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Gost Sightings And Ghost Information

Last Updated on June 2, 2020 by

FAQ on ghosts and ghostsightings

Archive-name: folklore/ghost-stories
Last-modified: 1995/01/20
Posting-frequency: Monthly

Welcome to alt.folklore.ghost-stories!

Alt.folklore.ghost-stories is for the discussion of, well… ghost
stories!
If you’ve been visited by ghosties, ghoulies, long-legged beasties, or
things that go bump in the night, a.f.g-s is the perfect place to tell
the
world about your experiences. In fact, if you’ve heard any ghost
stories at
all lately, feel welcome to post them here.
Of course, like all newsgroups, a.f.g-s has its share of frequently
discussed topics. Thus, the alt.folklore.ghost-stories FAQ. I’ve
tried to
make the FAQ as comprehensive as possible, without getting too bogged
down
in useless rhetoric. It will probably be most useful to those new to
the
group, but hopefully there’s something in it for even long-time
readers.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t
hesitate
to send them to [email protected] (that’s me!) or post them to the
group.
There’s always room for improvement! And speaking of improvement,
this FAQ
would not have been the same without the advice, suggestions, and
contributions of the following people:

Nikki Taylor [email protected]
Leesa Kern [email protected]
Lisa Korneluk [email protected]
Matt Hucke [email protected]
Jay Gitomer [email protected]
Prabal Nandy [email protected]
Mike Czaplinski [email protected]
Susan Lynds [email protected]
Proserpina [email protected]
David Fluker [email protected]
Mark Korven [email protected]
Arturo Sanchez [email protected]
Thomas Grotenhuis [email protected]
cjs [email protected]

A very special thank you goes out to Susan Lynds. She wrote the
section
on the Wendigo and sent me oodles of info on will o’ the wisps. She
was
also invaluable as a proofreader and constructive criticizer. In
fact, a
few of the sentences you’ll read come directly from her. Many of the
books
you see in the Interesting Reference Material section were also sent
to me
by Susan. To sum it up, we should all bow down in deference to Susan
for
making this FAQ a better document to read.
A note on quotes: I have enclosed quotes from authors or people on
the net
in quotation marks (“). [These parts might be edited a bit for
clarity or
grammar.] The exception is the section which Susan Lynds wrote, which
I
have preserved intact, and not enclosed in quotation marks (any
quotation
marks in this section mark the work of a published author).
This FAQ is posted on the 20th of every month to alt.folklore.ghost-
stories,
alt.paranormal, alt.paranet.paranormal, alt.answers, and news.answers.
This
FAQ is also available via anon FTP at the following address:
ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/ob/obiwan/GhostStories/FAQs.

Here’s the outline of the FAQ. To try to make the FAQ easier to
search,
I’ve used the following key:
A = Answer
Q = Question
S = Subject

I. Some Posting Guidelines
Q1.1 Are all the stories posted to alt.folklore.ghost-stories true?
Should they be true?
Q1.2 Do I have to be some kind of paranormal nut in order to post
here?
Q1.3 Which topics are appropriate to post about?
Q1.4 I have this great ghost story! Should I post it?
Q1.5 I’m writing a book/article, and I’m reaping the net for stories
and
ideas. You don’t mind if I steal yours, do you?

II. The Ouija Board
Q2.0 What is a ouija board?
Q2.1 A lot of people on this group say the ouija board is evil, and
to stay away from it. Is this true, and should I stay away?
Q2.2 Where can I buy a ouija board? Failing that, how can I make
one?
Q2.3 Are there any ‘rules’ I should follow when using the Ouija
board?
Q2.4 What does “ouija” mean?
Q2.5 A Brief History of the Ouija Board

III. Famous Hauntings and Spooky Spots
S3.1 The Amityville Horror
S3.2 Battlefield Hauntings
S3.3 The Bell Witch
S3.4 Borley Rectory
S3.5 Haunted Universities
S3.6 Haunted Theatres
S3.7 The Tower of London
S3.8 Winchester Mansion
S3.9 The Chase Vault

IV. Urban Legends
S4.1 La Llorona
S4.2 Three Men and a Baby
S4.3 Mary Worth/Bloody Mary
S4.4 The Vanishing Hitchhiker
S4.5 Haunted Traintracks

V. Miscellaneous FAQs
Q5.1 What is the Wendigo?
Q5.2 What are will o’ the wisps?
Q5.3 How did that girl in -Poltergeist- die?
Q5.4 What are some different categories of manifestations?
Q5.5 Who are Ed and Lorraine Warren?
Q5.6 What is “Old Hag”?
Q5.7 Are cars really rolling uphill in that graveyard near my town?
Q5.8 What is the best way to photograph a ghost?
Q5.9 Can’t you sue if your new house is haunted, and no one told you
about
it?
Q5.10 What are some theories of what ghosts are/why they exist?
Q5.11 What is a caul?
Q5.12 What is an incubus?

VI. Non-alt.folklore.ghost-stories Resources
S6.1 Other USENET groups that a.f.g-s reader may enjoy
S6.2 Some interesting reference material
S6.3 Good Supernatural Fiction
S6.4 Other Net Resources

