Scary Games Your Mother Never Warned You About by Catherine Cavendish
Many of us – especially horror fans – enjoy a good scare.
It’s all healthy fun, isn’t it?
Well, it can be but… as my characters discover in Garden of Bewitchment, some games or toys are best left well alone. We’ve all heard of the infamous Ouija board but here are three games to try out that you may never have heard of, or perhaps they are variations of ones you have played when fuelled by slightly more wine than is good for you. These three can all be played by yourself – in fact you must be alone for the last one.
You’ve probably seen this one in a film or two and it’s one you can play alone – if you dare. Simply go into your bathroom, lights off and door closed, but with one lit candle. Face the mirror and say ‘Bloody Mary’ (inject some Karloff-like atmosphere into it). Repeat twice more. Now stare hard into the mirror. You’ll see her standing behind you…or…she will scratch you…or…she will drag you into the mirror and trap you there forever.
On second thoughts, probably best to have someone with you. They can help pull you out.
Another one you can play alone. If you’re successful with this one, a baby will manifest right there in your arms. It’s just… well, you remember Rosemary’s Baby, right?
Here’s how it goes: Off you go into the bathroom (strange how many of these games work best in the bathroom isn’t it? Maybe it’s the condensation). Lights off and door closed again. No candle this time though. You should be in pitch darkness. Look into the dark mirror and cradle your arms as if you were nursing a baby. Say ‘Baby blue, baby blue’ a total of 13 times and you will then feel the weight of a baby in your arms. Once that happens, you need to flush the creature down the toilet. Act fast before a woman manifests herself in the mirror and screams at you to give her baby back. Fail to deposit that unholy devil child and its mother will scratch you.
Elevator Game to Otherworld
For this one, you need a fairly tall building (at least 10 floors, or 9 if you are in the UK) and an elevator. You also, if reports are to be believed, need nerves of steel and a strong constitution as the results can be dramatic and long lasting. Essentially, this game is said to open up a portal to the other world. There are a number of stages, so let’s get going.
- Get into the elevator on the first floor (or ground floor if you are in the UK. From now on, in the interests of simplicity I shall use the American method of counting floors. My British readers merely need to deduct one floor from each measurement!) You must be by yourself. If anyone else gets in, you’ll have to start again. Press the button for Floor 4.
- When the elevator reaches the fourth floor, don’t get out. Press the button for Floor 2.
- Don’t get out when the elevator reaches Floor 2. Press the button for Floor 6.
- Once again, when the elevator arrives at the sixth floor, stay inside and press the button for Floor 2.
- Don’t get out at Floor 2. Press the button for Floor 10. There have been reports that, on arriving at the second floor at this stage, people have heard voices calling them. Whatever you do, don’t reply or make any kind of response.
- At the tenth floor, stay inside the elevator and press the button for Floor 5.
- There have been reports that a woman may enter the elevator at Floor 5 and she may try to engage you in conversation, even though you know you have never met before. It could be a mere pleasantry. It will seem perfectly innocent. It isn’t. Don’t respond or in any way acknowledge her presence or remarks. Stare at the floor, the ceiling, the lift buttons, anything but her.
- Press the button for the first floor. At this point, the elevator will either do what you request – in which case, get out at the first floor, and leave the building. On no account look back. You were not meant to visit Otherworld today. If, however, the elevator ignores your command and takes you up to the 10th floor, you may choose to get out. If you are presently sharing the elevator with a woman who entered on the fifth floor, she will probably ask you where you are going. Again, ignore her. Do not respond by word or gesture, or she will probably accompany you and you will have the devil’s own task of getting rid of her. In fact, it is highly likely that she will take possession of you.
- You will know you have arrived at Otherworld if the only person in it is you.
- When you decide to return, you must use the same elevator. Once inside, press the button for Floor 4 and then repeat steps 3-7.
- Once you arrive once again at Floor 5, press the button for Floor 1. The elevator will begin to ascend to Floor 10. Press a button for any other floor and do it quickly – before the elevator reaches the tenth. Provided you do this, you will cancel the ascent and you can press Floor 1 again and descend safely.
- Once you arrive at Floor 1, have a good look around before you get out. If anything seems wrong, repeat steps 10 and 11 and keep on until all is normal on Floor 1. You will then know you have returned to your own world.
You can see this is not a game for the faint-hearted. In fact, it is my belief you would have to be pretty crazy to attempt it. Before you do, read this account of what happened when the instructions weren’t full adhered to. If this doesn’t put you off, nothing will, so good luck and I’ll hope to see you on the other side.
