The Possession of Anneliese Michel
In my new novel, Damned by the Ancients, nine year old Heidi Mortimer b
ecomes the target for the long dead Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. So begins a battle between the forces of evil and frightened parents fighting for the life, and soul, of their beloved child.
In real life, there have been numerous accounts of children and young people being possessed by evil spirits and one of the most extreme of these is the shocking case of Anneliese Michel.
Her story provided the inspiration for the film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Anneliese Michel was no child, but a 23 year old, devoutly Catholic German girl suffering from mental disorders and epilepsy. From the age of sixteen her behaviour began to undergo worrying changes and it was at that time she was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy by a consultant neurologist. She was prescribed medication but, sadly, the pills did not work well for her. She began to believe herself possessed by a demon. She said it appeared to her, spoke to her and told her she was damned and would rot in hell. Desperate, her religious parents decided to seek help outside the medical profession.
They turned to the church but the priests they consulted refused to perform an exorcism, stating that she clearly needed medical help. Anneliese insisted she was possessed and her behaviour continued to deteriorate. She would speak in tongues, eat coal and spiders, demonstrate a strong aversion to religious images, had convulsions and would even drink her own urine off the floor, lapping like a cat. On occasions she would bark like a dog and was known to have bitten a bird’s head off.
Finally, her parents found a priest, Father Alt, who said she didn’t look like an epileptic and successfully petitioned the Bishop for an exorcism to be performed on her. By now, Anneliese was convinced she was possessed by five demons, Lucifer, Cain, Adolf Hitler, Judas Iscariot and Nero. She endured the torments of 67 exorcisms conducted by Father Alt and exorcist Arnold Renz, sanctioned by Bishop Stangl, during which the demons would argue with each other, their voices emanating from Anneliese’s mouth, in low growls.
At this time, Anneliese would frequently say she was, “dying to atone for the wayward youth of the day and the apostate priests of the modern church.”
She broke her knees through her fervent practice of kneeling to pray repeatedly throughout the day. Even with that terrible pain, she continued the practice.
Anneliese Michel finally died of starvation and dehydration in 1976, having refused all food and drink over a period of time. At her death she weighed just 68 pounds. Two years after her death, her parents and the two priests were found guilty of causing her death by negligent manslaughter. The priests were sentenced to six months in prison (later suspended) with a further three years on probation. Her parents were not given a custodial sentence as it was deemed that they had suffered enough.
To this day Anneliese’s grave is a popular tourist attraction and there are many who continue to believe that she truly was possessed by devils.
Demons of a different kind are at work in Damned by the Ancients. Here’s what to expect:
INFINITY IN DEATH
Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .
The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.
Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .
Damned by the Ancients is available from:
About the author:
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.
Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife
She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
You can connect with Cat here:
by John Palisano
This september, with the re-launch of Fangoria also come the launch of their new line of fiction titles. I had a chance to interview Preston about the story behind Our Lady of the Inferno.
“Fassel is definitely a writer to watch.” – Jack Ketchum, author of The Girl Next Door
Spring, 1983. Sally Ride is about to go into space. Flashdance is a cultural phenomenon. And in Times Square, two very deadly women are on a collision course with destiny– and each other.
At twenty-one, Ginny Kurva is already legendary on 42nd Street. To the pimp for whom she works, she’s the perfect weapon– a martial artist capable of taking down men twice her size. To the girls in her stable, she’s mother, teacher, and protector. To the little sister she cares for, she’s a hero. Yet Ginny’s bravado and icy confidence hides a mind at the breaking point, her sanity slowly slipping away as both her addictions and the sins of her past catch up with her…
At thirty-seven, Nicolette Aster is the most respected woman at the Staten Island landfill. Quiet and competent, she’s admired by the secretaries and trusted by her supervisors. Yet those around her have no idea how Nicolette spends her nights– when the hateful madness she keeps repressed by day finally emerges, and she turns the dump into her own personal hunting ground to engage in a nightmarish bloodsport…
In the spring of 1983, neither knows the other exists. By the time Summer rolls around, one of them will be dead.
