Being Haunted… A True Story in Time for Halloween

Being Haunted

Most think being haunted requires a creaky old house where a person died unexpectedly. The shock of a fall, suicide, or murder traps them between our world and the next. They believe these lost souls spend their days shackled to a place and a moment in time.

That’s not always how it happens.

My house wasn’t haunted. I was.

A while ago, a high school friend recounted her experience with shadowy ghosts in their turn-of-the-century home. I envied her. I thought it would be cool to see something so extraordinary. I wondered if I would scream and lay awake night after night knowing I was watched by sleepless souls.

Be careful what you wish for.

My own experiences started with a trip to Wisconsin around 2002. Since the drive back to Colorado would take eighteen hours or more, we planned to get an early start. My husband, Danny, set the alarm for 4:30 AM and we went to sleep in the twin beds in my parents’ Victorian home built in 1901. I woke up around 4:10. Since I had to get up in twenty minutes, I decided to stay awake. A thunderstorm brewed outside and lightning flickered. Then one of our kids opened the door to the bedroom. A dark silhouette of a child could clearly be seen against the hall light. Whoever it was walked into the room and between the beds. Something was very peculiar about this shadow. I tried to focus on a face, but couldn’t see one.

I sat up. “Who’s there?” I asked, “Kelly or Courtney?” As I reached out, the shadow disappeared. I looked at the space between the bed. Not even a child could fit between. I lay back down. My heart remained steady as I recounted what had happened. It didn’t make any sense. Someone was there and then disappeared. I hadn’t imagined it. I was wide awake when I sat up. I looked at the clock again. 4:20.

“Danny. Are you awake?”


“I think I just saw a ghost.”

“I think you did too,” he said.

“Why? What did you see?” I turned toward him, fully awake now.

“When you asked if it was Kelly or Courtney, I saw light fly toward the window.”

Excited, my heart really pounded. Was it a ghost? What else could it be? I dressed and walked across the hall.

“I saw the door to your bedroom open and thought you were getting up,” said Courtney.

Crazy or what?

The other bed was empty. “Where’s Kelly?” My heart skipped a beat. I had seen enough horror movies to know what happens next.

Steps fell on the stairs behind me. My shoulders relaxed as Kelly joined us in the hallway.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I went downstairs,” he said. “I saw a light streak up the steps.”

We all experienced something strange that night. My brain couldn’t comprehend what I saw, so I wasn’t frightened. That would come later.

I assumed that would be the end of it until the next time we visited Wisconsin. My parents’ house had to be haunted. Not so.

Months later back in Boulder, I heard a shuffling in my bedroom and woke up. A woman dressed in black lace with a veil on her head stood on the other side of the bed and locked eyes with me. Her pale face wore a severe and angry expression. I sat up and yelled, “Danny! Look!” but she faded away.

A few nights later the same sound woke me up. I opened my eyes and gazed up at that woman’s scowling face looming above me. She stood right next to my bed. I could hear the crinoline shift underneath her skirt as she bent down toward me. I gasped and covered my head with the blanket.

These unexplainable occurrences always happened upon waking in the night because of a noise they made. Afterward, I would stare at the ceiling and wonder why me? My house couldn’t be haunted. We built it in 2000. We didn’t excavate an ancient Native American burial ground nor was a graveyard nearby.

Sightings would come in waves of three or four then there would be no activity for months up to a year. Then it would start up again. Doors would bang. Twice I saw bright orbs of light on the wall where none could reflect. A plant hanging from a hook would swing.

I continued to question what I was seeing until my night at The Stanley Hotel.

When my sister, Patty, her friends from Wisconsin, and I spent a night there on Friday the 13th, I told them nothing would happen. For one thing the date was so cliché. Come on. Friday the 13th! In the years I’d experienced ghosts, I could never summon them like they do on TV. When they wanted to be seen, they would wake me up. There was no way they would appear. Ironically, I was the only one who had seen them and the skeptic of the bunch.

There was a group from a ghost-busting TV show who also stayed at The Stanley that night. When I asked them what I was seeing if they weren’t ghosts, one of the hosts told me I was experiencing sleep paralysis. But I was neither asleep, nor paralyzed. A woman overheard us talking. After they left, she told me I was seeing ghosts and explained they are most often seen right after waking before we are fully conscious. I wasn’t sure what to think.

