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Jamie Davis Writes

Book Haul – A Visit to The Book Warehouse

The long weekend last week led me to a stop at an old outlet mall in Savannah, Georgia. As depressing as the center was, there was one hidden gem — The Book Warehouse. The books I chose were all former library books, and were dirt cheap (I think I got all five for under $7.00, which pleases me greatly).

Book Haul - Book WarehouseSo far, I would say I have definitely been getting some bang for my bucks!

I do still use the library (mostly to feel like I’m getting at least some use out of all the taxes I remit), but I have grown more likely to purchase as I age because I find that one of the greatest pleasures is to physically mark the passages I like while I am reading (they frown upon that at the library, by the way, even if you are marking up the very book you wrote, for God’s sake. But hey, I can accept that I just wrote it, and I don’t own rights to mark up everyone else’s copy… I guess.).

For specific purchases, I still prefer to go online via Amazon or Half.com and have things delivered to the house, but there is nothing like the treasure hunt of walking around a retail store and finding books. I see it as a treat, and I love seeing every bookstore I can.

The bottom two books pictured above have already been read. They are:  Death Comes to Pemberley; and West of Sunset (a fantastic fictional account of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last years, while he was working in Hollywood, and penning “The Last Tycoon).”

I have to say, though, that what really makes me nerd out is that 3 out of 5 of these treasures have DECKLE EDGES!

The Deckle Edge
The Deckle Edge

Apparently, the deckle edge dates back to the days when you used to need a knife to read a book.  http://www.themillions.com/2010/02/deckle-edge-in-the-age-of-mechanical-reproduction.html

Maybe one day I will write a book that comes out in hardcover with a secret monogram on the cover (the regal Davis family crest, perhaps) and deckle edges. Maybe it will even be good.

Ghost Brothers at The Fitzpatrick Hotel

“Juwan said he thinks he closed the portal, and now I’ve got to go sleep in there.” — Marcus

Many years ago, Sam Queen and I conducted a mini-investigation at The Fitzpatrick Hotel in Washington, Georgia. I remember investigating the ballroom late at night, and although we did not believe the investigation turned up any “evidence,” we were both impressed by the beauty and the feel of the old hotel, as well as the history of the restoration as evidenced in the book that was shared at the registration desk.

DSCN0908

The Fitzpatrick Hotel, and the small town of Washington, Georgia, itself, is a special place, and I remember the hotel and town fondly. It’s funny, because I couldn’t even tell you what drew me to the place. A feeling, I guess. A rogue hunch. I needed to get into that tower room, and Sam and I needed local places to practice before ultimately researching and traveling for the book we worked on in 2012 (Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums – released in 2013 by Llewellyn Worldwide).

The whole town is full of history, and old buildings that beg to be investigated.

It pleased me to watch this new paranormal team feature and investigate The Fitzpatrick Hotel. It was educational to learn more of the history of the land and building, because we did not know any of this when we visited. For instance, these interesting little points from the show:

  • Built on top of a cemetery from the late 1700s. They moved the headstones away, but not the bodies. Polly Barclay, hung for killing her husband, may be buried in this cemetery.
  • Woman pushed out of window (Room 307) by lover’s wife in the 1930s. Guests report strange energy in that room. You will see that I took a picture in May 2011 of the keys to Room 307. I had no knowledge of the hotel’s history, but was drawn to specially selecting this room for our investigation. Interesting. 
  • Robert Geiger, Owner of Talk of the Town (the attached restaurant), gave a story that he’s had a basket thrown out of his hands and smashed into a wall.
  • Co-owner, Jim, believes Room 200 is haunted by the Fitzpatrick family.

I thought the show was hilarious! Seeing the guys reluctantly participate in some of the paranormal investigations was a refreshing take on the typical “[Insert mysterious loud noise] Did you hear that?” schtick that unfortunately gets overplayed a bit for the paranormal television genre. The Bloody Mary experiment is something that I have never done, and never will do. I can’t look at myself in the mirror for that long of a time in the dark. It’s just not right.

The guys had flashlights lighting up seemingly in response to questions (you know I love that method!) and batteries were drained in combination with an EVP of a mysterious breath. I thought the Spirit Circle experiment that they conducted in the ballroom was interesting, with the alphabet represented on pieces of paper. It was as though they were participating in a life-size human Ouija Board. Marcus declined to participate in that one, because he didn’t want to “open anything up.”

Strangely, despite voicing that opinion, Marcus was the one who was woken up in the middle of the night because something touched him. He was not having it at all, and woke his team up. It was time to go. Active dreaming, hallucination, or real unexplainable touch? Who can say.