And now, away we go… it’s the official

ALT.FOLKLORE.GHOST-STORIES FAQ
——————————

I. Some Posting Guidelines
Q1.1 Are all the stories posted to alt.folklore.ghost-stories true?
Should
they be true?
A1.1 It is highly doubtful that everything posted to a.f.g-s is
true, or
even meant to be true. However, unless you mark your story as
fiction, readers tend to assume you are telling a tale you
believe to
be true. Hence, it is considered polite in these parts to MARK
FICTION AS FICTION. People may otherwise assume that you’re
trying to
pull the wool over their eyes, or else take the story at face
value
and start giving you advice. It’s also common to start out
“true”
tales with “This really happened to me,” or “This is a true
story,”
although technically it’s not really necessary, as any unmarked
story
is considered to be true.
CASE IN POINT: In the fall of 1994, someone posted a rather
fantastic
concoction about a spirit which he said had been attacking him
for a
good part of his life. He pleaded with the readers of a.f.g-s
for
help with his dilemma. Many kind readers responded with
sympathy and
advice, while one or two others posted their doubts about the
story.
The original poster acted hurt that someone didn’t believe his
story,
insisting that it was true. A flame war ensued. Eventually the
pos-
ter admitted the story was made up, and the people who had
believed
and defended him felt hurt, betrayed, and/or embarrassed. This
all
could have been avoided if the poster had marked his story as
fiction
in the first place.
Q1.2 Do I have to be some kind of paranormal nut in order to post
here?
A1.2 No. Although there are lots of people here who believe in
paranormal
activities, certainly not everyone does. Many people like
reading the
stories, but generally take them with a grain of salt. Everyone
is
welcome here, but remember: Flaming someone because they believe
or
don’t believe in something is *not* welcome.
Q1.3 Which topics are appropriate to post about?
A1.3 Obviously, ghost stories (preferably true ones) make up the
most
appropriate posting material. However, I’ve also seen great
threads
about guardian angels, mysterious monsters, psychic phenomena,
and of
course ouija boards. I don’t see any reason why we can’t
discuss
these things here in a.f.g-s, as long as it doesn’t degenerate
into a
flame war or something. This is a friendly and relatively flame-
free
newsgroup, and I’m sure everyone would like to keep it that way.
General discussion of ghosts (e.g. “What are ghosts?”) is also
welcome.

Basically, if it’s paranormal and scary, you’re on pretty sturdy
ground (I would, however, discourage UFO posts, as there are
already
plenty of groups for those).
Q1.4 I have this great ghost story! Should I post it?
A1.4 YES! If you have a good story to tell, please don’t hesitate
to
post it. There’s nothing more frustrating to a.f.g-s readers
than a
post containing nothing but the words “Something scary happened
to me.
If there is enough interest, I’ll post the story.” We *want* to
hear
your story… honest!
Q1.5 I’m writing a book/article, and I’m reaping the net for stories
and
ideas. You don’t mind if I steal yours, do you?
A1.5 Ha. Ha. Ha. Yes, as a matter of fact, we do mind. I’d
suggest
that if you’re going to take other people’s stories and give
nothing
back, you should find another newsgroup. It’s OK to use
someone’s
stories if you have written permission from the person and/or
are
paying them in some way. It might also be a nice idea to *give*
a
story for each one you take. Just a few things to think about.

II. The Ouija Board
The ouija board is a hot topic around here, and everyone seems to
have a
strong opinion about it one way or the other. I’ve tried to summarize
those opinions, and also some questions about the board that get asked
a lot.
Q2.0 What is a ouija board?
A2.0 A ouija board is a game in which messages are supposedly
communicated
by the dead to or through the players of the game. [Note: some
people
consider the ouija to be “more than just a game,” but it is
marketed
as a game, and for purposes of convenience it will be referred
to here
as a game.] The playing pieces consist of a game board (like a
Monopoly board) and a pointer, called a planchette. The game
board
has all the letters of the alphabet written on it. The numbers
0-9
are also usually included, along with yes/no and hello/goodbye
spaces.
The layout of a typical board looks something like this:
_________________________
| |
|A B C D E F G H I J K L M|
|N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z|
| 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 |
|YES/NO HI/BYE|
|_________________________|
The pointer is made of plastic or glass, and either points to
the
letters with one end or has a clear window embedded in it
through
which one can view the letters.
To play, two or more people lightly touch the pointer and
concentrate
on a question. The pointer will (hopefully) move and point to
letters
and numbers which will provide answers to your questions.
Ouija boards are also known as “witch boards” and “talking
boards.”
The nickname “ouiji” or “weejie” is also used quite a bit.
Q2.1 A lot of people on this group say the ouija board is evil, and
to
stay away from it. Is this true, and should I stay away?
A2.1 Since it’s nearly impossible to merge the two views on this
topic, I’ve tried to accurately sum them up here:
* The ouija board is not any more evil than your Monopoly
board.
It’s just a toy, a piece of cardboard, and any “evil” force
you
feel emanating off it is purely a result of your imagination.
Yes, the pointer does work, but that’s the result of tiny
involuntary physical movements, and the messages you see are
coming
from your subconscious or psychic mind.
* The ouija is in fact a powerful tool, and its powers cannot,
and
should not, be written off entirely as your subconscious.
Inexperienced ouija users are especially prone to being
affected by
malevolent forces which communicate through the board, often
masquerading as a departed loved one. The best way to avoid
this
sort of thing is not to use the board at all.
Q2.2 Where can I buy a ouija board? Failing that, how can I make
one?
A2.2 You can, in the U.S. anyway, find a ouija board in a toy store
or a
game store. You might also be able to find one in a large
bookstore.
Parker Brothers make a nice, relatively cheap, model.
To make a board, arrange all the letters of the alphabet on a
smooth
surface. You might also want the words “yes”, “no”, and
“goodbye”,
as well as the numbers. Use something that glides easily over
the
surface (like a glass) to use as a pointer. Now, place your
fingers
(this works best with a friend, by the way) gently on the glass
and
concentrate. Hopefully the glass will start to move and point
to
various letters, which will form words and sentences. Oh yeah,
it
helps if you ask a question first.
Q2.3 Are there any ‘rules’ I should follow when using the Ouija
board?
A2.3 If you consider the Ouija board as just another toy, then there
are
no hard and fast rules to follow. Holding on to the pointer
helps,
though. 🙂
If you believe that you are really contacting spirits through
the
board, you might want to follow a few basic guidelines. Here
are
some that I’ve gleaned off the net and from other sources:
* Use a silver coin as the planchette (pointer), or wear an
article
made of silver. The silver is supposed to protect you from
harmful
spirits.
* To improve “reception”, use a solid wood board, and work in
male-
female pairs.
* Draw a circle around you and the board, or make a circle of
candles.
Concentrate on creating a safe, protected place as you do
this.
Some people believe that spirits must stay outside this
circle.
Also, a well-lit area is said to drive away evil spirits.
* Always say goodbye to the entity you are talking with when you
want
to end a session. If you don’t say goodbye, and the spirit
doesn’t
reply in kind, he may be trying to stick around, maybe to make
your
life miserable. Additionally, do not explicitly invite the
spirit
to enter someplace, since this will make it hard to get rid of
him
later.
* It helps to have one additional person (not touching the
planchette)
present to transcribe the session. Sometimes the pointer
starts
moving too fast for you to read and process the words it’s
spelling
out. The transcription might also be helpful later on so you
can
look back on what happened. Another way to transcribe is to
have
someone call out the letters to a tape recorder.
* Don’t take anything the spirit says literally. Ouija boards
are
famous for lying or otherwise giving false information.
Q2.4 What does “ouija” mean?
A2.4 The word “ouija” is actually a combination of two words, the
french
word “oui” and the German word “ja.” Both words mean “yes” in
english.
Q2.5 A Brief History of the Ouija Board
A2.5 From [email protected] (Thomas Grotenhuis):
The ancient Egyptians used a device LIKE a ouija board. They
used a
ring attached to a strand of thread, held over a circular table
with
symbols on it, and the ring would strike the table to spell out
answers.
The Ouija board, the kind we see in toy stores today, came about
in
1889 when William Fuld of Baltimore, Maryland, and his brother
Isaac,
marketed Ouija boards to the American public. They had a small
operation and the board was the hottest item they would ever
produce.
People bought the board not as a game, but as a device with which
they
would talk to their loved ones killed in battle (note the two
World
Wars happening; this was where the board’s popularity really
soared).
During this time, the fad spread, and so did Ouija’s notorious
reputation as being more than just a “game.”
Finally in about 1960 or thereabouts, Parker Brothers approached
the
two Fuld brothers since they were having trouble making enough
boards
to satisfy the demand for them. PB then took over the rights to
the
ouija board and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ouija came about as kind of a by-product of the whole
spiritualist
craze that was all the rage in the early 1900’s, and during
Houdini’s
time as he debunked many ‘mediums’. Table-tipping was being done
back
then, and a Frenchman, who’s last name was “planchette”, produced
a
device that looked like a small table like a ouija pointer, that
stood
on two small stilts and a pen or pencil at the third point. The
operator would sit with his hands as lightly as he could resting
on the
planchette, this device named after it’s inventor, and the thing
would
move, producing writing.
Ouija replaced the messy planchette (the writing was messy
cursive
scrawls) when a board was used in place of the sheet of paper,
and all
three stilts on the planchette were covered with felt enabling it
to
slide in any direction. This made the communications fast,
clear, and
easy. And specifically meant to be done with a partner,
“gentleman
and lady preferred.”

