[This article originally appeared at HollowHill.com.]
‘Tis the season… for news about ghosts and haunted places.
- I’m intrigued by the article, What haunted houses tell us about ourselves, in yesterday’s Seattle Times.
It’s an interesting way to look at haunted places.
Oh, I doubt many (perhaps most) assumptions about New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion. I’m not sure it’s especially haunted. (Several residents said it’s not.) Also, some of the legends don’t fit the owners’ real history.
But, the original LaLaurie Mansion was certainly the site of traumatic events and a horrible (and fatal) fire. So, some ghosts may linger.
In the Seattle Times article, like the following quote from Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places. (I’m reading that book, right now. It’s not what I’d expected. Lots of history. Lots of folklore. All of it connected to famous – and infamous – haunts.
Here’s the quote I like:
“Ghost stories in many ways are a way for us to approach our own history,” Dickey said, “and our own history is complicated.”
I’m going to think about that. At first glance, I’ll admit that most serious ghost investigators are not simple, take-life-as-it-comes people. Most are unusually bright, well-read, and interested in a wide range of topics.
The related podcast is thought-provoking. Though I disagree with Dickey on some points, he has some fresh views worth considering: https://apnews.com/afs:Content:1446410075/Episode-23:-What-haunted-houses-tell-us-about-ourselves
- Then, today’s article in USA Today claims Some homebuyers are open to purchasing a haunted house. According to one survey, 55% of Americans are willing to live in a haunted house, or might be open to the idea. (42% said no way.)
What interested me are the 28% who said they have lived in a haunted home. (I’m in that group. I’ve lived in two that might be haunted, plus a third that was absolutely bizarre.)
I may try a survey like that, myself, to see how many people pursue ghost hunting because they’re already familiar with life in a haunted house.
- Next, this may not be the world’s only haunted canal boat ride – and I’m not sure if it’s genuinely spooky – but if I were around Richmond, Virginia, I’d happily spend $2 for the experience: Haunted canal boat rides in Richmond.
- After that, reading the latest ghost-related articles, I realized I’ve never questioned the word “boo!” Maybe I should have.
Fortunately, Mental Floss may have an answer. In their article, Why Do Ghosts Say ‘Boo’?, they report:
“…the word had a slightly different shade of meaning a few hundred years ago: Boo (or, in the olden days, bo or bu) was not used to frighten others but to assert your presence.”
And later, in that same article, explain a more recent use of the word:
“And by 1738, Gilbert Crokatt was writing in Presbyterian Eloquence Display’d that, ‘Boo is a Word that’s used in the North of Scotland to frighten crying children.’ “
- And then there’s the video filmed earlier this month (Oct 2017) inside a Cork City (Ireland) school. It’s been viewed over 7 million times.
I laughed out loud at one point. No, this isn’t what a real haunting looks like, though it’s entertaining.
But, a Today.com article offers an explanation for the school’s haunted reputation:
“‘The school is built on a site known as Green Gallows,’ Wolfe said. ‘In the 19th century, criminals were hanged here. We only found that out on Monday. The pub nearby is actually called the Gallows.'”
A leading Irish education site calls it Gallows Green, but – no matter what the name – it’s adequate reason for ghosts at the school.
They’re just unlikely to manifest in such preposterous ways.
Those are the ghost-related articles that interested me today. I’m sure there will be more as Halloween approaches.