They had a lot of interesting things happen to them that they captured on camera, and they were entertaining to watch. My takeaway from the show? Me, slamming my fist in the mattress while I watched, exclaiming: “Man, I knew that place was haunted!”

If you ask me, that whole town is haunted. Particularly, that white columned Vampire House that smells old. Trust me on that one.

 

Riding the Spanish Moss Trail – Beaufort, SC

Who knew such a beautiful bike trail exists about an hour outside of Savannah?! Well, we do now.

Inside the old barn:

The ruins of the Old Pickle Factory:

End of the line:

End of the Line - Spanish moss trail

On My Bookshelf: A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay

A Head Full of Ghosts
A Head Full of Ghosts

Okay, so if Stephen King says “scared the living hell out of me,” I’m pretty much in.

This is the story of a New England family. Mom, out of work Dad, fourteen-year-old Marjorie, and little sister, Merry, who is eight. Marjorie begins exhibiting some troubling behavior (acute schizophrenia), and eventually the parents turn to their priest when the doctors are unable to help. Soon, a reality show is on the scene and The Possession is brought to television from filming the family’s struggle with Marjorie. The last episode of the show is of course, the exorcism.

What drew me in was Tremblay’s use of beginning the book with an interview, and making it a book within a book, sort of. The author is interviewing grown-up Merry (now 23), and piecing back the events for us. Tremblay uses blogs and reality television to tell the story. What a ride! I still don’t know if it is a possession story or a tale of a fourteen-year old who was mentally ill and exploited by Hollywood. It is left open for interpretation.

My first take was that Marjorie was schizophrenic, but there were elements in the story that had me guessing that conclusion. Things like, Marjorie was going down the stairs in the dark basement, and no one else is down there, but her sister hears more than two feet. Whatever your conclusion is, it will make you think about possession v. mental illness, and how do you know?!

Tremblay uses many horror references throughout the book that make it fun for the reader because you feel like you are on the inside — you “get it.” I won’t spoil the ending, but it will leave you reeling! Fans of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle will know exactly what I am talking about.

And now, having said that, my second take is that the demon was possibly exorcised out of Marjorie, and jumped into Merry, resulting in causing the final act that sealed the family’s fate. Wow. How about that.

Kennebunkport, Maine – America’s Most Haunted Hotels?

Well, no one told Maine that it was summer, because I just left and it was about 60 degrees up there. Refreshing, though! And it smells sweet. You can use your pretty words to trick the tourists into seeing Savannah in the summer, but we all know what it is if we are being honest with ourselves:  stinky, sweltering, and buggy. Yeah, I said it. But I digress.

Also, even though Tybee Island and Savannah are obviously right on THE WATER, our seafood has never tasted as good as the lobster roll that came out of this shack here.

The Clam Shack
The Clam Shack

Kennebunkport is a touristy little spot with plenty of shops/restaurants/galleries, and I imagine it gets very crowded, very fast. We killed a few hours there when the beach got too cold. Check out the locks of love bridge. I guess you two crazy kids are supposed to write your names on the lock, and then throw the key into the ocean. What a bunch of assholes.

Locks of Love Bridge
Locks of Love Bridge – Kennebunkport, Maine

Luckily, if you like to hunt ghosts at night in historic properties, and lounge on blue blood beaches by day, Kennebunkport may be just the spot to spend a long weekend. Don’t tell them I sent you, because some of these places are straight up lips sealed about their ghosties. Pictured below is the Tides by the Sea, which sits on Goose Rocks Beach. The cat is officially out of the bag on this one, since Frances Kermeen wrote about her stay in 2002’s “Ghostly Encounters.” At the time, the building was known/operated as the Tides Inn-by-the-Sea.

The Tides Beach Club
Tides by the Sea – Kennebunkport, Maine

Emma, the former owner of the 1899 hotel (known back then as The New Belvidere), is said to haunt the building, particularly Room 25. In her time, she hosted such guests as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Theodore Roosevelt. According to Kermeen’s interview with the former owners, Emma notoriously had a habit of causing trouble for ill-tempered men who checked into “her” Room (No. 25).

Goose Rocks Beach
Goose Rocks Beach – Kennebunkport, Maine

Colony Hotel

Colony Hotel's Beach
Colony Hotel’s Beach – Kennebunkport, Maine

The Captain Lord Mansion has claims associated with it that involve a female apparition walking through the Lincoln bedroom.

Captain Lord Mansion
Captain Lord Mansion – Kennebunkport, Maine
Captain Lord Mansion 2
Captain Lord Mansion – Kennebunkport, Maine

The Breakwater Inn is situated right off the river (flowing from the ocean) into the port. The hotel is in an interesting position to watch for ghost ships.

