Dawn Thoughts – August 23, 2014


Crystal’s house

I was talking to a friend recently and we couldn’t help but comment on the strange phenomenon in cyberspace.  Well, more than cyberspace.   The list of people from Charles Yallowitz from the Legends of Windemere fame ( he recently had to recover all his data – I’m not sure what the problem was) to my friend Jen from Blog it or Lose it! who keeps getting BOD on her computer, dear Oliana from Traces of the Soul … who’s reduced to blogging from McDonald’s on to my sister, her computer died just a couple of days before my old mother board bit the dust … all point to a strange linking of nasties running through the cyber lines.

I went over the Akashic Library the other day to enquire.  Bastet and Sekhmet talked about Loki and the kami running amok.  However they also said there were “other” forces at work.

I decided to call on my dear friend, Crystal Payne.

Crystal lives not far from my house in what could pass for a wrecked hovel, until you get on the inside.  It’s one of the most interesting houses I’ve ever been in!  I’ve known Crystal all my life … and to think she doesn’t look a day over twenty-two, with her neat figure, jet black hair and smooth skin … I’m sometimes envious when I look in my mirror and see the almost elderly, dumpy lady of sixty-two looking back at me.

She “owns” a black cat.  His name is Caesar, and he’s as imperious as the original Julius.  He’s large and sleek – looks like a miniature panther in fact.  He also happens to be telepathic, at least he is with Crystal and all forms of spirits. They were born on the same day.  He’s from a long line of cats from the race known as “familiar familial” … in the middle ages the name was cut down to familiars – witch’s cats also was also another name used to refer to them.

“Hello Crystal, how’s it going lately.” I said as I entered her front door.

“Not bad actually.  There’s been a lot of work lately due to some pesky poltergeist.  They seem to be having a ball wrecking people’s computers.”

“Really! What a coincidence.  That’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. You’ve been aware that there’s a lot of computers blowing lately and not just here in our town.  It seems to be a world-wide phenomenon!”

“Well, it’s a fact that Loki and the kami are having a fling now but there’s also a group of organized disgruntled poltergeist at work on their own. There are a lot of problems involved. By the way, you know there is no such thing as a coincidence, right?”

“Hmmm. Yes, I read that in a book by a certain Redfield I think it was.”

“Ah yes, him. Anyway he got that right.  Everything in one way or another is linked together.  Seems that due to solar storms and a conjunction of the outer planets not to speak about moving ever more deeply into the age of Aquarius, there are many forces colliding at the moment.  I keep getting called on by the spirits to help their humans out of one cyber mess after another.  I’m really very overworked and am thinking of giving my sister a call to give a hand.”  Actually she didn’t look at all stressed but on the other hand she never did.

“Here, let me get my kit and we’ll go over to your house and try to rid you of the mites.”

I wasn’t surprised that she’d understood at once that I too was in need of one of her special visits.

Before entering my house she lit one of her famous camomile candles and Caesar meowed loudly at one of the local kitties.  I opened the door and we went up the stairs. Once in the living-room she handed me some leaves and told me to make some tea.

An elderly spirit came walking up the stairs much to my surprise.  I hadn’t realized the house was haunted!

“Ciao Giuseppina!” Crystal said to the lady dressed in the typical garb of a 17th century Italian peasant.

“Ah … the witch! And how are you today?” she said.

“I’m fine.  Can you tell me what’s going on here?”

“You mean about the light bulbs burning out and the compter stuff blowing up?”

Over the past few days my light in the refrigerator mysterious went out for a couple of hours coming back on just as mysteriously and light bulbs kept needing to be changed as well as all the other problems with my computer and router.

“Well, seems there are some youngsters around that are not happy.  You know what that can do to the atmosphere.  It’d be best to just do a general exorcism here.  Those poltergeist will not go away otherwise.”

“Get off it you old bat!” said a juvenile voice and up popped a vague shimmering spirit of around fourteen.  Not a ghost though, they are more concrete.

The poltergeist sat down on the couch and began to pet Caesar.  He purred and the spirit seemed to become more serene. We all had some of Crystal’s heavenly tea, she furnished special cups from her kit for the spirits.  The poltergeist sat talking about all the woes of her human, which were many.  It’s a sign of the times in this bad world-wide conjuction of economical depression.  She then apologized to me for creating so much havoc over the past few weeks. Then she just faded away.

“Well, she’s gotten it out of her system for the moment. I don’t think she’ll come back here, but your neighbors may still have some problems.”  Crystal said.