III. Famous Hauntings and Spooky Spots
Following is a brief rundown of the most popular hauntings discussed
on alt.folklore.ghost-stories. Note that these are all relatively
famous hauntings, and not urban legendish or my-aunt-Edna’s-house type
tales.
S3.1 The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror, although now considered a hoax, is one
of the most famous “hauntings” of all time. The small house in
Amityville, New York was made famous in the mid-70s when George
and Kathy Lutz told the media of bizarre happenings which were
alleged to have taken place at the house during the month they
lived there. These happenings included such things as flying
demented pigs with glowing red eyes (my personal favorite),
walls
that oozed blood, an infestation of flies in the attic, and a
pit to hell in the basement.
Supposedly, whatever had tormented the Lutzes was also the
thing
that had driven Ronald DeFeo to shoot and kill his entire family
in that house in 1974.
S3.2 Battlefield Hauntings
What better place to find ghosts than a former battlefield?
Certainly there are many accounts of ghostly soldiers and
regimens,
forever fighting long-since resolved wars. Many Civil War and
World War battlefields are said to be haunted. In addition,
many
sites of confrontations between whites and Native Americans echo
with the sites and sounds of conflict.
[More info to follow here; please be patient. :)]
S3.3 The Bell Witch
“The Bell Witch” haunted the Bell home in Tennessee in the
early
1800s. The “witch” was actually a poltergeist, which did lots
of
annoying things like throw things around and scream/knock loudly
at all hours. John Bell, the father, died during the Bell
Witch’s
tenure. Some claim he was poisoned by the Witch. Betsy Bell,

