Sunday, November 15, 2009

How Ghost Stories Transport

In researching a topic for my final project, I learned of a few ghost stories that seem to repeat themselves throughout history, and in different locations. I found it interesting to try to trace the origins of ghost stories and see how tales change and multiply, and spread around the US.

Have you ever heard of a a story of a haunted bridge where a school bus crashed, and now the ghosts of the children will push your car to safety if it stalls on the bridge? I know I grew up near one such bridge, on a road called Blood's Point near Rockford, IL (I'll post more about this location in another blog). Rumor states a school bus of children crashed off of the bridge. Now, if you go to the bridge and put your car in neutral, the ghosts of the children who died supposedly push you across the bridge to safety. The theory is supposed to be further proved if you put baby powder on the back of your car, because afterwards you will see the children's handprints.

I went to the bridge one night and put the car in neutral. Nothing happened (darn). I didn't do the baby powder thing because I read that it's really just the oils from your hands when you shut your trunk that make the prints. Later, I researched this story, and was surprised to find that the exact same story takes place all over the US! In Arizona, in California, and in Ohio, just to name a few places. Maybe this crash did happen somewhere, but it wasn't on Blood's Point Road. I thought it was funny how this story transfered around.

A second example. A friend of mine was telling me about a phantom hitchhiker that supposedly appears near his house (also in Rockford). As he was telling me the story of this woman, it sounded incredibly familiar. Of course it was almost the exact same story as Resurrection Mary.

I can imagine how these stories transfer, since who doesn't want to have a good ghost story? No one can disprove the stories as well, so one kid with an overactive imagination can do quite a bit of damage in the rumor department. Anyway, I thought this was interesting to think about, how the same story can change a little but transport around in location. I'm curious if anyone else knows of ghost stories that repeat themselves around the state or the country.

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