In Love Spells and Other Disasters, Rowan’s world is saturated with the strange and unusual. Her mom is a parapsychologist and on a never-ending quest to reconnect with the ghost of Rowan’s dad. Rowan is a non-believer, mainly because she thinks that all of the strange things that happen around her mom are just coincidences and easily explainable.
It got me thinking about what I would do if someone I loved was a paranormal investigator. Would I be able to suspend my disbelief? Would I be open to experiencing the odd things that Rowan’s mom is constantly searching for?
My answer: YES! The brave version of me would be all over that! I’d be right there with Dr. Marshall, sitting in on her aura mapping and meeting with the mediums she works with. I’d be in the graveyard with her detecting ghosts and I’d happily answer all her fan mail if only to read all the different things that other people believe and have experienced.
The not so brave version of me would be hiding under the covers and ignoring the uncanny occurrences of Dr. Marshall and Rowan’s world.
When I wrote this book, I was thinking about all of the things that would scare me and also intrigue me. I was thinking about the experiences I’ve had with my students over the years and how they would react to Rowan’s reality. Would they become believers? Or would they treat the situation just as Rowan does, with “logic” and skepticism?
When I was a new teacher, I was gifted with a very challenging class. There were 35 students crammed into a tight room with very little space to move. I’d been warned that there would be a lot of behavioral challenges with this particular group and I saw the truth of that on the first day. My solution was to default to my skills as a storyteller. As a reward for getting work done, I would tell my students ghost stories (some true, some not) — nothing too scary, of course. Not only did they love the stories, but they were all so open to sharing their own ghostly experiences. This became my legacy and I still get asked to tell ghost stories to this day. I run into long-graduated students and they always ask if I’m still telling ghost stories and if those stories were ever real. The power of using storytelling as a classroom management strategy really influenced my teaching practice in general but the topic of hauntings and ghostly encounters really intrigued my students. Which makes me think that if they were in Rowan’s shoes, they most likely would be believers instead of skeptics.
When I had the privilege of travelling to Scotland with a group of senior students years ago, some of us signed up for a ghost tour in the catacombs of Edinburgh. I’m not going to lie, it was scary to be in those underground tunnels and, at one point, one of the other teachers wanted to stay behind in the dark to take some pictures. I stayed with her for maybe two seconds before I got totally freaked out and ran out of there to follow the students who had wisely moved with the light. My teacher friend got some interesting pictures with orbs floating around and even though she was scared being in there alone, she said that she’d do it again in a heartbeat. The most wonderful part of that tour was hearing the haunting accent of our guide and the chilling stories she told us made goosebumps rise and the hairs on my neck get all tingly. I’d love to go back…any maybe next time I’ll have the courage to stay behind in the dark and listen to the ghosts that may be there. My students wanted no part of the darkness of the catacombs. When faced with the possible reality of a haunted place rather than just the story, my students suddenly didn’t want to be believers at all. They just wanted to get out of there.
Fear is definitely a motivator and when faced with the possible reality of a ghostly encounter rather than just the stories of them, sometimes our bravery hops on a train and gets the heck out of there.
What do you all think of ghostly things? Do you have stories about the strange and unusual?
Would you be brave enough to stay behind in a supposedly haunted place? Would fear prevent you from experiencing the strange and unusual?
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