Monday, October 28, 2013


On top of a hill in North London sits one of the most famous —and haunted—of all the world’s cemeteries. Highgate was dedicated in 1839 and soon became the most fashionable place for High Society to be interred. The Victorians had quite a fascination with death, and it shows in this Gothic graveyard. There are numerous elaborate tombs and monuments, including the well-known Circle of Lebanon and the Egyptian Avenue. These exclusive sections are accessible and very popular with tourists. But large parts of the 37 acres are practically a wilderness, where the paths and markers are slowly being swallowed by Mother Nature. It’s a sanctuary for the living as well as the dead, with animals, birds, insects and wildflowers thriving. But what else thrives in Highgate?

There are many reports of ghosts being seen there and the cemetery has been the focal point of countless paranormal investigations. Ley lines are said to run through the grounds, intensifying psychic activity. The most notorious phantom is the Highgate Vampire, a tall, dark figure who appears and then vanishes, sometimes right through a gate or a wall. Animal carcasses drained of blood and even headless bodies were once found. No wonder the place has been referenced so much in literature, and used as a backdrop for British horror films, such as Tales from the Crypt. I can’t tell you if the rumors and legends surrounding Highgate are all true. But I can tell you what happened to my sister there.

Karen has lived in London for over twenty-five years. In the early 1990’s she was a resident of nearby Hampstead and led tours through the cemetery. She often went walking in there to learn all that she could. One day she and her friend Tina were on the Egyptian Avenue. This has two obelisks, one on each side, and then an imposing archway flanked by lotus blossom columns. You pass beneath it into a row of family vaults.

The two women had always felt comfortable here before, but that morning something oppressive was in the air. Karen had the odd sensation of someone following right behind them. She kept glancing over her shoulder, but the path was empty. Suddenly she heard the sound of a marching band. They were playing a funeral dirge. Startled, she opened her mouth to speak, and at the exact same time the words came out of her friend’s mouth: “What is that?”

They stared at each other nervously. The music was too loud to be coming from anywhere but within the cemetery itself. There were no burials scheduled and besides, marching bands weren’t in style anymore.

As quickly as it had started, the song stopped. But it didn’t leave silence. It was followed by a heartbroken sobbing. Karen and Tina turned slowly around, and froze.

A woman was standing not six feet behind them. She was dressed head to toe in black, with a wide hooped skirt and a heavy veil covering her face. Her head was bent, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness came over my sister and her friend. Before they could even think what to do, the woman vanished. She didn’t walk awayshe just disappeared.

To this very day, both Karen and Tina remain convinced that what they saw was a picture from the pasta slice of time from a Victorian funeral. Theyve never had another paranormal experience in the cemetery, and no one else has reported seeing this apparition. So I suppose they could have imagined it. Who can say what really happens in Highgate?


Susan J McLeod was born in Rochester, New York, on October 22, 1957. She began writing at a very early age, when she discovered that she could invent worlds that were much more fun than the one she lived in. Worlds where candy grew on trees and rivers of chocolate milk flowed. Where adventures were always waiting to happen and no one had to go to school.

Over the years, Susan visited ancient Rome, medieval England, and resided for a long spell on a starship orbiting Orion. A recent stay in Pharaonic Egypt resulted in her romantic suspense novel Soul and Shadow, which won a silver medal in the 2011 Reader's Favorites contest. It has been published by Imajin Books. Fire and Shadow, the second story in the Lily Evans series, was released in October 2012.
Susan also writes short stories and poetry, and has won awards in both mediums.
She works for a non-profit family foundation that supports Zara's Center, a haven for AIDS impacted orphans.

U2 sums up her philosophy in life when Bono sings "We're one, but we're not the same/we get to carry each other, carry each other."



Today's giveaway is THREE PRINT COPIES of the talented Susan J. McLeod's FIRE AND SHADOW! It's the second in her Lily Evans Mystery Series and is a perfect read for this time of year -- or any other time! It's part mystery, part suspense and all good! All I can say is that you're in for a real treat!

To win a copy, all you have go to HALLOWEENPALOOZA'S OFFICIAL FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE and find today's post that announces the October 28th post and giveaway! Comment in that post "I WANT TO WIN"! If you're one of the first three to do that, you will win a copy of this awesome thriller! 

Good luck and may Michael Myers never cross your path!!! 


When the dead need to speak, she must listen…

Artist and Egyptologist Lily Evans struggles with her newly discovered psychic talents, while trying to get her life back to normal now that her mother is in a mental institution and the man Lily loves is far away in England. But "normal" is the last thing she finds.

When her best friend Katy takes her to a Celtic Faire, Lily meets a druid fortune-teller, who warns her that she can “never escape the Other.” Frightened and angry, Lily ignores his dire warning and stumbles across an eerie old portrait of a beautiful woman, who has something to tell her.

With the help of the enigmatic druid and his gifted friends, Lily embarks on a dangerous journey to unravel the mysteries of the portrait, the tarot card reader, an ancient book and whispers of witchcraft. She must discover the truth behind them all…or risk losing her very soul.

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