With Halloween on Wednesday, we thought it is fitting to ask a question that is sure to produce a lively debate on the supernatural.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Most Americans probably know at least one ghost story. Some of us will be telling a few of them this week.
Halloween night will also find children dressed in white and yelling “Boo!” Adults, too, will be costuming themselves as specters.
But our fascination with ghosts doesn’t necessarily end on Nov. 1. Over the centuries, there have been scores of books, plays, songs and movies that feature a ghost in the plot. Even Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” was fundamentally a ghost story.
Today, there’s a slew of reality TV shows on cable that follow the exploits of people who investigate reports of ghosts and paranormal behavior.
One of the most popular is “Ghost Hunters” on the SyFy channel. Team members recently trekked to Rialto Square Theater in Joliet, Ill., where they investigated the reported hauntings of a little boy in the theater, as well as a woman dressed in white in the balcony.
Tennessee’s most famous ghost story also involves a witch, which is doubly spooky. According to the tale, a bitter spirit took up residence sometime in 1817 on a farm in Adams, which is a community about an hour’s drive from Nashville. The ghost is believed to be Kate Batts, a hermit who felt she was cheated on a land deal by the owner of the farm, John Bell.
The apparition punished Bell by tormenting his children with slaps and hair pulls and by bedeviling him with a mysterious illness.
There are also a few ghost stories closer to home that have remained popular over the years. Roan Mountain is the haunting ground of a female ghost who jumps on the bumpers of cars that pass by a cemetery near Dark Hollow Road.
The energetic specter is the ghost of Delinda, a lascivious young lady who was supposedly killed more than a century ago by the jealous wife of a male companion.
In Johnson County, the sound of a lonesome fiddle has been heard coming from a spot known as Rattlesnake Rock.
According to legend, the music is coming from a violin being played by a ghost named Martin, who in life was a talented fiddle player killed while trying to charm rattlesnakes on a rocky ledge.
Two men found Martin’s corpse and buried the fiddler near the spot.
As the two were returning to town, they heard the sound of a fiddle coming from mountain.
We want to hear from you. Do you believe in ghosts? And if you have had a personal encounter with the paranormal, please tell us about it.
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification purposes. We will print your comments on the Editorial and Commentary pages in the coming weeks.