HALLOWEEN HAUNTS - Horror Writer's Association - Trick-or-Treating of the DEAD

I had just gotten out of a three week hospital stay during the harshest point of my radiation treatment on Halloween and decided that 18 was still not too old to go get candy.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Guy Anthony De Marco

I'm honored to have such a prestigious and talented storyteller like Guy sending me a ghost story. If you hear wild giggling--it's not a ghost. It's a Fox. -- Editor.

Here's a threesome of weird events. All are true.

When I was a very young kid growing up in New York City, we lived in an apartment over a restaurant. I remember being sick, probably with the influenza, and how I couldn't sleep on my little bed because it was so hot. I noticed a large shadow on my wall, like a man in a trenchcoat. The shadow would have come from someone standing at the foot of my bed.

I looked at the curtains to see where the light was coming from, and the curtains flew open. Outside the window I saw hundreds of hands waving at me, even though we were on the second floor. I held my breath, and the curtains shut, then opened again and repeated. I screamed bloody murder for my Mom, and she came in and held my sweaty body in her arms, pressing a cool washcloth to my forehead, until my fever went down.

When I was in my teens, I had a friend stay overnight. We had a spare bed in my room, and we were both chatting. Dewey was standing near the door and I was across the room by one of the beds. In the middle of our conversation, we both saw something appear, then drop from the ceiling between us. We tracked its descent in sync, but when we went to look for whatever it was, there was nothing there. It fell into an open area of the room, so it wouldn't have had a chance to hide away before we looked.

In one of the houses I've owned over the years, we've had an entity we called Un lurking about. The animals could all sense its presence, and they would track things scurrying around the ceiling and hanging around the corners. The dogs would bark at it, including the dogs we would watch for friends. There was one room the dogs refused to go in. We'd always get a creepy, spine-tingling feeling before the animals reacted to the presence. My oldest daughter used to talk about a ghost of a small boy who would visit her late at night. We assumed that's who Un was. It followed us to the next house, but it didn't make the trip when we moved to a different state.


Guy Anthony De Marco is a speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award finalist; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.

Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, HWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Anthony_De_Marco and www.GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


WITH DAVE CONSIDINE & BARBIE HEID - Phantasm Psychic Research Team 
Interviewed by T. Fox Dunham

Dave Considine and Barbie Heid along with the members of the Phantasm Psychic Research Team are the premier ghost hunters in the world now that the Warrens have passed on. They’re leading the efforts to pull back the layer of the otherside. They were kind enough to answer a few questions for me for the project this year.

Q: How did this whole ghost hunting thing get started?

We developed into what you see today as the Phantasm Psychic Research Team over time. All of us who are members of the team basically started off with personal "paranormal" experiences, which inspired us all early in life to seek further information on the subject. Being of like minds, it just worked out that individually all of us over the years in our own personal journey at different times became investigators for Ed and Lorraine Warren and this is where we all met.

Q: Could you describe your method to my readers? Is it a process you’ve developed?

The Phantasm Psychic Research Team is very clear in its belief system and investigative techniques. We seat ourselves in the category of both ghost hunting and religious demonology, the study of how supernatural and preternatural beings can intercede in the lives of humans. In other words, we believe there are different types of spirits, not just those of the deceased. The first thing we do is determine the severity by conducting interviews over the phone initially, followed of course by a physical investigation. We try to build a timeline of the events that resulted in the situation. The stages are classified as invitation, obsession, infestation, oppression, and possession. It is important to note that we can only aid a person if they choose to be alleviated of this problem. An investigation is fruitless unless the person wants the spiritual assault to stop.

If they willingly invited it in, they have to want it to leave or we can be of no help.

Q: I know by now you must be experts just from the experience you’ve had, and that many formal institutions don’t offer paranormal research as a major. What sort of training have you had? Was it formal or private study?

