Tag Archives: Concord

Ghost by Moonlight, Anniversary of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Death

“A ghost seen by moonlight; when the moon was out, it would shine and melt through the airy substance of the ghost, as through a cloud.”  

Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

 

Friday, May 19 is the anniversary of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s death in 1864. Hawthorne was 59 years old. On the evening of May 18 inside the Pemigewasset House hotel in Plymouth, New Hampshire, Hawthorne retired early after a dinner of toast and tea. During the night,  former U.S. President Franklin Pierce (who had traveled with Hawthorne to the White Mountains) awoke to check on his friend in the adjoining room. The former president placed his hand upon Hawthorne’s forehead. He found that Hawthorne was dead.

Some think Hawthorne is the least remembered author from Concord, Massachusetts compared to Thoreau, Alcott, and Emerson. The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables of course are his most famous  novels. But if you ever read his Blithedale Romance, you’ll likely never forget the drowning scene. Or his short story The Haunted Mind, which will certainly haunt your mind even after you’ve finished. The Ghost of Dr. Harris is another fascinating read and not exactly fiction—the story is one of his “sketches.”

Because Hawthorne is an author I admire, I’m taking this week to remember this American novelist and  read one of his forgotten “sketches” that he wrote while living  in Concord: The Old Manse. Please join me in remembering a diamond in our literature.

The Old Manse (1846) From Mosses from an Old Manse  by Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

Between two tall gate-posts of rough-hewn stone (the gate itself
having fallen from its hinges at some unknown epoch) we beheld the
gray front of the old parsonage, terminating the vista of an avenue of
black-ash trees.

 

 

Read the full sketch at Literature.com/Hawthorne.

 

 

 

 

Visit the Old Manse website (now a national historic site open for tours) in Concord, Massachusetts, where Hawthorne lived for seven years with his wife Sophia. Sophia (a transcendentalist) often referred to the home as their “beloved old house.”  Click here at TheTrustees.org.  And yes, there are ghosts at the Old Manse. Tourists, tour guides, and others will tell you so. I’ve visited there several times for research for my own novels and stories.

More about Nathaniel Hawthorne at HawthorneinSalem.org. 

 

 

[The Old Manse, modern view from Concord River, MA]

[Sleepy Hollow, Concord, MA]

If you are looking for a ghost story with historical flavors about the Old Manse, try Between the Darkness and the Dawn, originally published by Whistling Shade Literary Journal.

This short story is now a Kindle Single, FREE for you this week on Amazon.com.

 

1 Comment

Filed under fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Ghosts, Gothic Horror, haunted houses, haunted mind, Hauntings, Hawthorne, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, psychological horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, tales of terror

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Ghost: The Secret

“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die,

but retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.

Nothing is dead.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nominalist and Realist Essays: Second Series, 1844.

Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_ca1857_retouched

 

Many readers ask me why I wrote The Dazzling Darkness, a supernatural mystery that takes place in Concord, Massachusetts. The recurring question is about the famous transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).  “Is Emerson a ghost?” they ask.

Yes. And no. Mr. Emerson is not a ghost in the traditional sense. One of the first elements that sparked The Dazzling Darkness was a line Emerson wrote in his address Nature in 1849:

“Even the corpse has its own beauty.”

Kind of shocking, right? It certainly stopped me on the page. Oddly, this line of prose carries a certain passion, as if Emerson somehow connected to death. He points out that there is “no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.” Of course, Emerson was being emblematic here as he did in so much of his writing. Or was he?

Haunted for weeks by this line of a corpse having its own beauty, I began reading more of Emerson’s writings. When I looked deeply into his personal life, I discovered that he did indeed have a strong connection to death.

 

Ellen TuckerEmerson lost his young wife Ellen to what was then called consumption. Driven by his intense grief over Ellen’s death, one day he entered the family graveyard and opened Ellen’s coffin to view her corpse. It was only a year after her death. What did he see? His journals say nothing more, except that he did this act. And then, some twenty-five years later, he opened the coffin of his little boy, Waldo, who died at 5 years old.

Could any of us view our beloved dead in the grave even once, let alone twice? Heart-wrenching to say the least. And yet, this experience certainly did connect him to death in a unique way.

