My name is ... not important. But I can tell you that I am a storyteller, a ghost storyteller to be more precise. And for more than fifteen years I’ve been running The Ghost Walk of Amsterdam, conducting guided tours through the old centre of Amsterdam, telling people of its haunted past. Some of my stories I’ve told more than a thousand times, yet they still fascinate me. And on some nights, the good nights that is, I can still manage to even scare myself, the narrator, and achieve that which I consider a victory in ghost storytelling: a tingle of fear running up and down my spine. What some would call “The Pleasing Terror.”
Why this blog? To be honest, as a member of a certain generation I have a healthy distrust of social media. I sincerely think that social media are not a force for good in the world. And that it is not healthy to make your own happiness dependent upon the opinions (read: likes) of others. Nor do I think that most people are special or that they lead very interesting lives. Interesting enough to bother other people with it. I know that my own life certainly isn’t very special and only very small parts of it are interesting. And then only to people who are close to me in real life.
Why this blog then you may ask? Simple. Over the years of researching ghost literature I have managed to build up some specific knowledge about a few arcane subjects. And for some,I repeat some of you it might be of interest. I perceive what I write here simply as articles that you can voluntarily choose to read or ignore. I certainly won’t bother you with them or notify you on your phone when new stuff has been added. Read and be interested. Or not.
Some of my articles will of course deal with the supernatural: ghosts and haunted houses in Amsterdam, and local tales about other monsters, spirits or demons. But I will not neglect the rest of the macabre: I will tell you about witchcraft and witch hunts in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general and about justice and punishment in the Dutch cities of old. Encounters with the Devil or with Death himself in Dutch folk tales will be dealt with as well.
Apart from sources on real life hauntings there is also a wealth of classical ghost literature, especially from the English speaking world. I will certainly discuss two of its absolute masters: J.S. Lefanu and M.R. James. Read their tales on any cold winter’s evening in a comfy chair by the fire but don’t expect to sleep soundly afterward.
And finally I hope to share some of my insight into the ancient art of storytelling itself. I’ve been doing this for more than fifteen years and I’m still intrigued by it. I hope you will be too and decide to one day join the Ghost Walk of Amsterdam to see and listen for yourself.
Most storytellers, including me, love it when they find the proper pace in their wording, the proper rhythm of a story, when a tale seems to flow from your tongue by itself. (To be honest, most storytellers also love the sound of their own voice otherwise they wouldn’t be doing what they do). I am not as good a writer as I am a speaker but hopefully in this blog I can find a proper rhythm as well. And the discipline to contribute to it regularly. We shall see.
Al. Ad. Ma.