Underground Treasure

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Except that Christmas is months in the past and there won’t be any presents.

But this is better than presents.

This is an adventure!

I’m about to venture into the depths of Jewel Cave in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This tour is considered the most strenuous wild cave tour in the National Park system. And I can hardly wait!

We started as strangers

Our group is comprised of 6 people. Our guide is Ranger Ken, a former school teacher who fell in love with caving, especially Jewel Cave. Leo from Washington State, who is in town for an event to support and promote higher education for Native Americans and  an oh-so-brave- teenager that is leaving her parents behind to join four complete strangers in a maze of dark tunnels, hundreds of feet beneath the earth. Two of my co-workers: Dale, who is almost as excited as I am, and Celeste, who is warily eyeing the tiny concrete block that we need to crawl through in order to prove that we can negotiate the tightest section of the cave.

I  have to admit….that concrete block does look small. Especially when I think about the fact that I’ll be crawling through that tiny space with more than 700 feet of solid rock above me and a swarm of butterflies break loose inside me.

The FIT test!

I’m the last to crawl through, then we’re off to the prep room to gear up in elbow and knee pads, gloves, hiking boots and helmets with three separate light sources.

One last task to complete before I descend into the depths of the earth. I must pee. Because the alternative is to pee in a jug while in the cave and then carry, said jug, for the next three to four hours.


Not me.

Down the elevator we go. And as we step into the cavern, a cool and constant 49 degrees, Ken announces that we are now 24 stories beneath the surface.

Celeste whispers, “I don’t think I can do this.” After a brief conversation with Ranger Ken, she is back on the elevator rising to the warmth of the sun.

Ranger Ken runs through safety tips and important information on how to protect the cave and then I climb over a rough boulder and descend into the darkness. The floor beneath me is covered in black manganese. There are two important things to know about manganese. First, when it comes to your feet – it’s slick. Second, when it comes to your clothing – it clings.

Manganese clings

I crouch and crawl through this first tunnel, guarding my fingers from crushage as I cross over the tilting rock known as the “traffic counter”.  The tunnel opens into a small cavern. There are at least five tunnels leading in all directions and I feel a growing admiration for the “true” spelunkers that mapped this cave, always moving forward into the unknown.  Ken points to an outcropping above us.  It’s known as the diving board and he promises that we will see it again, but from a very different perspective.

Now back into the tunnels. I crouch, gorilla walk, baby-crawl, army-crawl and at times wriggle forward on my belly through manganese and rock passageways. The ceiling  is covered in delicate, yet beautiful calcite crystals that I am careful not to touch. Each time we enter another cavern, I’m lost in the magic of swirling colors of golds, reds, browns, purples and black. Patches of frostwork and popcorn cover the ceilings and walls. And on occasion  I glimpse gypsum needles that look like tiny straws stretching in all directions.  In one cavern, there are hydromagnesite balloons. They look like tiny silvery white pearls attached to the wall. They are extremely fragile and can disintegrate with even a light touch. This is the only public cave tour where these can be seen.

Now comes the stirrup–a rope. Under the careful guidance of Ranger Ken, I step up onto the pile of rocks and place one foot into the stirrup. Using my elbows and other knee I work my butt up onto a thin ledge and brace my feet on the opposite wall. Keeping my butt level with my feet I hitch myself sideways for the next twentyish feet, glancing periodically down into the chasm below, each time thinking “If I fall, I won’t die, but I’ll definitely break something.” When I reach the other end, I join my fellow cavers in a tiny room, informally known as the clown car (No further description needed).

Next it’s down and through a narrow tunnel, at the end of which I squeeze through a space that I feel had to be the section represented by the concrete test block and into what is known as Hurricane Corner.  Ken explains that normally you can feel a breeze as you pass into this section of the cave, but today the air in the cave is still. And that little hole I just squeezed through. That’s not the smallest section of the cave. The butterflies swarm again. We rest in this room that would have felt cramped when we started, but now feels spacious. And this is where we perform the obligatory cave tour task of turning all the lights out and sitting in the stillness of absolute darkness.

Lights back on and I am on my way back through the narrow tunnel. across the butt-scootch chasm, and down the stirrup.

