Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Digging Up Haunted History...

It was late August of 1895. Author Mark Twain was bankrupt and ill. In an effort to raise money to repay his creditors he began an adventure 'Following the Equator' starting off his trip in Sydney, Australia. It's just a little over four weeks until my own adventure begins to some of the same places. Of course, I'm not leaving from British Colombia nor am I being paid for writing a travel log. But I can certainly understand Twain's financial troubles.

There could be some writing about my trip in the future, though, and I'm already discussing plans for a lecture upon my return. It might provide some new locations for my next book as well. Some people have been asking lately about any work on a sequel. I assure you that it's in the works as we speak. The last book proved to be a challenge to research and discovering relevant places wasn't easy. This time it's even harder.

At this very moment I have 39 haunted locations that I'm researching and digging into for Queer Hauntings II. This is, however, only a theoretical list. Some businesses no longer exist. Many still need a lot more research. And at tis moment, the number of gay-owned businesses with heterosexual hauntings outweighs LGBT ghost stories; something which needs to be remedied before I can proceed in earnest. Then there's another difficulty: stories without names and exact locations. The latter proves most challenging since I want this to be more than just retelling ghost stories. How can someone dig for the true story if they can't even pinpoint an address or last name?

Whenever you look into the past and try to piece together people and places it's not an easy task. But I love mystery, the unknown, adventure, and everything in between. History, especially when it's outside the mainstream, fascinates me. There is so much we've forgotten (or want to forget). Even what we find in textbooks has a certain bias or perspective. Learning the real story of celebrity lives and any country's history can be an eye-opening experience. Undoubtedly my last book raised more than a few eyebrows. The sequel will do the same. And, of course, my trip abroad will certainly shed some interesting light on a variety of topics.

But right now Halloween is fast approaching. After a cemetery stroll this afternoon I'm even more in the mood for it to arrive. That night will mark the official 15-year point since the first time I set off alone at night to look for paranormal activity in a legendary haunted Ohio ghost town. For even longer I've dreamed of seeing Terra Australis Incognita. In just one more month I'll be achieving that dream and exploring the local ghost stories, including (hopefully) what is said to be the most haunted cemetery worldwide. 

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