Top Five scariest haunted house novels.

1. The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Paranormal researchers try to understand the inner workings of a haunted house—with devastating results. Primarily the story of Eleanor, one of the subjects involved in the research, The Haunting of Hill House describes her journey into the dangerous vortex of the house and her own psychological distress. Up is down, black is white, and the disorienting world of Hill House warps both the minds of its characters and its audience with deft and heartless skill.

2. House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. There are few novels more strange, well-assembled or engrossing than House of Leaves. When I purchased it, I was looking for a distraction from my personal upset with the U.S. political crisis of 2005 (don’t ask.) Boy, did I get it. House of Leaves, which is kind of like The Never Ending Story on acid, takes a family’s experience in a house that is somehow larger inside than it is outside, then draws the reader into their nightmare in a slow, hypnotic fashion. Don’t read it at night.

3. Hell House, by Richard Matheson. Yikes. Through terse, masterful prose, Matheson brought to life the world of a mad man’s abandoned mansion as it is perused by investigators of varying philosophical bents, from scientist to psychic. Notable to me for its unique concept, (too many haunted house stories are about normal places that ‘went bad,’ Matheson’s work is about a house made bad by an appalling criminal) Hell House is a tour-de-force through everything imaginably terrifying about encounters with ghosts, mental illness and malevolence.

4. The House Next Door, by Anne Rivers Siddons. Few haunted house stories deal with the modern, the contemporary, or what might be negative or shocking about either. In far too many films, books and stories, modernity is contrasted with antiquity as relief or respite from the horrific elements of the past. After the gory trek through the haunted Victorian behemoth, for instance, the tortured group of characters returns to their comforting suburban tract house. Not so in The House Next Door, in which a modern home is the source of all things destructive and debilitating. Unhappy with what contemporary life has done for your city, your neighborhood? The House Next Door is the book for you.

5. Burnt Offerings, by Robert Morasco. If you liked the 1976 t.v. movie, check out the engrossing novel that inspired it. Burnt Offerings manages to be both historical mystery, horror novel and magic show; its complex plot uses clever smoke-and-mirrors twists to deceive readers, who can get as caught up as its characters in the maze of clues leading to the story’s shocking climax.

Grey Harlowe Sampler: “Premonition”

This piece does not yet have a publication “home,” and I doubt it’s going to get one. It’s one of the quieter stories I’ve finished, so here it is in all its understated glory.

(Content note: the maximum rating I’d give this thing is PG-13, but beware the 13 part of it. Also, there are two small children in the story. Living children, that is. Deaths of children and adults are alluded to in this piece.)

*  *  *

The daylight was waning and its beams falling low through the September leaves when Holly pulled her Subaru into the inn’s small parking lot. It was a bumpy stop, and she worried briefly that they would have to buy a new car soon.

She checked the back seat. Ava looked grumpy and Evangeline obviously needed a bathroom break, courtesy of the large, blue Slushie Holly had allowed for the drive. A bribe, like Ava’s new toy cars, for sticking it out through the two hour trip, which was a lot to ask of children seven and four. She felt bad for dragging the girls along with her, but this was her last opportunity for one of these conferences, which she would need if she wanted the vice principal position next year. And Stephen was out of town for one of his conferences this weekend.

As the girls piled out of the car, Holly surveyed her surroundings: a gorgeous, Victorian mansion with a recent paint job, a well-kept garden, and a wide, green lawn stretching out from its front doors. They would have a lovely view, no matter which side of the property their windows faced.

Evangeline was shifting about uncomfortably and Holly moved to get the girls inside. The porch was at the end of a long, paved lane leading out from the lot. After tying Ava’s shoe, she herded them in that direction. The first thing she saw after looking back up was startling–a tall woman wearing what Holly thought were clothes from the early 1900s, her chestnut hair piled on her head in a bun. Was the inn holding a Victorian theme wedding? The web site said it hosted them occasionally. Still, it was disconcerting to run into someone who seemed so obviously out of place.

“How can I help you?” the woman asked in a low voice that was self-assured, but hoarse, worn down.

“I need to get my kids to a bathroom,” Holly replied. “We had a long drive from Portland, and I missed the last rest stop.”

Evangeline gave her a funny look.

“Well, you do have to go, don’t you?”  said Holly. Evangeline shrugged a gesture that was probably a yes. Seven was turning out to be such an odd age.

The costumed woman pointed toward the ornate, glassy front door.

