Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Matthew L. Swayne, author of Haunted World War II.
It must have been one boring, leafless November 4th or something like that—right about the time when the Jack O’Lantern started to turn to mush, the leftover trick-or-treat candy began to dwindle away in the plastic pumpkin bowl, and movies about couples hoping to get married by Christmas suddenly replaced all the cool movies about serial killers who seemed to target just such couples—that I thought, “Why can’t every day be Halloween?”
I was born on Halloween, and the holiday raced valiantly in a dead heat with Christmas for my favorite holiday. (It’s hard for a fistful of Snickers miniatures to compete with a room full of toys basking in twinkling Christmas tree lights, after all.) I was also a newspaper reporter who minored in history.
Using a strange calculus that combined my love of writing, Halloween, and history, I decided that I could make Halloween last all year. To extend the Halloween season—or “The Season of Matt™,” as I like to call it—all I really needed to do was write about ghostlore, ghost stories, and accounts of the supernatural, in my spare time. The decision to mix Halloween, haunts, and history has since taken me to the haunted halls of colleges and universities, to a Mexican restaurant bathroom that may or may not be occupied by rock star spirits, and to Johnny Cash’s ghost-filled Jamaican vacation retreat.
What a wild trip it’s been.
For the past few years, I’ve started a trek into Haunted World War II, which I want to share with you now.
Historians probably discount—and may even loathe, which is academic-speak for “hate”—ghost stories about war’s solemn and sacred sites. I get that. But, I would like to challenge that prejudice just a bit. The tales of the supernatural near the world’s battlefields are so numerous that these stories must be connected to scenes of conflict and war precisely because of the sacredness of those sites. Our ghost tales of fallen warriors, haunted warships, and even ghost planes that still patrol the skies prove that only a thin line separates the hallowed from the haunted.
I’ll take it one step further. Although ghost stories can’t be considered perfect—or even great—history lessons, ghost stories can help teach history by keeping historic sites in the mass consciousness and by inspiring potential students to further investigate the actual events that surrounds these fields of valor. In fact, I contend one of the primary reasons for ghost stories is to preserve the memory of the people, places, and events of the past. They could be considered proto-history lessons.
So, I hope you take some time this Season of Matt™—I mean, Halloween—to enjoy an exploration of World War II’s ghostlore, supernatural encounters, and tales of the weird and unexplained.
Our thanks to Matt for his guest post! For more from Matthew L. Swayne, read his article, “World War II’s 10 Weirdest Paranormal Mysteries.”