Don’t play the game.
In 1893, Evelyn and Claire leave their home in a Yorkshire town for life in a rural retreat on their beloved moors. But when a strange toy garden mysteriously appears, a chain of increasingly terrifying events is unleashed. Neighbour Matthew Dixon befriends Evelyn, but seems to have more than one secret to hide. Then the horror really begins. The Garden of Bewitchment is all too real and something is threatening the lives and sanity of the women. Evelyn no longer knows who – or what – to believe. And time is running out.
About the Author
Cat first started writing when someone thrust a pencil into her hand. Unfortunately as she could neither read nor write properly at the time, none of her stories actually made much sense. However as she grew up, they gradually began to take form and, at the tender age of nine or ten, she sold her dolls’ house, and various other toys to buy her first typewriter – an Empire Smith Corona. She hasn’t stopped bashing away at the keys ever since, although her keyboard of choice now belongs to her laptop.
The need to earn a living led to a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance but Cat is now the full-time author of a number of supernatural, ghostly, haunted house and Gothic horror novels and novellas, including The Haunting of Henderson Close, the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients, Damned by the Ancients – The Devil’s Serenade, Dark Avenging Angel, The Pendle Curse, Saving Grace Devine and Linden Manor. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Haunted Are These Houses and Midnight in the Graveyard.
She lives in Southport with her longsuffering husband and black cat (who remembers that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt and sees no reason why that practice should not continue).
When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys rambling around stately homes, circles of standing stones and travelling to favourite haunts such as Vienna and Orkney.
The Historical Cornish Environment—a land of Smugglers and Secrets …
‘A separate people. Throughout the early modern period, many Cornish people continued to regard Cornwall, not as an English county, but as a British country, called Kernow. … ‘
‘Physical isolation provides the key to Cornish history. A rocky peninsula, jutting out some 90 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall stands at the extreme south-western corner of the British Isles. Surrounded by waves on all sides but one, it is practically severed from the adjoining lands to the east by the River Tamar, which runs almost from sea to sea. Although mediaeval Cornwall was – technically speaking – an English county just like any other, the culture of the ordinary Cornish people remained entirely different from that of their English neighbours. They still spoke in the Cornish tongue: a language, closely allied with Welsh. They still prided themselves on being descended from British ancestors, rather than Saxon ones. And, as late as the mid-16th century, they still possessed their own styles of dress, their own folklore, their own naming-customs, their own agricultural practices and their own games and pastimes.’
So the past economy of Cornwall might have been based on a range of industries, including metal mining, fishing, china clay production, wool cloth manufacture, quarrying and ship building. Indeed Cornwall’s rich mineral resources may certainly have been exploited on a large scale since medieval times and rows may rage today between surfers, environmentalists and those bent on lifting the tin tailings sitting on the sea bed to be used in gadgets like phones and computers, Cornwall is also known, historically for another ‘industry’. A sort of ‘cottage’ one in that rather a large number of its inhabitants were involved. And one that the landscape and environment lent itself to naturally. Smuggling.
But the location as described above, the fact the people saw themselves as different weren’t the only things to lend themselves to the trade. Parts of the actual coastline were very nicely placed for trips to France and the Scillies. Then there was the nature of the terrain, vast empty beaches, rocky caves, jutting headlands, little better than cart tracks for roads—and, as a quick glance at any map of Cornwall will show, quite a big expanse of moor sitting smack in the middle, while the inhabited bits cluster round the coast. It was nicely private all right.
At its peak, an estimated 500,000 gallons of French brandy per year were smuggled into Cornish coves. Smuggling has many stereotypes and these images often include a small group of men unloading barrels in the night. However, until the early 1800s it was a highly organized, well financed business that was run on very efficient lines.
Of course the reason for all this unhindered smuggling wasn’t just the highly organized locals, it was the weakness of the excisemen, although in their defence, the level of local support, the sheer organizational skills of those involved, which frequently included the clergy, the landowners, in fact, you name it, and the overwhelming numbers of those involved, made it quite impossible, even for the most dedicated exciseman, to police. So a lot went right on under their noses, in broad daylight.
“They were told that if they persisted in trying to make an arrest they would have their brains blown out. As the law now stands, I fear a criminal prosecution would have been useless for the reason, which it shocks me to mention, that a Cornish jury would certainly acquit the smugglers….These, my lord, are the facts.”
