The Season Begins (plus a FREE book!)

October is my favorite month of the year. It’s not only my birthday month, but it’s the time when the weather takes on that little crisp edge, the leaves begin to turn glorious colors, and…it’s Halloween time!Anyone who knows me, knows I love Halloween. I love all things ghouly and creepy, and, occasionally, I write about such things. My last book, in fact, was gothy and macabre, and it had things that went bump in the night. Not to mention mad scientists and kooky laboratories.So, in honor of my favorite holiday, Halloween, I will be giving away a copy of The Potion, published by Dirt Road Books earlier this year.But there’s a catch. You have to give me something in return. You have to tell me a creepy story. Tell me something that you experienced that spooked you, made you sleep with the nightlight on, and sent shivers up your spine and prickles through your toes. I’ll pick one chilling tale and send the winner either a print copy or an ebook of The Potion. (Print copies within the U.S. only, please.) Tell your gruesome tale in the comments below by Oct. 18. You give me a story, and I’ll give you candy, little girl.

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6 comments

  1. Morning. Love Halloween too. No story to tell but shower scene with Janet Leigh in movie Psycho still on my mind. End was scary as hell too. Sally☠️

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  2. I was in middle school at a party and out comes the ouija board. One of girls there said her mom died and we were like ok let’s talk to her. Her mom said she was going to give a kiss but we though it was to her daughter but she went around and kissed all of us. I got cold and felt a pressure on my cheek. I think I was kissed by a ghost.

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  3. Great post R.G. My wife and I love Halloween too. It’s her favorite holiday. For a couple of years, we lived her dream. We owned and operated a commercial haunted house attraction. We only stopped because the fire codes became so restrictive and expensive it was cost effective for us to keep going.

    The first year we had a haunt, we leased space off a guy who had a motocross track. right next to farm fields. He had a large building – a pole barn – he would run races inside of for smaller bikes, November through March when the weather in Ohio made it impossible to run his large outdoor track. The place was a cavern – 4 walls, a high ceiling and a dirt floor he bulldozed the jumps and stuff out of so we could build our haunt. The thing about it was, it was not set up to be convenient for working in and there were no windows at all. The electrical boxes to turn on the overhead lights were a long walk from either of two entrances.

    That was all fine when we started building out in August, and we could leave big bay doors open and let natural light in. Once we had walls up and covered in black sheeting, no light reached back to those panels, no matter what what was open. We had to walk through the dark, only a flashlight or cell phone light to get back to turn on the overheads. We usually drew straws or flipped a coin to determine who would do it.

    Imagine walking through a dark cavern of a building, now filled with the tight, twisting and turning walls of a Halloween haunted house, through cobwebs real and fake and scary sets, barely illuminated by your light, to get back to those light switches. Now, throw in some co-builders who would sneak through themselves, try and get ahead of you to pop out and scare you from around some bend and some very real field mice that would be running in and out and around…you get the picture.

    Fear of the dark is one of the biggest fears there is. Most people say they’re not afraid…until they’ve been scared from out of the deep blackness.

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  4. A few years before the incident, we moved into a relatively new split-level house. The living room and dining room were over the family room and the bedrooms were over the 2-car garage. A big improvement over the ranch house we had lived in before.

    At the back of the garage, on the left, were the washer, dryer and an extra refrigerator. Then the window to the backyard. To the right of the window, Dad had built a set of large wooden shelves for all the junk we had accumulated over the years – Mom and Dad’s old paper records, tools, smaller yard implements, toys and games, as well as my comics.

    One Saturday, when I was 11 or 12, Mom and Dad went out to dinner at the Officer’s Club, my older brother was on a date with his future wife and I was able to stay home with only our dog, Susie, to keep me company. I loved it! It wasn’t so long before I had to have a sitter.

    I stayed up late that night, going to bed around 11 o’clock. Susie curled up near my feet as I read a comic book. Finally, I tossed it to the side and turned out the light. The streetlight outside gave me plenty of light. And I could see the glow of the lights from the living room down the hall. (I wasn’t yet at the age when a boy needs his privacy in his bedroom.)

    Susie was already asleep and I was starting to doze off when there was a loud crash from the garage beneath me. It sounded like the shelves fell over and everything was thrown to the concrete – cans and glass and everything else scattering around the garage floor. It was terrifying just for being unexpected.

