Friday, December 14, 2007

Love Beyond the Grave

There are thousands, no millions of ghost stories about star-crossed lovers. Their love is so strong and passionate that it transcends even death.

One such true ghost story began in 1760 during a Cherokee siege on the British Fort Loudon in Athens, Tennessee. One woman pleaded for the life of her young son and Chief Attakulla-Kulla not only took mercy on the woman and child but later married her and had a daughter, Nocatula Cooweena.

Nocatula was a renowned beauty and many men in the village wanted to marry her, including Mocking Crow. Nocatula didn't like him because he was arrogant and vulgar, but he was unrelenting with presents. Still she rejected him.

One day her father and several men of the tribe were out hunting and came upon a dying British soldier. They took the man back to their village and nursed him back to health. Well you can imagine how this story played out. Nocatula and the soldier (now called Connestoga) fell in love and were married. Mocking Crow ambushed Connestoga and stabbed him to death. When Nocatula saw her dead husband, she plunged a knife into her heart.

When they were buried, Chief Attakulla-Kulla put an acorn in Connestoga's hand, and a hackberry seed in Nocatula's hand. Eventually those seeds grew into an oak and hackberry which was considered a very good omen that their love lived on.

In 1857, Tennessee Wesleyan College was founded on the very land where the lovers were buried and special care was given to the two trees until they died in 1940. For165 years those trees marked the lives of these lovers and a marker now takes their place.

Ever since the college was built, there have been reports of ghostly figures moving about the premises, especially where the trees once stood. Voices and even whispers have been heard, but no one has ever reported malevolent spirits, only those of two lovers.

There are many tales of a woman in white who walks the grounds of her home waiting for her lost lover or mourning her lover’s death. Such is the setting of the 16th century Ross Castle set along the shores of Lough Sheelin in Ireland. A lady in white walks the shores searching for her lover.

Another is about an angry bride is the story of the daughter of Michel La Neuf de la Valliere, who was the governor/commandant of Acadia, and changed the Missaguash River's name to Riviere Marguerite, in honor of his daughter. He bethroed his daughter to a stranger as was custom.

The man was of noble birth and a soldier, but unfortunately, Marguerite had fallen in love with someone else and the couple eloped. When her father learned of the secret marriage, he was enraged and swore he'd never speak to her again and even changed the name of the river in retaliation back to its original one, Missaguash.

The tales of a ghostly female figure walking the banks of the Missiguash, swinging a lantern as she defies her father and runs away with her lover have followed the tale of the river for nearly three hundred years.

A famous lovers' ghost story comes from Charleston, SC of a young woman named Annabel Lee (no documentation that Poe every heard of this story, but many like to attribute this story to Poe's inspiration.). Annabel met a sailor from Virginia and fell hopelessly in love.

Her father disapproved of the sailor and his background and forbade Annabel to see the young man. As in all cases when such decrees are made, Annabel was only more determined to be with her lover and they would meet in the Unitarian Cemetery until her father caught her sneaking into the cemetery.

Her punishment was being confined to her room and during the months that passed, the sailor was shipped out as the Navy was returning him to Virginia. As fate would have it, he received the news his beloved had been bitten by a mosquito and died from Yellow Fever.

The poor man returned to Charleston to say goodbye, but Annabel's father's heart was so hard he refused to allow him even that. But her father's spite went further.

He had all of the family graves dug up for three feet and then her grave the typical six feet so when the sailor attempted to visit her grave, he was unable to tell which one was his beloved's final resting place.

Many people have claimed to see her ghost wandering around the Unitarian Cemetery.

So are these truly ghost hauntings or are they what are called residual energy patterns?
What is the difference?
An actual haunting involves some form of interaction with the person witnessing it where as the residual haunting is similar to a video playing over and over. It’s an imprint of energy from typically a tragic event.
Oftentimes this kind of haunting is the scene of a brutal murder. The emotions of the victim were so intense somehow her/his energy imprinted and tied itself to the area. The soul of the victim is long gone, but the residual energy of her/his emotions remains.

The other kind, which is a typical haunting, the ghost is aware of her/his witnesses and will interact with them by touching, making sounds, responding to questions with the answers being caught on EVPs.
We know so little about what a ghost really is or what a haunting is or even why there are such things. The only thing we do know is that nearly every place on earth has stories of ghosts and many of these stories are about love living beyond death.
What do you think?


Nicole Austin said...

Fascinating article, Sally. I like the way you explain the lingering imprint after tragedy and ones with interaction.

I think love is one of many reasons for spirits to hang around. Possibly some of them get lost or don't know how to cross over. Having worked in hospitals for many years, I've encountered many such spirits that seem to be wandering restlessly. They play with things, I don't believe really to interact with us, but in their attempts to find their way.

The adult hospital I used to work was full of restless spirits. They would ride the elevators. You never had any idea how long it would take to reach the floor selected because the elevators would pass your floor and stop at others before finally taking you where you needed to be. It wasn't a mechanical issue. The repair guys finally gave up trying to "fix" the elevators. My theory is the restless spirits were riding the elevators looking for... something.

Minime said...

I think anything is possible.

I started to get tears in my eyes from the first story.

N.J.Walters said...

Fascinating, Sally. These stories are so sad and tragic.I believe in spirits, ghosts, energy, or whatever you want to call it.

Sally Painter said...

Hiya Nic! Glad you enjoyed the post.

Wow on the hospital. I had never though about the spirits there and it explains so much of what I feel when I go in one.

Lightbulb over head time. THANKS!

Sally Painter said...

I agree about the tears in my eyes, Sandra. Isn't that sad.

Sally Painter said...

Hey NJ, Isn't it something that emotions are eternal?