Did the tramp, tramp of smugglers’ feet, the alleged digging of tunnels from houses, damage the rock, the wild flowers, the beach grasses, the environment? I have no idea. But, since reading books set there and further along the south coast, I felt the ruggedness, the isolation, the sometimes crumbling decay of their own lives, that drove people into this world, might lend itself to a book someday. And it has. Finally. Set not only in Cornwall but at a point when the government was beginning to fight back and seriously crackdown by every means at their disposal. I hope this book trailer roughly explains it.
Lady Fury. It’s Fury you little creeps. And if you think I am sharing my treasured fudge recipe from my treasured kitchen, you have another thought coming. A big one.
Lady Fury. Only something Shehanne got me involved in without the common decency to serialise me first.
Lady Fury. But since this has to do with being on Kindle Unlimited till February, we will say nothing.
Lady Fury. Except that we are going last.
Lady Fury. Indeed Shey having examined her two remaining contracts held by a publishing house, and seeing she owns the subsidiary rights, I may well even be going behind Malice and Brittany which is beyond shocking if I say so myself. You would have thought she’d have held off in order to let me go first. May I just say however you have no idea how hard it is having such a selfish author. But I will say that … Manga? Well, this is how books are often read in the Asian market, where Amazon is not a big deal. Buying and electronically reading each chapter as it becomes available is, so it is of course, when you consider the size of the Asian market, a golden opportunity for me to be read…and did I mention fan/reader forums? No. Well it is also an opportunity for me to be discussed there.
Lady Fury. Yes. And given the company Shehanne has signed with expanded a few months ago have just moved into taking onboard Western romance, so in that respect I suppose it was no bad move on her part to consider this venture on my behalf, especially as the rights that were signed for are the non-exclusive ones on the five books she holds the rights to.
Shehanne. That’s very gracious of you to say so, Fury. What I would like to add, if I may be so bold as to get in a word here, is that as authors we are always looking for new markets, chasing the reader, the event party, keeping up with social media, etc. etc. and this was one market I was not only unaware of but one that shows the importance of aiming your work, in the first place, at a particular market.
Shehanne. Apart from the above? Probably being open and willing to look at new horizons, especially one that does the marketing and pays a good rate of royalties, one where you’ve nothing to lose by signing the contract offer actually. Then you need to break the books into chapters. Again this market isn’t much interested in shorts. All novels must be over 50 thou words and there must be over 50 chapters — when you break it down that is. So each chapter has to be no less that 1000 words and no more than 2000. It’s meant a small bit of adding some words here and there, say when a ‘section’ was coming in at fifty words short or it was possible to break 2900 into three chapters by adding that extra 100 or so. Also, where there’s a series, they put the books out as one big follow on volume, so suddenly you are typing a chapter 125 heading because you start the chapter headings for the second book after the last chapter of the first book. But that’s been it and once you get going it’s not that hard to do. I have always preferred to write in shorter sections anyway than muckle great chapters because I have worked in graphic comics.
Lady Fury. Oh God, Please. For the sake of common decency. No.
Shehanne. You never know. A hamster can but hope. For Christmas presents too…
A Great Day for Hamsters by P. J Lazos
On September 10, 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the EPA’s plan to dramatically reduce its reliance on animal testing when researching and determining the efficacy of new drugs, pledging that the Agency would end animal testing by 2035. How will EPA do this? By denying funding requests for mammal studies. While animal rights groups love the idea, the enviros and public health populations are not so sure.
Animal testings involves using a live subject — a mouse, fish, rabbit, hamster, guinea pig or regular pig, a chimpanzee, even a Mayfly — to test a new drug, pesticide, cosmetic, or other product for safety and efficacy before testing it on humans. About 26 million animals lend themselves, without consent (obvi), to animal testing each year in the U.S. alone, a practice that started as early as the 4th century BCE with the Ancient Greeks.
Animal testing is such a difficult topic. I love my furry friends just as much as Lady Shey loves her hamsters and can’t imagine them being used for testing, but what about the alternative?
For the Ancients, the alternative was humans or nothing. But we’re no longer ancient and we have centuries of information at our disposal, right? After reading the pros and cons, I’m convinced that banning animal testing is the way to go.
So, my Hamster Dudes, pull up your little chairs, grab a drink and a snack (although some of what I recount may discourage your appetite), put on your little reading glasses, and settle in. I hope this list doesn’t upset you too much, little Dudes, but if so, try to remain composed.
