About jonimayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of true paranormal best-sellers, Bones in the Basement, Devil's Toy Box and The Soul Collector. Check out her website: Jonimayhan.com

Haunted New Harmony – Investigation Review for 8-12-17

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Is it possible to train the dead to communicate?

That was the question I was asking myself as I decided to conduct public investigations at several of New Harmony’s more haunted locations. To my knowledge, our investigations marked the first time anyone has attempted communication of this magnitude. The ghosts there have never seen paranormal equipment and weren’t sure what to make of us during our first few attempts.

In my years investigating, it’s rare for me to leave an investigation with less than a dozen EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena). For whatever reason, ghosts will talk to me and allow me to record their voices. Perhaps it’s the fact that they know I can feel them or maybe they just like my energy. Either way, I’ve collected hundreds upon hundreds of EVPs over time. This wasn’t the case with the Fauntleroy Home and Community House #2. I walked away from our test run investigation with two very faint EVPs.

During our first public ghost hunt last month, they seemed to be warming up to us. Not only was I able to capture several EVPs, the groups had far more interactions with the souls that linger at the locations. This month’s event blew the last event away.

After an hour long presentation, I brought my first group to the Fauntleroy Home, while Billy Miller, the founder of Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigations (SIPI), brought his first group to Community House #2.

Both of these locations are important in New Harmony’s history. The Fauntleroy Home was built in 1822 by the Harmonists, the first Utopian community who founded the town. Notable residents include inventor, Oliver Evans, Junior, and Robert Henry and Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy, whose daughter Constance created the Minerva Society, one of the nation’s first women’s clubs.

Community House has an equally interesting history. Completed in 1822 by the Harmonists, it was the place where some of their followers resided. When the Owen community bought the town, they used it for multiple purposes. While the second and third floors were still primarily used for dormitory space, the first floor was used as a school, community activities and housed various businesses.

Fauntleroy Home Investigation

Fauntleroy House portraitThe Fauntleroy Home is far different from Community House #2. In fact, the two are nearly polar opposites. The energy at Community House #2 is almost playful and engaging, but the Fauntleroy Home is something else altogether. You can feel it the minute you walk through the door. Most of the ghosts don’t want us there.

The foyer near the front door and the upstairs bedroom are the most active. There were times during the night that it felt as though we were completely surrounded by the dead. It was enough to send chills down many of our spines.

One of the ghosts we feel we were communicating with was Mary Emily Fauntleroy. She spent many years renovating the home and turning it into a museum. When Amanda asked if anyone there ever played the harp, the response I got on my Spirit Box was, “Don’t Break it.”

Some people in the paranormal community scoff at the Spirit Box, so I always ask a few test questions. I held up three fingers and asked them how many fingers I was holding up. The response was correct: three.

Someone in the group asked what their favorite color was. The response came quickly. “Red,” it said.

Several other responses seemed more like pleas for help. One of the EVPs that were captured on Billy Miller’s recorder that he loaned to Meagan said, “Wait for me” and “I need help.”

Possibly the craziest EVP I recorded all night was an actual ghost voice. It didn’t come through the Spirit Box. It was spoken aloud in a frequency that none of us were able to hear. Thankfully, my recorder caught it.

The upstairs master bedroom at the Fauntleroy Home is incredibly active. I have a difficult time spending more than a few minutes there before wanting to leave. I believe the soul lingering there who affects me so profoundly is Oliver Evans, Junior. As we were in the middle of an EVP session, I asked Jason Nelson to take a photo of me. As he attempted to take it, the camera malfunctioned. During this moment, we caught an intelligent voice responding. “Give me that…thing!” it said.

Nothing was captured in the photograph, but the ghostly voice was proof enough that we weren’t alone.

Both groups were again treated to the alarming of the building’s alarm system. It has gone off during every investigation we’ve conducted there and it went off again twice that night. A technician looked at the system and found no issues with it. Perhaps one of the ghosts is trying to chase us off?

Towards the end of one session, we were promptly dismissed. “I’m going to bed,” said one voice on the Spirit Box. “We’re sleepy,” said a second, moments later.

