Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Double-dose of spooky

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It’s October and we all know what that means: a month’s worth of haunted hayrides, haunted houses, haunted amusement parks, and big bags of fun-sized treats. And no one said you have to share with little kids dressed like Batman or ballerinas.

Getting back to the spooky (now that I’m thinking about chocolate โค ), this week I had two nights of Halloween-esque fun. Our local Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime has monthly meeting the first Tuesday of every month. At every meeting, one of the members reads from their work (WIP or published) and we have a speaker such as an FBI agent or medical examiner or audiobook producer.

This month we got to hear all about ghosts and spirits from a real-life psychic/medium/paranormal investigator.ย  Natalie told us her story about realizing her abilities and using them to help spirits cross over. She was fantastic! Now, I am somewhat skeptical, but I firmly believe there are a lot of things we don’t understand about our world, and I think there really are people who are sensitive to things beyond our perception. I mean, with 7 billion people on the planet,ย someone (many someones) has to be, right?

Natalie shared some of her experiences with us, including a spirit that wanted to cross over on a stairway to heaven, like the song, and it took as long for him to climb the stairs as the song. Another spirit she helped, who had died in an ATV accident, decided he wanted to go on a Harley. Man, when I get there, I want to go on a dragon ๐Ÿ˜€

All the stories were great inspiration for adding spooky to mysteries. Natalie is a member of our chapter, and accessible. She said watching ghost-hunting shows on TV is not the same as the experience. If there’s a legit paranormal investigation group in your area, they might have opportunities for you to tag along on an investigation, or they may conduct events for groups at known haunted places. In fact, Natalie and her group are doing an event this month at the Palmer House Hotel, a known hot-spot for ghosts.

TC SinC ghost tour 2

picture taken in Anoka by Timya Owen, Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, on the ghost tour

Have you ever heard of Anoka, MN, the Halloween Capital of the World? The historical society there conducts walking ghost tours of the city, complete with historical facts about houses deemed to be inhabited by souls that haven’t crossed over yet. A group of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime (TC SinC) members, including yours truly, went on a tour the night after our psychic speaker primed us for all things paranormal.

The house in the picture above is purported to be the haunting grounds of a little girl who died during the flu pandemic in the early 1900s. Another house has a proper Victorian-age woman who refuses to let the homeowner sleep in on weekends (by banging around), and watches movies with the homeowner on her laptop. (How does the homeowner know? Cold spots where someone might be looking over her shoulders, then she adjusted the laptop, and the cold spots went away)

TC SinC ghost tour 1

Members of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, pic taken by Timya Owen (I think)

This Masonic Lodge is connected to a house that was built by a couple who were doctors. The house is now an antique shop, but the spirits still hang out; people have even smelled someone smoking (no smoking is allowed in the place, of course). The story about the Lodge involved a member who was there late working on something on one of the upper floors. He finished, turned out the light, down the stairs, locked the door, got into his car…

And the light was on. So he gets out of the car, unlocks the door, goes up the stairs, turns out the light, back down the stairs, locks the door, back out to the car. And it happens again. The third time it happened (this is all the same night, btw) he raced up the stairs, turned the light out, raced back down, and in a mirror beside the door caught a glimpse of trousers and shoes coming down the stairs behind him. The Mason said, “Turn the light off your damn self,” or something along those lines. He locks the door, back to the car. . . . . And the light stayed off.

It was a dark and stormy (windy) night, perfect for a walking ghost tour. From ghosts who warn the house/ building residents of danger by leaving lights on or knocking bowls off of refrigerators to spirits of children running up and down hallways like kids do, there were sooo many ideas for stories.

It was a fun week, and I learned a lot about the paranormal, and the possibilities. I kept thinking about Mae Clair’s most recent book, Cusp of Night, which revolves around a spiritualist and things left behind (and don’t forget her Point Pleasant series with the … oops, not going to spoil it ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Another author with some great (IMHO) books involving the paranormal is Kay Hooper and her Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series, which is actually multiple series starting with Stealing Shadows, through the Evil, Fear, and Blood trilogies to the SCU series and the Bishop Files. I’ve also read and enjoyed the Abby Cooper books by Victoria Laurie.

Yeesh, didn’t expect this to be so long. Anyway, if you want some fodder for spooky stories, a ghost tour or a talk from a paranormal investigator will stir up your imagination.

Trying to fight off a cold that just hit me yesterday, so other than pickling all the peppers I rescued before the plants succumbed to frost, I’m going to relax a bit this weekend. Next weekend I’m spending a day at a book festival for TC SinC. Gotta get some experience; my March release is only 6 months away ๐Ÿ™‚

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Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", will be released in March, 2019, by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, three chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

27 thoughts on “Double-dose of spooky

  1. It sounds as though you had a great week! And those spooky stories and experiences can really get the creative juices flowing. I’m glad that you had those experiences. Hope you avoid getting really sick!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me, too, Margot! I’ve been looking forward to this week because of the speaker (and the tour). I’ve always been curious about paranormal stuff, and I’ve always wanted to get more information from someone who is sensitive and can “work” in that realm. The plan this weekend is to rest as much as I can. My mom the nurse drilled that into us as kids. Rest when you’re sick, because you’ll get better that much faster. Proved to be true when I got mono in college. I was over it in two weeks because I rested.

