Coffin Hop HALLOWEEN The Haunted Library and All Hallows Read


Part of me wishes I could say that my library is haunted by a malevolent spirit bent on the annihilation of the patronage and people of Craig, but another part of me is glad I can’t say that. What I can say is that, yeah, there is what I shall describe as a “critter” in the library. I can call him a “critter” because he’s never taken offense about me calling him that. Yes, I believe it’s a “he” rather than a “she.” He is mischievous, wiley, funny, and, sometimes, moody. Sometimes the library feels “sad” or “melancholy.” I always ask (aloud) “Are you okay?” I figure it’s not just polite to do that, I also really care that the mood of the library shifts that way. I’ve seen him by the circulation desk.  He stands there. He watches. Sometimes books slide off the shelves with no one around. It’s unnerved people who have seen it, but I’ve just smiled and said, “Oh! That’s odd…” I’ll pick up the book and shelve it. Sometimes it’s an interesting book and I’ll read a bit of it. My critter definitely has good taste in literature…

I don’t talk about the critter much. I mean, people would look at me all askance if I made a big deal out of it. Besides, it’s like we’re friends and you don’t talk about your friends like that. He’s here, I’m here, we’re just comfortable together.  But, I can’t help but wonder…. who IS he? No doubt he’s been here longer than I have because I’ve heard stories. Never bad stories, just…stories. It’s not a bad feeling you get in the library. Ever. He’s curious to be sure, and, like I said, sometimes sad, but I’ve never been scared or anything. I’m happy about that.

But then, those of you who know me shouldn’t be surprised that I ended up in a library like this. Most assuredly there were critters of a different sort at Fort Bliss (when you have human remains on shelves, how can there NOT be? And, before you go calling the Feds, they were properly excavated remains that were being curated in accordance with 36 CFR 79 and NAGPRA). Other sorts at The Harbor Defense Museum, and still others at…Kennecott. Yeah. Kennecott. Overall, the place didn’t weird me out, but the West Bunkhouse at 3am was unnerving as HELL. It was only there and around the house that Hastings occupied (the notorious mass murderer of The McCarthy Massacre) that I ever got creepy feelings. Then again, my husband and I raised eyebrows when we showed up there. We were Tim and Amy.  People who had survived the massacre and were still in the town remembered ANOTHER Tim and Amy who were murdered on the airstrip.

There are no coincidences.

I guess that’s why the idea of something being around me doesn’t weird me out so much. It must have started with the original birth story—when the daughter of the couple who found me, cold and abandoned in the bathroom of that launderette mentioned another connection:

I always wanted to tell you this, and I wanted to TELL YOU. I didn’t want you to read it anywhere. You were born in the early morning hours of November 16, 1964 in the Grover Bungalo Laundrymat. What you need to know is that, in the early morning hours of November 16, 1963, my mother’s dad, Wallace E. Grover who owned the place, went into work, hung up his coat, and dropped dead of a massive coronary not more than three feet from where you were found a year later.


No coincidences.


Check out the Top 10 Haunted Libraries in the Country!


And now, a quick word about Neil Gaiman’s All Hallows Read.: FANTASTIC!

If you’re not participating this year, please make plans to participate NEXT year. Literacy, especially EARLY Literacy, is SO IMPORTANT. Mr. Gaiman’s idea to hand out scary books on Halloween either with or in lieu of candy is nothing short of brilliant. If you’re looking for a book to hand out to your friends for Halloween, may I suggest Coffin Hop: Death By Drive-In? Not only will you be reading some of the weirdest and most wonderful things from your Coffin Hop buddies, you’ll be supporting LitWorld—an International Literacy Charity with the 2014 goal of teaching ONE MILLION CHILDREN (And Adults) how to read! What could be better? Horror for you and a leg up for those in need! 100% of the proceeds of the sale of the anthology benefit this charity; and it’s not just some “hey-we’re-doing-this-during-Coffin-Hop-only” stunt. No. This is FOREVER. This is why I love this group. Stuff like this (and other things, but stuff like this)


Happy Halloween and the end of Coffin Hop! Hard to believe it’s been 8 days of darkness (it’s kind of like Hannukah in reverse, right? I just thought of that…). Tell me a Ghost Story – long, short, real, not, just a bit of a Ghost Story. Why? Because this is the GREATEST of all the Coffin Hop Prizes and YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT!

Tsimshian Designed MugsYour choice of Red or Black

Death By Drive InPaperback Copy of Death By Drive In!

The_Fishing_Widow_EbookPaperback Copy of The Fishing Widow (because I had to plug the book at SOME point!)

1397624_653571864676187_605442417_oOne of Ray Troll’s New SPAWN OF THE DEAD T-Shirts (tell me what size!)

DMR Prize PackA Deadman’s Reach Prize Pack!

Yeah, you WAAAANNNT This! Tell me a story!! Contest Closes at Noon on November 2nd!



Happy Coffin Hoppin’!


7 Replies to “Coffin Hop HALLOWEEN The Haunted Library and All Hallows Read”

  1. My inaugural encounter with any form of supernatural creature took place when I was an eight-year-old in my backyard with my best friend, Allison. The ghost’s floating wispy fog-like form coalesced and dissolved repeatedly in no discernable pattern, terrifying, Alison and me. After the initial shock, we determined to be brave; we knelt in unison, bowing our heads, alternately praying and singing hymns, for what seemed an inordinately long time to a child. When our fear subsided, as de facto leader due to age and bravado, I glanced up, ascertaining our efforts had not wrought the appropriate result; the entity had not vanished, as church doctrine had taught us it should. With the firm faith of a child in the power of God, I rose, pointed a trembling finger at the insubstantial apparition, and demanded, in the name of Jesus, the phantom “be gone” – Again, the outcome was unfruitful.

    The life form then began to moan a slurred, but intelligible, form of my best friend’s name – “Alley-seen.” I immediately dropped back on my knees with undeniable fear. Was the spook after my best friend? Would it hurt Allison? I resolved to protect her, redoubling my entreaties to God for deliverance. Occasionally I peeked up to see if we had yet achieved a miracle; if I found the entity too close, I grabbed Allison’s hand and we fled to another part of the yard, only to kneel again and repeat our prayers and hymns. This cycle went on for the entire afternoon, with Allison’s trust in her older, and assumedly wiser, playmate orchestrating the defensive strategy. Why didn’t we scream for our parents? Today, I know better than to face a paranormal apparition unless there is no other option, but children often believe they can handle anything and are indestructible. We faced the ghost, because that is what the Bible heroes – especially Jesus – would do. The specter removed itself after nearly a week, not causing the unquestioning faith of children to query why so much time had passed for it to be gone.

    The next notable meeting was two or three years later. Practicing from our choir hymnal on my living room couch, my sister-in-law, Cindy, and I simultaneously jumped at a movement in our peripheral vision. Cindy was there to baby-sit me, so we should have been home alone, but we had unexpected and undesirable company. The chair, that was mate to the couch we occupied, was placed ten feet in front of us, across the room. A short robed figure stood adjacent to that chair, with the crown of its robe’s cowl almost even with the level of the chair’s arms. We froze as our eyes took in the being, its stormy blue-gray hooded robe’s ample sleeves hiding its clasped hands from view and head bowed so the cowl would obscure its features. Cindy led a prayer to dispel the apparition with no success, so she decided we should continue our interrupted practice, on the theory that, if we glorified God enough through our singing, the creature would be forced to vacate the premises. The phantom did leave eventually, but I will never know if it did due to us lifting our voices in praise of the Lord, or if another catalyst was responsible. As I have never run across accounts of similar specters, I am unable to provide a reasonable classification of the thing’s supernatural species.

    Further supernatural events in my vicinity were few until I was fourteen. That year, a failed eye surgery took away most of my sight, leaving a veiled world of light and shadow all I could see. I had no additional experience with paranormal activity from high school until I entered university. I assumed, prior to my freshman year of college, that the eye surgery I’d suffered had also affected my strange ability to see supernatural creatures. I was stalked – by a human – early in that first semester, leading the chief of campus security to recommend I keep company as much as I could get away with, living in the all-female portion of my dormitory. My boyfriend – Shawn – often spent the night in my room, tacitly ignored by security officers, because I felt unsafe taking my guide dog for her late night and early morning constitutional in the unlighted area behind the dorms alone, after the stalker and the chief’s admonition. With all my precautions for safety, I unknowingly neglected defense from adversaries of the realm most people can’t see. I believed in them, but I also believed I couldn’t envision them anymore; did the challenge of this mental block start drawing more powerful poltergeists to me?

    They hovered in the upper corners of the dorm room – sometimes one and sometimes more than a dozen charcoal-colored mask-like faces on a background of swirling mist in other shades of gray. Shawn saw the fiends two or three times – only a negligible percentage of when they were visible to me. To this day I think of the specters as demonic spirits, based on the nights they would possess our bodies. while one of us slumbered, the thief or thieves of personal freedom would converse through the sleeper with the one of us that was awake. We thoroughly discussed the nightmarish conversations experienced while the other was under the foreign will’s sway. The consensus was, under the novel influence, we both used deep powerful voices with a sibilant hiss, as often witnessed in traditional horror films. The unwelcome consciousness would answer questions: black was its favorite color; God was its respected opponent; it showed trepidation at the mention of the Second Coming; it quoted biblical scripture; it could not give its name, for it was many and not one. I despaired of ridding my dwelling of the menace, but there was no need in the end; I left college due to medical reasons and was never well enough to return to that troubled room.

    The first apartment I shared with Shawn – now my husband – was plagued by a mischievous poltergeist for more than two years. It was a glowing toxic green color, much like Slimer from the Ghost Busters movies. By this point in my life, I could interpret somewhat the emotional state and intentions of the beings I encountered, often sensing what rooms, buildings, and people were infested with supernatural problems. I was frightened in the beginning of this globular apparition, as it pays to assume the worst of the paranormal before simply progressing to being wary, never giving true trust. As it limited itself to pulling electrical plugs from wall sockets and hovering in front of the bedroom closet, I stopped worrying so much; I did not become blasé about the entity, but I correctly sensed it would cause no serious harm.

    The shadow man appeared for a short time in the same apartment, before following us to our next residence. A black two-dimensional spirit full of hatred, the entity sometimes was content simply to walk through a room, sowing seeds of despair and fear within our souls, and siphoning out positive emotions – the actions of a supernatural psychic vampire. We would know when it was coming down the hall, because our cat would hurtle in front of it with hisses and spits of rage and terror, a warning system we valued. The climactic occurrence took place, when, one night, it loomed over my sleeping husband, attempting to touch him. What halted the progress of the incredible phantom: Did it disappear because the presence of my active consciousness interfered with it somehow, or did something else make it leave? I don’t know what would have happened if it had succeeded in reaching him, but, undoubtedly, it would be an undesirable physical encounter; I have heard that sort of creature referred to as a soul-sucker, soul-incubus, and soul-succubus, and an intimate association with their physical essence is something I would rather not contemplate. Like the other visitors I’ve had, I do not know why it came or finally left. Though the life form never possessed either of us, I believe the shadow man was the most powerful supernatural creature I have ever beheld.

    Nearly seventeen years have passed since my baptism into knowledge that supernatural beings exist. I have tried to lock away the part of me that can see and sense them, with almost total success. Even so, once in a while, I glimpse another apparition breaking through into the life I prefer to be normal, with no supernatural complications. I don’t want to live with the fears that will never exist for you; I don’t want to see what you cannot; I don’t want to live the nightmare where the shadow man comes back to rape my husband’s soul. Even my strongest mental block will never be infallible; I cannot completely escape the Sight, nor its attending consequences of unwanted experience, frightening knowledge, roiling emotions, and unanswered questions.

    Words to call “it:”

    Life form

  2. He took me by the hand to guide me in the dark, but when the light switched on, I was alone in the room.

    Happy Halloween:))

  3. Being married is more fun in fiction. It’s scary in “real life” – and not currently my problem. Just saying… Because that up there be fiction!

  4. My dad had this odd way of coughing. It wasn’t a cough so much as an explosion of air, and usually a little phlegm. After he died I had a hard time sleeping in the house that usually had a tv on in the background and him puttering about with something. Then I heard a cough, his cough. It didn’t scare me. It reassured me. And I finally started to sleep in gradually bigger chunks. For the first year I’d hear it from time to time, always when I was alone and couldn’t sleep. He was an army ranger in life. I think it took him awhile to quit standing guard.

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