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.
Many is the paranormal researcher who has said Poveglia Island in Italy is one of the scariest places on earth. It has a long, sordid history. It’s been the site of bloody battles, a burial ground for victims of the plague and host to a mental asylum. If tortured spirits would linger anywhere, it has to be amongst the ruins of Poveglia Island.
Today, the island is off limits to the public, but I was lucky enough to interview author J.H. Moncrieff who made it on the island…alone!!! Share her journey as she walks us through her chilling trip…
Also, check out J.H. Moncrieff’s article on the most haunted islands in the world. While you’re there, sign up for her newsletter. You won’t want to miss a single issue!
Samhain and I want to make your Friday the 13th the creepiest ever. From now until March 15th, my first two ghost novels, FOREST OF SHADOWS and SINISTER ENTITY are only 99 cents everywhere ebooks are sold. If you’re new to my madness and just read ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, this is the perfect chance to catch up on where Jessica Backman’s obsession with the dead began. You’ll think twice before visiting a haunted house, learn what an EB is and why it’s sometimes best to let the dead rest in peace…or turmoil. So fire up your Kindles and Nooks and iPads before time runs out on the best offer Samhain has ever made!
The dead still hate!
Something dreadful happened in the remote Alaskan cabin. Something monstrous. The shadows are closing in…and they’re out for blood.
“With Forest of Shadows, Hunter Shea combines ancient evil, old school horror and modern style. Highly recommended!” — Jonathan Mayberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot and Ruin and The Dragon Factory.
“Forest of Shadows is a frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won’t soon forget.” —Night Owl Reviews
How can you escape the ghost of yourself?
The Leigh family is terrified. They’ve been haunted by the ghostly image of their young daughter, Selena. But how can that be, when Selena is alive and well, and as frightened as her parents? With nowhere else to turn, the Leighs place their hopes in Jessica Backman, who has dedicated her life to investigating paranormal activity. Accompanied by a new partner who claims to be able to speak to the dead, Jessica will soon encounter an entity that scares even her. And a terror far worse than she imagined.
Here’s a first for me. My book, ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, inspired a reader to write about her own haunting experience. Aniko Carmean is a writer of superb, speculative fiction. We’ve been cyber buds for several years now, supporting one another as we attempt to grow as writerly types. Anyone who appreciates fine, intelligent stories needs to check out her new lovechild, ODD SKY BOOKS. She’s crafting some of the finest tales you’ll find today.
What I didn’t know all these years was that Aniko had her own, hair raising brush with the unknown. Thankfully, she took the time to put it into chilling words and wants to share it with the class. I live in a haunted house and I even got goose bumps reading this.
So turn down the lights, charge your EMF meter and read on…
I’m a military brat, and when I was in high school, my father was stationed in Belgium. We lived off-base in a small village. Our three-hundred year old house was on the village’s grand place, directly across the street from the ancient church that had been bombed and rebuilt in at least one of the European wars to roll across that dismal, chill land. The only functional fireplace had an intricate carved bronze inlay, the attic was closed off by a heavy wooden door that predated my family’s immigration to the United States by centuries, and the kitchen’s exposed beams begged to be festooned with drying herbs. It looked old, not scary – in the daylight.
I am not like Jessica Backman in Hunter Shea’s novel Island of the Forbidden. I cannot banish what she calls energy beings (EB), and what I call ghosts, nor do I seek supernatural encounters. I can, however, see, hear, and feel ghosts. I discovered my ability when I lived for three years in a that house, the one in Belgium. More than twenty years have passed, but reading Island of the Forbidden awakened memories of my time in the haunted house. Aspects of Jessica’s encounters in the isolated Ormsby House are similar to my experiences in Belgium, and I thought it might be of interest to the ghost-hunters, skeptics, and the simply curious if I shared a little of what I remember.
Many haunted house stories describe unaccountable and unnaturally loud thudding sounds. Ormsby House in Shea’s Island responded to the intrusion of the visitors with thunderous house-rattling. Similar thudding greeted my sister and I on our first night in Belgium. Our room was on the top floor, just below the attic. The sounds started as a tapping somewhere at the far side of the attic, and grew to a sledgehammer thud as whatever was making the noise crossed the attic. When it was directly overhead, the noise was so loud I was certain the ceiling was going to break open and tumble death down upon us. My sister and I were crouched together on the mattress that didn’t yet have a bedstead, clutching hands and staring up at the ceiling. Then, as suddenly as it started, the banging stopped. I don’t believe either of us mentioned the possibility of a ghost – not then – but I don’t think we slept, either.
In Island of the Forbidden, a drop in temperature is an indicator of the presence of EBs. “Cold spots” are also a part of my experience in Belgium. The old house was drafty, and the attic itself was built such that it was open to the outdoors all along the eaves. It was never warm in the winter, but even in the summer, there were times that the cold in one area was palpably more frigid than the ambient temperature. This occurred mostly at night, when a layer of cold would hover above me as I tried to sleep. The cold carried the sensation of a presence. There is little that is more terrifying than intuiting something malevolent that is invisibly cloaked in cold.
The malfunction of electronics is another common hallmark of a haunting. There are plenty of high-tech hijinks in Island, and the characters struggle against an onslaught of cameras on the fritz, drained batteries, and power outages. When I was in Belgium, I recall only one peculiar electronic malfunction, but remember that my experience predates smartphones, iPads, and itty-bitty digital cameras, so there were fewer electronics for an EB to afflict. What I did have was a voice-activated tape recorder(!), which I put in the attic. I hoped to capture some of the strange noises that my family had heard up there and share them with my friends. I expected to record footsteps that seemed to walk into a non-existent distance, or the sound of shattering glass, or even – and best! – the voices of men speaking in French as they played cards. What I got was a creepy amalgam of disturbances, starting with the sound of footsteps and low, male voices. The recorder captured the scuffing of the instrument being shoved across the floor, and then a long stretch of silence. Minutes passed, and then came a series of violent bangs, as if the recorder were being stomped or bashed with something. Indeed, when I retrieved the instrument, it was halfway across the room from where I left it. After the first time I listened to the tape, the cassette player seized; it would not open to let me take out the tape, nor would it play the tape, even with new batteries. Years later, after we moved back to the States, the cassette player did work again, but unfortunately the tape itself was damaged.
In haunting stories, the visual sighting of ghosts is the pièce de résistance. Island of the Forbidden is full of apparitions which present themselves in gory detail to the characters sensitive to seeing them. I am not gifted like Jessica’s compatriot Eddie, and the ghosts in Belgium never showed me their faces. One ghost appeared only at night. A maternal, safe feeling flowed from her presence, which manifested as a fuzzy mass of white light. I slept deeply and peacefully on the nights she hovered at the far side of my room. There were other shapes, though, that were defined by an absence of light. In my most terrifying incident, I was wrapped in my towel and walking to my room after showering in the creepy bath where I never felt like I was alone. It was winter, and already pitch black outside. As I passed my sister’s room, I saw her sitting on the edge of her bed, in the dark. I asked her if everything was okay, but she didn’t answer. Water dripped from the ends of my hair, icy cold, and a realization hit me: the person on the bed was far too large to be my sister. As if sensing my understanding, the shadow stood. The shape was that of a man, and laugh if you will, but he wore a stove pipe hat. I couldn’t see any features, just the cut of his clearly old-fashioned garb, and that hat. I was frozen, gripping my towel around myself, staring. He extended a hand to me and I did the only sensible thing; I turned on the hall light. He disappeared, and even when I was brave enough to shut of the light again, he was gone.
As a result of my experiences in that house, I am a discerning aficionado of all haunting stories. Island of the Forbidden makes it onto my approved list of haunted house tales, and joins the likes of Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and James’s The Turn of the Screw. Hunter Shea gives his EBs backstory and reason, which makes for an engaging read, especially when combined with the authenticity of the supernatural events in the story. If you want to revisit your own haunting, or have never experienced ghosts and want to know what it feels like, I recommend reading Island of the Forbidden.
Aniko Carmean is a speculative fiction author living in Austin, Texas. She loves ancho-chocolate milkshakes, October, and dogs. You can read her stories for free by visiting Odd Sky Books and signing up to become a member of the Odd Literati.
You can follow the Island of the Forbidden blog tour by clicking the image below. It will also take you to a Rafflecopter link where I’m giving away 5 books! Enter to win.
You know I can’t release a book without having a very special episode of Monster Men (kinda like Blossom, she of Amy Farrah Fowler fame).
Jack and I talk about the inspiration behind the true ghost story and how it impacted my own life. If you haven’t picked up The Waiting yet, hopefully this will give you that last nudge.
I 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.
You are all in for a treat today. Jack Campisi, my fellow Monster Man, has a little something to say about ghosts. I hope this is the start of many guest posts to come. Read on, and remember not to cross his stream….
