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

 

Preview of Ghostly Defenses

Image

Being a Sensitive

I was born with a gift that scared me. I knew when ghosts were nearby.

It started when I was six years old. I would lay in my bed after my mother had tucked me in, allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness. I looked around my room, watching the shadows move at the corners of my room. At first, it didn’t scare me because I didn’t know what I was looking at. It was just something I had always seen. It was normal.

Then, I began hearing a ringing sound that accompanied the moving shadows. The sound swooped in, as if carried on the wind. It swirled around the room, coming closer and closer, until it zoomed away from me again. I wouldn’t understand what it was until I was seven.

That was when I saw my first ghost

It approached my bed, not stopping until it was mere inches away from me. I was so scared, I couldn’t even scream. All I could do was look up at it with terror, feeling the anger radiate from it like something I could see and touch. After a few minutes, I finally found my voice and screamed for my mother, chasing it away.

When I told my parents about what I was seeing and experiencing, they told me it was just my imagination. “There is no such thing as ghosts,” they said.

I experience ghostly activity throughout my life, never fully trusting what I was sensing was true. Was I really feeling ghosts? I didn’t tell anyone for fear they’d think I was crazy. I kept the information to myself until I met like-minded people, people who were sensitives like me.

I happened upon them in the usual way. I was drawn to the field that had held me captive for forty years. I joined a ghost-hunting group. Through them, I met friends who were also able to sense and feel ghosts and I began to learn more about my abilities.

One thing I didn’t count on, though, was the fact that nothing would remain the same. Once I tuned in to this ability, it grew and developed, much like a well-exercised muscle.

Opening that doorway changed everything in my life. I no longer suspected that ghosts and spirits were nearby, I knew it as clearly as I knew the sky was blue. The more I trusted my gift, the better it became, making me more desirable to the spirit world. They began following me home from restaurants, stores, and even from the homes of friends. I had to get a hold of this gift before it got a hold of me. Unfortunately, I walked into a very bad situation I wasn’t prepared for.

I wasn’t protected.

I was like a lamb, leading myself into a den filled with lions. I didn’t understand the impact my ability had in the spirit world, and how vulnerable it made me toward darker energy.

I wrote this guide to help those like me. When I first started out, I had no idea where to turn to. Please consider this a starting place to help you get to where you want to be.

Sometimes we all need a little push in the right direction.

Thank you for reading this preview of my new paranormal guide, Ghostly Defenses. This book can be found on Amazon.com by following the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Defenses-Joni-Mayhan-ebook/dp/B00IMUUDZC/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1393338740&sr=1-3&keywords=joni+mayhan

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

Soul Collector banner for FB

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

Lighting Strikes banner cattailshttp://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Old photographs

Image

I came across the photo quite by accident. I was researching a book I plan to write. I needed old pictures from a house we once lived in – a house that was haunted beyond comparison. My mind was set on looking through all the old photo albums to see if I could find anything amiss, anything that would support the haunting. I was hoping for a creepy face in a mirror or a window, one I’d missed when I so carefully pasted the picture into the album more than twenty years ago.  Instead, I found this photograph, an encapsulated memory that is frozen perfectly in time.

It was 1990. I was just a little older than my daughter is now. Life was complicated, as it often is, but it was easier too.

Having a one-year old wasn’t something I had ever encountered before. Nobody could have fully explained it to me beforehand. It was something I had to experience for myself. Life came with sticky fingers and very little sleep. I shopped with coupons, did the dishes with one arm as I held her in the other. I cooked dinners that were often burned. The house usually looked as though it had been turned upside down and shaken and I seldom wore make-up or brushed my own hair. I had no friends, my husband worked long hours, and my family was a thousand miles away.

And my daughter was nothing like the sweet cherub I’d imagined. She was sometimes an outright terror. She threw tantrums at the drop of a hat. She wouldn’t allow me to snuggle or cuddle her for long, and she refused to take naps. When she was two, she wouldn’t allow me to brush her hair. I had to chase her through the house first. If I was lucky enough to catch her, I had to straddle her and brush her soft curls through her swinging arms. And she always wanted three books to be read to her at bedtime, usually the same three books she always chose. If I tried to skip a chapter to hurry up the bedtime process, craving a few minutes to myself, she’d always catch me, even before she could read herself. It probably goes without saying that she was the love of my life.

Never, had I felt such overwhelming love for another human being. Since the moment she was born, maybe even before then, I felt a connection with her that I’d never experienced before. She was so quick, so smart. She taught me how to look at life in a brand new way. When we put her on her first carousel ride, she spent the duration of the ride studying the gears above her, as if trying to figure it out. She started crawling at seven months and was outright walking by nine months. Nothing would stand between her and what she wanted. She made me examine my life and all the fears that had held me back from my dreams. If a two year old could master uncertainty, why couldn’t I?

When she looked at me with those bright blue eyes and smiled, the world just faded away around us. I would have done anything for her. I would have died for her if I had to. I’d never felt that way before. It was simply mesmerizing.

I’d always considered myself a modern woman. I worked because I enjoyed it. I liked making my own income, not having to rely on someone else for my existence, but it all changed the moment she was born. My values turned on a dime. How could I hand over this precious child to a stranger? How would I know that they would feed her when she was hungry, change her diaper when she was soiled, or looked at her as if she was the most amazing creature who ever existed? I just couldn’t do it. All my priorities,all my thoughts of making a name for myself, fell like dust to the ground. Nothing mattered anymore except for her.

We were living a typical life of newlyweds with a baby. With me out of work, we were suddenly living on one salary in a house we’d just moved into. Vacations were a luxury we only dreamed of. Going to Hawaii was something I thought I’d never do. But then it happened. My in-laws gave us frequent flyer miles to fly to Hawaii on our way to the island in the South Pacific where they lived.

