Thursday, 30 May 2013

Centenary of a Suffragette's Supreme Sacrifice

Saturday, June 1st sees the running of the annual Epsom Derby horse race and marks the centenary of the death of one of the most famous British Suffragettes. Emily Wilding Davison was born on October 11th 1872 and was a woman with a fierce determination and belief in her ideals. She defied convention and earned herself, firstly a BA from Royal Holloway College (now part of London University) and then, some years later, a First Class Honours degree from Oxford.

She was born ahead of her time. Her beliefs and values were out of kilter with the male dominated society in which she found herself. Apart from discrimination shown to women in the field of education, her most vitriolic anger was directed at the continuing stubborn refusal of a Parliament comprised solely of males to allow women the vote. The government was happy enough to collect her taxes, but wouldn't allow her the right to say who was setting them!

Sadly, Emily and other likeminded women, received no support from the monarch either. Queen Victoria stated that she did not believe women should involve themselves in politics and therefore did not need the vote.

Emmeline Pankhurst
It was inevitable that, with such strong convictions, Emily would seek out others of similar mind, which drew her inexorably towards the Suffragette movement and into the sphere of the fearless and enigmatic Pankhursts. An ardent follower, Emily was all too ready to embark on their programme of civil disobedience, arson, and destruction of property. 

She joined Emmeline Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1906 and was imprisoned no less than nine times, for a month or more at a time, for crimes such as stone throwing, obstruction, breaking windows at the House of Commons, setting fire to post boxes and assaulting a vicar (a case of mistaken identity as she thought he was Chancellor the the Exchequer, David Lloyd George!). She also targeted Lloyd George on at least two further occasions, throwing stones at his car as he was travelling to a meeting and attempting to gain access to a Hall where he was delivering a speech.

As with many of the most militant suffragettes, a prison sentence meant an immediate refusal to east or drink. On one occasion, Emily barricaded herself in a prison cell to prevent her being force fed. The authorities responded by flooding her cell with ice cold water and then dragging her away, whereupon she would have had a tube forced up her nose, or down her throat into her stomach.

This inhuman and barbaric treatment was often ineptly executed, leading to the tube puncturing a lung or causing permanent injury and lifelong digestive, heart and breathing problems. Force feeding in this manner was enabled by the passing of the, so called, Cat and Mouse Act. Fellow militant, Sylvia Pankhurst suffered with serious digestive problems for the rest of her life, following repeated instances of force feeding, which occurred twice daily for the duration of the prison sentence, or until the hapless woman agreed to eat normally. Many held out until released at the end of their sentence. Emily was force fed 49 times.

On 2nd April 1911, she managed to spend the night hidden in a cupboard near the crypt chapel of the Palace of Westminster, to ensure that the census for that year recorded it as her home! Emily was nothing if not imaginative and resourceful.

Increasingly desperate to achieve her goal, there is hard evidence that Emily believed that suicide could be a serious consideration. Emmeline Pankhurst, in her autobiography, My Own Life said her fellow Suffragette believed that only loss of life 'would put an end to the intolerable torture of women.'

What went through her mind on that fateful afternoon of June 8th 1913, as the horses galloped around Tattenham Corner? Was it suicide? She was undoubtedly capable of it, but a number of factors mitigate against it. One has always been the presence of a return half of her rail ticket in her pocket and a holiday she was apparently taking in a couple of weeks time with her sister. It is also said that she could not possibly have been able to make out which was the King's horse (Anmer) from her vantage point. 

But perhaps the most compelling evidence that she merely wanted to attach something to Anmer's bridle comes in the form of a WSPU sash, retrieved from the scene at the time and, much later, sold to the writer Barbara Gordon at auction - where she bid against the Jockey Club. They obviously believed it to be genuine and a recent Channel 4 programme shows slowed down restored footage of the tragedy. At the moment she is hit by the horse, she is holding up something remarkably like a sash and appears to be trying to attach it to Anmer. For the King's horse to have crossed the finishing line wearing a sash, proclaiming 'Votes for Women' would have been a coup indeed!

The footage also shows her to be in a different position to that previously believed. It is now entirely possible she was able to see the horse's distinctive King's colours, and it is possible to see her move quickly and deliberately, under the fence and into the path of this one specific horse.

