GALLIPOLIS — Michele Zirkle Marcum is using an uncomfortable, but life-changing, topic in her new book to help better change the lives of people who have been displaced in flood-ravaged parts of her home state.
Marcum, a West Virginia native and writer who now lives in Columbus, has written a book titled, “Rain No Evil” and is donating a percentage of the profits to help her native home state’s flood victims.
The book was released July 8. On that first day, 100 percent of proceeds from purchased hardback and paperback editions all went to Mountain Mission, a Charleston, W.Va.-based nonprofit that helps people with unexpected emergency needs, such as in-kind and financial. At the moment, Mountain Mission is heavily involved with helping people who have been displaced by last month’s flooding throughout much of the state.
“It’s one of the most reputable in the area, aside from the (American) Red Cross,” Marcum said. “It is well known for giving people what they need and seeing to it that they get it. I wanted to make sure the money gets to the people.”
Throughout the remainder of July, Marcum said 10 percent of profits will be steered toward Mountain Mission and flood victim relief.
Her book focuses on a wet subject of a much different sort. Marcum said the events depicted in it are based on true events that she and her family and friends experienced in 2006 in their home. She describes several paranormal experiences in which water began dripping — and later spraying — throughout the house with no apparent cause; light bulbs shattering; and what she said was “a demon” in her mirror.
“I didn’t write the book just to say, ‘Hey, this crazy thing happened to me,’” she said. “Yeah, it was crazy — crazy in the sense that I didn’t expect it. But as far as the reason I wrote the story, it was to tell people how the whole experience changed me in the process. The experience had a profound change on my life and that’s the story I want to tell in the book.”
Because of her experience, Marcum said she began to question whether there was a higher power.
“I know a lot of people do that — but not many people get the answers that I got,” she said.
That answer, she said, is contained within the pages of her book.
“People sometimes don’t recognize their answer. Mine was literally drenching me and my family. Water was dripping, then it was spraying, across the rooms in my house — and there was no explanation for it,” Marcum said. “(The experience) proved to me not only that there is a higher power, but there are so many things that we don’t understand, so many things we don’t know.”
Marcum explained that plumbers, power company officials, insurance company folks and general contractors all inspected her home and couldn’t find a cause. But through her spiritual beliefs and actions, which also included she and her family going through the confirmation process via their Catholic church, Marcum was able to deal with — and eventually get rid of — the strange occurrences in her home.
While writing the book, Marcum said she decided to “give back” via a charity, but had a difficult time choosing one that was near to her heart. While on vacation in Hawaii a few weeks ago, Marcum heard news of the floods in West Virginia. She still hadn’t decided how she wanted to help until she returned home to a driveway filled with boxes of her book — 24, to be exact — that had arrived two weeks earlier than planned.
“This is a sign that I’m supposed to do something to help,” she said. “The title of the book and the flood happening … I felt like (helping flood victims) was the thing to give to.”
Marcum, who graduated from Poca High School in Putnam County, W.Va., and later earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Concord College in Athens, W.Va., and Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., respectively, said she looked for spiritual guidance while experiencing the paranormal events described in her book.
“I prayed the ‘angry prayer’ one day in the shower … ironically,” she said. “It was a very, very angry prayer. I know I’m not the only person in the world who has questioned, ‘Is God really there?’ and ‘Are you listening to me?’ Everyone does that at some point. Why did I get the answer I got? And why did I have that coupled with the desire and ability to write it the way that I do? I think there’s a reason.”
That reason, she said, has much to do with her religious beliefs.
“There’s a divine connection there. (God) gave me the experience and He gave me the story and the desire to write it,” Marcum said. “It could have happened to other people who didn’t necessarily want to share it. I don’t have a problem with sharing it. This is my truth and my family’s truth, and I’m comfortable with that.”
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.