It was a dark and stormy night…
I have a confession to make. I love ghost stories. My favorites are ones where there is a ghost that’s hanging around either re-enacting a person’s existence before he or she died or where a loved one appears to a family member. Usually it’s either to say hello or because they have a message for the living. Now do I believe that ghosts are real? I’m not sure. There’s a part of me that really wants to believe in ghosts—but I am a Missourian, and we are the Show Me State. So until I see one with my own eyes, I will remain optimistically skeptic. Side note: I really don’t ever want to see one myself; I just like hearing about other people’s encounters. I’m a big chicken.
A few weeks ago my friend, Kristin and I went to a talk at the Library by The Paranormal Task Force. Jeremy, the speaker, was a great mix of humor and storyteller. And while he was enthusiastic about his subject, he also was also realistic about all the things out there that are not ghosts. In fact, what I liked most about this group was that they didn’t think every single thing they saw, felt or heard was paranormal on their investigations. He shared some great photos with us, and explained away things that could be mistaken for ghouls on some of the ones that at first glance seemed paranormal. What was left was some images that were hard to find an explanation for that gave me goosebumps. You can see some of these pictures on the group’s website at www.paranormaltaskforce.com.
Now I know that some people think a belief in ghosts somehow contradicts being a Christian, but I don’t agree. I think that if you’re seeking out interaction with departed souls, you are opening up doors to something that is less than holy. An Ouija Board comes to mind. But to me, acknowledging an existence of ghosts only collaborates the idea that humans have souls and there’s something more to life than just our physical bodies. How many times have you heard about people who, on their death beds, see or call out to people who have been dead for years? I don’t find this frightening at all, and I hope when it’s my time that someone who loved me in life might be there to bring me “into the light”.
The stories that intrigue me most are ones that I’ve heard from people I know personally, because they don’t have anything to gain by sharing them. In general, the stories are not dramatic; in contrast, they are fairly simple. A woman I grew up going to church with told me about the house she lived in with her family. Strange things would happen that they always wrote off—like lights being on in the house when they would return home when they knew that they’d turned them off before they left. After her kids grew up and moved out of the house, they got to talking about an older woman in one of the rocking chairs. They’d all seen her as kids, but no one had said anything because each thought it had just been their imagination. It wasn’t until years later they discovered they had all experienced seeing the same woman.
Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books and watched a lot of television shows featuring “true” hauntings and ghosts. I’m pretty skeptic of most, but there are a few that really make me wonder. Who doesn’t love getting creeped out by a spooky tale on Halloween? (Feel free to share with me!) Although I may have outgrown Trick or Treating, I hope I never outgrow a good, scary ghost story—as long as I can sleep with a nightlight!