Authors: Marley Gibson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston New York 2009
Copyright Â© 2009 by Marley Gibson
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Graphia,
an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book,
write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company,
215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.
Graphia and the Graphia logo are registered trademarks of
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
The text of this book is set in Bembo.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Control Number
Manufactured in the United States of America
QUM 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Thanks, first and foremost, to Deidre "Professor" Knight for her undying support of me and my writing career. The coach to my quarterback; the conductor to my orchestra; the seasoned batter to my deep-fried chicken. And for stepping off an airplane and planting the seed that eventually blossomed into the Ghost Huntress series.
Thanks to the incomparable Julia Richardson, who got exactly what I was trying to do with this series from the get-go. And to everyone at Houghton Mifflin for the wonderful support of Kendall and her pals.
Thanks to everyone at The Knight Agency, the TKA Sistahs, the Bunnies, the Sporkies, the Trackers, the Buzz Girls, NEC, CLW of TW, and the YARWA. Yes ... all of those things mean something to the right people. A special shout-out, as always, to the WACs, Dr. Jessica Andersen and Charlene "Charmander" Glatkowski, for their daily support.
Thanks to my critique partners on this book: Wendy Toliver, Jenn Echols, and Diana Peterfreund.
Thanks to everyone at my day job who loanedâokay,
me to useâtheir names for series characters. To my boss, Matt Raynor, for understanding what my writing means to me.
To my "spiritual" advisors on this whole project: the folks at the New England Ghost Project. Thanks to Ron Kolek, Maureen Wood, Jim Stoner, and Clay and Janet Rucker for all the fun on the ghost investigations.
To the experts in the paranormal community for supporting me: Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Chip Coffey, Chris Fleming, Michael and Marti Parry, "Darkness" Dave Schrader, and Patrick "Captain Knots" Burns.
Thanks to Comcast for bringing me hours of
Ghost Hunters, Ghost Whisperer, Lisa Williams, Most Haunted, Dead Famous, Haunting Evidence, Psychic Kids, Paranormal State,
and all the other shows I absorbed while researching Ghost Huntress.
Thanks to Joe and Lizanne Harbuck, the parentals; to my sister's family, Jennifer, Dave, Sarah, Josh, and Stephanie Keller; and to my brother, Jeff Harbuck, for all of their love and support.
Finally, thanks to Mike and The Team, as always, for putting up with the
of the keyboard when I'm in the writing blood fever. Thanks for doing the dishes and taking out the trash and designing my website and buying ghost-hunting equipment and accompanying me on all of these research trips. I couldn't have done this alone ... nor would I have wanted to.
To the other two members of The Unholy Triumvirate,
Maureen Wood and Deidre Knight.
I couldn't have written this book without two such strong,
positive women in my life.
Luv, hugs, and light!
I met Marley Gibson at one of the many paranormal conferences I regularly attend, and an instant friendship was born between us.
When I found out Marley was writing a Ghost Huntress book series, I was excited for her and offered to write the foreword for the first novel. Because the book is about a teenage ghost hunter, I had to seize the moment. I knew I had a unique opportunity to speak to the next generation of ghost hunters.
Reading Marley's book, I found many parallels to how I work in real life and what actual paranormal investigations are like. I read about investigations during which nothing "paranormal" happensâtrue to life. I read about an investigator going through a spiritual awakeningâanother thing that happens to many investigators. I was impressed to read such an accurate account of many facets of paranormal investigation, because so much of our work in this field is distorted by the very eyes and ears we experience it through. This genuine edge to Marley's work stems from her firsthand insight into how paranormal investigators really operate, as she is one herself.
While we are all entertained watching ghost hunting and paranormal investigation on television, it's important to remember it is just thatâentertainment. To the new generation of ghost hunters, I urge you to take media accounts of paranormal activity with a grain of salt. No, that investigation was not really conducted and concluded in thirty minutes! What you see on television is almost always distorted in the editing room. No, you're not going to experience a paranormal event on every investigation. The harsh reality is that ninety-nine percent of the time spent on an investigation is waiting for something to occurâif it occurs at all. This is clearly not a pastime for the impatient or the hyperactive.
Neither should it be construed that what is presented on television is the final, irrefutable word. We are all still learning in a field that is almost entirely hypothetical in nature. Investigators can (and do) make mistakes and errors in assessing the evidence they collect. As such, I believe paranormal evidence is always inconclusive. We have no smoking gun pointing toward the existence of paranormal phenomena. Data collected at the present time cannot withstand the scrutiny of science. So we are left to speculate and hypothesize on the phenomena we observe and document. While it's fun to entertain the notion of the existence of ghosts, it's still inconclusive at the end of every investigation.
I'm often asked what is the most important piece of equipment to bring on a paranormal investigation. The answer to that inquiry is simple: an open, objective mind. I have seen many promising investigators (and even a few seasoned veterans) get themselves swept up in the thrill of the hunt. No foul on their partâthe adrenaline rush we experience while poking around in a historic building in the middle of the night or being on a battlefield where thousands of soldiers lost their lives can and does distort our perception of reality. Eager to find that incredible photograph or mysterious voice on an audio recording, our minds let objectivity take a back seat. This is why re-reviewing your evidence the following day, after the adrenaline rush has worn off, is vital. Oftentimes a good night's rest and a fresh look the next day can point out errors missed the night before.
