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Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of the Ghost Adventures’ Crew, 2011 (VB Books)
Whether you are a fan of the hit TV series Ghost Adventures, or just learning about it for the first time, this telling autobiography by the show’s creator and star, paranormal investigator, Zak Bagans, is quite a story! His experiences have been frightful, his commitment arduous, and his passion and honestly unflagging. A must-read. Below, is the Foreword to Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Imvestigator of the Ghost Adventures’ Crew, Zak Bagans (with Kelly Criger), VB Books, 2011.
There is arguably no topic in human history that incites as much contemptuous disbelief and passionate dedication as the existence of life after death. As humans, it is our natural instinct to belittle what we don’t understand, and then follow with statements of derision and ridicule. Even mentioning that ghosts might exist can cause instant damnation and persecution among the religiously devoted and staunchly pragmatic, which causes many people who have had a paranormal experience to remain quiet about it. Maybe that’s the greatest achievement of the dead: they’ve convinced the world that they don’t exist, so the majority of us are either disinterested in proving it otherwise or too convinced in our own beliefs to recognize a new viewpoint. Yet most of us are at least curious to know what happens when we die; some may say that information is even a right of humanity, that if another world exists after our physical bodies die, then it’s our right to know about it.
I wrote this book for several reasons. First, I want to take you on my seven-year journey through the world of paranormal investigation from the documentary film in 2004 through the many seasons of Ghost Adventures. I want to tell you about the things that didn’t make it onto the screen and dig deeper into the most significant events that did. We sometimes spend four days filming an episode and have to boil it down into one hour, so there’s always stuff we want to show, but don’t have the time to. And sometimes even the most significant phenomena that we capture have to be covered quickly because of time constraints.
Second, I want to use our adventures to address leading theories on life after death….
O the blood-encrusted thoughts!
whirring like blades, wheeling
and whining through the
ambushed mind, unbeckoned;
unhindered, unheeded—how does one
pray to be emptied?
Sly little half-truths; those
brazen whole-truths, eyes
like coals, low to the burning;
“‘tis the hooded chill cloaks the fever!”
Old Wives’, you know;
smoldering blue at the gums…
tooth and blade, chew,
then whirrr; whirrr, then chew—
through the indigo watches
of the night.
(C)2018 Sanguine Woods
The following bibliography identifies and briefly encapsulates in an annotation the content of articles, chapters, books, and other publications concerned with some aspect of the English of southern and central Appalachia from West Virginia south to Georgia. The emphasis is on academic and research-based works, but many popular items are also included, especially ones dealing with vocabulary and names, when not appearing in newspapers. Since many annotations indicate the state(s) on which the study is based, readers are encouraged to conduct on-screen searches for locales and terms such as grammatical features, pronunciation patterns, and others that will show up in either the reference or annotation. Because so many items span multiple categories, this listing is not organized by subject matter.
- Abney, Lisa Jo. 1988. “Preterites and Past Participles in the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaire.” College Station, TX: Texas A&M University M.A. thesis. Categorizes verb forms in questionnaires returned by 52 veterans from East Tennessee, finding that “standard” forms occur 91% of the time.
Abney, Lisa. 1989. “Preterites in Early Southern White English.” SECOL Review 13: 180-93.
- Adams, Frazier B. 1970. “Colloquial Speech Forms.” Appalachia Revisited: How People Lived Fifty Years Ago, pp. 47-49. Ashland, KY: Economy. Brief presentation of archaisms. Review: C. S. Guthrie. 1970. Kentucky Folklore Record 16.81.
- Adams, Henry J. 1976. “Speech Patterns.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 41: 70-71. 104 figures of speech from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
- Alderman, Pat. 1972. “Mountain Hollerin.” In the Shadow of Big Bald: About the Appalachians and Their People, p. 64. Jonesboro, TN: Tri-Cities Press.
The Old Cap-Woman
The following stories come down from American ethnologist, Frances Albert Doughty, who recorded them in his journal in 1899, and later published them in an article called “Folklore of the Alleghenies”. Doughty credited the source of the story to “one of the oldest residents of Monroe County” who claimed the bewitching events took place duringthe 1840’s:
Not so long ago, in Monroe County, there was a woman who lived down near the sweet springs who was always seen with an old-fashioned bonnet cap on her head; nobody ever saw her without the cap. She was a hard, grim-lookin’ monster. During the rare instance when anybody was watchin’ to see her untie her cap strings, and remove the cap, it was said. they never could see anything underneath it, her very likeness disappearing, until she’d put the cap back on her head.
The Strange Calf
When the old cap-woman first came to Monroe County from somewhere over in Botetourt County it was said, she lived over a small forested hill from a man and his wife who’s two children walked to and from a nearby school every morning and afternoon.
