The Big Release Day is Here: Cusp of Night #supernaturalthriller #mystery #suspense

After all the prep and behind-the-scenes pulling my hair out, the big day is here! Cusp of Night is now available from all booksellers.

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae ClairI’ve got a crazy launch day, with an appointment that falls smack in the middle of the day, sure to keep me offline for a time. I’m apologizing in advance because I have so many wonderful bloggers helping me out, and I fully intend to make rounds and visit all my host blogs. I just may be a little late.

I’m also going to be reblogging posts here. I hope you don’t get sick of me, but I’d love for you to meet the wonderful people who have agreed to host me. These are fabulously supportive friends and excellent authors in their own right. I’ve also taken the time to write individual posts for this tour (eighteen at last count) so there should be something new to discover at each stop.

I’ve put a ton of effort into this book and have my fingers crossed all that work will pay off in the long run. There are a number of early reviews already floating around the blogosphere which have me giddy.

I have one more that I hope you’ll indulge me with. Yesterday, Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie shared a review post from a different blogger as part of my tour. Today, they’ve posted their own review (along with a short excerpt of their choosing—which incidentally I love 🙂 ). If you get a chance, check it out, and show them some blog love. You can find the review here.

I’m closing comments on this post because I’m going to be reblogging throughout the tour and the day. If you have time, I hope you’ll visit some of my stops and also scope out my host bloggers. They’re a fab group of friends 🙂

If you’ve pre-ordered Cusp, THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the tale. If you haven’t, and would like to, you can use this universal purchase link to discover the town of Hode’s Hill, and a mystery that lingers on the Cusp of Night and the cusp of a century!

Guest Author JR Wirth with In Passing #Paranormal

I’ve got a new guest author on my blog today. Please welcome JR Wirth with his newest release, IN PASSING. We connected through a mutual friend *waving to Tammy* and I’m happy to host him. The concept and opening of his book certainly have me intrigued. Just take a look-see…

~ooOOoo~

Thank you, Mae, it’s an honor to be a part of your blog and for you to share your audience. I would like to share my latest, In Passing which was recently released.

The idea for In Passing originally came to me during the “Twilight” frenzy. I wanted to do a paranormal story, but not a werewolf or vampire story that were dominating the written and visual medias. The afterlife was the way I wanted to go, and did.

I’ve worked with a lot of victims of child abuse who were not equipped to deal with their situations. So I decided to not only give them a voice, but also a life and a story. Our heroine, Lizzy, accidently commits suicide in an attempt to deal with an assault by her mother’s boyfriend. She is then taken on an afterlife adventure, by Bart and unexpected visitor. The story moves from first person (Lizzy narrating her adventure) and third person, nine years after the adventure, where the story begins. The story moves back and forth, with parallel adventure, drama, and suspense.

Here’s an excerpt of In Passing as she is transported to a new dire situation:

Book cover for In Passing by JR Wirth shows ghostly double image of young man and young womanAs promised, I open my eyes to a new dramatic scene. It is cold and sterile here, surrounded by walls of steel. Musty, quiet and dark is the room where we stand. It must be night where we are, but where are we? I feel an overwhelming sense of gloom in this metal container. The air is thick, and reeks of death. Are we in the future? I wonder. Have we been transported to some post-apocalyptic safe room?

“Where have we been transported?” to Bart, I ask. “This place frightens me.”

Bart hears the apprehension in my voice. He pulls me close to blanket my fear. He now puts his finger to my lips and whispers, “Never fear, my love, I will always protect you.”

His physical and verbal touch refreshes my canvas, whitewashing this face of fear. Yet, from the endings of my nerves, the tremors from within do not completely subside. The shivers of dread, I feel, loom just beyond my spinal cord’s reach, waiting to pounce at the drop of a feather.

Bart releases his grip and turns his attention to this room of despair. And though I feel in dire straits, and in need of his constant, reassuring touch, I must let the scene develop. Bart must find the reason for our mission at this location. And, I dare say, we have yet to find the reason for our being together on this extended adventure.

