Monday, October 7, 2019

In Love With the Ghosties by Jane Kindred

I have a thing for ghost stories. I love them. And I especially love them in October. I watch horror movies all month long, and the ghost stories are my favorites. I really miss the Ghosthunters series that used to be on the SyFy channel. (I understand it’s back on A&E, but I haven’t been able to catch it yet.) As silly as it was, I enjoyed virtually wandering those houses and buildings in the dark with the team to see what they might turn up. There are other paranormal reality shows, but I haven’t found any I like as much as Ghosthunters. The others all seem to rely on jump scares, creepy reenactments, and just plain shrieking. (Please. Stop the shrieking. If there was an actual ghost in the building, you idiots would be scaring it into permanent hiding.)

Last night’s ghostly selection was the movie Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke as a writer who moves his family into a “murder house” to write about the mysterious killing of its last inhabitants. And right away, you know that’s not going to go well. Did this author learn nothing from The Shining? It makes you wonder if writers are particularly vulnerable to the ghosties. I mean, maybe we’re downright haunted, as a group. From Edgar Allen Poe to Shirley Jackson to Stephen King, being haunted (especially while writing) is obviously something that’s on a lot of authors’ minds. I was thinking to myself as I watched it, though, that I would probably stay in a murder house if given the chance. (Because I clearly do not make good life choices and have no more sense than most classic horror movie characters.)

The Rosenheim mansion—the Murder House from American Horror Story Season 1

Personally, I have never been haunted—though I’ve felt a couple of unusual things that I couldn’t explain—but I’m fascinated by the concept of hauntings nonetheless. The protagonist of my current work in progress (an urban fantasy that is so far just flirting with being a paranormal romance) is a woman who can communicate with the dead—seeing visions of their deaths as she tries to solve a horrific crime. She also has a near-death experience that may have been “nearer” than she thinks and which may or may not have enhanced her natural ability to see through the veil between the living and the dead. This is about as close as I’ve come to writing a “ghost story.” I had one other character—Phoebe Carlisle in Waking the Serpent—who could hear the dead. But the paranormal abilities of both these characters is secondary to the relationships in the story and the crimes they’re trying to solve.

With as much time as I spend every autumn watching horror movies, though, I think I’m really going to have to write my own ghost story one of these days. I don’t know if it will actually be horror (because I love happy endings way too much to really fit the genre) or if I might write a character in a romance who somehow is a ghost—or maybe a ghost hunter? Hey, how about a ghost hunter who falls in love with a ghost? But since I tend to get a little carried away with research, like the time I lived in Russia for a month to get the flavor for my Anastasia-inspired Arhangel’sk books, I wouldn’t be surprised if I do end up staying in a murder house—or actually buying one (bad life choices, remember?)—at some point. Let’s hope it turns out better for me than it does for those hapless writers in the movies!

How about you? Would you ever buy a murder house or stay in one? Maybe if somebody offered you money? How much would it take?


Maureen said...

I enjoy a good ghost story- but don't want to encounter one and wouldn't stay in a murder house! We believed our first house had a ghost- but she seemed to be checking out the new owners and didn't stay the entire time we were there. Nothing too scary (tv changing, garage opening, burners turning on etc)

Diane Burton said...

I'm a scaredy cat! I don't read horror or watch horror movies. A long time ago, I read Rosemary's Baby--creeped me out. I also don't ride roller coasters. lol But I know people who love to be scared. I've had a couple of weird things happen--like a cat sitting on my chest--at a conference center, no cats around. No ghosts, though. Enjoy your marathon, Jane.

Nightingale said...

I'm sure you've seen The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Jane. If not, it's a great old movie. I've written one ghost story, and it was fun to write. I may have to do a sequel. Happy Halloween.

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Nancy Gideon said...

Oh Hale No! No scary houses for me. I grew up in one where the previous owner, an old woman, had fallen down the main stairs and died alone in the house. I never knew this growing up but between the ages of four and five I used to feel like I was "flying" half way down the stairs when I'd go down them. I still remember the feeling so vividly even today of floating above the steps. My oldest sister used to trip and fall in the same spot (ghost must have liked me better!). All sorts of clicking of old light switches connected to nothing, and we had to leash the dog to get him to stay upstairs with us. (Animals know) I love creepy . . . but from a distance these days. I'd rather write about than experience it again.

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