Friday, 31 October 2014

One Epic Ghost Hunt: Bodelwyddan Castle, Wales – Saturday 10th April 2010

Wow!  This was one epic and exciting ghost hunt!  Bodelwyddan Castle is beautifully kept and a fantastic museum and antique centre.  And they have a second-hand bookshop in the grounds!  I could feel the Spirit energy building as I drove to the venue, and it felt excited, as though the ghosts were ready to play...

On the walk round I felt dizzy in the hallway by the main staircase.  I knew that it was an active area but couldn’t connect with any of the energies to identify them.  The Library was a very masculine room, both in décor and the general atmosphere.  The Dining Room felt more welcoming and a bit more feminine-influenced.  In the bedroom I sensed a female spirit who was a very pretty and delicate lady and she was immensely proud of this room.  She wanted us to admire it because it was modern and stylish.

In the Library we spoke to Alfred, his brother Thomas, and a man who called himself Jeffries.  This was all done using the planchette.   Jeffries said he had murdered Thomas out of jealousy and he wasn’t remorseful.  In fact he seemed quite proud of his crime.  Jeffries was very strong and he moved the planchette across the table so it had two wheels hanging over the edge.  Then he moved it around the edge of the table but he lost it on the corner and it fell to the floor. I had never experienced this kind of movement before and was very impressed.

In the Dining Room we set up the glass and spoke to Margaret, who was Alfred’s wife.  She seemed very gentle and pleasant and told us she had three children, Alex, Jonathon and Alison.  We were about to ask her some more questions when Alfred came in and took over the glass, advising us that he had sent his family away and we should speak to him!  He was very protective and I got the impression he was well loved and respected by his wife and children, and vice-versa.

After that we spoke to George, who came across as a portly, jovial 18th Century gentleman who enjoyed his brandy and the ladies!  His son Henry also came onto the glass but wouldn’t speak to the women in our group.  He only answered questions from a man. Apparently George had a mistress and an illegitimate daughter and it destroyed the family.  As a result of this Henry blamed the mistress and subsequently mistrusted women.

We then spoke to Bernadette, the illegitimate daughter.  She said we could call her Bernie, and explained that she and her mother were banished from the castle after the truth of George’s affair came out.  Bernie’s mother resented her for spoiling everything and she had an unhappy childhood as a result.  We felt really sorry for Bernie!  But then she said that she had been happily married and had children of her own.  We even sympathized with Henry after he told us the story and he gradually began answering questions from one of the women in our group.  After a while we felt the strong presences of all these Spirits surrounding us and it made us feel quite uncomfortable so we ended the vigil and went for a break.

In the rear hallway we sat on the floor to try some EVP and Pete (Medium) became overwhelmed by a drunkard gamekeeper called James.  This man affected a couple of women in our group by making them feel dizzy and one even smelt alcohol fumes.  Pete then said that James was having lewd thoughts about us!  He had been a hard worker and a hard drinker during his life but he seemed harmless enough.  At the end of the hallway was a sofa and I could see a man sat on it watching our group.  He wasn’t the gamekeeper; I think he was a gentleman, but I could get nothing from him.  He was simply observing but didn’t want to interact.  I also saw a lady in the hallway stood near our table.  She was curious about us but wouldn’t come any closer because she was afraid of James and what he might do.  She was tall and slender, with brown hair worn in an up-do, and she was wearing a pale blue dress.

We moved into the main hallway and found the other group with a tipping-table.  Paul (Medium) had contacted five young children and 14 year-old Patricia.  We started singing Ring O Roses and the table actually moved in time to the nursery rhyme!  It was amazing!  Then someone suggested we try a different song and the children joined in with Row Your Boat!  I was so impressed and excited because I've never seen this before and it was such a fantastic experience.

Later on we were doing EVP in the bedroom and we heard the sound of one of the toys being played in the Toy Room upstairs.  Two people went to investigate and couldn't explain how it had happened.  We all hovered on the landing for a bit but it was quiet and when we moved away we heard it again, it was eerie!

