The Boogah Man – Paul Laurence Dunbar

Recently , while researching ghost poetry I came across a poet and story-teller that I really like and felt like his style was right up my alley of spooky historical verse. His poems are simple and stirring and reflect the times in which he lived.  I could not decide on just one, so I am including 3 of my favorites so far, that I enjoyed reading. The first one, made me feel like a kid again, sitting by a warm fire on a dark night, listening to a good spooky bedtime story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Boogah Man

W’en de evenin’ shadders
Come a-glidin’ down,
Fallin’ black an’ heavy
Ovah hill an’ town,
Ef you listen keerful,
Keerful ez you kin,
So ‘s you boun’ to notice

Des a drappin’ pin;
Den you ‘ll hyeah a funny
Soun’ ercross de lan’;
Lay low; dat’s de callin’
Of de Boogah Man!

Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Hyeah him ez he go erlong de way;
Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Don’ you wish de night ‘ud tu’n to day?
Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Hide yo’ little peepers ‘hind yo’ han’;
Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Callin’ of de Boogah Man.

W’en de win ‘s a-shiverin’

Thoo de gloomy lane,
An’ dey comes de patterin’
Of de evenin’ rain,
W’en de owl ‘s a-hootin’,
Out daih in de wood,
Don’ you wish, my honey,
Dat you had been good?
‘T ain’t no use to try to
Snuggle up to Dan;
Bless you, dat ‘s de callin’
Of de Boogah Man!
 
Ef you loves yo’ mammy,
An’ you min’s yo’ pap,
Ef you nevah wriggles
Outen Sukey’s lap;
Ef you says yo’ “Lay me”
Evah single night
 
‘Fo’ dey tucks de kivers
An’ puts out de light,
Den de rain kin pattah,
Win’ blow lak a fan,
But you need n’ bothah
‘Bout de Boogah Man!
 

The next poem on my list of favorites by this author,  is The Phantom Kiss. It is a dreamy little poem that made me smile and yet still left me with a little shiver.

The Phantom Kiss

One night in my room, still and beamless,
With will and with thought in eclipse,

I rested in sleep that was dreamless;
When softly there fell on my lips

A touch, as of lips that were pressing
Mine own with the message of bliss—
A sudden, soft, fleeting caressing,
A breath like a maiden’s first kiss.

I woke—and the scoffer may doubt me—
I peered in surprise through the gloom;
But nothing and none were about me,
And I was alone in my room.

Perhaps ‘t was the wind that caressed me
And touched me with dew-laden breath;
Or, maybe, close-sweeping, there passed me
The low-winging Angel of Death.

Some sceptic may choose to disdain it,
Or one feign to read it aright,
Or wisdom may seek to explain it—
This mystical kiss in the night.

But rather let fancy thus clear it:
That, thinking of me here alone,
The miles were made naught, and, in spirit,
Thy lips, love, were laid on mine own.

Lastly, I chose The Haunted Oak. This poem has a lot of historical significance. Being from Mississippi, I have often been attracted to old trees and have often wondered when I am near one that seems alive with a story, if it were possible that the events mentioned in this poem, had ever happened on it’s branches. If only the trees could speak their secrets.

The Haunted Oak

Pray why are you so bare, so bare,
Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;
And why, when I go through the shade you throw,
Runs a shudder over me?
My leaves were green as the best, I trow,
And sap ran free in my veins,
But I say in the moonlight dim and weird
A guiltless victim’s pains.
They’d charged him with the old, old crime,
And set him fast in jail:
Oh, why does the dog howl all night long,
And why does the night wind wail?

He prayed his prayer and he swore his oath,
And he raised his hand to the sky;
But the beat of hoofs smote on his ear,
And the steady tread drew nigh.
Who is it rides by night, by night,
Over the moonlit road?
And what is the spur that keeps the pace,
What is the galling goad?
And now they beat at the prison door,
“Ho, keeper, do not stay!
We are friends of him whom you hold within,
And we fain would take him away
“From those who ride fast on our heels
 
With mind to do him wrong;
They have no care for his innocence,
And the rope they bear is long.”
They have fooled the jailer with lying words,
They have fooled the man with lies;
The bolts unbar, the locks are drawn,
And the great door open flies.
Now they have taken him from the jail,
And hard and fast they ride,
And the leader laughs low down in his throat,
As they halt my trunk beside.

Oh, the judge, he wore a mask of black,
And the doctor one of white,
And the minister, with his oldest son,
Was curiously bedight.
Oh, foolish man, why weep you now?

‘Tis but a little space,
And the time will come when these shall dread
The mem’ry of your face.
I feel the rope against my bark,
And the weight of him in my grain,
I feel in the throe of his final woe
The touch of my own last pain.
And never more shall leaves come forth
On the bough that bears the ban;
I am burned with dread, I am dried and dead,
From the curse of a guiltless man.
And ever the judge rides by, rides by,
And goes to hunt the deer,
And ever another rides his soul
In the guise of a mortal fear.
And ever the man he rides me hard,
And never a night stays he;
For I feel his curse as a haunted bough,
On the trunk of a haunted tree.
 

“The Haunted Oak,” written and publsihed in 1900, could have been based on one of the 105 lynchings that occurred that year, but it was inspired in Washington, D.C., by a story that Dunbar heard an old black man relate concerning his nephew in Alabama who bad been hanged on an oak tree by a mob of whites after having been falsely accused of “a grave crime.” According to the story, shortly afterwards the leaves on the limb used for the lynching yellowed and fell off; and, unlike the rest of the normal tree, the offending bough shriveled and died. Townspeople began to call the tree “the haunted oak.” Dunbar, using the ballad form to enhance the superstition, personifies the tree and makes it the most sensitive and remorseful participant in the crime.”  from a review by James A. Emanuel

About The Author

Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national prominence as a poet. Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, he was the son of ex-slaves and classmate to Orville Wright of aviation fame.
Dunbar was prolific, writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry for which he became well known. He was popular with black and white readers of his day, and his works are celebrated today by scholars and school children alike.
His style encompasses two distinct voices — the standard English of the classical poet and the evocative dialect of the turn-of-the-century black community in America. He was gifted in poetry — the way that Mark Twain was in prose — in using dialect to convey character.

Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872, to Matilda and Joshua Dunbar, both natives of Kentucky. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Matilda and Joshua had two children before separating in 1874. Matilda also had two children from a previous marriage. Dunbar married Alice Ruth Moore in 1898. A graduate of Straight University (now Dillard University) in New Orleans, her most famous works include a short story entitled “Violets”. She and her husband also wrote books of poetry as companion pieces. An account of their love, life and marriage was depicted in a play by Kathleen McGhee-Anderson titled Oak and Ivy.
Dunbar took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington. In 1900, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and moved to Colorado with his wife on the advice of his doctors. Dunbar and his wife separated in 1902, but they never divorced.
He wrote a dozen books of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels, and a play. He also wrote lyrics for In Dahomey – the first musical written and performed entirely by African-Americans to appear on Broadway in 1903
His essays and poems were published widely in the leading journals of the day. His work appeared in Harper’s Weekly, the Saturday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other publications.
Depression and declining health drove him to a dependence on alcohol, which further damaged his health. He moved back to Dayton to be with his mother in 1904. Dunbar died from tuberculosis on February 9, 1906, at age thirty-three.

He was interred in the Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. To read more about this poet and writings, please see the resource links below. See his Find A Grave Memorial Here:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=307

Research Links

More Poems : http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dunbar/additionalpoems.htm

http://www.dunbarsite.org/

http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/302

“The Crowded Years: Paul Laurence Dunbar in History” in A Singer in the Dawn: Reinterpretations of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Ed. Jay Martin. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1975. Copyright © 1975 by Jay Martin.

Black Poets of the United States, from Paul Laurence Dunbar to Langston Hughes, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973. Copyright © 1973 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/poetryindex/the_boogah_man.html

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/poetryindex/the_phantom_kiss.html

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/poetryindex/

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/bookcover_gallery.html

University of Dayton –http://www.dunbarsite.org/

Modern American Poetry Web Site – English Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dunbar/dunbar.htm

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Ohio Historical Society
http://www.ohiohistory.org/places/dunbar/

Paul Laurence Dunbar PAL: Perspectives in American Literature A Research and Reference Guide – An Ongoing Project
http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap6/dunbar.html

Paul Laurence Dunbar Collection at the Dayton and Montgomery County Library
http://home.dayton.lib.oh.us/archives/dunbar/DTABCONTENTS.html

The Writings of Paul Laurence Dunbar Springfield Library
http://www.springfieldlibrary.org/dunbar/dunbar.html

Ohio Memory – Paul Laurence Dunbar Scrapbook
http://worlddmc.ohiolink.edu/OMP/YourScrapbook?scrapid=6698

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/gallery/dunbar_photos.html

compiled and posted by Angela L Burke – MSSPI

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The House With Nobody In It

by the poet : Joyce Kilmer

Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
I suppose I’ve passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for
a minute
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in
it.
I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there
are such things;
That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
I know this house isn’t haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
For it wouldn’t be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.
This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen
panes of glass,
And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed
and tied;
But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.
If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
I’d put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
I’d buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
And I’d find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window
and door,
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the
store.
But there’s nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do,
a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby’s laugh and held up his stumbling
feet,
Is the saddest sight, when it’s left alone, that ever your eyes
could meet.
So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track
I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen
apart,
For I can’t help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken
heart.

Alfred Joyce Kilmer (December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918) was an American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer is remembered most for a short poem entitled “Trees” (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914.

 

 

 

 

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

While most of his works are unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics, both Kilmer’s contemporaries and modern scholars, disparaged Kilmer’s work as being too simple, overly sentimental, and suggested that his style was far too traditional, even archaic. While Kilmer is not known as being a dark poet, I found his poem The House With Nobody In It  to be quite moving and sad and I wanted to include this little known poem on our darkpens blog, because it gave me a chill.

At the time of his deployment to Europe during the first World War (1914–1918), Kilmer was considered the leading American Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). Kilmer was a sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment (better known as ‘The Fighting 69th). During the Second Battle of Marne, there was heavy fighting throughout the last days of July 1918, and on July 30, 1918, Kilmer volunteered to accompany Major William “Wild Bill” Donovan when Donovan’s Battalion (1-165th Infantry) was sent to lead the day’s attack.

During the course of the day, Kilmer led a scouting party to find the position of a German machine gun. When his comrades found him, some time later, they thought at first that he was peering over the edge of a little hill, where he had crawled for a better view. When he did not answer their call, they ran to him and found him dead. According to Father Duffy: “A bullet had pierced his brain. His body was carried in and buried by the side of Ames. God rest his dear and gallant soul.”

Kilmer died, likely immediately, from a sniper’s bullet to the head near Muercy Farm, beside the Ourcq River near the village of Seringes-et-Nesles, in France, on July 30, 1918 at the age of 31. For his valor, Kilmer was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre (War Cross) by the French Republic.

Kilmer was buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, near Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, Picardy, France. Although Kilmer is buried in France in an American military cemetery, a cenotaph is located on the Kilmer family plot in Elmwood Cemetery, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. To view his Find A Grave Memorial click here  

Photo by Brian Pohanka- FindAGrave Contributor
Article submitted by Angela L Burke- MSSPI

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The Legend Of Benjamin Blackwell- A Ghost Story Part I

written by Angela L Burke

 Part I

Benjamin Blackwell was the most feared man in town. For that matter, he was the most feared man in Hill Country. He had money, and lots of it. To a big city dweller, he looked like a Mississippi backwoods hustler, but in the small town of Cedar Rock , Mississippi, population 396, he was believed to be the Devil, himself.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, on a day known as “Black Friday” , Benjamin Blackwell’s choke hold on most of the people in the small, country town of Cedar Rock, became final. The tiny, town bank had not been insured and most people in the area lost their life savings. Benjamin Blackwell had bailed many of them out of foreclosure with private loans, in exchange for the titles to their lands, farms, cattle and homes. He was also swift to evict entire families from their houses, confiscate their lands and auction their belongings to wealthy bidders if they failed to pay on time. Those who’s belongings and lands did not earn him enough money to cover their loan, plus the interest, were forced to do hard labor in his cotton fields, for miserable wages. Forced to lease and cram their families into shanty dwellings for a place to live. Many could barely afford to feed their families and were given Government ration coupons. These coupons were good for one piece of bread and one slice of meat per day, per person. Many people had nothing left to trade among themselves and were forced to do without many of life’s necessities, including clothing , food and proper shelter. Often times trading their ration coupons for something to wear or a place to sleep.