There is something about a good ghost movie that scares you like no other kind of film. The suspense, tension and inherent creepiness really separate them from the rest of the horror genre. On the latest episode of the Monster Men video podcast, Hunter and I discuss some of the best and worst ghost and haunted house movies of all time. As a kid, there are all kinds of things to be afraid of, like vampires, zombies, demons, hockey-masked killing machines and so on. So why, out of all the vile creatures the pantheon of the paranormal, do ghosts hold such a special place in our hearts?
Maybe it’s because we can’t always see them, so they can sneak up on us pretty easily. Or perhaps it’s because they visit us at night when we are sleeping and vulnerable. I think it’s because out of all the things that go bump in the night, ghosts are the only ones that we still kind of believe in even after we grow up.
Think about it, as a little kid you believe in ghosts along with the monsters in your closet, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and everything else. As you get older, you start to realize that there are no such things as vampires or zombies, but when you hear a strange noise in your house or a door closes on it’s own, you still might suspect a ghost is to blame. Plus, the current landscape of TV does nothing but encourage you believe in ghosts with an endless array of paranormal investigation and medium shows that feature a whole host of adults who not only believe in ghosts, but also have their own TV shows about them.
As Hunter and I went through our list of ghost movies, a few of them stood out for me as particularly memorable or impactful. The one that comes to mind first is Poltergeist. Steven Spielberg’s entry into the haunted house genre brought ghosts into the modern world, set in a brand new housing development rather than a creepy old mansion. It also used state of the art special effects to go where no ghost movie had gone before. But for me, the thing that put Poltergeist over the top was the clown scene.
Throughout the movie, the son in the family is constantly leery of the creepy clown doll that sits by his bed. Then one night all hell breaks loose! The clown comes to life and attacks him. While he is pulled under his bed by this horrific harlequin, his mother is tossed around her bedroom by another entity, making her unable to come to his rescue. As a person who had a healthy fear of clowns when I was little, Spielberg had certainly struck a nerve with this scene. One of my childhood fears was being played out on the screen in front of me.
Then something amazing happens. The kid gets mad… and he fights back!
As a child, it had never occurred to me that I could fight back against a ghost. I’m telling you, as little Robbie Freeling punched that damn clown in the movie, I swung along with him, cheering his every blow. It was awesome and a bit cathartic.
That scene made me think of another great concept brought up in Ghostbusters, which is one of my favorite movies of all time, and not just because it’s hilarious. In Ghostbusters, three scientists figure out a way to capture and imprison ghosts. I really think the idea of capturing ghosts is brilliant. It easily could have been the premise of a serious movie and it works perfectly here. Again, it is a case of the people fighting back, which up until this time was something that was usually only possible with the help of a psychic or some other type of shaman or mystic.
As I watch some of these paranormal TV shows, and I see these “investigators” attempt to clear a house of a malevolent presence, I think that there must be an easier way. Rather than reciting all of those incantations, or burning incense, why not just set a boom box in the middle of the house and just start cranking the Ghostbusters theme over and over again?
It seems to me that the more you say “I ain’t afraid o’ no ghost!” the less power these phantoms have over you… whether they are real or imagined. And if you sing it, it works even better.
I don’t know for sure, but that’s the best advice I can give you. After all, I am not a paranormal investigator; I’m just a guy who loves scary movies.
And hates clowns.
What are some of your favorite ghost movies? What are your favorite moments? And which ones still haunt you today? Check out the latest episode of Monster Men and then tell us what you think. I’ve shared my story, now it’s your turn.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
As a man who writes about the paranormal (with a strong leaning towards ghosts) and has had a profound experience with the paranormal (an old hotel, alone, Barcelona, future blog), I couldn’t resist the chance to spend one night aboard the famed Queen Mary during a recent trip to Long Beach, CA. I won’t go into the history of this magnificent ship here, but there are plenty of places to bone up on it. And there is an equal, if not greater, number of places on the web to view the various hauntings aboard the retired vessel. Just You Tube away and you can spend a perfect, quiet evening creeping yourself out. Here’s one of the most compelling ones out there, showing diaphanous white figures moving about a corridor.
Despite its title as one of the most haunted places in the US, I went aboard, alone, with little expectations. I wanted to tour the ship during the daytime on my own, have a nice dinner in one of their fine restaurants, and take a paranormal walking tour that night. It was the perfect ending to a long week in California. My first impression when I pulled my car into the lot was that this ship is huge! We’re talking making-whales-look-like-teeny-ants huge. Because of its age, for some reason, I wasn’t expecting something quite as grand or as wonderfully preserved.
