Not long ago, we here at Haunted Home Quarterly heard about the exploits of Mel Turner, head of Turner Construction, in not one but two historic homes in San Francisco. Mel isn’t an easy woman to track down, as she’s just about the hardest working woman in the construction industry, as far as we can tell. But this reporter caught up with her—and her dog, who is named, apparently, “Dog”-- at a taco truck outside a mansion she’s renovating in San Francisco’s famed Castro district. While the spangle-clad general contractor’s mouth and hands were full, we managed to get a few questions in edgewise.
Haunted Home Quarterly: Mel Turner, it’s a real honor meeting you! Do you realize you were named “California’s most promising, up-and-coming ghostbuster” in Haunted Home Quarterly’s last issue?
Mel Turner: Um…I really wouldn’t call myself that. I’m a general contractor, head of Turner Construction, and renovator of historic homes. That’s all.
HHQ: Isn’t it true that you’ve communicated with, and then gotten rid of, ghosts on your last two construction sites?
Mel: I…well…okay. Maybe. I didn’t exactly “get rid” of them, though. That makes me sound like an assassin. I was able to communicate with them, and figure out why they were there, and encouraged them to leave. But… I really don’t set out to bust ghosts. It just sort of happens. Turns out, there’s a lot going on behind old walls.
HHQ: What about your current project? A historic place like this, it’s such a great old mansion! And we hear you’re transforming it into a Bed and Breakfast? Surely it’s harboring a spirit or two?
Mel: What have you heard? (HHQ note: she looked a little nervous!)
HHQ: Nothing much, just that this place used to be a maternity hospital…and the family who built the place back at the turn of the last century –the entire family—was found one day, mysteriously dead in their beds. Might those spirits be hanging around?
Mel: Tell you what: We’re on schedule to be done in a few months. You should think about checking in for a night. You would find it…interesting.
And with that, Mel fed the dog the rest of her taco, tossed her napkin in the trash, and headed back into the house under construction. That’s when this reporter noticed the sign up next to the front door: Coming this spring! The Bernini Haunted Bed and Breakfast. Spend the night…if you dare.
Juliet Blackwell is the NYT bestselling author of the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series (If Walls Could Talk, Dead Bolt, Murder on the House) and the Witchcraft mystery series (Secondhand Spirits, A Cast-off Coven, Hexes and Hemlines, In a Witch’s Wardrobe, and Tarnished and Torn coming July 2013). As Hailey Lind, Juliet penned the Art Lover’s Mystery series, including Agatha-nominated Feint of Art. A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked and studied in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France. She now lives in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California, where she is a muralist and portrait painter. She was a two-term president of Northern California Sisters in Crime. Visit Juliet at www.julietblackwell.net; http://www.facebook.com/JulietBlackwellAuthor; and Twitter @JulietBlackwell