December 11, 2007

I Believe in Ghosts

I've been fixated on ghosts for the past few days. There are a few shows on T.V. that I watch that make my skin crawl - Ghost Hunters and A Haunting. They are about people who have experienced paranormal activities and how they dealt with exposing the truth behind the mystery.

A 2005 Gallup poll found that 32% of Americans think ghosts are real. This number seems really low to me, probably because I've never doubted their existence. Maybe people were just too embarrassed to admit their beliefs? Ghost stories have existed as long as we have in every culture. And the people who tell them are not all "crazies," many of them were adamant disbelievers until they were forced to acknowledge what they were experiencing couldn't be explained any other way. Here is a site with a few of the more famous ghost sightings throughout the world. Here is a fun site of "ghost photographs."

I've heard too many ghost stories from close friends and family to discredit them. My uncle lived in a haunted farmhouse, another friend heard parties going on in their attic in the evenings, and a roommate met and spoke with a ghost on a English country road.

So my questions are, do you believe in ghosts? If not, why? Have you had any inexplicable encounters? Does their presence strengthen or weaken your existing beliefs?

Let's hear some ghost stories.

31 comments:

Heffalump said...

We lived in a huge Lodge one summer while my husband was working at a Cub Scout Day camp. The lodge was rumored to be haunted. I often heard footsteps outside when no one else was there, and some mornings (the ones when there were no scouts in the area because we were between sessions) I would hear children playing and laughing outside...usually in the very early mornings. There was a pioneer cemetary nearby on the property and several children were buried there.
Several people have had "ghostly experiences" there.

tracy m said...

Hollywood, I just wrote a long comment, and Blogger ate it. Sorry.

Yup, I believe. And Yup, I grew up right around the corner from the Toys R Us in the photographs you linked to. That one is totally real. Ask me sometime...

Adrienne said...

I do not believe in ghosts. However, that said, I HEART GHOST HUNTERS SOOOOO BAAAAAAD. I mean, come on. Off duty plumbers from Rhode Island crawling around abandoned asylums and giving each other the collywobbles? Count me in, yo.

Francis took this awesome folklore class over the summer called Aliens, Psychics and Ghosts and they had a couple of the Indiana Ghost Hunter people come in to talk one day. Here I was hoping for AWESOME unexplained pictures and recordings of things going BOOGEDY BOOGEDY BOO and what I got was scratchy, backwards audio and one shadowing picture of something that MIGHT have been a guy. Or it was a tree. Either way, I was disappointed.

Adrienne said...

PS, I think the main reason I don't believe in ghosts is that the ghosts, especially in the US, are ALMOST ALWAYS WHITE PEOPLE. Occasionally, we get a Native American, but it's never a prehistoric ghost. Likewise, do we ever hear of Neanderthals haunting the parts of France that have been inhabited for 15,000 years? No. You'd thing that out of all those millennia there'd be tons of hacked off spirits, but alas, no.

JLJ said...

I do and don't believe in ghosts. I do believe in an afterlife where spirits may in fact be all around. If these are ghost, then I believe. These spirits may even present themselves in either sacred or evil encounters. But I don't believe that ordinary, unassuming people have these encounters. They must be looking for trouble or in some need of spiritual comfort.

As far as the photographs are concerned, I don't believe they prove anything. I don't think that they've necessarily been doctored, but light, reflection and the lack of context can make anything appear possible. Does anyone remember that case in England at the beginning of the last century? Two girls supposedly had photographed fairies in their yard. These photographs were the topic of much controversy. And even Kodak themselves confirmed that they had not been tampered. Experts said that two young girls, with no knowledge of photo development could have done that work. Well a few years ago, these girls who were then about 96, finally admitted that they faked the photographs. There is a movie that was made about this story that came out probably 10 years ago. All I'm saying is that you can't believe what you see. Do you think the Virgin Mary really reveals herself in tortilla chips or McDonald's chicken nuggets?

Ok that was really long. I'm really not that passionate about this topic.

Hollywood said...

I agree that the photos don't prove anything and that many things can end up resembling human faces - but they certainly are fun! A few of them made me seriously shiver.

Being a believer in the soul, I too know that spirits exist. The thing that trips me up is stuff like haunted houses and cemeteries. My understanding of the afterlife provides no illumination on "spirits who don't cross over" or poltergeists.

Heffalump, were you scared when you heard those voices? Footsteps outside would totally freak me out. Tracy - the Toy R Us photo is definitely the creepiest one. I'm going to have to get the scoop from you. I hate when Blogger ruins a good comment!

Draino - I was wondering about the caveman ghost thing. Of course you are right in that most of the ghosts that people report are A.D rather than B.C. Could there be a religious reason for that? Quien sabe.

Lacey said...

