By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Does your family have any good ghost stories? Tales of spectral black cats, phantom boys in snow suits, angels and demons, and strange lights in the sky abound in my family. Sometimes it seems like I’m the only one who hasn’t seen something weird.
To be honest, I don’t know whether to be grateful for that or disappointed. The fact I haven’t ever seen any of the things that other members of my family take for granted as real means my skepticism sort of sets me apart from them. But it also means I can look at the types of stories they tell without the taint of “belief” getting in the way of my examination; and I really, really love to hear and examine these kinds of stories.
Bigfoot, UFOs, haints and river monsters and miracles, they all intrigue me. They have since I was a young boy. With age and study I can now put these stories into a larger context – separating the myth from the legend from the folk tales and all of those from the mistaken identities and misinterpretations.
My skepticism doesn’t mean I think the phenomenon reported aren’t real, though. I believe they are very real to the people who experienced them, and equally important to the formation of their ideas and world views. But I can believe these experiences are subjectively real to the experiencers without necessarily believing they are objectively real in the physical, material world we all inhabit.
As Halloween gets closer, though, I really want these stories to be objectively true. I want to believe my sister saw a pair of disembodied, glowing feet walking down the road in front of her. I want to believe that my grandma saw a little boy in a blue snow suit who disappeared after she spoke to him. I want to believe that my cousin saw a UFO, and that my mother and father saw a pale, translucent doppelganger of my dad floating outside their bedroom window shortly after they were married and still living with my grandmother.
I want to hear those stories told, and I want to remember them to tell them to others. And I want to hear your stories too.
So if you’ve seen a black panther that the DNR says isn’t supposed to be there, or spotted a strange glow in the sky, I hope you’ll share it with us. If you have a haunted house or a household tricksters who hides your keys, I want you to tell me. If you’ve seen tiny goblins peeking from behind trees, I really want to know. I promise I’ll take it seriously. After all, who am I to tell you what you did or didn’t see?
Jeremy D. Wells can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org