We only spent two days in Hawaii. It was all we could afford at the time. I should have looked around and really appreciated the overpowering awe of actually being in Hawaii. I knew people twice my age who had never been before. It should have been a dream come true and in some ways it was, but I only had eyes for my baby.

I marveled at the way she curled her little pink toes into the sand, squealing with glee as the ocean lapped up onto the shore, covering her feet. I laughed as she chased the seagulls, always out of reach from her outstretched arms. And I loved the way she pointed to her bathing suit, the one with two little fishies kissing, and said, “fishies,” in a proud voice.

I might have seen Hawaii, but the best part was seeing it through her eyes.

As I was packing up my house recently to move further west, I came across that tiny little bathing suit in a cardboard box marked “Laura.” It was nestled in between all the other cast-offs from her childhood: the dress she wore for her first Easter, the handmade unicorn costume she wore in the third grade, a pair of red glittery shoes that she insisted on wearing when she was two. I just held the bikini in my hands for a moment, marveling at how tiny it was. And then I thought about the woman who once wore it.

Laura is now 24. It came as no surprise to anyone that she would never settle for less than what she wanted. Teachers described her as tenacious and social. She made friends easily and took on challenges with the same fearlessness she displayed all throughout childhood. She put herself through college and graduated with a mechanical engineering degree. Unlike many of her peers, who would struggle to find work, she’d already secured employment by the time she graduated. She now works as a nuclear engineer on a Navy submarine in another state. She has many close friends and a new boyfriend I’m eager to meet. If anything scares her, I’ve yet to see it.

Even though I don’t see her as often as I’d like, I still remember moments like this when the world just faded away. I was on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, but I only had eyes for the small jewel in front of me.

My Laura.

Teaser – Bones in the Basement – Haunted House for Sale

Aside

Image

Here’s the first chapter of Bones in the Basement – surviving the S.K. Pierce House. Soon to be published.

Haunted House for Sale

The house was waiting for them.

The three-story Victorian Mansion sat vacant for two full years, looking every bit the haunted house. People drove past slowly, staring up at the empty windows, wondering if the rumors were true. The house was supposed to be haunted.

The Victorian was built in 1875 by Sylvester Knowlton Pierce, a wealthy furniture magnate in the town of Gardner, Massachusetts. The Second Empire Victorian mansion was considered to be a modern marvel of its time. It had two cisterns that once collected rainwater from the slate roof, providing the occupants with running water, something unheard of in the late 1880’s. The house was outfitted with gas lighting, speaking tubes and electric bells for communication throughout the house, and even boasted a dumb waiter which reached three floors. The hand-carved moldings and cornices spoke volumes of a time when houses were built carefully and lovingly. It had 26 rooms, with 4 bathrooms, and a tower with a circular staircase leading to a widow’s walk, providing sweeping views of South Gardner.

The massive doors were nine-feet tall, constructed of solid black walnut and weighed well over five-hundred pounds apiece. Every inch of woodwork was elaborately carved, signifying the status of wealth and opportunity. No detail was overlooked. No cost was too great. The house was simply a masterpiece.

In its 133 year history, the house had lived a variety of lives. After providing a home to the Peirce family for over fifty years, it would also become a boarding house and an artist’s retreat. Legends surrounded it a plenty. Stories of death, destruction, and murder tainted its history, making people wonder about the rumors.

Children gave the house a wide berth at Halloween, crossing the street as they approached, so they wouldn’t get too close. People who lived in the area whispered stories to one another. Some saw faces at the windows or heard strange noises; others had more personal stories to share.

When the house was vacant during the 1980’s and 1990’s, children would slip through the basement window and wander through the house, daring one another to explore the massive structure. Furniture still remained in most of the rooms, dusty and faded, harking back to a time long past. As the children played hide-and-go-seek, one child hid in a closet on the second floor that had once been part of a dumbwaiter. As the child crouched in the darkness, he felt hands clasp around his shoulder. He bolted from the closet, turning to see the smiling apparition of a child smirking back at him. The image would remain with him for decades.

When the house went onto the real estate market in 2006, many people were interested in seeing in. By this time, it had been featured on the SyFy Channel’s paranormal reality show, Ghost Hunters. It was now more than a local novelty. It was famous, but nobody could buy it.

It’s as though the house were waiting for the right people to come along.

Prospective homeowners flocked to the massive Victorian, armed with cameras and wide eyes. Offers were made, but every one of them fell through. After a while, the realtor began screening the viewings, not allowing anyone to bring cameras into the house, wary of all the would-be ghost hunters.

The house was haunted. Everyone knew it except for its future owners.

They would find out soon enough though.

The house was waiting for them and it wouldn’t let go of until it had fulfilled its darkest desires. And once it did, it would expel them from its depths, running for their lives.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

To read more about the S.K. Pierce Mansion, please check out Joni’s book Bones in the Basement.

Bones in the Basement front cover 3

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Soul Collector banner for FB

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Lighting Strikes banner cattails

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Captain Sibley’s Haunting

Image

Riverside Cemetery is nestled in a forest at the end of a one-lane dirt road in the heart of a ghost town. It is both haunting and haunted, two traits that make it hard to forget.

My friend Sandy and I stumbled across it almost by accident several years ago as we explored the dirt roads that laced through the woods just outside Barre, Massachusetts. Somewhere in the wooded acreage, the remnants of the lost town of Coldbrook Springs could be found. We hoped to find an old foundation, but what we found instead was a piece of encapsulated history.

Coldbrook Springs was once a bustling town with two hotels, a bowling alley, a blacksmith shop, post office, billiard hall, a box mill, school, and nearly 35 houses. It was removed in the 1930’s as part of the Quabbin Reservoir project. The state bought all of the buildings and demolished them to provide a clean watershed for the Ware River, which flows into the Quabbin Reservoir and provides drinking water to Boston and its suburbs. People were relocated to nearby towns of Oakham, Barre, and Hubbardston, and the town simply ceased to exist.

