Posts Tagged ‘Hidden Marietta’

The Lafayette Hotel. Definitely worth the trip on so many levels.

As many of you were probably aware, I drove out to Marietta, Ohio for the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo. The expo took place at the Historic Lafayette Hotel, a beautiful historic hotel that is also purported to be haunted. Since I was going to be at a hotel anyway, I didn’t want to get up early on a Saturday to drive out to the expo, and I knew its reputation, I decided to stay the night before the expo and see if anything happened.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm that the Historic Lafayette Hotel is indeed haunted.

First, let me tell you about the hotel. It is a beautiful place that words can’t do justice. You step inside the building, and it’s like stepping through time: there’s all this gold and bright colors and mahogany and you almost expect to see people in Edwardian dresses and suits smoking cigars and discussing President Roosevelt or something! There’s a giant steering wheel from an old steamboat on the ceiling, a grandfather clock, and so much more scattered around. I was enchanted from the moment I stepped in!

Now, there are a few places in the hotel that are supposed to be haunted. One is the third floor, which is where I stayed. The other is the basement, where the spirit of a little boy named Thomas is supposed to hang out. (There might be more, but I didn’t have a chance to learn about them.)

After getting settled into my room, I went down to explore the hotel. During the course of my journey, I ran Carita and Viva, two of the folks who run Hidden Marietta and the expo, as well as Jeff and Caitlin, two more vendors. The latter two would become good friends of mine over the weekend and we would hang out quite a bit. Anyway, Carita and Viva gave us a short tour of the hotel, starting from the ballroom where the expo would be and going around the first floor. We then all decided to meet in the lobby and do a bit of ghost hunting at 7 PM.

Well, 7 PM arrived and I arrived in the lobby. Carita and Viva messaged to let us know they may not be able to make it due to prepping for the expo, so I ended up hanging out with Jeff, Caitlin and the hotel staff. And yes, the staff had LOTS of stories to tell. They’ve seen shadow figures and other things while working in the hotel.

Around 8 PM, we decided to go up to the third floor and see if we caught anything. Jeff and Caitlin had a lot of their own equipment, including an EMF meter (measures changes in electromagnetic energy), a paranormal puck (has an electronic dictionary in it that spirits supposedly can manipulate to answer questions), and an SLS camera (maps figures like certain video game systems do, so any figure without a person attached to it might be a spirit). So, for the first time in my life, I got to work with paranormal equipment I’d only seen on TV before! The result was the below video.

Pretty cool, right? We mapped a spirit using the SLS camera, and got some interesting answers on the paranormal puck device. Also, if you’re wondering why I said Jeff and Caitlin’s nicknames are “Wolf and Roses,” it’s because the spirits they’ve encountered in the past have called them that for reasons I’m not going to get into.

After that testing session, we kept trying to get some responses. And that’s when things got very weird and very funny.

So the spirit had us call for a dog, which may have been a demon dog; we heard the words “help” and “shit” on the spirit box (you can hear them too if you listen closely), and after we’re joined by that family, the spirit lets us know someone’s ORDER of pizza is on its way; it’s a great DEAL; and it’ll be here in a TICK! Yeah, that was hysterical.

We messed around in the hallway for a little bit longer, and the only thing I remember getting is that the puck at one point said “TOP” and “JESUS.” This will be relevant later.

At some point we moved on to using my dowsing rods in my room, and that was when things got really scary.

Yeah, so whatever we were communicating with in my hotel room was not a friendly spirit. Remember when I said the spirit said “TOP JESUS?” Well, possibly that was the same spirit we encountered in my room, and it would make sense for something malevolent to say it’s stronger than Jesus. And after I stopped recording, Caitlin started laughing uncontrollably. It was kind of scary, and she said later she had no idea why she was laughing! I think at that point I pulled the rods out of Caitlin’s hands to break the connection. Quite possibly, something was laughing through her.

Yeah, after that, we did a cleansing energy ritual to make sure I could sleep that night. And thankfully it worked, because I slept comfortably that night and none of us had any scary dreams that would indicate an evil entity was trying to attach to us. I still needed a beer from the hotel bar and then a few prayers to my higher power before I felt entirely calm, though.

