Death is not the End
Phil Thomas and I recorded our first episode earlier this week with the help of parnormal author Rebecca Howard, horror author Armand Rosamilia and voice actors Jon Prive and Renee Scattolini. We are grateful to our true story submitters, artist Amy Rims, Tracey Slade and Megan Gulliver for their incredible experiences, recorded brilliantly by our voice actors.
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We’re featuring written material on the site to correspond with the podcast, including copies of the stories, biographical material, links and a copy of an interview with Rebecca Patrick-Howard. Here is a version of our audio article from the podcast with Rebecca, but the audio version is far cooler and more detailed.
INTERVIEW W/ AUTHOR Rebecca Howard
Could you tell us who you are and a bit about the book you wrote?
My name is Rebecca Patrick-Howard. I am a paranormal author and have written around a dozen books, both true hauntings as well as a popular paranormal mystery series about a woman who sees the past through her camera. One of my most popular books is FOUR MONTHS OF TERROR and chronicles my family’s brief stay in a haunted house when I was a child.
Have you ever had an indication that you still have a connection to the property, even after all this time?
Yes. I’ve returned to the property on many occasions. Each visit has left me feeling physically and emotionally depleted. I continue to dream about the house as well.
In your opinion and experience, what exactly had a hold of the house?
I don’t believe there is just one simple answer to it. For one thing, I believe there are several different ghosts within the house. I’ve talked to others who have lived there and they’ve seen and felt various things as well. I think the closest I can come to an explanation is that it might be some kind of portal and attracts a myriad of activity.
What is the difference between a shadow-person, or what might be called a demon, and a ghost?
I do not yet know what to make of shadow people. I’ve chronicled other people’s accounts of them but don’t have a good feel for what they might be. I think a “ghost” is simply the leftover energy of a person who has passed on. A demon was never human. Demons are ancient entities and are perhaps either jealous of humans or benign creatures who don’t really know how to interact with us and therefore cause lots of problems.
After reading your book, 4 Months in Terror, I found it a unique story yet it also paralleled other accounts of dark hauntings. You are an established author in the field, and I’m sure you’ve done research. Do you think there are commonalities with your stories and others?
Yes, I’ve definitely seen some parallels in my story with others. To begin with, real life hauntings don’t normally mirror Hollywood hauntings. They take time to build and start out as small occurrences that could be rationally explained: soft sounds, unidentifiable noises, seeing something from the corner of your eye, etc. In my case we didn’t immediately think “ghost,” and I don’t think most other people do either. The events escalated, however, and we became more frightened. One of the biggest things I’ve found in common with other people who have experienced such things is the desire to be taken seriously. It’s easy for an outsider to say, “Oh, it wasn’t THAT scary” or whatever. When you’re living in it, however, and have no control over the situation then it’s a different story. You feel threatened. Being threatened within your own home is not a pleasant feeling.
Has this experience changed your life and the way you perceive the afterlife?
I think in some ways it made me more sensitive. I’ve gone on to have other experiences with the paranormal since living in that house. I do think it made me more open-minded as well. The one thing I gained from it, as well as other experiences I’ve had, is more flexibility towards the afterlife. I was raised with the Christian ideal of Heaven: when you die your soul goes on to Heaven. I now take bits and pieces of other religions’ explanations more seriously. I no longer think there is “one” answer: I think some souls move on to a “place,” some remain here on Earth in distress, and some are reincarnated.
What inspired you to write a book about your experience?
For several years I collected stories about others’ experiences. I had never really spoken about my own. Then my appendix ruptured and I was stuck in bed for awhile after surgery. I got to thinking about my own story and how my children (who loved the other things I’d written) might want to know more about me. I wrote it for them, as well as for myself.
What advice would you give to other families living in such houses?
Um, get out? Ha ha. Seriously, though. Don’t try to take it on yourself. Get help if you can. Talk to a preacher, to a trusted religious official, to a paranormal investigation team if you can. There are others out there who can help you deal with these things. I wouldn’t advise trying to communicate via Oujia board or séance unless you have someone with you who knows what they’re doing. That can open a whole other can of worms.