Oddly, this story was never envisioned, but rather came to me in my sleep. What kept me awake was the paradox of how people accept drunken behavior, but shun the notion that the same mental state exists when you have been denied rest. Exploring this notion gave birth to a down-and-out Vietnam Vet whose haunted past keeps him from sleeping, and has no credibility because of his drunk-like state. His inability to persuade a friend that the actor who died in 1970 in the basement of Fort Worth’s Scott Theater was hanged, rather than the suicide the police claimed it to be, infuriates him to no end.
Enter Homicide Detective Maxx Watts and partner Blain Spartan where they are instantly drawn in as the two men argue over murder. Further eavesdropping compels them to visit the Scott Theater where an unexplained voice whispers murder. Other oddities convince them they must look into this case and resolve the question of murder once and for all.
Not being a paranormal or Quantum Theory expert, I solicited help from real ones. Their expertise ensured my story was accurate while playing believers and non-believers against each other. And rather than give the story away, I’ll leave you with some spectral thoughts. Although I have never experienced anything paranormal, my wife has. And by coincidence, I received the following from a dear friend who is also one of the most credible people I know. Read his words carefully, and then try to sleep without thinking about who might be watching.
“When the grandkids come over, I get turfed into the guest bedroom. There, I have witnessed three magnificent apparitions walking through the walls, completely benign and, in fact, kindly. They are of Civil War times. I think they had a house on this spot where our subdivision house is. They wander around looking puzzled. A housemaid with ironed folded linens across her arms (you can smell the warmth), she wears what I'd call a little Dutch linen headcap, kind of like the Amish. She has a spotless apron and red dress. She goes into the closet and disappears.... There is a boy about 16 years old, wearing a long leather apron that makes me think of a butcher's apprentice. The apron is workmanlike, with half inch stitching along its edges, I think its cat gut. Then there's the guy I want to tell you about.
I was again banished to the guest room when I awoke suddenly, sensing someone was there. It did not bother me, for it had already happened a few times since we moved in. I opened my eyes and looked where "something" had made a depression in the bed. And then there he was, this bald man with a rim of spotless white hair, the loveliest blue eyes one could see anywhere, wearing a three piece suit with a watch fob on his waistcoat, a couple of buttons loose for comfort over his paunch. He was looking at me, puzzled, like, ‘What are you doing here?’ No malice, just bewilderment.
This time I was prepared. I closed my eyes, slowly counted to ten, and then opened them again. This time I was spooked as the old chap was still sitting there looking at me! After that, he literally dissolved, vanishing from sight. Neither my wife nor I have seen any of them since.”
The above implies that my wife and friend are better spirit mediums than I, but since I cannot explain how Spectral Gallows came to me, wouldn’t it be ironic if the Scott Theater’s spirit subliminally planted it? After all, the Scott Theater is only an hour away . . .
Mark W. Danielson is an international airline pilot and novelist. Spectral Gallows is his fifth published novel, and second in the Maxx Watts detective series. I encourage you to visit his web site at MarkWDanielson.com for information on his writings and worldly travels.
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