Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Resurrection Mary Forever

One of the things I think about nearly every day in January is my beloved Resurrection Mary. In the midst of all the other projects and books in the works, I'm finally writing a book devoted just to her, and each night, after my daughters are in bed, I find time to type out a few hundred words just for her.

The story of Resurrection Mary, as every Chicago ghosthunter--and any self-respecting Chicagoan!--knows, is the pivotal tale around which revolves the entire folklore of Southwest Chicago. As a girl, my dad would take me to Resurrection Cemetery to visit the graves of his Polish cousins; inevitably, we'd stop for his shot and a beer (7-Up for me) at Chet's Melody Lounge, the infamous tap across from the cemetery gates. I never could have realized, in those days, that someday I'd frequent this place as a writer, historian, and ghosthunter. I never could have imagined the life that lay ahead.

Each night, after I've finished my typing, after I've finished remembering, I shut off the computer and turn out the office lights. Looking out the window in the darkness, these nights, soft snow is often falling. And I'm taken back to Archer Avenue, so close, so far . . . and I imagine I'm walking with Mary, along the roadside, nearly a hundred years gone by--searching for something we'll never find. Never.

Look for "Beloved: The Lives and Afterlives of Resurrection Mary" this Summer.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Breathe in, breathe out.

It's been a crazy couple of months. I'm working day and night to finish the script for the audio book, "The Best of Chicago Haunts," of which a third will be new stories from the upcoming "Chicago Haunts 3," due out in paperback in the Fall of this year. Since the audio book contains new material, I've been running around the metropolitan area, tracking down leads, talking to fascinating people by the dozen, and investigating what seems more and more like an endless supply of Chicago ghosts and hauntings. I hope you like the new book--it's got a different feel from the others; I guess that has a lot to do with the fact that it's the first book I've written since we started Chicago Hauntings, Inc., so it has a more hands-on narrative style than the others and talks a lot about our investigations from a first-person perspective.

I've also been structuring syllabi for Chicago-area college courses in folklore and parapsychology, preparing notes for a new BBC show, outlining a new, non-regional book, and preparing materials for the Chicago Public Library's summer reading program. Whew. Like I said, it's been crazy.

Our tours have had their best seasons ever. We are in our fifth year of year 'round operation and are looking forward to an unprecedented Spring, Summer, and (of course) Fall. Thanks to all of you who have supported the books and tours through these years-it's all because of you that we are able to keep doing the research that made the books--and the tours--as acclaimed as they continue to be. If you haven't already signed up for our newsletter, please do so--you'll get all the special tour announcements and discounts as well as anouncements about book releases and all that fun stuff.

I'll write again this weekend; I want to share with you a case I've been looking into this past week, unfolding just off Archer Avenue. It smacks of a famous, 1970s Chicago case, but with decidedly different "spiritual" aims.