Do You Really Believe in Ghosts?
During my author talks and book signings for my new ghost story/mystery, BLOOD ON THE CHEASAPEAKE—at least, before the pandemic—this is the most common question I’d receive from participants, sometimes offered with an inflection that conveyed the speakers’ incredulity. It was almost as if the person were saying, “Only children and idiots believe in ghosts.”
The short answer to that question is yes, but I prefer Shakespeare’s eloquence, “There is more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.” (That’s from Hamlet, by the way.) For those not fluent in Shakespearian English, he is simply saying there are just a great many things we simply can’t explain…and ghosts are one of these.
My skeptics are surprised to learn that the belief in ghosts is quite widespread among Americans. According to two studies conducted in the last few years (Harris Poll,2003 and Huntington Post, 2017) approximately half of Americans report that they believe in ghosts (48%).
And an amazing one in five confirm they’ve experienced an actual encounter with a spirit from the other side. BTW, the percentage of believers worldwide is even greater.
In fact, if you are born into a faith community anywhere across the globe, your belief system includes a belief in ghosts and spirits of the dead. For example, Catholics preach that ghosts are “evil spirits that lead you to sin.” Judaism includes the belief in several ghosts including the “dybbuk,” a ghost of a dead person who can possess another for malevolent reasons. Muslims believe in mischievous ghosts called “jinns”—which are better known in the Western world as genies.
Buddhists subscribe to the belief in “hungry ghosts” who exist on another plane, and should be treated with compassion rather than feared. The religions of all Native American tribes include the belief in ghosts such as the evil “Skinwalkers” of Navaho mythology. Of course, this is a partial list, but you get the idea.
These skeptics are even more surprised to learn that a number of famous scientists, inventors, statesmen and celebrities openly profess their belief in ghosts.
Marie Curie, the only woman to win two Nobel prizes for her work with radioactive elements—and was the subject of the recent Netflix film, Radioactive—also believed in ghosts and attended seances.
Thomas Edison, who holds more pattens than any other American, confided to a reporter he was working on a “spirit phone” so he could talk to the dead. Dale Earnhardt, Jr, (known in racing circles as simply Junior) has won more NASCAR races than I could name, but almost died more than fifteen years ago. In 2004, he wrecked in the LeMans Race in Sonoma, CA and was trapped inside a burning car. He says a ghost pulled him from the wreck and saved his life.
Also, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were very candid about their belief in ghosts. These are merely a few examples.
Overall, I’d say I was in pretty good company.
So as I imagined, drafted, and created the novels in my new series, the Haunted Shores Mysteries, I was intrigued enough about the possibilities of the spirit world to wrap each cold case murder mystery inside an eerie ghost story. Of course, readers don’t need to believe in ghosts to enjoy these narratives as there is so much more to savor. In each novel, they encounter a perplexing whodunit, a captivating romance, spectacular scenery and a compelling social issue—all this in addition to an eerie ghost story.
The first entry in the series, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, was published last year by the Wild Rose Press and earned rave reviews and even picked up two national awards.
The second installment in the series, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY, was released this summer and it quickly garnered two ★★★★★ reviews and a national award, the Gold Award from Literary Titan. CRIMSON follows our hero, Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach and paranormal sensitive—to the incredible resort town at the tip of New Jersey. There, he is stalked by the Haunted Bride, who is desperate for him to seek justice for her, and many more victimized girls.
Reviewers have been generous in their praise of the work.
“A haunting, yet fast-paced whodunit that captures the reader’s attention from page one. A wonderful book!”—Alexandra Ivy, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“Delivers an unpredictable mystery along with a powerful look at people…Completely engaged by the intrigue.”—Long and Short Reviews
“With both elements of mystery and suspense, readers across genres will find this second book about Darrell Henshaw intriguing…I highly recommend it.” ★★★★★—Literary Titan
“It’s a ghost/mystery story filled with suspense and action. The plot is so engrossing it had me hooked from the very first page.” ★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece
“The well-plotted storyline keeps a steady pace through two-thirds of the book and then gradually ups the ante, adds tension, grit, drops more pieces of the puzzle then explodes.”—V. Williams, Rosepoint Publishing
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