Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Newsletter #2: September 2018

Hello friends! This summer I took some time to enjoy the sunny weather in Chicago, play outside with my husband and friends, and spend time practicing my banjo (sorry, not sorry, next door neighbors!). After a very busy and highly successful spring season, I am rested and ready for the annual fall/Halloween rush. This year, Jonathan and I will cap off our October with a much-needed vacation in Florida to celebrate our honeymoon anniversary. In the meantime, here's a recap of what happened this summer and what's coming up next:

Upcoming Publications

The Apparitions project is still a work in progress, and is slowly but surely coming together. I'll be wrapping up work on it through fall and then shopping the book around to publishers shortly after. My husband Jonathan is curating photography submissions. Authors and photographers who have submitted work will hear from us with final selections by the end of the year.

Recent Appearances

Practicing my hammer wielding at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago.
Both Season 2 and Season 3 of The R.I.P. Files are now available on Amazon Prime Video, while the show continues to air on Really TV and stream on UKTV Play! The highlight of my summer was Wizard World Chicago, where I was on the Chicago's Graveyards and Haunted Burial Grounds Panel with Visitations comic book creator Scott Larson. The panel can be viewed in two parts on YouTube, along with an interview with Scott where I express my wide-eyed sentiments about sensory overload at comic cons:

Chicago's Graveyards and Haunted Burial Grounds Panel with Scott Larson at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago, Part One and Part Two
August 25, 2018

Scott Larson, Ep. Interview with Author Amelia Cotter at Wizard World Chicago 2018
August 25, 2018

Upcoming Appearances

Seasons 2 and 3 of The R.I.P. Files will soon be available on Pluto TV, and we are currently waiting to hear on which channels it will be featured. We also anticipate more announcements soon. The Scary Stories documentary will become widely available on DVD and streaming services, and is showing at film festivals in select cities until then, including at the Chicago Horror Film Festival on September 29. I have several exciting appearances lined up for early fall. So far, they are:

Behind the Scenes: The Real in Paranormal Reality Television Presentation at Mather's—More Than a CafĂ© in Portage Park, Chicago
September 17, 2018 at 1 p.m.

Monsters: Fact and Folklore Presentation at Illinois Paranormal Conference in Rockford, Illinois
September 29, 2018

Haunted History of Chicago Presentation at St. Charles Public Library in St. Charles, Illinois
October 2, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Behind the Scenes: The Real in Paranormal Reality Television Presentation at Afterlife Paranormal Conference in DeKalb, Illinois
October 6, 2018

The X Zone Radio Show
October 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. CST

Thank you all for sharing in this journey with me. Here's hoping for a fun, cozy fall season. Happy Hauntings, everyone!

Monday, August 6, 2018

#GiveBackGetInvolved: 2018 Chicago Lymphoma Walk

Yesterday, my fabulous husband Jonathan and I participated in the Chicago Lymphoma Walk hosted by the Lymphoma Research Foundation. I am a Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor and have been in remission and cancer-free for ten years as of January! This was my third year participating in the walk, which takes place annually in eight U.S. cities, and I would like to thank everyone who donated and contributed to this wonderful event. I am so grateful to be here!:

With Jonathan at the 2018 Chicago Lymphoma Walk.

With fellow survivors at the 2018 Chicago Lymphoma Walk.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Ghost Story #5: My Dad in My Home

While I was writing Maryland Ghosts: Paranormal Encounters in the Free State, my Uncle Bernie sent me more than 30 stories from throughout his life in the form of hand-written letters. After Maryland Ghosts was first published in 2012, and featured most of his Maryland stories, we turned his remaining letters into an unpublished collection to share with family and friends called The Haunted Letters: True Tales from a Ghost-Storied Life. Here is another one of my favorite stories from that collection:

Potomac, Maryland (Montgomery County), 1988

I had a major immune system breakdown on April 22, 1988. The challenge had attacked my liver, spleen, gall bladder, and stomach. I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, hemochromatosis of the liver, and fibromyalgia, which created extreme chronic pain and fatigue.

I literally lived in the library of my home for almost seven months. I could barely walk, could not take the stairs to my master bedroom, could not drive a vehicle, and was told by 12 of my 16 doctors that I was dying.
My first marriage had become estranged, and had already been a challenge for 14 years. So I was left to take care of myself, cook my own meals, and care for our seven-year-old daughter, Kristen.
The situation was overwhelming at best, plus I had employees with Prudential I was trying to manage by phone, mail, and through personal visits to my home. This went on until the summer of 1990!
One night in May 1988 at approximately 11 p.m., I was preparing to go to bed on the library sofa. One of our dogs, a Yorkie named Tasha who never left my side, was with me.
My father appeared to me in a mist above my favorite rocking chair, which I still have. I was not on medication at that time, I promise, and my first thought was actually, "Well, now I'm also losing my mind!" But when Tasha reacted to my father's appearance—she jumped up on my lap, her ears standing straight up, clearly also seeing what I was seeing—I took the moment more seriously.
I heard my father say, not out loud but almost inside my head, "Don't worry. Everything will be alright." Then Tasha whimpered a little. After a moment, my father vanished with the mist around him, and Tasha settled down.
Tasha died later that summer, while on that same sofa bed in the library. She must have known something was wrong with her, as she jumped up to me and died in my arms. I buried her in the backyard, near the woods. May she and Dad both rest in peace.

"My Dad in My Home," copyright 2018 Bernard W. Masino and Amelia Cotter (first appeared in The Haunted Letters: True Tales from a Ghost-Storied Life, 2013)