Central Ohio Legends & Lore

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Yeah, so this just happened.

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My latest endeavor hit Central Ohio bookshelves and online retailers everywhere on June 26th. And I have to admit it’s one that I am quite proud of.

For one, Central Ohio Legends & Lore gets me back a bit closer to my Weird Ohio roots that so many of you have been asking me to return turn. In other words, while this new book has some ghost stories in it, the vast majority of it centers on just plain ol’ weird stuff. You know, things like UFOs and the Ohio Grassman.

But what’s more, for this book, I made a conscious effort to focus on real weirdness: Stuff that sounds too weird to be true, but it is. Case in point, this pic from the cover of Central Ohio Legends & Lore:

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This picture is of a real mine fire in New Straitsville, Ohio. The fire was started in 1884 and still burns today. That’s right, there’s a 133-year-old fire burning right now under New Straitsville, Ohio.

I wanted to focus on real stories like that because I feel that with today’s paranormal reality shows, just uttering words like “ghost” or even “unexplained” can often cause the general public to react with cries of “BS” and “that’s not real”. Sadly, I think a lot of, in this case, Ohio folklore, is being abandoned and forgotten. I’m hoping to change that.

Of course, that’s not to say I abandoned the Ohio ghost story. Far from it. In fact, Central Ohio Legends & Lore contains some of my favorite Ohio ghost stories, including some that had yet to be included in any of my other books. In fact, I can honestly say that the research I did for one particular ghost story in the book, Thurber House, got me really, really excited.

It also led to an event being planned for this fall that is going to offer some lucky people the chance to stand at the crossroads where the paranormal and literary worlds meet. And who knows what will happen! Details on that event will be coming soon, so keep an eye on this blog. In the meantime, if you want a hint, go read James Thurber’s The Night The Ghost Got In.

Central Ohio Legends & Lore is available at most Central Ohio bookstores, as well as select grocery stores and even Walgreen’s. It’s also available at Amazon.com and all the other online retailers. It will also be available for purchase at all of my upcoming appearances and presentations. I’ve already started making the rounds on a bit of a mini-signing tour. At some of the locations, I will be giving brief talks about Central Ohio Legends & Lore. Come the fall, we launch into full-blown presentation mode, of which the new book will certainly be a large part. For a full list of upcoming appearances, click here.

Hope you have as much fun with the book as I had writing it!

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My Big Book Is Being Printed As We Speak!

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It’s almost time: 26 days and counting, to be exact. On September 1st, my latest work, The Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories, will be released.

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It should be available at all major bookstores in Ohio as well as all the usual online sellers. In fact, you can pre-order it right now on Amazon at a substantial discount. Click here to do just that.

Of course, if you can’t wait until September 1st, Stackpole Books, my publisher, might have a couple of first editions hot off the presses and ready to go now. Give a click here to see if they have one with your name on it.

And for those of you who have been asking, the answer is “yes”. I will indeed have copies for sale at all my upcoming presentations, beginning September 15th.

It’s Still With The Editor, But At Least It Has A Cover!

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Feast your eyes upon the cover for my latest labor of love, The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories, from Stackpole Books.

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It’s currently going through the initial editing phase and is scheduled for a September 1st, 2013 release. It will be available at all Ohio bookstores and on all the usual online book sites. In fact, it’s currently available for pre-sale (at a substantial discount) on Amazon.  If you’re interested, click here to be taken directly to the Amazon pre-order page.

After September 1st, copies will also be available for purchase at all my presentations and appearances. I’ll even deface the book by scrawling my name across it at no additional cost to you!

Keep it here for all the exciting updates as we get closer to the September 1st release date. I’m sure there will be a couple of strange and spooky surprises in store for you!

Happy 2013! What A Strange & Spooky Year It Will Be!

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Happy New Year!

Despite rumors that my disappearance over the holidays was due to my getting stuck inside the Tunnel of Death in Rocky River, the simple fact was I was bogged down with some strange & spooky projects. But in between sips of egg nog and nibbles of figgy pudding, I was able to get things in some semblance of order so that I can now give you a couple of teasers as to what I’ve been up to. And man, am I excited!

You see, whenever I am out and about, especially at book signings and presentations, the question I get asked most often is “when are you going to do something about Ohio again?” I guess since all my recent books were about non-Ohio things like Hollywood, America, and Indiana, people started thought I forgot about spooky stuff in Ohio. I even got an e-mail asking me if I’d “forgotten about my Ohio roots”, which I find touching and amusing since I’m not originally from Ohio. Guess that means the Buckeye State’s finally accepted me!

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So What Happened to the Road Trips?

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Many of you have been reading this blog for several years now (and for that, I say “thanks”) and have raised the question about the lack of recent “road trip” articles, especially since this blog was originally started as a means for re-telling said road trip tales. I just wanted to take a moment to reassure everyone that the Road Trip stories have NOT be discontinued and in fact will be making a strong comeback in the coming weeks.

As most of you know, the Road Trip stories were tied into a book I was working on about historic haunts in the state of Ohio. And while this book is still very much alive (and currently slotted for a 2013 release date), I have encountered numerous roadblocks. Without getting into too much detail, while I had originally assumed that the plethora of ghost reality shows would make getting into some of Ohio’s “most haunted” locations, things couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many of these places want nothing to do with “ghost hunters”, even if they do come with references and the backing of a prominent Ohio university. Seems some of these shows have caused parts of the general public to view the paranormal field as a whole as one that is prone to, shall we say, sensationalism.

That’s not to say I was unsuccessful in my attempts to gain permission to access these buildings. Quite the contrary. It just took a lot more time, phone calls, and even conference calls with Board members, to get me inside.

