Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “Vampire Particles”

Help for the Haunted Front CoverThe free ghostly mystery for June involves Vera and Lida traveling far beneath the streets of Chicago to investigate the curious deaths of at least three tunnel diggers. These men left the tunnels with an uncontrollable urge to live life to the fullest — and their exuberance and exertion is exactly what killed them!

What lurks deep underground that kills while slaking its hunger for life? Vera and Lida must fight City Hall in order to resolve the mystery. Find a link to “Vampire Particles” in .pdf, .epub, and .mobi/Kindle at the Complimentary Haunting page!

article-0-18B88B3000000578-614_964x760

Please Note!

The final touches are being put on the re-release of Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries. It should be available in paperback by the middle of June!

Advertisements

The Cover for the New Edition of Help for the Haunted!

the-v-filesIn a matter of weeks, Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries will be re-released by Brom Bones Books.

Though I might tinker with it slightly, here’s the cover. The violet glow around the lettering will make sense to those who’ve either read the previous edition (published by Emby Press) or who’ve been reading the chronicles posted each month at this website.

Help for the Haunted Front Cover

I’m still proofreading and tweaking the stories — and I have a Maine vacation planned in about a week — so exactly when the book will be available for sale is uncertain. But it shouldn’t be any later than the middle of June.

Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “Ghosts and Other Immigrants”

the-v-files

In last month’s ghostly mystery, Vera Van Slyke traveled from Chicago to New York, a city she considers home. While there, she visited Wou Sankwei, a friend she had first met two decades earlier in San Francisco. With Lida as their audience, Vera and Sankwei recount the adventure that surrounded their meeting.

The reminiscence involves a man named Harry Escott, who was mentoring Vera in methods of ghost hunting. The duo had crossed the country to investigate an Irish-born politician who was exhibiting strange characteristics. He was acting as if he had emigrated from China rather than Ireland. The politician’s friends were worried that he had been cursed — or was being possessed! With the help of Sankwei, Harry and Vera attempt to unravel why a man from the Emerald Isle would behave like someone from the Celestial Empire.

The chronicle is titled “Ghosts and Other Immigrants,” and on the Complimentary Haunting page, you’ll find a link to download it for free. It’s available in .pdf, .epub, and .mobi/Kindle formats. I’m in the final stages of re-releasing Help for the Haunted, which features this and twelve more Vera Van Slyke ghostly mysteries. When it’s available for purchase, I’ll make the announcement on the Brom Bones Books website. In the meantime, there’s lots to explore at that site.

San Francisco family
A San Francisco Family

A Ghost Report from the Banner-Democrat on April 17, 1897

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This week, I’m trying something new with the ghost reports!

A year or two ago, I recorded several of the reports for the Big Seance and History Goes Bump podcasts. Taking that audio, I added a slideshow of many of the more interesting headlines in my collection — and now I have a series of YouTube videos.

Here’s an example.

Please consider subscribing to the Brom Bones Books YouTube channel. And, if you enjoy these articles, please buy a copy of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday at the Merry Ghost Hunter, I post another authentic ghost report.

The Merry Ghost Hunter Is Retiring — But Slowly

Back - Brom Bones Logo

Have you had a moment to explore my new website, Brom Bones Books? I haven’t had the official ribbon-cutting yet, but it already provides many of the resources introduced here at The Merry Ghost Hunter blogsite: the Ghost Hunter Hall of Fame, the Legacy of Ghost Hunter Fiction: A Chronological Bibliography, the Chronological Bibliography of Early Occult Detectives, and a few other features. As I move these over, I’m tweaking and improving them. For instance, you’ll find “read more about it” links to posts I’ve written about ghost hunters in real life and in fiction throughout their respective lists. I’ve also split the very long bibliography of occult detective fiction into a page for the 1800s and another page for the early 1900s. This should allow easier maneuvering, and I’ll be adding those “read more about it” links there, too.

In time, my In the Shadow of Rathbone reviews of Sherlock Holmes movies will be boxed up and moved to the new site — and there’s already new stuff to explore. I especially recommend you sip from the Old Phantoms with New Captions page, which displays ghost-related illustrations I’ve stumbled across in old magazines and books — but I’ve added new, funny captions to them. Because I’m a rascal.

This transition will be a slow one. I imagine The Merry Ghost Hunter will remain in place until the end of 2018. After all, this is where many folks come to download the next Vera Van Slyke ghostly mystery at the start of each month, and there are still five more of those. Unfortunately, at some point, I’ll be discontinuing the every-Wednesday posting of an authentic ghost report. You see, the goal is for me to spend less time blogging and more time creating informative and entertaining books under the Brom Bones Books banner.

I hope you’ll join me in this slow move to a new — yet familiar — place. After all, The Merry Ghost Hunter is slowly becoming a ghost town.

150929-F-XA056-014

A Ghost Report from the Red Cloud Chief on April 27, 1883

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_All kinds of houses can become haunted — even houses constructed by digging into the earth. This is exactly what happened on “Island No. 10,” not too far from Downs, Kansas.

At the site of a terrible murder there, families attempting to settle have experienced spectral manifestations. Upon investigation, multiple witnesses heard the ghostly echoes of a vow to kill.

1883-04-27-p1-red-cloud-chief-nebraska

This article appears in the “Haunted Houses with Backstories” chapter of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday at the Merry Ghost Hunter, I post another authentic ghost report.

 

Ghost Reports from the Daily Dispatch on June 30, 1881, and the Minneapolis Journal on May 20, 1904

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_As I discuss in the Introduction of Spectral Edition, newspapers between 1865 and 1917 revealed that ghosts had become a widespread concern in ways other than reports on hauntings. The two articles below hint at how they did.

The first is about how a furniture sale drew a crowd by taking advantage of its coming from a house alleged to be haunted. The second is almost an advertisement for a haunted house, which the buyer hoped to turn into a lodge and banquet hall.

1881-06-30 p1 Daily Dispatch [Richmond, Virginia]

1904-05-20 p1 Minneapolis Journal [Minnesota]

These articles — and several more — are quoted in the Introduction of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. The remaining chapters offer transcriptions of entire ghost reports, close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300 The book is available at Amazon in the U.S., Amazon in the U.K., and Barnes & Noble.

Each Wednesday at the Merry Ghost Hunter, I post another authentic ghost report.

Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “Houdini Slept Here”

the-v-files

In 1905, Harry Houdini was not quite the celebrity whose name would be recognized even in our own era. But he was well on his way. He had returned to the States from a European tour, one that catapulted his career far beyond the carnivals and crummy theaters he had worked in before he left. In fact, he was doing well enough to own two houses, one in Connecticut and a “mansion” in the Harlem borough of New York City. All of this is verifiable fact.

What can’t verified are Houdini’s extramartial affairs, his dalliances with women behind the back of his wife, Bess. There is speculation (which you can read about here) but no actual proof. The same might be said of Houdini’s 1905 meeting with ghost hunter Vera Van Slyke — or, at least, I haven’t been able to find any good evidence of it other than my great-grandaunt’s chronicle.

It seems the great escape artist needed assistance to artfully escape from a scandal that might’ve derailed his climb to stardom. He needed help disproving accusations being made by a former lover — from beyond the grave — through a Spiritualist medium. But he also wondered what Vera could do about a whispering ghost haunting his house in Harlem! Houdini knew that Vera was the perfect woman for the job, partly because of her experience at exposing fake Spiritualist mediums and partly because of her expertise at exorcising very real ghosts.

The chronicle of this complicated case, titled “Houdini Slept Here,” is this month’s FREE Vera Van Slyke ghostly mystery, and you’ll find links to in pdf, epub, and mobi/Kindle formats on the Complimentary Haunting page through April.

HandCuffHarryHoudini
Harry Houdini about the time that he hired Vera Van Slyke

A Ghost Report from the Bridgeport Evening Farmer on June 27, 1910

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When I began collecting ghost reports, I ignored the articles that came with natural explanations for the haunting. But as I found more and more of them, I changed my mind. Mistaking, say, an escaped zebra for a ghost was part of the “ghost craze” of the decades following the American Civil War.

Nonetheless, this headline seems at bit too exaggerated for me to include this report in the “Natural Explanations” chapter of Spectral Edition. Even if the cemetery caretaker had mistaken the runaway animal for a spirit, the mistake lasted only an instant.

1910-06-25 p1 Bridgeport Evening Farmer [Connecticut]

For the reasons noted above, this article did not “make the cut” for Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday at the Merry Ghost Hunter, I post another authentic ghost report.

A Ghost Report from the Tacoma Times on August 19, 1913

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This article might have qualified for the “Haunted People” chapter in Spectral Edition. But it struck me as much more a psychological haunting than a supernatural one. There are a few similar — but I hope far more impressive — ones in the book.

But look at that headline below the ghost report! “BATHING SUIT ENDS IN DEATH”??? Now I’m tempted to go back and find that newspaper to read that article.

1913-08-19 p1 Tacoma Times [Washington]For the reasons noted above, this article did not “make the cut” for Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday at the Merry Ghost Hunter, I post another authentic ghost report.