Ginny is a strong character on so many levels. She’s not perfect. There’s a lot of grey area there. She also feels genuine. How did she come do be?
Ginny had a pretty complex path to becoming the character she is in the book. I’d originally envisioned it as a short story, and so I hadn’t planned on developing either her or Nicolette that much. It as going to be archetypical New Yawk tough girl versus psycho serial killer. There wasn’t going to be much psychological depth to the story, and the thrust of it was going to be more in the madness of what was happening than in the depth or complexity of the characters. And then, when I was writing Ginny’s very first conversation with her pimp, the Colonel, something interesting happened… You hear some authors talk about their characters writing themselves, or authors “discovering” things about their characters, and it sounds insane, but there’s a great truth to that. And writing Ginny—who I’d always envisioned as this black-bobbed, Siouxsie-Sioux looking woman—I suddenly found her speaking in German to the Colonel. And it felt right, and it was right, and the rest of that scene just flowed organically. And so I had to ask myself now, “Well, why is a 21-year-old streetwalker working in the worst part of New York at the height of its depravity fluent in German? Why is she so loquacious and articulate?” And after that conversation, she’s walking back upstairs to her room, and she’s thinking about a red bed canopy in the motel, and I wanted her to compare it to something and the first thing to come to mind was a nebula. So now she’s also got a working knowledge of celestial phenomenon. And again—why? So I joke that, in the time it took Ginny to walk up a few flights of stairs, she gained about twenty IQ points. And by the time she opened that door to her room—and the little sister I’d never intended as part of the story greets her– I’d figured out this whole background for her, and what had led her to this place.
Even with that background in mind, though, it was important that Ginny not be this “hooker with a heart of gold” that we’ve seen countless times before. A pair of phrases you hear a lot lately in horror are “breaks conventions” and “subverts expectations,” and it seems a lot of the times you hear that in relation to a piece of media, a book or a movie or a TV show, that they’re not really subverting anything or breaking anything, or, if they are, they’re not doing it to any end. They’re just doing something slightly unexpected, not really that exciting, but it’s not to any end. It’s not saying anything or accomplishing anything. And I wanted to legitimately do something different, and say something in the process, to challenge the reader’s preconceptions about certain things and make them ask questions of themselves, why they have certain expectations or hold certain beliefs. And with Ginny, part of that challenge was always, “How fine a line can she walk between being sympathetic and being loathsome? Can I have her do x, y, and z and still have the reader on her side?” Because so often in film and literature, creators are only willing to take their antiheroes so far, they’re only willing to let them be so bad and then they pull back at the last minute to make sure there aren’t too many chinks in the armor. And to me, that’s robbing these characters of their humanity. It’s allowing them to be artificially flawed—only flawed enough to be exciting, but not so flawed that it makes the reader or viewer uncomfortable. I wanted to make the reader a little uncomfortable. People’s mistakes don’t always have tidy justifications behind them; and if there are justifications, a lot of the time, they’re selfish and self-serving and not instantly forgivable. So you’re going to see Ginny do some pretty awful things, and even though you can see from her point of view why she’s doing these things, it doesn’t always justify them.
All that being said, though, I got about ¼ of the way through the book with Ginny being even less sympathetic than she is in the finished text. And there’s a scene where she convinces someone to help her do something untowards, and the way she originally went about that was far darker and less forgivable than what I finally settled on. It became a sort of point of no return for the character where, if she were to do this, you just couldn’t sympathize with her anymore. There was no going back. And by that point I’d kinda been seduced by the character. In spite of my initial conception of her, she’d grown more beautiful and complex and compelling than I’d ever imagined, and in a weird sort of way she seduced me the way that I imagine Walter White seduced Vince Gilligan and the writers of Breaking Bad. So I couldn’t have her do this; not only did I not want the character to be irredeemable, it didn’t seem true to the character. There were limits to how far she was willing to go, after all. And so I went back and I made a few tweaks here and there to that first fourth of the book to make her actions consistent with who I realized she was. And I really hope that readers have that same conflicted reaction to her.