For me, these images all connected. A story emerged. Images of a cemetery. A little boy named Henry appeared. Coffins began opening. The dead suddenly became physically visible.

A mysterious woman named Dorothea began speaking from the cemetery.

ghost (9)

 

The story unraveled and I met Elias Hatch, owner and keeper of Old Willow Cemetery in Concord. Elias is the last of modern-day transcendentalists. During the 19th century, Concord was the center for the new thinking of transcendentalism, and even today the town still carries all that transcendental history. The transcendentalists honored intuition, insightfulness, and creativity. As I wrote my modern story I began to see these themes emerging through the characters and especially in the mind of Detective Mike Balducci. Old Willow Cemetery and the statuary there began to haunt Mike and one day, he decides to dig up a grave of a woman known as the Weeping Woman of Old Willow.

551584b5c7b3a7de6828e7d7a71b5868

 

The idea of a corpse having ‘beauty,’ as Emerson said, crystallized in my mind. I didn’t know quite where I as going during the drafts but in the end, I had a ghost story, a supernatural mystery about the Brooke family, Antonia and Adam, who confront long-buried secrets of the dead while they endure a tireless search for their lost child Henry.

And the ghost of Mr. Emerson seemed to speak

from the very pages I was writing.

breaklineimages

A secret lies buried beneath the haunting statuary in Old Willow Cemetery. The surrounding woods are alive with the spirits of transcendentalists Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott. Elias Hatch can sense their presence. Does he know the secret power buried in Old Willow Cemetery? Would he ever reveal it?

f8679e44712ed8dd8bd6b8be4f957de2

If there is a secret, that all things subsist and do not die, as Emerson wrote, that secret lies in Old Willow Cemetery.///////

 GothicAwarddazzlingdarknesscappa_7final4TheDazzling Darkness_CMYK color profile_with medal-2Cappa
 /////////////////////////////////////

The Dazzling Darkness (print edition published by Crispin Books) hit the Amazon Kindle Best Seller List for 17 weeks in Mystery/Thriller ghost stories. The novel continues to sell in the top 150 in this category.

2014-bronzeBRONZE MEDAL WINNER, Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for Supernatural Fiction, 2014. “Beautiful and high standard writing style from start to finish.”

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEWS ★★★★★ “Paula Cappa is a master of the metaphysical mystery genre … an extraordinary and original storyteller of the first rank. Very highly recommended.”

GOTHIC READERS BOOK CLUB CHOICE AWARD “Dazzling sums up Paula Cappa’s paranormal/supernatural novel … an elegance and grace that seduces you.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Organization Website

Transcendentalist Trail in Concord, MA

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, MA

The Colonial Inn, Concord, MA [Emerson is said to haunt Room 24  in The Colonial Inn.]

Ghosts in Concord at TheConcordWriter.com

imgres

Appletons'_Emerson_Ralph_Waldo_House

Ralph Waldo Emerson House, Concord, Massachusetts.

Visits and tours at NPS.gov. 

3 Comments

Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short story blogs, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror

Blood and Thunder Tales

A Long and Fatal Love Chase by A.M. Barnard (published in 1995)

The Mysterious Key  by L.M. Alcott (1866)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    June 23, 2015

Alcotta2

If you are not familiar with the term “blood and thunder tales,” it famously refers to Louisa May Alcott’s thriller short stories, which she wrote under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard. Most Concord literary fans are acquainted with Alcott’s darker side of fiction, sensational adventures that were published in magazines to support her family’s income. The historical value, of course, is one of the attractions, but these stories are quite entertaining (with vintage melodrama) and crisply written.

Louisa May Alcott bedroom and study, Concord, MA Orchard House

Louisa May Alcott bedroom and study, Concord, MA Orchard House

LM Alcott

 

It’s well known that Alcott wrote with both left and right hands—perhaps an insight to the two sides of her creativity. Not only was this American literary icon skilled in writing about domestic  adventures in Little Women, but she wasn’t shy about psychological suspense and Gothic mystery.

The Mysterious Key is family intrigue. A locked room that is thought to be haunted, a sudden death, romance, a blind girl, and secrets.

Read The Mysterious Key here at Gutenberg.org.