In the cellar we had been told there was a man who had been affecting people in the other group earlier that night.  He is apparently a very mischievous Spirit who had tormented many people over the years to the point where the Bodelwyddan staff refer to him as ‘Cellar Man’ and are used to his presence!  So we went in search of him.  He moved the glass a little bit and said his name was Matthew but we didn’t believe him.  Eventually we got bored and left him.

Finally we spoke to Mary using the glass in the Library.  Apparently she was George’s sister and they were cousins with Alfred and Thomas.  Mary was married to Timothy and her children were Anne, Emily, Laura and Giles.  She seemed very happy and was strong and talkative.  In fact it was dawn outside when we finished speaking to her!  Mary told us that George’s wife was Margaret and his mistress was called Lillian.  Mary and George also had a sister called Caroline.  Mary also told us that the man in the cellar was called Harold.

Bodelwyddan Castle is certainly a home with a rich history and a large family.  I think we could compile a whole biography from these spirits if we were to return with a list of questions…

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Ghost Hunter Diaries: The Watermillock, Bolton, Friday 13th November 2009

This was one amazing night!  Let me begin by setting the scene…  After a few wrong turns I finally arrived at the Toby Carvery Pub known as The Watermillock.  The large building is imposing to look at and has gargoyles above the front door in true Victorian Gothic style.  Yet there was something warm about it; the colour of the brick, the large windows with a glimpse into the warm, cosy interior and even a black cat sat in an upstairs window watching people coming and going.  So I stepped inside…

Our first vigil was on the first floor and we began using a planchette on the tiled floor of the landing area.  The planchette is a divination tool.  Quite simply it is a wooden board on wheels, with a hole in the middle through which we push a pen or pencil.  We then place the apparatus onto a large piece of paper, each person will rest a fingertip on the edge of the board, and we will ask for a spirit person to come forward and speak with us.  The spirit will then use our collective energy to push the board around the paper to either write a message or even just draw a picture or symbol.  Sometimes they will simply move the board to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions.

During our walk round I had seen a small boy walk across this area and peer into the room where we were sat and I was hoping he would come and speak to us.  He didn't but we soon had a response from a man who identified himself as Herbert, grandfather to John who was in our investigation group.  Herbert had been a soldier injured in WW2 and was brought to the Red Cross hospital in this building in the mid 1940s.  He was very strong and seemed only to want to reassure John that he was still with him, but he was very private and wouldn't answer any personal questions.  He did say there were other spirits in the house but none of them were able to speak to us at the time.

The second vigil was a whole new experience for me as a ghost hunter and I will never forget it!  We moved into the cellar and into a disused room that Lorraine (the medium) had felt very uncomfortable in during our walk-round earlier in the evening.  At the time I hadn't felt anything unusual, which in itself confused me because I generally feel very anxious in cellars and enclosed spaces.  But as I walked down the stairs from the ground floor I had a sudden strong feeling that someone would try and push me down even though there was nobody behind me.  Then when I turned the lights off for us to begin our vigil I had a strong urge to run back upstairs to safety, I did not want to enter this room!

We moved in and sat down around the table but each of us huddled into our chair and was very nervous of the unknown energies.  I even had to ensure I sat on a high backed chair rather than a stool because it felt safer.  We used a glass in this room because it seemed appropriate.  By ‘using the glass’ I mean it as a method of divination to communicate with spirits.  We ask questions and the glass is moved around the table to indicate either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in answer.  The energy is raised by each person in the seance circle placing a fingertip very lightly on the edge of the upturned glass, so that the spirit person can ‘push’ it.  We very quickly got a response in here.