I truly felt transported back to the gritty, anything-is-possible New York City of the early 1980s. Do you have firsthand knowledge of that era? Why was it important?
It’s really cool to hear you say that, because more than one person has complimented me on bringing the New York of 1983 to life. I’ve had people who lived in Manhattan in the 1980s, or who visited 42nd Street during that time, tell me that I really captured what it looked and felt like to be there. And I was never there. I’ve never even been to New York City. I was born in Houston in 1985, two years after the book ends and when the whole grindhouse subculture was crumbling, and I spent my childhood and adolescence between St. Louis and Oklahoma before moving back to Houston at 19. I fell in love with 42nd Street and grindhouse culture in high school, after renting all these cult films from Hollywood Video, which, for a chain store in rural Oklahoma, had an incongruously big selection of really seedy, dark, obscure grindhouse movies. After I saw Poor Pretty Eddy, was left wondering “what the hell did I just watch?” And a Google search told me that a book called Sleazoid Exress by Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford had almost an entire chapter on the film, so I bought it, and Sleazoid was my introduction to grindhouse, what it meant, where it came from, and I jut fell in love with it. The idea of this kingdom of the damned partially built around movie theaters and film watching and filmmaking was endlessly fascinating to me, and I devoured everything about it I could get my hands on.
So what you’re reading in Our Lady is the result of very painstaking research. Throughout it all, Sleazoid was my grindhouse bible, but I also read Anthony Bianco’s Ghosts of 42nd Street, and I used CityData.com and a few other forums to talk to people who’d really lived there during the period and ask them questions. Historical accuracy is very important to me in a piece of historic fiction, even if I’m going to blatantly ignore the truth for artistic purposes. For example, it rains a few times during Our Lady, which was important to me for atmospheric purposes, but as part of researching the book I looked up the weather reports for the week the story takes place and it didn’t really rain during that week. But that was a conscious decision. Then on the other hand, there are parts of Our Lady that are extremely true to life. The Staten Island Land Fill, where Nicolette works, is just the Fresh Kills Landfill—I changed the name because I thought people who didn’t know about the landfill would think the name was ridiculous, especially considering what I have happened there. But all the statistics that Nicolette lists during her tour, and the way I describe the geography of the landfill, and the problem they have with feral dogs and birds is all historically accurate. Similarly, the hotel where Ginny and her sister live is the Times Square Motor Hotel, which at the time was the deteriorating flophouse I depict it as; and the theater where Ginny hangs out is the Roxy Theater, which really did convert itself into a four-screen multiplex showing old films on VHS projectors in the mid-80s.
Can you tell us about how the book came to be published as the inaugural fiction book from the newly reborn Fangoria?
Back in the winter of 2016, I initially sold the manuscript to an independent horror press based out of Georgia called Fear Front. And it went into print in December 2016 and it was in print for a few months and sold like twenty copies and then the company went over in 2017, as upstarts are wont to do. And I figured, OK, that was cool. But, while the book was in print, two cool things happened. The first was a friend of mine, Jessie Hobson, told me that they were filming a new Puppet Master movie in Dallas, where I live, and that they were looking for extras. I’d been writing for Rue Morgue Magazine for a few years at that point, but I’d never had the opportunity to do a set visit, so I figured it’d bee a cool experience. So I applied to be an extra, and I was selected, and I spent about a week at the Ambassador Hotel in Dallas, running around and meeting a lot of cool people. The first day on set, I met like fifty people, and all their names and jobs just ran together for me, but everyone was really cool and so it was a fun experience.
The other thing that happened was I was invited to host a panel about horror writing at Texas Frightmare Weekend, Texas’ premier horror convention. And the day of the panel, as I was preparing to go in and speak, I hear this voice call our, “Hey, Preston, is that you?” And it’s one of the people from the Puppet Master set. And he comes over and asks me how I’m doing and what I’m doing there; and I show him a copy of my book and explain that I’m there to host a writing panel. And he’s like, “Oh shit, you wrote a book? Can I have a copy?” And I’m like, “Sure.” And he asks me to bring it to him the next day at the Puppet Master panel. So the next day I stop by the panel, and that’s when I realize for the first time this guy is Dallas Sonnier, the CEO of Cinestate, the company who produced the movie. So I give him a copy, and he says he read about it online the night before and it sounds really interesting. And I’m thinking to myself, okay, either he’s just being polite, or this is really big.
