So one of my favorite ghost books is The Restorer by Amanda Stevens. When Aimee (CoffeeTableReviews) and I decided to host a Halloween event I knew I had to ask Ms. Stevens if she would be willing to write a guest post. I sent the email and waited patiently for her response, when the email popped in that she would love to, I went all fan girl, maybe I did a little dance or two at my desk when I was suppose to be working, lol.
Ms. Stevens has generously offered to give (1) signed copy of The Restorer to one lucky winner, see details below guest post.
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 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 step 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…
Thanks Ms. Stevens for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by.
To learn more about Amanda Stevens and her books check out her website, you can also find her on twitter.
Please stop by Coffee Table Reviews to check out the guest post and giveaway by Lee Nichols.