Do You Believe in Ghosts? by Barbara Monajem

Do you believe in ghosts?

I don’t think I do. I like believing in the supernatural, but I’ve never been keen on ghosts. The idea of someone’s spirit hovering on earth—stuck somehow—never appealed much to me. People, whether dead or alive, should always be moving forward—making progress, or so it seems to me.

Duntulm DSo it was a big surprise when I found myself writing a ghost story.

I think it’s the fault of my imagination. Whether or not I believe in ghosts—I certainly haven’t seen any–it’s fun to imagine them, especially in a place that looks as if it should be haunted. Duntulm Castle, a ruin on the Isle of Skye, is one of these. Duntulm clings to a cliff a bit of a walk from the road. There are no ticket wickets or museums—merely some meager stone remnants of the castle in a hauntingly beautiful setting. There is a sign warning visitors not to cross the fence because the ruins are dangerous, but people ignore it. The ruins are too tempting to resist. As far as I can tell, Duntulm isn’t haunted—there’s a story of an infant falling from a window and a nursemaid being set adrift as a punishment, but no mention of a resulting ghost. And although I understand the reason for the fence, it sort of detracts from the spooky potential!

Duntulm 4My ghost story doesn’t take place in Scotland (although I may be tempted in future), but rather in Lancashire, England, in an imaginary early 17th century house with a ruined medieval tower. The ghost isn’t the hero or heroine (because I can’t envisage physical love between a living person and a ghost—although some authors do a great job of it), but she’s been hanging around for two hundred years, and she drives the story. She’s a feisty ghost with a tragic history, stuck on earth due to a curse, and I grew to like her very much.

The story is called The Christmas Knot, and it will be released as part of a boxed set, Captivated by His Kiss, in early January. I don’t have a cover yet, but the pre-order link is here.

Duntulm 5

Here’s a teeny taste. Edwina White is the governess of the children of Richard Ballister, a man she’d once loved. She’s awakened by the ghost in a very rough and ready way. 😉

~ * ~


Edwina scrambled up, cringing against the headboard. Her cheek stung. This time the presence in the bedchamber was almost palpable, and the voice cried inside her mind.

You ruined everything! He loved you. He would have made you the new mistress of the Grange… The voice died away on a string of bitter sobs.

Edwina got a hold of herself. She had overslept; a grey light told her the winter dawn was about to break. “You…you think he would have married me?” she whispered, and immediately sensed such fury that she put up her hands to fend off another slap. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

What use is sorry? the voice scoffed. Do you know how hard it is to make you mortals see and hear me?

“I’m listening now,” Edwina said, but the presence—the ghost—was gone.

She got out of bed, a hand to her still-stinging cheek, and stared into the dim room. Time to admit it to herself: she was as much in love with Richard as she’d been twelve years earlier. Far worse, she had just ruined her chances of rekindling that same love in him.

~ * ~

Aww… but no worries, this is a romance, so it has to have a happy ending.

Anyway, I have a question: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? Answer this one in the comments.

And here’s the trivia question for our fabulous basket of favorite things: Where does The Christmas Knot take place? For a chance to win, fill in your answer, name and email address in the spaces provided in the right hand column of this page.

Duntulm 6

Follow Barbara Monajem:

Barbara Monajem started writing at eight years old. She has wandered from children’s fantasy through mystery to paranormal and historical romance. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

29 Responses

  1. barbarabettis1

    I don’t believe in ghosts, and I feel a bit the way you described, too. I hate to think of any spirit being trapped on earth–I trust that they are, as you say, moving forward. Your story, however, sounds quite good. Good luck with it’s released. I’ll be watching for it.

  2. bethtrissel

    Sounds like a great story. The thing about ghosts is that they don’t jump out and say boo. Yes, I’ve had experiences here in the richly historic and paranormal Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I’ve written many blog posts. Right off hand, the last significant story came about with my dear aunt’s death this past June in the old family homeplace (circa 1816) in the valley. One of the hospice nurses reported rousing from where she had dozed off in the chair beside my aunt’s bed (she died at home) to see a young man seated by my aunt on her bedside, holding her hand, and they were speaking softly together. He then rose and nodded politely at the nurse, something my late uncle would do, and walked from the room. Thinking him to be my cousin, Henry, my aunt and uncle’s youngest son, the nurse followed, only to find Henry asleep in a chair outside the room. Henry looks much as my uncle did in his younger days. We think my uncle returned to be with his beloved wife as she died, which occurred a day or two later. The second hospice nurse reported a strong sense that another presence was in that room and the family saw a shadow when they had gathered round her bed at the end with ho one to account for it. And then there’s the time my mom and I were house sitting for a dear friend whose husband had passed, while they were at the funeral home for the viewing, and he returned. Mom and I both heard someone at the door and his distinct ‘Hello’ but nobody was there. I don’t think these sorts of ghosts hang around indefinitely, but only for a time. The sort that stay on have unfinished business or are protecting their territory or something they left behind, or, or, or. Some are shadows of the past, and not really there. Like a glimpse into time. And then there are the poltergeists. Some ghosts and poltergeists are evil and you need an exorcist. If you don’t live in a paranormal rich area, it’s easier not to believe.