“Uh, thank you,” said Holly, awkwardly. Getting the girls up the front steps, she tried the door handle. It was locked. But that woman must have gotten in the house somehow.

“Excuse me, could you–?”  Holly turned back toward the woman, who had walked away. She craned her neck toward the parking lot, expecting another glimpse of those strange, bustling skirts, and saw nothing. Annoyed, she took the girls along the wraparound porch, thinking they’d simply tried the wrong entrance. Sure enough, another glass paneled door greeted them at the other end of the house. This was locked, too, but Holly saw a sinewy, black woman coming down an interior hallway to greet them.

“Welcome to the Henley,” she said to them warmly as she ushered them in. “I’m June. You’re early. We didn’t expect you until six.”

“I wanted to get an early start, beat the Friday traffic,” said Holly. “My daughter needs a bathroom.”

“Of course.” June led them inside and pointed to a room at the end of the hallway. The door had the letters ‘W.C.’ painted on it in gold. Water closet, if Holly remembered correctly, was the polite term for bathroom around the turn of the twentieth century.

“Anyway, I’m sorry about the front door. That section is closed for remodeling, so we’re processing guests through this part of the residence. Is this your first stay with us?”

“Yes,” said Holly, feeling nervous as Ava plunked down on the Turkish rug beneath their feet. It appeared they were now in what had once been some kind of parlor. An overstuffed pair of love seats sat on each side of an ancient oak coffee table, and a huge grandfather clock stood against the wall by the door.

“Is it okay if my daughter plays with her toys?” asked Holly. The furniture was clearly expensive and she was concerned about how much of it was antique.

“Oh, it’s fine,” said June. “But be careful of that clock. It has wheels on the bottom and has been known to tip over sometimes.”

“Ava, did you hear that?  Leave the clock alone,” Holly told her.

June went to retrieve their room key, and Holly went to check on Evangeline. The period details inside the Henley were authentic enough that Holly was suddenly worried the plumbing might be unstable.

“Almost done?” she said to the bathroom door. “Your sister might need in there, too.”

Evangeline muttered a “done in a sec” with barely a hint of seven year old snideness. Things were looking up.

Until she saw the little girl. The W.C. was the first of three rooms in a hall leading to another exit, and the girl was standing in front of it. The child was about Ava’s age, and like the woman out front, wore a dress and shoes that were distinctly from another era. Her light blonde hair was curled in stiff, polished ringlets it must have taken a stylist hours to create.  Jesus, do they have children in this wedding? Holly thought.

Evangeline came out from the bathroom.

“It’s cold in there,” she said.

“We’re working on the heating,” June explained as she handed Holly her key. “Some of the rooms are warmer than others.”

Holly stared uncomfortably back down the hall, seeing no child there anymore, as she had known there wouldn’t be.

There had been quite a bit of talk on various web sites about ghost sightings at this inn, Holly had noted, while Googling for places to stay in the area. While the Henley’s site itself avoided the gossip, groups like the Willamette Valley Ghost Hunters Union raved about it on their pages.  She shooed Evangeline off to watch Ava. Then, feeling ridiculous and somewhat juvenile, she said to June,

“There was a young girl down that hall a couple seconds ago. Now she’s gone.”

“Oh, that’s just Ethyl,” June said reassuringly. “She says hello to guests from time to time.  Watch out if you see her mother, though.”

Holly blinked. “Why’s that?”

“They don’t like me to talk about it, but since you can find out on the Internet now…Ethyl Henley died in 1904 in a carriage accident. I think one toppled over on her.  Her mother, Wilhelmina, spent the rest of her life in mourning. Supposedly, she never left the top two floors of the residence. She died in 1912 from some kind of opiate overdose, but I’m not sure they could tell how a person died back then.”

“So the mother’s not a friendly ghost?” said Holly, feeling worse than immature now, but relieved to able to use the word ‘ghost’ at last.

“I’ve never seen her personally. The last sighting happened before I worked here….”  June trailed off, uneasy.

“They were probably just coincidences, people trying to explain away bad luck, you know. One of our owners admitted to me that guests who report seeing Wilhelmina Henley sometimes have accidents.”

“Uh-oh,” said Holly, trying to feign indifference.

“One guy lost his boat in the lake east of here.”

“Lost?”