Before he completely disengages, I squeeze Bart’s body one last time. I now allow him to uncouple and examine the room.

Bart walks about the frigid, uncaring concrete floor. He has that detective look again. I trust he will uncover the place, and reason, for our arrival.

Bart stops and peeks through a tiny porthole. The circular window, encased within the exit door, I sense, leads to more darkness, with much greater anguish.

He looks back at me, and says, “I’m not sure where we are just yet. But I think we are at a hospital basement, or a morgue, or something like that.”

“Is it in the distant future that we have been catapulted?”

“It’s hard to say, sweetness. It could be a week in the future, or a decade. Or, for all we know, it could be of the last century. But rest assured, I will protect my sweet Lizzy.”

The endearing words Bart uses again fill me with hope and warmth. But in this room of deep depression, I feel that the words are just that, fillers for hope and peace. I now fear that the words he speaks are only used to keep me calm; like the pills I stole from Mother, they sedate my mind and body. And if that is the case, then he may not feel as strongly for me as I do for him. But is it only the room that generates these disparaging thoughts, which in turn generate these negative feelings? I will delay my judgment, just in case. For now, I will focus my energies on the situation at hand, and see what next may come.

It is dreary here. It is more morose than any situation we have previously encountered.

“A living urn, it is,” I whisper. Then a sudden chill overcomes me, like that brought about by a spooky walk on a dark, empty night, when an unexplained sound, real or imagined, is heard.

“Bart,” in a monotone voice I whisper, “something is very wrong here.”

With concern in his gaze, Bart looks back. Then, with urgency, he checks the door. “It’s unlocked,” he whispers. “I think we are supposed to go this way.” He leans on the door and it opens wide. He puts his arm around me and, with a gently-guiding hug, escorts me out of the dreary room. Bart knows I am frightened.

Author Bio

Author JR WirthJR Wirth was born and raised in Southern California. Now hailing from San Bernardino, he was intimately affected by the recent terror attacks, but luckily his family escaped physical harm.

With several pieces published—including a poem and the bestselling series: “Twisted Family Holidays,” along with the epic paranormal, “In Passing,” J R. Wirth is an emerging author. The latest, young adult novel, “Saving Michael,” promises to be his best to date. Utilizing his extensive background in psychotherapy, J.R. exhibits a strong understanding of the emotions of a moment in time, as well as the inner workings of his characters. In all of his works, J.R. Wirth combines ordinary people with extraordinary circumstances to create characters who will jump off the page and straight into the readers’ hearts and minds. Look for J.R. in Goodreads, Barns and Noble, and Amazon.

Purchase In Passing from:
Amazon               

Connect with JR Wirth at the following haunts:
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads 
Pintrest
Google Plus  
Twitter                
Facebook          

Mythical Monday: Visiting a Haunted Hotel by Mae Clair

One of the ponds in the TNT Area of West Virginia

One of the ponds in the TNT Area of West Virginia

Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that I recently took a trip to Point Pleasant, West Virginia in order to continue researching my Mothman series of novels. This time, I was able to garner a much better understanding of how the “TNT AREA” is laid out, and visited a few specific locations I wanted to see. Originally used to store munitions in World War II, the TNT is now a wildlife management area that encompasses over 3600 acres. Riddled among dense woodlands, overgrown trails and algae-covered ponds is a network of concrete “igloos” where ammunition was once stored. These are built into hillsides, and covered by trees and grass, making them invisible when viewed from the air.

There are several roads connected to the TNT that I really didn’t have a feel for, including one where cars have been known to shut down or stall for no reason. After visiting, I now understand how they intersect, and was even able to snap a photo of a map for the TNT at the Mothman Museum (yes, there is one). The museum has recently moved to a new building, and it’s far nicer than before. Hubby and I chatted with the guy who runs it for a while, and I was able to pick up some good info and another map.

