I am often asked if the stories I tell in my books are true. The honest answer is some of the ghosts featured in my stories are inspired by real events--my personal experiences. You see since I was a small girl I have been encountering the supernatural world, often in unusual and surprising ways. Since I'm well over the age of 30 now, (we won't go there) I have quite a collection of personal experiences to drawn on but I have always been an avid reader that only fueled the fire. Between those two factors I have plenty of material to draw upon for my paranormal series and standalone novels.
I thought it might be fun for the next few days to share with you some of my most memorable ghost story moments. Surprisingly enough many of these stories occurred in Ohio. My family is from lower Mississippi and Alabama, namely Mobile, although I was born in Antigua in the British West Indies. My father served in the military and we spent a lot of time traveling to different cities because every three years the Navy would reassign him. (Dad was a teletype expert and worked in cryptic technologies. Brilliant man.)
Anyway the most memorable house, the one that I think about the most often was in a small town called Mount Perry. It was a two-story house, and up until that time it was the largest house our family had ever owned. I remember the first day we saw it, it looked like a magical palace. My little sister and I ran up the stairs to find our shared bedroom and we both claimed one side of the room and one large window that overlooked a garden below. Down in the garden were all sorts of tasty fruits and even one we never tried before, rhubarb. (Is rhubarb or fruit? I'm not sure.) As a huge believer in fairies, I could see the potential for fairy hideouts.
Across the hall from us was another bedroom and this one belong to my little brother. At the time I was eight years old, my sister was five and my little brother was only two. We had a happy family and like most kids in my neighborhood I spent much of my free time riding bicycles up and down the hills of Mount Perry.
After a few months things began to happen but I get ahead of myself. My father decided it would be a good idea to renovate some sections of the old home. One of those planned renovations was to open the unused storage under the staircase. For some reason it had been walled up and was no longer in use. My mom really wanted to use this area for canning jar storage and thought it would be a good place to stash other supplies too. The trouble began almost immediately. As the first wall came down we found old newspapers dating back into the 1800s stuffed in them. We found other weird objects too, like buttons and coins. Mom thought they were fascinating and put them in a scrapbook. After a few more hours of work my dad found another door, this one led into the master bedroom. We had no idea that that door was there and why would anyone want that?
That night we went to bed thinking everything was as it always had been in our nice home but it wasn't. As soon as my sister and I went to bed the trouble started. My sister and I had twin beds, one on each side of the room next to the windows. There was good 20 feet between us and an unused fireplace. That night as we drifted off to sleep my mom began to yell up the stairs at us. "You girls stop running back and forth! This is ridiculous!” We hadn’t heard a thing but fear gripped my stomach. If there was someone up here, I didn’t see them. Or hear them.
Moonlight was shining in our windows, filling the room with weird light. That didn’t help. And even though we were young, we know that my mother was hearing footsteps and she believed they were ours. Immediately I took off running for my sister’s bed and jumped in. The two of us covered up our heads and waited for my mother to come upstairs. Eventually she would, she would scold us for running around the room when we were supposed to be in our beds. We protested. We told her it was not us I'm not quite sure she believed this.
This happened night after night. It frightened my sister and I so much that we did not want to sleep in our rooms anymore. Frustrated with us, but not sure whether to scold us or not, our mother agreed to a compromise. My sister and I could have a sleep over in our own living room. We rolled out our sleeping bags and made ourselves a fort with blankets and for the first time in a long time, slept peacefully.
But sure enough, around 11 PM the footsteps returned. They sounded like the feet of a small child running across our bedroom floor only we were not there. My mother raced into the living room just to make sure that we girls had not pulled a trick on her. That was the night that our mother and our little brother slept in the fort with us.
The next morning when my father came home from the late shift he was amazed to find us all sleeping in the living room. My mother demanded that he close the closet back up and end the renovations. He didn't argue much because he knew how upset we were and soon that particular phenomenon ended. My sister and I could sleep in our beds again without worry that little footsteps would run around keeping us up all night.
And for a while all was well in our Ohio home.
Until something else began to happened…