A roundup of conflicting viewpoints:
When we first started out a gazillion years ago, we knew little of anatomy, biology, chemistry and the like, but as the years progressed, the great scholars and artists started taking notes. Michelangelo, one of the greatest sculptors and painters of the Italian Renaissance would sneak into the morgue in the Monastery at Santo Spirito in Florence in the middle of the night and dissect human bodies as a way to inform his art. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1279184/ Today, almost everything we know has been uploaded into a data base somewhere that we can all access, meaning much of the original groundwork is covered, meaning we don’t need to dissect bodies in secret.
Some people believe that by eliminating animal testing we will make our drugs less safe and that using animals to test drugs provides a live specimen rather than a model, leading to breakthroughs in developing new machines and technology that otherwise wouldn’t be discoverable with modeling alone. As a result, many technological advances such as scanners, pacemakers, and surgical techniques were first developed using animals.
In addition, the living body is not just a bunch of disjointed parts working independently. It’s a well-oiled, amazingly integrated machine, the gestalt of which is far greater than the sum of its parts. Often researchers will induce systems in animals so they can study the various effects of a drug on a disease that otherwise would be difficult to study. Working on live specimens helps the researcher understand the effect on the entire body in addition to what a single drug does for a single ailment.
Our pets share many illnesses with their humans such as hardening of the arteries, diabetes, cataracts, cancer, and more which makes them good test subjects. I wonder though — is it because they are forced to eat the same crappy food as we humans, devoid of nutrients and loaded with disease-causing additives like high fructose corn syrup, or is it some kind of sympathy sickness? Also, if a drug is shown to be efficacious on animals it doesn’t mean it will work on humans. In fact, 94% of drugs that got the green light because of animal testing failed in human clinical trials.
In almost half of the cases, animal studies don’t predict the human outcome. As computers and artificial intelligence advances, the opportunities to experiment with computer-generated, non-living creatures increases exponentially.
Consider this: In the book, “Let the Dog Drive” a car manufacturer uses living dogs to crash test vehicles. Check it out. It was a real thing and not just a work of fiction:
https://www.peta.org/blog/25-year-anniversary-peta-ends-car-crash-tests-on-animals/ I mean — cruel! Not to mention that it falls squarely in the “researchers who deliberately mistreat animals” category. Eww! Conversely, those same animals saved some poor humans the pain of crashing-sans-testing!
Animal testing is more expensive, is not a stable predictor, and the test results are more often inaccurate than correct; plus it follows the old ways rather than embracing new technology. Instead, why not study cells under a microscope? A whole pharmaceutical industry was built doing business this way.
To encourage scientists to abandon animal testing in favor of more benign experiments, EPA is offering $4.25 million in grants to five universities in the hopes that they can come up with safe alternatives. I wish the EPA and the partnering universities success in this endeavor.
The Buddhists believe that all life is sentient which means even the mayflies whose life cycle is all of one day can “feel” something. Perhaps it’s time to quit animal testing and practice on non-sentient beings like computers. The results will be greater and far more specific. After all, don’t we need to give super computers something to do? We have the technology. We can do this thing without harming a hair on those furry little hamster heads.
The Dudes can take a deep relaxing breath now because the EPA is on their side. Just make sure you guys stay out of the lab between now and 2035 and you’ll be fine.
Good luck out there.
P. J. Lazos is the author of the novel Oil and Water, about oil spills and green technology, and of Six Sisters, a collection of novellas; a blogger for the Global Water Alliance (GWA) in Philadelphia; on the Board of Advisors for the wH2O Journal, the Journal of Gender and Water (U of Penn); a member of the Jr. League of Lancaster; a former correspondent for her local newspaper (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal now LNP); a literary magazine contributor (Rapportage); an editor; a ghostwriter; an author of a children’s book (Into the Land of the Loud); an environmental lawyer; and, because it’s cool, a beekeeper’s apprentice. She practices laughter daily.
Born. 1919 Blairgowrie, Angus, Scotland to a single mother.
Lived in an orphanage in London after her death, having won a scholarship to Dulwich School in London.
Studied Modern Languages at Downing College, Cambridge.
WW2 -ran messages for a Quaker organization aiding the German resistance and helped rescue Jews. Received a commission in the Intelligence Corps. Took part in the Desert War.
His 1948 poetry book about his experiences in the war, Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica, received the Somerset Maugham Award.
