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Celebrating Women Series: Tim Busbey Talks About a Woman of Ghost Legend, Ceely Rose

Welcome to the 17th article in the “Celebrating Women” Series for Women’s History Month! It’s the first time I’ve coordinated an author guest article series to celebrate women in history or women making history! Thank you to Tim Busbey for this article. The series ran March 19-31, 2014, and you can head to this blog page, Women in History, which will give you links to all articles in the series that you can read and share at any time.

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Ceely Rose, Ohio Female Killer of 19th Century Featured on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters
by author/editor Tim Busbey

Ceely Rose

Ceely Rose, a photo taken during the time of her trial in 1896.

My article for the Celebrating Women series is a little different than most of them. The woman I am writing about is a person most people would not consider to be inspiring or “good.” However, her story is one that bears re-telling.

Today, I am going to share with you the story of Ceely Rose. Unless you happen to be from North Central Ohio, you probably have no idea who Ceely is. Most people in these parts have at least heard the name of the 19th century young lady who killed her parents over the love of a young man.

Nestled within the confines of what is now known as Malabar Farm State Park stands a rather non-descript, two-story white home. To the thousands of visitors who pass through the park each year, there is no sign of the tragic events that took place within those four walls 118 years ago.

Those tragic events were given birth by one young lady. Her name was Celia Rose, but to the residents of Pleasant Valley, she was known as Ceely. Ceely was born on March 13, 1873, to David and Rebecca Rose. By today’s standards, Ceely was severely learning disabled.

According to “Historic Haunted America” by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, “By the age of thirteen she could barely read and was always in classes with students much younger than herself. Many youngsters teased her for her poor grades and her pronounced stammer whenever she was called upon to recite.

With the cruelty that children often inflict on one another, they would scream, ‘Dumbbell Ceely! Ugly old Ceely!’” (As a weird sidenote/bit of trivia, Michael Norman was a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where I attended college my freshman year and I had him as a professor for two journalism classes.)

Although she was 23 at the time of the murders in 1896, it is said that she had a mental age closer to a young teenager. According to an 1896 newspaper report, “She talked with a stutter and performed on a level with children seven years younger than her. She might be described as half-child and half-woman.”

In 1896, Ceely was in love with a local boy named Guy Berry, who lived on a neighboring farm. Although Guy certainly didn’t share those feelings, Ceely told everyone that the two were engaged. Not wanting to hurt Ceely by telling her his true feelings, Guy reportedly lied and told her they could never be married because her family did not approve of him. Another version of the story says that Guy’s father was upset by Ceely’s daily visit to their home and told her parents to keep her away.

Photo by Erin Al-Mehairi

The Rose Home at Malabar Farm Photo by Erin Al-Mehairi

Heartbroken, Ceely decided to exact revenge on her family. At breakfast one morning in late June 1896, Ceely laced her family’s cottage cheese with arsenic. Her father died on June 30. Her brother, Walter, survived a few more days, dying on July 4.

Her mother must not have eaten much of the cottage cheese, because she recovered, eventually realizing what had happened. But when her mother began talking of moving away from Pleasant Valley, Ceely poisoned her mother again with a massive dose of arsenic. Her mother died July 19.

As the lone survivor of the Rose family, suspicion immediately fell on Ceely, but investigators had no evidence to prove her involvement. This was long before the days of “CSI.” Instead, it was a childhood friend of Ceely’s who talked with her and got her to confess to the killings.

Ceely was tried for all three deaths and found not guilty by reason of insanity. She was sent to an asylum in Toledo where she spent the next 19 years. In 1915, Ceely became one of the first patients at the new Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. She died there a day after her 61st birthday in 1934 and her gravestone still stands in a cemetery at that site.

Ceely’s family and Guy Berry are buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery, located just a short distance from the Rose and Berry homes.

You may be wondering why I chose Ceely as my woman to write about for this series. A few years ago, I got the idea to write a non-fiction book about the many sites in North Central Ohio that are reportedly haunted. My research uncovered a number of them, including Malabar Farm.