Besides a few foundations, the cemetery is virtually all that remains of the old town. We walked the grounds, taking in the mixture of old and new headstones. Birds chirped in the distance as the wind rustled through the tops of the tall pines. At the back of the cemetery we found a monument to the Naramore children, who were killed by their own mother in 1901.  We spend a quiet moment reading the inscription.

Poverty stricken and living with an abusive husband, Elizabeth Naramore went to the town for help. When officials visited the residence, they determined that the children would need to be put into foster homes. Before they could do that, Elizabeth killed them, from oldest to youngest, and then attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide. A monument was erected in the 1990’s to remember the lost children. It’s hard to stand there and not feel a rush of emotion. Over time, the stone has gained a collection of toys and small cars, left by saddened visitors.

Image

As we walked back towards the entrance, I was drawn to a group of three tombstones.

They were old and faded, the words difficult to make out on the worn slate stone. The first stone listed the name of a Catherine Sibley, who lived from 1805 to 1874. Beside her grave was the grave of her husband, Captain Charles Sibley, who lived from 1808 to 1849. And sadly, beside his was the grave of their four children. This was what caused me to pause.

They were listed, one after another, telling a heartbreaking story.

  • James died on October 9th,1843, at nine months old.
  • Catherine died on September 19st, 1847, at 6 years, 5 months.
  • Mary died the day after her sister, on September 20th 1847, at the age of 2 years, 7 months.
  • Charles died the day after Christmas on the same year, December 26th, 1847, at the age of 12 years, 7 months.

Image

We just stood there, taking it all in, trying to wrap our minds around the tragedy of losing four children, two of whom died within a day of one another.  How did they die? Was there a horrible disease that swept through the area, taking their children one by one, teasing them to believe that one would survive, only to have him taken from them the day after Christmas? My heart went out to their parents.

I am always very respectful of the dead, and with this comes a sense of compassion. As a paranormal investigator, I know that not all of the souls pass on like they’re supposed to. When faced with a tragic death, some lose their way and become earthbound. We wanted to make sure this wasn’t the case. We pulled out our digital recorders and conducted a short EVP session.

“Captain Sibley, are you still here?” Sandy asked.

The response was heart wrenching. “Yes, Heaven won’t take me.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/captain-sibley-yes-take-me

The EVP is faint and must be listened to with headphones on high volume. For reasons I can’t explain, the audio has faded over the years, perhaps from being transferred too many times, or possibly for other reasons. Maybe I was the only one meant to hear it.

After listening to it, I couldn’t stop thinking about this poor family and the possibility that the father was still lingering around his grave over one-hundred and sixty years later. I went back to his grave the following week.

In the quiet of the cemetery, I sat beside his headstone and just talked to him. I didn’t know if he was listening or not, but I wanted to help him if I could. I told him about the natural process of what happens to us after death.

“When we die, we’re supposed to cross over into the white light, moving to the place where we’re supposed to go. Some people call it Heaven,” I said. I looked around at the quiet bank of trees, wondering if he was there, or if I was simply talking to myself. I had to continue though.

My voice sounded like a prayer as I began speaking again. “Look for the white light. It’s right above you. All your family is waiting for you. Call out to them to help you cross through.” I took a deep breath and then added something I hoped would help. “God loves you and welcomes you with open arms. Go find the peace and serenity you deserve.”  And then I cried.

I went back several weeks later to see if he was still there. I turned on my digital voice recorder and asked again. “Captain Sibley, are you still here?” Later when I listened to the recording, all I heard was the sound of birds chirping in the background. If he was still there, he wasn’t responding.  I hoped he’d listened to my advice and found the peace he so deserved.  For insurance, a year later I brought a psychic medium to the cemetery and he crossed over five souls. My hope was that if Captain Sibley hadn’t crossed over initially, that he’d gone when the psychic medium gave him another opportunity. Either way, I truly feel he finally found his way.

The story would have ended there if I’d been able to let it go. Thoughts of the Sibley family haunted me. I couldn’t get them off my mind. I reached out to a friend who has a knack for researching and she was able to provide me with more information.  She filled in many of the details for me, fleshing out the bare-boned tragedy and giving it life.

The Sibleys had a long history in Massachusetts. They arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1629, quickly becoming a very prominent family. They boasted statesmen and soldiers of the Revolutionary War, as well as being prosperous business owners.  An early relative of Charles Sibley’s was Mary Woodrow Sibley, who allegedly showed Tibuta and Indian John how to make the urine cakes used to test for witches during the Salem Witch Trials.

Nearly two centuries later, Charles Sibley was born in 1808, the youngest of five siblings. The family relocated to Barre, Massachusetts while he was a child, setting up a homestead just outside of Coldbrook Springs. When he was 25 years-old, he married a woman named Catharine Brigham who was three years his senior. He was listed as “Captain Sibley” on his gravestone, but no information could be found about any military services. In colonial times, this was often added to the name because of the family’s past military service.

They were married for two years before having their first child, a son they named Charles, after his father. Three years later, they would have another son named Nelson. Daughter, Catherine, was born two afterward, named after her mother. The following year, they would add another son, James, to the family, but he would die of whooping cough before his first birthday. In 1845, they would have a second daughter they named Mary. And in 1848 they would have their last child, who they would also name Charles.

They would lose all but two of their children soon after to dysentery.

Dying of dysentery was a very horrible way to go. An inflammation of the lower intestines would lead to a high fever and painful, never-ending diarrhea. Left untreated, the victim would become dehydrated and eventually succumb to the infection. It is often caused by consuming contaminated food or water, or from poor hygiene.  Charles himself would die two years later from Typhoid Fever, after being sick for eight straight days.

