A Journalist's Journey Into the Paranormal
In Search of Truth
The Preface for I Met a Ghost at Gettysburg: A Journalist's Journey into the Paranormal
By Don Allison
In the end, my career choice was a clear one.
As a college student I thought about working in marketing, or perhaps obtaining a law degree. But I decided to pursue journalism, and for me it really was a no-brainer.
At my core I’m a very curious person. I want to figure out how things work, and why things are the way they are. I love to discover things for myself. When I have to rely on accounts from others I want to gather input from a number of people, so I can sort out, analyze and compare what they say.
What better way to pursue that passion than as a journalist?
Through the years I’ve covered murder investigations and trials, political hijinks, civil and criminal court cases and public controversies. I’ve interviewed far more people than I can even begin to remember, on topics ranging from the trivial to the monumental.
In doing so I’ve honed an intuition about people and things I’m observing or interviewing. It’s almost a sixth sense, really, of perceiving red flags that indicate when people are lying or skirting the issue, or when something just doesn’t feel right.
Sometimes people with something to hide go on the attack, or try to avoid truly answering a question. For example, when asked “Are you guilty?” they may reply “I don’t think so,” instead of a clear “No.” At other times they simply appear uncomfortable, won’t look you in the eye or just give off a negative vibe. In some cases the facts just don’t seem to add up.
Whatever the situation may be, I try to ferret out the best information I can to illuminate the truth. Sometimes that involves telling both sides of a story – or three or four sides if necessary – and by presenting the best evidence possible I can let the readers decide for themselves.
I can’t say I’ve never been wrong or drawn faulty conclusions – actually, who among us can ever say that. But I try to be accountable, and when I am wrong I want to acknowledge it and learn from mistakes so I can do a better job in the future.
For 34 years and counting I’ve worked at The Bryan Times, a daily newspaper in northwest Ohio. I was born in Bryan, and spent the majority of my formative years in nearby Stryker. Other than a few years residing in Toledo, where I completed my studies at the University of Toledo, I have lived in Williams County, Ohio.
People here know me. People knew my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and they know my parents, siblings, wife, kids, and cousins. I have worked all my life to build a reputation here. I want to be known as an honest, reliable, friendly person, someone who contributes to the community and helps to make it a better place.
As a journalist, every time one of my stories appears in print my performance is judged by my readers. In effect, my reputation is at risk every day if I don’t do my job properly. Since I have been at work more than three decades – actually four decades if you count my early work in sports with the former Stryker Advance – I must be competent. If not I would have been thrown out on my ear long ago. In fact, from my earliest days at The Bryan Times I was charged with editing the work of others, in addition to my own reporting. In 1996 I was named editor of the paper, a role I filled for many years in multiple stints, and now I am senior editor, semi-retired to devote more time to my Civil War and other historical pursuits.
The point I’m trying to make is that when I put my name on a piece of writing, I stand behind it.
I thought long and hard before deciding to tackle this project, an exploration of the paranormal. I know many people are skeptical when it comes to this subject. I understand, because I was a stalwart skeptic and still approach each paranormal experience as skeptic.
The paranormal is not a subject I went looking for. It definitely came looking for me. After I have had experience after experience that I could not explain away by the laws of nature as we generally know them, I eventually felt compelled to learn more. The more I researched the topic, the more I realized my paranormal experiences were much more numerous and of a much broader nature than I had believed. And writing being at the core of my nature, I now feel led to share what I have learned.
Once I decided to proceed with this book, I realized I could hold nothing back. I am treating the paranormal as I would any other topic. I am sharing my own experiences and what I have learned from research. I am passing on what other people have told me about the subject and in some cases their own perceptions of what I have experienced.
I realize there are those who may laugh, or roll their eyes, or wonder if I have taken leave of my best judgment. But I appreciate the fact that such treatment has befallen many who have gone before me, people who put forward such outlandish ideas as that of a round earth, not a flat one; of man flying through the air or into space; a belief in rocks falling from the heavens; an impossible flow of energy we now know as electricity; and the sheer lunacy of waves traveling through the air transporting sounds and visual images to be retrieved by far-away machines.
It takes people with such vision to expand our knowledge, and our societal comfort zone. Without the willingness to explore the unknown, our society cannot advance.
So I will take this risk. I will do the best I can to present the evidence I’ve found and let my readers come to their own conclusions.
In fact, I stake my reputation on it.
I Met a Ghost at Gettysburg