The Orb Within – An Interview with Jane Helen Croft

I’m excited to announce that The Ghost Post is now doing interviews with paranormal authors and paranormal investigators.  My first paranormal author interview is with Jane Helen Croft.  Jane recently published an intriguing ghost story novel with Vanguard Press called The Orb Within. To find out more about Jane or to purchase her book, go to Jane Helen Croft – Author.

 

Thank you for interviewing with The Ghost Post, Jane!

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I was born in Hitchen, Hertfordshire, UK, in 1963. As a newly published author, I’m extremely proud to say that my ancestry dates to Sir Thomas More – 07/02/1478 – 06/06/1535, later venerated as Saint Thomas MJane Helen Croft - Author Picture 2ore. Not only was this amazing man the author of Utopia, he was also councillor to Henry VIII and former Lord High Chancellor of England. I spent my early childhood in Handsworth, Birmingham UK, and the remainder of my youth, and early adult years, in Lincolnshire, England. In 1989, my family and I emigrated to Sydney Australia.

After working in retail and customer service for many years (alongside raising my five children), in 2004 I moved to the idyllic island of Tasmania.  Up until this point, I’d never even contemplated becoming an author, but after a huge life path change, I began using writing as a type of self- therapy, and after sharing my work with close friends, as well as a few unbiased people, I made the decision to submit my manuscript of The Orb Within to Pegasus Publishing House, UK. To my amazement, my novel was accepted first time, the team at Pegasus then offered me a shared contract, and have asked for first refusal on my next two works. These are currently being written.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I’d dreamt of becoming an author for many years, however, being busy raising my five children, it wasn’t until I was in my late forties that I found both the time to start writing, and a hidden ability to create a fictional novel that could instantly capture a reader’s imagination.

Who are your literary influences?

Do you have a favorite book or author?    

To be honest, I have no literary influences as such. I do however adore a rather mixed bunch of authors, Maeve Binchy, Bryce Courtney, Matthew Reilly, Virginia Andrews and Tom Sharpe, and have recently been introduced to the works of Jodi Picoult.

Do you have any quirky writing rituals?

Yes, I do have a few routines and rituals I instigate prior to writing. I only write during the night hours. No, I have no vampires in my heritage, I just prefer the quieter hours. There are less distractions, less noise interruptions, and a more relaxing atmosphere. Being English, I must have a constant supply of tea at hand, plus a few biscuits for midnight snacking purposes, my beloved cat Binky needs to be close by, and I like gentle background music playing.

Do you view writing as a spiritual act or practice?

I view my writing as a spiritual practice. The reasons for this are as follows: Whereas a part of me wishes I’d found my writing talent when a lot younger, another part is grateful that the universe enabled me to truly experience life, and death, before I began my literary career. Not only did my past mould me into a more empathetic person, it also expanded my imagination and opened my mind to all possibilities in this world, and the next.

When and how did you become interested in the paranormal?

I was only quite young when I had my first paranormal experience. In fact, it is the vivid memory of this particular incident that was the inspiration behind my first novel, The Orb Within, and is included in the story itself. At the age of five years, I tripped and fell down a flight of stairs, rather than reaching the bottom of the steps in an injured heap though, a spirit woman appeared before me and broke my fall, she then lifted me up, as a mother would a child, placed me gently on my feet in the hallway, stroked my cheek softly, and then disappeared into thin air. This wasn’t my only visit from this sweet-scented entity. I found that at times when I felt sad or lonely, if I sat on the exact stair on which the spirit stopped my tumble, and thought about her, more often than not she’d appear.

Many years after leaving this house, I found out the tragic history of my childhood home. Back in the early 1960’s, on the 24th December (Christmas eve), the father of the family who owned the three-bedroom, semi-detached residence, finished a long night shift and headed home. Rather than following his normal routine of sleeping though, he instead packed his wife and two young children into the family car, filled the boot with luggage and an assortment of presents, and set out on a three-hour drive to visit relatives for the Christmas holidays. An hour into the journey, unable to stop himself drifting off to sleep, the father lost control of the car and steered into an oncoming fuel tanker, the family were all killed instantly.

I am totally convinced that the gentle natured, loving, female entity who was my semi-transparent childhood friend, had been the mother. I feel she was a lost soul, that somehow, she’d became separated from her loved ones upon death, and in search of her beloved children and husband, she’d returned to the place that was familiar to her, the family home.

How do you feel about spirits?

Having encountered many spirits in my time, two of those being my parents who visited me after they’d passed, I accept the afterlife as part of my life, if that makes sense? I have been lucky enough to have been shown that it is only our physical body, our ‘skin suit,’ that dies, not our souls, and that our essence, our very being, is preserved.

