What I’ve learned from “Ghost Hunting”
What I’ve learned from “Ghost Hunting”
Yes, I’ll admit, five years ago when Ghost Hunters were beginning to climb the Syfy charts, I became a fan with millions of others. I tuned in each week to watch Season 3 with Jay, Grant, Steve, Tango and Kris. I learned their names quickly and became enthralled by the possibilities they were exposing to the world. I learned the lingo of apparitions, EVPs, manifesting, and became educated on what EMF is. Watching the show, week after week, I almost couldn’t believe the footage; their evidence of another existence, a message of hope- that the afterlife is a real thing- that there are real Ghosts in the same world we know! I wondered to myself on the days in between, waiting up to the next episode if everyone that dies becomes a ghost. The idea was strange, yet it didn’t leave me.
The fascination lead me into researching well known pioneers of my community who I knew had passed away. I went online, clicked through websites, traveled to the library, flipped through books, attended community meetings, asked questions- obtained information- became inspired. I learned to love the lives of these people while they were still alive.
I learned about one of the first grocers in Appleton, WI. I wondered how that must have been back in the late 1800s, building the first store on what we now know as “The Ave” one of the busiest streets in the Fox Valley, now lined with countless storefronts, restaurants, bars, and a constant flow of foot and street traffic. William Rhodes once had a dream. I can’t help but smile when walking through his three story Queen Anne. I heard his story through the voices of the current owners. This home became my first real investigation. And as I reviewed my evidence the following evening, I felt honored and amazed. This person who has been so inspirational to me over the past few weeks, was speaking to us that night, and I could hear his story in his own voice.
Nearing our 20th investigation, we have just completed the Herman Timm House, located in New Holstein. Herman Timm and Augusta Muenster traveled as children with their parents from Germany to the United States in the mid 1800s. They were poor immigrant farmers, who battled poor nutrition, harsh weather, and life threatening illnesses as they sailed through the great lakes until they reached Wisconsin. Here, they met, were married and raised seven children. As the Timm’s became more accustomed to the vast farmland, Herman recognized a need for grain and a way to process it. In 1879, Mr. Timm constructed a flour mill and developed working elevators that could carry 31,000 bushels of grain. His prominence grew in the community and he became president of the village, established the first State Bank of New Holstein and became president of the organization, as well as president of the New Holstein Mercantile Company. He built a house at the turn of the century that cost over a million dollars to restore in 2007.
As we investigated the Timm House, images of a once vacant camp, wagon track trails, and horses tied to trees while shaggy dogs herd loose cattle, rushed through my mind. A hustle spread across the area of women unpacking and hanging their laundry in the wind, as young boys followed their fathers to the fields, learning how to farm, provide for their new community, and how to be men and husbands.
The rush came over me. I felt the energy of life- not of death at all. I do not gawk at the chance of a lifetime to capture an orb, shadow person, or to be touched by pure emptiness. Instead, I go to pay homage to the founders of our local communities, for the lives they struggled through, so we have it easy today. In ghost hunting, I learned that we’re not hunting at all. They understand our mission and seem to appreciate being remembered. They freely communicate with us and it is not a rush; it’s a gift.
From ghost hunting, I’ve learned a life lesson: Ghosts are People. They once breathed oxygen, felt the warm sun on their backs, put sweat, toil, grit and hard labor into their dreams, with the same morals and ethics we only envy to live by today. In ghost hunting, I learned to honor and respect the dead. Don’t hunt, don’t chase, don’t gawk, don’t brag to the world you captured a piece of their essence… They are us and we will be them some day. What I truly learned from ghost hunting, is that instead of going somewhere just to hunt ghost, try instead just knocking on their door and when it opens, say “Thank you for all you’ve done, this is truly an honor.”