All beginnings have an end, but this knowledge does nothing to ease me in writing this message.
In 2011 I was in the process of finishing my first book, Washington County Paranormal, and I was in dire need of money to get the book published. I got a crazy idea and took a chance—I’d start a Ghost Walk in Downtown West Bend as a fundraiser. After a couple of initial hiccups, my tours started in late April of that year and it’s been a tremendous time. Needless to say, the tours were successful that year, and for each year thereafter.
Each and every tour was enriching to me as not only a Fortean author, but also as a paranormal enthusiast. I don’t think a single night went by when someone didn’t share fascinating, and often times, extremely personal, unexplainable encounters. That’s what makes this so difficult. But I might as well say it.
The Downtown West Bend Ghost Walk will not be returning in 2017. It isn’t because of lack of interest, oh no. I’ve been getting inquiries about tours all spring. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, Washington Countians are avid about their haunted history. No, the reason the tour is being discontinued, is what makes this message bittersweet, as opposed to simply sad.
Both my wife and I have been given some wonderful opportunities to enrich and challenge ourselves in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin (our new address will be roughly two a half hours from our current address in West Bend). Her career is moving ahead, and hopefully, I’ll actually be motivated to finish one of the numerous manuscripts that I’ve been neglecting for going on two years now. The only draw back is, it won’t be economically feasible to continue the tours.
But despite my lack of written output in recent years, I wouldn’t be calling myself an author were it not for the communities of Washington County. Everyone from Kewaskum on down to Germantown opened up and shared with me with paranormal experiences, and the urban folklore they’d grown up with. To everyone who supported my books and my tours, thank you.
I’d like to thank the Washington County Writer’s Club for their help in showing me what works in a manuscript, and what doesn’t. Despite the fact I haven’t attended a meeting in years, I’d of never been able to write readable manuscript without them.
I’d like to thank the History Center of Washington County for giving me the tools I needed to research my various projects. I can guarantee there wouldn’t have been a book nor a tour without the tools and support they gave me. It really, really stinks that Washington County politicians want to take their money away and send them out into the cold (as well as severely cut the budgets of all quality of life services in the county–parks, libraries, senior services, et al. I suppose a community’s history doesn’t matter if someone can save a taxpayer $20 a year on property taxes. If you appreciate your community’s history, please contact your county representative and tell them. Explain to them you WANT a museum and a historical society. Click here, before you lose your history.
This is starting to sound like a retirement speech, but it isn’t. This is not the end for me, far from it. Though I’ll be far away from the community that got me started down the path to Fortean writing, I feel rejuvenated, and excited about the future.
More books are coming. It made me smile to write that.
Farewell for now Washington County, may all your Eves be Hallowed.