Many people believe that Ceely haunts the Rose and Berry homes, both of which still stand on the grounds of Malabar Farm State Park, as well as the Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Over the years, people have reported seeing a girl in a window of the former Rose home at times when no one was in the home, which is now owned by the Ohio State Parks. A play about her life is performed in a barn at Malabar Farm State Park, and many strange occurrences have been reported during rehearsals and performances.

Just last month, an episode of “Ghost Hunters” that was taped at Malabar Farm aired on the SyFy Channel. I don’t usually watch the show but I made sure to watch that episode OnDemand.

Whether or not you believe her ghost is still hanging around Pleasant Valley, the story of Ceely Rose is truly a tragic tale. The young lady was likely bullied her whole life for being different. Combine that with her developmental issues and it was a tragedy waiting to happen.

Besides the major women in history, it’s interesting to find the hidden stories of women of note right in your own backyard. Don’t be afraid to explore and investigate your local history. You never know what interesting tales you might find.

Tim Busbey, Biography~

1000041_10151504816312462_893841430_nTim Busbey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University. He has been a professional writer for nearly 20 years, spending the first 11 years of his career in the newspaper industry before transitioning into a role as a copywriter/marketing communications specialist. He has written for newspapers, a recruitment communication agency, a major small appliance manufacturer, and one of the top personal injury law firms in Ohio.

Currently, he is working as a full-time freelance writer/copywriter/editor for a variety of clients including an electronics distributor, an online news source, and a law firm, while assisting with other projects of Addison’s Compass Public Relations, a PR/Com/Marketing business he runs with Erin Al-Mehairi.

Tim is in the process of writing a horror novella, a non-fiction book about haunted locations in North Central Ohio, and a science fiction thriller novel that is the first of a series. He also offers editing services to a wealth of authors in all genres.

Tim has volunteered his time for a number of community organizations including The United Way of Ashland County and the Ashland County Cancer Association.

Tim lives in Ohio with his long-time girlfriend, Erin, and their three kids. When he’s not writing, Tim loves to read (sci-fi, fantasy, horror and thrillers mostly), watch TV, and coach his kids’ sports teams.

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Dark Rising – An Excerpt from Tim Busbey’s Upcoming Short Story, a Prequel to Novel

This post today is so fitting to me as I tell my partner, Tim Busbey, Happy Father’s Day! He’s a great Dad, trying his hardest to provide for our kids, be there for all their activities, coach their soccer and softball teams, and is always there to support all their ups and downs, celebrate their successes, and be supportive when failures happen. He makes our family a priority even while he works hard and still tries to pursue his writing dreams.

So that said, here is a post from Tim’s blog in which he talked about writing his prequel short story, offering an excerpt of the first chapter below, that will accompany his forthcoming novel. It’s an introduction for people to the world where his story takes place, tentatively titled Dark Rising. It’s a sci-fi action/adventure/thriller set in the very near future.

He’d love to know what you think in the comments below, at his blog at www.timbusbey.wordpress.com or Facebook www.facebook.com/timbusbeyauthor.

Dark Rising Excerpt, by Tim Busbey~

Mashhad, Iran

It is not going to end like this.

That solitary thought overwhelmed all others as Sgt. Brian Duncan fought to stem the steady stream of crimson that flowed from his shoulder. A jagged shard of shrapnel had slashed a ragged stream along his skin as it flew past him after the blast. The unexpected eruption had upended the truck he and his team had used to get from the Afghanistan-Iran border to the holy city of Mashhad, Iran.

Got to keep moving.

The acrid smoke burned his eyes as he struggled across the debris-covered earth toward the truck that had brought his team into this nightmare, one hand pressing a field dressing against the wound in his shoulder, and the other pulling him along. Bullets flew around him like a deadly blizzard of hot metal.

The bandage he held on his shoulder was stained a bright red, like the rose bushes he remembered his mother growing in her garden back in Royal Oak, Michigan, a vibrant suburb north of Detroit. She always took such meticulous care of those bushes, tending them with the same loving care she showed her two sons. But he quickly put those thoughts out of his head. This mission was too important to be distracted by thoughts of home. If his team failed, there wouldn’t be a home to go back to.

I’ve got to make it. Everything depends on it.

