Saturday, February 14, 2015

Haunted Places: Return to Molly Stark Hospital



Today paranormal investigator Timothy Yohe is back to share an update about the latest explorations into Molly Stark Hospital. His previous post was Is the Molly Stark Hospital in Ohio Truly Haunted?  Timothy has provided plenty of new photos, so I hope you enjoy this revisit to one of the most mysterious abandoned hospitals in the U.S.




Over this past summer I had the opportunity to travel back to my hometown in Ohio and pay a visit to my family. This trip was taken literally right before our first grandchild was to be born. I knew I was taking a chance on missing his birth, but my intuition told me he would wait for my return. Following that same instinct that I use in paranormal investigations, we jumped into the rental car and headed for the eastern horizon.


When I left for Ohio, I hadn’t really planned to make another visit to the Molly Stark Hospital. This was just a trip to see our folks, although it was looming in the back of my mind. On previous investigations we had had great success capturing orbs, hearing voices, and I even encountered at least one of the site’s residents when I entered in through a back window and explored the basement. It was really cool to document my first article of a paranormal investigation and, yes, I owe a lot of that to Brian Moreland. His invitation to guest write this story for him (we met on his Trans-Allegheny article) has launched a passionate blog with an even more amazing community tying it all together. Thank you Brian!
 During those investigations that started back in 2012, my bother-in-law and nephew tagged along for the experience. In our short time there a passion got fired up within my nephew, who was 14 at the time, and now he loves to pursue the paranormal. He now visits the site on a regular basis with his friends and continues to capture activity. So, naturally, during the first night of our visit, he proposed a return to the hospital grounds. How could I refuse?
On each of the previous visits we had focused on the three-story hospital in search of activity. We captured voices coming from the ventilation shaft, orbs present in the balcony overhangs, movement in the windows, and when I ventured down the hallway, I could hear footsteps coming down the stairs that made the hair on my arms stand on end. I believe that some of the residents here have never left and my experiences have absolutely confirmed this suspicion.
This time we started our investigation with the smaller building, shooting many digital photos as we walked around its perimeter. We were unable to capture any visual evidence, but we were able to still-frame some of the beautiful architecture on this building.
The only spot that was in question was a second-story window that was open on the back side and seemed to have someone peering out from it. There wasn’t any background light to contrast the darkness, there was simply that feeling you get when someone is watching you. It was quite creepy, but no documentable evidence to be had as proof.
I did bring an electronic voice recorder with me and kept it running the whole time, sticking it in through any opening and trying to remain as quiet as possible as we walked. At one stop on the route I did find an open window and we think we may have captured a female voice uttering about three words. It is very difficult to ascertain what is being said because the device is more suited for recording college professors than paranormal activity. I am hoping by this summer I can obtain a good DVR so I can finally get good audio recordings. Good evidence supports good paranormal claims.
After we finished investigating the smaller sanatorium, we ventured over to the hospital just to see if, by chance, we could capture any of the activity like the previous times we were here. Since our last time, my nephew said that he and his friends have done some extensive investigating on the property and have heard quite a few sounds they were unable to identify. One time his friend’s dog had a reaction to something inside the building because he started barking and prancing erratically. After pulling him away and moving further down the building, he did settle down. They were not sure exactly what to make of that incident. Animals do have abilities to detect things we cannot and their senses of smell and vision are keener than ours. That is one reason the Ghost Hunters team brought along their dog, Maddie, on several of their investigations. Jason Hawes, founder and lead investigator, wanted to see if Maddie could be helpful, and she was on many occasions.
As we made our way around the first corner, we encountered the warning “Death Awaits” written in graffiti on a wooden door. Indeed, every effort was being made to keep people out of the Molly Stark Hospital, not only because it is a crumbling danger zone, but also because it is full of asbestos. I did not know this fact when I entered the building a couple years earlier. I am hoping that by not wearing a mask that I won’t catch asbestosis later in life. Goes to prove, make sure you thoroughly research your sites before you do an investigation. This is good advice I would give to anyone.
A park ranger has now been assigned to walk the beat around the premises as many teenagers have been reported to have been sneaking in through the windows and venturing throughout the interior. If you search YouTube you can find a few of these boys incriminating themselves. The ranger we met was really cool and he made a lot of small talk with us just to see if we were up to anything we shouldn’t be. He saw my voice recorder, but didn’t mind us using it. We have that conversation recorded on the EVR. He is now submitted evidence.
While walking around the perimeter we took several photos of the balconies, windows, and doorways where we had captured orbs before. This time around we didn’t catch anything. But, when the park ranger wasn’t in our immediate vicinity, we did pull back a couple of the plywood boards and did some quick shots. Here we did capture a couple of things we are not sure how to debunk, if they can be debunked at all.
In our first photo you can see a white ball of light on the right and in the middle of the picture. We shot several photos of this spot and the light showed up on all of them but one. We tried hard to see if there was an object that light could be reflecting off of, but we couldn’t ascertain anything in that spot. The room is full of a lot of stuff, so this might be debunked as not being paranormal.
We did capture something, though, that we cannot debunk. You will notice in the picture above that the area looks like a shower-type area. There’s nothing in the way of the paranormal to be seen. It’s just a cluttered room.
This next photo was taken by my nephew using his cell phone camera to shoot the exact same spot I just shot with a digital camera. Although this picture is not anywhere as clear as the one on his phone, there is a green mist present in the doorway. This next photo is a close-up of the area, again without any sign of an anomaly.
This green mist we believe is the clear sign of something in the doorway attempting to manifest itself for us. Prior to these photos we had placed the EVR inside and were asking several questions without any response. Perhaps the entity was choosing a visual response over an auditory one. Another thing you will notice about my nephew’s photo is that there is some visible white streaking. There wasn’t any glass on the window, so a reflection is out of the question. After doing some research, I have found that this shows up in photos as the spiritual veil which separates the physical and supernatural worlds. So, in essence, his photo gave us a two-fold capture – one of an entity attempting to manifest and the other is a rare view of the invisible barrier that separates the dead from the living.
Concluding Thoughts
Once again Molly Stark Hospital has not let us down as very active. It is rather unusual for a site to consistently yield activity, but this one has been the exception. In our brief amount of time here, we were able to capture more evidence that simply puts the nail in the coffin, so to say, that this location is haunted. We do not believe there are any malevolent entities on the grounds, just perhaps some of them may be a bit intimidating. Life in a tuberculosis hospital would have been a combination of fresh air therapy mixed in with chaos and misery. The patients would have carried those energies with them when they crossed over the spiritual veil.
I do wonder if my great-great aunt and her son, patients at the hospital in its earlier existence, still walk in and throughout the Molly Stark property. I would like to think that their souls are content and happy. The state of Ohio purchased the site for one dollar and they are planning to redevelop it into Molly Stark Park. The buildings are slated to be torn down, but perhaps the beauty of a new vibrant landscape will allow all the souls here to finally rest in peace.

