I have a Halloween confession to make. I know a lot about ghosts. Or, I suppose, ghost theory.
I read a lot of these real-life ghost story books. Have read ’em for years. You know – those things along the lines of Haunted Northern New York and Ghosts Among Us. (The latter is by Leslie Rule, the most readable ghost re-teller, for my money.) Most of the American books tend to be straight retellings, however, I find that the British books also include a lot of ghost theory. I’d expect no less from Great Britain, where they take their ghosts very seriously. I’m totally into it. When it comes to particularly active haunts in my home state, I’ve even visited many of the sites. Yep, I’m totally a Ghostie.
One of my favorite theories is the Stone Recording concept, which makes total sense to me. In a nutshell, the theory is that somehow stone (and perhaps other materials) can retain especially emotional moments of the human experience, and can replay these moments when triggered. This is just one type of “haunting.” This theory explains these particular ghostly experiences as really more akin to a movie being replayed, on a constant loop.
For all my years ghost hunting, I’ve had but one single, clear experience. But you’re in luck – It was just a few months ago, and it involves our new Adirondack home. As you might guess would be the case, the Teardown Theory works in tandem with this whole Stone Recording thing. When you tear down an extremely old home, energy from the past is released.
I was sitting in the cabin one day, mid-teardown. Sitting with laptop in lap, the front door was open, and I could look out to the backyard and towards the old house. It was unusually calm and quiet, and a bit of movement caught my eye. I usually look up pretty quickly, always wanting to catch a view of a neat bird or a chippy. And right there, in the middle of the space between the cabin and the old house, was a thin older man working on something atop a sawhorse, with a small girl at his side. Her clothes seemed to be 1930s or so, and he had the look of a classic flannel-and-overalls farmer.
He was clearly entertaining the child, or explaining to her what exactly he was doing. It’s very difficult to explain exactly what this all looked like. Yes, it was sort of filmy and washed out, and I do believe I actually saw it, but at the same time, I felt like it was more of an impression. It lasted the five or eight seconds that I was focused on it. At the point when my rational brain asked itself, “Am I really seeing this,” it was gone.
Do I think I saw a real “live” actual pair of ghosts? No. Not at all. Do I think we triggered a replay from the past? I sure do.
There are a few stages in the area on which I might like to do a show next year. I’m considering writing a score for a new play based on diaries from tuberculosis patients at Trudeau’s old Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. These three spaces I have in mind? Totally haunted by my way of thinking, and built during the era specifically to serve TB patients. They all have that sort of thick, dusty atmosphere that makes you totally think, “Well, something’s going on around here!”
We’ll see if the spirits are with me.