Haunt Jaunts : Haunted by the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau

With Courtney Mroch

How many years had it been since I’d been to New Orleans, specifically the French Quarter? It was perhaps best measured in decades and it’d been at least a few.

I’d been a pre-teen sent to stay with relatives for the summer the last time I’d been there. They lived in a small town near Lake Pontchartrain about a half an hour from New Orleans, but we’d made several trips into the city that hot, steamy summer.

And now I was back, in the land of my ancestors. My grandma and her sister had been born and raised there. They came of age there just after the turn of the twentieth century, in the early 1900s.

Gram had long since passed. Her sister had passed long before her. But I felt them as I walked the streets. It was as if their ghosts were guiding me to all the places they knew I wanted to see most.

Yes, I had been there before, but not to the places I went now. My relatives hadn’t taken me past Madame LaLaurie’s house. Discussing a serial killer wouldn’t have been age-appropriate subject matter back then. But I wanted to see it now, and with ease, no directions needed, there I was.

Same for when I wanted to visit St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in search of Marie Laveau’s grave. My relatives wouldn’t have thought to take me to a cemetery back then. If they had, I probably would’ve thought it was weird and ended up with nightmares for a week.

But now I felt my visit to NOLA wasn’t complete without seeing it. Again, I felt my ancestors with me on my quest to find the grave.

Everything was perfect until we got to Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. It was just a tiny little shop on Bourbon Street. I went in, had a look around, noted –and respected– the “no photos” sign, bought a couple postcards to send to friends, then left.

But before I did I wanted to get a photo of some kind. I turned to take a photo of the store’s facade. That’s when I was blasted, for lack of a better word, with an angry energy.

It wasn’t evil or demonic. It didn’t feel hate-filled exactly, but it sure contained animosity.

But just as soon as it hit me, it evaporated. I didn’t think any more about it other than maybe I was hot and in need of a cool drink, some A/C and a little rest. I’d hit the ground running early that morning and hadn’t stopped since.

I thought about it again later that night, though, when I had a horrible dream.

In the dream, I was still asleep in my hotel room, but as dreams do I could see multiple perspectives at once. I also saw the outside of Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo as I had that day, and I once again felt that angry energy, but this time it was accompanied by a scream. One so loud I covered my ears and closed my eyes and that’s when my mind’s eye saw the Voodoo Queen hovering horizontally against the ceilings of both the shop and my hotel room, her mouth twisted in a snarling growl from whence emerged the ear-shattering scream.

Which was bad enough, but her eyes were boring into mine…even though mine were closed. My eyelids provided no protection at all. There was nowhere to hide.

It was her eyes that told me her anger was personal. Marie Laveau hated me. She wanted me gone. Not gone as in dead, but out of her city.

When I woke up, I was glad it was just a dream, but…it didn’t feel like just a dream. The residue stayed with me the rest of the day. Even now, years later, the feeling still persists.

But what could I have done to Marie Laveau? Angered her because I was one of the tacky tourists curious to see her grave? That seemed unlikely.

Besides, as I said, the anger felt very personal and intimate. Like I’d done something very egregious to warrant her wrath.

A few years later one of my cousins emailed me excited about a discovery she’d made during genealogy research. I’d never shared the Marie Laveau incident, so she blew me away with what she had to say.

“You’re going to love this. I think I may have found a connection between our family and Marie Laveau!”

“What do you mean by connection?” Laveau

“As in we might be related to her!”

“I see,” I said doubtfully. For one, Marie Laveau was a woman of color. Where was that color in our family?

“No, I’m serious. I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have all the facts yet, but I think one of our great-great somebodies might’ve married one of her daughters or granddaughters. Big scandal. He got disowned. When I find out more, I’ll let you know.”

She still hasn’t let me know, but was that why I felt Marie Laveau’s wrath? Had my great-great somebody really married one of her offspring and perhaps caused chaos of some kind for her too? Maybe he hadn’t provided for her like he needed to because of getting disowned?

I still don’t know, and I have to admit as much as it thrilled me at first to think we may be connected to the famous Voodoo Queen, I knew it was most likely wishful thinking.

Until I decided to take a DNA test and received some surprising results: 8.1% of my ancestry hails from Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Huh. Didn’t see that one coming.

But even more interesting was the timeline that detailed how many generations back my most recent ancestors came from each ancestry composition. My African ancestors were from the 1700s to the early 1800s.