Breakwater Inn
Breakwater Inn and Spa – Kennebunkport, Maine

The Captain Fairfield Inn is one that may have a spirit or two, but as of 2013, the owners were NOT open to exploring or encouraging that line of questioning. Still, reports persist. I have several books in my library that cover this house. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Captain Fairfield Inn
Captain Fairfield Inn – Kennebunkport, Maine

Walker's Point

On My Bookshelf: The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins

IMG_3720
The Library at Mount Char

Hail the Amazon Gods for recommending this book about American Gods while I was shopping the other day! I am sad that I didn’t know about it when it was released last year, but am oh so thankful to have had this experience now. Fans of Neil Gaiman are in for a treat.

In his debut novel, Scott Hawkins has created a darkly weird world of adult librarians, who were essentially kidnapped by Father when they were eight years old and brought into the infinite Library at Mount Char to study and work. The librarians have been trained in twelve catalogues – one category per child, with strict instructions on not discussing/sharing your catalogue with another.

David (master of the war catalogue) and Margaret (master of the dead catalogue) have story lines that are the most violent and brutal, and some of the scenes concerning David, frankly, I could have lived without, but what do you expect from a character who is the master of the war catalogue? His story line is not going to be about eating cupcakes in the park with his girlfriend. The violence is necessary for the subject matter. After all, one does not get to be a God without being burned alive a time or two. As examples of other catalogue subjects, Rachel’s catalogue involves the prediction and manipulation of possible futures. Carolyn is the master of all languages.

So. Back to the plot. Father is dead, and maybe one of his librarians killed him (I don’t want to spoil it for you) and maybe another one of his many enemies killed him. All of the librarians are completely out of touch with humanity and arguably insane now that they are in their 30s. It made me think of our world leaders, and how out of touch they must all be with their respective citizens. (Oh, do you not have the sun anymore? Food is a problem for you now? And I am to understand that you don’t like that?)

I was also quite amused by the zombies in the suburbs. Hey, I know these people! Wait a minute, am I one of these people?! Just kidding. I am pretty sure I am not one of the reanimated dead. But, you never know who your neighbors are…

I think what I enjoyed the most about this read is how Hawkins brought the story full-circle towards the end of the book. We learn more about Father and his relationships with his librarians, specifically, with his protege that he has been grooming all this time to take over his position. Many times, after I am finished with a book, I am still left with a lot of questions that I wish were tied up by the author. Challenging your readers is great, and Hawkins does this in the beginning and the middle. The end is tied up quite nicely for you, and I appreciate that. I want to know what the author thinks he’s written! Tell me a story. Don’t tell me a set of circumstances and then leave me sitting over here pissed off contemplating like a jerk for days on end – “Well, what did it all mean?”

I think that is a skill that is quite rare, and I hate it when the author doesn’t address the big “Why” questions.

Great job, Hawkins! This is one of the best books I have read in many years. I am so glad I purchased this one, because I marked the copy up quite a bit, and will no doubt be returning for a second read next summer. This is one that I am betting will read different to me after knowing how it ends.

 

 

 

 

 

Boo Y’all!

I am getting geared up for the final round of editing for “America’s Most Haunted Hotels,” which will be released this October through Llewellyn Worldwide.

I created some fun pendants and bookmarks and am officially in the pre-Halloween spirit. Boo Y’all!

Boo Y'all pendants and bookmark

The pendants and bookmarks can be purchased at: http://www.octoberskydesigns.com/catalog/boo-yall 

Enter coupon code: Boo5 for $5.00 off your order. It is NEVER too early to shop for Halloween!

Scenes From Swamp Rabbit Trail

The Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, SC, is a multi-use trail that is about 21 miles long. Bob and I saw it via bicycle. Our preference was to start at Travelers Rest, pass Furman University, and end at Falls Reedy Park and the Clemson campus. Then, pedal uphill to Main Street and find a cup of coffee before turning back around.

For the paranormally inclined, you may want to stay at the Westin Poinsett, which has been written about in Jason Profit’s “Haunted Greenville,” and just also happens to be centrally located, with easy trail access so you can park onsite and ride to the trail.

Additional Reading:

GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail

http://www.traillink.com/trail/greenville-health-system-swamp-rabbit-trail.aspx

http://greenvilleghost.com/tag/westin-poinsett/

http://southernspiritguide.blogspot.com/2012/01/carolina-cornucopia-haunt-brief.html

 

America’s Most Haunted Hotels

Hotels1

Mock-up for the cover of our first book together! Amazon is taking pre-orders:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738748005?keywords=america’s%20most%20haunted%20hotels&qid=1458083424&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1 

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