Monday, August 2, 2010
Sandusky House I
On Saturday I took a trip to Lynchburg to visit the historic Civil War site, Sandusky House to hear author L.B. Taylor speak. Taylor is best known as the author of about 45 books -- 21 about Virginia ghosts, including "Haunted Virginia." He's also a well-known speaker on the paranormal circuit.
I went as a guest of a friend who is a member of the Seven Hills Paranormal Society. I had met Mandy a couple of years ago when we were part of a local Roanoke investigative group that has since disbanded. We still perform investigations along with another member, but do not have an "official" group. I've thought about joining Seven Hills, but it's just too darn far away.
Anyway, when we arrived I was surprised to see how many local paranormal investigators there were. I soon found out it was a meeting for the National Paranormal Coalition. I felt like I was at a ghost convention with light snacks. Definitely an eclectic mix of folks.
Taylor gave an interesting talk complete with slides and anti-Yankee jokes, always a crowd pleaser in the South. He explained how he first got started on ghosts -- he was working freelance for a NY publisher compiling ghost stories. When he realized so many of them came from Virginia, especially Williamsburg, he approached the publisher about compiling a book on just Williamsburg. The publisher poo-pooed him saying it was too much of a niche market and it wouldn't sell. He travelled to Williamsburg and went into a couple of the many shops there and asked them if they would be willing to carry a book on Williamsburg ghosts. Many expressed interest. Figuring in the large number of tourists that visit there he decided he would write the book and publish it himself. The rest as they say, was history.
He has a new book coming out, not self-published, "The Big Book of Virginia Ghost Stories" which is a compilation of the "best" ghost stories. I purchased a preview copy and he signed it, "hauntingly yours." The signed copy has taken a place next to all the other signed book copies I've gathered -- another reason why I'm not a fan of E-Books. What's an author going to autograph, my screen? He spoke with me about getting published, offering the story we all heard about Mark Twain and how it took him 50 rejections before he got picked up. I swear that number gets higher and higher each time I talk with an author. He told me to never give up and keep writing. I told him I haven't sent anything out yet and hoped I'd have better luck than Twain! He was entertaining and the biggest surprise was that in all his years following up leads he's never had a personal paranormal experience himself.
Afterwards Mandy and I decided to check out the grounds and house. Just for yuk-yuks I brought along my digital recorder to see if I could pick anything up. I figured a Yankee walking around there might attract some spirits. I was right. I'm putting together a "best of" clip reel with some photos (nothing paranormal) of the house and property. When I finish I'll post it on Youtube and here. The most prevalent phrase captured over and over again is, "I'll kill you." Stay tuned.