A group of multi-genre authors blogging together
A group of authors writing interesting posts weekly and interacting with readers.
Have you ever had a close encounter with a ghost or spirit? If you had an experience, did it change you? I have, and it has greatly influenced both my writing style and my stories.
I have had experiences with ghosts and the paranormal all my life. From the ghoulie voices to the apparitions that seemingly appear out of nowhere, I have shivered my way through. But this ghost story is one I will never forget because it was the one time a ghost wrapped his cold, gnarled fingers around my throat. I didn’t just see an evil spirit. I felt his wicked touch on my skin. That ghostly encounter turned out to have a golden mission because it transported me into the magical world of writing.
I was seventeen when I found out it was moving day, yet again. This time, it was because my mother was divorcing my stepfather. The situation was exceptionally awkward since she was moving in with a boyfriend and had no choice except to take her unwanted luggage – me – with her.
I was at school when my mother moved our things into the old house she had rented. Later that afternoon, she picked me up from my classes and drove straight to our new residence. I didn’t get a chance to look around before she informed me that this was my new home and that my room was upstairs in the attic. She said she expected me to spend all my time at home there. Then she shooed me to the door that led to the hidden bedroom.
To this day, I can still feel the ominous shivers that ran up and down my arms as I stared at the steep, rickety stairs that led to the third-floor converted attic. But I already knew my concerns would fall on deaf ears, so I trudged upstairs where I discovered a drab area with small, floor-level windows, no heat, and poor ventilation. My feeling of dread intensified.
I took one look at the room and ran back downstairs. I begged to be allowed to sleep anywhere but in that dreadful room. But my mother didn’t want me around, so she yelled at me to go back upstairs and stay there. And that was that. So I went back up the stairs with my heart in my throat.
This time, I grimly noticed there were tiny, floor-level windows and no vents in the attic. Pulling the chain on the single light bulb hanging from the rafters in the middle of the room, I could see that it was sparsely furnished. Sheets and a blanket lay on an old, fold-up cot in the middle of the room. An empty bookcase sat in the corner. Sitting next to it, I could see the two boxes containing all my worldly possessions.
The light bulb was still swaying when something in the back corner caught my eye. I took a step closer, thinking it was just a shadow, some coat rack or dresser. But suddenly, my breath froze as my eyes lit on a shadowy figure swaying in the far corner of the attic. Moments passed until a voice in my head screamed at me to run. Frantic, I stumbled toward the door and placed my trembling hand on the doorknob. At the last second, I turned to look behind me. No one was there. No ghost, no figure, nothing.
Reeling, I fell against the doorjamb, questioning if my mind was cracking. But the reality was that it didn’t matter if I was falling apart mentally or even if there was a ghost or not. I was stuck. I didn’t have any other place to go, and I had lots of homework to do. I knew that succeeding in school was my ticket out of here, and I needed to focus on that. So I convinced myself that even if there was a ghost, it wouldn’t happen again.
With new resolve, I headed over to the cot and sat down. The mattress was thin and worn, so was the blanket and what passed for a pillow. Looking around, I stoically accepted that I had made a mistake. There was no one else in the room. I needed to forget about ghosts and do my homework. So with a weary sigh, I made my bed and pulled out my notebook. Life would go on.
The week that followed was nothing out of the ordinary. I even began to question whether anything had happened that first night. All seemed normal until I heard a strange noise as I opened the door to the staircase one night. This time, I wasn’t concerned. I was already getting used to the various sounds the old house was making and figured the sound was just a settling-in noise. Hurrying up the stairs, I hoped to get a strong head start on my English assignment.
I had just stepped into the attic when a small piece of paper fluttering about on the floor caught my eye. It was a corner of one of my English papers. Picking it up and examining the fragment, I frowned. There were no chew marks from the mice who lived with me. Instead, it looked like someone had grabbed a corner and ripped it out of my notebook.
Then that strange noise came again, but this time it sounded like a low, menacing growl. Every hair on my body stood on end. I backed up as my eyes scanned the dark corners. Turning, I nearly stumbled and fell. I told myself that all I had to do was take a few more steps, and I’d be at the door. And then that mind-numbing snarl stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned with my heart pounding.
I looked for movement, but there was none. I blinked and took a step closer. And another. It was then that I realized the thing I had seen was nothing more than a giant spider web that hung from ceiling to floor. My gut twisted in agony.
My logical brain told me to calm down and be realistic. I had no other options, nowhere to go, no one to help me, no one to believe me. I had to stay and gut it out.
Mere hours later, I would regret staying.
To Be Continued…
© Suzi Albracht, 2021
185 Days to Spring
Let the countdown begin. We’re heading to the period most of the people here in Finland dread the most, Winter. This is not about being cozy under a blanket and watch the soft flurries falling from the sky. This is about a nightmare that repeats itself every year.
I’m talking about darkness, freezing temperatures, and of course, working outdoors. This has been one of those years when Summer lasted literally three weeks, as the first day of August marked the time to change the summer wardrobe with the winter one. The tomatoes I planted in Spring didn’t even have the time to give a single fruit and are now rotting under the merciless temperatures under 10 C. Was it even worth it? I feel like I’ve wasted five good plants of tomatoes, sending them to a desperate kamikaze mission.
You might think I’m crazy, but I feel sorry for their too short life. Like a general, I watch my soldiers deadly wounded in a battle we didn’t even win.
The problem is that I already know next year, I will still try to plant them once again (will I ever learn?).
Nevertheless, longer summers are still possible, and I’ve experienced them. But they come very randomly, and it’s like throwing the dice, crossing the fingers, and hoping to win.
