In honor of Halloween, I have been asked to talk about hauntings. The primary reason why I have been asked as opposed to others is that I have worked in the past as a paranormal investigator. I first need to qualify this with a few facts: I am a skeptic. Always have been, always will be. I believe that science and hard evidence is more important than gut feelings and stories (which is ironic as I am primarily a fantasy author). Additionally, there are certain things that I am simply not comfortable discussing in open forum, so there are some things that I am straight up not going to talk about.
That said, I have seen and heard things for which there is no explanation. Do I have hard evidence? Of course not, beyond the letter of my word. But everything that I will impart to you is what I have come to understand about ghosts and hauntings. Would experts tell me I’m wrong? Possibly. But probably not. Most of the more famous experts are liars and charlatans anyhow, though I won’t name names for libel issues.
There is a certain stigma about ghosts that has always bothered me. As science opens the curtains of mystery wider and sheds more light on the things we don’t understand, we have come to believe that ghosts are simply stories and fables to scare children in the dark from a bygone era. But what still baffles scientists is explaining the human soul, that essence of self that has yet to be quantified by scientific explanation. Further, no one seems to be able to tell us exactly what happens to that essence once we die. The laws of physics states that energy cannot be destroyed, only changed. And if, as most scientists have come to believe, the human soul is simply pure energy, where does that energy go when it no longer inhabits a mortal husk?
What kills me is that many people dismiss the existence of ghosts with one hand but accept faith in a particular religion with the other. Don’t get me wrong, despite my rather scientific brain, I can’t dismiss the notion that there is some higher being who is our creator, but I have a hard time ascribing to a particular religion, which puts me solidly in the “agnostic” camp. I guess I am more of the type to state that anything that can be imagined is possible. Ghosts? Sure. Aliens? Heck yes! God? Why not? Multiple gods? I can’t rule it out. Does that make me crazy? Well yes, thinking about all the infinite possibilities can get a little tricky but in the end what it comes down to is simple: In a universe of infinite possibilities, anything is possible. Is that the spirit of the rule proving the substance of the rule? Yes it is. Do I care? Not even a little, because it is a valid statement.
The rules (which are really more like guidelines) as I understand them: 1) Most ghosts don’t initially realize they are dead. 2) Who passes on and who lingers is NOT arbitrary. 3) Most young ghosts haunt out of either boredom or as an attempt at communication rather than actual malice. 4) Most old ghosts don’t haunt at all unless they are protecting someone or something. 5) When a ghost first realizes it is dead, it is scared witless. Wouldn’t you be? 6) That paranoid pricking feeling you get when you’re alone but feel like you’re being watched? You are. Every time.
7) Animals do not become ghosts. If you happen across an animal ghost, it is probably something else and you should probably leave. Right now.
8) Ghosts do NOT like it when you sing the Ghostbusters theme to them.
There is more but those are the seven most basic rules, and a joke to lighten the mood. Read one of my experiences in Part 2.