He looked up and felt a surge of hope. He was almost there. With a final, desperate tug, he eased his battered body behind the fiery remains of the truck, which now rested on its side. Brian shielded his face from the heat of the flames that roared from the engine compartment.

It had probably been less than a minute since his team’s mission had gone sideways but it seemed as if he had been crawling for hours. But there was no time to rest. He slowly poked his head up and saw their Iranian driver still belted in his seat. It only took a glance to see that this was going to be the young man’s final mission.

He risked a peek around the front of the burning truck and was greeted by another hail of gunfire. The barrage of bullets seemed to be coming from all directions at once.

How many soldiers are out there and where are they?

“Ortega. Can you hear me?” No answer on his headset. “Mason. Jamison. Riley. Wilson. Anyone out there?” No one. Either all his teammates were dead or their communications gear was on the fritz.

Am I the only one left? Can I complete this mission alone?

Above the roar of the battle, Brian could hear anguished screams, maybe from one of his teammates. Another yell pierced through the tumult and bore its way deep into Brian’s frazzled brain. This wasn’t his first firefight, but that didn’t make it any easier to stay calm and think clearly when in the midst of the fray. Blood-curdling screams like those could rattle even the steeliest of men. Several deep breaths and a moment of stillness helped clear the surge of adrenaline that threatened to overwhelm Brian’s years of training and field experience.

With his thoughts a little clearer, Brian paused to assess his situation and see what his options were. His wound was serious but not life-threatening, and he would need both hands if he was going to survive this. Usually, someone else applied the trauma dressing, but since he was all alone, Brian removed the bandage from his first aid kid and did his best to apply the dressing one-handed. When he was done, he studied his handiwork. Not ideal, but it would do for now.

He had his Sig Sauer M11 at his hip and his HK MP5 over his shoulder, but only a few clips of ammo for both. He also had three grenades and two flash-bangs in the pockets that lined his legs. Better than nothing, but not much good against the horde of killers that had him pinned down. He had to conserve his ammo if he wanted to have any chance at survival. Once his bullets were gone, so was he.

He tucked himself tightly against the remains of the truck, trying to formulate a plan. His first order of business was to make his way to a more defensible position and attempt to locate the surviving members of his team, if there were any.

As he glanced again around the rear of the truck, Brian saw the gilded peak of his team’s intended destination: the Imam Reza Shrine. The “shrine” was actually the world’s largest mosque – a 1,300-year-old massive complex that was home to a museum, a library, four seminaries, a cemetery, and a university. Millions of Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mashhad and the ancient mosque each year.

Normally, the shrine was home to education, religion and peace. But if their intel was accurate, today, it was housing something deadly. No matter what had happened to the rest of his team, Brian knew that he had to make his way to the mosque and attempt to complete their mission.

Snap!

Brian whirled, squeezing the trigger on his MP5. The approaching figure crumpled to the ground at his feet. He breathed a sigh of relief as he saw that the bloodied form was not one of his teammates, although he knew it could have been. He had pulled the trigger without even a thought; without even seeing who it was. That probably had saved his life, but what if it had been one of his teammates?

OK, get a grip! I really need to get out of here.

Copyright, Tim Busbey

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Our Fabulous Fantastic Trip to the Samhain Horror Hang-out at HorrorHound Cincinnati Convention!

This Friday, Tim and I drove three hours to Cincinnati for FearNet.com’s HorrorHound Magazine Convention to see some of our favorite author friends who were there signing books with their publisher Samhain Publishing/Horror.

For those of you not familiar with HorrorHound, it’s primarily a horror film festival that’s gravitated from a film focus into so much more. It’s a weekend long event with big film and television draws such as this year’s Walking Dead cast, director John Carpenter (Halloween, Christine), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, X-Files), the real 1958 Plymouth Fury that starred as the car Christine (Stephen King), and the list goes on (check out www.horrorhoundweekend.com). Vendors, music, and even a Zombie ball entertained people during the event; many stand in line for hours to pay for photos with their favorite TV stars like Norman Reedus.

It was such a draw in fact that they had unforeseen numbers for their opening day of Friday. Thousands lined-up to get in a get a glimpse at some of their favorites. We waited in line for over three hours, but oh, it was worth it!!  Thank goodness there was a little sun, as just a few days later we’ve had a snow blizzard!

