Given my recent post, and consequently my "incorporeal blogger" status, I've been thinking about the whole deal, and my thoughts turned to ghosts.
Growing up, I did not have much fascination with ghost stories, and unlike many kids my age, I was not into Goosebumps. I consider myself as having a fairly vivid imagination, however the typical scary stories were not my cup of tea. It was not a matter of being freaked out, just a lack of interest.
However, I eventually came to learn of other ghost stories, ones that seemed far more real. These were the stories of legends and tales told in communities and families. In New Mexico, there is of course La Llorona, a story I became familiar with at a young age despite the fact that the culture in which I was raised did not tell the story to children for its most common purpose: encouraging good behavior and wise decisions. I did hear it told as a story, though.
The stories I find myself most absorbed in are those that are actual rumors of ghosts, told by people who see them during their everyday lives. New Mexico has its share of such stories, and some towns are even well known for them. Madrid, a tiny town on the east side of the Sandia mountains (opposite Albuquerque), is an old mining town that has its own tales. Santa Fe, the state capitol, also has a few local ghosts who are famous. I am not familiar with these particular ones.
The ones I have heard more about are those on campus at my school. Many staff people around the school have reported seeing ghosts. The two most famous are these:
1. In one of the classroom buildings, which used to be an old dormitory, there is a ghost of a football player. He has been seen in the basement, near the bathrooms and elevators. Story has it that he was a successful player, but somewhat of a partyer. One night he had had a tad too much to drink, and was impatiently waiting for the elevator. He decided to take matters into his own hands, opening up the doors and peering up the elevator shaft to see where it was. The answer was "almost there" as it descended directly upon him. Though the year is not known for sure, it seems this happened about 70 years ago, or thereabouts.
2. The biggest library on campus spans seven stories. From ground level, it rises four stories. The rest of the building is in basement space. The first basement level is nice, and overall is a pleasant environment. The next two basement levels are much different. You can feel how far below the ground you are by the musty air about the place. It is in the lower basements where I ghost is said to live, a former librarian. She hangs around and wanders the shelves and the stacks.
Usually, every year around Halloween, someone or other sponsors a ghost hunt, and gathers a group of people to wander campus in search of them. These folks are a bit kooky, to say the least, and there methods of searching are questionable, to say the least. Most of the "sightings" they seem to have are random, and they lead you around to certain spots only to emerge where you started, and to suddenly spot the ghost.
I am not very interested in the hunts themselves, or seeing for myself any of these ghosts I've heard about. I enjoy these stories because they remind me of the not-so-distant past. And when I think about them, I am reminded just how much things change in a short time.