The next obstacle is a smooth, steep “hill” which thankfully has a rope assist.  The trip up is easier than it looks, thanks to Ken’s coaching to “Stand up straight so that your legs do the work, not your arms.” At the top of the rope assist is Martha’s Kettle which is the most challenging section for me. Step up on this rock. Brace left knee against this wall, right elbow against this rock. Left elbow wedged. Stretch with the right hand and reach up. Grab that little nub. Pull. Drag. Brace against the wall with a knee and elbow. Slipping! Traction with toes.  Both elbows pull forward. Made it.

Now down the Otter Slide – which is exactly what you might think it is. A narrow tunnel that goes down and the only way to do it is on your belly. At the bottom is the rollercoaster. This is the longest section of belly crawling on the tour. And it really is belly crawling because, there’s just enough space for me to look far enough ahead to see the bottom of Dale’s shoes. Several times I raise my head a little too far and it scrapes against the ceiling. I keep pushing forward using my toes and elbows against the side of the tunnel. Loose rocks roll across my belly. Ahead of me, Dale’s feet stop. I watch them turn side to side a few times and then finally begin moving forward. Once again, I find myself thinking of those that originally discovered this passage and thinking it would not be fun to reach the end and find a solid wall and then have to wriggle backwards.

Dale’s feet have disappeared and I can see Ranger Ken’s boots. He is standing just beyond another small opening. I creep forward to make my way through the hole. Clunk. My helmet bounces off the top of this tiny opening. I realize that it’s smaller than it looks. I turn my head to the right. No. That’ won’t work. I turn left and slide my head through. And now my right shoulder. I push with my toes and twist and feel my left shoulder slide through.

“That’s right,” Ken says, “Be the puzzle piece.”

With both my arms free of the tunnel I can lift my chest up off the ground and pull myself the rest of the way through. I’d just successfully maneuvered the Brain Drain, the tightest section of the wild cave tour. I thought of everything I’d learned since the start of the tour and realized that without those three and a half hours of experience, I wouldn’t have managed that puzzle piece move.

And now, down the rabbit hole, feet first this time, over the toilet bowl. Don’t get flushed, oh hey, there’s the diving board, way down there and I really don’t want to get flushed all the way down.

A map of Jewel Cave and it’s many passageways. The darkened area represents the wild cave tour.

And then we were back in the large cavern known as the Target room. But we weren’t the same strangers that started the tour. We have a bond. The bond of encouraging, learning and squeezing our way through Jewel Cave.

Bonded through the adventure of caving














That Place

On each assignment, I search for That Place.

It only has a few requirements.

      It must be nearby.

      It must bring me closer to nature.

      It must allow dogs (I do make an exception to this rule when Rocky doesn’t travel with me.)

      It must center me.

Sometimes I’ll be almost through my assignment before I find That Place.

In North Carolina, it was Battleground Park in Greensboro. I so loved walking along the winding paved pathways sheltered beneath the branches of great trees, as I watched bluebirds, woodpeckers, cardinals and the occasional vulture. The best part….I shared this time with my closest friend, Jeanne Curtin.

In South Carolina, it was Lake Conestee.  I watched baby herons grow to adulthood, discovered red-shouldered hawk nests, glimpsed a beaver and discovered one of my first tree creatures in this preserve.

In Maine, it was a magical trail in downtown Corinna. It began as a boardwalk at a small dam and wove its way through a marshland rich with touch-me-nots, ducks, butterflies and the occasional hummingbird. It connects with the rail trail, bordered by wetlands on one side and farmland on the other.

In Florida, I never found That Place. There were very few trails nearby that allowed dogs. I considered risking bringing Rocky along in his pouch and throwing out the argument that you can barely consider him a dog.

Today I found That Place here in California. It took some searching, but I knew that it had to be here.

I had tried the Avocado Rim trail. It was disgustingly dirty and really more of a road than a trail.

I had parked at the dam and walked along the river. It was clean, but once again, more of a road than a trail.

I had tried the other side of the river. But the trail petered out into a field of burrs that clung to my socks then worked their way into my shoes. Rocky didn’t like this field any better than me. He insisted on being carried through the burry grass.

