11.03.2006

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Once, back in college, my friends and I faced a malign presence, an evil and powerful spirit rising up on our very campus. Four of us gathered on the roof of the school building, and did our best to make a stand for the living. The being was powerful, and decided to pull the form of our destroyer from our subconscious depths. We did our best to empty our minds, but as the smell of burning bananas assailed my nostrils, I knew that one of us had failed.

“What did you do? What did you DO, Rey?”

Rey had tried to think of the softest, most harmless thing he could think of. We all turned as vines crept over the walls, and we faced the sweet devil himself. There before us, was a 70-foot Palavering Platano Plant.

I must confess, that none of that ever happened, though the scenario is oddly familiar for some inexplicable reason. Janet asked a simple question this week, but like all simple questions one that leads to more complicated answers. Do I believe in ghosts? I can't say that I've ever had a definitive encounter. The day after my Aunt's funeral a few months ago, I came home from work and suddenly felt something watching me as I got out of my car. There on the fence, a plump red cardinal sat for a long time, then suddenly flew off. Was she taking one last look through an avian vessel? Was I reading too much into nature during a time of grief?

I think we all have moments when we wonder about things and question our senses. In college, I'd spend long hours in my basement studio drawing and painting, and sometimes I'd see movement out of the corner of my eye. The cats were all upstairs and the door was closed, so chances are it was only a trick of the light as my eyes passed over the electrical cord of my radio plugged into the wall.

Do I believe in ghosts? I believe in souls. I believe that we're more than the physical vessels that contain our thoughts. Can our sense of self be merely an illusion of electrical impulses in our brain? Are we merely self-aware biological computers? And what was that noise I just heard from inside my walls? That was creepy, oddly-imed, and completely disrupting my train of thought.

If one believes in souls, then the possibility of ghosts at least exists. Can we become trapped here, journeying neither to heaven nor hell? From a theological standpoint, I guess the notion presumes exerting our will over God's. If our disembodied soul should linger on this plane, is it because of His will, or the continued exercise of our own free will?

Science tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed. When a life ends, there's a visible change, a spark missing from the eyes. If the shell is left behind, where are the electrical impulses, the thoughts formed from the accumulated knowledge of a person's existence? That energy has to go somewhere.

I don't know that I've ever actually seen or been in the presence of a ghost. I know there have been times when I was alone, but didn't feel alone. I'd like to think that the loved ones I've lost still guide me somehow, and that we'll be reunited someday. I don't know that the vengeful spirits, demons like those faced by the brothers on Supernatural exist, but if a spirit is comprised of free floating thoughts and a person had evil thoughts in life, then even that's a possibility. Are things like EVP, static voices found in certain frequencies, evidence of these disembodied spirits?

I've never seen a ghost, but I think it's possible they exist, terrifying as the notion of being stuck here may be. I've never seen aliens either, but in the vastness of the universe with billions of stars, how unlikely is it that another planet out there orbits one at just the right distance to provide suitable conditions for living? It's unlikely that anyone's actually seen aliens hovering around here, but we've really only scratched the surface of what's out there. There are so many mysteries, so many questions spawned by every answer we receive, that at the very least we should be open to possibility. The second we allow our hubris to take over and say we know everything, is the second we head down a path toward knowing nothing. True wisdom is acknowledging the things we don't know, so that we might continue to learn.

Seriously though, what's in my walls? And why do I hear faint snippets of Ray Parker, Jr. music?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kev said...

Do I believe in ghosts? Depends on your definition of ghost.

I don't believe that when people die their spirits can hang around. I believe they either go "up" or "down", right away.

I do believe there are evil forces/demons at work in the world that take the form of a "ghost" in order to do something nefarious - even it's as simple as convincing one person that their deceased great-uncle (or whatever) is trying to communicate with them from the afterlife in order to impart some wisdom or let them know that Fluffy is okay.

Of course, God has total control - and I guess if he wanted someone to return in spirit-form for some reason, he could make that happen.
After all - Lazarus was rotting in his tomb and Jesus called him back.

11/03/2006 10:43 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

I'm glad this question got you thinking. It might have seemed simple, but nothing I do ever actually is.:)

11/03/2006 5:56 PM  
Blogger b13 said...

yes. I believe.

11/03/2006 11:02 PM  

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