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

 

Dating the Paranormally Challenged – Part 2

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“Don’t tell me if I have a ghost in my house,” my date told me as we walked into his house.

We’d only been dating for several weeks, and I’d barely given him the Joni 101 presentation on my affinity for dead people, but it didn’t matter. He found out soon enough. My life is an open book, literally.

In 2011, I experienced a terrifying experience when a demonic attachment latched onto me and wouldn’t let go. After two years of struggling with the decision, I finally decided to share my story. When The Soul Collector came out, it was well received and continues to remain in the top ten in its genre on Amazon.com. It helped me make a name for myself in the paranormal literary world. I’ve sold several thousand copies of this book, have been on more than a dozen radio shows, am invited on many very cool paranormal investigations, and have made some wonderful friends. In writing that book, I’ve also helped countless others, but what started as a way to share my experience with sensitives like me who attract the unwelcomed attention of things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, ended up as being my own little horror show.

Google my name. Go ahead. I dare you.

Several hundred links come up about me. Many are links to my books, but there are also links to my blog, my website, and best of all, all the radio shows I’ve been on. Listen to five minutes of any one of the shows, and you’ll hear me talk about how I hear ghosts as they swoop into a room. Do a Google image search of me and you’ll see dozens of photos of me, including the cover of The Soul Collector, where I’ve adorned my own face with a nice fat drip of bright red blood. Intrigued yet? Wanna go out with a woman who frequently has dead people floating above her bed at night?

I am a sensitive. It’s not something I asked for or something I even wanted. Somewhere, somehow, somebody decided that in addition to the normal five senses, I was given a sixth sense: the ability to detect and sometimes communicate with ghosts. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll know that I don’t always seek out these lost souls. I can’t just stop ghost hunting. They find me at movie theaters, restaurants, and at the homes of my friends. They stalk me while I’m pushing a cart down the aisle at the supermarket, and they pounce into my car while I drive along the highway.

It wasn’t always that way. For a good portion of my life, I suppressed the ability, managing to keep myself off the ghostly radar, but once I began delving into paranormal investigations, the ability grew stronger. So…imagine bringing someone else into the mix. Imagine dating someone who doesn’t even believe in ghosts.

When I start dating a new guy, the cat is out of the bag once I tell them my last name. As soon as I go from Joni to Joni Mayhan, all they have to do is search for me on Google and they’ll know more than they bargained for. Most men would go running for the hills. Judging by my track record over the past several years, most already have. If I have any secrets left, they are sparse. Someone told me that I am quickly becoming the Taylor Swift of the writing world. After one book, detailing my failed relationship prior to my demonic attachment and a blog discussing a recent date, I can’t say I blame them. Sometimes it’s just hard to keep a lid on it. If some of you are honest, you’ll admit that you’re glad I didn’t. It makes for interesting reading, providing you aren’t the guy in Chapter 7.

It’s like an evil recipe. Dating in 2014 isn’t easy to begin with. Add in the fact that I just turned fifty and my odds of meeting my Prince Charming are even slimmer. Stir in a pinch of the paranormal – okay, a bucket full of the paranormal – along with a heaping spoonful of I-can-tell-if-you-have-ghosts-in-your-house and we have one motley batch of I’m-just-going-to-adopt-fifty-more-cats-and-be-done-with-dating.

Case in point was the last guy.

“Don’t tell me if I have a ghost in my house,” he told me as we walked into his house.

I tried to suppress the images that popped into my mind, but there was no denying the ringing in my ears, a sign that more than one ghost was present. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t push them away. They were gleeful to have someone recognize them, for better or for worst.

The first one I encountered was an older man. He was balding with glasses and was on the chunky side. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was picking up on about him. He seemed distracted, not completely tuned into the world around him. He was confused and kept turning away as if searching for something. Later, when I saw a photo of new-guy’s late father and heard the story surrounding his death, it wasn’t difficult to put two and two together. He died with a brain injury, which often accompanies the soul into death. The confusion and distraction were signs that he died without realizing it. He will need to be helped by a talented medium, someone who can gently guide him into the light and onto the other side. I don’t bill myself as a talented medium. I’m just a sensitive who is still growing into her abilities, but I can cross over lost souls. I’ve done it many times before. I feel bad because I could have helped this man, but new-guy ran for the hills after learning of my abilities. Go figure.

The other ghost I encountered wasn’t one I wanted to spend much time with. In fact, I’m thankful she didn’t attempt to follow me home. She was a woman in her fifties or sixties with a long face and jet-black hair. In some ways, she reminded me of the actress Anjelica Houston. When she realized I knew she was there, she turned with an evil gleam in her eye and stared me down. I didn’t get as clear of an impression on where she came from or why she was still there. She deliberately kept that information from me. I worry about what she will do going forward. She was very powerful and very angry.

Something about the upstairs also bothered me. Sometimes I feel inhuman spirits, like shadow people or demonic beings, differently than earth-bound ghosts. They linger in the shadows, hiding in places where people won’t immediately see them. It reminds me of the “monster in the closet” or “monster under the bed” from my childhood scenarios. Some beings are happy to remain hidden. They feed off the living, pulling energy from them to provide them with more ability. People who are affected often feel drained, even though they’ve had enough sleep. They wake frequently at night and can’t get back to sleep. They have horrific nightmares. If they begin to have personality changes on top of all of this, it could be a sign of possession, the very worse-case scenario.

So, if you were my new-guy, would you want to know all of this was happening in your home-sweet-home, or would you rather leave the monster to continue hiding under the bed? It’s actually a pretty easy answer, at least it is to me. Just because they haven’t alerted the living to their presence doesn’t mean they won’t. When things truly begin to go bump in the night, wouldn’t you want someone with answers close at hand? Taking this a further step, wouldn’t you want access to someone who knows paranormal specialists, demonologists, and experienced psychic mediums?

I would, but that’s just me.

So, as for my future in the dating world… The new-guy went AWOL and I’ve pulled my profile off the online dating site. I’m hoping to one day run into someone else of my kind, someone who will understand the struggles and embrace my obsession with the paranormal world. Stranger things have happened, especially in my world.

 

 

 

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

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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.

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

 

 

Preview of Ghostly Defenses

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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

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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.

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Old photographs

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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

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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

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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

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Captain Sibley’s Haunting

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Living in the Moment

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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