Real Ghosts

poltergeist-1982

Remember when the parapsychologists in Poltergeist tell the Freelings about a fantastic poltergeist experience they’d had just before they see what’s going on in Carol Ann’s room? It goes like this:

LESH

Yes, Ryan photographed an extraordinary episode on a case in Redlands.

RYAN

A child’s toy, a small matchbox vehicle, rolled seven feet across a linoleum surface. The duration of the event was seven hours.

STEVEN

Seven hours for what?

RYAN

For the vehicle to complete the distance. This would never register on the naked eye, but I have the event on the time-lapse camera.

Poltergeist (1982) has a number of realistic incidents (mixed with many not-so-real ones) in the first portion of the movie – even the chairs stacked on the kitchen table are not far off from the more spectacular of documented poltergeist incidents. (In fact, Tamara witnessed something similar – but far less artistic – in an anomaly-laden house, not once, but three times in succession.)

The most realistic thing in Poltergeist is the investigators’ excitement over that little Matchbox car moving by itself. In reality, assuming the floor was level and there were no other factors that might affect it, that movement would be pretty amazing – unless you believe everything you see on shows like Ghost Hunters.

The truth is, anomalies don’t perform on command, and for something truly anomalous to happen while a TV crew is filming, would be truly jaw-dropping. Reality TV is entertainment, pure and simple. Oh, there’s no doubt episodes are based in true stories and experiences, but we guarantee you that real events caught on camera on a weekly series, are about as likely to happen as water turning into wine.

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Recently, someone asked us why nothing “big” happens in Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin, our account of our stay in an allegedly haunted little house in the woods.  We were surprised by the question because we were trying our best to recount what really happened and didn’t want to exaggerate the events for the sake of entertainment. Rather, we wanted to document them. We had been given a specific duty: to investigate and report. We were not there as a TV-style ghost hunters.

That’s why we went in with as little knowledge of the history of the cabin as possible. We didn’t want to have any expectations because the mind plays tricks, makes connections, and leaps to conclusions when you’ve been fed information, and that leads to inaccurate reporting.

That said, we were pretty amazed by what did happen. We even conceived of The Cliffhouse Haunting during our stay and were inspired by several events we witnessed.

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But as far as reality goes, Tamara has spent many hours in allegedly haunted locales over the last thirty years and has been fortunate enough to witness a handful of anomalies that are pretty impressive. But the cabin was the gift that kept on giving. We saw, heard, and felt things in and around it that were peculiar – and occasionally quite frightening. While we can find possible explanations for most – if we try very hard to dig some up – we can’t explain everything we experienced. We were, to put it mildly, impressed.

Compared to the ghost-of-the-week TV reality shows, our experiences are pretty tame, but from the moment we walked in, there were minor anomalies that would thrill a serious non-entertainment-oriented ghost hunter. They certainly excited and inspired us.

We hope you enjoy our account for what it is – a realistic look at a “haunted” house.  We admit that going back in and reliving it while we prepared it for publication gave us both the shivers, but we’ll tell you up front that neither of us levitated, spoke in tongues, or spotted any demons. However, we did experience some things that made us wonder if we’d ever agree to go back.

We probably would, but we’re just crazy that way.

And speaking of ghosts, don’t forget that our Gothic Horror novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, is available now for just .99!

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The Cast of Ghosts of Ravencrest

Alistair Cross and I compiled the cast from The Ghosts of Ravencrest in order to keep track of things in our new serial novel in the Ravencrest Saga, The Witches of Ravencrest. Look for some of the”honorable mentions in this cast list to play major roles in Witches and future Ravencrest novels

