Like gods and nature’s spirits, the belief in ghosts has been around ever since the first human tribes sat around the fire and told stories about their ancestors. How the spirits of those who lived before looked out for them, while warning of those who harboured a grudge. Add 20.000 years and modern entertainment industries, and we have this: six lies about ghosts you still believe.
#1 – You always notice when ghosts are around
Sorry to disappoint you, but this is very much an “alternative fact” spawned by movies and the human tendency to lie to ourselves to preserve our sanity.
Because ghosts are like spiders:
- They creep us out for no good reason.
- There is a lot more of them than there is of us puny mortals.
- Dozens of them share our living space at any given moment, but we rarely notice them.
In fact, you need to be very sensitive to their type of energy (like some people are sensitive to other people’s moods) to notice them – unless of course they make an effort to get you to notice them.
Ghosts are like spiders.
#2 – Ghosts are always hostile
Are you kidding me? Ghosts are dead people. Do you mean to tell me that all people are always hostile to everyone?
Okay, the news sites can make it seem that way, but look around in your own life. The nice lady behind the store counter, the co-workers who make you laugh, the friendly bus driver, your significant other. They are kind, right? (And if you S.O. isn’t, ditch them.)
Like humans, ghosts can be real bastards. But like us they are capable of more emotions than only fear, anger and frustration. It’s true that strong negative emotions are easier to detect than serenity, so if you do sense a ghost, there is a statistically significant chance that they are troubled in some way.
#3 – Ghosts are always unhappy dead people and murder victims
If a person died a (long) time ago, chances are that their life and/or death left a traumatic impression. Like a living person clinging to the unresolved past, such ghosts tend to haunt, with their fears and frustrations making them stand out.
However, ghosts can also be “freshly departed”. People who died recently have a tendencies to hang around family and friends for a bit before moving further away from the physical world. This is perfectly normal and a majority of ghosts fall in this category.
Other ghosts are long departed, but like to visit living friends and relatives from time to time.
And even the ones who died horribly might stay by choice. I once met an army officer who had died in the trenches of WWI. He knew he was dead, but stayed on the battlefield to look out for a number of soldiers who hadn’t realised the war was long-since over.
#4 – Ghosts spy on you
Yes, ghosts are everywhere, but like you, they have a life. Well, not a living life, obviously, but they are mostly occupied with their own interests. Which, like with normal humans, tends to revolve around themselves.
I mean, people in the street barely give each other a first glance, never mind a second. So why would you be worried about ghosts staring at you when you’re naked? They really couldn’t care less.
#5 –Ghosts become tangible at will
They’d wish. Ghosts cannot become tangible. Not even poltergeist.
“But what about slamming doors and flying dinnerware?”
Ghosts can influence the energy that makes up the physical world. Most forms of divination, like reading cards and scrying, rely on this. That influence can be weak, intentionally or not, or it can be very strong, in which case it might amount to what’s generally known as poltergeist activity.
Ghosts can influence the energy that makes up the physical world.
“Can’t they touch you?”
Generally speaking, no. Their energy is of a totally different order than that which makes up our tangible bodies, so our nerve system doesn’t register a ghost’s touch as it would physical touch. That said, there are cases of scratch marks and bruising. Insofar as these experiences are genuine, it’s again a case of influencing the material to show a certain recognisable response rather than actual nails scraping down your back.
#6 – Ghosts always look the way they did right after they died
I’m very happy to debunk this! While in some cases a ghost’s appearance – if indeed you “see” them – reflects their fears and pain caused by their death, I’m very pleased that 99% of the time, they look better. Even the many ghosts I encountered in the Ypres Salient showed nothing of the horrendous injuries that had killed them.
So what do ghosts look like?
If you knew the person in life, they might take on the form you remember best. Often ghosts seem of prime age, though. Mid-twenties to mid-thirties is popular. Depending on when they last lived, their clothes tend to resemble that period’s equivalent of standard daywear. Or they might go with a plain shirt and jeans. Anything goes when it comes to that.
Did I cover all ghost tropes, or did I miss one of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!