Monday, October 21, 2013

Ghost Stories: The City of Columbus

The City of Columbus Shipwreck (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
After taking a break thanks to my jury duty obligations, I'm returning to featuring ghost stories as I count down to the December release of my novel The Ghosts of Aquinnah.

The City of Columbus steamer ran aground off the coast of Aquinnah in January, 1884 and began to take on water, ultimately sinking into the frigid sea. More than 100 people lost their lives and in its day the Columbus was considered one of the worst sea disasters in history. Headlines of the time proclaimed it as "One of the Worst Horrors Ever Known in New England."

This wreck is the starting point for The Ghosts of Aquinnah and one of my main characters is a fictional survivor named Christopher Casey, so I was intrigued when I learned about some unusual occurrences related to items salvaged from the ship after they washed ashore.

One of these items was a red upholstered parlor chair from the ill-fated ship, whose cabins had been decorated in the style of the Gilded Age. A woman on Martha's Vineyard inherited the chair from her father and placed it in the sun room of her cottage.

According to the story in Holly Mascott Nadler's Vineyard Supernatural: True Ghost Stories From America's Most Haunted Island, the woman placed the chair in her sun room on a warm summer night in July. She went to sleep and woke up freezing, as if she had suddenly been transported to the dead of winter. As she shivered, she saw a white misty cloud moving through her room. When the cloud passed through the door and left her room the cold departed with it. The same thing happened each night for a week, with the cloud occasionally accompanied by the rattling sound of silverware. Ultimately the sufficiently chilled woman decided to remove the chair from her home and donate it to the island's historical society.

I wondered if perhaps one of the ship's doomed passengers was clutching this chair as the ship sank around him or her. Or maybe the horror of that freezing cold night was simply attached to what remained of the ship. Of course, it's also possible that, knowing the history of the chair, the woman merely imagined the cold and noise she thought she experienced.

Whatever the explanation, I couldn't help but imagine my own character Christopher holding onto this chair before the waves sucked it down into the sea.

Do you believe in the possibility of psychic imprints, or residual emotion and energy left on an object? 

In other news, today is the October edition of W4WS and this month belongs to Alex J. Cavanaugh and Isis Rushdan. Check out their sites for tweets and Facebook statuses to share.

Finally, Polar Night and its evil antagonist Aleksei were featured on Ruth Silver's Write Away Bliss blog yesterday as part of her month-long Paranormal Palooza. Ruth is featuring several authors and books a day and there are tons of giveaways to enter as part of the celebration, including my October contest. Visit Ruth's site or check the rafflecopter form below to enter to win an ebook copy of Polar Night and a $10 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I wonder if the museum has ever experienced anything odd with that chair?

  2. Ooh, that gave ME a creepy chill. :)

  3. That's really interesting, and creepy!

  4. The things that inspire us... LOVE it!

  5. @Alex, I wondered that too. Maybe they just hid it in the basement!

    @LG, same here.

    @Laura, I agree!

    @Crystal, glad you liked it! :)

  6. Ohhh, creepy stuff! I'm such a wimp, just the thought of Halloween scares me!

    And congrats, Julie, on being featured! I can attest to the fact that "Polar Night" really is a terrific read!

  7. I don't believe in psychic anythings, ghosts, goblins, or bigfoot. But I do like reading about them. It makes for wonderful fiction.

  8. Spooky! I do love these kinds of stories!

    Have a great Monday. ☺

  9. Hi Julie .. I can believe that .. and I'm sure there's other life out there, or with us ... so yes your chair has its own character/s around ... but like Alex asked I wonder if the Museum has had any sightings ... perhaps all is well now it is safely preserved ...

    Cheers Hilary

  10. @Kittie, thanks! I really appreciate that, so glad you liked it.

    @Michael, I can't believe you don't even believe in Bigfoot. ;)

    @Dana, thanks, you too!

    @Hilary, I wonder that too. I would imagine they have it hidden somewhere if they did have these problems LOL.

