April 25, 2014

The Headless Bride: a guest post by Catherine Cavendish, author of "Linden Manor"

Last year, Samhain Publishing held a competition looking for novellas in the gothic genre. Catherine Cavendish submitted and won with her story, Linden Manor, which will be released early in May 2014. To give a little backstory, here's a guest post from Catherine. Enjoy.


The Headless Bride

My novella – Linden Manor – features the ghost of Lady Celia Fitzmichael, about whom a scary nursery rhyme was written, which haunted my main character, Lesley Carpenter. In it, Lady Celia is never mentioned by name. Instead, she is referred to as ‘The Scottish bride.’ And woe betide you if you laid eyes on her ‘blackened face’.
Writing this story inspired me to go in search of allegedly true reported sightings and tales of tragic brides who seem unable – or unwilling – to leave the place of their mortal death.
My quest has led me to all sorts of interesting stories. None more tragic than the frequently retold tale of The Headless Bride of Yellowstone Park.
The story goes that a fifteen year old girl from a well to do family fell in love with an older man who worked as a servant in her parents’ home. When her parents discovered the illicit romance, they were horrified and tried to stop the couple from seeing each other. But their daughter was wilful and obstinate. She would have her lover, and if her parents wouldn’t sanction their union, the couple would simply elope and cause a terrible scandal.

Realising the girl meant business, her father relented and the two were married in a quiet ceremony before going away to the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone for their honeymoon. The girl’s father gave her a considerable sum of money for them to live on until her new husband could find work.
Almost immediately, things went badly wrong. After a first day, spent happily together, sightseeing and enjoying each other’s company, the husband fell in with a group of gamblers and lost all their money. He confessed what he had done and insisted the girl telegraph her father for more funds. Understandably her father refused to help and, when his daughter broke the news to her wastrel husband, a furious fight ensued, heard by many of the Inn’s other guests.
At some stage during the night, the husband left. A ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign placed on the couple’s door kept staff at bay for a couple of days. They assumed the girl was grieving for her lost love. But, when she hadn’t been seen for a couple of days, the housekeeper decided to gain entry.
A terrible sight awaited them. There, in the bath, the housekeeper found the girl’s headless and bloody corpse. Her screams brought help from other staff. The police were summoned and an extensive search was mounted to find the husband. They never caught up with him.
Meanwhile, staff at the hotel mounted a detailed search of the building, trying to find the missing head. Finally, a persistent foul odour led them to its hidden location - in the Crows’ Nest of this unusual building. It was not a pretty sight. Her tangled blonde hair framed a rotting face, with wide eyes and a horrified stare.
Not long after her burial, a member of staff was up late, when he heard a strange noise coming from the lobby. As the clock struck midnight, he investigated and looked far up, towards the Crows’ Nest. There, slowly descending the stairs, floated a headless figure, dressed in white. He stared in disbelief as he realised she had something gruesome under her arm – her severed head, complete with tangled blonde curls and horrified stare. She floated along the corridor until she arrived at the door of the room where she had been murdered. Then, she vanished.
His was the first of many sightings, still reported to this day. So, if you stay at the Old Faithful Inn, don’t have nightmares…
Now, here’s a flavour of Linden Manor:
Have you ever been so scared your soul left your body? 

All her life, Lesley Carpenter has been haunted by a gruesome nursery rhyme—“The Scottish Bride”—sung to her by her great grandmother. To find out more about its origins, Lesley visits the mysterious Isobel Warrender, the current hereditary owner of Linden Manor, a grand house with centuries of murky history surrounding it.


But her visit transforms into a nightmare when Lesley sees the ghost of the Scottish bride herself, a sight that, according to the rhyme, means certain death. The secrets of the house slowly reveal themselves to Lesley, terrible secrets of murder, evil and a curse that soaks the very earth on which Linden Manor now stands. But Linden Manor has saved its most chilling secret for last. 


Linden Manor is available from:
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk 
Amazon.ca 
Amazon.com.au 
Kobo
B&N


About the author:

Catherine Cavendish lives with a longsuffering husband and mildly eccentric tortoiseshell cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid 18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.

When not slaving over a hot computer, she enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.





2 comments:

  1. Ooooh, I'm shaking here Cat. What a fabulously chilling read this sounds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Shehanne. Enjoy - and don't have nightmares. Well, not too many anyway!

    ReplyDelete

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