Charles’ wife, Catherine would live to be sixty-nine, dying in 1874 in Boston. Her death certificate listed paralysis as the cause of death, although I’m sure there’s more to the story. Sons, Nelson and Charles (the second) would survive both of their parents. Nelson married in 1870 and died in 1900. Charles married in 1882 and died sometime after 1930 in Highgate, Vermont. His occupation was listed as a paper carrier.

There is still so much I don’t know about the Sibley family, and I’m certain this won’t be the last time I’ll think of them.  One thing is certain, I feel as though I was led to his grave for a reason. Maybe it was just to remember them, like they should be remembered.

Or maybe it was to help.

Either way, I’m happy this family found their way into my life.

Heaven will take you, Captain Sibley. You just have to ask again.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Many thanks go to Marian King for her valuable research. You gave me some much needed closure.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Living in the Moment

Image

Take a deep breath. Allow the air to fill your lungs, and just let your mind go still. What are you missing? What is really important in life?

Once you know what this is, latch onto it with every ounce of your being and let it become the priority. Life will go on. Change is inevitable. Bad things will happen. Good things too, if you let them.

For me, it’s all about living in the moment.

I don’t worry about the things that will happen tomorrow and I don’t fret over the mistakes I made yesterday. As long as there’s a tomorrow, there will be another chance to make things right. I refuse to sacrifice this precious moment in front of me for anything else. Like the artist who lingers inside of me, I capture it in my mind and hover over it, protecting it with all my might.

There is a quiet hush in the air as a storm slips in. It is coming in agonizingly slow, stealthily almost, as if it’s trying to sneak up undetected. The day started with an overcast canvas. The flat grey sky highlighted the black bare limbs of the November trees. Everything was utterly still, as if holding its breath, waiting. There wasn’t a squirrel or bird in sight. As I sat by my window watching, I imagined them tucked snugly into warm nests, dreaming of warm days and sunshine.

Life has a resounding element to it, as if nothing happens by accident. The stir of the breeze ruffles the last of the dry brown leaves, sending them scuttling across the hard-packed ground, uncovering an acorn that might be discovered later by a hungry squirrel.  The flurry of the day sparks my imagination, prompting me to grab pen and paper, spilling my imaginings into a place where they will be captured, like a photograph, so I can revisit them later.

Somewhere, not far from my quiet window, the world hustles and bustles, like it usually does. People fight traffic in their cars, noticing the color of the stop lights, but missing the color of the sky. They worry about jobs, money, and unfinished tasks, things that won’t matter at the end of their lifetimes when they are looking back, wondering what they missed.

Life is a series of events. We have no means of dictating most of them. The sun will rise and it will set. New lives will be created, while others are ended. People need to work to pay the cost of simply existing. The things that are in our control often spin away from us just out of reach. We struggle to change the tumbling direction of our lives, but we have no more control of this than we do the wind that blows from the heavens. Just breathe and let it happen.

There is a purpose. You have to trust that. Everything will be okay.

On our deathbeds, will we wish we’d beaten the Main Street stoplight, made a better presentation, or change the mind of a person filled with hatred?

Probably not.

We will wish that we’d spent more time with the ones we loved, enjoying them for the sake of just being together with no expectations. We will wish we’d treated ourselves with more quiet times, allowing our minds to slowly unfurl, appreciating the beauty around us, enjoying all these moments that were practically handed to us with gift wrapping.

The joy isn’t in the results. The outcome isn’t always the goal. Focus too much on the trivial things and we’ll miss the tranquil moments, the times when the world presents itself to us full and whole, ripe for the picking. Eat an apple and feel your teeth sink into the skin, as the juices trickle down your chin. Hug a child, feeling her small hands squeeze you back. Pet a cat and listen, really listen, to the sound of the purr. Delight is just a concept, a creation of our own making. Happiness is where we find it.

I sit in front of the window, watching, taking notice of the world outside. I am living in the moment, as I usually do.

I refuse to waste a single second.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Altered Destiny

ImageDo you ever wonder about your choices?

Sometimes I think life is nothing more than a path filled with forked roads. You find yourself at a cross-road and have to make a decision. Do I go left or right? Just that one simple decision could alter your entire life.

I narrowly missed being involved in a horrific traffic accident once. It really made me stop and wonder about it. I’d misplaced my keys that morning and spent a few extra seconds looking for them. Had I walked out the door at my intended time, I probably would have been killed. Those three or four seconds were life altering.

It made me really consider the concept of destiny. Every second of the day leads to the next second. What we do in those seconds dictates what comes next. Sometimes I don’t feel it’s entirely accidental. It feels like there must be a mastermind behind some of the planning, or at least I hope there is.

For me, my life turned on a dime when I was seventeen years old.

I had no direction in my life. I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school. I didn’t have any passions or dreams. I just meandered from one thing to the next.

Then, one night everything changed.

I had a horrific fight with my mother, which led me to move out of her house and into my father’s house. This meant that I had to also change schools in my junior year of high school. The entire move to a new school was devastating and I didn’t know where to fit in. At my old school, I’d fallen in with a crowd who enjoyed partying, and I became a very devout rebel. When I walked into my new school, I saw in an instant that this just wouldn’t work any longer.

North Posey was literally in the middle of a corn field. The kids who went there were the kind of kids you see on sitcoms, American apple pie and sunshine. Future Farmers of America was a big club in the school, and nearly everybody in town went to the football games each Friday. A party girl from Mt. Vernon, who smoked and drank wasn’t going to last long there.

I tried to fit in. I really did. I hid my smoking and gave up the rebel attitude and tried to find my mid-western roots somewhere deep inside me, but I still just didn’t fit in. I’d changed schools in the middle of a school year, in the middle of my second-to-last year of high school, where friendships had long been established. I wouldn’t find my place friend-wise for nearly a year, but I found my lifelong dream in a classroom.

