Priscilla Bettis – Author Interview and Review

The story in the Among the Headstones anthology is Lucretia’s Hum by Priscilla Bettis, someone we all know and follow, right? Well, I do.

The interview is by Rayne Hall, and I’ll do a review at the end.

What are cemeteries like in the country where you live?

I live in Virginia in the United States. We have huge Civil War cemeteries, but we also have four natural-burial cemeteries. My story (“Lucretia’s Hum”) takes place in one of the natural cemeteries where bodies are simply shrouded and laid on the ground without chemical preparation. I’m sure that horrifies some people, but I figure it’s Nature’s way.

Do you know where your ancestors are buried? Do you visit their graves?

My family tends to be non-traditional. My dad and father-in-law were cremated. My uncle donated his body to science, stuff like that. There’s simply not much to visit!

What scares you? 

When I was eight years old, my cousins rolled me up in an area rug and sat on me. It was hard to breathe. It was dark. I tried to tilt my head back to see the circle of light at the end of the rug-tunnel, but the rug was too tight. I yelled for help with my remaining breath, but the wool fibres absorbed my screams. Bless my aunt’s mother-instinct. She must have suspected something was amiss in the den when she couldn’t hear us running around. She made my cousins unroll me. Needless to say, I’m terribly claustrophobic now. Maybe that’s why I’d rather donate my body to a cadaver lab than be buried in the confines of a stuffy coffin!

What do you like about the Horror Genre?

When either reading or writing horror, the process is a way to purge my own fears, leave them on the page, and control the situation. I’ve heard other horror fans say similar things. Our involvement in the horror genre is a therapeutic escape from scary events in real life. Besides, reading a spooky story is just plain fun!

For your story in Among the Headstones, where did you get the inspiration

Lucretia, my protagonist in “Lucretia’s Hum,” can hear the real-life Industrial Hum. (It’s also known as the “Taos Hum” or the “Windsor Hum.”) When I first heard of the Hum, I thought the hearers simply had tinnitus. I admit to rolling my eyes at the suggestion of a mysterious, worldwide, low frequency Hum. Then in 2018 I started hearing it. It’s NOT tinnitus, and you can capture the decibels and frequencies on a sound app, definitely not imaginary. Thankfully, I can easily ignore it. But some people can’t. A rural cemetery is the perfect spot for Lucretia to get respite from the Hum. After all, it’s driving her crazy.

As a writer, what do you like about the short story format?

In a short story, I can experiment a little more, trying out techniques that might become tedious in a longer story. Short stories are fun!


Priscilla Bettis read her first horror story, The Exorcist, when she was a little kid. Priscilla snuck the grownup book from her parents’ den, and The Exorcist scared her silly. From that moment on, she was hooked on horror and all things deliciously off kilter. As an adult, Priscilla turned to engineering physics, a wonderful profession, but what she really wants to do is write . . . or die trying, probably at the hands of a vampiric wraith. Priscilla shares a home in the Blue Ridge foothills of Virginia (USA) with her two-legged and four-legged family members.


Amazon author page:


Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard edited by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest – and creepiest – graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.

Here you’ll find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.

You’ll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.

Now let’s open the gate – can you hear it creak on its hinges? – and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.

But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement… They may be right behind you.

Purchase Link:

The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2022. (After that date, the price will go up.)  A paperback will follow.

My Review:

Would you sleep in a graveyard?

The story opens with the the young woman who chose her home for a specific reason – to live within the peace and calmness of the dead. Maybe it’s not so strange (I’ve lived next door to a cemetery, and the neighbours are generally quiet).

It then naturally morphed into a desire to be desired, and the underlying emotions emerged like a moth into the night. All this in a green cemetery (very creepy!).

Are the dead truly dead? Will her wish to sleep in true silence help maintain her sanity by excluding the constant hum of daily life?

Read it and find out – you won’t be disappointed.

Love this type of story; a chillingly close-to-the-bone event as real as those solid gates.

19 thoughts on “Priscilla Bettis – Author Interview and Review

  1. I’m glad I’m not bothered by Industrial Hum. It sounds ghastly. — Where I live in rural Bulgaria, the only hum I hear is that of bees and bumblebees. When I visit urban areas, I dislike the noise, but that’s not the same as this ghastly hum, so I’m fortunate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello, Priscilla, lovely interview.

    I have to say, there is some type of serenity to be found in cemeteries. Not only because it’s often a place with little to no auditory pollution, but also by providing a slight disconnect from day-to-day worries/concerns. It does feel at times like it’s a completely different space.

    Playing with the senses of a character (reader) is a wonderful component for horror stories. Do you often plan your writing around that?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, I’ve never heard of The Hum before, and going through the google searches is both fascinating and alarming. Whatever the reason behind the Hum is, the existence of a low, mysterious noise that only some of us can hear is quite creepy in itself. Just thinking about its combination with the horror genre and a silent cemetery (that, as I imagine, isn’t gonna be as silent for Lucretia) gives me chills. I haven’t even seen the story yet, but it already sounds terrific! Thank you for the interview, can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. About short stories having more room for experiment, I wonder, which short story of yours was the most experimental one, and what was the most “out of ordinary” short story you’ve ever read, the one that blew your mind?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Talha Efe AY, good questions! The most experimental story I ever wrote was “Mullusk Madness” which will be published by the literary journal 34 Orchard in April 2022. I got inside the mind of a disturbed mother as she talked in her head to her daughter. “You this” and “you that.”

      The most out of the ordinary short story I ever read was “Negative Space” by Tim Waggoner which was published in Nightmare magazine’s 111th issue. Waggoner writes the story in second person point of view and somehow pulls the reader through one reality and into another.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s going to be my first time reading a story where the protagonist suffers from the Hum. Very creative. I have first heard it from a friend who could -and still can- hear it. But, unfortunately (or luckily, I am not sure), my boring hearing ability has only witnessed tinnitus. Maybe your story can give me a better understanding of the matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s always so nice to read your interviews Ms.Bettis.
    Altough I have no experience, even the idea of claustrophobic encounters scares me the most. Maybe it’s a type of supressed instinct to survive (because of the tombs). I hope Epicurus was right and we won’t have to spend an eternity in a 2 square meter pit.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is my first time hearing about the hum! I wonder what other new knowledge one may find in the story – “Lucretia’s Hum”. Guess I have to find out.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jeez, that childhood story of yours is indeed traumatizing… makes sense why you’re claustrophobic now (I would be too). Most of our fears now indeed stem from our childhood experiences. It’s also my first time hearing about ‘The Hum’, I’m interested to learn more about it. I can’t imagine the feeling of those who experience it, it must be hard. Can’t wait to read ‘Lucretia’s Hum’ as well as the rest of the anthology!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great story to look forward to!
    I read about the Hum a few years ago and I am glad I don’t hear it. I’ve always thought of it as a nuisance and not as something creepy. What a great idea to include it in a gothic story.
    Thank you for the remarkable interview!
    Diana A.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.