Ghosts of the New Year

In China, New Year’s Eve is a holiday closely associated  with ghosts, though it’s forbidden to speak of them.   And in the west while holiday spirit is often seen as a tradition, the paranormal is not normally one of those things we think about when the bells chime ringing in the new year.  But looking around at local legends and customs of a great deal of the west it would appear more than a few haunted hot spots see activity exclusively around the new year.

It’s often seen that ghosts are a connection between the living and the dead – residing somewhere between the two as incorporeal beings of consciousness or memory mixed with that phantasmogoric force that binds them to our perception.  Ghosts are most often seen in places of transition such as doorways, stairs, roads, hallways, and bridges.  But the New Year, and New Year’s Eve are also a time of transition – a bridge from one year to the next.  And in this period as well as in these places some contend that we are given temporary license to exist in a state of perception outside of the mundane.  The effects could be overwhelmingly paranormal or perfectly mundane just as the passing of midnight each night also allows a transition from one day to the next or the hour just before twilight serves as a bridge between night and day.

So it should be no surprise that the number of legends surrounding the new year would be present in paranormal folklore of legend.  It should be of no surprise that we see the push into a new frontier of time as something just as noteworthy to those that used to be us.  After all, the calendar year is a human construct.  There are indicators seen in nature to chronicle where one year ends and the next begins, but gone are the days when this calendar adheres to a specific time of solstice.  The Gregorian Calendar is a human construct that must adhere to the laws we give it.

But since ghosts are people who passed on into a different realm of existence, this limitation does not necessarily have to follow strict laws set down by nature.  Human perception can play a big role in the ghostly calendar just as much as it does in real life.  And we don’t have to look for the objective beginning and ending point of the year any more mow than when we deal with mundane things.  In fact, the paranormal seems to respond quite effectively to human constructs from political elections to the schedules of plays and performances.  In the end, all that matters is the human perception of these events.

Among the legends of the paranormal New Year’s eve ghost is a variable take on the Cry Baby Bridge legend.  In this version, however, the ghosts only appear on New Year’s day after the clock stikes twelve.  The actual bridges vary in location from Southern Illinois to the middle east, but the legend is always the same.  If you park your car on the bridge, it will be pushed across by some unknown force through that transitional place just as we are compelled forward by unknown hands through time into the next year.