Flash forward a few months and I get an email from Amanda Presmyk, Cinestate’s VP of production, and she asks me if I’d like to come down to the office and discuss Our Lady of the Inferno. Of course I said yes. And so I show up, and Dallas and Amanda ask me if I’d be interested in selling the film rights; and at that point Fear Front was going under, and, I actually printed out a copy of my publishing contract and brought it to the meeting and I asked, “How’d you like the publication rights, too?” And then, when Dallas seemed receptive to that, I figured why not go for the trifecta, and I said, “As long as you’re going to print the book and make the movie, why not hire me, too?” And I made a case for myself as an employee and sort of horror-guru in residence. And Dallas got this look in his eye and he sort of smiled at Amanda and he said “I think we might just have something for you.”
Flash forward another few weeks, and I’ve signed all these NDAs, which I think have to do with selling the book. And I’m in the lobby of the Texas Theater, about to go in and see Event Horizon in 35mm, and I get a phone call from Dallas. And he says, “I saw you’ve signed all the NDAs, and now I can tell you why I was interested in your book and why you might be a good fit to work with us.” And that’s when he told me that he’d bought Fangoria Magazine, that he’d be resurrecting it, that he wanted to start a Fangoria literary imprint and he wanted to use Our Lady to launch it, and that he wanted me to work for the company.
What’s next for you? Where can folks find you?
You can find me on Twitter as @PrestonFassel, and on Facebook under my name. I’ve never gotten the hang of Instagram. It scares me.
Right now I’m trying to put the finishing touches on a sort of spiritual sequel to Our Lady. It’s also set on 42nd Street, but in the 1960s and 1970s. If Our Lady is about the decline and death of grindhouse culture, then I wanted this to be about the mileu at the height of its decadence and depravity. It’s a much darker story than Our Lady, but I’m interested to see how readers will respond to it versus their reaction to Our Lady. The people who’ve read Our Lady have had a very strong positive response to Nicolette, and this story is focalized entirely through the villain, who’s just as unsympathetic, so, I’m curious to see how people react.
ABOUT PRESTON FASSEL:
Preston Fassel is a three-time Rondo Award nominated journalist and author. His work has appeared in Rue Morgue, Screem, and on Cinedump.com. He is the author of Remembering Vanessa, the first biography of English actress Vanessa Howard, printed in the Spring 2014 issue of Screem. In 2017 he joined Cinestate as story editor and staff writer for Fangoria. This is his first novel. He lives in Dallas.
The Ghosts of Ruthin Gaol
A few years ago, an article appeared in local Welsh newspaper, The Denbighshire Free Press, which included an appeal from a former Ruthin man curious to discover the identity of the ghost of a young girl he had encountered in the town 63 years earlier.
The girl was blonde, her hair in ringlets, and she wore a blue dress. When David Thorp saw her, she was walking slowly up Upper Clwyd Street. It was night time and she was illuminated by the light from a window, but she cast no shadow and appeared to be floating slightly above the ground.
When the paranormal events assistant at the gaol (Karen Messham), read of his experience, she contacted him. His description matched that of the daughter of a former governor. Her name was Josie Walmsley and she was born in 1862. Ms Messham says she has spoken to Josie many times as the young girl plays in the gaol, slams doors and has allegedly been recorded, singing the alphabet.
She is, however, not the only ghost to haunt the cells and walkways of the prison.
John Jones escaped twice – once in 1879 and then in 1913 when he was shot and died soon afterwards. Now he doesn’t seem able to leave.