After we finished our EVP sessions, I brought the groups out to the Harmonist Cemetery. The graves are unmarked and sit alongside the burial mounds of the Woodland Indians. The Harmonists believed that everyone was equal, both in life and in death, which is why they didn’t mark the graves. While many graveyards are spooky, this one had a very calm, serene vibe to it. We all found it to be a nice break after the heaviness of the Fauntleroy Home.

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The Fauntleroy Home is a better location for mediums and people who are sensitive to the energy. The ghosts there aren’t shy about getting close to people and talking to them. Various members of both groups felt overwhelmed with emotion at times, nearly breaking down into tears for no reason. Over the years, many people have had paranormal experiences there. Several tour guides have been pushed on the stairs and have heard voices talking in other rooms. Thankfully, no one in either group was pushed, but we did hear the sound of a group of people talking. We raced to the windows and looked outside to make sure it wasn’t pedestrians on the sidewalk, but no one was there.

 

Community House #2

Community House #2I always pull the group together at the end of the night so we can share our experiences. Because I’m at the Fauntleroy Home all night, I don’t get to see what happened at Community House #2. When I asked them which location was the most active for them, they all agreed. Community House #2.

They heard doorknobs jiggle, as though someone was trying to get in the door. They heard thumps and taps. At one point, Jason felt the floor beneath him begin to vibrate. Billy moved so he was near Jason and felt it too.

20840543_10210139629995734_1271728566_nPerhaps the most interesting part of the evening involved a dollar store item that I picked up for the last investigation. I was worried that the 19th century ghosts would be afraid of our technology, so I bought a pinwheel and put it in a cup. The group placed it in the middle of the floor. To their amazement, it began moving after they asked questions.

Can you train the dead to communicate? Apparently so because the pinwheel didn’t move once during our last investigation, but it fluttered to life many times during this event. Billy insured that no air vents were pointed at it and the group remained stationary during the session.

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Here is a brief clip of the interaction.

Meagan discovered that every time she tried to video it, the pinwheel would stop moving. She was only able to capture it for several seconds, but the entire group witnessed it multiple times.

Another curious thing happened to the second group. The ghosts have largely ignored our EMF detectors. An EMF detector measures Electromagnetic Energy, something ghosts can manipulate. During every investigation I’ve ever conducted, our meters have registered ghostly energy. This wasn’t the case in either location during our Haunted New Harmony investigations. This all changed on Saturday night.

All night, the Mel Meter stayed stubbornly at zero. During the second session in the print shop, it started spiking up. It appeared to be responding to their questions. When a favorable question was asked, it would spike up to as high as 13.4, then drop down to zero again until another question was asked. This was astounding for all of us.

It struck me as interesting that the ghosts in the print shop would be the first ones to play with our equipment. Considering they would have used the best technology of their day to print their papers, perhaps they weren’t as afraid of our modern day gadgets.

No EVPS were captured at Community House #2, but the experiences the groups had were more than enough proof of the paranormal.

I want to thank everyone who came out to join us. I also want to thank Billy Miller for his expertise in overseeing Community House #2. Thanks also to Amanda Bryden and Meagan Patterson, who oversee both locations, and to Crystal Folz and Jason Nelson for acting as group assistants. It was an amazing night. I can’t wait for the next one!

Body Vibrations in the Paranormal Realm

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As someone who is sensitive to the paranormal world, I knew something was in my room with me. I climbed into my bed, hoping it would just leave me alone and allow me to sleep, but that wouldn’t be the case.

Shortly after I pulled the covers up to my chin, I could feel it grow closer. Without warning, my body began to vibrate from the inside out.

The feeling was unlike anything I’d ever encountered before. It felt as though I was lying on a vibrating mattress, unable to stop the madness. I tried shifting positions, but the internal vibrations wouldn’t cease. I somehow managed to fall asleep and woke the next morning feeling drained and exhausted. What had happened to me?

I began feeling this sensation more frequently as the days passed. Every morning when I awoke, I felt the same way: as though I’d been depleted of energy while I slept. Over the course of the next few months, I began experimenting and researching the phenomena. What I found was startling. A ghost was pulling energy from me.