Through questioning we met 17-year-old Gertrude, who was very strong when moving the glass.  She seemed to attach to Maggie in our group because she felt safe with her.  Gertrude told us that she was alone in the cellar and that she had been brought to the hospital in 1943 having been fatally injured by a trusted male friend.  He had apparently proposed marriage to her and when she rejected him he became angry and hurt her.  Then he took her to the hospital where she died on 10th December.  At this point the glass was moving very forcefully around the table as Gertrude demonstrated her loneliness and isolation, and Maggie started crying almost to the point of hysterics as she became involved with the spirit.  We then asked Gertrude if she needed our help and she said yes, The glass was almost flying in circles around the table.

I went upstairs and asked Lorraine if she could come and help us and she knew instantly that it was a young girl that we were communicating with.  She came into the cellar with me and proceeded to help Gertrude move into the Light (a mysterious other realm that I am not familiar with), where she was reunited with her long lost brother.  The emotions and the energy I felt during this particular seance was so intense I was left exhausted, as were the other members of our group, but we felt so much better once we knew Gertrude was in a safe place.

Lorraine suggested we move into the next large room in the cellar, which is used as a staff room.  The atmosphere in here was much lighter and there was no sense of oppression.  We then attempted table tipping with almost instantaneous results!  It was a square table, which had a small brass goblet on top.  The table tipped almost vertical and the cup never moved until I commented on it to ask if it was stuck in place.  Then the table was lowered, paused and tipped again and this time the cup fell off.  Lorraine laughed and told us it was a young boy who was playing with us and we did feel very jolly and happy.

Finally we came to our third vigil, by which time we had had quite enough strong energy and were ready to relax a little.  We sat in the large ground floor restaurant area towards the rear of the building, and it felt very homely and strangely comforting.  A few of us commented that we could quite happily curl up on the floor and fall asleep knowing that we were safe and protected.  I had a vision of the room filled with warm candlelight and people laughing and chattering together while a huge fire roared in the grate.  Lorraine felt that this part of the house would have been separate to the hospital and that the family life was very happy and comfortable.  While I was sat at a table on my own I became aware of my Yorkshire Terrier dog, Toby, who had passed away 18 months ago.  He padded towards me as he used to during life, and I felt him jump up and put his front paws on my knee while he asked for a fuss.  At the same time I felt a strong cold draft across my knee even though the room and the rest of my body was warm.  I was greatly comforted with this and was aware of Toby lying by my foot relaxing.

I was very surprised to learn that ours was the only group who experienced any strong activity during our investigations.  The whole house seems alive to me and I cannot wait to return and see who else we can speak to!  It is wonderful to know that we leave a little of ourselves behind when we pass over, because to communicate with Spirit is to have history come alive and to know that there is always something more, something beyond our physical Earth realm, just waiting to be explored when the time is right.  And this is exactly what I felt in The Watermillock; history from its past inhabitants, families, patients, doctors and any number of other people with stories to tell and memories to share.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Inspired by the Ghosts I Meet #amwriting #paranormal

Did you know I am a ghost hunter? Yes, really, like the guys you see on Most Haunted, or Ghost Adventures, or TAPS. I actually do ghost investigations, séances and all the rest of it.  Well, I did up until I started having children. Now I am on what you might call extended maternity leave, but I am itching to return to my hunts.

Anyway, in honour of Halloween, and because I am reminiscing about my ghost hunting adventures, I have decided to share reports of some of my early investigations. You can see them over on my personal blog, Spooky Mrs Green (yes, that is where the spooky connection comes from!) I collectively call them the Ghost Hunter Diaries, and I might consider publishing a book at some point in the future. For now I will focus on my fiction work.

The ghosts and spirits I encountered, and the places I visited during the past eight years, have all helped with inspiration for my writing. Their characters, personalities and stories all appear in various forms and snippets. I have spent the night in haunted castles, houses, pubs, theatres and even in the famous Edinburgh Vaults. Ah yes, such happy memories! And, for an added bonus, I will share a couple of reports of other ghost hunts over here, to show you where my inspiration comes from.

Happy ghost story hunting my friends!

