Happy Halloween

I love this time of the year, I love Autumn in all its fading, golden glory. I love the dark nights and cold, frosty mornings. I love the sound of the rain against the windows as I’m sitting by the wood, burning stove, scribbling down ideas for new stories. i love that I can wear my treasured Alexander McQueen skull scarf with pride. I love the excitement of children who are looking forward to dressing up for Halloween and going trick or treating. Mugs of hot chocolate with fresh cream and marshmallows, soups, casseroles prepared in the slow cooker first thing in the morning and ready by teatime with minimal fuss. What’s not to love about it, I mean I like the summer, but I hate being too hot and bothered. I don’t like the headaches in the warm weather or the sunburn on my rather fair, freckly skin. Yep I’m definitely an Autumn girl and what’s better than sitting around an open fire, drinking hot chocolate and telling ghost stories? For me, nothing can beat it. I thrive off listening to peoples strange and spooky encounters with anything that goes bump in the night. You may have already guessed that though by my spine tingling stories about psychic police woman Annie Graham and her ghostly encounters that leave readers terrified but addicted for more.

So what’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me? Well there have been quite a few over the years, I think that unless you are open to anything of the supernatural kind then you won’t experience much. As the years have gone on and I’ve talked to more people I’ve come to the conclusion that if you don’t want to see anything paranormal then you won’t. Although I don’t know if my husband Steve agrees, our very first spooky encounter was on a coach trip to Germany in the middle of winter. It took longer to get there then the amount of time we spent in Germany. We were taken to a tiny village that was shut for winter, there was only our hotel and one more open. The weather was bitterly cold and on the way there to pass the time we had been talking about ghostly experiences. I worked in a retirement home at the time where lots of spooky things happened and Steve didn’t believe a word a word of what I was saying. We were given our room keys in the hotel and went upstairs to a very cold room, tired, fed up and freezing we went to bed. The room was so cold that you could see your breath in front of you every time you spoke, I crossed the room and put my hand on the radiator which was burning hot. I couldn’t understand how the room could be this cold, but I thought nothing of it and before long we both fell asleep. At some point during the night Steve shook my shoulder and whispered, ‘There’s someone outside the window wearing a top hat.’ I looked at him, then the window he was pointing at, but I couldn’t see anything. Then there was a noise in the bathroom as if someone was moving around, Stee who was freaking out by now and ever the gentleman pushed me out of the bed to go and see what it was. I was terrified because of the look of fear on his face, he was normally so calm it scared me. I remember looking at him and thinking I didn’t want to open the door, but I couldn’t ignore it either. I had to know who was in there, I pushed the door wide open and flicked the switch. The light illuminated the tiny room and thank god it was empty, but my heart was pounding and the fear inside my mind was horrendous. I shut the door again, leaving the light on and ran back to the bed where I got underneath the covers. I was terrified and the room was still like an ice box. When we went down for breakfast I asked the couple in the room next to us if their room was cold and they told me it was too hot and they’d had to turn their heater down. When we went back upstairs I opened the curtains where Steve had seen the black shadow and was shocked to see that there was no way anyone could have been standing outside of it because there was nothing there and we were five floors up. Let me tell you that scared the pair of us and we were grateful we only had to spend that night there and were leaving.

Another time a lot of years later we were walking our dog Tess in Abbotswood which runs behind Furness Abbey and is the setting for the derelict mansion in The Ghost House. I was in the middle of writing that story and whenever I got stuck I would go up there for inspiration. I had the camera out and was snapping random pictures, as we reached a clearing in the woods where there are some huge trees I was taking pictures and saw a white mist fill my camera screen. I carried on snapping away and took three consecutive photos, wondering what the white mist was in front of my lens I put the camera down and asked Steve if he’d seen it. He shook his head so I played back the photos I’d just taken and almost had a heart attack on the spot. I had a photo of some bushes, the next one taken a second later had the white mist on it in which I could clearly make out some ghostly faces and what I think looked like a screaming skull. The picture taken immediately after had nothing but the same green bushes. My heart beating wildly I began walking away from the area as fast as my short legs could carry me, I was terrified. Steve began to follow behind thinking it was all highly amusing until we got home and I downloaded the photos straight onto the computer, then he changed his mind. See what you think of the photos below, would it have scared you if you’d taken it in the woods just before dusk when there was no-one else around? I’ll let you make your mind up about that one, but remember one thing, it’s Halloween tonight so have a fabulous night if you celebrate it and if not, lock the doors and keep the lights on. You never know who might come calling………..

white mist

Helen xx

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8 thoughts on “Happy Halloween

  1. That’s one weird photograph, Helen! And a night in your haunted hotel would have scared the bejesus out of me. Haunted hotel? Sort of place Annie Graham would end up staying in, I reckon…;-) Happy Hallowe’en! Xx

  2. Brilliant post Helen. The hairs on the back of my neck are totally standing on end! I’ve had similar experiences too and totally agree, if you don’t believe you won’t see. I loved your thought on autumn, I’m not wild on over hot days either, but my future plan is to hire one of the beautiful old houses owned by the Landmark Trust one October and spend the time walking in the woods, collecting mushrooms, jumping in piles of scrunchy leaves and ending the day drinking Horlicks by the fire. Bliss!! 🙂

  3. I love how the two Helens in this group are so different! I get scared at any little thing…I still remember reading The Ghost House when it first came out and my husband was working away at the time. Not a good move but would definitely recommend it if you like to be scared!
    Happy Halloween and look forward to many scary stories from you in the future 🙂

    Helen J Rolfe x

  4. Fantastic post, Helen! We spent this Halloween at the Park of the Dead on the IoW, supposedly the most haunted place in the UK and renamed the Isle of Fright for the celebrations. Loved every minute of it and Halloween has become one of my favourite ‘celebrations’ over the years. I know some people don’t like it, but I’m all for having fun, whatever the excuse… Perhaps because I’ve never had one of the real life spooky encounters you describe in your post, but I can always get my fix reading your brilliant books 🙂 xx

  5. You must write a story inspired by the German hotel incident as that really is freaky! I thankfully haven’t had any scary encounters to share with you because I’m a wimp with stuff like that. Mind you, I have stayed in a very haunted hotel in Dalston, Cumbria, and seen orbs on the CCTV which was a bit spooky yet also rather beautiful! xx

    • I got some of those Jessica, when staying in a medieval farmhouse in cornwall. I saw nothing in the room & went round taking photos of each bedroom, all photos were perfect except one that had a bit of mist just above the bed exactly where you would sit, and another on a chair. Spooky! I might write my next blog post about it! xx

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