While there are actual medical conditions where people feel internal tremors, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, this wasn’t my situation. I was otherwise very healthy. I was just exhausted from my nightly visits from the other side.

I soon began discovering that I didn’t need to be in bed in order for it to happen. Once while I was at my doctor’s office getting a checkup, my ears began ringing. Since I am clairaudient, having the ability to hear the sounds ghosts make, I knew something paranormal was in the room with me. As the nurse put the blood pressure cuff on me, the entity came even closer, causing my body to begin vibrating. The nurse put a stethoscope to my chest and looked at me with a bit of concern.

“Your heart rate just went up. Are you nervous?” she asked.

I smiled, knowing that if I told her the truth of the matter, I might find myself wearing a straightjacket before the visit ended.

“No. I just had too much coffee today,” I told her instead.

After the latest occurance, I decided to work in earnest on finding a way to stop the body vibrations. As a devout student of the paranormal world, as well as an author, I knew that one of the best ways to protect myself in the paranormal realm involved using my own body’s energy as a shield.

The process is commonly called Shielding. To accomplish it, I started out by grounding myself. Grounding is the method of removing excess energy from your body. While there are many ways to accomplish this, including walking barefoot on the ground outside or hugging a tree, my favorite method can be done anywhere. I imagine a bright white light above me and then I close my eyes. With every breath, I pull white light in through the crown of my head and push the excess energy out through my feet. After several moments of this, I feel physically lighter.

I’ve never had an easy time with visualizations. When I first began attempting grounding myself, I couldn’t hold the image of the white light inside my head. I found that by simply turning on an overhead light, I could actually see the light through my eyelids, something that helped me with the visualization process.

To shield myself, I took that same white light and envisioned it surrounding my body in a bubble. Once my bubble was complete, I followed up by pushing my energy outwards until the bubble was taut. I knew the process was effective because the body vibrations eased up and then stopped completely.

The act of grounding and shielding isn’t something I learned overnight. I had to utilize many of the videos available on Youtube to get me started. Then, I had to practice until I was able to push the ghosts off at will.

If you find yourself exhibiting frequent body vibrations and you are certain it isn’t a medical condition, try my process of grounding and shielding. It can’t hurt and actually might help you fend off the paranormal world around you.

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 16 paranormal books. To learn more about her, check out her website Jonimayhan.com.

Haunted New Harmony Investigation Review 6-15-17

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Haunted New Harmony Investigation Evidence 6-15-17

Conducting a paranormal investigation at locations that have never been investigated before is a nerve-wracking experience. As a sensitive, I knew there were ghosts at both locations, but could I get them to interact with us? What if I invited twenty people and nothing happened. As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry.

20031632_10214841008158175_4867157879746608634_nThe night was interesting, to say the least. After a paranormal and history presentation, we divided up into two teams. One team went with me to the Fauntleroy Home, while the other team stayed with Billy Miller, the founder of Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigations (SIPI), at Community House #2. After two hours, I returned to Community House #2 and brought Billy’s group back to the Fauntleroy Home for round two.

When I divided up the teams, I inadvertently put all the people with mediumship abilities into one group and all the people without abilities into the other group. As can be expected, the group full of sensitives had far more experiences than the group without.

Fauntleroy Home Investigation

20046422_10214841005958120_6661832202055746457_nThe Fauntleroy Home has a long history of paranormal activity, beginning with the first ghost sighting in 1848. Over the years, tour guides and visitors have experienced strange happenings. Full body apparitions have been seen, doors have opened and closed on their own and people have been pushed on the stairs.

I could feel the ghosts coming in closer as we sat down for our first session. It wasn’t long before things began happening .

About halfway through one of our EVP sessions, we began hearing a beeping sound. Amanda Bryden, who oversees both locations, got up to investigate and learned that the alarm had turned itself on, even though it was disabled.  She had to turn it back off and call the alarm company. They have tours in this building frequently and this isn’t something that normally happens. She was puzzled by the experience.