Instrumental in bringing about the Edinburgh People’s Festival Ceilidh in 1951, which placed traditionally performed Scottish folk music on the public stage for the first time. However, the People’s Festival, of which it was part, was planned as a left-wing competitor to the Edinburgh Festival and was was deeply controversial which led to the Labour Party declaring it a “Proscribed Organisation and it being permanently cancelled.
1955-1987 he was on the staff of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies which he co-founded
Henderson was a socialist a campaigner for Sctottish Home Rule, openly bisexual, and vocal about gay rights and acceptance.
Died 8 March 2002 aged 82.
Survived by his wife Kätzel and their daughters, Janet and Christine Henderson.
May everything you touch wither to dust.’ Cursed? Or just unlucky? Shehanne Moore
‘The question is this. I cursed you. I cursed you and your brothers –”
“One of whom—”
“Blew his brains out at midnight. Do you seriously think I didn’t trouble myself to find out?”
“Oh, I’m sure-“
“May everything you touch, turn to dust.”’
Cursed? Or just unlucky? Nice to think it’s the latter but legends of curses permeate practically every culture in history. from entire families to items—jewels especially—but places too. It would be good to say we just like someone to blame misfortune on but then again, some folks don’t seem to have a lot of good fortune, do they?
Let’s take my new heroine, Destiny who is the victim of just such a curse…
“But the fact was that curse uttered for nothing had killed Ennis, as surely as if Divers O’Roarke had pushed his carriage down that ravine that night.”
It’s very convenient to believe that all the loss and tragedy that follows Destiny about like a bad smell is the result of that curse, when it was probably on the cards anyway. Also, at the time she was cruising for the proverbial bruising, causing besotted men to shoot each other, this could just have been a wind change in her life, a what-goes-round-comes-round time. But then again, the loss of a mother, father, brother, husband and more in the space of two years, not to mention another brother becoming an alcoholic, does seem the kind of misfortune that would give the Kennedy family a run for their money in the cursed stakes.
And I think that is where curses have their power—superstitious–but even so. Would you really want to flout a curse by wearing the Hope diamond for example? Or indeed by then touching someone who was cursed?
“From Land’s End to Launceston people avoided her like she had the plague. In fact it was probably from Land’s End to John O’Groats. She couldn’t get another husband even if she wanted to.”
Whether it is balderdash or not, if something goes wrong after you flout a curse, well, you are probably going to blame the curse and wish you hadn’t done it, even if curses may, or may not exist. The Rhodes family aren’t alone in being cursed. Other famous families, in addition to the Kennedys, include the Hapsburgs, the Grimaldis, the Hemingways. I guess the Romanovs weren’t exactly what you might call lucky either.
Of course big families like that, in terms of being newsworthy, of having wealth etc., are always going to find their bones being picked over by the ‘lesser mortals.’ And the Rhodes family have that local standing.
‘She was a Rhodes and Rhodes were all about living life to the hilt.’
Big old house, family tree going back centuries, suggestions of links to pirates, definite links to smugglers. Legends surround them, like Raven’s Passage, said to stretch from their family seat, Doom Bar Hall, all the way to the beach, a fabulous place stuffed with golden treasures.
It’s easy to say that some of these real families were cursed when you can point to the actual curse itself, how it came to be uttered and who was responsible. Rasputin, of course gets held responsible for cursing the Romanovs but as a family they had plenty of misfortune before that. Nicholas II’s father and grandfather didn’t exactly fare brilliantly either and Rasputin never cursed them. But then the times they were living in were pretty explosive. No pun intended actually. Just pointing out the possible carnage/ill heath rate which brings me to the Brontës, another family that might be construed as cursed. Equally fame eventually touched them, so we know of their lives. But their deaths were the lot of entire families especially given the unsanitary conditions of the time.
The thing about curses? I honestly think you pay your money you take your chances…NOW go open the voddie and do Cossack dances.
“He cursed you, me, Chancery. You most of all. Think how different your life would now be if he hadn’t uttered these damnable words. When Chancery loved Rose. Wanted to marry her, for God’s sake. That Divers O’Roarke didn’t know is no damned excuse.”
“I am thinking. And I’m thinking we are the life we live. Its graces and its pain. And while we may not always have any control over it, we can control what we do about it. But if you want to believe in a load of old gypsy mutterings and superstition and hold it responsible for the fact you can’t walk past a drink, without feeling obliged to down and then drown in it, that’s your choice. This is mine.’
