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Clerisy Press :: Authors :: Michael O. Varhola
Michael O. Varhola

Michael O. Varhola

Michael O. Varhola is a writer who has authored or co-authored 34 books and games — including Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country, the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis, and two fantasy writers guides — and who has published more than 120 games and related publications. He is the founder of game company Skirmisher Publishing LLC, editor-in-chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America's Haunted Road Trip series of travel guides. He has edited, published, or written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, is a combat veteran who served eight years in the U.S. Army, and lives in the Hill Country north of San Antonio, Texas. He also has an active online presence, notably through Facebook and a variety of other blogs, forums, and sites.

Michael O. Varhola
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Ghosthunting Maryland
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Ghosthunting Maryland
Michael O. Varhola


    All the sites in the book have been chosen with an eye toward several criteria, including how accessible they are to the public, how evocative experience a trip to them is likely to produce, and the extent to which they actually appear to be haunted. A great many in the various regions of Maryland have some connection to the Colonial era, the War of 1812, or the Civil War, all significant aspects of the state’s haunted history.

    Maryland is divided into six regions for purposes of this book: Baltimore, Central, D.C. Metro, Eastern Shore, Southern, and Western. Geographically speaking, Maryland is not a large state. It is, however, among the oldest in the country, and has a rich, varied, and turbulent history that has contributed to an exceptionally high number of haunted sites. Because it is relatively compact, Maryland is in many ways an ideal state for a haunted roadtrip — especially in an era of historically high gasoline prices — and many haunted sites within the same area can easily be reached on a single weekend-long trip.

    Indeed, although my own home is currently in Northern Virginia, on the southern side of the Potomac River from Maryland, its furthest point from me is still somewhat less than 300 miles — as opposed to nearly 500 for some of the most distant points in southwestern Virginia. Note that this outline includes more listings than there will be room for in the book, and that a number of these will either be cut, reduced to sidebars within larger chapters, or listed in the appendix of additional haunted sites.

    As with Ghosthunting Virginia, research revealed early on a striking number of sites reputed by various sources to be haunted. With space in this volume for only a limited number of these, the authors carefully attempted to identify a representative selection that both emphasized variety and a struck a balance between “must include” sites — such as the graveyard where Edgar Allan Poe is buried — and more obscure ones that do not appear in any other books.

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Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country
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Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country
Michael O. Varhola


Settled by Spanish explorers more than three centuries ago, San Antonio has a rich haunted history that includes conquistadores, the local Apache and Comanche Indian tribes, ancient monasteries, lost gold mines, battlefields, and elegant hotels. Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country covers 30 haunted locations in or around the cities of San Antonio and Austin and throughout the region known as Texas Hill Country, collectively one of the most haunted places in the country. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

Local author Michael O. Varhola drew upon his training and experiences as a historian, journalist, and paranormal investigator while compiling this colorful and useful guide to publicly accessible haunted places. This guide fits every visitor's needs with coverage of the paranormal, traveling the area, and Texas history.

Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country is organized into four geographical sections, "City of San Antonio," "Greater San Antonio," "Austin," and "Texas Hill Country." This hands-on guide also includes an introduction to the subject of ghosthunting in the Lone Star State and all the information readers need to visit the places described within it. It also has an appendix that briefly describes nearly 100 other haunted places in the region that people can visit, which lends a comprehensive character to it.

Types of sites covered in Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country include bridges, churches, colleges and universities, cemeteries and graveyards, government buildings, historic sites, hotels, museums, parks, restaurants and bars, roads and highways, railroads, shopping areas and malls, sports stadiums, and theaters. Specific haunted sites covered include the Crockett Hotel, built on the spot where David Crockett and the final defenders of the Alamo are believed to have been slain; the Ghost Tracks, where spectral children are known to move people's stopped cars; San Fernando Cathedral, oldest cathedral in the United States; and the Devil's Backbone, and haunted highway that wends through the hills north of San Antonio.


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Ghosthunting Virginia
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Ghosthunting Virginia
Michael O. Varhola


    Ghosthunting Virginia is your ticket to the state's most legendary haunted places. Author Michael Varhola takes you with him as he braves the unexplainable. On this leg of the journey you'll explore the scariest spots in the Old Dominion. The author visits thirty legendary haunted places, all of which are open to the public—so you can test your own ghosthunting skills, if you dare.

    Be spirited away with Michael as he personally visits each site, snooping around eerie rooms and dark corners, talking to people who swear to their paranormal experiences, and giving you a first-hand account. You'll go to:

Poe Museum—located near where Edgar Allen Poe lived and worked, which is said to be haunted by various ghosts.

Ford's Theatre—where strange sightings and occurrences have been happening ever since President Lincoln was assassinated here.

Arlington National Cemetery—where America's military personnel are said to haunt the grounds.

Enjoy Ghosthunting Virginia from the safety of your armchair or hit the road using the maps, "Haunted Places" travel guide, and "Ghostly Resources." Buckle up and get ready for the spookiest ride of your life.





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Texas Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in the Lone Star State
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Texas Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in the Lone Star State
Michael O. Varhola


he latest installment in the Confidential series, Texas Confidential pokes at the seamy underbelly of the Lone Star State, where folks do everything—including sex, scandal, murder, and mayhem—in a BIG way. Author Michael J. Varhola, author of Clerisy’s Ghosthunting Maryland and Ghosthunting Virginia, rounds up more than 40 Texas tales—from the rogues who defended the Alamo to the rogues who brought down Enron.

Along the way, readers learn the sordid details of sex—from Miss Hattie’s Bordello in West Texas (now a museum!) to “Charlie Wilson’s Whore”; scandal—from corrupt governors “Ma” and “Pa” Ferguson to corrupt politicians Lyndon Johnson and Tom DeLay, to the nefarious “Duke of Duval County”; murder—from Bonnie and Clyde to the Kennedy Assassination to the over-zealous cheerleader mom and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and mayhem—from the crash of a UFO in 1897 in the little town of Aurora to Nazi war criminals hiding in El Paso (while working for the local government) to David Koresh and his ill-fated Branch Dividian cult.

Packed with pictures and loaded with sidebars, Texas Confidential is informative, irreverent, and enormously entertaining. Varhola leaves no sacred cow untipped. As he wends his way through Texas history, he explores—with a gimlet eye and a pinched nose—many of its less glorious moments and explodes a few myths for good measure.

Like all the books in the series, Texas Confidential is all in good fun, if not in good taste

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