Haunted by The Past: Folklore and the Supernatural
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Ghosts are a mystery, but not necessarily one that will be solved by more and more ghost stories. We need to ask new questions. But how, exactly, do you explain a ghost?
At one time, you asked what torment made it return from the grave, then freed it from walking the earth through justice or prayer. Now, the inner anguish has been transferred to the living, and ghosts appear in answer to our needs, not theirs. They return from the scary historical past, which we thought we had exorcised with modern living. How much more comfortable we would feel if these shadow people could be reduced to paranormal phenomena – as natural as mirages, and no more threatening!
But still they come, trailing their stories of passion, vengeance, rage and despair. Perhaps we should ask more of the story and less of the ghost. This talk will look at the twilight boundary between parapsychology and folkloristics.
Folklorist and Museum Curator Jeremy Harte joins AO Premium for a Talk to an Expert Chat on the precipice of Halloween, in the ‘eerie season’ when it is said the veil between the natural and supernatural world is at its thinnest.
Jeremy Harte is a researcher into folklore and archaeology, with a particular interest in landscape legends and tales of encounters with other worlds. His book Explore Fairy Traditions won the Katharine Briggs award of the Folklore Society, and his other publications include Cuckoo Pounds and Singing Barrows, and The Green Man. In 2006 he was elected to the Committee of the Folklore Society and has since then organized the Society’s Legendary Weekends. Since the foundation of the journal Time & Mind, he has been Reviews Editor. He is curator of Bourne Hall Museum in Surrey.
“We are not alone. In the shadows of our countryside there lives a fairy race, older than humans, and not necessarily friendly to them.” Explore Fairy Traditions