Ghosts- Have They Become Invisible?

When I started writing Haunted Northwest Georgia, it came from a long-time desire to compile some of the personal ghost stories I’d been hearing over the years. Once I got started, and word got aroud, the stories snowballed. I was getting emails, messages on my Ghosts of Northwest Georgia Facebook page…you name it. I then added Shadows in the Pines to Facebook to cover stories from around the south, as the other page had a niche right here in Northwest Georgia. The stories came in, I met some fascinating people, and once the book was in the works and headed for the presses, I decided to write another one.

And BOOM, the lights went out.

Crickets……

It seems ghosts have gone invisible these days. I found myself yesterday talking to an old friend who had a paranormal experience with some furbies. You remember- those fuzzy little psycho toys from the 1990’s? It seems there have been quite a few people who wound up wishing they’d never met the little furry demons in disguise.This might prove to be an interesting chapter. But ghosts?? Nada…..

I wonder why people are more reluctant to share haunted experiences these days than they were in the past? Surely I haven’t covered them all? Surely someone’s Great- Aunt Sally lives in a house long haunted by some ghost from the distant past. I am following up on a friend’s story of dealing with a ghost that haunts two retail establishments she has worked for in Rome, Georgia. Both (next door to one another) are haunted by the host of a tall, Native American man who makes his presence known by throwing objects, setting off alarms, etc.

If you have a story from the southern states, I’d love to hear it. Drop me a line

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Collecting Spooky Stories

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.

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For the Love of a Ghost Tale

It’s been quite a while since I posted on this blog. It isn’t that I have nothing to say. (I ALWAYS have something to say!) I signed a contract with a publisher (dream come true)! Now I’m working like crazy to get my book lined up and into the correct format.

I have LOVED collecting ghost stories from Northwest Georgia. To me, the best are personal accounts- not just hearsay. I’ve met some of the kindest people on earth and I have loved every minute of the time I have shared with them.

I have always loved a good ghost story. Even as a child, I devoured every ghost story book I could find on the shelves of my local library. I remember discovering Kathryn Tucker Windham’s “13 Ghosts…” series when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I loved them! Later I moved on to Nancy Roberts. When I worked as a Media Specialist in an elementary school I realized that most kids DO love a good ghost story. Most adults do, as well… Of course, I get a lot of “Aw, I don’t believe that mess!” Well, I don’t believe Spongebob is real, nor does my child…but he is on our TV as I write this. Evidently we are enjoying him anyway….

Collecting ghost stories isn’t easy. Some people are reluctant to share their stories. They are afraid of being ridiculed. I don’t use a person’t real name, nor do I share an address. Sometimes a person has a story but it isn’t enough to fill a chapter. Example- “My grandma’s house is haunted. I saw a man at the foot of the bed!” Not that those aren’t great stories…but it isn’t exactly going to fill up a chapter…

I almost drove myself crazy trying to get enough stories on Little River Canyon..but as far as I can tell, there just aren’t any. Other than a Little Foot sighting here and there and a few chanting voices…nada. I found one fantastic story, then I read an article where a guy admitted he made it up. That may be OK for him, but there is a difference between fiction and creative non-fiction. Passing one off as the other is as bad as passing Pepsi off as Coke. It just “ain’t right”. That’s just my humble opinion.

I get excited every time I open up my email and find someone with a story to tell. I read every email, message, and comment that I receive from this site and both my facebook sites (Shadows in the Pines and Ghosts of Northwest Georgia). You never know when that next fantastic story will come along!

Here’s hoping you have a great day! If you run into a ghost… be sure and let me know!

 

 

 

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On Ghost Stories, Greed, and…well, Sometimes a Load of Crap

When I first began collecting ghost stories, I began spending a lot of time with historians and story tellers. I also spent a great deal of time in the Heritage Room at Sarah Hightower Regional Library in Rome. Ga. I made some great friends, I heard some great stories, and I came upon some ugly truths as well.

In one instance, I was reading a rare collection of ghost stories collected in the early 1980s. Copies of this book sold for over $100 on Amazon, as the book was out of print. I read the book front to back and took many notes. There was one story in the book that captured my attention. It was an interview with an old reverend who has since passed away. It was his sincere account of his own paranormal experience, which took place back in the 1940’s. He was sincere in his retelling and I had a great deal of respect for him as he tried his best to integrate his fundamental Christian beliefs with what he had seen. Fast forward to months later- I was searching online about a haunting in that same area and I came across a rather well-known website that covers strange and paranormal experiences here in Georgia. Lo and Behold, I read an account of the reverend’s story- yet is was being told be another storyteller/ historian who claimed it was HIS experience! As a teacher, writer, and former librarian, this set off every alarm in my little brain and heart. This was wrong on SO MANY levels.  Call me naive. I was floored! Seriously- this was outright plagiarism in my book.

Later on, I was interviewing another storyteller/ historian who was involved with a ghost tour in her town. As she told me stories from the area, I asked about one of the stops on the tour. “Oh no, honey, that one’s not true,’ she said. ‘I mean, the story happened, but it happened elsewhere, We just needed a story for that building so we could include it in the tour. So we just stuck that one there.”

A couple weeks ago I posted on the history site of a certain Northwest Georgia town (known for it’s “haunted places”) that I am collecting ghost stories for a book on Ghosts of Northwest Georgia. I got a (QUICK!!!) response from a lady in that town who informed me that, if I would PAY for a ghost tour of the town, they would share their stories. Sadly, I don’t believe a single tale I hear from this town now. I feel like that are making up ghost stories to gain tourism. Being noted in a book would bring in business, would it not? They just sell made-up tales for money, in my opinion.

This has changed the way I look at local legends and ghost stories.  I still love them. I still collect them. However, I also look at the teller as well as the tale. When the average Joe (or Jolene) sends me their sincere personal tale, I take it for the truth. They believe it, so I believe it. But do I believe every story I hear on a haunted tour? No, I am afraid I don’t. Where there is fame to be gained, or money to be made (or public recognition being sought)…. I take it with a grain of salt.

Am I wrong to feel this way? What are your experiences with tours and such? Maybe I have allowed a few bad apples to wrongfully color my opinions.  I DO honestly listen to and read every tale. It’s just that, when certain local celebrities have an agenda… it just makes me wonder….

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