When I think of the word ghost, I usually think, scary story. Like the around the campfire at a campout kind of story. Most ghost stories seem to require a few common things, at least one ghost, a scary setting like an abandoned house that’s falling apart and, a person who is going to be threatened by this ghost. It’s always good if it’s a girl and the person who saves her.
I like to tell a folktale at Halloween called Tailypo. This story was first recorded by Leonard Roberts in 1955. It comes from the Appalachian region of the country but I always use the Ozark’s as the setting because it’s closer to the mid-west. The story has variations in both place and the name of the creature but otherwise pretty much the same. It’s a fun story to scare kids with. The Tailypo isn’t a real creature so I’m thinking maybe it is a ghost.
Peter Straub wrote an amazing novel called Ghost Story. Read it. Do not watch the movie. It is horrible. This book is a great ghost story.
But there is a lot more to this ghost thing than just stories. Ghosts can be many things other than disembodied spirits. Like a ghost of an idea or maybe a ghost writer. There’s always the ghost town. Colorado is full of them. Then there is the thing writer are always looking for, a ghost of an idea. You get the picture. Many of the photos I’ve done over the years have had the essence of ghosts. A glimpse into a place we shouldn’t see.
I like this word. It makes you stop and think. Think about life and death and loved ones who have passed. It makes you wonder about what lies just beyond the borders of life. If you are wondering, yes I have seen a ghost. Have you? Recently I wrote a poem that’s a bit of a ghost story. I think. You never know with poems even when you write them. Here it is.
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