Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Guest Post: Lynn Cahoon

My Real Life Ghost Story

I told Pam I would talk about the locally famous haunted house (McPike Mansion, Alton IL) down the street from where I live, but I changed my mind.

Instead, since I write romance and am celebrating the release of my debut book, The Bull Rider’s Brother, I’m telling you the story of the ghost who tried to save me from a bad marriage.

I was just eighteen, summer between freshmen and sophomore year at college. Living at home, I was working swing shift at a local factory making plastic milk bottles.  (As a side note, if you want to make sure your college age child returns to school after summer break, get them a job watching a machine make plastic bottles. I ran back to school after that summer.)

One day, I met the man who would become my first husband. He worked days at the same factory.  We started dating, mistake number one.

Later that week, I saw one of the jokesters who worked my shift sitting on top of the pop machine right outside the door that lead to my workstation.  I pulled aside the plastic strips to tell them they weren’t scaring me, and no one was on the top of the machine.

I figured it was my imagination.

That weekend, I was sleeping over at this guy’s house.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman sitting on the window sill.  Her face sad.  I sat straight up in bed, but again, no one was there.

I screamed, waking the still sleeping boyfriend.  He turned on the lights and held me until I fell back into a fitful sleep.  The next morning over coffee, he told me the history of the house.  How he’d been told that a woman committed suicide in the house after finding out her husband had been unfaithful. 

I swore I’d never enter the house again.

The boyfriend moved in with me, renting the house to a young couple.  The renter husband robbed a small grocery store a few months later, killing the local owner with a single shot to the head. 

Coincidence?  Maybe.  But the house had a dark energy, a bad feel.  The boyfriend winded up losing the house back to the bank.  Years later, we were married.

Fast forward a couple of decades, after finally divorcing the man who’d made my life miserable, I thought about the sad woman on the window sill.  Had she been trying to keep me from making the same mistake she had, trusting the wrong man? 

I’d like to think so.

So tell me your personal ghost story if you have one.  If not, when was the last time you were scared?

Growing up in the middle of cowboy country, Lynn Cahoon was destined to fall in love with a tall, cool glass of water.  Now, she enjoys writing about small town America, the cowboys who ride the range, and the women who love them. Contact her at her website – www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com

Blurb for The Bull Rider’s Brother
Rodeo weekend is the start of the summer the entire town of Shawnee, Idaho. On a girl's night out, Lizzie Hudson finds herself comparing her life as a single mom with her best friend's successful career when James Sullivan, the cowboy who got away, walks his Justin Ropers back into her life.  Seeing him shakes Lizzie's world but James is in for an even more eventful weekend, learning he has a son.  James has enough on his plate trying to manage his brother's bull riding career.  Can he learn to redefine family and become part of Lizzie's life before she gives up on him and marries another?

The Bull Rider’s Brother is a series contemporary romance about Lizzie Hudson, a single mom who wants to keep her life just the way it is, thank you.  The problems you know are less scary than the problems you don’t.

When James Sullivan comes back for the town’s rodeo weekend and finds out that his high school sweetheart had his child, six years ago, Lizzie’s world is thrown into turmoil and she must decide if safety and certainty are worth giving up on a chance for love.  A love that an emotionally damaged James may never be able to return, breaking her and her son’s heart in the process.

WARNING: My current release The Bull Rider’s Brother from Crimson Romance – doesn’t have a touch of paranormal or high heat level, but if you like a sweet, emotional, small town romance, check it out. 

My Lyrical Press release in November, A Member of the Council, is a hot, paranormal romance. 


Unknown said...

Cool story, Lynn.

No ghost stories to tell...unless you count the ones my seven year-old makes up. They're a hoot but hardly scary! :)

Congratulations on your new release!


Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for sharing your ghost story Lynn! I've got plenty to tell and wouldn't know which one to pick, lol.

Congratulations on the new release!!

Kathleen Bittner Roth said...