úÿ
John’s daughter, is suspected of having faked the whole thing.
Reliable records are lacking, so we’ll probably never know
whether
the Bell Farm was truly haunted.
S3.4 Borley Rectory
Borley Rectory is often called “The most haunted house in
England.”
The site of the rectory originally held a monastery, which was
inhabited by Benedictine monks. Subsequent to this, the
monastery came
under the ownership of the Waldergrave family, who occupied it
for
three centuries. In the late 1800’s a descendant of the
Waldegraves,
the reverend H.D.E. Bull, built a new rectory on the site of the
old
monastery. It was not until after the new rectory was built
that
strange things started to happen.
One of the spectres that was said to roam the grounds was a nun
who
in the 13th century fell in love with and tried to elope with a
monk.
According to legend, the nun and monk were caught in their get-
away
horse and carriage. As punishment, the monk was hung and the
nun was
walled up alive in the rectory. Some people reported seeing the
ghostly form of the horse and carriage in addition to the nun.
The reverend Harry Bull, who died at Borley, also was reputed
to have
haunted the rectory. He would appear dressed in the grey jacket
in
which he passed away.
In the late 1920s, the house was owned by a reverend (Lionel A.
Foyster) and his wife who reported poltergeist-like phenomena.
Supposedly the prankish spirit locked the wife in the bedroom,
and
other times threw her out of the bed. There were also pebbles
thrown
at the windows, and mysterious writing which would appear on
walls.
Harry Price, a famous ghost hunter, investigated Borley Rectory
in
1929, and again in 1937. He supposedly witnessed some of the
activity, including the ghostly nun. Although Price spent a
great
deal of time in the Rectory, his research is generally
considered to
be biased and therefore flawed.
Unfortunately, Borley Rectory burned down in 1939, taking its
secrets
with it. In 1945, human remains rumored to be those of the nun
were
found on the site, and were given a proper burial. But the
legend of
Borley has not died yet; people still visit the site today to
see if
they can spot the ghostly nun.
S3.5 Haunted Universities
There are many stories of college hauntings. If you wish to
read of
them, you can ftp to my alt.folklore.ghost-stories archives (see
address at the bottom of this FAQ). Relevant files include:
cmu.children mary.reed
cmu.haunting phantom.typist
ghost.elevator und.haunting
haunted.dorm upei.haunting
I haven’t run across any university hauntings that are well
known
outside of one particular school but if anyone knows of any, let
me know and I will include it in this section.
S3.6 Haunted Theatres
Mike Czaplinski ([email protected]) writes the following
about
the ghost of Drury Lane Theatre:
“Drury Lane Theatre. From my fuzzy recollection, the ghost is
described at various times as a soft green glow, or a handsome
young
man. I seem to recall there being an entry on this particular
haunting in THE BOOK OF LISTS (circa 1980). According to the
entry
(again, subject to my faulty memory), during renovation in the
late
1970’s, they stumbled on a skeleton with the remnants of a grey
riding
coat with a knife sticking out of its ribs.
The folklore is that whoever sees the ghost is destined for
theatrical greatness.”
Further details (provided directly from -The Book of Lists-,
Bantam,
1977): The ghost is that of a young man who was murdered in
1780.
J. Wentworth Day, a ghost hunter, reported seeing a moving blue
light
in the theatre in 1939.
If anyone knows of any other famous haunted theatres, I would
be happy
to hear about them. There are a few files in my archives that
are
about haunted theatres: lyric.theatre, playhouse.ghost, and
theatre.
ghost.
S3.7 The Tower of London
The Tower of London has a long and bloody history, and of
course
many ghostly legends are associated with the Tower. In 1483,
two
young princes were murdered in the Tower, and their ghosts were
reported to have haunted the tower until the year 1674, when
their
bones were found and buried in a proper ceremony.
The most famous and most often reported ghost in the Tower is
Anne Boleyn. She was beheaded by her husband, Henry VIII, in
1536. Other Tower ghosts include Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy
Fawkes,
and even the apparition of a bear. In 1816, a palace guard who
was
on duty spied the bear. Not realizing he was facing an
apparition,
the guard attempted to lunge at the creature with his bayonet.
The
guard reportedly later died of shock.
In 1864, a soldier saw a ghost and again attempted to use his
bayonet. The soldier fainted when he realized his antagonist
was a
ghost, and was later court-martialed for neglecting his duties
(hard
to guard the castle when you’re fainted dead away). However,
the
charges against the soldier were dropped when two witnesses came
forward to support the soldier’s ghost story.
S3.8 Winchester Mansion
The Winchester Mansion, in San Jose, California, was built by
Sara
Winchester, the widow of William Winchester. Sara visited a
psychic
who told her that she must build a house large enough to house
the souls of all those who’d been killed by Winchester guns, and
Sara spent the remaining 36 years of her life (until she died in
1922) doing just that.
The mansion’s construction is just as odd as Sara’s
personality.
There are stairways and doors that go nowhere, secret rooms and
passages, and elevators that only go up one floor. The number
13
is prevalent throughout: 13 bathrooms, stairways with 13 steps,
and so on.
There is a rumor that Sara would never give her workmen the day
off, because she was afraid that the day she stopped building
she
would die. One day, however, after many complaints, she finally
gave her staff a day off, and that is the day she died.
S3.9 The Chase Vault (AKA The Moving coffins of Barbados)
Contributed by Matthew Hucke ([email protected]):
In Christ Church cemetery on the island of Barbados there is a
burial
vault of unknown origin. The earliest records call it the
“Chase
vault”. It was first used for the burial of a Mrs. Goddard in
1807,
followed by two-year-old Mary Ann Chase in 1808 and her sister
Dorcas
in 1812, a probable suicide. A few weeks later, Dorcas’ father
Thomas
Chase died. When the vault was opened, all the coffins had been
moved
from their original places. It was thought that thieves had
been in
the vault, but the concrete seal of the tomb was still in place.
Two more burials were made in 1816. In both cases, when the
vault
was opened, the coffins already present had been moved about.
The
casket of Thomas Chase was of lead, weighing 240 pounds, far too
large
to be moved by a single vandal. In each of these burials, the
workers
returned the coffins to their proper places and sealed the
mausoleum
with cement.
It happened again in 1819. This time, the Governor sprinkled
sand
on the floor (to show footprints), and pressed his personal seal
into
the fresh cement. In 1820 the tomb was opened again, and the
coffins
were again out of place, even though no footprints showed and
the
concrete seal was undisturbed. The governor ordered the coffins
removed and the vault left open; the mystery has never been
solved.
[ information taken from Daniel Cohen’s _The Encyclopedia of
Ghosts_,
Avon Books 1984.]