Marie Laveau lived from 1801-1881. She had two daughters with her husband Jacques Paris: Felicite (born 1817) and Angele (born 1820.) It’s possible they died because there is no further record of them after the 1820s.

When Jacques died, she had formed a “domestic partnership” with Christophe Dominick Duminy de Glapion and had at least seven children with him. Some reports say they had as many as 15, but some of them could’ve been grandchildren.

However, it’s thought only two of her children survived to adulthood, Marie Euchariste Eloise Laveau (1827-1862) and Marie Philomene Glapion (1836-1897). One of these Marie’s became Marie Laveau II, but it’s not clear which one.

Marie Laveau was born in the French Quarter but her mother had Native American, African and French ancestry.

Perhaps one of my ancestors hooked up with one of hers in the 1800s? Perhaps we’re the result of their offspring?

Which would mean I have Marie Laveau blood in my veins, if only a little bit.

Before the DNA info, I doubted it was possible. Now? I’m not so sure.

I’m continuing to dig to see if I come across any connections, and I’m still hoping my cousin’s research will prove something. Either one way or the other.

Until then, the mystery of it all haunts me –both whether I’m related to Marie Laveau and if my overactive imagination dreamed up the anger I felt her directing at me.

 

 

Haunt Jaunts : Voodoo and My First Horse-Drawn Carriage Ghost Tour

With Courtney Mroch

The first thing I spotted as we took a jaunt to scope out the Jekyll Island Club & Resort’s surroundings was the A-frame sign listing all of the horse-drawn carriage tour options. Of course, the ghost tour caught my eye.

“A horse-drawn carriage ghost tour?” I exclaimed to my husband. “I’ve never taken one of those before. In fact, have we ever even taken a carriage ride together?”

“I’m sure we have.”

“Where?” I challenged, pretty sure we hadn’t.

He thought about it for a second.

“I don’t know, but it seems like we did once upon a time.”

“Well, to make sure we do, can we take one tonight if they’re offering the ghost tour? Wouldn’t that be so romantic?”

His expression answered better than any words could. His idea of romance and mine were very different.

Begrudgingly he agreed to the tour, though. Probably for a few reasons.

  1. We were only there the one night.
  2. We didn’t have anything else planned that evening, so he couldn’t very well make excuses for why we couldn’t.
  3. I think he was hoping that since it was past spooky season, as well as being the island’s offseason, there wouldn’t be a ghost tour.

Sadly for him, but lucky for me, there was. We made our reservation and then continued our exploration.

Along the way, we passed a shiny ebony horse pulling a white carriage whose occupants were getting a history tour of the island. I heard the driver call out, “Whoa, Voodoo, whoa!” as she maneuvered the carriage off the trail in front of one of the millionaire’s cottages.

At the same time that my husband said, “Did you hear the horse’s name?” I said, “Voodoo? I hope that’s the horse we get for our tour!”

I’ll save you the suspense. We did.

I’ve taken a few ghost tours in my day. Ones on foot, some by car or bus, but never in a horse-drawn carriage led by a horse named Voodoo.

Jekyll Island is nestled along south Georgia’s coast. It was a crisp late November night that we met the driver (who also served as our ghost tour guide) at the designated pick up point. We climbed aboard where a seat with thick, heavy blankets waited for us to bundle ourselves under them.

Our guide was wonderful. I wish I could remember her name. I thought I had written it down. I guess I was so excited about Voodoo and my first horse-drawn carriage ghost tour that I didn’t.

To my surprise, she had a plethora of stories to tell. I knew the Jekyll Island Club where we were staying for the night was rumored to be haunted. That’s why I’d booked us there.

I also knew from a previous visit to the island that the former cottage that had once housed the bookstore allegedly had a ghost. The last time I’d visited had been with my sister. Like me, she couldn’t pass a bookstore and not stop in.

It had been my sister’s birthday. She loved riding bikes, so my present to her was taking her up to Jekyll, renting bikes for the day and cruising all over the island.

Stopping in the bookstore also allowed us a little rest stop. That’s how my sister got to talking to the owner and somehow it came out the place was haunted.

This was years before I started my site, Haunt Jaunts, but it was another reason why I did. Back then I was always going on unofficial haunt jaunts. Except for that day. Ghosts hadn’t been on my mind. Yet, a story of one still fell in my lap.

