top of page

On Haunted Houses

--Kirsten Weiss

Image of a haunted house on a hill surrounded by pines and fog.

I think I've mentioned it here before, but I suspect my house may be haunted.

Now I do believe in ghosts, but I don't want to be credulous about them. I've met too many people who are convinced every odd incident is paranormal, when most have natural explanations.

So seeing things out of the corners of my eyes... I don't consider it proof. The inexplicable and random scent of cigarette smoke is harder to explain. One explanation is there could be something wrong with my brain, but I'd rather not go there. The sound of footsteps in the house when I'm alone and not the one making them... See above.

But I've never been scared by the phenomena. I've never had a sense of being watched or felt ill-at-ease.

Last week, I woke up around two AM to the howling of a tremendous windstorm. As I lay in bed, I heard footsteps walking down the hall. That freaked me out. Had someone broken in? The footsteps stopped outside my bedroom door.

Heart pounding, I slithered from my bed and grabbed a weapon and waited. And waited. And of course nothing happened, because no one was in the house. It was my ghost.

I rolled my eyes and did not go back to sleep. I wasn't worried about the ghost, but I couldn't get it out of my head that someone might get in the house. (I don't think super rationally at 2 AM.)

The next evening, a water alarm sounded--my water heater was spewing. I raced around turning off water and cleaning things up. And when I finished, I smelled cigarette smoke in the water heater closet. At which point, I started shouting. "Seriously? Was this you? REALLY???" And then I realized I was shouting at a wall and stomped off in disgust.

If it was the ghost, it's more probable that it came down to check out the water damage, and I insulted it. Though if there is a ghost, and it's aware of what's going on in the house... Well, if I think about it that is kind of disconcerting. So I'm choosing not to think about it. I've got bigger things on my mind.

The Mysteries of Tarot is finally DONE. I spent most of Saturday working on this wacky piece of experimental fiction. And I feel slightly abashed calling it that. I write genre fiction, pulp fiction. Stepping out into literary fiction seems very, uh, hoity toity. But I did it, and I like it, and it's done.

If you haven't heard of it, it's ostensibly a Tarot guidebook written by Hyperion Night from my Tea and Tarot cozy mystery series. He sent a draft of the manuscript to his friend in the woods, and when he got his notes back, discovered a murder mystery in them.

Since the murder mystery happens in the footnotes of the description for each Tarot card, I decided the ebook would be easier to read if the footnotes were actual chapters between the card pages. By some quirk of fate, the software I used to format the paperback uses 12-point font for the footnotes, so the "editor's notes" are quite readable in the paperback versions as footnotes. But with an ebook, jumping to footnotes and back gets a little hairy. Hence the notes as chapters in and of themselves in the electronic version.

Anyway, there will be a paperback available on Amazon later in May. There's currently a hardback available for pre-order on Barnes & Noble, and ebooks are available for pre-order everywhere but in the Apple store. Apple Books is having a hard time believing that it's both a Tarot guidebook and fiction, and they won't let me publish it under its current description. I guess I can't blame them for the confusion. It is an oddball concept. Hopefully we'll get it sorted eventually.

I may need to actually use the phrase "experimental fiction" in a revised book description. In fact, that's seeming more and more like a good idea.



bottom of page