James A. Willis
Not since the Headless Horseman went charging through Sleepy Hollow has something come out of the Hudson highlands of upstate New York as thrilling and chilling as author and paranormal researcher James A. Willis. Fueled by a steady diet of Boo Berry cereal, Creepy Magazine and late-night Vincent Price movies, Willis soon developed a taste for the unexplained and quickly began seeking out all things strange and spooky.
When he wasn’t trying to coax the boogeyman out from under his bed for a photo shoot, Willis pondered such eternal questions as what happens to us when we die, is there life on other planets, and what possesses someone to decorate their house with 1,001 milk jugs?
In 1999, after spending more than fifteen years chasing after ghosts and visiting crybaby bridges, Willis moved to Ohio and founded The Ghosts of Ohio (ghostsofohio.org), a nationally recognized paranormal research organization. Willis has grown the organization to well over 35 members in three divisions throughout the state: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.
In 2004, in what seemed to be destiny, Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, the brains behind the Weird U.S. series of books, approached Willis and asked him to contribute to their latest volume. To date, Willis has been involved with six books in the Weird U.S. series. He is the co-author of Weird Ohio (2005) and Weird Indiana (2008) and was also a contributing author to Weird U.S. (2004), Weird Hauntings (2006), Weird US II: The ODDyssey Continues (2008), and Weird Encounters (2010). Willis’ unique and offbeat writing style was officially recognized in 2006 with his induction into the Grand Order of Weird Writers.
In addition, Willis has been a contributing author to several books in the Armchair Reader series, beginning with Weird, Scary & Unusual (2008) and continuing with several books released in 2010: Armchair Reader Goes Hollywood, Armchair Reader’s All about Ohio, and The Mammoth Armchair Reader. 2011 marked the release of Willis’ latest collaboration with Armchair Reader, Haunted America. For 2012, Willis released Haunted Indiana, his first work with Stackpole Books. In the fall of 2012, Willis’ The Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories was unleashed. Willis’ latest book, Ohio’s Historic Haunts, was released in late summer of 2015.
A sought-after public speaker, Willis has given presentations throughout the United States, during which he has educated and entertained tens of thousands of people of all ages in crowd sizes ranging from 10 to well over 600. He has also been featured in more than 50 media sources, including CNN, USA Today, Columbus Business First, Midwest Living, The Canadian Press, and even the Kuwait Times. He is also currently a contributing author to Mysteries Magazine.
Willis currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and daughter, a Queen-loving parrot, and two narcoleptic cats. Visit him online at http://www.strangeandspookyworld.com.
Katherine Ziff developed ArtBreak while working as an Ohio-licensed professional school counselor. At present she teaches in the graduate online counseling program at Wake Forest University. She also maintains a child therapy practice in Athens, Ohio. Ziff holds a doctorate in counselor education from Ohio University. She is also an exhibiting artist.