Nicola Kirk: Author and Collector of Paranormal Stories and Other Strange Encounters

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Draft One!

I haven’t been doing much blogging of late because I have been working on my latest novel.  Sliver will be my tenth book.  I’m feeling quite proud of that.  But I’m having a bit of a problem with my current set of characters.  The arguing, the back chat, the overruling, the in-house fighting… whose novel is this?!

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At Least It’s Not Just My Characters That Misbehave.

I started out writing this novel in my usual fashion.  Have a basic idea.  Expand on that idea.  Twist it inside and out.  Create the characters, their lives, their backgrounds.  Then I like to break my story outline up into sections before I start writing so I have a good idea how each chapter is going to turn out.  Super.  Off we go.

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Halfway through my first draft I get a little niggly voice in my head telling me, this would be so much better if it were told from a third person point of view instead of first person.  It would be fresh, something different…

But… that means I’m going to have to do a rewrite now because it will completely change the heart of the book.

Sure, sure, if that’s what you need to do.

So, two hundred pages in, I begin the rewrite.  It’s going great.  I’m adding to the ideas I’ve had so far, expanding the storyline, adding depth to my characters.  And then…

Hey, you.

Sod off, I’m busy.

We know, but we’ve been talking and…

You’re my characters.  You’re part of my imagination.  You don’t get to sit around and chat.

Yeah, okay, whatever, but even so, we’ve been talking and… see that character over there?


Well, we think this story would be much better if…


If they were a bloke instead of a bird.

A bloke.  Wait, you do realise what this means?

Another rewrite.


We thought that would be the case, too.

You bunch of bastards.

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©Nicola Kirk and 2017

The Twelve Weeks of Christmas

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I think I saw the first Christmas tree going up at the beginning of November.  There could have been earlier examples but my brain blocked them out to shelter me from premature Christmas Panic.  There were definitely a few occasions where I had an internal shouting match at some retail outlet who had the sheer audacity to put Christmas decorations out alongside Hallowe’en decorations.  I mean, really.  One of my friends put her tree up on the first of November.  I was forced to temporarily disown her.

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Dear Neighbour, NASA Can See Your House From Space.

As much as I love all the twinkly lights and happy faces at this time of the year, the thought of having retail/TV enforced Christmas cheer assailing my senses for almost two months before the one Christmas day (yes, it’s all just for one day!  Don’t give me all this ‘twelve days of Christmas’ rubbish, that’s just an excuse for people to delay the prospect of taking the Christmas tree down for a fortnight) does not fill me with the ‘Christmassy’ feeling that people keep on banging on about.

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I Bought That Present… I Know I Bought It… I WAS SO PREPARED!!! Sob sob…

I think for many people, by the time Christmas day actually comes around, they are left feeling somewhat drained and panic stricken by the fact that Tesco is going to be shut for a whole day and they can’t find that present for their friend’s child that they know they bought weeks before (yes, that was me.  I swear I bought that present but I’ll be damned if I can find it now…)  I can’t remember if my poor husband had to endure two, three  or more emergency visits to the toy shop and/or Tesco but I do know that when your three-year old insists on helping with the wrapping up of presents it takes a whole lot longer than you thought possible.  And uses a lot more sellotape.

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We Have To Go To Another Party?!

But now that Christmas is quietly fizzling out into New Year (where you must See The New Year In And Bloody Well Enjoy It even though you just want to go… to… bed), I can already hear the quiet shifting and unpacking of all things red and lovehearty being extracted from the backs of articulated lorries in preparation of the Terror of Valentine’s Day, where if you don’t show your love for your Significant Other with half a forest of red roses (at ten times the usual price) and a stack of novelty gifts (is it Christmas again, so soon, already?) then the scorn and wrath of Society will rain down on you like some kind of biblical plague.

Ahh, whatever…Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year, Happy Easter, Happy Beltane, Yule and Merry Christmas 2017!

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©Nicola Kirk and 2016

Leaving Stuff Behind

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Don’t Distract Me While I’m Creating!

