Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days of Halloween: Ghosts

31 Days of Halloween: Vampires, Monsters and Ghosts…Oh My (Ghosts)

“Nor crown nor coin can halt time’s flight
Or stay the armies of the night
King and villain, lad and lass, 
All answer to the hourglass”

Ghost: A Spirit of the dead. Archaically it meant the animus or disembodied soul.

There are lots of things that are amazing about Halloween, but the different creatures…oh yes they truly make the season. Ghosts are some of my favorites. Now every culture has ghost stories whether it is the ghost stories from two thousand years ago or from last fall when the friend of a friend was sure they saw a ghostly apparition on the way back from that Halloween party you went to. But ghost stories are definitely part of our culture. When I was a kid my mother would have dumb suppers for our past ancestors (a place setting at the table for those who have died) on Halloween. It was just something we did and in that way ghosts weren’t scary. They were just grandma and grandpa. As I got older I always wanted my very own Casper. An invisible playmate that just happened to be dead (okay I wasn’t thinking about the dead bits). Then I continued to grow up and suddenly ghosts were scary. I loved telling ghost stories. I loved hearing them. There is something about sitting in a darkened room or around a fire trying to scare the shit out of one another with the scariest tale you can come up with. Even better when you try to be your very own Ghost Hunter production armed with your wits and a flashlight.

Now I don’t know if you believe in ghosts, but I do. Maybe it is due to an overactive imagination or my spiritual beliefs, but I believe in them. But I won’t go into all of that, because during Halloween ghosts take on a different joy than the rest of the year. As much as I celebrate the spirits of the dead, I also love to be scared.

The above photo is the Brown Lady and is probably the most famous ghost picture ever taken. The image reportedly shows a ghost descending a staircase at Raynham Hall. It was captured by photographers Captain Provand and his assistant Indre Shira while photographing the historic Raynham Hall for Country Life Magazine in the late afternoon of 19th September, 1936. The story goes is that the woman in the ghost picture is the ghost of Lady Dorothy Townsend. Lady Townsend lived in Raynham Hall Mansion in Norfolk, England in the 1700's. It is said that Lady Townsend's husband, Charles Townsend, suspected his wife of being unfaithful and even though she is listed as having been buried in 1725 many people think that her death and funeral were faked. Instead, Lady Townsend was locked away in a remote part of the house until she passed away some years later. Ever since then she is thought to be haunting Raynham Hall.

Do you have any ghostly stories to tell? Do you believe in ghosts? Have some great ghost movies or ghost books to share? Please do.

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