Are ghosts real?

Alias said:

Precisely the point I’ve been making in discussing the results of tests done by my acquaintance. As I said, this is not just something that sounds good, but something he has shown using statistical analysis. I wish I could reproduce it here, but three-dimensional graphs just don’t reproduce well on a message board. :slight_smile:

“The best medicine for misery is neither myth nor miracle, but naked truth.”
– Richard Walker, The Running Dogs of Loyalty: Honest Reflections on a Magical Zoo

I guess I wasn’t quite clear. What I was trying to say is that I find comfort in the idea that something outside of myself is providing me the comfort I need. I know that it may very well be my subconcious mind at work, but I find more comfort in the belief that it comes from outside me.

That is not to say that I see ghosts, or that I truly and deeply believe in ghosts. I believe that people are very suggestible, which explains haunted houses to my satisfaction.

On the other hand, don’t close the door to faith. I don’t mean faith in God, or faith in ghosts, or faith in any one thing. I mean FAITH. Some of you have a faith in science bordering on the religious. That’s fine, but recognise it for what it is: an analog of the religious faith that your science sometimes opposes. Faith is a good thing, it’s just that sometimes it gets dressed up in fighting clothes and people forget what it is that they have faith in.

So, I’ll stay here with whatever part of my grandmother protects me, and you can debate your ghosts and your truths as long as you wish. Enjoy.

Oh, and about the naked truth? Just think about how silly most of us look naked. Do you think that the truth is any more attractive? If it was, then there would be no reason to tell your wife she looks fine in those new pants that make her bottom look larger than usual, right?

There have been a lot of “ghost documentaries” on The Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel that have been pissing me off because of the otherwise good quality of shows on these channels. Typically they’ll interview some guy from an outfit called “Paranormal Research Associates” or something equally silly, and this guy will talk about what ghosts will do, the “energies” that they have, the forms they take on photographs, etc. (It turns out that ghosts take the “form” of overexposed film, usually. They seem inclined to reveal themselves most readily to bad photographers who don’t know how to protect their film from stray light.) The guy speaks with the air of authority; he has all the mannerisms of a scientist discussing some scientific topic. The producers seem to have no willingness in their minds to even question his bizarre credentials or anything he actually says. “Ghosts have various ways of making themselves experienced by the living”, he will say. “For example, sometimes they will flush toilets. Or they will cause a book to fall off of a bookshelf. Or a television will come on.” Give me a break.

They invariably film a psychic as she walks through a “haunted house”. (The psychics are always women, it seems. I guess men aren’t born with the “gift” as often.) Psychics seem to be the standard tool used for verifying that a house is haunted. Just for once, I wish a psychic would turn her head this way and that, and say, “Hmmmm… I don’t sense any presence here. Nope. I’m definitely not sensing a ghost or phantasm or psychic energy of any kind in this building at all. Let’s go to the next house.”
It never happens that way though. Miss Psychic rushes from room to room, describing her inner sensations as a running commentary of subjective gobbldeygook. “I sense an overwhelming amount of sadness in this room,” she says while standing in one particular doorway, holding her hand to her head as if the “psychic energy” is making her physically unsteady. “Yes, some horrible thing has happened in this room. There is a lot of negative energy here.” Then the voiceover says “In fact, this WAS the very room where the young servant girl was known to have died!” (Gee, what a surprise.) Then during the “seance” (they also seriously film these) the psychic is in a ring of people, holding hands while she writes down the messages she is psychically getting from the ghost. Considering all the fascination that they generate, it’s amazing how ghosts have absolutely nothing interesting to say. “I am so glad that you are here… I enjoy the presence of the living… I have been in this house a long time… I was lonely for so many years… I am happy where I am…” Stuff like anyone might guess.

To Brando: check this out

And to Alias: It was Francis Bacon who said “Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”

Then again, I could be wrong…

Men will cease to commit atrocities only when they cease to believe absurdities.

The thing I find really offensive about those shows is that rather than just letting the people tell what they believe happenned, comparing the stories and then looking for more rational explanations, the producers feel the need to dramatize everything with a double exposure.

Apparently, every ghost must be real, and every strange sound or sight must be a ghost. Most are not. Most things have perfectly rational explanations.

As for the things that don’t, I have my own opinions.