Today I Learned…

Platypuses are an odd combination of animal parts — a duck’s bill, clawed feet (the claws are poisonous, by the way), and fur. They lay eggs — a very odd thing for a mammal to do. But the reproductive weirdness doesn’t stop there, oh no. The female platypus doesn’t have nipples, so the milk she makes to nourish her young is secreted through her skin, where it gathers in creases and folds, like sweat. The babies lap it straight from mama’s skin. (From Reader’s Digest , September 2019, “I Am Milk.”)

Inadvertently Humorous Cemetery Art

I’m one of those people who enjoy wandering around cemeteries. In particular, I love seeing how people choose to remember their loved ones, both in the stones they choose and in the more ephemeral decorations they leave at the grave site. Most of these tributes are wonderfully touching.

But sometimes, the artwork sends … a different message.


As I wandered around Mount Carmel cemetery a few weeks ago, I noticed a beautiful little mausoleum near the end of the row.


If you walk closer, and peer inside the tomb, you can see a gorgeous piece of stained glass artwork at the back of the structure — a picture of Jesus as the Lamb of God.


I walked around the mausoleum, and discovered to my horrified delight that if you look at it from the opposite direction … it looks like Jesus has landed Himself in the slammer.

Cross-cultural Frights

I went to an author fair yesterday, at the Peoria Public Library. I find these a great way to connect with other authors, see what they’re up to. Some of them are friends of mine, some are new faces.

And sometimes authors wander past MY table and start up a conversation when they see that I write true ghost stories. This happened yesterday. Joshua Zulu is an author who was born in Africa — he’s from Zambia. He saw my collections of spooky stories, and started to laugh. He shared a childhood memory with me:

“When I was a child in Africa, we kids would take a long stick, and tie a shorter stick to it as a crosspiece. Then we’d take a metal can, drill a hole in the bottom so we could stick it on the end of the pole, and drill two bigger holes for eyes, and fill the can with glowing coals. Then we’d drape an overcoat on the arms of the stick figure, and a kid would tuck himself up underneath the coat, holding the long pole. Then we’d hang out on the dark street.

“You didn’t even have to DO anything to scare someone when they walked by,” Joshua laughed. “All you had to do was walk out of the shadows. With the dark overcoat, and the glowing eyes in the can, the scares just made themselves. We had grown men running away in fear!”

My kinda guy. 🙂


Just in Time for Halloween…

My husband is a complete skeptic. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, or things that go bump in the night. He doesn’t even believe in an afterlife.

But he loves me, and that’s what counts. And because he loves me, he got me a present during his last trip to Goodwill.


That’s right … my dear, sweet, loving husband bought his ghost-hunter wife a Ouija board. It appears to be a Parker Brothers throwback from the mid-1980s, with suggested questions on the box like “Will I star in my own music video?” and “Does Taylor like me?”

Oh, and it glows in the dark. 😀 (So, his reasoning went, I can use it on investigations even if we’re lights-out. Good thinking, love.)

I know my friends are going to be, in about equal measures, intrigued and appalled that I now own a Ouija board of my very own. (I myself am intrigued and appalled in about equal measures.)


But it glows in the dark.


That’s going to give me the giggles for weeks.

Listener Feedback

I’m having so much fun being a guest on Ron’s Amazing Stories every month. And happily, our listeners seem to enjoy our back and forth banter too. Ron was kind enough to share an email he got from one of our listeners.

“Hello Ron — First let me say what so many others have said, you have the most unique podcast out there. Your mix and mash of stories is wonderful and fun to listen to. You asked, ‘What is our favorite segment?’ For me, hands down, it’s Ghost Stories With Sylvia. You guys seem to like each other and have a lot of fun. I do have a question for the both of you. Do you agree on what ghosts and spirits are? I am betting this question is going to spark a debate.”  — Jeanette Porter, Harwick, PA

For the answer, just take a listen to our show. You can find it here:

Lights Out: Galena, Illinois

Here’s another fun episode of Lights Out for your delectation and enjoyment! Galena, Illinois, is a pretty little touristy town, that is loaded with ghost lore. Come along with me for a tour of this haunted place. We’ll join Steve Repp for his All About A Ghost tour. Steve is a great storyteller with a lovely, self-deprecating sense of humor — he even let slip a couple of “dad jokes” as we walked around. His tours are $15, and well worth the scratch. I highly recommend catching a tour if you’re in town.


October’s the Month for Scary!

So last night, I bundled up a blanket, an afghan, a thermos of hot sweet tea, and some picnic snackies, and went down the street to lay on the grass and watch the meteor shower. I didn’t see any meteors, but I spent an enjoyable twenty minutes or so listening to the old-time radio episode presented by Ron’s Amazing Stories.