I thanked her for coming over and we fixed an appointment for a barbecue next Sunday.  I was feeling relieved to know that my house would be problem free … at least for the moment.


Written for Jen … she asked if I couldn’t call Crystal in to see about the jinx that has been hounding my house over the past two weeks.





The Gothic Beauty


When Caesar my partner, who happens to be a cat and I drove up to the great brick building we saw the girl at the window and knew we were at the right place.

“Crystal Payne Spirit Investigations” I’d replied concisely when my phone had rung earlier that day.

“I’m Julian Lastranger and I need your assistance at once!” said a soave gentleman’s voice.  He seemed to have a slight Australian accent and was strangely not at all perturbed.  I’d heard his name before … it was all the news back then.  You might say he was a spook who’d become famous by exposing skeletons in famous people’s closets.  Of course, if he was calling me at this number he needed my assistance, that goes without saying, as this number is not only unlisted but nonexistent for all intents and purposes!

“Could you give me a brief outline of your problem?”

“Well, last winter I bought a house in Australia, then had it dismantled and shipped here to the United States.  All the furniture was included so I could reconstruct the building and furnish it in all it’s glorious Gothic beauty. However, it seems that now I have a ghost and she’s really very upsetting, she howls constantly! A ghost was not part of the bargain by the way.”

I wondered if he’d ever read the “Canterville Ghost” but said: “I understand sir, could you give me the address, I’ll be there in the morning.”

“Excuse me, but couldn’t you come around now.  I mean, she’s present at night but sleeps in, or whatever, in the morning.”

So, here we were in front of his “glorious Gothic beauty” and there she was at the window.

I grabbed my bag from the trunk and Caesar went boldly for the front door.  He was in a feisty mood and meowed imperiously at the front door to be let in.  I got my camomile candle lit just as the door opened.

Before us stood what looked to be an English butler right out of a Victorian novel.  You know what I mean, as rigid as though he had a pole up his backside, a dead-pan face the works!  But  looking closer, I noticed that he was a she!

“You rang? Whom may I say is calling?” she intoned in the most classic voice of a female Jeeves that I’d ever heard, a few octaves too high of her male counterpart.

“Ah let off Murphy!” shouted a voice from inside the house as we heard a tick tick ticking on the hard-wood floor coming towards the door.

The butler looked disappointed and in a broad Bronx’s accent  went off mumbling to herself.

“Hello, I’m Julian Lastranger, but you can call me Bill.” he said.

He wasn’t what I’d imagined.  He was about 5″ foot 8″ with steel-blue eyes, long straggly grey hair, very thin.  He wore a t-shirt that read “Keep abreast of the news!” across the front of it  and as I saw whilst he led us up the staircase, “Have you backed it up!” on the back.  He had a can of beer in his hands, which despite his calm demeanor shook.

OOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! came a moaning sound from the second floor.

“There! She’s off again! This will go on all night long!  I can’t stand it any more!” the poor man’s voice trembled.

Caesar went straight to a door and hissed … the door flew open of course.  There in the middle of the room was an elegantly attired young woman.  She’s must have been 20 when she’d passed.

“Right,” I said, “Take these leaves into the kitchen and boil them in about a liter of water, 5 minutes I think should do it.  Then you and Murphy come back up with the pot and three cups.  By the way, are there any other people in the house?”

“No, just us.”

“Good … Well off with pop then.” I shooed him away.

Looking at the ghost I told her who I was and asked her name.

“I’m Mary-Ann Faithless. This is my house and that, that creature stole it!” she howled.

Caesar went up to her purring, the rubbed across her legs, his tail straight up like an exclamation point!

“Oh! What a sweet kitty.” she cooed and picked him up.  Caesar often had that effect on ghosts.  One of his greatest talents was to be able to sooth irate spirits..

“My heaven’s! But I’m able to hold him!” she said.  That was another of his qualities.

“Miss Faithless, could you please tell us what the problem is?”

“It’s that monster!  He’s a crass, eavesdropping, womanizing wombat … he’s a …” as the epitaphs grew so did her chagrin. “And he stole my house!  It’s been awful.  One moment I was minding my business and the next I found myself in a sort of limbo then in this, this  horrid country!”

I could completely empathize with her feelings.  It seems she’d been a quiet soul and the former owners had never known of her existence.  So technically, she’d not been part of the bargain when Lastranger had bought the house.  On the other hand, he’d never informed the former proprietors that he’d be taking the house and furniture away from Australia.

