Category Archives: About
Anasazi Medium Coming in July 2020
by G G Collins Copyright 2019
Ancient peoples enlighten contemporary humankind in a mystery as old as time. Rachel Blackstone is recruited by the spirit world to prevent a cataclysmic occurrence: the end of the Fourth World of the Hopi. As earthquakes occur and a super volcano threatens to blow, it becomes imperative she discover the root of all evil. But can she stop the greedy men intent on having their way and willing to kill to achieve it? The survival of an unaware civilization depends on her getting it right.
The computer screen went black; followed immediately by her desk lamp. It wasn’t yet dark in Santa Fe, but the sun was on its way down.
“Dammit, not again,” Rachel swore. The City Different was known to lose power from time to time so while not yet concerned, she was frustrated by the outage.
“It should be called The City Dark. Hey, we’re on deadline!” She nodded to her tortie cat, Chile Pod.
But Chile Pod was in alert mode; ears pricked forward, green eyes wide, colorful neck scruff raised.
“What? What is it?”
Before she could sort it out, a wolf howled. It carried across the city, both eerie and urgent. Rachel had heard it before; Kiyiya, the spirit wolf who always seemed to be around when she needed a heads-up.
Rachel really didn’t want to get up and look outside. It would be so much better to continue to sit in her kitchen corner safe in her ignorance. She reluctantly pushed her chair back and stood. Before she could cross the kitchen her house shuddered. Things—a lot of things—began hitting the roof and walls of the house. This was no ordinary hail storm, an occurrence fairly common to this southwestern city. They must be huge stones. Usually, they received small hailstones that tended to go splut when they impacted. This sounded more like rocks striking.
When a window shattered, she ducked.
“Chile, get under the . . . !” But the tiny cat was already under the table sitting on a chair peeking from beneath the brightly colored tablecloth.
Rachel raised her eyes upward although there was nothing to see but her ceiling. No explanation was forthcoming. Just as she reached the window something dark hit the pane, cracking it, and bounced off. She stared in horror at what was happening in her backyard.
“This can’t be!” she cried, holding both hands over her mouth.
But it was. Birds were falling from the sky, hundreds of them.
Sensing there was nothing dangerous inside, Chile Pod jumped to the counter to see for herself. Rachel covered her protectively as she watched the ghastly precipitation event. In a few seconds, they abruptly stopped falling.
“Stay inside please,” Rachel said to Chile Pod. “I don’t want to have to worry about you too.”
The storm door creaked as she pushed it open and cautiously stepped outside. There were birds lying on her stoop. She grabbed the broom from next to the door and carefully moved them to one side so she could go down the steps. They all appeared to be dead. Rachel had read about this phenomenon. It was normally caused by loud noises such as fireworks that caused disorientation or a flock flew into a hailstorm and died of blunt force trauma. Of course, doomsday predictors had a lot to say about such events and what they felt was the impending Armageddon.
Rachel was wiping tears as she walked carefully through the bird kill. She found it to be incredibly sad. Once she had navigated the stone path to the courtyard terrace continuing to use the broom to make a path in the midst of so many bodies, she stopped to observe the sunset. It was another spectacular display of colors stretching across a limitless sky, completely unaware of the tragedy that lay upon the ground.
A lone bird righted itself and stood unsteadily. It fluffed its wing feathers as if conducting a pre-flight inspection. None of the others moved. He would have a lonely journey.
Rachel watched this with trepidation and gloom. What had caused uninjured birds to fall from the sky? When the power returned, she would check the internet for similar incidents.
Her attention was quickly captured as cold air closed in around her. Within seconds, she could see her breath. It gathered in a white cloud and slowly drifted away. She held the broom handle in one hand, clutching her arms about her. It felt like winter had come too soon. But Rachel was certain that something frightening was about to happen. She was learning the signs; the wolf howl, bizarre episodes. She waited. It wasn’t her show. But she wished whoever or whatever would get on with it.
She became aware of a sound, low at first; a familiar rattle. It reminded her of the first time she had witnessed the return of a spirit in her living room only last year. Rachel waited; helpless to hasten a ghost making a return voyage.
