The month of October marks the beginning of autumn. The leaves are turning color, the days are getting shorter, the air is crisp, and Starbucks is serving their pumpkin-spice lattes. It’s also the
month for Halloween…and when I particularly enjoy scary movies and novels.
Hauntings and paranormal activity
I’m currently binging on the new Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. It’s comprised of ten episodes and, while it veers considerably from the 1959 gothic novel by Shirley Jackson, it
pays homage to its essence. It’s a slow-motion horror burn and it’s scarin’ the bejesus out of me.
Check out the trailer:
Concurrently, I’m reading an excellent (if not spooky) account of a real-life paranormal investigation written by two dear friends of mine, Joey and Tonya Madia. They were residents
here on the coast of North Carolina and recently moved to Ohio. They’ve written a book entitled Watch Out for the Hallway: Our Two-Year Investigation of the Most Haunted Library in North
Now, to give you a little context here, this area of the coast has a rich and colorful history. The pirate Blackbeard sailed in these waters three hundred years ago. Indeed, his ship Queen Anne’s
Revenge was scuttled by Blackbeard himself only a mile off our beach. To my knowledge, it was one of the first examples of downsizing as a cost cutting measure. Fewer pirates employed,
fewer pockets to fill.
The Graveyard of the Atlantic
This region is also known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic because of the large number of shipwrecks these waters have claimed. Sudden savage storms and shifting sandbars all
contributed to heavy losses of life and property creating some remarkable stories and legends.
Just around the corner from my office here in Morehead City, North Carolina, sits the Webb Library. In 1929, Mr. Earle W. Webb, Sr., CEO of Ethyl Corporation in NYC and native
Morehead City resident, began construction of a commercial building on the corner of 9th and Evans Streets in downtown Morehead City.
For the first few years the building had doctors’ offices downstairs and a training facility for the local garment factory upstairs. When the upstairs noise became too much for the downstairs
occupants, the garment factory left. Mrs. Webb, a member of the Morehead Woman’s Club, asked her husband if the club could move its 300-book library to one of the upstairs rooms.
When he agreed, the library was moved.
A few years later in 1936, the Webbs’ son, Earle W. Webb, Jr., became ill and died. In honor of their son, Mr. and Mrs. Webb dedicated the building as the Earle W. Webb Jr. Memorial Library
and Civic Center and opened it to all the citizens of Morehead City for community use.
The Webb Library is subject of Joey and Tonya Madia’s book. It’s fun to read about their investigation and how the spirits they encountered had personalities, moods, and sometimes
indulged in playful activities as well as bad and rude behavior.
There’s only one kind of spirit I’ve ever seen
The difference between Hill House and the Webb Library? I have no worries about going in and borrowing a book or two at the Webb. I’ve been there for fundraisers, meetings, and have never
been uncomfortable. Of course, now after reading the Madias’ book, I find myself looking over my shoulder more often.
Hill House? You wouldn’t catch me there….ever.
Full disclosure. I’ve never actually seen or felt a ghost. Honestly, the only spirits I’ve ever seen have been in the bottom of my glass, right where they’re supposed to be.
That being said, I still like a good scare from time to time. Happy Halloween.
Check out Type M for Murder blog for more posts like this.
Thomas Kies’ next novel, Graveyard Bay, will be available in June 2019. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon.