Brought to you by OBS owner/reviewer Dawn.
- Don’t forget to read our review for “Trucker Ghost Stories and Other Tales of Haunted Highways, Weird Encounters, and Legends of the Road” at OBS here.
Dawn: How did you go about collecting these stories? How much time and research did it take?
Annie Wilder: I collected the stories for my book by creating a website and Facebook page about the project, posting a call for stories on online trucking forums and websites, contacting truckers who had blogs or radio programs to see if they would help get the word out, and posting on HARO, which is a website that connects reporters, writers and production crews with people who can serve as a source of information. I also called or emailed every trucker I knew. I didn’t expect it to take as much time as it did ~ it was nearly three years from the time I came up with the idea until I turned in the finished manuscript.
Dawn: The Skinwalker in Arizona and Hat Man In Montreal are 2 of my favorites. Is there one particular story that really creeped you out? Which one and why?
Annie Wilder: I really liked both of those stories, too. There are so many stories in the book that I love… As far as the creepiest, along with the Skinwalker story, “Hitchhiker in Red” and “Red-Eyed Man on Wisconsin Highway A” were pretty terrifying. Basically, any account in which something dead or demonic wants to destroy someone frightens me.
Dawn: I enjoyed the diversity of the stories. Did you find that these experiences happen in every walk of life?
Annie Wilder: Yes, actually. I’ve written two other ghost story books, House of Spirits and Whispers, a true account of the strange and magical haunted house I live in, and Spirits Out of Time, a collection of true family ghost stories and weird experiences. I’ve spoken or emailed with hundreds of people since writing my books and one thing I’ve noticed is that everyone seems to have a ghost story — sometimes, they’re just waiting for the right moment to share it.
For example, my sister and brother-in-law invited me over for dinner one night and introduced to a guest who had been friends with my brother-in-law for years. After the other guests left, I mentioned how much I enjoyed hearing about their friend’s UFO encounter. My sister and her husband were shocked — he had never told them the story. But when my brother-in-law introduced me, he mentioned that I live in a haunted house. That provided an opening for his friend to tell me about his weird experience.
My advice for anyone who wants to hear interesting stories (whether ghostly or not): Be a sympathetic and engaged listener and you will hear amazing things.
Dawn: I think everyone has some type of supernatural experience and reading these stories made me realize we can find commonality through sharing. Was that your purpose in compiling/editing the book?
Annie Wilder: Truthfully, my main purpose in writing this book was to scare and entertain people, and maybe get them to start thinking about experiences they’ve had and how strange and interesting life is. But I also believe that our culture — and all of us — would benefit from acknowledging and talking more about experiences that can’t be explained by our current understanding of reality.
Dawn: What is your all time favorite supernatural series of books?
Annie Wilder: Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour was so terrifying to me that I was afraid of the book itself and didn’t want it near me while I slept. I love books by Colin Wilson, especially Poltergeist. Nick Redfern is another author I like. I’m really into true firsthand accounts of weird paranormal encounters and love magazines like FATE and the U.K.’s Fortean Times. At the moment, I’m interested in reading more about some of the less familiar astral beings such as BEKs (black-eyed kids), shadow people, and skinwalkers.
Dawn: What are you currently working on?
Annie Wilder: For my next book, I’m actually collaborating with some of the house spirits. I booked two readings with Linda Drake, a psychic in Texas who has great success talking with the spirits in my house. I posed some of the questions I’m most often asked about my house to the spirits, via Linda. This book will present their answers, as well as the latest news about the house and the ghosts since House of Spirits and Whispers came out, including information about a “spirit river” that runs under the house. I’ll post updates on my website, Twitter and Facebook pages when the book is available. (Links at anniewilder.com.)
Thanks for inviting me to be interviewed on Open Book Society!
Wow, reading this interview really makes me want to read the book, although I might not be able to sleep for days. Thank you to author and editor Annie Wilder for an amazing interview!