Posts Tagged ‘Spirits & Ghosts’


“And as predictable as the cycles of the moon, you felt immensely alive and fortified in his presence, imbued somehow with your own capacity for higher understanding . . .”

Mister Walling was a world of his own.  And he was different from anyone anywhere I’ve been since the days of Havenwood . . .

Truth be told, I rarely ever saw him. It happened in the course of my living that the journey itself would absorb me more than my quest for truth.  And yet Gabriel White Cloud Walling became an indelible part of my life, as necessary as my dreams and the ground I walked on . . .

He never intimated there was anything out of the ordinary about his appearance.  And I really enjoyed looking at him.

His condition seemed so natural, it never occurred to me to ask if there might have been strange circumstances. Or an accident at birth. Or any other meat-brained question I already knew wasn’t the answer.

And because he conducted himself as a quiet and unassuming, good-humored creature and I’d heard no one complain or say he was odd, it seemed to me, initially, that folks around Havenwood had accepted him for the miracle he was—until I realized that he was never spoken of.

Miracle of Spirit

Photocanvas by D.J. Houston

The best I could track, Mister Walling had lived deep in the same patch of woods past the north shore of Silver Bear Lake for well over half a century before I even met him.

He didn’t seem to me to be what folks could call a bona fide recluse; he just preferred to keep to himself, choosing his people and causes of his own accord.

Hindsight might prove that his legacy lived in the stories he shared with a privy few of each new generation. And that those whose lives he touched would know in their hearts that a visit with Mister Walling promised them, if just for a moment, a freedom from the stream of time—something sacred, eternal and true.

“But the reason he seemed so special to me as a child was that whenever you arrived to him, he already knew why you were there.  Whether you knew why or not . . . ”

   Excerpts from HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

D.J. Houston, Author

Copyright©2006, 2016 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.


Mystery Novel – Life Journey – Paranormal Intrigue – Visionary Fiction – Inspirations



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A new peek at the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings by Author, D.J. Houston

Continued from Havenwood Tales Surprise – Gabriel White Cloud Walling

 “I like all your names, Mister Walling,” I assured him, and that pleased him very much.

Havenwood Endless SummerThen he told me the story of a loyal Irish setter named Buddy. And how, when he was a boy, Buddy laid down one day and never got up.

He told how his father had lumbered off on a spotted mule with Buddy’s body draped behind him over the mule’s rump.  And for seven years after, a bright orange butterfly flitted and danced above the cornfields where Buddy and he used to race the sun together.

Mister Walling never said life goes on. And all I did was listen . . .


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. . . He called her his Lily of Liverpool.  She called him her Yankee Doodle.

She liked to say she married him because he made her laugh.  And that with so much opportunity and freedom in America, surely she belonged here, too.

Ladened with crates of Julia’s family heirlooms and decidedly English furniture, they set sail on a passenger ship in the spring of ’46, arrived by train from Boston and bought the old, abandoned Butler place in Rainbolt Hollow, ghosts and all . . .


English Christmas Dinner in America

Excerpts from the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

Copyright©2010, 2012 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

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PART II of  the excerpt from HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings– “Spring in Heartland America”



I must say, I had the most godawful urge to stick my tongue out at spiteful old Miss Hickey, the Latin teacher. Her mission in life since before she was born had apparently been to hate anything and everything new and different; that much seemed obvious. But I’d figured out enough about human nature to know that it probably wasn’t really me she was mad at. I just didn’t know who.

I did put an end to her using me for a firing range, though. Daring, considering she had that willow switch hidden under her desk. But it was easy!

One day, I hung outside her classroom door with my arms stacked full of fresh library books till she sniffed me out. And when she huffed over to shoot me the daggers, I just gave her my goofiest grin.

Now, nobody EVER smiled at Miss Hickey. So after both her eyes popped out of her head and rolled on the floor like gumballs (. . . that’s how I saw it, anyway), needless to say, she never bothered to glare at me again. Blame it on the power of imagination, if you like.  But, hey — Mission accomplished.

In that glorious Spring before I turned seven, little could suppress my urge to learn. I had given myself free rein.

With reading treasures I culled from Havenwood School’s library and the books of her own Miss Greenlee loaned me — books filled with beautiful illustrations and intriguing photographs that could tell their stories without even needing words — the whole new world Mama promised me when I first started school was mine to explore every day.

Through books, I could marvel at masterful statues in London and Greece, canal boats in Venice, four seasons in Paris; explore Ireland’s pastoral sheep farms, and scamper with wild goats in the Scottish Highlands.

Aboriginal Dreamtime

Aboriginal Dreamtime

I could wonder at the linear depictions of skinny Egyptian queens and kings and track the hieroglyphic stories of their lives. I could listen to Dreamtime Story spirits of Australia’s Aboriginal people, and feel the throbbing rhythms of African Zulu warriors dancing the hunt as their pictures came alive for me. And I could dream of my life’s journey carrying me across the vast oceans of earth, to make friends with fascinating people in foreign lands.

Through books, I became enthralled with the art and culture of my Native American ancestors, and amazed by the genius of Renaissance Men in America. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, witty Samuel Clemens with his pen name, Mark Twain, all spoke to me. 

And I would later come to know the Founding Fathers of my nation, and realize–after the dark years that followed my own generation’s folly–how much the character of these great men and others of their ilk helped shape a Neo-Renaissance awakening.

And in my youth, their foresight, will and wisdom inspired me to believe in my ability to help in this world, and fueled my determination to visit my friend Mister Walling again, even if it had to be a secret . . .

