MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Our last story today is a favorite from our special haunted Halloween episode. It comes from WAMU reporter Elliott Francis, a long time disbeliever in ghosts, until now, maybe.
MR. ELLIOTT FRANCIS
My wife, Arnetia, and I are different and it's not just the obvious things. You see, we see the world through two entirely different lens. I don't think it was Barnes & Noble, not in Williamsburg.
MS. ARNETIA FRANCIS
Yes, it was. Yes, it was. Barnes & Noble, it was like a big chain.
Have Barnes & Noble?
Yes, it was. Yes, it was.
And so it was that on our first trip to Williamsburg, Va. two years ago, we got another chance to explore this endlessly fascinating component of our relationship. You see, back then, she believed in ghosts and I didn't.
I think we settled on the candlelight tour that was called, the original ghosts of Williamsburg.
That, we, is the different lens I mentioned. You see, I wasn't there yet with the whole ghost tour thing. But she and her then 12-year-old son, Trevor, were looking forward to it so I submitted, paying for the tickets at a bookstore at the top of Duke of Gloucester Street and agreeing to meet our group of ghost hunters at sundown.
Oh, but the spookiest thing was early in the afternoon. Remember we were walking down the main street of Colonial Williamsburg?
Arnetia is right. It was during one of those patriotic parades that happens often in Williamsburg, a mix of tourists following a parade of military re-enactors matching down the street bringing history to life. They all looked very real, but one gentleman dressed in white, perfect powdered wig under a jaunty three-cornered hat seemed to stand out.
And he looked really authentic and he looked really different from the rest of us to me. And remember I said, look at him. Elliott, look at him. You saw him, right? And he was so happy and he was dancing along and, you know, moving along with us. And then, when we got to the park, he disappeared.
We could not find him in the crowd. And believe me, we searched and we looked until the sun went down.
He was ahead of -- he was right ahead of us and he was there as we walked into the park. He was there. And then, when I looked for him, he was gone. And remember I told you, I said, that man was a ghost.
The highlight of our ghost tour later that evening was the Wythe House. The former owner, George Wythe, was an 18th century law professor at nearby William and Mary College. He taught and mentored Supreme Court Justice William Marshal and Thomas Jefferson, but his significance to the ghost here lies in the manner of his death. You see, history records George Wythe died in 1806, poisoned by his grand nephew, George Wythe Sweeney. Well, if his ghost is here, they say it will appear as an orb, sort of a round floating light object. Some of these orbs actually seem to display faces in the center of the light's sphere.
As I sat in front of the house in total darkness and in abject disbelief, I thought I'd take a few photos just because. Seconds later, what appeared in my LED preview screen changed my opinion about the existence of ghosts. I saw an orb, clearly, and it was in the trees right beside the house. And I don't remember anything being there before.
To this day, I swear those oddballs of light caused me to seriously consider the possibility of ghostly apparitions. But the strange thing is when I looked for those photos a few weeks ago in advance of the story, they'd vanished. I could say it disappeared in a number of different ways, but I know I put that photograph away.
Yeah, I know you did.
Digitized it. We sat --we enlarged it that night. I put it aside. I've got all the photographs from Williamsburg, but those, of which maybe were a half dozen, are gone. I believe, do you? I'm Elliott Francis.
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's David Schultz, Sabri Ben-Achour, Kavitha Cardoza and Elliott Francis along with reporter Emily Friedman. Jim Asendio is our news director. Our managing producer is Tara Boyle. Thanks to Toby Schreiner, Jonathan Charry, Andrew Chadwick, Margo Kelly, Timmy Olmstead and Helen Quigley for their production help. And to Dana Farrington and the WAMU digital media team for keeping our website up to date.
Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts," and our Door to Door theme, "No Girl," are from the album "Title Tracks" by John Davis and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings record company. You can go to our website, metroconnection.org, to see a list of all the music we use. And while you're there, you can find links to our Facebook page and twitter feed. You can subscribe the free weekly podcast and you can send us an e-mail by clicking the contact link.
We hope you can join us next Friday afternoon at 1:00 and Saturday morning at 7:00 when we go back to our roots. We learn about an unusual effort to keep people from cutting down trees. And we explore how changing demographics are affecting a historically black part of Washington, D.C.
Central Shore, in the last decade was about 67 percent African-American. I'm predicting that it's going to be about 60 based on the trends that I saw.
I'm Rebecca Sheir, thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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