Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ghosts

If someone had asked me ten years ago whether or not I believed in ghosts my answer would have been a resounding, "Hell yes!" but these days I'm far more skeptical when it comes to the notion of supernatural beings, visitors from outer space (I believe in life on other planets but don't think they'd cross the universe and not make themselves known), and cryptids like Bigfoot or Nessie.

Part of what has fueled my doubt in recent years, ironically, is the wave of television shows that follow ghost hunters; I find it hard to swallow that most of what they give me isn't staged. The ghosts or moving objects are generally off-camera. The noises are feint or unrecognizable. Rather than canvassing a haunted structure top to bottom, the hunters throw a few immobile cameras up and ask silly questions for a single night. If the place is truly haunted like the hosts of these shows believe, why squander the opportunity for more evidence?

That's not to say I dismiss ghost theories at all or deny the possibility that ghosts could be real. I'm back and forth on the topic, cautious not to choose a definitive stance that they exist or don't exist. On one hand, I find it difficult to refute electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), yet I often wonder if EVPs are truly evidence of a deceased spirit that lingers in our world or something else entirely. How do we know an EVP is a dead person and not an ultraterrestrial (being from another dimension) or something we've never even considered--ripple in time/space. What if a person today thinks they see a ghost and sixty years prior another person believes the same, but in reality it's two people separated by sixty years somehow viewing each other briefly?

And when I hear someone give me their account of an experience I can't help wondering if they truly saw and heard what they think they did or if their mind was playing tricks on them. I feel my doubt is valid as most people with ghost stories do zero research on their houses; they don't try to get to the bottom of the area's history or who/what that ghost might be. They simply accept that they saw/heard a ghost and conclude ghosts are real.

As a fan of horror fiction and movies, as well as fringe science and cryptology, the notion of ghosts fascinates me. Sometimes, I think life is mundane and uneventful, void of all the magic I believed in as a child. Other times, I hope the supernatural is real; I hope to have an encounter, but until that day comes, I'm obliged to say seeing is believing and I have yet to witness a thing out of the ordinary.

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