Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moving Day for Haunt Jaunts

In my update I hinted that there might be a moving day ahead for Haunt Jaunts. Little did I know then that I'd get bitten hard by the WordPress bug and retool my entire blog!

But that's exactly what happened so Haunt Jaunts now has a new address and what I think is a very cool new look.


The new address for Haunt Jaunts, which now also has the new name of Blog, is Please be sure to pop on over and give a gander. I'd love to hear what you think about it.


That's one thing the WordPress theme I chose didn't have built in: automatic feeds. And if you're like me and have certain blogs you like to follow on your blogroll, you know how handy those feeds can be!

But never fear. If you want to continue following along, we still have feed access. You can either get it when you visit our site. (Look for the Subscribe to Our Feeds section at the top of the middle column.) Or you can use the following links to manually update your blogrolls:

Thanks so much for bearing with me as I make this transition.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Update on's Progress

Logo by Cool Text: Logo and Graphics Generator

I thought I'd give you a quick update on's progress. I know some of you are interested when it'll finally be launched. (Especially those of you whose stories I accepted. I know you want to know when you'll get paid!)

Hopefully by September 1.

I got a bit off track last month and didn't make the kind of progress I'd hoped. There's still Jaunts to be added (more than I care to admit). The web site's still undergoing some technical tweaking. The only thing I kind of have a handle on is story submissions. I only have one left in the queue to read.

Hopefully I'll make more progress this month so I can keep on track.

Also, as an FYI, Haunt Jaunts the blog may be moving to a new address also. I'll of course be sure to let you know if it does!

Mere Bulles: Sunday Brunch Haunt Jaunt

Yesterday I discovered an unexpected Eerie Eatery Haunt Jaunt when Wayne took me to Sunday Brunch at Mere Bulles.


We had eaten at Mere Bulles before. Wayne took me there for lunch once. I didn't "feel" anything then, so I wasn't expecting to this time either. But I did. I know you sensitives out there will know what I'm talking about when I say that, but for those who've never experienced such a sensation I'll try and explain.

When we were standing in the entrance before the hostess seated us, something about the stairs leading up to the second level struck me. Yes, they are beautiful. (Mere Bulles occupies what used to be a home that went by the name Maryland Manor.) They curve and have wooden railings and the walls are painted a fabulous dark color. (But my mind isn't cooperating with me, and I didn't think to snap a picture. I can't remember if the paint was blue or green!) At any rate, it's very elegant.

I hadn't noticed them the other time we ate there. In fact, all I remember was that my food was good, it was around Christmastime, and the other tables were crowded with people enjoying the holidays.

But this time...this time was different. We weren't seated in one of the main rooms, but out in the sunroom. It was while I was sitting there enjoying every morsel of my eggs Benedict that I looked first at the bar area, then over to the room where the brunch buffet serving tables were set up and felt...something. Something different.

It was that same feeling I had in St. Augustine the first time, especially in the bathroom at Harry's: here there be ghosts.


After our meal I worked up my nerve and approached the hostess.

"Excuse me, I have a rather weird question for you. I don't know how to ask it exactly without coming off as crazy, but I was wondering if you have ghosts here?"

"As a matter of fact," she diverted her attention from me to where the remaining brunch-goers were still seated. "I don't see any of them now, but some of the servers who have been here for a while swear there's a ghost here. I would have one come talk to you and tell you about their experience, but I don't see the ones I'm thinking of."

But she did give me a sheet that explained the history of Maryland Farms (the area in Brentwood where Mere Bulles is located). It's how I found out the restaurant was once a home called Maryland Manor, which was built by the Ward family in 1942.

I'll have to give Mere Bulles a call and see if they'll talk to me about their ghost. Mostly I was just excited to have stumbled across another potential Haunt Jaunt and wantes to hurriedly share it.

One other thing I'd like to note: whatever that different energy was that I felt, it was warm and kindly, not scary at all. Inviting is even a word that comes to mind.

On the sheet the hostess gave me it said that the Ward family enjoyed entertaining in their home and did so often. I'm wondering if maybe that's why I felt something. Our server had mentioned there'd been a party there the night before. Maybe the ghost was still basking in the fun of that?

Or maybe it had something to do with Sunday Brunch. That might make for a different vibe, one that either the ghost likes, is attracted to, or feeds off of. (Can't say as I blame him/her either. That was one of the best brunches I've been to in a while. There was a chocolate fountain and everything!)


If you live in Nashville or ever come for a visit, in addition to Sunday Brunch Mere Bulles also serves lunch and dinner. Here's their address, phone number and website:

5201 Maryland Way
Brentwood, TN 37027

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Hitchhiker and the Hood to Coast Race

Please forgive me up front. This is not a Haunt Jaunts related post...not exactly. There are no spooky places to tell of, no ghosts to mention, but a haunting of sorts is involved.


If you've read my profile or checked out the About section on, you know about my hitchhiker. You also know that it's the reason I'm alive. Creating the blog and website was my "get off the couch" motivator. I believe it kept me going and played a huge part in my recovery.

If you don't know about my hitchhiker, I'll give you the quickie synopsis: "hitchhiker" is my euphemism for my cancer. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on December 31, 2008. On May 19, 2009 I was told I was in remission. On June 18, 2009 I finally finished all my treatments.


At the end of August my husband is going to participate in the 197-mile Nike Hood to Coast Relay. As part of this he's also raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

His target amount to raise is $1,500. We're nearly there. As of this posting, we're at just over $1,200.

