Friday the 13th: The Adventure Begins


So here it is: the first of many road trips for the upcoming book. I doubt anyone would believe me, but I really hadn’t planned on starting my project on Friday the 13th. It just sort of ended up that way. I’ve never been superstitious, so it will be interesting to see how this all turns out. If it all ends up going south, you have my permission to mock me for starting such a huge endeavor on an unlucky day.

For obvious reasons, I can’t get too specific on where I’m going. Not only do I need to keep the suspense building until the book comes out, but I also want to make sure people don’t show up dressed like extras from the Thriller video and try to scare me (or fake evidence). So specifics about each location will be kept very hush-hush.

But no worries; there will be plenty of things to read about along the way. At the start of each trip, I’ll give you a full list of equipment I’m bringing, which might include a few clues as to where I’m headed. I’ll be sure to throw in all the CDs I’ll be taking along, too. Heck, I might even give you a peek inside the Snack Bag.

As the journey progresses, I’ll be giving Tweets as I go, which might also contain a few clues. Of course, if I come across anything of interest along the way, say something strange and spooky (or just plain tasty), I’ll snap a couple of pics and send it your way, too. And when all is said and done, I’ll do a full blog recapping all the highs and lows.

Now that the general rules are out of the way, here are some specifics about this weekend’s road trip:

  • Trip will begin at approximately noon on Friday the 13th and continue until approximately 4:00 am on Sunday the 15th
  • Trip will begin in Columbus, Ohio and head northwest, passing through/near Mansfield, Akron, and Kirtland
  • Two separate haunted locations will be visited, one on Friday and the other on Saturday
  • Estimated total mileage for the two days is 457 miles

Equipment being packed into Ol’ Blue for this trip includes:

Equipment for 8/13 road trip

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Road Food


You can learn a lot from a cat. For example, how to make the most out of a 19-hour nap. Or perhaps how to disembowel prey. The one thing I’ve learned from my big, overstuffed cat, Bailey, is to never, ever pass up an opportunity for a good meal.

Bailey is the ultimate foodie. He also possesses an impeccable sense of endurance. I’ve known him to feast for upwards of 30 minutes, even if the bulk of that time is spent smacking his empty bowl across the kitchen floor. You see, Bailey also believes he is an expert conjurer and that his little ritual will result in a fresh bounty of fish magically appearing in his bowl. Continue reading

Courtney Shrugged


Seems like my daughter, Courtney, is primed and ready to head out on some road trips with me. Recently, she had her first mini-road trip to the Columbus Zoo and passed with flying colors. Of course, the trip wasn’t without its moment of panic. No, Courtney wasn’t the one who panicked. It was me.

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Songs from the Road


Wife, daughter, and family zoo excluded, if there’s one thing that I love almost as much as the paranormal, it would be music. I think it all stems from growing up in a music-loving family, including three older sisters who handed down their albums and 45s to me when they moved out. As a result, if you included my father’s musical tastes, my personal collection grew to include selections from the 1940s (my father’s era), the 1950s (my sister, Patsy’s), the 1960s (my sister, donna), and the 1970s (my sister, Cathy). Using all that wonderful music as a base, I added my own from the 70s through today and created the musical monster that is James A. Willis. And while I know in my heart that Queen is the greatest rock band of all time (please don’t try to argue that with me), the truth is that my musical taste has more wild mood swings than some of my bipolar friends.

It also means that I can rarely be without music. If you were to take a look at my house, you’ll find that there’s not a single room that does not have some sort of musical instrument or playing device in it, including the garage. So it probably goes without saying that when it comes to road trips, I’m all about the music.

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