Here’s a cool Instagram (follow me…Erin Al-Mehairi) that I took, with a view of a case with all Christine book covers that have been created over the years…..

Christine

Samhain Publishing , an established romance publisher, launched its Horror line of books several years ago and is now a major sponsor. With that, some of my favorite dark fiction and horror writers and directors came in for the weekend to sign their items at the Samhain Horror booth.

Those amazing authors who were there on Friday were Brian Moreland, Jonathan Janz, and Kristopher Rufty. David Searls, also from near Cleveland, Ohio like us, was there on Saturday afternoon. In this post, I’d like to highlight each of them, some of whom have new releases coming up. Then, I’ll note some deals and dates you might be interested in as we wrap-up the post! Read to the end and get a coupon for a free book!

And here’s a photo of me and the guys (L-R: Jonathan Janz, Brian Moreland, me, Kristopher Rufty)… of course I keep look toward JJ and laughing……

Stuff and HorrorHound 2013 177

We had a blast hanging out and talking with them on Friday night. People who don’t always read horror may generalize or stereo-type that word sometimes, but these guys are not only amazing people who are very kind, they are great spinners of their craft…writing the tales we sometimes see in our heads and creating entertainment for the dark recesses of our minds that give us break from all our worldly stress.

Brian, Jonathan, and Krist have been extremely important inspirations to me as a person, a writer, a journalist, and as an aspiring author. All with varying personalities, they’ve shown me support and/or given advice that is priceless to me. And they’ve made me love to read horror!!

We also had a great time meeting Meli Hooker, who writes for Dreadful Tales! What an amazing mind in a tiny little body! Meli is super fun and seemed to take in everything as a newbie to her first horror con. 🙂

So a little about these authors, their books, and upcoming releases….

Brian Moreland is the author of Shadows in the Mist and Dead of Winter. I’ve known Brian for a few years now, ever since Samhain opened its horror line.  Though we’ve talked numberous times, it was great to see him in person and he’s just as friendly and endearing in the flesh.  Brian writes for the screen, so with his books you find a cinematography you might not expect that is extremely gratifying.  He writes very visually and you’ll feel drawn in to the story.

Stuff and HorrorHound 2013 168You can read some of my past posts with Brian on my site, such as my review of Dead of Winter by clicking HERE, which is one of my favorite books of EVER, an interview I did with Brian HERE, and a guest post about Shadows in the Mist HERE, a book which has had years of extreme success that was re-released this year from Samhain Publishing/Horror.

And here is an Instagram photo of Brian holding the artwork my two daughter’s ages 9 and 5 made for him….they tried to make him scary photos but they still included flowers of course!! LOL!

Brian with kid's pics

Coming in July and August 2013, Brian has several items publishing this summer called The Girl from the Blood Coven (July 2013 – free short story prequel) and The Witching House (August 2013 – novella).  And Brian created his own covers!!

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Then, The Devil’s Woods (novel) is coming out in December of 2013, all from Samhain Publishing’s Horror line. I hope he won’t mind me saying, but I was able to read a first version of his novel last summer and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to publicly announce that it will be on my Top Favorites Ever list along with his other book.  He’s made some really great updates to it since then and it will be a hit for fans of Native American legends and spooky happenings in isolated forests.  Want a sneak peek at The Devil’s Woods, you can go here:  http://brianmoreland.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/excerpt-of-the-devils-woods-coming-2013-10-2/.  You can find more on Brian at his website at www.brianmoreland.com or find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Jonathan Janz is the author of The Sorrows, House of Skin, and the soon-to-be released The Darkest Lullaby (novel – coming April 2, 2013 –  I’m the new proud owner of a signed copy from HorrorHound) and Savage Species, a serial horror novel first for Samhain Publishing that’s coming June 4 and hitting every couple of weeks until end of July, 2013!  You can pre-order to download the first installment right now, for FREE by going to:  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/night-terrors-p-7384.html.

