Tuesday, October 6, 2015

M.J. PETER: A Life Chasing Monsters


MJ Peter, Author of GhostiLeaks © 2015
Sometimes you can’t see the cursed wood for the ominous, decaying, precariously leaning trees.
On the 19th September I got a Twitter message about something called Halloween-Palooza. The moment I read that hybrid word, Halloween-Palooza, I was interested. To be honest I wasn’t really sure what a 'Palooza' was though. It’s one of those words I’d read many times but never thought about what it actually meant. I quickly checked. Apparently it's a 'Wild, Crazy and Extravagant Party'. Now I’m not big on parties but then I've never been to a wild, crazy or extravagant one. Normally they’re just overly loud ones that result in someone shouting drunken conversation into my ear. This ‘Palooza’ was much more appealing than the sort of Drunken-Paloozas I'd experienced. Halloween-Palooza reminded me of a time when horror geeks like us had to rely on magazines and newspaper ads to find out where our brethren met and exchanged thoughts on ghosts and monsters. I imagined if this Palooza were a physical one, it would be a party with awesome homemade costumes of Rod Serling and Stephen King characters.
It also reminded me of the power of social media, one of 31 horror writers being called to fight on the Halloween front, through high speed broadband. At that very moment, I was looking at a tweet I’d received a while back, from The Comedy Store in LA. That had all started when I asked the comedian Ralphie May if he believed in ghosts. I ask people that question a lot. In fact I’m more likely to ask your feelings on the occult than your vacation destination. I wouldn’t care where you holidayed if I’m honest. Ralphie hinted that he'd been in some strange places and that I should contact the Comedy Store to find out more. Intriguing. At this point the Comedy Store tweeted me their contact details. God bless the technological world, and Twitter.
This lucky lead from my favourite funny man caused a flashback to an episode of Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack. It covered a story on the ghosts of the Comedy Store. I've watched the segment again recently and it's as terrifying now as it was back in the 1990's.  I was just about to send that email off to the Comedy Store, asking about those ghosts Bob Stack and Ralphie May were talking about, when I stopped to write this piece for Halloween-Palooza 3. I'll have to let you know how that goes another time.
For me, monsters and ghosts are the terrifying nightmares I've been searching for ever since I started reading and watching movies about them. I was an unhappy kid for some of my childhood and spent hours thinking about the paranormal and endless mysteries of the world. I wasn't sure I believed in haunting or any real monsters but knew the thought of them put fire in my belly, and little else did. I wanted there to be truth to it because it helped give meaning to the very odd and sometimes sad world I lived in. In a funny way, monsters gave me hope. The Lochness Monster, Bigfoot, ghosts and of course horror movies distracted me from the routine of school, dinner and bed for as long as I can remember. I particularly liked ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ and even asked my parents to rent it for me after I cut my foot open on a smashed milk bottle whilst messing around at a building site. Yes, that was the make it better gift a 10 year old boy asked for, and yes I shouldn’t have been watching it at that age, but I did anyway. I shouldn’t have been on that building site either.
What is it that keeps me and all of us coming back to horror and mystery? Why do we love it so much? For me, part of it is that rush of adrenaline when I walk through a supposedly haunted house or watching the latest scary movie, the one everybody’s talking about and hyping how scary it is. It hardly ever is really that scary though is it? Still great fun though.
When they do get a scary movie, show or book right, the goosebumps are the confirmation it’s worked. That’s an amazing feeling, a buzz like no other. The last time a scary idea really got me and sent those prickles all up the arms and a chill down the back, was a stage show called Ghost Stories. This ingenious theatre performance had horror tread the boards in a way I’d not seen before. Such was its brilliance that I kept thinking about it long after I’d left the theatre. It seems to be catching on now, growing like a Yew tree in a graveyard. Do they really grow in graveyards or is that a myth? It was testament to the incredible leaps our favourite genre is making in all areas of entertainment. This was horror on stage, with a twist. I saw it twice and loved it. I won’t ruin it for you but it contains both ghosts and monsters, much like my brain.
This brings me back to probably the most important element to my love of horror and the supernatural. It has to be fear, I love to be scared. Indeed, I'm a scare-junkie. I need a regular fix to keep me from becoming a normal person. Like all junkies, because I devour so much of my vice, I require stronger jolts each time to achieve the same high. As a result, it now takes a lot to spook me. I've a tolerance to creepy places, scary movies and ghost stories but continue to push my limits, occasionally finding a gem like Ghost Stories. You might say I'm leading my own perpetual, supernatural, search party.
To explain to you just how passionate I am about all this you need to understand the kind of things I've done in the name of paranormal exploration. Would you believe me if I said I'd hunted a demon judge? How about a haunted car or even a Nazi poltergeist? You might get the impression that with interests like these I'm one of those people who will believe anything. Far from it. Yes I love horror and the unexplained but I'm a rational person who takes a lot of convincing. The search for spirits and monsters fascinates me, inspires my writing, fills conversation and keeps the left foot moving in front of the right. I can’t imagine a world without them. Or, am I simply imagining a world with them. Is this all in my mind, do these shadowy beings exist only in our heads?
Years of searching and thinking about the misty world of the paranormal have seen me produce a TV show, write a few books, investigate ghosts, legends and creatures and talk to my idols about this most addictive of interests.
GhostiLeaks, my book, was inspired by everything I've talked about. Like Halloween-Palooza, it too is a hybrid. It's an account of some of my real life paranormal experiences and a collection of short stories I've written about the vampires and spectres that live inside my skull. The concept was based on my own compulsion to write about the horrors and hauntings of the world around me. It felt as if something from that dark place was guiding my pen, pushing me forwards. Perhaps it was all in my imagination, but who really knows.
Not long after the book was released I went on the radio show 'Real Ghost Stories' to talk about some of the ghostly encounters I'd covered in the book. They'd previously featured a paranormal experience I had one misty night many years ago and concluded the experience was as close to ‘proof’ of the afterlife as one could hope to get. GhostiLeaks had for the first time given me an outside perspective on my supernatural adventures, an opinion different to my own skeptical one. Had I really experienced the paranormal? Was I looking for something so intently that I'd actually missed it when it happened? These were questions I started to ask myself. That saying 'not being able to see the wood for the trees' took on personal meaning. I was someone who found the topic entertaining, so entertaining that I might just have forgotten my objective, is the paranormal real and do ghosts and monsters really exist?
I'd always said ‘I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm frightened of them'. This had been true for years, but I no longer felt certain I was entitled to say I didn't believe. This was because during the course of investigating stories of haunting, curses, vampires and yetis, I'd had several extremely bizarre experiences. Somehow I'd managed to rationalise them all away, relegating them to a category of 'spooky, but not proof'. Getting an outside opinion revealed that many people thought I already had a compelling case for a supernatural world co-existing with our own. If I were to accept this, it meant that all this time I’d been living side by side with ghosts, ghouls and monsters… with my eyes closed.
Halloween-Palooza brings me full circle. This is because my own discovery, that I may be missing something supernatural, echoes the modern tradition of Halloween itself. This is supposed to be a time when we honour the dead but it’s become a light hearted way to dress as witches and skeletons. I suppose what I’m trying to say is enjoy Halloween, dress up and carve pumpkins, but remember one thing. If there really are ghosts and monsters out there, wouldn’t this be an irresistible portal for them to emerge from…
Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees, or the real monsters for the fancy dress ones.
Have a happy Halloween
MJ Peter
Kent, England
September 2015

