Monday, October 5, 2015

October Frights Blog Hop (V): Ghost Stories



Free on Kindle through October 5th!
Today is October 5th, folks, so grab it before it goes away...

 Today's Spotlight is on...">Doorways: Three Tales of No Going Back</a><img src="
Doorways. Life is full of them.

We walk through doorways every day. Sometimes, we don't pay any attention to them as we go. Sometimes, we stumble through and curse them for tripping us up. Sometimes, we put great effort into opening certain doors wide enough to squeeze through, only to have them slam shut behind us again.

In the art of storytelling, a "doorway" refers to a place in the story at which point there is no way for the character to go back and alter their course. It's a point of no return.

Sometimes the character makes the choice to pass through a doorway. Sometimes, the choice is made for them.

Life itself is a series of doorways--a string of rite-of-passage moments that connect the chapters of our lives like boxcars in a train. Like trains, life is often full speed ahead with no reverse. Only the doorways keep us from losing ground.

Doorways: Three Tales of No Going Back is a short story collection. Each tale depicts a doorway through which no character can ever return.

Cross the thresholds with them.

Everyone has a ghost story to'll even find a ghostly tale in Doorways. The story "A Compassionate Death" was inspired by the song "Fiddler on the Green" by Demons & Wizards. (And if that isn't a cool name for a band, I don't know what is.)

A few years ago, we took a family vacation to Gettysburg, PA. Lucky for me I have children who are interested in history and educational trips so going to Gettysburg was a no-brainer. (My teen daughter and her dad were also huge fans of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter so, for them, it was a fan event.)

Although we'd planned all our activities around historical touring, I had a persistent ulterior motive: ghost hunting.

Gettysburg is the site of the three-day battle that ended the Civil War. It was here that Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address. It was also here that tens of thousands of men died, their lives cut short by the tragedies of war. We saw bullet holes in buildings, field upon field of solemn memorials...and about a gazillion places offering scenic ghost tours.

Do you know how hard it was for me to pass them up? Wednesday is my favorite day of the week because it's usually a Ghost Hunters marathon on SyFy. I LOVE scaring myself. My family, on the other hand, aren't so much into ghost hunting. I really had to bite my tongue and soldier on through a week of no ghost hunting in one of the most haunted towns in the country.

The ghosts of Gettysburg must have sensed my disappointment, though, because, when we didn't go looking for them, they came looking for us.

Here is one of my favorite ghost stories...

As I said, while in Gettysburg, we planned several historic tours. In addition to a guided bus tour of the battlefields, we also visited each of the many museums in town. There was one particular museum that my daughter did not want to visit: The Soldiers' National Museum.

The Soldiers' National Museum is located in the former home of the National Soldier's Orphan Homestead. It's also the site of a spooktacular ghost tour where the brave (or foolish) can descend into the cellars to collection of battlefield relics. It took us a long time to get through the museum and my darling daughter hated the whole thing.
see where the cruel matron chained her children in crude dank dungeons--and worse. My daughter was NOT interested in running into the ghosts of tortured orphans.

I tried a comforting approach when encouraging her to go through the museum. "When we go in," I told her, "Just tell yourself we are a family who is looking to adopt a new brother or sister. That way, if any spirit attaches itself to us, it will be happy, not scary. When we get back to the door, the spirit will pass through and go on to find peace."

She stuck out her chin in stubborn defiance and grumbled at me.

The museum was neat. It had a life-sized scene of soldiers with cannons at the beginning and then went on to display artifacts, detailed dioramas, and a huge hole in the floor of the gift shop where you can peer into the basement, which had served as a dungeon.

She declared she had a headache when we first walked in. Then, as we progressed through the tour, she developed a stomach ache. Her maladies progressed to the point where, by the end of the tour, my husband carried her: she was completely flopped over his shoulder. At twelve, she was already long and lanky and her arms and legs just hung, listless. She was a total wreck.

I couldn't get her to look in the dungeon display at the end, literally a hole in the floor over in the corner. It seems to be an afterthought to the museum but, remembering what I'd told my daughter, I wasn't going to leave without at least acknowledging those poor unfortunates. My poor child moaned and groaned until we walked outside...

...and she had an instant, miraculous recovery.

I passed the whole thing off as her way of protesting the whole visit. Until, that is, when I looked at the pictures I took along the way.

This is the first photo I took in the museum, where my daughter's headache began progressing into her almost-coma. Look closely between the second and third figures. Although we passed through a lot of dark and dusty rooms in the museum, this is the only orb image I captured. If it had been dust, it would have appeared in other pictures--and I took close to thirty in areas like this one.

Take another look, this time at the zoomed image.

Could it be? Did my daughter attract a child's trapped spirit with the promise of a new home and new life? Did she lead it to peace when she took it out of the museum with her? I like to think so.

Leave a comment to earn another entry in the October Frights Giveaway...

What do you think of that ghostly photo? Do you have a ghost story and maybe even a photo of your own to share? I'd love to hear your tales!


  1. Intriguing, perhaps there was a ghostly visitor.

    1. Even though this was a few years ago, my daughter is still pretty sensitive about the occurrence. As time had passed, she because more active in Girl Scouting and has been training the last few summers as a summer camp counsellor. She has a natural affinity for small children--they are just drawn to her. Perhaps she's always had that affinity, and it was strong enough to draw children from the past to her, as well.

    2. Interesting post. Thought you will like these creepy stories:


  2. I've heard Gettyburg is quite the place to visit. Interesting!

    1. There is definitely an energy there. No wonder the town has a thriving ghost walk touring economy.

      Thanks for stopping by, Clarissa!

  3. Ash, that is a wonderful (but creepy) story. I have many ghost stories I could share. I don't remember which I've told where...when I was younger, it seemed I really attracted spirits. My best friend and I liked to go to her grandmother's house for various reasons. Her grandmother had lost her sight and lived with her daughters (on a rotating basis). The first time I went into the grandmother's house (I was never told when or why she had moved out of her home and in with her daughters), my friend gave me "the grand tour." We walked into the bathroom and I got a weird chill. The hair on my arms and the back of neck stood up. I asked my friend if anyone had entered the house. She assured me no one had (we'd locked the door behind us). I looked at the wall beside the commode and saw a strange shadow. I asked, "Mary Jo, what's the big dark spot on the wall?" She gave me a very strange look, stared around at the walls and asked, "Where?" I pointed at the wall and said, "Right there, It's huge. It's shaped kind of like a really large man." She said, "That's it. We're leaving. Right now." And out of the house we went. She hustled me back to her house and barely spoke to me. When we got home, she immediately began screeching to her mother that I saw "the shadow" and described it "perfectly" and knew where it was and so on. It seems her grandmother, when she first began losing her sight, started sensing a large man in the house. She would see his shadow (at that point, she could see only light and dark, so a shadow was about all she could see) on the wall where I saw his shadow - always in the same spot. She always felt she was being watched when this shadow was present and he appeared next to where she put her linen (there was a big shelf space next to the commode - this was a really old house). Her mom questioned Mary Jo intently first to make sure she'd never told me anything, then questioned me. Then, of course, she called Grandma, who verified it all. That was only the first of many things that happened in and around THAT house (prior to that, my grandparents' haunted house prepared me for Grandma's house, I guess).

  4. Great writing about doorways! A few years ago, I wrote a post about the "haunted" museum too. Creepy place. :O


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