To prepare for my next Mystery House novel, Summer House Mystery, I went with my sister to Biloxi, Mississippi to research the area, where the novel will take place.
First, we visited the iconic lighthouse, which was erected in Biloxi in 1848.
The lighthouse is situated on the median dividing Beach Boulevard, directly across from Biloxi Beach.
Biloxi Beach is known for more than this iconic lighthouse, however. It's also the place where many people believe the Civil Rights Movement began.
My sister and I spent several hours enjoying the beach with other tourists and a handful of locals.
We explored the Visitors' Center and the palacial homes down the street from it.
The Visitors' Center, which housed a museum, small theater, and gift shop, had the same architectural style as most of the beautiful homes along Beach Boulevard.
I chose the house above and its location (across from the beach and next to where the Dantzler House once stood) for the Air B and B that Ellen, Tanya, and Sue will visit during their summer trip to Biloxi. The Dantzler House was another historic home that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
That evening, we ate at Mary Mahoney's Old French House, where we learned about their resident ghost, Angelique Fayard, from the restaurant owner, Bob Mahoney. While he wasn't sure who Angelique was, I looked her up and discovered that she was one of the founders of Biloxi!
While Bob told us about how his mother, Mary, started the restaurant, a cardinal appeared on a balcony rail in the courtyard. Bob felt sure it was his mother.
One of the waiters told me that upstairs in the attic, there's a painting that changes. After our meal, I went up there (it was dark, but no one stopped me from snooping around). I took a few photos, and while none of the paintings changed on me, I did capture a strange face in one of the photos I took of a closet. Do you see it, too?
A book I bought at the giftshop by a paranormal investigator claimed that sometimes in the ladies' room, a face other than your own looks back at you from the mirror. I went to the bathroom to check it out, and while I did get a creepy vibe, I saw only my own face in the mirror.
That night, we went to play the slots at the Beau Rivage. Although I didn't hit the jackpot, Hera, Queen of Olympus, helped me to win back all the money I had lost along with an extra ten bucks.
The next morning, we visited the Beauvoir, the house of Jefferson Davis. Although I found the architecture and gardens beautiful, I felt a little ill around all the Confederate memorabilia.
I understand the desire to preserve history and honor the fallen, but I felt uneasy, though I hid it well as I sat on this rocker gazing at the gulf across the street.
Maybe the ghosts knew I was a Union sympathizer, despite my southern upbringing!
From the Beauvoir, we lunched at the Hard Rock Cafe.
And then I got a manicure and pedicure at the Bellissimo Spa at the Harrah Casino for my birthday.
Then, that night, we went to the Old Biloxi Cemetery to conduct a paranormal investigation. You can listen to our conversation with the ghosts here.
I can't wait to write the book!