By Lee Prosser
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing (November 2010)
Pages: 160 – Price: $14.99
Ghostvillage.com author interview
Lee Prosser is back with his second book this year: Midwest Hauntings. This time Prosser gives readers a tour of the haunts and legends of America’s Midwest. We caught up with Lee to discuss the new book.
You’ve had the opportunity to travel to and sometimes live in different parts of the United States. How does the Midwest differ in its type of hauntings and the way locals deal with things that go bump in the night?
Lee Prosser: My feeling is that the Midwest differs in some approaches, but yet, it is similar as other places for hauntings and paranormal activity! It differs in that each area of any place, Midwest or elsewhere, has its own peculiar hauntings. It is uniquely the same as other places simply because the gist of the jest may be slightly different yet the paranormal is the paranormal is the paranormal in whatever locale a ghost hunter may happen to be in! It is the sense and perspective of history that throws the spotlight on matters of paranormal activity. A ghost, if a residual haunting, will appear locked into a repeat cycle of doing the same thing over again, and a ghost hunter has to consider the history of the haunting. A ghost, in an intelligent haunting, also reflects the incident of history it is reflecting, but it is actively seeking to make contact with humans and make its presence known. Locals will consider, ponder, confront, and deal with hauntings depending on the historical background of the haunting, the stories touching on those historical backgrounds filtered down through a passage of time by people involved or descendants of the people involved, and there is no sure way to define how locales from one area to the next may react. One thing I have found over the years is that locals, meaning the living, do have an incurable curiosity about the paranormal, and an avid interest in what was supposed to have happened, what really happened, and in some cases, what might have happened which supplanted what did or did not happen! I would say from personal observations that the Midwest tends to be somewhat more conservative in its approach to openly relating paranormal and haunting incidents.
Does one Midwestern state seem to have more than its share of ghosts?
Yes, I would say it is Missouri. I would also say it is both the small and the large places in the states. I suggest Missouri as a place of prime importance because of its complex involvement with violent American Civil War battles and skirmishes fought throughout that state. The Confederacy considered Missouri as its 13th state and Missouri generally leaned towards the Confederacy. Missouri is a complex state in more ways than one. The paranormal and ghostly happenings are two of those ways. UFO activity is another.
What’s your favorite Midwestern haunt?
Anywhere in Missouri.
You’ve written several regional hauntings books now. Are you finding people are more open to discussing their ghosts now compared with a few years ago? If so, why do you think that is?
Yes, Jeff, I do find people are more open to discussing their ghostly experiences and paranormal experiences. There is more curiosity out there now, beginning in the 1980s continuing into the present. Part of this is that more people are sharing legitimate findings, there is an abundance of great research published and available for readers today, and the more people share information, the less chance of ridicule. I do know there is still some stigma of being associated with such “things” and many people still prefer to remain anonymous even after the facts are in and established. I foresee the day when all material will carry location of incident, name of person or person verifying the incident, and nobody afraid of the stigma of saying: “I saw a ghost, or I encountered a ghost. This is my story…” It is much like UFO sightings and UFO research, people are sometimes not revealing of their names for fear of ridicule. In the case of UFOs, it is fear of ending up for a lifetime on some United States government watch list. The saying is true, that in most free countries the governments are afraid of its people and know the people will cast the bums out. However, it is known world-wide today that only in the free land of the United States is the people afraid of its government and what the United States government and its numerous agencies can do to silence its citizens in one way or another. As an example of this, I point to twenty-seven such incidents in the month of November I came across while reading on the Internet. Loosen up, relax, the truth is out there, but it is not in the government levels of the United States. Does that concern me? Of course. But I believe long after the fall of all world governments, there will also be those who seek the truth and will not be silenced for long. Look at history, and look at USA history. The USA stopped being a true democracy after the end of World War Two. Back to ghosts and UFOs, yes, people are interested in sharing their stories, but many remain leery of government agencies getting hold of their names! At age 66, I don’t worry about it, I mean, what are they going to do to me at my age, roast me over an open pit on a spit until I am well done? I will continue to share what I know, and as to my name as an author, well-written books generally outlive their authors and that’s not a bad thing at all. Look at Mark Twain. And don’t forget the ground-breaking work of Ghostvillage.com and the writings of Jeff Belanger! I would guess the name of Jeff Belanger is in every government file available!
Ha! What a waste of resources if they’re keeping tabs on me. Tell us about the ghost of Libby Custer!
Libby Custer? She was certainly one of the most interesting women of the American West, and her life with husband George Custer added even further to her stature. She had a positive, direct approach to life and was attentive to those details that make up life’s pleasures, joys, tragedies, and passages. As to the realm of ghosts, I would suggest that Libby Custer could hold her own whether as a residual haunting or as an intelligent haunting. Since her death on April 6, 1933 in New York City, there have been many accounts of her ghost seen in different places. I would suggest to the curious that many of these paranormal appearances of Libby Custer have validity, and those interested in this unusual lady should check out her legacy and personal history.
Did you have any frightening encounters while researching Midwest Hauntings?
No, not really. In any travels involving paranormal happenings, sometimes you think something is slightly different than what originally came to you, and you may spook yourself somewhat at first, but then on careful reflection you realize what happened and settle down to recording or writing it down the way your intuition says it really happened. If you train and rely on your intuition, with time and concentration, your first impressions are always the correct ones and anything else is confusing. I would urge all ghost hunters and paranormal investigators to not let any preconceived notions enter into your investigations. Listen to facts based on other’s opinions, check out the situations surrounding your site, then go into the designated site and investigate it from your own honest perspective. It is a valid approach to follow.
Any funny encounters with ghosts, people, or animals in your Midwestern travels?
I invariably come into contact with ghost cats somewhere, sometime, somehow during my investigations. They seem to seek me out in a pleasant manner, and oftentimes serve as guides to aid me in finding what I am seeking in a paranormal occurrence. Or maybe it is the scent of cats on my clothes as I am a cat person and have cats at my home! For me, life would be dull without friendly ghost cats to lead the way and do their accompaniment dance at the start of things, during, and after. I have also encountered friendly dog ghosts, too. What would life be without the presence of friendly animal ghosts!
How can regular folks best experience a Midwestern haunt first-hand?
My suggestion would be to go with a person or person who is experienced or has some experience with such paranormal happenings. There are many legitimate paranormal sensitives investigating the paranormal today, and these would be some individuals to contact for further information. If you go out with a group or persons, please be honest in your approach and learn from what others explain or show to you. There is no reason why any person cannot become a paranormal sensitive. It merely takes training. In my paranormal books or writings at Ghostvillage.com, I write articles and often list suggestions for further reading which I hope will be helpful to the readers.
If you could haunt any one location after you die, where would it be and why?
I feel the Smithsonian would be interesting as a starting point! Such a pleasant way to spend an evening! Or perhaps visiting some of the reported haunts of American writer, Mark Twain! I think a ghostly conversation with Mark Twain would be a showstopper!
What’s your next paranormal project?
I have several. I am always interested in UFOs, the paranormal, ghosts, and related topics. Where I land, it is usually on my feet, so one of those topics is on the list next for a writing project! Jeff, I thank you for the interview, and it was nice visiting with you! I hope the readers of Ghostvillage.com will find this interview interesting, helpful, and encourages them in their own paranormal investigations!
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