William Kerr, Ruthin’s cruel and infamous Gaoler from 1871-1892, used to beat and starve prisoners as well as infuriate them by jangling his keys outside their cells. One day he simply disappeared, having left the Gaol on a perfectly normal day. No one knows what happened to him but his jangling keys and incessant banging on cell doors can still be heard today.
Then there’s William Hughes who was the last man to be hanged in the Gaol. He murdered his wife and on the 17th February 1903, six people watched him die for it. But he has never left…
|Ruthin Gaol is open to the public and is a creepy enough place in the day time, but a number of paranormal groups have staged night time vigils and reported many strange phenomena. Mists have appeared in cells (see photo), people have been touched, one investigator was sworn at as she explored a lower cell, one person felt as if they were in cold water up to their chest and experienced a sense of panic and voices were picked up on a camcorder that hadn’t been heard on the night, including an entity that called himself ‘Jake’.|
There are ghosts and devils and paranormal activity in my novella The Demons of Cambian Street. Here’s what to expect:
Sometimes evil wears a beautiful face…
After her illness, the quiet backwater of Priory St Michael seemed the ideal place for Stella to recuperate. But in the peaceful little town, something evil is slumbering, waiting for its chance to possess what it desires. When Stella and her husband move into the long-empty apartment, they’re unaware of what exists in the cupboard upstairs, the entrance to an evil that will threaten both their lives…
You can buy The Demons of Cambian Street here;
About the author
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy– Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plusThe Devil’s Serenade,The Pendle Curseand Saving Grace Devine.
Her novellas, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room,, The Demons of Cambian Street, The Devil Inside Her, andThe Second Wifehave now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.
She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
You can connect with Cat here:
It’s been a very long time since I’ve had anything to post, but here today we have big news. My next novel, Night of 1,000 Beasts, is now available. This is a very different book for me in that it is super-violent, and also very much with tongue planted in cheek. That’s the hope, at least.
Inspired by extreme, unflinching works by the likes of Jack Ketchum, Sarah Langan, Elizabeth Massie, Tim Waggoner, Brian Keene, J.F. Gonzalez, Wrath James White, Edward Lee, Deborah LeBlanc, and others, Night of 1,000 Beasts tells the story of a group of vacationers who find themselves trapped on the bad side of an avalanche. Deer Springs, Colorado has not had an event similar in almost a century, so help is not easy. Even worse? The gang find they are being hunted, picked off one by one, and are being killed in the same ways people kill animals.
Night of 1,000 Beasts has been long coming. It was originally written a few years back for what I’d hoped would be a third novel with the same publisher that put out Dust of the Dead and Ghost Heart. Today, it’s being brought to you uncensored and for the first time as an exclusive from Amazon and Kindle, in eBook and paperback. Hope it’s enjoyed!
Pre-orders are off and running. Folks from the US, UK and Australia have already got their copies on the way.
For the ones who lurk in shadow, anxious to even the score.
Tonight’s the longest night of the century.
The night of 1,000 Beasts.
The night when they rise up and they get to do to us
What we’ve done to them . . .
KINDLE Link: http://a.co/6CwSUyk
PAPERBACK Link: http://a.co/5BO3GmA
Last year, the terrific Catherine Cavendish visited my blog with a very fascinating read. She returns here with her latest book, and more wonderful reading. Thanks, Catherine!
The White Lady of Porcia Castle
My latest book – Waking the Ancients – centres largely on sinister and ghostly activities within a magnificent haunted house in Vienna, Austria’s elegant and fascinating capital.
Vienna is the sort of city where ghosts walk by your side at night through quaint, winding streets in the old part of the city. Music forms the breath of the city and you can almost hear the haunting strains of The Blue Danubeas you wonder at the grandeur of its many palaces.
But Vienna isn’t Austria and all over this picturesque country, you can find echoes of its imperial past when the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled over so much of the European continent.
Today, I want to take you to a haunted castle. Situated in the centre of the town of Spittal an der Drau in the Austrian state of Carinthia, stands the magnificent Renaissance edifice of Schloss Porcia.
