I remember back in high school those nerve-wrecking days of giving a speech in front of the class. Without fail, a five-minute presentation seemed to use up all of my information within the first three minutes. Now it seems to be the opposite. I'm always hard pressed to condense a lecture into an hour or two. That was certainly true of my talk last night at Cuyahoga Falls Library. Even after skimming through some of the topics the talk stretched over the one hour time. Luckily, both staff and audience members have come to expect this.
I have to thank the library for having me back for a second time to discuss the paranormal. This was very different from my discussion of local hauntings. I covered a very wide range of topics: sexuality and psi phenomena, famous names from the Spiritualist movement, gay and lesbian ghost stories, haunted bed & breakfasts, the basics of investigating, and what is and isn't supernatural phenomena. Each of these could be stretched into a full hour without any trouble so covering all of them in the 60-minute span proved to be a challenge. But I felt it was important to give people a well-rounded experience.
At the end of my talk, there was an interesting moment for me. During the presentation, I showed a photograph of the tombstone of a friend who had committed suicide and mentioned how a possibly ghostly encounter with him afterward is mentioned in the preface of my book. A woman approached me afterward to say that she was familiar with it. Not only did she spend a lot of time in the cemetery in which his body was buried, she had known the family. He is buried beside his father who had been a detective.
Following the presentation, I headed out to the Cuyahoga Valley with a friend of mine for a little impromptu walk along the Towpath Trail at one of the haunted spots in the park. Just a short time after we arrived at the old canal lock I heard footsteps along the trail. There were animals in the water and the nearby woods making all sorts of noises, but this was the distinct rhythmic crunching of gravel slowly approaching. It faded away and there were no living people to be seen. Though it was a cold night, it was peaceful along the trail. My camera battery died quite quickly (not for paranormal reasons; they weren't new batteries) and we spent more time talking about a wide range of topics instead of actually looking for ghosts, but it was still an enjoyable experience.
It's been quite a month already. Some of my travel plans have been postponed but not all of them. There are still a few things I'll be doing before Halloween finally arrives in a few short weeks. Otherwise, life plods on.