There was reason to be nervous, if you worked for Big Ben Blackwell. At this time in history, money and work were nearly impossible to come by in these parts. The Hill people of Northern Mississippi were mostly small, family owned farmers, share crop workers and lumber men. Their living conditions were poor and many did not even have electricity or indoor plumbing. Most of them still had out houses and wells.

Benjamin Blackwell’s blood line was one of the oldest in the county. His ancestors had purchased this land, or stolen it some whispered, from the Chickasaw. They had owned hundreds of slaves, over hundreds of years, black, irish and native. They had been Confederate Officers and Black Market Traders and Throat-cutting Businessmen. They were bullies and thieves and ruffians, only they had real money to back them up. They had once owned hundreds of thousands of acres of the Hill Country. Most of which, had been lost after the Civil War. But not all of it. They still carried the Blackwell dark genes and vicious temperaments. They would never go down easily. They were never liked, merely tolerated, but always respected to their faces, and they were feared, even in their absence.

Benjamin Blackwell owned most of the town and most of the farm land. He was a cotton broker and a mean business man. He was in charge of buying and shipping cotton crops, raising and selling produce , cattle and hogs and even had his hand in local saw mill operations. If you didn’t work for him, then more than likely , you didn’t work. Those who were lucky enough to still have their farms, owed Benjamin Blackwell, in one form or another, for bailing them out. He always collected on the debts people owed him. No one crossed Ben Blackwell without suffering a consequence, whether it was immediate or long in coming. He did no favors out of sympathy. He was hard, cold and out to make money. Regardless, of who he had to step on to get it.

But he was also a cheap skate. The only time he was ever seen riding in a car was when he went to Memphis or Tupelo on business. On his plantation, which he rarely left, Benjamin Blackwell always rode his horse. He was not quick to give up his throne that towered over his people. He could never achieve this level of intimidation in a pick up truck. He didn’t like change, unless it made him money, and to feed his horse was cheaper than gassing up his truck.

When he walked down the sidewalk, people cleared a path to let him pass. He was big, brutal and intimidating. There were many who despised him. He lived at and owned the Blackwell Plantation on the outskirts of town. It had been lived in by his direct family, since 1836. He still had over 15,000 acres of cotton fields, not to mention his vegetable farm and the cotton gin. He also owned the general store and some say, the town banker. Some local people even claimed, that he owned the law and the preacher. Whispers behind closed doors , of course.

Sheriff Conley was a wimp and everybody knew it. He would get so nervous when Ben Blackwell was around that sometimes, he would stutter. He’d had the problem since he was a boy and the kids had made fun of him at school. He had grown out of it as he aged, but when Benjamin Blackwell came into town, his tongue-twisting , childhood speech impediment would return. Most of the time, Conley either did as he was told, or did nothing. He was a sorry excuse for a sheriff and Benjamin Blackwell liked it that way. He made sure that the elections went in Conley’s favor. He didn’t need outside trouble.

Reverend Jonas was pastor of the Hill Country Holiness Church. He was thought by some, to be a hypocrite and a fraud, because he turned a blind eye to the sins of Benjamin Blackwell. Without Blackwell’s financial support, the church would have to close its doors. The Reverend Jonas would be out of a parsonage, a poor house, and a wage. Reverend Jonas feared Ben Blackwell as if he were Satan in the flesh. His faith was weak, but his greed mixed with his fear of being run out-of-town, or worse, kept his tongue in check. He ran the soup kitchen and provided cots for the homeless at the poor house. But, he could have done more. He skimmed the best of the donations for himself and his family. He had pocketed at least half of the money donated to the cause, by the Blackwell Family. His own family never went hungry or without something nice and new to wear. The poor house he oversaw, was one of the worst places in town to have to live. In fact it wasn’t even in town. It was an eyesore to the town people. The poor house was a large white framed three-story boarding house. It had no electricity, no running water and no indoor plumbing. There was an outhouse in the back yard, a water well pump near the back porch and a wash tub for bathing. There were many in the poor house, who were elderly, abandoned or mentally disabled. There was no one to care for them properly. It was not uncommon to see someone die at the poor house. There were new graves almost every month in the potters field section of the town cemetery. Most deaths at the poor house, were a result of neglect, starvation, illness and disease. But there were also three suicides, and two murders committed at the poor house. The towns people secretly suspected that the deaths were somehow Benjamin Blackwell’s fault. But no one dared try to prove it. There was only one church in Cedar Rock for white folks. No one was forced to attend, but those who did so were either, blinded to the reality of their situation and were led like sheep to the slaughter. Or they were quickly made to feel guilty, for being ungrateful for God’s blessings. As well as, made to feel, fear of retaliation, either from God, or Benjamin Blackwell. Neither was a comforting thought.

The colored folks and the sharecroppers had their own old wooden framed church, out in the woods on a trail off Blackwell Road. It had once been a school-house in the late eighteen hundreds for the plantation workers children. It had long ago been abandoned as a school. The church members could worship on Sunday Mornings for two hours. The white sharecroppers had church from 10 am til noon. The colored folks had church from one til 3 pm. Benjamin Blackwell owned the land and the building, and this was all the time he would allow them. There were no fancy pews or stained glass windows, just old, hand split, log benches. There was no piano or grand organ. Just the weary voices raised in song to their Only Hope. The heat source in the one room church, was a cast iron, pot-belly stove, which did little to warm the parishioners in winter. The drafty windows leaked as icy swirls of wind, blew in like a winter crow, chilling the bones of all who prayed there. In the summer time, there were no air conditioners or fans. The parishioners baked in sweltering, humid temperatures as if they were viewing the gates of Hell from the front row. The heat was a warning of punishments to come for sinners. But the faith of those who came here was strong. The people who worshiped here were good people who lived in bad circumstances. For most members, their biggest regret was that, they felt helpless to stop the evil that permeated all around them. They endured their hardships as a test of their faith. They left judgement to God and believed that those who tormented them in this life, would be given their just reward in the hereafter. The Sharecropper Church had no full-time pastor. Visiting preachers and sometimes young men from the Holiness Church in town would come out to preach the morning service. The colored church had a preacher. Brother Isaac Wilson. He was 82 years old, he had been the plantation preacher for 55 years, but he could still get the place jumping. The colored folks did a lot of singing and a lot of praying.

