Ghost stories can be inspired by any number of things from dreams to stories that are currently part of the literary cannon. Every once in awhile, however, a ghost comes to life from the type of stories you usually find on TV shows, like Ghost Hunters or Paranormal State. Did you know that Deborah Kerbel‘s recent release, Lure was inspired by actual ghost sightings at her local library? I invited Deborah to write something about the real events, which happened at 10 Colborne Street in Thornhill Village to share with my readers. Today, I’m happy to get the opportunity to do just that!
Hi Melissa, thanks for inviting me to your blog today to talk about the true events that inspired my new YA novel, Lure. The inspiration to write Lure came over me like an avalanche one day in late August, 2009. On my way home from an errand, I had parked my car outside a little white clapboard house on a side street not far from where I live in Thornhill, Ontario. Three signs on the house immediately caught my attention. The first one was a small plaque designating the building as an historic home. The second one had a name and a date: ‘Mrs. Ellen Ramsden. 1851.’ The third sign read: Thornhill Village Public Library.
I took a second to connect all the dots in my head – this was an old home that was now being used as a library. Cool. But there was something else happening…a feeling like I was being pulled in my a force bigger than I understood. And just like that, I became absolutely certain that this little old building would be the subject of my next novel. The feeling was undeniable. Only problem was, I had absolutely no idea yet what the story was going to be about. Back at my computer, a quick Google search revealed the long documented history of paranormal activity associated with the library. Turns out the building was haunted. Brilliant! My book was going to be a ghost story.
I decided to construct the plot around the long list of real-life ghost sightings that had been reported by library staff and visitors over the past 60 years. The pungent smell of phantom smoke in the stairwell; an apparition of an old lady in a rocking chair, moaning the name ‘John’ over and over again; a little dog bristling and growling at the entrance to the front room of the library as it’s eyes followed something around the room…something no human eyes could see. I made a list of these sightings (along with many more) and set my imagination to work, dreaming up characters and a plot that would connect them all together. Within days, the story of Lure emerged and I started writing.
If you’re in the Toronto area and ever get a chance to visit the Thornhill Village Library, ask one of the staff there to take you on the ‘ghost tour’ and see if you can spot all the different stories that inspired Lure.
Thanks so much for creating this guest post for me and my readers, Deborah! For those of you who had the chance to read more about Lure, I hope you enjoyed this guest post as much as I did. What do you think is the creepiest ghost sighting that Deborah mentions in the post? Let me know in the comments section and maybe both Deborah and Dundurn Press will see your comments, too.