“Actually, it sank. One of his kids wasn’t wearing a life jacket. If it hadn’t been for a helpful bystander, he could have drowned. Another family–they lost control of their mini-van on a patch of ice right after they left the parking lot. If you ask me, they shouldn’t have been going so fast—”

“I thought you said the last sighting was before you worked here.” Holly was still hoping for a mention of a vintage theme wedding to emerge.

“I forgot about the mini-van incident. There was also a woman who stayed here two years ago.  Claimed she saw a figure in one of the upstairs rooms. Her daughter took a fall down one of the staircases.”

“Sounds like they don’t want you to talk about it for liability reasons,” said, Holly to cut her off.  “Speaking of, I should—” she jerked her chin toward where Ava and Evangeline were playing together.

Walking past the stairs to the second floor, Holly gave its balcony a passing glance. Hovering on the right side, dark, but unmistakable, was the shape of that well-dressed woman.

Holly turned her eyes back to the kids just in time. Despite the warnings, Ava had not been able to resist the urge to play with the clock, which was wobbling and about to topple forward. In a flash, Holly and June converged on the clock, each grabbing one side of the behemoth and pushing it back upright.

“Now,” said Holly, winded with triumphant relief, “Let’s…”

Her sentence died away as she watched one of Ava’s cars, kicked away when the women had tangled with the clock, roll off the Turkish rug and onto the hardwood floor. Then everything became crystal clear in her mind. The repairs her husband had wanted her to get before their road trip—new tires, brakes, a suspension check, repairs Holly had postponed—would be the cause of the accident. It would happen on the way to the conference tomorrow, when, despite her reasonable speed and normal driving conditions, a tight turn around a curve of highway would send them careening down a steep hillside.

“Is there a repair shop nearby?” she asked June, digging into her purse for her cell phone.

While June gave her a name and directions, Holly stared up to the second floor again. The dark figure no longer lingered there, as if she had heard their discussion and took Holly’s comments for what they were—an attempt to communicate, with gratitude—message received.

Since we’ve gotten those lists out of the way, who IS Grey Harlowe?

In short, I’m a writer of scary, weird, sometimes suspenseful fiction who lives in the Pacific Northwest. (Every once in a while, I’ll go sci-fi, but it’s a rare day that happens, and even rarer that it goes all that well.) I’m not famous, but I boast a modest publication history I’m satisfied with for now. I haven’t figured out how to makes links in these posts yet. (Yes, I know that’s sad, but WordPress is an entirely foreign environment for me at this stage.) If you’re curious about my published writing, Google instead.

My desire to write horror goes back many years, but I didn’t generate the courage to start pulling some together and putting it out there until 2014. (I’m shy.) I have been a huge fan of everything spooktacular since I was a kid, and have had fun writing since childhood. Finally, I realized I should combine these interests and then, presto. Grey Harlowe, Horror Writer.

(Okay, it was more complicated than that. I majored in English. I wrote on my own in solitude for a decade and a half. I published very little. I wrote some more. I finally piqued the interest of a few editors and now I struggle every day to pique more. I’ve written one novel. I aspire to write more. It’s brutal out there. I’m grateful to anyone who reads anything of mine.)

My philosophy of horror writing is basically thus: be original. I can’t reinvent the wheel, but I can try to be as different as I usually want to be. That has led me to some…interesting places. Other tenants I adhere to include: use as many non-traditional characters, settings and scenarios as possible, (I’m tired of seeing certain clichés repeated over and over in popular and even niche markets, the vampire romance one being the most nauseating for me) forget about being ‘nice,’ and go crazy with structure every now and again. One story I wrote recently is formatted as a sort of university lecture on the perils of being a zombie.  That’s a time I threw caution to the wind as far as format goes, and it was terrifically enjoyable.

Have I ever seen a ghost? Interviewed a vampire? Experienced paranormal phenomena? No, no and yes, respectively. (Remember, I said I wanted to keep this blog light on personal details.) I’m no skeptic, nor athiest, nor even agnostic. There’s a lot of genuine horror in our world. My fiction, believe it or not, is supposed to be my break from that.

ETA:  yes, that’s my original “artwork” you see as the banner. As are all images I will (probably) put up here. I’m not comfortable with copyrighted images not my own popping up on my site, so, for now, I’ll be the source for all the graphics (like I mentioned earlier, there won’t be many.)

My Top Five horror novels of all time.