The Players

**Repeat Offenders (characters who have made appearances in other Thorne & Cross novels)

BELINDA MOORLAND, the governess

ERIC MANNING, the master of Ravencrest

At Ravencrest

GRANT PHISTER, butler

CORDELIA HELLER, house administrator

RILEY DORING, head groundskeeper

THADDEUS MANNING, Eric’s son

CYNTHIA MANNING, Eric’s daughter

WALTER HARDWICKE, driver

JUSTINE CHAMBERS, maid

DOMINIQUE DE LA CRUZ, maid

PHOEBE WAXWING, maid

SETH RAWLINS, stableboy

NIKO STAVROS, chef

THE HARLEQUIN

OLD PECKERHEAD, scarecrow

In 1788

EDWARD MANNING, baronet, Eric’s ancestor

ALICE BEAUCOEUR MANNING, Edward Manning’s first wife

CELIA, deceased daughter of Edward and Alice

PRUDENCE MANNING, Edward and Alice’s daughter

PARNELL MANNING, Edward and Alice’s son

THOMAS MANNING, Edward’s brother

LADY BERLIN, Thomas’ horse

CHARLES MANNING, Edward and Thomas’ father

JOHANNA MANNING, Charles’ wife

BRAN LANVAL, physician

ODIN, Bran’s raven

CARMILLA HARLOW, governess

JACQUES FERRANT, stableboy

FIONA CONNOR, kitchen maid

Dr. ARCHER, physician

MARGARET DUNWOODY, seamstress

OLIVER, driver

LONG STEPHEN, first footman

PERSHING, butler

The Ghosts

ISOBEL MANNING, Eric’s deceased wife

REBECCA DANE, Edward Manning’s second wife

SISTER FAITH, nun

SISTER HOPE, nun

SISTER CHARITY, nun

VIOLET LEBLANC (The White Violet) Henry’s second wife

AMELIA MANNING (The Bride of Ravencrest) Grandmother to Edward and Thomas

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In Bakerton

RANDENE (RANDI) TUCKER, Belinda’s former roommate

RHONDA MOORLAND, Belinda’s mother

BILLY TAYLOR, Belinda’s former employer

MAURA, a waitress at Lizzie’s Diner

JOHN VENEZIA, undertaker

Dr. PEARCE, physician

FATHER IGNATIUS, priest

SCOOTER, Rhonda Moorland’s car

LINDA LU, from Milkwort Falls

In Devilswood

RICHARD AIKEN, M.D.

VIRGINIA MASSENGIL, nurse

JEFFREY JOHNSON, M.D.

CALVIN BOWERS, high school student

SHELLY HARRINGTON, high school student

AIDA HARRINGTON, Shelly’s mother

DETECTIVE FLANKENBALL, investigator

Dr. HARRINGTON, Shelly’s father

Mrs. FINCH, school librarian

On the Air

**REVEREND BOBBY FELCHER, evangelist

**COASTAL EDDIE, radio deejay

Honorable Mentions

CHLOE HARKER, assistant to Rebecca Dane

LORD HARKER OF WOODLEY GLEN, Chloe’s father

ALBERT MANNING, Eric’s uncle

HENRY MANNING, Eric’s uncle

GAVIN MANNING, Parnell’s son

CALEB MANNING, Gavin’s son

CELESTE MONTGOMERY, previous governess

ALOYSIUS MANNING, ancestor

Bad Things, Horror’s Roots, and Rock and Roll

So, my favorite DJ, Mimi Chen, on my favorite classic rock station, 100.3, The Sound,  gave me a Facebook thrill this morning when I found her post about loving Bad Things. Mimi isn’t a horror reader, but she liked it so much she reviewed it on Amazon.

Bad Things

Bad Things is a coming of age Halloween tale about Ricky Piper, his legless twin, Robin, and the greenjacks who cavort and taunt and try to steal the souls of those who can see them.  As a boy, Ricky is terrified of everything – the dark, greenjacks, his brother, and especially, Halloween.  As an adult, he returns to his childhood home with his own kids, having spent years convincing himself the greenjacks – and their leader, Big Jack, don’t exist…  And you know how that always goes.

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Inspired by my own childhood game – sitting outside at night watching leaves move in the breeze and pretending to see faces and figures dancing among them – greenjacks – Bad Things was a labor of love. Writing it brought back all those nights spent gleefully spooking myself then racing into the house to write ghost stories. But many other things played into Bad Things, too.

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I’ve always loved the Green Man – the guy you see with leaves growing out of his mouth – grinning down from the ornamentation on old buildings – including churches, or staring at you from his hiding place amongst the foliage on English tapestries, and old paintings. The Green Man even has his own story in beloved Arthurian Legends. (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). A pre-Christian figure, he has been embodied by such diverse figures as Pan, Bacchus, Dionysus, Robin Hood, Herne the Hunter, Shakespeare’s Puck, and Tolkien’s Ents.

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He is the lord of the forest. There are lords (and ladies) associated with the other elements – fire, water, and air – as well. (In fact, my collaborator, Alistair Cross, and I have just turned in a new novel that deals with one of these other elementals.)

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I love the green man so much that I incorporated him into The Sorority as the Forest Ghost, along with tales of greenjacks told by my recurring professor, Dan S. McCobb. (Say it out loud.)

