Growing up in a Haunted House

#4 in the Spooky October series

 

Nope, that’s not code for something. I mean properly haunted. With a ghost.

 

Growing up, I was the youngest of three, and since my brother and sister were much older, I was more like an only child at home. I don’t remember much of the early manifestations, but it’s safe to say they freaked out my parents.

 

It was an old brick –built house, dating from the late 1890’s, and joined to the house next door, semi-detached style. These were the only two properties at the end of a long country lane.

 

Picture the scene. Late at night. The household is asleep. My brother is home with a group of friends, and after returning from a night at the pub, they all crash on the living room floor. All is peaceful, until the locked back door makes a banging noise, as though someone threw the door open. Same with the kitchen door. Then the door at the bottom of the stairs. Heavy feet pound up the stairs. Each bedroom door flies opens in turn, and then shuts again. The footsteps hurtle back down, the doors all slam shut. The whole thing was over in less than a minute.

 

 

My father was furious. He charged downstairs, ready to take the guys to task, but found then all asleep. Solidly, and drunkenly. They slept through it.

 

This pattern of doors opening and feet on the stairs was repeated a couple more times, but then stopped. Was it connected to the well-meaning local vicar saying some prayers in the house? We’ll never know. He drew the line at exorcism, you see. Anyway it seemed to work.

 

Other odd things happened while I was growing up, events that defied science. Strange noises coming from next door, like bowling balls rolling along the floor. When Mum asked the neighbour, he said the sound was coming from our house.

 

2000px-aceofspades-svgPlaying a card game—Chase the Ace—that relied on the Ace of Spades, and having to stop the game when it went missing. Totally and completely missing, from one hand to the next. The card turned up in the front garden the next morning, lying on the top stone of the rockery.

 

When I was eight, I was given a proper wristwatch for the first time, as opposed to the cheap ones beforehand. I was thrilled, and vowed to take good care of it, wind it up every day, and take it off at bedtime. Two days later, it vanished from my bedroom overnight. I swore I placed it on the dressing table when I went to bed, but in the morning it was gone. It turned up a week later, lying proudly on the rockery stone—and still keeping time, even though it should have run down days earlier.

 

The TV being struck by lightning as we watched the Wimbledon finals one year was bad enough. When it happened again a couple of years later—again during the Wimbledon finals—it went beyond coincidence. Our poor next door neighbour had theirs struck by lightning another year. Three strikes on the same building? Seriously?

 

And yet, even with a plethora of unexplained things happening, we never felt scared or uneasy. Ours was a calm and playful ghost. Rumour had it, a teenage boy that grew up in the house, had died in a road accident at fifteen, and it was his spirit that haunted us.

 

Years passed. My parents retired to somewhere smaller, and my brother bought the old place and remodelled it. The original staircase was taken out, the upstairs was redesigned. All was going well until the master builder decided to work late one bright, summer evening. He heard a noise behind him, and thought it was his apprentice packing up. “Pass me the hammer,” he said to his boy, but nothing happened. He glanced over his shoulder, and saw a young man looking at him. Even as the builder opened his mouth to speak, the stranger turned on his heel and walked through the new interior wall that had been constructed days earlier.

 

To my knowledge, the builder is the only person to ever actually see our ghost. The house has been sold on a couple more times, and now lies empty. That’s a shame. I’m sure our friendly ghost preferred to have company.

 

Have you ever seen or heard a ghost? I’d love to hear from you 🙂

 

 

Six Haunted Scottish Castles

~ Spooky October #3 ~

 

According to The Scotsman Magazine (11 August 2014), the five most haunted castles in Scotland are:

  1. Meggernie Castle (Perthshire)
  2. Ethie Castle (nr Arbroath)
  3. Sanquhar Castle (Dumfries)
  4. Duntrune Castle (Argyll)
  5. Barcaldine Castle (Argyll)

For more on these, read the article here: http://www.scotsman.com/heritage/people-places/five-of-the-most-haunted-castles-in-scotland-1-3505914

I mentioned six castles, but have only listed five. That’s because I want to tell you about a truly spooky experience I had in Elcho Castle, Perthshire.

elcho-1I visited here in September 2004, while on holiday. Elcho was probably the fourth castle I’d visited during that week.

