Saturday, October 4, 2014

Scary Stories

Today was constant rain. It never thundered or grew too windy. It was not too cold or too harsh, either. It was just a good rain. The kind that makes the whole day feel like a tired 3PM, from post-morning chores all the way through till dark. I wanted to do a video about meat rabbits but didn't want to film outside in the rain, so I set up the camera indoors and decided to do the best thing I could think of for a gray and soggy day: tell a scary story.

I love a good ghost story. I really do. No part of me can watch slasher films and enjoy them. I don't care for reckless murder as entertainment, but a good piece of mythology gets me all excited. It can be campy or pop art, it doesn't matter. I'll get just as excited watching the Paranormal Activity movie as I will reading Lovecraft. It's that spooky fun that gets your eyes wider and makes you curl up in a sweater under a covers and quiver a little.

The paranormal has always been pretty normal for me, meaning my interest in it - not my experiences. I have had one truly horrifying experience and that is talked about more in the vlog post below, but first I want to talk about the scary stories you think of when October turns rainy and the mind wanders.

So, I don't have any creepy stories of growing up, I just always remember a love for folklore and mythology. Both my elementary school and public school libraries had decent occult sections and I remember a book called "How to find a ghost" a children's guide to paranormal investigation that fascinated and terrified me. It had cartoons and charts in it for drawing chalk lines around chair legs and such, but what intrigued me was the authors frankness for what I considered extraordinary. So I remember that book, and the infamous "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" series. Watching "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" on Snick and memorizing the first segment of Poe's The Raven. This makes me sound like Wednesday Adams but I was more of a little hobbit, always in the woods. Always going on small adventures. Always around dogs.

It's late and I'm not sure what the point of this post is besides the observation that rainy days heading towards colder weather make me crave a good tale, and they remind me how much I always craved it. I feel lucky to have grown up in my own version of Sunnydale, with great reference and just enough small town superstition to make this month a little magic. In the video I say I don't celebrate Halloween, but that doesn't mean I don't savor the 31st. Samhain is a big deal and matters very much. There's a special dinner here with friends, and it is beautiful. It's an important day for sure but you won't find rubber masks, fake blood, slutty costumes or tombstone-shaped cookies on a platter while The Monster Mash plays. Samhain is a different vibe, more of a harvest festival mixed with a wake, but special. And while I don't expect ghosts to show (nor will I be tracing chair legs), there's a little spark of my childhood reading habits that makes me believe they could. I'm okay with some whimsy in my life, even if I'm hiding under the covers when it happens.

So here is a story about ghosts on this farm. And I hope you enjoyed your rainy days, wherever they take you!

P.S. If you like stories of the unusual, there are some great podcasts out there. My favorite of all time is the now debunked, Hometown Tales. That podcast is still available to download and tells urban legends and folklore from all over the world. Gene and Bryan, of New Jersey, do an amazing job and I can't recommend them enough. The new Jessica Chobot show (of Nerdist News) is called Bizarre States and I enjoy it a lot as well.


Blogger Victoria Nidetch said...

Awesome story Jenna loved it.

October 4, 2014 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Vicki Alderman-Watt said...

I have to tell you that I really enjoy your vlogs, especially this one.

October 5, 2014 at 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that story. Hearing about Samhain from you peaked my curiosity. So, last year, on October 31 I went to the cemetery where my parents and sister are buried. Now, mind you, I don't visit their grave on a regular basis. I don't feel a need to remember them there, they are always in my heart, but when I read on your blog that the veil between the two worlds is thinnest on that day, I thought I'd check things out.

I stood at their grave waiting or a sign, any sign that they were present. I was hoping to see them. I did not but I did start to cry. I could not physically feel them but memories and longing came to the surface. I missed them terribly and longed for the time back so I could tell them all the things I never got to say while they were alive. I finally stopped crying and felt relief. So, although I didn't get to see them I truly believe they were there, standing around me, comforting me. I will be there again this October 31.

October 5, 2014 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Awesome story!

October 5, 2014 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Elle said...

Cat H, that is a very moving story, hope this year your visit to your people is just as healing. Jenna, that was SUPERB! I had goosebumps, and then..."he barked." Just about wet my pants. I grew up with all sorts of haint stories, but Halloween's become Samhain for us now, too.

October 5, 2014 at 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a story-teller! You had me hooked all along, and then I laughed out loud at the end. Good one, Jenna!

October 5, 2014 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

we have a goest in the barn. he did not like me too much when we first moved in, but i told him off; told him it was my place now and i would do what i pleased with it and now he grudgingly lets me be....

October 5, 2014 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Lily Blue said...


I have tried for the last couple of months to find a way to contact you in order to tell you that the article you wrote for Taproot Magazine, The Invisible Light, touched me so deeply and spoke to my soul. I have since shared the article with so many others, every time unable to recite the words without crying due to the yearning I feel to live authentically and leave the city for my true calling closer to land. Your article has been a mantra for me these last few months, and a guiding light reminding me to listen to my heart and to never lose my light. Thank you for sharing your story. -Lindsay

October 6, 2014 at 1:13 AM  
Blogger Deltaville Jamie said...

I remember reading all those old ghost books at the library. Back then all the paranormal investigation books were from the 50's and 60's, it wasn't really a popular thing when I was growing up, but that didn't stop me from wanting to be one. I started doing investigations the second I could drive to Gettysburg Battlefield. Been doing them ever since (nearly 23 years). I have an investigation coming up in a couple of weeks at a house where a murder supposedly happened on the property... spooky. I loved the vlog, loved the story!

October 6, 2014 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Peacemom said...

Ah, Jenna I could light you up with some of the experiences that I've had in my humble life with the paranormal. Perhaps someday I'll get over your way and we can share a cold hard cider and tell ghost stories. This was a great one, thank you! ~Vonnie, NH

October 6, 2014 at 1:28 PM  

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