Ask a Stupid Question (About Ghosts) . . .

Yesterday, I received this hilarious email via my friend Jen. Her friend Kevin is a librarian who recently had an encounter with someone in need of serious research help. Here’s what went down (I’ve deleted her name and changed the name of the TV show, to protect the credulous):


I got a call from a local historian who’s been asked to make an appearance on [a TV show called “Haunted”]. There is a local bowling alley that is supposed to have some, um, visitation. (The historian) has been asked to provide background as to what may have caused this.

She called me. Conversation went something like this:

HER: “Do you have anything on [the name of the alley] in the vertical file?”
[I check–we don’t] HER: “I’m trying to think what would be a cause, as it were, of a haunting.”
Me: “Could someone have died in a hideous bowling accent?”
HER: “Well, no, but there was a skirmish there in 1775 and some British soldiers were killed. Do you think that’s good?”
Me: “I think for a ghost story it’s very good.”
HER: “But why would British soldiers be haunting a bowling alley?”
Me: “Well. they are dead. What else would they be doing with their time?”
HER: “But isn’t a haunting caused by some kind of horrific event?”
Me: “Well, I imagine being killed is quite horrific.”
HER: “Well it’s just that if I’m going to help make a segment for a television show I want the argument to be plausible.”
Me; “You told me the show is called Haunted. I doubt plausibility is a major concern.”
HER: “Oh and I remember now somebody died a really bizarre death around there at the turn of the century.”
Me: “Bizarre death is good. Whenever you have a chance to bring up a bizarre death you absolutely must.”
HER: “Okay, but I’ll have to do some research. I just don’t want this to seem specious.”
Me: “I imagine the only viewers of this show are cynics like me who want to laugh at the credulous and people who actually think they’ve seen Elvis. I imagine specious will be fine. You’re starting with the premise of a haunted bowling alley. There’s no direction to go but up.”
HER: “Oh thank you, Kevin, this is very reassuring.”

She actually said it without irony.

Not making this up.


Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. “The ghost of Elvis, dressed as a British soldier, has been seen in a local bowling alley.” News at 11! :-D

  2. Hey is Kevin’s library hiring? I can’t imagine anybody at a reference desk actually having a conversation like that with a patron. I admit there are a lot of librarians who have thought about it but the fear of being reported to a supervisor for being rude would be over riding I think.
    I would love to work in a library that allowed such a straight forward answer.

  3. In my parts (geographically not anatomically) that “Haunted” show airs right after “Intervention. ” This begs the question: who has been smoking class A narcotics? Can fumes from a meth lab look like spirits? My friend had a demonic toaster that burned upside-down crosses into wheat bread.

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