For more true paranormal stories, check out Timothy Yohe’s Paranormal blog: ghosttracker423.blogspot.com





Monday, January 12, 2015

When Characters Become a Family



Today’s guest author has visited my blog a number of times and I’m happy to have him back. Hunter Shea continues to write great horror novels at rapid-fire speed. His specialty is writing terrifying books about ghosts, ghost hunters, and haunted places. His latest book takes place on a mysterious island where spirits of the dead harbor dark secrets. Here, Hunter Shea gives us some background about his new book that continues his Jessica Backman Series. After the article be sure to check out Hunter’s giveaway for a chance to win one of his books.


Island of the Forbidden Synopsis

Sometimes, the dead are best left in peace.

Jessica Backman has been called to help a strange family living on a haunted island in Charleston Harbor. Ormsby Island was the site of a brutal massacre two decades ago, and now the mysterious Harper family needs someone to exorcise the ghosts that still call it home. The phantoms of over one hundred children cannot rest.

But something far more insidious is living on the island. When the living and the dead guard their true intentions, how can Jessica discover just what sort of evil lurks on Ormsby Island? And why is Jessica the only one who can plumb its dark depths?

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When Characters Become a Family

I’ll admit it right here – for the past 10 years, I have been addicted to ghost hunting shows. It started with Ghost Hunters and spiraled out of control, feeding my addiction to night vision. As a person who lives in a house haunted by something I can’t rightly explain, these shows fed both my fascination with the unknown and yearning for answers. A decade later, I’m no closer to finding out what is living in my house (or is it un-living?), but my curiosity has never waned.

In fact, my fervor to discover the secrets behind our strange boarder led me to write about the passion for hunting ghosts in my first novel, Forest of Shadows. I wrote that book before all of the ghost hunting shows popped up on TV, so all I had to go on at the time was what I saw on In Search Of in the 70’s and the writings of people like Hans Holzer. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if your only job was searching for the mystery behind thousands of ghostly appearances? What would drive a person to make that his sole mission in life, and what would be the consequences of trying to peek behind death’s door, night after night?

That book gave me both the chance to live in that kind of world and my big break in publishing. One of the characters of that book, a 6 year old named Jessica Backman, came to feel like my third daughter. So much so, I wrote a book just for her called Sinister Entity, making her 19 and following in her father’s ghost hunting footsteps. No child that had lived through what she had would be what most people consider normal. But she was my child, just the same, warts and all. I exposed her to terrible things in that book, but in a way, only a person like her could face them without losing her mind.