Today I headed out intent on settling for a walk along the road across from the dam. As I drove along the Pine Flat road, I passed a sign that said ‘River Access No Camping’. As I rounded the corner, I spotted a Kiosk a few feet beyond the parking area.

Kiosks mean trails!

I made a U-turn, turned into the access point and my oh-too-low-to-the-ground car crept down the partially washed out, steep drive.

The moment I stepped out of my car, I knew I’d found it. This was That Place.


The river drifted lazily around a tiny island crowded with sycamore trees. A few people fished along the river, but not so much to feel crowded. And there, beyond the Kiosk was a trail. Not a road, but an actual trail.


And it was perfect.

Scattered craggy trees with their branches twisting over the trail.


The river’s melody plays alongside me.

Swallows perform their acrobatic aerial dance as they gather their dinner.

Stalks filled with yellow flowers, wild roses, and some tiny flowers that remind me of miniature dragons border my path.

A scrub jays squawks as I pass beneath the branches of its tree.

I scramble up a hill of granite boulders that makes me wish I’d worn my hiking shoes.


Tiny birds, not much bigger than hummingbirds flit about on giant thistles with variegated leaves.

A waterfall of yellow flowers spills down a rocky hill.


A red shouldered hawk soars across the river

I climb to the top of a hill that is solid rock. From here I can see the dam, the rolling golden California hills and the mountains beyond. I realize that I’ve made my way almost to the trail that had petered out into a burry field.

Across the river, crows and vultures perch, waiting on bare branches.


Beyond the rock hill, the trail becomes more difficult to follow. Two picnic tables, one overtaken by tall green grass spur me forward.IMG_8553.JPG

A rustle of grass and a glimpse of a ground squirrel scurrying out of site.

Two quails dash into the underbrush. I’ll remember this spot, because I’d love to get a picture of them.

Across the river, a cow ‘moos.’ I looked toward the sound and spot what I believe is a cormorant with a speckled white upper body and brown lower half.

I stand quietly, my eyes closed and listen to the sounds of the river, birds and the solitary cow. The peacefulness of nature centers me.


This is That Place





Ancient Majesty

I awake to the sound of a light rain. I feel rested–recovered from my trek across the US. And now my mind moves on to the reason I made that journey.  There are so many things here in California that I want to experience.

Is there a reason I can’t start now?

  • Grocery shopping-done
  • Car unpacked-done
  • Pre assignment checklist – done

I grab Rocky, my camera and a bag of snacks and I’m off to do something I’ve always wanted to do….stand beneath the branches of a giant Sequoia.

As I following the winding road to elevations of over 6000 feet, I stop to admire the beauty of this mountain terrain. And I’m glad that I left my winter coat in the trunk, because as the elevation increases, the temperature drops.IMG_7913

I watch for the ancient trees, expecting to see their branches reaching for the clouds around each corner. But all I see are low growing trees, green grasses and several dead evergreens, their green pine needles turned to rust.IMG_7918

The trees grow denser and I reach the gate to Kings Canyon National Park. (Here’s where I’m once again thankful for the investment in a National Park Pass)IMG_7909

Large patches of snow cover the ground beneath the trees. Warnings of ice on the road slow my pace. I glimpse red trunks ahead. And then I see it. I arrive at the Grant Village Visitor Center and I’m feeling a little disappointed. Yes, I’ve seen some large trees, but nothing none larger than the trees I’d seen at Congaree National Park in South Carolina.


After a visit with the park ranger, I’m encouraged that the great trees do indeed exist and I continue along the winding road. And there it is! My first giant Sequoia. It’s not the largest – The Grant Tree- but it is here, unfenced, just off the road waiting for me. This tree has stood for ages. It has seen not only the history of this country, but the hundreds of years before. Could a wooly mammoth have passed beneath its branches? I cant’ really find the words to describe how it felt to stand in the presence of this majestic tree.IMG_7941


Beneath the surface a seed awakens.

Roots wind their way deep into the rich soil.

A tender sprout bursts through the surface.

