Skeptics 21, Ghosts 0Our first skeptics' field trip on October 13 was a great success! The site was New Hope, PA, purported to be the area capital of ghostly activities. Twenty-one PhACT members and friends joined a large crowd of ghosthunters for a tour led by Ghost Tours Inc, a decidedly non-skeptical outfit.
The first stop was the venerable Logan Inn. Our guide explained some of the fascinating history of the inn and then proceeded to tell us of the presence of Aaron Burr's ghost. Burr was said to have stayed at the inn after his famous duel with Alexander Hamilton. It seems that Aaron's ghost is a bit of a Peeping Tom because our guide claimed that a woman had seen his ghost in the bathroom! The woman was wiping steam off the mirror.As she gazed at the cleared image she saw a figure of a man in colonial garb standing behind her. When she turned around he vanished. This caused a murmur in the crowd! Some laughed, some gasped! We were also told of a crystal that was purported to produce paranormal phenomena. Apparently these apparitions have not been investigated any further because these stories were the only evidence given. Oh well, so much for the "haunted" Logan Inn! After the walk I tried to conjure up a ghost using the steamy mirror method at my home. It didn't work!
Our next stop proved even more amusing than the first. The guide proceeded to take us down a dark section of the Delaware Canal and then stopped near a bridge to tell us about the hitchhiking ghost. She told us that two teenage girls had been at a drinking party. On their way home they saw a young man in bellbottom sand a fringed leather coat hitching a ride. As they stopped to pick him up he vanished! A little further down the road they saw him again! He vanished a second time.! A while after their drug induced sighting they met by chance a man who told them about his son who had died hitchhiking. Yep, you got it. He was wearing bellbottoms and a fringed leather jacket! Wow, the mystery was solved! The guide mentioned that the girls saw the ghostly hitchhiker again, and yep, it was after another drinking party! Gee, this kind of evidence boggles the mind! I think I'm a believer in ghosts now....just kidding!
The rest of the tour fed up the same kind of fare, stories with no meaty evidence to corroborate the claims or strong leads to investigate. At one point the guide asked how many people believed in ghosts. About 1/3 answered in the affirmative, even after the hitchhiking ghost story! So much for skepticism! PhACT members seemed to enjoy the tour, based on the good-natured kidding we did amongst ourselves. The only disappointments were that we did not get to go inside any of the houses since they were privately owned and that no ghosts materialized. After the tour some of us gathered at a restaurant for socializing and recalling the night's claims.
"Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters. It is a genial festive season, and we love to muse upon graves, and dead bodies, and murder, and blood."