In September 2010 and in September 2012, a group of horror authors, artists, and poets descending upon a retreat nestled into the mountains of Southern California.
The mansion has been used as a retreat for decades but its history, as is the case with all old buildings, spawns back a century through interesting times. The house was originally built by husband as a love letter to his wife. The heart-shaped lawn was proof of his devotion to her.
There were many deaths associated with the house, old age, illness and that sort of thing. Of course, there are rumours including drowning in the pool or a shooting in a stairwell. But the rumours have nothing to substantiate them in my own understanding.
The home was and still is used as a religious retreat. There are satchels hanging from trees, medicine bags strung by hopeful new Agers and first nations. There is a calm vibration most of the time that lends itself creative flow. An easy give and take among the retreaters made for a tightly knit and magnetic group.
The home is also used, of course, as a writers retreat and other artists as well. The attic with its glorious sunroof is already set up as an artists studio and Yvonne Navarro spent the second retreat painting a magnificent work.
There are now two Haunted Mansion books out from Damnation Books. Each book covers the events and inspirations from the specific years.
Many of us experienced unexplained events while others didn't experience anything. Rain Graves and I were roommates both times. The first year, we stayed in a little room, thinking that a tiny room would be "safe." Boy were we wrong.
The second year we were ready to stay in the same room. We even started to unpack but as the creepiness of the room began to settle into our bones, we had second thoughts. Since there were more people attending the retreat that year than the previous year, there were more floors and rooms available. We both decided that we would definitely NOT be staying on the third floor. No way. So we chose a room on the first floor, just off the safe room. We liked our spacious room although there was a whole suite attached to it that was very scary. There was a kitchen and another bedroom. The vibes in those room were not as welcoming and during the weekend, I had successful luck with the Ghost Girls in experiencing unusual activity.
The books tell our stories and both books are laid out in a similar manner. There is fiction, non-fiction, and photography.
These stories, poems, and art were inspired by the creative vibe and the talkative ghosts at the Haunted Mansion Retreat.
Editor Loren Rhoads, who attended the Haunted Mansion Retreat both times, is conducting a series of interviews with authors who contributed to the book.
Keep checking Loren's blog as she adds more people.
Haunted Mansion Interviews Sephera Giron
Haunted Mansion Interviews Rain Graves
Haunted Mansion Interviews S. G. Browne
Haunted Mansion Interviews Nichole Boscia of Ghost Girls
Haunted Mansion Interviews Lisa Morton
Haunted Mansion Interviews Rena Mason
Please let me know what you think about the books in the comments section below!