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Rebecca E. Neely, Author ~ Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

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urban fantasy

This is Why She Writes Paranormal

It’s my pleasure to welcome fellow paranormal romance author Tracey Wood today. Her inspiration for writing paranormal stories may surprise you. Read on…if you dare.

tarot-1775322__340My mother brought me up as a single parent. She split from my father when I was a small child. My Nana passed away when I was three or four, and my mother took it very hard. She suffered with very bad depression for a number of years and never really got over it. When I was around eight or nine, my mother started to dabble with a ouija board and tarot cards.

I don’t know if it was connected, but I began to see things in my bedroom. It might have been a child’s imagination, but I really did see toys lift and move, on their own. I had a heavy fairy-tale book that sat on the top of a box of toys at the side of my wardrobe. I saw the book lift, move forward, away from the box, then it dropped to the floor.

My mother came rushing into the room because the noise was so loud. I told her what had happened, but she did the normal, parent thing. She didn’t believe me! This happened a few more times, and on the last occasion my mother was just coming to check on me and was about to open my door when the bang, of the book falling, happened. She opened the door and looked at me. I was looking at the book which was over the far side of the room. She looked from me to the book and back again. I wouldn’t have had time to get back into bed, and she knew it. She asked me if I was all right, to which I nodded. She asked if I was sure and I nodded again. I wasn’t scared; I was puzzled. Unlike other occurrences, this didn’t scare me.

tunnel-1820225__340On a number of occasions, I saw a dark shape of a man standing watching me at the end of my bed, and I was literally frozen with fear. Looking back, I can still see the dark shape, and it is something that will stay with me forever. He was wearing a tall hat; I could see the shape of it, but I never saw any facial features or clothes. By standing how he did, he seemed menacing and I think this is what scared me the most. I ended up sleeping with the light on and again I don’t think my mother believed me.

Other things happened which I can probably put down to my imagination. But I would probably say that the reason I write paranormal stories is because of my own experiences and my mother’s interest in the paranormal. I have always been interested in things that do literally go bump in the night!!

midnight-angel-coverMIDNIGHT ANGEL by Tracey A. Wood

After almost losing her life in a vicious, bloody attack, Kat Shaw, a thirty-something divorcee, discovers that there are such things as monsters. And the predator who attacked her is not human. She starts to develop unusual skills that have murderous consequences. And she becomes an unwilling witness to multiple, brutal murders, seen through the eyes a killer. Thrown into a battle of Good vs. Evil, she falls in love with two men who are not what they seem. While her attacker stalks her and continues to murder the innocent, she has to find the inner strength to take on and fight the demons from hell—to protect her family and friends while also trying to save her life.

MEET TRACEY WOOD

tracey-a-woodTracey A Wood lives in Staffordshire, in the United Kingdom. She has been married for over thirty years and has two children. One of her boys lives at home due to being disabled; the other has flown the coop. She has three cats that are her babies, and she talks to them all of the time. Funny thing is they don’t answer back.

She loves snowboarding, skiing, jumping out of aeroplanes and bungee jumping. Well, that is when other people are doing it. She prefers to have her nose in a book or to be writing one. She also loves to people watch, which her husband is always telling her to stop doing. She has a job that she enjoys and works full time. Although if she won the lottery, that might change! She also has a very good imagination.

In 2014, she decided to take the bull by the horns and send her manuscript to Soul Mate Publishing. She feels so privileged to have her book published, as this is the first one that she has written. It has made her dream of being a published author a reality. Her philosophy is, life really is too short to wait, you’ve got to go for it. She is still working full time and is also working on another book in her limited spare time. Her favourite saying is ‘Everything happens for a reason’.

Her books are fast paced and centered on a female lead who finds an inner strength after being thrown into situations that are beyond her control.

CONNECT WITH TRACEY

Website: http://traceywood.wix.com/tracey-a-wood

Blog: http://traceyawoodblog.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TraceyAWood.Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/traceya_wood

Google+ https://plus.google.com/+TraceyAWoodAuthor

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/traceywood16121/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/tracey_a_wood

READ ON FOR AN EXCERPT FROM MIDNIGHT ANGEL

The park was empty at this time of night. All the children had gone home hours ago. The nights were getting colder and the evening air bit through my clothes, making me shiver. A light dew clung to my hair and skin as the darkness closed in around me, shrouding me from the main road.

