What makes a good ghost story? That depends.
I’ve recently started watching Celebrity Ghost Stories. The show is well done; the celebrities, when I know who they are, make their real-life stories compelling. That said, some stories are, of course, better than others.
My criterion for a good ghost story is: you can’t poke too many holes in it. What are your criteria?
A typical example of ones that are open to question involves people awaking from sleep when their ghostly encounter occurs. It naturally makes me wonder if they’re still not in a dream state when they see their apparitions. I know something about this, because I’ve had some scary experiences but still can’t be sure if I was still in that dream-like state or not. So understand, I’m not discounting anybody’s story – just pointing out the obvious other possibilities, if only to myself.
Here’s one Celebrity Ghost Story that I felt had some questions, involving actor Kevin Sorbo. He related his encounter with a legendary apparition of a bride near a lake that I believe was in Minnesota. However, the nature of his encounter led me to at least wonder if he hadn’t in fact, seen a real person – albeit a very, very strange one – walking along the highway, given that he didn’t mention anything like a floating, translucent quality or her disappearing before his eyes, for example. Here’s a portion of that show.
Now here’s a Good Ghost Story:
One Celebrity Ghost story did meet my criteria. The celebrity in question was talk show host Dick Cavett. With a lifetime of public credibility behind him, the source in this case is very good. Cavett’s story, in brief, was this: many years ago, he and his wife were visiting her college friend in Virginia. The friend lived on her family’s large country estate, with rolling hills, horse stables, etc., described as an old southern mansion; you get the picture.
The gathering was about 10 to 12 people he’d mostly just met before dinner. Cavett excused himself to use the bathroom, which was apparently was described to him as a fair distance with so many lefts and right in the large estate that he joked he almost asked for a map. On his way back from the bathroom, he got a little lost in the big house and wound up in a small drawing room, where he encountered a woman. She was dressed in riding gear, with her back to him, gazing at pictures and trophies on a mantle place. He spoke to her, apologizing for intruding on her. She turned and looked at him but said nothing in reply.
Cavett described himself as having an “odd” feeling right about then. When he returned to the dinner table, he asked innocently if the lady would be joining the rest of the party for dinner. There was a strange silence for a moment from the family members. After a few questions, Cavett’s wife’s friend turned to her father and said something that Cavett says still chills him every time he recalls it: “Daddy, she’s back.”
Cavett was taken to a room in the house where he saw a painting of the lady, a relative, and identified her. He was told she had died in a riding accident some 30 years before but still haunts the house.
Cavett wasn’t emerging from sleep, and others in the family had seen the woman previously. I’d say that’s pretty good story. You can watch the entire episode here. Cavett is in the first segment. The one with Monica Keena, which comes later, is pretty scary and interesting, too.
Hope you enjoyed the read. And we didn’t mean to scare you (okay, maybe we did – a little).
Bye for now,