Everyone who knows me, knows I collect ghost stories. I don't just watch the programs on cable, I actually clip news articles about haunted places (the month of October always sees a whole slew of these in the newspaper). And when I do a school visit or a signing, I invariably ask people to share a true ghost story with me. Some of the tales they have me told still make my hair stand on end.
Last week, my husband and I were vacationing up in Door County, Wisconsin for the Memorial Day weekend. We stopped in at Grandma Tommy's Country Store just out of curiosity and were greeted with the customary and wonderful display of cherries (dried, frozen, chocolate covered), cheese, jams, honey, fudge, gift baskets, tee shirts, and the usual sundry items that make tourist shopping so much fun. I wandered back to the book rack that held the cookbooks, local guides, and gift books, and was pleasantly startled to find a copy of my own Ghosts of Lake Michigan sitting on the top of the rack.
Jim, my husband, who is well aware of how much publicizing I need to do and how much I actually don't, literally grabbed the book in one hand, my arm in the other, and propelled me up to the cash register to ask if she wanted me to sign the copy they had. The young girl behind the register introduced us to her mother, the store owner, and that very nice lady, my husband, and I had a terrific conversation about the store, about her choice of books (she's going to order more of mine! Yay!), and best of all, about ghosts.
While we were standing there, she proceeded to tell us two ghost stories, one of them involving Grandma Tommy's Country Store itself. She confided that she doesn't normally talk so openly about this sort of thing so that people won't think she's crazy, but given the subject matter of my book, she had no problem sharing her stories with me.
I not only collect ghost stories, I remember who told me the stories, and where we were at the time. Against the backdrop of all the true experiences I've heard, this one will always be a standout.