by Elsie Walker
Halloween. When people think of Halloween, one of the images that comes to mind is ghosts. Ghost stories are part of the Halloween tradition. No one knows that better than horror writer, Carlotta Holton, author of “Salem Pact, Grave Matters” and other psychological horror books.
An avid traveler, the Chester resident has put gathered ghost stories that she’d heard on her visits to other states and countries and will be presenting “Ghost around the World,” at the Warren Township Library in Warren on Oct. 20 at 7pm. Recently, Holton talked about her upcoming presentation, ghosts, and even shared some local ghost lore.
Given that she has written ghost stories and her presentation is on them, does this mean that Holton believes in ghosts?
“I will say that I believe that some spirits cannot rest and may be able to morph into orbs or energy of some kind,” says Holton. “While I have not witnessed this, I have been in the presence of invisible inexplicable negative energy which had a debilitating effect on me at the time.”
For the presentation, the author plans to be drawing on research she’s done here and abroad, her books and her own experience.
“Many people have shared stories and, of course, I continue to research and travel throughout the USA and abroad,” she says. “I have had some interesting conversations with locals and their ‘haunted’ encounters in Italy, Scotland and the Czech Republic.”
The author noted that it seems that Eastern Europe has the most tales, especially in the towns of Prague and Vienna. Even so, it was her own experience in England that has touched the author the most.
“England’s Stonehenge proved to be an unnerving experience for me,” she says. “Walking around the circle of obelisks I felt as though the Jolly Green Giant punched me in the solar plexus. I felt anxious, sickly, as though I were having a panic attack. I needed to leave the area and when I did, I recovered. There have always been legends about sacrifices on the site and the rumors of potential for spirits haunting the site are rampant.”
What about nearby ghost and their tales? Holton said that she knows of two. The first is of a woman in white who has been seen on deserted country roads throughout New Jersey and the U.S. Holton noted that a friend of hers had encountered such a ghostly figured on the road in front of the Union Cemetery in Hackettstown.
As for the other story, the author shared: “Also many people know of the haunting of the original Jimmy’s Restaurant, on South Street in Morristown (no longer there). Built as a private home in 1749 by John Sayre, when the next generation lived there in 1830’s they employed a servant girl named Phoebe and a West Indian immigrant named Antoine Le Blanc who was hired to help with the property. Unable to assimilate with the language, he stole money from Sayres and murdered both John and wife Elizabeth and later killed Phoebe with an ax. Fleeing as far as Newark, he was caught, brought to trial, and convicted and hung on the Morristown Green. Reportedly his skin was stripped and made into wallets and purses. Throughout the years,when it was a restaurant, waitresses reported seeing reflections of Phoebe in the mirrors and missing items. Psychics have allegedly cleansed the site haunted by Phoebe and Le Blanc.”
Sensing her joy in sharing ghost tales, It should be no surprise that when asked about Halloween, Holton shared that she has loved it ever since she donned her first costume in kindergarten: that of a witch. The joy was in taking on another persona for a while. Now as an adult, and horror author, she loves the holiday for its cultural and psychological aspects that provide story ideas.
When asked why she thinks so many people seem to like the “fright” part of Halloween, Holton explained: “Many people enjoy the thrill of being scared. Technically speaking, sociologists and psychologists claim that some like the natural high from the flight or fright response. Also, it’s been attributed to individual brain chemistry. When one is scared, the hormone dopamine is released which some, more than others, enjoy. Secondly, when reading a story or watching a scary movie, the participant feels safe in his environment from the comfort of his chair knowing there is no real threat.”
Currently, the author is working on some new short stories with superstitious, historical, supernatural themes, and, in a change of pace, she’s working on a book titled, “What Women Really Think About Practically Everything.”