I’d forgotten about that until our guide related a story about Phoebe, a little girl of one of the staff members back in the day who allegedly disappeared from the island. Her body was never found, but that’s who some think they see when they spot a child spirit in a couple of places on the Jekyll Island Club’s property. Among them being a small cottage that used to be the bookstore, which had since relocated and its former building now stood vacant.

But before we got to the part about the bookstore, our guide shared a little history about the island and its former inhabitants.

It had started as a private hunting club for America’s elite, such as Rockefeller, Pullitzer, and even the Macy family. However, they soon decided it would make a fine place to get away with their families in the winter, so several of them built “cottages.”

Their idea of a cottage, however, resulted in stunning seaside mini-mansions in a variety of architectural styles.

I have been enamored (and obsessed) with the cottages ever since I first saw them back in the late 1990s. I had only seen them in the daytime previously, though, as I’d never been fortunate enough to stay overnight on the island — until the night of the tour.

Voodoo led us down the live oak-lined trails where Spanish moss created a canopy above us that fluttered in the breeze. One of the first ghost story stops was the Hollybourne Cottage.

It would turn out to be my favorite stop.

Almost all of the cottages have lighting illuminating them at night. Hollybourne was no different. However, when Voodoo circled the carriage around the drive, the light cast a marvelous silhouette of his head against the cottage’s grey tabby facade.

For a moment I felt I had leaped back in time. Except I remembered what age I was in and that we had cameras on our phones. I scrambled to pull mine out so I could capture the sight of Voodoo in the light because it was Gothic and haunting and I wanted to capture that memory.

If ever there was a time for a ghost to appear, that would’ve been it. One did manifest — by way of the ghost tour guide’s tales.

Allegedly a little girl died in the house. Some claim to have seen her face appear when they stand before the home’s glass front door.

I didn’t have time to test it then, but I made a note to go back and try the next morning. (She didn’t appear for me, but that’s okay. Perhaps she sensed I might not have been as impressed by that as I was by the site of Voodoo in the light the night before.)

As we pulled away from Hollybourne, our guide asked, “What room are you in?”

I told her and she said, “I always ask because the little girl’s mother haunts room 3101 in the Annex.”

I think I surprised her when I said, “Darn. That’s just down the hall from us.”

I don’t think she meets many people hoping to stay in a haunted hotel room.

She shared other tales of the island’s ghostly inhabitants, like the helpful phantom bellman who assists wedding parties staying at the hotel.

The island had been abandoned during the Civil War and the animals had all been left behind. After the war, when people returned, they were trying to round up the animals, including a white stallion, but he kept eluding them. While chasing him, he ran into the water and drowned. Some say disembodied horse noises coming from the water belong to him.

She even showed us the photo of a ghost face in the Sans Souci, which was essentially an apartment building Rockefeller built. His quarters were on the top floor.  Some report smelling cigar smoke. He had a penchant for smoking them.

Does his restless spirit still roam there? Our guide believed he does. She showed us a photo of the building. It was taken during the daytime, but she zoomed in to show us a white specter’s face looking out of one of the top floor windows. (I spent a great deal of time the next morning trying to recreate the shot, to no avail.)

But the scariest part of the night was when Voodoo led us around a curve and not even five feet away stood a deer. Not that I’m afraid of deer, and maybe “startle” is a better word, because that’s what happened. It startled me to see the deer appear seemingly out of nowhere.

It was real, though. Not a ghost. It stood contemplating us inquisitively, its ears twitching a bit, its tail flicking a time or two. Voodoo clopped away, leaving the deer to watch us as we drove off.

As ghost tours go, it was short. Only about 30 minutes. But it couldn’t have been more perfect. A chill in the hushed air. Snuggled up next to the love of my life. The gentle glow from the few street lights interspersed with the carriage’s lantern. A perfect romantic atmosphere for listening to ghost stories.

And then there was Voodoo, who added an extra bit of pizzazz to make the evening pure magic.

Haunt Jaunts : Ghoulish Goodies Mystery Boxes

Satisfy Your Dark Craving for Specialized Spooky Gifts

What tickles your ghoulish fancy? Witches? Halloween? Killer clowns? Horror movie villains? Just something gothic in general? Imagine receiving a mystery box in the mail from a company called Ghoulish Goodies filled with creeptastic themed items.

Well, you don’t need to imagine it. The company really exists. They specialize in crafting mystery boxes filled with “the most ghastly and gruesome goodies to soothe your black heart and satisfy your dark soul.”

