Fridays Frights: The Ghosts of Haven beach and Old House Woods

East of Richmond, Virginia, near the small town of Diggs in Matthews county, with the Chesapeake Bay just beyond Haven beach lies a 50 acre section of forest and marshland known as Old House Woods. For years there have been reports of paranormal and ghostly activity in these woods.

From the ghosts of British redcoats to the apparitions of pirates dressed in knights armor. Mysterious shovelers can be heard digging in the dark. Ghost horses and cows vanish right before your eyes. There's even been reports of a fully rigged Spanish galleon that vanishes into the night. Ghost lights have been seen moving through the woods and a Storm Woman will sometimes appear, floating above the trees to warn of an impending gale. There have even been rumors of a time warp that lies somewhere within the forest.

Old House Woods


Some will tell you there's nothing wrong in Old House Woods, that the reports of paranormal activity are the results of an over active imagination. Others have reported an overwhelming sense of dread overcoming them upon entering the woods at night. Of hearing a cow bell when the night is still around them with no wind to stir a wind chime to account for the sound. Of the skeletal ghost of a pirate that will emerge from the sea. Of two headless black dogs that will attack your vehicle if you linger too long.

It is rumored that buried treasure, guarded by the ghosts of the dead, lies somewhere within that marshy forest. King Charles II sent a load of treasure to the new world in the event he had to go into exile. The ship carrying the treasure became lost, was attacked by pirates who took the treasure and buried it. It is rumored that Cornwallis had gold and silver buried in a graveyard near White's Creek following the battle of Yorktown.

Such a desolate place with a so much history is bound to attract such rumors. If you go there to see for yourself remember the abandoned house is private property so please respect the owners right against trespassing.

While you're here don't forget to enter my monthly giveaway. This month I'm giving away  a $10.00 Amazon gift card along with an electronic library of all mu published works. The next drawing take place August 15, 2014. Follow the Where's Puddles giveaway link above to enter.




Fridays Frights: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

There’s just something about an old, abandoned, insane asylum that screams haunted. For one thing they’re usually isolated following the view that out of sight, meant out of mind to the general populace. In the early days Mental illness was not understood as well as it is today leaving those who suffered with the impairment at the mercy of sadistic practitioners who could experiment on them without fear of reprisal. Using techniques from electroshock therapy to ice pick lobotomies in an attempt to cure them of their illness.

Some people believe the walls of a building absorb the vibrations of its past occupants, hence the reason for paranormal activity in some places. What we are witnessing is the residue of a past life that has imprinted itself upon the structure that houses it.

There are those who believe mental illness is a more enlightened state of consciousness. An ability to see, that which remains hidden from the rest of us, and would explain why one with a mental impairment will speak to an object, or person, we cannot see. Maybe they’re carrying on a conversation we can only hear one half of.

Is it any wonder that insane asylums are the creepiest places?

Billed as the largest hand cut stone structure in the U.S, the second largest in the world, beat out only by the Kremlin, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, formerly known as The Weston State Hospital in Weston, West Virginia has secured its place as one of the ten scariest places in the U.S. Originally named Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, it was renamed Weston State Hospital. The new owners of the property have restored its original name that has been protested by mental illness advocates.




Originally constructed by Irish stonemasons between 1858 and 1881 the hospital opened its doors to patient in 1864. It was designed to hold 250 patients but by the 1950’s the patient population had skyrocketed to 2,400 tormented souls held in overcrowded, generally poor conditions. Changes in the treatment of mental illness and the physical deterioration of the structure forced its closure in 1994.

In one hall on the first floor visitors have reported being pushed against the wall while a loud whistling sound, with no known source, comes from down the hallway. The apparition known as Ruth, who as a patient was very violent towards men and would often throw things at them, is purported to haunt this same hallway.

In ward two on the second floor shadowy figures are sometimes seen near where a patient was stabbed seventeen times by another patient. Two other patients were known to have hung themselves from the curtain rods in their rooms, and visitors have reported hearing voices telling them to get out.

The third floor houses the nurse’s quarters where there have been sightings of Elizabeth, the ghost of a nurse who once worked in the hospital, it is purported that she was killed by a patient and her body lay at the bottom of a stairwell for nearly sixty days before it was discovered by authorities. There have been reports of voices and footsteps where no one can be found. In the geriatrics wing shadowy figures are often encountered.



Ward R, on the fourth floor, is one of the creepiest areas with reports of a ghostly shadow known as the Creeper. Then there’s Lily’s room. While it may be bright and airy during the day the small toys left on the windowsills are sure to send a chill down your spine.

There are no clear reports on who Lily was in life. Some say she was the child of Gladys Ravensfield who had been brought to Trans-Allegheny after she had been raped by a group of soldiers during the civil war. Gladys gave birth to a baby girl the staff named Lily, but the newborn died several days later. Yet the ghost is that of a child who, it is reported, will place her hand into your own, and will tug at your clothes like a child trying to get your attention. She will also take any candy left out for her.


The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is open to the general public for a variety of tours. From Heritage tours that focus on the unique architecture, to ghost hunting tours that range from half an hour to overnight for the truly dedicated ghost hunter out there. The hospital was featured on Ghost Hunters in season four episode nine which aired in 2008. On October 30, 2009 the travel channel aired a seven hour special on its reality TV show Ghost Adventures.



