Sunday, March 29, 2009

Introduction and FAQ

Hello, and welcome to Sluggo's House of Spookiness. Although structured as a blog, I don't operate this site as a standard blog. There are three basic purposes to this site:

1) To catalogue the ghost stories that I have collected over the years,

2) To share these stories with anyone who is interested, and

3) To invite readers to submit their own stories to me so that I might expand this collection.

Each entry is structured in a format that includes three or four parts: the story itself, a commentary on the story, some stories contain additional features (videos, special photos, etc.), and a sources section that cites my information sources and links to them whenever they are visible on the website.

While most readers will probably be interested in the stories themselves, it's the commentaries that are the meat of the entries from my point of view. Most stories have something odd or unique about them that make them interesting to me, and the commentary is where I explore this. Sometimes I simply discuss what makes the story effective as a creepy tale, other time I will discuss how it fits into common types of ghost stories, other times I will discuss how hoaxes or exaggeration came to be seen as truth, sometimes I will discuss why common explanations for a particular tale don't seem to fit, and so on. The point is that both those who want to believe and those who are skeptical are welcome, and will hopefully find something to enjoy.

Also, as I started this blog to catalogue my stories, entries are frequently updated as more information is gathered, photographs taken, outside resources located, etc. With each entry subject to change, check out your favorite ones from time to time to see if there is something new.

Below are the frequently asked questions (FAQ), which will be updated:

Q: Do you know who owns haunted property X?

A: If I know who owns a property, and I feel that it is appropriate to post that information, you will find it in the main post. Generally, I will post ownership information if the place in question is both a business and is owned by a company or a single large landholder (so, if a strip mall is owned by Warren Buffet or the Pepsi Corporation, I'll post that information), but I will not post ownership info if it is owned by a small property owner (such as a local individual or family) or if the location is somebody's home. Basically, Warren Buffet can afford to deal with you should you get caught trespassing (which you shouldn't do), but the smith family down the street may not have the money to do so. So, if it is not posted in the main entry, I either do not know the ownership, or I do not feel that it is appropriate to put that information in this forum and I will not email it to anyone.

Q: Is it alright to comment on old posts?

A: Absolutely, please do so. As stated above, I view all entries as living and open to revision - feel free to comment, and I may incorporate your comments into the body of the entry.

Q: Why are comments moderated?

A: Primarily because I figured that visitors to a ghost story blog wouldn't be interested in reading the Viagra ads that were getting posted in comments before I changed the moderation settings. Partially because a few inappropriate comments (see below) were posted and I had to deal with them.

Q: Why didn't you publish my comment?

A: It might be one of two reasons: 1) the comment didn't come through to me (Blogspot is good about alerting me to comments needing moderation, but it may slip up on occasion), or 2) the comment was inappropriate. Comments are considered inappropriate if they are off-topic (the commenter wants to talk politics and not ghost stories, for example), if they are abusive (if you are more interested in name-calling than in discussing an issue), or if they are needlessly offensive (you are making racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted comments, etc.). Of course, I also reserve the right to publish inappropriate comments and to provide my own sarcastic responses. So, if you want to be abusive, remember that I have several siblings and alot of practice with comebacks and I get to decide what gets published here.

Q: Do you even believe in ghosts/the paranormal?

A: I have always felt that this question indicated that the person asking misses the entire point of this site. I am less interested in the question of whether or not ghosts, demons, spirits, monsters, etc. are real than I am in the stories themselves. So, first and foremost, I am interested in these stories as stories, and I have been known to tell stories that I know for a fact are false just to creep someone else out. Whether you believe or not, ghost stories are a wonderful part of our folklore.

But, if you insist on an answer, then I will oblige. I believe that people have weird experiences that they do not understand. That doesn't mean that these experiences can't be explained, but the person having them doesn't know the explanation. Many ghost stories become easily comprehensible when you understand how our eyes function, how our brain processes sound, what happens to us physiologically when we sleep and when we wake up, etc. I often hear people speak as authorities on the paranormal who, when quizzed, know little to nothing about how human perception works, which means that they are talking without even the most rudimentary knowledge of their subject. That is just plain dishonest.

Some experiences, however, can't be easily explained. Even when you account for weird perceptions and even people just making stories up, there are some truly odd stories out there. Will the explanation be paranormal? Perhaps, but until the explanation is truly found it is simply dishonest to claim that it will be anything in particular. In other words, if you don't know what caused a phenomenon, that doesn't make the phenomenon a ghost, it simply makes it unexplained.

So, I don't rule ghosts out, but we need to keep a sense of honesty and perspective and not assume that we know something that we don't actually know. However, I always go with probability, and if an event sounds an awful lot like a well-known natural phenomenon, then I will probably point that out.

Q: Do you want to hear my ghost story?

A: ABSOLUTELY! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD YES! If you have a story - whether a personal experience or a local legend or something that your grandmother told you - I want it. Please, email it to me at

Q: Do you have any stories from my location?

A: Possibly, and feel free to ask. However, you are in a better position to gather stories for your local area than I am. If you do find anything good, though, please pass it on. I'll make sure that you get credit should I write a post about it. And if you find anything new that I should add to existing entries, please let me know.

Q: why don't you post more often?

A: Because I have a more-than-full-time job, a family, several other hobbies, and a large network of friends and extended family. In other words, I'm a busy monkey.  I have very little time these days, as much as I would like to post more. So, yeah, I now post sporadically, sometimes once a year, sometimes once  a month. I have a backlog of partially-written entries that are in various stages of readiness, and when time allows I work on them.