I believe in ghost, but I never want to met one or have my house inhabited by one.
I remember telling ghost stories while I was younger and I love ghost movies, The Others is great, but I hate anything demon or devil related, so The Exorcist is totally out.
My in-laws say how they had a ghost that was an unpleasant in there house when they moved in 40 or so years ago.
I can't remember specifics, it seems like lights went on and off or rooms were cold, but it was creepy for them.
Someone suggested a priesthood blessing on the home and they've never had any problems after that.
Ghost scare me. I love them and hate them.
Since my husband is an atheist I almost want him to have some ghostly experience so he'll believe in the afterlife.
That would be funny.

Spike said...

adrienne, the ghosts just look white. you know, white as a ghost and all that.

kaff said...

I totally believe in ghosts and am very greatful not to have experienced an encounter. And on a completely different topic, I have been waiting for a white elephant blog...

Hollywood said...

Don't you worry, kaff! Our party is on Friday and I'm expecting lots of good presents to report :)

Sue said...

Nope. I believe in spirits, but I don't believe they can interact with us. Such a party pooper, eh?

Anonymous said...

I'm a believer. I won't tell you my stories, though. Too scary. I haven't seen anything, but felt presences, both kind and unkind ones. Can I just say, that cold thing is completely true, and I didn't even know that things were supposed to be cold until way after my experiences.

Colleen said...

I totally believe in ghosts. Jim and I have had many conversations about this, as he is a cynic by nature.

My dad grew up on a haunted farm. The whole family has stories about that place. My favorite is one where the dog wouldn't ever go in a particular room in the house. They tried bribing him with steaks and everything, and his fur would just bristle and he would growl.

Ryan H lived in a haunted house in Provo. I talked to him and a girl who lived there before him and they both had stories. That one moved stuff from time to time.

That said, I have no personal experience with ghosts. I may just be incredibly gullible.

believer said...

When I was ten we lived directly across the street from a family that play with Ouija boards, messed with "spells", and generally had a good time with the whole tarot cards, etc. One afternoon we looked out our front window and saw into their living room : Chairs flying curtains swirling papers flying, the whole shebang.

We and many others in the neighborhood ran out to get a closer look at what the hurricane was doing to the inside of their house. We heard their screams and could hear the loud noises and see flashing of lamps from inside the house. After a few minutes things settled down and they all ran out terrified.

They had asked for a sign while playing with the board. The interior of their house looked as if it had been blended, nothing where it had originally been, completely trashed.

Let me tell you, when you see a complete living room and dining room flying around the freaking house...you believe.

Kelly said...

I'm with Sue. I don't believe they can DO anything. That being said; I LOVE ghost stories and just being scared in general. And I like to watch Ghost Hunters just to mock & heckle!

Hollywood said...

Sue and Kelly, interesting idea about believing in spirits but not the sci fi version of ghosts. Do you have any conclusions about other people's reported experiences with "ghosts" or just think it's all random coincidence? So what I'm asking is, why rule out ghosts? Does it cross some belief you hold?

That story about the hurricane living room is wild! I bet those people didn't play with the ouiji board after that! Weird that it happened in the middle of the day too - you usually hear about all this stuff happening in the dark.

I do like having a good scare once and a while, but Lacey and others, am not interested in knowing/hearing about the evil stuff. That would give me nightmares for the rest of my life. Poor Spike has had an experience or two that has really shaken him up - no telling how long that will affect him.

Okay, really the reason I'm on the blog right now is because I was laying in bed trying to sleep for 45 minutes but kept thinking of all these ghosty comments and couldn't fall asleep because I scared myself so bad. I'm in the front room, have all the lights on and the t.v. blaring and am trying to shake some sense into myself. Silly girl I am.

Anonymous said...

I am 22 yrs old, this happened a few years ago when I was 12-14. My biological father moved a lot. He moved into this one house in a rural area in Bucks County PA. I would visit him every weekend and sleep over from time to time. He had a toddler (my sister kylee) with my step mom, 2 cats and a german sheppard. Here is a FEW things that happened. Let's just say enough happened that it was no longer scary after a while, and just plain annoying. Anytime you would pre-heat the oven, you would have to stay in the kitchen, because if you left the room, it would turn off. If you opened a window, and left the room, it would be closed when you walked back in. If you turned on a fan or a light and left the room, it would be off when you came back in. There were times when they left the house, returned later and all the windows were open. The german sheppard was terrified to go upstairs. It would walk to the stairs, start growling and barking in a rage towards the top of the steps. If it dared walk up, it would start crying and run into its cage. Kylee would go into my dads room in the middle of the night crying saying that the paper man would come into her room with a little boy and they would try to scare her. To this day we have no idea why she called him the paper man. The cats would FREAK out all night long. When I would sleep over, the ghost would turn on the TV ALL NIGHT LONG, no matter how many times I turned it off. The piano would play by itself. Toys would tumble off the shelves while you would sit and watch tv. My ad would be sitting watching TV after kylee went to sleep. He would hear her walk down the stairs and the dog would run over and my dad would get up to get her, and no one would be there, and she would be sound asleep in her bed. Ok this is too long, but I could go on and on. Here is the kicker: After they moved out, my dad went back to collect the swing set. The new guy who moved in came outside and said to my dad, "Do you ever.." my dad cut him off and said "All the time, get used to it." and the guy smiled and said he thought he and his wife were going crazy.