Dave was trained personally by Ed Warren as a religious demonologist, which led to him being the assistant to Catholic exorcist + O.P Bishop Robert McKenna. Also over the years he worked very closely with many other noted figures in the fields of paranormal research, including exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin, Fr. James Lebar of the New York Arch Diocese and Fr. Rama Coomaraswamy, M.D Assistant Director of the Albert Einstein institute of Psychiatry NY, New York, among others. Dave is also a trained in drug, alcohol and domestic violence counseling which helps greatly in our case work when dealing with individuals and families.

So, with the combined knowledge of everyone in the Phantasm Psychic Research Team from working already with the Warrens and drawing knowledge from there own backgrounds, under the direction of Dave we developed into Phantasm Psychic Research as you see it today and we have been in operation since 1994.

Q: You and your group are internationally recognized ghost hunters. I’ve seen you on telly live and depicted by actors. It must attract a lot of attention. So you must get a lot of requests from people for help. How do you determine which cases you investigate?

Yes, we do receive a lot of emails and letters from around the world, but we never turn anyone away who wants help, even if it’s not a spiritual problem. Sometimes, it comes to light during the interview phase that the person may actually be suffering from a psychiatric problem. In that instance, we would stay with them until they got the psychiatric help they need. When a case takes this path, usually we have to bring in the whole family and set up counseling for them as well. But we never leave a case until it is completely done and the family has what they need.

Q: You’ve been at this awhile. You must have had some cases that fizzle out on and some cases that shake your understanding of life and death. When you think back to your collective experiences, are there any events that stand out in your mind? Can you tell us about some of those stunning experiences?

To be honest, some cases don’t turn out the way you would like to see them end. Occasionally, if the family’s faith is not centered correctly, or if there were already domestic problems present, the situation may lead to the breakup of a family. That’s something we hate to see, and we are always waiting in the wings to provide further counseling, and or professional help if they require it. But normally, we are able to use the individual or family’s faith to wrap up cases successfully and get them back on the road they need to be on with their faith.

There are quite a few cases we can think of actually, but two in particular come to mind. The cases we are speaking of had to do with a morti­cian’s assistant who was a satanic necrophiliac and had become pos­sessed by a demon and the other was a demonic infestation in a home here in Connecticut which involved a magic mirror.

The disturbing details involving these two cases will haunt us for a long, long time.

Q: Tell us about your cadre of paranormal detectives.

The Phantasm Psychic Research Team includes twelve members, and reinforcements when necessary. Each one of us has a specific function. Dave Considine is a religious demonologist and also is the director & cofounder of Phantasm Psychic Research. Barbara Considine is the cofounder of the group, and an investigator specializing in counseling individuals and families. Barbie Heid is PPR's case manager and investigator. John Arel is the group's technical director. Investigator Mark Oneto is responsible for “security” for the group, which in this field involves both visible and invisible threats. Our team’s logistics guy is Investigator Chris Daddio, who a lot of times has to meet the groups needs in completely unpredictable situations. Jeff Messenger and Linda Oneto, and Julie Groom are veteran investigators, always ready for the next task - wherever it may be.

Our team works with many exorcists and deliverance ministers, but we do have our own core group of clergymen whom we work with consistantly. These men are of great faith, and seasoned individuals in there field of expertise. Exorcist +O.P Bishop Robert McKenna has helped many people over the years, and Phantasm has been blessed with his help in many of our cases where it was necessary for Exorcism. Exorcist +Father K is essential to the group, for he is our field exorcist and we count on him greatly in our out of state as well as local cases especially when we feel exorcism may be needed. Deliverance Minister +Reverend Leon Wilkes is also a great asset due to his ministry, knowledge and faith.

Q: Are you off on any cases now? Something coming up in the future?

We just wrapped up four cases, all in the Midwest, and we have three more waiting for our help down the Atlantic seaboard. We don’t like to take on too many cases at a time because we like to be able to give them the individual attention they need.

