America’s Most Haunted – The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places

America’s Most HauntedAMH Book Cover medium-4-thumb-autox350-25533:

The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places

By Theresa Argie & Eric Olsen

ISBN-10: 0425270149

ISBN-13: 978-0425270141


Trade paper/Kindle

September 30, 2014



There are some places in America you simply shouldn’t visit alone. At Waverly Hills Sanatorium, thousands of patients died at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic in the early 1900s and their spirits never left. In the halls of Mackey’s Music World, demonic possessions were more common than musical performances. Aboard the decks of the Queen Mary in California, echoes of the cries of hundreds of lost sailors ring clear night and day. These are places that no sane person would ever truly explore – until now.


In America’s Most Haunted: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places, “Haunted Housewife” investigator Theresa Argie and journalist Eric Olsen combine spine-tingling stories, documented evidence and interviews with some of the top names in paranormal investigations, including the stars of televisions Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and others take readers on a terrifying tour of our nation’s most haunted houses, hospitals and historic places.


Experience the crawl through the death tunnel, also known as the body chute, where visitors have reported sightings of an inhuman creature that creeps along the walls and ceilings. Get to know the spirits, ghosts, and other demons that wait in jails, lounge in mansions, fester in lunatic asylums, and even stay in the stately old hotel that served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining.


The evidence provided with these first-hand accounts, stories and personal testimonies will have readers sleeping with the lights on. Are you brave enough to take a look?


Theresa Argie is an experienced paranormal investigator who has worked with some of the field’s most respected experts. Eric Olsen is a leading journalist in the field of paranormal investigation. Together, the two host the internet radio show, America’s Most Haunted. They both live in Ohio. Visit the authors online at, and

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

The winner of the 2013 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is Chris Wieloch of Brookfield, WI, who writes: “Since it is too easy to unmask an imposter in these days of the Internet I am forced into the rather boring truth. I am a late middle aged male who has been lucky enough to be married to a woman I love for 31 years. I have 3 male children of college age. I have a wonderful family life. I am an engineer by trade and training and am intrigued by science. I enjoy the creative/inventive side of this and hold more than 60 patents on a wide variety of things. I have an engineering and technology development business. I find the world a magical place and the people who live in it fascinating. I love books, poetry, music and art. Language has always fascinated me. An artful turn of phrase or a great line can stay with me for days. I stumbled on the Bulwer-Lytton Contest this year for the first time. I laughed loud and long. I was awed at how truly awful language could be on purpose. I was hooked immediately and had many days of great fun composing my own chance at immortality. The downside of this is that I continue to have horrible little lines popping up in my head at the oddest times. I will be throwing these turds at this contest for years to come. To even be considered bad enough be named a finalist is beyond any hope I had. Thank you.”


She strutted into my office wearing a dress that clung to her like Saran Wrap to a sloppily butchered pork knuckle, bone and sinew jutting and lurching asymmetrically beneath its folds, the tightness exaggerating the granularity of the suet and causing what little palatable meat there was to sweat, its transparency the thief of imagination. — Chris Wieloch, Brookfield, WI

Grand Panjandrum’s Special Award

“Don’t know no tunnels hereabout,” said the old-timer, “unless you mean the abandoned subway line that runs from Hanging Hill, under that weird ruined church, beneath the Indian burial ground, past the dilapidated Usher mansion, and out to the old abandoned asylum for the criminally insane where they had all those murders.” — Lawrence Person, Austin, TX

Winner: Adventure

“I told you to wear sensible shoes, but no, your vanity would not allow it!” he yelled at me as if that had something to do with the airplane crashing into the jungle and all the bodies draped in the trees, but it was just the sort of nonsense I was used to from him, making me wish one or the other of us was hanging dead above us, instead of Rodney. — Thor F. Carden, Madison, TN


  • As the sun dropped below the horizon, the safari guide confirmed the approaching cape buffaloes were herbivores, which calmed everyone in the group, except for Herb, of course. — Ron D Smith, Louisville, KY

Dishonorable Mentions:

  • It was a tricky situation, given the complex behavioral instincts of the Lowland Gorilla, and this accidental group encounter with a silver-backed dominant male was taxing Professor Wiesenheimer’s knowledge of interspecies primate interaction to the limit, yet confidently and without hesitation, he turned to his startled pupils and whispered, “Run like Hell.” — Mark Watson, Raleigh, NC

Winner: Crime

It was such a beautiful night; the bright moonlight illuminated the sky, the thick clouds floated leisurely by just above the silhouette of tall, majestic trees, and I was viewing it all from the front row seat of the bullet hole in my car trunk. — Tonya Lavel, Barbados, West Indies

Winner: Fantasy

The fairies of Minglewood, which is near Dingly Pool, were having a grand revel with flower-cakes, and butterfly dances, looking ever so pretty, while Queen Bellaflora swept her wand o’er the waterfall’s foam, making it pop like the snot-bubbles on your baby sister’s face. — Janine Beacham, Busselton, WA, Australia


  • There once was a nasty, evil troll who lived beneath a bridge and took pleasure in collecting gold from the unsuspecting users of the infrastructure; however, no one used the bridge because an evil troll lived under it so the troll didn’t do much of anything. — Rachel Flanigan, Honolulu, HI

Winner: Historical Fiction

The Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered around the feast, a veritable cornucopia of harvest and game, a gastronomic monument to the bountiful biodiversity of the land, and while Mrs. Standish’s cranberry sauce was a far cry from the homogeneous gelatinous can-imprinted sacrosanct blob which has become the holiday’s sine qua non, the rest of the food was good. — Jordan Kaderli, Dallas, TX

Winner: Horror

Even though Letitia had brushed her teeth, Draco could still smell her garlicky breath, but assuming her blood would at least be toxin free, if not particularly appetizing – because of the antibiotic properties of the garlic’s allicin, an organosulfur compound – he gleefully plunged his incisors into her throbbing jugular vein. — Maggie Lyons, Callao, VA


  • Count Glandula’s castle flickered with eerie lights, where the immortal villain slaked his evil thirst in the dungeons with innocent victims – two moldy old peasants because the virtuous maidens had all been taken by the hot teenaged vampires down the road whose breath wasn’t so icky. — Janine Beacham, Busselton, WA, Australia

Winner: Romance

On their first date he’d asked how much she thought Edgar Allan Poe’s toe nails would sell for on eBay, and on their second he paid for subway fair with nickels he fished out of a fountain, but he was otherwise charming and she thought that they could have a perfectly tolerable life together. — Jessica Sashihara, Martinsville, NJ

Miscellaneous Dishonorable Mentions

  • The dark and foreboding landscape was littered with crumbling castles, collapsed crypts, and earthworks for forgotten fortresses wherein lurked those most dastardly of degenerates, whose blood curdling cries made the lives of the locals a living hell – the historical reenactment society. — Phil Davies, Cardiff, UK

Much of this is reprinted from I picked my favorite parts to share with you. If they don’t cause you to laugh right out loud, they should at the very least provoke a groan – hope you enjoy! PJ

Need a laugh today?

The Annual Bulwer-Lytton winners are always good for a laugh! Here are some of my personal favorites from the 2012 winners’ list. Be sure to go check them all out!

“Your eyes are like deep blue pools that I would like to drown in,” he had told Kimberly when she had asked him what he was thinking; but what he was actually thinking was that sometimes when he recharges his phone he forgets to put the little plug back in but he wasn’t going to tell her that. — Dan Leyde, Edmonds, WA

Corinne considered the colors (palest green, gray and lavender) and texture (downy as the finest velvet) and wondered, “How long have these cold cuts been in my refrigerator?” — Linda Boatright, Omaha, NE

The stifling atmosphere inside the Pink Dolphin Bar in the upper Amazon Basin carried barely enough oxygen for a man to survive – humid and thick the air was and full of little flying bugs, making the simple act of breathing like trying to suck hot Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup through a paper straw. — Greg Homer, Placerville, CA

As an ornithologist, George was fascinated by the fact that urine and feces mix in birds’ rectums to form a unified, homogeneous slurry that is expelled through defecation, although eying Greta’s face, and sensing the reaction of the congregation, he immediately realized he should have used a different analogy to describe their relationship in his wedding vows. — David Pepper, Hermosa Beach, CA