So rest assured, the Road Trip articles are far from dead! In the meantime, feel free to check out my articles about strange things like funeral flags, petrified mermaids, and urban legends associated with Thomas Edison and his Telephone to the Dead. You can even swing by and vote on which Bon Jovi song you think I’m going to be “busted” by during my travels!

Field Trip #3 Recap: Back to the Museum!

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OK, so it’s been a while since I gave you guys a recap of my field trips for my upcoming book. Good thing I take lots of notes, huh? Fear not, I’m going to get you guys caught up before you know it! Good thing, too, as I’m currently getting ready to start hitting the road again soon.

Regardless, when last we spoke, I had just completed an investigation of a museum for my book, leaving on a Friday night from work and arriving back home in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Although I didn’t even bother to unpack Ol’ Blue when I got home, I still got very little sleep that night/morning. That’s because I was so excited at the prospect of taking my daughter, Courtney, on her very first investigation for my book!

Let’s be honest here, though. No matter how excited I was, it didn’t change the fact that I still had to figure out how to jam all of Courtney’s travel accessories into the car. Since Ol’ Blue couldn’t hold anything other than the equipment (and me), Steph and I had made the decision that we would caravan, with my wife and daughter leading the way. Yup, that’s right; we needed two cars for everything.

Still, I was very excited about this trip. For Courtney’s first investigation, I had decided on a place that, while it needs to remain a secret until the book comes out, was still near and dear to my heart. Not only had The Ghosts of Ohio investigated the building several times in the past, but we were also the first paranormal organization to be allowed inside to conduct an investigation. The fact that it was also one of the most unique museums I have even been inside of only made me more excited.

But what really made me decide to make this Courtney’s first investigation was the interesting combination of ghosts and family that I’ve come to associate with this museum. You see, when The Ghosts of Ohio was first contacted by one of the museum’s Board members for an investigation, it wasn’t at the Board’s suggestion; it was because of the Board member’s mother! Turns out that mom was a big fan of the ghost reality shows and, after doing some online research, decided The Ghosts of Ohio was the group for the job! Not only that, but as it turned out, the Board member’s daughter was also a fan of the ghost shows. The result was that during The Ghosts of Ohio’s first investigation of the museum, 3 generations of one family took part, making it a truly unique evening. These three lovely ladies would come to take part in all subsequent investigations of the museum, making it feel like one big family. So it seemed the perfect choice for Courtney’s investigation debut.

Of course, I had to get her up there first. Surprisingly, the Pack & Play went into Steph’s car rather quietly. Likewise, all of Courtney’s other trappings managed to squeeze in, too. Not having taken Courtney on many long rides before, we wondered how she was going to do only a multi-hour one-way trip. But other than a brief pit stop about an hour into the ride for food and a diaper change, Courtney came through like a trooper and actually seemed to enjoy the ride.

After a brief check-in at the hotel, I made my way over to the museum to begin my interviews, leaving Steph to wrestle with the Pack & Play. I had roughly a dozen people to interview and had decided to do a round table discussion (which I would record) to knock things out all at once. Also, I’ve found that having several people share their ghost stories at once often makes for a more lively discussion. I was about 30 minutes into the interviews with Steph and Courtney arrived. Shortly thereafter, I began to realize that perhaps it was a mistake bringing Courtney along.

Strategic placement of Courtney's Pack & Play at the hotel

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Field Trip #2 Recap: The First of a Double Shot O’ Museums

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I knew from the start that this road trip was going to be different. For one, I was planning on driving to the Friday investigation, driving back home in the wee hours of Saturday morning, sleeping a couple of hours, then heading back out for Saturday’s investigation. The reason for my returning home, and the other reason why this would be a unique road trip, was because this would be the first investigation for my daughter, Courtney. Yup, that’s right! I was dragging my daughter along for an investigation! She’d survived the Ohio Paranormal Convention, so I felt the time was right. How’d it turn out? Well, before we get to that, there’s the Friday investigation to get to.

CD selection–Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here, Cracker: Kerosene Hat, Warren Zevon: Mutineer, Queensryche: The Warning, Metallica: Master Of Puppets

As usual, the Friday investigation began late Thursday night with my jamming all the equipment into Ol’ Blue. After a somewhat hectic day at work, I drove directly up to the investigation. Thankfully, this particular location was not too far away and I was able to make it up there by 4:00 pm. The building itself has a rather interesting history. It was once a private home but has since been turned into a museum. After interviewing some of the employees, it seemed as though most people who had experienced possible paranormal activity believed a former resident of the house was causing it and it was not tied to any specific items that might have been brought into the museum. For that, I was thankful! Having conducted many “haunted object” investigations over the years, I find them to be the most frustrating, especially when you don’t know which object is supposed to be the haunted one. It’s like looking for a ghostly needle in a spectral haystack.

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The Strange & Spooky Reason for this Blog

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So here it is: my very first blog post ever! I wouldn’t say I’ve been forced into creating this blog. Yes, there was a bit of kicking and screaming, but nothing worth writing home about. Which, now that I think about it, was always my reason for not doing a blog; I didn’t think there was anything interesting to fill it with.

True, I have spent the last 25 years chasing after all things strange and spooky; from haunted houses and abandoned mental asylums t giant balls of paint and homemade roller coasters. And I’ve written about them in close to a dozen books. But for me, the best part of all of that was the journey. Gassing up the car, grabbing a bunch of unhealthy snacks, a couple of friends, and setting off on a journey where I was never really sure where the road was going to take me. Those were the stories people were always begging me to tell at presentations. Sure, they wanted to see pictures of the end results and hear about the location, but they really, really, really wanted to hear about my journey.

What do YOU see?

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