At this time we are involved with multiple feature film, television documentary projects and are currently on our 2013-2014 lecture tour Night of the Haunted, Beyond the Paranormal. We are also looking forward to releasing our new book- “Where Angels Fear To Tread”, which will highlight cases the Phantasm Psychic Research Team has been involved with over the years.

Q: Do you believe sans a doubt that there is life after death? It would be comforting if you said yes and told me why. I’m a bit scared.

We believe that there is more than just a patch of grass and a marker over our heads when we die. Death is not an end, but a beginning - moving forward into a new and higher dimension, one of enlightenment; and learning the answers to mysteries kept hidden while we inhabited the earth. Proof that as a being, as a soul, we do survive the grave.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The Gold is Mine Part II: She’s just trying to Communicate 
Told by Robert Royal. 
Recorded by T. Fox Dunham
Denton, Texas. 1970s

“It’s all right children. It’s all right.”

Tonight's tale is the continuation of Robert Royal's experience as a child. Part I can be found earlier in this blog.


Rob is sitting with me at Molly Maguire’s in Lansdale. He’s just moved Royal Comics and Gaming, his business into a smaller store, and it looks fantastic. He is a skilled decorator and always knows how to utilize a space. Lee, his husband is watching the store while he steals away a few moments to tell me more of the story about his experiences as a child in the old antebellum house in Denton, Texas.

Shortly after the voice experience with his mother as told in part I, his family would hear footsteps in the house, walking in the halls or up the stairs to the level with their bedrooms. The floorboards would creak. The house came alive with activity. Young Robert heard people ascending to the next level, yet no one was on the stairs. Other strange incidents started to happen in the house, building as they resided over the months. The family would sit in the den, and they heard cabinet doors in the kitchen slam shut. He’d walk into the kitchen, and every single door would be flat-out opened. She was letting them know her presence.

This is a pretty common phenomenon in a haunting, usually starting with footsteps. The cabinets open and shut, letting know the living aren’t alone. They’ll sound footfalls or open doors. It’s how the activity usually begins and generates. –Fox

All of this happened while the voices continued. Rob and his sisters would hear their mother’s voice calling from different parts of the house but find those wings vacant when they’d go to find out what their mother wanted. It was always the mother’s voice calling to them.

* * *

Then, building up energy, she manifested to the children.

Rob’s parents were avid ballroom dancers, and once a month they’d go out dancing. So the family would have a babysitter in the evening. This particular babysitter was sixteen years old, very nice. And Rob’s younger sister Darlene who was seven at the time noticed a woman in the backyard. So the four of them stared at the woman through the plate glass window, and the apparition moved from one spot to the other in blink of the eye. The ghost was a brunette, hair to the shoulders with a ruffled blouse and a matron’s skirt—a wardrobe from another time. You’d blink, and she’d teleport around the yard. The third time she did this, she appeared partially in and out of the grand oak, at which point they looked at each other and noticed that their babysitter was no longer there. The kids looked behind them and found the front door wide open. The babysitter had fled, terrified. When they looked back, the apparition had moved close to the house, standing but a foot from the window. This scared the hell out of the kids, and as they ran to hide upstairs, they heard spoken in their mother’s voice:

“It’s all right children. It’s all right.”

They hid in their mother’s grand bedroom in the closet until they heard their father’s voice calling to them. They couldn’t be certain of their mother’s voice, since the ghost stole it. That was the only time they saw the ghost. And that was enough for a nine year-old-boy.

His mother tried to reassure them that the ghostly matron was just trying to communicate. It played its mischief until the end, when it turned hostile.

Every so often, they’d find a dead blackbird in the odd room. They had no idea how the bird got into the rooms, with the flumes sealed and windows shut. The bird would be freshly dead and didn’t even have a chance to decompose.

It didn’t get bad until the family decided to build a pool in the backyard. That’ll be part III.

