04 October 2010

Haunted Halloween: Kathy Charles + A Giveaway!

by Kathy Charles

Port Arthur, a historic penal colony on the picturesque island of Tasmania, is one of the scariest places in Australia.

It is also one of the saddest.

Established in 1833, Port Arthur was a harsh and brutal prison for some of the country’s worst offenders. It was a site of murder, torture and insanity.

But its black history didn’t end when the doors closed.

When its days as a prison were over, Port Arthur became a popular tourist destination. In April 1996, a disturbed loner with long blonde hair and a surfboard on the roof of his Volkswagen opened fire on tourists, lying waste to 35 lives. Some of the more superstitious believe the gunman was drawn to the site because of its dark, murderous history. Some believe the site is cursed.

What isn’t in dispute is that Port Arthur is most definitely haunted. I took a ghost tour one dark, balmy night around five years ago. In a group of ten we wandered through the old jail cells and guard’s quarters, hearing stories of the many ghosts who call Port Arthur home: the faces that appeared in the walls of the Surgeon’s autopsy room, the child’s rocking chair that mysteriously moved by itself. I kept my eyes closed most of the time, and didn’t really experience the tour until looking at photos of the event later on. I wish I hadn’t.

In one of the photos, taken through a dusty window into the living quarters of one of the many families living and working at Port Arthur, is the unmistakeable figure of a little girl. She has thick, luscious curls: magnificent waves of hair that frame a cupid face and part in the middle. Her nose is round and her eyes are translucent, staring directly into the camera. She is dressed in an old-fashioned petticoat with long sleeves and frills, and her look is serene. We sent the photograph to Port Arthur and they thanked us. It was nothing out of the ordinary. They are sent photos of this nature all the time.

Sometimes I wonder about the girl in the window. Who was she? Why is she still there? Is she sad? Is she looking at me? I’ve shown the photo to friends, some of who have recoiled and refuse to look at it again. I suppose the photo should make me happy: isn’t it, after all, proof of life after death? The only thing I know for sure is if I find myself back at Port Arthur, I might give the ghost tour a miss. Who knows who might be waiting for me.

To learn more about Port Arthur and its ghosts visit:


Title: John Belushi is Dead


Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.

Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.

 Now Available from MTV Books.

Where to find Kathy Online:

Website | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

Enter to win a copy of John Belushi is Dead!!

Here are the rules and how to enter:

You MUST complete the form to enter. No entries in comments please they won't count. Comments are welcome, so share your love with Kathy!
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
This contest is open to to US residents only. Sorry!
Contest ends: Oct. 18th, 2010


Good luck to everyone who enters. If you have any questions, please see my policy page or feel free to email me with any questions.

Also, a HUGE thank you to Kathy for her time, story and for the donation from both Kathy and MTV books.

REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry!
Please ready full entry rules HERE.

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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  1. Great story now that it's well bright and shiny out with the sun.


  2. Haunted former prison, I think this one might be my new favorite. Love the cover for John Belushi is Dead, plus it sounds really interesting. ^_^

    hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

  3. Not entering the contest, as I am not eligible,
    I just wanted to say that I hadn't heard of Port Arthur before, but OMG creepy!!

    I have heard a lot about this book, it sounds very original!
    Thanks for the giveaway and good luck to everyone who enters! :)

  4. This was a great story! It kind of reminded me of a Supernatural episode, though I think it was about a mental institution instead of a prison. I think I'm going to go check out the website now. Thanks for sharing!


  5. Sounds like a creepy place to visit. Wonder what other people have turned up in their photos.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  6. Wow! And the giveaways just keep coming, lol :) Yay!

    email: beautiful (at) hotmail (dot) com

  7. What a great ghost story. That's totally creepy. I like to just pretend that ghosts aren't real so I don't freaked out.

    romancebookjunkiesdanielle at yahoo dot com

  8. I'd definitely be creeped out taking a tour there during the night...and day. Ha!

    nalynboni AT gmail DOT com

  9. This Halloween is going to be awesome. I love reading all the stories, and the giveaways are the cherry on top.

    Thanks again!

  10. creepy. I once had my picture taken with John Belushi. Just sayin'...

  11. I love going on ghost walk tours, and although I have never had an otherworldly experience, I keep hoping i will someday!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  12. I get goosebumps at least once a day because I'm reading your blog, lol.


  13. I get goosebumps at least once a day because I read your blog, lol.


  14. Freaky.....wow!! Keep up those stories, they're so festive with the month!!! LOL!

    GOt goosebumps on that one : )

  15. Wow the story was pretty creepy! It freaked me out a bit haha :)

    sophiayunjin @ gmail .com

  16. I've taken 'ghost tours' before and let's just say that I am totally into checking out more 'haunted' places. Problem being, I freak out just reading about them. LOL


  17. that place sounds completely creepy and I don't even think that I would have had the guts to go on the tour with my eyes closed.

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  18. Great post. Super creepy;)


  19. I would so love to visit a real live haunted house! One that I am dying to go to is the Winchester Mansion in CA! That one looks awesome!!


  20. Thanks for the story!


  21. Oh man, that's scary. I've never done a ghost tour before but have always wanted to. I don't know if I still want to though!


  22. I think I would have been more scared (I already was!) if she included the picture. But part of me is glad she didn't. I'd like to sleep tonight. :P

    I wonder if Ghost Hunters International ever went here... Wonder if I should recommend it to them!

    I've only ever done a ghost tour at night once. I won't even speak of what happened, and will never do one again. =x


  23. Great story!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com


  24. Seeing people in photos who were not visible in real life is one of those things that completely freak me out. I've had my fair share of ghost-like experiences, but luckily, never that.


  25. Thanks for sharing!

    Natalie-- I know what you mean, that's what I thought too!

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

  26. Great story, thanks for sharing!


  27. Creepy place. I always want to watch these shows about haunted places but I get super creeped out lol...

    Truthbetold004 at gmail dot com

  28. The idea of going to these "haunted" places sounds cool in theory, but I don't think I'd actually like being there. Too creepy, too many bad memories associated with the place. I'm much happier reading about them in books, where I can simply close the book if it gets too scary. Much safer that way. :)



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