Sarah Lyons has seen a ghost.
Or, at least, something like a ghost. It happened when she was in high school. She was driving with her mom on a lonely highway on a January night when they passed a car, the only other one on the road. From the passenger seat, Sarah looked in the rearview mirror. Her mom did the same.
There was no car there.
Sarah, who is from Wellfleet, Cape Cod (“a small town towards the end of the hook of the Cape,” she said), has always had an interest in the paranormal, ever since she was a kid.
“I’m not really sure where it comes from,” she said. “Stephen King has this great line—whenever he goes and does interviews, people always ask him ‘Why do you write horror?’” And he says, ‘I feel like they’re always trying to ask you what messed you up? Like why are you into this? What went wrong?’”
“And I don’t think that anything went wrong with me,” she laughed. “I think it’s just something I’ve always been interested in. I guess I loved Halloween a little too much as a kid and I just wanted it to be all year.”
Over the years, she has incorporated her interest in the paranormal into a larger life philosophy.
“I think it’s not just about being interested in ghosts and things like that. I think it’s about being open to different possibilities in general, and different cultures and experiences,” she explained. “It’s a certain sort of arrogance in our culture that we think we know exactly how reality works, that we know exactly how the world works. It’s not true, and it’s not scientific either.”
Her interest in the mysterious workings of the world led Sarah to become president of Fordham’s Paranormal Society up until last year.
Although she stepped down this year because she’s too busy for the commitment, she says it was a great way to find like-minded people.
“A group of weirdoes who found each other,” she said.
That “weirdo” label is something that Sarah wears with pride, although she admits it took a while to get to the point where she was comfortable with it.
“One of the things I’ve always experienced was that people kind of look at me whenever I walk past. And that’s been that way for a very long time,” she said. “So I figured at one point in my life, if they’re going to look at me…no way that I dress is going to make them look at me more or less than they already do, so why not just dress the way that I want to?”
“I think I’m weird but approachable,” she said.
In addition to her paranormal interests, Sarah is also the secretary of the Pride Alliance. She hopes to somehow combine her interests when she graduates Fordham this spring. Ideally, she would like to work as a writer for TV.
“That’s the dream anyway,” she said.
But, she’s open to pretty much anything. “I think on the spooky side, I want to work for TV because I want to tell the whole world ghost stories,” she said. “But, on the social side I really just want to keep helping people in everything I do.”