For more Halloween goodness, I have an author guest post, bio and excerpt of the anticipated horror anthology FEAR! Feel free to check out other stops on the novel's tour through the Book Me! site! Also, there's a pretty sweet giveaway connected to ths anthology. Give it a look:
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Why London is too busy for ghosts - by Die Booth
A while ago I met up with a friend who used to live in Chester but had moved to London a few years earlier. During the course of our evening’s conversation he said one thing that really struck me. Apparently, back in Chester, he had been - unbeknownst to me at the time - something of a medium. Despite being so interested in the supernatural and writing mainly horror, I’m about as sensitive as a brick wall (I’ll touch more on that later) but he, apparently, sees dead people - or, at least, used to.
“Sometimes I’d walk down Castle Drive, down by the river, in the middle of the night. It’s a terrifying place on your own in the dark,” he told me, “I’d sense and see things.” He also apparently used to see someone standing over his bed whenever he slept in his mother’s house. But since moving to London, he’s not seen a single spooky thing. “I think it’s too busy for ghosts in London,” he said, and that got me thinking.
I, the brick wall, have seen a couple of things in my lifetime that I haven’t been able to explain away, but whilst they've most been in broad daylight, they've all been in Chester and when very few other people have been around. There are many theories on what ghosts are. Stone Tape Theory, where bricks and stones (namely, buildings) ‘record’ energy from the past in their fabric to replay - when you demolish the building, you get rid of the ghosts. Theories that suggest bodies of water (especially underground) - like rivers - act in the same way. Ghosts are often seen as sort of electrical waves or impulses, universal interference as it were. They cause electromagnetic fluctuations in the air that can be picked up on specialist equipment, their voices can be captured as EVP on recording devices.
You have to wonder, though, why ghosts are usually seen by lone individuals at night though. Often on stairs or in pub toilets or creepy isolated cellars, why is it that they always target the loners? Is it because people on their own are more paranoid, more prone to nervous flights of fancy - or is it because if you’re with friends then you’re taking notice of your mates and can easily miss any external happenings, while if you’re alone then you’re taking much more notice of your surroundings? It’s something to think about. Apparently, a lot of ghost sightings happen on stairs - stairs being the one place in a building where there’s virtually guaranteed to be absolutely no external distractions; no television, no radio, not even any furniture. You can take this theory further, too. In the good ol’ haunted days, people looked around more. It’s true. If your friend went to the toilet and you were left waiting for them in the haunted bar, you had nothing better to do than sit around and wait for the ghost to show up. Now, you can see any number of heads in bars bent over iphones, totally immersed in technology and unaware of surroundings. People walking home at night are listening to their ipods, not to the clip-clopping of ghostly hooves. It’s difficult to imagine that the protagonist of Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad would have been quite so intimidated by the figure on the beach if he’d been listening to the Kaiser Chiefs through his earbuds. People these days are just too busy for ghosts.
If you subscribe to the ghosts-as-electrical-energy theory, you can take this idea one step further, too. With more and more gadgets permanently fired up around our homes, more radio waves and broadband and satellite television and microwaves, isn't it possible that the ghost-frequency-signals might be suffering from interference and that’s why the lone midnight traveller on the quiet county road sees more ghosts than harassed fluorescent-lit office workers in the big city.
With this in mind, I wrote my short story ‘To Be Heard’ which features in the Crooked Cat charity anthology ‘Fear’. It’s about how modern day Londoners are too busy and detached to see ghosts any more, and what the ghosts are going to do about it. I’m sure some ghosts are still seen, despite electrical interference and people who don’t really take notice of their surroundings. I’m sure that, often, people don’t even realise that the person they've just passed on the stairs wasn't alive. Who knows - you might have passed a ghost in the street today and not even realised it.
Die Booth - To Be Heard
There’s something nasty in my flat.
I moved in here last August and I never liked it. It’s like a cupboard, although I suppose that’s par for the course here, and the bathroom walls get all this black damp on when you have a shower because there’s no ventilation but there still manages to be draughts somehow. It’s freezing. Maybe that’s where the atmosphere comes from, like, cold spots like you read in ghost stories. It’s just not a nice place, something I can’t quite define. About a month after I moved in, I started to feel it – a sort of paranoia I suppose, a dizzy, disorienting feeling like an invisible hand on the back of your neck, like when you've watched a horror film on your own at night and you know logically that there’s nothing to be afraid of but you still look over your shoulder when you’re cleaning your teeth before bed. I think I just don’t like living on my own; I only felt like that when I was in the flat, outside in the anonymous bustle of the crowds I was ignored again, but unwatched.
Die Booth Bio:
Die Booth lives in Chester, UK and enjoys cake, old things and dancing the gothic two-step. When not exploring abandoned places or attending Chester Writers, Die writes speculative fiction for places like Litro and the Fiction Desk, has recently co-edited the 'Re-Vamp' anthology and is currently rewriting and illustrating 'Beauty and the Beast' for a charity fairytale anthology called 'The Art of Fairytales'. You can visit Die at http://diebooth.wordpress.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Die-Booth/159600975597