Tag Archive: ghosts

Book Review: Spirits of Southeast Alaska by James P. Devereaux

By now you know my tastes–spooky or steamy or Scottish or all three–and when I find something share-worthy, I like to pass it along. This month’s selection falls firmly into the spooky category.

Spirits of Southeast Alaska came to me by way of my daughter who got it by way of a co-worker and friend who just happens to be the author. Anyone who loves a good ghost story will find this little book hard to put down.

From the ghostly wailings of shipwreck victims to shadow figures of long-dead villains to kindly spirits who oversee much-loved businesses, Devereaux’s book is filled with tales of paranormal activity. What makes this book stand out is the attention to historic detail. Ghosts don’t just grow on trees, after all. Every screaming banshee and moaning apparition tells a tale of a life lived and lost.

Violent and often barbaric, the history of Southeast Alaska probably wasn’t featured in your high school history books. In loving detail, Devereaux paints  vivid pictures of  the men and women who, sometimes for better but mostly for worse, sought their fortunes in the gold mines and boom towns of this wild region. Then he does a crack-up job of relating the experiences of the current Alaska inhabitants– chilling experiences which suggest  the former residents are still restless.

I guarantee you’ll find at least one story that lingers. You’ll recall it on a dark and stormy night when an Arctic wind howls out  of the North–a shivery little chill reminding you of tragedy, murder, and unsettled souls.

Now, as an editor and teacher, I have to say that I found a few overly lengthy sentences and a few missing Oxford commas–Oh, the Humanity! Seriously, I have to say that. Can’t help it. But these minor oversights didn’t keep me from shivering my way to the very end of this entertaining collection.

I highly recommend Spirits of Southeast Alaska to anyone who enjoys history and hauntings.

 

Grab a copy of the book HERE and be sure to let me know what you think of it. I’d also encourage you to post a review for the author on Amazon. We writers live for reviews. A few words and a few stars to let us know you’re out there keep us warm at night.

13 Zoraida Grey Tricks and Treats–Happy Halloween, Witches!

She’s one crazy witch and she went live on October ZoraidaGreyandtheFamilyStones_w10984_30028. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is the first in a three-book series that will take Zoraida from Arkansas to Scotland to the Yucatan Jungle and back again. Since we are at the heart of Witching Season, here are Thirteen Tricks and Treats you’ll find in the book.
And be sure to enter the contest for a chance to win a smoky quartz necklace.

  1. A Castle: Fantastic Castle Logan in far north Scotland has a history stretching back to the Picts. When the Logans claimed the spot, a Pictish broch sat like a fat spider on a precipice over the Loch of the Black Bridge. What lurks beneath the broch in the crystal encrusted cavern?
  2. Ghosts: Castle Logan is infested with phantasms of various descriptions including a psychotic lady in lilac who tosses hapless women to their deaths. A Spaniard in glowing green armor haunts the East Tower. Is he looking for revenge?
  3. Crystals: From the crystal doorknobs to the crystal chandeliers, Castle Logan vibrates with crystal energy.
  4. A man in kilts: Michael Logan nurtures black roses in the gardens as skillfully as he tends the Logan clan. But to make one thing grow, he may have to sacrifice something—or someone.
  5. Herbs: The Logan witches have tricks in their gardens that may beguile even Zoraida.
  6. Magic: What is it about Zhu, Zoraida’s best friend, that repels magic? She’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Trapped in Castle Logan, Zhu may find magic isn’t all fairies and roses.
  7. Another man in kilts: Shea Logan wraps himself in protective spells and chooses his words carefully. Blue lightning flashes from his black Logan eyes and indigo tattoos spiral around his arms. What’s he hiding?
  8. Cats: Grimalkin, Pyewacket, and Johnny Lee Hooker, the black cat who lives with Zoraida, creep through the story, batting the dangling ends of knotted cords and watching with luminescent eyes. If only they could talk, what secrets could they reveal?
  9. An oubliette: This place of forgetting beneath the ancient East Tower came in handy to the Logans in the past. Zoraida gets the heebie jeebies just looking at it. No one has ever escaped from its dark depths.
  10. Curses and Spells: Curses and spells drip from the fingers of all in the Logan clan. Can small-town fortuneteller Zoraida compete with their malevolent power? Of course, she has a little Logan blood running through her veins, too.
  11. Scotland:From steel gray lochs to rocky hillsides to windswept shores, Scotland casts a spell every bit as powerful as those hurled by the witches of Castle Logan.
  12. Legends: Creatures and stories of Scotland peek from the pages of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. Zoraida finds fairytales come to life when witches are involved.
  13. Whisky: Smooth, peaty Laphroaig single-malt Scotch in a Cairngorm glass steadies Zoraida’s nerves. She better lay in a good store because the story’s just getting started.

