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Features Archive:

2006 Archive:
The Winchester Mystery House - Ghost Chronicles
December 28, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Investigating Jane Doherty - Ghost Chronicles
December 20, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Shadow People - by Lee Prosser
December 16, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Westford Knight - Ghost Chronicles
December 15, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Haunted Real Estate by Richard Senate
December 13, 2006

Traditions Behind Christmas By Vince Wilson
December 8, 2006

The Haunted Dibbuk Box - Ghost Chronicles
December 6, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Have Ghosts? Will Travel: A Ghostgeek's Guide to the RMS Queen Mary By Jen Brown
December 4, 2006

Thanksgiving: A Day of Forgiveness - by Lee Prosser
December 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

America's Stonehenge - Ghost Chronicles
November 29, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) - by Jeff Belanger
November 16, 2006

Ghost Hunt Seminar - Ghost Chronicles
November 15, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Ghost Photography: Orbs by Robbin Van Pelt
November 9, 2006

Pet Ghosts - Ghost Chronicles
November 6, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Ghosts Haunt the Inn by Richard Senate
November 3, 2006

Japanese Woman Artist - by Lee Prosser
November 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Ghosts of the Windham Restaurant - Ghost Chronicles
October 30, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

The Salem Witches - Ghost Chronicles
October 23, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Homan House, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: A Preliminary Report by John Sabol
October 20, 2006

What Does Halloween/Samhain Mean to You? - Compiled by Jeff Belanger
October 16, 2006

That is the Way of It - by Lee Prosser
October 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Fooling the Ghost Hunter by Richard Senate
October 11, 2006

Jack Kerouac - by Lee Prosser
October 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

Civil War Re-enactors and the Ghost Experience - by Jeff Belanger
September 15, 2006

Who Goes There in the Shadows? - by Lee Prosser
September 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Engagement and Data Analysis in Symmetrical Field Investigations by John Sabol
September 11, 2006

Occult Warfare by Richard Senate
September 6, 2006

Cats and Other Critters From Beyond the Grave - by Lee Prosser
September 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

Chicago's Strange Angles and Haunted Architecture by Ursula Bielski
August 25, 2006

I Have a Hunch: A Look at Psychics, Mediums, and Clairvoyants - by Jeff Belanger
August 16, 2006

Geof Gray-Cobb - by Lee Prosser
August 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Orbs: Have They Become that Boring? by Tuesday Miles
August 14, 2006

A Night on Char-Man Bridge by Richard Senate
August 7, 2006

Five Union Soldier Ghosts - by Lee Prosser
August 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

A Visit With Author and Witch Kala Trobe - Interview by Lee Prosser
July 26, 2006

Perceptual Stratigraphy: Making Sense of Ghostly Manifestations by John Sabol
July 24, 2006

The Trouble With Witches - by Lee Prosser
July 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

A Look at Our Haunted Lives - by Jeff Belanger
July 13, 2006

An Active Ghost Hunt at a Haunted Bed and Breakfast by Richard Senate
July 7, 2006

Lee Prosser, 1969 - by Lee Prosser
July 4, 2006

Column - regular feature

My Theory on Spirits by Edward L. Shanahan
June 28, 2006

Ethnoarchaeoghostology: A Humanistic-Scientific Approach to the Study of Haunt Phenomena by John Sabol
June 19, 2006

Christopher Isherwood & Lee Prosser in 1969 - by Lee Prosser
June 16, 2006

Column - regular feature

ESP, M&Ms, and Reality - by Jeff Belanger
June 15, 2006

A Duel on the Airwaves by Richard Senate
June 5, 2006

Marjorie Firestone and Her Dream Predictions - by Lee Prosser
June 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

Until Death Do Us Part? by Rick Hayes
May 31, 2006

Part Four: the Conclusion: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
May 22, 2006

Column - regular feature

Folklore, Folklore, Folklore with Dr. Michael Bell - interview by Jeff Belanger
May 16, 2006

Swami Chetanananda and Lee Prosser - by Lee Prosser
May 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Theatre, Sance, and the Ghost Script: Performances at Haunted Locations by John Sabol
May 5, 2006

Willard David Firestone and the River Ghost - by Lee Prosser
May 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

When the Spirits Held Sway at the White House by Richard Senate
April 25, 2006

Part Three: Investigation: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
April 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Talking Reincarnation with Dr. John Gilbert - interview by Lee Prosser
April 17, 2006

Billy Bob Firestone and the Ghosts of Pythian Castle - by Lee Prosser
April 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Cryptobotany: the Search for Lost Plants by Richard Senate
April 7, 2006

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 4 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
April 6, 2006

Vedanta and Durga - by Lee Prosser
April 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 3 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 30, 2006

Ritual, Resonance, and Ghost Research: The Play in the Fields by John Sabol
March 27, 2006

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 2 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 23, 2006

Celtic This, Druid That, Saint Patrick Hit Me With a Wiffle-Ball Bat - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
March 21, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 1 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 16, 2006

Christopher Isherwood, Time Loops, and Ghosts - by Lee Prosser
March 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Druids - by Lee Prosser
March 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

