FREE FRIDAY FRIGHTS – A weekly free read from Mark Leslie. Alternating each week between fiction and non-fiction, an entire short story or short non-fiction true ghostly or eerie tale will be available to read here for approximately 24 hours.
In additional, Mark will be doing a live reading of the fiction or a live discussion/storytelling of the non-fiction topic – that audio/video version will remain available beyond the Friday and will be structured in the following format: Brief Intro to that day’s free fright, reading/relayed tale, a short behind-the-story/behind-the-research chat, followed by a Q&A.
Bookmark this site for your weekly reading fix. Follow Mark’s Author Page on Facebook for the live broadcasts.
Scroll to the bottom to see a list of the previous #FreeFridayFrights content
Friday Dec 7, 2018
NON-FICTION: Old Town Pizza & Brewing (Portland, OR)
On a BeerQuest Walking tour of downtown Portland that included multiple stops, multiple samples of local brews and some fun historic ghostly tales of multiple downtown locations, we stopped in at Old Town Pizza & Brewing.
Opened in 1974, Old Town Pizza is located in the what was once the Merchant Hotel building, which had been built in 1880 and was known for offering one of the oldest professions in the world: prostitution.
One of the young “working women” there, named Nina (pronounced “Nigh-na”), who had been sold into her life by a thriving white slavery market, met an untimelt fate that people believe are the source of the haunting.
Traveling missionaries convinced Nina to share information with them in exchange for freeing her the life she had been forced into. She agreed to cooperate with them but shortly after the deal was struck her lifeless body was found at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
She had apparently been pushed or thrown down it to her death.
That same old elevator shaft is now a cozy little booth at the rear of the restaurant, where strange things have been reported by staff and customers.
Is it Nina whose ghostly whispers can sometimes be heard echoing in that little booth?
Was it the ghost of Nina who carved her name in the brick of the old elevator shaft?
Is that eerie gliding specter in the black dress occasionally seen moving elusively through the dining room or sometimes seen wandering down the stairs or through the basement evidence that Nina is still hanging around?
We didn’t see or hear anything ourselves. One of the other tour attendees had a hand-held meter that is meant to detect paranormal activity. We did watch as, when they moved into the tiny little back room booth, the meter started to indicate some sort of presence.
Regardless of whether or not you believe the building is haunted, there is one element that continues to linger in my own memories of the place. And that is the Shanghai’d IPA from Old Town Brewing, one of the beers we enjoyed there while on our tour. It was a delightful mild hop beer.
Because we were on a tour and had to move on to the next location, we never did get a chance to sample the pizza. All that means is we need to return; because I’m positive that the IPA would go excellent with their house special: A pizza made with pepperoni, salami, mushroom, black olive, bell pepper, and homemade Italian sausage.
Two great reasons to return.
And maybe, on our next visit, we might bump into Nina.
A version of this story first appeared in April 2018 on the website Spirits Untapped and is part of the research for a forthcoming book by the same name.
PREVIOUS FREE FRIDAY FRIGHTS CONTENT:
Friday April 6, 2018 – FICTION: That Old Silk Hat They Found (You can still read it for free in Snowman Shivers in via Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Nook, etc) – You can also watch a recording of the reading.
Friday April 20, 2018 – FICTION: Phantom Mitch (Mark’s first published horror story) from his book One Hand Screaming – You can watch a recording of the reading, live from a haunted bar in Hamilton, Ontario (Augusta’s Winking Judge)
Friday April 27, 2018 – NON-FICTION: “Jack is Back: The Ghost of Jack Kerouac at Haslam’s Bookstore” – An article based on “Kerouac’s Favourite Haunt”, a chapter from the book Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries – You can watch a recording of this talk.
Friday May 4, 2018 – FICTION: Active Reader – a cautionary tale what happens when a bookstore loyalty program falls into the hands of a macabre collector from Mark’s digital chapbook Active Reader: And Other Cautionary Tales from the World of Books – You can watch a recording of this reading.
Friday May 11, 2018– NON-FICTION: You Are Never Alone in Sudbury. A look at the UFO activity in Sudbury over the years, as documented in several chapters of the book SPOOKY SUDBURY: True Tales of the Eerie & Unexplained. You can watch a recording of this talk.
Friday May 18, 2018 – FICTION: Browsers – a book nerd finds themselves trapped in an odd little bookstore that acts a little bit like a Venus Fly Trap for book lovers. You can watch a recording of this reading.
Friday May 25, 2018 – NON-FICTION: Ghostly and eerie tales from Century Manor, the last standing building from Hamilton’s Asylum for the Insane. You can watch a recording of this talk.
Friday June 1, 2018: FICTION: Distractions – A frustrated writer takes the advice from a self-help book on eliminating distractions to a darkly humorous and violent extreme. You can watch a recording of this reading.
Friday June 8, 2018: NON-FICTION: Haunted Level 2650 of Levack Mine – On a quiet weekend in the 1970’s a fireguard was down on Level 2650 of Levack Mine alone when he saw something that made him swear he would never go back down there again. You can watch a recording of this.
Friday June 15, 2018: You can watching a recording of this reading: FICTION: Nervous Twitching – The bizarre sight of seeing a chicken running around with its head cut off can be disturbing. So is this micro-fiction story about a man who has never overcome seeing that in his childhood.
Friday June 22, 2018: NON-FICTION: Faceless Ghosts. Tales of faceless ghosts including a couple from Mark’s book Creepy Capital.
Friday June 29, 2018: FICTION: Almost. Extremely short. A classic and popular horror tale told from a different perspective. You can watch a recording of this reading and talk.
