S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.

Sandy is the editor and writer of the award-winning, internationally-known web site called American Folklore ( that features retellings of folktales from each state. This site was created as part of a graduate study at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey in October 1997 and is used daily by teachers throughout the world in lesson plans for students of all levels. Stories from the site have also been used in college text books and in Masters level programs. She is also the editor of World Folklore ( which features myths, legends, fairy tale, fables and folktales from around the globe.

Sandy travels extensively, researching supernatural folklore all over the United States. She also spends many hours answering questions from visitors to the American Folklore and World Folklore web sites. Her favorite e-mails come from other folklore enthusiasts who delight in practicing the old tradition of who can tell the tallest tale.


Question: What does "S.E." stand for?

My full name is Sandra Elizabeth Schlosser - so "S" stands for Sandra and "E" stands for Elizabeth. But the only one who calls me that is my mother, and she only says my full name when she is mad at me! Everyone else calls me "Sandy."

Question: How long does it take you to write a book?

Answer: I wrote my first book, Spooky New England in four weeks in order to make a September 2003 publication date. That pace is a little faster than I enjoy. The other spooky books have taken about 3 months to research and 3 months to write. This is a fairly leisurely pace for me, which is essential since I work full-time during the day and have to write the Spooky books at night.

It doesn’t take as long to update the expanded editions, but I always add some new stories, so long time readers may want to check them out!

Question: How do you find the stories in your Spooky books? How do you do your research?

Answer: I have a Masters in Library Services, so by profession I am a researcher. I have used many sources for the Spooky books. Some of my major resources include out-of-print folklore collections dating back to the early 1800s, present day books about ghosts and hauntings, interviews with people local to a state or region, online sites featuring ghost stories and urban legends, forums, blogs, and research contacts within state and federal libraries. Even some first-hand experiences and family stories have made it into the series.

I go on extensive “spooky research trips” in which I visit haunted locations all around the region, state or city about which I am writing and interview people who have themselves experienced real ghosts or had paranormal experiences. Others share spooky stories that have been passed down in their families. I have written several travelogues chronicling these journeys and the spooky experiences I’ve had. You can read about my adventures in the Spooky Research category on the S.E. Schlosser author website.

Question: What is your favorite “spooky” story?

Answer: There are many spooky stories that I like and I can name one or two favorites from each state or region about which I have written. But my all-time favorite spooky story – and I have no idea why I like it so much, except perhaps because when I read it aloud it gives everyone the shivers – is “Tailypo”.

Tailypo was first published Spooky South and it features a terrifying but tiny creature that comes out of the swamp to seek vengeance against a trapper. In a high-pitched, squeaky voice, it chants over and over: “Tailypo, Tailypo. All I want’s my Tailypo,” thus sealing the doom of the old man.

Another great story for telling around the campfire is "Turnabout is Fairy Play" from Spooky New Jersey. In this tale, a ghost turns the tables on two mischievous boys who loved to tease him when he was still alive.

Question: Do you believe in ghosts?

Answer: I was a skeptic when I first started the Spooky Series back in 2003. Since then, I have visited a lot of haunted locations and seen some truly amazing things. NOT what I expected at all. I also have friends and relatives – very credible people – who have personally encountered apparitions, and I myself have had several supernatural experiences that were down-right scary!

If you want to read about some of my adventures – and those of my family – you will find true ghost stories in the following books:

  • Spooky New Jersey 2nd edition - On Washington Rock, The Figure in the Window, and Haunted Birthday
  • Spooky Georgia - Shave and a Haircut, Hurry, Hurry and The Lighthouse
  • More Spooky Campfire Tales - Try the Gingerbread
  • Spooky New Orleans - Preemptive strike

Question: Would you share an interesting fact that your readers might not know about you?

Answer: The very first purchase I made using the money I'd earned from my very first book - Spooky New England - was a little parrot who I named...drum-roll please...Spooky!

(Yes, I am that original.)

Spooky still lives with me today and is still baffled by the computer that “Mommy” finds so fascinating.! There are usually several typos in every first draft that may be attributed to Spooky the parrot trying to figure out how to use my keyboard. And don't get me started on all the times she pecks at the screen on my phone or iPad and changes the app I am using to one that she prefers.

Spooky also has decided opinions on when its time for me to take a break! I sometimes wonder if she is petitioning me to step away from the computer so she can write her own parrot blog while I am taking a break! After seeing a photo on a famous bird seed manufacturer's bag that looks suspiciously like my parrot, I am convinced Spooky is leading a double life.


The Flayed Hand

One evening about eight months ago I met with some college comrades at the lodgings of our friend Louis R. We drank punch and smoked, talked of literature and art, and made jokes like any other company of young men. Suddenly the door flew open, and one who had been my friend since boyhood burst in like a hurricane.

The Box Song

We know its unorthodox, but we really love our lox, And better still we love to box, and gift-wrap too. Woodbox and workbox and toolbox and tinderbox Bobby Fox collects socks, so why don't you?

Spooky North Carolina Research Trip

I left for my next spooky adventure right from work, hoping to get at least halfway to North Carolina tonight. The weather was cold, but sunny, and the massive George Washington Bridge gleamed in the westering sunlight as I zipped across. I am amazed at the size and beauty of this bridge every time I cross it. Then I was out of New York, heading across Jersey and through the gorgeous Delaware Water Gap into Pennsylvania. One of the reasons I enjoy road trips like this are the memories of other Spooky trips I have. Traveling through Wilkes-Barre, PA, I remember collecting the story of a coal-miner minstral who returned from the grave to say good-bye to an old friend. Driving past Allentown, I remembered the ghost I actually "met" - or at least heard - while staying at my cousin's house and visiting her haunted toy room. And of course, passing the battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam, I remembered the ghost of George Washington who appeared at Little Round Top and the very creepy feeling I had staring at the haunte bridge in Antietam.

Fire! Fire! Fire!

It had been one heckuva day. By the time I got home I was practically crawling on my hands and knees, fatigued in mind, body, and spirit. All I wanted was food, a hot bubble bath, and sleep, in that order. I was determined that I would have all three tonight no matter what I had to push off to do it.

Row, Row, Row your Car

My grandfather had a fairly new silver Dodge Saint Regis back when I was a sophomore in college, which eventually became my car when he got a new one. On the particular late-winter weekend of our story, Grandpa was going away for a visit (or perhaps to a conference) and didn’t require the use of his car until late Sunday afternoon. My Dad, on the other hand, needed the use of car – any car -- since the Schlosser family vehicle had conked out on him and was in the garage being fixed. My Grandpa offered him the use of the Dodge, and Dad accepted gladly. So Grandpa dropped off the Dodge at our house on Friday evening, leaving it to the tender mercies of my family while he went away.

Harry’s Hair

Harry Horse loved to watch television. He loved the cartoons and the sitcoms. He watched the movies and listened intently to the talk shows as the sounds drifted through the open window in the kitchen...