Friday, November 4, 2011
Ghost of Crimson Dawn
by Jean Herny Mead
I’m a little late for Halloween but I have a spooky tale to tell about my juvenile mystery, The Ghost of Crimson Dawn. This is how it came about:
Each June 21, a summer solstice festival is held on Casper Mountain. It originated with Neal Forsling, an artist who homesteaded the land and built a cabin at its summit. During the 1930s and 40s, she entertained her children with stories of witches and warlocks, and later published a novella about her imaginary coven. She also invited her friends to dress as witches to celebrate the solstice. I still wonder why the festival wasn't held instead on Halloween.
Neal Forsling died in 1977, and her cabin was converted to a museum, with original furniture, paintings and ancient wood stove. The festival she founded continued after her death with several hundred participants, some traveling quite a distance to take part in the celebration. A number of people claim to have seen Forsling’s ghost. Dressed in her usual jeans, plaid shirt and red knit cap, she's said to haunt her former homestead. Others have said they'e seen her in a long, flowing gown.
I decided to write another Hamilton Kids' mystery after visiting the festival. When the book was finished, my husband designed the cover from my photos of the bon fire, which always concludes the celebration. But when he reversed the cover photo to design the spine and back, a series of ghostly faces were formed on the spine where the edges of the fire connect. Talk about goosebumps!
The following day I discovered a website featuring Forsling’s paintings (Click the words Forsling's paintings to see them.). Several of them, like the one above, closely resemble the faces that appeared on my book cover spine. The next morning, when I stepped on our digital scale, instead of seeing my weight, the word YES appeared on the screen. I still get cold chills thinking about it. Needless to say, the book cover was redesigned.
The Ghost of Crimson Dawn is available in print, Kindle and Nook.