Interviewer: What do you enjoy about reading and writing ghost stories?
Amanda C. Davis: I love ghosts. They’re creepy in a way monsters and murderers just can’t touch. Ghosts can fit in anywhere and go through anything and do it all invisibly – except when they appear, unexpectedly, right where they’re not supposed to be. I’m totally aware that ghost photography is baloney (those wacky Victorians!), and it still gives me the chills. Ghosts are intangible, uncontrollable, unknowable. How freaky is that?
Calie Voorhis: I like to read and write ghost stories for the for the same reason – I’m attracted to life after death and all the horrible possibilities that entails. I think one of the scariest things is the idea that death might not be permanent, that death changes you into other forms.
Jay Wilburn: Ghost stories allow writers and readers to explore the unfinished business from characters’ lives. They connect back to a classic era of horror writing that suggested more than it revealed. They inspired terror by exploring unknown more than the graphic.
Interviewer: What is your favorite ghost story of all time and why?
Amanda C. Davis: When I was little – really little, second grade or so – I came across an illustrated retelling of “The Upper Berth”. Holy moly! What were they thinking, making that into a children’s book and putting it in elementary school libraries? It terrified me for years. Obviously, I loved it. It’s my gold standard: a heart-stopping creepy story about how ghosts are sometimes there, sometimes not, but you can never be completely sure, and whenever they ARE there, whether you’re aware of it or not, they’re always RIGHT BESIDE YOU. Ugh. Excuse me, I have to go hide under the covers now.
Calie Voorhis: This is always the hardest type of quest for me to answer as I feel like a mother asked to name her favorite child. I’m especially fond of Ligeia by Edgar Allen Poe. I enjoy the style and rhythm and that it’s at heart a very poignant love story.
Jay Wilburn: My father made up ghost stories when I was in boy scouts. He usually expounded upon an old legend or a preexisting formula, but they were terrifying in the darkness of the woods. His best was an endless series he called “Ratman”. Everybody who knew him had pieces of the story. I may write it one day, but I’ll probably keep that one for myself.
Interviewer: What’s the most haunted place you’ve ever lived or visited?
Amanda C. Davis: I lived for almost three years in an apartment with a perfectly tragic history: the previous resident was a young woman, disfigured in a car crash, who’d died in the living room and lay undiscovered for days. Obviously haunted, right? But not a twitch of ghostly activity. None. Except once… It was late at night, and I was just drifting off, when I saw a spherical cloud of a shadow, just a dark fuzz about the size of a beach ball, only a shade darker than the rest of the room, however through the bedroom door at about shoulder height. It glided nearer. I was half-asleep and not wearing my glasses, and under those conditions the shadows do tend to twitch, But then I felt, very explicitly, the mattress dip under my feet…as if someone or something heavy had settled itself comfortably on the edge of my bed…I jumped – or woke up – and turned on the light. Nothing was there, of course. But I left the light on.
Calie Voorhis: Well, I work as the Assistant Technical Director at Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Wilmington, NC. The theater is 152 years old, and yes, it does have a certain presence to it. I’ve heard people singing on the monitor at 4 a.m. when no one is there; I’ve seen lights turn on and off on their own; I’ve felt people walking behind me while running a show, again, with no one there. I’m actually to the point where I’m used to all the odd occurrences – for the most part. I still can be spooked when the elevator opens on its own at 3 a.m.
Jay Wilburn: There was an abandoned building at the end of a field at the back of my neighborhood when I was a kid. We went back there on our bikes during the day…always during the day. There was no logical explanation for its existence. Bad things happened there. Some of them were real, but many of them were stories. That building made its way into more than one of my stories too.
Amanda C. Davis is a combustion engineer who loves baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her short fiction has appeared in Shock Totem, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @davisac1 or read more of her work at www.amandacdavis.com.
Calie Voorhis is a life-long fanatic of the fantastic, with stories in Ray Gun Revival, Beyond Centauri, Fusion Fragment, and The Online Anathema Anthology, and stories in the print anthologies Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology, Space Sirens, Farspace 2, DOA – Tales of Extreme Terror, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine – Issue 51, and Anywhere but Earth, among others. She holds a BS in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and is an Odyssey Writing Workshop alumna.
Jay Wilburn is a public school teacher in beautiful Conway, South Carolina, where he lives with his wife and two sons. He has published many horror and speculative fiction stories. His first novel, Loose Ends: A Zombie Novel, is available now. He is a columnist for Dark Eclipse and for Perpetual Motion Machine Press. Follow his many dark thoughts at JayWilburn.com and @AmongTheZombies on Twitter.
Available on September 25, 2012 from World Weaver Press
Spirits, poltergeists, hauntings, creatures of the dark—Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales delivers all these and more in thirteen spooky twists on the classic ghost story. From the heartwarming and humorous to the eerie and chilling, this anthology holds a story for everyone who has ever been thrilled by the unknown or wondered what might lie beyond the grave. Step inside and witness ghosts of the past, tales of revenge, the inhuman, the innocent, the damned, and more. But be warned—once you cross the grave into this world of fantasy and fright, you may find there’s no way back out.
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