Mystic Magic: Haunting Places

Photo taken by Grace Cavanaugh

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     It is officially Spooky Season! While winter is my favorite season, there is something about a warm drink, a nip in the air, and the turning trees that gets me.

     This past weekend, my boyfriend and I drove up to Maine for a wedding. During the 14 hour trip, the trees went from Virginia’s just starting to turn to New York’s autumn prime.

     We also passed through a bunch of small towns, the kind that are void of life after 8 p.m. and that are stuffed to the brim with local businesses. I love the houses and, even though I am no longer Christian, I love the churches too. The look of something old, that has been taken care of this long, just gets me.

     Combined with the small, old cemeteries, however, it gives me that great haunted vibe. When I saw old cemeteries, think super thin headstones and wrought iron gates. The kind of cemeteries you would see in ghost movies.

     Coincidentally, Maine is also where Stephen King and the like set their stories: in the mountains, in a sleepy town, during this time of year. Now that I have been there, I understand.

     To get to where we were going, we took a route through Vermont and New Hampshire, which are very similar to Maine in terms of small towns that close early. The fact that most of the houses decorated for Halloween made me very happy, too. 

     All of this is to say that in one of my classes, we talked about houses and places just looking haunted, and people believing ghosts could be found in old, decrepit buildings. Most of these little towns, and in fact a lot of places considered Small Town America, they are the inspiration for urban legends and terrifying ghost stories.

     Do we ever stop and think about why, though? Why do we see a colonial house and automatically think “haunted?” Why do we not see new houses as ghostly threats?

     I like to think it is the history behind these places. Maine, and a lot of New England states, look like they have changed very little from the times of witch trials and the founding of a new country. Even in Virginia we have places like the Historic Sandusky, Williamsburg, and Jamestown that have either been rebuilt or maintained in order to preserve their history. I am sure there are similar, pre-colonial settlements that also carry a ghostly weight that I am not aware of.

     It is the presence of history, the feeling of a time long before your own, that makes a place feel haunted. Well, that and the ghosts.

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