C O N T I N U E D C L I C K  for Surprising Part III

Author D. J. Houston

Copyright©2011, 2014 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

Magical Mystery – Social Commentary – Coming of Age Story – American Literature Treasures

Founding Fathers

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Luck O’ The Irish To Ye from Havenwood Tales!! 


‘Tis said that Saint Patrick’s Day brings out the Irish in everyone 😉

Irish Shamrock Greeting

A holiday originating in Ireland over a thousand years ago, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world each March 17th.

And since Havenwood Tales’ young narrator, Trudie Beth McAfee, hails from English and IRISH ancestry. as well as Native American, I’d be remiss not to share some Irish adventure and wisdom with you 🙂


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“When people are willing to look at evil deeds for what they are and forbid them, then evil can’t hide anymore.”

CONTINUED from Life Lessons – Truth and Autumn Dreams

Your grandmother Meda used to bring me to this place when I was a very young girl.  We could talk about anything here.”

My mother’s mother, Meda, left this world before I was born.  She was a full-blood Shawnee Indian, the daughter of my majestic great-grandparents whose keen eyes still watched over us from their tintype photograph high on our living room mantle.

Instinctively proud of my Native American heritage, I felt honored to be part of a ritual she had once shared with my mother on that giant rock overlooking the stream in the hidden woods . . .


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“My mates and I poured out the door and scattered into the blustery autumn wind like a flock of well-dressed scarecrows . . .”

Trick orTreatHalloween was due on a Thursday in 1946.

As school was dismissing on Wednesday, Miss Greenlee made another one of her famous announcements – only this time with an added caveat that would change life as I knew it before nightfall the next day.

The innocuous sounding part was, “Anyone who would like to wear a costume to school tomorrow for Halloween may do so.”

That in itself was enough to conjure a roomful of mixed emotions. But the caveat was the kicker.

“You will please design your costume by yourself.”

And that was the rule. No cheating.

Miss Greenlee wasn’t forbidding us to scroll forward in time a few decades and buy costumes from store aisles that didn’t exist yet. She was just saying we couldn’t let anyone else make creative decisions for us. And we only had a few hours to decide.

We’d already spent the week swapping ghost stories on the playground, thinking we’d have some orange cookies and punch on Thursday and call it a Halloween. So you can imagine, on such short notice, how many straw-hatted farmers toting buckets and rakes and sheet-clad ghosts and high-heeled, beaded ladies stumbling over their mothers’ dresses were likely to show up for the “Extras” cast on Halloween morning.

But refreshingly, most of Miss Greenlee’s students managed to notch up their level of costume design to suit the “Supporting Role” category . . .

Villains and War Paint

Bobby Blackstone and Teddy MacDougal played villains, of course. They’d rubbed coal all over their faces and wrapped themselves together in a big. black funeral parlor awning.

They wouldn’t have said how they came by the awning, so nobody bothered to ask. But they were more than prompt to accommodate anyone cheeky enough to sneak a peek at them, baring their teeth and hissing in campy, Bela Lugosi voices, “We are the vicious two-headed spider and we’ve come to eat you up!”

Me, I just wanted to keep it simple.  And I sure wasn’t wearing a dress . . .

I had my fantasies about turning into a butterfly, but that wasn’t happening yet. Not according to the mirror, at least. My stubborn habit of dressing like a “tomboy” (as the gossips put it) wouldn’t permit such a delicate appearance in public on my part, anyway.

But the usual braids and overalls didn’t qualify as costume in Havenwood. So I got the idea I might use the occasion to honor my Native American ancestors, tied a strip of buckskin around my forehead, two mockingbird feathers in back and said I was an Indian. At least it was easy.

And as it turned out, I was also glad I’d declined Mama’s offer to borrow her lipstick for war paint. Katy Winthrop’s cheek rouge was enough for one day . . .

Fruit Bowl MosaicWhen I guessed correctly that Katy’s cheeks were meant to look like big red cherries to compliment the plastic fruit piled on her head, you’d think she’d just won the lottery, the way she squealed and carried on to thank me. But I must say, for a shy, plain girl who sat in the back of the classroom and kept to herself, I had to admire her daring on that headdress.

In my opinion, Katy was clearly the star of the show. And since Miss Greenlee’s other rule was that nobody could make fun of your costume, I figured she’d be safe in that respect.

Righteous Miss Hickey, however, was so offended by the blasphemy of such a thing as anyone ever wearing a costume (let alone to school) that when Mister Attabee gave us permission to stage a costume parade over lunch time, you could practically see locomotive smoke shooting from Hickey’s ears.

As we single-filed, smiling and waving in our disguises, past the open doors of the cafeteria and classrooms along the hall, older students whistled and cheered and teachers waved back and applauded.

Quilt by Susan Propst

Quilt by Susan Propst

Some played like they were afraid; others looked duly impressed, especially with Blackstone and MacDougal’s two-headed whatever-it-was. Even the weird science teacher, Mister Salamander, raised his eyeballs off the jar of brains on his desk long enough to refocus on mad-cow Clayton and the Siamese spider twins.

But all Miss Hickey could do was sputter and fume and claw at her breast, like she was being murdered by the very brazenness of it all. And I’m sorry, but that was downright entertaining . . .

All told looking back, it was a day to remember . . .

And when the final bell rang to end it, my mates and I poured out the door and scattered into the blustery autumn wind like a flock of well-dressed scarecrows, clutching our spooky artwork to share with home and family.


Excerpts from HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

by D.J. Houston

MORE HALLOWEEN MEMORIES at “Halloween Art – School Nostalgia

Copyright©2007, 2013 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.Halloween in the Window

America Literature Treasures – Holiday Stories – Inspiring Stories – Visionary Fiction

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