Those in the area that didn’t attend the Town Holiness church, were usually shunned, lied and gossiped about, or just plain ignored. There were some who were even rumored to be Hill Witches. They practiced herbal medicine and were believed to be able to tell fortunes and cast spells. They were sought out in secret but, avoided in public. Many were descended from slaves or had learned their medicine knowledge from their Celtic, African and Native heritages. Their were even rumors that deep in the hills, there was a secret band of mixed blood gypsy witches, who did sacred rituals in the deep woods. Stories about the witches had been around, long before the Blackwell family ever came to Mississippi. There had been rumors of Hill Witches since the first man ever set foot in Hill Country. There were even rumors that the Blackwell Cemetery was once a sacred burial ground of the Chickasaw. It had even been whispered that an angry Chickasaw warrior spirit, roamed the woods behind the Blackwell Cemetery and that if he caught you, you might get scalped. But that was most likely a tall tale, made up by kids, telling tree house stories.

Slavery had been illegal in Mississippi since the Civil War, but reconstruction and the treatment of people of color, strangers, and those of poverty, had been slow to change in the Hill Country. Segregation was still practiced and the colored and the poor were treated with little respect by Ben Blackwell. To him they were all his property, regardless of their color or their heritage. It had been rumored that he was a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, the notorious, ghost riders from hell. But very few people ever spoke about those things, for fear of retaliation. It had also been rumored that Benjamin Blackwell had been responsible for the deaths of at least 20 men from behind his white sheet. That disobedient workers were threatened, beaten, and targeted for barn burnings and lynchings by Blackwell’s men. He had nephews and cousins that did his dirty work for him.

His next of kin, Amos Blackwell, was Ben’s younger brother and his trusted right hand man. Amos was big, ugly and full of spit and vinegar, and he threw his weight around. He did not have the education or the business smarts to fill Ben’s shoes, no one in the family did. Everyone knew who the boss was. And everyone also knew, that Amos Blackwell would never measure up to Benjamin’s level. Amos Blackwell had no back bone of his own. And Amos knew in his soul, that someday, when Ben was gone, that he would never be able to keep the plantation going, but he was head strong, over-confident and determined to be the boss someday. People jumped when he told them to, and payed up when time expired. He showed them all how easy they had it with Ben running the show. He would do it his own way someday..and he’d show em all !

He would lose some of his arrogance, when he realized that the only reason people were afraid of him was because of Ben Blackwell’s black shadow standing behind him. Without that, he really wasn’t that important. In the mean time, Amos worshiped the ground Ben Blackwell walked on. Ben was his meal ticket and Amos would do whatever Ben wanted, no questions asked.

Martha was beautiful and loved by everyone. No one could believe it when she married Ben Blackwell. But town gossips chattered that it had been an arranged marriage, between Martha’s father, and Ben’s father, Braxton Blackwell. The arrangement was said to have been made, in order to settle a gambling debt . But everyone in town knew that Ben had been in love with Martha since grade school. He had been determined that no one else would have her. He made a point of letting all the young men in town know it. Braxton had been convinced by his son, to make the deal. She was not extremely beautiful, but she was desirable and soft to look at. She was sweet and quiet and did as she was told. Benjamin liked that in a woman. Her mother had died in childbirth and her father was a Riverboat gambler. Martha was often left to live at her Aunt Charlotte’s house in Memphis or neighbors in Cedar Rock, while her father caught a River boat to New Orleans to gamble. But, Martha was always the lady in public and when she married Ben, she carried out her wifely duties in silence and without any complaints. At least not in public anyway. Some said, that Martha loathed Ben Blackwell and that Billy had been conceived out of a forced relationship. But, Martha’s only happiness was Billy. She was a kind and loving mother and spent as much time with Billy, as she could. She loved her son dearly, and so it was then rumored that maybe, he wasn’t Benjamin Blackwell’s son after all. Small town gossip gives way to boredom, but causes terror for its unsuspecting victims.

Benjamin Blackwell was not blind or deaf to the rumors and the suspicions planted in his ears, grew like menacing Kudzu vine, making Benjamin paranoid. Ben was jealous of “the boy” and hated the close relationship that he had with his mother. He would often become angry at “the boy” for no apparent reason, especially if Ben felt he was being coddled by his mother. It was rumored among the staff that Ben would often times lock Billy in his room for days without letting him out, because “the boy” was in his way. If “the boy” didn’t finish all the food on his plate, he would be served the same cold food, for days at a time, until he ate it, often times, making him deathly sick.

Blackwell was known for his short temper and lack of compassion for human suffering. He had grown up with a silver spoon and an abusive bloodline. He felt that the world owed him and he was determined to collect his rightful dues. He didn’t like sissies, cry babies and whiners. He had been taught to suck it up and take it like a man. He had been raised to get his way at all costs and at any expense.

One day, when “the boy”, Billy was about six years old, he had been sitting up in the hay loft of the horse barn, secretly drawing pictures of horses. A small troop of red wasps had been building a new nest in the rafters, just above the young boy’s head. Suddenly, an angry wasp dived at his face. Billy panicked and began to wave his arms around in the air, screaming hysterically. This only angered the red wasps more, and they began to dive towards the panicking child. He was stung numerous times in the back and legs. Trying desperately to get away from them, he fell over the side of the hay loft, crashing into a small pile of hay. He didn’t break any bones, but he received a nasty sprained wrist. He had been stung several times in the back and legs, and had a small purple goose egg on his forehead. He was crying and in pain. He ran towards the main house to seek out the comforting arms of Mammie Faye.

