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Author: Christopher Balzano

Christopher Balzano is the founder and director of Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads, an online collection of legends and ghost stories from Massachusetts and the surrounding states. He has been a contributor to Jeff Belanger's Encyclopedia of Haunted Places and Weird Massachusetts and was one of the writers behind Weird Hauntings. His writing has been featured in Haunted Times and Mystery Magazine and has been covered by the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Standard Times, and Worcester Magazine. Christopher is the author of several books about regional hauntings, including Dark Woods: Cults, Crime, and Paranormal in the Freetown State Forest and Ghosts of the Bridgewater Triangle, as well as the collection of true ghosts stories Ghostly Adventures and the new how-to paranormal book Picture Yourself Ghost Hunting. He has appeared on radio stations in Massachusetts and throughout the Internet, as well as being called upon by television shows to comment on ghosts and urban legends. He now runs the paranormal news from Ghostvillage, one of the oldest and largest websites dedicated to the paranormal.

Haunted Tradition: Ghosts, Legends and Tradition at Smith College

Session House

Ghost stories have their roots in the tradition of oral storytelling. Told around the fire to explain the unseen, they evolved and changed with people’s culture and taught generation what to fear. The way the stories were told influenced them as much as the words spoken and those tales became the bonding force of the society. Listening was not passive. The weight of remembering and retelling helped to form identity. The relationship between those that spoke and those that heard connected the group and signaled an informal initiation.

The tradition is not dead. The passing of ghost stories, whether they are true or not, still has the same effect. No longer is the telling crucial to maintaining the social structure, but its value as part of an initiation lives in sleepovers, camp outs and in the spreading of local legend. To believe is to belong and to be part of the tradition means to be part of a group. Read more

Pukwudgies: Myth or Monster

This article was first published in 2005 on Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads. Since then, it has been used as a source of material and background information on the Pukwudgie. That site has since been taken down, so I saw the need to repost it here with Spooky Southcoast.

In the Southeastern corner of Massachusetts lies Bristol County, an area known locally as the most haunted place in New England. The energy that sleeps there has been rumored to cause haunted schools, ghostly armies and unexplained suicides and murders. Forested areas of the county have long been known to contain a litany of unexplained animals, from Bigfoot and thunderbirds to large snakes and odd bear-like monsters. For the past forty years cults have flocked there, and their activities, often criminal, have filled the blotters of local law enforcement. Of all the unknown horrors that live in Bristol County, the most feared is not a animal or a ghost or the members of Satanic cults that walk the forests, but a demon only two feet high, and if the history of the area represents the history of our America society, these Pukwudgies are the gatekeepers of our darker side.

The Pukwudgies have haunted the forests of Massachusetts since before the first European Settlers ever thought about setting out for a new land. For centuries they tormented the local Native Americans and crept their way into their creation myths and oral history. They could easily be passed of as legend, and in fact, their physical description is much like mythological creatures from other cultures in other times. The difference is these demons jumped from the page and evolved as the people around them changed, changing from reluctant helpers to evil tormentors. The difference is these demons are still seen by people today. Read more

The Top 5 Misplaced Ghosts on Television

Television has always called upon paranormal themes to pad its programming. You need look no further than the modern line up of ghost themed reality shows and serials to see the impact spirits have on what we watch. Some over that span have made sense. I remember watching The Ghost and Mrs. Muir in the living room of my grandmother’s house, head pressed up against the fan. The occasional spirit made itself known on Twlight Zone and Ray Bradbury Theatre.

Then there were the other shows that were usually based in reality. All writers want to write a ghost story, and like Mork appearing on Happy Days, these people found ways to get their tale into places where they shouldn’t belong. Most were failures, but every once in a while, a writer gets it right.

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Four Lies 'Poltergeist' Told Me

Like many people my age, my ideas about the paranormal were formed from the movies of the 1970s and 1980s. I remember being left in the library for hours on end and gravitating to the books of ghost and UFO stories, but there was something in the easy-access visual medium of those movies that stuck with me. Read more

There Has to Be a Good Side to Empathy

This week's guest, Lisa Campion, has many talents, including being an empath...

As a writing teacher, I always strongly discourage my students from defining a word they are talking about. There is something very tired in having the typical, “Webster’s defines cliché as…” that just feels contrived and overdone. When I was researching this week’s guest, Lisa Campion, one word kept coming up that made me have to break my own rule. In addition to being a spiritual advisor, medium, and psychic, Ms. Campion is an empath. I have heard the word thrown around in the past few years, but there is something in the definition of the word that tells what a different world the person who experiences this skill must live in. You’ll forgive me allowing the English teacher in me to talk for a moment. Read more

All the Angels in Iowa are Dark

And I started in Iowa.

I’m not sure why except someone had sent me a press release about a monster book from the state, which I really didn't intend to read, and I heard something on the news about someone from Iowa.  It seemed like a good place to start because, like most of the country, I am completely ignorant to its geography and its complexion.  I can gather from the name it must have a strong Native American heritage, but other than that, I draw a blank.  In fact, it may have appealed to me because what I know of it exists for me as little fragments of facts that I’m not sure are correct.  I can make a strong argument that is exactly what a legend is.

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