Seeking Inspiration from Spirits: Guest Blog Post by Author J.H. Moncrieff

I hear dead people.

Not all the time, of course—that would be enough to drive one mad. But whenever I have encountered a ghost, it’s always been heard rather than seen.

When I was a teenager, I borrowed a Ouija board from a friend. At first, I carefully followed all the rules: I never used it alone; I made sure to move the planchette to Goodbye before taking my hands off it, etc. But the darn thing never worked.

One night I fell asleep with the Ouija at the end of my bed. I was in a deep sleep when a loud knocking sound woke me up. Groggily, I realized the sound was coming from the Ouija, but I was too out of it to process what that meant. Instead, I grabbed the board and threw it in a dresser drawer.

Before I could get back to sleep, loud knocking sounds started coming from inside the dresser. At this point, I was really annoyed, and yelled a few choice words at it. The knocking stopped, and I fell asleep.

In the morning, once it dawned on me what had happened, I returned the Ouija board to my friend.

 

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Who is this haunting lady in red? (Photo: 2019 Copyright of J.H. Moncrieff)

Growing up, I had a very close friend. Let’s call her Morgan. We definitely had our run-ins, as we were both willful, opinionated girls, but we also had a special connection. She was one of my dearest friends from the age of seven, when we met, to the age of seventeen, when she died in a horrible car accident.

I don’t think you’re ever prepared to lose your best friend, and certainly not at that age. To say I was devastated would be a massive understatement.

Soon after her death, there were plenty of signs that my friend’s spirit was still around, but they could all be dismissed as a coincidence or accident. Her portrait fell over during her funeral, right on her casket. The area around her grave was mysteriously warm, even in the dead of winter, with a wind howling and no shelter in the entire cemetery. Sometimes I’d be walking down the hall at school and hear someone call my name, but when I turned, no one was there. And that’s when I’d recognize the voice.

Mysterious Woman in the Mist

When I moved away, Morgan really made her presence known. It was my first year away from home. I was living hundreds of miles away from my family and friends in a shitty little apartment in yet another isolated northern community. For some reason, even though Morgan had never been to this place, I felt her around me all the time.
One day I found a mix tape that she’d started making but had never gotten the chance to finish. I was alone in the apartment, cleaning up the kitchen, so I put the tape into my boyfriend’s stereo.

The tape played just fine until it got to my friend’s favorite song. When it got to the end of the song–which was in the middle of the tape–the stereo suddenly auto-reversed, and played a song on the opposite side. It then auto-reversed again.

It was at the beginning of her favorite song once more.
I froze.

I said her name, very tentatively, my heart beating a million miles a minute. “Morgan?”
My kitchen cupboards went nuts. It sounded like someone was knocking on each one very hard with a fist. The knocks went down the row of cupboards and then started coming toward me again.
I ran to my bedroom, threw myself face down on the bed, and yelled something along the lines of:

“No, Morgan, go away! I’m not ready for this!”

The knocking stopped.

I’ve never felt my friend’s presence again.

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J.H. Moncrieff’s visit to Poveglia (Photo: 2019 Copyright of J.H. Moncrieff)

When visiting Poveglia, the world’s most haunted island, I was standing in the abandoned asylum with only a few minutes left when I felt brave enough to speak.

“Hello?” I said, stupidly, before remembering I was addressing Italian-speaking phantoms.

As soon as I repeated the greeting in Italian, there was a noise from the next room. Was it something falling or shifting? The building settling?

Or was the soft-yet-deliberate thud someone’s attempt to communicate?

I’m not sure, but I do know I convinced myself that spending the last ten minutes outside on the shore was a fantastic idea.

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The natural decay of an old building, or someone trying communicate? (Poveglia Photo: 2019 Copyright of J.H. Moncrieff)

When I moved into my hundred-year-old house, I put a collar with a bell on my anxiety-ridden cat to ensure I could find her if she went into hiding. The collar didn’t last long, and soon I found it on the floor upstairs. Exhausted from unpacking, I left it there. One evening, while I was downstairs watching TV with the kitties, that bell rang, clear as day. We all heard it. And that’s not the only strange noise that occurs in this house, either. For years, every night right after I went to bed, the front door would make a strange clunking noise—the best way I could describe it is as if the cylinders of an ancient lock were sliding into place, but I have a modern door. People have waited up to hear the noise and see if they can find the cause of it, but none has ever been found.

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Is there ever a final resting place? (Poveglia Photo: 2019 Copyright of J.H. Moncrieff)

There are many more stories, but suffice it to say—for a writer of supernatural suspense, inspiration is everywhere.

Can you relate to any of these stories? 