I could go on about this topic for many pages, but I won't. Instead, I will leave you with one parting thought. If you are serious about becoming an investigator, please do yourself and others dedicated to our field a favor and work alongside a reputable group or investigator before striking out on your own. Do this for at least two years to make certain it is something you are dedicated to doing. There are far too many "rogue" groups that set up shop with little to no experience conducting investigations. When an investigation goes bad, they end up giving the established and dedicated groups a black eye. Or they become disenchanted when it isn't exactly what they see on TV and fold the group, leaving their members and clients hanging.
There certainly is much more to being a paranormal investigator than watching a few TV shows and taking photos with a digital camera. To the dedicated and enlightened investigator, however, it is a true spiritual awakening to learn that death is not the end for us.
Patrick Burns has been a paranormal investigator for almost twenty years. He is the founder of the Ghost Hounds group out of Atlanta and is the star of Tru TV's (formerly Court TV)
He is also the organizer and director of the GhoStock conferences, held twice yearly. For more information, visit Patrick at
T'S TOO FREAKING QUIET HERE!
I can't sleep. Not a wink.
This is the third night in a row this has happened. Ever since we moved from my beloved twenty-two-hundred-square-foot high-rise condo on the Gold Coast of Chicago to this creaky old Victorian house here in Radisson, Georgiaâi.e., out where God lost his shoesâI haven't had a decent night's sleep.
A teenager like me needs the proper amount of rest or else her growth will be stunted. It's bad enough I'm not blessed in the boobage department, like my
-year-old sister, Kaitlin. Aren't older sisters supposed to develop faster? Now this whole insomnia prob. Oh, like dark circles under my eyes are going to make me even
popular when I start my new school tomorrow.
I roll onto my side and hang off the bed, peering over at the North American Van Lines cardboard box marked "MooreheadâKendall's Bedroom." I wonder if there's any Tylenol PM in there from when I couldn't sleep last summer because I was working part-time at Intelligentsia Coffee on North Broadway and had a caffeine contact high. Hmm, probably not. I shouldn't take that anyway, especially since I turned down Mom's offer of a sleeping pill sample she got from the pharm repâshe's a nurseâthat she occasionally takes. Course, my sleep disorder isn't related to hot flashes, like hers is. Mine's because of this freaking silence!
I mean, living in downtown Chicago since my birth, I got used to the noise of a city: The cacophony of cars, taxis, and delivery trucks. The hustle and bustle of tourists and townies alike trekking around the Windy City. The El with its metallic symphony along the rails. The planes from O'Hare and Midway coasting through the sky, like you could reach up, grab them, and hang on. To me, it's a harmonious concerto of urban life. Not this unbelievably earsplitting silence of Main Street in Radisson, Georgia.
I'm seriously not kidding about this deafening quiet. I'm almost on a first-name basis with the crickets and chirping cicadas that live in our backyard. I have to crack the window to let air inâI have a ceiling fan, but it's not helping with the night warmthâand the outdoor insects serenade me with their nightly opera while I lie here staring up at the crown molding on my bedroom ceiling. As my Grandma Ethel used to say, "It's so quiet you can hear the dead thinking."
Yeah, like that's what I want.
What I want is to see the inside of my eyelids and some colorful, vivid dreams of the Justin Timberlake or Channing Tatum variety. That's what I'm talking about.
Flipping to the middle of the bed, I wipe the back of my hand across my forehead, mopping up the sweat from the September heat. At home in Chicago, I'd have my favorite Patagonia Synchilla blanket between the sheet and comforter to keep me warm. I hardly think I'll need it anytime soon here in Radisson. Which just ain't right. Nothing's right. Not anymore.
I don't want to be an angst-ridden, sulky sixteen-year-old, but this relocation
take some adjustment. Honestly, I haven't felt like myself since I moved into this house and started unpacking my things. I've had a killer headache for the past three days (behind my right eye), and no amount of ibuprofen can battle it. Maybe the pain's purely psychosomatic due to the whole moving away from everyone and everything I've known my
life to a town no bigger than the Lincoln Park section of Chicago.
I roll around underneath the covers and rub my fists into my eye sockets to try and dig at the source of the headache. If I can just go to sleep, I'll be okay. A deep, deep sigh escapes my chest, blending into the whir of the ceiling fan. At first, I thought this not-so-Kendall feeling was allergies or something like dust mites from this musty hundred-year-old house. But I'm not sneezing or anything obvious like that. The symptoms border on weirdness more than anything else.
Like yesterday ... I was hanging my whatnot shelf (you know, for all those trinkets your grandparents give you over the years from their travels) and my fingers got all tingly to the point where I couldn't hold the hammer anymore. Not like "oh shit, I'm having a heart attack" tingly. More like when your arm falls asleep and it feels like there are ten thousand ants marching underneath your skin. Yeah, like that.
Then when I was helping Mom set up the picnic table and hammock in the backyard, I literally burst into tears like I do whenever I watch
Except I had no reason to cry. None. Whatsoever. Mom thought it was because I was depressed about being away from Chicago, which probably had a little to do with it, but it really made no sense. I told her I was PMSing so she wouldn't worry or try to cram some drug samples from her stash into me. The "that time of the month" answer seemed to satisfy her.