Metal fencing in front of the site of the old North Power Plant in the TNT area, West Virginia

Site of the old north power plant in the TNT

I also wanted to see the ruins of the North Power Plant along Fairgrounds Road. This is the location where the Mothman was first sighted in 1966. The power plant is gone but I was able to snap of photo of the ruins and location where it stood.

So what does any of this have to do with staying at a haunted hotel?

During my last trip to Point Pleasant, my husband and I stayed across the river in Gallipolis, Ohio. This time we stayed in downtown Point Pleasant in the Historic Lowe Hotel. This is a very old four-story behemoth built in 1904. As I have an old hotel in my novels, I wanted to get a feel for this one.

The owners were super friendly and the location put almost everything I wanted to do within walking distance (except the TNT). I can’t begin to relay the scope of this place—it was mammoth. With its long halls, old stairways, elaborate moldings and woodwork, there were times I felt like I stepped into the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Everything was furnished with antiques, and I do mean antiques—as if nothing had ever been changed. I opened the top drawer on the dresser and discovered an old songbook from the 1940s, the pages yellowed and tattered, inside. The sink in the bathroom had separate faucets for hot and cold water. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a sink like that. The second floor landing had a huge parlor with a piano, parlor benches and chairs, this even before we ventured down the hallway to our room.

So where does the ghost fit in? When I inquired why the hotel was billed as haunted (something I didn’t realize until our last night there), our host told us that a phantom had been seen occasionally on the third floor. Nothing much appeared to be known about this ghost but there was a picture someone had snapped hanging in the second floor hallway. Our host told us the spirit was visible in the photo so my husband and I checked it out. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but have to admit, the image of someone is definitely visible in the bottom right hand corner. I tried to grab a shot of it with my phone. Are you able to see the ghost?

Framed photo of ghost rumored to haunt the Lowe Hotel in West Virginia, apparition visible on right

Framed photo of ghost rumored to haunt the Lowe Hotel in West Virginia, apparition visible on right

We left the next morning without having encountered any spirits or experiencing anything that went bump-in-the-night (er, not that I would want to). No Mothman, no UFOs, no men-in-black. But I did meet some great people and came away with additional research notes on an interesting, historic town.

Mythical Monday: The Ghosts of the Drish House by Mae Clair

A federal style edifice located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Drish House was constructed in 1839 for Dr. John Drish. An affluent physician, Drish moved there with his second wife and his daughter, Katherine, from a previous marriage. Like many old homes, the Drish House is not without its share of legends, a few on the spookier side.  One of the home’s most striking features is a large central tower added in the early 1860s—a tower many claim becomes engulfed by flame in the middle of the night.

An image of the John Drish House By Alabama Department of Education (Alabama Department of Archives and History) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An image of the John Drish House By Alabama Department of Education (Alabama Department of Archives and History) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

According to legend, a runaway slave once hid in the tower. Eventually forced to reveal himself when thirst and starvation took their toll, he was turned over to his master. A viciously cruel man, the slave owner had him burned to death. To this day, fire plagues the tower as a reminder of his grisly execution. Perhaps it is his ghost sending a message to those who deemed his life of so little value.

Yet another tale involves a set of mysterious candles. Before Mrs. Drish died, she requested the same candles that had been burned at her husband’s funeral service be used at hers. Though many looked for them, they were not discovered until months later. Some believe it is Mrs. Drish’s spirit who lights the missing candles at night in order to illuminate the central tower.

Indeed, Drish family history is not without its share of bizarre and tragic incidents. The first involves Drish’s niece, Helen Whiting, who was a frequent visitor to her uncle’s home. Helen married a man named Fitch, a reportedly jealous sort with a fondness for drink. Employed as a carpenter, he was hired by her uncle to help build the massive staircase in Dr. Drish’s mansion. It was undoubtedly there that Helen first set eyes on the man who would become her husband–and eventually take her life. One day in a fit of rage, Fitch slit Helen’s throat, nearly severing her head from her body. He was later convicted, deemed insane, and locked in an asylum. Some tales say he remained there for the rest of his life, others that he was eventually deemed cured and released.

Around the same time, Katherine’s husband divorced her and sent her back to her family along with their two sons. He feared she, too, was going insane. As a young girl, Katherine had been subject to cruel treatment by her father. She made the mistake of falling for a man who did not meet Drish’s approval. In an effort to discourage the relationship, the doctor locked his daughter in her room for several weeks, allowing her only bread and water. Katherine’s love interest eventually left Tuscaloosa, coerced by her father, and she married a man named W.W. King. The marriage, however, was doomed from the start and with Katherine’s mental state rapidly deteriorating, King dumped her back on her father, and freed himself from the union.

With his niece dead, his daughter disgraced, and his fortune claimed by the hardships of the Civil War, Drish wasted away. He refused to eat and was kept alive through force feeding. He must have regretted his treatment of Katherine, for he made his wife promise she would never send his daughter to an asylum. Mrs. Drish kept the vow, but shuttered Katherine away in her bedroom, sealing the windows and ensuring the door was securely bolted at night. One afternoon, supposedly drunk, Drish leapt from his bed and ran for the staircase. In his stupor, he tripped and plummeted to his death.

His wife lived her remaining years in poverty, eventually perishing in 1884. Shortly before Mrs. Drish died, Katherine’s grown sons returned to the house and removed their mother. Her mental state had grown increasingly fragile over time. I can’t help wondering if her fate might have been different had she been allowed to marry the man of her choice.

Such a sad history. Especially when you consider Dr. Drish and his family weren’t characters in a book, but people who experienced these grim realities. There is no question he left a signature behind. The Drish House has inspired all manner of paranormal research and articles, and was even featured in the first of a series of books by Kathryn Tucker Windham called “13 Alabama Ghosts.”

Worth a shiver, wouldn’t you say?

Cover Reveal: Myth and Magic by Mae Clair

Drum roll, please!  I’m pumped up, jazzed, and all around giddy to be splashing the cover of my upcoming romantic suspense novel, MYTH AND MAGIC, on my blog today. I was more than a little worried over how this cover would look when it landed in my lap.

Why?

Well, if you’ve read my recent releases, you know my writing is slanting heavily toward mystery and romantic suspense. I wanted the cover of my new release to capture the mood of the story which is set at a brooding home with an infamous past. The property has since been converted to a lodge that caters to corporate clients. Into this environment, strange and ghostly occurrences begin to take place putting a damper on business (would you stay at a place where a notorious murder took place?).

I asked for a cover without models, just setting.

With all of that in mind, take a look at the beautiful, spooky cover Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press designed for me and let me know what you think!

Book Cover for MYTH AND MAGIC by Mae Clair depicting a brooding old home at night

Now do you see why I’m giddy?  I love it!  It’s everything I’d hoped for, perfectly capturing the tone of the novel.  And for those of you who like romance with your mystery and suspense, never fear, there is plenty of that too!

BLURB:  

AS CHILDREN THEY PLAYED GAMES OF MYTH AND MAGIC…

Veronica Kent fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children. As a teenager, she was certain he was the man she was destined to marry. But a traumatic event from Caith’s past led him to fear a future together. He left Veronica, hoping to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning to his hometown, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.

THEN ONE DAY THE MONSTERS BECAME REAL.
 
After the callous way Caith broke her heart, Veronica isn’t thrilled to see him again. But strange occurrences have taken a dangerous toll on business at Stone Willow Lodge. Forced to work together, Veronica discovers it isn’t ghostly apparitions that frighten her, but her passion for a man she has never forgotten. Or forgiven. Can two people with a tarnished past unearth a magical future?

~ooOOoo~

MYTH AND MAGIC is scheduled to release on June 9, 2015. In the meantime, you can preorder it on Amazon and add it to your Goodreads TBR List.

