Posts Tagged ‘Ghosts’

Keeping Tabs on Mrs. Crouch

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

Window That Has Settled To The Right

I am frequently asked about what kinds of mischief Mrs. Crouch has been up to lately, and I know my vague responses aren’t very satisfactory.  Although I am often aware that she is  just out of sight, she seldom does anything substantive enough to satisfy those who are looking for a good ghost “experience”– certainly nothing interesting enough to warrant the beginnings of a story.

Nevertheless, I have vowed to begin paying better attention and to document anything that seems enough out of the  ordinary that it might be attributed to Mrs. C — even a few definite indicators that she is still “looking out for the household” in her own inimitable  fashion.  I’ve decided to  write down each incident as it occurs,  and perhaps in time a pattern will become clear.  And, perhaps, a story will emerge.

Door From Library Into Hallway With Sad Iron Doorstop

With that in mind, I want to tell about what happened a day or two ago — nothing much, of course, but still out of the ordinary.  First, let me remind you that this house is now 153 years old and has settled and become comfortable on the sand dunes that underlie Oysterville.  Some of the windows no longer open and the interior doors need to be latched closed or propped open — otherwise they almost-but-not-quite shut on their own.

The door between the east room (where the TV is) and the hallway is kept open with one  of my grandmother’s old sad irons, and the door from the east room into the library is propped open with one of the old ballast rocks brought up on the oyster schooners of long ago.  Both doors are usually left open for ease of access, but occasionally I close one or both.

Door Between Library and East Room With Ballast Rock Doorstop

The other day, it felt a bit drafty as I was watching TV, so I moved the sad iron and firmly closed the door into the hallway.  Not ten minutes later, I heard the door unlatch and watched, fascinated, as the door swung slowly (uphill!) back to its wide open position.  In a moment of total disorientation, I thought that Nyel would appear in his wheelchair, probably miffed that I had closed the door.  But…

I went into the hall and looked around but there was nothing to see.  Nor did it feel cold as is often reported after ghostly activity.  All was as usual… except the door.  It seemed clear to me that Mrs. C. wanted it left open and so I have complied, draft or no draft.  (Or was that actually a draft?)  It’s always hard to tell with ghosts…

Coming Soon! May 2nd, to be exact!

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

This is “almost-but-not-quite” the final version of the cover. (What do you think has changed?)

According to the Arcadia Publishing website, my newest book with them makes its debut on May 2nd, two weeks from this coming Monday.  WOOT! WOOT!  Look for it beginning that day on the shelves at your local book stores!

The book is called The Ghostly Tales of the Long Beach Peninsula and is part of Arcadia’s new “Spooky America” series for middle-school readers.   These particular tales were adapted from stories in my 2014 book in Arcadia’s Haunted America series — a bit less explanatory background and history, perhaps, and just a tad bit scarier than the originals.  “That’s what middle-schoolers want,” the editor told me.

I had no doubt that such was the case, but just to be sure, I checked with Gabi and Dani Wachsmuth, two of Tucker and Carol’s grandchildren.  “Yes!  Spookier!  Creepier!” they concurred.  Being the stickler that I am for telling stories the way I heard them and without gratuitous embellishment, made the writing a bit of a challenge.  I’m sure my young consultants will let me know how I did!

There once was a Pacific House in Oysterville (shown here in 1870) but, as far as is known, there was never an “Oysterville House.”

Meanwhile, I see on the Arcadia Publishing website that this is what they are saying about the book:  Ghost stories from the Long Beach Peninsula have never been so creepy, fun, and full of mystery! The haunted history of Pacific County comes to life—even when the main players are dead. Visit the Oysterville House to catch a glimpse of the wandering spirits who still call it home. Or step foot into Sprague’s Hole, but be careful or you’ll end up trapped for eternity, too. Dive into this spooky chapter book for suspenseful tales of bumps in the night, paranormal investigations, and the unexplained; just be sure to keep the light on.

I wrote the editor and asked if they might tone down that “come-on” a bit.  Just what is the “Oysterville House” that readers are being invited to visit??  (I surely hope it’s not mine or anyone else’s here in our little village.)  And suggesting that they “step foot” into Sprague’s Hole (which fortunately doesn’t exist anymore) seems a bit beyond responsible.  The editor’s response was that the blurb has actually been “out there” for quite a while and, besides, readers are being “invited” into the story — not into the actual places in the book.  Yes, I get that.  But will the readers??  SIGH!

And speaking of dogs…

Sunday, February 13th, 2022


If you’ve read my ghost books or heard me speak about Mrs. Crouch, the unseen spirit of our house, you know that I don’t believe in ghosts.  Not really.  But I am a believer in coincidence and, also, in intuition.  So… when for the second time in as many months two totally unrelated friends spoke to me about their dogs seeing and hearing “a presence” that no human could detect…  I couldn’t help but pay attention.

Most of us do know that dogs have better developed senses of sight, hearing, and smell than we do.   For that reason, some say they have a highly evolved “sixth sense”– that ability, often called “intuition” which enables some humans to feel or see things without using the usual five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste.

Perhaps the best documentation of dogs’ super-skills along these lines, is of their ability to detect impending disasters (especially weather-related events) before they happen,  thanks to their powerful sense of smell. “Barometric pressure and all natural phenomena have odors associated with them,” says Dr. Mary Burch, a certified animal behaviorist.  “They are beyond the capacity of our noses to recognize, but dogs can sense these changes immediately.”

On Point

Dr. Burch points out that when a dog barks at what appears to be nothing, an owner sometimes thinks it’s because he’s seeing a ghost or picking up on something the owner can’t see. “While clairvoyance generally falls outside of what we can prove in terms of science, we do understand and have research on a dog’s basic five senses,” she says.   “Their senses are highly attuned, and it is obvious they are perceiving the world in a vastly different way than we do.”  Whether their extraordinary senses are able to pick up on unknown forms, energies, or the paranormal continues to remain a mystery.

So…  though I’m not a believer in ghosts (not really) I do think there may be some logic to the fact that in an area (ours) overflowing with ghosts (or so it seems) and with a dog population perhaps approaching that of our human numbers, there may be more ghost stories to tell.  Maybe even a book to write.  If you have a story to tell me about your dog’s “sixth sense,”  I’d love to hear it. Message me (as in don’t put it out here for other dogs to howl about!)

Wow! What do you think?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

Screenshot from Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula Trailer

A month or so ago, one of my former editors at History Press sent me a “book trailer” for Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula and asked me for feedback.  I had never seen a book trailer before — perhaps I lead a sheltered life — so I looked at it with interest.  It was short, slick, and had one or two mistakes in it, all of which I told about in my reply.

Within forty-eight hours — maybe less — I received a re-make correcting the errors and using some suggestions I had supplied.  It was perfect!  I loved it!  But I had NO idea why they had sent it to me or what use was to be made of it.  I asked, of course, but never received an answer.

Mrs. C’s Husband — Screenshot from Book Trailer for Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula

Yesterday another book trailer came from History Press.  But not really “another.”  It was the first, erroneous one again.  So, once more I replied, reviewing our correspondence on the matter.  Again, I asked what use was to be made of the book trailer.  Again, no response.

I consulted Bonus Daughter Marta who is visiting and who is of a more techie generation than I.  “Use it!” she said.  Put it up on your blog.”  She explained how but… I am getting an error message which says it exceeds the size limit for this site.  So…  here is the link to paste in your browser.  I hope it works and, if it does,  tell me what you think!  More importantly, be sure to get the book!

See you Saturday-the-17th in Klipsan Beach!

Monday, July 12th, 2021

Yesterday at BOLD

I do believe I was born to party and that’s what my book signing at BOLD felt like yesterday!  So many friends came to hear me talk and to buy books!  Friends from long ago.  Friends from afar.  Friends from the neighborhood.  Friends from FaceBook. Even “friends” who only know me through my books!  So so so fun!

And when I got home I saw a few laments on FaceBook — people who couldn’t get there yesterday or who hadn’t made it to Adelaide’s the week before.  If you were among those who missed the “party” I just want you to know you’ll soon have another opportunity.  I’ll be talking and signing at the Senior Center in Klipsan Beach from 1:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, July 17th.  And, no, you don’t need to be a “senior” to come!  It’s open to all and they have plenty of chairs and I’m told I’ll be provided with a mic… just in case my old “teacher’s voice” isn’t up to the challenge.


So mark your calendar and come on over!  It will probably be the last signing I do until the ghostly month of October.  Meanwhile, of course, the book will remain on sale at these local outlets:  the gift shops at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and at the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse; Time Enough Books, Ilwaco; Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Ilwaco; The Cranberry Museum, Long Beach; BOLD, Long Beach; and Adelaide’s in Ocean Park.

If you live elsewhere and can’t get to the beach, I urge you to check with your local bookstores. (If you tell them it’s a hot item and that they can order from History Press, they may begin stocking it themselves. They probably should also stock my first ghost book, too — Ghost Stories of the Long Beach Peninsula.  Several stories in the first are continued in the second and it helps to know the backstory!) Amazon also carries them and has plenty in stock I am told, although I’ve seen several of their websites that say they are “temporarily out” of Historic Haunts — which apparently is not true.  Go figure!

It’s out! Get your copy while they last!

Monday, June 21st, 2021

Cover: Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula

It’s June 21st at last — the official publication date of Historic Hauts of the Long Beach Peninsula!  The books are on the shelves of your nearest booksellers!  On the Peninsula, those outlets include Time Enough Books, the gift shops at the Cape D Interpretive Center and the North Head Lighthouse and the Heritage Museum in Ilwaco; BOLD and the Cranberry Museum in Long Beach; Adelaide’s in Ocean Park.

Also, of course, through Amazon, but I urge you to support our local booksellers — and, besides, I do better financially when you buy from the places I supply.  (Is this called full disclosure?)  I make close to a dollar a book if you buy from the stores I’ve listed, but only a few cents per book from other outlets.  Just sayin’…

But… more importantly, I’m hoping for feedback — especially from local readers.  The very first story in the book, for instance, is about the cadre (Yes! Cadre!) of ghosts at the erstwhile Lamplighter Restaurant.  My question:  After you have read the information about each of these persistent spirits, where do you think they’ve gone (or have they?) now that the restaurant is closed?

Another question is one I, myself, posed in the continuing saga of Mrs. Crouch — the ghost Nyel and I have lived with for twenty-plus years.  The question is the title of the story, itself:  “Closure for Mrs. Crouch?”  I’m interested in knowing what readers think about the additional information concerning the suspect in her murder — if, indeed, it was a murder.  And does that information provide answers for Sarah Crouch that will satisfy her after all these years?

Or… does the book pose still more unknowns?  Should I be starting yet a third book about the ghosts here at the beach?  I’m eager for your input after you’ve read Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula.  (But please don’t give anything away to those who have not yet read it!  Message me or email me privately with any revealing thoughts!  But “book reviews” and encouragement to other potential readers would be great!)

And tonight… ghosts at Cape D!

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
A Book Full of Shots

A Book Full of Shots

One of my favorite summer memories is of sitting around a campfire at the beach listening to ghost stories as the night grew darker and we all got that shivery feeling that didn’t come just from the ocean breezes.  Tonight, there won’t be a campfire and it won’t be dark and I’ll be the one telling the stories.  Still, I hope that shivery feeling comes over my listeners.

From 7:00 to 8:00 at the Waikiki Beach Amphitheater (follow the signs!) at Cape Disappointment State Park I’ll be talking about some of the ghosts featured in my book Ghost Stories of the Long Beach Peninsula.  And, I’ll also be telling about some ‘new’ ghosts – never mind the oxymoron.  Like those featured in the book, these are also Peninsula ghosts and may become the subjects of a sequel.  Perhaps audience members will weigh in on that idea.

Summer talks at Cape D are open to the public… and no doubt to ghosts, as well.  I’m not at all sure how they are publicized – maybe on Park notice boards – but however it works, I was pleasantly surprised last year (when I did a similar talk) that a number of campers showed up.  And some of my friends, as well!

Oysterville Sign

Oysterville Sign

Another surprise last year was the knock on my door the following day.  A young boy and his mom, with book in hand, were following my suggestion that they take a drive through Oysterville to catch a glimpse of some of the houses mentioned in the stories.  They asked if I would sign their book and, at my invitation, came in for a few moments to see Mrs. Crouch’s domain.  I sincerely wished that Mrs. Crouch would manifest herself for them but she has never been known to perform on demand.

But… you never know.  Tonight’s talk will take place not far from North Head Lighthouse where Mary Pesonen, ghost of the first light keeper’s wife, is said to make herself known now and again.  Maybe she’ll join us at the amphitheater this evening.  We can only hope!

“The Seven Wives of Josiah Crouch”

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Oysterville Baptist Church 1903When I asked Cuzzin Ralph to do a little research about Josiah Crouch, I had no idea that I would be presented with the seeds of another book… maybe.  It all came about because of an ongoing discussion I’ve been having with singer/songwriter Larry Murante.

Some years ago, Larry wrote a wonderful ballad about the ghost who hangs around our house – the house that used to be a parsonage.  Her name is Mrs. Sarah Crouch.  In Larry’s song, she is the third wife of an early Baptist preacher here in Oysterville, the not-so-righteous Josiah Crouch.

Sarah drowned under rather mysterious circumstances on the Willapa River in July 1893.  Though marks were found on her neck, it was decided that they were inconclusive and Josiah was not arrested.  He left town shortly afterwards, however… with another man’s wife.  But, I digress.

The following November a letter arrived at the Oysterville Post Office from Topeka, Kansas.  It began …I am the ferst [sic] wife of one Josiah Crouch.  I was married to him the 5 day of August in 1885 at St. Joseph, Mo. County Buccanan [sic].  In 1888 he left me at Havensville Kans and I understand that he went to Ark. In 1889 he married a woman by the name of Tedden at Gladstone Ark as I had too [sic] letters from D. P. Tedden the father of his last wife.  I have a little girl 7 years old.  It was signed Tillie Crouch.

My discussion with Larry revolves around that letter.  His interpretation is that Tillie was Josiah’s first wife, that the Tedden woman was the second, and that Sarah Crouch was the third.  I wrote Cuzzin Ralph (a research wizard to my way of thinking) to see if he could find out what Sarah’s maiden name was.  And voilà!! It was Tedden!  But that was only part of what Ralph found out!

Josiah Crouch continued marrying.  By the time of his death in 1942, he had been wed seven times!  He had also been defrocked from the ministry, had become an attorney but was disbarred for committing a felony and who knows what else.  The obvious question, of course:  what happened to his other wives?  Did any of them, besides our Sarah, die prematurely and under mysterious circumstances?  Were there ever any divorces recorded or was he a bigamist from the get-go?

I think there may be a book here, or maybe several!  To say nothing of another song or two!  Stay tuned…as they say.