|Hidden Full Moon|
is the season for falling leaves, cozy fires, candied apples, and ghostly
tales. No other season lends itself with such atmosphere to those stories of
lost souls, unseen beings and mysterious beasts traveling just beyond the
|Ghost on Stairs|
perimeter of our world.
we love to hear them, to be scared by them. Just look at the number of urban
legends, ghost stories and horrifying tales that are on the internet. Not to
mention the recent incursion of paranormal shows on television and radio.
is, mankind has told ghost stories since ancient times. The concept of a ghost
story began over two thousand years ago when Roman statesman and author Pliny
the Younger (A.D. 61 – 115) told such tales in his letters. His accounts were of
an old man in chains with a beckoning finger whose restless spirit haunted
Pliny’s house. Pliny’s tales were so vivid, he was sought out to tell and
retell the story.
|Pliny the Younger|
|Soul Departing Body|
cultures, then as now, believe that a person’s soul or spirit exists
independently of his or her body, and continues to be present after death. It
is thought that phantoms appear because they have unfinished business on earth,
or because they are apprehensive about how, or if, they were buried properly.
Most places that are haunted are associated with the ghost through
emotions or something that happened there.
have been seen all over the world. In 856 A.D. a poltergeist (German for noisy ghost) was reported to be tormenting a family in Germany.
England, the ghost of Anne Boleyn has been seen in the Tower of London many times since
her execution there in 1536.
|Ann Boleyn's Ghost|
U.S. is a country that has always been full of ghostly lore. And according to a new Gallup poll conducted this year, 37% of Americans believe in ghosts.
Americans would tell spirit stories around campfires as a way to instill values,
strengthen their history, and help preserve their culture. Most of these
stories involved morals aimed at making the younger members of the community
think about their actions and decisions.
first settlers ghost story is said to have taken place in a tiny town in New
Hampshire. In the spring of 1682, the home and tavern of George and Alice Walton suddenly became
plagued by falling rocks, inside and out. The rocks fell for three months. No matter where the family went to try and escape, the phenomena
followed them and the rocks would continue to pound whatever building they were
in. But suddenly, as abruptly as the event began, it stopped. No
explanation was ever found for why it had occurred although the secretary of the colony of New Hampshire, Richard Chamberlain, wrote a pamphlet about it, but the incidents remains a mystery to
of our presidents and founding fathers have been encountered as ghosts roaming their
George Washington’s ghost appeared to Union soldiers outside of Gettysburg
during the bloody battle. Washington appeared on a white stallion, raised up
his sword and issued the command, “Fix bayonets. Charge!” The Union soldiers,
following his order, charged down the hill and forced the Confederates into a
full retreat. It is said that Washington can still be seen each summer,
galloping across the battlefield of Gettysburg.
Franklin was a statesman, inventor, writer, scientist and philosopher during
his long life. But it appears that Franklin had a special fondness for Philadelphia and
the American Philosophical Society. He has been seen near the society’s library
from time to time, and some report that he has inhabited his statue, located nearby and gone out dancing in the streets.
Abraham Lincoln’s life ended by an assassin’s bullet and his spirit has never
rested easy. His ghost haunts the hallways of the White House, and his silhouette
can be seen standing in the Oval office window as he continues to await word on
the progression of the war. Lincoln’s spirit has also been seen in Springfield, Illinois
his former home, where he wanders the old Capitol Building and the city streets late into the night.
classic ghost story came about during the Victorian Age, from 1840 to 1920.
These stories contained the fundamentals of folklore touched with
psychology. Author M.R. James, known for
his ghost stories at the turn of the century, remarked that the essential
elements of a ghost story are “the stoney
grin of unearthly malice, “malevolence and terror, the glare of evil faces, and
“long distant screams.”
|Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol|
of our best-loved ghost stories are from this period and include A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and
Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Canterville
|The Turn of the Screw|
Today, we can sit in the comfort of our living rooms and be scared silly watching such
television shows as Ghost Mine, Ghost
Hunters, Stalked by a Ghost, and Notorious Hauntings. And since the 1970s,
movies about ghosts have been an extremely popular genre.
legends are our modern versions of folklore; they change as our world changes but they still echo our fears and provide us with an ethical message couched in
a cautionary tale, warning us about what could happen if we take something too far.
stories offer us a way to be frightened but still maintain control over our
lives. They help us to bond with others, sharing stories and fears that will
end when the story is finished. Ghost stories are an escape into another realm
that delivers more fear than our current situation. When you’re worrying about
monsters and ghosts and demons, you’re not worrying about what you have to do
tomorrow. And when the tale is done, suddenly, tomorrow doesn’t seem so bad…
|The Hammersmith Ghost|
to Leonard Bruce Olin for the suggestion of this post!
Have a post suggestion? Let me know!
Superb blog, Never seen a ghost but then I don't believe in them. Mind you I have taked to mum and dad in my dreams before now.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Bill! I've visited with my grandmother in my dreams.ReplyDelete
Have you written about spiritualism? There's a grave in the Old City Cemetery in Sacramento, California with an epitaph that reads, "Gone to the Summerland." I've always been curious about that.ReplyDelete
I haven't, but after looking it up, I'm intrigued. The Summerland is a term used by Pagans, Wiccans, Theosophists, and other earth-based religions for their afterlife place. (Just like Christians use heaven for their afterlife place.)Delete