Sunday, March 16, 2008

The real 'eternal torment'.

Fortean Times currently has an article on ‘most haunted houses’ and ‘most haunted areas of Britain’ in which they treat the proprietors of those places with fully deserved derision.

I would go further. I would like to express my unreserved contempt for all organisers of ghost hunts that have, as their primary function, entertainment of the public.

These places are not running serious research projects. They are not researching at all. They are, and there is no other way to put this, cashing in on public interest and gullibility.

Further, they are hindering any serious research into the subject. How would a physicist get any work done if his cyclotron was open to the public? Fancy a tour of the deadly bacteria containment lab anyone? How about the radiation suite? Come along, the scientists won’t mind you getting in the way and totally screwing up their work. Just follow the guide. We even have people dressed as subatomic particles and bacteria for your enjoyment.

Okay, it’s not a perfect comparison. A haunted building isn’t my property, it’s not my personal lab. But that’s how it feels. It feels like trying to run a serious research project when anyone can come into the lab at any time and poke around at anything they like. Further, the cashing-in extends to serious research too. You have to pay for a night in many places now. How would you feel about paying to go to work? Especially when you’re not getting paid in return? If you do pay for a night in one of these money-grabbing locations you can be fairly sure there’s somebody around who’s planning to make it ‘worth your while’ so you’ll come back and pay again.

The fakery risk is close to 100% in such places. Don’t waste your time.

The worst part of this is the attitude to the ghosts. There was a time when ancestors were revered, then this slowly morphed into respect for the dead. That’s gone too. The dead are performers in someone’s private circus now. I can’t be the only one who finds the entire concept disgusting.

Ghosts are dead people. I’ll rephrase that in pure scientific terms. On the basis of the data so far available to me, it appears that many, if not most, ghosts are dead people. Some are not.

These ghosts are usually lost, confused and scared. Imagine this. You’re locked in a room, gagged and partially blindfolded. You can make out the shapes of the people who come into the room but you can’t speak to them. You can’t ask for help. These people laugh at you, taunt you, demand that you perform for them. Then they leave. You’re left alone in the dark until the next lot of tormentors come round.

Imagine it well, because if you die and your spirit gets lost somewhere, that could well be what you have to look forward to for a very long time.

Somewhere along the line, humans moved through reverence for the dead, respect for the dead, ignoring the dead and now we’re into taunting the dead. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, surely you’d find that attitude reprehensible? Yet so many now regard spirits as playthings, to be teased and tormented at every opportunity. If you did that to a dog you’d be locked up. If you went to a zoo and poked sticks through the bars you’d be arrested.

Recently, some teenagers taunted a tiger in a zoo. The tiger took exception and did something about it. Something involving teeth and claws. Ghosts aren’t tigers and for the most part, they’re pretty timid. They are not, however, totally defenceless.

I mentioned above that not all spirits are dead people. I don’t know what the others are. From a scientific standpoint they are ‘undefined’. You can call them demons if you want. They’ve been called that for a long time. These are not timid and some are very nasty indeed.

Oh, they won’t kill you. Reports of pinches and bruising sometimes appear, objects are often reported thrown but rarely hit anyone, spontaneous fires have, as far as I can find out, never killed anyone. Nobody gets serious physical damage from encounters with the malevolent spirits, human or otherwise.

The psychological damage they can do is rather more of a concern. They can attach themselves to you and follow you home. They can drive you nuts, literally. They will try to drive you to harm yourself since they can’t do it directly.

Those who go around poking at ghosts deserve all they get, but those around them will be affected also. Once you set off one of these vicious spirits they won’t stop with one victim. Whether human or not, if the spirit has been repeatedly tortured by so-called ‘ghosthunting trips’ then they won’t be easily placated. As far as they’re concerned it’s payback time.

Ghosts are not toys. They are nobody’s pets. They are not there for entertainment, they are not just flies you can legitimately pull the wings off. They are not caged animals, in fact they are not caged at all. Poke them at your peril. No ghost is really trapped in one location. They only think they are. Any one of them is capable of going home with you and if you get them angry enough, they might just realise that.

Treat them with some respect. One day, the ghost might be you.


ThatGreenyFlower said...

Gee, Rom. I like ghosts and would feel fear and/or respect if I met one, but I'm just not comfortable with the idea that one might decide to be my BFF and come home with me... I mean, I wouldn't deliberately taunt one, but I might accidentally pick my nose in the presence of one, and THEN what?! I think I'm not going to be sleeping easily tonight...

(Oh, if you're correct that most of these trips and their climaxes are hoaxes, hopefully that means that very few real ghosts will be disturbed by thrill-seekers. I'll keep my fingers crossed, anyway.)

One more thing: how can I make sure that my spirit doesn't get lost when I die?

Romulus Crowe said...

Hi Greeny

Yes, most of the tours are faked, but that doesn't mean there aren't real ghosts in the places they visit. The trouble with ghosts is that they don't perform to order so the tour operators feel the need to use stand-ins. That way everyone gets a thrill. Drives me nuts, along with anyone else who's trying to get the subject taken seriously.

They won't follow you unless you 'invite' them by drawing attention to yourself. I don't think I'm the sort of person anyone--alive or dead--wants to follow home :)

Those who get lost seem to all have individual ways of doing it. Some stay in a place because they feel safe there. They've found themselves in a frightening and confusing situation so they head for a safe place. Some died unexpectedly and don't know what's happened to them. Some just don't know what to do next. Some are 'trapped' in a place because they know they're dead and they believe that ghosts are stuck in places they haunt. The only reason they don't leave is because they don't think they can.

There are those who think they can complete some unfinished business, and those who are waiting for someone else, who has since died somewhere else. Many, many reasons.

How to avoid getting lost? One, recognise what's happened, and two, go and have some fun. Try appearing to someone you've always wanted to scare the pants off. I intend to.

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