Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Apparition Atlas" by Daniel Diehl and Mark P. Donnelly

Apparition Atlas:
The Ghost Hunter's Travel Guide to Haunted America
by Daniel Diehl and Mark P. Donnelly

Apparition Atlas: The Ghost Hunter's Travel Guide to Haunted America is the latest release by the multi-award winning team of Daniel Diehl and Mark P. Donnelly.
Author Daniel Diehl stops by today for a special guest post and to share an excerpt from the book. You can also read my review and enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Apparition Atlas. Don't forget to join the Haunted Halloween Party on Facebook for lots of fun and games from now until 31 October.

For more books by Daniel Diehl, please check out my blog post on Deluge and my blog post on The Merlin Chronicles (Revelations and The Sorcerer's Apprentice).

Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost? Would you like proof that the deceased continue to visit the world of the living? Do you have the courage to stand face-to-face with visitors from the afterlife?
Apparition Atlas: The Ghost Hunter’s Travel Guide to Haunted America provides seekers of truth with a definitive guide to more than 200 publicly accessible, verified haunted locations in all fifty states. Introductory chapters discuss the many different types of apparitions and explain everything the novice ghost hunter needs to know to search for things that go bump in the night.
Sometimes the spirits of the dead manifest themselves by slamming doors or through blood chilling screams; other times they come as glowing orbs of ectoplasm that float through walls, and occasionally they appear in their human form - fully formed, semi-transparent and terrifyingly real. Let us take you on a journey to places where close encounters with the departed occur with frightening regularity.
Guaranteed to make you doubt everything you believe about death being the end of existence.

Book Video

Holly, Michigan
Holly Hotel
When the railroad tracks of the Detroit & Milwaukee line reached tiny Holly, Michigan in 1863 they brought with them hordes of people, every one of whom needed someplace to stay. The answer was the Holly Hotel. Looking like an overgrown Queen Anne style house with turrets, domes and verandahs the Holly served as home to its owners and a temporary refuge to thousands of salesmen, passengers and railroad employees who poured out of more than twenty-five trains a day. With so many transients, and a sea of liquor, came a lot of violence and so many brawls that the street where the Holly Hotel is located was renamed Battle Alley. Adding to the excitement were three fires, each of which virtually destroyed the Holly. Curiously, two of those fires – one on January 19, 1913 and one on January 19, 1978 occurred sixty five years apart…to the hour. But each time the Holly has risen and is now as active, if not nearly as tumultuous, as it was in the past.
No surprise that all the violent activity left in its wake a host of spirit activity. It is, in point of fact, the most haunted building in all of Michigan and its supernatural guests are active on a fairly regular schedule. There is Mr Hirst, one of the Holly’s first owners, who occasionally appears in frock coat and top hat at locations throughout the hotel. Even when you can’t see him, Hirst’s deep, baritone laughter creeps down the halls. Hirst’s wife has never appeared, but her small terrier can be heard running down the halls, barking and panting, and is felt brushing against customers’ legs. Then there is the lovely, diminutive Nora Kane who is only occasionally seen by the naked eye but frequently appears in photographs; you can find Nora’s picture hanging in the main lobby and can frequently smell her perfume, or hear her voice singing in the turret area of the main bar. When Nora does materialize it is usually in the main bar or back hallway, but as lovely as she is, she only extends down to the knees. Then there is the little red haired girl who appears in the kitchen where she plays with the pots and pans; her favorite toy is a nasty looking meat cleaver, but she has never done any damage with it. The Holly loves its ghosts and they play a central role in its October festivities.
Fear Factor:   
Holly Hotel, 110 Battle Alley, Holly, MI 48442
Contact Information:
Telephone (248) 634-5208
see their website at:
email them at:
to email about the ghosts:
Opening Times & Charges:
Holly Hotel is open year around. Afternoon teas served Monday through Saturday from 2:00pm
Brunch served Sundays from 10:30am - 2:30pm. Dinner daily 4:00pm – 10:00pm
Basement bar & comedy club open until midnight. Stand-up comedy Friday & Saturday evening.