Murphy and Lastranger came into the room at that point with the tray.  I had Murphy place the tray on the table and invited all three of them to sit down and with Caesar’s assistance I drew a pentagram around where they were sitting and lit a camomile candle for each of the points of the star-like diagram. I then invited them to drink a cup of the liquid I’d had prepared.

At this point it was easy to get them to tell each other what the problem seemed to be from their point of view.  Dialogue is so important in these cases.

The conversation went on until midnight and finally they were able come to an understanding.  Lastranger apologized for his tactlessness in moving the house without informing the former proprietors, and thus Miss Faithless of his intentions. Miss Faithless, now admitted  that the climate was by far better than where the house had been in Australia and admitted that she really quite enjoyed the new setting … there was a lovely English garden around the house now whereas before there had only been scrub land.  She’d basically been put off by the sudden dislocation of her spirit during the transfer.  Murphy just drank without saying a word.  She’d never had problems with Miss Faithless’ howling anyway.

I erased the pentagram.  Miss Faithless was chattering away amiably with Lastranger as I walked out the room with Murphy, who paid my bill without a blink.

“By the way ma’am, what was that concoction you had me brew.”

“Why tea of course.  There’s nothing like a cup of that congenial beverage to create friendship.  This is my own special blend. Kukicha and Houjicha.” I gave her a bag of my special mixture as I left saying, “If there are any further problems, just make them a cuppa!”

Inspiring Quiet Thursday – Leanne Cole Photography

The Phantom of the Rap Opera – June 8, 2014

My name is Payne, Crystal Payne and I’m a private investigator.

I was sitting on my easy chair with Caesar sleeping on my lap one morning when the phone rang.  I was 11:58, and I thought, wouldn’t you just know someone would call at lunch time!

“Hello! Crystal Payne’s Spirit Investigations, Crystal Payne speaking.”

“AAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!” I had to pull the phone away from my ear and Caesar jumped down from my lap looking rather irritated.

Very expressive I thought, but said laconically: ” To whom am I speaking please?”

“I’m Sinthea Bratwurst!  I need your assistance at one!” a woman’s voice said imperiously.

“Yes ma’am, if you tell me what your problem is, perhaps I can see if I can fit you in my schedule.”  I said this simply because that’s how I react to imperious voices.

“I’m at the Ovaltine Theatre and there’s a being here who is ruining our rehearsals!  You must come at once … we open in just a week and we’ve already lost one actor!”

“Rather distracted on your part, do you often lose actors?”

“What???” she sputtered.

“Sorry I was joking.  Ok, It’s 12:03 now, I’ll be by after lunch at 1:00.”

“No, no, no!  You don’t understand, this is really urgent! I’m afraid that the being has, well, inhabited our lead actress.  She’s standing on the railing of one of the balcony seats reciting Lady Macbeth’s ‘blood on my hands scene’!  I’m so afraid she’s going to fall.  Of course we’ve put down some mattresses but…”

I had to admit that the situation did seem rather urgent so I said I’d come right away. Grabbing Caesar I ran down the stairs and got into my parked car ( a Primus) in front of my office-home.

At 12:28 we arrived at the Ovaltine Theatre where I saw a rather dishevelled young man standing at the entrance, obviously waiting for me, puffing away at an electronic cigarette.

As I opened the car door, Caesar jumped out and went up to the man, rubbing his legs.  Of course he immediately calmed down, that’s one of Caesar’s powers.  In the meantime I got my bag out from the trunk of my car.  Lit one of my stock of camomile candles then followed Caesar.

“Oh thank heavens you’re here!” I’d been mistaken, this was Sinthea Bratwurst.

We went into the dark theatre and I noticed the young lady on the balcony railing wringing her hands.  I went up the stairs to the balcony seats, Caesar with his bottle-brushed tail right behind me.

“Hello there, uhm madame.” I said as the actress turned to face me.  I was not a little worried that she might go over backwards.  I needn’t have worried though. I noticed that she was floating about 2 inches above the railing.

“Ah! So they’ve sent for help at last, the demons!” the actress said in stentorian tones.

Caesar meowed emphatically and I agreed with him saying: “Yes, do come into the box please.”

She complied as she couldn’t resist Caesar, but then began to whine:

“That I, the great Liliane Craptree, should have to be tortured daily by these clods!  They’re destroying Shakespeare!”

