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East Bay Newspapers
"Cape Encounters" will never be made into a movie, it’s nothing like those silly reality shows where someone tries to scare you to death, and the stories probably won’t give you nightmares. But, you might get a hankering to cruise out to Cape Cod and find an old B & B for the weekend-one with hardwood floors, beamed ceilings (and maybe some footsteps following you up the stairs after dinner).
That’s because the stories in "Cape Encounters: Contemporary Cape Cod Ghost Stories" set a mood and strongly evoke a sense of time and place. The "encounters" are simply related by very practical New Englanders who experienced the visitations.
Most of us heard our first ghost stories sitting around a campfire or in a tent with a flashlight. They were designed to elicit a shriek or at least make everyone jump at the end. Unlike those stories, "Cape Encounters" are set apart by the authors themselves, who have as much interest in the storytellers as the stories themselves.
Each story is prefaced with a detailed description of the storyteller and his or her home, which visually sets the scene. And those who have visitations range from scientists and a police officer to a Wampanoag Indian education director and interior designer. Most are longtime Cape residents and many of their families have lived there for generations. Having had plenty of time to think about the encounters, most have ideas about who their visitors are and why they linger here.
The only anonymous storyteller-a scientist at Woods Hole-found his experience enlarged his view of the world. "I came to be able to see things in a different way-believing that what we experience as the normal, material world is only a partial view of some larger reality," he said. "Now, the notion that material reality is the only reality seems dull."
What makes the stories compelling is the casual attitude towards the encounters-as if it’s not so unusual.