Ghoulish Goodies has themed boxes of all kinds. It’s a mystery exactly what’s in each one, but they’re filled with things like candy, trinkets and individually wrapped gifts –in custom made paper.

Kevin, the company’s owner and Head Ghoul, attempts to capture the magic, mystery and excitement of Christmas morning and Halloween night.

I think he nails it.

I gifted a Haunt Jaunts reader a Budget Black Cat box as part of a contest. Here’s what she wrote to me after receiving it:

It was the best present I got in 58 years.

Here’s what she wrote to Ghoulish Goodies:

I was amazed at all the surprises that were in the box. It was opened and i saw cobwebs and spiders. Then all the goodies were wrapped up nicely. Lots of black cats that were stuffed and glass. Pencil cases, lots of candy, more bugs. My cats are enjoying those. Stickers, and many more items. I was very pleased with all my things.

Other reviews left on Ghoulish Goodies Facebook page reflect the same sentiment:

From Christina M.

One of my best friends bought me a custom made box of “all things gore” for my birthday. It was seriously one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Lots of things to open. It was so fun to see what was inside! My friend also got an “Exorcist” themed box for her husband. I watched him open it and it was equally as fun as the one I got! 10/10 would recommend. A lot of work, thought, and care are reflected in each of these boxes. Because of this gift, Ghoulish Goodies has a new customer

From Kimchi A.

Talk about presentation, personalization and the best bang for your buck you could ever hope to find, The Exorcist deluxe box was an absolute treasure trove! For the collector, there wasn’t anything left out. Pictures, posters, postcards, memorabilia, toys and rarities in personalized wrapping paper. All this surrounded by Red Hots and Hot Tamales candy boxes, complete with Exorcist lip balm (Lick me! The power of chap compels you!) and a single solitary can of split pea soup. Out of 5 stars, you get 666 for this effort!! HIGHLY recommended!

From Amber S.

Received my box today, I loved it “alot”. It was fun and was one of the best mystery boxes I Received so far. I mostly loved how everything was individually wrapped, but could have done better without the candy. Also i know it’s always random stuff in the boxes but if a pop figure is in one of these boxes please make sure to be careful with the pop boxs because it did have some damage. Overall I loved the box and I WILL BE GETTING MORE.

Christmas has passed but Valentine’s Day is coming. And yep. Ghoulish Goodies offers Bleeding Hearts boxes in their Holiday Themed Mystery Boxes section.

But of course you can send any type of box any time you want, no holiday or special occasion needed. You can even treat yo’ self!

They have three tiers of box types to choose from:

  1. Budget Boxes for $69.99
  2. Biggie Boxes for $110
  3. Deluxe Boxes for $159.99

The more you spend, the bigger the box and the more impressive the goodies inside. All prices include shipping.

For More Info

Visit Ghoulish Goodies: http://www.ghoulishgoodies.net/

Disclaimer: This was not a paid endorsement, but I am friends with the company’s owner. I really believe in him and the passion he pours into putting his boxes together. People don’t take the time to gift people gifts like this anymore with all the wrapping and thoughtfulness. I think that’s why his boxes make such a huge impact when they’re opened.

 

Haunt Jaunts : McKamey Manor

How Long Do You Think You Could Last Before Using the Safe Word?

Are you familiar with McKamey Manor? The first I remember hearing about it was circa 2014. At that time it operated out of a house in San Diego, California, and apparently had been for several years.

However, McKamey Manor’s owner, Russ McKamey, has since moved and brought his house of horrors with him. It’s now open in two locations –Summertown, Tennessee (about an hour south of Nashville) and Huntsville, Alabama. Although, they might be part of the same location. I’m still not sure if you have to survive the Nashville location long enough to be taken to the Huntsville location or if you can opt to go straight to the Huntsville one.

All I do know is that McKamey Manor has become so popular it’s not just open for Halloween anymore. Now it’s open year-round.

It’s often called the most intense Extreme Haunted Attraction/Survival Horror experience imaginable.

Not everyone would want to do this, but of those who do, not everyone is allowed. Unless they meet a host of stringent requirements, including:

  • Completing a Sports Physical
  • Passing a background check
  • Providing proof of medical insurance
  • Passing a portable drug test the day of the show
  • Signing a 40-page waiver –which also requires initialing each clause in the contract

If you make the cut, you’ll endure torturous challenges involving mud, bugs (eating them and maybe them trying to nibble on you), water, fake blood and more. There are even rumors of eels and caimans being part of the deal.