Slowly moving streams of fog appeared from four directions, moving across her courtyard with excruciating intent. Oddly, each vaporous rivulet carried a different tint: black, white, red and yellow. Some Native Americans believed these represented the four colors of humankind as well as the four directions. When the colors united, a shape began to form.
Suddenly, the rattling stopped as the vapor integrated and became one in the center of her flagstone terrace.
Rachel stood quietly, hardly daring to breathe, every muscle taut with readiness. Just because she’d experienced this before didn’t mean she was immune to fear.
A body was slowly forming in front of her. This person wasn’t wearing a lot. She was seeing a great deal of skin. But she also noticed the spear. Of course she had no weapon unless a broom constitutes one. Just how did one prepare for any eventuality? Ray gun for alien beings? AK-47 for home grown terrorists? Stardust for pissed off fairies? These occurrences were potluck affairs.
A Native American man walked out of the mist. He was very fit, not the fitness that comes from working out in a gym, but from physical work. This was someone who labored outside. He wore a simple loincloth, probably made from an animal skin and shoes made of the same that reached upward to his knees.
His presence was disturbing. It wasn’t just the spear, but she perceived him as warrior if the need arose. This was someone to be feared. Rachel watched him carefully, reminding herself he was in spirit, but also aware that spirits could cause great harm, even kill. She was ready to run, not that it would do much good.
He stepped toward her, shoes soundless on the stones.
“You are the one?” he asked. He spoke in a language she had never heard, but the words appeared in English in her mind, much as supertitles at the opera.
“I don’t know,” she replied not knowing if he understood. “Who are you looking for?”
“The one who speaks with the dead.”
“I believe I’m speaking with a spirit now. Is that true? Are you in spirit?”
“I am from the Land of the Dead.”
“How can I help you?” She really wished she’d stayed near her back door instead of backing into a corner. When would she learn to have these unscheduled meetings on her terms? Could they happen on her terms?
“All the signs except one have been fulfilled. You must stop the last one or the world will end and another begins. This will not be good. All will die.”
“What? What sign?”
“The ninth sign is near to completion. It must be stopped.”
“What has to be stopped?” Rachel was even more apprehensive about this man’s prediction than his formidable stature and spike.
“The ninth sign. A blue Kachina in the sky. If it occurs the fourth world will end, all will die. The fifth world will commence, but without all living creatures.”
Rachel could feel the urgency in his words, but didn’t understand.
“It is the blue star; the brightest in the night sky,” he explained.
“The Dog Star; Sirius?” she asked not knowing if he would understand.
“What will happen to it?” she asked.
“If bad men are not stopped, it will fall to the Earth and destroy the fourth world.”
“Bad men? That could be almost anyone, anyplace.”
“These men will kill our land, our valley where we lived in stone walls.”
“But, what can I do?”
“You have the power of the writing instrument. You must expose them.”
“And if I can’t?”
“Everyone you know and everyone you do not know will die. You will die. Your feline companion will die.” Had he seen her in the kitchen window? How did he know?
“Can you give me more information? I don’t know where to start.”
He turned and pointed north. “In our ancestral lands,” he said and faded away.
The mist dispersed and the cold evaporated. But Rachel felt chilled to the bone.
Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery: Book 2
#99Cents Introductory Price for First Week.
While rescuing a kitten, mystery editor Taylor Browning witnesses a murder. Only she doesn’t know it, but the murderer sees her. A dangerous game of cat and mouse commences in this second outing for the Taylor Browning Cozy Mysteries series. And no, Oscar, Taylor’s Abyssinian cat is not amused by the new baby in his kingdom.
At the Santa Fe book publishing house, things aren’t much better. A new metaphysical mystery writer, Crystal Visions, is exhibiting symptoms of an uncooperative nature. Taylor is sent to Sedona to encourage the author to fulfill her book contract. Once there, she is spellbound by the New Age community and its magical vortexes.
Detective Victor Sanchez is relieved Taylor left New Mexico. He believes she will be safer in Arizona while he works to solve the murder. Her amateur sleuthing had already led her right into a gruesome discovery. In the small town of Sedona, Taylor receives a disturbing note and realizes the killer followed her. The detective travels to Arizona to protect her, but has to leave his gun at home.
