Paranormal Perceptions ~ The Old Book On The Shelf
The Paranormal Perceptions series was created to gather some of the most interesting authors that are using paranormal elements in their stories. Every author has their own perceptions and provides their own insight on all things paranormal, ranging from urban legends and paranormal research, to myths and inspirations. This week on the guest series is author of Beneath the Veil, author William McNally(@WilliamMcNally).
I often wonder why we love to be scared. Could it be a long dormant part of our animal brains that still needs to feel like it did living outside, surrounded by constant danger? Imagine our primitive selves huddled around a fire fighting the cold night, listening for any sounds of death approaching.
Maybe that part of us still needs to get some attention once in a while…maybe more than once in a while. As a child, two of my most memorable possessions were things I loved during the day and feared when the night came. The first item was a black plastic box with a green hand that would rise out and snatch a coin inside. During the day, it was a simple coin bank that required an occasional battery, but at night, it was something far worse and always stayed outside of my room. This innocuous toy inspired many sleepless nights waiting for a hand to rise up from under my bed, where to my child’s mind, the bad hands lived.
The second and seemingly more conventional item was an Edgar Allan Poe book named Tales of Mystery and Imagination. The book was hidden in my father’s den to keep it out of my reach, but I always managed to locate it high on a dusty bookshelf. The book was printed in the 1920’s and was already torn and battered by the time it got into my hands. Its cover was grainy, with a torn binding. The pages inside were rough and yellowed and looked as if they were cut from sheets of parchment, or maybe something worse. To my young imagination, this book was like gasoline on a bonfire and repulsed and compelled me in equal measure.
Strangely, I cannot recall ever actually reading the book. I didn't need to. This particular book could read you…if you let it. Between its black and white chapters were ten printed illustrations mounted on gray board. The works were created by the Irish artist Harry Clarke and captured Poe’s stories with a ghastly perfection. The very first page contained a drawing of Mr. Poe himself, glaring up as if interrupted from deep thought. These forbidden illustrations were shocking and drew me back to that high shelf in the corner, over and over again.
As things do, the coin bank and book were lost during the ensuing decades, and I left my boyhood fears behind. Until a month ago, that is, when I received an unexpected visit from a ghost of my past. The Poe book was unearthed from its forty year slumber and returned to entice me once again. Instead of hiding the book on a high shelf or in a dusty basement, I framed ten of the illustrations and hung them on the walls of my writing room. Now Harry and Edgar can scare me a little while longer while I write things that might frighten you. If you can’t wait until nighttime, then download one my books Four Corners Dark, or Beneath the Veil and find a safe place to hide.
William McNally is a former executive, husband and animal advocate based in the mountains of Dahlonega, Georgia. Drawn to dark and thought provoking stories, he released his first book, Four Corners Dark in 2012 and recently followed it with his second, Beneath the Veil. Visit him online at williammcnallybooks.com for updates and events. Look for William's next release, The Knights of Moonshine, spring 2014.
Twitter - https://twitter.com/WilliamMcNally