I’ll also let you in on a little secret…even though the book is releasing in early summer, the story is set during October and has a strong Halloween theme—including the climatic scenes which take place during a lavish Halloween party.  I think June is the perfect time to scare up a new read like MYTH AND MAGIC, don’t you? 🙂

Mythical Monday: The Cold Ghost of Gilsland Castle by Mae Clair

I’m closing out my ghostly Mythical Monday posts for the month of October with the tale of an unfortunate boy who met his demise in Gilsland Castle, a forbidding stronghold located in northern England. What the poor lad did to deserve punishment has long been forgotten, but as a lesson for some misdeed, he was locked away in an empty upstairs room. Perhaps the austere atmosphere of the fortress itself was to blame, as you have to wonder about the type of parent or disciplinarian who would forget a child.

Sadly, the boy was kept in that frigid place too long, and froze to death.Castle Steps

For centuries afterward people have told of seeing a small nightgowned figure who roams the hallways, stopping at each chamber and seeking entrance. Still freezing, his teeth chattering and body trembling, the boy endlessly searches for an open door. When he finds one, he has been known to hover at the bedside of the occupant, whimpering softly as they sleep.

Should the person be ill, he is quick to end their suffering. Placing a small cold hand upon their flesh, he whispers “Cold, cold, forever cold. You shall be cold forever more.”  With these words, and the ghostly touch of the child, the sufferer peacefully surrenders, eased from pain by the Ghost of Gilsland Castle.

Perhaps he worries they have been forgotten and neglected too…

Mythical Monday: Sendings, Ghostly Assassins by Mae Clair

In keeping with the approach of Halloween, I’m staying focused on ghostly apparitions for the remainder of this month’s Mythical Monday posts. October and spooky just effortlessly go hand-in-glove. When it comes to ghosts, we tend to think of them as spirits who are reluctant to move on, or who have left something unfinished when torn from the earthly realm. But there is an additional type of specter, or at least one that makes an appearance in Icelandic folklore.

If legend is to be believed, a ghost can be magically conjured from a human bone. I find the idea pretty ghoulish—imagining some wrinkled  sorcerer or necromancer crouched and chanting over crypt bones—but apparently ghosts can be useful If you’re an unethical practitioner of magic.  In this case, the wraiths are known as “sendings” and were often employed as murderers or dispatched to perform grisly deeds. It makes you feel sorry for the poor soul whose bones were unearthed by an unscrupulous wizard!

The good news (if you were the mortal target of said unscrupulous mage) is that sendings were not without weakness. As a case in point there was once a comely widow who many men sought to marry. She refused all offers—I can’t help thinking the husband she lost was her only true love—but that didn’t stop the men who coveted her, and her land holdings, from pursuing her.Comely young woman, grieving over grave

One day as she was preparing supper a strange sixth sense came over her, warning of danger. Turning toward the doorway she spied a shadow on the threshold, velvet black but for an odd white spot at its center. As the terrified woman watched, the shadow crept toward her, inching nearer across the floor. Snatching up a knife, she struck the apparition where she sensed it was most vulnerable—the odd white blossom at its center.  Instantly, the shadow vanished, her knife claimed along with it.

The next morning she found the knife in the yard, pinioned through a human bone. Her quick thinking and her bravery had saved her life, and from that point forward she was bothered no more.

A strange HEA, but kind of cool nonetheless, and it speaks to my personal belief that some people have only one soulmate. What do you think of this tale?

 

Mae Clair Presents: Jessi Gage with Jade’s Spirit #ParanormalRomance #Giveaway

I’m delighted to welcome another fantabulous author to my blog today. Jessi Gage has been burning up the romance best-seller charts with her Highland Wishes series and her Blue Collar Boyfriend series.

Her newest release, which is poised to hit online retailers any day, is a unique paranormal romance. I had the pleasure of reading the first half JADE’S SPIRIT in development stages and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

To celebrate her newest release, Jessi is doing a giveaway. Check out the deets at the bottom of her post on how to enter.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll welcome Jessi as she explains what makes JADE’S SPIRIT such an unusual read and what compelled her to write it.

