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Blowing Rock Art Museum speaker series discusses ghost experiences

Trent+Margrif+discusses+paranormal+phenomena+during+his+Haints+and+Haunts%3A+Near+and+Far+talk+at+the+Blowing+Rock+Art+%26+History+Museum+on+Thursday+November+8.+The+event+was+part+of+the+Scholars+%26+Scones+event+series+that+the+museum+frequently+hosts+on+Thursday.
Brendan Hoekstra
Trent Margrif discusses paranormal phenomena during his Haints and Haunts: Near and Far talk at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum on Thursday November 8. The event was part of the Scholars & Scones event series that the museum frequently hosts on Thursday.

On Nov. 8, a presentation about ghost phenomena was held at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum as part of the Scholars and Scones speaker series. The speaker of this spooky presentation was App State professor, Trent Margrif.

The Scholars and Scones program “invites patrons to spend a morning sipping coffee, eating locally-baked goodies and learning about the latest research, writing and creativity taking place in our region,” Willard Watson III, the programs and outreach director of BRAHM, said.

Haints and Haunts: Near and Far” was “largely based on my own experiences going through at least 400 abandoned buildings for documentation purposes,” Margrif said.

Margrif spoke of scary paranormal experiences of his own. He said that his most alarming occurrence was when he was looking in a full length mirror in the Preservation Delaware Inc.’s Gibraltar property and saw a shadowy figure behind him.

“Needless to say, my fight or flight kicked in and I fled,” Margrif said.

With a talk rooted in facts and mystery, Margrif’s discussion was well-received by the members of BRAHM.

“This will be one of the rare times the museum is able to blend history and legend,” Watson said.

Julie Hongisto, “Haints and Haunts” attendee, said it was fascinating to hear Margrif’s presentation. She plans on following up with the rest of the Scholars and Scones series.

Hongisto said that her favorite part of the Scholars and Scones series is the “local haunted areas and the open outlook” that the stories talk about. Hongisto said she believes in ghosts, but has never seen one.

Although some think of an alternate universe as something to be feared, Margrif thinks otherwise. Understanding other cultures’ beliefs on spirits is what kept Margrif interested in the history of the phenomena.

“In present-day America we view ghosts as something related to evil, religious beliefs, and also as a commercial industry,” Margrif said.

He then explained that, in other countries, their beliefs on the supernatural are public and are not something people should be terrified of.

Margrif said he hopes that for his own presentation, “the audience keeps an open mind and understands there are differing viewpoints in this regard, not a right or wrong,”

Watson also said he hopes “that people will leave with a greater understanding of their community.”

“I do believe in ghosts. I was always skeptical until I worked in a haunted hotel in Asheville,” Watson said. “After a series of unexplained events and things flying off of shelves at me I became a believer.”

“Scholars and Scones provides a fun way to expand upon the museum’s exhibits and to learn,” Watson said.

Scholars and Scones introduces a new speaker each month. More information about future speakers can be found at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum website.

Story by Carleigh Lowe, A&E Reporter

Photo by Brendan Hoekstra

Featured photo caption: Trent Margrif discusses paranormal phenomena during his Haints and Haunts: Near and Far talk at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum on Nov. 8. The event was part of the Scholars & Scones event series that the museum frequently hosts on Thursdays.

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Brendan Hoekstra, Photographer
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