Built at the instigation of Count Gabriel von Salamanca-Ortenburg, in 1533, the castle’s splendour was designed to reflect the achievements of its owner who was treasurer and confidant to Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria. Sad to say, the Count never lived here as construction continued on until 1598 – some 59 years after his death.
Ghost stories abound today, as they have for most of the castle’s life. In a forgotten banana box in the town’s archive, employees found the bones of fifteen members of the Salamanca family dating from the 17thand 18thcenturies. In 2010, these bones were ceremonially reburied and everyone hoped that would put an end to the ghostly sightings. It didn’t. Both the bead of the castle’s museum and the town’s mayor engaged in ghost hunts, inviting several teams of ghosthunters to mount investigations and get to the bottom or precisely who was haunting the castle.
Almost certainly, one major contender is Katharina von Salamanca. She was the last descendant of the Count and was infamous for her miserliness. She walled all her treasures up in the castle and so that no one would ever discover their hiding place, she had the bricklayer murdered. Not only that, an unfortunate maid felt the full force of her wrath when Katharina discovered her discussing the whereabouts of the fortune. Her mistress killed her with a clog.
Many visitors claim to have heard strange noises in a number of rooms. She appears and disappears apparently at will in one courtyard and floats through the arcaded courtyard.On occasions, her shape has been seen manifesting in the window glass. She has also appeared in photographs as a ghostly figure. She is known as the White Lady and no prizes for guessing why.
The reason she haunts is disputed but she may have been cursed to eternally wander the castle in penance for her remorseless behaviour toward her employees.
Since 1951, the castle has been owned by the municipality of Spittal an der Drau and is open to the public. Maybe, if you visit, the White Lady will accompany you on your tour…
Waking the Ancients
Legacy In Death
University student Lizzie Charters accompanies her mentor, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, on the archeological dig to uncover Cleopatra’s tomb. Her presence is required for a ceremony conducted by the renowned professor to resurrect Cleopatra’s spirit—inside Lizzie’s body. Quintillus’s success is short-lived, as the Queen of the Nile dies soon after inhabiting her host, leaving Lizzie’s soul adrift . . .
Paula Bancroft’s husband just leased Villa Dürnstein, an estate once owned by Dr. Quintillus. Within the mansion are several paintings and numerous volumes dedicated to Cleopatra. But the archeologist’s interest in the Egyptian empress deviated from scholarly into supernatural, infusing the very foundations of his home with his dark fanaticism. And as inexplicable manifestations rattle Paula’s senses, threatening her very sanity, she uncovers the link between the villa, Quintillus, and a woman named Lizzie Charters.
And a ritual of dark magic that will consume her soul . . .
You can find Waking the Ancients here:
About the Author:
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy– Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plusThe Devil’s Serenade,The Pendle Curseand Saving Grace Devine. She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
You can connect with Cat here:
By Catherine Cavendish
courtesy of Renedrivers, Wikimedia Commons
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by haunted houses, castles, forests, cemeteries, hotels…the list is endless. Another great love of mine is Austria. This picturesque country in central Europe has an incredible history and its fair share of haunted buildings and ghost stories. One of these concerns a castle with some of the most grisly history you could ever wish to encounter, and a number of former residents and captives who appear unable, or unwilling to leave.
In the breathtaking countryside near Salzburg, stands Moosham Castle. Built in the 13th century, it played host to some of the bloodiest witch trials ever seen in Europe. Literally thousands of young boys, men and women were tortured and maimed. Some had hands cut off or were branded. Hundreds were hanged or beheaded. For others, the punishment was even worse than that. The hapless prisoner would be strapped between two horses and literally torn apart. And Moosham Castle witnessed all of this. Small wonder that, to this day, visitors report sightings of the ghosts of the prisoners, still roaming the corridors of the castle searching for justice. Unusually, the majority of the victims were male. It seems that, certainly in the late 17th century, the homeless were targeted and almost routinely rounded up and accused of witchcraft. Some of them were only children. Between 1675 and 1690, over 100 were killed. Their ages ranged from 10 to over 80. 92 were below the age of 21.