I spent the first two years of my life in a little village, some 16 miles from Hereford, called Much Marcle. These days Marcle is best known for the incredible success story that is Westons Cider, but back in the twelfth century, the foundations were laid for a house that, over the centuries, has seen more than its fair share of history. Not bad for a manor house in a sleepy little backwater of rural Herefordshire.
Hellens (said to be named after the de Helyon family who were early owners of the property) has changed hands many times over the centuries. Early inhabitants were witnesses to the signing of the Magna Carta. Much later, in the sixteenth century, owner Richard Walwyn was knighted by Mary Tudor. She dubbed him (for reasons probably best left to her) Knight of the Carpet. Elizabeth I forgave him when she came to the throne. Sadly this didn’t stop him from dying bankrupt and, by 1619, Hellens was reported to be in ruins.
Over the next century, Hellens enjoyed mixed fortune and not a little tragedy. During the Civil War, the Walwyns fought on the King’s side. The opposing Parliamentarian forces stormed Hellens, where the family priest was acting as caretaker. They found his hiding place, dragged him out and stabbed him repeatedly with their halberds, until the poor man resembled a porcupine. He died in the room where Mary Tudor is supposed to have stayed – Bloody Mary’s Chamber. When I was there, a woman on the same tour reported feeling a distinct cold spot near the fireplace and many unwitting tourists have reported being chased out of there by a figure resembling a Catholic monk.
Also, at this time, a body was allegedly buried under the floorboards, where it remains to this day. The corpse is that of Sir Henry Lingen, killed in battle at Ledbury (three miles way). Does Sir Henry walk the house at dead of night? And where, precisely, is his body? No one – as yet – knows because it has never been found.
But the hapless priest certainly isn’t the only ghost to wander the rooms of Hellens. Around 1700, someone scratched a message on a window pane in a room now known as ‘Hetty’s Room’. It reads: ‘It is a part of virtue to abstain from what we love if it should prove our bane.’ This sorrowful little homily was etched using a diamond ring, but who did it?
Hetty Walwyn, daughter of the house, eloped with a local lad called John Piercel, but he abandoned her and, with nowhere else to go, she was forced to return home and throw herself on the mercy of her family. But there was little mercy for Hetty. Her mother marched her up to her bedroom and locked her in. Poor Hetty was to be denied human companionship for the next 30 years, until she died, still incarcerated in that one room. The only way she could communicate was by pulling a cord which rang a solitary bell. Visitors can still do this – and a more mournful, lonely sound you could hardly imagine. Needless to say, there was no way anyone could reply to her. Interestingly, her faithless lover may have repented, for high on the outside of the window, his name – John Piercel – is scratched, along with the date – 1702. Poor Hetty haunts the room to this day. If you visit, maybe you’ll hear her weeping…softly…just behind you.
Over the next 200 years, ownership of the house changed frequently until Hilda Pennington Mellor, became its new chatelaine in 1945. She married the philanthropist and scientist, Axel Munthe who was physician to the Queen of Sweden. Axel Munthe is most famous for writing bestselling book, The Story of San Michele, about his adventures in restoring a house on Capri, which had been built on the foundations of Emperor Tiberias’s villa. Professionally, he worked tirelessly through outbreaks of cholera and typhus – not to mention earthquakes – tending to the sick, during the years he worked in Italy. He refused to take any money for his services from the poor and even established a hospice for elderly, destitute people in a castle outside Rome.
Today, the descendants of Hilda and Axel still call Hellens home, and the house plays a major role in village life in a variety of ways. This carries on a long tradition. My mother remembered attending the Coronation Ball there in 1953. Much Marcle, Hellens and cider are so inextricably entwined that it was decided that, at midnight, the fountain in the forecourt would flow, not with water, but with cider. Unfortunately, no one thought to warn the family spaniel whose habit it was to drink from that fountain. Not only that, the celebrations started rather earlier than anticipated. As a result, the poor dog was intoxicated by four that afternoon!
This was only the beginning of a chapter of disasters that threatened to scupper the entire event and which are hilariously recounted in Malcolm Munthe’s enthralling book, Hellens – The Story of a Herefordshire Manor. Somehow, the guests – my mother included – did get their cider, the health of the new Queen was drunk and everyone talked about the wonderful masque for months to come.
Hellens is full of atmosphere – and all the better for being a little faded, a little worn and not a little frayed around the edges. It hasn’t been ‘tarted’ up for the tourists. It’s an honest house – a family home, with a big heart, that has been around for nearly a thousand years. Parts of it bear the scars of battle – relics of the Civil War and a World War II bomb, carelessly discarded following an enemy raid on Birmingham.
