Things That Go Bump In The Night

” ‘Hainted, it is, with grindings and screeches…’ page 23, THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE.

Ghost. Phantom, apparition, spook. Commonly thought to be the spirit of a dead person appearing in lifelike form.

The Scots, it turns out, are very into ghosts. The word wraith first appears in 18th century Scottish romantic literature; the word bogey first appears in Scottish poet John Mayne’s Hallowe’en (1780). Robert Burns read Mayne’s poem and wrote his own version; according to Burns, Halloween is “thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands”. Here’s just one stanza from Burns’ (very long) poem:


English churchyard

He wistl’d up Lord Lennox’ March
To keep his courage cherry;
Altho’ his hair began to arch,
He was sae fley’d an’ eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
An’ then a grane an’ gruntle;
He by his shouther gae a keek,
An’ tumbled wi’ a wintle
Out-owre that night.

And the modern English translation:

He whistled up Lord Lennox’ march
To keep his courage cheery;
Although his hair began to stand on end,
He was so scared and eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
And then a grown and grunting;
He over his shoulder gave a peek,
And tumbled with a stagger
Out over that night.


Window in Edinburgh

Halloween – more properly “Hallowe’en” or “All Hallows Eve” – is the night before All Saints’ Day, which was designated by Pope Gregory in the 8th century as the day to revere saints and martyrs. Halloween probably originated from the Celtic festival of Samhain, which was a celebration of the end of summer and the beginning of the long dark days of winter, and associated with death. On Samhain, also celebrated on the first of November, the Celts believed that the line between life and death became blurred, and one could commune with the dead, which included fortune-telling by those spirits. As part of the communion – or perhaps to hide from wandering spirits – Samhain festival-goers would dress in costumes of animal skins and masks.


Edinburgh tombstone

All Saints’ Day could be translated from “All-hallowmas” or the Middle English “Alholowmesse”. The night before, “All-hallows Eve” became “Hallows-even” or “Hallowe’en.” Our practice of trick-or-treating probably comes from the English tradition of giving “soul cakes” to poor beggars who in turn would promise to pray for the souls of the donors. “Going a-souling” was eventually the province of children who would go door-to-door for food and money. The tradition may also have its roots in the practice of leaving food out for spirits, to encourage their benevolence.

Regardless of your feelings about spooks, spirits, or ghosts, you might want to give your modern-day trick-or-treaters a truly soul-feeding gift. In addition to candy, our “Trick-or-Reaters” website offers spooky fun book-related gifts. Just stuff one of these print-outs in their goody bags and trick-or-treaters can visit the website and peruse free offerings from the frightful to delightful.

tor_2flyer_daelynebellHappy Halloween, and remember – we ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

There’s a reference to All Hallow’s Eve in THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE. Can you find it?

And don’t forget – this giveaway ends at midnight on Halloween night! Just in time for ghosts to return to their place of rest.


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Creepy Cryptids!

This week I have a special treat for all you tricksters – and a special guest. Christine Hayes, author of MOTHMAN’S CURSE, has written us a tantalizing guest post – and she’s attached a great giveaway of her own! Here’s Christine:

There’s something irresistible about a mystery, and cryptids may be one of the most tantalizing mysteries of all. Cryptozoology is the study of creatures that haven’t been proven to exist. The most famous of these include Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. People have tried for decades to secure proof of these fascinating figures, but most of the photos that surface turn out to be fakes.christinehayesauthorpic

So are they real? Some believe that cryptids are afraid of humans—just as we’re afraid of monsters. Or perhaps they’ve learned to stay in hiding in order to survive. But fifty years ago, one creature broke with tradition and started appearing all over town in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

It began in November of 1966. Two couples were driving down a dark country road when something began chasing them. They described the being as shaped like a man, with wings and glowing red eyes. The story made the papers the next day. The creature came to be known as Mothman.

Enthusiasts flocked to Point Pleasant, hoping for a glimpse of Mothman. More than a hundred sightings were reported over the next 13 months. And then, disaster struck.mothmans-curse-final-cover cryptid

The Silver Bridge, which connected Kanauga, Ohio and Point Pleasant, collapsed during rush hour traffic. Forty-six people were killed. In the years to come, legend grew that the tragedy and the Mothman sightings were connected. Did Mothman cause the collapse? Was he trying to warn the town? Either way, his reputation as an omen of disaster has endured.

Many cryptids are not well-known outside their regional haunts, and Mothman is no exception. So when I began writing MOTHMAN’S CURSE, I had a lot of room to play—creating a backstory and widening his sphere of influence. I wanted to explore what would happen if Mothman appeared in other towns, where other disasters loomed. And I loved the idea of two brave kids facing down this huge, frightening creature and saving their town in the process.

October is the perfect month to explore spooky folklore and urban legends. Dusk creeps in a little earlier each day; bare branches scrape at the sky like grasping fingers. And Halloween beckons, a promise of imagination untamed. I recommend curling up with a good book, a warm pair of socks, and an apple cider donut or two.

But should you decide to go cryptid hunting, be sure to take your camera.

Now, here’s the grand giveaway, courtesy of Christine!

31 DAYS OF SCARES AND SHARES: A giveaway to celebrate the release of MOTHMAN’S CURSE in paperback!

Weekdays from Sept. 19 to October 31, I’ll post a link to a spooky article, book, or item of interest. If you retweet on Twitter or share a Facebook or Instagram post, you earn an entry into the final drawing (up to three entries per day, one for each share)! Use hashtag #31scaresandshares.


(5) Signed paperback with mini Mothman plushie
(1) Signed hardback PLUS $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Winners will be announced Tuesday, November 1.


Twitter: @christinenhayes

Instagram: @mothmanscurse

Enter Christine’s giveaway if you dare!!

And don’t forget……………..the Rafflecopter giveaway of THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE is still on. Find out more about that giveaway here.


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