Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Interviews, Questions, and Synthesis

May 11, 2010 · 3 Comments

Ah here I am again discussing my experiential learning. I really wanted to interview the tour guide (the Man in Black) but unfortunately instead of just answering my questions, he asked me to email him. So email him I did, (though he has yet to email me back) and the questions that I had sought to ask him are as follows:

Question 1. What got you interested in this field?

Question 2. How many tours have you given?

Question 3. How many people on average take these tours?

Question 4. Why do you think so many people are interested in this topic?

Question 5. What is the most surprising thing about working in this field?

Question 6. Do ghost stories possess a greater value than simply being entertaining?

Question 7.  What is your favourite part of giving a ghost tour?

If the Man in Black stops being a ghost hunter for a minute, maybe he will respond and I’ll have another interesting blog post to write. But if not, I apologize for the unanswered questions that are above and if you’d prefer, I can make up some answers that support my paper topic just to add an extra flavour of overall cohesion. In the mean time, I decided that the best idea was to go back to the Adam and Eve pub and interview more people! So I made the trek back out there and yet again experienced another fascinating interview, this time I found a young man named Clive who was more than willing to participate. He actually noticed ME jotting things down in my notebook and asked what research I was doing. I explained the whole historical/anthropological hypothesis that I had spent months developing and researching for our class and how I was tying my broader findings into Norwich’s history in the hopes that it might reveal a lot more about the atmosphere of the city. He was quite supportive actually which was nice…and to my relief he didn’t interrogate me like the dynamic duo that is Maud and Mary. I explained to Clive that I was just going to ask a few questions and it would be best if he answered them honestly and as in depth as he felt comfortable going. The interview looked a little something like this:

Q. So what brings you on this tour?

A. Well I simply believe in ghosts. I love the history that ghost tours and stories reveal. It’s also a beautiful evening.

Q. Yes it is lovely out! So tell me, why do you believe in ghosts?

A. (Vaguely) I can’t really be too sure. I have had experiences with them if you know what I mean…

Q. I actually don’t really know what you mean…I myself am a sceptic. Can you explain?

A. Well like, I can feel them. Right now, there is no one following us on this tour.

Q (long pause)…….WHAT?

A. There is no one on this tour with us. No ghost, I mean.

Q. (Trying to recover) So…have there been ghosts on the other tours you’ve taken? How many other tours have you been on?

A. Yes, I have felt them before. They are just curious and they wander behind us. I have been on about 4 other tours before.

Q. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t completely caught off guard by that statement…I don’t even know what to say. Do you communicate with them?

A. I have psychic abilities. I can just feel them when other’s can’t.

A. (Backing away slowly) Wow. Well thank you so much for answering my questions. You’ve been really helpful! I hope you enjoy the rest of your tour!

Clive was pretty cool, but I really wasn’t expecting the answers that he gave me. Now that I think about it, I’m glad I happen to stumble across people with such varying views on ghost stories. The interesting thing to note here, is that all the people that I interviewed (approximately 10 individuals) have each said that they are interested in the history of Norwich, or the history behind the struggles that supposedly torture souls of the East Anglians past. I’m relieved actually, mostly because this continues to prove my point: that ghost stories are important lenses through which our modern culture can use to adjust and the focus on past social, religious, and political problems. I’ve learned a tremendous amount through this experiential learning component of our final project, mostly about Norwich itself and its community. I discovered just how important Norwich’s history is to its community and how much pride they feel when they learn about it. The ghost walk was exciting, fun and entertaining, providing me with a new way to see Norwich…but it was really my interviews that were the most important component of my experiential learning. Ultimately, I feel like I spent a lot of time interacting with the city that we so often take for granted, and by doing so I learned an exorbitant amount that could not be simply researched. For that, I’m relieved to conclude that my overall experiential portion of this project was a complete success and one that will stick with me long after my project is turned in.

Categories: Maddie

3 responses so far ↓

  •   Karl // May 11th 2010 at 09:14

    Bit of a freakish interview, but it sounds like the interviews as a whole are helping you to develop some ideas. I have to say that the few ghost tours I have taken have always been with an eye to learn an alternate history of a city.
    When you say that you are waiting for the Man in Black, I can’t help but think of Johnny Cash rising from the grave.

  •   aidanoshea // May 11th 2010 at 09:55

    I’m sure you address this in the paper, Maddie (I’m really looking forward to reading it) but have you figured out what it is about modern Norwich or Norwich history that lends itself to being seen through the lens of ghost stories? The ghost tours I’ve walked past in York and Edinburgh (more touristy cities with a more obviously ghoulish history) haven’t been as large or as enthusiastic as what you describe. Have the people you talked to spoke well or ill of ghost tours in other cities? What makes a person want to do the Norwich one more than once?

  •   becca136 // May 16th 2010 at 20:45

    Actually Aidan, I went on a ghost tour in York and walked past another one that had 30+ people! The groups are quite often rather large elsewhere in England, and you need to also consider the vast number of tours in York and London compared with Norwich.

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