While Taylor explores one of the vortexes in Arizona’s beautiful Red Rock Country, she becomes aware she is no longer alone. By the time Victor arrives on the scene, Taylor is fighting for her life along the treacherous cliffs in the suspenseful conclusion.
Where Did the Idea Come From?
Before walking a reporter’s beat, I worked at a book publisher. Publishing is composed of exhausting details related to editing, bluelines, cover art, print runs and writing copy. The glamour is occasionally broken by an author who slams out of the office because it’s taking so long to publish the baby. And oh yeah, it’s not a baby to a publisher, but a product to be sold. And the hope is, it will make money.
I’ve taken these experiences, added cat companions and quirky staff to populate the Pinon Publishing office in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In this, the second outing for Taylor Browning, I threw in some travel to Sedona’s Red Rocks Country. And then, there’s the killer!
For more on publishing: https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=We+say+we+want+a+revolution
Ghosts Haunting Santa Fe
Ghost at La Residencia
La Residencia, located at Palace Avenue and Paseo de Peralta, has been a convent, hospital and nursing home. It was the location of the first St. Vincent’s Hospital prior to the “new” hospital being built south of downtown during the late 1970s. Now the Drury Plaza Hotel.
During its life as a hospital, a boy and his father were brought in for emergency treatment after a car accident. Sadly, both died. It is said the child died from his injuries in room 311. Reported phenomena include the sound of a crying child in this room. It was heard so often the hospital tried not to use the room.
When museum exhibits were stored in the building’s basement, unexplained sounds occurred there. Nurses described a strange phenomenon, which appeared to be blood oozing from a basement wall.
But it is the cries of a frightened young boy who haunt his third-floor room we find most disturbing.
Ghost of Julia at La Posada
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa has probably the most famous of the Santa Fe ghost stories. Julia Staab who
Abraham Staab had the three-story Staab House built in French-inspired styling which included a mansard roof and a ballroom on the top floor. It would become the hub of society in 19-century Santa Fe. But it would not last. The couple’s eighth child was ill and finally succumbed. Julia was never the same and took to her room, which became room 256 when the house was converted to a hotel.
During a construction project, a befuddled crew came to work one morning and found their building materials in disarray. An enlightened worker began leaving roses for Julia. The mischief ceased.
Other encounters have been more personal including sightings of a transparent woman in a long dress and hood. One man reported a woman’s image in the mirror of the men’s room. And in the basement, which retains its earthen floor and stone walls, an employee of the hotel has noticed a fragrance cloud of orange and rose blossoms.
Visitors to the six-acre resort still ask for room 256, but there was the case of one man who checked in, and returned to the front desk in minutes demanding another room.
Ghost Story at New Mexico State Penitentiary
Many people don’t realize the New Mexico State Penitentiary is near Santa Fe. It’s usually the last thing on anyone’s mind as they drive into Santa Fe enjoying the clear skies, high desert air and anticipating a few days of nonstop green chile and margaritas. But in February 1980 one of the worst prison riots in the US happened here. At least 33 people killed, but the total couldn’t be certain. Two hundred treated for their injuries. The convicts in Cell Block 4 were targeted because that was where the snitches were isolated from the general population.
Eighteen years later, former Gov. Johnson closed the prison due to “uncontrollable disturbances.” The inmates moved into new facilities. After that, the old prison became a filming location for movies as well as a training center for police. One movie extra decided to explore, walked into a cell, the door closed behind him. Once a guard let him out, he left the set and did not return. Other reports of cell doors opening or closing, apparently on their own, lights coming on or going off without reason, unexplained sounds and even shadowy figures that suddenly disappear. Most disturbing are the burn marks on the floors where inmates died that cannot be cleaned or painted away. The marks always return.
Other deserted prisons are considered haunted. Maybe life sentences extend into the afterlife.
Ghost Story at 122 Grant Avenue
This week we have another Santa Fe ghost story. In 1898 a rancher built a house at what is now 122 Grant Avenue, a few blocks from the Plaza. Seven years later a young family moved in. Their son was sickly and required a wheelchair to move about. Unhappy, he was known to beat the walls of his upstairs bedroom to get his mother’s attention. Despite her constant ministrations, the lad died and his parents moved on. When the house was vacant, the neighbors reported seeing lights in the boy’s former bedroom.
