Real Haunted Locations- Monte Cristo at Junee in Australia by E. J. Dawson #GothicSuspense

Australia is not known for having a particularly paranormal history. We have our small share of haunted ghost tours in old jails, abandoned asylums, and houses with a dark history.

One such is the Monte Cristo Homestead at Junee, located some 450 km (280 miles) from Syndey, Australia, and is a delicious sandwich of past horror. The rural mansion boasts a tragic history of death from random instances to the quite ghastly.

It sits atop a hill with a lovely view of the surrounds, a two-story building with a Victorian air. Built by Christopher Crawly in 1880s, it was passed on to his wife in 1910. For such a “young” house by comparison to those in Europe or America it would appear nothing too frightening could happen here.

Yet orbs, appearances, moving pictures and objects, and a deep sense of dread permeates the air. I visited years ago as a paranormal obsessed teen. Though the house never demonstrated any such signs, it was hard to stop a tremor of fear as our guide unveiled the deaths in the house – and there were many.

The wife, Elizabeth Crawley, has been seen walking the house, still grief stricken over her husband’s death, before dying herself of appendicitis. She secluded herself there for years, turning an upstairs room into a chapel to mourn him for the rest of her life. Perhaps that set a tone for the house, and the tragic deaths that were to follow.

During a party, a young debutante fell from the second-floor balcony to the entry stairs below, were a blood stain still remains. A maid fell down the stairs while carrying the infant of the family. A stable boy burned to death, when claiming he was sick, and his bed was set on fire after being accused of laziness. The saddest of all was that of a boy, declared insane, chained to the back of the kitchen. His mother the cook, died inside of natural causes. The poor boy was left outside to the elements. Only the arrival of a local policeman who hadn’t seen the cook in a while found the discovery – while the family were away.

These figures have all been reported, part of many a supernatural investigation and those of guests and visitors. Whether it was to frighten a young girl, the caretaker took great pains to recall to me how a pregnant woman saw the nursemaid carrying the infant at the top of the stairs just the day beforehand. 

How much of it is true, or designed to scare, doesn’t change the eeriness of the place or how much tragedy has soaked into its walls. If you ever find yourself there, they offer self-guided tours during the week, and you can stay and even dine there. 

Behind the Veil
E. J. Dawson

Genre: Gothic Suspense
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust
Date of Publication: 1st October 2021
ISBN: 9781942856931
ASIN: B0981C89JL
Number of pages: 252
Word Count: 86k
Cover Artist: Violeta Nedkova

Tagline: To catch a killer or save her sanity

Book Description: 

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

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Excerpt One:

“My apologies,” Letitia said, hopeful she could put him off with an excuse, “I’ll need a preliminary appointment and then a secondary one for the actual session, and I’m unavailable for another three weeks―”

“I can’t wait that long,” he said, reaching into his suit pocket to pluck out a brown envelope. “If you require a provisional report to better assess the situation, you can come by my office in the morning, where I will have legal paperwork for matters of confidentiality. I believe most of your consultations are in the afternoon, so it should not interfere with your appointment book.”

Letitia snapped the ledger shut. “I have other errands I must attend to tomorrow.”

“I wasn’t asking you, Ms. Hawking.”

She had guessed he’d spoken to one of her patrons, which would explain his presence on her doorstep, but now she was certain. Only during private consultations did she give her name, and only to those who treated what she gave them with due dignity. Each client had to meet her conditions, and each made a substantial payment for her service. It varied on the time passed and the trauma of death, but each one carried a price—for them and for her. Letitia always finished her sessions by asking patrons for their discretion and giving out a card with a telephone number and times to call. She was happy for a client to refer her to others, but rather than call he was here in person, making demands. He was not the kind of clientele she sought, especially one connected to a patron who had broken her request for privacy.

“I don’t appreciate your tone of voice,” she retorted, “or opening my door without invitation like a common thief, never mind you haven’t even bothered to introduce yourself.”

“I believe I’ve already apologized for my error,” he said, and Letitia would have responded in kind, but he was instructing her again. “And under the circumstances of your profession, I’m being more than reasonable in my request as well as reimbursement for your time.”

He attempted to hand her the envelope, and when she didn’t accept, he dropped it where she still held the ledger. It brushed her bare fingers, and a shadow grew behind the stranger.

The captivating dark absorbing her being, Letitia fumbled for the mental defenses against a true apparition, stunned as she was by its vivid form.

A cloud of darkness without face or features hovered over the man’s shoulder, but deep inside it she sensed it staring at her. Broad arms that could have grasped her in its embrace lay still by its side. Letitia couldn’t draw breath to scream at the darkness within the figure, the soul-sucking despair rendering her voiceless at the shadow’s presence. 

About the Author:

Beginning a writing journey with an epic 21 book series, Ejay started her author career in 2014 and has taken on the ups and downs of self-publishing with her fantasy series The Last Prophecy since 2016. At the start of 2019, she put the series on the backburner to write Behind the Veil in 25 days, and signed a publishing contract for the gothic noir novel to independent publisher Literary Wanderlust. Behind the Veil is set for release on the October 1st 2021. She resumed self-publishing a scifi series, Queen of Spades released across 2020 and 2021, as well as signing another contract with Literary Wanderlust for NA fantasy, Echo of the Evercry. Believing in more than one path to a career in publishing, Ejay pursues self-publishing alongside querying traditional publishers with multiple manuscripts.

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