Friday July 6, 2018: NON-FICTION: The story behind Lovers Lane in Hamilton (Ancaster), Ontario
Friday July 13, 2018: FICTION: Excerpt from opening of the novel I, DEATH. Peter O’Mallick believes he has a death curse, because everybody he gets close to or loves dies a tragic death. Blogging about his angst seems to help. At least, until the wrong person starts reading his posts and plans on using Peter’s dark power for his own nefarious purposes. (Facebook Live Video)
Friday July 20, 2018: NON-FICTION: Ghosts of The Winking Judge (Hamilton, Ontario) (Facebook Live Video)
Friday July 27, 2018: FICTION: Vengeance is a Delicacy Best Served Cold – Martin Hecht no longer possesses a human consciousness; all he knows is he can hear a woman screaming and it hurts his brain. (Facebook Live Video)
Friday Aug 3, 2018: NON-FICTION: Books Made Out of Human Flesh – In the history of publishing, there was a time when binding books with human flesh was an actual practice. There are still copies of these books available at particular libraries (Facebook Live Video)
Friday Aug 10, 2018: FICTION: (Recorded live from When Words Collide in Calgary, AB): Nocturnal Visions – When Carl was six years old he watched in horror as the Sandman strangled the Tooth Fairy. It wasn’t the first bizarre nocturnal sight he’d witnessed, and it definitely wouldn’t be his last. (Facebook Live Video)
Friday Aug 17, 2018: NON-FICTION: The Ghosts of the Albion Hotel – The Albion hotel is a Georgian-style colonial roadhouse in Bayfield, Ontario, not far from the shores of Lake Huron. A fully functioning bar and hotel with a handful of rooms, the Albion, which was built in the early 1840’s is allegedly home to more than one lost spirit. (Facebook Live Video) – YouTube Video
Friday Aug 31, 2018: NON-FICTION: The Bookstore Portal – Bob’s Beach Books, Lincoln City, OR – An eerie encounter the manager had with a couple who walked into the store and then disappeared into thin air. (Video from 2017 – Mark in front of Bob’s Beach Books) – Facebook Live Video
Friday Sept 7, 2018: FICTION: The Pizza Man – A group of students keep getting pizza deliveries that they never ordered. Is it a strange prank, or is there something more to the mysterious man who keeps showing up at their door?
Friday Sept 14, 2018: NON-FICTION: Ghosts of the Old Ottawa Carleton Jail – Have you ever slept in a prison by choice? How about a haunted prison? There is a hostel in the Nation’s Capital that was originally home to the Carleton County Jail, a maximum security institution with more than its fair share of ghostly tales. Facebook Video – YouTube Video
Friday Sept 21, 2018: FICTION: The Bogeyman Can – “Who can take a garbage bag? (Garbage Bag) And stuff it full of kids (Stuff it full of kids). Who can murder anyone he wants to and get away with it? (The Bogeyman) The Bogeyman can because he stays right out of sight until the lights go down!” (Facebook Live Video)
Friday Sept 27, 2018 NON-FICTION: The Ghosts of Haslam’s Bookstore – a return to St Pete Florida to visit the bookstore that is allegedly haunted by Jack Kerouac, and learning tales about another restless spirit that might also lurk there. (YouTube Video – shot at Haslam’s in Sept 2018)
Friday Oct 5, 2018: FICTION: But Once A Year – Once a year, on All Hallow’s Eve, the dead can rise from their graves and walk around and are forbidden from leaving the graveyard. But what happens when one corpse sneaks away and tries to escape? (Facebook Live Video of a reading of the story)
Friday Oct 12, 2018: NON-FICTION: The Mystery of the Ghost Boy at Indigo Montreal – An eerie experience that Mark had related to the book signing at the downtown Indigo. A creepy ghost boy image appeared in a mirror in more than one of the photos taken of the authors that night. (The Video this week is a collection of clips about ghostly occurences from Montreal)
Friday Oct 19, 2018: FICTION: Treats – Old man Percy sits in the dark in his house on Halloween ignoring the knocks from the neighborhood children as well as their taunting chants about the perverted recluse who keeps the body of his dead wife in the bedroom upstairs. (Facebook Live Video of reading)
Friday Oct 26, 2018: NON-FICTION: Halloween / All Hallows Eve – a look at the origin of and some trivia associated with this most awesome celebration. (Watch the video)
Friday Nov 2, 2018: FICTION: The Shadow Men – The bogeymen of the New Hampshire wilderness known as “The Shadow Men” lurk in the shadows of the trees and only come out at night in order to lure and trick children into their clutches. (Facebook Live Video) – (YouTube Video)
Friday Nov 16, 2018: FICTION: Three Short Poems. Mark reads “There Is A Low and Fearful Cry,” “Blood Dreams,” and “Wailin’ Jenny” – two dark and moody poems and one dark humor poem. (Facebook Live Video)
Friday Nov 23, 2018: NON-FICTION: “That’s How Houdini Died!” A look at the details that led to the common believe that Harry Houdini died due to a series of blows to the stomach. (YouTube Video)
Friday, Nov 30, 2018: FICTION: “Little Things” – Strange little creatures appear in the middle of the night, but Daniel is the only one who can see them. His wife, Joy, becomes distraught at the bizarre way her husband is acting, but, more horrifying is what the tiny little things are doing to her body. (Facebook Live Video of the reading)
Friday,Dec 7, 2018: NON-FICTION: “Old Town Pizza & Brewing” – The ghost of Nina, a murdered prostitute who allegedly haunts the back area of the restaurant and brewery near the old elevator shaft where she was shoved down when the building was a hotel.