|The City of Columbus Shipwreck (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
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.
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