It looks awful –unless you’d like to star in scenes from any of the Saw or Hostel movies, that is.

If you can’t handle it, you can use the safe word to end the experience at any time. The whole experience could last as long as 10 hours, but it never has.

Russ knows what will break a person. He doesn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops to break them as quickly as possible from what I read in a Nashville Scene article about McKamey Manor and the reporter who attempted it. That’s where I learned the average amount of time people last is only eight minutes.

How long do you think it’d take you to use the safe word? I wouldn’t even make it to reading the waiver.

 

Kid Fears : Naughtiest Girl in the World Fears

Do bad girls and boys really get coal in their stockings? We had a fireplace in my home growing up, but not a mantle so hanging stockings wasn’t one of our Christmas traditions. 

However, I always wondered if we did, would I have always found coal in my stocking? Was it because we were a stockingless household that Santa never brought what I asked for? Was disregarding my requests his way of letting me know I’d been a bad girl all year? (Again.)

I was no peach, I’ll admit. I could be a difficult child. Knowing what we know these days about special needs children, autism and the like, I wonder if I would’ve been diagnosed with something?

I liked routines. Surprises scared me and would often prompt tantrums or withdrawals. If I knew something was coming or my routine would be disrupted, I fared better. But spring an unexpected stop on me? Or my dad having to take me to school instead of my mom with no advanced notice? Expect major drama. 

But I don’t think my parents ever did expect it. Did they brace themselves for the fallout, or did they continue to be surprised by my meltdowns and not connect the dots? 

I’m thinking the latter because they never tried anything different, ie. a softer approach. They expected me to fall in line, and if I didn’t –which I didn’t– I could expect a major butt spanking. This was the 70s and my parents were old school. Discipline involved corporal punishment. Needless to say, I was well acquainted with the practice. 

I never kept count of how many spankings I got each year. Did Santa? I always just hoped each year when Christmas rolled around I’d have been better and Santa knew it. Or at least he’d know I’d tried really, really hard.

But every year it was the same thing: Naughty List. 

In the early years, I’d tell Santa my wishes in person at the mall. When I learned to write, I’d add in a letter. Because maybe that was the problem. He’d seen so many kids –from all over the world– he’d forgotten what I’d asked for. But if it was in writing, maybe I’d get what I really wanted.

Nope. That didn’t help either.

Don’t get me wrong. I got great gifts from my mom and dad. It’s not like I wasn’t spoiled. 

But the big gift that was supposed to come from Santa was never the big gift my heart longed for. 

So until I learned the truth about Santa, my biggest childhood fear was I’d never get off the naughty list. No matter how hard I tried. 

And I did try. My resolution every year aimed for a No Spankings one. I always failed. It made me wonder about the good kids. How did they make it through a whole year without getting in trouble? They must be extraordinary!

And back to the coal…did the bad kids who hung stockings really get it?

Embarrassment prevented me from asking my friends. Plus, Santa always seemed to bring them exactly what they wanted. Who wants to admit they’re the naughty one? I sure didn’t.

But for years I feared: am I the naughtiest girl in the world? 

Haunt Jaunts: Monster-Mania Con Exorcist Bus Tour

Among the horror fests listed for October on Haunt Jaunts Paracons & Horror Fests page is Monster-Mania Con, which happens October 4-6, 2019 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Their tagline is “Meet Horror’s Hottest Stars.”  And they’re not kidding.

The Celebrity Lineup

Stars you can meet and have your photo taken with include:

  • Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead 1 & 2, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Army of Darkness.
  • The Scream Cast Reunion – Neve Campbell, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy, and Roger Jackson (the voice of “Ghostface” will be there.
  • Stars from Stanley Kubrick’s The ShiningLisa and Louise Burns (a.k.a. the “Grady Twins”), Danny Llyod (“Danny Torrance”), and Lia Beldam (“Woman in 237”)
  •  Virginia Madsen and Tony ToddCandyman.
  • Halloween Movie Franchise Stars – Danielle Harris (who has also appeared in other horror films), and Sandy Johnson (“Judith Myers,” Halloween ’78), James Jude Courtney (“Michael Myers,” Halloween ’18)

These are just some of them. There are a lot more, all of which can be found on Monster-Mania Con’s Guests page.

But in addition to seeing celebs, watching horror movies and shopping the vendors, Monster-Mania Con also offered a bus tour.

