Yes, I’m alive. I know it’s hard to believe, but despite being absentee for two months (the longest since starting this blog) I am still alive and kicking. It’s been a long tedious summer filled with new experiences for myself both as a writer and in my daily life. Among those experiences were my attempt to work under a deadline (writing in the annual J2_SPN_Bigbang fan-fiction site @ livejournal), breaking in a new partner at my second job, and rediscovering my muses in a way I hadn’t known them in far too long.There were various personal discoveries and realizations about my personal life as well which I may share at a later date. BTW I write some damn good shit when pressured into a corner by a deadline date (my RPS – AU film noir tale Song of the Reaper can be found HERE if you’re interested in fan-fiction, rps aka real person slash, and/or supernatural mysteries).
Oh, then there was the discovery my beloved adopted baby Sheba wasn’t spayed. Two weeks of a yowling, horny cat does not the muses make happy. *chuckles* Nor does it make the owner of those muses happy when it keeps her from her sleep.
Any who…on to the point of this post.
I’ve spent the past couple of months working on two manuscripts the first a crime thriller set in Chicago tentatively entitled Red Light (read a teaser HERE) and a ghostly suspense set in the fictional small town of Jericho, Mississippi entitled The Cottage (read a teaser HERE).
While doing some research for The Cottage I started musing about the interests I have as a writer and the origins of those interests. Two of my major interests ghost stories and the psychology of killers (both which have a huge part in The Cottage) were inspired by a story I heard as a child back in my hometown in the Ozark foothills.
Joseph ‘Jody’ Hamilton was a preacher’s son who slaughtered the entire Parsons family–father, mother, and three sons all under the age of eight–back in October of 1906 when my maternal grandmother was only a toddler. My maternal grandfather who was a teenager at the time told about witnessing his execution in December 1906 to his kids. Jody’s was the first and last legal hanging in Texas County Missouri and as you can tell from the dates justice wasted no time back in those days–he was convicted and put to death within a matter of two months after the murders.
Growing up I heard the tale told numerous times of how a fight over the sale of a saddle and rifle resulted in the bloody deaths of Carney Parsons, his wife Minnie, and their three children. The tale sometimes varied from teller to teller depending on the opinions of the family who passed the story down from generation to generation. Certain points remained the same though; the victims, the dates, and the fact Hamilton was hung not once but twice for the crime being as the rope broke the first time! Over the decades the tale became something far more than a horrifying crime in a small community, but evolved into what is known as an urban legend.
Every year around Halloween the local newspapers would tell the legend born of the blood on Hamilton’s hands. How if you came to certain area on the banks of the Big Piney River where the murders were committed and waited until a certain time you would hear what few had heard. The sounds of Hamilton fighting with Parsons, the screams of Parsons’ wife and the crying of those three murdered baby boys. With each telling the details would become more gruesome as if the facts were not gruesome enough in their own right.
At one point in my childhood, a group of girls (myself included) at a slumber party decided to go in search of Hamilton’s supposedly unmarked grave. Yes, his grave is unmarked, but he was buried next to his mother in Allen Cemetery which of course I had no idea of when I was twelve years old. The only thing we discovered that night were irritating older brothers hiding in the cemetery and a hound dog who didn’t know when to leave well enough alone when it came to pissed off skunks in hay fields. Of course, that story can wait for another time.
The point is I seem to have been destined for a strong curiosity when it came to crime stories and the supernatural. If I ever get to a place where I feel like a successful writer I would love to write a non-fiction book about Hamilton and his crimes at the beginning of 2oth century. The truth might be stranger than fiction, but the truth can inspire fiction.
Hamilton’s story inspired me as a kid to a level of curiosity that eventual led me not only to create fictional killers both human and of the supernatural origins, but created in me a desire to investigate the psychology of those killers. It also inspired in me a desire to investigate the paranormal and all it entails. I doubt that interest will ever fade.
Until Next Time