    • Barbara Monajem

      I love hearing your ghost stories, Beth. The ghost in my story isn’t evil, although being stuck on this plane is partly her fault. She’s doing her best to mend matters, and I guess that’s why I like her a lot. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your stories. Although I tend not to believe in ghosts, your experiences are very, very persuasive.

  3. Red

    I’m with Barb and you, Barbara, too. I don’t believe in ghosts, but . . . weird things have happened. Your story sounds great! Congratulations!

  4. Beppie Harrison

    Fascinating excerpt and comments! I don’t believe in ghosts, either, which is why I find it hard to explain an incident shortly after my father died. He adored my mother, and the two of us were in Washington D.C., coming down one of those huge stairs from a museum to the Mall. My mother was some distance ahead of me, and I suddenly heard my father’s voice, very crossly, snapping, “Get hold of your mother!” My eyes widened and I scampered down the stairs to grab her elbow and she turned to smile at me and that was the end of that. Did it happen? I can’t say. But that’s what he would have said in those circumstances and how he would have said it …

    • Barbara Monajem

      Wow! That’s fascinating, Beppie. That’s the kind of experience that might convince me, if not that there are ghosts, but that people who have gone to the other side can help us sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. ginadanna

    I do believe in them. Of course, seeing one at Jefferson Barracks, hearing them causes you to change into a believer. Even in my house, which I closed on the day my father died, makes me believe in them cuz my dad never came inside the house, he was too sick to go up the stairs to the front door BUT I have smelled his pipe tobacco inside the house 2x over the past 20 years. He used a distinctive brand that I recognize so… Nice blog 🙂

    • Barbara Monajem

      Oh, how lovely to smell your dad’s tobacco. Whenever I smell pipe tobacco I am reminded of my father. He stopped smoking sometime during my teen years, but the smell of tobacco still reminds me of warmth and comfort.

    • Barbara Monajem

      I took some and my husband took some. They came out a little too dark — the camera was acting weird. I have some other pics of a different castle that are so bright they look almost like paintings. But I’m glad you like the pics — they certainly convey a rather grim and spooky atmosphere. 🙂

  6. Ann Bracken

    I believe in ghosts, but like many, believe they are not so much stuck here as that they are here to help us. I think they are often loved ones, watching over us and helping us on our way. I love the story of the uncle who came to help his wife pass on. My father is dying, and I’ve often felt the presence of his favorite grandfather these past couple months, waiting to help him to the other side, as well as to give me comfort.

    If I’m reading your trivia question right, I believe you gave the answer in the post: Lancashire, England, in an imaginary early 17th century house with a ruined medieval tower. Love the pics! I want to visit Scotland one day.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thank you, Ann. I like your way of believing in ghosts. How wonderful to feel your grandfather’s presence just now. Thanks so much for commenting.

      If you want to enter the giveaway, please enter your name, email address and answer in the blanks in the right hand column of the blog. (It’s below the pic of our favorite things.)

      Definitely go to Scotland! It’s a glorious place to visit.

  7. Josie Riviera

    I love a good ghost story, and Beth, your stories are always riveting. But like you, Barbara, I’m skeptical. Best wishes on your newest release!

    • Barbara Monajem

      LOL. When I was a child I visited Warwick Castle, where there was a haunted room. I wished I could spend the night there and see the ghost — but I bet if I’d been given permission, I would have backed down right away.

  8. JoannaM

    hmh, camera acting weird, isn’t that telling you something? 😉
    It’s not so much that I don’t believe in ghosts but I don’t believe they don’t exist. There must be something there. In another plane perhaps, in another time continuum? I know, I know, I have a wild imagination but for too many people to have seen it (or believe to have seen it) there has to be some basis to it, don’t you think? Besides grandma said that her mother and some of her family members had some encounters of the ghostly kind and if grandma said then it means it’s true LOL

  9. hollybushbooks

    Love this excerpt and all these interesting comments! My mother spoke to me after her death. It was very comforting to hear her voice.

  10. ginaconkle2013

    Hi Barbara,
    Great excerpt and pictures. Looks like you have a winning story. One of my all-time top romance movies is “Ghost” (Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in the clay spinning wheel scene… iconic :-D). As to your question: Yes. Spirits are out there. BTW, I love the idea of the Scottish set story (next on your list??). I’ve been to Mary King’s Close…sorta creepy! I vote for a rambling castle in the highlands setting.
    Have a great day, Barbara.

  11. Barbara Monajem

    Yeah, that was some scene, eh? It dwells fondly in my memory. Ghostly creepy…oooh, what fun. Maybe next time I go to Edinburgh I’ll plan my day properly and take the Mary King’s Close tour…