Now I know what you’re thinking: can’t I find anything nice to say about fall and Winter? Of course, there is something nice. The fall colors here in Finland are unique, particularly in Lapland:
I love the warm touch of the scarf worn for the first time (after a long summer). The smell of the first hot cereal soups, the days spent searching for mushrooms and berries. The fantastic pictures I get of birds preparing their flight formation to reach the Summer on the other side of the planet.
I also find it enticing when the snow finally falls and gifts us with a bit of light. As you can see, there are good parts to it. I’m just disappointed with the imbalance with which we receive those gifts. There’s one old say about having too much of a good thing, and this is what I’m complaining about.
But, as my husband always says to console me. "Things will change one day, and good things are still waiting for us, so let’s not get bitter for those little things." I simply love him!
© P.J. Mann, 2021
The Thief of the Night
I’m no stranger to odd events. Since childhood, I’ve experienced Out of Body occurrences, not to mention a keen empathic ability to connect with spirits. It’s no wonder I’d also experience the terrifying condition known as Sleep Paralysis.
Scientists, researchers, and sufferers all have their own explanation on what really causes sleep paralysis, (SP) but it still remains a mystery to most, while victims of this condition are left to resort to medical treatments, sleep centers and some go as far as hypnosis, pagan rituals, and other religious practices. When desperation sets in and one will go to great lengths for relief of this mysterious and frightening condition.
Most scientists claim SP is a basic brain glitch that occurs at the intersection between wakefulness and rapid eye movement, (REM) sleep. When asleep, our bodies alternate between NonRem and Rem Sleep. This transition controlled by chemicals pushes us between sleep and wakefulness.
This is a type of Parasomnia that involves a brief loss of muscle control that happens just after falling asleep or upon waking up. This is where hallucinations can occur. Yes— the creepy stuff.
Doctors will tell you the only relief is to follow a better sleep pattern, better diet, anxiety meds, or meditation. I have done all of these and have not seen any relief from this condition.
Despite what science says many different theories have evolved from various cultural beliefs such as:
Call it what you will, it remains a terrifying experience to the sufferer or shall I say, victim. Each encounter can be quite different.
There are two types of Sleep Paralysis
Most cases claim that the body is in a frozen state and unable to move. Speech can also be affected by the inability to produce any type of sound. Hallucinations are common and may involve:
SP can begin at ages seven to twenty-five. Eight percent of people experience this. There is a higher risk in a family that has had SP.
My first encounter with SP was back in my teens. My mother had it as well as an aunt and uncle. I remember long before I had my first attack my mother retelling her encounter in detail the next morning after an occurrence. My dad would have to push her to release her from this temporary state of paralysis. It was no surprise to her when I had joined the SP Team.
I remember being fully awake but unable to move any muscle and trying to shake myself out of this coma internally. It seemed to pass only leaving me terrified as to when the next one would occur. I had them off and on and then they stopped when I was married and moved to Arizona with my husband. I began to wonder if it really was some sort of demon in that house. I had warned my husband that if he heard moaning coming from me it was a signal to shake me.
Years went by and I began to have the episodes again in my late forties. Each attack was a bit more intense and different. They seemed to last longer and now I was sensing another physical being in the room. My husband was aware of my condition but never had to rescue me from my encounters. Sometimes I’d have at least four of them in a row; the worst part was when I was sleeping alone.
I’m well into my sixties now and currently living in Florida. I’ve had several attacks while in this house. A few weeks ago, I had one that was very different from the others. It began like most, with feeling frozen but what happened next scared the heck out of me. I could actually feel a body climb onto my stomach and lean on me! I could still breathe but felt intense pressure on my chest. It lasted for a short time. I remember waking my husband to tell him and he told me to go back to sleep.
All the details were very clear to me the next morning. I was still me but who or what was this being done in my bed?
Just as I was ready to send off this blog, I had to report another episode last night and it had to be the scariest one of all. I did feel as though I couldn’t breathe and felt as though I was being strangled. I did manage to shake myself out of it but couldn’t get back to sleep for fear it would strike again.
So here I am up at 5 a.m. having my calming Chamomile Tea and researching more information on this subject. The SP night thief managed to steal a few good hours of sleep once again.
© Lorraine Carey
What is Creativity?
Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.
Three reasons why people are motivated to be creative:
In ancient times there were answers to that question. Despite many pantheons of beliefs, I found that the Greeks had the most prominent and well recognized to this very day. They were called The Muses. They totaled nine and were created to bring inspiration, knowledge, artistry, and music to the ancient world. Tasked with the embodiment of certain idealistic artistry. Muses inspired musicians, writers, and performers to reach even greater artistic and intellectual heights. You may recognize a name or two, but few who never studied the Greek pantheon would know all nine. Allow me to introduce them to you, as they may have whispered in your ear while you slept or while you were creating; thereby making your skills even more refined.
The Nine Muses
Goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, was said to be the mother of the muses. Nowhere could this writer find a name of a father, which often indicates a mortal mate. It has been stated that the muses were meant to balance their mother to help mortals forget their troubles and suffering, if only for a little while. Hesiod, in his Theogony, claimed he spoke with the muses on Mount Helicon. His claim was they breathed into him their divine voice so he could proclaim the Gods and their descendants. Thus, he was transformed from a shepherd to one of the most prominent poets in antiquity.
Whether you’re a writer, musician, dancer, or any other type of creative person you may owe your inspiration to a muse. Many people still claim they must consult their muse, but how many of them know their muse by name? I hope that now if you call upon a muse to inspire you, that you will be able to thank them properly for their gift to you.
~Slate R. Raven
The OAGblog is closed due to problems with Blogger, therefore, the GBBPub is hosting the Author Gang on this website. We're a group of authors writing interesting posts weekly and interacting with readers.
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