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Vampires in Cornwall on the Hump Day Hook #HDH

Today on the Hump Day Hook I share with you an excerpt from my debut novel Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel). This is a scene between Jessica Stone and Marcus Scott (whose story you read in The Darkness of Love), on the evening when they first meet…

      Marcus reached up to stroke my hair and I was suddenly alert, sobered by this inappropriate behaviour.  I tried to push him away.  
    “Marcus please, I’m with Jack,” I said in a shaking voice, “I don’t know what you are expecting.”
    “Shush Jessica.” he replied, “Jack won’t mind.  Trust me.”  
     He leaned his face in against me, and his body was firm and heavy.  He was too strong for me to move.  I tried to struggle but he pinned my arms at my sides.  Now I was starting to panic.  I raised my voice but was suddenly hoarse, maybe from the alcohol. 
     “Marcus stop!” I cried, “Please stop, you’re hurting me!”
     I was suddenly in a blind panic as he lifted his head, his face pale, and his eyes wild.  He opened his mouth and I tried to scream.  He was going to bite me!  

If you enjoyed this one, why not pop over to our dedicated Hump Day Hook blog and see what my fellow authors have to offer. We write about romance, love, science fiction, fantasy, erotica and everything in-between, so you are sure to find something that delights the senses. You can also find us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Why Do I Write Paranormal Stories?

I have always had a fascination with the world of the supernatural and paranormal.  As a child I loved reading ghost stories and watching TV documentaries. Strange But True was one that I remember as a favourite, and one of the few that I was allowed to watch.  My all-time favourite Hollywood films include Ghostbusters 1 and 2 and The Addams Family trilogy.  When I was old enough I wasted no time in watching Hammer Horror classics and whatever horror films I could get my hands on!  My dissertation at university was about vampires in popular culture and their presence in society today.

I have always been a bookworm. My early favourite stories were usually of the fairytale variety, adventure stories by Enid Blyton, and fantastical fictional feasts by Roald Dahl. As I grew older and began to discover the new world of Young Adult (as then uncategorised in popular fiction), I was excited to find that there were hundreds of books about vampires, werewolves, witches and other supernatural creatures. In my cultural circle these sorts of stories were very much relegated to childhood reading, and I was encouraged to ‘get real’ as I grew up.

What does it mean to ‘get real’ anyway? The paranormal world is very much alive and thriving, even if people prefer to think of it as fiction or fantasy. The very fact that all of these stories exist makes them real. Fans of popular television series such as True Blood and The Vampire Diaries will agree that to them the characters and stories are also very real. It is simply an exaggerated form of reality, something that might happen in a parallel universe or alternate reality. And that is probably why I write paranormal stories. I love the freedom, the possibility, and yes, the romance, of the creatures and characters that come to me.

Have you tried the Redcliffe novels yet? Maybe you should…

Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

*Strange But True image courtesy of Britmovie; Monsters image courtesy of Digital Art Gallery

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hump Day Hook Returns with a Bite! #HDH

I am very happy to rejoin the Hump Day Hook crew this month, and what better time of year to showcase my beloved creatures of the night? Today I share with you an excerpt from my latest novel The Darkness of Love

           Marcus stirred slowly.  He blinked and opened his eyes, wondering what had happened and where he was.  His mind was strangely empty.  He did not feel drunk, and he did not feel ill.  But he wasn’t sure what these strange sensations were.  He was lying on a sofa.  He sat bolt upright when he realised it was in Lord Stockton’s study.  He sensed another presence in the room, and his eyes alighted on the still figure of Amelia Richmond, watching him from her seat on the adjacent sofa.  She was smiling, and Marcus’ heart skipped a beat and started pounding.
          “My Lady,” he gasped, leaping off the sofa, “Why am I here?  What happened?”
           Amelia continued to stare at him.  There was something unnatural about the way she sat, something inhuman.  Slowly, Marcus remembered what had happened.
           “I drank his blood,” he whispered, touching his lips, “He is a monster.”

