Friday, October 18, 2013



“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.” - Stuart Chase


          "Yes, I believe in the supernatural."  I check the clock each time I say this because it provokes one of two responses: a half-hour of ridicule from skeptics; or a full-hour of ghost stories from fellow believers. Everything in my religious upbringing and my personal experience tells me that the fabric of reality is threaded with paranormal events.


          Starting with my religious beliefs, I have faith in the Bible. Biblical authority speaks of a spiritual reality filled with the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), angels, and devils. These entities interact with humans each and every day. There are guardian angels and personal demons. The spiritual realm shows a duality of good and evil, and each aspect separates into a grand hierarchy filled with many names (Michael and Gabriel representing good, and Satan championing evil.) In my cosmology, there is an Earth, a Heaven, and a Hell. Since I can only offer definitive proof of the physical Earth and its environs, my beliefs force me to admit that the supernatural exists.


          So, as an author, how do I deal with my belief in the paranormal? My fantasy and science fiction stories lean heavily on the Heavenly, but my horror stories offer peeks into Hell. Hell is the place of eternal suffering in the absence of God. What creatures better represent immortality than vampires, zombies, and ghosts? They exist forever- unless stopped.  The traditional vampire is one cursed to be separated from God. Vampires live on blood, but it is blood from murder and violence. The Bible states that those who drink blood are separated from Him. Zombies rise from the grave due to evil forces, but if you replace the evil with divine good you have the rise of Lazarus… or Jesus himself. And ghosts? When God doesn't answer Saul quickly enough about an upcoming battle, Saul seeks out help to raise the ghost of the prophet Samuel. (1 Samuel 28:7-25.) The ghost is raised, and Saul receives a very horrifying message. By the way, Samuel's ghost is brought back by a woman identified as a witch. God is to have ultimate power over life and death, so the actual raising of vampires, zombies, or ghosts is strictly forbidden. But, to plumb the depths of the human soul, writing horror stories gives a suitable substitute for these actual acts. 


          Have I ever seen vampires? There are groups and subcultures of many who claim to be vampires. Some siphon psychic energy, and others drink real blood. Pictures of both vampire types can be found online and in books. They claim supernatural powers and abilities. 


          What about zombies? Nope! Luckily, I've been spared the horror of answering the front door to find a neighbor come to borrow a cup of brains. But… there are those in the Caribbean who swear that the dead can be brought back through black magic. 


          Have I seen ghosts? Yes, more often than I would like. Most take the form of shadow people. These entities nag at my peripheral vision and cast shadows until I pay attention to them. At first, I was frightened, but now I speak to them. They like to be acknowledged. Often these shadows bring warnings, and by listening to them I have avoided some bad situations. I've also seen one full body apparition- a classic ghost!- but I will save that for my ghost story.  Once, I heard my grandmother's ghostly voice speak my name, an event that saved me from a horrible car accident. (Again, another ghost story.)        Every culture- from the ancient Egypt to modern America- holds beliefs about life after death. My own beliefs come from a mixture of religion and personal experiences with ghosts. So, pull up a chair and heckle me for 30 minutes or tell me your own stories for an hour. To quote one of my favorite childhood friends who just happens to be a lion dealing with a wicked witch, "I DO BELIEVE IN SPOOKS! I DO! I REALLY DO!"


I remember a warm Northeastern Pennsylvania summer in 1985. At that time, I was dating a girl who lived ten miles from my home, and I would often pick her up for the day and take her home at night. She had a midnight curfew, so one August evening I was driving her home around 11 PM. I drove an old blue Subaru, and she sat in the passenger seat talking constantly changing the radio station. The roads were dry, and there was no fog as I entered the small town of Montrose.


            Because I was driving from the south, I decided to turn off State Route 29 onto Cherry Street. This was my usual route, and I expected nothing as I headed toward the Montrose Borough Building. With the building coming up on my left, I looked up Cherry Street to where it intersected Union Street, a roadway that bordered the town park. There, standing in the road was a person. I wondered why a person would be crossing the street at that hour, but there were houses nearby, so I just slowed the car. I figured that soon the person would get out of the way.


            As my car approached, the headlights focused on the person in the road: it was a little girl. She looked to be about ten, and she stood on the yellow lines in the center of Cherry Street. I saw her from her left side because she stood facing Union Street and the park. I slowed more. I could see that she was wearing a light dress with stripes, gathered at the waist. Her dress looked to be white with blue stripes that had a pattern resembling flowers. Her arms were pale, and stockings covered her legs. She had straight black hair, shoulder length, and it matched the color of her shoes. I was close enough to see her feet, and she wore black shoes that had no backs and open toes. Her stocking feet protruded from the toes of the shoes. She didn't care that I was getting quite close with the car.