In l981 the property was bought and renovated. It became the Grant Corner Inn, a bed and breakfast which hosted such notables as Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan (in better days), and illustrator Garth Williams. It had a knockout breakfast which was open to the public. But the problems did not abate. In Antonio Garcez’s book Adobe Angels: Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos,he related the experiences of the former caretaker. He told of hearing loud noises, sudden dips in the air temperature that could kill indoor plants and the stench of rancid meat.
Several years ago, the Andrew Smith Gallery bought the property and moved into the house. No further reports of disturbances have been disclosed. Perhaps the boy is now at peace.
Answer at end.
Ghost Story of the Weeping Woman
There are many ghost stories in Santa Fe. A few blocks from the St. Francis Cathedral, along the Santa Fe River, is a story that endures. I’m told there are more than 40 variations on this ghastly tale and it is a favorite throughout the southwest.
Many years ago, the poor would park their wagons along the Santa Fe River (more of a trickle most of the time). According to the story, a woman from one of those wagons met and fell in love with a Conquistador. After having two children with him, she found he had been unfaithful (isn’t that just always the way?). In her sorrow, she took her children, and drowned them in the river. There are two versions of the ending: either she rejoiced that they were gone, then fell and suffered a fatal injury, or she hung herself in regret.
There are reports from people walking in the river park that they heard a woman calling for her babies, but saw no one. She has been seen at the nearby PERA Building. Workers have reported she is a dark shape and messes with the lights in the building. This ghost is known as the Weeping Woman.
Answer at end.
Ghost Story of La Fonda
While La Fonda has stood the test of time, it has also racked up a good number of ghosts. There are so many that we’ll cover just a few this time.
During the 1800s a gambling hall was part of the hotel. As we all know, for every person who wins, there are many more who do not. In one particular incident, a man was hung in the courtyard (sometimes referred to as the backyard). Maybe it he was cheating, but whatever the reason, he was lynched. It has been reported that some guests to La Plazuela have seen the shadow of a man hanging.
The Hon. John P. Slough, who was a chief justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, was shot in the lobby and later died of his wounds. He insulted Capt. Rynerson, also with Territorial government, calling him dishonest. Rynerson took offense and shot the judge. Guests say they’ve seen a man walking the hotel dressed in a long black coat (robes perhaps?).
And yet another man lost his life in what is now the restaurant (La Plazuela). Originally it
was the courtyard and in the center was a well. Apparently a businessman lost his company’s money in a round of cards. He was so distressed, he jumped into the well to his demise. Although the well was filled in long ago, you can still see where it was. Look at the fountain in the center of the restaurant. It even closely resembles the look of the well in the postcard shown. Hotel staff and guests have seen a ghostly figure cross the room to the site of the old well and watched as he disappeared into the floor.
The Southwest Ghost Hunters Association conducted an investigation into La Fonda in 1998 and found the strongest suggestion of paranormal activity in the parking garage. During its construction, human remains were found there. This happens from time to time in Santa Fe and environs. All work ceases until the remains can be recovered.
Answers to Questions:
A. What was stored in La Residencia’s basement that resulted in the bizarre noises? Indian Artifacts.
B. The man who demanded another room stayed in Julia Staab’s room 256 for how many minutes? 7 minutes. He was referred to as the “7-minute man.”
C. What movie was filmed at the abandoned state pen? The Longest Yard.
D. What kind of tree was cut down in front of the house at 122 Grant Avenue? Weeping Willow.
E. The name of the Weeping Woman was? La Llorona,
F. La Fonda has had several names over the years. Which of the following was one of them? The Exchange Hotel.
Reluctant Medium Set Free
Beginning Sunday, August 12, 2018 at midnight, Reluctant Medium will be FREE for three days.
Reluctant Medium is the first in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series.
It all began innocently enough, Rachel only wished to speak with her dead father. A journalist, he had died under mysterious circumstances. She employed a Hopi ritual she hoped would accomplished this.
