Monday, July 1, 2019

Ghost Story #6: A Friend's Deceased Mother

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Ghosts was first published in 2012, and featured most of his Maryland stories, we turned his remaining letters into an unpublished collection to share with family and friends called The Haunted Letters: True Tales from a Ghost-Storied Life.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:

Roanoke, Virginia (Roanoke County), 1993

An unusual thing occurred while visiting an old friend of mine, Joe Ed Philips, who is now deceased, at his 900-acre farm in Roanoke, Virginia.

His mother had been deceased for years. Her nickname was "Mud." Joe Ed could not pronounce the word "mother" as a young child, so "Mud" was close enough and the name stuck!

I was unpacking in my bedroom, which had been his mother's room at one time. I heard heavy footsteps in the attic, and shared this with Joe Ed before dinner.

I had taken steamed lobsters for our dinner, and Joe Ed and his girlfriend made an extraordinary grouse pie and a huge homemade blackberry pie. This was two years before I met Debra, so I traveled alone for the visit.

That night, after this great dinner, we all turned in for bed. I hadn't been sleeping long when I heard heavy footsteps again in the attic…then, a little later, in my bedroom.

I had a pistol and flashlight by my side. The moon was bright and shined nice soft light through the window, the kind that only the moon can create. I could see no one, but the heavy footsteps continued and stopped at the end of the bed I was in.

I turned on my flashlight to be sure no one was playing a trick on me, as Joe Ed had a great sense of humor. There was no one there and suddenly, the end of my bed levitated off of the floor with a jerk, and stayed off of the floor for about five minutes.

Finally, the bed settled back down to the hardwood floor with a thud.

I told Joe about the experience the next morning over breakfast. Joe Ed said it was probably just "Mud" checking out who was sleeping in her old bed…

"A Friend's Deceased Mother," copyright 2019 Bernard W. Masino and Amelia Cotter (first appeared in The Haunted Letters: True Tales from a Ghost-Storied Life, 2013)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Newsletter #5: June 2019

Hello friends! Spring is the new fall around here. And not just because it's still only 60 degrees outside. Traditionally, I am the busiest around Halloween, for obvious reasons, but this has shifted in the last couple of years. My spring appearance schedule has become just as hectic, along with the majority of publications and writing deadlines occurring in or around April (which also happens to be National Poetry Month). I've learned to love it, but am happy to have something of a summer break coming up, although my writing schedule will still be pretty packed. I am also the most proud of the work I have been doing this year, and excited to share with all of you the updates below:

Recent Publications

"Andy," Barren Magazine Issue No. 8
April 2019

"Hibernaculum," Black Bough Poetry Issue 1 (Broadside 13, pg. 15)
Summer 2019

Upcoming Publications

The Apparitions project, a collection of poetry and short prose that, despite its title, is not about ghosts, is out for publication with multiple publishers, and I hope to have some real news to share by the end of the summer. I am also continuing work on the anthology about the lives and experiences of children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, which I was asked to co-edit and contribute a piece to. I hope to have some news about that by the end of the summer as well. I also have at least two poetry publications on deck, one of which is with a long-coveted bucket-list dream publisher of mine, so I will be stoked to share more when they are published this summer!

Recent Appearances
Filming for a new Travel Channel program in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

I debuted a new presentation this spring called Snakes: Myth and Magic with my husband Jonathan. The presentation explores snakes in folklore, mythology, pop culture, and religion around the world, and includes a meet and greet with one or more of our friendly snake ambassadors. It's basically our TED Talk on the history of snake lore, so getting to meet some live animals certainly sweetens the deal. I was also proud to see that the Scary Stories documentary finally became available on Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services, following a limited theatrical release in select cities. Unfortunately, because of a last-minute title change from Scary Stories: A Documentary to simply Scary Stories, there has been some confusion over whether or not the documentary is actually the upcoming Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark horror movie. ...If you have the chance to leave a positive review for the documentary on Amazon, please do. I know the director Cody Meirick, who put five years of love into making it, would truly appreciate it. As always, Season 2 and Season 3 of The R.I.P. Files are also available on Amazon Prime Video. Season 2 has been airing again on Really TV and continues to stream on UKTV Play, and is also streaming on Pluto TV's Conspiracy Channel.

Upcoming Appearances

The Scary Stories documentary will be coming to DVD this summer, prior to the release of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie. Jonathan and I spent some time in Baraboo, Wisconsin this spring filming for a new Travel Channel program that will hopefully air this fall or winter. I spoke on the topic of Native American burial mounds in and around Wisconsin, and we shared some ghostlore from the Baraboo area. So far my list of confirmed fall appearances is otherwise light, but I hope to (and suspect that I will) be adding more soon:

Storytelling Session and Paranormal Tour at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens in Rockford, Illinois
October 4, 2019 at 7 p.m.

Chicago Ghost Conference
October 18-20, 2019

Thank you all for continuing to share in this journey with me. Explore more, keep creating, and Happy Hauntings, everyone!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Scary Stories: Now Available!

The Scary Stories documentary is now available on Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services! It will also be coming to DVD this summer, following a limited theatrical release. It aired last year at film festivals in select cities across the U.S., and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

I am so excited and proud to be interviewed in this documentary, getting to see myself on the big screen and fulfilling a childhood wish to appear in the same space as some of our generation's most respected children's literature and folklore writers. Thanks and Happy Hauntings!

Scary Stories: A Documentary is now available on the streaming services listed above.