He’ll also have Dirt Devil (a vampire western!!) coming out in February 2014 from Samhain.  You can read my review of The Sorrows HERE and our interview HERE. I LOVED the fun time I had reading The Sorrows, it’s superb!!

thedarkestlullaby_v2-1

I’ve gotten to know Jonathan well over the past year, after he launched The Sorrows and I was one of the first to interview him. It was wonderful to meet him in person as his energy and aura are certainly contagious.  His writing style is completely nothing like his real life persona. He’s bubbly and sweet, but his writing is tough, dirty, intelligent, and emotional.

Me and Craig

This weekend at a separate location, Jonathan was recognized with House of Skin as the First Runner-Up in the Darrell Awards, which is a panel in the Mid-South that recognizes authors, or authors with characters from their region, that they feel are the best published in science fiction, fantasy and horror!

You can keep up to date with Jonathan about his life, his writing, and his upcoming books by following his blog at http://www.jonathanjanz.com  and you can see his latest post where he talks about his award, HorrorHound, and yours truly in fact (beaming!) here:  http://jonathanjanz.com/2013/03/24/house-of-skin-named-runner-up-at-darrell-awardshorrorhound-cincinnati-updates-galore/. Jonathan is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Kristopher Rufty is the writer/director of the movies Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood, and also the author of Angel Board (novel), The Night Everything Changed (novella), The Lurkers (novel and The Night Everything Changed is a prequel to it), A Dark Autumn (novella), and coming in August 2013, Oak Hollow (novel which I scored a signed print copy of at HorrorHound!!).

I have a review of A Dark Autumn HERE, which is a novella you’ll want to read this year for its visceral content. I dare you NOT to be moved by this piece of work.  I also loved his novella The Night Everything Changed (which you can download FREE now here:  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/night-everything-changed-p-6931.html ) and the first chapter of The Lurkers, which I plan to read in whole soon.

Stuff and HorrorHound 2013 175I’ve just gotten to know Krist this year through the other Samhain authors, but I was immediately impressed. His quiet demeanor is not an indication of his writing, which is far from mild.  It’s extremely raw, intense, and in-your-face. I can see why he has such increasing popularity and is already a horror icon. I was so happy to get to meet Krist in person. He’s really a kind and gentle person who pours his heart feverishly into his writing.

OakHollow

You can follow along with Krist at his Last Krist on the Left blog:  http://lastkristontheleft.blogspot.com/ and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Urge him to tweet or drop him a line. He’s been a mad-man writing machine for months and he has not only a bunch of books already published but quite a few upcoming! Samhain quickly publishes many manuscripts so they are fresh and you can still feel the authors sweat on the page….ok, not literally.

We didn’t get to see author David Searls, who signed books at the Samhain booth on Saturday. However, I want to mention David as he’s from near the Cleveland, Ohio area where we are also from. Tim, in fact, used to work with David and we are happy to support his authorship pursuits! He’s written hundreds of magazine articles, columns and essays, with a byline that has been carried by People Weekly, The Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine, USAToday.com, Cleveland Magazine, and many more.

He’s written and published three books, including the horror novel Yellow Moon, which was first released by Warner Books and will be re-released by Samhain Publishing/Horror on June 4, 2013 with an AWESOME new cover.

YellowMoon72lg

In 2012, two of his horror novels, Bloodthirst in Babylon and Malevolent, were published by Samhain Horror. I’ll be happy to review these novels as I hear he’s a superb writer, especially in the vampire genre. I also am intrigued by his books having Ohio locales….or maybe since I live in Ohio, that should scare me a little more….

Samhain Publishing did a great job highlighting their authors and had some fun bloody needle pens to giveaway that my daughter just loves using (haha!), red mechanical pencils (I am in love with mine) and of course, having various other titles for sale. They have some great writers on board like one of my favorites, Ronald Malfi, as well as Hunter Shea, Frazier Lee, Bryan Smith, David Bernstein, Damien Walters Grintalis (who is pictured as being at the event but was unable to make it) and many more.

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You can find all kinds of book, including horror titles and those aforementioned fabulous authors, at www.samhainpublishing.com or www.samhainhorror.com.  Thank you, Samhain, for letting me report on the event and your fabulous authors!

Happy Reading!

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