Skills: Demonstrating Artist, Public Presentations, Teaching
Arlene Bice’s interest in ghost stories began some years ago in her native New Jersey. She and her family members were all visited—independently and unbeknownst to one another—by the same apparition in the old house in which they lived. When word got out in the community that she had had a paranormal experience, people began to come into the used and rare bookstore that she owned to talk about their own experiences, knowing that they wouldn’t be laughed at. Bice came to believe that, “People who live here leave an imprint. Even though their bodies pass away, they leave their mark.”
As Bice’s knowledge about local traditions of the supernatural grew, she began to compile the stories and in time published two books of ghost stories, Ghosts of Bordentown and Haunted Bordentown. (Bice is also the author of several other books on a variety of subjects.)
It was not long after her move to Warren County that she had a conversation with a local resident about the ghosts in his home. “What we really need,” the friend told her, “is somebody to collect the stories in Warren County.”
Warren County has a rich tradition of ghost stories, both of old stories passed down through the generations and contemporary accounts of encounters with the supernatural told first-hand by the people who experienced them. Arlene Bice accepted her friend’s charge and set about collecting accounts of the region’s ghostly heritage. The stories she has collected now number in the dozens.
Though Bice’s technique in presenting these stories is to write them up into a consistent narrative form, she does so with as little departure from the teller’s own words as possible, adding historical background information, but a minimum of embellishment. “I approach it as a historic rather than a spooky thing,” she says.
Arlene Bice will consider requests for lectures, teaching, and book signings.