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It’s night, and a small group surrounds our ghost tour guide in the old mill building-turned-historical museum. He explains to us how some workers there have seen ghostly legs lifting themselves into the bed in an area reconstructed to look like it did in the town’s early days.
The floor in the room hasn’t been dusted — on purpose. A chair sits in the middle of the room, the center of the seat dust-free in a pattern that suggests someone sat there not long ago.
However, footprints between the room’s barrier, the chair, and the bed were suggestively absent. A sign of ghostly activity?
At this point, I’m itching to ask several questions. Could a non-corporeal entity leave footprints? A buttprint? Does a ghost even have a butt?
But there is such a thing as a stupid question, and I don’t want to be disrespectful to our very gracious tour guide or disruptive to the group. So the question goes unasked.
He asks whether there’s an explanation for how someone could cross the gap without disturbing the dense layer of floor dust. Here, I envision a trickster employee chuckling as he does the old butt-suit-on-a-stick maneuver. Mystery buttprint accomplished!
So I’m a skeptic. While I’m willing to acknowledge there may be real things that I cannot see, I tend to be the “I’ll believe it when I see it” type. And I’ve never seen (or heard) a ghost and am generally ready to attribute any feelings of “creep” I have to the general creepy atmosphere of a place or the tendency of my mind to create stories.
At one point, one woman in our tour group becomes anxious and needs to leave to sit in her car, and I question whether I, myself, would want to see a ghost. What would I do if I did? I tend to think that even if an actual spirit came right up to me and patted me on the shoulder, I’d dismiss it as a shoulder itch.
Why take a ghost tour?
So why, oh, why do I sign up for these ghost tours?
It’s not like I do it often — it tends to either be around Halloween or when I get the chance to visit a place like York that lends itself to imagining old ghosts.
However, a skeptic like me might enjoy ghost tours for several reasons:
- Ghost tours are fun. Even if you don’t believe in the paranormal, ghost stories are entertaining. Why did we tell them at sleepovers or around campfires when we were kids? Here’s a chance to re-experience the love of listening to creepy tales.
- Ghost tours are at night. My husband generally does not share my love for ghost tours, and sometimes I like to travel alone. Ghost tours, like other night tours, can be a more comfortable way for a solo female traveler who is a bit darkness-averse to venture out after dark.
- The best ghost tours are history tours. Aside from the fun and creepy ghost stories, most ghost tours present you with some historical facts about the town you’re visiting. Could you get these from reading? Sure, but perhaps it’s more fun when accompanied by a little supernatural storytelling.
So, no need to feel embarrassed about going on ghost tours, even if you’re among the skeptical.
You can read a post about three ghost tours near Seattle here.
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