Play Episode 15: Summer Ghosts
On their July #podcast, Phil & Fox bring you a new true ghost story from New Hope, PA, an excerpt from Bob Pastorella’s new bizarre-southern noir novel MOJO RISING, an interview with #medium Jamal Brown and . . . the zombies are back!
SPONSORED BY Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing
The Spinning Ghost of Pineapple Inn
Their new and original true #ghost story is from local author & Bram Stoker’s winner, PD Cacek. This is the first of several from the talented horror author, written about a beloved and bucolic town in #Pennsylvania, New Hope—an artist’s town on the #Delaware River. Fox knows the town well, going there often while growing up, visiting the many shops and Inns. Where there’s history, there’s #ghosts. It is considered America’s most haunted town and is even featured in a documentary—link below. PD is featured on the show. PD’s first ghost story is called The Spinning Ghost of the Pineapple Inn. Below is the full story also featuring PD’s experience as a horror author and the prologue explaining her love of New Hope, PA. The complete audio story can also be found at Soundcloud, read by Patricia Thomas (Phil’s Mom!) Thanks Patricia!
The winner of both a Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Award, P.D. Cacek has written over a hundred short stories, six plays, and five published novels. Her latest THE SELKIE, is currently available on Amzon.com. (And the story behind its creation will be coming soon…) A native Westerner, Cacek now lives Phoenixville, PA…home of BLOBFEST, and only a short walk away from The Colonial Theater where the famous “Run Screaming From Theater” scene was filmed. When not writing, she can often been found either with a group of costumed storytellers called THE PATIENT CREATURES (www.creatureseast.com), or haunting local cemeteries looking for inspiration.
PD Cacek has become a member of the haunted family at What Are You Afraid Of? Podcast, and she has already contributed much. More stories are coming in the future from this talented horror author. She was also featured on the ghost & paranormal documentary America’s Most Haunted Town from Luminence Films.
“I don’t see dead people, but sometimes, it seems, I become them.”
The background song behind the ghost story is 2706 from Mystary & Mystary Records.
Phil Thomas and T. Fox Dunham engage in their usual banter. They did a Facebook poll, asking fans what they’d want written on their gravestones. They got some surprising results which they feature on the show. They also talk about writing, the summer and the new RINGTONE based on the show’s theme song.
“HERE! Hold my BEER!”
Fox interviews psychic and medium crusader, Jamal Brown, creator of the Facebook group, Psychic Research. Jamal is a counselor to those with spiritual problems and those with fear about death. He talks about his out-of-body-exerience while in a coma.
Scripture from Jamal:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Follow Jamal on Twitter: @godsarmy88
Horror author & reporter of the south Bob Pastorella reads an excerpt from chapter 3 of his new novel from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing titled MOJO RISING!
A new drug called Mojo is tearing through Southeast Texas, directly competing with Juney’s own product. What starts as a minor annoyance quickly spirals into something much more serious once Juney discovers his cook murdered and his brother mysteriously missing, the Mojo trademark left at the crime scene. Mojo Rising is a strange trip through a world of thugs and junkies, hallucinations and apocalypses. Some doors you walk through, you can’t come back in.
“If you’re looking for a pulpy fast-paced southern-fried sleazed-out hard-boiled blast of bad drugs and weird crime, Mojo Rising’s got you covered in spades. Just go easy on the Mojo, alright? You open up the doors of perception, you never know who (or what) might break on through.” — Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Skullcrack City
“Mojo Rising is a surreal, violent, Southern gothic addiction, set to a soundtrack by The Doors, luring you out into a rippling darkness from which you may not ever return.” — Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration and Breaker
Author of the Zombie/Western short story, ‘To Watch Is Madness’, featured in Warmed And Bound, a Velvet Anthology, the Booked. Anthology, In Search of a City: Los Angeles in 1000 Words, and numerous other publications online and in print. Bob is a columnist and reviewer for This Is Horror, previously a columnist for Revolt Daily and ManArchy Magazine. He lives in Southeast Texas.
The song used in the background of Mojo Rising is open-licensed, podcast-safe music. The song is from the group Natural Snow Buildings. “You’ll Become What You Fear the Most” From the album, “The Night Country”.
And finally, those wacky #zombies return for the SUMMER ZOMBIES! Come hear those undeaders at play in July in this humorous sketch. They frolic and eat spleens.
FUN-COMPOSE this summer!