If you enjoyed this one, why not pop over to our dedicated Hump Day Hook blog and see what my fellow authors have to offer. We write about romance, love, science fiction, fantasy, erotica and everything in-between, so you are sure to find something that delights the senses. You can also find us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Inspiration Hits at the Worst Possible Time #amwriting

Picture the scene: it is late morning, and I have finally made it into the shower after chasing my two young children for the past three hours. The baby is asleep, the older child is amusing herself with a quiet game. I breath a sigh of relief, step into the steaming jet of water, and lather up my shampoo. And that is when it happens. Something clicks into place, a flash of inspiration darts across my mind, and suddenly I have the most fantastic idea for a series of blog posts that might, just might, bring in enough readers and sharers to actually sell some books! Hallelujah! I have to write them down, now, this minute, before I forget.

But wait, I'm all soapy. I only just got in the shower, and if I go rampaging around the house like a mad thing, the dog will start barking, the baby will wake, and all will be lost. So I stop. I take a deep breath, I hold on to those inspirational thoughts, and then I hurriedly finish off with my shower. Diving out of the bath, I wrap the towel around me, hurry downstairs, find my notebook, and finally the words are recorded. Now I will not forget. Now, I have ideas. Phew! Oh, and there would have been a post-shower selfie to accompany this post if I had my mobile phone. But I don't. That is a long story involving my baby, my smartphone, and a concrete floor. You can guess what happened next...

See you next time! #amwriting

Friday, 10 October 2014

A Creative Mind filled with Ideas. I Just Need to Write it Down!

Recently I am falling into the classic trap of the writer; I am procrastinating even though I have a deadline looming and a head full of ideas for story fillers. I don't know why I am doing this. The deadline in question is not fixed by contract, so that is part of the problem. It is simply the deadline for a short story competition that I want to enter. So why can't I actually write it? I mean, I even have the rough thing written down in diary form, because the idea comes from a personal experience a few years ago. I don't understand what my problem is!

I have notebooks filled with scrawled snippets to be included in future stories. My head is scrambled because the words are desperate for release. I sit down at my computer with the intention of writing, and somehow I distract myself with social media, and emails, and blogs, and every other little piece of the puzzle that fit together to form the life of the 21st century indie author. And then I am interrupted at frequent intervals to deal with my children, or my dog, or do that little household chore that I've been meaning to do all week... and the list goes on.

How do I move on from this? How can I stop myself from procrastinating when I know I should be writing? I need to be strict. I need to time my writing schedule more effectively so I don't get interrupted by needy children. I need to do a whole lot of things to make it all work. But you know what? Right now it doesn't matter. The stories will come when they are ready. They are always there, always waiting. Some days they force their way out, and on those occasions I embrace the mood and simply write. That is just how I work. How do you work? Do you procrastinate, or do you just write?

Monday, 6 October 2014

My Favourite Season for Writing Inspiration

There is something very magical about October. I can only put it down to the fact that we celebrate Halloween at the very end of the month. Here in the UK there has never been much of an emphasis on celebrating this festival, but of course we have absorbed some of the American influences in popular media over the years. For me, Halloween has always been special, but as a child I never really understood why. I just knew that I wanted to meet the ghosts and spectres that everyone was so afraid of!

Well, my dreams were realized when I became a ghost hunter several years ago, and now my curiosity has been satisfied. But I don't think Halloween (or Samhain for my pagan friends) is the only reason I enjoy October. This is the time of year when summer gives way to autumn, Mother Nature displays a riot of colours and textures, and the weather takes on a refreshing chill of an evening. Yes, I admit, the dark mornings and early nights are a bit difficult to get used to, but even those increase the excitement, as I am reminded that we are creeping closer to Christmas and all the upcoming festivities we have planned.

All in all, it makes a perfect recipe for writing paranormal stories, and discovering the adventures of my vampires, witches and werewolves in Cornwall and beyond... Is this your favourite time of year? Why do you prefer to write, create or otherwise rejoice in the autumn/fall season?

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!)