A few days ago, I received some welcome presents for my birthday from my sister, in the form of three separate paperbacks from the 1970s dealing with the subject of ghosts and hauntings. I already have great piles of books like these here in my study, but I cannot get enough of them and I find their contents endlessly fascinating.
In our current Age of Enlightenment and the Internet, I come across a seemingly endless stream of proponents of science and the scientific method, who bluntly state that ghosts do not exist. Such a statement flies in the face of millennia of recorded human existence, as well as my own experiences over the course of five decades or so, because ghosts patently do exist. As to what a ghost is, I could not possibly say, but I suspect there are several varieties or species of such things, whatever they may be.
I long ago grew tired of the subject of ghosts on the internet, most likely because the majority of sites I’ve encountered seem to be the domains of ‘ghost hunters’ and as such, are devoid of almost anything of interest to me. The paperbacks I’ve referred to, however, are all full of carefully-recorded accounts given by men, women and sometimes children, with references informing me that one appeared in a such and such a local paper, with a date provided, or that another was recorded by some public figure in some otherwise obscure book.
As I’ve said on several occasions, I don’t believe I have a psychic bone in my body, but this hasn’t prevented me seeing, hearing, smelling and very occasionally touching some ‘thing’ for which I have no rational explanation, while the actions and appearances of these many ‘things’ do not seem to conform to any reason or natural laws that I’m aware of. The bizarre and largely unpredictable nature of what I’ll call for convenience’ sake ‘hauntings’ has always baffled me, so it’s been reassuring and intriguing to read the accounts of many other people who have shared my puzzlement or disbelief at what they’d encountered.
I’ve been growing increasingly interested in the tales of spectral dogs in Britain, which are mostly black, but not always. The most famous of these manifestations is perhaps Black Shuck of the East of England and over the years, I’ve read everything I can about these apparitions, so I was gratified to learn of another description in one of the books I’ve been given of Black Shuck as “The Hateful Thing”. My own experience of black dogs in Britain has been entirely benign and indeed rewarding, but it’s clear that some varieties or manifestations of these strange British apparitions have put the Fear of God into some of those unfortunate enough to encounter them.
So, as the Witching Hour is now upon us, it seems appropriate to retire from my laptop to lose myself in the contents of one of my books on ghosts.