What is your view of the afterlife?

From what I’ve studied, observed, photographed, and been told by those who have passed over, is that the afterlife is a place of love, understanding, and constant learning. It is certainly not a place of judgement or punishment.

Do you believe in reincarnation and past lives? 

Why or why not?

I do believe in reincarnation and past lives. I’ve read of many instances where reincarnation is impossible to disprove, and I would love to meet someone with a vivid awareness of a past life. I myself seem to have a pull towards the Victorian era for some unknown reason, and because of this strange attraction to the past, I recently made the decision to be regressed to find out more. I’ll update the results once I’ve experienced this process, hopefully with audio tapes.

Tell us about a memorable paranormal experience that you had.

I’ve already ‘spoken’ of my experience with a female spirit in my younger years, but this wasn’t the only encounter I’ve had. After leaving my childhood residence when I was seven years old, we moved into a rental property in the Lincolnshire countryside. Now whereas the bungalow (single level home) itself was built in the 1970’s, the land upon which the estate was erected, happened to be close to the ruins of a Premonstratensian monastery which was founded in 1154. Evidently, in 1537, the abbey became involved in an uprising of some kind, six of the resident canons were executed, the others cruelly evicted, and the whole place was closed down.

For the first few months following the move, all appeared well, however, I suddenly began having horrific nightmares. I couldn’t remember what they were about, but I’d awake absolutely terrified. One night, I was too scared to drop off to sleep, and so my mother had allowed me to keep my bedside lamp on. I was lying on my side, facing the doorway that led out to a long hallway, when a freezing cold blast of air hit my face. An ominous feeling of doom filled my bedroom and I saw a dark shadow appear in the doorway.

Petrified, I tried yelling out for my parents, yet my voice was muted, not a sound would emerge. I attempted to leave my bed, but I couldn’t move, staring in terror at the large black shadow before me. The form suddenly manifested into a monk. He was wearing a cowled robe, which totally masked his face, and his arms were folded across his chest. He stood in the doorway for only a few seconds, before floating off down the hallway and disappearing into the wall. Night after night the hooded monk visited my room. I never did see his face though, neither did he speak, but the feeling of evil that emanated from the spectre was almost palpable. Thankfully, once the legalities of buying our own property were finalized, we left the bungalow.

You recently published your debut novel, The Orb Within, with Vanguard Press. 

What is it about? 

What was your inspiration for the book? 

My debut novel, The Orb Within, tells the story of renowned psychic, Gemma Underwood. Following her marriage to the suave, Robert Langton, Gemma realizes there’s something very amiss about her new husband, having no other option than to delve into Robert’s sordid past to get the answers she seeks. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Gemma has to rely on both her earthbound friends and those in the afterlife to help assist in her quest. The book not only follows Gemma’s experiences as a spiritual medium, the storyline also draws the reader into a world filled with debauchery, witch craft, incest, and a string of evil betrayals.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your writing or the paranormal?

Due to my avid interest in the paranormal and especially the afterlife, over the years, my photographs and experiences have come under the scrutiny of many skeptics. Now whereas I openly encourage skepticism, as this allows a doorway for discussion, I am averse to cynics, those whose blinkered attitudes veer more towards criticism than to open mindedness and possible understanding. However, as in life, and death, with the good comes the bad, and I think as long as those of us who remain loyal to our beliefs, rise above the negativity, then our research into the realms of the paranormal will continue regardless.

How can readers contact you and where can they find your work?

Readers can contact me via the following – Facebook Page Jane Croft- Author, and my work (one book to date) can be viewed on my webpage: www.jane-helen-croft.pegasuspublishers.com.

Click here to see a teaser book trailer for The Orb Within!

Jane Helen Croft - Author Picture


If you are a paranormal author or investigator who is interested in doing either a phone or written interview with The Ghost Post, send a message to Tara Theresa Hill – Author via Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Musical Ghost

Thanks to Michelle from Northern Vermont for this story!

Many old houses in New England are home to the dead, as well as the living.  In some cases, the ownership can be traced back to one or two families that have lived in the same neighborhood for generations.  This leads to the current owners accepting the spirits of the previous residents as being connected to the house.

Michelle’s father-in-law’s home is over one hundred years old.  It’s a two-story house with a full attic and basement.  The house has furniture, antiques, phonographs, paintings, and firearms from as far back as the mid-1800s.  The large home was built by Michelle’s father-in-law’s uncle, Nathan.  Uncle Nathan is known for ‘haunting’ the house.