 

You can read more of Alcott’s blood and thunder tales and other short stories at Gutenberg.org.  Pauline’s Passion and Punishment; The Abbot’s Ghost; Behind A Mask or A Woman’s Power.

url

 

A Long and Fatal Love Chase begins with this line “I often feel as if I’d gladly sell my soul to Satan for a year of freedom.”  Murder, a deal with the devil, an obsessive lover, and a Catholic priest.  Published in 1996.  Available on Amazon.

 

 

Z

A Whisper in the Dark. Published in 2015. Available on Amazon.

illus098

 

Here is what Boston publisher James T. Fields said to Louisa May Alcott in 1853. “Stick to your teaching, Miss Alcott. You can’t write.”

flower-fables-from-concord-library-inside

In 1855 her first published book was Flower Fables. Little Women was published in 1868 and became an instant best seller followed by Little Men in 1871. She wrote over fifty works of short stories, novels, and plays.

Alcott died at the age of 55, just two days after her father died in 1888.

 

3465-LMA-PORCH

Leave a comment

Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, literature, mysteries, psychological horror, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror, Women In Horror

The Supernatural at the Old Manse

Between the Darkness and the Dawn,   Whistling Shade Literary Journal 2013 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 1, 2014

 

old_manseThis holiday weekend I’m off, but still wanted to give you a tale of terror, so how about a historical ghost story from … yours truly.

Do you believe in synchronicity? Synchronicity is the experiencing of two or more events as meaningfully related. Do you believe in ley lines? Lines of energy, or energy grid, between ancient monuments or natural bodies of water, rocks, mountains, Stonehenge, Pyramids, etc., discovered by archaeologist Alfred Watkins (many scientists debate the existence of ley lines). Still, many believe ley lines are scientifically verifiable and are sacred earth energies where spirits can enter the earth’s atmosphere–and that we are naturally drawn to these ley lines.

images-2

In Between the Darkness and the Dawn, Edward Fane is a ley line hunter, on an adventure to locate the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne at the Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. Hawthorne and his wife Sophia lived at the Old Manse during the time he wrote Mosses From An Old Manse. What Edward discovers when he tests for ley lines at the Old Manse is not just the ghost of Hawthorne, but an experience within a ley line that reveals a shocking encounter with the past and a little piece of history.

images

 

What’s most interesting to me is that when I wrote this short story back in 2010 and 2011, I had no idea there were ley lines discovered and confirmed at the Old Manse in Concord. During the creative writing process the ley lines just naturally appeared in the story. Two years later, upon visiting the Old Manse in October 2013 to drop off the Whistling Shade Literary Journal copies for their gift shop, I met with the director of the Old Manse. He had read my story and asked me how I knew ley lines were discovered on the property because it had not been publicized. The truth is, I didn’t know it. At least not in my own conscious mind, but then synchronicity often functions at the subconscious level. I gave a real chuckle to myself when the director showed me where the ley lines on Hawthorne’s property were confirmed (across the back lawn near a favorite rock where Nathaniel and Sophia often sat for tea). Of course, I probably don’t have to tell you that the reason they had the property and house tested for ley lines was because of the supernatural events that are frequently occurring at the Old Manse.

 

BetweenD&DawnLARGE1847

 

You can read Between the Darkness and the Dawn here at Whistling Shade Literary Journal.

 

 

Visit the Old Manse Web site, Concord, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Please leave a comment! I’d love to hear  your reaction to this short story.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Hawthorne, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror

What is Between the Darkness and the Dawn?

You know that moment when the softness of the night fades and the day peeks open to the rise of the sun? There is a fleeting time between the darkness and the dawn. What if, in that sliver  of light, the past could shutter open? What would you experience? What glimmering shadows would you see?

My latest short story Between the Darkness and the Dawn is now published live on the Whistling Shade Literary Journal web site. This is a ghost story set in the Old Manse, the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne in Concord, Massachusetts.

I hope you’ll read this historical supernatural mystery with literary flavor and ghostly atmospherics; I would so love a comment or a review:

Between the Darkness and the Dawn  by Paula Cappa

 

Old_Manse,_Concord_MA_-_HABS_080255pu

hawthrn2

4 Comments

Filed under ghost stories, Hauntings, Hawthorne, literature, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural