Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Florida Fertile Hunting Ground for the Paranormal with Guest Blogger: Roxanne Smolen

Welcome to Day #10 of
the Dark Days of Demons Blog Event
here at the Book Boost!

Meet author Roxanne Smolen and learn how to become a real paranormal investigator...southern style.

So You Want To Be a Paranormal Investigator?

If you are interested in paranormal activity, you owe it to yourself to visit Florida. When I first moved here, I was amazed at the many avenues available for paranormal research.

The city of St. Augustine is listed in the National Directory of Haunted Places. Many people don’t know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in America. Founded in 1565, the city has beautiful, historic buildings and homes that are painstakingly preserved right down to the original residents. Paranormal newbies should consider taking a tour. I recommend the Ghost Tour (voted the best guided tour in Florida) or the Paranormal Investigation Tour at Potter’s Wax Museum. Or try the afterhours paranormal tour, Dark of the Moon, which takes you into the super haunted St. Augustine Lighthouse.

A true paranormal investigator might skip the touristy tours and head straight for the old jail and gallows where several of the original prisoners are still “hanging” around. The old schoolhouse and the chapel are also good bets for ghostly encounters. The adventurous might spend the night in the Huguenot Cemetery, a place where orbs abound, so be sure to bring a camera.

Everyone’s a Psychic

If you are more interested in speaking to spiritualists than spirits, you should head to Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. The town is populated by certified mediums, healers, sensitives, and astrologers. They believe everyone is psychic—that means you, too—and hold public classes to bring out latent talents. They are a deeply religious people who follow the nine principles of spiritualism:

1. We believe in God.

2. We believe that God is expressed through all Nature.

3. True religion is living in obedience to Nature's Laws.

4. We never die.

5. Spiritualism proves that we can talk with people in the Spirit World.

6. Be kind, do good, and others will do likewise.

7. We bring unhappiness to ourselves by the errors we make and we will be happy if we obey the laws of life.

8. Everyday is a new beginning.

9. Prophecy and healing are expressions of God.

The town began as a community of tents in 1894 and slowly grew to more permanent wooden cabins. Today, Cassadaga looks like any small town. The homes are quaint, and the parks are tranquil. The best way to find your personal spiritual counselor is to walk down the streets (which are always eerily quiet) and wait to feel a vibration or see an aura around a particular house. Then just walk right up and knock. Both believers and skeptics are welcome.

Tools of the Paranormal Trade

If you want to be a paranormal investigator, you need to get some tools:

A good EMF detector will measure the strength and direction of electromagnetic fields as well as magnetic waves and radio microwaves. Paranormal events cause fluctuations in electrical fields, and a gaussmeter will verify that you’ve touched another realm.

A basic infrared thermometer gun will certify sudden drops in temperature. Sensations of extreme cold are often reported during spirit visits.

You should have a digital voice recorder. Not for quick memos to me but to record creaks, bangs, and voices from beyond.

Lastly, invest in a low lux digital camcorder. I say low lux because your research might take place in the dark, and you’ll need a camera that can function with little or no light.

Publish your findings on YouTube or a blog, and your followers will clamor for more.


Emily Goodman, a popular paranormal investigator, has made it her mission to debunk all myths and urban legends. But when she meets Satan in a haunted house and calls him a fraud, the repercussions change her life. Satan kidnaps her six-year-old daughter, forcing Emily to re-evaluate her cynicism. She must somehow break into the underworld, battle the demons of hell, and rescue her little girl. If she does, can they ever find their way back home?


Vanessa took a penknife from her pocket and punched a hole in the burlap wrapper. She drew a large pentagram on the floor with the powder.

Shoulders slumped, she held out her hand. "Candles."

"Here." The boy brought out a thick red candle. "I brought a lighter."

"It has to be wooden matches," she told him.

"I've got some." Joey rattled the box as he handed them to her.

She lit the candle. In its glow, she saw the rapt expressions of the four newcomers--three boys and one girl, their hair held back by beaded headbands, their clothing laced, not buttoned. She didn't know them. They were probably part of the multitude of college kids who flocked to Saint Augustine each spring. She wondered how much they'd paid to witness the ritual.

With the candle held sideways, she dribbled a puddle of wax onto the floor and set the candle upon a point of the pentagram. As the boy held out more candles, she set one at each of the other four points. At last, she stood back to appraise her work.

"Hand me the offering plate," she said.

He gave an excited giggle, and then pulled out an ornate brass dish on a pedestal. The discolored center boasted of service many times before. He offered it to her along with a final candle.

Vanessa knelt in the center of the pentagram. She lit the candle and set the dish over it, allowing the meager flame to heat the brass. Smoke rose, drawing leftover scents of incense and soot and blood.

From his sack, the boy drew out a baby rabbit. She cradled it in her hands, stroking it, feeling its tiny heart race in terror. She looked up with a last plea--did they really want her to do this?

The boy tossed the sack behind him and lit a joint.

Vanessa closed her eyes, wishing she were anywhere but there. She was innocent. Just doing as she was told.

The rabbit squirmed within her fingers. Nose wrinkled, she cupped the animal on its back in one hand and grasped her penknife with the other. She felt a pop as the point pierced its flesh--then she opened the rabbit from groin to gullet. Blood dripped down her wrist.

She held the creature over the offering plate and scooped out its innards with her fingers, careful to include its heart so the legs would stop kicking. The intestines sizzled as they hit the plate.

Silence filled the room.

After a moment, the boy who was passing around the joint said, "Shouldn't you say some special words?"

"Yes," Vanessa whispered. A familiar coldness coursed through her. "Be ready to run."

The wall before her shimmered as if a portion had turned to water. The patch solidified into an oval, shining like a silvery mirror--Satan's Mirror. A face grew within. Brimstone overpowered the smoke of marijuana and entrails.

Someone gasped. "Wow."

Lightheaded, Vanessa sat on her haunches. She felt both exhilarated and disgusted. She had done it--she had called forth the devil once again.

The face observed them malevolently. It looked like a caricature from a comic book--red skin, yellow eyes. Its lips parted in a sneer or a grin, showing sharp, needle-like teeth.

Vanessa froze as its gaze passed over her. Maybe if she held perfectly still, it wouldn't see her, wouldn't know she was responsible.

"Is it real?" the girl asked, her words slurred as if she were stoned.

The face in the mirror laughed and said in a voice that sounded far away, "You are so weak, yet you come so willingly."

Its words did not match its lips, and Vanessa wondered whether it was speaking English or she was merely hearing English.

The others moved as if entranced, stepping to either side of the pentagram. Vanessa looked up just as a second mirror formed in mid-air behind the boy with the joint. A bright red demon leaned out as if through an open window. It grabbed the boy before he could turn and pulled him through. The window vanished.

The girl screamed. Vanessa covered her ears. The remaining two boys scrambled around.

"What happened?" one of them yelled. "Where is he?"

In the mirror, the devil laughed.

The other boy ran toward the door. Before he could reach it, a new mirror swirled into existence, and he ran straight into the arms of a waiting demon. He struggled and kicked as it lifted him from the floor. "Help me! Don't let it take me!"

The third boy stepped forward then hesitated, his face stark with horror.

"Help me! Please!" His friend reached as if across a great distance.

The window closed on his cries.

"No!" The last boy rushed to where the mirror had been. He stared at the doorway, his face echoing a longing to go through it and a fear of being snatched if he did.

Joey leapt into the pentagram beside Vanessa, hunkering beside her. He was not grinning now.

The girl stumbled away, sobbing. She fell over the sack the first boy carried. On hands and knees, she crawled to the pentagram, blowing out the candles and shoving them into the bag. "Put it back," she said. "Put it all back."

Behind her, the air shimmered.

The boy yelped and ran out the open door, pelting down the stairs.

She looked up, her long, blonde hair spilling over her face just as the demon grabbed her. "Nooo," she wailed, trying to run away. "I'll be good. I won't do it anymore."

The demon's fingers raked her face, leaving dark trails. She screamed, arms flailing as it yanked her through the mirror. The window vanished, leaving silence.

Want More Roxanne?

Visit her website here: www.roxannesmolen.com

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.


John said...

Interesting and informative post, Rox. Paranormal fascinates me.

dkchristi said...

You are right about Florida, second only to Louisiana. Key West has its share of mystical places also. My paranormal suspense novel, Ghost Orchid, is inspired by the "Super ghost orchid" of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the Everglades and its mystical and legendary stories. www.dkchristi.com, author of Ghost Orchid and more

Jacqueline Seewald said...

We've got our share of ghosts in NJ too. Lots of places of interest dating back to the American Revolution. I find it fascinating as well.

Greta Silver said...

Ssilver789 said... I enjoyed your post, Rox. Never knew that St. Augustine was known for hauntings, although I've been there several times. I've been trying to arrange a day trip to Casadaga for a while now. You have to have people keep you company for an eperience like that. Hope it will be soon. The subject of paranormal and parapsychology fascinates me. That would be my major if I went back to college.

Unknown said...

I love St. Augustine - such a beautiful city. Knoxville, TN has its own ghost tours in downtown Knoxville. Pretty scary!

Rox said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Florida has many beautiful places, but St. Augustine is one of the best, even without its ghosts.

Betty Gordon said...

Roxanne, a great blog filled with information. Texas has its share of ghosts too!!

Molly T. said...

Thanks for your blog. It reinforces the view of St. Augustine I got from your novel. A fine gift for Halloween.

mystery2deep said...

Rox, You know me, always scared by that paranormal stuff. And your book, Satan's Mirror really scared me. But what a great book!
Keep writing, Rox, the world needs to hear from you.
Betty Housey Author of Kelsey Garrison Series