Mar 9, 2014
06:21 AMArts & Entertainment
Connecticut Author Chases Ghost (Stories); Latest Book on West Virginia
In recent years a spate of movies and books have created a cult among American teens for vampires and zombies. The undead are made to be very hip, very cool and disturbingly attractive as they go about their ghoulish pursuits. There is the occasional chilling moment, but, for the most part, the twilight world seems no worse than having to deal with any real clique of teenage girls and boys.
Also see Ed and Lorraine Warren of "The Conjuring" Have a Long History of Paranormal Investigation in Connecticut
This is lightweight stuff and it is not the serious material that New Milford author Rosemary Ellen Guiley has pursued and investigated in more than 50 books on paranormal matters. Ms. Guiley has recently published her newest book, “The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories” [Stackpole Books, $24.95], which features more than 100 tales from throughout the Mountain State.
“I’ve written close to 60 books, so I’m not sure how many specifically dealt with ghosts,” said the author in a telephone interview from her home. “I write on a wide variety of subjects ranging from angels to zombies. I’ve done a few that were geographic and I was drawn to West Virginia because of all the paranormal activity there.”
In the forward to her book she said that “square mile for square mile, [West Virginia] packs more paranormal punch than a good many other states combined.” She attributes this, in part to the geography.
“Many people think that ghosts and hauntings are created only by events and that places have to be old to be haunted,” she wrote. “Neither is true. Yes, events seem to be the cause of many hauntings but many more are apparently related to energies of the land, folklore beliefs and sometimes the projected imagination of the living. … Brand new buildings and homes can be intensely haunted if they were built on the ‘wrong’ land, so to speak.”
Ms. Guiley said that some of these non-ghostly paranormal beings can be very ancient. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time in England,” she said, “and I have gone to quite a few haunted places, some in rural landscapes. The landscape can be populated by various beings—fairies, genies of the land, demonic entities. They simply exist in space and seem to be attached to the earth. They have been described since ancient times and didn’t have physical lifespans. Some will say they have existed since before human beings. Can we prove this? It is very difficult to prove most of these phenomena. Sciences accepts no proof but the evidence accumulated over the centuries is compelling because it corroborates stories told over and over.”
Ms. Guiley said that there are different kinds of entities. Spirits and ghosts will sometimes communicate with humans, while “residues” do not. “Spirits are ancient,” she said, “and don’t exist in the same time frame as humans.”
Ghosts, on the other hand, seem to represent the psychic energy left behind by real people. This energy, like an old battery’s charge, can diminish over time. “Ghosts [reported in the past] are not seen like they were centuries ago,” she said, “but very recent hauntings can be very vivid because the energy is fresh. The living can actually help to keep a haunting going—we do add energy and some ghosts do last for centuries. In America, the Civil War still very strong. So much intense emotion was generated by that war it still works on people today and it has helped to keep a lot of hauntings alive. Every living thing leaves some kind of residue—blood and bones are in the earth and yet we never hear of dinosaur hauntings. We connect with things we engage with emotionally. Emotion is the juice of these phenomena”
Ms. Guiley said that spirits, like the living, represent “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Usually, though, “it can be startling, even scary, but most psychic experiences are pretty benign,” she said.
She said it is the human drama behind most hauntings that make them fascinating rather than the physical manifestations of the ghostly activity. “Hauntings are remarkably similar,” she said. “The range for phenomena is fairly consistent from one story to another, but the stories of why a place became haunted are very compelling. These are intense life dramas. In a strange way by coming in contact with ghost and haunting phenomena, it is a way to touch those lives and people.”