Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ghosts Are Good For Business, Part 1

There’s a huge construction project currently underway at Liverpool station in London. Not particularly newsworthy, except for one thing: thousands of humans are buried there.

The bones, dated to the sixteenth century, are believed to be those of plague victims or the unfortunate inmates of the Bedlam Insane Asylum.  It’s like something out of an Edgar Allen Poe novel, and the world is riveted!

The timing of this find makes it spine-tingly fun. We’re nearing fall, Halloween is around the corner, and let’s face it: ghosts have never been more popular. Have you turned on your TV lately? There are currently 42 paranormal TV shows in America alone. 42!

I’m from a tiny town in Nebraska. Last October, in an effort to bolster interest in our local pioneer museum, the museum’s Board of Directors hired a “ghost hunting” crew from nearby Hastings, Nebraska to spend the night in the museum and report on any ghostly goings-ons.  The Board was nervous. Would anyone show up for the program? Would the investment pay off? Long story short, the place was packed, standing room only. Apparently ghosts are good for business.

I, too, am fascinated by the idea of ghosts. That, and a love of history, led me to sign up for a cemetery class offered by our local community college.  The class is offered twice a year, once in the fall, once in the spring. The romantic in me wanted to take it in the fall when the leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and harvest is all around us. That didn’t work out, so I signed up for the spring class instead. On an absolutely perfect Saturday in April 2013, I showed up, notebook in hand, at the Prairie Home Cemetery in Holdrege, Nebraska.

Prior to arrival, I was a little worried. What if I was the only one who signed up for this class? What does it say about me that I’m interested in cemeteries? Turns out, I fretted needlessly. Sixteen “normal” people were waiting happily in the warm morning sunshine to learn something about death and our way of dealing with it. What happened next BLEW MY MIND! Stay tuned……