by Elizabeth Parker
Mod Mobilian interviewed Haunted Mobile author Elizabeth Parker.
MM: How did you get interested in writing about ghosts?
I literally can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in ghosts; they are often poignant and always compelling. Ghosts stick around because they do not perceive their stories as finished. I feel like it is my job, as well as my passion, to tell these stories.
HAUNTED MOBILE is a compilation of my first two self-published books, Mobile Ghosts: Alabama’s Haunted Port City and Mobile Ghosts II: The Waterline, both of which I wrote because I was tired of waiting for someone else to do it! My library has hundreds of “true ghost” collections from all over the country and the UK. Other than a few mentions in Kathryn Tucker Windham’s books, Mobile’s haunted history was sadly unrepresented.
My background is in business and nonfiction writing, with some graphic arts training. Technically, it was not hard to put the books together, and both sold steadily in the local market; but the publishing end took all the fun out of it. History Press contacted me in January of 2009 to ask if the books could be added to their Haunted America line, and I was thrilled to turn it over to the pros.
MM: What was the spookiest experience(s) you have had?
It takes a lot to scare me at this point, but the ghosts and I do have an understanding that they are not to mess with me after dark. I’ve walked out of rooms that were impossible to tolerate because of an unseen presence. (Imagine being in a very small room with someone who is seething with anger and resentment; now imagine that person is invisible.) The nasty ghost in the second parlor at Oakleigh physically shoved me out the door and into the hall; I was also followed home by something from Oakleigh that breathed its funky, rank stench down the back of my neck for the better part of a day before I could rid of it. At a private home, something grabbed me on the leg and scared the bejeebers out of me; also at that same home, I watched the floppy handles of a tote bag I’d left on the sofa stand up in the air very slowly, lower themselves to the side, then reverse the whole procedure. Once a ghost bolted through me from out of a closet when I went looking for him in there. It was an incredibly creepy sensation.
MM: Any fake ghosts?
Yes! One very well known story about a public place in Mobile is entirely contrived; the people responsible for it did it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was to keep down vandalism. People mention this one all the time! You won’t find that story in my books because I only write about stories that are — to the best of my knowledge — true events.
MM: Future books?
Absolutely! I am working on book of all new stories that is about halfway finished. I’d like to follow it with a book about the ghosts of Katrina country, which includes our own overlooked Bayou La Batre. A friend who has stayed in Mississippi wrote me the other day, “…most of the haunted homes are gone now” and I found that so sad! I’d like to get the stories from that region down on paper before they are entirely forgotten.
I need stories, please! My website has information about how to get in touch with me, and exactly what I am looking for (no legends, no UFOs, no Bigfoots…) www.mobileghosts.com , along with information about ghosts. There is also a Facebook page for Haunted Mobile, which includes a gallery of ghost photos, and is completely public. Search “Elizabeth Parker” in Alabama on Facebook and it is easily found.
Haunted Mobile is available at these and other vendors: Bienville Books, Page and Palette, the gift shops of the Museum of Mobile and the Mobile Carnival Museum, local bookstores, Sam’s Club, and the library.
Google Books (links to booksellers): http://books.google.com/books?id=cxBsPgAACAAJ
Originally posted October 27, 2009.