In the rational modern world, belief in the supernatural seemingly has been consigned to the worlds of entertainment and fantasy. Yet belief in other worldly phenomena, from poltergeists to telepathy, remains strong, as Gillian Bennett's research shows. Especially common is belief in continuing contact with, or the continuing presence of, dead family members. Bennett interviewed women in Manchester, England, asking them questions about ghosts and other aspects of the supernatural. (Her discussion of how her research methods and interview techniques evolved is in itself valuable.) She first published the results of the study in the well-received Traditions of Belief: Women and the Supernatural, which has been widely used in folklore and women's studies courses. "Alas, Poor Ghost!" extensively revises and expands that work. In addition to a fuller presentation and analysis of the original field research and other added material, the author, assisted by Kate Bennett, a gerontological psychologist, presents and discusses new research with a group of women in Leicester, England.
Bennett is interested in more than measuring the extent of belief in other worldly manifestations. Her work explores the relationship between narrative and belief. She anticipated that her questions would elicit from her interviewees not just yes or no replies but stories about their experiences that confirmed or denied notions of the supernatural. The more controversial the subject matter, the more likely individuals were to tell stories, especially if their answers to questions of belief were positive. These were most commonly individualized narratives of personal experience, but they contained many of the traditional motifs and other content, including belief in the supernatural, of legends. Bennett calls them memorates and discusses the cultural processes, including ideas of what is a "proper" experience of the supernatural and a "proper" telling of the story, that make them communal as well as individual. These memorates provide direct and vivid examples of what the storytellers actually believe and disbelieve. In a final section, Bennett places her work in historical context through a discussion of case studies in the history of supernatural belief.
Alphabetic texts do not convey the bodily gestures of human speech: the hesitations, silences, and changes of pitch that infuse spoken language with affect. Rotman suggests that by removing the body from communication, alphabetic texts enable belief in singular, disembodied, authoritative forms of being such as God and the psyche. He argues that while disembodied agencies are credible and real to “lettered selves,” they are increasingly incompatible with selves and subjectivities formed in relation to new virtual technologies and networked media. Digital motion-capture technologies are restoring gesture and even touch to a prominent role in communication. Parallel computing is challenging the linear thought patterns and ideas of singularity facilitated by alphabetic language. Barriers between self and other are breaking down as the networked self is traversed by other selves to become multiple and distributed, formed through many actions and perceptions at once. The digital self is going plural, becoming beside itself.
The first scholarly collection of ghostlore from throughout the state of Alabama
Both enlightening and entertaining, The Face in the Window and Other Alabama Ghostlore is the first scholarly collection of ghostlore from throughout the state of Alabama. Alan Brown has traveled the state collecting sotries and photographs illustrating the places that gave rise to the eerie tales.
Brown recreates the experience of actually hearing the tales by reproducing each story as it was told. Additionally, he includes an analysis of the folk motifs and themes that run through the ghostlore commonly found in Alabama and examines their contributions to folk traditions, especially in those stories told by young people.
“In the top corner of the window a pale, milky-white wisp is rising almost to the top of our ten-foot ceiling…. I am startled but not afraid…. Mostly, I am engrossed; I have never seen anything like this before (or since) and it fascinates me.”
Dennis Waskul writes these lines—about his first-hand experience with the supernatural—in the introduction to his beguiling book Ghostly Encounters. Based on two years of fieldwork and interviews with 71 midwestern Americans, the Waskuls’ book is a reflexive ethnography that examines how people experience ghosts and hauntings in everyday life. The authors explore how uncanny happenings become ghosts, and the reasons people struggle with or against a will to believe. They present the variety and character of hauntings and ghostly encounters, outcomes of people telling haunted legends, and the nested consequences of ghostly experiences.
Through these stories, Ghostly Encounters seeks to understand the persistence of uncanny experiences and beliefs in ghosts in an age of reason, science, education, and technology—as well as how those beliefs and experiences both reflect and serve important social and cultural functions.
The Japanese have ambivalent attitudes toward death, deeply rooted in pre-Buddhist traditions. In this scholarly but accessible work, authors Iwasaka and Toelken show that everyday beliefs and customs--particularly death traditions--offer special insight into the living culture of Japan.
Germany, which brutalized its neighbors in Europe for centuries, has mostly escaped the ghosts of the past, while Japan remains haunted in Asia. The most common explanation for this difference is that Germany knows better how to apologize; Japan is viewed as “impenitent.” Walter F. Hatch rejects the conventional wisdom and argues that Germany has achieved reconciliation with neighbors by showing that it can be a trustworthy partner in regional institutions like the European Union and NATO; Japan has never been given that opportunity (by its dominant partner, the U.S.) to demonstrate such an ability to cooperate. This book rigorously defends the argument that political cooperation—not discourse or economic exchange—best explains Germany’s relative success and Japan’s relative failure in achieving reconciliation with neighbors brutalized by each regional power in the past. It uses paired case studies (Germany-France and Japan-South Korea; Germany-Poland and Japan-China) to gauge the effect of these competing variables on public opinion over time. With numerous charts, each of the four empirical chapters illustrates the powerful causal relationship between institution building and interstate reconciliation.
In this illustrated examination of the Lindbergh kidnapping case, Jim Fisher seeks to set the record straight regarding Bruno Hauptmann's guilt in "the crime of the century."
In February 1935, following a sensational, six-week trial, a jury in Flemington, New Jersey, found German carpenter Hauptmann guilty of kidnapping and murdering the twenty-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Although circumstantial, the evidence against Hauptmann—the handwriting on the ransom notes, the homemade kidnapping ladder, Colonel Lindbergh's money found in his garage, his matching the description of the man who accepted the ransom payoff in the Bronx cemetery, his inability to prove an alibi, and his incredible explanation of his possession of the ransom money—was overwhelming, leaving few to doubt his guilt. After a series of appeals and stays, Hauptmann died fourteen months later in the electric chair. A confession would have spared him the death sentence, but Hauptmann chose to die maintaining his innocence.
It was not until the mid-1970s that revisionists began to challenge the conventional wisdom in the case: that Hauptmann was the lone killer. Revisionist books and articles appeared, as did plays, TV shows, and a movie, all portraying Hauptmann as the victim of a massive police and prosecution frame-up.
At this point, the focus shifted from the evidence to the conduct of the police. By the 1980s, most people familiar with the case were convinced of Hauptmann's complete innocence. Many denied the murder, believing that the Lindbergh baby remained alive. Several men claimed to be the firstborn son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, one of whom sued to claim his share of the Lindbergh estate after Charles Lindbergh's death in 1974.
Another group held that the kidnapping was an elaborate hoax to cover up the murder of the baby by his parents. Anna Hauptmann¹s series of federal lawsuits against New Jersey and others in the mid-1980s fueled further interest in the case. Although Hauptmann's widow lost all of her lawsuits, she had won the hearts and minds of the American people before her death at the age of ninety-four.
Former FBI agent Fisher discusses the hard evidence, such as the ransom notes and the wood of the kidnapping ladder. He analyzes and debunks the various revisionist theories and presents new evidence that, coupled with the undisputed facts, prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hauptmann was guilty as charged: he kidnapped and murdered the infant son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh.
In commemorating the uprising, revolutionaries and conservatives used the same methods to promote radically different political agendas: they deployed religious imagery to characterize the political situation as a battle between good and evil, with the fate of the nation hanging in the balance, and exploited traditional gender stereotypes to portray themselves as the defenders of social order against chaos. The resulting atmosphere of polarization combined with increasing political violence to plunge the country into civil war.
Since the second quarter of the nineteenth century, changing conditions have built and emptied small and large towns across the Colorado plain. At the time when Denver was little more than an overpopulated campsite along Cherry Creek there were numerous other settlements to the east and south, each with its own dreams of growth, gold or silver strikes, railroad connections, and rising influence over the surrounding territory. In Ghosts of the Colorado Plains, Eberhart traces some 150 of these ill-fated settlements, providing accounts of their birth, peak activity, and ultimate demise.
As early trapping, mining, cattle, farming, and transportation industries brought successive waves of “easterners” into the territory, they created some of the most colorful communities of their time. The trail towns Boston and Trail City were reputed to be two of the roughest towns in the entire west. Real estate schemers and promoters offered dreams of civilization and respectability in the “cow towns.” Elsewhere, the stage stations, side of the road settlements, and farm centers arose out of the basic necessities of commerce and from a simple desire of far-flung settlers, trappers, and others for a place to congregate, celebrate, trade, brawl, and receive news from the east. Though the personalities and events which animated these communities are all but forgotten, the towns themselves are the legacy of the competing forces that opened and developed the Colorado territory.
Readers of Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps will welcome Ghosts of the Colorado Plains as an extension of Eberhart’s colorful blend of history and on-site information to a larger and much neglected area of the state. Through historical records, vignettes of personalities, and over 250 photos and 80 maps, Eberhart provides ready access to the towns and settlment sites of eastern Colorado’s past. For travelers, Ghosts of the Colorado Plains offers numerous pleasant excursions and investigations; for those less inclined to take to the field in search of artifacts and sites, the book offers fascinating glimpses of Colorado’s disappearing past.
Stories of ghostly spirits who return to this world to warn of danger, to prophesy, to take revenge, to request proper burial, or to comfort the living fascinated people in ancient times just as they do today. In this innovative, interdisciplinary study, the author combines a modern folkloric perspective with literary analysis of ghost stories from classical antiquity to shed new light on the stories' folk roots.
The author begins by examining ancient Greek and Roman beliefs about death and the departed and the various kinds of ghost stories which arose from these beliefs. She then focuses on the longer stories of Plautus, Pliny, and Lucian, which concern haunted houses. Her analysis illuminates the oral and literary transmission and adaptation of folkloric motifs and the development of the ghost story as a literary form. In her concluding chapter, the author also traces the influence of ancient ghost stories on modern ghost story writers, a topic that will interest all readers and scholars of tales of hauntings.
Grab a cozy blanket, light a few flickering candles, and enjoy the unnerving tales of Haunted Wisconsin. Gathered from personal interviews with credible eyewitnesses, on-site explorations, historical archives, newspaper reports, and other sources, these scores of reports date from Wisconsin’s early settlement days to recent inexplicable events.
You’ll read about Wisconsin’s most famous haunted house, Summerwind; three Milwaukee men who encountered the beautiful ghost of National Avenue; a phantom basketball player; a spectral horse that signaled death in the pioneer era of the Wisconsin Dells; a poltergeist in St. Croix County who attracted a crowd of more than three hundred spectators; the Ridgeway Ghost who haunts the driftless valleys of southwestern Wisconsin; a swinging railroad lantern held by unseen hands; the Ghost Island of the Chippewa Flowage; and many others. Are ghosts real? That’s for you to decide!
Now available in a Third Edition with updates and several new accounts, Haunted Wisconsin remains a favorite collection of unexplained midwestern tales, enjoyed by readers of all ages.
For thirty years David G. Campbell has explored the Amazon, an enchanting terrain of forest and river that is home to the greatest diversity of plants and animals to have ever existed, anywhere at any time, during the four-billion-year history of life on Earth.
With great artistic flair, Campbell describes a journey up the Rio Moa, a remote tributary of the Amazon River, 2,800 miles from its mouth. Here he joins three old friends: Arito, a caiman hunter turned paleontologist; Tarzan, a street urchin brought up in a bordello; and Pimentel, a master canoe pilot. They travel together deep into the rainforest and set up camp in order to survey every woody plant on a two-hectare plot of land with about as many tree species as in all of North America.
Campbell introduces us to two remarkable women, Dona Cabocla, a widow who raised six children on that lonely frontier, and Dona Ausira, a Nokini Native American who is the last speaker of her tribe's ages-old language. These pioneers live in a land whose original inhabitants were wiped out by centuries of disease, slavery, and genocide, taking their traditions and languages with them. He explores the intimate relationship between the extinction of native language and the extirpation of biological diversity. "It's hard for a people to love a place that is not defined in words and thus cannot be understood. And it's easy to give away something for which there are no words, something you never knew existed."
In elegant prose that enchants and entrances, Campbell has written an elegy for the Amazon forest and its peoples-for what has become a land of ghosts.
When did the West discover Chinese healing traditions? Most people might point to the "rediscovery" of Chinese acupuncture in the 1970s. In Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts, Linda Barnes leads us back, instead, to the thirteenth century to uncover the story of the West's earliest known encounters with Chinese understandings of illness and healing. As Westerners struggled to understand new peoples unfamiliar to them, how did they make sense of equally unfamiliar concepts and practices of healing? Barnes traces this story through the mid-nineteenth century, in both Europe and, eventually, the United States. She has unearthed numerous examples of Western missionaries, merchants, diplomats, and physicians in China, Europe, and America encountering and interpreting both Chinese people and their healing practices, and sometimes adopting their own versions of these practices.A medical anthropologist with a degree in comparative religion, Barnes illuminates the way constructions of medicine, religion, race, and the body informed Westerners' understanding of the Chinese and their healing traditions.
A searching account of nineteenth-century salvage anthropology, an effort to preserve the culture of “vanishing” Indigenous peoples through dispossession of the very communities it was meant to protect.In the late nineteenth century, anthropologists, linguists, archaeologists, and other chroniclers began amassing Indigenous cultural objects—crafts, clothing, images, song recordings—by the millions. Convinced that Indigenous peoples were doomed to disappear, collectors donated these objects to museums and universities that would preserve and exhibit them. Samuel Redman dives into the archive to understand what the collectors deemed the tradition of the “vanishing Indian” and what we can learn from the complex legacy of salvage anthropology.The salvage catalog betrays a vision of Native cultures clouded by racist assumptions—a vision that had lasting consequences. The collecting practice became an engine of the American museum and significantly shaped public education and preservation, as well as popular ideas about Indigenous cultures. Prophets and Ghosts teases out the moral challenges inherent in the salvage project. Preservationists successfully maintained an important human inheritance, sometimes through collaboration with Indigenous people, but collectors’ methods also included outright theft. The resulting portrait of Indigenous culture reinforced the public’s confidence in the hierarchies of superiority and inferiority invented by “scientific” racism.Today the same salvaged objects are sources of invaluable knowledge for researchers and museum visitors. But the question of what should be done with such collections is nonetheless urgent. Redman interviews Indigenous artists and curators, who offer fresh perspectives on the history and impact of cultural salvage, pointing to new ideas on how we might contend with a challenging inheritance.
On any given night, hundreds of guests walk the darkened streets of Colonial Williamsburg looking for ghosts. Since the early 2000s, both the museum and private companies have facilitated these hunts, offering year-round ghost tours. Critics have called these excursions a cash grab, but in truth, ghosts and hauntings have long been at the center of the Colonial Williamsburg project.
The Spirit of Colonial Williamsburg examines how the long-dead past comes alive at this living-history museum. In the early twentieth century, local stories about the ghosts of former residents—among them Revolutionary War soldiers and nurses, tavern owners and prominent attorneys, and enslaved African Americans—helped to turn Williamsburg into a desirable site for historical restoration. But, for much of the twentieth century, the museum tried diligently to avoid any discussion of ghosts, considering them frivolous and lowbrow. Alena Pirok explores why historic sites have begun to embrace their spectral residents in recent decades, arguing that through them, patrons experience an emotional connection to place and a palpable understanding of the past through its people.
It's a mystery and a ghost story, all wrapped up in one.
A newly married couple buys an old house in a small lakeshore town in West Michigan and finds it haunted by the dramatic secrets of its past inhabitants. As the couple settles in, disturbing events prompt them to investigate who those residents were, what happened to them, and why one spirit remains active. Could the Spanish influenza epidemic in the region, which resulted in the deaths of an unprecedented number of young, healthy adults in Michigan and elsewhere in 1918---19, and the resulting slew of orphans, have something to do with the spirit now haunting their house?
They are determined to discover the truth about their house, even if it jeopardizes their own safety.
One of the best-known and widely shared books about the South, Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey has haunted the imaginations of generations of delighted young readers since it was first published in 1969. Written by nationally acclaimed folklorists Kathryn Tucker Windham and Margaret Gillis Figh, the book recounts Alabama’s thirteen most ghoulish and eerie ghost legends.
Curated with loving expertise, these thirteen tales showcase both Windham and Figh’s masterful selection of stories and their artful and suspenseful writing style. In crafting stories treasured by children and adults alike, the authors tell much more than ghost tales. Embedded in each is a wealth of fact and folklore about Alabama history and the old South. “I don’t care whether you believe in ghosts,” Windham was fond of saying. “The good ghost stories do not require that you believe in ghosts.”
Millions of readers cherish memories of being chilled as teachers and parents read them unforgettable stories like “The Unquiet Ghost at Gaineswood,” about the ghost of Evelyn Carter, who fills this Demopolis antebellum mansion with midnight musical lamentations because her body wasn’t returned to her native Virginia, and “The Phantom Steamboat of the Tombigbee,” about the wreck of the steamboat Eliza Battle, which caught fire on the way to Mobile and sank one February night in 1858. People who live along the river say the flaming steamboat wreck still rises on cold nights, its cotton cargo blazing across the waves while its terrified survivors cry for help from the icy water.
The title’s “Jeffrey” refers to a friendly ghost who resides in the Windham home and who served as Windham’s unofficial collaborator in this work and the subsequent books in this popular series, all of which are now available in high-quality reproductions of their spooky originals.
Petrifying the Peach State, hosts of haints have beset the state of Georgia throughout its storied history. In Thirteen Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey, best-selling folklorist Kathryn Tucker Windham, along with her trusty spectral companion Jeffrey, introduce thirteen of Georgia’s most famous ghost stories.
Windham won hearts across the nation in her regular radio broadcasts and many public appearances. The South’s most prolific raconteur of revenants, Windham, giving new meaning to the phrase “ghost-writer,” does more than tell ghost stories—she captures the true spirit of the place.
Evoking Georgia’s colonial era, “The Eternal Dinner Party” explains why the sounds of an elegant dinner soirée still waft from the grove of Savannah’s Bonaventure estate. At the onset of the Revolution, the Tattnall family abandoned Bonaventure and slipped away to England. Young Josiah Tattnall eventually returned to fight in the Revolution, restored Bonaventure, and later became Georgia’s governor. One holiday eve, when the mansion was bedecked with magnolia and holly and crowded with visitors, a fire too large to control swept through the old house. Tattnall, exhibiting his cool head and impeccable manners, ordered the massive dinner table carried out to the garden where he enjoined his holiday revelers to continue their stately meal. The melancholy strains of Tattnall’s dinner guests still echo through Bonaventure’s ancient oaks on moonlight nights.
In “The Ghost of Andersonville,” Windham takes visitors near the woebegone Confederate prisoner-of-war camp. A plaque there still recounts the tale of Swiss immigrant and Confederate captain Henry Wirz. Convicted—many thought wrongly—of war crimes, Wirz’s restless ghost still perambulates the highways of south Georgia. Writing for the Georgia Historical Commission, Miss Bessie Lewis quips in her preface to this beloved collection, “Who should be better able to tell of happenings long past than the ghosts of those who had a part in them?”
A perennial favorite, this commemorative edition restores Thirteen Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey to the ghastly grandeur of its original 1973 edition.
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