IV. Urban Folklore and Legends
S4.1 La Llorona
La Llorona is the legend of a woman who has lost her children,
and
who can be heard, and sometimes seen, weeping in the night. La
Llorona (the name means “She who weeps” in Spanish) is in most
stories
said to be Mexican, although sometimes she is a woman who lived
in
the American Southwest. As with most urban legends, there are
many
variations of La Llorona, but the central plot remains intact:
The
woman has lost her children, usually because she herself has
killed
them because she wants to marry a man who doesn’t want any
children.
She is so anguished over the depressing circumstances that she
kills
herself as well, and is thus doomed forever to roam her native
land,
weeping and wringing her hands. Sometimes she is said to be
searching
for her children, and sometimes she is said to appear only as a
warning to those who see her.
Here is a typical version of the La Llorona legend by
Proserpina
([email protected]):
“Sightings abound throughout the Southwest. Supposedly she
drowned
her children in the acequia (irrigation ditch,) and now she
roams the
ditches looking for her, or any, children. Usually the story is
told
with the intentions of keeping kiddies away from the ditches, so
they
won’t drown.”
-The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits- by Rosemary Guiley
tells a
more traditional Mexican version, which occurs in Mexico City
around
1550. According to legend, an indian princess fell in love with
a
Mexican nobleman. The nobleman promised to marry her, but
betrayed
her and married someone else instead. The ultimate result of
this
bit o’ treachery is that the princess murdered her children in a
fit
of rage, with a knife given to her by the nobleman. Afterwards,
she
wandered the streets crying for her children, and was eventually
hanged for her sins. Since then her ghost has been searching
for
children.
Another interesting feature of the La Llorona legend is that it
appears to have merged with the Vanishing Hitchhiker legend (see
below). La Llorona is reported by some to hitch a ride on a
road
near to the place where she drowned her children.
S4.2 Three Men and a Baby
If I had to pick just one topic from this FAQ to post, this
would
be the one. There is a scene in the movie -Three Men and a Baby-
in which some people claim to have seen the ghostly figure of a
small boy who was killed in the house in which the scene was
filmed.
In some variations, the boy’s parents are said to have sued the
movie studio, or the owners of the “house”, for letting their
boy’s
name be released to the press. There are also tales of other
ghostly
objects being seen throughout the movie, most notably a rifle
pointing
at the head of the “ghost boy”.
That is the legend. Here are the facts. The scene in question
was not shot in a house, but on a soundstage in a Hollywood
studio.
The “ghost boy” is in fact a life-sized cardboard cutout of Ted
Danson (who stars in the film), which had been left in the
background,
presumably accidentally, by a crew member. This cutout is seen
in
full view in another scene in the movie.
There is no ghost boy. No boy ever died on the set, and no one
involved with the movie was ever sued by the mythical parents of
said ghost boy. No one appears to know how the legend started.
Some have suggested it was a promotional scheme perpetrated by
the
producers of the film to get people to buy/rent/go see it. Most
likely the flub was simply noticed by one or more innocent movie
goers, who told a friend, or perhaps a newspaper…
S4.3 Mary Worth/Bloody Mary
Here is a popular legend which many remember from their
childhood.
The Mary Worth (also known as Bloody Mary, Mary Margaret, etc)
story
is popular at sleepovers. As the story goes, a beautiful young
girl
named Mary Worth was in some sort of terrible accident (or
occasionally the wounds are inflicted purposely by a jealous
party),
and her face was hideously deformed. From then on, she is
shunned by
other people, and she sometimes becomes a witch.
Now for the scary part. Supposedly if you say Mary Worth’s
name
three (or five, or ten… it varies) times while looking into
the
mirror, Mary Worth will appear and scratch your face off or kill
you. She is exacting a hideous revenge on the undeformed people
who made fun of her in life.
There is a great Clive Barker movie, -Candyman-, based on this
sort of legend.
S4.4 The Vanishing Hitchhiker
This legend is probably familiar to most readers. It is a dark
and stormy night. A person driving sees a forlorn figure at the
side of the road and decides to give him or her a lift. Usually
the hitchhiker is a young woman in some sort of trouble… her
prom date dumped her, or her car broke down. The driver gets to
her house only to discover that his passenger has disappeared
without
a trace from the back seat of his car. He knocks on the door
to the house, maybe to make sure the girl is ok, and the door is
answered by the girl’s parent. Eventually it comes out that the
girl died some years ago, and every year on the anniversary of
her
death (or her birthday), the girl hitches a ride back home with
a
stranger.
There are *many* variations of this legend. Sometimes the girl
appears to make it home safely, but the driver finds something
the
girl left behind in his car, and goes back to return it, thus
lear-
ning the truth about the girl. Sometimes the driver lends the
girl
his jacket or sweater, and goes back the next day to retrieve
it.
Often, he finds his jacket hung over the grave of the dead girl.
It is interesting to note that this legend has made it into
many
regional folklores. In Hawaii, for example, the hitchhiker is
often
said to be the goddess Pele. It has already been mentioned that
La Llorona has also been connected with the story. In the
Chicago
area, the vanishing hitchhiker takes the form of Resurrection
Mary.
S4.5 Haunted Traintracks
Occasionally a reader will post the following story, usually
attributing it to a local site. Once, there was a tragic
accident
on a set of traintracks:
A busload of children was crossing the tracks, and could not
get
out of the way in time to avoid the approaching train. Now, if
your car stalls out on the tracks, it will be pushed over the
tracks
to safety before the train hits you. The ghosts of the children
have saved you, and sometimes you can see their small handprints
in the dust on your car.