After a long day at work, I made my way along the manmade path. It was a good shortcut taking fifteen minutes off my journey. I would soon be home, safe and warm.

What to have for dinner? Hmm. Pizza! Yeah, I’ll dial a pizza. Treat myself. Why not?

Happy with my decision, I carried on my way.

Pulling my jacket collar up around my neck, I tried to beat the cold and the shiver running up my spine.

A sharp pain shot through my head, stunning me, and suddenly I was flying across the path. My forehead hit the ground with an audible thump. Another powerful flash of pain. Black blotches blurred my vision as I tried to focus on my surroundings.

I attempted to get up, but something struck my back, flattening me to the ground. The wind rushed from my lungs. I couldn’t move! A heavy weight sat on my back, holding me down. I struggled to draw enough air into my lungs. Something sharp penetrated my back, then my arms and the top of my leg. It was pure agony!

What’s happening? Have I been stabbed?

Tucking my flailing hands under my body, I attempted to get up, a silent scream trapped inside me, but the weight held me in place.

Snaking my body, I wriggled across the compact soil of the path, attempting to pull myself forward. It was no use. I couldn’t even get to my hands and knees.

My clothes were ripped from my back as the onslaught continued.

The pain slowly dulled, even though I was still at the mercy of my attacker. My heart pounded with fear as this predator snatched at my body. I was shaken violently from side to side. My gut told me my attacker was male. He was dominant, strong, and overpowering.

Oh God, this can’t be happening. No, please. I don’t want to die!

Glancing around frantically for a weapon, I realized I still had my keys in my hand. Without thinking, I slashed them behind my back with as much force as I could. They bit into something soft. Warm fluid flowed over me.

I had hurt him and possibly made him angrier. This unseen person was going to do the unthinkable. He was going to violate me, rob me of my life, or both. I desperately needed to get away from this monster. But how? I couldn’t fight back. Damn it; I couldn’t even move.

Nausea washed over me as my body weakened, my life draining away. A dark mist clouded my mind, consuming me, consuming my thoughts. I was going to die here in a lonely, dark park in the middle of London. I would never see my family and friends again.

Why? Why? I want to live. Help me; please help me, someone!

As if this monster had heard my silent plea, the shaking suddenly stopped. The weight lifted slightly, and I could breathe. Relief washed over me.

Had the attack finished? Did he think I was dead?

I lay still, faking death, struggling not to take deep, gulping breaths. I fought the panic pumping through my body.

I became aware of a stroking sensation on my back, a light caress. Small strokes, followed by a sound I could not identify. The strokes became harder and the noise louder. A wet, squelching sound.

What is that?

My head spun with confusion and panic as I strained to locate my attacker. I saw a movement from the corner of my eye. I turned but couldn’t focus. It was too dark, and I was in shock.

Warm liquid ran down my back, arms, and legs. Blood. My blood, but there was no pain, still no pain.

In a moment of clarity, I knew I had to move. To get away before my attacker struck again.

 

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The Strange History of Abandoned Talcott Hall

It’s my pleasure to welcome fellow paranormal romance author Claire Gem today. She’s sharing a fascinating ‘story behind the story’ about abandoned Talcott Hall – which, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I have a thing for abandoned buildings! Read on to learn more about the history, mystery and horror of this creepy psychiatric center, which inspired Claire in her upcoming book, SPIRITS OF THE HEART.


talcottfire“Please tell me the smoke isn’t coming from Talcott Hall.”

I spoke these words in a frantic phone call to my sister, Terri DelNegro after seeing a post from a mutual friend on Facebook that said, “There’s smoke billowing over the grounds of the old Psych Center.” Terri is also my cover designer and dear friend who lives in the town where I grew up—Middletown, N.Y.

In that town are the state grounds of an abandoned mental asylum, one I was intimately familiar with as a child. You see, my father, who suffered from alcoholism, was an inpatient more than one time in that facility. In the 1960s, alcoholism was considered a mental illness, not a compulsive behavioral disorder. Back then, illnesses such as epilepsy and diabetes also labeled the patient “insane.”

My earliest memories of the Psych Center are of visiting my father on Sunday afternoons, where he and my mother sat at a picnic table under the shade of giant maple trees while my younger brother and I fed peanuts to the squirrels. Only about six or eight years old at the time, I never understood why my mother cried every time we visited him. Or why Daddy couldn’t come home with us.

talcotthallHaving haunting memories about this place even after half a century had passed, I felt compelled to write a novel set on the grounds of the Middletown Psychiatric Center. Many of the buildings have since either been razed or repurposed, but there are still a few hulking buildings remaining. One of these is—or was—Talcott Hall.

A monstrous, intricately designed brick masterpiece, the building was a thing of beauty encasing what must have been, for those trapped within, a house of horrors. During Talcott Hall’s heyday, mental health treatment still consisted of procedures now looked upon as torture, including hydrotherapy (soaking in ice cold or scalding hot baths) and electro-shock therapy. Lobotomies were still common practice, though none of record were performed at this particular facility.

Talcott Hall was the building reserved for the least tractable, most violent patients. There were bars on the windows, and steel cages encased the external fire escapes. The patients who were admitted to Talcott Hall, in all likelihood, were never going home.

Two weeks before that frantic phone call, I had spent an entire day with Terri, who is a professional photographer as well as a brilliant graphic artist. We drove around the grounds, discussing the plot of the book I’d begun writing. She snapped over a hundred photos that day—most of them of Talcott Hall. The tall chain link perimeter kept us from getting too close. But we could feel them, both of us: the ghostly vibes emanating from that lonely place, even from a dozen yards away. In this video by Antiquity Echoes, glimpses of the interior of the asylum clearly speak to its haunting qualities.

And then, mysteriously, Talcott Hall caught fire and burned to the ground.

Well, not exactly to the ground—the sturdy exterior was constructed of brick and iron. But the morning after, Terri sent me videos of bulldozers scooping what was left of the stately old building into a heap that billowed gray smoke for days.

I was heartbroken.

I’d been in the exhilarating, early stages of crafting SPIRITS OF THE HEART, which centered around Talcott Hall and the ghosts trapped within. Suddenly, it was gone. My muse had gone up in smoke. The fire was labeled arson, but no one was ever charged. I put the manuscript aside, unsure of whether or not the story would ever come to fruition.

Until the day I knew it had to. Talcott Hall must be resurrected, I decided, in my book. And its fiery fate would become one of the most terrifying moments in the novel.

Was it coincidence that Talcott Hall burned down two weeks—to the day—from the day Terri immortalized it in photographs? I don’t believe so. I also don’t entirely believe it was random arson, especially since the building had sat empty, its windows all broken out, with vines winding their way up its edifice and hawks building nests atop its turrets, for over twenty years.

I believe the fire was a sign. I believe it was my ghostly muse tapping me on the shoulder and whispering in my ear: “When Talcott Hall goes down, it must go down in flames of fury.”

In Spirits of the Heart, it does.

Many thanks to Nick Elia of the Middletown Fire Department, who took some amazing photographs of the fire, and granted me permission to use them in promoting my book.

You can read a sneak peek at upcoming release, Spirits of the Heart, HERE.

Available for pre-order NOW!

SPIRITS OF THE HEART – A Haunted Voices Novel

spirits_of_the_heart7_very_lt-grey-1An addiction counselor and a security guard struggle to reunite a little girl and her father—two spirits trapped within the walls of an abandoned mental asylum.

Laura Horton returns to her hometown to start her career with the Alcohol Crisis Center. But her homecoming is jarring. Her old friend moved out unexpectedly, so Laura’s new roommate is the friend’s intimidating ex-boyfriend—in a house that snugs up to an ancient graveyard.

Miller Stanford works nighttime security for the State grounds. He’s a man with a shattered past. His Dad destroyed their family with alcohol, a weakness Miller is terrified will consume him too. The last thing he needs is an addiction counselor—a sexy blonde one, to move in and start watching his every move. When he begins to see specters in the dark, he starts questioning his own stability.

But Laura sees them too—Greta, a pathetic child-spirit searching for her father. When Laura starts digging into old asylum records, she reveals a horrific cover-up. Can Laura and Miller unravel the mysteries of Talcott Hall without jeopardizing their love—and lives—in the process?

MEET CLAIRE GEM ~ Strong Women, Starting Over ~ Redefining Romance

claire_2516Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of emotional romance—contemporary, paranormal, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. She writes about strong, resilient women who won’t give up their quest for a happy-ever-after—and the men lucky enough to earn their love. No helpless, hapless heroines here. These spunky ladies redefine romance, on their terms.

Her paranormal/romantic suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival. Her latest release, The Phoenix Syndrome, won the women’s fiction division in FCRWA’s The Beacon Contest.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 38 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

CONNECT WITH CLAIRE – FIND OUT ABOUT ALL OF HER BOOKS & MORE!

Website

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Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Pinterest

Celebrating THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms Series

the-watcher-1-1_830x1250I’m celebrating the release of THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series this week, and I’m thrilled to finally be sharing Dev and Meda’s story.

Today, I’m talking about writing, and sharing inside info about hero and heroine Dev and Meda.

Here are some questions I’m asked frequently:

What was it like writing THE WATCHER? Writing THE WATCHER was the most challenging story I’ve written to date. It’s the longest story I’ve ever written. As well, Crossing Realms is my first series, and writing the second book in a series is a challenge all its own. I wanted and needed to continue the quest begun in Book 1, as well as build the foundations for Book 3, AND weave Dev and Meda’s tale. I wouldn’t consider the books stand alones; you’ll enjoy the series more if you start from the beginning.

Why did you pick New York City as Meda’s initial locale? I love New York City. I’ve visited Manhattan several times, and I love the vibe of the city, the energy, the architecture, the character. It’s teeming with life, and even though there’s so much happening there, as I put it in the story, Meda is able to hide in plain sight. Plus, Dev needed a little quest to get him and his Harley going. 🙂

Where did the inspiration for Tan come from? Ah, Tan. I walk almost every day around town, and there’s a dear old lady who likes to sit on her porch who I pass often. She’d call to me as I went by, and we’ve become friends. Her dog was named Tan. 🙂 He was a mutt, really old, and his back legs would often give out from under him if he tried to stand too long. A total sweetheart! She loved him, and he loved her. I always adored the name Tan. It’s so simple and sweet. I decided I would use his name a long time ago, and I chose a German Shepherd because I’ve always wanted one, and because he could be a protector of Meda.

What’s up with Dev? On the surface, Dev Geary seems pretty simple, pretty straight forward. As he puts it, “He’ll get in, rock his Compulsion, and get out. Boom. Done.” Famous last words, right? Indeed – he’s anything but simple. Guilt, darkness and a need for revenge haunt him, and complicate his life and his relationships. However, there might just be a woman who’s ready to take him on…

Find out more in THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series, out now on Amazon!

Missed THE KEEPER, Book 1? It’s on sale for 99 cents until December 3rd!

Join my mailing list & MONTHLY, be entered to win a FREE ebook! You’ll also receive EXCLUSIVE sneak peeks, offers & sale info!

Put some paranormal in your life. Go on. I dare you.

THE WATCHER- The Inside Scoop on the Characters

Meda regarded him silently. “What is ‘Dev’ short for?”

“Devlyn.” He laughed half-heartedly. “It means brave. Or misfortune. Take your pick.” And that just about sums up Dev Geary, former Keeper and reluctant Watcher. This hunk and his Harley will take on the human realm in the seven days he’s been given to save his clan—and conquer the very thing that killed him.

tw-dev-teaser-graphic1

I enjoyed the challenge of crafting Dev. He’s a bit of an anti-hero—he’s belligerent, hell bent on his own agenda, an opportunist, a unique blend of strengths and vulnerabilities. His catch phrase and philosophy on life is to be ‘between the inches’, or to embrace his death wish. It’s a fine line between thrills and terror, and it’s the only place where he can feel alive, free from the darkness that lives inside him. Free from the secrets and shame he suffers.

Combine all that angst with some super human powers, and you’ve got yourself a hard ass hottie, fiercely determined to guard and rescue humans. The irony, and the beauty of his character is he doesn’t realize he could use a little rescuing himself.

Enter human Meda Gabriel, a cagey, street smart bar owner with a unique skill set, who might just be of some help in that area—and his quest. But she too, harbors a few secrets.

And the clock is ticking. That kind of pressure is bound to bring out the best—and the worst—in both of them. Will bravery, or misfortune win the day? Find out in THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms series, available for pre-order now on Amazon!

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Catch up with me today at Fresh Fiction, and don’t miss a chance to win a Kindle!

Join my mailing list & MONTHLY, be entered to win a FREE ebook! You’ll also receive EXCLUSIVE sneak peeks, offers & sale info!

Put some paranormal in your life. Go on. I dare you.

Cover Reveal for THE WATCHER, Crossing Realms Series Book 2

fb-party-cover-the-battle-in-the-steel-city-continues-1

Hello! Thrilled to share the cover with you for THE WATCHER, the second book in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series! And even more excited to share Dev and Meda’s story with you on November 30th!

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The battle in the Steel City continues…

Look for THE WATCHER, coming November 30th from Soul Mate Publishing! Pre-order available soon ~ stay tuned!

COOL CONTESTS  ALL MONTH LONG – KEEP SCROLLING!

Hell bent on avenging his own death, former Keeper Dev Geary eagerly accepts when the Watchers task him with returning to the human realm to discover the secret for rendering Similitude—the very thing that killed him.

But to succeed in the seven days he’s been granted, he’ll need to work with the one human who wants nothing to do with him, and who he can’t help falling for—Meda Gabriel, a cagey, street smart bar owner with a unique skill set, and maybe, the key to his mission.

With the clock ticking and the Betrayers barely a step behind, can Dev overcome his demons and find the answers the clan so desperately needs, with Meda at his side? Can love find a way, or will he be forced to abandon her and the clan, leaving them all to face imminent destruction?


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ALL KINDS OF COOL THINGS HAPPENING THIS MONTH!

  1. ALL NOVEMBER LONGI’m counting down to the release of THE WATCHER, and kicking it off with a contest at Fresh FictionGrand prize is a Kindle Fire! I’ll also be giving away books 🙂 Click here to enter!
  2. NOVEMBER 7th – Catch up with me at Coffee Time Romance’s Book Brew with the Coffee Crew! I’ll be posting throughout the day, sharing sneak peeks, excerpts, the inspiration for the Crossing Realms series, and, you guessed it, giving away more books! Stop by, chat and enter to win!
  3. WEEK OF NOVEMBER 14th – Catch up with me during the ROMANCE WRITERS GONE WILD event on Facebook. A week long romance reader’s paradise! Join over 100 romance writers for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways, with a specific day dedicated to your favorite romance genres, and all without leaving the comfort of your home. And, you guessed it, I’ll be giving away even more books!

 Join my mailing list & MONTHLY, be entered to win a FREE ebook! You’ll also receive EXCLUSIVE sneak peeks, offers & sale info!

Put some paranormal in your life. Go on. I dare you.

Spooktacular Halloween Blog Hop!

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Welcome to this stop on the Spooktacular Halloween Blog Hop!

Fabulous Authors, Prizes  & Fun!

The Prize for this Stop ~ Join my mailing list and be entered to win a Kindle copy of THE KEEPER, Crossing Realms paranormal romance series, Book 1

THE WATCHER, Crossing Realms Series Book 2 coming November 30th!
The battle in the Steel City continues…

Crossing Realms SeriesSacrifice or salvation?
A chosen psychic few may be both. As the city’s Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.

Enter to win by October 31st!
TRICK OR TREAT HERE NEXT: Lisa Kulow ~ https://www.facebook.com/lisakulowauthor/
For a List of all Stops on the Hop & Kindle Fire Giveawayhttp://bit.ly/2dQ8uFL
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GIVEAWAY IS OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT OCTOBER 31ST
FB IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS WONDERFUL TREAT!

Saturday, October 8th – Steel Town Paranormal is in the House!

autumn-218804__180On Saturday, October 8th, starting at 3PM, Steel Town Paranormal will proudly present “An Evening in Haunted Harmony II” at the Harmony Museum in Harmony, Pennsylvania.

The event will take place during the annual Harmony & Zelienople Sleepy Hollow Festival. Proceeds will benefit Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley.

A huge draw for the event is not only the guest speakers, but the guided ghost walks through town.

I also invite you to join me, where I’ll be signing books for the very first time and hanging with STP, all of their guests, and lots of other cool vendors!

The Psychic Vincent Sisters, featured speakers for the event, were recently featured on an episode of the show, Six Degrees of Murder, on the cable channel Investigation Discovery. The Vincent Sisters will be discussing their work and conducting a gallery reading.

Also speaking at the event is Patty Wilson, who has researched and written about the paranormal and the history of Pennsylvania for over twenty years. She is affectionately known throughout the Keystone State as The Ghost Lady of Pennsylvania.

Drake Bowan, a paranormal investigator with 14+ years of experience, will also speak at the event.

img_4077Learn more about a ‘day in the life’ of a paranormal investigator in my article, ‘Ghost or No Ghost? Spotlight on Steel Town Paranormal’ I interviewed founders Steel Town Paranormal’s Chris and Melanie Durish, and some of the things they told me gave me goosebumps!

For more information about Steel Town Paranormal, their events and investigations, visit their web
site
, and follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms series  ~ coming this November ~ Join my mailing list & be entered to win FREE ebooks monthly , receive deleted scenes & other cool stuff 🙂

Ghost or No Ghost? Spotlight on Steel Town Paranormal

stonehenge-1314998__180Since the dawn of time, people the world over have been fascinated with the paranormal. That which is ‘beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding’ strikes a chord in many of us for different reasons—from the delicious thrill we get from hearing, or telling a ghost story, to seeking the truth and an understanding beyond ourselves. Many of us have even experienced strange occurrences at one time or another we couldn’t explain, be they strange intuitions or dreams. And perhaps some of us, up close and personal sightings and/or communications with spirits.

So it’s no surprise that paranormal investigation, or the study of paranormal activity, popularized in recent years by shows such as Ghost Adventures, Paranormal Witness and Ghost Hunters, has in fact been going on for centuries, across cultures, religions and civilizations. Myriad literature, including the Bible, references ghosts. And people from every walk of life have embraced the supernatural in the form of demons, angels, fairies, prophets, gods, apparitions and other phenomena, via rituals, stories, practices, traditions and belief systems.

cmd-img_4023Today, many paranormal investigators seek to provide proof of paranormal activity by gathering evidence, aided by technology, and by following the scientific method. One such team of investigators is Steel Town Paranormal (STP), a non-profit organization based in western Pennsylvania dedicated to the research and investigation of the unexplained. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with the organization’s co-founders, husband and wife Chris and Melanie Durish, and paranormal investigators.

Since 2004, Chris and Melanie have been investigating the paranormal. Growing up, Chris didn’t have any profound paranormal experiences, but has always been fascinated with the unknown. Melanie on the other hand, has experienced the unexplained most of her life. While growing up in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, her parents added on to their house. “I believe that may have ‘stirred’ up spirits, both good and bad,” Melanie explained. “I believe there is a portal there, in the original part of the house. I’ve experienced things such as being touched, hearing Indian drums, and hearing my name being called.”

Melanie explained that she is very sensitive to the energies of spirits. What she told me next had goosebumps chilling me, even on the hot, humid day I spoke with her and Chris. “Recently, I stayed at my parents’ house overnight, as it was closer to work for me,” she explained. “That night, I slept in my old room. At one point, I felt the bed shift, as though something, or someone, was sitting down on it. I also felt covers being pulled off me, and a voice saying, ‘There’s a body in here.’ The spirit was talking about me.”

She grinned, but added, “It still spooks me, even though I’ve been experiencing it all my life. I do ask my angels to protect me.” Melanie has also felt something ‘crawl’ up her, “maybe a cat or a dog,” she said. She’s also heard growls.

As paranormal investigators, attempting to communicate with spirits is key. Chris and Melanie explained one way they attempt this is through what’s known as a ‘dowsing session.’ These ‘L’ shaped metal rods, also used to divine water, help them determine the spirit’s yes or no answers to questions they pose. “All spirits have different ways of answering yes or no,” Melanie said. And it’s up to the paranormal investigators to figure it out. For example, sometimes crossing the rods may mean ‘yes.’ Melanie explained the spirits require a great deal of energy to communicate, and after fifteen to twenty minutes, the spirit may become tired, and no longer able to communicate. Last year, in her parent’s house, they were able to communicate with a Native American girl using the rods.

Chris and Melanie and their team also use a host of other equipment to try to record paranormal activity. This includes a wide variety of photographic, CCTV (Closed circuit television), audio and EMF (Electromagnetic frequency) equipment. None of it is specific to paranormal investigations. In fact, Chris specifically avoids any equipment promoted as such.

Often, when the STP team is contacted to do an investigation, one of the first things they do is research the history of the site where activity is being reported. This helps them determine how they’ll approach the investigation, how they might best be able to get results, their preferred choices of equipment, which team members might best be able to contribute, and so on.

However, there are times when STP has specifically not researched the history of a site, in order to independently validate their findings, and see if what they’re experiencing is the same as what others have experienced. In other words, they want to approach the investigation completely unbiased. An investigation they went into ‘cold’, so to speak, was at the Grove City Area Historical Society in Grove City, PA.

