I love collecting stories of the strange and supernatural and much as I love writing them. Most of the stories in my book, Haunted Northwest Georgia, came from ordinary people sharing their experiences with me. Those are the best stories in my opinion. These aren’t something you can find all over the internet or in every book on the paranormal.
When someone shares a story with me, I get excited! I always keep their names private if they wish. After all, some people fear ridicule for sharing. (Hey, I get ridiculed for writing about the paranormal. It isn’t always easy living in the Bible belt!) When a person shares a story with me, that person becomes very special in my eyes. After all, our stories and experiences are an intimate part of ourselves. In my case, the person is often sharing a terrifying time in their lives.
Do I use every story I receive? Well, not yet….but someday. For instance, there is a particular cemetery deemed to be haunted. I’d LOVE to include it’s story. I’ve been intrigued by the place since my first visit, back in the 90s. However, when I ask if anyone has had an experience there, all I can get is, “I got orbs.” I haven’t thrown these experiences out… I’m just waiting to get a little more.
I also get a few experiences where the teller saw a deceased love one or stranger at the foot of their bed. Without a history or story behind the apparition, there is little I can do. I could make something up…but if you read my posts, you know how I feel about that. It takes away more than it adds, in my opinion. I’d rather wait…if nothing else, I may save these and include them in one chapter some day.
I have made quite a few friends by collecting stories. I’ll never forget the times I spent talking with Debby Brown, one of the best historians and storytellers in the area. When she left this earth, it was a very sad day for me and all the other people who loved her. I’ll always treasure the time I spent listening to her stories and learning from her.
Sure, it’s a thrill to have my book coming out in December! It’s a dream come true! But if asked what I loved most about what I do…. I’d say meeting new people and collecting their stories.