Sunday, July 19, 2015

... I ain't afraid of no ghost...

“The life of the dead is placed
in the memory of the living.”

Last weekend, I headed to Historic Trinity Church, which is now the home of the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia, for a lecture on mourning traditions and a mini-paranormal investigation. My main prayer to the universe was that I would have enough patience to sit around and wait for spirits to commune with us… this coming from the girl who admittedly moved the Ouija board in her youth when those Spirits just weren't cooperating. Geez, I couldn’t just wait forever!

This year I have been desperately making an effort to find my people. I had no idea that this little blog would actually lead to friends… like real living, breathing friends! It isn’t that I didn’t believe that friendships could be made in Cyberville. I actually became quite close with a colleague only after we became Facebook friends. We had no idea that we had so much in common… and being introverts with busy schedules and living in different cities just wasn’t conducive without a little virtual help. And, it isn't that I don't have friends; it's just that people become busy with their own affairs and some of us simply grow apart. Through this amazing blogosphere I have discovered that so many of you are out there…some in other countries, some in other states… but shouldn’t there be a few around here I wondered?

I certainly have found a few friends both near and far and sometimes a gothy girl just has to Work Work Work for Love :p Okay, that was a really bad reference and an album we’re probably not supposed to talk about. Hee, but I love it! Anyhow… moving along.

I joined Meet Up to become part of the local Horror Book Club. I’ve posted about that a few times… which reminds me that I really need to be reading our monthly selection considering the meeting is just two weeks away but I’m deep into
J. W. Ocker’s Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe (October 6, 2014) which is the winner of the 2015 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical! I’m not going to go on and on about it right now except to say it’s a great book and probably my favorite *about Poe* book… plus, I sort of have a professional crush on the author because he really seems like he’s a fanboy/ weirdo… and I write that with a great deal of respect. If you’re slightly interested, check out his blog OTIS (Odd Things I’ve Seen). I don’t think it will disappoint you! Okay, so back to the Meet Up group joining. 

After I joined the book club, Meet Up posts recommendations for other possible Meet Up groups. One that came across my list was Spirited History. The group describes itself as those who are both into paranormal activity as well as historic preservation. I’m kind of *into* the dead probably more in a gothy girl way but hey, I have more dead friends than most folks my age so yeah, bring it; I am interested in history; and, I’m all for historic preservation so I figured I would give it a go. Maybe I could find some of my people here, I thought.

While I assume that most of the people attending were there for the paranormal investigation, I was 100% there for the lecture. I’ll admit that most of it was a refresher but sometimes it’s just really nice to be in a room with other people talking about this stuff. It isn’t me standing in front of a class of students trying to set the stage for whatever piece of Victorian literature we’re reading. Here, there were at least a few people interested in hair art and other mourning jewelry. The lecture included funeral traditions, mourning attire, and the most exciting plug for a future workshop on making funeral cookies! Gwee!

LeeAnne, the founder of the group and historian, even shared her own mourning jewelry items including some hair jewelry. Okay, FINE! I’ll admit it. Hair jewelry, whether or not the person was alive or dead at the time, freaks me out a bit. I don’t mind hair when it’s attached to someone’s head but I’m not so keen on it being elsewhere including around my neck as a necklace and certainly not in my food! But that’s another story. I’m sure it’s all perfectly sterile but as I get older I’m more and more a bit ol’ germ-a-phobe. If you’re around me for five minutes, you’ll see my hand sanitizer. Shoot, in five minutes I’ll probably even whip it out twice :p But, even with my own neurosis, it was pretty neat that she was sharing it with the group. I’m much more interested in the jade and other black jewelry but I completely understand the longing to have one’s loved one close… and hair was actually a part of that person. After the Meet Up, I ran across this post which includes an excerpt from the book The Brontë Cabinet (May 2015) by Deborah Lutz.

Built around 1887, this framed Gothic Revival structure that we were standing in was dedicated on August 1, 1889.The pews and church-like features have long been removed but it still had a bit of that church feel. After the lecture, everyone enthusiastically went into another room which had previously been the chapel. There with various equipment, they awaited the dead to come to life. I didn’t exactly find any of my people there-dead or alive.

Again, I'm not against anyone’s beliefs and I actually have done a little scrying in my own time but I’m just not sure what we’re supposed to expect from the dead. When I was asked what I would say if I had one last moment with any of my late friends, I responded “nothing.” They already knew/know that I love them and I pretty much would like to keep the afterlife a bit of a surprise… you know, like the ultimate birthday party. (Get it… a rebirth!?!) Plus, somehow it just seems tacky after 25 years to ask one’s ghost friend why he shot himself. I’m not intending to be tacky but it was a long time ago and I really hope that he isn’t stuck in any type of residual haunting where the end of his life becomes a sad .gif file. I like to hope that for all of them, not just my friend Shawn whom I’m referencing here, that it got better. Part of my lack of interest in contacting the dead is that suppose it isn’t so pretty to think so (that’s a bad Hemingway reference just so ya know). Somehow this post has gone off in a dreary place.

To conclude, I signed up for yet another Meet Up group event next month. We’ll be exploring a piece of haunted architecture of a historic site. You know, like a history tour at night. I'll keep all y'all cyber friends posted :D 


  1. :) YAY! I've been reluctant to sign up for meet up groups around here because NYC can be ... well, NYC. Perhaps I should follow in your footsteps? And making an effort to meet new people sounds like a very good goal for the year -- or the rest of the year, in my case.

    Aw, I wish there was something like that here. That sounds like fun!

  2. Wow, I would have loved to hear that lecture, too! I'm with you, not all THAT interested in contacting the dead... not because I'd be afraid or bored, but because unless they'd be able to tell us anything much about the afterlife (singular OR plural!), what else would there be to talk about? Especially if you didn't know them personally. I will admit, there ARE a couple of people I'd like to speak to one more time, if they were able to communicate with me, but just so I could tell them how grateful I am to have known them and to say goodbye, which I didn't get a chance to do. But hopefully, they know.