(Complete dispatch of my September e-mail newsletter)
In This Issue: September 2005
Welcome to the latest installment of Horror Stories by Kailleaugh Andersson. Currently, there are over 2600 souls receiving this newsletter, which makes it all the more worthwhile and I would like to thank each and every one of you have signed up in recent weeks.
If you are receiving this newsletter this means that either you, or someone using your email address has requested a subscription. Either that, or I know you well enough to think you’ll be interested!
In this particular issue, I am including a little bit of book news relating to a very important charity and of course, an original story for your reading enjoyment. If you like, you can just skip down to the story, but I wouldn’t recommend that!
Homeward Bound ...
No, it's not the Disney movie about lost pets having a big adventure, but the fact that my wife and I are moving. For me, it's going home, for Alex it's moving to a new country. Though I rarely (if ever) include any personal matters outside of writing in here, this is one of those rare exceptions simply because it is such a big event for us.
As a few of you know, I'm originally from Oregon, but for the last three years, Alex and I have lived in the Grampian region of Northern Scotland where she is originally from. On October 11th we will be flying from here, down to London and then back over Scotland, across the North Pole and then into the Pacific Northwest.
Needless to say, I am more than anxious to get home.
In any event, we have a new three bedroom house on a little bit of property waiting for us. Technically, at the moment, we have a hole waiting for us, but the foundation is expected to be poured on Monday and hopefully the house will be ready by time we get back.
And once home, we intend to get some serious writing done opposed to slacking off like we've been doing. Alex wants to take her screenwriting career further, while I will be happy just writing more often.
Either way, the next time you hear from me, I'll be far away from here, at least!
Hurricane Katrina Victims Benefit
As certainly all of you are aware, during the last few weeks, the city of New Orleans, as well as other areas of the Deep South have been devestated by a crippling Category 4 hurricane that has plunged the region into chaos. Hundreds are dead and tens of thousands are now homeless.
In October of 2004, the combination of editor C. Dennis Moore and the people at Scrybe Press hatched a concept for an anthology of horror stories called "The Book of Monsters" that was intended to bring together original fiction about Old World monsters. My wife, Alex Severin, and I were invited to contribute a traditional vampire story to the anthology, which we gladly did, since Dennis is a long time online friend (and a very good writer, in his own right, to boot). We co-wrote a traditional Slavic tale set in the Ukraine during the reign of Ivan "The Terrible" called "To Rise From The Grave".
As one official 5 star reviewer put it, Alex and I's contribution is:
"an awe-inspiring piece called "To Rise from the Grave". An ancient Slavic custom has a woman sacrifice herself over the death of her lover. When death does not satisfy her devotion, she looks to another to complete the final task. Somewhere between poetic and haunting, it has a strong emotional base."
In addition to our own inclusion, there are also nine other authors featured in "The Book of Monsters".
I am pleased to announce, that following in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, every included author featured in "The Book of Monsters" has agreed to contribute their royalties to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Katrina victims benefit.
As the book is currently on sale at Amazon.com for $10.17 a copy, I would like to encourage everyone to pick up a copy of "The Book of Monsters". Not only is it a great book, but it is a great cause to help some people very much in need, as well.
Due to the hard work of a kind reader, Wanda Rivera of Mexico, in the near future Kailleaugh.com will also be featuring some Spanish translations. As I don't speak any Spanish (only some Russian, some German and a very small bit of Czech and Romanian), without Wanda's help, it would have never been possible to reach more readers in Central America and elsewhere.
With that in mind, I'd like to extend a special thank you to Wanda for her kind offer and hard work.
In the last installment I mentioned my next book, which is the soon to be published "Oregon Ghosts and Urban Legends". As the title implies, it's a work of non-fiction that retells many ghost stories and urban legends from Oregon. The book will be released soon from Our House Press of Houston, Texas and will be available through all major online booksellers. (If you would like your local bookstore to stock it, please e-mail me the name and location of your favorite local bookstore and I will pass those details on to my publisher. E-mail to: MassacrePubl@aol.com ).