Thin shoots of green unfold from atop a reddish stem stretching toward the warming rays of sunshine.

A soft nose brushes against the tips of the leaves. Teeth tear nearby grass from the earth.  A shadow moves across the ground and slender legs glide past, and then the warmth of the sun once again falls on the struggling sprout.

The sun rises.

The sun sets.

Days fade into weeks.

The red stem thickens.

Thin green leaves branch outward.

The sun grows hot and cracks form in the dry earth.

The green leaves droop.

A single drop of rain falls. And then another. And another….

The earth’s thirst is quenched and the roots draw in the needed moisture.

Months fade into years.

The tender sapling has grown into a tree.

Birds nest in its branches.

Men seek shelter beneath its great canopy.

Decades fade to centuries.

Branches disappear into the clouds and what was once a tiny stem is now a majestic trunk that stretches twenty five feet across.

More men arrive. They carry saws and axes. Neighboring trees crash to the ground.

A century passes.

Fire burns through the forest, leaving a deep scar on the great tree. But it does not fall. It does not die.

Decades pass.

The ancient tree stands proud

A woman stands within the scar. Her hands press against the trunk. She closes her eyes and allows the majesty of this ageless tree to surround her.

She opens her eyes and gazes up into the branches breathing deeply of the mountain air.

She watches as a cone tumbles to the ground.

Unseen a seed slips from its shelter within the cone and nestles into the rich soil.

Beneath the earth, the seed sleeps.IMG_7928



Day 5- addendum: the Creeper

My eyes fly open and I lay still, listening. 

Crunch. Crunch. The distinct sound of footsteps approach. 

A million thoughts race through my head…the gate’s locked. No one is camping near me. I am completely alone.  The bathroom is in the other direction. The couple in their camper won’t hear me scream…

The steps draw closer and Rocky growls. 

A light  shines  into my tent. 

“Hello,” I call. “What do you need?” 

Inside my intestines clench.

The light goes out. 

Rocky barks frantically.

The footsteps continue–Hard soled, landing heavily in the dry dry earth. 

I grope in the darkness for my light and turn it on.

The foot steps are alongside my tent.

I grip my tazer in one hand and knife in the other. For the first time ever, I wish I had a gun. 

My heart pounds so hard  that it drowns out the footsteps

I don’t breathe. I don’t  move. 

The footsteps move away and down into the wash that runs alongside my campsite. 

I set the tazer on my lap and pick up my phone. Should I dial 911? I look at the screen…No Service. 


Minutes pass.


Half hour passes. 

I unzip my tent and shine my light around my site. 


I lay down. 

The footsteps move out of the wash and back toward my tent. 

I stop breathing. 

I pray.

The steps move away. 

I grip the knife handle. I’m on the ground. I’ll go for the femoral artery. No bones to protect it. 


An hour. 


Two hours.

I lay down, still clutching the knife.   

2:50 in the morning. I hear the snorting of a wild pig.

3:15–I smell a skunk. 

4:50 — Digging and snuffling near one of the trash cans 

6:00 — daylight

Lesson…I will never again choose the isolated campsite. 

FYI:  NOT kidding. 

Day 4: Deserts and Desserts

I unzip my tent and shiver in the cool air.According to my phone it’s only 34 degrees.  For a moment I consider crawling back into my sleeping bag to wait for the sun to rewarm the earth. And then I glimpse the colors on the eastern horizon.   

 I’m ten miles away from I-10 and even  though the posted speed limit is 70 on this “back” road, I have it to myself so I take my time. I think the desert creatures have come out to see me on my way. Hawks perch in the branches of trees along the road.  

 They wait patiently for me to snap my shot before flying off. A beautiful buck grazes on the dry grass a little farther up.  

 And then a roadrunner dashes into the brush. Vultures line up like sentinels on the fence posts. On the ground before them is what looks to be a wild pig. Flowers add splashes of color along the roadside and mountains stretch toward the sky creating the perfect backdrop.  

 I discover a white chapel- a historical landmark.  

 An hour later I finally merge onto I-10. 

The needle of my gas gage is hovering at 1/2 a tank when I spot a lonely gas station at the top of the hill.  