V. Miscellaneous FAQs
Q5.1 What is the Wendigo?
A5.1 [This section brought to you by Susan Lynds
([email protected]
edu). Thanks, Susan!]
“The wendigo is a Canadian entity, half phantom, half beast,
who
lives in the forests and preys on human beings, particularly
chil-
dren. The belief in this horror dates back to the earliest
Indian
legends and it is said that the wendigo will eat the flesh of
its
victims. According to R.S. Lambert in “Exploring the
Supernatural”
(1955), ‘Wendigos (who might be women as well as men) were
believed
to have entered into a pact with evil spirits, lurking in the
for-
est, who helped them kill their victims.’ The legend of this
crea-
ture has been immortalized in Algernon Blackwood’s short story
“The
Wendigo” (1907). In W.T. Cox’s “Fearsome Creatures of the
Lumber
Woods” (1951) a number of other Canadian “wood horrors” are
listed,
including the hodag, the whimpus, the hoop-snake, the celofay,
and
the filamaloo.”
–A Dictionary of Ghost Lore, by Peter Haining
Q5.2 What are will o’ the wisps?
A5.2 Will o’ the wisps are a natural phenomenon that never the less
appear ghostly in nature. The wisps, which are actually ignited
pockets of swamp gas, hover over swamps and swampy areas and
glow
blue. They can move (carried by breezes and air currents), and
many observers have noted that the wisps seem to mimic a
person’s
movements… when the observer moves forward, so does the wisp.
Will o’ the wisps can appear as one glowing ball or as many tiny
flickers.
Will o’ the wisps have also been called such fanciful names as
“corpse candles”, “fox fire”, and “elf light”. The phenomenon
is
also knows as “ignis fatuus”, which means “foolish fire”. Some
believe the mysterious floating lights to be portents of bad
luck
or even death. Researchers believe that many people have
mistaken
will o’ the wisps for the ghostly lanterns of trains and/or
their
long-dead conductors.
Q5.3 How did that girl in -Poltergeist- die?
A5.3 Contributed by Christine White ([email protected]):
According to People magazine February 15, 1988:
“It happened so fast. At 9:25 am, Monday Feb. 1, only hours
after
developing what appeared to be flu symptoms, Heather O’Rourke,
child
star of the Poltergeist horror films, was rushed from her home
in
Lakeside, Calif., to the hospital; she was in septic shock and
cardiac
arrest. An hour later she arrived by airlift, alive but in
critical
condition, at Children’s Hospital and Health Center in San
Diego.
There she was operated on for intestinal stenosis, an acute
bowel
obstruction, a congenital condition neither her mother nor
stepfather
had suspected. At 2:43 pm, Heather died on the operating table.
She
was 12 years old.”
Subsequent issues of People tell how doctors first diagnosed
and
treated her for Chrone’s disease. The parents sued the doctors
for
wrongful treatment, but I don’t know what happened to the suit.
Q5.4 What are some different categories of manifestations?
Ghostly visitations fall into several distinct categories.
Here
are a few of the most common.
* Crisis Apparitions — These ghosts appear most often to their
loved ones at a moment of great crisis or death. Typically,
the
ghosts appear only once to a special loved one who may be many
miles away at the time of the accident.
* Doppelgangers — Doppelgangers are ghostly doubles of living
peo-
people. Often the doppelganger is not visible to the person
him-
self, and will simply follow the person around. In some cases
a
person will come upon his own doppelganger who is typically
engaged
in some future activity. Doppelgangers are traditionally
consid-
ered omens of bad luck or even death.
* Repeated Actions — Many apparitions are always viewed
repeating
the same motions or scenes. Many classic hauntings fall into
this
category. An example of this type of haunting is The Brown
Lady of
Raynham Hall, who was always seen moving down a hallway with a
lan-
tern in her hand. Usually these ghosts pay little or no
attention
to the observer.
* Poltergeists — Poltergeists are the only spirits who leave
immed-
iate physical traces. Poltergeists are best known for
throwing
things about and producing rapping sounds and other noises.
In
fact, the word “poltergeist” means “noisy ghost” in German.
Pol-
tergeists often occur where there are children on the brink of
puberty, and often interact with people.

