The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Where Do Ghost Stories Come From?

It's that time of year once again, Halloween u...
It's that time of year once again, Halloween ushers in the best holiday of the Holiday season! Taken at La Mesa Oktoberfest in 2007 but still relevant every Halloween. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


        This post did not turn out like I had planned.  I was putting together a post about evil, but when I started correlating the concept not only to Halloween, but to the world in general my mind began to drift to more pleasantness.  Then I started thinking back on the Halloweens of my past.  I have some interesting memories if not totally fun ones.  Maybe the real evil can wait until another post because it's out there whether we can name it or not. No, not in this post.

        And sorry if my title led you here to read ghost stories.  I don't have any special chillers to tell you, but I just wanted to ruminate a bit on memories.  As some of you know I also have a memoir blog called Wrote By Rote which posts every Saturday (except in unique circumstances perhaps). Coming to that blog on October 31 (tomorrow on the day of this post's publication) I'll be discussing the impact that memories can have on who we are and how those memories can be channeled into writing memoir.   In other words I'll be tossing out ideas to the readers just like I do on this blog you're reading now and then hopefully we have a conversation about the topic.

        Think about how "ghosts" are often a metaphor for our memories of bygone people, things, and events.   When I think of it that way I kind of wonder how many ghost stories are actually allegories or symbolic representations of things in the author's own life.

          Oh, if you want to think on that a moment then here's some background music.   "Memories" from the musical Cats is even more beautiful than I remember.




        If you really got into that song like I did, you might want to hear it again.  How about the following version by Barbra Streisand.   I must be in some strange mellow mood tonight as I write this post.  Anyway, here's Barbra.





          Gosh this is almost like a Battle of the Bands post!  I guess you can vote on one of these if you want, but for my real official Battle of the Bands be sure to come back here this Sunday November 1st.   My song for this next round will be another one about memories, aging, and ghosts.  The song will be a far different style--and a bit scarier--than this song from Cats.  It's a song by one of my favorite rock artists.

          See you Sunday!

         What kinds of memories tend to haunt you the most?  What are the most tangible and sensate memories that you hold?    How do your memories communicate with you?







37 comments:

  1. Ghost stories come from ghost writers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terrifying, but it makes complete sense to me.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. If music is attached, I remember the moment even better. I remember riding the train between Scotland and England, watching the snowy fields fly by, and listening to Marillion's Easter on my headphones. That is a moment I will never forget.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex, things are the same way for me. There are so many things that I remember clearly along with the music that was playing at the time of my experience. I think that at times the experience we are having can heighten the experience of the music to which we are listening. Music and memories are closely linked.

      Lee

      Delete
  3. I have so many memories that are triggered by music, esp. from the late 60s, 70s and 80s. A lot of them do haunt me....bittersweet ones esp. from my time on the west coast. It doesn't seem real. I've often compared my life to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. She is injured in the storm, travels to a far away and colourful land, and when she wakes up she realizes there's no place like home. It was the same with me. I moved away from here and spent 22 years in a far away and colourful land, but moved back home. It's weird. I can't really explain it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JoJo, I don't think you need to explain it. Not to me. I have a good idea of what you're describing.

      Lee

      Delete
  4. "They're coming to get you, Barbra!
    Look! Here comes one of them now!"

    Hi, Lee! It's a good thing this wasn't a Battle of the Bands because my reaction to Streisand, Cats and the song "Memory" is exactly like yours was to "Living Dead Girl." I would prefer to vote on the attractive font used in your post. :)

    I am "haunted' most frequently by memories of people in my life I have known and loved and who loved me in return, people with whom I shared a deep rapport that did not require defining or explaining. There weren't many of them. Reliving those memories of (wait for it) "the way we were" empowers me.

    Happy Halloween, good buddy Lee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom, funny but I've kind of thought as you mention here. I don't know if I was just in a quirky mood last night when I wrote this or what, but when I was writing my post the song "Memories" just came to mind like a ghost haunting me.

      I don't like cats and have not been particularly interested in the musical of the same name, but now having revisited this song "Memories" I have a curiosity about the musical Cats and I don't think it would kill me to check it out.

      I do think the song "Memories" has an incredible melody with meaningful touching lyrics. Though I'm not a fan of Streisand's politics, I do think she has a lovely voice and covers this song well. Listening to the song I can't help but think of the great composers of the Romantic Era such as Rachmaninoff.

      I agree about those people in our pasts with whom we once connected in an immediate way and now only in a distance through the years. Funny about that "way we were" thing in that sometimes I find the connections sometimes lose their power in the way we are now. Just as old friends sometimes drift apart not only in time and distance, we occasionally face a chasm of difference in opinions and ideologies. Then there are friends that I haven't seen in years who when I reunite with them it's as though I'd just seen them yesterday.

      I think you'll much prefer my BOTB song pick on Sunday.

      Lee

      Delete
  5. Probably memories on unhappy childhood, poverty, wars, neglect and such things.. things that never leave you. Some even leave, what psychologist call expertly - psychological schemes in your head.

    We don't have Halloween... we celebrate All Saints Day during which we visit the graves of our deceased ones and bring them chrysanthemums... nothing consumerism related :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dezmond, I can understand how those bad memories can haunt. I think most of us in the U.S. are fortunate to have never experienced such things directly. Nearly all of my memories are pleasant ones and I'm thankful for that.

      Halloween has become a huge economic driver in the United States. It's all frivolity and little real thought to memories of our departed ones. Good for business I suppose.

      Lee

      Delete
  6. I think ghost stories are simply a way to explain that which we don't understand and interestingly, as you point out - most often connected to memories.
    It was wonderful to hear such a beautiful song first thing in the morning! It conjured up extremely pleasant memories - thanks!
    Oh, I'm not a fan of Streisand either, but that song is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diedre, there is so much that we don't understand and we tend to have selective memories. Most "ghosts" are probably unique to an individual and brought to life for others through vividly told ghost stories.

      I'm so glad that I've rediscovered the song "Memories". I've been listening to it repeatedly since I embedded it into my site.

      Lee

      Delete
  7. When Barbra sings, I swoon. That song is so hauntingly beautiful. Music does bring me back to certain memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, Streisand does have vocal mastery. Maybe I'm a bit maudlin of late, but I don't understand how anyone cannot appreciate the song "Memories".

      Lee

      Delete
  8. I feel like I've just wandered into your stream of consciousness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AHWM, actually I guess you did. I wrote what I was thinking as I was thinking and as I was listening to the video. I just couldn't bring myself to write about the dark serious stuff I was thinking before I started thinking about actually writing about it and decided to write about this instead. The mind is a convolution of reaction, revelation, and reflection.

      Lee

      Delete
  9. Of all supernatural possibilities, ghosts may be the one I believe in the least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew, ghosts as supernatural beings are questionable to my mind too. I think my explanation--or consideration if you will---comes closer to a possible truth.

      Lee

      Delete
  10. My best Halloween story was a trick played on my son. As I would be picking them up after work and then going to Laurie's until late, I set it up that morning- a chair in the backlit hallway, an upright vacuum cleaner on the seat, wearing a coat and hat. Ten-year old son excited to get a chance to unlock the door himself suddenly freezes. "Dad!"
    "What?"
    "There's a guy in the house!"
    "What does he want?"
    "IIIII don't know!!!!!!!"

    Peals of laughter.

    ReplyDelete
  11. CW, you probably messed your kid up for life with that. Such fun. I enjoyed doing things like that to my kids as well.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love this song!! My memories of time spent on my grandparents farm, and with my big family are my best. I am finding these days, that the stuff I did as a child there: out in nature, write, take pictures are the things I have returned to as an adult. First loves. :)
    I don't know if "haunted" is the right word, but I have these dreams/thoughts/memories of my real dad - who left when I was very very young - and I don't know if they are actually real. I'd like to think some of the better things actually happened, but maybe that's what I created to ignore the bad ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rory, I think your memories of your real dad are a perfect example of those ghosts of the mind that haunt, as are your memories of childhood and family. Those are the kinds of memories that are most meaningful to me. Your memory replacement theory is interesting and makes total sense to me.

      Lee

      Delete
  13. My grandma's cat in the cellar sounded like this, moaning and complaining to each other. I love cats and like the song, getting to be more in my age range. Haunting melody! MEMORIES!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bobbie, I've added the Cats DVD to my Netflix list as now I'm curious about the musical.

      Lee

      Delete
  14. Barbra wins it! ☺ Music always triggers memories for me as well. Thanks for the reminder about your other blog, Lee. Saturdays are usually busy offline, but, since we're doing BOTB on Sunday (also a little difficult, but I'm on it), I'll be sure to check it out sometime over the weekend. Personally, I don't believe in ghosts, but the mind can play powerful tricks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie, there's probably a logical explanation for most ghost sightings, but still it's the hard to explain ones that mystify us and even become scary. See Sunday at BOTB!

      Lee

      Delete
  15. I much prefer your version of a halloween story :)
    As for Memories, my favourite version is on the Vienna Original Cast Recording!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jemima, so no spooky apparitions for you? There are enough scary real things that we can encounter to make me uneasy. I haven't heard the Vienna cast but I do prefer cast recordings with an orchestra.

      Lee

      Delete
  16. I love Barbra Streisand. She's an amazing vocalist.
    RE: ghosts: the memories that haunt me the most are the What Ifs and the things I didn't do. But I also have some relationship ghosts .... and some of them are downright scary, especially when they pop up again in the here and now with a birthday card out of the blue, 30 years later!
    Michele at Angels Bark

    ReplyDelete
  17. Michele, I can't remember ever getting one of those birthday cards, but I have received phone calls or letters out of the blue from people in my past. Typically, it's a pleasant experience.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think a lot of haunting memories are of events we wished had gone differently or which we regret, like making the wrong choice about something important or not speaking up when we really should've.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carrie-Anne, for the most part I think you're right although I can think of very good times and happy situations in the past that I have a melancholy rue for. Also I think of "haunting melodies" like "Memories" that linger in our minds and evoke emotional response.

      Lee

      Delete
  19. The kinds of memories that haunt me the most are the ones where I was either embarrassed, or humiliated. Sometimes they pop up from nowhere and I cringe and berate myself, wondering why I let someone intimidated me, why I didn't say something prudent.

    I love "Memories" from Cats. I've always heard about Cats, but have never tried to see what it was about. Now, I'm curious.

    Thank you for your kind words over on my blog. Maybe we will end up as neighbors? xD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think those difficult life situations tend to shape us in big ways. Hopefully we learn when we screw up.

      I've added Cats to my Nefflix queue because I think I want to see it now.

      Lee

      Delete
  20. I enjoy ghost tales and believe they come from legends way back when people did not have an explanation for something in a scientific manner so they created something of legend. We all have something that haunts us. I have some sad things that are normally done and over except when I am sick or something happens whether it be an odour or a picture that brings things back. I also have fond memories that I cherish and the same thing happens...it is usually one of the senses that brings those memories back

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birgit, I think you're right about the old ghost stories, but I'm thinking of the newer ones that writers make up. If they are drawing upon their imaginations alone I wonder what is in their heads actually. There are several odors that take me back into memory--when the right senses are touched then memories can be triggered.

      Lee

      Delete
  21. My memories, especially the less pleasant ones, seem to jump out and grab me by the throat when I'm least expecting them. I suspect smells as well as hearing certain songs are the biggest triggers.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee