Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Playful Ghost of The Hotel Monteleone

 Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, LA
Last week, some friends of ours traveled to New Orleans.  They love this beautiful, historic city and they enjoyed their trip.  They also had an encounter with one of New Orleans most famous haunted locations.   They stayed at The Monteleone, one of New Orleans most haunted hotels.  They didn't book the hotel for this reason.  They booked the hotel because they had a Groupon.  Discounts may have brought them to the hotel, but the Groupon didn't protect them from the ghosts of this historic haunt. 

Our friends visited the hotel on a family vacation.  They are the typical family. There was a mother, father, and two daughters.  They have no particular interest in ghosts or hauntings.  They just enjoy traveling. When they traveled on the elevator together, they immediately noticed that the elevator always stopped on the 14th floor.  Being reasonable people, they assumed this was a technical difficulty.   The door would open on 14 and they would push the button and continue their journey. The problem continued, but they didn't let it hamper their enjoyment.  On the second day, they heard one of many ghost stories that floats about the historic hotel like dust.  They heard the story of a little boy who once visited The Monteleone with his family.   During their stay, the parents caught yellow fever.  They passed away and the boy was left orphaned.  They boys life went on.  He went to live with family and time passed.  Sadly, the boy died a few years later.  According to legend, the boy's ghost keeps returning to the Monteleone, however.  It is forever searching for his parents.  Apparently, the ghost believes that he can find his parent's spirtit where they died, on the 14th floor of the hotel.

When my friend's discovered this story, the cute technical difficulty suddenly became terrifying to their two daughters.  They were afraid of the 14th floor and wanted nothing to do with it.  So my friend decided she would investigate on her own.  She went up and down the elevator several times and without her daughters and the elevator never stopped.  She got out and wandered the halls and found nothing strange.   She felt safe taking her daughter's on the elevator again.  As soon as they got on, the elevator stopped on 14 again.  It waited there, as if calling to them.  The girls were mortified.  It seemed the ghost wanted them and was waiting for them.  The ghost wanted a friend. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Unlucky History of Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th.  I am reposting my origins of Friday the 13th post to help celebrate this wonderful day.  I hope your 13th is as luck as mine has been!  Friday the 13th is considered the most unlucky day of the year. Most people aren't entirely sure where this bad luck comes from, but fear of Friday the 13th can affect as many as 1 in 4 people. The fear of Friday the 13th is known as triskaidekaphobia.

"It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do," said Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.

So where does this fear that can cripple a nation come from? There really seems to be no consensus on the origin of Friday the 13th. Everyone has a story, but most of them are different. The fear comes from an unknown source. Here's a look at a few of the Friday the 13th origin stories I've found.

One folklorist traces the origins back to Norse mythology. There were 12 gods who had a dinner party in Valhalla. A 13th guest, Loki, was uninvited. Always the trickster, Loki tricked the god of darkness, Hoder, into shooting Balder, the god of joy. Balder died and darkness descended on the earth. Joy was lost to man and from then on 13 was considered unlucky.

In 1307, on October 13, 1307, King Phillip IV of France ordered every member of the order of the Knights Templar executed on charges of high treason and heresy. King Phillip owed the Templar's a good deal of money and they had amassed an enormous amount of wealth on their crusades. It is thought that the order was actually to strip the Templar's of their wealth. The Templar's were tortured horribly and forced to confess to crimes they didn't commit. They all died, but as the grandmaster died he cursed King Phillip and the day making Friday the 13th unlucky for future generations to come.

Many believe the fear comes from the number 13 itself. According to numerologist, the number 12 is associated with completeness. There are 12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs, 12 apostles, 12 Olympian gods, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 hours in the clock, 12 labors of Hercules. The list goes on and on. The addition of the 13 ruins perfection is utterly bad and unlucky. In many stories, the 13th guest is always a bad sign. Think Judas at the last supper and Loki in the above story. It is the number 13 that lends the curse to Friday the 13th. Combine that with the unlucky Friday, when Jesus was crucifies and Adam tempted Eve and you have a recipe for an unlucky day.

It is clear there are many reasons to fear the dreaded Friday the 13th, but for me Friday the 13ths have always been lucky. So have a happy Friday the 13th, watch one of the 12 million Friday the 13th movies (I like the one in space), and wish me luck on my lucky day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Get a Free Copy of My New Book!!!

My new middle grade book, The Monster Hunter's Manual, is now available.   It is a children's book set in the haunted castle, Chateau Larcher in France!  For the next two days, I will send free copies of this new book to the first 5 commenters below who agree to review the book on Amazon or Goodreads! 

The Monster Hunter's Manual is the story of Gabriel.  Gabriel is a boy who has just lost everything.  His parents have died and he's forced to move to a strange county, France, to find a new home.  He dislikes his crazy aunt, who he has to live with, he doesn't want to learn French, and to make matters worse, the only real family he has left is his whinny, baby brother.  Despite all this, as soon as Gabriel enters his aunt's ancient castle, he realizes that all these disasters might be the beginning of a grand adventure.  In the castle of Chateau Larcher, the walls groan and the attic talks.  Shadows take on strange shapes and Gabriel becomes convinced the castle is haunted.  But the ghosts in Chateau Larcher aren't what Gabriel expects and he soon learns that skeletons aren't always scary and ghosts can tell the most interesting stories.  Even Aunt Perrine can end up being the most powerful monster hunter in the world.