And thank you to James Chambers, Swaney Hatton, Robert Dunbar, John Foster, Lisa Mannetti and Phil Thomas for joining the podcast in Philadelphia for the second of their live reading events, hosted by T. Fox Dunham. This will be released as a special podcast, following their recorded live event in NYC at the KGB Club coming quite soon.
They had a fantastic audience and are planning another live author event in Philadelphia on September 10th. The reader list is still being determined. If you’d like to be a reader at one of their live author events, artist or musician, please send the show an email at the below address.
Philly needs more literary events, and they’re just getting started bring the art back to this great temple So let’s re-animate the artist heart of this city!
The show has some exciting things scheduled for the future including more live events in Philadelphia, folklore-collecting trips and new material, interviews and stories. They will also be releasing t-shirts for on-demand order.
Need your true ghost stories. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
They also use sound effects from from Free SFX. http://www.freesfx.co.uk.
THE SPINNING GHOST OF THE PINEAPPLE HILL INN B&B
NEW HOPE, PA
This will be about the spinning ghost at the Pineapple Hill Inn B&B (eventually), but I actually have to start a year earlier…
I was in Philadelphia for a writing convention when a friend asked if I’d like to visit someplace called New Hope. He said it was a quaint, “artsy” town on the Delaware and thought I’d enjoy it.
I said I would love to…and so begins the adventure.
New Hope was quaint and, at the time (this would be in the late 90s, before Dunkin Donuts and the Mondo Condos moved in), very much an “artsy” type of town—but there was something else about it…for some reason it felt like home. Now, I’d never been to Pennsylvania before, none of my family had lived in Pennsylvania (that I know of) but from the moment I got out of the car I felt like I’d lived in New Hope my entire life.
My friend was taken somewhat aback when, instead of having him show me the points of interest, I showed him. He even accused me of lying to him about having never been there before because obviously I knew the place. We were crossing South Main Street at the time and I was just about to tell him I had never been then when I suddenly stopped moving. In the middle of the street. I didn’t hear the squeal of brakes or the blare of car horns and I don’t think I knew I realized I was holding up traffic until my friend grabbed my arm and hauled me onto the sidewalk.
He asked me what the hell happened and I told him I’d just thought of the plot for a novel set in New Hope—beginning, middle, end, with character names and, here’s the twist, I told him, ghost stories because my New Hope…the one I had just thought up in my mind (I thought) was haunted.
That’s when he again accused me of pulling his leg about having never been there before because, he told me, New Hope was haunted.
Yes he was, and he even showed me a couple of books in Farley’s Bookshop: Ghosts in the Valley and More Ghosts in the Valley, by Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey.
Now, I love ghost stories and stories about real hauntings, but for some reason (that I figured out later) I didn’t buy either book. I would, later, but that part’s still to come.
Now, back to my novel idea….
For the rest of the afternoon I couldn’t get the plot out of my head, the only trouble was that I felt I needed to be in New Hope in order to write it, and that was going to be a problem. I lived in Colorado, my sons were still in school and, most importantly, I had very limited funds. There was no way I could afford to live in New Hope at that moment in time, but it didn’t stop me from writing down plot points and stories about the “ghosts” that haunted my New Hope. But those notes and stories were the only things I could write…the novel just sat in the back of my mind waiting.
I thought it would have to wait forever, just one more book that never gets written, but then things happened.
A story of mine was up for a World Fantasy Award and while at another convention (this time in Rhode Island) a man (tall, good looking, wearing white shorts and a white shirt…ghost-like) suddenly appeared and asked if I was going to attend that year’s World Fantasy Convention. (It wasn’t until later that I discovered he was one of the judges. My story won, by the way.) I told him I was going to attend and we small talked for another few minutes and then he asked what my next writing project was.
Usually, I would give a very brief description of whatever story I happen to be working on at that moment, but this time I told the man in white about the novel I wanted to write that would be set in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
The man said “Oh, I know New Hope, my brother owns a house there that has a basement apartment. I’ll tell him about you.”
I thought he was just being nice and put the whole thing out of my mind until, a months later, the man in white (who I came to know as Peter Schneider) called and said “Great news, my brother’s tenant died and you can have the apartment for a couple of months.”
I still honestly don’t know how, but I packed up my computer, some furniture, clothes and headed for New Hope where I spent the next seven months writing the novel that almost got me killed on Main Street. The novel still sits next to my desk, waiting, after all these years for a final edit…but I think it was just a catalyst. One of the first things I did when I got into town was go to Farley’s and by those two books. I also took the Ghost Tour and discovered that the stories I’d written in Colorado for my novel…where very similar to the ones I’d read in the book and heard on the tour.