I make a lot of stuff.  And I’m rather proud of my stuff that I create.  I mean, there’s this stuff that I post on the internet.  There’s the stuff I’ve written in the form of books and scripts.  There’s the embroidery stuff I make.  We’ll leave my cookery stuff out of the equation as we all know the closest I get to cookery is turning the kettle on.  Then there’s the diary stuff I write. Copious amounts of scribbling that I look back on from time to time and either cringe with embarrassment at (did I really do that?) or look at with puzzlement because, well, I can’t actually remember doing it.  I suppose that’s the cool thing about writing diaries.  It’s impossible to remember all the things we do from day-to-day but everything we do make us into the people we are.  And the evidence is there within the pages of a diary.

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When I make something, I like to think my kids might like to keep it one day, after I’ve finished wearing out this body.  If they keep my diaries, they might enjoy reading about ‘what mum did before she had kids’.  I almost look forward to them realising that before I became ‘mum’, I went here, did that… probably shouldn’t have done that but it was fun at the time, and, oh yes, that happened too… I’d been trying to suppress that memory…  I suppose it could be considered rather egotistical, wanting to be remembered after I’ve gone.  But I want my kids to know about their family, who they were and where they came from, what they accomplished and what they screwed up.  I want them to laugh when they read about the time I made their father take me to a strip club to help me research a novel.  I would love for them to keep some of the embroidery I made to go on their bedroom walls when they were tiny (Spiderman, Disney Princesses, the big skull and crossbones, the Ouija Board… ah come on, you didn’t think it was all going to be airy fairy cutsie stuff?).


Kids – Parents Just Like Embarrassing You 🙂

In this day and age, in a world where everything is rapidly becoming electronic, a handwritten diary or something handmade, well, I think that makes for something a bit special.  It contains part of the soul of the person who wrote/made it.  And while I know that one day I won’t be here any more, I hope my loved ones will be able to look at the stuff I leave behind and know there’s a small piece of me left behind with them, too.


©Nicola Kirk and 2016

The Horror Of Mannequins

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Even The Plastic Dead Have Bad Hair Days

Mannequins.  I do not like them and I’m quite sure they aren’t that keen on me either.  What with their fixed, sightless eyes and their ridiculously skinny arses.  The first time I can recall recoiling from the sight of a mannequin was when I was about ten and I went into a sports shop with my parents.  I went to try something on and almost fell over backwards with fright when I came face to face with one of the Plastic Dead lurking in the changing room.  I’m not sure why someone thought it would be a good place to store such a thing, perhaps to ensure people didn’t linger.  I certainly did not linger and it was the quickest change of clothes I’d ever managed in my life.

Fat Mannequins?

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Sorry, Beetlejuice Got There First

Mannequins have continued to haunt me into my adult life too.  They sometimes invade my dreams.  After having gone to see Lights Out at the cinema (a pretty good horror flick, as horror flicks go), the opening scene where dad is working at his textile factory jolted something in my mind and dredged up a rather uncomfortable dream I had a couple of years back.  I was in a school somewhere.  It wasn’t a place I knew although it felt oddly familiar.  There was a long corridor with glass sides and plastic strips hanging down from the doorways at either end, the kind of plastic strips you see at the butchers to keep flies out – thick, heavy things that barely stirred when you pushed through them.  The corridor edged a square space in the centre which was dark and dingy, with moss smudged along the windows.  A couple of male mannequins languished in the middle of the square.  They were just standing there, one had orangey red painted on hair and the other one was dark-haired.  I remember walking down the corridor just looking at them, thinking how horrible they were, just standing there – what business could a couple of mannequins have being there?   After a while I realised that the mannequins had moved.  They were no longer in the glass surrounded square; they were out and coming for me.  The feeling of terror as I lost sight of them but knew they were loose and somehow coming to do… um… terrible mannequiny things was overwhelming.  Yeah, I have no idea what mannequins would do if they got me – improve my dress sense possibly.

And then this turned up on my radar.  There’s a little bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico, called  La Popular where, in 1930, a very realistic looking mannequin suddenly appeared in the window dressed in the latest bridal gown fashions.  Nicknamed La Pascualita, people took a serious interest in the lifelike mannequin and came from far and wide to have a peek at her.


Just A Mannequin?  Or Some Damned Fine Embalming?

