Pound of Flesh: A Fifth Grade Ghost and her Demon

This is the true story behind how I started writing ghost stories [with headings brought to you by Florence + the Machine as performed by the Capital Children’s Choir].


 

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Fifth grade Erica, circa 1991

Regrets Collect Like Old Friends

Picture it: Williamsville, NY, 1991.

I was in fifth grade at a small Catholic school with the same dozen-and-a-half classmates I’d been with since kindergarten.

We were more like indifferent siblings than anything but we were a decent group. Quiet. Silly at times. Competitive to a fault.

And then, there was our teacher. Let’s call her: Sister Mary Noheart.

Every Demon Wants His Pound of Flesh

Sister Mary Noheart was a nightmare.

N-I-G-H-T-M-A-R-E.

I’m talking bad. Here’s a few choice memories of my interactions with Sister Mary Noheart:

  • Projectile classroom supplies
  • Body shaming
  • Public humiliation
  • Passive/aggressive student-teacher conferences
  • Syrupy sweet parent-teacher conferences

But none of us complained. How could we? We didn’t know any better.

But I Like to Keep Some Things to Myself

Our school prided itself on how it molded obedient students. 

Students who Listened To Their Elders.

Even if said elders were child-haters.

To that end, here’s a list of everyone who–according to Sister Mary Noheart–mattered in our fifth grade classroom:

  1. Sister Mary Noheart

End of list. We were voiceless in her classroom.

I Like to Keep My Issues Drawn

Even now, my heart breaks for my 10 year-old-self and her classmates. 

And, oh, how my skin crawls just thinking of all the things I COULD have, WOULD have, SHOULD have said to, at, or about Sister Mary Noheart.  

It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn

Lord help us, we tried that year. We tried not to upset her. We tried to stay out of her crosshairs. We tried to be the best, most obedient students in the universe. But nothing any of us did or said could melt her iciness. From what any of us could tell, we were just beasts of burden disrupting her feeding time. And I wish I was exaggerating.

I mean, of course I am embellishing somewhat. But sweet lord, that’s what it felt like. My kingdom for any. Other. Teacher. Even Miss Trunchbull.

I Can Never Leave the Past Behind

The worst was how hard we all tried to get Sister Mary Noheart to like us. Or at least hate us a little less. Sometimes it was a hushed group effort. Other times it was a personal attempt. 

And my personal chance came on the end of a Tuesday in January. 

Sister Mary Noheart said: “Your homework is to write a story. Any story. It’s due in one week. And it better be typed.”

This was it. This was my chance. While I neither cared nor knew anything about writing or typing, she could bet her cloistered ass I could make up a story. Remember my last post?

I’m Always Dragging That Horse Around

‘Heck yes,’ I thought. ‘You want a story? I can give you a story Sister Mary Noheart’.

And then, please sweet baby Cheezits, maybe she’d be so impressed and she’d stop putting us down in front of each other. And the Principal. And the lunch ladies. And the bishop. And the custodians…

One whole week to get the best story we could on paper?

I didn’t need a week. I needed an hour. I knew my story by heart.

All I needed was someone who knew how to type.

All of His Questions, Such a Mournful Sound

When I got home, I told my mother about the assignment and God love her, she agreed to type my story for me. So, after dinner, I dictated it to that beautiful woman. Her fingers were a blur of magic and my words appeared on the screen as if from nowhere.

I dictated over Mom’s shoulder, giggling, correcting, and self-editing as she typed. It had to be perfect.

Mom didn’t question me. Or my story. She of all people in my small world knew what my imagination was like. She knew I made up horrible things about our graveyard and the woods for my classmates. But I don’t believe she knew just how much was riding on this very story.

Tonight I’m Gonna Bury That Horse in the Ground

My story was complete. And it was brilliant, if you ask my 10 year old self. It was a one-page single-spaced ghost story about a kid who goes missing during a game of Hide and Go Seek. I called it HIDE AND NO SEEK.  

And here it is:

HIDE AND NO SEEK

Hide and No Seek by E. Davis, 1991

It took me about half an hour to tear the perforated edges, I was so cautious with it. I even asked Dad to give me a file folder for it, so it wouldn’t get creased in my TrapperKeeper.

Shake it Out, Shake it Out, Shake it Out

Until that day, THE day I would hand in my story, I had never been more proud of anything I’d ever done, for school, or otherwise, in my entire life. And if you didn’t read HIDE AND NO SEEK (wise choice), all humble bragging aside: it isn’t the worst thing a fifth grader could have written. It’s kind of dark, actually. Cheesy? Sure. Clipped? Of course.

But it was mine. My own. My precious. And Sister Mary Noheart was going to love it. Or at least, not stab my feelings with a fire-knife anymore.

