Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

A few years ago, our local museum hired a story teller to come tell ghost stories at a Chataqua type event. I was excited to go see her as I am very involved in the local haunted history. A few days before the event, I got a call from a woman on the board asking me about some of our local haunts and I was telling her some of the stories.
When I arrived at the event, the story teller proceeded to go up there and not only tell all my stories, but she also told ones that were ONLY posted on my website. She gave absolutely no credit at all. I was more than a little offended - one, that a local person like me wasn't asked to do it but they sure did use my stories, and two, that the teller didn't give any type of credit at all as to where she obtained the stories.
Is that normal behavior? I am new to this and don't really know what is acceptable and what is not, but being a writer, I am fairly certain it's not a cool thing to do.
After the event, I very NICELY approached her and said, "I'm so glad you told the story about So-and-So. My friend really spent a long time digging through that historical society's papers to discover that one - it's such a cool story!"
She immediately got defensive and said had she known I was in the crowd she would have given credit.
I never mentioned a word about credit to her - so it was clear that she knew I knew the only place she could have gotten the information was from my site.
So - do you not tell people where you get the stories? Is it common practice to scavenge websites or cull information and then repeat it as your own?
To me, doing all the research and work is a hard job and people shouldn't be allowed to just take it and do what they want with it.

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"Same sense of violation, same apoplectic disbelief that someone has the testicular fortitude to come into your place and take what is yours."

That is exactly it. It was especially mortifying hearing it in person.

Thanks for the article - it's nice to know I wasn't just being overly sensitive.
I like this point. (the dictionary is a big book, classic)
Was this in fact printed in the Miami Herald, and do you know the Date? I ask because I have hear (read) this story before, almost as Urban Legend. (I ran a crossed one at a ghost story event where the fired man sought revenge after his suicide. oral, no source) If this is a true and accual event I will stop my research and development and move on.
Daniel Bishop, the Storyteller
HI Daniel,

My sources list the following citation, which gives the year but not the month or day. Sorry! Still, I think you can finally rest at ease and move on with other spunky tasks.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him at (888) 251-4407 or via e-mail at 

© 2005, The Miami Herald 

Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Thanks. I'm happy that it happend, but sad too. The story would have been good.
Several years ago I was asked to tell a story at our Utah State Fair. While waiting my turn listening to a Lady teller who I was not aquainted with, I was quite surprised to hear her tell one of my signiture stories about being raised in the mine camps of Utah. It was the very story I was going to tell. I have no idea how she came by it other than perhaps having heard it told by me. I was happy that someone thought it worth the telling yet mad as hell I wasn't given the credit for it and mad for the fact that she did such a lousy job in the telling. I got up on the stage and instead of telling another story which I was tempted to do, I told the story as it was ment to be told. She slunk away never to be seen again in these here storytellling parts of the west. I'm usually a nice guy but had I had the chance to talk to her I would not have been my laid back self as she was being paid to tell stories.




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