The Exorcist Tour

Monster-Mania Con The Exorcist Tour logo

I say “offered” because it’s sold out, but it’s still worth writing about because what a great idea for a tour, right?

Here’s what lucky tour goers can expect:

  • Includes a visit to the famous The Exorcist Steps, House and also the famous Tombs Restaurant, which was featured in the film.
  • The movie will be shown on the bus during the tour.
  • The bus is equipped with bathrooms and heat/air conditioning to keep everyone comfortable.

Check-In?

Do you go to horror cons?

Do you have a favorite horror movie or horror celeb? If it’s not The Exorcist, which movie do you wish there was a tour to see the sites for?

Vile Vacations: 7 Chilling Museums

Originally posted Feb 18, 2017

Jaunt to These 7 Chilling Museums…If You Dare

If you’re a fan of horror, the supernatural or anything else macabre, here are seven must-see museums you’ll want to check out:

  1. International Cryptozoology Museum

This museum in Portland, Maine, houses artifacts from American cryptozoologist Loren Coleman’s collection. “The world’s only cryptozoology museum,” is not just about Bigfoot and Nessie, however. Although, their collection does contain samples of hair thought to belong to Abominable Snowmen, Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, and Orang Pendek, and yes they do have a Lake Monster exhibition. However, they also display crypto-inspired artwork, newspaper articles, and movie props. One fan even created a Sasquatch baby for the museum made from a “reborn” doll.

The museum is closed on Tuesdays, but welcomes visitors the rest of the days of the week.

Website: http://cryptozoologymuseum.com

  1. Mothman Museum

Located in Point Pleasant, West Virginia (the “Home of the Mothman”), this museum is dedicated to the famous Mothman sightings and encounters that happened there from 1966 to 1967. They have original press clippings and video footage, handwritten police reports from the original eyewitnesses, and props from the Mothman Prophecies movie. If you want to delve deeper into this creepy mystery, this is the best place to do it.

Their hours vary depending on the day of the week, but they’re open 7 days of week, excluding major holidays.

Website: http://www.mothmanmuseum.com/

  1. Museum of Death

This museum has two locations, one in Hollywood, California, and the other in New Orleans, Louisiana. The California location was originally opened by JD Healy and Cathee Shultz, who “realized the void in the death education in this country and decided to make death their life’s work.” In addition to the largest collection of serial murderer artwork, you’ll also be able to see things like original photos from the Charles Manson and Black Dahlia murders, a coffin and body bag collection, and replicas of full-sized execution devices. They also play a lot of videos of autopsies and serial killer interviews. There is no age limit to enter the museum, but they do suggest it’s more suitable for more mature audiences.

The New Orleans location is open 7 days a week from 10 am – 7 pm. The Hollywood location is also open 7 days a week, but their hours vary depending on the day.

Website: http://www.museumofdeath.net/

  1. Salem Witch Museum

The creepiest thing about this museum located in Salem, Massachusetts, is how ignorance and fear can lead people to commit heinous acts against each other. Twenty people lost their lives during the Witch Trials of 1692. This museum brings their stories to life. A combination of stage sets and live guides educates visitors about what was happening during that point of history that facilitated the witch-hunts. They also discuss witch stereotypes and explain witchcraft today.

The museum is open 10 am – 5 pm daily (and until 7 pm July and August). They’re also open year-round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, with extended hours in October.

Website: https://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/

Ghosts in the empty town. Against the background of a Gothic castle

  1. The Hollywood Horror Museum

This museum hasn’t officially opened in its physical location (it’s due to in 2019), but it is also a traveling museum that will begin its “World Tour” in 2017. (Likely around October.) It will have two different sections, “Classic Horror” and “Modern Horror.” Classic Horror will be suitable for all ages. Modern Horror will deal with gore and sexuality so it will be more appropriate for teens and adults. Exhibits will include classic movie scenes, props, costumes and replica sets. If you are a fan of horror in any of is guises (books, movies, or TV), this will be a definite must-see museum as soon as it opens!

Website: http://www.hollywoodhorror.org/

  1. The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult

It bills itself as the “only paranormal museum where you can actually hold real haunted objects.” If you’d be brave enough to do that. But that’s just it. Greg Newkirk and Dana Matthews, the museum’s curators, want the curious to hold, photograph, and even test their haunted and cursed objects. This museum doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar location, but it can be experienced in two ways. The first is online, where they have pictures and descriptions of all of their artifacts. It can also be seen at many popular convention and events, such as ScareFest, Strange Escapes, and at some Nick Groff Tour appearances. They even have a live webcam where they rotate haunted objects and encourage people to email them if they notice anything unusual.