It’s Hard to Dance With a Devil on Your Back

The very next day, I handed in HIDE AND NO SEEKTwo and a half excruciatingly-forever-long weeks passed. And then, on a Friday…Finally, finally, finally!… Sister Mary Noheart greeted us with a tidy stack of our graded stories.

This was it.

This is where she would tell me I shined. I convinced myself my story was a perfect. A perfect A+. I wondered if she’d ever given a perfect A+? I wondered if she’d gone out and bought special stickers, maybe the puffy ones? Oh! Or scratch-and-sniff! How many stickers were on it?

She passed back the stories to their writers. One. At. A. Time. Face down. Though you could kind of see pencil marks through the back with the percent grade circled in the corner. She “whispered” comments to some of my classmates as she passed their stories back. Things like: “SOMEONE needs to review his spelling book.” And “Did I or did I NOT say to type it?” and “What part of STORY didn’t you understand?”

Though she did deal out two or three silent nods of approval.

Luckies.

Then, at long last…Sister Mary Noheart was at my side. I stared at the chalk bored. My face was red hot, trying not to smile as I braced for the first-time-ever praise. She put my story facedown on my desk. Then cleared her throat.

I looked at her.

Her mouth was tight and I knew something was wrong. That’s when fire-knife cut me:

“Who wrote this?”

I must have heard her wrong. I looked down at my paper. Flipped it. Circled in the corner was a 51.

Fail.

So Shake Him Off

“Tell me. Now.” Sister Mary Noheart said. “Who wrote this for you? It’s only going to get worse if you keep lying.”

But she wouldn’t believe me. She didn’t believe that I wrote it.

Failed?

How could she believe me, she said.

Failed.

Why would she?

Failed!?

After all, she’d never seen me show much more than vague interest or light comprehension in any other assignment before.

All of the Ghouls Come Out to Play

There was an explosion of protests. One girl stood up so hard her chair dented the wall.

Another girl left her seat and sat on the floor next to my chair, took my hand, squeezed it in hers. One boy slammed his head on his desk.

Another boy stood, called Sister Mary Noheart a witch-with-a-B, then walked himself to the principal’s office. 

My parents were called.

And I Am Done With My Graceless Heart

The F remained.

Much to my relief, my unfathomably patient parents believed me, but convinced me to re-submit a new story. A different story. Any story. One Sister Mary Noheart would believe I’d written.

So I did. A few days later, I handed in a scribbled paragraph about a girl rescuing a cat from a tree.

When she returned it: Silent nod. B-.

So Tonight I’m Gonna Cut It Out

On the last day of fifth grade, I wished my classmate-siblings goodbye. My parents transferred me to public school. And I wasn’t the only one. Most of us ended up coming clean to our parents and guardians about how we were treated in that classroom. As a result, one third of us left. 

Administration made a note in Sister Mary Noheart’s file.  

And Then Restart

In sixth grade at public school, I joined the literary club and helped designed the cover of the yearbook.  

In seventh grade, I made an Adirondack chair and received the first A+ in the history of that teacher’s career.

In eighth grade, I co-founded the school-wide radio station and graduated as student council vice-president. 

I Like to Keep My Issues Drawn

In hindsight, maybe it was a complement; an accusation of plagiarism at a mere 10 years. Maybe that is high praise if you just think about it.

But I don’t just think about it. I breath it and bleed it and feel it every time I write. And every story I have written since that horrible day is for anyone who has ever been a voiceless ghost in their own classroom.

It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn

The pain caused by Sister Mary Noheart’s accusation went so deep into my core. So deep, that every goddamn story I will ever write will have her demon claw marks on it.

Well guess what Sister Mary Noheart?

I’ve got my own claws now. And with them I scrape the dregs of whatever Catholic-ness is left in me to bless you. Because if I don’t forgive you and have mercy on your dark soul, I don’t know what will. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be right here, getting my pound of flesh back.

Ch6TU71XEAAOS5L

Alphagories. My WIP. My pound of flesh.

Ghost Month: The Tale of Resurrection Mary

ghost month tms 4The tale of Resurrection Mary began a long time ago, in the 1930’s.

But first…a little bit about the setting.

Resurrection Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in North America. It was consecrated in 1904.

Resurrection Cemetery is located at 7201 Archer Ave., Justice, IL 60458 and is said to encompass over 540 acres with over 152,000 graves (which don’t include the crypts, which number over 5,000).

Here’s a screenshot from Google maps for reference.

Resurrection-Cemerery-Google-Map

I’ve heard the residents in the area have a nickname for it… They call it “The Resurrection Triangle” because of the strange events that seem to take place there and in the areas surrounding.

This Resurrection Triangle is home to a famous Chicago ghost, one that has been coined, “Resurrection Mary.” She has been seen by more people than any other ghost in the Chicagoland area. The lore around Resurrection Mary may be one that you are familiar with in your own neighborhood, as some of the stories are similar to classic hitchhiker ghost lore.

