I don’t know if you guys are Ghost Hunters fans, but I am. Huge! I don’t know why this stuff fascinates me so much, but every Wednesday night, I’m glued to the SYFY channel watching Grant and Jason explore the world of the paranormal.
What does it have to do with my new release, Memories of Murder? Well, it goes back to an episode in Season 6 about Norwich State Hospital in Connecticut. This state mental hospital opened its doors in 1904 and actually stayed in operation until 1996. It housed not only the mentally insane, but the criminally insane as well.
I already had the idea to have an insane asylum in my novel, but watching this episode gave me a more solid visual basis and led to several other interesting historical tidbits. I love to have these bits of trivia to throw out in my manuscripts in case anyone is watching closely and decides to track down more information.
For instance, in the picture above of Norwich State, you’ll notice the remarkable architecture. Reminds you of a castle or some other type of imposing historical building. This led me to research the insane asylums of the nineteenth century and I discovered the history of the Kirkbride Buildings.
These unique castle-like structures were built throughout the United States and in a few other countries. Most were built between 1848 and 1890, although there were a few instances where Kirkbride buildings were built after 1900. Each building followed the same basic floor plan and general arrangement of facilities promoted by Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, but many different architects designed the individual buildings and gave them their own unique character. Do a Google search and take a look at these amazing buildings. Kirkbride buildings are most recognizably characterized by their somewhat unique “bat wing” floorplan and their often lavish Victorian-era architecture.
Although I couldn’t find that Norwich State was one of the Kirkbride buildings, when you take a look at the pictures, it certainly is in the same style. And what an amazing episode of GH that was! The TAPS team had wanted to visit this abandoned mental hospital for years- rumors of moving shadows, haunting faces, screams and moans and apparitions of children among the stories they came to investigate. It took all of two minutes before they saw a moving shadow followed by a strange noise and faint light in the stairway. Then the moaning started- like a man in a horror film- and it turns into a whimpering noise like a puppy.
The whole episode was full of unexplained events and I knew this was exactly the kind of place I envisioned for my story. Full of past horrors and covered up crimes that had to produce restless spirits with unfulfilled destinies. When you see something like that it really makes you believe in the paranormal.
So, when you read Memories of Murder, and I hope you do, you’ll know the story behind the story of the old insane asylum. Here’s a blurb to give you an idea of the plot:
When Maeve McKenna renounces her witch powers and accepts a low-key nurse
practitioner position at a Virginia retirement community, the last thing
she expects is a suicide her first day on the job. As the town’s sexy
sheriff, Paul Sutton, starts looking into the tragic death of his father’s
friend, Maeve can’t help but get involved–with both the case and him.Their informal investigation unveils an old journal that connects the
ruins of a nearby asylum and long-forgotten cemetery with the shiny new
retirement community’s memory unit–and Maeve’s Alzheimer’s patients.
Maeve senses a sinister presence in the old asylum, calling to the
patients, but in order to stop it from killing again, she must first
conquer some demons of her own and reclaim the magic she’s denied herself. Memories of Murder is out now in both print and electronic versions! Check it out on Amazon and Barnes and Noble web sites as well as at www.CrescentMoonPress.com Thanks, Lara Nancewww.laranance.com