So far. 1. Pet Sematary. The blurb on the back cover of my copy claims that this one is “(T)he most frightening book Stephen King has ever written.” I think it’s the most frightening book anyone has ever written.  I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone under eighteen. (And that’s really saying something, as I believe in freedom of literary choice as much as the next former aspiring librarian.) What makes Pet Sematary so godawfully, can’t-forget-it shriekifying is, to me, the sunny-warm portrayal of the happy family the evil Micmac burial ground disassembles. I don’t think there were ever characters as friendly, charming, appealing, yet realistically flawed (and therefore relatable) as the Creed family in any other King books, with the possible exceptions of Andy and Vicky McGee (Firestarter) or the merry band of misfits in the novella, The Body (better known as Stand By Me.)  Watching the Creeds basically eaten alive by the menacing force in “those woods,” frightening not just for its destructive impulse but for its power, is painful.  It’s worth noting that at the end of the novel, like other King books, the Micmac burial ground and whatever doom lives there is still active. Nothing that has taken place in the story has saved any future victims.

I’ll spare everyone my small opus of insight into the rest of what makes this novel superb (in any genre, really) because I have literally seen college thesis projects written about it.  (I’m trying to keep this post tolerable, plus save up some energy for the new movie about the 1989 film, Unearthed and Untold, which I’m anticipating will be a terrific documentary, if I can bulk up enough emotionally to sit through it.)

2. The Haunting of Hill House. God help anyone who reads Shirley Jackson’s book after, as I have for many years, living on a house at the top of a large hill.  Surrounded by large trees. That’s off the beaten path and hard to find on a good day. With slightly odd architecture and an odder feel to it. You might walk away from your reading experience…changed. The main character’s journey from sexually immature, socially isolated post-adolescent to an adult woman aware of her own erotic and emotional capabilities (yes, I subscribe to the Freudian interpretation of the novel) are a miraculous, if grueling, thing to witness. The perpetually (and literally) unsettled environment in which this awakening occurs makes it all the more upsetting. If read on a purely supernatural level, (as opposed to a critical level that recognizes the story as a classic ‘erotic unveiling’ tale) this is a book about a sheltered woman unprepared to face the overwhelming threat she encounters in this novel, which easily devours her.

3. The Shining. Usually when I read, I read every word. I am a slow reader who actually hears a voice in her head when going through each line of text. When I read horror fiction, it is with a desire to read every word (maximizes the scare effect.) So The Shining has the distinction of being the only horror novel I have made a conscious choice to read and experience that was actually too utterly frightening for me to get through all of it without skimming a few parts.

I’m not proud of this. I mean, it’s a book. It’s fiction. I’m one of those, “how scary can it be if it’s all made up?” types. And I want to be able to say I’ve read every part of every book I’ve read. However. Some quality the completely cracked out Jack Torrance character has, not to mention the unhappiness in his past and in that of his spouse, Wendy, freaks me the hell out for a reason I can’t name even today. To such a degree that it’s somewhat pointless for me to think about the hotel itself, the haunting that consumes it and its winter guests, or any other part of that damn plot. The only reason it isn’t number one on this list is because its fear factor cuts into its mastery as a novel (which Pet Sematary doesn’t suffer from.) Also, I read The Shining once and never want to read it again. There’s such a thing as too much horror.

4. The Exorcist. Personal tip: if you’re a fan of the film but feel William Friedkin left something out, seek out William Peter Blatty’s book. There’s a lot left out of the plot of this deceptively simple novel which appears, at first, to be a simple “encounter with a demon” story. Man (or, in this case, women) against the supernatural. Nothing magnificent. Except it is. Once you get past the somewhat experimental prose, which will lure some readers (read: Grey Harlowe) into falsely believing the book has not much strength with which to scare them, The Excorcist is a journey into the boundaries of human endurance, and a shockingly spot on (IMO) depiction of the way a demon conquers a human—using the vulnerability of our own loss and pain against us.

5.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I read an afterward by Dan Choan in one of my copies of this book (I own three different volumes) which tells us that one of the more mysterious things about Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic is that the nuts and bolts of the plot are widely known even among the younger generation, even if the novel itself is rarely read. Which it is. Rarely. I haven’t found another single individual in my pod, even those who will read Victorian literature, who can claim to have actually read Dr. Jeyll and Mr. Hyde. Yet, we all know the story. A man of reason and respectability becomes a monster, then changes back again.

