A history of ghost stories

Sam Bull, Editor-in-Chief

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Storytelling and folklore has been around for as long as humans were able to speak. While there are many genres of stories, some of the most intriguing and entertaining ones are those that are the most chilling: ghost stories. 

The History Channel defines the concept of a ghost itself as based on “the ancient idea that a person’s spirit exists separately from his or her body, and may continue to exist after that person dies.”

The article mentioned that ghost stories have been around since ancient times. Past societies created rituals to avoid being haunted throughout their lives.

“Many early societies began to use funeral rituals as a way of ensuring that the dead person’s spirit would not return to ‘haunt’ the living,” the article stated.

Since the dawn of American history, countless ghost stories have been told about prominent historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Al Capone, and more. 

Not just famous people are the subject of haunting stories. Many towns in America come with a long and intriguing history, which often includes stories of spirits and ghosts of the dead. 

Downers Grove is an example of an old town with plenty of history. Pierce Downer, a settler from Vermont, originally founded the town in 1832 when he built a house on Seeley Avenue.

Since then, many local legends about ghosts have surfaced about plenty of places—from Emmett’s Ale House to the Tivoli Theatre, from the local cemetery to DJ’s Bar.

Of course, the credibility behind these is a bit shaky, thus why they are called stories. It would be wrong to assume that any of these stories are completely true, just the same as it would be wrong to assume that these stories are completely false.

The beauty of storytelling, and specifically scary stories, is that it is up to the discretion of the listener to decide who or what to believe. 

While there is no proof to support the existence of ghosts or spirits, haunting legends about them are still a key part of local history and the vibe that comes with this time of year.