 If there’s one thing I learned yesterday, it’s that gas stations are few and far between on this stretch of highway. 

Not long after I fill up, I spot a scenic overlook. Rocky and I run to the top of the hill. It feels good to stretch my legs and get my heart racing!  

My next stop is The Cattleman’s Ranch Steakhouse at Indian Cliffs. 

 The surrounding landscape has been used to film a few movies.  Not only is the food amazing, but Rocky is allowed to join me! This is the first sit-down-inside meal since I started this trip, so I treat myself to cheesecake! The only thing that would make it better is hubby by my side. He would love this place! 

 More and more vehicles crowd around me as I near El Paso, Texas. But thankfully not enough to slow my pace.  

Stretched across the road ahead of me is a yellow sign with red letters. I have entered New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment.  

 I made it! I’ve reached Rockhoud State Park and it is beautiful. Rocky and I take advantage of the sunlight and hike one of the trails. I love these desert plants: Prickly pear cactus, yellow, purple, orange, white desert flowers, mesquite, beargrass, yucca. Some of the cactus  look like they’ve been eaten and I keep my eyes peeled for wild boar or pigs (and I’m in the lookout for rattlers)!But all I see are quails, glimpses of squirrels and cottontails, and various desert  birds.  

The sunset does not disappoint. It’s been another full day! 


First Step to Fitness at Any Age: Persevering without Preservatives

First step to Fitness for Any Age: Persevering without Preservatives

When you hit forty, a plethora of bodily function expirations come due.  Suddenly you need glasses. Then your body’s thermoregulation goes out the window – sometimes you want to toss your shirt, and well, all of your clothing along with it. Your joints begin to creak and pop. The dryer adds to your body’s dysfunctionality by shrinking all of your clothes.Expired-SS-Post-thumb-615x300-74166

Wait. That’s not the dryer. It’s your metabolism coming to a screeching halt.

I know, you twentiers are sitting there saying, “Exactly what part of this can help me?” When I was twenty, I worked closely with a dietician named John. I wish I knew where John was now. I’d tell him how right he was! You see, John used to fuss at me about all the preservatives I stuffed into my body. I’d laugh and say, “This body is being perfectly preserved by all these preservatives.”


I was wrong!

I am a Registered Nurse with over a quarter of a century’s experience in health care, but I am not a dietician or nutritionist. What I am is a woman who has tried and tested almost every weight loss method in existence. I spent many moons running up that down escalator an  have experienced brief periods of success. But each time it was only through extreme measures. Here are a few:

  • 1000 calorie a day diets – Enter Hangry (hungry and angry) woman
  • Low carb / high protein diets – could have killed my kidneys!!!!
  • Various diet supplements including Garcinia
  • Metabolism boosters
  • Prepackaged frozen diet meals
  • Diets that dictated exactly what food to eat when and where and how….
  • Various exercise videos
  • One or more hours in the gym daily, plus running long distances
  • Hiking long, tall mountains (which is something I actually enjoy, but isn’t the most efficient weight loss program)
  • The list goes on.

Bottom line. None of these things lasted! Sure I lost weight, but I was miserable. I was Hangry, or envying other people’s food. The pills made me jittery and shaky (which is never good when you’re starting an IV). I struggled to keep up with those rigorous exercise routines.

And then about a year ago, I started to learn about clean eating. Insert I told you so from John, here.IMG_5258

Food is fuel. Your body breaks it down and sends it off to do a specific job. When you give your body something it doesn’t know what to do with–like excessive amounts of sugar, simple carbs (like pasta and bread), and preservatives–then your body just packs that away for future use. The fat manufacturers in your stomach, thighs, butt and back of the arms all kick into high gear. And before you know it, your belly is sitting on your lap.

When you follow a clean balanced diet, your body gets what it needs. No more confused, stuffing of unknown and excessive substance to those problem areas.

The first step to clean eating is to eliminate all those preservatives from your grocery list.

