18 October 2011

Around ten years ago, my second book, a thing called Witch Hill and inspired by a nightmare I had had, had just been published. One of the things that happens in the book is that the protagonist, Jamie, is nearly killed by a witch, who appears in the night, sitting on him, suffocating him. 

At the the time I was living in Sussex, England, in an ancient timbered cottage, maybe four or five hundred years old, and one night, I had the same experience as the character in my book. I woke, and was paralyzed. I couldn't move a muscle. I was lying face down, and yet somehow I knew that the creature sitting on my back, paralyzing me, was a hideous old witch. Of course, I was terrified, but in my sleepy state, I knew that if I could move, her spell would be broken, and she would disappear. I tried to move again, and found I could move the middle finger of my right hand. I wiggled it, and then found it had freed up my fingers, and when I wiggled them, my whole hand was free. Very soon, my arm and then shoulder could move too, and then she vanished pretty soon after that. Nonetheless, I was still terrified.

And I was terrified despite the fact that I knew what had happened to me, because it was not something I had made up when I put it in my book, it was something I'd researched: cultures all around the world have a folkloric entity called the Old Woman, or the Old Crone, in which this phenomena takes place. Scientists have explained it away: when we sleep, our bodies are at times paralyzed. It's an evolutionary thing to stop us from falling out of trees etc, but if you wake while you're body is still frozen, your mind is terrified and then imagines that some awful creature is sitting on you, suffocating you.

And that's all true, but only raises two more questions in my mind: why, despite that fact that I knew all about the science behind the folklore, was it still terrifying when it happened to me (which it now has done twice), and why, if it's just the mind playing tricks, have various societies from around the world always interpreted the apparition as the same thing: an evil foul old witch...?

 White Crow is currently available from Roaring Brook Press!

Synopsis: Some secrets are better left buried; some secrets are so frightening they might make angels weep and the devil crow. Thought provoking as well as intensely scary, White Crow unfolds in three voices. There's Rebecca, who has come to a small, seaside village to spend the summer, and there's Ferelith, who offers to show Rebecca the secrets of the town...but at a price. Finally, there's a priest whose descent into darkness illuminates the girls' frightening story. White Crow is as beautifully written as it is horrifically gripping.

Order White Crow Online:

Find Marcus Online:

ONE winner will receive a copy of

Rules and now to enter:

You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
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Giveaway ends: November 1st, 2011

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Marcus, thanks so much for sharing this truly scary story. I know for a fact that this happens, it's happened to me and other people that I know. It's not fun and scared the life of out me that night. So, thank you for sharing. Also, a HUGE thank you goes out to Macmillan for donating the book provided in this giveaway.

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

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  1. Mary DeBorde
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    Brrr ... that sounds like what is known as *Old Hag Syndrome* - a sleep paralysis state. :P

  2. Ahhhhhhhhh an Englishmen at heart! Great post. Will be checking this book out,
    Thanks for the chance.

  3. That cover's kinda creepy! But I like it!


  4. Wow the cover looks scary :) Thanks for the giveaway!

    Email: osnapitzAngiex3(AT)aol(DOT)com

  5. That has happened to me a few times (once just a couple days ago, actually) and it is darn frightening. I thought maybe it was just me being half awake half asleep, but still, scary. Kinda makes you not want to go to sleep at night, huh? :-)


  6. Excellent cover! It drew me in.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  7. I would have been terrified and would have never slept in that house EVER again! Wow! That is just too crazy for me.


  8. This has happened to me one time before. Granted I didn't "see" anything but I could "sense" that something was way way off. It was an extremely terrifying feeling and something I'd rather never happened again!


  9. Very creepy. Thanks for the chills!

    the imagine tree at aol dot com

  10. ew. I hate the whole sleep paralysis thing... so wrong on so many levels. Just reading this gave me the chills.

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  11. Ah the Old Crone. She is a frightening ol' bat. Love the lore and the experience is terrifying. The White Crow looks and sounds amazing. It's going on my wishlist immediately, along with Marcus' other book.
    Thanks for a great tale and giveaway.


  12. I have never heard of this paralysis and luckily it has never happened to me. It does not sound like anything I would like to experience. Very Creepy!


  13. Thank goodness that has never happened to me b/c that's one of my claustrophia triggers... uggggh. This book sounds awesome! thanks for the scary post and giveaway!


  14. Creepy! Thanks for the giveaway!


  15. I've woken up and thought that someone was sitting at the end of my bed when no one was really there but that's not the same thing... I want to research this, too now. All this talk about scary things really happening makes me want to look into all of it and the old stories that are considered myth or legend to see if maybe they are actually real...


  16. Ugh, I would hate that. Thanks for the giveaway, I hadn't heard of White Crow before but it looks great!


  17. Ummm, super scary post and book! The cover alone scares me!

    bchild5 at aol dot com

  18. 3 perspectives huh? I love seeing if an author can pull of difference "voices" for each of their characters when they do it that way. I'm in.
    Pabkins @ Mission to Read

  19. Thank you for this wonderful post and awesome giveaway opportunity. I would love to read White Crow, it sounds excellent.


  20. Thanks for the fun post and giveaway!

    ashleysbookshelf at gmail dot com

  21. This was such an incredibly fun post to read, thank you for sharing it with us. Also, this looks like a fantastic book, I would totally love to read this. :)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung


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