I didn’t know I was a writer until a teacher showed me that I was.

Mrs. Hunt was always smiling, but she could be tough when she needed to be. She assigned us small writing projects and then helped us improve our technique. I felt as though I’d finally found my calling. It felt like walking into a dream for me. I was mesmerized by the process of putting words on paper and creating something whole. As our projects got larger, I began to really stretch and grow. Mrs. Hunt didn’t let this escape unnoticed. She took my stories and read them to our class, as well as her other classes too. I couldn’t have been happier.

I took what she taught me and expanded on it. I majored in English in college for two years, and after dropping out to join the workforce, took creative writing classes on the side. I joined a writer’s group, wrote short stories, and just kept at it until I’d finally written something worth publishing. I wrote six books before one would be published. Lightning Strikes was actually my sixth book. The others were just practice books.

When I published Lightning Strikes, I wondered what had happened to Mrs. Hunt. I wondered if she knew of the impact she’d had on my life. I decided to find her. I reached out to a friend who still lived in the area and mailed him a copy of my book to give to her. A month later, I received a letter that made me cry.

She had fallen on hard times. Her husband was very ill, and she’d become bedridden. She said she once loved reading, but had given it up years ago. When she got the copy of my book and saw the dedication I wrote to her on the very first page, she cried. It meant the world to her to know that what she had done – the countless lessons she’d taught, had changed someone’s life. That letter was worth more to me than any amount of money in the bank.

If I hadn’t had that fight with my mother, prompting my move to a new school, would I have ended up as a writer? And what consequences did I set into motion when I found my old teacher and thanked her for inspiring me?

In the end, it all counts. Every bad decision, every stroke of luck, every lost key changes your destiny, at least a little. It’s one of the reasons why I always try to do the right thing. I’ve seen people with less integrity find greater success, and I’ve seen Karma look the other way, when she should have shot daggers instead. I’ve never had it easy. Nothing has ever fallen into my lap. I’ve had to fight hard for everything I have, but in the end I’m thankful it was difficult.

It all came together to make me the person I am today.

I’m not perfect, but I’m okay with that.

I’m me. I’m here, and I’m happy.

And I’m a writer.

Life is good.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

The Haunting of the Purple Head Bridge

Image

The Purple Head Bridge is a narrow one lane bridge that connects Indiana to Illinois, spanning the Wabash River with barely a hope and a prayer. Driving across it is fairly precarious. While it’s structurally sound, it’s also only one lane wide. Drivers alert one another by flashing their headlights from the other side.

It’s also incredibly haunted.

Ghost stories abound, but pinning the legend down to just one story is difficult. It depends on who you ask. Some say that a man tried to commit suicide there, but something went horribly wrong. When he jumped from the bridge with a noose around his neck, he inadvertently decapitated himself. The sight of his floating “purple head” can be seen bobbing around the bridge. Others say Ku Klux Klan activity from the 1960’s causes the disturbances. Some blame it on fierce Native American battles as they defended their land. I’m not certain what the cause is, but the area is definitely creepy. I had one of my most frightening and perplexing paranormal experiences there several years ago.

It all started with a trip to Indiana. My entire family, outside of my children, resides in this mid-western state, scattered mostly in the southern tip. When I return for a visit, there is almost always a ghost hunt set up and waiting for me.

Initially my family and friends were taken back by my ghost hunting, but after hearing about my adventures and sampling some of my tantalizing EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena, aka spirit voices) they wanted to experience it for themselves. Through this, I’ve gotten to investigate at several locations I would have never dreamed of pursuing on my own. The Purple Head Bridge is a good example.

Our group was fairly small, consisting of my younger sister, Leah, my old high-school friend, John, and his wife, Melinda. Leah had been ghost hunting with me before, but it would be John and Melinda’s first time. While Melinda was a firm believer in the paranormal, John was decidedly on the fence. He’d have to see it to believe it, which I can appreciate.

It was a muggy summer evening and the cool breeze from the Wabash River was a welcome relief. It had taken us several wrong turns to find the bridge, but once we did, we just stopped at the end and took it all in.

By all accounts, it looked like an old train bridge, but my sister assured me that it sees plenty of traffic since it is the only bridge in the area linking the two states. She told us that we were supposed to drive out to the middle of the bridge and turn off the headlights. If we were lucky, we’d see the purple head floating somewhere near the bridge.

As this turns out, it was nearly impossible and actually quite dangerous. As soon as we drove out onto the bridge, a car appeared at the other end, waiting its turn. Sitting in the middle with no headlights would be a very good way to get rear-ended by an unsuspecting vehicle. So, we moved onto Plan B.

We’d park on the other side and hike down to the river’s edge. Surely if the head floated near the bridge, we could see it from our vantage point below. The only problem with this was the bonfire and party going on nearby. Apparently the bridge is a local hang-out for teenagers in the area. So, we moved onto Plan C.

Being an avid Geocacher (go to Geocaching.com for more info, if you don’t know what this is), my sister knew of a location just ahead where a Geocache was hidden near a single-grave cemetery. She didn’t know if it was haunted or not, but it was worth a shot. We continued down the narrow road. The trees grew in a canopy across the road, providing a dark tunnel for us to navigate through. As we drove, the moon winked through the trees, setting the mood.

We found the area and pulled off the side of the road to park.  We stood for a moment and read the marker. The memorial park was set up for a man named James Johnston, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia, serving in the Revolutionary War.  He apparently survived the battle and lived out his final years in the Indiana/Illinois area. A sign directed us towards a long dark pathway, which would lead us to the memorial park.