Her fatal mistake was in misjudging the speed at which they were galloping. She was knocked unconscious and died in hospital four days later, without waking from the coma into which she had sunk.
Emily Davison may not have meant to die on that day, but, given her passionate beliefs, I have no doubt she would have thought her death to be a sacrifice worth making.
Emily was buried in her hometown of Morpeth, Northumberland, where her memory is revered to this day. On her gravestone in the Church grounds, is the inscription by which she lived: 'Deeds not Words'.

Sadly, it took World War I for women's right to vote to be granted. This came in two stages, firstly in 1918 for all women 'of property aged over thirty' and then, finally, in 1928 women achieved full voting equality with men.
For a limited time, you can watch Clare Balding's fascinating Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of a Suffragette by clicking here

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Enigmatic Ladies of Llangollen


Once upon a time, in 1778 to be exact, two aristocratic single ladies named Lady Eleanor Butler and her friend, Sarah Ponsonby, did the unthinkable. 

They eloped.

Or did they? They certainly escaped together from lives which had become intolerable for them. An earlier attempt, during which they had dressed as men, carried a pistol and a pet dog named Frisk had failed. On that occasion they had been discovered and taken back home again before they had chance to sail to England. But they were determined to share their lives. Eventually, their families relented and allowed them to go, whereupon, with a maid called Mary, they sailed to England but then toured Wales in search of a home. They eventually found one, the enchanting and fascinating Plas Newydd (New Hall) on a hill above the busy tourist town of Llangollen.

But their longed-for quiet life of peace and 'delightful retirement' - where they would spend their days reading, writing, drawing and gardening would not last for long as their fame spread. They became known as 'the two most celebrated virgins in Europe' and, more simply, 'the Ladies of Llangollen. Celebrity vistors beat a path to their door - among them, Lord Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb, Josiah Wedgwood, William Wordsworth, the Dukes of Wellington and Gloucester, and they exchanged frequent letters with Queen Charlotte and Emperor Louis XVI's aunt. There were days when visitors numbered in double figures and Mary was rushed off her feet.

So who were these extraordinary ladies and what was the precise nature of their relationship?

Lady Caroline Lamb
Lady Eleanor Butler was the youngest daughter of the Earl of Ormonde, of Kilkenny Castle in Ireland - a title that had been withdrawn from him by the controlling British government, owing to his persistent Catholicism. The title was restored when Eleanor's brother, Robert, converted to Protestantism. While her brother and sisters made high profile marriages, highly intelligent Eleanor showed no such inclination, preferring to read and, possessed of a quick wit, she was always ready with a satirical comment when such was not expected of ladies in her position. She was already 39 and it seemed likely that, before long, she would be put away in a nunnery for the rest of her days. As a woman of that time, she would have no choice in the matter.

Twelve miles away, her much younger close friend, the orphaned Sarah Ponsonby was facing an unbearable fate of a different kind. Her middle-aged guardian, Sir William Fownes was making unwanted advances towards the pretty young woman - attentions which outraged her . After all, his wife, Betty, was still alive and Sarah was very attached to her. She was also disgusted by the way Sir William relished his wife's failing health and looked forward to the day when he would make Sarah the second Lady Fownes.

Eleanor and Sarah exchanged a rapid series of letters and hatched a plot to escape their lot and set up home together. With such similar tastes, they felt they could be perfectly happy in their blissful seclusion.
Lord Byron

Once they had achieved their goal and settled in at Plas Newydd, speculation as to the true nature of their relationship began. Nothing should be read into the word 'elope' though because, in this era, the word simply meant 'escape'. What did set tongues wagging was that unmarried ladies simply didn't go off and set up home independently of any male support. Then, they compounded their notoriety by cutting their hair, wearing it in short curls, sleeping in the same bed and developing a habit of referring to each other as 'My Beloved' (or 'My B') and later as, 'My Better Half'. They frequently wore riding habits and masculine beaver hats.

So were they or weren't they? Did they or didn't they?

Visitors generally thought no (on both counts) and it should be remembered that the sort of tender endearments they shared was not considered odd in the 18th century, nor was their habit of sharing a bed. As far as their eccentric dress was concerned, similar styles were known of in France and, anyway, they had no interest in the fashions of the day and preferred to spend their money on books and home improvements. 

It has been speculated that Lesbianism, as such, was never spoken about in society until around 1789 (and then only because of some incidents at the French court). It is highly possible that one of the ladies - Lady Eleanor - may have had such feelings towards Sarah but, lacking knowledge of such physical love, would not have exercised any demonstration of them. Some sources also believe that Sarah would quite possibly have been happy with a suitable male. The truth is, we'll never know.

What is most likely is that these two ladies found each other when in desperate straits. They discovered in each other what they had failed to find elsewhere - companionship, shared tastes, conversation and intellectual fulfilment.

For fifty years, they lived in their five roomed stone cottage which underwent considerable remodelling to instal stained glass windows and create their preferred Gothic style, with dark timbers and old Elizabethan and Jacobean furniture. Their library was crammed with finely bound books and all manner of curios and the garden was also eccentric, with a ruined Gothic arch, Lady Eleanor's Bower, a model dairy, ravine and rushing streams.

They remained devoted to their somewhat uncouth maid, Mary (nicknamed 'Molly the Bruiser') until her death, and their loyalty was rewarded with the acquisition of a field, purchased with Mary's life savings which she had bequeathed to them. She is buried in Llangollen Churchyard, where stands an unusual three sided stone monument. The ladies were to join her- Lady Eleanor in June 1829 (aged 90) and Sarah two years later, at the age of  76.

The house had a number of owners until it was acquired by Llangollen Urban District Council in 1932. Today, it is owned by Denbighshire County Council.
Plas Newydd is open to the public and is well worth a visit.
As for the Ladies, they took their secrets to the grave.Maybe that is why they continue to fascinate us to this day.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Man Behind 'The Monkey's Paw'

 I have often been asked to name the story that first got me hooked on horror. The answer lies in a sinister short story written by an English author called William Wymark Jacobs, and his chilling story is: The Monkey's Paw.

The story is a ticking time bomb and an illustration of the old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for...'

The atmosphere is set from the opening paragraph:
"WITHOUT, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire." 

We discover that the father and the old lady are Mr and Mrs White, and the son is Herbert. On this momentous night, they are visited by a friend who has been part of the British Armed Forces in India. He possesses a shrivelled up paw of a monkey which he says has been given the power to grant three wishes by an old fakir. He throws it on the fire, but Mr White retrieves it and, despite his friend's warnings, makes his first wish. This is granted but at the expense of his son's life. Ten days after the funeral, driven mad with grief, Mrs White insists her husband wish for their son to live again. Reluctantly, he does so. The paw squirms in his hand. There is a delay.

Then they hear a knock at the door...

No, I'm not telling you any more. You'll have to read it for yourself (links later), or watch one of the film versions (cue for another link later)

So, who was this short-story author who managed to make such an impact with a 7600 words story published in 1902?

W.W. Jacobs was born on 8th September 1863 in Wapping, London. His father was a wharf manager and the young Jacobs was privately educated, before attending Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution (now Birkbeck College, part of the University of London).

He began work as a clerk in the Post Office Savings Bank, had his first short story published by 1885 and was earning enough from his writing to be able to leave the Civil Service in 1899.

Strangely enough for someone best known for an iconic horror story, the majority of his work was humorous, concentrating on marine stories with titles such as Many Cargoes, The Skipper's Wooing, Sea Urchins, Captains All and Night Watches. His literary style earned him the respect of authors such as P.G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome and, from October 1898, Jacobs's stories were published in the illustrious  Strand magazine, where Sherlock Holmes's latest exploits could also be found.

In 1902, The Monkey's Paw appeared as part of a collection of stories, published as The Lady of The Barge.

Jacobs married Agnes Eleanor Williams in 1900 and took up residence in Buckhurst Hill, Essex where, in 1901, his daughter was born. With his ardent suffragette wife, he seems to have moved around a fair bit, and at various times lived in Park Hill, Goldings Hill and Regent's Park. 

His first stage play, The Ghost of Jerry Bundler was performed in London in 1899 and then revived in 1902.

Following the First World War, he switched his attention from writing short stories to adapting his existing stories into theatre and screenplays. The Monkey's Paw has been adapted and retold many times over the years. A stage play opened at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in 1902, and the first of a number of film versions appeared in 1933.

 W.W, Jacobs died in Islington, London on 1st September 1943, but his best known story lives on. Over the ensuing years, the theme of the story has cropped up many times in such diverse shows as The Twilight Zone, The Monkees and even The Simpsons!

