Even though I’ve never experienced the trauma of dealing with a family member’s tragic death by murder, I can still imagine how those left behind would wish their loved one could somehow appear in court, exacting revenge by testifying against the monster who took their life. Unfortunately, ghosts can’t testify — right?
No, of course not — except it did happen one time, the event commemorated with a historical marker no less. The story begins like this:
Death, that indomitable specter lingering above all humanity, forgets no one. For millennia, humans have routinely encountered, feared, personified, glorified, deified, and battled death – for it is a thing that exists with absolute certainty yet lives without face or home. In our modern world, we push the immediacy of death to the outskirts of our lives. Modern medicine and technological advancement means that we now live longer and safer than ever before and that our sense of life is no longer fleeting and fragile. Modernity and industry failed to sever our deep-rooted ties to the ethereal; we continue to believe in the things that go bump in the night and what might reside in the old, derelict house down the road for reasons lost to time.
I am thrilled to introduce a new contributor (the first!) to Digging History Magazine. Kalen Martin-Gross describes herself as a “passionate historian” with Appalachian roots running at least eight generations deep. She grew up “mean as a snake” (her words) in southwest Virginia listening to stories her great-grandmother told of days long gone by. She and her great-grandmother, a major figure in her life, had a special bond.
Kalen believes her upbringing in rural Virginia helped shape her view of the world and views herself as an old, artistic soul who often sees the value and appreciates the beauty of the seemingly ordinary. Her photographic work has been described as raw, authentic, and beautiful. I think the same can be said of her writing and passion for history.
You will not want to miss Kalen’s debut article for Digging History Magazine, a true-to-life story of a ghost who had her own day in court, so to speak. The March issue is on sale here. Subscriptions are also available (3-month, 6-month and one-year).
Sharon Hall, Publisher and Editor, Digging History Magazine