Many of the old cities of the world (and new ones, too, I guess) have stories of hauntings – of ghosts that roam old buildings. There are those who make a living out of being researchers into the paranormal (may I say that I’m HIGHLY skeptical?) Every year there are shows on television (especially around Halloween) about the scariest places in the world and they take people inside to try to capture proof of hauntings. I even seem to recall one show that would pay people something like $1000 a night to spend a night in a haunted house. Often those houses are places were some gruesome murder took place.
I have a cousin who swears up and down that the house they lived in (dating back to the early 1700’s, I believe) is haunted. She’s not prone to lunacy or flights of fancy. She’s bright (strange, since she’s related to me!) and a very level-headed person. I just don’t know what to think. At least in the case of her “ghost” (she even has a name for him since he apparently died in the house long ago) he seems friendly.
Charleston has plenty of ghost stories. After all, it has a long and colorful history. And like Boston and other old cities on the eastern seaboard, they have lots of “ghost tours” that tourists can pay to experience. I didn’t do that – mind you – but I did think it was interesting that when we had walked through the cemetery at St.Philip’s in Charleston, we came across this sign at the edge of the cemetery by the street.
If you look closely, however, you’ll notice an image reflected in the marble. Could that be a ghost?
No, in case you were thinking that, it is just a reflection of the photographer – in this case, me! Boo!!!!!!! (Now, the real question may be: what is that shadow to my right in the photo?!?!)
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.
The designer of the memorial was Maya Lin, a Yale University architecture student who entered a nationwide competition to create a design for the monument. Lin, born in Ohio in 1959, was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Many veterans’ groups were opposed to Lin’s winning design, which lacked a standard memorial’s heroic statues and stirring words. However, a remarkable shift in public opinion occurred in the months after the memorial’s dedication. Veterans and families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes and flowers to dog tags and cans of beer.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became one of the most visited memorials in the nation’s capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it “a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct,” and a veteran declared that “it’s the parade we never got.” “The Wall” drew together both those who fought and those who marched against the war and served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict’s end.
By the way, I’d like to once again offer my thanks to our veterans, living and dead, who have served our country in both war and peace.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Every hour, humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin, or about 1.5 pounds every year. By the time a person is 70 years old, they will have lost about 105 pounds of skin.