Elcho was mostly empty inside, and in a good state of repair. It was a warm and sunny early autumn day, and the building felt peaceful and calm. Rising from the main floor space were four winding staircases, one of which—according to the information brochure—led to a roofwalk. I visited with my husband, our young son and his friend, and I left them pottering about while I explored the staircases. The first three were fine, and I left the roofwalk-access one until last. I wanted to check how safe the roofwalk was, before I took the children up there.

echo-info

Half-way up, the staircase widened into a spacious, sun-filled landing, but as soon as I set foot on it I froze. It was as though I’d walked into a wall of icy fog. It looked bright and sunny, but the temperature dropped unbearably. If that wasn’t bad enough, I had the distinct impression of something squeezing me around the chest, tightening and forcing the air out of my lungs.

I broke free and managed to step back. Just two steps down, the temperature leapt back to normal. My heart was still racing. I took a deep breath. My lungs worked again.

elcho-staircase

Needless to say, I made my way back downstairs. When I caught up with my husband a few minutes later, I suggested he take a look for himself, without telling him what I experienced. He came back shortly after, looking pale and shaken. Yes, he agreed, when we swapped notes. That was WEIRD.

We asked the castle guide if the place was haunted, and she told us there were rumours of a white lady. According to legend, the woman was terribly burned when her dress caught fire, and she died a few days later. This was nowhere near the staircase, though, and so I’m not convinced they are connected.

Unfortunately this was before the days of digital cameras and hundreds of images, and the 35mm shots I took didn’t show anything untoward.

If you’d like to visit a haunted Scottish castle, or watch footage or paranormal investigators doing their thing, you should check out this site: http://haunted-scotland.co.uk/

There is footage of their findings in Elcho Castle, and it’s worth a look: http://haunted-scotland.co.uk/elcho-castle-2/

Do you have any stories about Scottish castles? Have you ever experienced anything you couldn’t explain with science? I’d love to hear from you.

Image of Elcho staircase courtesy of Pinterest: https://nz.pinterest.com/pin/412783122079519314/

Dreaming of ponies and a control tower…

My spooky encounter with RAF Davidstow Moor, in Cornwall

~ Spooky October #1 ~

 

I dreamed of being inside an empty building. It was small inside, constructed entirely of concrete, and had a sad, abandoned feeling. I kicked my way through dried grass and leaves on the floor, walked up narrow concrete stairs and found myself in a long, thin room with one side open. It overlooked a flat plain of grass, with a road cutting straight through it. It reminded me of a 1960’s construction concrete multi-storey carpark, but I had no other frame of reference for it then. To add to the strangeness of the dream, there were wild ponies gathered around the entrance.

 

The dream stayed with me, as they sometimes do, but it was lots of years later while on holiday in Cornwall, that I actually found the building. We were exploring one day and stumbled onto a disused World War 2 airfield – RAF Davidstow Moor. And there was an abandoned control tower. I didn’t recognise it at first – remember, I dreamed about being inside – but I knew I had to get closer, to find a way in. Hubby thought I was crazy, but short of locking the car doors and driving away at high speed, he couldn’t stop me.

23871518_s-control-tower

 

I knew the minute I stepped inside. The dream flooded back in vivid detail and I made my way upstairs to what was actually the viewing gallery, overlooking what had been the runway. Everything was as I’d dreamed it. To say it sent shivers down my spine was an understatement. The only thing missing was the ponies. Really? Ponies in a control tower. Laughing to myself at the absurdity of the morning, I went back downstairs and out to the sunshine, walking around the other side of the tower… and stopping dead when I saw the dozen or so wild ponies sheltering there from the wind.

 

davidstow-moor

 

Images copyright of Flickr Hive Mind http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/davidstow/Timeline

 

I finally wrote this fantastic setting into one of my dark paranormal romances, CRAVING (currently on offer for $0.99). Although it’s part of the Talisman series, it can be read as a standalone.