As you walk its creaking corridors, descend the steep, narrow staircase and marvel at the faded elegance of its rooms, you get a real sense of presence, of a home well loved and well lived in. And, as such, this has to be one of my favourite haunts (in all senses of the word).
Have a look at their website, by clicking HERE
We are the Thirteen and we are one
4 Yarborough Drive looked like any other late 19th century English townhouse. Alice Lorrimer feels safe and welcomed there, but soon discovers all is not as it appears to be. One of her housemates flees the house in terror. Another disappears and never returns. Then there are the sounds of a woman wailing, strange shadows and mists, and the appearance of the long-dead Josiah Underwood who founded a coven there many years earlier. The house is infested with his evil, and Alice and her friends are about to discover who the Thirteen really are.
When death’s darkest veil draws over you, then shall shadows weep
The Darkest Veil is available from:
About The Author
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. In addition to The Darkest Veil, Cat’s novels include The Haunting of Henderson Close, the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.
Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife
She lives by the sea in Southport, England with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat called Serafina who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue.
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The Darkest Veil by Catherine Cavendish.
That there was something welcoming about the house is quickly dispelled in Catherine Cavendish’s latest book–a novella that yet feels and reads like so much more and in fact shows that Ms Cavendish is every bit a master of the shorter genre as she is of a full blown novel. As ever, the time settings are carefully observed and evoked, moving seamlessly from the 1970s to the present day. The ordinariness of bedsit land and life is a perfect foil for the depth and scale of lurking horror in Yarborough Drive. It is often said that the evil men do live after them and it was never truer than of this house. In fact as Alice Lorrimer and her new friends soon find out it’s never left. But will it be to their cost or not? Can they save more than themselves in this gripping, page-turning chiller? The race is certainly on as they start unravelling the past. And the reader is led skilfully down paths where sighs of relief are breathed. But let’s not forget one vital thing. This is Catherine Cavendish’s world and a scary one it is. A must for Halloween.
O’Roarke’s Destiny – by Shehanne Moore
A REBLOG OF ARTGOWNS, DESTINY GOWNS AND A REVIEW FROM RESA BY RESA
Is the line between love and hate so fine you can’t see it? If you can’t see it, can you cross it?
Some women are attracted to bad boys. Are some men attracted to bad girls? What if a good boy became a bad boy? What if a bad girl became a good girl, even when she was bad?
That’s just part of the passion play in O’Roarke’s Destiny. The intrigue, mystery and small matter of an effective curse cast by Diver’s O’Roarke is the story’s action.
It’s 1801, Cornwall; a time when women needed men, more than men needed women. Or, so society knew. 1801, Cornwall; Destiny Rhodes needs no one, nor anything: save Doom Bar Hall, its servants, Aunt Modesty’s porcelain, Lord Tredwynne’s antique armour, Grandfather Austell’s stuffed parrots, garlands in the hall at Christmas, her garden and all the embroidered pillows sewn up mended. At least that’s what Destiny was thinking.
However, it all seems somewhat moot after Divers O’Roarke wins Doom Bar Hall, from Destiny’s drunkard brother, Orwell.
It’s a world of smugglers, pirates, excisemen and extreme danger, yet, Destiny needs only her instincts. She’s in over her head, but owns a drive to do what has to be done to get to the bottom of what is going on, and retain a position to remain at Doom Bar Hall.
Still, Lyons busted her illegal casks of spirits. Who tipped him off? Mostly, why did Divers O”Roarke take the fall for her?
💥 BREAKING NEWS! 💥
There’s gowns in the story.
Tragically, Destiny’s dear husband Ennis, while in his carriage, had cascaded to his death into a ravine.(credit to the curse) Now, Destiny is in an eternal mourning in black. On top of it all, she has pined away her body’s curves, and chopped off her luscious long black hair.
Divers O’Roarke wants her, but black is for widows. He has won Doom Bar Hall … fair & square? So, her gowns are his, to sell at his pleasure. Yet, his pleasure is far from the few bits of coin he could get for the gowns. What he wants is to see Destiny, in any gown other than widow’s black.
Eventually, Destiny must wear a gown for him. She dons her least sexy gown, which is in Egyptian blue. (I don’t have that colour in my caddy, but I came up with an eau de nil). This colour is not her best, possibly her worst, definitely her most disliked.
