Ghosts, especially at this time of the year, are meant to scare one to death. But ghosts can also be used to save a soldier’s life. And it is upon that idea that Cooperstown’s James (or “Chip,” as he likes to be called) Northrup filed a patent seven years ago that underlies the function of a training system designed to enhance a soldier’s ability to zero in on a moving target. The concept is obvious: If you are going to shoot at something, you better aim at where a target will be, not where it’s been. Even a bullet that travels faster than the eye can follow must take some time between the instant it leaves the barrel of the gun and the time it hits its target. And a moving target (or an enemy combatant) is not going to conveniently stand still in that interim.
While the concept may be disarmingly simple, creating a training system that will teach and perfect a soldier’s ability to put that concept into practice is not. That is where the brainstorm of the inventor takes over. The premise is to create a virtual reality that allows one to see the lead point at which one must aim in order to hit the target. Hence the ghost:
In 1959 Louis C. Jones, a celebrated folklorist who was at the time director of the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, published “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” a compendium of stories about ghosts who roamed New York State and beyond. “It is a great privilege to live in a town which the dead have not deserted,” he writes. “Walk the streets of Cooperstown…on a moonlight night and [you will see] a village where the enchantment of death is a warm and friendly quality.”
River Street is a pretty good start. At its juncture with Main, under a giant pine tree, stands Pomeroy Place, where Ann Cooper Pomeroy came back long after her death in 1870. Just up the hill is Greencrest, where the portrait of Jane Storrs Cooper Worthington (1843-1863) has once again been removed from the main staircase. While its occasional removal in the past has scared up a great deal of physical commotion in the house, now at last the house is quiet.
SOUP ‘N’ CHILI – The Cooperstown Winter Carnival starts up for a second weekend 11 a.m.-2 p.m., with Chili, Beef Barley Soup, Broccoli, Bread, Dessert, and drinks. Adults $8, Children $4 at First Baptist Church, 21 Elm St., Cooperstown. Info, 547-9371
CONTRADANCE – 7:15-10:30 p.m. Otsego Dance Society hosts. Music by Eleemosynary, Robby Poulette calls. No partner or experience needed. All dances taught. Newcomers welcome at 7:15 for an introduction to some basic steps. Suggested donation $8 adults; $4 students and teenagers; kids 12 & under free. First Presbyterian Church, 25 Church St., Cooperstown. Info, (607) 965-8232, 547-8164, www.otsegodancesociety.blogspot.com
SUNY CARNIVAL – 5-6 p.m. Halloween Carnival. Order of Omega honor society hosts family carnival & dorm trick or treat. Info, (607) 436-2514. Hunt Union, 108 Ravine Pkwy., SUNY Oneonta.
PARANORMAL – 6:30 p.m. Author and Cooperstown Candlelight Ghost Tours Founder Bruce Markusen tells of the paranormal activity of Cooperstown. Woodside Hall, 1 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, Karen Cadwalader (607)547-0600.