DSCN5714.JPGDuring our first session at the base of the staircase, we got some responses on my Spirit Box as we reached out to Mary Emily Fauntleroy. She lived in the house for a number of years, putting her heart and soul into collecting family artifacts and furnishings. After her death, the building was fully restored, returning it back to the 1850’s time period and her collection was removed. Some feel Mary Emily isn’t happy with the renovations. This is something we confirmed during our investigation.

I asked Mary Emily what she thought about the renovations. “I hate them,” was the response. If you listen to both Spirit Box responses (the one above this one and this one) you’ll hear the same voice.

We moved the group upstairs to the second floor. I’ve always felt a heavy presence up there. People who are sensitive often have a difficult time spending any length of time in that room.

We were only in the room a few minutes before I captured the first EVP. We asked if they were happy that people came to visit them in their home. The response was “no more.” We didn’t hear this at the time, but was caught by my digital recorder.

When my second group came to investigate at the Fauntleroy House, it was a completely different experience from the first group. We received far less responses on the Spirit Box, but started getting more actual evps. Interestingly enough, the voice was different from anything I’d heard there in the past. It made me wonder if a member of the group had brought his own ghost to the ghost hunt.

Here’s another EVP that is similar to the last one. I discovered two more that are a bit harder to hear, so I didn’t post them.

On the second floor, we didn’t receive very many responses from the master bedroom, so I moved the group into another room. It was becoming clear that they’d had enough of us. After we received this response, we moved outdoors.

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(Above) Joni with the glow sticks hanging behind her

I hung bells on long strings with glow sticks hanging from the bottoms in the doorway. During the first group, the strings never moved, but during the second group, we could see the glow sticks moving in a slow circle. At one point, they appeared to be pushed forward into the room. I also had a pinwheel mounted into a plastic cup. I wanted to provide two “low tech” methods of communication for the ghosts to manipulate. The pinwheel never moved with the first group, but began spinning for the second group. Both low-tech devices were placed in the same exact locations for both groups and weren’t impacted by drafts or AC vents.

Community House #2 Investigation

19990582_10214841007278153_669740488870365916_n.jpgWhile I was at the Fauntleroy Home with my groups, Billy Miller led groups through Community House #2. Like me, he immediately noticed a tremendous difference in the paranormal activity between the two groups.

His first group contained the group full of sensitives and mediums and the building was nearly explosive with activity. They heard music playing, doors slamming and phantom footsteps. As I listened to the audio they recorded, I too could hear the music. It was too faint to post, but I could make it out with my headphones on.

They felt that the first floor and second floors were the hotspots for activity. Billy placed a laser grid in the second floor hallway to see if any shadows crossed the beams. Several people sat and watched the hallway, while the rest of the group conducted an EVP session in a dormitory room. During one of their sessions, they watched as several of the lights blacked out momentarily as though someone passed through them.

DSCN5731.JPGWhile in the second floor dormitory room, one group member suddenly felt a lot of physical pressure wash over her. Then she became cold, with goosebumps popping up on her arms before she unexpectedly became overwhelmed with a sense of sadness and began crying. This was strange for her, because as she said, “I’m not someone who’s easily subjected to crying and having fits.” Shortly afterwards, she started feeling increasingly hot before she felt better. Seconds after she began feeling better, another group member jumped as she felt someone touch her.

Another member had two strange experiences at Community House #2. When he sat in a corner of the third floor where Billy feels there is a portal (doorway to the other side), he felt as though thousands of fingers ran down his body. The sensation was so strong, he was forced to get up and move to another area of the room. It wasn’t his only experience though. Earlier in the evening, he also reported seeing a little boy with a white shirt and hat standing in the doorway. He could only see him from the waist up. He appeared to be very sad. “I could feel his sadness too,” he said.

The Community House was quiet for the second group. They didn’t hear the same sounds the first group experienced. I had both groups carry one of my digital recorders with them and I listened to the investigations, looking for ghostly responses. Surprisingly, the first group filled with mediums didn’t receive any EVPS, but the second group received one that made me very sad.

They were attempting to communicate with a Frenchman named George Gerand who supposedly committed suicide on the second floor of the community house in the 1800’s. He was having a difficult time making ends meet and was waiting for a letter to arrive with funds to clear his debt. When the letter didn’t arrive as expected, he hung himself. Sadly, shortly after his death, the letter was found at the post office. It had fallen off a table and was lost on the floor until it was later discovered.