In 1993, Michelle and her husband, Shawn, went to visit his father for Christmas.  Michelle’s father-in-law worked as a volunteer firefighter, so there was always the chance that he would be called away in an emergency.  In the middle of the night, Michelle awoke to the sound of piano music coming from downstairs.  She woke up her husband.  Shawn said that he could hear the piano music too.  Then the music stopped.

They heard footsteps walking across the floor and the carpet, and over to Shawn’s father’s desk.  Shawn sat on the edge of the bed, holding his gun, and wondering if he should go see what was going on.  At this point, they were worried that someone had broken into the house.  The footsteps continued up the stairs and then halted on the landing next to the grandfather clock.  Just as suddenly as it had all begun, the strange noises ceased.

The next morning, Shawn asked his father if he had received a fire call late that night.  His father said that he had not.  Michelle and Shawn told him everything that had happened.  That’s when they found out that there hadn’t been a piano in the house for many years.  According to Shawn’s father, Uncle Nathan enjoyed playing the piano when he was alive.


Media Announcement:

I recently did an interview with Tim Weisberg of Spooky Southcoast: Paranormal Radio Podcast.  We talked about my interest in hauntings, why I write ghost stories, and discussed theories on the paranormal.  Be sure to catch the show on SpookySouthcoast.com: Episode 524 – The Ghost Post – Tara Theresa Hill.  

Do You Have a Ghost Story?

Send me an email to theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview.  I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Want even more Ghost Stories?

Check out The Ghost Post’s YouTube channel for audio recordings of The Ghost Post.  It’s perfect for camping out, sleepovers, or anytime you just want to hear a ghost story on the go. 

For more ghost stories, paranormal phenomena, and updates, follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill

Are you a paranormal writer, artist, or investigator?

Do you have a paranormal-themed business or Facebook group?

Maybe you just can’t get enough of the paranormal and want to connect with other like-minded individuals.

Then check out my new paranormal advertising group, The Paranormal Hotspot: The Market for All Things Paranormal. There is no set promotion day, so you can promote your business, art, or group every day for free. You can also post links to sites where you sell your products or services. Our mission is to help paranormal businesses, artists, writers, and investigators connect with fans and consumers!

Get Your Ghost On!

Check out our CafePress store featuring The Ghost Post’s official mascot, Spook.  We’ve got awesome coffee mugs, t-shirts, and more!

cropped-spook
Spook – Official Mascot for The Ghost Post – Copyright 2017

My Cat Sees Orbs

Orbs are a controversial subject in the paranormal community.  The internet is full of people claiming to have captured an image of an orb in a picture or on video.  Opinions on evidence vary, but they generally fall into three categories: dust, bugs, or other types of light refractions.  I’m not here to make judgements on other people’s experiences or to try to debunk anything.  Everyone must come to their own conclusions about what is real or not.

I do believe that orbs are one way that spirits visibly manifest.  Perhaps this is because it takes less energy to appear as a ball of light than it does to show a fully developed human form.  I have had a few experiences with orbs, both in spirit dreams and while awake.  Many times, I have woken in the middle of the night to find orbs hovering either over or near my bed.  When I see them, they look like glowing, nearly transparent bubbles with a thicker outer ring.  I have seen them in an array of colors including red, pink, yellow, orange, gold, white, silver, and blue.  Sometimes they are even multicolored.  I always question my experiences because I feel that is it healthy to reserve a level of skepticism when facing something out of the ordinary.  However, I keep an open mind to the existence of spirits and have faith that they exist.

One time in college, I woke up to see a large, glowing silver orb floating above my bed.  It was easily bigger than a basketball and was oblong in shape.  My husband, then boyfriend, George, was asleep next to me.  I remember gazing up and feeling positive emotions coming from it, although I don’t remember hearing any specific words.  I watched as it floated over my bed and through the wall next to mine.  Then I went back to sleep.

Another time I saw an orb, I was home alone.  My husband was out running errands.  I was in the bathroom fixing my hair, when my cat, Diana, wandered in behind me.  Like many cats, she loves to follow me around the house.  She sat down on the bathmat to watch me.  As I looked over to her, I noticed her look to the side as if she saw something.  Her eyes were focused in on something, so I followed her gaze.  As I turned, I saw a little golden ball of light zip through the bathroom door.  It was stationary long enough for me to tell that it was there and then it disappeared.  Diana had followed it with her eyes the whole time.

A couple of weeks later, I was in my bedroom when I saw another orb.  It was a cloudy day, so the light in the bedroom was dim.  The blinds were drawn, so there wasn’t much light coming in from outside.  Diana was sitting by my closet, when suddenly she looked up at my ceiling in the same way that she had a few weeks earlier.  I looked up expecting to see a spider or something.  Instead, there was a little ball of light playing near my closet.  It hung around for a few seconds before disappearing.