~ooOOoo~

Thank you for having me, Mae! I’m so excited to share my new release JADE’S SPIRIT with your readers today!

I’m more nervous about this release than I’ve ever been before. It’s not your typical romance. Then again, I don’t really write typical romance. I’ve got a virginal hero (nothing new for me), some ghosts (again, nothing new), a heroine with a troubled past (still nothing new there). But where I diverge from my usual voice is in the message.

I’m a Christian, but I don’t usually write about faith in my books. In my own life, faith plays a huge role every day. But when I read fiction, I’m not looking to be preached at or have my faith challenged or tested. I just want to escape. So that’s what I try to do in my books: provide a pleasurable escape for my readers.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-inspy (inspirational romance or Christian fiction), I just never intended to write books with an explicit Christian message. I read them on occasion, but never felt compelled to write one.

Jade’s Spirit felt different  from the get-go. First of all, it’s based on a real life experience my mother had in her childhood home. She saw a ghost. And it attacked her brother, my uncle Bob. Prayer made it go away. This comes into play in the story I found pouring onto the pages as I thought about who this ghost might be and what it might want. Spiritual oppression and hauntings play a huge role in Jade’s journey as she learns what it takes to fight the supernatural.https://maeclair.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/jessigage_jadesspirit_1400px.jpg

Then there was Emmett. Virginal heroes are nothing new to me. But Emmett is the first character I’ve written who is incredibly like my husband and me. We drink beer. We listen to rock music. We love horror movies. We make inappropriate jokes…and we love Jesus. There aren’t many evangelical Christians who choose to live life the way we do or tolerate those who do. Emmett is like us. He’s…cool and accepting. And he loves Jesus.

I don’t know if a lot of people are going to “get” Emmett. I hope I’ve made him endearing and attractive (he certainly is those things to me), but this character might end up falling flat or being confusing to some readers. Don’t expect a stereotype with Emmett. He’s not your typical “Bible thumper.” He’s sexy, confident, funny, independent, and an unapologetic Christian. Kind of like me and my husband.

I think there are a lot of us sexy, fun-loving Christians out there, and I’m hoping Jade’s Spirit finds its way into the hands of people who will be able to relate to Emmett’s struggle: wanting to obey God and keep it in his pants” but also being honest with himself about the temptations of life. It’s not easy to follow God. Sometimes we make mistakes.

So, yeah, I’m nervous about this one. I read books with main characters who are atheist, wiccan, practice menage, all kinds of things that I, personally, wouldn’t do. But it’s fun to read about people who do things differently and have different beliefs. I hope the Christian message in Jade’s Spirit offers people who don’t share my beliefs a glimpse into my faith without beating them over the head with it. I hope it’s entertaining! That’s what this writing thing is all about!

Thanks for reading! And thanks, Mae, for having me! It’s always a blast to chat with your readers!

GIVEAWAY ALERT:
I want to hear ghost stories or favorite ghost tales from you guys. Leave a comment with something ghost related in it, and I’ll enter you to win an e-copy of Jade’s Spirit.

Author, Jessi GageConnect with Jessi Gage at the following haunts:
website | blog | newsletter sign-up | Twitter (@jessigage)

For information on when JADE’S SPIRIT will be released, check Jessi’s website or add to your TRB on Goodreads!

Mythical Monday: The Mistletoe Bride by Mae Clair

Hello and welcome to another Mythical Monday! Today I’d like to revisit an urban legend that seemed perfect for the month of December – – that of the Mistletoe Bride.

bigstock-Young-Tender-Bride-44377663According to legend, a young bride suggested a game of hide-and-seek during the merriment of her wedding reception. The groom would be “it” and she and the guests would hide.

