Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ghost Stories

Please welcome guest blogger Annie Cole. I'm so glad you could join us. 

Ghost Stories?

I Like Them. Really, I Do! Do You?

If you look around, ghosts are everywhere. Really! It’s the truth. Would I lie to you?

[Insert maniacal laughter and eerie music.]

Almost everyone has had some experience with ghosts or at least the paranormal in general. Maybe you’ve read a book that had a paranormal event or plot. Maybe you’ve watched a spooky movie or even a television show where the characters are hunting down ghosts. According to “Americans’ Beliefs in Paranormal Phenomena” at, about 71% of Americans have had a paranormal experience, 34% believe ghosts are real, and 56% believe ghosts are the spirits of the dead.

So if you believe, you’re not alone.

Even if you don’t actually believe in ghosts and the paranormal, almost everyone loves a really good scare. Just look at the number of television shows, books, horror films, blogs, etc. that are dedicated to giving us the scare we crave. But why do we love ghosts and the paranormal? Maybe one of the following is the answer.

Let’s face it. For most of us our everyday life is ordinary, boring, or even overwhelming—jobs, family, financial issues, etc. Ghost stories give us a distraction from all those things. For a short period of time, you get lost in someone else’s life and problems. Sometimes this helps to put a different perspective on our own lives. Paying those bills doesn’t look so bad in comparison to being hunted by flesh-eating vampires. Have you noticed just how many paranormal television shows there are? Ghost Hunters, A Haunting, Psychic Kids, The Haunted Collector, School Spirits, Destination Truth, Fact or Faked, Haunted Highway—this is just a few.

The good old adrenaline rush
Some people are adrenaline junkies. They love the rush and the high they get from doing dangerous things. Not all of us are willing to go bungie jumping off bridges to get that rush, but horror stories are a way of getting a small dose of adrenaline without the dangers. The zombie climbs out of the grave (your heart pounds) and grabs the unsuspecting teen in the prom dress (you scream). And when it’s all over, you go home from the theater or turn off the television with no worries about zombies grabbing you.

A connection to the past
Often ghost stories are passed down through the generations from parent to child, giving us a personal connection to them. My mom and grandma were storytellers in the oral tradition, and they were masters at scaring you with their ghost stories. I still wonder if there’s something hiding in my closet or under my bed. After my grandma died, I can remember sitting up late on Friday and Saturday night just to watch the late night horror movies with my mom. One movie made a real impression—the severed hand crawling across the floor. Maybe that’s what’s under the bed?

Is there something beyond death
From the very beginning, humans have questioned the finality of death. Is there something after? Ghosts stories obviously feed into that need to feel there is something more. Also, in many cultures, the dead are honored. Mexico and Latin American have Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). China celebrates the Hungry Ghost Festival. Japan has the Obon festival. Bolivia celebrate Dia de los Natitas (Day of the Skulls). These are just a few of the celebrations around the world honoring the dead.

Love of a good story
The art of storytelling is a very old form of education and entertainment. The stories my mom and grandma told me when I was little are now a part of me. In my collection of ghost stories, No Rest for the Spirit and Other Ghostly Tales, the story “Open Windows” is based on a story my mom told me about one of the houses she lived in when she was a little girl.

Whether you believe in ghosts are not, you like the tingly scare of a good ghost story, don’t you?

I love a good scare! It was a joy to have you on NN Annie. Hope you will come by and visit us again soon.

Happy Haunting,
Tabitha Blake

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