Friday, October 31, 2008

Walking With Jefferson's Ghosts, part 3 (conclusion)

If the first tour frightened me, the second one terrified me. I discovered I had a sensitivity to the paranormal, especially if the entity is dark or malevolent.

Tour #2 began at the Jefferson General Store around 10 p.m.. We were introduced to the story of "Roy", the ghost of a little boy about 6 years old, dressed in denim overalls. He likes to play in the store, and on the sidewalk running parallel outside. He's made such an impression, the owners of the toy store across the street have named it after Roy.

Next to the store is one of the few vacant buildings that is wholly inaccessible due to the building's deterioration. It used to be a bank (you can see the metal inset in front of the doors), and it was there I first felt a prickling of the hairs on my head.

We continued into the residential area where we passed an empty lot located next to the Governor's House. There I had such a bad feeling, I remained in the street. Our psychics were so spooked, they continued on down the street, reluctant or refusing to stop. Jodi explained the site is known to contain a very evil male spirit, and he has attacked people in the past.

This house is one of the very active historic houses in Jefferson. Also known to host a violent past is the Schluter House (below), which saw the murders of carpetbaggers during the reconstruction period after the Civil War.

We also passed another vacant lot, but this one was surrounded by a wrought-iron fence. This lot used to have a house where Diamond Bessie lived. The story of her life and death (murdered by her boyfriend) is fascinating (Google it, you'll see). More interesting is the fact that she is buried underneath six layers of concrete because she was interred wearing her extensive jewelry collection. This site played havoc with our digital cameras, giving us light streams and streaks on many of our pictures. (I didn't have my digital with me, but I saw what the others were taking.)

The worst (or best?) experience was the story of the "man living on the second floor" of the McKay house, which is now a B&B. Paranormal groups have encountered this angry spirit, and they have EVPs of a voice growling, "Go away!".

Jodi assured us that these ghosts are pretty much "stuck" in their locations. Which meant we didn't have to fear taking a ghost with us, or accidentally irking it to the point where one would come after us, following us back home.

Once I returned to my own B&B, I quickly showered and crawled into bed. My laptop computer lay on the writing table near the bed where I'd left it on but closed. It was in 'sleep mode'.

Some time during the night I was awakened by the sound of my laptop powering on. The light of the screen brightening splayed out like a horizontal halo. Even more frightening, I heard the computer tap-tapping, as if someone was using the touch pad. This went on for several minutes while I cowered underneath the covers and prayed for protection. Yep, I did. The tapping sound stopped, but the screen remained lit for I don't know how long. The next morning, I opened the laptop to see my mainscreen, exactly the way I'd left it the day before.

Would I recommend this tour? Most definitely! Jodi Breckenridge is a hoot of a host, a true Jeffersonian, and extremely knowledgable about the local history and haunts. Please feel free to Google for more info.

You can also get some good idea about the ghosts and haunted locations from two books that I own. GHOSTS OF EAST TEXAS AND THE PINEYWOODS by Mitchel Whitington (2005, 23 House Publishing), and A TEXAS GUIDE TO HAUNTED RESTAURANTS, TAVERNS, AND INNS by Robert Wlodarski and Anne Powel Wlodarski (2001, Republic of Texas Press). Both feature a photo of The Grove on their covers.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ghost Walking in Jefferson, part 2

Jodi proceeded to tell us about several places in Jefferson that were haunted, or about activities there which made people believe they were haunted. Of course, all of this was viewed from the OUTside as we passed by on the street or sidewalk. That is, until we got to the Coffee Shop, which is also a kareoke bar, and located across the street from the Jefferson Hotel.

She took us inside where the proprietor gave us some interesting firsthand information about his encounters. Specifically, what occurred upstairs on the second floor. Immediately thereafter, Jodi led us all upstairs into that area, which was pitch black.

It didn't help that the place had been decorated for Halloween, complete with torture rack, mummified remains, and assorted body parts. It also didn't help that I was definitely uncomfortable - to which Jodi remarked that many of us may be psychically "sensitive" to spirits and may not know it until tonight.

Worse, digital cameras were coming up with some freaky glowing lights in their pictures, which made no sense when the shots being taken were of the ceiling and walls (there was no power upstairs.)