Praise for the Book
"A wide range of spooks and ghostly doings are represented in Apparition Atlas. There are places where things move; footsteps, crying, piano music, or disembodied voices can be heard; lights and cold spots are seen and felt; or fully formed people can be seen and even interacted with. The authors have cleverly included a 'scare scale' of skull emoticons, ranging 1-5. The research in this book is extensive, and the entries are concise without cheating the subject. So if you're looking for a vacation spot out of the ordinary, this is a great resource." ~ Java Davis for Readers' Favorite
"Authors Daniel Diehl and Mark P. Donnelly have compiled an incredibly extensive list of reportedly haunted places throughout the United States. Listings are by state and include skull (scare) ratings and important information on each location. Backstories as to why the locations might be haunted are also detailed. As a Texan, I was happy to see two of my faves listed: Miss Molly's in Fort Worth and Catfish Plantation in Waxahachie. I've been to both and can highly recommend them! The beginning chapters have some great, practical common sense advice and information for would-be ghost hunters. There are lots of Dos and Don'ts for paranormal investigators to consider before heading out to a location. I would highly recommend Apparition Atlas as an excellent reference book for any established or newbie paranormal team looking for new haunts. I'd love it if the authors would write a follow-up book that includes some more details on actual hauntings. I'm a paranormal enthusiast and I'd definitely read another one of their books!" ~ Susan Barton, eBook Review Gal

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Apparition Atlas is a handy reference guide that lists the locations of more than 200 haunted homes located in the fifty US states and DC, in alphabetical order by state, with a map between each section showing the location of each state.
The introduction includes tips for ghost hunters, the definition of a ghost, and the dos and don'ts of ghost hunting. Each entry provides a short history of the location, the type of supernatural phenomena witnessed, the fear factor (ranging from 1 to 5 skulls), the address, contact information (including phone number, website, and email address), opening times, and charges. This wealth of information will allow you to look up additional information on the sites that interest you - or you can even make a booking. A lot of the sites run special tours in October, so be quick to book your visit by Halloween!
The locations featured are mostly large mansions owned by rich families, in which the tragic death of a family member is followed by a manifestation of their presence in the family home. Some of these homes have been turned into restaurants, hotels, or Bed & Breakfast establishments where you can stay the night. Other locations include an orphanage haunted by the spirits of children killed during an earthquake, a saloon and brothel haunted by the ladies of the night, and a boarding house where 27 people died violently over the years. The types of sightings include ladies playing the piano, the smell of cigar smoke or perfume, floating light orbs, objects being moved, the sound of footsteps, and children's laughter.
Some of the places I'd love to visit: Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut; Octagon House, Washington DC; Ernest Hemingway House, Key West, Florida; Warren House, Jonesboro, Georgia; Lemo Mansion, St Louis, Missouri; and a full tour of the Louisiana haunted houses.
The most interesting story: Surratt House, Clinton, Maryland, where Lincoln's assassination was planned.
Interesting facts I learned: Did you know the White House is haunted by at least six ghosts? The authors rate it with a fear factor of 5 skulls. Did you know animal ghosts are very rare, with cat ghosts being the rarest? But you can see one in Loudon House, Lexington, Kentucky.
My suggestion to the authors: Pinpoint the locations of all the sites on a map so that the reader can plan their own ghost tour road trip. Maybe even provide suggested itineraries.
Told with a rare combination of sensitivity and a touch of wry humor, this is an interesting, eye-opening, and informative read.

