Keenan: Ghosts

Joellen Keenan

I believe in ghosts.

I want you to believe in ghosts.

There are a lot of individuals who in fact, do believe in ghosts. According to the most recent poll, 42% of Americans will admit that they are believers.

What does that mean though? What does simply saying “I believe in ghosts” actually imply? Because “ghost” is a very broad term that has a different meaning to everybody. In A Natural History of Ghosts the author, Roger Clarke, classifies ghosts into eight separate qualitative categories: elementals; poltergeists; traditional or historical; “mental imprint manifestations”; crisis or death-survival apparitions; “time slips”; ghosts of the living; and haunted inanimate objects.

So now you are probably wondering, which one do you even want me to believe in? Or maybe you are still questioning why I want you to believe in anything? Which would be valid, because I truly won’t be affected if you walk away from this believing or not believing; I can’t control you and I will never know how you reacted to this article. Me wanting you to believe is not for my benefit, it’s for yours.

Why would it benefit you? Because believing in something as whimsical as a ghost is actually fun. Why else would anybody own an Ouija Board? It’s lighthearted. It’s thrilling. Not too long ago, I myself was not much of a believer. I didn’t really like to think about ghosts because I knew I was never going to have any physical proof of their existence. Not only that, but the multiple different ghost stories I heard were either so minor it could have been a coincidence, or they were so extreme I didn’t believe they were true. My realistic tendencies, no matter how few of them I have, were sent into red alert with every ridiculous claim a “ghost sighter” made.

But now I’m saying, who cares? To be perfectly honest, believing in ghosts is a pretty minor belief. It doesn’t exactly impact my day-to-day life and it makes Halloween a lot more exciting. It doesn’t change who I am as a person, I still have my values and my other separate beliefs. It’s just now I hear a story about a haunted house with an open mind, and it is much more thrilling to listen to.

I haven’t thoroughly defined exactly what I believe. There are a lot of things you could believe. I have a friend who only believes in good spirits, and another who believes she has to believe because the risks are too great that they would get mad if they were real and she didn’t believe in them. What I believe in personally is still yet to solidly form into a complete thought. All I know is I believe in something.

Many people don’t believe in ghosts because of the lack of evidence, which is true; there has been no further research any time in the past that would imply their existence.

In an article about the existence of ghosts by Benjamin Radford, he states the following:

“There are two possible reasons for the failure of ghost hunters to find good evidence. The first is that ghosts don’t exist, and that reports of ghosts can be explained by psychology, misperceptions, mistakes and hoaxes. The second option is that ghosts do exist, but that ghost hunters are simply incompetent. Ultimately, ghost hunting is not about the evidence (if it was, the search would have been abandoned long ago).”

The likelihood that research will advance any time soon is unlikely, and ghosts will most likely stay in the shadow of doubt of multiple minds throughout society. I am not one of those minds though. I’m diving all in; this Halloween is going to be haunted and it’s the most excited I’ve been about the holiday.

I believe it would bode everyone well to open their minds too, let loose! Spirits, good or bad, definitely add a thrilling dimension to our world. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a believer in all things spooky.

Happy Halloween!