The story goes that an odd calf began to follow the children along the route to school, and had been in the habit of “attackin’ ‘em and bitin’ ‘em, when they was walkin’ to school”. When the children became too afraid to walk to school, their father decided to investigate. One day, about the same time the children would’ve been passing the location where the attacks seemed most often to occur, the father concealed himself one day and was watchin’ to catch the calf. On that occasion it come out and attacked the children on a bridge across a little stream of water. The father chased and caught the calf and cut off its ears with a knife.
Folks in Botetourt County had believed for some time that the old woman was a witch, possessed of some uncommon art. They said she could turn herself into a calf, and had been known to do so on numerous occasions. Interestingly enough, the next time the old woman was seen around town, a crowd mobbed her, and pulled off her cap. As was expected, she was missing both ears!
‘“Hush,” said his mother. “A child your age shouldn’t even know about such a thing. They shouldn’t even let you see those picture shows and horror movies…”
The boy’s grandfather stopped eating and looked up at his daughter, the fork poised in mid-air above the beans that were his supper. “He ought to know. A boy lives this close to Overhill Mountain ought to know about the things that go on up there.”
“He won’t live here all his life,” she said. “He’ll get an education… You’ll see. He’ll go North to live.”
“But it’s daylight, Ma,” the boy said, courage bolstered by his grandfather’s words. “Everybody knows they crumbles up in daylight. I saw a movie where—”
“They don’t die in sunlight,” said the grandfather. “Sunlight robs their strength. They’re things of the night and have no strength in the day—but it doesn’t kill them if they aren’t exposed too long. How long, depends on how strong they are to begin with. But they do hate the sun. I think the reason they’re scared of crosses is that the holy things shine like the sun to them—”
“I don’t want my boy to know about them, Daddy.”
The old man went on, ignoring her. “They do have to go back to their grave, like in the movies, but it don’t kill them to spend a day away from it. It’s the need for that grave, though, that’s strong in them. That and the fear of the sunlight. Those are strong in them and only thing that’s any stronger is the Thirst.”’
– Gerald W. Page, “Thirst”—from The Year’s Best Horror Stories, Series II, ed. Richard Davis (Daw 1972)
Dear Book Lovers and Ardent Readers,
RE: A quick note from the writer’s desk…
Working on my novella The Diary of Xander Tully. It is a frightening tale set in the years before America had become a nation, up in the woods of what is now the border between Michigan and Canada, where French-Canadian settlers have started a fledgling colony led by two old families.
Xander Tulley is a stranger here. His origins are not known to the community. But he is a clever man; he shows the world a practical and rational side; a lover of facts and the path they reveal to truth. But Tulley has other sides. He hails from a foreign land, across the sea. His people are tall, fair of hair and pale of skin. He appears as an artisan printer in the colony of River Raisin, where the villagers have a respect for the past and their heritage (one of the families traces its roots all the way back to a French king).
When Tulley becomes curious about a tale of an odd grouping of stones located in the deep woods that begin about a mile northeast of the village, he is drawn to the site. There is no visible path to the outcropping, and reaching it is difficult unless you know the woods, and the way. The stones circumscribe what appears to be a gash in the earth, an opening some five paces across at its widest. The villagers don‘t appear to know of the spot, its history, or the fact that a grove of trees surrounds the area in almost a perfect circle. They are deciduous trees, “evergreens”—-and they are the only trees in the wood that turn the color of glowing embers when autumn steals the light from summer and creeps toward the winter solstice.
The story of the woods is old. Some things—some geographies, secrets—-some stories—-lay quiet and undisturbed for a reason. Xander Tulley has been dreaming about the burning trees. His preoccupation with learning the history of the Wood leads him to seek out an indiginous tribe that once dwelt near the area, but has since moved higher north. It is in the tribe’s legends, wrapped tight within in an ancient language, that Tulley begins to see a story form in the forgotten shadows of time, one that once breathed life, and should now be left alone.
Xander Tulley reaches a proverbial fork in the road, where he may learn more about himself than he ever cared to know; and where he will be faced with making the hardest decision he will ever have to make.
Stay tuned for more!
“Ever accidentally come across a collection of stories that hits the spot dead on? You don’t know the author and you’ve never glanced at any reviews. You have no expectations. Because sometimes the blues shivers our spines, we’d picked up J Malcolm Stewart’s The Last Words of Robert Johnson. Anything about that haunted bluesman seemed a good start. Very neat title story, yep, with a setting that interests us, the States in 1920s and 1930s. Eerie, historical and laced with potential and actual horror. High marks so far…
So, quick glance at the second story – totally different, but easily as well written. African fables, the wives of Death, clicking their knitting needles… We were sold. We read the whole collection, and thought, hmm, wonder if we can find this guy? Well, we did.
J Malcolm Stewart turned out to be a friendly, talented author from the US of A, with other fiction and writings on offer. He was more than happy to talk to Grey Dog Tales Press, so we went for it. We talk quite a bit about his background, his work, and key themes as we go, so you don’t need us to ramble on any more. We ‘re most pleased to present today’s exclusive…”
An Interview with J Malcolm Stewart …
Click here to read the interview over at greydogtales …
Visit the author’s Amazon Author page here…