Horror Writers Association

Halloween Haunts: Hauntingly Normal by Susan Schwartz


Writing and researching the paranormal always seemed natural to me after growing up in a haunted house. We moved after the previous owner had passed away. She was a sweet elderly lady, who was well-loved in the neighborhood. The owner didn’t want it empty for too long a time. Being right down the street, the move didn’t take too long at all.

I noticed the strange sensations after a couple of weeks. Nothing specific, I would just get weird feelings about the house and the strange noises it made, especially after dark. Why is it always after dark? Footsteps down the attic stairs or what sounded like people walking upstairs led to asking about occurrences that may cause the issue. I heard about a man that had hung himself in the attic, but this was never corroborated. It didn’t need to be, I knew there was something weird happening. I always wondered if the gentleman was trying to fix the error he made in the past.

Other times, I would be in my bedroom, which was at the end of the hallway. I would hear someone walking down the hall and stop at my door. By hearing them, I mean you could hear feet on the carpet as they were taking steps. I assumed it was one of my parents and when I would look up or go open the door, no one was ever there. After a few minutes, they would return back the way they came. I never saw indentations in the carpet, but I always heard them walking back and forth, day and night.

The house would also take on a specific smell as well. When the elderly lady’s granddaughter came to visit, I remember her saying it smelled just like her grandmother was still living there. The smell would fill our noses every month for a few days. We always said the lady had come back to visit and make sure her house was still standing.

Living in a haunted house made for some great stories at both school and recreational activities. We were a strange family, who else do you know that takes pictures at a funeral or stays until the last handful of dirt is thrown on the grave? It has led to my love of cemeteries and study of the dead. Being a lifelong taphophile, I find cemeteries quiet and inviting. They are not filled with the everyday noise of the world, and I find that extremely relaxing. I love to take lunch and eat with my parents and grandmother, who are all buried in Charlottesville. In fact, one year, I brought two pieces of cake with me. My father always made sure I had a cake for my birthday, so I brought him a piece to enjoy the first birthday after he died.

The dead are never far from us if we keep them in our hearts and our memories. I think they are still in the back of our minds helping us in their own small ways to pick the right path and live a good life. It is when we don’t listen or are too closed off to hear that trouble starts. Pay attention to your surroundings, you may notice things you never thought could happen. The signs are always there, you just have to know how to read them.

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Susan Schwartz is giving away a copy of Haunted Charlottesville and Surrounding Counties. Please comment below or email membership@horror.org with the subject title HH Contest Entry for a chance to win.



Susan Schwartz has been an avid writer for around 17 years doing everything from writing freelance articles to editing manuscripts for other authors. She also loves writing horror stories that have a twist at the end.

Her alter ego is an Operating Room Nurse/Nurse Educator who loves creating tales from the interesting and weird things she have seen. Currently, she is a member of the Horror Writers Association, the Nonfiction Authors Association, and the Virginia Writers Club where she serves as 1st Vice-President of the state organization. She has two novels in the works, a paranormal romance and a medical thriller. Her first non-fiction book, Haunted Charlottesville, was released in May 2019. Another non-fiction, Haunted Hotels & Inns in Virginia, is being released in 2023.


Website:  https://susanschwartzauthor.com/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Schwartz/e/B00O80X1OU?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1663885709&sr=8-1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.schwartz1/

& https://www.facebook.com/susanschwartzauthor/


3 comments on “Halloween Haunts: Hauntingly Normal by Susan Schwartz

  1. So interested to hear about the activities of the OTHERS from counties of my family.

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