Yet, what Divers O’Roarke wants is to see her in her most vibrant and glorious red gown. Will she wear it?
1. How did the idea of a curse come up? Are you superstitious, dabble in say; Tarot or Astrology? How/why did the curse entail everything turning to dust? Why not turn to toads, a lowly insect or even a hamster? (a little cheek)
Oh, now there was a time I did some work for a psychic journalist. I did once say what haven’t I done writing wise and other way wise when it comes to earning a crust. And yes I also did some Tarot work for her too as part of that. So I did learn the cards. At that time I also could do card readings from playing cards. I had a great aunt who could do the tea leafs. That totally fascinated me growing up. I think much as we may mock it, we do want to know a bit about what’s ahead, that HOPEFULY there’s a corner that will be turned or some good luck coming. As for the curse idea? Well, the book started about a house that the heroine had lost. And that idea came from us having to sell up our family home and me jokingly saying to a friend, I should just have flung myself in with it as a housekeeper. Then I thought BINGO idea for a book here. And it started out as fun and frothy but there were things on the table that weren’t right. Like why didn’t the hero just put her out? How can he be so besotted with this family when they were horrible to him as a child? Was light and frothy going to sustain a book? Then for some reason I saw their pasts and how and why he had cursed her and how everything had then gone wrong in her life since. Everyone she cared about has died. So she gets this name locally that way. Now if only I had thought beyond the box though, you are right. He should have said may everything you touch turn into a hamster dude. But then she’d have been overrun. That might have been a worse curse. 2. Your use of humour helps in feeling the underlying intense emotional states of Destiny and O’Roarke. With Destiny it’s the simple practical day to day things she plans to do the next day. With O’Roarke, it’s what to dig his grave with. Did you intend these character’s personal thoughts to be a humorous relief? Or did it just turn out that way?
No. Firstly I always like to use humour of thoughts. We all have them, let’s be clear. Maybe not about graves and what to dig them with etc., but we do have little idiosyncrasies and of course we are not always aware of them either. And I also know my readers expect to have a few giggles. So I couldn’t not. My characters always have some kind of wee saying or attitude. One heroine had sliding scales of things. Another would sooner swallow a crocodile than do whatever and as the book went on, that list grew and grew. One hero–my most impatient one–had Christ on various things. I did feel this book would be a bit dark if I didn’t have these bits. They are neither of them in the best place emotionally. However I then have the prob of her being a widow and I did NOT want to tackle it by having her thinking well, she was widow, thank God, because she had every reason not to have loved her husband. I felt that was a get out. So I thought if I had her, having been hit so hard that her way through is to line up tasks and tick the boxes, that that actually could prove quite humorous, especially if she’s so busy lining up these tasks, while people keep ‘getting in her face’ she doesn’t see how deep the waters are getting. It was like a wee you may think wink to my readers she’s going to be incandescent with rage the way my other ladies would be, but you are in for a surprise here. She’s too busy thinking she has that cushion cover to sew and that stool to mend. In a way these are the things that also need to be prised loose from her fingertips.
Doom Bar Hall was called after Doom Bar sandbar in Cornwall. Given I wanted to write of curses and smuggling, and not such great emotional states, I wanted something dark sounding and it is quite a fearsome sandbar I gather, responsible for hundreds of ship wrecks down the years. Originally before I went from frothy to dark, from Hampshire to Cornwall geographically, the house was called Lavistock and the book title was the Lady of Lavistock. Divers wasn’t called Divers O’Roarke either at that point. I just felt all round this was stronger. I do like to create a pervading mood and landscape for each book. This became the one here.
Resa, I want to thank you not just for inviting me here today, but your wonderful friendship AND the talent and readiness to use it to create gowns, for all those you create gowns for AND that includes my ladies. They and I salute you.
Here’ s the first drawing I did of Destiny. I was trying too, hard with the chopped off hair look. Yet, I still like it, because she looks like a pirate courtesan, with hair for an eye patch. Yet, perhaps this is a more correct visual introduction to Destiny.
Shehanne Moore is a native of Scotland, Dundonian by birth. She is the author of many Romance novels.
Having read 3 (almost 4) of her books, I can say her attention to the details of an era puts one in a different time and place. You don’t question it. You are there.
As for the flame of love she burns with her words, I suggest you read a book to see the fire!
A cover for one’s book can be as daunting as writing it. After a great search, Shehanne found the image below. The colours were wrong, but they were made right.
Eye’d like to thank all who took the time to read this post. Love you all!