The cabin season is about to come to a close, at least here on this blog. Sorry, but it has to be this way. After all, one cannot be forever “cabinated.” Unless, perhaps, that “one” happens to be a ghost that haunts the cabin. But even in that case, I think the ghost will eventually evaporate, dissipate, and therefore, no longer “cabinate.” But what of a cabin beset with residuals hauntings; echoes of the past in motion, or “repeated playbacks of auditory, visual, olfactory, and other sensory phenomena that are attributed to a traumatic event…” (from http://parapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Residual_Haunting)
Do such hauntings endure forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and…
Authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross claim to have witnessed several residual hauntings while staying at a cabin located in Gold Country in California. They document this experience in their book Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin . It is a short but highly fascinating read.
Unlike all the other stories that make up my haunted cabin series, this account is real. It is a real cabin, in a real place, visited by two very real people. At least I hope Thorne and Cross are real. I have reviewed several of their books, I have heard real voices when I tuned into their Internet radio show Haunted Nights Live and I have had real exchanges with them on Facebook. It would be a shame if, after all that, they turned out to be bots! But I’m betting this is not the case. And I believe that their experiences inside that cabin are real…allowing for subjective interpretation.
Thorne and Cross have collaborated on many novels. They write as a team, and as far as I can tell, they are what the kids call BFFs. They are like brother and sister. While their acquaintanceship began virtually, they first met in person at this cabin that is the subject of this book. Knowing that the cabin had a reputation for being haunted, Thorne and Cross decided that it would be a great place for two authors of the paranormal to finally meet. After securing permission from the cabin’s owner to stay for several nights and conduct an investigation, these two went forth with their plan. Stayed five nights they did! And things got creepy , creepy, creepy.
Now, I bet you’re wondering – what makes this particular telling creepy? Let me answer this by stating what this story is not, especially when compared to the other tales of haunted cabins that I have reviewed. Spirits of natives are not descending upon the cabin (Rough Draft – Oops, I forgot to put the part about “Native American spirits” in the review), there is no witch in the woods (Maynard’s House and Revisiting Maynard’s House), Thorne and Cross are not succumbing to demonic possession (The Evil Dead), the cabin is free of scurrying, severed hands (The Evil Dead 2), and finally, there is no underground organization manufacturing zombies (Cabin in the Woods.)
What Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin offers is far more subtle and therefore, possibly, creepier. It’s a “things that go bump in the night” type of scary. It has cuckoo clocks that cry out at strange times, scratching noises on walls and doors. Then there is an unnerving silence, as if the wind is afraid to breath. There are other disturbances as well; doors opening and closing, objects are found in certain places when the authors are sure they set them down some place else.
These incidences that take place in the cabin can be explained in two different ways: 1) The cabin is really haunted. 2) There is a logical explanation to all these occurrences. Being the “septic” that I am (That’s “skeptic” in Archie Bunker language), I tend to go with option #2. But even if there is no haunting, the accounts documented in this book continue to be creepy because they realistically mimic “the stuff” of a haunting. Because these disturbances are subtle, they are believable and therefore – creepy, creepy, creepy! And perhaps this cabin is haunted! Don’t let my “septicism” ruin you, embrace the haunting if you must.
In my article Beyond the House: An Examination of Hauntings Within Alternate Structures – Part 1 – Cabins , I say this about haunted cabins:
Maybe it’s not the cabin that is haunted. Maybe it’s the surrounding environment that reeks of terror
They (the cabins) are susceptible to the surrounding elements and therefore very permeable to the stuff of the supernatural
In sum, the haunting begins outside and then makes its way into the cabin. But that’s NOT what happens in Thorne and Cross’s book. Instead the inverse is true: the haunting begins in the cabin and then goes on to infect the surrounding environment, as testified by the birds. What birds? Exactly! The tree-filled perimeter is absence of bird-song. The environment is too disturbing for these feathered creatures! Thorne and Cross did their research and discovered that murders and suicides occurred inside the cabin many years ago. Perhaps the emotional trauma of these events remains (a residual!), discouraging even birds from coming to close to the cabin. Hmm, maybe there really is a haunting going on! (Or maybe birds are just sometimes absent or silent.)
There is something that I wish the book had touched upon. Thorne is meeting Cross for the very first time. I would have liked to learn about their first impressions of each other. It would have been interesting to read about how they warmed up to one another. Was there a single moment that broke the ice? Was there a relationship-defining event? Somewhere in Facebook land, I learned that Tamara shaved Alistair’s back hair during this stay. That should have been in the book! That must have been a truly “haunting” experience for Tamara! But seriously, I do think a dual story about two people meeting for the first time in the midst of a haunting would have gone a long way. And it would have fit in so well with the format of the book. Thorne writes a paragraph, and then Cross follows with his paragraph or two, commenting on what Thorne had just written. It’s like listening to two people at a campfire taking turns telling a story while helping each other with the telling along the way. It definitely made for some cozy reading. It would have been even cozier had they shared more details of their meeting.
All in all, this is a good book. I say buy it. Read it.
And with that, here ends my series about haunted cabins. I hope you have enjoyed it. Too-da-loo! (for now)