A Complimentary Haunting: “Dark and Dirty Corners”

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As part of the 2016 October Frights Blog Hop, I now offer an especially Halloweenish free story on my Complimentary Haunting page. The title is “Dark and Dirty Corners.”

Since inheriting my great-grandaunt’s chronicles of Vera Van Slyke, the crusading journalist and ghost hunter, I’ve discovered many pieces of verifiable history in them. Harry Houdini is probably the most obvious. Cook County Coroner Peter Hoffman is less recognizable. A sea captain named Henry Thorn Lord, once a victim of mutiny while serving on The Junior, is a curiously obscure name from real life. (I remain stumped as to how my ancestor, Lida Prášilová, could have known about Lord’s story — unless, of course, she met the man in real life!)

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2016 October Frights Blog Hop; or, the Paranormal and Horror Author Blog Tour

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I’ve finagled my way into a paranormal and horror author blog hop, which gathers together about two dozen writers of spookiness. Each writer encourages his or her own followers to visit the blogsites of the others, many of whom are offering free stories or otherwise kindling the Halloween spirit.

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Vera Van Slyke and her friend and assistant, Lida Parsell, wish you a happy Halloween!

To do my part in sharing the dread of the coming holiday, I’ll be swapping my current Complimentary Haunting with one more suited to Halloween. Until Friday, you can find a link there to “Houdini Slept Here,” a Vera Van Slyke ghostly mystery that shines a light on one or two of the darker qualities of the title’s magician and escape artist. On Friday, though, I’ll switch that tale with “Dark and Dirty Corners.” It’s another Vera Van Slyke chronicle, but one that many readers agree is noticeably more ghostly and less mystery. It recounts the great ghost hunter‘s investigation of Stickney House, a building whose round corners might have been designed to facilitate séances — or to repel evil spirits — or, just maybe, to serve some more worldly purpose.

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Oooo! An autographed copy of Help for the Haunted and a copy of Occult Detective Quarterly for $28???

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There’s a Kickstarter campaign for a new magazine titled Occult Detective Quarterly, and one of the incentives is a copy of my Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries — signed by me — along with a copy of the debut issue of the magazine.

There are several other incentives, too.

Visit the ODQ Kickstarter page to see your many choices and to help launch what promises to be a very entertaining magazine!

Continue reading “Oooo! An autographed copy of Help for the Haunted and a copy of Occult Detective Quarterly for $28???”

Profile: Harry Houdini

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After I inherited the chronicles of Vera Van Slyke’s ghost hunts from my great-grandaunt — the tales now published in Help for the Haunted — I researched some of the names found there. Cook County Coroner Peter Hoffman, sea captain Henry Thorn Lord, cryptozoologist Geoffrey Wallace Livingstone Adams have all proven to be real people.

Needless to say, I didn’t have to research the client spotlighted in the chronicle “Houdini Slept Here.”

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Profile: Geoffrey Wallace Livingstone Adams

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Every now and again, I hear from someone who has read Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries (1899-1909) — and can supply me with additional information on the people who interacted with the great ghost hunter.

Last week, I received a scan of a file photo from a librarian at St. Genesius College in Moncton, New Brunswick. The photo shows Dr. Geoffrey Wallace Livingstone Adams, who taught in the Department of Anthropology at that school. Adams was also very interested in cryptozoology, the study of species only rumored to exist. As a dedicated cryptozoologist, Adams traveled widely in search of what has come to be called Bigfoot. (In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the creature was better known as “wild man in the woods” and variations thereon.)

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#BeerAndVera Photo 13

the-v-filesNo, not Woody Guthrie, but another string-strumming musician from Oklahoma added this picture to the #BeerAndVera project.

The beer is Prairie Artisan Ales’ BOMB! (I sampled one once. Or maybe half of one. I seem to recall. It has a very high alcohol content for a beer. I seem to recall.)

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Please send a picture of your copy of Help for the Haunted, a beverage, and whatever you feel captures your identity — your face, a musical instrument, or something else — to my Facebook or Twitter account.

#BeerAndVera Photo 12

the-v-filesVera Van Slyke learned right away the terrible cost of reaching through the violet holes that allow ghosts to pass back into the physical realm. But maybe this shadowy figure is reaching through the other way to toast Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries.

If so, it’s good to see they have beer there.

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Regardless of where you’re from, please join the #BeerAndVera project. Send a picture of your copy of Help for the Haunted and your own “spirits” — non-alcoholic drinks are perfectly fine — to my Facebook or Twitter account.

#BeerAndVera Photo 11

the-v-filesThis reader of Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries has a special interest in Ouija boards and, well, diet Dr. Pepper. It’s Patrick Keller, who runs The Big Séance blog and podcast. Give his site a visit — there’s always something exciting happening there.

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Of course, Vera likes her beer, but any beverage qualifies for the #BeerAndVera project. Simply send a picture of that beverage, your copy of Help for the Haunted, and your face or something with which you identify to my Facebook or Twitter account.

#BeerAndVera Photo 10

the-v-filesBy the fourth chronicle in Help for the Haunted, Vera has settled on Chicago as her ghost-hunting headquarters. Let’s hope this Chicagoan catches a glimpse of the ghost Vera investigated at that city’s Scepter Theatre — but stays far away from the deep tunnels under the Loop, where she hunted something far more deadly! Chicago

Though this gentleman wasn’t thirsty, please send a picture of your copy of Help for the Haunted and your favorite beverage — an adult one or not — to my Facebook or Twitter account.