The weather all week had been overcast and drizzly, so I was happy to finally see blue, and dry, skies. I checked into my room, quickly dropped my bags onto the bed and headed back out into the sun so I could walk the various decks.
Before I go further, I need to say that my room was at the end of a very long corridor, and for my stay, I believe I was the only person checked in for that section of the deck. OK, that was a bit unsettling, even more so when I realized it was one of the very same corridors that people have experienced sounds of footsteps, voices and even fully body apparitions.
OK, back to my day and night. I made a quick stop to the coctail bar for a drink and something to eat, then spent the next three hours walking in and out of every corner of the ship open to the public. If I was ever going to describe a location as stately, this is the place. You can feel the weight of history in every nook and cranny of the Queen Mary. The energy of the millions of lives that have come and gone aboard her wooden decks lingers like heavy smoke. That’s not to say that I had any odd ‘psychic’ feelings. I actually felt very much at home and enjoyed learning about the ship’s past. At one point, I purchased my ticket for the paranormal walking tour of the ship that went from 8-10pm. I wanted to make sure I was wide awake for the tour, so I took a nap, had a nice dinner looking out at the bay, and waited midship for the tour to begin.
Now the fun begins! We had a crowd of about 20 people ranging in age from about 14 to 70, and an almost even mix of males to females (for all you satistic hounds out there). Our tour was given by two men. One, who led the tour and did most of the talking, and the other whose job was to walk behind the crowd so no one got lost. He was also there to escort people off the tour if they got so frightened, they couldn’t take another step. The man was built like Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still and looked kinda like those doctors from the Twilight Zone episode where the woman wants to be beautiful, which we find out is looking like some sort of phantom human/pig hybrid. I thought, OK, they’ve already gotten people spooked and we haven’t even taken our first step. Bravo!
We walked down into the bowels of the ship. We’re talking 30 feet below the water. It’s cold, dark as hell and otherworldly. Our first stop is one of the mechanical rooms where a sailor was supposedly crushed to death by a steel door. The tour guide pulls out metal divining rods and says this is how the spirits like to communicate. After a bit of coaxing, he gets the rods to move when he asks certain questions. He even asked it if it could point to anyone it might want to visit in their room that night. Wouldn’t you know it pointed right at me? And I was hanging in the back talking to Twilight Zone guy, well out of the line of sight. We walked into another part of the room and stayed silent for a while. Odd sounds and banging started chirping up from different corners of the room.
The guides seemed surprised by the level of activity here and commented that they hadn’t heard it this lively in months. As most of the crowd was paying attention to a little maglight they had brought (to see if a ghost would turn it on), I kept my attention to the top level of the room, which was where I thought most of the noises were emanating from. I saw a flash of shapeless, almost see-through brown zip across the ceiling. Assuming it was my eyes playing tricks on me, I kept it to myself. That was until Twilight Zone leaned into me and said, “Did you just see something race across there?” Before I could answer, the woman in front of me said, “It was kinda brown, right?” I agreed. That was my first chill of the night.
Next stop was the place everyone was itching to see. The famous pool. People have seen and heard the spirit of a little girl and an older woman here. (On a side note, an episode of the original Charlie’s Angels was filmed here, before the pool was shut down for good). The atmosphere in the pool area was heavy and I kept waiting to hear a little girl’s voice call out from the beyond. That was not to happen.
After the pool, we went to the changing area, which is said to contain a vortex to the other side. I stood on the vortex and only felt slightly claustrophobic because the area itself is cramped with a very low ceiling. Nothing fun to report there.We ended the tour by going to a purpotedly haunted room where no one is allowed to stay. I only felt a bit of sadness in the room. Maybe it was because it looked so desperately alone, like an outcast. After the tour, everyone was encouraged to explore further. The ship itself is open 24 hours a day, so anyone can come on board and poke around. I decided to hit the hay and hope the ghost from the defunct mechanical room would find someone else to haunt. As I said earlier, I’ve already had a ghostly encounter in a hotel room, and I don’t wish to repeat it. I did wake up very early the next day and walked the ship again, this time without anyone else about. I figured if I was going to see a ghost, this was the perfect time. Sadly, it was not to be, but not from lack of trying. I spent almost 2 hours skulking about and sitting in dark rooms. I came up with nada. As I checked out and got into my rental car, I thought, Did I really witness a ghost in the mechanical room? I’m still not sure. Maybe I did. That’s enough for now. How many of you have been on the Queen Mary? Did you take one of the ghost tours? Come on and share your experience so we can all sleep with the light on. For more on the paranormal, here’s a link to Forest of Shadows.