Thursday, April 28, 2011

In the Middle of the Night... There Are Ghosts!

If you've been following the news, you know that Texas has been hit by wildfires and severe spring weather. In the past week there have been more tornado watches than I have fingers and toes. It's crazy! I am a storm lover. Give me a good book and a cup of tea in bed and I'm happy with my cats curled up beside me, minus the husband's snoring. However, this week the winds picked up so bad I thought I'd turned into Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz! I lay in bed wondering if the storm sirens were going to go off soon. The lightning flashed so fast I could not count between strikes and the old oaks creaked outside. My writer's imagination went wild with excitement. Every burst of lightning cast odd shadows on the wall from my antique bedroom set and I could see how little children see ghosts in their room at night.

Of course, that got me thinking about my ghost story sitting unfinished, which I am dragging out tomorrow. And then I wondered about book lists. Oddly, I couldn't find a good one on Google, just lots of listings for Peter Straub, a great writer, but not what I was looking for. I hopped on over to Goodreads and found a Ghost Stories book list and much, much more, which I browsed.

I'm going to share with you some of the favorite ghost stories I have read over the years. Of course, this list is in no particular order.

1) The Shining by Stephen King. This book still haunts me and I read it over 20 years ago. I cannot go into a hotel bathroom or my own without thinking of that scene with the dead lady in the bathtub. *shivers*

2) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Anyone who wants to write a ghost story and write well should pick up her work. Great author! This is a classic.

3) Heart-Shaped Box by Joe  Hill. Wow! Writing runs in the family, so you wouldn't expect Mr. Hill to fall flat on his face, but this book I read in one sitting. It was one of those books invoking the great dragon of writer envy! How I loved it!

4) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. This story traumatized me as a child, but now it is just a good read. I was horrified thinking of a guy searching for his head!

5) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Again, a classic and so well written. I read this one nonstop as well.

6) Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker. He is an amazing author and I would read his books if they were printed on toilet paper. They are that good! This one was creepy. I loved the atmosphere of the book. Who doesn't love a good Hollywood ghost story?

7) Bag of Bones by Stephen King. People didn't like the direction his new books were taking at the time this was written. I disagreed with old King fans. This book is beautifully written and a great story. Haunting. It stayed with me. I cried.

8) Wraith by Phaedra Weldon. This book probably falls into paranormal romance in some people's eyes, but I love it. Zoe Martinique is a great female character, an investigator. These books are quick reads, but fun.

9) The Ancestors by Brandon Massey, L.A. Banks, and Tanarive Due. This collection of African American stories breathes new life into the ghost story. And I am a huge Tanarive Due fan. Her writing is wonderful.

10) The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories edited by Peter Haining. I find any of the Mammoth collections introduce me to great writers and lots of new stories. This one was a good one.

11) The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories edited by Peter Haining. Another nice collection.

12) Others by James Herbert. Truly chilling.

13) Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry. This series is one you cannot miss. It is well written and a good tale. I have so much respect for Mr. Maberry.

I'm going to stop here at lucky number 13.

What are some of your favorite ghost stories? Share some with me in a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!


Erin O'Riordan said...

My sister-in-law once had a spooky encounter in a cemetery. She and her friends were playing with a ouija board near the site where a church had burned down. They asked it "Are you an evil spirit?" Then they heard a weird rushing sound from the woods on the other side of the cemetery. They ran to their cars,then regrouped outside a Dairy Queen where they burned the Ouija board on the pavement. The only part of it that didn't burn was a single word: YES.

Nora B. Peevy said...

Hmmm ... Writer mind running wild now. LOL

trainee writer said...

We once lived in an old cottage in the country.Most nights we would hear tapping in the kitchen as if someone was banging a metal knife on a table.We would also hear footsteps going up stairs and our cat would hiss at nothing in the corner.Now i can`t believe we stayed there 2yrs but we just got use to it and ignored it.We only moved after my husband woke up and saw a little girl standing at the end of our bed.We still live near by and often drive past that house. I would never had stayed there so long if i had had my children then. You always read about children being able to see more than we do. Thanks for the book list. Will keep be busy for awhile.

Nora B. Peevy said...

My first move away from home, which is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was to Albuquerque, NM. I moved to the West Mesa. That entire area is sacred Indian ground. I did not find this out until I had a LOT of strange things happen in my apartment, some of which I might write about some day. It was truly creepy.

I have a Creek Indian friend who lives in a different part of Albuquerque (ABQ for those who live there and get lazy typing LOL). He came and told me that part of ABQ where I lived was mostly sacred Indian ground. Now I had heard of Tony Hillerman's books and seen a few really corny movies about Indian curses, etc. I didn't believe in any of that -- until I lived in Apt. 705. My Creek Indian friend blessed my house, but he told me that there was nothing he could really do. My apt. sat on the trail for the Navajo. The trail is sacred and ridden by the Navajo after they die. That explained the old Indians I saw riding on horses through my apt. one night. I could not make this stuff up!

That didn't creep me out, but a lot of other stuff did. I lived there a year and a half before my husband and I moved to Dallas, TX for his work. I do not miss the apt., but I miss the mountains and Old Town and hiking in the desert. And Balloon Fiesta. But not the ghosts. ABQ is a really haunted place. There is a lot of history there.

I have had a bunch of other paranormal experiences, including when I stayed at the famously haunted Marshall House in Savannah, GA this last December. That was fun and might end up in a story too. I recommend that haunted hotel destination, highly recommend it. But skip The Ghost Adventures tour. Go on the Ghost bar hop, instead. That one is better. I caught the tail end of it while eating at the famously haunted Moon River Brewery, which by the way, has AMAZING ale and seafood. Yum!

Happy hauntings...