As they were leaving the area, they said, “Bonjour,” and received the response, “Help me.”

 

All in all, it was a successful event. Everyone had the opportunity to experience a true paranormal investigation and quite a few of them had personal experiences they couldn’t explain.

My hope is that as time goes on, the ghosts at both buildings become more comfortable with us and our equipment and provide more responses. Hopefully, through continued communication, I will be able to earn their trust and provide them with the help that they need to find their way over to the other side, where they’re supposed to be.

We’ll be hosting more investigations there in August, September and October of this year. These events fill up quickly, so reserve your spot before they’re all sold out.

 

Haunted New Harmony

Haunted New Harmony LogoNew Harmony is famous for its two Utopian experiments and its diverse beauty. It is also incredibly haunted. Join us as we investigate the paranormal side of this quaint Southern Indiana town and communicate with the souls who dwell here.

We will investigate not one, but TWO of New Harmony’s most haunted buildings from 6pm until midnight.

Community House #2Community House #2

First, we will visit Community House #2. This three-story brick building was completed in 1822 and housed members of the Harmonist group. After the town was sold to the Owen society in 1824, the building was used for a variety of functions, including a print shop, a school for children on the first floor, housing on the second and third floors, as well as a variety of businesses throughout.

Over the years, visitors and tour guides have experienced phantom footsteps and voices in empty rooms. One tour guide reported seeing a woman dressed in 1800’s period apparel walk up a staircase. On another occasion, a caterer inadvertently snapped a photo with an apparition sitting beside a brick fireplace.

This building is handicapped accessible and has an elevator.

Fauntleroy House portraitThe Fauntleroy Home

The second location we will investigate is The Fauntleroy Home. Built in 1822 by the Harmonists, this house has undergone many incarnations in its 193 year existence. It was first used by the Franz Pheil family during the Harmonist period and later became home to various members of the Owen society. In 1840, it was purchased by Robert Fauntleroy and his wife Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy. The home is known as the birthplace of The Minerva Society, the nation’s first women’s club.

This house is considered by many to be the most haunted building in New Harmony. Visitors and tour guides have experienced a variety of paranormal encounters, dating back to the first documented ghost sighting in 1848. Shadows have been seen flitting across walls, doors open and close on their own accord and many have had unsettling experiences near the staircase.

The first floor of this two-story home is handicap-accessible, but the second floor must be reached by a flight of stairs.

The Investigation

The event will begin at 6pm with a meet-and-greet, followed by a presentation on the history of the locations, as well as instructions for the investigation. Experienced paranormal investigators will lead each team through both buildings, using a variety of paranormal equipment to communicate with the souls who inhabit the space. We will conclude the evening with a group discussion on our findings.

This is the first time buildings in New Harmony have been available for public paranormal investigations. We are limiting each investigation to a maximum of 20 people, who will be broken into teams of ten. This event includes physical activities, such as climbing stairs and walking several blocks to the second location. We ask that you bring a small flashlight, which will help you navigate through the darkness.

Breakdown of the Event

6:00 – 7:00           Meet & Greet/Orientation Presentation

7:00 – 9:00           Investigation

9:00 – 9:30           Break

9:30 –11:30          Investigation

11:30- 12am        Sharing Information

Breakdown of the Investigations

Community House #2 (30 minute sessions):

  • First floor Kitchen
  • Second floor (Shadow Hallway & Dormitory Rooms –divide group)
  • Third Floor Main Room
  • Third Floor Printer’s Shop

Fauntleroy House (30 minute sessions):

  • Base of staircase
  • First Floor
  • Second Floor Master Bedroom
  • Outside building near Rappite Cemetery

The price for this event is $50 per person. Half of all proceeds go directly to the historic locations we’re investigating. Tickets must be purchased in advance by clicking the links below. If you have issues with PayPal, you can also mail a check to Joni Mayhan at PO Box 363, New Harmony, IN 47631. If, by chance, we need to cancel the event, full refunds will be distributed; however, no other refunds will be honored within two weeks of the scheduled event.