Here's a version, from 1965, from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Yes, OK, it's not the most faithful retelling!:

And finally, if you want to track down the story itself, try here:

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Sad Tale of Betty Corrigall - The Wronged Lady of Hoy

 The wild and windswept island of Hoy, with its magnificent stone stack known as the Old Man of Hoy, lies off the north coast of Scotland and is part of the magical and mysterious group of islands known as the Orkneys. The glowering mountains, and ever-changing colours of the landscape provide an atmosphere that is at once dramatic and romantic.

The long winter nights, clustered around roaring fires, provide ample opportunity for the retelling of tales of magic, fantasy - and in this case, tragedy. For the tale of Betty Corrigall is a story of a young woman who died for love.

She lived at Greengairs Cottage on the island, in the late 1770s, and fell in love with a man who, on discovering she was pregnant, deserted her and went off to sea. She was never to see him again. Single, aged 27, and living in a strict Christian community, Betty's life was ruined as, one by one, her family and neighbours shunned her.

Desperate and alone, she grieved for her lost love and betrayal. Then there were the practical fears. With no one to support her, how would she live? How would she feed her baby? Her situation seemed hopeless and Betty saw no way out for her or the baby she was carrying. One day she walked into the sea, with every intention of drowning herself. But someone saw her and she was rescued. Now, of course, she had added yet another deadly sin to her list of crimes and her plight was even more desperate.

Just a few days later, she took some rope and hanged herself, killing both herself and her unborn baby.

But Betty's shame wouldn't end there. As a suicide, she was denied a Christian burial and the Lairds of Melsetter and Hoy refused to have her body on their ground too.So poor Betty was laid in unconsecrated ground, in the middle of the peat bog that forms so much of the interior of Hoy. There she lay isolated, on that bleak and barren moorland, in an unmarked grave on the boundary of the parishes of Hoy and Walls.

The years passed, her relatives and neighbours died and she was forgotten.

Then, quite by chance, in 1933, two men were out digging for peat and came across a wooden box. They recovered it and opened it. To their shock and amazement, there lay the body of a young woman, her long dark hair arrayed around her shoulders. The peat had ensured she was in a remarkable state of preservation, albeit with her skin tinged brown. Beside her, lay the rope with which she had hanged herself, although this apparently crumbled to dust when exposed to the air.

The Procurator Fiscal ordered that the body be reburied where it had been found and, but for World War Two, she would have once again sunk into obscurity.

Lyness, on the coast of Hoy, was a major naval base during World War Two and thousands of British troops flooded the island. The peat bank was once again dug - this time by a working party of soldiers - and her unmarked grave was rediscovered. This time, there was to be no peaceful reburial. The soldiers were fascinated by the remarkable state of preservation and, time and again, her coffin was reopened. But repeated exposures to the air ensured rapid deterioration of Betty's corpse.

Eventually, officers ordered that the grave be moved fifty yards and a concrete slab placed on top of it. Still, though, her grave remained unmarked.

Kenwood Bryant photo
Finally, in 1949, an American minister by the name of Kenwood Bryant, heard the sad tale and decided Betty had suffered long enough. He erected a simple wooden cross over her gravesite and surrounded it by a little fence. He then requested Harry Berry (Hoy's Customs and Excise Officer at the time) to cause a suitable gravestone to be erected.

This did not happen until 1976,when a small headstone made out of fibre-glass (stone would have sunk into the peat), was erected as part of a small, quiet burial service performed at her graveside. Her headstone reads, 'Here lies Betty Corrigall'.

So Betty lies there now, in the wild and lonely tranquillity of Hoy.

The young woman who died for love, finally rests in peace.

 To learn more about the history and traditions of Orkney, visit Orkneyjar 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Timeslip on Bold Street

In times gone by, Bold Street  was known as 'the Bond Street of the north' - the place to see and be seen  for Liverpool's polite society. Both sides of the street featured fashionable shops, furriers, tailors and milliners, whose merchandise were strictly for the well-heeled. If you shopped in Bold Street, you were someone.