I really can’t explain that any more than I can about why I feel so much at home there.
I just think New Hope sometimes has that effect on people.
Okay, that’s the backstory…. prolog
I was home in Colorado when I got a call from a man named Robb Child who told me he was going to make a documentary on New Hope (America’s Most Haunted Town, Luminence Films, 2001) and, after having read some of my accounts of “ghostly encounters” in the New Hope on-line blog, asked if I’d be interested in being part of it.
Of course that meant I’d have to move back to New Hope for a month or so…
I told him I’d love to do it, but didn’t know if it would be possible. The home situation hadn’t changed plus, I knew the apartment I’d rented before had new tenants. I said I’d think about it and get back to him. It wasn’t a week later that Peter Schneider’s brother, Chris, called to let me know the apartment was vacant and would be for a month or so and asked if I had any plans on coming back to New Hope.
I’m not saying there was anything supernatural about this turn of events, but the timing was pretty remarkable bit, don’t you think?
And there I was back in New Hope, about to participate in a documentary about its ghosts and having more fun that I thought was humanly possible. So when Robb asked if I’d be willing to spend a night at a haunted Inn I jumped at the chance.
The Pineapple Hill Inn B&B is a few miles south of New Hope, and has its share of ghosts. I didn’t know it was haunted, but I had seen the Inn a number of times on my trips up and down River Road and each time I passed, I slowed down and stared up at the small window on the third floor just beneath the peak of the roof. I don’t know why…or at least I didn’t until Robb told me that was the room I’d be spending the night in—the room haunted by the sounds of a spinning wheel.
Well, it wasn’t a headless monk or the Kissing Bandit (who haunts the halls and the room directly beneath the one I was in and who occasionally wakes ladies with a kiss on the cheek), but it was the room I seemed to be drawn to so that had to count for something.
That night when we arrived, as in all the best gothic ghost stories, it was dark and stormy; and after taking a tour, where I found out I’d be the only guest in the original front section of the Inn, we shot a little footage for the documentary in the Kissing Bandit’s room. While filming we all heard someone walk up the hall and stop at the room’s door. Of course there was no one there when I opened the door, but we did capture the sound on the video.
After filming, Robb left, the Innkeepers retired to their house on the other side of the Inn’s back patio and I, alone, went up the long, narrow back stairs (the original servants’ stairs) to my room.
Was I scared? No, I wasn’t…however, before retiring I did open my door and, looking down the long dark staircase, asked that no one—Kissing Bandit or not—come calling. I’m not sure what I would have done if I’d heard someone coming upstairs that night…
I’ve seen recent pictures of the room on the Inn’s website and the new Innkeepers have done it proud. It’s gorgeous, not that it wasn’t when I stayed there, but it is changed. Now there are two bedrooms with the bath/dressing room in between. When I was there it was a one bedroom, which you entered from the stairs, and a cozy living/TV room you entered through the dressing area.
After shutting (and yes, locking) the door, I set down my overnight bag and, with the rain beating against the roof overhead, I walked over to the window I’d only seen from the road and stood looking out of it was a few minutes.
Since I wasn’t particularly sleepy I decided to watch a little TV before retiring.
There was a spinning wheel in the room for décor, but it obviously was not the original (or even an antique). Robb had given a video camera and audio recorder (this was back before much of the really neat Paranormal Investigation equipment was readily available), which I was to set up before going to bed, so I put them on the coffee table facing the imposter spinning wheel (in case something happened while I was awake I’d be able to reach over and turn both on) then settled back on the sofa.
While some gangster movie provided background noise, I was putting down some ideas for a story in a notepad (the old-fashioned paper kind) when I suddenly couldn’t breathe. Not only could I not catch my breath but my heart was racing and my face was literally dripping with sweat…but as strange as this may sound, I was absolutely calm. It was almost as if I was just watching what was happening and not a part of it.
I even made a note of that—“Very strange. Can’t breathe. Not scared.”—as well as the time, about 11:45, then just sat there, scribbling about what I was experiencing until, some ten or fifteen minutes later, as suddenly as it had started it stopped and it was as if nothing had happened. My breathing was normal, my heart no longer felt like it was trying to pound its way out of my chest and my face and forehead were dry to the touch.
“What the heck just happened?”
