Local ghost stories few and far between
Happy Halloween! I imagine tonight will be busy with tiny ghosts, goblins, super heroes and witches ringing the doorbell, seeking treats. It is a great evening for youngsters, and I sincerely hope that it passes safely and there are no accidents or malicious mischief.
Over the years, I have written a lot about the history and traditions of Halloween and in my opinion it should be a fun time for kids. With that said, I know there are those who really believe in the supernatural. While I would never put down anyone’s beliefs, I have to say I am skeptical. I have never seen any thing or any event that didn’t turn out to have an earthly explanation.
I decided to do a bit of research on ghosts in Bonner Springs, Basehor and Edwardsville. It would appear that haunts aren’t fond of the communities since there were few local stories about paranormal happenings.
What I was hoping to find were verified stories, and they eluded me. If these stories do exist they are probably floating around someplace in cyber space or in some dusty book.
The only story that I’ve found that was publicized was the Edwardsville ghost train, which I have written about before. Supposedly, a dozen persons witnessed the incident. A crew was working on the Union Pacific tracks when they saw something coming down the tracks at a high rate of speed. No, it wasn’t a locomotive but a huge cloud of smoke with a light flashing in the middle of the apparition. It took a left turn and disappeared into the woods. The crew came to the farm of J. F. Timmons and told him of the incident and Timmons later related the story to the Atchison “Globe.” The story was printed in the book “Kansas Folklore” by S. J. Sackett and William E. Koch. I thought I would check on-line about other “ghost stories in Edwardsville” and nothing was listed — not even the ghost train.
I also checked Basehor and Bonner Springs on a website and didn’t find much, other than a lot of advertising. The Basehor site hinted darkly about mysterious things happening after the sun goes down, but there were no details or even mention of anyone who might have seen something. They did reference three stories about haunting in Bonner Springs. I have lived here for 35 years and was in the newspaper business for more than two decades, and I never heard any of the ghostly tales. These stories were all submitted by those who had experienced the events.
Apparently ghosts don’t like Bonner, Edwardsville or Basehor all that well. Incidentally, the website was interesting reading and one of a dozen or more dealing with ghosts in various communities. Again, I don’t doubt what people thought they saw or heard but I will remain a skeptic.
I did find some research on the Grinter House, which is supposedly haunted. The ghost chasers ran into a cat that apparently was invisible. They also heard a voice but that was about it. I know that Atchison, Leavenworth and Kansas City, Kan., supposedly have a number of haunted sights.
Tonight, however, most neighborhoods will be overrun with a variety of youngsters in “scary” costumes seeking treats. This means that we all have to use extra caution when driving. In addition, people need to make sure that lawns are clear of hoses, etc. I know a number of churches and the YMCA sponsor “trunk or treats” events which seem to me to be a good idea. Parents need to make sure children wear costumes that are safe and that they are supervised when going out. Certainly, there should never be any vandalism under the guise of “Halloween.”