Stay tuned Fox Kids.


by Beth Murphy 

I used to live in a condo in Methuen, and my husband at the time traveled for work and was gone most nights. We were close to a neighboring town with a high crime rate, and I was a little wary of the shady characters roaming the streets at night. I wanted to put a deadbolt on the door, so I picked one up at a hardware store but couldn’t find any tools once I got back to the condo to install it. 
I searched the drawers in the kitchen to no avail, and decided to check the basement.

I found nothing there, either, and was pretty unsettled by the noises I was hearing outside so at that point was feeling pretty desperate to find something to get the bolt on the door. I don’t know why, but I opened the same kitchen drawers again, and they were there--a screwdriver and a hammer.

At the time, I knew there was no logical explanation, so I thought maybe it was my husband’s late father lending a helping hand.

But years later, in a startling coincidence, I learned that my *current* husband’s late father had actually lived there in that very same condo some time before me...and I knew that while I had been wrong about who put those tools in that drawer, I was right about something else.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


By Tara Fox Hall

The scariest moment of my life to date was up at my family cottage in the summer of 2011. I was up there alone for a few days, working on doing some painting and decorating as I celebrated the acceptance of my very first novella by a publisher. I’d finished working for the night about 10 pm, then locked up and went upstairs. After spending the next few hours writing, I finally turned off the light about a quarter to midnight and lay down to sleep, exhausted.

In the summer months, the nights at the cottage are usually very quiet. The only noises generated outside are the wind in the trees and sometimes a beach party several streets over. There are no air conditioners, no propane vents, and no heating ducts in the cabin to generate settling noises, or make the floors creak. This night was typical, with only the soft rustling of leaves outside the window, and the low hum of my box fan on minimum speed.

I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard footsteps. They came down the hall towards my room, each step deliberate and slow.

I wasn’t facing that way. My back was toward whoever it was. I waited there, my heart hammering out of my chest, too scared to turn around and look.

Rationality took over, as the minutes passed. No one would have been able to get in through the solid oak door and deadbolt at the bottom of the stairs. No one could have climbed in an upstairs window without my hearing a ladder and shoes on shingles, at a minimum. If someone had broken in downstairs, I’d have heard glass breaking.

Fueled by my logic, I sat bolt upright, scrabbled for the light and turned it on. There was no one there.

I got up, and turned on all the nights upstairs in every room. There was no one there, or sign that anyone had been there at all. All the windows and screens were intact.

I left the light on and went back to bed. Everything was fine for the rest of the night.


The following night, I also went to bed late after working all day and writing all evening. The time was exactly the same, about a quarter to midnight. Remembering the past night’s events, I told myself that the noises I’d heard had to be the house settling, or something benign. It had been very hot during the day and very cool at night lately, unusual weather for the cottage in August.

Determined not to give into fear, I turned off the light and went to bed. Again, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard the footsteps. Like before, they came down the hallway, towards my room.

Petrified, I reminded myself to be rational. No one had gotten in. There couldn’t be anyone out there. So there was no reason to turn and look.

Minutes passed as I kept still, trying to breathe lightly in the dark.

Whatever it was suddenly came closer, into the bedroom, one deliberate footfall after another, until it was standing over me at the edge of the bed. I broke out in a cold sweat. I thought I was going to die; I was so scared. I told myself to turn around and face it, but I couldn’t make myself do it. Minute after minute passed, as I waited for cold fingers to grab me.

Finally, unable to bear the strain, I whipped around with a loud gasp. There was no one there, just shadows that looked somehow deeper than usual. I lunged for the light and flipped the switch, flooding the room with light to reveal…nothing. I got up, turned on all the lights, and again searched the upstairs. All windows were intact, as before. The hallway door was securely locked, too, just as I’d left it when I went to bed.

