The Fire of Appleton Mill


I recently submitted my latest short story The Fire of Appleton Mill  for submission to a major literary magazine. It is usually several weeks before I hear from the publisher.

The story idea came from a real life experience.When i was young, and working in a cotton mill, which is now burned to the ground, I had a premonition of an inferno consuming the place, possibly with me in it. I chalked it up to my imagination running away with me, since the entire mill was a fire trap. Hundreds of grease caked rags, floors shinning from cottonseed oil that had soaked into the wood for many years, and air filled with flying lint. Combine those contributing factors along with a large number of workers smoking like the giant smoke stack, which towered over the mill, and you have a tinder box.

And there were rats. Many Many rats scurrying along the floors walls, and occasionally over my feet.

This story, like all my stories has super natural elements. The story is presented with picturesque language that is sure to bring you down into a dark and  ominous place right next to me. I will keep you posted on when it will be in print. Even if it doesn’t it was fun to write; but I hope it is published because dear reader it is always better when I share it with you.


The House Lives


The House Lives

 Houses are alive. This is something we know. We can feel it in our nerve endings. If we are quiet, if we listen, we can hear houses breath. Sometimes in the depth of the night we can hear them groan. It’s as if the house is having bad dreams. This is true in many old houses, old houses with many bad memories.

A house is a place of shelter. It is the body we put over our bodies. As our bodies age, so do our houses. As our bodies sicken, so do our houses.

And what of madness? When madness happens, couldn’t that energy spill over into the bricks and boards? Isn’t what we mean when we say a place isn’t quiet; it is stirred up with energy. Energy from ghosts perhaps? No. What we really mean is that the house has gone insane.

 The End

Roswell, New Mexico July 1947

In July of 1947, when Dr. RameyMarcelJesse Marcel JR. was only eleven years old, his father showed him something that would change his life forever. It was late at night, and his father, excited about what he had brought home, had gently shaken him awake.

When Jessie JR., and his mother first saw a few pieces of the debris spread all over their kitchen table, they had no idea what they were looking at.

It was from a crash, which had occurred a few weeks earlier on a ranch about 75 miles northwest of Roswell. His father Major Jesse Marcel SR. explained to him that the debris was from a spacecraft, and from another world. He further explained they were looking at the remains of what they had been hearing rumors all around about. The remains of a U.F.O..

They had no idea the specter would become so deeply imbedded in popular culture, and in particular that it would haunt his family for decades. It seems that regardless of the parade of characters trying to prove, or alternately disprove, that the crash was exraterrestrial in origin, we seem to be no closer to separating fact from fiction on the subject.

In my latest story project, Roswell, Summer of 1947, I explore the story of the incident that occurred there.

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror And Some Unanswered Questions1110279_f260

What made Ronald DeFeo Jr kill his entire family on the night of November 13th, 1974? He entered his parents’ bedroom, then shot them both as they slept. He then entered his brothers bedroom, and shot them both as they slept. He finally entered his sisters room, and shot both of them in their beds. The grizzly killings were complete within fifteen minutes.

The time of their deaths was determined to be between 3:00AM and 3:15AM, the witching hour. That time span is called that because it represents the opposites of the time frame 3:00PM to 3:15PM, which is estimated to be the time of the Christ’s death on the cross. It is believed by many demonologists to be the time when malevolent entities are most active.

At the scene of the crime all of the bodies were found in virtually the same position. They were found face down, in bed, with their arms above their heads. How can anyone commit 6 murders with a Marlin .35 Caliber rifle without anyone, even others in the house, hearing the shots? Each of Ronald DeFeo’s parents got two bullets, the children were killed with one bullet each.

The police chief could not come up with a reasonable explanation as to why no one in the house heard the shots, and none of the neighbors had heard the shots, that rang out in the house at 112 Ocean Avenue. A paranormal theory is that ghosts of native Americans buried on the grounds where the house stood, and still stands today, held the families down in their beds so they were unable to move. Others claim the house was possessed by malevolent forces. Were the ghosts of wronged native Americans, or demons accomplices in these murders?

Lorrain Warren is quoted as saying, “I know there were ghosts in that house. I’m positive of that. Nothing else can do that other than the intelligence of something inhuman.” Ken Greguski, the Former Chief of Police, Amityville, Long Island stated. “I do not believe the house was haunted. I know the house is not haunted now, and I do not believe it has ever been haunted.”

Shortly after Chief Greguski was called to the house at around 6:40AM, Suffolk County

Medical Examiner Howard Edelman arrived on the scene. The ensuing murder investigation raised many questions that, to this day, have not been answered. According to Chief Greguski, Ronald DeFeo did not seem that upset about his entire family being murdered. He stood outside talking with some of his friends, according to the Chief, while the initial investigation ensued. According to the M.E., the consistency of the position in which all of the bodies were found is consistent with someone being either held down, or being told to lie that particular way.