Most tales place the time near Christmas, the reception held in an elaborate country home or mansion decorated for the holidays. Several famous houses in England claim origination of the tale, such as Marwell House in Hampshire. Marwell was once owned by the family of Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour (not that Jane – – although I’m a huge fan!!).

In each retelling, the bride is dressed in her wedding gown, flush with the excitement of the game and the glow of being a new wife. She scampers off to find the perfect hiding place while the other guests join in the fun. After a suitable time, her husband locates each participant but is unable to find his bride. At first he thinks she is only playing, but as the hours wear on and she fails to appear, he grows worried. The guests help him search but are unable to find the missing bride. Eventually, they leave and go home, their hearts heavy with misgiving. Days pass, then weeks, and the heartbroken groom muddles through, forced to go on with his life.

Many years later a cleaning woman stumbles upon a locked trunk in the attic while tidying up. Curious about the contents, she breaks the lock and peers inside. To her horror she discovers the skeleton of a woman clothed in a moldy wedding dress, a piece of mistletoe by her side. Apparently, when the clever bride climbed in the trunk, the lid fell and struck her unconscious, locking her inside. When she awoke, she was trapped, her screams never heard by those who searched for her.

Freed from the trunk by the cleaning lady, her ghost now roams the halls of the mansion, fumbling at locked doors.

This is an extremely old tale that has had several variations in setting and time, but in all, the unfortunate bride is trapped inside the chest. It makes you think twice about hiding in anything with a lock, doesn’t it?

Mythical Monday: The Spooky House by Mae Clair

Happy Labor Day, everyone! It’s a holiday and the three day weekend has me feeling lazy.

I cheated with today’s Mythical Monday because I originally ran this post on June 6, 2012, before I’d begun my weekly feature. Since only four people saw it (and it was a Wednesday), I figure I’m safe in posting it again. 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

The Spooky House

There’s one in every neighborhood. When I was six, the spooky house was two doors down, part of the urban tree-lined street where my family made their home. A brooding three-story structure of gray stone with a sprawling covered front porch, white columns, and side bump-outs, it oozed mystery. The adults might have been oblivious, but all the neighborhood kids knew it was haunted.

No one actually lived there. It had been converted for business offices with a huge parking lot in the rear that butted against an alley. The lot was sectioned off with lengths of heavy chain strung between squat cement pilings. We’d see people come and go, swallowed up inside, but there were never many cars in the lot, Naturally, we were suspicious.

My friends and I were convinced a coven of witches met there, and that if you ventured too close to the sides where the shadows were thickest, you’d be sucked up into a coffin tucked beneath the eaves. No one would ever know what happened to you because an evil twin, capable of fooling everyone, took your place.

bigstock-Ghost-At-The-Window-tint--23502128The house also had a resident ghost who lived on the second floor. We knew this because the south facing room had a trio of beautiful stained glass windows and that was the perfect place for a ghost to languish.  Our phantom was female. She was a melancholy soul who’d been separated from her true love and imprisoned by the witches because they were jealous. She spent her time listening to an old-fashioned music box, weeping for her lost love, and looking romantically tragic in a flowing white dress. It’s amazing what six-year-olds can envision, especially when inspired by Dark Shadows and Quentin Collins!

Once when we were swinging on the metal chains in the parking lot (kids do dumb things when adults aren’t around), one of the neighborhood boys fell and cracked his head on the asphalt. It was a traumatic experience with a lot of screaming, crying and blood splatter. I remember following the trail of blood down the alley and across a connecting street to his house a day later. The evidence stayed there a long time before the rain washed away the grisly reminder.  Although Chester recovered, we were sure the witches had caused his fall, angry that we’d discovered their secrets. I don’t think he ever swung on the chains again. I’m not sure I did either.

Not long after that, my family moved to the suburbs where I made new friends and found a new house to invent stories about. Why is it that old homes twine so ideally with the paranormal?

What about you?  Was there a spooky house in your neighborhood that still resonates in your memory? I’d love to hear about it!