Sèphera Girón is an award-winning author with over 17 published books under her belt. She’s an accomplished tarot reader and invites you to watch her free monthly horoscopes on YouTube. Sèphera is mom to two adult sons. Paranormal investigations are Sèphera’s latest hobby, which she combines with tarot reading and a host of equipment. Most of Sèphera’s published work is available in eBook form and can be found at Smashwords.com and Amazon.com.
Sephera is one of the founding members of the Haunted Mansion Writer’s Retreat. She’s been a prolific contributor to the Haunted Mansion Project, with two pieces in each book.
Q: Had you ever had a paranormal experience before you came to the Haunted Mansion?
Sèphera Girón: Yes. Paranormal investigations are an activity I’ve come to late in life. It’s possible that, combined with a vivid imagination, I’ve had dozens of paranormal experiences. The lines between dreams, visions, imagination, and reality blurred for me as a child. As a tarot reader, that skill comes in handy, though I can’t always call upon it at will.
What I count as my first paranormal investigation activities occurred when I visited the Lizzie Borden house for the first time around a decade ago when I was in my forties.
With my two preteen sons, I drove from Toronto to Montreal to visit Nancy Kilpatrick, then drove on to Maine. I visited my parents and relatives in Maine, left the kids there and went to Salem, Massachusetts for a few hours. Once I left Salem, I was stuck in traffic around Boston. Just when traffic picked up again, my transmission blew out. Oh, the terror in my heart when I saw that transmission cap dancing on the highway in my rearview mirror.
How incredibly weird and wonderful that—even though I had lost all power—there was an exit right there! I turned my wheel right and glided down a ramp until I rolled right into a gas station driveway. I did not own a cell phone. I was a woman alone in New England, yet I found help.
My car had broken down on the way to a horror writers’ convention called Necon in Rhode Island. CAA towed me to Necon.
Long story short, I was trapped in Rhode Island during tall ship weekend and needed a new transmission. It would be days before the part would come in. When the con was over, Lisa Mannetti convinced me that I should go with a group of people who were staying over at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast. I thought, why not? I didn’t believe for a second it was haunted. The only thing I knew about the Borden case was the nursery rhyme. I’d never seen the movies or really paid it much mind at all.
From the moment I walked over the threshold, a distinct thickness embraced me. It was frightening. My guts were churning. My mind seemed to click into another level where vibrations were a thick curtain and I could follow the threads. As we walked around the house, I peered into rooms. New England gloominess added to my paranoia.
On the third floor, facing a door, I sensed children. Later on, I learned that children were drowned in the well next door by one of Lizzie’s relatives who suffered postpartum depression. She killed herself, too.
It seems, in the number of times I’ve visited the house over the years, that I am most in tune with the children, Andrew Borden, and now Michael the handyman, who died in recent years. I don’t consider myself psychic by any stretch of the imagination. When I read tarot cards, I just read the symbols and am just as amazed as you are at how accurate they are.
Something about the electromagnetic energy at the Borden home, likely combined with the New England muggy summers and the dense ocean air, lends itself to spooky experiences and psychic connections. There has been speculation that the house or location itself is some kind of a portal, which is why there are so many other spirits in the home unrelated to the Bordens.
There are other places where I have flashes of connections. So I’ve delved a little deeper into paranormal investigations and have gone on outings with a local group here called P.I.S.T.
I always wondered about that first trip: How my car blew up in a foreign country, yet I was safe. How it seemed to be destiny that I would spend the night at Lizzie Borden’s House and have since become somewhat authoritative on the subject.
Q. Did anything spooky happen to you at the Mansion?
SG: The Black Mass is still the most frightening experience for me. I’m afraid of the dark, which is why I sleep with the TV on—and have since I was 22 years old. I don’t like what happens in the dark. The fact that Rain Graves and I both saw the Black Mass and experienced it every night has reaffirmed that fear. You can check out the Black Mass when the Ghost Girls caught it here: http://hauntedmansionwriters.blogspot.ca/2010/10/mysterious-black-mass.html
Q: What inspired the pieces you wrote for the books?
I have four pieces, two in each book.
For The Haunted Mansion Project: Year One, I kept a journal covering various ideas. The piece was published as “Notes from the Haunted Mansion.” I wrote a story called “The Third Room” based on a paranormal investigator who is drawn to a particular room in the Mansion. In addition, I was intrigued by the overgrown pond in the back, which once served as a swimming pool, complete with diving boards. I thought about what party guests might have been like in the Sixties, artists and poets, swingers and hippies. I wondered what ghosts haunted the Mansion, since there were so many interesting eras that had passed through. My story took on an echo of the type of story that might be in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents Terror Tales or something like that. It was great fun to write.
In The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, I wrote about how I can finally hear most paranormal evidence. I used to have difficulty hearing it. However, with the help of Nikki of the GhostGirls, I kept listening and fiddling and ultimately have mastered it as best that I can with limited technology and my hearing loss from Who concerts. (Editor’s note: That how-to essay on EVPS is called “Do You Hear What I Hear?”)
I was going to write about the children at the Mansion. Between the time of the two Mansion retreats, the Ghost Girls had been sifting through evidence and posting findings, which you can find at http://ghost-girls.org/. The first visit has EVPs of children talking when Rainy and I are sleeping. While we slept and dreamed of the Black Mass, we had no idea kids were in the room. At any rate, I wanted to wait to write the story and see what more I can discover about the children by the next visit. So I chose to write a poem instead. I’ve been working on a poetry collection over the past year, so I was in the mood to write a poem. “A Weekend at a Haunted Writers Retreat” is a reflection on how I see the Mansion and what I experienced over both years.
Q: Do you expect to come back to the next Haunted Mansion Retreat in 2015?
SG: Most definitely. It’s an excellent writing retreat. There’s a huge open living room. It’s cavernous. We call it the safe zone and everyone writes there at night. During the day, people spread across the property. Some may be in nooks and crannies; some may work in the meditation garden or at the “sacrificial altar.” The sound of the laptops clicking is great. There’s Wi-Fi there, too, so you can blog live or go on Facebook.
I performed a tarot reading at the altar for one of the guests and the energy was superb. I enjoy the ghost hunting aspect of the retreats, too, working with the Ghost Girls by performing tarot readings while they use other equipment to capture any responses.
Q: What’s coming up for you next writing-wise?
I’m working on a novella called SEX, LIES, and MONSTERS and a novel called WE ALL SCREAM. I’ve recently released a book from Scarlett Publishing that contains a collection of my early work called WEIRD TALES OF TERROR Volume 1. It contains several very early stories: some published, some not, some that were supposed to be published but the venues folded. The story “Release” was recommended for a Bram Stoker Award way back in the Nineties. The book also contains my novel THE WITCH’S FIELD that I penned in 1992.
You can follow Sephera all over the web at:
Free monthly horoscopes: http://www.youtube.com/sephera
Tarot Paths: http://tarotpaths.blogspot.ca
Her Sephera’s World blog: http://sephwriter666.blogspot.ca
The Haunted Mansion Retreat blog: http://hauntedmansionwriters.blogspot.com/