Click the date below to purchase your ticket.

Saturday, July 15
Saturday, August 12
Saturday, September 23
Saturday, October 21
Saturday, October 28

 

Haunted New Harmony

 

I moved to New Harmony in May of 2016. Like many others before me, I felt drawn to the town, almost as though the move was part of a greater plan, not one of my making.

New Harmony isn’t a normal, everyday kind of town. While it’s rich with a colorful history and embedded with a creative culture, there is something underlaid beneath the façade, something many people feel but can’t explain. It’s a town with a pulse.

I felt this pulse as I walked down the streets after first moving here. The sensation is elusive and fleeting, here then gone again before you can properly latch onto it. It’s as though every footstep you take is layered atop a thousand other footsteps as your DNA becomes mixed with the DNA of those who were there before you.

As someone who is highly intuitive, I also felt the presence of the dead lingering heavily in this small town. Every store and building I walked into had a ghost or two. Many of them were reclusive, not wanting to give away their hiding spots, but others were more forthcoming. They greeted me at the door like welcoming hosts.

I have felt this sensation once before, at a haunted mansion in Massachusetts. It was a place that called to me and many others, drawing us in like moths to a candle. It collected people like some people collected stamps. Once you visited there, you felt the overwhelming urge to return, over and over again. The pull was so strong; I eventually wrote a book, telling the story of the house and all who lived there. In some ways, I feel the house pulled me in for that very purpose because once the book was written, the urge diminished. I was able to walk away and start anew. I felt this same sensation when I visited New Harmony in 2015, a year before I decided to move here.

New Harmony wasn’t a stranger to me. I grew up in Posey County and graduated from high school in the next town over. As a child, I sat in the backseat of my parent’s car and marveled at the town as we passed through. I begged my parents to let me run through the Harmonist Labyrinth. I remember buying trinkets at the old Five & Dime store that is no longer in existence. My mind spun over the stories about the angel’s footprint that is embedded in stone and I attended weddings at the Roofless Church. My great-grandparents had a house here decades ago and I have fond memories of visiting them as a young child. In some ways, it’s always been a part of my history, of my genetic makeup, but it didn’t call to me until I was ready to truly embrace it.

I felt the initial pull in 2015 during a visit to my home state to visit my family. My father and my step-mother brought me on a historical tour of the town. Even though I already knew some of the history, I suddenly became more interested in it. I bought several books to bring back home with me, along with a labyrinth necklace that I couldn’t seem to remove. Something clicked during that trip. After roaming the northeast, making temporary homes in a dozen different towns, I felt as though I had finally found a place where I could be content. It felt like home.

A year later, I would find myself packing my multitude of pets and possessions into my car and making the thousand-mile trek, leaving behind my grown children and close friends to start anew.

I settled in quietly, wanting to get a grasp on what I was feeling before allowing anyone to know who I was. I didn’t want people to immediately begin associating me with my paranormal background. I wanted them to see me more as a long-lost daughter who had returned to her roots. In some ways, I fantasied about putting the paranormal world behind me and returning to conventional fiction. I would write normal books, ones my parents could proudly pass along to their friends, ones that wouldn’t set me apart so dramatically. Unfortunately, the dead wouldn’t let me.

As I explored the town and immersed myself in the history, I became aware of the undertone that swirls around New Harmony. I came to realize that the entire town was haunted and that my purpose here was already set in stone. I needed to write a book about it.

As I began researching, I came to realize there was nothing scary in New Harmony. Even though it is filled with spirits, most of them are former residents, many from the 1800’s when the town was part of two separate Utopian societies. Some of them simply want their story told and others feel the need to communicate with the living. Through their voices, I began learning more about the town’s fascinating history.

My book won’t be filled with chills and thrills. It will be about the personal accounts the living have experienced with the dead, as well as my quest to learn more about the souls who are haunting the buildings. Through this, I’ve learned intriguing details about the lives that transpired here, something that makes me want to dig deeper. Who better to ask about the history than the people who once lived here?