“Excuse me, but weren’t you one of the great experimenters who put Shakespeare into music?”  I remembered that back in the 30s there had been a troupe led by a certain Liliane Craptree.  They’d had a certain success until she’d fallen off the balcony in one of her more dramatic recitals.

“Of course!  But these people are rapping Shakespeare.  Rapping!” she howled.

There’s nothing like a revolutionary who’s been outclassed I thought.  This looked like it might be a little difficult.  I had a telepathic consultation with Caesar.

“Ah, but it’s not the rap is that correct ma’am?” I asked.

“No!  It’s that’ every other word is an F-bomb.”  She said that it was the only thing she regretted. I too felt that an F-bombed Shakespeare was a bit much.  I asked her to leave the actress so we could consult with Sinthea Bratwurst.

“It’s like this,” I said, “you won’t be able to put the show on unless you remove all the vulgarities from the play.  Ms Craptree was a great artist and creator in her day and she can help you make this show a success.  All she has to do is “inhabit” you for a couple of hours so you can consult together and clean up the verses.”

By 5:36 my job was finished and I went to have an early dinner.

“Macbeth Yo” was a huge success, hope you got your tickets before they sold out!

Other Crystal Payne stories:

The Case of the Silent Bell – June 6, 2014

The Case of the Pigspittle Ghosts – July 7, 2014






The Case of the Silent Bell – June 6, 2014

For Sunday Photo Fiction – Every week on a Sunday, a new photo is used as a prompt for Flash Fiction challenge using around 200 words based on that image.


The Case of the Silent Bell

My name is Payne, Crystal Payne. I’m a private investigator.

It was 9:45 on a Sunday morning as I stood looking at a bell tower. It was similar to many other towers I’d seen over the years. However, my black cat Caesar with his puffed up swishing tail told me there must be something special about it.

The client had called at 8:32. Seems that the bell wouldn’t ring any more.

“You’ve got to come at once!” said the priest. The story of my life, everything had to be done at once!

I walked into the church with my camomile candle lit. There near the belfry stairs stood the ghost; a rather sorrowful lookingTrappist monk.

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

“They’ve blocked the bell.” He said. “But I’ve fixed them!  I’ve blocked their tape recorder!”

I immediately understood the problem so I went to talk to the parish priest.

“But it’s a bother having to ring that bell all day long!  I’m getting old you know!” he said after I told him why the “bell” wouldn’t ring.

The solution was easy. From 10:42 onwards the Trappist monk happily rang the bell.


The Case of the Pigspittle Ghosts – July 7, 2014

The Case of the Pigspittle Ghosts

My name is Payne, Crystal Payne and I’m a private investigator.

One late November afternoon I was sitting at my desk watching as the rain poured down the window barey being able to see the garden beyond. The phone rang, it was 4:27, I always take note of the hour.

“Crystal Payne’s Spirit Investigations, Crystal Payne speaking.” I learnt long ago that a simple clear answer on the phone saved a lot of time. As my number wasn’t in the book, in fact it was nonexistent the caller could only be a friend or a client.  Clients could always find me when they needed me.

“Oh my God!  Thank heaven’s I’ve found you!  I’m in a terrible bind!  There is blood everywhere!” a woman’s ragged voice came over the line.

“First of all ma’am, to whom am I speaking.”

“Oh! Mary Pigspittle, from the Ohio Pigspittles!  You must come at once. I live near Cape Sod down near Mulberry Hill.  It’s really urgent!  I’m up to my arms in blood!”

“Excuse me ma’am, but don’t you think this may be a job for the police?”

“Of course not!  You must have realized that this isn’t any ordinary blood!  This is the blood of the ghosts that live here!  My house guest is a medium and she wanted to exorcise them … and well now it’s raining blood!”

“Yes ma’am, ok I’m leaving now, I’ll be there is less than half an hour.”

I got my jacket on and called Caesar my partner..  He’s always useful when I’m investigating haunted houses.  A big over-sized black cat with a 7th sense for the occult is really  handy to have on hand  in my line of work.

The rain had stopped and the sun streamed through the clouds like a picture postcard of heaven.  Didn’t seem like the proper scenario for a haunted house case. Midnight would have been better, at least in books.  However, this was the real world and ghosts seem to turn a blind eye on what should and shouldn’t be proper. After an hour I drove into the gloaming as lights began to twinkle on down the roadside..

