storytelling

“Stuckey’s Bridge” Video Trailer Released

The video trailer of “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge” is now online!

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge
by Lori Crane, with foreword by Pat Fitzhugh

In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they discovered more than a dozen bodies buried in the banks of the river.

Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed.

Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again.

To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name. If you travel down to Stuckey’s Bridge, be careful, for not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge – available June 2013 in paperback, Kindle and Nook.

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Replay of Bell Witch Interview

For those who have asked where they can hear my recent “Bell Witch” radio interview:

First, my warning and disclaimer:

Pros: 1) Great interviewer. 2) Great questions. 3) Huge, awesome listening audience!

Con: Due to my chronic allergies, I sounded like a skinned mouse in a blender that was on steroids; and, whenever I cleared my throat, I sounded like two whales making out to Barry White. Disturbing, I know.

Warning given.  If you’d still like to listen, or even download the audio file, please click hereThanks!

Radio Interview Reminder – The “Bell Witch” Book

Monday, April 22, 8PM Central / 9PM Eastern

Author Pat Fitzhugh joins host Alex Matsuo of Paranormal Insider Radio to discuss the infamous “Bell Witch” legend of Tennessee.

Known as “America’s greatest ghost story,” the legend centers on a pioneer family that endured four years of mayhem and terror at the hands of a sinister, demon-like entity named, “Kate.” She beat the Bell children mercilessly; she argued with the clergy; she told of people’s pasts and predicted their futures; she spoke in multiple human voices, sometimes even in tongues; and she inflicted a horrendous disease upon a man, which led to his slow and grueling demise. And now, almost two hundred years later, “Kate” still remains a mystery. Theories abound, but the truth eludes us. Kate’s lingering presence is still sometimes felt in northwestern Robertson County. Pleasant dreams.

The Bell Witch is the subject of the 2006 motion picture, “An American Haunting,” starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland (and in which I appear, also), and the 2003 movie, “The Bell Witch Haunting,” by Willing Hearts Productions. The Bell Witch: The Full Account was released in 2000, and updated in 2003 and 2009. The book’s Thirteenth Anniversary edition, which includes new information and a complete rewrite of the original book, is due October 13, 2013. For more information, including news and progress reports, make sure to “Like” the book’s fan page on Facebook.

Paranormal Insider Radio is an outlet of the Paranormal Research Society (PRS), from A&E’s “Paranormal State” TV show. The interview will last two hours.

Listen live at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormalinsider/2013/04/23/americas-greatest-ghost-story-the-bell-witch   Also, I’ll be taking questions by phone during the show. The listener call-in line will be: (347) 324-5969.

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge

I have the honor of writing the foreword to “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge,” by historical fiction author Lori Crane.  And, I couldn’t be happier!  Lori and I share a passion for Southern history and legends, and our works complement each other nicely.  Lori writes about the people, places, and events that made history, and I write about the spiritual residue they left behind.  Our collaboration comes naturally.  I am looking forward to this wonderful opportunity!

What is Stuckey’s Bridge? Where is it? What happened there? Read on:

In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company rebuilt an aging bridge over Mississippi’s Chunky River, near the hamlet of Savoy.  Amid the project, workers discovered at least twenty bodies buried beneath the river’s snaky, overgrown banks.

In earlier times, flatboaters often saw a man standing on the bridge at night, waving his lantern and offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed for the night.  “Need a good night’s sleep? Stuckey’s Inn is right around the bend! Weary wagon traveler? Stop by Stuckey’s Inn!” he would yell.

 Rest in peace at Stuckey’s Inn.

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge, coming Fall 2013 to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.

#WIP #indiepub #storytelling #AmWriting #paranormal “Ghostly Cries” Sequel Coming Soon

The sequel to Ghostly Cries From Dixie is well underway. The first three drafts are edited, and the fourth is almost complete. Only two more drafts to go! The sequel, with a working title of MORE Ghostly Cries From Dixie, will feature more weird and ghostly tales–and haunted locations–from the land of moonshine and magnolias. The release date has not been set, but both the paperback and Kindle editions will be on shelves in time for Halloween 2013!

Speaking of Ghostly Cries From Dixie… if you haven’t read the first book yet, now would be a great time to snag a copy. The Kindle edition is now on sale for only $2.99!

Click here to purchase and download your copy instantly!  Pleasant dreams.

Pat Fitzhugh's "Ghostly Cries From Dixie" -- Front cover.

“Ghostly Cries From Dixie” — Front cover.

#Ghosts #Paranormal #AmWriting How to Write a Ghost Story (My Way)

But first…. Ready for fright season? Get your copy of “Ghostly Cries From Dixie,” TODAY! Kindle and paperback editions available. Click here! Pleasant dreams.

Checking my stats this evening, I noticed someone had found my site by using the search term, “how to write a ghost story.” How to write a ghost story? I’m flattered, indeed, but I’ve yet to offer any insight into writing about things that go bump in the night. Until now.

What is a ghost story? A story involving a character(s) of a ghostly, paranormal nature? A story about a ghost that swipes cookies from the kitchen, wakes you up, and sucks all the energy from your body while regurgitating said cookies? Could a ghost story be a journalistic approach to solving, or trying to explain, a haunting? I suppose it could be any of the above, but I deal only with the latter, the journalistic approach. Neither a believer nor a skeptic, my unbiased approach to a haunting entails digging up lots of information (records), analyzing the information to separate fact from hocus-pocus, and presenting my findings–anything factual or noteworthy–to my readers.

Assuming I’ve completed a five-day trip to a haunted location 1000 miles away, and analyzed my findings, the example below is how I write the story. The example is NOT a perfect (edited) story. It flowed from the top of my head to my fingers, and then to my keyboard, as I thought it up. The example is based on a historic hurricane, but I know neither the date nor the particulars–I only know it happened at one of my favorite places. I borrowed the example’s main character from my book, Ghostly Cries From Dixie, changing her name from Marie LaVeau to Madame Treme’. Without further ado, here’s how I write a ghost story.

The Intro
The Intro sometimes includes a ghostly hint before transitioning into the main story. By “story,” I mean the story of a real-life tragedy that caused the haunting. Here is an intro with a hint:

For years, people have heard the thunder of Voodoo drums and seen scantily-dressed characters dancing along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The eerie thumps and fervent apparitions fade into the early morning fog when approached, leaving witnesses terrified and searching for answers.

The Story
Other times, the intro goes straight into the story (no intro):

For over fifty years, Madame Treme’ led exotic Voodoo rituals involving animal sacrifices, drunken orgies, live boas along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. These rituals would begin around 10 o’clock at night and last until daybreak.

 

The Tragedy (the reason for a haunting)
Ok, let’s assume we’ve done the intro and a three-page story, thus far. Now it’s time to seal the story with a tragedy:

Just before daybreak on a sweltry October morning, Madame Treme’ and her followers experienced what they thought were the gods. Thunder boomed and roared, the howling wind picked up, and lightning crackled in the usually dark sky. Weather warning systems didn’t exist in 1835; people were left to fend for themselves when they saw bad weather approaching. At night, there was no way to tell how bad an approaching front would be, until it was too late. The Voodoo ritual grew more intense as sheets of rain swept the now whitecapping lake and trees buckled. Within five minutes, a powerful hurricane changed the face of Lake Pontchartrain forever and buried Madame Treme’ and her followers in the lake’s murky depths.

The Transition (get your spook on)
Tragedy accomplished. Boo hoo. Now, let’s transition to the paranormal and create a ghost story:

Long lost, but not forgotten, Madame Treme’ was the most notorious Voodoo queen in Louisiana history. Men loved her, women coveted her, and the organized clergy cursed her. She weilded sceptre over those who followed her, sacrificing to the Loa, manipulating the human psyche, and destroying those who dared to cross her. And now, almost 180 years later, Madame Treme’ still wields her sceptre, more forcefully than ever, from her watery grave!

The Evidence (why we think there’s a ghost)
Paranormal transition accomplished. Now that we’ve got our spook on, we need to provide evidence to back our claim.

Anglers frequently report seeing an older Creole woman wandering the shores of Lake Pontchartrain at daybreak. When spoken to, she smiles and quickly turns in the opposite direction, then disappears. In 1998, two college students who had camped in the woods near the lake reported hearing Voodoo drums and seeing people dressed in Voodoo attire late one night. The figures danced near the shore and wailed repeatedly. The drum’s beat grew softer over the course of five minutes, and the mysterious revelers faded into the fog.

That’s not much evidence. For a real story in a book, you will need to interview more people. Make sure to get their names and make them sign releases, too. Now we need to present possible theories:

The Theories

Some say the anglers and campers were smoking crack, and they hallucinated. A local scientist says the mysterous dancing figures, which are hard to discern at night, represent concentrations of methane gas, and that the drumbeats are the rumbling of nearby towboat engines. However, most people in the hamlet of Port Manchac feel the eerie sounds and apparitions are none other than Madame Treme’ and her followers, trapped in the worst hurricane on record, and trying to complete their rituals.

The Close

Despite many oft-conflicting theories and generalizations, one thing is certain. Something is wrong, very wrong, on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain. Is it evil? Is it religious? Will it hurt you? Your children? Should you dare to find out for yourself, make sure to carry a cross and watch our back.

And finally, if you’d like to see detailed examples–REAL ghost stories–you can snag a copy of Ghostly Cries From Dixie at Amazon for only $2.99 (Winter Special).

Pleasant dreams.