Each time that I saw the orbs, they looked like little round balls of light, but solid, as if I could have reached out and touched them.  I am intrigued that they appeared in areas of my apartment that I feel have a lot of spirit energy.  The bathroom is a source of water, so it is not unusual to feel spirit energies in that area.  I also think that my closet serves as a type of portal, but that’s another story.

Note on the picture: Yes, those are bubbles in the photo. I used them because this picture was the closest thing that I could find to depict the concept of an orb at this time. 


Do You Have a Ghost Story?

Send me an email to theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview.  I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Want even more Ghost Stories?

For more ghost stories, paranormal phenomena, and updates, follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill

Also, check out The Ghost Post’s new YouTube channel for audio recordings of The Ghost Post.  It’s perfect for camping out, sleepovers, or anytime you just want to hear a ghost story on the go. 

Get Your Ghost On!

In celebration of The Ghost Post’s 1 Year Anniversary, I have launched a Café Press store featuring The Ghost Post’s official new mascot, Spook.  We’ve got awesome coffee mugs, t-shirts, and more!

Spook Giant Coffee Mug
Spook – Coffee Mug – Copyright 2017

When Strange Winds Blow

Thanks to Amy from West Virginia for this story!

Amy grew up with her grandparents in an old coal mining town.  Her grandfather built the house with his own hands using leftover wood from the church.  Amy’s grandfather passed away before she was born, but she heard plenty of stories about him.  A coal miner, he had also been a heavy smoker and had a reputation for being a curmudgeon.  Amy never felt her grandfather’s presence in the house while growing up, nor did she experience anything paranormal or out of the ordinary.

However, something strange did happen on the day of her grandfather’s death.  Unknown to Amy’s grandmother at the time, he had been crushed between two mining machines.  It was a terrible accident.

Amy’s grandmother was home alone when suddenly the back door flew open.  The gust of wind tore the curtains down in the living room.  When it reached the other side of the house, the front door opened inward, as if someone had pulled it open from the inside.  Then the wind exited the house and everything was still again.  Later, Amy’s grandmother discovered that this incident had occurred at the time of her husband’s death.

Amy still lives in her childhood home.  Things were fine until she did some major remodeling to modernize the place.  Every so often, a great wind blows through the house.  She has checked it out and there are no sources for these drafts.  She has also occasionally seen a shadow.  She is unsure whether the apparition’s presence makes her feel uncomfortable because of a vibe that it is giving off or if it is because of the background knowledge that she has about her grandfather.  Both Amy and her husband have sensed the spirit.  Sometimes the wind leaves the scent of tobacco in its wake, but no one in the house smokes.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

Safe Haven

Thanks to David Wood from the radio show, The Witching Hour, for this story!

David grew up in Kentucky.  He and his mom, Mary, lived next door to her best friend, Pat.  Both Mary and Pat had long blonde hair and loved wearing halter tops.  They looked so much alike that they could have passed for sisters.  They were also extremely close and protective of one another.

Pat was married to an abusive alcoholic man.  Whenever their fights escalated, Pat would run next door to Mary’s house.  Mary would absolutely refuse to let Pat’s husband in the door.  The way David describes his mother, Mary has always been a strong, no-nonsense woman and there is no arguing with her.  Pat would stay over Mary’s house until things quieted down.

When David was still a little boy, Pat died from complications related to a “female surgery.”  Mary didn’t really discuss her grief with her son because he was so young.  However, David remembers his mother trying to explain what death was and that it meant that Pat wasn’t going to be coming around anymore.

Shortly after Pat passed away, David was walking down the hallway when he saw a blonde-haired woman in a beige nightgown standing in front of the big mirror in the living room.  Thinking it was his mother stopping there to check her hair and makeup, he turned around to go back to his room, only to bump into his mother wearing a purple jogging suit.  David tried to explain to her what he had just seen, but she dismissed the incident as his imagination.  It was some years before David realized that he had seen Pat’s spirit.

The second event happened around Christmas.  Pat died before she got to tell anyone where she had hidden her son’s Christmas gifts.  Even though they looked everywhere, no one could find them.  It was getting closer and closer to the holiday and the presents still hadn’t turned up.  Then one day, Pat’s son walked by with a gift in his hands.  When a relative asked him where he had gotten that, he said, “Mommy told me where to look.”