The dirt path trailed deep into the forest, providing a perfectly chilling backdrop to what we would soon experience. We walked single-file down the trail, the light from our flashlights bobbed out ahead of us, illuminating swatches of the deep underbrush and the slip of trail that parted between it. A cadence of crickets and cicadas chirped from the depths of the darkness. An occasional car whished past on the main road, just to our right, making us giggle with thoughts of people reporting strange lights in the forest near the haunted bridge. Our smiles soon faded as we reached the end of the path.

The area was no larger than a standard-sized living room. It consisted of a park bench and a single grave, surrounded on all sides by the deep, dark woods. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. The trees barely stirred in the breeze and even the crickets quieted down as we arrived. It was as though the very woods itself was holding its breath, waiting to witness what would happen next.

I sat down on the bench, while the others stood nearby.

“I’m going to do an EVP session, so I need everyone to stand very still,” I said. “I’ll ask a few questions and then wait for a response. Then I’ll turn it over to the next person,” I told them. We’ve found that the best way to do an efficient EVP session is to set guidelines in advance. The first person asks as many questions as they want, before passing it to the person on their left. By taking turns, we never talk over one another, and it gives everyone a chance to participate.  I turned on my recorder.

Before I could begin to speak, I began hearing the sound of voices nearby. I paused, and asked the others if they also heard it. I wouldn’t know until later, but I recorded a very poignant EVP.

“I hear voices. Does anyone else hear that?” I asked.

During the break between my sentences, a ghostly voice says, “I hear annoyed.”

(click the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-1

We all sat quietly for a minute, but couldn’t hear anything. After a while, I pulled out my flashlight. While I’m not a huge fan of using a flashlight as an investigating tool, I will admit that it has its advantages.  Sometimes it comes on instantly when a question is asked. It also gives everyone something to focus on during the EVP session, keeping them both entertained and quiet as they watch the light.

“If there is anyone here with us, can you turn on the light?” I asked.

Almost immediately, I felt something whoosh in from the forest behind me. It felt like a small comet of cold air, blowing into me with a force that sent my hair flying in front of my face.  I jumped up from the bench, startled. As everyone goggled at me, I laughed, embarrassed to be so easily alarmed. Some fearless ghost hunter I was.

“Was that a bug?” my friend Melinda asked.

“No, I just heard something behind me,” I said, embarrassed at my jumpiness. What I didn’t realize, was that I had a very good reason to jump from my seat. The whoosh I felt wasn’t a cold breeze, it was a ghost. And he had a message for us.

“Go away!” he hissed, right before I jumped up from the bench.

(click on the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary

After composing myself again, I sat back down and asked  a few more questions, which went unanswered. I turned it over to the next person in the group, and sat quietly until everyone had a chance to ask questions. No more EVPs were recorded until we got up to move to the grave.

According to the psychic mediums I’ve spoken with, people are supposed to move into a white light when they die. The ones who chose not to cross over are often confused. Some don’t even know they are dead.  I knew there was a ghost nearby, because my ears were ringing, like they do when I feel a ghostly presence.

Image

I began talking about the white light. As my words came out, they almost sounded like a prayer. I told them that the white light was a place of peace and love, and that their families were waiting for them with open arms. I encouraged them to look upwards to see if they could see the light, and to then pass through it to find the solace and redemption they deserved.

As I finished, I promptly stepped backwards and nearly fell in a hole.

When I’m nervous, I can’t always count on my emotions to follow the rules. Sometimes I laugh when I’m afraid, and this was one of these times. As I giggled, you can hear a very distinct response. The most interesting thing about it is the accent. It sounds like it comes from someone with a very strong Southern dialect.

“I’m gonna get the light,” he says.

(press the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-2

We spent a few more minutes there, paying our respects to the fallen soldier before heading back up the path to our cars. The full surprise of what we witnessed wouldn’t present itself until later, when I listened to the EVPs. Then, the full story was told.

I think there were two distinct entities in the woods that night. One wasn’t happy we were there. He swooped in from the very woods to deliver two messages he hoped would chase us away. The other was from a very kindly voiced man, who we hope took our advice and moved into the light.

Was the angry ghost the one who is known to haunt the Purple Head Bridge? It’s not something we’ll ever know for certain. As I left Indiana and headed back to my home in Massachusetts, I spent a lot of time thinking about it.

I hope they both found peace.  I really do.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Rhino Skin

Image

Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review my books.

Now for the back story of how these reviews affect me and other writers like me.

Being a writer means you often put your very soul on sheets of paper and allow the world to do what they like with it. Sometimes the world is very generous. They read your words and flood you with compliments and praise. They ask — no, beg, for you to write something else, and you practically dance back to your computer to happily comply. Those are the great days. They feel like cupcakes for breakfast on a Saturday, when you don’t have to get out of bed until noon.

The others are…well, let’s just say they are brutally honest. They dissect your soul, I mean your writing, as though it’s a lab project and they mean to remove every last organ, one by one, without benefit of pain medications. Those are the tough ones to take.

The best ones are like the one Renee Harrison left me:

“I read straight through Joni’s book in one sitting. She kept me using my imagination to live what she was living through. I also get ringing in my ears and have never thought of why it might be happening, after this book I gained some insight! For those new “ghosthunters” who think it is all fun and games, this book will bring you to a deep realization that bad things can happen when you are unprotected!!!”

Bless her heart. I smiled all day after reading it. Not only had she enjoyed my book, she also learned something valuable that will help her in her day-to-day life.

