Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our newest book project, a paranormal "nonfiction"

We used to be more skeptical about the supernatural -- at least, we were before we lived in a haunted house for nine years. Because we can't explain the many creepy events that occurred in that old two-story log cabin, our time there managed to make us a bit more open-minded to paranormal possibilities.

It's also the reason we agreed to make our next book a sort of "nonfiction" for our publisher, Raspberry Creek Books.

We were having dinner with press owner Larry Meredith and his wife Alice last fall, and conversation naturally turned to the paranormal since our whole Silverville Saga series is paranormal fantasy. It took a couple glasses of wine before we confessed our experiences with the ghost who inhabited our former home, and we mentioned we'd always planned to write a book about such encounters (well, maybe others' rather than our own) but just hadn't gotten around to it.

A week later, Larry contacted us with a proposition we change gears and write that book for his press. Writerly sluts that we are, of course we said yes.

The book we decided on is a travelogue of haunted hotels in Western Colorado. And we just conducted our first on-site investigation and "stake-out."

After all, we've been both free-lance and staff journalists for years. Plus we'd received additional forensic training when we became field investigators for MUFON (another story altogether). So here was a chance to apply our trade craft to a whole other realm, so to speak. First, we spent weeks researching locales in the region with a history of anomalous incidents and developed a list of candidates for the project. Then we narrowed it down to 13 (of course) sites we wanted to visit. Finally, we started making contacts and setting up appointments.

Last weekend, we finally started the field research, visiting our first haunted hotel, the hundred-year-old Bross Hotel, Bed and Breakfast in Paonia, which is about three hours away.

We showed up with an assortment of recorders, still cameras, videocams, EM meters and, something new, our "spirit box." (The theory is that ghosts can use words transmitted over the airways, and the spirit box continuously scans frequencies to record and capture random words that are manipulated by the other-worldly as a means of communication. What a great toy -- er, tool.)

We conducted interviews (with the Innkeeper as well as purported inivisible occupants), collected accounts from former visitors, and then staked out the (in)famous bedroom in the hotel.

Was it scary? No. (Maybe because we spent so much time setting up gear and taking various readings.)

Did we come away with a paranormal experience. Actually, yes, several. (Which was a relief: What if you gave a party and no ghosts came?)

Did those experiences prove the existence of the paranormal? Maybe, maybe not. That wasn't the point: We're not trying to be ghostbusters; we're writing a "nonfiction" book about haunted hotels!

Let's just say we're still optimistic skeptics. Besides, we're still having fun as writers.

To be continued...