As y'all know, my Extreme Hauntings YA series from Quake is all about ghost stories. Some of you might have read why I chose to go with ghost stories, but honestly, I'll tell you much of the decision rested on my desire to see more really great ghost stories on the shelves. The last great series I read about ghosts was Anne Rice's "The Witching Hour" even if she decided to bring these ghosts to life and created the Taltos to explain how this was possible.
I've read books and watched movies with ghosts. "13 Ghosts" was pretty awesome and I enjoyed "What Lies Beneath" in a more intelligent way (rather than visceral great fun.) Probably becuase I didn't recall seeing Harrison Ford play a bad guy before.
I think my love for ghost stories was sparked by the original movies "The Uninvited" and "The Haunting." These weren't scary because of special effects or the predatory nature of the ghosts out for blood--they scared me by appealing to some strange human trait that speaks to us about life beyond death. I can't think of anything else that people want to believe is true, but which also instills real fear as the possibility of our spirits living longer than our bodies.
My grandmother believes in ghosts. She talks about a house she had in Superior in WI when my father and uncle were little boys. Apparently my uncle would not go up the back staircase because "the old lady in the black dress" wouldn't let him get past her. She tells of how she saw the woman once herself.
Another family favorite story is the sea captain who lives in my grandmother's Victorian house in the middle of Milwaukee. He is said to stand at the foot of your bed and watch you sleep. I can't tell you how many times I tried to pretend I was asleep then pop open my eyes and try to catch a glimpse of him--all the while freaking out and hoping I didn't see anything at all.
Are there any ghost stories or hauntings in your family history? Did a relative ever tell you about the place they lived or the house they visited where they had a close encounter with a ghost? Or maybe there's a building or town legend where you live about ghosts wandering about in the wee hours of the morning?
I'll look forward to reading your comments!
P.S. Michael Norman, author of Haunted Wisconsin (and many more!) is an awesome guy! Maybe I can coax him into doing a Talent Tuesday with us? Would y'all enjoy that? :)