Ghost Stories: True Hauntings In Montana 2011
By David Francis Curran
Copyright©1986 D. F. Curran. All Rights Reserved.
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A sample story: Old Hag
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Nook Ghost Stories: True Hauntings In Montana
This is a hair-raising collection of TRUE ghost stories from all around Montana updated in 2011.
Introduction-after seeing a ghost himself the author searched and found a scientific proof of why something you only thought you saw may actually be there.
A Ghost in Billings-the repercussions of a horrible accidental death.
A Ghostly Desire to be Known-Is this a poltergeist experience or a mean prank.
Visions and Missoula Witches-Were they putting him on or did they really have a connection to the dead?
Above The Kelly Saloon In Garnet Montana - you can actually visit this ghost town and explore Kelly Saloon, hear the story behind the legend.
Philipsburg-Would you stay in this house?
Butte-No one has stayed in this house for long.
Drawer-How can a long dead flashlight, with corroded batteries cast light?
Old Hag-ever wake and find you can't move and see a horrible face hovering over your bed?
Fort Benton-a mysterious story of an unidentified flying object chasing a horse and rider.
Violet-A helped saves from old pressed flowers and his thanked by a ghost.
A Final Old Hag Story-Did you know that once you learn about old hag stories the experience can happen to you?
The Mailbox-Can you fall in love with the dead?
Our Lady of the Mountains A photo of a strange creature high up in the mountains.
The Lost Boy-Did the boy out hunting elk run away or did something else happen.
The Hideaway-history can be scary if you don't study it.
The California Street Bridge-Can a place be evil?
Why are there so many violent deaths near this bridge?
I've seen only one ghost in my life. I was 21. My dog, Bozo, a black-and-white cocker-springer mix, whom I had had since I was six, had been dead six months. I was in the kitchen of my parent's house. The kitchen had three entrances: a door to the dinning room, which was closed; a door to a hallway; and a set of steps to the back porch. When Bozo was alive we kept him in the kitchen, with a gate across the steps. If he came back in the house and the gate was up he'd run from door to door trying to get back into the kitchen where his food and water were. It was 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. I had just finished a phone call. The door to the hallway was shut. When I opened the door, I saw Bozo standing as he always had, waiting to get into the kitchen. He wasn't what I had expected of a ghost. He looked as solid, alive. He wagged his tail and jumped up on me. I heard the scrape of his claws on the rug. I felt his paws against my legs. Frightened, I shut my eyes. After a few moments Bozo got down. When I opened my eyes he was gone.
It was my regret that I didn't pet Bozo that got me interested in ghosts. I wanted to see him again, pet him, but I never did. In fact, though I've spent time in supposedly haunted places, I've never seen another ghost. My interest earned me a good friend, the late Dr. Neil Kettlewell, a parapsychologist at the University of Montana. Neil not only explained the classification of certain phenomena, but introduced me to people who proved to be sources of stories, and allowed me to present some of the following stories, while in progress, to his ESP class at UM.
According to Neil most people who see ghosts, see something as solid as you or I, as I did when I saw Bozo. But I've always believed that even if you are not sure you saw something, that does not necessarily mean you did not see a ghost. The infamous occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), said two things about the perception of the supernatural which are of interest to those of us who wonder if the visions we see as ghosts are real. He said that when dealing with the supernatural we will hear, smell or see things on the borders of our senses that will not bear close inspection -- but they are no less real. It is just that sometimes we cannot see or understand things that we do not have the training or experience for.
Crowley could not prove what he said. However, in an April, 1975 article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, a researcher named Bela Julez wrote about 'Experiments in the Perception of Texture.' This article talked about man's ability to recognize changes in man-made, and computer-made patterns: arrangements of dots, letters, bars, or designs. What Julez found was that when a pattern is very complex it overloads the perceptual system. That is, it becomes very difficult to see a smaller pattern within a larger one, unless two things that Crowley pointed out are present. The onlooker has learned how to discern them (which Julez only partly agreed with), and if the images are slightly blurred or thrown out of focus.
Julez was no more addressing the question of viewing the supernatural than Crowley was addressing the question of the perception of patterns. But Julez's work does present strong evidence that a ghostly encounter cannot be dismissed simply because it cannot be verified by a clinical and direct observation.
I cannot claim, as a collector of the following Montana ghost stories, that any of these are in fact true. However, the criteria for all the stories being here--with the exception of my own story, THE MAILBOX--is that the people who told me the stories claimed that they are true. I felt they were sincere. I believe them. Some of story tellers even gave me the chills. I've tried to render them in a manner that will convey the same experience to the reader.
As far as my own story, THE MAILBOX, is concerned, it is a fictional story here for comparison. This collection was done as a creative, independent graduate study project in English. It was not a study in parapsychology. The question in my study was, "How does a 'true' ghost story differ from a fictional one?" "And with that knowledge, how can you make a 'true' ghost story as interesting as possible in the telling?" Not, "Can I prove that ghosts exist by seeking them out in Montana?"
In real life a fragment of experience, like a brief encounter with a ghost, may have no real meaning in terms of your life. That is, you may meet a ghost and it may be interesting or even frightening, but the event will have no other effect on your life. So, as a story, your encounter may fall short. It may lack a discernible beginning, middle or end, not to mention a "true" picture of you as an "interesting" character. When you tell what actually happened to you, the way it actually occurred, it may fail to provide an entertaining rise and fall of suspense. In fiction, everything is fabricated. Beginnings, middles, ends, interesting characters, and a rise and fall of suspense are invented by the author who is free to create whatever facts he needs. Compare THE MAILBOX to the "true" ghost encounters herein.
In many cases, in the "true" ghost stories I've collected, the names and exact locations of the manifestations have been disguised. (Although the general area where the event occurred, and the facts of of each story are presented accurately.) Names which have been changed are identified by an "*". The reasons for this are purely legalistic. Although it may never be proven in a court of law that ghosts or hauntings exist, it could be claimed that the report of a haunting at a certain location could undermine the value of a real piece of property.
In one instance, in WITCHES, the "*" shows where I've stuck in what can be called a "classic con." I did this to provide an added bit of information. According to an excellent book by M. Lamar Keene (as told to Allen Spraggett), THE PSYCHIC MAFIA, mediums, if they do have some true psychic ability, have economic problems when trying to produce psychic insight on demand. They end up resorting to trickery. Ordinary people (if that is what the witch couple in the story are), may have a similar if different problem. When someone experiences psychic phenomena and has trouble convincing others of its reality, they then may resort to tricks in order to obtain a much needed co- believer.
I want to thank my advisor, Dr. Earl Ganz, head of creative writing at the University of Montana, for his support.
Special thanks must go to everyone who provided stories for this collection. I was only able to contact a portion of the people who offered stories.
Finally, I had wondered, if in dealing with ghosts in this way, some would "rub off" on me. I was a little worried at first about bringing a ghost home. As of yet, this has not happened
READ A SAMPLE STORY
(Warning: people sometimes have "Old Hag" experiences after learning about them.)
A sample story: Old Hag
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