Let’s start with a disclaimer — I’m not a believer. I LOVE ghost stories, but my personal experience with hauntings is limited to an occasional eerie feeling and the firm belief that I carry part of my grandmother with me in the form of memories of our very close bond. I have friends who believe in ghosts — friends who swear they grew up on haunted houses and who have been visited by the shadows of dearly departed or of previous inhabitants of an old house.
That being said, I really do love a good ghost story and can almost believe when the story seduces me with the proper mix of credible evidence and the illusive element of magic.
I enjoy all sorts of paranormal fiction, but usually kept my distance from the current batch of real/first person accounts of ghostly activity. I remember liking all the non-fiction investigation shows when I was growing up but I can’t seem to remember the names of most of the shows. “The Unexplained” was in the 90s but there were shows before that one. “In Search of…” with Leonard Nimoy was a particular favorite, but I’d watch all of them without discrimination. I was hooked on the storytelling aspects more than the proof of ghostly activity.
There’s a whole new crop of such shows and cable TV being what it is, the inexpensive, syndicated shows that use hand-held video cameras and feature earnest searchers for the beyond are easy to find. But do they deliver? Not really. They hint at evil doings and apparitions, but the quest for reality overrides the magic every time.
I guess I’ll have to satisfy my yen for ghosts in fiction.