Great story. Let's see, which story do I tell? Well, I hpe I can keep this short enough. I had friends who owned an 1800's era Gone With the Wind kind of old plantation which was rumored to be haunted. They used the ground floor for events such weddings, and lived upstairs, using the two downstairs suites for bride and groom changing rooms. I was invited to stay with them whenever I came to town. Didn't think anything about the claim it was haunted. First time in,my plane was late. I arrived after midnight and the house, sitting on about fifteen acres with a long driveway, was dark as pitch. The taxi driver set my suitcase on the driveway and took off like someone was after him. Yikes, I didn't like being out there alone in the dark and ran up the steps and rang the bell. No answer. Rang and rang. I knew I was supposed to stay in the bride's suite so I went around to that entrance. The door swung open. I thought my friend was playing games. Entered the sitting room and the sheer curtains were ruffling about like a pretty good breeze was going. Blamed it on the open door and shut it; passed into the bedroom and turned on the light. There at the end of the bed stood an antique crib full of old life-size China dolls dressed in Victorian garb, sporting real hair and staring at me. Curled my toes. Then the water started running in the bathroom and I thought my friend was playing tricks. I walked in and sound of running water ceased. Bathtub and sink were dry. stepped out of the room and it happened again. three or four times and I decided I'd better go to bed so I locked myself in the room and crawled into bed. I was dozing off when someone rapped hard on my door, but high up (tall door). Now those old wood floors creak when stepped on. I knew there was no way anyone could sneak down tht hall and get away with it. I called my friend's name and turned on the light. All the doll's heads were turned facing me! The rap came again. I was about to have a heart attack. I couldn't remain in the room, but what if I ran out and someone really was in the hall, waiting for me. Then the water sound came on in the bathroom and that was the last straw. I went tearing out the door yelling at the top of my lungs, pounded through the ballroom and up the stairs. My friend and her husband came running out and said, "Where were you? We've been waiting." when I told them I rang and rang the bell (that door was at the bottom of the stairs leading right to their room) they said they'd been sitting in their suite at the top of the stairs waiting for me and heard nothing. When I told them what happened, they just looked at each other and said, "She won't hurt you." No more ground floor alone. The next night I was in an upstairs room with a nightline one, locked in. I was asleep on my stomach when a hand on my shoulder woke me. I opened my eyes and could see my shoulder out of the corner. There was no hand, but an clearly visible indentation of a handprint where the hand should be and this feeling that whatever it ("felt" like a female)wanted me to follow her downstairs and to the farthest part of the house near the woods. When I screamed, my friends came running. The husband told me there is supposedly a buried treasure on the property and "she" wanted me to show me, I should have followed. No way!
I had many more experiences in that house (lots of people did and ghost hunters picked up paranormal activity at every visit). Music boxes going off when there were none, whispers in my ears, little girls singing, etc. I got a bit used to it, but wouldn't venture alone to one end of the house, even in daylight hours.

Barbara Bettis said...

Don'thave a ghost story to share, Lynn, but I'm willing to enjoy those of others' LOL. I'm looking forward to Bull Rider's Brother

Wendy La Capra said...

Lynn, your story gave me chills! Congrats on your release!! (loved Bull Rider's brother)

Kathleen...that sounds like one freaky night!!

Lynn Cahoon said...

Love my lala's, just saying. Thanks for stopping by Wendy and Barb and Mary.

Pamala- you should have shared, now I'm curious.

Kathleen - wow. Just wow.


Mae Clair said...

I'm with you, Lynn. I would have been out of that house in a hearbeat. Creepy story!

None of my own though I did stay in a hotel once that was reputed to have a resident ghost. I found out after booking the stay because the idea freaked me out. Fortunately, there were no midnight visitations.

Wishing you much success with The Bull Rider's Brother. I enjoy sweet romances!

Carla said...

Kathleen, I'm sitting in the dark and when you said the dolls' heads were turned to you, I all but jumped out of my seat! Eeek!!

I have one. The house where I grew up was fairly old, and the previous owner had died there suddenly. I thought living in a house with a ghost was kinda cool.

Junior year in high school, I was studying for the Chemistry Regents exam and not in the mood for it, so I pushed the book away and reached for something else (more fun!). All of a sudden I felt a cold "finger" trace up my spine! I shot to attention, grabbed the chem book and said, "Yes, Mr. Searles!" (The previous owner.) I'm grateful he got me back on track because I got a 75 in a class I otherwise didn't do well in. My mom also reported once seeing someone at the top of the stairs in "period garb", but otherwise, not a lot of activity. Not like that southern mansion!!

Good luck and many happy sales to you, Lynn!!

Rhonda Hopkins said...

Cool story! I have way too many to try to pick from. It's nice to think that some are trying to help us though. I will say that my grandmother whispered in my ear to add sugar to my red beans when I couldn't figure out how to make the juice thicken. I would never have thought of that on my own. She made the best red beans. :-)

Taryn Raye said...

Okay, I'll preface this ghost story with my facts. When I was growing up, most everyone believed my grandfather on my mother's side had "powers" so to speak. He knew things before they happened and sometimes was very intuitive. The women in our family have the tendency to have ghostly encounters and are also sometimes scarily intuitive, knowing something is going to happen before it does, etc. Heredity? Perhaps. My grandfather died on April 4th in 1991. He always said his lucky day was December 13, 1946 (a Friday the 13th) because that's the day he was discharged from the Army after WWII.

