- by Delilah Devlin
Tomorrow, I’ll be dressing in layers—thermal shirt, t-shirt, rugged jacket, funtional and loose-fitting blue jeans, scarred hiking boots—and heading to the woods. But I won’t be carrying a gun, even though it’s still hunting season here in Arkansas. Hmmm…might need to add an orange safety vest…
My tools will be my digital recorder, index cards, a pen and a red-lensed flashlight. Others in my team will carry digital cameras, recording equipment with a parabolic mike, and thermal detection equipement. We’re not seeking some rare species of nocturnal animal. We’re going on a ghost hunt.
Am I an avid hunter? No. But my status as a writer got me the invite. They know I’ll take good notes.
I met the pair forming up this group after I found them through a friend. The friend mentioned she knew this couple—he’s a follower of Asatru (Norse myth-based religion) and she’s a witch. Since I write paranormal stories I was dying to meet them and figure out what was real and practical about their way of life as well as what their beliefs are. I spent a long afternoon talking to them about Norse creation myths (a current interest of mine), fairies, ghosts and the merits of mead for invocations/blessings and enjoyment. It was the first time I ever sipped mead from a horn.
The interview was part work, mostly fun. We shared stories about brushes with the dead. Admittedly, mine wasn’t nearly as interesting as theirs. Ghosts playing tricks with headstone names not nearly as interesting as Asatru priests painting binding runes on stones to hold back the shadow people.
I’m a skeptical romantic with a healthy sense of humor and a thirst for adventure. That and my ability to capture details are all Bill and Lisa want to round out their ghosthunting crew.
We’re heading to Gurdon, Arkansas and a lonely, little-used strip of railroad deep in swampy woods where mysterious lights have been seen for decades. I’ve seen them. They aren’t swamp gas. The light bobs in arcs above the tracks very like the lantern the murdered railroad crew foreman would have carried when he examined the tracks at night. I have an inch-thick folder of research materials—transcripts from the murderer’s trial, reports of sightings, maps.
This won’t be the first adventure my creative curiosity has led me to. It won’t be my last. And whether we find the lights, or Lisa “senses” the spirit and gets a message from beyond, you know this will wind up in a story somewhere. Maybe it’ll be a comedy or a horror novel. Guess that will depend on just how cold it gets.