One of the best things about writing ghost stories, and covering the subject of hauntings in general, is the strong tie the subject has to history. So many times I hear the details of a particular paranormal tale and I think to myself, “Oh, boy, here we go again…” Many of the spooky things we hear about haunted places sound the same: The same eyewitness accounts, the same activity happening, the same reasons for the dead staying around.
This is where history usually kicks in and reminds me that we are all different—and that we all live unique and interesting lives. Having just finished a book called Haunted Bridges and currently working on a book about haunted Civil War sites, I’ve been soaking up the history and stories concerning these wonderful locations.
So what if the local B&B has a rather boring spirit that likes to knock on the bedroom door (and nothing else). Chances are that particular home has seen a lot of interesting things over the years, and it was most likely inhabited by some fascinating people. What if that knock on the door happens because the matriarch of the house was attempting to wake her children to save them from a fire? Or perhaps the house was under fire from Confederate troops swarming the area. Perhaps she perished attempting to save her family.
When you delve into the details of any story and research the background of any haunted location, you may be surprised what you will learn. And usually it speaks as much to what all of us endure in our lifetimes—and the human condition in general—as it does to the particulars of those who once lived there.
This is what draws me to ghosts and spirits and all the awesome places they love to inhabit. Take the time to learn the history of the individual places you visit and I bet you will enjoy it, too.
Our thanks to Rich for his guest post! For more from Rich Newman, read his article, “Investigating Haunted Bridges.”