But then, you get reviews like this one from a woman named Maureen Bogdon:

“though i appreicate what joni went through i did not find the story overly compelling. It seemed as though her thoughts were not very well put together. The biggest emotion i was able to feel through the story was sympathy for her divorce as her feeling during that part of her life were told with some vigor, but after a while it felt overdone and annoying. Futhermore her shameless plugs for “Lighting Strikes” became tiresome…Lastly, and part of me feels bad for saying this..But I’ve heard the key aspects of the story in other fictional supernatural books..Overall this wasn’t a terrible book but wasn’t a good one either”

The first thing I should have noticed was the misspellings, lack of capitalization, and punctuation errors. While I personally struggle with my own comma-usage issues, I would be hard pressed to discredit anyone else for the same thing, but I think I would have been just a little bit nicer when tearing apart her story.  I might have suggested that the book needed to be fleshed out a little more, something I can fully appreciate. Or, maybe she could have said it just wasn’t her cup of tea. I could have lived with that as well. Instead, she took out her ultra-sharp scissors and snipped away a little bit of my soul.

I must have read it twenty times, my eyes wide with disbelief. Did she really just say those awful things to me? She even suggested that I made it all up for the sake of a story, something I assure you I’d never do. She even got it wrong. It wasn’t a divorce! It was a break-up. Seriously!!

I stopped myself short of filling an entire page with my annoyance over her review, while I only wrote two sentences about the great review, the one that filled my entire being with rainbows and butterflies. Why is this?

I think it’s just human nature. It’s the five year old child with a drawing for the refrigerator, hoping Mommy will love it, like it deserves to be loved. It’s finally finding a finger-hold on a crumbling ledge, and then having someone step very carefully and very painfully on your fingers. But it’s also life.

As Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently put it, “Every woman in public life needs to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide.”

So, I will continue on, trying to allow the scar tissue of past wounds build up that rhino skin. But I will also attempt to cling to the good reviews as much as I give safe harbor to the bad ones. If they’re constructive, they’re healthy, and I will grow from them, getting tougher and stronger in the process. I will also write reviews for all of the books I read and love. I’ve written two today alone: one for a very popular writer, and another for a newbie, like myself, who probably needed to hear something nice about her very good book.

If you’ve read my work and loved it, please share this with me as a review on the site you purchased the book from. If you have a constructive criticism, by all means, share this too, but if you’re just a nasty, angry person who wishes to tear down someone else’s dream, please do me a favor and just keep it to yourself.

Very sincerely yours,

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Spiritual Intervention Part 2

Image

I should have listened to the signs. Someone didn’t want me to go to the Haunted Victorian Mansion.

Throughout my life, I’ve come to realize that very little happens by accident. Nearly every situation, ever conversation, every chance meeting leads you to another place in your life. If you look back and track these things, they become very apparent, almost like dominoes tipping over onto one another.

I’ve been strangely drawn to the Victorian since the first time I saw it. I knew that a house in Gardner had been on the paranormal television show, Ghost Hunters, but since I seldom visited the town, I didn’t know where it was. Then as if by chance, I started dating a local guy who showed me a shortcut to Staples. It was a shortcut that led me directly past the huge Second Empire Victorian Mansion.

The first time I saw it, my breath was taken away.

That’s the house, I thought to myself with a sense of awe.

I wanted more in an instant. I wanted to walk inside of it and see the beautiful architecture. I wanted to know if it was really haunted. I wanted to know why it was for sale. I kept my eye on it for several years, making excuses to drive past. When fate intervened again, I had an opportunity to investigate there through a public ghost hunt.

I was mesmerized by what I saw. The house was even more grandiose on the inside than I expected, after seeing the rapidly deteriorating exterior. The rooms inside were garnished with elaborate hand-carved woodwork. Every door was a work of art; every doorknob was a slice of history. I tried to imagine how many people had put their hand where my hand was, how many lives passed through these doors, and how many of them never left.

Over the course of a year, I would investigate there three more times. When I overheard the owners talking about a Halloween Haunted House tour, I quickly volunteered to help. I spent several evenings at the mansion, helping to decorate, and then fought a surprise October blizzard to be there for the seven hour tour.  For the next few years, I would find ways to be there, whether it was to help with investigations and tours, or to help the caretaker shovel snow, or walk through periodically during the long winters when the mansion was closed. In all honesty, it became an obsession to me.

Being intuitive, I had a deeper connection with the spirits at the house than was probably healthy. I felt bad for them, having to go through investigation after investigation, and would have conversations with invisible people, hopefully comforting them with the thought that the funds raised were going into the house repairs. I began helping with fundraising events and connected the owners to a friend of mine who did websites, I found a contractor who’d donate his time to do some of the repairs. I blogged about my experiences there, even including a chapter in my book, The Soul Collector. I defended them when they were under attack from several members of the paranormal world.  I never turned down a chance to be there, even after I moved over an hour away.

My friend, Sandy, saw it and worried about me. “You need to make a break from that house. It has an unnatural hold on you,” she told me.

I didn’t disagree, but I was like an addict, needing a fix. “You are probably right,” I’d tell her, and then make plans to be there the following weekend. Even after my friend MJ had a strange dream about me, warning of future trouble, I still didn’t heed the warnings. She saw me working in the nursery, while a ghost in the room told her that I wasn’t allowed to leave, that I belonged to the house now. Most people would have listened to something as potentially prophetic as that, but not me.

One October afternoon, I’d promised MJ that I’d bring her to see the house. She’d always wanted to see the inside, but couldn’t manage the investigations with small children at home.  By this time, I was writing a book for the owners about their experiences, so I wanted to stop by for another interview.

The day started fine, but the closer I got to the event, things started happening to prevent me from arriving. First I started getting a migraine. When I staved it off with massive amounts of migraine relief, the next thing happened: my GPS didn’t recognize her address. When I worked around that, I inadvertently drove for ten minutes the wrong way on Route 2, before realizing my mistake. And then, I didn’t have a key and the owner was going to be late. And through the entire afternoon, my ears were ringing, ringing, ringing.

Being clairaudient, I can hear ghosts and spirits. A ghost makes a sound that immolates static or white noise. A spirit, someone who has crossed over into the white light, has a pure high pitch. One bothers me and the other comforts me. This tone was high-pitched, making me wonder who was with me. Was it a spirit guide? A relative who had passed on? I didn’t know, but it gave me the impression that it wasn’t happy with me.

I’ve been told that we all have spirit guides or guardian angels who look after us. I could imagine mine pretty clearly. Protecting me would be a job nobody would want considering the places I always seemed to visit. I could imagine them with their heads in their hands, saying, “not again!” This one wasn’t any different.

When we finally arrived at the Victorian, everything grew silent.  The ringing grew quiet and I completely forgot about it. We had an enjoyable evening sitting around the kitchen table talking with the owner and friends of the Victorian. A group had booked the mansion for an investigation, so we tried to stay out of their way out of respect for their evidence, knowing that when someone is walking around, it causes contamination on the audio and video recordings. MJ and I waited until they broke for dinner and made a mad dash to the master bedroom for an evp session.

We spent about fifteen minutes there, speaking almost freely to several ghosts in the room, before moving to the third floor Billiards Room. I made the mistake of calling the male ghost forward to talk. He didn’t seem very happy, responding with a derogatory comment.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/jay-are-you-here-f-k-no

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/i-know-who-you-are-youve-got

As I left that night, I could hear the sounds of several tones in the car with me. None of them were spirits. They were all ghosts. It was enough to make my skin crawl.

“You need to go back to where you came from,” I demanded several times. Being appropriately cautious, I’d taken the normal precautions of burning sage, saying prayers, and carrying my special totems with me to help keep me protected. None if them worked though. I had a car full.

Since moving, I was pleased to have my bedroom all to myself. Gone were the constant feelings of being watched and everything else that goes along with a haunting. But over the course of the next few days, I’d see my sunny bedroom become dark, as though the light were being sucked away into a vacuum. The ghost tones would come and go, causing my cats to watch invisible shapes move around the room. On Wednesday night, as I was taking a bath, one of my kittens yelped from outside the door. When I found him cowering on the stairs, I carried him to my room, where he refused to leave my side. The other cats kept coming up to sniff him, as though something were wrong. Seldom do I turn on ghost hunting equipment in my own house, but I needed to know if it was paranormal or not.

“What happened to my cat?” I asked the Ovilus.

“Sqeeze” it said. I got chills from head to toe.

I woke the next morning with the feeling of someone lingering very close. The sound of ear ringing was so loud, I couldn’t hear anything else. Suddenly, I felt something grab both sides of my head and squeeze. The sensation wasn’t painful, but it was alarming. I jumped up and told it to stop.

“Just leave me alone!” I told it, wanting to get another few minutes of sleep. It was bad enough that the cats were frequently waking me up before my alarm, wanting breakfast, but now ghosts?  The reprieve only lasted a few minutes before it was repeated.

After I’d had my coffee, I knew I needed to do something. I tried to convince them to cross over into the light. I’ve had success in doing this in the past, but this time they weren’t budging. It was time to call in the reinforcements. I put a message out to Barbara Williams.

Barbara is a psychic medium who lives in Maine and is director of New England GHOST’s Maine branch. She’s helped me many times before and she’s someone I trust fully.

She did something very interesting, and if I hadn’t witnessed it myself, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. She set up a remote cross-over session.  She connected with two other mediums, as well as myself, and set a specific time to help the ghosts move on.

As the time grew near, I could feel the ghosts moving closer to me. I don’t always get psychic impressions of what’s around me. Usually I just hear the tones and try to figure it out by the register of the pitch, but this time it was very clear to me. I had a woman, a man, and a child. There were also two others there as well, souls that had been with the house I’d moved to.

I stood in the middle of my room, feeling foolish as I usually do when talking to invisible people, and closed my eyes.

“It’s time,” I told them. “You need to move on.” I told them about the white light and how it is a place of peace and serenity. Why stay here in a world where you don’t belong? Why be miserable when you can find the harmony and tranquility you deserve? After several minutes I could feel them cross. I was a little troubled though. I could still hear the sound of one lingering.

I just let it go for the moment. The female had stayed behind.

I saw her very clearly in my mind. She was in her early forties, with long dark hair. She wasn’t thin, but she wasn’t heavy. She carried the weight of the world in her eyes. If she were alive, we could have probably been great friends. She didn’t seem threatening. I’ve been around malevolent entities before, so I know how that feels, and she wasn’t giving me any of the same bad vibes. I felt like she just wasn’t ready.  She seemed sad. Maybe she had some unsolved issues she needed to attend to. I went back to my Ovilus.

“What do you want to tell me?” I asked.

The Ovilus spoke almost instantly. “Cancer,” it said. It then spit out several other words that were seemingly random and didn’t make any sense, but then repeated the word “cancer” again two more times. After a few days, I contacted Barbara again and told her I still had one left that I needed help with.

Barbara promised to help me and moments later I heard the tone begin to fade. After several seconds it was gone for good. I reached out to Barbara again, hoping to gain more insight. What she told me was very thought provoking. Being a very talented medium, Barbara was able to talk with the woman. She told her that she died of cancer, but wanted to stick around to watch over her family. She’d found me by happenstance, following me home hoping for help. No one is sure how she ended up at the Victorian, since she is more contemporary, and she didn’t seem to know the answer herself. Maybe she followed another intuitive person, hoping for help, and ended up there by accident. It’s something we’ll never know for certain.  What we do know is that she finally crossed after being reassured that she could come back later to watch over her family. It was good to know.

My new house is no longer haunted and my nights are my own again. I don’t understand why this is all happening to me, but it’s helping me learn so much more about this mysterious amazing world we live in.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

 Soul Collector banner for FB sale

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

There was always something different about Elizabeth

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm