Abra Kadaver – Oct 29, 2016

Halloween fun for literary geeks! This event will help make the 2017 Dahlonega Literary Festival possible. Michael & I will be there in costumes inspired by two of our favorite books of all time…

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2015 Haunted Dahlonega Ghost Tour…We’re Baaaaaaaaack

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2015 Haunted Dahlonega Walking Tour

Haunted Dahlonega – 2014 Walking Tours Have Begun

The 2014 script, which is full of NEW stories of mysterious encounters and paranormal phenomena, was created by yours truly…and I’ll be hosting most of the tour dates:Haunted Dahlonega Tour PosterThis project is a labor of love. Everyone involved in the tour production is a volunteer and 100% of the ticket sales go to support the Friends of the Dahlonega Gold Museum in their mission to promote, support, improve and preserve the Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site.

We had a fantastic group for the first tour. It was so much fun, I can hardly wait for next Saturday to do it all again!

I will be posting about this event, my research in creating the script and maybe even sharing a few ghostly tidbits that didn’t get included in the final cut throughout September and October. Stay tuned!

Coming Soon: Haunted Dahlonega Walking Tours

2014 Dahlonega Ghost Tour Poster

This is the project that has been absorbing all of my time and attention over the past month and I’m very, VERY excited to tell you more. But I can’t share any details right now. The new script I’m working on for this year’s tour is still in the super secret development stage. So, for now, I’m just posting this as a Coming Attraction. Look for more information coming soon!

 

Fear and Loathing with the Fuzzies

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

― Alfred Hitchcock

“Obviously, this man pillow has never met the Tessa dog.”

 ― Zoey the Cat

Right…so I have been spending quite a bit of time pondering the nature of fear. Ghost stories make you do that. This leads me to think about Alfred Hitchcock….and Honey Badger…and Zoey and Tessa.

Rainbow kittyZoey is my Honey Badger. She don’t care. My fuzzy girl is fearless. Tessa is my sweet, sweet darling scaredy dog. She is terrified of a strong breeze.

This really happened…

Let’s start with Tessa on the porch. It’s a lovely, sun-kissed day. As Tessa reclines, buzzing things hover over her fur. Annoyed, she snaps occasionally at the buzzies. Zoey walks past the dog-thing into her house. She is large and in charge. Nothing gives her royal purrrrrness any reason to pause.

Suddenly, Tessa snaps at a bee that has been buzzing her. Zoey jumps and searches for something to killl. Instead, she endures me. Laughing my head off, I scoop up Zoey in my arms to laugh and laugh and laugh. HA! She is not fearless! She has just shown her fraidy-cat side. Tessa frolics at my feet.

Zoey is not amused.

As Tessa settles into another light sleep, Zoey plots her revenge. Quietly, carefully, Zoey stalks Tessa. Just as Tessa lets her defenses down, Zoey jumps up on a metal table and forces the table to upset. BAM!!!

Tessa is mortified! Zoey calmly jumps into my arms. Every inch of her furriness screams, “See Momma. That’s what I do with traitors.” Tessa hides.

I’m telling you…it was on purpose. Once Tessa startled Zoey, the WAR was ON!!!

What frightens me and fills me with awe is how fully and completely Zoey the Cat understood the nature of Tessa’s fears. Loud noises always horrify Tessa. Thunderstorms turn Tessa into Jell-o. Things going bump? Crash! Zoey knew what would horrify my puppy the most, and she calmly executed her plan to terrify Tessa.

I think it is quite possible that my kitty is a better author of fearful mayhem than me.

What normal, natural noises scare you the most?

photo credit: Fulla T via photopin cc

Star Wars – Not Your Typical Ghost Story

Hello everybody. I had a wee tiny little mental health breakdown that required a short vacation from the internet and blogging. Nothing serious. Don’t be concerned. Just a small bout of the writerly working girl blues. It happens. But I’m MUCH better now.

So let’s get back to Haunted October! And Star Wars!
Ghost Peeps and StormtroopersHuh? Ghosts and Star Wars? The original Star Wars trilogy has been called many things – the most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie serial ever made (The New York Times), a spectacular intergalactic joyride (The Washington Post), the greatest space fantasy of all! (Marvel Comics) – but I don’t believe anyone ever refers to the original trilogy as a ghost story.

