20.10.09

Death triangles and the people who love them

Despite temperatures in the low 40s, an icy wind, and on-again-off-again rain, Billy and I ventured out with a group of friends for the "Spirits of Sanford" Ghost Walk sponsored by the National Society of Paranormal Investigation and Research (NSPIR) on Saturday night.

I happen to be a firm believer in ghosts, paranormal activity, spirits, and other things that go bump in the night thanks to many strange things and happenings over the past 32 years. I am very open to paranormal activity and have a fascination with (and a health fear of) the other side.

So I was really excited to learn more about the ghosts haunting my little town, which was first established back in the late 1800s when the railroad came through. Sadly, my expectations dropped when the walk began with a karaoke machine, two women fumbling to figure out a bull horn, and our town historian, Jimmy, giving us a live-action defination of the word hokey.

But the vast stores of information about our town -- from mine explosions to freak accidnets to domino suicides -- was really interesting. For instance, I learned (during a power point presentation, no less) that during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, town residents brought their dead to the spot we were standing on before burying them. More than 50 million people died during that epidemic, so you can imagine how many bodies were brought out to the "public square."

We also got an etymology lesson, but none of it was true. For instance, Jimmy told us all about people being buried alive and tying bells to their wrists, which supposedly originated the phrases dead ringer and saved by the bell, but it didn't happen. The other was that in order to hear the bells clanging, society had to create a graveyard shift. Also not true.

However, the real history outweighed the spook stories. For instance, we saw pictures and death certificates for 53 miners killed in a series of mine explosions at the Egypt Coal Mine in 1925 -- still, to date, the largest number of miners killed in a single accident. However, the site was said to be jinxed and nearly 120 men died there in the short time of its operation.

From there, we learned about several local merchants who died in the buildings that now comprise our downtown (or at least were once in the spot that the current buildings stand on). There was JP Coulter who went to the State Fair one day and the next day walked home, sat down on his porch and died at the age of 42 from what they diagnosed as "acute indigestion." To this day, he appears to the youngest child of the family now living in what was his home.

And on a local farm, four boys died in as many years from accidental gunshots. One had just returned from hunting and was heading into the house from the porch when the gun hammer struck some part of the porch, causing the gun to go off. The shot shattered his arm and lodged near his heart by way of his stomach. The boy died before the family could get a physician to the property. Four boys in four years.

I was shocked to find out about hidden graveyards tucked away from prying eyes, and one in particular that was used as a witch burying site. The townsfolk would bury the witches and then pour cement over their graves to keep the witches in the earth. Jimmy wouldn't tell us where the graveyard is, but you know I'm on the lookout now.

I don't think I would've been so surprised by the bevy of suicides among downtown merchants (especially considering most happened during the Great Depression) except that we learned four people died by their own hands in the very building where Billy and I pledged our vows to each other. That is really only creepy because of things that may (or may not) have happened there after all the guests and family left Billy and I to finish cleaning up. ;)

All in all, I am now slightly encouraged to drag Billy to more NSPIR meetups in our area. I mean, we did two EVPs and didn't hear much (though they played tapes recorded only a few days earlier and there was a distinct "Go!") except from some slight knocking that was most likely the result of a century-old building settling on a cold and rainy night... But I would love to try it again with a smaller crew (there were probably 50 on the walk) and a quieter mind.

Also, while the walk itself yielded nothing scary, I have heard all kinds of dings and knocks and bangs, and felt many weird presences, in the days since. Billy says the problem with taking me anywhere is my overactive imagination, but I'm not convinced. I don't think it would take much urging for me to do an amateur EVP in my living room (except I'm too chicken shit). Want to join me?

*Photos borrowed from NSPIR until I get copies of the ones we took that night.

6 comments:

  • Melissa

    I'd LOVE to do EVPs in my house, but I am also way too chickenshit. It's 50 years old and I'm convinced there's something here...but I don't want to know what.

  • Jack

    I can't decided whether I believe or not. I am torn about it, but I have seen some weird stuff.

  • Jessye

    My Aunt did an all night ghost hunting session at an old fort on the Delaware River outside Philadelphia. You actually fly right over it when flying into the airport. She has also met the members of the tv series Ghost Hunters, you know the TAPS folks. However, she has the brave gene because I am WAY to scared for something like that!

  • Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk)

    creepy. I don't want to believe.....but I do a little bit. shhhh.

  • { L }

    Off topic...but how did I miss that you were FEATURED at We Are That Family?!! That is a big deal girl! :) Congrats and I sooo enjoyed reading it.

  • Kelly @ The Miller Mix

    Melissa - I'll come to yours if you come to mine. :)

    Jack - I think I believe, but I do really want some hard evidence. Billy says aliens make more sense than ghosts ... that can't be true.

    Jessye - Your aunt sounds fun! She can come to my EVP session. (I'll let you watch the kids. ;))

    Susan - I am definitely a "don't speak it!" type person. So definitely don't say anything out loud if you don't want it to come true!

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