The syncopated sound of the single-cylinder steam motor, designed by Mier Vander, reminded Mier of the time his father took him to the Mollen Bros travelling circus to see the “Corpulent Lady” and to sit upon her lap immediately following her lunch of sauerbraten and ale. — Jim Tierney, Murrieta, CA

Her fixed gaze at dinner reminded him so much of an owl that he found himself wondering when she would regurgitate her meal into a pellet and told the waitress they didn’t need a dessert menu. — Leah Sitkoff, New York, New York

Her skin was like flocked wallpaper and her eyes had seen better days, but when her bloodless lips murmured “Hi, Sailor,” my heart melted from the inside out like one of those chocolate-covered ice cream bars on a summer day that runs down your arm and gets all over your new shirt. — James Macdonald, Vancouver, B.C

Many years have passed since the events related here, but I remember them almost as well as if I had really been there, because I think about them frequently, turning them over and over in my mind, changing the facts to make me into more of a hero than I actually might have been, had I been there to do half the things I claim I did. — Thor F. Carden, Madison, TN

He got down from his horse, which seemed strange to him as he had always believed that you got down from a duck or a goose. — Terry L. Johnson, Tularosa, NM

Milton’s quest for the love of Ms. Bradley was a risk but no sorry trivial pursuit yet he hadn’t a clue why she had a monopoly on his heart’s desires – in fact, it boggled his mind and caused him great aggravation because, in his checkered and troubled careers, he had always scrabbled hard and it drove him bonkers that she considered life just a game. — Linda Boatright, Omaha, NE

As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me. — Mary E. Patrick, Lake City, SC

Tucked in a dim corner of The Ample Bounty Bar & Grille, Alice welcomed the fervent touch of the mysterious stranger’s experienced hands because she had not been this close with a man in an achingly long time and, quivering breathlessly, began to think that this could be the beginning of something real, something forever, and not just a one-time encounter with a good Samaritan who was skilled at the Heimlich Maneuver. — Mark Wisnewski, Flanders, NJ

Haley’s crystal eyes surveyed the vista that stretched in front of her like a vast comforter tossed over the form of a slumbering giant to the hills that arose abruptly like the hastily drawn up knees of the giant when he has to reach down and rub the cramp out of his foot that he experiences when he’s stretching underneath his vast comforter. — Robin Siepel, Bakersfield, CA


I was fascinated when my first copyeditor told me that “main force” comes from the French for “force of hand” and it was therefore inappropriate for me to have a character kick someone with main force. (It was a fantasy novel, and I was young. Forgive me.) At the time I was teaching a creative writing workshop, and I shared my new and exciting insight with the class, adding similar niceties, such as how “nit-picking” refers to the eggs of lice and is not to be confused with knit-picking the fuzz balls off of sweaters, and a “strait jacket” is not straight but tight, like the Straits of Magellan or the Biblical “strait and narrow path,” which is not straight either. I went on to explain what it meant to be on “tenterhooks,” meaning the hooks on which canvas is stretched to make tents, having nothing to do with fishhooks or tenderness. And I was just about to explain that “spitting image” is ludicrous, the old term being “spit (spirit) and image,” when a student raised her hand and asked plaintively, “Do we have to know all this stuff to be a writer?”

At the time I became speechless, slack-jawed with astonishment at the apparent fact that she did not want to know “all this stuff.” But once I got home and had time to mull over what she had said, in bed, which is where I do my best mulling (not a mixed metaphor; “mulling” as cogitation is simply a homonym for the process of heating, sweetening or spicing beverages such as wine) – once I had time to consider, ponder, and ruminate (metaphor of cows?), YES, I decided, writers should know all this stuff, or at the very least they should want to know it. What had taken me so very much aback, or by surprise (note to self: look up “aback”) was that anyone who wanted to be a writer should ask such a question, because how could anyone possibly want to be a writer if she did not like words?

(“To take aback” turns out to be a nautical metaphor, referring to the wind pushing against the wrong side of sails and sending the ship backwards. It does not, as I had conjectured, refer to being attacked from behind. I am relieved to have cleared this up in my own mind.)

