Posts Tagged ‘ghost stories’

WriYe and Horror

Catching up on my WriYe blog circle prompts, plus it’s an easy blog topic in the midst of convention planning, haha.

(Trying to figure out my last outfit for the con. Do I want something that says “horror writer” to go along with Hallowed Hill? Do I want to look professional? Do I want to look eclectic and artistic? Do I want to just dress like myself? Should I wear unicorn pajamas? Options abound.)

Here’s October’s prompt: Your thoughts on horror/gore/scary stories?

In general I am pro-horror, which comes as no surprise. I love ghosts especially, and am less enamored of other paranormal creatures such as werewolves, vampires, and zombies. I don’t read or watch a lot of those.

I’d say ghosts first–and ghosts are a major draw to a story for me–and eldritch horrors second, or really any story where you’re never really sure what it is that’s out there, if anything. And ghost-adjacent things are also good.

I am also fond of Gothic literature, though I do prefer there to be actual paranormal aspects, or at least a really juicy mystery or family secret. (One that’s not just dead children buried on the premises. God. I am so sick of dead children.)

I love scary stories, where the scares come from the atmosphere, or the unknowing, or the mystery. Which is probably why I like ghost stories so much, especially ones where it’s the little things you really have to look for.

I am not a gore person. If a game or a book or a movie relies mostly on gore and violence, count me out. I don’t need that in my life.

(With books I’m a little more flexible, because I can skim through violence or gore if necessary if the story is worth it otherwise. Though I have found that if the story feels like it needs quite so much gore and/or violence, it doesn’t necessary have the legs to stand up otherwise.)

I mostly read or listen to scary stories (through podcasts or YouTube videos) and don’t really watch a lot of horror movies or television shows. I don’t necessarily scare very easily, but I do have an overactive imagination, and even visuals that weren’t especially scary in the moment tend to pop up at inconvenient times (usually the middle of the night).

(When I saw the Ring in college, I slept with the television on for three nights straight, because if the TV was already on it couldn’t turn itself on. Though I either saw or hallucinated a really disturbing episode of the Flintstones one night, so that’s a thing. And when I saw The Witches when I was six, I thought a witch was living under my bed for about six months, despite that not being an aspect of the movie at all.)

What are your thoughts on horror and scary stories, squiders? What’s your favorite scary movie? (I’m rather partial to The Village, which is not technically horror, I don’t think, and also has a very predictable twist.) Favorite ghost story? Especially share your ghost stories.


A Landsquid, a Turtleduck, and a Ghost Story Walk Into a Bar…

Hey, want to see what a landsquid looks like when you haven’t drawn one in a few months?

what is this

My imagination is weird.

Also, in celebration of the haunting season being afoot, you can read my new ghost story, The Door in the Attic, over at Turtleduck Press for free!

I Love Ghost Stories But Wouldn’t Want to Be In One

(Due to unforeseen circumstances, the discussion of The Wind in the Door will take place next Tuesday, October 2nd.)

My husband recently came home. “Guess what?” he said. “They’re having a paranormal party!”

“They’re having a what?” I said.

“A paranormal party.”

“And what is that?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

The next day he’d done some research. “They’re having it at the mansion,” he said. “There’ll be a team of ghost hunters, and they’ll have an equipment talk and demonstration, and then everyone’s invited to do a ghost sweep of the mansion. This is awesome. Let’s do it.”

“No,” I said. “Are you kidding me?”

He stared at me. “I don’t understand. You love those ghost hunting programs.”

Normally, Squiders, I love to try new things. And I do love ghost stories and ghost hunting programs. But I’ve been a bit edgy about ghosts recently. You see, I don’t know if I believe in them or not. I don’t know if I believe in the paranormal at all. The ghost hunting shows are somewhat living vicariously for me, because I know what I would do if I did go ghost hunting: I would sit in a dark room and psych myself out, because I have an overactive imagination, and it does terrible things to me when I let it go unchecked.