An official at the time of the worst of these atrocities was a notoriously cruel man called Anton – also known as Henchman Toni – and he also roams the castle. Women and children have reported seeing him sitting down. He is said to have been responsible for the tortures and in his former quarters, visitors have experienced being breathed on, touched, and objects move all by themselves. Legend has it that he entered into a pact with the devil. One night the devil himself appeared at the gates of the castle to take him to hell, but it would appear that something of him stayed behind.
In the torture chamber itself, people have reported feeling hands touching their hair or legs
Another legend is of two warring brothers who slayed each other at the castle. They rise from their graves each night and continue their battle.
In the 1800s, strange stories began to circulate of werewolves in the area. Deer and cattle were found mutilated close to the castle and some of its residents were accused of being werewolves. It is certainly a place with a varied and gruesome past.
The apparitions are certainly not shy at Moosham. Many people have reported multiple sightings – figures appearing before their eyes, only to disappear again. In the castle there is a heavy atmosphere and there have been many reports of people being touched, doors opening and closing of their own accord and members of staff have reported entering the hunting room first thing in the morning only to find all the guns hanging upside down on the wall – despite the castle having been securely locked up at night.
Current owner – Theresita Wilczek – appears on this video and you can get a real feel of the atmosphere of this spooky castle and its terrible past:https://youtu.be/DbEA_LWl0yE
Destiny In Death
Eminent archaeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber of Cleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .
Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.
Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .
Wrath Of The Ancients
About the Author:
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse, Saving Grace Devine and many more. She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshiped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
You can connect with Cat here:
We were both sworn to secrecy, but J.H. Moncrieff and I first met while we both had books at the same publisher. We belonged to a top secret support group. Yes. We all suffered from PTSD (Publishing Traumatic Stress Disorder) and needed the support of one another. Deep friendships were made, and we all looked out for each other. Except for one person. She vanished, although one of her woolen gloves was found just outside a Books A Million in Detroit with a half-chewed bit of hamburger and a few pennies.
From there, we hooked up this past year’s StokerCon on the Queen Mary, partnering up for a well-attended joint reading. Of course, reading her work was most impressive. This is someone who won Harlequin’s Gillian Flynn award this past year, and her expertise in suspense is terrific. She’s launching a new batch of books The Ghostwriter Series, with the first two having just been released. Please do check them out.
It’s always fun to break out of the usual interview format, and I always love doing these ’13 things…’ posts. Here, J.H. does not disappoint, and there are some truly fun and interesting facts. So here’s . . .
J.H. Moncrieff’s work has been described by reviewers as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.
She won Harlequin’s search for the next Gillian Flynn in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year. Monsters in Our Wake, a sea monster tale with a twist, was an Amazon horror bestseller.
When not writing, J.H. loves visiting the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.
To get free ebooks and a new spooky story each week, check out her Hidden Library.
A.E. Siraki brings a comprehensive and very positive review of ALL THAT WITHERS this morning. I’m so grateful!
All That Withers
by John Palisano
December 2016 (paperback)
View the Book Trailer
*** Review disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. ***
The first John Palisano novel I read was one released a few years ago, Nerves, which I reviewed for Hellnotes. Since then, he has had numerous subsequent releases and his latest is a short story collection called All That Withers.
We start things off with a story called Happy Joe’s Rest Stop. As the title suggests, the main character, Greg, is at a place called Happy Joe’s, which is indeed a rest stop where people that are in transit from place to place drop in to get some food and freshen up before the next leg of their journey. It seems to have more of a buffet atmosphere and…
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I had an opportunity to speak with Managing Editor Lesley Conner about some interesting stories from the past, what they’re up to in the present and some exciting news about the near future.
What is the most memorable submission you’ve received, good or bad?
I don’t actually remember the story, but one time an author was incredibly insulting in their cover letter. The gist of it was that if we didn’t accept their story it was because we were discriminating against them and were too stupid to understand the genius of the story. According to them they had experienced everything in the story and had written it based off those experiences so clearly it was the best story ever. Somehow I feel this logic is flawed. We did not accept the story—1. Because it in fact was NOT the best story ever, and 2. Insulting the editors before they even have the chance to read your story doesn’t exactly make them clamor to work with you.