úÿ
* Ghostly Sounds and Lights — Sometimes a haunting will consist
en-
tirely of the sound of footsteps or ghostly music. There are
also
many legends of ghost lights, which are often said to be
caused by
someone’s ghostly lantern or by a spectral motorcycle or
train.
* Possessed Ojects — Sometimes inanimate objects are said to be
cursed or possessed. A very famous example of a supposed
cursed
object is the Hope Diamond. Sometimes a particular piece of
furn-
iture will refuse to stay in place, even moving in front of
the
owner’s eyes.
Q5.5 Who are Ed and Lorraine Warren?
Ed and Lorraine Warren are a husband and wife team who
investigate
paranormal activity. Their most famous case is probably the
Amity-
ville horror. The reliability of their research is considered
ques-
tionable by many. The Warrens currently make a living by
travelling
the lecture circuit and releasing the occasional book.
Q5.6 What is “Old Hag”?
A5.6 From the alt.dreams FAQ, maintained by Olaf Titz
([email protected]
sub.org):
“3.1. What causes sleep paralysis?
“A. Conventional wisdom: REM atonia is a normal function of
the
body. The muscles that move the body are “turned off” during
REM
sleep, which prevents you from acting out dreamed actions in rea-
lity. Non-REM sleep paralysis after waking up (“old hag”) is
caused by a failure to re-activate the muscles immediately. Nor-
mally this condition lasts only a few seconds, but sometimes it
can go for a minute, which causes a very scary feeling. You are
damn sure you’re awake now but you can’t move. This is
extremely
unpleasant but at least not dangerous.”
Symptoms of old hag include hearing footsteps, seeing a
presence
(often an old woman, from which the name derives), and a feeling
of
not being able to breathe or move.
Q5.7 Are cars really rolling uphill in that graveyard near my town?
A5.7 There are some places where the land is shaped in such a way
that it
can sometimes appear that things are going uphill when they are
really
going down. [I’m not sure of the physics of this, but if anyone
knows
what causes this phenomenon, please let me know.] Some people
attrib-
ute this type of activity to paranormal causes.
Q5.8 What is the best way to photograph a ghost?
A5.8 The following information was provided by David Fluker
([email protected]
delphi.com).
“If anyone out there is interested in attempting to photograph
para-
normal activities or spirits, here is how to do it right!!
1. You need to purchase 35mm Kodak HIE-135/36 film. This is
B&W
Infrared film used for this and other more scientific purposes.
You
can either purchase the film at a local professional photo shop
or
order it direct from Kodak at 1-800-242-2424 in Rochester, NY.
The
roll costs around $10.00 each including shipping.
2. Once you have the film in your hot little hand, you need to
ask
your friendly photo-pro at the shop for an 87 filter to use with
it.
(if he/she doesn’t know what this is, have them call the 800#
above
and get Kodak to tell him/her.
** the reason for the 87 filter is to eliminate all existing
light du-
ring photography and only to have the IR on the film. (Even
though it
may be dark in a room, there is still existing light that will
effect
your exposure so use the 87 filter!!)
3. Once you have captured you entity on film, either send the
film
back to Kodak or get it processed at the best quality lab in
your area.
It needs to be processed under three types…hc110, d19, or d76.
The
best for supernatural purposes is d76 as this gives the most
normal
overall exposure. You can also have it processed HC110 but this
is a
much higher contrast index and used mainly for special
scientific pro-
jects.”
Q5.9 Can’t you sue if your new house is haunted, and no one told you
about
it?
A5.9 Mark Korven ([email protected]) gleaned the following
quote
from the book -The Scandal Annual 1991-.
“A Wall Street bond trader sued for return of a $32,000 down
payment
he made on a $650,000 Victorian mansion on the Hudson River in
Nyack,
New York. The Reason: he said nobody told him that three
Revolutionary
War ghosts haunted the dwelling. The owner of the house had
refused to
return the money, saying that the ghosts were very friendly. The
judge
ruled in her favor, stating that the law can’t take supernatural
enti-
ties into consideration.
“That ruling panicked lawmakers in neighboring Connecticut,
which evi-
dently has more than its share of spooks. Legislators pushed
though a
“Ghostbuster” bill, making it mandatory for all home seller to
disclose
any spiritual phenomena related to the property.”
Q5.10 What are some theories of what ghosts are/why they exist?
A5.10 There are many theories of what ghosts (if they indeed exist)
are.
Some people believe that ghosts are the residual energy left
behind
by an emotionally strong person or event. This theory holds
that
more energy/electrical impulses are expended during periods of
high
stress or excitement, and that the energy lingers for a long
time.
Freud thought that ghosts are actually the visions of people
who
are afraid of death. In this sense, ghosts would not be real
at all
but rather a projection of our subconcious mind.
A somewhat plausible theory is that ghosts are telepathic
images.
That is, a sensitive person would pick up past vibrations from
the
area they were in and witness an event or person as it appeared
many
years ago. This would also explain instances where a person
sees a
loved one at or near the moment of the the loved one’s death,
since
the loved one could be unconciously projecting their thoughts
to the
receptive person.
Ghosts might also be the result of time slips, if time is
nonlinear.
An event that happened in the past might be seen briefly in our
time
because of a fluctuation in time/space.
Q5.11 What is a caul?
A5.11 A caul is a piece of the fetal membrane that covers the heads
of some
babies when they are born. This occurrence is relatively rare,
and
because of this folklore says that a baby born with a caul
possesses
psychic powers. In the past, people would keep cauls and
placed great
value upon them as good luck charms.
Q5.12 What is an incubus?
A5.12 An incubus is a demon which assumes male form and lies on
people
(usually women) and has sexual intercourse with them in their
sleep.
The female version of an incubus is called a succubus.

