Hal­loween, the most ‘spook­tac­u­lar’ time of the year

South Shore Breaker - - Page Two - VER­NON OICKLE THE VIEW FROM HERE ver­non.l.oickle@east­link.ca

Are you afraid of things that go bump in the night?

Have you ever thought you saw some­thing from the cor­ner of your eye, only to dis­cover there was noth­ing there?

Have you ever had the feel­ing that some­one was watch­ing you, but you are cer­tain that you are alone?

Does the sound of your house creak­ing re­mind you of foot­steps, as if some­one is com­ing up the stairs or down the hall­way, only there is no one in the house but you

Have you ever had the sen­sa­tion that some­one has touched you or that some­one has just rushed past you, only you didn’t see any­thing?

Have the doors or win­dows in your house ever opened and closed on their own?

Has some­thing you own ever gone miss­ing, only to turn up in the most un­usual of places?

If you’ve an­swered yes to even one of th­ese ques­tions, then it’s pos­si­ble that you have en­coun­tered a ghost, specter, spirit, ap­pari­tion or pol­ter­geist. Call it what­ever you want, but chances are great that in Nova Sco­tia, if you have ex­pe­ri­enced any of th­ese sen­sa­tions, then there may be an­other worldly ex­pla­na­tion for what hap­pened to you as ghosts are known to roam through­out the province.

I’ve seen them, felt them, ex­pe­ri­enced them and best of all, I have met many oth­ers who have had sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences.

Over the years, I have had the dis­tinct plea­sure of meeting many in­di­vid­u­als who have wel­comed me into their homes or in­vited me into their places of busi­ness to talk about their para­nor­mal ex­pe­ri­ences. When it comes to ghostly en­coun­ters, ev­ery­one’s ex­pe­ri­ence is dif­fer­ent and there is no short­age of para­nor­mal ex­pe­ri­ences in Nova Sco­tia.

There is no ques­tion that hav­ing a para­nor­mal ex­pe­ri­ence can af­fect you in many dif­fer­ent ways, and ev­ery per­son who has wit­nessed such phe­nom­ena react dif­fer­ently be­cause ev­ery ghostly en­counter is unique in its own right.

Some peo­ple em­brace and wel­come the spirit, while oth­ers are re­luc­tant be­liev­ers, read­ily ad­mit­ting that they have al­ways been skep­ti­cal un­til their minds were sud­denly changed by the un­ex­pected or the in­ex­pli­ca­ble. But that’s OK be­cause ev­ery­one re­acts dif­fer­ently to things that can’t be eas­ily ra­tio­nal­ized. The im­por­tant thing, how­ever, is to keep an open mind and never judge an­other per­son’s ex­pe­ri­ences.

I never tell any­one that I don’t be­lieve what they’ve told me, sim­ply be­cause there is no way I could pos­si­bly know for cer­tain what they’ve seen, heard or ex­pe­ri­enced. The para­nor­mal world is very un­pre­dictable, as the spir­its ex­ist on a dif­fer­ent plane and those who en­counter a ghost or spirit are of­ten caught off guard and are left un­sure of what they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced.

For that rea­son, it is some­times easy to dis­miss or ridicule the wit­ness as they re­lay their sto­ries, but as a re­searcher and writer of ghost sto­ries, I in­vite you to sus­pend your dis­be­lief and to sim­ply en­joy th­ese tales of the para­nor­mal. Set aside your skep­ti­cism and sus­pend your logic be­cause such ra­tio­nal­ity has no place in this world.

My friend and Hal­i­fax-based au­thor, Dar­ryll Walsh, has been re­search­ing and writ­ing about the para­nor­mal for many years. See­ing as we are on the eve of Hal­loween or All Hal­lows’ Eve, I thought it would be en­light­en­ing to share some of Walsh’s thoughts on the para­nor­mal ex­pe­ri­ence.

In an es­say for an an­thol­ogy I edited last year called Where Evil Dwells: The Nova Sco­tia An­thol­ogy of Hor­ror, Walsh posed the ques­tion: “Are ghosts ex­tinct?”

He ex­plained the word “ghost” was coined in the late 16th cen­tury. It comes from the an­cient Ger­manic term “gast” and is com­monly be­lieved to be the dis­em­bod­ied spirit of a de­ceased per­son.

“Though some would co-opt the term for use in the re­cent au­thor­i­tar­ian so­cial jus­tice move­ment or fool­ishly de­clare that so­ci­ety has moved away from be­liev­ing in the after­life, and in­stead, think ghosts are in­tern- ally gen­er­ated hal­lu­ci­na­tions, in re­al­ity, al­most ev­ery­one needs to be­lieve they are proof of an ex­is­tence be­yond death,” ex­plained Walsh.

There are three main types of man­i­fes­ta­tions that we call ghosts. The first is the afore­men­tioned dis­em­bod­ied spirit of a de­ceased hu­man or an­i­mal. It is self-aware and of­ten ap­pears at the time of death. In para­psy­chol­ogy, they are re­ferred to as “ap­pari­tions.”

The sec­ond type of ghost is of­ten re­ferred to as the “play­back” ghost. They are a re­play of past events, some­how im­printed upon the en­vi­ron­ment and mani?fest them­selves when cer­tain con­di­tions oc­cur that we do not yet un­der­stand. Thus, Anne Bo­leyn, the un­lucky sec­ond wife of the worst king Eng­land ever had, has been seen at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in the United King­dom do­ing mun­dane ac­tions and seem­ingly un­aware of the pres­ence of wit­nesses.

The third type is the rare ghost of sen­sa­tional tele­vi­sion and pub­lic­ity-seek­ing ghost/de­mon hunters. They are loud, dan­ger­ous and de­struc­tive. They are also al­ways un­seen.

We know th­ese spir­its as poltergeists, Ger­man for “noisy spirit,” Walsh writes.

Nova Sco­tia has had two ma­jor pol­ter­geist in­ci­dents and one, the Es­ther Cox or The Amherst Mys­tery, is fa­mous world­wide and fea­tured in many books on the para­nor­mal, even though it pales in com­par­i­son to the Mary Ellen Spook Farm of Cale­do­nia Mills.

In Nova Sco­tia, there is a rich his­tory of the dead sud­denly ap­pear­ing and plead­ing or de­mand­ing ac­tion by the ter­ri­fied wit­ness. Of­ten times, the re­quired ac­tion would seem in­signif­i­cant to our modern eyes.

His­tor­i­cally, our be­lief in ghosts has re­mained con­stant, yet our in­ter­pre­ta­tion of them and their cor­re­spond­ing be­hav­iours has changed. And that, on this All Hal­lows’ Eve, is the view from here.

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Hal­loween isn’t the only time of year where things can go bump in the night.

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