|photo retrieved from Legend of America|
I picked up the book, Ghosts from Our Past, this weekend because it looked hysterical and perfect for my vacation. The book, mentioned in the movie, is supposed to be written by Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig's character) and Abby L. Yates (Melissa McCarthy's character) and recounts the fictional characters’s experiences with the paranormal. It also includes a historical overview of ghosts as well as charts for identification. With pictures of imaginary dogs (read that as it is a picture without a dog), the book is completely ridiculous in a funny-don’t-take-yourself-so-seriously kind of way.
I have to note that I have not gone to see the new Ghostbusters (2016) just yet. I’m sure that I will but life has been one bit of hectic after another all in preparation of my road trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to spend a week in America’s Most Haunted Hotel. My mother and I are taking a road trip. She watches all of those ghost hunting shows (and ones about Big Foot), and is completely into them. She’s a believer.
Honestly, I’m not sure what I am. I’m not really a skeptic although if someone shows me a picture of a piece of wood with a face in it I’m going to discount it… that and faces in toast. I’m not buying into that noise. But when I was young and my friends had started to pass, a (living) friend and I believe we heard our (dead) friend’s voice say, “Stop” right before we would have been in a car accident. I was 16 years old and at that point I had already buried two close friends. At 42, I question this and wonder if it wasn’t more psychology and trauma. It’s hard to say because memory has a way of fading and morphing. I *want* to believe; I really do. I think there is magic in the world but with the news lately it is easy to question all of that…but that’s for another day.
When I first moved to Massachusetts for a teaching position right out of grad school, my mother went with me to look for apartments. I was a broke graduate with more student loans than cash so fortunately my school allowed us to stay in the dorm over the summer. There were renovations going on but we were promised that all of the workers would be cleared out before nightfall so that we could sleep peacefully. We went to bed. The next morning, I woke around 5am and saw my mother sitting up in her bed holding a broom. She explained that she had heard noises during the night. More specifically, she heard keys and footsteps that led out onto the roof which was right next to the room where we were sleeping. She believed that someone from the construction crew was trying to break in by accessing the window. She was so scared. Later in the morning, I saw the superintendent of schools and mentioned what had happened. He laughed and said, “No one had a key or access to the building after dark” but that it was probably just Max.
I had completely forgotten about the ghost which apparently resides behind the 18th-century house-remodeled-into-dorm on campus.
Oops. I mean, even the school’s mascot is the galloping ghosts. Mom wasn't so happy with me but she lived to tell her ghost story of Max who apparently makes all kinds of sounds. It’s probably important to note that this is a residential school for Deaf students so keys and footsteps certainly would not wake anyone who typically slept in the dorm… or folks like me who will sleep through almost anything.
This is going to be a ghost-focused trip. I've mapped out locations along the way that are haunted including the "Greenbrier Ghost", a woman named Elva Zona Heaster-Shue who was murdered by her husband. There is a historical marker that explains that Elva appeared to her mother explaining what happened and that this is the
"Only known case in which testimony from a ghost helped convict a murderer." We're also stopping by to see the marker of Octavia Smith Hatcher, a woman who accidentally was buried alive.
I’m not saying that America’s Most Haunted Hotel isn’t haunted but I’m not planning to see anything out of the ordinary. That doesn't mean we are not booking fun tours in hopes of seeing something spooky even if it is just old buildings at night.
Here's a trailer from one of the local tours we'll be taking.
I’m viewing this vacation as a bit of research for my course on dark tourism but my mom will more likely end up with a tale to tell while I'll end up having a good night's sleep on vacation.
Whatever happens, we'll be able to log our notes in the back of the Ghosts from Our Past text ;D