Reading one of my novels will take you on a ride through a supernatural theme park.
That might seem odd because neither novel is about the supernatural.
Scalp Mountain is an historical novel set on the Texas frontier in 1876.
Saint of the Burning Heart is about relationships between Anglos and Hispanics in 1960’s Texas (and an obsessive romance).
But in Scalp, Texas Ranger Captain William Henry witnesses the angel of death, and in Saint, a character watches his dead parents fight.
My characters experienced these events for one simple reason.
Because supernatural events happen to me.
You can’t separate the writer from the writing.
I’ve told a few people my stories and they say things like, “Well, sweetie, you are a novelist.”
Okay. Decide for yourself because I’m writing three blogs about supernatural events occurring in my life.
The blogs will run on The Heart of Texas Blog for three weeks, beginning today.
My longest brush with the supernatural (time-wise) happened when I was living in a 100-year-old townhouse in Frederick, Maryland (where I was working for a newspaper).
It was a two-story, red-brick job with a front stoop opening on a busy urban street.
For the first three years, everything was quiet.
Then one night I lay in bed reading and heard someone pacing the floor at the foot of my bed and breathing…loudly.
At first, I thought the sound must be coming from somewhere else in the house, or from outside.
Maybe it was a distant condenser, or…I didn’t know.
I explored the whole house; even the dark closets, even under the guest room bed.
I went down to the basement. You had to go outside and down a set of rickety steps to get there and that place was scary at night.
Think cobwebs and dirt floor.
So I walked around the back yard, then the street in front, then put my ear to the wall separating my town house from the adjoining townhouse.
Convinced it was my imagination, I went back upstairs and got in bed.
There you go. The spirit, damn his eyes, began pacing again, and breathing.
This spirit had to be a man.
I was terrified.
Tucking my head under the covers, I prayed, “God, please make this thing go away.”
It didn’t leave.
One morning I sat in my kitchen eating cereal and that spirit walked right up to me and breathed in my face.
I could hear him. It was disgusting.
Prayer must have worked because after three weeks, the presence disappeared.
But it didn’t leave altogether.
One evening, I had a friend to dinner.
I had a feeling I shouldn’t talk about the ghost, but a good story is a good story so I told my friend about the spirit.
My friend left and I went upstairs to bed.
I was so shocked at what I saw my heart began pounding.
A framed painting, which usually hung beside my bed, sat neatly on the floor, its back against the wall.
The painting was encased in a heavy plaster frame weighing several pounds.
Nothing was wrong with the hanger holding the frame on the wall.
Somebody had taken that painting down and leaned it against the wall, and that person wasn’t me.
My opinion: The ghost wanted me to know he heard me talking about him and yes, indeed, he did live in the house.
One night I was cutting a photo to fit a frame, but was using my manicure scissors because my big scissors were missing.
Bang! The television in my upstairs study clicked on, blaring all over the house.
I hadn’t watched TV for days.
I grabbed an iron skillet and ran upstairs to brain the intruder. Nobody was there. But my big scissors lay on the TV stand.
He never seemed that friendly.
Maybe my guardian angel helped me find the scissors.
I called out, to whoever it was, “Thank you.”