Website: http://paramuseum.com/

  1. Willow Creek – China Flat Museum

This museum preserves history pertinent to the eastern part of Humboldt County and the western portion of Trinity County in California. This includes pioneer, mining and Native American artifacts as well as their very popular Bigfoot exhibit. You see, Humboldt County is where the famous Patterson-Gimlin movie was taken. If you’re not familiar with it, the movie was shot in 1967 and created (still creates) quite a stir because of the alleged real-life Bigfoot caught on film.  You can see print casts, photos, and maps in the museum. There’s even a Bigfoot research center there. Definitely a must-see for Bigfoot fans.

The museum is closed November through April. From May through October, the days and hours that they are open vary. This is one it’s advisable to plan your visit ahead.

Website: http://bigfootcountry.net/

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Courtney Lynn Mroch is the Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism for Haunt Jaunts, a travel site for restless spirits, which she created while battling cancer. Her novels include Beneath the Morvan Moon and The Ghost of Laurie Floyd, and she’s a four-time contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul publications. She also writes horror as C. Le Mroch. Under that nom de plume she edited an anthology called Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they? 

When she’s not exploring haunted places or writing, it’s a safe bet you’ll find her on a tennis court or a yoga mat somewhere. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and their cats, Tigger and Tabby. For more about Courtney Lynn Mroch, visit her site at:  http://www.hauntjaunts.net

Haunt Jaunts: ScaryRentals.com, Would You Use It to Book a Room If It Really Existed?

Several months ago I watched a horror movie on Netflix called Truth or Dare. Which I believe first aired on Syfy in 2017.Door with an unlucky 13 on it

Here’s the premise of the movie:

Eight college friends head to a “Haunted Rental” for Halloween. But when they replay the game that made the house infamous, they awaken an evil spirit intent on stealing their souls.

It wasn’t one of my favorites. (In fact, I’m not even sure I finished watching it.)

However, the “Haunted Rental” part? That totally caught my eye. Especially when the characters talked about how they found the haunted house they all gathered at on a site called ScaryRentals.com.

The first thing I thought when I heard that was, “OMG, that’s a brilliant concept. Is it real?”

Of course, I had to see. Sadly, no.

The producers missed out on a chance to promo more of their movie. Because oftentimes that’s a fun way for books and movies to engage with viewers/readers more. Create a website people can visit for extra tidbits. Although, maybe they didn’t have a budget to indefinitely host a website?

It’s been my intention for years to add a Spooky Stays section to the Boo-K It! part of my site, Haunt Jaunts. I’m an affiliate marketer for both Expedia and Hotels.com, both of which book rooms in some allegedly haunted hotels. Might as well try to earn a little website maintenance money in the process, right?

But have I done it yet? Nope. Kind of like how I mean to write about all of my paranormal travels, but never do. (Something I discussed in my “Haunted Jaunts with Courtney Mroch” intro post here on HorrorAddicts.net.)

Anyway, I know of a lot of haunted places sites. There are also a lot of “most haunted hotel” type lists, some of which are specific to AirBnB and VRBO rentals.

However, the closest “Scary Rentals” type website that I know of is Haunted Rooms. They have a pretty comprehensive list of haunted hotel rooms and such available in each state.

Before I travel anywhere, I always Google “haunted hotels + city name.” If they’re convenient to where we need to stay, I’m able to afford them, and they have vacancy, I book it!

So I’d totally use a site like ScaryRentals.com. What about you?

Haunt Jaunts: Donuts From Pennywise

The delivery car pulls up. Your donuts are here. You knew they were coming. Your friend, loved one, or spouse told you to expect them today.

“How thoughtful,” you think.

Maybe you’ve been anticipating what flavor(s) they picked for you. (If they didn’t tell you in an effort to entice you to fall for the trap –er, I mean, act of kindness.) Do they even know your favorite(s)? Or would you trust them to surprise you? (After this, you may never trust them again…)

Because that’s when you see him. The delivery driver. Your blood runs cold. This seemingly thoughtful gesture has just taken a sinister turn.

What would you notice first? His distinctive bouquet of red balloons? His painted white face? His sharp, pointy teeth? Or the box of donuts?

Would you accept donuts from Pennywise, the scary clown from Stephen King’s It?