I’ve received lots of insulting letters after rejecting stories (even had someone threaten to sue me once), but this was the first time it happened prior to rejection.
What kinds of stories are you looking for that you don’t see enough of?
I’d love to see more dark SF. We get a lot of fantasy, magical realism, and straight up horror submissions, but the slush pile can be a little light on dark science fiction.
Do you think reader taste changes? Or are there certain stories they never seem to tire of?
I think it goes in cycles. For a while one type or style of story will be really, really popular and then at some point you hit a market saturation—readers can’t absorb one more zombie story or fairy tale retelling or whatever—so those types of stories fall away and something else moves up to take its place. Eventually those stories will come back around and readers will be ready for them again.
What was the day like when you first knew APEX was going to be your full time gig?
There wasn’t one day in particular where suddenly Apex was my full time gig. It was a gradual thing. I started by volunteering 5-10 hours a week, working on marketing and social media. As I learned more about editing and publishing, and as Jason Sizemore and I built a working relationship, I began taking on more and more responsibilities. Then in October of 2014 the opportunity came up for me to step into the managing editor role. Jason Sizemore had moved back into the editor-in-chief position and we already knew that we worked really well together, so it seemed like the next natural step. Best decision I’ve ever made.
What’s upcoming with APEX that you can’t wait to share with readers? Any teasers?
The slush pile has been especially amazing lately and we’ve snatched up some gems for futures issues. Stories by E. Catherine Tobler, Lavie Tidhar, and Rich Larson to name a few.
In addition to the fiction Jason Sizemore and I are lining up, Dr. Amy H. Sturgis is guest editing the August issue, focusing on Native American and First Nation authors. I’m really excited to see what she brings to Apex Magazine.
With the Revive the Drive campaign we are running right now, we’ve lined up amazing things for the January 2018 issue—original fiction by Tade Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Cherie Priest, and Jacqueline Carey, more nonfiction, and poetry! Pretty exciting stuff! Hopefully we reach all of our goals and unlock everything. If we do, the January 2018 issue will be epic!
Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month.
Details about the Apex magazine Revive the Drive campaign
Apex Magazine is an online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. Works full of marrow and passion, stories that are twisted, strange, and beautiful. Creations where secret places and dreams are put on display.
Each month we bring you a mix of originals and reprints, interspersed with interviews and nonfiction. We have published many of the top short form writers working today: Mary Robinette Kowal, Saladin Ahmed, Genevieve Valentine, Amal El-Mohtar, Forrest Aguirre, Nick Mamatas, Theodora Goss, Nalo Hopkinson, Lucy A. Snyder, Cat Rambo, Jeff VanderMeer, Seanan McGuire, and Jennifer Pelland. And we’ve also presented the first professional work of amazing new writers such as Indrapramit Das, T.J. Weyler, Alex Livingston, Ursula Vernon, Kathryn Weaver, Kelly Barnhill, Douglas F. Warrick, and Jeremy R. Butler.
Apex Magazine received a Best Semiprozine Hugo nomination in 2012,2013, and 2014. We placed two stories in the 2010 Nebula Award category of Best Short Story, and our stories won the category in 2014 (“If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” by Rachel Swirsky) and again in 2015 (“Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon).
Each new issue is posted piecemeal throughout the month and placed on sale the first Tuesday of every month. Content can be read for free via the website. Alternatively, annual subscriptions are available and all our issues can be purchased in single issue formats (ePub/mobi/PDF or from the Kindle and Nook stores–these versions contain exclusive content such as classic reprints and novel excerpts).
We are reviving the subscription drive that was cut short in November. The new revived drive will run from March 27 to April 17th with a goal to raise $10,000!
Tier levels we will have to unlock during the drive will be:
Amazing, right!?! If we unlock everything for the double issue in January 2018, it is going to be phenomenal!!!
We are also collecting donated items from awesome people that you’ll be able to purchase during the drive to help us reach our goal.
Some of these donated items include: