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The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies. - Neil Gaiman
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Gotchu, Boo

While 'tis the season, it seems like we should talk ghost stories.

People tell me things. A lot.  A majority of the time, actually, they're asking me things because they're mistaking me for someone who knows or is willing to help them.  Which... ok. Sometimes, but not always.

But a respectable amount of times they tell me things and then look embarrassed and say, "I don't know why I told you that..." e.g., "I've always wanted a dolphin tattoo and my family would totally disown me if I did that because Reasons." Um, I'm sorry to hear that, nice grocery clerk lady, you're really nice and you should get a tattoo if you want one, without having to deal with familial repercussions like that... Some stories, I can't tell because people have asked me not to tell them because they're their stories and fair enough. 

The rest of them? WELL.  

When I was in college, I had a friend who made us run about a mile and a half through the woods because she was really insistent something was following us.  Which, suppose it's possible, we were in the woods south east of Olympia and there can occasionally be predators out there, but... generally running is the wrong response (because predator thinks 'yay! prey!')... she was *super* freaked out.  We got to the car fine.  In the car, she started telling me that aliens had kidnapped her former mother-in-law.  Great detail about weird disappearing in the woods and whatnot.  Her former mother-in-law had reappeared, and just wouldn't ever talk about what happened.  Who knows?  

Another friend told me about seeing floating lights in the woods.  I've been told about being tucked in as they were falling asleep by prior residents of houses.  Apparitions of domestic violence incidents.  And more.  I generally get one to two of this type a story each year.  

And here's the thing about these stories - these are not stories where people are pulling my leg.  I know when they're doing that.  Something happened, they don't know what it was, and our minds being human minds, map the experience to something that seems to fit the bill.  Humans really want things to *make sense*.  And things that we experience don't always make sense.  Sometimes there's things we really don't have a framework for what we experienced that helps us with our sense making.  

And most of the time people preface this with, I haven't told anyone else this because they'd never believe me.  And I'm (almost) always curious enough to find this irresistible to follow up with, "... oh yeah?"  I should really start making notes on the things people tell me a little closer to when they tell me, while the memory is fresh in my head.

Do I know what happened?  Nope!  Do I believe that they know what happened?  Not necessarily.  Do people need someone they can share these stories with who won't judge them?  Yep.  Am I always the right person?  No, probably not, but sometimes they know they can tell me and it's out before either of us catch it... but I still find their stories fascinating, most of the time (when I'm not, I can shut down the discussion pretty quickly). 

Love, Boos, and Curiosity,
--Susan
Copyright © 2017 The Mythic Librarian, All rights reserved.


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