What was it that was so interesting about this particular mannequin?  Apparently she has human hair, extremely detailed features – just take a look at the detail of her hands.  And apparently she also has varicose veins… who gives a mannequin varicose veins?:


Some people think she is the embalmed body of the shopkeeper’s daughter and stories abound about the mannequin mysteriously shifting positions at night:

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Yes, okay, I can see a resemblance, however keeping a body in such a good state after embalming is no mean feat. The Russians apparently spend huge amounts of money keeping Vladimir Lenin’s corpse in good condition and it’s unlikely that a bridal shop could spare that kind of time and money on such a thing.  More likely it’s just a very detailed mannequin that keeps the tongues wagging and the tourists visiting.

But apparently not all mannequins are dangerously deranged or out to haunt bridal shops as the film Mannequin from 1987 demonstrates.  Oddly enough, despite my dislike of the Plastic Dead, I really liked this film.  Go figure.


©Nicola Kirk 2016 and

When Your Nine Lives Is Up But You Refuse To Peg It.

The other day, my elderly neighbour, Mrs R., came to see me asking if I could help take her cat to the vet.  She didn’t look at all happy but the cat looked infinitely worse.

“He was fine up until it rained yesterday,” she told me sadly as we stood over the cat who was busy languishing on her living room carpet.  I eyed the cat and quickly concluded that the poor thing should have been put out of its misery a fortnight ago.  Our other neighbour, Mr B., had come over to see if he could help but, alas, it was clear that there was nothing more he could do other than dig another hole in Mrs R.’s garden.  (Whoever lives in Mrs R.’s house next is going to get one hell of a shock if they landscape that back garden: “Doris!  Doris, you’ve read Pet Sematary – what was the outcome and should we consider moving?!”).

“You know, I’m not sure that cat’s going to make it to the vet,” Mr B. muttered to me as Mrs R. scooped the stricken creature up and laid it in the cat carrier.  I peeked at the cat through the bars of its box.  Glassy eyed, mouth open, tongue trying to escape its head… it looked like it was somewhat… dead.

“Uh, I think it might be a bit late to take him to the vet,” I started to tell her as gently as I could, but then the cat gasped and twitched a bit.  “Oh!  Hold on… no, I think…” The cat went still  again.  “No, sorry, I think…” Gasp!  Twitch! Damn it cat, make up your mind!!

Best Paint Job Ever.

I kid you not, that cat was having a game with me as we loaded the carry box into my car and trundled off to the vet.  It waited until we parked up, walked in and sat down before it finally decided it would be better off vacating.  However, we stayed until the vet had a look at the now rapidly stiffening cat, pronounced him DOA (and probably dead quite some time before arrival too… days… perhaps weeks… it certainly smelt that way…) and gave poor Mrs R. a sympathetic smile.  I’m sure it was on Mrs R.’s lips to ask the vet to give the cat a shot with a defibrillator to see if that would do anything but I quicky ushered her back out through the door and into the waiting room again, her ex-cat firmly wedged back into its travel box ready for future planting in the back garden.

While I was sitting in the vet’s waiting room with zombie cat quietly trying out his latest rigor mortis poses at my feet, I thought about experiments that have been carried out in the past to try to resurrect animals.  Because in the 1940s, the Russians decided this was a good road to go down.  And us humans just can’t leave anything alone, can we?  Dead or otherwise, we just have to tinker.  Well, let’s face it, this kind of experiment is never going to be pretty, so people with a weak disposition probably shouldn’t proceed beyond this point (who am I kidding, we all know  you’re going to go ahead and watch it anyway):

And when you consider how we have progressed from that to this:

My, we have come a long way!  Hopefully Mrs R.’s cat will remain at peace in the back garden though because I’d hate to have to go after it with a shovel.  Hey, I’ve read Pet Semetery, too.

But for those of you who are now thoroughly traumatised, here, this should sort you out:


©Nicola Kirk 2016 and

I Sell The Dead

Ebay Item: One Careful Owner.  Met A Nasty End.  Buy Me!