VI. Non-alt.folklore.ghost-stories Resources
S6.1 Other USENET groups that a.f.g-s reader may enjoy:
alt.folklore.urban discussion of urban legends and their
varia-
tions and meanings
alt.folklore.suburban moderated discussion of urban legends
alt.horror discussion of horror films and
literature
alt.magick magick stuff
alt.pagan wicca and other non-christian religions
alt.paranet.paranormal discussion of paranormal phenomena
alt.paranet.metaphysics discussion of metaphysics
alt.paranormal discussion of paranormal phenomena
sci.skeptic debate on the validity of strange
phenomena
S6.2 Some interesting reference material:
*BOOKS
Auerbach, Loyd -ESP, Hauntings, and Poltergeists: A
Parapsychologist’s Handbook- 1986, Warner Books
Bardens, Dennis -Ghosts and Hauntings- 1968, Taplinger Pub.
Bord, Janet and Colin -Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th
Century-
1989, Contemporary Books
Brown, Theo -Devon Ghosts- 1982, Jarrold & Sons
BRUNVAND, Jan H. -The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban
Legends
and Their Meanings- 1981, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Bullock, Alice -Monumental Ghosts- 1987, Sunstone Press
Canning, John (ed.) -Fifty True Mysteries of the Sea- 1979,
Dorset
Press
Colby, C.B. -Strangely Enough!- 1959, Sterling Pub. Co.
COHEN, Daniel -The Encyclopedia of Ghosts- 1985, Dorset
Press
Coleman, Michael H. (ed.) -The Ghosts of the Trianon,
the complete ‘An Adventure’ by C.A.E. Moberly and E.F.
Jourdain-
1988, Aquarian Press
Corliss, William R. -Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena;
Eyewitness Accounts of Nature’s Greatest Mysteries- 1977,
Anchor
Books Forman, Joan -Royal Hauntings- 1987, FONTANA/Collins
Pub.
Antonio R. Garcez, -Adobe Angels: The Ghosts of Santa Fe-
1992, Red Rabbit Press
GUILEY, Rosemary -The Encyclopedia of Ghost and Spirits-
1992,
Facts on File, New York
Haining, Peter -A Dictionary of Ghost Lore- 1984, Prentice-
Hall
Holzer, Hans -Yankee Ghosts- 1966, Ace Books
Holzer, Hans -Where the Ghosts are: Favorite Haunted
Houses in America and the British Isles- 1984, Parker Pub.
Co.
HUNT, Stoker -Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game- Harper &
Row
Hurwood, Bernhardt J. -Haunted Houses- 1972, Scholastic Books
MacKenzie, Andrew -Hauntings and Apparitions- 1982, Granada
Pub.
Marsden, Simon -The Haunted Realm- 1986, E.P. Dutton
Marsden, Simon -Phantoms of the Isles- 1990, Webb & Bower
Martin, MaryJoy -Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblins: Twilight
Dwellers of Colorado- 1985, Pruett Pub. Co.
May, Alan M. -The Legend of Kate Morgan- 1990, Elk Pub.
Munn, Debra D. -Big Sky Ghosts: Eerie True Tales of Montana
Vol.
1- 1993, Pruett Publishing
Munn, Debra D. -Big Sky Ghosts: Eerie True Tales of Montana
Vol.
2- 1994, Pruett Publishing
Munn, Debra D. -Ghosts on the Range: Eerie True Tales of
Wyoming-
1989, Pruett Publishing
Murray, Earl -Ghosts of the Old West- 1988, Dorset Press
Myers, Arthur -The Ghostly Register, Haunted Dwellings–
Active Spirits, A Journey to America’s Strangest Landmarks-
1986,
Contemporary Books
Myers, Arthur -Ghosts of the Rich and Famous- 1988,
Contemporary
Books
MYERS, Arthur -A Ghosthunter’s Guide to Haunted Landmarks,
Parks,
Churches, and other Haunted Places- 1993, Contemporary Books
MYERS, Arthur -The Ghostly Gazetteer, America’s most
fascinating
Haunted Landmarks- 1990, Contemporary Books, Chicago
PRICE, Harry -The Most Haunted House in England- 1940,
Long-
mans, Green, & Co., London
PRICE, Harry -The End of Borley Rectory- 1946, George G.
Har-
rapp & Co., Ltd., London
Roberts, Nancy -Haunted Houses: Tales from 30 American
Homes-
1988, Globe Pequot Press
Scott, Beth, and Michael Norman -Haunted Heartland- 1985,
Warner
Books
-Strange Stories, Amazing Facts- Reader’s Digest, 1976
Underwood, Peter -The Ghost Hunter’s Guide- 1986, Javelin
Books
Underwood, Peter -Gazetteer of British, Scottish, and Irish
Ghosts-
1985, Bell Pub.
Whitaker, Terence -Haunted England- 1987, Contemporary Books
Wilson, Colin -The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries-
1988,
Contemporary Books
*TELEVISION
-Unsolved Mysteries- Reruns are shown on Lifetime at 8:00 PM
and
11:00 PM weekdays E/P time.
-Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World- Shown on the Discovery
chan-
nel; check your local listings.
-In Search Of…- A&E; check your local listings.
-Sightings- FOX (or might be syndicated?), Sundays,
6:00 PM
-Encounters- FOX Sundays at 7:00 PM (Pacific Time)
-The Extraordinary- Syndicated; check your local listings
*Movies
-The Legend of Boggy Creek- A quasi-documentary about a
bigfoot-
like creature roaming the Louisiana
bayou. (1972)
S6.3 Good Supernatural Fiction
*BOOKS
Anson, Jay -The Amityville Horror- Flies in the attic!
Walls that drip blood! Pigs that fly! (And you thought your
faulty plumbing was a problem.)
Dickens, Charles -A Christmas Carol- A good ghost story any
time
of the year.
King, Stephen -Pet Semetary- You’ll never look at your cat
the
same way again.
*TELEVISION
-The Twilight Zone- Umm, do I really need to explain this?
-The X-Files- Two FBI agents investigate paranormal
stuff.
A great show! (FOX, Fridays 9PM E/P)
*MOVIES
-Candyman- Clive Barker movie inspired by Mary Worth-
type
urban legends. Tres scary! (1992)
-The Changeling- George C. Scott stars in a chilling yarn
about
a house haunted by the spirit of a
murdered
child. (1980)
-The Entity- Barbara Hershey plays a single mom who is
being
tormented by a rowdy spirit. (1983)
-The Exorcist- A modern story of demonic possession.
Linda
Blair vomits pea soup. (1973)
-Ghostbusters- Comedy about ghost-catchers in New York
City.
(1984)
-The Haunting- A classic tale of a haunted house. Based
on
-The Haunting of Hill House- by Shirley
Jack-
son. (1963)
-Poltergeist- A family experiences otherwordly activity
cen-
tered around their young daughter
(Heather
O’Rourke). (1982)
-The Shining- Based on the Stephen King novel about an
old
hotel haunted by lots of mean ghosts.
(1980)
-Witchboard- Tawny Kitaen is tormented by an evil
spirit
conjured up with a ouija board. Actually
a
really good movie despite a somewhat low
budget. (1985)
S6.4 Other Net Resources
*FTP
ftp.netcom.com pub/obiwan/GhostStories This FAQ, some
stories
taken from alt.folklore.ghost-stories, some GIFs
*BBSs
isdn37.eng.uc.edu [telnet] forums on paranormal topics
(416) 631-9996 THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE BBS
(205)830-4485 The Highland Citadel; Ghost GIFs
*Gopher
The Skeptical Inquirer
gopher://gopher.enews.com:2100/11/magazines/
category/science/General/skep_inq
*WWW
Fortean Times Online http://forteana.mic.dundee.ac.uk/ft/
Archive X http://www.declab.usu.edu:8080/X File archives
featuring
horror and paranormal topics
Spirit WWW http://zeta.cs.adfa.oz.au/Spirit.html
Yahoo

http://akebono.stanford.edu/yahoo/Entertainment/Paranormal_Phenomena

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