Sororityhand_1000There’s much more to Bad Things than green men, though.  Santo Verde, Rick Piper’s hometown in SoCal, is based on a very real little city called Redlands. It’s an hour east of Los Angeles, a place full of citrus orchards, greenery, and Victorian mansions. Years ago, it was a favorite weekend retreat of Hollywood’s elite.  The cemetery in Bad Things is a clear reflection of Redland’s own fabulous boneyard. Redlands/Santo Verde is also only a few miles from the apple-growing mountain town of Oak Glen which provided inspiration for my  witchy Halloween tale, Moonfall,  (FOr that matter, Thunder Road‘s Old Madelyn is based on Calico Ghost Town, two hours north, in the desert.)m 180x300But I digress.  The next thing you should know about Bad Things is that Todd Browning’s classic Freaks also helped inspire it. Years before I wrote it, I was fascinated by the legless boy, Johnny Eck, who walked on his hands. This grew into an interest in freaks in general; their history, their lives.

220px-Kobel-JohnnyEck-handstandJohnny Eck is particularly inspiring. He lived a long life, was well-loved and a master of many trades.  What I didn’t know when I researched for Bad Things – it wasn’t in the books I used – was that Johnny Eck had a “normal” brother, Robert, with whom he traveled and lived his entire life. Just like Ricky and Robin. Synchronicity rules.

The final thing about Bad Things is that, well, that’s a secret… Suffice to say, I don’t like practical jokers.

41QZH57ZEELBad Things is one of my favorite tales not only because Halloween is a subject dear to my heart, because it helped me understand why I am endlessly fascinated with human nature, especially its dark side. As for my love of ghost stories – there’s nothing to understand. I was just born that way.  Yowza.

http://tamarathorne.com

 

 

 

 

 

Riding on Thunder Road – and an Excerpt

Thunder Road, my novel of a small apocalypse, is releasing today in paperback online and in terrestrial bookstores everywhere. Here’s a brand new interview about the book on  Cyrus Webb Presents .

Thunder Road began with a modern cowboy named Tom Abernathy.  One day, he simply emerged, fully formed, and ambled patiently around in my head for quite some time before another character came to life via one of the most horrifying yet fascinating nightmares I’ve ever had.  Not long after that, I read about UFO reports in the California High Desert, out by my favorite historical amusement park, Calico Ghost Town.  (Even if you’ve never visited Calico, you may have seen bits of it in movies like Tremors 4.)Thunder Road Mech.indd

I had cowboys, amusement parks, serial killers, and UFOs – but I needed one more thing.  I remembered that, years and years ago, there had been a cult of sorts surrounding a high desert structure called the Integratron, where people went to try to communicate with aliens.  While I kept some UFO cultists hanging around Old Madelyn Amusement park – Madland, my version of Calico – I decided my main cult would be a religious one.  That was because too many missionaries had been knocking on my door lately and I needed some sweet revenge.

Also, I really wanted to try my hand at an apocalypse novel and where there are cowboys, there are horses, so I suddenly had visions of the Four Horsemen prancing through my skull.  I was now officially in love with the the book.

The mountains around Calico are famous. As the sun sets, they glow with eerie colors cast by all the minerals that were mined there besides silver. One of the most famous was borax, as in Boraxo Hand Soap. The chemical was hauled by a twenty-mule team on a hard road between mining towns (all the way out to Death Valley) and then into the city.  I had walked the road behind Calico and recalled seeing it on TV as a little kid.  What better name than Thunder Road, especially since I knew drag racing was going to be a problem in Madland.  So I named my new novel for Bruce Springsteen’s song. He, in turn, had been inspired by the poster of the 1958 Robert Mitchum  movie of the same name. It was about running moonshine.  It all fit.

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So, there, you have it. Cowboys, sheriffs, tattooed ladies, a sexy shepherdess, horses, rodeos, crazy prophets and crazier followers babbling about the coming apocalypse, aliens, one ghost story (how could I skip ghosts?), a beautiful UFO researcher, lots of quotes by Jacques Vallee, and not one, but two – count ‘em, two – serial killers!

In addition to being a very fun write, Thunder Road gave me some great returns. One was a friendship with Jacques Vallee (the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind is based on him); and another was a treasure trove of ghost stories.

While I believe the UFO sightings up in that area of the desert are primarily atmosphere or military related, I came to find out – and witness – that the real Calico Ghost Town is absolutely overrun with ghostly anomalies that’ll knock your socks off (though you’ll get nothing but denials if you ask those currently running the park). But that’s a story for another novel…

 

An excerpt from Thunder Road:

‘Justin had never been in here before, and he looked around, impressed with the rich, dark colors, the candlesticks and stacks of cards, the Tiffany lamp in the corner. He sat at the table and reached for the crystal ball.

