An Expedition of the Haunted Craven Manor
Okay, this entertaining guest post has been provided by bestselling author, Sherry Soule! She is sharing a post written by one of the characters from the gripping Spellbound series, which has been recently revamped with more epic romance and suspenseful thrills. To help promote the new editions, she is doing this fun book tour to share the news with fellow booklovers. The new versions also include exclusive bonus materials and brand new scenes. Even additional scenes from the charming bad-boy, Trent Donovan!
My name is Evans and I am a part-time ghost hunter.
Today I have an interesting story to share!
In 2009, I began researching the mysteries of Craven Manor after working there as a restoration consultant, which is a house that is reported to be haunted. Urban Legend has it that the manor is a haunted house so horrifying that folks in the remote area of Fallen Oaks, near Larkspur, California claims the land is cursed too. (This mansion is featured in a thrilling series based on true events by author Sherry Soule.)
Rumors say that you experience some of your worst nightmares inside…true horrors await you within its gloomy halls like lurking paranormal creatures and the mansion is festooned with ghosts. Folks say it is an experience so terrifying some people won’t make it back out of the house alive…because they are scared to death.
So for now, we will be investigating Craven Manor to find out what is fact and what is fiction…
The Gothic mansion is renowned for its size (it has four stories) and utter lack of any master building plan. Because of its eclectic style, it has an indiscernible number of rooms placed somewhere around fifty. Secret doors link rooms to hallways stretching over the elegance and royal opulence of the whole edifice of malevolent architecture. It’s first owners were Rowan Broussard and Thomas Donovan.
Urban Legend has it that nearly twenty people have vanished in the confusing labyrinthine halls of this house. There has been only one documented investigation of the manor and the parapsychologists have described the majority of phenomenon bordering between terrifying and unusual.
The DarkSide Detectives decided to host an expedition to investigate the hauntings at Craven Manor during the day when it was said to be a little safer, with two of my colleagues, Joss and Ryan. (We were granted permission to enter the property from the current owners.) This was in May 2010 before the reconstruction began.
The sprawling mansion loomed high and wide, casting a shadow over the destitute estate. Ivy hugging the gate moaned open to allow us admittance. The four-story structure had Gothic trimmings, a veranda, turrets, curved walls, cupolas and balconies with a rambling reddish-brown rooftop absent of shingles, and the flaking paint was a golden hue. Planted on either side of the long gravel driveway towered thirteen Oak trees creating a sort of tree alleyway.
The eerie mansion reminded us of the “Amityville Horror” case file or the “Murder House” in Los Angeles, California.
Ground fog was thick and impenetrable. Stiff winds bent the leaves on the foliage. Sunlight percolated through the dense jumble of oaks and pines. Joss parked the van with our equipment in the driveway, jumped out and I slowly opened my door.
We walked through tall tangles of weeds and countless leaves, scattered by the wind, heavily covered the porch and crunched under foot. We ducked beneath the branches of ancient oaks, stepped over twisted and mangled roots, and staggered past a dilapidated, black Plymouth Fury brooding in the unruly grasses.
We marched up the steps and I glanced back at the car with a smile. “Hello Christine.”
Ryan stood before the oak doors of beveled glass. He glanced over his shoulder. “A King fan, huh, Joss?”
Ryan caught my gaze and stared. Worry was etched across his young face. “Are you sure about this? I forgot my holy water. Will it really be any safer during the day here? I still need to finish that other paranormal investigation in Castro Valley later today.”
My eyes took in the terrain, the untamed front garden. The grass stirred. Black bodies slipped between the shade of the trees, as though hiding from the sun.
“Yes. It should be safe enough,” I said. “Trent and his father will not be home today. Although we could have used Shiloh Ravenwolf’s help. She is becoming a powerful witch and has the gift of Sight.”
Joss searched the pockets of his indigo shirt for the key. Then inserted it into the lock and pushed open the door with a resounding thud that echoed throughout the mansion. He entered but I hesitated on the porch.
A quote from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House: “Some houses are born bad” comes to mind.
Dry, crackling leaves chased him inside. The interior looked dark and damp. Broken cobwebs floated freely and the open doorway threw sunlight onto the unpolished, hardwood floors. The illumination revealed peeling wallpaper and silhouettes previously covered by pictures. Fresh air replaced the stuffiness that had entrapped the rooms. In the foyer, hung three gigantic chandeliers and an eerie photo of a young lady from the 1900’s decorated the wall to my right. Faded, moth-ridden sheets covered furniture now drowning in dust. I watched Joss cross the foyer and disappear to the left. Ryan ambled after him, snapping pictures with his camera.
“Are you coming or what?” Ryan called over his shoulder.
“Be right there.” Blowing out a breath, I steeled myself and stepped into the entrance hall. I surveyed the enormous rooms. Somber portraits stared at me beneath layers of dust, seemingly penetrating my being with their stares.
Cold, hesitant light streamed through a cracked window, casting spooky shadows on the walls. Heavy drapes cloaked the rooms in darkness, as if sunlight dare not enter. The stony faces of the paintings seemed to open their mouths and silently shout, ‘Turn back.’
But I forced my legs to move. Shadows seemed to swirl around my feet, sucking me into the dark innards of the house.
Wandering down several dim corridors, I fumbled for a light switch. I flipped it up and down frantically, but the room remained immersed in darkness. Fear settled in my gut. Something brushed my arm. I turned, but nothing was there. Wind whistled through the cracks in the house and it sounded like laughter to my freaked mind.
Then I heard a low chuckle, which broke my thought process. My head whipped around. Nothing. I moved forward, further into the bowels of the house. Floorboards creaked and moaned with each step. The temperature seemed to drop several degrees. My breath made puffs of white in the air. I knew in my gut the slumbering evil that I’d heard so much about had awakened.
To be continued…
Thank you for letting me share this sensitive information with you! Please visit the DarkSide Detectives’s blog to read more about my adventures at the infamous Craven Manor.
Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:
Official website: http://www.sherrysoule.blogspot.com
Official Spellbound Series blog: http://thespellboundseries.blogspot.com
Twitter @WriterSherry: http://twitter.com/writersherry
DarkSide Detectives blog: http://paranormalresearchgroup.blogspot.com/
Deadly Witchcraft. Ghostly Threats. Doomed Romance.
They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Fallen Oaks. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse.
When sixteen-year-old Shiloh Trudell takes a summer job at Craven Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan, and immediately becomes enchanted by his charms.
Finally, Shiloh’s met someone who is supercute and totally into her, but Trent is immersed in the cunning deception that surrounds the mysterious Craven Manor. So much so that he may lose sight of what is truly important to him. And she can’t decide whether she wants to shake him or kiss him. Yet neither one of them can deny the immediate, passionate connection growing between them.
But underlying everything is the fear that Trent may be the next victim on a supernatural hit list, and Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him…
With cryptic messages from a pesky wraith, Shiloh will finally begin to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist and decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.
Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.
Buy the newly updated version of BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN (part 1):
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/18NB8CG
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/14edSHU