Oct 29, 2013

Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf: Day 12

Dont Look Behind 
the Bookshelf
Welcome to Day 12 of Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf, you lost souls.  (You can see yesterday's post here.) For the second to last author visit, things are going to get a little spooky. I hope you're not afraid of some paranormal activity! So please give a kind boo to...


Cat is the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, a book that contains photos from the twentieth century, is set in 1918, and has ghosts. Ghosts are, of course, perfect for Halloween. And since ghosts are great at haunting, Cat is sharing her...

Top Ten Favorite Haunted Sites

Not only do I enjoy writing ghostly tales, but I’ve long been fond of visiting houses and other locations rumored to be frequented by ghosts.

Here are my top 10 favorite haunted sites, listed in alphabetical order.

1. The Haunted Mansion, Disneyland, CA
I know, I know…the ghosts are fakes in this classic Disneyland ride, but there are indeed legends of real ghosts lurking among the fabricated ones, including the spirit of a crying little boy.

2. The Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA
If you’ve read my debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, you’ll know that Coronado, CA, is the home of the novel’s ghost. It’s also the rumored home of the spirit of Kate Morgan, a young woman who died on the grounds of the luxurious Hotel del Coronado in 1892. I always loved visiting this grand Victorian-era hotel when I lived in San Diego.

3. The Jack the Ripper Tour, London, England
When I was a 19-year-old college student, I studied theater in London for five weeks, and one evening I felt brave enough to venture out by myself to take a guided walking tour of Jack the Ripper’s murder sites (yes, that’s the sign of a young person who will grow up to write horror stories). I can’t even begin to explain how terrified I was traveling back through the dark streets of London to my dorm that night.

4. Las Flores Adobe, Camp Pendleton, CA
As a young Girl Scout, my troop participated in an annual camping trip in a large, dry field that included an old 1860s adobe. Rumors abounded of ghosts inhabiting the building, and there are few things more frightening for a kid than sleeping with only a thin piece of canvas between you and a haunted house.

5. New Orleans, LA
My husband and I took a nighttime ghost and vampire tour of New Orleans back in 1997. Lightning flashed across the sky, strange mist seemed to emanate from courtyards, and my imagination ran wild from all the atmospheric tales of ghosts and the undead in this famously haunted historic city.

6. Old Town Pizza, Portland, OR
Old Town Pizza, formerly the lobby of a Victorian-era hotel, is a current favorite hangout of mine. Another frequent visitor of the place is a ghost named Nina, who supposedly died in the hotel’s elevator shaft after getting caught as a snitch in the late 1800s. My kids refuse to sit in the dark, chilly booth that now occupies the space where Nina is said to have met her untimely fate.

7. Plymouth, MA 
The first ghost tour I ever took was in this legendary Pilgrim town. The tour guide had us carry pewter lanterns lit with flickering candles as we traveled from one haunted site to another.

8. The Whaley House, San Diego, CA
Deemed the number one most haunted house in America by Travel Channel's America's Most Haunted, the Whaley House is a place that simply feels haunted as you walk through its narrow hallways. This was another one of my favorite sites to visit as a San Diego resident, and I just visited it again in May when I promoted IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS in the city. The museum has an online display of visitor-submitted ghostly photos at http://whaleyhouse.org/submittedghostphotos.htm.

9. The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose California
According to legend, in the 1800s a Boston medium convinced Sarah Winchester, widow of the man who invented the Winchester rifle, that spirits would kill her if she didn’t move west and construct a house that should never be finished. I’ve visited her historic home twice, and it’s a twisting, rambling, eerie collection of 160 rooms, 13 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, and 47 stairways.

10. Villa Montezuma, San Diego, CA
Sadly, this historic Victorian home is no longer open to the public, but it was another one of my favorite haunts when I was a San Diegan. In the late 1800s, the house’s original owner, Jesse Shepard, conducted “musical séances” in the home, during which he supposedly channeled the spirits of long-gone composers, such as Mozart. A couple different ghosts are said to dwell within the home, and the creepy architectural touches include a gargoyle on the rainspout.

I’d love to hear about your top favorite haunted sites. Where have you been that spooked you the most?

See What's Lurking in the Shadows
Title: In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publishing Date: April 2, 2013
Pages: 387
Goodreads Amazon
Barnes & Noble

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

No Boos Here
Winters’s masterful debut novel is an impressively researched marriage of the tragedies of wartime, the 1918 flu epidemic, the contemporaneous Spiritualism craze, and a chilling love story and mystery... 

Deliciously creepy.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Unconventional and unflinching... More than anything, this is a story of the breaking point between sanity and madness, delivered in a straightforward and welcoming teen voice.” — Booklist, starred review
“Winters deftly combines mystery, ghost story, historical fiction, and romance...the story and setting are atmospheric and eerie.” — School Library Journal, starred review
She's Not A Ghost...Or is She?
Cat Winters's critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, is a nominee for YALSA's 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults and was named one of Booklist's 2013 Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth. Publishers Weekly called the novel a “masterful debut...deliciously creepy” (starred review), and School Library Journal described it as “atmospheric and eerie” (starred review). Her second novel, The Cure for Dreaming, is coming Fall 2014. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at  www.blackbirdsnovel.com and at the links below.

Website Twitter Facebook

Come Back Haunted
Thank you, once again, for stopping by Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf! I hope you got a little spooked by Cat's post--maybe it inspired you to do some travelling? And don't forget to follow Cat's links and check out her ghostly good book!

Please be sure to return tomorrow for the final author taking part in Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf. (Holy ghosts, that means Halloween is practically here!) But I'm warning you, tomorrow's post may be a little villainous!


  1. Great post! I adored In the Shadow of Blackbirds and I'll definitely check out some of these places when I finally go to the US next summer! I'll be in San Diego a couple days and I'll drag my sister to some of the hotels.
    When I was in London two years ago, I went on a Grim Reaper tour of places where people used to be executed etc., and we also took a look at some of the Jack the Ripper areas. It was really strange to stand in this place and know what happened there a bit over a hundred years ago...

  2. Oh man, I've only been to three of these places, but this is a great list! The Haunted Mansion, The Winchester Mystery House and The Jack the Ripper tour are all wonderful! The ghost tour in York, England is pretty creepy too!

  3. I’d love to hear about your top favorite haunted sites. Where have you been that spooked you the most?

  4. I visit some beautiful places but this is a great list of wonderful places! The Haunted Mansion, The Winchester Mystery House and The Jack the Ripper tour and others also are all wonderful! Thanks for Sharing such a nice post here.

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