Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Latest Interview

Ian Benjamin interviewed me a few weeks ago and I wanted to share it here with my friends!

Michael Phillip Cash is the author of “Brood X,” a recently released horror novel recounting a cicada invasion. The full-time author lives on the north shore of Long Island.

Q In your own words, what is the gist of “Brood X?”

A “Brood X” is a satiric look at contemporary life and how unprepared and unrealistic American popular culture has become. Caught up in petty nonsense, are we as a society missing nature’s cues? Seth and Lara are a young married couple living in an affluent community. Hard working and uptight, Lara is a perfect foil for her laid back, unemployed, sarcastic husband. Finding out they are expecting a child they decide to document it with a newly purchased camcorder. Filled with witty dialogue Seth and Lara go through preparations for the impending birth while the world reacts and prepares for the cicada invasion destined to arrive at the same time. Different characters from prepper neighbors to overzealous neighbors to free-loading friends, each person is a representation of the people who inhabit America and their priorities. When the impending disaster arrives, Seth must face his harsh new realities and is forced to rapidly mature and accept responsibility as the leader of his group. The whole story is told through a camcorder in a found footage motif.

Q What inspired the use of cicadas?

A I am huge Alfred Hitchcock fan. His movie “The Birds” both thrilled and inspired me that we are mere playthings to Mother Nature. Cicadas are a fascinating creature, that when you think of the shear multitude of them emerging from the ground, it’s staggering and terrifying. What defense do we really have against natural disasters? How can you prepare against something so small and harmless that when it multiplies it becomes an unstoppable force of nature.

Q What attracted you to the horror genre initially?

A Who doesn’t like a good horror story? The fact that cicadas are a formidable thing made it even scarier. I personally will never look at those bugs the same way again. (The actual Brood X last appeared in New York in 2004. They are scheduled to reappear in 2021.)

Q Are you planning a sequel or prequel?

A Absolutely! I’ve already started working on “Brood X Part II.” It’s going to begin where the last story left off. The new story is a roller coaster ride!

Q What projects are you engaged in currently or have planned?  To find out, continue reading

Friday, June 28, 2013

Franklin Castle

Franklin Castle has a tower, turrets, balconies, stone outcroppings, gargoyles, wrought-iron fixtures and fences.The Gothic-style Franklin Castle is said to be Ohio’s most haunted home.  Built in 1860 for Hannes Tiedemann, an immigrant from Germany who became a wholesale grocer-turned-banker, he was either an evil tyrant or he was a decent and hard-working man who faced unfortunate circumstances. On January 15, 1891, Tiedemann's fifteen-year-old daughter Emma succumbed to diabetes. The house saw its second death not long afterwards when Tiedemann's elderly mother, Wiebeka, died. Over the next three years the Tiedemanns would bury three more children, giving rise to speculation that there was more to the deaths than met the eye. There have been many owners of the home including a German singing society and a church group. It's currently owned by an Internet businesswoman who wanted to renovate it and turn it into a B&B and hold “haunted mystery weekends,” however a fire in 1999 made her change her plans. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wickham Farmhouse, Cutchogue

Not all haunted houses look creepy. This farmhouse, built in 1704, is one of the oldest English-style houses in New York State. On June 2, 1854, however, it became the site of a vicious slaying. James and Frances Wickham, along with a 14-year-old servant boy, were axe-murdered in their bedrooms. A 21-year-old Irish farmhand named Nicholas Behan was to blame. He was captured, following an intense manhunt, according to The New York Times archives. He was discovered hiding in nearby woods, put on trial, hung and buried in an unmarked grave. Descendents witnessed a ghost standing over their bed in 1988 and sealed off the bedroom.

The Conjuring

You've probably seen the movie trailers. "The Conjuring" is coming to a theater near you. The real story behind the haunting  is terrifying. A couple buys their dream home in the country back in December 1970 and their nightmare begins immediately. Previous residents of the farmhouse included Mrs. John Arnold who, at the age of 93, hung herself in the barn and Bathsheba Sherman who had an extremely hard life. She lost all of her children before any reached the age of four. When she was a young woman, Bathsheba had a young child in her care (it is uncertain if this was her child or if she was caring for the child for a friend) that died. Upon examination of the baby’s body it was found that a needle had been impaled into its skull and the baby had died from convulsions. Bathsheba was charged with manslaughter but due to lack of evidence the case was dropped. However, in the court of public opinion she was found guilty. She was a very beautiful woman whom men loved and women envied. Following the death of the baby rumors began to swirl that Bathsheba had sacrificed this baby as an offering to the devil for eternal beauty. Due to the belief of the locals that she was a witch she lived a life of solitude. Eventually she married and it is unsure if she lived all her days at the Arnold farm or the adjacent Sherman farm. She died in 1885 and the coroner made a note in his report stating that he had never seen anything like it; that it was like her body had turned to stone. The Perron family spoke to a man who knew Bathsheba and he said she was a very angry and bitter woman who would beat and starve her farmhands. From the very first day the Perron family moved into the farmhouse the paranormal activity began. When the family first arrived at the house the old tenants were packing up the last of their things. As they did so a man stood in the corner watching them. Three of the five girls saw this man but the parents did not. It was an apparition. The family continued to see spirits, some of which did not even notice the family were there, they were the quiet ones who lived peacefully at the farmhouse and did not bother the family. One of the girls made friends with a spirit she called Manny. He was a sympathetic soul whom the Perrons believed was the spirit of Johnny Arnold who had committed suicide in the house in the 1700s. He would watch over the family. He would appear to the children but as soon as they made eye contact he would disappear. Many peaceful souls resided at the farmhouse but there was also dark forces. You can read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Kreischer Mansion

