Have you ever seen a ghost?
These are not your typical ghost stories. There are no reenactments, no special effects. This isn't the Hollywood version of a "paranormal" experience. These are real people telling amazing, compelling stories. Stories you'll have to see to believe. You can see it in their eyes, in the way they tell their story.
Even if you aren't a believer -- these people Believe.
We are Ken and Lisa Marks, authors of the book, "Haunted Hannibal: History and Mystery in America's Hometown" and the owner/operators of Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tours. Hannibal, Missouri, the small town nestled against the western shore of the Mississippi River, is best known as the boyhood home of Mark Twain and the setting for the classic tales of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. When we moved to Hannibal from St. Louis in 2009, we had no idea we'd moved into such a historically haunted town!
We began to offer ghost tours with the idea that it would be fun to share the history and haunted stories of this remarkable little town...but we were surprised when guests on our tours started to tell us their own personal ghost stories! It has been our privilege to hear literally thousands of ghost stories from guests on our tours, and what is so surprising is how similar the stories seem to be...
The other thing that was striking was how reluctant some guests are to tell their stories. There is a stigma attached to anything viewed to be "paranormal" or "supernatural" -- and many people don't tell anyone of their experiences for fear that they won't be believed. So many times the stories we hear start with the phrase, "I know you're going to think this is crazy...". Believe us, after hearing the stories we've heard, and seeing the look in the storyteller's eyes as they reveal their experiences, we don't think they're crazy!
We would like to begin to capture the amazing stories we hear from guests on our tours and share them in a new video webseries, "Ghostly Connections". The funds raised in this Kickstarter campaign will be used to provide the necessary film crew and production services to capture stories as they are told during our tours...we plan to shoot enough footage to produce six 20-minute episodes that will be broadcast free online and available for purchase on DVD.
With this webseries, we are not trying to convince you that ghosts are real. We are not making any judgments about the stories we share. Nor are we going to sensationalize the stories -- we are going to relay real stories, captured just the way they were told to us, documentary-style.
Why do we think this project is important? Let us tell you a story...
In the summer of 2011, we had a young lady on tour with her family. She was sixteen. When we began to walk around Old Baptist Cemetery, she pulled us aside, away from her family, and began to ask if others shared their personal experiences with us. She told us that for several years she had been having very strange occurrences, and when she tried to tell her family what was happening to her, they didn't believe her. Her mother thought she was just trying to get attention. As we talked, she began to get very emotional. We could feel how difficult this was for her to talk about.
Our response to her was that no one could judge her experiences but her. It wasn't necessary for her to convince us that her stories were real, they were real to her, and that's what mattered. However, we told her, we had heard stories from many, many people that were very similar to her story. It was important to her to feel as though she was not alone, that she was not crazy -- it seemed to really help her to know that others were having these experiences, too.
"Ghostly Connections" is dedicated to this young lady and to others like her, others who believe, who may have had a similar experience and are afraid to share their story, or think that they're "crazy"...we want to share these stories with them so they can see that others have had similar experiences...you're not alone! Don't be afraid to tell your story!
We also believe that these stories are so amazing that even non-believers will find them fascinating.
One last note: we are confident that we are not the only ghost tour guides that are hearing these amazing stories. Our Kickstarter goal was set to cover the budget for shooting footage during Haunted Hannibal tours only. Our long-term goal, however, is to travel across the country, visiting other ghost tours, and capturing stories from other areas, as well.
If we exceed our goal of $3,000, the additional funds will be used to travel to other ghost tours and gather even more remarkable "Ghostly Connections", allowing us to expand the number of episodes we are able to produce.
Thank you for taking the time to explore our project. Please take advantage of our rewards and make your pledge today -- and let us know if you've also experienced a Ghostly Connection!