And that’s the last time I do ghost hunting without first creating an energy barrier around myself!

That’s the last video I took that night, and we wrapped up our ghost hunting afterwards. To say the least, it was an experience. We laughed, we got freaked out, and we got some good evidence on camera. I’m glad I was able to do it, and I am glad I was able to do it with Jeff and Caitlin beside me.

Also, I’m going to note here that while we were waiting for Carita and Viva, I did stop in the basement for a brief moment. Let me tell you, that basement may be warm to the point of balmy, but it gave me the creeps! Maybe it was how odd that floor was laid out, but I had chills being down there and quickly went back up.

I’m going to leave it at that, Followers of Fear. To say the least, the Historic Lafayette Hotel is an active location and if you go there, you’re probably going to experience something. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my video of the Expo. It was a lot of fun and there were plenty of cool booths there, too.

Also, check out Jeff and Caitlin’s game, Killers the Card Game! It looks like a ton of fun, and if you think you can find someone to play with, you should. You can buy it from here: https://linktr.ee/killerstcg

Until next time, Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and remember, ghosts know when your pizza is arriving!

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Well, this is embarrassing to admit.

I’ve been reading a lot more slowly lately, so I only just started reading an anthology I was published in last year. Last night, I finally got to my own story, which I consider some of my best work. And I found some editing errors I missed.

It wasn’t anything too bad. A couple of words missing here, a couple of phrases that should have been cut there, and one time I used the word “skeleton” instead of “scream.” Not like a horrible run-on sentence, a ton of spelling mistakes, and punctuation and grammar to make a lover of literature cry.

Still, it was disheartening to see how many mistakes were missed. And while part of that was also on the publisher, I should have been more cognizant of my own work. I should have shown more diligence in finding errors. Maybe even using that feature on Word where the story is read aloud, annoying as that is.

You know, my high school English teacher, Mr. G, used to say that a story is never “perfect,” but “done.” You can only do so much work to a story on it, but you’ll never get it perfect. You can just do enough work on it that you can’t fix it anymore. It’s done. I was aware that that applied to cleaning it up as much as it did to story, but this made me more aware of that.

And my American history professor in college, Dr. S, made an analogy about editing. He said he always got students who got annoyed when they were marked down on grammar and spelling when it was a History class. Why should a few spelling mistakes or whatever make a difference, these students wonder. He said, and this is pretty close to quoting:

Well, if this were an engineering class, would it be okay to have a little bad math? Or if this were a physics class, would it be okay to have a few incorrect equations? If the answer is yes, then let me know what bridges you’ve constructed or what planes you’ve built, so I can know to avoid them! Good grammar is important in History, even if it’s not an English class. And I expect good grammar in your papers.”

Dr. S, American History from 1920-1963, 2014

You can apply that right back to storytelling. No matter how good the story is, if the story has a bunch of grammar/spelling/punctuation errors, the story will suffer. And my story, while still good, suffered a bit with these issues.

I’ll remember reading this story and finding these issues from here on out. I’ll use it so that when any future stories come out, they’ll be as error-free as possible. I can’t stand a story of mine being brought low by my own laziness and missing some errors. I’ll work harder to make sure this is the last time I find a story with such glaring problems (or glaring to me, anyway).

Please stop by if you can. I’ll be selling books and doing Tarot readings.

And if this story gets published again, like in a collection someday, I’ll make sure to fix those errors. God knows I only want to give you all my best work.

Anyway, that all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve got a lot of writing to do tonight, so I better get to work on everything else that needs taking care of before then (like dinner and laundry). I’ll hit you guys up after the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo (especially if I get any paranormal activity on camera). Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

I’ve been wanting to post something for the past several days, but I have nothing to really post about. But I’ve been getting antsy and current events are not helping (type “Texas synagogue” into Google and you’ll understand why), so I’m blogging about things going on in my life. If only just to distract myself and to let you all know I’m still alive.