Kreischer had seven children. He died in 1886, but not before building two identical mansions on the hill where one now stands. The first was occupied by the oldest son Charles, and the other by his younger brother Edward. Charles' home burned down, but Edward's still stands.
Finished in 1885, the mansion has a reputation among local children for all sorts of spooky occurrences, and is a favorite to visit on Halloween. A woman's wailing is often heard, said to be the wife of Edward Kreischer, who put a bullet in his head following a dispute at the factory, or quite possibly, following an argument with his brother. Some legends suggest that a German cook who was murdered in the kitchen still haunts the halls, clanging his pots and pans. There have even been claims that children who'd been locked in the closet for being bad are heard scratching to get out. Take a tour below!

Volume alert!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Haunting Of The Queen’s Bedroom: Belton House

The Queen’s bedroom at Belton House is supposedly stalked by “the gentleman in black”. This mysterious entity has to share his Lincolnshire haunting space with Belton’s '"bright lady", said to be the spirit of Lady Alice Sherald. The ghosts coexist amicably as she limits her perambulations to the main staircase hall.

The Queen's Bedroom. Named for Queen Adelaide, widow of William IV, for whose visit it was redecorated in 1841. The canopy bed dates from 1813 but has been refurbished in the revived Rococo style with Queen Adelaide's monogram in silver embroidery on the headboard. The braids, fringes and tassels of the bed are original, the striped silk is rewoven.

The land has been owned by the Brownlow and Cust family since the 16th century. The present house was built between 1685 and 1688, by Sir John Brownlow and his wife. Despite their wealth they decided to build a modest country house instead of a grand palace. Yet inside their home it still had all of the latest innovations.  Little really changed to the design of the house but the interior did over the different generations who lived there according to their taste and social standing. After World War I, like so many other the families, wealth began to dwindle. In 1984 they gave their house to the National Trust, who also with the help of National Heritage Fund brought most of the house contents and 1.317 acres of parkland, at the cost of 8 million pounds. They then opened it up to the public. To help support costs the house is used for many different things such as a restaurant, wedding venue and filming location.

Reported Ghosts:

The Chanaman Room:
This is a room that is said to be haunted by a shadowy figure. In April 2008, Thomas Thornton went to Belton House to have a look around but got there a little early so the door's were not open to the public yet. While he was waiting, he was looking around the grounds and in windows and decided to take a few pictures. Not that he noticed at the time, but he caught a smokey, shadowy shape in the Chanaman Room.

The Family Tree Picture:
A shadow of a headless woman in a period costume materialized onto the Brownlows framed family tree.

Belton's Bright Lady:
The main stair case hall has a ghost called 'Beltons Bright Lady'. It is said to be a 17th Century lady called 'Lady Alice Sherald'.

The Queen's Bedroom:
In the Queens bedroom a tall, dark man dressed in a hat and a cloak is said to haunt the room.

William Windham And His Love Of Books

Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk was the historic home of the Windham family. In 1749, avid reader William Windham the second inherited the estate, and began to fill the gothic library with hundreds of books. His love of books led to an unfortunate end when a fire broke out in a friend's house in London, as William died in his attempts to save his friend's collection. His ghost is now frequently seen sitting in the armchair on the far side of the fireplace - so frequently in fact that staff put out books for him to read. Spookily, when a box of 18th-century clothes was discovered in the attic in 1973, they matched almost exactly what the ghost is said to wear.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Very Haunted Riddlesden House in Yorkshire

Today's post will take you across the pond. Riddlesden House in Yorkshire couldn't be more haunted if it tried. It's said to have been inhabited by a "white lady" who drowned when her horse threw her into a pond, a "grey lady" whose husband starved her to death after discovering her affair, and ghostly children who leave toys around the house. Add to this the "assassin dishwasher" - a kitchen worker who was an assassin by night - and a Scotsman angered by a miscarriage of justice, and you probably wouldn't get a very good night's sleep.

The house was built in the 1630s but it's believed that there was something on the site going back to Saxon times. It would stand to reason that at some point in its history there have been births and deaths here.
"Through the 75 years that people have worked here with the National Trust there have been various stories from them and from people who have visited about the ghosts that are here."
With its ruined and derelict wing, East Riddlesden Hall can certainly seem slightly spooky at any time, but it seems that East Riddlesden's ghosts and spirits are really making their presence felt just now. You can read more about the haunting here. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Lemp Mansion

The Lemp Mansion:

The Lemps' 1860s Italianate house had been a local marvel: newly patented radiant heat, an open-air elevator, 33 rooms. After the death (by natural causes) of the last Lemp son, the place became a boarding house. In 1977, renovations transformed it into a restaurant and inn—but not without difficulty. Ghostly barking and piano music, slamming doors, burning sensations, faces in the windows—the place was so spooky that several construction workers fled the jobsite. 

Naila Moon, creator of Just The Stuff Ya Know Blog, shared her experience at The Lemp Mansion! 

"My son and I and a kid that was living with us at the time, went to visit the Lemp Mansion. It was my son's 16th birthday on a Friday, October 13th.
The mansion hosted the Halloween haunts at that time. So, of course my son wanted to go. I was hesitant because I do not even like non-real haunted houses.
Anyway, we went and the first part of the tour they tell you a brief history of the house including about the Lemp suicides.
The house is completely Victorian and includes underground tunnels/caves where the Lemps kept their beer to stay cold.
In the first room we went in, they had us listen to a recording that a news group did of the place. This recording recorded the voice of one of the Lemps.
The stair had sighting of one of the Lemps and ghostly things had been seen and heard.
I saw nothing until...

I got to the 3rd floor!
As we arrived up to this floor, I started getting EXTREMELY cold to the point I could see my breath. No one else reported this nor did my son.
I was shivering something awful; I was so cold.
The tour guide took us in to this great big room. It was empty of furniture. The guide said things had been heard in this room before. We were to stand in a circle, the guide would stand in the middle and he was going to turn out the lights so we could experience.

He said if anything was to happen, he would immediately turn on his flashlight.
Mind you, I was still cold!
As he turned off the lights, a woman said someone was touching her. As my eyes focused in the dark, I could see across the room, a large person, dressed in period coat, white shirt and black tie but...
...he had no head!
I could hardly breathe and I could say nothing!

This same woman screamed again that someone was touching her. It came from the same direction that I saw the body.
The guide turned on the lights and the figure was gone. We left the room and went back down stairs. I finally got warm.
I asked the guide about this person.
He said that was Uncle____ Lemp. I cannot remember his name now.
He said he too roamed the halls sometimes.
I about freaked out.
He asked me to share it with the group and I did.
The end."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stillwell Is Available On Amazon!

Available now on Amazon

Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife's spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife's soul free.

Five Questions: Michael Phillip Cash

I was interviewed by Ian Benjamin from The Record and we discussed "Brood X' and upcoming novels! You can read my interview here

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Castle On The Hill

Carl Fisher had a dream in the summer of 1925. He wanted to create the “most fabulous summer resort ever imagined in the western world"...a magnificent English Tudor-style “castle on the hill." Fisher had the means to do so. He was a multimillionaire responsible for the development of Miami Beach, Florida.He would build Montauk Manor, a 200-room luxury resort hotel. In 1927 the Manor was officially opened. The rich and famous of the day flooded the manor, boasting grand ballrooms and 10,000 acres. Visitors played croquet on the rolling front lawn and drank tea on the veranda. They also ate in the finest of restaurants, which served international cuisine.
A rich history of Indians, wars, plagues and graves lay under their feet. The Montauketts were not the only ones who died there. During the late 1890’s many soldiers came down with yellow fever and it spread among the troops quickly. President Roosevelt decided to lead them up to the sacred site on the hill. The hill was very steep and many of the soldiers struggled in their weakened conditions to climb to the top.Rumor has it that over 300 men died en route. Some died in a hospital set up near the present Manor. Soldiers were temporarily buried above Indian remains, both at Fort Hill and nearby at Lake Montauk. Eventually, most of the soldier's bodies were exhumed and sent home. Neither of the cemeteries were marked.
Over the years, people visiting the Manor have claimed to see an Indian chief in full headdress wandering the floors. Banging sounds have been heard coming from a fourth floor room when no one was there, and another story, apparently more recent, mentioned a cleaning lady. A woman was cleaning the men’s sauna downstairs when she heard the door slam. The noise was followed by a baby’s cry. You can read the rest of the story here!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Long Island Hauntings

