Part 1 of 4 - The etiquette of addressing a ghost at a Victorian séance.

Original Blog author: Freaky Folk Tale

In 1921, a thoroughly charming and entertaining article appeared in The Times detailing the domestic rules of etiquette for receiving ghosts. This ghostly code of conduct was prepared as a possible topic for discussion at the First International Congress for Psychical Research in Copenhagen the same year. Whether it actually made it onto the conference agenda for that year, or any other, however, is not known. Nevertheless, I would say that any of today’s self-respecting psychic researchers could do very well to abide by these principles if only to avoid unnecessary and embarrassing ostracisations from the spirit world — heaven forbid!


The Times, Jan 1921

We cannot urge you too strongly to appear perfectly natural when receiving a ghost. If you are seated remain so. You won’t gain anything by standing up. When reading you may lay aside your book if you wish. Or if you are very nervous you may walk across the room and flick your cigarette ashes off in the tray. This will conceal your embarrassment for the time being.

GLANCING over the morning mail in the breakfast room last Wednesday we discovered a most unusual communication. It was written on pale white stationary.

“Dear Madam,” thus it ran, “can you throw some light on a matter which has a vital bearing on our social position in this community? One must be psychic to be really smart these days. So I would like some information on the proper method of addressing ghosts. Every third Thursday I am at home to a few expert table-tippers. Phillips Brooks, William James and others have already given us afternoons. But there are a number of points on which I need guidance.”

“For instance, what is the correct method of salutation for disembodied spirits? Should the hostess stand while receiving her guests? If the visitors from the other world appear in negligee, should the hostess wear full dress? Should masculine spirits be invited to informal afternoon affairs? What is the really correct thing to say when ghosts are leaving?”

“Is it good form to count the raps out loud? How many spirits can be invited to one sitting without crowding? Which is more stylish — direct or indirect lighting?”

“If a ghost leaves unexpectedly in high dudgeon, how can it be brought back?”

“Should the most illustrious shades be entertained à deux or ensemble?”

“Your opinion is anxiously awaited.”

It is only natural that we should feel some reticence about assuming this role of Beatrice Fairfax to the ghost fans. But, as our correspondent says, some light should be thrown on the subject at once. Correct social usage in relation to the spirit world is the question of the hour. And although it is rumoured that an encyclopaedia of ghostly etiquette, containing a complete course of instruction in good form, style and deportment, is even now on its way to the printer, we have not heard the date of publication. Unfortunately, we are unable at this time to give this lady authentic views of our greatest living psychic researchers on the subject. An unreasonable prejudice toward the light-headed press seems to prevail in certain quarters. After some weeks of diligent research we are, however, able to quote precedents from the weightiest classics of psychic literature.



John Carpenter’s Reel Sites, Real Scary Driving Tour

Bowling Green native and master of horror John Carpenter made numerous area references in a few of his movies, using local street and community names like the fictitious Warren County- Smiths Grove Sanitarium from where Michael Myers escapes in Halloween. Visitors and residents can follow the “Reel Sites, Real Scary” brochure map to 17 different locations around town including the log cabin where Carpenter lived as a boy on Western Kentucky University’s campus. 

Visit the John Carpenter Visit BGKY microsite for more information about Carpenter, his movies, the driving tour and some fun trivia.



Old Richardsville Road Bridge

Thanks to WBKO and Spirit Paranormal team we have this fantastic video detailing the Old Richardsville Road.

As legend has it the Old Richardsville Road bridge is haunted by the spirit of a girl who took her life there many years ago. Looking to test the legend WBKO & Spirit took a paranormal investigation team there to check things out!



Potter Hall - WKU Campus

[Potter Hall] was the home of "Casperella," supposedly the spirit of a woman who hung herself in the late '70s in the building's basement.

Using the trusty Ouija board, Casperella would chat with students. She would say she was an unhappy spirit who occasionally entertained herself by pestering the residents. She would lock and unlock doors, make strange noises in the halls and rattle desk drawers. - An excerpted from Chris Hutchins' article "Thrill on the Hill: Ghosts, Spooks Haunt Western," College Heights Herald, October 30, 1997.

According to funeral papers, a distraught female named Theresa Watkins was living in room 7 on the basement floor when she hung herself by a belt from steam heating pipes that draped the ceilings in her dorm on April 21, 1979.

Legend has it that Watkin's spirit, which is rumored to go by the name of "Allison" on a Ouija board, has told her communicators that she loves to move stuff that isn't supposed to move on its own. - Excerpted from Lindsay Sainlar's article, "Haunted Hill," College Heights Herald, Oct. 30, 2003.

It is said that even until this day, WKU personnel working on the ground floor of Potter Hall, which houses the Office of Admissions, receive occasional after-hours visits from "Penny," a spirit known to leave pennies in the offices she visits.