I waited to see if it (whatever it had been) would happen again, but it didn’t. It was almost an hour later when I turned off the TV, turned on the camera and recorder and went to bed.
Now, let’s be honest…given where I was and what had just happened to me, you’d think I’d be a tad nervous about shutting my eyes, let alone going to sleep, wouldn’t you? But that wasn’t the case at all. With the sound of rain hitting the roof and window…but not anything that sounded like a spinning wheel…I fell asleep almost immediately.
Sometime later, I woke in the dark to what sounded very much like the whirr of a spinning wheel. I would have gotten up and tiptoed into the living room to see what was going on but I couldn’t move.
And no, I wasn’t dreaming. I was wide and lying flat on my back. My left arm bent at the elbow, left hand curled under my chin, and right arm was straight at my side and my entire body felt numb. I couldn’t so much as wiggle my toes or turn my head to see the time on the bedside clock. And while I should have been terrified, I wasn’t. As with the previous “incident” in the TV room, I was absolutely calm
I just lay there, staring up into the dark and listening to the whirring sound that had awakened me. Considering there was nothing much else I could do at the moment, I tried to think of a rational explanation for the sound and finally decided it was the sound of the room’s forced air heater kicking on.
I wasn’t surprised that people had mistaken that for the sound of a “haunted spinning wheel.” When you’re staying the night in a room and know it’s supposed to be haunted, you will naturally assume any sound that’s out of the ordinary will be the sound you expect to hear.
Case closed. Mystery solved.
I fell back to sleep but later woke again to the whirring sound which. This time, however, the sound seemed louder, as though the spinning wheel was at the foot of the bed. And, once again, I could only lay there and listen—in the same position I’d been when I woke the first time, my body numb.
But I was still sure about what I was hearing.
“Yeah,” I said out loud, “it’s the heater.”
And fell asleep.
The third time I woke up (same position, etc. etc.) the whirring sound was LOUD, so loud in fact, that I yelled “Okay, okay, I hear you!”
And back to sleep I went.
The next morning I woke up to a bright day, curled up on my left side and got out of bed just as the room’s heater come on. It wasn’t the same sound I’d heard the night before.
Oops. Naturally, I had to apologize.
“I’m sorry,” I said to the empty room, “I made a mistake. I did hear you.”
After making amends, I checked the video camera and recorder in the living room. The video showed the spinning wheel hadn’t move all night and the only sound you hear on the recorder is me saying “Okay, okay, I hear you” and my apology but not the whirring sound.
After I dressed and packed, I picked up the room’s “Guess Comments” book from the mantelpiece above the room’s gas fireplace and flipped through the pages while I waited for Robb to come and collect me. Besides glowing reports on the Inn and food, a number of guests commented that occasionally the air in the TV room suddenly seemed to get “stuffy” and “thick” around midnight, others wrote only on the beauty and peacefulness of the room…but almost all of them wrote of hearing “a soft whirring sound” in the night.
None of the comments mentioned that the sound got louder and seemingly closer, but I think that was only for my benefit since I’d try to dismiss it.
When Robb arrived I told him what happened and, while making our way down the backstairs, was just coming to the part about feeling as if I couldn’t breathe when I reached out and grabbed the newel post on the first landing. The moment my hand touched it was an instant replay of the previous night: I couldn’t breathe, my heart began racing and I must have looked like I was going to pass out because Robb asked if I was okay.
As I was gasping for breath, I told him this was exactly what I’d experience the night before and stepped back to lean against the wall. The moment I took my hand off the newel post, however, I was fine—my breathing returned to normal and my heart stopped racing. It was literally as if someone had thrown a switch. I touched the newel post again and immediately began gasping. I let go and I was fine.
So what happened? Here’s what I think:
The woman who occupied the room originally was a servant and spinner who suffered from consumption (tuberculosis). Besides spinning, she may have also been a maid or serving girl (I had the feeling she was young) who would have naturally used the back stairs. The stairs are steep and for someone whose breathing was already compromised, she’d probably have to stop and catch her breath on the landing (and hold onto the newel post to steady herself). The spinner died in her room, in her bed…perhaps flat on her back with her right arm at her side and her left crooked at the elbow with her hand tucked under her chin.
Can I prove any of this?
Did I really hear what might have been a spinning wheel?
I heard something.
Do I think the room is haunted?
Is it possible that I only imagined experiencing the physical manifestations?
Perhaps, but this sort of thing has happened to me before.
I don’t see dead people, usually, but sometimes it seems I become them.