And if you Googled what’s happening in Texas, please pray to the deity of your choice that everything turns out alright.

So, in my personal life, things aren’t too bad. Work was a little crazy during the first week of January (which is pretty much par for the course), but this week things got calmer, so I didn’t feel like tearing my hair out. And all month, I’ve been looking for a new apartment to move into when my lease ends this summer. I’ve got a few possibilities already scouted out and am on the waitlist for, so hopefully I’ll have a better idea on where I’ll be living soon.

On the writing front, things have been crazy! The work for the Kickstarter campaign has taken up quite a bit of my time (more on that in a bit). However, I have found time to write, or at least attempt to write. As I said in a previous post, I’ve been working on a story where I terrorize neo-Nazis, and that’s been going well. Actually, while finishing up the most recent chapter of that, I managed to fix a few problems with the logic of the story and cut out a superfluous character. It’ll still take me some time to get the first draft finished, but I think it won’t be too bad once it is. It’ll be in need of a lot of editing, but it won’t be half-bad.

On another note, the Kickstarter for “That Which Cannot Be Undone,” the horror anthology I’m helping to create, is 77% funded! Yeah, pretty amazing, huh? We think we can reach our full funding by the time the campaign ends in twelve days, but we’re doing everything we can to make sure that happens. In the spirit of that, I’m offering up signed copies of my books Rose, Snake and The Quiet Game for people who pledge to the campaign. So if you want to read some of my works (signed, no less), and help support the career of me and fellow Ohio horror authors, this is a great opportunity to do so. You can use this link to pledge: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology

77% and counting. Why not join us?

As for the other projects, the paperback and ebook editions of The Pure World Comes is on schedule. I’ll be reaching out to a cover designer I’ve worked with before on the cover soon, and once I have that, I can start uploading/formatting the actual book on a publishing platform. And I’ll be starting work on Hannah and Other Stories soon, as well as following up on some submissions this weekend. With any luck, I’ll be able to post a real update on something soon.

Anything else? Oh yeah: in about two weeks, I’ll be driving over to Marietta, Ohio for the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo. It’ll take place on the 29th at the Lafayette Hotel, and I’ll be selling books and doing Tarot readings while there. Hope you can make it!

Well, that’s my update. I’m off to heat up dinner, watch a movie, and then do a late-night writing session. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and please pray for what’s happening in Texas.

I’m not so sure anymore.

Of course, it seems like gospel that the first sentence of a story is important. It’s your hook, isn’t it? It’s how you get the reader into the story. You should put as much thought into that first line as you would as asking your significant other to marry you!

But I’m not convinced anymore. That may be strange, considering how often I used to (and sometimes still do) the #FirstLineFriday meme on this blog. You know, that thing where I post the first line of a story and hope it gets you into the story? But then again, maybe that’s why I’m unconvinced. I’ve posted first lines so many times, I’ve recognized how little effect that they have on the total story.

And you know, if you look at some famous books, you kind of see that. Harry Potter‘s first line is “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Most Muggle-ish opening you’ve ever read. It doesn’t really hint at what’s to come in the story, and I honestly would have cut it from the final product if I had edited the first book.

And Stephen King’s stories don’t usually have those sorts of openings. The first line of IT goes like this:

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years–if it ever did end–began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”

It’s a nice opening, but it doesn’t exactly scream…well, going to make you scream. It’s actually kind of mellow. And the opening for Needful Things is even more unassuming: “You’ve been here before.” Kid you not, my first time listening to that book on audio, I had to repeat it a few times because it was totally unexpected and confused me a bit. Only as you keep reading does the opening make sense with this story.

Maybe this is why some books have poems, excerpts from other famous stories, Bible verses, or even song lyrics at the beginning, before the story even starts. You read those little epigraphs (that’s what they’re called, I check) and keep reading to see how it relates to the story you’re taking in.

in any case, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not the first sentence, or even the first paragraph, that’s responsible for making a story’s opening catchy. It’s maybe the first couple of paragraphs or the first page. When the author sets up the story, the characters, the setting, that you really get pulled into the story.