Everything that could happen in that haunted hotel did happen. Looking back, people probably held séances to summon the dead. It wasn’t sleep paralysis that pulled my coat down to the end of the closet or that banged overhead all night. It was unexplainable. Paranormal. Ghosts.

Days after my Stanley experience, someone pinched me when I lay down to go to sleep. It happened for the next three nights. I figured it was one of the ghostly children who ran the halls that night. In a photograph taken at the time, a huge orb appeared next to me. I’m still not sure how I feel about orbs in photos, but it’s there nonetheless.

At one point someone told me I should take classes to amp up my ability. What??? I was intrigued, but didn’t want to become obsessed. Nor did I want the responsibility of a medium. That was a life for someone else.

It was the banger who finally ended my interest in ghosts.

It, (I sensed it was a man) would bang on the dresser, the TV, then the ceiling. It had a peculiar sound to it. More like a snap than a tap. Danny said if he went to bed first it wouldn’t start until I came into the room. Yes. He heard it too. It would end after 11:00 then start up around 4:00 AM. I tried talking and then shouted at it to leave us alone and then gave up. This went on for almost three years. I even have a recording of the taps and knocks.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I really needed my sleep. I remembered something about salt. Armed with crystal bowls and a container of Morton’s, I placed several filled dishes around the bedroom. In two weeks the banger stopped. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?

At the Colorado Gold Writers Conference, I met someone who worked at a psychic center. I told him my book, The Foreboding, was based on some of my own paranormal experiences. He said I was in a minority of people sensitive to ghosts. Once I signaled my fascination and started to see them, I became a beacon to other entities. That explained why I’d several different ghosts over the years. Once I shut the door with the last ghost, they left me alone.

It has been almost three years since I’ve witnessed any paranormal activity. It occurred to me it should be considered normal. I didn’t hallucinate them, nor do I have sleep paralysis. Energy can’t be destroyed so where does it go when we die? I would say with some conviction sometimes it sticks around. We call them ghosts.

But remember what I learned. Trapped souls hunt those who can see them in the middle of the night.

Would you like to have a paranormal experience someday?

Be careful what you wish.

Have you ever seen or sensed a ghost?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!

31 Days…

31 days...

31 days. Slanted October light slices through the trees, casting shadows that creep across the withered landscape. Trees groan when wind claws brittle leaves from their branches. In shades of gold and blood-red scarlet to tawny brown they pirouette and spiral high in the sky, then sigh in resignation and finally rest upon the ground to rot. The same cool breeze touches my skin with icy fingertips sending ripples of shivers along my backbone. I wrap my arms around myself for warmth.

31 days. Each one of them a transition. Summer’s finale explodes in a burst of color. It’s the landscape’s last farewell to a fallow season of frenzied production. While plants prepare for months of rest, winter gathers its strength. It flexes with every stolen minute of daylight. You can feel its looming presence in the gloam of night while it waits, its cold breath on your neck.

31 days. The lengthening darkness brings back memories of spooky tales and giggles shared in youth. Corn mazes open along the highway. Crowds gather for haunted historic tours in cities and towns alike. Haunted houses advertise creepy adventures created to thrill and incite shrieks. Many long to recapture the feeling of fright night. We may buy a pumpkin to carve on Halloween night.

31 days. October 1st is the beginning of the end of the year. Only three months remain. Then the holidays will arrive with high expectations. They require planning and preparation, inducing stress. But October’s expectations are low. It’s a simple month. A month of enjoying walks while leaves crunch underneath our shoes with the acrid smell decomposition in the air. A month of enjoying the harvest, apple cider and pumpkin-spiced everything. A month of watching birds flock up and take flight in undulating shapes while geese fly in arrows pointing south. It’s a month of golden lighting and brilliant sunsets. Sometimes snow flies in an early winter surprise.

31 days. It’s time for scary movies, psychological thrillers, Hitchcock, Poe and King. The tingles race across our arms as our heart’s rapid pace quickens. We may have seen these films many times, but the best diabolical villains will still steal our breath once more. We may watch in terror or for amusement, but most of us will watch at least one of them. As All Hallow’s Eve approaches, we get into the haunting mood.

31 days. I’ll prepare for Halloween night by decorating. I’ll pull out my dead guys to freak out the mailman and hang spider webs in the hall. Lights will be hung in haphazard lines outside the house and pumpkins will sit on the doorstep. Once again my kitchen will be transformed. The strobe light and fog machine will be at the ready. It won’t be long until little goblins come to call.

31 days. On the 31st, I’ll don my Morticia Addams outfit, paint my lips and eyes. I’ll tee up scary music and turn up the speakers. Bags of candy will sit in the three-legged kettle near the door. I’ll peek out the window and wait for the doorbell to ring.

31 days. The month will end. We’ll lose an hour and our days will plunge into darkness. Winter will come. From a blaze of color to dazzling white, we’ll all adjust to another season as the year comes to a close.

But for now, I’ll enjoy October’s 31 days. I hope you will too.

What do you enjoy about October?


The Ultimate Link Up Party – Drop and Hop at the Wild Ride!

The Ultimate Link Up Party! Drop and Hop on the Wild Ride!It’s time for another drop and hop, link up party here at the Wild Ride! My parties always turn into ragers and last the whole weekend. The bar is open, the barista is making cappuccinos and the buffet has every delectable treat you can imagine. Really! DJ KSmash is already spinning.

So leave a link to your blog in the comments and party down with my friends. Mingle with other wild riders and click to their blogs. Tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they might click to yours.

But what’s the best way to entice others to check out your blog? Good question.

Leave a short hook to tell us what your blog is about. You’re a space cowboy? Then how about this:

Cowboy In Space chronicles my journey from the Milky Way to the Outer Limits with my sidekick robot, Leon.  http//

I would love to read that blog. That’s what I call an adventure.

Or in my case:

Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride – I’m a wild rider who likes to overshare her Colorado adventures no matter how wild life gets. Come for the ride. Stay for adventure. Yeehaaaa!

So come on in, kick back and meet my friends. Leave a link and click on a few. Have fun and don’t forget to DANCE! I hope you’ll consider following my blog. It’s always a Wild Ride!

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Click for more or my wild adventures.

Share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. The more the merrier!

Click here to Dance to DJ KSMASH! 

Demystifying Contests, Winning, and My Results

When I discovered I was a contest finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Contest (that’s a mouthful), I felt like I already won. I knew many had participated, so I was grateful to be selected. I had noticed the finalist distinction on book covers and in descriptions. Whoa!

I didn’t understand how the prizes would be distributed.

There were six in my category since there was a tie, so would they start with 6th place? I checked out past winners. RMFW listed the first place winner and the rest in alphabetical order underneath. I was mystified, baffled. I held a blank, open-mouthed, “What?” kind of stare while trying to make sense of it. I’ll admit, I’m easily confused. I would find out Saturday night.

Some of the past winners had entered from as far away as Australia, Japan, and United Arab Emirates.

Wow. All they needed to do was join RMFW. I figured they had won a contest and then continued entering others with the same manuscript.

When I checked into the conference, I received my name tag and a finalist ribbon. It was an honor to wear it and a great icebreaker. Many others wore lots of ribbons – volunteers, authors, presenters, agents, editors…

The conference was amazing. My head is still spinning from all the information and sensory overload. The night of the award ceremony, I sat with a great group of new and old friends: super sweet agent, Rachelle Gardner, me, and old hands at winning, Kim Lajevardi and Judy Rose.


I met another contestant from my category, Craig Holt, from Washington and wondered if any others were in attendance. He had already finaled in the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference and one other contest. Since his manuscript was on a roll, he planned to enter in several more. Just like I thought.

The emcee started with action/thriller finalists, so I had to wing it. *gulp*

I walked onstage and waited for the rest of the contestants to join me. After a minute of standing alone, Craig and Val Moses joined me on stage. When they announced Val’s name as “the first finalist,” she didn’t understand what they said. Neither did I. She walked past me to receive her certificate. I was announced as second finalist and for a moment thought that meant 2nd place. I was thrilled until she announced 3rd place, who wasn’t there to receive the award. Oh! That’s when I understood what was going on. Craig took 2nd, then Charles Kowalski, who lives in Japan (the same guy who won in 2013!), took 1st. I figured I took fifth place by the order of announcement.

I talked to my friends who explained there were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places and the rest remained finalists. Ohhhhhhh! I was glad of that. I’m not 4th, 5th, or 6th. THE FOREBODING is listed in alphabetical order on the list of finalists. If I had called my book FOREBODING, I would have jumped higher on the list. Ha!

One of the prizes in being a finalist was my first pick of an agent or editor to pitch, which can be a nerve-wracking experience.

I’ve had some nightmarish pitching sessions, so I always get a little nervous. Okay. I get reeeeeeally nervous. One time the agent stared at me without blinking and I thought my poor pitch had sent her into a catatonic state. She finally said she didn’t represent my genre. Then, there was the time when I couldn’t complete sentence without the agent interrupting me to tell me how I was pitching all wrong. That pitch became a lecture and our Skype interview ran overtime and cut her off mid-sentence.

This time, I sat down with a lovely editor from a publishing giant. Her interest and questions put me at ease. After requesting pages (YAY!), I told her my plan to have a second draft of another thriller done by the end of November. Then I launched into my Boob Reports and how I want nipple tattoos and plan to publish the book after I hit five years cancer-free . Talk about relaxed. She mentioned it was good to include future projects in a pitch to convey that I am a career writer. Good to know. I’ve got lots of projects lined up.

Another huge bonus of entering in the contest happened on Monday when I opened up the envelope with my certificate and read notes from the judges. They blew my mind and gave me the best advice EVER. I sat down to study the notes at 9:00 AM and tweaked my manuscript until 5:45 PM! Now it’s a cleaner, clearer story. Then I tackled their notes on my synopsis and answered their questions. Now its 925 words. Most agents want a 500-600 word summary. Oh, well. Simplifying it will be tomorrow’s project. Synopsis is the bane of my existence. 

Now that contests no longer mystify me, watch out Japan, Australia and United Arab Emirates. I may enter THE FOREBODING in your local Writer’s Conference.

Do you know anyone who can rewrite a manuscript in Japanese or Arabic?

So I came to the conference a winner and I left a winner.

Celebrating with my finalist certificate!

Do you enter contests? Do you plan to enter contests in the future?

Follow my Wild Ride on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Click here more Wild Adventures!

Friday is the next Drop and Hop blog party to meet bloggers and gain new subscribers. Be ready to drop a link and dance!

Exciting Book News and a Big Leap in the Right Direction

InExciting Book News and a Step in the Right Direction one of my first classes at Wanderlust Yoga Festival, the meditation instructor told us to ask the universe the ultimate question. “Who am I?”

I asked, “Should I be a writer?” I mean, I spend a majority of my time writing blog posts, screenplays and books. My first book took years. What if I’m supposed to be doing something else with my life? Kind of a frightening thought, right?

After our last class and an amazing experience over four days in Whistler, BC, I met my daughter, Courtney, at a restaurant. While we chatted over lunch, my phone buzzed. It was noisy and I couldn’t hear the caller. The number was similar to my oncologist’s and I thought someone was calling from the RMCC. Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. I’m three years out and had scheduled a six month checkup for a few days from then. Anything related to cancer makes my heart stop.

“This is Pamela Nowak from RMFW. Your manuscript, THE FOREBODING, has been selected as a finalist in the Colorado Gold Contest.

OH! Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers!!

“Wow. I can’t believe it! Thank you so much!” She gave me the details, we hung up, and I told Courtney.

Shocked and excited, I had to go outside to DANCE!

Exciting Book News and Big Leap in the Right Direction.

Courtney took this shot through the restaurant’s window.

The universe heard me loud and clear. I’m on the right track. This is my debut novel and the result of a huge learning curve. I think of it as my thesis from five years of intensive study through all kinds of classes, including the school of pervasive and incessant rapping on my pointed head.

This coming Saturday night, September 10th, six of us will stand up in the front of the room and the winners will be announced for best action/thriller. Sure I’m nervous, but honestly, I already feel like a winner. Haven’t you heard that overused line a million times on awards shows? It’s the truth. No matter what place it gets, I’ve already won.

THE FOREBODING is a finalist! How cool is that?

6th place or 1st, my husband, Danny, will be there to record another happy dance.

How do you react to good news? Do you think you’re on the right path?

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It’s always a Wild Ride!


Dodging Bullets and Creepy Crawlers

Roxy is a hunter. If you looked at her body, you’d say, “Nah, I don’t believe it.” She’s pretty puny with front legs about eight inches long.

Believe it.

Dodging bullets and creepy crawlers

She has been known to take down grasshoppers and the occasional mouse. In the beginning of the summer, she had been outside for quite a while. I became concerned. There were plenty of rabbits around, so I wasn’t too worried about a repeat performance with the Coywolf. In fact, I haven’t seen him or his kin around all summer. Instead, there’s been an owl, who (no pun intended) has hung out for months. Anyway, I worried Roxy’s radio collar’s battery had died and she was off gallivanting somewhere. It happened to be trash day.

