Welcome to Chasing Ghosts.

I have a confession: ghosts and hauntings fascinate me.

When I was younger, I was always on the hunt for eerie, unexplainable moments — a handful of mournful notes carrying themselves off the highway and across the field; a chill passing through my body as I saw the whisper of a shadow in the corner of my eye. My friends and I would take flashlights and march bravely into the woods, into the dark, sitting around a camp site until we got too scared.

But as I got older, I’ve come to find that the concept of haunting is far more broad and pervasive. We’re haunted daily: by the thing we didn’t do, the thing we said and regret. We’re haunted by own grief, by lost love. We’re haunted by family and friends who have left our lives, by choice or not.

We’re haunted by moments: that story our grandmother told us about her sister, who she saw sitting on the couch years after she died, enjoying the Christmas tree. The kind of prescient moment that rings through decades, even after your grandmother is gone.

We’re haunted by faces: the little kid at the grocery store with perfect freckles and deep brown eyes, who looked so mournful as he angrily wiped at his tears and kicked at the corner of the cart.

We’re haunted by images, music, and art: the photography of Francesca Woodman. Annie Lennox’s cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down.” Picasso’s "La Vie.”

This broad sense of haunting — something “poignant and evocative; difficult to ignore or forget” — is what drives me to write. The why can’t I shake this? feeling is often my entry into an essay. It’s the reason there’s so much great art, music, and literature in the world — because as humans, we get stuck on things. Or rather, they get stuck on us.

I’m interested in others’ concepts of ghosts and hauntings, and I’m invested in exploring and sharing my own. That’s what drew me to create this space, this Substack.

You’ll get:

  • Essays and mini-essays from me, including works in progress

  • Interviews with others about their concepts and experiences of ghosts and hauntings

Why subscribe?

If you subscribe, you’ll get my newsletter delivered directly to your inbox. I’m not a spammer — you’ll get 2-3 emails a month, max — and that’s if I’m feeling productive. But I won’t send you stuff just to fill space or hit a quota.

Bonus: it’s free. What do you have to lose? If you don’t like it, unsubscribe. I won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay. Simple as that.

Who are you?

I’m a writer (mostly essays and creative nonfiction). I’m also into gardening, flowers, crafting, cooking, nature, and dachshunds. More about me and my work can be found on my website.

Subscribe to Chasing Ghosts

essays (and the occasional interview) working toward a metaphorical concept of ghosts and haunts.

People

Ashley Bethard

I'm a writer. Big fan of metaphor, and working toward a collective definition of ghosts and haunts. Also loves: nature, gardening, flowers, dachshunds.