For more information on tours go to http://trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com

Fridays Frights: Donor blog Tour & 5 Questions with Nikki Rae

The Donor (Part One) Synopsis:
[Disclaimer: This is a serial novella that will be told in parts about the length of a short story (20-30 pages)]
Casey Williams and her family are poor. Her parents work non-stop and so does she, just so they can keep the trailer roof from leaking.
They’re getting by fine enough when the headaches start. Then there’s the nosebleeds. And the inevitable doctor’s bills.
Fortunately for Casey, there’s MyTrueMatch.com: an exclusive, quick, and almost easy way to pay it all back before her parents even have to know.
All she has to do is give a man she’s never met whatever he wants from her body.




Friday's Five with Nikki Rae

1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

A.) I've always seen myself as a story-teller. I can remember being as young as second grade telling people stories I had made up about gargoyles and vampires--trying to convince them it was all real. It wasn't until high school that I started writing these stories down. That's when I started to consider myself a writer, when I started taking my stories seriously.

2.) What is the hardest part of writing?

A.) I love most everything about writing, especially the hard parts. Plotting, character development, sentence structure, making sure you're "getting it right"--all of these things can be hard at different stages of anything I write, but I like being challenged so it works out in the end.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) I felt like I was going to explode, naturally. I felt like everything I had been working toward for five plus years was finally worth it. I felt like for the first time in my life, I was where I was supposed to be. Then I wanted to eat candy and explode.

4.) In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

A.) Animals. I love animals and I love helping care for all kind of different ones. My day job is at a pet store, so I guess that has something to do with it. I also really love reading and researching different topics, from mental illness to space travel.

5.) If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?

A.)  I would ask Neil Gaiman to have tea with me. He can say no if he wants, I just want to be able to ask.

Author Bio:
Nikki Rae is a writer who lives in New Jersey. As an independent author, she has appeared numerously on Amazon Best Seller lists and she concentrates on making her imaginary characters as real as possible. Nikki writes mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.



Nikki can be found at all the usual haunts on the web.
 

Behind the Curtain of the Dead Series: T.W. Brown

When I first sat down and wrote the opening line for the DEAD series, I was thinking,  “Maybe I have a five book series here.” By the end of that book, I knew it was going to take more than that. My mind was made up that I was going to write the “Wheel of Time” equivalent for the zombie crowd. I was set to build an entire world and then take the reader on a whirlwind tour of the apocalypse populated with a cast of characters that might reach a hundred in any given book. And yeah...I knew it was risky. But I also felt that the zombie fans were a group that deserved something with depth.




The formula that I chose was inspired by George R.R. Martin. If you have dipped your toes in the books that the very popular “Game of Thrones” series is based upon, then you know how he does each chapter from a different perspective of one of his characters. I tweaked it for my own devices and came up with “Steve’s Story”, “The Geeks”, and “Vignettes” as my three rotating chapters. If you have read any of my DEAD series, then you know that each book is always 18 chapters long (6 per story line). However, things have changed some since that first book. I learned some lessons.



Of course, Steve’s chapters are all in first person. That lets you really see things from one person’s perspective. You are only as clued in as he is during any particular moment. The Geeks was my homage to every single zombie fan who thinks that the Zombie Apocalypse would be so freakin’ cool. This is the story that I get to sink in to as I write it. I channel many of my friends and the snippets of conversations that we have had since that day in the 70s when we all came out of the original Dawn of the Dead with some fairly silly adolescent fantasies. However, it is the Vignettes where I think I have learned the most as a writer. And that is sort of my focus here as I let you peek behind the curtain.

The vignettes were initially just supposed to be snapshots of the world in chaos. I even toyed with the idea of folding every one of those stories in to my two main story lines. Somewhere along the way, many of those shorts began to take on a life of their own. In fact, they are the source of the most hated and loved (according to reviews and personal emails) of my character; Garrett being the former and Juan the latter.

In the first book, DEAD: The Ugly Beginning, I wrote the vignettes as they came to me. So, there was no order, rhyme, or reason. However, as some of the stories began to take on a life of their own, I started to really get invested in what would happen. By the second book, DEAD: Revelations, I realized something: I needed to keep the stories in the same order chapter by chapter. By the third book, DEAD: Fortunes and Failures, I had a refined formula. What I would do was continue to keep the main vignettes in order, but I would give each vignette chapter what I termed as a one-timer. This would be a single open-and-closed short.

Funny thing about when an author sits down with an idea. They are usually the only one who understands it. So was the case with Vignettes. The idea is one that I would not change as a whole, but I do think that I would have modified it to some extent. And that is where I believe it to be now.

Readers of the series have had to go through this process with me, but I do think what I have now is the way to go. Now, in Vignettes, there are the main story lines that have endured since the first book or two of the series. However, since I try to complete the main ideas of a story arc in each three-book offering, I now introduce a new vignette at the start of books 4, 7, and 10. That will allow me to write a bit of a novella-length story. Some will fold in to the main stories, some will simply reach a climax and end, and others might be melded into one of the other vignettes.

Now, I realize that I still run the risk of “too many characters” as some critics have pointed out. However, I believe that, once you become engrossed in this DEAD world, you will find it a very rewarding experience.

At least that is what I am hoping.




As book nine, DEAD: Spring, hits the ground, I am more excited than ever before. For one, I can’t be sure, but this might be the largest (in terms of word count) of any zombie novel out there to date. And if you find a longer zombie novel, you have to let me know because I am as much a fan as anything else and I would love to read it (if it is good).




Book eight was the riskiest for me due to all of the cliffhangers. But I was fairly confident that, if you have come along for this much of the ride, then you are probably a fan and will be on board for the next one.

So, I hope that you enjoy it. I think that it is my best to date.