As I walked into places like the Arbor House on Main Street and the famously haunted Fauntleroy House on West Street, I had personal experiences right away. As I explored old basements and places that tourists don’t have access to, I began to understand more about why the town was haunted.

The veil is definitely thinner here in this small gem of a town. The dead walk side by side with the living, something most people aren’t aware of. I will dig until I uncover as many of the stories and secrets as I can. Then, I will share it with you.

My newest book Haunted New Harmony will be coming out by September 2017 and I hope to have several public paranormal investigations and ghost walks ready for this summer.

Stay tuned…

 

Joni Mayhan is the author of 16 books, most of them dedicated the the paranormal world. After living in Massachusetts for 30 years, she recently returned to her home state of Indiana. To learn more about her, check out her website Jonimayhan.com

My Favorite Book

One question I always get asked is, “What is your favorite book that you’ve written?”

When I get asked that, I think back to a famous author’s book signing. Someone asked her that very question and, without missing a beat, she said, “The one I’m currently promoting.” From a marketing standpoint, that made sense, but it’s not an honest answer. I think we all have favorites, but we’re hesitant about sharing that information for fear of losing sales on the newest book we’re trying to sell.

I don’t have to think hard to come up with an answer. While I should be more marketing-savvy and promote my current new book, I tend to respond with a more honest answer: my first published book Lightning Strikes.

Like many other authors, I wrote several “practice books” before writing one that was good enough to be published. Lighting Strikes might have been my first published book, but it was actually the sixth book I wrote. The others still sit in boxes on my bookshelf, paying homage to my early learning curve.

When I wrote Lightning Strikes, my life was far different than it is now. I hadn’t pigeon-holed myself as a paranormal writer. I was able to write about whatever I chose to tackle. In this case, I took a potentially real-life situation and wrapped it around the concept of how I would have handled it at the tender age of sixteen. I still think about it frequently. What would I do if the world suddenly came to a grinding halt?

In the case of Lightning Strikes, a bio-engineered virus is accidentally released into the world, killing 90% of the population within weeks. A group of radical extremists jump on the opportunity and attempt to gain control of the world, going door-to-door with assault rifles and gas masks. This would be a horrible situation for any of us to survive, but imagine going through it when you were only sixteen years-old and had a young autistic sister you need to protect. The story follows Ember’s journey as she deals with the hardships and terror, while subsequently enduring the reality of being sixteen.

Lightning Strikes gave me the opportunity to present a better version of myself. Like many other authors, I usually dig deep into my own past to create my characters. Ember is the closest thing to myself that I’ve ever written. I just removed some of the pimples and awkwardness of my sixteen year-old self and gave her more courage and fortitude than I possessed at that age. I envisioned a world where all the grown-ups were gone and my own survival depended on my own decisions. Would I curl up and hide or would I fight back? And how would this change me as a person?

Sadly, the book never took off. It got outstanding reader reviews. It has 63 reviews and maintains a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. Many of the people who read it wrote to me, telling me how much they loved it. Ember felt real to them, like someone they knew or wanted to know. It just got lost in the influx of post-apocalyptic novels and never found its own footing.

In my sales reports, I can see when a book is sold, but I don’t have information regarding who it was sold to. I just see the sale. Whenever I sell a copy of Lightning Strikes, I become fixated on my reporting for the next few days, waiting to see if they also buy book two in the trilogy, Ember Rain. This week, I was elated to see someone buy all three books in a one week period. To me, this meant that someone became as entranced with this storyline as I was when I wrote it. One sale of this book means more to me than hundreds of sales on any of my other books. Is it because Lightning Strikes was my first-born book child? Maybe, but I think it goes deeper than that. Lightning Strikes contains more of my soul than any other book I’ve written.

So, if you ask me which one of my books that I like the most, I’ll probably be honest with you. Give it a shot. It’s only $2.99 on Amazon.com and will keep you mesmerized for 400 nail-biting, heart-tugging pages. Click HERE to learn more.

Lightning Strikes cover from Google

 

My Window Nemesis – A Non-Paranormal Post

kitchen window.jpgI wasn’t exactly thrilled to be moving into a mobile home. I know I should count my blessings, and this was a big one, but just the mere thought of moving into a trailer made my stomach curl up on the edges.

