Please give a warm welcome to Amanda Stevens, author of The Restorer the first book in a haunting new Urban Fantasy series. After the guest post, stick around there just might be a ghost lurking around…or at least a giveaway.
In the Graveyard Queen series, I write about ghosts. Greedy, grasping netherworld parasites that prey on human warmth and devour the life force of their hosts. Truth be told, my own supernatural encounters have been fairly benign. The scent of cherry pipe tobacco emanating from the backseat of my car. A phantom music box playing in the middle of the night. Hardly the stuff of nightmares. But people close to me have had far more harrowing experiences. The following accounts are real-life ghost stories, gleaned from a series of interviews I conducted with friends, family and acquaintances. The names have been changed, but the incidents are exactly as they were told to me. (Warning: not for the faint of heart.)
Meet Mary. She grew up in a traditional, middle-class home in suburban Houston. The family was fairly religious and attended church regularly, so imagine their surprise when the mother became obsessed with an old Ouija board that fell into her possession. Soon, her health began to suffer. She lost weight, couldn’t sleep and smoked incessantly. Worse, strange things started happening inside the house, mostly to Mary, who was a teenager at the time. Personal items went missing from her bureau. A picture of her fell from the living-room wall and shattered. One night she went into the kitchen to find her mother at the table, hunched over the Ouija board. When she looked up, Mary could have sworn her mother’s eyes were glowing red. That night marked a turning point. They burned the board and, thankfully, the household returned to normal.
Next is Audrey. She and I grew up together in a rural Arkansas town at the edge of the Ozark foothills. Audrey lived in a little white house near a mosquito-infested lake perpetually shrouded in gloom. The house had once been occupied by Audrey’s grandfather, a country doctor, and her grandmother, a woman who had been slowly losing her mind for years. At the height of her illness, she’d tried to kill her husband and son with a butcher knife. Audrey believes the paranormal activity they experienced in that house was a manifestation of her grandmother’s trapped emotions. Inexplicable footsteps in the middle of the night. Doors slamming at all hours. Electrical fluctuations. Stopped clocks. The house simply couldn’t rest. One night they came home to find the doors flung wide open, lights burning in every room and the television blaring. Their dog wouldn’t set foot inside, no matter how much they coaxed him.
The most troubling incident, however, occurred in the backyard. Audrey and her brother were outside one day when they saw a man standing at the edge of the woods, staring at them. They didn’t recognize him, which was unusual in our little community, where everyone knew everyone. The brother called out to him and the man then dropped to his hands and knees and crawled back into the woods. To this day, they have no idea who he was, what he was, but that bizarre behavior struck such a chord that I’ve used a variation of this scene in The Kingdom.
The last interviewee is my son. He laughs about this now, but there was a time when he was convinced people came into his room at night and stood around his bed, watching him sleep. One night he heard someone whisper, “He’s awake.” He had bunk beds, and I often fell asleep in the lower bunk after reading a bedtime story. I never saw or heard anything out of the ordinary and neither did my daughter, who had the room next to his. I think those mysterious “watchers” were conjured by a bad dream or a little boy’s fertile imagination.
At least, that’s what I tell myself when I’m alone in the house and the hair on my cat’s back bristles for no apparent reason.…
One copy of Amanda Steven’s The Restorer (Graveyard Queen)
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Comment to win: Have you ever experienced something supernatural, please tell us about it?
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