Everyone instantly associates “Amityville” with ghosts and horror. The tragic murders of the DeFeo family that took place in the “Amityville-horror-house” were very real, but the stories that followed are reported to be hoaxes. The Lutz family, who moved into the house after the murders, had many experiences during their month long stay. They claimed demons left hoof-prints in snow outside the house and that ghosts rattled cabinets and doors hard enough to break them. Was any of it true? There was no snowfall in Amityville that month, and the new owners, who moved in after the Lutzes fled, claimed the original doors and cabinets were undamaged. There are more imaginative Long Island ghost and paranormal stories out there.  Read about these Long Islanders who go bump in the night! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Haunted Crime Scenes

The Morris-Jumel mansion on 175 Jumel Terrace in New York City was built by Roger Morris before the Revolutionary War, and it once had served as George Washington's headquarters. Although it's apparently haunted by five ghosts, the one most people claim to have seen is the specter of Eliza Jumel, who was made rich upon the death of her first husband, Stephen.
They took over the place in 1810, but spent a decade in France before returning to New York. Apparently all was not well between them at the time, for Eliza was allegedly having an affair with former Vice President Aaron Burr. Quite mysteriously in 1832, Stephen fell onto a pitchfork and died. Almost immediately, Eliza married Burr, who was 77. But apparently, they had company. A 1916 publication indicates that there was a ghost in the house, and these rumors persisted through the years. You can read the rest of the story here.


Occasionally, readers, reviewers, and critics complain about books that, they say, read more like screenplays than novels. With Brood X, Michael Phillip Cash’s debut horror novel, such a comment could be seen as a compliment.
The novel begins in a besieged hospital at the height of the Great Cicada Invasion, when trillions of giant insects have emerged and are quite literally crushing the northeastern states with their sheer accumulated weight. An EMT driver enters the security office, bringing with him a camera he has taken from a police cruiser parked outside. At the end of the prologue, he and the two security officers begin watching what the camera has recorded. Read the review here and see why reviewer Russ Thompson agrees,  as the cover text suggests, it is “perfect summer reading when you’re sitting outside listening to the cicadas sing.” 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mount Misery & Sweet Hollow Road, Melville/Huntington

Various tales of horror and dread surround this winding incline through dense woods and up alongside a hilly precipice, some of which are detailed in Weird New York: Your Travel Guide to New York’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Chris Gethard and Long Island’s Most Haunted: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide by Joseph Flammer and Diane Hill, among other books. One legend has it there was a hospital here that burnt down sometime during the 1700s or 1800s—with some patients and staff still trapped inside—only to be rebuilt on the same site to tragically burn down again. Another speaks of a deranged nurse who set the blaze and roams the woods with or without a number of faceless children. Some claim to have seen burning spirits fleeing from the grounds, accompanied by screams. You can read more about the haunting here!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fire Island Lighthouse Haunting

The stately Fire Island Lighthouse dates back to the 1800s and is a familiar landmark on the barrier island where it stands 167 feet above sea level, and can be seen more than 20 miles away. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, the decommissioned lighthouse is open to visitors, and those in good physical shape can walk the 157 steep steps and two small ladders for a view from the top of New York's tallest lighthouse.

Tales of shadowy figures, ghostly laughs, otherworldly banging noises and legends of hefty doors opening and closing by themselves surround the Fire Island Lighthouse. Would you like to visit? See if it can make a believer out of you! Read more about it

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Legends Of Hauntings

My next book takes place in Long Island. It's about an old mansion with a troubled past and secrets that will be revealed. If you love history and ghosts, look for Stillwell. It's coming soon! Until then, please enjoy the local Long Island haunts I'll share over the next few weeks!

Raynham Hall is located on Long Island. Dating back to the 1700s, this historic house in Oyster Bay, NY, was originally built by a well-to-do merchant. It is now a museum open to the public. There are many stories about it. One visitor reports, "While visiting Raynham Hall years ago, I spoke with the woman selling tickets and asked about the house's legends of hauntings. She told me a story from years back, when a man was hired to take care of the grounds and sleep in the house. After his first night there, he was asked how he slept. He answered that it was quiet, but that the "people upstairs" made quite a racket. Note to fans of ghost stories: no one lived upstairs."
There have been other stories about visitations by a young woman in a bridal gown. This apparition is supposedly the ghost of a former resident who was abandoned by her lover while waiting for him at the altar. Want to know more? Read about this haunting at the  Long Island Paranormal Investigator's website!

Until Next Time,
Michael Phillip Cash

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cicadas May Cause Paralysis?

In 2004, when the cicadas of Brood X crawled out of the ground in and around Washington, Lori Milani, then a full-time student, would not set foot outside her apartment. Terrified of insects, she shut her windows tight, sometimes with the blinds drawn, for five weeks. She stocked up on food, canceled her summer classes and had friends run essential errands for her.

“It was truly horrible. I know that they are harmless, but they’re disgusting,” said Ms. Milani, who has suffered from a fear of bugs, or entomophobia, as long as she can remember.

Read more of the article here.