I didn’t have a lot of choices though. After losing my house to foreclosure, I needed a place to live. My credit was pretty crappy and my resources ranked in the slim-to-none category. When my step-father offered to purchase this little treasure for me, I was relieved. It was a place to go, somewhere to bring my houseful of cats and my collected treasures. Even more so, it was a place to heal.

I knew that complaining about the fireballs that life throws at us doesn’t change anything, so I made the best with what I was given. I read somewhere that if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back and a roof over your head, you’re richer than 75% of the world’s population. I had all those things, I just needed to stop comparing myself to all the people on Facebook who were living in mansions and vacationing in Europe. I made this choice, along with the mistakes and decisions that brought me to this point. This was what I had to work with, so I got busy.

I hired a contractor to fix all the rotten floors. I power-washed the exterior to make it a bit brighter (and less trailer-y), stained the porch and painted all the walls with colors that soothed my soul. I tossed out all the cast-off possessions the last owners so lovingly left me, even the old sample bottles of shampoo and used toothbrushes. The last thing I needed to work on was the windows.

Typical of trailers built in the 1980’s the windows left something to be desired. Every ounce of heat from the sun managed to seep through them in the summer. When the weather turned colder, the drafts were like artic blasts. I pulled out my handy ladder and caulk gun and set to work trying to stop the drafts, but there wasn’t much I could do about the sun.

I tried to hang blinds, but bear in mind that I also have cats. They look at those plastic strips that hang from tiny screws and see them as a gymnasium. They went to work on them quickly. It wasn’t long before every blind in my house had gaps along the sides where the cats pushed through to get a gander at the world outside, if they didn’t pull them down entirely. This presented several problems: privacy and sunlight.

Every time I turned on my kitchen light, I broadcasted my activities to the world outside. Granted, my town is small and the street isn’t busy, but I still didn’t want to stumble into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a drink of water and show my neighbors my ratty old pajamas. I remedied this by simply not turning on the light, but it didn’t help me with the sunlight issue.

During the morning, the sunlight streams through my kitchen window like a mega-watt head lamp. The house quickly heats up, which requires my aging air conditioning unit to summon up its strength to punch the time clock, providing me with some wonderful $200 electric bills.

After nearly killing myself by balancing precariously on a kitchen chair to measure the window width, I ran off to Walmart, which is a half-hour drive in itself, to purchase a mini-blind. That lasted three days.

My cats nearly cheered in unison as I balanced on the kitchen chair again and hung it up. Predictably, it was pooled up in a pile on the windowsill soon afterwards. I attempted to hang it again, but the soggy wood around the window cried “uncle” and wouldn’t support another screw. I moved onto Plan B.

I would hang a curtain over the window. I scurried back off to Walmart and quickly discovered that they don’t carry curtains to fit my window. After some serious hemming and hawing, while listening to the melodious sounds of a child screaming in the next aisle, I grabbed a cafe curtain, hoping to make it fit. I didn’t measure and I didn’t plan it out accordingly. I just grabbed it and attempted to put as much distance between me and the screaming child as possible. When I got home, I discovered my error. It was too short to cover the entire window, but too long to hang it from the center. Onto Plan C.

I pulled out my ancient sewing machine and blew off the years of dust. My cats were quite excited by this venture. As I attempted to shorten the curtains, I had my own personal cheering squad to root me on. They pawed at the material as it zipped under the needle and attempted to thwart my progresses at every turn. By the time I finished, I was too worn out to actually hang the curtain, so I saved it for the next morning.

cats sewing.jpgAs I balanced on the kitchen chair again, attempting to hang the brackets that would hold the curtain, I began to wonder if the window was out to get me. The bracket set that I purchased only came with one bracket, which meant I needed to dig through several boxes to find another set, which were actually meant for a much bigger window. The screw gun slipped several times, resulting in several very sore fingers and I had to fight off five curious cats in the process.

All in all, the process of simply blocking out the light took me far longer than I imagined, but I was determined. I might not have accomplished anything major in most people’s eyes, but to me it was monumental.

I conquered my window nemesis.