Other stops along the way included several vacant buildings and one shop which I had visited earlier in the day. To hear the story of THE CHAIR over in the corner of the room, then to hear the psychics exclaim that two children were "sitting on the stairs and watching us", while another malevolent male spirit was watching us from the back of the room was enough to spook me. I didn't care that a fourth entity, who was the ghost of a woman who used to work at the store, had vanished into one of the walls and was waiting for us to leave. Once I left that store, the air had a much "cleaner" smell.

We ended the tour at The Grove, which Jodi gives a 60 on her 1 to 10 scale. The Grove has such a rich history of appearances, occurrances, and sightings, that several books have included this home (still with people living in it!) in their listings. You can also Google "the grove Jefferson Texas" and find lots of references to it. In short, Jodi refuses to step foot in the house.

She told us the story of when she brought a basket of goodies to leave on the front porch as a welcoming present. After fixing the basket the way she wanted, she reached for the card she'd placed next to her, only to find the card gone. As she was using the tailgate of her truck as a temporary table, she searched the truck bed for the card, under the truck, and several feet beyond the truck, hoping to find it, without any luck. Finally, she decided just to leave the basket on the porch and call the new tenants later. When she walked to the front door, there on the welcome mat was the card, in its envelope, lying face-up.

Like I said, Jodi swears she'll never set foot on the property again. And I believe her...because as she was telling this story, the EMF detector (the one with the row of lights across the front) began spiking into the red. It was as if the ghosts were confirming her story. Needless to say, the rest of us hurried back into town for the second tour.

To be continued again tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Most Haunted Town in Texas, part 1

I just spent the night in Jefferson, Texas, which bills itself as THE MOST HAUNTED TOWN IN TEXAS. I took both of the ghost walk tours hosted by Jodi Breckenridge, and let me tell you there were times my hair stood up on end.

"If the town has a violent history, and the town itself has changed very little, you can bet it's going to be haunted." Jodi was right. If just half of the stories she conveyed actually happened, it would be enough to make the most jaded skeptic into a believer.

A bit of history here about Jefferson: Its population blossomed to over 30,000 soon after the Civil War. Steamboats wound their way up the Caddo Lake, and the town bustled with saloons, inns, and bordellos. But because the town put its money on the steamboats and not the railroads, the population began to dwindle until now it has around two thousand citizens.

The ghost walk is in two parts. Part one begins at 8 p.m. at the museum and lasts until 9:45-ish. The second half meets at the Jefferson General Store right after the first one ends, and lasts until midnight. Jodi leads you on a brisk walk through downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods which boast a multitude of historical placques.

A self-confessed chicken, Jodi doesn't hesitate to vacate a site if "signs" of activity persist while she's leading the tour. On this particular Friday night, we were graced with the presence of two paranormal investigators (complete with EMF detectors and tape recorders) and two psychics.

Texas Law says that if you own a building or home that's suspected of being haunted, you must reveal that information to any prospective buyers if you try to sell it. But if you own a hotel or B&B, you are not required to tell the tenants or overnight guests.

Which brings us to two of the most famous hotels in Jefferson - The Jefferson Hotel, and the Excelsior Hotel.

If you want to spend the night in one of the haunted rooms at the Jefferson, hotel management will be happy to accomodate you. Ask for Room 19 if you really want a sleepless night. Or Room 14. Or Room 5. On a scale of 1 to 10, Jodi ranks "The Most Haunted Hotel in Texas" at a high 8.

However, she ranked the Excelsior directly across the street at a 20. Not only will the hotel staff there deny it's haunted, but they will not let you know if the room you're given has a history of apparitions, etc. Take your chances there, and chances are you won't have a peaceful sleep.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Go Green for Halloween!

* roast the pumpkin seeds for a natural snack
* compost the jack-‘o-lantern
* wear vintage clothing for a costume
* use an old pillowcase for a candy bag
* give out apples, popcorn balls, or other healthy treats
* use beeswax candles
* walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation

Monday, October 27, 2008

Do You Decorate Your House for Halloween?

There are stores that spring up in unused warehouses or vacant parts of a shopping mall, and these stores are strictly seasonal. Like right now, they are heavy into selling Halloween items. Everything from costumes to body parts, gallons of fake blood to life size animatronic characters.

There are plenty of houses around my town that decorate. Their themes range from the spooky to the whimsical, from horror movies to Disney. All in fun, and I love to see what people can dream up.

The only thing I don't like is when people dress up as scarecrows or whatnot, then sit on the front porch just so they can scare the pee out of some little child. Not cool.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Classic Halloween Movie: The Nightmare Before Christmas

An Absolute Classic!

Gets you in the mood for the full holiday season, not to mention the little bits and pieces of song you'll find yourself humming after it's over.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It Ain't Halloween Without CANDY!

I remember my brother and I checking out our stash after going Trick-or-Treating. We'd go into my bedroom and dump our orange plastic Jack-'o-lantern buckets onto the floor and start counting to see who'd gotten the most. There were certain items he liked that I didn't, so I gave him mine. And he did the same for stuff I liked but he didn't care for.

Of course, he always pigged out on his, and paid for it later.

Me...I ate a little that night and hid the rest to eat a piece at a time later on. It wasn't unusual for me to have candy all the way to Thanksgiving. :D

Friday, October 24, 2008

Regarding Dressing Babies in Costumes...

I don't think anything could be cuter than a baby dressed up for Halloween...
Unless he's your grandchild! This is Branson Mooney, my grandson. Monkeying around at age 9 months. :D

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mooney Does Movies: "Quarantine"

When "The Blair Witch Project" came out with its shaky camera work and in-your-face reality, it broke new ground. I liked it because it was a fresh approach, and although there was zilch blood-letting, the movie scared the beejeebers out of me.

Then there was "Cloverfield", which I LOVED. Again, the basis of the movie was one lone person videotaping a "real" event as it was happening. In this case, a Godzilla-type monster destroying New York City. Like BWP, the only thing I had to oversome per se was slight dizziness brought on by the constant camera movement.

Now, here's "Quarantine". Based on the Spanish film "REC" (which hasn't been released in the US yet), it's the story of a woman reporter and her lone videographer following a bunch of firemen as they answer calls around town.

One call sends them to an apartment building where they find some of the tenants foaming at the mouth and attacking others like mad dogs, chewing through necks and arms. Unfortunately, while these firemen and police, and the newslady with her tag-along camera man, are trying to figure out what's going on, the building is battened down tighter than Fort Knox. And anyone who tries to escape is, well, shot.

This movie slapped me in the face with improbabilities. Like, if someone's shut off the power, how is the elevator able to work? And how long IS the battery life for one video camera?

At first I wasn't impressed. Well, not until I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, thinking about it. Now I want to see it again because the damn movie has gotten under my skin. I also want to see it in another theater because the one I was in had the film way too dark (you could barely make out the characters when the camera was using its night vision.)

I also want to the see the original Spanish version when its released in the US.
Will this movie scare you? Hell, yeah. Worse if you're in a theater with a bunch of scream-happy teenagers.

Initially I planned to give this movie a half moon. After a restless night, I'm changing my vote to a 3-quarter moon.
Initially, I didn't think I would be interested in getting a copy of this movie once it was released on DVD. I'm re-evaluating THAT thought as well!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ever Been to a Haunted House?

Yeah, I know the chances of actually being INSIDE a real haunted house are pretty slim. But there are those fun carnival-like places that have them. And the civic or school clubs who have one as an annual fundraiser. I've heard there's even a place that has a haunted woods.

My favorite, though, are the ones located at the museums. I've been through the one at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not in San Antonio (across the street from the Alamo). And last January when hubby took me to Las Vegas for our 25th wedding anniversary, I got to go through the one at Madam Tussaud's wax museum.

As much as I'm able to suspend belief, being there in person, and with live characters interacting with you, made the place as creepy as hell!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Edgar Allan Poe - Master of Horror Stories

While searching for a picture of Mr. Poe, I came across this site promoting a new 3D animated version of his classic THE TELL-TALE HEART. It looks to be very good!

If you're wanting Poe, I strongly suggest you BEGIN with his stories. If you'd rather go the visual route, don't settle for the Hammer versions from the 70s. Corman also had a hand in a few.

Of all of Poe's works, the poems affected me the greatest. I even quote from "Annabel Lee" in my LORD OF THUNDER romance novel trilogy (coming in 2009 from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid).

Monday, October 20, 2008

All Hallow's Eve

Halloween is condensed from the phrase All Hallow's Eve

Sunday, October 19, 2008

NOW you can vote! :D

Hello, all!

If you don't mind, I would like to ask for your vote for the cover of Runner's Moon: Simolif over at the New Covey Award blogspot.

Go here
The poll is on the left. Very easy to find and vote.

Thank you!

Homemade Halloween Costumes

The Good...

The Bad...

