Friday, December 19, 2008

One Day Late, But A Dollar More

A belated Birthday gift...

Sand has accepted "Crib Death", a 716 word piece, for inclusion in Issue #3, due out in February of 2009.

I'm happy. More later.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Busy, but...

Just wanted to take a break from editing to pass out a novel website I came across (pun intended).

Paperbackswap is a website that allows users to trade books for the cost of postage. You send a book out, they mark it received, you get a credit to order a book from another user, who then has to pay postage to get it to you. As a writer and bibliophile, I believe no book should go unread, and this is a great way to send off those old ones you've read hundreds of time. Share the joy, people! If I ever were to get famous, man oh man, I'd be using this site to send off stuff just for the heck of it.

Anyhow, back to the grindstone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our Ghostly Encounter

Well, I promised a ghostly encounter from our trip to PA, and here we go.

My wife's family lives about 15-20 minutes away from Jim Thorpe, PA. This used to be known as Mauck Chunk, and was a location of miner's labor movements in the 1870's, most well known among them being the Molly Maguires. The Mollies were miners, Irish descent, who rebeled against the company and their foremen due to the unsafe working conditions, deadly job status, and low pay. Ire raised by being treated more like dogs than men, they began to meet and organize with deadly results.

These men were pinpointed as the murderers and conspirators behind the deaths of mine foremen, and after being penetrated by a Pinkerton were convicted and sentenced to be hung. Four of these men were held in the Carbon County Jail, a structure that at the time was recent, but torturous as many small American jails were during that time. Innocence was protested, and even today there remains a debate about the actual guilt of the Molly Maguires, but it didn't stop them from being hung. Among these, and the most notable for folklore, was Alexander Campbell, who purportedly placed his hand against his jail wall, stating an innocent man was being hung and his mark would remain there forever as a stain on the record of the county, state, and country for their grave injustice. The handprint, accoridng to legend, remains.

I recently began working on a few stories using an Irish Immigrant sort of background, sci-fi stuff, nothing scary or hard. However, the Molly Maguires serve a huge role in one of the three stories, and I decided to visit Jim Thorpe to get a feel for the place while I was up there. Unfortunately the jail itself was closed to tours that day, so I had to satisfy myself taking pictures. After a few good shots of jail, which really primed the pump inspiration wise, we clambered back in the car to head downhill. Turning around in a gravel lot beside the jail, where a stone wall that was obviously once part of some structure stood, our car died. The brand new car.

The funny thing is, our van never "dies". Even when the engine is off, the radio continues to play for three-four minutes. This time it went dead, as did all the electrical. Luckily, gravity was on my side as we were headed down a steep hill, and through muscle (power-steering was a no go) while riding our brake I made it to an alley, and turned the key. Van started right up...

Big things on this, because I'm never comfortable saying I met a ghost and it played auto mechanic on my car. The van was checked out, completely, before we left with no problems in the electrical system or under the hood being found. It started with no problem, and went to a mechanic upon our return, once more with no problems to explain the sudden stop. Still, it was a steep hill, and this van was used to the relative flatlands of northern Kentucky. Could be a fluke, right?

Then my wife showed me a couple pictures from the jail, pointing out something she found. Could just be a glare, but you be the judge, eh?

Here's the picture:

Don't see it? Here's a more close-up version. Look at the second column of bars, about four up from the bottom...

Let's go a little closer...

Is it just me, or is anyone else making out a face?

Not sure I believe,
J.C. Tabler