My first copyeditor has long since given up the ghost (or perhaps her spit) and I have had oodles of copyeditors since, and I still welcome every new word or nuance of words I can learn from them. To be a writer one must like words. Arguably, one must love them. And to love them means to learn and respect their nuances, their connotations, and their derivations so as to choreograph them to best effect.

Here are some worthwhile words from my big, new novel, Dark Lie: candor, verity, fulcrum, malar (referring to the rash on my protagonist’s face; she has lupus) and Mylar (balloons). Ascenders, descenders, arcades and garlands as jargon of handwriting analysis. Sociopath as differentiated from psychopath. Psychopomp, meaning shaman without the tribal connotations.

Prismatic, luminous, pellucid, limpid lake of light – all are words that might be used to describe the near-death experience. But I guess maybe the more important words in Dark Lie are simpler: daughter, mother, danger, suspense, dark, secret, love.

Nancy Springer has written fifty novels for adults, young adults and children, in genres that include mythic fantasy, contemporary fiction, magical realism, horror, and mystery — although she did not realize she wrote mystery until she won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America two years in succession. Dark Lie is her first venture into adult suspense.

Born in New Jersey, Nancy Springer lived for many decades near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, of Civil War fame, raising two children, writing, riding horseback, fishing, and birdwatching. In 2007 she surprised her friends and herself by moving with her second husband to an isolated area of the Florida panhandle, where the birdwatching is spectacular and where, when fishing, she occasionally catches an alligator.

Hot August Nights

Here we are in August already. Amazing. Seems like it was just January a minute ago and now we’re nearing the end of the year and the onset of 2013. Or is this a comedy of errors? Wasn’t it just a year or two ago we were all worried about Y2K? On the one hand, days are long and hot and there seems no end in sight. On the other hand, school starts in a few weeks (didn’t the school year just end a week or so ago?) and if we blink a time or two it’ll be Thanksgiving. What?

Proof that everything is influenced by personal perception and that opinions can rise and fall with the outdoor thermometer. It’s best not to be moved by them. However, every writer’s life is a roller coaster of sorts and this time of year in particular, it can be a really bumpy ride. Our New Year’s resolutions have lost their shine and many have been abandoned altogether, leaving behind that hopeless feeling of yet another failure. The list of things we’d planned to have accomplished by this time has grown enough that we’re no longer comfortable looking at it so we spend more time on Facebook where we can Like and be Liked. The decision is no longer how do we catch up, but what do we do now since there’s no way we can do it all by the end of the year.

In the background of my mind I hear Rob Thomas and  Carlos Santana serenading me with that deceptively titled old favorite, Smooth.

Or maybe it’s Neil Diamond singing about hot August nights:

I wonder if it’s time to tilt the office chair back and close my eyes for a quick accidental nap or if this day deserves the get-up, march-to-the-couch-and-lie-down on purpose variety. The point? We all have these days, and frankly, just pretending that we don’t doesn’t change a thing. What to do?

Like so many self-employed people (including moi) writers tend to be “on duty” 24/7 with little relief. Continuing that way with no end in sight will lead down the road to total burnout. The cure? Or more accurately, the Prevention? Scheduling. Oxymoronic? Not really. Not if it’s done right.

Just like it’s important to schedule regular writing time, and if you’re excelling in time management, a set-aside time for promoting your work, you need to pencil in some regularly scheduled YOU time. Call it R & R. Maybe that stands for Rest and Relaxation, or for Research and Rejuvenation. Maybe it’s a day on the couch reading a book you don’t have to read, or taking your grandkids to the zoo. Oh wait, I forgot it’s August. Maybe it’s an appointment at a spa nearby, or a trip to the nearest Natatorium. Museums and libraries are usually cool (temperature wise) this time of year. Movie theaters aren’t as appealing today, but they will be again. I like to go to the lake. Even when it’s burning hot outside, it somehow seems cooler there.

Whatever you do, make sure it feeds your soul. After all, what kind of writer will you be if you have no soul? As much as the project manager in me believes in planning and scheduling and essentially making every day count, life is too short to always be working and feeling like it’s never enough. So especially in August, pause. Take a day a month, or a day a week (gasp!) and just live. Do something that matters to you even if nobody will ever read it. Enjoy. I promise, the lists will still be there when you get back.