You may be expecting a comment about Jungian psychology here, maybe Joseph Campbell’s world of archetypes, but I’m not going to go there. What spooks me about this novel is the impact of this one scene, in which Henry Jekyll’s servants are pooled in the foyer of his mansion listening to a crazed…thing barrel around in the basement. They have no idea what to do with or about their employer, or, rather, what he has become. In that moment, they are as helpless as anyone facing the gale force of the unknown’s nightmare offerings, and we as readers join them in their fear.

My Top Five favorite pieces of short horror fiction.

(I’m feeling list-y at the moment, so I might be sharing a few more of these.)

As I mentioned last post, it’s tough for me to whittle down a list of ‘best of’s from the wide world of my favorite things. Short stories from the horror genre being one of my very most faves ever, this list will surely seem incomplete to me soon. For now, these are my reread-twenty-times, always-have-a-copy-around most memorable shorts from the horror world.

1.  “The Reaper’s Image,” by Stephen King. The genius of this compact story, available in King’s notoriously unsettling collection, Skeleton Crew, is how much it achieves in how little space.  Its unusual plot about a mirror that shows you whether you’re marked for death, seduces then strangles the reader in its final shocker of an ending. Like a lot of the best King fiction and most superb horror fiction anywhere, you never see it coming.

2. “He,” by Joan Aiken. I discovered this charming little gem when I was just ten years old, in a story collection called, A Touch of Chill: Tales for Sleepless Nights. The piece is about an immigrant girl from Poland, who, while crossing the Atlantic, meets a traveler with a box that can tell the future.  Among other things.  When the companion dies, the girl uses the box to try to right this wrong, learning the difference between justice and vengeance.

3. “Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed,” by Ray Bradbury. I know a lot of people would consider this piece more science-fiction than horror, considering it takes place on another planet, but I think it’s scary enough to belong in the horror category as well.  The story, which focuses on a group of human colonists exploring Martian terrain, can claim as its best feature its slowly increasing tension as the characters gradually succumb to the effects of the new planet’s DNA-altering terrain. As someone who has always feared being “changed” by pollution, radiation and other unwanted influences, this tale has a crippling effect on me.

4. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Though widely regarded as a feminist work, I’ve always been inclined to read this story strictly as horror first, mainly because of its clearly supernatural ending. “The Yellow Wallpaper” effects its magic by evoking true sympathy for its protagonist, who is then plunged into confusion, fear and sheer misery. The line that makes me feel the most for the doomed narrator is the one that typifies her isolation—her desperation for companionship has become so extreme she seems to be trying to find it in furniture: “Each one of those chairs is a strong friend.” And almost nothing in horror fiction will ever beat the story’s bizarre, unnerving climax. (I never look at flowered wallpaper without a mild sense of dread.)

5. “Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water,” by Kelly Link. (You knew there’d be a Kelly Link in here, right?) I think this story, which is perfect for any writer living by the grace of others, (part of the main character’s vulnerability is her living situation—dad’s garage) succeeds most through its absolute subtlety, which is masterfully maintained right up until the end. I really had no idea where the heck this piece was headed until the last paragraph, which was as startling as getting splashed in the face with the proverbial bucket of water (and no, that’s not a plot spoiler.)

Honorable Mentions: “The Dionaea House,” by Eric Hesserer. This 2004 story takes its inspiration from…nature.  And that’s all I can say without giving away the good stuff.  Bonus points for being available online free, (Google if you want to check it out) and for having embraced the epistolary form, adapted for the Internet age (hard to do, believe me, I’ve tried.)

“1408,” by Stephen King.  From 2002’s Everything’s Eventual, this might be my single favorite King short story of the 21st century, and one of his all time greatest.  A hotel room with a hideous past is visited by a skeptical non-fiction writer who wants to debunks its haunted legend.  The results are…intriguing. (Avoid the film, though, total snoozefest.)

“Who Goes Down This Dark Road?” by Joan Aiken. Aiken is really no slouch in the scare department. This is another one from A Touch of Chill, which has never failed to disappoint me despite many revisitations over the years. An elementary teacher in a village in England has a pupil who claims people talk to her through her hair. At first, the idea simply sounds strange to him, until he discusses the problem with her and becomes convinced it’s real, and neither mental illness nor psychic ability.

(If this sounds interesting to you, please scoop up a copy of A Touch of Chill and read the whole thing.  Then get in touch with the people at MarkedByTeachers.com and tell them to take down the badly plagiarized version they have sitting on their site under the title, “Enchanted Hair.”  Maybe they’ll listen to you; I’ve written them and asked them to take it down and they blew me off.)