I left ALL the lights on the rest of that night. This haunting has not occurred again for me in the few years since. But the few times I have been up there alone since then, I’ve left a light on by my bedside at night.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Aurora's Angel
Submitted by Toni
New Jersey

After I returned to full time work after having leukemia I mostly worked the night shift. I was really excited to be working in a group home for children especially since I knew we were going to have a girl with autism. After awhile I came to learn that it was going to be exponentially harder than I expected. The client, Aurora, was non verbal but not mute and regularly screamed utterances. Often her frustration moved her to violence. It didn't matter because I needed the health insurance. I had to stay regardless of the danger in the environment. I was still sick.

Despite her disquieting quirks I grew to love her and insisted on taking on her care myself. She had a saddening history. A nearly absent father. Also well intentioned but in adept grandparents who raised her when she wasn't in and out of residential programs. Her mother had died of lupus when she was about 6.

I had to at least feel bad for the kid even if she did rip out clumps of my hair. One of the things that I had to do as part of my job was to watch the monitor for the video camera in her room. I was supposed to make sure she didn't get hurt or need anything because she was habitually self injurious.

One bleary night shift I was doing exactly that. Aurora was not asleep she was kind of pacing around chewing on toys and making strange noises. That was all totally normal and required no intervention on my part. Markedly less normal was that I thought I started to see this round light looking thing floating around kind of following her about the room.

My reaction was to totally doubt myself. "I'm on all kinds of medication" I thought. "I'm super tired" I thought. But even still I half jokingly mentioned it to a co worker the next night and she said she had seen it too. After that I kind of forgot about it.

I remembered real a week or so later when it was back. She was asleep this time and the room was dark so it was more obvious because it was a whitish, mobile, floating object that seemed to faintly be self luminescent. I had nothing else to watch as my charge was sleeping. I felt a little idiotic pondering this thing.

The floating "orb" as I called it for lack of a better term showed up regularly. It never appeared on any other cameras. It didn't do anything other than drift around Aurora's room at night. Not all the time but enough to make me think about it analytically. I remembered that Aurora's mom had died when she was still a toddler and had raised her on her own prior.

After that I connected those thoughts I began to refer to it as "Aurora's mom." I attempted to speak to it/her through my little monitor. I would say things like "Do you think you could get her to sleep a little more? I really think it would help her be in a better mood at school." It seemed to work well enough to be worth it. The only thing I remember ever feeling from the orb was lack of judgment. I remember that. I remember acceptance. Not the kind of peace one would expect but I sensed no malice either.

It provided me with a certain level of comfort to see the orb. I liked the idea that even though Aurora physically lost her mother at age 6 there was least in this one instance a hopeful epilogue to my client's otherwise mostly tragic life story.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Endless Black of the Sea

The Endless Black of the Sea
Submitted by Gareth Spark
Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK

This is a true story, from my time as a security guard, a few years ago. 

This one night I locked up the container unit that served as the security firm’s office and headed out into the dark. The unit sat on the sea wall and a row of painted wooden chalets stretched half a mile ahead in a great curve below the darkness of the cliff. During the day they glittered in the sun’s light reflected from the North Sea, but at night they were shadow wreathed things, the gaps between them all too convenient for a thief, or something worse, to adopt as a hiding place. 

It was in Whitby, North Yorkshire, the end of summer. I’d been out of work for a few months and when I’d spotted the position of security guard advertised in the local newspaper, I’d not thought twice about applying. I thought I could sit in the container, drink coffee, read the books I’d put off reading for years and work at that damn novel. Only I hadn’t considered the reality of being alone in the shadow of cliffs hundreds of feet high at 3 AM, with nothing but the dark waves and the mists that sprang from them for company. Tourists rented the chalets for the summer, left their valuables inside until they could return the next day. It saved them dragging bags and cases up and from the beach, I suppose, and my firm were there to make sure no hoodlums broke into them in the later watches of the night. I would set out every half hour with my torch, dressed in a large fluorescent jacket and peaked cap, search along the sea wall and the cliff path in a circle, then make it back to the container. The trip took a quarter of an hour and I was utterly alone after the last tourists left. I’ll never forget the scratching noise the sea made in the pebbles and stones as it dragged back from the shore, nor the distant melancholy lights of ships passing on the heaving, endless black of the sea.