Natural Selection and the Involution of the Gettysburg Ghosts by John Sabol
February 28, 2006

Part Two: Investigation: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
February 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Lights, Camera... Action! by Brian Leffler
February 16, 2006

Divination and Geomancy - by Lee Prosser
February 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Spirit Messages from a Murderer by Richard Senate
February 8, 2006

The Ghosts of Springfield, Missouri - by Lee Prosser
February 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Ghost Storyteller: A Dinosaur Among Lemmings? by Charles J. Adams III
January 23, 2006

The Fools Journey: A Magickal Roadmap to Life - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
January 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Tarot and Spiritual Alchemy - by Lee Prosser
January 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Demons from the Dark by Chip Coffey
January 9, 2006

Spooky - by Lee Prosser
January 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

January 23, 2006

The Ghost Storyteller: A Dinosaur Among Lemmings?

By Charles J. Adams III

I tell ghost stories. I have been telling ghost stories to anyone who will listen to them for more than 30 years. I reckon that in those three decades, I have told ghost stories to tens of thousands of people who have attended the thousands of live performances I have given. I have reached hundreds of thousands more through the printed word in the more than two dozen ghost story books I have written. Untold millions more have heard my tales on networks such as A&E, The Travel Channel, The History Channel, and on radio and television stations around the world.

I like to tell ghost stories. I like to scare people. Any meeting room, library hall, restaurant, or stage becomes my campfire around which I spin my eerie yarns. I don my top hat, cape, and walking stick and try my best to transport my audience into another era and onto another plane. My intent is to continue the time-honored art of live storytelling. Ghost storytelling.

As that costumed, live, ghost storyteller, I may be an endangered species. Endangered by ignorance. Let me tell you a story about ghost storytelling.

At the start of the last school year, I received a call from the Reading Specialist of an elementary school in the Reading, Pennsylvania, suburbs. Would I tell ghost stories to her fifth and sixth graders the Friday before Halloween? Sure I would, I told her. No charge, either, I added. I love to tell ghost stories to 10-12 year olds. I love to tweak their imaginations, tease their sensitivities, and take them to the threshold of their fears. Ive done it a hundred times -- maybe two hundred. Its Halloween, after all! Hasnt every generation reveled in the tradition of ghost stories at that time of the year?

Of course, they have. But, that might be grinding to a gruesome halt. The Tuesday before Halloween, I received a communication from the principal of the school, who asked me to provide her with an outline of my talk. She was specifically concerned that I might -- get this -- mention death when I tell my ghost stories.

After pondering all of those letters after the educators name and wondering whether any of that education might have touched on the reality that the prerequisite of being a ghost most certainly involves death, I composed myself and composed a response. I told her that I tell ghost stories. I didnt feel it required my explanation, justification, or qualification. I had told many ghost stories to many children of that age group in many schools over many years. 
And after all, it was Halloween. Or, was it?

Not in that school district. The Wednesday before Halloween I learned that the district was not allowing its children to dress in costumes. No Halloween parties or parades. No Halloween decorations. The word Halloween was not to be murmured. In that district, Halloween was morphed into a Fall Festival.

That was all I needed to hear. No Halloween? No me.

With sincere regrets for the children, I contacted the Reading Specialist who invited me to speak and I uninvited myself. Your school is having a Fall Festival instead of Halloween? Invite someone to tell corn stalk, hay bale, and pumpkin stories instead of ghost stories.
In my cape and top hat, and with my scary little stories, I would be nothing more than a dinosaur trudging among lemmings.

I had two choices, of course. The gentle one would have been to buckle to the principal, tailor my tales, and honor my agreement to speak. Instead, I stood my ground and refused to dance to that schools tune of timidity.

Some call all of this Political Correctness Run Amuck. Very well, Ill accept that, but Im sick of it. Its not just a P.C. issue. As far as Im concerned, it digs deeper beyond politics and into the very roots of civilization and -- attention Miss Principal -- education.

The National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and other educational groups recognize and endorse the value of a good ghost story. In a lesson plan called Teaching Epic Through Ghost Stories, it is suggested that Our oral tradition of telling ghost stories, with which students are very familiar, builds a useful bridge to the oral tradition of the ancient epic narrators.

The outline added, Enjoying ghost stories, particularly stories about a place they know, helps students to picture ancient storytellers and their listeners as they gather around a fire to hear an epic. Hearing ghost stories also helps them to appreciate a good storyteller. 

Now, I do not profess to be an epic narrator, and only hope Im a fair storyteller. But, I found the NCTE and IRAs pronouncements interesting and supportive.

So, just how far amuck can all of this run?

Consider Veterans Day. I read in my local newspaper that a chorus of fifth and sixth graders from a local school sang at a Veterans Day program at Veterans Grove, in Readings City Park. Picture that. Innocent, impressionable elementary school kids, standing between vintage cannons and Howitzers and memorials to fallen warriors, singing to honor professional military men and women who were trained to kill people and destroy property. This veteran asks, only partly facetiously, if that should be allowed. What are we teaching these children?