    I know it wasn’t my imagination as Susie jumped to her feet, facing the bedroom doorway and barked twice before I could get her to quiet down. In the dark, I couldn’t tell if she was shaking but she never left the bed.

    I was sure someone broke in through the garage window and knocked the shelves over. Petrified, I pulled the covers up to my face, waiting the hear the burglar in the house. The stairs up from the family room creaked and Susie barked again but then, nothing.

    She finally sat down and I relaxed a bit when there were no further sounds.

    Several long minutes later, headlights flashed on the ceiling as Dad pulled into the driveway. As the garage door went up, I was ready for Dad to start yelling about the mess but he just pulled the car in after Mom got out.

    Susie leaped off the bed and ran downstairs to greet them while I rolled to my side, pretending to be asleep but still scared.

    The next morning, before church, I checked the garage and not a thing was out of place. Later, I asked my buddy, who lived next door, if he heard anything the night before. He told me no but said he got the chills when I told him what I heard.

    To this day, decades later, I have no idea what happened but I know something did. Dogs don’t lie.

    Around the same time, a more humorous event creeped me the hell out.

    I grew up in downstate Illinois, near St. Louis. We lived near the city cemetery. Beyond the cemetery was a ridge that had been the right-of-way for the defunct Illinois Terminal Railroad. The line ran from the old coal fields east of Collinsville down to the dock facilities along the Mississippi in East St. Louis.

    We hiked the tracks almost weekly, pulling up old railroad spikes and finding other junk along the line. I even found an ornate, broken steam whistle – that my father tossed when I was away at college several years later.

    Hiking north, the ground rose up to the level of the tracks. There were dozens of paths branching off into the woods. Some were to farms and others just shortcuts between subdivisions (these were nearer to town). Between the subdivisions & the nearby farms, some paths just led to small clearings.

    One fall day when I was 11, six of us were ‘hiking’ up to the trestle over Ogle’s Creek when we went down one of these paths to a clearing. There we found the remains of a camp fire and a spike driven into one of the trees. There was a large brownish-red streak running down the bark of the tree.

    I yanked the spike from the tree and one of my friends told me I just cursed myself. He then told us the legend of the tree spike. Years ago, when crews were laying the rail line, the Indians often attacked them. Finally, the war chief was captured and scalped. His scalp was mounted on the tree with a rail spike. The chief, as he lay dying by the old fire, cursed whoever pulled the spike from the tree. The chief would come for the spike and the scalp of whoever stole his spike.

    I laughed it off. After all, there had been no Native Americans in southern Illinois in well over a hundred years and the rail line wasn’t nearly that old. The blood stains on the tree had to be rust and no campfire residue would last that long.

    The other kid said the whole clearing was under the chief’s curse so nothing changed. The red on the spike was darker than the usual rusty spikes we pulled up from the tracks. And he added that I’d know the chief was coming when the TV or radio would be filled with static. (This was before cable TV, by the way.)

    In the bright Saturday afternoon sunlight, I still laughed it off.

    That evening, friends of ours were over for dinner. After dinner, their daughter and I went to the family room to watch Creature Feature (“Godzilla vs the Thing”). As it was already dark, I was starting to wonder about what I’d been told that afternoon. After all, there was a marker in the cemetery for a woman who had been the sole survivor of an Indian massacre before the town was founded.

    Then bursts of static came over the TV. The picture broke up and the only sound was the static. The bursts became more frequent and longer and I knew the chief was coming for me. I screamed and ran into the garage to grab the old spike, thinking the chief would be appeased if I gave it back. Now I was sure the red was darker than the other spikes I had in my ‘collection’.

    Mom came downstairs to see what all the fuss was and I tearfully told her the story and pointed at the TV as static filled the airwaves again. She gave me a hug, told me everything was okay and that the static was from the storm that was moving through the area.

    Sure enough, soon the storm moved further east and the static died out. Our dog came out from under the bed (where she always hid during storms or the 4th of July). More importantly, my scalp was intact and I still had the ‘bloody’ spike.

    The next day, after church, my buddy and I got into a loud argument over the story.

    But, after a typical shoving match, he claimed he had no idea there was thunderstorm forecast for Saturday. He was just as surprised, if less scared, that I was about the coincidence.

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  5. My wife and I were married on Halloween. It is her fav holiday and how am I to question that 😁 but when we watch scary movie she is the one getting scarred. Go figure. I adopted this Holliday because of her ….😀

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