As an example: when I was in third grade at Catholic school, we used to play Bloody Mary in the dark bathrooms after school. Everyone’s familiar with Bloody Mary, yes? Good. Anyway, I figured there was no way I was actually going to summon Bloody Mary, because that seemed stupid, so I ditzed around instead, but then there was this glow in the corner, and it started to expand, and to form a human-shape…

…I was out of there faster than you can say “Oh God Almighty WHAT IS THAT.”

Did I really see something?

I don’t know, but I know better than to push things.

(Also, I’m still on edge about the nursery and the cat staring at the corner of the ceiling and my child watching things moving that I cannot see…)

My husband thinks I’m being silly. And maybe I am. What do you think, Squiders? Do I suck it up and go for the experience? Do I trust my gut and stay home?

I cannot guarantee I will listen to you on this one.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Oh, Squiders, how I love ghost stories. And I love horror ala Poe or Lovecraft. But this love comes with a price. You see, my husband and I normally read in bed right before we go to sleep.

You see where I’m going with this.

Night is rarely silent. There’s animals outside, cars going past, houses settling. My cat likes to open and close the hallway cabinet doors which, at first, sounds like someone is in your house opening and closing doors until you realize what it is. That cat is going to drive me crazy someday.

And yet, despite my overactive imagination, I read these things right before bed anyway.

I tell myself it all isn’t real, but I’ll notice movements out of the corner of my eye (which is invariably a car passing outside or, once, my own reflection in a mirror, yay). We’ve had a recent addition to the family that means I’m up at odd hours, and while I’m dealing with that, my cat will come in and stare intently at one corner of the ceiling, and the new addition will talk to himself when he’s alone.

Everything is creepier at 3 am.

I tell myself that I need to stop reading horror right before bed. Or at night at all, actually. Sometimes, if it’s late enough and dark enough, I can’t even watch my beloved ghost hunting shows without freaking myself out. And, sometimes, after enough false starts, I will put that book down and wait until sunlight.

Until the next book, at least. And then the pattern starts all over…

(In case you’re wondering, I’m currently reading Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood.)

An Appreciation of Haunted Collector

As you know, Squiders, I appreciate the odd ghost hunting show. Which is why I like Haunted Collector, because it does something different.

In the past, there’s been two types of ghost show: one where we recreate “true” experiences, and one where we explore supposedly haunted locations. Haunted Collector acknowledges that aside from places being haunted, objects can also be haunted. (Also: people can be haunted. But that’s a different thing altogether.)

So, if you’re unfamiliar with the show, the team goes into a location and attempts to locate an object that might be haunted. I think they must ask the owner to identify objects of suspicion before hand: things that entered the building right before the haunting started or escalated, things that are extremely old, things that they found left in the house by previous owners (as the leader, John, says, there’s often a reason things are left behind).

After they identify potential objects, they do a baseline sweep (during the day! Hallelujah!) to see if anything is giving off an EMF field or if they get any EVPs near a particular object (or one that was not previously identified), and then they return at night with the full ghost-hunting set-up to see if they can pinpoint activity to something specific.

What’s kind of neat is sometimes, when it’s not one of the suspected objects, sometimes they’ll follow the clues to find something else, like something buried in the basement, or something in a vent, or on the grounds outside.

I find it to be great story fodder because, let’s face it, this isn’t something people worry about usually. When you find something cool or old, would you think twice about picking it up and taking it home with you? If you find a locket buried beneath a tree, would you worry that its original owner never found peace? Probably not. And that opens a lot of doors.

A Treatise on Ghost Hunting Programs

So, if you guys have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I love a good ghost story. So it should come to no surprise that I watch the occasional ghost hunting show on television.

And I really like them, but at the same time, they seem ridiculously silly to me.

