John Kachuba is the award-winning author of six books with a seventh coming out this fall. Four of those books are about ghosts and ghosthunting. John is a frequent speaker about the paranormal at libraries, universities, and conferences and he has appeared on numerous podcasts, as well as radio and TV programs. His website is: www.JohnKachuba.com
How did you become interested in folklore and ghost stories? What inspired you to contribute to the Haunted Road Trip series, and how did you choose the places to visit?
I grew up in New England where history and folklore are hardly inseparable. While I loved hearing the history, the ghost stories also intrigued me and, although I mentally collected the stories over the years, no matter where I lived, I didn’t write any books about them until Ghosthunting Ohio in 2003.
More than contributing to the America’s Haunted Road Trip series from Clerisy Press, I actually developed the series and edited the first dozen or so in the series. Three of my own books make up that series: Ghosthunting Ohio, Ghosthunting Illinois, and Ghosthunting Ohio: On the Road Again.
I initially found haunted locations by researching the Internet and books but, in very short time, I was finding my own places, many of which had never before been written about.
As a college professor, have you ever encountered any opposition to your interest in ghost stories? How do you counter criticism that this subject isn’t a worthy academic pursuit?
I have never experienced any opposition from academics. I have also never heard anyone say that ghosts were not a worthy academic pursuit. After all, people can earn degrees in folklore, much of which contains ghost stories.
After writing two books on haunted places in Ohio, which is your favorite haunted place in Ohio and why?
That seems to change every time I find a new place in my home state of Ohio. One of my favorite places is the Athens Lunatic Asylum in Athens, Ohio, now part of Ohio University and nicknamed “The Ridges.” There are numerous reports of apparitions there and during one investigation, I recorded an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) that plaintively asked, “Would you help us?”
Have you had any unusual experiences while visiting an allegedly haunted location? Is the prospect of seeing something most of the thrill, or do you believe there is substance to these unusual tales?
If you would call a two-pound cast-iron hook leaping up off an old wood-burning stove, turning a “one-eighty” in the air, and then slamming down on the stove so hard it fell to the floor unusual, then my answer is “yes.”
There is absolutely substance to paranormal events. We see them happen; we record them. The question is, what is the nature of such events? Are they caused by ghosts or are there other explanations for the phenomena?
In your book Ghosthunters, you set out to discover why Americans are so fascinated by the paranormal. What did you ultimately conclude?
Death and what may, or may not, come after fascinates us all, whether we admit it or not. Most of the world’s great religions posit that there is an afterlife, a spiritual realm of some sort. It would seem to me that ghosts fit in with such beliefs. It makes sense that we would be curious about that possibility.
Are you currently working on any new books? Where can our readers go to find out more about you, your books, and your upcoming projects and events?
Yes, I am currently working on paranormal fiction both for adults and young adults; my agent is currently shopping around three such novels. But I am not a one-trick pony; I have an historical novel coming out from Sunbury Press alter this year. People can read more about me and my work, can buy my books and check my schedule of appearances at www.johnkachuba.com
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