Whether or not you believe in the supernatural, I think it’s safe to say that you’ve probably had at least one thing happen to you that defies explanation.
Do I believe in the supernatural? Yes, I do. I have since I had something I had no explanation for happen to me in college back in 1989 (which is too terrifying for me to write about. I think there’s maybe one interview someplace in which I bring it up, but that’s it); and in 2007, on a dark road late at night, a person in a white runner’s outfit ran in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes, and, heart racing, I leapt from the driver’s seat to find out if the person was okay.
There was no person in white runner’s shorts, and there was no sound of the crunching of leaves in the nearby woods.
I called “hello?” without response.
There was no one on that road but me.
No head-scratching experiences since then—until last week.
I was with my sister and brother and their families at my aunt’s house for what you might call an early Thanksgiving. In its glory days, the three-family house was the social center of a large Italian family. There were Sunday dinners, all-nighter New Year’s Eves, endless pinochle games, summer picnics in the screen house, fresh vegetables from the garden and jugs of plain awful homemade wine. The generations that were responsible for all of that are pretty much gone, but the house, built very early in the 20th century, still stands.
So does a bunch of stuff in the basement.
My brother and his family were rummaging around down there, finding things like original Burger King Star Wars glassware in mint condition, century-old cookbooks, and Disney board games no one’s seen since the 1950s.
I was standing in the kitchen. Just as I saw them emerge from the basement, I heard the bell on the ancient toaster oven go off.
My first thought was that my aunt—who is now suffering from a form of dementia—had perhaps gotten up and come into the kitchen and turned on the toaster oven. I knew, though, that this wasn’t possible—I’d just spent the past hour with her, and she hadn’t moved from her chair.
I said something to Maryanne. She said, “Sometimes that bell just goes off.” And it is possible someone could have jostled it earlier in the day, when we were all cooking in the kitchen.
Then I touched it, and it was hot.
Which would’ve been fine—except that it was unplugged.
I called my husband Nathan, who’s a retired paranormal investigator. He gave me a list of things to check, so we all discussed the possibilities: was it sitting in direct sunlight? No. It’s over the spot in the basement where the furnace is, so are the cabinets underneath hot from heat that could be coming up through the floor? No. Did Uncle Lou, who came over to the area a few minutes prior to get a glass of water, use the toaster oven? We asked; the answer was no. Had either of my brother’s sons played with it? We asked; no, and anyway, they were down in the basement the whole time. A toaster oven might retain heat. Has it been used in the past twelve hours? No; its last use was two days prior, and no toaster oven retains heat for over 48 hours. Could it have a short? Well, sure, yes, but how does a toaster oven, which doesn’t have any battery back-up, have a short and get hot when there’s no power source?
So there you have it. Absolutely no explanation. If anybody has any ideas, I’m all ears. Otherwise? I’m chalking this one up to the supernatural.
It’s unusual that a short story is so moving that I finish it and immediately give it a second read. Douglas Bruton’s “Thirteen Wedding Dresses” is, happily, one of those rare finds.
This compact tale of loss details the impact of a missing suitcase on several lives. Where this piece excels is in its universal appeal: there is not one of us who hasn’t felt one of the carefully illustrated emotions here. Its hauntingly-rendered prose will make it difficult for the reader to forget that sometimes something lost can lead to something found.
“Thirteen Wedding Dresses” is one of a dozen in The Fiction Desk’s 12th anthology And Nothing Remains. You can get a copy here: https://www.thefictiondesk.com/anthologies/and-nothing-remains.php
In this episode, things get super-hairy just minutes before deadline, and friends are called in. This may be the one time revision is just no fun…unless wine’s involved. You can read the short story “Mujina” in Dark Passages II: Tales from the Black Highway. Get it at http://bit.ly/DP2Mujina.
Unfriended: Dark Web is now available on VOD and disc, and Dark Discussions goes deep into it as well as its predecessor, Unfriended, in episode 347. You can listen in on Stitcher, Itunes, and here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_347.html
The Unfriended franchise is unique in that, while considered found footage, the story Read the rest of this entry
I’m over the moon to announce that I’ve signed the contract for Books and Boos Press to publish my collection of short stories, The Shadows Behind. The original announcement is on the Books and Boos Press website here.
Release date is set right now for April 30, 2019, and there will be some signings, along with a special one up at Howe Caverns in Howe’s Cave, New York, next summer!
Although the Table of Contents is still being finalized, this collection will contain a few long out-of-print favorites, among them “Deconstructing Fireflies,” (co-written with Nathan Schoonover), “Candle Garden,” and “How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Bunny,” which was originally published in Citizen Culture back in 2005.
It will also include some pieces which are only available in single anthologies, and several brand new stories as well as a preview for an upcoming novella.
I’ll keep you posted!
Just in time for Halloween, my short story “All Dolled Up” is now available in Jitter!
So, if you like creepy dolls…even though this one has a Christmas theme…be sure to head on over here to pick up a copy!
If you prefer to read electronically and would like even more content bang for your buck, you can subscribe to Jitter for $20/year. That will give you access to not just Issue #7, but all of them. You can subscribe here.
If you’re curious, here’s the splash page for “All Dolled Up”: https://jitterpress.com/all-dolled-up-by-kristi-petersen-schoonover/
Halloween may be all about showing off your best costume…but that doesn’t mean the parts of you people don’t see shouldn’t scare up some fun, too!
I was surfing around on Hot Topic and came across this irresistible The Shining hipster panty set: https://www.hottopic.com/product/the-shining-hipster-panty-set/11428991.html Read the rest of this entry
I’m not a professional film critic and I don’t pretend to be, but I figured, since everyone is asking, I’d share a few of my thoughts on the new Halloween.
If you don’t like spoilers and plan to see this movie, you may not want to read further (or, if you want to wait for the Dark Discussions episode, we’re recording it tonight, so it’ll probably be released next week).
Overall, I came out of this movie feeling like Read the rest of this entry
I got a very special treat recently—I95 Rock’s Ethan Carey, who’s probably just about the only other person as obsessed with Candlewood Lake’s creepy legends as I am—cited a blog post of mine on his blog here:
It’s great to know these legends are being shared—it’s what keeps them alive. The original post about all of the legends is here: https://wordpress.com/post/kristipetersenschoonover.com/9576 or where it was originally published at the New England Horror Writers blog here: http://nehw.blogspot.com/2016/08/legends-of-candlewood-lake-guest-blog.html
I have plans, eventually, to put together an entire short story collection based on these urban legends, but at the moment I only have a few pieces. The good news is that the drowned souls legend to which Carey refers does have a short story based on it: it’s called “Rightfully Mine,” and it appeared in Sanitarium Magazine Issue #49—which is out of print, so if you’d like to read it, just send me an email on my Contact page and I’ll send the story straight to your Inbox!