My Top Five picks for horror writers of today.

Compiling a Top Picks list is always difficult, at least for me.  I think of the ones I left out, the ones who ‘should’ be ranked higher, etc. Yet I think every writer should know whom they admire, and it has been helpful to me to be more aware of the community of well known and far-better-than-I-could-be writers of scary, weird and dark fantasy fiction. No one can write in a void, and appreciation of the rich tapestry of the horror world is an important part of continuing the tradition.

1. Kelly Link. Author of the brilliant, Stranger Things Happen, from 2001, and the equally wonderful 2003 follow-up, Magic For Beginners, Ms. Link is my go-to author for everything unconventional, surprising, and sometimes (really) scary. The searching, post-modern style of her stories isn’t for everyone, but I will always love writers who ask their audience to let go of all preconceptions, to go on a journey that means leaving all of the known world behind.

2. Ramsey Campbell. I’m not sure it gets much better than this. One of the 20th and 21st centuries greatest authors of horror, I’ve never met a Ramsey Campbell I didn’t like, particularly the stories that mix the terror with the sly wit of true humor. He’s also a fine editor, and his anthology work is also excellent.  Try the collection, Scared Stiff, sometime; thirteen years after I first found it on a shelf at Borders, the pieces in that one can still make me cringe.

3. Dennis Etchison. The thing I appreciate most about this author of truly frightening fiction is that he has his finger on the pulse of popular culture and its impact on society, particularly through entertainment. My favorite Etchison story is “The Dog Park,” about the misery of life in Hollywood, a place he describes as an environment “where souls are burned for temporary warmth.” How’s that for a line that sticks with you?

4. Laird Barron. Whenever I encounter a book with Barron’s name on it, I know it’s something I’m going to love. How can you not love a man known for saying the Bible “is the greatest horror story ever told”?  (True, by the way, as far as I can tell.) My favorite Barron so far is a short story called “The Redfield Girls,” a subtle but disturbing piece about women who drown in a lake in the Pacific Northwest and the mystery it leaves for the survivor. Hard to the story’s depth or complexity, which, like most Laird Barron work, leaves a permanent lingering chill.  (Plus, I read he has an eye-patch.  What tops a writer with an actual eye patch?)

5. Stephen King. He is still the master. I’m inching my way through one of his more recent books, 11/22/63 and thinking it’s amazing and almost incomprehensible that King is still capable of producing fiction this frightening after publishing for more than forty years. Next on my list is Revival, which has received positive reviews as being exemplary of the author’s “vintage” years. Since the vintage years for me are roughly 1974-84, I’m really excited about Revival‘s potential. I’ve always thought that what made King most enduring was a talent for bringing forth work that encompasses pieces of everything humans have found frightening, from the ancient world right up to our technology-obsessed present. This is a skill only a man still passionate about the craft behind good horror can wield.

Some thoughts about content (this used to be easier.)

Maybe it’s the limits of my current technology situation, (old Mac, old operating system, not ready to update yet) but I find the world of blogging very challenging at the moment. I aspire to post daily, but updates may be sporadic at first.

This blog will primarily be about my life as a writer of scary fiction and my love of the horror genre. I’ll probably spend more time talking about horror generally, though, as both art (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein) and entertainment (The Amityville HorrorThe X-Files).

What this blog will not be focused on, at all, is “issues.” I really don’t want to engage in political deabte, analysis or critique of social problems, personal struggles or trauma, or any unholy mixture of any of the above.  And I’m the only voice I want to see in these entries. I don’t feel up to managing or moderating comments.  I haven’t figured out how to turn off the comment function yet; for now, please don’t leave any.

A word about style—I really want this place to be more fun than frightening. Sometimes the horror genre can be, frankly, horrifying.  Other times, it can be spooky, thought-provoking, or insightful, and that’s more “me.” Think Tim Burton, not Wes Craven. If you’re one of those types who thinks that horror should always be terrifying, or that it’s only enjoyable if it involves extreme violence, this is not the website for you.

A final note:  this isn’t an English class, nor is it Film Appreciation 303. I like criticism as much as the next ex-literature major, but college was a long time ago.  I doubt anyone would come here searching for that, but don’t expect Shakespeare or Fellini. (Unless I’m in the mood.)

I’ll try to get some images up here soon, as well as a bio, fiction links, perhaps a Twitter tie-in.  We’ll see.

Happy Hauntings.