Grab a copy and find out which of these 13 are tricks and which are treats.

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Take a minute to enter my Zoraida Grey Release Celebration Giveaway for a chance to win this necklace of smoky quartz-BYOS (Bring Your Own Skull–skull not included.)

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A Haunted Halloween Hop–Painted Lady Ghosts of Scotland

Welcome to my Stop on ABA’s Haunted Halloween Hop. Keep hopping by using the list of writers at the bottom of this post.

My topic? Ghosts, of course.

When I decided to write Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, I wanted the series to be chock full of everything I love—haunted castles, men in kilts, witches, Scotland, did I mention men in kilts, and–lastly but not leastly–ghosts.

A quick bit of research reveals that Scotland glows with female ghosts of various hues. I wanted to add a couple of ghosts of color, and thus, the Lilac Lady of Castle Logan was born—because I like purple and I like the smell of lilacs and all those Ls make for nice alliteration. In life, she was a crazy witch bent on the destruction of the Logan clan in general and of her husband, laird of Castle Logan, in particular. Being burned at the stake did not improve her disposition. She plays an important part in Zoraida’s journey of self-discovery.

Take a look at this rainbow of lady ghosts and—after you read Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones—tell me if you can see which real-life (or real-dead) ghosts I used for inspiration.

The Green Lady of Comlongon Castle

Lady Marion Curruthers died at the

Comlongon Castle

Comlongon Castle

foot of the castle tower where legend says no grass has ever grown.  Before his death, her father arranged a marriage for her with Sir James Douglas. Only problem—she hated every inch of James Douglas’s guts so she refused to marry him. When she defied a decree some said came from none other than Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Marion found herself locked in the tower by her uncle. The story goes that she jumped out the window in despair on the 25th of September, 1570. Another story has the uncle’s minions tossing her out because of her recalcitrance. Either way, she is not a happy apparition and appears as a weeping lady in a long green gown. And who can blame her? Sir James Douglas, by virtue of his legal betrothal to Lady Marion and despite her protests, inherited all the wealth and lands. To top it off, no one was ever punished for her murder­­––if murder it was.

The White Lady of Claypotts Castle
Claypotts Castle

Claypotts Castle

Rumor has it that John Graham performed diabolic rituals in the castle, but that may have been propaganda spread by his enemies. However, tales of orgies, screaming, demonic images, cackling laughter, not to mention the stomping of the Horses of Hell keep the populace a healthy distance from the castle come nightfall. A lady in white who waves a handkerchief from the window is supposed to be either Marion Ogilvie, mistress of Cardinal Beaton who was murdered on May 29th 1546 or the ghost of a mistress of John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee—aka Bonnie Dundee or bluidy Clavers. The Lady is said to return to the castle on the 29th of May. John Graham was killed at the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689 and is also reported to return on the 29thof May.

The Grey Lady of Glamis Castle

Lady Jane Douglas was burned for witchcraft in 1540. King James V, who

Glamis Castle:http://de.academic.ru/dic.nsf/dewiki/526083

Glamis Castle:http://de.academic.ru/dic.nsf/dewiki/526083

never liked the plaguey Douglases anyhow, appropriated the lavish castle after the scandal. A ghostly woman is often seen in the clock tower surrounded by flames. She might be the grey lady who frequents the chapel. Glamis Castle is a busy place, supernaturally speaking, housing no fewer than a dozen ghosts. You can’t swing a dead cat without stirring up one spirit or another.

The Pink Lady of Stirling Castle

Stirling CastleAfter Edward I defeated William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, Stirling Castle was the last stronghold of Scotland. It took six years of war, but Edward and his twelve siege engines at last had the Scots treed.  For four long months, The English bombarded Stirling with Greek fire, rocks, and whatever else they could lay their hands on. Though the garrison of 30 surrendered, many died of starvation during the siege. The Pink Lady is thought to be a noblewoman who pined away  for her lover, a soldier who starved to death in the Castle. People say the faint scent of rose lingers just before she appears. She wanders between the Kirk Tower and the Castle, waiting for the Day of Judgement when she will find her brave Scottish knight again.