 

CRAVING (Talisman #2)

02-craving

 

A deal with a demon, a biker psychic and the girl who might just be his salvation… if the demon doesn’t get to her first.

Dante isn’t your typical medium. With his leather jacket, tattoos and piercings, he looks more at home on his motorbike than he does holding a séance and Katherine has no intention of getting involved with him. He’s the complete opposite of the kind of man she wants and represents everything she’s tried to leave behind, but she needs a medium and he’s the best one around.

Dante’s never allowed himself to get close to anyone for fear of putting them in danger. His craving for Katherine is about to bring his worst nightmares to life.

 

Excerpt

Even as I contemplated the impossibility of finding another medium at such short notice, I realized something had changed. I recognized the music instantly. Glen Miller’s Moonlight Serenade. Surely Melissa wasn’t listening to it outside? When the temperature dropped, I felt an icy trickle down my spine. Like an idiot, I held tighter on both sides, Dante and Tristan. Dante’s hand was warm against mine, his palm slightly calloused. The hand of a man who worked for a living. Tristan’s in comparison was smooth and cool.

Dante was speaking, but I didn’t pay any attention. There, flickering in the doorway, like a hologram on a bubble gum card, stood a man in uniform. A Royal Air Force uniform. Oh. My. God. I’d help to set up the room—there was no hidden projection unit, just our own equipment. I hoped to God it all worked. I could see the airman clearly. He was transparent in places, yet parts of him looked solid. I shivered, my breath hanging in front of my face. How could it be so cold, so quickly? I tightened my grip on Dante, excitement coursing through me, the breath catching in my throat.

Tristan stared, his mouth open. Dante’s girl looked mildly interested. Lucy and Chaz, the remaining members of our party gazed with wide eyes, leaning fractionally closer together.

“I thank you for joining us. Please tell us your name.” Dante’s voice, a calming presence, broke through the fear gripping me.

The image shimmered as he took a step closer, tugging off his cap and twisting it in his hands. He frowned, his bushy eyebrows almost meeting in the middle. “I can’t find Emma. Where’s Emma?” His voice was clear and well-spoken, just a hint of a Scottish burr in his accent.

Anticipation bubbled. This was real, tangible proof of the paranormal. Not just a disembodied voice, but a walking and talking apparition. I could never have hoped for such a fantastic success—and in our first session.

Dante spoke, his voice calm and reassuring. “I’m sorry, Emma’s not here. Could you please tell us your name?”

“Sergeant Jackson. Six-one-two Squadron.” He sounded distracted, his eyes darting left and right. He didn’t seem to see us. “Emma said she’d be here for the dance. I know I’m late. Please don’t tell me she’s already left?” His features were blurred: short dark hair, a pale face and dark eyes. I squinted, but he stayed resolutely fuzzy.

“Where are you from, Sergeant Jackson?”

Rubbing the back of his neck, the airman’s mouth twisted. “I need to find her.” Our eyes met. I blinked, turning away, unable to face any more of his pain.

The lamps flickered—I looked back up, but he was gone. Snuffed out as though a light had been turned off. At the same instant, the temperature surged, rose back to normal, and the music stopped. I sucked in an excited breath. Gazing round the table, I looked at Dante and felt a ripple of uncertainty. His head was bowed, shoulders strained, and he was panting—his lungs whistling with each ragged breath. With the damp circles of perspiration on his back, he looked as though he’d run a marathon.

 

~

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A nice little Freebie :-)

Gotta love cowboys.

To celebrate the launch of my site, I’m publishing a little freebie: Come To Me.

Sexy cowboy? Check

Paranormal? Check

Short ‘n’ Smutty? Check

Hope y’all enjoy it – don’t forget to let me know if you do 🙂
Save a horse… ride a cowboy 🙂

This is a freebie, ready for downloading. It’s a short ‘n’ smutty cowboy story with a healthy dose of the paranormal…. Don’t forget to let me know if you like it 🙂

Short ‘n’ hot PNR

Come To Me

Summer is a gifted psychic, and used to seeing spirits, but sexy cowboy Jack McKane is unlike any spirit she has ever encountered… He doesn’t know he’s dead.

<< DOWNLOAD>>