            I slowed to a crawl, and was ready to roll down the window and yell at this child for standing in the road. Suddenly, I was aware that my girlfriend was still talking, but she was also looking strangely at me. I was about to ask her what she thought I should do, when movement ahead of the car caught my eye. The child now seemed aware of the oncoming car. Before I could speak, the girl in the road whipped her head so that she faced me. She looked over her left shoulder- directly at me- and my skin prickled everywhere with goosebumps. Her face was small, with a delicate nose and a line to indicate her lips, but she had two large, misty ovals where her eyes should be! She had no eyes! I jumped, and the car kept moving forward. As I reached the spot where she stood, her mouth opened. I don't know what she was trying to say because an instant later she burst apart from the center outward as needles of mist. I drove through what remained, and sped away up Cherry Street.


            "What's wrong? Why are you going so fast?" My girlfriend looked scared as she asked.


            "Did you see that? That girl?" I was shaking as I continued up a hill to where the street intersected with Grow Avenue.


            She had no idea what I was talking about. Maybe she was playing with the radio knobs, or maybe she just didn't look ahead of the car. Maybe it was never really there, but to this day I can still describe every detail of the little girl. When I reached my girlfriend's house, I called home and had my brother and sister-in-law come to drive me home.


            I've never seen the little girl again, but I've heard that others in Montrose have seen her. She's always in that same area looking toward the park… and she always slips away before there's any proof of her existence. Maybe she's looking for her mother, or a friend, or maybe she's seeking something to fill the misty voids where her eyes should be.



John Koloski was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, "the most haunted city in America". His inherited psychic sensitivity supplies encounters with ghosts, orbs and shadow-people much like those in his fiction.

John holds degrees in English Literature (BA, Binghamton University) and Creativ
e Writing (MA and MFA, Wilkes University.) He has been an editor and writer for national magazines. His stories and poems have appeared in The Endless Mountains Review, Southern Tier Images, and Midwest Poetry Review. He's presented papers for the National Council of Teachers of English and The John Gardner Society. His scholarly works are included in collections at The University of Rochester.

A high school English teacher, John lives with his wife and children in the misty Endless Mountains. EMPYRES: BLOODBLIND, which was an invited public reading at the 2007 AWP Conference in Atlanta, GA, is his first published novel. 





Today's giveaway is TWO ECOPIES of John Koloski's vampire thriller-diller EMPYRES: BLOODBIND. 

To win, please go to the HALLOWEENPALOOZA's Official Event Page. Find today's post announcing John's blog and giveaway and comment "I WANT TO WIN." If you're one of the first two to do so, guess what? You win!!! 

So be fast and this horror-ific story can be in your kindle! 



"The suspense is reminiscent of a classic Hitchcock film. And the journey the reader takes — an existential transcendence that continuously evolves — would make Carlos Castaneda proud... a breath of fresh air amidst a sea of modernity and convention." -- Shroud Magazine

If Richard Matheson and H. P. Lovecraft had ever collaborated on a modern horror novel, they might have produced one like this:

Driving through the night at 95 miles an hour, 32-year-old artist Adam Morrow has a lot to live for. Yve, a gorgeous girlfriend who loves him; a powerful sports car; and Patrick, a buddy who kills for him without question or hesitation, in the back seat.
But every blessing hides a curse. The Corvette is stolen. Adam is blind. A crash years ago killed his fiancée, Leiko Hunter. The crash was caused by empathic vampires, who wanted him dead. Empyre leader Sterling Richards meant to kill Adam and take Leiko as his bride. But the plan went horribly wrong.

Yve, beside Adam in the Corvette, is also an Empyre. She's pregnant with Adam's child. And Patrick, an ex-con and serial killer, has sworn to obey him only until they reach Philadelphia. Will Patrick kill him then?

Not likely, because Adam's already been dead for a week.

Now, pursued both by police and Richards’s murderous Empyres, the three of them race toward Philadelphia, where a hidden cure might restore Yve's life and his own. Amrita, an Empyre elixir, promises Adam, Yve and their baby a normal future. It makes the living immortal, and even brings the dead back to life. The key to finding it lies in Adam's painfully fragmented recollections of the accident that blinded him and killed Leiko. Reliving those memories might be worse than dying.

But the real struggle isn't to save Adam, or even Yve: it's really a fight to save their unborn child . . . the already-conscious, half-human fetus, gifted with unimaginable power, that they’ve begun to know as 'Shassa.

Beautifully crafted, unfailingly imaginative, and spellbindingly tense from beginning to end, EMPYRES: Bloodblind marks the debut of a stunning new talent in fantastic horror.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That was quite a story on the blog! And the description of the book looks great! Can't wait..