Hurts Donut creepy clown delivery

Source: Hurts Donut Facebook

I recently learned of this creepy clown donut delivery service from a post on Dread Central, who reported Hurts Donut will offer it this October.

As I was doing some research into Hurts Donut, however, I discovered this service isn’t something new. This has become a Halloween season thing for them. They’ve been doing it since at least 2017.

Hurts Donut has 19 locations in these ten states:

  1. Arizona
  2. Arkansas
  3. Colorado
  4. Iowa
  5. Kansas
  6. Missouri
  7. Nebraska
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Texas
  10. Wisconsin

To see if there’s a location near you, check the Hurts Donut website.

To see if the location near you will be offering Scary Clown Deliveries, and for info on how to schedule one, check the location’s Facebook page.

Would you send somebody a scary clown donut delivery? Would you like to receive one?

Haunt Jaunts with Courtney Mroch: An Introduction

Hello, boos and ghouls!

Self-introductions are always awkward, aren’t they? There you are, in front of strangers, trying to tell them who you are.

Maybe you’re in a room. Maybe it’s just a small office before a job interview or something. Maybe a larger one, like a presentation room at a convention.

Or, maybe like I am now, via the World Wide Web. Which in some ways makes it less awkward. Or at least less intimidating. I don’t have to see how many people have shown up –or have not shown up, as the case may be. (Which is even scarier. No one wants to feel ignored and unseen.)

So who I am, this new Addict joining the writing team here at HorrorAddicts.net?

Well, for starters, my name is Courtney Mroch. From the time I was able to read I wanted to be like them. The people who created the beloved books I’d devour one after the other.

I didn’t know what kind of author I wanted to be, apart from fiction. But as far as genre? No, that wouldn’t be decided for a few years.

Speaking of genres, I have published fiction in a few different genres: romance, mystery, thriller, suspense, and horror. Usually as some combination of two or more of them. For instance, my last novel, The Ghost of Laurie Floyd, was what I like to call a romantic suspense meets whodunnit with a paranormal twist.

But in my late 20s/early 30s I also felt called to write non-fiction. Mostly personal and travel essays. My essays tend to be more mainstream, but my travel interests are much like my fiction reading interests: dark, scary, spooky and macabre.

I had no confidence in my early travel writing because it wasn’t genuine. It was imitation. I was trying to emulate other travel writers people found popular. I hadn’t found my voice yet. Or, again, my “genre.”

By my late 30s, thanks in part to a battle with cancer and my fascination with jaunting to haunted places, I found the travel niche I wanted to work in: paranormal tourism.

I launched my blog, Haunt Jaunts, in 2009 and have continued to write about my haunted travels ever since.

Well, sort of. I’ve actually traveled quite extensively since 2009, both internationally and domestically. From Alaska, California, New York and Georgia to Turkey, England, Greece, and Singapore…these are just a few of the places I’ve been.

But I rarely write about my own travels. I always mean to, but…I don’t. Why? I don’t know. It’s complicated. It’s like I want to share what I’ve seen, but I also want to save it for some other time that never seems to come.

Odd, right? It is. So what do I write about then? Haunted places themselves, people within the paranormal community, spooky events, horror movies…I am at no loss for things to write about. In fact, that’s why I applied to write for HorrorAddicts.net. I’ve got 50 Evernote notebooks full of post ideas. (And that’s no exaggeration. The exact number is 51.) I could put them all on Haunt Jaunts, I guess, but… I’d also like to bring some more awareness to Haunt Jaunts. I’ve heard one way to do that is to put myself out there on different blogs and in different spaces.

So here I am.

What will I write about here? I’ve already got an Evernote list with some ideas, such as:

  • Would You Use Scaryrentals.Com If It Was a Real Service?
  • 10 States Where Clowns Will Be Delivering Donuts This Halloween
  • Come Unhinged This Fall with the Winchester Experience
  • A New Reason to Make a Trek to Dubai: Zombie Apocalypse Park
  • Places You Can Watch Horror Movies Where They Were Filmed

The titles aren’t set in stone, but it gives you a taste of what’s to come. We’ll start there and see what other dark paths we find to explore on this journey.

For now, I’ll thank you for your time. I look forward to getting more acquainted with each other. (You can give me a sense of who you are and your likes by checking-in with comments and such. You never know, something you may say or suggest may spark my muse and be the catalyst for another post. Love when that happens!)

Until next time, stay spooky (especially when others discourage it!) and ciao for now! ~ Courtney