Most commonly, eye witnesses have spotted a blond, blue-eyed girl dressed in all white. She is so beautiful, they can’t resist the urge to offer her a ride when they see her walking on the stretch of road near Resurrection Cemetery. Sometimes she is seen with her thumb in the air or trying to wave down a car. Each time, she gives directions or the address to the cemetery. Each time, when they arrive at her destination, she vanishes into thin air.

Mary is said to appear along Archer Avenue and has also been known to appear in dance halls in the nearby area.

Have you seen Mary?

Jerry-Palus

The first report I could find of this apparition, is from 1939. A man named Jerry Palus claimed that he’d met a beautiful blond woman one night in a dance hall. They danced for hours and he noted that she was cold to the touch and didn’t talk much. At the end of the night, she asked for a ride home down Archer Avenue.

He stopped in front of the cemetery and let her out and there, in front of his eyes, she vanished.

The next day, Jerry drove to the house where Mary had said  that she lived. The woman who answered the door admitted to being Mary’s mother. When Jerry asked if he could see her daughter, the woman said no. The reason? Mary had been dead for five years.

Bill Geist, a columnist for Suburban Trib interviewed a cab driver named Ralph in January 31, 1979. The man claimed that he picked up a young woman in a white party dress and matching shoes at a small shopping center on Archer Avenue. He said she was, “a looker. A blonde. . .she was young enough to be my daughter – 21 tops.” He drove her down Archer Road until she asked him to stop the car. Here is his account.

“A couple miles up Archer there, she jumped with a start like a horse and said ‘Here! Here!’ I hit the brakes. I looked around and didn’t see no kind of house. ‘Where?’ I said. And then she sticks out her arm and points across the road to my left and says ‘There!’. And that’s when it happened. I looked to my left, like this, at this little shack. And when I turned she was gone. Vanished! And the car door never opened. May the good Lord strike me dead, it never opened.”

Geist said that Ralph was “neither an idiot nor a maniac, but rather [in Ralph’s own words] ‘a typical 52-year-old working guy, a veteran, father, Little League baseball coach, churchgoer, the whole shot.”

Resurrection-Mary-Cab-Driver-Newspaper

In 1980, a woman named Clare Rudnicki and her husband Mark were driving along Resurrection Cemetery, when she spotted Mary.

“I really didn’t think there was any ghost.  You hear these stories and these old ghost tales but it’s never happened to me.  But now I must say I think I’m changing my mind. I was just looking out the window as we were going down the street.  And on the right hand-side of the road there was a girl walking.  She was bright, very bright, like illuminating.  She was just walking very slowly.  I remember thinking oh my god it’s Resurrection Mary.  And I can feel my stomach starting to turn.  I was very frightened, I have to admit.  It did scare me.”

In October of 1989, a woman named Janet Kalal was out for an evening drive with a friend. Soon, they found themselves at Resurrection Cemetery where suddenly, a pale young woman step out in front of their car.

“There was no impact, there was no… bump to say that you know I had hit something.  But I know she ran out… and I hit her.  She was all in white and her hair and the dress were… flowing back.  It was like a stream backwards, you know away from her.  And I just saw this profile of a young woman.”

There’s a fabulous log of sightings found here.

Burned Gates

burned-cemetery-gates-resurrection-cemeteryOn Tuesday August 10, 1976, the Justice Police Department received a phone call. A man said that he was driving past the gates of the Resurrection Cemetery when he saw a girl locked inside after hours. This was strange but not impossible, as the Resurrection Cemetery is such a large place.

Patrolman Pat Homa responded to the call at 10:30 p.m. He looked for the girl with his spotlight and called to her with his loudspeaker, but no one revealed themselves. The cemetery groundskeeper was alerted. He opened the gates for the officer. A search of the cemetery grounds was conducted but it turned up nothing but gravestones, the sleeping dead undisturbed.

resurection-mary-bent-bars

However, in the officer’s search, he discovered something unnerving. When he shined his flashlight at the front cemetery gates, Pat discovered that two of the bars had been pulled apart. Embedded in the front gate were the impressions of hand prints, burned into the metal.  The scorch burns had such clear marks in the green patina of the bronze, one could actually see the skin texture seared in to the bars. The marked appeared to be made by human hands. He was astonished. Had this been the ghost of Resurrection Mary, trying to escape from her final resting place? Officer Pat Homa told his story on the paranormal television show “That’s Incredible” and lost his job over it.

