Creating Spooky Content

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Photo by James Sutton/Pexels


I was excited but a little intimidated to see that my post today was scheduled for Halloween. Then I thought to myself, “Who am I kidding?” Writing about spooky things is something I believe I was born to do. You’re looking at a gal who has tickets this weekend to attend a haunted doll hunt at a historic plantation in town. In fact, I’ve just spent the last week heavily immersed in books and newspaper articles about legends and hauntings in North and South Carolina all in the name of research for my podcast, Missing in the Carolinas. In the end, I had to surrender the script at 11 plus pages and tell myself there will be other ways to repurpose some of the tales I uncovered. Here are a few things I learned when putting together the perfect script to make the hair on the back of listeners necks stand on end . . . 

I’ve had a quite a few experiences myself that lend themselves to writing about the paranormal. From the apartment I lived in that was a former VA hospital, to the photograph in a picture frame that seemed to be telling me something, to the room in a farmhouse I never felt comfortable in at one of the many houses I lived in as a teenager. I also spent my formative years in a city that is well-known for being a haven for spirits . . . Asheville, North Carolina. 

Moving cemeteries is not just something that happens in the movies like “Poltergeist”-- it has happened on high school and college campuses more than once. I even found a news article today with a new incident, and I’m guessing there are some restless spirits wandering about those places. 

There seems to be a ghostly hitchhiker story in every state. How many times have you heard the story of a person picking up a dazed and confused young woman on the side of the road who disappears as soon as you pull up to the house she directed you to? I uncovered one in the Carolinas for the episode, but there are many others out there. 

You may not always be able to use all your research on one project, but that doesn’t mean you should set it aside. I know we’ve discussed this before in blog posts, but there was one story I found, the case of Lavinia and John Fisher in Charleston, S.C., that didn’t seem to fit into the rest of the podcast content, but I spent so much time digging into its origins I wanted to use it somewhere. Voila! I regularly post true crime stories on my personal blog so I typed it up and shared it with my readers this week. 

I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating Halloween, whether its enjoying your favorite candy or watching your favorite horror movie. And if you’re looking for a few extra haunted tales, check out Episode 16 of Missing in the Carolinas

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who enjoys giving readers a little extra fright every now and then. Visit her website at


Margo Dill said...

Happy Halloween, Renee! I am the exact opposite of you. I am the biggest scaredy-cat, but I did click over and read your blog post about the possibly wronged first female serial killer. Fascinating. Your subjects for your podcast are very very interesting!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Ooh, I'm going to listen to your podcast right now! :) I love scary stories.

When you mentioned the photograph, it just reminded me of a time my husband and I were driving through the desert, and we decided to pull off into this tiny nowhere town with abandoned houses. (There are SO many abandoned houses here in the desert.) This place had wallpaper torn off and old newspapers from the early 1900s underneath. Bloody handprints covered the front of the old fridge in the kitchen (we didn't open it). Then we found some stairs leading to a basement. There aren't any basements here in SoCal, so I don't know if the people who used to live there were preppers because it was a cement box. There were bloody handprints on the wall leading down the stairs. When we got down there it was so dark we could barely see, but we found 2 polaroids. One of a man and one of a woman. The creepiest part? They looked just like us. Same hairstyle, same age, clothing, everything. I just remembered that story! I have those photos still.

You got me thinking about so many great ghost stories. :) There's a cemetery in Long Beach and one in Altadena where your car rolls up a hill supposedly pushed by the hands of a dead widow. I put my car in neutral and tried it once, and it worked! And we have the Queen Mary here, which is haunted.

I just finished watching the Netflix series, The Haunting of Bly Manor. Have you watched it? It's not as good as Hill House, but a creepy one. :)

Have fun at your haunted doll hunt! That sounds terrifying, btw. Happy Halloween!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I HAVE TO MAKE MYSELF A NOTE TO LISTEN TO YOUR PODCAST! That's me, yelling at myself, so I will remember! Because seriously, Renee, we're kindred spirits. :-)

I grew up in haunted Savannah and you canNOT throw a stick without hitting a spirit so it's in my blood. Also, Ang, that Polaroid story? ARE YOU SERIOUS?? And I watched Bly started with scary promise (how can you not have fright with little dolls in a dollhouse?) but pffft. Got a bit disjointed in there, didn't it? Or maybe that's just me, being picky.

Happy Halloween, y'all!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--You are the perfect person to post on Halloween. You take real-life creepy things--and focus a spotlight on them.

Enjoy the day.

Renee Roberson said...

Margo--I've gotten to be more of a scaredy cat regarding things like haunted houses and such over the years, but I love me a good ghost story! Isn't that story about Lavinia Fisher nuts?

Angela--I have got to see pictures of those polaroids! That sounds almost like you stepped into a time slip or something! Bloody handprints, too? I told you that Daniel stayed on the Queen Mary one night and said he's never going back! He didn't sleep a wink. I haven't seen The Haunting of Bly Manor yet. I liked Hill House though, so I may have to check it out. The doll hunt was soooo creepy! They did a really good job with it, though. This historic plantation was one of the places in our area hit hard by the pandemic (school tours, etc. are a huge part of their business) so the doll hunt proceeds served as a fundraiser. I didn't realize there were going to be staff dressed up as characters while we were there! The creepiest part of the whole thing was going into the main house (two story) lit up only by candles and our flashlights. I don't know where they found all those dolls (shudder)! What scared me the most were the characters that kind of lurked in the shadows and didn't say anything! I turned around in one room and there was a little girl lying on a blanket on the floor and she just kind of slowly sat up and stared at me with her ghost white face. I screamed so loud, LOL.

Cathy--Oh, my, Savannah is soooo spooky. I love doing the graveyard tours there. I didn't realize that's where you grew up! I also recorded a short story I wrote a few years ago that's pretty scary (in my opinion) and put it up as a bonus of the podcast today. I'm exhausted from all the production I've done this week but you know I love it.

Sioux--I'm just the gal to write about all this messed up stuff, right? Now I've got my daughter following in my footsteps and taking a forensics class at school. We were on the front porch last week with red food coloring doing a blood spatter experiment!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Renee, I listened to Episode 16 and 17 of your podcast. Both were intriguing and Episode 17, The Monster In The Woods, was a perfect scary Halloween tale.

Renee Roberson said...

Jeanine--Thank you so much for listening!

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