Here is a list of things that are ridiculous:

1) At night, in the dark.
Every ghost-hunting show I have ever seen does this. And I don’t know why. If you listen to the claims, most of the time activity happens during the day, or with the lights on, or whenever. I mean, aside from apparitions watching people sleep, nothing seems terribly time or dark dependent. If anything, if you believe that entities need energy to manifest, it seems like turning off the lights just makes it harder for everyone involved. Plus so many of these haunted places have claims of shadow people, and tell me that the dark doesn’t make EVERYTHING look like a shadow person.

2) “Did you hear that?”
Ghost hunters rely on EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) as a mainstay ghost-hunting tool. They will cart tape recorders (or, I guess, digital recorders these days) everywhere and ask questions, trying to find voices that can’t be heard normally. Yet, every time there’s the slightest creak, everyone stops what they’re doing and says something like “OMG what was that? Did you hear that?” I would think, if you’re trying to listen for disembodied voices and you think you heard something that might possibly have paranormal origins, the last thing you would want to do would be to ask stupid questions. Also, they do this ALL THE TIME.

Actually, a good description of ghost hunting shows probably would be “a bunch of people wandering around in the dark saying ‘What was that?’ every few minutes.”

Related – doing this while outside. For example, Ghost Hunters International did at least three jungle investigations this last season. When they’d do the “What was that?” thing, I would yell at the TV, “IT’S A FREAKING ANIMAL. YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A JUNGLE.” And one time they were hearing growls, and I would have been out of there so fast, but GHI? No. They will risk being eaten by panthers in the name of paranormal science.

3) Every place is haunted.
This is getting worse as time goes on. At first, half or so of the investigations would turn up nothing. It wasn’t great television, but it did lead some credence to the whole thing. Ghost Hunters is a good example of this. Nowadays, even if they don’t catch anything truly paranormal, they’ll rely on phantom footsteps and strange feelings to keep things interesting. (Or, if you’re less cynical than I am, you could claim that as they’ve gotten more famous they tend to stick to more definitively haunted places. Whatever floats your boat.)

4) The spirits mean you no harm.
This is a new one on the list, because I’ve just noticed it. The owners of whatever will be terrified and want to know if they need to worry about their family/staff/visitors being harmed by said entity. Most of the time, the ghost hunting team will find nothing. But I’ve seen some episodes where the team is scratched, or has rocks thrown at them, or something else that I would classify as “not cool,” and then when they go back to the owners, they tell them that everything is fine and no one will get hurt. Their definition of “hurt” is apparently not the same as my definition of hurt.

Don’t get me wrong – I really do enjoy the shows. And sometimes they’ll find something that just makes your skin crawl, and those are good days. And the rest of the time you can pretend like you’re watching a really bad horror movie and yell things at the screen.

How do you feel about ghost hunting shows, Squiders? Excellent entertainment? Realistic at all? What are your pet peeves?

Ghost Stories

I have been reading a ridiculous amount of ghost stories lately.  Usually in the bright daylight, because I’m the sort of person that will freak myself out and then I will end up spending the night with the lights on watching Disney movies.  (I watched Cartoon Network once, but I either found or managed to dream the most disturbing Flintstones episode of all time, so that is no longer an option.)

I swear this isn’t random.  In the science fiction serial I’ve been working on, there’s a black cat.  I knew I wanted the cat to be important, but I wasn’t sure how, and so I put “cat protectors” into Google and somehow found a website called  It’s user submitted stories and pictures, and while some stories are obvious hoaxes, a lot of them read “true” enough.

I did end up finding a purpose for my cat (elsewhere) but I find the stories to be interesting and I’ve found some things that I might use for a dark fantasy novel I’m planning.  The comments are a treasure-trove, full of people offering solutions to various ghostly issues and recommending things not to do.  It is brilliant.  I do wish the search function worked better so I could search for stories pertaining to certain things (mirrors, doors, portals) because right now I have to haphazardly jump from story to story.

I am a bit worried that I will eventually manage to scare myself silly anyway, but I persist in my reading for now.

How do you feel about stories of the paranormal?  Silly, scary, good story fodder?  Inquiring minds (and landsquid) want to know.