Years passed.  David was now eighteen years old.  His mother had remarried and moved away, and he was living alone in the old house in Kentucky.  One night, he was in the restroom when he heard what sounded like the screen door opening and closing.  It was around two or three am in the morning.  Coming out of the bathroom, he suddenly saw Pat standing in the hallway.  David recognized her long blonde, fly-away hair.  The apparition was completely solid-looking.  He could actually see the light reflecting off of her and remembers that he looked right into her eyes.  Then just as quickly as she appeared, she was gone again.  Based on Pat and Mary’s close friendship, David thinks that Pat’s soul felt safe there and was probably looking for his mother.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

My Beloved Bambi

 

Bambi Photo
My dog, Bambi. Original Artwork by Jan Mina, 2013

For anyone who knows the loss of a familiar or animal companion.

Bambi and I were inseparable from the moment we met.  He was a handsome Sheltie dog with light brown fur and a white front ruff.  I was eight years old and recovering from the chicken pox when my parents got him for me.  Bambi was an intelligent, loving, well-behaved, and extremely gentle dog.  He never bit anyone and was deeply protective of our family.  He slept with his head on my legs from the first night that we brought him home until the day that I left for college.

During my sophomore year, he fell ill and became progressively sicker.  Then one night during my spring semester finals, I had a strange dream.  I was standing on the edge of this beautiful field.  Long green grass waved in the wind.  A blue butterfly with a wingspan the size of a large notebook appeared by my shoulder and started dancing around me.  Surprised, I started whirling around with it.  At some point in the dream, the blue butterfly smiled and kissed me on the forehead.  I watched as it flew off to join a cloud of other butterflies that had gathered in the field.  My heart was heavy because I knew that I could not follow the joyful little spirit.

When I woke up that morning, I knew that Bambi had passed away even before my mother called me.  I told her about the dream and said that he had come to say goodbye to me in my sleep.  The months that followed were a dark time for me.  I mourned Bambi so deeply that my husband (then boyfriend) bought me a stuffed animal that looked like him to sleep with at night.

I started seeing Bambi’s spirit frequently after I graduated and moved into my first apartment.  I have had four apartments so far and he has followed me to each one.  I will turn around and suddenly see him out of the corner of my eye or enter a room and find him sitting on the floor just as he used to when I was a little girl.  Sometimes I even see him resting next to my darling cat, Diana.  Bambi has the most benevolent soul and his presence always brings me a sense of incredible comfort and peace.  Even through death, we are still connected and always will be.

 

Phantom Footsteps in the Chapel

Thanks to my husband, George, for this story about a haunted monastery in Connecticut!

Author’s Note: I have purposely not included the name of the monastery to protect the organization’s privacy.

Every fall, George goes to a professional conference that is held in a monastery in Connecticut.  Built in the 1950s, the monastery resides in a residential area on a property surrounded by woods.  It’s the type of place where you expect Big Foot to come lumbering out of the forest.  A labyrinth, statues of Mary, and the Stations of the Cross adorn the grounds.  All of his colleagues have reported odd sensations or strange experiences during their stays at the monastery.  Although a place of prayer that also rents out its rooms for various retreats, the monastery has a slightly unsettling atmosphere that can become eerie, especially after dark.

Most of the rooms in the monastery are small and include twin beds, a desk, and a crucifix adorning the wall.  George told me that one coworker had a spooky experience where she couldn’t sleep because she felt like someone was in her room watching her.  She has refused to stay overnight for the conference ever since.

One conference a few years back, George had arrived earlier than everyone else.  Like most Coed dormitories, the men and women’s rooms are kept separated from one another.  Being the only male that had arrived thus far, George was the sole occupant on his floor at the time.  He decided to set up his poster for the upcoming session that evening.

On the second floor is an old, masonic-style chapel with wooden chairs lining both sides of the room.  The chapel has two entrances that make it possible to use the room as a way to cut across to the other side of the building without having to go the long way around.  George carried his poster to the showroom without incident.  On the way back, he decided to take the short cut through the chapel.

It was a cloudy, rainy day.  The overhead electric lights were off and the illumination coming from the windows was dim at best.  As George was walking, he suddenly became aware of footsteps following him in the chapel.  “Click clack, click clack,” went the steps.  George was wearing sneakers, so he knew it wasn’t his shoes making the noise.  He paused and the sound of footsteps continued for a few seconds before fading away.  George had felt the presence of someone walking behind him, but turning around, saw that no one was there.  No one else had arrived for the conference yet.  After a few moments, George continued on his way, but thankfully didn’t hear the phantom footsteps again.

George is not one to spook easily and unlike me, he doesn’t purposely seek out ghosts, cemeteries, or haunted places.  He doesn’t have much interest in the paranormal.  Nevertheless, since this occurrence, George only uses the chapel as a shortcut when he is with a group of people.