By Diane Goldstein, Sylvia Grider, Jeannie Banks Thomas
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Additional info for Haunting Experiences: Ghosts in Contemporary Folklore
We consume ghosts in these contemporary forms as readily as we continue to tell ghost stories. We like ghosts because they simultaneously transport us to other worlds and possibilities and also because they point us back toward issues of interest in our cultures. Ghosts and the Environment: Pirates and Spook Lights I find the study of folklore particularly engaging because it draws my attention to aspects of the world around me that I might otherwise miss. An awareness of folklore makes seeing and taking in the world a more intense and richer experience.
It opens the door to the otherworldly and spiritual; it proffers communion, which is often felt and understood in idiosyncratic ways. Because ghost stories deal with profound metaphysical issues and possibilities, they offer—should one choose it—an enticing, personal, and intense experience. Religious narratives and experiences can offer similar experiences, but ghost legends come with fewer strings attached—one does not have to accept religious principles, participate in an organized group, donate tithes, or even believe in order to feel the pleasant rush of possibility offered by a good ghost story.
If the mines were working steady, his Saturday payday would be considerable; if the mines were idle, poor Malcolm invariably took a hit. It was reasoned by many that he never turned his back on a customer, and when he turned the business over to son Freddie, tens of thousands of The Usefulness of Ghost Stories 41 Figure 2: MacLellan’s store, where a Cape Breton ghost owed a debt, is typical of the mundane spaces associated with traditional ghosts. Inverness, Nova Scotia. (Photo by Jeannie Banks Thomas) dollars remained on his books, never to be collected” (Gillis and MacDonald 2004, 232).