M.A. in American Studies (2015). Alumni of University of Massachusetts Boston. Salem, Ma Historian and Tour Guide for Salem Black Cat Tours, Paranormal Investigator with Mass Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society, Writer/Researcher/Host for Life After Midnight: Strange History, Salem Style.
That’s a whole lot of fancy titling, but my friends have dubbed me, “Death Girl.”
I first earned the loving nickname “Death Girl” from a few colleagues while still a graduate student in the American Studies M.A. Program at University of Massachusetts Boston.
My primary area of scholarship is the study of death in American culture, and the use of paranormal entertainment and tourism as a mode for public history education. I first discussed this idea in my Master’s thesis entitled “Relevant Apparitions: Bridging Public Memory, the Post-Industrial and the Paranormal in Ghost Adventures, (2015)” where I explore how the television show is both exploring marginalized post-industrial communities, and promoting interest in the history of place, past and present by portraying them to a wide community through the lens of a paranormal reality television show.
Since supernatural tourism has been given root and seen a resurgence in popularity through paranormal reality television, it has been my life’s work to find and illustrate in my writing the origins of social thought on matters of the supernatural and how they have played a role in public interest across many centuries of human existence. Where is the line between entertainment and reality, legend and fact, folklore and human thought about death and dying?
Recently, (since January 2017) I have been exploring these questions with my podcast entitled Life After Midnight: Strange History, Salem Style. I will continue to explore those very questions here, and hope you find it as useful and interesting as I do.
I look forward to sharing my findings, old and new, as I continue my quest to make sense of the attraction to, and sometimes obsession with death, not only in the literal sense, but as a cultural mode of learning. I often times have felt over the course of my research that without belief in the paranormal, certain histories might fall to the wayside, to be forgotten and frowned upon as a marginal part in the larger study of our past. But, with the popularity of tourist activities such as “legend tripping,” ghost tours, paranormal investigation events, Para-Cons, hotels that are advertised for their haunts, and a plethora of others, it is clear that this form of entertainment is not easily dismissed as a gimmicky form of entertainment, but rather a cultural moment in which we see fringe interests being used to garner support for public history.
In my 4 years experience as a public historian, tour guide, and paranormal investigator, and 8+ years as an academic, I have literally studied these topics from every angle possible, and it’s only made me want to learn more. Hopefully this blog will serve not only to enlighten those who are interested in the realm of the dead, but aren’t sure of its role in our collective history, but to affirm the cultural importance of the paranormal to public history for those who (like myself) have already begun to scratch the surface of this relationship.
In the words of one of my favorite High School (and still favorite) bands H.I.M.,
“Baby, Join Me in Death.”