I Ain't 'Fraid Of No Ghosts



Let's get this out of the way straight off: there are no such things as ghosts. Like fairies in the garden (it's squirrels and fireflies) and monsters in the closet (they're your pre-adolescent anxieties taking the form of 1980's politicians), they are fictions invented by the mind to explain drafts. However, they are fictions I approve of. Like illusionists pretending to be magicians, ghosts are lies that I respect. Because a cold house with a sinking foundation and overly reflective dust motes becomes far more interesting if it's inhabited by the wandering spirit of the rum-runner who used to use the basement as a speak-easy. I would never halt the use of imagination to make the mundane marvelous.

But this news report irks me. Because they believe the fiction. Now, before any of you get all uppity about "we don't know everything" and "if not ghosts, than what," let me say this: the base position has to be one of skepticism. Science gives us very clear methods for determining the validity of things, and those methods must be followed. And for those methods to be effective, you cannot go into an experiment with a preconceived notion; it biases the data. And in a situation like this, give the options that the house is possessed by a demon, or that it isn't, you must assume that it isn't until proven otherwise beyond all reasonable doubt. And these reporters clearly allowed themselves to be overtaken by the home-owner's convictions and story-telling skills. And the news producers clearly enjoyed playing that up.

I have no doubt that they experienced something. But I would remind people that humans, especially those that are... susceptible to suggestion, are easily influenced by they're willingness not just to believe, but to be among those that believe. To join in, to feel something, so that when the next dinner party comes along and artists and agents are discussing drudgery, they can lean forward and say, "I've seen a ghost." It's a good story, but that's all it is.

(Oh, and anyone interested in seeing the investigation the reporters mentioned, it can be watched here).

Via Uproxx.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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