My Beautiful Struggle + [strange]

Haunted Halloween with P.T. Michelle and a giveaway!

A HAUNTING VACATION
by
P.T. Michelle

I'm the kind of person who believes there's more going on around us than we can actually see, but I don't intentionally go looking to prove or disprove my theory. Let's just call it a gut instinct. After years of listening to me dream of traveling to Ireland, my husband gave me a trip to Ireland as a Christmas gift. I instantly jumped on setting up our flights and tour itinerary, which included staying in Bed & Breakfasts and if I could book some, castles!

The flight over was uneventful, but long, and by the time we got to Ireland, I'd been awake for 22 hours (I don't sleep on planes). We had trouble finding the castle we were booked to spend our first night in Ireland, but we finally made it there. The next day we planned to drive to another part of Ireland where we would spend the rest of our vacation.

The owner of the castle said the castle dated back to the 16th century and the tower part of the castle was the only original part. The two wings on either side of the castle's main floor had been renovated back in the 1960s. While we were climbing the three flights of stairs in the tower during the tour, I got this feeling that we weren't alone. So when the owner said we could pick from any room in the castle, I said to my husband after he expressed interest in staying in one of the tower rooms,"You want to carry our luggage up three flights of stairs?" He decided a room in one of the wings on the main floor would do just fine.: )

As the owner showed my husband the rooms on the main floor, I flipped through the guestbook in the living room. I was curious to see what people had said about the castle. When I saw one of the recent entries mentioned ghosts, I thought,"So this castle really is haunted?" (A booking agent had recommended this castle since we were only staying one night-and I'd looked up it's history after he'd booked it). It was true that the place definitely had Gothic vibe, with its heavy red velvet drapes and unusual taxidermy on the walls: ferrets and small birds… and lots of deer skulls complete with antlers. Not to mention the castle was surrounded by woods, so even at three in the afternoon, the sun struggled to shine through, weaving tendrils of light across the rooms.

But the owner was peppy and before he sent us on our way to a pub down the road for dinner, he handed us a skeleton key. My husband and I were surprised, and I asked,"You're not staying here?" to which he replied,"Oh no, I own a farm down the road. I must be home to run it, so tonight your husband and you are Lord and Lady of the Manor. We have a big group coming in tomorrow night. I'll be back to light a fire for you after dinner, and then tomorrow morning my wife and I will come and make you breakfast."

When my husband and I arrived back at the castle after dinner, the owner lit a fire in the fireplace using bricks of peat. We talked for a while and I asked him about the castle's haunted history. He told me his wife would tell me the story the next morning during breakfast. After a half hour, he said,"Goodnight" and at this point it was around 10 pm and we'd been awake for over 24 hours. While my husband went to the bedroom to unpack a couple of things, I sat on the hearth in front of the fire with the guestbook on my knees. It was interesting to read the entries that dated back as far as the 60s. The fire was burning warm and comforting behind me while I read typical"Had a nice stay" entries. But as I continued reading, littered among those entries were"unexplained noises and whispers" entries.

As I skipped ahead and skimmed through entries that mentioned faucets turning on by themselves and noises in the kitchen, I didn't think much of the fire roaring louder behind me, because I'd heard the wind howling outside. But when the fire made a sudden"schoup" sound, and then instantly died down, I jerked around to see low flames licking along the peat bricks. Every roaring fire I'd ever been around died slowly. Was this some weird property of peat?"Whatcha doin' in there?" I called to my husband while staring at the flames with suspicious eyes. We waited until the fire had died to nothing but embers and then went to bed.

As soon as my head hit the pillow, I fell asleep, but a couple hours later I was jerked awake by the sound of a door slamming hard somewhere in the castle. My heart pounded so hard, I could hear my pulse whooshing. I realized the loud sound had come from the tower, but no windows were open while we toured, and my husband and I had locked up before we went to bed. We were alone in the castle. I tried to whisper to my husband, but he was sound asleep. I couldn't believe the sudden, jarring noise didn't wake him! Part of me wanted to investigate, but then another part of me, rationalized,"I know that wasn't normal and I should be freaked out right now (because someone obviously wants us to know they're here), but I'm just too dang tired to worry about it," so I closed my eyes and fell back asleep.

The next morning when my husband and I came into the living room, the owner and his wife had set up a table off to the right of the sofa area we'd sat the night before. A warm fire was burning high in the fireplace as the four of us sat down to eat. When I asked the owner's wife to tell me the story behind the castle, she started to speak, then paused and glanced at her husband with a funny look on her face."Did you start that fire?" she asked him. When he slowly shook his head, she stared at him for a couple of seconds, then cleared her throat and launched into her story of star-crossed lovers that had both supposedly died on the property. My husband I and looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Um, yeah, after my odd experience with the fire the night before and then the unexplained slamming door in the dead of night, there's nothing strange or unusual about a fire that starts itself back up to roaring flames after dying down to mere embers ten hours before. Nothing at all.

Was it ghosts? I don't know, but it was definitely a haunting experience.

P.T. Michelle

Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle
Published: June 27th, 2011
Reading Level: Young Adult
Series: Brightest Kind of Darkness #1

Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate… until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.

Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.

Prize:

  • 1 winner will receive an ebook of Brightest Kind of Darkness.
Rules:
  • You must be at least 13 to enter.
  • Name and email must be provided and counts as 1 entry.
  • Extra entries are possible and links must be provided.
  • Contest is International and ends November 2nd.
  • Once contacted, the winner will have 48 hours to respond.
  • The form must be filled out to enter.

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