A stroll up the busy partly pedestrianised street now gives a very different impression. There is little to distinguish it from any other shopping street in the city - except for a rather strange phenomenon. It seems that, now and again, Bold Street can spring a surprise on unwary shoppers and transport them back to a bygone age.
In 1996, a husband and wife decided to go to Waterstones the bookseller in Bold Street. The wife walked on ahead while her husband went into another shop. When her husband was ready to join her, he looked over at Waterstones. Or, to be more accurate, he looked over at where he expected to see Waterstones. But where their name should have been, he saw the name 'Cripps'. Puzzled, he was about to cross the street when the honking of an old fashioned motor horn stopped him. To his amazement, a van with the name 'Caplin's' on the side, sped past him. He was even more suprised when he looked around at the few other vehicles in the street - all of which seemed old fashioned. The pedestrians too were dressed in Forties/Fifties style clothes - the men in raincoats and hats and the women in full skirts, with permed hair or head scarves.

In the shop that should have been Waterstones book shop, he saw handbags, women's shoes, umbrellas - but no books. Then he realised he wasn't alone. A woman standing next to him, dressed in modern clothes, was staring in equal disbelief.

'I thought they sold books here,' she said.

'So did I,' he replied.

The woman turned and went on her way and the man entered the shop, where normality was resumed. His wife stood there surrounded by books.
The Lyceum - photo by John Bradley wikimedia commons
It transpires that this was by no means the only occurrence. Frequent accounts of people slipping back minutes, years or decades began in the 1950s. The epicentre of this paranormal activity appears to be around Central Station in the area around Waterstones and the Lyceum.

In the 1980s, in the same location, a woman sat down to eat her lunchtime sandwich at 12.30p.m. The sun was shining but then seemed to dim, as in a partial solar eclipse. She looked around and noticed that the street - which had been crowded with lunchtime shoppers - was suddenly much less busy. 

Next to her sat a smartly dressed man dressed in Fifties style fashion, who then engaged her in conversation. He asked her a question and, as she was answering him, she took her eyes off him, while she threw her sandwich wrapper in the waste bin. Not even a second later, she looked back and he had vanished. Also the sunshine was back and people thronged the street once more. There had been no time for him to simply get up and walk away.

There have been so many occurrences that Para.Science - an organisation dedicated to the serious study, research and investigation into all types of paranormal phenomena - have been conducting an ongoing investigation for some years.

People have individually described such similar accounts in such detail that the theory that mass hysteria could be behind the phenomena is unlikely. One man reported seeing himself and others reported seeing mothers or brothers walking past, when they couldn't possibly have been there as they were in another location at that time.

So why Bold Street?

Liverpool is built on sandstone which contains quartz and creates a strong magnetic field which, it is said, can affect the human mind and indeed time itself. Einstein himself reported that time is dependent on the viewer and can go in any direction. The railway also plays a part as Central Station is right there, at the heart of the most affected area, giving off a very powerful electrical force. 
Bold Street today -

Bold Street is not unique in this type of phenomena in Liverpool. Similar cases have been reported in Dale Street and elsewhere, but Bold Street is unique in the wealth of reports generated.

Lots of visitors to Liverpool find it a city in a time warp. Punching well above its weight in terms of history, cultural, musical and artistic heritage, it seems in many ways happiest in the past (while not afraid to confront some of its darkest days). At least that's my opinion. In recent years, there has been extensive remodelling of the city centre with the building of the massive Liverpool One shopping centre and a host of modern style buildings, which now live somewhat uncomfortably alongside the magnificent 'Three Graces'. But it is to the real Liverpool that the traveller wisely turns his/her face and a chance to slip back to the Bold Street of the past - even for a minute - is an opportunity I shall certainly be seeking out next time I'm there.

Liverpool's famous Three Graces

To find out more about Para.Science's investigations click Para.Science

Tom Slemen has produced a range of books on Haunted Liverpool. Here's a short film where he discusses timeslips in Liverpool's Rodney Street and Bold Street:

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Sacrifice at Mystery Hill - Joan Conning Afman

 Joan's brilliant paranormal Kingsley Woods blew me away. I loved it. Now, hot on its heels comes her latest novel, set in a mysterious and magical place they call 'America's Stonehenge'. Here's Joan:

Hi, Everybody! I am honored to be Catherine's guest today. I bring you greetings from sunny Florida where the skies are most always blue, flowers bloom all year 'round, and the palm trees wave gently in the breeze from the ocean. 

 I grew up in the Northeast, mainly central NY and New England. My book, Kingsley Woods is set in Pittsfield, Mass., in the beautiful Berkshires where I spent most of my childhood.

