It's true - I believe in ghosts and I'm happy to announce it, even if many people think I'm a bit of a nutter. But how many people could honestly say they are not remotely interested when shows like Ghost Adventures or Most Haunted UK are on television?
There's a growing interest in the after life, along with the question: do they or don't they exist. It's my opinion that more people believe in the spirit world than are willing to openly admit it - how else to explain the immense popularity of writers like James Herbert, Dennis Wheatley and of course, the master himself, Stephen King.
I enjoy a good, ghostly tale and one of my favourites is a series of books written some years ago by Deryn Lake under the name Dinah Lampitt - the Sutton Place trilogy. These books stand among many well-written, well-researched books, that inspired me to become a writer.
During the process of writing Torn, I introduced a very small character who went by the nondescript title of the lady. I deliberately left out information about the lady because I wanted readers to wonder who she was, why she randomly popped up and the reason she seemed to appear only to Alex, my main character.
All these questions will be answered, of course, in the third and final installment of the Broughton series - Torn and Inviolate being the first two.
Now, back to my opening question - do you believe in ghosts? As I've already stated, I do believe in ghosts because I know what I've seen. I know they are part of the world we inhabit, and this is why, even in an historical romance novel, I have a ghostly character.
Many of my short stories contain ghosts, for example, On a churchyard wall and The last goodbye, both of which were featured in my book All That & Everything.
Today, I'd like to share a couple of my own, very real ghostly experiences.
Probably the first spooky encounter I had happened one afternoon when I saw my Uncle Roy standing in the garden outside our family room window. I must have been less than five years old and I remember, as clear as yesterday, seeing him standing on the other side of the window looking back at me.
When I told Mum, she came over to the window and asked me where he was. I still recall the sense of frustration as Mum kept saying, "Where? I can't see him." I was stabbing at the window with my finger saying, "There! There!"
Uncle Roy was my dad's uncle by marriage, and unbeknown to me, Dad was attending Uncle Roy's funeral at the moment I saw him in our garden.
Another of my spirit encounters was my Grandma's Pekingese dog, Koo-Soo, or Kooie to her friends. Once again, I was standing in the window looking outside but this time it was night time and I was watching some movement in the shadows of the garden. Even today, in my bright, sunny office, I can feel the shock and horror as the shape emerged from the darkness. Koo-Soo, trotting with tail up in Pekingese style, happy as you like toward me.
I was by then about eleven or twelve and Kooie had only recently passed away. To say I was scared stupid would be an understatement. I ran away from that window, and for months afterwards, tried to avoid looking outside at night.
Over the years, I've seen numerous other animals - including most of my own dearly departed pets - and more people than I can possibly remember - too many experiences to even begin documenting here.
Friends and strangers alike ask me if I can see anyone with them, or do I have messages from loved ones. Others invite me to inspect properties for them before they decide to rent or buy in the hope that I can get a feel for the 'energy' of the property or identify any previous occupants.
Communication with the spirit world is such an important part of who I am that it would be impossible for me to not write about spooks.
In recent times, I've joined a group of ghost hunters called Ghost File Investigations as we visit some of Australia's, reportedly, most haunted locations. As one of two resident mediums on the show, it's my role to identify any spirit activity and direct the investigators to those locations.
The investigators use all manner of scientific gadgetry (amateurs!) to confirm my findings. It is then married up with the physical evidence confirmed by the historical records our researcher tracks down.
It's fun, exhausting and often terrifying work - yes! I get scared!
Funnily, when we first formed GFI, we brought on board an equipment specialist, Tim. Tim was a staunch skeptic, and regardless of where we were or what we were filming, he continued to claim skepticism. Now, after working with GFI for a number of investigations, Tim is no longer a skeptic!
As a little girl, I spent innumerable nights lying, petrified, in my bed praying there would be no spectral visitors to my room. I often credit this fear as the main reason I read so many books as a child. Too afraid to turn the light out, I read books until I eventually fell asleep - with the light on.
These days, I still sleep with the light on!
I believe in ghosts. I have had waaaay too many experiences not to believe. Consequently, with the spirit world being such a pervading part of my life, it would be impossible not to include ghostly characters in my fiction writing.
I have a number of books planned for the future. One particular book will feature a spooky main character - as requested by my Dad - a couple of years after he passed away.
Follow my facebook page for updates on my books and GFI activities.
Until next week - keep an open mind!
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