Giving Up the Ghost (Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! #7.5)
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Page 3 by William P. Tandy
Page 5 by Joe Kibelbek
Come Back to the Five and Dime...
Page 7 by Davida Gypsy Breier
The Lachrymose Angel
Page 9 by Susan Beverly
Page 11 by Colette Bauer
A Small Patch
Page 12 by J. Gavin Heck
Page 15 by Lisa Grayman
Playing Cards with a Man Called Doc
Page 16 by Melissa Rowell & Amy Lynwander
Otherworlds a Stage
Page 18 by Kimberley Lynne
On Church Road
Page 21 by Chris Haraway
Blue Mountain Road
Page 24 by Susan Beverly
Baltimore Ghosts and History
Page 26 by Ed Okonowicz
A Baltimore Ghost Story
Page 29 by Missi Kibelbek
The Old Hag
Page 30 by Benn Ray
The idea of publishing a special issue of Smile, Hon, Youre in Baltimore! had been rattling its chains for quite some time when, on the eve of publishing the zines seventh installment, I decided that the first such foray would be about ghosts.
And why not? Ive always loved a good ghost story and after all, like life and death, ghosts transcend all cultural boundaries, appealing to our most common, primal nature. They frighten, fascinate, amuse and sometimes even comfort.
Indeed, there was something serendipitous in the decision, for not three days later I received a last-minute submission for Issue No. 7 from Amy Lynwander, co-owner of Fells Point Ghost Tours (ironically, her story had nothing to do with the paranormal). Herself the coauthor (with business partner Melissa Rowell) of the book Baltimores Harbor Haunts: True Ghost Stories, Lynwander was keen on the idea of an issue of Smile, Hon devoted to encounters with the other side.
People on the tour are always anxious to tell us their own stories, she noted.
No more than six weeks later, the Maryland Paranormal Investigators Coalition (MD-PIC; www.marylandparanormal.com) hosted its second annual Eastern Regional Paranormal Conference in the appropriately atmospheric Davidge Hall (which, as part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is the oldest building in America still in use for purposes of medical education). Here, against this historically suitable backdrop, the MD-PIC under the guidance of its president and founder, Vincent Wilson spent three sweltering days in late July considering all angles of the paranormal from a decidedly scientific perspective.
It was at the Conference that I met Ed Okonowicz, a writer whose love of history and fascination with all things ghostly prove well-nigh inseparable (to be sure, his Baltimore Ghosts includes an engrossing chapter on the history of Davidge Hall). And with two dozen books under his belt most of which deal with history and the supernatural in the Baltimore and greater Delmarva vicinities Okonowiczs enthusiasm for the Smile, Hon project was as well-informed (not to mention appreciated) as one could wish to find.
And so, further emboldened by such endorsements, I put the word out and waited. The results (Issue No. 7.5, if you will) are documented in the following pages
Just as Smile, Hon, Youre in Baltimore! provides a platform for some of the areas lesser-known voices, so Giving Up the Ghost offers dispatches from Mobtowns haunted, twilit corners many of which are closer than you might think.
In all truth, I suppose everything (or at least everyone) is haunted in some fashion, by ghosts of one form or another. We are all haunted by the past: people, places and deeds that linger intangibly in the minds eye long after two good blinks and a protracted rubbing of the eyes.
Indeed, carried far enough, this notion seems to suggest that it is not places that are haunted so much as people. Which presents the perennial question: if a thing goes bump in the night, and there is no one there to hear it, was it really there at all?
It is wonderful, Boswell quotes of Johnson, that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it, but all belief is for it.
And who really knows for sure? Certainly not you or me, or even the storytellers herein. At least, not exactly not yet
But our time will come, for one day we will haunt some unborn generation, which itself will likely be no closer to a consensus than are we, for as man paves his way to the stars there will be no shortage of dark and hidden corners left unlit by our technical ingenuity a collective cavernous void, just beyond the firelight, that echoes our imagination. And our fears.
As for myself, well I look forward to scaring the hell out of someone.Someday.
Copyright 2005 by William P. Tandy September 2005
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