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Cindy Maddera

Sunday afternoon, Michael and I were driving around running last minute weekend errands. I flipped the radio over to NPR to find the Moth Radio Hour playing stories about being haunted and seeing ghosts. I turned the volume up so we could listen closely and we both sort of leaned into the radio. We listened as a man talked about taking a polaroid picture of a ghost and felt our pulses begin to race. Listening to the story sent goosebumps up my arms and I felt for sure the story was going to cumulate to place where I'd want to scream. We were both lost in the tale and a little bit afraid; it was like sitting around a campfire and telling ghost stories. 

When we reached our destination, Michael turned the ignition off and said "I don't buy it. I don't believe in ghosts." I just shrugged. It would be the logical thing for me to agree with him, expected even. There's no scientific proof of ghosts. But there's no scientific proof that ghosts don't exist either. A concentration of electro magnetic waves can give a perception that there is something in the room with you. Molds and carbon monoxide poisoning can make you hallucinate into thinking you did see something. Low frequency vibration can also disorient a person into thinking they felt something. None of the studies on low frequency vibrations, molds and carbon monoxide, and electro magnetic waves have definitively disproven the existence of ghosts. They have just been explanations for strange disturbances. Really, people just want to believe in ghosts. We want to be scared. 

Not too long ago, we were all sitting around the lunch room talking about scary things and I mentioned the Girl Scout Camp murders. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me with confusion. They had never heard of the gruesome murders of three girls at Girl Scout camp in Oklahoma in 1977. A few of them had a hard time believing the story after I told it. It just sounds so much like any of the 80s scary movies we watched growing up. By the time I was old enough to attend camps, this story was the horror story shared around the campfire. It had taken on an unreal quality. The fact that the killer was still at large and the case was still open just added to the fictionalization of the tale. I can still picture a camp counselor holding a flashlight under her chin so her face would be more menacing as she said "no one heard them scream." and "they found their mutilated bodies the next morning." Then another counselor would run out form the woods, wearing a mask and holding a fake machete. "Who's next!?!" Everyone would scream and then laugh because it wasn't real for any of us. 

Except it was real. 

It should be of no surprise that Camp Scott, the place of the murders has become a well known haunted camp. The place never re-opened after the murders and after forty years, the forest has grown up around the abandoned remains of the camp. The ghosts at Camp Scott exist because the story exists. The events happened. Energy released from one place transfers to another. And that is why I believe in ghosts.