Tag Archive: Halloween

Last spring, just before my late grandmother’s house was sold, my dad and I went through it one last time looking for mementos. After Mimi — that’s what we grandchildren called her — passed away in 1993, my Aunt Lil had moved in and spent the next 20 years hoarding, so the house now comprised a crazy mixture of things that were just as Mimi had left them mixed with Aunt Lil’s heaps of crafting supplies and flea-market finds (books, knickknacks, kitchenware, second-hand clothing, etc).

Sorting through what we considered a mix of trash and treasure was an emotional task — half exciting, half devastating. This house and what it held meant a lot to both my dad and me, and I for one had a sense of desperation. This was our last chance to grasp remnants of thousands of precious memories — what if we missed something important because it was under a pile of smelly old clothes, possibly infested with mice?

To keep up our spirits, I began, jokingly, to talk aloud to the spirit of my late grandmother: “Mimi, what do you want us to take?” My dad eventually joined in, addressing some of his late siblings. We did find some things that stirred strong memories — I took some of Mimi’s colorful tablecloths, and Dad took a camel seat one of his sisters had brought home from a visit to Morocco.

Cover, Eternally YoursThen, when we were about to leave, we asked the spirits for help one last time, and the lamp in the living room began to flicker.

Yes, it really did.

Was it a sign from Mimi? From one of Dad’s late siblings? If so, what were they saying? Their own goodbye to the house? Or to us, for the time being? My dad is a firm non-believer in ghosts, but even he commented that it was “weird.”

Anyway, it’s that time of year again when the veil between this world and the next is thin. If you’re in the mood for a ghost story, please check out Eternally Yours, a full-length contemporary romance featuring a Victorian house and a Victorian ghost. Hubby recently helped design a new cover for it, seen on the left here. (What do you think?)

Meanwhile, happy hauntings!

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My husband and my dad both vehemently denounce ghosts, but my mom and I have both seen them. Now, intellectually, I think ghosts can probably be explained away by mundane phenomena like drafts causing creepy noises in old houses or maybe carbon monoxide causing hallucinations — but I’m still superstitious enough to be freaked out whenever I hear about a “haunting” and have even written a ghost story myself.

Is that a ghost looking out that window in the middle?

Is that a ghost looking out that window in the middle?

A poll conducted by Gallup showed that around 40% of Americans and Brits believed that houses can be haunted. Interestingly, the poll showed that in the countries surveyed more women than men believed spirits visit us. (Almost half of British women said they did.) And twice as many women than men believed that people can communicate with the dead.

This prompts the question: Are we women just nuttier than men, or are we more in tune with the supernatural, just as we’re generally thought to be more oriented toward interpersonal relations among the living?

What do you think?

For more details on the Gallup poll, click through to the the report here. For a description and sample chapters of my not-too-creepy haunted romance novel Eternally Yours, please check out the book page here.

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Shady Dealings

Did you know that lemurs, those cute creatures from Madagascar (the island as well as the movie), get their name from a Latin word meaning ghost? To the ancient Romans, lemures were restless spirits of the dead who either hadn’t received a proper burial or funeral rites — or who didn’t have grieving loved ones to care for them.
Halloween is one of the few holidays that doesn’t seem to have roots in ancient Rome. The closest Roman connection I could find Googling around is that October 5th (not all that close to Halloween) was one of three days on the Roman calendar when the lapis manalis, a stone covering a hole that represented a door to the Underworld, was opened. On these special days, citizens visited and left first-fruit offerings for the dead, kind of like we offer treats to the goblins who come to our doors on Halloween.

The Roman feast of the lemures, the Lemuralia, took place in May. One associated rite required the head of the household to walk around the house barefoot, throwing black beans over his shoulder (like we do with salt when we spill it!) to rid the house of evil spirits. Observers also banged bronze pots to scare spirits away, a tradition close to my heart, because my Polish grandmother would have us bang pots on New Year’s Eve.

For a third Roman festival of the dead, the Parentalia in February, families visited the tombs of lost loved ones, bringing flowers, wheat, salt, wine-soaked bread and violets. According to Ovid, one year during a war, the Romans forgot about the Parentalia, and the neglected dead got mad and rose from their tombs. After the correct rites were performed, the ancient zombies duly went back to rest.

If you’re looking for a ghost story this week, please check out my romance, Eternally Yours. The specter in the story, late Victorian poet/womanizer Geoffrey Vereker, is definitely the show-stealer of the book.

Remember your offerings to the lemures on Monday night! My hardworking Hubby and I are still shooting to release the new book on Tuesday; it will definitely be available on Kindle and Nook by then, but the print edition may take a couple extra days. We’ll see.

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