I found her all right. She stood over something furry and freshly killed judging by the blood in the grass. A young rabbit. Euww! I ran inside for two grocery bags, picked it up and tossed it out. What could I say? Bichons are known for their mad hunting skills. I couldn’t punish her. I checked her coat, but she was as white as the pure driven snow. Hmmm. I wondered about the owls.

A few weeks ago, I found her in the very same place, right on the edge of her dogwatch system standing over her rabbit prey. The owl flew from the thick green canopy when I walked outside later that day. Aha! Roxy must have scared it off and stolen the owl’s dinner. Then I stole it from both of them and into the bin it went.

Dodging bullets and creepy crawlers

Flash forward two weeks. I returned from a quick trip to California and arrived at midnight on Monday. All I could manage the next day was a quart of black coffee and the newspaper.

There it was. An article about Tularemia. I had seen a sign posted at the trailhead last summer when I went on an epic waterlogged bike trip around the Boulder reservoir. It warned (and I paraphrase), “Contact with dead rabbits with the disease could cause high fever and swollen lymph nodes. It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.” The article suggested we call animal control for any dead animals in the yard. If we insisted on removing them ourselves, we should use a shovel and cover our bodies with long sleeves and pants.

What??? I’d been in a t-shirt and shorts every time. It had been two weeks since the “incident.” I looked at Roxy. Her eyes were clear and she seemed to be her old high-spirited self. The rabbits must not have been infected.

Bullet dodged.

I took a nap in the afternoon and Roxy cuddled with me. I scratched her fur and found a speck of dirt. She must have rolled around while playing at the kennel. She needed a bath and a haircut, so I made an appointment for 10:00 on Thursday.

When I dropped her off, the groomer said, “It’ll take about three or four hours.” I returned home and caught up with writing. I planned to get a lot done since it had been a short week.

At noon, the phone rang. “I have some bad news,” she said.

I thought about the tularemia symptoms and wondered if she detected the disease somehow.

“She has fleas.”

Her words struck me like shrapnel. “No!”

“We found a few eggs. They’re just like specks of dirt.”

I just about fell on the floor. I flicked the egg I found in her fur onto the bedspread!

She would give Roxy a flea bath and give her some kind of treatment. In hyperdrive, I asked about a zillion questions and she finally directed me to the Internet. Of course, that’s always a reliable source. Ahem.

The top search was a first hand story about a lady in England who had an infestation problem of monstrous proportions. According to her, I needed to vacuum everything that couldn’t be washed and then repeat it every day for two month. She used flea powder everywhere. I had cancer thee years ago. I don’t want to be anywhere near insecticide.

I imagined how many times Roxy had run through the house shaking flea eggs all over the place. It grossed me out.

It took seven hours to do all the work. Is this what my next month would look like? I’d have no time for anything else. I went to bed that night exhausted and depressed about all the cleaning ahead.

The next day, I caught up on writing and blogging, and planned on cleaning in the afternoon.

The phone rang. It was another groomer from the same place. “I see that Roxy is due for a visit. Would you like to book an appointment?”

I laughed and said she’d been in yesterday. “She has fleas.”

“Oh, no.”

Her reaction added to my already heavy heart. “So I guess I’ll be cleaning every day so I don’t get an infestation.”

She explained that soap and water kills them. “She got the Advantix treatment, right? You won’t have an infestation.” She explained that the eggs stick to their fur and she wouldn’t have shaken them everywhere. I was somewhat relieved since I washed all the bedding the day before. Hopefully that  tiny little sucker I found in her fur didn’t roll under the bed…

“So is Advantix a repellant or insecticide?”

“Insecticide. Don’t worry, she won’t get bites from fleas, ticks or mosquitos. August is the last month for treatments, so you won’t have to come back until she’s ready for another grooming.”

Oh, God. Apparently, I will have a freakin’ bug bomb running around the house on four paws for the next month. I hate insecticide. At least she can’t be infected by anything and I don’t have to spend seven hours a day cleaning.

Another bullet dodged, sort of.

In the meantime, I’m reducing the size of her yard. Her dogwatch radio fence can be changed by the twist of a button.

She’ll be only hunting for a warm spot to cuddle.

You’re welcome, owls.

Owl Thanks You

Have you ever dealt with fleas or other pesky pests? Have you ever seen an owl?