Worse roommate: random stranger or a ghost?

Please read before voting

I read another story today where someone who had things mysteriously move in their house found out that they had some random weirdo living in their house. Again the real owners joked about ghosts, and in a different story actually thought there were ghosts.

So that got me thinking… if ghosts were real, which would you personally find more upsetting to discover in your house - some random person who has been secretly living in some apparently unused part of the home, or a ghost?

**Caveats **
[li]In both cases, let’s also assume that the damages each would do would be approximately equal. So if you’re imagining the stranger just making the occasional mess and stealing food now and again, the ghost would just move some stuff and maybe destroy something now and again. And if the ghost is capable of serious physical harm to you so is the stranger. Go with your gut when you think of how much danger the unwanted roommate would be since it’s not really important as long as they’re providing equivalent irritation to you and your household. Something other than an unequal threat of harm should make one worse than the other, what is it?[/li][li]And remember, don’t just vote for the stranger because ghosts aren’t real - for the purpose of the poll, ghost are as real a possibility as an unwanted living person invading your home. (I mean, come on, are the odds of a person living in your house without you knowing really it all that greater than the house being haunted?)[/li][/ul]

Once you’ve voted, please explain why you thought the one you voted for would be worse.

Is the ghost a stranger or someone you know?

I don’t care, I have a horror about strangers in my house [I have been burgled a couple times in the past and find strangers trigger paranoia in me about being burgled again.]

Ghosts are reasonably harmless. All the ghostie stories on TV and the internet aside, there has never ever been a verified physical attack by a ghost. Scratch marks can be created by the body in the same manner as stigmata. [and I really don’t want to discuss the bogosity of stigmata being caused in some amorphous way in someone who was not actually crucified. I remember in a textbook on hypnosis my psych prof had they created stigmata in someone with hypnosis, and in the study they did people had stigmata matching the crucifix they normally were exposed to. Atopic dermatitis for the lose.]

Since their presence is a surprise, I’m going to say it was a stranger too.

I would have said random stranger; a ghost doesn’t really sound all that threatening compared to someone creepy enough to live in someone else’s secret compartments. A ghost would be far more amusing, too.

However, since you insist the damage done is the same, and therefore the stranger is not more threatening than the ghost, I’d have to pick the living stranger, since then at least I could relax somewhat in the knowledge that my roommate is not going to walk through walls or turn invisible and lurk in my bathroom.

On one hand, I’d say the stranger would be better because I could call the cops and get rid of him. Ghosts tend to be a lot harder to get rid of. You have to mess around with exorcisms and finding out why they can’t cross over and all that foolishness.

On the other hand, somehow the idea of a ghost in my house seems a lot less creepy to me than the idea of some dude living in my house. Seems to me ghosts usually don’t have much of a choice where they live. Plus, they can’t like get social services of any kind and go on boo stamps or welscare or anything and can’t be expected to get productive jobs because of discrimination and whatnot. The guy, on the other hand, somehow decided that it was a good idea to lurk in a house where someone else lives without asking.

So I choose the ghost.

Dammit I messed up. I would be more unhappy to have a ghost doing damage.

If I had a rental agreement saying ‘do not do X, Y or Z’ and the damage is a result of that I might be able to get some money back.

Can you have a haunting agreement with a ghost? What would you sue for?

Haha. When I first read your thread title, I thought “roommate” was one of the choices. Suffering with a batty roommate, I immediately thought, "roommate is the worst! I’ll take the ghost AND the random stranger.

I can’t hit a stranger…but I can swing a baseball bat right through the ghost any time I want. Fun with Casper!

Also…there are people who’d pay good money to see a ghost. A random guy with bad roommate habits? Not so much.

This. Especially considering that the reason why I haven’t seen the ghost as of yet is presumably because it’s invisible, while the stranger has to be some kind of stealthy contortionist hiding in cabinets or something. The ghost is probably there because it has no choice. The guy is there because he’s some loony stalker or something like that.

The random stranger, because ghosts own no money and cannot pay their share of the rent.

Interesting. My reasoning is exactly the opposite. I can hit a stranger, but I’d swing right through a ghost.

A person I know how to deal with. A ghost, not so much.

Exactly. Stranger is way scarier. I’m not sure if the hypothetical allows you to get rid of the stranger via calling the cops, though. Because the ghost, obviously, is not removable in that way.

I chose the ghost for these reasons.

Seems easier to monetize a ghost. Let’s go with that.

I’m a folklorist. Assuming ghosts are real, I have a library full of ways to banish them. Random creepy crypto-housemates, not so much.

Enough garlic will do the job on both.

Yeah, but you can’t hog tie a ghost and repeatedly kick him in the groin.

Isn’t this the plot of Real Genius/that one “Treehouse of Horror” episode/Bad Ronald (wow that was Jack Vance, I forgot)?

Ghosts lower property values more if you have to resell, I think. The “ghost tours” are compelling, I think. You can call the cops, but if it’s a ghost, Who You Gonna Call?

At least a roommate pays rent but with a ghost you just cast some incantations, burn some sage and get rid of it. However if this is a total stranger hiding out under the sink, I’d prefer a ghost. I would find that less upsetting.