I reached the house at 10:02. The house was all I could ask for, it looked straight out of Psycho.  Caesar meowed his approval and as I opened the door, he jumped out with his tail straight up like a flag pole.  I got my bag from the trunk, where I always kept it and walked up the sidewalk to the rickety wooden porch. Then rang the bell.

A plump silver-grey haired lady opened the door.  She wore a green chenille calf-length house dress over a clashing orange sweater and blue metallic trousers. Her hair was done up in a brittle purple bouffant with a black bow in it.  The image that came to mind was that of a spoiled over-aged over-indulged child.

“Oh! I’m so glad you could come so soon!  Please, quickly, my friend Marie Ange is in the drawing-room!”

How quaint I though. I’d nevert heard anyone use the word drawing-room outside of an Agatha Christie book.  I followed her, but before I walked through the drawing-room door, I opened my bag and pulled out and lit a camomile scented candle.  Better to be on the safe side, camomile being a calming agent, it would be better to go in ready for whatever hysterical ghosts I might find.  Caesar had followed in discreetly behind me.  He knew a few things about hysterical women and preferred to keep them at a distance.

The sight that greeted us was extraordinary.  The walls were seeping argentine blood . Marie Ange who was huddled in abject terror, was being harried by two irate ghosts who were oooooooing and awwwwwing and being all together rather rude. My mission here was pretty straight forward.  I took Caesar into the crook of my left arm and held the candle up high with my right, then in my best school marm voice, I said:

“What in the name of all that’s holy is going on here!  You two!  Stop this howling immediately and explain yourselves!”  Caesar punctuated my words with a hissing that would make a dog run for his life.

The ghosts stood stock still in surprise. The blood chilled on the walls and Marie Ange gracefully fainted.

“Ah Ma’am, sorry ma’am.” said one of the ghosts.  He looked like he might have been a butler in life. “”Tis all the fault of this gormless ninny! She gots outta Ouija board and started mumbling and grumbling, what’s a body ta do!”

“Yeah! and she put out a charm and said she wanted to see all the blood we’d shed o’er the years!  Likes we’d shed any blood at all!  Right insulting she got at one point calling us wretched souls and stuff like that!” said the other ghost, who must have been a lovely young teenager when she’d passed on.

I looked at the skinny old lady that was Marie Ange and then at Mrs. Pigspittle:

“Well, what have you two been up to?”

“It’s like this, Marie Ange went to a cloister last year and met this interesting priest.  He taught her all about exorcism and getting rid of unwanted spirits…” the butler and Caesar hissed at her “and well she thought it’d be only proper to send them to where they belong and …”

“And, where would that be you ol’ biddy?” said the teenager. “I suppose you mean hell or somefing like that! We’ve lived here far longer then you have and caused no harm to no one!  Right Jeeves?”

“Tha’s right missy! I’ve always been discreet.  I’ve been in this house since it was built!”

“Is this true Mrs. Pigspittle?”

“Well, yes of course.  I only thought she’d play around a bit, I never imagined she could really call up the spirits!  I am so sorry!  Can you do anything Ms Payne?”

“Of course I can! This is Caesar.” I said pointing to the black cat. “He’ll have everything right in a jiffy.  Now, Mrs. Pigspittle, go to the kitchen, boil some water and put these leaves into it, then bring me a cup of it.”

She scuttled out of the room.  I drew a small pentagram around the table and Marie Ange.  Then put Caesar onto the center of the Ouija board.

He began to circle on himself, his tail twitching and slashing, howling at the top of his voice.  The blood instantly disappeared from the walls and the two ghosts began to smile and finally faded from view. By the time Mrs. Pigspittle returned to the room, everything had gotten more or less back to normal.

I blew out my candle and erased the pentagram from the floor.  Marie Ange was still in a faint, but that was normal, between the camomile tea and Caesar’s hiss, both very potent spells against way-ward exorcists, she’d have been out for a week without my special tea!

I brought the cup to her slack lips and she began to gulp the concoction avidly .  In less than twenty minutes she was herself again.  Except, she’d totally forgotten not only her dreadful experience, but also her visit to the cloister the summer before.  In the meantime, after being paid, I invited Mrs. Pigspittle to have a cuppa as well.

I let myself out.  The ladies could no longer see us of course.  Now they didn’t believe in either ghosts or witches so they could see neither.

It was 8:45.  I got in my car and drove off under the cover of  a clear starry sky.

By the way, the name Pigspittle, come from the name of one of my favorite blogs.. It’s administered by a really great writer whom I think you should all visit … she’s at Pigspittle, Ohio