One thing I was especially interested to know when I spoke with Melanie and Chris was, are you afraid during investigations? (I know I would be!) “Not usually,” Melanie said. “But I was during the investigation at the Grove City Area Historical Society.” The STP team set up in the basement, and she could see, via infrared, the dark, six foot shadow of a man. “There were three of us down there, and all of us felt something getting right in our face.” As well, by using EVP, or electronic voice phenomena, and a digital recorder, they were able to record things not audible to the human ear, but that they were able to pick up on after the fact, when they reviewed their footage.

Afterward, they learned that the previous owner of the building, who was at that time in his fifties, lived there growing up. He recalled his mother hating to go into the basement to do laundry because she was afraid, and felt a presence.

After nearly thirteen years as a paranormal investigator, Chris explained that it is in fact, quite rare to experience true paranormal activity. “Maybe ten percent of the time it’s real,” Chris said. And, as Steel Town Paranormal has been featured on Travel Channel’s Paranormal Challenge and Biography Channel’s My Ghost Story, Chris can attest to the fact that investigations are, in his experience, often not as they appear on television. In fact, he feels this might be the biggest misconception people have about the paranormal.

“Much of what we do is tedious, painstaking and may yield no results,” Chris explained. “That includes hours of watching footage and listening to recordings. That tedium is a love hate relationship. It can be boring, time consuming to set up the equipment, but the payoff is in the ten seconds you actually get something. That’s why we love it, why we continue to do it. At the end of the day, you just never know. And it’s what keeps us coming back for more. Too, we’ve traveled to some really interesting places we never would have otherwise, including Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky and the Moundsville Penitentiary, located in Moundsville, West Virginia.”

monochrome-1459863__180STP has also conducted investigations at local landmarks, all located in Pennsylvania, including the North Country Brewing Company and the Old Stone House, both in Slippery Rock, the Harmony Inn, the Harmony Museum and Museum Gift Shop, both in Harmony, the Hotel Conneaut in Conneaut, and the Hotel Saxonburg in Saxonburg.

While Melanie is very sensitive to the energies of spirits, Chris is not. Both take a scientific approach to their investigations, which is a major shift in the modern study of the paranormal. They gather evidence—to prove, and disprove. Much of that scientific approach centers on energy. “It’s basic thermodynamics,” Chris explained. “Spirits need energy in order to manifest themselves, to maintain their characteristics, emotions and communications. To get that energy, spirits sometimes draw on both people, and equipment. When they do, it’s not uncommon for equipment to fail, and for people to feel dizzy as a result.” As well, to obtain that energy, for paranormal activity to occur, conditions have to be perfect. “That includes lightning-399853__180atmospheric conditions,” Chris said. “We’ve seen an increase in activity at Melanie’s parents’ house during a new moon, give or take three days, versus a full moon. As well, we believe the sun may have more powerful an effect on conditions than the moon. Solar storms, or eruptions on the sun, create more electromagnetic energy. All of this natural energy enables spirits to manifest themselves more easily.”

Chris and Melanie speak at numerous events throughout the year, and depending on the audience, can gear their presentations more toward storytelling, or more toward the scientific aspects of the paranormal. Always, though, they promote education and awareness. “I strongly encourage people to be aware of ways in which spirits may be trying to communicate with us. There’s so much going on in our world, in our lives, all the time, it’s easy to be distracted and miss it.”

What questions do they hear the most about the work they do? “Are ghosts real? What is a ghost?” Chris said. After talking with them, I’d have to say the answer is…yes!

On Saturday, October 8th, Steel Town Paranormal will proudly present “An Evening in Haunted Harmony II” at the Harmony Museum in Harmony, Pennsylvania. The event will take place during the annual Harmony/Zelienople Sleepy Hollow Festival. Proceeds will benefit Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley. A huge draw for the event is not only the guest speakers, but the guided ghost walks through town.

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The Psychic Vincent Sisters, featured speakers for the event, were recently featured on an episode of the show, Six Degrees of Murder, on the cable channel Investigation Discovery. The Vincent Sisters will be discussing their work and conducting a gallery reading.

Also speaking at the event is Patty Wilson, who has researched and written about the paranormal and the history of Pennsylvania for over twenty years. She is affectionately known throughout the Keystone State as The Ghost Lady of Pennsylvania.

Drake Bowan, a paranormal investigator with 14+ years of experience, will also speak at the event.

For more information about Steel Town Paranormal, their events and investigations, visit their website, and follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

Join me at the October 8th ‘An Evening in Haunted Harmony II” event, where I’ll be signing books and hanging with STP, all of their guests, and lots of other cool vendors!


Rebecca E. Neely is an author of romance, the paranormal and suspenseful kind. 🙂 Visit www.rebeccaneely.com

Join my mailing list & monthly, be entered to win a FREE e-book ! You’ll also receive deleted scenes & other cool stuff 🙂

This is the Reason We Connect with Tribal Tattoos

IMG_3917 (1)In my last post, I explored the fascinating link between storytelling and tattoos. In this post, I’m focusing on what are known as ‘tribal’ tattoos, their history, and our connection to them now.

Each tattoo is a singular piece of art, an expression of a person’s soul—from his passions and trials, to his memories and longings. They’re also a means of expressing individuality, while at the same time, being in community.

IMG_3928The history of ‘tribal’ tattoos goes back thousands of years. In the article, Tribal Tattoos History and Meaning at richmondtattooshops.com, author Josh Squires says, “Many of the tattoo styles we are familiar with today were rooted in tribal tattooing in one form or another.”

Indeed. And how many styles there are! It may well be impossible to list them all, but they include variations such as fine line black and grey (at one time notorious among prison inmate; think roses, portraits, memorials) Asian (think symbols, tigers, dragons) traditional (think anchors and pin up girl) and biomechanical (think sci-fi, industrial, robot). As well, we get ‘inked’ on our tongues, our teeth, and inside our lips. We get tattoos in UV ink so they’re fluorescent, and in white ink; we get them to give us the illusion of hair on our heads, and brows above our eyes.

Clearly, tattooing is embedded firmly in our cultures, traditions and daily lives in myriad ways. According to an article at Gnostic Warrior, entitled Ancient Tattoos & Tribal Identity, author Moe suggests that people are drawn to the practice of tattooing because of a ‘collective consciousness’ forged by the blood and ink of our ancestors. He theorizes that our attraction to the practice “…is really a blood born trait and a memory of past lives, simply because of the fact that the sacred art of placing ink on one’s skin is one of the oldest customs known to man.”

It’s entirely possible; tattooing, I believe, is so intimate an expression of self. According to the Tribal Tattoos History and Meaning article, “In their respective cultures, these tattoos were used to identify wearers as members of a specific tribe, displayed their social status, and in some cases were employed in medicinal and religious rituals. The figures and shapes used in these tribal tattoo styles were often representative of animals or other elements of nature and tribal life. Depending on the design elements used, these tattoos told a story. The tattoos of warriors often included animal and other nature-inspired designs that illustrated the warrior’s strength and prowess in battle.”

Fast forward thousands of years, to present day. The popularity of tribal tattoos are on the rise. Why? Perhaps, like our ancestors, we too seek to embrace our own cultural identity, or to emblazon a symbol of our strength, thus empowering ourselves, or to assert our differences.

IMG_3927Jeremie Miller has been getting tribal ‘ink’ for well over a decade, and is proud of the fact that his left arm is now a ‘full sleeve’ design. “I got my first tribal tattoo when I turned eighteen with a friend. I got tattoos on my upper arms, but at times, I felt I had to hide it from society. That was about fifteen years ago. Now that it’s become more mainstream, I’m not as concerned about it.”

What drew him to a tribal design? “The symmetry and bold, powerful design appealed to me. About every two to four years, I’ve added on, but only to my left arm. Those additions have always corresponded with big changes in my life – when I graduated, when I received a Master’s degree, when I took a new job and moved.” But beyond that, what’s most special about them? “It’s me,” Jeremie said proudly. “It’s a unique piece of art that no one else has, and that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

In 1991, a 5,300-year-old mummy was discovered in the Alps, with over fifty tattoos on various parts of his body. To date, he is the oldest human known to have tattoos. From his age to ours, the popularity and variety of tattoos shows no sign of decreasing.

PLEASE SHARE: Do you have a tribal tattoo design? What drew you to it, and why?


Rebecca E. Neely is an author of romance, the paranormal and suspenseful kind. 🙂 Visit www.rebeccaneely.com

Join my mailing list & monthly, be entered to win a FREE e-book ! You’ll also receive deleted scenes & other cool stuff 🙂

 

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