I’ve seen this story circulating on the internet for a few days now, and while at first glance it seems like a quaint little ghost story, I realized that I had some issues with what was being reported here and how it impacts the paranormal field at large. Long story short, a bank robber kills himself while being pursued by police, and now people are claiming that they’re seen his ghost. Simple enough, right? But here’s the issue I have, and this extends to all areas of paranormal research: how credible are the stories if nobody knows the source?
Do you believe in ghosts?
Many people do and say they’ve seen the man who robbed a Wells Fargo Bank and killed himself when he was cornered by police.
A paranormal investigator says he’s been contacted by two people in East Memphis where the bank robber died.
Those who’ve apparently seen this ghost have seen it at the exact spot where the bank robber ended his life.
“I haven’t been looking but I will probably see it now that it is in my head,” said Lori McCaghren, who lives on Walnut Grove.
From her front door, McCaghren has the perfect view of the corner of Walnut Grove and Perkins. She has yet to see the ghost.
“I mean, what time of day?” she asked.
“A shadowy figure that you can see through,” said Mike Einspanjer, the owner of Memphis Paranormal Investigations and grief counselor.
Einspanjer says he’s had two people contact him, a man and woman, about seeing Marvin Amerson at night, back from the dead.
Amerison killed himself July 23rd after robbing a Wells Fargo Bank on Poplar.
He took police on a chase and then crashed his van.
Instead of surrendering, Amerson ended his life.
Einspanjer says suicides often produce ghosts.
“This wasn’t a planned event,” said Einspanjer. “He did it in the spur of the moment and that’s a lot to deal with and it takes time.”
Amerson also left behind a wife and a son, “So that’s a lot of pain and a lot of grief that he has to work through.”
“I have a perfect view and I look out all the time,” said McCaghren.
Those we spoke with live near the intersection and say they aren’t the ones who called the ghost hunter for help.
“So you haven`t seen him either?” asked reporter Sabrina Hall.
“I haven’t seen him and I sit out here quite a bit too,” said Steven Loughridge, who lives on Perkins. “I haven’t seen him or heard him.”
If the ghost is real, the paranormal investigator says there is no telling when it will leave because he says earthbound spirits only cross over when they are ready to let go.
Einspanjer says he keeps those who contact him confidential.
It’s interesting to me that nobody interviewed for the story claims to have seen the ghost, but this investigator is claiming that people have come to him. Now, on the one hand, I do appreciate that people wish to have their identities remain confidential. My group does it all the time. But on the other hand, it’s hard to verify what people are seeing if nobody can independently verify the claims of the witnesses. If there even are witnesses. So is this a true ghost story? Or is this just a paranormal invetigator inventing claims in order to make a name for himself?
Also, one of my pet peeves is when investigators talk about the paranormal as if we know things for fact. We don’t know what ghosts are, and we don’t know their motivations, or if they even have motivations. Sure, there are theories that suicides or other traumatic events can produce “ghosts.” But the truth is, nobody knows for sure. For every story of a ghost allegedly caused by a suicide, there are numerous suicides that don’t produce any ghost stories at all.