Last weekend, despite fighting a 100-degree fever my body produced to combat a nasty little virus I lovingly acquired courtesy of my 4-year old's pre-K class, S and I took a date night out.
Not far from my small town stands an Indian Wars-era U.S. Calvary fort...or at least the remains of the fort. A dozen of the buildings are still standing, most are functional, a few have been restored, others are in various states of disrepair and neglect.
A group that is overseeing the preservation and restoration of the historical treasure offers nightime, guided ghost tours of the grounds, the visitor center, a chapel built by German WWII POW's, and the graveyard.
Each participant is offered a fuel burning lantern to light their way, as they're told tales of apparative sightings (both verified and not), hauntings and spookings amidst a small gathering of intrepid tourists out for a light evening of paranormal voyeurism.
Providing a somewhat counterintuitive balance to the evening was probably one of the most paranormally skeptical fellows I've ever encountered. What made it all the more interesting was his advanced degree in Parapsychology (don't you dare try to call him a Ghostbuster, buster!) and his professional title of Paranormal Investigator.
I'm not sure if his skepticism was an act to draw our trust and support for his chosen profession ("He's so skeptical, he must be onto something with this ghost stuff..."), or whether he was hip to all the emotional hype associated with the publics perception of the search for paranormal phenomenon and wanted to keep the science as pure as possible.
Whatever the case, between his CSI-like narration of EVP's (Electronic Voice Phenomena) he's recorded in the exact spot I was standing ("Yikes!") to his textbook descriptions of all the alternative explanations for photographed orbs and apparition sightings, we were all hooked. For a science geek, he could work the crowd.
For 4 hours we peered into 80-year old buildings, strolled the parade grounds once trod upon by Buffalo Soldiers, fantasized about seeing the little blonde girl in the upstairs window of the Commander's house, and found ourselves walking in a tighter formation as a group by the end of the tour.
A few Aleve made short order of my fever and body aches for the night. A few hours of daylight should do the same for my spooked and frazzled nerves.