Just because it hasn’t happened to me, does that mean I can say it doesn’t exist?
I don’t want to be that black-and-white about it.
Or, maybe, I shouldn’t be so black-and-white about it.
Last weekend was a fast, fun and intriguing trip to Galena, Illinois. For those of you who haven’t been, it’s just a few miles east of Dubuque across the Mississippi River.
Over the years, I’ve heard great reviews of the town that is smaller than Clarinda in population, but appears to have enough culture, history and entertainment than Chicago.
The highlights of Galena is it was the residence of Ulysses. S. Grant, who was instrumental for the Union during the Civil War and elected president afterward; a site for filming of the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams”…. and the town is haunted.
I learned about all three, and the town’s history, all at the same time. An employee of the town’s library, who has been at the library for 40 years, gave the family a two-hour walking and talking tour in the heart of the town.
My attention wasn’t nearly as strong for the haunted places and moments in town as it was the other things; but, like with most everything, great storytelling kept my interest.
There are several places that offer tours of Galena’s haunted history.
Galena’s downtown is a bunch of old, brick buildings full of shops, restaurants, nightclubs and tourist-related places. (Because of its popularity, you might have to park in Dubuque.)
Our tour included a walk through a three-story restaurant. The upper two stories are intended for banquets, wedding receptions and other large attended events. But some of the help is leery about going to the floors by themselves knowing when no one else is on those floors.
Legend has it, employees have heard a single note played for an extended amount of time on one of the pianos on the floors. But the employees knew there was no one else on the floor. So who pushed the key?
Generations ago, plans were to have the third story converted into an apartment. The mother of the family interested in moving in the apartment claims she saw a ghost-like image of another person and a pigeon. The moment scared the woman enough, the family did not move in.
Another hotel/restaurant actually turns its ghost story into part of the ambiance in one of the dining rooms.
A couple of blocks away is a community center intended for stage productions. Another story was a woman was in the theater after closing time putting things away. She looked up to the balcony seats and saw a ghost-like vision of an older man with white hair, beard and shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows.
Years later the same woman was looking at a photo album and saw a picture of the same man. Further research showed the man was a longtime contributor to the productions and unfortunately died in the building of a heart attack. The man’s spirit hasn’t left.
I haven’t had a ghost vision experience in my life. Maybe the ghosts know my temperament and know I would not see them if they tried.
I don’t want to discount the people who explained what they saw and heard during their haunted moment. I’ve never been to New York City, but I know people who have I believe them the city exists.
I will admit, every so often I will return home from work and find my bathroom medicine cabinet door is open, swearing I closed it that same morning while preparing for the day.
But I always say I didn’t close it and I don’t worry about it. I couldn’t even begin to think of the symbolism an open medicine cabinet door would have on the house or even the bathroom.
Or what a ghost moment would do to me if I saw one.