Meet the Lilac Lady and the witches of Castle Logan in Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. You can preorder the book–which is due to be released by Wild Rose Press on October 28–HERE.

Want to see more? Visit my Zoraida Grey Page.

Sign up to win a fabulous smokey quartz necklace. Winner to be announced right here November 21.necklace2

 

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And another giveaway sponsored by the Haunted Halloween Blog Hop.
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Now–Away with you to the next stop on the hop where Author Tricia Schneider is talking VAMPIRES. Or visit any of these fantastic writers who are participating.

Skeletons in the Closet at Fyvie Castle

Whew–Better Late than Never !  Happy Spring Equinox. Here’s a nice little ghost story to help you celebrate.

 

Fyvie Castle has it all, curses, ghosts, and skeletons in the walls.

Fyvie Castle

The curse was put on the castle by non-other than Thomas the Rhymer (fl. c. 1220 – 1298) who was once stolen by elves—more likely the Sidhe, the Celtic version of fairies. But these fairies aren’t the lovable little winged sweeties you see in cartoons. In fact, a Campbell storyteller told me that you can estimate the age of a fairytale by the size of the fairies in it. Older stories tell of fairies taller than men and possessed of powers beyond reckoning—some good, some bad. In fact, the Sidhe seemed to consider humans more of a nuisance than anything. Anyway, the Sidhe who kidnapped Thomas were of the larger variety and non-too careful with their charge. They transported him to their land and by the time he got back, his hair had turned snow white but he had the gift of prophecy.

When he came to the gate of Fyvie one stormy night, the castle gates blew shut in his face—or that was the story. In fact, Thomas might not have been a very welcome guest since most of his prophecies were gloomy and dark. At any rate, he took offense and stood before the gates in the storm, bringing this curse upon the castle:

Wheel Stair

Staircase at Fyvie Castle antique engraved print by Robert William www.heatons-of-tisbury.co.uk

“Fyvie, Fyvie thou’se never thrive,

lang’s there’s in thee stanes three :

There’s ane intill the highest tower,

There’s ane intill the ladye’s bower,

There’s ane aneath the water-yett,

And thir three stanes ye’se never get.”

So what we have here is a curse revolving around three stones hidden within the castle. Until all three stones are recovered, the owners of the castle will never thrive—some say this means no heir will be born within the castle or to the owners nor would any first born live to inherit the castle. Reportedly, one stone was found. Called the Weeping Stone, it sometimes exudes enough water to fill the bowl in which it is kept. The other stones are still lost. The curse has carried through the centuries as the castle changed hands.

In 1592, Lord Fyvie, Alexander Seton married Dame Lilias (or Lilies) Drummond. She bore him five daughters and died before she was thirty. One story has Lord Fyvie locking Lilias in her room and starving her to death because she did not produce a son—there’s that pesky curse at work. The story goes that Seton began an affair before Lilias’ death  and remarried soon after. On the wedding night, Seton and his new bride heard moaning and sighing outside of their chamber but could not find the cause. In the morning, in letters fifty feet above the ground and on the outside of the windowsill of the Lord and new Lady’s bedroom, the name of Dame Lilias Drummond had been carved into the solid stone. The letters are still visible today. She continues to haunt the castle as the Green Lady of Fyvie Castle.

In the late 1920s, a strange growth of algae erupted on the wall of the castle gun room. The owner at the time, Lord Leith, began renovations. When workmen tore down the wall they discovered the skeleton of a woman. The remains were carefully removed, as you can imagine, and buried. But that was only the beginning.

The ghost of a lady in grey appeared so many times and startled so many people, not least of which was the Lord of the castle, that he ordered the skeleton exhumed and placed back behind the wall. The Grey Lady was appeased and ceased her hauntings.

 

Follow Sorchia’s Universe in April for Things that go Bump in the Night—the A-Z Blog Challenge.  A blog every day in April (except Sunday) about legends and creatures from a variety of cultures including Celtic and Native American.

Take a look at the March Newsletter for exciting news and Freebies.