It is the opinion of yours truly that people, especially children and teens, are not likely to behave so passively when they are about to be shot. They would have had to have been awake, and would likely have tried to run quickly out of the house, or at least hide. Could perhaps Ronald DeFeo have a living accomplice, or accomplices? No evidence of that has ever been found. Could it be something unseen was holding them down? Something evil? A demon or demons perhaps? Neither the Chief, the M.E., nor the police who came to the scene have an explanation to any of the questions raised so far. Even during the terrible thunderstorm that occurred that fateful night, the report of the powerful rifle would have wakened the whole house.

Was the Lutz family really tormented by the residual evil that drove Ronald DeFeo to kill his family? Or, were they financial victims, who bit off more than they could chew, regardless of the amazing deal they got on the house? The Lutz’s had five children, not six like the DeFeo’s. It is said that George Lutz did bear a striking resemblance to Ronald DeFeo.

According to people far more expert than yours truly, Lorrain Warren, and her husband Ed Warren, there was something evil in that house. Ed Warren was a demonologist recognized by the Catholic church, many members of the clergy, and paranormal experts. Lorrain Warren explained that she did not believe that Ronald DeFeo was to blame. She further explained that his drug history in the past made him more susceptible to possession, or for his behavior to be controlled by evil forces.

Ronald DeFeo, still in prison today, insists that he heard voices telling him to do it. He insists he was not in control. George Lutz and his family moved into the house. According to Lorrain Warren, “The best protection the devil has is a skeptical public.”

Ghosts of St. Augustine

Hello readers. I have recently began a book of historic fiction about the history and ghosts of America’s oldest city, St. Augustine in Florida. I have decided to give you a taste by including one of many stories in the book. I do hope you enjoy and use the stars to rate my story. I also welcome and appreciate your comments.


Sometime in the 1800s an American moved to St. Augustine and set up shop downtown near Castillo de San Marcos. Mysteriously, his name has been lost in history. He knew hardly anyone, and trying desperately to make his business a success he would work many long lonely hours. Late one night he decided to take a stroll. When he arrived at a sea wall on the eastern edge of the fort, a thick fog rolled in.

At first he was alarmed and decided to stop and take note of his surroundings. The fog rolled in thick and made it hard for him to see. He began to hear the faint sound of singing. A melancholy voice came closer until finally an olive skin beauty appeared before him. Enchanted by her looks and her forlorn countenance, he inquired as to what was the matter.

She stopped her singing and stared into his eyes as if he was the one to suddenly appear before her. With a thick Spanish accent, she informed him she had been lost for quit some time and was trying to find her way home.

The tired, but enchanted shop keeper insisted that he would help her find her way, but alas she simply gave him a sad smile and turned away from him. As soon as she disappeared into the mist the fog lifted as quickly as it had rolled in.

From then on, night after night, the shopkeeper walked the same route in hopes of catching a glimpse of her once more. As time passed he became disheartened, and over time, his after closing walks became less frequent.

Exactly one year after that eventful walk, he decided to try again. This time that now familiar fog rolled in again. He heard her voice. That same faint singing he had heard on this night one year ago. He followed her voice until he came upon her. This time she looked happy.

They talked with one another for a long time. Finally she told him she had to go.

“I’m so very lonely here. Can I please come with you?” he asked.

“I have found a way home at last” she replied. “If you are serious, meet me here tomorrow night.” He agreed to meet her. As she moved away the fog again suddenly lifted.

The shopkeeper did not find sleep that night. The next day at the shop seemed to go on forever. His last customer bought a postcard with a picture of the Spanish Fort. When night fell, he closed up his shop. As he stepped outside to lock the door, he noticed this night was different. A thick fog had rolled in right to his shop door. It seemed to envelope all of St. Augustine.

That last customer of the day was the last person to ever see that shopkeeper. When the police found the patron through a credit card record, the customer informed them the night was as clear as a bell when he left the shop.

To this day when the fog moves in dense around the Spanish Fort, and it often does, it is said, if you listen, you can hear faint singing near the Castillo de San Marcos.


Stephen King’s Top 5 Writing Tips

Words of Wisdom by the King himself

Marcus Riddle's Blog

Another Saturday, another author to learn from. Let’s get into it:

1. “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

No arguing there!

2. “Get to the point.”

This comes from cutting, cutting, cutting.

3. “Don’t care too much what others think.”

Haters are going to hate! Just let them get on with it.

4. “Be relatable and honest.”

Which is an important part of writing.

5. “Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.”

Reading anything help writers at the end of the day.

This was a quick post. I Hope you find the advice useful.

Till next time

M. Riddle

Have a nice weekend

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CAN A FILM BE CURSED? Many say two of my favorites were.

