1. What was your prime motivation and inspiration for creating your new book, "The Ghost in the Coal Cellar"?
My prime motivation has a few parts that all work together.
a. to educate people about the paranormal through stories of various true hauntings
b. to show people suffering from paranormal issues that they are not alone and need not feel embarrassed to seek help. There are many like me out there to help them find answers.
c. to show fans of paranormal entertainment what a real investigation entails and how it feels for an investigator - get them invested in the actual investigation as if they're right there with me.
d. to entertain of course, without the embellishments to make the story seem grander. To me, the truth can be crazier than what you can invent.
e. (have to sing the alphabet song in my head lol) my biggest reason was to share stories that needed to be shared. Many hauntings happen for reasons, and their stories deserve a chance to be told.
2. Could you give us some details about the actual story of the ghost in the coal cellar?
Everything in the book about that chapter is pretty much what it was. It's all true, and it's all filled with the emotions I felt from seeing the full body apparition, to the physical attack by something that seemed dark and unhappy. I'll tell you what I pulled away from the experience... do not become a paranormal investigator if you're not fully aware that it's not all Casper the friendly ghost, or friends jumping out and saying BOO and everyone giggles hysterically. There are times when you may encounter a force that is physically and emotionally draining. I encountered that in the coal cellar of the First Ward. In my career, I have encountered a few things that didn't sit well with me... but to be honest... there is something about that cellar that, to this day, gives me nightmares. I don't think it's simply a mean, angry spirit. I sometimes get the feeling it's much worse that. I'm hoping to get a chance to revisit one day and continue my research and figure out just what's going on in that place.
3. What would you like to share with us about Mission Point Resort?
I adore Mission Point Resort. I have to say, of all my encounters, this is one of my favorites. The spirits are generally in a festive mood and tend to be some of the more active spirits I've encountered. I recently went back after this book was published - and the spirits seemed excited to hear that they were about to become famous because they were more active than usual after I told them that. I even was able to capture a mysterious mist in a photo that we have yet to determine the origins of, that happened immediately after I asked the resident ghost, Harvey, if he'd let me take a photo. This question was followed by an EVP of a male voice saying "okay" - and then the mist in the photos. There was also a funny story about a rubber ducky that... well, maybe I'll leave that story for the next book. It's a great place, great people, an awesome gift shop called "haunts of Mackinac" (run by author of the book of the same name), and Harvey and Lucy - the two spirits that reside there - are just a lot of fun to deal with. They are very active. (although Lucy, a little girl, seems more comfortable around women than men with the exception of those who work there who she is use to.) Although bringing small gifts, like the ducky, helps.
4. What about phantom lights chasing cars? What do you think these are and would you share the story?
Well... I can't really say much without giving it all away - I'd like for people to read the book - however, it's mainly because the story really isn't a simple one. There are a few different phenomenons happening there. Some I believe are natural/man made - some I believe are paranormal. A lot of things happened that can't simply be explained as cars, or ball lightening, or willow-the-wisps (a natural phenomenon caused by swamp gasses and decaying vegetation matter. Also known as Corpse Candles). There are other things going on there that are not natural. I will be featured on an upcoming Weather Channel Special called "Strangest Weather 2" that discusses the phenomenon. It's suppose to air at the end of summer or beginning of fall. I'm waiting on the email that states directly when. It should be interesting to see a deeper look into the phenomenon.
5. Will you share the story of the rocking chair with us?
It's a heartwarming story. Not all ghosts are bad, not all spirits are there to scare us. We are still working on the how and why they're still here.. but contrary to some who believe as spirits are demonic... I've encountered some who are still here, but don't mean harm. If you don't understand the paranormal, it can be scary none the less to encounter a spirit regardless of its intentions. That is kind of what the story is all about. I actually cried a little after this investigation. I became so invested in the family and the spirit once we pieced together why it was at that house. I think those who read the book will understand why.
6. How about the First Ward School House? What happened there?
Answered in question 2. The Coal Cellar was in the First Ward.
7. This is a wild card question. What would you like to share with us from your book that our readers might enjoy?
I know this sounds silly, but I think the whole book is something readers will enjoy. It goes deeper than a lot of other ghost story books. It tells you the history of the places involved, a history of the some of the people, eye witness accounts, and you get to see it through my eyes. The paranormal is not all bells and whistles and "OMG DID YOU SEE THAT?" A lot of it is taking in the scenery, the mundane, the exciting, the scary. You get to be a paranormal investigator reading this book. You will hear what I hear, see what I see, and try to understand things from my point of view as I lay out reasons to why I came to the conclusion I did. It plays out very much like an actual investigation I perform from beginning to end. I don't even exclude the more dull "nothing happened" parts. The reason behind this is... it's time people realize there is more to paranormal research than what you see on an edited to fit in 1 hour (with commercials) television show.
8. What are you working on next book wise or projects wise and any links you'd like to share with us?
I'm actually working on a few potential books. Another one similar to this, only with a few more stories... a paranormal book that is part a "how to" guide to becoming a paranormal investigator along with true ghost stories from my investigations that set as an example for what I'm trying to teach the readers. I am also working on a children's illustration book, taking some of my more fun and lighthearted investigations and turning them into something children can enjoy. After all, children will one day become our future paranormal investigators. Basically - I want to continue my investigations to help further the paranormal research field, to help people with paranormal problems along the way, and then share those stories with everyone to help continue paranormal education.