Laura Catron ‘17: I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton has a clone, yetis aren’t real, and the government isn’t hiding little green men in Area 51. (I believe in extraterrestrial life, but that’s another article.) Conspiracy theories hold no appeal for me. Too much of who I am is rooted in what I can see with my own eyes.
However, any mention of the paranormal causes all of my analytical ability to fly out the window. Ghosts, spirits, and demons all terrify me. At least enough for me to believe in them, anyway. I wish I could say differently, but after watching the Paranormal Activity movies in seventh grade I slept with my light on for about five months. Bloody Mary has remained one of my biggest fears since I learned about her. Ouija boards, seances: it’s a no from me.
Any scientific study done in effort to prove the existence of ghosts has come up with nothing. The scientific community overwhelmingly rejects the possibility of spirits among the living. But the belief of ghosts has been around as long as humanity itself, and I’m just not convinced enough to dismiss the supernatural entirely. Did humans invent the concept solely for the need of an explanation of death? Maybe. But if the same fleeting sightings and subconscious feelings about spirits existed in the past, without an advanced scientific community to disprove their theories, why would the humans of the time ever hold back in their beliefs? Because ghosts’ existence was openly accepted, the stories and myths involving them have a higher likelihood of being told with sincerity.
Nearly every culture in the world, past or present, has some lore involving ghosts and the spirits of the dead. In some, spirits are benevolent, like those connected to Día de los Muertos, a Mexican celebration. Others, specifically European and Asian lore, tend to view spirits as malicious. If a spirit appears to someone, whether in real life or a dream, then something must be direly wrong.
According to a Huffington Post poll, about 45% of Americans believe in ghosts, so at least I’m not alone. Eighteen percent even claim to have seen a ghost. In fact, since I started this story, at least five people have told me about their personal experiences with the paranormal. Given the town that we live in, where every other house is considered haunted, I wasn’t surprised.
Overall, if someone acts a certain way because of the possibility of something happening, I consider that a belief. So if you “don’t believe in ghosts” but refuse to mess with Ouija boards then maybe you aren’t as reasonable and logical as you give yourself credit for. So this year, watch out for ghosts, whether or not you admit to believing in them, and have a happy Halloween!
Morgan Brown ‘17: Everyone’s heard a ghost story at one point or another. Growing up, we told them at sleepovers to scare our friends, or we watched horror movies to scare ourselves. The idea of ghosts spooked us as kids, but once we reach high school age, the belief in ghosts fades away for some, including myself. The concept of ghosts used to scare me, but now I’m a bit skeptical as to whether or not they exist.
Whether or not I believe in ghosts depends on the definition of a ghost, because it seems different for everyone. Some consider ghosts and spirits the same thing, but I consider them separate.
I don’t believe in the stories of physical beings that pass through walls or turn invisible on command. I believe in the biblical type: the spirits that possess people and influence a person’s actions or thoughts. But when I think of the word “ghost”, I think of a situation like Poltergeist, where ghosts move objects or drag children into a haunted closet.
Besides the fact that no evidence proves the existence their existence, the contradictions in stories leads me away from belief in traditional ghosts.
Some believers disagree on whether or not ghosts can be recorded. Can a transparent being with the ability to turn invisible appear on camera? If not, then every single video or picture claiming to capture a ghost photoshopped.
There also appears to be controversy over whether spirits come back to haunt random locations or meaningful places. In some cases, a story reveals why ghosts haunt a location, and in some instances, ghosts plague an old, abandoned house for no apparent reason.
Why do ghosts only turn up at night and only in creepy locations or circumstances?
Why has there never been a reported Ghostbusters situation where ghosts show up in a big crowd of people?
If people believe in ghosts with no concrete evidence, what stops them from believing in other rumored creatures like vampires, mermaids, or Bigfoot?
Now, that being said, I don’t want to discredit any personal experience. If you think you saw a ghost, then by all means, believe. But the lack of evidence and the contradictions in ghost stories make it impossible for me to agree.