The Supernaturals by David L. Golemon is a paranormal horror story that was named one of Riffle's top 10 best haunted house books of all time!
The Halloween season is the perfect time for tales of haunted houses, forlorn ghosts, and demonic possession. All these things are pretty great any time of year, but the approaching winter and longer periods of darkness add to the atmosphere of the generally haunted.
David L. Golemon’s The Supernaturals takes a different spin on your run-of-the-mill haunted houses, taking inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, one of the most quintessential ghost stories in the genre. Instead of having a group of teenagers explore a spooky mansion, Golemon’s story revolves around a television program’s exploration of the bizarre and deadly phenomena around Summer Place.
Several years ago, Professor Kennedy lost two students to the paranormal activity entrapped in Summer Place. Now, Kelly Delaphoy plans to revisit the scene for a live broadcast on Halloween night. Despite his desire to have nothing more to do with Summer House, Kennedy finds himself back at the place that destroyed his career, with a second ghost hunting team in tow. Together, they hope to unravel the mystery and dispel the spirits from Summer Place forever. Perhaps the ruins of Kennedy’s career will be the beginning of Delaphoy’s.
The idea of staging the story as a television broadcast is new to me and fairly clever. The story takes you from the past—with the two students lost to the evils of the house—to the pitching room to the Halloween night broadcast. I was expecting something with a more comedic twist (as a fan of ghost hunting shows and ghost hunting in general, there’s usually a splash of tongue-in-cheek mockery), but Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House definitely has a pronounced influence over the narrative.
A door creaked, but it wasn’t a sound one would associate with a door opening. It was more like someone was placing a stupendous amount of pressure against the wood. They could hear the cracking of the grain. Warren moved the penlight to his right, where the door to one of the larger bedrooms only feet away was bent outward. It seemed the wood of the thick door couldn’t withstand the pressure being placed on it. Then it rebounded, as if whoever was on the other side relinquished their assault.
“We have to leave,” Jessica said as she tried to pull Warren away.
He shook her off and raised the radio to his lips. “We have to get the professor up here,” he said and pushed the transmit button.
The voice that came from the radio made Warren freeze. He swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat the best he could, but the strange statement hung in the dark, cold air of the hallway.
“Get on there and tell whoever is screwing around to knock it off,” Jessica said angrily.
“Pretty girl,” said the feminine voice over the radio.
“Warren looked down at the radio. The bedroom door next to them rattled in its frame, and then something on the other side hit it hard enough to shake the cut crystal doorknob. Once more, the door bulged, and this time the impact was so fierce that Warren and Jessica backed away, half expecting the wood to explode outward. Then once more, the door relaxed and went back to its normal shape, only this time with something akin to a deep breath, as if the exertion of bending the door outward had taken too much energy. A voice, different from the one they had just heard, came over the radio.
“Run,” came the whispered order. “Run, NOW!”
Warren started to turn, but his eyes fell on the sewing room at the far end of the hallway. A large area to the left side of the door bulged outward, sending plaster and wallpaper snapping off in small chips to fall to the Persian rug down the center of the hallway. The bulge moved a foot, stopped. It looked like a chest, inhaling and exhaling as it moved. It came on again, this time surging three feet before it stopped.
The Supernaturals relies on suspense instead of torture and gore, which makes it a fair choice for readers who are looking for scares without unwanted blood baths. If you’re a fan of shows like Scariest Places on Earth or Ghost Hunters, you may want to considering giving this one a shot. I found the book unnecessarily long, but there’s a decent story for those who love creepy houses filled with dead things and ghosts devouring people via the wallpaper.
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Meghan Harker grew up in a small, awkwardly-named town in Georgia. She attended Brenau University, where she earned her BA in English and a minor in Graphic Design; she also attended the University of Cambridge, England, where she didn't quite master the perfect Oxbridge accent. She's an avid reader, writer, and fire spinner. She's currently working her first novel, a paranormal thriller. Visit her blog at ExquisitelyOdd.com.