People flocked to see the hand prints of Resurrection Mary. The cemetery claimed that the damage to the gate was not done by a restless spirit, but by a tractor, that had accidentally backed into the gates. With Halloween approaching and in an effort to curb the crowds, the cemetery sawed off the bars and installed a wire mesh until the bars were straightened and replaced.

resurrection-cemetery-gates

What’s even more strange, on August 12, 1976, just two days after the bars were discovered to be sent, a CB radio emergency call was received by a Cook County law enforcement. There was an apparent hit and run near the intersection of 76th St. and Roberts Road, two corners of the Resurrection Triangle.

The dispatched squad car investigating the call discovered a distraught girl in her 1965 Ford Mustang, the CB microphone was still in her hands.

Where was the body that she reported? The officer saw no bodies nearby.

The girl pointed to an area on the wet grass nearby. There was a depression in the soft greenery, appearing to be in the shape of a human body. The girl, between sobs, explained that just as the squad car turned off 79th Street and advanced in her direction, the body on the side of the road disappeared from sight.

Who is Mary?

There are many theories to the identity of Mary.

Some say that Resurrection Mary is the spirit of Mary Bregovy, a woman killed in a traffic accident in 1934 at Wacker and Lake, just before her 21st birthday. She was laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery in her favorite white gown. A newspaper clipping of the accident is below. The article lists her name as Marie, with an ie.

marie-bregovy-killedresurrection-mary-bregovy

Mary was buried at Resurrection Cemetery in an orchid colored dress and as you can see in the newspaper clipping above, her hair was dark brown. Which leads many people to believe that Mary Bregovy is not Resurrection Mary.

There is also speculation that Resurrection Mary is the ghost of Mary Miskowski, a young woman who was killed crossing the street on her way to a Halloween party in October 1930.

Some people believe that Resurrection Mary is a young girl who was killed while hitchhiking down Archer Avenue in the early 1930’s. Rumor is that she spent the evening dancing with her boyfriend at the nearby Oh Henry Ballroom (which is now the The Willowbrook Ballroom). During the night, the lovers fought, causing Mary to storm out of the dance hall. She decided to walk home in the cold. Soon after her walk began, it abruptly ended. Mary was hit and killed by an automobile, whose driver fled the scene. Reports say this girl was buried in Resurrection Cemetery in a white dress and her dancing shoes and since that day, people have seen Mary in and around the Resurrection triangle.

Chicago author Ursula Bielski, in 1999 documented a possible connection to Anna “Marija” Norkus, who died in a 1927 auto accident while on her way home from the Oh Henry Ballroom.

Is Mary one of these women or none of these women? Some people think Mary does not and has not ever existed.

With so many eyewitness accounts, especially from credible sources, it’s hard to ignore the possibility that the ghost of a young woman does exist, reaching out in desperation to the living, refusing to accept her death.

Have you seen Mary? Do you have hitchhiker lore in your city? Tell us below!

I’ll leave you now with a few songs inspired by Resurrection Mary.

 

Oh, and if you want to do a drive through of the area, I found one on Youtube from TheMostAwesomeMan242. He drives the path that most spot Mary on. Thanks man!

Sources: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Audio Terror: Dead Space 2 Soundtrack

DS2_Nov09_09I am a lifelong gamer (since the days of Red Box D&D and the Atari 2600), and one of the ways I like to recharge my creative batteries is by immersing myself in a good video game. It probably comes as no surprise to you that horror games are among my favorites to play. I find that inhabiting a scary story is a great way to inspire my own creative process, and few experiences are as immersive and interactive as games.

One of my absolute favorite series of all time is the Dead Space series, and in particular the first two games of that series. It’s Ghost Month here at the Midnight Society, and so I am happy to recommend an absolutely haunting soundtrack to one of the best horror games of all time–Dead Space 2.

One of the running themes of the first two Dead Space games is that protagonist Isaac Clarke is haunted by visions of his girlfriend, a doctor who dies aboard a mining ship in deep space. Without even playing the game, you can feel the torment Isaac is enduring when you listen to the game’s soundtrack.

Composer Jason Graves crafted a masterpiece of a score for this game, and I frequently revisit it when I’m writing horror. You can hear one of the tracks (“Lacrimosa”) in the player below. It’s a perfect example of what you can expect from the entire soundtrack.

Ghostly Wishes

Ghost Month May TMS 1

I wish I had a ghostly tale to tell, one where I had a scary encounter, one to knock your socks off! Sadly, I do not. Not even close.

Ghosts fascinate me. What lingers on the other side of the veil makes me quiver with delight.

A movie about ghosts? I’m there, the first in line.

A show that follows ghost hunters? I watch them all.

Any TV series that tells real life experiences?

Dean Winchester from show Supernatural...taken from Google Images

Dean Winchester from show Supernatural…taken from Google Images

Ghost hunting? I’ve been…twice. And will go again, just ask me.

Dude. Ghosts. Are. Intriguing.

Why? Because we don’t know everything. Maybe we can’t know everything, which makes us search for answers, for proof with more gusto.