In the earv01627dpy3sly 1990s, a blonde little girl with a sweet face and a fresh name burst onto the Hollywood scene. She sat in front of a static laden television set, placed her hands on the screen, turned toward the camera and with just two simple words, made her place in history.“They’re here” became a household phrase and one that is still used today.

Poltergeist will easily go down in history as one of the most lucrative and recognizable horror/ paranormal movies ever. That’s pretty amazing for a six-year-old little girl who was discovered while having lunch with her mom—and offered the job on the spot, beating out an already seasoned actress, Drew Barrymore. Maybe some movies should never see the light of day…There are many different stories about The Poltergeist Curse, but the only one easily proven is that four actors who worked on the Poltergeist project, would inevitably meet an untimely fate.

The causes of death for two of the actors were natural, but for two of the actors, death would not come quietly.In 1982, just after filming for the first Poltergeist movie, Dominique Dunne met and later moved in with John Thomas Sweeney, a chef living in the LA area. The relationship between the two was sometimes violent, and it wasn’t long before Dominique severed ties with Sweeney. Dominique was scheduled in a new television mini-series titled V with actor David Peck. While in the midst of rehearsals, Sweeney confronted Dunne in the driveway of her home. He hoped to make his pleas for reconciliation with the woman he loved, but it did not go well. When Dunn refused to consider the reconciliation, Sweeney dragged her into the backyard of the home next door and strangled her until she was unconscious. Later reports revealed that Sweeney confessed to strangling Dominique for four to six minutes as best he could remember. Dominique Dunne was declared brain-dead, and slipped into a deep coma where she remained for five days before being removed from life support on November 4, 1982. She was just twenty-two years old.

Dominique would be the first whose tale would start the whispers, but it would be JoBeth Williams’ statements about “paranormal/unexplainable” activity in her trailer during filming that would send the Hollywood community reeling. Then the curse would be even more validated when the beautiful little girl known as Carol Ann met an untimely and mysterious death.

Heather O’Rourke was born December 27, 1975, and was just six years old when she was cast for the Poltergeist film. Heather would be the feature player and star in all three Poltergeist movies. She would not however, make the premiere for the final film.

O’Rourke became extremely ill in 1987 and was misdiagnosed by Kaiser Permanente Hospital as having Crohn’s disease. She was prescribed medicine to treat the disease, but on January 31, 1988, O’Rourke became ill again. The next morning, Heather collapsed while preparing to leave for the hospital. Her stepfather then called emergency services. O’Rourke suffered a cardiac arrest en route to the hospital. She was revived and then was airlifted to Children’s Hospital and Health Center in San Diego, where she died later that day.

Hospital spokesman Vincent Bond announced Heather’s death. She died during surgery to repair an acute bowel obstruction which later caused septic shock and ultimately poisoned her system beyond repair. Later reports changed the cause of death to cardiac arrest caused by septic shock brought on by the intestinal stenosis.

O’Rourke was interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery on February 5, 1988. Heather’s final resting place is now a popular stop on the “Haunted Hollywood” tour.

Considered one of the scariest movie of all time, The Exorcist was released in theaters in 1973 and won two Academy Awards, one for Best Adapted Screenplay, and one for Best Sound. Written by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist opened to scathing reviews, but horrified viewers and generated more excitement than had been seen in the film world in quite some time. No one had ever seen a movie like this before. Rumors swirled around the production about a young girl who was invaded and taken over by demons. In the fifteen-month filming period, there were numerous unexplained fires, set crashes, injuries, and even a rumored “breakdown” of lead actress Linda Blair. Jack McGowen had wrapped up filming his small part for the film when he died of a heart attack. In one of the more famous scenes from the film, Regan—Blair’s character—says to a group of adults, “You’re gonna die up there.” She would be right. One of the actors from the small group later died of unexplained causes.

There were other deaths, and with them came more whispers of curses and tragedy.
Max Von Sydow lost his brother and Linda Blair lost her grandfather during filming. A
night watchman for the set, a crew member that refrigerated the bedroom for the exorcism
scenes, and a cameraman’s newborn baby were also victims of the alleged curse. Many
people gave their opinion on the film, including evangelical preacher Billy Graham who was quoted as saying, “There is an evil attached to the film, in the very fabric of the film itself!”

There were also things happening at screenings that were just too creepy to overlook. From people vomiting, fainting, or having full-on nervous breakdowns, The Exorcist has evoked some of the strangest audience reactions ever documented. Adding to the mystery and fear, the death tolls began to rise after the movie was released in the area surrounding Georgetown, where The Exorcist was filmed. Add to all this, a lightning strike in Italy during the premiere of the film which destroyed a four hundred-year-old cross, and what you are left with is a film with a stigma attached to it. Although there were no accidents or deaths on the film’s sequels, the original director for the prequel, Exorcist: The Beginning, died before filming ever started.