And the OHMYLORD, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? (Or should that be drinking?)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Teeny Halloween Villages and Towns

Department 56

I love stuff like this! I don't collect it, but I know many people who do. It makes me feel like a little girl again, playing with toys in her dollhouse. I wish I could afford to buy it, or even have a place to store it. If I could, I'd have it out year-round. But I'm too afraid I'd break something.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Headless Horseman

This classic story by Washington Irving can be read aloud to children. It's perfect to help set the ambiance of the holiday. Hint: Don't go for the movie versions, unless you use Disney's.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Now Available! CODE 30 by Gail Smith (Linda Mooney w/a)

Tales of Supernatural Horror
by Gail Smith
Tease Publishing(ebook)
Word Count: 33.3K

Hello. My name is Alexis Hembree and I’m a cop. My partner and I are good at our jobs. Except we don’t tend to work what others would call a "normal" police beat. For some reason we draw evil toward us like flies to sugar.

Sometimes there are things in this world we can’t explain or anticipate. And when they happen, when they show up, when they cross that line between their world and ours, we have to deal with them as best we can. It’s our job to stop them. Even if it may cost us our lives.

303 Lexington Street
It was a crack house. Except, in this case, drug dealers went in but didn’t come out. Not alive. In body bags. What’s more, if everyone who went inside ended up being shredded to death, who was doing the killing?

Georgie Porgie
The killer targeted women. Young, old, prostitutes, business women, it didn’t matter. One moment they would be walking down the sidewalk in the middle of town, and the next what was left of their bodies would be found in a nearby alleyway. Devoured. That’s why I had to be the next one to walk the streets. To draw out whoever was doing this. To be his next victim.

The Farewell
He murdered young girls by crucifying them with ice picks. He was slick, elusive, and heading for our city. My partner and I were damned and determined this murderer would get no further. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep my head on the job. But neither could I ignore the weird-ass dreams I was having about this deviate. This case was becoming more personal, more foreboding, and more dangerous with each passing day. And there was no damn way I could avoid what I dreamt would the final outcome.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Celebrated by the Celts as the Celtic New Year,
it's also referred to as "the time when the walls between the worlds grow thin..."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Horror Magazines - I Gots 'Em!

A reader read my blog over at Dark Phantom and asked what Fangoria was. It's a horror magazine, and it's been in business for a very long time. The covers might gross you out, but the articles are tops. You hear about the business end of making movies, get insight into how certain special effects are created, and you're treated to little bits of trivia about characters and such. The mag also features DVD reviews (I love to hear about alternate endings and delelted scenes), book reviews, music reviews (who 'da thunk? Horror music!), and loads of other stuff.

If you haven't tried Fangoria, and you love horror, give it test drive!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The First Family of Halloween

No matter how you slice it, the Addams family is America's First Family of Halloween.

Whether you prefer the original by Chas Addams...

The 60s television version...

Or the movie version. :D

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Great Horror Online!
Uncut movies! Trailers! Blogs! Interviews! Horror News! Articles!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I watch just two hours of TV a WEEK...

and this is one of them.

You can bet I'll be glued to my television set on Halloween night for their 7-hour live event. Just like I did the past two years.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

SIMOLIF is up for a New Covey Award!

The cover to RUNNER'S MOON: SIMOLIF is up for cover of the month!

If you can, please go over and vote for it. Voting information is located on the left side.

Thank you!

Have You Made Your Jack-o-Lantern Yet?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mooney Does Movies: "It's Alive"

Check out the Cohen version, originally released in the 70s. Back when horror was produced without CGI.

IMDB is here.

Wikipedia is here.

Want to spend Halloween with a good old-fashioned scare? Try it! It's a classic!

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's a TWOFER!

Woot! Mayra also blogged Gail Smith's interview over at The Dark Phantom Review!

You can see it here:

I've Been Interviewed!

by BlogCritics Magazine!

For the month of October, they're interviewing authors of horror, so my horror persona Gail Smith has a chance at the spotlight. :D

Friday, October 3, 2008

Halloween is not complete with a Ghost!

Yeah, I know I'm dating myself when I confess that I can SING THAT TUNE! LOL!
(Psst! You can find a midi of the tune here.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Of Ghoulies and Ghosties

Scottish Prayer


From ghoulies and ghosties

And long-leggedy beasties

And things that go bump in the night,

Good Lord, deliver us!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


So every day this month I'm posting a
pic/movie review/bit of
nostalgia/something-or-other just because