Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

Battle Pass in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York

Alternatively named the Battle of Brooklyn or Battle of Brooklyn Heights, the Battle of Long Island was fought on August 27, 1776 between General George Washington’s Continental Army and British Generals William Howe and Charles Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War. It was the largest battle of the war and a British victory. Today, much of the battlefield is preserved within Prospect Park, with outlying areas nearby. Several small monuments commemorate key locations in the battle.

After the successful Siege of Boston and the Declaration of Independence, George Washington correctly surmised the British would move to secure strategic naval ports around New York City. The colonists secured and fortified key terrain on the islands around the city. The British arrived in force, with approx. 32,000 men and 400 ships. Opposing them were 30,434 colonial regulars and militia. Only about half of these forces would participate in the battle.

On August 27, approx. 10,000 colonial troops met 20,000 British regulars and Hessian mercenaries near Brooklyn Heights. The British divided their forces and attacked the Continental Army from two sides around Battle Pass. Hard fighting by American Brig. General Samuel H. Parsons and Colonel Samuel J. Atlee inflicted heavy casualties on the British.


Ramsey Cemetery’s Harrowing Casbah

Southern Illinois has a far more diverse topography than the rest of the state. Situated at the gateway to Little Egypt, Ramsey Cemetery in Effingham County is no exception. Its claim to fame is the nearby “caves” or rock shelters. Formed by thousands of years of erosion, generations of local residents have carved their names and proclamations of love into the sandstone walls.

Back in 2002, the Shadowlands Index of Haunted Places labeled it “Kazbar Cemetery.” The entry described it as an “old cemetery that has haunted caves.” Eschewing details, it added, “a were wolf and a man in a black coat with red eyes is said to be seen there. Many weird things have happened there.” Kazbar, or Casbah, seems to be a local place name.

Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk uncovered more information for The Illinois Road Guide to Haunted Locations (2007).

One story they uncovered was the tale of a young man who allegedly committed suicide in Ramsey Cemetery. According to Lewis and Fisk, a small chapel existed on the cemetery grounds for the benefit of mourners from the 1920s until the 1960s when it was torn down due to vandalism.


Blue Mountain Lake

A moody summer scene at Blue Mountain Lake in Indian Lake, New York in the central Adirondack Mountains. Blue Mountain Lake is part of a series of lakes connected by the Marion River. This is considered the heart of the Adirondack Mountains and home of Adirondack Experience, a museum located in a historic summer resort hotel. Every year, thousands of vacationers come here to fish, swim, boat, hike, and enjoy the outdoors.

Reorganizing My Website

For those of you who noticed a dramatic redesign of my website in the past few months, this post is long overdue. For those who haven’t noticed, well, now is as good a time as any to explain these changes.

As I began to update my blog more frequently, I slowly realized its old structure just wasn’t working anymore. I needed posts to be easier to find, and at the same time get organized in a way that both made sense and encompassed the wide variety of subjects I wrote about.

I decided to organize my posts around general themes, the majority of which would fall under “About” (for announcements, personal appearances, etc.), “Musings” (for my reviews and commentary), and “Explore” (for my travelogues). I retained separate categories for my fiction and photography, which really don’t fall under anything else.

Here’s a short explanation of my website’s new organization (click “more…” to expand the list):

Interview with Maria Sigle, Author of the Marley Parker Series

I hope you enjoy this interview with the charming Maria Sigle, author of the Marley Parker Series. Check out Marley Parker, A Rumor of Ghosts, and Redletter on I had the honor of editing Redletter, and I think it’s the best of the series. We filmed this interview over the summer.

A former model and TV spokesperson with a degree in psychology, Maria Sigle drew from a wealth of personal experience to craft these fiery tales. These are stories that young women especially will enjoy. Follow her on Goodreads.