Well I’m here to change that. Remember this guy?
Ghost of ObiWan on Hoth

“You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

-Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ah, Obi-Wan! My favorite fictional ghost of all time. Who could not love the crazy old wizard who turns out to be a wise and fearless Jedi master; calmly accepting death so that others may live? [Sigh] And yet, even death could not stop Obi-Wan from mentoring and encouraging the callow youth destined to save the galaxy. Obi-Wan is so awesome in ghostly form, he even has a ghostly action figure.

Ghost Obi Wan Action FigureBut seriously, Obi-Wan’s ghost gave me my first glimpse of a deceased person who CHOSE to hang around in ghostly form to do some good. Aside from the Holy Spirit, I had never heard of a good ghost. I’d never even imagined a ghostly mentor willing to show up with just the right advice at just the right times. Think about it. Most fictional ghosts are depicted as vengeful victims (Hamlet’s father), or wretched penitents (Jacob Marley), or dangerous entities unleashed by evil deeds (Poltergeist) or pathetic lost souls who can’t seem to find The Light (any episode of Ghost Whisperer).

Obi-Wan depicted a hopeful, powerful, enlightened, comforting ghostly image. And this was very important to me. VERY important.

Grandpa Eldon died in March of 1980. He was the only man I ever called Daddy, my best friend and the light of my life. (Sorry, Mom. I know that makes you cry, but it’s true.) He suffered a massive heart attack in the middle of the night and I was not allowed to visit him in the hospital during the final days of his life. We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye.

Or so I thought.

Three months later, my grandmother took me to see The Empire Strikes Back. There were many reasons why that movie changed my life. Among those reasons, Obi-Wan’s ghost along with Yoda’s teachings (“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”) were far greater comfort to me than any of the Biblical passages that were muttered over the cold, square hole in the ground when we buried my Grandpa.

Not long after seeing ESB, my beloved grandfather came to see me in my dreams. That first night, he walked me through our house. Each room was decorated for a different holiday; it was Christmas in the front room, Halloween in the TV room, Thanksgiving in the kitchen and Easter in the front yard where he had hidden a rainbow of plastic eggs for me to find. Overjoyed to see him, I asked my Grandpa why everyone had lied to me and told me he was dead. He just smiled and told me he would always be with me. Always. Through every season and every holiday.

OK – all you skeptics and amateur psychologists out there might be tempted to point out that Grandpa Eldon’s message echoes Obi-Wan’s final line in A New Hope and that might lead you to the conclusion that this deeply spiritual and powerful experience from my childhood was just a case of wishful thinking. To you I say, pthththththth! It was real.

Grandpa continued to visit me in my dreams as I grew up. When my dog Pom Pom died, she started scampering through those dreams. In my late 20’s, after many years of not seeing him, Grandpa brought my recently departed kitty Charlie to say goodbye. Even though Charlie was very ill and suffering when I made the decision to let him go, I was plagued with debilitating grief and self-loathing for days after the vet carried him away. Grandpa assured me I’d done the right thing, taken the most compassionate action, and he was proud of me. Charlie was free from all pain and suffering now. I woke up after that dream, locked myself in the bathroom and cried. Oh how I cried! But it was a really good cry.

Whether anyone other than me believes that these dreams were real visitations doesn’t matter to me one wit. I don’t believe, I KNOW. My grandfather helped raise me from beyond the grave. Just like Obi-Wan helped train Luke from beyond the grave.

Recently, a sudden realization hit me; an epiphany of sorts.

I believe that the fictional depiction of Obi-Wan in ghostly form opened a door in my mind…a door that my grandfather walked through. And so, for me, my love of Star Wars and my fascination with ghost stories will always be intertwined. And perhaps I’m not the only one…

Ghost & Fett PumpkinsWhat about you? Have you ever had a loved one guide and comfort you from beyond the grave? Would you welcome a ghostly mentor? Or, like Scrooge, would you try to dismiss the encounter as “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato”?

photo credit: ShellyS via photopin cc, JD Hancock via photopin cc, thepollen via photopin cc & Simon Davison via photopin cc

Florence (sans Machine) on Ghosts

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“I’ve got quite a vivid imagination and I’m easily overwhelmed by sensations and things that are beautiful or scary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ghost—I think I’m probably haunted by my own ghosts than real ones.”

 – Florence Welch

Florence+Machinephoto credit: skARTistic via photopin cc