GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Author Neil Rochford: Ewe probably won’t believe this but… + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Author Neil Rochford: Ewe probably won’t believe this but… + giveaway

Ewe probably won’t believe this but…

(Full disclosure, most of these occurrences happened to a friend of mine - who also happens to be writer - but I was there for a few of these, so I know that at least some of it happened.)

When I was younger, around 17 or 18, I dropped out of college. I had only attended for three months but I already knew Computer Programming was not going to hold my attention for four years. Something about typing out random-seeming strings of letters and numbers just really did not appeal to me. So, I hung around and partied instead, taking the opportunity to visit all my college-going friends from my hometown who had also moved to the capital to study.

One group lived in a house that was about an hour’s bus ride out of the city. It was a nice enough place, part of a housing estate in a quiet area. Little did we know that there was more to it than met the eye.

The first indication that something was wrong was the temperature. No matter what the weather was like outside, inside that house was freezing, even with a fire blazing in the living room. I remember seeing my breath in the mornings before walking outside into balmy spring or early summer days.

One morning after there had been a large fire the night before, one of the guys saw what seemed to be a message scrawled on the back of the fireplace. ‘I in’ had been scratched deep into the black soot and grime that coated the wall. We debated over the possible meanings. “I’m in”? As in, “I’m in the house”? “I’m in the flames”? (in hell?) It was explained away as the result of over-enthusiastic poker use the night before, but it was only the beginning of the weird, possibly paranormal stuff.

I should say here that one of the housemates, the writer, had long been plagued by apparently paranormal forces since he was a child. Odd things would happen at night to electronics in his room for example, followed later by visions of dark hooded figures at the end of his bed when he suffered sleep paralysis during the night. Upon moving away from his family home, he thought that he could escape whatever inexplicable weirdness was taking place. He thought wrong.

There were quite a few instances, but some of the ones he told me about - accounts verified by the other housemates - included strange pools of ice cold water forming under his bed, books or comics being pulled out halfway on the shelf when he was home alone, and the time that a lightbulb fell and exploded where his head had been only seconds before. There were also the standard quota of bumps and noises in the night.

Now we get to the stuff that I witnessed first hand. We usually hung out in the living room, where the layout was as follows: one long sofa to the right of the door, which had its back against a large frosted pane of glass that looked out into the hall, and two armchairs at either end perpendicular to it. One night, we were all sitting around, me on one armchair, the writer on the other, and the rest on the sofa. The only light on was the small lamp in the corner of the room.

One of the sofa group complained of a sudden chill, and when I and the writer looked, what looked like a shadowy hooded figure appeared in the hall and darted past the frosted glass. We jumped up, and I know for sure that my heart was racing as we told the others what we had just seen. Eventually we gathered up the courage and had a look around the hall, then the adjoining kitchen and the rest of the house. There was no sign of what we had apparently witnessed, but I know that me and the other guy had seen the same thing at the same time.

A few weeks later, one of the housemates came from the kitchen, complaining and laughing nervously after we heard the small window in there banging. It was one of those windows with a large section and a smaller one on top that opened out, and you propped it open with a bar that would slot on to little metal spikes. He told us that it had opened on its own, and even after all the stuff that had already happened, we called bullshit (he was notorious for winding people up) but still followed him back out to the kitchen. The window was firmly shut, and we all told this guy he was full of it.

Then, after a minute or two, there was one of those drops in temperature that you always hear about it crappy ghost stories, except this was for real. A second later, we all watched in horror as the bar lifted up slowly by itself, and the window began to clatter repeatedly off the frame. There was no wind, gust or draft that could have been held responsible for the movement of that window. I suggested, for some half-remembered reason that completely escapes me now, that we should get a candle and leave it lighting in the kitchen to try and ward off whatever was in there. We left it burning for the night, and there was no more movement from the window.

The housemates tried to get in touch with their landlord and try to see what could be done, in the event that there was something wrong structurally as opposed to spiritually, but they ran into a problem that had been constant since they moved in. They had rented the place through an agency, and never met the owner. They had his number, but it always gave the “This number is not operational” message when they called. Any time that he called them, it was from an unlisted, unknown number, and he always sounded faint.

Later, when they went looking for his name, they found the obituary of a person…

… who had a completely different name.

True story.

The Blue Ridge Project (The Project Book One) 
by Neil Rochford
Genre: Dark Suspense/Paranormal
May 6 2016
Number of pages: 260
Word Count: 65,500
Cover Artist:
Conspiracy. Murder. Secret experiments. Mind control. A detective, a journalist and a rich deviant struggle with their pasts as their actions set them on a collision course with each other and The Project.

