By Diane Forrest
In the 1970's my mother began working in the library at the junior high school I attended. She continued working at school libraries until she retired, and now she volunteers at the church library every week. She always attended local literary events, and one night she took me along to one of these events. There was a writer in town at our local city library, and she was going to be telling ghost stories from the books she wrote. Her name was Katherine Wyndam Tucker, and wrote several books, one of them was Ghosts of Mississippi. It included several short stories of actual ghost stories.
When we entered the library we all sat around in a circle listening to her tales, and I was mesmerized. It was wonderful listening as she described the events in minute details, and the actual events left an eerie feeling in the room. It had such an effect on me that I purchased several of her books, and gave some to my mother.
Our city is also home to the oldest military college in the state. It has long been closed, but the grounds remain open for visits. Each year around Halloween they have a storytelling night. Hoping to share the same experience I had with my son, I took him to this event one year. We all sat outside on a hill surrounded with old oak trees with strands of Spanish moss hanging from the limbs. It was a cool night and the only light we had was from the full moon that shown around us. The speakers stood in front of the group, each one telling tales of ghosts, and the event was a success, and my son was properly frightened.
The ability to tell stories is a wonderful gift. When you think about it, our lives are nothing but stories woven together. We learn about our family history through stories told by our ancestors, many of the movies we watch are just stories acted out on the big screen. Some come from imagination and others from actual events. However it is the gift of storytelling that allows the listener to become involved in the story, and it is retained in the memory for many years to come.
This weekend is the National Storytelling festival. Many cities will host storytelling events. Jonesbourgh, TN hosts a big event each year during the first weekend in October. I would encourage you to check your area for a storytelling event. Its not just for children, but adults enjoy it as well.
To learn more about the Jonesbourgh event, or to watch storytelling live, click this site: http://www.storytellingcenter.net/events/national-storytelling-festival/