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.
Non-fiction paranormal books are my guilty pleasure—they’re always light fare, an escape, and usually inspire a short story or two. Therefore, I look for books on paranormal subjects about which I know little or nothing; unfortunately, not knowing the material means it’s easier for me to be turned off by the sometimes seemingly-scantily researched, poorly-written or flat-out boring. MB Forde’s Eerie Britain: Ten of Britain’s Most Terrifying and Peculiar Real-Life Stories, thankfully, fits none of these descriptions—and, in fact, I’d recommend it as the top primer to anyone unfamiliar withBritain’s scariest legends.
First, the text is definitely well-researched; incidents from the past are taken from direct accounts. The writer also provides a list of recommended reading and web resources at the end of the book, so I went on to do more research on two of the book’s cases I found most fascinating. Second, the style is not only easy to read, it’s linear and gripping; each case starts at Point A and ends at Point Z, providing a clear overview of the case’s origin, its repeated occurrences, and where the theories surrounding it stand today. Third, it was thoroughly entertaining—this is not, at all, what I would call “dry”—and, in fact, there were a couple of sections which honestly gave me the chills; the descriptions are vivid enough that, at times, I felt as though I was reading a good fiction.
If there were two negative things I’d say about this book, it’s that the punctuation is never inside the quotation marks, as it should be. As a writer, I was totally annoyed to the point of distraction by that. In addition, there were some poorly-constructed sentences (to the point at which I didn’t know what he was trying to say), and Chapter 5, in particular, was loaded with improper use of semi-colons and commas as well as typos. The second is that, although, as I said, I can tell it is well-researched, the citations should have been footnoted with the specifics on where to locate the original material.
Despite all of that, the book is honestly a worthwhile read. It grabbed my attention and held it, and because I entered knowing nothing about any ofBritain’s paranormal legends, I got my money’s worth.
You can purchase Eerie Britain for your Kindle here: http://amzn.com/B006J5LVJY
Will you see something before they do? Hear it when they don’t? Find out! LIVE Ghost Hunt on Paranormal Valley with Nathan Schoonover TONIGHT, Jan. 17!
Want to hunt ghosts in your own living room? Join Nathan Schoonover and the IndyPara and Poughkeepsie Paranormal Investigators on Paranormal Valley for a LIVE ghost hunt at the historic Blue Store Restaurant in Livingston tonight from 9 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET on http://www.yourbgm.tv!
Nathan explains it all in the video below.
You’ll be able to interact with the team through the chatroom—to ask questions or to report something you’ve seen. Don’t miss it! For even more info, visit here: http://www.yourbgm.tv/pv-live
Paranormal Researchers of Fredericton (Canada) recently interviewed me for a feature on their website! If you’d like to read the interview—about, of course, ghost stories, things that go bump in the night and a few odds and ends and advice about the writing life, visit http://paranormal-researchers.com/?p=453.
Interested in paranormal research or better yet are you up in the Frederictonarea? Be sure to check out P.R.O.F.! http://paranormal-researchers.com/