But, Mammie Faye was in the basement doing laundry and didn’t hear the poor boys cries for help. Instead of finding comfort, he had run out of the barn, straight into the rock hard legs of his Father. When the boy tearfully explained what happened and showed his father his injuries, Benjamin Blackwell jerked the boy up by his collar and hauled him out to the woodshed for a strapping. Benjamin was angry that the boy had been in the barn loft to begin with. He felt that if the boy was gonna “cry like a baby”, for something that was his own fault, he would give the boy a good reason to cry. “That’ll teach ya to stay out of the damn barn! ” Benjamin had yelled at the boy, as he hovered in a trembling, fetal heap in the woodshed.

Billy’s mother, Martha passed away unexpectedly when Billy was only 7 years old. She had caught a bad cold, which had developed into pneumonia in both of her lungs. Benjamin Blackwell did not believe in big hospitals and sent for the local doctor. In her weakened state, he had refused to let young Billy in to see his mother. He had told Martha, that he had sent the boy over to stay with his brother Amos until she was better. She never got to say goodbye to the boy. Benjamin was devastated at her death, especially when her last words to him were, ” take care of Billy”.

Benjamin was said to have taken his grief and anger at his beloved wife’s death, out on the boy. Billy was small and fragile and not cut out for heavy farm work. He was shy and quiet and had no interest in learning about the family business. He was a day dreamer, he loved music and art and literature and wanted to be a writer and an illustrator of children’s story books. He loved adventure stories by Mark Twain. Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, being his favorites. His mother Martha had read these stories to him every night before tucking him into bed. But, Ben could see no future in fictional, “make-believe” and thought it idle laziness, to sit around doodling and drawing. He had forbidden the boy to waste his time with it.

Billy would sneak off to his favorite hiding place in the nearby woods, near the bubbling creek and sketch charcoal drawings with pieces of black coal that he’d stolen from the coal bin, in the plantation kitchen. He would make up adventures and draw pictures to illustrate them. He was surprisingly talented and drew very realistic images, in spite of his lack of drawing supplies or artistic training.

Mammie Faye would give him canvas flour sacks to draw his pictures on . She would save the paper labels off the canned goods and he would use the backs of them to draw on. Sometimes, she would even go so far as to steal, Mr. Blackwell’s letter head paper from his study, so that the boy could write his stories. Billy was at least afforded a proper education, although he would never live long enough to use it.

Mammie Fay was Billy’s nanny, the head housekeeper and the plantation cook. She had been working at the Blackwell Plantation all her life. Her parents and grandparents had once been slaves on the Blackwell Plantation and after the Civil War had stayed on as workers and share croppers at the plantation. Mostly because, they had no where else to go and because it was the only way they could survive. Some of them were just to afraid to leave. Mammie Faye lived on the grounds, in the nanny quarters in the Blackwell Plantation attic.

Billy loved her dearly and she doted on the boy and loved him like her own child. Mammie Faye had never been married, but it was rumored that she had given birth to a premature baby, when she was just a young girl. It was a family secret, that was never proven or spoken of in public conversation. But the story told, was that, the baby had been taken from her at birth and died because it was weak, under-developed, and half white. Many believed, that the baby’s father had been Braxton Blackwell, Ben’s own father, and that Braxton had smothered the baby, as soon as it was born, in order to hide his secret relationship with her. It would have been obvious to anyone who saw the child, had it lived, that it’s father was Caucasian. Braxton Blackwell would not let the mixed, illegitimate child, tarnish his reputation in the community. Mammie Faye had never forgiven him for taking her child from her. But, she never spoke a word about who the father had been, or if the relationship had been of her own choosing. She never married and had taken on the trusted responsibility of raising Billy Blackwell, from the time he was born.

Billy died at age 13, on a hot summer day in August of 1929, Not from falling off his horse down a steep embankment, as had been reported. But from the brutal beating he had taken, at the hands of his own father. Ben Blackwell was said to have whipped the young boy with a razor strap, until he could no longer stand up. He had become enraged when he saw the black soot from the charred coal on Billy’s hands and that his stolen letterhead was being used as sketch paper. After the brutal whipping, when the boy failed to walk himself back to the plantation house from the woodshed, Benjamin had beaten the boy in the head with his bare hands, until he was unconscious. Billy lay in a coma from a brain injury for two days, one side of his face, fractured, bruised and swollen. He could not have opened his left eye, even if he had been awake. His fragile body was tender and bruised with shades of deep purple covering his ribs, his back and his legs. His death was ruled an accident by the town doctor and the plantation staff was told to keep quiet about the beating or suffer the consequences. The boy’s obituary read, that he had died from a fall from his horse, down a steep embankment and suffered a head injury to the brain and internal bleeding of the abdomen. But those who knew the truth, did not speak the truth, out of fear for their own lives.

It is said, that Mammie Faye was furious with Benjamin Blackwell when she learned of Billy’s beating. And that when the boy died, she cursed Ben Blackwell, with a spell, for a painfully slow death. That she had secretly vowed, that when Ben was finally dead, his soul would not rest, but would instead, be tortured by hissing rattlesnakes and stinging red wasps, crawling over his corpse . That he would die a lonely man, with few mourners. That his name and his land would be cursed forever and he would be trapped on the land, in a haunting existence in the afterlife. Stuck in a torturous black gap, until the day of God’s final judgement. She was even more enraged when Benjamin Blackwell, put the boys grave in the old slave section of the Blackwell Plantation Cemetery, instead of laying him to rest, next to his mother.

The day of Billy’s funeral, which no one except Reverend Jonas, Mammie Faye and the house help, turned out for the burial service, Benjamin Blackwell instead, got raging drunk. He removed all the boy’s belongings, drawings and clothing from his room. Downed a bottle of boot leg whiskey and burned all of what remained of Billy’s identity, in a blazing fire pit. Ben Blackwell then had the boy’s room stripped, cleaned and locked. Forbidding anyone to ever enter the room again, not even to clean it. The next day Benjamin Blackwell went on about his daily business, as if nothing had even happened. He never spoke of Billy again and would become extremely upset, if anyone mentioned the boy’s name in his presence. He removed all photographs of the boy from display in the house, as if he had never existed.

Mammie Faye had hidden the drawings that Billy had made for her, inside her mattress in the attic, wrapped up in a sugar sack for safe keeping. She had managed to hide a small photograph of the boy, as a young child, sitting on his mother’s lap. She kept it inside the mattress, along with the drawings. It was said, that late at night , the muffled sobbing of Mammie Faye could be heard in the attic, weeping over the dead boys drawings. Then the sound of whispers would be heard, as if secrets were being spoken inside the walls.

Blackwell’s home sat on a small flat hill, at the center of the plantation, down a long shady, dirt road known, unsurprisingly as, Blackwell Rd. No one else lived on the road unless they worked for him and Blackwell was frequently seen riding, up and down the old dirt road on his massive black horse, keeping a watchful eye on his workers and his scattered tenants. The size of the horse was seventeen and a half hands, one of the biggest horses that folks in these parts had ever seen. The massive black horse’s eyes were as dark and frightening, as the giant who rode him. And the beast was as menacing to look at, as his evil master. Blackwell towered over the town people, like a black demon from the depths of hell itself. This only added to Blackwell’s intimidation and effectiveness as a town dictator.

On a scorching, hot, summer day, in mid July of 1932, it is believed that Blackwell was over seeing some of his workers in digging a new irrigation ditch in one of his cotton fields. Town legend has it that Blackwell got angry, because it was taking to long and he did not think the workers were digging fast enough. He is said, to have reached down from his horse, grabbed a shovel out of a worker’s hands and smashed the man in the back of the head, splitting his skull into. The man was killed instantly. However, it was their word against his and since no one in the town , including Sheriff Conley, were brave enough to stand up to Blackwell, the suspicious disappearance of the murder weapon, and the lack of evidence or witnesses, no charges were ever filed against him.

By 1935 however, Ben Blackwell ‘s health had started to weaken. He was having severe bouts of nausea and vomiting, bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. The town doctor had treated him for stress and pain, by giving him Morphine for his severe stomach cramps. However, over time, he had become addicted to the pain medication and it would cause him to act more irrationally, than he had previously been. As his health began to fail, he began to lose his hold over the towns people. He became more, and more, of a man behind the scenes. He did not want the people of the town to see his frail, weak and detoriating condition. So, he became a recluse, sending his henchmen, nephews and cousins, to do his dirty work, and to maintain the major operations of delegating authority over his plantation and field workers.

Mammie Faye was right there, all the time, tending to his every wish and demand. She was compassionate and understanding to his face, but continued to curse him in her mind and under her breath. Some believe, that she used more than her mind to curse the cruel plantation owner. Many believe that she was slowly poisoning him with small doses of arsenic.

Other’s believe that she quietly, practiced some of the old witches ways. Some secret magic of her ancestors from Africa. Because, ironically, on October 31, 1936, All Hallows Eve, Benjamin Blackwell died at the age of 66. He choked on his own bloody vomit, from a bleeding ulcer in his stomach, according to the doctor, but Mammie Faye would go to her grave knowing, what really happened.

Ben Blackwell was put in the ground on the Blackwell Plantation. He was buried in the family plot in the Plantation Cemetery next to his wife Martha. Very few people came to his funeral. Mostly his nephews and cousins and his personal henchmen were present, as were the sheriff and the doctor. The Rev Jonas preached his eulogy, but few were listening. They were all convinced in the solitude of their minds, that the old man had gotten his just desert.

Amos Blackwell, inherited the plantation. But his lack of business knowledge and his missing back bone quickly dwindled the trust fund. His poor decision-making skills had eventually, bankrupted the Blackwell estate, in less than five years.

By this time, Mammie Faye was in her late 70’s and in failing health. She died in her sleep in 1942, clutching the flour sack that contained Billy’s drawings and the photograph of Billy, and his mother.

Amos Blackwell had squandered the family fortune on booze, fast women and bad business decisions. He had let most of the staff go and spent every night pacing the hallways of Blackwell Plantation, talking to himself in fits of madness. He claimed that, he couldn’t sleep because, he kept having nightmares about rattle snakes, red wasps and being chased down by Benjamin Blackwell. He claimed that he was kept awake by the sounds of wailing in the attic and whispers, coming from his walls. He was slowly being driven insane by the phantom haunting at the Blackwell Plantation. He became an unstable alcoholic, frequently wandering about town in a drunken stupor.

One night within a year of Mammie Fayes passing , Amos Blackwell passed out in a drunken coma, on his bare feather mattress. He had been smoking a lit cigar. The house had fallen into disarray and was covered in clutter and garbage. It didn’t take long for the old feather mattress to set ablaze. Amos burned to death in his own bed. The Blackwell Plantation was charred to the ground, leaving nothing behind but the foundation, the fireplace chimneys, and the charcoal skeleton of a once magnificently beautiful plantation house. Now just a pile of burnt ashes.

The Blackwell nightmare had finally ended, or had it?

To find out, read  Part II of The Legend of Benjamin Blackwell.

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The Legend of Benjamin Blackwell A Ghost Story Part II

written by Angela L Burke

Part II

The population of Cedar Rock has changed little, since the death of Benjamin Blackwell. Blackwell Road is still a rural part of the Hill Country and remains a gravel road. Few people live along the road anymore. Most of the fields are used for cattle and horse grazing. A sparse cabin, or the rotting skeleton of a framed shack, can still be found along the roadside. All are un-inhabitable and resemble broken down tool sheds choked out by brush and the suffocating tendrils of Kudzu vine.

Stories about Ben Blackwell, are rarely discussed in public these days. But there are some locals, who know the history and also know of the strange happenings on Blackwell Rd, especially at night. Only the bravest of locals will use the Blackwell Rd as a cut through, but never after dark, and never on a full moon. It has been said, that the cursed and angry spirit of Benjamin Blackwell, still rides his horse down Blackwell Road, patrolling his fields on his massive black beast.

 Speeders, joy riders, strangers, trespassers and parkers, have encountered the dark spirit of Ben Blackwell on the abandoned gravel road. His tall, wicked shadow, usually said, to be holding a shovel. Many even claimed, to have been chased down by the crazed phantom. That the spirit of Benjamin Blackwell, has been known to chase a man’s car down the road at lightening speeds. One local even claimed that his car windshield had been covered in a swarm of wasps, to the point that he ran off the road. Then they disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.