I’ve sold my daughter’s old cot today.  She has a new ‘big girl’s bed’, so she’s very happy.  While I was writing the advert for the cot, I started thinking about the relevant details that I needed to put on there… make of cot, size of cot, whether it was haunted… Ah, it’s okay, it’s very much not haunted, but I did start wondering about all the other stuff that’s for sale out there and whether selling something that’s ‘haunted’ is a selling point or something to keep veeery quiet about.

In some states in America, if you believe your house is haunted, you may be obliged to disclose this to potential purchasers.  This is rather bumpy ground as some people say, if there are no such things as ghosts, how can such a thing be relevant when it comes to something like purchasing a property?   Or pieces of furniture.  Or toys.  However, a quick scout around on Ebay turned up a smattering of ‘haunted’ or ‘haunted looking’ dolls and teddies, but to be honest, the only really scary thing about these items is the inflated price tags.  But if you are considering purchasing a haunted doll, you may want to read up on it a bit first, perhaps an article from someone like this Ebay Seller might be of interest:  Purchasing Haunted Dolls.

‘Needs A Little Work.  Spacious Rooms. Purchaser May Wish To Avoid Murderous Ghost On Second Floor Landing.’

For those of us who love all things creepy and spooky, purchasing a haunted house sounds like a dream come true.  But for some, especially those who are unaware of the extra inhabitants of their newly purchased abode, it can be an absolute nightmare, as described in this Huffington Post article.

One particular haunted item that I heard about was the Dybbuk Box.  The Dubbuk Box was originally meant to be a little cupboard for storing wine, although somehow over the years it became haunted by a Dybbuk (an evil spirit).  Apparently, the story of the Dybbuk Box first came to light when a chap called Kevin Mannis advertised it on Ebay (where else?) with an intriguing back story of its alleged haunting.  It gained so much interest that a film was made in 2012 based on the story (The Possession).  The curious story is detailed on Wikipedia for those of you who want to read more and, of course, there are numerous videos lurking on the internet, but one particularly good version of it was produced by Paranormal Witness and I’d highly recommend you take a moment to watch it.  Preferably when you are home.  Alone.  With the lights out.


*Incidentally, the title of this article ‘I Sell The Dead‘ is also the title of a brilliantly funny film – I’d highly recommend it!


©Nicola Kirk 2016 and

Some Ecards Funny | The best part is that you can create your own funny greeting cards ...:

We’ve all had days like it.  You’re out and about, minding your own business when everything just seems to Go Wrong.  I had a day like that at the weekend.  I went to a picnic to celebrate my brother’s birthday – lovely!  The kids were good, the weather was fantastic and we had a great day.  Until I went near my car.

Usually I will be the first to admit if I’ve done something a bit daft (at least to myself, anyway) however on this particular day, things just seemed to happen that were not of my creation.  On the way there, my engine light came on.  Fortunately, I knew it wasn’t anything serious, just a sensor misbehaving, so I carried on.  Then a little light popped up to advise me my tyre pressure was low.  Huh.  My dashboard was starting to look a little Christmas tree-like.  Okay, fine, fine, I can get these bits sorted out, I thought to myself as I trundled over the Dartford Bridge.  Then coming home, a guy quite literally took my wing mirror off as he came around the corner on my side of the road.  That was a bit of a shocker, I can tell you. We stopped, checked we both retained all of our limbs, he apologised, I collected the bits of my mirror from down the road and I thought with slightly gritted teeth, okay, it’s fine, it can be fixed, and I pushed what remained of the now smashed mirror back into place so I could at least get home and went on my way.

I made my way back towards the Dartford Bridge with my car feeling a little under the weather and me feeling a little paranoid that people were looking at my freshly shattered mirror and silently judging me as they went by, when I had a moment of horror as I saw a large stone hurtling towards my face.  Fortunately the windscreen took the brunt of it but the glass was left with two nice big chips in it.  “Oh, for goodness sake!!” I snapped.  “Really!? Anything else?!  Could there be anything else that could happen!?”

Then the petrol light came on.

But epic as my journey seemed at the weekend, it’s nowhere near as bad as this poor chap’s day, so I shall count my blessings:


And then there’s always the times that animals are hell-bent on wrecking your day too:


But then there are the times when… well, there is just no hope for some people, it was destined to not go well right from the outset:




©Nicola Kirk 2016 and

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