I’ve written this blog post half a dozen times. I wanted to talk about dense fog surrounding a drafty castle, the chill that follows an unexpected, often unwelcome, guest through the door. I wanted to dwell on a time of death, on the scent of molding leaves that draws us into cemeteries and makes us worry about mortality. I wanted to remind everyone of Bradbury and Gaiman, of Poe and King, of the fear inherent in this time of year. I am simply unable to do so.
October does something to the brain; it will not be ignored. Where I live, the month will be warm and cool in a fickle sort of way. The wind whips colored leaves in a whirling dervish as it whispers occult words that go ignored at any other time of year. October’s mercurial nature lends itself to discussing the dead. From culture to culture, it seems that fall has that effect on humanity.
For me, October has always been a favorite month. Whether it was my early interest in the metaphysical or my family’s tendency to embrace the season, I’ve often found October more comforting than frightening. As a child, I would immerse myself in horrific fairy tales and morbid folklore year-round. Only in October would the rest of the world embrace the witches, fair folk, and magic beings that I loved. It was called a dangerous season, though I knew the supernatural could find you in any month. Good manners, quick wits, and a healthy dose of suspicion will keep you safe when the ordinary rules go out the window.
As I grew older, pop culture caught up. I gleefully watched shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark, The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, and Unsolved Mysteries. Movies skewed supernatural friendly with titles like The Addams Family and Hocus Pocus. Coast to Coast on am radio was a late night friend, a standard for ghost hunters and alien abductees long before podcasts were popular. The otherworldly was fascinating, not just to me, but to everyone.
My family reinforced my inquisitive rather than frightened approach to fall. Our Octobers were spent amid bonfires, craft tents, and apple orchards. Fall was a time of comfort and fellowship, in which our home was base camp for Halloween festivities. Dad would light a fire and mom would prepare homemade chili and steaming mugs of cider. It was a month of warm memories and joyful recollection.
My family’s approach to ghosts has always been similar to our approach to the season. Supernatural experiences are welcome because they usually involve family. With lots of light and comfortable rooms, my little pre-fab home from the sixties doesn’t look like the standard haunted house. It’s been through renovations and cleanings, new furniture and new carpeting since my aunt and uncle died over a decade ago, but they still like to check in.
The wind chimes that hang from the top of my stairs were once owned by my aunt and uncle. I keep them inside the house as a reminder of good memories. They don’t make a lot of noise, or rather, they aren’t supposed to. Occasionally they will chime, and the sound will bring the strong odor of my uncle’s cigarette smoke or my aunt’s perfume. It’s been fifteen or more years since my uncle smoked in the house and we have been unable to find my aunt’s scented powder for years. Still, the smells are noticed regularly by guests and family alike.
My grandmother never lived in the house, though she visits too. Her wooden clock was passed down to my mother before it came to my home. Battery-operated with a brass pendulum, the timepiece has not worked for almost twenty years, despite it visiting multiple clock repair shops. It will return from the shop, work for a few days, then the brand new mechanisms quit functioning. Every time it stops, my mother removes the batteries. Every October, within a week of my grandmother’s birthday, the clock chimes erratically. For a few minutes it sounds as if it is being shaken to pieces, then the clock goes silent for another year. My grandma always had a wicked sense of humor.
Whether the ghosts I’ve had experiences with haunt places or people, most have been echoes of those I love. The angry spirits I’ve encountered have been few, and none came in October, but those stories are for a different blog post. For me, fall is a season of kind spirits, of warmth, and of family. May the changing leaves and the dying season bring you sweet surprises and the love of those past and present.
The Arts of Love
A New Release!
You know what they say about those creative types...
Playful, rebellious, sensitive and passionate, nobody loves like an artist. These sixteen stories set the stage for racy encounters with bad boy rock stars, sensual actors, and artists seeking their muse. Inside this collection you'll find:
* A drummer aching to satisfy the one woman who doesn't recognize that he's a rock star
* A writer unaware that his fans and former assistant find him undeniably attractive
* An eccentric college professor enticing her protégé with informal lessons on dance, drawing, and desire
* A stage manager struggling to remain professional with the show's sexy director
Whether you're looking for a playwright provoking her friend's uptight cop neighbor to help with blocking, two choir men battling for the affection of the girl-next-door, or a struggling writer finding an unusual muse in the Japanese countryside, this collection will have you ready for romance.
Harley Easton is a Renaissance woman dabbling in everything life offers. She's worked at a theme park, found expert witnesses, guest lectured at a national museum, and worked with medical students. Putting experience and insanity to good use, She's found her favorite job, writing. Now she specializes in erotic, romantic, and speculative fiction. Who knows what kind of trouble she'll get into next.
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