It's the Myth Master here, and today we have Saranna DeWylde with us, to talk about her research into the paranormal, along with a few other surprises. Saranna has also contributed a number of other pieces to this issue, including a short story, so be sure to stop by and read her other work, as well, if you haven't already done so.
All right, let's get started.
M.M. Saranna, how long have you been investigating paranormal activity?
S.DW. Iíve been interested in the paranormal, supernatural and other phenomena as long as I can remember. Iíve always been drawn to it. Iím the kind of person who hears the proverbial bump in the night, I get up to go see what it is. Even when I get that sensation down the back of my neck and that ton of bricks dropping in my gut.
M.M. If there is one, what is the difference between paranormal and
S.DW. From some others in the field that I've spoken with, they tend to use paranormal as opposed to supernatural because of the connotations. Paranormal sounds more professional, more scientific. Or so I've been told. Me, personally, I see a distinction. I define paranormal more along the lines of UFO encounters, Bermuda Triangle and so forth whereas supernatural is more ghosts and The Bray Road Beast sorts of things. But I really think that just like everything else in this field, that it's open to personal interpretation.
M.M. Can you let us in on some of the research you are now involved
S.DW. Right now Iím trying to coordinate my overnight stay in the Sallie House, located in Atchison, KS. Her story has been featured on Unexplained Mysteries and Sightings. There was also a terrible TV movie about it that makes everyone in Kansas look like hay chewing, tobacco spitting, non-enunciating idiots. Oops, there I go on my box. Sorry. Anyway, Sallieís story is a sad one. She was a six-year old girl who awoke one night with terrible stomach pains. Her mother rushes her to the doctorís house (in those days, most practiced out of their homes) and he diagnosed her with appendicitis, which required immediate surgery. However, the anesthetic isnít given enough time to work and she feels the first incisions. The story goes that she begins to scream and fight. Even in his haste, the doctor is not in time and the little girl dies on the table.
A young couple rented the doctorís house in 1993 and experienced several sightings of Sallie along with unexplained phenomena that were described as ďharmless pranksĒ, turning appliances on and off, scattering their childís toys about. But the pranks turn deadly with fires, and the husband begins to experience manifestations of scratch marks over his body. Sightings tried to debunk the scratching, but an incident occurred on camera while they were filming for the episode and the husband was examined for any evidence of trickery. None was found. When a malevolent force tried to push the husband down the stairs, that was when they decided to move. The evil in that house has not been attributed to Sallie, but to other angry spirits. And it seems that most of that rage is directed at men. Women donít seem to have the same sorts of encounters in the house.
Some psychics have claimed that it is now ďfree of evilĒ but I get that tickle on the nape of my neck just driving by it. It is still unrentable. Iíve spoken to the owner and he says that he had someone lined up to buy it on a rent to own basis, but almost as soon as they began moving their things in, they moved them back out again. The owner now rents it out on a nightly basis for ghost hunters and college frat initiations.
M.M. I have heard some strange stories about a place called, 'Pilot
Knob.' What can you tell us about that?
S.DW. Now that is an interesting story. Pilot Knob was a city park and reservoir that was built over Mt. Aurora Cemetery. (Officials claim that the caskets were all moved, but we will never know.) In the 80's, there were some unexplained slayings in the park. Tops of cars had been ripped open, some completely torn off, bodies were found mutilated and missing limbs. Canine DNA was found in the wounds of the victims. The DNA was explained away as being from packs of wild dogs that may have found the corpses before discovery. Perhaps that is possible, but what could have torn the roof off of a car? Any newspaper accounts of the slayings have been "misplaced" as well as the police report concerning the incident. People in this area that do know things are reluctant to talk. I got my information from a former police officer who has asked that he remain anonymous. The park has been closed, but you can still get to the area if you are determined enough.
M.M. Do you actually go out and visit these places?
S.DW. If it's possible. I can't always obtain the owner's permission and I do respect their wishes. I have actually been to Pilot Knob several times. The last time I went and I took my dog, he refused to go any further than the edge of the park. He laid down and growled, baring his teeth.
I've also been to Stull, KS. There was a church that used to stand there that was rumored to be one of the seven gates to Hell. The church was torn down before my first visit, so I donít think I got the full effect. Supposedly, the Devil comes to Stull to visit his lover. A witch who was hung and burned in the cemetery. And their child haunts the grounds as a werewolf. People have reported memory loss and other strange occurrences from just visiting the place. A rumor even circulated that the Pope would not fly over the land because it belonged to the Devil. This was allegedly in an article in Time Magazine. I have yet to find the article. And I have to say that my visit to Stull was less than scary. I was not impressed.
M.M. Have you had any personal supernatural or paranormal experiences?
S.DW. Yes. Iíve had several. The one that is really clear to me though was when I was working as a corrections officer at Lansing Correctional Facility. I was a new officer, just out of training, and it was a dark and stormy nightÖIsnít it always? *laughs* Anyway, thereís a building that they use for their rehabilitation services and at one point long before, it had been The Hole. It was The Hole back in the days when it meant something to get sent to The Hole. And Lansing, it used to be a hard prison. During high noon, it was still pitch black in The Hole from dirt, excrement and bodies. Sometimes, when you went in, you didnít come out. This was one of those places that the inmates believed to be haunted, just like certain cells. I digress. So, I was on the 2-10 shift and the building had to be checked. Make sure all the doors were locked, nothing out of place, everybody locked up nice and tight. I was on the second floor checking door handles when I got the distinct impression that there was someone around the corner. I rounded the corner and there was nothing there. I was sure that it was some inmate or another officer ready for a good old-fashioned round of ďletís fuck with the newbie.Ē I had my flashlight held high. A Mag-Lite. One of the big ones that I could beat someone with should they attackÖ I rounded another corner. Nothing. Then I felt as if someone were directly behind me, eyes boring right into my back. I turned around, and there was no one there. Then, as I was leaving, I felt someoneís hand on my shoulder. It was cold and clammy and real. Then I felt a cold rush of air and it was gone. There was no one on that floor and nowhere that they could have gone if there had been. I was happy to get back out into the rain, let me tell you.
M.M. Well, then, after all of your research and experiences, do you feel
that spirits--ghosts, for lack of a better term--really do exist, and if
so, what, if anything, are they trying to tell us?
S.DW. I'm sure that they do exist. I think there is more to this world than any of us can ever understand. As to their message, I think some are sent to comfort us, to tell us that there is a beyond and that our love goes with the ones who go before us. I think some are sent to right wrongs done by them or to them. But I do think that they all have an individual purpose. And I disagree with the school of thought that says that none of them are here to hurt us. I think some of them are. Not all people are good, so not all spirits can be good either.
M.M. What are you eventually planning to do with all of your research?
S.DW. Iíd like to publish a ghostly travel guide to the area. Iím also planning a seasonal study in photos of some of these places. Maybe a coffee table book for ghost hunters.
M.M. I understand that you have also studied Voodoo and associated
religions. What can you tell us about this, that you did not cover in
your 'Guide to Voodoo,' which also appears in this month's issue.
S.DW. It's really a vast topic and there is so much to learn about the faith. It does have it's own dogma, but really, it seems to always be evolving. I think it's a living, breathing example of "all gods are one god." There seems to be nothing in the faith that is absolute, nothing that can't be molded into something else, yet the believers are still true believers. Their god could be Jehovah, Allah... It's all the same. Of course, those of the faith do have their own name for him, but his existence, his essence, it doesn't change for them by what name he is called. And the practitioners that I've spoken with, none of them have any animosity for those of other faiths. They don't think that because one does not share their faith that an eternity of punishment awaits.
M.M. And, in your spare time, I understand you are also writing a novel.
What is that going to be about?
S.DW. Iím working on two novels, actually. Both are paranormal romances.
One is about a hit woman who is actually a Succubus, a demon that preys on men using sex. She accepts a hit on the werewolf that cursed her to her existence, or so she thinks. Nothing is what it seems in this one. Thereís betrayal around every corner.
The other is called Lady of Darkness. Itís going to be the first in a series of seven novels about a land called Aeternam. Itís sort of a supernatural take on old England, with knights and kings, the intrigue of the royal court and of course, a curse. Gabriel is an Icarus, a cursed race who can only be free with the blood of the chosen. Enter Aurora Craven, the chosen and predestined mate to Gabriel. Add a pinch of Adare Craven, Auroraís half brother who seeks the throne for himself, rotting with his need for power. He traffics in darker magics than can and will unleash the powers of the Abyss on the land. Aeternam erupts into war and Gabriel must choose between honor and destiny. And finally- Aurora must save her land, her people, and herself.
M.M. I am sure that you have many new fans among our readers. Do you
write for any other magazines or groups where we might see more of your
S.DW. I post a new horror story biweekly at www.myspace.com/CultoftheBloodyQuill It's a great group over there, I'm actually one of the founding members of the Cult. We just added two new members so there is lots to see. I'm also a frequent contributor to www.tit-elation.com for those of you who read erotica. (That link is not for the kiddies, if you're not 18, I didn't write it, you didn't see it.) My work has also appeared in Dark Realms Magazine. http://shop.store.yahoo.com/shocklines/daremab15.html Also, I have a story at Horrotica. www.horrotica.com (Another one, not for the kiddos) I've also been in Deviant Minds, Alien Skin Magazine. I've got a little tale coming out, hopefully soon, in Beyond the Blackened Mirror: Tales of Dark Romance by Coyote Moon Publications.
M.M. I really want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with us
today, as well as contributing your time and talent to other areas of our
magazine. Is there anything we did not cover that you would like to
share with our readers?
S.DW. You are most welcome. I was so pleased to do it. Thank you for having me. And as for anything else I'd like to share, just that I love hearing from my readers. All feedback is appreciated. If a reader takes the time to contact me, I will always respond.
M.M. Okay, friends, that's it for the Myth Master--right now. I'll see you again, soon, though. And I want to thank Saranna for all of her input and help with this issue of "The World of Myth." Many thanks. Best of luck with your future books, and be sure to let us know when something is published.