THREE ecopies of M.J. Peter’s GHOSTILEAKS!!! 
To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing  today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!!

M.J. Peter has spent a lifetime searching for the truth behind the paranormal. His writing reflects a passion for the unexplained and his real life search for supernatural enlightenment. His writing is dark and suspenseful, often with masterful twists. His work includes a combination of his incredible short stories as well as his personal experiences with haunting.
Horror lovers meet M.J. Peter & ‘Ghostileaks – a collection of terrifying short stories with twists, inspired by the author’s love of the paranormal, horror and his own weird real-life experiences.
Each tale is intended to give the reader that wonderful short story ride as well as beloved twists and unexpected turns. A hauntingly popular new world of horror.
With creepy facts along the way, detailing the chilling real-life inspiration behind these disturbing tales, we spiral into a dark world. The author uses blood-curdling experiences to write about the darker side of our existence and the things of nightmare.
If H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King spawned a demon child, it might write books like this. The author says ‘Sometimes I tried to imagine the pen was moving automatically, as if some shadowy source from the other side was leaking insider information, tales that should never be heard on Earth – hence the title, GhostiLeaks’.
These 13 gems really are from the other side and will have you hungry for more from M.J. Peter. The book contains 11 original stories, many with a ‘Creepy Fact’ about its nature as well as 2 terrifying personal encounters, witnessed by the author himself. As you read each tale, the rich descriptive text leaves you thinking they would make incredible films or TV series. An episode of the radio show ‘Real Ghost Stories’ recently featured the book’s final tale ‘My Ghost Story’, an experience which made M.J. Peter question his own beliefs. The book has something for everyone, ghosts, vampires, zombies and some truly bizarre stories that’ll have you wondering how on earth you missed the twist.

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