Billy Blackwell, is also said, to haunt the property of Blackwell Plantation. Many locals claim to have seen young Billy, sitting near the creek, drawing pictures. When Billy turns to look at you, he has the look of having been badly beaten on one side of his head and face. He is said, to grin at you with a sad grin and then turn back to his drawing, before disappearing before your very eyes.

Ben Blackwell has reportedly been seen, standing on the hillside, with a shovel slung over his shoulder near the Blackwell family cemetery. It is believed, that he can sometimes be seen, sitting on his monstrous black horse in the middle of the road, as you wind around the bend on a full moon night. Only to disappear when you slam on the brakes. Many lovers have sought to do some private star-gazing on the dark back road, only to look up and see the ghastly face of Benjamin Blackwell peering through their window. His face swollen with oozing whelps from being stung by angry wasps and bitten by venomous rattlers of the afterlife, in which he is trapped.

It has even been said, that the prints of giant horse hooves, have been seen on the Blackwell Rd. No one with any sense would dare to ride a horse down the old road, due to the number of deadly rattlesnakes that have been seen, curled up in their path, sunning themselves in the warm Mississippi sunshine. Anyone who has ever dared venture down the long, pitch-dark, gravel road at night, or even on the brightest of days, do not feel safe in the largest or fastest of motor transportation. The feeling of being watched and chased by an unseen darkness is inescapable on Blackwell Rd. The fear of being struck by a vicious timber rattler or attacked by angry red wasps, will cross your mind at least once, while you’re considering the risks or taking your chances on the old road.

 Curious cemetery explorers and genealogy researchers have reported hearing the sound of a woman wailing, coming from the nearby woods near the cemetery. As well as, the sound of weeping, near the plantation house foundation. Hunters have reported hearing someone whisper the name “Billy “in their ears, while sitting near the creek, only to find that no one is ever there.

But the most surprising claims, are that Benjamin Blackwell’s grave site, as well as the plantation house foundation, is infested and swarming with large rattle snakes and swarms of big red wasps. Mississippi red wasps have an extremely painful sting and to those who have sensitivity to them, they can be deadly, especially in large numbers. Most people caught off guard by a timber rattler, never make it out of the woods. Alive that is.

The Blackwell Plantation was abandoned after the burning of the main house. The barely visible chimney, is now held tight, in the grips of Kudzu and ivy vines. The foundation of the big house is hardly recognizable. Curiosity seekers, teenagers and hikers have attempted to explore the ruins of Blackwell’s Plantation House, but none have ever stayed long. The ruins are said to be infested with rattle snakes. No one with any sense at all, regardless of their hill country survival skills, would be foolish enough to take on a hot breeding nest of angry timber rattlers.

A group of modern-day paranormal investigators, tried to explore the old site recently, and one of them came out of the woods with his life hanging in the balance. The photographer had to be air lifted to the trauma center for rattlesnake venom, after he was bitten on the leg while attempting to photograph the ruins of Blackwell Plantation. Mysteriously, there was nothing on his roll of film, even though all of his frames had been shot.

Numerous claims of mysterious fire lights, tall lurking black shadows, apparitions of a large man with a shovel, thick smoke from unknown sources and mysterious mists, the smell of wood and flesh burning. They have all been reported over the years at the plantation site. The land has never been lived on again. It is now owned by the state’s national park service. All attempts to develop the land have failed. Visitors are always cautioned to avoid the area as being unsafe and extremely dangerous, due to the infestation of rattlesnakes and red wasps. Don’t count on a cell phone for help. There are no signals in these hills, only the echos of a black buzzards scream.

The land sits vacant, said “to be cursed” by Mammie Faye and haunted by the tormented spirits of Benjamin Blackwell and his family. It is believed that Martha searches the charred ruins of the house whispering for her son Billy, in her desperation to say goodbye to him. Mammie Faye’s whispers can still be heard near the ruins of the plantation house. That the smell of whiskey, cigars and burnt flesh can be caught on a passing breeze near the charred ruins. That Billy Blackwell, still draws pictures near the Blackwell Plantation Creek.

But the most feared encounter of all for those who are brave enough to venture onto the Blackwell Rd and Plantation, is to run into the ghost of Benjamin Blackwell, the meanest man who ever lived in the Hill Country.

May the curious outsider beware! They say that behind every good legend story, there is a hint of truth in it somewhere. Explore The Legend of Benjamin Blackwell, at your own peril. You never know when the curses of a ghost legend, will turn out to be real.

Note from the Author:

The Legend of Benjamin Blackwell, is just that. A Legend. It was inspired by a rumored, Mississippi back road in the Hill Country where I live. The actual location is rumored to be haunted by an angry farmer on a black horse. But this fictional story has been dramatized and exaggerated, mixed up and made up for storytelling effect. The location, character names and claims of activity are purely fictional and any similarities with actual places, persons or events in Mississippi, or anywhere else, are purely coincidental and unintentional. The only part of this story that is known to be true and factual, is that the location, that this story was inspired by, is indeed rumored to be haunted by a dark spirit, riding a tall, black horse. The cursed home site is indeed, in ashes. It’s foundation is absolutely, infested with rattlesnakes and angry, red wasps! The rumored, haunted road thru the Hills, is definitely crawling with rattlesnakes. I will never tell anyone of its true location. It will be to my dying day, a deadly secret.

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Walking The Twilight Path – A Gothic Book of The Dead

Book Author: Michelle Belanger

 Walking The Twilight Path is a book that focuses on death. It is also a manual for those with an interest in learning how to work with death energies and spirit communications.  The book is extremely thurough in discussing death rituals and personal preparation, death and funeral history, as well as personal preparation of mind, body and spirit for energy work.

The book provides detailed ritual excercises and personal preparation excercises to help you learn to work with spirit energies. It has a self evaluation test as well as many journaling excercises for those who choose to follow the Twilight Path as a ritual practice or are considering making such a decision, as well as also being an informative guide to those who study energy, healing and/or paranormal phenomena and spirit communication practices.

Even if you do not chose to take such a path, I found that this book  helped me on a personal level, not only to, help me make choices, as to how far I am willing to go into studying spirit energy and the paranormal, but also helped me to evaluate my own personal level of spiritual awareness, and helped me to face my own mortality.

This book would be of interest to those who are into learning about death customs, rituals, history and funeral rites and spirituality. 