The opening of the story should be like opening a door to guests. Yes, that’s important, but what’s inside is even more important. Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

That’s certainly the case with my current story, where I set up a nice, rural setting, something kind of idyllic…and then one of my main characters reveals that he’s a neo-Nazi. It’s a stark contrast from the first paragraph that takes the reader off-guard, and hopefully will get them reading further along. I’ll have to finish the story first to see if that’s the case, however.

Anyway, the first sentence is important, but it’s not the most important thing about a story. Rather, it’s just the opening of the door and allowing people to take a quick look before stepping inside. What’s beyond that is what’s truly important. You just have to make sure to open the door and open it well.

But what’s your take, Followers of Fear? Let’s discuss openings and if the first lines of a story really are as important as we make them out to be. I’m curious to hear what you think on the subject. Maybe more of you will agree with me than I imagine.


Happy New Year, my Followers of Fear. I wanted to start this year off with a post that’s reflective on the craft of writing, as I enjoy writing those posts. Anyway, I hope you’re having a good 2022 so far. Mine’s been rough so far, but that tends to be the case with the first full week of January. And at least there’s a lot to look forward to right now: editing and releasing Hannah and Other Stories; putting out the paperback and ebook copies of The Pure World Comes; conventions and expos; maybe a bit of travel; and, of course, some good reading and writing.

Oh, speaking of conventions and expos, I’ll be at the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo on the 29th in Marietta, Ohio. If you can, stop by the Lafayette Hotel and maybe I’ll sign your book and read your Tarot.

Also, the crowdfunding campaign for That Which Cannot Be Undone is at 58.5 percent! We’re over halfway funded and we just keep going! And if you would like to help me and my fellow Ohio horror writers put out an amazing anthology of horror stories set in our state and revolving around the theme “that which cannot be undone,” click on the link here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology. There are also some amazing perks to pledging, like candles, Ohio-themed Tarot cards, copies of the book, and even end up in one of the stories! How cool would that be?

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope to have more stuff to tell you soon. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

With the year winding down, I thought I would let you know that I’m scheduled for a couple of events in 2022. Not many, but one is next month, so I figured I might put out a notice in early December. Sorry if you consider this spam in your reader or your email inbox.

First, I’ll be attending the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo in Marietta, OH on January 29th, 2022. This is a cool convention for those who enjoy the spooky and the dark, in a city that is known to have quite a few haunted locations (I’m thinking of taking a vacation there for my birthday next year). In fact, the expo will be held at the Lafayette Hotel, which is said to be haunted to the gills! You can find more information on Hidden Marietta’s website here.

And guess who’s going back to prison (so to speak)? That’s right, I’m going back to the Ohio State Reformatory for ParaPsyCon 2022. This year it’ll be on May 21st – May 22nd, 2022 and again it’ll be at one of the most haunted, if not the most haunted, prisons in America, the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH. I had a really good experience last year, and I’ve learned from my fellow vendors, as well as my own mistakes, for ways to ensure that I have an even greater experience as a vendor. You can find out more about ParaPsyCon by checking out the website here.

Anyway, thought I’d mention it in case anyone is able to make it, especially the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo. I plan to bug you all less this year about my public appearances so you don’t get sick of me mentioning them. Except for news about new conventions and whatnot, I’ll probably only mention them right before they happen.

Anyway, I hope I’ll get to see you at one of these events and maybe read your Tarot and/or give you a signed copy of one of my books.

(And if you can’t, or if you’re looking for some scary reading for you or for friends and family this holiday season, I’ll include links for my stories below. Yes, I’m doing another book ad, but I only do this occasionally, like how I plan to do event notices.)

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll talk to you again very soon. Until next time, good night, Happy Hanukkah, and pleasant nightmares.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about That Which Cannot Be Done, I’ll update you on that in a future post. Probably the next one. Believe me, I have news. But like I said, trying to limit how much I advertise this sort of stuff.

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible, B&N

The Jewish Book of Horror: Amazon, B&N

Dark Nature: Amazon

Nightmare Collective Part 2: Amazon

Into the Deep: Amazon