I love a good story. My nose is always buried in a book. If I’m lucky enough to have one told to me – even better! Ghost stories are an American Tradition – they bring up memories from childhood, and for some, they have a deep personal impact.
Again, as a “Skeptic”, this is where things get tricky. If you are telling me a story based on a fictional narrative; I get to enjoy the story-telling tradition. However, if you are saying that your story is based on actual events and individuals who lived and died, you can bet your bottom dollar someone like me is going to ask what research you have done. This is where a paranormal investigator can step up to the plate and hit a home run! Research!
Research and Discovery. I know it can be considered tedious, boring, a waste of time. You may trust that the story you are telling is true. The individual who passed it on to you is someone who you have complete confidence in. This is where I bring up a childhood game, called “whisper down the line”. In the game, you have 20 students sitting in a line, you tell the 1st student a simple descriptive sentence, and have them whisper it to the next student. The process repeats itself until we get to the last student. The line you whispered to that 1st student is “the red balloon is floating in the classroom”. By the time it has reached the 20th student, that simple line has changed to ” the red baboon is sitting in his own poo”! No, you are not a little kid but you are human, and we all suffer from the human condition. Meaning? People hear, see, and remember things differently. The bonus of being human? We like to keep records. Federal, state and even local municipalities keep records on file for both property and for individuals. Checking the census records for the years that you believe the deceased lived and resided in that location lends validity to your claims. Making your ghost story something with factual backing and documentation!
When an individual tells of a “true” haunting, explaining who they believe the ghost to be, how they died, and why they are haunting the location… yet they have not done any background research – they lose credibility. Yes, there are stories that can not be backed by a long line of paperwork. These are usually referred to as legend, folklore or myth. When you do the research you may discover hidden details that add depth and validity to your work. Here’s an added bonus, when you discover their name, hand written in some ledger, you have created a connection to them – proof that they really existed, and they have a story to be told! Getting the story right is worth all the time and effort, because the past deserves nothing less.