This podcast features the most highly regarded episode of the old-time radio series Quiet, Please. It is called The Thing on the Fourble Board. This story has led both fans and OTR experts to label the episode one of the best radio horror programs ever broadcast. Richard J. Hand of the University of Glamorgan notes that “The Thing on the Fourble Board” is not only cited as the finest example of radio horror but occasionally cited as one of the best examples of radio drama as a whole. RAS401-Thing-100819.mp3

Ron says, “An oil rig worker discovers an invisible creature of unknown origins living beneath the depths of the earth. What happens to this man is horrific, and the ending is absolutely brilliant. If you’re alone, turn the lights down low and listen. It will help get you into a Halloween mood.”

So, you guys want to know what’ll freak me out? I was wondering the same thing. Last night, I found out. After listening to “The Thing on the Fourble Board” at night, by myself, I was quite thoroughly creeped out. Thank you, Ron, for giving me such a deliciously spooky experience!

Thoughts on the Afterlife

So the other day, at the library, I was checking books in, and I came across a book by a doctor who had clinically died, visited the afterlife, and come back to tell the tale. My first thought was, hey cool, here we have an actual sciencey-type person who can back up our theories on the afterlife. That’s great!

And then, I thought, why do we NEED someone to back up our theories? I mean, I personally believe in an afterlife. I know many people do not, and that’s their own business. I happen to believe in an afterlife the same way I believe that if I drop an apple on the floor, it’s going to fall down, and not float off sideways.

But WHY do I believe this? Why do I, and sooooo many other people, believe that death is not the end? Just to play devil’s advocate here for a second, evidence of the paranormal can be faked. Pictures can be faked. Ghost voices can be faked. I can sit here and tell you that I saw a full-body apparition in my bedroom. You may believe me, you may not. But you only have my word for it. Am I telling the truth? Or am I making up stories to get attention? (Full disclosure, in case anyone’s keeping score: I have never ever ever faked evidence. Any story I tell, is true as far as I experienced it.)

Here’s the thing my mind dropped on me as I looked at the book by the scientist: maybe we believe in an afterlife because we have evolved to believe in an afterlife. In the same way we are unique on earth in having opposable thumbs, and we cry with emotion, and we’ve developed religion, maybe we have ghosts because we have evolved to have ghosts. Maybe the human spirit is SO unique and SO powerful, some of that psychic residue sort of hangs around after that particular organism has died. And sometimes, the lucky ones among those that are left behind can see or hear or sense that psychic residue.

And that means we are not alone.

Ron’s Amazing Stories



On Ron’s Amazing Stories this time we have three creepy stories about camping. Sylvia Shults joins us for another round of ghost stories, this time the focus is on animals. She also shares a big surprise for one lucky listener. We end the show with two short tales from author Fredric Brown that are perplexing, to say the least.  So, press the play button and enjoy.

Featured Story – The Attack At Ape Cave

Our featured story was sent in by Cordell Burke from Amboy, Washington. It is a frightening tale about his encounter with Bigfoot near the Ape Cave, Mount St. Helens, Washington. It is a complete story with historical backdrops and exciting action.

Ghost Stories With Sylvia – Animals

This time on GSWS Sylvia announces a first! A contest for all listeners. Simply answer a multiple-choice question. The first person with the right answer receives an autographed copy of her new book Fractured Souls. To enter head to click on the contact tab and answer the following question:

There is a ghost that haunts Punderson Manor House in Geauga County, Ohio. It said to be Lemuel Punderson who settled on the property during the early 1800s. he died under mysterious circumstances by committing suicide. How did he do it?

A: Hang Himself with five silk neckties.
B: Rowing out to the middle of the lake and pulling the plug.
C: Climb into a barrel of wine and drowned himself.
D: Stand in front of the Screaming Eagle Roller Coaster.

Program Note: Sylvia Shults is a Librarian, Author, and Ghost Hunter. She has spent a lifetime in the pursuit of the weird and strange. Her non-fiction works include Ghost of the Illinois RiverFractured Spirits44 Years in DarknessHunting DemonsThe Spirits of Christmas, and her latest release Fractured Souls. All of her books are available on Amazon and you can find out more at WordPress Home Page.

Sponsored by: This podcast is brought to you by Audible. You can get a free audiobook and a 30 day free trial at

Ron’s Amazing Stories is produced and hosted by Ronald Hood:
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Lights Out: Peoria State Hospital Cottage

Oh boy, do I have a treat for you! It’s another episode of Lights Out, your virtual campfire. And we’re going back to the hilltop! The Peoria State Hospital closed in 1973, but it is still a very active place. The Peoria State Hospital Museum is preparing to move into its new, permanent home: one of the cottages that remain on the hilltop. This building is steeped in history, and it even has its own ghost story. Join me for a very special sneak peek inside the building.