I’ve never seen a ghost, a shadow person, a misty apparition. I’ve never heard a sound I couldn’t explain or a disembodied voice. I’ve never felt the chill of terror from an unseen entity or force.

But I want to. So much.

Now those people out there who have had encounters might look at me like I’m nuts. Why would I want to face fear itself? Why look into the eyes of something that could potentially hurt you?

I don’t know! It’s this strange need tumbling inside of me.

Mostly, I believe ghosts are residual energy, left over emotions that continue to exist…the remnants of lives too strong to disappear completely. But I do believe that some souls don’t go onto whatever awaits us after death, that for whatever reason, they linger here, but not here. There’s always a reason. That’s what I want to know.

So at the movies as some are cowering behind their hands, I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to learn why…why is that soul still here, what do they want?

From Dr. Who episode Hide...Google Images

From Dr. Who episode Hide…Google Images

When the people giving their account of an experience end the story with…”We left.” I cry out, “Why? Find out what the entity wants!”

This all leads to the big question.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO, KATHY, IF FACED WITH A GHOST FOR REALSIES?

Scene from Syfy show Being Human...taken from Google Images

Scene from Syfy show Being Human…taken from Google Images

Would I hear a strange sound and run? Would I feel the touch of some unseen force and freak out? Would I continue to live in a house where I woke up with bite and scratch marks on my body (because, dude, I do believe that ghosts can hurt the living)? Would I research the past to find out how to help the spirit?

Scene from Dr. Who... taken from Google Images

Scene from Dr. Who… taken from Google Images

I do know that when I went on ghost hunting adventures, I did go down the dark hallway. I went towards sounds to figure out what they were. I was the first to volunteer to head off into the shadows.

But I have yet to see or hear or feel anything that was definitely paranormal. But I have hope, that someday my ghostly wish will come true.

If not, after I die, I’m coming back to haunt EVERYONE.

 

And tonight. Join me on Twitter for a live-tweet of one of my favorite ghost stories…MAMA! Press play at 9 EST and add your thoughts #ToroMAMA!

Poster for movie Mama

Poster for movie Mama

 

Let’s Talk About Books, Ghostie

Let's Talk About Ghost Books

I love a good ghost story. I mean, who doesn’t? Right? (At least in this crowd?) I got to write one ghost scene in my book Liberty Bound, and I’m writing a lot more of them in my upcoming series Brody Undead. There are so many different kinds of ghosts, and so much folklore, leaving so much room to explore!

Since it’s ghost month here on The Midnight Society, it’s the perfect time to explore some of those different ghosts. Here are some haunted reads for your shelves…

 

mydaylightmonsters

My Daylight Monsters was originally supposed to be a stand alone novella, but became the prequel to the Mary Hades series after the story became a bestseller in Horror on Amazon. The story takes place in an Asylum (spooky bonus points!) and has GHOSTS. Friendly ghosts, not friendly ghosts… ghosts! You can jump right in with Mary Hades, the actual first novel in the series, but I’ve always loved this prequel and recommend diving in there!

Book Description: 

I always thought my demons came out in the day, rather than at night. I’ve never been scared of the dark. I’ve only ever been scared of real things: getting ill, having injections, physical pain… death. Those are my monsters, not ghosts or vampires or whatever else can hide under your bed at night.

I was wrong.

The dark makes everything worse.

When 17-year-old Mary Hades is admitted by her parents to a psychiatric unit, her worst nightmares are confirmed. How can she get better in a place that fills her with dread? Her friendships with the other patients — her wacky roommate Lacey, her protector Mo, and the mysterious, green-eyed Johnny — begin to fill her with hope, until she realizes that people in the hospital are dying without explanation. Something sinister stalks the corridors, and it’s up to Mary to stop it. But the closer she gets to the answer, the more perilous her situation becomes, and Mary discovers the only way to get out alive is to confront the things that scare her most.

Sarah Dalton is the author of the Blemished Series. Her fiction has appeared in Medulla Literary Review, PANK magazine and the British Fantasy Society publication Dark Horizons. She grew up in the countryside of Derbyshire.

Find it on Amazon.

 

 

nameofthestar The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson has really great, unique ghosts! Also, London. And one of my all time favorite openings. Super creepy!

New York Times bestseller Maureen Johnson takes on Jack the Ripper in this captivating paranormal thriller!

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him–the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Find it on Amazon.

 

magicdarkandbrightA Magic Dark and Bright (The Asylum Saga Book 1)

Such a pretty, unique cover, right? The book description on this one jumps right in with “the woman in white”(which is one of my favorite ghost things) and, of course, “unspeakable evil”. I don’t feel like I need to tell you more than that.

Book Description:

She meant to help a ghost…not unleash a curse.

Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White since the night her brother died.

The ghost seems to have disappeared from the woods surrounding Asylum, Pennsylvania—that is, until Charlie Blue moves into the creepy old MacAllister House next door. Amelia can’t help liking him, even though she spent her childhood thinking his grandmother was a witch. And she definitely can’t ignore the connection between his arrival and the Woman in White’s return.

Then Amelia learns that the Woman in White is a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Devastated by the idea that her brother could be suffering a similar fate, Amelia decides to do whatever it takes to help the Woman in White find peace–and Charlie agrees to help her.

But when Amelia’s classmates start to drown in the Susquehanna River, one right after another, rumors swirl as people begin to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the unexplained deaths. As Charlie and Amelia uncover the dark history of Asylum, they realize they may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before everything they love is destroyed.

Find it on Amazon.
elliejordan

 

My last pick is the only one on here that is NOT YA, but I don’t remember anything audience inappropriate. Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper is the first in a series by J.L. Bryan, and it’s FREE on Amazon. Also, since I noticed the “asylum” theme in this post, I thought I should mention there IS a scene in an abandoned asylum in this book, AND IT IS CREEPY.

Book Description:

Ellie Jordan’s job is to catch and remove unwanted ghosts. Part detective, part paranormal exterminator, Ellie operates out of Savannah, Georgia, the most haunted city in the United States.

When a family contacts her to deal with a disturbing presence in the old mansion they’ve recently purchased, Ellie first believes it to be a typical, by-the-book specter, a residual haunting by a restless spirit. Instead, she finds herself confronting an evil older and more powerful than she’d ever expected, rooted in the house’s long and sordid history of luxury, sin, and murder. The dangerous entity seems particularly interested in her clients’ ten-year-old daughter.

Soon her own life is in danger, and Ellie must find a way to exorcise the darkness of the house before it can kill her, her clients, or their frightened young child.

“A brilliantly addictive, insomnia-inducing story following Ellie Jordan, a ghost tracker, who works a hazardous job investigating hauntings. Read before bedtime at your own risk!” -Alexia Purdy, bestselling author of the Dark Faerie Tale and Reign of Blood series

“Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper is both really fun and really creepy. It’s Ghostbusters meets The Dresden Files.” -Daniel Arenson, bestselling author of the Song of Dragons and Moth series

Find it on Amazon.

 


Okay, that wraps up my contributions for your haunted shelves! Leave me some recommendations in the comments! I hope you’re loving ghost month here on The Midnight Society and reading creepy things! (Like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, our #MidnightBooks pick this month!)

Stay creepy, read books!

ghost month tms 3

Restoration: An interview with Christian Ackerman

Hello Kittens!

 

I have quite the treat for you. As you know, my Midnight Society pals and I ingest horror in a multitude of different ways. We read it, we write it, we play it, listen to it, draw it, design it, and we watch it. We watch a lot of it.

Which is why I’m so, SO excited that Christian Ackerman is joining us on the blog today. You may know him from his newest release, RESTORATION, which he acted as both associate producer AND a medic.

 

I could spend the next few paragraphs telling you all about Christian, or I could let the interview below tell you the tale….

 

  1. What inspired you to get into the film industry? Is it somewhere you always wanted to end up?

I grew up loving films and eventually fell into a love affair with horror after watching Dream Warriors. I don’t know the turning point for me, but I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker sometime in my early teens. Since I didn’t grow up in LA and only had VHS, my film school before college was studying everything there was about Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I had the film, soundtrack, script, original book and the behind the scenes book. I learned a lot from that and it strengthened my passion for filmmaking.

  1. In your newest release, RESTORATION, you have a small cameo as a medic and you’re also the associate producer. You’re also a director, editor, writer, etc. Out of all the hats you wear, which is your favorite and why?

I don’t consider myself an actor in any way, but I decided to say yes when Zack asked because it was about time I overcame my distaste for being in front of a camera. Off-screen, I love directing the most. I’d say that basically all directors are control freaks, so being the main decision maker on all things creative is exhilarating. Then seeing how your decisions affect an audience is even better. I’m also loving producing the more I do it.

  1. For those of us unfamiliar with the daily life of a producer, could you walk us through your average day while in production?

Well, a film producer can span many duties. While shooting, most of your work has been done beforehand, so you’re mainly dealing with the day to day issues that arise, whether they be catering to the needs of your cast and crew, dealing with vendors, stroking egos to keep peace, doing last minute contract negotiations, and keeping the budget in order. The main job of the producer is to get the film made on time, under budget and in the vision of the director hired, to make your investors happy with a successful product.

  1. What’s your favorite scene in RESTORATION?

My scene! Ha! Only kidding. I really enjoyed the scenes between our leads Emily Roya O’Brien and Adrian Gaeta. Zack and James wrote some fantastic domestic scenes for them to really shine in.