Ms. Belanger has drawn her information from the wisdom of  magicians, Tibetan Buddists, shamans, ancient Egyptians and others, detailing very interesting facts and customs.  She also includes beautiful cemetery and headstone photos and the book is beautifully illustrated.  She even provides recipes for helpful herb and oil and incense blends to help with spirit communications and ritual practices, and discusses some of the history behind the herbs and potions she mentions in the book. I also like the fact that she lists an extensive bibliography of recommended reading and source materials.  All in all, I found this book to be extremely interesting, informative and soul stirring. I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in learning something new and fascinating about death, rituals and customs  and working with ” otherworld” energies.

I have really enjoyed the book and though I have not yet chosen to walk this path as a ritualistic way of life, I have learned some very useful information that I can, and have applied to my daily life, my spiritual awareness and my personal study of the paranormal.  It has also helped me face my fears about death and dying and has helped me to appreciate life in a more intense way. I believe that regardless of your personal beliefs,  religion or your chosen path, that everyone who reads this book can come away with something to enrich their lives.  I would highly recommend this book to those with an interest in learning death related history, shamanic and mystical rituals and those who want to overcome their fears of death and dying.

Michelle Belanger is an occult researcher, author and lecturer. She has appeared on radio and television shows in the United States and abroad. She has appeared on networks such as History, WE and A&E. She is well known for her expertise on vampires. She studies a wide range of topics, including paranormal phenomena, energy work, folklore, shamanism and Gothic Sub-Culture. She also teaches and lectures on energy work at private ritual workshops and national conventions.  Michelle is also a talented song writer and vocalist and has been involved with several musical groups such as the dark metal band URN and Nox Arcana. She is a former 1990’s editor of Shadowdance Magazine.  Michelle is also the founder of House Kheperu, a magikal society based in part on the concept of death and rebirth.

You can find Walking The Twilight Path- A Gothic Book of The Dead by Michelle Belanger  at www.llewellyn.com

Book Review by Angela L Burke- MSSPI Darkpens Blogger

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Traumatized..by Alexander S. Brown

Dark Fiction lovers and horror fans won’t want to miss this chance, to explore the world of the supernatural,  the occult, dark creatures, maniacs and eternal damnation,  in Alexander S .Brown’s book,  Traumatized. Published in 2008 by Xlibris.

Fans of the horror genre are in for a treat as Alexander S. Brown presents a fascinating and raw collection of  15 short stories and novellas that will surely bring chills down your spine.

I had the opportunity to meet the author, Alexander S. Brown, at the  February Fright Fest 2011, in Jackson Mississippi this month.  I also had the pleasure of exchanging books with Mr. Brown. He is a delightful person, with a sincere love for the horror genre. I found his book to be  quite an exciting surprise!  But, definately  not for the faint of heart, weak of mind, nor is it a book  for young readers.. 

Mr. Brown told some tales in his book, that not only made me shudder, but actually disturbed my core. This is the effect that a true horror story should leave the reader with.  If a horror story, doesn’t rake a nerve or two, then it isn’t worth reading, in my opinion. 

With that being said, Alexander S. Brown is a true, horror story-teller and excellent, dark fiction writer, he definately raked raw, a nerve or two of mine, with his chilling book of tales.  I had to keep reminding myself that it was just fiction. 

I encourage all horror and dark fiction fans, to get a copy for yourself  and read it…… but with fair warning…. you might be left, a bit Traumatized. 

I would like to thank Alexander Brown for his permission in using his photo and his cover art for this blog post, and for taking the time to speak with me about his book, for allowing me the opportunity to read it, and write a blog post about it for our Darkpens readers. But mostly, thanks, for giving me the creepy crawlies, I love that in a good book of horror stories.

You can read more about Traumatized  and the author, Alexander S. Brown, or check out an excerpt from the book, by visiting www.traumatizedsouls.com or by going to the publishers website at www.Xlibris.com

Book Review and Darkpens Post written by Angela L Burke- MSSPI Darkpens Blogger

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Something Unseen by Stephen Hill

Stephen Hill takes you on a spine tingling journey into the mysteries of the afterlife and what awaits us on the other side. A mysterious voice captured on the audio of his camcorder during a local cemetery visit causes him to question his perception of reality, religion and even his own sanity. These questions lead him back to the cemetery in an attempt to find answers to mysteries that he cannot comprehend. He soon realizes that something has followed him home from the graveyard, something that wants to make it’s presence known. Yes, Something Unseen!

This gripping tale of one man’s journey into the other side will keep you on the edge of your seat. Stephen Hill went into the graveyard that day to do a little genealogical research. He walked away with more than he bargained for. What happens when we die? Is that it, or is there more? After reading this book you may never look at the afterlife the same again! This book may haunt you…so don’t read it alone!

About the Author- Stephen Hill
 Stephen Hill is an Empath and an Electronic Medium. He is also the Founder of Piedmont Paranormal Research and is a haunted homeowner. You can check out some of his work on his YouTube Channels at
 
 
 Book Review
 I had the pleasure of reading Something Unseen last night and I have to say, that I was very impressed at Stephen HIll’s story telling ability. I read the book from start to finish in 4 hours without stopping. It held my attention the entire time and I couldn’t wait to read what happened next. I think it is a really great book and one that all paranormal investigators and researchers should take the time to read. I enjoyed the fact that it was based on his personal experiences and I could identify with much of what he experienced and the questions that he asked himself. I also enjoyed his sense of humor as well as his ability to tell a chilling tale and I would highly recommend the book. My only disappointment was that I wanted to see his pictures and hear his audio clips for myself. So now I’m making my way to his paranormal website to do just that.

Excellent job Mr Hill ! Thank you for sharing your book with me and I certainly came away with a new way of looking at the paranormal. I’m sure that on my next trip to the cemetery, the experiences you shared in your book will be in the back of my mind. I enjoyed the book very much and am grateful that I had the chance to read it.

Angela L Burke Co Founder-Mississippi Society of Paranormal Investigators and Author of Hauntings In My Head.

You can read more reviews about the book Something Unseen by Stephen Hill and get your copy of the book on Amazon by Clicking HERE
 
 
 
 

 

 

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