Normally, I would say a resounding, No! Writers use their imaginations, the memories of their own pasts, and also of other stories heard - of books, and films, and of those tales told by friends and relatives.
But today, well today, I might feel a little bit different and that's because of something decidedly strange that happened to me yesterday.
I am currently writing a novel which is set in the Victorian era - mostly the early 1860's - and as the story takes place in Windsor, which happens to be where I live, I decided to use my Victorian house as one of the novel's main settings.
In that house lives a woman called Mercy, who is a spiritualist medium, whose mother died many years before in a bedroom that is now closed off, almost as if it is a shrine. Another of the characters used to live in India where his English father, a clergyman, had gone to do Christian missionary work among the Maharajahs.
Yesterday morning, I was doing a Google search, looking up the local town council regarding a mundane neighbourhood issue. But, when I typed in my address, the first thing to come up on the screen was a question from a local History forum in which someone was asking about my house with regard to research being carried out about a lady who was something of a local saint - even being known to Gladstone for establishing a refuge for homeless and unmarried mothers; all those 'in moral danger.' She was also aided in that work by the group of local nuns she formed, who also spent a great deal of time doing missionary work in India; known there as the Sisters of the Raj.
But here is where it gets really interesting because, at some point, at the end of her life that lady came to live in my house (I will do more research here, but the house is opposite a church and I think that some clergymen lived here, although it is not a vicarage). She lived here and she died here, in the year of 1860, in one of my very own bedrooms - and also in a bedroom that belongs in my fictional Mercy's house - in which my Mercy spends much of her time claiming to protect her orphaned niece from the 'dangers of immorality'.
And what was the Windsor refuge called? Well, it was The House of Mercy.
If you also write, have you had any spooky experiences that you would like to share?