I was 22 years old, fearless, as you are at that age, and I was singing something when I turned back onto the sea wall that last night. The beach at Whitby has been used for 2,000 years, by Celtic fishermen, Roman explorers, Saxon Monks and Viking raiders, smugglers and wreckers and killers and honest men alike. A lot of history, a lot of unknown misery, and who knows what drags itself up from those years when the lights are out, and the world sleeps. 

I swayed the torch beam over the sea-wet concrete, whistling, and caught the figure of a man in the beam, seated on the wall, feet dangling over the edge, gazing out to sea. I was startled, as I was convinced I had been alone. ‘Hello, you all right?’ I said it automatically, without thinking, as one does. I can see the man now, long black hair, knotted and greasy, hanging down his back, dressed in an outfit of a rough, brown material that looked like sacking almost, like nothing I’d seen before. The hairs began to creep up on my arms as the figure turned its head to look at me and I saw, in the beam of the torch that where his eyes and forehead should be, there was nothing but a cavernous smashed-in crater. His lower jaw hung loose and wide and bore a short black beard. You might think you scream at something like that. You don’t. You freeze, your whole body becomes something apart from you, something that won’t obey the slightest impulse. Then he was gone, simply gone, as though at the flicking of a switch. I walked over, shone the torch down onto the beach to see if it was some joker jumped down onto the sand, but I was as alone as ever I had been and there was no sound outside the sighing of the sea. I left the job not long after that. 

That’s my ghost story.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Long Distance Call
Submitted by John Stanton

The phone call came one cold January evening; it was my father’s ex-fiancĂ©. They had been engaged for a short while, some time before he eventually met and married the woman who would be my mother. Dad never really talked about the personal details of the relationship, but he made it clear he didn’t think they would have been good together. Still, over the decades, she would contact my father. I don’t remember any visits from her, but my mother knew her enough to recognize her, and knew her voice on the phone.

She tried several times to get back together with my father, which of course really piqued mom, that she would have such gall, all those years later. I’m not sure when the last time was that Joanne contacted dad, but I was at least a teenager; perhaps it was even after Flo and I were married.

Dad called my mother over to the phone, and had her listen in for a few minutes. It was definitely Joanne’s voice, mom later concurred. All told, they chatted for at least twenty minutes. Shortly after the conversation ended, dad called me.

The strangest thing about the conversation with Joanne, at least so I thought at the time, was that she had been murdered six years earlier.

According to D. Scott Rogo in his book “Phone Calls from the Dead,” recipients of these calls generally appear to be “blocked” somehow from recalling that the person on the other side of the conversation has died, until the call is ended. This apparently is what happened to both of my folks.

Dad insisted it was Joanne, and said she’d spoken of things only she could have known about. Flo and I visited, and we all talked about the conversation at length. Mom shortly blanked on any details she might have remembered, but still remembers firmly that it was Joanne. At the time, dad recounted a few trivialities from the conversation, though he left out details of most of it; and when pressed, his response was disturbing. There was some part he didn’t want to speak of, and said he would talk about later. That part, he later denied remembering, or that it was in any way significant.

I brought it up a few more times, and while we occasionally chatted about how strange it all was, he always managed to evade any more discussion of the content of the conversation.

My father died of a heart attack three months after that phone call.


Later that year, I was home when I heard a gentle tapping on the front door. It rather startled me, because it was identical to my father’s unique knock; I’ve not heard it since.

When I looked outside, I saw it was the postman who had knocked. He had left a package, wrapped in brown paper, at the door.

The package was from Joanne’s mother, with whom I’d never had contact. It contained a photo of a group of soldiers–one of them was my father. There was a short note, just saying she thought I should have this.

It arrived on my birthday.
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