And now I’ve done it to her again in Island of the Forbidden. It’s been fascinating, exploring the pathos of a young woman (now in her early 20s) who is drawn to the supernatural, facing things that would shatter a lesser person. I love writing from her perspective. In a genre dominated by males, Jessica Backman is all woman, yet tough enough to drink the boys under the table. Island of the Forbidden is a classic ghost story, set on a strange island, taken to a whole new level of mind bending madness. What would you do if you were on an island haunted by the active souls of over 100 dead children? Take the next boat to the mainland, I’m sure. Not so with Jessica. But there’s always a price to pay for getting too close to a hot stove.

What price is Jessica willing to pay? 



Island of the Forbidden by Hunter Shea continues the story of Jessica Backman, the ghost-hunting heroine who has appeared in Forest of Shadows, The Graveyard Speaks and Sinister Entity, all published by Samhain Horror.  
To read more about the series and Jessica Bockman, read Hunter’s recent article.

Giveaway

Enter to win one of five Hunter Shea books being given away! Two signed copies of Montauk Monster, one signed copy of Sinister Entity, and two e-books of choice of his titles are up for grabs! One book to each winner, given in order of random drawing. Enter to win at the Rafflecopter link. Must use valid email that winners can be contacted by. Print books are U.S. residents only. Contest ends Feb. 28, 2015. Any questions, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

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Purchase Links

GoodReads:

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Samhain Horror:

Barnes and Noble:

Raves for Hunter Shea

Forest of Shadows

"A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won't soon forget." --Night Owl Reviews

Sinister Entity

"This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don't get much better than this." --Literal Remains

". . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!" --Horror Novel Reviews

Evil Eternal

"Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare." --Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows

Swamp Monster Massacre

"If you're craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . . B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!" --Horror Novel Reviews



About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity,  HellHole and Island of the Forbidden, which are all published by Samhain Horror. 

The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster was published by Kensington/Pinnacle. His second Kensington novel, Tortures of the Damned, will be published later this year.

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls.

His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview with Author Gair McDonald



Today I'd like to introduce you to a fresh new voice in the horror genre. Gair McDonald, a screenwriter who lives in Scotland, has written a wonderful haunted house short story called Blackwood Manor, now available as an ebook. I had the pleasure of editing Gair’s short story and designing the cover. We’ve also had some great conversations about soccer, horror movies, and the art of writing hair-raising tales of terror. Gair was nice enough to stop by my blog for a visit and chat about what inspired him to write a ghost story.



Synopsis: Welcome to Blackwood Manor, a three-story Scottish house steeped in ancient history and myth. For many years the manor has remained abandoned and left to rot, until now. The Marshall Family has arrived. Hank and Emily are hoping that moving out to the country will give them a fresh start with their daughter Amy. But evil lurks in the most unlikely of places, waiting for new victims to cross its threshold.

There are plenty of chilling moments in Blackwood Manor and some unexpected twists and turns. The fact that it’s located in Scotland made it an enjoyable read for me. I especially loved the relationship between Hank Marshall and his young daughter, Amy, and the tension between Amy and her mother. Gair, tell readers about where your idea for this ghost story originated from.


What I like about the whole haunted house theme is that you can do what you like with it, turn it into what you want. The concept for Blackwood Manor actually came from a short script which for years I thought about turning into a short story.


Interestingly, there are significant differences; the script simply had the main character going to the manor where two women reside. Suffice it to say, it's evident that when the character is there things “aren't right.” In the short story we have a family living in the manor hoping for a fresh start. There may be differences from the script and short story, however, a couple of themes stay the same: the manor is clearly steeped in myth and history. And the differences in the short story . . . well, you will have to read for yourself!

What compels you to write horror?


Like many others, writing for me is a form of escapism. Horror is a great seller for writing. I think the beauty of horror is that I don't think people ever get tired or fed up of horror one way. It does sell. Horror fans will always have their favourite character or theme.


When it comes to writing, whether it be a short story or screenplay, I have enjoyed writing horror. Each story that I have done is set in the same “world.” There are nods to my other stories; for instance, my current “creature feature” screenplay references Blackwood Manor.

I also write horror as a fun means of escapism and agree that the genre, whether it be books or movies, tends to stay popular. Gair, thanks so much for visiting and I look forward to reading more stories from the fictional world you’ve created.

For those interested in reading Blackwood Manor it’s available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and more.



Gair McDonald is based in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has been passionate about writing for over ten years. To date, he has written short stories, several screenplays, and two television pilots. In his spare time, he enjoys going to the cinema, gym, walking, and spending time with his children.