Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are ghosts real?

I suppose Halloween would have been a more appropriate time to talk about paranormal phenomena, but I've rarely been prone to doing things in an appropriate way, so why start now? There's a question I've been grappling with lately and I'm not sure why. Are ghosts  real? It might have something to do with my father's recent passing, or it might simply be a product of my lifelong fascination with the bizarre and the macabre. I'm not sure. Normally this topic is rather taboo. I mean say the wrong thing and people are liable to think you've got a screw or two loose.

Now I don't have any stats to back this up, but I'd be willing to bet that most authors out there who use the paranormal as a backdrop for their stories don't actually believe in it's existence. And even if they did, would they dare admit it?

I'll let you, my loyal readers, in on a little secret. Something some of my closest friends don't even know (uh, until now). I'm 99.999% positive that death isn't the end of us. I'm not sure I believe in 'heaven' and 'hell' and all that jazz. I'm always suspicious when someone tells me I need to believe something or else I'll be in trouble.

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not a big fan of towing the line. But to get back to my point, let's just say when people close to me pass away, they almost always end up showing up in my dreams. Now I can already hear you asking yourself, 'how do you know it isn't just your brain trying to cope with the loss?' The reason I'm confident that in 'certain' cases it was them is because more than once I've had a dream encounter with someone close who told me they'd died before I even found out. I'm not psychic or anything, but this sort of things happens to me a lot. Or for example, I dreamt my sister told me she was pregnant with her first child about a week before she made any kind of announcement. And yes, technically that has nothing to do with ghosts, but regardless, it was freaky and to this day I still have no idea how that happened.

So, do ghosts exist? You're gonna wanna punch me, but my answer is, I'm not sure. I believe we don't really die (though as I alluded to earlier I'm not religious), but I'm hard pressed to completely believe those wispy things people see clamoring down hallways are what we think of as ghosts. As in, Grandma Suckles's restless spirit. I'm more inclined to believe that highly charged events tend to leave some kind of imprint on the environment in ways we don't quite understand yet.

I was once walking through an old part of town with a psychic woman who said she could see a figure perched at the top of a nearby building. The figure would step off and plummet only to reappear at the top again a second later, like a skipping record, jumping to her death over and over for infinity. Or those ghostly Civil War battles early morning hikers sometimes report. I'm hard pressed to believe thousands of spirits are still waging war on each other (although I have to admit the idea's a pretty cool one).

I can just hear all those Malice fans calling me out. But what about James McMurphy's mangled corpse and the way it was stalking poor Samantha Crow? True, but the important thing is I'm keeping an open mind. I've told you about my experiences, what about you? What do you all think?

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