Today I have the wonderful opportunity to feature a guest post with the lovely and talented Shah Wharton in support of her debut book, Finding Esta. I have known Shah for a fairly long time and was lucky to be on the beta readers on her fantastic first novel. So without further ado I give you Shah…
Thanks for letting me on your blog Julianne. Great to be here!
Cornish Ghosts & The Supes Series
I love ghost stories; I’ve seen several ghosts during my life, and completely believe humans leave an energy force behind when they die.
Finding Esta is the first book of The Supes Series, and when Luna Dukes, our psychic heroine, sets out to find baby Esta, she travels to Esta’s former hometown of St Ives, Cornwall to begin her search.
I chose to set this part of the series in Cornwall because I spent a lot of time there as a child, and know it to be a beautiful, spirited, historic place. My Nan (on Mum’s side) was Cornish, which makes me proudly ¼ Cornish!
As children, my brother and I played crazy golf, went fishing in our Great Granddad’s boat, and scoffed afternoon teas (cream and jam on scones, with cups of strong tea) in local teashops. We eventually grew tired of this type of family holiday, as teenagers do, but I remember them with nothing but fondness when I look back.
Everyone English (or International if you surf) knows about Newquay in Cornwall, but I chose to feature St Ives instead. It is a magnet for bohemian types, allowing Luna to finally fit in, and I could escape the preconceived idea of Cornwall as, ‘All about the surf, Dude!’
Also, my Great Granddad had a lovely big house with a huge garden in St Ives, where he kept goats, grew strawberries, vegetables, had fruit trees. It led into a cove off the ocean, like a secret haven only we knew about. That’s where we played on the row-boat, and I made up stories up in my head. Special times. It’s great to go back there with my characters.
Luna’s only friends are ghosts (called Shadows in the book), and because I like to support the fantasy with a dash of reality, by using true legends or established ghost stories where possible, it’s fun to use a spooky town as one location.
Besides, who doesn’t love a ghost story?
One St Ives ghost story is The Ghost of the White Lady with the Lamp.
Many years ago, a young woman and her baby waited for rescue on a ship in St Ives Bay. The winds were high on this stormy evening, and as one of many others desperate for safe transport, she longed to make it home alive. No matter who tried to assist her, she stubbornly held onto her child during the rescue, and while crossing from the ship to the rescue boats, the baby fell from her arms into the raging sea, never to be seen again. The heartbroken mother died shortly after this nightmare, but spent everyday and night between her baby’s loss, and her own demise, searching the shoreline with a lamp, for her lost child.
Ever since her death, sightings of The White Lady, still searching the shoreline with a lamp, have spooked and entertained the citizens and tourists of St Ives ever since.
In fact, so often seen on stormy nights carrying her lamp, climbing over rocks, “Lamp Rock” takes its name from this poor ghost.
Introduction to A Creepy (funny) You Tube Video & the Spookilicious Bodmin Jail
The guys in the video take us on a tour of Bodmin Jail, supposedly super haunted, which isn’t surprising as it is the home of 55 executions by hanging, for crimes such as rape, murder and even the lowest levels of theft. Of these executions, 51 were open to an adoring public, thousands of whom travelled to witness these events. For example, a staggering twenty thousand people squeezed into Bodmin in 1844, just to watch Mathew Weeks plunge through the trap door to his death, for the murder of his girlfriends, Charlotte Dymond.
I love me some horror, but it sickens me to think I might have been one of those hungry spectators. Eek.
The last public hanging to take place at Bodmin Jail happened as recently as 1909!
It was also the first jail to feature separate “cells,” which included enforced isolation, and each small chamber no doubt has a macabre story to tell. With so many deaths, and a dire life in prison for those who escaped the noose (disease, starvation, segregation), it’s unsurprising that Bodmin Jail is now such a haunted hotspot.
Lot’s of peeved dead criminals make one hell of a haunting!
Enjoy the following video. It’s funny, and a little creepy, but also shows the inside of an extremely popular haunted attraction in Cornwall.
*Check out the ghost hunter’s Cornish accent too. My Nan spoke like that. Lurrrvely!
QUESTION: “Who here believes in ghosts?”
Thanks for having me, Julianne. Hope you enjoyed a little haunting. 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Shah Wharton is a speculative fiction author. Find her mind twisting over keyboards, her heart weeping for her characters, her watching you…closely.
She also writes poetry – two published in anthologies, and short stories – one published .
Shah lives in Dubai with her husband and Bobby, their beloved German Shepherd, but originates from the West Midlands area of the United Kingdom, and misses the cold, the rain, and her extended family, every day.