  11. Truth IS stranger than fiction and it's a great place to find inspiration for novels. It's weird they'd call a ship "The City of Columbus." I think there's a song where the train is called "The City of New Orleans." To me, a ship and a train aren't cities...but it sure is interesting. Great post! :-)

  12. @Lexa, I thought the same thing, it was a strange name. Especially for me since I went to college in Columbus, Ohio and this just doesn't fit to me LOL. Thanks!

  13. I LOVE these ghosts stories, Julie! Keep 'em coming!

  14. What a great, yet creepy, story. I would have gotten rid of that chair, too!

  15. Fantastic and chilling story. I like the idea of something so traumatic could leave an imprint. Thanks for the shout-out for W4WS today!

  16. I'd like to believe in ghosts because they can remind us that there's something beyond this life. I hope there's more than been psychically imprinted to an object or place, but at least it's something. Chilling story. Very intriguing!

  17. Oh, what a fascinating story, Julie. You did some fun research. The story about the chair gave me goose bumps. I'm easy to scare, though. :) Can't wait to read your new book.

  18. I'm not much for ghosts. The thought of psychic imprints makes me shiver. Wonderful post.

  19. Very creepy, Julie! I can see how the tale inspired you. I wonder if the museum has had such hauntings because of the chair too (I'd probably hide it in the basement too).

  20. I love ghost stories but I wonder how well I'd handle it if I ever encountered one.

  21. I've heard of strange occurrences when it comes to specific items. I think you're right. When something tragic happens I believe that a spirit that's not resting attaches itself to something that was sentimental.

    But that's just my crazy theory :)

  22. Great post.. I love stories of supposed possessed objects... so cool.

  23. That chair sounds really cool, and yes, I believe there is more to this world than what we can see . . . although given my faith, I believe that anything God is stronger than anything evil or seriously creepy.

  24. Too creepy, I'd get rid of the chair too!
    Great story!

    The other day a salesman came to the door. I saw him and let him in securing my puppy and settling him in the kitchen - suddenly the doorbell rings, and I go to answer it. There's no one there and I check the back door too to make sure I didn't miss someone. I come back inside and ask the salesman if he's rang the bell. He said he had, but I never heard it ring, I was in the living room and saw him so I just went to the door. He suggested that maybe it was the body in the coffin on the front porch. Odd isn't it. Several minutes after he pushed the button the door bell rang. Talk about delayed reactions.

  25. I love that ghost story! I'm such a sucker for ghost stories, mostly because of the history attached to them. And yes, I could see residue left behind, however it may be termed. After all, we're run by a sort of electricity, an energy. Where does it go when we're no more?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  26. What a great ghost story! I absolutely believe that could've happened. Why not? :)

  27. I love reading creepy ghost storyesque things right before Halloween :)

  28. @Beverly, so glad you like them, thanks!

    @Jenn, so would I LOL. I probably would have the very first night.

    @Christine, my pleasure!

    @Michael, that's how I feel about ghosts too.

    @Mary, thanks! And I'm also easy to scare LOL.

    @Nana, it makes me shiver too. Thanks!

    @Cherie, I know, I'd love to know if the museum still has the chair or anything else like this.

    @LD, LOL, I am the same. I don't think I'd handle it very well.

    @Samantha, I don't think it's crazy!

    @TF, thanks, I agree.

    @Tyrean, yeah, I definitely feel like there is more to this world than what we can see, I can't discount it.

    @Yolanda, oh, that's really bizarre! I love stories like that. Creepy!

    @Shannon, that's a great way to look at it.

    @Madeline, that's kind of how I am, I think "why not?" with all of these kinds of stories.

    @Johanna, I do too. :)

  29. Ooh, eerie. I'm very much a believer in psychic imprints. Emotions are too powerful for it not to happen sometimes, I think...

  30. Alright, Julie. You already had me at Polar Night. Now I REALLY want to read Ghosts. LOL

  31. @Melissa, oh, thanks!! If you do I hope you will enjoy it! :)


Thank you for your comments!