And now for something completely different. Is your church haunted? Do you ever encounter the apparitions of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, or Adlai Stevenson?
There’s a show on Sci-Fi Channel called Ghost Hunters, and in their first season they investigated a (former) Unitarian church that had been converted into a residential home. Apparently the owners have seen strange figures and the church bell rings on its own. Growing up UU, telling ghost stories was a common activity, especially at church lock-ins or on church camp retreats in the summertime. Every time the heat kicked on and the church pipes started knocking in the sanctuary late at night, the kids would shriek. Likewise the cemetery behind the church was a place of enticement, excitement, and low-level terror.
This ghost-hunting craze that has been growing in popularity is a modern-day descendant of the Spiritualist movement, which the Universalists were involved in big-time back in the 19th century. Nowadays investigators use high-tech gadgetry unavailable to earlier ghost hunters: they’ve gone from table-rapping and seances to infra-red cameras and digital recorders. But a lot of the same impulses seem to survive: the wish for confirmation of an afterlife, the desire for re-connection with lost loved ones, the thrill of the unknown, the amateur scientific search to expand the frontiers of human knowledge, as well as the fame and profit that can be built in such atmospheres.
Your intrepid blog-host is a skeptic who, despite having a massive trove of memorized childhood ghost stories stored up, has never been very impressed by the evidence for supposed spooks. But perhaps you’ve had other experiences–scary, silly, touching, or just plain weird–that you’d like to share. Or you’ve just got a doozy of a ghost story that you remember telling around the campfire.
So please feel free to post here ghost stories that you’ve been told or paranormal encounters that you’ve had, or, as often happens in these situations, that your cousin’s wife’s teacher’s aunt’s friend’s roommate’s brother’s daughter SWEARS happened to her at a time and place that no one can quite pin down. Stories from Unitarian-Universalists are most sought because this is a field of research (UUs and the paranormal) that is virtually untapped from an academic standpoint (despite the presence of the UU Psi Symposium), but fellow travelers are welcome to share as well.