Some people don’t believe, others do, I’m somewhere in the middle but leaning heavily much more to the “no” side. Not a full-time denier but someone who believes he has reality on his side. And I can roll my eyes and yawn with the best of them.
Yes, I may watch the occasional special on a cable channel (I’m not recording them on my DVR or anything), but I would probably turn the channel after getting the gist of the ghost.
“Beheaded… yada yada… tragic lover. Got it. What else is on?”
Consider: If there were ghosts, the south would be filled to the brim with the ghosts of slaves; Germany would be unlivable because of the ghosts from the Holocaust; and every battle field (from Gettysburg to Iwo Jima) would need barriers to keep us living people out. And it would completely change the funeral home business.
I live in a house where someone died. They died in the same room I sleep in each night! Who knows, I might even sleep on the very spot that he took his fated last breath. Yet… I got nothing.
So why is it I can still be scared or hypnotized by the idea of a ghost? Heck, when I saw Paranormal Activity I was up for days, every bump was enough to wake me up fully.
“This is ridiculous, Scott,” I mumbled to myself again and again. “This is absolutely ridiculous. There is no such thing as ghosts. No such thing… What was that noise?!”
I don’t remember having any extreme experiences with ghosts as a child.
Well, my brother was haunted when he was a child, but I am not sure haunted is the right word. The ghost of my grandfather used to visit him, his own imaginary friend. And while he was sick in the hospital for a time, these “visits” were comforting to him and he would tell us about his invisible friend. I just remember thinking at the time, “Well, it would be nice to see him once. I’m his grandson too!” But nope, I was not on his radar, just my bro. A strange thing to feel slighted about, but there you go.
And then there was the Ouija Board. I knew a few that had them and tried on quite a few occasions to reach the other side. But nothing mysterious ever happened. Like all of my experiences with that toy, you bring your own baggage to it. You want to be scared, so you will probably talk in hushed whispers, use candles, etc. In other words, you are creating the atmosphere not the ghosts. And to be honest, if I was a ghost the last place I would want to visit is a setting like that.
The only memory I have of being truly scared because of ghosts as a child is after seeing Ghostbusters. Looking back that is more embarrassing than anything else.
To be honest, if I could come back, I would love to be a ghost.
Kurt Vonnegut has this great novel called Galapagos, where his narrator is stuck on earth for millions of years because he did not choose to “go into the light.” He watches the human race “de-evolve” and spends his days writing his biography over and over again in the air. As ghosts go, he is kind of lazy, but he is tragic in a way, like most legends are. There is no scaring going on and no real discussion with the living. Honestly, as ghost existences go it is a little blah.
I wonder if this dream is all because I would rather not leave this planet if given the chance. I’m reading The Autobiography of Mark Twain right now and he defiantly wears the mantel of an atheist in it. Even saying, in so many words, that everyone else who died before him has had no problem with nothingness, so he thinks he will be fine with it too. He playfully points out throughout that he is talking to us beyond the grave and doesn’t care what anyone thinks because he can’t care about anything anymore. Twain doesn’t play the ghost game.
I remember once having a theory that there aren’t ghosts, but time echoes. I am not sure where I stole this idea from (or if I even did), but what if these were moments in time, stirred by a strong emotion? Usually, you will hear of a ghost, not exactly reacting to the others in the room, lost almost in their own thoughts. Well, maybe that is because they are in their “then” not in our “now.”
Wait a minute! If that is true, maybe I am a ghost for someone right now? I hope it is something impressive like I am working out or jogging, as compared to sitting hunched over a keyboard, eating or bathing. You never hear ghosts stories like that though, do you?
In the fun book Spook by Mary Roach, she discussed an experiment where the conditions for seeing ghosts could be recreated. It all had to do with electromagnetic fields, and in a way explained why people always feel a little “haunted” in basements as compared to more populated areas. It all has to do with pipes.
There you go. Get new pipes and your ghost problems will disappear. (The Ghostbusters never mentioned plumbing.)
Maybe the reason I am not a full denier, is that I want to believe in something “magical.” It makes things a little more fun, a little more dangerous in our world. I like to believe that there are elements out there that I have no control over.
The sad fact is that we humans are lousy at keeping a secret. It’s one of the reasons I don’t believe in conspiracies or alien visits, etc. Because if there were any we would be hearing a lot more. Hundreds of people can’t work in Area 51 and stay silent, people!
We all like a good yarn, and the best are usually those that begin with the thought, “You are not going to believe this…”
So there is just this. No ghosts, no magic. Just the wonder of the time we have and the attempt to spend each to its full potential. That should sound a lot more inspiring, I know.
Yet… The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland always offers to make the visitor the next ghost, moving the number from 999 occupants to 1000. Every time I hear that ethereal voice say that, a part of my heart always whispers: “yes, please.”
This weekend, I was woken up my son, convinced he saw a ghost in our backyard. Considering how cold it is this winter, I had to feel a little sorry for the specter.
He led me downstairs by his sweaty hand, telling me on the way that the ghost was the size of our house and was like a giant black shadow bending down to look in the window. And, he claimed, when he turned away to get me the ghost disappeared.
My dog was casually sleeping on the floor, so I immediately was able to assume that there were no strangers in our yard; if there is one thing I can trust my dog on being it is a barker. And as I looked out the window, my son gripping my hand even tighter, I didn’t see anything anywhere.
Just the two of us, searching out the window for a dream of something more…
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