This time around I am pleased to feature a story from the un-edited manuscript "Oregon Ghosts and Urban Legends" called "The Runner". For the most part, it's an urban legend opposed to a genuine ghost story and is set in the county north of where we are moving to.
If you like the story, please feel free to tell me what you think of it!
Myrtle Creek is a small town of 3500 people that is hidden amongst the thick forests of Douglas County in Southern Oregon. Historically, this area is timber country and even before Myrtle Creek’s incorporation as a town in 1893, generations of locals have made their livelihood in the logging industry. At the height of the timber industry in this area just after the Second World War, there were over 275 mills in Douglas County. Even today, a fair share of Myrtle Creek’s economy continues to come as a result of its surrounding forest lands, though today, it is mostly about tourism opposed to lumber. Of particular interest in the town for visitors, is Horse Creek Covered Bridge, which is one of the best restored covered bridges in the state. Myrtle Creek is also now home to a particularly fine golf course, which also attracts tourist dollars into the local economy. Not surprisingly, Myrtle Creek is also the home of at least one well known ghost story.
According to local legend, during the late 1960’s, a young man by the name of Jared Morgan who attended nearby Umpqua Community College moved to Myrtle Creek. It is said that he had a profound love of not only jogging, but also the surrounding forests and that daily, he would run in the woods during the twilight hours. Jared Morgan was also an environmental activist who often spoke out at town council meetings about the dangers of de-forestation in Douglas County. At the time, as there was so little interest in conservation, most of the townspeople did not take him seriously, while others treated him as a pariah for his views. Many of those who worked in local mills saw him as a threat to their way of life and developed a very deep-seeded hatred for the man.
One evening, a group of men who worked in the local mills came back empty handed to their camp after a day of hunting. Having started drinking beer and being very discouraged by the lack of game, the hunters became very excited after one spotted a sudden movement on a nearby hill. After following the movement with the scopes on their rifles, they soon noted that it was Jared Morgan out for his nightly run. As the hunters disliked him for his views, the group agreed that they should have a bit of entertainment at his expense by firing their rifles at him to scare him. But as the men turned their guns into Jared’s direction, one man among the group, took it much further and trained the crosshairs of his scope onto the young man’s head. When the hunters open fired, a single bullet struck Jared Morgan through the skull and killed him instantly.
As the night wore on and the hunters began to sober up, fear of legal retribution for murder began to set in among the group. The men quickly concocted a story that due to the twilight, distance and thick wilderness obstructing their view, they had mistaken Jared Morgan for a deer and had killed him by accident. As the local community had not been fond of Jared Morgan’s views, the men were acquitted of murder by a jury and very little was said about the incident after that.
In the years to follow, strange stories began to circulate that something very weird was going on in the local hills during the twilight hours. Hunters began to relate strange tales about a man dressed in a blue sweatshirt and green pants who interfered with their hunts. Many of them reported that just as they began to sight in their scopes on game, that a man would run a few feet in front of the deer to block their shot. What was even stranger was that many hunters noted that the deer were not startled by the man’s appearance and would continue to go about their business as if they did not see the man. Other hunters, waiting in tree stands for deer to appear from out of the tree line at twilight, have spotted the figure running along the foot of mountain ridges in plain view, while others have spotted him running along the road toward town.
Is a nature-loving ghost harassing hunters in Douglas County’s forests? Could it be, that even in death, Jared Morgan’s spirit is still protecting the forests he loved to jog in while he was still alive?
After researching Oregon’s Death Index which lists all deaths and burials in Oregon from 1903 to present, the author could not find a record for a Jared Morgan or even a J. Morgan as having died in Douglas County between 1940 to 1980. As a consequence, it is safe to say that the above story is an urban legend opposed to one grounded in reality. It is quite likely that there never was a Jared Morgan, let alone a cover-up of a murder of an environmentalist in Myrtle Creek during the 1960’s.
But just the same, if Jared Morgan never existed and there was no murder, who (or more importantly) what, is responsible for scaring hunters in Douglas County?