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Posts Tagged ‘haunted places’

cf700a30f62287ca72ceb1211de418e6c3e5ed78-thumb October 31st has arrived in rural Maryland. It’s cool and clear with a bright blue October sky contrasting with the remaining orange and gold leaves on the trees in our woods. There are a few roses left on the briars and a hardy marigold still blooms. But mostly, the yard and woods are folding into the bare-branch, dead-looking garden days of late autumn.

Halloween, the time of trick-or-treating, costumes, and a thinning of the barriers between the living and the dead, is upon us. I will, per usual, hand out goodies to fairies, pirates, stormtroopers, wizards, and small witches. Luckily, one of my paintings was used on the October 2016 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk and a hauntingly good Halloween story was published in the most recent issue of Unoriginal – A Science Fiction & Horror Magazine.

For those who’d like to visit spooky places, here’s a link to Haunted Places in Maryland. I’ve visited many of these locations, and felt appropriately “creeped out” – though a photographable ghost never manifested itself within camera range. Living so close to the Pennsylvania line, I’ve also visited a number of the locations which made it onto the Haunted Places in Pennsylvania list.

Spaceports and Spidersilk 10-14 But sometimes, the scariest experiences aren’t at famous locations, but happen in unplanned moments at random places. I can remember a long-ago attempt to scare others in which I hid in a cemetery that turned out to be quite frightening for me!

So whether you’re a fan of candy corn, haunted houses, ghostly encounters, or watching scary movies – have a Happy Halloween! (And enjoy last year’s cover of Spaceports & Spidersilk featuring one of my paintings with a few trick-or-treating dwarves).

 

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IMG_1803 On this dreary October day, what better quote than this ghost, spirit, and zombie friendly one from the master of the macabre: “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?” – Edgar Allan Poe

Though there will always be doubting Thomases and Thomasinas, ghostly sightings, unexplained occurrences, and haunted places are a part of our culture. Cemeteries in particular can feel rather spooky. I came across two sites which list haunted cemeteries: America’s Most Haunted Cemeteries and Most Haunted Cemeteries. (And it’s no surprise to find Poe’s gravesite on one of the lists).

Though I personally find cemeteries quite comforting, and have picniced with family members amongst the tombstones, this is not the case for many people. And it should not be the case for visitors to the graveyard in my Halloween story, “Bad Moon Rising,” from my science fiction/ fantasy/ ghost tale collection, Owl Light. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the story. (FYI, it gets spookier by the end – including murder and ghosts).

Bad Moon Rising

‘Darleen glanced at the clock hanging over the cash register. It was four minutes after eleven, and the last customer of the evening was still perched on a swivel stool at the luncheon counter eating a slice of pumpkin pie. She finished sopping up the coffee, cider, and cola puddles from the tabletop of the diner booth nearest the door and pulled down the window shades hiding from view the jack-o-lantern, bat, black cat, and owl cut-outs stuck on the storefront glass. Then, she walked in back of the luncheon counter, and slid her pencil and order pad onto the top shelf beside the bins containing extra sugar and artificial sweetener packets. Her feet hurt.

“Thanks,” said the elderly customer as he pushed the empty plate towards her. “That was real good.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. Sudduth. See you tomorrow night.”

“Right, tomorrow night,” the old man replied as he buttoned up his sweater, shuffled out the front door of Raleigh’s Delight.

Darleen took off her apron and hung it up on a peg. She checked her make-up in the shiny chrome of the carbonated beverage dispenser. She liked to look at herself in the chrome – the faint crows-feet around her eyes weren’t visible. The mirrors in the ladies’ room made her look thirty. But why shouldn’t they? She was thirty-six.

She pushed open the swinging door to the kitchen, hollered, “Stan. Everybody’s out. I’m leaving.”

She spotted the diner’s owner, Stan Raleigh, scrubbing the griddle. Darleen liked the fact he didn’t just hire school kids to do all the dirty work. He pitched in, did some of the messy chores, too.

Stan looked up from the greasy slab of steel. “Register closed down?”

“Yeah. I closed it before Mr. Suddamendala left. Tape’s in the drawer.”

“Thanks. Have a good night,” called Stan from the sink as he sudsed up a scrub brush. “Don’t forget to lock the door on the way out, especially tonight.”

“No problem. But there shouldn’t be any trouble, by now the trick-or-treaters are all in bed,” Darleen responded as she reached under the luncheon counter and grabbed her pocketbook.

Darleen walked out of Raleigh’s Delight, slammed the front door. Slamming wasn’t optional. The door never locked if you closed it gentle-like. She jiggled the handle, just to double-check. It was locked. She nodded at the cardboard skeleton jitterbugging on the other side of the door’s glass pane, then, turned and tugged the rubberband out of her hair. She wore her hair tied back when waitressing, but when not at work, she loved the silky way it felt against her neck.

Darleen hurried down the sidewalk, smiling at the full moon that hung like a dinner plate on the wall of night. The 11:20 bus should be by any minute, and she was eager to get home. She popped a piece of chewing gum in her mouth and looked at her watch: 11:21 pm. She wondered where the bus was.

Tonight, she needed to be home on time – she was expecting company. Plus, she’d forgotten to refill her ferret’s bowl of dried kibbles. Not that the ferret was thin. Darleen suspected she had one of the few fat ferrets in the world. Still, she worried that Claude might get into more trouble than usual if she was late coming home.

She heard the grinding of gears as the bus driver down-sifted at the stop before hers. She spit out her gum, wrapped it in a tissue, tossed it into a nearby trashcan, unwrapped a second piece, put the new gum in her mouth, and slid its wrapper into her uniform’s pocket. Two pieces of gum would normally be excessive, but minty-fresh breath was extra important tonight…’ (I’m sure you can guess – her “company” will be of the undead sort!)

HallowRead 2014 poster2 Looking for something fun and spooky to do this weekend? Attend HallowRead. Make sure to stop by and say, “Hi,” to me on Sat. October 25th. I’ll sign my books, plus have a few to sell. Cant’ make it but you’d like to read more of my fiction? Here’s my Amazon author page.

And for fellow Walking Dead fans, I couldn’t resist adding another zombie link. Based on this article, living in the Baltimore area, I’m “up-the-creek-without-a-paddle” when the Zombie Apocalypse comes.

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This list and its fabulous photos are truly haunting: The 38 Most Haunting Abandoned Places on Earth. Of course, as soon as I read the title, I wondered what the most haunting places off Earth would be!

Of those pictured, I found Six Flags Jazzland, New Orleans, Louisiana (especially the 2nd photo) and Gulliver’s Travels Park, Kawaguchi, Japan particularly creepy. The Chateau Miranda in Celles, Belgium appears horror-movie haunted. And Red Sands Sea Forts in Sealand, United Kingdom looks like something out of a science ficiton film.

I’ve been to Eilean Donan on Loch Duich, Scotland, and found it lonely. As far as the haunting vibe, the hairs on the back of my neck did indeed stand up in one part of the castle.

Which of these places feels the most haunted to you?

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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