Since my new book is about to get inked, I simply cannot sit still and have already begun working on another! The next one is focused on ghosts, paranormal parlor games, tricks and history, seances and forgotten lore. And I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a ghostly encounter you’d want to share with me? Contact me at varlaventura AT gmail dot com or comment on this post to let me know you are interested in sharing.
Tonight I am honored to be on Ghost Chronicles with hosts Ron Kolek and Anne Kerrigan. Ron has been a supporter of my books since lo’ those many years ago when The Book of the Bizarre came out, and he regularly includes a tidbit of Beyond Bizarre on his shows, so not only will you hear me tonight talking about Among the Mermaids and all manner of other things, you can hear me there week after week!
Ron is the head of the New England Ghost Project, and his own book A Ghost a Day, which he co-authored with Maureen Wood, is one of my go-to campfire reads. It’s a really wonderful book–a ghost for everyday of the year. I like to meet people and look up their ghost based on their birthday!
You can tune in here, from 7pm-8pm EST (tonight, and every Wednesday)
I hope you can join us as we traverse the forgotten, the foreboding, and the utterly freaktacular!
Banshees are among the most feared creatures of the fairy and supernatural realm, and this may be in part to the sympathies they invoke when you hear their wailing. You could easily be lured into the dark of night, hoping to help the pathetic creature who sounds as if she is in mourning. Some tales recount that banshees are the ghosts of women who have died in childbirth; others say they are the restless sprits of unrequited lovers.
It is common for families to inherit the banshee, who arrives time and time again to warn of an impending death.
To quote Raymond Buckland from his book The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts:
“It has been said that a banshee is really the disembodied soul of someone who once lived and was attached to the family in some way. It depends upon the relationship that the banshee had with the dying family member as to how the banshee announces his or her coming death. If the person about to die was of a gentle, kind disposition, then the banshee will appear and sing soft songs of warning, summoning the person to death. But if the person destined to die was of a hateful disposition, then the banshee will make her announcement with horrible cries and screams.”
Have you ever seen or heard a banshee? I want your first-hand accounts for my upcoming book, Banshees, Werewovles, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night (Weiser Books, October 2013).
Contact me at varlaventura AT gmail.com (you know how to actually type that, right?) and let me know what creepy creatures you’ve encountered.
Werewolves, banshees, vampires, ghosts! Come tune in for TWO HOURS of lively banter with George Noory and moi!
Friday, September 21st, 10pm-12pm PST
Listen LIVE via the web or your local AM radio station.
Remember, you have to either listen live or subscribe (for a small fee) to listen to archived shows. Click the link and find out what local station the show will be on.
COAST TO COAST AM
I’ll be discussing the Magical Creatures e-book collection and other spooky, ookie, freaky fun!
For those of you who love a good horror story and you fans of the freaky, I’ve got a new post on the Huffington Post’s Weird News site about 5 Haunted Places I’d Love to Stay the Night! You can read it here and comment on where you’d stay. I think the list could easily be in the hundreds once we all get going!
Nothing quite pleases a ghost hunter and paranormal prowler like the story of a Victorian medium who came to her powers after being diagnosed with a tumor, and who was vetted by the Society for Psychical Research as well as by Dr. Hodgson (who examined also Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical society and called them all charlatans!)The story of Leonora Piper is a truly remarkable one. She “hosted” more than one entity, including a French doctor– Dr. Phinuit– an actress named Mrs. Siddons, Johann Sebastian Bach, Henry Longfellow, Commodore Vanderbilt (the Italian multi-millionaire) and a young Italian girl named Loretta Ponchini, and by some accounts she also channeled Abraham Lincoln and George Washington! Phinuit is said to be her primary “control” and appeared most regularly and readily, speaking in a unique French dialect.
Click HERE to read more about Leonora Piper in Mrs. Piper and the Society for Psychical Research, from the Paranormal Parlor Weiser Books Collection.
I was five years old the first time I saw an apparition. I was half-asleep, the pre-dawn crickets had gone silent, and I was stirred into waking by a gentle pulling on my toe. When I opened my eyes I saw my paternal grandfather standing at the foot of my bed. He smiled. I slid my toes out of the covers into my slippers, preparing to lean into a nice big hug, but he was gone. I thought it strange, but to a five-year old the very regular world can seem like a strange place, so I drifted back to sleep. The next morning when I told my mom about my nighttime vision, she burst into tears. My grandpa had died just after midnight, perhaps an hour before he visited me.
As I grew up and started collecting strange stories of the supernatural variety, I found that this kind of manifestation is actually fairly common. An after-death farewell. Yet the idea of visitors from the great beyond is a subject that few dare to discuss in open company (unless you are hanging out with me) lest their experiences be ridiculed or their ideas sound crazy.
What kind of paranormal pasts do y’all harbor? What freaky things have happened to you?
For those of you who missed my Halloween musings on The Huffington Post’ Weird News, you can read about kitchen ghosts, Halloween cookies, a dark and stormy night, and what this all has to do with Scooby Doo here:
Once Upon a Midnight Dreary
Today marks the launching of a new venture, so get out those lady luck candles and send your good vibes to Varla! Weiser Books has created a series of electronic books and yours truly is the official curator of the Magical Creatures and the Paranormal Parlor series. I’ve been combing dusty stacks and virtual archives to find lost and forgotten freakery for you lovers of the creepy, the curious, and the so old-its-new modern era of digital books. Each story or book features an intro by me. Not only are the stories interesting but the “back-stories” and author’s bios lend an element of appeal that can’t be planned! Think Lord Byron’s physician and a children’s author does horror, for starters…
Magical Creatures includes fairies, goblins, pookas, mermaids, mummies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, devils, elves, and more! Basically all of the creatures you might find if you were to open up the cobwebby closet of my mind. I am completely and utterly thrilled and honored to be working on such an exciting project. It truly is a Brave New World!!
These books are available today on Kindle and will be available this week on other digital readers. I’ll send links when those go live!
In honor of my upcoming dental trip, I’ll share my latest Huffington Post blog with you. Too much Halloween candy!!!