Believing in ghosts
Who are the ghosts in your life? Casper, who is rumored to be friendly? Nearly Headless Nick? He is the one I turn to for comic relief, and of course, Peeves, the irritating bully who can only be tamed by another more powerful ghost, and by humans not at all.
I also like the Grey Lady, and Sir Cadogan the clumsy Knight. This Halloween we may see these characters come to life and floating around with empty pumpkin shells ready to be filled with non-nutritious treats.
The success of scary movies seems to say that we need these other worldly fellows, as they produce shivers of delight to haunt our nightmares.
I never liked scary ghost movies, except if they had Patrick Swayze in them, or maybe Jack Nicholson.
I wonder if this is an attempt to control our fears of the afterlife, and make spirits the object of our attention so as to control the narrative? Your guess is good as mine! I only know that fortunes have been made over the human beings’ tendency to want to be scared by the spirit world, and eager to pay for the privilege.
I believe these stories as fiction play a valuable role in our psyches’ need to spin a place in the stories that we make up to either scare ourselves or use to control wayward children.
What is the boogey man but a ghost? So many folk tales have stories revolving around the supernatural that it seems to me that we need this type of story in our lives. Besides being entertaining, we imagine that we could go on after death in the form of a spirit who can think, react to others in the same realm, wherever in the universe that happens to be, and have an effect on the human beings we left behind.
This is what the saints are all about. When we pray to them, we are engaging in a dialogue with a ghost, and hope that we are heard and that they can feel for our plight and actually do something about it.
Some religions have drawn up whole panoply of ghosts for different functions, just like an insurance form has numbers for different illnesses, so do we have a saint for protection in travel, one for the household and even specific rooms in the house such as the Kitchen Gods of the Asian persuasion.
Sometimes these ghosts get ignored and forgotten in the roll of history. Who prays to Amenhotep anymore?
He is a forgotten ghost just like Thor and Zeus.
But going back to Nearly Headless Nick, and Peeves. They are my favorite ghosts in that they actually entertain me and make me forget that real people are not half so nice sometimes.
Is it possible to believe in fictitious beings like Peeves? Of course, only we call them by different names.
The Holy Ghost never did anything for me but produce ennui while I was waiting for church to be over. The nebulous Holy Spirit that disguises itself as a power amongst the panoply of invented gods seemed to not ever do anything useful for those that believe in it. So what is the use of a ghost that never can do any useful work, never shows itself, never communicates in any way, and always hides away making those puny humans seek but never finding it?
It sounds like a scam to me.
One of my favorite lines from the Harry Potter books is that where the Weasley twins upon leaving Hogwarts, tells Peeves to “Give her hell”.
Peeves, being an obliging entity to the trouble makers takes this advice to heart, or plasma, as he has no heart, and continues on his haunting ways.
I love all the ghosts in literature, because I can get some humor from them, or chills down the spine if needed.
The Holy Ghost can just go jump in the flaming lake.