Consider Thanksgiving. Although kids could not wear costumes at Halloween, several were pictured in the newspaper wearing Pilgrim and Indian costumes at a Thanksgiving play. Funny, huh? But, do not the Pilgrims represent a deep religious conviction? Is not Thanksgiving a faith-based holiday? And, do not the painted-faces, feathers-in-headband Indians represent a deep insensitivity toward Native Americans? What are we teaching these children?

In the news was an item about a controversy in Sarasota, Florida, where an idea to create, decorate, and sell Fiberglas clowns as a citywide art project and charity fundraiser had run into opposition -- a clown-troversy, they called it. It seems that certain parties felt the placement of the clowns should not be allowed because some people believe clowns are too scary.

Clowns. Too scary. In Sarasota, the home of the Clown Academy, the Museum of the Circus, John Ringling, and the circus he founded. Clowns. Too Scary. Is it me?

Is it only me who thinks all of this skittishness has teetered into a place we should not be? 
I have a friend who is a teacher and a Civil War re-enactor and tells vivid tales of the Battle of Gettysburg. A school district reluctantly allowed him to continue to tell the tales, but requested that he not mention guns when he does so. Talk about a battle, but do not mention...uh...guns.

What do those people think those men died from out there, he asked, fright?

And, how about the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, school district that asked teachers to refrain from snowman decorations in wintertime. Nothing depicting a snowman should appear anywhere in any Johnstown school. Heavens to Frosty! No snowmen? Correct. And, its because a B-list rap artist had chosen the depiction of an angry snowman as a symbol of cocaine drug dealing. Tee-shirts with the faux-snowman were hot-selling items among the B-list of the student body.

Johnstown High School Principal Dan Resenic was quoted in the press as saying, Its a sad commentary that people can make a nice profit by degrading something that is a holiday tradition.

Consider this, Mr. Resenic and Miss Principal from the Halloween-trashing suburban Reading school district. Consider not cowering in fear, caving in, and conceding defeat at the hands of a minority of pathetic party-poopers who seek to tread on traditions and emasculate observances.

My Halloween storytelling season concluded on Halloween itself at, ironically, a school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Having been assured that I was there to tell the middle school students -- many rather rugged, inner-city kids -- ghost stories as part of their Halloween program, I strode into the school well before showtime and secreted myself backstage. There, walking stick in hand and top hat on head, I waited until I heard the first rumble of incoming students.

I peeked from behind the closed curtains into the auditorium as it filled. Hmm, I thought, a tough crowd.

But, I knew the storytellers garb and countenance would get and hold of their attention as long as I did what I do best -- tell ghost stories. I walked confidently on stage and took complete control of their senses and imaginations. For 20 minutes or so, I took them to a place many had never been before. As my make-believe bonfire sizzled and crackled behind me, it fueled my own enthusiasm.

Out in the dim auditorium was a galaxy of wide-eyes. You could hear a feather drop as I let the ghost stories kick in. I could also see that many of the students were wearing costumes. That added even more kindling to the fire burning slowly within me.

For my grand finale, I decided to trot out a trick I hadnt pulled in years. Its a little device that methodically and mysteriously brings the right kind of audience into the palm of my hand until I shock them with a surprise ending that leaves them shrieking. This was the right kind of audience. It worked like a charm. Shriek they did. And as they shrieked, I disappeared behind the curtains.

It was the right kind of audience, and the right kind of school. The teacher who invited me to speak was dressed as a gorgeous geisha (there are lessons to be learned about that, too, I suppose); and although dressed professionally, the principal sported a tie with creepy artwork and a button that played spooky music when pinched.

I left that school with a renewed spirit. Halloween was still safe, at least in that school.
As I drove home, I felt a little remorse about my cancellation of that other storytelling session in that other school. I couldnt have cared less about the pusillanimous principal or the timorous district, but I felt bad that due to the extenuating circumstances, I let that reading specialist down. More than that, I would have liked to go there and get face-to-face, imagination-to-imagination with those kids. But, Im sure the cardboard cutouts of turkeys and pumpkins at their Fall Festival made their Halloween very special.

Who am I kidding? They were probably too busy reading Harry Potter books, engaging in a round of Mortal Combat, or playing The Suffering or the aliens and predators games on their X-Boxes.

Who needs live ghost storytellers when they have all that?

Pardon me as this dinosaur trudges back into the shadows. I hope I dont tread on any lemmings on the way. Theres a lot of them out there these days.

Charles Adams is the author of more than two dozen books about haunted places in the mid-Atlantic states including: Coal County Ghost Stories and Delaware County Ghost Stories. Visit his Web site at: Text Charles J. Adams III, do not reproduce without the author's permission.

2014 Haunted New England Wall Calendar by Jeff Belanger photography by Frank Grace
Check out the 2014 Haunted New England wall calendar by Jeff Belanger and photography by Frank Grace!

Paranormal Conferences and Lectures
Don't miss the following events and lectures:

Jeff Belanger and “The Bridgewater Triangle” at Dedham Community Theatre - April 6, 2014 9:00PM

The Spirits of the Mark Twain House - Hartford, Connecticut - April 12, 2014

Paracon Australia - East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia - May 10-12, 2014