Melyni in PA

Love your blog!!

Hollywood said...

Woah! Melyni, that's amzaing! But hey, it sounds like at least your dad's electricity bill was low! How long did he stay in that house? If my toddler was getting visited by "paper men" who tried to scare her at night I don't think I'd last long in a house like that.

I wonder if people are supposed to disclose stuff like that when they sell a house. I have a feeling they aren't but I sure feel bad for anyone who bought a house like that unknowing.

Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Ok, i dont know if i beilieve all this but, that last story from melyni was pretty creepy. so is mine. when i was 12 me and some other girls went up to a cabin. 2 other girls had been there the year before(we went there every year, this had been my first) and every one else was downstairs watching a movie, and the 2 girls told what had happened to them. everyone else was asleep and they kept on hearing a humming noise underneath them . so in the morning they asked the owner what was underneath them and she said that that used to be their grandmas room and that she had died. so they went in the room and they were looking around and they opened the closet and they saw her. the grandma was in there. she had glassy eyes and her hair was almost gone and she was staring at them. they hurried and got out of there and left the cabin. then that night after they had told me i was in the bathroom(there was a door in the bathroom that opened into the grandmas room) just as i was leaving the bathroom i heard a loud pounding on the door that hooked into the grandmas room. i screamed and ran out of the room. i have never gone back there.

Anonymous said...

tracy please tell your story. im dying to hear it.

The Wiz said...

You do have to disclose if someone died in the house, I don't think a natural death, but if there was a murder or suicide, that has to be disclosed.

There might be other rules, but I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I swear everything I said I personally witnessed except when my dad and dog heard kylee coming down the stairs when she wasnt there and the windows being up when they got home. Everything else I personally witnessed on several occasions. I have never had experiences like that before or after they moved from the house. Not only did it make me a believer, but it made me comfortable with the idea. They lived there for about 2 years. We ask Ky to this day if she remembers the paper man, but she doesn't.

Melyni in PA

Anonymous said...

check out that last photo of the hand coming out of the tv. that really freaked me out. http://www.ghostresearch.org/ghostpics/fake/frauds.html

Anonymous said...

hey jil, do you know where i could find out more about those pictures of fairys?

JLJ said...

Google Cottingley Fairies and you will find a whole slew of websites. I just did that search and found that the wickepedia site was the most objective. It even has images of the pictures in question. The name of the movie that came out in 1997 is called Fairy Tale: A True Story.

Ang said...

My mom recently told me that she used to hear a baby crying in my room when I was little. She would go in there and I would be sound asleep. It happend for a long time and one day stopped. I was mad that she left me in my room with a ghost!

I read a great book about scientists trying to prove the existence of ghosts. "Ghost Hunters" by Deborah Blum. It was fascinating and featured one of my favorite psychologists/philosiphers William James

Anonymous said...

Hello? no one is going to comment on MY story?!

Hollywood said...

Sorry, anon! I think I would have dropped dead of a heart attack if I'd heard that pounding on the door. What surprised me about your story is that those two girls WENT BACK to the cabin another summer after seeing a dead grandmother in the closet. That's some serious creepy there - I would never have gone back. You had the good sense not to return as well. Grandma (especially dead ones) can be really scary.

Ang, I don't blame your mom for leaving you in there. One of my favorite noises in the world is OTHER people's babies crying when mine aren't. We have to enjoy it while we can. But still, it must be weird for you to know that you had a dead baby roommate when you were little.

Teah said...

DEFINITELY believe in ghosts. The ones that come to visit have always been friendly, though - family members, recently departed, mostly. Once, my (agnostic) grandfather drove past the LDS temple in his town, checked his rearview mirror, and found his (dead) father sitting, calmly, in the backseat. Apparently, they had a little conversation, and then great-grandpa made his exit. (Yes, he's still agnostic - he thinks he had a little "crazy day.") My little brother (a mis-carriage) used to play pranks on my mom, appropriate for the age he would have been. A laundry room with one door, no windows...and a laundry hamper JAMMED up against the door from the inside? He would have been four. We like our ghosts.

Anonymous said...

I know Hollywood, why the heck would they go back, that is why i sort of dont beleive them

Anonymous said...

I almost DID have a heart attack1 you should have heard me scream!