Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ghosts Among Us

“Of all ghosts, the ghosts of our old loves are the worst.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Ghosts are some of my favorite characters. There’s just something about them that’s appealing. Friendly ghosts, evil ghosts, ghosts with an attitude, and ghosts that simply want to rest in peace make for great reading. What is their unfinished business on earth? Why can’t they go to the land beyond?

I became interested in ghosts one summer when we visited our son and daughter-in-law in Charleston, SC, where history and spirits ooze out of almost every house and building in the city. We, of course, took in the sights, plantation houses, the old dungeon, the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen, and Fort Sumter. Our son and daughter also took us on a twilight ghost tour of the historic district. As we and the other tourists in the group strolled down the streets lined with Victorian mansions, some dating back to the 1700s, our guide told stories of ghosts that resided in many of the old houses. I was fascinated and wondered what it would be like to discover you had a resident ghost living in your attic or even in your bedroom. Something to think about.

One story in particular intrigued me. (OK. I admit I’m a hopeless romantic.) Anyway, this one house had a sad story to tell. On the wedding day of the daughter of the family that lived there the bride was descending the stairs, her groom waiting below, when an arrow sailed through the open window, striking her. She died in the arms of the man she was to marry. A jealous suitor had stood outside the window and, rather than let her marry another, he had killed her. It was a sad yet beautiful story, and you know what writers do when they run across something that really touches them.

Inspired, I bought a bunch of books about ghosts and Charleston, and when we got home I did a lot of Internet research, as well as taking notes about places we went to while we were there, so my scenes would be authentic to the city. Then my characters came to life, and I started writing my ghost story. In 2003, Listen to the Ghost was published as a YA novel, first as an eBook and then in 2005 in trade paperback, by Twilight Times Books.

Although Phoebe is my ghost, she isn’t the main character. She informed me in a hurry what she wanted, however, and also that she liked to make mischief. And she does, plenty of it to keep the main character, Jade, and the other teens busy.

I had so much fun with Phoebe I’ve recently finished a MG ghost story that I hope to find a publisher for soon. Three ghosts, oops, make that four though one doesn’t appear until near the end, make for a lively story, also set in Charleston then moving along the coast to North Carolina. I’ve added my love of lighthouses in this one. Haunted lighthouses and phantom ships. And even a ghost cat.

A couple of years ago I attended a convention about paranormal activity. They showed pictures of what appeared to be apparitions or ghosts and we listened to recordings of the ghosts contacting people. The attendees were serious about their ghosts, no make believe for them.

So tell us about your favorite ghost stories. Here are a few if mine:

Crossed Out by our own Kim Baccellia

Linda Joy Singleton’s Don’t Die Dragonfly series

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Save the Last Dance for Me, by Dyan Sheldon

Saundra Mitchell’s Shadowed Summer

Uninvited by Amanda Marrone

And others I can’t think of at the moment.


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Bev! Another great ghost series has to be THE MEDIATOR series by Meg Cabot.

    Kim Baccellia

  2. All right, another ghost-a-phile! I admit to having approximately 4' worth of shelf space on true ghosts. I save clippings from papers. I download really good stuff from the Internet. And I swap stories with others whenever I have a chance. I got into writing my own thanks to Richard Peck (The Ghost Belonged to Me, Ghost I Have Been, Voices After Midnight)and British writers KM Peyton (A Pattern of Roses) and Robert Westall (too numerous to mention). Ghosts are the BEST - thanks for raising the topic!