Do you believe in ghosts?
I confess to being a skeptic, myself. I haven’t actually seen a ghost but I did have a semi-paranormal experience once (read on to the end). I think the vast majority of ghost stories have a logical explanation; perhaps the ghost’s witness was under stress and made a genuine mistake or someone else mistook the normal noises of a building settling for something else.
But then there’s those other times where sounds or sights cannot be explained in any logical way…so I’m prepared to keep an open mind about ghosts. You never know. Back in 1776, some people would have scoffed at the idea that we could hold a box in one hand and communicate with virtually anyone in the world. And now look at us — we whip out our smartphones, send out a tweet and anybody in the world with a computer or smartphone can see it.
I like the ghost story books of L.B. Taylor, Jr., a Virginia author, because he blends history and true ghost stories so wonderfully. He doesn’t make judgments about each ghost story, but presents the facts and lets you decide for yourself. Most of Taylor’s books are centered around Virginia ghosts, such as The Ghosts of Richmond, The Ghosts of Charlottesville and Lynchburg, The Ghosts of Tidewater and The Big Book of Virginia Ghost Stories. I was surprised to find out that some of my favorite historic sites to visit, including some in the D.C. metro area, have reports of paranormal activity. Whoa.
So if you’re in a ghostly mood this October — or if you’re just a history lover — Taylor’s books are well worth your time. I recommend reading them in a well-lit, non-spooky room, in a cozy chair by the fire, with your feet propped up and your favorite hot or cold beverage nearby.
As for my own paranormal experience that I mentioned at the beginning of this post: One fall morning, I was taking a walk along a country road. I heard what sounded like a horse clopping along behind me. The hair stood up on the back of my neck (so I knew I’d heard something) but when I whirled around…nothing was there. So I shrugged and continued with my walk.
Weeks later, I’m walking along the same road at the same time of day and this time, I saw a male deer whose hooves made the same noise as I’d heard during my earlier walk. So I concluded that what I’d heard was a deer.
But here’s the ghostly twist: Both sides of the road were covered with shrubs, leaves and other woodsy debris and it would have been impossible for a deer to trot through them without making any noise whatsoever. So how did the deer vanish without my hearing it?
I still can’t explain that.