That's why I'm asking for your help. He's doing this race (a) because he's nuts and has always wanted to, but also (b) because when he found out there was some way he could actively participate in finding a cure for cancer after what we've been through this past year (we also lost my mom to lung cancer last July), he didn't hesitate to sign up.

I say Haunt Jaunts has been my get off the couch motivator, but Wayne is the reason I'm alive. I never could have gotten through the tests or treatments without him being there for me every step of the way. Getting cancer was perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me. I sure found out just how deep and true Wayne's love for me runs!

Now I want to help him.

Please help support him if you can, if you've ever been touched by cancer, or if you're just looking for a good cause to support. It doesn't have to be much. Just a $5 contribution would be HUGE! (All contributions go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.)

And if you donate online you can add your name to the Honor Roll (or remain anonymous if you wish) and even specify that your donation is in honor of a certain friend or loved one you know who has been affected by this disease.


Here's the link for his LAF page: Wayne & Courtney's Fundraising Page.

Thank you for your consideration.

America's Haunted Roadtrip Ghostwriting Contest

Here's a contest for you Haunt Jaunting writers out there: America's Haunted Roadtrip Ghostwriting Contest. If you have a ghost story encounter you've always wanted to share, here's your chance!

Download guidelines and an entry form on their site. Deadline for submissions is Sept. 15, 2009.


But it's not just limited to stories. If you have any spooky photos, they're looking for those too.


I'd like to thank Christine Verstraete (Candid Canine) for tipping me off about the America's Haunted Roadtrip site and books.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Ghost Tour

Anytime is a good time to take a ghost tour, but ghost tours aren't always offered year round. Soon the high season of ghost tours (October) will be upon us. After that many of them go on hiatus during winter before reemerging in spring.

Technically we have about three months of good ghost touring opportunities left in most places. (Less as some tours start filling up and selling out in advance here shortly.) If you're wanting to take one and haven't before (or have but didn't enjoy it), here's five things to consider when choosing a ghost tour to make it the best experience possible:
  1. Walking or riding: This one is key. How mobile are you? How much standing and walking can you endure? Most tours last anywhere from one to three hours. Are you up to three hours on your feet for a walking tour? Or would you be more comfortable on a driven tour? (It may seem like a given, but people sometimes overestimate their physical abilities. The point is to enjoy your ghost tour experience, not hurt yourself.)
  2. Age appropriateness: Are you hoping to take the kids along? Some tours aren't kid-friendly. Most are pretty good about including disclaimers or setting age limits if they cover mature themes, but if you're not sure it's always a good idea to ask first.
  3. Physical exertion: This sort of relates to the first one. If you're going to take a walking tour, how far will you be walking? Are there hills? Steps? Will there be places to sit and rest along the way? Keep in mind your physical limitations, and that of any little ones you may be bringing along.
  4. Bathrooms: Do you foresee anyone in your group needing one during the tour? If so, ask ahead of time if bathroom facilities will be accessible during your tour.
  5. Weather: Inclement weather often cancels some tours, but not always. And sometimes it's not inclement enough to warrant canceling, but it also might not be ideal. Make sure you dress appropriately and have whatever paraphernalia you may need. Be that water bottles during hot weather, umbrellas and rain coats during wet weather, or hats and mittens for cold weather.


These sites list ghost tours by state:
  1.'s Ghost Tours
  3. Angels & Ghosts's Ghost Tours

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Paranormal Parties

A paranormal pal of mine, Donna Marsh, recently let me know about a new business venture she's embarking on: Fun with Donna, which among other things hosts paranormal parties.

Photo by Michael Pohl from stock.xchng


Fueled in part by, I admit it, watching Ghost Hunters, I met Donna when I attended one of her Basic Ghost Hunting Workshops a couple of years ago. I dragged Wayne with me, who thinks I'm a bit cuckoo about all this ghost stuff but humors me anyway, and even he had a great time. Donna's very warm, personable, and entertaining. I imagine attending one of her parties would be quite the blast!


The main crux of her business is actually adult toy and goody sales. She caters to every kind of setup you can imagine:

  • Ladies Night Out
  • Bachelorette parties
  • Wedding showers
  • "Divorced Diva" parties (for the divorced woman who wants to celebrate her freedom)
  • Couples
  • Romance (learn tips and tricks for enriching your sex life)

However, as any good business person would, she's also added her own unique spin. Since she is a sensitive and a ghost hunter and understands people enjoy exploring this aspect of life, she also offers the following for paranormal parties:

  • Ghost hunting (in your home or at an off-site location of your choosing)
  • Seances
  • Psychic and medium readings
  • Spell crafting

For more info on the specifics of each, visit the "Parties" link on her site.


I think using haunt jaunts as fundraisers is an extremely clever and fun way for organizations or clubs to raise money, but Donna's putting a twist on it. She'll put her talent to work in a gallery-style psychic reading for your guests.

I see a lot of possibilities here. Including perhaps pairing this up with a ghost hunt too. All you'd need is a hotel or bar (or some other place with purported activity) to donate the space, sell a few tickets, maybe serve some food and drinks and voila! A really unique fundraising event people are sure to talk about long after.

For more info on fundraising parties with Donna, visit the "Fundraising" link on her site.


And of course if you do attend one of her paranormal parties, I'd love to hear all about it.