“Don’t touch that.”

Justin hesitated, then withdrew his hand.

Carlo folded his arms and leaned against a rolltop desk. “What do you need to talk about?”

“Tonight. What we’re, I mean you’re, going to do to Alexandra Manderley.”

“Peel her,” the man said slowly. “What else is there to discuss?”

“You’re going to do it?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re going to teach me?” he added hopefully.

“You may watch. Whether you can learn or not is a question that remains unanswered.”

The doorbell rang, and Carlo stood. “Come back tonight at midnight. You may go now.”

Justin rose, in awe. The man was a king, a leader among men, with a voice so commanding that Alexandra Manderley would probably peel her own skin from her bones if he asked. “Midnight,” he repeated, following Carlo to the back door.’

 

* * *

Related links:

http://www.calicoghostwalk.com/BearDanceObservedg.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-mule_team

http://www.tamarathorne.com

Oh oh-oh-oh Thunder Road!

Tamara Thorne, will be interviewed at Conversations Live by Cyrus Webb, on Tuesday, September 2nd, at 3 p.m. Pacific and 6 p.m. Eastern time to talk about the release of her novel, Thunder Road, which hits bookstores everywhere in next week.

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“Evoking Stephen King’s terrifying novel The Gunslinger and the epic adventure film Cowboys and Aliens, Tamara Thorne delivers a tantalizing blend of horror and Western SciFi–in an arid, dangerous world from which there is no escape. . .

The California desert town of Madelyn boasts all sorts of attractions for visitors. Join the audience at the El Dorado Ranch for a Wild West show. Take a ride through the haunted mine at Madland Amusement Park. Scan the horizon for UFOs. Find religion with the Prophet’s Apostles – and be prepared for the coming apocalypse.

Because the apocalypse has arrived in Madelyn. People are disappearing. Strange shapes and lights dart across the night sky. And a young man embraces a violent destiny – inspired by a serial killer whose reign of terror was buried years ago.

But each of these events is merely setting the stage for the final confrontation. A horror of catastrophic proportions is slouching toward Madelyn in the form of four horsemen – and they’re picking up speed. . .”

 

$1.99 – Cheap!

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Bad Things is on sale at Amazon for $2! Meet Ricky and his legless twin brother, Robin. He walks on his hands with the greatest of ease and he licks your butter, too!  Bask in the badness of Aunt Jade and her creepy poodles! Get ready for Halloween with Big Jack. He’s a real scream, as are his minions, the greenjacks.  Do you have symptoms of greenjack infestation? Find out now!

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I Want to Show You My Bad Things

Bad Things is all about childhood fears, night terrors, day terrors, evil brothers who lick the butter and pee in the lemonade, crazy aunts, greenjacks, freak shows, and Halloween. Especially Halloween. It’s one of my favorite – and most personal – books.

Bad Things (Kindle) is on sale at Amazon for $1.99 today through August 24.  Get yours now and get in the mood for Halloween.

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About Bad Things

Oh Oh Oh Oh Thunder Road

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Thunder Road, Tamara Thorne’s novel of cowboys, aliens, serial killers and religious cults in the high desert of southern California, will be available in paperback everywhere September 2. You can pre-order at Amazon and other outlets.

THUNDER ROAD

Evoking Stephen King’s terrifying novel The Gunslinger and the epic adventure film Cowboys and Aliens, Tamara Thorne delivers a tantalizing blend of horror and Western SciFi–in an arid, dangerous world from which there is no escape. . .

The California desert town of Madelyn boasts all sorts of attractions for visitors. Join the audience at the El Dorado Ranch for a Wild West show. Take a ride through the haunted mine at Madland Amusement Park. Scan the horizon for UFOs. Find religion with the Prophet’s Apostles–and be prepared for the coming apocalypse.

Because the apocalypse has arrived in Madelyn. People are disappearing. Strange shapes and lights dart across the night sky. And a young man embraces a violent destiny–inspired by a serial killer whose reign of terror was buried years ago.

But each of these events is merely setting the stage for the final confrontation. A horror of catastrophic proportions is slouching toward Madelyn in the form of four horsemen–and they’re picking up speed. . .

“Tamara Thorne has become one of those must-read horror writers. From her strong characters to her unique use of the supernatural, anything she writes entertains as much as it chills.” –Horror World

“Tamara Thorne is the new wave of horror–her novels are fascinating rides into the heart of terror and mayhem.” –Douglas Clegg, author of You Come When I Call You