William Gilchrist is co-owner of Damnation Books LLC with his wife Kim Richards Gilchrist. He has a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University. He works at Agilent Technologies. His poetry in The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two is his first published work. You can connect with him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/william.gilchrist.507.
Q: Had you ever had a paranormal experience before you stayed at the Haunted Mansion?
WG: If I had one, I was not aware of it. I am more likely to seek alternate explanations before believing things are a paranormal experience.
Q: Have you ever ghost-hunted anywhere else?
WG: Kim and I did take a Ghost Tour in Plymouth, Massachusetts. During the tour, we took lots of pictures. Most had those orbs that appear when you use a flash. After we zoomed in on one of the orbs, a ghostly face was visible. We have also done other ghost and catacomb tours.
Q: Did anything spooky happen to you at the Mansion?
WG: While I did hear some strange sounds, nothing was spooky enough to make me think it was a spirit.
Q: What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
WG: Well, this is an interesting question for me, because I do not feel like I get scared by much anymore. When I was a kid, movies like Jaws and Alien scared me, but now I can watch them and see good storytelling. I would have to say that the thing that scares me the most is fear of the unknown. Right now, this is the fear of what people will think of my poetry—because writing poetry is something completely unexpected for me. I have no clue how good it is.
Q: What inspired the poems you wrote for The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two?
WG: I came to the retreat just for a vacation, with no desire to write anything. I even stated multiple times that I was not a writer. During one of the fabulous dinners, people were trying to create haiku. I tried to participate, but honestly failed miserably without the ability to write it down. After dinner, when I was able to type and evaluate the lines, I had a bit more success. This haiku sums up my weekend:
Man not a writer
Man creates his first haiku
Man now a poet
Inspiration for the other poems came from various horror-related topics and events during the weekend. Inspiration came from everyone at the mansion.
Q: Do you expect to come back to the next Haunted Mansion Writer’s Retreat in 2015?
WG: I will be there, with a plan to work on something other than website code.
Q: What’s coming up for you next writing-wise?
WG: I have had a story idea for the last two years, which I’ve tried to pass off to my wife. She keeps telling me to write it down, so this will be my next project. I will also do some more haiku as I get ideas for them.
You can follow the unfolding plans for the next Haunted Mansion Retreat here: http://hauntedmansionwriters.blogspot.com/.