Page 158 welcomes Dr. Charles Grizner to discuss his book North Carolina Ghost Lights and Legends, a guide to the luminous phenomena of ghost lights in North Carolina—their settings, origins and the legends surrounding them.
North Carolina is considered one of the US headquarters for ghost lights—that is, for spooky and unexplained luminous phenomena. Nearly half of all reported ghost lights shine, blink, burn, dance or float somewhere in the state. These ghost lights are well known in their localities. There are scary and fascinating stories associated with them, and they attract many visitors, each hoping to see a ball of fire floating over a cemetery or a jack-o’-lantern illuminating a corner of the Great Dismal Swamp or a long-dead railroad man swinging his lantern in search of his severed head.
Author Charles “Fritz” Gritzner has been chasing ghost lights for many years. A geography professor and luminous phenomenon buff, he has visited the sites, researched possible scientific explanations for the lights, and recorded the legends surrounding them. In this charming and fascinating book, he does not seek to debunk these phenomena, but to illuminate them as a part of the folk culture of North Carolina. Dr. Gritzner holds a PhD in Geography and taught college at East Carolina University and South Dakota State University. He is the author and co-author of 33 books, more than a dozen chapters appearing in edited works and more than 125 publications in various professional journals. During his career, he taught more than 70 different subjects, including the nation's only course in "Geography of the Paranormal."