FROM THE BOOK: “Rachel learned the ancient ceremony while researching an article about the Hopi Nation. Some Native Americans and followers of eastern philosophies believe one can call back the dead. In her interviews, Joseph, a Hopi holy man, had recounted instances. It was unusual for tribe members to discuss such things with outsiders, but she had written a sensitive portrayal of life within the reservation and Joseph warmed to her. He liked Rachel’s sincerity and the deep respect she had for their traditions.”
As the ceremony progressed, Rachel began to feel anxious as things she didn’t understand developed in her living room.
FROM THE BOOK: Her body trembled as she watched the vapor seep first from the seam where hardwood floor met plaster and then from the intricate crown molding. It poured from beneath the couch like mist on a lake and slid along the wallpapered ceiling, coming ever closer while she watched, fascinated, but with growing anxiety. The hissing began softly, rising to the clamor of a den of disturbed rattlesnakes. Midpoint in the room, the two streams rose and dipped to join in a common countenance. The darkest colors of the miasma collected in an eerie spiral holding pattern, while the particles which reflected light crept away like fog throughout the room, closing off escape.
Once a figure materialized before her, Rachel knew something wasn’t right. She was certain it wasn’t her father.
FROM THE BOOK: “You’re sputtering, Rachel.” He knew her! “How is brother dearest? Still looking over his shoulder?” The comment carried a threat.
Before she could think of anything to say, the arrogant spirit hastened to the front door and vanished, through it, beyond it, into the night.
Rachel stared at the door, willing it to reveal the truth of what just happened. She’d made a terrible mistake. “Oh, my god,” she whispered. “What have I done?”
Now it’s up to Rachel to send back the undead with the help of her best friend, spirit animal and her psychic cat. Along the way she meets an actor filming his series in Santa Fe. She is drawn to him, but he’s married. In the meantime, her divorce from her husband, a documentary producer, is going forward. Will her boss be receptive to taking her back at High Desert Country magazine? And she’s developed a new talent; she sees dead people, no really. Change is everywhere.
Meow Wolf Has Bite! Me-ow!
Meow Wolf is part art installation; all fun house!
by G G Collins (Copyright 2018)
After standing in line for more than an hour–you know March is spring break, right?–I entered this magical place in Santa Fe that wasn’t the least bit southwestern. The exterior sports a mammoth spider and people actually eat beneath it. Not me!
Built in a former bowling alley, the outside isn’t impressive; but that all stops the moment you enter this wildly colorful place.
After buying tickets at a bit of a staggering price (but nowhere near Disney World prices), you grab your 3-D glasses and off you go into the wild, blue, purple, pink, orange (oh, I give up) yonder.
The hallway that leads down to the entrance is a bit 1984-ish, but what waits inside is, well, you decide for yourself. Past the door is the House of Eternal Return where you can duck through the fireplace, closet, clothes dryer or even the fridge and you’ll find yourself in another dimension.
Watch where you step because the surface underfoot is constantly changing, even at times into mounds of carpet as if you are walking beneath trees on a moss-covered forest floor.
As you climb that tree via circular staircase, the canopy you are expecting never materializes. Instead it could be a camper. Hmm. Just where am I?
That seems to be the whole point. Each inviting portal leads to another strange and wonderful place. Everyone–and remember I went during spring break–was having a great time. Age is not a factor here. There is literally something for everyone. The kids loved to play the dinosaur bones and frankly, so did I.
For those who are afraid they will be claustrophobic, while it can be quite tight quarters, there are numerous doors leading to the lobby. The people standing around in white lab coats are Meow Wolf staff and they are there to answer questions or give you the fastest route to the restroom. There was one small girl, who wasn’t too sure about a white friendly looking creature. She held on tight to her grandmother’s hand, but even at that, she was wide-eyed in appreciation
There are corridors leading to more portals. Some stairs are wide open while others are circular with tiny steps. Tall people can have trouble negotiating the later. Don’t get stuck!
Meow Wolf is a sensory experience. You can see, touch and hear, but never quite assimilate what you’re experiencing. That’s okay. It’s mysterious and leaves you wanting more. I know I’ll be returning to the House of Eternal Return.
For more information go to: https://meowwolf.com/
Coming soon to Denver and Las Vegas; your very own Meow Wolf.