Guest Post by Daniel Diehl
What is a Ghost?
While working on our new, nonfiction book, Apparition Atlas: The Ghost Hunter’s Travel Guide to Haunted America my co-author, Mark Donnelly, and I came across this provocative quote by noted horror writer Peter Straub:
"Considering that sooner or later everybody is going to die, people know surprisingly little about ghosts."
Not until the moment we saw this thought-provoking statement had we considered examining the precise nature of spirit manifestations and including the information in the book. What we learned is both surprising and enlightening and we think it is worthwhile passing it on to our readers as an independent article. In our book, Apparition Atlas: The Ghost Hunter’s Travel Guide to Haunted America, this short chapter precedes an examination of the tools and techniques used by ghost hunters. Following these two explanatory chapters we lead our readers through a cornucopia of more than 200 publicly accessible – and eminently creepy - haunted houses scattered across all fifty states in the US. But for the moment we will limit ourselves to our investigation into the nature of spirits and hauntings. Here, then, is what we found out:  
Since we are going to spend the remainder of this book talking about ghosts we should probably take just a minute to define exactly what we mean when we say "ghost". According to Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, the word ghost is defined as: "a disembodied soul; especially the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness". Well, that seems like a reasonable starting point, but since there are a great number of apparitions described in the following entries, I think we need to consider the definition of the term ghost in a little greater depth.
Paranormal research tells us that there may be many different kinds of supernatural phenomena commonly referred to as "ghosts" and we must consider this fact when we read the more than two hundred stories of hauntings covered in this book. The simple fact is, it would seem difficult for any one type of spirit to manifest itself in the dozens of different ways described in the following pages. So let’s take a look at each of the many forms of ghostly activity and try to explain them or, if not explain them, at least categorize them by type and try to offer some possible explanations for what they are and why they behave like they do.
Are ghosts conscious? This question lies at the heart of our attempts to understand the appearance and activities of the manifestations we refer to as ghosts.  While it is undeniable that there are instances where those in the spirit world seem to communicate directly, and in real time, with the living, we must consider the probability that the vast majority of spirit manifestations are nothing more than reflections; echoes of energy patterns left behind by individuals that have left the world of the living. Those instances where ghosts are reported to communicate directly with the living are notably rare. Even those occasions where physical manifestations (ghosts that appear in more-or-less their human form) may appear to look at the living and smile or nod, or instances where disembodied voices speak, are probably nothing more than an unconscious repetition of something the individual did or said while they were alive. The most common explanation for this particular phenomenon is to describe it as a psychic impression of a particular event, or a moment in time, which is then replayed at random intervals much like a tape loop or a clip from an old movie. It is highly unlikely that the individuals who appear in this type of spirit manifestation are aware of the living.  In all probability they have no consciousness of any kind and are no more "real" than the characters we see when we watch a movie; rather, they are simply patterns of light and dark, endlessly replaying a scene from some long-ago storyline, without having any sense of self awareness, let alone an awareness of their surroundings. 
This "echo" theory would also account for why ghosts seem to fade out over a period of years or centuries.  Consider that ghosts from the relatively recent past – say the last century or two – are fairly common but those from a thousand or two thousand years in the past are extremely rare. The authors are, in fact, only aware of one verified haunting from the period of the Roman Empire, that being a column of roman soldiers (in full military regalia, some mounted on horses) which have been seen marching through the crypt beneath Yorkminster Cathedral in York, England. If, indeed, this type of spirit apparition is an echo of past people and actions then, like the echo of a voice shouted toward a hillside, they will eventually fade away, becoming fainter and fainter, until they eventually disappear entirely.
What this theory does not account for are those rare instances where ghosts - either fully formed and human in appearance or those which exist only as a disembodied voice - communicate directly with the living, conversing with them as though they were living people. For this rare and fascinating phenomenon we have no theories to offer.  It is, however, simultaneously comforting to think that conscious life may continue after death, and also slightly unsettling to consider that at least some of the dead are capable of interacting with the world of the living.
The most common physical phenomena attributed to those from the afterlife are actions such as slamming doors, moving small objects, turning lights on and off and other startling but generally harmless interactions with the solid world of the living. Most such physical activities are attributed to a type of phenomenon known as a "poltergeist". Translated from the German, poltergeist literally means "noisy ghost".  While some poltergeist activities can be extreme and terrifying, most of them are completely harmless, if sometimes annoying.  The dangerous kind of poltergeist activity, where furniture flies across the room and humans are beaten or bitten by unseen assailants, generally only takes place in households where there is a human female around the age of puberty. We have no idea why teenage females seem to attract – or trigger – this type of activity, and it is not universally true, but it has been recorded as a frequent accompaniment of the poltergeist phenomenon. No one has even made a positive link between poltergeist activity and the appearance of ghostly images in human form; they may be a completely separate phenomena which may, or may not, take place in the same location. What is certain is that no visible ghost – that is, a ghost which has taken on its former, human form – has ever been seen to move a physical object. This may prove nothing more than the fact that interacting with the physical world, while simultaneously manifesting a physical presence, requires more energy than a spirit can muster, but it may also be that those things which move objects are an entirely different type of manifestation than the spirits which take on their former physical appearance. 
In many instances the presence of ghostly activity includes sightings of glowing balls, often referred to as "orbs", that flit or float through buildings or, on rare occasions, across the out-of-doors landscape in the proximity to a haunted building. As is true with poltergeists, we are uncertain whether these orbs are directly related to ghosts or if they are some other type of activity entirely, which simply happen to take place at the same locations where ghosts may be in residence. Similarly, we have no idea what these energy orbs are, what causes them or whether they are in any way aware of the world of the living.
In many instances ghosts make their physical appearances in the world of the living at predictable locations in the architectural landscape. Primary among these are stairways, doors, hallways, windows and, most disturbingly, mirrors. There is a popular theory that these passageways, or openings, in the physical world also serve as openings into the world of the spirits. Whether this is true, or whether it just happens that most houses tend to have a lot of doors, windows, staircases and hallways and therefore ghosts seem to be attracted to them, is open to question. In either case, it is an interesting, and somewhat unsettling, theory.

About the Authors
Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly have co-authored 21 nonfiction books on various historical or history related subjects. Their latest work, Apparition Atlas: The Ghost Hunter’s Travel Guide to Haunted America, is available through Ravenswood Publishing and wherever good books are sold.
Daniel Diehl is an author, writer and investigative historian with thirty years experience in his field. For nearly twenty years Diehl has been involved in writing for publication and documentary television production.
Diehl's work has won awards from the Houston (Texas) Film Festival, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (US) and the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Arts Foundation. Working alone and as a part of the multi-award winning team of Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, Diehl has produced work in two main categories; trade publication and television documentary scripts. His canon of work includes eighteen non-fiction books (which have been translated into nine foreign languages) and scripts for more than one hundred and seventy hours of documentary television primarily for A&E Network, The History Channel, History International and Discovery Network.
In addition to his books and scripts, Diehl has served as historical consultant on such films as The Color Purple (Amblin Entertainment, 1986), Darrow (PBS Television Theatre, 1991) and Baskin's Run (Finnegan's Wake Productions, 1994). He has also written for such periodicals as Victorian Homes, Gilded Age (which he also edited), Old House Journal, Sacred Spaces, Country Victorian, FLAIR, Tournaments Illuminated, Popular Woodworking, Conde Nast Traveler, and numerous other publications. He has also contributed short stories and wrote the introduction for Midici Books' collection 303 Short Stories.
Diehl is ranked #72 of the top 100 History books sold per Writer and he is frequently interviewed for magazine articles and radio programs on a variety of history-related topics as they apply to his books.
Mark P. Donnelly is an historian, author, screenwriter, duelist, bon vivant, and constant gentleman. He has authored, co-authored or ghost written over 20 titles in several countries and has scripted and/or produced nearly 200 hours of historical television programming. He can frequently be found traveling throughout the north-eastern US giving lectures and presentations at themed events as well as teaching historical swordsmanship and western martial arts. he currently resides in central Pennsylvania where he enjoys life with his wife and family.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies (mobi or epub) of Apparition Atlas by Daniel Diehl and Mark P. Donnelly.

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