibe this time around was very, very different. The atmosphere was heavy and it felt like they were being watched everywhere they went. She snapped pictures constantly. Two of them are interesting.

This first one shows Al Capone’s cell. If you look at the left arm of the chair, you can make out a face. Is it just the pattern of the paint on the wall? A case of Pareidoliathe mind’s way of putting a face to seemingly random shapes? Or is it the lingering image of an inmate long, long gone, at least from this world? I don’t pretend to know. It is fascinating to me how many views one can take on a simple, single image.

Take a look a the armchair at the rear of the cell and decide for yourself.

Take a look a the armchair at the rear of the cell and decide for yourself.

The second picture was taken down one of the empty wings of the prison. The area was roped off. Ivy was at the front of the line and snapped a couple of pictures. She saw nothing at the time but a long, lighted, empty hall. When we looked at the pictures later, we discovered a large, black mass a the bottom of the picture. It appears to be in the distance, as the light on the far wall shines past it. Again, I don’t know what this is other than highly interesting. No one was in that wing. No one was in front of her. Yet there is a black mass. Strange.

ESP Shadow

I wish I could spin a spine tingling tale about poor Ivy coming face-to-face with the wraith of an executed prisoner, but I can’t. The rich, haunted history of the penitentiary and these and other photos from hundreds of visitors will have to suffice.

Speaking of haunted places, Priority One Jets just posted a list of 7 Terrifying Haunted Attractions. Naturally, Eastern State Penitentiary is on the list. If you’re looking to really get your scare on this Halloween, you need to pick your favorite from the list and just go. The catacombs in Paris is tops on my list. Honestly, if  and when I do go to France, that and a few of Hemingway’s favorite writing/drinking spots may be the only places I check out. Who needs to see that tower thingy and those museums?

My question is, what famous haunted spots have you been to? Were you one of the lucky few to see and/or hear something that can’t be explained? Come sit by the fire. There’s time for one more story….

A Very Sinister Entity

With the Halloween season creeping up on us like Jason with a new hockey mask, it’s time to start getting our scare on. I figured I’d kick things off with an excerpt from my terrifying ghost novel, Sinister Entity. Read on, but keep the light switch nearby and make sure to keep your foot tucked in the covers. Oh, and don’t fear going to the bathroom in the dead of night…too much.

Let me know what you think of the excerpt (or the book) and I’ll give away a free signed copy to a random person who posts a comment.

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The small bathroom was just off the kitchen and was her father’s sanctuary. A magazine basket filled with well-thumbed copies of Sports Illustrated and Newsweek sat between the toilet and sink. She took a moment to lean against the sink and calm her nerves. Even if Jessica and Eddie somehow managed to make everything go away, she wasn’t sure she could ever spend another night in this house.

Being scared or anxious always made her have to pee, and she was surprised she had lasted this long without letting off the mounting pressure on her bladder. She unbuttoned her shorts and pulled them down with her panties.

“Oh my God that feels good.”

It felt as if she hadn’t gone to the bathroom in weeks and the stream came out in a never-ending rush.

As she went to pick up a Newsweek, the light suddenly went out, immersing her in total darkness. The bathroom had no window, so she didn’t even have the weak glow of twilight to see by. SinisterEntity_v3

There was a soft tap on the tile floor, and she gasped when air in the cramped room changed, becoming icy and thick. It was like trying to draw a breath through a cold, wet towel. Her heartbeat burst into high gear until she could hear the pounding of its overworked valves in her ears.

She bent down to pull up her shorts and shrieked when a pair of arctic hands clutched her wrists, pinning them to her sides.

She barely managed to cry out, “No!”

The rest of her words were cut off. She was being suffocated. Something blocked her nose and mouth and she struggled to draw a breath while the cold, invisible hands moved to her thighs, slowly creeping inward.

I Made The Reading and Writing Podcast!

I’ve been an avid listener of Jeff Rutherford’s Reading and Writing Podcast for quite a while. One of my goals when I was just getting my first book deal was to be a guest on his show. I’m happy to check that off my bucket list.

reading-and-writing-podcast

Jeff has interviewed some of the best authors out there, like James Lee Burke, Joe R. Lansdale, Nate Kenyon and Jonathan Mayberry.

In our interview, I read from the first chapter of Sinister Entity, explain why I write about ghosts and why, out of all things paranormal, this particular phenomenon has the ability to terrify people right to their core. And I get a chance to thank Brian Keene and Jack Ketchum for saving my sanity a couple of years ago. Oh, and we talk a little Monster Men, too.

You can click here to listen to the interview or download the podcast on iTunes. Definitely the best interview I’ve been a part of to date and I hope I get a chance to be on the show again.

Ghost Mine Digs Deeper Into The Mystery

The entire gang is back at the Crescent Mine, searching for more than gold and getting creepier by the day. I wanted to wait until I watched a couple of episodes of Ghost Mine before writing about the new season. The first, short run season was so good, I wasn’t sure they could maintain the head of steam they’d built.

ghost_mine season 2

Thankfully, I was wrong. Season 2 is even better. Viewers already know the back story and love the miners and investigators, so it was easy to just jump right into the thick of things. In the two plus years I’ve been doing this blog, nothing comes close to the attention my post on the first season of Ghosts Mine received. I’m not the only one who thinks this is the best paranormal show on TV.

I think we were all disappointed to see that the second shaft they had opened at the close of season one had been caved in so thoroughly, there was no way to reopen it this time around. I’ll bet there were a lot of disreputable people skulking about those hills looking for the mine after the show aired. Did the owner, Larry, bring it down to keep them out, knowing there was a good possibility of gold lurking in the depths? Speaking of Larry, there’s something very shady about him. He’s extra scruffy this season and comes across to me as a little puppet master, jerking the strings of the Crescent Mine crew as well as Patrick and Kristen.

What I hope will be a fortuitous addition to the team is Greybeard’s old man, Duck. You remember him. He’s the one that bailed when he heard Tommyknockers in the first episode last season. I feel that good things will come from having the wise, superstitious old miner around. There’s a good mix of old and young here, and it makes for a good dynamic.

Patrick, who I think is sporting more ink, has come  up with some more interesting toys to search for the paranormal. He’s a bright, no nonsense guy and his passion for what he does really comes through. And Kristen, well, she’s the living embodiment of Dana Scully, from the red hair to her quest for the truth. I know plenty of guys that watch the show just for her. Yes, guys are shallow. No news flash there.

ghost-mine_cast

There are a ton of questions that need to be answered this season.

  • What do the Masons have to do with the mine? Was the newly discovered ballroom a meeting place for initiations?
  • Who is the mystery person lurking around the camp and mines? Or is Larry just trying to draw them off their game?
  • What happened during Bucket and Papa Smurf’s grandson’s missing time experience?
  • What did Jay see walk past him in the mine and what is that shadow in the trees?
  • Will Fast Eddie be convinced that something paranormal is going on before the end of the season?
  • Can anyone understand what Bucket says without captions?
  • Will Jamol’s cooking get any better?

Unlike other paranormal shows, we the viewers are just as interested in the mining and the lives of the cast as we are hearing EVPs or seeing video evidence of shadow people. And that’s what’s always set this show apart.

From all the feedback I’ve received, I know you’re all watching. What are your favorite parts of the show? What do you hope to see? Who are your favorite characters and why? I’ll give away signed books and ebooks to random commenters over the next few weeks. Now let’s get to diggin’!

New Cover Reveal for THE WAITING

I know this is a looong way off, but I just got the cover for my next book, a novella based on actual events called THE WAITING. It comes out April, 2014. Want a hint at what’s in store? A newly married couple, a wife on life support, a house where they are never, ever alone.

More to come….

 

The Waiting

A SEPS Paranormal Interview

Over the last year, I’ve become a huge fan of the SEPS Paranormal podcast. Host Paul Cagle has a very similar sensibility to my own when it comes to the paranormal, plus he’s a funny dude.

I was thrilled to be on  his show. The episode is now up. We talk about the ghost experiences I’ve had, my books and the Monster Men podcast. Come join the fun! If you catch it on iTunes, I hope you subscribe (it’s free) and drop some reviews/comments.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST.

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Dying To Meet You

This article first appeared on Jonathan Janz’s awesome website.

As you read this, know that I’m one day closer to my death.

I’m dying, little by little, day by day.

Then again, so are you. It’s as inevitable as death in Texas. Or something with taxes. Or Wesley Snipes.

Of all the uncertainties that we face in our lives, from wondering where you’ll get your next job to hoping that cute girl in accounting won’t call HR if you ask her out, there is only one thing that’s a surefire, foregone conclusion. We’re all going tits-up one day.

SinisterEntity

When the 2012 mania was in full swing and I talked to people who actually believed that the world was going to end, I told them I looked forward to the apocalypse. You see, with my way of thinking, it’s better to slip off this plane with billions of people than alone while mowing my lawn. I honestly felt that some of these folks wanted the Mayans to be right. My New Year’s vow was to spend less time talking to them.

I’m amazed by how little we devote to contemplating our death. I used to study with a Buddhist monk. I’ve never been more relaxed in my life than when I was in his presence. He once gave me a meditation contemplative to use and I’ll never forget it. As I let my breathing flow, I would say, over and over, “I could die today.” It was really powerful and took my mind to some strange, but enlightening places.

Most people want to live while they’re alive because there’s plenty of time to think about death when you’re shaking hands with rigor mortis. Me, I have to know more. I want to see what’s waiting for us on the other side. I’m loving life, but I’m damn interested in what happens when life has played itself out. Ballgame over. Or is it?

This explains my fascination with ghosts. Of all the supernatural experiences recorded throughout human history, none is more prevalent and far reaching as sightings of ghosts, or spirits, or phantoms. What are they? Who are they? Are they proof of an afterlife, or an extension of the untapped powers of the living mind? Or glimpses of very much alive people caught in an inter-dimensional slip?

I don’t know. I’ve seen ghosts. We have one living in our house. He’s as much a part of the family as our vindictive cat. But I have no idea what he actually is. I just know that he shows up from time to time, only scaring my wife once when he wouldn’t let her pass by him in the kitchen. It’s creepy when you say it out loud, but when you live it, you get used to it. He’s far less annoying than my neighbors who think  10:00 at night is a great time to start a house party that will go on until the sun comes up – or the cops arrive.

So, I write about ghosts. I get invited to come to haunted places. I’ll even tag along with a professional paranormal team this year. Maybe I’ll find my answers. Maybe I’ll just find more questions. And maybe my neighbors will move. Dare to dream.

My latest novel, Sinister Entity, is, naturally, about ghosts. Or more specifically, about a 19 year old ghost hunter named Jessica who’s taken up the family business and still has a lot to learn. If you’re into ghosts, poltergeists and doppelgangers, take the plunge. Jessica’s quest is very much my own. She’s just a hell of a lot cooler than me.

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