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re putting me in the mood, Julie. I’m not much of a Halloween person but have been forced to get with the spirit because of my teaching. I love the ghost tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounds like so much fun! And how nice that you have such a resource so accessible in your group. (And if I had to pick, I think I’d want to ride a pegasus.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating! Iโ€™m with you, Julie, a bit skeptical. But I do believe there are people with talent and skill to detect paranormal activity. I have a friend who has this talent and she has had several ghosts visit her. You must so enjoy the stimulation and learning you get from your TW SinC. As for Halloween, I love everything about it. Except a โ€˜fun sizedโ€™ candy bar should be the size of a cinderblock to qualify as fun, donโ€™t you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always been interested in paranormal stuff, but I never actually knew anyone that had those gifts. My best friend from high school has a tiny amount: she’s worked at a nursing home forever, and always knows when residents will die (whether that’s some sort of sensitivity or just experience is a question. I like to think she’s sensitive, since her grandfather visited her the night he died).

      Fun size = cinderblock! Reminds me of the chocolate bar someone at work brought back from somewhere–Europe?–that was the size of a sheet cake. 10 pounds of chocolate, I think. Just don’t leave it in the car in the summer ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Julie, you are far braver than I am. Despite my habit of writing about things paranormal, I avoid them like the plague. Well…maybe not those creatures of urban legend, but mention the word “ghost” and you’ll find me hightailing it in the opposite direction.

    It sounds like you had quite a fascinating time. BTW, I really enjoyed the story about the guy and the light that kept coming back on. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the shout out about Cusp of Night and my Point Pleasant Series. This was a fun post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wait, what? You’ll drive around in the TNT looking for the Mothman but no ghost tours? ๐Ÿ˜€ All the stories were interesting, and the houses were neat to look at (we stayed on the sidewalk, but the architecture was cool), since most of them were built in the last 1800s.

      I have to admit, I kept thinking about the Blue Lady and the whole spiritualist thing from Cusp of Night, especially after talking with some of the other SinC members about their experiences with psychics. Facinating stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like a fantastic week – I’d have loved to hear stories from the medium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She had some good ones, including a “911” story about a spirit–basically, the spirit was a guardian of the building (old hotel, I think), and shoved bowls from the top of a refrigerator when there was something wrong. It had done it once when an employee was stealing, and the second time when there was an angry ghost stuck in the place. That was the ghost who rode the Harley across.

      Have a great week, Teri!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Weird.
    Haha. That’s all I have to say about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I finally went on our local Haunted walk last year. Learned a couple new things about our little mining town. I love this time of year and all the things that go bump in the night. How very cool to have a woman in your group that is involved in ghosts and spirits. I always find it interesting. If I lived near you I’d go on your tour, but I can do the next best thing and go on the another tour from the other close by town. Happy haunts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great that you have a haunted walk right in your town. And there is a lot of history in those walks (at least there was in ours, since it was conducted by the historical society). And I agree, it is neat having a paranormal investigator/psychic/medium in our midst.

      Have a great week, Denise!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I wanna go on a dragon too!
    I never heard of Anoka, but it sounds spooky.
    And hope you’re feeling well!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a fun evening out. I might be too scared to go on the tour… in case I pick up a spirit who wants to come home with me. I believe all this stuff and it gives me the shivers. The story about the light is amazing. Six months to go on your book. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The tour was a great time, and less spooky than actually going inside the houses. Not too bad from out on the sidewalk ๐Ÿ™‚ Our paranormal investigator/medium/psychic had some great stories, too.

      Have a wonderful rest of your week, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Julie, I hope youโ€™re recovering from your cold and had a relaxing weekend. Phew, glad Iโ€™m reading this post in a warm snug house, with the sun shining brightly through the windows! Itโ€™s fascinating to read about the ghosts and paranormal activities… and what a fantastic creative source! We had the chance to go on a ghost tour of York but I chickened out – well, it was chilly! ๐Ÿ˜€ Yikes, those six months until your book release will fly by … have fun at the book festival and make lots of notes! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least you have sun! That big bright ball of light FINALLY returned today, after over a week of cloudy, lousy, rainy weather with temps more November (in MN, in the upper 40s F) than October (should be in low 60s F). Oh, man, over across the pond ghost tours would be even spookier, since everything is so much older there. Here, on our ghost tour, the houses suspected to be haunted were all built in the mid to late 1800s to the early 1900s.

      Stay warm!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I do hope the weather improves … we are having an unseasonably warm October (so far!) In the low 20 degrees celcius and sun! You’re right about the ghost tours here – the one in York starts in the famous Shambles and amongst its original buildings from 1350s – 1400s! Incredibly atmospheric at night without even being on a tour!

        Liked by 1 person

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