Monday, July 4, 2016

Ghosts Don't Do Statistics

I am sitting in my office, looking out at a sunny street, shadows from a sun that is high in the summer sky since it's just past noon, watching small insects zig and zag just past my window. There is a breeze blowing, and the trees are nodding with it, looking languid and almost sleepy. It's July and it's time for watermelon, fireworks, and scorching hot beaches.

And I wonder to myself, is there a haunting going on somewhere else in the world? 

There are no statistics for hauntings, although I think they would be interesting to compile if there was only a way to do it. Can you imagine? According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2014, worldwide 361,481 babies were born per day, working out to 251 per minute on the planet. According to the New York Daily News, in 2013, Ford sold almost 2.5 million vehicles. That works out to roughly 6,849 vehicles sold per day, or 4.8 per minute. (I love statistics like this! They're so much fun to try to imagine!) 

However, there are no fun statistics about hauntings per day, anywhere in the world, at least, not on record that I could find. I know. I Googled it. I did find lists of purportedly haunted places around the globe, some of which are new to me (which is as much fun as statistics! Wow! A new place to read about!). But no one has ever tried to count how many times someone ran into an apparition at, say, Gettysburg. Or London Tower. Or Waverly Hills Sanitorium. And what a pity.

I have no idea how anyone could keep track of this, although I know that a lot of historic sites conduct ghost tours and are used to people talking about apparitions and disturbances. I have actually been in places where they have log books so that visitors can record their own paranormal experiences. But as far as I know, no one has ever decided to organize the data in any particular way. I wish they would.

I would love to see an article or book that reels off stats like "There are 8.5 ghostly visitations per day at Little Big Horn," or "The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum clocks in at the most haunted site in the U.S.: 8 to 10 sightings per minute!" Would that make you more likely to run in for a visit, or run in the other direction? I must admit that which way I turned would depend on what time of day or night it was, and who was with me. I love ghost stories, but I'm a paranormal coward underneath it all. Really.

Still, there are such things as hauntings on a schedule. A friend told me about an apartment in Chicago where the bedroom door would shut itself every night at ten o'clock. He could have set his watch to it. And the time he experimented by having the door already closed at that particular hour, the door opened itself, and then shut. That's a well-regulated haunting.

The house I grew up with had it's own witching or dark hours, as it were. They started at ten-thirty every night and ended at one in the morning. I know because I clocked the disturbances while I was up studying, trying desperately to ignore what was going on and failing pretty miserably. It's not easy to study for tests or write papers when you realize you're not alone and that something or someone unseen is very busy around you while you're trying to work. Chairs shifting, floorboards creaking, and just for fun, the occasional loud BANG! that makes it sound like someone shoved a dresser over onto its side. But like that apartment my friend had, I could have set my watch to the activity in my house, also.

But schedules are not stats and I'd so love to know if there is any site anywhere that compiles this kind of information. So if anyone out there knows of paranormal statistics along this line, I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment, or hit my email off of my website. I'd swap you a story for your information!

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