You don’t believe in ghosts? Neither did I, until a couple of years ago.
Then I bought an 1897 Queen Anne Victorian house in a quiet New Jersey suburb. In my early thirties and still single, I wanted a real home that was all my own.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have it all to myself. Turns out the first owner was still hanging around, even though he died 116 years ago! A classical pianist, Jeremy Spencer led a not-so-Victorian life that helped get him killed while he was still young and handsome (I found a photo). And even he wasn’t alone—a couple of other folks involved in his fatal drama still kept him company on his ghostly plane.
The spirits never bothered my relatives much. As soon as I moved in, though, they somehow decided I was the perfect person to figure out who killed Jeremy and, after more than a century, to finally right some terrible wrongs.
Why me? I’m no detective. And even though I am a reporter of sorts, I write about architecture and interior design. I never considered myself psychic, either, but the haunting opened up some new floodgates. I saw, heard and felt things that other people didn’t; I even “channeled” a couple of my otherworldly housemates, reliving some scary episodes. I thought I was losing my mind, and so did my friends. The only person who seemed to share my visions was the unstable guy next door, who accused me of “stirring up” the ghosts with my renovations.
For advice, I reached out to a psychic named Gail Kleinholtz, who’s helped the NYPD and been on TV. I dug into the history of my house and questioned folks who knew the neighborhood lore, until I figured out who committed the murder, and why. Still, if my crazy neighbor had his way – and if not for some brave assistance from my boyfriend Tony — I might never have lived to lay the spirits to rest
After that, I wanted nothing more to do with the paranormal! Gail warned me, though, that in the future I might be extra-sensitive to the vibes in certain places. Of course, “places” are my business, but for a while I avoided writing about old houses. I didn’t worry about covering the renovation of a local movie theater into a venue for live performances. . .but maybe I should have.
Rock band Mad Love was shooting a video there and my press contact gave me a ticket. During the performance, a chunk of old plaster fell on a cameraman. I saw a shadowy figure above the stage give it a push – and I was the only person who did. Word got back to the band, and now the lead singer has asked me to help them, as a “psychic”! They’ve had other suspicious accidents and anonymous messages warning that they’re under a curse. The cops haven’t helped much, so the singer, Alan Bardot, wants me to sleuth around. His manager insists I also sign a non-disclosure agreement, so I can’t reveal any band secrets I might find out along the way.
Right now, a limo is taking me home from Alan’s awesome apartment overlooking the Hudson, the NDA still unsigned in my purse. If I do this, it’s sure to upset Tony, a reporter for our local paper. He’s investigating the “accident” at the theater; if I help Mad Love, I’ll learn information I can’t share with him. I’m sure he also won’t like my spending so much time with Alan, who happens to be gorgeous.
Still, it might be a rush to see if I can use my new-found abilities to help someone else. There’s probably no “curse” – just a human stalker. Though I did see that weird, man-shaped shadow. . . And the guy who got hit by the plaster died, so I’m technically investigating a murder.
Even if there is some paranormal “entity” involved, it’s after the band, not me, right? And Gail sent me one of her books with a few “white light” rituals she swears will protect me from any psychic attack.
So, really, what could go wrong?
— Quinn Matthews
You can read more about Quinn in Hex, Death & Rock’n’Roll, the second book in the Quinn Matthews Haunting Mystery series, published by Amber Quill Press, LLC. The first book in the series is Dark Music.
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Meet the author
E. F. Watkins specializes in paranormal suspense, and since 2003 has published eight novels with Amber Quill Press LLC. In 2013 she launched her Quinn Matthews Haunting Mystery series. The first book, Dark Music, received the David G. Sasher Award at the 2014 Deadly Ink Mystery Conference. The second, Hex, Death And Rock ‘N’ Roll, was a Mystery finalist for the 2014 Next Generation EBook Awards. Watkins has written about architecture, interior design and home improvement for daily newspapers and regional, national and international magazines. Visit her web site at www.efwatkins.com and on Facebook.