With the recent release of his 50th published title, Duke Center author Bill Robertson has reached a plateau few authors have ever achieved.
During his professional writing career that began in 1972, Robertson has also had his articles published in 500 magazines around the world, yet another impressive feat for a freelance and part-time writer.
Robertson’s writings have found a wide audience of readers as he has moved from his popular historical fiction series of the Civil War Bucktail into poetry, local history and more recently the horror genres.
“Ghosts” is the sixth of Robertson’s photo books, easily recognized by their lay flat pages, and like the previous five, is written in the horror genre. All were published last year.
According to Robertson, “Locally there is huge interest in the supernatural, and people have told me that my books have helped pique that interest.”
While some readers may be slightly familiar with some of the sites and stories in “Ghosts,” they are bound to gain more insights through Robertson’s extensive research.
Using information from family, friends, folklore and the internet, Robertson leads his readers on a literary tour of some of the most haunted locations in northern Pennsylvania and western New York. “These stories have been corroborated by reliable people,” Robertson said.
Always one willing to visit scary places, Robertson, despite possible risks, including an encounter with a ferocious dog, Robertson personally visited all the sites mentioned in the book, not only to take photographs, but also to “get a feel for the area.”
Recalling that each trip was an adventure, Robertson said, “Lots of the sites are not found on maps so I often had to stop and ask for directions.”
For example, while en route to the Halton Baby Cemetery in a remote section of Elk County Robertson had to drive on a one lane road along a ravine by the Clarion River.
After he finally arrived at the hillside cemetery that contains the graves of children who died during the smallpox plague that swept that area in 1908, Robertson had an eerie feeling that he was being watched. “It was a spooky experience.”
But there was more. How can one explain that the cap on one of Robertson’s new tires was loose, resulting in low air pressure. Or the dead caretaker following you back to your car. Thinking of the deceased youngsters, neighborhood children have left toys, which are found at the graves.
In “The Hitchhiker” Robertson recounts the story of a hair stylist, who while at a previous job, worked past midnight and traveled home in the rain through Allegany, N.Y. Along the way, she saw a hitchhiker clad in a raincoat. Though she passed the man, she felt an unexplained presence in her car. Then she noticed the hitchhiker slumped beside her in the passenger seat. How this narrative ends is for the readers to enjoy.
Repeated hauntings are the focus in “The Hinsdale House, a 100-year old plus house inhabited
by age old spirits.
Located on a desolate hillside along McMahon Road near Hinsdale, N.Y., this home of the Dandy family is about 250 feet from a Native American burial ground where blood has been seen flowing from the ground.
“From the time the family moved into this house in the summer of 1973, they have been beset by dark forces,” Robertson told The Era.
Not only have disembodied voices been heard from the woods, possibly part of an old cleansing ceremony, but the family has witnessed a huge gray wolf appearing from smoky air in the kitchen and the ghost of a gray haired woman strolling by the pond.
Lights would turn on and off by themselves, kitchen stove problems occured, rooms became icy in August and pounding and dragging noises were heard in the attic.
As the hauntings became more violent, it was decided to have the Rev. Alphonsus Trabold of St. Bonaventure University perform an exorcism in April 1975. Things calmed down temporarily.
Three months later active hauntings returned.
Copies of “Ghosts” are on sale at Main Street Mercantile in Bradford and The Paper Factory in Olean, N.Y.
To order a softcover, hardcover or an ebook copy of “Ghosts,” visit https://www.blurb,com/books/9754656-ghosts.
Autographed softcover copies may also be ordered from the author by sending a check fo $10 plus $3 for shipping and handling to P. O. Box 293, Duke Center, PA 16729. Make checks payable to Bill Robertson. He also accepts payments through PayPal. His email address is email@example.com.
Robertson remains busy. Busy writing a ghost video book with local artist Dave Cox and Mark Polonia, a Mansfield University of Pennsylvania professor and independent film make of horror films.