June 16 : Ghosts
The topic of ghosts tends to come up every year. Do you believe in them, have you ever seen them, is your grandmother a medium, doesn’t that skip generations, etc. There are always the non-believers, the people with stories that really happened, those with the tall tales, and the people who shut up because don’t you know it’s bad luck to talk about these things?
Well that’s not my stance, clearly. Here is a sampling of this year’s stories:
The photo ghost: One person took a trip to the Great Pyramids in Egypt and was determined to see some ghosts. He had done his research and borders expert status on the unwritten history and conspiracies surrounding the pyramids. If you don’t know, do some digging. It’s crazy. He knew what he could expect. He was amply documenting his trip, especially targeting all the spots off the beaten path in hopes of encountering the supernatural. By the end of the trip he couldn’t really say that he’d seen anything, until he got his film developed. On the roll he took with him the night that he paid off some guards to let him climb up on the pyramids (yes, they blindfolded him and took him through a secret cut-out spot in the chain-link fence), there was one photo with a fuzzy white, well, ghost in the image. They didn’t allow flash photography that night, so, knowing what we know about how film works, the ghost could have either been a ghost or just a glitch in developing. You decide. (I hope I got the details of that story right.)
Touched by a ghost: Now this story I’ve heard before. Not to diminish anyone’s experience, but just to add credibility to our understanding of ghost behavior. Person is lying in bed one night and gets the chill. And then feels the cold hand of a ghost sweep down her body. The dog is freaking out, and the next morning she tells her housemates about it and they say No way. Okay we’ve all felt it too at some point. Sounds like a haunted house to me.
And then there are the stories that people bring from their hometowns. The three of us on the farm who grew up in Northern Virginia brought the tale of Bunny Man Bridge to the table. The crew thought we were pulling their legs (being the jokesters we are), but no. I mean, all of our versions were slightly different in the details, but by and large we could confirm each others’ stories. Maybe you know about Bunny Man Bridge. I never visited when I was up there, but enough people talk about it that you gotta think it means something.
That’s the thing: Enough people talk about it. Every town has its tales, every person has their tales, and whether or not you believe them is irrelevant. The point is that the stories exist as part of our oral history, and in a culture that is so quick to depart from its past, maybe there’s a little bit of meaning to these tales like it or not.