  • Shift your shopping pattern to the outside aisles of the store – this is where the fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats are.
  • Then head down the frozen vegetable and fruit aisles. You do need to read labels here, because some frozen fruits have added sugar and some vegetables have been partially prepared.
  • Do go down the spice aisle. Clean eating does not mean bland eating. I use lots of Mrs. Dash, but you can use any spice you’d like. Also get unprocessed sea salt like Celtic sea salt.
  • Do go down the Oil aisle – but not for vegetable oil. Instead choose Olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
  • Do not go down the soda aisle…. I know. It’s hard
  • Do not go to fast food restaurants
  • Until you’ve really mastered a clean diet, it’s best to avoid eating out in the beginning
  • Drink water. Lots of it. You should pee clear pee!

Clean eating is only a first step to wellness and I know it’s huge! But start here. In my next post I’ll talk about avoiding blood sugar/ insulin spikes.

Here’s a before and after photo for you!  Hope this inspires you!

PicMonkey Collage.jpg


Teri Lee is a Registered Nurse working in the ER, Beachbody coach, & Author of Troubled Spirits a young adult paranormal novel. You can follow her on facebook for more fitness tips at http://facebook.com/TeriLeefit





The Stethoscope -III

I felt my holder’s shoulders tense as they rolled you into the room. The paramedic pumping against your chest barely pauses as your body is lifted onto the stretcher. Dark curls frame your face. It is a young face. Too young.

The angry mark around your neck tells a story too painful to comprehend. My holder’s hands move to your IV, flushing saline through the line to be certain it works, before pulling open the drawer of the red cart beside you.

“1 mg of epi,” the doctor says.

There is a barely audible gasp at the door to the room. My holder pushes the epinephrine into your veins, then turns to the sound. It is a woman. Her eyes are red and swollen and her cheeks are stained with tears.

She is your mother.

My holder crosses the room and brings her to your side. Your mother stands by your shoulder, close to my holder and she says your name. She tells you to fight. She asks you why.

My holder speaks quietly to your mother, while preparing the next dose of medication. I feel muscles tense beneath me as the doctor tilts your head back and slides a tube into your mouth. I am lifted from my perch and placed over your stomach. “No air over epigastrum,” my holder says and then slides me to your left, then right chest. “Bilateral breath sounds present.”

“Positive color change,” the respiratory therapist says.

My holder turns to your mother. “That means the tube is where it needs to be.”

Hands return to your chest, once again pressing against it, pumping the blood from your heart to your lungs and brain. Your chest rises as the respiratory therapist forces air into your lungs. Your mother whispers to you, telling you that you are strong. I am returned to my holder’s shoulder and I can feel that the tension has spread. I can feel the cry that wants to burst forth. But my holder’s hands keep moving. They prepare the next dose of epinephrine and push it into your veins.

“Are you having any difficulty ventilating?” the doctor asks.

“No difficulty,” the respiratory therapist replies.

The stretcher creaks softly as your chest is compressed.

The air moves in and out of your lungs with a soft whoosh, whoosh.

Your mother whispers your name. Her tears fall to the mattress beside your head.

Time seems to stand still as the team around you continues their battle with death.


“Hold compressions,” the doctor says.

All eyes turn to the flat line that makes its way across the monitor. A sob escapes your mother’s lips.

The doctor reaches out to my holder, eyes on me. I am handed across you and once again I find myself resting on your chest. I will myself to send a sound to the doctor’s ears. Any sound.

But there is only silence.

Tears fill the doctor’s eyes as they find your mother’s face. “I’m sorry, your child is gone.”

The respiratory therapist disconnects the bag that forced air into your lungs, then steps back.

The paramedic that stayed to continue your chest compression, looks down at the floor, then leaves the room in silence.

The doctor sets me on the counter and leaves the room.

The only people at your side are my holder and your mother. My holder rests a hand on your mother’s arm and asks if she wants anyone else here.

Your mother nods, the words are barely perceptible through her sob, but my holder understands and leaves the room. Now it is only you and your mother. She runs her fingers through your hair. She leans down and kisses your forehead. She wipes her tear off your cheek. She doesn’t speak. She has no words.

My holder returns with a man. He is your father. Your mother turns to him and he holds her as they cry. Together they turn to you.

My holder slips to the back of the room where I lay and picks me up.

“You okay?” the charge nurse asks.

My holder nods.

“It’s blowing up out here. Can you take a patient with abdominal pain in 6 and another with a headache in 4.”
My holder nods, but pauses for a deep breath before stepping into the first room. “Hi, I’m going to be your nurse,” my holder says. “I’m sorry if you’ve had to wait.”

I am proud to be a nurse’s stethoscope.IMG_9580

Note: As the holidays approach us, please remember that there are people around you who are alone and hurting. Some from a loss, but others because they don’t feel like they fit into this world.  Guard your words, because they carry a power that you cannot imagine. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes of the people you interact with…the sales girl who fumbles your order, the man that almost ran you over in the parking lot, or the nurse that finally enters your room after you’ve waited for hours in the ER…..

Teri Lee is an ER nurse working throughout the US and the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel.


Ghostly Guidance

This is a blog I wrote for a guest post at Roxanne’s Realm as a part of the Troubled Spirits Blog tour. You can read the original post here

casperBefore writing Troubled Spirits, I was a supernatural skeptic. Sure, I had watched Casper the Friendly Ghost as a kid and have seen all of the Ghostbuster movies, but I didn’t believe. Before I delved into a story involving the paranormal I did some research. Here’s what I uncovered:


  • Although throughout Troubled Spirits I interchanged the words ghost and spirit, there is a difference. Ghosts are the souls of people who are trapped here. As a result, they are often, but not always, angry. Most of the supernatural beings in Troubled Spirits are ghosts.  Spirits are beings who have the ability to move in and out of the spiritual realms. Annie’s grandmother would be considered a spirit. So why did I, knowing the difference, flip back and forth between ghosts and spirits?  First to avoid word repetition. And second, the ‘Spirits’ in the title is a reference to both definitions of spirit—attitude and soul.
  • When ghosts interact with the living, there is a significant temperature drop. Usually at least ten degrees. This is because ghosts draw energy from their surroundings. They’ll also pull energy from batteries and other electronic devices. As an absolute last resort, they will siphon energy from the people around them, leaving that person exhausted. Annie experiences this phenomenon in Troubled Spirits.
  • An entity’s touch feels like a small electric charge on the skin or it may cause goose bumps. During one of my interviews, I spoke with a security guard who had encountered a very old spirit. After hours one night, he investigated a report of a child sighted in one of the buildings. He and his partner arrived to find a young girl sitting in a chair. She wouldn’t speak to either of them. The security guard, who also happened to be a paramedic, checked her pulse. It felt strong and regular. But when the two guards turned away for a moment, the girl disappeared. A search of the building came up empty. There were no reports of any missing children. Later he met with a medium and spoke with her about his experience. She informed him that the entity he encountered was able to use her energy to allow him to feel a pulse. I was thankful for this interview, because it allowed me to give the ghosts in Troubled Spirits a little extra freedom.
  • I’ll end with sharing one of my own supernatural experiences. In addition to being an author, I’m also an ER nurse. Much of my job involves saving lives, but some people slip from our grasp as healthcare workers. When this happens, we move the patient to a more private room to allow the family to spend time with their loved one and say their goodbyes. We always use the same room.

One night, we brought a spirit box into ‘the room’.

We huddled together in the darkness listening to the fuzzy static of my coworker’s modified AM/FM radio.  “Has anyone died here?” he called out. The entity responded with two words that I can’t repeat. Because they were unkind. This was the inspiration for Annie’s first encounter with ghost of the Caldwell School.

Like Annie Waters, I began my journey into the paranormal world as a disbeliever, but before long I realized—my only choice was to believe.

I have purchase links for Troubled Spirits on my website.

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: “Trouble Spirits” by Teri Lee

D'eBook Sharing Book Reviews

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Troubled Spirits

Teri Lee

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Date of Publication: August 21, 2014

ISBN: 1612964028


Number of pages: 220

Word Count: 64,000

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book cover

Book Description:

Annie Waters hates birthdays. At least she hates her birthdays. Because every year her mother told the story of her grandmother’s ghostly appearance in the delivery room. But the worst birthday was her sixteenth–the day she killed her dad.

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