WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF GOTHIC HORROR
I've lived most of my life amidst the wild beauty of rural Northwest Pennsylvania where hillsides choked with oak and hemlock create bleak tableaux that adversely affect one's psyche. Deserted farmhouses, overgrown graveyards, stark moors, and rusty oil field relics are just a few of the spooky features of this desolate land. In Warren, McKean, Potter, and Tioga Counties but two seasons exist--those of darkness or light. The absence of sunlight in this somber region causes some folks severe bouts of depression. For me, it inspires a dark creativity that found its outlet in writing Gothic horror.
The Gothic novel was the first form of literary horror. Englishman, Horace Walpole, was the originator. In 1756 he wrote The Castle of Otranto in which he mentions giant swords, bleeding statues, walking portraits, and strange noises that later writers copied. By "Gothic" we mean a type of story, usually in a pseudo-medieval setting, full of mysterious, occult, and violent incident, in a pervading atmosphere of terror and gloom.
It wasn't until the 1830's that the horror genre was widely popularized by the American, Edgar Allan Poe. Poe brought the Gothic format to the short story in his masterpiece, "The Fall of the House of Usher." He also invented the story of psychological analysis when he wrote "The Tell-Tale Heart." His "Annabel Lee" I still consider the saddest and most beautiful poem ever. It inspired many of my early poems like the one below:
WHAT DO YOU DO?
What do you do when your whole family's strange,
And you have their sickness polluting your veins?
How do you cope with the future ahead
When you know you'll be crazy before you are dead?
What do you do when it starts to take over
And robs you of reason the few times you're sober?
How can you fight this congenital disease
That comes from the roots of two warped family trees?
What can you do to defeat the dark urges
And beat back the devil each time he emerges?
How can poor Madeline escape what will crush her
Imprisoned in a place like the vile House of Usher?
In 2018, I published Fear Is Forever . It includes all of my best horror stories in the same cemetery row. Recently, I released Ghosts Revisited that explores 32 haunted places in Pennsylvania and Western New York. This book is half history and half horror and enlightens and frightens at the same time! An accompanying video by Mark Polonia, titled Ghosts, is now available, too. In it, he melds eye-popping visuals and plenty of screams into the storyline. To order copies of these projects, just scroll down.