Goodbye, Linda

It’s out of the ordinary for me to post twice in one day, but I’m compelled to do so by the passing of a friend I’d never met.  I’ll already published today’s post when I learned the news.  Linda S. Godfrey was a Wisconsin journalist.  She’s known for her many books on paranormal and weird subjects.  She was the reporter who first took “the beast of Bray Road” seriously.  I only discovered her after we’d moved from Wisconsin, although we didn’t live far from her in those days.  Fascinated by her work on the beast, I contacted her with some information I’d read and we opened a very occasional exchange of stories.  She was my very first Twitter follower, and she published one of my true stories (anonymously, by request) in one of her books.

I know that academically-inclined folks are dismissive of her work, suggesting she was credulous.  I always looked at it differently—Linda was willing to listen to people.  Yes, she probably talked to some people with mental issues, but here’s a true secret—all people have mental issues.  Although I never met her in person I had the sense from her writing that she didn’t simply accept what others told her, but she was willing to consider it.  I remember visiting Rutger’s University library while I was an adjunct there, to find a difficult-to-locate reference for her.  I mailed her a photocopy of what I’d found.  As I say, we never met, and we only corresponded once in a great while.

Seeing that her blog hadn’t been updated for some time (so this is related, you see, to my earlier post), I began to wonder if she was well.  Like most of us born to write, I knew it was unusual for her not to post.  Not knowing her personally, I didn’t think it polite to ask.  I’ve read several of her books, some of them highlighted on this blog.  Often dismissed as “only a cryptozoologist,” my sense is that Linda was hounded by the need to know the truth.  Yes, the world is a mysterious place—it’s not nearly as well understood as we’re often confidently told that it is.  Some of us simply can’t rest without finding out for ourselves.  Linda earned a reputation as an expert on werewolves—many suggest the beast of Bray Road was some such creature.  She recognized the tie-in to folklore but she also knew that monsters always, always cross borders.  Linda is missed already, and it’s about time I caught up on some of her latest books, for I’m compelled to believe she now knows.

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