After fighting the snow and sleet and long, gray days of November, I retired to Florida in 2001. My careers have been in advertising and teaching art in the Hartford, Ct. public schools - but now I am a writer, and a free-lance editor.

I have been interested in strange occurrences and psychic experiences for a long time, and these topics, as well as art, have a way of weaving themselves into my stories. So-several years ago when with my daughter and grandchildren, we visited Mystery Hill in North Salem, NH, I immediately thought: Hey! Here's a great place to set a story! Sacrifice at Mystery Hill, which debuted May 1st, evolved from that.
Mystery Hill is known as 'America's Stonehenge'. It has been dated from two to four thousand years old, and nobody knows who built it! They know the Native Americans used it-but Indians didn't build in stone, so the mystery remains. The site is a collection of worship sites (Summer solstice stone), sentry house, storage buildings, hidden tunnels...and yes, a large flat stone with a carved groove running around it...and a pit dug beneath the rock where the liquid could be collected. Was it used for making wine... or human sacrifice? The mystery remains. 

In Sacrifice at Mystery Hill, two college kids, Thomas and Chloe, lived before and loved each other before, but except in flashes of hidden memory and dreams, they have no knowledge of their previous lives. They get involved with a faux Druid cult which sets up a mini-Stonehenge in the woods off campus. The self-appointed leader, Dyfan,has plans for Chloe, and Thomas senses in his bones that he is the one who must protect her at all costs. Their unlikely help comes from Chloe's perceptive art professor, Jim Walsh, and Thomas' quirky, margarita- making grandmother, Ivy, who has strange powers of her own.

Here is a short excerpt:

Because he was a ghost, Thomas Thornton, which had been his name in his eighteenth century reincarnation, was able to move right through the rocks, to slide through the small spaces between them with ease, even through the stone ‘speaking tube which led to the hollow space under the sacrificial altar. This was his favorite place to rest, snuggled up to the moss and decayed leaves that formed a soft bed for him. It smelled a little like death, too, musty and old and coppery, like blood, but it was a scent he had grown to love. It was also the place where she had died, so he felt closest to her there.

He had waited for her for centuries. Her death had been hard—and many souls who endured such a primitive and painful death were reluctant to return, but eventually they all did. After all, they had destinies to work out before they could go on to the next stage of existence, and so not coming back was not an option. The Coordinator, one of the Great Beings who tracked the journeys of all the souls, had told Thomas he would let him know when it was time. He, too, had his karma to work out before he could go on to the next level. His destiny was to overcome to cowardice of that long ago primitive life when he could have saved her, but hadn’t.
~ * ~
It was the day of the summer solstice. The men of the tribe gathered at the four-foot -tall stone, carved in the shape of a leaning pyramid, to watch the sun rise precisely behind its pointed crest. In silence, they bowed to the god of summer, of crops to come, of the harvest , and walked in single file to where they sacrifice would be offered.

The chief, resplendent in his beaded ritual clothing, rich, wolf cloak,, and feathered headdress looked around the gathering. “If one man is willing to take her to wife and leave the tribe, she will be spared. Will anyone take her?” His curved sword glittered in the sun as he lifted it above the woman bound to the altar stone.

The chief was his father whom he dared not offend, and a man and a woman driven from the tribe to survive on their own faced certain death. There was no way out for him, for her, and for the child she carried within.

Frozen to the earth, his tongue numb and his heart dead, he had watched as the blade descended. Her scream of agony, blessedly brief, pierced the morning air. The chief carved her heart from her body and held it aloft on the tip of his sword. The tribe prostrated themselves as the chief intoned the blessing upon them. Thomas, who was Achak in that incarnation, felt his soul bleed into the dirt.
In the Mystery Hill gift shop there is an actual photo taken at the site, and over the stones floats a misty shape-caught on camera! Many other strange occurrences have been reported there down through the ages-from unearthly screams and howls, to visions of strange people and processions. If you live in New England, I hope you will visit Mystery Hill yourself. And no matter where you live, I would be delighted if you would put Sacrifice at Mystery Hill on your reading list.

Thank you for allowing me to visit with you today. God bless. 

You can connect with Joan on 

Sacrifice at Mystery Hill is available now from the publisher in ebook and paperback:
and will soon be available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Kingsley Woods is available from:
Barnes and Noble