Must Have Horror Podcast – HAUNTED
Fans of all things ghostly will love this limited run podcast by Panoply. HAUNTED is, believe it or not, an unbiased look into several cases of hauntings, with interviews by those who have had their world views of life and death shaken to its core. Host Danny Robins presents the facts and the interpretations of the experiencers and lets you decide if they actually saw a ghost or not.
These are short, easily digestible episode that are best listened to when you’re alone in a darkened room. Rumor has it that season 2 is just around the bend! Here’s the official synopsis for the show:
Do ghosts exist? If not, why do we see them? In each episode of the Haunted podcast Danny Robins looks at a real life ghost story in forensic detail trying to work out what really happened, with the help of experts, sceptics and the people who witnessed something they just can’t explain.
Danny visits a famous racetrack where drivers return from the dead; sees a suburban house haunted by a racist ex-tenant; talks to a widower who shares his bed with a phantom; and meets the parents who became convinced a ghost wanted to kill their baby daughter.
I absolutely loved HAUNTED and can’t wait for more. No matter whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, there’s something for everyone here. Listen at your own risk.
Is There Life After Death? FOREST OF SHADOWS Returns!
Just imagine your spouse dying in his/her sleep the day you win a mega lottery. You have all the money and free time in the world, but your days are filled with pain, loss and overwhelming fear. Are they truly gone? Or has their spirit carried on to someplace you can’t reach? How far will you go to see them one more time, and prove to yourself, if not the world, that death isn’t the end?
I know I’m a little behind the schedule I’d set for this, but I’m incredibly proud to present the return of my very first horror novel, FOREST OF SHADOWS!
As you can see, along with a KILLER new cover, the series has finally been branded as JESSICA BACKMAN’S LIFE AFTER DEATH. I’ve taken full control over this and the following books so I have the flexibility to bring you more books, novellas and short stories in the Jessica series.
For the uninitiated, here’s what FOS is all about…
The dead still hate!
John Backman specializes in inexplicable phenomena. The weirder the better. So when he gets a letter from a terrified man describing an old log home with odd whisperings, shadows that come alive, and rooms that disappear, he can’t resist the call. But the violence only escalates as soon as John arrives in the remote Alaskan village of Shida. Something dreadful happened there. Something monstrous. The shadows are closing in…and they’re out for blood.
Available in ebook and trade paperback, FOREST OF SHADOWS is available literally everywhere on the web. Better yet, SINISTER ENTITY and ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN are right around the corner.
If you pick up a copy of Forest of Shadows, I promise it will chill your warm nights.
Paranormal Book Review – The Uninvited
While I was perusing the bookstore on Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast website, I came across a tale of a true haunting in the Union Screaming House in Missouri called The Uninvited, by Steve LaChance and Laura Long-Helbig. I’m a sucker for a true ghost story, but the cover sealed the deal for me.
Here’s the publisher’s description of the book:
In this true and terrifying firsthand account, Steven LaChance reveals how he and his three children were driven from their Union, Missouri, home by demonic attackers.
LaChance chronicles how the house’s relentless supernatural predators infest those around them. He consults paranormal investigators, psychics, and priests, but the demonic attacks—screams, growls, putrid odors, invisible shoves, bites, and other physical violations—only grow worse. The entities clearly demonstrate their wrath and power: killing family pets, sexually assaulting individuals, even causing two people to be institutionalized.
The demons’ next target is the current homeowner, Helen. When the entities take possession and urge Helen toward murder and madness, LaChance must engage in a hair-raising battle for her soul.
Yeah baby, that’s the kind of high strangeness that motors my boat. Now, I know that with a lot of these ‘true haunting’, books, there are usually more misses than hits. Poor writing and/or simply insane premises have me throwing these books against the wall by page 20.
Not so with The Uninvited. The writing is crisp and tense, delivering some solid tingles to the spine as LaChance (now a paranormal radio host) relays the events his family and a subsequent family went through at the Union House. If even half of what LaChance reports is true, the place needs to be burned to the ground and sown with salt (yes, I’m a huge fan of The Haunting). Objects crash to the ground, the air is ripped in two with maniacal screams, people are pushed, scratched, possessed. Simply nuts.
I will give LaChance major props. The moment he realized the house was haunted, and not in a friendly Casper way, he grabbed his three kids and hauled ass. He gets even more kudos for befriending the next family that moved in after him and wearing himself thin trying to help them.
The Uninvited is a very fast read that is almost impossible to put down. A definite solid addition to your paranormal library.
Read any good true ghost stories lately? Let us know and share the night terrors.
Sinister Entity Unleashed!
DOPPELGANGER : a ghostly double of a living person that haunts its living counterpart.
Today marks the official release of my 4th novel with Samhain Publishing’s horror line, Sinister Entity. For those of you who read my debut novel in 2011, Forest of Shadows, this book will have a few familiar characters. It picks up where things left off, only 13 years later (love that lucky 13). If you didn’t read FOS, no worries. Sinister Entity was written to be a standalone novel, kicking off what I hope will be a terrifying series that delves into the darker realms of the paranormal.
Now, what does this all have to do with doppelgangers? It turns out, quite a few notable people in history, from Percy Shelley to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, have had encounters with doppelgangers…sometimes with disastrous results. Doppelganger is German for ‘double walker’. It’s literally a paranormal double of a living person. The whole phenomenon has fascinated me for years. So I did what all writers do; created my own doppelganger and had it take one on.
Normally on a release day, I’d post an excerpt from the book to get you hooked like the crack dealer I am. This time around, I can do you one better. I wrote a short story that introduces the main character of Sinister Entity during her investigation of a wailing, shadowy ghost that haunts a snow filled cemetery. It’s called The Graveyard Speaks and here’s the best part. It’s free! Download your copy and if you want more, come on over and face the evil spirits in Sinister Entity.
But wait, there’s more! My book is being released alongside my buddy Jonathan Janz’s awesome new novel, The Darket Lullaby. To celebrate, the simply amazing Erin from Hook of a Book reviews is hosting a FB author Q&A on April 2nd between 9 and 11pm ET. Email questions to her at email@example.com and she’ll post them on FB. Jonathan and I will do our best to amuse and if needed, frighten you. Nothing is out of bounds. Seriously. Click here to Like the page and join the party.
I’m not done. Call within the next 10 minutes and you’ll get 4 Shamwows for the price of 1. Wait. Scratch that. What I meant to say is that I’m also giving away a signed copy of Forest of Shadows to a random person who comments on this blog post. If you live outside the US, I’ll send you an e-version of the book.
So come on, grab your voice recorders and a change of underwear. We’re going on a sinister ghost hunt.
Your Horror-Paranormal Round-Up for March
Today marks the start of something new for me. Every couple of months, I’m going to post a hodge-podge of places to go and people to see on the internet, all of them horror and paranormal related. These are the locations, people and achievements that have captured my imagination and gratitude. They are wellsprings of inspiration, information, entertainment and mental edification. Find something that interests you and give them a lookey-loo…
Congratulations goes out to Robert Rumery on the publication of his first comic, The Grove, from WhatTheFlux Comics. If you know me, you know I’m a horror comic junkie. Nice job, Robert. I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it.
Looking for great horror books at steep discounts…or even free? Author, editor and all around cool dude in a loose mood, Brian James Freeman has started eHorror Bargains, your one-stop-shop for the best in horror. All of your horror deals are right here. Stop by and load up your e-reader!
Book Reviews. I have 2 places where you can go to get tons of book reviews (and if you’re an author, query them to have your book spotlighted). The first is Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK. Super reviewer Erin covers multiple genres as well as author interviews. She is the hardest working book reviewer out there today and a lot of writerly types owe her our gratitude.
Another mega-review site is Matt Molgaard’s Horror Novel Reviews. Matt and his team do an excellent job of reviewing not only new horror works, but classics and older hidden gems. If you need to stock up your horror library, this is the place to go. Then head to eHorror Bargains and see if you can get some of them without busting your budget.
Bigfoot. You know I can’t help myself from throwing something about the hairy fella in here. Huge thanks to Scott Albright who brought this post to my attention (actually, it’s as large as a novella) about Bigfoot and why no one has found their bones or bodies. Author Robert Lindsay did some yeoman’s work putting this together. Must read for all you squatchers!
Ghosts & The Supernatural. The definitive place to get everything you need about the world of the paranormal is Jeff Belanger’s Ghost Village. This is the Bible for everyone interested in what lies beyond the veil. You can also sign up for their free monthly newsletter.
Books. I’m super excited that my book release partner on April 2nd is the uber-talented Jonathan Janz. His new book, The Darkest Lullaby, comes out the same day as my Sinister Entity. Here’s a link to a review of his book. He has one of the coolest cover in the Samhain library.
Podcasts. My newest podcast addiciotn is Darkness Radio, a radio show broadcast out of the Twin Cities. You can listen to their archives online or through iTunes. These guys have a damn good time talking about the world of the strange and the unexplained. Love their take on things.
OK, that about does it for this month. I hope you stop by some or all of these great places and supoprt them. If there are hot spots you think I should know about, send them to me and I’ll include them in future posts.
Stranded : Syfy’s Latest Scare Fest
I never thought the Syfy channel would become the mecca for ParaTV, but thanks to the runaway success of Ghost Hunters, the network churns out new ghost-themed shows quicker than Willy Wonka on meth. The latest entry is STRANDED, a new take on the old theme, created by Destination Truth’s own Josh Gates. Now, Josh is by far my favorite para-celebrity because he doesn’t take things too seriously, but serious enough to put his life on the line while searching for the uknown. I swear that man is going to at least lose a limb while schlepping through the jungle looking for dinosaurs or an Africanized Bigfoot. It’s also produced by Jason Blum, of Paranormal Activity and Sinister (by far the scariest movie of 2012) fame.
The premise of Stranded is simple. Take a handful of real people and drop them in one of America’s most haunted locations for 5 days. Arm them with cameras and some basic ghost hunting equipment and let the good times roll. No camera crews or Syfy production folks to get in the way. The best part is, no matter how scared they get, they can’t leave.
I mentioned in my previous post on Ghost Mine that I liked the idea of making folks investigate a haunted location for more than the obligatory night. That way we all get a better feel for the place, and allow enough time to stumble upon some real scares.
In the first episode, three twenty-somethings (exes Sarah and Sean and their non-believing friend, Xand) are dropped off on Star Island off the cost of New Hampshire. Their mission : to stay at the haunted Oceanic Hotel and find out if spirits really do roam the halls. The hotel has been shut up for the oncoming winter, ala The Shining. Anyone care to place wagers on whether Xand changes her tune about the paranormal?
When they arrive at the empty hotel on the first night, a book is left behind explaining the haunted history of the hotel. Ghost Hunters fans should remember when Jason, Grant and the team investigated the hotel a few years back. The trio spend the next 5 days living in the dark in the shuttered hotel, jumping at noises and filling up hours of night vision recordings.
Kudos to Sean for coming up with the creepiest method for ghost hunting – ever! It seems the spirit of a little girl likes to open and close the doors of the hotel rooms on the 4th floor. Sean decides to raid the nursery (a kind of prop for tourists to get their chills) and tie little nooses around their necks, with the other end on the door knobs. If any door is openened, they’ll know because the doll will be out of place. What we’re left with is a long, dark hallyway filled with strangled dolls on either side. They should have renamed it Hangman’s Hall.
They do get a disembodied voice giggling and there are odd sounds every night. It’s just enough to put them on edge, which, as a viewer, is where we want them. It ain’t fun until the skeptic cries, and in that sense, Stranded doesn’t disappoint.
The first episode was interesting, but I’m hoping it can crank things up in future episodes. Personally, I’d like to see them bring in some older, more grounded people who are less prone to suggestion. The trio in the first episode were on edge the moment they stepped onto the dock. I wish they hadn’t been given any info on the stories of the hotel. It colors their perception of things. Better to let them discover the paranormal for themselves. Use graphics to clue the viewers into the history.
For those of you who saw it, what did you think? Para-good, or para-bad?
I’ll be staying tuned. Hey, Syf, feel free to drop me off any place you’d like. Let’s see how a horror author holds up in a haunted house.
Ghost Mine : Syfy Strikes Gold
Let me start off by saying that I fully understand that all paranormal TV shows are entertainment. Some slant more to the entertainment side than others, but I’m not fooled into thinking everything I see on my television screen is a pure scientific approach to exploring the supernatural. The fact that there are no real scientists conducting experiments is enough to dispel that myth.
Syfy’s Ghost Mine has become, by far, the single best paranormal show on the air in very little time. Why it works so well is pretty simple and I’m sure other production companies will be working hard to imitate them.
We all like to be scared from time to time. If we didn’t, there wouldn’t be any amusement parks, and for real kicks, we’d watch reruns of Matlock. Even without the threat of ghosts lurking in the dark, an abandoned mine is scary as hell. It plays on our fear of the dark, claustrophobia and, well, you can die pretty easily in there. Mines are about as safe as Congress is effecient.
Ghost Mine focuses on a hearty band of miners looking for gold in the long abandoned Crescent Mine in the hills of Oregon. The mine itself has a rich history of the unexplained. They are joined by 2 paranormal investigators, the intense and gadget-loving Patrick Doyle and his partner, Kristen Lumen, a red haired beauty among the rough and tumble men. She can certanily hold her own and has to fight against the tide of supersitions about having women in a mine. It seems that other mining teams have bailed out on the Crescent Mine because of the supposed spirits that drift in and out of the tunnels.
What makes this work has nothing to do with the paranormal. It has everything to do with the miners themselves who make up one of the most interesting casts of characters on TV today. From the grizzled veterans Papa Smurf and Grey Beard (everyone has nicknames they’ve earned from years working in mines) to the fast talking Bucket and a pair of “Greenhorns” who are down on their luck and hoping to save their family’s finances. you can’t turn away. Just learning how these guys go about securing the mine and how much work goes into extracting gold is enough to hook me. Just think Axe Men with ghosts.
This is the first show that doesn’t zip in to a location and haul ass out the moment they think they’ve caught an EVP. We get to really explore the mine with them, and become emotionally invested in the miners.
Add in shadows that appear against laser grids, creepy voices and cabins being struck with the force to knock things off the walls, and you have must-see Para TV.
I admit to feeling my own walls closing in when Patrick and Kristen walk deep into the grave-black mines, searching for the heart of the haunting. The evidence they catch is compelling, but nothing can stop men with gold fever. The spirits in the mine, disturbed by the blasting, have also dispersed out of the mine, haunting the miner’s wives and children in a nearby B&B. Everyone’s on edge, including the viewers.
Ghost Mine is both informative and eerie. I’d be happy watching an episode dedicated only to mining as much as I would one centered on the ghost hunters.
As an added bonus, we get hints that the Masons might have something to do with the restless spirits. Conspiracy nuts, don your foil hats and strap yourselves in!
I’m a horror writer, and I’d be happy as a pig in you-know-what if I came up with a plot and characters this fascinating. So I’m not going to worry whether everything or not is real. I’m enjoying the ride.
The only negative is that the show has a very short run. Note to SyFy, feel free to cancel The Haunted Collector, find a new mine and get cracking on a full season.
If you’ve watched Ghost Mine, I’d love to know your thoughts about the show. Where would you rank it in the pantheon of modern Para TV?