–J.H. Moncrieff

 
J.H. Moncrieff’s new release, Forest of Ghosts, was inspired by her real-life experiences in Romania, including Hoia Baciu, the world’s most haunted forest.

J.H. loves to hear from readers. To get free ebooks and a new spooky story every week, check out her Hidden Library.

Connect with J.H.: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Read on for a spooky sample of Forest of Ghosts:

Jackson Stone is sick of ghosts. With his love life in shambles, he heads to Romania for a horror writers’ retreat, hoping it will be a break from the supernatural and breathing space from his relationship with medium Kate Carlsson.

But as his fellow writers begin disappearing or losing their minds, he realizes he needs Kate’s help. 

When Jackson loses his own memory, Kate’s love is the only thing that can bring him back. But she’s falling for the man responsible for the evil in Romania. A man who claims to be her soul mate. Will this master of wraiths forever break Kate’s bond with Jackson?

 

Intrigued yet? Purchase your copy today to uncover more about Kate and Jackson’s fate!

Mysterious Galaxy

Barnes and Noble

Chapters

Amazon

 

In the Unknown Space

 

In the Unknown Space

In this imagined space,

you are the hardest to believe

that you aren’t real

just a ghost among all the other unknowns.

But I still meet you here, playing among

unicorns and fairies and a lost-forever

garden of childhoods never had.

And this poem fails to capture what you are.

Stilted and awkward but always hopeful

for the day I wake, and you are here,

dreaming me into something known.

 

 

Ghost Stories?

 

So, as if I don’t have enough to do, I’ve been hit by the inspiration muse for my next book of poetry. At least for the overarching theme of it (like how galaxies/alternate dimensions/astrophysics/time travel was for the last book). I was thinking maybe the paranormal/unexplained/ghosts, but have the poems revolve around lost people/opportunities, especially since I have been pretty chimerical throughout my life, and a lot got jettisoned and left behind in the wake.

“I liked you the way you were. I liked your walls. I liked being the one to bring them down.” Hook, Once Upon a Time

Here’s a sample one:

The Secret Life of a Chimera

I admit,

you were one of the ones

I had little regret about

and didn’t count you

among my secrets-to-the-grave.

There was zero nostalgia there

except maybe that time

we went to another dimension

with the help of…synthpop, was it?

Whatever it was, it was a beautiful step

out of time, on that Vermont road

clean and pure and transcendental as ice

that, luckily, wasn’t also on the road.

That’s how I remember you.

I will never admit that I think about

the play you wrote that saw the

me no-one else did.

But last night, out of nowhere,

out of years bygone,

I dreamed of you,

pineapple bright,

with a unicorn heart

full of rainbow love, just for me.

And I let you hold me, prickly pineapples

and prickly me and all.

I don’t know what was more confusing

that I let you in, or that I let you go.

And I wished another impossible wish

(they’re the only kind I’m allowed)

that you were the one to break down my walls.

 

–Willow Croft

 

The Synchronicity: Fire

 

Wrote a poem about an hour or so ago to submit to a contest, titled Bonfire. It was the day of bonfires earlier this week, which probably inspired it.

But, I’m a water person, usually. Water, coolness, rain, overcast skies. Yet, a fire elemental has been making its presence known. Hence the other part of the inspiration. In dreams. In random thoughts. In my poetry. In waking life. Then I signed back online to enter the poem. And encountered more fire synchronicity to wrap up the week. I feel a little haunted and eerie, even though I largely accept Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s practical/scientific view(s) on such mental/emotional phenomenon.

So I used the poem I wrote  for the contest to siphon off some of the feelings towards the fire element I’ve been having lately. A short story for another contest is going to hold some more. And the leftover I was planning on putting in another poem for share on here, sometime soon. But now I feel like a mimic, albeit unintentional. And it’s nice to muse on, but I’m not sure whether I also believe in Jung’s theory of collective unconsciousness (or my interpretation of said theory).

Still, words clamour inside my head to be let out. To be heard. And, like most writers, I can only release them, and hope they are heard by those who need them the most. Who are listening with the right-place-right-time heart. And maybe they will be someone else’s synchronicity.

Ouroboros

The snake catches fire.
I burn it to be free
of this infinite loop.
Of walking in circles
Spiralling around from dreams to life and back again.
Yet, I love being lost in the maze and
trapped in this mystery.
Are these glimpses more fulfilling
than the reality of you?
The poet in me asked the void.
I defend myself.
I burn the bridge, I say,
because I’m tired of darkness and shadows and half truths and ghosts that go bump
inside my head.
I want fire.
I want to scorch my world to cinders.
And I want you to be the water,
this time,
from which my phoenix is born.

–Willow Croft