  1. One of your next films, DEATH HOUSE, is jam-packed with some of my favorite horror actors. Were you star struck when you met any of them? If not, who would you cause you to freak out upon meeting?

I was totally excited about everyone! Every day, it was exciting to figure out who would be in and which dressing room we’d put them in. I’m a horror guy, but believe it or not, the person I was most excited about meeting was Lindsay Hartley, who had never been in a horror film before. In the early 2000’s, I used to work at NBC and every day at lunch I’d watch her in this insane supernatural soap called Passions. I’ve seen the horror stars in person on set or at conventions, so seeing Lindsay involved was a nice surprise. On her last day, we were chatting during lunch with my partner Felissa Rose and then Vernon Wells and Sid Haig sat at our table. Those two proceeded to tell crazy stories about shooting 70’s exploitation films in the Phillipines. We all just sat there and quietly listened. It was so cool!

  1. Aside from the films you worked on, which is your favorite horror movie of all time?

The original Carnival of Souls. I love movies about lost women and lost souls struggling to find their place on Earth.

  1. From the looks of your twitter profile, you always have something on the go. What holds your attention outside of the film industry?

Wait, there is a world outside the film industry?! I enjoy concert going, camping, traveling, photography, random adventures with friends. This sounds like my old dating profile!

I plan on recording an album with my friend Richard Trejo this summer since I haven’t made music in a long time. I’m spinning vinyl at a bar for the first time soon. I’m starting an event this summer that I hope can be ongoing, but I don’t wanna say what it is till it’s set. I’ll be sure to let you know when it does. I also like chasing girls, but they can get you into trouble, so I’ve been steering clear this year, ha ha! As for hobbies, I always feel like I don’t have very many of them. At this very moment, I finally have an answer. Doing so many different things on projects, I’m always learning something new to apply in my home life, especially when I’m art directing. Maybe that’s just an excuse for me not trying surfing. That, and I would die.

  1. I was so impressed with the 2JENNIFER trailer and the fact that is was shot entirely with an iPhone 6. What made you guys decide to take that route?

The original film, To Jennifer, was shot on the iPhone by James Cullen Bressack. It was the natural route to take, along with the cost effectiveness and speed that director Hunter Johnson needed to get his first feature done. We shot it in 8 days and the edit was done within weeks. It was a fast film because most of the scenes were shot in whole takes.

  1. What’s your go-to soundtrack to spark your creativity?

It depends on the scene I’m writing. If it’s a comedic or party scene, I put on some old school funk. If it’s a dark scene, I throw on some metal or horror soundtracks, especially Goblin. If it’s something really fucked up, then I play a Swedish band called Brainbombs. Their music is like entering the mind of a sadistic serial killer. Puts me in my happy place! Ha!! If it’s a romantic scene-fuck that, who wants to see that crap! Ha ha!

  1. What upcoming horror films are you excited about (that you’re not involved in).

Shit, I’ve barely watched any new trailers! I’m still trying to catch up with what’s already come out this year! You should be the one recommending to me! Over the past two years, I judged the FilmQuest film festival and many of those films haven’t come out yet. So at least I’m seeing something new! Oh, my friend Ricky Bates has a new film coming out sometime this year called Trash Fire. His films are very unique to his voice, which makes him a glorious weirdo.

  1. When is your next film coming out?

2 Jennifer comes out in the late summer and Bethany should follow it in the early fall.

 

You can find Christian at:

 

Twitter & Instagram: ackronomicon

You can check out his shorts at:

To see my shorts:

https://vimeo.com/bludgeonedfilms

 

Thank you so much, Christian!! It’s been a true pleasure.

 

X,

 

Jenna

The Neighbors Across or Why I Do Not Love Basements

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In Williamsville, NY born and raised. In the graveyard where I spent most of my days.

I grew up on Reist Street in Williamsville, NY. 

The neighbors across from us were dead. Probably why I do not love basements.

Think about it:

In my house, when I went Down To The Basement, I’d be on the same level as Them.

The Across The Street Neighbors. It was not a very wide road. 

 

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Pictured L to R: The Neighbors Across, our street, and our house.

 

It wasn’t until first grade that I discovered the power of a ghost story.  My class was climbing the library shelves when the Librarian corralled us in to read us a godawful chapbook called ‘Happy Little Pumpkin Goes Trick-or-Treating or Something Equally Pleasant’. 

I kept wondering “Why doesn’t this make me feel like I’m in my basement and why do I want it to?”

With/Without meaning to, 6-year-old Erica hijacked the post-story time discussion: 

Librarian: Children, children! Does anyone have any questions or comments about [Happy Little Pumpkin Goes Trick-Or-Treating Or Something Equally Pleasant]?

One Classmate: I liked the pictures of the pumpkin dressed in a butterfly costume.

L: Ohhh. Yes that was a nice picture, wasn’t it? Who else… Yes, Erica?

6-year-old Erica: Last night I saw Glowing. Red. Eyes.

L: Oh. Okey dokey. Who else–

6: Yeah. They were glowing red. With blood coming out. And they were glowing. And big and red.

L: Well. That’s nice. Do you have a question about the story?

6: I’m not making this up. I live across from a graveyard.

EveryDamnOneOfMyClassmates: Whoa! / What?! / What else happened!? /How big was It? / Did It get you? / Where you sleeping when It came to your window? / Did It come in your house? / Where did It take you? / How long were It’s fangs? / Where Its claws poisonous? / Did your parents think you were dead and have a ceremony without your body? / Did It die on your property? / Is there a burial ground in your basement too? / What did It tell you to do?/ Can I sleep over? / When’s it coming back?

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My view of The Neighbors Across from our front yard. Never liked the little one (3rd from left).

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1st Communion Erica outside the house on Reist St. Hated that burlap dress.

So, that’s how it was going to be? Ok fellow creepers. NICE.

From then on, we swapped ghost stories like Garbage Pail Kids. Anywhere and everywhere. At lunch. Waiting in line while (not) getting picked for teams. Time-Out table. Waiting in line for the water fountain. Monday Mass. Waiting in line for 1st Penance. Art class. Waiting in line for 1st Communion.

Some classmates made up their stories.

Some didn’t have to. 

My personal best was convincing some of them–myself included–that The Neighbors Across could get in and out via a network of access tunnels that started at a loose stone behind our furnace.   

For the record, I don’t believe I have ever seen a ghost. Though I do believe in the stench of dirt and must and decay that would waft out of the floor vents in my bedroom.

I also believe in the gate-latch Dad installed because that damn basement door kept slamming open.  

 

Join The Midnight Book Club on Goodreads! #MidnightBooks

The Midnight BookCLUB

Here on The Midnight Society we love our monthly #MidnightBooks twitter chat. But that’s just not enough book talk, is it? (Is there such a thing?) Let’s hang out on Goodreads and chat about books! Join the group, introduce yourself, tell us about your favorite book, what you’re reading right now, and start a thread of your very own!

Don’t make me use more exclamation points! JOIN US ON GOODREADS.

Keepin’ it #SpookyAllYear

 

Spooky All Year banner 5

Welcome to #SpookyAllYear, a Midnight Society Blog Hop! You can find the introduction post here. It essentially tells you the blog hop takes place on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. You post something Spooky on your blog, and submit the post to the linkup at the bottom of this post. You’re encouraged to visit around to the blogs listed there and enjoy the spooky fun. The ideas for posts are endless (review of a spooky movie you’ve seen, a picture of the mist in your backyard, a spooky book cover, a spooky story you wrote, a recipe for the best grape eyeballs, a drawing, a recommendation for something you’ve read recently, Halloween costume pictures…) and should be a great time!

There is no commitment to posting every time. You submit your post fresh each hop. We hope you’ll want to participate often, but it’s completely up to you!

So, a recap! To participate in #SpookyAllYear:

1) Make a fun and Spooky post on your blog on the post day (TODAY! but also every 2nd and 4th Wednesday)! Download and use one of the banners on this post here if you so wish. (It would be nice if you linked back to The Midnight Society, http://midnightsocietytales.com/ so people can find the other participants, but not necessary.)
2) Come to MidnightSocietyTales.com and enter the URL of your post into the link up at the bottom of that day’s #SpookyAllYear post.
3) Visit the other participants blogs, if you want to, and comment! :)
4) Participate on social media with the hashtag #SpookyAllYear and make friends!

Have fun, and stay spooky!

May #MidnightBooks: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Let’s revisit this classic book of Scary Stories! Have you read this? It’s responsible for getting many great readers into horror..

Synopsis

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Are you brave enough for Scary Stories?

Some boys and girls were at a party one night. There was a graveyard down the street, and they were talking about how scary it was.

“Don’t ever stand on a grave after dark,” one of the boys said. “The person inside will grab you.”

“A grave doesn’t scare me,” said one of the girls. “I’ll do it right now. . . .”

Welcome to the macabre world of Scary Stories. Inside, you’ll find alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and the supernatural, with spine-tingling illustrations by renowned artist Brett Helquist.

 

Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble  |  Indiebound


Twitter Chat
Join us for a Twitter chat about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz at #MidnightBooks on Monday, June 6 at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST. If you can’t make it, you can always post your comments here!


BONUS: Check out Mental Floss’s 14 Terrifying Facts About Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. If you weren’t excited for this read, you are now!!


Reminder…
See you on Twitter Monday, May 9 at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST at #MidnightBooks to discuss  MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan!