Category Archives: Ghost Stories
Nothing says Black Friday like a ghost story, right? If you missed the opportunity to read my novella “Splendid Chyna” – perfect if you like Asian Horror (i.e., The Ring, for those of you not familiar) and abandoned theme parks – the Kindle version is on sale for 99 cents through Thursday, November 29!
“Splendid Chyna” appears in the collection Three on a Match with two other novellas, “All’s Well that Ends” by G. Elmer Munson, and “Thicker than Water” by Melissa Crandall. These shorts are just the thing to be reading in between season busy-ness.
You can get it here, and happy holiday shopping!
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.
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!
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!
A House at the Bottom of a Lake, Josh Malerman
Technically, this isn’t a short story—although I’m uncertain of its word count, I’m sure it’d be considered either a novella or a short novel. Still, this chiller—about two teens in a burgeoning relationship who get a little more than they bargained for when they discover a secret lake on their first date—is peppered with twisted, disturbing imagery that’s so unique it isn’t easily forgotten. At its core, this a romance with a heavy-handed conceit—but I can guarantee you won’t even notice or care. This is definitely one you’ll be leaving your lights on after finishing. You can pick it up here: http://a.co/1OBK6tR
I’m pleased to announced that my short story “Where There’s Smoke” — inspired by the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the fact that my brother lives just a few doors down from the original building–is now available to read for free in the May 2017 issue of The Haunted Traveler: A Roaming Anthology. You can go ahead and check out the issue here! https://www.weaselpress.com/tht4
If you like what you see, please support The Haunted Traveler by “liking” their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/thehauntedtraveler/
I had a blast sharing some lesser-known urban ghost story legends of the Disney Parks on Dave’s Disney View! Tom Sawyer Island ghosts, weirdness in Animal Kingdom and much more. You can listen here: http://disneyview.blogspot.com/2017/04/episodes-281-282-urban-legends-at.html
I’m very thankful I could participate in the New England Horror Writers’ Women in Horror Month blog series! “Wandering Women: Four Types of Female Ghosts and Why They’re Scary” examines why creatures like La Llorona, the churel, preta and the noppera-bo send us running for the hills. You can read it here: http://nehw.blogspot.com/2017/03/women-in-horror-month-finale.html
“Wandering Women” is the final installment in the February series. The other six posts are here:
My ghost story “Blood on the Snow” is now available in Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology Volume 3, published by Dark Alley Press!
“Blood on the Snow” takes place on an abandoned Christmas tree farm in rural Connecticut. I’m not going to give anything away, but here’s a link to the story’s real-world (and very much still in business!) counterpart: Angevine Farm. My family, however much it’s changed over the years, has been getting our Christmas trees there since the 1970s. I don’t have many photos from that time period, but here’s a montage of the pix I do have — notice some of the landscapes, particularly on a gray day with snow. It’s the perfect place for a ghost story.
If you love ghost stories–and stories about being haunted by the past–then Ink Stains Vol. 3 is for you! Here’s the full Table of Contents: Read the rest of this entry