Detective Andrea Nox has been asked to quietly investigate a bizarre and violent murder-suicide that could have consequences for Beacon City and the people in charge. Dead ends and odd clues are hindering her efforts, and when another similar murder occurs, she has to juggle the investigation and her own troubled past with the Beacon City Police Department.

Journalist Robert Duncan is visiting home after a personal crisis when the unthinkable happens, and secrets are unearthed about his family and his place in it. His involvement in a dangerous and far-reaching conspiracy grows as he uncovers information that implicates powerful people in horrible crimes.

Frank Mortimer, disturbed son of a wealthy and influential family, is taking part in an experimental program that has promised to make him better. However, with the shadowy and powerful group known only as The Project behind the program, what he is getting better at could prove disastrous for everyone else, as a dangerous power is unlocked inside him...

Their paths will converge in a shocking story of murder, conspiracy and clandestine experiments taking place that could change the world.

The car that had followed Frank’s van out of the city rolled down the same route Frank had taken, belching exhaust occasionally. It was a gray sedan, with a bumper sticker that said 'If You’re Reading This, You’re Too Close!' As with Frank’s van, the driver had chosen a car that wouldn’t draw attention or stick in a memory. It was as if the owner had used the word “nondescript” when the salesperson asked what type of car he wanted.

Said owner was Graham Turner, a self-made journalist according to him, a bottom-feeding paparazzo according to almost everybody else. His purview was the lifestyles of the rich, the famous, and the mentionables, especially their bad habits and indiscretions. The most money was to be made in the latter and Turner had made his meager living through catching people of note with their pants down, figuratively or otherwise.

His mission today was to catch a Mortimer doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing. A picture of the son, Frank, doing something untoward could pay out massively. Turner didn’t care if it was through sale of the picture or blackmail, just as long as he got his payday.

He was sure the squeaky-clean bachelor was up to no good, driving out here in the middle of nowhere in a busted-up van when his family was rich enough to have a foundation in their name. Turner parked a good distance from the van, reached around to the back seat to grab his camera with the long-distance lens, and stepped out onto the tarmac.

He began to feel ill immediately. He broke out in a sweat and his stomach churned like a washing machine at the start of a spin cycle. He stood leaning against the front of the car for a second, a headache thumping behind his eyeballs, and a loud ringing in his ears. He wiped his soaked forehead with the sleeve of his shirt and started to make his way through the grass, searching for a decent vantage point.

Around forty paces in, close to the warehouse, his headache intensified massively. The pain shot up and down his body, and he felt a pop inside his skull. His left leg went dead and useless beneath him, and he groaned as he fell to his knees. The camera fell and smashed apart on the ground. He heard another pop, like a tiny balloon being pricked with a needle inside his ears, then he fell forward onto the remains of his equipment.

The man with 'SECURITY' written across his cap came sauntering over the grass toward Turner’s body. He rolled it over with one boot-clad foot and saw the burst capillaries in Turner’s eyes: They were as red as the eyes of a B-movie vampire, and just as dead.

Hell of a tune they play, the man thought as he went through Turner’s pockets for the keys to the gray sedan. As he stood up, he double-checked his earplugs, as he often did after finding someone who had come too close, and strolled over to the car to put it out of sight. The body could wait. He couldn’t even see it from the car, the grass deep enough to hide it. He saw a small flock of birds flying overhead, wheeling to make a wide detour around the building nearby.

Birds are smarter than people. He chuckled, proud of his philosophical revelation, and got into the driver’s seat of the almost unnoticeable car.

About the Author:

Neil Rochford is a freelance writer who loves fiction where bad things happen. After more than five years traveling from continent to continent and a few short stories, he finally got to work on his first book, and hopes to continue writing as many as he can. Originally from Ireland, he speaks three languages and has lived in Estonia, Brazil, France and Spain. He is a staff writer for the popular Irish podcast and website Those Conspiracy Guys.

10 copies of The Blue Ridge Project on Kindle
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for letting me write a piece for ISmellSheep, I enjoyed it! Hope your readers like the book (and the giveaway!)

  2. The account of the haunted house was fascinating. Enjoyed the excerpt of The Blue Ridge Project too. Best of luck with your new book!

  3. This sounds intriguing! Nothing better than true life experiences in the paranormal to get the heart pumping!