Touring with a ghost book is fun.
Okay, let’s face it, touring with any book can be torture. I loathe autographings. I love people, I just hate autographings. Sometimes a store knows you’re coming and they care–and sometimes they’ve even put a poster in the window. But many times, and I don’t care who you are–I know a truly big name author who was at a Costco and counted the lettuce leaves–autographings are torture. You’re not in your hometown, your family and friends aren’t there, and you don’t a soul who lives in the city and . . . I digress.
But, well, most authors have been there.
And, still, ghost books are fun. There is always someone to meet who has their own great ghost story.
This tour wound up being even better than fun. It included nights in haunted rooms and ghost tours. It meant I got a chance to go out with the Peace River Ghost Trackers. We were going to do a ghost expedition in the old Spanish military hospital in St. Augustine. I’ve been corresponding with Sprout for a while, and it was wonderful to finally meet her and her group–Scott, Craig, Mike, Lori, Sawyer the dog, and . . . . . .
First off, a tour of the old jail. One of the most frightening aspects was that it had just closed in 1953. A recreation of the gallows had been built, and a picture–taken against strict rules–hung on the walls. Everyone dressed for the occasion, but there was no picnic atmosphere in St. Augustine at the time. The loss of any human life was a somber affair.
Next, a tour of Ripley’s. The building is old and beautiful. It was once apartments, and a hotel. There was a fire there, and two women died in like manner, wrapped in towels in their bathrooms. There are questions, of course, as in–why didn’t the one in the penthouse just break through her windows and go out on the balcony? These are the questions that “haunt” as time goes by.
We made a stop for pizza. Ghost trackers have to eat.
I was impressed by the methods used. Ghost trackers aren’t out to prove–they’re out to search and discover. Cameras were set up, heat indicators were used, and recorders. I was startled by something on the film, quickly certain that I might just be seeing something. But it was pointed out to me that I was only seeing dust motes in the air. Sprout’s group is really seeking truth–not to make up what isn’t there.
We sat in different rooms, and asked different questions with the voice recorders. It was a Spanish military hospital, so we spoke to the spirits in English and Spanish.
The trackers are still checking their recordings, so I don’t know yet if they came up with answers that night. I do know that I wasn’t being left alone in any of the rooms. When the ghost trackers moved, I moved with them.
My oldest son, Jason, was with me. We like to jokingly call him “ghost repellant.” He doesn’t disbelieve, he would love to see something happen. Far more than me. He wasn’t allowed to tell me about the ghost in our St. Augustine B and B until we were gone.
Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities you’ll ever see, and we went on a wonderful ghost tour there–wait, we went on several. We took the Trolley of the Damned, the Haunted Hearse, and the walking tour. All were wonderful, good stories, good story tellers. And I can’t begin to tell you just how many ghosts are walking around Savannah. I had a few of my spirits, however, in the bar at the 17 Hundred 90 House. Room 204 is haunted by Anna, the pregnant victim of a jilted lover. He didn’t kill her–she jumped. One of the most interesting aspects of the “haunted” room was what the innkeeper told me was the “bad mannequin.” She didn’t mean that mannequin behaved badly. It’s just a bad mannequin. But she’s creepy–the mannequin, not the innkeeper–and I had to pass by her every evening to reach my room. My room–another interesting feature about it. Miley Cyrus had recently been a guest. While filming in Georgia, she had chosen to stay in the room. 204. Certainly, for Anna. And, according to the “anonymous” letter she sent, Anna moved her boots about in her suitcase. She also blogged about her experience in the room, and seemed to enjoy it very much. (We had to compare the handwriting by looking her up!)
Anna was kind to me. The lights in the bathroom flickered, but I’m not sure if that was Anna or faulty wiring.
One thing certain, the bar at the inn was one of the coziest places I’ve ever seen, and filled with the nicest people in the world. Rhonda was great, and told me a story that had happened to her–pots and pans flying off a shelf when the only other three people in at the time were walking behind her!
Anyway, I’m home again, home again, and about to head to Bouchercon. I don’t know if Indianapolis is supposed to have as many ghosts as St. Augustine and Savannah, but I’m sure there’s a tour out there!