Planning to tell an epic ghost story this Halloween? Glynn Washington, host of NPRs Snap Judgment , has a few tips.
This is Glynn Washington, an avid storyteller and host of Snap Judgment on NPR.
Washington says he saw his first ghost when he was four years old. “My brother pointed it out to me. He was sleeping next to me, and I looked up and there was a ghost that was floating above my bed,” he explains.
And that wasn’t Washington’s last encounter with something he couldn’t explain. Growing up, he says he witnessed demon possessions, people speaking in other voices, levitation, and exorcisms. All things you’ve seen at least once in the horror film genre, or maybe in real life…
Whether you have your own ghost story, or it’s something you want to scare people with, Washington has some pointers for how to make your tale terrifying.
Courtesy of NPR
Don’t rush, and keep it grounded in reality.
“Get yourself some hot chocolate or some wine, depending on your age, and settle in,” Washington says. “A good storytelling rule, in general, is don’t change everything. Change the world just a little bit. A good ghost story isn’t a whole new universe; it’s not set in Narnia. It’s got something that’s just a little bit off. You want to be able to imagine what it would really be like to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
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Try not to sound like someone who actually believes in ghosts.
“The most important thing is who’s telling it,” Washington says. “The person telling the ghost story can’t believe in ghosts. You want somebody who is reluctant, kind of ashamed to tell you what happened. ‘I don’t know if I should even tell you this,’ kind of thing.”
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Tell the story as if it just happened.
“To start a ghost story, it starts right where you are,” he says. “‘I was sitting in that chair, in this place, holding this fork, up on those stairs.’ Ground it in the absolute present. If it happened once upon a time, it’s not scary. If it happened last week, it is.”
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