A new Catherine Cavendish book always shivers me timbers. She really knows how to hit my paranormal sweet spot. To celebrate the release of her latest and greatest, Saving Grace Devine, I invited Catherine to stop by and give my Hellions some world class goosebumps. So dim the light, settle into a comfy chair and read the tale of the White Lady of Stow Lake…
In my novel, Saving Grace Devine, a young girl is drowned, but her spirit returns to haunt the lakeside where she met her untimely end. She seeks help from the living, to help her cross over to the afterlife.
From my research, it would appear that my fictional Grace is not alone. Many people have reported seeing ghosts of drowned girls and young women, who are apparently bound to the shores of the lake where they died. They all appear to be searching for something, or someone -in dire need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.
And not all of them are benign.
One such wraith seems to constitute a deadly reason why I, for one, would think twice before venturing on a walk around Stow Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Her appearances have been frequent and well documented.
Golden Gate Park is landscaped on similar lines to New York’s Central Park. It hosts a museum, Japanese Tea Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, Sprekels Park and, of course, Stow Lake. It also houses a number of ghosts – and even an allegedly moving statue. But more of that later. We’re concerned now with “a thin, tall figure in white.” So said Arthur Pigeon, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle of January 6th 1908. Police had pulled him over for speeding and he told the newspaper that it had blocked his way as he drove out of the park, “…it seemed to shine. It had long, fair hair and was barefooted. I did not notice the face. I was too frightened and anxious to get away from the place.”
Of course, the temptation is to say the man was merely trying to avoid getting a speeding ticket. And if his had been the only report, then that could well have been the case. But it wasn’t. Over the hundred plus years since that Chronicle article, many other people have reported seeing precisely the same apparition.
So who is this mysterious ‘white lady’ of Stow Lake?
There are, as always, a number of theories. One of the more compelling is that in the late 1800s, a young woman was out, walking her baby in its pram around the lake. She became tired and sat down on a bench. Presently another lady came to join her and the two struck up a conversation. So engrossed was the young mother that she failed to notice the pram rolling away. Suddenly she realized it had gone. There was no sign of either the pram or the baby. Panic stricken, she searched high and low, asking everyone, “Have you seen my baby?” No one had. For the rest of that day, and into the night, she searched.
Finally, she realized the baby and the pram must have fallen into the lake. She jumped in and was never seen alive again.
Witnesses who report seeing her speak of a woman in a dirty white dress, sometimes soaking wet and, contrary to Arthur Pigeon’s assertion that she had fair hair, the other reports consistently state she has long, dark hair. Sometimes she is also seen on Strawberry Hill – adjacent to the lake. Her face wears an anxious expression and she has been known to approach people walking around the lake at night. She asks, “Have you seen my baby?”
As for the statue I mentioned earlier, this is called ‘Pioneer Woman and Children’. It has a reputation for moving around – and even changing shape. These phenomena always occur at night and seem directly linked to the white lady. Sometimes the statue’s face changes. Other times, it has no legs or head. Motorists have reported electrical problems. Different cars driving near the statue or lake at the same time have stalled simultaneously.
Finally, if you are brave – or foolhardy – enough, try going down to Stow Lake at night and say, “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times. It is said she will then manifest herself before you and ask you, “Have you seen my baby?” If you say, “yes”, she will haunt you ever after. But, if you say, “no”, she’ll kill you.
Now there’s no documented evidence of the white lady committing murder. But are you prepared to put her to the test?
Can the living help the dead…and at what cost?
When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.
But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.
You can find Saving Grace Devine here:
And other online retailers
Other books by Catherine Cavendish include:
And are currently available – or soon will be – from:
Catherine Cavendish lives with a long-suffering husband and ‘trainee’ black cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century, which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV. Cat has written a number of published horror novellas, short stories, and novels, frequently reflecting her twin loves of history and horror and often containing more than a dash of the dark and Gothic. When not slaving over a hot computer, she enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
You can connect with Cat here:
As a devout reader of Cemetery Dance Magazine since the early 90s, I still can’t believe I now have a monthly column on their online mag. VIDEO VISIONS is a look back at what it was like growing up a horror hound in the 80s, the golden age of horror.
I start things off with a little tale of the first movie my father rented when he bought the family’s original gangsta VCR – VIDEODROME. Little did he know how much it would change the lives of both his children in profoundly different ways.I hope you take the trip back in time with me each month. Hopefully it brings a smile to your face and a shiver down your spine.
So, what was the first horror movie you ever watched on your VCR?
I’m beyond excited to not only share the brilliant cover art for my upcoming novel with Sinister Grin, but also show you the progression of the art and how it came to be in artist Zach McCain’s own words! WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING is a chilling tale of isolation and deep, dark family secrets set on a withering Pennsylvania farm. Here’s the official Sinister Grin press release and a rare behind the scenes peek into how book covers are born.
Last month, Sinister Grin Press was very excited to announce our publishing deal with the best selling and fan favorite author Hunter Shea. This is the first time Sinister will publish work by Shea, and as well, we are honored to publish his first limited edition! In January 2017, we’ll start the year off in horrific style by making WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING available in a hardcover Limited Collector’s Edition. We’ll be offering the paperback and e-book versions a few months later.
Today we are anxious to reveal the cover for WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING by Hunter Shea, with art and design by the amazing Zach McCain!
Here are some of Zach’s thoughts on his artistic progression and thoughts when making the cover…..
The direction I got for this cover was very simple and straightforward: A run down farmhouse with a yard overgrown with weeds and the shadow of a person stretching out towards the house. At first I didn’t think there was much I could with this and it reminded me of many covers I had seen from small press horror publishers years ago.
I started drawing the house straight on and large on the page. Something about this started to look boring to me and I found myself struggling to continue.
At this point I decided to start completely over. This time I would draw the house from an angle and looking slightly up at it. And I decided to make it much smaller.
I felt much better about it after making the changes and quickly finished the pencil drawing portion of the cover.
I was still concerned about it looking like so many other similar covers that I had seen of a spooky house so I decided to give it a harder edge. More “Texas Chainsaw” and less “Haunted Hill.”
The final step was adding the text. It ended up being way better than I had originally expected it would. I’ve found that if you aren’t “feeling it” then it is better to scrap it and start completely over than to continue with something that you aren’t confident with.
At Sinister Grin Press, we love how it turned out. Watch for more news to come on ordering the limited edition from our website. And as always, we welcome your visit to our site and your patronage. We hope to make 2017 our best year yet and continue to produce quality “horror that’ll carve a smile on your face.”
Over the course of writing The Jersey Devil, the elusive cryptid and I have gotten pretty close. He recently told me, over a cup of what he said was mulled wine, but I suspect it was something far more disquieting, that he wanted to get out and travel the country, if not the world. After over 200 years in the Pine Barrens, it’s time to spread his wings, so to speak.
“There’s just one teensy weensy little problem,” he said to me, tapping his cloven hoof on his chin. “I’m afraid there are too many monster hunters out and about nowadays. You see them bumbling about with their night vision cameras. I fear for my safety as much as my anonymity. The last thing I want is to be featured on some reality paranormal show…or shot!” Shivering, he added, “I don’t know which would be worse.”
Point well taken. We sat against the pygmy pines in the dark of night, contemplating his dilemma. As a cloud obscured the moon and the howl of a nearby Sasquatch got our attention (“Oh, that’s just Larry,” JD said), an idea came to me.
“How would you like to live vicariously through my book?” I asked.
Old JD flicked his tail excitedly. “How so?”
Knowing he’s a big fan of Instagram and Twitter (whereas Bigfoot prefers SnapChat & the Loch Ness Monster is partial to Facebook), I told him that I and my Hellions could take the book wherever we go and post pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #JerseyDevil. That way, he could see the world while in the relative comfort of his forest preserve.
“Oooo, I like that. Can you take me to a cemetery first? I’m so tired of the ones around here. It’s so…so…dead out here in the Barrens.”
The next day, I did just that, taking the book to the oldest cemetery in my city.
He wrote me back immediately on Instagram. “Love it! So nice to see new headstones. Where to next?”
Indeed. Where to next?
That’s where you come in. Help old JD out and tote your copy of The Jersey Devil with you when you’re out and about, on vacation, even in the house puttering around. Post your pic on Instagram using #jerserydevil and @huntershea2017 or Twitter using #JerseyDevil and @huntershea1 so the beast and I can collect and enjoy this little travelogue.
We’ll pick people at random every week to receive free books from the Hunter Shea library!
It’s the holiday season. Be kind to cryptids. And have fun doing it. It will be interesting to see where The Jersey Devil ends up. Plus, it’s always a smart idea to keep a monster happy. You wouldn’t want an angry Jersey Devil tapping on your window late at night, would you? Don’t end up the main ingredient in his ‘mulled wine’. Just saying.
I have a little something special to share with my Hellions. Here is the cover to my second novel with Severed Press, LOCH NESS REVENGE. Ain’t Nessie just beautiful? I love the art department at Severed. The book will be available on November 3rd.
Until then, wear some tartan, drink some whiskey and have a shortbread cookie or two.
You know, we Monster Men always go the extra mile for our fans, especially during Horrortober. With soooo many pumpkin ales out there now to choose from, which one should you be chugging while you watch Halloween or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Jack and I are here to help.
In our third annual Horrortober Booze Fest, which we call Beers for Fears, we tackled 4 pumpkin ales and ranked them for you. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you’ll see that taste is in the buds of the tongue. Enjoy a couple of beer slobs (not snobs) sipping ale and munching on pumpkin spice Oreos. We’re also giving away signed copies of Dark Dossier Magazine, so find out how you can get one!