My daughter was conceived on or around April 4th, 2002(unintentionally). She was due Christmas Eve that year, but instead was born on December 13, 2002 (a Friday the 13th, as well).

I started to make the connections of the dates associated with my grandfather and my daughter shortly after she was born. When she was just about 3 months old and I was simply exhausted from taking care of a newborn and my husband was always at work and I had my 4 y/o stepson to take care of and I was very nearly at my wit's end. Every time I'd get my daughter settled down to fix myself something to eat, she'd cry or fuss or something. Even if I put her in her bouncy seat a few feet away where she could see me. I was almost to the point of breaking down in tears, because I couldn't take a moment for myself and so I said a little prayer and I also spoke to my grandfather (I've talked to him often since he's passed and I miss him dreadfully). I asked for a distraction so I could fix my lunch.

Within seconds, my daughter, sitting in her bouncy seat, glanced toward the doorway that leads from our kitchen/dining room to the middle room of the house and she started to giggle with the biggest grin on her face. I glanced around the stove and saw nothing there in the doorway but the curtains that hung there. She still continued to giggle and bounce and laugh- in that direction. Needless to say, my heart dropped to my feet and I swallowed back the fear and simply whispered "Thank you, Grandpa." It was the only time that's ever happened and though I saw nothing, I felt it and with all my heart I KNOW he was there when I needed him and I still feel he's around, though not always in such an obvious way.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Hi Mae Claire - I have a friend who has stayed at the Shining hotel. She said she was visited...

Lynn Cahoon said...

Carla - a ghost attached to a book? Sounds like a YA in the making to me.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Rhonda - I've never heard of adding sugar to make a sauce thicken. Your grandmother may not like you giving away family secrets. LOL

Thanks for stopping by.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Taryn - what a sweet story. I've called on my father several times when I was totally overwhelmed with life and was at a crossroads. He's never pointed me wrong.

Hallee Bridgeman said...

Kathleen -- all those dolls' heads turned toward you - yikes. I'm sitting in my bright sunny room and kinda got creeped out.

Taryn - I love that story.

Unknown said...

Though I have never personally had a ghost experience, too many people report having had them for me to rule them out. I am of Irish heritage (believers of the fey), mountain people (my mother was Didama Jane McCoy--yes one of those), and I have Native American in my background (Cherokee). One side of my brain is educated and believes in Jung's theory of the "collective unconscious". The other is a new ager who believes in synchronicity and that we are each connected by invisible threads to the people we encounter in our lives.

I have taught myself to look for and pay attention to "signs" I am given to help point the way I'm supposed to go. I joking refer to this as "the Universe speaking to me". Or sometimes I say I am "compelled" which feels precisely true when the sense is strongest, like a feeling about a story that has to be written.

If I had to postulate a theory about what ghosts are, I would say ghosts are the energy of a person who has not completed their energy transformation (aka death) for some reason. I went to a presentation on the subject of ghosts at the NEC conference. The speakers said there were four or five ways ghost energy manifests. Some were minor. Some were full projections of who they used to be. And they cited explanations for them in almost every culture on earth. The information resonated with both sides of my brain.

I also think some people are sensitive enough to pick up on those energies, just like I believe people have other "paranormal" gifts. Part of the reason I love writing paranormal and science fiction stories is having the chance to explore my "theories" with my characters. If the energy from a still live person can be captured on film (Kirlian photography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirlian_photography), then how far a stretch is it to believe some of it lingers after the person's physical body ceases to live?

Loretta Wheeler said...

Great sharing of a haunting:) Isn't it a shame we're not always aware of warning's when they're being given? Experience and time help in that area.
I don't think I'll go into my one particularly elevated contact with a ghost...I'll just say I was glad I had seen the movie "Ghost". It helped me deal with a level of contact I'd never had before. Because of the intensity of the contact, it did lead me to learning more about incidents which had taken place throughout my life. I have a finer understanding and now "listen" carefully to any warning I'm given:)
Congratulations on your latest release, gal! Wishing you all the best with it:)

Pat Marinelli said...

I'll make it short. My dead father came to tell my aunt had passed on. Then he returned to tell me my sister had breast cancer. I didn't realize this until later becasue I didn't believe in ghosts. I was wrong.

Hubby's dead cat came back to tell me my cat was dieing. Both cats come back for visits. I enjoy that.

Oh and I should say that I did not see either Dad or the cats. I smell Dad's pipe tobacco and feel the cats jumping, walking or running on the bed.

Penelope Marzec said...

My ghost story is at my blog:


It's a genuine NJ ghost story. :^)

Lynn Cahoon said...

Wow - I go to work and come back to all these great stories.

Thanks for sharing!