Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Day I Met A Ghost

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
In 1849 three desperados were line up and hanged from a tree at the location where the Hangman's Tree Lounge stands, in Placerville, California. History has conflicting stories as to what their crime might have been. Some historians say it was probably robbery. Others are certain the desperados cheated at cards, and when they got caught, a ghastly fight ensued and it ended up in a murder. The three were buried behind the tree, now a parking lot beside Highway 50.
A monument marks the spot. It reads:
"Somewhere here lies the remains of
The three unfortunates hanged in late
1849 from the oak tree in the feed
corral. After a fair trial by the
vigilantes, this incident changed the
name of Dry Diggin's to Hangtown.
Let us not judge too harshly, for those
Were rough days of the Great Gold Rush."
Years ago, I worked in an art gallery located three building down the street from the Hangman's Tree Saloon and had to deliver something to one of the patrons. The owner had mentioned in an interview that one morning when she opened the saloon, she saw a man sitting at one of the tables in front of her. She went on to say he wore a black coat and a tall hat. Once she'd recovered from the shock at seeing a man sitting alone in the locked saloon, he'd disappeared.
When I read this interview, I smiled and nodded because I knew she spoke the truth. That day when I was inside the saloon, I also had an experience with this same ghost. I passed a tall man wearing a long black coat and a tall black hat as I walked into the woman's bathroom. He was on his way out of a hall and nodded to me as he passed. At the time, a vision of Abraham Lincoln went through my mind. When I mentioned seeing the man, who had immediately disappeared into nothingness, I got a nod from the bartender. I'd seen their ghost. He had a friendly air about him, and since I didn't realize at first that I had encountered a ghost, I wasn't frightened. Even after I learned who he was, I was more excited than alarmed.
Currently hanging by his neck from the second story of the building is "George" -- a mannequin, dressed in 1800's attire and with his hands tied behind his back. He's been a part of the town's colorful history for almost 70 years. Some complain about seeing the unusual sight, but the majority of the people who live in Placerville and most of the visitors to the town think he adds mystique and gives the town an impression of what it might have been like living there during the heights of the gold rush.
The last of my Paradise Pines Series books, Stealing Her Heart, is now released.
In Paradise Pines, real men didn't read romance much less write it. That is until Liam O'Toole comes to town. Unfortunately using a woman's identity to write under might get him hung. Because of a misunderstanding, a murder charge could put a rope around his neck for his own murder.
Margaret Hennessey's homemade biscuits have homesick miners flocking to her table. To her utter frustration a misguided thief is stealing her biscuits only to pay with a romantically written IOU. When the town cook dies, the townsfolk need her to take over the cafe kitchen.
An intrigue involving hidden gold and a band of renegade outlaws drives Liam to become the hero he's always written in his books. How else can he save not only his muse but the fiery redheaded biscuit maker who's not only his muse but the woman he just might call his happily ever after.
"Wherever ya are ya dirty rotten thief, I hope ya choke on me food."
Her beauty stole his breath, but her quick temper sealed his fate. He'd found his heroine. She stood so close he could have reached through the thick brush and touched her, but at the moment he struggled to breathe.
An older man stepped from the tent's interior and rushed toward her. "Margaret, what's going on?"
She stuffed the IOU into her apron pocket. "A biscuit bandit is prowling these woods, Da. He stole one off me plate, the scoundrel."
Her father reached inside the tent and pulled out a shotgun. He checked to make sure the chambers were loaded. "Don't ya worry, daughter, I'll put buckshot in his behind."
Not liking where the old man's actions headed, Liam hurried back through the woods and didn't stop until he reached the river. He sat on the bank and stuffed the rest of the biscuit into his mouth. Damn but that was good. He wiped the crumbs off his face with the back of his sleeve. In fact, he'd never tasted anything like it before. He would risk everything, including his life, to eat another. Maybe not today, but he'd be back first thing tomorrow.
He couldn't stop thinking about the redhead with the fiery temper. Before he'd left Dublin, he'd loved his share of beautiful women, but none of them compared to this daughter of Ireland. Her father called her Margaret. Hmmm. Margaret? Maggie? Meg? Yes, that was it. He would name his new heroine Meg.
Excited he'd finally found the inspiration for his heroine, Liam wanted to write. He hiked down the dusty road into town. The fresh mountain air stirred his muse to a frenzy. At least today it did. It amazed him how this beauty could conjure up all kinds of ideas, most of them about writing -- a few not so creative, but a lot more enjoyable to think about.


  1. Good stuff Miss Paisley. I'm going to miss old "George," when I leave, but I know his spirit will live on forever.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Yes, you will miss old George because I do and I miss some of the other special places. You will find new ones and can explore a new state, too. I can never get enough history and my new place is the area of Hiawatha and Paul Bunyan.

  2. So, was the ghost you encountered one of the three men that was hanged? The other two are never seen? Makes me wonder why he haunts, and interacts with the living. I love ghost stories, Paisley. Can you tell? I really need to vidit Placerville some time soon. :)

    1. I also need glasses. Visit Placerville, not vidit. Haha

    2. I love the ghost stories, too, Ashley. We had one upstairs in the art gallery that made me nuts. He tip several paintings off kilter some nights. I don't know if the man in black was one of the desperadoes but doubt it because of the way he was dress. He seemed the Abraham Lincoln type, tall, silent, debonair. And, yes, you would love Placerville. They bring out the Wells Fargo stagecoach at times, have fake gun duels on Main Street, and The Cary House Hotel has two resident ghosts. One is named George.....hmmm I wonder if that is who the hanging George is named after. He was hanged.

  3. Ah, Paisley, I have to have this book. I love western historical romance and also love Irish heroes and heroines. You batted a thousand with this one IMO. Best wishes for fabulous sales!

    1. Thank you, Caroline. You've actually dealt with this particular hero of mine. You had him post on your blog once. :) I hope you do have a chance to read this story of my heart...I switched from Scots to the Irish this time and they are remarkable characters if I may say so for myself.

  4. Ghosts are everywhere. I've had several encounters and they all started book ideas. I think they are the best muse for a writer. ;) Sounds like another great book from you! Congrats!

  5. Thank you, Paty. I agree as I have been visited so many times that I look forward to them. I'm like you. I take my story ideas from anywhere they can be found. :)

  6. I've never encountered a ghost. I'm not sure I believe there are any, but if they do exist on this earthly plain, it must be a very emotional experience. I love reading books with ghosts. It would have been fantastic if you had taken a picture of the ghost.
    Love your story idea and the excerpt. Wishing all the best to you, Paisley.

  7. Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate your wishes. I think some people are more open to ghosts. I never thought I would until two months after my father died, he showed up for a few seconds. I think it was just to show me all was well. He would have been the last person to believe in ghosts, too.

  8. Oh, no, I do not believe in ghosts. But I've heard enough people--including my sister--make reference to a ghost not to dismiss the idea entirely.
    Your post is very interesting. Much luck with your new release.

    1. Thank you, Celia. I appreciate your opinion always. Have a great holiday weekend. :)


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